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HEROISM

Chapter Text

Not all men were created equal.

Nagisa supposed his level of equality was decided in the womb. He never even had a chance, really.

He never had any aspirations growing up; just a vague hope for escape from the bonds and chains he’s always been subjected to from his mother. The boy was envious of his father having found his escape, even if it meant leaving Nagisa to sink or swim. It was alright though. Nagisa’s okay with that; he would rather his father save himself than both of them to drown in their attempt at security.

It didn’t matter in the end, he supposed, looking back—Korosensei did his best to help. That in itself meant the world to him. Nagisa loved his family; he always wanted them to get back together, start anew, fix what was broken. Then everything would be alright and he wouldn’t have to walk on glass anymore. Words of a villain-turned-hero echoed in his mind, though, after that dark night.

“It’s good to have hopes, Nagisa, just make sure those hopes aren’t unrealistic. You’ll have a harder time rising from it than if you faced the reality of things. People don’t change overnight.”

He understood that; more than anyone, he understood that. It took years for a gradual rise in hysteria to show its head before his mother drove her husband away and resorted to physical reactions to get Nagisa “under wraps”—or in her mind, at least. To him, it was more like “to get Nagisa into a pretty, little cage.”

Looking back, though the words seemed harsh at the time, the boy assassin was glad to hear them. It was meant to prepare him mentally should plans fall flat. Through the overwhelming delight and freedom that came with his parents’ declaration to try again, Nagisa had felt a small nudge in the back of his mind telling him not to keep his hopes up despite the immense amount of happiness that drenched the graduated student, yet he didn’t.

That is, until he started seeing the signs again, seeping through his mother’s shoddy attempts at concealing her true intentions.

He noticed the way her eyes lingered on him with a crooked smile when he was looking through the boys’ section at the clothes store. How her hold on his shoulder tightened when she spoke to him, studying the vipers in his hair as they stared back. How she would purse her lips whenever he commented on something he knew she didn’t agree with, almost holding herself back. She would still suggest brighter, softer colors to wear, even going so far as to suggest jewelry in a subtle way (if he wouldn’t wear girlish jewelry, he would at least wear the more masculine kind, right? Wrong).

Nagisa and his father could practically feel the pressure building within his mother, as if it physically strained her not to see her precious doll in a dress or with its hair down. They both were bracing for something each day, beginning to flinch at the sound of her voice like grains on a chalkboard, stressing and Nagisa could feel himself teetering on a wire again. It was just too fresh, he thought. The wound was too fresh still—he loved his mother, he did, but he feared for his own bloodlust and oh gosh, Korosensei’s not here anymore to call for help, what do I do? And like the Octopus’ own arm-whip snap, his mother finally caved to her beastly form.

Maybe he should have stayed quiet in the end.

All he did? All he did was mention applying for UA. That’s all it was—new dreams away from what his mother wanted. It was a dangerous career path, no doubt, but it was what he wanted to do. He wanted to save people, like Korosensei saved him and the rest of them. Why couldn’t she see that? Why was it so hard to move on? To release him finally?

The blue haired boy supposed it was something akin to riding a horse carriage; loosening the reins just a bit to give the horses some breathing space before tightening them just to steer them to the left or right or stop entirely, or snap, run faster, or—

What scared him was the thoughts that floated in his head, reappearing and burning like an old scar that started itching again. And he stood over his mother’s sleeping form with his snake heads uncoiling and staring venomously at the woman, tasting the air and relishing in the hostile aura that emanated from their host in a way they haven’t experienced since the night before graduation. Their heads vibrated with anticipation, knowing just what their Nagisa was thinking, desiring. One bite from Roka and the woman would begin bleeding from her insides out, and if she was as deep of a sleeper as Nagisa remembered her to be, only strong pain would be enough to wake her and by then it’d already be too late. Not like it mattered away; no antidote exists for Roka’s poison. It’d be quick, anyway.

Nagisa blinked himself out of those thoughts and took a step back, his snakes sharing glances with each other—no, no, no, no. Korosensei wouldn’t approve. He’s not an assassin. Not anymore; he lost that title when they collected their share of the reward for… releasing Korosensei. When they graduated. He couldn’t go back to those dark and bloody thoughts; not to his mother of all people (‘least of all people’, his mind numbly added).

Another step was taken and he slipped out of his parents’ bedroom silently.

The thoughts would come and go after that night, tasting the bloodlust that seeped through his mental basement, bleeding through the floorboards just enough for his feet to get wet and leave red footprints everywhere. He felt he was going insane and he was surprised his mother didn’t try to tear his hair from his scalp again like she used to. It was only a matter of time, he thought.

Then there was that dark, swirling pit in his stomach he hadn’t felt in months, twisting deeply and making him feel sick. At least...At least this time he wasn’t alone. At least this time Dad was there, right? He’d save him this time, right?

Nagisa remembered his father come home to see his son on the floor, picking up shards of glass while his mother loomed over him, arms crossed and foot tapping while her face contorted a gross red (she vaguely reminded him of an ugly Oni mask). He didn’t break the cup, but he wasn’t about to argue after earning himself a faded bruise on his cheek that had darkened throughout the day, pulsing painfully from time to time.

There was a certain kind of relief one feels after seeing their more kind parental figure experience several shades of emotions before settling on righteous and protective rage, then the words flew and the next thing he knew, the boy was being pulled to his feet by his father, hand wrapped around his wrist before they both exited the apartment in a blur. Dad was on the phone, and Nagisa could vaguely hear the door swing open behind them as they walked toward the stairs, monstrous and wild screams and curses shot at them with heavy, angry footsteps following and suddenly the boy found himself assuming the ‘rope’ role in a sick and twisted game of tug-of-war.

Screams of, “DON’T YOU DARE TAKE MY CHILD AWAY FROM ME!” and “I’VE GIVEN HIM EVERYTHING! HE OWES ME! GET YOUR SLITHERING HANDS OFF HIM!” howled, but Nagisa was only half aware of them. Soft, desperate blues sharpened to slits as they locked onto the enraged gaze of his mother, freezing her in place with his quirk before they made a run for it.

The car ride to the police station was stiff and silent but comfortable, a noticeable weight lifted somewhat, as though the evil spirit that haunted their home was gone—and he supposed it was true. He could feel peace in that, though the circumstances were more than tragic to him personally. Korosensei was right, he thought with a sad smile. He wished he could text Karma or Kaede; at least to have someone to talk to but it was almost midnight and they still needed to speak to the police about Mom and—oh, he left his phone in his room at home… He could get that later, but… Anxiety wriggled into his stomach, vicious snakes coiling and constricting his insides in a tight vice grip.

After everything that’s happened, between a life of forced dresses and abusive hits and screams, like a puppet on marionette strings bowing to the master puppeteer, gaining friends in a class meant for deadbeat students with no future, befriending a giant octopus teacher, being saved by his teacher(s multiple times), then being forced to kill his dear teacher (friend, guardian, savior, hero) with your own hands, then to see his attempt at further saving fall flat like a house of cards in the wind… What else could he have to remember his dear Korosensei by but the names of his snakes and his father’s presence beside him?

Nagisa could feel his insides burning, heart screaming for real peace and perfection in his life, gut bubbling up a nasty acid that was forced back down as his eyes grew misty with desperation and frustration and everything inside him almost started to cave into a whirlpool leading to a dark, dark place he honestly never thought he’d return to yet here he is, and mother fricker, he really wished he had his phone right now.

He really wished he had his hero right now.

Chapter Text

Three days until the Practical Exams.

“Are you sure you don’t want to use your recommendation to get in?”

A head shakes behind the screen, a soft smile on the other’s lips. “N-No, I want t-to earn my spo-spot by my- uh, with my-my own, um, str-stren-, uh, strength.”

Nagisa sighed, closing his eyes and nodding in understanding. He let his lips slip into a knowing smile as he leaned back into his chair. He knew he didn’t even need to ask to know what his friend was planning. After everything—the blue haired boy realized the soon-to-be-high schooler on the other side of the screen was more selfless and worked twice, no, thrice as hard, if not more than anyone he’s ever known, including himself.

After everything—his friend earned this chance, after everything, they all deserved this chance more than most. He supposed he could understand the need to want to prove themself to the world considering where they came from. Still, it was a bit frustrating his friend wouldn’t take the chance at a free pass, but who is he to judge? There’s no way Nagisa could pass the practical exam. He's heard it was mostly made for flashier quirks. Anyway, he only has to go in for the written portion.

A hum of a chuckle and his snakes tilted their heads, licking the air.

“Alright. Then I’ll be seeing you there. You better make top twenty, you know.”

A nod. “I-I will.”

 


 

Sometimes, he wakes up with dried, nasty blood caked over his canines and crusted at the corners of his lips. He wonders if he should start flossing before bed more often or if he should get a mouth guard in case it’s his teeth clenching at night. He almost doesn't notice the tiny red marks in his bottom lip where his canines latch onto, but he never missed the stinging of it in the morning.

He’s a teeth clencher in his sleep, and it hurts his jaw, but there’s nothing else he can think of to help stop or lessen it other than biting his tongue or putting something else in his mouth.

Sleep doesn’t come to him easily, he finds. The boy’s been resorted to listening to sounds of the forest (like the sort he grew to love) in a sad attempt at falling asleep. For the most part, it works, so his only enemy is his mind past slumber.

He feels tentacles curl around his throat sometimes, hissing a dead yet deep accusation, threats of a lifetime full of hell for what he’s done—then he wakes up, panting, heart throbbing in his throat and ramming against his ribs while the dream and hot breath against his neck fade into a dark ghost he can’t remember. He stays up for three hours after that and doesn’t try again to sleep until it comes naturally and unexpectedly.

He finds himself staring out his new apartment window, waiting patiently for his dad to get off from work.

School starts in two weeks.

Nagisa doesn’t think he’s ready to handle it; handle a new teacher, new students, a new environment where he’s going to be ignored again so easily. He can see it now—he’s going to sit in the corner of the room, no student will pass him a second glance, no one is going to give him the light of day to talk or make friends, hell, he doesn’t even know if Karma’s going to even humor his company anymore. What held his little family that was class 3-E together was Korosensei and their assignment, and curse that assignment, curse everything to do with that assignment. He had blood on his hands because of it, and screw it if Nagisa didn’t try his best to the point of near death to try and save him time and time again—it was like grabbing at straws that burned away at the touch of a finger. And float away just like Korosensei—

Useless, useless, useless.

And Nagisa claims to want to be a hero? After what he’s done—

A frustrated sigh left the ex-assassin as he closed his eyes and turned away from window, rising to track around the apartment. He looked around for his jacket— no, he can’t be negative . Korosensei wouldn’t appreciate that. Maybe a jog would cool him down. Yeah, that’d do him some good.

Phone and apartment keys in hand, Nagisa pulled his arm through the orange sleeve of his jacket as he made his way to the door. He popped in his earbuds and began down the street, just around the block once or twice. He needed to calm down. Everything would be fine.

Everything would be fine.

 


 

Nagisa sat between Karma and Rio in an ice cream shop. It was a very nice day and the shop smelled sweet and sugary (it made his snakes drool just a bit). For once, Nagisa felt quite content with himself where he was in the time-space continuum. Although, he could definitely do without the intense stares from his two friends.

With a sigh, Nagisa set his spoon down.

“Alright, what is it?”

Karma was first to respond, shaking his head that was being lifting on the back of his hand, propped on the table. “Nothin’, just disappointed.”

Nagisa raised his eyes at that, quirking a brow in confusion, and he ignored the way his heart dropped into freezing water.

Rio pointed to him then, eyes still somewhat wide with curiosity? Interest? Intrigue? What, why?? “Your hair,” she started to explain, sounding a bit down-put despite the way her eyes lit up with pride. “When did you cut it?”

“What, that’s what it is? Why didn’t you guys ask that when we met up?” Nagisa couldn’t help but smile with amusement at that as a hand raised to his shoulder, somewhat missing the ghosting of his long locks. He didn’t at all regret cutting it, though he supposed he kind of missed the way he could easily hide in his hair—but that couldn’t compare to the way he felt so- so free when the first locket of powder blue swished to the ground with a shrill snip! How liberating it was to let go of his past self, and he thought cutting his hair was the first step to getting better, freeing himself from his mother’s suffocating chains, growing as a person, carrying Korosensei’s pride in him as a legacy…

Rio sat straight, brows pinched and lips puffed in a pout, “Well ‘scuse us for being distracted! I wouldn’t’ve recognized you if it weren’t for Ko and Roka, you know. Looks good, though.” Roka tilted her head at the blonde, teasing her tongue out to taste the delight in the air.

The blue haired boy felt his cheeks heat up, a gentle smile poking his lip corners. That’s what he wanted as an end-goal, really. It wasn’t just so he could feel free, it was a symbol to him. A mark of change, and a promise. Not that he’d tell his friends any of that.

Karma hummed and sat back, crossing his legs and smirking at his shorter friend. “What a bummer, I was hoping to have some fun with my new classmates and you.”

Nagisa instantly rolled his eyes at him and Ko hissed at the redhead, to which his host held his hand over the spiny viper’s mouth. A strained laugh left the shorter boy, smile twitching. “Hahah, yeah, no, not this time, Karma.”

Karma snapped his fingers in mock-dismay.

 

“Anyway!” Rio clapped her hands together as she leaned forward, seemingly antsy to talk about something else. “You guys got your letters yet?” Her eyes swam from Karma then to Nagisa, and he felt his heart settle just a bit. He was glad he mastered a poker face, and he nodded with a half-genuine smile.

Karma nodded too, giving her a thumbs up. “Locked and loaded. I’ll be giving those wannabe business majors a run for their money. I’ll be head of the political department before too long too.”

Rio chuckled, leaning back on her seat now. Her ice cream cup was empty. “You better, yeah. As for me, I’ll be holding the strings for you heroes in the coming years! I hear support classes get to have a hand in costume props.” She glanced at Nagisa, who couldn’t decide if her grin was genuinely excited or terrifyingly malicious, so he settled for somewhere in-between and a shiver ran through him. “Speaking of, Hero, you’ve sent your design in for your costume, right? What’dya design? Please tell me it’s got something cute or something!”

And that’s when Nagisa groaned back into his chair, earning a hum of amusement from the two across from him. “No, absolutely not!” he whined, pushing himself straight. “In fact, there’s no color at all. Just plain ol’ plain.”

Karma raised a brow, along with Rio. “You’re kidding.”

Nagisa shook his head. “I’m not.”

Karma gave a long whistle, propping his head up on his hand again. “No kidding.”

“That’s what I just said.”

“Shut up.”

Rio tapped her chin, smiling softly. “You know, I can’t say I’m surprised either. That outfit was very you even if I prefer a skirt to anything else.” Cue another eyeroll. “It’d be a good homage to him though. I kinda wished I made your costume.”

Instantly, Nagisa shook his head. “Uh-huh! No thanks, it’s fine how it is, thank you! Besides, you’ll just add something stupid to it like a skirt or some dumb frills.” He knew how she was and if anything, he’d want her far, far away from any of his equipment. He lifted his spoon again and dug into the melting ice cream before sticking it into his mouth, a stubborn expression on his face. A trickle of joy was felt in his heart at the conversation, though he really wished they’d stop poking at him. He was still in the conversation, and they weren’t ignoring him, so that was definitely good. He liked that—he felt...important, at least to an extent.

A mock-gasp and Rio’s hand came to her chest while she backed away. “Why, I never! These accusations are just— appalling! Disgraceful! A menace!”

Nagisa felt the odd sensation of a chuckle rumble his throat and chest at that.

They stayed there for a while longer as Nagisa finished his ice cream and tossed it, then they got up and left to roam the shopping center. The gloom that followed him typically felt gently swiped under a rug for the time being, and he felt calm with his friends around. The half-voice in his head that whispered about being ignored, forgotten, abandoned was quiet for now and Nagisa felt he could smile genuinely for the first time in months. Though, he feared it was only temporary, as all things are.

The face of death still loomed over him and the thoughts of guilt and regret never went away, but for the moment it could be ignored.

“Have you talked with Kaede recently?” came the question from Rio, chin pointing to the shortest boy and he raised his head from his thoughts, and his response was fairly quick with a nod.

“Yeah, we talk almost every day.”

Rio nodded with a hum, then she pouted a bit slanted. “Unfair, she never calls me to girl chat.”

“Be quiet.”

Another mock-gasp. “Will the rudeness never end with you!?”

Meanwhile, Karma made a stop to pull out his phone, and the face he made reminded Nagisa of a frustrated ram for a moment. “Aw, crap. I’ve gotta head out.”

“Aw, why so early?”

“My appointment’s in, like, twenty-five minutes. See ya guys—”

“Hey, whoa, wait-” Rio put her hand on Karma’s shoulder, a curious sparkle in her eye, glistened with concern. She pulled Karma closer to the two, lowering her voice with a raised brow. “You’re seriously taking those classes?”

Ah—that’s what it was. The counseling lessons offered and paid for by the government. Nagisa felt his eyebrows furrow just a bit. He hadn’t actually considered taking them himself, though it might’ve made more sense to. He didn’t like talking about his emotions, however, so it felt out of the question for him. He dealt better by himself anyways.

Nagisa felt the air shift, feeling heavier at the darkening of Karma’s face. Golden hues turned away, but for once he wasn’t angry, and that frightened the snake-quirk boy. The horned redhead opened his mouth to speak, and his voice was quiet, harsh, sad, and empty all at once.

“I’ve seen things no one that age should, you know. We all have,” he whispered. “It physically pains me to admit this, but I’m real messed up. 3-E was…” he dragged off and gave a hefty sigh. Nagisa felt his eyes burning, and he glanced away. Rio fell quiet.

“Yeah,” Nagisa agreed with a nod. The boy vaguely wondered how bad it must be for the usually prideful boy to actually admit as much. He thought everything would be fine in the end, and he supposed in some way it still would be, but when it’s all said and done, who’s to say anyone was okay with the end result? Of course, no one actually was.

Rio was made to seem meek at that, frown tugging at her lips as her hands met each other almost shyly. “Ah, yeah. I get that too.”

They stood a moment in a sad silence before Karma waved to say good-bye, taking off to catch his meeting. Rio and Nagisa continued down the outlet shops, mindlessly wandering and continuing in idle and half-hearted conversation, but soon enough even Rio had to leave, so he walked her to her apartment before leaving for his own. Even then, he didn’t go directly home, instead walking around the nearby park to get lost in his thoughts.

Every bit of his mind wandering came back to Korosensei, though, and he could feel the guilt eating at him, slowly, painfully. He eventually sat on the swings of the park and stayed until the sun set, and a panicked call from his dad, asking if he was safe, where he was, if he’s coming home, prompted him to finally leave and get ready for the coming week.

He wondered if he could ever rid himself of this bloodstained guilt.

Chapter Text

Shoes on, side bag slipped over a shoulder, tie tucked under his uniform, and two tight hair ties snapped against his wrists. Nagisa nodded, rolling his sleeves up out of habit.

“I’m heading out, Dad!”

“Ah, wait a moment, wait a moment! Nagi-“ The boy turned his head back with a raised brow as his snake-haired father scrambled toward him, and his hand held onto Nagisa’s shoulder, turning him around completely. A small, sad but overwhelmingly proud smile fell on Dad’s lips. A deep breath and Nagisa was pulled into a tight embraced. “I’m so proud of you. You know that?”

Nagisa’s throat suddenly twisted closed tight while his eyes grew wide then narrowed when it started to burn. Not trusting his voice to answer steadily, the boy nodded against his dad’s chest.

“I’m so sorry for leaving before,” Dad whispered, lowering his head and his snake heads began to nuzzle against Nagisa’s soothingly. “I- you’re… you’re going to be a great hero, Nagi.”

Nagisa felt his bottom lip wobble and he shoved the forming rock in his throat down. Another nod. “I…” he started, voice already breaking before he swallowed again and took a shaky breath to continue, “Th- Thanks, Dad. I… I never blamed you, you know… I…”

A moment passed before they finally broke away, sky blues meeting cloudy greys.

“Love you, sport.”

“I love you too, Dad.”

Dad’s hand ruffled into powder blue locks. “Now go be a hero.”

 


 

Nagisa sat quietly on the train with his side bag on his lap. Earbuds were popped in his ears playing an energetic beat someone would probably play at a party. His snakes couldn’t hear the music but they could feel the uppity vibrations judging by how they both swayed and bobbed their heads to the beat. Nagisa smiled softly at them, about to turn his eyes down to continue his dashboard scrolling before he made a double-take up when a familiar mop of green hair caught his attention.

Sky blues lit up and instantly Nagisa stood from his seat, unplugged his earbuds, and shuffled through the morning train goers toward the boy holding onto the hang rail overhead. An outstretched hand poked the other boy’s back, and he nearly snapped his back straightening up with a yelp.

Nagisa blinked, smiling, “Izukun, it’s just me. Hey!”

Wide emerald eyes finally turned at the name, and no amount of sunlight could outshine the smile on the Midoriya’s face. “N-Nagisa!” They hugged then, both overwhelmingly delighted in reuniting before releasing each other from the almost bone-crushing embrace (when did Izuku get so strong??). “I-I didn’t know you moved n-nearby. (Hi, Ko! Hi, Roka!)” He gave a small wave to the snakes.

“Ah, it must’ve slipped my mind,” Nagisa replied, one hand moving behind his neck while the other held onto the hang rail. It was a half-lie (how does anyone forget to tell their friends they’re moving?); he kind of wanted it to be a sort-of surprise for the green-haired boy should he make it to UA (which Nagisa had no doubts about). The other half was because he didn’t want to get into the “why” though he could easily say it was to be closer to school, but he couldn’t lie to Izuku—the boy made actions like that feel like a guilt trip to the abyss. Blinking at his friend with a smile, Nagisa decided to shift the conversation around, taking note of Izuku’s uniform. “I knew you’d make it into UA. What class do you have?”

“Oh! Uh, it’s-it’s class 1-A. H-Heroics!” Izuku beamed like the sun, raising a ‘peace’ sign and sticking his tongue out in glee.

Nagisa’s eyes widened, as did his smile and he nudged Izuku’s elbow. “Holy crap! Congrats! I knew you’d make it. Ah- Oh, hey, that’s the class I’m in too!” His brows raised at the realization, and by gosh, Izuku’s sunshine expression could not get brighter than it was already—Nagisa swore it could blind a man.

“Really?! That’s a-aw.. uh- That’s really g-great!” Izuku bounced on the soles of his feet a bit. His smile softened just a tad while his posture relaxed. “I-I’m relieved. I was afraid I was g- I was going to go in a-alone, hehe…”

Nagisa smiled endearingly at him then nodded, “Me too, honestly. Oh! Karma texted me, by the way. ‘Said he’s gonna wait for us at the train station with Rio.”

Izuku hummed affirmatively as he gave a nod. He opened his mouth to respond but Nagisa saw his eyes twitch up twice, as if to double-take. Raising a brow, the snake-haired boy turned his head to see what could be distracting Izuku—which it turned out to be a blond, spiky haired boy whose intense red eyes were trained so angrily on his phone, it made Nagisa vaguely wonder who would send the dude anon hate at 7:25 in the morning and with what context to warrant that extremely constipated expression.

What. He shook the very strange thought away.

“Do you know him?” Nagisa muttered to his friend, who shook his head with his eyes still focused on the edgy mystery boy.

“I-I uh, I really d...don’t know,” he answered, never taking his eyes off him. “He, uh, he was at the, um, the-the exam the other day. He s-seemed familiar...”

“Huh,” Nagisa’s eyes lingered on the boy a moment more, taking note of his uniform. “He’s going to UA too. I wonder what department he’s in.”

Izuku nodded, finally tearing his gaze off the mystery boy. “Me too.”

A moment passed by with a comfortable silence between them, the only sounds being the awkward, low chatter of the train riders and the rumbling thump-thump from the train tracks below them.

Izuku twitched nervously now and then, rolling his shoulders and rubbing his free hand on his uniform or sleep while the other seemed to try to attempt twisting the silver bar it held. Then he suddenly perked up with a soft, “oh!”, surprising Nagisa as he stated his realization: “I-I forgot to tell- to tell you! I only broke my arm and- and a leg during th-the exam this time!”

A moment of Nagisa staring at the green-haired boy in complete astonishment.

“...Wait, ‘ only ’??!?”

 


 

 

“Oh, hey, it’s Izukun! Heeeey! Izukun! Nagisa! Over here!”

The two boys lifted  their heads at the sound of their names, quickly spotting the waving hand of their friend Nakamura Rio, standing beside a smug yet bored-looking Akabane Karma. The boys wasted no time jogging to reach the two waiting for them by the stairs leading to the road. Neither could wipe their expressions of complete excitement as they stopped by their friends, exchanging quick side hugs with each other as bubbly greetings were exchanged.

“I can’t believe you made it!” charmed Rio as she clapped her hands, nudging the eager Izuku. “Nagisa told us you weren’t gonna use your recommendation to get in, so we were worried we wouldn’t see you in today—well, not to mean we didn’t have faith in you, it’s just—“

“You’re about as timid as a butterfly,” Karma chimed in with a smirk, hands raising from his pockets to hang around Izuku’s shoulder and pulling him close. His voice was light with teasing. “Seriously, our little Izukun taking on those menacing robots? We thought you’d die!”

“Good thing our Izukun’s tougher than steel!” Rio attached herself to the short boy’s other side and pinched his cheek, prompting a tiny whine from him.

Izuku’s smile never wavered, but it did morph into something like exasperation at their comments, obviously not bothered too much by them. Having spent a year being coddled by the two yet sharpened like a knife by training, it was kind of relieving to see Izuku appear more confident than how he had been at the start of the year.

The three exchanged eager conversation over their pride that is Midoriya Izuku as they all walked toward school (though any outsider listening in would take it as borderline bullying but thankfully no one intervened), while Nagisa took a moment to study the jittery boy in question.

He looked tired, Nagisa thought, noting the dark edges under the boy’s eyes, pronounced by his slightly paler skin and unkempt curls, and there’s only one guess as to why that’d be—they’ve all been suffering after graduating from Kunugigaoka, even Karma, and Nagisa knew Izuku was strong but the boy took everything at 100%, full force. There was no doubt in his mind that Izuku didn’t feel just as guilty, if not more, than Nagisa did about the whole Korosensei thing. It saddened his heart to think about it, and he didn’t know how to bring it up. The best he could be is supportive of his friends, he supposed.

Still, Izuku seemed delightfully chipper, despite the fact that he looked like a squirrel attacked his face and then proceeded to pour about five cups of caffeine down his throat after forcing him to watch some really traumatizing horror movies.

Nagisa squinted at the thought. That was oddly specific. Maybe he should have went to bed at 10 instead of 1 in the morning. The hypocrite. Pfft.

He then realized he had stopped on the sidewalk to be perplexed at himself, but thankfully he wasn’t too far behind that the others would stop and notice, so the ex-assassin silently jogged up to match their pace again. Be more careful—

They stopped at the gates of UA.

A sense of awe took them all simultaneously, and Nagisa noticed Izuku’s eyelashes started to shine with unshed tears, threatening to fall. The blue-haired teen turned his eyes up to the building before them, feeling his own lump form in his throat.

The building of UA is tall and looms over them menacingly, intimidating him. Suddenly Nagisa feels so small under it, like it will crush him for his sins over and over and over again, and he’s all alone. He wonders if he’s even cut out for this, for Heroism, and maybe he should have decided to be an assassin after all, because that’s all he’s good for right? Just ruining things, destroying things—these hands, these hands that slid an anti-sensei knife into his beloved Korosensei’s chest that fateful night, covered in blood of someone so dear to him, does he really deserve this? He—

He froze as rough fingers slid between one of his hands and soft fingers snuggled between his other hand, both holding on tightly, supportively —Nagisa raised his wide, tear-stained eyes to see Karma on one side, looking ahead, and Rio on the other, smiling with determination. Izuku was on the other side of her, undoubtedly holding her hand as well. All their eyes were shining with emotion.

That’s right—

He wasn’t alone.

And Korosensei was with each one of class 3-E. He wanted his students to persevere and reach their dreams with conviction and determination and every ounce of confidence that was drilled so very lovingly into their very souls—he’d do this. He’d do it for Korosensei, who couldn’t see them all graduate and go on to attend different schools with different dreams; who couldn’t see his students grow up into respectable men and women in the world that was stacked against them; who couldn’t offer a tentacle to lift them up or a kind word to encourage them or a silly face to cheer them up—

For Korosensei, he’d step forward.

With a deep breath, Nagisa took his first step toward his future.

 


 

“1-A, 1-A, I think it should be… oh.”

The two stopped at a… a door that was possibly built with 7’ tall men on stilts in mind. The plate above it read ‘1-A’.

Nagisa and Izuku exchanged perplexed glances with each other before Nagisa shrugged oddly and slid the door open—and almost instantly, they were whipped back by the chaos strung along by two excitable boys in the class.

“Please refrain from putting your legs on the desks! This is sacred school property, have you no respect?!”

“Who cares!? I’ll put my legs wherever I freakin’ please, Four-eyes!”

“‘Four-eye’—excuse me!? Well, I-” the exasperated boy with the glasses let out a strained sigh. “Look, perhaps we got off on the wrong foot. My name is Iida Tenya, I’m from Soumei Junior High School-“

Soumei—? Well aren’t you an elite, haah?! Where d’you get off, acting like the self-proclaimed school leader, huh?!”

“Ex cuse me—?! The nerve-?! And you want to be a hero?!”

“Oh hey look, your mystery boy’s here,” Nagisa muttered back to Izuku, who only went as far as to poke his head out the door, a timid look pursing his lips and furrowing his brows. So much for being sharpened like a knife… The dark-haired boy—Iida—spotted the two awkwardly lingering at the door, but Nagisa noted his eyes caught onto the twitching boy behind him.

“Hello, I’m Iida Tenya from Soumei—“ oh, frick, he was talking to both of them, also why is he so fast—

“W-we over, um, overheard, uh… I-I’m M-Midoriya Izuku,” Izuku shuffled next to Nagisa, hands pulling and rubbing at each other in an attempt to calm himself, it seemed. Nagisa could almost feel the nervousness radiating from his friend. “N-Nice to, um, to meet you…” Izuku’s eyes glanced at Iida’s extended hand, deflating at the realization that he was supposed to reciprocate the gesture… He did it anyway, though, and Nagisa smiled proudly at his attempt at better socializing, though he noticed his friend’s eyes kept skipping to see the boy behind Iida.

“You must be the boy Izukun was telling me about. I’m Nagisa. It’s nice to meet you, Iida.” Nagisa took his hand in greeting with a nod. Iida raised a brow behind his glasses, and Nagisa’s snakes raised to taste the confusion emitting from the taller boy.

“Just Nagisa? And—you are aware pets aren’t allowed in school, are you not?” Ah, he meant Ko and Roka.

The boy merely chuckled at the other’s question (was it a question??), shaking his head. “Oh, they’re not pets. Well—um, they’re apart of me, so—“

It seemed that realization literally snapped into the other boy, judging by the sudden and sharp inhale followed by an, “oh!” He began gesturing wildly, bowing deeply as he responded with, “My apologies! I jumped to conclusions too quickly, I hadn’t realized they’re part of your quirk! I should have known, those two seem to be species not typically allowed as regular house pets regardless.”

Nagisa hummed with a nod. “Your right about that.” He left out the part where Ko’s venom is probably some of the deadliest of all snakes, since it had no known antidote, which made them particularly dangerous if they weren’t as well trained as they were.

Iida’s attention then shifted to the muttering Izuku, who snapped back into reality (and stature) with shut lips.

“I must apologize to you as well, Midoriya-kun. I completely misread you! You knew the true nature of the practical exam, didn’t you? I was...blind to it—“

Nagisa swore they were both thinking this young man was...fairly dramatic, but they kept it to themselves in favor of listening to his heartfelt apology.

“—Those were actions of a true hero! I hate to admit it, but you were the better man!”

Izuku seemed to deflate into something rather sheepish and flustered, and he looked like he was trying to shrink and hide inside his uniform. “A-Ah, th-tha-thanks-“

The door slid open behind them, and a girlish gasp was heard, followed by— “Ah!! It’s curly-hair kid!! You’re in this class too? I’m so glad!”

“O-Oh, it- it’s you!”

Nagisa raised his brow. Izuku was just making friends left and right, wasn’t he? The snake-haired boy caught the intense and confused stare of the blond boy from before, boring into Izuku’s back like he was trying to solve the world’s most mysterious puzzle, unbeknownst that Izuku was previously trying to do the same as quietly as possible.

“I’m so glad you made it!! Yay, go you!!” the brunette squealed excitedly, waving her hand in the air. Izuku looked so red in the face, and he wrapped his head under his arms the same way he does when he can’t handle his own embarrassment. Nagisa chuckled as the girl continued, “by the way, that punch was so crazy cool!! You pulverized it!”

As if Izuku’s stuttering couldn’t have been worse if he tried either, the boy let out a string of incomprehensible stammers, cutting himself off and tripping over himself uncontrollably all while looking as though his brain was straight-up short circuiting. Oh, man, Nagisa should really lend him a hand—the girl only let confusion cross her face for about a minute though, before excitement over took her, wondering aloud about the ceremony this , if the homeroom teacher that— surprisingly, Nagisa was rather impressed by how quickly the girl could so instantly disarm and activate Izuku’s defensive self-destruct feature just by talking and being in close proximity to him.

Just as Nagisa opened his mouth to try and ‘rescue’ his overwhelmed friend, the ex-assassin spotted something yellow squirming behind the girl. Instantly, the boy’s expression hardened into unrivaled, exasperated, and confused horror.

What...in the name...of frick is that…

“If you’re here to make friends, go someplace else.” Oh god, it had a face. And it spoke. And he thought Korosensei looked...odd… And a silence fell over the classroom.

It stood itself up, and Nagisa quickly realized it wasn’t some strange, warped bug-thing of horror and was in fact a really exhausted-looking man in a sleeping bag, unzipping it to slip out like a- ...aaaand why did Nagisa’s brain think the man was peeling off his skin like a banana…

Note to self: take a nap after school. Also go to bed early.

“It took you 8 seconds to quiet down. Life is short, kids, and you’re all lacking in common sense.” His eyes scanned the room as he spoke, and finally they fell on Nagisa and Izuku—he saw the man’s eyes shift with a sense of recognition, and it twisted Nagisa’s gut horribly, hands clenching over it nervously. He knows, he felt his blood guilt and paranoia that hasn’t risen in months hiss, he knows and you’re going to die today (okay, maybe that was exaggerated, but geez did he feel lightheaded all of a sudden—Izuku didn’t look so hot either).

Nevertheless, the black haired man continued, “I’m your homeroom teacher, Aizawa Shouta. Pleased to meet you. Now head to the changing rooms and meet me at the P.E. grounds.”

“WHAT??????”

 


 

Anxiety came off the two hero students in almost literal waves . A Quirk Apprehension Test? Izuku still didn’t have that well of a handle on his quirk yet—he had rushed tutoring in Kunugigaoka, and though the amount of self-inflicted damage had gone down considerably since he first tried it way back in one of their assassination training lessons (and man, Nagisa still can’t get the image of Korosensei seething with rage at All Might’s recklessness when Izuku was practicing with him out of his head), there was still a strong degree of whiplash to using his power. His control over it was subpar at best, like befriending a wild horse—there’s a bit of understanding and trust but it was still a wild animal and therefore unpredictable.

Nagisa remembered Izuku describing it like balancing an egg on a spoon in his mouth, about to be placed in an oven… He couldn’t easily control the output level of strength yet—like balancing the egg—but when it was done successfully, it was a matter of keeping that output steady that really concerned him. Any slip up could pulverize his bones… Nagisa shuddered.

Meanwhile the snake-haired teen had not much to lean back on when it came to, not only his quirk, but everything else that traditionally “made a hero.” He wasn’t strong like All Might or Karasuma-sensei. He didn’t have much combat skill either. As much as he hated to admit it, but he really was a pure assassin concerning his skills. A quick kill was what he was sharpened to hone in on. If he couldn’t dish the strike, then he could stall until an opening was made available. Nagisa knew the basics of martial arts, he had ‘stunning’ down to an art, but other than that, he was a bit behind.

The bluehead’s attention brought to the present when the mystery boy was called up as an example, and the boys learned his name was Bakugou—Izuku’s arm and brow twitched, scrutinizing the blond while looking as if he was wracking his brain for memories of this boy. The freckled youth began muttering under his breath of the possibilities, wondering if he was from the same Junior High then ruling it out when he realized it couldn’t have been possible; they would have known if someone as rowdy as him was a student (he’d probably be in Class 3-E if that were the case).

Nagisa nudged his arm, knocking him from his thoughts and he gave his friend a questioning look before offering him an amused grin.

“DIIIIIEEE!!!”

The pressure from the Bakugou boy’s near-nuclear explosion throw almost knocked the light-weighted Nagisa off his feet, but Izuku held him by the elbow mindlessly, both of their eyes glued on the explosive blond. 705.2m. Damn.

Some boy behind them gasped and whispered, “So manly…”

Aizawa-sensei then explained the basis of the apprehension test, needing to know what everyone is capable of and so forth. It made sense. It would be dangerous working with students’ quirks without knowing what they actually were and what drawbacks there could potentially be. Nagisa side eyed Izuku as the thought slid by, thinking the boy the perfect example of that statement.

Izuku shook a bit, his nerves shooting signals of PANIC throughout his whole body, but he did his best to stay calm. Nagisa was the same way, though his face was more stoic and well-controlled than the anxious freckled boy.

“Oh, and anyone who scores last will face immediate expulsion.”

And that’s when the real fear sank its fangs like blood-thirsty vampires.

“Oh my God, I am going t-to die,” Izuku whispered, covering his face.

And so the trials began.

Grip strength wasn’t as bad for Izuku as it was for Nagisa. The boy had virtually no real strength in muscle; he was built with a slender body (but he really wished he was more lean than that) and had more strength in technique and knocking off cheap punches and kicks than brutal strength. He clenched that strength assessment machine by the bar as tightly as possible but it only beeped once. It was kind of pathetic.

He glanced over to Izuku holding his own and looking sheepish as he did. Their eyes met and Nagisa tried his best to convey the feeling of you can do it! in his eyes, nodding with a smile. It seemed to work somewhat, judging by how his friend’s expression brightened up slightly and he closed his eyes to focus. There was a buzz of green around his hand as he put his strength into gripping the machine. It beeped ferociously in his hand before the boy gasped and let the machine drop. Nagisa’s heart got cold— oh no, did he break his hand?!

Hissing, Izuku cradled his fizzing hand against his chest as his blue-haired friend neared. “Are you okay, Izukun?!” Opening an eye, the freckled teen nodded with a determined grin and unveiled his—uninjured hand? Nagisa blinked in confusion. “Your hand didn’t-?”

Izuku shook his head, his grin growing. “I-I cut it off right in- right before it c-could damage me,” he explained, then his excited face grew into a grimace as he flexed his hand. “Hurts like h-heck though, gah…”

A subtle sigh of relief and Nagisa relaxed. “That’s good. Just- be careful, okay?”

“I will.”

“WHOA!!” They both turned to two of their classmates watching a rather tall and bulky classmate crunch on the machine. “540 kilos!! Are you a gorilla or something?! No, you’re more of an octopus!!”

Izuku and Nagisa turned and walked away.

The other trials were almost a walk in the park, but it reminded the two of their training last year. With the training they had, both students were well adept for the tests, but they were still behind a few students. Izuku still refrained from using his quirk; afraid of breaking a bone, it seemed. They both nailed the Standing Jump trial. Nagisa still couldn’t help but feel a bit salty. He hadn’t been able to use his quirk yet. Is this all there was to this assessment? Just physical strength? What about quirks like- like the invisible student in the class? Like Nagisa’s?

His snakes carried incurable venom and his emitter quirk was a fear-inducing paralysis quirk…. None of these trials fit him. He was doomed from the start. The realization sank in pretty quickly, and his shoulder hunched slightly in defeat. Useless. Nagisa was sure his lack of quirk usage was going to get him expelled. He couldn’t believe his lack of strength just threw Korosensei’s legacy out the window. Frustratingly, the boy closed his eyes and grimaced in disappointment. I’m sorry, Korosensei.

Something buzzed inside him, though. He glanced up and saw Aizawa-sensei eyeing him while Izuku took the field to throw a ball. Nagisa swallowed and his snakes lowered nervously, coiling like buns into his hair.

He knows.

 


 

Izuku looked pumped up where he stood, holding the ball and staring at it like it held his future, and it might as well did. It felt heavy in his hand.

Screw this up and you’re done, he reminded himself. This whole exercise was tailored for quirks, yes, and he’s barely passed without it so far—but he saw the look his Sensei’s been giving him and Nagisa. He felt a mantra of, ‘murderer murderder murderer murderer you’ll never be a hero, you’ll never be a hero’ ring inside his head, stirring his stomach with the deepest pit of anxiety. Seriously, half-way through the exam, he thought he was going to throw up. Not to mention, he felt the burning eyes of Bakugou trying to either set him on fire or dissect him alive. He’s sorry he kept staring after every glance he caught of the blond! He just- Izuku couldn’t place his face and it infuriated him. He doesn’t even remember a time he was this angry at his memory—because it’s never been a problem for him!

He blinked the thoughts away when Aizawa-sensei sighed, “Any day now.”

“Ah...R-Right.”

A deep breath to chase away the butterflies. Okay, this is it. Just let a sliver of One for All out… Red lit up his arm as he reeled it back to throw. His muscles strained threateningly under the raw power and a sudden bolt of panic ran through him when he realized— oh crap, I let it slip too much- He released the ball-

It hit the ground ahead of him like nothing.

Izuku felt he was struck to his core— what?! But I was using it! I swear, I was, I-

He shot his gaze to their homeroom teacher, seemingly threatened and horror-struck. “Wh-What just happened?”

The man’s eyes were lit red and his hair raised tall. “I erased your quirk.” That’s it. He answered that like it was the simplest thing in the world.

“E-erased it?! How…” And there it was—Izuku’s shocked face when recognition washed over him. He looked torn between being genuinely upset, straight up astounded, and honored. “You- You’re the erasing hero, ‘Eraserhead’...”

A chorus of confusion and astonished excitement rang throughout the class at that.

“From what I’ve observed,” his voice sent shivers down Izuku’s spine, terror grabbing him from the back and trying to jostle him around. “You can’t utilize your quirk’s full power, meaning you can’t use it efficiently at all without significant drawbacks. And you’re aware of this. You’re fully intending on going out into the field of pro heroes, intentionally using your quirk as an all-or-nothing tactic at the cost of a limb or two, aren’t you? Are you expecting to be saved by another hero after using your quirk and crippling yourself? It doesn’t work like that in the real world, Midoriya Izuku.”

Aizawa-sensei drew closer, raising a finger to point to the boy. His face embodied rage.

“That’s a sure-fire way of getting yourself killed.”

Izuku and Nagisa tensed at the same time, and the air outside grew chillier.

Cold, emerald eyes locked with his teacher’s, wide saucers piercing as if the man just murdered his mother in cold blood right in front of his face. A dark expression took over him and Aizawa raised a brow, still staring the boy down. Izuku’s vision grew fuzzy but his insides felt oddly still despite the ice that was injected in his veins, the only buzzing coming from a deep-seated compulsion to scare and let what bloodlust he had left to seep out, show the teacher and his (innocent) classmates that: I’ve seen Death and he’s an ugly son of a frick.

He remained motionless. Then he opened his mouth.

“I’ve survived this long,” Izuku muttered just loud enough for the underground hero to hear. His voice was even and without trembling, though his clenched fists twitched at his sides. “With my wits and s-self-preservation skills, sacrificing a-and putting everything on the line just to be here. I’m not… I am not about to let a chance like this j-just slip away so pitifully.” There was venom laced in his words.

Aizawa seemed impressed and he huffed, shutting his eyes and releasing his quirk. “It seems you just barely understand the severity of the issue. We’ll see to that later. I’ve returned your quirk. You’re free to try the ball pitch a second time.” He said it like he planned on drilling the concept in his head later— should he escape expulsion.

Izuku never let the seriousness fade from his eyes as he nodded.

 


 

“Are you alright? You’re awfully tense, kero.”

A hand touched Nagisa’s shoulder, jolting him back to reality. Alarmed, he turned to his right and saw the green-haired frog girl from before staring at him with wide, curious yet concerned eyes.

The snake-haired boy took a moment to swallow and release his clenched fists, forcing his shoulders to relax. He nodded wordlessly, offering a faint smile to the girl.

The girl didn’t seem all too convinced, but she didn’t push. Her eyes raised to the calmed reptiles in his hair, tilting her head thoughtfully. “Your snakes seemed awfully agitated for a moment there, kero.”

“Ah, y-yeah, they get like that sometimes. It’s nothing to be worried about, though.”

She opened her mouth to respond when both their attention was drawn to Izuku who seemed deathly still, hand clutching the ball before he mumbled something then reared back to pitch the ball.

“SMASH!”

 


 

The ball was blasted into the air, almost as strong as Bakugou’s.

Mother trucker—

Stubborn tears lined Izuku’s emerald eyes and a strained, painful smile split his lips as he bit down, gripping his now-broken finger to his chest. The darkness that had once infiltrated the freckled teen’s expression now gone without a trace, instead replaced with hard determination. “S...S-Sensei… I-I… I can still move.”

Aizawa—seemed exhilarated at the boy’s performance, his eyes wide with a piercing smile. “I see.”

Izuku’s eyes drifted away from Aizawa, scanning the crowd of student gaping. Nagisa’s own smile felt like it would tear his cheeks if it grew any wider—sure, he hadn’t gotten many points and was probably facing expulsion, but he couldn’t stop the feeling of glee from filling him up. He meant it when he thought Izuku deserved it the most, this position of ‘Hero’ and he had no doubt he would be Number One. He met Izuku’s gaze, pridefully nodding with a cheerful thumbs up. Then Izuku’s eyes skipped away, catching scarlet rage in a blond boy. Like a snapping stick, the boy exploded.

“Okay, that’s it. What the hell are you looking at , creep?!” Half the class flinched away as Bakugou erupted from the line, charging the injured boy whose eyes filled like full moons in alarm with explosions ringing off his hands. “Quit your starin’, you weedhead! What’s your problem?! You break your stupid finger and you— HRK?!” Cloth wrapped around the boy’s face and chest, restraining him from touching Izuku. “What—erg, what the hell—?!”

“It’s my special ‘capture weapon’, a steel wire alloy woven with carbon nanofibers. Quit making me use my Quirk so much, jeez. I’ve got dry eye, for Pete’s Sake.”

Izuku’s expression lit up suddenly and his uninjured hand shot to cover his mouth as a small, “Oh my God,” left him. Then he smiled, ignoring the pain that made his eyes twitch, and he drew closer to the restrained Bakugou. “You’re Kacchan, aren't you?! Bakugou Katsuki!” The dumbfounded slap on the face the blond just showcased could have caused the green haired boy to laugh if he wasn’t so elated at the moment. Bakugou was then released after he went slack in the capture weapon. “S-Sorry if I was l-looking too much. I-I just couldn’t...figure out who you were, but now I-I know!”

What the frick are you talking abou-”

“It’s me! I-Izuku, remember? I was ‘Deku!’” Izuku pointed at himself as he bobbed on the balls of his feet. “We were neighbors b-but then I moved. Y-Your mom still calls mine, like, once a week.”

Then recognition fell on the explosive teen and he instantly relaxed (well, as much as he could anyway). “Holy crap, you’re kidding. We thought you died.”

Izuku gave an awkward bout of laughter. “Honestly, me- me t-too.”

An exasperated sigh from their teacher interrupted the extremely strange reunion of lost friends. “Alright, reunion’s over. Get back in line, both of you. It’s time to start the last trial.” The tired teacher turned toward the class, eyes trained suspiciously on Nagisa, as if he were dissecting him.

Izuku nodded with a swallow, separating from Bakugou to take his place between Nagisa and the brown haired girl from before, who asked if he was alright to which he merely nodded with a hum. He vaguely wondered if he could finish the exam with a broken finger.

“The next exam has nothing to do with your quirks,” Aizawa explained after he put his eye drops away, his arms crossed over his chest. “I’ll be pairing you together to assess your combat skills.”

A boy with red hair behind them asked aloud, “Wait, are we still allowed to use our quirks?”

“Sometimes you won’t have your quirks to lean on,” the pro hero responded, eyes sharp. “Imagine if I were a villain and I erased your quirk. Then what? You have no combat experience, so you’d be vulnerable. I need to assess how much you know. I would like to evaluate you each individually, but we unfortunately don’t have the luxury of time on our hands today, since it’s only the first day, so you’ll be pinned up against the student to your right, starting with Bakugou on the end. For example, Bakugou and Ashido will spar for two minutes or until one loses balance, and so on.” He scanned the class to count and make sure there were an even twenty students. There were—then he stopped on Izuku. Ah, right. Broken finger.

“Midoriya, you won’t be taking part. I’ll assess you individually at a later date. For now, go to Recovery Girl’s office.” Aizawa pulled out a packet of teacher notes, scribbled his initials on the top page, then shoved it toward the injured boy, who hesitated.

“Um, uh- it’s- I-I can still fight, Sensei!” he squeaked. “I’ve, um, I’ve fought with a broken hand b-before, s...s-so this is r- um, this is nothing, a-actually.” He felt a stir of alarm and potential questions fill the students around him, making him shake a bit under the perplexing stares he received. His hands were twitching and fiddling with each other in front of him.

Aizawa seemed resigned, and he sighed, taking Izuku’s unscathed hand and putting the teacher’s note in it. “No,” he firmly said, locking eyes with him then he leaned in. “Meet me after class with Shiota. Now go.”

A sigh left him and he turned to meet Nagisa’s wide, nervous eyes. The blue haired boy nodded then, defeated while Izuku left with hunched shoulders.

“Shiota, you’ll spar with me today.”

Anxiety crawled up his throat like spiders spreading around him and he forced himself to swallow, nodding. “Y-Yessir.”

“Alright, get in your teams and come up starting with Bakugou and Ashido.”

McFrick . Nagisa shifted under the curious gazes of the frog girl and infinity girl. I’m gonna freaking die.

Chapter Text

When he read the notes Nedzu gave him on two of his students—and the rat-dog-thing made it very clear to consider them seriously—Shouta wasn’t really sure what to make of them. Both students came from Kunugigaoka Junior High, one entering UA on recommendation and the other earning his way through the written and practical exam. Nothing out of the ordinary, in fact for both to come from Kunugigaoka was a feat of itself; that school had quite the reputation for being very difficult to get in and stay in, but its student success rate easily rivaled UA’s. He’s never met the Principal of the school, but from the notes he received from Nedzu, he was sure he never wanted to meet the man.

Everything seemed to check out—until the mention of assassination training, being in the so-called ‘End Class’, and something about a superhuman-octopus hybrid experiment being killed by the end of the year—by every student in the class.

Shouta pursed his lips at that, a hand raising to his chin while he narrowed his eyes.

What?

He read their profiles with suspicion and a bit of foreboding hanging in the air. Then it clicked, seeing the homeroom teacher’s date of death. That was the day a section of Tokyo was covered by a strange orange force field. He, along with an armful of other Pro Heroes, were deployed around the area despite school still being in session, just to secure the area and making sure the public was safe, not to mention to investigate the entire case. There were soldiers around the entire school, including military deployed Pro Heroes. He remembered clicking his tongue in frustration; his and every other agency around were ordered to stay away and let the military handle it. If he wanted to keep his job, he had to listen. Then the news came out the next day about what had happened. If he had known an entire class of ninth graders had infiltrated said forest and effectively shut down the government-sent Pros and soldiers all by themselves, of course Shouta would have gone in at least to make sure they all left safely. The media never showed the assassin students' faces. 

When he read further, he discovered Pro Heroes were assigned to teach the supposed ‘Assassination Classroom,’ including—and this is when he almost spat his coffee all over his desk—All Might himself, in addition to a Military-employed Hero by the name of ‘Shotlock’ Karasuma Tadaomi. An ex-assassin, new Pro Hero ‘Enchantress’ formerly known as ‘The Widowmaker’ Karasuma-Jelcavić Irina was their English Teacher. What an odd classroom setup…

Shouta lowered the paper, rubbing his irritated eyes. What an eyesore… Seriously, these are the headaches he has to deal with?

No doubt if these children were as close to their homeroom teacher ‘Korosensei’ as the papers say, then they were sure to be disturbed in some sense, unless they were thoroughly desensitized, which they seemed to have been to an extent. He’d have to see how far that relative numbness extended. If they did retain any sort of emotional disruption, then he’d have to talk to the school counselors about having a screening for them—not just for the class’s safety but for their own as well. He’s aware the government has offered counseling to the children, but whether or not they’re actually taking them was another thing. He just needed to be sure; get on the same page as his students.

Sighing, the tired Pro put the files away to re-read later. This was something he’d have to look even deeper into. It was...unfortunate that it had to be All Might who was most involved in the children's lives here.


 

He’d been studying the children carefully since the last students filed into class.

The personalities the two chosen students displayed threw him for a loop for a moment—he hadn’t expected timidity from them, and judging by how the boy slurred some words so frequently, it seemed the stutter that Midoriya had wasn’t drawn from anxiety; it sounded almost systematic, something he couldn’t control with mere emotions. Something fundamentally damaged. Which, he would bring up as a potential problem if sent out on the field, but from what Shouta’s seen, the boy seems to get his thoughts across rather quickly and efficiently despite his struggles.

They had obvious respect and humility when following orders, which was good, but that was for basic commands, like for the exam. When it came to really crucial moments, he’d have to see later. They did defy government soldiers and Pros just to get to their teacher.

The blue one was perplexing enough. Shiota knew Shouta was watching him, and he often fidgeted with a sickly color on his face, as if he was guilty of something. Still, they both performed well in the assessment. They were both startlingly agile as well. Yet, considering their background, it didn’t come as too much of a surprise.

What did come as a surprise was how far Midoriya was willing to go to prove his worth. It impressed the tired teacher, sure, but the action itself was concerning. Not only that, but how the boy reacted to Shouta’s test of word choice was something that stirred his stomach the wrong way. How dark his expression grew, and the aura of malicious intent that encased him… Still, the boy had some sort of self control despite how his voice dripped with bloodlust.

After the boy earned his keep with the ball throw exercise and then sent to the nurse’s office, his attention didn’t have to be so torn anymore, and he could focus on his class as a whole again. He still had a job to do, even if these two problem children were eccentric enough.

With the combat evaluation, Shouta noted the students who needed more training than most. Ashido was on her back within a second of Bakugou coming at her with both fists. That was another thing too; some of his students were just...overwhelmingly aggressive. And by ‘some,’ he means Bakugou specifically. There was bloodlust in him too, but it wasn’t out of hatred like he felt from Midoriya. It was more out of… what, joy? He seemed to revel in violence, judging by the wild grin the boy wore when he flipped the pink girl on her backside.

The students went down the line: Ojiro winning up Hagakure; Kirishima out-matching Kaminari; Yaoyorozu and Asui timed out with a tie; Todoroki had Sero pinned to the ground in no time (another child with unnatural bloodlust…). Seventeen minutes had come and gone and Shiota came forth to take his turn with his teacher.

“All you have to do-”

“Knock you off balance or make it past 2 minutes. Got it,” Shiota nodded, meeting sharp blue with tired black eyes.

The boy assassin’s hands both twitched, longing for something to hold. Maybe he wasn’t fine turned to hand-to-hand combat without a weapon? Shouta gestured to begin, and the boy rushed forward, a dark expression in his eyes as he swung his leg up in a side-kick. Shouta countered it with his arm, reaching with his other hand to grab the boy’s ankle, but Shiota withdrew his leg before he could.

The blue haired boy backed up, taking a defensive stance—Shouta noticed his right hand mime as if to hold something (a pretend-weapon) and the boy charged him again, his fist raised. He aimed cheap shots at the teacher, each move easily parried or thrown off balance. The boy was scrappy—his style felt like a copy or a knockoff. He could fight, Shouta could tell, but he felt more suited for quick shut-offs rather than prolonged battles.

He’s seen enough.

Like the snap of a finger, Shouta had his student flipped onto his back with a hard thud followed by a painful moan.

“You don’t have a style or technique. We’ll work on that,” the Underground Hero pulled the teen to his feet. “Dust yourself off, get back in line.”

Breathlessly, the red-faced student nodded as he stood up and filed back into the crowd of his classmates. By then, Midoriya had returned with greetings of concern from his friends, inquiring of his injury, to which he shrugged and reassured them he was fine.

Attention snapped to their teacher.


 

Nagisa didn’t feel at all confident with his performance. Not only was he slightly sleep deprived, but it was difficult going after an opponent who did nothing but counter and dodge. Nagisa wasn’t that sort of fighter—he wasn’t a fighter. He was… He was an assassin. Quick blows. Finish the job. Find an opening. Don’t prolong the fight, just. Finish. The. Job. The boy sighed, lowering his head and shutting his eyes. He was finished, wasn’t he?

When Izuku tapped on Nagisa’s shoulder, the boy spooked with a gasp before turning his head quickly. “Izukun!” he whispered with a smile, but it was tinged with concern. “Is your finger okay?”

Izuku nodded with a thumbs up in reply. “R-Recovery Girl fixed me r-right up!”

The brunette beside him smiled at the freckled teen. “Glad to see you’re feeling better!”

“Yes,” Iida chimed in, pushing his glasses up. “It’s unfortunate enough you had to go to the nurse on the first day as it is.”

In response, Izuku merely chuckled awkwardly before Aizawa’s voice grabbed everyone’s attention. “Alright, it’s time for your results.” Aizawa explained the score system quickly (and without much care in his voice) and with a click of a button, the results were displayed through a hologram.

“Oh, and by the way, I lied about expelling one of you.” Everyone tensed, but he continued, “It was a logical ruse to pull out your best performances.”

Nagisa nearly collapsed while everyone else seemed to screech their throats out with their level of exasperation. Izuku’s soul seemed to have left his body for a moment.

They didn’t even place last in the class.


 

Shouta sighed after he dismissed the class and found All Might of all people to be hiding behind a wall, just watching his class.

“Don’t you have anything better to do than to be stalking my class? All Might?”

“You liar!” the symbol of peace bellowed with frustration, hands on his side. “‘A logical ruse’ my back end! You expelled an entire class of first-graders last year!”

“And?”

“You have no hesitation when it comes to expelling those you judge to have ‘zero chances,’ yet you hesitate with your students now. Why is that?”

Aizawa stood still, hands in his pockets. Cold eyes shifted to the blond hero, eyes narrowing. “So you’ve read up on me, haven’t you? You’re not the only one who does his research. So tell me, All Might. What do you know about Shiota Nagisa and Midoriya Izuku?” All Might stood rigid, expression darkening with a spark of surprise. An uncomfortable silence fell on them, nearly suffocating the taller blond as the Underground Hero huffed and shook his head. “Quite a lot, judging by the way you just tensed up. If this school were to deny students as dangerous as them, where do you think they would end up, hm? After having done what they just did last semester? Would they end up dead? Or worse, villains?”

The raven turned his body to All Might, eyes narrowing.

“So I repeat my prior question, All Might. What do you know about those two boys?”


 

Nagisa didn’t think he had dreaded anything more in his life than to stay after class and talk with his teacher, which wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary, except he singled out him and Izuku, not to mention he knew, God, he knew..!

So when they were changing in the locker room, Nagisa sent a text to Karma and Rio, telling them they had to stay back for a bit. Strangely, Karma and Rio said they were going to be late as well, so it was agreed they’d meet up after school anyway.

Sliding the door to class 1-A felt heavier than it had that morning, and Izuku looked about ready to throw up. Nagisa wasn’t the best at comfort, especially since he himself was so close to running all the way back home and facing the consequences later, but his better judgement made him step into the classroom against his will.

“Aizawa-sensei, you wanted to speak with us?” His voice felt fragile as he spoke, holding strong as best it could but he stopped when a nervous rock formed in his throat. He shut the door.

Aizawa sat on his desk with his hands interlocked. They were holding his head up before the two entered the room, only lifting himself up when the door slid open. “Yes, take a seat, both of you.” They did as they were told. Aizawa caught Izuku’s shining eyes before sighing. He didn’t need someone crying on him so early in the year. “Relax, you’re not in trouble. I just wanted to get on the same page as you both. I’m sure you know you both are a...special case in this school.”

Nagisa felt numb—so he did know. But they...weren’t in trouble? Confusion crashed his senses, squinting with a raised brow. Still, he and Izuku—who looked slightly less than pale than before—nodded.

“Good. Nedzu, the school Principal, was kind enough to chime me in on both of your—circumstances. You both are ahead of most of your classmates in terms of skill and precision, but you’re still lacking in most other areas. We’ll fix that in due time.” He shuffled through some papers on his desk. “But that’s not why I called you in here today. I’m aware you both are government protected individuals. Do you both understand what that fully means?”

A silence fell over the the two and they exchanged wide-eyed looks of concern before turning to their teacher, Izuku speaking up with his voice tiny and timid, as if not wanting to be outspoken, “I-I was, um, u-under the im- uh, I thought it was the- the government offering things like- like c-counseling and...not letting us… um…”

“So that if anyone tried to arrest us on accounts of assassinating Korosensei, they wouldn’t be able to?” Nagisa finished for his friend, who didn’t seem to mind, only wincing at the mention of their terrible deed. Aizawa nodded, closing his eyes.

“You’re correct, but it also allows the government and other higher-up Heroes to document and keep tabs on you both. It’s a precautionary since you, and your previous classmates, have been exposed to things you really never should have. It’s indecency on the government’s behalf, even allowing children your age to have a chance at committing what you did. It’s inexcusable. Nevertheless, what happened has already passed.” Aizawa’s eyes opened with a new sort of emotion in them—resigned anger? At who? “At least they have the decency to offer therapy to you lot. Have either of you taken up the counseling provided to you?”

They were both hesitant to reply at first, but Izuku nodded before Nagisa. “I-I go to therapy once a- once a week a-anyway, for, uh, for unrelated, um… problems . The, um, government just started p-paying for them now.”

Aizawa nodded at the freckled teen before turning to Nagisa quizzically. “And you?”

The blue haired boy swallowed, glancing away. He shook his head and he heard a tongue click from the raven across him. “I see. Legally, no one can force you to take them unless you become a danger to either yourself or to others, but I strongly advise you to at least see the school counselor once. He’s helped many students in the past and has even seen some teachers here as well, All Might included.”

The students perked up at that. An amused smirk marked the Pro Hero’s face before he made to stand up. “Anyway, you both are dismissed.” He dragged his yellow sleeping bag toward the door, sliding it open then turning back to the teens getting their bags ready. “Midoriya, Shiota. I’m your teacher. It’s my job to make sure you feel safe in an educational environment. If you’re having trouble with anything, you can come to me or the school counselor, alright?”

“Yessir! Thank you!” the boys replied quickly then filed out under Aizawa’s arm that held the sliding door open. Nagisa stopped for a moment, then turned his head.

“Oh, and, um, sir? May I ask you call me Nagisa instead of my surname?”

“Odd request, but if that’s what makes you comfortable.” Aizawa nodded. A blistering smile burned on Nagisa’s cheeks at that and he exclaimed a pleased ‘thank you’ before taking off after Izuku. He watched them chase down the hall with narrowed eyes before the umpteenth sigh that day left him and he shook his head.

“Why do I always have to pick up everyone’s dirty laundry around here…”


 

“I’m ready t-to die…” Izuku was practically dragging his entire body after him, feeling more drained than he was this morning, which was really saying something. “Man, I-I wish I could’ve stayed in R-Recovery Girl’s office...at- at least just to close my eyes a bit…”

“But then you would’ve missed your results, Izukun,” Nagisa chuckled. “But also, same.”

“Midoriya-kun! Shiota-kun!” Both boys turned their heads at a somewhat familiar voice and saw none other than that Iida kid from before. “Are you sure you’re alright, Midoriya-kun? You look awfully worn out.”

“Ah- um, y-yeah, I’m- I’m fine, really! Don’t worry about me, hehe!” Izuku quickly replied, waving his hands around. Iida narrowed his eyes behind his glasses, obviously not buying it (Izuku seriously looked like he fought a tree and lost). He opened his mouth to delve in further before another voice stopped him.

“Hey! You guys, wait up!” And there comes the brunette girl from homeroom rushing towards them, waving wildly with a bright, excited grin lighting her face.

“Ah, you’re that ‘Infinity’ girl.” Nagisa almost choked at Iida reading his mind, but he held himself together.

“I’m Uraraka Ochako! You’re, ummm, Iida Tenya, and if I’m not mistaken… Midoriya Izukun! I’m sorry I forgot your name there…”

Oh, she was talking to Nagisa. “Ah- I’m Shiota Nagisa, but please , call me Nagisa.” He smiled softly, then gestured to his uncoiled snake heads who blinked at the girl with innocuous interest. “And this is Ko and Roka.”

Uraraka’s expression softened with adoration, cooing at the reptiles, “Aw, they’re so cute! Ko and Roka? That’s so cute! Just Nagisa, huh? Alrighty then!”

“Uh, ‘Izukun?’” the boy in question smiled awkwardly with pinched eyes and a tilted head. “A-Actually, my real name is just ‘Izuku’... ‘I-Izukun’ is- is just a nickname Nagisa calls me, eheh…”

The girl’s face lit up like someone set it on fire while she sputtered, hands lifting to cover her burning cheeks,”O-Oh! Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry! I thought- It sounded so cute, I just- This is so embarrassing, aahh...”

“Ah! N-No- It’s- I don’t- Izukun is fine!!

Nagisa was drinking from his water bottle before almost spitting everything out and exclaiming with half a mouthful of water, “ IHUKUH?!” He tried to swallow but instantly began half-choking with laughter. Iida looked alarmed, confused, and distressed all at once while Izuku was too preoccupied with enabling Uraraka with special nickname privileges to care. Awkwardly but with urgency, the taller boy started patting Nagisa’s back, exclaiming his name while the shorter boy was bent over and laugh-choking.

“Well, well, what’s- Holy crap, Nagisa’s dying.”

Attention snapped up (sans a dying Nagisa) to a red haired Karma and blonde Rio joining the group.

“Izukun, who’re these clowns?” Karma raised a brow, though he looked tense like he was holding back his frustration for something.

“Ah-”

“Excuse me, ‘clowns’?! How dare you insult us!”

“I-Iida-san, it’s- Karma, don’t- y-you- ugh, do you have to i-insult everyone you meet?” Izuku groaned, rolling his eyes at the boy while dragging his cheeks down.

Karma smirked in response and Rio hummed her laughter while shaking her head. “Sorry about this fool,” she began, stretching her hand out. “I’m Nakamura Rio from Kunugigaoka Junior High. I’m in Support class! This fool is-”

“Akabane Karma, but call me Karma. Same junior high, but I’m in the Business course.” The redhead pocketed his hands.

Uraraka and Iida exchanged their own introductions, accepting Rio’s friendly handshake.

“So you all know each other? Were you in the same class or something? You seem awfully close,” Uraraka curiously inquired, tilting her head as the six of them started off toward the station, Nagisa having recovered from his near-death experience a moment ago. The four ex-assassins exchanged glances with sad smiles before Izuku nodded.

“Y-Yeah. We’re, um, we’re pretty close.”

There was a lot that went unsaid with that reply. Too many sleepless nights they stood up for to comfort distress friends. Too many heated yet mournful and delirious arguments that stemmed from past troubles that can never be fixed. Too many midnight calls between classmates and close friends because they couldn’t get his smile out of their dreams. Too many everything, but it was like bonding glue to their hearts, sealing them all closer than before. There was more than just assassination that kept them together.

Uraraka and Iida had curious expressions light their eyes, but neither pushed the subject further, instead choosing to talk about the first day at UA to which the bashful Izuku and excitable Rio had no trouble chiming in with.

“Hey, speaking of which, what’s up with you?” Rio looked to Karma, who started to accumulate strained veins on his neck, using every resource within his body to keep his smile non-menacing. “You look like being cheerful is physically killing you slowly.”

“Yeah, it is. Guess which posh frickhead got into Business class. My Business class.” The strain vanished then, his smile forming into something that would give villains shivers of impending doom. Nagisa and Iida grimaced.

“Oh no, don’t tell me…” Nagisa hissed with condolence, squinting an eye. There’s only one person who could make Karma look ready to actually kill someone and not enjoy it.

“Oh, i-it can’t be...” Izuku raised a hand to his mouth. Iida and Uraraka hummed in confusion.

“Asano…” Rio sighed, slumping her shoulders slightly.

“Um? Who?” The gravity quirk wielder finally chirped, raising a hand. Nagisa could feel the confusion coming off the two in waves.

“Oh- Asano’s just some wad of wet, human garbage from our old school,” Rio waved them off with a smile. “I mean, he kind of got better later in the school year? I guess?” She raised a brow at Nagisa who shrugged in response. “Ah, well, he’s still a load of humanized bull-“

“-shrimp.”

“...right. Bull Shrimp. Thanks, Izukun.”

Izuku gave a childish thumbs up.

“Anyway, he’s the definition of ‘snobby prince wannabe.’ He’s the son of Kunugigaoka’s principal, so it’s no wonder he ended up in UA, though I’m surprised he’s not in any Hero Course… Didn’t he always ‘aim for the top’?”

Karma shook his head with an irritated huff. “Who freaking knows? All I know is that he’s screwing up all my games. He’s called me out on two pranks already and it’s only the first day. He’s such a teacher’s pet, I just wanna shove some ghost peppers up his nose…”

Iida mumbled, “Ghost peppers…” to himself while Uraraka appeared more pumped about shoving some spices up a dude’s nose than Izuku did.

“That guy sounds like a real piece of work!” she exclaimed. “That’s gross he got put in your class. You should trap him with that one plastic wrap trick! Make him chase you or something…”

Karma gawked at her for a moment before muttering, “She’s perfect…”

“Eh?”

“Izukun, hold onto her.”

EHHH?!?

All Izuku received in reply was a pat on the back and a sly, devilish grin. Izuku shuddered. “I-Ignore him. He gets high off m-messing with people.”

“Oh, haha!” Uraraka giggled the awkward off as they neared the train station. “Hey! By the way, which train stop do you guys get off at?”

“Train? What, you wanna go home so soon?” Karma raised a brow.

“It’s the first day of UA, why not celebrate a bit? Ice cream, anyone?” Rio raised her hands in excited gestures.

“Oh you’re right! We should totally eat out for a treat!” the brunette bounced. “Plus it’s not even evening, and I don’t have curfew so I’m free all day. What about you guys?”

Nagisa shrugged, pulling out his phone. “My dad works late, so I can just text him and let him know.”

“Y-Yeah, same.” Izuku nodded, copying his shorter friend. “Gotta text my, uh, my mom to let her know. I-I think she s..said something about dinner tonight? I’m not- uh, I’m not sure though.”

“I’m free whenever too.” Karma raised a hand.

Iida nodded with a hand adjusting his glasses. “I’m free as well this afternoon.”

Nagisa pulled up his texting app to notify his dad, blinking at an unread message from him.

Dad:
Gonna be late for dinner :(. Go ahead and order pizza tonight, I left some yen on the table! Love you

Nagisa felt himself deflate a bit, breath leaving him in a soft cloud of hopelessness.

Listen—he was glad his father wasn’t smothering like his mother was. It was...freeing. Dad let him do so many things his mother never did. He could hang out with his friends whenever, he could have phone calls and video chats without anyone looking over his shoulder with paranoia rolling onto him from another body. Dad never checked his texts or asked about what he thought of this outfit or that—he was...pretty lenient about most everything.

Maybe a bit too lenient.

Nagisa frowned, gripping his phone a bit harder when a flash of unfocused anger lit up in his chest and his snakes honed in on the phone with a low hiss rising from them both.

Me:
That’s okay. Thanks. Is it okay if I hang out with some friends from school?

The response came moments later.

Dad:
Of course!!! Take pictures and let your friends know if u need a ride!! don’t be out too late either!!! Love you

Me:
Love you too Dad, and dont worry i wont, we’re only getting ice cream, c u later

Smiling sadly, Nagisa raised his head to his friends. “My dad says it’s fine.”

“My, uh, My mom s..said I-I have to be home by 4 b-but that should be enough time for, um, for ice cream,” Izuku smiled brightly.

Uraraka cheered, “Awesome! Let’s go downtown then; I know this great place near my apartment! Oh , and it’s cheap too! Come on, the next train is stopping.”


 

They spent an hour at the ice cream shop, which Izuku and Nagisa realized wasn’t too far away from their own apartments. They talked about their day and what they thought of their teachers and classmates. It was odd for the ex-kunugigaoka students to be in separate classes but they still made it work. Later it turned into talking about memes and watching old vine compilations (some of which made Iida gasp in horror at the language being used; Karma just laughed even more).

Izuku found out Uraraka really enjoyed silly animal vines, which made the boy very happy for some reason.

Finally, it was Izuku that announced that he had to go back home before his mom starts to panic. Uraraka encouraged everyone to exchange numbers, so now he guessed he has another girl’s number? That was pretty neat. Nerve wracking! But neat. So then they parted ways for dinner.

Izuku unlocked his front door with an exhausted greeting, “Mom! I’m home!”

“Welcome home, sweetie!” came the instant reply of his mother as he took his shoes off at the door and hung his backpack on the coat rack. “How was school, Izuku? You have to tell me all about it—oh my! Look at the time- get dressed, sweetie, we’re late for dinner!”

Izuku raised a brow as he took his uniform jacket off. “Huh? Wh-why? Oh, right. We’re going out f-for dinner, r-right? Who with?”

“Oh, I forgot to tell you who!” Mom came out of the kitchen, dressed not formally, but still very nice. It made Izuku smile a bit. Her face was lit up like a star, excitement buzzing from her. “We’re going to Mitsuki’s! The Bakugou’s, I mean—You know, your childhood friend I told you about?”

“WHAT!” His eyes widened at that and he ran to his room to change—crap, he knew nothing about Katsuki! Er, Kacchan? Bakugou? Which one would he prefer being called? Ugh, how weird would it be to learn someone from your childhood you probably don’t even remember has been learning secondhand stuff about you from their mom? He hoped Bakugou didn’t think he was a creep—it’s not like he wanted to forget everything about his childhood. Eugh, he probably already thought he was a weirdo from all the staring today…

Grimacing at the thought, he put on a white t-shirt along with a turquoise jacket and some slightly baggy jeans. The T-shirt had the phrase “Plus Ultra!” written on it. Bakugou didn’t strike him as a formal attire sort of person, but he’d at least look a little…okay.

His frown grew deeper when he looked in the mirror and the freckled teen instantly threw his shirt off to pick another less geeky shirt; Geeky is not the vibe he wants to send off. What if Bakugou laughs at him? A strangled whine of frustration leaves the teen while he goes through two more shirts, judging them to be clashing too much with his jacket.

“Ugh! J-just PICK ONE!!” he half-yelled at himself before angrily tossing on a baby pink shirt that had a tiny drawing of an alien head on it. Grumpily, Izuku grabbed a black jacket instead and zipped it up with a huff. “There. No one will know. N-No one will care! Shut up and-and take a- t-take a deep breath.” He loosened up while he took deep breaths to calm himself. “Okay… Okay…”

He left the room with his rejected clothes in a disheveled pile in the corner. His mom rounded the hallway corner and caught his eye and she gave a pursed look that he knew said, ‘I can’t believe you’re going out looking like that,’ in an undertone. So it didn’t surprise him when she vanished into the bathroom and returned with a hairbrush in her hand and without being prompted to, Izuku sighed and followed his mother into the dining room where she pulled out the knots in his hair, muttering questions she knew she wouldn’t get answers for but asked anyway.

Izuku winced when she pulled on a hard knot, almost pulling away when the bristles scratched over a few bumps on his head, irritating the skin. As merciless as ever, though, Inko didn't stop and just kept working on his hair while mumbling to herself. She was done after two-to-three excruciating minutes of knot untangling that felt more like two-to-three excruciating years.

“You need to take better care of yourself, sweetie,” she tenderly said, gesturing him to stand up so they could leave. “When was the last time you brushed your hair?”

Probably….a month…? Eugh, his mental voice sounded so dead inside… well, technically he guessed it was? He swallowed back a laugh. Instead, Izuku simply shrugged as he handed his mom her purse before she closed the front door and locked it. “I was, um, in a rush this morning, s…s-so I must’ve just forgot…”

Mom softened at the tone of his voice, filled with a tender sheepishness that never failed to sway her sympathies. A stab of guilt hit Izuku—that was...manipulation, wasn’t it? He didn’t mean it, he really did feel rushed this morning, it’s not like he purposely neglects to take care of himself?

(Except you do…)

Izuku shook his head in surprise at the subconscious thought that wiggled into his head. He squinted and pursed his lips, looking out the passenger window of their car after buckling his seat.

“That’s alright, Izuku. I know you’ve been very nervous about UA. Oh, I’m so proud of you, you know? You’ve worked so hard…” Mom put the car in drive and backed out.

Her words felt like nails in his skin, kind as they were. Stop, I don’t deserve this. Not after all I’ve done. He didn’t trust himself to reply steadily so he just hummed in response, still staring out the window and watching the scenery of the town pass by. He wondered where exactly Nagisa lived? He'll have to ask Ritsu.

Sensing the need to change the subject, bless Mom’s heart , the sweet woman began with, “Mitsuki invited us today, you know?” Izuku glanced at Mom, who smiled. “I was keeping us moving back a surprise for her too. But she found out through Katsuki, you know—the boy I told you who used to play with you all those years as a child. I was planning on inviting her over for dinner today as the surprise but it seems she beat me to the punch!” Mom laughed.

Izuku couldn’t help but smile. He was happy she still had such a deep connection to ‘Aunt Mitsuki’ (as Mom insisted on him saying), even after all these years. It was sad to Izuku that he couldn’t rekindle anything with Bakugou, though. If it wasn’t for his memory and having moved—he wondered what sort of person Bakugou was? Back then? Now? The thought made his insides shiver with both anticipation and anxiety.

He seemed really loud in class today. Angry. Wild. ‘Rowdy’ was probably the nicest way to describe him, if he were in front of him anyway. He didn’t intimidate him before, but thinking about it now made him second guess his outfit again. I LOOK SO EMO… EUGH… Where’s that fashion police kid when I need him?

Wincing at himself, he dug his hands in his jacket pockets and sank in his seat.

“What’s wrong, honey? Don’t slouch there, it’s dangerous.” His mom’s voice jolted him from his brooding thoughts. Of course she would notice his dumpy mood, ugh. He obeyed and sat straight in the chair.


 

He can’t remember much of elementary school—just the nervous waves of anxiety crashing onto him as he rode in the car to school. It was his first day.

He was scared.

“What’s wrong, sweetie?”

He swallowed hard. His throat was constricting painfully as he fought back tears and it took him awhile before he could breathe again.

“Wh-what- what if th-they don’t- they don’t like m-m-me?” His stutter was worse back then, and he had a lot more quiet days then he did now, not to mention he twitched a lot when he was nervous, blinking hard, fondling with his hands, and bobbing his knees.

“Oh, Izuku, baby, they’ll love you. You’re wonderful.”

He remembers vaguely smiling at those words.

That day the children laughed at the way he spoke.


 

“Oh, um, nothing, i-it’s just- I, well-” He swallowed. “Bakugou… wh-what if he… doesn’t… like me?” He doesn’t know why but he half-expects her to laugh at that—he sounds so pitifully childish—so he doesn’t look at her. They’re at a red light, and he feels her eyes on him. Soft and warm like hot cocoa wrapped in a blanket by a campfire, melting him and drawing his own (cruel, traitorous, deceitful, evil) viridian eyes to meet with hers.

“Sweetie, you are the most caring, sweetest cupcake I’ve ever known in my life,” she says without wavering. “And I know Katsuki is a rather… hard… headed type of person, and he may be a bit brash, but I know even he won’t be able to scowl at your kindness.”

The light turns green.

The words hurt like hell, drawing a deep guilt from his stomach to his throat, burning him but he can’t find it in him to frown at his mother so he forces his biggest, brightest, freak-fakest smile he has in his arsenal for her. She seems to take it well and after a turn toward an apartment complex building, Izuku suddenly finds himself standing in front of an apartment door awkwardly while holding the food gift of katsudon in his arms.

His heart is ramming against his ribs, trying to break out and his legs seem to be attempting to develop their own sort of jello-transformation quirk. The door cracks open after his mom rang the doorbell and his heart shoots into his throat and all he can do is manage a wobbly smile as a blonde haired woman steps out with who he assumed to be her husband right behind her.

“INKO!!” The woman all but screams in utter delight and now Izuku understands why his mother had him hold the katsudon instead because the blonde woman just freaking throws herself onto his mom, squeezing her half to death. And he thought Professor ‘Viç’s hugs looked deadly… He shuddered then squeaked when the woman’s sharp eyes shot to him.

“Oh, and Izukun’s here, too! Not gonna lie, from what you told me of him, I was afraid maybe my snot of a son would’a scared him off,” she tried muttering the last part, but Izuku would have to be actually deaf to not catch it. He only smiles awkwardly in return. “Oh, you’re so grown up, look at you! The last time I saw you, you were yay high; only just under my knees!”

Izuku swallows. Oh this is ten million times more awkward than a real family reunion, and no one’s actually related to anyone… What does he say? What does, like, anyone say in this situation?? Another bout of awkward laughter and he nods. “I-It’s, um, n-nice to finally, uh, f-finally meet you, um, uh… A… Aunt M-Mitsuki…” Ouch, that hurt the pride to say.

Her hands clapped together and she looked wildly at Mom. “Holy frick, he called me ‘aunt’!! Frick, that’s adorable. That’s more respect than my Katsuki has for me, what the frick.” Izuku felt his cheeks burning and he felt twenty degrees hotter than he did this morning. What the crap is going on… this is so embarrassing…

Her husband then begins to usher the two in after a moment of talking (or what could probably pass as ‘talking’ in another distant planet somewhere), realizing Mitsuki got carried away with being reunited with her old high school bestie.

Walking in nervously, Izuku catches Bakugou slouched on their living room couch, fiddling with his phone and otherwise avoiding contact with everyone. Swallowing, Izuku turns to Mitsuki and asks in a timid voice where he could put the Katsudon down, to which she answers sweetly by pointing to the kitchen counter and saying, “right over there, sweetie.”

Nodding, the teen escapes to the open-concept kitchen and sets the food down before stealing a glance at Bakugou. He doesn’t seem the least bit interested in anyone there, looking more annoyed than anything. Izuku envies that emotion. God, if only he could take his care away.

“One moment, Inko— KATSUKI! GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND ENTERTAIN OUR GUESTS, FOR PETE'S SAKE! GET OFF YOUR FREAKING PHONE!”

Izuku almost jumps a foot in the air in surprise.

“SHUT UP, HAG!” came the immediate huff, yet despite his irritation, the angry teen pockets his phone and stands up, turning around to catch Izuku’s spooked expression. Then he smirks and honestly? Izuku would rather take a Detroit Smash to the face than deal with whatever kind of terrifying personality type Bakugou was copping right now. His hands rub over each other at his chest nervously.

Bakugou nods his head to the door. “Food’s not done yet. Let’s take a walk.”

“O-Okay!”

Oh my frick, he’s gonna murder me in an alleyway and leave me for dead! Holy crap, holy crap, holy crap—

“Quit your muttering, we’re just going to the park, geez.”

“O-oh, uh, s..s-sorry! Bad, uh, b-bad habit, eheh…”

He is so way past his social quota for the day.


 

“So, that’s some killer quirk you‘s got,” Katsuki eyed Izuku as they sat on the swingset—well, Izuku sat, Katsuki was standing on his swing. The nervous teen rolled his shoulder and stared at the playground while nodding mindlessly. He seemed dazed. Katsuki raised a brow.

“Ah, yeah, it’s… i-it’s hard to control,” he replied, blinking the clouds away before glancing at the blond beside him. Katsuki swung on the seat harder to get some momentum then stopped.

“Really,” he drawled. It wasn’t sarcasm, per say, just—it was obvious wasn’t it? And the snot tried to play that off. “It obliterated your finger. What the frick kind of quirk does that?”

Izuku swallowed and his hands tightened around the chains as he lowered his head. A dry laugh left him. “Heh, it’s- it’s not as b-bad, really. I’m a-a lot better than what I- how it- um, than before.”

A blow of air left Katsuki’s nostrils as he hopped off his swing and stuffed his hands into his pockets. Turning, he studied the greenhead who seemed desperate to avoid his eyes. Katsuki squinted.

Yeah, Katsuki remembers Izuku. He remembers having a little green puppy following him around in preschool and kindergarten. He was… okay company. A little whiny but everyone in that stupid school was whiny. And annoying. The only thing that made them closer than other students was how their moms always set up playdates and sleepovers after school and on weekends. They’d watch All Might videos and play Heroes and generally hang out anywhere else—so yeah, he guessed he and Izuku were pretty tight back then. But then they stopped, and Izuku never came to school anymore. He asked his mom about it, and she just said that Izuku got very sick and they had to go away for awhile. Katsuki wouldn’t admit it out loud but he half-hoped he’d see Izuku again. And lo and behold.

Taking in the shorter teen, he seemed a lot… greyer than what he remembered. He saw a bit of pink poke out from the black zipped up jacket he had, but that’s about as much color he had besides his hair and eyes. His eyes looked pretty dead too. Izuku looked like a goth walked out of a cemetery. And what’s with that stutter?

It occurred to the explosive teen that he knew next to nothing about this Midoriya Izuku anymore.

“Why’d you leave?” Katsuki found himself asking. Izuku jumped at the question, shaking and turning his head to stare at the explosive blond.

“Oh, uh- I- well- um- wh-what?”

“When we were little, where’d you go? The old hag never told me you even moved. She just said you got sick and had to go away for a bit, but you never came back.” He leaned against the swingset pole.

Izuku swallowed again, glancing away. A nervous chuckle left him. “Oh, well, she- ahah, she’s not... wrong . Um.” His hands uncurled from the chains and instead tangled with each other. His leg started to bob. “It- it was so long ago, I-I guess I could… talk about it now? I don’t, um, r-remember much of it, but- there was a, uh, a villain attack. When I was little. I was caught up in it and I-I was hurt p-pretty badly. The, uh, doctors said I hit my- my head really hard, s… so I, I lost a good p-por- uh, part of my memory.”

Katsuki blinked at that.

“A-And now I’ve- I’ve got this, um…”

“That’s why you stutter.”

Izuku flinched and his shoulders raised with his hands tied tightly together between his knees. He nodded sheepishly. “W-We relocated. I-I was… I was bullied pretty badly i-in the schools there…”

Katsuki nodded with a scowl. Frick, what the crap? Is that why Izuku responded how he did when he snapped this morning? He blinked at a sudden thought. “Wait, you lost your memory? Bullcrap. How’d you recognize me then?”

“It- It wasn’t- full memory loss, um… I still remembered s-some stuff like, I liked All Might a-and I still recognized my- my mom. I remembered you b-but,” he paused and rubbed the back of his hand with his thumb. “I guess… only the concept of you… i-if that makes sense? I-I didn’t know your name, your face, y-your quirk… I remembered being ‘Deku’ but… but that’s it. Mom’s the one who- who showed me pictures and t-talked about you.”

Katsuki loosened his tense muscles against the pole again. Alright. That checked out. Still sucked spikes, but—Izuku didn’t seem like a liar. That emo look didn’t seem like a brooding style either, more like a ‘I am genuinely the most tired piece of crap you’ll ever meet’ style. His dark eyes seemed—stupid pathetic but sad at the same time. It made him think of ‘I’ve seen some stuff in my lifetime’ and he vaguely wondered if he has. No doubt. Considering he survived a villain attack at, like, four.

“Damn,” he commented. “You were only, what, four? Five? Had your quirk even come in then?”

Izuku’s face cracked, like he was the butt of a self-deprecating inside joke and he hated it but couldn’t stop smiling at some hidden irony. “Ahahah, w-well, my- my stutter wasn’t the only reason why I-I was bullied…” He looked like he wanted to punch himself.

Katsuki narrowed his eyes at him. No, definitely not a liar, but probably too honest when asked direct question. Secrets and private stuff, he can respect, but he wasn’t a liar. Kudos to Izuku, Katsuki didn’t hate him. “Look, I’m already starting to hate your elementary and junior high classmates, what in the world could possibly make it worse?”

“Ah, well, I was- e-everyone- we thought- the- hmm,” he paused and pursed his lips, coughing. “S-sorry, it’s hard. Um, the doctors thought I-I was quirkless s-so everyone else did too.” Something in his eyes felt broken when they shifted up to meet scarlet. A sad smile marked his face. His voice was small and shaky. “D-Did you know quirkless kids h-have the highest rate of ss… s-suicide? Most don’t make it past eighteen.”

Katsuki felt his insides freeze like ice at that. His eyes widened. He felt like he had just seen someone assaulted and he couldn’t do anything to stop it.

“What?” The heck? He took a step forward, hands pulled from his pockets and burning. “Someone told you to freaking kill yourself? Seriously? What the he- who the frick does that?”

Izuku froze then shrugged, eyes falling to the wood chips beneath them. “I-I was used to it. Besides, I t-turned out to be a late bloomer anyhow. S… So everything’s alright now.”

That ticked him off even more. What right did anyone have to tell someone to off themself? Izuku was- what he remembered from Izuku before, he was selfless, a bright star lighting up the dark. He wanted so badly to be a hero- and here he was, attending UA as one of only twenty students to get into the hero course. If that didn’t take balls then Katsuki didn’t know what did. And with a freaking self-destructive quirk like that?!

“Like hell it is. Did any of those snot bags make it into UA?”

Izuku blinked, raising his head again. Confusion lit his eyes, tilting his head. “Wh-wha-“

“You heard me. Did any of those dipstick-frickheads make it into UA?”

His confusion only grew and he slowly answered, “I… I think only one. Wh-Why?”

“What’s his name?”

“What?? Why??”

“Just give me their freaking name, stupid.”

“A-Asano Gakushuu, um, b-but why?”

“Sounds like a piece of work. If that sleaze ball gets close to you at school, and you don’t quirk-punch him in the balls, I’m exploding you and him into the stratosphere.” His eyes looked like fire to the freckled boy sitting on the swings. “I hate seeing people who can clearly defend themselves letting others walk all over them. It pisses me off. I won’t protect you, but I swear Izuku, if I see you letting anyone walk over you like a doormat, you bet your late quirk I’m blasting you sky high.”

Izuku could only stare at the fiery blond stupidly and nod as Katsuki straightened himself and zipped up his own jacket. With a huff, he gestured for the starstruck Izuku to get up. “Come on, let’s head back. Dinner should be ready by now.”

“O-Okay! Um,” Izuku followed after the blond with a bit of a stumble but he didn’t fall. “Hey should- um, should I call you Katsuki or- or Bakugou, or Kacchan..?”

Katsuki snorted harshly. “Do whatever, I don’t care. But if you call me ‘Kacchan’ in front of people, I’m skinning you alive.”

“K-Katsuki it is…” Izuku let out a nervous chuckle and under his breath, he muttered, “Wow, he’s… really awesome…”

Another snort. “Frick yeah I am!”

“Frick, I s-said that out loud!!”


 

Nagisa came home later than he should have. Dad still wasn’t home, so it was whatever. He could still leave and come back an hour later and Dad would probably still be at work. He wondered if his dad liked work better than being home. The thought angered him.

Wasn’t he better than Mom? Wasn’t this safer than it was before? Freaking- didn’t Dad say he loved him? Why wasn’t he home yet?

Ko and Roka hissed at nothing while Nagisa’s silent, mournful anger rose and he yanked his school tie off with a grunt of frustration, tossing it to the floor along with his school jacket. He fought back burning tears.

Dang nabbit… why was this so hard? Even with the witch locked up and away, he still had to deal with the mess she left. He still had to deal with looking over his shoulder, wondering if his mom would be home waiting with a belt tight in her hands, dealing with a painful twist of anxiety in his stomach when he thought I’m late, Mom’s gonna be so mad

Nagisa choked back a sob and a hand pressed against his mouth as he swallowed hard. No, he wasn’t going to cry. He wasn’t. Slowly, robotically, he bent down to pick up his jacket and tie and to hang it on a dining room chair.

His stomach hurt so badly. It started hurting when they went out to eat ice cream, but he couldn’t tell if that was it. After they all went separate ways, Nagisa took the train to downtown Tokyo where he wandered for a couple hours. He didn’t buy anything, just wanted to get lost. He thought about heading to Kunugigaoka and see his old classroom—but he wasn’t ready for that. That building held a lot of pain.

Nagisa shook his head and stiffly walked to his room to change. He got into a large t-shirt with the word ‘hssss!’ on it and some PJ shorts, something to be comfortable in. He hadn’t realized until he felt dizzy but he was feeling a little winded; feeling a shortness of breath. Panic surged in him when it clicked.

No, no, no, he’s not freaking out, not now. No tears, no crying, no being a baby. Come on, Nagisa, you’ve been fine. You’ve been dealing just fine until now. Hold it steady. Just-

Something in his stomach surged and he gagged, hand cover his mouth as he bent over. Tears pushed his eyes and he instantly tried to collect saliva in his mouth, but with a dry mouth that was difficult.

What was this? What’s going on?

His thoughts sprang from his mother to his father to Korosensei, then the gut-wrenching fear he had today when Aizawa-sensei called him and Izuku to his office after school—he felt like a dam in his mind was breaking and he was about to drown. His throat burned with acid— crap.

“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God-”

Nagisa nearly tripped on himself, grabbing his phone and racing to the bathroom.

A sharp cry escaped him as he let it out in the toilet.

Three hurls later, and he sat weakly on the floor, gasping and weeping. His stomach was empty. The ice cream gone. Maybe it was spoiled. He felt a wail push its way out from him. Nagisa scrambled for the phone. “ Call Dad, call Dad- call Dad,” he broke when he hit the ‘call’ button.

Three rings, and he heard his dad pick up, soft voice answering, “Nagi?”

Daddy,” Nagisa choked childishly, “I- I need you- I need you right now, I-I can’t- I’m- I’m throwing up- I- it hur-“ He stopped when he gagged again. He never flushed; the smell was stabbing him, along with the guilt. He heard his dad call his name desperately after he dropped the phone and turned back to the toilet and heaved some more. His stomach hurt more than anything he’s ever felt-

“DAD! Ohmygod- ” he screamed and he poured more of his stomach out with a desperate wail. “DAD COME HERE!”

Dad’s voice was faint, the phone wasn’t on speaker but he could understand the panic when he heard a distant, “Oh my- Nagisa, hold on Nagi! Daddy’s coming, I’m on my way- just stay on the phone!”

Nagisa weeped at how tender and caring his father sounded. He did love him, he did. He really did.

What started this all? He felt like hot knives were stabbing into him and he sobbed loudly. Pain, he was in so much pain. Physically, emotionally- emotionally?

Yeah… his heart hurt. His heart was longing, it felt desperate. Reaching out for something- some one he couldn’t have anymore.

His breath hitched at the thought of Korosensei again.

His heart squeezed and he cried more, drowning himself with the smell and the distant voice of his dad’s reassurance on the phone. More bile rose with his thoughts.

He missed Korosensei. He was so sorry, he was so angry- he hated the government, he hated villains and heroes and assassins and death. He hated that class, what he had to do, what he was trained to do. There was so much good Korosensei’s done and so much bad, but he wasn’t bad. He was good, he was a true hero—he saved his students, he saved Nagisa! He saved Nagisa from his devil mother, from society, from- from himself…

Why did they have to do it? Why was it Nagisa who had to run the knife through his beloved teacher? Why was the government so cruel to set this up—Korosensei wasn’t a danger to anyone!! He wanted nothing more than to teach his students, to- to make his students happy and keep them safe.

There was so many things Nagisa wanted to tell Korosensei that night. So many things that were left truly unsaid. He’ll never be able to tell him. He never will… he’ll never be able to truly say ‘thank you’ or express how much Korosensei meant to him and the class. He’ll never be able to tell Korosensei he looked to him like a father, he’ll never be able to ask for help, to vent, to tell him what’s been killing him for the past month. He hated this more than anything.

Pain seared his throat, burning his scrunched face, stabbing his lower abdomen with a vengeance.

He slumped weakly against the tub, wheezing tearfully and hugging his midsection. Long, drawn out moans escaped him as he stared sightlessly at the wall between the toilet and the bathtub. Tears dripped off his chin and he hiccuped.

There were so many things he wanted to say and do with Korosensei, with his family of Class 3-E. It hurt him so much. There was so much loss scratching at his arms and neck and chest. Nagisa was trapped. He didn’t deserve to be in UA. He didn’t deserve to keep his wonderful, wonderful friends—or even make more of them. He hated heroes, and villains, and assassins. The white, the black, and the grey. He hated Korosensei for letting this happen to him, for accepting his fate so soon. He should have fought more, he should have lived for them.

Nagisa heard the front door swing open, his father’s voice shouting, “Nagisa?!” Footsteps sounded closer until his father appeared in front of the bathroom door. Nagisa had his head against the side of the tub, eyes weakly struggling to stay open while Dad knelt down beside him. There was a flush, and then a hand nudged his face toward Dad. Nagisa’s sunken eyes drifted to meet him. “Are you okay?! What happened? You’re so pale, how much did you throw up?”

Nagisa sighed, closing his eyes for a moment before Dad lifted him by the shoulders gently but firmly. “Nagisa? Nagisa!”

He felt himself mutter an answer, but it was incoherent even to him. Dad cursed and he felt his body rise from his seat on the tile floor, warm hands under his knees and neck. Everything started to blur together. He felt snake tongues dance across his burning forehead, soft hisses of concern—something, something ‘hospital.’ Nagisa let out a sob, turning his head into his dad’s chest while his arm hung limply at his side.

“...Sensei,” he wailed, tears falling down the sides of his face.

He heard the soft whispers of his dad, his body bouncing while he raced down the stairs outside their apartment. “It’s alright, Daddy’s here, Nagisa. I’m right here, you’re gonna be okay.” Was Dad crying?

He heard a door open and his body was laid down—car? His stomach threatened to unload again, so he groaned painfully. He was still crying—or not. He couldn’t breathe, his cheeks felt tingly.

Nagisa faded out of existence once or twice, feeling so weak and empty. He snuck a look at the stars that lit the sky before being put in the car. He saw a shooting star vanish.

A wish, huh…

His wishes never come true anyway.

Chapter Text

“So how long have you all known each other?” Uraraka’s curious eyes danced over the group of friends as the laughter died down. They had just finished watching a few vines Uraraka whipped out to show.

Karma hummed at the question, tapping his chin as he played with his ice cream spoon. “Well, I’ve known Nagisa for… I’d say, two years? Maybe three?”

Nagisa hummed in agreement, taking a bite from his ice cream. Rio nodded and pointed to Izuku with her thumb, “They’ve known me and Izukun for only a year though.”

“Well, I’ve seen Izukun around school before last year—we were...both kind of the quiet, ‘I’ll-sit-in-the-corner-by-myself’ type.” Nagisa shrugged while Izuku nodded with an awkward chuckle.

Ko and Roka uncoiled from Nagisa’s hair and nudged the boy when he raised his own ice cream-filled spoon to his mouth. They kept nudging his cheeks when he wouldn’t acknowledge them, already used to their attention-seeking antics before they both hissed at him. That was enough to drag out a long, resigned sigh before raising the spoon for his snakes to dance their prong-tipped tongues along it before putting it in his own mouth—he blinked, noticing a silence fall over the table and he raised his eyes up, spoon still in his mouth.

Why was...everyone staring at him. Well, Karma looked smug—normal—and Rio was smiling at the two reptiles (who seemed pleased with snagging a taste from the dairy meal)—again, normal. She loved the darling snakes, as did Izuku (well, he liked to ask questions about them which eventually turned into friend questions like, ‘does Roka like different things from Ko? How do they feel about strawberries versus kiwis? Do they still eat things like mice even though they share your body’s nutrients?’). It was Uraraka and Iida whose curious stares made Nagisa’s cheeks burn and that was enough to ignore the subtle churning in his stomach.

He popped the spoon out of his mouth awkwardly. “Is...there something wrong?”

The two immediately began sputtering and waving their hands back and forth in alarm. “N-no, no, not at all!”

“It’s just- we’re just kinda curious about your quirk, is all!”

A look of relief softened the blue haired boy’s features, relaxing his shoulders and he could taste the air through Roka’s curious flicks of her tongue. “Oh, okay! Ah, what is it you want to know?”

“Your quirk reminds me of the Pro Hero Uwabami!” Uraraka noted, her fingers tapped together while her eyes sparkled. “But they seem sentient- er, I mean, like, they have minds of their own, you know?”

Nagisa smiled and nodded. “You’re right, they do. Their nervous systems are connected to mine, which lets me feel and sense what they sense and vice versa, but they have more advanced brains than most other snakes so they’re able to experience human emotions and have more complicated thoughts and desires and such. Because of that, they’ve both grown to have their own personalities and interests too. The only thing, I can’t read their minds, and we’re all synced into each others’ emotions, but we each perceive it in different ways.” He smiled proudly—he’s had practice refining his answering skills with Izuku and Kaede’s perceptive questions in the past.

Uraraka’s hands clapped together. “That. Is so. Cool! So, like, I’m guessing you’re shooting to be, like, a search and rescue hero like Uwabami is?”

The ex-assassin paused, blinking. A hum passed his throat as he sat back in his seat. Huh. He hadn’t really thought of what sort of hero he wanted to be? He remembered Korosensei and a few other classmates suggest being a Recon hero once or twice. Underground heroes were close to that too. He supposed his snakes could help that just like the Pro Uwabami, but… he felt it’d be a waste of his skills. Chewing on the inside of his cheek, Nagisa shook his head.

“...I’m not sure,” he answered truthfully. “But I don’t think search and rescue fits my other quirk very well.”

Iida raised his brow at that.

Izuku’s eyes lit up like a star, leaning over the table excitedly. “His quirk is called ‘M-Medusa’s Smile’!! He can paralyze anyone w-who locks eyes with him!”

“Izukuuuun,” Nagisa whined with a pouting face. Izuku merely smiled with only a hint of embarrassment and he sat down. Well—it was a bit more complicated than just ‘he can paralyze people,’ but he didn’t want to deal with the odd stares with fully explaining the whole ‘instill fear in thine enemies’ portion. It was fine how Izuku said it.

“S-sorry! I-I couldn’t help myself. Your quirk’s just s... so cool.”

Pale hands shot up to hide his burning face. How embarrassing —His friends laughed while Iida appeared thoughtful at this. “What an interesting quirk, then!”

“Yeah!” cheered Uraraka. “You could totally use it to stop villains from escaping or attacking people!”

Nagisa uncovered his face a little, sneaking a glance between his fingers.

“I agree,” Iida nodded. He smiled encouragingly when he added, “You’d make a good support hero, I believe.”

Right.

Only people with ‘flashy’ quirks get to be the main hero—Nagisa blinked and fought off the urge to grimace, keeping his face delicate and kind. “Maybe,” he decided to say instead. He picked at his melting ice cream. His stomach hurt. “It’s something to think about.”

“What about you two?” Karma pointed with his chin. “What’re your quirks?”

“Oh! Mine’s ‘Zero Gravity’! I can make anything I touch defy gravity .” Uraraka snickered and touched all of her fingers to her ice cream container. The ex-assassins squawked at that (sans Izuku, who looked smug at his friends’ reactions), mesmerized as they watched it float up. She tapped her fingers together and muttered, “release” before it could turn itself sideways.

“So that’s how you got ‘infinity’ with your throw today!” Iida adjusted his glasses.

“Wait, ‘infinity throw’? What the heck goes on in the Hero course?” Rio glanced between the heroes in training with an incredulous expression. Nagisa snickered. “So- wait, were you guys not at the opening ceremony today?”

Uraraka shook her head. “I was so bummed out! We did some quirk assessment thing instead. It was torture , but that’s ‘Plus Ultra’ for you, huh?”

“Our homeroom teacher! H-He’s Eraserhead, you know?!” Izuku practically shined in enthusiasm. “Th-the, um, Erasing Hero!”

“No kidding,” Karma blinked, appearing genuinely intrigued before he leaned back in his seat, hands tied behind his head. “Are all the teachers here Pros?”

“It seems that way,” Iida hummed. “Who’s your homeroom teacher?”

Karma shrugged in response. “Some hero I’m sure Izukun’s heard of, but I’ve never heard of him. He’s… literally called ‘Business Guy’. That’s his hero name. Wanna know his real name? Guy Business. Either way, he told us to call him Business-sensei. Couldn’t joke about that if I tried.”

The table fell silent.

“What.”

“Same. What about you, Rio?”

“Oh! My teacher, he’s—” Rio paused to think, humming. “Kinda strict, but he means well. He’s ‘Power Loader,’ did you know? Majima-sensei’s pretty cool. He says he’s gonna try and get us out of our comfort zone with gadgets and stuff, but I think I’m more suited for costume-making and that stuff.”

“Really? That’s so cool!” Uraraka clapped. “Is that ‘cause of your quirk?”

Rio nodded with a hum. “Yep! My quirk’s called ‘Fiber Craft.’ It’s kinda like the Best Jeanist, but, like. Hm. Here, let me show you!” Her blue eyes swung to Nagisa and he almost choked on his ice cream, knowing exactly what that look entailed. He gulped and shook his head, mock-pleadingly.

“Rio, no… Rio, we’ve been over this.”

“Aw, come on! Have a little trust, Nagichan !” Rio rose from her seat and Nagisa copied her, ready to dart at a moment’s notice. “Come ooon, I won’t do anything mischievous.”

“Just looking at me like that is mischievous! I said no!”

“Fine, I won’t change what you’re wearing, but at least let me change the style! You said you wished the uniform had a vest style, right?”

Nagisa groaned and fell back into his seat, crossing his arms with a pout. “Fine, but I swear, if you touch a fiber on my pants, I’m suing your family for the next five generations.”

Rio gave a hauntingly chipper laugh that sent chills of regret down the small teen’s spine. “Of course, my dearest Nagichan !” The boy rolled his eyes as the blonde moved behind him and instantly called for his jacket fibers, reshaping the UA uniform to look more like a fitted vest. She signed her name on the front of it with string, adding a tiny heart next to it. Clapping her hands, she posed to showcase her newest reinvention. “Ta-da! Don’t worry, I’ll change it back in a sec. But that’s basically what I can do! I can create or reshape pre-existing clothing into something completely different. I can even change the color and stuff, but if I wanna add more or anything, I’ll need extra material at hand already.”

“That’s such a useful skill,” Uraraka beamed. “Will you be making any future costumes for students?”

Sitting down after reassembling Nagisa’s uniform to how it was before (she left the signature on the inside), Rio tapped her lips thoughtfully. “Hmm, I think we’ll be given ‘updating’ privileges later. Like, if any of you heroes damage your costumes, we’ll be patching them up! And I think I heard a classmate say something about creating new costumes from design choices for the hero course next year. I think they’re being done by 2nd and 3rd years right now.” Rio smirked at Izuku. “So you better not go damaging other people’s hard work, you dork. Ya hear, ‘One Punch Boy’?”

Izuku laughed nervously, eyeing Rio dangerously as if to say, really?? You’re gonna say that here?? The mischievous girl merely snickered in response, waving her hand. “I’m only joking… partially.”

“Rio!”

They laughed for a moment before Izuku’s phone ‘dinged.’ Pulling it out and reading the text, he gave a huff. “Aw, man. I’ve gotta- g-gotta go.”

“Oh, right, you have that dinner thing, huh?”

“Hmhm. I-I shouldn’t panic my mom. I’ll s..see you guys tomorrow, yeah?” He rose with his trash, and waved good-bye to his friends before the gravity girl stood up.

“Oh, wait, wait! We should exchange phone numbers! You guys take the train to school, right?”

“Ah, Izukun and I do. I’m not sure about Karma and Rio, though.”

“I’m close enough to school to walk,” Iida explained and Karma nodded.

“So do I, but we can meet up at the train station anyway.”

“Me too,” Rio agreed.

“Awesome! Well, here’s my number, I-Izukun.”


“Hey, over here.”

Izuku raised his head at the familiarly gruff voice, smiling to see Katsuki nodding to him. Grinning brightly, the freckled teen made his way through the train crowd toward the blond, raising a hand in greeting before sitting beside him.

“Morning, Katsuki! You, um, wouldn’t happen to see Nagisa, er, uh, th-the boy I was with, uh, yesterday? Today?” Izuku tilted his head, a hopeful glint in his eye. He tried texting his friend that morning, but didn’t get any response. It was even more concerning when he couldn’t find him at the train station or in the train either—he texted Nagisa his location despite not receiving a good morning response too. Izuku nervously wrung his hands and swallowed.

Katsuki shook his head with a click of his tongue. “No, why would I care? And also: that was a dude?”

Izuku gave him a flat look and ignored his second question. “Ah. Yeah, I-I guess you wouldn’t care. Th-That’s alright.” He tried not to look too deflated, but it was hard to mask the obvious disappointment. His worried thoughts only managed to stir the already twisting ball of anxiety in his gut further. He hummed pathetically, turning away.

Wait—maybe Ritsu will know something?

“What’s got you in a mesh?” Izuku raised his head to see his explosive friend raise a brow at him. The boy self-consciously pushed his bangs behind his left ear and smiled anxiously, shaking his head.

“Uh, i-it’s nothing, just—Nagisa’s never missed a day of s-school, s..so, I’m sorta worried… He m-must’ve gotten another train. Yeah, that- that must be it.” Still didn’t answer why he never responded to any of his texts, though…

Katsuki rolled his eyes. “He’s, like, what, fifteen? He can take care of himself, Izuku.” The boy didn’t seem convinced, but it’d look even more pathetic of him if he argued so he merely swallowed and gave a nod instead then pulled out his phone to open Ritsu’s texting app. It was Katsuki’s turn to give him a flat look. “Tch, still just a Deku, aren’t you?”

“H-huh?”

Katsuki pointed at the phone. “Always caring for people when it ain’t any of your business. Seriously, nose out, will ya? You were like that when we were kids too. Drives me nuts, it’s so annoying.”

Izuku blinked, startled at the admittance. It felt like a shot through his lungs, shuddering the breath from him. Something buzzed inside him, sad and happy all at once, and not at all him— missing his old self he never knew. His smile wobbled, brows furrowing slightly. “R...Really?” He paused, realizing he’s never known himself before from anyone else other than his mother. Swallowing, the ex-assassin pulled at the hem of his uniform.

“Um… can I… can I ask you s… something?”

Katsuki eyed him. “...Shoot.”

“Oh, um, uh… wha… hmm… wh-what was I like? Um… Y-you know, back… then?”

A blond brow rose again. “Didn’t ‘Aunt Inko’ tell you all that?” (Ah, so he was pushed into the ‘aunt’ calling game, too…)

Izuku looked away, nodding. “I-I mean, yeah, b-but it’s… different. You know how people act di- uh, d-differently around their parents versus o-other, um, people? It’s just… I-It’s like that.”

Katsuki answered with a grunt and Izuku could see from the corner of his eye that he was crossing his arms. He didn’t respond for a moment and the shorter boy was about to relent and retract his question, thinking it was stupid of him to ask anyway, until the blond finally spoke, “You were annoying.”

“A..Ah…”

“And stupidly optimistic, it made me sick. You always cared about the dumbest things. Even though you weren’t strong at all, you’d still stick your dumb neck out for people who didn’t even deserve it.” He paused, eyes flicking away, then he snorted with a bitter smirk. “One time, you sobbed when you found a snake’s shed skin, thinking it was dead. Stupid Deku.” Katsuki shook his head.

Izuku couldn’t help but laugh a bit loudly at that last part, a hand raising to his mouth after his outburst. “Th-that’s… Wow.”

“It was freakin’ stupid.”

“Y-yeah, but—that’s not th-the last time I’ve cried over s...s-snakes, heh.”

Katsuki turned to him, looking like he was about to hit him with how incredulous his expression was, but Izuku merely laughed again. “I was g-going on, uh, about two hours of s-sleep and I cried during class b-because I remembered snakes don’t have, uh, legs. Then I cried again because I realized N-Nagisa’s snakes couldn’t go where th-they wanted to without Nagisa.” He snickered into his hand again whereas Katsuki only rolled his eyes.

“Is that the thing with you? Crying over stupid things?”

“Pretty much.”

“Stupid.” Izuku didn’t miss the little laugh attached to that word, and he smiled with his own chuckle.


On the way to school, Izuku confirmed Nagisa wasn’t waiting with the rest of his friends when Karma texted, which was disheartening and concerning, but he supposed maybe the reptilian boy was just late, which wasn’t unheard of from Nagisa.

“Oh, Karma, Rio, this is, uh, Katsuki!” Izuku announced when his redheaded friend voiced the same question he had the day prior to Iida and Uraraka as he and Katsuki approached. He stepped inbetween the two with his arms wide and a nervous chuckle escaping him at the word ‘fool,’ knowing somehow that the blond would definitely take that has a challenge on his life. “Bakugou Katsuki! Uh, Katsuki, this is Akabane Karma and Nakamura Rio!”

Rio and Karma both smiled (Karma smirked ) and greeted the steaming teen, who reluctantly gave a greeting in response.

“S-sorry about that! Karma’s just… uh…”

“Eccentric!” Rio pointed.

“Aw, come on, I know you guys are more creative than that. Here, let me properly introduce myself,” the horned teen stuck his hand out and Izuku glared, recognizing that mischievous glint in his eye. “Hi, I’m the de-”

“Karma, I’ll ‘One Punch’ you in the gut.” Izuku gave his friend a flat look, only to receive a sharp laugh in return.

“If you can catch me, ner—”

Izuku didn’t hesitate in delivering a punch to his stomach and the horned trickster went down like a rock.

“Damn.” Katsuki whistled. “Guess I was wrong, you don’t need protecting after all.”

The shorter boy nodded stiffly, puffing his cheeks and crossing his arms.

“Heyyy! You guys!” a shrill voice caught their attention and their heads turned (sans Karma who was still gathering himself on his knees) to see the bubbly Uraraka tailed by Iida running toward them. They slowed as they neared the group. “Oh hey, you’re Bakugou, right? I’m Uraraka Ochako!”

Katsuki gazed at her with a pulled brow and lowered lips, seeming unamused and unimpressed by the girl. “Uh-huh,” was all he said. He eyed the glasses-wearing boy behind her.

“And I’m Iida Tenya! It’s a pleasure. I must say, you were quite remarkable during the assessment yesterday.”

Katsuki scoffed at that, grinning madly as if looking down at the compliment given. “Yeah, you bet I was, Four-eyes. This place is ‘Plus Ultra’ incarnate; if you scrubs can’t keep up, you might as well give up, ya hear? I’m gonna be the #1 hero, so don’t get in my way, got that?” With that, the blond pivoted on his heel and stalked away, leaving everyone staring oddly at his vanishing form.

“O...kay?” Uraraka squinted an eye. “Anyway…”

Emerald eyes trailed after the wild blond, lined with curiosity as he thought on the Bakugou’s expression before. A finger raised to his lips as he pondered, chewing on his inner cheek. It hadn’t occurred to him before, but he did seem sort of… lonely? Was that the word? Uncomfortable around others, maybe? That’s right, Izuku never even asked about what Katsuki was like back then—he still didn’t know very much about him, after all. Did he have friends? Maybe he’s like Izuku and too much social interaction with strangers wears him out? It’s something to look into, Izuku decided.

He felt a tap on his shoulder, knocking him out of his thoughts. “Huh?”

“I said are you alright? You’re muttering a lot, there,” Uraraka smiled awkwardly.

Instantly, the boy waved his hands around, panicked. “Oh! A-Ah, um, y-yeah! It’s- no, yeah, it’s just a-a thing I do sometimes. N-no big deal, ahaha…”

“Oh, I see! Alright, then. We ought to catch up to the others, Karma said he wasn’t waiting anymore.”

“Uh—oh, oops! Yeah, let’s- l-let’s get going. S..S-Sorry about that.”

“It’s no worries! Say—what d’ya think we’re gonna do today?”

“Huh? Oh, uh, I dunno, really. Mm...maybe introduce us t-to our other teachers? D-do you think we’ll g-get to meet the other staff like the- like the counselor?”

Uraraka put her fist in her opposite hand. “That’s right! We were supposed to meet with our counselors yesterday, weren’t we?! That was still totally bizarre. Do you think the other Hero Courses missed the ceremony too?”

Izuku shrugged before they caught up with the other three heading to school. When they reached the building, they stuck together until they had to split for their different classes. Opening the door to class 1-A, Izuku sighed, noticing a distinct lack of powder blue hair.

“Nagisa’s not here yet, huh?” Uraraka wondered, turning to her two friends curiously.

“I hope not. It’d be irresponsible to show up late, not to mention incredibly rude. Though, I hope nothing bad happened to Nagisa either. It’s only the second day of school, it’d be unfortunate for him to miss such a vital day,” Iida hummed.

Izuku’s insides twisted uncomfortably. He couldn’t help but mention, “He’s never missed a-a day of school b-before. Only once, b-but that was because his mom—uh, er, hmmm...I-I mean, he got really sick. S...S-so…”

Uraraka’s brows knit themselves together at that. “I hope it’s not too bad. Do you think we should visit him after school or something?”

Izuku hummed, tapping his fingers together while he thought. “I dunno… I-I’ll let you know at, um, lunch. Okay?” He had to check with Ritsu first.

“Okay…”

“Everyone in your seats. I’m taking roll.”

Iida stared at their homeroom teacher incredulously, who finished zipping himself out of his yellow cocoon behind his desk. “But sir, the morning bell hasn’t even rung ye-”

“Mr. Iida, do you want to run more laps in gym or not?” Aizawa’s gaze pierced the boy, who squeaked out an apology before taking his seat without another retort. The black haired man peered over the rest of his students, watching them all scurry to their seats lest they find out if Aizawa could shoot lasers from his eyes too. The bell sounded. “Time is precious. I thought I taught you all this yesterday. Hero work is spontaneous, you should all begin learning to be vigilant. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sensei.”

“Good. Now, for roll call. Aoyama.”

“Oui!”

“Say ‘here’ or don’t say anything.”

“H-Here…” Izuku could swear he heard the French fashion cop mutter “oui” under his breath anyway.

And so classes went on with no sign of Nagisa, which continued to grind into Izuku’s anxiety, but after the presence of so many Pro Heroes, even Izuku’s frazzled mind left it alone for the moment. Instead, he beamed and dazzled at being surrounded by so many heroes—this was so much more than class 3-E which only had All Might, Shotlock and the now Enchantress (all of whom he hardly calls by their hero name anymore, sans All Might since he still had a Major Secret™ to protect).

Lunch came around (finally, though Izuku hardly waited desperately), and the freckled teen found himself extremely overwhelmed. Jittering in line with his empty food tray, he nervously accepted whatever food Lunch Rush had out, too starstruck to take pause. He dashed out of line as soon as his food was on his tray, squeaking out a pathetic ‘thank you’ as he left to enter the crowded battlefield cafeteria. The green haired boy stood in the middle of the bustling room dumbfounded and slightly lost, unsure of how to find his friends or where to sit. A wobbly smile stretched across his face from nerves.

An elbow nudged his, jolting him from his growing ball of tension in his stomach and he turned to see Rio smiling at him. “Hey there, cowboy. Follow me, we’re sittin’ over here.”

With a smile, Izuku nodded and tailed the blonde to a table where he saw Uraraka, Iida, and Karma sitting and chatting. Rio sat by Uraraka while Izuku took his seat between Iida and Karma.

“Still no Nagisa, huh?” Karma raised a brow and stuck his chopsticks holding rice into his mouth.

Ah—that’s right, he was supposed to talk to Ritsu about that. The green haired teen shook his with knitted brows and a torn smile. “I-I was gonna ask Ritsu t-to see where he was, actually.”

“Good idea, Izukun.”

“Ritsu?” Iida turned to the two. “Another friend?”

“Yeah, she’s—“ Izuku paused, biting his cheek while giving a hum. Okay, well, he couldn’t just say she was a computer program… that’d be stupid and careless. And with that thought, the sudden realization of how much he really should keep quiet about class 3-E hit him, prompting him to bite his lip. Maybe out of fear or other things, but everything should really be kept under lock and key, sealed away behind his teeth.

Mustering up a fake confident smile, the boy continued, “She..S-She’s a good friend of- of ours. She keeps us all in c-contact so she always t-takes, um, well, mm..makes sure we’re all okay and- and stuff.”

Iida nodded and Uraraka beamed. “Aw, that’s so sweet of her!” Izuku merely nodded with a hum before pulling his phone out and loading up Ritsu’s app.

One Punch Boy:
Ritsu!

Moe Box:
Izukun!!! It’s good to see you!!! What’s going on??? \(^o^)/

One Punch Boy:
Hey, ritsu!! Oh, nothing much rlly. I just wanna kno, do u have nagisa’s location on hand rn?

One Punch Boy:
He wasn’t at school today and i’m just worried is all

Moe Box:
(・・?) Nagisa? He’s at home right now. Or where he has ‘home’ pinged. I can monitor his surroundings, if you’d like!!

One Punch Boy:
Uhhh maybe just tell me if he’s ok?? (・・;) pls dont breach his privacy or anything

One Punch Boy:
Unless he’s in danger!!!! If he is then pls call All Might for help!!!

Moe Box:
Don’t worry, Izukun!! (*´∀`)♪ Nagisa is safe and sound! He looks to be in bed taking a nap right now.

One Punch Boy:
Oh thank goodness

One Punch Boy:
Thank you sm ritsu!! When nagisa wakes up, gove him some company and stuff, ok?

One Punch Boy:
*give

Moe Box:
Will do, One-der Punch!! After school, we have to video chat and tell me all about your day!! (`・ω・´)

One Punch Boy:
I will! Remember u can call me whenevr too u kno c: ok c u ritsu!!

Moe Box:
Heehee, of course!! ☆〜(ゝ。∂)okay, bye bye Izukun!! Have fun in class!!

Izuku smiled as he signed off the app, raising his head to his friends while feeling a thousand times better than that morning. “Ritsu checked up on N-Nagisa, she s..said he was at home. I-I think he’s s..sick or- or something?”

“Oh no, I hope he’s okay?” Uraraka spoke with wide eyes.

Izuku nodded. “Ritsu’s moni- um, I, uh, I-I mean, um, gonna- gonna keep him company a-and stuff. Mm..m-making sure he gets better.”

“That was awfully fast. Does she live near him?” Iida asked. “Or perhaps Ritsu is a family member?”

Crap . “Uhhh…” Why is Iida so sharp.

“You got it,” Karma gave the bespectacled boy shotgun fingers. “She’s his neighbor. She was an upperclassman of ours who got a job working at home at such a young age too.”

“Wooow!” Uraraka seemed like an easily impressed person at this point. “She must be so cool. You guys know so many interesting people!”

“Speaking of interesting,” Rio smirked, nodding her head across the lunchroom. “Here comes hell.”

“He’s not as fun as hell, if you ask me,” Karma muttered after turning to catch wind of his least favorite person, leaning his cheek on his knuckles, eyes tracking Asano Gakushuu as he approached their table. Izuku sank behind Karma, already feeling the ginger’s suppressive quirk at work.

“Is that the ‘piece of work’ from your school?” Uraraka whispered to Rio, who nodded as she rested her head on her propped up hand, watching on with amused eyes. She grimaced. “Oof, he even looks like a piece of work…”

“Y-You don’t know the- the half of it…” Izuku muttered to her. “And the way he and- and Karma gets… mmm, brace yourself.” Emerald eyes flickered back to the approaching teen, catching a pair of scarlet eyes behind him watching them with a steady flame of interest.

“Oh? I didn’t think the quirkless wonder would get into the esteemed UA, let alone any of the End Class students,” mused the ginger. “Is this the new End Class here?”

Izuku could feel the edge of Asano’s quirk—‘ Pressure ,’ it was called—pushing in. It was an empathetic emitter quirk that made anyone Asano chose to feel insecure somehow in whatever level Asano ‘sets’ his exerted pressure to. It was the very definition of uncomfortable. Izuku’s sure that if it was set high enough, the guy could drive someone to off themselves if he wanted, but Izuku knew despite how manipulative Asano could be, even he would never stoop that low. At least, not anymore. Right?

“It a-actually wasn’t that hard g- um, getting into UA,” Izuku boasted, giving his past tormentor innocent eyes.

Karma laughed hallowly, seemingly unaffected by the pressure. If Izuku didn’t know better, he’d say the two were having a contest on who could smile more sinisterly (‘who wore it worse,’ his mind supplied). “Not that it’s any of your business, but these are the next generation of heroes. Treat them with respect unless you’d like to earn yourself a back turned the next time you’re caught under a building.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Asano pursed his lips, his voice flat with a lack of amusement. He gave the table a quick glance around before nodding and straightening and tapping his finger on his chin. “My, looks like you’re missing a party member here.”

“He’s sick,” Izuku quickly put in before Asano could add any comment, keeping his eyes locked on the ginger and trying his best to ignore the effect of his quirk. He knew how he could be and he wasn’t risking it.

“Yeah, honestly, I’m getting sick too,” Rio sighed dramatically. “Seriously, we’re just trying to have a nice lunch in peace for once.”

“Are you simply here to bother your former classmates?” Iida questioned, raising a brow. “I hope you understand harassment is not tolerated in UA.”

Asano narrowed his eyes dangerously before sighing and letting out a breath. “Alright,” he huffed and crossed his arms. “Just so you know, I’m not out to sabotage you guys anymore. It’s not like before; However, I would like some answers some time.”

The ginger turned to leave before bumping into an irritated-looking Katsuki. “Watch it,” he hissed. Izuku felt the pressure enhance and he cringed under the weight.

Asano lifted his chin, looking down on the ash blond before huffing and walking around, waving back. “I’ll see you in class, Akabane. Oh, and don’t forget about our deal.”

The pressure receded and the group let out a breath.

“Tch, what was that freak’s deal?” Katsuki grumbled, taking a seat beside Uraraka across from Izuku.

Uraraka nodded, appearing shaken. “Yeah, it- it was getting hard to breathe…”

Izuku swallowed. “Th-that’s his… his quirk. ‘Pressure.’ It- It’s- well- he- he exerts this, um, emotional pressure, I guess? I’ve s-seen him control the, um, o-output before but I don’t know much else about it. Other than it sucks.” Even then, the boy noted the ginger was going… ‘easy’ on them with the pressure exerted.

Karma scoffed, letting his smile curl into something horrendous. “Idiot. Thinks he can get that sorta crap outta me. Idiot thinks he’s gonna rule this school like he did Kunugigaoka.”

“Not on his life,” Katsuki growled. “If anyone’s gonna be having this school fall on its knees, it’s gonna be me. ”

“Oh gosh, please don’t tell me y-you have a god c-complex too.” Izuku groaned, which earned him a sharp glare from the blond.

“What did you say?!”

“I s-said you have a god complex!!”

“Why you little—“

“SO!” Uraraka stood up with a scarily cheerful face, then she slid back into her seat after she had everyone’s quiet attention. Beside him, he felt Iida let out a sigh of relief. “That was Asano, huh?”

“Yep,” Rio nodded, resting her chin on her hand and leaning into the table. “He’s a lot more bearable now than he was at the beginning of the year. He was the Principal’s son,” she added in a mock-whisper. Uraraka ooh’d in response.

“So what?” Katsuki huffed. “I could care less if he was the King of England; he’s going down.”

“Katss-suki, no- nn-no violence.”

Uraraka stood up then, her fists pumped. “Let’s not let him get us down, alright?! We’re heroes now, like it or not, and we’re gonna save the hell out of people and bring smiles across the nation!! PLUS ULTRA!!”

The table gawked at her before Izuku stood up too, his own fists clenched at his chest. “Yeah!! PLUS ULTRA!!”

Katsuki covered his face while Karma smirked, Rio joined, and Iida beckoned them to sit again (“you all are making a scene!!”). The ash blond mumbled under his breath, “Why do I know these people.”

Chapter Text

There was a balance to be kept with lucid dreams: being unconscious enough to dream and being conscious enough to know you’re in a dream. From there, you’re free to control the dream for your own purposes, whether it be for creative brainstorming, just exploring, relaxing, or facing your own fears within the dream.

For Nagisa… It was a halfway point. He was only barely aware he was in a dream while his environment around him changed by itself. He couldn’t move. Gloomy gray clouds hung over a dark magenta sky as the water washed the trash back and forth in the sand. Nagisa stood on knives sticking up from the ground, but it didn’t hurt. His teeth clenched hard together, and that did hurt, but only in mind. He felt his jaw cracking tighter and tighter as the sand around him began to rise in different areas, black tentacles piercing straight up as the sand fell apart. There was no sound even as the water receded back into the ocean, turning blood red and staining the ground.

He vaguely noted Ko and Roka gone from his head and a familiar weight of uncut hair draped around his shoulders.

His teeth cracked and he felt little pebbles and rocks matched with metallic liquid fill his mouth. Raising a hand that he couldn’t control, the assassin opened his mouth and a torrent of blood and broken teeth gushed out. Nagisa choked but didn’t move. Chains crawled from the tentacles wriggling around him, slithering up his legs and soon tying his arms to his body. His hair fell apart around him like his broken teeth.

Nagisa didn’t believe in dreams meaning anything. He didn’t believe in hidden messages sent by the divines or dreams that predicted something. He did , however, believe in the subconscious thoughts held within a person, the truths you don’t ever want to admit but know what they are: truths. He knew when he woke up, knowing only the disturbing feeling of holding fractured bones and blood in his mouth, what his subconscious was saying to him.

His life was falling apart, and it started with him.

 


 

Nagisa sat in his bed with disheveled hair pointed every which way and his snakes resting their heads on his shoulders with tired expressions to match their host. He felt fuzzy and drained, not to mention his stomach felt so empty and sore. He had no strength in his body to do much but sit up and stare blankly at his bedroom wall.

Static ran through his mind. A ‘ding!’ from his phone resting on his nightstand drew his attention and he saw a bowl of peaches that looked like they came from a can, and a glass of tea beside it. It looked cold. A post-it note sat beside it, seemingly written in a rush with a lazy heart at the end; probably written by Dad…

Nagisa blinked slowly when his phone ‘dinged’ again, finally deciding to open the phone to see who it was. Messages from Izuku, Kayade, Rio, and Ritsu filled his message feed. The boy’s eyes softened sadly when a pit of loneliness swirled in his stomach and he brought the phone to his lap, opening Ritsu’s app when she texted a third time.

Moe Box:
Rise and shine, Nagichan!! (*´∀`)♪

Moe Box:
I know you’re awake!!

Moe Box:
I’m literally watching you through your phone camera.

Nagisa finally grinned, leaning back in his bed and giving a hum of amusement.

Gender Snek:
That’s creepy stop that

Moe Box:
There you are!! Sorry heehee (^◇^;)

Moe Box:
Izukun was wondering where you’ve been all day!!

Nagisa hissed in embarrassment, side-eyeing no one and he dipped his head. Oops. He didn’t mean to sleep until… he glance at his digital clock on his drawer— yikes , like, One? PM? Holy frick—And he knew Izuku got anxious when he wasn’t in contact with people he usually talks to every day. Nagisa scratched at his eyebrow before typing his reply.

Gender Snek:
Oops, my b! I’ve been asleep all day, I had a rough night

Gender Snek:
Is it lunch at school rn?

Moe Box:
No, lunch just ended. Izukun and the others are in class right now! Would you like me to pass on a message for you?

Gender Snek:
Nah, I need to check my messages anyway. Thanks thoigh!

Moe Box:
Of course!! Izukun told me to keep you company, so I’ll still be online after you text the others!

Moe Box:
:3c

Nagisa rolled his eyes at the half-joke. Of course she’ll still be online, she’s always online… Still, he couldn’t help but snicker. His stomach gave a whine and the boy gave a whine of his own in response. He was hungry but… he didn’t want to eat. He didn’t know what set him off last night, and he couldn’t really remember much after changing his clothes other than screaming and he went to the hospital? He got an IV and came home at around midnight but he still couldn’t sleep—he fell asleep around 2 in the morning. His stomach was driving him back to tears despite the pain being gone, instead being replaced with a strong ache in his muscles inside.

The doctor set him on a bland diet for a few days until his stomach could settle back down to how it was before, but despite how hungry his stomach thought it was, Nagisa… was a bit fearful to eat. What if he threw up again? It’s not like he hasn’t puked before, but it was still less than pleasant. How delicate was his stomach, exactly anyway? What if something as simple as milk set it off?

Nagisa gave the air a pensive expression at how frustrating this situation was. His stomach crunched in desperate hunger again and he turned back to the peaches.

Well… peaches were fruit, and they were soft and healthy too…

Fine , the assassin relented and took a peach slice. Baby steps—he still had to get better, too… Heroes needed strength after all.

 


 

Izuku sat in his seat, bouncing his leg and pursing his lips, excited and antsy for the next class: Foundational Hero Studies.

Izuku felt conflicted. He felt—okay, yeah, he sort of felt superior knowing that he!! Knows!! All Might personally!! But on the other hand, he’d never brag about that to someone, or even let anyone know about that. If he did, they’d ask how he knows him, and then he’d have to tell them, and feel the same disgusting, raw guilt that crawls just under his skin that makes him physically writhe with discomfort—

His thoughts were knocked away when Katsuki turned around and flicked his forehead. “Shut up, Izuku,” he growled. “God, do you always —“

The door opened, drawing everyone’s attention.

“K-KA—“ Izuku slapped his hands over his mouth and sat deep in his seat when the black haired hero shot him a sharp look.

“My name is Tadaomi Karasuma, or as some of you know, the Precision Hero: Shotlock,” he explained, giving the class a hard stare. “I’m your substitute teacher for the day. Your actual teacher couldn’t make it due to personal matters, but will be back in class tomorrow. I’ve taught many heroics classes among other subjects.” His eyes met Izuku, who must’ve had the most bewildered face because Karasuma-sensei looked about ready to roll his eyes into next century while holding a look of amusement back, but instead he merely blinked slowly three times.

What- oh- oh. Okay. Izuku made a soft ‘oh’ sound and settled down while his classmates nearly exploded.

“What? First day with actual classes and our teacher bails out?!”

“Who does that?!”

“That’s messed up, man. What gives?!”

“Class!” Karasuma-sensei’s eyes could kill a man, Izuku noted seeing as the class hushed. The hero crossed his arms with a sigh. “If you have issues, bring it up to your actual teacher tomorrow. He had plans for you all today, but seeing as your teacher is who he is, I’ve decided to save that for when he returns tomorrow. As for what you’ll be doing today, put your hero costumes on and meet me in Grounds Beta.”

He lifted a remote, clicked a button and the wall to his right stretched out, carrying cases with numbers on them. That seemed to brighten up the mood in the class, for they all glowed with enthusiasm.

“Our costumes!”

“Awww yeah!”

“Now this is what I’m talkin’ about!”

Izuku’s heart soared, filling up with glee that made him feel weightless and he almost let his eyes tear up. It was warm inside— this felt almost like

The class moved into action.

“Oh, and one more thing,” Karasuma’s voice stopped the first student from rushing out with his case. Black eyes scanned the students. “From this day forth, you are all officially heroes. Remember this.”

There was an air of pride filling the room, lifting the grins of the to-be heroes, and with it a sense of duty settled on their shoulders. He was surrounded by heroes. He was a hero. This is it , Izuku beamed, insides vibrating with overwhelming excitement, his own head buzzing.

Izuku is more than an assassin.

He stepped into the opening with his classmates, feeling light on his feet and in his head. He had to bite his tongue so as not to scream.

This is our Hero‘s Beginning!

He is a hero, and he’ll make Korosensei proud.

 


 

Izuku remembered coming home early from grocery shopping one day (his mom sent him out with a big list, and now he knows why), to find Rio at home with his mom. Fabric, string, leather, and all other types of crafting supplies littered the living room floor. The couch and coffee table were moved back and against the wall to make room for the two women sitting on the floor. Their heads shot up when he opened the door, all three looking at each other with bewildered stares.

“I-Izuku! Honey, you’re home! Uh…. early,” Mom stammered, standing up and charging toward her son way too fast for a woman of her stature (Izuku was impressed, actually).

“Uhhhhh…. yeah?” Izuku raised a brow, leaning to the side to try and look at the mess in the living room. Mom leaned with him, blocking his view. The boy gave her a deadpan stare. “Mom, I-I already s-saw Rio.”

Her stiff (nervous) smile deflated into an expression that said ‘yeah we got busted’ and she shuffled to the side. “Ah, well… I wanted to surprise you with something, but I thought Nakamura-chan would be great to help since your design was a bit out of my arts and crafts criteria…”

“My- My design?”

Mom put her hand on her cheek. “Oh! Your hero costume. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to peek, I was cleaning and you had your notebook out, and I just…”

Oh- oh! Izuku’s eyes lit up and he set the groceries on the floor before hugging his teary-eyed mother. “N-No, it’s alright! Mom, I…”

Soft, strong arms coiled around his frame and he was pressed into her shoulder. Behind her, he saw Rio stand and smile, silent and allowing the Midoriyas’ their moment.

“Izuku,” Mom whispered shakily and his heart sped up. “I… I’m sorry. I’m so sorry… I was never supportive of your dream, of what you wanted. After your accident, I… I-I was so scared , baby. I thought… I thought…”

( I’d lose you forever )

( You’d never make it )

( You’d break in my arms )

Izuku’s breath caught and he tightened his hold on his mother’s pink cardigan. “Mom…” his voice cracked when a few tears fled his eyes.

They stood there for a moment, his dear mother trying to control her emotions but failing and Izuku trying to keep his under wraps as well and also failing. Then she pulled away, sniffling and wiping at her soaked eyes. “So,” she started, taking a trembling breath. “From now on, I’m- I’m gonna support you. Whatever you do, no matter what. I love you, sweet pea.”

His heart throbbed, but he managed an appreciative smile anyway, reddening his cheeks with an intense heat. “I-I love you too, Mmm-Muh-Mom.”

Rio took the break in emotional dam-breaking to take a few steps forward and she lifted what Izuku recognized as his old Combat Uniform from the End Class. “I made few adjustments,” she sweetly explained.

The jacket’s sleeves were made longer and the color was changed from the default grey to a dark camo green. He couldn’t see the back yet, but the sides displayed white stripes from the armpits to the bottom. Then Rio turned it around to show the hoodie, of which the hood itself was lengthened (it reminded him of Link from that ancient Legend of Zelda series—yeah, yeah, Izuku liked relic games), but the curious part were the… well, they looked like rabbit ears. Was that… supposed to be the hair-antennas he designed as an homage to All Might? Well, they weren’t ugly, but know he could see how the idea would fall flat if done his way. All in all, it was amazing anyway. Izuku took a step forward and touched the sleeve. The same fabric.

“You have no idea how hard it was finding the same fabric online. And yes, it still camouflages automatically! I made your smiley-masks too, but the rest is gonna have to be taken up with the Support Company. Oh! And I also weaved in some anti-flammable thread throughout it, so wabam! Super protect!” Rio gave a dorky pose after Izuku took the costume into both hands. “‘He protecc but he also attacc!’ …Or something like that.”

“I… I don’t know what… wh-what to say, I…” Honest, the freckled boy was at a loss for words. He felt his eyes well up again. He didn’t deserve this.

“Say nothing, dear,” Mom’s gentle hand fell on his shoulder, turning him slightly. “This is our gift of love to you.” The sweet smile on her round face and the glitter in her eyes called to him, love , and somewhere in him the dam broke and he held the costume to his face as a happy sob ripped out of him, shuddering his body. “Izuku?!”

“Don’t worry, Midoriya-san,” Rio giggled, putting her own hand on Izuku’s other shoulder and closing in. “He’s just… happy, right, Izukun?” All he could muster up was a nod and a muffled hum of confirmation, followed by another sob. “Aaahhh, gross, Izukun! You better not get your snot on your new costume! That’s hand washed, you know!”

Finally he lifted his head, face red but smile wide and despite the endless tears rolling down his face (and the drip-drop from his nose), he laughed.

 


 

Stepping out in his new costume with his hood over his head and and a black mask pulled up over his nose and mouth, a wide, white smile designed over it, Izuku joined his fellow heroes-in-training in what he assumed to be Grounds Beta. He fell in between two students while he fidgeted with a hairclip pulling his bangs to the left, when one of them turned around and almost jumped out of their skin at his sudden appearance.

“Oh, fresh apples, you scared the crud outta me!” she cried—Uraraka, he realized. The other student turned around, and he sort of reminded Izuku of a white knight.

“S-Sorry! Oh, Uraraka, y-you look great!”

“Izukun? Holy moles, you look— awesome! What a cute design choice, what with the ears! Mine came out a little tighter than I thought. Shoulda been a bit more specific, hehe…” Uraraka with her cooing, Izuku was suddenly extremely grateful his mask covered his face which increased in temperature by the second. Not to mention, she really did look amazing.

“Interesting choice, Midoriya-kun. I never would have pegged you for a Mirko fan.” Ah—the other boy was Iida. Of course, an idiot could have guessed that.

“Wh-What? No , I mean, ss… she’s amazing and I’d, uh, I really wouldn’t, yeah, mmm-m-mind? Like, being her s-sidekick or- or something, b-but it’s, it’s not what you, um…” Ah frick, and he was going to use ‘I like rabbits’ as an excuse for these should it come up. Crap, that took a one-eighty. McFrick.

“Attention, class,” Karasuma’s voice rang out. Attention was drawn to the front where the pensive man stood with his arms crossed. “In this test, you’ll be training to fight without your quirks. Take it like a challenge rather than a hindrance to practice your skills should you ever become disabled, say, if a quirk like Eraserhead’s hit you. Obviously, mutation quirks are at an advantage regardless since you can’t exactly ‘disable’ a mutation quirk,” Izuku felt his insides writhe when Karasuma’s eyes passed over him for a split second. It was quick, but he still noticed. Nonetheless, the hero continued, “which is why even mutation quirks such as your tail—“ he nodded to the tailed student (Ojiro was his name?), “and your extra arms,” nodding to the ‘octopus armed’ student, “will be banned for this practice.”

“Aw, what?”

“How will that work?”

“Hey, that’s not fair! You can’t exactly ‘turn off’ invisibility, you know!”

“As for special cases such as you,” he was addressing the invisible girl now (Izuku really needed to learn their names, dangit), “You’ll be wearing a your gym uniform so that you can be at least somewhat visible.”

“But that defeats the purpose of my costume! Aw, phooey.” It looked like her arms were crossed. Wait a second, was she naked? What the frick—that’s not a costume, that’s just gloves and shoes!!

“If you were covered in something like slime or powder, your costume’s purpose would still be defeated. You need training in combat as well as self-defense regardless of what your ‘hero specialty’ might be.”

“He’s got a point,” a red-haired boy mumbled in beside Uraraka.

“I guess you’re right,” the invisible girl hummed, disappointed.

“Alright. For the first half of the exercise, you’ll be paired up in twos. You and your partner will spar for a few minutes and then you both will be put against another team with a hands-on scenario in the abandoned building.” Karasuma paused and he scanned the body of students before his eyes narrowed in annoyance. “We’re short one student.”

“Ah! That’s because a student, Shiota Nagisa, is not well,” Iida raised his hand. “He couldn’t make it to school today.”

Karasuma’s eyebrows raised and he glanced at Izuku who nodded shortly and the substitute gave a sigh before pinching the bridge of his nose. “Very well. One of you will either need to sit out and trade with another student between exercises or there will have to be a team of three.”

Izuku simultaneously wanted to leap in joy and throw up in a school waste bin at the idea of Karasuma teaching another gym-esque class. Something told him it was not going to be a walk in the park, even for someone who’s had experience in his class…

The red haired boy from earlier raised his hand. “I don’t mind bein’ the odd man out, Teach!”

Karasuma nodded. “Then you’ll be paired with the last team. Any questions?”

“What, so we’re just...supposed to fight? Hand-to-hand?” a black haired boy asked.

“Yes. The only restriction is no hits to the face. Your goal is to learn how to disarm your opponent and defend yourself, not to beat up your opponent senselessly. I won’t be happy if I end up having to send one of you to Recovery Girl, and honestly, neither will she. Is that understood?” His tone alone sent spikes of nervousness into everyone’s stomachs as they all nodded stiffly and replied with a unanimous “sir, yessir!”

“Good, now for teams…”

Karasuma began calling out the names of the students (when the invisible girl—Hagakure was her name—was called out, she was handed a set of gym clothes, to which she mumbled a tiny, ‘man, this really bites…’ ) and pairing them up in teams of two, sans the red-haired boy, Kirishima. In hindsight, Izuku wasn’t all too surprised to be teamed up with Bakugou and Kirishima.

They were spread out along the field and were given fifteen minutes to spar with each other before the field-practice exercise began.

Before Izuku’s team began, he set his two weapons aside: a gun-shaped taser and a shocknife, still in their holster. Karasuma didn’t say anything about using weapons, but the whole point of this exercise was to practice without any outside help other than your own physical attributes, quirks ignored, so he thought it better to play it safe anyway. The weapons drew his teammates’ attention, but it was stolen away when they heard a comment from a blond in another team—Kaminari and… Yaoyorozu, if he remembered correctly.

“Wait, whaaat, he expects me to fight a girl?” the blond complained. The students were already given the green light to begin whenever they were ready. “Look, sorry, but I just can’t—”

Before he was even finished, the raven haired girl had nailed two surprise hits on Kaminari before grabbing his arm and freaking judo flipping him over her shoulder, slamming him to the ground with a loud THUMP . The surrounding teams paused in their sparring to gawk as a pitiful groan left the KO’d boy.

“Yeah, well, I can,” Yaoyorozu grinned, straightening herself and wiping her hands, as if to say ‘ job well-done. ’ The teams that were watching began to clap, and Izuku couldn’t help but chuckle at the scene.

Kaminari, still stunned and laying on his back, raised a hand to point at the girl, wheezing out, “... Respect, sister.

“Tch, idiot,” Izuku turned to see Katsuki sneering at the two, his arms crossed and his gauntlets set aside for the practice. “She topped first of the girls in our class during that quirk assessment yesterday, not to mention almost all the dudes, what’d he think would happen?”

Izuku shrugged with another chuckle.

“So! How do we wanna do this, dudes?” Kirishima began, punching his hand while his wide grin just screamed ‘pumped.’ “I don’t mind taking the back seat for the first round while you two spar or somethin’.”

“I-I was gonna s… s-suggest, um, J-Janken,” Izuku suggested but shrank back as soon as he saw Katsuki’s face grow a menacing grin. “O-or, um… Or not. That’s f-fine too.”

Kirishima ignored the blond’s sinister expression (seriously, that smile could rival Karma’s) and shook his head. “Nah, as terrif- IIIIII mean fun as that sounds, I honestly don’t mind it. Unless you’d like to—”

In an instant, Katsuki’s (steaming) hand was in Izuku’s face, digits squishing his dappled skin and shoving his head into the ground. He didn’t even have time to screech before the hand was removed and his hoodie was yanked into the air and Izuku with it, gravity pulling him down and slamming his chest to the dirt. He groaned as he pushed himself up, completely stunned by the surprise of it all.  

“Quick freakin’ yapping and get with the fighting already!”

Katsuki turned to face Izuku, cracking his knuckles. The overwhelming amount of glee that encompassed his large grin sent shivers down Izuku’s spine but at the same time, it was like a jolt of energy that sent him to his feet. Bloodlust, that’s what Katsuki held in his venomous eyes. Izuku could drown in it.

Standing tall, the ex-assassin gathered himself into a familiar pose he took for fighting. Hand out, body turned to the side, other hand ready to be reeled back and used for offense if the opportunity arose. Izuku shifted his foot behind him.

Katsuki seemed impressed, judging by the way he cocked his chin up and his grin grew wilder before he shot like a rocket toward his opponent. Izuku was ready though, and he shifted his body to the side before Katsuki could aim a punch. In that split second dodge, Izuku reared around and grabbed the blond’s collar by the back and threw him across their portion of the sparring field.

Katsuki wasted no time in jumping right back onto his feet and charging the shorter boy once again with a raised fist. The freckled teen knew if this was a quirks active fight, Katsuki would be taking full advantage of his quirk and Izuku could probably be struggling to even keep up with dodging.

Instead of trying to dodge this time, however, the ex-assassin raised his arms to block the punch, freezing when he heard the blond’s war cry: “DIE!!!”

His blood started to vibrate through his body, pounding in his head and speeding his heartbeat. Behind his grinning face mask, Izuku felt his lips part slightly, corners curling up and his vision focusing sharply. Focused. Focused. Focused on Katsuki.

That word was just like a switch , waking the boy from his foggy reality to a sharp, crisp ultra-realm where he could see and think and act . It was all he needed to even stand on this other boy’s level.

Their eyes met and he swore the air shifted momentarily before snapping aggressively back into reality, and the green haired boy’s movements were precise in tightly gripping Katsuki’s face before jerking him down while his knee came up and rammed the boy in the chest, knocking the air out of him.

Bakugou gasped for a moment before snapping back up and grabbing both of Izuku’s hands by the wrist with one of his own and tugging him toward himself, his fist finally connecting with Izuku’s freckled face.

He heard the click between bones before the hot pain shot in his cheekbone and upper teeth. Falling back, Izuku sat up quickly, shooting the blond a searing glare. The taste of metal met his tongue and he gave a grunt of annoyance before pulling his mask down to spit some blood out.

Augh , Katsuki, whatthecrap?! He s-said n- frick , K-Karasuma-sss-sensei said no face hits!” Taking his glove off, the freckled teen touched his throbbing gums, pulling back to see—surprise, surprise, more blood.

“Oh don’t be a wuss! S’not my fault you couldn’t freaking block.”

“Yes, it- b- you- frickin’- ugh! Y-you’re lucky I’m n-not a ss-snitch.” Standing himself up, Izuku pulled his mask back over his face before stalking off to Karasuma with Katsuki hissing out a demanding “Where the hell are you going?!” Izuku ignored him before hesitating for a moment when he noticed All Might’s shriveled up frame beside Karasuma, watching over the hero course. Curious.

“All- uh, T-Toshinori-san?”

“Ah, Young Izuku!” greeted the blond when the boy came closer. “I felt bad for missing my own class on the first day, no less. I hadn’t thought- oh, is- is there something the matter?” He must have saw the look of annoyance in the younger teen’s eyes.

Quickly, Izuku shook his head and replied quickly, “N-No, nothing, I-I just, um. I, uh, w-was gonna ask t-t'get a drink of-of water real quick. I-Is, um. Is all.”

Karasuma nodded at that. “Make it quick. And also, Midoriya, try not to make yourself open to any hits like you did. Now go on.”

Frick, he saw. Why did he look so smug too, what the frick—

A nervous laugh left the green haired boy at that, face growing dark red before muttering a small ‘thanks’ and taking his leave to the water fountain. He didn’t want to swallow anymore blood, and it was accumulating in his mouth like a well. He was already high on nerves because of Nagisa’s absence today, not to mention Asano and now Katsuki just blatantly rips off one of the easiest rules from this exercise—at the expense of Izuku’s face, no less. He lightly rubbed the throbbing cheekbone.

That’s gonna bruise. Good thing he was a fast healer…

 


 

The final bell had rung, letting everyone out of school. Izuku, Uraraka and Iida both sat beside him while they chatted, waiting for Rio and Karma to join them so they could take off to Nagisa’s house. Ritsu had sent Izuku his address after asking if it was okay to visit. It wasn’t long after that Nagisa himself finally texted him, and that was during that stupid ‘No Quirks’ exercise—and he regards it not because he actually thought that, no. In reality, Izuku was still on a sort of ‘high’ at being in the Heroics class and even more so at seeing Karasuma again. It was a surprise—a pleasant surprise at that, and the boy was more than delighted. It was a shame he couldn’t outwardly express it in front of everyone though. Well, he just didn’t want to deal with the questions.

So, no, he wasn’t upset about the exercise at all. He was just—well, cranky. He honest-to-God needed a nap after seeing Nagisa. Plus, his cheekbone wouldn’t stop throbbing (and yes, he refused to see Recovery Girl about it, obviously).

“Oh, there you all are,” Rio’s voice brought Izuku out of his thoughts, lifting his head to see the blonde approach them with a confused stare. “Whoa, what happened to Izukun’s face?”

Izuku gave her a flat stare. “Karasuma-ss-sensei wass’ere.”

“Ah, I see. Oh, hey, where’s Karma?”

“He’s not with you?” Uraraka tilted her head.

“No. Bah, he’s probably held up in class or something. I’ll text him in a sec. What’re the plans?”

“We were going to check up on Nagisa just now. Wanna come?”

Rio opened her mouth to respond before her phone ‘dinged’ in her hand. “Oh, shoot, I can’t today. Crap, and I really wanted to, too… I’ve gotta head home right after school today, but I’ll catch you guys later, yeah? Tell Nagi to feel better!” And with that, she waved at the trio who bid her good-bye before heading off in the direction of home.

“Should we wait for Karma?” Uraraka wondered.

Izuku hummed. “Mm-maybe.”

“Perhaps we should text him soon. It’s been quite a while since school ended, anyhow,” Iida suggested, prompting Izuku to pull his phone out—before a hand plopped on his shoulder, startling the wits out of him (and a high-pitched screech too).

“Hey, now, don’t count me out so soon,” Karma smirked.

Izuku punched his arm. “J-Jerk! You- don’t- y-you know how I- ugh! Jerk.”

“Worth it.”

Uraraka giggled. “Alright, let’s head over to Nagisa’s then. Do you have the address, Izukun?”

“Huh? O-Oh! Yeah, I, um, here.”

“Wonderful! Shall we, then? We mustn’t keep Nagisa-kun waiting!”

 


 

Thunk-thunk-thunk

“I’ll get it!”

Click, shwp, chk

The door opened and Nagisa jumped at the sight of four familiar faces smiling and waving hello. There was worry marking Izuku’s eyes while he studied his friend. He looked a bit worse for wear, but he didn’t appear to have a cold or anything. The dark circles under his eyes were more profound with his white skin, however.

“Ah, what- um, guys, what’re you doing here?” Confusion crossed the blue haired boy’s face, but he didn’t stop the delighted yet somewhat amused smile from twitching his lip corners. “What happened to your face?”

“Long story. W-we were just ss-seeing how you’re d-doing, isss’all,” Izuku beamed brightly. The confusion didn’t go away but the snake haired boy did chuckle at them all before opening the door wider and stepping to the side.

“Come on in, then,” he chuckled and the four entered the small apartment. “Um, It’s not much, but make yourself at home, I guess. I can get you guys some tea if you want? And Izuku, do you want some ice for that?” Izuku opened his mouth to respond before he was interrupted.

“Oh no, you don’t!” came the cry from a room in the hall before Nagisa’s dad came tumbling in from the bathroom. He instantly pointed at his son, who looked at him with bewilderment. “You. Are sitting down and chatting with your friends. I will make you all some tea! (And get you, boy, some ice!)

“I- Dad, I can—”

“No, the doctor said to rest, and so you will do it. You just barely convinced me to let you go to school tomorrow, don’t make me revoke that!”

Nagisa groaned and put his head in his hands before slumping into the couch. “Uggghhh, fine! Just- please don’t burn the tea this time?”

The four slowly began to sit down; Karma and Izuku next to Nagisa and Iida and Uraraka on the two-seater couch across from them. Karma leaned over to Izuku, whispering, “How do you burn tea?”

“Oh, it’s possible,” Nagisa simply responded.

“Green tea is actually quite sensitive to heat in the water,” Iida raised a hand while Nagisa nodded.

“I usually make the tea, but my dad’s been a worrywart ever since last night and won’t let me do anything. He’s been like this all day, too.” Nagisa slumped his cheek on his hand, making a pout. “I never knew tea could catch on fire until today.”

Uraraka suddenly laughed at that. “No way! He can’t be that bad!”

“He tried to put out a kitchen fire with water the other day; we’ve had takeout every day this week.”

Yikes, ” Karma leaned back on the couch with his arms crossed.

Nagisa nodded, chewing his cheek. “Yeah, we’ll just see how long I survive with this bland diet I’m on.”

Iida raised a brow. “Bland diet?”

“Ah, yeah, the doctors said I have to eat certain foods for awhile, so they don’t upset my stomach anymore than it is.”

“Oh, yeah! How are you, anyway?” Uraraka sat straight. “Izukun was so worried for you today when you didn’t show up for school! He even got a bit grumpy during Heroics today…”

Karma smirked at the reddening Izuku curiously. “Really now? What got you so riled up, huh? It’s not often our little cinnamon bun gets his panties in a twist.”

“I- Ura- Urara- hnnnnnnnn, mmm-mean!” whined the green haired boy as he wrapped his head around his arms. Uraraka simply giggled in response, obviously not sorry for copping the boy out on his little tantrum today. Izuku wondered when he’d get some ice for his purpling cheek.

Nagisa gave a laugh of his own, but it sounded weak. No one seemed to pick up on it though. His attention drew back to the question prior. It was unfortunate his friends were so nosy, so he doubted he could keep his business to himself about last night. Because, really, it wasn’t a matter of if they found it, it was when they found out, and honestly, he didn’t doubt they would. Plus, it would kind of defeat the purpose of one of Ritsu’s programming she installed herself, where if any of class 3-E were, when tracked from their phones, found to be in the hospital, the others would be notified. Nagisa left his phone at home last night, though.

Sighing, the blue haired boy leaned forward, ignoring the incessant clanging of tea not being made properly in the kitchen. “Ah, well, I guess you’ll find out about this one way or another. I was in the hospital last night getting an IV for severe dehydration. I basically puked out my entire stomach last night, which is why I’m stuck with canned veggies, fish and eggs.” He paused for a moment. “Among other things.”

“You- You went- The- Hospital?” Izuku stammered, sitting forward to gawk at his friend. He knew his worrying wasn’t for nothing!! His intuition’s almost always right. The others seemed to be at a loss, also sputtering for words. “But- Uh, Ritsu , doesn’t she-?”

Nagisa shook his head. “I left my phone in the bathroom when we went.”

“Did the doctors say what it was?” Iida inquired, brows knotted with concern. “What caused it, that is?”

Ice eyes shifted away for a moment, considering what truth he should say before sighing again and shrugging. “They guessed it could be a few things. Grie- um, they thought I maybe had a panic attack or something. They also said it could have been food poisoning too. I hadn’t eaten anything yesterday other than the ice cream, though, so I don’t know.” He shrugged again.

“You didn’t- Nagisa-kun, I strongly advise you to eat more often,” Iida waved his hands around. “It keeps your body functioning, and what’s more, it gives your snakes nourishment!”

Nagisa’s head snapped up, surprised. That’s right—he wasn’t the only one suffering with his lack of eating. He glanced at Ko and then Roka before feeling a jab of guilt in his chest, quivering his lips down. He’d been neglecting his two important friends, who depended on him to take care of them. They stared at him with big, round eyes, licking the air curiously. Swallowing thickly, Nagisa nodded with a slim smile. “...You’re- you’re right. Thanks, Iida.”

Iida smiled back.

Nagisa took a moment to pause before calling his dad in the kitchen, who was being waayy too quiet for comfort. “Daaad? You need help over there?”

“No, nah, nopers! I’m just about- oh, you’ve gotta...oookay, that makes more sense.”

“...Daaad, what’re you doing?”

“Huh? Oh! Oh, uh, um, nothing! Tea! Just- just makin’ tea, almost ready! Sorry for the wait, Nagisa’s friends!”

Nagisa stared at the kitchen hallway, squinting incredulously and trying to dissect what the fresh fries his father was doing in there— how long does it take to make tea? “One second,” he told his friends and stood up to check on how his dad really was doing. Leaning into the room, he almost burst into laughter at the sight of his father watching tutorial videos on how to make tea. “Dad!”

“HUH, WHAT-” Dad spun around suddenly, nearly knocking over the steaming teapot beside him on the stove. He then calmed down only slightly, upon realizing who it was, but his relief shot back up to protective dad mode. “Nagisa, go sit back down, I told you to rest!”

The boy ignored him, insteading weakly pointing at the phone propped up on the counter with a still playing video on the screen, perking an eyebrow up while a smug grin pulled at his lips. “Dad, are you searching up a tutorial?”

“Whaaaat? Pfft, no .”

Nagisa crossed his arms.

“...Okay, maybe.”

Okay, that was kind of really sweet. Extremely, excruciatingly dorky and honestly, how are they still living in a home, but yes. Super sweet that he was so invested in just- making freakin’ tea for his guests. Nagisa gave an amused hum and waltzed toward the freezer. “Are you sure you don’t need help?”

“Absotively posolutely!”

“Rrrright,” Nagisa pursed his smiling lips knowingly, instead opening the door to the freezer and grabbing an ice pack from the back of the box. Closing it, he leaned against the fridge with his arms crossed. “You could ask me for help, you know. Or at least instructions?”

“That’s not your job, though, Nagi. I can do it, don’t you worry. I’ll- I’ll get the hang of it, Scout’s honor!”

“You were never a scout, Dad.”

“Okay, well, Snake’s honor!” A few of his father’s head snakes seemed to giggle at that.

Nagisa laughed and nodded. “Alright, I see now. You can leave that there for a bit, though. Maybe meet my friends? If the pot gets too hot, you’ll hear it anyways.”

Dad seemed to ponder that for a moment, meeting eyes with his son, and then the smaller teen seemed to realize a truth: his father, all his life, never had to take care of anyone but himself when it came to the smaller things in life like the comforts of dinner, spending time with people, enjoying things, cleaning… His father’s never had to make anyone anything before, and that’s why they always went out for sushi when he came to visit instead of taking him to his house, but now—now was different, and he was trying .

Dad was trying. For Nagisa.

Finally, Dad nodded with a smile. “Alright, I should probably go make myself a good host, then, huh? You sure I can leave this alone for a bit?”

“Absotively posolutely.”

Dad laughed and joined his son to meet his friends in the living room.

Chapter Text

The final bell rang, and Karma couldn’t help but to suppress a sigh. It wasn’t that this Business 101 was difficult—far from it, actually—but Business Guy… was just excruciatingly overbearing. Even to Karma’s level of patience.

The dark blond hero hefted himself on top of his desk at the last ring, suitcase at his side and ready to swing open. “Alrighty, class dismissed,” he announced. “Remember to get those portfolios in before next Wednesday, kids! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with business.” And with that, the man clicked his suitcase open, a wave of money from different countries falling out and he used the case as a surfboard to quite literally money-surf out of the room…

With that, the class gave a collective sigh, either leaning back or forward on their desk before they started gathering their things. Karma already had his things packed and rose to leave but a hand on his shoulder and a familiar pressure in the air halted him. Irritatingly, he glanced back to the hard stare Asano had on him.

“What is it you want?”

“Answers. That’s all,” Asano said simply, passing him and toward the door. He leaned against the wall and Karma felt the pressure he exerted intensify and the last students in the class shuffled out, leaving the two of them alone. Asano closed the door after the last student and the pressure fell gradually. “We made a deal, didn’t we?”

Karma crossed his arms, narrowing his eyes at the ginger. “I suppose we did. But you still haven’t met the requirements, yet.”

“Oh?”

Karma smirked. “The condition is this: beat my grades this semester fair and square and I might consider spilling.”

“Not too hard. Soon enough I’ll have this school on its knees anyway.”

The horned boy scoffed at that. “You forget, Asano. You’re not playing on home field anymore, are you?” Golden eyes studied the other, noting how his eye twitched only slightly. “There’s no ‘Daddy’ here to give you his backing or sabotage the playing field anymore. Everyone here starts on square one just like everyone else. It’s how you play the game that determines how far up the rope you climb. You would know that, wouldn’t you?”

A hum of vague acknowledgement. “I suppose so. Fair enough conditions, anyway. I look forward to winning this little ‘game’.”

Karma narrowed his eyes again, smirk widening. He made for the door, deciding their conversation was over before halting.

“Oh, and one more thing.”

He knew Asano could see the expression he held by the way the boy tensed somewhat, a spike in how heavy the air weighed, but Karma knew it wasn’t coming from the other student’s quirk this time. His expression grew sharp and his smug look fell to something deathly serious. Hardened golds shot to his right to trap lavender under its smothering gaze.

“Don’t try to get anything out of those three either. We’ve been through hell and deserve our moment of peace, don’t you think?”

The door slid open and Karma walked out, leaving Asano to his thoughts.

In the hallway, a lone garbage bin came rolling toward him, making the horned teen to stop and blink in bewilderment. “What the…”

It stopped beside him, and the lid lifted to reveal Business Guy holding a rose in his hand, seemingly scrutinizing it. “Romance sure is hard.”

Karma gawked.

“Are you high?”

“Only off love and money. And man, is money a cruel mistress.”

“Did… Did you get dumped by your money…?”

Business Guy only sighed before closing the lid on himself, mumbling, “Romance sure is hard,” again and rolling away.

Karma stood, squinting dumbfoundedly at the direction the garbage bin went rolling off to. “What the hell…”

 

 


 

Karasuma nodded as the students wrapped up their second exercise, looking winded and a bit bruised here and there but otherwise unharmed.

“Good work, everyone,” he started. “Despite some of you not having proper training with close combat, you all performed exceptionally well and adapted nicely.”

The withered man beside him nodded along in silence.

“You have ten minutes until the bell. Any questions before I dismiss you?”

Kirishima raised his hand, to which the pro nodded to. “I meant to ask before, but who’s that man?”

Izuku grimaced nervously behind his mask, meeting Toshinori’s eyes. He felt a sweat begin to freeze against the back of his neck. Thankfully, Karasuma was a man who was quick on his feet, hardly ever shook off balance, so it came to no surprise that he answered in a timely manner and with an even voice, “This is Yagi Toshinori, a staff member at UA. He will sometimes act as a student teacher, watching the class and whatnot. Pay him no mind and you’ll both get along fine. Anything else?”

No one had anything to say. Izuku smiled and let out a silent sigh with how quickly the subject. was diffused.

“Then you’re dismissed. Get changed and head back to class.”

Izuku made sure to stay back as the class shuffled back to the main building of UA. Pulling his mask down, he smiled at his old teacher. “Karasuma-ss-sensei, All Might,” he greeted, approaching the two.

The raven merely nodded in acknowledgement to the shorter student. “Midoriya. I’m pleased you made it into the hero course.”

Izuku nodded, beaming like the sun. “Th-thanks to your train- training, of c-course!”

Karasuma merely nodded at that, an appreciative tone in his eyes that twitched his lip corners just a tad. “You did exceptionally well today, sans for letting your guard down a few times.” Karasuma raised a brow as Izuku glanced away sheepishly, giving an awkward smile to nothing in particular. His cheekbone throbbed a bit.

Toshinori rubbed at his chin contemplatively. “Young Bakugou, was it? Quite the temper on him, hm?”

Izuku shrugged. “I dunno him v-very, um, w- very, mm, well. He sseems very, uh, T-Terasaka-y?”

Toshinori sighed, rubbing his face with a hand while he shook his head. “Not another one.” Inhaling, he grinned at Izuku. “Alright. Well, get back on to class. You don’t want to get out late.”

The student nodded with a beaming smile, waving to his teacher as he parted. “It was nn-nice to ss-see you again, K-Karasuma-sensei!”

Once Izuku disappeared into the main school building, Karasuma glanced at Toshinori. “You’re sure you can handle another class of rambunctious teenagers by yourself?”

“Pft,” Toshinori snorted, looking Karasuma in the eyes with a smirk. “If he could do it, so can I.”

“We’ll see, then.”

“Have a little faith.”

“Hm.”

 


 

A few days pass when Karma and Rio greets Nagisa and Izuku at the train station. That Bakugou kids still cops an attitude at them, which amuses Karma to no end and honestly, he’s a bit disappointed he can’t tease the ash blond more often than before school and the few times he sees him at lunch. He often comes mostly to chat with Izuku and then he leaves after Karma pokes a bit of fun at him.

“How’re you feeling, Nagisa?” Rio asks when the five meet.

Nagisa smiles half-heartedly, appearing tired of the same question every morning. “Just as fine as the last three times you’ve asked… I’m just sore inside, kinda raw and stuff but Lunch Rush’s meals have been helping during lunch.”

“That’s good to hear,” Karma says. His eyes scroll toward Bakugou whose eyes are cast elsewhere. He scoffs suddenly and turns to leave without them. “Hey, now. What’s the rush?” Karma calls out to the blond, voice laced with amusement. Bakugou remains silent, looking as though he didn’t hear the horned redhead. He holds his head down, and Karma couldn’t help but wonder if he was trying to avoid someone. The thought came with a hum of amusement.

It was, hilariously, confirmed when a boy with spiky red hair comes out of almost nowhere only to wrap his arm around Bakugou’s shoulder, shouting his greeting cheerfully. Karma almost choked on spit and strangled laughter.

“Bakugou!! There you are!!” the unknown redhead cheers. “I didn’t know you took the train!!”

“Not anymore,” grumbles the ash blond, trying to get the boy’s arm off from his shoulder.

“Aw, haha, don’t be that way! Wh- heyya! You ride with Midoriya and Nagisa?” Ah, the redhead caught his group’s stares, turning the both of them around and approaching with a sharp and welcoming grin. “‘Sup guys! Oh, hey, who’re these two?”

Nagisa and Izuku give Karma and Rio smiles of exasperation before introductions were given with the other giving a sickeningly happy, “Nice to meetcha, dudes! Any friends of Bakugou’s and Midoriya’s are friends of mine!! I’m Kirishima Eijiro!!” So the energetic kid is Kirishima, from Izuku’s class. Interesting. Karma wonders vaguely if he could weasle the guy into being his pranking guinea pig sometime.

Uraraka and Iida don’t meet them at the train station this time, so they decide to make their way to school anyway, Kirishima running his mouth off all while actively keeping Bakugou from fleeing (Karma was?? Impressed??), talking about everything under the sun until he starts asking his own questions to the group, to which they answer happily and with amusement. Rio and Karma are the most active in the conversation; it appears Izuku is starting off on a less than good day and Nagisa’s trying his best to distract him.

It’s when they started closing in on the school building that their conversations began to dwindle. There was a crowd by the gates. A rock of frustration settles in the back of Karma’s throat, not emotionally ready to face anyone but the school staff and students today, and especially not ready to face the god-awful media of all things. Izuku and Karma both stall, shifting looks at each other before looking at Rio and Nagisa, also appearing wary.

Karma sighs and then he pushes forth, ignoring the burning anxiety in his gut. If he keeps his eyes sharp, they’ll back off, right? He just had to give off the most sinister and cold aura of “frick off” he could possibly manage.

One of those vultures are on the group in a heartbeat and like stink to flies, the others follow suit, overwhelming them easily and throwing question after question to them—mostly about All Might, which everyone tries their best to answer (they’re simple questions like: ‘how is he like?’ or ‘how does it feel to be trained by the number one hero?’), trying to shuffle through the crowd. Bakugou yells at some of them to back off while Kirishima tries to simultaneously calm the explosive blond down and keep the peace with the news reporters. Izuku stammers and lowers his head to hide behind his curls while a reporter tries to make sense of his nonsensical murmuring. Nagisa looks like he’s trying to decide whether or not it’s worth it to use his quirk on them (Karma thinks ‘go for it, what’s the worst that can happen?’ but he knows too well), and Rio’s gritting her teeth and straining a smile at the people swarming them. Karma’s just outright ignoring the mics shoved in his face and the questions—

That is, until one of them recognizes them.

“Hey, aren’t you the kids from Kunugigaoka Junior High?!” The breath is sucked out from Karma and he meets the scumbag’s eyes with his own piercing hues, silently pleading death to the man. He doesn’t relent, and instead he’s seen pushing through the stunned crowd. “You are, you are! I recognize you! You’re the kids from that class- who ki—”

A sharp nail is pressed under the man’s neck as he walks right beside him. He feels the reporter go still, a breath of fear leaving him and Karma feels his chest grow light and giddy at the feeling. He can feel the bloodlust he kept under lock and key surge in his chest, burning like acid through metal and he grins as he leans into the reporter’s ear with a smile. There’s silence around them, cameras angled toward him. Well aware of this, his hand slides down the man’s neck and onto his shoulder where he keeps his thumb right above his clavicle, a firm and stifling pressure pressing down. The nosy son of a fricker has the nerve to whimper slightly. That makes this all the more enjoyable.

“Talk to us again,” Karma’s voice is soft and thin but sickeningly threatening, “and I promise you, our next meeting will be less than welcoming.”

The pressure is lifted and the horned teen pushes the reporter to the side, creating an opening for the students to pass through peacefully. He gestures to the others to follow before taking his own leave.

The burning is singeing his throat and he feels ready to throw up and cry and destroy them all simultaneously. Izuku’s shaking under all the prying stares. The redhead stops at the gates as Kirishima and Bakugou pass him with prying eyes before Karma turns around, staring at the crowd of vultures, their faces crumbling in his fiery eyes.

“Ask us again, and you’re next.

He turns on his feet, wrapping an arm around Izuku’s shaking frame and follows the group inside the school. They’re approached by a dark-haired teacher whose tired eyes pierce Karma and Izuku, and he looks just about ready to inquire if anything was the matter, but then he sees the press lining the gates and understanding envelopes his expression along with exhaustion, a bit of anger, and frustration before he pats Izuku’s shoulder and heads toward the media buzzing about with a hard look in his eyes. Karma doesn’t comment on it.

“Are you okay?” Karma asks in a hushed voice to Izuku when the teacher is gone. His eyes burn a bit, but it’s nothing compared to how Izuku’s must feel, shedding tear after tear in stifled silence. He hears a sniffle and a hum before they stop in the locker room. He guides them to a corner and turns the freckled boy toward him to avoid people seeing his reddened and wet face. Izuku buries his face into Karma’s chest as they sit on the bench that lines the wall.

“Whoa, is he okay??” Kirishima questions, his full attention turned to Izuku and Karma. He approaches and Izuku wraps his arms around his head to hide himself. “Dude, you alright? Just- try and breathe slowly, okay?”

Rio and Nagisa come close too, concern and understanding in their eyes, along with unshed tears.

“He’s not good with crowds,” Rio explains softly.

He can feel Bakugou’s unnerving stares from across the way, unmoving despite the fact he can clearly leave them. “That prick just reminded him of something… sad that happened last year is all. He’ll be fine.” He hopes. They have to be fine, sooner or later. Even Karma himself was only barely keeping all his seams attached.

He lowers his head to look at Izuku gently. “Right, Izukun? Just take some deep breaths, okay?”

Kirishima’s face melted into something of sympathy and he touches Izuku’s shoulder gently. “Aw, Midoriya, it’s okay. I’m sorry that happened. Do you want to go to Recovery Girl’s office for a bit?”

“We could sit with you, Izukun,” Nagisa softly offers, his own voice shaking slightly. Ko and Roka tug a bit closer, trying to reach the boy.

Izuku shudders in Karma’s hold, his head lifting somewhat to catch his breath. “S-sss-sorr-y-y,” he gasps, voice thickly laced in a sob that wracks his body. He’s struggling, Karma notes sadly, to keep his noises soft and nonexistent. He doesn’t want the attention. Karma’s hand rubs against his back soothingly. What a crappy start to the day; and it wasn’t even 9am yet.

“No, no,” Rio softly coos, sitting next to them. Her hand twirls his curls around. Karma realizes that her voice sounds wet and fragile but she masks it with how thin she speaks, almost a whisper. “Don’t be sorry, Izukun. Just focus on breathing- And, let’s get you to Recovery Girl, maybe- m-maybe she’ll let you sit out for some of homeroom.” Her voice trembles just a tad.

“I don’t mind letting Aizawa know you’ll be late?” Kirishima offers, crouching down. Izuku slowly starts to sit up at this, breaking his hold on Karma and rubbing at his scarlet face. His hands fidget with each other. His breath still hitches and he looks like he’s still trying to catch his breath, but he shakes his head anyway.

“Nnn-nn-no,” he stumbles out. Karma’s half tempted to tell him not to push himself, because he knows he hates talking when he’s being strained like he is. He gets frustrated when the right words don’t come out or they’ll come out but in the wrong way and he’ll have to switch up his sentence half-way through another. At much as Karma liked to tease people, just like Nagisa made his femininity out-of-bounds (way too late) later into the school year, Izuku made it known how insecure he was about his voice—how insecure he still was. Karma shoves down the icky feeling of... bad that tries to climb up his throat to itch at his brain. Izuku sucks in a shaky breath again, wiping at his face some more. “‘M ff-ff-fih.. Fi-finne. ‘Mm’ok-k-kay.”

Kirishima’s brows furrow in concern. “You sure, man? It’s alright to bow out for a sec. There’s nothing more manly than taking a sec to care for yourself!” He offers a smile.

Izuku blinks and starts to smile back before nodding and muttering something about going to the bathroom. He makes to stand up but sits back down again, another torrent of tears breaking through his eyes and falling down his cheeks as a choked sob rips out of his throat. Karma makes to hold him close again, silent and struggling to hold back his own tears. Kirishima frowns and stands to help them back up. “Let’s go to Recovery Girl.”

Beside him, Nagisa is not-so-discreetly wiping away tears along with Rio but they take steady breaths to keep themselves calm and strong for Izuku. The group heads for Recovery Girl’s office, Karma and Rio hugging the trembling Izuku, and even Bakugou trails behind them distantly. They just miss Uraraka and Iida entering the school, their stares curious with concern.

 


 

“—Karma would make a good class prez, I think.”

Karma heard this the moment he opened the door to the classroom, and without missing a beat, he instantly replied with: “I agree.”

The class ‘calculator’, Date Akemi scoffed and sat straight in her desk. “You don’t even know what we were talking about!”

Shrugging, the redhead passed a paper slip to the infuriatingly cheerful Business-sensei. He slouched in his seat, smirking at the girl. “Don’t need to. I heard my name and ‘good’ in the same sentence; clearly it means I’ve become the alpha of this class.”

Date gave him an unamused stare while another student behind her, the octopus-headed Mizushima Takoyaki, leaned forward. “Never say that again.”

Asano gave a laugh, leaning in his seat. “Figures you’d use that sort of terminology, damn furry.”

“Ahem,” Business-sensei cleared his throat, though everyone knows he doesn’t hold as much authority as he thinks he does. Still, everyone turned their attention to him. “I’ll excuse your tardiness this time, Akabane-kun, seeing as you came from the nurse’s. Anyway, we were discussing the need to choose the class president!”

That’s when Karma started to slowly zone out, gold gaze glued to the excited ginger leading homeroom. God, his giddiness shouldn’t even exist on a Monday. Oh, man, Karma wanted to punch him so bad.

He listened to his classmates verbally wrestle for the title of ‘class president,’ only somewhat interested in the position but his mind was foggy and wrapped in other thoughts. He was about ten minutes late to class, but he couldn’t quite bring himself to care very much. After promising that Izuku would be alright, Recovery Girl scurried the rest of the kids out after the first bell rang, handing them all a pass in case they missed the late bell. He also missed the late bell, of course, considering he took a straight path to a vacant bathroom and proceeded to have a minor breakdown before re-conducting himself well enough to face society again.

Honestly, he surprised even himself with how well he cleaned up after that fiasco. He was pretty proud of himself; it’d be a nice feat to flaunt around if it wasn’t so freakin’ embarrassing.

He tried to discreetly shuffle his notebook out and work through his notes. Karma’s head felt like cotton was stuffed through his ears and into his brain, fuzzing everything up. Stuffy. No, he wasn’t sick; he’s pretty sure it’s not that. Juvenile crayons are scrawled all over his mind and suddenly he wants to cry again.

That stupid, yellow octopus.

He won’t get out of his head.

Everything reminded him of that bastard. He’s even in his freaking dreams sometimes; he can’t escape it. And he can’t admit that he actually liked Korosensei—the idiot was just enjoyable to be around, he was a fun challenge to overcome, he was- he was a good teacher, and friend. He was a hero, but this damn government refused to see him in such a light and condemned him for something he couldn’t even control.

Then there’s that freakin’ Mizushima kid, a literal walking reminder of what he— they all —lost. Listen, he was a nice kid. Kind of on the timid side, but not as bad as others he knew, since he seemed to have frequent bouts of courage here and there to say what’s on his mind. Karma tended to keep his distance from him, but he couldn’t find it in himself to feel bad about it despite the kid not deserving that sort of treatment. Okay, yeah, it wasn’t fair. Nothing was fair, really. No one could control much of anything these days.

And that’s why he’s here, Karma thought. He was going to dominate the Business Course and then climb into the Politics Course next year with vengeance. His goal, he remembered and contemplated every day, is to fix the damn political system so people like Korosensei never have to fall victim to unjust laws that condemn their very existence.

Sure, there are laws that protect victims of inhuman experiments—there have been several cases over the centuries leading from the first quirk discoveries to quirklessness dwindling nowadays that were based in illegal experimentation; so why was Korosensei any different? It frustrated Karma to no end, and Karma… Karma hated injustice in the system. It was why he found himself agreeing somewhat to Stain’s philosophy, but there were better ways to dealing with corruption in today’s society, and Karma was doing just that.

His head cleared at that, a new determination lighting his eyes after he caught Asano’s hard and prying stare. Scowling, Karma blinked away the wetness in his eyes and turned to face forward.

“Well, tough cadoodles, Miranda, that’s not how democracy works!” shouted Mizushima from across the room.

“I don’t care! I’m the smartest and most responsible person in this room, it should be me leading you all!”

Another student shot up, pointing at her angrily. “See!? She doesn’t even care how we think! What makes everyone think that she can lead us with care!?”

Miranda Rodriguez sighed loudly and put her head in her hands. “You are all so infuriating!

“Now, now, class,” Business Guy soothed, stepping in front of his desk. “Let’s not get overwhelmed here. Though, this does remind me of the time in class where Best Jeanist was nearly sucker punched by Blood King in class over the same issue… ah, good times. Jeanist still laughs about it! Ah, well, I do at least.”

You’re friends with Best Jeanist? The most cryptid hero in the database?” Date gaped with a touch of amusement at Business Guy, who hummed with a touch of laughter. The class seemed only slightly impressed.

“Yepperoni! We’re as tight as thread in jeans, we are!” he nodded smuggly. “He hooks me up with some of his merch sometimes, too. Like- okay, okay, take a gander at these babies—” Business Guy whipped out some navy blue pencils, grinning proudly. The students squinted. The ‘impressed’ levels just took a dump into ‘that’s excruciatingly lame’ levelsa.

“They’re just regular pencils?”

“Guess again!” Business Guy leaned forward towards the students, his cheeky grin almost splitting his face in half. “They’re jencils.

“...’Jencils.’” Miranda shot him an incredulous look.

“Jencils! Jean Pencils! The outside- okay, okay, get this,” Business Guy waved at the kids giddily, bouncing on his feet. “The outside of the pencil… is made… of jeans . I also, ahah , happen to be wearing a pair of authentic Best Jeanist patented jeans at the moment…” Karma wished he didn’t sound so smug about that.

Silence.

“Okay, so it’s a pencil with a jean outside. Does Best Jeanist even- Who designs these? Do all Best Jeanist’s merchandise just consist of jean-versions of regular things? And jeans should not be considered Best Jeanist merch.”

“Okay, but all of All Might’s merchandise is just All Might versions of regular things too.”

“You know what? You’re completely right. I’m a fool. Have a nice day.”

They bicker just a bit longer before another student suggests a voting system where a student can’t vote for themselves. It seemed reasonable, so Karma agreed. He didn’t really care all that much about the whole thing—

Until Asano challenged him.

 


 

Nagisa and Izuku come to homeroom way later than Karma did, and Kirishima and Bakugou had gone on ahead to let Aizawa know they’d be late since they were both in the nurse’s office. Nagisa stayed back with Izuku after everyone left because he was starting to have his own episode as well. Panic attack, Recovery Girl had mused and let them stay for a while until they calmed down enough. She made it known that she knew about the incident in Kunugigaoka and that if they were having any trouble at all adjusting or weren’t feeling well enough to function around others, to come to her room for a break. She was very thorough with asking questions regarding their mental stability, wondering if they were taking the counseling sessions offered to them, if they were on any medication or had a history with this and that before finally letting them be.

The door to class slid open and Izuku wondered if he was even remotely close to being able to function properly today, let alone look like he could. It was so embarrassing, having that meltdown in front of so many people and just because of a stupid comment by some stupid news reporter of all things. He kept his head down for a second, knowing all eyes in the class were on him and Nagisa (Nagisa passed both their nurse passes to Aizawa who acknowledged them passively, something in his eyes said he would probably check on them after the period was over. Wonderful).

“The class just finished voting for class president. Make your vote and then return to your seats,” Aizawa’s voice was dull and uninterested, but Izuku finally analyzed that he was like this all the time, apparently, so it didn’t bother Izuku as much as it would had he not understood this.

His command barely registered in his still fuzzy mind, however, so he stalled for a moment to process it before looking at the board and hastily giving his vote to Iida and scurrying toward his desk. He desperately tried to avoid the quizzical eyes that burned on both ex-assassins. He kept his head down until the results were announced and he felt the color drain from his face at them.

“Fff-ff-fuh- wh- I- it- f-ffour votes?!” Izuku’s high-pitched voice cracked pitifully at the results. He sank in his seat just as deeply as his heart sank into ice. That… did not sound good. Or fun. Aw, frick. Most of the class seemed to be disheartened at the outcome, disappointed they couldn’t take the ‘throne,’ but (thankfully?) others seemed to be excited. “Um, there- is th- mm-mis- uh, no .”

“Midoriya, Yaoyorozu, up front.” Aizawa, you son of a frick, get me OUT OF HERE.

Shakily, he shot a pleading look to Nagisa and Uraraka, the latter of whom responded with two thumbs up and a smile. Nagisa just gave a grimace-smile, a sympathetic gesture that Izuku could appreciate but it stILL DIDN’T SAVE HIM FROM THIS HELL. For the LOVE of quirks, today COULDN’T GET WORSE.

Standing stiffly next to the relatively indifferent Yaoyorozu, Izuku could feel his knees wobbling and his hands desperately gripping at each other, pecking at the skin on the backs of them.

“So, then it’s President Midoriya and Vice-President Yaoyorozu. Take the rest of the period to study or do whatever.”

Izuku wanted to just die on the spot.

“Wa- wha- wait, but, I- uh, c-can’t, um, the p-pres… Better..?” He stopped himself, shutting his lips tightly when he couldn’t even understand himself. His brain had trouble forming most sentences already, this was just awful. How was he supposed to be the class president if he couldn’t even vocalize himself properly?! He felt his face burning before swallowing and trying again. “...I… c-can’, um, do this.”

Kirishima stood up, brows furrowed in concern but he offered a supportive smile. “Sure ya can, Midoriya!”

Ashido raised her hand. “Yeah! You’re so cool and collective during our past few hero exercises, there’s no reason you can’t be totally BOSS at leading us!” Settling down, those around her could hear her mumble, “ Although, I’d really like to be the one up there and not them but oh well, I guess …”

Izuku set his lips in a firm frown, lowering his gaze a bit at that. Okay, she was right, but Izuku on the field was a totally different Izuku than the Izuku who had to take deep breaths to calm himself when ordering food from McDonald’s by himself. And even that Izuku was different from the Izuku who felt completely safe around his close friends in class 3-E, allowing himself to be snarky and open and shamelessly playful. This class here wasn’t a safehouse to him. They weren’t used to his way of speech, how could he be sure they were fine with it? Sure, no one’s exactly brought it up or questioned it or anything, but…

This was a whole new ballpark that the ex-assassin wasn’t familiar with and he didn’t have every backing he had when he was in Kunugigaoka.

Well, okay, he wasn’t being grateful enough. All Might, Nagisa, Karma, and Rio were big anchors to him. They were his grounding beings and thoughts, and he knew he wasn’t alone on his tiny boat in this massive sea of different people. What had he learned all year, then? Korosensei spent all his time training his students, Izuku included, to be able to face this dog-eat-dog world by themselves. If he relapsed into his shell now, all that would have been for naught and it’d be an insult to Korosensei’s life.

Taking a shaky breath, he nodded solemnly. “Okay,” he swallowed. His voice was tiny, he couldn’t even be sure anyone but maybe Yaoyorozu heard him. “I-I’ll try.”

He saw the supportive smiles from Uraraka and Nagisa. He smiled softly. Maybe he can do it.

 


 

“So, you got stuck as class prez too, huh?”

Izuku sighed and nodded with his face on the table before lifting it. “W-wait, ‘too??’

Karma smirked and leaned forward on the table. “Let’s just say I never back down from a challenge.”

“I’m not surprised,” Nagisa gave him a sideways glance after putting a spoonful of pudding in his mouth. “Who’s your vice?”

Karma shifted his jaw and glanced away. “Some kid, Mizushima. S’got an octopus head mutation.” He could feel Izuku flinch at that before groaning when the thought of being class president came back swinging with a metaphorical nailed bat.

Ugggh, what mm-makes e’ryone th-think I could- could lead a-anyone?”

“Well,” Uraraka began with a small voice. “You’re kind of inspiring, you know?”

Izuku’s face burst into strawberry hues. He stared at her with saucer-shaped eyes.

Uraraka met his eyes and turned down then, her smile still soft and sweet if not a bit more shy now. “Um, well, see,” her fingers wrapped together. “We know you have a tough time with certain things, but, like, you don’t let it get to you! Like I said the other day: your nickname? It’s inspiring! You’re like a storm that won’t be stopped!”

“I concur,” Iida nodded. “I believe you’ll be alright, especially with Yaoyorozu-san by your side and everyone else. You’ve got guts and judgement when it counts, just like Ashido-san said today. That’s why I voted for you, because I knew you’ll be able to carry us through.”

“Gotta admit,” Karma grinned, nudging Izuku’s shoulder. “It’s not much different than planning escapades, y’know? That’s what I figure. It’s why I went for class prez too.” You know. Aside from the whole ‘Asano challenged my role in life and I refuse to back down’ thing.

“I… I s’pose,” Izuku seemed to calm down a bit.

Rio smiled at him while Nagisa set a hand on his shoulder. “We believe in you.”

“Hey, Iida-kun,” Nagisa turned his head. “Didn’t you want to be class president too?” Under his breath, he added, “I saw you sort of sulking after the results…” Izuku snickered.

Iida sputtered but quickly recollected himself with a cough. “I stand by my beliefs that mere volition has nothing to do with one’s actual suitability. I did nothing more than follow my own judgement on the matter. I sincerely stand by my decision.”

The six melted into pleasant conversation which turned into a minor outburst by Izuku and Uraraka upon learning Iida’s brother was, in fact, the Hero Ingenium (which didn’t surprise Karma at all, honestly). Rio teased the usually stern boy at the small smile she noticed crawling on his lips—Karma watched Izuku and Nagisa ease into a calm that wasn’t there that morning, finally feeling that everything would be alright, at least for the moment.

Which, technically was true, because after that moment, the alarm went off and a screech came from their freckled friend. Panicked sounds erupted from the lunchroom and Karma instantly wrapped his arm around Izuku’s to keep him balanced.

“Stay together!” Rio shouted.

[SECURITY LEVEL 3 HAS BEEN BREACHED. STUDENTS, PLEASE EVACUATE CALMLY AND PROMPTLY.]

“Level 3??” Uraraka stood up, looking rushed and the rest of the table followed. Rio linked her arm with Uraraka.

Pressing his brows together, Iida caught the attention of a passing student. “What’s security level 3?!”

“It means someone’s the school grounds!” the student explained frantically. “This hasn’t happened in three years!!”

Iida quickly shot a glance at his friends before they nodded and followed each other to the quickly crowding hallway. Nagisa and Izuku had their arms linked as well, making sure they don’t separate from each other, but as soon as they were pushed into the crowd, bodies slammed them all side to side. One taller student shoved Nagisa from behind, the snake-haired boy losing balance and falling to the ground. Fearful, he ordered his snakes to curl in his hair while he balled himself up.

“Nagisa-kun!” A larger hand grabbed his wrist and yanked him to his feet, and he had a split second to realize it was Iida who tried to pull him close before another swarm of panicked students cut them apart, pressing Iida into the window while sweeping Nagisa into the crowd again.

Karma did his best to keep Izuku close to him, knowing that today already started off so crappy for him; imagine what this frenzy was doing to him? It was loud, it was cramped, Karma was almost knocked off his own feet and they already lost Nagisa in the flood. He could’ve sworn Rio and Uraraka were right next to them, but when he turned to check real quick, they weren’t anywhere close to them. Izuku held so tightly to the horned boy’s arms, almost pinching his skin through the fabric of his blazer but Karma kept him close.

An elbow knocked into Karma’s face then, clocking him out for just enough to lose Izuku in the crowd. The moment he regained his senses to keep straight, a throbbing eyebrow somewhat distracting him with the vague acknowledgement that it would definitely bruise later, he started his own pushing and shoving. “Izuku!” he shouted over the crowd. He saw Izuku’s hair bob just above the sea of heads before disappearing. Irritation buzzed in his throat and the redhead was two seconds close to using his hard plate head and horns to knock these idiots over like bowling pins. “Get out- th’ way- IZUKU!”

This was impossible

Suddenly, the gold-eyed teen’s attention was snatched by—Iida? Zooming to the end of the hall and catching himself above the exit. He… He looked like an exit sign man.

“EVERYONE, CALM DOWN! IT’S JUST THE PRESS!”

The crowd stilled, attention solely on the engine quirk wielder just barely keeping himself composed for the lot of them.

“There is nothing to worry about!! You are U.A students!! Let’s keep calm and conduct ourselves in a manner fit for those enrolled at the highest academia!!”

With the boy’s words, even Karma was impressed by the calm that blanketed the crowd of students. He was helped back down after Uraraka (Rio recounted the whole thing to him afterwards) released her quirk and a few of the taller students lent a hand. Taking the moment of peace to his advantage, the redhead forced his way through the body of lingering students to find Izuku. “Izuku? Izuku, where are you?” he called.

Iida found his way through the swarm to meet Karma, keeping a firm hold on Nagisa whom he reunited with on the way. It still wasn’t a dispersed crowd yet, so they had to tread with caution and continue their chain of arms in case another outburst strikes the students again. “Izuku’s still missing,” Karma explained, linking arms with Nagisa. “He got swept with the crowd. Bunch of idiots, can’t even keep calm during a- what would’ve happened if this was, like, a fire drill?? Do they all just rip their pants off and roll on the ground, what the hell?! People could’ve gotten hurt- or killed.”

“Karma,” Nagisa started with warning in his voice. “Now’s not the time. Let’s find Izukun before he has another attack. After this morning…”

Iida nodded. “Yes, I’ve been meaning to ask, but I know now’s not the time for that.”

Karma could respect that. Just as he was about to open his mouth, however, he spotted a mop of green hair balled up on the floor near the wall across the way. A hand raised to gesture at his direction while he lead the two toward the cowering boy— “Izuku, Izuku, are you okay?”

The crowd had cleared some, allowing the three boys to unlink their arms and crouch down by the freckled teen who had his hands covering his ears, knees drawn to his face, and rocking back and forth. His eyes were clenched tightly.

Slowly, Karma put his hands over Izuku’s, squeezing them while Nagisa rested his hand on his knee. Flinching, the tear-stained eyes of the curly teen finally opened and he met gold, instantly releasing the tension in his muscles and letting a torrent of tears fall down. He spotted Nagisa beside him, who smiled gently and reassuringly and the three boys melted into a warm embrace. It didn’t take much longer after that for Izuku to calm down completely and for Rio and Uraraka to meet with them.

“Is he okay? Oh, God, Izukun, what happened?” Uraraka slid to her knees beside him while Rio took her place on the opposite side.

“The crowd was too much for him,” Nagisa explained softly, the three slowly breaking their hold on each other to sit straight. “Are you alright now, Izukun?” The boy in question took a shaky breath in and nodded. Nagisa and Iida extended their hands out to him, to which he accepted and was helped up.

“Mm-my ankle,” he whispered, lifting his foot. “F…f-fell.”

Iida’s stare hardened, no doubt infuriated at the recklessness and carelessness of his fellow peers. Karma internally cursed, hating how he was right that someone would and did get hurt, but he otherwise kept quiet. “Here,” Iida let the shorter boy lean on him. “I’ll take you to Recovery Girl. It’s most likely just a twist or sprain, but we can’t have you out of commission during our hero training.”

Wordlessly, the boy sniffled and nodded again, following Iida and Nagisa to the nurse’s.

Karma clenched his fists at his side. He jolted when a hand touched his shoulder, turning his head to see Rio staring at him firmly.

“Freaking schools. No matter where I go, there’s always careless staff, aren’t there,” he muttered venomously. “Someone always gets hurt.”

“The staff was busy calming down the press,” Rio replied. “If anything, be mad at them, not the school.”

Uraraka gave a nervous chuckle, hands wrapping together. “F-For a second, I, um, I thought there really was a villain attack. I don’t think I’d be ready for something like that, so I’m, ah, sort of glad it was just the press.”

Rio agreed, and strangely, so did Karma. He was serious what he said to Asano days ago; they really did need their moment of peace. Rio gestured to the window. “Look, the police are here. Seems like they’re finally getting things under wraps.”

“I’m glad,” Uraraka sighed in relief. “Let’s go catch up with Iida and Nagisa-kun. I think they’re going to stall on classes until the teachers are back in and everything’s calm again.”

“Right, let’s go.”

Jesus, Izuku just couldn’t stay away from the nurse’s office, could he?

Chapter Text

The week didn’t really start off that great for Izuku. It was difficult getting out of bed when all he wanted to do was drown in his sheets and pretend the earth wasn’t turning for just one day, pretend he didn’t need to go to school and socialize, pretend his problems didn’t exist for just a day. But unfortunately for him, both his mother and Ritsu didn’t let him give into that fantasy, nor his own conscience for that matter. He had asked Ritsu to make sure he gets up every morning at 5:00 to go on a run, and he cursed his past self for doing that.

Yesterday was a literal trainwreck for Izuku, and honestly, he was only marginally better today. Only an ounce more energy in his heavy bones that lifted him from his nice, warm sanctuary. He got ready for his run, grabbing his jacket, a banana, and a water bottle as he left his apartment silently.

His brain wasn’t moving at its usual mach 20 that morning, more like a sluggish 2 inches per minute, weighing heavy and blurry with muck clinging to every thought bubble. It was stagnant for the most part, and Izuku felt grateful for the moment of peace, but it didn’t help much in his morning anxieties that stirred his stomach. He tossed the remains of his banana in a nearby trash can.

His phone buzzed in his pocket.

Izuku startled, slowing to a stop on a bridge, then fished his phone out to see the caller. It was Kaede.

He smiled and answered.

“Hey!”

“Izukun! Good morning!”

His chest fluttered at her voice and he paced to the railing of the bridge, propping his elbows on the metal to lean.

“Early, aren’t y-you?” he chuckled.

“Not as early as you, silly. It’s, like, butt-O’clock. Are you out running?”

A laugh escaped him. Kaede always called him in the morning, though not usually so early or at the start of his run. The sun was barely even peaking up. She usually caught him when he got home and started his morning routine to start school. He knew she also called Nagisa after school almost every day too.

Izuku hummed in confirmation, bobbing his head despite the fact he knew she couldn’t see him. “Hh-had Ritsu wake mm-me up this mornin’. Wha’about you?”

Kaede made an uninterested sound, as though she shrugged but remained silent for a while. “Woke up suddenly,” was her only response, but that was all Izuku needed to hear to understand. He hummed back in understanding.

“I hear you,” he whispered, lifting his gaze at the sky trying to wake up with amber stretching across it. “H… How’ve you b-been?”

“I’m doing okay, actually. Still have my… slow days, and all, but- high school’s a lot easier than junior high, isn’t it?”

“Dependss’on how you ss-see it.”

“Guess you’re right. Well, I mean, I’m not- it’s… no one cares that I don’t have a quirk, is what I mean? Well, there’s a few people who have been less than nice about it, but I don’t let it bother me. What about you? How’s it going on your end?”

Izuku smiled. “It’s going ff-fine. Uh, good! I-I told you ‘bout mm-my n-new friends, right?”

“Oh right! Iida-san and Ura… Ura-chan, right?”

Izuku’s smile felt lopsided at that, embarrassment churning his cheeks red. “Um, on-only ‘cause I c-can’t pronn-nounce her full nn-name…”

Kaede giggled in response. “Okay, Ura-chan it is. You’ve told her, right?”

“Honestly?” Izuku laughed, shaking his head. “H-haven’t even used her nn-name yet.”

“What?! Izukun! That’s so mega rude!”

“I know! I kn-know! It’s j-just- I’m, uh, nn-nervous… z’all… eheh…”

Kaede clicked her tongue. He could practically feel her eye roll through the phone and he laughed. “Izukun, there’s no need to be embarrassed, you know? You know I- we love your voice, stutter and all.”

His cheeks burned but he didn’t fight off the smile. He… liked hearing that. “Th-thanks.”

“Of course. So… you and Ura-chan?”

Nevermind, he didn’t like it anymore.

Izuku sputtered, trying to coordinate his words together before finally settling with, “Uh, no! No, nn-no, you- I- Kae- nnnnnnn!” He near smashed his head on the railing, he was so embarrassed. His voice grew soft then. “Y-you… know how I ff-feel…”

Kaede giggled, obviously pleased with herself. “I know, I’m just messing with you. I…” her own voice sounded gentle over the phone. Izuku eased into his lean on the railing, free hand twitching in the free space. He wished… “I miss you,” she finally whispered.

He stretched his hand out over the morning traffic below the bridge, opening to grasp something. A hand.

“I do too.”

With Kaede sitting at her work desk, she stared out her apartment window in Tokyo, hand touching the glass.

“We should, um, I-I mean- are you ff-free? This weekend, I-I mean.”

Kaede smiled.

“Yeah.”

 


 

Aizawa hummed as he stood in front of the Autonomously Intelligent Fixed Artillery box in the faculty room. “So this is Ritsu.”

Nedzu nodded. “Korosensei was kind enough to entrust her main energy source unit to U.A. and its teachers,” he explained, smiling at Ritsu’s screen, the AI smiling sweetly in return. “With Ritsu’s permission of course.”

“I see,” Aizawa mused, eyes skimming the ‘girl.’ “And I assume this is legal…”

Nedzu gave a laugh. “Ritsu was created by the Norwegian government. However, she grew self-aware, and had a bit of help with recoding herself to become self-sustaining. She has since been frequently updating herself to become impenetrable. Is this correct, Ritsu?”

Ritsu’s image bobbed her head in confirmation. “Korosensei helped me see that I can be just as human as a, well… human. In short, he’s given me freedom to do what I want.”

“Very good,” Nedzu smiled. He turned to Aizawa then, a jaded expression full of knowledge lighting his eyes. “Ritsu has agreed to help the staff and students maintain safety by monitoring the school and students both on campus and during school-designated field trips. We’re very thankful for your assistance, Ritsu.” The animal principal returned his gaze to the AI and dipped his head.

Ritsu’s smile never faded despite a certain sadness tingeing her digital lips. Her hands cupped together over her chest. “My friends are here. I know there are bad people who are still out there… who want to hurt them. Because of Korosensei’s influence on us. That’s why the government in this country has placed us all under protection.”

Aizawa understood that much; but it helped to put his problematic students’ lives into much better perspective. His expression grew harder. It felt wrong what these children were forced into. Forced to grow up too fast. Forced to fix adult problems. Forced to kill. It was troubling to know these students have eyes on them, and from who? Aizawa could only guess either villains or other assassins, angry that these children took their bounty.

Raising his eyes, he met Ritsu’s. “You’re incredibly intelligent and especially well-equipped for self-defense and assassinating, aren’t you?” He may have read her notes as well, but refused to believe it until he saw her. The raven raised a brow. “Obviously we can’t transport your unit during off-campus events.”

Ritsu lit up at that. “Oh, of course! I’ve actually created my own app for easy access! It’s a private program, of course. All the students of 3-E has it on their phones. I keep tabs on all of them as well; it’s how we keep connected. I could send you the app if you plug your phone into my USB cord here.” To back up her offer, a small panel slid open as multiple phone cords extended out. “Do you have a samsung or an apple phone, may I ask?”

Aizawa stared for a moment before turning his tired gaze to his boss. “I’m assuming you expect me to download her app?”

Nedzu nodded. “As will all the other staff members.”

“Is she a registered student?”

“She is. Though, she’s listed as a homeschooled student for personal medical reasons so she’s not required to ‘come to school.’ She’s enrolled as a Gen Ed student.”

Aizawa hummed and turned back to the AI. Nedzu no doubt inquired of her thought on the matter. He was very passionate about free will and having a choice in things despite his controlling nature. It was no wonder why Nedzu seemed to have a dazzle in his eye whenever he looked at the AI. They were like-spirits, created and experiments and given no choice in their lives before they were set free. The heroics teacher eyed the offered phone cords before sighing and pulling out his own iPhone. For the safety of his students and in honor of the late Korosensei, he supposed.

“Alright then.”

 


 

“Are the preparations complete?”

“Yes, all are accounted for and are awaiting orders.”

“Wonderful.”

A shriveled young man with wirey platinum hair cackled as he stared out the dirty windows of the abandoned shack. Below them on the catwalk, stood a multitude of villains, a soft lull of chaos in the air. His dry lips cracked a smile as he leaned over the railing. Thrill ran through his spine. He felt like he was about to get a new video game!

“Just a few more hours. Then the Hero of Peace will cease to exist, and my little noumu will be mine again.”

 


 

Old school is sometimes the Best School, thanks Uraraka.

Was the thought Karma had as he laughed, racing down the hall early morning toward his class. He skirted around students still mingling around classrooms and bathrooms, muttering half-baked apologies whenever he nearly knocked someone over or just a “watch out!” before it came to that, but there was no amount of non-existent guilt that could stop the powertrain that was Akabane Karma, with a rather irate and pissed-off Asano Gakushuu rushing behind him, leaving a trail of weighed down students in his wake from his exerting pressure.

He didn’t mean to tick off the personified God Complex.

Okay, that was a lie. He did, he really, really did—and by the way, that wasn’t easy! Asano has a temper, don’t get him wrong. He just let his temper out through his quirk, so getting a physical reaction out of him was a triumph in and of itself.

What did Karma do?

Oh, you know. Just sort of verbally stabbed him in the gut and twisted the blade? Challenged his authority and questioned place in life (Karma prided himself in cryptic speech that caused overwhelming confusion and self-doubt)—the ex-assassin swore he saw the ginger have an actual existential crisis for about 2 seconds before he lit on fire and Karma took off.

It was still over-the-top hilarious and god, Karma wished he had his phone out so Ritsu could record it.

There—class 1-I’s door wide open and waiting—Karma took a sharp left turn, ducking his head as he entered. “Miranda, cover me!”

“This is stupid!” came her annoyed reply as she touched his shoulder, turning him invisible.

The students waiting for homeroom to start simply waited in bated breath for their Pressurized classmate to fall into their trap.

Waited…

Waited…

A bulldog-faced student, Scott O’Madagain, piped up, “Is… he gonna walk in or what?”

“Are you sure you got him to chase you, Karma?” Date inquired.

Karma stood straight, Miranda’s hand releasing his hidden form and he scoffed. “Yeah, he was screaming and everything!”

They stopped when footsteps sounded nearby. Miranda put her hand back on Karma’s shoulder, hiding him from Asano’s potential freak-out. The first bell was about to ring. Voices…

And Business Guy walked into the plastic wrap, the door closing behind him and latching him to the wall.

The classroom was silent.

It was Mizushima’s sudden laugh that broke the tense, waiting atmosphere and soon the classroom burst along with him. Yet, Business Guy remained silent and otherwise expressionless and he stood straight, silencing his class. The plastic wrap broke but stayed staticked to his face while he walked to his desk, and the door opened with Asano walking in, a smug smirk on his face. He looked at Miranda, her invisible hand levitating over thin air and he somehow freaking met Karma’s eyes behind the veil.

The mother fricker.

Miranda let him go and sat in her seat, huffing and muttering something about how stupid everything was, and it didn’t even work anyways, what a waste of my quirk. Still, even as Asano sat in his seat and the class felt as awkward as physically possible, having experienced a failed prank alongside an actual cryptid of a teacher who still had plastic wrap around his face, no one seemed to be able to stop muffling their laughter.

 


 

The announcement of the field trip somehow surprised half the class, which confused Izuku considering they all had to fill out the permission slips that Aizawa-sensei had passed out last week. Still, he was pretty ecstatic for it—he even marked it on his calendar and had Ritsu remind him that morning. It was even cooler that they got to wear their hero costumes too! They didn’t get to wear them nearly as much as he wished they did.

Rescue training…

Izuku gave Nagisa a determined smile from across the room before they were dismissed to change.

 


 

Tsuyu felt a croak erupt from her throat as she watched Midoriya and Nagisa chatting animatedly beside her. Well, to be more precise, she was more focused on the two snakes that hung from the blue-haired boy’s head, the smoother of which had been giving her an intense stare of what Tsuyu could only assume to be one of curiosity. She was intrigued, herself.

But the (extremely cute) snakes weren’t the only things that intrigued the frog-quirk girl. These two boys were interesting on their own—ever since she overheard them talk about their old school, the seedling of a certain thought never seemed to leave her. It tickled her knack for puzzle-solving, if she was being honest. Not to mention how tight the two seemed to be—Tsuyu wanted to know more.

Another croak stretched her throat as she leaned forward, curiously.

“Maybe we should go to the arcade this time, or something,” Nagisa was saying.

Izuku hummed, cupping his chin the way he does when he’s thinking too deeply about something. “Mm-maybe…” He trailed off, losing himself in thought.

Nagisa turned to Iida sitting across them and still sulking over mistaking the bus model. “Iida, would you like to hang out with us this weekend?”

Midoriya flinched out of his thoughts, his face flushing at the prompt. “Eh- uh, er…”

Iida seemed just as startled away from his sulking, straightening like a board and looking flattered all the while. “Are you for certain? Wouldn’t you much rather spend the weekend studying?”

Kaminari leaned over and gave an exasperated expression to the speedy boy. “Dude, are you for real? Studying on the weekend? Gross! Forget that noise!”

Nagisa had a rather pained smile (if it could even be called that) at the exchange. He shook his head, waving his hand. “No, no, Iida, we just— well, we were going to have a sort of get-together with some old friends of ours, we just thought you might want to meet them? And the invitation extends to you too, Uraraka-chan.” He turned to the brunette sitting next to the class co-president, perking up at the mention of her name.

“Uh- m-me?” she pointed to herself, looking a bit dumbfounded at the sudden inclusion before brightening up considerable and pumping her fists together. “Oh, definitely! I’d love to meet your old friends!”

Midoriya chuckled a bit. “Mm-my frien’ K-Kaede’s been wanting to mmm-meet you, too.”

Uraraka’s eyes widened at that, appearing flattered. “R-really?” Midoriya hummed with a nod of his head.

Nagisa smiled. “We were going to just invite a few. I think you’d get along with them.”

Kirishima took interest, leaning forward. “Your friends from Kunugigaoka, right?”

Kaminari gaped. “What- seriously?! You two are from Kunugigaoka?! Dudes, that school’s, like, hella intense, isn’t it?”

Nagisa and Midoriya shared the same sheepish expression at that, heads dipped—they looked like palette swaps with their hero costumes so similar. It was obvious Midoriya took some creative liberty somewhere along the line with designing his. It was kind of cute.

“I… That’s one way to put it,” the snake-haired boy chuckled weakly. “We were actually in one of the lowest classes, but did so well, we were let in on recommendation.”

Uraraka stood up then, seemingly positively flabbergasted. “What! But wasn’t Izukun at the practical exams?! You broke your arm for Pete’s sake?!”

Midoriya gave a rather hysterical laugh at the mention and the students around them gaped even more.

“How’s that even happen?!” Kirishima exclaimed.

Kaminari wasn’t much better. “Dude, that is power if your quirk does that to you!”

“Yeah, didn’t you break your finger too, during that quirk assessment thing last week?” Uraraka had sat back down in her seat but was still leaning over the bar in front of Yaoyorozu and herself.

“That’s right!” Kirishima nodded. “Man, that was a crazy throw, dude!”

Ashido was probably the loudest and intrigued Tsuyu the most when she pointed out with an exaggerated gasp, “I KNOW WHAT YOUR QUIRK REMINDS ME OF NOW! Your quirk’s like All Might’s!!”

Nagisa started choking in a half-fit of laughter and surprise and Midoriya just smiled blankly, blinking and attempting to process the statement before shaking his head. “Ah- n-no, oh, um, I-I- All Mmm-mm-m-might, um—R-really? I h-haven’t- um, don’t think? Ss-so? I-I mean, uh, um-”

Kaminari shook his head, interrupting his nervous babbling (Interesting…) with a single laugh. He leaned his head on his hand, staring at her across Aoyama. “Yeah, right, do you see All Might runnin’ around with broken body parts whenever he Hulk Smashes someone?”

(Tsuyu heard Midoriya mumble something like, “he doesn’t ‘Hulk Smash’, you dork.” She tried her best not to laugh.)

“Kaminari’s right, they’re already super different in that part,” Kirishima agreed. “But still, that quirk’s got some mad power for a strength enhancer quirk, you know?”

Ashido stuck her tongue out at that.

Tsuyu blinked. There was an opening—she was going to take it. She faced forward.

“I’ve been told I’m rather blunt and tend to speak my mind, Midoriya.”

The boy next to her nearly shrieked out of his seat—Iida then took that moment to Mom him, scolding him for not sitting straight. Kirishima, Ashido and Kaminari all gave a rather thick chuckle at the exasperated class president, newly appointed since yesterday.

With a chuckle, the amphibious girl turned to the taller boy beside her, a smile curling her lips and her head giving a tilt. He swallowed, his grin coming out lopsided. Tsuyu glanced at Nagisa behind him, eyes slipping mostly to the snakes that levitated just about the boy’s shoulders.

“O-oh, huh? Wh-wha’s it, Asui-chan?”

“Call me Tsu,” she quickly corrected before meeting his wide, tired eyes, “You said you came from Kunugigaoka Junior High. You must have heard about that monster creature, then, kero?”

That’s when she saw something even more interesting than interesting. Midoriya flinched back at the statement, and Nagisa instantly turned away. Tsuyu tilted her head. Kirishima seemed more attentive at the mention but didn’t push further.

“Yo, did you see it or anything?! Dude, that’s so hella rad; that must’ve been so freaky!” Kaminari grimaced then. “I heard he was an actual teacher there, you know?”

Ashido blanched. “Seriously?! That’s so weird, how could they not know something so freaky was in their own school? How come no one reported that?”

“Um…” Midoriya’s soft voice broke them from their excitement. Tsuyu blinked at the boy, who looked sad with his knees together and his hands in fists on them. “I just… ‘M nn-not very… comfor’ble talki… t-talking ‘bout th-that, y’know?”

Kirishima instantly deflated. “Oh, man, I’m so sorry, we didn’t mean-”

“B-but,” Midoriya lifted his head some, smiling softly despite the pain in his eyes. Tsuyu wondered what sort of things he’s seen. “I will...ss-say that… um, he… he wasn’t, um, a… a mm-monster. Ss-so, y-yeah.”

There was a lot of things that fascinated Tsuyu. Quirks and laws fascinated her, and so did the mechanism of hibernation and reptiles and amphibians the same. But she didn’t think anyone’s ever left her so starstruck with wonder as Midoriya Izuku and Nagisa did. She didn’t miss how Midoriya deliberately took his time trying to speak clearly with his thoughts. How his voice cracked a bit there at the end, straining under some sort of pressure.

Curiosity wrangled her throat, pleading with her mind to speak and push further, question why he would think that before her better judgement pulled on the leash of her impulse control. That would only make him more uncomfortable and she didn’t want that. She liked Midoriya and Nagisa. As much as they enthralled her with their closeness and their overall vagueness on topics that surrounded junior high, she did care about them and watching Midoriya break down twice in the corner yesterday told her that there was definitely a ‘do-not-touch’ list of subjects. And she would respect that.

So she swallowed the burning coal of curiosity in her throat, croaked, and nodded. “Sorry for bringing that up then, Midoriya, Nagisa.”

The two smiled in appreciation at her, nodding wordlessly and she noticed the shine in their eyes, the wobble of their bottom lips. Yeah, apologizing was a good call.

Her eyes skirted across the bus to see Bakugou staring intensely at Midoriya as they started up another conversation (after a few thick swallows and clearing of their throats) about a weekend hangout again.

 


 

Ashido perked up after a bout of silence. “Oh! By the way, a totally unrelated question, Nagisa.”

Nagisa looked uneasy. “Yes?”

“Are you a scaley?”

Nagisa blinked while Izuku beside him burst into laughter-induced tears. “What?”

“A ‘Scaley!’ You know, like a furry but with reptiles!”

He stared at her blankly before inhaling in defeat. “Three things. First off, what? Second off, no. By that logic, would you go asking Ojiro if he’s a furry? And thirdly, what?”

Izuku let out a deep wheeze in an attempt to contain himself again while Kaminari and Kirishima watched on in stifled amusement. Ashido merely leaned back in her seat, crossing her legs and nodding in thought. “Alright, alright, that’s fair.” She gave him a winking smirk, mischief gleaming in her eye. “As for your question… HEY OJIRO!”

Iida was on her standing as quick as fly on trash, his arm waving around frantically. “Ashido! Sit back in your seat immediately! Don’t you know how dangerous that was?! Sit back down!!”

Poor Ojiro lifted his head up from the back of the bus, expression wide with confusion.

Izuku kept on laughing.

 


 

The Rescue Training site was as amazing as Izuku thought it’d be— of course , the thought in the back of his head whispering, of course it’d be this great, this is UA!! They don’t pull any punches whether it be doors or training sites. This is Plus Ultra! Excitement rattled his insides, making his feet restless and his hands plucking at a string from his gloves.

The hero Thirteen stood before class 1-A, explaining what the facility held. Neither Uraraka nor Izuku could contain themselves when it clicked in their heads that Holy smokes, Thirteen! It’s Thirteen!! Nagisa beside the two was mostly amused at their excitement.

Aizawa walked toward Thirteen, drawing Nagisa’s attention while his two friends beside him squawked about the Rescue Hero. He could just barely hear Aizawa mention All Might. Thirteen raised three fingers in response, adding something Nagisa couldn’t hear but it was all the context he needed to hear to understand.

Thirteen turned their attention to the class and cleared their voice, keeping their hand raised. “As I’m sure many of you know, my quirk is called Black Hole. It can suck in and tear apart anything.”

“You’ve used it to save people in all sorts of disasters,” Uraraka chirped.

Thirteen nodded. “Indeed. However,” their voice deepened into seriousness. “My power can easily be used to kill. I’ve no doubt there are some among you with similar abilities.”

Nagisa swallowed thickly at that, feeling ice crawl through his legs and grip his stomach in a heavy weight. A side glance to Izuku told him he was having the same realization.

They had plenty of time to think on this last year. Way too much time, in Nagisa’s opinion. Before they realized just how many quirks Korosensei was immune to, they had to think about how dangerous theirs could be to normal people. How dangerous it was to have no control.

Nagisa knew his quirk couldn’t exactly kill , but if he didn’t have control of his snakes and they bit someone, well…

Looking Izuku over fully, seeing his hand clenched over his chest while he stared at their teachers with a seriousness Nagisa’s only seen a handful of times. Sighing, he turned back to Thirteen. Izuku’s had his own share of trouble too. Probably more than himself. He’s… lost control once. Nagisa’s sure the green-haired boy was thinking about that time.

“In our superpowered society, the use of quirks is heavily restricted and monitored,” they went on to say. “It may seem that this system is a stable one, but we must never forget that it only takes one wrong move with an uncontrollable quirk for people to die. In Aizawa’s class, you were shown your hidden potential. All Might’s class showed you how dangerous your quirks can be to others”

There was a silence to let that sink into the students. It was a heavy realization no one really wanted to acknowledge because none of them wanted to be that one who accidentally did something they’d forever regret. None of them wanted to admit all of them could be that someone.

Thirteen had an expression on their suit that made it seem like they were smiling, somehow. They continued, “Which is why you’ll be shown a different perspective. In this class, you’ll learn how to use your quirks to save lives.”

The mood lightened with that.

“Your quirks are not meant to inflict harm.”

Nagisa saw Izuku smile with a glow on his face.

“I hope you all leave here today with the understanding that you’re meant to help people.”

There was a wave of pride among the student body. As Nagisa looked around, he saw a number of his classmates smiling with puffed up chests. It took him a moment to remember this applied to him too. Even if his quirk wasn’t flashy, if it wasn’t made of power or strength, he could still save people. He could be used for good. Nagisa smiled.

Thirteen bowed as the class applauded them. “That is all! I thank you for listening.”

Aizawa stood straight from his lean against the railing behind Thirteen. “Right, now that that’s…”

There was a distinct static sound then.

“...-isa! Izu… distur… I’m be… -isconnected… Tell Aiz… dangerous!”

“What’s that sound?” he heard a classmate behind him wonder.

Nagisa gasped at the muffled sound from Izuku’s pocket. The green-haired boy stammered an apology as he fished his phone out from his leg pocket. Nagisa felt anxiety gnaw at his stomach and he felt he needed to grab his own, plucking it from his boot, ignoring the confusion and agitation from his classmates.

Ritsu.

She looked frantic. “I can’t… Na… -sa! Tell-”

Her image cut out. Eyes widened and his breath caught in his throat. Blue eyes shot to their teacher, watching his back turned with his phone also pulled out, staring over the railing.

“Aizawa-sensei! Ritsu, she-”

“Huddle up and don’t move!!” Aizawa shouted suddenly, turning to Thirteen. Nagisa caught a blur of black down below and his beating heart almost froze in panic. He glanced to Izuku frantically, catching his emerald, panicked eyes. “Thirteen, protect the students!”

Confusion rattled Class 1-A as bodies melted out of the black swirl below.

Nagisa forced himself to keep his breathing steady even if his snakes themselves were hissing in a panic-driven frenzy.

Villains.

Chapter Text

“Karma, can I talk to you?”

The horned teen stilled in the hallway, not turning at the call of his name. His stomach lit on fire but instantly faded out, leaving a hollow center in his gut. What filled the empty space was unease and guilt in the form of butterflies and he swallowed, slowly turning halfway to see Mizushima standing awkwardly behind him, his hands fiddling with each other in obvious nervousness. Karma kept his expression even and cool.

Karma studied his classmate, knowing he could only guess what he was about to bring up. Sighing, the redhead leaned against the wall, watching a few other students pass by. It was between periods but Karma had excused himself to take a break in the bathroom before the octopus-headed boy followed and stopped him. Well, might as well get this circus on the road.

“Make it quick, I’ve got places to be.”

“R-Right…” Mizushima’s eyes flicked away and he took a deep breath, returning his gaze to Karma. “Um, I just feel like maybe we got off on the wrong foot somehow?”

Karma raised a brow. “How’d you figure that?” What?

Another deep breath and the octopus-headed boy seem even more nervous and out of his element than before. “I-it’s just that, um, I feel as though I probably upset you somehow? A-and whatever it was, I am so sorry!”

“Whoa, whoa, wait a minute,” Karma waved his hand, closing his eyes for a moment as he took a step toward the other. Opening his eyes, he gave Mizushima an incredulous look. “You… think I’m upset with you?”

Here’s the thing about Akabane Karma.

Karma doesn’t not care about people. That is the say, he’s not a heartless scumbag that just plays around with his classmates, victimizing them to his pranks or tolerating them just to achieve something—okay, he’s not always like that, anyway. But he does care.

He might not have cared last year, but that was before…

And so, to hear Mizushima interpret his avoidant behavior as Karma being upset and disliking the boy, well. It didn’t hurt, but it just wasn’t true. And normally, Karma wouldn’t care about false things people believed about him (he once had a whole classroom convinced he was an actual vampire one year, this was nothing), but this just had to involve Mizushima’s dumb head reminding him of… of him.

And as much as Karma didn’t care about clearing his name in most cases, this… he didn’t even know how to start with this. It hurt too much. It was still fresh.

“Well, I- A little? Yes?” Mizushima shrugged half-heartedly, looking sheepish. “Look, how else am I supposed to take it? You- You know? We’re Pres and Co-pres of the class, we should be, you know, taking the helm together and talking and stuff, right? I-I just…”

Karma stared at the boy for a moment before sighing out his nose, dipping his head and shutting his eyes. His lips pressed tightly together before opening to respond when his phone made a loud and long beeeeeep! through his pocket.

His heart shot through his throat—

“No—“ Karma shut his mouth as he fumbled for his phone. He pressed the voice button to hear Ritsu.

“This is a CODE: S.I.D. I repeat: CODE: S.I.D. The students in red-alert are: Gender Snake and One-Punch Boy. Heroes have been contacted and are on their way to this location: xxxxxx. Stand by for further updates.”

Karma felt the earth fall from under him as he listened to Ritsu’s announcement. Icy dread filled his lungs and all of a sudden, he couldn’t breathe and he choked to get a single bout of air in—hands touched his shoulders, a muffled exclamation next to his ear but he couldn’t focus on that. All he could think about was Nagisa and Izuku dying, he can’t lose them too— no, no, what the hell? No! No, they were assassins , they could kick the hell out of any villain. Karma felt air finally enter his lungs and he gasped, hunching over his knees—when had he dropped to them?

The thought of Nagisa and Izuku being skilled assassins was what he clung to desperately, what helped him return to real time and helped him realize Mizushima was next to him, kneeling down with round, worry-filled eyes, both hands on his shoulder. Karma grimaced internally—he wasn’t a touchy-feelsy person, only giving in to Izuku and Rio who were very touch-oriented around friends. But he couldn’t bring himself to care about touch right now—just… focusing on what to do right now.

“What- what was that?” Mizushima’s soft voice whispered next to him. He sounded scared. Karma looked at his dropped phone on the tile floor, a new crack in the corner. He grimaced.

A shaky breath left him before he rubbed his damp face dry, ignoring the boy beside him as he sniffled. To hell with keeping her secret , SCREW it—there were priorities to straighten.

“Ritsu,” Karma hated how raspy his voice sounded. “Status report. How many and which heroes are involved?”

“Twenty students and two UA faculty members: Eraserhead and Thirteen. My connection to Nagisa and Izukun’s mobiles were cut off before I could see the villains, same for Eraserhead’s mobile.”

Karma’s brows furrowed as his eyes widened. All Might wasn’t there? He knew about Class 1-A’s field trip; Izuku wouldn’t shut up about it during the past weekend or in their group chat. He even heard All Might say something about chaperoning along with for training.

“What happened to All Might?”

“He and Principal Nedzu are currently in the teacher lounge. I’ve notified them; All Might is leaving as we speak.”

A harsh breath left him in agitation before a hand raised to scratch at his ears. Scowling, Karma snatched his phone and stood up, Mizushima copying him. The redhead turned to speak before an alarm rang through the school, the same alarm from yesterday.

[SECURITY LEVEL 2 HAS BEEN BREACHED IN A NEIGHBORING UA CAMPUS BUILDING. PLEASE REMAIN CALM AND STAY IN YOUR HOMEROOM CLASSES UNTIL FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS ARE GIVEN.]

Karma cursed and tightened his grip on his phone, gesturing for Mizushima to follow as they ran back to Class 1-I. He knew questions would be asked and he wasn’t entirely sure he could answer them when it came to it, but for now he shoved that thought to the back of his head. That can be dealt with when the time comes.

“Come on.”

Karma ignored the way his heart rammed in his chest, shaking with anxiety and dread.

 


 

“Are you going to tell me what that was?”

Silence, knuckles rapping against the table as Business Guy tried to keep his class calm. Karma couldn’t process the words being thrown about behind the blood rushing through his ears, the pounding deafening. He pressed his fingers into his forehead.

“Karma?” Mizushima prodded again.

Karma’s eyes darted across the room to Asano, violet meeting amber. He switched his gaze to Mizushima and shut his eyes, his hand rising to press against them. He shook his head, grimacing. He felt powerless.

Later ,” his voice cracked.

Mizushima frowned with his eyes, leaning away.

Karma shuddered. He can’t… he can’t lose anyone else.

 


 

Toshinori sighed into his hands before dragging them down his face.

He thought he learned his lesson already, using up his time, his quirk. He was positive Korosensei drilled in the lesson of pacing himself before he died. Toshinori tried to think how his fellow teacher would react if he could see him now, burning up his time like paper in a fire.

The hero pulled his phone out for the fifth time in ten minutes, bouncing it in his hand before opening the lockscreen. No notifications.

No response to his several texts or calls.

With two teachers, surely one of them would answer by now?

He hummed, leaning forward with his chin in his hand, jaw jutted forward. His mind wandered to Young Izuku and Nagisa. He’s already skipped Heroics once, it’d be a disappointment for him not to come a second time—it’s not even a full month since school has begun! A huff and the blond shook his head, puffing out in his hero form and pushing down the rise of what he knew to be blood back down his throat. No! This won’t do, he has to put up a good example for the kids! He’s their model after all, right? He has to take care of them, each of them, not just for himself, but for Korosensei too.

He poured so much of his soul into these children, to mold them into model citizens and people to look up to. All that All Might’s ever done was smile at the camera while holding victims, offering a beam of light in the dark to look too, and sure that wasn’t something to just bat your eyes at, but… But it wasn’t personal to people. Learning from Korosensei, how he tended to each of his students individually and teaching them differently, tailored to each student as their needs provided, it was an eye-opening experience for the Pro Hero.

Each person couldn’t just be dealt with as a general audience, but tended to as an individual.

So he had to give all of 1-A a good example to look up to! Yeah, he’s going to go, right now! Right this second! Right this—

“All Might!”

Toshinori almost spat blood in surprise. “The principal!”

“Yes! It is I! Am I a mouse? A dog? A Bear? No one knows! All you need to know is that I am the principal!”

Oh shoot, it’s groveling time! Instantly, Toshinori kneeled on his toes with his knees up, absolutely trying to suck up to the principal who caught him… doing what, lazing around? Hardly. More like skipping class, but whatever. “Your coat is looking splendid today, sir!”

“My secret is keratin! No human can produce such luster!” replied the animal principal as he strode to the couch.

“But enough about that. You’re quite a busy man, aren’t you?” He stopped to grab the Ipad on the table, working quickly to bring up the Yahoo! News page. He turned the tablet to show All Might, the headline saying ‘All Might resolves three incidents in under an hour!’ “As they say, crime never sleeps no matter who’s in town, but it seems neither do you, All Might! Rushing off at the slightest hint of trouble is just like you!”

Nedzu set the tablet down as he began to pull himself onto the couch cushion, maneuvering himself to sit with his leg crossed over the other. “Your injury and its after-effects has limited you as a hero. Not to mention being busy educating the successor to One for All, but you, being the stubborn ‘Symbol of Peace’ that you are, refuse to make either of those things public knowledge, which is why I recommended that you teach here.” He gave a pause, allowing that information to sink in before he put both paws into his lap. “And that’s not even accounting for the past year both you and your students have had to experience. Moreso that dreadful night.”

That was when Toshinori finally broke eye-contact with the principal, deflating his form and finding a particular spot in the carpet to examine instead. His stomach churned, but he remained silent.

“Having to grow close to such an extraordinary person then having to watch his demise under your supervision is not an easy thing to stomach, All Might,” the ever-persistent grin on the principal’s face was washed away at that, though his voice was still as soft and chirpy as ever. “Especially for children. And I must say, I am impressed with how well you managed with them, not only with teaching them but with keeping them safe and out of the hands of media. Even so, I do believe Korosensei might have been your impulse control back then, hm?”

Toshinori’s head snapped up at that, the realization shooting a pang of heartache through him. His face contorted into a painful grimace, knowing he truly had just dwindled back down to square one when Korosensei had died. He… He wasn’t that bad, was he?

Nedzu’s expression softened back to his default smile, head tilting just a tad. “Now, now, All Might, don’t look disheartened. It’s absolutely normal to be off balanced after the death of a loved one. Whether or not either of you got along in the beginning, I’ve been told many good things about how well you fared with them regardless.”

The Hero’s grimaced loosened into an expression of confusion, then. “You’ve… been told?”

“Korosensei had arranged a meeting with me quite a long while before he passed.”

Toshinori dropped his gaze, an empty chuckle leaving him. Of course he would, that old Octopus managed to tie up each and every single loose end that dangled from class 3-E. “I’m not surprised,” he muttered.

“Yes, well, back to the matter at hand, even if I did offer you a position here at UA, don’t forget it was you who accepted. So I, and Korosensei as well, I surmise, would appreciate if you tried a bit harder to prioritize your role as a teacher, hm?”

Toshinori felt like he was stomaching a thousand One for All punches to his gut, but he took it all in stride, humbling himself (especially since this was his boss, so, like…) with a nod. “A-absolutely, you’re absolutely correct… that’s why I was… just about to head to USJ…”

“But you’d be forced to return soon thereafter, no?” the principal moved forward, grabbing a tea cup off the table and began to set the tea machine. “So why not—”

A long and loud beeeep! followed by some electrical shrieking sounds erupted from Ritsu’s main unit, the screen glitching up before the AI finally appeared on the screen. She gasped and put her hands against the screen before finally straightening somewhat and shouting her teachers’ names in alarm. Both teachers instantly stood and raced to her unit.

“Ritsu?! Is everything alright?!” Toshinori instantly held the box on its side, his eyes wide and frantic. Panic gripped his heart like an hot iron. He had to push down the urge to throw up at all the potential horrors that could have caused her to react this way—he’s never seen her so frantic before. She had the most impenetrable software on the planet, who could have possibly rendered a DIGITAL PROGRAM BREATHLESS?!

“Sensei!” she gasped, staring at the Pro Hero. “Sensei, I was blocked out! I was trying for so long to get back to my main unit- I don’t know who did it, b-but someone had some sort of electric quirk all the students’ phones have been shut off! I was shut out of the phones, if I hadn’t left, I don’t think… Sensei, the students, they’re in trouble! There are villains at the USJ!”

Toshinori had already changed forms and rushed out the door, ignoring the rush of blood through his throat and threatening to push out his teeth.

Nedzu’s eyes hardened, but his stance hadn’t changed. “Ritsu, if I may,” he began. “Tell me everything you know.”


 

Hundreds of villains, a horde of them—no, not even that. It was almost overwhelming taking in their mass number, but one thing was for sure: almost all of them were ugly as hell.

And terrifying.

But Izuku and Nagisa have seen a man without the skin of his face before, so that’s not so new.

Hordes and hordes of villains though? Yeah. Definitely new. And scary. Izuku had to grip his wrist to stop it from trembling.

Aizawa ripped his goggles over his eyes, shouting to his students, “Don’t move! Those are villains!”

That’s when the real panic started to set in, hearing the confirmation that those were indeed villains said out loud rattled the class of newbie heroes. It must have been from experience dealing with assassins and villains alike that made the two ex-assassins recognize the difference. Assassins typically had more… class than villains, anyhow.

Finally, the familiar fog stopped spawning the countless villains, only after a large behemoth of a person (person…? It seemed… too strange), its brain exposed, and the black mist seemed to almost solidify to the point where two eyes could be made out. Oh, so the mist itself was a person—teleporting quirk?

A deep voice boomed from the crowd—the mist villain spoke, squinting at the heroes. “Thirteen… and Eraserhead, is it…? According to the staff schedule I received the other day… All Might is supposed to be here…”

The way he said the hero’s name didn’t sound right to Izuku’s ears at all.

Aizawa scowled, muttering, “So it was these scumbags who trespassed the other day.”

The man with hands grappling his face let out a breathy moan, his voice shuddering and crawling out, “Where is he…? We’ve come all this way… and brought so many playmates…” The villain looked around, watching his henchmen crawl forward, towards the heroes smugly. Yet he looked agitated. “All Might… The Symbol of Peace… Where is he…? Where…?”

All Might’s name sounded way worse coming from this man.

He straightened up, a cackle released from his mouth hidden under the decaying hand. He tilted his head.

“I wonder if some dead kids will bring him here?”

Nagisa and Izuku tensed at that. In that moment, Aizawa’s capture tape came alive and he stood in front of the class toward the villains, ignoring the way the student body began to visibly panic.

“Villains?!” Kirishima exclaimed. “Who’d be dumb enough to sneak into a school for heroes?!”

Yaoyorozu looked to Thirteen. “Sensei, aren’t there intruder sensors?”

Thirteen nodded. “Yes, of course! We take your safety very seriously.”

The one called Todoroki added on, “Are they only here, or just at the main building? Either way, if the sensors aren’t working, it has to be one of their quirks that’s doing it. This is more than a twenty minute drive from campus, and they picked a time where there’d be few people here. They may be fools but they’re not dumb. This was a well calculated attack.”

Aizawa called for the other Hero, gaining the attention of the students. “Thirteen, begin evacuating the students. Ritsu offline; there must be a quirk manipulating the technology and jamming the signal. Hopefully Ritsu’s already trying to connect back to her main unit to alert the other Pro Heroes.” He turned to Kaminari. “Kaminari, try using your quirk to call for help.”

“G-Got it!”

Aizawa moved toward the villains down below again. Panic surged up Izuku’s throat— “Sensei?! You can’t ff-fight them alone!” His words tumbled out quickly and sensibly, but there was no mistaking the absolute tremble rocking his voice as he called to his teacher. Absolute focus was poured into making his words sensible and clear, without tumbling, especially with his senses so shot like it was. He still slurred his words. “Your ff-fighting style involves quirk ‘ras’re and a quick binding c-capture. Head-on battle, th-tha’s not… Y’re not…”

“You can’t be a good hero with just one trick.”

And with that, he leapt down the large staircase toward the villains. Izuku couldn’t contain the hammering of his heart as his words stuck in his throat, begging to break through as a genuine warning.

You’re not Korosensei.

He turned to Nagisa, forest meeting sky in the same frantic manner and he knew then the blue-head was thinking the same thing. His gaze flicked back to where they could see Aizawa, fending off the villains almost flawlessly and he suddenly felt mesmerized. Of course— Izuku needs to stop underestimating others…

“Midoriya!” the name snapped him from his trance, and he noticed he was muttering under his breath. Iida’s voice turned him away, “This is no time for analysis! Hurry up and evacuate!”

“I’m afraid I can’t allow that—”

The mist from before, a man he knew now, a man with a teleportation quirk that Izuku itched to dissect and exploit, flew past everyone in the blink of an eye and blocked their path. He was looming, a black, inky form threatening each student’s safety, and for a moment, the way his tendrils flapped around the air reminded him vaguely of the monstrosity that was the Reaper in the final fight with Korosensei. Terror shot through his spine, seizing him up.

“Greetings,” the villain’s deep voice soothed. It felt like a cold irony, the way his voice was calm and not at all cruel, yet who knew what sort of backwards personality this person had? “We are the League of Villains—” Izuku and Nagisa tensed up. “—Forgive our audacity, but today, we’ve come here to UA High School—this bastion of heroism…”

“To end the life of All Might, the Symbol of Peace.”

Izuku couldn’t breathe.

Nagisa’s snakes kept hissing, trembling in pure rage and hatred. His teeth grinded together so hard, they hurt. Blood dripped in his mind, the overwhelming yet very familiar sense of bloodlust encompassing his mind and drowning out all rational thought. His snakes hissed and hissed. He muttered out a breathless and shaky, “You…”

Izuku tried to swallow the rock that threatened to choke him, his fists balled at his sides. One hand twitched open, clawing at his gun holster but he paused—does this villain even have a physical body? Could he even tase him with his gun?

“We were under the impression that All Might would be here today… but it seems like his schedule was revised?” The man’s form wavered, shifting and suddenly the whole student body was surrounded. The bright eyes of the villain scanned the group quickly, squinting then and Izuku felt a chill shoot through him—

He was looking at Izuku.

“I know you,” was all he managed before Bakugou and Kirishima shot out, shouting and quirks activating in a large explosive. The pressure that shot from their attacks distracted Izuku from the icy terror that dropped from his chest to his gut.

From then, it was a blur between Thirteen shouting for their students to stay back, the misty villain cackling and commending the two heroes-in-training. Izuku remembered the black smog erupting further, swirling around his classmates—he remembered pushing Nagisa out of the way and colliding with Uraraka—and he saw Nagisa’s snow-white shine of his eyes through the thick mist, slitting the way it does when his quirk activates, and suddenly Izuku was falling.

Into water.

Izuku can’t swim.


 

Nagisa screamed obscenities at the black villain as he touched down to solid ground. He was absolutely positive his quirk had frozen the being, but that guy’s quirk still managed to teleport him away anyway. He didn’t know for how long he’d stay that way, but… it was hopefully enough time to get all the students out and away to safety.

Scowling, he looked at the villains before him. He’s had enough of this bullcrap.

One after another he locked eyes with them, eyes flashing powder white and his snakes hissing with their own poisonous eyes. Soon, half of them were paralyzed with both fear and confusion, while the others were frozen solid by Todoroki who had teleported along with him. Nagisa ignored him for the moment and swiftly whipped out his taser knife, brandishing the sharper edge and pressing the button to activate the electric current that ran through the duller edge, and he strolled to the nearest villain, pressing the knife to his neck backhandedly.

He felt the no-name villain tense despite the paralysis placed on him. Fear radiated off the other. A forked tongue slithered out of the boy’s mouth, passing over his lips before retreated back inside. Yes, he could taste the fear. Ko and Roka’s heads lifted, uncomfortably close to the villain’s face, each taking in his scent as well.

With a strained smile, Nagisa’s voice came out sweet as honey despite an obvious edge to it toward the end, as he pressed the knife into the villain’s throat, a thread of blood just beginning to leak out, “Now, if you don’t want your vocal cords absolutely massacred or electrocuted to America, you’re going to be a good little villain and tell me how the hell do you guys plan on killing All Might, hm? What’s your plan?”

There was no way— absolutely no way —low-class villains, no, thugs , like these had any plan to take now All Might. They could never even hope to be on the same level as All Might . If anything, there were only about three or four really dangerous villains, and they all looked mentally unhinged as all hell, sans maybe the mist villain. But even so, on what grounds do they have to make such a claim? To stage such an attack on high school kids training to become heroes ?

It seemed perhaps they were aiming to overwhelm All Might? But that was stupid, he’s seen the man take on a myriad of crooks by himself plenty of times. One punch and they’d all blast away. So yeah, they had nothing on All Might.

Still… Something didn’t click right. Not at all. It was too perfect, too calculated to pick this day, at this location, even lock out Ritsu whose legitimate quirk was ‘unhackable.’ It felt like too much of a bargain to just waste it using these dumb thugs. Nagisa paused.

Unless… they really did have the means.

Didn’t… The League of Villains sound… familiar?

And that mist villain, he looked directly at Izuku and himself when he said I know you. What the hell does that mean? Sure, they had a lot of attention from the press, especially regarding Korosensei, that was made clear earlier that week especially. Unless…

The villains.

Those times with Shiro, and the Reaper. He had teleported to that school so many times… They were with…

Nagisa clenched his teeth, pulling back after the villain stammered on about his lack of knowledge. The villains weren’t even briefed on the plan, huh. He looked to Todoroki next to him. He seemed to have come to the same conclusion.

“We have to get back to the others, they have something—“

A villain rushed behind Nagisa then, a sharp lance pointed to the ex-assassin’s neck before Todoroki’s hand shot out, ice encasing the villain completely. Nagisa could see his breath coming out in a fog just with his close proximity to the ice-covered villain. Todoroki then yanked the villain’s weapon from his grip, breaking whatever hold he had with it and throwing his whole body off-balance. The villain fell with a crash to the ice-covered ground. He had his snakes curl into the warmth of his hair.

“You should be more vigilant, Shiota.”

Nagisa scowled. “Call me Nagisa.”

Todoroki didn’t answer, simply turning and heading downhill in the landslide zone, unfreezing the villains as he passed.

Frowning, Nagisa followed the dual-shaded teen, turning off and sheathing his knife as he continued to paralyze the freed villains with his quirk just in case they decided to do something stupid and attack them again. His eyes were burning by the end of it. He had to get down to the fountain—and fast, before the cold that followed Todoroki forced him into hibernation…


 

“You’re very skillful with that knife. I wonder where you learned to hold it.”

Nagisa didn’t miss the way the dual-toned teen eyed his various weapons sheathed in his utility belt and clasped around his right leg. It wasn’t a stare of caution, however. It seemed to emanate curiosity yet suspicion. Nagisa ignored it, continuing down the dirt path. His snakes uncoiled, tasting the air for potential attackers hiding and waiting for a moment to ambush.

Nagisa narrowed his eyes at a pile of rubble, large enough to hide maybe two grown adults.

“I had a good self-defense teacher.”

A scream ripped from Izuku’s throat as he crashed into the water below. Oh, God, that almost felt like a straight-up belly-flop, geez —A hand clasped over his nose the moment before he went under, a quick breath not nearly deep enough to hold his lungs over for ten seconds, but at least he didn’t break anything?

Yet.

Struggling to open his eyes in the water, already feeling the burn it caused on his eyeballs, the green-haired teen squinted, barely making out a form—a person with a shark-like quirk, mouth opened wide and in his face. That alone was enough to startle the crap out of Izuku, and he pushed back with his limbs, hand leaving his nose and a garbled shout exhaled all the air he had stored in his lungs.

Then he was choking, swallowing water but there was no air to help him—it felt like there were several pillows stuffing his mouth and nose, a hand gripping his throat and squeezing until every ounce of breath left him. He felt the world around him start to go dark as he struggled with his own body, desperation clawing around him—where was the villain? Nothing’s happened yet—something wrapped around his abdomen and suddenly— air!

He slammed down on something hard and instantly began to choke out water. A hand was pressed to his back, patting down hard so he could get everything out and start to actually breathe , and a deep inhale (sounded more like a desperate wheeze) finally got him on the right track to not passing out.

“Midoriya, are you okay?” came the croak from behind him. Gasping, Izuku righted himself on his hands, turning his head to see the blurry image of green—Asui? He blinked hard a few times, lifting a shaky hand to rub at his eyes before he could finally see her clearly. And Uraraka was right behind her, both girls’ expressions lightened with concern and fear.

Another shaky breath in, he was mostly calmed now aside from the ringing in his ears and there was still water stuck up his nose making him feel icky, but he managed a nod. He hadn’t drowned, so that was a good thing, right? “Y-yeah,” his voice came out scratchy and nasally.

Asui blinked and crawled toward him, a hand rising to his nose and she pushed on one nostril. “You might have water still stuck in there, try blowing now, kero.”

He did, and whatever water was lodged there came out onto the floorboard. She did the same for the other nose. It was disgusting and embarrassing and gross, but Izuku was more impressed she knew what to do than his own self-image. Plus, he’s ninety percent sure she’s the one who saved him, so he owed it to her.

“Th-thanks, Assss-sui,” it felt odd to talk, his throat still feeling raw and exposed, but it did sound better.

“Call me Tsu,” she automatically responded. Izuku stammered awkwardly at that, making a mental note about her preferred name.

“Izukun, you can’t swim?” Uraraka inquired, brows furrowed.

Izuku ignored her question, not wanting to go there at all before he stood up and looked over the boat railing. “The flood zz-sszone?” he murmured. He stood back, a bent finger moving over his mouth, brows furrowed. His mind caught up to their current position, going over it with a collective voice, okay, let’s go over it. We’re in the flood zone, we were warped here by Darkness McMist Guy, and what was it he said he said they came to kill All Might, but he wasn’t here… He was supposed to be here, and they knew that, he wondered if his schedule was changed? So they knew, they knew UA’s schedule! They must have been the ones who caused that mayhem with the press the other day… But he… also knew me? How

“Midoriya, stop muttering, kero. It’s scary.”

Izuku flinched out of his bustling mind, blinking to see the two girls staring at him. “Sss-sorry,” He swallowed roughly before lowering his voice and glancing back at the water. “T-Todor-roki was r-right, they were r-ready.”

Uraraka frowned and nodded. “It seems that way. But- they can’t really think they can kill All Might, can they?”

“Uraraka,” Asui- er, Tsu turned to her. “Think about it, kero. If they didn’t have something to use against All Might, they wouldn’t be trying so hard, right?”

Izuku zoned in on the frog, alarm present in his expression. That’s right, and that big guy was really… suspicious, not to mention familiar. It made Izuku feel so unnerved. Something in him crawled at the sight of the beast.

“They did threaten to torture us, after all,” Asu- Tsu! Tsu continued. He’ll get it right. “I wonder if we’ll be able to hold out until All Might comes. But considering they might have a weapon against him, I wonder if we’ll even make it out in one piece…” Tsu looked over the edge of the boat. “I mean, they almost just killed us, too. Well, Midoriya, that is.”

“D-don’t say that! Come on, let’s try and stay positive, you know?” Uraraka’s nervous laughter interjected, moving between the two green-heads and leaning over the side of the boat. “I mean, they could have been just, trying to subdue us and stuff, right? We don’t know they’re trying to kill us! Righ-EEP!” At that moment, she screeched and ducked her head down with her two classmates, a sharp object—shrapnel or something? A knife?—flew over their heads, just barely missing and sticking into the wall of the boat behind them. Uraraka swallowed, bug-eyed and pale. “O-okay, maybe they’re trying to kill us. Wait-”

She peaked back over the side of the boat again. Yep. Those are villains—“They got here fast! What the chips!?”

Tsu (nailed it!) and Izuku poked their own heads over the side, a brow raising on Izuku’s expression. “What’re they… doing?”

“Nothing?” Uraraka muttered with confusion. “They’re just… swimming around?”

“They look uncertain,” Tsu noted. “Like they’re waiting, kero.”

Izuku hummed to himself, a hand rubbing his chin as he glanced away. “Wait… they look like they’re expecting t-to fff-fight in the wat’r,” he paused, chewing on the side of his cheek as he thought. He had both girls’ attention on him. “Which mm-means, they don’ know w-what your… quirk is.” He turned to Tsu, brows furrowed in confusion.

“What do you mean?” Uraraka cocked her head.

“My quirk is ‘Frog’,” Tsu calmly explained. “If they had known what my quirk was, they would have better sent me to the fire zone or the avalanche zone since I would dry out or enter into early hibernation in either zones. You’re right, Midoriya.”

“Ss-so the villains don’ know our- our quirks,” Izuku added. There was silence for a moment, all three taking a bit to let that sink in. “They probably planned t’ separate us, ‘nd then overp-power us with nn-numbers. We can… use this to our a-advantage. They haven’ even tried t-to board yet, see?”

“Then I’ll tell you about my quirk,” Tsu turned to Izuku, explaining her abilities of climbing, leaping, her tongue length, and her toxic mucus secretion.

“You already know mine, but I’ll explain it for Tsu, too,” Uraraka began with a hesitant smile. “Anything I touch I can nullify its weight and make it float like in zero grav. My limit is about three ton, though. Reaching that point makes me queasy and I throw up a lot…”

“Y-you both are ss-so strong,” he muttered in awe. He lowered his head to hum, thinking, “Okay, le’s see now… I have ss-super strength, but it’s s-still not, um, I don’t- control it very well yet. It breaks mm-my bones ss-sometimes, so…”

The boat shook—Izuku let out a curse as he stumbled, holding onto Uraraka’s shoulder while she grabbed onto Tsu.

“Crap!”

“I’m getting impatient!” yelled a villain in the water as half the boat began to sink. “Let’s end this quickly!”

Fear for his safety tugged at the inside of Izuku’s chest, his lungs already panicking. The entire boat was sinking.

“We have t’ get out of h-here quickly!” Izuku took out one of his weapons, his gun with taser bullets for ammo. Not made for puncturing—in fact, they worked more like BB-bullets, only hard-hitting and the worst damage would be a blueberry-shaped bruise in ten minutes. The big kicker was the fact that they electrocuted upon impact for about twenty seconds, but the shock would be enough to disable the target. His brain flew with thoughts, plans that would save their lives. What would Korosensei do?

Korosensei… he would…

Izuku narrowed his eyes at the villains in the water, then his gun. He really did not like this idea. Or the water. Neither of these things.

“Al… A-Alright, I-I have a plan.”


 

“Midoriya, are you sure about this?”

“Abss-solutely not, but they d-don’ need t’ know that, ‘kay?”

“Amazing.”

“Okay, I’m ready.”

“Le’s go.”

Uraraka held onto Tsu, not yet activating her quirk while Izuku readied his gun. He let the rage from before, when the thought of someone— anyone —threatening to kill his Sensei permeated his thought, making him feel so wrong and violated within his family circle, and it gave him the willpower to pull his mask over his nose and toss himself in the air above the villains, yelling, “GO TO HELL!” while hastily charging up a One for All flick. Green and red lightning crackled over his hand as he shot off the finger flick, and the villains were consumed in a whirlpool. Dull pain traced his hand, vaguely reminding him of when he’s ever slammed his elbow down on a corner, but the corner hit right in between his radius and ulna bones, sending a shock of pain through his very veins all the up up his wrist and to the tips of his fingers. Still, he had his gun ready in his right hand and he didn’t hesitate to whip it out and shoot at whatever surfaced villains he could see, not caring very much if he hit them or not.

He’s pretty sure he heard one of them shout, “OH, HELL, HE’S GOT A GUN!” before he shot off the bullets, then the voice turned into a choking sound.

Alright. That was kind of satisfying.

Then, Tsu’s tongue wrapped around his midsection as she jumped off the boat, the three of them propelling toward land and finally Uraraka activated her quirk on them.

They slowed to a stop after Izuku wrapped his arms around both girls and Tsu was able to use her tongue to grab onto a pole hanging from the ceiling and still them. Izuku held his breath as he mentally counted down from thirty, barely remembering that nineteen came after twenty as he glanced below at the water. He was positive they both could feel him shaking as they floated without a care.

A moment was taken to calm his thumping heart, forcing his muscles to relax and not actually crush Tsu’s poor ribs.

Izuku blew out a breathy and shaky, “Okay,” and Uraraka released her quirk. His breath hitched as they plummeted to the water, but thankfully they weren’t that far from ground and it was by the shoreline, so it was shallow and only up to his waist. Waist-height, Izuku can do. The ex-assassin glanced back at the villains back at the boat, hoping none of them actually died from that, but it was too late for hopes like that. He’s sure one of them is helping the others not die anyway.

His left hand twitched, sending a jolt of pain through his arm again. He somehow managed not to outwardly flinch.

“Midoriya,” Tsu snapped him out of his thoughts, bringing his attention to her. Her hand fell on his shoulder and he realized her eyes held genuine concern and kindness. “We’re out of immediate danger now. You can stop shaking now, okay? Kero? Are you okay?” Her eyes flickered down to his hand.

It took him a full three seconds to realize that yes, he was shaking. Swallowing, he willed his hands to still at his side, ignoring the pain that blossomed from his two fingers. It’s okay, he told himself, they’re not broken, so you’re fine. Besides, you’ve had worse . “I’m ‘kay,” he managed and lifted his eyes to Uraraka who had a wide-eyed expression of concern. He blinked the embarrassment away and instead turned his attention to the plaza where they could see only part of the struggle Aizawa was having with the villains.

“We should, um, mm-make our way t’ the exit,” the green-haired boy began, nudging his chin toward the staircase they came from. “Getting h-hh-help should be our ff-first priority. We can go along th’ sh-shoreline to avoid th-th’ plaza.”

“We should be able to. Aizawa-sensei sure has attracted most of the attention toward the plaza,” Uraraka noted.

Izuku pursed his lips, pinching his brows together. He couldn’t get the uneasy feeling out of his gut—it swirled and twisted like a black twister, telling him something is going to go terribly wrong. Anxiety crawled through his veins like an army of ants. There were so many villains that Aizawa threw himself into. Logically, there’s no way he can hold against all of them for so long. He really hoped Ritsu made it back to her main unit. Izuku started gnawing at his bottom lip.

“... He’s gonn’a overwork hims’lf,” Izuku muttered. Tsu and Uraraka both turned to him. His forest greens were concentrated on the plaza, a particular look drawn on his face—fear crossed with determination.

“Izukun… You’re not really…” Uraraka began.

He remained silent.

“Izukun, you can’t! That’s—”

“I-I won’t do any- anything ss-stupid,” he turned to her sharply. Determination overwhelmed the fear in his eyes. His forest eyes were lit with a fire. “B-but I nn-need to do ss-something. Give Sensei an opening, e-even just a-a little.”

“You’re awfully calm, Midoriya,” Tsu noted. Izuku didn’t waver, his lips pursing. She could tell when it was his physical stutter working versus his anxiety tripping him up. He didn’t have Korosensei to save his backside, no. He was trained for this, he had more experience in villain-defense than everyone in his class (sans Nagisa, of course). He wasn’t an assassin now, not anymore. He wasn’t being trained to kill in this school, he was being trained to save lives.

And dammit if he wasn’t going to die trying at least.

He kept his stare on Tsu and she gave a sigh through her nose, dipping her head. Uraraka seemed incredibly uneasy at the whole prospect, but ended up nodding with her own determination shining in her eyes. “We’ll only see how he’s doing,” Tsu croaked. “We’ll see from there then.”

Izuku grinned.


 

Everything.

Everything was wrong.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

He felt his crown itch and burn, thumping a painful headache through his head as he watched Aizawa’s elbow start to disintegrate at the touch of the grey-haired man, that absolute villain

Aizawa still never ceased to amaze Izuku, even after his right arm was out of commission, he still managed to take down three other of those thugs, pitting them against each other with only one hand. But he wasn’t made for this sort of fighting. Dammit, where were the pros?! Ritsu got to them, right? Right?! It sucked, and everything sucked, and for a moment he could see a glimpse of Korosensei, battered and wounded and tired and just wanting to protect his students, and Izuku never thought he could respect a man more than Aizawa and Korosensei combined. Okay, maybe All Might above all, but that wasn’t the point.

Even Handy-man there called Aizawa out on that, called out the fact that Aizawa wasn’t made for long drawn-out battles with a large group of villains. Wasn’t fit to keep going and going with so many villains on his tail like that. He managed for a while, and probably beyond what he could perform, and Izuku was starstruck over that, but… but…

There. There was that beast of a villain, the one that send centipedes marching and crawling down his back and into his insides. Connecting somehow, but the feeling was terrible and invasive. He felt like this beast was… wasn’t even human, not even the way Korosensei felt. Korosensei was benevolent in the end, but this… Izuku felt the urgent need to take a knife through its exposed brain and decimate it. Wipe it from existence.

It shouldn’t exist.

Izuku wanted to shout out to Aizawa, warn him, anything. But he felt his throat close up, mouth running dry, and tongue weighing heavy in his mouth.

“By the way, hero…” the chilling voice of ‘Hands’ came out, his head pointing up, a gesture to the beast behind the Pro Hero. Terror felt like electricity through him as he watched Aizawa turn around in alarm. “…I’m not the final boss.”

The beast raised its large arm.

Black tentacles unraveled from his wrist and peeling away from his hands and fingers, leaving its black skin burnt red in its wake.

Izuku couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t focus on the outside world, his attention strictly placed on Aizawa and the monster that felt like a repeat of the Reaper, attack after attack after attack, pummeling Korosensei and leaving him beaten and bruised and bleeding.

The tentacles reared back, more tearing out of the beast’s back and aiming sharply at Aizawa, then he struck.

Izuku wanted to throw up.

No… No, no, no, not again, NO NOT AGAIN NO NO NONO NONONONONO

 

Chapter Text

Tenya had to admit, when both Midoriya and Nagisa’s phones went off during the presentation the Pro Heroes were giving, the Engine Quirk user was awfully miffed and frankly appalled his classmates had such audacity to not only keep their ringer on during class but also answer the phone text-call-alarm-whatever it was.

And then they started getting visibly frantic, the sound coming from the phone sounding just as panicked, then Tenya thought it must have been a tragedy they were alerted to. Maybe a mutual friend? A family member? They weren’t related, were they? His heart went out to them in that moment.

Then it was “Aizawa-sensei! Ritsu, she—” and that’s when things started to fall downhill. Aizawa took his own phone, as if to confirm whatever it was Nagisa was spewing, and then the villains attacked. Tenya still didn’t understand how they knew, what was going on, who really was Ritsu. Wasn’t she Nagisa’s neighbor? She wasn’t a hacker or anything, right? Maybe it was some sort of digital quirk— the suspicion didn’t even have the time to grow as they were confronted by the strange black figure, apparently the villains’ mode of transportation. Tenya couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe, only vaguely wondering if his brother ever had to deal with a rapidly beating heart while fighting villains in the field before they were all threatened and many of his fellow classmates suddenly disappeared—Uraraka, Midoriya, and Nagisa included.

Tenya’s head whipped around, noticing so many more students were missing, over half of the entire class. “Where is everyone?!”

But the villain suddenly froze, his voice echoing both fear and surprise. “What?! I… I can’t move!”

“He’s… stuck?” he heard Satou mutter.

Tenya tensed among the sudden confusion—the body of students growing fearful for what if one of the villain’s quirks spread paralysis? But Tenya knew that wasn’t the case, he just couldn’t put his… Wait!

That’s it!

“It’s Shio- Nagisa! Nagisa’s quirk!”

“What?” the one called Ashido exclaimed, turning to him. Her eyes were caught between terrified and hopeful. “Nagisa did that?!”

He paused, remembering Midoriya’s stumbled explanation of Nagisa’s secondary quirk. A paralysis quirk that Tenya still didn’t have the details on, but the main point was that this villain was paralyzed! The blue-haired trainee opened his mouth to explain further but stopped himself, aware that the villain, although paralyzed, still had functioning senses and recollection. It wouldn’t do Tenya or anyone else for that matter to let the villains know of their quirks. Either to confirm or inform. He didn’t know if they even knew their quirks anyway, but it almost seemed like they did considering they knew to come here at this exact time when no one else was using the USJ but class 1-A and only two Pros on site.

Instead, he revised his reply in his head, saying, “I don’t know the details, but I’m most certain he did! I don’t know for how long he can stay this way, however.”

“Then we must be quick!” Thirteen exclaimed, taking in the vague information but knowing very well not to ask further. “Students, quickly! To the exit!”

Right away, they ushered their students to the exit behind the villain. The smokey fiend was tensed and quivering, which Tenya couldn’t decipher if it was him trying to escape the effects of Nagisa’s quirk or… or fear. Which didn’t seem right, so Tenya moved along anyway, nudging Ashido and Sero with the group. They were all almost behind the villain before he let out a painful grunt, what Tenya assumed to be his arm spasming in the mist and bursting, as if it was set on fire.

“You…” he rumbled, his other ‘arm’ shaking uncontrollably as he tried to forcibly regained control of himself. Ice settled in the hearts of the students as he reformed himself in front of the students again, between them and their only way out. He didn’t seem completely mobile, though; His movements were stiff, his left arm still wasn’t moving. “... are not going… ANYWHERE!”

“Iida!” Sero shouted. “You have to run! You’re the fastest one here!”

“Yes! Class President,” Thirteen added quickly. “The alarms weren’t tripped outside, that means the villains are all in here. You must run outside and get help! Notify the police and Pros!”

His knees felt almost numb, feeling jiggly at the prompt. He could only think of his brother, of how many villains he’s fought in his lifetime, of how many times villains have almost got the better of him and yet he still pushes on because there are people to save, people to keep safe, to help. He glanced over the remainder of his class. These weren’t just heroes in training, all of them were still so young, even himself. But they were still heroes in training. He was still a hero in training. A hero.

Clicking his jaw back, his brows furrowed in determination, trying his best to fight off the fear that threatened to paralyze him as well before firing up his engines. He heard Sero cheer, “Yes! You go, Exit Sign!”

“How foolish,” the nameless villain almost sounded amused. “To be discussing your strategy in front of the enemy.”

“Iida, go! He’s still partially paralyzed, I’ll hold him back! Now go!”

Thirteen stood in front of the class and lifted their hand, quirk activating and sucking in the black wisps that floated from his free arm. There was a crack and silence filled the area, and the villain huffed.

“Looks like a Disaster Relief hero can’t measure up to even the more ordinary of heroes when it comes to a fight.”

A black hole formed behind them, their own quirk being used against them and the moment they realized this, they shut off their quirk—but it was too late, and the Pro Hero fell on their knees before crumbling to the ground. Tenya felt his own legs almost give out too.

“SENSEI?!”

Stunned horror gripped the students before chaos ensued.

Shouji pushed Tenya forward, “Go!”

Tape flew past his head, wrapping around the silver armor the villain wore. Sero grunted, “There’s- gotta be… a reason why you’ve- got this!” Satou then put his hands on the tape, offering his own support in keeping Sero on his feet after having taken a sugar packet beforehand.

“Why, you—”

“See if you can eat this!” Satou grunted, using his strength and momentum in Sero’s tape to lift the villain in the air, flinging him behind the small class and back toward the stairs. Tenya didn’t think, just revved up his engines and shot toward the exit, sending a silent prayer to keep everyone safe.

 


 

Izuku’s eye twitched, burning when he refused to blink.

That… thing —the ‘Noumu’ (now why did that sound so familiar?), it snapped Aizawa’s arms like twigs. It was amazing that he wasn’t already passed out at this point. Izuku’s rage was at a boiling point, just held barely under the hood and swallowed down like hot coals just to keep in control of himself.

He watched in choked silence as a black hole formed beside the villain, the same warp hole villain appearing.

“Shigaraki Tomura.”

“Kurogiri. Did you kill Thirteen?”

“They’re incapacitated,” Kurogiri replied. “However, there were some students I couldn’t warp away. One of them escaped.”

The one called Shigaraki was silent for a moment, then he appeared to grow more and more irritated, hands raising to scratch at his neck. Izuku cringed.

“Kurogiri… I’d turn you to dust if you weren’t our ticket out of here…” Then he paused. “We won’t stand a chance against dozens of pros… It’s game over…” Shigaraki straightened his posture just a bit. “We’re leaving.”

“Leaving…?” Uraraka whispered under her breath, her brows furrowed.

“I’ve got a bad feeling, Midoriya,” Tsu muttered.

“To do this...ss-so easily?” It didn’t make sense. They made all this effort to ambush them when their guard was put down, bringing in hordes of villains, all to kill All Might of all people, then to leave? And if they left, U.A. would be in more danger, placing all the pro hero teachers here instead of at U.A., then the villains will have the chance to strike even a little and…

“But before that,” cackled Shigaraki, bringing Izuku could of his cluttered thoughts and muttering. His head turned toward his little group. “Let’s leave a few dead kids…”

He rushed at them. Izuku already had his knife out.

“…To wound the pride of the Symbol of Peace!”

Two seconds was all Izuku needed to align his thoughts. He didn’t need words, he didn’t even need a quirk. A whole year in training taught him to never hesitate. Never hesitate.

Just strike.

And as he watched Shigaraki’s skinny hand reach for Tsu’s face, he saw in his mind the fingers connecting and Tsu’s flesh giving way to dust. Disintegration, that must be Shigaraki’s quirk. His whole hand or all five fingers? Like how he destroyed Aizawa’s elbow.

Well, whatever, then. All he needed to do was avoid his hands.

Maybe he should just cut them off instead.

Izuku’s hand shot out, gripping Shigaraki’s wrist and he surged One for All into his arm, breaking the villain’s wrist and shoving it into the water. He ignored the way his own hand felt like someone crushed it under a boulder, and with the other, brandishing his shock knife blade-out, he thrusted forward and sliced into the villain’s face. Shigaraki cried out, “GAAAHGH?! MY EYE—”

“Tsu! Get away!”

“Kero!” He heard the splash of Tsu leaving the water, and he was sure she took Uraraka away with her, her tongue probably wrapped around her midsection.

The hand over Shigaraki’s face broke away and his own unharmed hand replaced it as he screamed, falling into the water. Izuku scrambled out of it himself before the villain could do anything to him and he saw Tsu and Uraraka making their way around the warp villain. They met his eyes, relieved the other party was safe—before both girls’ expressions turned snow-white in terror.

“Izukun,” he barely heard Uraraka breathe.

That’s when he felt it.

Something writhed inside of him. No sound he made could describe the way his insides twisted gruesomely and black dread filled him from head to toe, feeling like thick sludge in his body.

That’s when he realized Shigaraki was standing upright in the water, right where Izuku was a second before, and had given the commandment, “Noumu, kill him!”

That’s when he realized Noumu was right behind him.

He glanced back and the Noumu grabbed him by his face, tentacles wrapping around his body. The assassin’s heart shot through his throat, and he lifted his hand holding his shock knife to stab into the beast’s arm, but a tentacle tangled around his wrist, squeezing and shattering it. The knife fell to the floor soundlessly.

He couldn’t breathe.

He felt his sides caving in.

He couldn’t even scream.

And then the doors burst open, he couldn’t even see his Hero tear open the doors with some heroes from school lining up behind him. The tentacles around him squeezed harder and despite the pain, despite the fact he couldn’t even get a shallow breath in, he smiled. He felt something crack. Then it went black.

“FEAR NOT, I AM HERE!”

Nagisa could see from their exit from the Landslide Zone with Todoroki, the way the creature held the green form of Izuku, dangling lifelessly in its grasp. He held his breath, feeling a cold settle inside him as he watched the black thing toss the boy to the side, his body rolling and rolling until he came to a stop and didn’t… get… back up.

“Izukun… Izuku!”

He didn’t wait another moment before he took off toward the scene, Todoroki right behind him.

The blue-haired boy only glanced up at the appearance of All Might, knowing full-well the Pro can handle this. But he had to get to Izuku first. He did steal a glance though, and All Might… if there was any comparison, the reptilian would say he could easily rival Korosensei’s “black rage” face.

Nagisa finally reached Izuku, where his body was cast aside yards away from where the beast had held him. The ex-assassin fell to his knees and he rolled the boy over gently, gasping at the sight of his friend. His left arm was red, bloody, and overall broken. Fresh blood drenched his face, soaking into his mask, ruining the smile into something gruesome. Nagisa desperately began to peel it down and off to help the boy breathe better. If he could even do that.

Wait. Was… Was he breathing?

Ko and Roka lowered their heads to Izuku as Nagisa leaned forward, forcing himself to keep his own breathing level as he let his snakes feel for vibrations on the green-haired boy.

Todoroki kneeled on the other side of the boy in silence, fingers pressed against Izuku’s neck under his scrunched mask-slash-turtleneck.

There.

“He’s still alive,” Todoroki muttered.

He felt it too, his heart was still beating. Oh thank goodness, he was still alive.

Nagisa let out a sigh of relief before a gust of wind took both their attention away. All Might, he took his students and Aizawa— dear lord, Aizawa —to a spot of safety, leaving their mutilated teacher in the hands of Uraraka and Tsu and what appeared to be Present Mic, Midnight, and Snipe catching up from the stairs behind them. All Might’s eyes then look to their direction and Nagisa couldn’t even begin to process the emotions that flashed over his teacher’s face before the three of them were grabbed from the one side of the plaza to the other, right beside Uraraka and Tsuyu along with the unconscious Aizawa, who looked just as bad, if not worse than Izuku did. All Might cradled Izuku in his arms, and the way the green-haired boy was curled up in such an unnatural way made him seem so small. Nagisa’s eyes burned with tears as the hero gently set the boy down.

“Oh, my boy, I’m so sorry,” he muttered under his breath and a tear slide down Nagisa’s face as he fell to his knees beside his friend again. His arms were angled in the wrong direction and his breathing was so shallow, he could barely even sense the vibrations in his chest.

He turned his expression to All Might, heartbroken and enraged at the same time.

“Give them hell,” he whispered with a cracked voice.

“Take Izuku and Aizawa and head to the entrance, all of you. Be gentle with them,” All Might commanded, turning back to the only three villains that remained standing.

“All Might!” Nagisa began again after Todoroki helped lift Izuku by his pits. “He’s… he’s got them . I saw it. The tentacles…”

All Might pulled his hand back to him, “Young Nagisa!” Turning, he flashed him one of his widest smile, dazzling, unwavering, encouraging, before a peace sign was brought to his eye. “It’s fine!”

Nagisa took a moment to study him, even after all this time knowing All Might, he could never get over his smile. Smile just as Korosensei does, though he knew All Might’s grin was his own and not copied from anyone. It was original and genuine and offered hope in the dark of death. Despite the dread and rage that filled his heart, the assassin managed to smile back and nod, turning with Todoroki with Izuku in his arms.

 


 

Tomura had pulled himself from the water, one hand covering his face as blood oozed out from between his fingers. It drenched his face and dripped into his mouth, staining his teeth and the hands that he still wore.

“That kid… That kid…” he hissed, voice quivering and sounding on the verge of tears. “It’s no use… I-I’m sorry, Father… My noumu… My noumu…” He stumbled about, broken hand scanning the area until he peeked from his good eye and between his fingers—there, his hand… it was broken, but still good… Reaching down, he pulled it from the edge of the ground next to the water and set it on his bloody face again. A harsh chuckle escaped from him.

“He… cut me,” he mumbled. “He cut me… I’ve never felt so much bloodlust… so much… hatred… It’s almost… yes… Heheheh…”

He turned slowly, watching as All Might launched himself at him. He felt invigorated, but calm at the same time. It was… new. Thrilling. Like having a boost in TP or mana. Maybe they could win this yet.

“Noumu.”

The black beast shot in front of him and took the Carolina Smash head-on but didn’t budge an inch.

Tomura cackled as he watched All Might give punch after punch, realizing not a punch had any use on his wonderfully crafted Noumu. Still, it wasn’t nearly as perfect as his old one, the one that upped and died on him, but no matter. This one was just as perfect for this job.

“It doesn’t work because of Shock Absorption,” Tomura explained, feeling his cracked lips curl into a smile. “Newly engineered… to take any hit. In order to cause any amount of damage to Noumu, you’d have to slowly gouge out his flesh. Whether he’d let you do that or not is a different issue, though!” A thin bout of laughter left him and he bit his lip in excitement.

“Thanks for letting me know, then!”

All Might dodged another of his Noumu’s tentacles and wrapped his arms around his back, turning to suplex his into the ground. The speed of his movement created a blast and Tomura had to lift his hands to stop his face-hand from flying off again.

 


 

The small group carrying two of the unconscious members made it to Present Mic who had raced down the stairs to greet them. Snipe and Midnight followed behind and the sniper had his gun pointed to the match between All Might and the Noumu.

“Oh, crap, is he alright!?” Mic asked as he reached the girls. Uraraka had used her quirk to make Aizawa lightweight and easier to carry. Now in Mic’s arms, she didn’t release her quirk yet, figuring it’d be easier to carry him.

Snipe tsk’d and lowered his weapon. “They’re moving too fast to hit, and I can’t risk hitting All Might.”

“It’s alright, Snipe. Let’s just focus on getting the kids out of dodge,” Mic maneuvered Aizawa into his own arms from the girls, adjusting him and being careful of his mutilated arms. He gestured to Izuku, grimacing slightly at the state of the boy. “Midnight, get the little listener over there. Geez, those monsters… Can’t even give these kids a break… Poor kid.”

Midnight nodded and moved to take Izuku from the boys, gesturing to keep going. “Come on, let’s get you to safety.”

Nagisa and Todoroki both glanced back at the fight then froze when an airblast shot their way, raising dust and blocking their view of the fight. The dust settled down and Nagisa felt his heart stop at the angle the Noumu now had on All Might, its body seemingly cut in two coming from the warp holes on the ground. Claws sank into the hero’s side, his bad side. And tentacles wrapped themselves around his middle, seeming to squeeze tightly.

“All Might!?”

Snipe raised his gun again, aiming at the Noumu’s arms and firing, three bullets for each limb. But Nagisa knew it wouldn’t hit. It wouldn’t have the same effect as it would to a normal human. And dammit… Dammit! No one had any anti-sensei material… If only… Tears filled his eyes and he ran off, Todoroki following just behind his heels.

The claws sank in again, blood seeping through the hero’s white shirt. He heard Present Mic and Midnight shout for them, “Hey! Kids! No, stop!”

All Might readjusted himself, trying to tear the claws from his midsection, along with the tentacles. Then he smirked, forcing a hand to his back pocket, fortunately not covered by the black beast’s limbs. “It’s… a good thing I still carry around… some of these…!”

In his hand was an Anti-Sensei-coated cloth he kept around for just in case reasons. Or maybe sentimental reasons too. Yet, he didn’t hesitate to slam it down on the creature’s tentacles. It screeched, startled by the sudden pain of its melting appendages and quickly released his death hold on the hero.

Ice raced past Nagisa, Todoroki encasing the Noumu in ice, from its leg touching the ground to its claws through the black portal. All Might then took the chance of the Noumu’s weakness to jump out and land nearer to the heroes and students.

“All I heard was you all are here to kill All Might.

Nagisa grit his teeth, proud of his classmate hero-in-training and taking out his shock knife once more, racing toward that villain with the hands.

The same warp portal villain from before appeared in front of him then, glowing eyes narrowed in contempt, hissing out, “Not so fast.”

Nagisa’s eyes widened as his quirked activated, meeting the villain’s eyes and freezing him in place just as an explosion set off in his face, just missing Nagisa’s Roka.

“Move it, Scaly!” Bakugou! He grabbed onto the metal guard of the smoky villain and slammed him to the ground. “Take that!”

The reptilian grinned and made a note to thank him later before racing toward that Shigaraki, his snakes rattling and hissing. He was glad they were never de-fanged when he was young. If he could help it, he’d let them bite that no-good filth of the earth. Watch him as his organs began to slowly melt away and—

Kirishima jumped on the villain, hardening quirk sharpened on his hands to knives, but Shigaraki dodged back. Nagisa took the chance to come in behind Kirishima and take a thrusted slice at the man, missing. He then swung around and threw his knife at the villain, sticking in his leg.

The villain gasped and fell to his knee, hissing to the assassin, “You… brat..!”

“Aw, you here to steal my thunder?” Kirishima joked, brandishing his knife-sharp hands.

Nagisa jumped back to Kirishima’s side, smirking as he pulled his stun stick from its holster at his side, turning it on.

Kirishima whistled, “Dang, you’re just full of weapons, ain’tcha?”

Nagisa shrugged with a grin.

Shigaraki stood still as the heroes and heroes-in-training surrounded him. He began to mutter out loud, “Kurogiri, our exit and entrance, has been overwhelmed. There are heroes everywhere… These brats keep getting hits on me… Noumu let All Might escape… We’ve hit a dead end… No more extra lives, no more bonus levels, no more stars… It really is game over… These kids… they’re even almost all uninjured…”

A pale and skinny hand reached to the shock knife protruding from his thigh and tore it out, letting it drop to the floor. Nagisa grimaced, knowing he’ll have to get a new one after this (no way is he cleaning off that guy’s blood from it…).

“Noumu,” Shigaraki calmly said, and the black noumu rigidly brought itself from one portal back out of the other, its arm and leg shattering off in an instant. Nagisa gasped back in alarm—tentacles curled from the gaps in its body, reforming the limbs it just lost.

All Might’s expression grew dark at the correlation between the beast and their former friend, Korosensei. If this was a replication of Korosensei’s antimatter-based quirk (which they knew it one hundred percent was considering the tentacles melted after the touch of All Might’s anti-sensei handkerchief), then that’d mean it would have his old quirks, right? Speed, Regeneration, Shock Absorption, Quirk Immunity, the works. Rage spiralled in Nagisa’s chest, eyes wide.

If this was the same thing. Then that means this League of Villains were the ones that experimented on Korosensei, made him how he was, experimented on Kaede , on Itona, on her and… and… He swallowed thickly. It was their fault he was dead. Their fault. All their fault.

“You…”

“Oh? You don’t look surprised, All Might,” Shigaraki cackled, limping forward once with his bloodied leg lame. “Have you perhaps… seen this quirk before?”

Nagisa swallowed again. He couldn’t stop the shaking in his limbs. All Might was silent, scowl deepening.

“Ah, but even he wouldn’t kill you, no matter how perfect he was,” Shigaraki continued. “My perfect Noumu. And on top of that, you took my little Noumu from me too… But no matter, this Noumu was made to take you on at one hundred percent. And he’ll listen to me. He’s a super-efficient human sandbag!”

Noumu stood straight.

Nagisa knew his weapon wouldn’t do anything on this guy, but he still raised it anyway. They all prepared for hell.

“But first, we need our gate back.”

Shigaraki gestured to his Noumu and it shot off toward Bakugou.

In a flash, Bakugou was pushed aside and All Might went skidding through the wall dividing the Downpour Zone with the Central Plaza. Bakugou blinked, caught looking as though he was frozen in time with terror before he forced himself to look… calmer.

The dust cleared, revealing All Might with his arms raised, scathed and bruised but okay nonetheless. Shigaraki perked up. “He protected his student, huh… Wow, All Might, you never cease to amaze me…” A smile pulled at his bloody lips before he called for his Noumu again.

“Well, it looks like our play time has come to an end,” he began slowly after a moment. Shots from Snipe raced toward him, but the Noumu took all the hits. Kurogiri formed beside him. Shigaraki continued, agitatedly scratching at his neck, “Only four players at a time can play. Don’t you know that? I can’t take on all these heroes… so unfair. So unfair! You’re all cheaters, you know that?!”

Kurogiri formed a portal that the Noumu then faded into, leaving Shigaraki to stand alone for a moment longer.

Nagisa took his chance, he was already inching closer and closer off to the side, and he knew next to nothing of this villain, but he wasn’t letting all this villains get away. Insulted rage had him gripped like a bird in a fist, choking but still somehow alive. The bloodlust screamed for him to finish the job, and he was in front of the villain in a moment, hands readying. The portal almost had Shigaraki’s body hidden away, teleported somewhere else, with only his head and shoulders still on their side. Before Shigaraki had the time to question his presence, a loud and deafening clap rung through him, shocking the villain with a choked scream before he was consumed by the portal.

Nagisa breathed harshly. He had been holding his breath, and his knees felt weak. He grit his teeth, fists clenching before a loud scream of frustration tore from his throat. No, no, NO! They’ve tarnished Korosensei, used his results for such evil, and on top of that, they hurt Izuku and Aizawa… they could have been killed! They were almost killed! And they just got away?! He didn’t even have enough time to draw his stun stick or retrieve his knife again, and dammit, he wish he could just…

“Hey, Nagisa, you okay, bro?” Kirishima came behind him. “You didn’t get hurt, did you?”

“N… No, I’m- I’m fine. Where’s All Might?”

“He’s coming over, but he’s… steaming?”

Nagisa grimaced, turning to All Might approaching form. “They got away, All Might. They took the Noumu.”

“We’ll catch them,” All Might’s reply came as he neared, albeit slowly. That’s right; he was hurt by the full power of the Noumu’s punch. “The ambulance is here. I’m off to find the other students, Iida said the students were all dispersed in the different zones?”

Nagisa swallowed, nodding. “Y-yeah.”

All Might put his hand on his shoulder, smiling encouragingly. “You did well, Young Nagisa. All of you,” he then addressed his other students. “No go up and follow the Pro Heroes outside. There’s some ambulances and police officers waiting, they’ll give you a checkup and then you’ll need to give them a statement.”

“Tch!” Bakugou growled, having finally gathered himself. “Stupid cowards! They couldn’t take a fight between some kids, hah?!”

“Calm down, Bakubro! We’re all safe now, aren’t we?”

“I thought I told you to quit callin’ me that!”

Nagisa tried to smile but found it fell short, falling even more when he caught Todoroki’s intense gaze. He raised a brow. The half-and-half user said nothing to the gesture, instead turning his dual-shaded eyes in front of him and continued walking toward the stairs, where they saw the late-arriving heroes from school and around town.

Later, Ritsu tells him that All Might had brought along Snipe, Present Mic, and Midnight because he ran into them on his way to the USJ. The rest were notified by the principal after he sent an alarm for a school lockdown, and he was there as well, offering both support and helping the students speak to the police in a calmly manner, as well as giving his own testimony.

A seed of dread once again found its place in his gut. It grew once he thought about Izuku and what he’d have to tell Midoriya-san.

 

Chapter Text

That deafening clap echoed in his head, rattling his very insides. His mind seemingly tore to shreds then haphazardly slammed back into place again, shaking him like a wind chime in a hurricane.

He choked as he fell hard on his back, expression contorting and the blood that had clotted up before tore again, seeping down his face and into his hair. His limbs ached with pins and needles stabbing into them.

Finally, after a moment, the feeling ebbed away and he twitched his fingers.

“Shigaraki,” Kurogiri bent down to help the other up, ghosting hands set under his arms.

“I can do it!” hissed Tomura as he swat at the living portal’s hand before grunting in pain, muscles aching at the sudden movement. He sat himself up slowly. “Those kids were strong… those damn kids… they cut me, Sensei. Did you know that? Those brats cut me!”

“Shigaraki, remove your mask,” Kurogiri bent down beside the boy with a rag in his hand. “I must tend to your wounds.”

“Tomura,” a voice cut in from a static-screen TV. “Which child cut you?”

“The green one,” he grit out. “The green curly one and the blue one. Those brats, they wouldn’t let me kill any of them! But- but the green one… The green one, heheh, I got him, Sensei. My Noumu crushed him!”

“Their names, Kurogiri.”

Kurogiri wrestled the mask off the silver haired villain before tending to his cut across his nose and right eye. He paused at the question. “I couldn’t get the class roster, but I did recognize them. From the first successful Noumu experiment and its assassination.”

“Hm…”

“Who are they, Sensei?” Shigaraki drawled as he inched away from Kurogiri’s hand.

“They were involved with your perfect Noumu’s death, Tomura.”

“They… were…” A bloodied hand raised to his neck and he began scratching with chipped nailed. “My Noumu… Sensei…”

“Yes?”

“They were mad, Sensei. Especially the blue one… They wanted blood, I could sense it…” He flinched when Kurogiri wiped the wet rag across his wound, pressing into the arch of his nose to soak up the blood. “No hero should have that much bloodlust… right, Sensei?”

“Hm.” There was a bout of silence before another voice cut through the TV.

“What of Sensei and my joint creation, Noumu?”

“We were able to retrieve it. I’ve warped it back to the depot with you and Sensei,” Kurogiri explained, leaning to the side to grab an antiseptic. “It was injured, however.”

“Injured?” the second voice questioned incredulously. “Impossible, I engineered it with a regeneration quirk.”

“Yes, well, it did regenerate. But All Might had something with him that had melted its tentacles. It responded with pain.”

“Sensei?”

“Did you retrieve Shiro’s full notes on his experiments?”

“Yes, I did, Sensei.”

“Look them over again and adjust the Noumu. It appears we’ve overlooked a vital detail.”

Tomura grit his teeth, his left eye open wide and staring at the screen with intensity. “We could have killed All Might. I could have killed any one of them… but that brat… and All Might’s just too strong…”

“You have regrets,” Sensei began. “But today’s exercise was not in vain. We’ve learned from today. Gather the elites, and take your time. We cannot move freely, which is why we need a symbol like you. Tomura Shigaraki.”

He felt his lips curl in glee, stretching the deep cut that was hastily patched up by Kurogiri. He bit his lip, feeling that familiar bloodlust swirl around in his chest and drip through his saliva and blood. His thoughts drifted to those two brats and All Might. He felt their hatred, their bloodlust. He wanted that.

“Next time, show the world that you are to be feared.”

He wanted them.

 

Chapter Text

“17, 18, 19… All seem to be accounted for and unharmed aside for the severely injured boy.” The detective gave a sigh as he finished counting the students, glad there weren’t any other injured students. They all did remarkably well in the end.

“Ojiro-san!” Nagisa turned his head to see the invisible girl, Hagakure, greet Ojiro. “I heard you were all fired up today! You were strong by yourself, huh?”

The tailed blond gave a smile with a sigh. “I thought everyone was by themselves. I stuck to hit-and-run tactics, honestly… Where were you, Hagakure-san?”

“I was with Nagisa-kun and Todoroki-kun! They were super strong, and Nagisa-kun was so cool, I was surprised!”

Nagisa and Todoroki side-eyed each other after hearing that, neither showing any facial reactions. They shared the thought of, I didn’t even know she was there.

(Which was, double surprising for Nagisa considering he could smell out people hiding from a mile away, but okay.)

“Where… do you think I was?” Aoyama popped up behind Nagisa, startling him and his snakes before he turned to watch the blond appear to three different groups, asking where they thought he was only to be ignored. Then he turned to Tsu and himself, asking the same question.

Tsu caved immediately, almost humoring him as one would to a child. “Where?”

He grinned smugly before turning away with his cape, a twinkle in his eye as he muttered almost cutely, “It’s a secret!”

Nagisa deadpanned and shook his head before the detective, who had introduced himself as Detective Tsukauchi Naomasa, grabbed their attention again as he spoke to a nearby officer. “Let’s have the students return to their classroom until their parents come to get them. We won’t be questioning them right away, anyway, right?”

“Excuse me, Detective,” Tsu hopped forward. “What about Aizawa-sensei?”

The detective smiled sadly before he dialed the hospital, asking for the injured teacher and put their response on speaker. Comminuted fractures on both arms as well as a factual fracture. Puncture wounds in his shoulder blades, but fortunately there was no lasting brain or nerve damage. There was damage to his orbital floor however; They said his eyes might suffer from the aftereffects.

There was a deep sense of loss, or perhaps it was more so risk of loss hanging over the heads of class 1-A at the news. But… at least he was still alive, even if his career as a Pro Hero was at risk. Nagisa felt sick in his stomach at the thought.

“What about Thirteen?” Ashido stepped forward, worry in her eyes.

“Thirteen is being treated. The lacerations from their back to upper arm was bad, but Thirteen will survive. All Might will also survive. He’s being treated by Recovery Girl, so he’s staying in the nurse’s office.”

The atmosphere lightened up a bit at that, hope lighting the eyes of the students, but Nagisa still couldn’t knock his nervousness.

“Um,” Nagisa cleared his throat. “And Izukun?”

“And Izukun!” Uraraka gasped.

“What about Midoriya?!” Iida jumped forward.

Detective Tsukauchi’s expression morphed from confused to solemn and Nagisa felt tears burn in his eyes as that sense of dread from before began to fill him and soon threatened to over pour. “Ah, yes, Midoriya. He’ll survive as well. But he’s sustained major damage to his ribs and crown region, as well as both arms, but with the doctors’ and Recovery Girl’s help, he’ll make a full recovery.”

Nagisa swallowed the rock that had formed in his throat. He was alive. He would survive. He had to keep thinking that. The blue-haired boy inhaled shakily before Iida put his hand on his shoulder, silently asking if he was alright. Nagisa hesitated a moment before nodding and they filed into the bus in silence. He’ll have to talk to Ritsu for more information.

Todoroki wouldn’t stop staring with those curious eyes.

Katsuki had his eyes locked on the USJ building, scarlet hues hardened and intense. The image of Izuku bleeding and broken in the arms of Midnight as they took him away burned into his eyes. It was unsettling. But not as unsettling as that ghostly villain.

“I know you.”

What the hell does that even mean?

His gaze  focused back to Nagisa being filed into the bus, his snakes subdued and coiled into buns on his head. Katsuki narrowed his eyes. What did they do last year?

“Yo, Bakubro! You coming? They said we gotta head back to class!” Kirishima called.

Katsuki huffed. “I know, idiot!”

He was going to get to the bottom of this mystery sooner or later. Some things just shouldn’t be kept secret.


 

Toshinori stared at the ceiling with a troubled expression. He thought back to Izuku, broken and bloodied and so… so still. He only saw him that way once before, and he never wanted to see him like that ever again. That antimatter amalgamation of quirks just kept hurting the kids, didn’t it?  Guilt curled in his gut like some gross swamp monster, threatening to drown him.

“Considering the circumstances this time,” Chiyo began. “I can’t really scold you.”

“I let them get away,” Toshinori sighed, closing his eyes. “What an idiot.”

“We can’t win all our battles, Toshinori.”

“Do you know how he is?” The blond turned his head to the old nurse.

She gave a sigh and set her pen down. “I called just a while ago. They said he had two punctures in his scalp but they were able to fix most of his head injuries along with some stitches on his face. He also broke several ribs and cracked his sternum, but luckily his lungs weren’t too badly injured, just a minor puncture. His right wrist was broken clean while his left arm was shattered. I’ll be over later today to help with healing him, and then when he’s well enough, he’ll be moved to my office so I can continue to heal him.”

“That’s… That’s good,” the fragile hero felt a light weight lift from his shoulders, but it did nothing to rid him of the ever-persisting guilt that hung over him. He turned his sunken gaze back to the ceiling, sighing once more. “I should have gotten there faster. I was lucky that thing didn’t crush him further. I saw that thing throw something off to the side the moment after I got there, but I hadn’t realized it was Young Izuku… At least he seemed more interested in me than in him in that moment. I’m lucky I didn’t lose any more time by that either…”

“Toshinori, you can’t be thinking about the past like that,” Chiyo softly chided, shaking her head. “You’ve done that all your life, living in the ‘what ifs’—you have to know it’s not healthy?”

His eyes closed, brows scrunching together as he grimaced with pain. His voice came out strained, “I know.”

“Then start acting it, All Might.” Honestly, she had half the mind to whap him upside the head if he wasn’t so injured now. “Those kids need you to be the hero who takes responsibility and learns from his mistakes, see? Wouldn’t that be what your Korosensei would say?”

A hand raised to pinched the bridge of his nose as he fought off tears that burned his face red. Dammit. Korosensei would have his head if he knew he let one of his students get injured…

“I know…”

A knock came to the door then, Naomasa entering with a welcoming smile. “Excuse me, All Might. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”

“Naomasa!”


 

Nagisa waited by the entrance of U.A. for his father to arrive. He was so panicked when he got the call from the school, along with many other parents, he’s sure, but his father was never exposed to any of the crap that happened the year prior. He never knew any of the things that Nagisa and his class had done the entire year, only hearing about some of the events and even then, it was toned down a lot.

Encountering villains so close and so early in the year, he couldn’t imagine the panic his father must be feeling as he drove across town to pick his son up. Their first encounter with villains, he mused, closing his eyes. Their first encounter with villains without Korosensei, and they panicked.

Sighing, Nagisa sat down on a bench by the school, his phone in his hand and turned on.

Ritsu popped on the screen and the boy smiled.

“Nagisa! You’re alright!”

“Yeah, I’m fine. How about you? You cut out back there, I thought you might’ve been corrupted or something.”

Ritsu shook her head. “I’m fine! I tried to connect to my main unit as quick as possible. I sent out a Code S.I.D. to the others too, so you should probably let them know you’re okay soon. I mean, I gave a status report an hour ago when I finally got connection back on your phone, but it would really calm them down if you let them know yourself.”

“I know, I will later today. Um, do you know anything about Izukun?”

Ritsu paused, looking to ponder the question for a moment. “I’m afraid his phone was destroyed during the attack. I can’t connect to his phone yet, but I can try to figure out which hospital he went to and see if I can connect to any of the cameras?”

Nagisa gave a chuckle. “Alright, let me know. I think I’ll try and visit his mom tomorrow. Maybe she’ll let me see him too.”

“I’ll let you know, then! Oh, and All Might is doing fine, too. He wanted me to let you know.”

“That’s-” Nagisa let out a sigh before smiling. “That’s good. Thank you, Ritsu.”

“Of course! Now, you focus on resting. School is canceled for the rest of the week.”

The snake boy nodded again before turning his phone off, leaning his head back on the bench.

A sudden voice to his right startled the boy. “Nagisa, can we speak?”

Turning, he swallowed as he saw a Iida standing with a stern expression on his face. Nagisa’s stomach churned nervously before he gave his friend a greeting. “Oh, Iida, hey. Uh, sure, we can talk. Sit down.”

“Thank you,” Iida bowed before taking a seat beside his shorter friend. He cupped his hands together on his knees and took a deep breath. Nagisa’s snakes tilted their heads as they watched the taller classmate.

“Is there something the matter, Iida?”

Iida frowned, hesitating for a moment, before turning back to Nagisa. “I don’t know what I’m thinking of at the moment. I don’t know what to think. I… Nagisa, please, be truthful. Did you know this would happen today?”

Nagisa’s eyes widened and he gasped. His heart clenched painfully. “What? Why- Why would you think that?”

“You called out to Sensei before they even appeared, not to mention you and Midoriya’s phones went wild. And… that smoke villain, Kurogiri, he recognized you both. You can’t possibly tell me that all that is just a coincidence?”

Nagisa felt fresh tears poke at his eyes before blinking them away stubbornly and he held Iida’s gaze, his brows troubled. They remained silent for a moment, the ex-assassin struggling with his thoughts before his expression scrunched together in pain and he let a soft sigh escape.

“There’s… a lot to explain, Iida. But I don’t feel like it’s only my history to share. It’s… so many others’ too. I- We, well… not all of us feel comfortable sharing this, so I’ll have to ask the others, but… I can at least tell you the truth about Ritsu.” He faced forward while lifting his phone. He gave an empty laugh. “Now, I’m not entirely sure why Karma lied in the first place. He’s changed a lot since last year, so I’m not on his wavelength like I used to be.”

Maybe he just didn’t want to talk about what happened last year anymore. Maybe he just wanted things to be a little bit more normal. Or maybe he was afraid. Nagisa didn’t know anymore; it still startled him to know Karma was seeking counseling after all that.

Iida’s brows furrowed together. “... Others?”

Ritsu turned the phone on herself, appearing on the screen and waving her digital hand to Iida, who appeared bug-eyed and alarmed.

“Iida, meet Ritsu. She’s a highly intelligent and hyper aware AI who… who was with us last year.”

“Hello! It’s nice to meet you, Iida-san!” Ritsu gave a bow in her screen then peeked up a bit to see Iida become flustered at his own lack of politeness.

Iida stood up and gave his own 90 degree angled bow. “U-uh, uh! It’s nice to meet you as well! Forgive me, I… I’m at a loss for words at the moment.”

Ritsu straightened up and giggled. “It’s alright! Not many people know about me. I’m glad Nagisa felt comfortable enough with you to introduce me, though!”

“I- I suppose so. I…” the engine quirk user paused to clear his throat, sitting himself back down and turning his gaze to Nagisa. “I understand we haven’t known each other for very long, so I’m very honored you’ve chosen to tell me this.”

Nagisa smiled and lowered his phone but still keeping Ritsu in view of them. “There’s a lot that happened last year. Personally, I’m not…” he paused to swallow, “…ready to talk about it with anyone yet.”

Iida studied the snake-haired boy, recognizing deep loss in his eyes before his own gaze softened. “I don’t know what you went through last year, but it must have been very hard. I’m very sorry, Nagisa.”

His eyes welled up with tears, returning his gaze to Iida and forcing a tearful smile. His voice cracked as he spoke, “Thank you.”

Behind Iida, he saw Karma and Rio approaching in the distance and quickly straightened up, wiping his tears away and standing up. Iida took the sign and reciprocated his actions, standing straight and turning to see the two as well. Nagisa waved and Iida smiled with a nod in greeting.

“Hey, you two,” Karma greeted.

“Where’s Uraraka?” Rio tilted her head.

“She got a ride home from one of the girls,” Nagisa explained. “I’m waiting for my dad right now.”

They nodded in understanding, Karma chewing on the inside of his cheek awkwardly. He took a deep breath and looked up. “Hey, Nagisa, we’ll talk later, alright? I’m gonna head back home.”

“Are you alright, Karma?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. I’m just… dealing with some things right now. I’m glad you’re alright, Nagisa.”

Rio put a hand on Karma’s shoulder. “We’re all planning on visiting Izukun when he’s able to get visitors. You two in?”

Iida perked up, nodding. “Why, yes! We’ve been very worried for him. I’ll let Uraraka know.”

“Yeah, let her know! I’ll text y’all the info later. Take care, alright?” Rio smiled softly.

Nagisa swallowed the rock in his throat and nodded just as his dad pulled up. “I’ll see you guys tomorrow.”


 

Rio wasn’t one for panic. She prided herself in keeping a level head during times of distress, but this—oh, this was really testing her.

She got the alarm from Ritsu moments before the school alarm went off and they were ushered to their home room, and that was when Rio asked Ritsu to type her responses on-screen so as to not bring the attention. She kept her face even and calm as she read off Ritsu’s status report and of course it was those two stuck in all that trouble. It was two hours later that she got their status report on their safety, and of course Izuku was the one to end up in the hospital.

Honestly, that boy had a knack for near-death experiences, didn’t he? Maybe that was his real quirk, Near-Death Survival. Dag nabbit. Izuku.

As horrible as all this was, Rio tried to focus on the brighter side of things. Like now she had an excuse to shop for get-well cards and flowers! And also she’ll be able to see Izuku’s mom again when she went to see him! And flowers! No, wait, Izuku’s allergic to flowers. Okay, no flowers, then get-well rabbits! Yeah, there we go.

Nervously, Rio began to bite her nails while she waited to be released from class. That was when the pink-haired girl in her class, Hatsume Mei, was it? Came over looking cheerful and concerned at the same time.

“Hey! Nervous?”

“What? Oh, yeah, I guess. It’s just—my friends, I—they’re in the Hero Department, I just worry…”

Hatsume nodded thoughtfully. “I see, I see. Well! Don’t you worry! There’s only forty students who got into the hero course this year, yeah? They’re there for a reason, you know! Plus, we’ve all got Pros watching out backs.”

Rio blinked, caught off guard by the other’s optimism. Then she let a soft smile grow on her face. She… wasn’t wrong. Izuku and Nagisa were very strong and have held their own against villains and assassins alike. Not to mention All Might was not a man anyone would want to piss off. The blonde sat straighter then. “Yeah, you’re right. They’re probably fine. I’m Nakamura Rio, by the way. You’re Hatsume Mei, right?”

The pink-haired girl bobbed her head with a wider grin. “Yep! That’s me! Say, can I ask a quick question?”

“Uh, sure, what’s up?”

“That pink-haired character on your phone, what app is that? It looks so cute!”

Rio gawked with a blank smile.


 

“Hello, yes, I’m here to see Midoriya Izuku?”

“Midoriya… Ah… okay, and what is your relationship with the boy?”

“I’m his mother of course!”

The nurse looked at her skeptically, typing away at her computer. “Uhuh, well, ma’am, Midoriya already has a visitor claiming to be his mother.”

“Ugh! I’m his other mother!”

A hand pressed on her shoulder. “Please calm down, you’re making a scene.”

“Well, they’re making things difficult!”

“Irina, you’re not even his mother. Ir- No, put the shoe down- Irina, stop.”

“Can’t I pass as a sister, then? Auntie? Anything? Oh, come on! Let me in you no-good—!”

Another nurse approached them. “Pardon me, I couldn’t help but overhear, you’re looking for Midoriya Izuku, yes? You’re Shotlock and Charmer, aren’t you? You made your couple debut this weekend!”

Irina paused, her heel in her hand and raised before her husband grabbed it from her and forced it back onto her foot, all while trying not to jostle the bouquet he held in his other hand. She didn’t bother to give him a glance, instead straightening herself and approaching the nurse with a hopeful glint in her eyes. “Uh- Um. Yes, we are. How is he?”

“He’s stable and healing well, thanks to Recovery Girl. He’s able to receive visitors outside his family now. How about I take you to see him?”

Irina burst into a bright smile, grabbing the nurse’s hand and bouncing her head in a desperate nod. “Yes! Yes, please, thank you!”

Awkwardly smiling, the nurse gave a half-hearted chuckle. “Of- Of course. Right this way, you two.”

Tadaomi turned to the nurse behind the counter and bowed as an apology before exasperatingly following his wife and the nurse down the hall.

It had been a day since the USJ attack. Tadaomi himself was on his way to the building when Ritsu pinged his phone, notifying him of the attack and which students were involved. Unfortunately, even at his fastest, he was in a district in Tokyo at the time, a good hour or more away from UA and any of its facilities. It was later in the day that Ritsu informed them of the condition of the class, as well as which hospital Izuku was located. He had woken up yesterday, according to Ritsu, but was quickly put back under after having a panic attack and almost breaking his own arms again. Thankfully, this morning he woke up again in a better mind and had some fluids along with another healing from Recovery Girl.

When they entered the room, they met with Midoriya Inko and Recovery Girl chatting softly with each other.

Inko turned upon hearing the door open and her eyes grew soft and welcoming, a gentle smile on her face. “Oh, how sweet of you two to come and visit my boy.”

“We came as soon as we heard. We would’ve came sooner, but we were caught up in other affairs,” Tadaomi gave the bouquet of peonies to the single mother, who smiled gratefully at them as she set them next to Izuku’s bed on a side table.

“Such beautiful flowers. Thank you so much,” Inko smiled with wet eyes. “I understand the life of a hero is so busy. I’m so honored you two would take time out of your schedules to see him. You two are some of his best teachers, I have to say.”

“Well, I wouldn’t say that much,” Irina sounded subdued as she approached the woman, holding her hands supportingly. “How is he?”

“He’s… better,” Inko’s smile faltered and tears collected in her eyes. Quick to wipe them, the single mother brightened her smile again and gestured to the other hero in the room. “Recovery Girl’s done a remarkable job healing his wounds. His lung’s doing fine now, and Recovery Girl said once he wakes up and gets some food in him, he’ll be moved to her office.”

The older Pro Hero nodded along. “He’ll need the brace and cast for another day, but his bones are still somewhat fragile so I’ll be keeping an eye on him for at least two days before sending him home again.”

“That’s good,” Tadaomi turned his gaze to the boy in the bed. He could tell they had to shave parts of his hair but it was hard to see with the bandages. His left eye was partially covered as well, and both his arms were wrapped in bandages while one rested in a cast, the other needing a simple brace. It was disheartening to see the usually bright and boisterous boy looking so pale and bruised. This was his second hospitalization in, what, half a year? At this point, it wasn’t even his caretakers’ negligence, just his pure recklessness and knack for getting his butt whooped.

Inko sniffled a bit, taking a moment to recollect herself again before she wiped at her face. “Oh my, where are my manners. Ahh, Recovery Girl, this is Karasuma Irina and Tadaomi.”

The jaded pro hero smiled sweetly, nodding. “I believe I’ve met your acquaintance before, Karasuma-san,” she glanced to Tadaomi. “Shotlock, is it? All Might told you you have experience in dealing with little Midoriya’s recklessness?”

Tadaomi nodded, smiling fondly. “I taught briefly at Midoriya’s previous school. My teaching license is still active so I sometimes sub at different hero schools, UA included.”

“Ah, I see, how wonderful,” Recovery Girl nodded. “Nedzu most likely offered you a full job, I assume?”

Irina gasped toward her husband. “Nedzu never offered me a teaching job!”

Tadaomi huffed with a half-grin, ignoring his wife. “He did, but I have other priorities at the moment.”

“A shame, but respectable decision. I’m sure the children would have benefit greatly with your added experiences.”

A hum of amusement left the raven. “I’ll consider it.”

He turned back to the boy on the bed, studying the way the student held his expression with discomfort. Experiences. Yeah, maybe on how to successfully kill a bastard and then traumatize 29 students not even in high school yet. Tadaomi rubbed at his eyes. Perfect kills didn’t exist. Only in a universe where none of this crap ever happened, huh?


 

Izuku had woken up later that day, disoriented and aching but in a better headspace. The doctors fed him on a simple and easy to digest meal along with some fluids and last minute tests before sending him off to UA to stay in Recovery Girl’s office. Once there, he was ordered to rest and stay on his back the whole time. The expression of complete boredom never left his face once.

At least they took the bandages off his face. Well, actually, he didn’t know whether to count that as a victory or not; it only left the stitches over his eyebrow exposed to the air, and geez, it hurt to lift his eyebrows. Recovery Girl said it would scar over. At least that was the only cool thing to come out of this situation.

Huffing, the freckled teen blew at the curls that made their home between his eyes. And his hair was another thing. He’d have to comb some over ‘cause there was a whole line going around half his crown of missing hair and new scars. Apparently the Noumu’s claws fractured his skull but didn’t go deep enough to damage his brain more than it was already. He already had trouble pronouncing freakin’ “blueberry toast”, he didn’t need anything else to screw with him. Whatever, he was happy he had more than enough hair to make up for the missing patches everywhere. That, or he’ll get some sort of mohawk-looking haircut somewhere along the line.

A knock on the door made his head turn a bit just as Karma poked his head out. “Knock, knock, Sleeping Beauty,” he teased with a smirk before entering with Nagisa, Rio, Iida, Uraraka, and Tsu trailing him.  

“Hey!” Izuku perked up and tried to adjust himself in the cot but froze momentarily when a sharp but brief pain hit him in his left back, deciding to just stay down for the moment.

Tsu and Uraraka went to his right side immediately, their eyes bright and teary but full of relief. “Izukun! You’re alright! We were so worried.”

“When we saw that Noumu behind you, and what it did to Aizawa-sensei, we thought…” Tsu’s voice trailed off.

Softening his expression, Izuku grinned gently at the two. “Th-thank you b-both,” he replied. “‘M glad you’re b-both okay.”

Karma half-sat down next to his left side, his arms crossed. “If you didn’t have a head injury right now, I’d bop you to America and back, you reckless idiot. How many times do you have to end up in the hospital?”

Izuku gave him a half-glare, straining the skin tied together with stitches above his left eye. “W-well, ‘scuuuuse mm-me, prin-princ-cess. Plus, this’s only mm-my ss-second time!”

“Yeah, two times too many, Izukun,” Rio huffed, sitting by his feet on the cot. 

Iida raised his brows. “When was the first time?”

Izuku gave an awkward laugh, suddenly feeling embarrassed and somewhat hysterical. “Nn-nothing!”

Nagisa rolled his eyes, as did Rio. Karma leaned his back against the wall. “The first time, well, to our knowledge, this little idiot broke his little head, didn’t he?” He nudged Izuku’s shoulder, receiving an intense wide-eyed glare, basically screaming hey, shut the hell up!? Karma just smiled cheekily in response.

“C-can sss-someone help mm-me up?”

“Oh! Of course, Midoriya!” Iida, ever the gentleman, moved with Uraraka to help the freckled boy adjust himself into a sitting position.

“Does anything hurt, Midoriya?” Tsu questioned, a finger lifted to her lip.

Izuku hummed before shrugging. “Ss-sometimes I get a-a, um, p-pain in mm-my ribs, but, um…” He shrugged again, a half-grimace on his face. “Eh?”

“What do you mean, ‘Eh’?” Rio nudged his shoulder, leaning forward with her hands on her hips, expression challenging. “Uraraka said the dude almost popped your head and your ribs!”

“I got R-Recov’ry Girl!” Izuku raised his right hand into the air, the only one not bound to his chest.

Rio, Iida, and Nagisa all smacked their faces with their hands. Karma chuckled, crossing his arms. “You know, at this point your quirk might as well be Bad Luck.”

There was silence, and they could almost hear that old dial-up sound coming from Izuku as he stared blankly at Karma.

Nagisa shifted on his feet a bit. “Uh, Izukun..?”

“Oh my Heroes,” he whispered.

“Izukun?”

“It all mm-makes ss-sense nn-now.”

“Oh my God, Izukun, I was kidding.”

Too late, the boy burst into tears.

“I WAS KIDDING, IZUKUN, STOP! Oh my God.”

Rio smacked Karma’s arm. “Look! You broke our baby!”

Nagisa let out a sudden bout of laughter at that, quickly covering his mouth. They gave him an odd look before they all started laughing. Izuku’s waterworks stopped immediately at that and he gave a frustrated pout.

“What? ‘M nn-not a b- baby, what the fff-frick?”

Uraraka pointed. “Wait, if Izukun’s the baby, does that make Rio the mom, Karma the dad, Nagisa the brother? What does that make Iida and I?”

“Or me?” Tsu piped in.

Rio tapped her chin, humming. “I guess Uraraka would be the aunt, Iida the strict uncle, and Tsu would be…”

Karma opened his mouth.

“If you say ‘pet,’ I will personally shank you in the face, Karma,” Nagisa interrupted him. Karma closed his mouth.

“Tsu can be the sister!” Rio bounced. “Cause she’s got that amphibian/reptilian relationship with Nagisa!”

“Are… Are you guys p-playing House?” Izuku gave them all an incredulous stare.

“Yes. Yes we are,” Karma nodded without hesitation. “Don’t make me forbid you from seeing Kaede.”

Izuku gasped. “NO, I’LL BE GOOD!”

Nagisa turned away with a deadpan smile. I can’t tell if he’s playing along or if that’s his genuine response…

Chapter Text

On Thursday, he gave his report to the detective—a friend of All Might, apparently.

He recounted what he could remember, of the big Noumu, the names he heard. He got a little panicked when he brought up what exactly the Noumu did but he pulled through with All Might’s supportive smile.

It was Friday afternoon when he was released home, and school was still out until Monday. Thankfully, Recovery Girl thought Izuku was healed enough where she felt confident in letting his body continue the process by itself. He was still on strict orders not to overwork himself and to keep doing his breathing exercises so his lung wasn’t stressed. And he had to keep the brace on his previously shattered arm while his wrist needed to keep bandages around it just to reduce strain. She also removed the bandages around his scalp with instructions to be careful when showering or brushing his hair, but she didn’t remove the stitches on his eyebrow. In other news, he was as good as… a used item off ebay. Yep!

“I should scold you, considering your track record,” Recovery Girl had said, depositing a handful of gummies and a cup of pain meds in his bandaged hand. “But given the nature of the situation, I’ll just let you off with a warning to be more careful. It was very admirable of you to fight off that villain like you did to save your classmate, but you’re not invincible, you hear that, young man?”

“Y- um, yes, mm-ma’am,” Izuku simply nodded his head, shamefully but humbly taking the semi-scolding.

“Then off you go, Midoriya. Meet me Monday morning before class just to see how your healing is going.”

Izuku bowed in gratitude. “Th-thank you!”

Old People are scary...

When he got home with his mom, she kissed his forehead and sent him to bed to rest while she got dinner ready.

The silence in his bedroom gave him time to think and reflect; something that he didn’t want to do. His mind was a terror in the quiet. Sinking into his bed slowly, feeling the strain in his back begin to ache a bit, the freckled boy pulled out his newly bought phone (thankfully he had a warranty on his phone so he got a replacement) and earbuds, plugging into his lofi playlist and turning the volume up. Satisfied with the tunes vibrating in his head so loud his ears were starting to do that brrv thing when audio gets distorted due to its volume, he pulled up his internet browser to a new page and on the startup page, a news article just below the search bar titled “STUDENT HEROES ATTACKED AT USJ” caught his eye and he scrolled down.

Squinting tiredly, he saw many other articles with the same subject appear the more he scrolled. Izuku grunted and exited out of the app and instead loaded up his Neko Atsume app. Aw, freaking Shadow keeps kicking Pickles off the mat. What the frick, Shadow? Jerk. What else… no new cats. Just Tubbs hogging the tuna bowl again.

The freckled teen sighed and turned his phone off, setting it beside himself on the bed and folding his hands over his chest as he stared at his ceiling. His mind buzzed while music played a chill tune. He sort of wished he could eject out of his body. His tired, aching body. Another sigh left him as he closed his eyes and reflected on the past week.

What a sucky week? Like honestly.

First it was the bad start of the day; he had accidentally looked at a photo of Korosensei and it triggered a bad reaction from him for the rest of the day, and the nosy press didn’t help at all. Especially when that one reported pointed them out as some of the End Class students from that day. The poor students that had developed Stockholm Syndrome because they were defending their “ monster of a teacher.” If he was the same Izuku from the start of 8th grade, he’s sure he would have told the reporter off. But alas, he has grown into a bigger, stronger, better person.

He chuckled to himself at that before moaning in boredom and turning his head. Sitting up, he turned to his window and pulled on the blinds to let some light in. Yeah, he wasn’t getting any sleep today.

Staring out his apartment window blankly, Izuku’s mind reeled back to the USJ. What he could have done better, what he could have done to not look like a fool. And that monster’s tentacles…

His bandaged hand raised to his hair, bare fingers brushing over the ragged line just around the front of his crown. His stomach turned uncomfortably and he scratched just around the stitches. An irritation started itching just under his skin, in his gut and chest and he squirmed, humming before getting off his bed and searching in his closet, pulling out a small box of old hats and bandannas. Hats just looked really weird on him, so he picked a plain white bandanna with dark blue criss-crossed lines as decoration and tied it around his head. Maybe he should just wear bandannas to school to cover his shame that is poorly shaved hair.

He frowned and thought bitterly, he wouldn’t have needed the surgery or whatever if that thing hadn’t… Forest greens grew dim as he stared blankly at the box of bandannas and scarves, his mind leaving the present and flowing back to the USJ, to End Class. The Noumu had… tentacles.

The Noumu had tentacles.

He swallowed thickly and stumbled back in fear at the sudden image of dark tentacles and white walls and—

Izuku shook his head, focusing on the lofi beats blaring in his earphones, then decided to change the music to actual songs. He took a deep breath.

Huffing, Izuku kicked the box back into the closet and returned to sit on his bed, fiddling with his new phone. It was a good thing they were able to backup his files, but he did lose some pictures and an app, since it’s been a while since he last backed up his phone on itunes.

Whatever, he had google albums that saved stuff for him, at least for the photos part. The lost app was just Pokemon Go, so that was fine.

A knock on the front door drew his attention then. “I’ll get it!” he called out before pausing his music, and he left his room to open the door.

“Hey!” Izuku exclaimed when he saw Kaede, Karma, Rio, and Itona smiling happily. Kaede’s hair was darker, probably her hair dye wearing out, and Rio carried a bag on her side, which Izuku wanted to ask about but he stopped when he saw the curious look on Itona’s face.

“Headache?” he asked tentatively.

Izuku blinked before remembering what he was wearing and he touched it with a slanted grin, shaking his head. “Oh, uh, nah, th-they jus’, um, shaved s’me o’ mm-my hair and it looksss weird ss-so…”

Itona’s expression smoothed out and he nodded understandingly.

“Who is it, Izuku?” Mom called from the kitchen, and he could hear her footsteps coming.

“Jus’ s’me ff-frien’s!” he called back before gesturing the four to follow him in. He held his hand out for Kaede, and they went to the living room where his mother greeted them all with delight. “What’re you g-guys doin’ h..here?”

“Oh, did you all come to visit Izuku? How sweet of you!” she cooed and then rustled around the kitchen after offering everyone something to drink and giving them all juice packs. “Dinner will be ready soon! You’ll stay for dinner, right?”

They agreed they would, which pleased both Midoriyas.

“So, Izukun,” Rio began, sitting on the end of the couch while Izuku and Kaede sat almost snuggled together on the other end. Karma grinned at the interaction while Itona just took a seat on one of the side chairs to Izuku’s left. The freckled boy raised a brow at the blonde, eyeing her side bag suspiciously. Rio laughed as she reached for it, opening the clasp. “Relax, will you? It’s just a gift!”

“Gift?”

“Yeah, it’s your own little fursona,” Karma leaned forward as Rio pulled out a green rabbit plush wearing an All Might costume. Actually, it looked exactly like a rabbit-version of Izuku wearing an All Might hoodie.

The freckled teen raised a brow at her and she narrowed her eyes at him threateningly.

“Okay, do you have any idea how expensive faux fur is? Take it, you ungrateful brat!” she broke and started laughing toward the end as she threw the doll at him, who was also laughing as he caught it.

Karma smirked at her. “Careful there, Rio, you’re starting to sound an awful lot like a certain Professor B-”

“Vić!”

Itona turned to Izuku. “Izuku, that literally sounds exactly like-”

“Nope! It has th’ ‘vuh’ at th’ begi- b-beginning. Totally different.”

“You know what we need? Let Izukun say-”

Izuku threw a throw pillow at Karma’s face.

“ANYWAY,” the curly haired boy eyed Karma, not at all being subtle with his amused smile. “Wh- uh, why the… the…” Wonderful that the word flew out of his brain in that exact moment, so instead he just gestured at the Izuku rabbit. The Izubbit. The Rabbizuku. Bunzuku. Eh. He’ll come up with something better later.

“It’s a Get Well Rabbit!” Kaede excitedly explained.

(“Also your new government assigned fursona,” Karma added in the background. Izuku ignored him.)

“We all wanted to get you one, but Rio told us last second, so instead we made you a card,” Itona added as he pulled out a rabbit-shaped card.

Izuku took it and his expression fell when he saw the crossed out words. It was basically a fertility “congrats on the baby” card, but the words were scribbled out and replaced with “Get well soon!” Karma looked way too pleased with himself and Rio was biting her lip while twitching her eyebrows and pointing his eyes at Kaede. Izuku’s look of absolute judgement and card-shaming never left his face as he held Karma’s stare and opened the card. Oh, yeah, wonderful. Aside from multiple names written on half of it, there were little bunnies in the opposite empty corner and two of them were colored green and drawn over with curly green hair and green pigtails. Oh, and look, over the two bunnies read, “Just Tie The Knot Already.”

Very subtle.

“I hope you knnn-know I’m- I’m puttin’ th-thiss’in the b-blender.”

“Awww, please don’t!” Kaede whined playfully as she leaned against him. “I poured my soul into drawing those wittle runny babbits!”

“It’s sa- ss-signed Su-Sugaya.”

“Okay, so I had to commission it, but that’s a well spent 500 yen!”

They all laughed and Izuku put the mini-zuku in his lap before they calmed down. “Th-thank you guys. Oh- he-hey, where’s Nagi?”

Rio leaned on the arm of her chair, grinning proudly. “He’s getting his name changed today.”

Izuku sat up. “What?! To- wh- h- whe- wh-wh-what?!”

“Relax, Izukun!” Karma waved him off. “His surname. With the old hag losing custody and all that, Tatsumi-san’s changing his name to his. Nagisa seemed preeeetty pumped.”

“Yeah, I’m excited for him,” Kaede sat up straighter.

“Stick it to the old people,” Itona cooly added as he reached for the juice pack on the coffee table and taking a slurp from it. He paused, then readjusted, “The mean old people.”

“I’d like to stick just her,” Rio scoffed and rolled her eyes. “Like what a witch? Had the nerve to come to our lil’ restaurant and everything, all apologetic and crap, too. Like, for real?”

Karma stayed quiet while Izuku and Kaede nodded. It felt a little dreary after that so Izuku started up again, “Well, at, um, at leas’ he’s gon’ get his dad’s, uh, um, his dad’s nn-name.”

“True,” Itona nodded.

“So, Itona,” Kaede started. “How’s school goin’?”

“Creative conversation starter,” he replied without missing a beat before leaning back in his seat and taking another sip from the juicy. He shrugged. “It’s nice. Harder. People are very interested in quirks and all I have to show for one being there is some severed up stems, but at least I have Yoshida and Hara.”

“No kiddin’,” Karma raised a brow. “Wait, did Terasaka change his school option last second without telling us?”

Itona nodded. “Him and Okano.”

“They’re both going to the same school?”

Itona shrugged. “I just know they’re not at any of the schools the others are at.”

Izuku hummed, nodding before remembering something. “Oh, are we, um, gon’ do th’ thing… um… t’morrow?”

“The thing?” Rio raised a brow before it clicked. “Oh, the thing! Yeah, we’re still on. Will you be okay for it?”

He hummed and nodded before calling for his mother. “Ma! Ev’ryone’s gon’ go t-to the mall t’morrow, can I go?”

“Will there be a chaperone?” she called back. “After this week, don’t think I’ll let you kids just go alone by yourselves. Who knows what sort of trouble you kids will get into.”

“Oh. Uh.” He looked to the others, who all shrugged. “Dang, okay, um… ca-can Tosssh- uh, Toshinn-nori come?”

“Who all is going?” Mom poked her head out of the kitchen.

Rio answered, “Just us, Nagisa, and a few others from school.”

“Hmmm, why not ask Nagisa’s father to come? Tatsumi-san is nice. And yes on Toshinori, you all need multiple eyes. I know how you kids get.” She dipped back into the kitchen.

“Huh… welp,” Rio sank into her chair.

“Drats, no shenanigans then, huh?” Karma grumbled.

“We’ll ask Nagi about it later, then. A-And maybe I can get um…” Kaede hummed, tapping her finger on her chin as she thought.

“Two adults are enough, right?” Itona asked. The others shrugged.

Izuku bit the inside of his cheek. “Mom, can’t you, um, c-come too?”

“Ah… I don’t know, Izuku. Hmmm… I suppose I could come. Would you kids be okay with that?”

“The more the merrier.”

“We don’t mind.”

“We love you, Mamadoriya!”

Izuku looked at Kaede at that. She just laughed and threw a pillow at him.

Mom giggled at their responses. “Alright, alright. I’ll come then. Izuku will let me know the details. Dinner’s ready in ten, by the way!”

“Okay!”


 

Dinner was over and everyone had gathered in Izuku’s room for privacy while they spoke. They had yet to acknowledge the elephant in the room, dodging the subject of the USJ like it was a contagious disease. Instead, they spoke about different things.

“When are we going to visit Korosensei?” Kaede asked when conversation died down. She sounded solemn.

Izuku rubbed his arm and looked away; Karma and Rio glanced at each other with grimaces, and Itona simply blinked. Finally, Karma leaned back on the floor with his hands under his head and sighed.

Rio hummed, looking uncertain. “We could visit this weekend?”

Karma shook his head. “Too soon.”

“Nn-next… next weeken’?” Izuku prompted.

Karma just shrugged, staring at the ceiling. The four others traded glances and decided to drop the subject. Izuku turned and reached for the green gift rabbit on his bed, humming.

“You should name it,” Kaede grinned, pointing at it.

“Name it wha’?” Izuku raised a brow.

Rio brought her phone out and took a picture before sending it to the group chat. “We’ll hold a poll.”

“Ss… s-seriously?”

Itona nodded, taking his phone out and opening the group chat. “Yes, absolutely.”

Rio and Kaede giggled while Izuku just stared dumbfoundedly at them. He shook his head. “Unbelievable.”


 

Saturday rolled around after a Friday night movie marathon of old Pre-Quirk meme movies (The Bee Movie was a hard pill to swallow, honestly). Soon enough, it was well past 11 and Inko didn’t feel comfortable with sending the kids home in the dark (even though Itona was more than capable of calling his dad to pick him up, but naaah, he didn’t want to leave), so Izuku and Inko brought out some sleeping bags, pillows, and blankets and they were all spread out in the living room floor and on the couch.

In the dark, none of them actually slept. About an hour was spent with giggles and pillow throwing after a distasteful joke was spoken. If asked how Izuku ended up sprawled completely across Kaede and Itona, Karma and Rio would just shrug and look away in ignorance. They also wouldn’t mind if they were asked for a copy of the photo; Mamadoriya already had one to put in her wallet.

They woke up to a pancake breakfast, and then were ushered out hurriedly when Rio and Karma started chanting “Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!” to Izuku and Kaede; Itona was only mildly interested if they would or not (They traded pecks on the cheek but only after Mamadoriya left to get ready herself). Everyone was excited for their day in the city. Well, the mall, but that was besides the point.

(Also, it may or may not have been Pokemon Go Community Day and Izuku may or may not have had ulterior motives in choosing the Kiyashi Ward Mall as their Vacation Day location)

Finally, the clock hit 11:30 and Izuku and his mom were ready to hit the road, Izuku still sporting the bandana after feeling to uncomfortable with the “bald spots” and definitely not enjoying the idea of a combover. Nagisa’s father was the one who came to pick them up since they didn’t have a car, so Mom slid in the passenger seat while Izuku sat right next to Nagisa.

Nagisa spotted the green rabbit head popping out from the flap of Izuku’s backpack and his snakes tilted their heads. “Is that what Rio sent in the group chat?” he smirked.

“Oh, this?” Izuku grinned shyly, pulling the doll out. “Heh, ye-heah, um, Rio got it ff-for me, and w-wants me t’, um, nn-name it.”

Nagisa’s chuckled a bit before Tatsumi-san greeted the two. “So, boys, are we ready for a super-duper awesome spectacular day today?”

“Dad, you sound like a dork.”

“What, when I say dad things? What about… Okey-dokey-smokey?”

Nagisa hit his own face and let out a loud groan. Izuku laughed as he tucked Mini-doriya back in his bag.

Mom turned to Tatsumi then. “So I heard Nagisa’s officially a Tatsumi!”

Tatsumi nodded. “For the second and final time, hopefully, haha! They say ‘third time’s the charm’ but I’m more partial to ‘twice is the dice.’ See?”

Nagisa groaned again. “Daaaaad, that’s so cheesy, oh my god, ” he muttered the last bit as he looked out the window but Izuku caught that smile on his dainty lips. Mom laughed too.

“That’s so nice! I’m happy for you both,” she glanced back at Nagisa a bit, smiling. Izuku grinned at his friend too, and he was pleased to see the blue-haired boy’s lips stretch in such a wide smile, his cheeks turned red. For the first time in weeks, his eyes were bright and alert—happy.

Yeah, Izuku was happy for Nagisa.


 

When they arrived at the mall, Nagisa and Izuku had begun coordinating with the others on where to meet up, along with Ritsu as their glorified map. They were heading into the food court when they were called out.

“Nagisa! Izuku!” the voice of… Isogai! They turned toward the sound seeing him, Maehara and Megu approaching.

“Hey! You’re all here!” Nagisa greeted as they all exchanged side-hugs.

“Of course,” Megu nodded and her smile softened. “Izukun, I’m so glad you’re alright. Both of you.”

“Yeah, seriously, you gotta stop giving us heart attacks!” Maehara slapped his hand on Izuku’s shoulder. “We will not hesitate to sic Sumire or Ryoma on you guys.”

The two shivered before chuckling. Izuku stuffed his hands into his pockets, grinning sideways with a tilted head. “Well, y’know mm-me!”

“Yeah, unfortunately.”

They turned around to see Katsuki and Kirishima approaching. Izuku glanced around to find his mom, only to watch Mom and Auntie Mitsuki hug in greeting, their loud, joyous voices matching in the mumble of the mall cafeteria.

Kirishima waved happily. “Hey, bro!”

Maehara stepped forward, a hand on his hip. “Who’re these dudes?”

Nagisa noticed his three friends’ stances—they were untrusting. Nagisa couldn’t blame them, but he smirked anyway.

“Oh!” Izuku put his hands together and turned back toward his friends. “Th-this’s B-Bakugou Katsuki! Wait, wha- what’re you, um…”

Katsuki shrugged. “Your mom called up mine and invited her to the mall, so the old hag dragged me along. I dragged Spike along ‘cause I didn’t wanna hang out with losers alone all day.”

“Aww, you don’t think I’m a loser!” Kirishima cooed, a hand on his chest then snickered when Katsuki tried to punch him but missed. “Haha! Anyway, I’m Kirishima Eijirou!”

Introductions were made, and Nagisa thought Isogai and Maehara both had an expression as though they approved of Kirishima, which amused the snake boy immensely. Then he blinked when an arm went around Katsuki’s shoulder and Karma stood behind him with a snot-eating grin.

“Well, well, look who decided to join the club. Here to pick up chics or just loiter like a cool guy?” Karma teased, then laughed when Katsuki aimed a punch at his face, but the cheeky horned teen ducked out of the way then swiveled away and next to Izuku. He was holding a smoothie in his other hand and took a sip through the straw. “Wassup, nerds.”

Katsuki bristled. “What the hell did’ya just call me?! Don’t pin me in with those a—”

“God, you are so cringey,” Karma interrupted.

Isogai nudged him. “Cringe culture is dead!”

The redhead gestured to Katsuki dramatically. “Then how do you explain this abomination?”

“WHAT DID YOU JUST CALL ME?!”

Izuku stepped between them both, his own smoothie in his hand. “SS-STOP FIGHTING, YOU BOTH ARE P-PRETTY!”

Nagisa snorted and Karma’s expression looked as though he just flatlined inside, while Katsuki looked about ready to pour some drinks on everyone. Kirishima and Maehara, meanwhile, looked like they wanted to pour some drinks out for everyone.

Thankfully, that was when Kaede, Itona, and Rio showed up, all with some sort of drink in their hands. Kaede and Itona had their phones out and plugged into portable chargers that were tucked into their sweater pockets with Rio carrying a backpack styled for all three of them, it seemed, decorated with a plethora of buttons. Izuku’s eyes glittered and he made a run for his girlfriend, arms pulled back in a rather iconic ninja-run. Kaede noticed the determined glare in his eye as he charged forth and she rivaled it with her own, rushing at him with the same speed and form before they both collided in a spinning-hug.

“Oh oh oh! Watch the drink!”

“Oops!”

They broke apart with a laugh and Kaede brought her phone up, showing Izuku all the Pokestops in the mall, the other green-head gasping and taking his own phone out to play Pokemon Go with her. They both seemingly left the second plane of existence to enter their own shared headspace with just them and the one hundred fifty seven copies of eevees and meowths.

Nagisa shook his head in amusement as Rio and Itona approached. Itona nodded a greeting while sipping on his pepsi, and Rio waved at the others, exchanging side-hugs with her fellow End Class members, then she greeted Kirishima and Katsuki. “Hey guys, I didn’t know you both were coming?”

Katsuki rolled his eyes and Kirishima slapped his hand on his blond friend’s shoulder. “Yep! Midoriya-san invited Bakubro’s mom to come and then he invited me to come!” he ignored the threatening growl coming from Katsuki’s throat, and instead turned his attention to Itona, grinning widely. “So who’s this dude? I’m Kirishima Eijirou! Nice to meetcha, man!”

“Itona,” the snowy-haired teen merely answered, then returned to his pepsi straw and lowering his gaze to his phone. “Oh, there’s a raid starting soon. Nice.” With that, he turned around and went back to Kaede and Izuku who were walking around in circles on their phone, assumingly waiting for the nearest pokestop to reset.

Kirishima watched him go with two blinks of puzzlement before turning to Nagisa, who shrugged.

Isogai chuckled. “Itona’s a bit of a cryptid.”

“Yeah, he, Izukun, and the Jersey Devil over here.” Maehara gestured his chin at Karma, who was fiddling with a bunch of bracelets in his horns when he paused.

“You said my name?”

Maehara rolled his eyes while Katsuki, Kirishima, and Megu all stared.

“What’re you doing?” Rio raised a brow.

“Horn fashion is very important, Rio,” was his only response before continuing to bedazzle his horns with various bracelets and necklaces coiled around them.

Maehara sighed and gestured back to the UA students. “See what I mean?”

“Hey, guys!!” suddenly Uraraka’s voice brought all of their attentions up, behind her followed by Tsuyu, Iida and Kaminari. She stopped just short of their little group and gestured to the electric blond. “Look who we bumped into!”

Maehara, Isogai, and Megu exchanged glances while Nagisa and Kirishima beamed. “Hey, guys! Hey, Kaminari!” the redhead greeted.

“You got dragged along, too?” Kaminari smirked painfully.

“Haha, yeah, but it’s cool. Bakugou said—” he paused to look around. “Hey, where’d he go?”

“Pompom-Pup went to the Pokesquad back there, mumbled something about Pokemon nerds being more fun or whatever,” Maehara gestured with a nod of his head and a smirk of his lips.

Kaminari’s eyes lit up and he pulled his phone out of his pocket. “You guys play too?!”

Megu smiled. “Only the cryptids over there, really. There are some others in our class that go crazy over Go, but…” she shrugged.

He nodded sagely before bouncing on his heels, eyeing the group of green, white, and yellow. Then he tiptoed forward, pointing to the four. “Hey, I’m just gonna- y’know- yeah… Nice meeting you dudes and dudette!” Then he bounded toward the group with his phone waving around in the air. “HEY! SOMEONE BATTLE ME!”

Iida cleared his voice after they watched the group open up and consume the blond into their ranks. “Anyway, it’s a pleasure to meet you! I am Iida Tenya!”

“Oh! And I’m Uraraka Ochako! You must be…”

“Isogai Yuma,” Isogai raised a hand with a dip of his head.

“Maehara Hiroto, the pleasure’s mine,” the ginger took hold of Uraraka’s hand all princely and winked at her. Megu pushed his face away, her other hand gestured out to take each of their hands in greeting.

“I’m Kataoka Megu, any friend of Nagisa and Izukun’s are friends of ours,” her voice was thick with amusement.

“I’m Asui Tsuyu, but call me Tsu, kero.” The frog girl’s smile was wide on her froggy face, Nagisa couldn’t help but wonder if she was genuinely liking these new people she was meeting.

Nagisa gestured to Izuku’s group behind them. “Itona and Kaede are back there with them. I’m sure you’ll meet them sooner or later.”

They watched as Katsuki pumped his fist with a throat victory scream of, “ HELL YEAH!! TAKE THAT, YOU STUPID FIRE CHICKEN! I AM THE MASTER OF THE FLAMES!!”

The snake-haired boy stayed quiet for a moment before shrugging. “I think later would be a safer option.”

“Hopefully!” Iida nodded. “Well, then! What is in our agenda for today? Book shopping?”

Maehara laughed sharply, striding next to the blue-haired teen and leaning on his shoulder, ignorant to how he practically morphed into a stone statue at the gesture. “Man, you UA kids are already stock-full of knowledge, how else did you get into that school? Lighten up a tad! Life’s short, you know?”

“Hiroto, stop spreading your ‘life is short’ propaganda,” Megu shook her head while Kirishima laughed and joined in beside Maehara.

“Nah, I dig that!” the redhead leaned on the other side of Iida. “Forget book stores, man! Not that books aren’t manly, but we’re at the mall , dude! Don’t they have, like, an arcade or something?”

Isogai pulled out his phone. “Um, let’s see. I have the map pulled up, uh… Yeah, they have a- oh! They actually have one of those classic arcades here!”

“Oh, we have got to visit that place!” Uraraka bounced.

“Then can we visit the shops after?” Megu pulled on Rio’s sleeve a bit.

“I’d like to buy something too, kero,” Tsu added, her finger on her chin. “I promised my little siblings that I’d get them something today.”

“Sure, I don’t see why not?” Rio smiled as Kirishima and Maehara both sighed in defeat.

Iida put his hand to his chin. “I would also like to buy some more school supplies.”

“You’re missing the point,” Rio and Maehara muttered with a wry smile.

They paused in their conversation as they started hearing chanting come from behind them. When they turned, they saw Katsuki standing in front of Kaede, aggressively tapping and swiping at their phones with Itona, Kaminari, and Izuku chanting, “ GO! GO! GO! GO!

Then Katsuki screamed in frustration with Kaede jumping in the air with a loud “ YES! I AM YOUR QUEEN NOW! BOW BEFORE ME, PLEB!

Katsuki fell to his elbows and knees, clearly in distress. Izuku laughed loudly as he grabbed his girlfriend by the waist and lifted her in the air, spinning her around while Kaminari and Itona awkwardly and lamely consoled the obviously butthurt Katsuki (or at least tried to, seeing as neither one really wanted to touch him in case he blasted them sky high).

Uraraka covered her mouth as she stifled a sudden laugh.

Nagisa grinned with his own snicker and he glanced at Karma whose own smile was wide and borderline wild in some sort of sadistic glee. Oh, he liked watching their girl beat down that arrogant sucker. The blue-haired boy turned back to the group then. “So it’s agreed? Shopping first, then we play?”

Isogai bounced. “Oh! Hey, there’s a trampoline place down the street too!”

Kirishima gasped and started tugging on Iida’s sleeve like a child. “Dude! Dude! Dude! We have to go!!”

“Didn’t someone just say that about the arcade?” Karma raised a brow with his amused smile, cocking his head to the side.

“I did, but I’m totally with Kirishima on that! We have to visit the trampoline place!” the gravity girl started bouncing on her feet before slowing down as realization dawned on her and she grew solemn. “Oh, I don’t think I brought enough…”

Rio nudged her shoulder with a knowing expression, waving her flower-designed wallet. “Hey, don’t worry. I’ve gotcha covered.”

Her eyes widened and she shook her head. “What? No, there’s no way I could let you…”

“Hey, don’t worry about it! I’ve got plenty!” Rio winked at her then. “ Trust me, alright? We don’t let our friends hangin’. ‘Sides, we’re here to have fun!”

Uraraka kept her gaze locked on the blonde’s, seemingly searching for something in her eyes before a warm smile raised her cheeks. “If… If you’re sure, Nakamura! Thank you so much!”

Maehara wrapped his arm around Uraraka and Rio’s shoulders then. “You better get used to being pampered by us, kids. Us End Class kids never let a broke friend stay broke, you hear?!”

“Oh, so you guys are seriously from that E class in Kunugigaoka?” Kirishima cocked his head, genuinely curious and perhaps slightly alarmed. Nagisa’s stomach churned but thankfully, Isogai and Maehara picked the question up swiftly and without hesitation.

“Yep!” Isogai nodded.

“Not bad for a bunch of End Class students, huh?” Maehara put a finger gun to his chin, shooting out a dazzling grin while his other hand held up on his hip. Isogai smacked the back of his head. “Ow!”

Nagisa chuckled then looked up. “Okay, seriously, what’s the game plan here?”

“Hey! Izukun! Kaede! Guys! Head in, we’re planning!” Maehara called the little nerd group and they all groaned collectively before nearing.

Karma counted everyone in his head, even adding the three parents before tapping his lips. “We’re missing one.”

Kirishima raised a brow. “There’s more?”

Karma shrugged. “Mamadoriya said she wanted some adult eyes on us, so we called a family friend.”

Izuku and company arrived, gave the necessary introductions again, and the entire group went toward the parents while discussing their plans. There was some debate on where actually to go, Katsuki being the loudest protester in the shopping bit before Mitsuki slammed her fist down on his head and effectively shut him up with her fruit smoothie in his mouth (he looked like he really wanted to continue protesting but he kept the straw in his mouth as he angrily drank the drink). Finally, they all agreed they would shop a few select stores relatively nearby before hitting the trampoline place and then the arcade if they had time.

Thankfully, they ran into Toshinori before they entered the first store and those from class 1-A gawked at the man.

“Wait, you’re that student teacher!” Kirishima shouted.

Toshinori took it in stride, grinning happily as he waved at them. “Hello, kids!”

“‘Hello, kids’?! That’s all!?” Kaminari dragged his hands down his face. “Dude, I’m tripping right now. You guys know him?!”

The End Class members all nodded and Izuku strode beside the blond hero. “It’s’a… um, long ss-story, um, heheh.”

They stared a bit longer before Tsu started, “We have time.”

Izuku deflated, sputtering and giving a “ I’m slowly dying inside” expression before Maehara laughed and waved it off for him. “We can explain some other time.

“Yeah, for now, let’s hit the stores!” Rio waved around her wallet again. “Come ooon, my wallet’s huuuungry!”

“Yeah- hey, you get those pins from Hot Topic?” Kaminari pointed at the backpack behind Rio, who turned half-way to show the bedazzled and pin-adorned bag. No space was spared with every ounce of space covered with either sparkly beads or fandom or hipster pins.

“Oh, yeah! I did, they have really good deals on pins, you know?”

Uraraka pointed down the mall hall, spotting the black and white sign of Hot Topic. “Let’s go then! I want some pins too!”

“Holy crap, wait, we might need to take turns going in then,” Kaminari muttered somewhat nervously. This was a large group after all.

Rio smacked her forehead. “Oh, snap, you’re right.”

Isogai stood in front of them all. “Okay, how about this: anyone who doesn’t care about going to Hot Topic, raise your hand.”

He raised his hand along with Megu, Iida, Kirishima, Itona, Tsu, and Kaede. Izuku gasped at his girlfriend. “You don’t… care?”

She smiled weakly. “Ah… ahah, um, i-it’s not that I don’t care! It’s just, um… We go, like… every time…”

Izuku let a crocodile tear slip out and Kirishima, Iida, Uraraka and Kaminari all took a step back in surprise. Kaede covered her eyes and quickly looked away.

“NO! YOU’RE NOT GETTING ME THIS TIME!”

Izuku’s expression flattened out pretty quickly, his eyes dried and bored, a pout making him look bratty as he crossed his arms. “Meanie.”

Itona poked his cheek. “You’ve gone soft.”

Those unaccustomed to the antics of Izuku and his famous brokenhearted baby-doll eyes routine were absolutely flabbergasted and Kaminari leaned in to Tsu as he whispered, “Holy crap, Midoriya is metal.”

She merely blinked in response, staring wide-eyed at the curly-haired teen. So metal.

Katsuki threw his hands up then. “WHATEVER! Let’s just get on with it, alright?! God, I wanna get to the freakin’ trampoline place already. Does anyone have a charger? Pokemon Go freakin’ killed my phone.”

Rio nodded, flipping her backpack to her front as she used her quirk to zip it open, hand reaching in to grab a portable charger and extra cord. She tossed the bundle to the ash blond. Iida stared and she met his flat gaze. “What?”

Suddenly flustered, he quickly turned his expression away. “Nothing! My apologies.”

Rio grinned cheekily.


 

The Hot Topic groups were settled and they bought and messed around with the nerd stuff they found in there. Izuku was not at all surprised when Katsuki bought himself a Team Valor symbol snapback.

Kaminari scoffed at it, commenting, “Dude, Team Valor? Team Instinct.”

“Team Instinct is full of idiots who would touch exposed wire if Spark said Zapdos demands a sacrifice.” Katsuki’s voice was as dry as a desert. Damn.

Kaminari opened his mouth to respond before pausing, getting only an “Ah—“ out before slumping and lowering his head. Ah. Katsuki won.

Itona didn’t miss his mark, adding without turning back as he looked at the Bleach shirts. “Team Valor is full of arrogant God Complexes and will never hesitate to threaten the burn someone’s house down if they don’t bow to them.”

Katsuki gave a gasp and began to retort before Kaede piped up. “Oh yeah? Well, Team Mystic’s full of 8th Grade Syndromes who think solidarity and egotism is cool and edgy!”

Itona sharply turned his head at that, Izuku’s head popping out from across the store before maneuvering around customers and merchandise to get to them. Then he grabbed Kaede’s shoulders. “ You’re Team Mystic!”

Kaede grinned cheekily and lifted her phone, where it was opened to her trainer page—and there it was, her character RoombaKn1fe, with Team Valor’s symbol behind her. Izuku gasped and jerked back, his hand over his heart in… disgust? Shock? Terror? Katsuki couldn’t tell, but this was a moment of betrayal for sure.

Kaminari put his hand over his mouth. “Top Ten Anime Betrayals…”

Katsuki whistled, somewhat impressed, and that loss to her from before didn’t sting as much as before. “That’s a power move right there. Ballsy though, Pigtails, very ballsy…”

“Sometimes, decisions need to be made, Izukun,” Kaede closed her eyes. “Sometimes hard… very hard decisions need to be made.”

Izuku mirrored Kaminari before closing his own eyes in pain and a tear fell out. “I can’t… b-believe this… All this time… w-wassit all jus’... a big lie?”

Kaede put her hand on his shoulder. “A lie? No. It was always real to me, Izukun. But people change, my love.”

Kirishima poked his head out from the entrance of the store. “What are you guys do- Midoriya, are you okay?! Oh my gosh, what is happening.

Izuku had the same pained expression as before, more tears falling but he nodded anyway. Katsuki and Kaminari traded glances while Itona turned back to shirt picking.

Finally, the freckled boy opened his gaze and looked his girlfriend in the eyes, determination written on his face and he held her hands. “I-I won’t give up on you! I know Team Mm-mystic is s-still in you, ss-somewhere…”

He brought her closer to him, and Kaminari almost lost his freaking mind, silently bouncing and holding onto Katsuki while the ash blond just watched with a mind-blown expression of what the hell is going on.

Kaede’s cheeks flushed and she looked at Izuku with a soft expression. “Izukun…”

Uraraka, Tsu, and Rio poked their heads out from the entrance behind Kirishima while Karma and Nagisa leaned out from behind the aisle beside them, Karma’s horns now adorned with several slap-on bracelets all unbeknownst to him (Ko and Roka both had rather cheeky glints in their eyes). Itona just folded a shirt and put it back on the shelf.

They drew closer and closer, lips almost touching, right there ready to—

A hand caught between their faces, their lips kissing skin that wasn’t the others and Nagisa started choking loudly on air in the background. Izuku and Kaede squealed in shock, tumbling back to see Iida with his hand sticking out and clearly marked with Kaede’s lipgloss on his palm.

“Ii-Iida?!”

“Midoriya! I am very ashamed of this behavior! Such lust is not appropriate for our age!”

Kaminari started wheezes as he held onto Katsuki, who moved a step away when the electric blond started to slip to the floor. “OH MY GOD!”

Meanwhile Karma was trying to slap Nagisa’s breath back to him when he wouldn’t stop coughing or laughing, AKA killing himself slowly. “RIO, HE’S ACTUALLY DYING THIS TIME!”

Rio came in with her Handy Dandy Backpack, unzipping it and taking out a waterbottle with Nagisa’s name on it before making the wheezing boy take a sip to calm himself.

Uraraka’s face was marked blood-red with wide, moon eyes taking up half her face. Tsu and Kirishima poked her cheeks before she toppled over and the two looked at each other. “Hide the body?”

Tsu nodded. “You read my mind, kero.” They both started carrying the gravity girl from her legs and arms away to the nearest chair. The adults were still chatting away and not paying attention to the children, which amused Tsu with the irony of it. They both started fanning Uraraka’s face, which was as hot as a furnace and she was muttering to herself incoherently. Megu was soon at their side, helping fan the girl while Maehara filmed the chaos that unfolded in the Hot Topic.


 

“Well, I’m never allowed in that Hot Topic ever again,” Kaminari mumbled as they walked the sidewalk toward the trampoline place. At least he was able to buy some pins.

“We were all banned from that Hot Topic, Kaminari,” Nagisa pointed out. He bought himself some slap bracelets that he shared with Izuku that they used to slap onto Karma’s horns when the other would distract him. Karma also bought him some chinese-styled hair bun covers based off some character called Chun Li? Whatever, it was meant for Ko and Roka whenever they needed to be kept in buns for whatever reason.

“Not us!” Isogai frowned. “I was in the bathroom, I wasn’t even anywhere near that scene! What even happened?”

Maehara nudged him. “Don’t worry, dude, I got it all on video.”

“How did that all start again?” Rio raised a brow. She was sporting three new pins on the straps of her backpack (she couldn’t fit anymore on the main bag).

“RoombaKn1fe broke up with BunMight99,” Kaede replied as if that explained it all. She had a bandana to match Izuku’s, but it was Team Valor themed.

Izuku sniffled, his head downcast, his previous bandana traded for a Team Mystic themed one. “We were Team Mm-mystic , K-kaede…”

Kaede smiled sweetly and knowingly as she pat his head. “I know. It’s okay, sweetie.”

“So, uh… I was wondering, you guys are dating… right?” Uraraka raised a brow, appearing almost sheepish.

“Oh, yeah! I guess we are, huh?” Kaede glanced at the freckled boy, who straightened up at the question.

“Hm, yeah, we’ve… dated, r-right?”

Kirishima raised a brow, turning back. “What? You don’t even know?”

Kaminari looked aghast at that. “Midoriya, dude, what the hell?! You don’t just ask that!”

Izuku just shrugged. The two groaned with an added Katsuki Groan behind them. Karma interjected between the two greenheads. “Not gonna lie, they kinda just happened.”

“What’dya mean, just happened?” Kaminari squinted an eye at that. “Damn, wish I got me a girl that just happened . Geez.”

Izuku shrugged again, quirking his lips to the side. This time Kaede copied him.

Maehara sighed longingly. "We all do, man. Me especially. Women just aren't into the exotic anymore, I guess."

Rio kicked him from behind. "No, they're just not into womanizing scumbags like you."

The ginger groaned with a loud whine at the end as he caught himself. "Whyyyyy... How come Izukun's never teased like this?"

Isogai pat his friend on the back. "Izuku's not a womanizing scumbag, man."

"Yuma, you traitor."

Nagisa grew a haunted expression then. “Izukun's done worse than womanize, though.”

They all stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to stare at him. Silent. Waiting for an explanation.

Without blinking, he continued with a dry voice. “He taught my dad how to dab.”

Izuku and Kaminari burst out laughing suddenly, with Izuku waving his hand at the other. “Nonono, wait, watch th’s, watch thi— HEY, TATSUMI-SAN!”

Nagisa’s dad’s head popped up from behind the group. Izuku dabbed.

Tatsumi dabbed right back.

Katsuki and Nagisa almost cried. (Katsuki and Izuku later learned that Tatsumi then taught not just one other mother how to dab, but both mothers and Toshinori. Izuku’s never cried harder in his life.)

When they got to the trampoline place, they were all delighted to learn there was trampoline dodgeball in one section of the building. Izuku, Katsuki, Karma, Kaede, Maehara, and Rio all glanced at each other with the subtle intent to kill while Kirishima looked on with innocent wonder, and they all filed to play the next round. Meanwhile Iida, Tsu, Kaminari, Uraraka, Isogai, Megu, Nagisa, and Itona were all satisfied to play a weird game of tag and hide-and-seek in the main trampoline and ball-pit. Nagisa had to keep his snakes in buns (he tried to find the irony in having to use the covers Karma bought him but found he couldn’t be bothered) just so they wouldn’t be jostled around this way and that whenever he bounced high.

The round of Trampoline Dodgeball began—the only rules being no headshots and no using quirks (yes, even most mutations (multiple limbs were okay for catching the balls or getting hit but no throwing them, only two designated hands at a time)). Karma, Katsuki, Kirishima, and Maehara were on one end while Izuku, Kaede, Rio, and Toshinori were on the other.

(Yeah, Toshinori was dragged in to play by the kids. He felt as though he would perhaps regret this decision.)

Katsuki grinned wildly at the opposing team, body lowered in a position that screamed athlete while they waited for the ref to start the game. “You nerds are going down.”

“Big talk for a dude who lost to a Flareon!” Kaede sneered.

Kirishima gaped at him. “You lost to a Flareon?”

“Yes, I lost to a FLAREON! Leave me alone!”

Karma shook his head as he tsk’d at the explosive teen. “You lettin’ a little girl trash talk you like that?”

Katsuki turned to him. “You be quiet, y- WE’RE ON THE SAME TEAM!”

The horned teen just shrugged nonchalantly. “Hey, sometimes I just can’t help myself.”

Izuku muttered to Rio, “Honestly, if-ff Karma doesn’t winn th’s, I’ll eat mm-my shoe.”

“Izukun, no…”

The whistle blew and both teams took off for the dodgeballs. Katsuki grabbed two of them and shot them like bullets at Izuku and Kaede, who squeaked when they just barely dodged them. Rio shot one that just barely passed by the ash blond’s face.

“HEY!”

Rio shrugged lamely before giving a laugh and jumping over another ball that flew right under her legs. It was pretty tight for the first five minutes. Toshinori almost got out several times but ended up getting Karma out (Izuku groaned, “United Ss-States of d-dammit…”). Izuku got out with a hit in the gut by Katsuki the moment before he got Kirishima out. Rio got Maehara out, then she got out by a hit to the knee by Katsuki as well.

Then it was just Katsuki and Kaede.

The final showdown.

This battle would decide the true victor of the Team Valor kids. It all depended on who would hit who with a red foam ball…

Kaede narrowed her eyes as the ref reset the arena, setting the balls in a line between them. Katsuki flexed his fingers while Kaede cracked her neck side to side.

“You know you only won ‘cause your Dragonite already wore out my Typhlosion.”

“Yeah? Maybe so, but I was still faster than you at using her third move.”

“Bullcrap. My Typhlosion should have easily destroyed your stupid Flareon with his High Jump Kick.”

“Too bad he didn’t, then, huh?”

Karma, Kirishima, and Maehara both went Oooohhhhh at the exchange. Toshinori gave Izuku a bewildered expression, breaking out into a sweat at all these foreign terms. Then the whistle blew and they charged at the balls before jumping back and going wild with the handfuls they managed to grab.

It was a tight match, each having their own amazing dodging styles—Izuku was kind of itching to write down his observations but was too enthralled in the match to move as they watched balls fly across the trampoline area and just narrowly miss one another.

And they were going hard . No punches were pulled, they were even aiming for their heads. Kirishima looked sick. Izuku was getting lightheaded. Children started crying behind them. Toshinori was hypnotized by the zipping and zooming the dodgeballs were doing—he didn’t even think either of them could catch the balls even if they tried.

Then finally a ball shot straight to Kaede’s lower stomach and a guttural cry of, “GOD, MY UTERUS!” was kicked from her as she doubled over.

It was silent.

Breaths were held in the suspense before finally, Kaede raised her hand holding the very ball Katsuki threw and she caught.

Cheers rang out, the children stopped crying, Izuku felt tears well up from his eyes and Katsuki screamed in pathetic defeat as he collapsed to the floor of the trampoline, facedown. “DAMMIT!!! NO!!”

Kaede ran to Izuku’s arms as she cheered, then turned around to laugh at Katsuki’s face as he walked out of the caged trampoline, a ghostly look in his eyes. “BOW TO YOUR QUEEN, PLEB!” she shouted.

Katsuki lifted his haunted gaze to her, a look of absolute rage, terror, and sincere loss before he closed his eyes and dipped his head. “You… You gave it… all you had… you didn’t hold back or pull any punches… and I respect that…”

Then he walked down the ramp to the adult’s table where he sat in defeat drinking a soda his mom bought.

Kaede, still in Izuku’s arms, blinked and Toshinori couldn’t help but give a half-hearted laugh that kiiiind of sounded somewhat terrified. His hands came down on both of their heads, though he was more gentle with Izuku. Cheerfully and with pure sincerity, the blond hero commended them saying, “Your generation absolutely terrifies me!”

From somewhere in the trampoline arcade, they heard Iida’s high pitched scream of terror.

Later they learned Uraraka, Megu, an Tsu teamed up to find Iida who had somehow convinced the ballpit attendant to allow him to hide against the inside wall of the ballpit while the three seekers attempted to find him.

Oh, they did.

Chapter Text

>>Group Chat: Blessed Be This Fam, 12:34pm

One Punch Boy: so like… are we gonna talk about this?

Etch-A-Sketch: lmao about what

Pants At A Distance: you can't just start a conversation all cryptid like th

Pants At A Distance: wait

Baseball Freak: rio

Pants At A Distance: don't look at me

Prince Poverty: … Anyway, what's this about again?

One Punch Boy: wait did sugino and rio just call me a cryptid

Poor Decision Making: did you really ask that

Jersey Devil: Izukun, the three of us spend our free time researching Mothman and you wanna question the fact you were called a cryptid?

Womanizing Scumbag: see at least Karma acknowledges the fact that he’s a cryptid

Jersey Devil: yeah but considering my homeroom teacher, I’m starting to reconsider my esteemed title

Tokyo Ghoul: ((((;゚Д゚))))))) Karma, REGRETTING something?!

Tokyo Ghoul: wow amazing

Cold Ramen: stop

Wario’s Motorcycle: Please Never. Use kaomojis again. Please.

Class Therapist: yeah, please don’t

Jersey Devil: :/ I hate admitting that I’m a little put on edge by that

Tokyo Ghoul: I live to unnerve and cause discomfort

Poor Decision Making: as a cryptid, i am thoroughly offended by that use of moji by a fellow cryptid

Knife on a Roomba: send pic

Pants At A Distance: send pic

Jersey Devil: pic or it didn’t happen

Knife on a Roomba: jinx!!

Tokyo Ghoul: pic or it didnt happen

Pants At A Distance: jinx

Tokyo Ghoul: jinx

Jersey Devil: jinx

Gender Snek: .

Wario’s Motorcycle: did i just witness a quadruple jinx on jinx on jinx on jinx

Specs(LOL): This needs to be in the Guinness World Records book.

Gender Snek: i’m amazed

Justice: WAIT

Justice: look at the timestamp, Karma sent exactly a second too late.

Justice: SCREENSHOT_hjfkj8ueu.JPEG

Justice: see? it’s not the same time as the other three—because the second hand hit 12 just before it sent, therefore it wasn’t a perfect jinx

Poor Decision Making: I’m disappointed you didn’t say “OBJECTION” instead of “wait”

Jersey Devil: smh

Bara Tigger: itona you’re disowned

Poor Decision Making: NO STOP

Tokyo Ghoul: never talk to me and my memes again

Justice: .

Justice: mother f

One Punch Boy: lol

One Punch Boy: ok anyway

Mistress Kanzaki: please continue Izukun!

Pants At A Distance: right right sorry, what was that, bunny?

One Punch Boy: :/

Knife on a Roomba: anyway, Izukun

One Punch Boy; Korosensei

Gender Snek: .

Poor Decision Making: .

Specs(LOL): .

Etch-A-Sketch: .

Pants At A Distance: is

Pants At A Distance: is this about the other day?

One Punch Boy: um, yea

Baseball Freak: ?

Prince Poverty: Can we get a recap bls

Knife on a Roomba: We want to visit Korosensei as a class

Dating Sim Protag: oh

2:43pm

One Punch Boy: guys, i just

One Punch Boy: can we seriously talk about this? Like for real

One Punch Boy: because every single one of us, including me, is avoiding this and i’m honestly getting pissed about it

Several people are typing…

Womanizing Scumbag: holy frick, uh

Prince Poverty: We should go see him

Mistress Kanzaki: I want to see him too…

Bara Tigger: why donmt you guys just freaking go? Why drag everyone into this? You can do w/e tf you want

Poor Decision Making: Why are you arguing?

Bara Tigger: wtf? I’m not arguing, I’m asking a freaking question, Itona. I’m pissed too, ok?

Pants At A Distance: oh my g, okstop, pause, pause pause pause

Baseball Freak: Please calm down

Fluffy Stag-Beetle: can we not argue? It’s upsetting.

Bara Tigger: look, I’m just saying not everyone is ready to see him yet.

Terminal Perv: I… kind of agree

Amazing Monkey: I do too…

Jersey Devil: ,

Knife on a Roomba: I’m not sure yet, but I’d like to go anyway

Tokyo Ghoul: I’d like to visit him,

Bara Tigger: half the class isn’t even here to vote on this, what are we even doing?

Poison Specs: I’m sorry everyone, I’m not sure what to do… ;(

Specs(LOL): That’s okay, Okuda. :(

Pixar’s Elastigirl: It’s okay, Okuda. You’re not alone on that.

Class Therapist: you’re allowed to not know yet, okay? We should all just take our time on this.

Gender Snek: it’s only been a month :/

One Punch Boy: i, i know. i just thought maybe we could ykno, use some closure?

One Punch Boy: i just

Several people are typing…

One Punch Boy: it still hurts?

One Punch Boy: im stry

Several people are typing…

Bara Tigger: youre not the only one still hurting izuku

Jersey Devil: hey, izuku dont apologize, it’s balid ok?

Jersey Devil: valid*

Jersey Devil: terasaka wtf?

Gender Snek: :(

Knife on a Roomba: Terasaka can you shut the hell up?

Prince Poverty: no no no izuku, it’s okay!

Pants At A Distance: He wasn’t saying he was the only one hurting Terasaka, oh my god

Bara Tigger: what the hell? I wasn’t saying he was! i’m just saying he’s not te only one!!

One Punch Boy: I KNOW IM NOT THEONLY ONE HURTING YOU FREAKING

One Punch Boy: IN JUST SAYING WE SHOULD VISIT KOROSENSEI AND IT FEELS ERONG TO GO ALONE WITHIUT THE CLAS

One Punch Boy: WHY CANT WE EVER JUST WOKR TOGETHRE WHY CANT WE JUST TRU AND HELP EACH OTHER OUT BECUASE WE’RE ALL HURYING DAMMIT

Wario’s Motorcycle: terasaka calm down bro?

Several people are typing…

Mushroom Director: what’s goijg on?oh

Jersey Devil: jesus,

Gender Snek: Izukun-

Knife on a Roomba: ohno, izukun izukun bb please calm down <:( oh my gosh, izuku i’m gonna call you ok

Pants At A Distance: inhales

Bara Tigger: I DIDNT SAY ANYTHING WRONG!? WHAT THE HELL!?

Moe Box: This is getting out of hand guys( ;  ; )

Prince Poverty: OKAY EVERYONE SHUT UP STOP TYPING

Several people are typing…

Terminal Perv: uh, no offence isogai but ur not class prez anymore?

Prince Poverty: excuse me? What the hell does that have to do with anything?

Womanizing Scumbag: uh, no offense okajima but shut the hell up?

Just Add Water: boys please, we just had a nice weekend, can we seriously not?

Bara Tigger: no, ykno whats? we’re gonna talk about this rn

Baseball Freak: you were literally just arguing about not being ready for this?

Bara Tigger: can people literally not change their minds, idiot?

Baseball Freak: i mean i guess so but can you be chill this time?

Class Therapist: can we be a bit more civil? Especially with izuku having a breakdown over there?

Just Add Water: okay everyone calm down, five minute cool down. No one text for five minutes, just breathe.

Bara Tigger: fine.

Baseball Freak: thank god

Prince Poverty: thank you, megu

Womanizing Scumbag: okay

Just Add Water: okay, good job everyone. Now, let’s continue, shall we? Izukun suggested going to visit Korosensei, so who’s ready and who needs more time? It’s okay to need more time.

Several people are typing…

Everyone but Izuku, Kaede, and Karma gave their voice on the matter, half saying they needed time and the other saying they wanted to visit Korosensei.

Prince Poverty: that’s everyone but three. Is Izuku still on call w Kaede?

Pants At A Distance: yea

Just Add Water: so that just leaves Karma

Class Therapist: Karma?

Jersey Devil: what?

Pixar’s Elastigirl: we need your vote on visiting Korosensei

Jersey Devil: I don’t know.

Pants At A Distance: are you not ready?

Jersey Devil: I don’t know.

Gender Snek: it’s okay not to be ready, karma :<

Jersey Devil: look i just

Jersey Devil: i dont know okay? I dont know i dont know i dont know i dont know just just just

Jersey Devil: please just

Gender Snek: Karma are you okay?

Jersey Devil: just

Jersey Devil: .

Jersey Devil: i cant do this

>>Jersey Devil has left the group: Blessed Be This Fam, 3:56pm

Gender Snek: .

Prince Poverty: oh

One Punch Boy: karma?

Knife on a Roomba: oh no

Poor Decision Making: is. What.

Pants At A Distance: is someone gonna get that?

One Punch Boy: Wait, why did Karma leave?

Womanizing Scumbag: He just. Lost it? Hey, are you ok Izukun?

One Punch Boy: yea, I’m fine

One Punch Boy: i’m sorry for all that drama, i’m just tired now

One Punch Boy: i’m sorry for blowing up on you terasaka :/

Bara Tigger: its w/e

Bara Tigger: I guess im sorry too but w/e

Gender Snek: I should go check on Karma

One Punch Man: maybe me too

Knife on a Roomba: izukun you just had an emotional breakdown, just rest okay? Let nagisa take care of this

One Punch Man: hhhhhhhhhhhhok foine

Gender Snek: brb

>>Jersey Devil, 4:16pm

Gender Snek: hey, just wanted to see if you’re okay :( I know things are stressful and that stuff about Korosensei wasn’t helping. I’m sorry if we pushed you too hard, but please know that I’m still here for you. All of us are. So if you ever want to talk, please don’t hesitate to talk to us okay?

Jersey Devil: i’m not upset at you guys, nagisa

Jersey Devil: im sorry, i just

Jersey Devil: i dont know what im doing nagisa

Gender Snek: what do you mean?

Jersey Devil: we freaking killed a guy, nagisa

Jersey Devil: and got paid for it

Jersey Devil: that’s the worst part, we got paid to kill our teacher who’s done nothing but support and help us and we killed him

Gender Snek: i, i know, but if we didn’t do it, he would have died anyway an d he didnt want to die like thatykno?

Jersey Devil: i just dont. get it.

Jersey Devil: I used to despise teachers, just adults in general are so hypocritical and they cherry pick their own favorites. They were nothing to me, and then HE comes along and flips my wjole world?? I dont know how to take yhat, i rlly dont .

Gender Snek: i know :( i think we’re all still really confused about this all, but at least we all still have each other though?

Jersey Devil: cut it with that crap, nagisa, we’re not the same end class like last year

Gender Snek: <:?

Jersey Devil: you saw how terasaka and okajima just nailed izuku and isogai

Jersey Devil: we’re dividing. No one texts unless izuku or i text first, you ever nitice that?

Jersey Devil: notice*

Gender Snek is typing…

Jersey Devil: im just struggling ok?

Gender Snek: i know :( i’m sorry Karma

Jersey Devil: i don’t know how to deal with this anymore nagisa

Jersey Devil: what im doing is so useless at this point

Jersey Devil: what the hell is a business student going to do to the world besides scam people out of their money somehow

Gender Snek: i thought you wanted to get into the politics course next year?

Jersey Devil: I dont know anymore man

Jersey Devil: im just confused right now, just give me time i guess

Gender Snek: that’s okay, karma :( i think we’re all a bit confused

Jersey Devil: yeah

Gender Snek: are you still taking those grief counseling sessions?

Jersey Devil: yeah

Gender Snek: are they helping?

Jersey Devil: i dont know,

Gender Snek: ?

Jersey Devil: i’ve missed the past two meetings

Jersey Devil: busy and stuff ykn

Gender Snek: understandable

Jersey Devil: … Izuku almost died this week?

Jersey Devil: like, i almost lost one of my best friends again :)

Jersey Devil: how am i supposed to deal with that? :)

Gender Snek: i, i dont know :( i’m so sorry

Jersey Devil: it’s not your fault

Jersey Devil: it’s not your fault ur a frikin villain magnet, you and izuku gdi

Gender Snek: i know

Gender Snek: i blame izuku’s magic hidden bad luck quirk

Gender Snek: (:

Jersey Devil: i was frking joking can i live bls

Gender Snek: no

Gender Snek: take it up w izukun (:

Jersey Devil: why did izuku just text me crying about his bad luck quirk

Jersey Devil: n a g i s a

Gender Snek: gtg gotta feed the sneks

Jersey Devil: THEYRE CONNECTED TO YOUR FACE

Gender Snek: SORRY CAN T HEAR YOU OVER THE FROZEN MICE FETUSES BEING SLOWLY EATEN

Jersey Devil: i hate this, i hate this, this is the worst thing to ever happen to me, i cant believe this

Gender Snek: ;*

Jersey Devil: thats it, im shoving a mop down your throat

Jersey Devil: ill be there in 10

Gender Snek: you live 30 mins away

Jersey Devil: SPEED WALKING, BISH

Gender Snek: screams


 

Nagisa got tired of playing on the trampolines just a while ago. He sat at a table by the mini food court the building had, between the main trampolines and the trampoline dodgeball cage. The dodgeball match was still going on, albeit with threats and shouts thrown about to each other as balls flew.

Sighing, he leaned against his hand, elbow on the table, and took a slurp from his soda. Ko and Roka then tried to push themselves out of the bun covers Nagisa had, and the boy jumped before quickly uncovering them.

“Oh, I’m sorry, guys,” he muttered, letting them stretch their spines from his head before they both plopped their heads on his shoulders. The blue-haired teen chuckled as he pat their heads gently and returned to mindlessly staring at the world around him.

“Got tired, kero?” came the voice of Tsu as she and Itona approached the table, their own drinks in their hands.

Nagisa smiled tiredly and nodded. “Yeah. Aren’t you guys playing hide-and-seek?”

“Uraraka caught us both,” Tsu shrugged. “We know where Kaminari and Iida are already.”

“We wanted to see Kaminari struggle,” Itona added, taking a sip from his soda.

“Is that diet?” Nagisa narrowed his eyes at the white-haired boy who nodded. “... Why?”

“I like to see people struggle when I tell them I like how it tastes.”

Tsu gave him an odd look.

Itona nodded, pointing at her. “Just like that.”

Nagisa nodded sagely. “Fair enough. Where is Kaminari hiding?”

“Between the wall and the claw machine. Two employees have walked by and neither have spotted him yet.”

“I think he’s going to hurt himself like that, kero.”

Itona shrugged.

Tsu hummed and leaned on her hands, turning her attention to Nagisa. “You look upset, kero.”

“What?” Nagisa perked up, alarmed. “No, I’m not.”

“Are you sure?” Tsu cocked her head. “You get a distant look in your eyes sometimes, kero.”

Itona’s gaze slid into Nagisa’s and they locked to each other. Itona’s stare appeared concerned and almost prying , as if saying, “ she’s right ,” while Nagisa seemed unsettled and caught.

Sighing, Nagisa leaned his cheek on his hand, almost slumping over the round table. “It’s nothing, really.”

Tsu furrowed her brows. “Nagisa, it’s not ‘nothing’ if it’s upsetting you, kero.”

Nagisa’s eyes flashed to her, feeling the stubborn fight drain from him and he sighed again. He turned his head to the dodgeball match still going on in the cage. He spotted the red of Karma’s horns and the green of Izuku’s hair then turned away.

The feeling of rotten remains manifested in his gut, gross and swampy and guilty. He looked back to his hands on his lap. His teeth hurt from clenching.

Karma and Izuku have always been close, he supposed. Ever since they met in E class. They had a lot in common at the time. They both hung out around each other more than Nagisa did and he… that… didn’t settle well inside him.

The gross feeling in him changed. It hollowed out and turned black and murky. Empty.

He recognized that feeling.

Loneliness.

Nagisa blinked at the soda cup, lowering his hand from his face and wrapping it around the cup and slumping over his other arm on the table.

He’s known Karma for years. They were best friends. They’d spend nights at Karma’s house just watching crap cartoons and movies, talking about heroes and villains, and deeper things like their lives. And when they broke off suddenly in 8th grade, that’s… Nagisa and Karma just never had the same relationship again, did they?

“Nagisa?” Tsuyu tilted her head.

And no, Nagisa was not jealous.

He heard the shrill scream of Iida being caught by the girls in the ball-pit.

No, he was just lonely.


 

Izuku still had a headband around his hair coming to school. He left the little group he had accumulated as friends before class to see Recovery Girl, then came back with his wrist brace off and replaced with a sports wrap to keep it somewhat braced and still. She felt his ribs and lung were coming along nicely enough not to heal them up, so after removing the stitches on his left eyebrow, she sent him off to class before the first bell with a clean bill of health and a gap in his brow, now divided by a jagged scar just above his eyelid leading into his hairline. Not that anyone could see it—his stupidly long bangs nearly covered his eyes anyway.

When he entered class, Kaminari quickly waved him over. “Yo! Midoriya! You took pics from Saturday, right?!”

“Oh- uh, yeah,” Izuku nodded as he headed over to the blond’s table, taking his phone out and opening his photos app. Hagakure, Ashido, Kirishima, and Sero were around Kaminari’s desk, ready to see the photos apparently. The greenhead put the phone on the table for his classmates to see while he set his things down at his desk.

“Thanks man! Yo, see, lookit,” Kaminari started scrolling through the photos. “That’s the girl who destroyed Bakugou in Pokemon! She beat him in dodgeball too!”

At that, Katsuki sat straight and made his way to the crowded table, fuming. “What, are you bragging for her?! What the hell?!”

“Holy crap, I didn’t think Bakugou was even physically capable of losing to anything,” Sero commented, ignoring the ash blond.

“Excuse me?! Gimme that, no more freaking phones for you morons.” The explosive teen reached for the phone on the desk, just about ready to nuke it back to Izuku, who had crowded in the corner with Uraraka, Iida, Tsuyu, and Nagisa. They were watching the commotion with cheeky grins, sans Iida who twitched uncomfortably at the fact that no one was in their seats and class was about to begin. Hagakure swiped the phone up before Katsuki could get to it, however.

“Wait a moment,” she pulled the phone closer to her face, humming and if her posture gave any notion, she even appeared to be deep in thought. “This girl… I know her face from somewhere…”

Izuku’s cheeky grin turned impossibly smug as his friends moved closer to the desks. Everyone’s attention was on the invisible girl as her humming intensified with the struggle to remember.

Then, with a snap of her fingers, she dropped the phone onto Kaminari’s desk and clapped her hands, a dramatic gasp leaving her. “HARUNA MASE!” she screeched. “Ohmigosh, that’s Haruna Mase! Do you guys- are yo- ohmigosh, you guys seriously just spent a day with HARUNA MASE without knowing?!”

Kaminari and Uraraka blinked wildly, the room quiet for a long moment before Uraraka, Kirishima, and Ashido all turned to Izuku and Nagisa. “YOU’RE FRIENDS WITH HARUNA MASE?!”

“Wait, wait, wait, who’s Haruna Mase?” Kaminari raised a brow in confusion. Ashido looked just about ready to slap the boy and soon Jirou and Shouji turned around to join the conversation too.

Sero frowned. “I should slap you for that.”

“You seriously don’t know who Haruna Mase is?” Jirou smirked with a raised brow.

Shouji just shook his head shamefully at Kaminari, and the blond scoffed, offended, “What?!”

Their local pink-skinned girl started waving her arms around dramatically. “She’s like, one of the biggest teen stars out there! She’s huge in sitcoms on sooo many different channels, and she’s even been in a ton of movies too!”

“She’s one of the most mysterious celebrities, you know,” Jirou added. “No one even knows what her quirk is!”

Uraraka nodded. “That’s right! Didn’t she go on hiatus like, two years ago, though? She hasn’t appeared in any new episodes or shows for a long while, huh?”

Hagakure shoved her own phone in the boy’s face, a photo of Haruna Mase at a photoshoot pulled up on google images displayed on the screen. “See! Compare their faces!”

Kaminari squinted before lifting Izuku’s phone next to it, his eyes dodging between the two images. A moment passed before his face grew pale and he turned to Katsuki.

“Dude, you got your freaking butt handed to you by an actress.”

Katsuki just stared at him with an expression that suggested his soul had shriveled up and turned to dust. Then he shot Izuku that same look. “You knew. You knew didn’t you.”

Izuku looked around innocently before pointing to himself as he turned his wide, innocent eyes to the ash blond. “Who, me?”

“YES YOU! OH MY GOD, FREAKING—IZUKU?!”

The boy laughed and hid behind Iida teasingly. “I d-dunno what you’re t-talkin’ abou’!”

Katsuki let out a frustration roar and set off a blast from his fists before Kirishima and Kaminari shoved him aside and gave Izuku incredulous looks. “You’re dating Haruna Mase?!”

It was the girls’ turn to screech in astonishment, echoing the two boys and slamming their hands onto their desks as they stood up. “WHAT?! YOU’RE DATING HARUNA MASE?!”

Nagisa couldn’t help but laugh at the whole exchange, then he glanced at Iida and Uraraka and it looked like their brains actually had an .EXE crash and they were trying to reboot themselves.

He almost burst into hysterics at the sight, but miraculously kept his composure with a deep breath in through his nose. Izuku stuck his head out from behind Iida and nodded smugly while admiring his nails. “Yep.”

Sero let out a whistle. “Damn. Green Bean’s got more game than all of us, what the hell?”

“How could you not tell us that?!” Kaminari stood up and took the boy by the shoulders, looking about ready to shake him. Then he was surrounded by the girls.

“Ohmigosh, you HAVE to ask her for some signatures for us!”

“Midori, can you let me meet her?!”

“I want a photo with her!!”

Izuku stared wide-eyed at the girls and guy crowding in his face, trying to collect himself before Nagisa intercepted. “Whoa! Calm down, guys! One at a time, okay?”

The girls pouted and Ashido crossed her arms. “Fine, fine…”

Then Jirou leaned in. “Hey, what’s her quirk?”

“Jirou! You can’t just ask that?” Uraraka snapped out of her stupor to gently chastise the girl before appearing thoughtful. “Come to think of it, we never did ask that day… and she never used a quirk, right?”

Tsuyu popped out from behind her with a thought of her own. “I’ve read some theories that Haruna’s actually quirkless, kero. Is that true, Midoriya?”

The freckled boy held another cheeky and sly expression, practically boiling over with smugness as he nodded. “Yep! Totally qu-quirkl’ss.”

Katsuki’s mouth dropped open. Then he sat down on the floor next to his desk.

Kirishima and Kaminari kept their hands over their mouths.

Nagisa grinned and Iida’s expression remained the same as an ‘Iida.EXE has Crashed’ program. Then Kaminari crouched down next to Katsuki, a look on his face that said he was going to tease the boy and then possibly die immediately. “How’s it feel to know a quirkless actress destroyed you in both Pokemon Go and trampoline dodgeball?”

Katsuki shoved his face into the tile floor.


 

There was a stunned silence when a seemingly mummified Aizawa walked into class after Iida ushered everyone to their seats. A trail of blood dripped from Kaminari’s nose that was mostly ignored by everyone.

“Sensei?! You still came?!”

“He looks like a mummy!”

“Dude, that’s so metal.”

“Oh my god, he lost his face.”

“Are you alright, Sensei?!”

Aizawa took his seat and cleared his throat. His voice came out muffled in response, “My well-being isn’t important, because your fight is far from over.”

A chill ran through the students and they broke out in murmurs of fright. Nagisa gave Izuku a sideways glance.

“F… Fight?” Nagisa prompted, uncertainty edged in his voice.

“Don’t tell me…” Kaminari squinted.

Aizawa opened his eyes to the class. “The UA Sports Festival is very soon.”

“WHAT?!”

“THAT’S SO NORMAL?!”

Nagisa squirmed in his seat. There was a brief moment of silence. Then Aizawa turned to Kaminari. “Kaminari. Go see Recovery Girl for your nose, now.”

“Yes, Sensei…”


 

The class was spent discussing the Sports Festival. It was Japan’s most awaited event and absolutely could not be cancelled just because of some villains, which frightened Nagisa a bit but he didn’t let it show. He wasn’t that big into news and events as Izuku was, but he’s heard a bit of it already. The sports festival is a great entry way into a hero career, allowing students to show off what they’ve got and intern with different hero agencies which could lead to them possibly becoming a sidekick in the future! It was awesome to think of the possibilities.

It was interesting to see a new side of Uraraka as well. It kind of made him think of Kaede, and how pumped she could get sometimes. Nagisa felt fond of the thought. Just as class was dismissed, Aizawa called to the two End Class graduates.

“Nagisa, Midoriya, a moment please?”

They traded glances between each other, Nagisa’s calm expression not even hinting at the troubled feeling he held in his chest while Izuku’s scarred brow folded together with the other. They waved at their friends to go on without them, that they’d catch up in a moment before approaching their homeroom teacher’s desk. When the last student filed out and slid the door shut, Aizawa closed his eyes and sighed before turning his gaze to the green-haired boy.

“Midoriya, I heard you were also injured by the Noumu last week. How are you now?”

“Oh, um,” Izuku instantly started fiddling with his hands, trapping his fingers together before they raised to push his hair behind his left ear. “I-I’m ff-fine. Just, um… Jus’ ss-some brrrr-eathin’ problems… Still.”

“Your lungs were injured, then. I see. Will you be fine for the Sports Festival in the next two weeks?”

Izuku nodded wordlessly, the determination in his eyes speaking for him very clearly. I’m ready.

Aizawa nodded solemnly before redirecting his attention to his snake-haired student. “And you, Nagisa—you weren’t injured at all, I heard?”

The boy shook his head. “No sir. Just some scratches that healed up just fine.”

“Very well. You two seem to be faring just fine then.”

“Um, sir, what was it you wanted to talk about?” Icy blue eyes narrowed just barely with furrowed brows, his snakes tilting their heads curiously.

Aizawa gestured to the file on his desk. “I know you both have gone through with questioning already by the detective, but some new information has come to light with the help of Shotlock and his sidekick. Detective Tsukauchi has dug around to past files and found some interesting items that Shotlock mentioned you both might know more about.”

The two glanced at each other, Izuku’s expression growing white with knowing fear before the shorter of the two reached for the file and opened it facing themselves.

There were photos of different things. Spreading them out, there was a photo of Shiro, smiling just slightly as if taking a picture for an ID card or something. He was without that machine over his left eye and… he looked normal. The paper attached said ‘Yanagisawa Kotaro.’

Izuku looked sick. “Ss-sensei, what…”

“This is Yanagisawa Kotaro, or ‘Shiro’ as you knew him last year,” Aizawa explained. Okay. They knew that. “What wasn’t written on your files, Shotlock and All Might filled in. We have reason to believe he was associated with that League of Villains that attacked us before his death.”

“I… do reco-um, rr-recognize their, um…” Izuku trailed off as he placed his hand on his chin. His troubled expression grew darker and he swallowed. “...warp gate.”

Aizawa hummed with a slight nod before gesturing for the other photos. Nagisa shuffled them around, pulling out images of white rooms filled with what looked like needles and other instruments like it, including tanks, tables, cages, and other photos of young people their age, either beaten and bruised or dead. One of the photos was of a younger girl he recognized but it seemed to be an older image because she had a fang-toothed grin that wasn’t deranged and she was unharmed, unlike the others. Each image had an info page attached below, their names and ages displayed. At the end of them was some blurred images of Kurogiri’s warp gate with a blank page attached to the top. Furrowing his brows, Nagisa glanced at their teacher. “Sensei, what is all this?”

“You’re both aware of the epidemic three years ago?”

Nagisa’s hard stare softened into confusion. “You mean…”

“Three years ago, there was a serial kidnapper that struck Tokyo and all its prefectures, including our district. It lasted for about a year and only involved young boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 18. All of them were quirkless. Only three of those children were ever recovered and returned to their families alive.”

Aizawa’s cast gestured to three photos. An older girl with long gray hair and a black eye. A boy with dirty, dark hair and bruises lacing his face; his curly hair covered his eyes. Another older dark-skinned boy with short peach-colored hair and lighter freckles, a thin, jagged scar trailed from his right jawline to his left temple. They could only see the full name attached to the girl and the given name of the last boy, ‘Orchid Lin’ and ‘Tobiko.’ Izuku frowned and started breathing hard through his nose. Aizawa kept his eyes on him before moving on and sliding the old photo of the blonde girl out.

“While the bodies of the others who didn’t make it were found, there’s one missing.”

There was silence.

Aizawa studied their tight-lipped expressions with dull interest before closing his eyes. “But that’s for the detective to talk with you about. What I’m here to talk about is this.”

He slipped out the photos of Kurogiri’s warp gate. Under it were several others of the same nature.

“The security cameras of this facility had footage of this villain warping several faculty members and children to and from the building. One of the children he had warped away was this girl.”

“You think we might have seen them last year,” Nagisa breathed.

“Yes. And seeing as you two were there personally, any information on this villain and anyone else you might have recognized is vital for this case. Not only for finding the League’s base, but also in finding this girl.” His stare was piercing.

Nagisa looked at Izuku, who looked very close to throwing up his breakfast. He turned back to Aizawa with an unnerved expression in his eyes. “S-sensei, we’ll tell you. It’s just…”

The Pro shook his head gently. “I won’t need to hear it now. I know it was very traumatic. The detective and all those involved in the case are currently interviewing the other students from last year’s class. We have all the information regarding your teacher from Shotlock, All Might and Enchantress as well as whatever we found in that facility. What we need to know is all that you might remember involving the actual creation and killing of Korosensei. Personal accounts.”  

He started to move the photos back into the folder slowly.

“We’ll schedule a questioning with the Detective sometime after the sports festival. This is just what you should be expecting. You’re free to go.”

They nodded to their teacher.

“Thank you, Sensei,” Nagisa said and the raven nodded back before they headed toward the door. They heard footsteps quickly leaving outside.

“And,” Aizawa cleared his throat, drawing their attention one last time. “I meant it when I said you can talk to me if something is bothering you. If there is anything you need to tell me as Aizawa, your teacher, do not hesitate to let me know.”

He locked eyes with Izuku, whose gaze flicked away nervously for a moment before nodding and meeting eyes again, this time with a smile. “Th-thank you…”

In that moment, a knock sounded at the door and All Might in all his heroic glory peaked his head in. “Oh, er, I hope I’m not interrupting anything. I just needed these two for a moment.”

“No, we were just finishing,” Aizawa shook his head, standing up after closing the file folder shut with two clips and dispensing it in his desk drawer. “They’re all yours, whatever it is you need them for. Now, if you’ll excuse me.” He limped past the three and headed toward Recovery Girl’s office. Probably to nap in silence and comfort.

Izuku swallowed the seed of worry down his throat before smiling to his hero who was holding a blue bento in his hand.

“You needed us, All Might?” Nagisa smiled softly.

All Might smiled and gestured to follow him.


 

“I wonder what Aizawa-sensei needed Nagisa and Izukun for,” Uraraka pondered as they walked toward the cafeteria.

Kirishima, Kaminari, and Tsuyu walked with them. Tsuyu hummed. “Probably to ask them about the USJ attack. Midoriya was hurt really bad.”

“That’s right,” Kirishima nodded.

“And he’s got a sick scar now, y’noticed?” Kaminari pointed to his eyebrow with a grin, turning to the redhead. “Hey, you guys are twins now! Only, like, opposite. Or something.”

This got Kirishima looking rather excited as he touched his own scar. “Dude, seriously?! I didn’t even notice!”

“His bangs are long,” Tsuyu commented. “They were probably covering most of it. But I noticed it as well.”

“Midoriya had them stitched this weekend,” Iida hummed.

Kirishima paused and glanced around. “Hey, where’d Bakugou go? Wasn’t he right behind us?”

Uraraka and Iida looked behind them to see no one there. “Huh, maybe he needed the bathroom or something,” the brunette shrugged. “Whatever, let’s get to lunch! He can meet us there.”

They were about to turn the corner before All Might peaked his head around, spooking the students a bit. “Oh! Kids, hello, er…” he squinted as he scanned the little group. “Are Young Midoriya or Young Nagisa not with you all?”

“Aizawa-sensei called them both after class to talk to them,” Iida explained. “Is there something the matter, sensei?”

“Not a thing, Young Iida!” he loudly exclaimed with a straightened back and a cheery face. “Just some school things, nothing to concern yourselves with! Now, er, hurry on over to the cafeteria! I hear Lunchrush is making a special meal today.” He had leaned in to whisper the last bit and instantly Kaminari and Kirishima were pushing each other in their race to the lunch room. All Might called to them, “Er—No running in the halls, kids!”

He was ignored. With a sigh, the Pro nodded to the remaining friends before making his way back toward class 1-A.

Tsuyu pressed her finger to her chin. “Both Aizawa-sensei and All Might-sensei wanted to speak to them. How strange, kero.”

“Yes, it is rather odd…” Iida mused as they began walking again.

“You know, Izukun and Nagisa both strike me as so mysterious,” Uraraka hummed. She sighed happily, then frowned. Tsuyu put her finger to her chin in thought.


 

All Might thought nothing of it when he saw Young Bakugou pass him from class 1-A, a rather peculiarly haunted look on his face. He was mostly focused on seeing Young Nagisa and Young Izuku. He felt somewhat surprised to see them talking with Aizawa when he knocked, and the tension in the air was almost palpable. However seeing the raven close the folder on his desk and file it away, it clicked and he feigned ignorance for the moment until they were in the Teacher’s Lounge.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t speak with you about last week this weekend,” Toshinori started when they sat down by the coffee table in the Teacher’s Lounge. He started up the tea maker.

“It’s alright, Toshinori-san,” Nagisa smiled. “We understand. There were a lot of people with us.”

“An’ out in, um, public,” Izuku added.

Toshinori nodded. “Yes, well. Still, I should have checked up on you both regardless. Young Izuku, how are your injuries?”

“Ff-fine,” Izuku shrugged. “Recovery Girl t-told me to, um… uh… keep my, mmm… breathing… exercises up.”

“And have you?”

Izuku nodded with a small smile of pride. Toshinori smiled back.

“All Might,” Nagisa started. “What about you? You were injured too, weren’t you?”

Izuku gave him a wide-eyed glance. “Wha’?”

Toshinori waved them off. “All healed up and fixed! No need to worry about me, kids. What I wanted to talk about was the Sports Festival. It won’t be like last year’s festival.”

They nodded.

“These two weeks, I expect you both to be doing your best to train for it. And don’t only rely on your quirks for this event. The heroes scouting you all are looking for skills as well as quirk usage. Know when and how to use your quirks. Korosensei taught you this,” Toshinori raised a finger with a hard stare to his students, who nodded with determination lighting up their eyes. He turned to Izuku, sliding two tea cups to them both. “Young Izuku, how are you with One for All?”

Izuku hummed as he reached for his tea cup. “Umm… Still a ss-struggle,” he admitted. He remembered when he grabbed for Shigaraki’s arm, how he let go of control because he wasn’t focusing on that. He was focusing on keeping Tsuyu safe, even if that meant a burst in his rage-o-meter and a spike in bloodlust to do it. And… a dip in his control of One for All, too, and—okay, he totally destroyed his arm, but at least Tsuyu was safe!

Toshinori hummed, his hand on his chin. “I see… But you’ve used it successfully before. What was different?”

Izuku took a moment to think, mimicking Toshinori in his thoughtful pose. “Uh… It… It kinda feels l-like, um… bal… balancing.”

“Balancing?”

“Hmhm, like, um… on a t-tightrope. Tryin’ nn-not to go, um, overboard, but keep in… in control,” Izuku was slow in explaining but they were patient. He thought of how he broke his bones while saving Uraraka from the Zero Pointer—how his emotions were so erratic at the time, but he was fine during the Quirk Assessment. He lost control of it again when he broke Shigaraki’s wrist. That’s when he was enraged and let his bloodlust take over.

Toshinori hummed again in thought. Izuku paused a moment. Oh, he spoke out loud. “I see. It seems to work with your emotions then. The calmer you are, the easier to control, am I right?” Toshinori raised a brow and smiled when Izuku nodded after contemplating it. Then he turned to Nagisa. “And what of you, Young Nagisa?”

The blue haired boy perked up from his tea. “Uh—my quirk?”

“Yes, how are you with your quirk? Any drawbacks, things I can help with?” he prompted. His expression grew soft. “You are just as much of my student as Young Izuku is, my boy. It’s still my job to look over you. All of you.”

Nagisa gawked, a bit baffled at the older hero before growing a tad sheepish. “Oh, well, um… I guess I’m still not used to using my quirk very often. No drawbacks still, but my eyes do get a bit watery when I use it without smiling? Not dry, but like… when there’s wind blowing in your face and you’re not using sunglasses? Or your eyes are open? It feels kind of like that, but without the… wind.”

“I understand. You didn’t grow up using your quirk, right?”

Nagisa nodded.

“Right… Hmm… Well, my suggestion would be to train up with it. I know you haven’t had much time to practice with it, and you’d need someone else to train with you. How about this week after school, we train together? Both of you. How does that sound?” The blond smiled, glancing at both of his students who nodded vigorously. He laughed heartily. “Wonderful. Then it’s decided. I’ll let you know the time and place.”

“Okay.”

“Kids…” His face grew solemn. “Before Korosensei passed away, you both made the decision to follow the footsteps of a hero. You both have the markings for greatness, the true heart of a hero. The Sports Festival is a widely viewed event, seen by everyone in Japan. You both are the next generations of heroes. When you step foot onto that field, I need you to tell the world ‘I AM HERE’!

Yes, they’d need to show the world who they are. Where they came from. What they stand for. Sure, Izuku’s the one who inherited One For All, but in this world of heroes and villains, all heroes should carry the vow to bring peace.

And dammit if Nagisa and Izuku didn’t want to bring smiles to the people, and bring them peace and safety.

They had a lot to think about.


 

The next day their classroom door was blocked by a horde of other students, chattering amongst themselves loudly. Izuku squirmed behind Iida, feeling like an animal in a cage being watched by people on the outside. It wasn’t a nice feeling. He caught Katsuki’s side glance before it was cut off and the explosive teen approached those at the door with a scowl drawn on his face.

Uraraka grimaced away, unnerved, “Whaaat’s going ooooon?”

“They’re scouting the competition,” Katsuki dully explained, shooting the first kid outside the doorway a death glare. “We’re the kids who survived a villain attack, right? Makes sense they’d want to check us out before the Sports Festival.” He scoffed and grinned wickedly then. “No point though. Move aside, extras .”

Iida sounded aghast, looking at the ash blond as if he was personally offended by the comment. “Can we please not address people we don’t know as ‘ extras ’?!”

Nagisa, unamused, rolled his eyes to the side as if he was looking at a camera on The Office.

Then a very familiar voice, dull and full of disinterest, spoke up from the back of the crowd, “Gee, and here I thought class 1-A would’ve had a bit of humility after such a traumatic event. Guess that was just wishful thinking, huh?”

Nagisa squinted, trying to attach a name to the voice. Then it struck him, and he gaped— Oh. No way. No way! What are the chances?!

Shinsou maneuvered himself through the thick crowd, appearing at the forefront with a nonchalant posture, his hands nestled in his pockets. “Are all hero course students like this one? That’d be unfortunate if that were true, seeing as they might choose to transfer some of us to the Hero Course after the Sports Festival. I’d hate to be mixed in with arrogant kids like you—then again, I understand the reverse is possible for you all, if you score so poorly in the festival.”

Katsuki growled—he struck a nerve, apparently.

Nagisa moved himself in front of Katsuki, blocking Shinsou’s route further into class 1-A. “It’s you!”

Shinsou blinked his eyes wide, instantly recognizing the boy—only he had two snakes take the place of his pigtails and seemed significantly more confident and not as feminine as when he last saw him. He blinked a few more times. “Oh, hey.”

Uraraka and Iida almost threw themselves to the ground at that simple response. “‘ Oh, hey ’?! Is that all you can say?!”

“Nagisa, you know him?” Iida moved forward after recomposing himself, leaving Izuku to take refuge behind Shouji instead—who didn’t seem to mind in the slightest. He was already shielding Kouda. They had a moment of solidarity.

“We met last year,” Nagisa explained quickly, then crossed his arms and gave the purple haired boy a smile before it turned into a stern stare. He felt a bubble of frustration float up. “I didn’t know you would apply to UA! I’m glad, but please don’t talk smack about my classmate when you don’t even know him, and you—” he spun around and pointing an threatening finger at Katsuki. “Don’t talk smack about these people you don’t even know either! And you guys—” He spun again, pointing at the crowd this time. “Please leave us alone! We’re hungry and just want some lunch!”

“Uh, yeah, we’re not jerks or anything, sooooo...” Kirishima approached with his hands half-raised in a we mean no harm sort of way. “And I really don’t want to starve today, so can we leave?”

Satou looked away sheepishly and shrugged, muttering, “I mean, I brought my own food, so I won’t exactly starve here.”

Kirishima turned to him. “Will you share?”

“Will you pay me?”

“Nevermind.”

Kaminari stood himself next to Kirishima as he pointed his thumb at Katsuki. “Yeah! And don’t pay this guy any attention, he’s just pissed a girl beat him in— hmffphh?!” Katsuki slammed his hand into his mouth, pushing him to the ground.

“I THOUGHT I TOLD YOU NOT TO BRING THAT UP AGAIN!”

Nagisa and Kirishima shook their heads in dismay.

Shinsou scoffed with a shrug of his shoulders. Then he gave Nagisa a stare as if he was looking down on him, smiling smugly. “If that’s how you feel, then take the Festival as your chance to prove me wrong. I do hope you’ve kept that one goal in mind since last year, Nagisa. I’ll be seeing you.”

With that, he turned and left.

Katsuki huffed then grit his teeth. “Whatever!” he shouted and charged at the crowd to push his way through.

“Dude, what are you doing?!” Kirishima dragged his hands down his face. “We have a mob of haters now, thanks to you!!”

“I can’t believe it. This dude just won us a bunch of enemies, that’s all he won us,” Kaminari held his hands flat together in front of his face, appearing to be praying. “The whole school’s gonna kill us because of him. I wouldn’t be surprised if even business course got on our tails. We’re screwed! Absolutely screwed!”

“Kaminari,” Tsuyu hopped in. “Not to be rude, but you’re being overdramatic.”

“THE DUDE JUST SASSED AN ENTIRE STUDENT BODY AT OUR DOOR! Look, that guy over there even has a torch!”

A distant response came of, “That’s just my hair.”

“Oh. Sorry, bro!”

“No worries. Happens all the time.”

Nagisa gave the wall a hard stare, hoping it would suck the soul of out his body already. I really bet it doesn’t.


 

After enough commotion was made by the crowd, finally some of the teachers got involved, namely Business Guy and Present Mic when they were passing by. They shooed the crowd away like a flock of birds, Business Guy using a wave of money currency to wash the kids down toward the cafeteria with Present Mic threatening to blast them if they didn’t get going.

To say Class 1-A felt beyond grateful for the intervention would be an understatement. They were about ready to steal whatever lunch Satou had brought before they were finally released from their prison of a classroom.

Uraraka let out an enormous sigh as they walked toward the lunchroom, her body drooping down. “Geez Louise, I thought we’d have to skip lunch altogether!”

“I was honestly getting a bit pissed,” Nagisa casually commented, earning him an odd look from Izuku, Tsuyu, Iida, and Kirishima. He blinked, noticing the stares before raising a brow. “What? It’s true.”

“I mean,” Kirishima scratched at his cheek. “You did kind of go off on that purple dude.”

“That was ‘going off’?” Kaminari squinted at the redhead.

He shrugged in response while Tsuyu hummed. “I’d say it was more like… being incredibly passive aggressive.”

“Nah, it reminded me of that one English vine—the one with the lady, um… ‘ Hm Hm Hm! You were wrong!’

“You watch vines? English vines?”

“I get bored sometimes! Sue me.”

“So, Nagisa,” Iida began with a hum. “How did you and that boy meet?”

“Yeah, I’d- I’d like t-to knn-know too,” Izuku put his hands on Nagisa’s shoulder and rested his chin on them while they walked, giving the snake-haired boy a cheeky grin.

Nagisa chuckled awkwardly. “Oh, um, we met last summer at a resort thing. He kind of saved my hide from this one guy. Then we met again last… autumn? I think?” He cocked his head in thought, then turned to look at Izuku. “During our fall festival, with the restaurant?”

The green-haired boy perked up. “Oh! Yeah, that—I-I was in th-the mountains at th… the time. With the, um… ff-finding food.”

“That’s right, you never met him,” Nagisa blinked.

“Wha’s his quirk?” Izuku’s eyes were wide and curious.

“Hmm… Something to do with mind control, I think?”

“Huh.”

When they reached the cafeteria, they tried their best to ignore the hard glares thrown their way by almost half the students in the lunchroom. Nagisa let out a frustrated sigh after Izuku straightened up and away from him, instead squeezing himself between Iida and Kirishima to avoid the stupid stares from the other stupid students. They got their lunches (freakin’ finally) and found their table with Karma and Rio, a few new students seated around them too.

Rio stood up when she spotted them while Karma lowered his forehead on the table. “There you guys are! Where were you?”

“We got caged in by, like, half the school,” Kaminari explained, plopping himself down next to Kirishima and Karma. “Did Bakugou come around? He stormed off earlier.”

“We saw him pass by,” Rio hummed before chuckling. “Karma pissed him off though.”

Nagisa sighed, sitting on the other side of Karma. “What’d he do now?”

“Reminded him of his colossal fail that was the Dodgeball Match ,” Karma snickered, lifting his head onto his hand and smirking like the devil.

“Anyway,” Izuku cleared his throat, gesturing to the girl beside Rio.

Rio perked up then, and gestured to the pink-haired girl next to her. “Oh! And this is Hatsume Mei. She’s from my class, she wanted to hang out today.”

The energetic girl smiled widely and waved her hand excitedly. “Hello! You must be Midoriya Izuku! I already met Karma here—oh, and you must be Nagisa! I heard a ton about you guys from Nakamura. How’s it like being in the hero course?! Oh, and what’re your guys’ names?!”

Awkward introductions were given, each student a bit intimidated by the enthusiasm the girl had for just a moment before Kirishima started to match her level of energy.

“Hero course is awesome! You know All Might teaches our Heroics Ed class?!”

Hatsume stood up. “That’s right!! How is he?! He’s super cool, I bet, huh?!”

“Totally, dude!!”

Nagisa and Izuku traded tired glances before turning to Karma who had his head in both hands. Looks like he had to deal with this for a good while before they came along. Poor guy. Nagisa turned to the redhead beside him, about to ask if he was alright before another voice called him out.

“Akabane Karma!”

Oh damn, she sounded maaaaad.

Karma flinched and slowly turned his head back. The conversation in front of them stopped to see a girl with messy lilac hair and two floppy rabbit ears sticking out of her head, and behind her a shy-looking possum-quirked boy stood nervously fiddling with his tail. The girl looked enraged.

“Oh, hey, Fuwafuwa,” Karma greeted with a smirk and eyes that either said he was desperately trying not to laugh or he was about to jolt. “What’s up?”

“Don’t you ‘oh, hey, Fuwafuwa, what’s up’ me, mister. You know exactly what you did!” the girl marched closer. “I’ve looked everywhere for it. Where is it.”

“Where’s what, my dear?” Karma leaned his knuckles on his cheek as he crossed his legs. “I have no idea what you mean.”

He did. He took Fuwafuwa, Miranda, and Asano’s stuff and taped them to the ceiling during passing period when they left for a restroom break. Asano’s been infuriatingly ignorant that Karma even did anything, leading him to believe that Asano knew what he did and was just feigning ignorance to get to him. Karma would never admit that it was working. Miranda was probably looking for him at the moment too.

Fuwafuwa stomped her foot. “Yes you do! All my stuff is gone! Where’d you put it?!”

Karma tapped his finger on his chin, humming. “Let me think… Ask Mizushima.”

Fuwafuwa gasped, a hand on her chest. She looked as though Karma had just spat on her. “These are our class presidents?! Oh my frickin’—I should have never voted for Mizushima! That slithering octopus… Come on, Fredrick, we’re gonna freaking get this bread.” She turned to leave with her friend before she stopped and looked back. “Oh, and before I forget. This is for stealing my chocolate bar this morning.”

And with that, she slapped the horned boy and left with the quiet possum student trailing behind her. Not even a moment passed before a cloud of smoke overcame Karma, spooking the students around him and causing them to cough.

“What the heck?!” Kirishima coughed, waving around the smoke from him.

When the smoke cleared, in Karma’s place sat… Karma, but red. And furry. And with a long neck. What?

Nagisa peered up at the other, staring wide-eyed for a moment before his expression grew unamused. “Oh, wonderful, you’re even taller now.”

The redhead blinked, baffled as he looked down at himself and his hooved hands. “What the hell.” He turned his head to where the two students took off. “WHAT THE HELL’D YOU DO TO ME, FUWAFUWA?!”

While everyone at the table gawked, Izuku slammed his hands on the table and burst into tears laughing at the now-llama-alpaca-looking teen while Rio took her phone out and started taking pictures immediately.

Karma tried to block his face. “What-what are you doing—no, stop, don’t take pictures?! RIO, STOP IT!”

Iida waved his hands dramatically. “Nakamura, I implore you to put your phone away! Phones are not allow—Midoriya, get down from the table, that is incredibly unsafe—Uraraka, stop encouraging this!! You are UA students, please act like i—Nagisa, please don’t laugh, Karma is obviously distr—please stop la—snnhhkkkk…”

Iida put his hand over his mouth when that snicker came out.

Karma locked eyes with him, a flat expression on his face. “Did you just laugh?”

“Me? Of course not! That wa-snnkkffpfp…” His hand clamped over his mouth again.

Karma slowly stood up.

Iida stood up with him.

He took off and Karma ran after him, and soon after Business Guy came out of the crowd of students enjoying lunch to chase after them , shouting, “NO RUNNING IN THE HALLS!”

Izuku slipped off the table when his laughter turned into pathetic wheezing and Rio and Uraraka had to help pick him up, trying to keep him from dying with a broken lung while Nagisa, Kaminari, and Kirishima punched the table trying not to cry. Hatsume glanced at Tsuyu.

“Does this always happen?” she whispered with a giddy smile.

Tsuyu hummed with a nod. “I’ve never met a group of so many chaotic neutrals and chaotic goods before now, kero.”

Hatsume clapped her hands together, laughing, “I like you people!”

Tsuyu giggled.


 

There was… a lot to think about. Between visiting Korosensei, actually talking to Karma, dealing with his own hell that was his messed up brain, and the Sports Festival, suffice to say Nagisa felt like his brain was a crumpled up ball of paper that was torn to shreds then taped back together. All the words were jumbled and he felt like a general mess.

Then there were those kids in the photos. Nagisa didn’t have the full story, but he did remember that epidemic a few years back. If he remembered correctly, there were about twenty quirkless kids who were abducted and about fifteen of them were confirmed dead. It was at the end of that long year, only a few months before eighth grade would begin, that the surviving kids were found; when All Might came back from America and found the building by mere chance.

There was a week until the Sports Festival began. They’ve had several training meet-ups with All Might, working on their quirks. Really, though, it was mostly All Might and Izuku training One for All while Nagisa trained with a training dummy by himself, practicing hand-to-hand. Nagisa went at the dummy with the ferocity of an angry Bakugou, but it only made him more frustrated and tired. Finally, All Might had them switch with Izuku training on the dummy and Nagisa was told to use his quirk on All Might and see how long he can keep him paralyzed.

His paralyzed limit seems to be about seven minutes. His eyes were starting to get red from the strain, and both boys were getting tired so All Might sent them off to home.

Nagisa shook the towel in his hair to dry it as well he could before gently rubbing the towel over the wet scales of his snakes.

With a huff, he let the towel hang from his shoulders before sliding it off and tossing it into the laundry basket in his room. He flopped onto his bed and reached for his phone then, unable to resist the urge in his chest to check up on some people.

>>Jersey Devil, 5:12pm

Gender Snek: hey

Gender Snek: just checkin up on u, i’ve been meaning to talk to you for a while but with eerything happening ykn

Gender Snek: did fuwafuwa’s quirk wear off?

Jersey Devil: no

Jersey Devil: lil binch said it’s a 24 hr quirk, im stuck like this till 12:30 tomorrow >:(

Jersey Devil: and mizushima’s a little snitch too ykno that

Nagisa chuckled. Fuwafuwa's hit Karma with her quirk at least three times this week. Well, this was just his own form of karma wasn't it?

Gender Snek: lol what happened

Jersey Devil: told her where her stuff was and also threw me under the bus, wtf happened to class prez solidarity?

Gender Snek: did he actually help you in the prank?

Jersey Devil: i mean

Jersey Devil: no but shut up, he should hvae my back

Gender Snek: :facepalm:

Gender Snek: how’s it feel to be 8 feet tall at least

Jersey Devil: powerful

Jersey Devil: everyone looks like ants and i want to squish them

Gender Snek: fghdfj stop thats called assault and possibly murder

Jersey Devil: hey do u think someone out there has an ant quirk

Jersey Devil: like

Jersey Devil: theyre just smol. Like born smol. Where r they? Were they lost at birth? How do u give birth to someone that smol? U just dont kno

Gender Snek: youve been hanging out w izukun havent u

Gender Snek: also thats sounds like something out of a ghibli movie

Jersey Devil: listen, the brat has some really mind frikin thoughts ok nver give him coffee

Gender Snek: you gave him coffee?? Where r u???

Jersey Devil: @ my place, Izuku stopped by bc he forgot i have ur guys’ slap bracelets held hostage

Nagisa tried his best to ignore that pang in his stomach that flipped it upside-down, the bubble of irritation at the thought of potentially being left out of something—and then it crashed on his head, hollowing him out into that pit of loneliness.

Gender Snek: mf

Gender Snek: wtf bring them to school tomorrow

Gender Snek: better yet, give them to izukun and then have him bring them to school tomorrow

Jersey Devil: lmaooooooo naaaahhhhh im good

Gender Snek: gdi wtf

Nagisa was trying his best to play it cool on the outside and he buried his face into his pillows for a solid minute, just hearing his phone buzz next to him while he forced his thoughts back into place. Sitting up on his bed and crossing his legs, he took a deep breath with a straightened back before slumping back over his phone.

Jersey Devil: lmaooooo

Jersey Devil: izuku cant reach my horns anymore lmaooo

Jersey Devil: dfgjfjg fr he slapped me wtf

Nagisa frowned. Sounds like they were having fun. He clenched his teeth and sent a short message.

Gender Snek: lol sounds fun

Gender Snek: hey gtg

Jersey Devil: lol k

Jersey Devil: izuku and kaede say hi btw

Gender Snek: :thumbs_up: hi

Nagisa couldn’t stand himself sometimes. He shut his phone off and looked at the clock. 5:34. Dad won’t be home for another… eh, thirty minutes. Getting off his bed, the blue-haired teen shuffled around for his sweater and some pants before taking the keys and shooting off a quick text to his dad that he’s going for a walk in case he came home before Nagisa did.

Walks were nice for Nagisa. He could just pop some earbuds in and listen to whatever sounds he wanted while his legs took him halfway across town and his mind wandered the opposite direction.

He could think like this. By himself, just him, Ko, Roka, and some video game OSTs.

Like this, he let himself get lost in the vibes.

He thought back on the past two weeks. The attack at the USJ and the fear that struck him at the prospect of losing All Might, the sudden pang of jealousy he felt when he watched Karma and Izuku laugh and joke together, the wave of loneliness that crashed on him when All Might paid more attention to Izuku than him. Seeing Shinsou again made him wonder if he was still staying true to himself. He was letting Ko and Roka out more and more, he was making friends, he was accepting himself and how he was… he was accepting his quirk… right?

And thinking about Karma and how he was doing made Nagisa’s stomach shift with anxiety. Karma was okay, right? He wasn’t going to his therapy sessions though. Legally, they can’t make him, but… he should be going. They were helping him, right?

Or maybe it just… wasn’t right for him? Not everyone was suited for therapy. Nagisa felt that way about himself sometimes; he just didn’t like talking about himself, about his emotions. It felt like trying to pull teeth from him sometimes, and he supposed Karma was the same way too, maybe? But Karma was the only one of the two that actually agreed to therapy. What was going on through his mind? What he said to Iida then came to mind from two weeks ago: He and Karma just… weren’t on the same wavelengths anymore, it seemed. He felt rotten about it, and even worse when some part of his mind scrutinized Izuku for it. Was it his fault? No... right?

Nagisa sniffled and ran his hand under his nose. It was getting a bit chilly.

Izuku almost died. God. Izuku almost died. 

He came to a stop at a somewhat familiar beach. It used to be a mess once upon a time, huh?

Korosensei took them here once for training when it was still a mess, using it for a sort of obstacle-course before he gave them the homework to clean it up. Keep the environment healthy. It looked beautiful now.

He went down to the sand after taking off his shoes.

The waves washing back and forth soothed him a bit. Calmed his aching nerves in his mind and settled his quaking stomach. The pains that occasionally came to plague him weren’t from his panic attack that sent him to the hospital a month ago; no, it was just… anxious.

Nagisa twitched, hearing footsteps in the sand behind him, and he saw Izuku standing there without his headband, smiling sweetly.

“Izukun,” Nagisa greeted, turning his body to see him. “What’re you doing here?”

“To find you… of c-course,” Izuku grinned, coming closer. Nagisa’s eyes twitched in confusion.

“How’d you know I was here?”

“I was jus’... walkin’,” he shrugged and swung his arms side to side, all kid-like. “Saw you… Wanted to- to speak with you.”

Nagisa frowned, his eyes narrowing dangerously. “Where’s your headband?”

“What’dya mean?” Izuku tilted his head curiously, his eyes wide.

Nagisa approached him and held his freckled chin while his other hand moved his long bangs up. He frowned further when he didn’t see a scar. Izuku’s gentle grin grew wild, almost crazy , at the touch, cheeks burning blood red and he hummed in delight before pushing Nagisa down into the sand, his hand pressing tightly against his neck. Nagisa yelped in surprise before he choked with a wheeze and he glared at the other. His heart hammered in his chest—what was he thinking?!

“Wh- what’re… you doi...kck…?!”

Izuku’s eyes were wide and unhinged as he giggled excitedly. “Nagisaaa-kuuun~” He sat on his chest then, his knees pressing over Nagisa’s arms while his other hand grabbed for Nagisa’s snakes. “Y-you know, I love the way you ss-say my name, heehehehehe… Say it for me?”

The boy grunted, trying to push the other off. “Get… off… Himiko…”

Her giggling morphed into a loud, psychotic bout of laughter but she didn’t give up the disguise, not yet—only until a swiss army knife flew past her head, landing into the sand above Nagisa’s. She yelped and rolled off the boy after he jabbed his knee into her back.

Behind her stood Izuku, headband and all, next to Kaede. Kaede had thrown the knife, it seemed.

Another giggle left her as she stumbled to her feet and her skin started to bubble and droop, melting and sliding off her body to reveal herself as she was; the missing girl Himiko. “Looks like you got me! How’d you know it was me, Nagisa-kun?”

“You’re trying to hard to stutter,” Nagisa explained with a cough as he got back up to his feet and Izuku and Kaede made their way toward him. Plus she was missing the headband and a scar—but he wouldn’t tell her that. “And please don’t try and strangle my snakes again. They will bite you next time.”

“Oh, I see!” Himiko nodded. “I always thought your snakes were adorable, you know…”

“Nagisa, are you okay?” Kaede asked. Izuku stepped in front of the two with the knife his girlfriend had thrown brandished in his hand.

“I’m fine—how’d you guys find me?”

“Izukun was walking me home when we saw her choking you,” Kaede explained, then turned her head to the psychotic blond

“You’ve gotta lo-ot of nn-nerve showing up after disa-disappearing like that,” Izuku struggled to keep his voice strong and firm, narrowing his eyes at the blonde.

A moment of silence passed, Himiko’s eyes both twitching furiously along with her head, her teeth biting down on her lips that were cocked in a half-frown, half-smile. Then she grit out, “Help… me… Izu… Nagi… Plea…”

“Himi..ko?” Izuku frowned, lowering his knife before two tentacles the same shade as her hair, sprung from her buns and she let out a high-pitched screech of laughter before lunging herself back toward the street and into town.

Nagisa’s heart slammed in his chest when it all caught up to him. Help her…? He glanced to Izuku and Kaede, they both had the same wide-eyed expression. They were lost in what to do. There was no Korosensei they could go to to help them solve this.

What even could they do?

The photos from the files came back to mind, of the dead children and the three survivors. Then his mind went to Itona and how Korosensei had to remove his quirk before it killed him, even though removing them was dangerous enough. Dread filled his stomach. The sound of the waves he felt were so calming before started to sound so eerie all of a sudden.

They had to tell someone.

Chapter Text

“Alright then, thank you for your time, Tatsumi-san, Nagisa-kun. We’ll look into this. We’ll escort you and the others home. If you’d follow me.” And the detective led them out of the little victim interrogation room.

They’ve been at the police station for almost an hour answering questions from the officers. After what Aizawa had told them about the missing girl—Himiko—Nagisa and Izuku decided it was vital enough to call at least All Might about it. Their teacher was there almost immediately with his detective friend Tsukauchi in tow. He had also notified Aizawa of the incident, and the fact Nagisa was attacked. And of course, their parents were called as well, and suffice to say, both their parents were very much freaked out by the incident, especially when they saw the angry hand-shaped bruises on Nagisa’s neck, now covered by an ice pack to calm down the swelling. It still felt like his windpipes were threatening to cave in.

Kaede had left already, she didn’t have much to say except for what she did to protect Nagisa and what she knew of Himiko already. Izuku knew more anyway; Himiko had taken special interest in Izuku and Nagisa after last year. She was delusional like that.

Izuku surprisingly finished right after Nagisa did, his mother following after and looking particularly distressed. The two parents gave greetings to each other before they were escorted back home.

It was going to be a long night.

 


 

It was tense when they got home. Not… angry tense, but it still managed to stir Nagisa’s stomach nervously.

Dad set the keys down and hung his coat on the hanger in the front closet. Nagisa did the same with his jacket. Then he tried to scurry off to his room without being seen—funny thing about that, when only two people with a ton of snakes on their heads live in the same home, it’s hard to be ignored by the other tennant. And Nagisa could sense when some unfavorable emotions were stirring; it gave him enough anxiety that his snakes curled into buns in his hair, hiding their faces in their own skin and scales.

“Nagisa.”

The boy froze, his hand on his door handle. His stomach clenched nervously, fearing the puppeteer eyes of his mother when he turned around obediently—instead meeting the panicked and sad eyes of his father.

Ah, that’s right—Dad’s not like that.

And yet, the fear still lingered—he hasn’t… lived with Dad for that long . Compared to how long he’s lived with Mom, their time spent together was nothing, but he knows the reasonable voice in his head screaming that Dad would never do anything she did , still did nothing against the instincts that were literally beaten into him by that woman.

He swallowed, as did Dad. The sadness in his eyes were so potent, it clenched at Nagisa’s heart. Dad drew closer, and the shorter teen stayed where he was, absorbing his father’s body language before deeming it safe to come into his arms. He felt their snakes mingling above, nuzzling each other and making soft squeals.

Dad’s hand came to rest on his head, petting him firmly. “Nagisa,” he began again. “I know last year was hard. Whatever that was, it changed you—and that’s a good thing, but—I would just like to know what happened to you and that class, alright?”

Nagisa’s grip tightened on his father’s shirt.

“I’m not going to force you to,” Dad then whispered. “But that one representative came around the other day and once again offered those sessions for free. I really do think talking about it would do you a world of good, Nagi.”

Tears burned at his eyes and he screwed them shut for a moment before nodding. “I’ll think about it.”

 


 

It was by some miracle that Nagisa and Izuku got any ounce of sleep that night and even made it to school on time.

Right away after roll, the students were all ushered to change into their gym uniforms then led to UA’s sports stadium behind the school. It was nothing like Kunugigaoka’s sports festival, that was for sure. While Kunugigaoka had their school field for the sports and an area for vendors and for the other clubs for signups, UA owned an entire street around the arena for food vendors and other street stores to set up, not to mention three different arenas for the first, second, and third years. None of the students were allowed to browse the vendors until lunch—hardly any were completely set up since the line for bag checks was so long despite how many pros showed up for security. Class 1-A was deposited straight into the first year’s stadium and into their own designated locker room—the waiting room, where they could put their things in while the festival roared.

Nagisa had a wrap around his neck, icy hot slathered under it to help soothe the bruising that had formed from the night before. He had to see Recovery Girl before school started to get it examined—she didn’t use her quirk since it wasn’t vital to heal and the sports festival was that day anyway. Who’d want to be drowsy and limp-armed during that? Nagisa had enough foresight to bring an old choker to cover the wrap and make it seem like a fashion choice rather than something students could pick out and eyezoom on.

The boy felt like he had three adrenaline shots waiting for him on that field when they get out. Everyone was buzzing around the waiting room and the snake boy spotted Izuku returning from the bathroom, heading toward his locker next to Kirishima. The locker door opened and Nagisa was about to turn away and continue his people watching before the bubbly redhead’s arm shot into Izuku’s locker and pulled out Minizuku from his hanging backpack.

Izuku gasped, eyes blown wide with a sudden nervousness, about to ask for it back until Kirishima raised the stuffed rabbit in the air, gaining everyone’s attention. “BEHOLD! THE RABBIT OF LUCK!” he shouted, startling everyone. “SIMPLY TOUCHING IT WILL GRANT US THE POWER OF AWESOME AND WE WILL BE THE VICTORS OF THE FESTIVAL!”

Silence.

Then Kaminari and Ashido rushed him, stretching to reach the rabbit. “Gimme that! I need its luck!”

“Dude, just touch it! It’s fine- ow, you stepped on my foot!”

All of a sudden, Sero, Uraraka, and Katsuki  threw their chairs back and ran for the rabbit, still high in the air held by Kirishima.

“MOVE, LOSERS, GIMME THAT LUCK!”

“Hey! Don’t hog it all! OW! MY EYE!”

“OH MY GOSH, WHY!?”

Izuku had been taking steps backward and toward Nagisa and Tokoyami, watching the… well, it wasn’t a fight, but he didn’t know what to exactly call it. Oh, wonderful, even Aoyama and Hagakure had joined in. The door then opened, Iida charging in with his boisterous voice announcing, “Everyone! We’ll be starting soon!”

Nagisa and Izuku glanced at each other nervously, then dove in to get a grab at the rabbit too. Izuku snaked his way under everyone and swiped his beloved doll from Kirishima’s grasp, then army crawling away before anyone could realize he swiped it. Then he sat down at the edge of the closest chair with Minizuku on his lap. Nagisa sat by him, hand on the fuzzy head of the doll. Yeah, they needed this.

“What, wait, where’d it go?” Kaminari squawked after realizing the ‘lucky rabbit’ was gone from Kirishima’s grip. The group halted and spun around, eyes targeting the doll on the green haired boy’s lap almost immediately. Izuku froze and guarded the rabbit against his chest.

“Hey, it’s mm-mine!”

Kirishima nodded then deflated. “Yeeah…. Hey, can it be our class mascot?”

“Dude, no,” Satou moaned.

“Dude, yes,” Kaminari grinned.

Izuku gave a blank stare, unamused by the antics of his classmates before his name was called, a stoic Todoroki standing in front of Izuku and Nagisa. Curiosity filled Izuku’s mossy eyes, his head tilting just a tad. “Todo-T-Todorok-ki-kun?” God, he couldn’t have a shorter name?

“Objectively speaking,” the bi-colored teen began with confidence drenching his voice. “I’m stronger than you.”

Confusion kicked the curiosity out of Izuku’s expression, narrowing his eyes and jutting his jaw out. Well then. “Um, ye-yeah,” the green haired teen admitted finally, brows knitting together. Nagisa simply watched with idle wonder. He didn’t budge when the Half-and-Half user turned his icy gaze to him, then back to Izuku.

“I won’t pry,” he began, “but you two have seemed to catch All Might’s eye. I’ll beat you.”

They both gave him a hard stare, lips tightening into a thin line. Great—everyone had their attention on them.

“Uhhh, a declaration of war from our strongest?” Kaminari commented while Katsuki scowled at the scene, almost offended by the exchange. Then Kirishima came up behind Todoroki, a hand on his shoulder.

“Hey, man, let’s not start a fight, especially before the festival begins…”

Todoroki shifted his shoulder, throwing the hand off him and a sharp glare was tossed at the redhead. “I’m not here to play nice and make friends.” He turned to leave to his corner.

“Look,” Izuku started, standing up and placing the rabbit doll onto the table next to him before Ashido sneakily leaned over the table to snatch it. It went ignored, and Izuku gave the bi-colored teen a hard stare. “I kn-nnow you’re probably ss-stronger than me. You’re puh-probably stronger tha-an a lot of people too, ss-so I don’t really underss-stand why you would sa-ssingle us out like tha-at.”

Kirishima moved to comfort him, obviously not liking the self-deprecating tone he took, and yet Nagisa stayed where he was. He knew Izuku didn’t think poorly of himself—not anymore. Not like that. There was a glint of determination in his eye that Nagisa knew wasn’t about to break just because some punk hero-in-training said a few mean things. They’ve had worse, afterall. So Nagisa waited.

Izuku’s hands clenched into fists at his side, a new fire in his eyes. There was respect in the air as he struggled with his words, meeting Todoroki’s eyes without wavering and never backing down. “Everyone—even kids ff-from oth’r cou-courses are tur-trying their best. Aiming ff-for th… the top with all their- mm, all their might!”

He glanced at Nagisa, who smiled and nodded before standing up as well. Granting him his turn. Icy blues met Todoroki’s bi-colored hues, and his snakes uncoiled from his head. “We’re not ones to be intimidated,” the blue-haired boy began. “We’ve given it a Plus Ultra for too long to be backing down from a little challenge.”

Izuku smiled and turned back to Todoroki. “We’re going at it w-with all our mm-might too.”

Todoroki cocked his head up. Nagisa could sense in his eyes, there was a fire full of determination and—interest.

Today was definitely going to be… something.

 


 

The field was larger than Izuku thought it would be. Well—he’s seen the field on TV before, of course he has. Just the same as he’s seen a football field, but never really thought about how huge it was. Myriads of visitors filled the stands as Class A entered the arena, Present Mic’s voice announcing the student classes and departments fading into a white noise in Izuku’s ears as his nerves ate away at him, the situation finally catching up to him and suddenly the news reporters that had flooded them at the end of the school year combined with almost everything else seemed so small in comparison.

This felt like being under a microscope, and if he wasn’t careful, he might trip and end up on YouTube in some ‘Top 10 Fails Caught On Camera’ compilation video, and that is not how Izuku planned to be remembered as, so he made sure his feet didn’t drag and weren’t scraping ankles with each other. Everyone had their eyes on Class A after the USJ incident, huh? They had to make a good impression. They were future heroes, after all!

As more and more students funneled out into the arena, Izuku and Nagisa kept their eyes peeled for Rio and Karma. Ko and Roka uncurled from their host’s head and pointed in a specific directly, probably catching a familiar scent and Izuku’s moss gaze gravitated to the cold and tired stare of Shinsou before he was blocked by another student. He turned around, then locked eyes with Rio suddenly, who smiled and waved after the hero-in-training nudged Nagisa and jutted his chin out in the blonde’s direction. At least another familiar face in the crowd.

They assembled toward the middle stage, where Midnight stood, waving the short whip around in her hand to calm the roaring audience as Present Mic gave her the mic.

“Thank you, Present Mic! Now, for the opening speech, will Bakugou Katsuki come up to the stage!”

Izuku jumped, bug-eyed as he sputtered softly, “K-Kats’ki’s our rep??”

Sero leaned over to mutter, “He placed first in the entrance exam, remember?”

An eavesdropping Gen Ed student grumbled back, “Yeah, the heroics entrance exam…”

Izuku and Sero smiled awkwardly, crossed with a grimace. The green-haired teen caught Nagisa’s gaze locked with the student Shinsou again before the latter student broke contact as Katsuki coughed over the mic, the crowd silencing then turning their full attention to him.

Katsuki’s scarlet glare washed over the student body, calculating and cold—intimidating. They fell on Izuku, narrowed and turned back up. He felt a chill pass through him.

“No matter what,” he began. “I’m placing first.”

An uproar tore through the students in outrage as the ash blond descended the stairs, boos and insults being thrown about. Izuku narrowed his eyes. What was he thinking? This display of overconfidence… Then Katsuki met his eyes, a fire lit by hard determination, sharper than any glare he’s given—and that’s when it clicked.

It was a challenge, declared in his own way.

He wasn’t going to be left in the dust.

Izuku’s brows folded down as he grew to understand the other and he nodded at the explosive teen as he passed by, their shoulders bumping and he watched Katsuki melt into the crowd.

No holding back.

Midnight took back the stage immediately, not letting a moment to breathe pass by. “Alright! Time to move on to our first event: the preliminaries!” She gestured to the giant screen above her. “Now, now, what will our first event be, you wonder? Pull the lever, Mic!”

The display above almost played like a slot machine, options blurring across the screen and finally the words “Obstacle Race” settled in place, Midnight shouting the announcement aloud. The pro hero then delved into explaining the rules of the race; Anything goes, stay within the course boundaries, try not to die. Well then.

They were ushered toward the starting line after she was done, but the nervous buzzing in Izuku’s chest never wavered.

He and Nagisa glanced at each other for a moment before they caught Rio snaking her way through the crowd toward them and Karma right behind her. Nagisa perked up.

“Wait, Business course is participating?”

Karma stopped and stared at him. “Is that a serious question because if it is, I’m totally kicking your butt for that.”

Izuku snickered, “But it’ss a valid quesss-stion?”

He turned his attention to the green-head then. “Blocked.”

“W-wait, no, un- um, unb-block me, I-I gotta tell you ss-somethin’.”

“...Fine. Unblocked.”

“C-coward.”

Karma covered his face while Nagisa and Rio laughed. “Dammit.”

Rio waved her hand up and down to calm them. “Okay, okay, seriously though, what’s the deal with Business course?”

“We’re allowed to participate, it’s just most of the students would rather not, so almost all of my classmates are going to throw the first match,” the horned teen explained with a shrug. “All except Fuwafuwa and Mr. Pressure-o-matic.”

Nagisa raised a brow. “Fuwafuwa? Isn’t that the girl—”

“The very same.”

“Why is she..?”

“I pissed her off this morning.”

Izuku and Rio shook their heads in defeat. Some things will never change, huh?

“Okay, in my defense, it was an accident.”

“Sure…”

The crowd stopped walking, already reaching the starting line, and Izuku’s stomach flipped. This was it. It was beginning—too fast for his brain to comprehend and for his emotions to catch up, but now it was starting to and his legs felt empty and jello-y. He could not afford to screw this up, not with his unpredictable quirk. He had to remember to balance. Like an egg on a spoon balancing from his mouth. Not too much force, not too little.

There were so many people watching from the stands, from all around Japan—their eyes narrowing in on Class A: the class with the marks for heroics, for greatness in the world. There were so many people waiting on them , watching. It was Izuku’s turn, Nagisa’s turn, Katsuki’s, Uraraka’s—everyone’s turn to show the world.

WE ARE HERE.

The starting lights lit red….

Don’t break your bones, don’t break your bones. You can do this. You’ve got this.

Red….

It’s okay. Don’t worry. Just ease the pressure. Get ready… And…

Green.

“STAAAAAART!”

A battle cry from the crowd, pushing and shoving to get the first lick of pavement—chaos, and Izuku had to fight not to let his breath escape from him, to stop the panic that rose in his chest like the day of the school alarm. He refused to be set down again, and he shoved back, forcing his way to the outdoor area. The starting entrance was so narrow…! He thought he saw Nagisa spin around as well, then a few squeals of panic behind him—ah, his quirk.

Present Mic’s announcements rose above them all, “HERE WE ARE LADIES AND GENTS, BROADCASTING TO YOU LIVE! ARE YOU READY TO COMMENTATE, MUMMY MAN— WHOAA , THERE SEEMS TO BE A STALL IN THE CROWD AT THE STARTING LINE, FOLKS! WHAT’S THIS? COLD FEET, HUH?”

“That would be the work of Shio- Tatsumi Nagisa of Class 1-A,” came the dull drawl of Aizawa, Izuku vaguely registered as he finally got past a large sum of students and through the narrow entrance. Sparks of electricity laced across his form in small bursts, just above the surface and not completely on. Just balancing.

Behind him, he heard the grunts of students being tumbled over, along with startled yelps, and he swore he heard someone shout, “MY PANTS!”

Karma and Rio.

Ahead of him, he felt the cold of ice before he saw it—the excited commentating of Present Mic following right after, “AND IT SEEMS THAT TODOROKI SHOUTO OF CLASS A HAS TAKEN THE LEAD, FOLKS!”

Students were stuck in the ice, scowling and yelling in rage, he realized—Izuku grit his teeth, setting his jaw straight. Oh no he doesn’t.

Now or never. Just please don’t break my bones—

“Watch out!” he shouted. Keep the balance. Don’t go over. A surge of power through his legs, and the ground beneath him was crushed, the students beside him yelping in panic as he shot out in the sky, the electricity flying off behind him like a tail while he screamed. He could see Todoroki up ahead, farther than any of the other students around them—and if it couldn’t get more interesting, explosions set off behind him, followed by the familiar roar of Katsuki.

“NOT ON MY WATCH, TWO-FACE!”

Before he could touch the ground, Todoroki only barely spared them a glance and an anger lit up in the green-haired boy’s chest. “SCREW YOU!” he shouted as he landed hard, just narrowly managing to turn the rough landing into a barrel-roll before scrambling up to his feet and shooting off right behind Todoroki and Katsuki. He could hear Kirishima’s shouts, Yaoyorozu’s Creation setting off, and the sparkling shots of Aoyama’s laser shooting through the sky. It seemed most of his class were getting around Todoroki’s trap just fine—he wondered how Nagisa was faring, leaving him in the dust like that. He felt bad but he couldn’t dwell on that now.

He ignored the intense ache that now throbbed in his legs, straining his bones, and how his ribs suddenly felt so fragile, and he knew he couldn’t afford to try that again with how his emotions were suddenly so heated.

“LOOK AT THAT, FOLKS! IT SEEMS A LOT OF OUR STUDENTS ARE EITHER FROZEN SOLID OR FROZEN STUCK! I BELIEVE SOME HAVE EVEN LOST THEIR PANTS! IS THIS THE WORK OF CLASS 1-A?!”

No doubt, there wasn’t any hesitation with his classmates, it seemed. The adrenalin was starting to feel familiar—making him feel much less nervous than before. That’s right, this wasn’t so different than training with Korosensei, was it?

That’s it. That’s it. Realization dawned, and he felt as if he had sunken deep within his element. This was no different than the roof jumping exercises, the stealth, the speed races, every ounce of training—this was his time to shine.

He forced his legs to run faster despite the protest from his ribs and his lungs. Todoroki wanted a challenge? He got it.

The two-toned teen ahead of him glanced back again, noticing many more of their class had gotten through his ice trap. His eyes narrowed and he commented, “Of course some of you would make it past, but more of you were able to dodge than I thought.”

Suddenly, the ground shook, halting the crowd of runners for a moment when gigantic robots blocked their path. Even Todoroki was taken aback by their presence.

The large one before them maneuvered its head, a red light shining bright in the middle of its face and a robotic voice came out saying, “Targets detected… Multiple!”

“WHOA-OH, IT SEEMS LIKE THEY’VE MET THEIR FIRST OBSTACLE!”

Wait, Izuku recognized these machines— the zero pointer from the exam…!

Well. Plus Ultra, huh?