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Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!

Chapter Text

Everyone has different ideas of when it all started. Some people think it started back when we saw people who dressed like bats and people who swung around golden lassos as Gods and saw clowns and businessmen and Monsters. Others think it started when an army dressed in red came down from the sky and tried to lay waste to us all. Most people, though, think it started when a glowing baby was born in China, ushering in an era where most of the world could have superpowers of their very own and become just like those Gods: the era of Quirks.

There are two people, though, who think it all started when they took a vacation to get away from the world.

Japan. July 15, 20XX, 15 years prior

Lake Kawaguchi, one of the Five Lakes of Mt. Fuji. Of the Fuji Five Lakes, Lake Kawaguchi is the second largest and situated at the lowest elevation (800 meters), which accounts for its relatively cool summers and frequently icy winters. It's the cool summers, along with a tremendously long shoreline, that have allowed for Lake Kawaguchi to become a popular vacation spot in Japan, with many people going there to camp and get away from the world.

This is very much the reason for a certain couple to be vacationing there.

"Alright, all set!" was said by a man after starting a campfire, the process done by breathing fire out of his own mouth. "Beautiful night for a fire, right honey?"

"It sure is, dear," the woman he was with said. Her face lacked the same positivity that her words were meant to convey.

"You're lying, aren't you, Inko?"

"No, I'm not."

"Yes, you are. The night is very subpar, tons of clouds blocking the stars, and this is a very shoddy campfire. Look at this log arrangement. Absolutely no presentation value in here. I wouldn't be caught dead next to this fire if I wasn't the one who made it."

"Hisashi, please. We both know it's not about the fire." Muttering something under his breath, Hisashi kicked up a bit of dirt before sitting next to Inko on a log facing the fire.

"I'm just frustrated, Inko," Hisashi said, putting his head against her shoulder.

"I know. I am, too," Inko said. "It's not your fault, though."

"It's not your fault, either. I don't want you to think that."

"I don't want you to think it's your fault, either."

"I know that, but if it's neither of our faults, then that means we can't point fingers at anyone and go 'Nice job screwing us over, jackass!' Things would be so much easier if we could do that, you know."

"I know, Hisashi. Life's just not like that, though. Sometimes things just happen, and there's no one to get mad at."

"Life sucks, sometimes."

"I know, I know," Inko said in a somber tone. After that, no more words were spoken between the two of them. They simply sat next to one another, gazing at the fire and doing their best to enjoy each other's company. That was the plan right up until Hisashi's phone rang.

"Talk about a mood killer," Hisashi said, pulling his phone out of his pocket. He was about to decline the call, but paused when he saw the name in the caller I.D. "It's work. It might be important, but…"

"Go take it. I can be by myself for a few minutes."

Hisashi nodded his head, pushed Inko's green bangs apart, and kissed her forehead before stepping away from the campsite.

Hisashi ended up walking just a few meters away from the campsite, surrounding himself with trees and putting his wife out of view. Finally, he answered his phone.

"Good evening, Professor," Hisashi said. "No, wait, it's gotta be morning in the states, right?"

"Indeed it is, Hisashi," the voice on the other line, the Professor, said. "About eight in the morning, last time I looked at my watch. Never too early to get started on a bit of work."

"It is for normal people, you know."

"Then how come I've seen you getting up at five to work?"

"I'm just able to fake weirdness, I guess."

"Yes, well, going off of that, I've noticed that you've neglected to re-engage your 'weirdness,' as I haven't gotten a single response for the latest reports I sent you."

"Wait, you sent me… shit," Hisashi cursed, rubbing the back of his head.

"We both know how important this project is, Hisashi."

"I know."

"The entire world, itself, could be changed from the work we're doing, Hisashi!"

"I know!" Hisashi shouted, a small burst of fire escaping his lips. The conversation went dead for a few seconds.

"I'm sorry for that, Hisashi," the Professor said. "I know you know how important this is, and I shouldn't be talking to you like you don't. Even still, I should've gotten a response from you. What's going on?"

"Nothing. I've just been busy with this getaway for my wife and me, and I guess I let work get away from me."

"You're on vacation? At a time like this?"

"It was kind of an emergency vacation. Not for pleasure, really just to get away from everything for a while."

"If it's not too intrusive, would you mind telling me what happened?"

Hisashi leaned back against a tree and exhaled another line of fire. It really was a poor substitute for a cigarette.

"Remember how I told you that my wife and I are trying to start a family?" The Professor acknowledged it. "Well, we got back from the doctor the other day-"

"And she pregnant! Congratulations, Hisashi, my boy! You're going to be a great father, I just know it! Can I be the godfather? I've always wanted to be a godfather, Hisashi!"

"Yeah, well that's not going to happen, because we can't have any kids!" Once again, fire shot out of Hisashi's mouth, this time hitting a tree branch and knocking it to the ground, fully aflame. In a panic, Hisashi quickly stamped out the fire, cursing under his breath all the while.

"Um, well, now that you've finished whatever that was and I've finished removing that foot from my mouth, allow me to apologise, again," the Professor said.

"No, that's fine, Professor. If I didn't get mad at you, I'd probably just get mad at some kid working the register at Big Belly Burger for giving me the wrong change.

"Inko and I, we spent weeks and weeks trying to do it the old fashioned way, but every time she took the test, it came up negative. We finally decided to just go to the doctor and see what we were doing wrong. Turns out that the issue wasn't with the technique, but the people trying to use it."

"Oh my," the Professor said. "You have my greatest of sympathies, Hisashi, for as much as that might be worth."

"It's worth a lot, honestly," Hisashi said, letting out a relaxed breath of fire. "So, yeah, that's why I didn't get around to checking my email. Right after we got the news, I took us out of town to get away from everything for a bit."

"Have you two considered other options, at all?"

"I mean, we haven't talked about it, but I know we're both thinking about it. It's just that we both really want some time to calm down before getting back into it. Plus, stuff like surrogates and adoption take a lot of time and money that I'm not sure we really have. Too bad babies don't just fall out of the sky."

"Yes, that truly is a crying shame. If I may offer some advice, Hisashi-oh, shoot! Sorry, I have to attend to something. I'll be back in a minute."

"Take your time. I got nowhere to be."

Footsteps went through the other end of the line, and Hisashi moved his phone away from his ear and slouched down into the dirt. With no one to talk to, the only thing keeping his mind occupied was a bit of stargazing. A clear night like this, away from the city lights, the sky was filled to the brim with celestial lights; even with the Green Palace in the sky shining as bright as it did, their luminescence remained unchallenged.

The one that seemed to be getting bigger was especially unchallenged in that respect.

Bigger at an increasingly fast rate, it seemed. In the direction of his general area, too.

"Oh, shit!" Hisashi shouted.

Before Hisashi knew it, a giant fireball was in the sky, plain enough for anyone to see. Lake Kawaguchi was lit up as if someone was shining a massive spotlight on the water's surface. Hisashi could feel the heat coming off of it even from how high in the sky it was. Mesmerized by its sudden appearance and intense beauty, he found himself immobilized, unable to do anything else but stare in awe.

Very fortunate for Hisashi, this did not result in his untimely demise, as the fireball veered right well before it could hit him and kept to that path until eventually hitting the ground with a tremendous crash.

"Sorry about that, Hisashi, needed to take care of something with the project." The Professor's voice came back out of the phone. "Now, about you and your wife-"

"Yeah, I'm gonna have to call you back!" Hisashi hung up his phone before the Professor could say anything and took off in a sprint.

When Hisashi returned to the campsite, Inko was facing in the direction the fireball flew in, eyes wide and jaw dropped.

"I'm guessing you saw it, too," Hisashi said.

"Uh huh," Inko said.

"Man, not every day you see a shooting star crash into the planet."

"Uh huh."

"I think I'm gonna turn into a walrus and start living on the moon."

"Uh huh." After a few seconds, Inko finally decided to turn around towards Hisashi and pay attention to him.

"Let's go check it out."

"Really? Are you sure that's the best idea?"

"Come on, Inko, you know every camper this side of the lake's gonna be over there in five minutes, so might as well try to beat them to it. Besides, beats sitting here feeling all sad, and stuff."

Inko hummed to herself and drummed her fingers against her thigh.

"Well, I guess it couldn't hurt us."

"That's the spirit!" Hisashi grabbed onto Inko's hand, and the two took off in the direction of the crash. If Hisashi was being honest with himself, he felt as nervous about this as his wife clearly did, but like he said, it served as a much better way of getting their minds off of life than just moping around a fire. Besides, if it turned out to be a meteor composed of an as of yet undiscovered element that could be named after himself, why wouldn't he want to take a look at it?

As it turned out, what had crashed into the forest was not a meteor composed entirely of "Hisashium." Instead, lying in the center of a crater, dirt upturned and trees scattered about, was some sort of large, metallic contraption.

"Oh my God," Inko said, breath taken as she and Hisashi made their way into the crater.

"Right? Wonder what it is," Hisashi said, rubbing his hand against the surface of the object. "The metal's so smooth, and the design so professional, far more than anything we have in Japan. Might be a satellite from an American company, like Lexcorp or Wayne-Powers."

"I think it belongs to whoever owns this symbol." Inko directed Hisashi's attention to the partially crushed lid of the machine. On it was a large, black-colored pentagon with what looked like the letter "S" inside of it. No matter how much Hisashi thought about it, he couldn't remember any company that had that kind of insignia.

"Wait, what the hell?" Hisashi moved away from the insignia and towards the back end of the machine. "Look at this propulsion system, Inko. The shape of the engine, the placement of these fins, this isn't the kind of stuff you find on a satellite."

"Yeah, it almost looks like a spaceship," Inko said, her face contorted into a position of awkwardness.

"Hey, that's not funny, Inko," Hisashi replied with shallow laughter. "That's the kind of joke that makes everyone on the train turn to you with disgust. We don't make spaceships anymore, and if it really is one there'd be something in here that we really wouldn't want to be in here."

Then Hisashi heard it.

He heard crying.

Crying coming from inside the ship.

"Oh no," Hisashi gasped.

"Oh no!" Inko shouted as the crying got louder. "Is there a baby in there?!" The second the words left her mouth, Inko pointed her hands at the lid and then threw them back towards her body. The lid, ever so slightly, started moving in the same direction.

"Inko, what are you doing?" Hisashi's question fell on deaf ears as she repeated the action.

"Inko, don't you know that this is a bad idea?" Hisashi's question fell on deaf ears as she repeated the action.

"Inko, won't it get really bad if someone sees you doing this?" Hisashi's question fell on deaf ears as she repeated the action.

Hisashi wanted to ask a fourth question, but before he could, he heard what sounded like footsteps and muffled conversation.

Ah, dammit! Cursing to himself, Hisashi ran over to the lid of the spaceship and started lifting it up with all of his might. It wasn't much might.

"Hisashi?" Inko asked, all motion in her body ceasing.

"Don't just stand there, Inko, keep pulling!" With a quick head nod, Inko went back to using her Quirk on the lid of the spaceship.

Hisashi could tell just by looking at Inko that she was pushing herself. Her Quirk was at its best when used to move something that was small, lightweight, or some combination of both, so expecting her to just make a large, heavy piece of metal fly into the air was out of the question. Hisashi wasn't much better in that regard, having the build of a bamboo shoot, and all. Always spent far more time in the lab mixing chemicals than he did in the gym lifting weights. But even if they couldn't accomplish something like this alone, together just might be a different story.

And a different story, it was. With Hisashi's strength and Inko's Quirk combined, the lid was pulled upwards and torn off of the ship, entirely. Thanks to that, Hisashi and Inko had a perfect view of the contents of the ship. Just as Hisashi thought, just as Hisshi feared, inside there, crying at the top of its lungs, was a baby. A tiny little thing with eight freckles and a small clump of black hair on its head, a spit curl sitting in the center of its forehead.

"It really is a baby!" Inko said with a big smile.

Surprised that it looks so human, Hisashi thought as he pulled the baby out of the spaceship. As soon as it was free of the confines of the ship, the frightened child looked at Hisashi's nervous face, stopped crying, and smiled at him.

Without even realizing it, Hisashi smiled back.

"-think it's somewhere around here," a voice said amongst footsteps.

"-do you think it is?" Another voice asked amongst footsteps.

"-thought Green Lantern was up in space stopping this kind of stuff from happening!" A third voice said amongst footsteps.

"Okay, we need to go, now!" Hisashi shouted to Inko, handing the baby over to her while he grabbed the torn lid. With that, the two of them ran from the crash site and were gone before anyone could spot them.

After returning to the campsite, Hisashi and Inko shoved everything back into their car and drove away from Lake Kawaguchi as fast as was legally allowed. They drove for two hours before reaching the Shizuoka prefecture, barely saying a word to each other, all the while. Eventually, they found and checked into a small hotel in Shizuoka City, and as soon as they were in their room, Hisashi turned on the TV. Conveniently, he turned it on to a news program.

"-what we believe to be an alien spacecraft," a reporter said, standing in front of the very same spaceship they discovered. "Hours ago, multiple campers here at Lake Kawaguchi either heard or saw what was initially believed to be a meteor landing in the campgrounds, but as you can see here, it was anything but. Judging by the size of the craft, there would only be room for one person, and with the top completely open like this, whatever was inside has long since disappeared. Police and local Heroes are searching the area of Mt. Fuji for any signs of alien life, and will soon expand their search to the surrounding cities. Everyone should be cautious and go outside as little as possible until further notice."

Hisashi turned off the TV and threw the remote onto the floor.

"We took an alien. We took an alien. Oh my god! We took an alien! I can't believe we did something so stupid and dangerous! I've never even gotten a speeding ticket before, and now I'm stealing little alien babies! What the hell is wrong with us?! If my father was alive to see this, he'd go 'Hisashi, I didn't fight in no Lantern War for you to just go'n pick up some li'l spaceman off the street!' We should've just gone straight to the authorities when we got the thing out, no, when we saw the ship, but this makes everything so much worse! Why did we take that baby? Why didn't we tell anyone? Why am I the only one freaking out about this? Inko, freak out about this with me!"

Hisashi turned around to face his wife, only to see her sitting on the bed, holding the baby and tickling it, making it laugh over and over again.

"Inko, please!"

"Oh, sorry, honey," Inko said, ceasing her tickling.

"This is serious, and you're not even paying attention."

"No, I heard you just fine. You were rambling on and on about how we shouldn't have taken an alien with us and how we're going to get into a ton of trouble for doing this, right?"

"Well, yes, that more or less sums it up. Still, I shouldn't be the only one freaking out about this. If anyone finds out that we were the ones who took it-"

"Him," Inko cut in.


"I looked inside the diaper, and the baby isn't an 'it,' it's a 'boy.'"

"Fine, fine. If anyone finds out that we were the ones who took him, our lives are over, Inko. I work in government, I hear whispers about this all the time. Guys in black suits will be at our doorstep in the dead of night to cart us off for interrogation and torture. After that, all of our neighbors and family will think we just disappeared, when really we 'disappeared'. Do you want that to happen?"

"No," Inko said, body shaking slightly. "But in that case, we just have to make sure no one finds out about this, right? We left before anyone else got to the ship, and camping there didn't require any reservation, so I don't think they'll be able to find us."

"True, that would be pretty hard. Even so, there's still a 112 ounce problem we need to deal with. What are we supposed to do with it-with him?"

"I actually have an idea about that, Hisashi."

"Glad one of us does. What is it?" Inko smiled at Hisashi before looking down at the baby again. Hisashi's face fell. "No."

"He looks like a normal baby-"


"-and everyone's probably looking for a big, green, monster man."


"It's hard to find something when it's hiding in plain sight-"


"-so if we don't want anyone to know we were involved in this, I was thinking that-"

"NO!" A large stream of fire shot out of Hisashi's mouth, singing the wall behind Inko's head.

"I was thinking that we could keep him," Inko said, ignoring all of that.

"Are you insane?! You want us to raise an alien baby?!"

"So what if he's an alien? It's not like all aliens are evil. The Martian Manhunter certainly wasn't evil. Besides, he's just a baby, and babies can't hurt people."

"Yeah, but the people they grow up to be can! Besides, how do we even know he's even actually a baby?" Hisashi stepped over to Inko and bent down to look the baby in the face. "For all we know, he comes from a planet of beings that just look like babies, and they all try to use their overwhelming cuteness to infiltrate societies and destroy them from the inside!"

The baby giggled and squeezed Hisashi's nose.

"This doesn't disprove the theory," Hisashi said, removing the baby's hand from his nose.

"Hisashi, don't you think that we need to be doing this?" Inko asked. "The whole reason we were there was because we wanted to forget about the fact that we could never have a child of our own, and then a baby falls into our laps? That can't just be a coincidence."

"It is absolutely a coincidence! If you looked up coincidence in the dictionary, the definition would read 'What is happening to Hisashi and Inko, right now!'"

"So what should we do, then? Leave him outside an orphanage? Drown him in the bathtub?"

Hisashi didn't answer her. He sat down at a desk and stared out the window, his expression unreadable.

"Hisashi, this is the right thing to do, and you know it. Not just for us, but for this poor child who's all alone in the world. If you didn't already know that, if you didn't already care about that, then you wouldn't have helped me take him out of his ship, right?"

Hisashi still didn't say anything, instead opting to knock all the pens off of the desk with a forceful sweep of his arm.

"Okay, okay," Hisashi finally said. "First thing in the morning, I'll call up the Professor and tell him what's going on. I'll get him to make us some fake adoption papers. We'll wait an extra week before going back to Musutafu and tell everyone we left to adopt a baby."

"Hisashi…" Inko said with a smile.

Hisashi got up from the desk and moved onto the bed, wrapping Inko up in his arm.

"I still don't feel good about this, but I'd feel even worse about leaving some defenseless little baby out on his own. Plus, maybe I'm like you and I don't want this to be just a coincidence, as crazy as that sounds."

"I don't think it sounds crazy, at all. Of course, I was the first one to bring it up, so I might not be the best person to ask," Inko said, planting a kiss on Hisashi's cheek. "What are you going to name him?"

"Right, we said that if we had a kid, I'd name it if it was a boy, and you'd name it if it was a girl. Well, all the men on my side of the family have the same kanji in their name that reads as 'it's been a while' (久). This little guy, I don't know where he came from, but he had to have been forced to leave (退出)his home. He had to leave, and it must have taken him a while to get here, so I was thinking that we combine some of those characters and make 'Izuku' (出久). What do you think?"

"I love it! Our own son, Izuku Midoriya!"

The baby, now christened as "Izuku Midoriya," laughed as his new parents kissed him on each cheek.

You probably figured it out already, but that baby they're with? That's me. My name is Izuku Midoriya, and I'm an alien. I was sent off from whatever planet I was born on to live here, and Hisashi and Inko Midoriya took me in as their own. Even though I was an alien, even though no one liked the kind of thing I was, they never treated me like I was anything other than their son. It's thanks to their love and support that I became the person I am today, and it's because of their love and support that I was able to become the greatest Hero in the world.

Japan. April, 20XX, present day

"Midoriya-kun, am I reading this right?" A junior high school teacher asked.

"Yes, sir. I, I really don't want to be a Hero," came a meek reply from scared looking boy with his head against his desk.

I should probably mention that there were some bumps in the road.

Here it is, the first chapter of an idea that you'd think more people would've done. If you feel like asking for background information, hit me up on tumblr.

Chapter Text

Ninth grade. Just one more year of slumming it up with useless peons until Katsuki Bakugou could move on to the big leagues. The anticipation was almost too much for him to bear. Almost.

"Alright, settle down!" The homeroom teacher shouted, his name Bakugou could never be bothered to remember. "Now, then, I'm supposed to be handing out career forms for you to fill out today."

The teacher grabbed a stack of papers off of his desk, looked at the class for two seconds, then tossed them into the air.

"Why bother, though? You all want to be Heroes, don't you?!" In an instant, the majority of the class of twenty cheered and showed off their Quirks, in response. "Yes, yes, you all have wonderful Quirks! But you're not allowed to use your Quirks in public! Please, remember the school rules, everyone!"

Bakugou smirked as everyone deactivated their Quirks. As if they actually had anything worth getting in trouble for.

"Hey, teach! Don't lump me in with the rest of these losers!" Bakugou shouted. "Unlike them, I actually have a Quirk that isn't total garbage."

"Shut up, Bakugou! You're not so great!" Someone in the class shouted, having as much presence as a TV extra.

Bakugou just laughed.

"Well, since Bakugou's making himself the center of attention, I might as well mention that he's planning on applying to U.A.," the teacher said.

""U.A.?!"" Everyone collectively gasped.

"That's the toughest Hero school in the country!"

"Only the best of the best can get in there!"

"I want to be a Hero, but I want to be realistic." None of what was being said surprised Bakugou, one bit.

"That's right, I'm in a different league than all of you!" Bakugou shouted, jumping on the top of his desk. "I already aced the mock exam, so the real thing will be a walk in the park! I'm gonna get into U.A., then I'm gonna be the best Hero there is! Not even All Might will be able to take me on!"

Bakugou erupted into a roar of laughter as everyone's confidence faded away. As it should. How did these people expect to become Heroes if their only claim to fame was stretching out their eyeballs? Or making their neck long? Trash should just own up to being trash. That way, Bakugou wouldn't have to waste time beating down people who weren't worth his time. Not like there really even was anyone who was worth his time.

"Oh, now that I think about it, the only one who didn't say anything about going to a Hero school is Midoriya."

Bakugou stopped laughing.

Everyone's eyes moved away from him and onto another student, a scrawny little kid with a bunch of freckles and a black spit curl sitting on his forehead, sinking further into his chair as more and more people turned towards him.

"What?! Deku, you piece of shit!" Bakugou shouted, calling Midoriya by his childhood nickname. In response, Midoriya threw his head against his desk.

"Wait, let me double check that," the teacher said, opening up a folder from his desk. "Yes, I was right. Midoriya's only listed high schools focused on general education, not one Hero school. Midoriya, am I reading this right?"

"Yes, sir. I, I really don't want to be a Hero," Midoriya said, not once lifting his head from his desk. Almost immediately, the class fell into a series of whispers.

"Is he serious? Someone like Midoriya doesn't want to be a Hero?" One student whispered.

"With a Quirk like his? What a waste!" Another student whispered.

"I'd apply to U.A. in a heartbeat if I could do half the stuff he could," a third student whispered.

"I'd put way more money on Midoriya being the next All Might than Bakugou, any day," a fourth student whispered.

As the teacher went back to the day's lesson, Bakugou jumped back into his seat, his attention nowhere near the chalkboard and focused squarely on Midoriya.

The bell for the end of the school day rang, and everyone started filing out of the classroom. Bakugou, noticing that Midoriya was slow to move, took advantage of his lackadaisical pace and ran up to his desk.

"You got a lot of nerve, you know that, Deku?" Bakugou asked.

"Good afternoon to you, too, Kacchan," Midoriya mumbled, calling Bakugou by his own childhood nickname.

"Don't ignore me, asshole! What the hell was that crap from this morning, huh?!"

At this point, some of the students who were leaving stopped to observe the two, some of whom were rolling their eyes and looking at the scene with a look of familiarity.

"The exact same stuff we've been over for ten years. I know you thought I'd just 'grow out of it,' but I'm serious," Midoriya said.

"You think you're so special, don't you, Deku? You think that you can have a Quirk like yours, show me up one time, and then just get away with not having the balls to settle things?!"

"I don't think I'm special, and I don't want to be special." Midoriya stood up from his desk, grabbed his bag, and started walking towards the door.

"So what, you're just gonna live the rest of your life like these pathetic little pissants? Just let everything that makes you worth a damn go to waste?"

"Maybe I am. Not everyone's as obsessed with being validated as you." The crowd started snickering. Bakugou started scowling even harder than before. He was about to shout out another insult, but before he could, he caught sight of a notebook left on Midoriya's desk.

"So, being a Hero's really beneath you, is it?"

"That's not what I-"

"Then what the hell's this book, Deku?!" Bakugou picked up the notebook. It was a small, standard issue school notebook, with a title written in pencil reading "Hero Analysis No.13."

"Kacchan, give that back," Midoriya said, stopping in his tracks to turn to him.

"Why should I? You don't give a shit about Heroes, right? You've been saying that for years, yet here you are with a notebook all about them, and it's the thirteenth one, too! Hell of a lot of notes to be taking for a guy who says he doesn't care!"

"I don't care about being a Hero, Kacchan! That doesn't mean I don't care about Heroes, at all!" Midoriya shouted, looking at Bakugou with a nervous expression.

"So you're just half-assing everything, then?"

"That's not-" Before Midoriya could say another word, an explosion of fire shot out of Bakugou's hand, burning the book to a near crisp.

"You really piss me off, Deku," Bakugou said, tossing the burnt book out an open window.

Half a second later, before most of the people in the room had time to blink, Midoriya threw Bakugou against the wall, lifting him off the ground with just one hand around his shirt collar. The crowd turned to them with wide eyes, some from shock, others from anticipation. The latter ended up going unsatisfied, though, as Midoriya quickly put Bakugou back on his feet.

Bakugou looked down and saw that his shirt was open. That figured.

"Every time I think you're gonna surprise me, you just go and pull the same shit," Bakugou spat as Midoriya started walking back towards the door. "Stop being a little bitch and face me already, Deku!"

Midoriya gave no response as he left the room and walked off into the hall.

"Man, sometimes it seems like you're asking him to kick your ass," one student said to Bakugou.

"Why do you keep antagonizing him, anyway?" Another student asked. "You know the guy can punch a hole straight through your skull."

"Fuck off."

Midoriya's notebook, he later discovered, fell into the koi pond in the courtyard. On top of being burnt, now it was wet and had pieces of it swimming around in the guts of various fish. As if he really needed all of that.

Following that, Midoriya went on his way back home, head hanging towards the street the entire time.

"Stupid Kacchan. Why can't he just leave me alone?" Midoriya asked no one. "One more year and we don't have to see each other again, right? I wish he'd just lay off, already!" In a brief moment of anger, Midoriya kicked a nearby can on the sidewalk. The can went flying through the air, higher than any of the surrounding buildings, and eventually turned into a small speck.

"So what if I don't want to be a Hero! Everyone loves food, but that doesn't mean we're obligated to try and become professional eaters! And just because I love Heroes doesn't mean I have to be one!

"Doesn't mean I deserve to be one, either," Midoriya said, tears in his eyes.

Like I said, there were some bumps in the road. Even though I loved Heroes as much as the next guy, maybe even a little more than him, for the longest time, I didn't want to be a Hero. Not because I didn't have any interest in it, but because it didn't seem right for someone like me.

It all started back when I was four years old. At that age, everyone is supposed to start developing their Quirks, their own unique superpowers, but after a few months, I was the only one in my class to not have a Quirk. My mom took me to the doctor to look into it. We were both hoping, at least I thought we were both hoping, that I really was just a little slow, that I'd just have to wait a little longer before I could be just like everybody else.

But the doctor dashed all of that aside with just six words: "You should probably give up, already."

The doctor explained that the major factor in determining whether or not someone would develop a Quirk was their pinky toe. One joint in the toe meant they'd have a Quirk, two joints meant they wouldn't. I had two joints in my pinky toe. I would never have a Quirk. I would never be a Hero. The one thing I wanted to do in life was completely out of reach.

At least for a little while.

Japan. September, 20XX, 11 years prior

The entire ride home, Izuku was silent, no matter how much Inko prodded him for conversation. Not like she couldn't understand it, though. When you just find out that all of your hopes and dreams are ruined, and through no fault of your own, it takes a while to get back into the mood to talk to others. She should know. She'd been there.

"Izuku, do you want to talk about it?" Inko asked. Izuku just slowly shook his head. "That's okay, sweetie. Whenever you want to talk, Mommy will be right here to listen. You know that, right?" Izuku just slowly nodded his head.

Pulling up to the curb, then walking up the stairs to their apartment, Inko still couldn't get a word out of Izuku. It made her want to cry. No parent should have to see their child so distraught, so beaten down, and not have any idea what they can do about it. Inko was almost glad that Hisashi was overseas so there wouldn't be two sad parents in the building.

Speak of the devil, Inko's phone started ringing, and caller ID showed it was Hisashi.

"Izuku, Mommy has to make a phone call. Could you close the door and go to your room, please?" Once more, nothing but a silent nod of the head. With a heavy sigh, Inko walked into the kitchen and answered the phone.

"Hello, dear," Inko said.

"What's wrong?" Hisashi asked.

"That fast? I couldn't hide it from you for even a second?"

"I'm a scientist, Inko. Being super smart is what I do."

"That it is," Inko said with a bit of a smile.

"So what happened. Izuku had his doctor's appointment today, right?"

"Yes. They took an X-ray of his foot and, well, he's Quirkless."

A moment of silence came out from the other end of the line.

"Oh my God," Hisashi sighed.

"I know. I can't even imagine what our little boy's going through. He and Kacchan always spend so much time talking about how they want to be just like All Might, and then this happens."

"Well, it's not like we didn't know it was a possibility. I mean, sure, he's been like a normal human from day one, but would someone like him even be able to develop a Quirk, in the first place?"

"Even so, what are we going to do, Hisashi?"

"There's nothing we really can do that we aren't already doing. We just need to make sure that Izuku never thinks that we'll treat him any differently because of this. He's upset, and rightfully so, but he's four. Once he's older, he'll learn that you don't need powers to make a difference in the world. Doesn't sound like a lot, but it's all we can do."

"If that's really all we can do, then-" Inko didn't finish her sentence; it was cut off by a loud crashing sound.

"What was that?!" Hisashi shouted from the other end.

"Izuku!" Panic in her face, heart pounding against her chest, Inko ran towards the source of the noise, praying that whatever was happening wasn't putting her son in danger.

Once the source of the noise was located, Inko's jaw dropped at the sight of two things. The first was Izuku, completely unharmed and laughing and smiling as if this wasn't the worst day of his life.

"Inko, what happened?! Is Izuku alright?!" Hisashi shouted from the phone.

"H-He's alright. H-He's perfectly fine," Inko stuttered.

"Really? That's a relief. What was that noise, then?"

"I-I-Izuku just broke something."

"What'd he break? A plate? A lamp?"

"The door." A moment of silence from the other end of the line.

"I'm sorry, Inko, I think I'm getting bad reception over here. For a moment there, it sounded like you said that Izuku broke the door."

"He did. Right off its hinges. There's big, jagged holes around the parts it was torn from the wall. Torn from the wall by our son."


"Mommy, look! I did that!" Izuku shouted, still smiling, still laughing, now ignoring how confused his mother look. "I went to my room like you told me to, but I forgot to close the door, so I went to do that, and when I closed it, the door came flying off! I did that! I pulled the door right out of the wall! Does this mean I really do have a Quirk?!"

"I-It seems so," Inko said.

"Yay! I have a Quirk! I can be a Hero, just like All Might! Yay!" Literally jumping for joy, Izuku bounced off the floor with apparently enough force to propel himself into the ceiling. The impact left a series of cracks, but when Izuku came back to the ground, he was still acting excited, as if he didn't feel any pain.

"You heard all of that, right?" Inko asked into her phone.

"Yep," Hisashi said.

"Do you think we should be worried?"

"I have no idea."

In the span of an hour, I went from feeling like my life was over to being on top of the world. As far as I knew, the doctor was wrong, and I did have a Quirk. A Quirk like All Might's, too! It was everything I ever dreamed of!

At least until it became everything I didn't even know I was afraid of.

A week had passed since Midoriya unlocked his Quirk, and his smile hadn't faded in the slightest. He'd spent all of his free time re-watching All Might videos, drawing costume sketches, coming up with fighting moves to take down bad guys, anything he could do to prepare for when he'd become the best Hero. Everyone got started before him, so if he wanted to have his shot at being number one, he needed to be trying twice as hard as everyone else.

On this particular day, Midoriya was playing in the local park when, from the top of a slide, he caught sight of a kid being bullied by three other kids. Midoriya recognized all of the bullies: one was a skinny kid wearing a hat, another was a fat kid floating above the ground with reptilian wings, and the third was an angry looking kid with spiky white hair. Midoriya especially recognized that one. It was Katsuki Bakugou, his best friend "Kacchan," normally a very stand up guy.

"You better apologize before I beat your ass, you piece of shit!" Bakugou shouted as his compatriots laughed and the kid cried.

Midoriya couldn't stand to watch this, and he knew that he shouldn't. Now that he had a Quirk, now that he was on his way to becoming a Hero, he couldn't stand idly by as injustice took place before his very eyes. Even if the source of said injustice was someone like Kacchan, it was still wrong; heck, that just made it even more wrong! It was time to put his double effort into action.

"That's enough, Kacchan!" Midoriya shouted at the top of his lungs. The heads of the four kids turned in Midoriya's direction. Their attention caught, Midoriya jumped off the slide and propelled himself ten meters forward to meet them with a three-point landing in front of the crying child. The distance was met, but the landing wasn't stuck, as Midoriya landed flat on his face in the dirt.

"Deku! The hell're you doing here?!" Kacchan shouted as Midoriya picked himself up.

"I'm here to help," Midoriya said, dusting the dirt off of his face. "You shouldn't bully other people, Kacchan."

"Hey, he deserves it. Someone's gotta teach him what happens when you cut someone in line and take the last cupcake."

"Even so, he's already crying, so stop it! I won't let you go any further!"

"You won't let me? Hah!" Kacchan laughed, along with his compatriots. "You finally get your Quirk way after everyone else, and now you think you can take me on, Deku? As if! You might not be Quirkless anymore, but that doesn't mean you still aren't a loser! Let's kick his ass, guys!"

Kacchan and the other two charged forward. The skinny kid made his fingers stretch out and wrapped them around Midoriya's face. A week ago, that would have been enough to put Midoriya on edge, but a week ago, he wasn't on his way to becoming like All Might. Therefore, he effortlessly pulled the skinny kid's hand off of his face and tossed him into the fat kid, knocking him out of the air and causing the two of them to fall into a pile.

"What the shit?!" Kacchan shouted as the other two groaned over their quick defeat. "Fine! If you guys are gonna suck this much, I'll just kill him, myself!"

Kacchan ran up to Midoriya and got within arms length before he had time to move. Midoriya was always impressed by how athletic Kacchan was, but now wasn't the time for was the time for defending, so as quickly as he could, Midoriya brought his arms up in front of his face. Kacchan kept going, though, grabbing onto his arms with one hand before activating his Quirk and unleashing a fiery explosion.

"Not so tough now, are ya, ya frickin' nerd?" Kacchan laughed as smoke floated about.

The laughing quickly stopped when the smoke cleared and revealed that Midoriya was still standing and looked completely fine.

"What the fu-" Kacchan never finished his sentence, for Midoriya punched him in the face and knocked him onto the ground, flat on his back.

"I did it! I beat Kacchan!" Midoriya cheered. "I can't believe I really did it-oh, wait!" Midoriya turned his attention back to the crying kid. "Are you alright?"

"Y-Yeah," the crying kid said, sniffling a bit while getting off the ground. "I thought those guys were gonna hurt me, but you fought them all off like they were nothing! Thank you so much, Deku-kun!"

"Um, actually, my name isn't 'Deku,' but don't mention it! I'm just doing what any Hero would do!" Midoriya said, chest puffed out and arms put in akimbo.

"DEKUUUUU!" A weight suddenly found itself on Midoriya's back. It was Kacchan, blood spilling out of his nose and decidedly not defeated by Midoriya's earlier attack. "Don't think for a second that I'm going down with one weak ass punch!"

The crying kid started screaming. Kacchan's compatriots, having regained their bearings, started cheering him on. Midoriya tried to shake Kacchan off, but his grip was too tight. He kept releasing small explosions against Midoriya's body, and while they didn't hurt that much, individually, all of them together started to take their toll. He needed to do something to get Kacchan off of him. Something All Might-esque, hopefully.

All Might… that's it! A memory flashed in Midoriya's head. It was a video he saw of a fight between All Might and the Villain Lord Death Man. Lord Death Man had attached a powerful bomb to his body and wrapped himself around All Might; because of his powerful regeneration Quirk, the bomb would only kill All Might, and he'd be perfectly fine in an hour. In order to save both himself and the homeless shelter that the Prime Minister was visiting, All Might spun his body around with such great speed that Lord Death Man was propelled off of his body and into an area where an explosion wouldn't cause any casualties. As Midoriya recalled, that maneuver was one of All Might's signature techniques.

"Oklahoma SMASH!" Giving the best impression of his idol, Midoriya put all of his strength into spinning his body around as fast as he could, giving the sight of a miniature tornado to any onlookers. Midoriya came to an abrupt stop, and the sudden lack of motion was enough to throw Kacchan off of Midoriya's body. As Kacchan flew through the air, Midoriya couldn't help but smile at what he hoped was his victory being fully cemented.

Huh. Kacchan's going really far, really fast, Midoriya thought to himself. I thought he'd fall by now, but he's almost at the edge of the park.

Kacchan crossed the edge of the park. Midoriya's smile faded.

He, he, he, he's going into the street! I've gotta do something! Midoriya put all of his strength into his legs and charged at Kacchan, praying to whoever would listen that he'd be able to reach him in time.

Unfortunately, Midoriya's body couldn't race as fast as his thoughts. Kacchan escaped his grasp and flew into the street.

Fortunately, through a stroke of luck, Kacchan managed to avoid getting hit by a single car.

Even more unfortunately, through a stroke of misfortune, Kacchan crashed into a building with enough force to break a hole through the wall.

"What the hell was that?!" Someone shouted.

"Holy shit, it's a kid! Is he dead?! Is a Villain attacking?!" A second person shouted.

"Someone call an ambulance! Quick!" A third person shouted.

"What kind of monster would do this to an innocent kid?!" A fourth person shouted.

The skinny kid, the fat kid, and the crying kid all ran away from the scene, the crying kid with some hesitation. Midoriya could bring himself to do no such thing. No such thing besides stand there and cry.

The police and ambulances showed up a few minutes after Kacchan took his hit. A few Heroes showed up, too, inspecting the area for a possible Villain. The police and Heroes quickly discovered that there wasn't a Villain anywhere in the area, so they started questioning people about what happened.

The questioning came to an end when they talked to a crying Midoriya, who told them all about how it was his fault this happened. They told him not to cry because it was an accident, but that didn't help, in the slightest.

The EMTs let Midoriya ride in the ambulance with Kacchan to the hospital, something he assumed was out of pity. The entire ride, Midoriya didn't say a word; he simply stared at Kacchan with wide, scared eyes.

None of that changed when they arrived at the hospital and Kacchan was rushed to the emergency room. Not that he'd even have a chance to say anything with the doctors pushing him into the reception area almost as soon as he was inside.

"Izuku?" At some point, Inko and Hisashi had arrived at the hospital. Midoriya had no idea how much time had passed when they did.

"Mommy… Daddy…" Midoriya said, barely looking at them.

"Izuku, we got a call saying that you came here after the Bakugous' son got into an accident. What happened?" Hisashi asked, looking him straight in the eyes.

"I-I was in the park, and Kacchan, h-h-he was b-bullying someone. I just, I just wanted to make him stop. I just, I just wanted to be a Hero, but then I lost control, and Kacchan. Kacchan!"

More crying emerged, but it wasn't from Midoriya. Standing not too far from the Midoriyas were Kacchan's parents and a doctor. Kacchan's father was crying without abandon, and Kacchan's mother just fell back against the wall with a pained, confused expression.

Oh, God! were the words that ran through Midoriya's head. Kacchan was bad enough, but now his parents? He wanted to vomit, so badly.

"Excuse me, Mr. and Mrs. Midoriya?" Someone asked. It was a woman.

"That's us," Inko said. "Can we help you, miss-"

"Nokogiri. Officer Tamako Nokogiri."

Officer! Midoriya felt a shiver run through his body as he looked at the woman. She was a tall woman with a muscular build, much more so than any other adult woman Midoriya had seen. She had a bob of what looked like blonde hair, but it looked jagged and hard, like it was made of stone, and her eyes appeared to be some sort of light-colored gemstone. Standing next to her was a heavy set man with pink skin and a scowl on his face.

Midoriya felt another shiver. This was the woman who was going to send him to jail.

"I'm not taking you to jail, if that's what you're thinking," Tamako said. "We just need to talk to your parents for a little bit."

"What? Why?" Inko asked.

"I don't know. Could have something to do with your kid throwing his pal through a brick wall, but maybe that's just me," the pink man said.

"Hey!" Hisashi shouted, stepping towards him. Tamako didn't waste any time stepping between the two of them.

"Look, we just need to get an understanding of what happened. Detective Shitsugen will take you and the Bakugous somewhere to ask some questions, and I'll keep an eye on your son. Okay?"

"Fine," Hisashi said, stepping away from Tamako and the pink man, now identified as Shitsugen.

"Izuku, the nice lady is going stay with you while we go and talk for a bit. Is that okay?" Inko asked.

Midoriya just nodded without a word. Inko gave him a quick hug before turning away and following Hisashi and Shitsugen out of the reception area, Kacchan's parents quickly joining them.

"Hey, kid," Tamako said, sitting down next to Midoriya. "This was an accident. It was just some horseplay that got out of control. I need you to understand all of that and understand that this wasn't your fault. Do you understand?"

"Yes," Midoriya said.

No, Midoriya thought to himself. Even if you try and say that, I'm still the reason Kacchan is in here. If they can't help him, then… then…

"How can you even say something like that?!"

Midoriya jumped out of his seat. That was Inko's voice he just heard. But that didn't make any sense; he just saw her leave a minute ago.

"What, you want me to beat around the bush? Act like your kid didn't almost kill another kid?" That was Detective Shitsugen's voice. Just like Inko, he wasn't anywhere in sight.

"You don't have to act like we need to put him in fucking Tartarus!" That was definitely his father. That was definitely Hisashi's voice. That was definitely the voice of someone who wasn't present.

Midoriya could only come up with one explanation: super hearing. It was rather unfortunate that the current circumstances stopped him from being excited about his new ability.

"Look, Hisashi, the fact of the matter is that your kid sent his 'friend' into the ER and caused property damage to do it. Someone needs to be held accountable for all of this," Shitsugen said.

"Oh, this is all about money, then? How much is it gonna cost to get you off my back?" Hisashi asked.

"Don't get snippy with me. You don't wanna know what I do to people who try to mouth off to me."

"Please, can we just stop all this?" That was Kacchan's father, still not through with his crying. "Katsuki, he's still alive, isn't he? That's all I care about, and I don't want to think about anything else."

"Yeah, well life ain't about the things we want to do."

"Why do we have to drag this out so much, though?" That was Kacchan's mother, confused and melancholic. "It was an accident, wasn't it? When I was a kid, my friends and I got carried away with our Quirks and hurt each other all the time. It was never this bad, but this is just something that happens-"

"So that means we just brush it off as kids being kids?!" Midoriya heard a loud bang. Shitsugen must have slammed his fist against something.

"That kind of attitude is what makes people think they can do whatever they want, and thinking like that is what leads to people becoming Villains, and we got enough of those, as it is. Doesn't matter if you all want to just go home and forget about this, we need to figure how this even happened and make sure we all know how it won't happen again."

"Again, what's there to know?" Hisashi asked. "My son was messing around with his Quirk-"

"Does he even have a Quirk, though?"


"What?" Midoriya asked.

"What?" Tamako asked, staring at him. Midoriya said it was nothing and went back to listening in on the conversation.

"-said that your son was Quirkless, I wasn't lying about that." That was the voice of the doctor Midoriya saw last week. It appeared that he was there, as well. "I ran the test exactly as it's supposed to be run, checked over the results multiple times alongside other experts in the field, so there shouldn't have been any doubt that Izuku would never develop a Quirk."

"Huh?" Midoriya knew Tamako heard him, but he didn't respond to her. He was too busy trying to process what he was hearing.

"Th-That doesn't mean that he can't have powers, though!" Inko said. "Sure, Quirks are the easiest way for someone to have powers, but they aren't the only way."

"We know, and we already tested for them," the doctor said. "There are no traces of Metal in Izuku's blood, so that means he isn't a Metahuman. There's no history of magic on either side of his family, so that can't explain things, because an untrained first-generation magic user wouldn't be able to use that much power. He also wasn't exposed to any radiation or dangerous chemicals or anything of the sort, so that also can't be taken into account."

"Even if he did have a Quirk, he wouldn't have anything close to super strength," Shitsugen said. "A person's Quirk can only be derived from the Quirks of their parents. The only exceptions to that are Quirk mutations, and people like that are one in a million. But I'm guessing you never told your kid that, right? So, you see, this isn't just a question of 'how did this happen,' no. This, you see, is a question of 'what made this happen.'"

Midoriya must have said something to make Tamako look at him again, but he didn't know what came out of his mouth and had no idea what, if anything, he said to get her to turn away. Now that he thought about it, he remembered the doctor saying something about how a person's Quirk worked in relation to their parents' Quirks. In all the excitement over the emergence of his powers, he must have forgotten about it and never bothered to try remembering it.

Then there was what the detective had said. About this being a question of "what made this happen." There was a vagueness to it, but Midoriya could read between the lines, he knew that the "what" was supposed to be him. But if what the doctor was saying was true, and he wasn't supposed to have any powers, what sort of "what" did that even make him?

"That's far enough," a new voice said, accompanied by a multitude of footsteps.

"Hey, who the hell are you guys?!" Shitsugen shouted.

What's going on over there? Midoriya thought to himself.

"You've done fine work here, detective, but now we'll handle-"

"-the new Big Belly Buster, at only 500 yen!"

Midoriya jumped back in his seat. The new people who just showed up were there to talk about Big Belly Burger? No, that didn't make sense. It sounded more like a TV commercial.

"We just want to talk to-"

"-someone about this leaky roof-"

"-{I can't take this, anymore!}"

More random words flew into Midoriya's ears. The last sentence didn't even sound Japanese. His hearing had gone from normal hearing to being able to pick up conversations in a building to being able to pick up conversations around the world in the span of a few minutes.

"So what should-"

"-fire that burned three people alive-"

"-{instant death}-"

"-{the victims had multiple stab wounds}-"

And so many of them were bad. Even with the words that Midoriya couldn't understand, he could tell when someone was saying something bad by the tone of their voice.

"{I'll kill you!}"

"{Police arrested three-hundred protesters}-"

"-Villain has taken the entire group hostage-"

"-signs of sexual assault-"

"-thousands will be losing their jobs by the end of the month-"

"{Beaten into a coma}-"

It was getting worse, and Midoriya didn't know how to stop it. Didn't know what to do about it but cover his ears and try to block it out. It didn't work.

"-who was suspected of being an alien was arrested today-"

"-{countless lives in jeopardy}-"

"-stole hundreds of millions in-"

"-{gang violence has magnified}-"

"-no survivors-"

"-{missing for over a week}-"

"-committed suicide-"

"-{refused all offers to negotiate}-"

"-destroyed in a freak storm-"

"-{there were no Heroes}-"

Midoriya wasn't sure how many more he picked up before he passed out.

When Midoriya woke up, he wasn't in the hospital; a quick survey of the area told him that he was lying on the couch in his living room. Hopefully that meant everything that happened over the last few hours was just a dream.

"-unbridled chaos-"

"-{riots in the street}-"

No such luck, Midoriya remarked as he hit the side of his head. Everything was real. Kacchan getting hurt, the police questioning his parents, the apparent impossibility of him having powers. It was all real. The only upside to the day was that hitting the side of his head seemed to shut off his super hearing.

Mindlessly, Midoriya got off the couch and started walking around the apartment until he ended up in the dining room. Both of his parents were there, and their faces lit up as soon as they saw him.

"Izuku, you're awake!" Inko cheered as she and Hisashi hugged him. "When we got back, the policewoman said you had a panic attack and passed out in your chair. We were so worried!"

"You gave us a hell of a scare there, little guy! Are you feeling alright?" Hisashi asked.

"Yes," Midoriya lied.

"That's great! Let's get some dinner in you and then we'll all head to bed."

Hisashi sat Midoriya down at the table while Inko went into the kitchen to get everyone's dinner together.

"What did the detective say?" Midoriya asked.

"That guy? Oh, nothing important. He just wanted to make sure we all knew that it was an accident. No one's in trouble," Hisashi said. It was a lie.

"And Kacchan?"

"He's gonna be alright. It was… It was a close call, but he's gonna make it through. You probably won't see him in school for a while, though, but small miracles, right?"


The conversation between the two dropped. The only sound in the room came from Inko's humming and food and dishware being shuffled around.

"Hey, Daddy?"


"Why do I have these powers?" Midoriya asked.

Hisashi stared blankly at Midoriya for a few seconds without saying a word.

"What kind of question is that, Izuku? It's just your Quirk."

"But it's not like your Quirk or Mommy's Quirk."

"True, but-"

"I could only do this if I had a mutation, but the detective said that those almost never happen, and the doctor said that he was certain I didn't have a Quirk!"

The sound of a shattering plate sounded through the room. Midoriya and Hisashi turned to see Inko staring at them with a bunch of food at her feet.

"Izuku, how did you know that?" Inko asked. "The policewoman said you never left her side, so how-"

"I heard it," Midoriya said. "I didn't leave where I was, but I still heard everything you were saying. Then I started hearing things from around town, around the country, and even things in different languages. It all just kept coming in, and I didn't know what to do."


"Why did that happen? Why did any of this happen? If I don't have a Quirk, or any of the other powers someone can have, then why did I hurt Kacchan?! Please, just tell me what I am!"

Tears started falling out of his eyes, even as he finished talking. Inko put a hand over her mouth while Hisashi directed his gaze to the table. This went on for a minute before Hisashi stood up and walked out of the dining room, muttering something about "wanting to wait until he was older."

"Izuku, honey, there's something you need to know," Inko said, putting a hand on Midoriya's shoulder. "Four years ago, Daddy and I, we were trying so hard to start a family, harder than anyone else we knew. But even with all of that, the doctors said that we would never be able to have children of our own."

"But then how… does, does that mean I'm adopted?"

"Yes, but it's a little more complicated than that."

As if on cue, Hisashi returned to the dining room and placed a metal box with a coded lock on top of the table. He pressed a series of buttons before a loud beep sounded off and the top of the box opened slightly. Hisashi pulled the lid up completely, and Midoriya looked over to see what was inside: a long piece of metal bearing a black pentagon with what looked like the letter "S" inside of it.

"What's this?" Midoriya asked.

"This is the lid of a spaceship," Hisashi said.

"A s-spaceship? Why would you have been near something like that? What does that have to do with me?" Another question tried to escape Midoriya's mouth, but he stopped it from happening as everything came together.

"Four years ago, your mother and I were camping near Mount Fuji when a ball of fire crashed near us. It wasn't a falling star, but a spaceship from an unknown civilization. The only thing inside the ship was a baby, and that baby, well, that baby was you."

Midoriya stopped crying. At this point, he felt more confused than he did sad.

"So the reason I have powers when I shouldn't have powers. It's because I'm an alien?" Midoriya asked.

"That seems to be it," Hisashi said. "And very conveniently, you awakened your powers at the same age that the vast majority of people born here awaken their own."

"So that means I hurt Kacchan because I'm a monster."

"That's not true!" Inko shouted. "You're not a monster, Izuku!"

"Yes, I am! People who aren't monsters don't hurt their friends the way I hurt Kacchan, even if their friends were being mean!"

"That was an accident! They happen literally every day!" Hisashi shouted. "It doesn't matter where you came from, Izuku, you're still our son-"

"Even if you say that, it's not true!" Midoriya cut in. "If I was really your son, then I wouldn't have any powers and Kacchan wouldn't have gotten hurt! But all of that happened! Because, because I'm someone who doesn't belong here!"

Midoriya jumped out of his seat and ran to his room, ignoring his parents' pleas for him to come back. He slammed the door shut and jumped on his bed, now ignoring the pounding against his bedroom door. The only sound he was paying attention to was the sound of his tears coming back in full force.

Kacchan came back to school a month later. He had scars all over his chest and titanium screws in his left arm, but other than that, he was fine. He didn't say a word to me for the rest of the year; only ever scowling at me in silence. For someone like Kacchan to not lay into someone who sent him to the hospital, they must have made him so angry that he was at a loss for words. I ended up being the person to make that happen. All because I'm an alien. All because I don't belong here.

Whether it's a Quirk, magic, the Metagene, or some kind of mutation, roughly ninety percent of the world has some kind of superpower, yet I have powers in the one way that everyone hates. Ever since Heroes and Villains first appeared, the ones who have been responsible for the most destruction have always been aliens. The Lantern War, where the Green Lantern and Red Lantern Corps got into a huge fight and used Earth as a battleground, had one of the highest death tolls in history, and to this day, Alan Scott still orbits the planet in the Green Palace to shoot down invaders before they can come anywhere near here.

I'm the same kind of person as the people who caused all of that. My parents said that they didn't care about that and that I shouldn't, either. If they don't care, that's fine, but I couldn't just stop myself from caring about it, especially since I had proof that I was dangerous.

So I decided not to bring attention to myself. I'd live a normal life where I didn't rub any shoulders or turn any heads, and that meant not being a Hero. Someone like me didn't deserve to be a Hero, anyway. Someone like me would only get people hurt and cause more harm than good.

Japan. April, 20XX, present.

"Why do I have to think about all of this, right now?" Midoriya asked, wiping his face as he kept walking. "Stupid Kacchan. Just leave me alone and let me live my life."

"I'll let you live it, kid. For about another minute, anyway," a voice said.

Midoriya turned around to see who was talking to him and felt his jaw drop. Shooting out of a manhole a few steps away from him was a giant mass of sludge, staring at him with wild eyes and smiling at him with jagged teeth. Before Midoriya could say anything, the sludge had shot forward and wrapped itself around him, shoving some of itself into his mouth.

There was no mistaking it: Midoriya was being attacked by a Villain.

"You really saved me, kid," the Sludge Villain said. "I was being chased by the Hero of all Heroes, and lucky me, I find a nice-looking body for me to hide in."

Midoriya tried clawing at the Sludge Villain, but it just laughed at him.

"I'm liquid, you moron! You might as well stop struggling. It'll make things easier for the both of us."

The Sludge Villain started wrapping itself around Midoriya's face, covering the entirety of it in a matter of seconds. He was hoping for that. As soon as it happened, Midoriya's eyes started glowing red underneath all the sludge with an intense heat. In a few seconds, the sludge around Midoriya's face started bubbling up like a boiling pot of water, and it started spreading across the entirety of the Sludge Villain's body.

With an angry scream, the Sludge Villain flew off of Midoriya's body, which, in turn, allowed for twin beams of red light to shoot out of Midoriya's eyes and into the sky.

"Ow, ow, goddammit!" The Sludge Villain shouted. "That hurt like hell, but the fact that you've got a Quirk like that makes things even be-"

Before the Sludge Villain could finish talking, Midoriya puckered his lips and breathed in its direction, releasing a giant gust of wind that sent its body flying backwards.

"I've gotta get out of here!" Midoriya shouted. "I need to find a Hero and get them to come over here and arrest him. Wait, but if I do that, he'll probably be gone by the time I get back. Should I try to detain him, myself? I might be able to freeze him with my ice breath, since his body's like a liquid. But what if I get in trouble for vigilantism? They might go easy because it was self-defense, though. Even still, I'd be more likely to get in trouble than I would be to not get in trouble."

As Midoriya rambled on, the Sludge Villain regained its composure and wrapped itself around Midoriya's leg. The sudden presence of some slimy substance on his skin made him take pause.

"Will you shut up, already?! I've had enough of you! It's over, kid!"

"You're right. It is over," a new person said, his sentence punctuated by the sound of heavy weight crashing into pavement. "Why, you ask?"

"Oh, no," the Sludge Villain cried. Midoriya, meanwhile, stared in awe at the person in front of him. That muscular build, those blue eyes hidden in dark shadows, that blonde hair stylised into antennae. It was weird that he was dressed in such a casual T-shirt and jeans and holding a plastic shopping bag, but there was no mistake about this.

"I have arrived!" There was no mistake that this was All Might, the number one Hero in the world.

"Oh, no!"



"SMASH!" All Might reeled back an arm and let loose a punch in the direction of the Sludge Villain. He didn't actually touch it, though, instead punching the air with so much force that a massive shockwave was sent forward. The shockwave hit the Sludge Villain dead on, and its body was completely broken apart and scattered around the street.

All Midoriya could do was stand there in awe at his idol. Said idol, meanwhile, took a bottle of water out of his shopping bag and emptied it out onto the street. Once it was emptied out, he sped around the area to every spot that pieces of the Sludge Villain ended up. Midoriya wondered what he was doing, but after a few seconds, he saw that the street was spotless and the entirety of the Sludge Villain was contained in the water bottle. With that, he returned to standing in awe.

"Sorry you had to get involved in this, kid," All Might said, putting the water bottle in his pocket. "That guy robbed a bank earlier, and I took it upon myself to take him down. I almost had him, but then a can fell out of the sky and hit me in the face, giving him an opening. Seriously, a can falling out of the sky! How does that even happen?!"

"I-I-I wouldn't know," Midoriya stammered.

"Anyway, he used that to escape, and I had no idea where to find him. But then! I saw a beam of light being fired into the sky! I figured that someone was getting into a fight, and given the timing, it was possible that it would've been with this bastard, right here! It looks like I was right on the money, too! What's your name?"

"I-I-Izuku Midoriya, sir!"

"Well, Young Midoriya, I have to give you my props! That guy must have given you a hard time, but you still stood your ground. VERY NICE!"

"Th-Thank you, All Might!" Midoriya shouted, bowing repeatedly at such a low angle that he nearly hit his head against the ground.

"I'm actually a bit curious about how that all went down. Mind telling me about it?"

"O-Of course not!"

An extended conversation with All Might. With that, Midoriya was suddenly having one of the best days he'd had in a while.

Chapter Text

"WOW! That's an amazing story, Midoriya, my boy! To think that kids these days could be so cool under pressure is astounding!"

"Y-Yeah," Midoriya said, scratching the back of his head. Truth be told, the entire situation was one of the scariest things Midoriya ever had to deal with in his life, but there was no way he was going to let that show. This was All Might, after all. Everyone's Hero. His Hero. And he'd been holding an actual conversation with him that the man was actually enjoying.

This was the stuff of dreams. Like he'd died and gone to heaven.

"Come on, be a little prouder of yourself!. You did great for someone without even an ounce of training. Wish I had that kind of natural born talent when I was your age." All Might said, slapping Midoriya on the back. Much to his surprise, he had to fight to keep on his feet.

"Wh-What do you mean?"

"Well, I mean, you don't think I was born as this pinnacle of muscular heroism, do you?"

All Might started flexing his body left and right, his biceps stretching the fabric of his shirt.

"Would it be too embarrassing to say that I did?"

"Anyway, the point is that I had to work my ass off seven times to get to be who I am. If someone like you did the same, well, there's no telling how far you'd go."

"R-Really?!" Midoriya shouted.

"Really! Midoriya, my boy, you're going to make a fine Hero, someday!"

"Really?! Thank you! Thank you!"

Midoriya started bowing so low and so rapidly that he started carving away at the pavement. If Midoriya was happy before, now he was being propelled all the way to Oa with excitement. Meeting your Hero was one thing. Holding a conversation with them was another. Said Hero telling you that you have a bright future ahead of you? Priceless.

Priceless until you remembered the immeasurable cost of it.

Wait. What am I doing? Midoriya asked himself, his bowing coming to a sudden halt. This isn't something I should be happy about. The idea of being a Hero… even if it's coming from All Might, I can't do it. I just can't do it.

Memories flashed before Midoriya's eyes. A memory of him throwing Bakugou into a building. A memory of learning that Bakugou would have died if it took a minute longer to get him to the hospital. A memory of being told that it happened all because he was born the exact kind of thing that would do that.

Someone like him didn't deserve to be a Hero. Midoriya knew that, yet he let himself forget in the excitement of meeting All Might.

Kacchan's right, I am a hypocrite, Midoriya told himself. I keep trying to put Hero stuff behind me, but I can't get myself to fully commit. One way or another, I always find myself falling back into it, only to start running away again when I remember how much I don't deserve it.

Midoriya knew that he couldn't keep doing this. He couldn't keep floundering between ideals and resolutions, like he'd always been. He needed to commit to something, but he couldn't. Thinking about becoming a Hero always brought him back to what he did to Bakugou and how, and he knew he shouldn't aspire for anything other than a normal life. Thinking about living a normal life always brought him back to his childhood dreams of Heroism and made him remember how badly he wanted it. It was an ouroboros of contradictory thoughts.

Childhood. Childhood dreams. All Might. ALL MIGHT! I'm talking to All Might! Midoriya screamed in his head. All Might's my idol! The best Hero, there is! He knows more about being a Hero than anyone else in the world! If I tell him about this and ask for some advice, he'll be able to tell me what to do!

"Well, I'm off! Gotta take this guy to the authorities, you know. See you in the big leagues, kid!" All Might exclaimed.

All Might bent his body into a crouching position before jumping up and propelling himself far into the air, the pavement cracking as an after effect.

"Ah, no! Wait!"

Midoriya could feel his chance slipping away from him. Not wanting to lose anything, he did the one thing that would be sensible at the moment: he performed a similarly superhuman jump into the air at the same angle as All Might and grabbed onto his leg, taking extra care to not accidentally break it in two.

"Hey, what gives?!" All Might shouted the picosecond Midoriya latched onto him. "Midoriya, my boy, as much fun as it was talking with you, I really need to get going!"

"I know, and I'm really sorry, but I've gotta ask you one more question!"

"I'm sure you have a million questions for me, but now isn't the time! You need to let me be!"

"But if I let go now, I'll fall and, well, I don't know if I'd die from this height, but-"

"FINE, FINE! I'll set us down somewhere!"

"Thank you!" Midoriya shouted.

Midoriya had succeeded in getting more time to talk with All Might. He felt so happy about that that he didn't even question why a drop of blood had flown out of All Might's mouth.

Another day, another fight with Midoriya that fell apart before it could even become anything. If there was one thing Bakugou could be happy about, it was that a year from now, he'd never have to deal with that headache again. The more he thought about that, though, the more he thought about the slew of additional problems that that would just end up creating. Thus the birth of a whole new headache.

"Man, you really pissed Midoriya off, Bakugou!"

"I thought he was gonna kick your ass, for sure!"

The two peons following him around certainly didn't help dealing with it.

"Seriously, the guy could probably stop a train with his bare hands, and you keep starting shit with him. It's like you're a masochist, or something," Peon #1 laughed as Peon #2 handed him a cigarette.

"The hell I am. I just can't stand that piece of shit Deku acting like he's better than me all the time, just so he can run away with his tail between his legs whenever someone tries to make him put his money where his mouth is," Bakugou said.

Bakugou turned around, grabbed the cigarettes from Peons #1 and 2, and disintegrated them with his Quirk.

"Hey!" Peon #2 shouted.

"I told you morons not to smoke when I'm around! If you're caught, it'll go on my record, too, dipshits!

The peons' mouths dropped. Their bodies started shaking. Weird. These two had clung to Bakugou's sides long enough to not get like that when he went off on them, so that didn't make any sense.

Bakugou turned back around and saw a giant mass of sludge with jagged teeth glaring at him. Now it made sense.

"A body with a good Quirk."

After being in the air for several more seconds, All Might landed on top of a nearby building. Midoriya never knew he could feel so thankful to be on solid ground.

"So, All Might-" Looking over to his Hero, Midoriya saw that All Might had his back completely turned away from him.

"I wasn't lying when I said I was in a hurry, so what's so important?" All Might asked. "Do you want more autographs, or something? Which people who definitely aren't you should I make them out to?"

"No, it's not that! I wouldn't waste your time with something like that! I mean, it's not that I didn't believe you when you said you were busy, so I'm only still bothering you because I have something really important to talk to you about. That being said, I wouldn't object to getting more autographs, but now isn't the time or place for that, and it's not really something that will kill me if I don't get it-"

"Okay, okay, you're sorry and this is important, I get it! Just come out with it, already!"

"Right, sorry!"

Midoriya took in a breath, then let it go. He took it back in, he let it back out. Now or never.

"Earlier, you said that I can be a Hero, but what I want to ask you is, well, um, should I be a Hero?"

"Huh? Should you be a Hero? That's rather subjective, isn't it? But the fact that you would ask the question at all… why do you think you shouldn't be a Hero?"

"It's, It's my powers. I'm really happy that you praised the way I used them before, but I wasn't always able to use them like that. When I was a kid, and I just got them, I wasn't that good or careful with them, and they aren't the kind of powers that are fine to not have a handle on…"

"Yes, but now you can handle them. No one's an expert with their Quirks from day one, that's why we have Power Counseling. If you ask me, you're being too hard on yourself. Just because you did something a little stupid when you were younger doesn't mean you need to give up on being a Hero-"

"Almost killing my friend isn't a little stupid!" Midoriya shouted. Losing himself, Midoriya stomped on the ground so hard that a small hole formed under his heel.

All Might finally turned around to face him, his trademark smile nowhere to be found.

"What happened?"

"I, I just got my powers after everyone else in my class had theirs for months. Everyone kept saying that I was going to be Quirkless, even the doctor told me I'd never have a Quirk, but then I ripped the door to my apartment off its hinges. That meant everyone was wrong and I did have a Quirk, right? That's what I was thinking.

"After that, I got it in my head that even though I was still a kid, I needed to be more proactive to play catch up. One day, I saw my friend picking on another kid, so I got into a fight with him to get him to stop. He jumped onto my back, so I thought it'd be cool if I tried using one of your moves on him, and I, I, I sent him flying into a building! They had to put screws all over his arm, his chest is covered in scars, he couldn't go to school for a month, he, he, he almost died! My best friend was nearly killed, and it was all my fault!"

Midoriya could feel tears welling up as he forced himself to remember everything. All the pain he caused, all the turmoil he induced, all the revelations thrown in his face. He didn't hear any tears hitting the ground, however, as before they could, All Might was in front of him, wiping each one off his face.

"Midoriya, my boy, I need you to be honest with me," All Might said. "When I first entered the Top Ten ranking, I was told that in the summer of 20XX, an alien pod crash landed near the base of Mt. Fuji. It contained a humanoid child, and four years later, that child was involved in an incident where a human child nearly lost his life. Are you that alien?"

Midoriya jumped back, getting out of arm's length of All Might. A cold sweat was shooting out of his pores. His hands were shaking, his pupils dilating. He wanted to engage in flight without even thinking about fight.


And he did. Very slowly.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to send you into a panic," All Might said. "I just wanted a full understanding of the situation. Please don't think for a second that I, or anyone else who knows the truth about you, would want to put you in danger. Do you understand?"

Midoriya nodded his head, his breathing becoming slightly more steady.

"So. You're an alien. If it was just an accident caused by misusing your powers, that'd be one thing. But being an alien, well, that adds a whole other layer to it."

"Yeah," Midoriya said, eyes glued to the ground. "After my parents told me that, it made sense why I was able to hurt my friend even without a Quirk: because I'm the same kind of terrible Monster they always say aliens are in school. I almost killed him when I was just four years old, and I'm getting stronger and stronger every year, without even trying. Someone like me doesn't deserve the right to be a Hero. By the time I'm old enough, I'd just destroy everything around me! Just like a Monster!

"But even though that much is obvious, I can't stop myself from dreaming about becoming a Hero. I still watch the U.A. Sports Festival every year, I record every piece of Hero-related news, I even take notes on my classmates and Pro Heroes so I can analyze them for future reference. I keep getting drawn back to Heroes, even though I know that I shouldn't try to have anything to do with them.

"So, so that's why I'm still bothering you, All Might. You're the best Hero in the world, so I want you to be honest with me: even though I'm an alien who's probably only good at hurting people, should I try to be a Hero?"

Midoriya started crying again, but this time, he held in his tears and stared at All Might. The expression on Midoriya's face was part fearful, part hopeful, and everything in-between. With heavy anticipation, he waited for All Might's answer.

Before All Might could say anything, however, a cloud of steam exploded out of his body.

"A-All Might?!"

"SHIT! I really was out of time!" Midoriya heard All Might shout.

"Wh-What's going on?! Are you alright, All Mighhhhhaaaaa?!"

When the smoke cleared, Midoriya found himself screaming, for All Might was gone. Standing in his place was a man who stood at the same height, but had so little muscle mass that his clothes looked three sizes too big. The hair was the same color, but this man's hair made it look like he hadn't gotten out of bed in a week. The eyes were the same blue covered in shadows, but the bags under this man's eyes gave an implication of fatigue, rather than mystique. The face lacked All Might's trademark chiseled appearance, instead possessing a sunken, angular look far more suited for a man with some sort of disease than the Symbol of Peace. There was a very simple explanation.

"You're not All Might!"

"Yes, I am," the man said whilst simultaneously coughing up blood.

"There's no way! How?!"

"Um, well, you know how the members of the Shazam Family all get really buff when they use their powers? It's like that!"


At this point, Midoriya had forced himself to accept that this was, in fact, All Might, even if it made no sense for that to be the case.

"Now you see why I was in such a hurry," All Might said, sitting down on the ground with a sigh. "Since we've gotten here, I might as well tell you the truth; might even be relevant for your problem. Just don't go telling anyone about this, okay?"

Without realizing it, Midoriya must have stammered out some form of agreement, for All Might then started pulling up his shirt as if it was important to do so.

It was. Underneath his shirt was an utterly ugly mess of skin. The left half of his torso was rough and scarred and covered in stitches, with all the damage converging onto a circular patch of skin around where his heart would be. Midoriya hated how looking at such ugly scarring made him remember what Bakugou looked like under his shirt.

"Five years ago, I got this wound from a powerful Villain. My respiratory system was destroyed, and they had to remove my entire stomach. The aftereffects of dozens of surgeries have caused my body to waste away to the point where I can only fight for three hours a day."

"No way… Was, was that from when you fought the Atomic Skull?"

"Hmph! As if a punk like that could do me in like this. No, the guy who did this to me was way above him, and I only got away with my life because I managed to hit him as hard as he hit me."

"Wh-What?! So, so the guy who did that to you got it just as bad?"

"Probably worse. There were, well, other factors at play that I won't get into, but even though it's been five years, that guy shouldn't be moving around any time soon."

"No way…"

Midoriya put a hand over his mouth. He felt sick. He felt short of breath. He felt like vomiting, but he couldn't make anything come out.

"This is what they don't teach you about being a Hero. The public acts like it's all a squeaky clean business, like all you do is strap on your tights, punch some people trying to rob a bank, get the key to the city, and go back home while shooting a sly wink to the fans. But even back in the Golden Age, it was never that simple. Sometimes, you can't just play it safe. Sometimes, the bad guys won't go down in just a few punches, and when you're too naive to realise that, they'll start hitting you and everyone around you hard. When that happens, you can't be afraid to do the same to them. A Hero should never go out of their way to kill or severely hurt someone, but they can't be afraid to do so if there aren't any other options."

Midoriya couldn't form any form of response. Every ounce of power he put into thinking was focused on trying to make sense out of everything. He had no idea what his face looked like at that moment, but if All Might expression was any help, it couldn't have been anything good.

"That's what I thought," All Might said, standing up.

"What? What's what you thought?" Midoriya asked.

"After hearing all of that, your expression didn't change for the better; if anything, it just got worse. You're so wracked with guilt and fear over repeating what you did ten years ago that the idea of being forced to do just that leaves you shaking in your boots, even if the target would be a Villain."

"Wh-What's so crazy about that? If someone like you suddenly says that I need to be ready to tear people apart, how am I supposed to-"

"And that's the other problem!" All Might cut in, dashing right in front of Midoriya and making his spindly form tower over him. "The other reason you're taking this so poorly is because of your own confirmation bias. You weren't really looking for my honest opinion, you just wanted me to tell you exactly what you wanted to hear so you could stop having doubts about your future. Life doesn't work that way, though. It's good to go to others for help, but in the end, you need to decide on how your life will go, all by yourself.

"Midoriya, my boy, I still think you can be a Hero, but whether or not you should be one? I honestly can't say, and it's not because you're an alien, it's because of a shortcoming you could've had, even if you were human."

All Might stepped away from Midoriya, asked him one more time not to tell anyone about his injury, and exited the rooftop via the connecting stairwell. Midoriya just stood there, looking at nothing. Listening to nothing. Thinking about nothing.

Then he cried once more, and no one was able to stop his tears from flowing.

Some minutes later, Midoriya left the rooftop. Not because he was feeling better, though. There was no point in standing there petrified, and he needed to get home before his mom started worrying. If it wasn't for that, he had no idea where he'd be going, right now.

So much for All Might being able to help me, Midoriya thought to himself. It's not like he was wrong, though. I was just hoping that he'd just give me another one of his big smiles and say 'Who cares if you're an alien? Go be a Hero!' I never even thought about him saying anything I didn't want to hear. That was stupid. So, so stupid.

Midoriya was at a loss. Meeting with All Might did nothing to help with his conflicting ideals and motivations; if anything, the meeting simply served to exasperate them. After all, if someone like All Might was calling him a hypocrite, it was hard to try and argue with that. If someone like All Might told you to figure things out on your own, there was really no choice in the matter. If making this kind of decision was easy for Midoriya, though, he wouldn't need to have talked to All Might, in the first place.

I need to take my mind off this. I was having a bad day, then I was having a good day, now I'm having a bad day, again. Need to do something to bring this back to a good day.

As the thought went through Midoriya's head, he heard an explosion sound off through the air. There was a large crowd of people across the street, it must have come from over there. The crowd kept getting larger, and with his enhanced sight, it looked like a lot of people were smiling.

There must have been Heroes and Villains fighting over there.

Midoriya gave a solemn shrug and started crossing the street. Something like this probably wouldn't do much, but he did make it a habit of watching Heroes fight whenever it happened near him. Not only that, but it could be fun to see what Villain was being taken down.

It wasn't fun. It wasn't fun in any way, shape, or form.

The Villain causing a ruckus was, without a doubt, the Sludge Villain All Might had apprehended earlier. Midoriya couldn't forget that slimy body of his, and the roaring flames only served to make it look even more threatening.

Back when I grabbed All Might's leg, I must have knocked the bottle loose! It must have fallen out of his pants, and the Villain got free! Midoriya thought to himself.

Listening in on the chatter of the other onlookers, Midoriya learned that the Sludge Villain had taken someone hostage and was manipulating their body. The hostage must have had a fire-based Quirk, and that was where the flames had come from.

There were Heroes on the scene, of course, but they were all useless. The plant-based Hero Kamui Woods could barely move around, unless he wanted his body to catch fire and turn to ash. Because of said fire, Rescue Specialist Backdraft was too busy putting them out with his Hydrokinesis Quirk to deal with the Sludge Villain. Newbie Hero Mt. Lady had a Quirk that turned her body into a giant, but only a giant, so in that crowded street, she couldn't move around. The only Hero not being inhibited by the environment was Desutegoro, but he was a strictly physical fighter, so he couldn't do anything without hurting the hostage.

The most disheartening reality, though, was the lack of All Might's presence. People were talking about how they saw All Might chasing the Sludge Villain earlier, and now they were confused as to why he was nowhere to be seen. Only Midoriya knew why All Might wasn't around: he couldn't be around. Because he reached the limit of his Quirk for the day. Because Midoriya bugged him with useless questioning. And it was because he set out to do that that the Sludge Villain was using someone to cause chaos and wasn't sitting in a jail cell, right now.

This is all my fault! All of this is happening because I was so stupid. Because of me, innocent people are going to get hurt! Again! All because of me!

Midoriya felt like his heart was going to fly out of his chest. It felt like he was having a heart attack. Could whatever he was even have a heart attack? It was probably psychosomatic, but either way, he hated this. Hated that people were getting hurt. Hated that All Might told him he shouldn't be a Hero. Hated that people were suffering because of his carelessness, just like Bakugou did.

In an incredible moment of happenstance, the Sludge Villain's body shifted around just slightly enough for Midoriya to see that the hostage was Bakugou. He looked like he was going to cry.

Before Midoriya knew what he was doing, he had jumped away from the crowd and was running towards the Sludge Villain.

"Hey, kid! What the hell are you doing?! Get back here!" Desutegoro was yelling at Midoriya to stop, but he didn't listen. He couldn't listen. Nothing in his body was allowing him to listen.

"You, again?!" The Sludge Villain, a hint of panic in his voice.

Before the Sludge Villain could make any sort of move, Midoriya had jumped on top of him and Bakugou. He grabbed onto Bakugou's arm as soon as he found it among the sludge and started pulling on it with all of his might.

Izuku, you gotta stop, a voice in the back of his head told him. You know what you can do. You can tear his arm off. You nearly killed him once, and now you're going to do it, again.

I know what I did! Midoriya shouted back at it. I know what I can do, too! I know that I can tear his arm off! I know that I can rip his organs out of his body! I know that I can throw him up into the clouds and make him a pancake on a sidewalk three towns over! That's not important, though! Nothing that pops up in my head is important!

"What's important is making sure no one dies!"

Simultaneous with Midoriya's shout of triumph, he pulled Bakugou completely free of the Sludge Villain and threw him in the air in Mt. Lady's direction. With the timing of a true Pro, she activated her Quirk and caught him like an outfielder at Koshien. The crowd went wild.

"Goddammit! Why you do keep getting in my way, brat?!" The Sludge Villain shouted. "Not this time! I'm taking you out, for good! And this time! This time, you won't have All Might to… save your…"

"What won't he have me to do?!" A new, familiar voice shouted.

Midoriya turned around. He didn't want to believe. He couldn't believe it. Even now, with him looking right at it, he could still barely believe it, but there he was. There was All Might, looking just like people expected him to look, making the Sludge Villain stammer in fear.

"It's just like I told you, before: if you want to be a Hero, you can't be afraid to go all out!" All Might shouted, blood spurting out of his mouth.

"Detroit SMASH!"

Before the Sludge Villain could even move, All Might hit him with a downward punch with so much force that three things happened as a result: the Sludge Villain's body was completely broken apart, the resulting air pressure extinguished all of the fires on the street, and that same air pressure created a rising air current so powerful that it started raining.

Midoriya smiled as the crowd cheered. This was exactly what the Number One Hero was capable of: a lot more than him.

All Might left as soon as everyone was sure that the Villain was defeated. Everyone thought he was just going off to fight somewhere else, but I knew that that was far from the case.

The remaining Heroes collected the scattered pieces of the Sludge Villain's body and handed him over to the police so he could be put into custody. I was scolded for interfering in Hero business and putting myself in danger. Kacchan, meanwhile, was praised for being so brave in the face of danger. Neither of those statements were true, though: anyone who looked at Kacchan back there would have known that he was scared out of his mind, and anyone who knew me would have known that I put everyone except myself in danger. I could have hurt Kacchan all over again, I knew that, yet I still went in to save him. What did that say about me, then?

After the Heroes and police were done talking to Midoriya, he went back on his way home. The day started out bad, then it got good, then it became bad again, and it finally evolved into something he couldn't really recognize. Either way, all he wanted to do was go home, go to sleep, and put everything behind him.

"DEKU!" He'd have to put a pin in that.

"Kacchan?" Midoriya asked, turning around to see Bakugou standing near him.

"This doesn't change anything, Deku, you know that?! I could've beaten that guy by myself. I didn't need help from a fucking coward, like you! Don't go around thinking I'm gonna start kissing your ass, because of this! You haven't done anything to earn that, and you never will when you're just gonna be a hypocrite all your life! You stupid nerd!"

Bakugou kicked a trash can over before turning around and walking away, muttering obscenities under his breath.

Even though he didn't want to show, Midoriya could tell that, in his own way, Bakugou actually was thanking him. At the same time, though, he was just repeating what he always said: he didn't deserve Bakugou's respect if he couldn't commit to anything.

"Not like that's changed, at all," Midoriya told himself as he continued his walk home.

"I am here!" Before he could make even one step forward, All Might ran in front of him, smiling in his muscular form.

"A-All Might?! What are you doing here?!"

"Surprised, aren't you? I would've talked to you back at the scene of the crime, but I needed to get away from all those reporters. Wasn't hard to do, though. After all, I'm All Mi-"

All Might started coughing up blood and reverted to his powerless form. He was really pushing himself, and Midoriya knew that he was partly responsible for that.

"All Might, I, I'm really sorry! If I hadn't tried to bug you with my problems, that Villain wouldn't have gotten free, and then you wouldn't have had to push yourself past your time limit, and-"

"Actually, young Midoriya, it's I who owe you an apology," All Might interjected.


"Ever since I received my injury, there had been too many incidents like the one today, situations where I forced myself to the sidelines because I was scared of going over my limits and hurting myself further. But you, who told me how scared you were of taking action and putting other people at risk, you cast aside all of your doubts and moved to save your friend. That selflessness made me remember that a Hero can't be slowed down by their personal hang ups! All that matters is that they go out and save people who need help; their own crap can be dealt with, later! That's how I need to start acting again, and it's clearly how you want to act!"

"Even if you say that, though, I'm just, I'm still just-"

"You're still just someone who has the resolve to save a life!"

Even though All Might's form looked nowhere near as strong as usual, Midoriya still found himself being moved by his words, absorbing every syllable into his body. Like a weight was being lifted off his shoulders that even his incredible strength couldn't move.

"Today, I gave you the wrong answers, and you asked me the wrong questions. It's not about whether or not you can be a Hero, and it's not about whether or not you should be a Hero. Midoriya, my boy, there's only one question that matters: do you want to be a Hero?"

It was a question Midoriya had been putting out of his mind for ten years. Ever since that day, it never felt like it was what mattered compared to the question of whether or not it was actually right. That might have been wrong, though. If today was worth anything, it meant that he had been going about things the wrong way for ten years.

"I, I almost killed my friend because I was so reckless with my powers. His body's always going to be messed up because of that. No matter how much good I do, I can't ever fix that."

"Yes, that's true. No matter how good a person you are, you can't change the past."

"I don't have a Quirk, I don't have the Metagene, I can't use magic, I didn't fall in a vat of toxic waste. My powers aren't anything that belong on Earth. I'm not anything that belongs on Earth."

"A lot of people would agree with that. Ever since the Lantern War, people haven't been very kind to aliens. Renegade, Starfire, Martian Manhunter, we lost a lot of great Heroes at the height of the paranoia."

"It's not like that's even over. Look! Up in the sky! The sun's setting, so if you look closely, you can see the light of Alan Scott's Green Palace! The space station he's been living in for almost a century to shoot down anyone like me who comes anywhere near here! And everyone's okay with that!"

"That's true. If anyone ever found out about you being an alien, you'd probably get a Hero or two sent to capture you. If that happened, you'd need to pray that Alan Scott doesn't personally go after you."

"Even still, I want to prove that one mistake shouldn't define who I am!"

"As you should."

"Even still, I want to prove that I have the right to be here, even if I wasn't born here!"

"Everyone should have that right."

"Even still, I want to prove that I'm not like the aliens they talk about in the history books and in the propaganda films!"

"No one would want to be like that."

"I want to prove this to everyone, but most of all, I want to prove it to myself! I… Even still, I…"

With watery eyes, Midoriya turned his head up to the sky, looking straight in the direction of the Green Palace.


"Then be one, and don't let anyone stop you."

That was when it all truly started for me. That was the day I stopped wavering and strengthened my resolve. From that day onward, I reclaimed my childhood dream of becoming a Hero, and thanks to that, I started walking the path towards becoming the greatest Hero of all time. Despite what a lot of people think, though, the next step for me wasn't going to a Hero school.

The next step for me was figuring out who I really was.

Chapter Text

Still working on the next chapter, but I have two things I wanted to say. First, and this is embarrassing, but I just noticed in the last chapter that I had Midoriya say that Alan Scott had been in space for centuries. That was a mistake; I meant to write "almost a century," and the last chapter's been edited as such (one of these days, I'll learn to proofread).

Second, and this is awesome, because this story has a TV Tropes page! I know that that doesn't necessarily equate to quality, but it's still really cool, and something I've always wanted for one of my stories (well, one of my good stories, anyway)! Please, add stuff when you think stuff needs to be added!

And just so there's a bigger point to this update, here's something that leads into the next arc.

America. April, 20XX, present day.

People always asked Harrison Wells why he founded S.T.A.R. Labs. Some thought it was to secure lucrative patents for all of his inventions. It wasn't, he was smart enough to get those without starting a giant laboratory. Some thought it was to conduct experiments on Quirk users and Metahumans that the government couldn't be linked to. It wasn't, he was no Niles Caulder, despite the wheelchair. No, the reason Harrison Wells founded S.T.A.R. Labs was simple: he wanted to use science to help people. Whether it was through a new invention that furthered people's understanding of reality or providing occasional assistance to the Flash Family, Wells was driven by nothing more than a desire to help his fellow man.

Tonight was a good example of this trait of his, in action. As Wells was getting ready to go home after a full day of work, he ran into the night security guard in the hallway and noticed the sad expression on his purple face. Wells asked him what was wrong, and the security guard lamented that he forgot to buy his daughter a birthday present, and the toy store was going to close in an hour. Wells, understanding perfectly well how hard it was to try and balance a job with being a parent, told him that he'd keep watch for an hour so he could buy the present.

The look on his face was exactly why Wells got into this business. Some people might call him naive, including some he worked with on a regular basis, but making others happy was all that really counted.

"Even so, this is pretty boring," Wells said as he zipped around the labs. All he was doing was going into one room after the other, making sure that no one was there, and then starting over once he reached the end. It was mind numbing. If the security guard came back a little later than an hour, he honestly wouldn't be upset.

At the start of his fifth rollaround, Wells heard a loud rattling coming from the Weapons Development Lab.

"Hello?" No response. It'd make sense if it was a rat, but that was far too loud a sound for a rat. There also would never be a rat in S.T.A.R. Labs, he'd never allow for it.

"Mr. Jones?" Still no response. Very suspect. As Wells rolled towards the door, he put the thumb, index finger, and middle finger of his left hand into the shape of a gun, and a small blue flame appeared at the tip of his fingers. Welding wasn't much of a Quirk when it came to offense, but it was good enough for a surprise attack.

The surprise, though, was on him. As Wells reached for the door handle to the lab, the door slid open. Standing in the doorway was a large man with a bald head, a light-colored body, and a wicked grin on his face.

Wells barely had time to form even a single thought before he was hit in the head and lost consciousness.

When Wells woke up, he wasn't at all surprised to find himself in the Medical Ward. He also wasn't surprised to see his own face staring back at him. Another head of short, brown hair, another set of eyes hidden behind circular-rimmed glasses, it was a perfect reflection. Except for the baseball cap on top of the head. And the fact that it wasn't a reflection.

"I'm guessing you're mad at me, Harry," Wells said.

"What was your first clue?" The man, now identified as Harry, asked.

"Well, I have enough experience with being me to know what I look like when I'm mad. Being a version of me from an alternate reality means that there'll always be some little idiosyncrasies that we'll both share, no matter how different we may act."

"Then you know that, just like you, I don't take kindly to people acting like idiots!" Harry shouted.

"That is true."

"What were you thinking, Wells? You could have gotten killed. Thank God whoever broke in here didn't know that the alarm was programmed to go off whenever a Wells lost consciousness, otherwise he would have finished you on the spot."

"Don't berate me like I'm a child who needs to be told why they're on timeout, Harry. I know I screwed up, but we won't fix anything if you waste time simply reminding me."

"Heeyo!" A new voice said, one that was identical to Wells and Harry's. Into the Medical Ward entered another person sharing Wells' face, this one holding a six pack of beer and wearing a fedora, a black and white striped scarf, and a large grin on his face.

"H.R., what are you doing?" Harry asked.

"I got your text. You said it was urgent, so let's rock!"

"Can't believe I included you in the group text, by mistake," Harry muttered under his breath.

"H.R., when Harry said it was urgent, he meant 'Danger to Central City' urgent, not 'Emergency game night' urgent."

"Aw, man! So I brought beer and Secret Hitler for nothing?"

Wells and Harry shot H.R. a glare and he backed up a step.

"Sorry, sorry, not cool. Switching to serious mode, now! Hello there, fellow Councilmen! I heard there was an emergency. What happened?"

"There was a break in," Harry said. "One of the security guards, a man by the name of Rudy Jones, was paid to use his clearance codes to let a Villain into S.T.A.R. Labs, an action he got away with because our fearless leader over here fell for a sob story about him needing to buy a present for his kid."

"Not one of my proudest moments, I'll give you that," Wells said as he pushed himself off the medical bed and back into his wheelchair.

"If it makes you feel better, I probably would have fallen for it," H.R. said.

"Yes, but you're an idiot," Harry said.

Before anything else could be said, a red blur flew into the room faster than anyone could blink. The blur quickly materialized into a man wearing red spandex and yellow boots, a lightning bolt inside of a white circle adorning his chest.

"Hope you have good news for us, Flash," Harry said.

"And bad news, unfortunately," Flash said, taking off his cowl to reveal a handsome face with a full head of blonde hair. "The bad news is that I couldn't find the Villain. I searched S.T.A.R. Labs with my Forensic Analysis Quirk, but I couldn't find anything to go off of. He must have been using something that allowed him to mask his presence, either a Quirk or some advanced technology. Speaking of, what did he steal, anyway?"

"Some laser cannons, some plasma grenades, a skeleton key, and some blueprints for various projects. Nothing world ending, but still dangerous," Harry said.

"There is some good news, though. I was able to find Rudy, no problem. Didn't put up much of a fight, though not from lack of trying, and CCPD took him in. It didn't take much to get him to talk, either. He didn't give me the name of his partner, but he did say that he was planning on heading to Japan?"

"Why Japan?"

"Maybe he's gonna make a Godzilla?" H.R. asked. Everyone looked at him with skepticism. "What? It's what I'd do."

"Of course it is."

"The main point, of course, is that we know where to catch him," Wells said. "We need to have the authorities lock down the roads, airport, and docks, if they haven't already. Then, as an extra precaution, we need to alert all the major Hero Agencies in Japan that a bald Villain with a light-skinned body and probable supergenius intellect is fleeing there with stolen S.T.A.R. Labs technology."

"Dr. Wells, I'll head over to Japan if you need me to, but between Black Hole and the Rogues' newest scheme, the Wallys and I are stretched pretty thin, right now," Flash said.

"Don't worry about it, Mr. Allen, we all know how much Central City needs you. Japan's Heroes can handle this, and if they can't? Well, it's a good thing that one of our associates is already over there."

Flash nodded his head at Wells before putting his cowl back on and zipping out of the room.

Wells knew he screwed up, but this didn't change anything. He maintained a sense of pride in seeing the good in people, and it was thanks to that that he earned the trust of people who would be able to fix this.

"Sooooo, Secret Hitler?" H.R. asked.

"Only because you brought beer."

Chapter Text

Hello there, citizens! I am the man who needs no introduction, but here it is, anyway! I am All Might! The Number One Hero in the world! I'm the guy that everyone can count on to help them out of a jam. House burning down? I'm there! Royal Flush Gang robbing a bank? I'm there! Cute kitty cat caught in a tree? You better believe I'm there!

Though, if I'm being honest, underneath all this bravado is something a little less than glamorous. Five years ago, I had a fight with the most dangerous and vile Villain in the entire world. I defeated him, but I was nearly killed, in the process. It's not like I've never had a bad fight, but this one was definitely the worst of the worst. Even though I survived, the aftermath of the battle still hasn't faded from me. To this day, I'm only able to harness my power for a few hours a day, and the rest of the time, I can do nothing else but stand aside and hope that other people can pick up my slack.

What a load of croc! An even bigger load is that it took me five years to realise that, and I have one Izuku Midoriya to thank for that. The boy's lived his whole life afraid of hurting people with his powers, but when push came to shove, he put all of his fears aside to save his friend. Just like the Hero everyone thinks I am. Just like the Hero I need to get back to being!

I don't remember the last time I was so grateful towards someone. Young Midoriya's re-committed himself to becoming a Hero, and I'm going to do whatever I can to help him. That starts with his latest mission in life: finding out who he is.

Golden Week. A week of assorted holidays that gives everyone a chance to relax, a little. Schools and businesses are closed for most of the week, families take their children out on vacations, Heroes get to take some time off to go to festivals. Even Villain activity is noticeably lower during the week, showing that some bad guys are human enough to need a break, every once in a while. Midoriya would like to believe that he was human enough to go along with the festivities, just like everybody else.

A few weeks had passed since Midoriya's meeting with All Might. Thanks to All Might's brutal honesty, Midoriya was able to put his fears behind him just enough to fully fall back into his old desires of wanting to become a Hero. Obviously, that meant he'd be applying to U.A., because why wouldn't he try to go to All Might's alma mater? Of course, Midoriya had only just started ninth grade, so all of that was a year away. No need to rush anything. In the meantime, Midoriya knew he had to put his effort into something else.

He had to find the spaceship that brought him to Earth.

Technically, it wasn't something that was really necessary. Everything that had to do with him being an alien was a problem only he was aware of. But when it came down to it, that was the point. Midoriya was who he was today because he was an alien and had all the things that came with whatever sort of being he was, warts and all. He could make an attempt to just ignore it, but if he wanted any sort of closure, he needed to at least try and figure out where he came from and why.

When Midoriya told All Might that he wanted to find his spaceship after they finished discussing another matter, he didn't hesitate to offer his assistance. All Might had a busy schedule, though, and Midoriya, himself, still had school to worry about, so they agreed to meet up again at the start of Golden Week to discuss it; it would also give All Might a chance to gather up any information on the matter that only someone in his position could gain access to.

A few weeks went by after the incident with the Sludge Villain. Even with the attention he got from his involvement, Midoriya just kept his head down, acting the same as always, even if no one knew that things were different. Once Golden Week officially started, Midoriya bought a ticket for the first train out to Roppongi and headed out the door. Fortunately, he didn't have to stammer out a terrible lie to his mother, as when he mentioned he was going to Roppongi, she made an assumption that was highly convenient for him.

Of all the expensive, high-rise buildings in the expensively trendy neighborhood of Roppongi Hills, none stood out more than All Might's Hero Agency, Might Tower. The building stood 56 storeys above the street, even more if you counted the large, planet-like structure that sat atop the roof of the building. The inside of the building was just as impressive to look at, with each floor containing things like high intensity training rooms, cafeterias stocked with food befitting the class of Roppongi Hills, Big Belly Burger, as per the sponsorship deal, daycare centers for the children of the hundreds of employees, and a small museum chronicling some of All Might's greatest achievements in his career, dating all the way back to when he set the record for most points obtained in the U.A. entrance exam that still had yet to be broken.

On any given holiday, Midoriya would have loved to do what his mother thought he was doing and go there for a guided tour, as he had done so many times in the past that he had nearly memorized the tour guides' script, word for word. He wasn't there for that, though. It was just business. Business with All Might, of course, but still business.

That still makes it great, though! Midoriya thought to himself as he stood in the elevator. Because of all the work All Might does, he's hardly ever at Might Tower, and when he is here, he locks himself in his office and never leaves. In all the years that I've come here on birthdays and holidays and just when I try to get away from people, I've never been able to see him, but now I get to be the first civilian to actually hang out with All Might inside Might Tower! Even though this is actually really serious, I'm so happy!

The elevator door opened up at the top floor, where All Might's office was naturally located. Compared to the spectacle of the lower levels, the top floor was very lowkey, very much a standard office, aside from the giant statue of All Might, obviously. Because it was still All Might's boring-looking office space, though, Midoriya still found himself walking around in awe.

Even as he ended up bumping into the reception desk.

"Can I help you, kid? Are you looking for the tour?" The receptionist asked.

"Ah, no!" Midoriya said. "I'm actually looking for an employee. His name is, what was it again? Oh, right, Toshinori Yagi."

"You're here to see Mr. Yagi? Are you his son?"

"No, he's, um, a friend of my dad, and I wanted to talk to him about possibly getting a job here."

"Oh, okay. Just give me a second to call him over," the receptionist said, picking up the phone at her desk.

In all honesty, Midoriya didn't know who this Toshinori Yagi person was, either. All Might just told Midoriya to ask for him when he came to Might Tower, but all of the emotional beats of their meeting and the awkwardness of their other conversation made him forget to ask before All Might took off. If All Might was getting a third party involved, then Toshinori must be someone he trusted enough to tell about this. Maybe he was an alien, too. Probably not, though. What would be the odds of All Might being friends with an alien?

"Mr. Yagi, he's over here!" The receptionist called out, interrupting Midoriya's thoughts.

"I see him, thank you!" A new speaker said. It had to be Toshinori Yagi.

Midoriya turned to greet the mysterious new face only to discover that it was neither mysterious nor new. It was, as it turned out, a very familiar, sunken face holding a laptop case and wearing a yellow suit that looked a few sizes too big.

"ALL MIGHT?!" Midoriya shouted, putting a hand over his mouth immediately after.

"Did he just say 'All Might'?" The receptionist asked.

"Er, no! He said, um, 'Alright!' As in, 'Alright, Mr. Yagi! Let's get this party planning session started!' Isn't that right?"

Midoriya just nodded his head, afraid of saying something even stupider.

"Wait, I thought he was here to-"

"Well, we best be going! Cars don't get practice driven by themselves, you know! Unless they're self-driving cars, but, again, goodbye!"

Toshinori, actually All Might, grabbed Midoriya by the arm and dragged them both into the elevator, the doors closing behind them a second later.

All Might brought Midoriya to a small cafe overlooking the street and sat them at a booth in the back corner. Midoriya was initially surprised that he brought them somewhere so mundane, but then All Might said that it's easy to keep an eye on the street, so it made sense.

"Sorry I forgot to tell you about this, Midoriya; it just completely slipped my mind at our last meeting," All Might said. "Must have been quite a shock to see your Hero working a nine to five, right?"

"Well, no, not really," Midoriya said. "If you can only use your Quirk for a few hours a day, then you have to be doing something with the rest of your time. You probably make enough money to not have to work, but considering how much Hero work you do in a day, you probably wouldn't want to just sit around doing nothing. But 'Toshinori Yagi'? Your real name is supposed to be Hikaru Hinata, so are you using a fake name here?"

"Actually, the name I use here is my real one. When I first started my training, my master advised me to create a new identity for myself, as it would make certain things easier, later in life. After receiving my injury five years ago, however, I needed someone to be associated with both of my forms. So as far as the world is concerned, Toshinori Yagi is a normal secretary who manages All Might's private affairs, and Hikaru Hinata is his boss, the Number One Hero nobly protecting innocents, day in and day out!"

"That's so cool! It's like how Heroes disguised themselves as normal people before the Golden Age Act was passed!"

"I know, right?! That was the only thing on my mind when I came up with it! Who doesn't love a bit of nostalgia, right?"

"Right! Ah, wait, this isn't why we're here."

"That's true."

All Might put his laptop case on the table and pulled out a Wayne-Powers-brand laptop. That must be where it was being stored, Midoriya surmised. Any information All Might had gathered on the ship that brought him to Earth must have been on that laptop.

"So what's on the laptop?" Midoriya asked, taking a sip of a cup of tea.

"Nothing," All Might stated.

Midoriya tried his hardest not to engage in a spit take, but a little bit of liquid still ended up on his lower lip.

"No, that's not really accurate. It's not that there's nothing so much as it is there's nothing that you were looking for."

"What do you mean?" Midoriya asked.

"Best if you see for yourself."

All Might turned the laptop around so it was facing Midoriya. On the screen was a paused video. Behind the "paused" icon was a message that Midoriya's limited English told him read "CLASSIFIED INFORMATION. VIEWING IS PERMITTED ONLY FOR DEPARTMENT OF EXTRANORMAL OPERATIONS OPERATIVES AND SPECIAL PERSONNEL."

With an anxious gulp, Midoriya plugged in his Beats by Canary headphones and started the video.

The video started off with a shot of a forested area. Dozens of adults were either standing around or shuffling about, some dressed in JSDF uniforms, some dressed in black suits and sunglasses. A few people were lifting a large metal object into the back of a military truck. They were having a conversation that wasn't fully captured by the recording, but Midoriya was able to pick up fragments along the lines of "crash," "search party," "Maad," "Director Bones," and "spaceman." The timestamp on the bottom of the screen was the last confirmation Midoriya needed. The timestamp was July 15th., 20XX. The day he landed on Earth. This was the aftermath.

The pod was fully loaded into the back of a truck. One of the men shouted to the rest that they had to move out and head back to base, and everyone shuffled into different vehicles. They all started driving out of the campsite in single file, the truck containing the spaceship in the center of the line.

Out of nowhere, a giant dent emerged in the roof of the truck containing the spaceship.

"What the hell was that?" Someone asked before another dent appeared.

"Everyone stop!" Another person shouted. A third dent appeared as all the vehicles came to a halt. About a dozen people stepped out and walked over to the source of the problem. One man cautiously approached the vehicle, gun pointed straight ahead.

A split second later, a giant metal claw shot through the truck, grabbed the man, and tossed him into the air in an arc until he landed in Lake Kawaguchi with a plop.

"Holy shi-" The same claw cut off the next speaker as it knocked him into a tree. Suddenly, the truck is filled with dents all over before exploding in a fiery blaze. The metal claw shot out of the flames, followed by another, then another, then two more. The ends of the five claws shot upward into the air, revealing that they were, in fact, attached to the spaceship.

"CHAIODH KHUHP W KAOAHJAH," came a mechanical voice from the ship in an unknown language.

Whatever it was trying to say didn't mean anything as the soldiers and black suits started attacking it. Some with guns that fired bullets that instantly bounced off of its shell. some with Quirks that, for all of the enhanced punching and energy-based attacks, only moved the ship ever so slightly.


A tiny ball of green light appeared at the tip of the spaceship. It started getting bigger. And bigger. And bigger. In a few seconds, the ball was twice the size of the ship. In a panic, everyone started running back to their vehicles, but it was too late. The ball was launched towards the ground and engulfed the entire area in a green explosion. When the light faded, all of the vehicles were destroyed and everyone had lost consciousness. At the very least.


The ship ran away from the wreckage on its claws, never turning back once. The video ended there.

As Midoriya removed his headphones, he didn't know what sort of expression he was making, and he honestly didn't want to know.

"Crazy stuff, right?" All Might asked.

"That's putting it lightly," Midoriya said. "Those people, did they-"

"No one gave me a straight answer when I asked."

Midoriya's crest did an excellent job of falling.

"After I watched the video the first time, naturally, I inquired about the ship's current whereabouts. Sadly, by the time local Heroes and law enforcement arrived at the campground, there was no trace of it anywhere. Even after searching the area for a week, they found nothing, and there haven't been any reports of anything like it in the fifteen years since that night. If this isn't a dead end, I don't know what is."

Midoriya stared down at the table, lost in thought from everything he just saw and everything he just heard. As quickly as that happened, though, he found markings on a trail leading to an answer.

"Shouldn't we go to Mt. Fuji, then?" Midoriya asked.


"If that's the last place anyone saw the ship, then we should at least look there, right? It's not like we could look anywhere else. Plus, since it's the ship that brought me here, maybe me going back there will trigger some sort of beacon that will lead me to it."

"I guess that's not too crazy an idea. But are you okay with that? Do you really want to go to Mt. Fuji, of all places?" All Might asked.

"I-I'd like it if I could avoid something like that, but I don't think that I have a choice. I don't know if I can actually find the ship, but if I'm going try and be a Hero, I know that I have to at least try."

"If that's your answer, then I'm still with you, all the way!" All Might exclaimed, giving a thumbs up and flashing a smile.

The next day, Midoriya had a harder time lying to his mother about what he was doing. He told her that he was going camping until at least the end of the holiday season, but he stammered through so much of it, there was no reason for anyone to believe him. Midoriya could tell just by looking at her that she didn't, yet in spite of that, she still let him out the door under the promise that he try not to have a repeat of the incident with the Sludge Villain.

Walking ten minutes away from his apartment, Midoriya saw All Might waiting for him outside a convenience store. He was standing next to a yellow car that was definitely showing signs of age in not all the wrong places, but certainly ones that warranted concern.

"Sorry we have to go there like this, young Midoriya. We could get there in a few minutes if I was powered up, but that'd draw too much attention," All Might said.

"No, it's fine," Midoriya said.

"On the plus side, this gives me a chance to show off my car! Manufactured only in 198X, built in GPS, and three cupholders! No Batmobile, but she's still a real beaut, ain't she?" All Might asked, hitting the hood of the car and laughing.

One of the rearview mirrors came detached from the car.

"A-A little wear and tear is manageable! Just look at me!" All Might laughed as he popped the mirror back into place. "We should go now."

"Okay," Midoriya said.

It was about a two hour drive to Mt. Fuji, so Midoriya and All Might had a lot of time to kill. Midoriya played around with the beat up CD player and put on whatever All Might had lying around, which was mainly Beatles, Savage Garden, Music Meister, and the assorted arrangements of Hoyt S. Curtin. The two also shared various anecdotes about their lives with one another, also taking care not to bring up their other conversation. Midoriya old stories of him and his parents, All Might various stories about Villains he'd fought and accidents he'd prevented. At some point, probably around the time All Might finished his story about the time he worked with the Doom Patrol to stop the Brotherhood of Evil from destroying London, Midoriya started liking that this could have been a normal vacation under different circumstances.

"Whoa, that's a lot of traffic!" Now it really felt like a vacation.

"We must be really close," Midoriya said.

"GPS says we'll be there in ten minutes. I think. Screen's kind of fuzzy," All Might said, tapping against it with his finger.

"It's fine, I know we're close. It's pretty obvious."

"It is? How do you-Oh."

"Alien Beating Stick! Get your Alien Beating Stick, right here! Only 500 yen, guaranteed to smash any alien's head in!" A man carrying a box of sticks shouted from the side of the road.

"Trust me, ma'am, these spices are specially designed to lure out any and all aliens in the area, and you and only you are getting a special deal on them," a person at a makeshift stand was saying.

"Mommy, if we see the alien, is All Might gonna come and beat it up?" A kid in the neighboring car innocently asked his parents.

"Man, when I see that little green dude, I'm gonna go all 'Welcome ta Earf' on his ass! Just you wait, man!" A punk-looking kid said to his friend as they both laughed.

It was the same all around them. People selling novelty alien goods. People selling alleged alien traps and weapons. People going on about how they were going to take down the alien if they managed to find it.

Midoriya really didn't want to go to Mt. Fuji.

When an alien comes to Earth for the first time in decades, people don't just forget about it, the next day. It was big. Super big. And like all super big things, people started making a super big joke about it. For the last decade and a half, Mt. Fuji has been nothing but a tourist trap, drawing in anyone interested in finding the alien. From bogus maps to doctored photos, even all sorts of low-grade weapons that people can use in the hopes of beating up the alien, themselves. I don't know what makes me more sick, the fact that people are doing this, or the fact that they're allowed to do this, without any sort of repercussions! No wonder my friend doesn't like talking about this place. What decent person would enjoy this?!

If this was the only hurdle Young Midoriya and I had to pass through, though, that would have been more than manageable.

After getting through all the traffic, All Might was able to pull into the Lake Kawaguchi campgrounds, bringing their long drive to an end. The two exited the vehicle, Midoriya's eyes locked on the dirt.

"I'm sorry you had to see all of that," All Might said.

"I-It's fine," Midoriya said. "Really, it is! I already knew what Mt. Fuji was going to be like during the holidays, so I knew what I was getting into. It's just a little shocking actually seeing it, in person. I'll get over, so it's not worth talking about."

All Might could tell that Midoriya was trying to put on a brave face, but he had a point. There were more important things going on that needed attention, and they needed to give it to them.

"Okay, Midoriya, my boy. Let's get started!"

With a smile on his face, All Might slammed his door shut, only for it to reopen, immediately after. It took five more comedic tries for the door to actually stay shut. Batmobile, it was not.

"Now, let's get started!" All Might shouted.

"O-Okay!" Midoriya shouted.

The two ran off from the car towards the most obvious place to start: where the ship first landed. The crater was as deep and the surrounding trees were as broken up as they looked in the video file. There was also, obviously, no multi-clawed, metal spacecraft lying in the middle of the dirt. There was, however, a massive crowd of people gawking around it. That was also obvious. If they could see people making fools of themselves over alien business simply on the way over to Lake Kawaguchi, then the actual site would be swarming with them. The two of them had people bumping into them from every angle, and All Might couldn't stop thinking about how weird it was for something like this to happen to him when he wasn't using his Quirk.

"Al-Mr. Yagi! This way!" Midoriya shouted, reaching an arm around a rather fat tourist. All Might grabbed hold of Midoriya, and a second later, he put all of his effort into keeping his lunch down as Midoriya leapt high into the air, dragging All Might along with him, all the way up until they landed outside of the crowd on the opposite side of the crater. Thankfully, everyone was so absorbed by the crash site that they didn't notice any of that.

"I owe you one, Midoriya, my boy," All Might said. "The crater's as empty as it was the day you came here. We're not going to get anything done staying here. There might be something that the government people missed in the crater, but we'll never get over there like this. Let's come back here at night and just try and search around the other parts of the area, until then. That sound good to you? I'm only asking because I've been talking for a while, and you haven't said a single word to me."

This was true. What was also true was that Midoriya wasn't even standing near All Might. When he looked around for the boy, he saw that he was walking off in what seemed like a random direction.

"I know what this seems like, but it's not a random direction," Midoriya said, stopping and turning back towards All Might. "When I said 'This way,' I didn't just want you to grab onto me, I meant that I figured out which way to go."

"What? How?"

"Well, I knew that there wouldn't be anything out in the open, so I started thinking that I needed to look at things in a different way. When I did, I noticed a trail of radiation all through the air and the grass that isn't on our electromagnetic spectrum; I know because it's the same kind of radiation that my body gives off. The ship has to be from whatever world I'm from, so this radiation must be traces of it. We can follow it and figure out where the ship is."

"That's… That's amazing! Not just that revelation, but that power of yours!"

"Y-You think so?" Midoriya asked, sheepishly rubbing the back of his head. "I've had this electromagnetic vision since I was nine, but I never really found anything useful for it. Hearing you talk about it so highly is pretty great, if I'm being honest."

"No need to be so modest, my boy! Having two different kinds of visions is definitely something to be proud of!"

"Well, it's more like five. Or six. Or seven? Eight? No, not eight, definitely seven, at most."

All Might felt his jaw hit the ground.

"GREAT CAESAR'S GHOST! Now that's incredible!"

"Y-You really think so?!"

"You better believe it! I can't even begin to imagine how many times One for All would need to be wielded to gain something like that!"



There it was. The revival of the conversation they were trying to avoid. All Might shouldn't have let himself get caught up in his excitement.

"Look, All Might, I'm really sorry that I let you down," Midoriya said.

"No, no, you're not letting me down!" All Might countered. "There's no rush for me to pass my Quirk onto anyone, so getting turned down isn't the worst thing in the world."

"But you seemed so happy when you were telling me about One for All."

"Well, how could I not be? I mean, One for All is a Quirk that can be transferred from one person to the next, granting its owner the combined power of everyone who came before them. It's a Quirk that's been contributing to a peaceful society ever since Quirks first appeared. It's a Quirk that allowed me to become the Symbol of Peace."

"And when you asked me to inherit it, I said no."

"Well, maybe if you weren't so quick to the draw," All Might said, scratching his head.

"Well, as great an offer it was, and it really was a great offer, I'm still really, really, really, really, really thankful for it, receiving a Quirk like that would be kind of redundant when I'm already really strong, right?"

"Redundancy isn't the issue, even if it's a good point."

"But more than that, I want to try and get a full handle on the powers I already have, and I don't think I'll be able to do that if I have another power to work on. So like I said before, I don't think I can accept your offer. Not yet, anyway. Maybe. I don't know. Let's just get back to this, please?"

"Yes, of course."

All Might was glad that Midoriya chose his own path, he really was. The last thing he wanted to do was force a responsibility onto him that he didn't want to take. There were other people who would surely be worthy, it didn't have to be Midoriya.

Hopefully he'd have enough time to find someone else.

All Might continued following Midoriya around as he followed the radiation trail. As they kept walking further and further away from the crater, the number of tourists and gawkers started decreasing further and further. After what seemed like hours of walking, most likely because it was hours of walking, there was no one around them. Nothing but trees and the wind.

"Midoriya, my boy, are you sure we're going the right way?" All Might asked.

"I'm pretty sure," Midoriya said. "I'm still picking up the same radiation, so we have to be going the right way."

"I'll trust you on that, but still, it's getting dark out, you know. If we wanna finish this up in time for dinner and a good night's sleep, we need to pick up the pace."

"Huh? You-You mean?!" Midoriya stopped in place and turned to All Might. All Might couldn't tell if the stars in his eyes were from admiration or a side effect of his electromagnetic vision.

"We haven't seen any nosey tourists for over two hours, so I don't think I need to worry about calling attention to myself!"

Smoke started shooting out of All Might's body. His muscles began to grow, his face started becoming chiseled. In an instant, he would be back in the muscular form everyone knew him to possess.

Then, as quickly as he started, he stopped.

"Someone's coming!" All Might shouted.

"Wh-What?!" Midoriya shouted.

"When my ears powered up, I heard someone approaching from the air!"

"Really?! If I was using my own super hearing-"

"Never mind that! Just act natural. They'll be here any second."

Any second turned out to be five seconds. Five seconds later, the new person dropped out of the air right in front of the two of them.

"I know who it is, just let me handle it," the new arrival said to no one. "You two. You're pretty far away from the crash site. Care to explain?"

The new arrival spoke with authority, but he hardly looked like a police officer. His eyes were white and without pupils or irises, and his dress consisted of a red body suit that even wrapped around his head, a head that appeared to be on fire. Over the body suit were yellow gloves, yellow boots, and a yellow vest with three white lines that were intersecting at a red circle on his left breast. Now that he thought about it, All Might recognized this man.

"You! You-You-You're Firestorm!" Midoriya shouted, confirming All Might's suspicions.

"Oh, you know who I am?" Firestorm asked.

"How could I not?! Seven years ago, an explosion at the Hudson University Nuclear Plant in New Carthage, New York caused two scientists to gain the ability to fuse together into a single person: the Nuclear Man, Firestorm! With the powers of pyrokinesis, energy manipulation, and transmutation, you're a super powerful Hero who wins basically every fight he goes in! Like the time you stopped Multiplex from stealing a nuclear warhead! Or the time you took down the first Killer Frost after she froze downtown Brooklyn because you wouldn't marry her! Or the time when-"

"Okay, I get it… kid! I've done a lot of impressive stuff, just settle down!" Firestorm cut in.

"S-Sorry! I'm just a really big fan, especially since there aren't that many Japanese Heroes who work internationally. Not even All Might goes out of the country, that often."

Midoriya glanced over at All Might and his face went red.

"N-Not that there's anything wrong with that! It doesn't make y-him less of a Hero, in any way!"

"I'm sure it doesn't. And I'm sure that if All Might could fly, he'd be fighting crime around the world, nonstop. No need to bring up stuff that I… am sure he already knows!" All Might said.

"I don't know what they're doing, either," Firestorm said to no one. "Anyway, back to business: what are you two doing out here? The crash site is a long way away from here, and this isn't anything close to a hiking trail."

"W-Well, we're, um, actually looking for the alien, somewhere else. I've been doing some research, and I think I have a good idea of where it might be, or at least might have gone," Midoriya said. That was sort of a lie, All Might knew, but it was good enough. It's not like they were doing anything illegal.

"Even so, you shouldn't be out here; it's not safe."

"What do you mean?" All Might asked.

"A few days ago, my associates at the main S.T.A.R. Labs branch in Central City informed me that they were robbed by an unknown Villain. That Villain made off to Japan for unknown reasons, and my investigations have led me to believe that they're somewhere in this area. I don't know where, exactly, so this entire area needs to be off limits, and you need to leave."

"We can't!" All Might said.

"Why not?"

All Might didn't think that far ahead. In his current form, he was nothing more than an ordinary citizen, and nothing he could say would change a Hero's mind. He could say that he was also investigating the apparent robbery on All Might's behalf, but then that would raise the question of where All Might was. He could say that he was All Might, but while that might be useful in the short term, it was too risky to tell that to someone he was meeting for the first time.

"U-Um, I think I can actually help," Midoriya said, interrupting All Might's thoughts.

"You do?" Firestorm asked.

"Y-You see, my eyes are able to pick up radiation, that's actually what I've been doing to try and find the alien, following a really weird level, but I've noticed bits of radiation that are completely different from what I've been following. I didn't pay much attention at first, but then I noticed that there was more and more of it the further along Mr. Yagi and I went. If a Villain is hiding out here with stolen S.T.A.R. Labs technology, they might have gone in the same direction."

"Now that you mention it, I did pick up bits of radiation while I was surveying the area, but none of it was all that clear. If you can see radiation that clearly, though, then that means you'd be able to help me track this guy down. That's what you're getting at, am I right?"

"Well, I don't want to impose."

Midoriya acted modest, but All Might could tell that there was more to it than that. What quick thinking he used. What an impressive turnaround he made. It seemed like there was definitely more to Midoriya than just incredible raw power.

"I don't like it, either, but we don't really have a choice," Firestorm said to no one. "Okay, then, kid. What's your name?"

"I-Izuku Midoriya, sir!"

"Alright, Midoriya, it appears that I'm going to be needing your unique set of skills, today. Use your eyes to lead me to the end of the radiation trail, and after the Villain is apprehended, you and your older friend here can go back to your business."

"R-R-Really?! Y-You want me to help you?!"

"That's right. Consider yourself deputized."

"Th-Thank you very much, Firestorm! Please, follow me!"

After giving a set of rapid bows in Firestorm's direction, Midoriya jumped in an arc high above the treetops and landed hundreds of meters away.

"Sorry about him. The kid gets really excited about Heroes," All Might said.

"I know the type," Firestorm said with a grin. "Do you have a power that can keep up with him?"


"Alright, then. Just get on my back while I follow him."

"Thank you."

Firestorm bent down towards the ground, allowing All Might to get situated on his back and prepared for take off.

"Wow, you're toasty!"

"They don't call me 'Coldstorm,' you know."

Twin flames shot out of Firestorm's feet, and he, along with one passenger, was in the air following Midoriya's lead.

With Midoriya free to move at full speed, and Firestorm following closely behind him, the three of them reached the apparent end of the trail in just a few minutes.

"Midoriya, my boy, are you sure this is the place?" All Might asked as he climbed off of Firestorm's back.

"This is where the trail ends. Both of them, actually," Midoriya said.

"This can't be right, though."

"I'm getting a huge spike in radiation. This has to be it," Firestorm said.

"But there's just no way!"

All Might had every right to be skeptical. When Midoriya and Firestorm finally stopped, they ended up at none other than Mt. Fuji, itself. But that didn't make sense. Even if most people nowadays only came to the area to see the crash site at Lake Kawaguchi, Mt. Fuji was still a national treasure that drew in hundreds of thousands of people every year. Something like an alien spacecraft couldn't be there and not go unnoticed, and someone like a Villain couldn't hide out there without immediately drawing attention to themself.

"Even if it doesn't make sense, that's what it's looking like, right now," Firestorm said.

"Maybe this Villain has some sort of lair inside the lava of Mt. Fuji. Wouldn't be too out of the question," All Might said.

"No, he couldn't have built something like that so fast, and I doubt something like that could've already been here. Midoriya, what do you think?"

"I think I have the answer," Midoriya said, kneeling directly in front of the mountain. "Come over here and look at this."

All Might and Firestorm headed over to Midoriya's side to see what he was looking at. It was dirt.

"It's not just the dirt," Midoriya said. "If you look closely, the dirt and the grass is being pushed back, almost like something is being unnaturally forced against it. The radiation trails also seem to be centering around this part of the mountainside, so-"

"There must be a hidden door! Great thinking, Midoriya, my boy!" All Might exclaimed.

"He is smart, isn't he?" Firestorm asked no one.

"Going by the shape, the door should be around here," Midoriya said, feeling up the mountainside at random. After a few seconds, a section of the mountain was pushed in, like Midoriya had pressed a button. A rectangle of green light at All Might's height formed in the mountainside, and the rocks inside flew out in a perfect rectangle nearly too fast for Midoriya to get out of the way. The rectangle reached the part of the dirt Midoriya had discovered before stopping, floating up into the air, and flying back into Mt. Fuji, melting into the mountainside. Not exactly the kind of thing you see every day.

"Look, there's a staircase inside," All Might said. "The alien or the Villain, one of them has to be at the top of it."

"The radiation keeps flowing up there, so that has to be it," Midoriya said. "Firestorm, can we still go with you?"

"Well, it looks like our two goals are on the same path, so you might as well," Firestorm said. "Both of you need to stay behind me, though. I'm the Hero, here, so I'm the only one allowed to get hurt. Got it?"

""Got it!"" All Might and Midoriya both said, the latter giving a salute while doing so.

With that being concluded, the three of them walked inside the mountain, the hole instantly repairing itself a second after they were all inside.

All Might truly hoped that this trap was a manageable one.

Midoriya didn't like how at ease he was feeling. Here he was, climbing up through a mysterious stairwell in the side of a mountain, the only light source coming from Firestorm's head, yet he didn't feel nervous in the slightest. Whatever this was, it was probably the lair of whatever Villain robbed S.T.A.R. Labs, plotting some crazy scheme for Japan with whatever powers he had and whatever technology he stole, yet he felt oddly calm. He shouldn't, though. With how obviously dangerous the situation was, there was no way to justify how relaxed he felt. Was it because All Might was here? Because Firestorm was also here? Because he was finally going to get some answers about his past?

If he had to guess, it was probably the last one.

"The stairs are levelling out. Whatever's in here's going to be at the top," Firestorm said.

"Midoriya, my boy, are you ready?" All Might asked.

"I don't know, but I don't have a choice, anymore," Midoriya said.

Following right behind Firestorm and All Might, Midoriya climbed to the top of the staircase, entering an entirely different space. Just like the staircase, there were no lights present outside of the one on Firestorm's head. There was also no Villain maniacally concocting a wicked plan, nor was there a spaceship hopefully holding all the answers he was seeking. Instead, all that was before him was a large, open space as long and as wide as a baseball field, and the ceiling being about the same length above them. Another staircase ominously stood in the corner as it fed into the wall, multiple tunnels stretched out from all corners of the area, but there was nothing around that Midoriya was interested in.

Except one thing, perhaps.

"Look at all these markings," All Might said.

"They're like cave paintings. From a technical standpoint, at least," Firestorm said. Sure enough, there were, indeed, strange markings scattered all around the area. They weren't pictures of any kind, just various assortments of circles, squares, and lines displayed in various ways. Rubbing his hands against the ones on the wall, Midoriya could tell that they were carved into the stone, and not at all recently. If he had to guess, the carvings had to have been at least a decade old. There was something else to them, though.

"They seem familiar," Midoriya said, surprising even himself. "That's, that's really weird. I've never seen these markings before in my life, so why would they look familiar. Does this mean that-"

There was a tapping on his shoulder.

"Hold on, I think I'm onto something."

There was a tapping on his shoulder.

"Um, do you think you could stop that, please?"

""Stop what?"" All Might and Firestorm asked.

Midoriya stopped moving.

There was a tapping on his shoulder. Very slowly, Midoriya turned around to see what was there.

It was a robot. It came up to about his height and was very clunky in design, with a can-shaped torso, big arms and legs, and a head that was completely spherical. It had no mouth, yet it still screamed as it threw a punch at Midoriya.

"Look out!" The punch, however, never connected, for Firestorm shot a ball of fire at the robot, blasting it into the wall and leaving it a smoldering pile of ash.

"Are you alright?!" Firestorm asked, a look of heavy concern on his face.

"Y-Yeah, it didn't even touch me. Thanks," Midoriya said.

"Can't believe there was a robot here, if you could even call it that" All Might said.

"That thing wouldn't hold a candle to Red Tornado or any of the Robotmen, but it still proves that the Villain's here," Firestorm said. "Change of plans: you two are leaving."


"We can't leave! The alien could still be in here!" Midoriya shouted.

"That robot shows that the Villain's gained access to enough materials to start constructing weapons; if I had known they could do that, I wouldn't have allowed you two in here."

"Please, Firestorm, I have to see this through!"

"No! I'm not letting you get hurt just so you can chase after some stupid alien crap!"

"It's not stupid to me! It's-"

"It's my whole life!" was what Midoriya wanted to shout in his face, but he stopped himself short of doing so.

"I know what I'm doing, just let me handle this," Firestorm said to no one. "I'm not going to argue about this. You two are marching back down those stairs. End of discussion."

The discussion did end, but no one marched back down those stairs. No one marched back down those stairs because a laser beam shot the wall behind the three of them and sent a massive pile of rocks down to block the path. All three of them whipped their heads around to see another robot identical to the first one standing at the mouth of a tunnel, only with a laser gun in place of a right arm.

"Another one. I'll take care of-"

Before Firestorm could finish, the robot screamed and music started playing from nowhere.

"What the hell?"

This song sounds familiar, Midoriya thought to himself. Isn't this-

Midoriya never got the chance to finish his thought. Before he could, a multitude of robots started filing out of the tunnels. Some were short with stubby limbs and chainsaws on their torsos. Some were quadrupeds with wire cutters at the ends of their legs. Some were taller than even All Might with massive arms or massive legs that were attached on a sort of rail system and wrapped in electricity. There were other variations, but the main point was that they didn't look friendly and they were coming after the three of them.

"OH MY GOODNESS!" All Might shouted.

"You don't have to tell me twice!" Firestorm shouted at no one before grabbing Midoriya by his collar and picking him off the ground.

"Wh-What are you-" Midoriya found himself screaming before he could finish the question he already knew the answer to, the answer being that Firestorm was tossing him into the air onto the second staircase.

"Okay, Mr. Yagi, your turn-"

As Firestorm motioned to throw All Might, a small machine brandishing a knife leapt over and stabbed him in the thigh. Firestorm cursed as he fell to one knee and let out a wave of fire, destroying about a dozen robots, although about a dozen more immediately came in.

"Firestorm!" Midoriya cried.

"He'll be fine; you need to keep going!" All Might shouted. "Don't forget why we came here, Young Midoriya. I'll make sure nothing happens to Firestorm and that we can join you as soon as possible, so don't worry about us and finish what you've started!"

All Midoriya wanted to do was jump back down from the stairs and join back up with them, even as the number of robots Firestorm was pummeling reached ever closer to a hundred strong. But that wasn't the right choice. Firestorm was still more than capable of fighting, and if the situation truly worsened, All Might would activate his Quirk and take care of everything. A novice like himself would just slow the professionals down. He didn't like it, but he needed to take advantage of this chance they were giving him.

With hesitation, Midoriya turned away from the scene and ran up the stairs.

The second staircase wasn't any larger than the first, but the stress of Midoriya's situation made it feel as if it was stretching endlessly. It didn't help that the absence of Firestorm meant that there was no light surrounding him; even if his eyes could work around that, it was still rather unsettling. Nevertheless, he kept running and running and running some more.

"They'll be fine," Midoriya told himself. "Firestorm's a great Hero, so they'll be fine. All Might's there, too, and he's the greatest Hero there is, so they'll be fine. Rather than slow down people who have a handle on things, I need to at finish what I started and try to get help as soon as possible. As long as I do that, they'll be fine-"

A metallic claw snapped Midoriya out of his rambling as it threw him against a wall, a wall belonging to an area nearly identical to the previous one. The claw was attached to a large robot that had a feminine upper body, but a lower body that was more spider-like. It laughed as it brought its visored face in close and began charging a laser from its mouth.

Midoriya wasted no time in firing a blast of heat vision at its arm, detaching the limb from the body and allowing him to get away from the wall before the laser hit him. When the attack subsided, the robot screamed and swiped its other claw at Midoriya. Midoriya ducked just in time and ran away, the robot wasting no time in chasing after him. Even with Midoriya's superhuman speed, the metallic footsteps of the enemy were never too far behind him. Still, he felt that he could get away.

At least until a tail knocked him onto the ground.

What?! Midoriya thought to himself as a metallic foot slammed into his body, pinning him to the dirt. When did-there's a hole in the ceiling. It, it must have dropped down from there when I wasn't looking! That was how Midoriya justified the large, T-rex-like robot being able to get the drop on him.

"I'm not done yet!" Midoriya shouted as the female robot charged another laser and smoke bellowed out of the T-rex robot's mouth. "I came here for a reason, and I'm not going to let you, or your friends, or any little foxes stop me!" Midoriya grabbed onto the T-rex robot's foot and started pushing up against it, a struggle surfacing from the robot increasing the pressure.

"Stop," came a voice from nowhere. In an instant, both robots did just that. Midoriya stopped moving out of confusion, and the foot of the T-rex robot fell back onto him.

"Wh-Who's there?!" Midoriya shouted.

"You. Boy," the voice from nowhere said once more. "Just now, you said that you weren't going to let any little foxes stop you. Why say something like that?"

"Well, because of the music. This is The Cunning Little Vixen, isn't it?"

There wasn't a reply for several seconds.

"Indeed, it is. Someone like you is familiar with the works of Leoš Janáček?"

"Um, yeah, some of them. Wait, what do you mean 'someone like me'?"

"I mean someone who exhibits no signs of culture and refinement, whatsoever. Just from taking one look at you, I'd be hard-pressed to think you'd know any music that wasn't featured in a, bleh, podcast naming the most 'schway' drops of the month."

"'Schway'?" Midoriya whispered. He knew that word. It was a slang word that meant "cool," most commonly used in Gotham City and other parts of the United States. Most people in Japan didn't even know the word, though, so if this person was using it, there was a strong likelihood that he was American, and given the way he controlled the robots, he had to be the Villain.

Lights from nowhere lit up the room, getting rid of every trace of darkness. Footsteps started sounding through the cavern. They got louder and louder until Midoriya saw a figure emerge from one of the tunnels: a bald, albino gorilla standing with perfect, human posture that was wearing a red metal harness on his body.

"You're clearly a cut above the rest of your generation, so allow me to give you a more proper death. A death more fitting for those who try to cross the Ultra-Humanite!"

Woo! Got this done in time for the boy in blue's big birthday next week. Go me!

I'd like to give a quick shoutout to one of my readers named reppuzan. Not only does he always leave great comments, but he basically single-handedly created the TV Tropes page for this story, and I am just so thankful for that. If you appreciate that, too, you can show it by adding anything appropriate to the page at your leisure. Give it a shot!

Chapter Text




Boy, this is well overdue! At the very least, it's appropriate that this kind of chapter is coming out on Father's Day, considering...

Ultra-Humanite! Real name, unknown! Real age, unknown! I.Q. points, incredibly high! A super genius who was decades ahead of his time when he was born, and is still decades ahead, even now. Unfortunately for the good people of our peaceful society, he chose to use his mind for evil, making himself a menace to the world ever since the days of the Justice Society. What's truly horrifying about Ultra-Humanite, though, is how he's managed to live so long. He hasn't done it by extending his lifespan through scientific advancements or magical spells, he's done it by killing innocent people and putting his brain into their bodies!

Ultra-Humanite is someone no one should go up against, unprepared. I'm sure Young Midoriya already knew that, but in the end, that foresight ended up being meaningless! In the end, Young Midoriya was forced to confront his second major hurdle of the day, all by himself!

"And as the forester grieves over the loss of both the vixen and Terynka, a frog jumps onto his lap, the grandson of the very same frog that did so in act one. He takes one look at the frog and understands that death is but a part of a cycle that leads into new life. With that, the forester is able to, at last, obtain peace of mind. Fin."

The T-rex robot and the female robot applauded the Ultra-Humanite as the music finally came to an end.

"Yes, yes, thank you, thank you. For machines that I built in a cave with a box of scraps, you are quite receptive of the arts. Of course, that all goes back to the fact that I made you, but still, it's nice to have people with a common interest. Don't you agree, boy?"

The boy in question, Midoriya, just nodded.

"Come now, you're not still alive just so I can hear myself talk. Speak!"

"A-A-Are you really the Ultra-Humanite?" Midoriya asked.

"Who did you think I was, Kite Man?" Ultra-Humanite asked with a chuckle. "It's the gorilla body, isn't it? My last one was getting rather rank, so I got this one from an old associate of mine in Africa. Haven't gone public with it, though, that's probably why you didn't recognize me."

No, that's wrong, Midoriya thought to himself. I just needed to be sure that I really was in that crazy a situation. I just needed to be sure that I was really being held hostage by someone who's been a Villain since the days of the Justice Society, something he's done by being crazy enough to cut out people's brains and put his own in their bodies!

Receiving confirmation on all of that didn't make Midoriya feel any more comfortable, though. The fact that there was still a mechanical T-rex foot on top of him didn't help, either.

"Y-You probably already know this, but Firestorm's down on the lower level, destroying all of your robots. Once he's done with that, he'll come up here and defeat you, so you might as well stop whatever plans you have for Mount Fuji, right now!"

"What? You think my plans involve taking control of a volcano? You realize that I'm not a greenhorn, right?"

"Huh?" Ultra-Humanite snapped his fingers.

"You're probably wondering about all the caverns, then. Well, when I first arrived in Japan in preparation for my actual endeavor, I needed to lay low for a little while until I could find a suitable place to set up shop. While scanning the prefecture for areas with minimal Hero activity and satellite detection, I discovered that Mount Fuji, of all places, was covered in an invisible field of energy that was sending slightly falsified imagery up to the satellites, above. Curious, I decided to sneak over and investigate at the source. I very quickly discovered the hidden entrance, and it took little effort to hack through its programming with the skeleton key I stole from S.T.A.R. Labs."

The wording made Midoriya take pause. If Ultra-Humanite had to hack his way through the door, then he, All Might, and Firestorm shouldn't have been able to get inside, as there's no way someone as smart as him would leave the door unlocked. That meant that everything that happened from Midoriya simply touching the mountainside didn't immediately happen for Ultra-Humanite. Midoriya hoped that was a good thing.

While Midoriya was pondering, one of the robots with the can-shaped torso and large limbs walked in through a tunnel and placed a large bag full of gadgetry on the ground next to him.

"Imagine my surprise to discover that the mountain had been hollowed out some time ago, eliminating all the time I'd normally have to put towards constructing a lair. Imagine my surprise to discover all of these mysterious symbols that I still haven't managed to decipher. Imagine my surprise a third time…"

Four more robots of the same variety came in through another tunnel, all lifting an object, together. They weren't bringing in another bag of hopefully miscellaneous objects, though. The object they were carrying was very large in size, was covered in dents and scorch marks, had what looked like fins and an engine, and made Midoriya go pale with shock.

"Imagine my surprise a third time to discover the fabled spacecraft of a decade and a half ago."

"The-The spaceship! It, um, it really exists?" Midoriya asked, trying to not let too much emotion shine through.

"Indeed, it does, boy. The thing tried to kill me when I first discovered it, but I was able to beat it into submission, and it's been quiet, ever since," Ultra-Humanite said, patting the ship with one of his large, evil, simian hands. The very act was infuriating for Midoriya to watch, but, again, he couldn't let his full emotions shine through.

"I still haven't been able to access its AI programming or locate any sort of black box, but that's what makes it even more fascinating, if you ask me. To think that there would be anyone in the universe capable of creating something even I couldn't take apart in an instant. I haven't been challenged this thoroughly since the heyday of heroism. It's quite exciting, honestly."

"Because you have a new weapon?" Midoriya asked. The T-rex increased the pressure on Midoriya's body.

"Do you know why I was playing The Cunning Little Vixen, boy? Because I feel a kinship with the titular character," Ultra-Humanite said. "In the first act, the vixen is forcibly made a pet by the forester and forced to live with a conservative old daschund. After years of this, she becomes fed up with a life of conformity and escapes back into the wilderness. It's perfectly understandable; when you're forced to live with people who only want to suppress your talents and are satisfied with mediocrity, you eventually reach a point where you can't stomach it any longer and lash out against the world.

"That's me. For all the decades I've been alive, everywhere I've been has been filled with idiots and layabouts who have no appreciation for the things in life with even a modicum of substance. Worst of all, they expect me to just play along with their stupidity! Could you even imagine that? Bringing yourself down to everyone's level and never allowing yourself to be at your best?"

"A-A little bit, actually," Midoriya said.

The Ultra-Humanite smiled.

"Then it shouldn't be such a stretch to imagine why I care about having a brand new way of expanding my gifts, of expanding my understanding of the universe, of expanding my stronghold against mediocrity."

"I guess," Midoriya lied. "So if you didn't find the spaceship until you first came to Japan, what's your real plan?"

"Yes, I suppose I haven't gotten around to that old cliche, yet. Well, you're going to die, anyway, so I'll ask you a question: how much do you know about Endeavor?"

If All Might had any doubts about Firestorm's abilities, they had all completely vanished from his mind, at this point. After all, it would be hard to legitimately doubt the abilities of a man who single handedly destroyed nearly two hundred robots.

"And take that!" Firestorm said, now finishing destroying exactly two hundred robots.

"Hey, come on, I should be allowed to gloat a little bit," Firestorm said to no one. "How often do I get to destroy exactly two hundred robots?"

"I wasn't bothering you about it. It's pretty cool, honestly," All Might said.

"Wasn't talking to you, I was-you know what? Never mind. We're done here, so let's hurry up and get to Midoriya. Hopefully all he's run into is alien stuff and not more murderous robots."

"Probably not, so that's even more reason to get a move on."

All Might and Firestorm turned away from the metallic carnage and started running for the stairs. It only took them a few minutes to get to the top of the last set of stairs, so the same should apply for this one. At least, that's what he hoped. That's what he hoped as he climbed up the stairs ahead of Firestorm. That's what he hoped as a flying metal object slammed into his arm and knocked him off his feet. Hope could only go so far, it seemed.

"Mr. Yagi!" Firestorm shouted.

"I'm fine," All Might said, picking himself up from the ground.

"I guess there's still robots trying to fight. I don't see anyone here, so that must have been a long-range attack. Judging by the angle it hit you at, if the projectile can't be curved, then the attacker would be in this tunnel!"

Firestorm turned around and shot a blast of fire into a tunnel on the far left side of the area. There was a calm in the air, a silence that could be felt as easily as the sweat on their skin. What could be felt even easier than that, though, at least All Might wanted to assume, was the pain Firestorm had to have felt when an entire line of four circular metal discs, the same one that hit him in the arm, slammed into his body and knocked him against the wall.

"Firestorm!" All Might shouted.

The metal disc that previously hit All Might became encased in a red light. It flew up into the air before zipping over to the other four and attaching itself to the end of the line. The line of discs flew backwards through the air and connected with a new figure making their entrance.

The new figure in question being another one of the medium-sized robots, albeit one without arms. The line of metal discs took the place of its right arm and became a perfect match to the identical line of metal discs that stood in for its left arm.

"What a patchwork of a thing!" All Might said.

"Yeah, and it messed up by showing itself. Now I have a clear shot!"

Firestorm launched another fireball at the machine, this time aiming to destroy it, completely. However, right before the attack could connect, the discs on its left side flew off its body. They became bathed in the same red light as they flew into five separate spots and shot red lightning at each other. They became connected in an electric pentagram that floated in front of the robot and completely nullified the attack when it connected. That had to have been how the last attack was blocked, All Might surmised.

"So that's how he blocked my last attack," Firestorm concluded.

The robot shot off the remaining discs towards Firestorm. He fired another blast at it, but the discs separated and flew away to avoid the blast. Firestorm, as if he knew that they were going to act like that, quickly shot a thin stream of fire from each of his fingertips at each disc. Each beam hit its mark, but unfortunately, said marks enveloped themselves in the same red lightning from before, once more nullifying Firestorm's attack.

"It is resourceful, isn't it?" Firestorm said to no one as he raised his right arm into the air. "Well, if it's come down to this-"

Before Firestorm could finish his sentence, the discs turned in his direction and fired all of their lightning at him. The suddenness of it gave Firestorm no time to react, and he was hit with every blast. As he shouted out in pain, the bolts of lightning spread out away from his body and formed a barrier of red electricity around him. The other five discs wasted no time on joining in, adding their own lightning to intensify the overwhelming power of the barrier. The overwhelming power of a barrier that was slowly decreasing in size as it closed in around Firestorm.

"Dammit… Barrier's keeping me paralyzed… I can't move…" Firestorm said in between shouts of pain.

"Hold on, I'm coming!" All Might shouted.

"No! No… you'll just get hurt… Leave me… keep going ahead and… and tell Izuku-"

"Not another word, Firestorm."

There really wasn't any choice in the matter, All Might told himself as he ran back down the stairs. Now wasn't the time to keep secrets under lock and key, All Might told himself as smoke bellowed out of his body. Someone needs saving, so someone needs to be saved, All Might told himself as his muscles started bulging.

"Not another word, Firestorm, for I am here!" All Might shouted as he fully activated One for All.

Firestorm's eyes widened as much as they could underneath all the pain. Even the robot seemed to be stepping back in shock, though not enough to be able to avoid All Might's haymaker and prevent itself from being sent flying into a wall.

"Now for you little grievances!" All Might shouted. He turned towards the still-captive Firestorm and threw a rapid series of punches, blowing away each disc without any hesitation and freeing Firestorm from his imprisonment.

"Are you alright, Firestorm?"

"Yeah, relatively speaking," Firestorm said as he slowly stood back up. "More importantly, you're All Might! You're really All Might! I can't believe that sickly old man was All Might, the whole time!"

"Well, I had my reasons for-wait, old? I understand sickly, but old?"

"Ah, no, sorry! I didn't mean to upset you. I'm just really surprised and really excited, that's all! Shut up, it's All Might! I'm allowed to be happy about this!"

"Excuse me?"

"Wasn't talking to you, it was just-oh, goddammit!"

All Might turned around and immediately spat out a similar sentiment. The robot, despite having a large hole in its side and bits of wire dangling out, was getting back up on its feet. In tandem, the metal discs started slowly floating back up into the air, positioning themselves for another attack.

"Tough little bastard, isn't he?" All Might asked. "This time, though-"

"No! Leave this to me!" Firestorm cut in. "This was my fight, so I'm gonna finish it!"

Firestorm brought his right arm into the air as he did before, only this time he wasn't interrupted. Now, fully able to do whatever it was he was doing, crackles of green lightning formed around his hand, swirling around it like a miniature tornado. He then slammed his hand down on the ground, releasing all of the electricity out in a massive wave of energy that encompassed the entire area. Much to All Might's surprise, he felt nothing when the wave made contact with his body, yet when it touched the robot and the discs, they all started convulsing for several seconds before falling down onto the ground, completely motionless.

"Wait, was that an EMP?" All Might asked as he walked over to the robot and stomped its head flat.

"Yep," Firestorm said as he started melting the metal discs with a wave of fire. "I would have used it earlier, but this Quirk takes a hell of a long time to charge up between uses, so I was saving it on the off chance that Midoriya would be in trouble when we caught up with him. That guy was really annoying, though, and I really didn't want to take any more chances with it."

"Understandable. What I'm mostly curious about is the existence of the Quirk, at all."

"Really? It's not anything that special."

"That's true. Among all the various Quirks that exist, something like being able to produce an EMP isn't something completely out there. However, if I'm not mistaken, I had heard that Firestorm was in possession of a fire-based Quirk."

"I am."

"Then are you telling me that you're able to use two Quirks, at once?" All Might asked.

"Pretty much," Firestorm said, doing so much more easily than All Might thought he would have. "As you know, my body is that of two separate beings fused together on a subatomic level. Despite this, each of our consciousnesses are still perfectly functional; I'm one person, but at the same time, I'm two. Because of that, I'm able to use both my Quirk and my partner's Quirk at the same time. Most people think the EMP is just another power I get from being Firestorm. I'd rather have them keep thinking that. I already have enough people trying to learn my identity so they know who to threaten for the Firestorm Matrix, can't have that number doubling out of a doomed to fail desire to have multiple Quirks."

"Yes. Doomed to fail. Definitely something that isn't in any way possible," All Might said, laughing a little to himself.

"Hey, he's allowed to act a little weird, he's All Might, for crying out loud," Firestorm said to no one.

"Anyway we can't waste anymore time here. We need to hurry over to Young Midoriya, pronto!"

"Don't have to tell me twice!"

As the two raced up the stairs, All Might, indeed, did not have to do that.

"What do I know about Endeavor?" Midoriya asked. "Well, he's the Number Two Hero in the world, one spot below All Might, and one spot above Wonder Woman. He has a really powerful fire Quirk and has the world record for most crimes solved by a single person. You'd think that everyone would love him, but he has a really bad attitude, often getting angry with people he works with or too violent with Villains he's apprehending. Because of that, his fans are mostly men between their twenties and forties, so women and people outside of that age group tend to be more critical of him. He's basically the Dark Hero of the Trinity, kind of like the first Batman when he was compared to Wonder Woman and Jay Garrick when the Justice Society was still around. Some other interesting stuff about Endeavor is that his favorite food is kuzumochi, his blood type has a Cis AB mutation, he graduated from U.A. in the same year as Snatch and Misteltei-"

"Okay, so you know a lot about him," Ultra-Humanite said. "In retrospect, I should have specified that I wanted Cliff Notes, not a Wikipedia entry. Do you always ramble on and on like that?"

"N-No," Midoriya lied.

"Well, no matter. The point is that I don't have to waste time divulging what should be rather obvious information. As an added bonus, you were aware of Endeavor holding the record for most crimes thwarted by a single Hero; six of those were mine, by the way. Did you know that they're commemorating that achievement later this year at the Tokyo National Museum?"

"They are?!" Midoriya asked, surprised to discover a gap in his seemingly endless knowledge of all things relating to Heroes.

"Yes, really. Come this summer, the TNM will have an entire exhibit hall dedicated to Endeavor. An entire exhibit hall that used to exclusively house some of the finest Greco-Buddhist art and artifacts of the Silk Road."

"I guess that's kind of bad-"

"You guess?"

Ultra-Humanite snapped his fingers, and the T-rex robot increased the pressure it was putting on Midoriya's body.

"Your country's cultural heritage is being superseded by someone like Endeavor, and all you can do is shrug your shoulders?"

"Well, I don't really have any room for shrugging-"

"And do you know what happened when I tried to find out how long the exhibit would go on for?" Ultra-Humanite asked, cutting him off. "What happened was that I found out that the exhibit would go on indefinitely. Indefinitely! Unbelievable! Has our society become so enthralled with heroics that the people would put the arts second to men who don't even know how to keep their homes in check?"

Midoriya didn't know how to respond to that. Partly because he was having trouble admitting that someone like the Ultra-Humanite had a point, partly because he didn't really understand the last thing he said.

"Naturally, I couldn't let any of that stand, so here I am in Japan with a myriad of stolen S.T.A.R. Labs technology, ready to destroy the museum for their betrayal of their own ideals."

"Y-You're going to destroy the TNM? Just because they're getting rid of some good-looking art?" Midoriya asked. "That-That's so stupid!"

"Why? Because I'm not trying to rob a bank or assassinate a political figure? Not every scheme has to have such cliched criminal agendas."

"But what about the art that's still there? You're just going to destroy everything because of this one thing you don't like?"

Ultra-Humanite stared at Midoriya before snapping his big gorilla fingers.

"That's a good point, boy. Might as well steal the most valuable exhibits before I destroy the museum so I can sell them on the black market and finance future endeavors. Thanks for bringing that up."

"You're welcome," Midoriya said, dryly. "What about the people in the museum? Are you just going to kill people who have nothing to do with this?"

"I'm not so crass. I'm obviously going to call in a bomb threat to empty out the facility before I strike. I guess it would still be possible for people to be in there, though. Well, if they actually enjoy going there, then they'll simply be getting what's coming to them."

Midoriya grit his teeth. The Ultra-Humanite casually said he didn't care if people died in the process of his petty endeavor. He knew how callous Villains could be about the lives of others, but seeing and hearing it up close and personal was far different.

Then he started patting the spaceship.

"Maybe I'll even figure out how to get this thing up and running again in time for the assault."

He patted the ship again.

"Might be a little fun to destroy the errors of our society with the brilliance of another."

He patted the ship again.

"That would probably put me in the perfect mood to tear this thing apart and figure out how it ticks."

He moved his hand down towards the ship, once more.

"Stop touching that!" Midoriya shouted. The Ultra-Humanite did, indeed, stop touching it, but only to glare at Midoriya with what he could only assume to be annoyance.

"How annoying," Ultra-Humanite said. "Children these days really don't know their place, do they? Well, I've explained my plan to you, boy, so now it's time for you to die. Robot minions, you know what to do."

As if voicing some form of acknowledgment, the female robot screeched and the T-rex robot roared. The T-rex robot turned its head downwards towards Midoriya as smoke bellowed out of its mouth. Midoriya gave it no time to attack, though. He released a gust of wind from his mouth, the force strong enough to send both him and the T-rex robot up into the air mere seconds before it unleashed a torrent of flames from its mouth.

The T-Rex robot slammed into the ceiling, stunning it as the flames spewed out. Midoriya kicked off of its underbelly to propel himself downwards towards the Ultra-Humanite, only to be launched into a wall when the female robot blasted him with a laser beam. Fortunately, his reaction time was quick enough for him to put up a guard with his arms, nullifying a good deal of the impact.

"Still alive, are we?" Ultra-Humanite asked. "Well, if you want something done right!"

The Ultra-Humanite pulled what looked like a large gun out from the bag next to him and pointed it at Midoriya. He pulled the trigger and released a stream of teal light from the weapon. Midoriya jumped out of the wall and dodged, but his mouth fell agape when the beam collided with the wall and created a hole at least three times his height and width.

"Ionic disruptor cannon. I don't have the time to explain the specifics, so let's just say it's a really powerful gun and leave it at that, shall we?"

Ultra-Humanite fired another round at Midoriya. Midoriya, in turn, fired a blast of heat vision at it. The energies clashed against one another, neither one giving an inch, neither combatant able to move. In an attempt to take advantage of that, the female robot and the T-rex robot, the latter now regaining its bearing, moved in to grab Midoriya. Knowing that he couldn't hold off the Ultra-Humanite in this way while simultaneously fighting the robots, Midoriya deactivated his heat vision and ducked down with enough speed and precision to avoid the blast. As it collided with another wall, the two robots, unable to stop themselves, ran into each other, and Midoriya took advantage of the confusion by kicking them each to the ground.

"Curiouser and curiouser," Ultra-Humanite said. "Your power is far more exemplary than it should be."

"I-I just have a strong Quirk," Midoriya said.

"Clearly. I have a strong Quirk, as well, and I've been using it since I set foot in here, yet it doesn't seem to have any effect on you."

"Huh?" That didn't sound good.

"It makes me have doubts about your alleged humanity."

"Huh?" Midoriya was right to think that it didn't sound good.

"You're obviously not a robot; I would have noticed, by now. Can't be Atlantean; none of the telltale signs for even a halfling. Amazonian's a possibility, though I've never heard of an Asian one, before. Very peculiar. Oh, well, I can figure it out after you're dead."

Before Midoriya could question what he was talking about, the female robot and the T-rex robot tackled him to the ground and pinned him there. He realized too late that all the talking was mainly a means of distraction.

"Figure it out from whatever's left of you, anyway," Ultra-Humanite said as he aimed the ionic disruptor cannon at Midoriya. "I'm going to try and keep the damage to a minimum, but it's hard to control how much this thing tears apart, you know."

The ionic disruptor cannon started charging energy as the Ultra-Humanite kept it locked on Midoriya. Midoriya was going to be blasted in the face in no time at all, and with the combined weight of the robots on top of him, he didn't know if he could break free in time to save himself.

Fortunately, he didn't have to ponder the logistics of his speed, at all. Before the Ultra-Humanite could fire, a fireball flew in from the right side of the area and hit him square in the arm. He didn't fall or move from his position, but his arms were moved by the sudden impact, causing the blast to be redirected to the wall, once more. Midoriya, taking advantage of the sudden intrusion, threw the robots off of him and got back up from the ground.

"There won't be anymore evildoing going on today, Villain!" A familiar voice shouted.

"For we are here!" Another familiar voice shouted. "I've always wanted to do that."

"All Might! Firestorm!" Midoriya cheered.

"Sorry we're late, Young Midoriya. Hope you didn't have too rough a time, on your own."

"Not from lack of trying, mind you," Ultra-Humanite said, dropping the ionic disruptor cannon to the ground. "I'm not surprised that someone like you managed to stay alive, Firestorm, but I do wish that you were just a little bit more maimed. And you're here, too, All Might. What a surprise that that sickly old man was the Symbol of Peace. What a thrill it is to think about how much praise I'll get back in the states when everyone finds out that I managed to kill you."

"Only in your dreams, Ultra-Humanite!" All Might shouted as the robots started recovering.

"Midoriya, go somewhere where you won't draw attention to yourself," Firestorm said.

"O-Okay!" Midoriya said.

"All Might, I'll take care of the rust buckets. Ultra-Humanite's all pumped up about fighting you, so how about you show him what happens when people try that?"

"My sentiments, exactly!"

All Might charged at the Ultra-Humanite. Firestorm blasted at the enemy robots. The robots evaded Firestorm's attacks to the best of their abilities. Midoriya started running off to the side to let All Might and Firestorm take care of things. The Ultra-Humanite just stood still with a smug expression as All Might barreled towards him.

That can't be right, Midoriya thought to himself. Sure, Ultra-Humanite is clearly arrogant and full of himself, but All Might is attacking him! He's not even flinching at the sight of him! Is he that confidant in that laser cannon of his?!

Wait. Maybe it's not his weapons that he has faith in. Maybe it's his natural abilities that he's betting on. Come to think of it, he was just talking about how his Quirk should have been working on me if I was human, and considering that All Might and Firestorm are both human-

"All Might, wait!"

Midoriya was too late. All Might had already closed in on the Ultra-Humanite and threw his signature Texas Smash at him, an attack that could destroy a skyscraper in an instant and leave nothing but rubble.

That was the kind of attack All Might used, and the Ultra-Humanite was able to block it with just one hand.

"What?!" All Might shouted.

"Well, at least I know that there's nothing wrong on my end," Ultra-Humanite said with a smirk. All Might threw his left arm at him, but he caught that one, just as easily. Then, as if to further emphasize how incredibly powerful he appeared, the Ultra-Humanite effortlessly lifted All Might off of the ground and tossed him into the air, All Might's body hitting the ceiling with a tremendous crash.

"What the hell?!" Firestorm shouted. In his moment of distraction, the T-rex robot was able to hit him with a swing of its tail.

"H-He blocked All Might like he was nothing!" Midoriya shouted.

"Compared to me, he might as well be," Ultra-Humanite laughed.

With a tremendous shout, All Might broke out of the ceiling and landed on the ground with a powerful stomp, creating a large crater that the Ultra-Humanite unfortunately wasn't caught in. All Might wasted no time in launching a flurry of punches, but Ultra-Humanite dodged every one of them, effortlessly.

"What's wrong? Am I too fast for you? Getting slow in your old age?"

No, that's wrong. Well, it's right and wrong! Midoriya told himself. All Might is definitely moving slower than usual, but his age shouldn't have anything to do with it. What's more, Ultra-Humanite is a mad scientist-type Villain, so he shouldn't have the physical ability to keep up with All Might, at all. This has to go back to his Quirk. His Quirk that didn't work on me because-

"All Might, stop!" Midoriya shouted. "You won't be able to hit him. Ultra-Humanite, he's using a Quirk that weakens his opponents! You can't do anything about it, but-but I can! I can do something… because I'm not human!"

All Might stopped in his tracks. Midoriya knew that it had to be because he couldn't believe that he just said what he said out loud for all to hear.

"Oh. So that is what's going on here," Ultra-Humanite said. Midoriya assumed that he was grinning for the exact same reasons.

Ultra-Humanite! Quirk: Over Man! When this Quirk is activated, every human within a 100-meter area of the Ultra-Humanite has their physical abilities decreased by seventy-five percent! Considering that basically everyone on the planet is human, it's hard to see this Quirk as anything but overpowered!

"Oh. So that is what's going on here," Ultra-Humanite said. Just from looking at him, All Might was able to put two and two together and figure out that he had put two and two together. On top of knowing his true form, one of the most dangerous Villains in history now knew the truth about Midoriya. It was safe to say that All Might had had better days.

"I can't do that!" All Might said. Just then, the Ultra-Humanite threw a punch at All Might's head. He caught the attack, but he struggled to maintain a guard.

"Are you sure about that? You're not exactly showing your best effort, right now," Ultra-Humanite said.

"H-He's right, All Might. Go help Firestorm; I'll try and do something about the Ultra-Humanite!" Midoriya said.

"I could use help, but that's still a terrible idea!" Firestorm said as he was blasted in the chest by the female robot's laserbeam.

"There's no way that I'm going to leave you to deal with someone this dangerous, by yourself," All Might said.

"I suppose this is the classic moment of the Hero making himself a martyr-" Ultra-Humanite didn't get the chance to finish his remark. All Might let go of him and kicked him hard in the stomach, or as hard as he could manage, anyway.

"That's why we're going to take him down, together!"

"What?!" Midoriya asked.

"Is that right?" Ultra-Humanite asked. He didn't appear very fazed by the attack, but that would hopefully change.

"Even if I'm not at my best right now, I'm still the Symbol of Peace; you'd have to be an idiot to think I'd leave a kid to handle a Villain, all by himself! So let's take him down together, Young Midoriya!"


Midoriya dashed over to All Might and the Ultra-Humanite, throwing an uppercut at the latter as All Might threw another kick to his stomach. Ultra-Humanite deflected All Might's kick with an elbow attack. Not surprising. He also dodged Midoriya's uppercut and threw a punch into his face that sent him back a few steps. Far more surprising.

"What? Did you think I was completely powerless without any of my toys?" Ultra-Humanite asked. "In most of my other bodies, you'd be right to assume so, but how could you look at this body and keep thinking anything of the sort?"

Midoriya never responded to the rhetorical question. The Ultra-Humanite grabbed Midoriya by the arm and swung him like a bat into All Might. All Might knew that Midoriya had a tough body, but he never would have guessed it to be tough enough to send him flying off of his feet.

"All Might!" Midoriya shouted.

"I think you have far more to worry about than him, boy," Ultra-Humanite said, hitting Midoriya with an uppercut to the jaw.

All Might wanted to respond in kind, but he was too busy being caught in the jaws of the robot T-Rex. He had only just gotten trapped inside, yet he could already feel a blazing heat enveloping his lower body. He didn't let that deter him, though. He used the legs of that very same heated lower body to kick down on its lower jaw and open its mouth up wide, letting him slip out just as a cloud of fire came forth.

"My turn!" Firestorm flew in right in front of where All Might landed and shot a fireball into the T-rex robot's gaping mouth. The attack was swallowed whole, and a split second later, its sides burst apart in an explosion. Smoke bellowed out of its now slacked jaw as it fell over on its stomach, defeated.

"Nice one, Firestorm," All Might said.

"Compliment me, later! You need to get back to Midoriya, now!"

All Might turned his head in Midoriya's direction. He had broken free of the Ultra-Humanite's grasp and launched another punch at him. It hit, but just barely, as he managed to jump back before full impact. That gave him enough time and space to punch Midoriya once more.

All Might really did need to get back there. He nodded his head at Firestorm just as he dodged a strike from the female robot and ran off in Midoriya's direction. He had hardly moved three steps, however, before a glowing disc landed right in front of him and exploded into a blast of light that knocked him back.

What was that?! All Might asked himself. Rather quickly, he found his answer: the object, most likely some sort of bomb, was thrown by one of the five smaller robots in the area. They had been immobile since All Might and Firestorm first showed up, so he ended up completely ignoring their presence. A truly amateur mistake.

The consequences of said mistake continued onward as the five robots grabbed more weapons from the bag and fired them all at All Might. Laser beams, explosives, plasma whips, all manner of high tech weaponry was thrown at him in an effort to take him down. All Might dodged the attacks, but thanks to having his power so severely dampened, it was always by the skin of his teeth and the breadth of his hair.

"SHIT!" All Might shouted. "He really cleaned S.T.A.R. Labs out of house and home!" This wasn't the time for wit, though. Midoriya and the Ultra-Humanite kept trading blows, but Ultra-Humanite was getting in far more hits than Midoriya was. He and Firestorm couldn't keep wasting time with the robots, but that was easier said than done, even more so when a plasma whip grazed All Might's arm.

"All Might!" Midoriya shouted.

"You should be worrying about yourself, boy," the Ultra-Humanite said. All Might saw him take advantage of Midoriya's distracted state of being by kicking him against the wall of the cave. Then, with speed that you wouldn't expect out of the body of a gorilla, he picked up off of the ground what All Might could only assume to be an ionic disruptor cannon.

"I've enjoyed our time together, boy, but I do have other things on my schedule. Don't think I've forgotten about your little bombshell from earlier, though; I'll be sure to thoroughly dissect whatever's left of your interstellar corpse."

He pulled the trigger. The beam flew out. All Might tried to jump in the way, but he was held up by his opponent. Firestorm screamed as he tried to fly over, but he was stopped by his opponent. Neither one of them could break through. Neither one could do anything when the beam hit Midoriya square in the chest with enough force to send him straight through the wall. Neither one of them could do anything when the Ultra-Humanite, to add insult to injury, was tossed an explosive from one of the robots that he quickly threw through the giant hole in the mountainside.

"NOOO!" All Might shouted.

"Keep it down, will you?" Ultra-Humanite asked, cupping an ear. "I'm trying to hear the-"

An explosion sounded off, the terror greatly contrasting the pleasant glow of sunlight flooding the room.

"Ah, there it is. That's what I love about doing battle in nature: no cleanup required. Well, outside, anyway. The lairs still end up stained with blood. Speaking of which, get on that, please."

The five smaller robots each picked up a beam sword and rushed All Might. He barely paid attention to their weapons, though. What they were holding didn't matter to him as he slammed his fists against the ground as hard as he could. Even with his decreased power, he still managed to accomplish his goal of releasing a shockwave powerful enough to knock them all on their backs, their rotund bodies creating an immediately apparent difficulty in getting back on their feet.

"Ultra-Humanite! I won't forgive you for this! Take away seventy-five percent of my power, eighty-five percent, one hundred percent, even! You won't ever escape from here! Let's take him down, Firestorm!"

Firestorm said nothing in response.


Firestorm said nothing in response. All he did was stand in one spot, completely motionless.

"Looks like he's taking an ordinary death of a child a little hard. As expected of his generation," Ultra-Humanite said. His smirk didn't give any indication that he felt at all threatened by All Might's rage. Not that he needed to be, with All Might still severely weakened and the female robot firing another laser beam at Firestorm.


Firestorm said nothing in response. All he did was stand in one spot, completely motionless. He did nothing at all as the beam made contact with his body and turned into a pile of dust.

"What?!" All Might gasped.

"Don't lecture me, old man," Firestorm said to no one.

The female robot charged at Firestorm and grabbed him with one of its claws. A split-second later, the robot vanished, replaced with a pile of rocks.

U-Unbelievable! All Might thought to himself. This must be Firestorm's transmutation, the power to transform one object into another object of equal mass!

"I don't need you screaming in my ear, right now," Firestorm said. Face contorted into something of pure rage, he started slowly walking towards the Ultra-Humanite, the ground beneath his feet transforming into a different gemstone with every step.

"Don't tell me to calm down! I'm going to kill this bastard! Right here! Right now! And I don't care if I have to turn this whole mountain into a pillar of salt to do so!"

All Might had never seen so much anger and fury within a young Hero, before. He wanted to step in and say something, but he couldn't find it in his power to move from where he was standing. Even the Ultra-Humanite wasn't looking as confident. His smug smirk devolved into a legitimately nervous expression as he slowly moved a finger to the side of his vest.

It was right before Ultra-Humanite could touch anything that a shadow broke through the light. A shadow that, once it covered Firestorm, somehow made him stop moving and put his face into an ever so slight calm.

All Might truly had no idea what was going on. When he turned in the direction of the shadow, though, an act done simultaneously with the Ultra-Humanite, the source of the shadow became abundantly clear: it was Midoriya. Midoriya, blocking the sun with his dirty body. Midoriya, still looking like he was ready to fight. Midoriya, suddenly floating in midair.

"He can fly?" All Might asked.

"He can fly?" Firestorm asked.

"He can fly?" Ultra-Humanite asked.

Midoriya blinked twice before looking himself over.

"I can fly?!" Midoriya shouted.

Izuku Midoriya refused to die. He knew that he was just blasted with an ionic disruptor cannon, but he refused to die (it helped that it surprisingly didn't hurt that much). He knew that some sort of high-tech bomb was thrown at him, as well, but he refused to die. He knew that he was falling farther than anyone should ever have to fall, but he refused to die. Not when he was so close to the end. Not when the answers to everything were so close.

With a scream as his conviction, he decided to keep fighting, and his rapid descent came to an immediate halt. He grabbed the explosive out of the air and tossed it aside before he started heading back up to the fight, an explosion creating an appropriate backdrop to the scene. In no time at all, Midoriya had returned to fight, floating behind the very hole he was blasted through mere moments ago.

"He can fly?" All Might asked.

"He can fly?" Firestorm asked.

"He can fly?" Ultra-Humanite asked.

Midoriya blinked twice before looking himself over. Now, with a moment of clarity to gather his thoughts, was when he was able to take in just how he had managed to avoid falling to his death.

"I can fly?!" Midoriya shouted.

"You better believe you can fly!" Firestorm cheered with a massive grin.

"You really didn't know, then? Here I thought you were just trying to be dramatic," Ultra-Humanite said. "Oh, well, not like this changes anything."

The Ultra-Humanite aimed the ionic disruptor cannon at Midoriya as it began charging. He wouldn't allow it, not again, so he fired his heat vision at the barrel of the gun. The impact created a small explosion that resulted in a small puff of smoke getting in the Ultra-Humanite's face. It took him only a second to get rid of it, but it only took Midoriya half as long to shoot himself back into the cave and drive both of his fists into the Ultra-Humanite's stomach. The impact sent him flying across the room until he ended up landing on his back. He didn't see it coming.

"Dammit!" Midoriya heard him curse under his breath.

"Dammit"? Midoriya repeated in his head. That was the first time he had heard such a strong response out of the Ultra-Humanite. Granted, he was just sent flying across the room, but the overall impact couldn't have hurt him that much.

"Don't think that you've won anything, boy." Midoriya looked at him with his super enhanced eyesight. There were beads of sweat seeping through his pores.

"I still hold all the cards. I still have every conceivable advantage." Midoriya kept looking at him with his super enhanced vision. His eyes kept darting towards All Might and Firestorm.

"One tiny stroke of luck doesn't change the fact that this mountain is going to become all of your graves." Midoriya looked at him with his X-ray vision. His heart was beating at an unusually fast rate.

"His Quirk isn't working, anymore!" Midoriya shouted. "Th-The way his body is reacting to everything makes it look like he's nervous! He wouldn't be getting like that if he still had the advantage over us, so something must have happened to deactivate it!"

"Oh, come on, now. How desperate are you to resort to-"

All Might wasted no time in dashing right in front of the Ultra-Humanite. The Ultra-Humanite raised his arm for a punch, but All Might hit him in the face before he could move his fist even a little bit forward.

As we said, Over Man is incredibly overpowered. However! It does have a weakness! If Ultra-Humanite is knocked on his back even once, then Over Man will deactivate, and he won't be able to use it again for the rest of the day!

"Now that's more like it!" All Might shouted. "Looks like you were right on the money, Midoriya, my boy. However, you've done far more today than any child should be expected to do. If it's alright with you, the grownups are going to finish up, here!"

Midoriya simply nodded his head in response. There wasn't anything left to worry about. After all, All Might and Firestorm were here.

Ultra-Humanite, having been sent flying once more, crawled back up onto his feet. His expression was one not of annoyance or confidence, but pure, simple rage. Rage that, overall, didn't amount to anything. Before he could act in any way, the earth around his feet suddenly shot up and wrapped itself around half of the Ultra-Humanite's body, leaving him completely immobilized. The power of transmutation was truly something else.

"Gotta make sure this son of a bitch can't get away," Firestorm said as his right arm became engulfed in flames. "Let's go, All Might!"

"Took the words right out of my mouth, Firestorm!"

All Might and Firestorm charged at the Ultra-Humanite, still struggling to break free of his entrapments, to no avail.

"Georgia-" All Might said, raising his right arm up into the air.

"Surtr-" Firestorm said, raising his right arm up into the air.

While the Ultra-Humanite kept struggling to break free, their two arms found a meeting place: the front and back of his neck.



His eyes turned white. Spit shot around as he gasped for air. His head fell down, lifelessly. It was over. It was finally over.

Almost finally over.

And with that, our little impromptu battle against evil came to a close! Villains from the Golden Age are just as tough as I thought they'd be, but it didn't matter; in the end, justice will always prevail!

So, naturally, we had to contact the authorities and deliver the Ultra-Humanite to them (outside of the mountain and away from all the weird writing), at which point I assured them that it was one-hundred percent only Firestorm and myself responsible for his capture, and not a single other person. Initially, Young Midoriya, Firestorm and I were concerned about him revealing the multitude of secrets he had learned, but when he regained consciousness, he said that he wouldn't tell a soul!

In regards to my true form, he didn't see the point in telling anyone because "it wasn't as if I'd be less invincible in my pajamas" (I didn't bother to correct him). In regards to Young Midoriya, though, he surprisingly said that he had no interest in making life harder for him. That now that he knew what Young Midoriya was, he guessed that he really did know what it was like to have to have to force yourself to fit in with everyone else. I didn't know what he was talking about, but Midoriya wasn't arguing with him, so I guess I must have missed something between them. If the two of them were able to come to some kind of understanding, then maybe Ultra-Humanite isn't so bad, as far as Villains go. Maybe I'll talk to the museum about making space for both their old stuff and my old pal Endeavor's exhibit.

Anyway, the point is that it's finally over. Almost finally over, anyway.

While All Might and Firestorm talked with the police about the Ultra-Humanite, Midoriya, who had stayed out of sight so no one would get into trouble for his Vigilantism, had carried the spaceship far up the mountain, leaving it in a rocky area completely devoid of people. It didn't take that long for him to do it, now that he had the benefit of flight. He couldn't stop himself from feeling a little giddy about it. Him, flying! Just like Wonder Woman or Martian Manhunter or Starman or any of the Hawkpeople! Feeling the wind rush around his body as he soared above everything was unlike anything he'd ever felt before!

"At the same time, though, it's kind of scary," Midoriya said to no one but the spaceship. "I mean, when my powers first came in, all I could do was jump really high and punch people way too hard. By the time I was ten, I could shoot lasers out of my eyes and knock people down just by exhaling. Now I'm fourteen going on fifteen, and all of a sudden, I can fly.

"Am I just going to keep getting more and more powers, the older I get? When I'm eighteen, are bones going to start shooting out of my fists? When I'm twenty, is my body going to turn into electricity, and I'll just zap everything around me? Is it ever going to end? Am I even going to be able to control it, forever?"

"Of course you will!" Midoriya turned around to see none other that All Might behind him. All Might in his skinny form riding piggyback on Firestorm, to be more accurate.

"Even if you end up with a million different powers, there will always be a way for you to control yourself," All Might said as he climbed off of Firestorm. "I'm not going to say that it'll be easy, but you already don't want to hurt anyone, right? If you ask me, that's the most important step, there is."

"Still, though…" Midoriya said, looking down at the ground.

"Don't get like that, kid," Firestorm said. "He just said he believes in you, didn't he? That's the second most important step. Even if you have no confidence in yourself, never forget that there will always be people who care about you."

Midoriya couldn't argue with that. He couldn't argue with any of that. So long as he wanted to prove he deserved to be a Hero, he didn't plan on letting his powers get the better of him. So long as people like his parents and All Might and even Firestorm cared about him, he knew that he'd always have a reason to do his best.

"That's right. Of course that's right. Thank you, thank you both!"

"Don't even sweat it," All Might said.

"Shut up, I'm allowed to be corny, if I want to!" Firestorm said to no one. "Alright, now it's time to do what you came here to do, isn't it?"

"YES! How do we do that?" All Might asked.

"I-I don't know! It's a mystery to me, too!" Midoriya said. "Although, come to think of it, after talking with the Ultra-Humanite, I think that we were able to get inside the mountain because I was the one touching the wall. So maybe if I find the right spot, something will happen?"

"Worth a shot, at least."

With All Might's approval, Midoriya prepared to start rubbing his hands across the ship in an attempt to try and get something going, no matter how long it would take.

The time it would take was apparently zero seconds. As soon as Midoriya turned back towards the ship, the same deadly metal claws he saw in the video shot out and lifted the ship up into the air. All Might activated his Quirk, Firestorm made flames appear around his hands, and they both stepped in front of Midoriya, but Midoriya quickly sidestepped around them. Not because he wasn't nervous for his own safety, as he truly couldn't stop himself from shaking, but because he knew that he had to face this, head-on.

As if to respond to this, the ship bent downwards until the bow was only a meter away from Midoriya's face. A second later, the same mechanical voice from the video came out of the spaceship, uttering a completely unintelligible phrase: "EHROSHBEM, KAL-EL."



"I-I don't know what you're saying! Please, just tell me what you are! Just, just tell what I am!"

Nothing came out of the ship in response to that. Nothing save for a few beeps, a humming noise, and a faint green glow around the bow of the ship. A minute passed without any conversation taking place. When the minute was up, the beeping ceased, the humming stopped, and the glowing faded away.

"PRIMARY HOST LANGUAGE ADAPTED," the ship said, now speaking perfect Japanese. "RE-INITIATING INITIAL PHASE: HELLO KAL-EL."

"'Kal-El'? D-Do you mean me?"


"U-Um, um, um, what?"


"N-No, you did! I just, this is a lot to take in. Okay, you're an AI, I get that, that's pretty self-explanatory. But, I mean, the other stuff is just, I don't know. Kryptonian, and analyzing people, and Xenosakolouthos? I really don't understand that on top of all the other things I don't understand."


"What's phase-"

A sixth claw, one much, much, much smaller than the other five, shot out of K.E.L.E.X. and clamped itself around Midoriya's forehead.


Everything went white for Midoriya. His vision came back, but everything was still white. No All Might, no Firestorm, no K.E.L.E.X., nothing but an endless expanse of white.

"Wh-What is this? Wh-Where'd everyone go?"

"Don't be alarmed. Your body is still exactly where it is. All of this is a virtual program being transmitted into your mind at a speed tens of thousands of times faster than normal reality. By the time everything is finished here, only a few seconds will have passed in real time."

Someone was talking to Midoriya. Someone who sounded nothing like K.E.L.E.X.

"Wh-Who's there?"

"Again, please do not be alarmed. There's nothing to be worried about, Kal-El."


A mass of green pixels appeared in front of Midoriya. They all started shuffling around in the air until they took on a shape, the shape of a person. Slowly, the green coloring faded away until there was a clear cut person standing in front of Midoriya. A person with a pair of glasses on top of an aged face, a moustache and beard cut with precision, and a nice, clean head of black hair. All very normal. Less normal was the thin, yellow headband displayed on his forehead, the black bodysuit draped by a red robe, and the chest that bore the familiar black pentagon containing the English letter "S".

"That symbol-"

"Our symbol. My name is Jor-El of Krypton. I am your father, and it's so very nice to meet you, again."

Since I don't think anyone would get it, Jor-El's appearance is based on Hikaru Hanada, the Japanese voice actor who voices Superman in the Japanese dub of the DCAU. Now, before you leave, enjoy this short piece by my very good supporter, The Infamous Man.

Hope Carried 1,000 Years by The Infamous Man

"Let me go!" Shouted a man in a red body suit, his face covered with a glass green dome and a now smoking device covering his right wrist. The person behind him brought his arms back and with a flick of the wrist they were restrained by cuffs that appeared to be made of pure data.

The person behind him was bald and also had orange skin as well as two antenna coming from his forehead. He was wearing a white jumpsuit with blue highlights, and a black belt that had a golden buckle on it.

Within that buckle was a stylized 'L' on it.

"Well, since you asked politely..." the alien-looking humanoid said with a roll of his eyes.

"I have rights, you asshole!"

"Well, if you had succeeded, chances are those rights would've been voided." An orange-haired teen with milky white eyes said with a smirk. He wore a blue bodysuit, but with silver boots and gloves. Two yellow lightning bolts came from his shoulders and met at his abdomen, pointing at the same belt buckle his companion wore. As he said this, lightning danced from his fingers and on the silver rifle comprised of components that didn't have names.

Not in this time.

As the rifle squaked and hissed, the smell of burning hardware filling the air, the boy finished. "What with the high chance you wouldn't have been born in the first place. Time Assassination is a pretty big offense after all."

"I would've been protected, unlike you little punks!"

"So what makes you think that?" A young blond-haired woman wearing a red jumpsuit with a white stripe running down the middle, the yellow image of the planet Saturn in the center of her chest. "You can either tell us, or I dig in there and find out myself. I don't want to do that, but it's your choice."

These three were Chameleon Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl. Their real names were Reep Daggle, Garth Ranzz, and Imra Ardeen respectively.

They were part of the organization known as the Legion of Superheroes.

They were also from the 30th century.

When their quarry did not answer, Irma sighed. "Alright then. Just remember that I gave you a choice." She placed her hands on her temples and closed her eyes...

"That will not be necessary."

All four of them turned their heads to see an individual stepping out of a glass sphere, silver disks flying from behind him and placing themselves underneath his feet as he acted like he was coming down some stairs. He wore a dark brown button-up shirt, pants, and shoes. His coat was a deep dark purple as was the bow tie he wore. His hair was a rich blond and combed to the side.

His skin was also completely green.

He was called Brainy by his friends, even if he hated it.

His name was Brainiac 5, and he preferred to be referred to that.

"The remnants of radiation within Bleed-space is that of adapted Apokolyptian technology. It's a bit too good of a job to have been done by the Legion of Supervillains, therefore I deduce that we're dealing with Libra and his Cult of Evil again." Brainiac then bent down as his feet touched the ground, picking up a glowing green bullet. One of the metal disks morphed into a cube, which Brainiac dropped the bullet in before it closed. "Likely trying to ensure his Master's "rightful" success down the timeline."

"Ugh. I hate this crap." Garth groaned as he hoisted the gun over his shoulder. "Especially when it's our shift. How come so many people wanna go back and assassinate Superman? Don't they got anything better to do? Like commit crimes in our time? At least we can kick the crap out of them in a place that isn't so freakin' backwards!"

"Oh? So your saying you'd prefer to be on duty to stop those who try to assassinate those Hitler or Kennedy guys?" Reep asked, causing Garth to shiver.

"No way. I pity those poor bastards. Did you hear about the guys who had to stop that 21st Century Meta, Midnighter, from assassinating Hitler during Earth's First World War?"

As the two continued talking, floating along with their captive to the glass sphere, Brainiac stood beside Irma as she stared in the distance.

Stared at Mount Fuji.

"You want to see him." Brainiac stayed simply, and Irma sighed.

"Can you blame me? We're just a few miles away from him. Back when he discovered his origins. It's the stuff that's shown in holo-vids everywhere." With that, Irma touched her wrist and a picture appeared in the space in front of them.

A picture of Izuku Midoriya descending from his jump with his mentor Toshinori Yagi.

Two living legends, even in the 30th Century.

"Plus... he could use some friends before he enters his training period."

"Yes, he could." Brainiac agreed. "But not yet. He needs to find himself first, and when he does... He'll take the first steps needed to make our future. A future that's moved past... this fairly ugly time." Brainiac then took out a white napkin from his coat pocket and began wiping his hands. "And unsanitary. So can we go now, please? I feel the need to begin stating the periodic timetable to keep my mind occupied from all the pollution we are currently inhaling. I mean really. Fossil fuels? Do they have any idea how horrid it all smells? And don't get me started on those glass bottles I saw on the ground in our arriva-!"

"All right Brainy. All right..." Irma giggled before floating up. "Don't short-circuit on us. Let's go home."

As they floated to the Time-Sphere, Irma glanced back at the mountain. He reached out with her mind... and felt his.

She felt doubt, nervousness, and fear.

But also... determination, bravery, and hope.

It was the mind of Izuku Midoriya.

This was the mind of Superman.

"I hope we do meet him, one day. For real this time." Irma told Brainiac as he began pressing on holographic images within the sphere.

He simply smiled.

"We will one day." Brainiac said as the sphere glowed. "It's only a matter of time."

As the three other Legionaries groaned, the sphere glowed as bright as a star...

And then disappeared from existence, as if it were never there in the first place.

Happy Father's Day, everyone. How about you honor your fathers by adding to the TV Tropes page?

Chapter Text

Midoriya always wondered what his father would look like. Not the man who raised him, obviously; he knew what he looked like, even if he only saw him once or twice a month. It was the man, the alien who sired him that he was really curious about. What did he look like? What kind of person was he? Why did he send Midoriya to Earth?

At the very least, the hologram standing in front of him gave him the answer to the first question: not much like him, at all. Their faces didn't match, their eyes were alike only in color, their builds, while both skinny, were still of different varieties, Midoriya having far less muscle. If this man, Jor-El, hadn't said that he was his father, he'd be hard pressed to come to that conclusion on his own. Though there was the possibility that he would start looking like that when he got older, which he supposed was alright. At the very least, he was glad that they didn't look different because he had blue skin or three heads or anything like that.

"You've been silent for quite some time, Kal-El," Jor-El said.

"O-Oh! Sorry!" Midoriya said, only then realizing how lost in his own thoughts he had been. "It's just, this is a lot to take in, you know? You-You're really my father?"

"Indeed, I am."

At the very least, Jor-El seemed like a calm person. Midoriya didn't know what he'd have done if his father was some sort of galactic warlord. He seemed like the person that was good to talk to. Like the kind of person you could feel safe giving a hug to. Midoriya tried doing the latter, but he found himself walking through Jor-El, as if he was air.


"Again, this is all a virtual program. That includes myself, who is nothing but a hologram."

"APOLOGIES IF THAT WAS UNCLEAR, KAL-EL," a voice boomed from all around the endless white expanse.

"K.E.L.E.X.?! I-Is that you?!"


Midoriya swallowed. This was it. Now or never. If he didn't get anything here, then he'd never get anything, anywhere, at any time. He had to go all in, or else nothing would come out.

"Please, tell me who I am. Tell me what I am. Tell me-Tell me why I'm here!" Midoriya shouted.

Jor-El looked down at the floor for a few seconds before lifting his head up to meet Midoriya's gaze, once more.

"You are Kal-El, first son of the House of El, and the Last Son of Krypton."

Midoriya was silent as he took a step back.

"'Last Son'? I-If I'm the Last Son, and you're just a hologram, then is Krypton, is my homeworld, are-are all the people like me-"

"Completely destroyed, yes."


Midoriya fell down to the ground. He didn't know what he was expecting. It wasn't as if this was a huge surprise to him, or anything. He'd been on Earth for almost a decade and a half, so if anyone was looking for him, they should have shown up, already. There were only three reasons he could think of for why that hadn't happened yet: there simply wasn't anyone who wanted him, the people looking for him were being held up by something, or anyone who would want him was dead. None of this was beyond what he thought was possible, but that didn't mean it was any easier to take in.

"Are you alright, Kal-El?" Jor-El asked.


"Yes, I think I got that part."

"I'm fine," Midoriya said, standing up. "As fine as you can be when you find out you're an endangered species, at least. I just wish I could have seen-Krypton, right? I just wish I could have seen it, once."

"We can do that. K.E.L.E.X., initiate orbital view."


The white expanse started spinning all around Midoriya. It shifted above his head, rotated under his feet, all with no feeling, whatsoever. When it all stopped, it looked as if Midoriya and Jor-El were floating in space. The environment was dyed black, save for a multitude of tiny white specks that had to be stars. Off in the distance, there was a giant red star, completely different in intensity from the yellow sun of Earth. Floating a little away from it was what looked like a crescent moon, but with a large mass of rocks and debris floating by it. Said moon and floating debris were orbiting around a planet that surprisingly looked a lot like Earth. There were two masses of ice at the northern and southernmost points of the planet and it was covered mostly in water, but unlike Earth, the continents seemed to be divided into two land masses, not five.

"That's it, isn't it?" Midoriya asked.

"Yes. What you're looking at is none other than our homeworld of Krypton," Jor-El said. "The star is our sun, Rao, named after our primary deity, and the space debris you see is our moon, Wegthor. I've seen this view countless times, yet it never ceases to amaze me."

"I can see why. It's-It's beautiful. But, um, is the moon supposed to be like that?"

"No, no it is not. That's a story for another day, though. Back to today's story: Krypton. Look at it. All it took was a little space gas expelled from Rao-"


"-and ten thousand years of evolution for the most promising race in the Andromeda galaxy to be born. We had our fair share of struggles, internal and external, but we always toughed it out. Maybe that ended up being something of a bad thing, though."

As Jor-El said the last sentence, Midoriya couldn't help but notice his father's eyes dropping to the floor before his mouth closed shut. How advanced this technology had to be if it could showcase such sadness in its projections.

"Is it alright if we go down to Krypton?" Midoriya asked.

"Yes. Yes, of course," Jor-El said, looking up to meet Midoriya's gaze. "K.E.L.E.X., if you would."


Once more, the environment was sent into a spin. The inky blackness of space soon became replaced with a blue sky, not unlike the ones on Earth, and a surrounding view with even more to behold than the orbital view of the planet.

The surrounding view was that of a city far grander than anything Midoriya had ever seen on Earth. Buildings of gold and blue coloring, mostly gold, could be seen all around him, with some being so large that they went up above the clouds. Near said clouds were what could only be flying cars, something that Midoriya didn't think was actually possible, yet there they were. People dressed similarly to Jor-El repeatedly passed Midoriya by, and sometimes passed through him, creating a brief particle effect similar to the one Jor-El formed from.

"This is Krypton?"

"Indeed," Jor-El said as he motioned for the two of them to start walking. "Right now, we're on the Lurvan continent, the largest continent between Krypton's two. The city we stand in is none other than Kryptonopolis, capital city of the entire world."


"Really? Your-my-our family built this?!" Midoriya exclaimed with wide eyes.

"Impressed, are we?" Jor-El asked.

"Yeah! It's-It's amazing! I've never seen buildings this big or built so high-tec! And hover cars! You have hover cars! On Earth, we can barely do anything with them on the ground! And over there! There's people using hologram technology like cell phones! Oh, you don't know what that is. A cell phone is this square-shaped device that you can use to talk to people all around the world. Those disc-shaped things people are using look like they work in the same way, but we haven't gotten hologram technology to work on such a widespread and commercial level. We only ever use them for special recordings, and they can only hold up to a few minutes of video, plus the audio tends to come out a little scratchy-"


Midoriya stammered out an apology as his face went red. Jor-El just chuckled to that, but it was sensible enough for Midoriya to know that he didn't mean anything by it.

"Yes, I suppose an outsider would react to it, in such a manner," Jor-El. "It's a shame that Earth isn't as advanced as Krypton was. Don't worry, though. You've already seen the similarities between the two planets; I'm sure that Earth will reach this level in a few millennia."

"Too bad I won't be around to see that."


"Wait, what?"

"Let's pick up the pace, Kal-El," Jor-El said.

"Can we back up to that last thing?"

"We have a lot on the agenda, son."

"Yeah, I get that, but if I heard right, it sounded like K.E.L.E.X. said that I'm immo-"

In an instant, Midoriya dropped the subject in its entirety. Not because he lost the desire to press the matter further; this was definitely something that would occupy his thoughts for weeks on end. No, the reason he dropped the subject was because something passed him by, passed through him, actually, that was surprising enough to steal away all of his attention.

"Was that a dog?"

Jor-El's eyes, for reasons Midoriya didn't understand, seemed to light up in response to that.

"Why, yes! Yes, it is a dog! K.E.L.E.X., he knows about dogs! Oh, and here I thought you knew nothing of your heritage!"

"I don't. Why are there dogs in space?"

"I'm sorry? I don't know how I'm supposed to respond to that," Jor-El said, looking at Midoriya as if he had a second head.

"An answer would suffice."

"What, are you telling me that you have dogs on Earth?" Midoriya nodded his head. "Heh. Next you'll tell me that you have cats and monkeys, too." Midoriya just stared at him. "Really? Even monkeys?"

"I really feel like this should be reversed."

A minute of awkward silence emerged between Midoriya and Jor-El before they agreed to drop the subject, entirely. From there, Jor-El kept guiding Midoriya around Kryptonopolis and telling various historical anecdotes. He explained how not far outside the city was the Gold Volcano, a massive mountain made entirely out of gold and other precious metals that shined like a rainbow when the sun hit it just right. He told him about the statue commemorating all of the Houses that helped defeat their would-be conquerors, the Vrangs (though there was no symbol for the House of El, Jor-El assured him that they were major players). He pointed out a butcher shop that always used to give him a good deal on sandwiches whenever he came in. It was all very good, but Midoriya couldn't stop himself from paying more attention to something that was rather obvious.

"Everyone's skin tone is different from ours," Midoriya said. "I mean, everyone has light skin, but compared to us, it's a little different, isn't it?"




"So does that make us minorities, then?"

"It does. Are you not one on Earth, Kal-El?" Jor-El asked.

"No. Not where I live, anyway. I would be if I moved to somewhere out west, though with how people's bodies have changed over the years, race isn't really seen as being as big a deal as it used to be."

"That's rather fortunate."

Jor-El broke into a smile, but it looked like one brought about by obligation rather than one made from feeling the appropriate emotion.

"In the history of Krypton, the House of El had been involved in turning points of the planet hundreds of times, yet it was hardly ever acknowledged because of our race. Everything we did was either downplayed or attributed to some other House, all because people were afraid of being shown up by someone not from the mainland.

"I never let that slow me down, though. If anything, it became a source of motivation for me. It pushed me to work harder than my classmates. It pushed me to amaze all of my professors with my ingenuity. It pushed me to earn the honor of youngest member of the Science Guild, regardless of race."

"That's amazing!" Midoriya said, his words punctuated with a bit of laughter.


"No, it's not funny like that. My dad, um, my Earth dad, he's a scientist, too, so it's just kind of neat that both of my dads did the same kind of stuff."

"Fascinating. What kind of work does your host father do?" Jor-El asked.

"He's a nuclear physicist."

"Nuclear physicist! I remember when I was learning about nuclear physics. I couldn't have been any older than nine, ten years old!"

"Y-You don't say." It appeared that Midoriya's dads actually didn't do the same kind of stuff.

"Don't feel embarrassed for the man. It's not his fault that Krypton was more advanced than Earth, for all the good it did us. No point in bragging about my own accomplishments, either. Couldn't make a difference where it mattered, after all."

"Are you talking about-"

Before Midoriya could finish his sentence, the ground started shaking. It was different from when K.E.L.E.X. would change the environment, as the scenery was still that of Kryptonopolis. Yet the shaking still persisted. People fell to the ground around him. Buildings vibrated until their windows shattered and sent glass everywhere, until chunks of their structure broke off and fell to the ground below. Tables and trees broke apart as cracks formed in the ground in an attempt to swallow them whole, an attempt that was also repeated on the people, at random.

"Wh-What was that?"


Midoriya looked over to Jor-El. The light was reflecting off of his glasses in a way that hid his eyes, but his face said enough. The way his wrinkles scrunched up, the way he tilted his head down, the way he had his fists clenched, it all made it perfectly clear: this was part of Krypton's destruction.

"Take us home, K.E.L.E.X.," Jor-El said.


The world shifted for a third time. Midoriya didn't know how he felt about getting used to that, but he was left with no time to contemplate as the environment fully settled. The two of them were now inside a building of some kind, standing in a room that was as big as Midoriya's entire apartment, with windows large enough to capture the entirety of Kryptonopolis. In the center of the room was a massive green couch, far bigger than any couch Midoriya had ever seen. Sitting on one cushion was what looked like a white Shiba Inu lying flat on its stomach as it chewed on a red-colored bone.

Sitting next to the dog was a woman who looked impatient. Her cheeks had freckles on them, just like his own. A spit curl shot out of her black hair, just like his own. She wore the same kind of Kryptonian garments as the other people he had seen, and like Jor-El, bore what he now knew as the symbol for the House of El, only hers was on her stomach. A stomach that was clearly far along with a pregnancy.

"That's her, isn't it?" Midoriya asked, asking an obvious question.

"It is," Jor-El said. "Lara Lor-Van. My wife, and, more importantly, your mother."

"Mother". The word hung heavily on Midoriya's mind, but not in the same way as it did when he first met Jor-El. Maybe it was because his adoptive father was always working, but he never gave a lot of thought to what his birth mother was like. Going by today, maybe a part of him always knew that it would be Jor-El who would give him his answers, so he subconsciously pushed thoughts about his birth mother to the deeper corners of his mind. Regardless, taking one look at the woman made him instantly regret not thinking about her more.

"She's my mother," Midoriya said.


"I know, it's just-what was she like? Was she a scientist like you?"

"Hardly. The poor girl couldn't tell her Czarnian cyber processors from her Daxamite photon destabilizers," Jor-El said, laughing to himself at what Midoriya assumed to be a joke. "No, your mother was actually head priestess of the Temple of Rao. Like myself with the Science Guild, she had to work through a heavy deal of discrimination and prejudice brought about as a result of her Twenx heritage, but she pushed through it all and worked twice as hard to succeed three times as well as her peers. I think it was that determination of your mother that first attracted me to her."

A smile appeared on Jor-El's face, one Midoriya hadn't seen on him before. It was loving, it was wistful, and most unfortunately, it was regretful. Midoriya wanted to probe further, but then he heard a door open and slam shut.

"Unbelievable!" It was Jor-El's voice saying it, but Midoriya didn't see his mouth move. Instead, it came from a second Jor-El who had appeared on the scene, one who walked right through Midoriya as if he wasn't there.

"Let's let the story play out on its own, for a while."

"Unbelievable!" Jor-El shouted as he entered his home. He did his best to keep his expression calm, half because of his character, half because of who else lived there, but he couldn't stop his anger and frustration from completely leaking out.

"What's unbelievable, this time?" Ever so slightly, it faded away when he heard her voice, when he saw her face, when he saw what they were going to create.

"You know exactly what it is, Lara," Jor-El said as Lara Lor-Van stood up from the couch to greet him. "Did you not feel that tremoring? That was the third Kryptonquake this week, and yet everyone still has their heads up their asses!"

"You can't be serious! Didn't you refine the hypotheses with data collected this very morning? Didn't you showcase real-time photography of Krypton's core?"

"None of it mattered. They brushed it off, just like they always do. Selfish ingrates, the whole lot of them. Don't care about a damn thing that doesn't line their own pockets. That's why this is happening, in the first place!"

Jor-El found himself screaming. No words, just noise born from frustration. Noise silenced by the soft hand of Lara on his shoulder and the soft fur of the dog rubbing against his leg.

"Good boy, Krypto," Jor-El said, petting the dog before it ran off somewhere with a bark. "K.E.L.E.X., drink, please."

"RIGHT AWAY, SIR," K.E.L.E.X. said. A square hole opened up in the floor next to Jor-El, and out through it came a glass of wine sitting on a floating plate. He took the glass off the plate and drank the contents in just a few seconds.

"I work harder than anyone to get to where I am, yet they never listen to me, when it counts. I bet they'd take me more seriously if I was a mainlander."

"Honey, I've gone through the same trials and tribulations as you, so believe me when I tell you that that's bullshit," Lara said. "After what happened with Kandor, you can't possibly think that the council would want to give attention to anything other than damage control."

"At the rate things are going, there won't be anyone alive who can control things. But you're right, no one can be blamed for that. I understand that, but I was finally gaining some momentum, only for it all to go to waste. I just-I just don't know what I can do."

"What you've been trying not to do all this time: stay strong," Lara said. "Our society values wisdom over everything, but Raoism teaches us that what has the most value is an appreciation for ourselves. So long as you don't lose sight of what makes you proud to be alive, anything is possible. I'm proud that I was blessed with parents who never stopped loving me. I'm proud that I'm blessed with a husband who tries so hard for people, even when they don't care. I'm proud that I will be able to bless this universe with the life we created, together. That's three things I'm proud of, three reasons for why I keep moving. You're smarter than me, smarter than everyone, so there's no excuse for you not having more than that."

Lara kissed him. Jor-El kissed her back. For all the higher level intelligence he was gifted, Jor-El could never surpass his wife when it came to knowledge of the heart.

"I can take pride in a lot of things," Jor-El said. "There's one thing that I should especially take pride in: I can take pride in having a last resort. K.E.L.E.X., pull up the hidden files."

"RIGHT AWAY, SIR," K.E.L.E.X. said. In an instant, holographic screens appeared in the air around Jor-El and Lara. In any Kryptonian home, this wouldn't be anything special, it would just mean that someone was watching television or conversing with someone on some other part of the planet. Jor-El was doing neither of those things. Instead of people, the holographic screens displayed a series of pencil-sketched images and lengthy formulas.

"Jor-El, these schematics, these formulas, they're-are they for a spacecraft?!" Lara asked.

"That they are. We've had our difficulties, but Z's good for something when I need him to be," Jor-El said. Lara put a hand to her mouth.

"Space travel has been forbidden for two centuries. If the council finds out about this-"

"If we just do nothing, we'll all be dead, anyway. With this, though? With this, at least we have something. That's what Rao cares the most about, isn't it?" Lara nodded her head.

"What do you need me to do?"

"You have enough on your plate, already. Just leave this to me. I'll make sure that hope will survive."

The scene that Midoriya was watching with sad eyes suddenly began speeding up. Lara and the second Jor-El kissed again, then the second Jor-El started working on the spaceship, all of it happening at an incredible speed.

"This part is rather boring, so I thought it'd make more sense to montage it," Jor-El. "Oh, you probably don't know. See, a montage is when you take a series of scenes and condense them into a multitude of small, quick shots. This allows for someone to get from point A to point B without making the audience bored with unnecessary details and you have montages on Earth, too, don't you?"

"Yeah," Midoriya said.

"Well this day has certainly been eye-opening for the both of us." That really should have only been the case for Midoriya.

"So. Krypton's destruction. It sounded like that was something the people brought upon themselves."

"That's correct. As Krypton evolved, we needed to find new ways to maintain our ever growing technology. Older sources of energy were inefficient, but two hundred years ago, we found one that would work: the energy of our planet's very core. This worked stupendously, until, of course, it didn't. The constant harvesting of Krypton's core over the course of two centuries left the planet unstable. The Kryptonquake you saw was a constant side effect of that. I was the only one to discover this, but no one would believe me when I tried to tell them. No one would believe me when I said that we needed to evacuate. The people of Krypton refused to own up to their mistakes, and as a result, well, you know the results."

"Krypton blew up, and everyone died. Everyone except the baby sent hurtling through space to some random planet."



"K.E.L.E.X. is right, Kal-El," Jor-El said. "You didn't end up on Earth by chance. I sent you there because I knew of what it could do for you."

"What do you mean?"

"K.E.L.E.X., display solar radiation experiment #52."

K.E.L.E.X. voiced its approval, and the environment began to shift, though less so than the previous instances. At the end of it, the montage of construction was still there, but on the other side of it was what appeared to be a laboratory, albeit one far more high tech than any that Midoriya had ever seen. Naturally, there was a third Jor-El inside dressed in a lab coat, although it was green instead of the standard white. The third Jor-El was holding a knife in his hand as he walked over to a table that two trays sat on, one tray also being beneath a lamp.

"Are those eels in those trays?" Midoriya asked.

"Fresh from the Scarlet Jungle. Quite delicious when prepared properly, but they weren't my lunch. Watch what I do with the first one."

Midoriya did. What he saw was his father cut open the eel and drain all the life from it. He didn't understand what he was looking at.

"I don't understand what I'm looking at. All you did was cut open an eel."

"Yes. You wouldn't think that anything else would happen, would you? Keep watching, Kal-El."

Midoriya kept watching. Just as he thought, the third projection of his father walked over to the tray containing the second eel and brought his knife down upon it. Not at all like he thought, the knife, instead of cutting into the eel, broke apart upon contact.

"Wh-What in the world?! Th-The knife?! Why did that happen to the knife?!"

"Exactly what should have happened. Exactly what would have happened if you were stabbed with a knife, correct?"

Midoriya nodded with slight hesitation.

"Through years of research, I discovered that Kryptonian cells, both organic and inorganic, absorb solar radiation in a way that's far different from other lifeforms. All matter absorbs solar radiation, but Kryptonian matter does so in a way that grants the main body incredible power, depending on the type of radiation it's subjected to. The red sunlight projected by Rao does nothing, but the sunlight of a younger star, a yellow star? I discovered that this makes Kryptonians not only incredibly strong, but can also grant them abilities that should be far beyond the scope of our biology!"

"Abilities like heat vision, super powerful breath, and-and flight?"

"Exactly! Those are all ones within the field of possibility. When I began construction on the spacecraft, I knew that I needed to find a planet with a yellow sun that contained the same atmospheric conditions as Krypton and could be reached with the limited amount of fuel available."

"And Earth was the only planet that filled the bill."

"Not exactly. There were actually several planets that would have worked, some that were even closer to Krypton than Earth. However, when I was observing Earth, I discovered that the vast majority of the population had enhanced abilities of their own. Most were different from the ones you would obtain, but I knew that you wouldn't turn any heads if you were sent there. Not only that, but the people of Earth seemed to dedicate their lives to protecting each other, like some sort of hyper competent police force."

"Yeah. We call those people 'Heroes'. With all the powers I got, I guess you knew that I'd be able to be like them."

Jor-El shook his head at Midoriya.

"Never crossed my mind. Not even once. If you wanted to be like those people, fine, but the reason I cared about that was because I knew you'd be safe there."



"Look at this, Kal-El," Jor-El said, pointing to the symbol of the House of El on his chest. "The mark of a House is more than just a fancy symbol; every single one of them means something important. For the House of El, our symbol means 'hope'. That's what your mother and I wanted you to take with you to Earth: hope that you would live a long and happy life, hope that you would never have to be punished for your predecessor's mistakes, hope that you-that you could just be safe."

To Midoriya, it looked like Jor-El was about to cry. He tried to put a hand on his shoulder, but it went right through him. He was just a bunch of pixels, Midoriya needed to remind himself.

"K.E.L.E.X., where are we in the montage?"


"That works. Let's return to that, Kal-El."

"Okay," Midoriya said. Midoriya turned his head away from the fading laboratory to look at the larger scene of Jor-El and Lara.

He then quickly turned away once he realized that he was witnessing his own birth. He really didn't need to see that.

Krypton was minutes away from destruction. The sky, now dyed blood red, was littered with storm clouds bringing lightning down upon everything below them. Kryptonquakes of incredible magnitude tore Kryptonopolis apart at the seams, destroying every building and landmark that had stood proud for centuries. The death toll couldn't be measured unless you tried to count all the screams that were puncturing the air.

In the case of Jor-El, he could only hear one scream at the moment: the screaming of his newborn child.

"I don't know if it's because of bias or because I still have some morphine left in me, but I'm pretty sure our little Kal-El is the most beautiful baby in the universe," Lara said.

"I'll have to agree with you on that one," Jor-El said, looking down at Kal-El with a smile. "The world's going to hell all around us, yet we're still able to see something as beautiful as this."


"Yes, thank you for that, K.E.L.E.X." The couple's faces lost the happiness they were forcing out.

"I guess it's time, then," Lara said. She kissed Kal-El square on his forehead, right below his little spit curl, and he immediately stopped crying.

"Lara, I-I'm so-you don't know how hard I tried," Jor-El said. "I wanted so badly to make the rocket at least able to accommodate the both of you, but there just wasn't enough time. If I had started building the rocket a week earlier, I might have been able to make it large enough for the two of you and still able to function-ah, but no! By Rao, there wouldn't be enough fuel reserves to carry you both to safety. Even if I did start earlier, the available material wouldn't work for a rocket meant to carry two people. It might have been possible if I looked for better resources, but even finding what I was able to find was an ordeal, in and of itself, and if I spent too much time looking for higher quality material when I needed to just construct the damn thing-"



"Jor-El, it's fine, really," Lara said. "I-We knew the risks that were involved, but we kept moving forward, regardless. We kept moving forward because we knew that this was about something bigger than the two of us, even if not in a literal sense. We're both going to be gone, but in a way, we'll still always be with him, you know?"

"I know."

Jor-El kissed her for what would surely be the last time. When the kiss broke, he took Kal-El from her arms, holding him for the first, last, and, as evidenced by him placing the baby into the rocket, the only time.


"That won't be necessary, K.E.L.E.X. Do you have everything ready?"


"Good. Now then, download your programming into the spacecraft."


Abruptly, K.E.L.E.X. stopped talking. In tandem, the lid to Kal-El's spacecraft started to slowly close.

"There's so much we wanted to do with you, Kal-El," Jor-El said. "We wanted to take you camping in the Scarlet Jungle. We wanted to take you to Twenx so you could see where your ancestors hailed from. We wanted to be there when you decided on a Guild to commit yourself to, making us proud with whatever you decided upon. But most of all, we-we just wanted a chance to be your parents."

"We didn't get the chance to raise you, but someone out there will," Lara said. "Make sure you're a good boy who treats them and everyone around you with respect. Jor-El says that the people of Earth have special abilities, too, but that doesn't mean you can do whatever you want with your own. You don't have to use your powers to be special, but you can't use them to spread chaos. Try and make lots of friends, get a girlfriend or two or however many they let you have at a time, have a good diet so you grow up big and strong, and remember-"

"And remember-"

""-we will always love you.""

The spaceship closed shut, cutting Kal-El off from Jor-El and Lara. A second later, the rocket shot off of its platform and into the sky. Up, up, and away it flew until it was completely out of sight and on its way. Jor-El and Lara kept watching, hopeful for the future of their son, even if he might never know how much they loved him.

Midoriya watched everything in silence. He knew from long ago that, in all likelihood, it went down something like this. He knew this, yet he still found himself stunned into silence, not even saying anything when Jor-El had K.E.L.E.X. return them to an orbital view.

"What's your mother like?" Jor-El asked.

"My mom?" Midoriya asked.

"I just realized that we only ever talked about your adoptive father. Tell me a little bit about the woman who raised you."

"Oh, um, well, she's a really nice woman? Yeah, really nice. My mom used to work as a designer before she married my dad, but she still does some freelance work from time to time. She's not a scientist like you or my other dad, but she's still really smart, always knowing the right thing to say when the rest of us get tongue-tied. She's not religious like Lara-like my mother was, but no one's moral compass is better than hers. She always knows the right thing to do, and Dad and I are always happy when she can act when we don't know how to. If I'm being honest, I couldn't ask for a better person to be my mom, but… but I still would have loved to know the one who gave birth to me."

"I would have loved that, too."

As Jor-El smiled at him, Krypton blew up in a fiery explosion. Green lights flew off across the cosmos, waves of fire were sent off in all directions, and in the midst of it all, a single spaceship flew off with precious cargo.

"There you have it. That's the story of how you came to Earth." Jor-El pointed at Krypton's remains. "Doomed planet." Jor-El pointed at himself. "Desperate scientist." Jor-El pointed at Midoriya. "Last hope." Jor-El pointed at a new image: a projection of Inko and Hisashi Midoriya from the night that they found Midoriya as an infant. "Kindly couple."


"N-No, not right now, anyway," Midoriya said, shaking his head.


"A-Am I going to see you again?"

"This programming will remain within K.E.L.E.X., always available for access and guidance, if you desire it."

"Oh, that's great! I mean, it'd be nice if you weren't just a hologram, but still," Midoriya said, sheepishly rubbing the back of his head. Jor-El stared at him for a bit, Midoriya unable to read his expression.



"Temporarily redirect power for hard light processing."


Midoriya let out an inquisitive gasp, but Jor-El didn't respond to it. All there was was more humming and beeping from K.E.L.E.X., the telltale sign of it doing something. What that something was, Midoriya had no idea. He had no idea until his father, who was supposed to be just a hologram, managed to bring him in for a hug.

"Until we meet again, Kal-El."

Before Midoriya could say anything, the world went white all around him.

"-my boy!" When Midoriya's senses returned to him, the first thing he heard was All Might shouting at him. The first thing he felt was the metal claw from the ship separating itself from his forehead. The first thing he saw was that he was still on Mount Fuji. Just like Jor-El had said, hardly any time had passed in the real world, even though it had felt like he was in the virtual world for hours.


"We're just supposed to believe you?" Firestorm asked, hands still covered in flames.

"N-No! I-It's true," Midoriya said. "H-He didn't do anything bad to me. I'm perfectly fine, honest."

"If that's true, then why are you crying?"

"What?" Midoriya felt his face. It was completely wet. "Oh, I am. I didn't-didn't even realize. That's-I don't even-"

All of Midoriya's words failed him. The only thing that could come out of his mouth anymore were wails that encompassed everything that he had just learned.

Midoriya calmed down within five minutes and spent another five telling All Might and Firestorm everything that he had learned over the course of a few seconds. All Might, having gone back into his skinny form, was in tears just the same as Midoriya was. Firestorm, on the other hand, maintained a neutral expression.

"Come on, All Might, stop crying!" Firestorm said. "It's fine if the kid wants to cry, but you're just a third-party observer; you don't need to react that badly!"

"How can a man who burns so hot have a heart so cold?!" All Might shouted through his sobs.

"It's a lot easier than you might think."

"Um, I honestly would like it if you stopped crying, All Might," Midoriya said.

"I'll see what I can do." In spite of this comment, All Might was able to stop crying rather easily.


"Wait, what? What were you doing?" Midoriya asked.


"Yeah, that's probably true. What do you want to do, then? I don't live on a farm or anything, so I can't take you home with me and hide you there."


"Th-The North Pole?! I can't just go to the North Pole if I want to talk to you!"


Before Midoriya could say anything, he heard a beeping sound come from his phone, of all places. He couldn't imagine anyone other than his parents texting him. He was in the middle of life-changing stuff, but on the other hand, a text from his mom or dad was probably important, so he gave a quick apology as he pulled out his phone. Surprisingly, there wasn't a notification of a new text, but a notification of a new app being downloaded onto his phone. Curious, he scrolled through his phone to find a green square labeled with a capital "K" and a lowercase "R". The symbol for "Krypton".

"What's this?"


"'Primitive'?" Firestorm asked. The question went ignored.

"So I can just activate this app to talk to you, even if you're all the way up in the North Pole?" Midoriya asked.


The ship turned towards the sky as flames shot out of its exhaust port. Far, far faster than a speeding bullet, the ship shot into the air. It soared high above the three of them, high above the mountain's peak, and just before it went out of sight, a green vortex appeared in front of it. The ship flew into the vortex, the vortex closed with a pop, and all traces of the ship had vanished.

"Looks like some kind of advanced warp drive. That explains how it was able to get past the Green Palace, at least," Firestorm said.

"Looks like we won't have to worry about anyone else discovering it," All Might said.

"Hopefully," Midoriya said. He looked up to the sky with a wistful expression. He stretched out his arm until his hand was at the spot where the ship had vanished.

"Must be a lot to take in. All the stuff that computer told you, I mean," Firestorm said. "I'm sorry about your parents. Probably would have been nice if you could've met them on some space colony and gone on space adventures with them."

"I guess, but… I don't think I would have done that, even if they were still around. As fun as that would be, there's no way that I could just abandon my parents."

"Really? Even if they were your real ones?"

"I-I mean, my mom and dad didn't make me, but they're the ones who raised me. They're the ones who taught me right from wrong. They're the ones who always tried to make me feel okay with being, well, me. Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van gave me life, but as far as I'm concerned, Inko and Hisashi Midoriya are my real parents."

Firestorm stared at Midoriya for a few seconds before grabbing his head and ruffling up his hair. It was unbelievably warm, half because of Firestorm's natural abilities, half because of pure and simple affection.

"You're a good kid, Midoriya, don't ever forget that. I gotta head back to the States, so see you when I see you."

"O-Okay! Goodbye, Firestorm!"

"Until we meet again, friend!" All Might said with a smile. Firestorm smiled back at the two of them, shot streams of fire out of his hands, and took off into the dusk sky.

"It's getting pretty late. We should probably head back home soon," All Might said. "Unless you need another minute or two."

"No, I'm fine."

"Let's go back to the car, then. Traffic will probably be heavy at night, and, well, my car will probably need a few minutes to start up."

"Yeah, okay."

With nothing left for them there, they made their way back down the mountain. All Might reactivated his Quirk and ran down at incredible speed, and Midoriya followed along by floating above the ground.

"All in all, this was a pretty good day, right?" All Might asked.

"We got into a fight with a super dangerous Villain," Midoriya said.

"Yeah, but besides that!"

"No, I was just listing things! As crazy and as scary as that was, fighting one of the oldest bad guys in history was pretty exciting!"

"Glad you think so!"

"Then there was the stuff we actually came here for! All the stuff with K.E.L.E.X. and my dad and my planet! I'm still trying to wrap my head around all of it, but still! I finally know who I am! Why I'm here! What I'm supposed to do!"

"And what's that?!"

"Whatever I want to do! Whatever I think will make me happy!" Midoriya turned his head up towards the sky. The sun had gone down enough for the Green Palace to become visible. Midoriya's eyes were locked right on it. "And that means being a Hero, no matter what!"

Far away from Midoriya and All Might, Firestorm flew through the night sky with a smile on his face.

"Yeah, this went a lot better than I thought it would," Firestorm said to no one. "Yeah, I know I need a better handle on transmutation. Why do you think I never use that power? Can't blame me for getting like that, can you?"

"This really did go off in a completely crazy direction, didn't it? I mean, fighting a Villain was definitely on the table, even if we didn't think it'd be the Ultra-Humanite, of all people, but then there was, well, you know."

"Well, I knew this was gonna happen one of these days, just didn't think it'd be today. What matters is what happens after this. I mean, sure, I don't know what that is, but I gotta make sure it's nothing bad."

"Oh, here's your stop."

Firestorm began his descent towards the ground of central Asakusa. The district was fully embracing the start of Golden Week, coming to life with a swarm of tourists engaging in food and sights. Even with that, Firestorm was able to land on the ground without drawing a large amount of attention to himself, an unintentional perk to not being very active in Japan. However, low activity wouldn't prevent his identity from being exposed, so he ducked into a nearby alley as quickly as his feet would allow him. In there, no one was witness to the intense glow that shot out from his body. No one was witness to Firestorm turning from one person into two.

"Now that was exhausting," one of the people said, the person being a bespectacled old man with green skin and a pair of bolts sticking out of his neck.

"How are you tired when I was the one doing all the work?" The other person asked.

"Clearly you don't have enough experience trying to talk with you." The two laughed at each other for a bit. "In all seriousness, though, it is getting rather late. We should turn in for the night and get back to work in the morning."

"Sounds like a plan. Talk to you then, Professor Stein."

The two men shook hands and went off in separate directions, Stein towards his hotel, the other man towards the train station. The train arrived with little delay, and for forty minutes, the man was allowed the peace and quiet he needed to think about the day.

Why am I feeling so stressed out about this? The man asked himself. I'm not the one who had a bomb dropped on his head, and the guy who did is taking it well enough. I guess that just means I've been doing a good job for the last fourteen years. Here's hoping I can keep at it for however many years there still are.

Once the train stopped, the man got off and took care to not draw attention to himself. As he walked away from the station, he made two quick but important stops: he stopped at a flower shop where the cashier flashed him a familial smile, then he stopped at donburi restaurant where one of the chefs chatted with him as his takeout was being prepared. It was nice being back home, but these weren't the familiar faces he was excited to see. The ones he was excited to see were behind the door he now stood in front of.

"Showtime," he said. He unlocked the door, stepped inside the apartment, and headed over to the living room just like he had done countless times in the past. Just like in all of those countless times, the two most important people in his life were there waiting for him. "I'm home!"

"Dad!" Izuku said as flew off the couch and brought him into a hug.

"Welcome home, dear," Inko said as got up and added her own hug into the mix.

"Oh, the rare double hug? I should come home with takeout more often," he said with a laugh. "Izuku, go set this down. I have a feeling you're going to like what's inside."

Izuku let out an "okay" and took the bag of katsudon takeout from him, still floating above the floor as he did.

"Those flowers wouldn't be for me, would they?" Inko asked.

"What, these? No, they're for Izuku, too. Mind handing them to him?"

Inko laughed as she was handed the bouquet, all the way up until she got on her tiptoes to kiss him.

"It's good to have you home, Hisashi."

"Always good to be home and see my two favorite people," Hisashi Midoriya said. "Speaking of which, I couldn't help but notice that you're literally walking on air, Izuku."

"Huh?" Izuku asked. As if his concentration was shattered, he stopped floating and fell down onto the floor. "Oh, yeah, I guess I am, um, was. That's why I'm really glad you're home, Dad, because I have a lot that I need to tell you and Mom."

"Lay it on me," Hisashi said, even though he already knew everything Izuku was going to tell him. It didn't matter. He'd listen to it a thousand times because it was the most important story ever written: it was the story of how he got his son.

Chapter Text


Tsukauchi felt a little morbid about smiling at the scene before him. There shouldn't be anything amusing about discovering that a hundred-year old Villain had carved out the inside of a national landmark for their secret lair, but at the very least, it got him out of the house. Golden Week was usually slow for people in every form of either side of the law, so there was usually nothing for him to do, especially now that Makoto had moved out. Police work was the only thing he had going for him, so he always welcomed it, no matter the circumstance.

"The hell you smiling for, Tsukauchi?" Even if he had to share it with company that wasn't very welcoming.

"No real reason, Dan. Just kind of feel like it, I guess," Tsukauchi said.

"Smiling doesn't move things along, you know; don't waste time on that when you could be doing your job."

"Whatever you say, Dan-"

"And stop calling me 'Dan'! It's 'Dan'ichiro'! We ain't friendly enough for you to go throwing nicknames around, got it?"

"Got it. Sorry," Tsukauchi said, wondering if there was even anyone that Shitsugen allowed to be friendly with him. As he thought about it, he saw Shitsugen light a cigarette between his pink lips.

"Um, Dan'ichiro, I know I've mentioned that I have a problem with smoking-"

"It's a big forest."

It was, indeed, a big forest, and with the mood as it was, Tsukauchi decided to take full advantage of it. There wasn't that much to look at, though. Just police officers and a few local Heroes surveying the area. There was only so much he could do without actually going inside the mountain.

"Too bad we can't actually go inside the mountain, though," a familiar voice said.

"Oh, Nokogiri, I didn't see you there," Tsukauchi said to the person who had been standing next to him for who knows how long. "Yes, it is a shame that they're not letting us go inside the mountain. We're supposed to be searching the surrounding area for anything that the Ultra-Humanite might have left behind, but it doesn't look like we're going to find anything."

"Not like we can really help it, though," Tamako said. "The whole area was already covered the day All Might and Firestorm took the Ultra-Humanite down, so there's not much left to look at two days later. Not much for us, anyway. I'm pretty sure they're still letting some Heroes go inside to investigate."

"Of course they fuckin' are." Much to Tsukauchi's surprise, it was Shitsugen who said that. Not at all to his surprise, he was still smoking his cigarette, though he did get rid of it after Tamako glared at him for a few seconds. At least he thought she was glaring; it was always hard to tell with her.

"Leave it to you to always show up when someone's talking about Heroes. Is that your Quirk, or something?"

"Don't get smart with me, Nokogiri. I ain't in the mood for it."

"When have you ever been in the mood for it?" Tsukauchi asked. Shitsugen scowled at him. "Sorry, sorry."

"Better be. Already got all these Heroes making a joke out of us, don't need my own coworkers doing the same thing for a fraction of the price."

"I wouldn't say that Heroes are making a joke out of us."

"I might think it, but I wouldn't say it," Tamako said.

"That's the problem with your generation: no one wants to do anything on their own," Shitsugen said. "You kids don't care about getting the short end of the stick 'cause you're always thinkin' 'Oh, some guy in spandex is gonna clean everything up, so who gives a shit?' Don't try to tell me I'm wrong."

""You're wrong,"" they both said.

"What'd I just say?!"

"Well, what do you want to do about it?" Tamako asked. "I'm not a huge fan, either, but it's not like they aren't better at saving people than us."

"We are pretty awesome, aren't we?" A fourth person asked.

"There might be some people who look down on us, but it would be better to just try and ignore it, I think," Tsukauchi said.

"Making a stink really wouldn't get you anywhere," the fourth person said.

"'Just ignore it', he says, like it's the easiest thing in th' world. I remember when I was that naive," Shitsugen said while rolling his eyes.

"It's a wonder you can remember anything at all," the fourth person said.

"Hey, there's no need to be-excuse me?"

Words failed Tsukauchi as he finally acknowledged that there was a fourth person occupying his small group; Tamako's look of bewilderment and Shitsugen's expression of annoyance told him that they were just as confused as him.

"Where the hell did you come from?!" Shitsugen shouted.

"Here. There. Everywhere. Mostly there, though," he said, pointing in various directions before eventually stopping at Mount Fuji.

"So you're one of the Heroes working on the investigation, then? That explains the outfit, at least," Tamako said.

Looking at the man in front of him, Tsukauchi agreed that it would be hard to see him as anything other than a Hero, or at least someone pretending to be one. The latter was extremely possible, given how silly and garish his outfit was. A bat-shaped visor covered his eyes, said visor also being attached to a black helmet adorned with spikes. His outfit was a red bodysuit with what looked like gold "W"s adorning various parts, a pair of silver gauntlets, and a flowing blue cape covered in white stars. The costume was clearly trying to combine the signature aspects of the first Batman and Wonder Woman, doing so without paying any attention to what made their styles work.

"Hey, I know you. You're one of Ultimon's sidekicks. Wonder Bat, right?" Tsukauchi asked.

"Most Excellent Wonder Bat. You've got to remember the 'Most Excellent' part, otherwise you're not truly selling me," Most Excellent Wonder Bat said with a cocky smirk.

"I really don't give a shit, kid. Now what do you want?" Shitsugen asked.

"Oh, right, I guess I should get to that. Well, I was looking for the detectives in charge of the case, some of the other guys said that it was you three, so I'm just here to tell you that you and everyone else can go home. No one needs to do anymore investigating."

"You guys done, or something?"

"No, I just don't want you on my property, anymore."


"I own this place."


"When you say that you own this place, what do you mean?" Tamako asked.

"Exactly what I said. I own Mount Fuji, now," Most Excellent Wonder Bat said.

"What?!" Shitsugen shouted. "Are you shitting me?! How the hell are you gonna tell me that you bought Mount Fuji?!"

"It's very simple: my Quirk makes me so rich that I can do anything. If you have a problem with that, well, I don't know what to tell you."

"Why you little-"

"Easy there, Dan," Tamako said as she pulled on Shitsugen's arm and dragged him away. "Tsukauchi, I'm gonna calm this guy down, you try and make sense of whatever this is supposed to be."

"Okay?" Tsukauchi said as the two of them went away from the scene. "So. Most Excellent Wonder Bat. You really bought Mount Fuji?"

"Yep. I won't bore you with all the legal stuff, but if you want it, I'm obligated to talk about it on the next episode of my talk show."

"I guess my next question, which really should have been the first question, is why you would do this. Why would you do this?"

"Why not?" Most Excellent Wonder Bat said with a shrug. "The longer answer is that Big Science Action needs a new base after the old one got destroyed in that battle with Morgaine le Fey."

"Oh yeah, I forgot about that one."

"It'll be available on Blu-ray in June. Anyway, we needed a new base, I saw that this place's market value had reached an all time low, so it made sense to take advantage of it."

"Low market value?"

"Come on, everyone knows that no one's really cared about Mount Fuji that much since that alien landed here a decade and a half ago. Then we have the Ultra-Humanite tearing up the insides to do who knows what with it. No one's gonna want to go to a mountain that a Villain turned into their lair, especially when it could explode at the drop of a hat."

"When it could what?"

"Yeah, he rigged the whole place with explosives. Real nasty ones, too. Could blow up the mountain and all of the surrounding area if they went off. I know it's Villain 101 to make your lair capable of self-destructing, but still. Anyway, you won't have to worry about any of that now that the mountain is property of Big Science Action. If you've got any questions, here's my card."

Most Excellent Wonder Bat, despite not having any visible pockets, pulled out a business card and handed it to Tsukauchi. The card read "Most Excellent Wonder Bat: The Richest, Most Fabulous Hero Who Will Ever Save Your Life" and listed a social media handle of "MOSEXBAT".

"You're quite humble, when it comes down to it," Tsukauchi said.

"It's a gift, I know. I'm done here, so just tell all of that to the stone lady and the old guy, assuming the old guy doesn't have an aneurism, of course. See you the next time I save the day!"

Most Excellent Wonder Bat touched a spot on his right gauntlet, and three seconds later, a stylish silver-colored car zipped over to his side. Tsukauchi recognized it as the Wonder Wagon, the signature vehicle of Ultimon's five sidekicks, the Super Young Team. The closest thing any Hero could ever have to their own Batmobile, or so the team liked to say. Regardless, the top opened up, Most Excellent Wonder Bat jumped inside, and the Wonder Wagon sped off towards who knew where.

"And that's basically it," Tsukauchi said to Tamako and Shitsugen as he concluded recounting his encounter.

"Goddammit," Shitsugen cursed. "The world we live in where some punkass kid can just up and buy a national landmark. And for what? Just so he can throw a party every damn day of the week?"

"That's probably not it. He wasn't lying when he said that Big Science Action needed a new headquarters; Ultimon's the Number Seven Hero, so he probably wouldn't let it be used for anything stupid. Then there was the part about the bombs that the Ultra-Humanite left in there, which makes me think that he did it so no one would be around if they ever accidentally went off. The guy might be pretty full of himself, but deep down, he's not a bad person."

"Is that right? Didn't know your Quirk was mind reading," Shitsugen said, lighting another cigarette. As Tsukauchi backed away from him, Shitsugen started walking away in the opposite direction.

"Is he going home?"

"Looks like everyone is," Tamako said. Looking around, Tsukauchi saw that the number of police officers and Heroes on the scene had drastically gone down, and more and more were walking away.

"Guess word got around that the mountain was under new management."

"Dan's got a stick permanently lodged up his butt, but he's not wrong about how crazy this is. I mean, if Heroes can just do stuff like this, how long until they really can do whatever they want?"

"That won't happen. I've met enough Heroes to know that the good ones will always outnumber the bad ones. There shouldn't be anything to worry about," Tsukauchi said. Tamako nodded her head with a smile.

"Well, anyway, I'm gonna head home, too. My wife doesn't know I'm done early, so it'll be fun to surprise her."

"See you tomorrow, then."

Tamako waved at Tsukauchi as she walked back to her car. Tsukauchi, meanwhile, stayed where he stood and looked at the mountain that now belonged to just one person. For better or worse, the world had definitely changed over the years. Hopefully he and All Might would be able to keep up with it.


Chapter Text

Spring. The time of year when the birds are singing. The time of year when the bees are buzzing. The time of year when some other third cliche is taking place. Normally, this is the time of year when people, mostly children, are finally able to leave their homes without worrying about the cold and embrace the outdoors for all that they have to offer. I am not one of those people. The main reason for that is that the outdoors disgust me, what with all of the dirt and defecating animals and dumb people everywhere. Even if I could bring myself to ignore all of that, I still wouldn't ever be outside because of another annoyance.

"-should some up our quarterly investments for the end of last year." An annoyance called board meetings.

"We're still behind Wayne-Powers in sales, but at the very least, the difference is smaller than last year," Suit #2 said, as if that were something to take pride in.

"Yes, and they've barely changed in productivity. I think we can use that to win that military contract with S.H.A.D.E. We can sell the idea that we're still making progress while Wayne-Powers is always staying the same," Suit #3 said, catching the stupidity of Suit #2. Why would anyone care about how well we're doing if it's still not the best there is. I mean, I certainly wouldn't, but I guess no one feels like thinking like me.

"What are your thoughts on this, Miss?" Oh, Suit #1 is talking to me. Gotta be professional.

"I wanna go home and watch anime." Whoops.

"E-Excuse me? What did you say, Miss-"

"I mean, the fansub of Burn the Witch: The Movie is probably out now, and that's all everyone's going to be talking about for the next two weeks. The quality of the story will probably just be that of an average anime movie, but you just know that there'll be a ton of sakuga moments and great insert songs-"

"Will you shut up about your Chinese cartoons, already?! Don't think that you can do whatever you want just because your parents are away!"

"You sure? I mean, it's my company, after all."

"And yet you choose to not treat it with a single ounce of respect."

Ah. So that's it. So that's where we're going with this. Actually forcing me to take my head off the desk and look you in the eyes.

"Are you really going to say that I'm the one not treating this company with respect when you miscalculated our quarterly growth by twelve percent?"

"What? That's-" All the suits started shuffling through their papers. It took twenty-three seconds for their jaws to start dropping when they realized their mistake. Twenty-three seconds longer than it should have taken.

"Are you really going to say that I'm the one not treating this company with respect when you think we'll get that contract when you forgot to account for Quirk fatigue and quantum destabilization?"

"There's no way we could have-" Once again, they all go back through their work in a frenzy. Once again, they all find themselves shocked at the discovery of mistakes that never should have been. For the first time, I find myself being forced to my feet. All the better to berate them.

"Are you really going to say that I'm the one not treating this company with respect when you think it's okay to still be behind Wayne-Powers?!"

"W-Well-" I silence him with a dramatic point. I kill for that stuff.

"There isn't any point in progress if we're still only second best. That's not even progress, it's stagnation! We're stuck in an era where people can group us with the likes of Queen Consolidated, Holt Holdings, and Fries Financial, and you think that isn't a problem simply because we're above those small fries?! Pathetic! You're all pathetic! It's not 20XX, anymore, it's 20XX, for crying out loud! Be better than this and don't bother me when all you have to offer is mediocrity!"

They all sputtered out fearful apologies as I left the room. Good. I deserve that and more after all that they forced me through.

"You got out of their pretty fast. How many were fired, this time?" Ah, there she is. My faithful companion in a world of stupidity. Always by my side, even if she does stand a foot above it.

"No one," I said. "They clearly want to keep their jobs, and I respect that. However, at some point in the day, they'll get it in their heads to apologize right to my face, and anyone who does that is gone; I don't need beggars around here."

"My money's on the bald one cracking first. What about you?"

"I don't really care. Just take me home to my anime."

She gave me a salute as she led me out of the building. What a girl. Truly the best thing I have going for me. At the moment, anyway.

"Just one more year. Just one more year."

Spring. The time of year when the birds are singing. The time of year when the bees are buzzing. The time of year when people decide to put the past behind them and make new starts for themselves. Hopefully, I'm going to get to be one of those people.

After spending my whole life wondering what I am. I finally got the answers I was looking for: I'm the last living member of a planet called Krypton. My father, Jor-El, sent me to Earth moments before Krypton's destruction so I could live when we were all supposed to die. The symbol that was on my spaceship represents everything my parents wanted me to carry for them: hope. Hope that I can live my life to the fullest, even if they're not around to see me do it. More than anything else in the world, I want to honor that wish. They sent Kal-El off to do whatever he wants, and Izuku Midoriya is going to do that by showing everyone, including himself, that he deserves to be a Hero!

In a corner of the Aldera Junior High library, Midoriya read through a newspaper, his enhanced speed allowing him to get through it in a matter of seconds. An equal matter of seconds was also all it took for Midoriya to put it down atop a pile of other newspapers, all originally printed nearly fifteen years prior. He picked up another one, sped through it at the same speed, and put it down just like the last.

"Still nothing," Midoriya said with a sigh. Before he could pick up another newspaper, he heard a beeping sound coming from his phone. He knew what it was before even pulling his phone out of his pocket, so he wasted no time in plugging in his Beats by Canary headphones to engage with his phone.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING, KAL-EL?" Or, more specifically, the highly-advanced A.I. that was inhabiting his phone.

"Just doing some research, K.E.L.E.X.," Midoriya said in a whisper, creating as few chances as possible for someone to overhear him.


"I know that, but it just seemed like a good place to look for any information on…"


"On alien sightings."


"I know that, but I got here, didn't I?"

"AFFIRMATIVE, BUT NOT EVERY SPECIES HAS ACCESS TO KRYPTONIAN-" K.E.L.E.X. went silent. Midoriya tapped his screen to see if his phone was frozen, though he wondered if something like K.E.L.E.X. could even become frozen on his phone.





"Well, how do you know for sure that I'm the only one? If my father was able to get parts for a spaceship, then that means other people could have, right?"


"But what if they didn't want to be seen? Couldn't they have blocked themselves from detection, somehow?"

K.E.L.E.X. didn't have an immediate response. Ten seconds of silence passed by before Midoriya heard anything from him.


"That's not impossible, then! Like, maybe that "Z" guy who helped Father with my ship had his own ship, and it was a lot better because he kept all the good stuff to himself? Who's "Z", anyway?"


"Really?" On the one hand, there was no way for Midoriya to not find that odd. K.E.L.E.X. was supposed to know everything about Jor-El, yet he couldn't identify someone Jor-El had a close enough relationship with to address with a nickname. On the other hand, Jor-El and Lara did say that space travel was forbidden on Krypton, so this could simply be something Jor-El did to protect his friend, for all the good it did.

"I guess it's kind of a moot point, though," Midoriya said. "I've already gone through dozens of papers published around the time I came here, and none of them say anything that could be interpreted as an alien ship landing here. I've even gone through papers written in other languages, but going off of the pictures and the little I could translate with the Internet, still nothing."


"Maybe. It just would have been nice if someone else had survived-"

"The hell are you doing, Deku?"

Midoriya jumped out of his seat in surprise. School was still in session, but he didn't expect anyone else to be in the library at that time of day. In hindsight, he should have known better than to expect Bakugou to act like everyone else.

"K-Kacchan! W-What are you doing here?"

"I'm the one asking that, Deku!"

"W-Well, I'm just, you know, killing time until lunch is over! Yeah!" Midoriya said.

As he awkwardly laughed to himself, he used his speed to hide the newspapers and exit out of his browser faster than Bakugou could notice. While there wouldn't be anything inherently wrong with Bakugou seeing him looking at things relating to aliens, he'd have to come up with a reason for why he was looking at them, and the few lies he'd already told were stressing him out enough, as it was.

"By doing what? Listening to music while other people are talking to you?"

"Huh?" Midoriya grabbed his head and felt that his headphones were still on. Now he needed another lie, which was truly fantastic. "N-No! I was, um, watching a video and I paused it when I saw you and I just forgot to take off my headphones-"

"Let me see," Bakugou said, grabbing at Midoriya's phone. For the second time in a row, Midoriya was able to use his super speed to hide his activities. He exited out of K.E.L.E.X.'s app, pulled up Youtube, then started the last video he was watching, all in the time it took for Bakugou to grab his phone and unplug his headphones.

"Good afternoon, listeners." There was a bearded man on the screen. He wore a waistcoat with a collar larger than his head and held a cup of tea that was being spilt everywhere. "It is I, Gentle! The Wondrous Romantic, Gentle Criminal! Normally, I would be showing off my latest exposure of society's sins, but today is the one day where I make an exception. Why, you ask? Well, it's because today is none other than the birthday of my wonderful assistant, La Brava!"

"I wish it was your birthday, though!" The camera turned around to show a short, pink-haired girl looking flustered as she stood next to a giant vanilla frosted cake.

"Nonsense, La Brava! You're turning twenty, which means you're officially an adult in society's eyes. As of this moment, the world is completely open to you, so it's your obligation to embrace it!"

"As long as I can embrace you, I'll embrace anything!" La Brava shouted as she grabbed onto his leg.

"That's the spirit!" Gentle said while patting her on the head. "Now then, I asked you, my proud tens of followers, what La Brava and I should do to celebrate this momentous occasion. Allow me to go through all of your excellent suggestions at random."

With a flourish of his hand, Gentle pulled from his pants pocket a knife and from his chest pocket a wax-sealed envelope. In a single slash of the knife, Gentle cut open the envelope, and with the hand that wasn't bleeding, he pulled out the contents.

"Ahem. 'Turn yourselves in.' Obviously not. 'Make a woman out of that oppai loli.'"


"I'm throwing her a party. What else do you expect me to do?" La Brava's face contorted into an odd mixture of joy and disappointment. "'Finally shave your beard.' I think not, good sir, madam, or however you choose to identify yourself. 'Tasteful nudes for everyone.'"

"Gentle's body doesn't belong to you people!"

"My sentiments, exactly. 'Set La Brava free.' I don't understand this one. 'Let La Brava dump you.' Ah, there it is. 'Let the poor girl go.' 'Please escape, La Brava.' 'You two should get married…'"


"' La Brava can divorce you.'" La Brava slid down Gentle's leg until she was lying on the ground, face first. "I just-I just have the best fans in the world."

It was at that point that Bakugou stopped the video and threw the phone back to Midoriya.

"Your taste is garbage," Bakugou said.

"Please tell me you didn't come here just to insult me," Midoriya said.

"Oh, no, I got a bone to pick with you. Earlier today, I got called over to the faculty office to talk about my U.A. application, and wouldn't you know it, there's apparently someone else thinking of going there."

"O-Oh. So they told you about-"

"Are you shitting me?! All those years saying you didn't want anything to do with Heroes, then that crap from the beginning of the year, and now you're saying you're going to U.A. out of nowhere?! I swear to God, Deku, if this is some kind of prank-"

"I'm serious!" Midoriya shouted, moving to meet Bakugou at eye level. "I-I know that it doesn't make a lot of sense, given how I've been acting the last ten years, and I know this doesn't change things between us, but I-I don't want to be a hypocrite anymore. That's what you've been telling me all this time, isn't it? So I'm going to U.A., and I'm going to become a Hero. Don't-Don't think for a second that I can't."

Bakugou looked like he was going to say something, but instead, he just growled at Midoriya, turned around, and headed for the door.

"You better get your ass in shape. I don't care how strong you think you are, Deku; if you think you can just breeze through the exam when you've done shit all nothing for ten years, you're an even bigger loser than I thought."

Midoriya had no idea how he was supposed to respond to that, but Bakugou saved him the trouble by already being out of the library. Once he was out of sight, Midoriya fell into a string of quick breaths punctuated by a sigh, followed by wordlessly plugging his headphones back into his phone.


"Y-Yeah," Midoriya said.


"Probably not," Midoriya said with a tiny laugh.


"You're right." Midoriya would put the search for other possible Kryptonians to bed for the moment. "The problem is finding a good place to practice. Public gyms won't really do any good, and All Might's gone back to work, so I don't want to bother him."


"Civilians aren't allowed to use their powers in public, especially in a big city like Musutafu. I could try going to a forest somewhere, but I could run into hikers or a park ranger and get in trouble. You wouldn't happen to have any ideas, would you?"


"I was really thinking more along the lines of somewhere I can get to by train."


Midoriya neither confirmed nor denied that with his silence. What he did do was go back to browsing the Internet, less for the sake of trying to find other members of species and more for the sake of just taking his mind off of things. The first thing to catch his eye was a news report about one of Ultimon's sidekicks, Most Excellent Wonder Bat, buying the entirety of Mount Fuji so it could be turned into Big Science Action's new lair. Midoriya couldn't help but smile at how he had a part in getting the Number Seven Hero a new base of operations, even if people would only know of All Might and Firestorm's part in the matter.

Wait. Ultimon. ULTIMON! That's it! Midoriya screamed in his head. I know where I can go!

When school finally let out, Midoriya made his way to the train station where, after getting on an express train, he rode in relative silence for three hours. At that point, he had reached his destination of Nagoya, the capital city of the Aichi Prefecture. Midoriya knew that there were a lot of fun places he could be visiting at the moment, such as Legoland, Sakae Town, and Nagoya Castle, birthplace of Oda Nobunaga. If today went the way he hoped it would, he'd probably be going to all of those places and more, but for now, he only had a single destination in mind, one that no one would ever even go near.

"Do you think this will work, K.E.L.E.X.?" Midoriya asked while holding his phone up in front of himself.

"WHAT IS THIS, KAL-EL?" K.E.L.E.X. asked. The object K.E.L.E.X. was referring to was what Midoriya had reached after sprinting out of the city and onto a deserted beach, though it wasn't actually on the beach. It was about a kilometer off the coast, yet even someone without Midoriya's enhanced sight would be able to see it thanks to its massive size.

It was one of the benefits of being a gargantuan rotting Kaiju corpse. The corpse was magenta in color and had three shark-like heads sticking out of its neck, each one with ten pairs of eyes (some were still present, some had rotted into dust, and some were only partially rotted). Its torso was portly and covered in spikes, save for the gaping hole in its chest, and its tentacle-like limbs were long and solid enough to keep the majority of the body suspended above the surface of the ocean.

"That is Korusan Island. Three years ago, this Kaiju came out of a dimensional tear in the ocean and started attacking Nagoya. Ultimon and Big Science Action were quick to respond, and after a few hours, they were able to kill it. Unfortunately, after the Kaiju died, its body started releasing a deadly transparent gas that it's still releasing to this day. Anyone who gets too close to it will die in a matter of seconds,all known Earth metals melt just as quickly, and it's even immune to magic, so no one's been able to get rid of it.

"When I was reading an article about Ultimon, it reminded me of this, and I realized that this is the perfect place for me to train! The massive size of Korusan Island means that I can use my powers as much as I want, and since no one can come near here-the cutoff point was actually about half a kilometer ago-I won't have to worry about getting in trouble for using my Quirk in public! It's perfect, right?"


"Right-oh, no! I just realized that I can't take you with me. If I did, my phone would get destroyed, and-"


"Oh. Nice."

With that, Midoriya was off.

It took a little under a minute for Midoriya to fly and land on the head of Korusan Island. He wondered if that was a personal best for him. He stopped wondering about it when he stepped onto the rotting flesh and felt how squishy it was, like he was a Tuscan stomping grapes to make wine.


"Um, well, a lot," Midoriya said. "I have super strength and super speed, though I doubt that the latter is Speedster-level, I can release breaths powerful enough to knock things down, and I'm also as durable as I am strong. I have enhanced sight, heat vision, electromagnetic vision, X-ray vision, a bunch of other visions, I can fly-you were there when I started doing it-and, um…"


"I-I also have super hearing, but… I don't want to use that power."


"It's just that it's, it's really powerful, and whenever I try to use it, I always hear lots of stuff from all over and, well, none of it's very good."


"Look, I just don't want to use it, okay?!" Midoriya shouted.


"Thank you."

Midoriya put his phone in his pocket and did his best to bury the previous conversation. That wasn't what he wanted to be thinking about, not now, not ever.

Let's start with heat vision, Midoriya told himself. The few times I've had to use it, I've only ever done it in a straight line, but there shouldn't be anything stopping me from firing it in simple shapes.

Midoriya closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He exhaled, opened his eyes, and fired his heat vision at the flesh in front of him, the beams concentrated on a single spot. Slowly, Midoriya moved the beams upwards in a line, if you could call something so jagged a line. At a certain point, he turned the beams to the right, then downwards, then to the left until he reached the original starting point, creating a crooked square.


"Th-That's why I'm here, isn't it? To get better?"

K.E.L.E.X. offered an acknowledgement, and Midoriya continued with his training. He jumped high into the air, then, putting all of his strength into his legs, he slammed down on the square he carved into the flesh, causing it to break apart and allowing him to go directly inside the head of Korusan Island.

"Wow!" Inside the head was most of what Midoriya had expected to see: rotting flesh, shards of bone, decayed brain matter, those sorts of things. What he hadn't expected was to get such a clear picture of it all, such a thing being made possible thanks to what appeared to be luminescent crystals protruding out of the walls. For a decaying Kaiju head, it wasn't all that bad.

"For a decaying Kaiju head, this isn't all that bad," Midoriya said. "Okay, I'm here. What should I start with?"


"Come on, there's nothing alive in-"

Cutting Midoriya off was a cackling sound. Strange, animalistic, like a cross between a hyena, a humpback whale, and a smaller hyena. Most importantly, and most worrying, it was the sound of something that was neither Midoriya nor K.E.L.E.X. Slowed down by hesitation and fright, Midoriya turned to face whatever was there.

"AAAAAAH!" In all honesty, he didn't know what he was expecting, but it certainly wasn't a red-colored shark head sitting atop a bundle of tentacles. It was hard to expect something like that.

"KWEEEEAAAA!" The beast shouted as it charged at Midoriya. Midoriya, like any good person would, immediately ran away from it.

"Why didn't you tell me there was some kind of monster in here, K.E.L.E.X.?!"


"Shouldn't I be the one to decide that?!"

"""KWEEEEAAAA!""" In the midst of his escape, three more monsters jumped out in front of Midoriya. In a panic, Midoriya punched one of them in the side of its head, knocking it into the other two and sending all three to the ground. He jumped over them and kept running before the three could get up and join the first one.

"What are these things?!"


"So there's going to be a ton of giant monsters, soon?!"


As if to emphasize that fact, over a dozen of the creatures appeared before Midoriya, all giving the same animalistic cry. Both the mob in front of Midoriya and the few behind him attacked with tentacles and sharp teeth, but he managed to dodge by flying up into the air. Then, utilizing his strength and speed, he flew through the mob of monsters, knocking them all aside as he kept flying forward until he hit a wall of flesh, his fists slamming into it with such great force that they tore a hole through the flesh, allowing for Midoriya to return to the outside world.

"This-This isn't good," Midoriya said as he looked back towards the hole. "Even if it's going to take thousands of years for them to reach giant size, they're still dangerous like this. If they make it to the mainland, they'd cause tons of damage to people and cities. It'd make sense to tell the authorities about this, but if I do that, I'd get in trouble for being here. Even so, the needs of the many outweigh my own, don't they? Ah, wait! Even if I tell someone, no one could get close to here without dying, so Heroes or the government wouldn't be able to do anything about this. Plus, telling people about this would bring up the question of how I was able to be here and not die, and there's no way that I could explain-"


"That's a good point. Although, that does beg the question: why haven't they done anything?"

Still looking at the hole in the head of Korusan Island, Midoriya saw the monsters gathering around it. Appearance-wise, nothing had changed about them, but their expressions had lost all traces of rage and were filled with, of all things, anxiety. One monster slowly stretched out a tentacle through the hole and down towards the water. Before the tentacle was even halfway out, the monster brought it back inside and the entire group started whimpering, of all actions.

"They can't swim," Midoriya stated.



Midoriya looked at the now not so terrifying monsters and couldn't stop himself from feeling pity for them. They were just little kids who wanted to see the world, but there was nothing they could do to leave the confines of their home. Even if they could get out, no one would accept them for what they were and they'd probably kill them on sight. In that regard, maybe it was less that Midoriya was pitying them and more that Midoriya was empathizing with them. The thought stayed in his head as he gently floated back to the hole.


"""KWEEEEAAAA!""" The monsters all regained their ferocity and screeched at him.

"N-No! I don't want any trouble!" Midoriya said, waving his arms defensively. The monsters stopped their screeching in response.

"I'm sorry about breaking into your home like that. I didn't know that anyone was living here, and you were probably just as freaked out as I was. I'd like to just leave here and go somewhere else, but I need to use this place for some things. You were all here first, so I'll go to a different head, but, um, if you're ever feeling lonely, I think we could come up with something fun to do."

The monsters stared at Midoriya with eyes he hoped were filled with joy. A second later, they all growled at him and slithered away from the hole, so in all likelihood, their eyes were filled with mere contempt.

"That went about as well as I expected," Midoriya said.


Summer. The time of year when people are allowed to shirk their responsibilities for a little bit. The time of year when people can indulge themselves in more meat and fried food than they might normally do. The time of year when people do some other third thing that will be bad for them in the long run, yet they still end up doing it. I'd like to say that I'm in the midst of one of those, but that's probably just my natural pessimism talking.

No, wait, the toast points aren't equilateral. This is definitely going to ruin me in the long run.

"Something wrong?" My faithful companion asked.

"Nothing more than usual," I said. "I could be anywhere in the world right now, and while there are hardly any places I'd actually go, this hardly places highly on the list."

"I can imagine. Who in their right mind would want to be at a fancy gala with tons of free food, right? The struggles of the bourgeoisie are truly incomprehensible."

"We are an enigmatic bunch." The two of us clink champagne glasses that we're probably too young to be drinking out of. Probably. It's fine, though; she made a witty comment, after all. If anyone else tried talking to me like that, I'd have them thrown to the curb and make sure the curb was then lit on fire, but I suppose I've known her long enough to not get offended by most of the things she says. With her here, I can probably put up with an evening of being forced into a dress to celebrate the achievements of someone other than myself.

"Oh, there's the girl of the hour," my companion said, clearly catching sight of the aforementioned "someone other than myself". One look around the banquet hall told me that she wasn't the only one, so with a faux smile, I pretended to be under the same spell as all of them.

"""Happy birthday to you!""" Great, now we're all singing.

"""Happy birthday to you!""" I usually don't care about having to do these kinds of things, but why does it have to be for her, of all people?

"""Happy birthday, dear Wiktoria!""" Why not someone I can actually get along with? I know the world doesn't revolve around me, but that doesn't mean we can't put effort into making it do so.

"""Happy birthday to you!""" I join in on the applause, a necessary action for the evening. I stop at the same time as everyone else so she's free to give out her series of thanks for the song, the girl smiling brightly all the while. I feel like I have diabetes, all of a sudden.

Wiktoria Fries, granddaughter of Victor Fries, and future head of Fries Financial, a company that somehow manages to compete against my own. I must admit, for a girl I can hardly stand the sight of, she can make herself look pretty good for special occasions. That white dress of hers contrasts nicely with her ice blue skin and hair, and her lipstick did a decent job of complimenting her pure red eyes. I could at least admire that she made herself look good for people.

"-but I guess that's why they call it a Cold Gun!" Oh, I guess she was telling a joke. "But seriously, thank you all so much for coming out here. I know that we're all celebrating my birthday, but every year, I think it's more important to celebrate how I'm able to have one in the first place. If it wasn't for the tremendous good my grandfather did for the community, and if it wasn't for Batman giving him the opportunity to do so, nothing that my family built, including myself, would have been possible. So let's give all of that a big round of applause, okay?"

Sure enough, everyone did. Everyone except for me, of course. She says this every other year, and we all don't need to be reminded of it. We all know the story of how Nora Fries' cryotube was accidentally broken in a fight between Mister Freeze and the team of the first Batman and the fourth Robin, said Robin eventually becoming the fourth and current Batman. We all know that after Nora didn't die a minute later, the three of them discovered that she was apparently a first generation Quirk user and had awakened to a self-healing Quirk that cured her of her disease. We all know that Fries, having his mission in life finally realized, quit his life of crime right then and there and allowed himself to be arrested. He then spent fifteen years in Arkham as a model inmate, never causing trouble for anyone, even helping stop a few breakouts. He was then released on good behavior, went back to using science for good, started a major company, blah blah blah. Heard it a million times. You'd think that someone descended from a notorious Villain, even a reformed one, would be less upbeat all the time.

"Look who it is! I'm so glad that you could come to my party!" Before I know it, the overly upbeat girl is standing right in front of me.

"I wouldn't miss it for the world, Wiktoria!" I tell her, faking as much enthusiasm as I can let out. "I love that dress you're wearing!"

"Please, it's only half as good as yours, at best. Is it even possible for you to not look good in green?"

"If you think green makes me look good, you should see me in purple."

"I have! I wish I could pull it off as well as you do."

"Well I wish I had your svelte figure.

"I wish I had your jawline."

""I wish I had your megawatt smile,"" we said in unison before erupting in laughter. It was almost like we actually were friends, and going by the smiles I could see and the comments I could hear from the crowd, everyone else thought so, as well. We're both teenage girls set to inherit two of the biggest companies in the world, so why shouldn't we be getting along, right?

"Say, do you want to go look at the Green Palace for a bit?" Wiktoria asked. "It always looks amazing on summer nights. Plus, it's getting pretty noisy in here, and I know how much you hate having to listen to people talk."

More people need to understand the meaning of irony.

"That sounds great," I said, not knowing a good way to get out of it. I turn to my faithful companion and tell her that I'll be back in a few minutes, and she gives me an "OK" as she stealthily puts finger food in her purse. Am I not paying her enough, or is she just that kind of person?

Whatever it is, I don't have much time to dwell on it as Wiktoria drags me out of the banquet hall and into an elevator. In less than a minute, the two of us are on the roof, completely away from all the noise. The only thing surrounding us is the darkness of the night that's lit up ever so slightly by the stars and the Green Palace above us.

"I know what you're doing," Wiktoria said after nearly a minute of thankful silence.

"I didn't know you knew things, Wiktoria," I said with a smile. She glares at me with her big red eyes. It's quite unsettling.

"I know what you're planning to do next year. It hasn't gotten around to the general public-you're welcome, by the way-but it's not as big a secret as you think it is."

"Are you expecting me to be happy that I have such a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders?"

"I'm being serious! I know you've always been inclined to do whatever you want, whenever you want, but this? Why this, of all things? Of all times?"

"If you can't understand it without an explanation, you can't understand it with an explanation."

"So you're just not going to tell me, then?" I put a finger to my nose. "Fine. Be that way. I guess I was stupid to think you could actually be civil with me."

"That's a very good-"

"It's a wonder that you're able to be sincere with anyone with such a bad personality." She cut me off, and now here I am, standing with my mouth slightly agape. In all honesty, I'm more impressed than I am furious, though I am quite livid.

"We never have gotten along that well, have we?" Wiktoria shook her head. "That's weird, though. We're both young, attractive women set to inherit powerful corporations established by reformed Villains. What makes us so different?"

"For one thing, my grandfather paid his debt to society. Your grandfather, on the other hand, merely paid his off."

"Yes, I suppose Victor Fries was a sentimental old fool."

No quick comeback from Wiktoria, that time. Nothing but a scowl before she turned her attention back towards the Green Palace.

"I hope I'll be able to miss you," she said.

"I probably wouldn't mind missing you," I said. I really wouldn't. "Just nine more months. Just nine more months."

Summer. The time of year when people are allowed to shirk their responsibilities for a little bit. The time of year when people can indulge themselves in more meat and fried food than they might normally do. The time of year when people are given the freedom to spend their time on whatever they think is most important. For me, there's only one thing that's truly important to me right now: training!

Ever since I remembered Korusan Island, I've gone there everyday after school to hone my abilities. Strength, speed, and flight aren't a problem for me, and I've gotten more control of my heat vision. K.E.L.E.X. says I'm still not good enough for the Artists Guild, whatever that is, but I've definitely made improvements and figured out things I never thought were possible. Now that school's out for the summer, I have even more time to devote to preparing to U.A. I'm getting the hang of this, but there's no way I'm taking any chances!

"-and SMASH!" Midoriya shouted as he slammed a fist against a wall of flesh in front of him. "How was that?"




"That's a good idea."

Midoriya stepped away from the hole he made in the wall and sat down on the decaying ground. He pulled out a container of instant ramen, poured a bottle of water into it, and heated it with his heat vision. As he waited for the ramen to settle, he pulled out the study guides for the U.A. entrance exam and readied himself for self-study.


Of course not, Midoriya thought to himself. Sighing, Midoriya pushed his study guides to the side and pulled out his phone. He went into K.E.L.E.X.'s app and pressed the screen a few times until a long string of text was visible.

"'The Vrangs' cruelty… seemed to know… no bounds. Once the… ruling parties of Krypton… were killed… they… exiled-'"


"'-established a dictatorship of all of Krypton. Men were tortured… women were… carried-'"


"'-carted off like cattle… children were forced… to… embiggen-'"


"Ahhh! This is too hard!" Midoriya shouted.


"I know that, K.E.L.E.X.; English isn't my best subject, and we all had to take a semester of German. Kryptonese is completely different, though. There's so much complicated syntax and sentence structure, and all the writing looks like Hieratic text. It's too much to try and figure out on top of all of my other stuff."


"I do, but it's just a lot that's being thrown on my plate. Besides, can't you just translate all of this stuff into Japanese so I can learn the history and culture now, but the language later?"

A series of beeping and humming noises came out of Midoriya's phone.





Midoriya knew that K.E.L.E.X. was right. As hard as learning Kryptonese was, it was important that he gained an understanding of everything Jor-El wanted him to know about Krypton. Simply knowing where he came from was fine, but it would be a waste to not understand where he came from. If he wanted to do that, then he truly did need to put more effort into learning the language.

"Oh, should be ready." For now, though, he was going to put his effort into eating his All Might Miso Ramen.


"I have to eat."


Easier said than done, Midoriya thought as he blew on his lunch. I keep practicing with my powers, but there's not much I can add to them besides just making them stronger and gaining better control. I have a lot of powers, but they're all pretty simple like that.

Midoriya put another breath to his ramen, taking care not to accidentally use his super breath and blow everything to bits. He let out a third breath, more than enough to make it cool. He brought his chopsticks up to his mouth, but before he started eating, he stopped. All of a sudden, various words, words that seemed to have no relation to one another, were flying through his mind as if they were part of a larger puzzle. "Breath". "Cool". "Super". It all came together in a polymerization that led to Midoriya coming up with a brand new idea for something he could do.

Okay, go! Midoriya turned his head towards the newest hole in the wall and started releasing his super breath in its direction. There was nothing for him to hit, but he still kept blowing in its direction.

Focus! Concentrate! Midoriya kept blowing harder and harder, his lips getting tight, his cheeks getting red. All for the sake of trying to realize a random hypothetical.

All of a sudden, though, it started to come across as not so random. All of a sudden, solid matter started coming out of Midoriya's mouth. All of a sudden, it started spreading out further and further until the hole Midoriya had created was covered in a wall of ice.

It-It worked! It really worked! It was just a random thought that popped into my head, but I can really do it! I really have ice breath! That's amazing!

Filled with joy, Midoriya started jumping around in celebration, forgetting that he was still using his newly discovered power. By the time he remembered that and proceeded to turn it off, the walls were covered in ice and, more importantly, his lunch was trapped in a block of ice.


"I guess I'm getting lunch in town, today," Midoriya said with a laugh. As he started packing up his stuff, he noticed that he had drawn a crowd. It was the monsters of Korusan Island. Ever since the initial encounter, there hadn't been any conflict between Midoriya and the infant Kaiju. They hadn't become friends as Midoriya had hoped, but there were many occasions where they would show up and observe him from a distance. This seemed like one of those occasions, only they were much closer to him than usual and weren't staring at him.

"Oh, that's right. You've been living here all this time, so you've probably never seen ice before. Well, here you go." Midoriya tossed the block of ice that held his old lunch into the middle of the crowd. The Kaiju growled at it for a while, but soon enough, they were tossing it around with their tentacles like a volleyball.

Midoriya couldn't help but smile. It wasn't much, but it was progress.

With a combination of flight and super speed, it took Midoriya very little time to make it to downtown Nagoya for lunch. Actually deciding where to eat was a more drawn out process. He had been coming to Nagoya nearly every day for three months, but it was always for training, so he tended to spend little time in the actual city. As a result, he knew nothing about where he was and was essentially fumbling around like a tourist who had their face stuck in a guidebook. Coincidentally, Midoriya had lost the guidebook he had bought at the train station.


"But there's just too many to choose from. What if I pick one place over another place, but the place I pick isn't that good, and I can't go to the other place because I already spent my food budget for the day? What do I do if something like that happens?" Midoriya asked.


"So you've said. That's not something that I can just start doing, though."


"Okay, goodbye."

Midoriya exited out of K.E.L.E.X.'s app and took off his Beats by Canary headphones. In hindsight, there really wasn't any reason for him to think that K.E.L.E.X. would be able to help him find a place to eat. Only someone who actually cared would be able to do that, even if they were incredibly indecisive about the whole thing.

"What to do, what to do, what to do?" Someone who wasn't Midoriya asked.

"What to do, indeed?" Someone who was Midoriya asked on reflex. "Huh?"

"Um, do you need something?" The someone who wasn't Midoriya asked. The someone who was Midoriya looked around and caught sight of the person he assumed he was talking to. It was a girl who looked about his age wearing a white blouse with a lightning bolt running down the middle. She looked at him with a stern expression and had long black hair tied into a ponytail and a rather curvaceous figure for someone her age, not that Midoriya was looking or trying to look.

"N-No! I was just walking around, th-that's all! But, um, it sounds like you might be in some trouble?"

"Well, it's not anything serious. I tripped over a crack in the sidewalk a moment ago, and while I'm perfectly fine, I accidentally dropped my cell phone into a storm drain. I could probably retrieve it with my Quirk, but I'm having trouble deciding what the best course of action would be."

"Oh. If that's all, I can get it for you."

"No, please, there's no need to trouble yourself-"

Midoriya didn't give the girl a chance to finish as he got to work. The storm drain cover was solid steel, but something like that wasn't an issue for him, and with little effort, he had pulled the cover out of the pavement. The phone, one that was clearly the latest model and far superior than anything Midoriya or his parents used, was in sight at the bottom of the storm drain. Midoriya's arms weren't long enough to grab it, so he opted to use an inversion of his super breath-a super inhale-to lift the phone into the air until it was close enough for him to grab it. Once it was grabbed, he put it down on the sidewalk so he was free to put the cover back in place, sealing the broken portions off with his heat vision.

"I should probably still leave a note," Midoriya said. He picked the phone back up, turned to give it to Ponytail, and nearly jumped back when he saw her suddenly flashing him a large smile.

"That was amazing!" Ponytail exclaimed. "You were able to use all of those abilities with such incredible precision! Was that a Quirk? Metahuman ability? Some sort of magic or genetic mutation?"

"Th-The first one," Midoriya lied.

"Most impressive. I've never seen someone use so many different powers at once. It was like I was watching a live performance from Princess Shazam, herself!"

"I don't know about-wait, Princess Shazam?! You're a fan of Princess Shazam?!"

"Of course! She's been my inspiration since I was a child," Ponytail said, pointing to her blouse.

"Oh, wait! That shirt's based off of the white outfit Princess Shazam started wearing after she joined the Super Buddies! I can't believe it took me so long to recognize it, even if it was one of her less famous team ups."

"Even still, she had some truly magnificent battles while working with them. Like when the Super Buddies were fighting against the Monster Society of Evil-"

"And Chain Lightning tried to depower her with a lightning bolt-"

"-but it was a trick because Elongated Man had transformed into Princess Shazam-"

"-so the attack did nothing, and she had an opening to take them all out in one fell swoop!" Midoriya shouted, giving the air a diagonal chop to further emphasize it. "That was too much, wasn't it?"

"Maybe a little-oh, where are my manners? My name is Momo Yaoyorozu. You are?"

"Izuku Midoriya."

"Well Midoriya-san, once again, I must thank you for helping me retrieve my phone. Is there anything I can do to repay you?"

"You really don't-" A rumbling noise came out of Midoriya's stomach. "Um, do you know a good place to eat?"

"I think that can be arranged."

Nagoya, as Midoriya knew, was one of the biggest cities in Japan. Yaoyorozu, based on what Midoriya could gather from her well-mannered speech, expensive phone, and high tailored clothing-the last serving as a great contrast to him wearing a shirt that said "Shirt"-had to be someone who came from money. It would have made sense for her to take him to a fancy restaurant of some sort, so he didn't know what to say when they ended up at a small hole in the wall for lunch.

"I honestly don't know what to say," Midoriya said.

"Jet Star is a far better establishment than its appearance lets on," Yaoyorozu said. "Come on, then."

Yaoyorozu opened the door for Midoriya, and in an instant, he found himself being swallowed by the smell of grilled meats and cheap beer. The restaurant was filled with men and women of varying ages-though it was mostly older men-and when the two of them walked inside, most of the patrons turned towards them and greeted them with a simultaneous "Momo!"

"Well look who managed to drag herself out of the library! Guess summer's finally in full swing!" A reptilian, multi-armed man from behind the counter said.

"Always good to see you, Jomu-san," Yaoyorozu said with a small bow.

"Oh, and you got company, too. Little Momo finally manage to snag herself a boyfriend?"

H-Huh?! Midoriya thought, the thought being so powerful that his brain was doing somersaults. "Y-Y-Y-Y-You've g-g-g-got-"

"Hardly. We met on the street, bonded over a shared love for Princess Shazam, and now we're getting lunch. That's all," Yaoyorozu said in a single breath without even flinching a little. Midoriya felt like he should have been happier about that than he actually was.

"That's a relief, then. Last thing I need is two kids acting like that girl scout has anything over Wonder Woman."

Much to Midoriya's surprise, Yaoyorozu started scowling at Jomu. It didn't last very long, but it was still rather unpleasant to look at.

"I'm with someone, so I'm not going to do this, today. Midoriya-san, what's your favorite food."


"Jomu-san, two red miso katsudons, please."

"Comin' right up, Momo!" Jomu walked into the kitchen, assumingly to start preparing the food. Yaoyorozu sat down at the counter, and Midoriya, on pure reflex, sat down two seats away from her.

"Please don't tell me that stupid joke is going to make you nervous around me," Yaoyorozu said.

"N-No, that's not it. Well, m-maybe a little, but, y'know, I just don't have a lot of experience talking with girls my own age, so I'm just feeling a little anxious."

"What a coincidence; I don't have a lot of experience talking with boys my own age. This should be a good learning experience for the both of us, then."

Midoriya couldn't argue with that, so with a healthy amount of hesitation, he got up and relocated to the seat on her immediate left.

"S-So! You seem to be pretty well-known. I guess that's what happens when you're a local, though."

"Oh no, I don't live here."

"You don't?"

"My mothers moved from here to Tokyo when I was a child, and I don't have any strong memories of living here before then. However, every summer, my mothers and I come here to visit family, so I've gotten to know the people here quite well. It's a nice little thing we do before spending the rest of the holiday in Europe."

Just when Midoriya thought he was connecting with Yaoyorozu, she casually tells him how radically different they are.

"What brings you here, Midoriya-san?" Yaoyorozu asked.

"I'm, um, doing some training at a gym. I'd go to one back home, but the one I'm using here has a lot better equipment."

"If someone with your strength is able to get anything out of it, I would sure hope so."

"Every little bit counts. I can't leave anything to chance if I want to get into U.A."

"You're applying to U.A.?" Yaoyorozu asked, once more smiling brightly. "What a coincidence! I'm also planning to attend U.A.!"

"Really?! That's great! Have you been practicing for the exam?"

"Yes, but not the same one as you. I've qualified for a recommendation into U.A., so I won't need to take the same exam as you and the other normal applicants." Yaoyorozu kept smiling for a few seconds before it fell upside-down. "Oh dear, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to brag. You're probably working as hard as you can, and I'm just my status in your face-"

"Don't worry about it! I mean, if you can get in on a recommendation, that must mean you're truly talented, right?"

"O-Oh. Yes. Thank you," Yaoyorozu said with a softer smile than the ones she had previously used. "Moving on, since my exam will be less intensive than the regular one, I've had a great deal of free time on my hands, which made it easy to go on vacation with my family. It's even given me time to start drafting my Hero Costume."

"Really?! That's so cool! Do you have the designs on your phone? Can I see them?"

"Um, I suppose that would be alright," Yaoyorozu said with slight hesitation. She pulled out her phone and handed it to him after moving her fingers across it for a few seconds. Midoriya stared at the screen and got an eyeful of what had to be rough sketches for Yaoyorozu's costume.

"There's a… a lot of skin," Midoriya said.

"It couldn't really be helped," Yaoyorozu said. "My Quirk lets me produce non-living material from my body, so it's more effective if more of my body is exposed."

"I guess that makes sense. But wait, if that's it, then-Yaoyorozu-san, is there a correlation between the size of the object and the amount of exposed skin?"

"Naturally. If I'm trying to create something particularly large, I need more space to work with to allow it to come out of my body."

"S-So then, isn't having your back covered like in these sketches counter-productive? Won't you just destroy your costume every time you need to create something big?"

"Perhaps, but it would only take a few seconds to create new clothing-"

"Can a Hero really afford to waste time on something like that?" Midoriya cut in. At the same time that Yaoyorozu gave him what had to be an annoyed look, Midoriya felt his hand clamping over his mouth on instinct.

"I-I'm sorry! I shouldn't be criticizing you when we barely know each other!" Midoriya said after removing his hand. "Even if I disagree with you, it's rude to be so blunt with my opinions so soon after getting to know you. That being said, the only reason I said what I said is because I admire Heroes so much, and a true Hero, to me, needs to be able to save as many people as they can. It's not like you wouldn't be able to do that if you had to spend time repairing your outfit, but I couldn't stop myself from thinking that that would be a waste of time, and I think you're a really nice person, so I want you to succeed at being a Hero-"

"M-Midoriya-san, please," Yaoyorozu cut in. "It's fine, you don't need to apologize for speaking your mind. You especially don't need to apologize for being right."

"I don't? And I am?"

"Yes to both. Like you said, a true Hero shouldn't go out of their way to delay themselves when there are people who need protecting. If a costume such as this would impede my process even a little, then I can't allow myself to use it. I can't help but thank you for the advice."

"Um, no problem?" His first extended conversation with a girl, and he somehow hadn't managed to ruin everything. Midoriya was having a good day.

"Hey, do you mind if I send this to my mom? She used to work as a designer, so she might have some advice."

"That would be wonderful. Go right ahead."

With lightning speed, Midoriya emailed the pictures of Yaoyorozu's costume to himself and texted them to his mother with an explanation of what was going on. A few seconds later, she sent out a reply: Wouldn't having her back covered be counter-productive?

Yeah, we already talked about that, Midoriya texted back. Do you have any ideas for improving it?

Give me a minute. Exactly one minute later, Midoriya's phone pinged. He looked at the screen for a few seconds before handing his phone over to Yaoyorozu.

"What do you think of this?" Midoriya asked.

"It-It looks great! How did your mother come up with this so quickly?"

"She can work really fast when she puts her mind to it. That's just a rough draft, though, so she'll probably come up with something else."

"Well whatever your mother makes the final design, I would be more than happy to wear it, and more than happy to pay her handsomely."

"Y-You don't need to-"

"Nonsense. I'm essentially hiring your mother for a job, so she deserves some manner of compensation. We can work out the details later, though, because our food should be arriving-"

"Order up!"

"-now." Jomu returned from the kitchen and put two servings of red miso katsudon in front of Midoriya and Yaoyorozu.

"To the both of us getting into U.A.," Midoriya said.

"Likewise." The two of them started eating, their newly formed bond of friendship fully cemented. It was really good.

Fall. The time of year when leaves take on a myriad of colors for people to look at. The time of year when people start getting ready for Christmas far earlier than they actually should be. The time of year when people do some other third thing that's far too mundane to even think about. I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't in the midst of something mundane, myself, but only because of how much I've done it over the years.

"So what's the time limit for today?" My faithful companion asked.

"A studio I like did an AMA earlier today. That put me in a good mood, so let's go with three minutes."

"You must be in a real good mood if you think you can last-"

I punch her in the face. She looks clearly dazed, but not at all upset. I'm truly glad to see that; all's fair in a fight, after all. Like sweeping your opponent's leg and knocking them to the ground. I have no right to get upset with her for doing that to me.

"Don't tell me you thought I'd be that easy!" She launched her foot at my stomach, but I managed to roll away in time to avoid it. I get myself back on my feet, grab her by the arm, and try to throw her to the ground. "Try" being the important word here. She wasted no time in breaking out of my hold and putting me in one of her one. I, however, was quick with an elbow to the chest, and even quicker to throw her to the ground, complete with furthering the initial grab into an arm lock. The pressure being inflicted upon her has to be incredible. It would make more than enough sense for her to give up.

It would make more than enough sense for her to give up if she weren't someone within my employ. With help from her other arm, she was able to break out of my hold, freeing her to pick me up and throw me against the wall. Nice. Nicer is my immediate counterattack, however. I bend down and tackle her away from the wall before immediately going into a kick. She dodges, because of course she does, but I'm able to dodge the kick she throws at me in kind. She leaves her leg dangling for a few seconds, a clear attempt to bait me into a trap. I'd never be stupid enough to fall for that, but I know it was only done to confirm that fact, and not out of sheer incompetence on her part. As such, my next move is to send a punch right to her face, just as I did in the beginning.

That worked as well as I thought it would. She caught my punch with little effort, then wasted no time throwing her own punch my way. I would have loved to catch it in as cool a manner as she did mine, but I don't have that much confidence in my abilities. That's not to say I simply take the punch, though. At the last second, I dodge her punch and hit the underside of her chin with a palm strike. I try to go for another one, but she beats me to the punch. Or, rather, strike. Either way, it stung like hell.

There was no way I was going to let that slide. She threw out a second one, so I sent out my own. Our hands met in the middle with a clapping sound and a shockwave that upset both of our balances. It took her a split second to recover, but it took me an even smaller split second. My advantage realized, I circled around behind her and delivered a shoulder tackle to her back. She went off balance again, only this time to a much greater degree. I let her fall back into my chest as I grab the back of her thighs, lift her off the ground-

"That's three minutes." And then I calmly set her down on the mat. "That was a pretty good spar. Nice to know that we've got our pattycake routine down."

"Too bad neither of us have any sonic-based abilities. Then people would be in real trouble."

I laugh at my joke. I'm pretty funny. As I pat myself on the back, my faithful companion tosses me a towel and a bottle of water. What a girl.

"You've been handling the increased training a lot better than I thought. I know you've never been weak, but you've never exactly broken your family's pattern of putting brain over brawn."

"You need to keep everything in check to achieve perfection. My grandfather kept to that ideology to some extent, you know."

"Yeah, yeah."

My back is turned to her, but I can just hear her eyes rolling at me. Whatever. I wipe all the sweat off my body, down the bottle of water in one sitting, and then head over to the salmon ladder to continue my exercises for the day.

"Does any of this even put you in his league?" She asked. I fly up a rung.

"It's not about that." I fly up another rung. "In the end, the war is never won simply by strength." I fly up another rung. "The thing that matters most is having an indomitable will." I fly up another rung. "Strengthening my body is just a means of reminding myself of that." I fly up another rung. "A means to an end." I fly up another rung. "It wouldn't be the only thing to exist for that purpose."

I fly up another rung, landing at the top of the salmon ladder. It's exactly where I should be.

"Just five more months. Just five more months."

Fall. The time of year when leaves take on a myriad of colors for people to look at. The time of year when people start getting ready for Christmas far earlier than they actually should be. The time of year when people buckle down to try and get everything done before the year is over. Oddly enough, I'm not exactly one of these people.

As of this point, I've been training for the entrance exams for about six months. I've spent nearly every day training my powers at Korusan Island, and then nearly every other day studying with Yaoyorozu-san via Skype. I'm really, really tired. It's not like before when I just couldn't think of anything; I can still think of a lot of stuff that I can do, but I just need a break. I picked a really good time for that, though. After all, today is none other than-

The U.A. Culture Festival. As with any culture festival, it's a day where the students of U.A. High work together to put out events and exhibits for both their peers and the general public. The exhibits range from food stands to haunted houses and the traditional maid cafe, and the events are the classic plays and rock concerts led by girls dressed as Playboy bunnies. It truly was fun for the whole family, one family in particular being the Midoriya family.

"So then Ronnie comes into lab, and he is just absolutely filthy. His hair's a mess, his clothes are covered in dirt, there's a bunch of those plastic beer rings hanging off the end of his tail, and he's just dripping water everywhere. Naturally, the first thing that comes out of my mouth is 'What the hell happened to you?' He says not to worry about, that it doesn't matter because he got the lab equipment returned on time. Then you know what Professor Stein says? 'Raymond, you idiot! I renewed the reservation on that equipment!' And then he just falls on the floor and cries 'I don't want to go back in the lake!' We love the guy, but he's just so dumb."

"He sounds fun, either way," Inko said, laughing at her husband's anecdote.

"Yeah, Ronnie's a good kid. So, so dumb, though," Hisashi said. "But enough ranting about dumb lab assistants. I'm not using my few days off for that when I could be spending it with my family! Isn't that right, honey?" Inko hugged his side. "Isn't that right, Izuku?"

"Huh? Yeah, sure," Midoriya said, paying minimal attention to the conversation.

"You could at least try to fake enthusiasm, you know."

Midoriya gave out a quick apology. He knew it probably didn't come off as completely sincere, but he did mean it. He was simply too focused on what was in front of him to pay his parents much attention. That focus persisted as the grip of his fingers tightened and his eyes narrowed, all in preparation of what was sure to come. Sure enough, what was sure to come surely came, and Midoriya's hands and fingers moved more than fast enough to respond to it in kind.

"Wow, you shot every target. And basically right when they came out of the gate. Nice!" Midoriya smiled as he set down the pellet gun and the student running the booth handed him an All Might-shaped water bottle.

"Oh, sorry. Didn't realize you were in the middle of your annual scamming," Hisashi said.

"I'm not scamming anyone. It's all completely legitimate," Midoriya said.

"That's true, but you don't really try to go easy on the poor students, do you?" Inko asked.

Midoriya didn't want to answer that, especially with the aforementioned poor student having a clearly despondent look on their face. He couldn't help himself. At the height of his self-loathing, the festival games were one of the few things that kept Midoriya going. His only opponents were cardboard, metal, and plastic, so he never had to worry about hurting anyone. It was one of the few ways for him to be able to go all out, and if he was able to get some free All Might merchandise out of it, that was just a bonus.

Either way, Midoriya was done with that booth, so he and his parents kept walking around the festival grounds.

"Just think, in a few months, you'll be one of the kids running a booth that gets decimated by some kid," Hisashi said. "Must be pretty exciting to think about."

"Yeah, but it's still pretty nerve-wracking," Midoriya said. "I know I've been working really hard for this, but I know that I could still lose if I mess up even a little, and it's impossible to plan for everything, which just makes it harder to try and get a handle on things. But even beyond that, it's still making me nervous because, well, it's U.A. I don't really know how to stay completely calm about this."

"Hey, being a little nervous isn't a bad thing. Use it to motivate yourself, and you'll do fine. Also might help to remember that you're not the only one going through this."

"Yeah." Midoriya felt a wave of unease wash through him as he thought about Bakugou again.

"Your father's right, Izuku. I'm sure Yaoyorozu-san is just as nervous as you are, so it's not just you feeling like this," Inko said.

"O-Oh! Yeah, right, Yaoyorozu-san. She's probably nervous, too, even though her test is going to be easier than mine. Even so, she's putting all of her effort into trying to pass, and I need to do the same."

"That's the spirit!" Hisashi said. "Now then, what do we all wanna do next?"

"I think the beauty pageant is starting soon; that could be fun," Inko said. "I remember seeing some of the contestants when they were still setting up, and lots of boys were going crazy over this blue-haired girl. Lots of girls, too."

"Yeah, sure. If I remember right, the pageant grounds are… a fifteen minute walk in the opposite direction. Man, they make this thing bigger and bigger every year. What's a guy gotta do to get them to keep it on the school grounds?"

"Come on, it's not that-" Midoriya trailed off in the middle of his sentence and put his walk to a halt. He felt his eyes widening up to the size of dinner plates and his mouth opening up until his jaw fully hit the ground.

"Mom! Dad! Look! It's-It's-It's a Lord Beebo!"

Hisashi and Inko turned to the left. At that moment, they were seeing what Midoriya was looking at. They were seeing-hanging from a hook at a strength testing booth-a blue and furry doll with a portly body and a smiling face.

"Oh, how cute!" Inko said.

"I didn't know you were into that kind of stuff, Izuku," Hisashi said.

"It's Lord Beebo, he's appropriate for every demographic and fanbase! I think that's a rare one, too! You can tell by the slightly different tint in the coloring of his eyes!"

"Well? Are you going to keep talking our ears off about… that, or are you gonna actually win it?"

Midoriya nodded his head in rapid succession before stepping over to the booth. Whatever sort of game was being offered, his powers would undoubtedly make quick work of it. There was nothing to worry about. Nothing except the hulking man he accidentally bumped into.

"Huh?" The man snarled.

"S-Sorry!" Midoriya shouted. "I-I wasn't paying attention to where I was going, so I didn't see you coming-"

"Oh, that was you? I thought someone threw a piece of paper at me," the man laughed. Midoriya thought he was laughing, at least. It was hard to tell with the massive plague mask he was wearing.

"R-Right. So-"

"If you're done, you can keep moving, kid," Plague Mask said.


"I got business here. There's a Beebo doll with my name on it, and I like to take things with my name on them. Plus, I get to do it by punching something, so that's a definite plus."

"U-Um, sir, I actually-"

"If you both want the Beebo doll, you're out of luck. There's only one left," was said by the booth operator, a girl with a body covered completely in pitch-black skin, with not even eyes or a mouth being made visible.

"Oh, is that what you were trying to say?" Plague Mask asked.

"Well, yes, but-"

"Forget it, kid! I was here first, so you're gonna have to look somewhere else."

"I-I mean, I think I was here first, but I really don't mind-"

"Actually, from how I saw it, you both got here at the same time," Pitch-Black said.

You're not helping! Midoriya shouted in his head.

"How about this? Both of you have a go at the machine, and whoever gets the best score gets the Beebo doll. That sound good?"

"I don't-"

"Alright! Now you're talking my language! Let's do this, kid!"

Midoriya turned to his parents in desperation. Inko looked just as nervous and confused as him, and Hisashi was just shrugging his shoulders with a blank look on his face. It was clear that neither one of them would be any help. The only way out of this was to just get through it as quickly as possible.

"Here we go," Plague Mask said as he stepped in front of the machine. The way you used the machine was simple: you deliver a punch into the cushioned receiver, then a screen displays a score based on how much strength you were able to put into it. As Plague Mask walked in front of it, he started swinging his right arm around rapidly before delivering a strike to the machine. After a few seconds, the screen displayed a message: "Your punch destroyed an entire city!"

"Not bad," Pitch-Black said.

"Beat that, kid!" Midoriya really didn't want to, but at this point, backing out would probably cause more problems than he needed. He didn't want to be around this guy anymore, he wanted to get away from him as soon as possible, so he gave the machine a light punch in the hope of quickly losing and getting on with his day.

"'Your punch destroyed an entire country!'" Pitch-Black read off the screen.


What?! It appeared that Midoriya didn't know his own strength as well as he thought he did.

"Well, I guess we have a win-"

"One more time!" Plague Mask said, cutting off Pitch-Black as he swung his arm with even more rapid speed. "I only got a crappy score like that because I didn't put my back into it! Like this!"

Plague Mask punched the machine again, the force being far above his previous attack. The cushion had a large dent in it, and the machine itself was pushed back a little through the dirt. After a few seconds, the screen displayed the results: "Your punch destroyed the entire planet!"

"Ha! Just try and beat that! Seriously, try. I saw that wimpy punch you used the first time. Don't think you'll get off easy if you pull something like that again."

"O-Okay!" There went Midoriya's plan of escape, dashed aside like dust in the wind. He didn't know what Plague Mask was going to do if he half-assed his second punch, and he didn't have it in him to find out. He shut his eyes, swung at the machine with power that far exceeded the love tap he gave it before, and prayed that one of the multitude of existing deities would help him get a low score.

I-I-I mean, it shouldn't be that hard to do worse than this guy, Midoriya told himself. His punch went from destroying a city to destroying a planet! It's just joking around, but that's still a huge leap, and there's no way I could surpass an increase of that magnitude.

A few seconds had gone by before Midoriya opened his eyes. When he did, he saw his parents and Plague Mask looking at him in shock. He saw the machine with its cushion completely torn apart and the mechanical parts breaking at the seams. He saw the screen, a glitching mess of a thing, displaying his new score: "Your punch ruptured the spacetime continuum and rewrote history!"

"I didn't even know you could get that," Pitch-Black said.

What the hell?! Midoriya screamed in his head.

"What the hell?!" Plague Mask screamed out his mouth.

"Well, doesn't get more decided than that," Pitch-Black said. "Looks like the Beebo doll goes to the kid."

"The hell it does!" Plague Mask, with a single hand, picked up the broken machine and slammed it down in front of Midoriya. Moments later, he slammed his right elbow down on it and pointed his hand towards Midoriya.

"Y-You want to arm wrestle?!"

"Let's. Go."

Midoriya turned back to his parents. Once again, Inko looked just as nervous and confused as him. Once again, Hisashi was just shrugging his shoulders with a blank look on his face. Once again, it was clear that neither one of them would be any help.

"Come on!"

"Just do it already," Pitch-Black said. Midoriya tried to put out another fraction of a protest, but Plague Mask had already grabbed his hand and started the impromptu arm wrestling match.

"Better sit tight kid, 'cause you're going nowhere!"

Plague Mask, as far as Midoriya could tell, was putting everything he had into his arm. It was quite admirable. Less admirable, though, when he thought about how utterly pointless it all was. For all of Plague Mask's strength, it barely felt like anything against his own body. His arm had been moved a little, but only because Midoriya hadn't been completely focused when he was thrown into his ordeal. As of now, his arm was just sitting at a seventy-five degree angle and not moving.

"Is that all you got, kid?! Huh?! That all you got?!"

"No. It's. Not!" Whether out of frustration that this man kept forcing him into stuff he wanted no part of or because he was letting himself be egged on, but all of a sudden, Midoriya found himself putting his all into his arm-or at least a fraction of his all. Whatever percentage of his all that it was, it was all the all he needed to push completely against Plague Mask's arm and slam him against the machine. The man who towered over Midoriya went flying into the air and hit the ground with a tremendous crash.

"Ahhh! I-I'm sorry! I didn't mean to-are you okay?!"

"'Okay'? 'Okay'? 'Okay'?! You think this is okay?!" Plague Mask shot up off the ground. Overall, he looked perfectly fine, save for the fact that his arm was completely twisted around.


"You think this is okay, kid?! 'Cause if you do… then you're totally right to do so."

Before Midoriya could question the man, his arm spun back around until it was in its normal position.


"Ha! Got you good, kid! Ah, if I had 100 yen every time I got someone to have that look on your face."

"Yeah, real funny," Midoriya mumbled under his breath.

"But seriously, you're something else, kid. You may look like a walking toothpick, but you pack a hell of a punch, and I respect the hell out of that. Could stand to add a little spin to it to give it some extra power, though."


"Hey, I know that I'm interrupting whatever this is supposed to be, but does this mean your dick measuring contest is over and I can just give the kid the doll, already?" Pitch-Black asked.

"I guess? Um, you can have the Lord Beebo doll, sir. That's actually what I was trying to say from the start." Midoriya whispered the last part for obvious reasons.

"Seriously?!" Plague Mask asked.

"Whatever," Pitch-Black sighed as she handed the Beebo doll to Plague Mask.

"I can live without it, and you seem to really want it, so it's no big deal," Midoriya said.

"Well, I don't really need it, either. My boss just told me to get a toy for his kid while I was at the festival, but why not go for gold, right?"

Plague Mask squeezed the doll, and in a rather adorable voice, the doll said "Beebo lo-lo-loves you!"

"The name's Rappa, by the way. When you grow up a little, come find me so we can have a real fight."

"Yeah, sure. That'd be great," Midoriya lied. The man he now knew as Rappa walked away from Midoriya, whistling the theme song to the old Beebo cartoon from the 19XXs, all the while.

"Oh my God, that was terrifying," Midoriya said as soon as Rappa was out of earshot.

"Oh my God, that was terrifying!" Inko said as she and Hisashi walked over to him. "I kept standing there thinking that guy was going to go crazy and try to hurt you!"

"I'm pretty sure 'try' would have been the key word there, honey," Hisashi said.

"Is that why you barely reacted to all of that?"

"Hey, he seemed fine. You were fine, right Izuku?"

"Y-Yeah. That Rappa-san guy was really intimidating, but he seemed like he wasn't that bad a guy. In hindsight, I don't think he would have ever tried to actually hurt me."

"Yeah, for a Yakuza member, he seemed alright," Pitch-Black said.

"I kno-wait, what?"

"That Rappa guy. He's in the Yakuza."

Inko fell backwards, forcing Hisashi to catch her barely conscious body before it could hit the ground.

"Wh-What?! H-He was in the Yakuza?!" Midoriya shouted.

"Yep," Pitch-Black said. "The guy's a member of the Hasigawa Family. You can tell by the mask; all the higher ups of every branch have to wear them."

"Come to think of it, the mask did look familiar," Hisashi said. "Firestorm operates near where I work, and he sometimes has to deal with the rowdier members of the New York branch. Most Heroes don't deal with Yakuza, though, so I'm surprised that they're teaching U.A. students about them."

"Sure, let's go with that," Pitch-Black said with a shrug of her shoulders.

"S-So I really became friends with a Yakuza member?" Midoriya asked.

"I don't want to think about it, anymore," Hisashi said. "Your mother's going to fall into a coma if we keep at this, so let's just go the beauty pageant."

"Please?" Inko cried.

And they did. And they had fun.

The snow sprinkled down onto Midoriya's head and melted with just the slightest touch. He was dressed appropriately for the weather, but he didn't think there'd be much of a problem if he wasn't. Regardless, no reason to pass up a chance to wear his limited edition All Might beanie.


"I'm ready. Let's get started," Midoriya said.


Midoriya took in a deep breath before he started spinning around in a circle. He started off spinning slowly, but he gradually started to pick up speed. He went faster and faster and faster still, his appearance eventually becoming indistinguishable from that of a twister, a twister that shot downwards and drilled a hole straight through the flesh of Korusan Island. As quickly as Midoriya started the maneuver, he also brought it to a complete stop with incredible precision and control.


Midoriya let out his breath in the form of a powerful burst of freeze breath. He wasn't simply freezing everything in front of him, though. In the seven months since he had first discovered the power, he had been working effortlessly to bring it up to the same level of mastery that he had with his other powers. In doing so, he had discovered that if he blew hard enough and moved his lips and tongue in certain ways, he could not only give his freeze breath solid mass, but also give it specific shapes and forms, like a smoker blowing rings with their exhales. Midoriya wasn't making rings, though, just a large block of ice that started falling towards the ground as soon as he stopped exhaling. However, well before it could hit the ground, Midoriya fired his heat vision at the block of ice, starting at point before quickly moving the beams across its surface area. The beams stopped after creating eight lines across the surface, causing the block of ice to split into nine sharp fragments that stabbed themselves into the ground.


Midoriya jumped up in an arc that ended on top of an icicle with a heavy slam. The force wasn't enough to break the ice, but it was enough to push it even further into the rotting flesh. From atop the icicle, Midoriya used his heat vision again to cut a large square around the bottom of the icicle. He then jumped back onto the ground, grabbed the body of the icicle, and pulled up until he had lifted an entire cube of flesh out of the ground. He spun around in a circle twenty times before releasing the giant cube and sending it flying through the air. The cube hit the nearest wall of flesh with such tremendous force that it blew a hole right through it to keep flying into the outside world before landing off in the distance as a small dot.


"You think so? Thanks!" Midoriya said.


"I could, but if I'm being honest, I didn't make all of these for myself."

K.E.L.E.X. didn't say anything in response. Midoriya knew that he knew there was no need to do so, for they had already shown up as the two were talking. The spawn of Korusan Island had already arrived, rubbing their tentacles across the icicles and growling with grand glee.

During summer vacation, Midoriya had discovered that the monsters responded well to things that they had never seen before. Since then, he started bringing any and all manner of random items to Korusan Island to entertain them when he had the time. He showed them old video reels of All Might saving people, limited edition Justice Society nendoroids, photos of the Earthbound Immortal in the Congo, the kendama with the ball he once juggled for three entire minutes, and many more knick knacks and chotchkies he found lying around. They ate everything up-sometimes literally, sometimes metaphorically-and in time, the creatures that were once so cold to him had become an ardent group of supporters.

"You guys like this, don't you?"

"""Kwaaa! Kwaaa!""" The creatures all cried out.

"IT APPEARS THAT THE MI-GOS DO, INDEED, ENJOY IT," K.E.L.E.X. said, using the name Midoriya had started addressing them by.

They do, don't they? Midoriya asked himself. After I get into U.A., I'm not going to have as much time to come here as I used to. I left a bunch of old books and toys for the Mi-Gos to play with, but it's still a little sad.


"Okay, got it."

Even still, I've come too far to stop now. I'm going to get into U.A. For Yaoyorozu-san, for All Might, for all of my parents, and for my myself, I'm definitely going to be a Hero!

The sun had already set by the time Midoriya returned to Musutafu from Nagoya. The street lights were turning on one by one, adding a little brightness to the streets that was magnified by its reflection on the snow. There wasn't anything new to look at; it was the same scenery he had seen countless times over the years. Only thing out of place was a stretch limo on the side of the street opposite of him, the longest limo he had ever seen.

There must be some kind of important politician in town, Midoriya thought to himself. That symbol on the side looks kind of familiar, but I can't really place it.

Midoriya shrugged his shoulder and cast the thought aside. At that moment, all he wanted to think about was getting home and eating dinner. His mother was cooking some of Green Arrow's patented chili, and with it being one of the few foods that he had to blow on because it was hot and not because of reflexes, it was something he never liked to miss out on.

He kept walking home to try and get to it, but then the limo pulled out of its spot and started driving in his direction. Odd, but not too odd, so he kept walking. When he turned a corner, the limo turned the exact same corner. Odd, and also very odd, so he started walking faster. As he did, the limo started moving at an accelerated. Odd, definitely something that warranted concern, so he stopped in place and turned to face the limo. The limo, in response, also stopped moving from its spot.

"C-Can I help you?" Midoriya asked.

One of the windows on the limo rolled down a few centimeters. It didn't create a lot of space, and with the windows tinted black, he couldn't see who was inside.

"{Hey there, boy!}" a voice said from the limo. It was in English and sounded like a young woman, not an old man like he assumed was in the limo.

"Ha-Harro?" Midoriya replied in broken English.

"Oh my, that's quite terrible. Enough of that, now," the voice said, this time in perfect Japanese. "Tell me, what are you doing right now?"

"Why do you care?"

"So nothing important, then. Good. Wanna step inside and chat for a bit?"

"No," he bluntly stated.

"Well, aren't you quick to the draw? Not quick enough to fully deter me, though. I'd still really like it if we could talk for a bit."

"Sorry, but my parents told me not to talk to talking limousines, so I'm just going to go home. Please don't follow me, or I'm going to have to call the police."

Midoriya bowed towards the limo and went back to walking home. He didn't hear the limo moving, so it seemed like whoever was in there had finally given up on him.

"I'd just like to say that I really love your outfit."

Midoriya rolled his eyes. She could talk if she wanted to, but he was just going to ignore it.

"Kind of a light outfit, though. It's almost zero degrees out, yet you're walking around like it's fall."

Midoriya was just going to ignore that.

"You must be pretty tough to not be affected by this."

Midoriya was just going to ignore that.

"Or maybe it's just a perk of your special biology."

Midoriya stopped dead in his tracks. His ears just picked up something that he couldn't rightfully ignore.

"What?" he asked.

"Don't look so surprised. It's common for people like you to have a bit of an immunity to the elements. Oh, wait, that's stereotyping, isn't it? I'm terribly sorry, I'm just nervous. After all, it's not every day you get to talk to an alien."

Everything in Midoriya's body-his mind, his gut, his soul-was telling him to run away and keep running until he was away from everything. He didn't know who this was, but if they knew what they were talking about, then that couldn't be the best way to go about this.

He didn't know if walking towards the limo was the better option, but it was the only thing he could think of doing.

"That's more like it," the voice said. "Mercy, be a dear and get the door for him."

The door to the driver's seat opened up, and out stepped a brunette woman in a black uniform who towered over Midoriya. He only glanced at her as he stepped inside the limousine, but she had to have been around 190 centimeters, possibly even larger than that.

"That'll be all, Mercy. I'll call on you again if I need you."

Mercy closed the door, leaving Midoriya to wade through over half a dozen bags from Animate, Book-Off, and Kinokuniya in order to sit down. Then he was all alone in the limo with the person who knew who he was. Just like he thought, the mystery person was a young woman, though to his surprise, she didn't look any older than him. She had a svelte figure brilliantly showcased by a green and purple pants suit, a head of dark red hair flowing down her back like lava, and a face containing blue eyes that stared at him as if every part of his person was being catalogued. He didn't like it at all.

"Who are you?" Midoriya asked.

"Isn't it customary of the Japanese to introduce themselves when meeting someone for the first time?" the girl asked.

"I'm… Izuku Midoriya. Who. Are. You."

"'Who am I'? You really don't know? I know you're just a kid, but that shouldn't be a real excuse for not knowing me. Is my company really falling so far behind Wayne-Powers that my family can't be recognized that easily?"

"'Company'? 'Family'? What are you-"

All of a sudden, it all started flying through his head. The red hair, the green and purple outfit, the condescending tone and glare, the symbol that looked like a slanted "L". It all flew together through his mind until everything converged onto one irrefutable truth.

"Y-You. You! You-You're one of them, you're a member of the Luthor family, aren't you?!"

"And the last horse crosses the finish line," she said with sarcastic slow clapping.

This is bad.

"Alexis Lois Luthor, but my friends, the few that exist, call me 'Lexi'."

This is worse! Of all the Luthors, it's the Luthor!

"I must say, you're looking quite pale, Izuku. Are you sick? Can your kind even get sick?"

"Th-This isn't about me! Well, it is, but it's about how you're making this about me! How are you making this about me! All-All the people who should know about me should be my parents, government people, and the Top Ten Heroes! How do you know about me?!"

"I'm a Luthor."

Midoriya stared at Alexis for thirty seconds, but nothing else came out of her mouth. Apparently that was the only explanation he was getting out of her.

"Oh, relax. I'm not evil; I wash my hands just like everybody else. We Luthors have been out of the evil game for decades. Sure, Aunt Nasty took a shot at it, but that was less her wanting to take over the world and more her having a midlife crisis. Then again, why shouldn't a person be allowed to build a Death Ray when they turn forty? I'm getting off track, so let's get back to making something clear: if I wanted to do something bad to you, you wouldn't even be here for us to talk about it."

Midoriya had an audible gulp. He could feel a sincerity and inkling of truth to her words, but that didn't make them any less imposing and intimidating. That's what happens, he supposed, when your grandfather was one of the greatest men to ever live in terms of both heroism and villainy.

"What do you want, Alexis-san?" Midoriya asked.

"That is the question, isn't it? You see, I came to your fine little country with my parents on a business meeting with some of your tech companies-"

"Then why are there a bunch of shopping bags on the floor?" Midoriya asked in reference to the plastic bags from the anime retailers.

"I'm not allowed to do two things?"

"Just… Just continue."

"Good. Where was I? Oh, right, being in Japan while my parents get wasted. Whenever I'm forced to go on one of their little trips, I usually just try and find a corner of the room to sit in by myself for a week, but since it was Japan, I decided to break out of that and figure out what was going on with you."

"M-Me? Why would you-" All manner of words escaped him as Alexis leaned in close and got right in his face.

"It's not as if you're on constant surveillance all day every day, but those who know about you have a basic idea of what you're doing with your life," Alexis said, leaning in closer and making Midoriya fall back into his seat. "You nearly killed your childhood friend when you were four years old, traumatizing you so badly that you tried to never stick out in the crowd."

Alexis leaned in closer and made Midoriya fall further back into his seat.

"You did a good job of that for ten years, give or take, but then all of a sudden, you decided to steer clear of the path that ends with becoming a number-crunching, pencil-pushing salaryman, and you went back to your boyhood dream of becoming a Hero. Why, though? Why is that important again? Why would you go back on that path after so long and after what you did? What reason could you possibly have?"

At that point, Alexis was leaning in so close that their noses were practically touching, even as Midoriya fell back into his seat as much as was physically possible. Off the top of his head, he couldn't remember if even the Ultra-Humanite was able to be this intimidating.

"I-It's just like you said. I spent my whole life trying to hide who I am because of what happened when I was a kid," Midoriya said. "To me, the only way I could ever make amends was to give up on my dreams, and for a while, I thought I was fine with that. But someone made me admit that I was just lying to myself, and that-that's no way to live.

"I haven't forgotten about what I did, but I want to prove that I can be who I am, in spite of all of that. I want to prove that I have every right to be who I want to be, even if everyone says that that's wrong. So long as I'm drawing breath, I'm going to be true to myself and not let anyone stop me from doing what I want to do, even if that person might be myself!"

The inside of the limo was silent, save for the shaking of Midoriya's body and the small bits of air escaping Alexis' nostrils. At some point-Midoriya was too on edge to keep proper track of time-Alexis backed away from Midoriya and went back to staring at him from her original position.

Then she giggled. It wasn't a maniacal laugh, it wasn't a villainous chortle, it was a completely wholesome fit of giggling. Oddly enough, the wholesomeness of it made it even more unsettling.

"Oh my God, I can't believe you actually said all that!" Alexis said with a laugh. "I haven't heard anything so schmaltzy since Granny Lois' last talk show appearance! Ah, but it's not so bad, though. It's actually the exact kind of spiel I was hoping you'd give. Now that I know that you're thinking like that, I can move forward with my decision."

"Wh-What's that?"

"I'm going to enter U.A."

Once again, silence entered the limo. A silence that remained unbroken for several seconds before Midoriya sent a punch straight through a window. Alexis didn't look like she cared, and he was glad for that.

"Wh-Wh-What?! Y-Y-Y-You're going to try and be a Hero?!"

"No, I have no interest in that kind of work. Why spend your life trying to save the world when you can just rule it? Besides, my Quirk isn't really one that's fit for combat, so I'm going put my talents to better use in the Support Department. In the spring, I'll start managing LexCorp's Japanese branch here in Tokyo, set up shop at a fancy hotel somewhere, and spend my days living the life of a good little JK. I might even eat toast while running to school, if the opportunity might arise. Mercy might do it, too."

"I'm not running around with toast in my mouth," Mercy said from the driver's seat.

"Suit yourself."

"Why?!" Midoriya asked. "Why would you-wait, Mercy-san is coming with you? Is she going to be a teacher, then?"

"What? No, she'll be a student. She's the same age as us, you know."

"She is? But she looks so much older."

"I drink a lot of milk," Mercy said.

"As expected of an American-wait, we're getting off track, again! Why U.A.? Shouldn't there be schools in America on the same level, like Gotham Academy, or the one your grandfather made?"

"True, the Lex Luthor Institution of Accelerated Humanity is a fine Hero School, but it doesn't interest me. By going to U.A., I get to spend my time inside the heart and soul of our society. By going to U.A., I can instantly satisfy the needs of all of my favorite hobbies. By going to U.A., I can fully indulge in my latest interest: you."


"Who else matters? That is, of course, if you'll let yourself interest me. You probably think the worst of me, but I do want us to be friends, Izuku. What about you?"

"I-I just want to leave, Alexis-san."

Alexis stared at him with a look of contempt before opening the door for Midoriya. Snow flew inside the limo as he stepped back into the outside world.

"See you in class, Izuku. I'm sure it'll be lots of fun."

Midoriya didn't know what he said, but it was probably a rather weak form of agreement. The limo started up again and drove away from its spot. Once it was fully out of sight, Midoriya allowed himself to collapse into the snow.

Winter. The time of year when people come together in love and camaraderie. The time of year when all unfinished business gets closed up. The time of year when people put the past aside and set out to make a fresh start for themselves. I'm still doing that, but if I'm being honest, I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, anymore.

It feels like I'm melting into my seat as I let out a sigh. That's what happens when a plan finally comes to fruition after so long, I guess.

"Sounds like things went well," Mercy said.

"They went spectacularly," I said with a smile. "He looked like a wimp and couldn't control the conversation to save his life, but when he finally managed to, it was a sight to behold."

"It did sound pretty impressive. From what I could hear through all the stuttering, at least."

I laughed again. Izuku certainly isn't the kind of person Grandfather would care about if he were still alive, but that's the difference between the two of us. I don't let first impressions define a person for the rest of their life.

You have to learn to move past that to properly crush people, no matter how much you might like them.

Winter. The time of year when people come together in love and camaraderie. The time of year when all unfinished business gets closed up. The time of year when people do some other third thing that circles back to some manner of sentimental nonsense. I bet Izuku's the kind of person to come up with a third thing, and well. That's just great for me.

Write a transitional chapter, I said, it'll be quick and easy, I said, 20,000 words later. The things I do for you people. Speaking of you people, I've decided to give you all a poll to vote on for a short story! All the options will get written at some point, so this basically decides which one you want to read first. I don't think you can make polls on this site, so if you want to vote, either go on another site (FFN, Spacebattles, or Sufficient Velocity)or say what you want in the comments. The options are as follows: "A story about Jirou", "A story about Eri", "A story about Endeavor", and "A story about All for One". Results will be tallied from all of the sites this story's posted on, so get to voting, and when you're done with that, get to adding stuff to the TvTropes page!

Chapter Text

When Midoriya woke up the following morning, his feelings of unease hadn't faded in the slightest. Even after getting a full night's sleep and warming himself up with a nice blanket and a bowl of Green Arrow's blazing hot chili, the tension lodged into his chest refused to move. By simple routine, he knew that his mother was telling him to have a good day at school as he walked out the door, but he didn't feel like he heard a single word come out of her mouth.

As he walked to school, the feeling made no attempt to fade away into nothing. If he had to hazard a guess, not even running into All Might again would be able to do anything.

As if the universe wanted to test the theory, All Might appeared in his skinny form, running towards Midoriya while shouting "Midoriya, my boy!"

"A-All Might! It's been a while, hasn't it?" Midoriya said after All Might stopped to catch his breath and wipe blood off of his mouth. "I heard you were in Kansas for a week helping Ma Hunkel and her granddaughter fight T.O. Morrow. How'd that go?"

"Guy tried to trigger a massive earthquake across the midsouth, but we put a stop to him. Also gave me time to catch up with an old friend-no, this isn't important!" All Might said. "I have something of vital importance to tell you. I was talking to one of my associates at U.A., and there's an absolutely insane applicant for the next school year. The applicant is-"

"Alexis Luthor of the Luthor family."

All Might blinked at Midoriya several times with an agape jaw.

"Y-Yes, that's correct. How do you know about that, though?"

"We, um, kind of met last night. She stalked me, told me she was going to U.A., and then I passed out in the snow."

"Huh. That's… something."

"You're telling me," Midoriya said.

"However, it's not the most important thing, I'm afraid. I never told you this before because I didn't want you to stress out over it, but there's a strong chance that Alexis, and by extension the entire Luthor family-"

"Know I'm an alien. Yeah, they know. She knows. She told me in-between the stalking and the passing out."

From Midoriya's perspective, it looked as if All Might's jaw was going to be buried in the snow.

"I'm doing a lot less than I thought I'd be," All Might said. "How are you holding up? Did you tell your parents about it?"

"Of course not! If I told them about this, they'd be freaking out as much as I am. Then again, should I even be freaking out? What do you think?"

"That's a pretty tough one. The Luthors have always been a hard group to get a read on, and that goes all the way back to Lex Luthor, himself. On the one hand, he spent half of his life being one of society's greatest Heroes. He donated to every charity under the sun, used his technology to decrease poverty and starvation on a global scale, and America is still benefiting from the tremendous economic reforms he ushered in as President. Not to mention how instrumental he was in ending World War III.

"However, that was the second half of his life; the first half, as we all know, was devoted to being one of society's greatest Villains. War profiteering in third-world countries by selling weapons to both sides, hiring terrorists to help allow his unethical dealings to go through, and all the times he put good people out on the street just for looking at him funny. Not to mention how much damage he did whenever he got the Injustice Gang together to try and take over the world.

"It's probably because of how far Lex went into both extremes that the entire family exudes an enigmatic collective consciousness. One minute, a Luthor will be a kindhearted humanitarian, but then the next minute they'll kick you to the curb for doing something they think is stupid-and that's a long list for them. Either way, they haven't done anything blatantly evil in decades, so this probably won't spiral into something chaotic. That's what I think, at least. You talked with her, what do you think?"

A question for the ages. On the one hand, Alexis didn't appear to be lying when she said she wasn't going to tell anyone about him; as intimidating as she was, Midoriya could feel a sense of honesty from her. On the other hand, everything about her-her speech, her posture, her charisma, her lack of personal space-was utterly terrifying, the proof of that shown in how he was still rattled by her hours after their first meeting. On the third, nonexistent hand, he still had the U.A. entrance exam to worry about. That's what needed to be the most important thing on his mind, not hypotheticals about what Alexis might or might not do to him.

"Personally, I don't think Alexis-san is going to try and hurt me, at least not right now," Midoriya said. "I still don't know if I can completely trust her, but if there's no real reason to be afraid, then I need to stay focused on passing the exam."

"Heh! I was hoping you'd say something like that!" All Might shouted, exploding into his muscular form. "You've got to keep your priorities in check, and letting some haughty girl keep you up at night just has to be near the bottom of the list! You're on the home stretch, Midoriya, my boy, and now it's time to clench your asshole and jump over to the finish line!"

"Y-Yeah! I don't really know about that last part, but yeah!"

"Don't worry, you'll get it, eventually. What you need to be getting right now is on your way to school! You're going to be late!"

Midoriya apologized, said his farewells, and ran off to stop himself from being late on account of his idol.

A week had passed, and Midoriya had kept his word to a certain extent. He couldn't stop himself from completely blocking out his meeting with Alexis, a true testament to how some things were easier said than done, but it was no longer torturing him every second of the day, just every other second. It wasn't the best of circumstances, but it was something, however much that actually mattered.

It was going to have to matter a lot, because that day, February 29th., was the day of the U.A. Entrance Exam. The day when all of his hard work was going to come together.

And no matter what, it has to come together well, Midoriya told himself. He walked forward through the dozens upon dozens of students also heading towards the giant, pristine-looking, H-shaped building, their shared walkway bordered by busts of the Justice Society-founding members and later additions alike. The entrance to the building was divided into four lines, which Midoriya figured was because the written exam would have slightly different questions depending on whether or not your powers came from a Quirk, the Metagene, magic, or some form of mutation.

"So I guess I'm going in the Quirk line," Midoriya said. "Sure are a lot of people going in that one. I guess that makes sense when you consider how many people in the world have Quirks compared to other powers-"

"Stop standing around and move, Deku!" Midoriya jumped back when he heard Bakugou shouting at him.

"S-Sorry, Kacchan. But hey, l-let's just both do our best, okay?"

"Last I checked, I'm not the one who has to worry about that. If you fuck this up, I'll fuck you up, got it?"

Bakugou walked away from Midoriya as he offered a meek and stuttered "Yes". It was about what he expected. Nothing he couldn't handle. He managed to keep his thoughts about Alexis to a minimum, he could stop himself from getting tripped up by Bakugou being Bakugou. At the very least, he could stop himself from getting tripped up in an emotional sense. Getting tripped up in the physical sense was still on the table, however, as evidenced by Midoriya doing just that. Embarrassing, yes, but it wasn't as if the fall would actually hurt him.

He didn't even have to worry about the fall, since it was prevented by his body suddenly floating in midair, and not thanks to power of flight he forgot he had.

"Hey, you're okay, right?" someone asked him. It was the same someone who put his feet back on the ground and was seemingly the same someone who had stopped him from falling.

As he suspected, the person who helped him out was a girl, a brunette who was undoubtedly a fellow applicant. Her outfit was a clean cut, fancy-looking school uniform awkwardly contrasted with the beat up scarf around her neck messily embroidered with two golden "W"s. The face that looked at him was round and innocent, yet at the same time nervous and bearing a closed off expression.

"I-I shouldn't have done that, right? You probably had a way of helping yourself, or maybe you didn't even care about falling."

"N-No, that's not it. I mean, you're not wrong about both of those things, but-"

"I should get going. Sorry to bother you."

Awkward Scarf walked away from Midoriya before he could get out the proper thanks. He kept his eyes glued on her back all the way up until she entered the Metahuman line. To the right of her, a boy with the head of a bird scratched his stomach while he stood in the magic user line. Across the entire scene, a pink-skinned girl bounced back and forth between the Quirk line and the mutation line before a black-haired boy grabbed her arm and pulled her into the Quirk line.

Everyone was getting ready for one of the most important days of their lives. It was about time Midoriya did the same.

Two hours later, and the written exam had come and gone. Midoriya didn't want to come off as braggadocious, but he had no doubts that he got a near perfect score on the test. He was always near the top of the class in junior high, so he knew the written exam wouldn't be too much of a challenge, but his study sessions with K.E.L.E.X. and Yaoyorozu made it all come even more naturally. No amount of book learning could help him with the next part of the exam, though.

After finishing the written exam, Midoriya and everyone else were ushered into a lecture hall, most likely to have the specifics of the practical exam explained to them. They were all sat in order of their exam ID numbers. Midoriya was #1938, so Bakugou, examinee #1941, sat a few seats away from him.

"Okay boys and girls, time to settle down! It's time to begin today's live performance. Everybody say 'HEY'!" shouted a leather clad man with sunglasses and a speaker system around his neck.

There was no response.

"Guess you're all too nervous to speak. Fine, I'll do all the talking while I give you low-down on the practical exam! Are you ready?! YEAH!"

There was still no response.

"What? It's just Present Mic?" someone asked.

"I thought Music Meister always did this part," another someone said. "I got excited for nothing!"

"Yeah, well that asshole doesn't work here anymore, so just deal with it! {Fucking Neil Patrick Harris.}" Present Mic shouted the last part in English.

"I can't believe no one's excited about this! It's the Voice Hero, Present Mic!" Midoriya mumbled. "I listen to his radio show every week for inspiration. It's so cool that U.A. and other schools like it can get Pro Heroes as teachers!"

"Shut up, Deku," Bakugou said.

"Ahem. Anyway!" Present Mic shouted. The screen behind him shifted to display ten squares labeled "A" through "J" being connected to a single one labeled "Current Location". "After this presentation, you'll all be entering ten minute long 'Mock Cityscape Maneuvers' in one of ten different locations on school grounds. Bring whatever you want; you'll probably need it, and then some!"

"So we're all being split into groups?" Midoriya asked no one. "That makes sense. Kacchan and I can't be the only people applying who went to the same school. They must do this to split people up and make sure no one gets help from their friends."

"Dammit. Now I'm gonna have to wait until school starts to crush you," Bakugou said, freaking out the uninvolved persons sitting between them.

"Each city will be filled to the brim with robots acting as Villains trying to crush every idealistic bone in your body!" The screen shifted to display silhouettes of three different robots: one that looked like it moved on a single wheel, one that resembled a scorpion, and one that looked bulky and had missile launchers on its shoulders. "It's your job to get an early start on your future careers and take them down, either by immobilizing them or through pure, unadulterated carnage! You get either one, two or three points for each robot you take down, but you get zilch for attacking other people, so don't you dare think about it!"

"Excuse me, sir, but I have a question!" shouted a bespectacled young boy with a stern look on his face. "You said that we will encounter three different kinds of Villains, so why does the handout mention four kinds? A school as well-respected as U.A. shouldn't allow itself to make such a critical error for something so important! Even more concerning, however, is you!"

He was pointing right at Midoriya. He only managed to get out a weak "Yes" in response.

"You've been muttering about nonsense from the very start, distracting everyone in here! Is this some sort of game to you?"

"You're the one interrupting the lecture, you know," Midoriya said, the words coming out before he could even process them.

"What?!" People started laughing at Glasses as he scowled at Midoriya. This wasn't at all how Midoriya wanted things to go.

"Okay, that's enough people, no need to worsen the burn," Present Mic said. "Examinee #6591, nice job catching that. There is a fourth Villain, one for every site, but you don't get any points for beating it. It's just an obstacle!"

A fourth silhouette appeared on the screen, this one bearing resemblance to an armored knight wielding an axe.

"You've all heard of that VR game Sentries of the Last Cosmos, right? Think of it as a high-level agent of the Dark Regent! Nothing but a monster causing a mess everywhere it goes!"

"I see. I apologize for the interruption!" Glasses said, his face still red from earlier.

"That's all you need to know, my faithful listeners!" Present Mic shouted. "A true Hero embodies the aspects of Wisdom, Wonder, Mystery, and Entropy, and you'll need all of that and more to even have a chance at passing! So throw all you've got in a blender and go beyond! PLUS ULTRA!"

That actually did earn a response from the crowd.

After the lecture concluded, a bus came that drove Midoriya and dozens of other applicants to Test Site B. Midoriya, now dressed in green sweats, couldn't stop himself from being in awe of everything. He knew that U.A. sported a massive campus ground, but he never imagined that it would be large enough to house a massive fake city, let alone nine more just like it. The other people who would be entering it were no different. Everyone looked so much more confident than him, even after all the lengths he had gone through to prepare himself, and some of them even had weapons to fight with. He didn't need weapons, but they were still cool to look at.

As Midoriya kept observing the crowd, he caught sight of the girl from earlier, Awkward Scarf. It looked like they would be in the same test site, so he had another chance to thank him for earlier. He took a few steps to carry out the thought, but stopped himself with a quickness matching the thought when it had first emerged.

"Are you trying to bother that girl over there?" Glasses, who was apparently also at Test Site B, asked. "Can't you see-"

"That she's busy? Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. I wanted to talk to her, but it's not that important, so it can wait."

"Oh. Well… good!" Glasses said with a flustered face. Midoriya guessed that he was expecting a fight and didn't know what to do now that that hadn't happened.


"Huh?" Midoriya could have sworn he had heard Present Mic's voice. He didn't see him anywhere, but his Metahuman ability could easily allow him to project his voice from a distance. But if Midoriya heard right, he was telling them all to start.

"What, were you expecting a countdown? This ain't Houston, kids! Get a move on, already!" While everything was still swimming through Midoriya's head, the other test takers had already made their way into the fake city.

"I'm falling behind!" Midoriya shouted. He took his own turn at entering the fake city, and with his super speed, the last person in ended up at the front of the pack. After gaining a sizeable distance on the people who hadn't scattered off into different directions, Midoriya stopped running to figure out his next move.

"Okay, it was good that I got ahead of everyone, but now what?" Midoriya asked himself. "I could keep running around and just destroy every robot I find, but I don't know the specifics of how they function. If their AI is highly advanced, they'd catch on to me pretty quickly and either hide themselves from sight or avoid any area I'm in and go after someone else. If I fly up, I can expand my enhanced sight and X-ray vision to locate a lot of 3-Point robots and snipe them with heat vision. Ah, but they have those missile launchers. They probably have those specifically for people capable of flight, and without knowing the range and destructive capabilities, it might be risky to provoke so many of them at once-"

Midoriya's stream of consciousness was interrupted by a 2-Point robot crashing into a building on his left. There was a large handprint in its side, but Midoriya didn't remember hitting it.

"What do you think you're doing spacing out like that?" a person asked. The person-a gi-clad girl with orange tied into a side ponytail-must have been the one to destroy the robot.

"Was I? I didn't even notice."

"Yeah, because you were spacing out. Duh!" Side Ponytail said. "You're lucky I was here, otherwise that robot would have cleaned your clock."

"Really? You didn't have to do that."

"Of course I did! I know we're all competing against each other, but that doesn't mean we should just let other people get hurt."

"That's true, and I appreciate it, but you didn't need to do that with me. I don't think that robot would have been able to hurt me."

"Oh, is that right?" Side Ponytail asked, hands on her hips as she bent forward towards him. "That's a pretty cocky attitude you've got there. We're trying to enter the best Hero school in the country, so don't you think you should take this more seriously?"

Midoriya was about to offer another rebuttal, but before he could, a 3-Point robot burst onto the scene. It fired a missile from one of its shoulder turrets at the two of them, and in the split second it took Side Ponytail to notice, Midoriya had already jumped in front of her, kicked the missile into the air, and blasted the robot with his heat vision, the robot and the missile exploding at the same time.

"Huh. Hey, my name's Itsuka Kendou. Yours?"

"Izuku Midoriya."

"Well Midoriya, it looks like I stand corrected. You clearly have a handle on this, so I won't bother you about it. Good luck, and sorry for doubting you."

"Don't worry about it! And thanks!" Midoriya called out as Kendou ran off with a wave of a now giant-sized hand.

"Okay, I destroyed one robot for three points, so now I just need to destroy… actually, they never said the minimum number of points you need to pass, so I guess I just need to keep attacking them…"

Midoriya trailed off as he saw a 1-Point robot closing in on someone who had tripped over a rock. It didn't look like they were going to get up in time to avoid getting hit, and Midoriya didn't know if he could comfortably look for other robots to fight with this scene lodged in the back of his mind. He had enough things lodged in his head, so he sped over to the fallen applicant and used his body as a shield a split second before the attack could connect. The 1-Point robot's claw struck Midoriya without fail, but the sheer difference in power resulted in its claw breaking apart at the seams.

"Are you alright?!" Midoriya asked. The applicant said that they were and stood up. "Okay, that's good. You got to this one first, or maybe it got to you first? Either way, you can have this one. I'll find another one and-"

Just like a mere moment ago, Midoriya caught sight of a robot-a 2-Point robot-attacking an applicant. He thought it was an applicant, anyway. There was a pair of gloves floating in the air, but no body that they were attached to while they flew around in a frantic motion. Nevertheless, Midoriya didn't hesitate to run over to the scene, grab the robot by its tail, and put it into a powerful flip that landed it on its back.

"Okay, you can finish it off now," Midoriya said.

"Wait, what? You're not going to do that?" Floating Gloves asked, apparently being a girl.

"It was your kill, after all. Go ahead."

"Wow, thanks! Just wish I knew how to-oh, hey, an off button!"

Sure enough, there was a comically large off button on the robot's underside. Floating Gloves pressed it, and after a few seconds, the 2-Point robot stopped fidgeting and completely powered down.

"Thanks for the help!" Floating Gloves cheered as she ran off. Now that she was gone, Midoriya really needed to concentrate on his own exam. He really needed to do that, but then there was another applicant being cornered by not one, not three, but two robots.

That's not fair, Midoriya told himself as he raced over to the scene.

Today had hardly been going as Iida had planned. He had expected the exam to proceed in a completely orderly manner. The calmness with which everyone completed the written exam made it appear as if his hypothesis would be true, and he took a certain amount of pride in that.

But then came the lecture for the practical exam. All he did was two things: try and question something that seemed illogical, and call out a boy with a spitcurl for being disruptive. He had the nerve to turn things around and get everyone laughing at him. In hindsight, perhaps Iida could have had better timing with his questioning, but that was neither here nor there. There was nothing but irrelevant annoyances, and here was the practical exam that he needed to stay focused on.

From the very beginning of the exam, Iida had been speeding along through the fake city, the engines in his legs ablaze. The exam had been running for a little over two minutes, and if his calculations were correct, he had amassed a total of thirty-seven points. That was probably more than enough, but better safe than sorry, he supposed.

"There!" Iida shouted to no one. A 1-Point robot was milling about without a single opponent to fight. He'd have to correct that.

"You're mine!" Flames shot out of Iida's engines as he dashed at the robot. The robot tried to strike at him with a metal claw, but Iida was too fast. He dodged the attack with ease, leapt into the air, and hit the robot square in the face with a downward kick. The robot wasted no time in exploding into bits.

"Alright, that's thirty-eight-"

"DESTROY!" Before Iida could finish his sentence, another robot appeared on the scene. It was a 3-Point robot, and at the same time Iida turned to face it, it had already fired a barrage of missiles. Just like before, Iida was more than fast enough to dodge the attacks, but this time, numbers had become a definite issue. He could outpace the missiles, but the sheer number of them was overwhelming. He couldn't make any progress forward towards the robot, he could barely move at all. It didn't take a genius to know that he was going to get hit if he didn't think of something.

He didn't think of something.

The explosion of the missile sent Iida hurtling to the ground. The damage was manageable, but it was still damage. It was taking him a while to get back on his feet. He might have exhausted himself more than he thought. A quick drink of juice would take care of that, but he didn't have time for that. Didn't have time for it because he was putting all of his effort into standing up. Didn't have time for it because the robot had moved to be right in front of him.

Didn't need time for it because Spitcurl, the same muttering boy from the lecture hall, came in out of nowhere and stomped on the robot with enough force to completely smash it to bits.

Him again! Iida shouted in his head. It wasn't enough for him to try and humiliate me in the lecture hall. Now he's even stealing my points!

"Oh no, it got destroyed! I didn't think I hit it that hard. I'm really sorry about that. I didn't mean to steal your kill!" Spitcurl said.

"Excuse me?" Iida asked, finally standing up.

"Oh, you're the guy from earlier. I'm sorry about what happened in the lecture hall. I didn't mean to make people laugh at you. I just have a lot going on-ah, but everyone does, so that's probably not a good excuse. Still, I'm really sorry about that. See you later-"

"Wait!" Iida shouted. "What-Why did you do that?!"

"I told you, it was an accident! I wanted to leave the robot intact enough for you to take care of-"

"Why were you here at all?! I was going to get up eventually, and there's no way that these machines would have done any lethal damage, yet you decided to get yourself involved!"

"Well, yeah. You looked like you were in trouble, so I just decided to help you."

"Because I looked-are you an idiot?! We're in the middle of an exam! You can't waste time worrying about other people!"

"But isn't a Hero supposed to save as many people as they can?"

Iida just stared at him, unable to come up with any sort of retort. He felt like he was on the verge of one, but then Spitcurl said that he needed to leave and flew off into the air.

That guy really does take me for some kind of fool, Iida told himself as he drank a swig of juice from one of the bottles on his belt. Of course a Hero needs to save people; my brother and the friends of our family have made that clear to me ever since I was a child. This isn't the time for that, though! Worrying about other people can be saved for after the exam!

Then it hit Iida with enough power to make him drop his bottle of juice.

What am I even saying? What kind of Hero would want to put off saving people? That's not how a Hero is supposed to act! Defeating your enemies is supposed to come second to saving the lives of those around you! If that's the case, then his actions make perfect sense!

If U.A. truly is the greatest Hero school in the country, then they must expect their students-even potential students-to exhibit all aspects of heroism. So while we're only officially being tested on how many Villains we can defeat, we're also secretly being tested on how many people we can assist! That guy was able to figure out the true purpose of the exam while everyone else… while I was stuck on what was presented on the surface! We might be the same age, but he's clearly far above me in more than just power!

A new resolve had emerged inside Iida, one that was going to make him handle the exam in ways he hadn't planned for. At the same time, he caught sight of a girl with frog-like features wrapping her tongue around the tail of a 2-Point robot, but failing to bring it down to the ground.

"Don't worry, miss! I'll be ready to assist you in a flash!" Iida shouted as he dashed over to assist her.

As the exam continued onwards, All Might snuck into the private viewing room, hopefully with the stealthiness of a ferocious liger.

"You're late," said a man dressed in black with bandage-like objects around his neck.

It was possible that ligers weren't the stealthiest creatures in the animal kingdom.

"Oh, Aizawa-kun! Sorry about that. I meant to get here on time, but there was a bank robbery, then there was a near car crash, then there was a murder of crows stuck in a well-"

"Aren't you supposed to be doing less work?" Aizawa asked.

"Oh, don't be too hard on him. There's still a little more than half of the exam left, so there's still plenty that he can contribute," said what looked to be some manner of talking animal. "Sit down and we'll fill you in on everything."

"Yes, sir," All Might said with a bow before sitting down next to the creature, Principal Nedzu.

"For the most part, the exam has proceeded the same as it does every year. The majority of applicants are focused solely on destroying the robots, the results varying from person to person. The one who's had the most success with this is applicant #1941, Katsuki Bakugou. He's been able to destroy every robot that's crossed his path, and he has yet to show a single sign of fatigue. His file says that he suffered a major injury at a young age that required intensive surgery, but that doesn't seem to be slowing him down, in the slightest."

Katsuki Bakugou. All Might remembered Midoriya talking about him once or twice. He was the one Midoriya hurt as a child, the other half of the incident that made Midoriya swear off heroism for a decade. It was good to know that both boys were able to move past the incident, even if it was to different extents.

"However, far more impressive is what's going on at Test Site B." The screens on the wall opposite to All Might and the other teachers changed to show multiple angles of a boy in green saving a purple-haired dwarf from one of the robots. All Might didn't know who the smaller child was, but he was clearly being assisted by Midoriya.

"What's up with this?" All Might asked, feigning ignorance.

"Examinee #1938. Izuku Midoriya. You know, the alien." There was a surge of grumbling from the observers. All Might couldn't blame them for it. "Midoriya-kun's physiology grants him a wide variety of powers such as super strength, super speed, flight, and heat vision. With this powerset, you'd think that he'd have dozens upon dozens of robots destroyed, but at this point, he's only amassed a total of ten Villain Points."

"Only ten?"

"We're surprised, too," a bespectacled woman in a business suit said. "Principal Nedzu's been in charge of monitoring Test Site B, but the rest of us have had a few peeks at it, and we can't wrap our heads around his behavior. He's gone around the entire test site twice, but he's barely gone after robots that weren't attacking people."

"Really?" Nedzu changed the screens again to display more images of Midoriya with different timestamps. At every one of them, Midoriya was helping someone who was having trouble with one of the robots, even if they were far off from his initial location.

All Might couldn't help but smile. It was like watching a young him.

"It's not just Midoriya-kun who's doing this," Nedzu said. "Take a look at this."

The images on the screens changed again. They were still at Test Site B, but All Might didn't see Midoriya in any of the images. Instead, he saw a boy with engines in his legs helping a frog girl take down a robot. He saw a blonde boy shoot a laser out of his stomach to destroy a missile before it could hit someone in the face. He saw a girl with a nervous expression make several people float in the air to avoid an enemy attack. He saw all of this and many other examples of kids assisting their fellow applicants.

"It's unsettling," Aizawa said. "It's normal to get a couple of people who spend more time protecting people than destroying the robots, but nearly half the people at the site are doing it. We've never once had that many people acting like this at a single site. It's almost like they know about the other part of the exam."

As the words left Aizawa's mouth, everyone in the room turned their attention towards Present Mic.

"Don't look at me! I didn't say anything about it! I wouldn't do that a third time!" Present Mic shouted. "I bet you wouldn't get on the Music Meister's case like this."

"Of course not. The Music Meister's an international treasure who never would have done it a single time, let alone three."


"Okay, that's enough teasing," Nedzu said. "Yamada-kun didn't tell the kids about the other part of the exam. Just like every year, the only method of earning points that people were told about was to fight and defeat the robots. However, all of a sudden the majority of children in Test Site B have started to prioritize helping out their fellow man over their own success. There's no clear cut explanation for it, but if I had to guess, I'd say that it's because of Midoriya-kun."

"Youthinkthisisbecauseofthealienchild? Whatmakesyousaythat?" asked a man in a dark bodysuit with a trenchcoat and a Glasgow smile.

"Midoriya-kun was the first one to make a habit of protecting people. In this society, good deeds like that become infectious when performed by someone who knows what they're doing, so from watching him, people started to think 'If someone as strong as him thinks that this is more important, then I should do it, too!' They start following his example, and they, in turn, inspire more people to protect their fellow man. Then those people inspire more people to inspire more people to inspire more people-well, you get where I'm going with this."

All Might certainly did. The boy hadn't even entered U.A., yet he had already gotten a start on bringing people together under a single flag, on uniting everyone with the strength of his heart and charisma. If All Might ever had any doubts about Midoriya, they vanished into thin air right then and there.

"However, it's important to know if these kids can keep their ideals and aren't simply blowing smoke. Yamada-kun, do the thing."


"ORA!" A boy with hardened skin punched the head off of a 2-Point robot, a robot that Midoriya had used his freeze breath to pin to a wall before it could skewer him on its tail.

"Okay, that should do it," Midoriya said.

"Thanks for the help, man! You rock!" Hard Skin said with a toothy grin. Midoriya stuttered something along the lines of "No problem" before answering his fist bump. As he watched the Xth. person he saved run off somewhere, Midoriya breathed a sigh of both relief and annoyance.

"What is wrong with me?!" Midoriya shouted. "The exam's more than halfway done, and I've only gotten fifteen points! I should have been able to get hundreds of points by now, but I keep spending all of my time helping other people get their own points! At this rate, I'm going to completely fail! Why can't I stop myself from being a good person?!"

Midoriya gave his hair a good tussling before taking in a deep breath. Now he felt calm. Yes, there wasn't a lot of time left in the exam, but there was still time, nonetheless. He could still find robots to defeat and increase his score to something manageable. He suspected that he'd still get sidetracked by the other people, but he could work around it. Everything was still in the clear.

"Alien!" Or not.

"Wh-What?! What are you-I don't know what you're-"

"Get out of the way!"

"We're dead! We're all dead!"

"No one said anything about fucking aliens!"

An entire horde of people started running in Midoriya's direction. He initially assumed that they were an angry mob of anti-alien enthusiasts, but they all completely ignored him. They were running in fear of a supposed alien, yet the actual alien was barely noticed. Where was the logic in that?

Two seconds later, Midoriya saw the logic in that. The logic in that was none other than a giant blue starfish with a single eye in the center of a body that towered far above the buildings. The logic in that was none other than its maniacal laughter as people ran from it in terror. The logic in that was none other than Starro the Conqueror.

"I'm back, bitches!" Starro shouted as people kept running away. "Bet you thought Starro was done for good. Idiots. Can't keep a good extraterrestrial telepathic starfish down! AHAHAHAHAHA!"

S-S-Starro! Midoriya fell on his butt, either because someone pushed him or because of his own weakness. I-It's Starro the Conqueror! The evil alien of evil aliens! He was supposed to have disappeared decades ago! Why is he back?! Now, of all times?! This-This can't have anything to do with me, can it?! Is he here because of me?!

"Where you going, kiddies? The Heroes can't help you, but you're still gonna run away? Man, you humans are even bigger pussies than I remember! Grow a pair and actually make your inevitable doom worth a damn!"

Midoriya was a picosecond away from flying away from the scene before he heard those lines. Where, exactly, were the Heroes? Ever since the Lantern War, the entire world was on red alert for any and all alien activity, yet no one was coming to deal with this. How could that be? Furthermore, how could Alan Scott let Starro, of all aliens, get past the Green Palace?

Nothing about it was adding up, but Midoriya thought he had a way to do the math. He stood back up on his feet, glared at Starro, and activated his X-ray vision. Just as he had suspected, its insides were composed entirely of machinery. Knowing Starro, he would have long since gloated about being an invincible cyborg starfish, so that left only one answer: this Starro was actually the 0-Point robot.

"It's good that this isn't the real thing, it really is," Midoriya said, "but I can't stop myself from feeling angry."

Midoriya slammed his hands into the pavement, causing everyone around him to stop running and look at him. As he lifted them up, a massive chunk of rock came along for the ride. With every ounce of strength in his body, Midoriya threw the rock at Starro. His aim was off, so the rock missed the intended target of its eye, but it did manage to destroy half of its upper left arm.

"...Oh? Looks like we've got someone who isn't a total loser," Starro said, its gaze locked on Midoriya. "It's gonna take more than a rock to beat me, even if it is a big rock. After all, you're looking at the new and improved Starro! I don't just rely on my psychic powers, anymore."

As if they were on a certain cue, dozens of smaller Starros flew into the air and started firing purple beams of light everywhere.

"Now I've got lasers, suckers! AHAHAHAHAHA"

"It's gonna take more than a rock to beat me, even if it is a big rock. After all, you're looking at the new and improved Starro! I don't just rely on my psychic powers, anymore. Now I've got lasers, suckers! AHAHAHAHAHA!" Present Mic laughed into a microphone.

"He sure seems to be enjoying himself," All Might said as he watched Present Mic's act with mixed emotion.

"This is favorite part of the exam, as dumb as it is," Aizawa said.

"Hey, if we're going to pit them against Starro, we gotta go all out!" Present Mic said. His head was turned away from his microphone, and his voice was once again his normal voice. "The Starro we had to fight never talked, and it was totally lame! If I can give these kids a better experience than the one I had, then I'm gonna do it!"

"It's still dumb, though."

"You just don't get art, man! Now, where was I?" Present Mic turned back to the microphone and laughed into it, his voice once again matching that of Starro's. "Yes, yes, die, die, die! I have everything, and you have nothing!"

"Yes, yes, die, die, die! I have everything, and you have nothing!"

Uraraka was starting to regret the choices in life that brought her here. Overall, she couldn't think of anything that was an inherently bad decision, but if those decisions led to her being attacked by a giant alien starfish, even one that was possibly just a robot, then it was hard to see them as the right ones.

"Yeah, that's right, keep running! Not gonna stop me from making swiss cheese out of you nerds!" Starro shouted from the heavens.

He wasn't wrong. Even if it was just a robot, it was a robot modeled after an alien that could give the Justice Society a hard time on any given day. And they were expected to deal with it? She could only imagine what her parents might be saying if they could watch this.

"OW! Hey, quit it, kid!" Looking up, she saw Starro being blasted by a shot of heat vision. It came from the boy with the spitcurl she met earlier. He was flying around through the sky hitting it whenever he could, dodging laser beams with split-second timing, and deflecting attacks that might hit people who didn't want to try and fight it.

People just like her. Some people were fighting off the drones or at least throwing rocks at Starro, but she couldn't even bring herself to do that. If she tried, she'd probably just screw it up, somehow, either for herself or someone else.

As the melancholic thoughts ran through Uraraka's head, she tripped over some loose rubble. Apparently, she couldn't even do a good job of fleeing.

"You know, you are all getting on my last nerves! Just die, already!" The drones, however many were left, shot out a rapid assortment of beams across the fake city, hitting things completely at random. One of those completely random things was the building next to Uraraka, sending a chunk of it falling down to the ground. Uraraka wasn't nearly fast enough to get out of the way, so there was no doubt in her mind that it was going to land on her leg. A fitting end to everything.

"Recipro Burst!" Or not. Uraraka braced for impact, but it never came. Instead, a bespectacled man with engines coming out of his legs came out of nowhere to kick the falling rubble with enough force to turn it into dust and pebbles.

"Are you alright?! Can you stand?!" Glasses asked.

"Huh? Y-Yeah," Uraraka said. She dusted herself and got off the ground, still trying to process everything that was happening.

"This area is dangerous! If you aren't planning on fighting, you should vacate the premises and find somewhere to hide until the exam is over."


"Fooooound you!" Uraraka turned her head up in response to the childish voice. It was one of Starro's drones, and it was charging a laser beam right in their direction.

"Dammit, not now!" Glasses shouted.

"Hope you realize you're doomed!"

"Oh, I don't think so!"

From behind the drone, Uraraka saw a girl with an orange side ponytail dressed in a gi jump into the air and increase the size of her hands to massive proportions. She wrapped her hands around the drone, and a second later, it exploded in a ball of fire. Side Ponytail's landing was clearly flawless, but Uraraka could see that her hands were anything but.

"""Guess we won't have to worry about that happening to us!""" exclaimed three more Starro drones.

"Crap. I can't do anymore fighting with my hands like this!" Side Ponytail said. "You're fast, right? Can you get us out of here."

She can't fight anymore, Uraraka told herself.

"Unfortunately, no," Glasses said. "The technique I used to get over here stalls my engines, and it will be at least another minute before I can use them again."

He can't run anymore, Uraraka told herself. They're both at the ends of their ropes.

"This isn't good at all."

They're both out of options, and it's all because they were trying to help me.

"No! Ah ain't okay wi' that!"

"What?" Glasses asked.

"What?" Side Ponytail asked.

"""What?""" The Starro drones asked.

Brown light enveloped Uraraka's fingertips as she ran towards the Starro drones. The drones started charging their attacks, but Uraraka was faster than them. She put her hands against her body and started floating into the air up towards the drones. Once she was close enough, the brown light faded, and she dropped onto the back of one of them.

"Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey! What are you-"

"Let's see how y'all like gettin' zapped in yer faces!"

Uraraka spun the drone around the second its laser was released, causing it to blast another drone to smithereens. Before the last one could react, she turned her captive towards it and sent it to an equally junky grave.

"She's more capable than I gave her credit for," Glasses said.

"Same," Side Ponytail said. "Hey, you saw her first, so was she always talking in that accent?"

"I don't believe so."

Ah! When'd I start talkin' like'm back home?! Uraraka shouted in her head.

"N-N-N-Now don't y'all go thinkin' that ah'm sum sorta-please ignore all of that!"

""That's going to be hard,"" they both said.

"Get off of me, you damn hillbilly!" the Starro drone shouted. The drone put its body in a rapid spin that sent Uraraka flying off. She used the same light-enveloped fingers to slow her descent, but she still felt sick when she landed on the ground.

"You made me kill my buddies! Sure, they were pieces of shit, but they were my pieces of shit! Eat laser, jerks!"

There was no digestion of laser beams that day, for before any could be produced, the same kid with the spitcurl flew in and destroyed the drone with a single punch.

"Are you guys alright?!"

"Yes, yes, die, die, die! I have everything, and you have nothing!" The Starro robot was acting exactly like the history books and old movies described him to act like. Midoriya still hated everything about this, but he couldn't help but admire U.A.'s commitment to authenticity.

"Yeah, that's right, keep running! Not gonna stop me from making swiss cheese out of you nerds!" Starro shouted from the heavens.

"You need to stop talking," Midoriya said as he fired a shot of heat vision at the robot.

"OW! Hey, quit it, kid!"

Several drones converged on Midoriya's location and fired their lasers at him. Most he dodged, a few he took full force, even if said force hardly felt like anything. Either way, it didn't take much for him to destroy them with punches and kicks.

"Tre bien! How magnificent!" someone cheered.

"Let him have it, dude!" another someone cheered. They were just two of many. After Midoriya exposed Starro as a robot, many of the people who were fleeing for their lives regained their resolve and started fighting back against it. Some were trying to destroy the drones, others were simply throwing rocks at Starro, but the one thing they had in common was that they were all rooting for Midoriya to win.

It felt good to feel like a winner.

"You know, you are all getting on my last nerves! Just die, already!" The drones, however many were left, shot out a rapid assortment of beams across the fake city, hitting things completely at random. Midoriya was able to deflect a few of the beams, but he wasn't quick enough to get all of them. Hopefully the other people would be able to handle themselves, and if not, that they at least weren't seriously hurt.

A quick look around, and it seems like everyone's relatively fine, Midoriya said to himself. That could have been a lot worse. The robot must be going easy on everyone to prevent serious injuries-oh no!

Off in the distance, Midoriya's super vision caught sight of three drones flying towards three familiar faces: Awkward Scarf from that morning, Glasses from the lecture hall, and Kendou from the beginning of the exam. They would probably be fine, but he didn't want to risk it. He flew off towards the three of them, smashing his way through several drones along the way, and arrived at the scene in little time at all. By the time he got there, there was only one drone left, but he wasted no time in smashing it to bits.

"Are you guys alright?!" Midoriya asked.

"Nice save, Midoriya!" Kendou cheered.

"I'll take that as a yes." He turned over to Awkward Scarf. "I, um, tried to tell you earlier, but thanks for stopping me from falling before. You really helped me out back there."

"O-Oh! You're welcome!" Awkward Scarf said with a flushed face.

"Midoriya-kun, was it? I thank you for your assistance, but the three of us are fine, now!" Glasses said while moving his arms in a chopping motion. "You need to refocus your attention on the mechanical Starro! If anyone has a chance of defeating that monstrosity, it's you!"

"Yeah, so go kick all five of its asses!" Kendou said, giving him a giant thumbs up.

Midoriya just nodded his head before flying back over to Starro. Words didn't need to be said. He was going to finish the fight because that's what needed to be done.

"You, you, you! Still buzzing around like… like… some kind of buzzing, flying, dumb dumb thing! I'm gonna put you in your place-six feet underground-and then this whole planet of dorks will belong to me!"

Dozens of drones flew back to Starro's location and started attacking Midoriya. Their attacks converged into one singular beam, and it was taking all Midoriya had to block it.

Everything about this pisses me off, but I understand why they're doing it, Midoriya told himself. Starro the Conqueror was the first major enemy of the Justice Society. His overwhelming power was too much for a single person, and it forced the best Heroes in the world to work together. Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Doctor Fate… and Martian Manhunter.

If it wasn't for Starro, those seven would have never understood that there were some enemies they couldn't handle on their own. If it wasn't for Starro, President Roosevelt wouldn't have convinced them to become a permanent team. If it wasn't for Starro, there'd be no Justice Society, there'd be no Heroes Association, our society would be nothing like it is, today!

Even if he didn't mean for it to happen, Starro is partially responsible for creating our world thanks to being the first true obstacle. Of course U.A. would build robots in his likeness. They want him to be a roadblock for the new generation, as well!

"So just like how the Justice Society used you to become better Heroes, I'm going to use you to get a start on it, with everything I've got!"

Midoriya whipped his head around while firing a blast of heat vision. The beam connected with every drone that was shooting at him, destroying them one by one until there were none left and he was free from the attack.

"My precious younglings!" Starro cried.

With a yell from the bottom of his gut and the encouragement of every onlooker, Midoriya flew straight at Starro. His arms were facing outwards, hands flat against the air, a magnificent flying pose. Starro sounded like it might be trying to bargain, but Midoriya wasn't paying attention. He was too busy listening to the sound of steel breaking apart from steel as he tore straight through the center of its body.

"You… think you're all that… but you're not!" Starro shouted. Midoriya turned back around to face it and saw it rapidly moving its lower arms back and forth. "That's… how my people… flip the bird…"

As the robot fell to the ground lifeless, Midoriya couldn't help but be impressed with the school's incredible commitment.

"Times up!" Present Mic's voice sounded through the air. "The exam is officially over!"

Everyone cheered. For the sake of his ego, Midoriya told himself that they were cheering for the end of the test, and not for him.

After the exam concluded, Midoriya made his way back to the front entrance, joined by Kendou and the people he now knew as Tenya Iida and Ochaco Uraraka. With her hands fixed up by the school nurse Recovery Girl, Kendou was acting as cool and energetic as ever. Uraraka still acted rather quiet, but once she started talking, there was a clear cheerfulness to her demeanor. As for Iida, nothing about him changed, save for his humility. Not only did he apologize for how he acted earlier in the day, but he applauded Midoriya for figuring out the true purpose of the exam well before anyone else.

Midoriya had no idea what he was talking about, but he didn't want to be on Iida's bad side again, and if Kendou and Uraraka were agreeing with him, then there wasn't any harm in rolling with it.

"Midoriya-san!" Out from the main building came Yaoyorozu, as punctual as ever.

"Oh, Yaoyorozu-san. How'd your test go?" Midoriya asked.

"I have a good feeling about the written exam and the interview, though I'm a little nervous about the physical exam. Though from what I hear, it pales in comparison to what you were doing."

"O-Oh? Are people really talking about that?"

"Hey, you should be proud about that. You were totally awesome out there!" Kendou said.

"Y-Yeah! The way you were punching everything to smithereens and zapping stuff with your laser eyes. And the flying. The flying! That was so cool to look at!" Uraraka said.

"It was truly a sight to behold and an inspiration for us all," Iida said. Midoriya wondered if it was an alien thing to get as red as he was.

"Your new friends certainly speak highly of you," Yaoyorozu said.

"I wish they wouldn't-oh, wait, you don't even know each other!" Midoriya said. He quickly introduced Yaoyorozu to Kendou, Uraraka and Iida, and vice versa.

"It's a pleasure to meet you all. Kendou-san, Uraraka-san, Iida-san, you three being here shows that U.A. is truly deserving of its reputation." All three of them started blushing, Uraraka the most.

"Let us all meet again when we're officially students of U.A. High!" Iida declared.

"Yeah!" Kendou shouted.

"Y-Yeah!" Midoriya stammered. This wasn't how he planned for the day to go, but it was far better than anything he could imagine.

"I wish I could imagine getting in," Midoriya said to the ceiling of his living room. A week had gone by since the exam. Alexis Luthor was officially declared the new CEO of LexCorp Japan; he knew that would happen, but the news still gave him a stomachache. All Might hadn't contacted him once, but he was probably busy with work, so it was fine. The people he had the most contact with were Yaoyorozu, Kendou, Uraraka, and Iida. The five of them exchanged numbers after the exam, and while they couldn't find time to meet up during the day, they texted and called one another nearly every day. The conversations usually revolved around things like school work, Hero news, and the meme of the week, but more than anything, they talked about how excited they were to be entering U.A. soon.

It killed Midoriya to lie to them like that. Everyone kept praising him for how well he did against the Starro robot, but he didn't get any points for that. Midoriya only earned a total of fifteen points, and even if he passed the written exam with flying colors, that probably wouldn't be good enough.


"Yeah," Midoriya said without enthusiasm.


"Yeah, I'm an idiot, I know. I just-I didn't want anyone to get hurt. There's nothing wrong with that. There shouldn't be anything wrong with that. It really sucks that I'm probably not going to get in because of that, though. Hopefully Shiketsu and Ketsubutsu's exams don't work the same way. Seijin, too, but that's really a backup backup. It'd be cool to go to Edgeshot's alma mater, but I don't really want to be an alien ninja-"

"Izuku! Izuku!" Inko's shouting interrupted his monologue.


"It came! I-It finally came!" In her trembling hands, Midoriya saw Inko holding a wax-sealed envelope with U.A. High as the return address. This had to be his exam results, the thing that would decide his future.

Midoriya took the letter from his mother, picked his phone off the table, and ran into his room. If it was as bad as he knew it was, he didn't want his mother to witness it first-hand. Once the door was shut, Midoriya sat down at his desk and opened the envelope. To his surprise, instead of a letter, the envelope released a metal disk. The second he touched it, a square-shaped beam of light shot out from the top and into the air.

"This is a projection!" said the familiar voice of All Might, paired with the familiar image of All Might.

"All Might?!" Midoriya shouted. "This is from U.A., isn't it?! Why is All Might here?!"


"This might come as a shock to you, but starting this spring, I'll be teaching Hero Training at U.A." Midoriya felt another wave of shock, but one that was considerably smaller. If it was for the reasons he suspected, then All Might becoming a teacher made perfect sense. "What's that? Get on with it, already? Save the personal stuff for later? Fine, fine, I got it.

"As the newest teacher, I've been tasked with informing all applicants of their test results. You performed flawlessly on the written exam, one of the best scores we had! Unfortunately, your score in the practical exam was one of the worst we had. With just fifteen Villain Points, even combining that with a perfect score on the written exam wouldn't enough for you to pass."

He knew this was going to happen. He knew it as soon as the Starro robot fell to the ground. He suspected it when he had spent half the exam putting other people ahead of himself. He had an inkling of a feeling well before the exam, and that was why he applied to other schools. He knew this could happen, but being prepared provided absolutely no comfort.

"Yes, that's definitely not enough to pass… which makes it a good thing that those weren't the only points you earned!"

"Wait, what?" Midoriya asked of no one who could answer him.

"While most Heroes need to be tough enough to beat down any and all scumbags who cause trouble around them, a Hero's job, first and foremost, is saving people's lives. Someone who doesn't even try to do that is nothing but a punk trying too hard to be cool, and the world already has too many of those! Therefore, the practical exam doesn't just test people on how many Villains they can defeat; the practical exam also tests you on how many people they can save!

"You probably spent the whole exam thinking that you were screwing yourself over by giving too much attention to the wellbeing of others, but you were in the right from the very start! Not only that, but look at this!"

All Might picked up a remote and turned on a TV behind him. The screen was split into multiple smaller screens, each one displaying recordings of the exam. Within the recordings, he saw images of Kendou, Uraraka, Iida, and some of the people he helped out. Every single one of them, one way or another, was helping someone who was stuck in a tight spot, just as he had done.

"Your actions were inspiring not just to us adults, but to your peers, as well. Dozens of people started following your example and began putting the safety of others above their own success. Because they admired your strength and kindness, they willingly allowed themselves to score fewer points for the sake of performing good deeds. Ah, but they didn't actually lose any points, now did they? They didn't earn Villain Points, but they did earn the secret Rescue Points, the points we never tell anyone about because-well, you said it, yourself: 'Isn't a Hero supposed to save as many people as they can?'"

"S-So that means-what All Might's saying is-"

"Midoriya, my boy, for your constant acts of selflessness, you earned a total of 160 Rescue Points! Combine that with your meager fifteen Villain Points, and your total score for the practical exam is 175 points! Not only did you pass with flying colors, not only did you get the highest score in the practical exam, but you set a new school record for most points gained during the exam! Beating out my old score by ten points, I might add, you lucky little-

"Anyway, you're officially a student of U.A. High, Midoriya, my boy. Welcome to your Hero Academia!"

The hologram shut off. Midoriya jumped up into the air and released a yell of triumph. There was really nothing else that could be appropriate.

Top Ten Scores

Izuku Midoriya Villain Points: 15 Rescue Points: 160 Total: 175

Itsuka Kendou Villain Points: 40 Rescue Points: 60 Total: 100

Eijirou Kirishima Villain Points: 45 Rescue Points: 53 Total: 98

Ibara Shiozaki Villain Points: 46 Rescue Points: 50 Total: 96

Tenya Iida Villain Points: 52 Rescue Points: 38 Total: 90

Ochaco Uraraka Villain Points: 44 Rescue Points: 44 Total: 88

Tsuyu Asui Villain Points: 47 Rescue Points: 40 Total: 87

Fumikage Tokoyami Villain Points: 47 Rescue Points: 35 Total: 82

Mina Ashido Villain Points: 42 Rescue Points: 38 Total: 80

Katsuki Bakugou Villain Points: 77 Rescue Points: 0 Total: 77

Assorted Questions from the Written Exam

Which Robin was a prolific activist in the fight for gaining equal rights for Quirk users?

Dick Grayson

Jason Todd

Tim Drake

The fourth one

How many years did Oliver Queen spend on a hellish island before returning to Star City, abandoning his old identity of King of the Castle, and rebranding himself as the Green Arrow?


Three on the island, one in China, and one in Russia



Worlds that exist within Hypertime are counted amongst the fifty-two realities of a multiverse.



What magic did the Imperial scientist known as the Dragon King use?





What is the Metal that results in the creation of the Metagene?

No one knows




Explain Dick Grayson's part in the establishment of the "Golden Age Clause" to the "Hero Identification Law". Then, explain your opinion on whether or not Dick Grayson's actions were justified, even in a society where Heroes are expected to only kill as a last result.

Explain how Doom Patrol member Casey Brinke made it possible for women to engage in homosexual reproduction.

Identify the Joker who coined the "One Bad Day" philosophy. Explain the philosophy, then explain whether or not you support it. Please cite at least three examples from literature and/or history to support your answer.

Who was ultimately the most responsible for the Lantern War: Hal Jordan, Alan Scott, or Atrocitus? Please support your answer with facts of the Lantern War.

Over the course of the last few decades, Japan has been steadily taking America's place as the epicenter of Hero-based activity. Is this shift in climate a good thing or a bad thing? Explain

I'm just as surprised as you guys that this is already out. I thought I wouldn't get this done until the end of September, but I just blazed right through it! And since the chapter's done, I'm officially closing the poll on all sites. The winner, which should have been obvious from the start, is Eri! Expect that story to show up sometime in the near future, folks. Until then, see ya later!

Chapter Text

I, Katsuki Bakugou, have arrived. After years of training and putting up with pissants who thought they could stand on my level, I've finally managed to get into U.A. It's the best Hero School in the entire country, and I kicked their entrance exam's ass as hard as I knew I would. All Might said I got seventy-seven points. That's gotta be more than all those other losers, combined!

I'm finally on my way to the top. Gonna put all those know-nothing shitheads in their place once I reach the top. Won't be long before I'm beating everyone there is. Shazam, Wonder Woman, Endeavor, All Might, no one's gonna stop me!

Not even that piece of shit, Deku.

The day after receiving his acceptance letter to U.A., Midoriya, per All Might's request, went to his office in Roppongi to meet up with him. Just like he had done a year ago, Midoriya loudly shouted his name in public, forcing All Might to hastily come up with a lie about what was really said. Nevertheless, they were able to make their way to the same back corner from before to talk in private.

"I know I already said it in the video, but let me say it person: Young Midoriya, congratulations on your acceptance into U.A." All Might said.

"And on beating your record, right?" Midoriya asked.

"Don't get ahead of yourself."

"Sorry," Midoriya said, locking his eyes with the table.

"Hey, come on, that was a joke! Of course I'm proud of you for doing that. Super, duper proud and everything."

"O-Oh, duh! Thanks." Midoriya wasn't fully convinced, but he felt it best to drop the subject.

"So, were you surprised to learn that I'll be teaching this year?"

"Not really. I figured that you were doing it because, well, because you still need to find a successor."

"That's correct. The whole reason I was in Musutafu the day we met was to talk to the principal about setting this up. U.A. is the finest Hero School in the country, so if there's a young soul who would be a proper inheritor of One for All, they'll be there."

"Yeah, probably," Midoriya said, staring at the cup of tea in front of him. "Hey, is it really alright that I haven't given you a straight answer? You probably don't have a lot of time left before you have to retire, but I still turned you down, so it's kind of like-"

"Hey, hey! Stop being a Negative Nancy, already!" All Might cut in. "It's true that you would make for a great successor, but the last thing I'd want to do is force you into something you weren't ready for. If anything happens to me, it won't be your fault, it'll be my own fault for being too stubborn to retire back when this all started. No more of this nonsense, okay?"

"O-Okay!" This time, Midoriya did feel fully convinced. "But besides all that, I'm really just excited about the whole thing. It's been great getting to hang out with you so much this past year, but now we'll be able to see each other every day! I mean, you're still going to be working a lot, but now we're working in the same place! Oh, wait, this stuff and the other stuff reminds me: do all the teachers know about your injury?"

"They know the basics of my Quirk and injury, but only the principal and Recovery Girl know the specifics of One for All and my fight from six years ago. Naturally, they also don't know that we have any sort of pre-existing relationship."

"I guess that makes sense," Midoriya said as he took a sip from his tea.

"Also naturally, they know about you being an alien."

That sip ended up spread across the table.

"Th-Th-They what?!"

"Just the ones directly connected to the Hero Course. I'm not a fan of that, either, but that's what the government decided to do. Security reasons, and all that. Just, just try to understand."

"S-So all the teachers I'm going to be with knew I was an alien when I was taking the test?" Midoriya asked.

"That's right."

"And they still let me pass, in spite of that," Midoriya stated.

"That's right."

Midoriya stared at All Might for a few seconds before a bright smile appeared on his face.

"They knew I'm an alien, and they still let me in. That's good. That's really, really good."

"It is?"

"That means they don't care! At the very least, they don't care enough to treat me any differently than anyone else! The first thing that went through my head was that they'd all try to give me a hard time, but this means I don't have to worry about that!"

"Hmm… I guess it does mean that. At the very least, you know that you'll have at least one teacher giving you a fair chance."

What a teacher it would be, Midoriya mused.

More time came and went until it was the beginning of April. It all went by quickly, but for Bakugou, it wasn't nearly quick enough. He passed the entrance exam with flying colors, probably did better than everyone else, so they should have just let him get started right then and there. He wondered if they'd let him change the education system after becoming Number One. He hoped he could, since it wasn't as if anything important happened to him over the past month.

In the month since passing the exam, Bakugou had done nothing worth caring about. Graduation came and went, but he wasn't going to get sentimental about leaving people he didn't care about and a school that was only a stepping stone on his path to becoming a Hero. The only thing of note was getting confirmation that Midoriya also passed U.A.'s entrance exam. Good that he did what he was supposed to. Now all Bakugou needed to do was defeat and humiliate him, and everything would be perfect.

Moving on, the first day of school had arrived. After spending ten minutes trying to get away from his parents and their overbearing nonsense (who hasn't been taken hostage by a sludge monster?), he finally managed to get to school in time for the opening ceremony. There was a huge crowd of reporters milling about the school, both inside and out. He knew the opening ceremony always drew in the press, especially since it was the only time of year they were allowed on campus, but this felt excessive. Must have been because of that Luthor girl who was attending U.A.

Bet she thinks she's gonna be running this place. Guess again; that's gonna be meBakugou said to himself. Who gives a shit, anyway? She's in the Support Department, so it's not like she's competition.

Bakugou made his way to the seating section for Hero Course students. In the corner of his eye, he caught sight of Midoriya coming into the auditorium and standing around for no reason before four kids ran up and started talking to him. They all looked like they were having a good time, together.

Bakugou made sure to sit way in the back.

For most people, today was simply another day in their ordinary lives, but for a select few, it was the most important day that they would ever live. Yes, Lexi knew that today was the first day of school at U.A. High School, but the fact that all of those incoming freshman would be able to meet her was what truly made it a special occasion.

"So Mercy, how does it feel to not have to drive me around, anymore?" Lexi asked while flipping through a manga magazine. "Does it feel liberating? Like a weight's been lifted off your shoulders?"

"You'd think it would, but it honestly just feels kind of empty," Mercy said. "Guess that's what happens when you spend so many years chauffeuring someone around."

"It sure was fun having you take me everywhere, whether it was by car, by bike, or by wagon when we were kids. I'll miss those days."

"It'd be easier to miss them if Woodhouse knew how to drive! Goddammit, would it kill you to seize the gap?!"

"Terribly sorry, miss. It's been quite some time since I've had to drive on the left, and I'm still getting readjusted," said an elderly man with a British accent and a bionic arm.

"Do that on your own time, not when you have a job to do!"

"Understood, miss."

Lexi could tell that Mercy wasn't fully convinced. She'd just have to get used to Woodhouse's driving. After all, for half of the day, six days a week, she wasn't just her assistant/bodyguard, she was also her classmate, and classmates don't chauffeur each other to and fro various locations.

"We're here, madam and miss," Woodhouse said as the limo came to a full stop. "Enjoy the rest of your day."

"I'll certainly be able to, now that I'm out of this death trap," Mercy said as she exited the vehicle.

"Don't take too hard, Woodhouse. Mercy just has high standards. If someone like me is saying this, then you know it has to be true," Lexi said.

"Understood, madam. I'll do my best to not take her unpleasantness to heart," Woodhouse said.

...He's been with the family a while, so I'll give him that, Lexi told herself. She grabbed her magazine off the seat and stepped out of the limo. The second Woodhouse drove away from the curb-doing so in a manner that Mercy would certainly have scolded him for-a massive crowd of reporters swarmed her person.

Why they thought this was a good time, she had no idea.

"Luthor-san, can I trouble you for a few-"

"Luthor-san, in regards to your new position as CEO of-"

"Luthor-san, if you don't mind me asking-"

"Excuse me!" Lexi shouted. All the talking heads went silent, allowing Lexi free time to open up her magazine and step over to Mercy's side. "I'm still in the middle of reading, so I'm going to have to ask you to wait until I'm done before asking your questions."

"Don't you think you can read your manga some other time?" one reporter asked.

"Well, I'm definitely not answering any of your questions." Lexi smiled at his flabbergasted expression. It gave her a good chuckle as she and Mercy walked towards the school.

"Okay, this is ridiculous!" another reporter shouted. "Luthor-san, I don't know how things work in America, but if you're going to be in our country, you need to treat people with the proper respect-"

Before he could finish talking, Mercy grabbed his microphone, ripped off the capsule, and jammed it into his mouth to silence him. Lexi admired her friend's appreciation of ironic punishment.

"Anyone else feeling brave and bold, today?" Mercy asked. The talking heads shook their speechless heads, and Lexi and Mercy were able to keep walking in peace.

"Oh, now that makes sense," Lexi said, turning a page as she, Mercy, and the reporters entered the building.

"The detail in this splash panel is phenomenal!" Lexi said, turning a page as she, Mercy, and the reporters entered the auditorium.

"Oh, Optiman, is there anything you can't do?" Lexi asked, finally closing her issue of Bessatsu Big Bounce and putting it away in her backpack. "Okay, then… you. From Hero News Association."

"Yes!" a woman with brunette hair tied up in a ponytail exclaimed, smirking at her fellow reporters. "Shuju Tokugawa, HNA, as you so brilliantly pointed out."

No one likes a suck up, Lexi said to herself.

"Luthor-san, the entire world was shaken by your sudden decision to attend U.A., but the question on all of our minds is why? You already graduated from Metropolis University at the age of five and earned your doctorate in nanoengineering at the age of seven, so why the need to go through secondary education?"

"As you all know, one day, I won't simply be CEO of a single branch of LexCorp, I'll be running the entire company; going by Mother and Father's addiction to alcohol and Russian roulette, that'll probably happen sooner, rather than later. Anyway, LexCorp is a company that serves not the wealthy elite, but the common, everyday folk who need a helping hand every now and then to get through life. One day, it'll be my turn to provide that service, and if I'm going to spend my life helping the common man, I need to gain more of an understanding of how they think. Of their wants, their needs, their struggles, I need to know everything there is to know about society so I know the best way to assist it."

Tokugawa was smiling through all of that, and she could hear scattered whispers of approval from the rest of the crowd. It appeared that that was a serviceable enough answer for these kinds of people.

"A truly amazing answer, Luthor-san. Just what someone would expect from a member of your family! Speaking of which, why didn't you decide to attend the Lex Luthor Institution of Accelerated Humanity? Furthermore, why a Hero School, at all?"

"For the second question, I feel like that's rather obvious, but I'll still explain. Heroes are the name of the game in today's society, so if learning more about society is the goal, then these are the people with whom I need to integrate. As for the first question…"

Lexi trailed off as something caught the corner of her eye. An important something. An important something being surrounded by a group of people after he appeared to stare off into space. An important something named Izuku Midoriya.

"As for the first question, well, let's just say that this school has something that my grandfather's never could."

"Hm?" Tokugawa turned in the same direction as Lexi. "Hey, that's Endeavor's son over there, isn't it? Ah, of course you'd be interested in the son of the Number Two Hero!"

"Sure, why not?"

"Did you remember to pack a notebook?"

"Yes, Mom."

"Don't forget to talk about something other than Heroes."

"Yes, Dad."

"Don't forget to take careful notes during class."

"Yes, Professor Stein."

"If anyone in a black suit walks up to you and says they're from the DEO-"

"Fly away as far as possible, as soon as possible, I know, okay?"

"We know, Izuku, but we're adults, so just let us get fussy on your big day, okay?" Inko asked.

"Yeah, okay," Midoriya said. In all honesty, he couldn't blame them for getting like this. Parents-also godparents, in the case of Professor Stein-were obligated to act like parents when their children achieved something, after all.

"You look so cool in your uniform, Izuku!"

"Wish people could have looked that sharp back in my day," Professor Stein said from the laptop Inko was holding.

"Come on, stop it. I gotta go, now, bye!" Midoriya said with a red face.

"Knock 'em dead, Izuku," Hisashi said. Midoriya had already walked out the door, but he could tell that his father was smiling as brightly as he was. It wasn't every day that someone started going to U.A. High, after all.

It had only been a month since Midoriya was last at U.A., but he still couldn't get over how mesmerizing it all was and how incredible it was that he could be a part of it all. Being inside the building, dressed in the school's uniform, seeing hundreds of people wearing the same clothes as him, it was all rather astounding. The fact that there were even more Pro Heroes as teachers for him to look at wasn't that bad, either.

Oh my God, over there! It's the Blood Hero: Vlad King! He once used his Blood Control Quirk to help Oracle arrest Count Dracula! Midoriya screamed in his head as he walked through the auditorium. Over there's the Space Hero, Thirteen! They've used their Quirk to clean up cities destroyed in cataclysms all over the world! Oh, over there's the Naughty Witch Hero, Midnight! Her sleeping magic is supposed to be some of the most powerful to ever come out of Isamu Academy! I should have known this going in, but it's still so amazing that there are so many Heroes working here! This is going to be great!

Then, all of a sudden, it stopped feeling nearly as great as it should have been, the reason being that Midoriya's eyes ended up locked with another person's eyes. He was wearing the school uniform, and going by the design of it, he was also in the Hero Course. Midoriya didn't remember seeing him during either testing period, and he was sure that he would have remembered those heterochromatic eyes, that mismatched red and white hair, and the stern, yet blank expression on his face that he kept staring at him with.

After a few more uninterrupted seconds, Midoriya finally figured out who it was.

I-I've seen his face on TV, before. That Shouto Todoroki, the youngest child of the Number Two Hero, Endeavor! Midoriya told himself. W-Why is he staring at me? Is my fly down? Do I have something on my face?

Wait. Wait wait wait Wait! When we first met, All Might said that all of the Top Ten Heroes know that I'm an alien. This guy, his father's the Number Two Hero, so does he-did Endeavor-could this guy possibly-

"Good morning!" a voice shouted, accompanied by a chop to the back of Midoriya's head.

"Aah!" Midoriya shouted, less from nonexistent pain and more from the sheer suddenness of it all. "K-Kendou-san!"

"What country uses 'Kendou-san!' as a greeting?" Kendou asked when Midoriya turned to her.

"G-Good morning to you, too." While Kendou was smiling at him, Midoriya stealthily and speedily turned back towards Todoroki and saw that he was walking away from the scene. He didn't know what to make of that, but with any luck, it would be a while before they'd see each other, again. It was hard to fully put the thought behind him, but with Yaoyorozu, Iida, and Uraraka coming over towards him, it would be a little easier.

"Good morning Midoriya-san, Kendou-san. It's great to see you both again," Yaoyorozu said.

"Same!" Kendou said. Midoriya meekly gave out an identical response.

"Midoriya-kun, are you alright?" Iida asked. "You look like someone just punched you in the stomach. Wait, that probably wouldn't hurt you. Like someone slammed a steamroller into you? No, that also feels rather questionable, but maybe with the right amount of velocity-"

"I-Iida-kun, stop, I'm fine," Midoriya said. "I just didn't get a lot of sleep last night. First day jitters, you know? It's fine."

"If you say so."

"I'm just happy we're all here, at all!" Uraraka said with an exasperated expression. "The whole time we were waiting for results, I couldn't stop thinking about what would've been worse: getting in while some of us failed, or me not getting in, at all. And then Midoriya-kun said that he only passed because of those Rescue Point things-ahh, I'm just really glad I don't have to start over on making friends."

"I'm sure we all would have hated to fill in any gaps in our circle," Yaoyorozu said with a smile.

"Couldn't happen, though. Guess the pentagon's the real strongest shape in nature. It'll take more than a test to break up… what's a famous team of five?" Kendou asked.

"A team of five?" Midoriya asked.

"Yeah, know any?"

"Not off the top of my head."

"If there were two more of us, we could have been the Seven Samurai. How unfortunate," Yaoyorozu said.

"Is this really necessary, Kendou-kun?" Iida asked.

"It's not unnecessary," Kendou said. "I mean, we're going to be hanging out a lot, so why not add some extra synergy."

"Yes, that would increase the efficiency of our teamwork and make us more productive in our training." If Iida wanted to see it that way, Midoriya wasn't going to say anything. "In that case, I nominate 'The Five Dysfunctions' as a means of continually reminding ourselves of which aspects of teamwork we will have to overcome!"

"Nah, too negative."

"I knew you would say, but still!"

"What about the 'Scooby Gang'?" Uraraka asked.

"Too overdone," Kendou said.

"Monstars?" Midoriya asked.

"Monstars?" Yaoyorozu asked. She and everyone else started looking at him.

"Th-That just kind of slipped out! You can all ignore that, it really is kind of-"

"I like it! It's a deal!" Kendou said, giving him a giant-sized thumbs up with her right hand while she fished out her phone with her left.

"Really? That's the winner?" Uraraka asked. "I know that it's referencing an Academy Award-winning movie franchise, but-"

"Nope, it's the Monstars. I already changed the name of our group chat to that, and that makes it official; so let it be written, so let it be done, and all that."

That brought everyone to a laugh, a laugh that Midoriya desperately needed.

Midoriya and his friends, now having the nickname of the "Monstars", made their way to five seats when it was announced that the opening ceremony was about to begin. From there, the principal, a talking rat-like creature by the name of Nedzu, started providing the opening address. It was basically the same as what Midoriya had heard in junior high, Nedzu talking about things like how they should be proud of the work they put in to be there, how they couldn't let the next three years go to waste, how it would be important to treasure all of the bonds of friendship they establish during their time here. Many things of that nature.

"Most importantly, everyone in this room-not just the students, but the teachers and civilians, as well-must never forget the importance of the heroic ideals that have shaped society into its present form," Nedzu said. "One student bravely making his way into the world today is already far along on the path of reaching these ideals. During the entrance exam, this student showcased not only tremendous power for dealing with his enemies, but true selflessness by constantly putting the safety of his peers above his own success. Thanks to that, not only did he earn first place by a wide margin, he set a new school record for most points accumulated in the exam, a record that had previously been held by All Might for decades. Everyone, please join me in congratulating our top incoming freshman, Izuku Midoriya!"

A spotlight was cast over Midoriya's body, pointing him out for everyone to see. Simultaneously, applause sounded throughout the room, coupled with cheers from people in the crowd, every so often.

"You didn't tell us your score was that good," Yaoyorozu whispered.

"I-I didn't want to make a big deal out of it," Midoriya said, sheepishly rubbing the back of his head.

"There was no need for that. There should be no shame in celebrating your accomplishments," Iida said, bobbing his head at a perfect ninety degree angle. Uraraka and Kendou smiled at him from their seats. They surely had the same feelings, and the more Midoriya thought about it, the more he was okay with it.

It still felt good to feel like a winner.

"Thanks to that, not only did he earn first place by a wide margin, he set a new school record for most points accumulated in the exam, a record that had previously been held by All Might for decades. Everyone, please join me in congratulating our top incoming freshman, Izuku Midoriya!"

A spotlight was cast over Midoriya's body, pointing him out for everyone to see. Simultaneously, applause sounded throughout the room, coupled with cheers from people in the crowd, every so often.

What! The! Fuck! Those were three words being repeated in Bakugou's mind, ad nauseam. Everyone was applauding for Midoriya, cheering him on like he was a celebrity, yet all he could think about was whether or not he had fallen into some sort of Bizarro World.

Seriously, what! The! Fuck! Bakugou shouted in his head, regaining some of his vocabulary. Deku's the one who got first place, and not me?! Not getting first is bullshit as it is, but Deku doing that, and breaking a fucking record?! Fucking Deku?!

Nedzu was saying something else, but Bakugou was too angry to listen. He stomped out of his seat and headed towards the door, no idea what he was doing until he saw Present Mic standing near there.

"What the hell was my score?" Bakugou asked.

"Huh? What are you asking about, all of a sudden?" Present Mic asked.

"My score. On the fucking entrance exam. What was it?"

"Um, in case you hadn't noticed, we're kinda in the middle of something-"

"What was my fucking score?!" Bakugou shouted.

"Okay, okay! Jeez, cool your jets, kid!" Present Mic said. He pulled out a tablet and swiped his finger across the screen a few times. "Katsuki Bakugou, right? Says here you got… hey, tenth place!"

The words were like a dagger through his shattered chest.

"Congratulations, kid! Not many people get to say they got in the top ten. I remember back when me and Aizawa took the exam, and-hey, where are you going?!"

In the midst of Present Mic's speech, Bakugou had stormed away from him and out of the auditorium. He didn't need his pity.

Tenth place. Tenth. Place. That means I didn't just lose to Deku, I also lost to eight random nobodies! I'm fucking serious. What. The. FUCK!

In the middle of all the praise Midoriya was being showered with, he heard Nedzu say something else when the noise started to die down. He wasn't paying complete attention, but he still had an idea of what his principal might have said, and if it was true, then he didn't like it, at all.

"Once again, Izuku Midoriya-kun, please conclude the opening ceremony by saying a few words to your peers," Nedzu said. They were the exact words Midoriya thought he said, and he didn't like that, at all.

W-What? H-H-He wants me to give a speech? He wants me to give a speech!

People were starting to stare at him. Just sitting there doing nothing was going to draw more attention than he wanted, so despite being completely lost, he got out of his seat and walked towards the stage. Each step was stilted and full of hesitation, but he was walking, nonetheless. There was no plan running through his head, but he was walking, nonetheless.

What am I supposed to do?! Midoriya shouted in his head. He kept walking over to the stage, but he still couldn't come up with any semblance of an answer.

However, when he was almost at the steps, he at least got a hint in the form of All Might, who was apparently using his skinny form to disguise himself as an ordinary spectator. This was something he could use to his advantage with the right amount of precision.

"Oh no! I, um, accidentally dropped my phone to the floor, completely by accident!" Midoriya shouted while throwing his phone down and then kicking it under All Might's seat, all done in a rather conspicuous manner. "I really should get it back before I give my big speech that I'm really excited to give! Could you help me out, random citizen? This will only take a minute!"

"Yes! I would be more than happy to assist you, kid I don't know!" All Might shouted in an equally conspicuous manner. The two jumped down to the floor and started to establish the facade of searching for Midoriya's phone.

"Well, while they're busy with that, I'll tell you all a riveting story from my past," Nedzu said. "It was back when I worked as a detective alongside my good friend Bobo, though you all probably know him better as Detective Chimp. We had this quaint little agency in downtown London that was only ten minutes away from a bakery that always served delicious banana bread and cheesy hashbrown bagels. I know what you're thinking: bagels? In England? I was just as surprised as you were, but they were legitimate and tasted just like they came out of a New York oven. Bobo and I would always pick up a few bagels and slices of bread every other morning and eat them with eggs and fruit for breakfast. He always liked to eat his eggs hard-boiled, said it was appropriate, but I've always been a scrambled man, myself-"

While Nedzu droned on and on about whatever it was that he was talking about, Midoriya engaged All Might in conversation.

"Why didn't you tell me I had to give a speech?!" Midoriya whispered calmly.

"I definitely told you about that!" All Might whispered back in an equally calm manner.

"No, you didn't! All you did was lead me on into thinking I failed before talking about how great I actually did!"

"That's not-wait, hold on. Hold on. Okay, now I remember, and, okay, I definitely dropped the ball on that one. In my defense, I had to do a ton of videos that day, and by the time I got to you, I was just really tired."

"That doesn't help me! What am I supposed to do?!"

"I… don't know. I'd pull up my old speech on my phone for you to use, but I don't think today's audience would find it very relevant for you to talk about how we need to stand up against Communism."

"I'm dead. I'm so, so dead," Midoriya whispered.

"Come on, public speaking isn't that hard, kid. All you gotta do is talk about how you think the people in the crowd are the real winners, say a few things about justice, then end it all with a Plus Ultra. It's that easy."

"Even if you say that-"

"Here you go, kino." All of a sudden, Midoriya found himself being interrupted by someone other than All Might: a small, talking mushroom that was emitting a light red glow and holding his phone in stubby little arms.


"I found your phone, as requested by Lady Kinoko, kino. Please take it, kino." The mushroom kept talking, but Midoriya still had no idea what to make of it; going by All Might's face, he was lost, as well.

"U-Um, thanks?" Midoriya said. He still had no idea what was happening, but if someone was trying to help him, then it would be rude of him to refuse, so he took his phone away from the mushroom. Immediately after doing so, the mushroom exploded and was replaced with a plastic bag of mushroom-shaped gummies.

Today was just one of those days, Midoriya surmised.

"-and with that, the portal to the Underworld was completely sealed shut. Eurasia was turned back to normal, Wonder Woman gave us both a peck on the cheek for a job well done, and Ares learned what war is really good for: absolutely nothing," Nedzu said. "Now then, while I would love to keep talking, it appears that Midoriya-kun is no longer distracted and can start his speech. Midoriya-kun, if you would be so kind."

"Well, I guess I have to, now," Midoriya said under his breath.

With slightly less hesitation than before, Midoriya stuffed the gummies into his pocket, returned to his walk cycle, and finally found his way to the stage. Nedzu moved his step stool away from the podium and allowed Midoriya to stand behind it. All of a sudden, dozens upon dozens upon dozens of faces of varying sizes, shapes and colors were all focused on him with anticipation. He really hoped that he wouldn't vomit.

"H-Hello. M-My name's Izuku Midoriya," Midoriya said. The audience erupted into a wave of cheering. "S-So! I, um, I did good-did well on the exam, really, really well. I'm not trying to rub it in, or anything! I-I'm just still really surprised by the whole thing! For the longest time, I never thought that I'd be able to go to U.A., and then I find out that I did a better job of getting in than everybody else. That-That's crazy!"

"You're so humble!" shouted a random person in the audience.

"T-To be honest, I'm surprised that I got in, at all. No one told us about Rescue Points, so I thought that I only managed to earn fifteen points. The whole time the exam was going on, I thought I was doing a terrible job, but I couldn't bring myself to change that. I-If someone had gotten hurt, and I knew that I could have stopped it, I, well, I don't know what I would have done. So even though you're all acting like I've done something great, I-I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for all of you. That's why, if you ask me, you're the ones who are really great! You're… the real winners!"

"He's right! We are awesome!" shouted a random person in the audience as everyone erupted into more cheers and applause.

"Y-Yeah, that's right! It's not just about me, it's about all of us. We're all in this together; once we know that we are, we'll all be stars. All of us can show off Wisdom, Wonder, Mystery, and Entropy if we just put our minds to it. A-And if you ever think that justice isn't working, then all you have to do is… is justice harder!"

"I love it!" shouted a random person in the audience.

I love it, too, random citizen! Midoriya thought to himself. The crowd kept cheering and applauding him, but after a few seconds of him not saying anything, they went dead silent. Midoriya was running out of things to improvise, so it was getting time to put an end to things.

"Plus… Ultra?"

The crowd went wilder than they ever had before. He could see All Might giving him a thumbs up, so hopefully this meant he was doing something right.

After Nedzu gave him the go ahead to stop talking, Midoriya ran off the stage and out of the auditorium, stopping in a random hallway to catch his breath.

"Oh my God, that was one of the worst things in my life. I never want to do anything like that, ever again," Midoriya said through frantic breaths.

"Come on, it wasn't that bad. I thought it was pretty great for something you pulled out of thin air."

"It was that obvious? No one seemed to notice that, though."

"Well, you can't blame them for not being able to notice the little things. You're the same. Why, you're so worn out from all of that that you aren't even paying attention to who you're talking to."

"Yeah, probably."

It took Midoriya three seconds to listen to what he was saying, four to fully understand it, and five to turn and face whoever it was he was talking to. As it turned out, he was talking to a dark-haired woman wearing a beige jumpsuit and holding a large broom in one hand.

It was quite easy for Midoriya to conclude that the woman was a janitor.

"Kids like you need to learn to be tough! A soft heart is fine and dandy, but a weak heart won't get you anywhere!" the janitor exclaimed.

"R-Right. Thanks for the advice…" Midoriya took a second to read her name tag, "Aoi-san."

"Don't mention it. Supporting the future leaders of the world is what makes janitors janitors, after all. Now if you'll excuse, I need to go to the third floor bathroom. Someone had literal explosive diarrhea."

As Aoi the janitor walked off, Midoriya couldn't help but think about how he didn't need to have heard that. Today was just one of those days, Midoriya surmised.

"Oh, you guys, I found him!" came Uraraka's voice from the other end of the hall. Seeing her and the rest of his friends helped put his mind a little more at ease.

"Yeah, I guess you did find me," Midoriya said. "Sorry for running off like that."

"It's perfectly fine; that was very much something you would have done," Yaoyorozu said. "I think any of us would do the same if we were put on the spot like that."

"What are you talking about, Yaoyorozu-kun? Are you suggesting that Midoriya-kun wasn't prepared to give that phenomenal a speech?" Iida asked. Yaoyorozu nodded her head. "That's absurd! A speech that inspiring and well-constructed could only have been born from days of rigorous labor and practice-"

"It was actually all on the spot," Midoriya said.

"I can't believe it!" Iida shouted, throwing his arms in the air. "I don't know if I should find this massively impressive or utterly disappointing!"

"How about you figure that out while we're walking?" Kendou asked. As per her suggestion, the group started walking off to their new classroom, Hero Course, Class 1-A, to attend their first homeroom of the year.

"Word of warning, Midoriya, they're gonna make you give another speech at the Sports Festival. If this is how you handle public speaking, then you should probably start working on your next speech a year ago," Kendou said.

"I'll try to keep that in mind," Midoriya said. Rather absentmindedly, he took out the bag of gummy mushrooms and started eating them for a few seconds before offering them to the rest of their friends. Fortunately for him, no one questioned where he got them, so he didn't have to try and explain whatever it was that happened earlier.

In little time at all, the group made their way to the door to their classroom. It was massive in size, something Midoriya guessed was for students with powers that made their bodies equally massive in size. Whatever the answer was, it still made it nerve-wracking to look at.

Just power through, Izuku, just power through, Midoriya told himself. They're letting everyone go home after homeroom, so it won't be much longer until you can relax again. As soon as you walk in, just try and slink into a dark corner and avoid drawing attention to yourself.

Midoriya opened the door and took one step inside the classroom. Before his foot could even touch the ground, a swarm of people jumped out of their seats and ran over to him with excited looks on their faces.

"Hell yeah! Midoriya's in our class!" shouted a short kid with purple hair that looked like balls, said kid jumping into the air as everyone said similar things.

"I'm just going to slink off and try to be comfortable," Uraraka whispered as she proceeded to do just that.

"Hey, is it true that you beat up that Starro robot, all by yourself? Like you just flew straight through it at super speed and blew it up?" asked a girl with small horns and pink skin.

"Y-Yeah, I guess so," Midoriya said.


"He also kept helping everyone get points when they were in trouble. Like me! Remember?" asked what appeared to be a floating uniform.

"Did I-oh yeah! Now I remember you! Took me a second because, um-"

"Because I was naked, right?"

"Wait, what?!" shouted a boy with a black zigzagging line running through blonde hair. "Wait, what's even the point?"

"Shut up," said a girl whose earlobes looked liked headphone jacks. "Seriously, though, thanks for the save back there. I thought that robot was gonna squash me like a bug, but you blew it up before it even had the chance."

"I was trying to save it for you, though."

"He also helped me when I was being double-teamed by two robots," said a masked man with six muscular arms.

"I was just doing what anyone would. Well, I guess that's apparently not true."

"You should have seen the way he froze this one robot to a wall and let me beat the crap out of it! This guy's a total badass!" shouted a boy with spiky red hair. Midoriya remembered doing that, but he couldn't remember this person to save his life. Not until he saw how sharp his teeth looked, at least.

"Oh, right, I remember that! You were the last person I helped before Starro showed up. But wasn't your hair-"

"Hey, hey! No need to talk about that!" The pink-skinned girl seemed to be directing a smirk right at him, only for him to turn his eyes away from her. Thinking a little harder, Midoriya remembered that she was the girl he pulled out of the "Mutation" line on the day of the exam. They must have known each other before coming here, he surmised.

"Just so we're all on the same page here, I got helped by this guy before it was cool," Kendou said.

"That's not wrong, but I don't remember trying to make it cool, or anything," Midoriya said.

"Call it an achievement in ignorance, then."

"And it was such an awesome achievement!" the purple-haired shorty shouted once again. "You can try and act all modest and stuff, but there's no way that there's anyone better than-"

"Will all you morons just shut the fuck up, already?!"

Everyone turned towards the sudden shout in surprise, no idea who made it or why they would do so. Everyone except Midoriya. He immediately recognized the voice and knew that the second worst scenario he could think of had come to pass: Bakugou was in the same class as him.

"Excuse me, but we were all in the middle of a conversation here! You don't have to participate, but if we're bothering you, you can simply ask us to keep it down in a more polite manner than that," Iida said.

"Blow it out your ass, four-eyes."

"Excuse me?!"

Uraraka, having made the poor decision to sit next to Bakugou, quietly got up and started slinking back over to Midoriya. Midoriya wasn't completely sure, but he thought he heard her mumble something along the lines of "Nowhere's safe in here."

"All of you losers acting like Deku's hot shit. Makes me want to throw up," Bakugou said.

"'Deku'? Midoriya-san, this wouldn't happen to be Bakugou, would it?" Yaoyorozu asked.

"I-It is," Midoriya stammered out.

"Now it all makes sense," Uraraka said with an exasperated look on her face.

"He's about as tall as I thought he'd be," Kendou remarked.

"Wait, you're Bakugou-kun?" Iida asked. "Well, if we're both Midoriya-kun's friend, we should try and get along, so let's start over. My name is Tenya Iida. I graduated from Somei Academy-"

"I'm not interested in your life story, four eyes! But Deku, what the hell are you doing talking smack about me behind my back?! And since when can you fly and freeze shit?!" Bakugou shouted, standing up from his desk. In response, the rest of the students backed up into various parts of the room, making room for a fight Midoriya hoped they were wrong in expecting to happen.

"I-I wasn't doing that, Kacchan!" Midoriya said. "I-I mean, I told them that you existed, but it didn't go any further than that, and I only got those powers in the past year, so I never really got around to-" As Midoriya kept talking, he trailed off when something caught his eye in the aftermath of the crowd's dispersal. Apparently, there was another person who had been sitting down through all of the unwanted praise Midoriya had been getting. Going along perfectly with the luck he had been having, the person was Todoroki, staring at him as intensely as he was back at the opening ceremony.

Midoriya was wrong. It was the number one worst scenario that had actually come to pass.

"Asshole! Look at me when you're talking to me!" Bakugou shouted.

Midoriya didn't know who was going to say something next, Bakugou, one of his friends, or more surprisingly himself, but no one got the chance to do so. The door flew open, forcing all of the tension to fly right out of it, leaving the atmosphere in the hands of the newest person to enter the scene.

"Good morning, class," the new person, a young woman, said in a quiet voice. The top half of a pale face was covered by a white Noh mask, and the entirety of her head was framed by a short crop of black hair. Her chest was wrapped in a sarashi, a black leather jacket covering the same amount of skin, and a red obi sat above matching leather pants. Equally eye-catching, though, had to be the twin katanas on her left hip and what appeared to be a yellow body bag being dragged across the floor with her right hand.

"I said good morning. Did-Did you all not here me?" she asked again in a meek tone.

"""Good morning,""" Midoriya and a large majority of the class said. Bakugou looked like he understood the shift in mood, so he sat back down in his seat.

"Get up, please."

"What the hell for?" Bakugou asked.

"Assigned seating," the woman stated. She walked over to the desk at the front of the room, stuffed the body bag in the nearest corner, and pulled out a clipboard and a stack of papers from a drawer. "You'll find your assigned seats here. After doing so, please take a blank sheet of paper, fold it in half, and write your name and favorite Hero on it."

"Um, why do we have to do that last thing?" Midoriya asked. After a few seconds of silence, all she said was "icebreakers" in a quiet voice, and apparently that was the end of that. All Midoriya hoped for was that it would be smooth sailing from that point forward.

Much to Midoriya's surprise, his hope for smooth sailing didn't lead to any sort of ironic consequences, at least none that were as ironic as they could have been. To put it in perspective, the seating arrangements went as follows:

The incredibly nervous Izuku Midoriya. Favorite Hero: All Might, naturally.

Shouto Todoroki, who Midoriya was certain was trying to burn a hole into the back of his head. Favorite Hero: Ice. Odd, considering who his father was.

Tooru Hagakure, the invisible girl he met during the exam. Favorite Hero: Her mom, apparently ("I love you, Mom!" was written next to that part).

Koji Koda, a muscular boy with a rock-shaped head. Favorite Hero: Batman IV. Technically a Vigilante, but it still probably counted.

Mashirao Ojiro, a plain-looking boy with a large tail coming out of him. Favorite Hero: Animal Man.

Itsuka Kendou, bringing Midoriya some much-needed relief. Favorite Hero: Richard Dragon. Not surprising.

Momo Yaoyorozu, adding even more relief. Favorite Hero: Princess Shazam, which he was already well-aware of.

Denki Kaminari, the guy who had a reaction when Hagakure talked about being naked. Favorite Hero: Static.

Eijiro Kirishima, the guy who dyed his hair, for some reason. Favorite Hero: Crimson Riot Pretty old school.

Fumikage Tokoyami, the guy he saw in the magic line on exam day. Favorite Hero: Johnny Thunder. A rather rare sight.

Mezou Shouji, the masked, multi-armed guy from earlier. Favorite Hero: The Question. What an odd choice.

Tenya Iida, sitting with straighter posture than anyone else in the room. Favorite Hero: The Flash I (Jay Garrick). Made sense.

Tsuyu Asui, a girl with frog-like features with a blank look on her face. Favorite Hero: Aquagirl III (Mareena Curry). It seemed a little weird for a frog girl to be a fan of someone who was half-fish, but who was he to judge?

Yuga Aoyama, a well-groomed boy who, according to Midoriya's enhanced vision, had something pushing slightly against the waist of his uniform. Favorite Hero: Crimson Fox ("All three are fabulous", according to the extra note).

Mina Ashido, the pink girl Kirishima had some kind of something with. Favorite Hero: Starfire. He could probably get along with her.

Minoru Mineta, the short boy who had replaced enthusiastic cheering for Midoriya with an enthusiastic thumbs up in his direction. Favorite Hero: Fire, something he hoped was for constructive reasons.

Kyoka Jirou, the girl with the oddly-shaped earlobes. Favorite Hero: Solovar, which seemed completely out of left field.

Hanta Sero, a boy with slanted eyes and odd protrusions on his elbows. Favorite Hero: Blue Beetle III (Ted Kord). Another odd choice.

Ochaco Uraraka, who seemed rather upset that she wasn't near the rest of her friend group. Favorite Hero: Wonder Woman, which explained the scarf she was wearing back in the winter.

Katsuki Bakugou, scowling as he sat in an appropriate seat for him. Favorite Hero: All Might, naturally.

The name plates were finished, yet it didn't seem like anyone was interested in breaking any ice. Midoriya felt a little happy that he wasn't the only one with first day jitters.

"So, um, good morning. Wait, I already said that." Their teacher appeared to be in the same boat. That felt less assuring. "Um… good morning-wait, no."

What is this even supposed to be? Midoriya asked himself.

"Okay, I can't do this. You were right, sir, I need more time to prepare myself."

"'S fine… been napping too long, anyway…" came a voice from the body bag of all places. Even more surprising was when the body bag started standing up.

"I-It's a zombie!" Uraraka shouted.

"Teacher! What is the proper procedure for handling a zombie attack at U.A.?!" Iida asked.

"I'm not a zombie… just slept too much…" The body bag, which Midoriya now realized was a sleeping bag, turned around to reveal a drowsy, unkempt face sticking out of the top. "Coffee…"

"Yes, sir," the woman said. She opened another drawer and pulled out a black mug and a large Starman-bucks brand thermos.

"So, are you our teacher, then?" Jirou asked the man in the sleeping bag. He gave a lazy nod as the woman poured coffee into the mug. "Who's she, then?"

"This is Katana; she's… got my back… I would advise… not getting killed by her… her sword traps… the souls… of its victims…"

"Could you elaborate on that, please?" Tokoyami asked.

There was no answer. Instead, Katana walked over to the man in the sleeping bag and forced the mug of coffee into his mouth, like a mother bird feeding worms to her babies. After a few seconds, the man in the sleeping bag's eyes opened ever so slightly as he squeezed out of the sleeping bag, revealing a mess of bandages around his neck and a sloppy assortment of all black clothing.

Today was just one of those days, Midoriya surmised.

"Right, let's get down to business," he said, sounding far more awake than he did a few seconds ago. "I'm Shouta Aizawa, your homeroom teacher and the social studies teacher for the Hero Course. The woman who tried and failed to get the class started is Tatsu Yamashiro; she'll be acting as my teaching assistant for the year."

"It's a pleasure to meet all of you," Yamashiro said with a bow.

"Like all of the teachers at U.A., Yamashiro is a licensed Hero, but she's spent the majority of her career in America and other Western countries. That's all I'm allowed to tell you, from a legal standpoint."

Midoriya really hoped she wasn't some sort of criminal.

"Now that that's all cleared up, it's time to get started on today's main event. Normally, Yamashiro and I would have already completed this by now, but I was forced to push it back because someone just had to break a school record and force you all to go to the opening ceremony."

This is my fault? Midoriya asked himself.

"Anyway, everyone change into your gym clothes and head outside. Be quick about it, too; time is justice."

Another year, another opportunity to see if these kids were worth the effort of teaching, Aizawa mused. Principal Nedzu implied that he should go a little easier on his class since he had Yamashiro as his teaching assistant/chore monkey/excuse to sleep in, but the key word there was "implied". If it wasn't a direct order, then he really couldn't be blamed for not listening.

"Back in elementary school and junior high, you were all forced to go through physical education without using your powers," Aizawa said. "That, of course, was stupid. Ninety percent of the population possesses some kind of superhuman ability, so trying to evaluate someone without taking that into account is meaningless. Now that you're in U.A., those days are over. Midoriya."

"Y-Yes!" Midoriya stammered out.

"As I'm sure we all know, you scored first place in the exam. What was your record in the ball throw back in junior high?" Whenever Aizawa was assigned a freshman class, he always started things off by singling out the person who had the best score in the entrance exam. Of course, he was always planning to pick Midoriya for this, so him also getting the best score was just a happy coincidence.

"520 meters." That was less happy.

"I meant without your Quirk."

"520 meters." Even less happy.

"It's the first day of school, so you know nothing about me, but I'm going to tell you right here and now that it's not a good idea to be the smartass in my class."

"N-No! That's not what I'm doing! Really, it's not! It's just that my Quirk isn't the kind of Quirk I can just turn on and off on command. If I want to use less power, I have to consciously put in the effort to put out less power, but that's not the easiest thing to do, especially when I'm doing physical activities. Even though I'd always try and restrain myself, I'd always end up using too much power, and then the teacher would get mad at me because, like you said, we aren't supposed to use Quirks or other abilities for this kind of stuff-"

"Okay, that's enough," Aizawa cut in. "I get it, you're a bad example. Yamashiro, take a note: never call on Midoriya for anything." Yamashiro pulled out a notebook from her jacket and started writing in it.

"Never… call on… wait, what kanji does his name use?" Yamashiro mumbled.

"Moving on. Kendou. You got second place in the exam." Aizawa paused for a moment to let the class get out their unnecessary oohs and aahs and what sounded like angry growls from Bakugou. He'd have to look into that. "Remember what I said about being a smartass and tell me what your record was."

"I think it was fifty-three meters, give or take," Kendou said.

"Let's just make things simple and say it definitely was fifty-three," Aizawa said before tossing her a soft ball.

"What's this weird ring around the ball?"

"That connects it to a tablet that'll display how far it goes. Go ahead and test it out with your Quirk. Do whatever you want, just don't leave that circle over there."

Kendou gave a quick acknowledgment before stepping in the circle. She took a quick breath, positioned herself like a pitcher on the mound, enlarged her hands, and sent the ball flying in an a massive arc.

"Yamashiro," Aizawa stated after the ball hit the ground. She fumbled around her jacket for a bit before pulling out a tablet and turning it so everyone could see the number: 520 meters.

"Alright!" Kendou cheered. Midoriya and the rest of that little group ran over to congratulate her. It was dumb, but at least it wasn't undeserving. The girl had a good strength enhancement Quirk in Big Fist, so add in the good physique he assumed she had from giving her a once over and the background detailed in her file, and of course she would get a good score.

Still, it was far too early to celebrate.

"It's far too early to celebrate, you know," Aizawa said. "Right here and now, you're all going to go through eight physical tests to measure your abilities. Unlike the entrance exam, there won't be a reward for doing super well, but if you do so poorly that you end up in last place, then I'm going to expel you, on the spot."

That got them all to shut up.

Aizawa liked to compare his annual tradition to the dramatic arc. The first step, exposition, happens when he tells his class that they need to give it their all if they don't want their resumes to say "Only attended one day of high school before being expelled". After that came the second step, the rising action. That was when the students, those who would actually continue being students and the one who would be getting the boot, actually started the tests, and it was where they were at, now.

The first test was the 50-meter dash. Since Midoriya was the one he wanted to evaluate the most, he had him going first against Iida. With Iida having a speed-based Quirk, he would serve as a good measure of how fast someone like Midoriya could run.

That was the plan, anyway. Midoriya ruined it by effortlessly completing the 50-meter dash in 0.39 seconds, turning Iida's impressive 3.04 seconds into a mark of shame.

"No one other than my brother, father, and our American friends has ever outpaced me, before," Iida said. "I had a feeling you were faster than me, but I never thought the gap was so wide. All the more reason to keep trying hard, I suppose."

"Y-Yeah!" Midoriya said before the two high-fived. Maybe mark of shame was an exaggeration, Aizawa mused. The rest of the test didn't have anything too outrageous. The only other thing worth taking note of was Aoyama trying and failing to use his Quirk, Navel Laser, to clear through it with a good score. He needed to work on shortening the time he had to wait between firings.

Next was grip strength. Everyone was on there own for that one, so Aizawa couldn't pit Midoriya against anyone. Not that he needed to. He watched the exam, he already knew how incredibly powerful Midoriya was. He knew that, but he still didn't expect him to actually break the device.

"C-Can I get another one?" Midoriya asked.

"Can he?" Yamashiro asked.

"No. Let's just say you automatically win this one," Aizawa said. He wished there was a grin for him to tell him to wipe off. The rest of the test didn't have anything too outrageous. Shouji had the best score after Midoriya, followed by Koda (that was a little surprising), then Kendou, and so on and so forth.

The third test was the standing long jump. Just as he thought, Midoriya easily cleared the sandbox and then some; he nearly landed on the other side of the field before stopping himself in midair. Another person who was worth paying attention to was Ashido. She kicked the ground once, propelling herself into the air with some kind of blue light, kicked the ground a second time as she landed to repeat it with a larger spectacle, then finally launched herself forward after the third kick against what was now a small crater. She didn't land anywhere close to Midoriya, but no one else got farther than her. All in all, it was an excellent usage of her Quirk.

The fourth test was the sidesteps. Just as he thought, Midoriya handled it with ease, moving side to side with such incredibly speed that it was a little hard to track him. The person who did second best was, of all people, Mineta. Out of all of the students, he was the one struggling the most with all of the tests because of a blatant lack of physical ability. Fortunately, he was able to use his Quirk to produce a large number of bouncy balls from his head, causing his sidesteps to be done at rapid speed. If nothing else, it showcased exactly what he was trying to do with this whole thing.

The fifth test was the ball throw. Surprisingly, Midoriya wasn't the one to have an outrageous score. That honor belonged to Uraraka. Brown light enveloped her fingertips, she touched the ball, and it kept floating through the air until it went completely out of sight. For some reason, Yamashiro's tablet registered that as a score of "infinity". She breathed a sigh of relief and nearly fell to the ground when Yamashiro showed her her score. Couldn't blame her. Going off of her file, she probably felt like it was a miracle to be here, at all.

After Uraraka, it was Midoriya's turn. Just as he thought, his throw was utterly incredible, soaring out of sight in just a few seconds. When Yamashiro got his score, it somehow read "less than or equal to infinity". These things were really weird. After Midoriya was Bakugou, putting out an impressive score of 705 meters. All of his results had been impressive, now that he thought about it. Aizawa had assumed that Bakugou's handicap would get in the way, but he moved like it wasn't even there. One could only imagine the kind of training he put himself through to achieve that.

"It's my turn, now." Currently up to bat was Tokoyami. He was one of the people who wasn't using his power for any of the tests. His scores were good enough, so it wasn't a major issue, but he wanted to see it sooner, rather than later.

"No, this isn't one I can easily do on my own," Tokoyami coincidentally said. "I have no choice but to call upon your power. Now! Unleash your chaotic fury upon the world, Dark Shadow!"

Three seconds passed by without anything happening.

"I thought we talked about this! Fine. Imykst!" A dark cloud shot out of Tokoyami's stomach. Then, with a comical "POOF!", the word actually appearing out of nowhere, the cloud transformed into a birdlike creature made of shadows. It stretched out its body, performing the action and actually making itself larger, and with a yawn called out "Ten thousand years will give you such a crick in the neck!"

"Must you do that every time I go a few days without summoning you?" Tokoyami asked.

"I'll stop when it stops being funny, Fumi," the creature, Dark Shadow, said. Tokoyami rolled his eyes, and Aizawa couldn't blame him. "Anyway, what's on the menu for today?"

"I wish for you to launch this ball as far as you can. Into the heavens, if you must."

"You got it, boss!"

Dark Shadow took the ball out of Tokoyami's hands and tossed it high in the air. As the ball made its descent, Dark Shadow's body transformed into what looked like a medieval cannon. The ball fell into the back end, then a hand stretched out of its body to close it, followed by that same hand lighting a fuse with a snap of its fingers. The cannon turned upright, the fuse was completely burnt up, and the ball went flying through the air, eventually landing some 666 meters away.

"Ooops, botched it a little," Dark Shadow said.

"You did your job. Tskymi." At his command, Dark Shadow faded away into nothingness, not a single trace left behind.

Aizawa didn't really understand this, but he knew that he hated it.

After the ball throw, the students went through sit ups, long distance running, and seated toe touches. Nothing noteworthy happened in any of those events, so there was little to nothing to comment on. Either way, Aizawa's tests were over, and going back to the dramatic arc, they were now at the climax: the results.

Izuku Midoriya

Katsuki Bakugou

Momo Yaoyorozu

Shouto Todoroki

Tenya Iida

Fumikage Tokoyami

Mezou Shouji

Mashirao Ojiro

Eijirou Kirishima

Mina Ashido

Itsuka Kendou

Koji Koda

Tsuyu Asui

Ochaco Uraraka

Yuga Aoyama

Hanta Sero

Denki Kaminari

Kyoka Jirou

Tooru Hagakure

Minoru Mineta

"Well, there you have it," Aizawa said as Yamashiro closed the holographic display. "Now you all have a good understanding of where you stand, how you can improve, and in the case of one of you, whether or not you actually belong here."

That specific one being Mineta, of course, which brought them into the fourth step, falling action. It was going a little differently than normal. The person who got last place was usually crying or throwing a fit at this point, but Mineta was just staring off into space with a dejected look, completely at a loss. The other kids looked at him with a mixture of pity and ambivalence, ambivalence strongest with Bakugou. The only person who looked angry was Midoriya, the kid looking like he might blow a fuse.

"By the way, I was lying about expelling someone. It was a logical ruse designed to push you to your limits." All of the anger on Midoriya's face faded away, replacing itself with the same level of shock nearly everyone else had.

"S-S-So I'm not getting expelled?!" Mineta cried.

"Naturally; this should have been obvious from the start," Yaoyorozu said. "Although I must admit to having some doubts about that towards the end."

That was Midoriya's fault. Aizawa liked to milk things a little, get whoever got last place to take a walk of shame for a bit before breaking the news, but Midoriya had to ruin it by looking like he was going to start a fight. Last thing he needed was someone yelling at him for doing his job, so now it was time for falling action: explaining the logical ruse.

"You're right, Yaoyorozu, it should have been obvious, but don't you or anyone else think that that's because I'm a nice guy," Aizawa said. "Ask anyone who's been here more than a year and they'll tell you that I won't hesitate to kick someone out, but not like this; never with something like this. All that stuff I just had you do was basic physical training, and most of it you couldn't even use your powers to help get a better score. If I wanted to seriously test you, I'd put you through something far more elaborate. It'd probably be spread around the whole school, there'd be spikes jutting out of walls and the ground, and there'd also be shark tanks. Or fire. Or both. I'd probably do both. What were my notes, Yamashiro?"

"You did, in fact, talk about using both. There was also mention of finding a way to attach laser beams to the heads of the sharks," Yamashiro said.

"Right, forgot about that one. There was some kind of logistics problem with it-"

"The sharks would bite off someone's hand."

"Well, it was all hypothetical, anyway. But to reiterate, if I was really going to kick someone out, I'd do it for failing something designed to actually challenge them, not something as basic as this. Of course, the obvious exception would be if someone was abysmal in both power usage and pure physical ability. Mineta, you were able to use your Quirk to get a good score on the sidesteps, so that tells me you have an inkling of what you need to be doing. Try to work out a little, and there won't be any problems from me."

Aizawa wanted to believe that Mineta was thanking him, but it was hard to tell through all of the snot-filled crying he fell into.

"Okay, so we're done here. Hurry back inside so we can get the day over with."

With that, they were at denouement: the complete end of it all. Aizawa turned away and walked back towards the school, not bothering to give the kids any mind. They'd probably start filing in in a few minutes after some mindless chatter, and that was fine. He didn't need to keep a constant eye on them; he's their teacher, not their warden.

"That went well, right?" Yamashiro asked as she walked next to him.

"More or less."

"The less would be in reference to Midoriya, I presume."

Aizawa didn't respond because he hated how right that was. At every single test, Aizawa had been trying to use his Quirk on Midoriya, and at every single test, it did nothing at all to negate his powers. It wasn't like he expected it to work, but it was still annoying to have to add "Aliens" to the long list of people his Quirk was completely useless against.

When Midoriya and everyone else returned to their class, Aizawa and Yamashiro gave everyone their class schedules and told them to make sure that there weren't any errors with electives and other areas. Midoriya's schedule went as follows:

Homeroom: 8:25-8:35. Instructor: Shouta Aizawa/Eraserhead (Midoriya couldn't believe he didn't recognize him at first glance).

1st. Period: 8:40-9:30. English. Instructor: Hizashi Yamada/Present Mic.

2nd. Period: 9:40-10:30. Modern Literature. Instructor: Ken Ishiyama/Cementoss (Mon-Wed). Art History. Instructor: Nemuri Kayama/Midnight (Thurs-Sat).

3rd. Period: 10:40-11:30. Science. Instructor: Sekijirou Kan/Vlad King (Monday, Wednesday, Fri-Sat). Personal training and self-study (Tuesday, Thursday).

4th. Period: 11:40-12:30. Math. Instructor: ?/Ectoplasm [Monday, Wednesday, Fri-Sat(There was some ink splattered across Ectoplasm's name, so it was a good thing Midoriya already knew it)]. Personal training and self-study (Tuesday, Thursday).

Lunch: 12:30-1:20.

5th. Period: 1:20-2:10. Hero Training. Instructors: Hikaru Hinata/All Might (Practical: Monday), Shouta Aizawa/Eraserhead (Lecture: Tues-Sat).

6th. Period: 2:20-3:10. Social Studies. Instructor: Shouta Aizawa/Eraserhead (Mon-Wed). Alien Studies. Instructor: Manegi Kanai/Kurile (Thurs-Sat).

7th. Period: 3:20-4:10. History. Instructor: ?/Snipe [Sat. (More ink splattered across a name he already knew).]

"Alien studies? Didn't know you were interested in that stuff," Kendou whispered, leaning over Midoriya's desk to look at his schedule.

"W-Well, it's not like I'm super interested in that stuff, or anything. It's just that, um, this and journalism were the only electives left, and I've never seen myself as much of a writer," Midoriya whispered back.

"I don't know, I think you could write something good if you tried."

"I agree with Kendou-san, but I would kindly suggest that we all stop talking, as Ms. Yamashiro looks like she wants our attention," Yaoyorozu whispered.

Midoriya snapped his head back over to the front of the class. Yamashiro was standing in front of everyone holding a stack of notecards, her hands shaking ever so slightly.

"Good morn-Good afternoon, students, pause for response. My name is Tatsu Yamashiro, and I will be assisting Mr. Aizawa for the duration of the school year, hold for applause. Since this is the first day of school for both of us, we should use this as a chance to get to know one another and establish our bonds for the rest of the year, hold for applause. Please talk amongst yourselves while enjoying soda and cookies at your leisure, gesture to snack tray."

She gestured to nothing.

"I'll be right back," Yamashiro said, dashing out of the room.

"You heard the lady: mingle. Or don't. I don't really care that much," Aizawa said as he wormed his way back into his sleeping bag.

After a few extra seconds of silence, Mineta was the one to get things moving when he said "I thought I was gonna die!" in a melancholic tone.

"I thought it was all over for me, right then and there, and then what would I be doing with my life? What else would there have been for Minoru Mineta?" Mineta asked.

"But Mr. Aizawa was never actually going to expel anyone, so you don't really need to get upset about it," Midoriya said. "At the very least, you can use it as motivation to work harder, right?"

"First you're on the verge of standing up for me, then you're giving me advice… Midoriya, do you ever stop being cool?!"

"I haven't even gotten started. Wait, that-that came out wrong. Can we please just talk about someone who isn't me?"

"Never thought I'd actually agree with you on anything," Bakugou said.

"So, just out of curiosity, do you actually like anything?" Uraraka asked. Bakugou glared at her, prompting a bit of impromptu, nonchalant whistling.

"He likes his cat," Midoriya said, the words slipping out of his mouth rather unexpectedly. Appropriately, Bakugou now looked like he was going to try and blow Midoriya up with his mind.

"You have a cat? That's so adorable!" Ashido shouted.

"I wanna see pictures! Please tell me you have pictures!" Hagakure said.

"I ain't showing you people shit!" Bakugou shouted.

"Bakugou, show everyone pictures of your cat, or you're on cleaning duty for a month," said Aizawa, who was suddenly out of his sleeping bag and standing right next to Bakugou's desk.

"Wha-goddammit, Deku! You see what you do?!" Midoriya got out a quick apology as Bakugou pulled out his phone. Save for Todoroki, everyone gathered around his desk to look at the pictures on his phone.

"Wait, your cat's blue? That's amazing!" Uraraka said.

"He seems like a fine beast. What is his name?" Tokoyami asked.

"Dexter," Bakugou said after a few seconds.

"Kind of a weird name for a cat, don't you think?" Kaminari asked.

"Yeah, but look how cute he is all curled up on his little pillow," Ashido said with a smile.

"I know these are only pictures, but I would figuratively die for this cat," Hagakure said.

"You and everyone else might as well go the extra mile," Bakugou said.

"Watch the mouth, kid," Aizawa said while leaning in to get a closer look.

"Sure, the cat's cute and all, but is he even nice? You know what they say about pets taking after their owners," Kendou asked.

"No, Dexter's a great cat! Scroll through some of the other pictures," Midoriya said. Aizawa, the closest person to the phone who felt like participating, did exactly as Midoriya had instructed. Sure enough, he came across multiple pictures of a young Midoriya and a young Bakugou having the time of their lives with Dexter the cat.

"Midoriya-san, why is the cat attacking you in all of these pictures?" Yaoyorozu asked.

"What, that? That's just this game we used to play where I'd try to pet him and he'd try and stop me by any means necessary. It was usually scratches, but sometimes he'd bite my fingers or throw his toys at me; it was a lot of fun."

"I'm pretty sure this cat hates you," Jirou said.

"Come on, that's ridiculous! I've known Dexter my entire life! Sure, he's a little rough around the edges, but he never means anything by this stuff. Things might get a heated, blood may be drawn here and there, but at the end of the day-"

"He fucking hates you, Deku," Bakugou said.

"What? No… no! No, no way. Just, just no! No… but-no, come on! No way!"

It was silently decided then and there that they were done talking about Bakugou's cat.

"So I know you asked us to stop talking about you so much, but your power is really amazing, Midoriya," Jirou said. "I mean, I already knew that from the entrance exam, but I didn't really get as good a look as I did from seeing you blaze through those tests."

"Yeah, people keep saying that, but I don't really think I'm that special," Midoriya said. "I'm only able to do all of that because of the way my body absorbs sunlight, so without that, I'm just a normal guy."

"Good to know we can beat you just by sitting around for five billion years," Kendou said.

"So if sunlight makes you stronger and gives you all of those other abilities, then you're what, a buff plant?" Kirishima asked. "Not that there's anything wrong with that! Who doesn't like Kamui Woods, Swamp Thing, or hell, even Poison Ivy when she isn't being an ecoterrorist?"

"Thanks?" Midoriya said, not completely certain of how he should have taken that.

"Kind of hard to believe that that's just a Quirk. Something that crazy is usually a Metahuman ability, right?" Sero asked.

"I wish that were true," Ojiro said.

"Ojiro-kun, are you a Metahuman?" Midoriya asked.

"That's right, though as you can tell, I don't really have anything that crazy for an ability," Ojiro said, flourishing his tail.

"I'm a Metahuman, too!" Hagakure said, doing an action that Midoriya assumed was her raising an arm. "Hey, who else is a Metahuman?"

Uraraka, Asui, and Kaminari all raised their hands. That meant there were five Metahumans in this one class. Considering that Metahumans only accounted for about eight percent of the superpowered population, this was a rather impressive figure.

"Yay! I've never met any Metahumans outside of my family, before! Is that the same for you guys?" Hagakure asked.

"Basically," Ojiro said. "My parents are Metahumans, but other than them, I'd never met anyone else with a Metagene. On the bright side, it meant that there was no need to worry about me not developing powers at age four, like everyone else. We knew that my power, if it existed, would come from a Metagene, and not a Quirk, so it was just a matter of waiting for the right emotional stimulus. For me, it was when I won my first karate tournament at age six… though I sometimes feel like the pain of having a tail suddenly sprout out of your back should have been enough to give me a second power."

"Oh, you study martial arts? Me, too," Kendou said. "I've picked up a bit of karate, but my dojo kind of mixes a bunch of styles into one, so studying there kind of gives you a little bit of everything. Assuming you can actually put up with the intense labor of it all, of course."

"I-I think I'm good with just karate. Anyway, when did the rest of you awaken your Metagenes?"

"Eh, it's nothing special. I was almost five, people were picking on me for allegedly being Quirkless, and I got so upset about it that my powers finally kicked in; you hear about Metahumans getting their powers like that, all the time," Kaminari said. "Though I will tell you that the bath is the absolute worst place to find out you have electrical powers."

Jirou gave a little laugh at that.

"Hey, I could have died!"

"Yeah, but you didn't, and that's why it's funny," Jirou said.

"I… Yeah, you got me there. Okay, who's next? How 'bout you go?" Kaminari asked, pointing at Asui.

"I was about six when my Metagene activated," Asui said. "I don't really know what triggered it; I was just minding my own business, and all of a sudden, I started looking like this."

"Your Metagene activated without an emotional trigger? That's pretty rare," Yaoyorozu said.

"Not impossible, though, at least according to the doctors. It was pretty surprising to see myself like this, though."

"Yeah. Must be weird being so different from everyone else," Midoriya said.

"No, I didn't think it was weird simply because I was a frog girl, I thought it was weird that I was a frog girl when everyone in my family has a Quirk that gives them scorpion-like bodies," Asui said.

"Th-That is weird, Asui-san. A little ironic, too… I think."

"Eh, I'm okay with it, now. By the way, you can all just call me 'Tsuyu-chan', if you feel like it, ribbit," Tsuyu said. "What about you, Ochaco-chan, when did your Metagene first activate?"

"Huh? Me?" Uraraka, who had been doing her best to go unnoticed, asked. "Um, well, I actually took a little longer to get my power than normal."

"Really? How old were you? Seven? Eight?" Mineta asked.


Midoriya felt himself take a step back.

"Wait, so you've only had your powers for about a year?" Midoriya asked. Uraraka nodded her head with a nervous look on her face.

"I've never heard of a Metahuman going so long without their Metagene activating in this day and age," Iida said.

"Hey, don't sweat, Uraraka-chan. My mom's a super awesome Hero, and she didn't get her powers until she got caught up in a crisis in her twenties!" Hagakure said. "Of course, she wasn't a Metahuman, she got mutated by weird space energy from who knows where, and now I'm thinking that this isn't a good example-"

"Hey, hey, it's fine, really!" Uraraka cut in. "I've already had to spend a long time dealing with this, and I don't want people feeling sorry for me. It's still kind of embarrassing to talk about, but for a while now," she looked at Midoriya and the rest of their group, "I've felt like a stronger person than I used to be. And hey! I got what I wanted. I have powers, and I can become a Hero, just like Wonder Woman. So it's fine, really."

"That, it is!" Iida said. "Uraraka-kun, your strength of heart is truly admirable!" Uraraka put out a small "Thank you" while rubbing the back of her head. Midoriya felt that that was enough to leave it alone, for now.

"Hey, speaking of weird powers, what was that thing you were doing, Tokoyami?" Ashido asked.

"I was simply reaching into the void and calling upon a powerful entity to do my bidding," Tokoyami said. Apparently, that was a sentence.

"So magic, right?"

"Yes, Dark Shadow operates in a way that can be classified as such, at least… fine, I'll let you talk to them. Imykst!" A dark cloud shot out of Tokoyami's stomach. Then, with a comical "POOF!", the word actually appearing out of nowhere, the cloud transformed into a birdlike creature made of shadows.

"How's it going, class of 20XX? You guys feelin' alive, today?!" Dark Shadow shouted in a tone that greatly contrasted Tokoyami's. "Name's Tskymi, spelt just like it sounds." The letters "T", "S", "K", "Y", "M", and "I" appeared above Dark Shadow's glowing a neon periwinkle.

"You can all see why I was hesitant to call upon him, right?" Tokoyami asked.

"As you can all plainly see, I'm both the fun one and the handsome one."

"Hold on a second," Yaoyorozu said. "The way that you summon and dispel Dark Shadow, and how you said your favorite Hero is Johnny Thunder… Tokoyami-san, are you in possession of a Genie?"

"Righty-o! Give the girl a prize!" Dark Shadow said before Tokoyami had a chance to even open his mouth. Both of them paused for exclamations of awe and astonishment.

"S-So you're just like Thunderbolt? Or Qwsp? O-Or even Bat-Mite?!" Koda asked in a quiet whisper.

"I'm not as dorky as those guys, but yeah, basically got all of their stuff mixed together in a nice little stew. You know what I'm talking about, right? PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWER… itty bitty living space?"

Dark Shadow repeatedly patted the top of Tokoyami's head as he said the last part.

"Seriously, sometimes I need a magnifying glass to make sure I'm still attached to this guy," Dark Shadow said, making a comically large magnifying glass appear out of thin air. Everyone but Tokoyami, Todoroki, and Bakugou was amused.

"This is so cool! Even though Johnny Thunder was too goofy to always use Thunderbolt in the best ways, he was still one of the most powerful members of the Justice Society thanks to the reality warping powers of his wishes!" Midoriya said. "How did you two even end up together?"

"Well, it all goes back to the island nation of… no, I cannot speak of this," Tokoyami said. "The ordeals I went through to obtain this power are too wretched to warrant repeating."

"Oh, okay, then-"

"Relaying these details would not at all send your heart aflutter; all they would do is weigh it down with their depressive form."

"Alright, sounds like it's a lot-"

"If I were to even attempt to treat you to such a tremendously terrifying tale, your souls would shatter to pieces! Like Marie Antoinette, the fear it would strike in you would make your hair turn a pale white, in an instant!"

"Do you want to tell us about it, or not?" Midoriya asked. After a few seconds of silence, Tokoyami said "No".

"Oh, Fumi, always with the dramatics. I don't know where he gets it from. But hey, he's finally around normalish people, maybe you guys can help straighten him out. Especially you," Dark Shadow said, his eyes looking straight at Midoriya.


"Yeah, you. You seem like you got a good head on your shoulders. Plus, there's just something about you. Something that feels like… something." Dark Shadow floated over to Midoriya and wrapped himself around him. His body felt weird, spongy and boney, at the same time. It was a bizarre feeling, and it was even more bizarre to feel it again and again as Dark Shadow's hands went all around his body.

"Tokoyami, why is your Genie molesting Midoriya?" Kendou asked.

"What? Just getting a general feel of the guy," Dark Shadow said.

"That's kind of the problem."

"I really do feel uncomfortable, though," Midoriya said.

"Then this is now at an end. Tskymi!" Tokoyami shouted. In an instant, Dark Shadow vanished from sight, and both Midoriya and Tokoyami breathed a sigh of relief. At the same time, Yamashiro had finally returned with the snacks that were promised to everyone several minutes earlier. She looked exhausted and out of breath, and there was dirt splattered across the bare midriff and bandaged chest that Mineta, Kaminari, and-for some reason-Uraraka kept looking at. Regardless, Midoriya was glad she was back; it seemed like everyone was getting a little tired of talking and wanted to just have something to eat.

Just as Aizawa had promised, they were all allowed to go home after they finished mingling, which apparently meant after they had polished off enough of Yamashiro's snacks. Not like they were even that good, Bakugou told himself. How they were good enough for that gravity Meta to sneak a bunch into her pockets, he didn't know. Either way, the day was over, and after peeing, he'd be able to get away from these people for the rest of the day.

Of course, Midoriya just had to be in the bathroom at the exact same time as him. He had the decency to not go in the urinal next to him, but that could only go so far. It couldn't stop him from remembering how pissed he was at the guy. Getting first on the entrance exam, setting a school record, getting first on Aizawa's stupid test, apparently being friends with one of other eight people who did better than him. He just couldn't stop trying to one-up him.

I'll show you, Deku. If you think you're ever gonna get the jump on me again, then think again! Bakugou thought to himself. He solidified the thought by making sure he was the first to finish between the two of them. A truly tremendous victory, though it was slightly ruined by Midoriya somehow managing to get to the door at the same time as him.

"After you," Midoriya said, barely even looking Bakugou in the eye. Not like Bakugou felt like doing that, either. With that being settled, Bakugou exited the bathroom, Midoriya leaving two seconds after him, and both of them still being close to the door when the girls bathroom opened and two people stepped out: the Luthor girl, Alexis Luthor, and that super tall girl she came in with, her butler, or something.

"Oh? Fancy running into you, here," Alexis said. Bakugou raised an eyebrow. He'd never seen the girl before today, so there shouldn't be any reason for her to know him. Not only that, but even with Bakugou being as great as he knew he was, there wasn't any reason for any Luthor to try and pull up information on him.

"H-Hello Alexis-san, Mercy-san." There it was. She was talking to Midoriya, for some reason. Because Midoriya was associated with a Luthor. Because of course he was.

"S-So, you really did decide to go here," Midoriya said.

"That's right. Say hello to Support Department, Class 1-H's most valuable player," Alexis said. "Honestly, I'm a little surprised at how easy it was to get in. Everyone applying had to display a device of their own creation, and except for maybe two other people, it was all so amateur. Probably why they acted like I just created sliced bread when it was my turn. Japan's supposed to be at the forefront of technology, yet they acted like it was so surprising to see a portable, Tritium-powered fusion reactor."

"I feel like that'd be shocking, anywhere," Midoriya said, scratching the back of his head. "Mercy-san, the way your uniform is stylized… are you in the Business Course?"

"Yep. I've already been handling Lexi's affairs for years, figured I might as well get a degree for it and learn a little extra," Mercy said. "That was the idea, anyway. If today is any indication of what I'm in for, then I could have graduated from this program when I was ten."

"I could have been done with mine at three, so I win," Alexis said. Another comment that didn't even acknowledge Bakugou. "Unless, of course, Izuku could beat that. I bet you could."

"I-I don't really think it would work that well for me," Midoriya said.

"Please, you're being too modest. As if anyone else in your class is even the dimmest of candelas, compared to you."

"You got somethin' you want to say to me, bitch?!" Bakugou shouted.

"Hm? Izuku, has there been someone standing next to you, this entire time?" Alexis asked. Midoriya gave a hesitant nod. It all only served to make him angrier.

"I'm sorry I didn't mention it; I honestly didn't think it was important," Mercy said, not even trying to look Bakugou in the eye.

"Why don't you try saying that to my face, Beanpole?!" Bakugou shouted.


"K-Kacchan, calm down! Getting angry won't accomplish anything with these people," Midoriya said, somehow thinking it was okay to step between them.

"Oh, you must be Katsuki, then. I'm surprised that your relationship developed in such a way," Alexis said. "I figured you'd want nothing to do with Izuku, but you… you fancy yourself a rival, don't you? You see yourself as his Kaiba, his Tetsuo, his Kurei, his Glomgold, his Sasuke-actually, scratch that last one, I don't think that one's a good comparison."

What the hell is this bitch even talking about?! Bakugou shouted in his head.

"It's kind of charming, in a way. Everyone loves a good rivalry, especially when it starts off with one person being so obviously below the other. That is what you're going for, right? I'd assume so. After all, Izuku did so well on the entrance exam that he broke a school record-delightful speech, by the way-and you weren't talked about, at all. Was your score even anywhere close to his?"

Every syllable out of her mouth felt like an annoying little slap to the face. She was a Luthor, she could do whatever she wanted and say whatever she wanted, and trying to fight that was suicide. That had to have been what was going through her head, and why not? It had to be how things worked for her in Metropolis, but not in Musutafu. Bakugou wouldn't stand for it. Not after the day he was having.

"Why don't you shut your mouth before I fucking shut it for you, Baldy?!" Not his best work, but it would have to do, for now.

"Well, well, well, look who's feeling brave and bold? Mercy, could you remind me what happened the last time someone-hold on, did you just call me 'Baldy'?"

"Got a problem with me calling you Baldy, Baldy?"

Alexis stared at Bakugou in silence, the intensity of her glare matching his own. It was like the two were in an impromptu staring contest. If that was what was going on, then Bakugou had to be winning with how soft her face was getting, all of a sudden.

After she suddenly started laughing, though, he had no idea what was happening.

"I can't-I can't believe you-of all things-Baldy!" Alexis cried between fits of laughter.

"Stop laughing."

"It's just-That's insane! I've-I've been called so many names because of who my grandfather is, but this! This-This is a first!"

"Stop laughing."

"Baldy! Baldy! Mercy, he-he-he called me Baldy! It's-It's amazing! It's so stupid that it loops around to being brilliant!"

"Stop laughing!" Bakugou shouted. At the same time, Alexis fell to the floor, still laughing all the while.

"Mercy! Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! Please-Please carry me out of here before he starts talking again. I-I'm going to figuratively bust a gut at this rate!"

"Are your legs broken?" Mercy asked.

"Am I still-Am I still signing your paycheck?"

"Fair point," Mercy said. She lifted the still-laughing Alexis off the ground, hoisted her onto her back, and walked away from the bathrooms. No matter how hard Bakugou tried, he couldn't block out her laughter. She was either still in earshot or it was just annoying enough to get stuck in his head. Or both. Hopefully it wasn't both.

"'Baldy'? That's kind of a weird one, isn't it?" Midoriya asked.

"The hell do you care, Deku?" Bakugou asked. "Last I checked, I didn't ask for any copyediting!"

Midoriya opened his mouth to stammer out something new, but before he could, someone else stepped out of the boys bathroom. Bakugou knew who it was with a single glance: Shouto Todoroki, one of his classmates, and son of the Number Two Hero, Endeavor. And if he wasn't mistaken, he was looking right at Midoriya.

"Midoriya," Todoroki said, confirming his suspicions.

"T-T-Todoroki-kun?!" Midoriya stammered.

Goddammit, why are so many people who know Deku taking shits, right now? And why are they all ignoring me?! Bakugou asked himself.

"You know, my old man told me to look out for you," Todoroki said.

"H-H-He did?" Midoriya was sweating bullets, his face looked like he took a cannonball to the gut. Bakugou didn't get it at all.

"Before I left for school today, he said that someone named Izuku Midoriya was going to be my toughest competition, that I might end up falling behind him if I didn't go all out." Todoroki clenched his left hand into a fist as he said the last part.

"A-A-And was there a reason for that?" Midoriya asked, getting out the obvious question.

"He just said that you were strong and left it at that." That seemed to relax Midoriya, for some reason. "I didn't really get it, and when I saw you at the opening ceremony, saw someone who looked like he wouldn't last five seconds against Kite Man, I thought my old man was trying to tell a joke for the first time in his life. But after the speech, Mr. Aizawa's test, and the way you wanted to stand up for Mineta, I started to understand it, a little."

Midoriya opened and closed his mouth a few times, but nothing ever came out.

"You're definitely a strong guy in both power and heart; I can see why my old man told me to look out for you. Even so, don't think for a second that where you are now is enough to take you to the top. I'm going to defeat you, and I don't plan on giving you a chance for a counterattack."

"Are you shitting me?!" Bakugou shouted, finally deciding to speak. "What the hell is up with you people?! Everyone's 'Deku' this and 'Deku' that like it's the latest trend, or something! What the hell's he even doing to be you and everyone else's little golden boy?! Huh?!"

"Hey, I didn't ask for all this atten-" As Midoriya was talking, Todoroki cut him off to ask, "When did you get here?"

"Are you shitting me, right now?!" Bakugou shouted.

"Anyway, Midoriya-"

"Dammit, answer me!"

"I have nothing to say to you because I don't care about you. If you want me to, stop attaching yourself to Midoriya like some kind of leech," Todoroki said, eyes still locked squarely on Midoriya.

Just like that, Todoroki went to the top of his shit list.

"Who the fuck are you to try and make fun of me? At least I didn't need Daddy's fame and fortune to get in here!"

For the first time, Todoroki turned towards Bakugou.

"H-Hey now, let's not do anything rash," Midoriya pleaded.

"You should be thankful I didn't take the normal exam," Todoroki said. "If I did, I might have done well enough to stop someone in our class from getting in. Care to remind me about how low your score was?"

"Will you people get some new material, already?!"

"How do you want us to make fun of you, then?" Todoroki deserved his spot on the list, Bakugou thought.

"I'm getting real sick of you and all these other shitheads acting like I'm some sort of joke compared to him!" Bakugou shouted, pointing a finger at Midoriya. "You all keep talking about how great Deku is and how he's the one you have to beat, well guess what?! There ain't no way in hell anyone's taking a shot at him before I beat him to a bloody pulp, so take a number and get in line, Two-Face!"

The end of Bakugou's spiel created a silence that put all others before it to shame. If Bakugou concentrated, he could hear Midoriya's eyes widening in shock. If he kept concentrating, he could hear the same thing happening with his friends, Kendou and the other three, as they just happened to walk into the area. Todoroki was the only one not giving anything away, his face completely steady. After a few seconds, he finally sighed, let out a solitary "Yep," and walked away from Bakugou.

"I-I think I should go, now," Midoriya said. He ran to his friends, and the five of them went off in the opposite direction Todoroki went.

At that point, Bakugou was alone, everyone he was talking to forced away through one reason or the other. Fine. He didn't need them around, anyway.

He didn't need any of these people.

With how stressful the day had started, all Midoriya wanted was for it to at least have a relaxed ending. At first, it seemed like things were going that way with the small party, but of course it all spiraled out of control not long after. Those sudden meetings with Alexis, Mercy, and Todoroki felt like they each took a few years off of his life, especially with how things went with Todoroki. He should have known nothing good would come of peeing at the same time as Bakugou.

At the very least, his suspicions about Todoroki knowing he was an alien were thoroughly debunked; that would help him sleep a little easier. The things that were said, on the other hand, did a good job of putting things against him, once more.

"You're definitely a strong guy in both power and heart; I can see why my old man told me to look out for you. Even so, don't think for a second that where you are now is enough to take you to the top. I'm going to defeat you, and I don't plan on giving you a chance for a counterattack." That's what Todoroki had said to him. A declaration of war on the first day of school. Only someone like him could get that.

He's not wrong, though, Midoriya thought to himself. It's not like I don't already know that I still have work to do. I wouldn't be here if I thought anything else. I'm not trying to pick a fight with you or anyone else, but Todoroki-kun, if you try and come at me, don't think I'll just stand and take it.

"What on Earth is this?!" Iida shouted. The five of them had exited the building, and amongst their small group, it was Iida who chose to speak their collective thoughts about what appeared to be a giant pillar of ice towering above the front gate and bearing a width large enough to knock over several Justice Society busts.

"This wasn't here this morning, right?" Uraraka asked.

"It was not. What we're looking at is a clear act of vandalism!" Iida said. "Who would have the audacity to damage school property to such an extent?! And on the first day of school, no less?!"

"Couldn't it have been an accident?" Midoriya asked. "If someone has a power that lets them make ice on this kind of scale, then they could have just destroyed everything, but only a few busts are knocked over."

"I suppose that wouldn't be impossible. Perhaps whoever did this was looking for an outlet to release the stress that had built up over the course of the day. Even still! U.A. has plenty of facilities where students are able to freely use their powers, so there was no need for something like this!"

"Not that I don't agree with you, Iida, but maybe turn it down a notch? You know, going back to that first day stress you were talking about," Kendou said.

"Why don't we all try and relax with a late lunch?" Yaoyorozu asked. "We can all finally be in the same place at the same time, and that seems worthy of celebration. My treat."

"I'm in!" Uraraka said, hands moving around the same pockets she had stuffed extra food into.

"I would be glad to participate," Iida said.

"Looks like this is the Monstars first official meeting," Kendou said.

"Midoriya-san? Are you in?" Yaoyorozu asked.

"Y-Yeah. That sounds great," Midoriya said. Maybe the day was going to end on a higher note than he thought it would.

The next day, after a rather tumultuous morning, Midoriya's first real day of school was in full swing. Even though U.A. was a Hero School, they still needed to deal with standard academics. Most people just looked bored sitting through them, and while Midoriya could understand that, there was still a lot of joy to be found in the teaching staff.

First period English with Present Mic, who brought the same energy to teaching that he brought to his radio show. After that was modern literature with Cementoss; while Midoriya never had any doubts of his intelligence, he never knew the man was so well-read. Following that was science with Vlad King; made sense that someone who fought with blood would have a familiarity with the human body. Fourth period brought them into math with Ectoplasm; the lesson plan was about as exciting as math could be, though he wished that it was easier to understand Ectoplasm with whatever accent he was speaking with.

After lunch came the one class that everyone was excited for: Hero Training. This probably would have gotten everyone excited, but the fact that it was All Might teaching them made everyone start oozing joy and good vibes.

"I am… coming through the door, like a normal person!" All Might shouted, trying his hardest to keep to that. He marched in wearing his Silver Age costume, the one that bore a red coloring and a cape as opposed to his blue, capeless Golden Age costume, and he did so while whistling the tune of a Hoyt S. Curtin song.

"Welcome, children, to Hero Training! Of all your classes, this is the one that'll really whip you all into shape on the path to becoming true Heroes. Because of that, we're starting off strong and heading right into one of the most important aspects: Battle Training!"

Midoriya didn't like how much Bakugou was smiling at that. As Midoriya was looking at him, he noticed that the wall on the far left was opening up into four segments, each one holding five numbered boxes.

"Since this is the beginning of your Hero careers, it's only natural that you look the part, so here they are! All of your costumes, made with all of your specifications! Grab your costume, go get changed, and then it's go time!"

Everyone cheered as they ran over to grab their costumes. Midoriya, on the other hand, just grabbed his backpack and headed for the door.

"Where are you going, Young Midoriya? You need to wear your costume for today's lesson," All Might said.

"I-It's fine. There's nothing in there, anyway," Midoriya said. "N-Not that I forgot to come up with anything, it's just-"

"It's just that Midoriya-san felt like going outside the box for his costume," Yaoyorozu said with a smile.

"Is that right? Well then, more pow-good for you!" All Might said. For some reason, he stumbled a bit while trying to say "power". It probably meant nothing.

A few minutes later, Midoriya, having made his way to a bathroom, finished changing into his costume.

Alright, this is it, Midoriya told himself as he zipped up the jacket portion. This is my costume. He looked over himself in the mirror to make sure everything was in order. Belt, check. Striped boots, check. Symbol of the House of El displayed proudly on his chest, check. Bunny ear hoodie that was there because he just had to have it in, check. General pattern of green and white running across the entire outfit, check. It was official, everything was in order.

It was finally time for Midoriya to be a Hero.

The artwork for Midoriya's costume was commissioned by Kaiyamon on Tumblr; hope you all like it. In case you missed it, the Eri sidestory I mentioned writing has been published as a separate story called  Be Humble . Check it out if you haven't already, and keep an eye on The Infamous Man, he might be cooking up something special in relation to this.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and if you've been adding to the TV Tropes page, thanks for that, too! Join us next time when Midoriya adopts Bakugou as his son and spends weeks emotionally abusing him!

Chapter Text

Great Teacher Yagi

As he stood outside the door of his classroom, All Might couldn't help but feel a tad hypocritical. He had just told Midoriya that he didn't need to be so nervous, yet here he was, having trouble to brace himself for his first homeroom class. The irony of it all.

Come on, Toshinori, show a little more courage, already! All Might told himself. So what if this is the first time you've ever been asked to impart knowledge onto young and impressionable minds? So what if doing a poor job here could potentially scar these children for life and ruin their futures? So what if you're now responsible for making sure that all of these kids don't end up throwing their lives away into a meaningless void of nothingness? That doesn't matter! Well, it does matter, but you've got to put it on the back burner! Forget about your lack of experience, forget about your inability to construct a lesson plan, forget about your lack of understanding of PowerPoint and Excel! You just need to go in there and give them the same energy you use to punch bad guys in the face!

With renewed resolve, All Might threw the door open and charged in, taking the metaphorical bull by the metaphorical horns.

"I am… here to start homeroom!" All Might shouted. The proud students exploded with glee as they watched him march in with his Silver Age costume, whistling the tune of a Hoyt S. Curtin song all the while.

"Holy shit, it's All Might!" one student shouted.

"All Might's really our homeroom teacher!" another student shouted.

"This is the best day ever! I love you!" a third student shouted.

"I love you, too, random student!" All Might said. "You all must think it's an honor to have me standing in front of you, but if you ask me, you've got that backwards. Starting today, you're all seniors at this school, and there's nothing I'd enjoy more than being the one to guide you through the final steps of maturity. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for bestowing such an honor upon me!"

More cheering came out of the students, and All Might smiled. It seemed like he was worrying over nothing. After all, if he could fend off Libra while simultaneously rescuing dozens of people from a burning building, he could teach a class of seventeen kids, no problem.

"Hang on a minute. Seventeen? What's with those empty desks? Don't tell me I've got three kids playing hooky on the first day of class."

"Probably just those guys. Leave it to them to be late on the first day of school," one student said while rolling his eyes.

Looks like I've got some troublemakers in my class. No matter. I'll just act like a good teacher and whip their delinquent butts into shape, All Might thought to himself.

At that moment, with a very comedic sense of timing, a large naked man jumped through the wall on All Might's left and tumble into the wall on his right, the man shouting "POWER" in English all the while. All Might, for more than one reason, didn't know what to say.

"I made it!" the naked man shouted with a smile.

"You're late," one student said.

"Oh no!" the naked man shouted, still smiling.

The class started laughing at the naked man's folly. All Might watched it all in stunned silence. As he did, the door opened up, and in walked two more people, clearly the last of his missing students.

"Did you really have to do this on the first day?" asked one of the pair, a dark-haired boy with pointed ears and a nervous expression on his face. Folded up neatly in his hands was a pile of clothes that All Might assumed belonged to the naked man.

"Well, if he starts getting it out of his system now, it might not happen-hi, Yuyu! We're in the same class, again! Yay!" said the other half of the pair, a girl with long, twisting blue hair who, after talking to Yuyu, spent the next ten seconds bouncing across the room to have small conversations with everyone else in class.

"Oh, hey! All Might's our homeroom teacher! Hey guys, look, look! It's All Might!" the girl shouted.

"How are you only now noticing that?" the boy with pointed ears asked as he handed the naked man his clothes.

"It's really All Might?!" the naked man shouted as he threw on all his clothes. "Man, I can't believe this! This is incredible! I'm really sorry we're late. We missed the first train to school because someone thought it'd be a good idea to sleep in."

""That was you,"" the boy with the pointed ears and the girl with the twisting hair said in unison.

"Hey, you don't have to tell him that. Anyway, I'm really sorry you had to see all of that. Eraserhead or Power Loader would be one thing, but I didn't want All Might of all people to take a gander at Little Mirio, first thing in the morning!"

"I-It's fine. Just… Just take your seat. That goes for your friends, too," All Might said.

The formerly naked man marched into his seat with a bright smile. The boy with pointed ears slowly walked into the seat behind him with a mopey expression, and the girl with the twisting hair skipped into the seat behind him with an excited look on her face.

"A-Anyway, it's time to start class introductions. They're the last ones you'll ever make, so make them count!" All Might shouted with fake enthusiasm. At the very least, he paid attention to the names that were being said, but everything else went in one ear and out the other. Except, of course, when it came time for the three latecomers to speak.

The boy with the pointed ears was named Tamaki Amajiki. The girl with the twisting hair was named Nejire Hadou. The naked man with the blonde cowlick and eyes that looked straight out of an old school American cartoon was named Mirio Togata. All Might already knew that, though. He knew that because well before the start of the school year, Nedzu and another associate of his informed him that Mirio Togata was the one student at U.A. most worthy of inheriting One for All.

"SHIT," was all All Might could think in response to such a situation.

The Daily Struggles of U.A. High School Janitor Hana Aoi, Age 32, Blood Type O, Three Sizes Moderately Satisfying, Part 1

After thirty minutes of hard work, determination, and masterful utilization of a Sixth Metal plunger, Hana Aoi finished clearing the literal explosive diarrhea. The first day of school, and she already wanted to punch someone's parents in their faces.

No, no, don't do that. Only Villains do that, Aoi told herself. Heaving a heavy sigh, she entered the custodians' office and plopped down on the couch, ready for a few minutes of peace and quiet.

"Aoi, get off your ass! You've got work to do!" Her brief respite was made even briefer thanks to the hardened voice of her supervisor.

"Come on, Mitsuhide-san! I just spent half an hour cleaning literal explosive diarrhea! Doesn't that earn even me five minutes to myself?!" Aoi cried.

"You know what? Maybe it should… for people who don't go chatting up the brats who infect this school like a plague!"


"I saw you talking to that Hero Course kid with the spitcurl! Getting cozy with those kinds of people is bad enough, but getting buddy-buddy with their top dog is something I won't stand for! Understand?!"

"Yes, sir," Aoi sighed as she got off the couch. As she walked over to Mitsuhide's desk, she couldn't help but notice her fellow janitors laughing at her and whispering about how "Miichi" really laid into her. The nerve of all of them. Surely Aoi didn't deserve to be punished just for having a ten-second conversation with someone, right? At any other school, the answer would be a resounding "Yes", but not at U.A. Not when the head janitor was Josefumi Mitsuhide, a man with an inexplicable hatred of Heroes and all things related to Heroes.

Just her luck.

As it turned out, the job was assisting the new hire with retrieving something for her class. Aoi figured that it being a teacher must have been why Mitsuhide was so adamant about it; the man hated having to clean up after the Hero Course kids, but what he hated even more than that was having to clean up after the Hero Course teachers, people who, according to him, should have enough competency to handle their own problems.

Mitsuhide was really fun at parties.

Moving on from that, Aoi walked to the Hero Course faculty lounge. Waiting outside the door was a masked woman with hair as dark as the leather pants and jacket she was wearing. Her chest was wrapped in a sarashi, her midriff was completely exposed, and two katanas were hanging at her hip. As far as Aoi was concerned, she was a quintessential samurai biker babe, which made it even weirder when she jumped back a few centimeters after a simple greeting.

"Um, you're the new teaching assistant, Tatsu Yamashiro-san, yes?" Aoi asked. The woman nodded her head and confirmed what Aoi already knew. "Nice to meet you. What seems to be the problem?"

"I'm supposed to be giving snacks to my students, but I can't seem to find them," Yamashiro said.

"Well, they wouldn't be in the teachers lounge. Any and all food items not being eaten in the cafeteria are stored in the kitchen until a teacher comes to pick them up."

"I see. Thank you." Aoi started to take a step away from Yamashiro, only to stop herself when she noticed that Yamashiro wasn't moving, at all.

"You don't know where the kitchen is, do you?" Yamashiro slowly nodded her head. For a second, Aoi found herself understanding Mitsuhide's feelings about the Hero Course. "Alright, follow me. It's just a quick walk from here, and this way, you'll know for next time."

"Thank you. Sorry for the trouble."

"Don't mention it. Supporting people who keep the world spinning is what makes janitors janitors, after all."

With that being said, Aoi began to lead Yamashiro to the kitchen. The two didn't talk about much of anything, partly because it really was a quick walk, partly because Yamashiro seemed too nervous to speak. That was fine, though. They'd be done with this relatively soon, so it wasn't as if a lot could happen between the two of them.

As soon as the thought finished playing through Aoi's head, the door to the cafeteria, which they had only just then come to, exploded.

"What the hell?!" Aoi shouted.

"Ahhhh! Someone! Help!" The voice that shouted that was robotic and came from the cafeteria. The owner had to be U.A.'s robot chef, the C00K H3R0, Lunch Rush, and he was in some kind of danger.

"Let's go," Yamashiro said as she ran to the hole in the wall.

"What?! Me, too?!" Aoi asked.

"I still need help with the snacks. ...No, that's stupid. Forget I said anything and-"

"No way! This is the kind of stuff a girl like me looks forward to!" Aoi said with a smile that would have made All Might proud. Yamashiro gave an "OK", and the two ran into the cafeteria. Aoi didn't know what they were in for, but she was confident they could handle it.

Upon entering the cafeteria, that confidence didn't completely vanish, but Aoi had to admit that it had taken a significant hit. Not because what they were dealing with was terrifying so much as it was because what they were dealing with, a giant robotic gorilla with eight tentacles coming out of its back, was just incredibly weird.

"What the hell?!" Aoi asked. The robotic monstrosity let out a primal roar as it swung its arms and tentacles about. As it did, Aoi saw that one of its tentacles had itself wrapped around Lunch Rush.

"Somebody help me!" Lunch Rush cried.

"Yamashiro-san, I think that's-" Before Aoi could finish talking, Yamashiro had dashed off towards the robot. Faster than Aoi could blink, she drew her twin swords and sliced off the tentacle Lunch Rush was wrapped in. Lunch Rush squeezed himself out of the tentacle, and barely a second later, the severed end stretched out until it reconnected with the main body. An impressive action that was immediately followed up by the robot firing a laser from its mouth at Yamashiro. She was able to dodge it, but it kept firing more shots at her.

"Are you all right, Lunch Rush?" Aoi asked.

"I'm fine," Lunch Rush said. "More importantly, that thing is-"

"Really giving Yamashiro-san a hard time, I know."

"No, that's not what-"

"Yamashiro-san's swords clearly aren't for show, but that robot's one tough customer, especially with that regeneration ability. How can a robot even do something like that?"

"It's simple, really. The Robo-Octo-Ape is constructed from a living metal of my own design, allowing it to perform self-healing whenever its limbs are detached! Impressive, right?"

"I think it'd be more impressive if it wasn't trying to kill us-wait, who's talking?"

"Up here!" Aoi turned her head towards the ceiling and saw that she was standing directly underneath the body of a female student from the shoulders down. Normally, this kind of view would give someone in Aoi's position a view of a pair of panties, but all Aoi saw were legs with a metallic smoothness to them. She didn't know if that was actually more comfortable.

"You! Why are you still here?!" Lunch Rush shouted.

"That's kind of obvious, isn't it?" the girl with the Barbie doll anatomy asked. "Luckily, I just spat out an acidic compound that will make the size of this hole large enough for me to calmly slip through-"

The hole above her shoulders widened to ten meters in diameter and she quickly fell to the ground with a large crash. Aoi could now see that the girl with the Barbie doll anatomy had metallic fingers broken up into segments, yellow eyes with crosshair-shaped pupils that appeared to be bulging out of her head, and pink dreadlocks that were dyed at the tip to resemble light bulbs. When she got off the ground, she could also see that English letters were written across all of her locks that, when put together, read "Elapsam semel occasionem non ipse potest Iuppiter reprehendere".

"Hey, wait! I know you! You're the girl who set half of the gymnasium on fire when they were testing people for the Support Department!" Aoi shouted. It was one of the worst cleanups she was ever forced to do, and the fact that this girl still got accepted retroactively made it worse.

"Mei Hatsume, nice to meet ya!" Hatsume said, extending a hand as her fingers snapped back together and her eyes fully went back into their sockets.

"Where the hell do you get off acting so friendly?! You should be expelled for all of this!" Lunch Rush shouted.

"For what?! My baby is totally harmless!" The Robo-Octo-Ape fired another laser that Yamashiro narrowly avoided. "Totally harmless!"

"Wait, you made that thing?! I guess that explains why no one sounded an alarm for an invading Villain, but again, you made that thing?!" Aoi shouted.

"Don't call him a 'thing'; he has a name! Baby #689: Robo-Octo-Ape! A combat mech of my own design that's one part robot, one part octopus, and one part gorilla! It's the ultimate weapon for dealing out justice!"

"Then why did it eat all of my food?!" Lunch Rush shouted.

"That's what this is about?!" Aoi shouted.

"Yeah, there's admittedly a tiny bug in my Ultimate Justice Weapon," Hatsume said. "When I was constructing the Robo-Octo-Ape, I naturally built him with a tremendous appetite for the carnage of his enemies, but his AI was partially constructed using old recordings of Cultivating Mass with Fat Gum, and that overrode his programming to just give him a regular tremendous appetite. I've been trying to shut him down, but we all know how hard it is to put a baby down for a nap."

Are you serious?! Aoi screamed in her head. I know that the Support Department is allowed to make whatever they want, but this overdoing it, isn't it?! And cooking videos? You had its AI run on cooking videos?! Mitsuhide-san, I think you're hating on the wrong department!

As the irritation flooded through Aoi's head, Yamashiro's body suddenly went flying through the air, a dangerous crash only avoided by jamming her swords into the ceiling to halt her flight. The Robo-Octo-Ape let out another primal roar as it stretched its tentacles into the kitchen. It pulled them back out after a few seconds to reveal that they were now holding a tray of cookies and several large bottles of soda.

"Everyone's… snacks!" Yamashiro said.

"I guess it didn't eat them before, but it's going to do that now, if we don't stop it," Aoi said.

"Are you serious?!" Lunch Rush shouted. "Isn't there more important stuff going on than-"

"Hatsume, you said that the limbs automatically reconnect after they're severed, right?" Aoi said, cutting Lunch Rush off. Hatsume quickly let out a confirmation. "Does that only work if it registers the limbs as severed?"

"Theoretically, yes. Oh, do you have a plan?!" Hatsume asked.

"I think so. The first thing we need to do is-"

"I've had enough of this! You hear me! Enough!" Lunch Rush, in a turn of events, was the one to interrupt someone. He pointed his hand towards the Robo-Octo-Ape and it transformed into what appeared to be a giant, metallic turkey baster. "Go retire to the scrap heap! Gravy Shooting!"

Brown liquid shot out of the turkey baster and blasted the Robo-Octo-Ape in the face, causing it to stumble and toss the pilfered items into the air. Coincidentally, Aoi had actually wanted something like that to happen.

"Yamashiro-san, cut off its tentacles and toss them towards me!"

"Okay," Yamashiro said, dislodging herself from the ceiling.

"What should I do?" Hatsume asked.

"Absolutely nothing," Aoi said.

"Roger roger!" Hatsume said with a salute. The second Yamashiro hit the ground and ran towards the Robo-Octo-Ape, Aoi ran towards where all the items were going to fall. She first caught the tray with the precision and skill of a young Victor Stone, though hardly anyone still remembered his achievements from before he became Cyborg, followed by the third Robotman. Moving on from that, as each cookie fell, Aoi caught them perfectly on the tray, not spilling a single crumb onto the floor, and the top of each bottle of soda was caught perfectly between her fingers. She was no Princess Shazam, but she still considered herself pretty graceful.

Hopefully Yamashiro-san's doing her part, Aoi thought to herself. Turning back towards the rest of the action, Aoi immediately got confirmation of that. Yamashiro was a blur of sword strokes and dynamic cutting motions. Now that she was under the impression that she could freely attack without worrying about regeneration, the Robo-Octo-Ape couldn't even touch her. When Aoi first turned in their direction, six tentacles were severed, but just a few seconds later, the last two tentacles had also been removed. The Robo-Octo-Ape let out a mighty roar, and as it did, the severed ends of its tentacles started stretching outwards.

"Not! On! My! Watch!" Aoi put the snacks down on a table and made a dash for the tentacles. She ran past each and every one of them, slapping their severed ends as she kept running before tripping over a loose floor tile. With her luck, she'd end up being the one to fix that.

"What kind of plan is this supposed to be?" Lunch Rush asked.

"A great one!" Aoi said, standing up with a bloody nose.

"All I see is-"

"Oh! Look!" Hatsume cut in. "My baby's tentacles! They're all smooth at the ends and they're not re-attaching themselves!"

It was just as Hatsume said. The end of each severed tentacle had changed from jagged messes to smooth, rounded nubs. Any signs of damage on the tentacles were gone, and even though over a minute had gone by, they hadn't moved a single centimeter. Just like Hatsume told Aoi, this meant that the Robo-Octo-Ape's living metal wouldn't register the tentacles as being severed.

This was why you didn't underestimate a janitor's Cleaning Power.

"Hatsume, apologies in advance, but I'm going to kill your beast, now," Yamashiro said, pointing her swords at the Robo-Octo-Ape's neck.

"No! Don't kill my baby!" Hatsume cried.

Yamashiro clearly ignored her unjustified crying as she leapt into the air towards her opponent. She put her two swords together in the shape of an "X", and when she was close enough, she broke up the formation by swinging her arms at a high enough speed to create a powerful slashing attack that cut the Robo-Octo-Ape's head clean off.

At least, that was the plan. It was a good plan, one that certainly would have worked if the Robo-Octo-Ape didn't suddenly dodge by dropping down on all fours. Yamashiro softly landed on the floor, and as she did, the tentacle stubs shot out of the Robo-Octo-Ape's body alongside a ball of chrome liquid that quickly morphed into a metallic octopus, the top of its head stylized like the bonito flakes of a takoyaki. Another ball of chrome liquid shot out of its back, that one morphing into a humanoid robot with an ovular head a single, glowing eye in the center of its face.

"What the hell?!" Aoi shouted.

"Oh, right, I forgot to mention that my baby is a combining mecha," Hatsume said.


"I know, right?! Part robot octopus, part robot gorilla, part robot… robot! Pretty cool, right?!"

"No! Not cool! And that last part is just redundant!"

"Crazy robots like you give us hard-working robots a bad name!" Lunch Rush shouted.

"How can I do that when I'm a cyborg?" Hatsume asked.

"Let's worry about that later, please!" Aoi cried. The three robots started charging laser beams from various parts of their bodies as they faced Aoi and company. With Hatsume still forbidden from contributing anything, it was three-on-three, but that didn't mean the fight would an even one. Even still, Aoi was going to do whatever she could to help end this as soon as she could.

Two seconds after the thought left her head, all three of the robots lost the light in their eyes and fell flat on their faces, completely motionless.

"My baby!" Hatsume cried. Lunch Rush yelled at her again, but no one seemed to care.

"It's over?" Aoi asked.

"It appears so," Yamashiro said. "How peculiar that they all shut down like that. Another defect?"

"No, it didn't look like it was caused by anything internal; the collapse probably would have been more dramatic if that were the case. It almost looked like some sort of remote hacking."

"My, my, for a mere custodian, you have quite a good head on your shoulders."

"Hey, are you complimenting me or-" The remaining words turned to ash in Aoi's mouth when she saw who had entered the scene. This was her first time experiencing it, but it seemed like it really was hard to come up with something to say when talking with a Luthor.

"You should be happy I said anything that can even be interpreted as positive," Alexis Luthor said, the girl holding some kind of tablet.

"Oh, Alexis-san! Hi!" Hatsume said while waving her hands.

"Y-You know her?" Aoi stammered out.

"We're in the same class!"

"And you're happy about that?"

"She better be, considering that that's what led to me coming to your aid," Alexis said. "When ten minutes had gone by without Mei coming back from the lab, Misutah Power Loader got concerned for the safety of the school and decided to have someone go look for her. Still doesn't make sense that he chose me, though. He said it was because I was goofing off on my phone, but I clearly explained to him that I was typing out an essay on Reddit detailing how the Danganronpa franchise turned to utter horseshit after Absolute Despair Girls. If that's goofing off, then I don't want to know what counts as being serious."

Aoi didn't understand a single word she just said.

"I must say, Mei, you've got some impressive machinery here. It was easy for me to remotely hack into and shut down, but not as much of a walk in the park as I expected it to be. Not everyone can build something that takes ten seconds for me to dismantle."

"Cool!" Hatsume said.

"I overheard a bit of why this happened. Did you have the AI put into a gyrating system to spread the processing power around?"

"Yeah, even based it on Mister Terrific's T-Sphere, yet this still happened."

"Personally, I would have gone with Mister Terrible's T-Squares for inspiration. They don't have the same amount of processing power, but that's because their AI is more specifically designed for combat, not data manipulation."

"And that kind of system wouldn't conflict with any aggressive programming I put in! I could put in any subroutine I want!"

"You might even be able to alter the sensitivity of the liquid metal so it doesn't get so easily fooled."

Aoi still had no idea what they were talking about.

"Well, let's get you back to class, then," Alexis said.

"Roger roger!" Hatsume said, grabbing Alexis' hand and running out of the cafeteria.

"I see that you're touching me, for some reason." Hatsume immediately let go, and the two engaged in a slow walk.

"Of course she just leaves my domain a complete mess. The nerve of some kids," Lunch Rush said.

"I should get back to mine. Thank you for you help," Yamashiro said to Aoi.

"Don't worry about it," Aoi said. "Just doing my job, you know?" Yamashiro gave her a quick bow before picking up the snacks and exiting the cafeteria.

"Sorry about all of… this," Aoi said to Lunch Rush as she gestured to the entire room.

"Yeah, it's a real pain in the ass, but I guess you helped make it better than it could have been," Lunch Rush said. "That Luthor girl was right; you've got a lot more skill than most people would think."

"Ahahaha, well, you know-"

"Hope you still have your custodial skills, though."

"Actually, it's time for my union mandated break."

"Of course it is."

In spite of the union mandated break, Mitsuhide still got on Aoi's case for leaving the cafeteria in such a state of decay, even though it wasn't her fault. Probably because Alexis Luthor got involved, and according to him, she was one of the two worst things to be happening to U.A. this year. She didn't bother to ask what the other one was.

Either way, the rest of the day proceeded as normal, and when the sun finally set, Aoi was done for the day. She was able to return to her apartment, change out of her work clothes, and plop down on her couch with a cold beer to unwind before going to bed.

That was the plan, anyway. A plan that was quickly interrupted by her phone ringing.

"Hello? ...What, really? ...Yeah, I'll-I'll be there. ...No, no, I'm game. Just tired. You would not believe the day I had today. I'll tell you about it when I get there. See you in ten." Aoi hung up her phone and sighed.

"And I just took my wig off, too," she said, brushing a finger through a white lock. "Oh well, what can you do?"

Aoi got off the couch, walked into the kitchen, crouched behind the island, and pressed a small button disguised as the top of a door handle. That would put all of the hidden cameras on a continuous loop for twelve hours. After double-checking that it worked, she opened up a window and quietly crawled out the fire escape.

She felt bad about tricking the government like this, but Kaori Kagayaki had work that needed to get done.

The Mysterious Mister Mxyzptlk!

Midoriya woke up with one thought on his mind: today was going to be a good day. Even though he'd still be dealing with things like Todoroki having an unwarranted rivalry with him and Bakugou being Bakugou, there were a number of things to even that out. The seating formation had him right next to Kendou and right near Yaoyorozu and Iida, so that was a positive (thinking about that made him remember how unfortunate it was that Uraraka was so far removed from the rest of the Monstars). It was also the first official day of class, and since it was Monday, that meant he'd be starting the year off by having class with All Might. He couldn't imagine having anything better happen to him.

"You sure seem excited for someone who just got out of bed," Inko said. "Since you're feeling so energetic, how about you help me make breakfast?"

"No problem," Midoriya said. As his mother started setting silverware down on the table, Midoriya opened up the fridge and got out a carton of eggs.

"Today's your first day of Hero Training, right? Make sure to ask Momo to give you a picture of her in her costume. I want to make sure the company that made it got all the details right."

"Will do," Midoriya said as he got a large bowl.

"I still wish I could have found the time to make it myself, but working on yours took longer than I thought. I knew it had been a while since I took up any big jobs, but I didn't think I was that out of practice."

"It's fine, Yaoyorozu-san's not upset. But if it bothers you that much, then 'practice makes perfect', right?" Midoriya asked as he pulled an egg out of the carton.

"You want me to go back to designing, full-time? I don't know…"

"Why not? You're still really good at it, Mom! Plus, I'm probably going to spend even less time at home now that I'm at U.A., so it wouldn't be the worst idea in the world for you to have something other than housework to keep yourself busy," Midoriya said as he cracked an egg into the bowl. "Not that I'm saying that isn't a demanding job, or anything, I just mean-"

"I know what you're trying to say. After Momo hired me, your father and I did actually talk about it for a little while. Maybe I could give it a little more thought, Izuku. Izuku? Izuku, are you listening?"

Technically, he was. The words were, indeed, being registered by his ear drums, but his attention was somewhere else. Namely towards the bowl in front that, rather than an egg yolk, contained a small snake with a clown nose on its face and a trumpet in place of a tail.

What kind of eggs did Mom buy?! Midoriya screamed in his head. No, that can't be the problem. These are the same "Chang Tzu Farms" eggs that Mom always buys from the grocery store, but nothing like this has ever happened before. That means she didn't buy the wrong kind of eggs. Were they somehow tampered with after the fact? How? Why? And again, what the hell?!

"Izuku, is everything alright?"

"Y-Yeah! Everything's-"

A loud trumpet sound came out of the snake's mouth.

"What was that?"

"N-N-Nothing! I'm just watching something on my phone while I cook, that's all!"

"Really? You don't usually do that." The same trumpet sound repeated itself. "And something about the quality of the sound seems off for something on your phone."

"O-Oh, that? Th-That's something K.E.L.E.X. did, yeah! He messed around with my phone a bit to improve the sound quality! I think he got inspired to do it after seeing the stuff you did with my costume-"

The trumpet sound was repeated at an even greater volume, this time with legitimate rhythm.

"That's way too loud, Izuku! What are you even watching?" Inko asked. The snake kept playing its song as she stepped away from the table and started walking over towards him.

"W-Wait! Hold on! Don't come over here!" Despite Midoriya's wish to not get his mother involved, it would take some manner of divine intervention to stop her from coming over.

That was the thought that was running through Midoriya's head, but he never expected it to actually happen. He especially didn't expect for it to happen in the form of his mother spontaneously transforming into a green puppy.

"Mom!" The puppy barked at him. "My mom! She-She's been turned into a dog!"

"Well, aren't my friends the quick learner?" a nasally voice asked from nowhere. Midoriya wanted to waste no time asking "Who's there?!", but before he could, a zipper appeared in the air in front of him. The zipper ran up in a straight line, went down towards the floor at an angle, went up again at a different angle, then moved around until it had created an utterly incomprehensible shape. After that happened, the shape exploded, revealing a completely white space in the air.

Midoriya wasted no time in setting up a defensive stance. Whatever was coming out of that hole, he'd be ready for it.

"My friends' arms are a little crooked. Straighten them up for a tighter defense."

"Really? Thanks for the adviYAAAAAAAH!" Startled by the sudden conversation, Midoriya accidentally flew off the ground and cracked the ceiling with his head.

"Geez, Louise! My friends doesn't have any guts, at all! It's so pathetic! Not so pathetic that it can't be fun, however." It was the same nasally voice from before. Midoriya was now able to see that it belonged to a bald, diminutive man in a purple suit with a tiny bowler hat and beady black eyes.

Midoriya knew that there was something strange about him, but that didn't stop him from shooting down back to the ground so hard he almost broke the floor beneath his feet.

"What did you do to my mom?!" Midoriya shouted.

"Exactly what my friends said: I turned her into a dog. She just kept barking and barking and whatnot, so it seemed appropriate. What, did my friends want me to turn her into something else? Maybe something from my friends' home planet?"

That final question pushed Midoriya's rage past its peak. He picked the diminutive man up by his collar, no idea what he would do, but absolutely certain that it would hurt. The sudden burst of fury, however, quickly fell apart when Midoriya saw that he had somehow been replaced with a doll bearing a henohenomoheji. The real person was floating next to Midoriya's head, eating the snake from earlier like a hot dog.

"Want some? It's not a real snake."

"Will you just-What are you?!" As Midoriya tried to yell at him, his phone suddenly went off.

"No, no, answer it. I'm in no rush. Might actually do my friends some good." The diminutive man turned the snake into a bowl of ramen and started slurping the noodles in a manner that suggested there was no end to them.

Midoriya really didn't feel like answering it, but for all he knew, it was connected to whatever was going on, so it wouldn't do him any extra harm. The point became even more apparent when he saw that it was a notification from K.E.L.E.X.


"I'm well aware of that," Midoriya said.


"If that's coming from you, it must be true. Do you know what this guy is, then?"


"Righty-O! Hit the nail on the head with that, but I think it's time to shut HAL down," the fifth dimensional being said. With a snap of his fingers, the phone in Midoriya's hands suddenly transformed into a head of lettuce that Midoriya immediately dropped to the floor.

"Enough games! Tell me who you are, already!"

"Well, I can't do the first thing, since that's the whole reason I'm here, but I'd be happy to assist my friends with the second thing. My name is Mister Mxyzptlk, and just like my friends' little Game Boy said, I'm a being from the Fifth Dimension, the greatest of all dimensions! Or at least it would be, if it wasn't so booooring!"

"Why are you here, Mister… Miikepokuli?"





"No!" Mister Mxyzptlk shouted, steam shooting out of his ears. "It ain't that hard, kid! 'Mix'-" his head turned into a blender in the midst of making a frosty chocolate milkshake, "'Yes'-" his head went back to normal, and out of nowhere, a few chords of Roundabout started playing, "'Spit-'" Midoriya was suddenly spat on, "'Lick'!" the spit was cleaned off of his face by a floating tongue.

"I'm going to ask you again: what are you doing here… you!"

"Okay, brains clearly aren't my friends' specialty," Mister Mxyzptlk said.

"Sh-Shut up! Just tell me what you're doing here!"

"It's like I said before: I'm here to play games." Mister Mxyzptlk started walking across the air, the sound of feet against wood somehow echoing with every step. "My friends' primitive Third Dimension has attracted my people since the day it was born, which was about when I finished high school and was getting ready to take a year off before starting college. So many dumb-dumbs just sitting around waiting to be messed around with; it was absolutely impossible for us to pass up the chance for some entertainment!"

Where is he going with all of this? Midoriya asked himself, trying his hardest to come up with some kind of way of attacking him.

"My people and I have been doing this for millions, billions, maybe even jillions of years, who can remember? Either way, whenever my friends hear about weird little guys running about, we were the ones who got the ball rolling on it. Leprechauns, imps, yokai-some of them, anyway-even… what's that word, again? Oh, yeah! Even… Genies!"

It took a second for Midoriya to register whatever point Mister Mxyzptlk was trying to make, but once he got it, he was surprised that he didn't vomit on the spot.

"Yz the Thunderbolt! Dark Shadow! T-They're the same as you, and the reason you know I'm an alien is because Dark Shadow was somehow able to figure it out!"

"Ding ding ding! My friends finally got something right! Don't worry about my friends' secret getting out; my bird brain didn't tell my friends' bird brain a thing about my friends. No, he only told us cool kids in the Fifth Dimension that, all of a sudden, there's a little green man walking around!"

At the end of his sentence, Midoriya found himself suddenly wearing his costume.

"What does me being an alien have to do with anything?"

"It has everything to do with everything! Do my friends wanna know why I said that living in the Fifth Dimension is boring? Because when everyone and their grandmas can break reality with a fart, trying to mess with someone is impossible! The whole reason we started coming to the Third Dimension was because there was no one who could do the stuff we can do, but after a few billion years, even that got boring. There was a bit of a resurgence when everyone started getting superpowers all of a sudden, but even that ran its course. Bat-Mite stopped messing around with Batman after he settled down, Qwsp didn't feel right about bothering Fishboy after he got his Quirk, and the rest of us, well, I guess we were just sick and tired of humans.

"But aliens, now that was a market with untapped potential! Aliens could do so much more than humans could ever dream of, so messing around with them would be way more fun! Of course, that ended up running its course, too. The Lantern War made basically all the aliens hightail it outta here so no one could bother them; it even made Zook's buddy vanish, and they got along so well! It looked like we'd never find anyone worth having fun with again, but then my friends showed up!"


"Who else? The last survivor of his species, gifted with power that makes him one of the strongest people on the little dirtball he calls home! My friends would be the ultimate challenge for a guy like me!"

"No," Midoriya quickly refused.

"Hey, at least think about-"


"Yeah, well, my friends doesn't exactly have a choice in the matter. I already decided to play my games with you, and I'm gonna do it!"

"You call this a game? You're just doing whatever you want to me, and I can't do a single thing to stop you! What kind of game isn't fair for everyone?!"

"Hmmm…" Mister Mxyzptlk hummed. A white beard grew on his face as he rubbed his chin, the beard staying there for a few seconds before an electric razor appeared out of thin air and cut it off.

"My friends have a point, so I'll make things just a little bit more even. If my friends want to get rid of me, all my friends have to do is get me to say my name backwards. Do that, and not only will I get poofed back to Zrfff, but I won't be able to bother my friends again for three months. Okay? Okay! Let the games begi-"

"That's still not fair!" Midoriya cut in. Little flames appeared in Mister Mxyzptlk's beady eyes.

"What do my friends mean?! I just told my friends my ultimate weakness! That's plenty fair!"

"No, no it isn't! I can't even say your name forwards, so how am I supposed to say it backwards?!"

"How stupid are my friends?! My friends don't have to say it, I have to say it!"

"Say what?"

"'Kltpzyxm'! Now stop messing around and…" Mister Mxyzptlk trailed off into a series of stammers. He stared at Midoriya for a few seconds before snapping his fingers, saying "Aw, nuts!" and vanishing in a puff of smoke.

"H-He's gone?" Midoriya asked. Somehow, through pure ignorance, he had gotten Mister Mxyzptlk to say his name backwards.

"Who's gone, Izuku?" Midoriya turned around to see his mother standing in the kitchen, no longer a green puppy. In addition, the hole in space was completely fixed, his phone was back in his pocket, he wasn't wearing his costume, and there was an egg in a bowl. Mister Mxyzptlk being forced back to the Fifth Dimension seemed to have erased all the damage he'd done.

"N-No one! No one at all! Also, I'm suddenly not hungry, so I'm just going to go to school, okay? Okay! Love you, bye!" As Midoriya spoke, he combined his super speed and heat vision to cook his mother's portion of the egg breakfast they were originally going to have. Inko couldn't get a word in edgewise before he ran out the door to school.

Thanks to the lack of breakfast, Midoriya had arrived at U.A. well before homeroom was going to start. He figured that that meant he'd be all alone for a while, but he ran into a few more people than he thought he would, the last of whom was a sweatpants-clad Kendou.

"Kendou-san? You're here pretty early," Midoriya said as the two of them walked to the school.

"I could say the same to you," Kendou said. "Felt like getting an early start on the day?"

"Not exactly. Long story that I really don't want to get into. What about you?"

"I was just doing some jogging with an upperclassman friend. She had to run off to help a teacher, though."

"Speaking of running, I think I saw Mineta-kun running with a bunch of muscular guys. Well, trying to run, anyway."

"Same here. I think my friend said that they were the Body Improvement Club? I guess Mineta is taking Aizawa's prank a little seriously."

"Yeah, good for-" Midoriya's growling stomach suddenly intruded on the conversation.

"Skipped breakfast, I'm guessing?" Kendou asked. Midoriya meekly nodded his head. Kendou sighed, reached into her bag, and pulled out a convenience store yakisoba bun. "Not the most nutritious food in the world, but breakfast is breakfast."

"Y-You're giving me that?"

"I bought two, so it's no big deal. Can't have one of my friends starving himself 'till lunch, after all."


Midoriya took the yakisoba bun from Kendou and started to unwrap it as she ran ahead of him, the girl saying that she was heading to the locker room to change. As she ran off, curiosity got the better of Midoriya, and he used his X-ray vision to peek inside of her bag. He saw a pair of Beats by Canary headphones (same model as his own), a wallet with a picture of Richard Dragon on it, three different motorcycle magazines, but no extra food.

Midoriya smiled and took a bite out of the bun. To him, it was still possible for today to be a good day.

Chapter Text

"It was finally time to be a Hero." That was the thought running through his head when he left the bathroom and went to join the rest of his class. One would think that a person with such a thought would be brimming with confidence, but Midoriya felt that he was most likely brimming with indigestion. Perhaps he was more nervous about debuting his costume than he thought he was. Perhaps that morning's encounter with Mister Mxyzptlk was weighing on him more than he thought it was. Perhaps it was some other third thing affecting him more than he thought it would. Either way, as much as Midoriya wanted to let himself get washed away with anxiety, he knew he needed to steel himself and get ready for what he hoped would be the best of all of his classes.

When he was done getting changed, he saw a text from Yaoyorozu saying that everyone had gone to Ground Beta; a follow-up text from her placed the area a few minutes walk West from the main building and that he wouldn't be able to miss it. With Midoriya's speed, those few minutes became several seconds, and sure enough, he came upon a location that would have been very hard to miss. One part was due to the giant sign reading "Ground β" standing high above his head, another part due to everyone else being present in their own costumes, and a final part due to it being a giant miniature city not unlike where the entrance exams were held.

"Sorry I'm late, everyone!" Midoriya said.

"On the contrary, you arrived at the exact time as all of us. I wouldn't expect anything less from you, though." The compliment came from someone dressed in stylized white armor that had what appeared to be mufflers wrapped around their waist and metallic wings sticking out of their helmet.


"It's me, Tenya Iida!" he said with a stiff salute. Indeed, that was definitely Iida.

"Oh, Iida-kun! I didn't recognize you for a second, but cool costume!"

"Same to you. It's not quite as flashy as I thought it would be—don't know why I imagined a cape—but your costume looks great, as well." The rest of Midoriya's friend group started flocking over towards him with similar comments, in addition to a few other people he was only just starting to get to know.

"Thanks. My mom made it for me."

"No way! My mom made my costume, too!" Hagakure said. Her costume was composed of a rainbow-colored cape, rainbow-colored boots and gloves, and a skintight bodysuit with a white star-like design in the center that appeared to be changing colors every few seconds. Looking at the star, it was suddenly very clear who Hagakure's mother was.

"Your mother truly did an excellent job, Midoriya-san," Yaoyorozu said. Her costume looked like it matched his mother's design, perfectly: a green silk sash tied around her waist, a pair of red boots, each with a line of green running around the top and bottom, and a red leotard with green lining and edges that left the center of her torso and the entirety of her back exposed, the opening on her front in the shape of a lightning bolt.

"Thanks. Oh, before I forget, my mom wants me to take a few pictures of you to make sure everything came out right."

"Go right ahead." Midoriya took out his phone and started to do just that.

"Why does your mom want pictures of her costume? I mean, it's a really awesome costume, but that's still kinda weird," Ashido said. Her costume consisted of a skintight blue and purple camouflage bodysuit that ended at the halfway point of her thighs, her legs from the knees down being covered by large, metallic silver boots with purple flames painted on them. A tan jacket with a furred collar sat atop her chest, and on her face was one of those masks that turned a person's eyes into a single color; in Ashido's case, it was a white mask that made her eyes solid green.

"Midoriya-san's mother actually designed both of our costumes, though she didn't have enough time to make mine, herself. I'm quite thankful for it, actually. My original design had my back covered, and in hindsight, that would have been rather impractical when combined with my Quirk."

"Wait, you're the one who made it like that, Midoriya? Man, just when I thought you couldn't be any cooler!" Mineta said with a thumbs up Midoriya couldn't bring himself to appreciate. His costume consisted of a purple mask and bodysuit with a yellow cape and yellow gloves and boots. There was also a pair of white pants that looked like a diaper, but Midoriya was at a loss for words in regards to that.

"Please don't do that," Yaoyorozu said, providing the words Midoriya couldn't.

"I-I didn't mean anything by it! I was just, you know—hey, Midoriya, cool costume!"

"You already said that, but thanks," Midoriya said.

"Well, it's true. Nice 'S', by the way," Kendou said. Her costume consisted of a black domino mask, a pair of black gloves with the kanji for "Heaven" written on one in orange and the kanji for "Under" written in orange on the other, and a black corset atop a blue qipao with a single sleeve, the sleeve having the kanji for "Rule All Under Heaven" written vertically in orange from top to bottom.

Midoriya could only give it the bare minimum of attention because of how much of a frenzy his thoughts had been thrown in.

"Wh-Wh-Wh-What?! K-K-K-K-Kendou-san, wh-what did you just—"

"You know, on your chest. It's all white and inside a pentagon."

"Wh-What? Oh. OH."

"What'd you think I said?"

"N-Nothing! Nothing at all!" Midoriya had never felt stupider than he had at that moment.

"Right," Kendou said, her acceptance hopefully more legitimate than her face let on. "What's it stand for, anyway? 'Sensational'? 'Spectacular'? Or maybe—"

"I-It actually doesn't stand for anything because it's not an 'S'," Midoriya said. "My dad… and I, we came up with, um, a secret language when I was a kid! Yeah, and this symbol means 'Hope' in that language. That we made up together. When I was a kid."

"It looks like an 'S', though. That's a sweet story and all, but I'm just saying that it does look like an 'S'." Everyone else who was standing around Midoriya nodded their heads and muttered out agreements. "Speaking of finer details, that hoodie."

"W-What about it?"

"Just… you really do love All Might, don't you?" Kendou asked with a laugh.

"T-There's nothing wrong with that!"

"Yeah, but there are less cheesy ways of showing it. I mean, Ochaco loves Wonder Woman, but you don't see her with a sword and a lasso. Though that's probably because she couldn't find any extra room."

"Why am I getting dragged into this?" Uraraka asked. Her costume was a black and white bodysuit, but it looked like it was made of metal, as opposed to normal fabric. A large pair of goggles were strapped to her forehead, a metallic pink backpack-like object to her back, additional support coming from it being hooked around her neck. Spherical bracers were attached to her wrists, and on the bottom of each of her large, metallic boots was a pair of pink tubes, each with a small opening at the end of them.

"You do have a lot of stuff," Ashido said.

"Is all of that truly necessary?" Iida asked.

"I mean—hey, we were talking about Midoriya-kun, weren't we?! Why is this suddenly about me?!" Uraraka asked.

"I don't want it to be about me, either," Midoriya said.

"Point taken, sorry about that. Just pushing your buttons; the hoodie's plenty you," Kendou said.

"Thank you?"

"What, are you asking her or telling her that?"

Midoriya jumped back a bit when Dark Shadow suddenly flew into his face and asked him that question. He would have done that with anyone, but the fact that he was still stressed out by his encounter with Mister Mxyzptlk made Dark Shadow's sudden appearance all the more startling. It also didn't help that he was strangely dressed in a green scuba suit with the letter "T" in the middle of his chest.

"Don't just jump out at people, like that!" Tokoyami shouted. His costume consisted of an open white vest, baggy purple pants, a large belt with a buckle shaped like a yellow oil lamp, and an intricate silver ring on his middle finger. "I apologize for his behavior, Midoriya."

"Come on, Fumi, don't treat me like a dog."

"Oh, how I wish you were even at that level."

The two of them kept up the back and forth without letting anyone else get a word in, edgewise. As they went on with that, out of nowhere, giant words appeared in the air above Tokoyami and Dark Shadow. No one but Midoriya was having a reaction to them, which meant that only Midoriya could see them, which meant that Dark Shadow was responsible for them.

"You have fun with Mxy, Midoriya? Blink once for 'Yes', blink twice for 'Hell yeah!'" was what the words read. Midoriya made sure not to blink, even a little.

"Come on, that guy wasn't trying to hurt you. Maybe. Probably not. A good chance of it. Anyway, don't make a mountain out of a molehill," was what the words morphed into. Midoriya hoped that his face conveyed how ridiculous he thought that was.

"Hey, hey, hey, no need for a face that full of doubt, kid. Besides, Mxy won't bother you for three months, so it's not like you don't have time to prepare. Better hope it's something good, 'cause that guy really hates to lose! Good luck with that!

"P.S. Mxy wasn't lying about me not telling Fumi diddly. Your secret's totally safe with me!" was what the words morphed into before disappearing into nothing. None of that made him feel better.

"What are you looking at?" Iida asked.

"N-Nothing, but you know, everyone's costumes are really great!" Midoriya said. "Except… where's Kacchan?"

"Not sure. He seems to have taken longer getting changed than the rest of us—oh, there he is!"

Midoriya looked straight ahead. Sure enough, Bakugou was running towards everyone to join up with the group. As soon as Midoriya was able to get a good look at him, he froze in place from shock. The costume, itself, wasn't anything too crazy: there was a black mask with a knot shaped like an explosion, dark green gloves paired with gauntlets shaped like grenades, metallic kneepads, and a metal utility belt adorned with four large pockets. The thing about Bakugou's costume that was truly leaving him stunned was how his chest was completely bare, leaving his mangled scarring and titanium screws on full display for everyone to see.

Midoriya discarded any remaining notions he had about having a good day.



If there was one thing Bakugou refused to let other people see out of him, it was weakness. He knew that no one was perfect, he knew that even he had flaws that needed to be worked on, but the last thing he wanted was for anyone to think that his weaknesses meant that he, himself, was weak, especially with how things had gone the previous day. So when he realized that putting on his costume was straining his chest and left arm in a weird way, of course he went out of his way to take longer than everyone else so no one would see him struggling.

It had its benefits, however. It made him the last one to show up, so it was like he was making a grand entrance for everyone to behold. Sure enough, a few people were turning their heads towards him, an act he was sure wasn't simply because he was the last one to arrive. There wouldn't have been any logic in that that he would have been willing to acknowledge.

Any semblance of forced pride fell apart when he saw Midoriya. The cheesy costume was one thing, but the way he was staring at him was what really made him mad. He looked like a cross between a deer in a headlights, someone who just got punched in the stomach, and someone who just got kicked in the balls; in this case, Bakugou was both of the someones. It was completely different from how the other people were looking at him, and he knew exactly why he was doing it.

"Whoa! That scar's totally badass, man!" Then there was this guy with the spiky dyed hair. It took a few seconds for him to remember his name: Kirishima. All the guy had for a costume were shoulder pads shaped like gears, some ripped up cloth around his legs, and a belt buckle shaped like an "R".

"Thanks?" Bakugou said. It was the only thing he could think of, but it still felt weird saying it.

"Looks like we're the only ones who decided to go topless. Other guys don't know what they're missing, right?"

"Sure. Whatever."

"By the way, how'd you get that scar, anyway? Bet there's an awesome story there, right? Right?" Bakugou glared at Kirishima for a bit before walking away from him. "Nice talking to you, I guess."

Idiot, Bakugou thought to himself. He kept walking away until he was far away from Kirishima, his path taking him right past Midoriya, Kendou, and all the rest of his pals.

"W-Wow. Look at his chest…" the girl with the gravity powers said. She looked at him with a level of sympathy he didn't like.

"Midoriya-kun, would it be out of line to ask about that?" someone in a suit of armor asked. Going off of the voice, it was probably the four-eyed Speedster Midoriya hung out with.

"Please and thank you," Midoriya said, eyes locked on the floor. Good. If those were the kind of eyes he'd be using, Bakugou didn't want him looking at him.

"OK!" As soon as he found a good spot all by his lonesome, All Might started talking. "Now that Young Midoriya and Young Bakugou have arrived, we can get started on today's lesson."

"Question, sir! Since this facility is similar to the ones used during the entrance exam, will today's lesson be more practice with cityscape maneuvers?" the four-eyed Speedster asked.

"Negatory, Iida, my boy! Today's lesson is a completely different area: indoor anti-personnel battle training!" All Might said. "While most recorded battles between Heroes and Villains take place outdoors, statistics show that the most dangerous battles take place indoors. Black market deals, brainwashing experiments, bludgeonings with blunt objects, none of these things happen in broad daylight. Today, you zygotes are going to get a taste of that from both sides by splitting into teams of Heroes and Villains!"

"Isn't that a little advanced for our first lesson?" the frog girl asked. She was wearing gloves, goggles, and a green and black bodysuit that looked exactly how a frog would look. No creativity there.

"You don't learn anything by taking it easy!"

"What do we have to do to win?" Midoriya's friend with the black ponytail asked.

"No one's going to get expelled, right?" the gravity girl asked.

"Is my cape as fabulous as I know it is?" the fake French guy asked. The cape in question was a sparkly blue eyesore draped over a suit of armor—unlike the four-eyed Speedster, his face was only covered by a visor—and the outfit was completed by the same belt he wore during Aizawa's test. It was almost like the guy couldn't live without that tacky little thing.

"One at a time, already! My reaction time isn't that good!" All Might shouted. As everyone stopped talking, All Might pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket. Bakugou really hoped this wouldn't be a repeat of what happened with Katana.

"Okay, so here's the scenario: a pair of Villains have stolen a Lexcorp nuclear bomb and are threatening to destroy the city if they aren't given ten billion dollars! The only ones who can save the city are the two brave Heroes who managed to locate their hideout; let's see if they can succeed!

"Everyone will be divided into ten pairs, and each pair will either be a pair of Heroes or a pair of Villains in the exercise. The Heroes win by either subduing the Villains with capture tape or by securing the bomb—this is done by simply touching the bomb. The Villains win by either subduing the Heroes with capture tape or by succeeding in running the clock. Simple enough, right? Good! Now it's time to draw lots for the teams!"

"What?! Is it really okay to leave this to chance?!" the four-eyed Speedster asked.

"Shouldn't it be? Heroes often have to team up with people in the spur of the moment. Even the founding members of the Justice Society never worked as a team until Starro first attacked the planet," Midoriya said.

"Yes, Jay Garrick has said as much. I apologize for questioning you, sir!"

"Let's just move on; time's a wastin'!"

All Might grabbed a large box of tiny Beebo plushies, each with any letter from "A" to "J" written on their stomachs; All Might said they could keep their Beebos after they were done, and while most of the class loved that, it was definitely, without a doubt, something Bakugou would never care about.

As Bakugou stuffed his Beebo into a safe place, he took stock of all of the teams:

Team A: The gravity girl and the frog girl, one looking unsure of herself, the other looking like she wasn't thinking about anything.

Team B: The guy with the Genie and the big guy with six arms, his costume just being a blue jumpsuit with a trapezoidal belt buckle. It was something, at least.

Team C: Midoriya and Todoroki, the team Bakugou clearly had to destroy. Todoroki, his costume being all white clothing and a layer of fake ice covering the left half of his body, kept alternating between glaring at Midoriya and glaring at Bakugou. "Fine. If Two-Face wants a fight, then Two-Face is getting a fight," was what Bakugou thought.

Team D: The four-eyed Speedster and the kid who almost got kicked out on the first day. He seemed to be really mad about who he had as a partner, for some reason.

Team E: Midoriya's friend with the black ponytail and the girl with the pink skin. They seemed happy about their team, so there wasn't any point in giving it extra thought.

Team F: The invisible girl and the girl with earphone jacks coming out of her ears. Her costume made her look like a pirate, what with the red coat and the pointed hat, but there also seemed to be a bit of a punk aesthetic mixed into the outfit thanks to the clothes having holes in them and the pair of skulls painted on her face. Or maybe they were temporary tattoos. Who knew? Who cared?

Team G: Kirishima and the guy who nearly shocked himself in the bath. His costume was just a jacket with white zig zags and a white shirt. The only notable thing about it was the yellow logo in the middle of his shirt that was trying its hardest to not let people know it was ripping off Static's logo.

Team H: The fake French guy and the quiet guy with the rocky head. His costume was a red and yellow bodysuit with an open mouth in the middle of his chest. Seemed appropriate for someone like him.

Team I: The plain-looking guy with the tail and the guy with the weird elbows. The plain-looking guy was just wearing a karate gi while the guy with the weird elbows had a black and white bodysuit with a helmet and shoulder pads shaped like tape dispensers. It was abundantly clear which of them put thought into their costume.

Basic math would tell a person that there was only one pair left, Team J. Obviously, Bakugou would be one of the members, but the problem arose with who his partner was.

"Talk about your odd couple, right? Or maybe not?" That was Kendou's attempt at making small talk with Bakugou, an attempt he quickly refuted.

"Let's just get this the hell over with, Karate Kid," Bakugou said. Kendou sighed and turned away from him. Exactly what he wanted.

Of all the days to draw a shitty hand, Bakugou thought to himself. Well, it's better than being partnered with Deku. Just barely, though. Just barely.

"Okay, then! Now that everyone's paired up, it's time to pick the teams for the first go!" All Might said. "The box on my left has ten Cheeky Angel Beebos, the box on my right ten Tenacious Devil Beebos—yes, you can keep these ones, too." Bakugou definitely didn't care. "Just like the other Beebos, each of these has a letter on their stomachs, and those will determine which team is the Heroes and which team is the Villains. Let's get it started!"

"Man, this really bites!" Mineta spat while Iida moved the papier-mache bomb around their room of the empty building.

"I couldn't agree more. To think that I would get forced into the role of a Villain. It's quite upsetting, if I'm being honest," Iida said.

"Who cares about that?! I'm talking about this whole team! I could have been partnered with one of the girls, but instead I got stuck with you. Man, why'd there have to be a two to one ratio of guys to girls in our class?"

"Actually, with thirteen men and seven women, the ratio is actually—wait, why is that even a problem?!"

Mineta didn't answer him. If he didn't understand why that was an issue right off the bat, then there was no helping him.

"Anyway, I think Asui just does whatever a frog does, so we can work around that. You're friends with Uraraka, what's her deal?"

"You've seen her use her power; it's pretty straightforward. So long as we avoid direct contact on her end, we should be fine."

"That's it? Don't you know any secret weaknesses, or something?"

"Uraraka-kun doesn't really talk about her powers that much. She's a great person, but she seems to lack confidence, for some reason." Lack of confidence. He could work with that.

"All right, I'll see what I can do," Mineta said as he hopped out of the room.

"You can't go off on your own! What am I supposed to do?!"

"I don't know, figure something out! Start with getting your head in the game, already!"

"I—No, you're right. Even if I don't like it, we have been cast in the role of the Villains. I need to give it my all, just as I would if I were playing the role of a Hero. Yes, I must fully integrate myself into the role if we are to have any hopes of victory!"

Iida then started making what sounded like helicopter noises from his mouth. Mineta opted to leave even faster than he had originally planned.

For most of his life, Mineta, and most of the people around Mineta, considered his Quirk, Pop Off, to be pretty lackluster. When other people were born with the ability to breathe fire or summon weapons with a single thought or to be obscenely wealthy, just being able to pull sticky balls off of your head didn't really seem like much to be proud of. However, with a little bit of ingenuity, even the most unimpressive of abilities can become semi-reliable.

Presently, Mineta was making use of that idea by using his sticky balls to covertly survey the building. All he had to do was keep one in each hand and he was suddenly a full-fledged wall crawler. For a brief moment, he wondered if this was how it felt to be Black Spider. Yes, this definitely had to be how it felt to be Black Spider.

"...they were really able to do that with your shoes?"

"Yeah! I was pretty surprised, myself." Two voices, coming from the west. Young, female, moderately arousing, one less so than the other, for some reason. It was definitely Uraraka and Tsuyu.

With a lock on his targets, Mineta changed directions and headed westward. It wasn't long until he was hanging right above them. Tsuyu made Uraraka stop moving as she looked around the hallway. She must have heard the sound of him moving his balls. That was far too careless of him. Well, as long as he stayed perfectly still, the noise would be brushed off as nothing and they'd move on.

"Hello, Mineta-chan." Tsuyu made the bold decision to look up.

"Crap!" Mineta shouted. As soon as the word left his mouth, Tsuyu shot her massive tongue at him. He barely had time to let go of his balls and fall flat on his face.

"Probably wasn't the best idea to come here by yourself. Ochaco-chan, keep searching for Iida-chan and the bomb. I can probably handle him by myself."

"Hey! Don't underestimate—" Mineta was cut off by a giant tongue to the face. It hit him like an uppercut and sent him flying backwards in an arc. The last thing he saw before hitting the ground was Uraraka rounding a corner and disappearing.

Ow ow ow ow ow! Mineta shouted in his head. That hurt like hell! Why do frogs need to have tongues that strong if they're only eating bugs?! Look at what you've done, Darwin!

"I'm going to make this quick, if that's all right with you."

"Make this quick," she says. Still underestimating me. Not like I can blame her. Why give a second thought to the guy who was barely saved from getting kicked out on the first day of school, right? Even I'd laugh in my face about it! Even still…

"Don't think I'll just take it, lying down!"

With tremendous fury, Mineta grabbed at his head both hands, pulled off two balls, and launched them forward. He repeated the process again and again and as fast as he could. To his surprise, that was pretty fast, but not so fast that Tsuyu couldn't dodge them. He didn't let her rapid bouncing across the floor and walls deter him, though, at least not to a degree that wasn't manageable. He didn't give up, he kept strong in the face of adversity, because that's exactly what Midoriya would have done.

When Tsuyu was about three fourths of the way towards him, it finally paid off via one of his balls hitting her left foot. She got stuck to a wall while in the beginning of a jump, and the sudden shift in momentum made her fall with her back against the wall.

"Oh no," Tsuyu said, matter-of-factly.

"Yes! I got you!"
Mineta shouted. Even though he started cheering and laughing, he didn't let up with his assault. He focused all of his attacks on her, directly, and in a matter of seconds, she was covered in balls and pinned to the wall.

"I did it! I won! My head is killing me!"

And Iida thought I was crazy for wanting to go in, alone. Hah! Mineta thought to himself. These narrow hallways don't leave any room for running around, so someone with a speed-based Quirk wouldn't be able to do much. My Quirk can take advantage of that, though. I can throw so many balls around that whoever I'm facing won't have any room to dodge!

"Well, now that I've taken care of you, I'll go help Iida with Uraraka. Make sure to stick around." Mineta was so happy with himself, he didn't even care about Tsuyu rolling her eyes at him.

The thing that was surprising Uraraka the most right now was that she had enough nerve to actually move her body. Ending up by herself was a far from ideal situation spinning out from the already less than ideal situation of her having to go first. Who would have guessed that Mineta, of all people, would be responsible for separating her from Tsuyu?

On the other hand, this might be just the kick in the pants she needed. She knew she wasn't as far ahead as her friends and classmates, so being by herself could be enough to get rid of her nerves and set her in the right direction. If All Might was one to say that you didn't learn anything by taking it easy, then there had to be something to that.

That's what she hoped, at least.

Okay, I found Iida-kun and the bomb, so what now? Uraraka asked herself. Should I try and sneak around him to get to the bomb? He's really fast, though, so I'd be in trouble if he sees me. Maybe it'd be best to just wait until Tsuyu-chan comes back. No, what if Mineta-kun gives up and runs away back here before Tsuyu-chan can find me and it ends two against one? Or what if Tsuyu-chan somehow got beaten? That'd be really, really bad—no, Ochaco! You can't let yourself get caught up in those kinds of thoughts; that doesn't do you any good!

"Having fun sneaking around, Hero of Justice?"

Suddenly, Iida's masked face was right in front of Uraraka, and even more suddenly, she jumped backwards and hit her head against the wall.

"It appears that both of our teams have decided to divide and conquer, but only one of us is doing it, properly."

"Well, Tsuyu-chan and I were kind of forced to—"

"For you see, Uraraka-kun, when I was left by myself, I decided to use my knowledge of your abilities to set up countermeasures against you. That's why this room that we're in is now sparkling clean, with not even one iota of junk lying around! Thanks to that, you have no ammunition for your Metahuman abilities! Just try and stop me now, foolish little Hero! MWAHAHAHAHA!"

"Um, Iida-kun, I can't help but think you're getting a little too into this."

"Foolish child. I am nothing like Tenya Iida, at all. In fact, some would say I'm the reverse!"

"Wha—" In the midst of Uraraka's confusion, Iida's engines flared as he charged at her. Barely any time to think, she activated her powers on herself and jumped forward in an arc. Thanks to her weightlessness, not only did she easily get above Iida, but she cleared a lot of the distance between herself and the bomb. Uraraka figured that if she moved fast enough, she could touch the bomb and win the match for her and Tsuyu.

Thoughts of victory on her mind, Uraraka deactivated her power, hit the ground, and ran to the bomb. However, before she could get near it, Iida had already ran over to the bomb, picked it up, and moved it to another part of the room.

"Did you honestly expect that to work?"

"I was really hoping it would, but what can you do?" Iida dashed at Uraraka a second time. Just like before, Uraraka used her power right before jumping in order to launch herself high into the air in the path of the bomb. In the corner of her eye, she could already see Iida turning back around to move it away, just as he did, before. That, of course, was something she couldn't allow for.

"Fire now! Uraraka Boosters!" Let it be known right then and there that the tubes at the soles of her feet weren't imply for decoration. One of the limitations of her power was that she couldn't control the direction of anything she made float; objects would just float in one direction continuously until she deactivated her power. There was only so much she could do with that, especially when she used her power on herself, so that's why she requested that her costume come with the Uraraka Boosters, four small but powerful rockets that were strong enough to send her forward through the zero gravity. At the moment, she was putting them to work by launching herself towards the bomb with great speed.

"What?! Inconceivable!" Even with her boost in speed and fine tuning of direction, Iida was still able to get to the bomb before her and move it to a new location. That, however, was no longer an issue that couldn't be dealt with. All Uraraka had to do was turn herself around, and that sent her flying in a new direction. She didn't allow Iida a second to set the bomb down, and even when he started making all sorts of random twists and turns, she was still able to keep following him.

These rockets work even better than I thought! Uraraka thought to herself. If I just keep going like this, Iida-kun's bound to slip up, and Tsuyu-chan and I will win! A big win on my first day of school! Me! I can't believe it!

Uraraka was nearly giddy with excitement over the prospect. Fortunately, she wasn't so excited that she stopped paying attention to what was happening around her, like whatever Iida's current position was, or, more importantly, two spherical objects suddenly attaching themselves to two of her rockets.

What was that? Laughter began to fill the air. It wasn't from Iida, he looked as confused as she did, at least as far as she could tell with the armor. No, when Uraraka looked around the room, she saw a laughing Mineta standing in the doorway. Tsuyu not being there had very bad implications, but the stress they brought about paled in comparison to the stress of the realization that Mineta had managed to attach his sticky balls to the ends of her rockets.

She didn't even have time to think about how poorly it could go, for the answer was thrusted upon her three seconds later when the plugged up Uraraka Boosters exploded. Almost immediately, her balance was lost, sending her into a haphazardous tailspin that ended with her slamming into the floor. As self-pity began to manifest, she even accidentally deactivated her power on herself. Just her luck, she supposed.

"Yes! I got her! Score two for Minoru!" Mineta cheered.

"Indeed! What a tremendous milestone for villainy this will be!" Iida shouted as he sped over to Uraraka's side.

I guess this is it, then, Uraraka thought to herself with a sigh. Well, it's only the first day. There'll be lots of chances to do well in the future. Or screw up even more. Or both.

"You're clever, Uraraka-kun, but not nearly as clever as you think. You don't know how hard it is for me to do this, because the truth is, I've grown quite fond of you; in many ways, you have shown me what it's like to have a sister."

Okay, he's really freaking me out, now. Why doesn't he just get on with it, already?

"Forgive me, Uraraka-kun, but to me, you've been dead for centuries."

W-Wait, what? What is he— All of Uraraka's thoughts became meaningless when she heard what sounded like angry helicopter noises. Meaningless because they became drowned out by the sound of her screaming as she pushed Iida away and jumped against a support beam.

"No no no no no no no no no! Stay away frum me, ya here?! Oh ma God, oh ma God, Ahm gunna die! Ahm sorry Ma, Ahm sorry Pa, Ahm sorry Lady Hokusai, Ahm sorry—"

"Uraraka-kun, stop! That was all just an act!" Iida shouted. Iida finally talking like a normal person again was enough to snap Uraraka out of her frenzied panic.


"I-I was just making those noises with my mouth. I, unfortunately, lack the ability to vibrate my molecules and phase through solid matter. I apologize for frightening you! Please forgive me!"

"O-Oh," Uraraka said, letting go of the support beam. "N-Nah—No, it's fine. I should have already—"

"Sneak attack!" Out of nowhere, Iida launched himself at Uraraka and kicked her into the wall. "Mwahahaha! Bold of you to let your guard down like that, Hero! Just because I was apologizing for frightening you too much didn't mean that—wait, what?! My leg!"

When Uraraka regained her bearings, she saw that the armor plating around Iida's leg was cracked in various places. By comparison, she felt relatively fine.

"Inconceivable!" Iida shouted.

"Knock it off, already!" Mineta shouted. "Fine, if you won't take two seconds to finish her off, I'll just do it!" It was at that moment when Uraraka came to the conclusion that any and all of her remaining luck had finally run out.

A second later, it was once again shown that she didn't know what she was talking about when a massively long tongue made contact with the bomb.

"Ribbit," was all Tsuyu said as her tongue flew back into her mouth.

"What?!" Mineta shouted.

"Inconceivable!" Iida shouted. Uraraka was starting to think that that word didn't mean what he thought it meant.

"Game, set and match! Hero Team wins!" shouted All Might's voice over the loudspeakers.

"Curses! Foiled again, for the first time!" Now that it was finally over, Uraraka could bring herself to laugh at Iida's behavior.

After the test was completed, Uraraka and the rest of the competitors made their way to the monitor room so All Might could give them their evaluations.

"To start things off, let's talk about the MVP of this battle. In this humble Hero's opinion, it had to have been Young Asui!" All Might said.

"You think so?" Tsuyu asked.

"Of course I do! Anyone care to explain why that would be?"

"I would," Yaoyorozu said.

"Yeah!" Kendou said at the same time.

"After you, Kendou-san."

"Nah, let's just both do it, Momo. You say some stuff, I'll pick up from there, and then we alternate."

"Right. So! The reason Asui-san had the best performance was because of how well she managed to stay calm under pressure," Yaoyorozu said.

"That's right! Tsuyu-chan jumped right into action as soon as she saw Mineta, attacking him right off the bat and sending Ochaco away so the hallway wouldn't become even more cramped," Kendou said.

"She barely even faltered when hit by Mineta-san's attack. I can't say I would have done the same."

"Speaking of which, how the hell did you get out of that?!" Mineta asked. "I'm the only one who can move those balls around, and with the poop I took this morning, they should have kept their stickiness for hours!"

""Gross,"" Yaoyorozu and Kendou said in unison.

"Asui, my girl, do you want to tell him about your brilliant escape plan?" All Might asked.

"Okay," Tsuyu said. "My Metagene more or less lets me do whatever a frog can do, and one item on that list is secreting a poisonous mucus from my body. Well, I say that, but it really just stings a little if you touch it."

"S-Secrete?" Mineta asked with a small pant.

"Trust me, it's not anything to get excited about," Kaminari said.

"Anyway, I used that to create a mucus membrane between myself and the balls. The mucus ran underneath the balls and pushed them away from my body, and that's what allowed me to get free."

"Of course, that only worked because of Mineta-san's lapse in judgement," Yaoyorozu said.

"True. If Mineta had remembered that you're only out once the capture tape is wrapped around a limb, then that would have made the mighty mucus membrane moot," Kendou said. "Well, that feels like a good segway into the other people."

"Indeed. Mineta-san, you were able to make excellent use of both your Quirk and your surroundings, not to mention how you handled Uraraka-san, but you became so assured of your victory that you forgot to actually achieve it."

"Ochaco, you couldn't get a good handle on your nerves, and that made you unable to use your powers as effectively as you could. For example, when you pushed Iida away near the end, you could have made him float and possibly get to the bomb before Tsuyu-chan arrived."

"Iida-san, you were smart to stay by the bomb and craft a counter strategy for dealing with Uraraka-san, but just like Mineta-san, you lost focus of the main objective and forgot to end things when you had the chance."

"It looked like you were getting really into it. Be honest with me, were you pretending to pull a Reverse Flash?"

"I-It seemed appropriate, at the time," Iida said. "I needed to become adjusted to the roll of a Villain, and I couldn't think of anyone more appropriate to emulate than Eobard Thawne. N-Not that I actually admire that time travelling scoundrel, but—"

"No need to explain yourself, Iida, my boy; what you were trying to do is plain as day," All Might said. "It's great that you were taking things seriously, but there's such a thing as taking things too seriously. Next time you feel like hamming it up, take it to the drama club! Seriously, though, the drama club is low on new members this year, and it's a shame that such a talented group of people has so little help."

"Understood, sir! Thank you for the advice!" Iida said with a deep bow. Uraraka didn't know if he was only talking about the battle advice or if the stuff about the drama club was thrown into the mix; knowing Iida, it was probably the latter.

"Young Mineta, you've showcased a true mind for strategy, but you've also showcased a weakness to arrogance. A true Hero shouldn't let pride get in the way of duty. After all, pride is one of the Eleven Deadly Enemies of Man," All Might said.

"I know," Mineta said, downcast.

"Still, you did great out there. If you paid a little more attention, you would have been the MVP. I bet you'll do even better, next time," Midoriya said.

"Midoriya!" Mineta cheered. Midoriya did his best to avoid a slobbery hug from him, but he could only do so much.

"As for you, Young Uraraka, the most important advice I can give you is to try and have more confidence in yourself," All Might said. "I know that you've only had your powers for a little over a year, but if you're going to be a Hero, you can't be so slow to act. I'm not expecting you to start oozing bravado at the drop of a hat, but at some point, you need to learn how to be able to stand on your own two feet."

Uraraka didn't give a response. Everything he was saying was so obvious that it hardly warranted one.

"For starters, you might want to try lightening up your load. Do you really need all of those gadgets?"

"They're important, really!" Uraraka said. "These bracers have these little needles that stimulate pressure points so I don't throw up when I make myself weightless, and this backpack is for storing stuff to use as a weapon, and the goggles have night vision, because what if I'm fighting at night or it gets really dark? And the rockets are there because I've always wanted to be able to fly, but I don't know how to control myself when I'm floating, but since they're so easy to destroy, maybe I'd be better off without them, I don't know."

"Let me just say this: not everyone is like Batman, Blue Beetle, or Mister Terrific in that they're skilled enough to balance technology with natural abilities. I've seen too many Heroes who became so reliant on support items that they become useless without them. Those rockets aren't a bad addition to your arsenal, but if flying is your end goal, they might end up becoming a crutch. Just think about that for a bit."

"I-I will! Thank you!" Uraraka said, her voice filled with renewed determination.

"That being said, I think your suit is the one thing that doesn't need to be changed, considering what it did to Iida-chan's leg," Tsuyu said.

"Yeah, I guess that's what Feminum will do to you. Sorry about that, Iida-kun."

"Don't worry about it," Iida said. "My actual leg feels fine, and the damage to the armor can easily be repaired and what did you say your costume was made out of?!"

"F-Feminum?" There she went, making another huge mistake.

"Feminum?! That's the same material Wonder Woman's Bracelets of Submission are made out of!" Midoriya shouted as everyone started crowding around her with "Oohs" and "Aahs" and various derivations of them. She now knew how Midoriya felt on the first day.

"I-It's not that exciting, really! It's not even pure Feminum! It's actually been watered down with iron and jadeite and desynthesized Smartskin and a bunch of other stuff I can't remember off the top of my head, so all of that makes something that's nowhere near as strong as natural Feminum!"

"That's still incredible! Where did you get it from? Would it be possible for you to give me some so I can study it?" Yaoyorozu asked with beaming eyes.

"I-I can't really do that. It was a gift, a one of a kind gift, and even if we were still talking, I don't think that she'd be able to—look, I-I just can't, so can we please stop?"

"Good idea, but first… can I take a picture?" All Might asked, holding a cell phone out in front of his face.


"THANK YOU! Wonder Woman's gonna love this!"

"Wait, you're sending it to—" A small flash went off. "No! All Might, please please please delete that!"

"Thought you'd be excited to have Wonder Woman know you exist," Kendou said.

"Not like this! My hair's all messed up, I've got dirt on my face, and I'm super sweaty—"

"You don't look that bad. Besides, it's not like Wonder Woman doesn't sweat."

"Of course she doesn't; she's Wonder Woman."

"Uraraka, my girl, I've worked with her dozens of times, and I can say with utmost certainty that Wonder Woman does, in fact, sweat. Sometimes like a pig," All Might said.

"Stop spreading your lies!" Uraraka shouted, her hands covering her ears to no avail. Somehow, this was both the worst thing and the best thing to happen to her, today, and she was surprisingly okay with that.

"Okay, this seems like as good a spot as any. This okay with you?" Jirou asked when she finished setting the papier-mache bomb down.

"Looks good to me!" Hagakure said with a pumped fist. "Now it's time to plan our assault, Kyoka-chan. By combining our wicked might, we'll be sure to avenge our fallen comrades and score a might victory for evildoers, everywhere!"

"Knock it off. Iida screwed up because of that chuuni crap, remember?"

"Right, sorry." Going off of how Hagakure was rubbing the back of her head, Jirou wanted to assume she was blushing, but there was really no way of knowing.

"Mineta was able to charge after Uraraka and Tsuyu-chan because he knew what their powers were, but I don't think that's the same with us, right?"


Jirou was afraid of that. She didn't want to believe that they were fighting completely blind, so she tried to remember everything she knew about their opponents. Shouji she knew was incredibly strong, physically the strongest person in the class after Midoriya, but she didn't know what his actual Quirk was. Obviously, it was connected to how he had three sets of arms, but that could be anything from being able to shoot lasers out of them to being able to use them for flawless beatboxing; she honestly wouldn't mind have the latter for a Quirk. Tokoyami's power she knew. Everyone knew. A reality-warping Genie wasn't exactly hard to forget, nor was it easy to beat. Off the top of her head, she knew that the two of them liked to argue, so there was a chance that they could use that to their advantage, maybe stir the pot a little and capture Tokoyami while he's distracted.

Going off of that, Jirou quickly found herself distracted by an apparently naked Hagakure.

"Hagakure, what the hell?! W-W-What happened to your clothes?!"

"What? Nothing happened." Jirou heard a snap, and in an instant, the chest area of Hagakure's costume became visible for a second before vanishing once more. "See, my power is actually light refraction, but I'm not very good at it, so I can only refract light in an area about the size of my hands, put together. The suit my mom made me works around that problem by amplifying my light refraction and spreading it across my entire body. Thanks to that, I'm totally invisible and one hundred percent ready for sneaking around!"

"Okay, but next time, give a little warning, will you? I mean, if someone knows that you're invisible, but they don't know about how your suit works, they're gonna think you're running around naked!"

"Oh, is that a problem, Jirou-chan? Or maybe the problem is that it's not a problem, hm?" Jirou knew Hagakure had to be wearing a massive grin on her face, and she wanted nothing more in the world than to be able to smack it off of her.

Before she could figure out a plan for that, massive black object shot up through the floor between them. As soon as Jirou finished stuffing her eyeballs back into her head, she could see both that the massive object was coming up at an angle and that an arm appeared to be stretching out of the object towards the bomb until an elongated finger touched the top of it.

"Boop," said the black object.

"Game, set and match! Hero Team wins!" shouted All Might's voice over the loudspeakers.

"What?" asked an utterly confused Jirou.

Anger. Disappointment. A third word that was equally appropriate. These were the emotions running through Hagakure's mind as she and the others returned to the monitor room.

"Well, the MVP this round is pretty obvious: it's Young Tokoyami, the only one who actually did something!" All Might shouted.

"Hell yeah!" Dark Shadow shouted. He snapped his fingers, and in an instant, a giant donut materialized around Tokoyami. "For he's a jolly good rookie! For he's a jolly good rookie! For he's a jolly good rookie~!"

"If you throw me into the air, I refuse to summon you for three days, regardless of how it might affect my education," Tokoyami said.

"Party pooper."

"Moving on, I would like to add that I was only able to attain victory against Jirou and Hagakure because of Shouji's Quirk. By turning the hands at the end of his tentacles into ears and noses, he was able to locate our opponents through sound and smell. After that, it became easy for me to launch my attack."

"Well said, Young Tokoyami. Shouji, my boy, though you only acted as support this time around, you were more than essential in your team's victory," All Might said.

"Thank you, sir," Shouji said.

"That being said, you should try to be more careful with your attacks, Young Tokoyami. If your aim was off, you could have destroyed the bomb or severely hurt Young Jirou or Young Hagakure."

"Impossible. I did not command Ig-Alima to strike anything it wasn't supposed to strike," Tokoyami said.

"You say that, but—"

"That is the point. I said it, and it was so."

"Ain't nothin' to it, buddy boy," Dark Shadow said, the Genie looking as smug as someone could while wearing a green scuba suit.

Weird. These guys were weird, Hagakure mused.

"R-Right," All Might stammered. "Young Jirou, Young Hagakure, this would normally be where I would give you your evaluations, but you didn't get a chance to do anything, so you're exempt."

"Great," Jirou said, rolling her eyes.

"My thoughts, exactly!" Hagakure said with an invisible pout. "And I was so excited to show off all the cool stuff my mom's suit could do, too!"

"Hagakure-san, out of curiosity, your mother wouldn't happen to be Kimiyo Hoshi, would she?"

"That's right! My mom is none other than the Alpha Lyraen Hero, Doctor Light!" Hagakure put her arms akimbo and gave the brightest invisible smile she could muster. She also pretended that there was a wind blowing her cape around. After all, that would have been really cool.

"'Doctor Light'? Who's that?" Uraraka asked.

"She's a Hero who fights with light-based powers that she obtained from a mutative beam of energy from the Vega star," Yaoyorozu said.

"Exactly!" Hagakure said. "Mom didn't get her powers until she was an adult and already working as an astronomer, so she's more of a part-time Hero, but my brothers and sisters and I still think she's the best. We all want to be like her when we grow up."

"That sure sounds nice," Todoroki said.

"I bet you know all about Young Hagakure's special feelings of admiration, right?" All Might asked.

Todoroki didn't answer, only turning his left side towards All Might. He literally gave him the cold shoulder. The nerve of some people.

The longer Yaoyorozu kept moving around, the more her heart simultaneously gained and lost anxiety. Every step she made through the empty halls made her more and more susceptible to a sneak attack, but they also brought her closer and closer to her ultimate goal of the papier-mache bomb. A good balance of positives and negatives, in her opinion.

As soon as she had the chance to move, she made her way to the top floor of the building as quickly as possible, but there was no one there. The last two teams had set up camp there, but it seemed like Ojiro and Sero had the sense to not have it repeat a third time. She didn't waste any extra time there and started going back down the stairs to search each of the lower floors. It was an arduous task, but one that had to be done, nonetheless.

After a few minutes, Yaoyorozu found what she was looking for. Ojiro and Sero were in a room on the center floor of the building. The two of them stood guard in front of the bomb, Ojiro facing the door, Sero the window. How clever of them to try and cover all of their bases. It wasn't clever enough, though. There were enough holes in their defense for Yaoyorozu to exploit. All she had to do was choose her movements carefully, and in no time at all, she'd be ending this.

"Hey, what's that?" Ojiro took notice of something, but the only something to take notice of was her. Perhaps she wasn't being as careful as she thought.

Ojiro quickly smacked her into a wall with his tail. She definitely wasn't being as careful as she thought.

"Aw, man, you were so close!" Ashido said, pouting as Yaoyorozu closed the laptop she materialized.

"My apologies, Ashido-san," Yaoyorozu said. "I think the footsteps of the drone were louder than I thought. I knew I should have had tested this out with someone, beforehand."

"Hey, everybody makes mistakes, and it was really cool how you made a mistake with a remote-controlled drone! It was like something straight out of the new Black Spider game! The 'Yaoyo-Robot'!"


"Well, what do you call it?"

"No, no, let's go with that. It's… better." It was fun seeing her flustered, Ashido couldn't help but muse. "Anyway, I have a good map of the building, so we should head up there as soon as possible. They'll be expecting us at any moment—"

"Well if they're expecting us, might as well head there with a bang!" Ashido said. "If someone had to put in an elevator that goes exactly where Ojiro and Sero are, where would it be?"

"Two meters to our right, I believe."

"Great. Now, can you make things fly out of your body super fast?"

"Sorry, but no." Disappointing. "However, creating something that fires objects at great speed shouldn't be a problem." Less disappointing.

"Great! I'm gonna stretch; give me something good to work with."

Yaoyorozu nodded her head, so Ashido began her exercises. Her arms and spine were put to work, any and all tension worked out to the best of her ability, but it was really the legs that needed the most focus. They needed to be nice and limber to draw out the full power of her Quirk. Couldn't have them cramping up in the middle of battle, after all.

"Okay, finished." After two minutes, conveniently timed with Ashido finishing her stretches, Yaoyorozu hand finished constructing what appeared to be a clay pigeon shooter, but instead of clay discs, it was filled with actual clay pigeons. She really liked the way she did things.

"How good is your aim?"

"My mothers have given me lessons in all forms of marksmanship since I was six, and I won a regional archery tournament when I was eleven."

"So they're about halfway decent, right?"

"For your information, I could have been nationally ranked if I didn't decide to—"

"Um, that was a joke." Yaoyorozu shut her mouth as quickly as it was opened.

"We should get started," Yaoyorozu said, barely looking her in the eye.

Ashido would have liked to muse about how adorable it was to see her so flustered, but she already fired off one of the clay pigeons. No time to waste, she kicked off of the wall, her legs shining an arctic blue, and she flew into the air. As soon as she was in range, Ashido kicked the clay pigeon, shattering it in an instant and making the light increase in intensity. She kicked the clay pigeon at such an angle that she was able to propel herself up towards the ceiling, and with another kick bathed in even stronger light, she shattered the ceiling above her.

"Pull!" Yaoyorozu shouted, launching another clay pigeon into the air. Ashido let herself fall towards the ground, the light dying a little as she did, but as soon as she was close enough to the clay pigeon, she kicked it and was propelled up through the air. She reached the next ceiling and tore through it with a single kick, the hole in that ceiling being even larger than the one in the previous ceiling. Ashido and Yaoyorozu kept that pattern going over and over again until Ashido, an intense blue light flowing around her lower body, had charged her way into the other team's hiding spot.

Mina Ashido! Quirk: Combo Breaker! Her kicks become more and more powerful as she lands them in quick succession! Her bones can shatter if the combo gets too high, but good luck to anyone who thinks they can fight her for that long!

"Special delivery!" was what Ashido shouted when she burst into the room.

"You've gotta be kidding me!" Sero shouted.

"Don't get distracted, Sero!" Ojiro shouted. He jumped up into the air and swung his tail at Ashido. Ashido tried to kick him with her free leg, but his tail gave him a longer reach than her and had the bonus of maneuverability. Ashido was able to graze him with a kick, but Ojiro was able to wrap his tail around her and throw her to the ground. The two of them landed at roughly the same time, and the light around Ashido's legs faded, signifying the end of her combo.

"Sero, get over here, quick!" Ojiro shouted. "If it's two on one, we can capture her before—"

Ojiro was cut off by the sound of metal digging into concrete. Ashido's eyes traced the source of the sound to what appeared to be a grappling hook jammed into the ceiling. A retracting sound soon began to fill the air until it was revealed that Yaoyorozu had made her way up with a grappling hook gun in one hand and a bazooka strapped around her body.

"Ashido-san, move!" Yaoyorozu shouted when she landed on the floor. Not wanting to waste a single second, Ashido kicked off the ground and launched herself towards the bomb. At the same time, Yaoyorozu detached the bazooka and fired it at Ojiro.

""Not on your life!"" Ojiro and Sero shouted together. Ojiro wasted no time getting up and hitting the bazooka's discharge with his tail, and Sero wasted no time firing something long and sticky from his elbows and wrapping it around Ashido's leg and making her fall to the ground. It looked and felt like tape, and she at least hoped it was that, and not something grosser.

"Looks like you underestimated us," Ojiro said. "Sero and I might not have flashy powers, but we can still—"

"Mashirao Ojiro has been eliminated!" came All Might's voice from the loudspeakers.

"Wait, what?! How is that—wait, why wasn't there an explosion?" Ojiro looked at his tail. He said nothing else, for his face ended up saying it all.

"Ojiro-san, I never intended to underestimate you, only trick you," Yaoyorozu said. "That's why, instead of creating a normal bazooka, I created one that uses the capture tape as ammunition. I hope you don't think that was too underhanded."

"Are you serious?!" Sero asked.

"She sure is, and so am I!" Ashido said. It was time to finally win this. Once again, she kicked off the ground and propelled herself into the air towards the bomb. Sero kept his restraint tight and tried to pull her back down, but that wouldn't work again. Not when her boots were designed to be tough enough to not be broken by her Quirk and to open up whenever acid needed to be secreted, as was the case, now. Ashido's corrosive acid wasted no time eating away at Sero's attack, allowing her to quickly break free and continue on her path towards the bomb.

Unfortunately, Ashido didn't take into account the increased momentum she would get from suddenly snapping her restraints, and as a result, she hit the bomb face first with enough force to leave a faceprint on it.

"Game, set and match! Hero Team wins!" shouted All Might's voice over the loudspeakers.

Well, it wasn't very cool or graceful, but a win was a win.

After checking to see if her nose was bleeding and getting a towel from Yaoyorozu to clean it all off, Ashido skipped her way back to the monitor room with the rest of her classmates.

"You all did an excellent job out there, but only one of you was the MVP," All Might said. "The MVP of this round was, without a doubt, Young Yaoyorozu! Who can tell me why?"

"I can!" Kendou said. "Momo had a great plan of searching for Ojiro and Sero with that drone, basically giving her and Ashido two chances to go to them. Not only that, but she made great use of her Quirk with that bazooka trick, and she was able to fully coordinate with Ashido—someone she hadn't fought with before today. Great job, Momo!"

"Oh, stop. I was only acting how we all should be acting," Yaoyorozu said. Her words were modest, but her face was anything but. Ashido loved that.

"Yes, Young Yaoyorozu made excellent use of her Quirk, and on the opposite end of the spectrum is Young Ashido!" All Might said.

"Wait, me?" Ashido asked.

"Your plan for getting to the bomb was good, but it was too risky. All of that wanton destruction to the building could have caused it to collapse. Even worse, the kick that brought you to your target could have caused accidental damage to the bomb and set it off, killing everyone in the city."

"Oh. That… That would have been bad." Really bad.

"Really, really bad. That's why, of course, this is a learning experience." Ashido gave herself a pity laugh. "The same advice applies to Young Ojiro and Young Sero. Both of you need to improve on your reaction speed, Young Sero the most. Young Ojiro didn't make any major mistakes, his performance was plainly average—"

"Thank you?" Ojiro asked.

"—but Sero, my boy, you should have fired a second shot of tape at Young Ashido when she broke through your first one. A Hero needs to know how to make snap decisions!"

"I know, I know, but no one told me she could shoot acid out of her feet," Sero said. "That's probably not the best excuse—going into a fight where you don't know all of your opponent's powers is probably an 'If I had five yen' kind of thing for you—but I couldn't stop myself from getting caught off guard. What the hell's even up with that, Ashido? What kind of Quirk makes you super strong and lets you shoot acid?"

"Oh no no no no," Ashido said. "That's not a part of my Quirk, it's merely the result of science having gone horribly right!"

"What are you talking about?" Ashido, ignoring the way Kirishima was looking at her, pulled her phone out of her jacket pocket, pulled up an old picture on her phone, and turned it towards the rest of the class.

"Ashido-san, is this you?" Midoriya asked. "Your eyes are normal, you don't have horns, and your skin is… brown?"

""It's a real gyaru!"" Mineta and Kaminari shouted. At least they were keeping it wholesome. Mostly wholesome.

"Yep, that's me! Well, was me. Back in seventh grade, my class went on a field trip to the Indoumoudou City Chemical Laboratory, and believe it or not, that happened at the same that that water Villain Naiad was attacking the place."

"Oh, I remember that! Firestorm was the one who managed to take her out, right?" Midoriya asked.

"Yup, but not before all their roughhousing made a vial of experimental chemicals spill all over an unsuspecting Mina Ashido. Presto-chango, here I am! A brand new me with cute skin, cute little horns, and a totally kickass new power on top of my already kickass power! Pretty awesome, right?"

"Yep. Real awesome," Kirishima said. A split second later, his face looked like he immediately regretted saying it.

"Hey, come on! I'm not doing anything, man!"

"It just slipped out. I'm not mad, or anything."

"You sure? Could have fooled me."

"I'm not, okay? Geez."

"Hey, I've been wondering this for a while, but were you two friends before coming to U.A.?" Midoriya asked. "Kirishima-kun, I remember seeing you with Ashido-san at the beginning of the entrance exam, and both yesterday and today, you've been acting kind of chummy with each other."

"You think so?" Ashido asked.

"We're not 'chummy'!" Kirishima said. "We just went to the same junior high, but we were never even in the same class. I mean, there was some stuff that happened last year—that's not important, though!"

"We do take the same train to school, though."

"We're going to the same place."

"You always let me sit next to you."

"W-Well who'd care about that?" Seeing a flustered Yaoyorozu was fine and all, but it was clear to Ashido that nothing beat a flustered Kirishima.

"Moving right along from all of your idle chit-chat, it's time for the fourth round!" All Might said as he grabbed the lottery boxes from behind him. "The Heroes have a full sweep of the board with three victories against the Villains. In any other situation, this would be great, but for the sake of this class, you Villains need to try harder to win!"

All Might shoved his hands into each box. The Cheeky Angel Beebo had a "J", meaning that the Heroes would be Kendou and Bakugou, and the Tenacious Devil Beebo had a "C", meaning that the Villains would be Midoriya and Todoroki.


Two days in, and Midoriya was having rather mixed feelings about U.A., mainly with the people. On the one hand, he got to be in the same class as all of his friends, got to make new friends with a lot of great people, and he got to have All Might as one of his teachers. On the other hand, not only was Alexis waiting around at every corner to freak him out, but Todoroki and Bakugou seemed to be doing everything in their power to give him a hard time. There was really only so much of that that he could take, and having to deal with both of them at the same time in this training session certainly didn't help. Certainly didn't help, at all.

"Midoriya," Todoroki said.

"Y-Yes!" Midoriya stammered out.

"Kendou and Bakugou are your friends, right? What do you know about them that's useful?"

"Well, Kendou-san's a martial artist, so all of her fighting revolves around close combat and overpowering her opponent. She's also really smart and great at improvising, so if you give her time to think, she'll definitely come up with a plan to win that'll probably work."

"So I guess she's the one I really need to worry about."

"Hey, don't underestimate Kacchan! He might act like a jerk, but he's a genius, especially when it comes to fighting! He can analyze someone's fighting style in a second and figure out how to destroy them with another second. He'd already be great with a Quirk as powerful as his, but his mind and confidence makes him amazing."

Yeah, Kacchan's amazing, even after all of these years, so why does he keep trying to make things hard for me? Midoriya asked himself. Why would you make your costume like that? To remind me of what I did to you and throw me off my game? How obsessed are you with trying to prove you're better than me?

"I'll believe it when I see it."

"Right, right. Wait, what do you mean by that? And why did you say that Kendou-san was the only one you needed to worry about?" The question answered itself when Midoriya saw Todoroki leaving the room. "H-Hey! Where are you going?"

"I'm going to beat them, obviously," Todoroki said. "Based on what I've seen and what you've told me, those two aren't so strong that I can't beat them on my own."

"But we're supposed to work together!"

"I don't care. I don't need to rely on other people to win, especially you." Todoroki stepped into the doorway, but he didn't get another step before Midoriya grabbed his left arm.

"Todoroki-kun, you said that you want to beat me, and I'm fine with that. I don't mind having you as a rival, but I don't want to do it if we're not going to enjoy it!"

Todoroki glared at Midoriya before pulling his arm out of his grip.

"Sorry, but this isn't really about what you want," Todoroki said. He left the room, walked down the stairs, and was soon out of sight, leaving Midoriya all by himself.

Things could only get worse from here, Midoriya thought.

Bakugou could tell that his face was freaking out Kendou, but not only did he not care about what she thought, he also couldn't help himself when he was so happy. He thought that he'd have to wait until the Sports Festival to have a chance to beat up Midoriya, but then the universe gave it to him on the very first day. He even got to go at it with Todoroki, and if that wasn't icing on the cake, he didn't know what was.

"You seem… like you're having an emotion," Kendou said.

"Shut up, Karate Kid," Bakugou said. The only downside to all of this was being partnered up with Kendou, of all people, but this was why Bakugou spent so much time building up his endurance.

"Right. So! We don't know what Todoroki's Quirk is, so we should stay on our guard around him until he uses it. Midoriya, on the other hand, he's just really, really strong. I don't think we can beat him in a fight, so we should try to either capture him or avoid him and get to the bomb."

"Fuck that. I'm not running away from Deku. As soon as I see that nerd, I'm blasting his ass off the face of the planet!"

"Okay, but how do you plan to do that? Does he have some kind of weakness we can exploit?"

"Hell if I know, but I'm gonna kill him until I find one!"

"That is a terrible plan, I hope you know that. Also, if you actually do kill him, wouldn't finding his weakness after the fact be kind of meaningless?"

"It's metaphorical, bitch, and I'm just riffing. I'm the leader here, so can I just riff? Can I riff?!"

"I don't remember putting you in charge, but okay."

Fucking bitch, just shut up already! Bakugou thought to himself. Yeah, it's not just Deku and Two-Face, you're going down, too, just you—wait, why's it cold, all of a sudden?

"Look out!" Kendou shouted. Thanks to Kendou's warning, one that Bakugou begrudgingly accepted, the two of them were able to jump out of the way of what appeared to be a giant line of ice sent their way. Bakugou wasted no time in using his Quirk to blow the ice to smithereens, and once it was gone, the source of the attack was revealed to be none other than Todoroki.

"Well look who it is? I thought I'd get to start with Deku, but you'll work out just fine, Two-Face," Bakugou said.

"Oh no, not this again," Kendou said with a hand against her face.

"No no, don't try to stop him. Let him keep calling me that. It'll make things a lot better for me," Todoroki said, his eyes locked in a menacing glare.

"Alright, you're clearly still mad about yesterday. Why don't we all just calm down and—"

"If you don't want to fight, then just get the hell out of here, Karate Kid!"

"Hey, don't tell me to—actually, yeah, that's a good idea. If he has an ice Quirk, someone like me who fights with her hands might not be very helpful. You can destroy his ice with ease, so it'd make sense to split up here. Good idea!"

"Just go, already!"

"As if I'll just let you!" Todoroki shouted, firing off another blast of ice. Bakugou and Kendou separated once more, Bakugou to the left, Kendou to the right. Bakugou fired another explosive blast at the ice, shattering it to bits. The resulting cloud of smoke hopefully provided enough cover for Kendou to run past him and head after Midoriya.

That was wrong. Todoroki saw her in an instant, but Kendou didn't get tripped up. She jammed a giant hand into the wall next to her, ripped out a hunk of concrete, and threw it right at his left side. Bakugou thought that would just force him to make more ice, but instead, he just ducked down to dodge it. Regardless, Kendou was able to get away, and although Bakugou would never even consider admitting it, he had to admit that she had skills.

"Now that the tagalong's gone, we can get your bloodbath started, Two-Face," Bakugou said.

"I could say the same to you," Todoroki said.

Thus began what Bakugou hoped to be the best day of his life.

Chapter Text







Here it is, the long overdue anniversary special. We'll hopefully return to the main story, momentarily.

In modern day, the world is dominated by the enigmatic superpower known as "Quirks". Everyone and their mother can have a Quirk simply by being born on this planet, and with the days of fear and discrimination towards superpowered beings being a thing of the past, the ability to become a Hero has never been easier!

However, the ability to become a Hero didn't always belong to everyone. A little over a century ago, that honor only came to a select few individuals: the ones who were the few to be born with amazing gifts; the ones who pushed their bodies to extremes that most people would be unwilling to replicate; the ones who came into contact with toxic waste and chemicals and went away from them with something other than diseases and horrible disfigurements. These people would don costumes of all colors and use their amazing gifts not for themselves, but to protect their fellow man, and when the world was thrown into a state of self-inflicted chaos the likes of which it had never seen, the bravest and strongest amongst them came together to defeat the enemies our boys couldn't handle.

They were—

Happy Harbor, Rhode Island, every tourists favorite town to visit. From the lively LexCorp Fun Fair to the trendy Mad Yak Cafe, the town earned a reputation of being the living embodiment of good times and merriment, a place where no one ever went for any serious business.

However, unbeknownst to everyone, all of that had changed. From the moment the United States declared war on Japan, the government got to work on converting Mount Justice—the mountain famous for being the location of the first sighting of The Spectre—into a high-class, multi-layered fortress known as the "Secret Sanctuary".

This was meant to be the base of operations for a superhero strike force tasked with fighting the members of the Axis Powers normal soldiers weren't equipped to deal with, and at this very moment, the leader of said strike force was walking those very halls. To the surprise of many, this man—dressed in a black and gray outfit that featured a cape, a cowl with pointed ears, and a bat across his chest—was one of the few people who would be fighting without any sort of superpowers or highly advanced technology, but those who knew him knew that that wouldn't be a deterrent, for this man was someone who had pushed his body and mind further than anyone else could want to before essentially arriving at the pinnacle of man, and all in the pursuit of justice. He was vengeance, he was the night, he was Batman.

"So, how we gonna do this? I'm thinking—"

"No," was all Batman offered for an interjection.

"Wait, I wasn't done yet. When we get in the meeting room, I think we should start things off—"


"Let me finish! You don't even know what I'm going to say!"

"You think we should open the meeting by reenacting an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit skit."

"Wow, you really are the world's greatest detective. And the world's greatest killjoy." Batman looked down at his partner, his partner in both conversation and dialogue. Dressed in red and black with a large "R" on the left side of his chest and a domino mask that turned his eyes solid white, he usually acted just as tough as Batman, himself, but it was moments like these that reminded him he was still just a thirteen-year old kid.

"You can do one after the first mission, Robin."

"Yeah! Killer diller, man!" Robin shouted, his face bearing the kind of grin Batman liked to see.

"I'll never understand how something with 'killer' can be a good thing," said a feminine voice with a bit of laughter. A new person joined them from a connecting hallway, and it took her being in view for half a second for Robin's face to start bearing the kind of grin Batman hated to see. Robin liked to tease him for how he would sometimes act less than professional around this woman, but that had nothing to do with personal feelings, not in the slightest. After all, of all the heroes in the world, this woman—black hair cascading down her back, wrists covered in Feminum bracelets, body draped in a small red and gold top and a blue loincloth decorated with white stars—was the best there was. No one threw a punch like her, no one soared through the sky like her, no one looked out for their fellow man like her. She was strong, she was beautiful—Batman was just stating a simple fact—she was Wonder Woman.

"I see you got in okay, Diana," Batman said.

"Good morning to you, too, Bruce," Wonder Woman said with a smile. "Oh, good morning to you, too, Jason."

"Always a pleasure to see my second favorite Amazon," Robin said.

"Oh? And who's your favorite, then?"

"Donna, obviously. Sure, she's just an honorary Amazon, but she's still pretty cool. Plus, Mr. Tall, Dark and Brooding already called dibs on you being a favorite."

"Did he, now?"

"Please don't encourage the boy," Batman said.

"What? Is he wrong, then?" Batman didn't answer her. The two of them shared a laugh, and Batman didn't know if he was more happy about it or more annoyed by it.

"Well, if it's any consolation, Bruce, you've always been my favorite, even before we got started on all of this," Wonder Woman said. She placed a hand on his shoulder as she spoke; Batman didn't exactly hate it.

"...The feeling's mutual." Batman felt glad to be wearing a mask, otherwise his face would be matching Wonder Woman's, right now. Even though there was no reason for anything to be going on with their faces. Also, her hand had been on him for far too long.

"Oh, Diana! There you are!" Wonder Woman immediately removed her hand from Batman's shoulder and both parties stopped looking at one another. Instead, they started looking at the new addition to the halls, a bearded man who looked visibly uncomfortable in the suit his muscles were straining against.

"Y-Yes, Steve, I'm here with Bruce… and Jason. Nothing wrong with that," Wonder Woman said.

"I sure hope not. Good to see you, Bruce," Steve said, extending a hand with an innocent smile.

"Likewise," Batman said, shaking Steve Trevor's—the soldier, the boyfriend, the good friend's—hand.

"Hope you guys weren't having too much fun without me."

"I don't know, were we having fun?" Robin asked.

""No,"" Batman and Wonder Woman said together.

"Cool, cool cool cool," Steve said. "Sorry about losing you back there, Di. Would have been here sooner, but this place is a damn maze. Probably like that in case the Japs or Krauts ever end up stateside, but it's still a pain in the ass. And why didn't the government liason get a map, or something?"

"I honestly couldn't tell you," Wonder Woman said.

"Just follow me. I have the layout memorized," Batman said.

"How did you—wait, no, I know the answer," Steve said with a smile. The four of them grouped together and headed down the hall, Batman and Robin in front, Wonder Woman and Steve right behind them. This was good.

"Well, I hope you guys aren't having too much fun."

"How could they, Jay? We only just got here." From another connecting hallway came two more faces familiar to Batman and the rest of the group.

"And how were you, of all people, not the first one here?" Robin asked.

"Hey, what can you do, right?" one of the men said, sheepishly rubbing the back of a head adorned with a metal helmet that bore metal wings reminiscent of Hermes. Like Batman, he had a brilliant mind, like Wonder Woman, he had incredible power—in this case, super speed—but what Batman thought set Jay apart from other Heroes was his heart, his seemingly infinite capacity for seeing the good in people. He was kind, he was speed, he was The Flash.

"Be on time, maybe?"

"That's the dream, Robin. That's the dream," Jay said.

"It'd be a better reality," Batman said.

"Well, if Jay's telling us anything, it's that reality is often disappointing," the other man said with a smirk that made everyone other than Batman laugh—not because it wasn't funny, just because he didn't feel like it. Here was a man who had a strong sense of justice Batman couldn't help but appreciate—he was a fellow Gotham-bred superhero, after all—but at the same time, he was the person who probably wanted to be here the least. His costume—jeans and a red shirt with a lantern on the chest—looked like something he just pulled out from the bottom of his hamper, and the way his eyes lit up whenever he talked about his kids made it seem like he only got started to be a "cool Dad". Even so, he put the cause above trying to look cool, and that's why Batman got along with him. He was stalwart, he was steadfast, he was the Green Lantern.

"Listen to Alan, getting out something that's not a Dad joke," Steve said.

"I can do it if I really try," Alan said. "But hey, even if they're not funny, you guys need someone to relieve tension."

"Whatever the reason, we're happy to have you, the both of you," Wonder Woman said.

"Pleasure's all ours, ma'am," Jay said. "Now then, let's head to that meeting." Batman couldn't comply faster. As good as it was to catch up with everyone, they were here to do something important, and there was only so much lollygagging that could be allowed. As such, when another person from another connecting hallway—there seemed to be far too many of those—jumped out to try and scare them like a child, Batman punched him in the face without hesitation.

"Ha! Jokes on you, chum, that hurt you more than it hurt me! Right? Please tell me I'm right, because my nose is really hurting, right now."

"Yes, but that doesn't mean it wasn't worth it," Batman said. Of course, he only did it because he knew he was there and that he'd be able to take it. Having the blood of a species designed to live at the bottom of the ocean would do that to you. Of course, you wouldn't think he was particularly strong with how much he played the fool, but Batman figured he did that so people wouldn't see him as a freak or a monster. The important thing was that this man with the blonde beard and orange and green spandex could get serious when he needed to, though Batman would be lying if he said he didn't appreciate the sense of levity he brought to the group. He was gallant, he was goofy, he was Aquaman.

"Hey, if you get to punch Aquaman in the face, can I punch Aqualad in the face, too? Just because?" Robin asked.

"That's a good question, actually," Arthur said. "Kaldur! Do you wish to be punched in the face by Robin?!"

"Please do not punch me in the face, Jason," said the person standing directly behind Arthur, a dark-skinned boy dressed in similarly colored spandex with a pair of swords on his back.

"We'll see how the day goes," Robin said. In spite of all that, the two of them still managed to bump fists, as friends are known to do. "Hey wait, who's that standing behind—Garth? That you? What's buzzin', cousin?"

Just as Robin had stated, there was another person standing near Arthur and Aqualad dressed in blue and black and bearing a spindly beard; it was Tempest, the original Aqualad.

"Hey, Robin," Garth said, lacking enthusiasm.

"What are you doing here? I thought Kaldur was joining up and you were the one staying stateside with the Titans? What happened with that?"

"Yes, well, things were getting a little too awkward on the team, so I thought that a little time away would be best for everyone."

"Didn't you and Lilith break up on good terms, though?"

"Yes, but then she, um, the awkwardness comes from how she's been interacting with Miss Martian. They've gotten rather, well, close."

"Oh, that's good. M'gann isn't really good at making friends, what with the whole 'alien warrior princess stranded on another planet' thing she's got going on. Come to think of it, she's kind of copying Starfire, isn't she? Maybe. Who's older?"

"I don't know, and that's not what I was talking about when I said they were getting close. I meant that they were getting… close."

Robin stared at Tempest, not saying a word even as several seconds went by. At some point—which Batman assumed to stem from him figuring things out—he started laughing uncontrollably, because of course he did.

"It's not funny!"

"Come now, Garth, it's a little funny," Arthur said.

"I beg to differ," Alan said.

"Garth, Garth, Garth! ...Garth, you gotta tell me the truth here," Robin said between laughs. "Lilith, was she—was she always swinging for both teams, or were you just so bad in the sack—" Before Robin could finish, Garth had picked him up by his collar, as he was perfectly entitled to do.

"I will end you, little man!" Garth shouted.

"Hey, knock it off, Tempest!" Steve said.

"Relax, he won't do anything. I'm too lovable," Robin said, though Batman had doubts about the legitimacy of that statement. Sure enough, Garth threw Robin to the floor after a few seconds, and Robin picked himself up with a laugh.

"Worry not, my boy, these things come and go," Arthur said. "And hey, we're going to be overseas for a few years, so I'm sure you'll find yourself a merry lass to help you forget about this!"

"That doesn't make me feel better," Garth said.

"You can sulk on your own time," Batman said. Wonder Woman rolled her eyes at that; she probably thought that was ironic coming from him, and he honestly couldn't blame her for that.

"Now, gentlemen—and lady gentleman—onward we must go!" Arthur shouted. And onward they did, indeed go, something Batman was more than thankful for, even more so if it could be done without distractions. Considering all the people who were now tagging along with him—all of whom were doing a great job of keeping him out of their various conversation—that seemed to be a large possibility.

A minute later, said possibility was proven to be reality. When they finally reached the entrance to conference room, standing in front of the door were the last two members of the group the media had started dubbing "The Magnificent Seven Supers"—a name Batman never approved of, instead only ever using "The Seven"—and neither one offered more than a nod of the head and a simple "Hello". With these two, one had a good sense of when they needed to be serious, and the other just wasn't much of a talker; it was for those reasons that those two were his favorites, outside of Wonder Woman. One of the men—dressed in blue and gold with a golden helmet adorning his head—always strove to understand the secrets of the world, even when he became at odds with himself. The other—a red-eyed man with dark green skin—strove to understand the inner workings of humanity, even when he was at natural odds with the world around him. Regardless, the two of them were a pair he knew he could always count on. They were wise, they were brave, they were Doctor Fate and the Martian Manhunter.

"How's everyone doing, J'onn?" Wonder Woman asked the Martian Manhunter.

"Everyone's feeling a little tense; nothing unmanageable, but having all of us in there would certainly help—especially you, Batman," J'onn said.

"Right," Batman said. He never thought he'd hear words like that while he was wearing the cowl, but he wasn't going to let himself get tripped up over it. This was bigger than him, bigger than the rest of the Seven. He would have liked to say that it was about the world, but as they opened the door, he told himself that it wasn't even about that.

In the midst of the Second World War, the European Allies were thrown into dire straits, and not simply because of the might of the Axis Powers' armed forces. According to European and American intelligence, the Axis Powers had started fighting with two deadly forms of weaponry: powerful machines straight out of a science fiction serial and magical artifacts that forced the superpowered beings of Europe and Asia to submit to their will.

The war had begun escalating into something far beyond normal man, and as a result, it wasn't just the army the American public wanted to be involved, but the seven superheroes who worked together to save the world from incredibly deadly—and highly annoying—Starro the Conqueror. President Roosevelt heard their cries for action and responded in kind. Without hesitation, he contacted each member of The Magnificent Seven Supers with a single request: to officially come together as a government-backed team of superheroes. He gave them a week to think about it, but all of them agreed to it right then and there.

All of them except Batman. He was the only one who adamantly refused President Roosevelt's request, and that was a major problem. Even though The Magnificent Seven Supers weren't officially a team at that point, the general public had already gotten it into their heads that they were a team, so if all of them didn't agree to it, then Roosevelt would lose any and all possible support for the plan. It was especially bad since the one who refused to help was Batman, for not only was he the smartest one in the group, he was easily the most popular out of the seven of them.

When Roosevelt's offered week ran out, Wonder Woman—in her civilian disguise as humanitarian Diana Prince—met with Batman to ask him to reconsider, the task falling onto her shoulders since she had known him the longest. However, even though it was her, Batman refused to give in. He believed that it was wrong for superheroes to get involved in political affairs, especially war. Using their gifts to try and change the political landscape of the world would be nothing but trouble, and they were all better off sticking to the cities they had already marked as their territories. More importantly, Batman hated the idea of Roosevelt wanting to make the seven of them into some sort of collective Beacon of Hope or Symbol of Peace or whatever it was he said; people like them did what they did to fight the enemies the common man can't, not to become someone everyone can admire.

When he said that, Wonder Woman asked if he really felt that it was wrong to try and be a symbol or if he was just afraid of being one. He asked her to leave his home after that, and after saying some emotional words he didn't want to dwell on, she did. That was that. He knew she'd try to talk him into it again, but he wasn't going to change his mind.

Then came the morning of December 8th., when Japan launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Japanese planes and submarines appeared seemingly out of nowhere to lay waste to the naval base and its surroundings, and after ninety minutes, over three thousand people—a figure combining both soldiers and civilians—were either dead or severely injured. Batman listened to the report on the radio from start to finish and did nothing else for the rest of the day. War wasn't new to him; the First World War was still going on while he was training, so he was more than familiar with the horrors of it. What caught Batman's attention was one part of the news report, a part where they talked about how a Hawaiian boy was left an orphan after his parents were killed in the attack.

That's what it was all about: what caught Bruce's attention was that an eight-year old boy just lost his parents because of some punk with a gun.

At that moment, Bruce felt ashamed of himself. Ashamed that he could force himself to have such a narrow viewpoint on things. Ashamed that, as he listened to the radio report on the issue, he had the audacity to sit in the same chair he nearly died in while struggling to carve out his identity. Bruce did what he did to make sure no one would have to live through the same pain as him, but if he thought he could be satisfied with keeping that in Gotham, then he might as well have died in that chair all those years ago. He needed to be better than that, better than what he was.

As such, after spending a few hours setting up a Wayne Enterprises-sponsored relief fund, he called up Diana just to tell her two words: "I'm in."

When J'onn said that everyone was feeling tense, Batman thought that he'd be coming into people sitting around in awkward silence, maybe a petty argument or two being had. He was right about the arguing, as evidenced by all of the yelling, but he certainly didn't expect a good majority of the people to literally be at each other's throats. Fists were flying, feet were kicking, the air was repeatedly surging with various energies. It was the kind of chaos that was the norm in Gotham, and as such, it was utterly deplorable.

"Suffering Sappho…" Wonder Woman said with a groan.

"My words exactly. Sort of. Not really. No," Robin said.

"Enough!" In spite of all the chaos, one yell from Batman was more than enough to get everyone to stop what they were doing, save for a man dressed like a cat getting in one last punch on a man dressed like a bird.

"All of you, sit down," Batman said to the group he came in with. "The rest of you, volunteer someone to tell me what the hell I just walked in on."

Wonder Woman and the rest of them sat down in empty seats at a large, round table, but the people who were already there remained silent, directly in contrast to what Batman had demanded of them.

"Hawkman started it, Mr. Batman, sir." The first person to speak—raising his hand to do so—was a young man wearing a trench coat and a fedora. "He got mad when Mr. Tornado told him that he needed to keep waiting for you to show up, then he started saying some rather politically incorrect things when Mr. Zatara got involved, and—"

"You little punk!" shouted Hawkman, the man previously mentioned to be dressed like a hawk. He waved a mace at the man, and he cowered in his seat in an instant.

"That's enough, Hawkman," J'onn said. "Johnny Thunder is as much a part of this team as you are, so you will treat him with respect."

Hawkman put his mace away with an audible "Hmph!" In the seat next to him, his wife Hawkgirl was shaking her head and muttering something under her breath. Batman wasn't completely listening to her, but it sounded like something about him still being such a hothead after thousands of years.

"Okay, it's clear that there are some issues we need to discuss if we want any hope of working together, so let's get everything out in the open," Wonder Woman said. "Hawkman, I'm guessing you'd like to start things off."

"What the hell kind of team is this supposed to be, anyway?" Hawkman asked. "We're supposed to be the Allies' secret weapon against the Axis Powers, yet most of these guys are either total amateurs or complete no names. Hell, this little punk you stopped me from clobbering said that he was a window washer, for fuck's sake! Batman, Wonder Woman, when you were picking people for this team, what drew your attention to him? The fact that he smells like fucking lemons all the time?"

Much to Batman's annoyance, people seemed to actually be in agreement with Hawkman. In the corner of his eye, he could see a man dressed in all black with guns at his belt and a red bandana over his mouth laughing in Batman's direction. Because of course he was.

"I assure you, everyone who Batman and I scouted is more than qualified for our mission," Wonder Woman.

"Plus, Johnny and I are a package deal, so he goes where I go, got it?" The one who asked the question was the person sitting next to Johnny—a blonde woman wearing a domino mask and fishnet stockings.

"What? He's your sidekick, or something?" Hawkman asked.

"If only I were so lucky," Johnny said, a dopey look plastered over his face.

"Why you little—"

"Also I'm bonded with a magical genie from another dimension who can alter reality with a single wish!"

"You're what? Goddammit, next time lead with that, you retard!"

"Even if Mr. Thunder possesses extraordinary abilities, what makes him qualified to be part of this operation?" asked what appeared to be a humanoid automaton painted red.

"The people on this team aren't just the strongest people we could find. Everyone here was chosen for specific roles that would be necessary," Wonder Woman said. Then, with a wave of her hand, she directed everyone's attention to a man dressed in red and green wearing goggles and bearing an owl on his shoulder. "Take Doctor Mid-Nite, for example. What he lacks in combat ability and experience he more than makes up for in medical expertise."

"Though that's not to say I can't throw a punch to save my life. Isn't that right, Hooty?" Doctor Mid-Nite asked. The owl responded in kind with a couple of hoots.

"Johnny might be lacking in combat experience, but according to Black Canary, he's a quick learner, so with extra guidance, he can become a powerful asset to the team," Batman said. Johnny nodded his head with enthusiasm, and although he couldn't emote outside of his holographic disguise, Red Tornado appeared to be satisfied, as well. That would have to work for now, because he didn't feel like talking about how the main reason he and Wonder Woman brought him onto the team was that Johnny—based off of some words he did a terrible job of going back on—might have accidentally used the Thunderbolt's powers to destroy and then rebuild the universe.

Just thinking about how stupid he was gave Batman a headache, and there was bigger fish to fry.

"I trust that everything's all ship shape and hunkydory now, right?" Aquaman asked.

"The hell it is, not when you expect us to work with Dago bastard, of all people," Hawkman said, pointing his mace in the direction of a mustachioed man wearing a tuxedo.

"Are we really going to do this again?" the man asked with a snarl.

"Yeah, are we?" asked an African American man dressed in blue and black with a large afro and what appeared to be electricity circling around his fingers.

"Again, I don't have a problem with you, Jefferson. You know why? Because we're not at war with Africa!" Hawkman shouted.

"I'm not liking this at all," Jay whispered.

"For all we know, this asshole's a spy for the Axis Powers who's all geared up to hand our plans over to Mussolini on a silver platter!"

"Ruoy ecam snrut onti a teuquob fo sesor!" As soon as the words finished leaving the man's mouth, rose buds in random stages of bloom popped up across Hawkman's mace, making him drop it in shock.

"Huh. It looks like there's some truth to the anti-magic properties of Nth. Metal," the man said, his words punctuated with a small chuckle.

"You son of a—"

"Enough!" Batman shouted. He was starting to wonder how many times they'd have to shout that before the day was done. "Zatara is not a spy for the Axis Powers. If you're going to accuse him of being a spy, then you might as well do the same for me, and I'm not going to have any of that. Are we clear?"

Hawkman didn't comment, instead opting to pick the rose buds off his mace in silence. Good. Batman might have gotten more emotional with that one than he would have liked, but it couldn't be helped. Giovanni Zatara was one of the men who trained him, one of the men who helped mold him into the man he was today, so there was no one better to ask to be part of the team. It was the same reason he invited Wildcat and—slightly begrudgingly—The Shadow: who better to help Batman than the people who created Batman?

"I really didn't think it needed to be said out loud, but absolutely no one on this team is a spy," Steve said. "If anyone here honestly thinks that we don't have this country's best interests at heart, then you better leave."

"Do you really, though? I don't really like Hawkman, but he wasn't wrong about that whole 'amateur' thing," said a short man in a blue mask with the symbol for an atom on his chest. "A lot of the people here barely have a year of experience out in the field. We've already talked about Johnny, so I won't get back into him. Citizen Steel might have invulnerability, but that doesn't make him a fighter, and people like Dan and Abby don't even have powers!"

"Hey, in case you didn't notice, the guy leading this team doesn't have powers, either," Alan said.

"Yeah, but not everyone can be Batman." Batman wanted to add that not everyone should want to be Batman, but then he figured that this probably wasn't the place for it.

"I do my best! Besides, who here actually wants to be Batman?" asked a man in blue spandex-like armor with a small beetle on his forehead.

"I do," Robin said. Batman made no comment on how much that comment touched his heart.

Onto more important matters, Batman was well aware that some members were greenhorns, but that didn't mean that they didn't belong on the team. For starters, Citizen Steel—real name Nathan Heywood—had super strength and an indestructible body, two things any superhero would dream to have. More importantly, though, was the man's tremendous spirit. Citizen Steel's powers were gained completely by accident and he hated having them. Batman knew that and offered to help find a cure for him, but when he found out that Batman was making a team of superheroes, he insisted on the cure being put on hold until the war was over. You didn't just come across that sense of self-sacrifice every day, and it was exactly what they'd need to win the war.

Then there was the completely intentional happening of there being so many archaeologists on the team. The Germans and the Japanese were fighting the Allies with the power of ancient magical artifacts, so it was a good idea to bring in any crime fighters who would be experts in that field. It was fortunate that Kent Nelson happened to also be an archaeologist, and it was for that same reason that he and Wonder Woman brought in Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Blue Beetle—their civilian identities being the archaeologists Carter Hall, Shiera Hall, and Dan Garrett, respectively. There was also the potential usefulness in the anti-magic properties of the Hawks' Nth. Metal weapons and the mystery behind the alien technology Blue Beetle used—though he insisted that it was actually magic—but that didn't need to be discussed at the moment.

"What about Ma Hunkel, though?" Blue Beetle asked. "She doesn't have any powers, and unlike me, she doesn't have a super powerful magic suit."

"Yeah, but as the criminal scumbags of New York will tell you, I can kick plenty of ass!" Ma Hunkel said. "By the way, it is really hot in here. You mind if I take off my costume?" Batman nodded his head, and Ma Hunkel proceeded to strip herself of her costume.

"You know, I gotta agree with Dan on this one," Citizen Steel said. "It'd be one thing if she had a bunch of gadgets like Batman or government training like Black Canary, but having your only power being really good at throwing a punch doesn't seem all that useful. It'd be one thing if she was a professional like Wildcat, but she's not, so it's not right—"

All of a sudden, Citizen Steel's tough as iron jaw hit the table with a resounding thud. There could have been a million reasons for it, but if Batman had to guess, it was probably because he saw that Ma Hunkel—underneath the bulky and unflattering armor—was actually a petite young redhead with a face and body most boys his age would obsess over.

"Go on, keep talking," Ma Hunkel said in a voice that, when not made out to be muffled and husky by the metal helmet, was rather soft and feminine.

"It's-It's not right… that we don't give you a fair chance! If Batman sees the value in your abilities, then who am I to judge, right? And shame on anyone who thinks you couldn't keep up! Shame!"

"Aww, that's so nice of you, sweetie!" Ma Hunkel said. She smiled brightly at Citizen Steel, and even though he was made of metal, Batman could have sworn it looked like he was melting.

"Kids these days, am I right?" Robin whispered to Aqualad and Garth. "Wait, how old is she, anyway?"

"And on that note, I say that we put a pin in all of this complaining," Wonder Woman said.

"Agreed," Batman said. It was then that Batman stood up from his chair. "Right now, you're all probably thinking the worst of each other over a bunch of petty nonsense, but when I look at you, I see what you really are: good people trying to do good things. Our core motivations may differ, but at the end of the day, we all want to make a difference, and we can't stay satisfied with only doing so in the confines of our own homes. If we really want to make the world a better place, then we need to be better than ourselves, and we can only do that by working together."

At the end of the speech, Hawkman let out a snort. Because of course he did.

"That's rich, coming from the guy who keeps hiding behind a mask," Hawkman said. "Most of us already know each other's identities, and all of the Seven Supers have already told us who they are. All of them except you. So where do you get off preaching to us about teamwork when you don't even want to tell us who you are?"

Everyone turned to look at Batman, and he met their collective gaze with equal force. Then, just as things started becoming incredibly awkward, a truly unprecedented act occurred: Batman started laughing.

"Okay, that is the creepiest thing I've ever seen," Citizen Steel said.

"Sorry, sorry, it's just that I can't believe that that, of all things, was the first thing Hawkman said today that I liked," Batman said. "After all, if things had gone the way they should have, addressing that would have been the first business of the day."

Before anything else could be said, Batman removed his cowl and exposed his face for all to see.

"Holy shit," said Hawkman.

"This is rather unexpected," Red Tornado said. "Not simply your identity, but the fact that you would feel compelled to reveal it to us."

"His identity's pretty dang surprising, though!" Ma Hunkel said. "I mean, really? Of all people for Batman to be, it's Bruce Wayne? Gotham's resident genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist?"

"In hindsight, it was kind of obvious," Black Lightning said. "Bruce Wayne goes abroad for ten years, then a week after he comes back to the States, a guy dressed like a bat starts busting heads?"

"Yeah, but it always seemed like one of those things that was too obvious to actually be true," Citizen Steel said.

"And in an equally shocking twist, Robin's true identity is… Jason Todd!" Robin shouted as he took off his mask with dramatic flair.

No one was interested.

"Like I said, if we're going to end this war, then we need to be able to work together, and that can only happen if we can all trust each other," Batman said while patting Robin on the head a few times. "I'm putting my faith in all of you, so please do the same for me."

There was silence in the room that went uninterrupted until Johnny started a slow clap. One by one, the other people in the room started joining in until everyone in the room was applauding the turn of events.

Just like that, Bruce was feeling confident again.

If there was one thing that Albrecht Kreiger knew, it was how to appreciate a snowy morning in France. His fellow soldiers—subordinates, actually—always went on and on about how better the scenery was back home in Germany, but France truly had it beat. The way the sunlight and the shadows danced across the frozen landscapes was a true marvel to behold. Light shining across a canvas of endless white while doing its best to break through darkness; this was true art.

And when that canvas was dyed red with the blood of lesser beings—as he was in the midst of doing—it became even more beautiful.

"Nothing like the sweet smell of murder in the morning, ja?" Kreiger asked aloud.

"Yes, colonel!" said a timid soldier under Kreiger's command.

"Let's not waste any extra time on it, then. I haven't had my morning shave yet, and I'd like to get that done before the breakfast bratwursts are done." The foot soldier nodded, and Kreiger turned his attention back to the line of people who were being forced to kneel into the snow, their lives only having another minute to them, at best.

No one who was going to die would do so for anything particularly interesting. It was all of the usual offenders: the gays, the Jewish, the open dissenters, that sort of thing. Nothing to get excited about, but at least they'd bleed nice. As nice as a lesser being could, anyway.

"Ready!" Kreiger's men raised their rifles and pointed them at the soon to be corpses. "Aim!" He could hear them all crying out, but he didn't listen to them. Not because he couldn't speak French—he certainly could—but because it wasn't even worth pretending that they had anything to say. "Fire!"

The soldiers did just as Kreiger commanded and fired upon the lesser beings, so imagine his surprise when he saw that not a single drop of blood had been spilt across the snow.

"I think you dropped these." Kreiger wanted to curse aloud at the sight of it, but before he could, the answer to his question showed up in front of them, leaning against a tree as he juggled an assortment of bullets.

"Herr Flash," Kreiger spat as his men pointed their rifles at their new target.

"'Air Flash'? Is that what you said? Sorry, my German's a little rusty." The soldiers all fired at The Flash, but he threw his stolen bullets at an equal speed. The bullets all bounced off of one another, and before they could hit the ground, The Flash had knocked half of the firing squad down to the ground.

"Don't just stand there! Keep firing! He's just one man!"

"Normally you'd be right, but…" Right when another soldier was about to fire at him, a strange boomerang-like device flew into the muzzle and caused his rifle to explode. From there, darkness descended upon the man, but it wasn't a cloud, nor was it nightfall.

"It's Batman!" was what the soldiers shouted when he swooped down from seemingly nowhere to take down a soldier. The ones who weren't being assaulted by The Flash trained their guns on Batman, but suddenly, a lasso tied itself around one of the rifles. Kreiger didn't need to turn his head to see that it was Wonder Woman, who was now using her lasso to hit four soldiers in the head while Batman beat down an equal amount with punches and kicks. Even more soldiers were blown about into the air when something fell out of the sky with tremendous force; that something was Aquaman jamming his trident into the ground and laughing like an idiot. Two soldiers threw grenades at the meddlesome heroes, but one was caught by a giant green baseball glove while the other flew into a golden ankh before popping out of another ankh. As the grenade exploded behind them, Kreiger saw none other Green Lantern and Doctor Fate floating down from the air.

"Stop! Stop!" shouted the timid soldier from earlier, pistol pointed at the head of one of the hostages. "A-All of you, hands behind your heads or-or else I'll—"

Before he could finish talking, he was lifted into the air by an unseen force and thrown into a tree. The air near the hostages shimmered until the form of the Martian Manhunter became visible.

"The rest of you care to test our might?" Aquaman asked. The remaining soldiers raised their rifles and took aim at the heroes.

"Hold your fire, men, they are clearly out of your league," Kreiger said. They lowered their weapons with a bit of hesitation; deplorable, but nothing that couldn't be fixed.

"We'll be taking these civilians now, if that's all right with you," Martian Manhunter said. The lesser beings all started crying again in their silly language, only this time they sounded happy. That just wouldn't do.

"Oh, will you now? You Americans really are an arrogant lot," Kreiger said.

"He's from Mars, actually. Mars, the planet, not Mars, Pennsylvania," Green Lantern said.

"Not at all the time for this," Wonder Woman said.

"I must say, I'm surprised that The Magnificent Seven Supers came all the way out here to throw their hats in the ring," Kreiger said. "I'm honestly feeling a little starstruck from having celebrities such as yourselves in my presence. It makes me think, 'How high will I get promoted for delivering your heads to Herr Fuhrer?'"

"You're gonna have to put a pin in that. Let me help," Green Lantern said. A giant green needle shot out from his ring towards Kreiger's leg, but Kreiger didn't move a muscle. He just stood there and smiled as the attack came at him, as if he knew that it would never touch him.

As it turned out, he was right, for at that second, a tree flew through the air and collided with the attack, destroying it in an instant before slamming into Green Lantern and knocking him to the ground.

"GL! Crap!" The Flash shouted, rushing over to his comrade's side.

"Did he do that? Is he a Metahuman?" Wonder Woman asked.

"Doubtful," Batman said. "I didn't even see where the tree came from. It had to be something else." As if on some sort of cue, massive footsteps started to sound through the air.

"As expected of the world's greatest detective!" Kreiger said with a mocking laugh. "Behold! The latest—and deadliest—creation to come out of the mind of Herr Doktor Streicher: the Mordmachine!"

On another cue, the aforementioned Mordmachine showed itself by blowing an assortment of trees apart. Its bulky body stood at ten feet and was colored a dark green, save for the red circle on its chest bearing a beautiful Swastika colored a mighty black.

"SIEG HEIL!" The Mordmachine shouted as it stared down the heroes. Then, before anyone else could do anything, it rotated its head 180 degrees and fired twin laser beams from its eyes at the French hostages. Doctor Fate summoned a golden barrier around them that nullified the attack, so the Mordmachine was quick make him its new target. The lasers hit Doctor Fate square in the chest before he had time to cast another spell; he managed to remain in the air, but the attack clearly did a lot of damage. If it would take all he had just to maintain the barrier, then all the better.

It was then that all the other heroes began their assault, regardless of how meaningless it was. Batman threw Batbombs and the boomerang things at it, but the Mordmachine was able to withstand all of them and kick Batman aside. The Flash came at it with a super fast punch that did very little, and it only took it a few seconds to predict the exact spot he would end up at next and grab him. From there, the Flash was thrown like a baseball—pitcher's pose, and all—at Green Lantern before he had the chance to fire an attack of his own. The Martian Manhunter expanded his size to match the Mordmachine's as he bombarded him with punches and blasts of Martian Vision, but that wasn't good enough. The Mordmachine's chest opened up to reveal a flamethrower, and in an instant, the Martian Manhunter was covered in his natural weakness and crawling through the snow in delicious agony. Wonder Woman jumped at it with her sword while Aquaman charged at it with his trident, but it was all meaningless. The Mordmachine grabbed the two of them before their attacks could go through with ease before slamming them into each other and throwing them aside.

In celebration of its domination, the Mordmachine once again shouted "SIEG HEIL!"

"Suffering Sappho, nothing's working!" Wonder Woman shouted as she and Aquaman regained their bearings.

"Did you really expect it to, Amazon?" Kreiger asked. "You are all fools among fools! This automaton was created using the data our spies collected from your fight with Starro the Conqueror. Nothing the seven of you can throw at it will work! You are all helpless against the awesome might of the world's greatest science: German science!"

"SIEG HEIL!" The soldiers all started cheering for the imminent victory, as they deserved to do.

"If this is supposed to scare us, then you Nazis need to do more research," Batman said as he sprayed the Martian Manhunter with Batfoam to eliminate the fire on him. Once the flame was gone, he pulled out another of his boomerang-like weapons and threw it at the Mordmachine, only for it to be caught with ease.

"Insolent fool!" Kreiger said. "Did you not hear me?! The Mordmachine knows everything there is to know about you! Any attack you seven throw at it will fail without question!"

"Then I guess it's a good thing that it's not just the seven of us." Batman smiled. The Batman wasn't supposed to smile. It was a truly unsettling thing to look at, and Kreiger didn't know what it meant.

Then, as if on some sort of cue, a smaller version of the boomerang-like weapon flew at the Mordmachine that completely slipped through its fingers and became jammed in its head before exploding. Kreiger couldn't believe his eyes.

"My boy likes to aim for the head."

It was at that moment when new faces arrived. Jeeps containing men and women rolled up through the snow, with several others flying in the air above them. All of them were dressed in costumes, most of them heroes he recognized from the Nazi High Command's report on potential superpowered threats.

"Hope you guys didn't have too much fun without us," said a little kid Kreiger recognized as Robin.

"Less talking, more hitting!" Hawkgirl shouted. She and Hawkman flew at the Mordmachine with their Nth. Metal maces raised above their heads. It tried to defend itself, but it had no data on their attack patterns, so in the end, it took two clean hits to the face that dented its skull.

"Kill them! Kill those basterds!" Kreiger shouted. The soldiers opened fire, but the Red Tornado swept up their bullets with a gust of wind and fired them back at their knees. Wildcat sent a soldier flying with an uppercut while two women—one scantily clad, one in bulky armor—made quick work of others with moves the likes of which he had never seen. Doctor Mid-Nite had his owl scratch at their faces, and some Negro was firing bolts of lightning at whoever tried to attack him.

Meanwhile, the Mordmachine—Herr Doktor Streicher's greatest creation and the Fuhrer's pride and joy—was not doing as well as before. The Magnificent Seven Supers hadn't changed their patterns, but with the reinforcements, all of their attacks managed to get through. The Blue Beetle attacked with lasers from cannons growing out of his armor, Hourman, the Atom, and a seemingly indestructible teenager attacked with powerful punches, the Hawks kept hitting it with their Nth. Metal maces, Renaissance Man attacked it with his bizarre backwards language, and the sidekicks helped out with exploding weapons and blasts of water. All of these attacks hitting the Mordmachine, but the Mordmachine was unable to respond in kind.

"Stop screwing around!" Kreiger shouted. "Mordmachine! Soldiers! Kill them all, now!"

"No, please don't do that!" cried a man wearing a fedora who was barely dodging bullets that came his way. There was a strange entity floating behind him, but it didn't seem to be doing anything. "Oh man, I really hate this! I wish you guys would just go away!"

"You got it, Johnny!" said the entity. It snapped its glowing fingers, and all of a sudden, the soldiers stopped firing at the heroes. After that, they dropped their weapons and started walking away from the battlefield—the previously fallen soldiers even got up to join them. Kreiger screamed at them to get back and fight, but no one listened to him, as if they were in some sort of trance.

"Nice job, Johnny!" the scantily clad woman said with a thumbs up.

"W-Wow! Thanks! It was an accident, but thanks!" Johnny said. "Okay, Thunderbolt! I wish that the robot would shut down!"

"Sorry, can't do that," the Thunderbolt said. "Can't grant wishes about robots in the same hour I grant wishes about people."

"Really? I guess that makes sense, but still."

"Idiots! Every single one of you!" Kreiger shouted. He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out what looked to be a detonator of some sort. "If it's come down to this, I'll blow up the Mordmachine and take you basterds with it!"

"Oh? Is that right?" Smoke appeared out of nowhere and floated around Kreiger's body. It started spreading out around him until it eventually took the form of a man he recognized as The Shadow, pointing a gun directly at his head.

And another one pointed at his groin.

"See, Batman said that if I'm gonna be on this team, then I'm only allowed to kill in emergencies, so you won't see me putting you in the grave," The Shadow said, "but that doesn't mean I can't get creative. I can shoot you in the skull at just the right spot to put you in a coma, or if I'm feeling really good about myself, I can shoot off your boys and make sure you won't be making any mini Nazis anytime soon. 'Course, I'd only do that if you give me a reason for it, so the question is: you feelin' lucky, today?"

With a cold sweat running down his face, Kreiger dropped the detonator, The Shadow laughing all the while. Over on his left, the Mordmachine was on its last legs. Its once proud and mighty body had been torn asunder by the collective efforts of the heroes, and all it could do now was swing its arms wildly and fire lasers in random directions. The Martian Manhunter eventually ripped its arms off, Aquaman sent his trident flying through its chest, Batman and Robin used wires to make it trip and fall, and Wonder Woman jumped down from the air and beheaded it with her sword. The beautiful symbol of the magnificent Nazi party spat out one final "SIEG HEIL!" before finally shutting down.

It was at this moment when Kreiger started screaming, though it was seemingly drowned out by the heroes' collective cheering.

"We did it! Our first triumph! Hooray for us!" Aquaman shouted as he brought Aqualad and Tempest in for a hug.

"Good work, everyone," Wonder Woman said. "Doctor Fate, let's get these people back to their home." Doctor Fate nodded his head and snapped his fingers. The barrier around the hostages glowed a bright yellow before vanishing, the hostages nowhere in sight.

"Hey guys, check out Captain Nazi over here! He's totally spazzing out!" Robin laughed.

"Silence, you swine!" Kreiger shouted. "How dare you destroy my Mordmachine?! The pinnacle of German science was not yours to use as a plaything!"

"It's a little too late to be saying that," Green Lantern said.

"You think this is over? Ha! This is only the beginning! America can send in as many costumed fools as they want, but it won't make a difference. In the end, you will all fall like the pathetic lot you are, and the Third Reich will reign supreme over a kingdom made from your corpses!"

"If that's what you want, then you better make sure to kill every last one of us," Batman said, "because if there's even one of us still around, we won't stop fighting you until you go down. Even if you try and destroy us—try to destroy America—so long as one of us survives, we'll just come back here to avenge it all."

"You inglorious baste—" It was there that The Shadow hit Kreiger in the back of his head with the butt of his gun and knocked him to the ground.

"So, Batman," Wonder Woman said. "Given that whole speech you gave just then, does this mean—"

"No. Just because I used the word 'avenge' doesn't mean I approve of us being The Avengers," Batman said.

"It's really dynamic, though."

"Not every fight is going to be us trying to avenge someone."

"He's got a point," said the Flash. "Oh! What about the Super Friends?"

"That's using the term a little loosely."

"The All-Star Squadron?" Green Lantern asked.

"The world's already going to know that we're working for America, we don't need to oversell it."

"I got it! The Legion of Doom!" Robin said.

"What? Why would you even—you do know that we're the good guys, right?" Batman asked.

"Yeah, and we spell doom for our enemies, duh!"

"The boy makes a good point," Aquaman said.

"No he doesn't, don't encourage him," Batman said.

"I agree with Batman. The name we choose for our team will be a reflection of the message we mean to convey to society, so this must be treated seriously," Doctor Fate, of all people, said.

"Wait," Batman said. "Say that again."

At that moment, Kreiger completely lost consciousness, cursing the American heroes the entire time.

In modern day, the world is dominated by the enigmatic superpower known as "Quirks". Everyone and their mother can have a Quirk simply by being born on this planet, and with the days of fear and discrimination towards superpowered beings being a thing of the past, the ability to become a Hero has never been easier!

However, the ability to become a Hero didn't always belong to everyone. A little over a century ago, that honor only came to a select few individuals: the ones who were the few to be born with amazing gifts; the ones who pushed their bodies to extremes that most people would be unwilling to replicate; the ones who came into contact with toxic waste and chemicals and went away from them with something other than diseases and horrible disfigurements. These people would don costumes of all colors and use their amazing gifts not for themselves, but to protect their fellow man, and when the world was thrown into a state of self-inflicted chaos the likes of which it had never seen, the bravest and strongest amongst them came together to defeat the enemies our boys couldn't handle.

They were… the Justice Society!

Alexis Lois Luthor's Statistics on Hero Society Throughout the Ages

Batman I (Civilian Identity: Unknown)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "Kaen" by Queen Bee

Power: ⅘

Speed: ⅗

Technique: 5/5

Intelligence: 6/5

Cooperativeness: ⅘

Wisdom: 6/5

Wonder: ⅗

Mystery: 5/5

Entropy: 5/5

The Goddamn Batman.

The leader and co-founder of the Justice Society.

—[WonderBatよ永遠に] Ignore this.

In a world where everyone is super, it's amazing that Batman—someone who always remained Quirkless—managed to become a permanent inspiration for most Heroes.

The only member of the Justice Society to take advantage of the Golden Age Clause and keep their identity a secret (see files on Renegade I and Starfire for more information).

Popular guesses for his identity in ascending order are Bruce Wayne, John F. Kennedy, an actual bat, and a temporally displaced Michael Jackson.

Some people believe that Batman I and Batman Beyond are the same person, but those people are idiots. While Batman Beyond uses the same suit Batman I did during his rescue of Bunny Vreeland, it's also common knowledge that Batman I has black hair. Because of that, he can't be Batman Beyond, as pictures taken during the events of "Knightfall III: This Time, it's Personal" revealed Batman Beyond to be a redhead.

Wonder Woman (Civilian Identity: Princess Diana of Themyscira)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "This is Love" by Utada Hikaru

Power: 6/5

Speed: 6/5

Technique: 6/5

Intelligence: ⅘

Cooperativeness: 5/5

Wisdom: ⅗

Wonder: 5/5

Mystery: ⅖

Entropy: 5/5

Princess of the Amazons.

Second in command and co-founder of the Justice Society.

All around supreme badass.

—[WonderBatよ永遠に] Ignore this.

Was a major activist for both women's rights and LGBT rights and is one of the major reasons for why they progressed so quickly.

Male or female, she was definitely everyone's first crush. I'm secure enough to admit to it.

Was the Number One Hero from the moment the Heroes Association was founded. All Might taking the spot from her caused quite an uproar in the community, but that was nothing compared to Endeavor taking the Number Two Hero spot from her a year later.

For a while, there were rumors that Wonder Woman—as opposed to being born from magically-imbued clay—was actually the daughter of Zeus; the rumors gained a lot of traction when they were spread by Cassandra Drake née Sandsmark, AKA Wonder Girl, AKA Diespiter. Those rumors were false and only existed as part of a convoluted scheme concocted by an Atheist cult that wanted to manipulate Wonder Woman into committing deicide. It didn't work.

Despite being an Amazon, she's shown signs of aging, mostly with gray hair. No one knows why, but popular theories are the effects of her unique biology, repeated child births, and hair dye.

The Flash I (Civilian Identity: Scientist Jay Garrick)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "Clear Mind" by Masaaki Endoh

Power: ⅘

Speed: 6/5

Technique: ⅘

Intelligence: 5/5

Cooperativeness: 6/5

Wisdom: 5/5

Wonder: ⅘

Mystery: ⅗

Entropy: 5/5

The original Scarlet Speedster.

Co-founder of the Justice Society.

Was the first chairman of the Heroes Association.

Established the foundation of the Flash Family (see files on The Flash II, The Flash III, etc. for more information).

Claims to have been taught the ways of the Speed Force by a man named Max Mercury, but there's no record of such a man existing. However, there are Bigfoot-esque pictures of strange blurs at random locations in America in seemingly random time periods (see file on the Speed Force for more information).

If you ever need to ask how he did something, the answer is "Speed Force".

Green Lantern I (Civilian Identity: Electrical engineer Alan Scott)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "Mienai Tsubasa" by Takayoshi Tanimoto

Power: 5/5

Speed: ⅗

Technique: 6/5

Intelligence: ⅘

Cooperativeness: ⅕

Wisdom: ⅗

Wonder: 5/5

Mystery: ⅕

Entropy: 6/5

The original Emerald Knight.

Co-founder of the Justice Society.

Created the Green Palace in the aftermath of the Lantern War and hasn't left it since. That was around a century ago.

Often gets a bad rap for his zero-tolerance stance on aliens, but people tend to exaggerate the situation. Really, the guy mainly just sits around all day doing nothing but be paranoid.

Claims to have seen a strange blue light the day he first obtained his Lantern. Don't know if that's important.

Aquaman I (Civilian Identity: Fishing magnate Arthur Curry/King Orin of Atlantis)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "We Are!" by Hiroshi Kitadani

Power: 6/5

Speed: ⅘

Technique: 5/5

Intelligence: ⅘

Cooperativeness: 6/5

Wisdom: ⅗

Wonder: 6/5

Mystery: ⅗

Entropy: 5/5

The King of the Seven Seas.

Co-founder of the Justice Society.

He's got mad sharks.

Acted like a clown most of the time, but when he got serious, he got serious.

Went into retirement after developing a Quirk that turned half of his body into lava. It's easy to understand why that would make it hard for him to fight.

Doctor Fate I (Civilian Identity: Archaeologist Kent Nelson/Lord of Order Nabu)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "Ambiguous" by Garnidelia

Power: 5/5

Speed: ⅗

Technique: 6/5

Intelligence: 5/5

Cooperativeness: ⅖

Wisdom: ⅘

Wonder: 5/5

Mystery: 5/5

Entropy: ⅗

The definitive Lord of Order.

Co-founder of the Justice Society.

Fought in WWII less because he believed in the cause and more because he was trying to preserve balance.

Was often hard to tell where Kent ended and Nabu began, but that doesn't matter anymore since Nabu's evolved to the point where he no longer needs a host body (see relevant files for information on other hosts).

Martian Manhunter (Civilian Identity:  Martian police officer J'onn J'onzz/Detective John Jones)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "Moonlight Densetsu" by DALI

Power: 6/5

Speed: 6/5

Technique: 5/5

Intelligence: 5/5

Cooperativeness: 6/5

Wisdom: ⅘

Wonder: ⅘

Mystery: 5/5

Entropy: 6/5

The Alien Atlas.

Co-founder of the Justice Society. Was actually the one who brought Starro to the attention of the other six.

One of the few alien Heroes people still talk about highly.

Generally considered the heart of the Justice Society, all the way up to their disbandment.

While it's commonly accepted that he died in the Lantern War while fighting his brother Ma'alefa'ak—who was temporarily brought into the Red Lantern Corps at the time—only Ma'alefa'ak's corpse was found in the aftermath.

Robin II (Civilian Identity: Bruce Wayne's young ward Jason Todd)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "Hyadain no Kakakata Kataomoi - C" by Hyadain

Power: ⅗

Speed: ⅗

Technique: 5/5

Intelligence: 5/5

Cooperativeness: ⅘

Wisdom: ⅗

Wonder: ⅖

Mystery: ⅗

Entropy: ⅘

The bad boy of the Robins.

Was actually just a goofy smartass before getting involved in WWII. It's commonly accepted that his experiences in the war led to a shift in personality within him.

One of the few good cases for why children shouldn't be Heroes (see files on Red Hood and Renegade II for more information).

Tempest (Civilian Identity: Atlantean Soldier Garth)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "We Go!" by Hiroshi Kitadani

Power: 5/5

Speed: ⅗

Technique: ⅘

Intelligence: ⅘

Cooperativeness: ⅗

Wisdom: ⅗

Wonder: 5/5

Mystery: ⅖

Entropy: ⅘

The original Aqualad.

Gave up the position when Kaldur'ahm proved his worth. Also when he started growing a beard that just never worked.

Even though he joined the Justice Society because he felt too awkward around Lilith and Miss Martian (see file: Heroes and the LGBT Movement for additional information), he was a valued member of the team.

Aqualad II (Civilian Identity:  Atlantean soldier Kaldur'ahm/Silver City high schooler Jackson Hyde)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "We Can!" by Kishidan and Hiroshi Kitadani

Power: 5/5

Speed: ⅗

Technique: ⅘

Intelligence: ⅘

Cooperativeness: ⅗

Wisdom: ⅗

Wonder: 5/5

Mystery: ⅖

Entropy: ⅘

The diversity hire Aqualad.

Was the level-headed one between the two Aqualads. That was most likely a factor in him becoming the one to succeed Arthur Curry (see file on Aquaman II for more information).

Bastard son of David Hyde, AKA Black Manta, who would later be one of the founding members of the Injustice Gang and remain on the team until his death (see file on Elementals for more information).

The Shadow (Civilian Identity: Immortal assassin Lamont Cranston)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "Touch Off" by Uverworld

Power: ⅗

Speed: ⅗

Technique: 5/5

Intelligence: 5/5

Cooperativeness: ⅕

Wisdom: ⅘

Wonder: 5/5

Mystery: 5/5

Entropy: ⅘

The Chiron of Modern Day.

An immortal assassin who makes Batman seem approachable.

Roams the Earth with an undying body as atonement for the sins of his past.

Helped train many Heroes while under numerous disguises—even training Batman under the disguise of Henri Ducard. It's possible that he's still doing that to this very day.

Citizen Steel (Civilian Identity: Football star Nathan Heywood)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "Brave Heart" by Koji Wada

Power: 6/5

Speed: ⅕

Technique: ⅗

Intelligence: ⅗

Cooperativeness: 5/5

Wisdom: ⅗

Wonder: ⅕

Mystery: ⅖

Entropy: 5/5

Grandson of Civil War hero Hank Heywood, AKA Commander Steel.

Eventually became cured of his powers sometime after the War.

I'm not saying that Citizen Steel and Ma Hunkel banged during the War, but Citizen Steel and Ma Hunkel totally banged during the war.

Doctor Mid-Nite (Civilian Identity: Doctor CharlesMcNider)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "One Vision" by Takayoshi Tanimoto

Power: ⅖

Speed: ⅗

Technique: 5/5

Intelligence: 5/5

Cooperativeness: 5/5

Wisdom: ⅘

Wonder: ⅖

Mystery: ⅖

Entropy: ⅖

The Justice Society's resident medic.

His medical skills saved the lives of most of the members time and time again.

Hooty the Owl was super adorable.

Black Lightning (Civilian Identity: Teacher and civil rights activist Jefferson Pierce)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "Believer" by IKUO

Power: 5/5

Speed: ⅗

Technique: ⅘

Intelligence: ⅘

Cooperativeness: 5/5

Wisdom: ⅗

Wonder: 5/5

Mystery: ⅖

Entropy: ⅘

The first noteworthy African American Hero.

Was my grandfather's most frequent adversary and was the most open about his misplaced hatred of him. Ironically, he would end up being my grandfather's running mate when he ran for President.

Ma Hunkel (Civilian Identity: Caretaker Abigail Hunkel)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "Ai wo Torimodose" by Crystal King

Power: ⅘

Speed: ⅗

Technique: 6/5

Intelligence: ⅗

Cooperativeness: 6/5

Wisdom: ⅗

Wonder: ⅕

Mystery: ⅖

Entropy: ⅗

The mother hen of the Justice Society.

Through unknown means, she became an incredibly powerful martial artist, easily the strongest female martial artist before Lady Shiva.

I'm not saying that Citizen Steel and Ma Hunkel banged during the War, but Citizen Steel and Ma Hunkel totally banged during the war.

Red Tornado (Civilian Identity: Pilot John Smith)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "database" by Man With a Mission

Power: ⅗

Speed: 5/5

Technique: ⅗

Intelligence: 5/5

Cooperativeness: 5/5

Wisdom: ⅘

Wonder: ⅗

Mystery: ⅗

Entropy: ⅗

The most advanced piece of machinery for a good portion of history.

Originally built by T.O. Morrow to infiltrate and destroy the Justice Society. Obviously, that didn't work.

Might have also been possessed by an Air Elemental? That's kind of unclear, and I don't feel like looking into it (see file on Elementals for more information).

Hawkman (Civilian Identity: Archaeologist Carter Hall)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "Anata ga ita Mori" by Jyukai

Power: ⅘

Speed: ⅘

Technique: ⅘

Intelligence: 5/5

Cooperativeness: ⅗

Wisdom: ⅗

Wonder: ⅗

Mystery: 5/5

Entropy: ⅗

A Thanagarian stuck in an endless cycle of reincarnation.

Spends every life researching the mysteries of both our universe and the ones that surround it (see relevant files for information on other reincarnations).

Kind of a dick.

Hawkgirl (Civilian Identity: Archaeologist Shiera Hall)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: “Anata ga ita Mori” by Jyukai

Power: ⅗

Speed: ⅗

Technique: ⅗

Intelligence: 5/5

Cooperativeness: ⅘

Wisdom: ⅗

Wonder: ⅗

Mystery: 5/5

Entropy: ⅗

A Thanagarian stuck in an endless cycle of reincarnation.

Spends every life researching the mysteries of both our universe and the ones that surround it (see relevant files for information on other reincarnations).

Not that much of a dick.

Wildcat (Civilian Identity: Boxer Ted Grant)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "Bite" by LEO Imai

Power: ⅗

Speed: ⅖

Technique: 5/5

Intelligence: ⅗

Cooperativeness: ⅘

Wisdom: ⅖

Wonder: ⅗

Mystery: ⅖

Entropy: ⅗

The resident grandpa of the Justice Society.

Helped train many Heroes in the art of fisticuffs.

Was one of the least powerful members of the Justice Society, but he managed to maintain a place on the team thanks to his battle sense and his literal nine lives.

Blue Beetle I (Civilian Identity: Archaeologist Daniel Garrett)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "With the Wind" by Hiroaki "Tommy" Tominaga

Power: ⅗

Speed: ⅘

Technique: ⅗

Intelligence: 5/5

Cooperativeness: 5/5

Wisdom: ⅘

Wonder: 5/5

Mystery: 5/5

Entropy: ⅗

The first person to wield the Blue Beetle Scarab (see files on Mystery Person "X" and Ted Kord for more information).

Joined the Justice Society in the hopes of being able to take and research the archaeological discoveries of the Axis Powers.

To this day, people are arguing over the exact nature of the Scarab, with some people saying it's magic and some people saying it's technological.

Black Canary I (Civilian Identity: Treasury agent Dinah Drake)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "Hustle Muscle" by Shokichi Ishida, Yasuhiko Terada and Eiji Yoshizawa

Power: ⅘

Speed: ⅗

Technique: 5/5

Intelligence: ⅘

Cooperativeness: 5/5

Wisdom: ⅗

Wonder: ⅖

Mystery: ⅕

Entropy: ⅗

The first person to wield the mantle of Black Canary (see Dinah Laurel Lance for more information).

Her status as a treasury agent made her an unofficial liaison to the government, though Steve Trevor was the only official one.

Worked with Johnny Thunder partially because she wanted to show him the ropes and partially because he was too stupid to be left alone.

Johnny Thunder (Occupation: Window washer)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "99" by Mob Choir

Power: ⅕

Speed: ⅕

Technique: ⅕

Intelligence: ⅕

Cooperativeness: 6/5

Wisdom: ⅕

Wonder: 6/5

Mystery: 6/5

Entropy: 6/5

The most powerful dope the world has ever seen.

Was bonded to a magical, omniscient Genie named Yz the Thunderbolt, but he was too stupid to make the most out of it.

It is extremely likely that he once destroyed and rebuilt the entire universe thanks to shear stupidity. Possible side effects of this are as follows: the Vietnam War, the AIDS virus, the emergence of Quirks, and the unsatisfying experience garnered from playing Zero Time Dilemma.

Renaissance Man (Civilian Identity: Stage magician Giovanni Zatara)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "Kaze ni Naru" by Ayano Tsuji

Power: ⅕

Speed: ⅗

Technique: 5/5

Intelligence: ⅘

Cooperativeness: 5/5

Wisdom: 3/5

Wonder: 5/5

Mystery: ⅘

Entropy: ⅗

A master of the mystic arts.

Trained many Heroes in the art of escape and misdirection.

A direct descendant of Leonardo Da Vinci. Go figure.

Hourman I (Civilian Identity: Chemist Rex Tyler)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "Fatima" by Kanako Ito

Power: ⅘

Speed: ⅘

Technique: ⅗

Intelligence: 5/5

Cooperativeness: 5/5

Wisdom: 5/5

Wonder: ⅖

Mystery: ⅕

Entropy: ⅘

A man who creates a very mixed PSA on drugs (they're still bad, kids).

His Miraclo formula was the foundation for other time-based super-enhancement drugs, such as the one used to create Damage.

One of the first people to successfully experience time travel.

The Atom I (Civilian Identity: College student Al Pratt)

(Self-Prescribed) Theme Song: "Fighting Dreamers" by FLOW

Power: 5/5

Speed: 5/5

Technique: ⅗

Intelligence: 5/5

Cooperativeness: 5/5

Wisdom: 5/5

Wonder: ⅗

Mystery: ⅗

Entropy: ⅘

The founder of the "Atom" legacy.

One of the first Heroes to come into contact with toxic materials and get away with something other than a disease.

An inspiration to short people, everywhere.

Chapter Text

Ever since I got into U.A., everyone around me's been acting like Deku's the fifth coming of Jesus or some shit, and I gotta ask: what the hell is wrong with everyone? So what if he's super strong and can shoot lasers out of his eyes and pull a speech out of his ass. You think he was always like that? Get real! I've known him my whole life, and from day one, he was nothing but a pathetic little weakling. He couldn't read a lick of kanji, he couldn't skip stones, no matter how flat and smooth they were, he couldn't do the Batusi to save his life; everything about him was pathetic. Hell, when everyone in class already had their Quirk, he was the only one still powerless. I knew that if he didn't end up being Quirkless, the little scrub was at least gonna end up with some trash-tier Quirk.

That's how it should have been, anyway.

Ever since he was a child, Katsuki Bakugou was made to think he was the best at everything he did. Bakugou could read kanji when the rest of his classmates still struggled with hiragana, and he received nothing but praise for it. Bakugou mastered the Batusi for the school concert in a day when the rest of his classmates couldn't get it until close to opening night, and he received nothing but praise for it. When Bakugou unlocked his Quirk, a powerful combination of his parent's Quirks known as "Explosion", all of his classmates regarded it as being cool and all of his teachers regarded him as someone who would have no trouble becoming a Hero. How much his environment was to blame for his personality ending up how it is is up for debate, but the point is that for the first four years of his life, Bakugou never experienced a situation where he didn't end up succeeding where other people failed.

That trend ended up being broken one September morning in the year 20XX by the most unlikely of people.

The first thing Bakugou noticed about Midoriya that morning was that he was smiling. It wasn't as if he'd never seen him smile before, but he had been doing it far less frequently ever since he became the only one in the class to not have some kind of power. It didn't help that they kept teasing him about it, but Bakugou didn't see the harm in a few harmless quips, every now and then. Still, it was weird to see him smiling so brightly, so Bakugou decided to inquire further with all of the grace he could muster.

"The fuck's with that look on your face, Deku?" Bakugou asked.

"I did it, Kacchan! I finally got my Quirk!" Midoriya said.

"Really? Better late than never, I guess."

"I know, right?! Check it out!" Midoriya ran over to an empty table, the kid running so fast that Bakugou thought he was going to bounce his head against it for the twelth time. Bakugou didn't know what he was getting excited about. So what if he finally had a Quirk? If it was Midoriya, then whether or not it was in comparison to his own Quirk, it had to be something utterly lame that wouldn't be worth anyone's time of day.

Bakugou kept thinking like that all the way up until Midoriya lifted a table above his head with one hand.

"Whoa! Deku's super strong!" one random kid shouted.

"Is that your Quirk? That's awesome!" another random kid said.

"Can you punch something so hard it explodes?! Can you?! Can you?!" a third random kid asked.

"Congratulations, Midoriya!" their teacher said. "You've gained a truly wonderful Quirk. I'm sure you'll be a great Hero when you grow up."

"Yay!" Midoriya cheered. Everyone else joined in his cheering as he put the table down.

Everyone except Bakugou.

What a bunch of idiots, Bakugou thought to himself. All Deku does is lift up a table, and he's got them eating out of the palms of his hands. Buncha sheep, that's what you all are. You're no better, Deku, acting like you're the hottest shit in the toilet. Can't wait to see how stupid you'll look when all of this passes and you go back to being a good for nothing nothing.

In the days that followed, such an event never occurred. Instead, a series of fortunate events was all that kept happening to Midoriya. During gym class, Midoriya, who always placed near the bottom in races, earned first place well before anyone else was even close to finishing. When two kids got into a fight over something trivial, Midoriya picked them both up by their collars and made them apologize to one another. After someone discovered a cat stuck in a tree, Midoriya jumped up into the tree and carried the cat back down to the ground without breaking a sweat. All of this was completely different from what Midoriya was capable of just a few days ago, and all of it made him the object of praise for everyone in the school.

Everyone except Bakugou, of course. While everyone looked upon Midoriya's feats of strength with amazement, Bakugou looked upon them with nothing but annoyance. Just the other day, people couldn't stop talking about how great he was, but the second Midoriya got powers, that just came to a stop. It didn't even make sense to him. All his Quirk did was make him super strong and super fast, but it'd be faster to list all the people who didn't have that powerset. It wasn't like he could fly like Wonder Woman or shoot lightning like Shazam or even hold a candle to All Might; he was still nothing special, yet everyone seemed to forget that obvious fact.

Worst of all, they seemed to be forgetting him. All because Midoriya was grabbing all of their attention. All because Midoriya was making himself out to be some kind of bigshot. All because Midoriya was doing everything in his power to show Bakugou up.

Rude and uncalled for it might have been, Bakugou still managed to endure. Midoriya might have been hogging the spotlight in class, but in their own specific circle of friends, Bakugou knew he was still on top. Why, he was currently in the middle of leading Midoriya and the rest of his friends through a bit of wilderness exploration. No one objected to Bakugou putting himself in charge, because they all wisely knew that he was the only one fit for the job. No one else could do it, especially not Midoriya.

It was all going so well until it stopped going so well. The group was walking across a log, and Bakugou stepped on a particularly slippery section of bark. He was sent tumbling down, but it was far from a great fall. The log wasn't suspended that high up from the river, and with how tough Bakugou was, a fall like this wouldn't hurt him, one bit.

Of course, the entire thing was moot because there was no impact. Much to Bakugou's surprise and annoyance, Midoriya had jumped off the log and caught Bakugou in his arms before he could hit the ground.

"Are you all right?" Midoriya asked the question with a completely innocent look on his face. From above, the rest of the group was alternating between cheers for Midoriya and sniggers at Bakugou. It was no wonder that Bakugou's show of thanks was to hit him in the face with an explosion, even if it resulted in Midoriya dropping him into the river.

"Hey! What was that—"

"Who the hell asked you to do that, Deku?!" Bakugou shouted.

"I-I was just trying to help."

"How stupid are you?! As if I'd need help from a loser like you!"

"He's kind of cooler than you, you know," Tsubasa said from above.

"No one asked you, tubby, and you're wrong! I don't care how much his Quirk lets him do, Deku's nothing compared to me!"

"But I'm not trying to—" Midoriya stopped talking the second Bakugou stormed off the way they came. He was tired of being around them, and he was tired of Midoriya acting like a big shot. He had let it slide long enough; it was time to put him in his place, once and for all. He just needed the right opportunity to prove to everyone that Midoriya was still nothing compared to him.

That opportunity came the next day, when Midoriya got in the way of Bakugou teaching another kid a valuable lesson in not messing with him. There was his chance to fight him. There was his chance to beat him. There was his chance to make him remember where he stood.

Without warning, Bakugou found himself standing in a black void, vision granted to him by some unknown luminescence. Speaking of unknowns, Bakugou had no idea what was happening to him.

"Last thing I remember was jumping on Deku and blasting him in the face, but then what?" Bakugou asked himself. "What happened after that? Where the hell is everybody? Where the hell am I? Is this some kind of Villain attack? What the hell is going on?"

"I can answer all of your questions, if you want. Or do you feel like just asking a bunch more?" Without warning, someone appeared right in front of Bakugou. Said someone was a woman—teenager, if he had to guess—holding a parasol and wearing gloves, a tank top, and a pair of pants, all of which were so black that it looked like she was melting into the environment. The blackness of her attire was contrasted by the shimmer of the silver ankh hanging around her neck and a complexion that looked pale enough to get her confused with a dead body.

"Who the fuck are—where did you—did you do this?!"

"I'll answer that last question, since it was the only one you finished," said Pale Skin. "Yes, I'm the one who brought you into this little realm of mine, but I didn't kidnap you, or anything; that'd be, like, illegal and junk."

"I don't know where the hell this is, so how is this not kidnapping?"

"Because the only thing I moved was your soul, not your body. I'm not a lawyer, though, so don't hold me to that."

"Soul? What are you even-"

There was a drip drop of something wet. Another followed it, then another, then two more, then five more. Curiosity quickly got the better of Bakugou, but when he saw that his chest was torn open from one end to the other, blood spilling out and pieces of ribs visible, he wished that he hadn't. That wish wasn't simply because he didn't like what he saw, though; that wish was also because the sight of his body made him remember what happened in his fight with Midoriya, how he copied one of All Might's moves and sent him flying all the way into a building. He wanted to vomit, but he couldn't feel anything that could be sent out.

"Looks like you remember everything, then," Pale Skin said. "Sorry about that little shock there, but I thought it'd be good to get things moving."

Just as quickly as Bakugou's injuries had appeared on his body, they vanished without a trace. His desire to vomit, however, didn't vanish so easily.

"What the hell? Deku, he—Deku really—"

"I know you're probably mad at him—"

"I'm furious! Goddammit! I can't believe I lost to that fucking bastard!"

Pale Skin tilted her head at him. Weird. It wasn't like Bakugou said anything strange.

"That's what you're getting mad about? Not him throwing you into a building and completely destroying your body?"

"Of course I'm pissed about that, but I'm way more pissed that I lost! How could I not be?!"

"You have some weird priorities for a little kid, you know that? Reminds me of when I had to deal with David Hyde, and that was just a whole crazy thing."

"Screw you, you goth bitch!" Pale Skin laughed to herself before jamming the end of her parasol against Bakugou's forehead. He fell back, but instead of falling onto the floor, he fell into a leather armchair that appeared out of nowhere. Pale Skin then wasted no time sitting down in an identical leather armchair that appeared just as suddenly.

"Keep this up, and you're gonna have an aneurysm by the time you turn ten. Whose temper do you think got you here, in the first place?"

"You bring me here just to shit all over me?"

"Come on, I'm not that bad. This isn't really about you, so much as it's about your friend."

About Deku? Bakugou could tell she wouldn't have anything bad to say about him, which could only mean she wouldn't have anything good to say.

"You're obviously furious at him for what happened—not necessarily for all of the right reasons—but you should try to not hold all of it against him. Right now, he's going through a lot of stuff that you wouldn't understand, and from this point forward, he'll keep going through harder and harder challenges that few people will be able to relate to. No one's asking you to like him, no one's telling you to forgive him, but at the very least, try to understand that he doesn't feel as on top of the world as you think he does."

Bakugou didn't know what Pale Skin was talking about, and he could tell that he wouldn't get her to explain. He was left trying to make sense of the ambiguities thrown his way, but it was all too much for him to wrap his head around.

"Either way, when the hell am I supposed to do that? When I come back as a baby or a cat or some shit?"

"You don't have to wait that long. Not like you're dead, or anything."

"Huh?! The fuck do you mean I'm not dead?! What was all that shit before, then?!"

"I mean, that's what your body looks like right now, but I never said that you were dead. No, you're very much alive, and assuming the world moves exactly as it should—you never really know, what with time travellers and people who can defy fate—you should… hold on."

While Bakugou tried to wrap his head around the idea of not being dead, a black book with a white skull in the center appeared in Pale Skin's hands, a book she quickly opened to a random page.

"Yes, here it is. You'll have team-ups with All Might and Endeavor and the Bat Family and all sorts of other great Heroes, you'll be an essential player in preventing a great tragedy when someone opens the door to the Graveyard of Gods, and among other things, you'll have a long and happy marriage with…" Pale Skin looked up at Bakugou, then turned back to the book, then looked back at Bakugou once more, then turned back to the book once more. She did that five more times before saying another word: "Her?"

"Well, the point is, you're not dead, so be happy about that."

"I can't be happy because I don't understand shit! If I'm not dead, then what is this, some kind of shitty dream?!"

"No, dreams are more my brother's field of expertise. This is more of an out of body experience, one that'll end right about—"

"Start making sense, already—"


Bakugou awoke to a sense of confusion and weakness. The memories of his meeting with whoever that was supposed to be were still burning through his mind, almost as if it had really happened. That, of course, was a ridiculous notion, so he buried it without hesitation. That summed up confusion. As for weakness, that came about from him not being able to move his body in any way, shape or form. Part of that was due to his parents jumping on him with tear-stained eyes as soon as he woke up, but part of that was also due to how his body was covered in bandages like a mummy and he had no feeling to speak of. The part of his dream where he realized that Midoriya of all people nearly killed him seemed to be true, for some reason.

"All right, all right, give him some air, already. I know you're relieved, but you don't want to reopen his wounds, do you?" The voice came from a diminutive old woman dressed in a lab coat, wearing a purple visor, and using a large syringe as a cane. The woman was clearly none other than Recovery Girl, a Hero whose Quirk granted her some of the best healing powers in the country.

"Well, I don't think you have to imagine the kind of scare you gave us, sonny boy," Recovery Girl said. "It's not like you're the first person to be sent hurtling through a wall, but even fully grown Heroes hardly ever get sent flying that hard and fast. For someone your age to have that kind of power is just—"

"Don't talk to me about Deku, you hag," Bakugou said.

"Hey, show some goddamn respect for your elders!" his mother shouted, smacking him upside the head. Bakugou winced in pain, and in an instant, she threw out a string of apologies he knew were completely out of character for her.

"I don't want to hear about how tough Deku is; just tell me how long I have to wait before I can kick his ass!"

"Kick his—kid, you need to get your priorities straight. Can you even move so much as a pinkie toe, right now?" Bakugou chose not to answer that. "I thought so. You might not have died, but your body's still a wreck. It's going to take a long time for it to get back to being even halfway decent, but even with that…"

"What? What?!" Recovery Girl let out a sigh.

"Your parents said that you want to be a Hero when you grow up. Nothing wrong with that—what kid your age doesn't want to be a Hero?—but with those injuries, even after you finish therapy and rehabilitation, your body won't be able to move like it used to. If you don't want to make things hard for everyone—including yourself—then you should give up on being a Hero, Katsuki."

"Fuck you!" Bakugou shouted as Todoroki launched another wave of ice at him. It was the same kind of attack Todoroki had been using from the very start. The fact that he and Kendou jumped out of the way of the last two shots must have made Todoroki think that Bakugou had to dodge first before launching a counterattack, but that was wrong. He already knew his explosions were strong enough to break through the ice, so there wasn't any point in that kind of strategy. Instead, what Bakugou did was jump into the air and fire off an explosion with one hand to propel his body forward towards Todoroki's attack. Just as the ice reached the halfway point of the hallway, Bakugou fired another explosion from his other hand—the intensity slightly lower so momentum wouldn't push him backwards—and blew himself straight through the ice, all the way into Todoroki's face. Bakugou could see fragments of ice forming across the floor, but right before a pillar of ice could hit him, he fired off another explosion to send himself further up into the air at an angle. Once Todoroki's failed attack was fully realized, Bakugou twisted himself around, launched himself at Todoroki's left side, and deliver a kick with enough speed and power to send him tumbling into the floor a few meters away.

"Ha! I knew it! You can't fire off your ice from your left side!" Bakugou shouted when he hit the floor. "When Karate Kid was running away, you could have destroyed that piece of concrete she threw at you, but you only dodged it. Then, when I attacked you just now, you couldn't do shit to stop me! You blind in your left eye or something, Two-Face?"

Todoroki—in lieu of a verbal response—sent out another blast of ice in Bakugou's direction. Honestly, it was like he wasn't even trying to win. Bakugou didn't hesitate to dodge the attack and launch himself at Todoroki's left side once more, but this time, he landed on the ground and moved to grab Todoroki's arm and send him into a flip. That was the plan, but before he could grab his arm, Todoroki elbowed Bakugou in the face, grabbed him by the throat with his left hand, and slammed him against a wall.

"Guess I'm not so blind, after all," Todoroki said. With Bakugou still restrained, Todoroki pulled something out of his pocket that Bakugou immediately recognized as the capture tape.

"No, but you sure as hell ain't smart!" Bakugou shouted. Without wasting a second, he shot out both of his legs and kicked Todoroki square in the chest, hitting him with enough force to make Todoroki let go of his neck, though they both ended up falling to the ground, as a result. As soon as Todoroki hit the ground, he sent out another wave of ice at Bakugou, but Bakugou was able to fire off an explosion to knock himself away from the attack just in time.

"You're really starting to piss me off, you know that?" Todoroki asked.

"Get in line, asshole," Bakugou said. Bakugou picked himself up off of the ground, opened up one of the four pockets on his utility belt, and pulled out a flat silver disc that had the kanji for "Death" written on it in a violent font and punctuated with an exclamation mark. "In case you were wondering, my Quirk makes me sweat a nitroglycerin-like substance, and all of my gear stores my sweat so I can blow away shitheads like you whenever I want!"

The look on Todoroki's face told Bakugou that he knew exactly what he was getting at, but at that point, it was too late. Bakugou had already thrown his weapon—a weapon he had taken to calling the "Die Die Discus"—at Todoroki's feet. It took no time at all for the Die Die Discus to activate and send Todoroki flying down a connecting hallway with an explosion.

It was very satisfying to look at. Very satisfying, indeed, but it was made less satisfying by Todoroki's quick recovery and counterattack. Bakugou, ever so quick with his Quirk, launched himself into the air with one hand and used the other to throw another Die Die Discus at Todoroki. This time, Todoroki brought up a pillar of ice in front of his body and the Die Die Discus immediately became lodged in it.

"You're not going to hit me with that, twice!" Todoroki shouted. He ran around the ice in what had to be an attempt at getting a clearer shot at Bakugou. A meaningless effort, Bakugou thought as he landed on the ground a few meters away from Todoroki.

"Hey Two-Face, didn't you notice that there wasn't an explosion when my bomb hit your ice?!" More ice started shooting out from underneath Todoroki's foot, and at the same time, his face contorted back into the pattern of shock and realization that it had just a moment ago.

The truth of the situation was exactly as Bakugou was assuming he had figured out: even though the first Die Die Discus had gone off instantly, that didn't mean it was a weapon that activated immediately upon contact with something. What Todoroki didn't know, of course, were the exact mechanics behind it: inside Bakugou's gloves was a small switch that could only be activated when a Die Die Discus left one of the pockets. Whenever Bakugou felt like it, he could put one of his hands into a position that mirrored a construction worker holding a detonation switch, and then, by pressing his thumb down on his pointer finger, each and every Die Die Discus would explode without hesitation.

It was that course of action that Bakugou put into motion, causing the previously thrown Die Die Discus to explode from behind Todoroki and propel him forward, straight into a lariat thrown with Bakugou's left. After all, just because Todoroki didn't want to use his left side didn't mean that Bakugou couldn't.


"Of course it does. What's that guy's problem, anyway? We're supposed to be working together on this, right?"


"Yes, obviously," Midoriya said. Almost a year together, and K.E.L.E.X. still had to ask about things like that. At the very least, the telepathic interface woven into the suit made it so he didn't have to always wear his headphones in order to talk to him.


"Yeah, that—there's no way that could be a good idea."


"I do." Talking to K.E.L.E.X. like this wasn't going to make him feel better, and Midoriya was wondering why he even bothered. In all likelihood, he was just bored. Standing guard wasn't the most exciting job in the world, after all.

"I wonder how things are going, downstairs." The fight had just started, so there was probably no need to worry about anyone getting to where he was, any time soon. No harm in using X-ray vision to see if anything was going on.

Suffice to say, a great deal was going on. Todoroki engaged Bakugou and Kendou with a wave of ice before they could even see him—and just like that, he knew who did that property damage the previous day—but the two of them barely let themselves get tripped up by it. Todoroki kept sending out powerful attack after powerful attack, but Bakugou was surpassing him at every turn, especially when he started using those disc-shaped bombs of his.

"I know I need to be supporting Todoroki-kun, but Kacchan really is amazing! Wait, where did Kendou-san go?"

Despite the way things had started off, Kendou still felt good about her team's chances. On the one hand, Bakugou was behaving exactly how she was afraid to assume Bakugou always behaved, but as luck would have it, that kind of attitude was bringing out what she assumed to be the worst in Todoroki, and that seemed to severely limit his abilities. Good. A key component of any fight was finding a way to limit your opponent as much as possible; Sensei would be so proud of her, right now.

"Focus, Itsuka, focus," Kendou told herself. "Can't just wander around aimlessly while thinking about friends and family. Gotta figure out where Midoriya is.

"Bakugou and I came in the building from the south end, but Todoroki being in front of us doesn't necessarily mean that his team is stationed in the north. Wonder if there are any clues lying around?"

Kendou put a gloved finger to the floor. Not a speck of dust ended up on it, so footsteps were out of the question. She didn't exactly have a problem with going in blind, but it certainly would have been better to find something to work with.

"And something to work with, I have found." Several seconds of surveying the the area later, Kendou saw something out of place on one of the walls: a white residue on the wall that looked completely out of place with everything else in the building. There was a spot of it on the wall next to her, a spot Kendou surmised to have been made from Todoroki accidentally brushing his body against the wall. Whoever was put in charge of his costume must have messed up the paint job; lucky for her, unlucky for him.

At an initial glance, it didn't seem to be an indication of anything useful, but Kendou noticed two important details: the spot was a little longer on the left side compared to the right, and said side had a slight bend to it. That had to mean that Todoroki made the spot when he came into the hallway through a turn, and given the placement of the hallway, that could only have happened if he came down the staircase in front of her, and that would have only happened if Midoriya and the bomb were indeed on one of the upper levels.

"Can't exactly go in through the front, though," Kendou said after climbing up the stairs to a nearby window. She stopped in front of the window and tapped her foot against the wall a few times. "Seems sturdy. Hopefully it's sturdy enough."

With that being said, Kendou put her plan into action and jumped out of the window. However, rather than plummet to her untimely death, she used her Quirk to make her hands become massive in size, and with a single clap, she sent her body back to the building at a diagonal angle, allowing her to kick both feet into the building with enough force to have them lodged inside. Kendou took her right foot out before kicking it into the building at a higher point, did the same with her left foot, and kept at it until she found a suitable rhythm and was able to run up the walls. Of course, she couldn't get it out of her head that Kairi would probably make fun of her for not being able to do this without footholds, but that was neither here nor there.

What turned out to be both here and there, though, was Kendou finding the floor that Midoriya and the bomb were on. Nine floors up from the base of the building, slightly northeast from the entrance, all in all a prime location for hiding a bomb. Unfortunately for Kendou, that resulted in her being in a rather disadvantageous position, since the discovery was made while she was still on the outside of the building. Of course, even if she was inside the building, that wouldn't exactly make things any easier. The bomb was placed squarely in the center of the room, and Midoriya—the responsible person he was—was standing right in front of it.

He's probably expecting Bakugou or me to come in through the front, but it's not like me being here gives me an advantage, Kendou thought to herself. The second I break through one of the windows, he'll turn around and take me out. Gotta think of a way to divert his attention just long enough for me to get to the bomb.

It took a few seconds of idle thought, but an idea eventually came to Kendou. She started to put it to work by jamming one of her hands into the side of the building, taking care to not use so much force that the foundation around her would fall apart. It made some noise, but it sounded like there was a lot going on downstairs, so Midoriya didn't seem to notice.

Hopefully, he'd pay more attention to the sound of concrete breaking through a glass window.

"Wh-What was that?!" Midoriya shouted. Pay attention to the sound of concrete breaking through a glass window he did, indeed, do, and with it being a window all the way on the other side of Kendou's wall—thank God for her good aim—he ran to a spot that was both nowhere near her and far away from the bomb. Kendou gave herself a bit of self-congratulation before flipping up into the air and jumping through another window to get inside. The second Kendou's feet hit the ground, she took off for the bomb. She could see Midoriya glancing at her in the corner of her eye, but that wasn't a problem. Given the bomb's placement in the room relative to both herself and Midoriya, running at her top speed would be more than enough to get her there before Midoriya could respond in time.

That was how it went down in her head, so imagine her surprise when Midoriya flew back over to the bomb when she had barely gotten halfway there.

"Aw, crap," Kendou said under her breath.

"Did you—Did you climb up the side of the building to get here?" Midoriya asked. "Wow. I mean, you don't have a grappling gun like Batman and you can't stick to walls like Black Spider, so that's really impressive."

"Thanks." It was a sincere thanks, it really was. Kendou was honestly happy to hear Midoriya praise her abilities, but there were two underlyings fact that didn't cease to annoy her: the fact that he was taking the time to say all of this meant that he was confident that she couldn't do anything against him, and the fact that she was just standing and listening meant that she was afraid to challenge that claim.

"I really thought I had it covered, but I guess I should put a little more into it." With that being said, Midoriya tossed the bomb into the air with one hand and breathed in its direction, encasing it in a hammock of ice that suspended it high off the ground. It wasn't so high up that she couldn't reach it either by using her Quirk or by using parkour, but that was irrelevant when someone like Midoriya was blocking her way.

"So. How do you want to do this?" Midoriya asked.

"What do you mean? Aren't you just going to get it over with?"

"I mean, I could do that, but that wouldn't really be fair to you, right? You've been working hard, so the least I can do is give you a chance. Plus, I really do wanna see what you can do against something other than a robot."

Kendou stared at Midoriya for a few seconds before she started laughing, wondering how she ever let herself be intimidated by someone like him all the while.

"You're really bad at this whole Villain thing, you know? Talk about a total miscast," Kendou said.

"H-Hey! A lot of Villains are cordial with their opponents! The Ultra-Humanite-you know, never mind. J-Just come and face me, Hero! I-If you can!" The last two sentences were spoken in a noticeably lower octave than his normal voice.

"All right. Give me a second." Kendou closed her eyes and breathed. As nice as it was for Midoriya to act like this, it was still clear that her chances of victory were slim to none. Bakugou was still fighting Todoroki, so she had no choice but to go it alone, and with Midoriya's speed, trying to go around him would be a fool's endeavor amongst fool's endeavors.

The only way to win this is with brute strength, Kendou thought to herself. There's no way I'm strong enough to actually hurt him, but if I can set him off balance for just a few seconds, I can take advantage of that to get to the bomb.

I just need to have faith in Sensei's teachings, that's all.

Kendou released her breath, opened her eyes, and dashed forward. Midoriya had a passable guard up, but that was easily manageable. As soon as she was within arm's length of him, she spun her arms in a circle until her hands came together around his arm with a powerful clap. The force of her da, her "embrace", got him to drop his guard, but she couldn't tell if it was because of her own power or because he was simply surprised.

Either way, the next move would make or break it all. Within the same fluid motion, Kendou enlarged her hands to maximum size and shot her right fist forward, hitting Midoriya square in the chest with a powerful punch. The strength of her body and Quirk were both being enhanced by the nanofiber stitching used to make her gloves; thanks to that, Kendou had no doubts that the force of her heki, her "splitting", would be able to at least push him back.

Midoriya didn't move a single centimeter.

"Ah, great!" Kendou said with a sigh, throwing her giant hands up in the air. "You're too much, you know that?"

"I wasn't trying to—are you giving up?" Midoriya asked.

"Yeah, I give up. There's no way I can do anything, so let's just end it."

"I-If you say so." Midoriya pulled out a roll of capture tape from his pocket. Kendou held out her hands—now back to normal size—like she was about to be handcuffed and stood by as Midoriya walked over to her.

"Can't believe I climbed up the side of a building just to do nothing. Not exactly the best start to my career."

"Hey, don't feel down, Kendou-san. Your plan was great, it really was!"

"You think so?"

"Yeah! If it was anyone other than me, it would have worked for sure. This was just a bad matchup; next time, I bet you'll come out on top, for sure."

Midoriya finished wrapping capture tape around her wrists—despite Kendou's posing, he did each wrist, individually. All Might announced her capture over the intercom, but Kendou was too caught up in the moment to pay attention to it.

"You really have all the right words when you're not in front of a crowd, don't you?" Midoriya fell into a stammering fit, and Kendou used that as her chance to exit through the window.

Today was fun.

"Had enough, Two-Face?" Bakugou asked Todoroki as he gasped for air after Bakugou's lariat.

"Not-Not on your life," Todoroki said, wiping away saliva that he just coughed up.

"That's what I want to hear! Bring it!" Bakugou might have been winning from the start, but he wasn't about to let his guard down. Even a cornered rat will bite a cat, and Bakugou was ready for whatever this rat planned on doing with its teeth.

Except for what Todoroki actually ended up doing: turning around and running away.

"Are you shitting me?!" Bakugou threw a Die Die Discus at Todoroki, but he rounded a corner just quickly enough to avoid the explosion. "Get back here, shit stain!"

In spite of all of that, Todoroki did not come back, forcing Bakugou to chase after him. Todoroki would send blasts of ice Bakugou's way as he fled, but they were the smallest ones yet, and he was able to destroy them with ease.

Saying that Bakugou was disappointed would be a grave understatement. Midoriya might have been the only one he cared about beating, but Todoroki was supposed to be tough in his own right, wasn't he? He got in on recommendation, he placed near the top in Aizawa's test, and above all else, he was the son of the Number Two Hero, Endeavor. So as nice as it was to make him look like a complete and utter chump, it hardly felt satisfying.

"Just fucking die, already!" Bakugou shouted as he destroyed another blast of ice. The explosion he used for that one had a little more strength packed in it, and it ended up getting just close enough to Todoroki to knock him flat on his face.

"I'm… getting real tired of your mouth," Todoroki said as stumbled back onto his feet.

"Then why don't you try doing something about it? Don't complain about shit if you don't got the balls to do something about it!" Todoroki's glare seemed to intensify for a moment.

"I'm going to take you down, now."

"You can fucking try!" Bakugou threw his hands behind himself and set off twin explosions, propelling himself forward at incredible speed towards Todoroki. This was it. He wasn't going to give him the chance to fight back; as soon as he was close enough, Todoroki was going down in flames.

That was all that was on Bakugou's mind, but it never came to pass, for all of a sudden, a tower of ice shot up from the floor. It came too fast for Bakugou to dodge, and he could do nothing to avoid impact. The ice ran into his body and wrapped around everything from the head down before slamming into the ceiling above, Bakugou being confused all the while.

"How's that for trying?"

What? What?! Bakugou shouted in his head. How the fuck?! Why the fuck?! Goddammit, I can't move! What the hell even is this?! That was the question of the hour: how did Todoroki manage to land that kind of attack on Bakugou? Every attack up until then had been a straightforward assault, yet this one had a seemingly random element of trickery woven into it.

"You're wondering how I did it, aren't you?" Todoroki asked. The guy really knew how to push his buttons. "It's not that hard to figure out, just take a look at my feet." Bakugou hated being talked down to, but at the same time, he needed to know how this happened, so he looked down at Todoroki's feet. There was a trail of ice going from his right foot across the floor that fed into a small hole. He couldn't have made the hole himself, though; there wouldn't have been any time for it.

"Wait a minute. This hallway, it's—"

"The same one we were in when you used that explosive for the first time, and this hole was created from it. It was a simple matter of sending my ice down through the hole and making it come up from below you. Of course, the plan would have failed if you were paying even a little attention to your surroundings," a pillar of ice shot up from underneath Todoroki and brought him eye level with Bakugou, "so I guess it's a good thing that you're so unbelievably short sighted."

"Itsuka Kendou has been eliminated!" came All Might's voice from over the intercom.

"And just like that, you're all alone," Todoroki said.

Fucking hell, Karate Kid! Bakugou thought to himself. He struggled to break himself free, but the ice was too strong for his arms and the cold was making it too hard for him to focus on setting up an explosion.

"Stop struggling; it's over; you lost; accept it. At this point, I could just run out the clock, but that's not good enough. Or maybe it's not humiliating enough? Either way, I'm not letting you walk out of here with even a shred of dignity in tact." Todoroki reached into his pocket and pulled out a roll of capture tape. "So tell me, Bakugou, which would you prefer: having this tied around your mouth like a muzzle or tied around your neck like a noose?"

Bakugou spat on Todoroki's face. Todoroki responded in kind by punching and breaking his nose.

"What did I just say? Give it up, already."

Katsuki Bakugou was in the toughest fight of his young life. A fight that—though he would never admit it—he was afraid he was going to lose. That was the present situation, but all of a sudden, he found himself being taken out of time and away from that situation.

All of a sudden, he was a five-year old kid again. First grade had been in session for a few weeks, All Might had taken Shazam's spot as the Number Five Hero, and Bakugou was finally ready to challenge Midoriya to a rematch.

Ever since losing to Midoriya back in the fall, Bakugou had wanted nothing more than to settle the score with him. However, as much as it annoyed him, he couldn't do anything about how his body was in no shape to do any sort of fighting; his spirit was willing, but his flesh was spongy and bruised. Therefore, he put his rematch on the backburner and focused all of his efforts on getting through rehab, not even bothering to talk with him. It payed off in the end, for Bakugou was able to complete his rehab several months earlier than projected, and for no worse for wear, either. Bakugou was ready to come back into the world, and he was going to do it with a bang fueled by Midoriya's battered body.

"I'm not gonna fight you, Kacchan," was what Midoriya said when Bakugou challenged him to a fight the exact second he laid eyes on him.

"Ex-fucking-scuse me?" Bakugou asked.

"I-I don't want to fight you, Kacchan, that's it." Midoriya wasn't even looking him in the eye while he talked.

"Man, the balls Deku has to stand up to Kacchan like that," one extra said.

"Kacchan's are bigger for actually wanting to fight him," another extra said.

"Doesn't he know that no one's tougher than Deku? Why would he want to fight him again?" a third extra asked.

"It's like the guy wants to go back to the hospital," a fourth extra said with a laugh. A laugh that was joined by others.

"All of you shut your asses up, already!" Everyone stammered into a silence before Bakugou went over to Midoriya and grabbed him by his collar. "And you! What the hell are you playing at with this 'going out on top' bullshit?! If you really wanna be a Hero, then you can't think for a second that it's okay to run from a fight!" There was a faint whisper in his ear. "Speak up!"

"...don't want to…"

"I said speak up!"

"I don't want to be a Hero anymore, so just leave me alone!" Midoriya cried, tears actually swelling up in his eyes. Bakugou, not knowing what to do with himself, punched Midoriya in the face. Midoriya didn't move at all, and all it did was make Bakugou's hand hurt.

The teacher came in, and everyone had to go back to their seats. The teacher went on about something, but it all went in one of Bakugou's ears and out the other.

Where the hell do you get off, Deku? Bakugou thought to himself. You're just gonna throw in towel like that? Fuck you. You're gonna give me my rematch, even if I have to force it out of you! Now there was an idea.

"Kacchan, this isn't fun anymore!"

"It's not supposed to be fun!" Bakugou shouted at the people behind him. Everyone was panting like their life depended on it, but Bakugou just felt live; comparatively, anyway. At the very least, he was the only one in the group who didn't fall over themselves at the end of their two kilometer-long run. "Man, you guys suck."

"You're just taking it too far!" Bakugou chose to ignore that and remember why he was out there in the first place: to get ready for his rematch with Midoriya. Sure, he might have said something ridiculous about not wanting to be a Hero anymore a year prior, but Bakugou could tell that he was just making bad excuses for whatever reason. One day, Midoriya would wise up, stop being a coward, and get back in the Hero game, even if Bakugou had to force it out of him. Naturally, Bakugou needed to be ready for the day that happened, so he needed to train his body as much as possible. That would have always been the case, but with his injuries, it was even truer than it was before.

"All right, everyone catch their breath, and then we're doing push-ups, one hundred each."

"Screw you! I'm going home!" one of the kids shouted, the rest of them soon joining in.

"You're all a bunch of babies. Am I the only one here who wants to be a Hero?"

"No, but you're the only one who wants to kill themselves trying to do it!" another kid said.

"Seriously, Kacchan, all this crap is just gonna put you in the hospital again. Do you want Deku to kick your ass again that badly?" Tsubasa asked.

"What'd you just say, tubby?!" Bakugou shouted, making Tsubasa and the rest of them step back and recoil. "This is all so I can take that nerd down a peg! Where do you get off saying I'd lose twice?!"

Bakugou flung his hand at Tsubasa with an explosion already ignited. It never reached Tsubasa, though. Out of nowhere, pain shot up all throughout Bakugou's body. His arm got nowhere near Tsubasa's face, and before the explosion died out, he coughed up a storm and fell to the ground.

Not the best day he could have had.

According to Dr. Tsubasa, Bakugou had overextended himself with all of the extra training he had been doing. It wasn't anything serious, but according to him, he needed to keep better watch of how he handled his body, especially since he had just gotten done with rehab.

Bakugou's mother, Mitsuki Bakugou, drove him home from the doctor's office that day. The radio was broadcasting a report about strange flares of solar radiation and odd readings of temporal activity. It wasn't the kind of stuff he was interested in, but he still listened to every word of it. If he didn't, then the only other thing to listen to was his mother's whining.

"Seriously, what were you thinking, Katsuki?! Don't you know you could have gotten hurt?!" Mitsuki cried. There was no anger, no fight, it was like a completely different person was talking to him.

"Newsflash, hag: I didn't!" Bakugou shouted.

"This time, fine, but what about next time? Or the time after that? Or the time after that? Or all the times after that—"

"I'm not just gonna let myself die from running around the park; I'm not a moron!" The car came to a red light. In the time before it turned green and she kept going, Mitsuki put her head against the wheel and sighed.

"This isn't-This isn't just about you, you know. Don't you get how scared we all were for you? Me, Daddy, Inko, Deku, we all thought you might… why can't you think about how the rest of us feel about this?"

"It's not about you! It's about…" Getting even with Midoriya. Reminding everyone who was in charge. Not feeling like a loser. "It's not about any of you!" That also worked. "I'm just… I'm just trying to be a Hero over here—"

"Well then maybe you should just stop, already!" All of a sudden, the radio fizzled out, leaving them in silence.


"I mean, look at what's happened to you already, Katsuki, and you're still just a kid. If you try and become a Hero then-then you'll just keep getting hurt, right? I can't-I don't think I can take that, so… you don't have to be a Hero, you know."

The car came to a stop in their driveway. Bakugou, not wanting to even look at Mitsuki anymore, didn't wait for her to open the door for him; he just hit it with his Quirk hard enough to detach it from the rest of the car and ran inside the house.

Mitsuki was shouting something, but he didn't listen, didn't want to listen. If the kids at school didn't believe in him, fine. If Recovery Girl didn't believe in him, fine. If Midoriya didn't believe in him, fine. He could handle all of that.

But he couldn't handle his own mother not believing in him.

"Fuck! You!" Bakugou shouted as Todoroki inched closer to him with the capture tape. A mere second ago, defeat had seemed like the only option, but all of a sudden, a burning energy was swelling inside of him. The metaphorical aspect is plain as day, but it was also quite literal, as Bakugou mustered up all the power he could manage and change to completely destroy the pillar of ice he was entrapped in, the resulting explosion also destroying Todoroki's own pillar and sending them both to the ground with heavy thuds far away from each other.

"What-What the hell was that?" Todoroki asked as he got up. "You shouldn't have been able to destroy the ice from that position. Where did all that extra power come from?"

"Wouldn't you like to know?" Bakugou asked as he got up. In all honesty, he'd like to know, too. "Goddammit, Two-Face. I'm freezing my ass off, my arms are killing me after that last attack, and you made me remember some really annoying shit. You're in for it now, Two-Face. You are in. For. It. Now!"

Bakugou ran at Todoroki, putting every muscle fiber in his legs to work. Todoroki fired off another more ice, but this time, it was two bursts in quick succession that sealed off the connecting hallways. Todoroki was trapping Bakugou, giving him no means of avoiding the attack.

"That's what you think!" Bakugou shouted, jumping in the air in the middle of his sprint.

"You're planning to propel yourself forward with an explosion, aren't you? Yeah, it'll take a second for my ice to be able to get that high, but given the way you've used your explosions so far, I know there's no way you can beat that speed!"

Heh! Guess Two-Face didn't get in on recommendation for nothing, Bakugou thought to himself. Yeah, even if I propel myself with an explosion, I won't be able to get over to him before he blocks me off with his ice. Just like that, ice began to form in front of Todoroki. 'Course, that's only the case if I use a normal explosion!

Bakugou knew this would happen. He knew that Todoroki would try to block him off with ice if he tried to go in the air under the assumption that he could never move faster than his ice. What Todoroki didn't think about, though, was another way for Bakugou to use his Die Die Discuses: to boost his power.

Before Bakugou started charging at Todoroki, he pulled out two Die Die Discuses and kept them in his hands. Then, the exact moment when ice started to form in front of him, Bakugou used his Quirk to set off a powerful explosion from his hands. Like Todoroki said, a normal explosion wouldn't give him enough speed to move past the ice, but by igniting the Die Die Discuses, Bakugou was able to greatly magnify the power of his explosion, and that let him land right on Todoroki's left side well before the ice could finish forming.


"Die!" Bakugou swung his arm at Todoroki's left. It was over. He could only fire off ice from his right side, and he didn't have any time to turn towards Bakugou and attack. This next attack would put him down under once and for all.

Then he saw it: some sort of light or sparks or something emanating from Todoroki's left arm. Whatever it was, it was clearly a power that wasn't ice. Was Todoroki a Metahuman? A magic user? Did he get his scar and powers from someone throwing a beaker of toxic waste in his face? Bakugou didn't know, and he didn't care. Whatever trump card Todoroki was throwing at him, he was going to beat down with a full house of his own.

Then he saw it: as quickly as the sparks of something had appeared, they vanished out of sight. Whatever he was going to do, he suddenly gave up on; he could have had a winning hand, but he folded when the guy across the table only had something average. Bakugou didn't know what to make of it, even when he connected to Todoroki with an explosion that destroyed the left half of his costume and blew him into the wall.

"What was that?" Bakugou asked. He walked over to the fidgeting Todoroki and grabbed him by what was left of his collar. "What the hell was that, Two-Face?! You had something other than ice up your sleeve, and you didn't even use it! What, did you lose a coin toss on whether or not you should half-ass this fight?!"

Todoroki glared at Bakugou for a second, but then it faltered into a look of defeat.

"What do you care? You won, so it doesn't even matter. For both our sakes, just let it go," Todoroki said.

Just when Bakugou thought that Todoroki couldn't annoy him any more, he kept outdoing himself. He pulled out a roll of capture tape from his pocket, tied it around Todoroki's right eye, then slammed his head back against the wall.

"Er, well, S-Shouto Todoroki has been eliminated!" came All Might's voice over the intercom.

Just like that, the only people who mattered were left.

This chapter was originally going to have the end of the fight and its aftermath, but since it ended up taking so long, I decided to split it in two. Hopefully this means that I'll be able to get the rest out sooner.

Chapter Text

So this is unexpected for all of us, I'm sure. I wanted the next update to be the rightfully deserved next chapter, I really did. But then Heroes in Crisis #8 came out and goddammit. God-fucking-dammit! What the hell, Tom King? What the actual hell?! All the months upon months of nonsense with Batman was one thing, but this? Seriously?! I don't know how much of a choice you had in this specific thing, but you could have tried to make it better than this!

Okay, okay, I'm done ranting now. Long story short, the way that the Flash Family has been treated recently has reached peak stupidity, so I've written this to try and cleanse my palate of it all. Enjoy.

"Little higher, Wally. Really gotta make sure it bears down on people."

"I know; I am all for bearing down on people."

"Okay, a little to the right."

"Like this?"

"No, the other right?"


"The other, other right."

"There is literally only one right, Barry."

"And you're doing it wrong, somehow."

"You do it, then. Better yet, have a Sidekick do it."

"That's why you're doing it. Until the second that sign is perfect, it's under your juridstriction, so unless you don't want to do this…"

What was Barry even saying? Of course he wanted to do this. This had been his dream ever since he was running around in yellow tights; ever since his parents shipped him off to Central City because they couldn't be bothered to deal with him anymore; ever since he was a little kid and first saw that red blur race past his house in a fight against Cobalt Blue.

This was what he wanted more than anything, so he kept doing what Barry told him to do, and before long, it was perfect. He ran down the side of the building to stand next to his uncle so both of them could look at the sign with pride.

"Flash & Flash Hero Agency".

Heroes like All Might or Endeavor or Green Arrow? They liked to spend their whole day working until they couldn't work anymore. Wally West, on the other hand, spent his time on more important things; like setting up the new pool table for the office. That wasn't to say he was bad at his job, of course. He was just relaxed because he believed that the city wouldn't explode if he wasn't constantly out on the streets.

Plus, it was a quality pool table. Pre-owned by the third Batwoman. Had a certificate of authenticity and everything. It was going to look super snazzy.

"Wow, this thing's looking snazzy, Wally. Super snazzy, even," Barry said.

"Told you it would," Wally said.

"Now where do we hang the pool cues?"

"I think the south wall would be best. Lots of shade over there, so they'll always stay nice and cool."

"What? You know I hang my key to the city on the south wall."

"They've given us each a dozen of those things. Plus, they're only ceremonial. What good's a giant key if I can't use it to go to Big Belly Burger after hours, anyway?"

"It's a symbol of respect."

"Respect doesn't fill an empty stomach." Wally said all of this, but he was really just half-joking because of how fun it was to mess with Barry. Plus, he needed something to do to help pass the time until their guests arrived.

Speak of the devil, there was a knock on the door. Wally and Barry had a silent agreement to table their discussion of pool cue placement and opened the door to let their guests in, guests they recognized all too well.

"Sorry we're late, guys," said a young, dark-skinned boy who stood at about a head shorter than Wally and Barry.

"Wallace, we're Speedsters, it's mathematically impossible for us to be on time for anything," Wally said as he high fived his younger cousin.

"Oh my God, Wall, they've got a pool table! That's so cool! I wanna play! How do you play pool?!" shouted a barefoot redheaded girl who bounced into the room and jumped around the pool table with an abundance of energy oozing out of her.

"Doris. I see you're still… you," Barry said.

"Only person I can be, Mr. Allen!"

"And what a great person, am I right?" Wallace asked.

"Aww, baby~!" Doris blew Wallace a kiss that he pretended to catch in an overly dramatic manner. It was gross. Wally hoped that he and Linda weren't that bad when they first started dating, but he knew that they probably were.

"Okay, let's get out there. Should we hit up Infantino Street? I know Blacksmith's gang likes to cause trouble there—"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Cool your jets, kid! We can't just take you out on the street to fight crime," Wally said.

"Yes, you can? I'm interning with you guys, remember?"

"Me, too! Right? Yeah, me, too!" Doris said, raising a hand in the air.

"Doesn't work like that, Wallace," Wally said. "The Flash & Flash Hero Agency is a legitimate business, and we can't just hire people right off the bat. There's a process we all have to go through. Isn't that right, Flash?"

"That's exactly right, Flash," Barry said.

"Are you guys serious?" Wallace asked.

"As a cardiac arrest."

"What's that? Is it something funny?" Doris asked. Wallace sighed and patted his girlfriend on the head; she seemed to enjoy it, for what it was worth.

With the matter settled, Wally and Barry zipped over to their desks at the end of the room, and Wallace and Doris sat down in front of them to begin their interviews.

"Names?" Barry asked.

"You know who we are!" Wallace said.

"'Doesn't respect authority'," Wally said, writing on a clipboard that seemed to come out of nowhere.

"Don't write that—"

"My name is Doris Greystoke Zuel, age seventeen in human years, and a human is what I am!" Doris said with a cheer.

"That's more like it." With a groan, Wallace gave his full name, a name that Wally was already well aware of. "How long have you two had your provisional licenses for?"

"We just passed the exam a couple weeks ago."

"Nice," Barry said. "Still, I can't help but wonder if maybe you're still a little too green to go out into the streets with the Pros."

"Come on. You know I got what it takes."

"'Acts overconfident and full of himself'," Wally said, writing on his clipboard once more.

"Are you kidding—"

"I will do my best to show you that I am super duper okay for the job, sirs!" Doris said with a salute.

"Nice attitude," Wally said. He gave Wallace a mocking glance, which made Wallace roll his eyes, which made Wally write on his clipboard again.

"What skills can you two bring to the table?" Barry asked.

"I'm literally one of the fastest people in the world," Wallace said.

"I've got big boobs!" Doris said, prompting a confused look from Wallace.

"Very nice," Wally said. "What Wallace said, I mean, not what Doris said. I'm a thirty-year old man, so I'm pretty sure it's illegal for me to comment on that."

"Oh, it's definitely illegal," Barry said.

"Human laws confuse me, even though I'm totally a normal human girl," Doris said.

"Are we almost done with this?" Wallace asked.

"Patience… um, I wanna say, Billy?" Wally asked. "Now, looking over your files, you two are quite impressive on paper. Above average grades at Libby Lawrence High, high placement in your school's Athletic Bowl, learned how to make pizza in home ec.—I really enjoy knowing that one, by the way. You two certainly seem like you can get the job done. On paper, anyway."

"What does that mean?"

"We here at Flash & Flash have a certain image to uphold, and I'm not completely sure that you two are all that good for our reputation," Barry said. "I mean, let's face it, a black Sidekick? That's just asking to draw in all sorts of bad press."

"Oh my God!"

"And Doris, I understand that you used to be a gorilla before you were turned into a human by Gorilla Grodd, yes? We're primarily a human agency, so I can't help but feel like you wouldn't fit in here."

"I totally would, though!" Doris said. "Look at me; I am one-hundred percent a super normal human girl who does normal human girl things!"

"Prove it. Eat this banana with your hands," Wally said as he threw a banana at her.

"Um, y-yes! That is something that I, a normal human, can and want to do." Slowly, Doris peeled open the banana. Slower still, she brought the banana to her mouth. Even slower still, she closed her mouth around it and took a bite.

She chewed it three times before spitting it out on the floor, wiping her hand against her tongue, and grabbing the banana with her left foot.

"I can't believe this," Wallace said, hand to his face.

"I'm sorry! They just don't taste good without feet!" Doris said with a mouthful of banana.

"Okay, okay, I think that's enough," Wally said, barely containing his laughter. "We're done. You guys are in, just like we said you'd be."

"Yay!" When Doris cheered, pieces of banana flew out of her mouth and hit Barry in the face. Barry just stared at her with a blank expression. It was pretty funny to look at.

"You know, it's probably because of this kind of crap that there hasn't been a Speedster in the Top Ten since Mr. Garrick retired," Wallace said.

"We can still just not hire you, you know," Wally said. Wallace rolled his eyes; it was very adorable to look at. "All right, you two go get changed and we'll head out there. Wallace, Barry might be a lot faster than you, but he's going to try and slow down a little—"

"Actually, Wally, I think it'd be better if you were in charge of Wallace's internship," Barry interjected.

"W-What? You sure?"

"Yeah, why not? You're not a Sidekick anymore, and it'd probably be easier if your first partner was someone with similar abilities. Hell, don't you guys even have the same Quirk?"

"True, true, but…"

"Hey, don't tell me that Central City's Second Scarlet Speedster is afraid to face the same challenge I faced."

"O-Of course not!" He was, but the last thing Wally wanted was for Barry to be right about something. "All right Wallace, you're with me. Doris, you're with Barry."

"Yay!" Doris cheered.

"I forgot about that part," Barry said under his breath.

"Oh, wait, I'm not a Speedster, so how am I going to keep up with you guys? Unless… I do this!" Doris, much to everyone's surprise except her own, ran behind Barry and jumped onto his back so he was carrying her, piggyback style.

It was really funny to look at.

"This is humiliating," Barry said.

"I'm enjoying it," Wallace said.

"Same here," Wally said. The two of them took out their phones and quickly took pictures of the sight before them, for it was always good to have things that could embarrass Barry, on hand.

"Let's go!" Doris shouted with an oblivious smile.

Ten minutes later, the four of them were out on the streets of the peaceful city that was Central City. Barry had on his trademark Flash costume, while Wally was wearing one that was similar to his old Kid Flash costume, but had no yellow and was red with white accents; he thought about adding in a cowl, but that was nipped in the bud when he realized what a travesty it would be to deny people a look at his glorious ginger locks. Wallace—the new, but not improved, Kid Flash—was wearing a costume similar to the one Wally used to wear, only he had the same lightning bolt inside of a white circle on his chest as Barry, different sections of his costume were accentuated with black outlines, and his hair was far too short to effortlessly flow in the wind. Doris—Hero Name Giganta—had her hair done up in a ponytail and was wearing a short pink dress that did a good enough job of covering what needed to be covered up. All in all, they were a good-looking group.

Especially Wally.

"Okay! Where do we start, Barry?" Wally asked as he shot finger guns at people who they walked past.

"Wally, you're in charge today, remember?" Barry asked as he casually waved to people they walked past.

"Oh, right. In that case… let's patrol the city."

"We're already doing that," Wallace said as he high fived people they walked past.

"Then let's extra do it!" Doris said as she enthusiastically waved at people they walked past.

"It doesn't work like that, sweetie."

"Well, how does it work?"

"That's what we're trying to figure out. Wally?"

"Um, yes," Wally said for no reason. "Yes, the thing about that is—"that" being the thing we should be doing—what we should be doing is—"

"Hold on, Wally," Barry said with a hand on his right earpiece. "I'm getting a reading on the Dimwit Wave. We've got Black Hole goons tearing up lower Brookfield Heights."

"Oh, thank God."

"Crap, I forgot to turn mine on," Wallace said before giving his own right earpiece a hard smack.

"You can't forget that kind of stuff, man!" Wally said.

"Didn't you forget it, too?" Doris asked.

"That is… exactly the point, but it's still beside the point. Anyway, let's go!"

As soon as the words left Wally's mouth, Doris jumped on Barry's back.

"We really should have thought about this more," Barry said before taking off at super speed.

"We should be going too, right?" Wallace asked.

"Um, yes! Exactly!" Wally said. "Don't worry, citizens of Central City, your own personal Number One Hero and his young Sidekick are on the case, and we'll have this done in a you-know-what!"

People were cheering as Wally and Wallace sped off after Barry. It felt good, but not as good as usual.

When the three Flashes and Giganta arrived at Brookfield Heights, Central City's trendiest area was in disarray. Three of the five Starman-bucks on Infantino Street were torn inside out, coffee beans and danishes spilling out over onto the sidewalks; posters for President Beth Ross' re-election campaign were torn apart at the hashtags; fashionable people had multiple injuries inflicted onto them, though that apparently didn't stop them from taking selfies of themselves.

All in all, a typical Tuesday.

"Okay, okay… Kid Flash! Giganta!" Wally called out after too long. "You two help get the injured to the paramedics. Barry and I are gonna look for Black Hole; we'll radio you two once we get a hold of them."

"On it," Wallace said, speeding over to some fallen citizens.

"Okey dokey!" Doris said, tripling her size to clear rubble off of some random people.

"Well look who's improving. And pretty quickly, too," Barry said with a smile.

"Shut up; let's just get these guys," Wally said. Barry nodded his head, and with that, the two were off at super speed. Thanks to that, it only took a matter of milliseconds for them to run into the armored soldiers of Black Hole, Central City's premiere terrorist organization.

"Aw, crap! It's the Flashes!"

"Aw, they sound so happy to see us!" Wally said.

"Well, let's keep the good times rolling!" Barry said. As if on some sort of cure, Wally and Barry started rotating their arms at such high velocity that giant red twisters shot out of them and blew a number of Black Hole soldiers away into lamp posts and crumbling walls. The ones who didn't get blown away were firing their guns at them, but to Wally—and surely Barry, as well—the bullets might as well have been standing still, what with how easily the two of them dodged all on them.

"Speedsters like us have been a thing since the Golden Age, so why do bad guys still think that they can shoot us with regular guns?" Wally asked as he punched a Black Hole soldier in the face.

"In their defense, what are they supposed to do, not try to stop us?" Barry asked as he punched another Black Hole soldier in the face.

"I would very much prefer that. Why's everything gotta come down to who can punch who in the face the hardest? I would love it if I could hash things out with someone over some Lit Beer and a game of darts at the Keystone Saloon."

"Why not go to a bar here?"

"The bars here suck, obviously."

"No they don't. What about the one on the corner of Gustin and Cavanagh? That place is great, don't try and deny it."

"It was great, but then it went downhill about two years after it opened and it's just not that fun to be in, anymore. I'm pretty sure that place is only still open because the owner's friends with some rich Canadians."

"Well I still think it's great."

"You grew up here; you have to say that. Black Hole guys, am I wrong here?" All of the Black Hole soldiers were down for the count. "Oh. Neat."

"Right? These fights usually go on a lot longer and oh my God, move!"

"What?" A beam of energy of some sort shot out at Wally. It took two seconds for him to notice and react to it, and that was at least twenty times too slow for someone of Wally's abilities to be reacting to things. He still dodged the attack, but it was an incredibly sloppy dodge, and he ended up tripping over his own two feet.

Of course, since the street was now covered in ice, it's possible that it wouldn't have mattered.

"Nice of you to join us, Flash Squared." Standing on a nearby rooftop was an all-too familiar face with an all-too familiar shaved head wearing an all-too familiar blue open-front hooded sweatshirt and holding an all-too familiar high-tech gun.

The goggles, however, Wally noticed were new. Very Devo.

"Captain Cold," Barry stated.

"Don't sound too surprised now. It ruins things for me, you know," Captain Cold said in a dramatic drawl.

"You're working with Black Hole, Snart? Since when do you guys have the same M.O.?" Wally asked as he struggled to get up. Captain Cold must have modified the Cold Gun; only way to explain why the ice was slippier than usual.

"Don't you know me better than that? My M.O. is anything that nets me oodles of cash, and Black Hole's the best at doing that, right now. Speaking of which, fellas! If you don't mind!"

On Captain Cold's cue, three Black Hole soldiers jumped out from seemingly nowhere, a technique that was really only a good thing when Heroes were doing it. One was a man with the eye stalks of a snail, one was a man with an incredibly muscular physique, one was a woman with an incredibly bulbous head, and they all had high-tech guns trained on Wally.

That was the absolute worst place they could have them trained.

"Run, Wally, run!" Barry shouted. Wally did just that, barely avoiding the three blasts of energy. Barry charged after Captain Cold, but before he could get to him, the man with the eye stalks of a snail hit Barry with a blast from his gun. Barry was bathed in a gray light until the lightning around him vanished and he fell to the ground at a completely normal speed.

"Barry!" Wally shouted. He raced over to Barry, but the woman with the incredibly bulbous head blasted him with a beam of green energy that caused him to be suspended in midair, his body surrounded by a green aura.

"Sage Force energy," Barry said as he got off the ground.

"Exactamundo," Captain Cold said. "And you, Barry? You've been hit with Still Force; you're not gonna be running around for quite a while. Force energies are Black Hole's favorite toys, and it's only lieutenants like these guys who get to use them in battle. Me? I prefer to do things the old fashioned way." Captain Cold pointed his Cold Gun directly at Barry. "Or is this new fashioned? Hard to tell, it's all rather… anachronistic."

"I'll show you anachronistic!" Wally said. It was far from his best retort, but he had better things to focus on, like vibrating his molecules with enough intensity to destroy the Sage Force barrier surrounding his body. He did that, and once that was done, it was a simple matter of knocking all the lieutenants away with super speed punches and throwing the helmet of a downed soldier in-between Barry and Captain Cold to intercept a blast from his Cold Gun.

It was all very nice on Wally's part.

"Looks like someone's big boy pants do fit him. Let's see just how well," Captain Cold said. His body became bathed in a golden light that quickly shrank down and converged on his chest. The light around his chest shot out and morphed into the head of a snarling lion that easily collided with Wally and knocked him into a building.

Leonard Snart! Villain Name: Captain Cold! Quirk: Lionheart! Snart can gather up energy in his body to fire ethereal lion heads from his chest! The size and strength of them change depending on how long he's gone without eating meat; the rarer the better!

"I got a rare mignon waiting for me at home, so how about we end this soon?" Captain Cold asked as Wally fished himself out of rubble. Barry, despite still not having access to his speed, grabbed Captain Cold from behind and brought him into a headlock. Physical strength was never a Speedster's forte, however, so Captain Cold was able to easily break out and knock Barry aside with the butt of his Cold Gun. Wally moved to help, but the man with the incredibly muscular physique blasted him with a beam of brown energy that forced him flat to the ground.

Strength Force was the absolute worst.

"On the count of three, let's put 'em down! One!" Captain Cold pointed his Cold Gun at Barry while the other two Black Hole lieutenants pointed their guns at Wally. Of all the times for Wally to not have his head in the game, it had to be during a fight and not during game night with Linda and the Quicks. "Two!" What he wouldn't give to trade all this for a game of Justice Society Monopoly.

"Giganta!" That was not the number that came after three; it wasn't even a number. It was, however, a giant-sized Doris running onto the scene, kicking the Black Hole lieutenant with the Strength Force gun away like a soccer ball and sending him completely out of view. He was probably all right.

"Well, well, well, looks like I'm having chunky monkey for dessert," Captain Cold said, quickly firing his Cold Gun at Doris. Doris shrunk back down to normal height and avoided the blast, thought the top of her head still managed to catch some ice.

"Ah, that's super cold! And I'm not a monkey, I'm a gorilla, but I'm not that, either!"

"No need to explain yourself to the bad guys, girl, especially when they dress as bad as him," was what Wallace said when he zipped in and punched Captain Cold in the face right before doing the same to the remaining Black Hole lieutenants and running to Wally's side.

"I think I liked the other Kid Flash better," Captain Cold said before firing his Cold Gun at Wallace. Wallace responded to that by kicking the ground in front of him and making a wall of asphalt rise up and block the beam.

"What the hell are you doing, man?! You're supposed to be better than this, so get your head out of your ass!" Wallace shouted at Wally. Off in the background, Barry was dodging blasts of Captain Cold's Quirk by the skin of his teeth and Doris was doing her best to fend off blasts of Still and Sage Force energy.

None of that was good, and Wally couldn't just stand by and watch it.

"Getting lectured by my own intern on both of our first days. I really do suck at this," Wally said, punctuating the sentence with a bit of laughter. Over in the background, Barry had been knocked aside again and Captain Cold fired both his Quirk and his Cold Gun at Wally and Wallace.

"Think it's about time I stop sucking at it!" Wally punched the air in front of him, causing a large wall of wind to form in front of him and Wallace that blocked the entirety of the dual attack.

Wally West II and Wally West III! Hero Names: Flash III and Kid Flash II! Quirks: The Wall! When these cousins punch or kick something, a wall made of the same material appears in front of them! It even works on things that aren't solid, like air! Making too many in a row makes them weak, but one should be more than enough!

"All right!" Doris cheered before punching the woman with the incredibly bulbous head while standing at twenty feet, burying her in the ground up to her neck.

"Kid Flash, battery maneuver, go!" Wally shouted.

"Aye aye, captain," Wallace said. The two of them started running in circles around Barry and Captain Cold, though neither one was anywhere near them.

"No attacks? Looks like Wally hit his head harder than I thought. As for the kid, well, I guess he's just stupid," Captain Cold said as he pointed his Cold Gun at Barry.

"You're the stupid one here, Cold. You know why?" Barry asked.

"Enlighten me."

"You forgot to check your calendar for today's Flash Fact: if you ever need a charge, Central City has a trio of Heroes who can make lightning anytime they want."

Captain Cold's face fell, and while it did, Wally and Wallace ended their circling to focus the momentum they built up to fire two shots of lightning at Barry. The remaining Black Hole lieutenant attempted to intercept them with a blast of Still Force, but Doris—body the size of a giant—picked him up and tossed him fifty feet away. She was a good girl, and thanks to that, Barry was charged with enough lightning to dispel the Still Force energy from his body minutes before it would naturally run out.

"Well, like I said, I got a nice mignon waiting for me at home, so—" Captain Cold didn't get to finish his sentence as Barry delivered a supersonic uppercut to his jaw. He was unconscious before he even hit the ground.

"Guess Snart forgot how frigid we Heroes can be," Barry said. Behind him, Doris—back to normal size—ran over to Wallace to celebrate the victory with a big kiss, It was sickening to watch.

"Ha! 'Frigid!' Good one, Barry!" Wally said.

"What is?"

"Ah, never mind." With the way Wally had been screwing up, he didn't have it in him to bust Barry's chops about his middling sense of humor.

After the fight had ended, the police arrested Captain Cold and the Black Hole soldiers who were terrorizing Brookfield Heights. All the money they had stolen from banks and local businesses were returned once they found it stashed in the back of an avocado toast point restaurant; the things people ate. Moving on, the Force energy guns were confiscated and taken to S.T.A.R. Labs so Harrison Wells could have a look at them. He mentioned something about wanting to track the surges of Strength and Sage Force he detected in Japan a year ago, but Wally wasn't listening. He had too much on his plate.

"There is way too much food on your plate and not in your stomach," Barry said as he polished off a Mighty Mac. After leaving S.T.A.R. Labs, the four of them decided to celebrate a job well done by going to Big Belly Burger, mostly because Doris wouldn't stop shouting about how happy she was. Doris got a Mini Mighty Meal because it came with a free All Might toy, and Wally, Barry and Wallace got their usual orders of two of everything on the menu.

"Maybe I'm just filling my plate faster than you can track it," Wally said.

"You're not, though. You're not doing that, right?"

"No, I'm not."

"So what's going on with you, man?" Wallace asked as he bit into his Arkansas Smash Apple Pie. "You looked like a rank amateur out there; you looked like me! What gives?"

"I'm not a Sidekick anymore, that's what gives," Wally said.

"You said you wanted to be equal partners, though" Barry said while drinking from his Carolina Smash Coffee.

"I did, I do! Being able to stand on equal footing with you, Barry? That's been my dream for years! But when you told me to be the one to work with Wallace, that's when the pressure of it all started to sink in and when I really started thinking, 'Oh shit, I'm in charge of something.' I couldn't get it out of my head, and you kept getting hurt because of it."

"Oh, don't play that card. You think I was Mr. Perfect when I went solo? In my first year, I got tripped up on banana peels, I accidentally vibrated myself into a tree and stayed there for an hour, I willingly gave up the element of surprise multiple times just to monologue at people, and don't get me started on how many times I just let someone get away from me after they were out of sight for, like, two seconds."

"That's different. You didn't start becoming a Hero until you were in your twenties; you didn't have as much training or experience as most people do."

"Yeah, and one of those people is you. You know way more about being a Hero than I did at your age, so you shouldn't worry about screwing up so much. It's like I always tell you, Wally: every second is a gift, so don't waste them on things that don't matter."

When was the last time Wally heard that line, anyway? Graduation day? His wedding? Either way, it had the same calming effect on him that it always did and it never stopped being exactly what he needed to hear. Today was no different, in that regard.

"Seriously, Wally. This isn't gonna work if both Wallys don't know what their doing, so just relax and keep acting like the cocky goofball we all know and tolerate," Wallace said.

"Don't overthink your actions. After all, he who thinks great thoughts often makes great errors," Doris said. It was surprisingly well-crafted and elegant for her. "Cool! My All Might has kung fu action grip!" That made more sense.

"You guys are right. I was getting too caught up in forcing myself to be my own man and be everyone's hope when really-when really, I should have just let that all come naturally."

"Exactly!" Barry said. "You might have new responsibilities now, but that doesn't mean anyone's expecting you to be perfect—wait, what was that last thing you said?"

"Oh, you know, who can remember anything, anymore?"

"Did you say you were everyone's hope?" After thirteen seconds, Wally responded with, "Maybe?"

"Where did you get that from?" Wallace asked.

"You know, like, in a dream or something," Wally said with an awkward smile on his face.

"Dude, literally no one has ever called you that before. Why would they, anyway? That's dumb."

"I thought it sounded nice for, like, a second."

"Did you get hit in the head too hard? Did you take a little too much speed weed today?" Barry asked.

"No, and no! You know I only do that on Tuesdays."

"What the hell is speed weed?" Wallace asked.

"You don't know?" Barry asked. "Oh, it's simple. You just make a joint," Barry zipped out of Big Belly Burger for half a second and returned with a nearly complete joint in hand, "and when you're sealing it up, you do it with a little bit of Speed Force energy." Barry sealed the joint with a tiny bolt of lightning from his fingertip and it glowed yellow for a brief moment. "That makes it supercharged and lets you get an amazing high. I always use it when I need to just force myself to eat tons of food at once."

"That is something else," Wallace said with a laugh as Barry handed him the speed weed.

"Be careful with that. Just because marijuana's legal in all fifty-seven states doesn't mean that you can do it whenever you want. Don't smoke it in school, and definitely don't be high while on the job."

"Aye aye, captain."

"First I get to fight Captain Cold, then I get to watch the Flash roll a joint? This is the best day of my human life!" Doris shouted.

"You know what'd make it even better? If you gave me those fries," Wally said while shoveling mountains of food into his mouth.

"Great. He's got his appetite back," Wallace said with an eyeroll.

"I can fire both of you, you know."

"Please, don't!" Doris said as she threw her fries into Wally's mouth.

"No, you don't have to do that!" Barry said.

"I disagree strongly with that," Wally said. It went on like that between the four of them for a while, and Wally wouldn't have wanted it any other way. All of that laughter and camaraderie with nary a hint of a crisis was exactly what the doctor ordered.

And it was a great prescription.

Flash Fact on… Flash III!

Name: Wally West II

Hero Name: The Flash III

Age: 30

Power: Quirk: The Wall/Mutation: Speed Force conduit

Enemies: Zoom, Captain Cold and the Rogues, Black Hole, Neron, Vandal Savage

Backstory: Wally West II didn't grow up in the best of circumstances. His mother and father were respectively emotionally and physically abusive, and every time they had a fight in their failing marriage, he ended up in the middle of it. All of that changed, however, when his parents sent him to Central City to spend the summer with his aunt Iris, and to his surprise, she had just got engaged to his favorite Hero Barry Allen, AKA The Flash II! Barry became the best friend and father that Wally never had, and with an enhanced desire to be just like him, Wally replicated the experiment that gave Barry his super speed, lightning bolt and everything.

Despite how utterly stupid an idea it was, it actually worked, and Wally became the newest member of the Flash Family. Once his parents got a divorce, he was free to move to Central City and become Barry's first Sidekick, Kid Flash. From there, he eventually got married, started sharing a moniker with Barry, and even became the fastest man alive. Not a bad life for a sad kid from the suburbs to have.

Miscellaneous: Wally lets people think Barry's the fastest man alive because despite the showboating, he's actually quite humble about a lot of things in his life.

His greatest fear is going so fast that everything around him is frozen by comparison.

Used to dye his hair brown. It did not look good.

Flash Fact on… Flash II!

Name: Barry Allen

Hero Name: The Flash II

Age: 42

Power: Quirk: Forensic Analysis/Mutation: Speed Force conduit

Enemies: Reverse-Flash I, Captain Cold and the Rogues, Black Hole, The Turtle, Cobalt Blue

Backstory: His name is Barry Allen, and he is the (second)fastest man alive. When Barry was nine, he saw his mother killed by something impossible, though it was later revealed to be the time travelling criminal Eobard Thawne. His father went to prison for her murder, and he was put in the care of friends of the family.

Like any kid his age, Barry had dreams of becoming a Hero, and those dreams became intensified by a desire to find his mother's real killer. Unfortunately, his foster family became increasingly poor as the years went on, so Barry decided to go to a normal high school instead of a Hero School in order to have enough free time to get a job to help pay the bills. With that, Barry abandoned his dreams of becoming a Hero and became a forensic analyst, though it was still with the intention of proving his father's innocence.

All of that changed one night when Barry, while experimenting with various chemicals in his lab, was struck by a bolt of lightning that both left him in a coma for months and gave him rock hard abs. When he awoke from his coma, he discovered that he had developed a connection with the Speed Force and could move faster than the human eye, and then some. Just like that, Barry was blessed with new opportunity. He used the Late Bloomer Clause to take night classes for a year before being awarded a Hero License, and from there, he took up the moniker of his childhood Hero Jay Garrick.

He became the Flash.

Miscellaneous: Has a reputation of being the boring Speedster, but he can be fun when pressed into it.

Says that he gave his kids the same name (Dawn and Don)because his wife Iris said that that's a popular naming convention in the 30th. century, but Wally thinks he's just bad at names.

Has made too much money to count selling speed weed.

Flash Fact on… Kid Flash II!

Name: Wallace "Wally" West III

Hero Name: Kid Flash II

Age: 17

Power: Quirk: The Wall/Mutation: Speed Force conduit

Enemies: Reverse-Flash II, Avatar Zoom, Savitar, The Thinker, the Cicada Cult, Captain Cold and the Rogues, Black Hole

Backstory: Wallace West III is the son of Daniel West, the half-brother of Wally West II's father, Rudy West. His branch of the West family was never good at having money, at least by honest means, and Wallace even turned to delinquency after his mother died. After Daniel was arrested for robbery, it seemed like Wallace was destined to head down the same path until he was taken in by his estranged aunt Iris and her husband Barry Allen, AKA the Flash II. Just like Wally before him, Wallace found family and companionship with Iris and Barry that he had never known before, and he wished that a miracle would happen that would let him stay in their world.

Ask and ye shall receive. One day, Daniel escaped from Iron Heights and became a foot soldier for the terrorist organization Black Hole. During a fight with Barry and Wally, a Speed Force battery exploded in Daniel's face, turning him into a new Reverse-Flash hellbent on killing everyone with a connection to the Speed Force. Wanting to protect his new family, Wallace used another Speed Force battery to turn himself into a Speedster, and with their combined power, they were able to take Daniel down. It was hard putting his own father in jail, but Wallace was able to handle it.

After all, he had a pretty great family to fill the void.

Miscellaneous: Wallace and Wally are both named after their great-grandfather, Wallace West I.

Wallace used to dream of reviving and joining the Teen Titans.

Out of all of the Flashes, Wallace speaks the best Japanese.

Flash Fact on… Giganta!

Name: Doris Greystoke Zuel

Hero Name: Giganta

Age: 17/Whatever's the equivalent in gorilla years.

Power: Mutation: Size manipulation

Enemies: Gorilla Grodd, Mystery Japanese Underboss, Captain Cold and the Rogues

Backstory: Doris was an ordinary gorilla living in the African wilds before she was captured by the evil Gorilla Grodd. Grodd was working with a mysterious underboss from Japan to try and create an army of super powerful animals for the sake of taking over Gorilla City. The plan was to simply give the African wildlife various abilities while also making them his obedient slaves, but when Doris threw a piece of banana in one of Grodd's beakers, it altered the composition of a chemical she was later forced to drink. Not only did she become immune to his mind control, but she also transformed into a human teenage girl with the ability to alter her size at whim. At around the same time, Grodd's operation was discovered and foiled by Barry Allen and Wally and Wally West, Flash Squared and Kid Flash, and Doris was finally free. With no home to go back to, the aging Garricks took Doris in, and she decided to use her newfound form and abilities to become a Hero.

Miscellaneous: Fell in love with Wallace partly because he was the one who got her out of her cage. Their relationship is sweet, yet sickening.

Gets excited about pretty much everything. Barry finds it annoying, but it's actually quite endearing.

Has no strong opinion on Wonder Woman.

Flash Fact on… Captain Cold!

Name: Leonard Snart

Villain Name: Captain Cold

Age: 42

Power: Quirk: Lionheart

Threat Level: A

Backstory: Snart grew up in an abusive home with a father he constantly traded blows in order to protect his sister. After dropping out of Libby Lawrence High's Support Department, he and sister ran away from home, and Snart took up a life of crime. It started out as just a means of supporting himself, but at some point, Snart realized that it felt good to be bad, so he decided to become Central City's Kingpin of Crime.

All of that, of course, fell apart when Barry Allen became the Flash and destroyed his operation in a matter of days. Central City now had a Hero who was too good for normal guns and bombs, so Snart went back to the books and created a gun that could fire beams of ice cold enough to disrupt Speed Force energy. He dubbed it as his Cold Gun and rebranded himself as Captain Cold, the number one enemy of the Flash Family.

Miscellaneous: Snart is the leader and founder of the Rogues, a gang of Central City's top solo acts gathered together to have a fighting chance against the Flash. Despite being Villains, the Rogues have a rule explicitly forbidding the murder of civilians; they go in, steal what they want to steal, then get out.

While Snart is the archenemy of the Flash Family, he's usually pretty civil with them, and they've developed a sense of respect for one another.

Surprisingly, he's not a fan of ice cream.

Flash Fact for… Black Hole!

Name: Black Hole

Base of Operations: Central City

Threat Level: S

Backstory: Black Hole is a terrorist organization founded by the mysterious Raijin. Their goal is to gain complete control over the Force energies—Speed, Still, Strength, and Sage—in order to rule the world. They constantly attack Central City and other cities in the Midwest to steal funds for their research, and their use of pocket dimension technology makes it impossible to locate their base.

Flash Fact for… the Force Energies!

Power: Enhanced speed, electrokinesis, increased healing, etc. (Speed Force)

Localized chronokinesis, kinetic energy nullification (Still Force)

Gravity manipulation, muscle manipulation (Strength Force)

Telepathy, telekinesis, illusions, increased intelligence (Sage Force)

Backstory: When the universe was born from the perpetual, primordial ooze, the pieces of it were held in place by four mystic energies. Their original names have been lost to time, but in present day, they are known as the Force Energies—Speed Force, Still Force, Strength Force, and Sage Force. While the Speed Force has often been a force for good since the days of Jay Garrick (though there have certainly been plenty of people who used it for evil), the Still Force has often been a force for evil, its most prominent user being longtime enemy of the Flash Family, The Turtle. Not much is known about the Strength and Sage Forces by comparison, but if they're anything like the Speed and Still Forces, then one will lean toward Justice and the other toward Doom.

Miscellaneous: While there are many variations, the Speed, Still, Strength and Sage Forces are often associated with the colors yellow, white, brown and green, respectively.

There was a sudden surge of Strength and Sage Force energy in Japan a year prior, but it died down before the Council of Wells could investigate.

Chapter Text







Whatever reactions you might have to this chapter are completely intentional, to a certain extent.

His arms felt like they were going to fall off, but he didn't care. His legs felt like they were going to explode, but he didn't care. His body felt like it just got caught in a snowstorm, but he didn't care. His nose felt like it would shatter into a million pieces, but he didn't care. He could deal with all of it. He could stomach all the pain he was feeling because he knew that what was coming up would more than serve as compensation.

"Deku!" Payback.

"K-Kacchan!" Midoriya shouted when Bakugou burst into the room he was in. He probably didn't expect him to find it as quickly as he did, but if he didn't, then he wouldn't be Katsuki Bakugou.

"You got rid of Karate Kid, and I just kicked Two-Face's ass. It's just you and me now, just like it should be."

"R-Right." Midoriya put up a guard, or at least what was supposed to pass as a guard. Truly pathetic.

"What the hell is that supposed to be? Fine, whatever. Either way, I'm comin' at you, Deku!" Just as he promised, Bakugou came at Midoriya, attacking him with a flying kick. However, in spite of Midoriya's atrocious guard, he was able to deflect the attack with ease by grabbing Bakugou's leg and slamming him into the ground. Bakugou winced in pain for a split second, but even still, Midoriya stepped back a bit. The nerve of him. Regardless, Bakugou jumped up and quickly closed the gap between the two of them to hit Midoriya with a fiery explosion, point blank.

His clothes were barely even singed.

"W-Wow! My costume is perfectly fine," Midoriya said. "Those Seventh Metal fibers are stronger than I thought. Thanks, Dad."

"If you got time to talk to yourself, you got time to fight me!" Bakugou threw a kick at Midoriya's head, but he ducked without breaking a sweat. Bakugou then used a small explosion to launch himself into the air. He ended up behind Midoriya, and once he was there, he threw a Die Die Discus right at Midoriya's face.

It exploded, but only because Midoriya used his heat vision to destroy it before it could reach him.

"You saw what that could do with your shitty X-ray vision, didn't you?" Bakugou asked as he landed on his feet.

"Even if I didn't, you're still throwing something at my face!"

"Semantics!" Bakugou threw another Die Die Discus at Midoriya, but that time it was aimed at a nearby support beam and broke it apart instantly on contact. The top half of it fell on top of Midoriya, and while it didn't force him to move at all, it did allow Bakugou a chance to launch himself behind Midoriya uninhibited. It barely took a second for Midoriya to clear away the rubble that was covering him, but that was plenty of time for Bakugou to put his newest plan into action.

"Eat shit and die!" His newest plan being to stuff all of his remaining Die Die Discuses into Midoriya's hoodie, throw the hoodie up over his head, and ignite them all before Midoriya could stop him. For the most part, the plan worked. A few Die Die Discuses fell out of the overstuffed hoodie, but their explosions merely caught Midoriya on his sides. Either way, Midoriya was caught in a massive ball of fire that blew the two of them away from each other, and as Bakugou caught himself on another support beam, he knew with absolute certainty that his attack had to have broken through Midoriya's massive defenses.

It didn't work. The hoodie looked a little fringed and his face was covered in soot, but Midoriya was otherwise fine. Because of course he was.

"Are you kidding me?!" Bakugou's shout was met with no response; Midoriya was preoccupied with having his hands on his ears and saying "mawp" repeatedly.

"That was… That was really something else. I know it didn't really hurt me, but still! If it was anyone else, then that would have been the end of it, so you should feel happy about—"

"Shut your ass up with that patronizing crap!"

"I-I'm not trying to—"

"Where do you get off acting like a soccer mom congratulating their kid for earning a for participation? I've been waiting ten years for this fight, and you keep treating it like some kind of joke! Two-Face, too! You both halfass things against me, even when there's no reason for it!"

"No reason? Kacchan you-do you honestly think I don't care about this?" Midoriya's eyes suddenly had a sliver of added resolve reflected in them. "Of course I care! You're not the only one who wants to have a good fight, you know, but it's-it's not that easy. Even Todoroki-kun probably didn't want to hold back against you, there was just-just something in his head keeping him from going all out. No one's acting like you don't deserve a fair fight!"

"What did I say about patronizing me! Don't say you want a fair fight when you're just letting me run around doing shit all nothing to you! Stop making fun of me!"

"Stop saying that!" The sliver of resolve in Midoriya's eyes shifted into a hefty piece. "Stop saying that I'm the one making fun of you when you're the one dressing like that!" Midoriya pointed a finger at Bakugou's chest, at Bakugou's scar. "I-I can barely even look at you like that, so if you're not doing it just to throw me off, just to keep reminding me of what I did, then I don't know what you think it means to make fun of someone, at all!"

"What?" That did something. Things were already being done to Bakugou, but that did something worse than all the other things, put together. "You think I'm making fun of you? You think this," Bakugou jammed a thumb into his chest, "is so can make fun of you?!" Out of nowhere, Bakugou began to laugh. "Fine. Fine! Go ahead and think that, go ahead and think you're the one who's a laughing stock. If that's how it is, then take this as me being done laughing!"

As a reminder, Katsuki Bakugou's Quirk makes him sweat a nitroglycerin-like substance that can explode on contact. As with the majority of superhuman abilities, using it too much leaves him exhausted and puts a great strain on his body. In order to work around that limitation, his costume included multiple accessories that stored his sweat to be used at his convenience. The gloves on his hands were one example of this, the Die Die Discuses another. However, the best example had to be the gauntlets Bakugou wore around his wrists. They were the largest accessories in his costume, so they naturally carried the most sweat out of everything he used.

Just as their grenade-like appearance implied, activating them was as simple as pulling a pin. Once Bakugou did just that, a massive explosion shot out of his right hand, far larger than anything he had produced earlier in the match, and it hit Midoriya without fail. The dust cleared, and while everything behind Midoriya was reduced to near nothingness, Midoriya himself appeared perfectly fine, even if he was now clinging to a gaping hole in the wall. Unlike before, Bakugou wasn't upset by that; all of that was just him blowing off steam.

"Bakugou, my boy, if you use an attack like that again, I'm ending the match and automatically making the Villain Team the victors," came All Might's voice from over the loudspeakers. "That last attack makes Young Ashido's earlier behavior look like nothing. In a real life situation, that much power could easily cause enough damage to set off the bomb, and whatever allegiance you fall under, that's something you'd want to avoid! Your objectives are to either subdue Young Midoriya or take control of the bomb; don't go overboard with either one of those!"

"Quit saying shit I already know!" Bakugou shouted as Midoriya pulled himself back into the building. All Might was just being as concerned as the Number One Hero should be, Bakugou knew that. It didn't change the fact that hearing it pissed Bakugou off, nor did it change the fact that the massive firepower he was so concerned about could barely even leave a scratch on Midoriya. It didn't matter. One way or another, Bakugou was coming out of the fight with a win under his belt.

"And if I can't do it in one blow, then I'll just keep beating you until you keel over!" Once again, Bakugou launched himself at Midoriya with an explosion, and as expected, Midoriya dodged with ease. Bakugou, however, was hardly deterred by that and used another explosion to get him right back on track with much clearer success. He used his extra momentum to hit Midoriya with a rolling savate, but he was too resilient to move. No matter. It was just a means of closing the gap between them, and once that was done, Bakugou slammed an explosion into Midoriya with enough force to bring him down to the ground, and in that moment of pause from Midoriya, Bakugou went down, grabbed his leg, and put him in the strongest ashi-hishigi he could muster. As soon as it was set, Bakugou started releasing explosion after explosion onto Midoriya's leg.

"I don't care how invincible you act like you are! Even if your body's tough, I'll just keep blasting it until you break!" Bakugou did what he could to put his money where his mouth was and kept letting out explosions at rapidfire. Each blast became progressively weaker than the last, but he didn't let up in the slightest. His arms felt like they were hanging on by a thread, but he didn't let up in the slightest. His legs felt like they had been reduced to rubble, but he didn't let up in the slightest. His body still felt like it was frozen, but he didn't let up in the slightest. His nose felt like it was digging straight into his flesh, but he didn't let up in the slightest. He could deal with all of it. He could stomach all the pain he was feeling because he knew that if there was even a one percent chance that he could win, then he had to treat that as an absolute certainty.

"E-E-Enough!" Midoriya shouted. With the same hefty piece of resolve in his eyes, Midoriya flew off the ground with Bakugou still grabbing his leg. Bakugou knew that Midoriya had suddenly gained the power of flight, but this was both his first time seeing it and his first time experiencing it, so the shock of it all was enough to make him stop his assault.

"What the—"

"I'm not your punching bag, okay?!" Midoriya swung his captive leg down with so much ferocity that Bakugou lost his grip and went flying into a wall.

So he's flying now. Of course he is, Bakugou thought. Midoriya was floating down towards him with the first digestible look on his face Bakugou had seen all day. He didn't know what it was exactly, but he did something to finally start a real fight. He felt a twinge in his chest from the impact, but he only kept his hand there for a second. There was too much on the line to care about that, and he needed to keep to it.

That couldn't be any truer no matter how hard he tried, so why was Midoriya coming to a stop without even being within striking distance of him?

"I can't do it," Midoriya said, for some reason. "I-I was trying to be better than I was, but I just-I just can't. I can't do that, so… you win."

More vile words had never landed on Bakugou's ears.


"You win. I don't want to fight you anymore, so just finish it, okay?"

Midoriya sat down on the ground with his legs crossed. His back went into a bit of a slouch, as well. He really did it. He really gave up the fight. It was like he got his chest destroyed all over again.

Whatever, Bakugou thought. If he doesn't want it to matter, then fine. I won't let it matter. Bakugou stepped away from Midoriya and headed over to the bomb, suspended above the ground in a hammock of ice for some reason. It wasn't so high above the ground that a good explosion-boosted jump wouldn't let him touch it, though.

It also wasn't so high above the ground that Bakugou couldn't destroy it with a blast from his left gauntlet, which is exactly what he did. Once the dust cleared, All Might called for them both to come back with a nervous-laden tone.

He would have liked to think that meant he wasn't the only one disappointed, but he knew better.

"W-Well, this is certainly unexpected!" All Might said, his words punctuated with nervous laughter. "In a real life situation, what Young Bakugou did would most likely have killed everyone, but there technically isn't a rule against it, nor does my teaching handbook have instructions for this kind of scenario. I know I said that you'd be disqualified if you used that attack again, but you didn't aim it at anyone, and considering the other circumstances surrounding this exercise, let's just call this one a draw."

"Whatever," Bakugou said. The air inside the monitor room was tense to say the least. Bakugou was barely looking at All Might, Midoriya was doing his best to avoid the stares of anyone who tried to look at him, Todoroki was sulking in a corner, and the rest of the class looked like they just walked in on a murder scene. Everyone except Kirishima, who looked like he was lost in thought, for some reason.

"Well, a draw's not that great, but it's better than a loss, right?" Kendou, as it turned out, was another exception, as she seemed to be the only one in anything remotely resembling a good mood.

"That's right, Kendou, my girl! And since I have you, I'll come right out and say that you were the MVP of this match! Does anyone other than Young Yaoyorozu want to explain why?" All Might asked. Yaoyorozu looked around and saw that no one was doing anything.

"Really? Well, okay then," Yaoyorozu said. "Kendou-san was the MVP because, quite frankly, she was the only one who did what they were supposed to. She responded to Todoroki-san's assault in the most appropriate manner one could and used good deductive reasoning to figure out where the bomb was located. From there, she was able to execute a good plan for obtaining victory that only failed because her opponent completely outclassed her—no offense."

"It's fine, I've already made peace with it," Kendou said.

"Going off of that, Midoriya-san… Midoriya-san was right to stay at the bomb when Todoroki-san left to fight on his own, and he reacted appropriately to Kendou-san's assault, but none of that resourcefulness was present when facing Bakugou-san. All he did was react to Bakugou-san's attacks, and the one time he allowed himself the advantage, he simply gave up fighting, for some reason. I-I'm not trying to be mean, that's simply how things appeared to me."

Her face went along with that statement, and Midoriya's made it look like he believed her.

"Moving on, Bakugou-san was smart to separate Todoroki-san from Kendou-san so she could go after the bomb, and he did a good job handling him on his own, but when Midoriya-san gave up the fight, he didn't take advantage of it and let himself become lost in his whatever rage he has towards Midoriya-san."

Bakugou wanted to lay into her with everything that was wrong with that statement, but it was taking all he had just to stand up, so he kept silent.

"Then there's Todoroki-san, who, much to my surprise, had the worst performance out of the four. He abandoned his post from the start, and unlike Mineta-san, he didn't take advantage of his surroundings to try and get the drop on his opponents or do anything remotely clever." Mineta was cheering and pumping his fist in the background, probably in celebration of the probable first time someone's ever favorably compared him to someone else. "Todoroki-san went down there just to try and win it all for himself, and after all of that, he didn't even win his fight with Bakugou-san because he devoted time to gloating. Furthermore, Todoroki-san… you were holding back, weren't you?"

Todoroki looked up at the class for the first time since the debriefing started.

"At the end of your fight with Bakugou-san, you held up your left arm in response to his attack, but it didn't look like you were trying to defend yourself. Rather, your posture made it appear as if you were about to attack Bakugou-san before changing your mind."

"Come to think of it, it did look as if Todoroki-kun was planning something," Iida said.

"But what was all of that sparkly stuff around his arm? That never showed up when he used his ice," Uraraka said.

"Does Todoroki possess a hidden trump card completely removed from his ice powers, perhaps?" Tokoyami asked. The rest of the class went on in that manner until All Might held up a hand for them to stop.

"Todoroki, my boy, as your teacher, I obviously know the answer to this question and am happy to answer it, but this is supposed to be your learning experience, so I would suggest that you save us all the trouble," All Might said.

"Fine," Todoroki said after a moment of silence. "My Quirk is called Half-Hot, Half-Cold. It lets me make ice from the right side of my body… and fire from my left." Patches of ice started to form around his left foot, and from his right hand came a small flame that stayed for a few seconds before vanishing.

It appeared that Bakugou was wrong when he thought that he couldn't be madder at Todoroki than he already was.

"Whoa! Your Quirk lets you do that? That's awesome! Why did you lose?" Kaminari asked.

"Right? If his fire's even half as overpowered as his ice, it should have been easy to win by using both," Sero said.

"Seriously, what the hell man?" Kendou asked. "You could have blasted me with fire when I was trying to escape, and if you didn't stop yourself at such a critical moment, you could have beaten Bakugou and won the match."

"I don't care!" Todoroki shouted. "I don't care that I lost like this. If you're saying that I could have won if I used my fire, then that just means I need to get better with my ice. I swore a long time ago that I would never use my left side in a fight, and the only thing I regret is that someone like Bakugou almost made me forget that." The anger in his voice was livid and laced with loathing; the expression on his face was contorted with chaotic cynicism.

"Screw you, man!" Mineta shouted. "You didn't screw things up for just yourself, you know; Midoriya lost because you decided to half-ass your fight! How the hell are you gonna say you won't go all out in a fight when you just lost because of it? You couldn't put up, so you might as well shut up."

"Holy shit, I agree with you? This a really weird day," Jirou said.

"Mineta's right, though. Acting like you don't need to use all your power in a fight doesn't make you look cool if you lose, it just makes you, you know, a loser," Ashido said. The rest of the class went on in that manner until All Might held up a hand for them to stop.

"Todoroki, my boy, I'm sure you have a good reason for this ideology of yours, but today's match proves just how limiting it is," All Might said. "A true Hero shouldn't be afraid to go all out when the situation demands it, nor should they willingly take their own cards off the table. Not only that, but a Hero shouldn't go out of their way to prevent others from helping them. These kinds of arrogant decisions unfavorably tip the scales of life and death not just for yourself, but for the innocent lives you're meant to be protecting. You'd do well to remember that, Young Todoroki."

Todoroki just sighed and turned away from All Might. The guy truly had a lot of nerve, and that sentiment was coming from Bakugou, of all people.

"As for Young Midoriya and Young Bakugou, just as Young Yaoyorozu said, you two acted well right up until the end of the exercise where you fell apart for reasons… that only you can understand," All Might said with a spot of hesitation. "It's not my job to pry into your psyches and personal lives, so if that's what's getting in your way, then all I can tell you is to do your best to get a handle on it. Speaking from personal experience, I know that's easier said than done, but saying it is really all I can do for, right now."

Midoriya let out a weak verbal acknowledgement.

Bakugou coughed up a spittle of blood.

"HOLY SHIT!" All Might shouted. "Bakugou, my boy, go to the nurse's office, now!"

"Fine! I'm done here, anyway," Bakugou said. He turned away from the staring eyes of his classmates—save for Kirishima, who still looked to be lost in thought—and exited the monitor room. He heard All Might tell him off, so like he said, he didn't need to be there anymore.

The second Bakugou stepped inside the nurse's office, his scowl got deeper than before. With everything that had been happening lately, he had forgotten that Recovery Girl worked at U.A., and she certainly ranked high on the list of people he didn't want to see if he could avoid it.

"Well you're certainly a sight for sore eyes," Recovery Girl said.

"Fuck off, hag," Bakugou said as he sat down on a bed.

"Nice to see that your mouth hasn't changed over the years. Now, then…" Recovery Girl stepped over to the bedside and looked Bakugou over. "Those are some serious injuries you've got there. You must have been fighting quite the tough cookie."

"Just some little bitch."

"Well whatever the case, it doesn't look like they're so serious that I can't take care of it in one go." Recovery Girl leaned over and kissed Bakugou on the cheek. He could feel her healing Quirk taking effect, the power of it rushing over his body and clearing away all of the wounds he had suffered at Todoroki's hand.

It felt good to breathe through his nose again.

"There you go, all better." Recovery Girl handed him a Crunch bar. "Eat that while I go get a towel to wipe off all that blood."

Recovery Girl walked over to the sink, pulled out a towel, and held it under warm water. Bakugou, meanwhile, ate the Crunch bar, and as Recovery Girl came back to his side, he kept telling himself that it was because he wanted to eat it, not because Recovery Girl told him to.

"I'm glad you got accepted here, kid. I've been meaning to apologize to you for a while." Bakugou stopped eating as Recovery Girl wiped him down. "When you were in the hospital after your accident, I gave you some harsh words of advice that, looking back on them, would have been unwarranted even if you weren't a child. At such a difficult time, what you needed were words of encouragement, not people trying to beat you down for dreaming, and I'm sorry for taking too long to figure that out."

"Where the hell is this shit coming from?"

"Let's just say that in the time since we last spoke, I've gained a new perspective on reckless meatheads who try to keep fighting the good fight in spite of their injuries. It's stupid, but at the same time, it's something quite admirable."

Whether it was because of her words or because she was rubbing a towel against his scar, Bakugou felt a tingle in his chest. Either way, it didn't feel all too unpleasant.

"Okay, I'm done," Recovery Girl said. "Head on back to class now and tell All Might I said hello."

"Don't tell me what to do," Bakugou said as he finished his Crunch bar. Either way, he left the nurse's office with mixed emotion.

The rest of U.A.'s first day seemed to become a blur after Hero Studies, half because there was only one period left in the day, half because it was hard to think about anything other than Midoriya and Bakugou's fight. Of course, Ashido seemed like her usual self, so maybe it was just Kirishima.

"Hey, are you even listening?" Ashido asked as the two of them waited for the train back to Chiba.

"No, not really," Kirishima said, the words coming out blunter than he would have liked.

"Geez, you've been like this all afternoon; you and Midoriya, both. No wonder you screwed up so much in your fight. I still feel bad for Kaminari; he deserved better."

"It's not like he died, or anything."

"Yeah, but he probably wishes he was dead. Honestly, I can't even blame him."

If Kirishima was being perfectly honest, he had other things he wanted to think about outside of Kaminari's wellbeing. Or maybe it was just things he couldn't stop thinking about. Or maybe it was a mixture of both. Either way, Midoriya and Bakugou kept dominating his thoughts without rest. Midoriya had already been there since the impression he made during the entrance exam, but Bakugou was a more recent entry thanks to his aggressive nature and overall manliness. They were just trading spots before, but now they were both stuck in there at once.

Them and a memory of something from a year ago.

"Seriously Kirishima, knock it off. I've never seen your face look so serious, and it's kinda freaking me out," Ashido said.

"I've got a lot on my mind right now, I can't—hold on, back up a bit. Why are you looking at my face?"

"Wuzzat?" It looked as if Ashido's pupils were receding into her black sclera a bit. Not that Kirishima was trying to look, or anything.

"That last thing you said. Why are you looking at my face, and how much are you doing it?"

"Yeah, see, the thing about that is—hey look, our train!" Sure enough, the train had arrived, and as soon as the doors opened, Ashido ran inside and sat down somewhere. Kirishima sighed. Even if they ended up sitting near each other like usual—something that was not at all worth getting worked up over—she probably wouldn't be in the mood to start talking about whatever this was again. Though if Kirishima was being honest, he was happy for that, as it was hardly something he wanted to think about at that time.

The rest of U.A.'s first day seemed to become a blur after Hero Studies, half because there was only one period left in the day, half because it was hard to think about anything other than Midoriya and Bakugou's fight. Bakugou was truly sick of it, and at that point, all he wanted to do was go home, feed Dexter, and cleanse his mind of all of it.

"Kacchan!" The world wasn't going to let him have that so easily. Because of course it wouldn't.

"What the hell do you want, Deku?" Bakugou asked. Midoriya was still wearing the same apologetic look he had since their fight. It was making him feel sick all over again.

"I-I'm sorry about earlier. I wanted to give you a fair fight—I really did—but I couldn't stop myself from getting stuck in my own head!" Midoriya said. "I thought I moved past everything, but when I saw you lying on the ground like that, it made me remember…"

There it was, more of the unwanted pity.

"I came to U.A. because in spite of everything, I still wanted to be a Hero, but other than that, I wanted a chance to fight you on even terms. I-I don't know when I'll be able to do it, and I know it's selfish to ask you to just wait for me—"

"Then don't do it, asshole!" Bakugou shouted. "What the hell are you even talking about? You want me to wait for you to catch up to me? Are you trying to make fun of me again? Fuck you! As if just you acting like you're better than me wasn't bad enough, now I've got Two-Face basically letting me win, and then there's Birdbrain with his fucking Genie… goddammit! This isn't over, you hear me?! I'm gonna be the greatest Hero there is, and I'm not gonna let you or anyone else look down on me again!"

Bakugou didn't want to start crying, but it ended up being out of his control. Still, it gave him an excuse to turn away from Midoriya and leave the school as quickly as possible.

He just wanted to go home, and he really hoped that Dexter was in the mood to play.

If Midoriya was being honest, he didn't know how he expected the talk to go. He had a semblance of an idea of being straight with Bakugou about how hard he tried to try and fight him, but everything outside of that escaped him, and it showed with how quickly Bakugou left the scene. What else could he have said, though? Should he have told him he was an alien? No, that would have been too much. What else, then?

"Midoriya, my boy!" Just as he tried to think of something, All Might jumped onto the scene.

"A-All Might!" Midoriya stammered out. "D-Did you hear any of that?"

"I caught some of it, yes. I thought about showing up sooner, but I thought it'd be best to let the two of you have your moment," All Might said. "Now then, about what you said to Young Bakugou—"

"I'm sorry. I know that I should have been better than this after everything we did last year, and I thought I was, but when I actually had to fight Kacchan, it felt like I was back at square one. I don't understand why that happened—"

"That's exactly what I wanted to address, and with just one simple question: are you an idiot?"

"What?" Of all the things Midoriya never expected All Might to say, that ranked high on the list.

"Did you think your problems were something that could just vanish so easily? You've had to deal with this for ten years, so how could they be completely dealt with in just one? If a person's problems were so easily manageable, then I never would have suffered my injury!" Midoriya had almost forgotten that part about All Might's story, how the enemy who injured him so heavily was one he had a personal connection with. "So don't get too down in the dumps over it! If the Symbol of Peace is in the same boat as you, then there's no reason to be so hard on yourself, right? Plus, the fact that you want to get better so badly? All that says is that you're just as human as the rest of us."

Midoriya didn't have the words to express how hearing that made him feel, so he opted to simply smile at his idol.

That would certainly suffice for now.

The first day of school at U.A. High. For many, it was a day of celebration; for others, it was a day of contemplation. However, for all of them—whether they realized it or not—this was the beginning of a time that would be plagued by a word whispered in the corners of every room since the primordial days: Doom.

For some people, this is simply a continuation of the Doom they had experienced in times past, either as a distant memory or as a recent remembrance.

The rest of U.A.'s first day seemed to become a blur after Hero Studies, half because there was only one period left in the day, half because it was hard to think about anything other than Midoriya and Bakugou's fight. Most of the class could only find and invent ways to talk about Midoriya, but when Uraraka was changing out of her costume, she could only think about Bakugou and the scar he put on display. Talking to the other girls, it seemed like none of them could make heads or tails of what he was trying to do with that. Some thought he was trying to look tough, others thought he wanted to freak people out, and more than half of them felt like it didn't matter because they were fine just enjoying the view; Uraraka couldn't relate to that point of view.

If Uraraka had to be asked about it, she would guess that it was none of the above. She would guess that Bakugou did it to send the world a message: "I've been hurt before, but so what?" It took a lot of confidence to do something like that, confidence that Uraraka knew she didn't possess.

It's not like I need to have that much faith in myself, anyway. For that specific thing, at least, Uraraka thought. As she put her shirt back on, the thoughts about Bakugou's scar made her brush a hand against her back. There was nothing there. Her back was smooth and flawless, just as it had been every day for the past year. There was nothing on her body that could serve as a reminder of her junior high days; all of the reminders existed solely in her head.

"Could it be that there's just something fundamentally wrong with you?"

"I only wish to see what path you decide will be laid out for you."

"Four down, three to go."

"We're approaching the climax. Doesn't that excite you, Ochaco?"

"Don't get cocky, you little slut!"

"Don't you have any respect, at all?!"

"This world exists for the powerful. What claim does a weakling like you have to it?"

"I do not oppose death if it is in service of your resolve."

Sixth period was going to start soon. She didn't need to remember all of that right then and there.

Her back is smooth, yet it carries the scars of a tale of tragedy. What sort of fates have befallen Uraraka? What is the story behind her Metahuman abilities? Find out in Ochaco Uraraka: Zero Year. Coming soon!

For other people, the Doom they feel is something that was lost to time, swept under the rug with all the other mistakes of history. It is something no one should remember, yet some are too stubborn to forget.

Sitting adrift in the Seto Inland Sea is an island known as Megijima. It's a small island, only 2.66 square kilometers in size, and the total population is roughly two-hundred. In spite of this, Megijima is a popular tourist attraction thanks to it supposedly being the real-life counterpart to the fictional Onigashima, the island where Momotaro traveled to in his quest to slay the demons plaguing his land.

It is befitting, then, that an island that was inhabited by demons of the past would be used to house demons of the present.

In present day, Megijima is home to the Misukatonikku Mental Health Institution. Founded decades prior in the aftermath of World War III, the Misukatonikku Mental Health Institution is the largest asylum in all of Asia. People are constantly sent there year after year from all over the continent; sometimes it's to receive legitimate treatment for their problems, but most of the time, Misukatonikku simply acts as a prison for criminals deemed too mentally unstable to be housed with the usual brand of criminal. For the present generation, the Misukatonikku Mental Health Institution has become the world's new Arkham Asylum.

It is within the confines of the institution that one can find a seemingly ordinary man. Bald head, short beard, light purple skin, nothing about him stands out in a physical sense. The only thing that matters is what's inside his head: memories that shouldn't exist as memories.

"Mornin', Joubu," a guard said as he stepped in front of Joubu's glass cell. "Feeling comfy in there?"

"You wouldn't do anything about it if I said no," Joubu said with his back turned to the guard.

"True, true. After all, it's not our job to make whackos like you have a nice bed to sleep on. Whackos who know how to grease the wheel are another story, though."

Joubu just mumbled something unintelligible under his breath.

"Well, either way, the paper's here. Can't give it to you in case you try and make yourself choke to death—like that wouldn't be a blessing—so I'll just read what's interesting."

Joubu didn't care. He was more than familiar with the song and dance at that point, so who was this supposed to benefit?

"Let's see… oh. Looks like that American Hero Lock-Up is almost done with his probation. A few more months of community service and he'll be back on the streets."

Joubu didn't care.

"That lifestyle company Detnerat just sealed a partnership with that Professor Mazursky fellow. He's not really in their field of expertise, though. Wonder if Detnerat's planning to go into the Hero business?"

Joubu didn't care.

"And then… oh! Here's something you might like to hear. That kid you're always on about got into U.A."

Joubu turned to face the guard. All that came out of his mouth was a quiet, "What?"

"Izuku Midoriya, right? Looks like he's the top incoming freshman at U.A. How's it feel to know that the kid who put you in here at age five is on his way to becoming a bigshot? Hell, in a few years, he'll probably give you a few buddies to pal around—"

The guard never finished his sentence. That would have been a hard thing to do with Joubu's hands around around his throat.

"That little punk!" Joubu shouted. "You're letting it into the system?! It doesn't belong there! I don't belong here! No one's where they belong, and I'm the only one who knows it!"

The guard, with only a sliver of air left in his lungs, pulled out a taser and jammed it against Joubu's forehead. The force was enough to make him let go, and the guard ran off calling for help.

"Run along, then. Run along to get your misguided goons to 'remind me of where I am.' I can take it. I have to take it. I, Koujou Joubu, am the only one who knows the truth. I'm the only one who can make that thing pay for its sins. The only one!"

As Joubu made his last exclamation, he rubbed his arm—bleeding from shards of glass being wedged in it—against the glass wall. It seemed like a random motion, but against all odds, it produced a bloody symbol: three circles joined together by thick lines to form a triangular shape.

It dripped onto the floor with reckless abandon.

A man sealed away from society speaks of everyone else being the true prisoners. What is the meaning of that symbol? What history does this man have with Midoriya? Find out in Time and Chance. Coming soon!

I'm really happy that I could get this chapter out so quickly, I really am. Next chapter will be pretty light in content, and it's overall nothing special. It'll cover the class president elections, have some more foreshadowing, firmly establish Midoriya's pairing, all that boring stuff. You might as well just skip it.

Chapter Text

"I'm telling you, it was definitely an alternate timeline."

"No, it was a stable time loop."

"That doesn't make sense though. They made it clear that time travel runs on multiverse theory, so you can't actually do anything to change the past."

"It's not changing the past if he was always supposed to go back in time and marry her."

"So are we just supposed to believe that he'd let decades worth of bad stuff happen?"

"Would you rather he did stick his dick in the timeline?"

"Kendou-san, please don't bring such vulgarity into this!"

"Yeah, yeah. Midoriya, you want to weigh in on this?"

"No, no I don't think I will," Midoriya said. If he was being perfectly honest, he wasn't in the mood to join the rest of the Monstars in their discussion of the logistics of time travel in various movies.

"Midoriya-kun, are you still bummed out about yesterday?" Uraraka asked. "I don't know what happened in your fight, but speaking from personal experience, it probably wasn't as bad as you think."

"You won't get anywhere if you let yourself be hung up on the negative aspects of life," Iida said while moving his arm in a chopping motion.

"Especially when it's Todoroki and Bakugou. They're just a couple of assholes, and you're too good to get hung up on the crap they say!" The statement was made by Mineta, who had joined the group when they got close to school grounds after he finished his morning workout with the Body Improvement Club.

"Mineta-san's right to a certain extent," Yaoyorozu said.

"I-I know, and I'm not trying to stay upset about it, but that's not really easy for a bunch of reasons. I mean, I don't think that's a bad thing anymore, but still—"

"You're probably good, then," Kendou said.


"I mean, if you know that you shouldn't be hung up on it, then you're at least on the right track, right? Besides, it's not like we're the only ones who don't think less of you for chickening out the way you did. You're a lover, not a fighter, or something along those lines, and there's nothing wrong with that."

"Y-Yeah," Midoriya said with a slight smile. It felt good to have a support pentagon of friends around him.

"As your friends have said, there is no need to get caught up in your failure. After all, even monkeys fall from trees."

"Huh. That's pretty profound, Ms. Yamashiro." As soon as the words left his mouth, Midoriya and the rest of the group did a collective double-take. Midoriya was sure that all six of them were equally surprised to see Yamashiro walking beside them.

"M-Ms. Yamashiro? When did you get here?" Midoriya asked.

"Five minutes ago," Yamashiro said. "I was concealing my presence from you so as not to interrupt your conversation… among other things."

"Man, I wish I was that good at doing that; I'd definitely get the last dumpling before Sensei or Kairi if I was," Kendou said.

"So that's how I missed that midriff!" Mineta said. Yamashiro just stared at Mineta; whether it was out of annoyance or out of an inability to say a lot, Midoriya didn't know.

"Mineta, don't stare at your teacher's stomach. Same goes for you, Uraraka." What Midoriya did know, however, was that that wasn't Yamashiro's voice, but Aizawa's. Looking down on the ground, he saw that Aizawa—wrapped up in his sleeping bag—was being dragged along the sidewalk by Yamashiro.

The amount of leeway Aizawa got as her supervisor was astounding.

"Anyway, you're probably tired of everyone talking about it Midoriya, but I might as well pile on with this: go about it however you want, just make sure you get your shit together sooner, rather than later. Also, it was definitely a stable time loop."

"Aha! See? Even Mr. Aizawa knows what's up!" Kendou shouted.

"Not about this!" Yaoyorozu said.

"I concur!" Iida said.

The tension in Midoriya's neck felt like it was floating away a bit ever so slightly; he even started to feel like joining the conversation. However, before he could chime in with his lengthy theory on how the true answer was a combination of both theories that had been foreshadowed for over a decade, he and the rest of the group found themselves swarmed by a crowd of reporters.

"Hey there, kids. Shuju Tokugawa, Hero News Association," was said by the first reporter who managed to break through to them. "You've had All Might as a teacher for a day now and the country wants to know just what kind of teacher he is! So?"

"Wha-I, um, well—" Tokugawa moved her microphone away from Midoriya and put it in front of Uraraka. She stammered to a similar degree; Tokugawa muttered, "Third time's the charm" and put the microphone in front of Yaoyorozu.

"All Might teaches in a way that's very fitting for someone in his position," Yaoyorozu said. Direct eye contact, vague but satisfying, a great response.

"What are your thoughts on All Might being a teacher?" another reporter asked Kendou and Mineta.

"It's fine, I guess. He's a pretty cool guy, after all," Kendou said.

"Yeah, yeah, All Might's great, but have you seen Midnight? They don't call her the Naughty Witch Hero for nothing you know, what with those garter belts—" The reporter turned away from Mineta before he could finish.

"As a fellow teacher, what's your opinion on—wait, hold on! Are we even allowed to film an outfit with that much skin on daytime television?" A reporter asked when he tried talking to Yamashiro.

"...Quiet… us…"

"Whoa!" The reporter was shocked. Midoriya understood why, though he felt like she might have been muttering something else under her breath in those pauses.

"Izuku Midoriya."

"Y-Yes!" At the mention of his name, Midoriya turned to see a bespectacled woman dressed in all black with a bob of electric blue hair.

"You're a pretty big deal at U.A., aren't you? Top incoming freshman, the only person in decades to break All Might's record, able to pump up a crowd without even trying, the list goes on."

"I'm just trying to get through each day." Midoriya couldn't stop himself from feeling bashful from all the praise.

"Yeah, and I bet that's easy to do when you're at the—apparently—only school that matters."

"Yeah, it really—what? N-No, I didn't mean—"

"I have, from a semi-reliable source, evidence of you applying to Shiketsu High, Ketsubutsu Academy, and Seijin High, but on the day that acceptance letters for U.A. went out, you pulled your applications for all of them. What, they suddenly weren't good enough for you after you got into the almighty U.A.? Did you decide to go with prestige over seeing what would actually be a good fit?"

"Th-That's not, I mean sort of, but not comple—"

"Come to think of it, Endeavor's son is in your class, right? On a scale of one to two, how likely is it that he paid the board off to let you go here just to give his son a punching bag that won't get frostbite right off the bat?"

"Every student in this school—at least the ones I teach—earned their place here, Taniguchi," said Aizawa, suddenly in a standing position with his sleeping bag under his arms.

"I'm sure they did, Eraserhead. Since I have you, wanna tell me why you have a Japanophile's wet dream dragging you around the street like a garbage bag?"

"Hey! Ms. Yamashiro's body appeals to everyone, regardless of their fetish!" Mineta shouted. Aizawa threw his weapon—the Gleipnir—at Mineta and wrapped up his tiny body in an instant.

"We're done here. Yamashiro and kids inside, reporters and nosy rats off the premises. Now." Midoriya and company followed Aizawa through the crowd of reporters and through the school gates. Once they were through, one reporter tried to step through the gate only for a wall made of pure Sixth Metal to shoot up from the ground and seal off the gate from the outside world. The U.A. Barrier was working exactly as it was supposed to.

"Goddammit Taniguchi, you ruined everything!" Midoriya heard Tokugawa shout from behind the U.A. Barrier.

"All of you listen up!" Aizawa shouted after untying Mineta and tossing him to the ground. "Everything you say and do from now on reflects on U.A. as a whole, so when you act like idiots, it makes it look like U.A.'s a school of idiots. If you want to be stupid, be stupid, but don't do it if you're on goddamn television!"

""Yes, sir!"" Midoriya and everyone else—including Yamashiro, for some reason—said; he heard Uraraka mumble something about how she and Iida didn't even say anything, but it was best not to comment.

"Going off that, while you're affiliated with U.A., never—and I mean never—talk to the press. They're nothing but trouble, especially that lousy mudslinger Holly Taniguchi."

"Wait, what?! That was Hero Hater Holly? No way! She sounds a little huskier on the radio, so I didn't recognize her," Uraraka said.

"Uraraka-san, you knew that woman?" Midoriya asked.

"Yeah! Holly Taniguchi runs a podcast where she rants about how damaging Heroes are to society, and she loves going after All Might, Endeavor, and U.A."

Aizawa shot her a glare.

"N-N-Not that I've ever really agreed with what she says, or anything! I just-I just sometimes listened to her during my Quirkless days whenever I was feeling really upset about stuff."

Aizawa kept glaring at her.

"But it's not like it was the only thing that could make me feel better! I'd sometimes eat mochi, watch the Wonder Woman movies starring Kaitlin Olson, hang out with Inte—the point is I had other things going on outside of her, honest!"

Aizawa kept glaring at her.

"Okay, maybe she had really good choices in music—"

"Inside! Now!" Midoriya wasn't completely certain, but it looked like Uraraka just barely stopped herself from passing out on the spot.

Aizawa and Yamashiro needed to go to the teachers' lounge to get the day's lesson plan and so Aizawa could vent somewhere away from children, so Midoriya and the rest of the kids went to the classroom by themselves. Much to Midoriya's relief, the atmosphere in the class was relatively good. Everyone was being pretty lively, the sole exceptions being Todoroki, whom everyone was trying to avoid, and Bakugou, who was trying to avoid everyone.

"Hey, Bakugou!" For whatever reason, Kendou decided to become the outlier in all of that. She ran over to Bakugou's desk and pulled him out of his chair. Before he could curse her out, as he was clearly ready to do, Kendou threw him to the floor, grabbed his leg, and put him in an ashi-hishigi.

"Kendou-san?!" Midoriya shouted, drawing the attention of the few people who weren't already watching the spectacle.

"Kendou-kun, what on Earth are you doing?!" Iida asked.

"Get the fuck off me, you fucking cu—"

"And there!" Kendou said, cutting Bakugou off. Before anything else could be said, she released her hold and stood back up. "That's how you do that."

"Do what? Break a guy's leg?" Kaminari asked.

"I guess I could if I wanted to. That's more than can be said about that sloppy excuse for an ashi-hishigi Bakugou used yesterday."

"What'd you say?" Bakugou asked as he picked himself up.

"You got the basic form right, but your hands were a little out of place, and your grip was way too soft. As a martial artist, I couldn't believe I was watching that move be performed so poorly; I've been wanting to take care of that since yesterday. Can't have my partner fighting with such sloppy technique, after all."

"Bitch, I am not thanking you for the advice! Don't expect me to appreciate getting pointers from you, Karate Kid!" Bakugou shouted.

"Wait, are you thanking her or not?" Sero asked.

"Obviously not, moron!" Bakugou sat back down. Kendou smiled and looked pleased with what just transpired; Midoriya wasn't entirely sure why.

"Itsuka-chan, that was so cool!" Hagakure said. "I love seeing martial arts stuff. Ojiro-kun, you can do that too, right?"

"No, not really," Ojiro said with a downtrodden expression.

"And what was that stuff you were doing yesterday before you got taken out?" Jirou asked.

"Oh, that? Just a little bajiquan, is all. Actually, my Sensei always teaches us to incorporate our powers into our fighting, so I guess calling it Super Bajiquan would make more sense," Kendou said.

"Cool! Ojiro-kun, can you do that?" Hagakure asked.

"No, not really. Kendou said that she's been taught a lot of different martial arts, but actually getting to see her in action is… something else," Ojiro said with an even more downtrodden expression.

"Sorry?" Kendou asked.

"Ojiro-kun, there's no need to feel insecure," Midoriya said. "Kendou-san's been training like this since she was four, so of course she'll come off as an expert, but you're probably not that far behind her. Just keep working hard, and you can be as Plus Ultra as her!"

"I've been doing karate since I was three," Ojiro said. Dead air invaded the atmosphere of the classroom.

"Everyone sit down." Aizawa and Yamashiro came into the classroom, and just like that, Midoriya and who knew who else was saved from making Ojiro feel even worse. "Yamashiro, I'm taking a nap to get rid of the rest of my anger, so you handle the special announcement."

"Yes, sir," Yamashiro said when everyone finished sitting down. She stared blankly at the class, opening and closing her mouth a few times before mumbling something incoherent under her breath.

"Mr. Aizawa, don't you think you should take care of this?" Yaoyorozu asked.

"She needs to learn how to do things on her own," Aizawa said as he squeezed himself into his sleeping bag.

After another minute of nonsensical nothing, Yamashiro counted out a few prime numbers and exhaled.

"We're picking a class president," she said. The class went into an uproar, and Midoriya couldn't blame them. Being class president would be a rather mundane job in any given school, but at a Hero School—especially one like U.A.—it could probably be useful for providing extra training in leadership abilities; it might even look good on a resume when applying to be a Sidekick.

"I wanna do it! Let me do it!" Ashido said.

"I'm too fabulous to not be the right fit, " Aoyama said.

"I'm raising the biggest hand, so that means I should get to do it," Kendou said, waving the aforementioned enlarged hand.

"Would you all please act with some decency?!" Iida shouted. "The position of class president is a sacred position that thrusts the wellbeing of your peers directly upon your shoulders. It's not something you deserve to get just by raising your hand and hoping that someone picks on you!"

Iida said all of that while raising his own hand.

"Okay, what do you suggest then?" Jirou asked.

"Obviously, the only true way of solving this is to put it to a vote."

"That's a terrible idea, man! We've been here for two days; there's no way anyone's going to care about someone enough to not vote for themselves," Kirishima said.

"Either that or Midoriya-chan will automatically win because of his posse," Tsuyu said.

"Th-That's not going to happen!" Midoriya said.

"Also, we Monstars are a collective that supports each other equally, so there," Kendou said.

"Either way, if Midoriya-kun did get our votes, then that would simply mean that we thought he was best for the job. While most of us might not know each other that well, that means whoever gets the most votes is the person we've already decided to place our trust in," Iida said.

"I still have my doubts about that," Kirishima said.

"No. Iida is correct. This is the best way to pick the class president, and for the best reasons," Yamashiro said. "Any good leader of a group needs to be someone who can obtain a great amount of trust from their subordinates. Without that, their organization falls apart beneath their feet and becomes little more than dust slipping through their fingertips. Once that happens, they become desperate and mad to maintain their position of power, completely ignorant to the suffering of their people. At that point, they're basically asking to be beheaded while lounging on their bidet with a glass of twelfth-century wine in one hand and a prostitute's left nipple in the other, as if either one can make their blood harder to wipe away from your weapon of choice."

Midoriya and the rest of the class stared at Yamashiro in utter shock. She stared back at them, and after a few seconds, she crouched down behind the desk completely out of sight.

That was the most I've ever heard Ms. Yamashiro say in one sitting, but why did she talk about whatever that was supposed to be? Midoriya thought.

"So, yeah. Voting. Do it," Aizawa said from his corner of the room.

"One final question—"

"Tokoyami, your Genie is registered as an extension of yourself, so it doesn't count as a member of this class, which means it doesn't get a vote." Tokoyami lowered his hand in defeat.

Everyone pulled out pieces of paper and started writing down their votes. Everyone except Midoriya. Despite what Kirishima had said, Midoriya didn't want to vote for himself. Even though he was doing his best to not be hung up on what happened the previous day, those events still made him think that he wasn't in a place where he would be good to lead anyone in anything. He could live with that, though; it was just class president, not anything serious like whatever just flew out of Yamashiro's mouth. Moving on, if he wasn't going to vote for himself, then he needed to pick someone who was right for the job; a daunting task when everyone was such a good fit.

Soon enough, Midoriya narrowed it down and cast his vote. Hopefully, everything would work out well.

The results of the ballots were as follows:

Izuku Midoriya: 3

Momo Yaoyorozu; Itsuka Kendou; Kyoka Jirou: 2

Koji Koda; Mashirao Ojiro; Denki Kaminari; Eijiro Kirishima; Fumikage Tokoyami; Mezou Shouji; Tsuyu Asui; Yuga Aoyama; Mina Ashido; Hanta Sero; Katsuki Bakugou: 1

Shouto Todoroki; Tooru Hagakure; Tenya Iida; Minoru Mineta; Ochaco Uraraka: 0

It did not—from Midoriya's perspective—work out well at all.

"You gotta be shitting me! Who decided to be Dumb and Dumber and vote for Deku?!" Bakugou shouted. In front of him, Uraraka was doing a terrible job of whistling nonchalantly. Midoriya now knew at least one person who was to blame for this.

"No one voted for me!" Iida exclaimed. "Defeated by the very system I proposed. Oh, the irony of it all!"

"You didn't even vote for yourself? Are you an idiot, or something?" Jirou asked.

"Okay, then!" Yamashiro said, popping up from the floor. "With this, the class positions are decided. Class president is Midoriya, and class vice-president is Yaoyorozu… and Kendou… and Jirou… what?"

"It appears that we have a three-way tie," Yaoyorozu said.

"Wanna just do rock-paper-scissors to decide it?" Kendou asked.

"That seems fair."

"I'm game," Jirou said. The three of them joined up in the back of the classroom and faced one another. They pulled their fists back, counted off, and threw their hands out in front.

Kendou and Yaoyorozu each did rock; Jirou did scissors.

"Aw man! Already? Well, girls, I wish you to understand the true principles of the government. I wish them carried out. I ask nothing more," Jirou said as she sat back down.

"I can't believe you lost, Kyoka-chan! I thought you would've been a great president, too," Hagakure said. Her face was invisible, but her posture made it clear that she was pouting.

"Wait, did you…" Hagakure assumingly nodded her head. "Oh, um, thanks for the thought." JIrou turned to the window and twirled one of her jacks around her finger.

"If we're all done with whatever this is, Momo and I still need to finish up," Kendou said. She and Yaoyorozu pulled back their fists, counted off, and threw their hands out in front. They both did paper, and it brought out a laugh from both of them. They pulled back their fists once again, counted off once again, and threw their hands out in front once again. They both did scissors, and it brought out a noticeably smaller laugh from both of them. They pulled back their fists a third time, counted off a third time, and threw their hands out in front a third time. They both did rock, and neither of them laughed.

"Okay, this bit isn't funny anymore. Knock it off," Kendou said as the two of them both threw out scissors.

"I could say the same thing," Yaoyorozu said as the two of them both threw out rock.

"First period is about to start, so I'm leaving," Aizawa said as the two of them both threw out paper. "I don't care how you two figure it out, just do it before fifth period. Got it?"

""Yes, sir,"" the two of them said as they both threw out rock. Midoriya fell back in his chair as Aizawa and Yamashiro headed for the door and Kendou and Yaoyorozu kept tying with one another. This was just another thing he'd have to live with, but he really didn't want to and had no idea how he was going to.

While a multitude of options and hypotheticals flew through his head, Aizawa stopped in front of his desk.

"Before I forget, the principal wants to see you at the start of the first free period. Don't be late."

At the very least, he now had something else to think about.

First and second period took as long as they were supposed to, but as far as Kirishima was concerned, they went by far too fast. He knew what he had to do, but when it started to be time to actually do it, the sheer weight of it all truly started to hit him. A part of him wanted to just drop the whole thing and never come back to it; that wouldn't have been so wrong, especially since he was doing this all of his own accord. However, a larger part of him, the part that was trying its hardest to emulate Red Riot, knew that he couldn't back down and had to face all of this head on.

As such, Kirishima waited vigilantly outside of the bathroom. He tapped his foot through a mixture of nervousness and impatience until, eventually, he heard the sound of a flushing toilet and knew that the person he was looking for was done.

"Hey. What's up, man?" Kirishima asked his target as he entered the hall.

"What the fuck?" was Bakugou's immediate response. Things were off to a truly great start.

"This isn't anything weird, by the way."

"I'm heading to the weight room, so you got ten seconds to prove that, shit hair."

"Oh, that's how you're using free period? Nice. I was gonna do that, but everything Cementoss has been saying in class has just been flying right over my head, so I think I'm gonna use the first one to study. Might hit the gym in the next one, though."

"Four seconds and I'm leaving."

"Wait, that was six seconds? Felt like it should have been less time than—"

"And I'm done." Bakugou stepped away from Kirishima and started heading down the hall. Kirishima quickly sidestepped in front of him, not at all wanting his chance to slip away.

"So that stuff that went down yesterday with you and Midoriya was pretty crazy, right?"

"What's it to you?"

"Nothing! Nothing really! I mean, that's what I thought it was going to be, but the way that Midoriya kept pointing at your scar felt really weird to me. I mean, it didn't look like he thought it was cool, so what was up with it, right?"

Bakugou stopped trying to step past him.

"It seemed weird—like, really weird—and I couldn't stop thinking about it. There was some sort of something about it that kept drawing me into it, or maybe there was some sort of something about the two of you? I went along with the latter, and it made me remember hearing that you and Midoriya grew up around here. That's true, right?"


"Then I remembered this incident from about ten years ago where a kid accidentally threw his friend through a building and nearly killed him." Bakugou's expression went from an angry scowl to a blank stare, like a calm before a storm. It was too late to turn back, though. "That incident happened right here in Musutafu. They never released the names of the kids, but considering your scar and how crazy strong Midoriya is, I gotta ask you: the kid who got thrown through a building and the kid who threw him through it, they're you and Midoriya, right?"

There was nothing left after that. The hallway was silent, the air just waiting for something to cut the tension.

That something ended up being Bakugou throwing Kirishima against the wall with one hand.

"What the hell is your fucking game, you piece of shit? Trying to make fun of me? Blackmail me into doing some random crap? What's your fucking game here?!"

"Nothing! All I wanted to do was confirm it, honest!"

"Bullshit!" Kirishima felt Bakugou's hold tighten.

"It's not!"

"Why should I believe you?!"

"Because I think you guys are pretty cool!" All of a sudden, Bakugou let go of Kirishima, giving him a chance to catch his breath.

"What the hell are you on about?"

"Come on, do I look like any of the Riddlers? I think you guys are cool, plain and simple. Midoriya's been awesome since day one, and then there's you! You came off like just an angry hothead on the first day, but the way you held your ground against Todoroki was totally badass!"

Bakugou stared at Kirishima for a bit before saying, "I'm giving you ten more seconds."

"You two are the manliest guys in class, so I just wanted to know what was going on between you two to get you both so riled up. Looking back on it, it was probably a stupid idea to stick my nose in someone else's business like that, but I couldn't help myself. But now that I know about it, I want you to know that I think you're even cooler for getting here in spite of it all!"

"Like I need you to—whatever!" Bakugou stepped away from Kirishima and headed down the hallway towards the weight room. "Breathe a word of this to Deku or anyone else and your ass is grass, got it?"

"Whatever you say, man. And hey, if you ever need someone to talk to—"

"Your ass is grass!" Kirishima decided that it would be best to not say anything else and let Bakugou turn a corner in silence.

You did good, Eijiro, Kirishima thought as he walked down the other direction. You said you were gonna do it, and by Jove, you did it, old boy. Gotta say, that felt like it actually went better than I thought it would.

Kirishima walked by a trash can and stopped when he saw Ashido crouching behind it.

"Wassup?" Ashido asked with an awkward expression.

"Ashido! What the hell are you doing here?" Kirishima asked.

"W-Well, me, Tsuyu-chan and Jirou were going to go over some of the stuff from our morning classes and get a headstart on our homework, so I decided to go and get some snacks because why can't studying be fun, even if it usually sucks? I was going to the vending machine past the bathroom because that's the only one that stocks Let's and Chocos, and then I sort of, kind of—"

"Walked in on all of that and tried to not get caught?"

"Not all of it, really!" Ashido said as she got up off the ground. "I only got here when Bakugou stopped pinning you against the wall and you started talking about Riddlers for some reason, so I have no idea what you were talking about, honest! I really, really didn't hear anything important! I know that people always say stuff like that when they're lying and actually heard everything and decide to keep it to themselves instead of being rational and coming out with it from the start, but I really, really, really, really didn't—"

"Enough already, I get it! Geez, it's not like I actually thought you were lying!"

"Oh thank God." Ashido released a sigh of relief. "It just seemed like it was either really serious or really personal, so I didn't want you thinking that I was eavesdropping any more than I actually—wait, you never thought I was lying? Why? I'm a great liar when I put my mind to it."

"I know." He knew. "You have a way cooler face when you lie, after all." She did.

Said face was one Kirishima greatly preferred over the smug expression she was currently wearing.

"Looking at my face, are we? Isn't that a nice little nugget of information?"

"I-It's not! It's not a nice nugget! It's like an O'Shaughnessy's nugget or something; total crap!"

"I actually love O'Shaughnessy's. Their curly fries beat the ones at Big Belly Burger every day of the week."

"That's a dirty lie and you know it—wait, why are we talking about fast food?"

"Wanna talk about my face some more?"

"I'm just gonna talk about nothing!" Kirishima knew Ashido was trying to get back at him for yesterday, but that didn't mean he had to stand around and let it happen, so he ran past her as she kept wearing her smug expression.

Later that day, Ashido would force him into an O'Shaughnessy's on their way home from school. It would be at that time when Kirishima would be forced to admit the truth: between O'Shaughnessy's and Big Belly Burger, O'Shaughnessy's had the superior curly fries.

Midoriya always tried to be a good kid, that was the honest truth. Sometimes he'd doze off in class when he was up too late watching videos of All Might, but it never got to the point where he had to get sent to the principal's office. He didn't think he did anything wrong in the two days he had been there, nor did he think he did anything right that was worthy of some sort of reward or something.

"Well, I won't figure it out by just standing here," Midoriya said. He fought down all of his hesitation, opened the door, and walked inside. Principal Nedzu greeted him from a boosted chair, and even more surprisingly, All Might was there as well in his muscle form; it took a second for Midoriya to remember that while he knew All Might's secret, the teachers didn't know that he knew.

"I bet you don't have a clue as to why I called you in here, correct?" Nedzu asked.

"Basically," Midoriya said while sitting down next to All Might.

"Don't be alarmed Midoriya-kun, for you're not in trouble in the slightest. You see, All Might informed me about how your first day of Hero Training went yesterday, and while the end results were perfectly understandable, I can't help but feel as if some extra guidance might do you some good."


"Yes, guidance! It's perfectly understandable that the stress of dealing with your alien heritage has had an impact on your wellbeing—by the way, you do know that I and all the teachers in the Hero course know you're an alien, right?" Midoriya nodded his head. "Good! Where was I? Yes, your wellbeing being impacted by the life you were forced to live. If I can speak truthfully, I think it's a shame that you were forced to grow up in a society that made you feel so afraid of yourself. Part of the reason I was so thrilled to learn that someone like you wanted to attend U.A. was that I saw it as an opportunity to eventually rid the world of such dangerous prejudices. Why, it reminds me of this one case I took on when I was still partnered with my good pal Bobo, though you probably know him better as Detective Chimp. The two of us were taking a stroll through downtown London looking for some new furnishings for the office. I wanted to get a vintage rug from the 70s, and Bobo wanted to get a fancy looking chandelier. We didn't need the chandelier as much as we needed the rug, but Bobo thought it would be good for impressing our clients—"

Nedzu went on like that; a quick glance from All Might told Midoriya that this was actually normal for him. It seemed like there was nothing to do but follow All Might's lead and smile and nod until he was finished.

"—and so, with a mighty swing from Clarent, Mordred the Shining Knight destroyed the weaponry of Know Man and foiled his plans of forcing Metagenes to awaken at the cost of people's lives. Know Man was locked away in a special prison at the center of the universe—give or take fifty feet—and he's been there ever since. Mordred thanked Bobo and me for a job well done, and the two of us saw her off as she went on her first date with Franny Stein; it kinda made me feel like a parent, in all honesty. Did that make sense to you, Midoriya-kun?"

"Y-Yes!" Midoriya zoned out on the part that had to deal with racism, but he didn't have wherewithal to bring it up.

"Excellent! Therefore, to try and help you overcome your personal hang-ups, I've asked another student who's had to deal with similar issues of anxiety to come in and talk to you. Amajiki-kun, if you would."

Nedzu pressed a button on his desk, and a bookshelf at Midoriya's left swung open to reveal an open space in the wall. Standing in said space was an older looking student with dark hair and pointed ears; something about him looked familiar. This had to be the one Nedzu called Amajiki, and the first thing he did was glare at Midoriya with such ferocity that it felt as if the gravity around him was intensifying tenfold.

"This is pointless," Amajiki said before stepping out of the room. After Amajiki shut the door behind him, the room was filled to the brim with silence.

"What the hell?!" After fifteen seconds, Midoriya was the one to break it. "Why did he—What did he mean by—is it okay if I leave?"

"Sure, why not?" Nedzu asked.

"By all means, my boy," All Might said, his face molded into a nervous expression for some reason. Midoriya gave a quick bow and ran out of the principal's office. Out in the hall, it only took a few seconds of looking around before he located Amajiki a few meters away from him. The two locked eyes for a moment before Amajiki turned around and ran away.

The things he had to deal with today. That was the thought running through Midoriya's head as he chased after him. Amajiki rounded a corner, but Midoriya was fast on his tail. He rounded the same corner a split second after Amajiki did and found him standing with a girl with long, twisting blue hair and a guy with a blonde cowlick and eyes that looked straight out of an old school American cartoon; something about them looked familiar.

"Hi, hello, nice to meet you two, I'd love to talk, but I need to borrow Amajiki-senpai," Midoriya said to the other two people.

"No. It's pointless," Amajiki said, not bothering to look Midoriya in the eye.

"How?! You saw me for all of two seconds!"

"That's all I needed. If you weren't going to look like a potato after that, then you were never going to look like a potato."

"That doesn't mean you can just—what?"

"I kept trying and trying to imagine you as a potato, but I couldn't go any further than your head. What the point of trying to talk to a potato if they're still human underneath? It's like trying to put a bandaid on a severed limb, right? It's all pointless. I wanna go home." Amajiki did an about-face and put his back to Midoriya.

Midoriya had no idea what to make of that.

"Come on Amajiki-kun, don't be such a chicken in front of an underclassman. You gotta show more guts than—hey, you're the guy who broke All Might's record!" the girl with the twisting hair said. "That's so cool! How'd you—oh, you've got a spit curl! Hey, you ever stick your finger in there and twist it around?"


"Hey, Hadou-san, don't overwhelm the poor kid," said the guy with the cowlick. "I'm guessing this isn't how you wanted to spend your free period. Teacher tells you to go to the principal's office, then after he spends five minutes on one of his funny stories, some weirdo pops out from behind a Scooby-Doo bookshelf and runs away to join up with a couple of random guys. I bet you're just standing here going, 'Whaaaat?' Am I right?"

"I guess?"

"Well let's fix that the best we can! I'm Mirio Togata, this girl's Nejire Hadou, and that guy's Tamaki Amajiki!"

"Please don't keep me involved in this," Amajiki said.

"No can do!" Hadou said. Just like Togata said, Midoriya has absolutely no idea what was going on.

"So!" Togata said. "Tamaki said that he got asked to give some words of wisdom to someone who's almost as big a wallflower as him, and it looks like that went about as well as it could have."

"Believe it or not, this guy's one of the top three students in the senior class—we're the other two, by the way—yet he can barely talk to anyone outside of us two. Crazy, right?" Hadou asked.

"Amajiki-senpai's one of the top students here?" Midoriya asked. "You're right, I never would have guessed—wait, I just remembered seeing you all before! I've seen each of you on TV at the Sports Festival! You always lose really early because of something ridiculous! You guys are really U.A.'s top students?"

"Is it three o'clock yet?" Amajiki asked.

"I-I didn't mean it as an insult!" Togata and Hadou's goofy expressions had hints of doubt mixed in. "Really, I didn't! If you're really the best students here, then it's amazing that you were able to achieve that in spite of your failures. Especially you, Amajiki-senpai. You can't even look in my general direction, but you still managed to work your way to being top of your class, and I think that's great."

Amajiki turned slightly toward Midoriya and gave a quiet, "Thanks."

"Do you mind if I talk to you about yesterday?" After a bit of hesitation, Amajiki said, "Sure."

"You want us to give you two some space?" Togata asked.

""No!"" Midoriya and Amajiki said in unison.

"Yay!" Hadou cheered.

"If it helps at all, your first day was way better than my first day," Amajiki said after Midoriya relayed the events of the previous day—at least the ones that he, Togata and Hadou needed to know.

"You know, that does kind of help," Midoriya said. "Anyway, I know that I'm not doing anything wrong when I act like this, but I also know that I can't only act like this. I've been trying to change myself for a while, but it's not easy, you know?"

"All too well."

"The real question is what do we do about it?" Togata asked. "Tamaki, the ball's in your court."

"Go for a spinning slam dunk!" Hadou said while playing with a random assortment of ants.

"I couldn't even do that in real life," Tamaki mumbled. "Okay Midoriya, it sounds like your problem is that you're so afraid of hurting people that you think it's better to not fight at all. I don't really understand that kind of feeling, but I do know what it's like to feel like things would be easier if you could just not fight at all. That kind of mindset doesn't work in this line of work, though. You don't have to be destructive all the time, but you have to be ready and willing to do so if it's the only way to save the day. A true Hero can't be afraid to go all out if it's the difference between life and death!"

"Amajiki-senpai, I don't mean to be rude, but someone already gave me that advice. Sorry."

"Oh." Amajiki blinked a couple of times. "Shit."

"Big Three Huddle!" Togata shouted. He, Amajiki and Hadou grouped together and started whispering things that Midoriya couldn't make out. After a minute of that, the three of them high fived each other and turned back to Midoriya.

"Okay, I-I think I got something else,"
Amajiki said. "For the past year, I've been working as an intern for Fat Gum." Midoriya thought it would be best to keep his excitement at bay for the moment. "He's stationed in an area that's pretty light on crime, so we usually only have to deal with the occasional purse snatcher or bank robber, but there are times when we have to deal with something majorly bad.

"One time, early into my internship, we were assigned to a drug bust being led by the Crimson Kabuki gang. It should have been relatively easy, but it turned out that they were working with Ishi-Shujou, the Stone Emperor. He used his geokinesis to mess up the harbor, and I ended up alone with him, completely separated from Fat Gum, the police, and the other Heroes on the scene.

"I was scared for my life; I thought I was going to die. But then I thought, 'If I die, what are they going to do after they escape? Will it just be the drugs, or will they use their victory to move on to something even worse?' The next thing I knew, I was hitting him in the face with a coconut until he went down and stayed down."

"A coconut? No, forget that," Midoriya said. "So you were able to beat him even though you were so scared? How'd you get rid of your fear like that?"

"That's my secret, Midoriya: I'm always afraid. Every fight I get into, I'm always afraid that I'll screw up and make things worse for everyone, but I push all of that down as I think about something more important: the fear I'm feeling is nothing compared to the fear someone else could be forced to feel. Whenever I'm fighting a Villain, what I try to give priority to is the idea that I'm the only one who can protect the people behind me, and every time I do that, I'm able to summon up a little more courage than I could the fight before."

Midoriya stared in silence, stared in awe. Hadou looked like she was going to start a slow clap, but Togata quickly grabbed her hands before she could get started.

"You hated that, didn't you? It wasn't different enough from the first thing I said, right? I knew it; as soon as the words were leaving my mouth, I knew that it was too derivative. Big Three Huddle, one more time."

"No, no, it's not derivative! I-I think I get it. You're saying that instead of trying to get rid of my fears, I should hold onto them and think about how, if I lose, the people I failed to protect will end up in an even worse situation than me. Right?"

"Yeah, more or less. I was, um, trying to narrow down the scope of the other thing I said and frame it in a way that makes you think about things on a more personal level."

"Aw, look at my guy, being all clever and helpful and stuff," Togata said.

"Sh-Shut up."

"It's true, though! I don't think I would have thought about something like that on my own, Amajiki-senpai, so thank you! It really helps a lot, I think!"

Tamaki smiled; Togata smiled; Hadou smiled before looking at a bird that flew past the window. Midoriya smiled, as well, for it was the only thing he felt like doing at the moment.

"Hey, Midoriya-kun, wanna fight?" Togata asked.

Then there was that.

"Hey, it looks like I'm still gonna be busy with Amajiki-senpai, so don't wait up for me at lunch," was what Midoriya's text to the Monstars group chat read.

"Curiouser and curiouser," Iida said after reading it in the cafeteria.

"First he disappears for all of self-study, now lunch? Who's this Amajiki-senpai guy, anyway?" Uraraka asked between bites of food.

"If I had to guess, he's an upperclassman with a great deal of social influence here at U.A., and Midoriya-kun is seeking his council for advice on how best to lead the class. I wouldn't put that kind of planning past him, and it's exactly why he was the best for the job."

"You're right about that, Iida!" Mineta said.

"Guess we know whom you two voted for," Uraraka said with a laugh. Iida didn't know what was so funny about that. He and Mineta thought Midoriya was the best person for the job, so of course they voted for him. "Wait, if you two voted for Midoriya-kun…" Uraraka started counting something on her fingertips.

"Iida, I don't really know if he's thinking about something like that; this Amajiki-senpai guy's probably just a friend he's having lunch with. Hell, I was going to have lunch with another friend if I wasn't caught up in all of this nonsense," Kendou said as she and Yaoyorozu both threw out rock.

"You could simply quit, you know," Yaoyorozu said as the two of them both threw out paper.

"Oh you'd like that, wouldn't you?" The two of them both threw out scissors.

"Very much so." The two of them both threw out rock. This had been going on all day. When class wasn't in session, they'd get together and keep drawing to each other, and when class was in session, they'd switch to a rock-paper-scissors app on their phones and still end up drawing every time. Iida wanted to be mad at them for being on their phones during class, but he was too astounded at how they could keep their game going for so long.

He was also too busy feeling jealous of how they still had a fighting chance at leadership. Being able to lead others to victory like the other people in his family was all he had ever wanted, yet the first time he had a chance to do just that, it slipped right through his fingertips, and in a way, he brought upon himself, no less.

"The irony of it all still stings like salt in a wound!" Iida said. "Was that out loud?"

"Just a smidge," Uraraka said, still counting something on her fingertips.

"If you wanted to be class president so badly, you could have at least voted for yourself," Mineta said. "Still would have lost, but at least you would have had a chance."

"What I wanted wasn't what mattered; what mattered was what would be best for my peers," Iida said. "A true Hero puts his own desires second to the benefit of society. There's no room for wasting time on selfishness, for every second is a gift."

"You can be a little selfish," Uraraka said, still counting something on her fingertips. "Wait, that last thing you said sounds kind of familiar."

"It should. It's an old motto of the Flash Family. I've had Barry-san beating it into my head since I was a child, so it's more or less a mainstay in my vocabulary."

"We've all been there," Mineta said. "When I was a kid, my dad—wait, what did you just say?!"

"When you said 'Barry-san,' do you mean Barry Allen?" Uraraka asked with as much surprise as Mineta.

"Oh, yes. He and the rest of the Flash Family are personal friends of me and my family," Iida said. The rest of the group let out various noises of shock and awe. It even got Kendou and Yaoyorozu to put their game on pause, though not after they ended up with yet another draw.

"Iida-san, how come you never mentioned this before?" Yaoyorozu asked.

"Well, remember how, after I said that my brother is Ingenium, Midoriya-kun spammed us with so many messages in such a short amount of time that it crashed our group chat? That's why," Iida said.

"Yeah, but how does that even happen? You're not even a Speedster!" Kendou said.

"It all goes back to the Lantern War. My great-grandfather Tenka Iida—the first person in my family to develop a Quirk—fought in the Lantern War, mostly performing reconnaissance, never doing anything highly important. One day, however, he came across the one and only Jay Garrick in the middle of a fight with some Red Lanterns, the man easily dominating them. Tenka was just going to leave and get back to his work, but all of a sudden, one of the Red Lanterns blasted Mr. Garrick with a beam of Still Force energy!"

"Oh no!" Uraraka said.

"Those dirty Reds!" Mineta said. "What happened next?"

"As is common with Still Force energy, Mr. Garrick's connection to the Speed Force was broken. It would be several minutes before he could regain his connection, but by that time, he would already be dead. That's when Tenka leaped into action! He put all of his energy into his engines and delivered a powerful sweeping kick to the assortment of Red Lanterns!"

"All right!" Kendou said.

"Tenka was never much of a fighter, so after losing the element of surprise, the Red Lanterns pummeled on him mercilessly. His arms and legs broke, his skin was burned by plasma, his eyes were blinded by his own blood, but he never gave up the fight. He kept going at them, no matter how broken his body ended up becoming, and he was able to hold on just long enough for Mr. Garrick to regain his speed."

Yaoyorozu wiped a tear from her eye.

"Ever since then, my family and the Flash Family have been inseparable. I've grown to hold Barry-san in the same regard that I do my own brother, and becoming a Hero who can stand on equal footing to them is my ultimate desire in life. I still have a long way to go before that can happen, so I can live with conceding the position of class president to Midoriya-kun."

That was the honest truth of it all. Iida could handle not being class president, he truly could, but that didn't change the fact that he still wanted the job. He knew that Midoriya would be the best fit, but he still wished that he had the chance to show people—show himself—what he was capable of.

As those thoughts swirled around in his head, an alarm started blaring.

In order to help cultivate the abilities of its students, U.A. houses some of the most advanced training facilities that a Hero School can offer. The most advanced of those facilities was U.A.'s own Mud Room. Originally built by legendary Hero and civil rights activist Tim Drake, the Mud Room combines hard light technology and the morphic biology of the Clayfaces to create any sort of training area a person might request, to a certain extent. Because of the intensity of the programming, the Mud Room isn't open for free usage, and the only ones able to reservations are faculty and third-year students in the Hero course. Students like Amajiki, Togata and Hadou.

Midoriya couldn't wait to become a third-year.

"So where do you wanna duke it out, Midoriya-kun?" Togata asked. "Atlantis? Themyscira? Challenger's Mountain?"

"Let's just do something simple," Midoriya said.

"Booooring!" Hadou said. "You're the kind of guy who always plays on Battlefield and with no Final Smashes, aren't you?" Midoriya refused to comment. "Have some fun, why dontcha!"

"You can't say stuff like that when you always lose," Amajiki said.

"Says you!"

"Guys, we're here for him, so he gets to choose," Togata said. "Computer! Centennial Park, New Troy, Metropolis!"

The Mud Room, which was an empty white space when the four of them first walked in in their gym clothes, had dark red lines shine across the floor, ceiling, and walls as mud spilled in from various air vents. In a matter of seconds, the empty space was replaced with Metropolis' Centennial Park, the mud and hard light technology working in tandem to create the fresh grass, the stone walkways, and the gold statue of Lex Luthor in his Warsuit. If Midoriya had suddenly woken up in there one day, he would never have suspected that he wasn't really in Metropolis.

"Thanks for indulging me on this," Togata said. "Ever since I first heard about you, I couldn't stop thinking about how awesome it'd be to fight someone as strong as you. Just the thought of it's got my blood pumping!"

"Thanks, I guess," Midoriya said. He didn't have the same feelings as Togata, but it wasn't as if he couldn't understand him even a little. After all, if Togata really was one of the top students at U.A., then fighting him provided a perfect opportunity to see where he stood in the grand scheme of things. This wasn't how he planned for his day to go, but it was certainly a good direction. "Let's go!"

As soon as Midoriya took a step forward, all of Togata's clothes fell off. That definitely wasn't how he planned for things to go.


"Sorry, sorry! I always got trouble keeping my clothes on when I'm not wearing my Costume. Feel free to attack me while I put my pants on," Togata said.

That's a trap, right? Midoriya thought. It has to be a trap. It's definitely a trap… but I'm gonna take the bait, anyway! Midoriya glared at Togata and fired off a blast at heat vision. The twin beams were aimed squarely at his chest, a surefire yet, and they somehow phased through his body.

"No punching yet? Oh well,"
Togata said. He put his pants back on, but they quickly fell off again as he seemed to sink into the ground until he was completely out of sight. It was clear to Midoriya that Togata's power gave him the ability to phase through matter in some capacity, so at that moment, he was probably running through the ground to try and grab him from behind.

Before Midoriya could start thinking of a countermeasure, Togata appeared right in front of his face. Was he actually really fast? He threw a punch that Midoriya easily dodged, so that told him that that wasn't the case; it was a fast punch, but it didn't suggest that Togata would be fast enough to cross the distance between them as quickly as he did. The extra punches and kicks that he dodged further leaned into that.

"You're pretty quick on your feet! I love that!" Togata said. He threw a kick that nearly grazed Midoriya, and since all of Midoriya's attacks kept phasing through him, he took that as a sign to get out of close quarters. As such, Midoriya flew up into the air and fired off a blast of freeze breath at Togata. He wasn't quick enough to dodge, so he ended up encased in a block of ice, frozen in a goofy pose. After a few seconds, Togata—still locked in the goofy pose—fell down into the ground and vanished. Midoriya used his X-ray vision on the ground to try and track him, but by the time it was activated, there was no sign of Togata anywhere.

Then he felt it. He felt a burst of air coming at him from a low angle. It was Togata, seemingly flying through the air. The confusion of that, combined with the suddenness of his appearance, left Midoriya temporarily immobilized, and by the time he got it in his head that he should move, Togata had already punched him in the face. It didn't hurt, because of course it didn't, so what ended up catching Midoriya's attention was how Togata just kept smiling widely at him.

"Fuck! That hurt like hell!" Togata shouted. He kept smiling all the while, even as he fell to the ground onto his back. "Damn! I knew you were tough, but shit! That was like punching the walliest wall to ever wall!"

"A-Are you okay, Togata-senpai?" Midoriya asked as he floated down.

"I really don't know! Is it just my hand or… nope! That's my whole arm that's broken! Damn!"

"I-I'm sorry! I didn't mean to—"

"Don't sweat it, man! Sure, I'm afraid that I'll pass out from shock the second I stop acting chipper, but that's not your fault, you know!"

"Okay, we're done here. Computer, end simulation," Amajiki said. In three seconds, Centennial Park faded away and was replaced by the original empty white room.

"Man, I haven't seen you hurt yourself that bad since freshman year. It's kinda funny," Hadou said.

"Tamaki, can you kiss it and make it better?" Togata asked as Amajiki put his pants back on him.

"It doesn't work like that," Amajiki said.

"Can you do it, anyway?"

"Not in front of the kid. Come on!"

"Again, I'm really sorry," Midoriya said. "But you know, it probably would have been easier if you tried to go inside my body and scramble up my insides or something."

"Would if I could, but I can't!" Togata said. "My Quirk is called Permeation, and it only lets me phase through stuff, not go inside it and mess things up like a scuba ghost! Then, if I deactivate it while inside of something, I get propelled at whatever angle I'm at at lightning speed! With that last attack, I shot myself diagonally at the statue of Lex Luthor, and then I shot myself off of the statue to get to you! For all the good it did me, anyway!"

"Y-Yeah. I guess that even with how strong you are, you're not strong enough to actually hurt me. Conversely, regardless of how strong I am, your reflexes are too good for me to land a hit. This fight showed me just how much I can improve. Thank you, Togata-senpai."

"The pleasure's all mine!" Togata slapped Midoriya's shoulder. Slapped it with his broken hand. "Fuck!"

"Is he always like this?"

"Pretty much," Hadou said.

"If you think that's bad, try dating the guy. It's all of this all the time times a thousand. God, I love this idiot."

"This idiot who loves you back is going into shock, so let's go to Recovery Girl!" Togata shouted.

If Midoriya was only going to take one thing away from today, it would be that the Big Three were both some of the weirdest—and some of the best—people he had ever met.

As Midoriya and the Big Three left the Mud Room, an alarm sounded off, followed by an announcement saying that something called "Security Level Three" was broken and that they all needed to evacuate the school. Just as Midoriya started to panic, Hadou said that she got a text from her friend Yuyu saying that all that happened was that a bunch of reporters snuck past the U.A. Barrier. There was no real cause for alarm, so they ignored it and went to Recovery Girl. Togata's arm was quickly fixed up, and after some light conversation between the four of them, it became time for fifth period. The Big Three walked Midoriya to his class, and as they approached the door, Togata and Hadou started elbowing Amajiki, repeatedly.

"Midoriya. We should, um, if you're not busy, you know, hang out after school. We can talk more about our anxieties, or just do whatever. I don't know," Amajiki said.