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The Heart of a Hero

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The world will one day know the story of Izuku “Deku” Midoriya, who’s inherited the power of All Might, the world’s greatest hero. This boy is destined to become the next symbol of peace, and his journey starts at the high school for heroes, U.A. This is not his story, though.

This story begins not long before Midoriya arrives at U.A. Stepping through the gate into her brand-new adventure was Itsuka Kendo, a student of the hero course in Class 1-B. She had a big smile on her face with her orange hair in a ponytail hanging off her left side. “It’s finally time. The next great hero is here, U.A.!” She pumped her fist up and strode forward with great confidence, crossing over to the building’s entrance quickly. “Before long, everyone will know the name Itsuka Ken—”

“Well, aren’t you a beauty.” She stopped herself when she heard a familiar voice off to the side. A particularly grating voice. It was Neito Monoma, chatting with a girl with earlobes shaped like auxiliary cords. He was leaning on the wall and running a free hand through his blond hair, trying his best to look charming. The girl looked annoyed at his antics, but he was to dense to notice, as usual. “The name’s Monoma. I’m in the Hero Course. Crazy, right.”

“Yeah, so am I,” the girl said, clearly trying to think of an excuse to go.

“Wait, really? Oh, OK…” Monoma paused and tried to think of something else to brag about, but before he could think of something…

“Monoma!” Kendo yelled angrily. Monoma yelped and lost his footing, sliding down the wall and crashing his head on the floor.

“Ow! Kendo?! How long were you watching?” The girl with the strange earlobes took this opportunity to slink away and head to her class.

“Long enough to see you make a fool of yourself.” Kendo grabbed his ear and hoisted him up like an angry mother with her child, hauling him off towards their classroom. “Let’s get going. We don’t want to be late on the first day.”

“I see what this is about,” Monoma said slyly as they went up some stairs. “You can’t stand to see me with another woman, yes?” Kendo twisted his ear towards the ground, making Monoma start grunting in pain and try to pry himself free.

“If I didn’t want you back in first grade, I don’t want you now. You should focus more on your studies and training, rather than trying to be the big man on campus.” Kendo let go and Monoma fell forward, clutching his ear. “Please try not to act like that with our classmates.” Monoma looked up and saw they had arrived at classroom 1-B with a few minutes to spare. He got up, straightened his tie, and slicked his hair down again, making sure he looked good. Kendo slid the giant door open and they both walked in.

The inside of the classroom was lively as a crowd had formed near the back of the group. Kendo and Monoma saw two desks had been pushed together and students had started arm-wrestling. A silver-haired boy with eyebrows that circled his eyes and sharp teeth was grunting and dramatically struggling against another boy with oval-shaped eyes and light brown hair.

“Well Kendo, is this exciting enough for you?” Monoma asked while walking off to find a seat.

“Wow, there’s a lot of strong-looking people here,” Kendo said as she watched the match. “Maybe I should try some arm-wrestling.”

Across the room, Monoma had sat down at the leftmost desk of the front row. Normally, he’d avoid a spot like that to make sure he could goof off at his desk, but something had drawn him there. That something was another pretty girl, sat looking out the window. She had gentle almond eyes and hair made up of green, thorny vines with one strand wrapped around her temples. Monoma spun around in his seat and planted his elbows on the girl’s desk. “Hello there, beautiful,” he said in a confident tone. The girl looked at him, but ignored his flirting and went back to looking at the trees outside. “I’m Neito Monoma. What does an angel like you call yourse—.” Suddenly, a hand grabbed the top of his head, which was pulled backwards and slammed onto his own desk, knocking him out.

Kendo dusted her hands off and fixed Monoma so that he was sitting normally with his head down on the desk. “I’m sorry about him, he’s just… well, I’m not totally sure what his deal is, but he’s harmless. My name’s Itsuka Kendo. What’s yours?” Kendo outstretched her hand and the other girl took it and shook.

“I’m Ibara Shiozaki. It’s very nice to meet you.”

“Likewise, Shiozaki. Let me know if Monoma’s a bother again and I’ll pound him.” Kendo smiled brightly at the vine girl, making her look away a bit. Kendo turned her attention back to the arm-wrestling and watched the oval-eyed boy begin to lose. “Hey, how did all that start?”

“I’ve only just arrived a minute ago, so I wouldn’t know.”

“I see. I’ll have to check it out myself.” She walked to the back of the room and slipped through the small crowd around the table as the oval-eyed boy walked off to sulk in the corner.

“Anyone else man enough!?” the victor asked in a gravelly but somewhat high-pitched voice. Before anyone else could respond, Kendo slipped into the seat and held her arm ready.

“You bet!” Kendo exclaimed.

“Alrighty! Let’s do this,” he said, taking Kendo’s hand. “On three. one… two… three!” Both started pushing against the other, but they remained evenly matched. After 15 seconds of wrestling, Kendo spoke up.

“How ‘bout we make this interesting?” she grunted. “Wanna use our Quirks?”

“OK, but get ready to lose!” he boasted. Kendo felt the boy’s hand become colder and harder as his skin turned to iron. “How d’ya like that?” he yelled. Kendo could practically feel the boy’s hot-bloodedness pass into her through their clenched hands.

“Don’t get cocky. You haven’t seen MY Quirk yet!” As the boy began to push down Kendo’s hand, he felt his grip begin to be forced open. Kendo’s hand was growing and growing, becoming the size of a large beach ball and swallowing up the boy’s forearm. Kendo flicked her wrist, meaning to simply bring his arm down, but accidently threw him out of his chair and into the wall.

“Oh geez! I’m sorry!” Kendo exclaimed.

The boy picked himself back up quickly and cricked his neck. “It’s cool! That’s some quirk you got! I didn’t stand a chance!” “Thanks,” she said with a smile. “My name’s Itsuka Kendo, by the way.”

Itsuka Kendo. Quirk: Large Fists. Her hands can grow to enormous sizes, giving her great strength.

As her fist shrunk, the boy took her hand and shook it vigorously. “I’m Tetsutetsu!”

“Nice to meet… wait, what?”

“I said my name’s Tetsutetsu! Tetsutetsu Tetsutetsu!”

“Oh… It’s nice to meet you,” she said with a good-natured chuckle. What cruel parents. As she broke off the handshake, the front door slid open and their teacher stepped in. He was a musclebound man in a red costume and a green mask. He had spiky gray hair, an X-shaped scar under his left eye, and pronounced canine teeth sticking out from the bottom of his mouth. On his left arm was a glove with a tube running behind him and into his skin. He looked gruff and no-nonsense, putting a few students on edge. The students around class immediately retreated to desks and sat at attention. Kendo sat to Shiozaki’s right, giving her a good view of the half-conscious Monoma so that she could keep his antics to a minimum.

“All right. Class has officially begun,” the teacher said in a deep, gravelly voice, standing tall at the front of the class. “My name is Sekejiro Kan and I’ll be your homeroom teacher. For those of you who’ve never heard of me before, I am the blood hero Vlad King, but here, you can just call me Mr. Kan.”

Vlad King? Kendo thought. The name sounds familiar, but I’ve never seen him before.

“Before we start, I’d just like to say that if you have any problems, don’t hesitate to talk to me about it. My job is to help you all achieve greatness and I’ll do that however I can.”

Most of the class relaxed after hearing that. I guess he’s a nice guy. Just a little scary looking, they all thought.

“Now, I’ll take attendance and then we’ll head to orientation.” Kan sat down at his desk and started rummaging around his drawer for his attendance book. While he was doing that, someone had come up outside the door.

“I… AM…” Bursting inside the classroom was All Might, dressed in a yellow suit instead of a hero costume. “…HERE AND HOPEFULLY NOT INTERRUPTING ANYTHIIIIIIIING! …Right?”

“No, go ahead,” Kan sighed, continuing his search for the attendance book.

“HA HA HA!” All Might bellowed. He took a few steps inside and stood before the class proudly. “HELLO, CLASS 1-B! IT’S GREAT TO SEE SO MANY YOUNG HEROES HERE. YOU ALL LOOK LIKE YOU’RE RARING TO GO, AM I RIGHT?”

All the students were star-struck from seeing All Might in the flesh, but still gave a resounding “Yeah!”

“GOOD TO HEAR! I LOOK FORWARD TO TEACHING YOU ALL ABOUT HEROICS! NOW, I’M OFF TO CLASS 1-A!” All Might stood still for a moment before leaning over to Kan. “Hey, Vlad, which way is 1-A again?”

“Next room on your right after you walk out,” Kan explained. “They aren’t there, though. I saw Eraser take them outside.”

“He’s already testing them? Crap… HA HA HA! WELL STUDENTS, IT’S TIME YOU SEE HOW HEROES EXIT.” All Might got into a runners position and took off in a flash, nearly breaking down the door. “LIKE THEY’VE GOT SOMEWHERE TO BE!” they heard echo through the halls.

“Well, that’s All Might for you,” Kan said. “Always in a rush. Now, let’s get this role call done and we’ll be ready to start.”  After attendance was called, Class 1-B was lead to the auditorium for orientation, where Class 1-A was oddly absent. The principal, a mouse-dog-bear in a suit named Nezu, rambled on for a while about heroism, civic duty, studying, his favorite tea, how much he dislikes humans, and many other topics before another teacher, Present Mic, took over to wrap it up. After all that, they were dismissed and went back to class.  “OK, we still have a lot to go over,” Kan said, “but for now, head to the cafeteria for lunch.” Kan then stepped out, leaving the students to group up and leave.

“Yo!” Kendo heard next to her. Looking up, she saw a girl with wavy, dark green and slightly sharp teeth. “You’re the arm-wrestling girl, right? The one with the yaoi hands?”

“Yaoi hands?”

“Yeah, your quirk is so cool!” the girl gushed. “I’m Setsuna Tokage. Just call me Setsuna.” Poking out from behind Setsuna was a shorter girl with brown, mushroom-shaped hair that covered her eyes.

“M-My name’s Kinoko Komori,” the mushroom girl said in a nasally, quiet voice.

“I’m gathering up all the girls to sit together,” Setsuna said. “interested?”

“Totally! I’m Kendo, by the way. Itsuka Kendo.”

“Sweet,” Setsuna said. She leaned onto Kendo’s desk and looked over at Ibara. “How ‘bout you, vines?” Shiozaki was surprised at being called out like that, but still smiled and nodded.

“Oh, of course,” she said. “Thank you for the generous offer. My name is Ibara Shiozaki, by the way. I’d prefer to be called that instead of Vines, if you don’t mind.”

“Yeah, sure! C’mon then!” Setsuna ordered. “Yanagi and Pony are scouting a table right now.”

Kendo and Shiozaki packed up and started walking to the cafeteria with Komori and Setsuna. Once they arrived, they bought lunches and joined Yanagi and Pony at their table. Yanagi had big lips and short gray hair that covered her left eye. She also walked in a stumble with her arms up, reminding Kendo of a zombie from old horror movies. Pony was short with wavy blonde hair and big blue eyes, along with two tall horns, a short tail that matched her hair in color, and horse-like hooved legs. They had heard from Mr. Kan in class that she’s a transfer student from America.

“Hey therrrre,” Pony said slowly. “I’m still getting handled on the… language, so please talk slow.”

“Sure thing,” Kendo said.

“Look at us, huh? First day and we’ve got a group going,” Setsuna said. “I think this’ll be a good year for us, eh?”

“Totally,” Kendo agreed.

“Now then,” Setsuna began, “I say we get down to the serious business.”

“What business?” Yanagi asked in a monotone voice

“We’re high school girls now! Take a wild guess.” No one responded, which annoyed Setsuna. “Seriously? High school boys! We gotta talk about the high concentration of hotties in our class.”

“That’s it?” Kendo asked. “That’s not all that big a deal. It’s still our first day, too.”

“Oh, the irony,” Setsuna said. “You say that now, but I saw you during class. You kept staring at that blond boy in the front row, you saucy minx!”

“Huh? I wasn’t staring at Monoma. I was keeping an eye on him. He seems to act like a fool 24/7. Trust me, I’ve been dealing with his antics since first grade.”

“Oh, do tell! Childhood friend romances are always so cute,” Setsuna cooed.

“It’s jus’ like one of ma animes,” Pony chimed in.

“Quit making stuff up,” Kendo huffed. “Let’s talk about something else.”

“Um, e-excuse me,” Komori interrupted. “I t-think we’re missing someone.”

“What do you mean? This is everyone, right?” Setsuna said.

“No, I’m think she is right. There was one another girl in the class.” Pony said with some difficulty.

“Was there?” Setsuna asked herself. “Hmmmm… did she have black hair?”

“I th-think so,” Komori said. “I wonder where she is.” The girls all scanned the cafeteria, but saw no trace of the last 1-B girl.

Kendo took this opportunity to check on Monoma. To her surprise, he was sitting with another group of 1-B students and making small talk. Maybe you’re not hopeless after all. Her gaze hung on him for a moment before she heard Setsuna’s voice.

“You’re staring~,” Setsuna said in a singsong voice.

“You’re the one that made it weird,” Kendo fired back. “So, what if I check up once in a while?”

“Oh, you pure maiden!” Setsuna squealed.

“Shut up,” Kendo said with a flip of her ponytail. Setsuna’s changing the conversation ended up making the girls forget about their quick search for the last girl in their class.

As Class 1-B slowly returned to their classroom, Kendo checked over the room, having remembered the conversation about the girl near the end of lunch. On the left side of the room in the middle row, she saw her. A girl with a blank look on her face with a black bob haircut.

“Hey there,” Kendo said with her usual friendliness. The girl looked up at Kendo, but had no other reaction. Her face remained emotionless and she said nothing. “The rest of the girls in the class sat together during lunch today, but we forgot about you and feel really bad.” Still no reaction. “So, I wanted to invite you to sit with us tomorrow.”

“OK,” the girl said. Her voice was flat and listless.

Is she a robot or something? “My name’s Itsuka Kendo. What’s yours?”

“Yui.”

“Well… I’m glad you’ll be joining us, Yui.” Kendo turned back and fled from the awkward conversation. What she didn’t know was that Yui kept staring at her as she walked away. In time, Class 1-B slowly grew back to full size in time for their afternoon classes. None of them would want to miss it, as their first afternoon class was hero training.

“CLASS 1-B! I… AM… HERE FOR YOUR TRAINIIIIIIIING!” All Might entered, just as energetic as before, this time wearing his hero costume.

“I can’t believe we’re actually learning this stuff from All Might!” Tetsutetsu yelled.

“This is so awesome!” Setsuna squeaked.

“Is that his silver age costume? That’s so cool!” The oval-eyed boy exclaimed as All Might walked dramatically up to a podium in front of the class.

“Well now, it’s finally time for your hero course to officially begin,” All Might said, a little calmer than usual, but just as theatrically. “Right here in the same academy that trained me, you’ll learn what it means to be a hero and fight for justice. Think of this class as ‘Heroism 101.’ We’ll get right into it today with a special Heroes vs. Villains exercise. IT’S TIME TO BATTLE YOUR HEARTS OUT, CLASS!” All Might stepped out from behind the podium and posed pointing at the left wall. On cue, several drawers in the wall automatically came out with briefcases inside. “Now you’ll start looking the part! These were created based on your designs and specifications, as well as your Quirk registration forms. YOUR VERY OWN COSTUME!” The whole class erupted into cheers and nearly leapt out of their seats to grab their costumes. “Now, suit up and meet me at Training Ground Beta!”

“Yes, Sir!”

Chapter Text

Class 1-B hero costumes

 

* means it’s from the show/manga

 

EDIT:  This chapter was published long before chapter 194.  If you prefer the canon costumes and wanna picture those instead, go ahead, but just know that the writing will refer back to these occasionally.

 

*Itsuka Kendo: black domino mask, light blue qipao dress, black corset, brown utility belt, black booty shorts, dark gray shoes with light gray lining

 

*Neito Monoma: navy blue tuxedo, light violet shirt with popped collar, purple tie with black dots, belt with stopwatches, black dress shoes. 

 

Ibara Shiozaki: long, flowy white dress with green vine pattern on skirt hem, elbow length dark green wrap/cloak/shawl, turquoise utility belt with medical supplies and water bottles, turquoise gloves and boots

 

*Tetsutetsu Tetsutetsu: I can’t describe it.  Just look up a picture.

 

*Pony Tsunotori: horse harness around head, belts around biceps, torso, and shoulders, long, tight aqua blue shirt with light blue sections, light blue fingerless gloves, light yellow pants, aqua blue hoof guards with stirrups

 

Juzo Honenuki: yellow tank top, red wrist bracers, light brown utility belt, red pants with horizontal black stripes on sides, light brown boots

 

Hiryu Rin: red Kung-Fu shirt with green dragon design on the back and white cuffs, black belt, white pants, black shoes

 

Reiko Yanagi: black hooded cloak, black bandana mask with white skull mouth design, tight black bodysuit, short red tutu skirt, dark red shoes, small black bag strapped to left thigh. 

 

Yui Kodai: violet bodysuit with vertical red stripes on sides, pointy pink shoes with no soles (they wouldn’t work with her Quirk), white gloves, purple domino mask

 

Kinoko Komori: green body suit with white vertical stripe on front, dark green hooded cape, brown rounded shoulder guards with white dots, yellow utility belt with attached yellow skirt cape, brown shoes with white dots.

 

Nirengeki Shoda: high collar aqua blue jacket, white undershirt, red gloves, black pants, red shoes

 

Yosetsu Awase: white bandana with thin blue crisscross stripes (that he wears all the time), large metal shoulder pads, dark blue-gray sleeveless shirt, black wrist bracers, black leather belt with large silver buckle, light blue pants, metal kneepads, black boots

 

Shihai Kuroiro: silver circlet, black cape with jagged bottom and high collar held by gold chain, purple bodysuit with a big hole in the chest, black shoes

 

Manga Fukidashi: light blue bodysuit with white collar and gold parts (shoulders, upper arms, lower legs, starburst symbol on chest), white utility belt, gold boots

 

Sen Kaibara: Metallic blue helmet (kind of like Uraraka’s), sleeveless dark blue shirt with white V-shape on it (shoulder to bottom to shoulder), black gloves, blue pants, white utility belt, white shoes

 

Jurota Shishida: orange bodysuit with red stripe down the middle, orange utility belt and suspenders, camo boots

 

Kosei Tsuburaba: black domino mask, red jacket, black and orange striped shirt, dark red pants, black shoes

 

Setsuna Tokage: short and thick red scarf, short sleeve green bodysuit with tan stomach and short suit legs, green boots

 

Togaru Kamakiri: Sleeveless dark green body suit with yellow sides, orange utility belt, red goggles on head, brown boots

 

Kojiro Bondo: sleeveless white bodysuit with wide orange stripe down middle, orange arm bracers, orange boots

 

 

 

 

At the fake city called Training Ground Beta, All Might stood on his own in front of the entrance tunnel.  He stared into the darkness and eventually saw Class 1-B walking towards him.  “Young heroes, I’ll bet you see now how important a hero’s costume really is.”  All 20 students walked with heads held high into the light.  “Wearing it fills you with vigor and confidence, am I right?  From now until you graduate, you are all…” They arrived in front of the number one hero dressed in their own unique hero costume.  “HEROES IN TRAINING!”  All Might felt nothing but pride seeing the young heroes standing before him.  “I’M STARTING TO GET FIRED UP!  YOU ALL LOOK SO COOL!  Now, let’s get started, newbies!” 

“This is the same city from the entrance exam.  More robot fights in the streets?” Kendo asked. 

“Not quite,” All Might said.  “Instead of taking to the streets, you’ll be fighting in one of these buildings.  You may think of villain attacks only happening outdoors, but on average, most heinous crimes occur indoors.  Backroom deals, hostage situations – clever villains lurk where they can stay hidden.  To simulate this, you’ll all be split into 10 two-person teams, where 2 teams at a time will fight.  One team is heroes, the other is villains.  Now we’ll decide the teams byyyyy… DRAWING LOTS!”

All Might produced a small box with slips of paper inside.  Each student came up and picked their lot.  One by one, the teams were formed.  “All right, now let’s see who’s going first.”  All Might reached into two boxes, one marked hero and another marked villain.  “First teams up are…” He pulled out two balls, a white one marked C and a black one marked J.  “…Hero team C and villain team J.  So, we have…” He paused and then checked his clipboard hidden behind the boxes.  “OK, on our hero team is Yosetsu Awase – please step forward, young Awase.”  A boy with spiky black hair held up by a white and blue bandana walked to the front of the crowd. 

“Ready for action, sir,” Awase said with a salute.

“Good!  By your side will be Shihai Kuroiro… young Kuroiro, are you here?”

“Present,” a voice in the back of the crowd said.  The voice was gravelly and scratchy, sounding almost villainous.  Out from the crowd came a tall boy with messy white hair, jet-black skin, and a scowl on his face. 

“…ALRIGHTY,” All Might continued, “WE HAVE OUR HEROES!  Now for the villains.  Itsuka Kendo –”

“Right here, sir!” Kendo exclaimed.

“– and Yui Kodai.”

“Here,” Yui said, barely above a whisper.  She walked up to Kendo’s side and glanced indifferently at Awase and Kuroiro. 

“Now, before we get started, I’ll explain the specifics of the game.  The villain team goes into the building first.  Their goal is to defend a dangerous weapon they’ve stashed somewhere in the building.  You’ll have five minutes to prepare, in which the heroes may not enter or look inside the building.  The villains can move around the building to set traps and prepare themselves, but they must be back in the weapon room when prep time is up.  After five minutes are up, the game will start and you’ll have 15 minutes to fight it out.  The heroes must either subdue and capture the villains or secure the weapon to win the game.  For the villains to win, they must subdue and capture the heroes or defend the weapon until time runs out.”

“How do we capture people?” Awase asked.

“With this!” All Might said, holding up a small roll of tape.  “Capture Tape!  Wrap it tightly around your opponent to ‘capture’ them and remove them from play.  Each of you gets a roll, along with these earpieces.”  He handed the four students a roll of Capture Tape and a small earpiece.  “You can keep in touch with your teammate with these, and I can speak into them just in case.  Your classmates and I will be watching closely from a monitoring room, so If I see anyone going too far, I’ll be stopping the fight.”  All Might handed Kendo a folded slip of paper and began to walk away.  “Those are the directions to the weapon you’re protecting, villains.  Your five minutes of prep time starts now.  Get moving!”  Kendo and Yui walked into the building as All Might led the rest of the class to the monitoring room. 

“So, Yui…” Kendo began, not knowing what to say.  “That’s a cool costume.  Are you happy with how it came out?”

“I am.”

“Cool,” Kendo said.  At least I got more than a word from her.  As Kendo led the way, Yui stared intently at her while trailing behind.  Before long, they reached the third floor where their weapon was stored.  The large fake bomb was in a small room in the middle of a hallway, so it couldn’t be seen unless someone was right in front of the doorway.  “This shouldn’t be too hard, right, Yui?”

“Mm,” she grunted in response. 

Great, I’ve downgraded to just sounds from her.  “So, if we’re gonna work together, we should know about each other’s Quirks.  I’ll go first.”  Kendo’s fist started enlarging until it was about as big as her torso.  “I can make my hands big, which increases my strength.  Simple enough.”  Yui said nothing.  “What’s your Quirk?”

“Size,” she answered.  “I can shrink to about handheld, or grow to about four times my normal size.  It takes more effort to move around in as I change size.”


“Wow!  That’s an awesome Quirk!”  Kendo was hoping for at least a smile, but her Yui had no reaction the compliment.  With no other ideas for what to talk about, Kendo settled for just sitting in silence.  She sat cross-legged in front of the weapon while Yui sat in the corner behind her, still staring at her back.  Before long, they heard All Might’s voice echo through the building. 

“Heroes vs. Villains Training: begin!”  Kendo got up and cracked her knuckles in anticipation. 

“It’s time to kick some butt!  Ready, Yui?”  Her question got no response.  “Yui?”  She turned to look where Yui had been sitting, but realized she was right next to her and finally noticed her staring.  “Uuuuhh, you’re a little close.”  Kendo chuckled nervously and backed away, but Yui didn’t react.

“I have a question, Kendo.”

“OK, what is it?” Kendo hesitantly asked. 

“…How do you get so excited?” Yui asked.

“Huh?”  Kendo was surprised by the innocence of the question.  “Why do you ask?”

“You seem really excited about hero training,” Yui said.  “Heroes like All Might always look excited too.  I’d like to know why that is.”

“Oh… well, I guess hero work has always interested me,” Kendo explained as she rubbed her neck bashfully.  “If you don’t mind me asking, why did you come to U.A.?”

“…I was told my Quirk was suited for hero work, and I have no interest in other careers.  You act so passionate, Kendo.  I want to learn how to act like that.”

“It’s… something you feel, not something you learn.  I get excited by heroics because I focus my whole mind on it.  You should find something that you can be passionate about and focus on it.”  Kendo slowly put her hand on the shoulder of her teammate, who watched confusedly.  Yui stared at Kendo’s hand for a moment before making eye contact again.

“Why are you touching me?”  Kendo immediately recoiled and chuckled nervously.

“S-Sorry about that.  I just wanted to reassure you a little.  That’s what friends do, y’know?”

“Friends?” Yui parroted.  “We’ve only just met.  How are we friends, Kendo?”

“Yui… I’m sorry to cut this off, but our opponents can arrive any second.  I’m gonna go scout near the stairs.”  Kendo walked out the doorway, but popped her head back in for a moment.  “Awase and Kuroiro will be coming this way.  I’ll fight them off and try to keep them away.  If they get by me, I’m counting on you to protect the weapon until I come back.”

“You’re… counting on me?”

“Of course.  I have faith in you, Yui.”  Kendo walked off, leaving Yui on her own. “Kendo… has faith in me?”  She stood in silence with only her teammate's words on her mind.  I still don’t understand.  She barely knows me, but…

Chapter Text

Kendo stood alone in the hallway; close to the stairway, but still checking behind her.  They’ll probably come this way, but they may try going the long way around to trick us.  They may also split up, in which case, I’ll move back to the doorway and try to block it.  Slowly, the sound of boots slamming into the stairs starting echoing towards her.

“Checking the basement for so long was a real shitty idea in hindsight,” she heard Awase say.

“Oh, you think?” Kuroiro angrily shouted.  The voices and footsteps were getting closer by the second, prompting Kendo to press against the wall and peek around the corner.  She saw her opponents quickly finish running up the stairs and catch their breaths. 

Now’s my chance, Kendo thought.  She enlarged her fist and jumped out into the open.  “Not so fast, heroes!” she exclaimed.  Kuroiro swished his ragged black cape to the side while Awase took a fighting stance.  Kendo charged towards them with her giant fist cocked.

“Awase, stay behind me,” Kuroiro hissed.  He held his arms out in front of him and waited as Kendo got closer. 

As she approached, she started moving faster.  Faster than she knew she could go.  She tried to stop, but felt something pulling her forward.  Taking a closer look, she saw the hole in Kuroiro’s bodysuit that normally exposed his chest was instead a swirling black portal.  Smaller portals were also on Kuroiro’s palms that were pulling Kendo with even more force.  She tried backing up, but the pull was too great. 

“Don’t worry,” Kuroiro said.  “This won’t hurt a bit.”  Kendo lost her footing a flew towards her opponent’s chest.  As she reached the portal, she clenched her eyes tight and passed straight through.  When she opened her eyes, she looked around and saw wasn’t inside the building anymore.  She was in total darkness, floating in a void.

“Wh-Where… am I?”

 


 

“I should be able to hold her until we’re finished,” Kuroiro said, “but I won’t be able to suck up Kodai without giving Kendo an exit.”

Shihai Kuroiro.  Quirk: Black.  He can form black holes on his chest and palms to suck stuff up, shrinking them down and storing them in his body.  He can only hold a certain amount of stuff in him, and people can break out if they make a big ruckus. 

“That’s fine,” Awase said.  “You’ve done more than enough.  I’ll handle Kodai.  Let’s go.”  Awase and Kuroiro began to run, but suddenly, Kuroiro doubled over. 

“Urrgh…  Kendo must be flailing around inside me,” Kuroiro said.

“You okay?” Awase asked.  Kuroiro suddenly spasmed and a slamming sound came from his body, as if he had been punched in the stomach. 

“She’s too strong,” Kuroiro grunted.  “She’ll be free soon!  Get ready to – urgh – use your Quirk!”  Kuroiro’s chest became a portal again and Kendo dove out of him, prompting Awase to grab her enlarged hand and redirected her into the wall.  She crashed into the back of her hand and fell to the floor, panting.

“What the hell… was that.”  Kendo’s breath was erratic and her eyes were still closed.  Once she regained her bearings, she opened her eyes and stood up.  Seeing Awase so close, she tried swinging her giant hand, but felt it stuck to the wall. 

“Don’t try moving your hand,” Awase warned, “unless you don’t mind tearing it off.”

Yosetsu Awase.  Quirk: Weld.  He can weld two things together at a subatomic level if he’s touching both and the two objects are touching.

“Let me go, dammit!” Kendo yelled.  Looking over her shoulder, she saw Kuroiro unfurling his capture tape.  As he crept closer, she quickly grew her free hand and backhanded Kuroiro into the wall behind her.  The steel wall crumpled and contorted from her strength as Kuroiro was pressed into it.  On her left, Awase came at her with his own strip of capture tape and she swung again.  She had lost the element of surprise though, so Awase jumped back in time to avoid her.  Kuroiro pried himself from the dented wall and returned to Awase’s side, making sure he was out of Kendo’s reach.

“We shouldn’t bother,” Awase said.  “My quirk will hold her to the wall unless I free her myself.”  The heroes ran down the wall leaving Kendo stuck.

“Get back here!” she screamed as she futilely pulled her arm.  With her free hand, she clicked on her earpiece.  “Yui!  Yui, come in!”

“What’s wrong?”

“Awase stuck me to a wall.  They’re coming to you.  I’m sorry.”

“Do you need me to come help you?”

“No.  Forget about helping me.  Protect the weapon until I find a way to break free.  I’m counting on you, Yui.”

 


 

She’s counting… on me?  Kendo… has faith… in me?  Yui could hear Kuroiro and Awase running in her direction.  She looked back at the weapon, trying to think of the best course of action.  I can’t block the door with my body.  I’d lose sight of them and won’t see they’re Quirks coming.  As her opponents drew closer, Yui got an idea.  She ran behind the weapon and began to grow larger.  It may hurt, but It’s all I can do.  Kendo is counting on me.  She trusts me.  As Kuroiro and Awase ran through the doorway, Yui’s body had grown big enough for her plan to work.  She hooked her legs and arms around the weapon and held her chin over the top. 

“I see,” Kuroiro said.  “Using your body to shield the weapon.  With your back to the wall and facing the only entrance, you have no blind spots either.”  He summoned his chest and palm voids again, but the suction was too weak.  Yui didn’t budge.  “I’ll keep trying to suck her up.  Awase, you try and break through to the weapon.”

“Break through?”

“Is there a problem?”  Awase looked up at Yui, then back at Kuroiro.

“No.  This is heroes vs. villains, and she’s a villain.”  He rolled his shoulder and came closer to Yui.  “I’m not gonna hold back, Kodai, but I’ll give you an out.  Surrender or this’ll hurt like hell.”

For the first time in a while, Yui’s face wasn’t blank.  She had a steely, determined grimace.  “Kendo is counting on me, so I’ll hold out as long as it takes.”

“…Alright then.”  Awase dashed forward and let loose a flurry of rapid punches on Yui’s limbs.  Yui grunted and tensed up, but didn’t give up an inch of space.  The suction of Kuroiro felt stronger as she took damage, but she stood resolute against the onslaught.  Kendo… believes… in me.

 


 

In the monitoring room, All Might and the rest of 1-B watched as Yui used herself as a human shield. 

“This is hard to watch,” Tetsutetsu commented.

“I feel bad.  He just keeps hitting her,” Setsuna said.

“All Might, this is too much brutality,” Shiozaki said.  “Didn’t you say you’d stop the fight if it went too far?  I beg you, end this.”  All Might stayed silent for a moment, but then turned to the class.  “My students… I know this may seem brutal, but this is the reality of hero work.  You must get rough, rougher than you may be comfortable with.  Young Awase and young Kuroiro are doing what any hero would do in this situation, so don’t hold this against them.  Not only that, but stopping now… would be an insult to young Kodai.”

“What do you mean?” Shiozaki asked.

“Look closely, my students.  Take a good, long look into young Kodai’s eyes.”  They all looked at Yui, who was biting her bottom lip and squeezing her fists tight.  Some understood, but most others still didn’t.  “I’m sure some of you noticed the stoic look she’s had all day.  Emotions don’t come easy to her according to her previous teachers, but now… I don’t know exactly what, but something has jumpstarted her heroic resolve.  Look at the fire in her eyes!  Young Kodai has awoken!”

 


 

“Dammit, why won’t you move!” Awase yelled.  “We’re running out of time!”  Yui kept her determined look and tensed her muscles for another assault.  “Kuroiro, your Quirk isn’t working, so just help me attack!”

“Fine,” Kuroiro said as he deactivated his portals.  “Time to end this.”  The two students ran apart to Yui’s sides.  Both boys let out a shout and started pounding into Yui’s ribs.  Yui squealed and gritted her teeth, careful not to move her limbs.

Kendo… believes… in me… She has faith… in me…

“Nothing’s fucking working!” Awase yelled as he stopped his assault and retuned to Yui’s front.  “Kuroiro, you keep attacking while I pry her arms open!”  Awase pushed up on Yui’s arm and held the other arm down.  Normally, Yui’s giant strength would be much greater than what Awase could muster, but the continuous attacks were taking their toll.  She clenched her eyes, struggling to keep tears from forming as Kuroiro’s punches made it more and more difficult to breathe.  Awase pushed her arm further up, giving him a clear view of the weapon.  “I just need to… slip through and…”  Awase began reaching for the weapon.  As he got closer, a mere few inches from ending the game, he felt something grab his leg.  He was pulled from the gap between Yui’s arms and thrown out of the room, crashing in the hallway.  “What was— huh?”  He looked up, dazed, and saw Kendo standing in front of him.

“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING TO YUI?!”

“Kendo,” Yui said in relief, “you’re here…”

“Awase, I thought you said she’d be stuck to the wall.”  Kuroiro stopped his attack on Yui and ran to confront Kendo.

“I did,” Awase said tried to stand, “and she still is.”  Kuroiro was confused, but then saw Kendo and understood.  Her giant hand had a slab of metal stuck on the palm.

“So, you broke off the piece of wall?  Clever girl.”  Kuroiro activated his Quirk and pulled Kendo closer, but before he could bring her into his void, Yui’s giant hand slapped him away.

“Kendo, I’m too large for his Quirk to work on.”  She held her hand over Kuroiro, pinning him to the wall.  “There’s less than minute left.  Keep Awase out of the room and we’ll win.”  Kendo nodded and smiled at Yui.  She ran to the doorway just in time to slap Awase back into the hallway.  He crashed into the wall, but immediately pushed off of the dented steel and dashed at Kendo.  He tried to punch her, but she hit him with the metal slab once again.  He crashed in the same spot, but dove again.  He’d rush and rush, and each time, Kendo slapped him away, but with each hit, he’d fly at her faster and faster.  Finally, a shoulder-check landed in her stomach and she slid backwards. 

“Fuck it!  I’m going for it!”  Awase rolled to the side and dove towards the weapon, but Yui moved her free hand and slapped him backwards.  Kendo grabbed him in mid-air and slammed him to the floor as the last few seconds of the match ticked away. 

“TIME’S UP!”  All Might’s voice rang through the building’s hallways.  “THE VILLAIN TEAM… WIIIIIIINS!”  Yui sighed and let Kuroiro free from the wall as Kendo fell to the ground next to Awase. 

“That was… intense,” she panted. 

“You’re telling me,” Awase said.  “Gimme your hand and I’ll unstick you from that wall chunk.”  He touched her hand and the metal slab, deactivating his Quirk and freeing Kendo.  “Good game, you two.”

“Yeah, same to you,” Kendo said as she shrunk her hand down and rubbed her sore palm.  She propped herself up and walked over to Yui, who shrunk down to her normal size. 

“Kendo… I did it,” Yui said in a weak mumble.  “I protected the weapon.”

“You sure did.  Great, great job.  I’m sorry I left you alone like that.”  Kendo put Yui’s arm over her arms and propped her up.  “Let’s get you to Recovery Girl.”

“Hold on,” they heard Kuroiro say.  “Lemme just say… I’m sorry.  I may have gotten a little… carried away.”

“It’s fine,” Yui said.  “It's Heroes vs. Villains, like Awase said.  I was given a chance to surrender, too.  I don’t blame you for my stubbornness.”  Kuroiro’s permanent scowl seemed to soften for a moment before going back to normal as he helped Awase up.  The four students walked to the first floor, where All Might waited with two stretchers being pulled by robots. 

“CONGRATULATIONS, ALL OF YOU!  A splendid showing for our first match!” 

“Thank you, sir,” Kendo said as she eased Yui onto a stretcher. 

“I was especially impressed with your showing, young Kodai.”  All Might bent down on one knee and looked Yui in the eyes.  “Your passion for protecting the weapon was something to see.  I hope you can get pumped like that for all of your training.”

“Thank you, All Might.”  As the robotic stretcher began pulling Yui away, Kendo and All Might saw she had a big smile on her face.

“You should get going too, young Awase.”

“Actually, I’d rather wait,” Awase said.  “I’m not hurt too bad, and I’d like to see the other fights.”

“You’re not hurt after that thrashing,” Kuroiro asked.  “Damn, your sturdy.”

“Suit yourself,” All Might said.  He led the three remaining students to the monitoring room, where they were greeted with praise from their classmates.

“Kendo, that was super awesome!” Setsuna cheered.  “Where’s Kodai?”

“She’s at Recovery Girl’s office,” Kendo said.

“ALL RIGHT, STUDENTS!” All Might bellowed to get attention back on him.  “That was quite the intense match and all four of them fought spectacularly, but It’s time to declare the MVP!  Any guesses?”

“It’s gotta be Kodai, right?” Tetsutetsu suggested.  “She was super manly out there!”

“A good guess, but I’m afraid not.  Any other ideas?”  There was a quiet pause, but eventually, another hand raised.  A large, hairy hand.  “Yes, young Shishida.”  Everyone turned to see a tall boy covered in brown fur with long, scraggly hair and rectangular glasses.

“The answer is Kuroiro,” He stated in a refined and eloquent voice.  His classmates were all shocked, but some for different reasons.

Why Kuroiro?  His team lost, most of them thought.

I thought his voice would be rough and beastly, a few others thought.

“I’ll explain,” Shishida continued.  “While Kodai had an impressive showing in her protecting the weapon, it was obvious she hadn’t planned for the situation of fighting alone and was forced into using herself as a human shield – a tactic that was obviously going to backfire if Kendo hadn’t arrived when she did.  She also wasted time talking to Kendo when the match had started instead of during their preparation time.  As for Kendo, she fought well, but fell into Kuroiro’s trap instantly, forcing Kodai to fight alone and nearly costing them the match.” 

“He’s totally right,” Kendo said as she hung her head in shame.

“As for Awase, his insistence on thoroughly checking the basement wasted a lot of time at the start of the match.  He also neglected using his Quirk once he and Kuroiro reached the weapon.” 

“I was sure they’d be in the basement,” Awase moaned, joining Kendo in hanging his head.  “Villains are always in basements.”

“Kuroiro, on the other hand, used his Quirk effectively to trap Kendo, and when that plan was failing, he formed a new strategy involving his partner’s Quirk.  He treated Kodai as the villain she was roleplaying and refused to take it easy on her when it was clear she wasn’t going to surrender, whereas Awase had hesitated.  It’s obvious that Kuroiro is the MVP of this round.”

The entire class was stunned speechless by Shishida’s detailed analysis, especially All Might, who was fiddling with the buttons below the monitors.  “…Well, you nailed it.  That’s basically what I… was going to say… SO CONGRATS TO OUR HERO MVP!”  The class gave a round of applause, while Kuroiro looked absolutely baffled.

“I’m… the MVP?”  He looked around, expecting someone to snicker and reveal it was a prank, but everyone seemed earnest about the choice.  “You think so?”

“You fight real good and your Quirk is cool, too!” Pony gushed.

“Very manly, I’ll say,” Tetsutetsu said with a thumbs-up.

“See, young Kuroiro?” All Might said, patting Kuroiro on the back.  “Everyone agrees.  You did splendidly.”  Kuroiro looked up at All Might, then back at his classmates.  The once permanent scowl had transformed slowly into an awkward grin and his cheeks turned from jet black to a dark red.  “ANYWAY, IT’S TIME FOR OUR NEXT MATCH!”

Chapter Text

“I’ve taken the liberty of picking out the remaining fights,” All Might said as he read his clipboard.  “So, for our next round, our heroes are Team B.  Please come forward, Neito Monoma and Kinoko Komori.”  Monoma straightened his tie and walked with confidence to the front of the room while Komori was shaking and fiddling with her hands.  “Now for our villains, we have Team D: Setsuna Tokage and Hiryu Rin!”  Setsuna practically bounced her way to the front of the room, while the more reserved RIn simply walked.  Rin was a boy with black hair pulled into a short, low braid.  “Here’s your earpieces and capture tape, my students.  Now get to it!”  As the four walked out the door, Kendo poked her head out and grabbed Monoma’s sleeve.

“What’s up, Kendo?” he asked.  Kendo pulled him close to whisper in his ear. 

“Listen.  Komori seems like the nervous and self-doubting type–”

“Oh wow, did you figure that out all by yourself?”  Monoma’s sass earned him a quick chop in the arm.  “Ow!  What?”

“Don’t to be condescending or anything to her.  Don’t insult her Quirk if you can’t think of a way to use it.”

“C’mon, Kendo.  I have more tact than that.”

“No, you don’t,” Kendo said matter-of-factly.  Monoma pulled his sleeve from Kendo’s grip and caught up with Komori.  As they reached their designated building, Rin and Setsuna entered while Monoma and Komori waited outside.

“So, we’ll need a strategy,” Monoma began.  “Do you know either of their abilities, Komori?”

“Uh, n-no… sorry.”

“It’s fine.  What about your own Quirk?”

“M-My Quirk is called Mushroom,” Komori said.”  I c-can grow m-mushrooms of different sizes by s-spreading spores from my hair.”  Komori shook her head around, causing a cloud of green spores to fall onto the pavement.  After a few seconds, the spores grew rapidly into a cluster of mushrooms. 

“Is that it?” Monoma bluntly asked.  Komori stuttered and fiddled with her hands before Monoma realized how he sounded.  “I mean, uh, I’m just asking if you have… any strategies for your… fantastic mushrooms.  I’m sure we can come up with a good plan to use them.”  Komori seemed to calm down from Monoma’s backtracking and explained more of her Quirk.  Man, being such a nice guy like this is hard work.  How does Kendo do it?

 


 

On the second floor of the building, Setsuna and Rin were having their own strategy meeting.  Rin was leaning against a vent blowing cool air on him as Setsuna explained her powers.  “…Anyway, that’s how my Quirk works,” Setsuna said to a disturbed Rin.  “Pretty neat, huh?”

“Well… it’s certainly unique,” Rin said.  How would you even discover that?  It sounds traumatizing. 

“So, what can you do?” 

“Oh, yes, my Quirk.”  Rin pulled up the sleeve of his costume and held his arm out.  “Mine is called Scales.  I can transform my skin to become draconic scales.”  Setsuna watched closely as his hand transformed, his skin turning jagged and sharp.  “It gives me better offense, defense, and heat resistance, but as time goes on, it becomes harder to maintain and I can get overheated.”  To Rin’s surprise, the sight of his scales caused Setsuna to start blushing.

“Cooool.  You’re just like a dinosaur.”  Setsuna looked up at him with big eyes and a cute smile, making him look away.

“I, uh… we should… ah-hem, probably just prepare to fight.  We can’t really set traps or anything with our Quirks—”

“So, let’s just meet them head-on,” Setsuna suggested.  She came in closer to Rin, leaning forward with a mischievous smile.  “There’s no point in waiting for them to come to us.  We’ll block them right from the start and if they get past us, we’ll just chase ‘em down.”

“You, uh, have a good point, s-so—” 

“Soooo, until the match starts, we can get to know each other better.”  She put her hand on the wall and pushed her chest into her partner’s.  “Don’t you want to be close friends?”

 


 

 

“Setsuna really doesn’t mince words,” Kendo said with a chuckle.  Most of the class was looking away from the screen with the villain team, though some were watching intently like it was a TV drama. 

“She’s so confident.  Should I be doin’ stuff like that?” Pony asked innocently.  Almost immediately, Shiozaki put her hands around Pony’s eyes.

“Uh, Shiozaki?” Kendo began.  “What’re you—”

“Protecting the innocence of the child from Setsuna’s influence,” Ibara said without a hint of irony.

“Oh… I see,” Kendo said.  Child?  We’re all the same age.

 


 

“Heroes vs. Villains training: begin!”

“Let’s head in, Komori,” Monoma said.  As the two heroes moved inside, Komori used her Quirk to make a large mushroom on the ground.  She climbed on top and pressed her ear to the ceiling. 

“I hear their f-footsteps,” Komori said.  “They’re heading towards the stairway d-down the hall.”

“Then let’s greet them, shall we?”  The hero team moved forward, keeping their eyes on the stairway entrance ahead of them.  As they got closer, they heard footsteps echoing from inside the stairway.  Not long after, Setsuna leapt down the stairs with Rin not far behind her. 

“Well, isn’t this some coincidence,” Setsuna said.  “I think they were expecting us, Rin.”  The hero team backed up slowly and watched their opponents closely.  “If you guys don’t wanna make the first move, then I’ll do it.”  Without moving any closer, Setsuna cocked her fist behind her and threw a big punch.  Suddenly, Monoma felt the full force of Setsuna’s punch across his cheek and skidded back down the hallway, stopping only when he fell on his back.  “Bullseye!” he heard Setsuna cheer.

“A-Are you OK, Monoma?” Komori asked.  Monoma instinctively reached for his aching jaw, but something was in his way.  Sitting up and opening his eyes, he saw what was in his hands – a severed forearm.   

“What the hell!?” he ylped, tossing the arm away and scooting backwards.  Looking back at Setsuna, he saw the arm had come from her, having detached from the rest of her body.  Komori looked at her, shocked, while Rin looked more sickened than surprised.  The arm on the floor began to decay and turn to dust while a new forearm burst from Setsuna’s stump.

“It’s always fun to see the reactions,” Setsuna giggled.

Setsuna Tokage.  Quirk: Autotomy.  Her limbs are easily detachable and can regrow, but she loses some blood with each use.

It’s more disturbing than her description, Rin thought.  Monoma skittishly got up as Komori retreating to his side. 

“Any i-ideas, Monoma?”

“Part of one,” he answered.  He smirked and held his arms up defensively.  “I’ll make up the next part once I see what Rin can do.”  He broke into a sprint, rushing towards Rin.  Setsuna grabbed at him, but he narrowly dodged and raised his fist.  Rin activated his Quirk in response and blocked Monoma’s attack with the back of his scaly hand.  “I see.  This seems very useful,” Monoma quipped.  Behind him, Setsuna dove across the ground and wrapped her arms around his legs.

“I got him!  Let him have it, Rin!”  With one fluid motion, Rin pulled Monoma towards him and drove his fist into his opponent’s stomach.  For a moment, Monoma seemed winded, but suddenly, he revealed his still-smirking face.

“Sorry, was that supposed to hurt me?”  Monoma grabbed Rin’s shoulders and pushed down quickly, vaulting over his opponent.  Setsuna gasped as Monoma’s legs broke off just like her own could.  As Monoma sailed over Rin, he grew a new pair of legs and landed in front of the stairs.  I guess spreading a layer of Komori’s mushrooms on my torso to block an attack was a stroke of pure genius.  Monoma’s hands and now-bare feet began to scale up as he sprinted up the stairs with Rin not far behind.  It’s time to leave these two in the dust!

Neito Monoma.  Quirk: Copy.  He can copy other people’s Quirks for five minutes once he touches them, but he can only use one at a time. 

 


 

“I’ll let Rin take care of Monoma for now,” Setsuna said, taking a crouched fighting stance.  “No hard feelings, right Komori?”

“Mhm.”  Komori ran a hand through her hair and spread a cluster of spores in front of her.  Setsuna crawled slowly towards her opponent before leaping down the hall.  Once she was above the spores, they grew almost immediately into a huge pile of mushrooms that Setsuna crashed into. 

“OOF!”  After her crash, Setsuna got up and punched the wall of fungus in front of her, but she couldn’t break through.  “Never knew mushrooms could get this tough.”  After a moment, she turned and walked away.  “I guess if I can’t get to you, I’ll just go back up Rin.  Catch you later!”

“W-W-Wait!” Komori yelled from behind the mushroom wall.

 


 

 

Damn, he’s catching up quickly, Monoma thought.  He looked over his shoulder at Rin, who was only about 20 feet behind him.  I think Tokage’s quirk may have some blood loss side effect that’s slowing me down.  I can’t win against Rin with his own Quirk, so my best bet is to hide somewhere.  He turned right and looked down the hall, noticing an air duct with an open hatch on the top of the left wall.  Bingo!  This is a testing facility, so there’d obviously places to hide out and sneak around.  Picking up speed, Monoma jumped up and grabbed the edge of the air duct on the wall.  Hoisting himself up quickly, he closed the latch with his foot and slid further into the ventilation system.  As he crawled away, he heard Rin run by, but then turn back.  Looks like I’ve evaded him for now.  He and Tokage were on this floor at the beginning of the training, so the weapon is here too.  I should try and follow Rin for now.  After losing me, he’s bound to return to the weapon and protect it.  Pressing his ear to the wall, he heard the small thumping of Rin’s running going back the way he had chased Monoma.  I wonder if Komori can handle Setsuna on her own? 

 


 

“Rin, where’d you go off to?” Setsuna said into her earpiece.  She was running through the second floor, checking behind her constantly in case Komori had caught up. 

“I lost Monoma,” Rin responded.  “I’m going to protect the weapon.”

Maybe I should go protect the weapon too, Setsuna thought.  I don’t know where either hero is, so that’s probably my best course of action.  Hanging a left, Setsuna returned to the weapon room, relieved to see neither Monoma nor Komori had found it yet.  For now, I’ll stand guard over— ah.  Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of running out in the hall.  Jumping out, she saw Rin and sighed in relief. 

“Tokage,” Rin began, “where’s Komori?”

“After you left, she made a wall to protect herself that sorta blocked her way to the stairs.  I came to back you up, but I got a little lost.”  Setsuna rubbed her head in embarrassment and peaked out into the hallway.

“She’s probably gone around and come upstairs by now.  Monoma and her have probably regrouped, so leaving the weapon unguarded would be foolish.  We’ll have to protect it the old-fashioned way.”  Rin turned his fists to scales and clashed them together. 

“Sounds good.  Also… I told you to call me by my first name.”
“Are you sure?  We just met today.”

“Of course.  You’re gonna be my dinosaur boyfriend, so get used to it.”

“E-Excuse—”

“Shush.  Someone’s coming.”  Setsuna dipped back inside and pressed against wall.  “It’s Komori.  I think she saw me.”  Rin stepped forward with his fist ready to attack.  As he waited for Komori, he saw her jump in front of the door.  Rin sliced his scaly fingers towards Komori, but then realized what he had actually attacked.  Thrown in front of him was a human-shaped dummy made of mushrooms with Komori’s cape wrapped around it.  As the realization hit him, the real Komori’s hand grabbed his wrist and pulled it towards her, letting a cloud of spores rain over it.  The spores solidified on Rin’s hand, creating a layer of fungus over his scales.  He tried to swat her away, but Komori dodged just in time.  Setsuna dove out of the room and threw a huge punch, breaking off her arm so that it flew into Komori’s stomach.

Komori was winded and thrown backwards, but landed on her feet.  Rin came at her with is left fist this time, as his right one had a soft coating of mushrooms over it.  Komori dodged again and made a grab for his arm, but Setsuna tackled her to the ground.  “Got you now!” Setsuna yelled as Rin backed up to the doorway.  “What’re you gonna do?”  Komori attempted to smirk at Setsuna, but it appeared as more of an uncomfortable grin, and out of nowhere, a loud voice rung in the building.

“WEAPON CAPTURED!  THE HERO TEAM WIIIIIINS!”

“WHAAAT!?” Setsuna shrieked.

“How did— huh!?”  Rin looked inside the room and saw Monoma leaning against the weapon with a smile. 

“I’m sure you’re wondering how I’ve done it.  Well—”

“The air vents!” Rin suddenly realized, looking at the vent he had leaned on earlier.

“Hey!” Monoma yelped defensively.  “I wanted to explain it.”

“How’d he do it?” Setsuna asked from the hallway.

“He crawled into the vent system after he escaped me in our chase,” Rin answered.  “Komori was a distraction.”

“C’mon, man,” Monoma whined.  “You could’ve at least let me explain my ingenious plan to your teammate.”  Rin didn’t answer and left the room.  “Tch.  He’s just a sore loser.”  Out in the hallway, Setsuna was helping Komori to her feet.  Once she saw Rin, she stumbled backwards into the wall and slid down to the ground, holding the back of her hand to her forehead.

“Oh, Rin,” she whined in a voice even Monoma would call melodramatic.  “I’ve lost so much blood from my Quirk.  You have to carry me outside in your big, muscly, scaly arms.”  Rin looked down confusedly, then sighed and walked right past her.

“You told me you could do it at least 10 times in a day.  Get up.”

“’Kay.”  Setsuna stood up and followed Rin with her normal energy, leaving Monoma and Komori in an awkward silence. 

“G-Good job, Monoma,” Komori said.  “We got the win because of you’re thinking.”

“…Yeah, but I couldn’t have done it without you.  You’re the real deal, Komori, so give yourself some credit.” He grabbed Komori’s hand and gave it a quick, discrete shake. 

“Thanks,” Komori said.  “You’re a nice guy, Monoma.”

“I know,” he answered with a flip of his hair.  “I really am the complete package, eh?”

“…”

“I’ll take you’re silence as a yes.”

Chapter Text

After returning to the monitoring room, the class congratulated the heroes and villains on a job well done.  Kendo could practically see Monoma’s head swell as he was named the MVP of the round.

“Let’s see who’s next,” All Might.  “It seems our Hero team will be Team I: Jurota Shishida and Togaru Kamakiri.  Please come forward.”  The large and hairy Shishida came out from the middle of the crowd of students, leaving most of the people he brushed by in awe of both his size and the softness of his fur.  Kamakiri, who was of about equal height, gave off an entirely different impression, looking angry and resembling an insect.  He had a mouth that jutted forward and featured two mandibles coming out of his cheeks and curving inwards.  His slanted, angry-looking green eyes matched his green Mohawk, which stood tall on his head while the rest of his hair was shaved almost completely off. 

“As for our villain team, Team F,” All Might began as he looked closely at the clipped board.  There was a moment of silence before All Might read of the name.  “Tetsutetsu… Tetsu…tetsu.”

“That’s me!” the silver-haired boy shouted, already in front of everybody. 

I thought that was a typo, All Might thought with a bit of pity.  “Yes, good!  Our other villain is Nirengeki Shoda.  Come forward, young Shoda.”

“Here, sir,” a quiet voice said.  Stepping forward was as short and chubby boy with gray hair and a fearful expression.

“Let’s have a good match, boys,” All Might said as he handed out the ear pieces and capture tape.  “Get out there!”  The four boys exited the room and began to walk to their building, but stopped when Shishida turned around.

“Before we start this exercise,” he began courteously, “I’d just like to say that I hope we have a clean match with no hard feelings afterwards.”

“Afraid we’ll beat you already?” Tetsutetsu said with a toothy grin.

“No.  I’m just trying to extend an olive branch,” Shishida said as he extended a hairy hand to Tetsutetsu.  “Let’s have a good game.”

“Totally!” Tetsutetsu said, vigorously shaking Shishida’s hand.  “Same to you, guy!” he said to Kamakiri.  Instead of returning the gesture, Kamakiri folded his arms and walked away. 

“I apologize for his rudeness,” Shishida said as he followed his teammate.

“No worries, dude,” Tetsutetsu said with a laugh.

“That guy’s scary,” Shoda said, making sure only his teammate would hear.

“Nah.  I’m sure he’s just trying to be intimidating.  I bet he’s not all that scary once we start fighting.”

“You sure?”

“…Nope!  But if it makes you feel better, I’ll take him, buddy!”  The villain team continued their walk to the building, where they entered to find the weapon room.  According to All Might’s directions, it was in a small room in the basement.  Once they arrived, they saw how dark the large basement was compared to the higher floors.  They nearly tripped over the many cardboard boxes and wooden crates strewn about as they searched for the weapon.  The tiny room where it was stored was in the corner with one open entrance. 

“It looks like we can’t really fight near the weapon,” Shoda pointed out.  “We’ll have to block off the doorway.”

“Probably,” Tetsutetsu said.  “…I know!  We’ll stack the boxes in front of it.”

“That’s a good idea, but we can’t make that look inconspicuous.”

“Huh?”

“I’m saying that’ll draw attention,” Shoda explained.  “We can’t really hide the weapon in that way without it being obvious.  Even if we position ourselves somewhere else, I’m sure Shishida will figure us out.  He seems pretty smart.”

“That’s true.  In that case, we’ll use every crate and box here and make it the best barricade ever!  We’ll protect it as best we can and have the barricade to stop them in their tracks!”  Tetsutetsu ran off to grab some boxes and make their barricade.

‘W-Wait, Hold on!” Shoda said.  “We also have to be inside the weapon room when the round starts.”  Tetsutetsu stopped mid-stacking and blankly stared at Shoda.  “We have to leave an exit to crawl out of when the round starts.”

“Oh!  Got it!”  The remaining prep time was spent making a barricade of crates in front of the door to the weapon, leaving an opening to crawl out of once the round started. 

“Heroes vs. Villains Training: begin!”

“LET’S DO IIIIIIIT!”

“Quiet!” Shoda said nervously, “They’ll hear us.  You have to be quiet.”

“SORRY!” Tetsutetsu yelled.  Once both boys crawled into the open space of the basement, they plugged up their crawlspace, leaving the doorway completely blocked.  “You ready, buddy?”

“Yeah,” Shoda said.  He clenched his fists tight and tried to make his normally fearful grimace into a look of determination.  “…Hey, Tetsutetsu?”
“’Sup?”

“I need you to do something… can you punch me in the stomach.”

“Huh?  Is this some ‘help me calm down by slapping me’ things like in movies?”

“No.  It’s actually for my Quirk.”  Shoda turned to Tetsutetsu and took a deep breathe.  “Just one solid hit.”

“If you’re sure,” Tetsutetsu said.  He reeled back slowly, waiting to see if Shoda would chicken out, but he didn’t.  Tetsutetsu slammed his fist into Shoda’s stomach, making him double over.  “Too hard?”

“No… perfect actually,” Shoda coughed out.  He stood up slowly, holding his stomach.  “It’s just what I needed.”  As he stood up, Tetsutetsu watched as Shoda’s hair began to glow.  The normally gray hair was shining silver, and a few strands clumped together and stood on end.  It looked to Tetsutetsu like a lightning bolt sticking out of Shoda’s head.

“I dunno what your Quirk is, but I like it already,” Tetsutetsu growled with an excited smile.  That was when they heard footsteps on the stairs.

“Looks like you were right, Shishida,” They heard a scratchy voice say, who they correctly assumed was Kamakiri. 

“It was a simple job for my animal senses,” Shishida said as he descended the stairs.  He peered over his glasses and looked at Tetsutetsu.  “You’ve had the smell of breakfast foods lingering on you all day.”

Jurota Shishida.  Quirk: Beast.  He has the strength, agility, and senses of an animal.

“Dammit!” Tetsutetsu yelled.  “My mom always said my pocket bacon would be my downfall one day!”

“You’ve had bacon in your pocket all day?” Shoda asked in disbelief.

“Hey Shishida,” Kamakiri said, “check it out.  The weapon’s probably behind that stack of crates.”

“Most likely.”  The hero team reached the bottom of the stairs and stared down the villain team.  “I’ll tear it down and secure our target.  Pick an opponent, Kamakiri.”  The mantis boy immediately looked down at Shoda and walked forward. 

“How about you?” he growled.


How about me!” Tetsutetsu yelled, flinging himself towards Kamakiri.  Throwing a right hook, his attack was dodged, but Kamakiri saw his fist was shiny and metallic.  “I’ll be your opponent!  ME!”

Tetsutetsu Tetsutetsu.  Quirk: Steel.  He can harder his body into steel for the ultimate offense and defense.

“Fine then,” Kamakiri said, jumping back to avoid another attack.

“It looks like we’ll be fighting,” Shishida said as he approached Shoda.  “I’ll try and make this quick.”  Shishida reeled back his fist and threw a punch, but before he hit Shoda, he swerved his attack towards the ground.  He pushed off the ground, flying over Shoda in a somersault.

A feint! Shoda thought.  He’s coming from above.  Shoda jumped back into Shishida’s path as he descended from his rolling jump.  He threw a powerful punch at Shoda, who blocked it with his crossed arms.  As Shishida landed, another clump of Shoda’s hair spiked up into a lightning bolt shape.  Shoda then pulled his arm back preparing for a palm strike.  Shishida crossed his arms and angled them down to block the attack coming from below.  The palm strike flew upwards and hit Shishida’s arms, blowing them upwards with amazing force.  Shoda’s other palm flew forward into his opponent’s stomach, smashing it with another huge shockwave.  Shishida skidded backwards until he lost his footing and tumbled, crashing back into the stairs.

“I won’t let you past me,” Shoda said as his hair flattened and returned to normal

Nirengeki Shoda.  Quirk: Twin Impact.  He can absorb and store the kinetic energy in the attacks that hit him, then use that energy in a palm strike.

Across the basement, Tetsutetsu kept up his steel-enhanced assault on Kamakiri.  He threw a big punch, which was dodged like his other attacks.  As he returned to his fighting stance, Kamakiri had created a bigger distance between them.  “It’s my turn,” Kamakiri said.  ‘Try not to get killed.”  Suddenly, the mandibles on his face began to grow, shooting forward until Tetsutetsu was between them.  From his perspective, it was like being in the middle of a pair of scissors.  He forced his whole upper body in iron-like hardness just as the two mandibles closed in on him.  The blades crashed into Tetsutetsu’s shoulders, where the steel blocked them. 

“Is that all!?” Tetsutetsu yelled.  He grabbed the mandibles and forced them apart, giving him an opening to run at his opponent.  Kamakiri stepped back and angled his mandibles towards Tetsutetsu’s neck.

“Keep your hands at the level of your eyes,” Kamakiri warned.  The blades closed in and chopped into Tetsutetsu’s neck, cutting through the steel and drawing blood.  “I guess you have a limit of hardness.”

Togaru Kamakiri.  Quirk: Razor Sharp.  Those two curvy mandibles on his cheeks can grow into long and sharp metal blades that work like scissors. 

“I HAVE NO LIMITS!  YOU HEAR ME!?”  Tetsutetsu forced the blades open again and gripped them tight.  He lifted Kamakiri off his feet before throwing him high in the air.  Running underneath, Tetsutetsu waited for his opponent to fall right next to him before unleashing a huge blow to his head.  Kamakiri flew backwards into the basement wall.

“Ugh… Don’t think you’ve won yet,” Kamakiri said.  “I’m just getting started!”

“BRING IT OOOON!”

On the other side of the basement, Shoda was busy blocking attacks from Shishida’s animal claws.  This is bad, Shoda thought.  He’s figured out that hitting me is how my Quirk activates.  Clawing attacks won’t activate it like blunt hits do.  Shoda jumped back until he was right in front of the crates and stomped his foot, imitating a sumo wrestler.  It looked like Shishida was going to follow, but he instead started backing up.  He hunched over and snarled like an animal before dashing forward.  As he dashed, Shishida rolled into a somersault and flew towards Shoda.

“Spinning Cannonball!” Shishida called out.  Shoda opened his arms and stood resolute as his opponent crashed into him.  For a moment, Shoda thought he had caught Shishida, but then he was thrown off his feet and they both crashed through the barricade.  The crates right behind them broke apart while more on the side flew off.  When Shoda had come to a stop, he felt his hair stand up and readied his palm.  Shishida, who was on top of Shoda, was dizzy from the rolling and didn’t see the attack coming, meaning the uppercut palm strike blindsided him.  He was thrown into the ceiling before falling back down, where Shoda hit him with a normal palm strike cross the room.

Please tell me that finished him, Shoda thought.  He was panting and becoming nervous as the adrenaline started to wear down.  The barricade is almost completely gone.  If he gets by me, he’ll tear through it easily.  To his disappointment, Shishida was getting back up.  He got to his feet, then hunched over again to prepare another rolling attack, before an announcement came through his earpiece. 

“Kamakiri had been captured,” All Might said through his earpiece.  Looking back, Shishida gasped as he saw Tetsutetsu standing above an unconscious Kamakiri. 

“Yo,” Tetsutetsu said as he punched his steel fists together.  “I’ll be taking you now.  Thanks for holding him off, buddy.”

“S-Sure thing,” Shoda said.  Tetsutetsu ran forward and readied a punch for Shishida, who turned to face him.  Just as Tetsutetsu, reached him, Shishida suddenly backflipped, bringing both of his feet up into Tetsutetsu’s chin.  Knocked off the ground, Shishida grabbed him and threw him towards Shoda, who caught his teammate. 

Shoda barely had time to think.  Once he had caught Tetsutetsu, he looked up and saw Shishida rolling at him with his Spinning Cannonball again. With no time to plan, Shoda threw Tetsutetsu out of the attack’s path.  Shishida crashed into an unprepared Shoda and they both flew through the remaining barricade.  Once he had landed, Shishida wasted no time and tackled the weapon.  “Captured!” he yelled. 

“WEAPON CAPTURED,” All Might announced through the building.  “THE HERO TEAM WIIIIINS!” 

With the trial finally over, Shishida fell to his knees and groaned, rubbing his head.  “That move is always such a headache.” 

Outside of the weapon room, Tetsutetsu was checking on his half-conscious teammate.  “You OK, buddy?” he asked Shoda who sat up and held his stomach.

“Looks like we lost, huh?” he asked with a downtrodden face.  “Sorry, Tetsutetsu.”

“Dude, you were awesome!”  Tetsutetsu yelled with a thumbs-up.  “It was so freakin’ manly!  You were all like ‘BAM!’  It was crazy!”  He pulled Shoda to his feet and then put a hand on his shoulder.  “Most importantly, you threw me out of the way of Shishida’s attack, but still tried to block it.  That was manly as hell, bro.”

“Think so?” Shoda asked with a hopeful smile.  To his surprise, Tetsutetsu pulled him into a tight hug.

“Of course, little buddy!” he yelled with tears running down his cheeks. 

“Cool… you can stop crying now.”

Chapter Text

With all four of the previous fighters on their way to Recovery Girl’s office, the next round was set to begin shorty.  “Let’s see who’s next here,” All Might said.  “Our hero team is Team A: Ibara Shiozaki and Kojiro Bondo.”  Both students stepped forward quickly, though not without some strange looks on Bondo’s half.  He was the largest student in the class at 6’3 with yellow skin and enormous, muscular arms, but this wasn’t his most noticeable trait.  What really caught people’s attention was his head, which was shaped like a glue dispenser, had seven eyeholes with no visible eyes, and had a jagged mouth that went around his entire head. 

“it’s very nice to meet you,” Shiozaki said to Bondo with a small bow, which Bondo returned. 

“Now for our villain team, I’ll need Team H: Juzo Honenuki and Reiko Yanagi.”  The two villain team members joined their opponents quickly, where they each received an ear piece and capture tape.  Honenuki looked mostly normal with his ashy blond hair, especially next to Bondo, but his face was still odd.  It looked almost skeletal with a lack of lips, an almost-nonexistent nose, and sunken-in eyes. 

As the students left, All Might sighed to himself.  “What’re the odds?”

“Something wrong, sir?” Kendo asked.

“No, it’s nothing… Students, have you any idea of the recommended students in your class?”

“It wasn’t mentioned by Mr. Kan,” Kendo asked.

“Well, in your class, the two recommended students are young Honenuki and young Yanagi.”

“They’re on the same team?” Pony chimed in.  “I know it’s a random picking, but it’s still seeming unfair, a little bit.”

“That’s not all,” All Might continued.  “Not only are their Quirks a great pairing, but with them being the villain team and having the weapon on the top floor… Let’s just say our hero team are in for an uphill battle.  Who knows, though!  Both of our hero team members are extremely talented.  They scored highly on the entrance exam and they have excellent Quirks.  I’d say this match will be extremely close.” 


“So, Bondo,” Shiozaki said as they waited outside the building, “Are you enjoying school so far?”  Bondo said nothing, but nodded.  “Are you pleased with your costume?”  Again, another nod.  “What’s you Quirk?  I’ve shown you mine, so would you please show me yours?”  Bondo pointed to his eyeholes, out of one of them came a white substance that pooled up on the ground and hardened almost immediately.  “Oh my.  That looks quite useful.  What is it called?

“Cemedine,” Bondo finally said in a deep voice.  When he spoke, his entire head flopped backwards like a puppet’s. 

“I… see,” Shiozaki said with a smile.  Not long after, they heard All Might’s announcement.

“Heroes vs Villains Training: begin!”

“Let’s go,” Shiozaki said as she and Bondo walked through the entrance.  “Perhaps we should survey the lower floors and work our way up.  Is that alright with you, Bondo.”  Turning around to see Bondo’s answer, Shiozaki saw something further down the hall.  Near the entrance, she saw a black blur dart down the left hallway.  Yanagi was wearing a black cloak, wasn’t she?

“Hm?” Bondo grunted.

“It seems our enemies are down here with us.  I just saw Yanagi near the exit.”  Shiozaki ran back the way she came, turning the corner that she saw Yanagi take.  When she reached it, there was no sign of her opponent.  I’m sure I saw her.

“Behind you,” she heard Bondo say.  Shiozaki snapped to attention and clasped her hands together over her chest.  Without turning around, her vines shot out and rushed down the hall, enveloping the area. 

Ibara Shiozaki.  Quirk: Vines.  She can control and stretch out her hair vines, as well as detaching them at will.

It doesn’t feel like I’ve caught her.  I’m even feeling around in the rooms.  Where could she have gone?  She turned around to look for Yanagi, but only saw Bondo.  “Did you see where she went?” she asked.  Bondo shook his head no, but then pointed at the ceiling.  Looking up, Shiozaki saw that the ceiling was coming closer.  “The ceiling’s falling?  No, it’s… melting?”  As the ceiling fell, Bondo activated his Quirk, shooting a giant stream of glue from his eyeholes.  The glue hardened instantly, stopping the ceiling’s descent for the moment.  “Good thinking, Bondo.  Let’s head upstairs.  It seems our opponents are above us.”  Shiozaki shed most of the extra vines she had grown, allowing her to easily outrun the melting ceiling, but her much slower partner was having trouble.  “Bondo, do you need help?”

“No,” he grunted, shooting more glue to stop the ceiling.  “Go ahead.”

“If you insist,” Shiozaki said, running up the stairs.  As she climbed, she heard another person above her.  She sped up, expecting to see Yanagi, but she instead found Honenuki climbing up to the third floor.  Before she could command her vines to snag him, Honenuki pounced at Shiozaki.  He grabbed her by the head and slammed her into the wall.  After the painful crash, Honenuki exhaled deeply and Shiozaki felt her head sink into the wall.  As she regained her bearings from the attack, she stopped sinking as Honenuki inhaled.  “W-What is this?” Shiozaki asked as she tried pulling her head from the wall.

“This is goodbye,” Honenuki said.  He began to climb the stairs while the steps behind him lost their form and melted.

Juzo Honenuki.  Quirk: Softening.  He can soften anything he’s touching by exhaling.  Whatever is softened will return to normal over time, or by him touching it and inhaling.

“Hrrgh… my vines can’t move,” Shiozaki whimpered.  “I’ll have to separate them at the roots.”  Commanding her vines to detach, Shiozaki lurched forward and pried her now bare head from the misshapen wall.  Almost immediately, a new set of vines grew from her scalp, but the regrowth made her fall to her knees.  Her breath was heavy and her new vines were brittle and dry.  I’ve lost too much of water from overuse of my Quirk.  Searching for Yanagi already used up a lot…  She took one of the water bottles in her belt and drank half of it quickly before dumping the rest onto her head.  From further down the stairs, Shiozaki heard the heavy footsteps of her teammate approaching.  “Bondo, up here.” 

As he approached, Bondo looked to Shiozaki for an explanation on what happened to the walls and stairs.  “It was Honenuki’s Quirk.  He was able to soften the wall and steps, then re-harden it on command.  It looks like the stairs have re-solidified, but climbing them will take time and effort now.”

“I’ll go around,” Bondo said.  Without warning, he picked up Shiozaki in his arms.

“Wait, what are you— aieee!”  He threw Shiozaki far up the stair well, going up past the third floor.  As she reached the apex of her impromptu flight, she grabbed a hold up the railing with her vines and swung towards the floor’s entrance.  Landing more gracefully than the beginning of her ascent, she was able to silently peek her head into the hall

At least I’m up here, but I’d prefer some warning next time.  My skirt almost flew up.  Her thoughts of possibly wearing tights under her costume were interrupted when she saw Yanagi down the hall.  She was facing the other way and talking to Honenuki over her earpiece.

“If you’re sure that she’s stuck, then I’ll track down Bondo next,” Yanagi said in her normal monotone.  Stay with the weapon for now.”  As Shiozaki silently crept closer, Yanagi removed her earpiece and place it in the bag around her leg. 

It seems her Quirk doesn’t let her use her earpiece when active.  If she can’t talk to Honenuki now, then I must act!  Shiozaki cupped her hand together and shot her vines towards Yanagi, who finally noticed her opponent’s presence.  Yanagi leapt towards the wall to avoid the vines, but her legs were snagged.  To her Shiozaki’s surprise, her opponent had actually begun to phase through the wall, as her upper body had disappeared beyond it.  With a quick yank, Yanagi was pulled back into the hallway, where she floated with vines wrapping around her legs. 

“I figured you’d be a bad match-up,” Yanagi said as she half-heartedly kicked her legs around, “but Honenuki said you were stuck, so I assumed I was safe for now.”

Reiko Yanagi.  Quirk: Poltergeist.  She can transform into a ghost-like state that lets her float around and phase through solid objects, though she can still interact normally with living things.

“A phasing Quirk?  So that’s how you evaded me,” Shiozaki said as she unfurled her Capture Tape, “but now—” 

She was cut off when she felt something drip onto her head.  Looking up, she saw the ceiling had been softened and was about the fall right on top of her.  Shiozaki dashed forward, outrunning the falling ceiling, but the lack of focus on her Quirk led to Yanagi slipping from her vines grasp.  “Bye,” Yanagi mumbled stoically as she phased through the floor.

Shiozaki turned a corner and continued to run, but the ceiling was falling just as fast.  Further down the hall, she saw another stairwell.  Just a little further, she thought.  Just as she felt the ceiling catch up with her, she dove through the doorway, narrowly evading being buried by the softened steel.

Steadying herself with her vines, Shiozaki rose to her feet and ran up the stairs, hearing a familiar thumping as she climbed.  “Bondo?  Is that you.”  There was just a grunt in response, but she knew it was her teammate.  She smiled and sped up, rejoining Bondo at the entrance to the fourth floor.  “I’m sorry,” she said as she caught up.  “I wasn’t able to capture Yanagi.” 

“It’s fine,” Bondo said.  The hero team walked into the fourth-floor hallway, but saw no sign of the villain team.

“Splitting up hasn’t worked well for us.  Let’s stick together,” Shiozaki said.  Bondo nodded in agreement, and they both silently walked through the halls.  We’re starting to run short on time, Shiozaki thought.  We need to speed up if—  Her thoughts were paused when, while peeking around a corner at an intersection, she saw Honenuki standing in the hall, guarding an open doorway. 

Ducking backwards, she heard Honenuki begin to speak.  “Yo, Yanagi.  Where are they now?”

“Quiet down,” they heard Yanagi say from the other side of the intersection.  “I think they made it to this floor.”  Bondo gestured that he would attack Honenuki and for Shiozaki to go after Yanagi, which Shiozaki nodded in agreement to. 

Jumping out into the open, Bondo ran towards Honenuki, who backed up and took a fighting stance.  With some effort, Bondo shot an impressive stream of glue towards Honenuki, who jumped back to avoid it.  This was all part of Bondo’s plan, however, as the glue had formed a wall between them, with Bondo on the side with the weapon room.  He ran to the entrance to claim the bomb, but he realized his efforts may have been wasted.  The ceiling had melted over the weapon and then re-hardened, forming a metal shell over it.  Before he could run in, he felt a kick hit his ribs and he slid backwards.  Looking up, he saw Honenuki standing in front of the softened puddle that had been Bondo’s glue wall.

Shiozaki’s vines were already flying towards Yanagi by the time she had come around the corner.  They grabbed at her limbs and forced her towards Shiozaki, who was readying her capture tape.  “I apologize, Yanagi,” she said.  Yanagi looked surprised at first, but didn’t seem worried.  She was pulled in front of Shiozaki, who wrapped that tape around her.

“Reiko Yanagi has been captured,” they heard over the loudspeakers.

“OK,” Yanagi droned.  “Good luck with Honenuki.  It looks like you’ll be fighting him alone.”  Shiozaki gasped and turned back to see Bondo punching at Honenuki, who was swerving and ducking out of the way.  After another attempted punch to the head, Honenuki moved in and delivered a barrage of punches to Bondo’s stomach.  He grabbed Bondo’s arm and brought it over his shoulder, pivoting around at the same time.  Bondo was pulled into the air by Honenuki, who exhaled and softened the ground in front of him.  He threw Bondo towards the floor, where he passed through the softened metal and crashed on the third floor.

“Bondo!” Shiozaki called out.  She forced her vines towards Honenuki, making sure they covered the entirety of the hall, though this blocked her view.  Despite this coverage, she still missed him somehow.  I don’t understand.  How could he disappear like that?  He didn’t jump down to the third floor, and he can’t pass through the wall like Yanagi.  That was when the realization hit her.  Wait!  If he softened the wall, he could!  This epiphany came too late, as she felt a pair of arms wrap around her waist.  Shiozaki was picked up and thrown backwards in a suplex by Honenuki.  She passed through the softened floor, flying down and crashing headfirst into the third floor.


 

“Oh damn,” Setsuna mumbled in shock.  The other students in the monitoring room were silent after seeing Shiozaki’s crash, but All Might was quick to grab the microphone. 

“I’m stopping the fight here.  The villain team wins,” he said quickly.  Turning off the mic, he turned to his other students.  “I’m going to check on our hero team.”

“Do you think they’re alright?” Kendo asked with obvious worry in her voice.

“Not to worry!  Once Recovery Girl sees them, they’ll be right as rain!”  All Might broke into a sprint faster than the others could see, heading towards the training building.  That said, Shiozaki landed headfirst.  I should probably take her there myself. 

He was in front of the building in less than 6 seconds, and jumped to the third floor with ease.  Jogging through the hallways, he came upon the fallen hero team in no time, along with the villain team.  Yanagi had Shiozaki’s head on her lap, and Honenuki had his head in his hands.  Bondo seemed to be conscious, but immobile, while Shiozaki was out cold.  “Let me see,” he said to the ghost girl, taking Shiozaki in his arms.  From what he could tell, Shiozaki had a minor concussion, but with Recovery Girl’s help, she’d be fine.

“All Might, sir,” Honenuki began.  Despite the lack of expression on his zombie-like face, All Might could hear the sadness in his voice.  “Is she alright?”

“Nothing Recovery Girl can’t fix.  She’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure?”  All Might stood slowly, holding Shiozaki in just one arm so that he could place his free hand on Honenuki’s shoulder.

“My boy, you’ve learned an important lesson today,” All Might said.  “You’re a strong young man with a strong Quirk, but that means you think of other people’s limits.  I haven’t fought at my full strength in years – not because I’m lazy, but because no common criminal could handle it.  In the future, you must try and gauge what the minimum force needed is.  Do you understand, young Honenuki?”  The boy didn’t speak, but he did nod.  “Good.”  He walked past the boy to Bondo, who was sitting up against the wall.  “I’m gonna take Shiozaki to the nurse’s office myself.  Do you mind waiting for the stretcher robots?”

“No.”  All Might flashed a thumbs-up to the boy and prepared to run off, but then stopped and looked to Yanagi.

“Oh yes.  You did splendidly too, Yanagi.  Sorry, kinda forgot about you since you weren’t injured… AND I’M OFF!”  All Might jumped out of the window and ran towards the school.  He blew through the mostly empty hallways and arrived at Recovery Girl’s office in no time flat.  “Knock knock,” he said sheepishly.

“All Might?” She said in surprise before noticing Shiozaki in his arms.  “Oh, for goodness sakes!  That’s the sixth student today, I’ll have you know.”

“Ehehe… there’s another on his way.”  After putting Shiozaki on a cot, he felt Recovery Girl smack his leg with her cane.  “Ow, ow!”

“That’s what you get for pushing these kids so hard on their first day,” she huffed.  After getting in enough cane whacks, she inspected Shiozaki’s head.  “Well, it’s an easy fix, at least.”

“She may be a little dehydrated too, but that’s from her Quirk,” All Might explained.  “Thanks again, ma’am.”

“Just how many more of these kids will you be sending here?” Recovery Girl asked sternly.

“There’s only one match left,” All Might began, “and a few may stop by for scratches and bruises.  That’ll be it for today.”

“It better be.  I don’t want any big injuries like this when you train with Class A tomorrow.”

“Uh…Yes, ma’am.”

Chapter Text

With Shiozaki and Bondo in the care of Recovery Girl, All Might and the villain team returned to the monitoring room.  Honenuki was named the MVP in the round, though it was obvious that he didn’t feel like one.  “Alright then, my students,” All Might began.  “I know it’s been a long day, but it’s time for our last matchup!  Please step forward, Team G: Pony Tsunotori and Manga Fukidashi!” 

Pony stepped forward with big smile, flashing an “anime peace sign” as she called it.  No one could tell if her teammate was smiling though, as he didn’t have a face.  Instead of a normal head, he had a blank white speech bubble.  He was also shorter than Pony, most likely the shortest in the class, but no one really noticed.  It was pretty normal compared to his speech bubble head.  “Hi, I’m Pony.  Looking forwards to work with you.”

“Same to you,” The boy said.  His voice didn’t come from a mouth, but was emitted from all around his head.  His words also appeared on his face, disappearing after few seconds.  “I’m Manga.”

“No kidding!” Pony said with a laugh. 

“For our last pair, we have Team E: Kosei Tsuburaba and Sen Kaibara!” 

“Ready, sir,” the oval-eyed boy said as he approached.  His partner, Kaibara, stayed quiet as he approached.  His hair was a darker brown than Tsuburaba’s, but this was his only noticeable trait.

“Alright, my students.  Give us a good final round.”

“Okie dokie,” Pony said as she took her earpiece and capture tape.  The four students left and walked towards the building, though it certainly wasn’t quiet.  Pony, with seemingly no prompt, was talking very quickly about anime, drifting in and out of English.  “An’, an’ then, he said ‘You truly are the lowest scum in history.  You can’t pay back what you owe with money.’  An’ then—”

“Uh, Pony?” Tsuburaba interrupted.  “We’re here… and I’ve already seen the show.  See you two in five minutes.”  He entered the building with his teammate at his side.”

“I didn’t get to finished,” Pony mumbled with a pout.

“I’m still here,” Fukidashi said.  “I mean, I’ve seen it too, but if you want to continue…”

“…An’ then Jotaro punched him a bunch and said “  ORAORAORAORAORAORAORA—”


 “Looks like the weapon’s on the third floor,” Tsuburaba said as he climbed the stairs.  “Hold on.  I’ll make a barrier here.”  As Kaibara slipped past him, Tsuburaba took a deep breathe.  Once he exhaled, the air he blew solidified in front of him, becoming a clear wall that blocked the stairway.

Kosei Tsuburaba.  Quirk: Solid Air.  He can solidify his breath into walls and footholds, the size of which depends on his lung capacity.

Don’t make too many of those,” Kaibara said.  “They’ll be able to figure out where we’ve been if you make a lot.”

“…You can talk!?” Tsuburaba shouted.

“Of course, I can.  I spoke during lunch and—”

“I-I didn’t mean literally,” Tsuburaba said, rubbing his head sheepishly.  “Just messin’ around a little.  You’re right, though.  I won’t put any more until we reach the weapon.”  He gave his teammate a playfully hit on the arm and continued up the stairs.  “So, what about you’re Quirk, Kaibara?”

“It’s Swiveling,” he answered.  Tsuburaba craned his head back to watch as Kaibara’s lower arm began to spin like a drill.  “I can spin my arms and legs.”

“That’s pretty cool, man,” Tsuburaba said, giving his teammate a smile and two thumbs up.  “Looks like you’ll be doing the damage this round, huh?” 

As the two boys continued to climb the stairs, Kaibara’s mind was stuck on his teammate’s smiling face.  That’s pretty cool, man played in his mind on repeat.  Shit, Kaibara thought.  It’s happening again.  Guess I’ll start hoping he’s into guys.


 

“Gyro wasn’t the hero of the story,” Pony huffed.  “Johnny was!”

“Johnny was no hero,” Fukidashi said, his arms crossed in annoyance.  “Gyro was the protagonist.  Steel Ball Run was a very contrarian story, so it makes sense that the hero wouldn’t be a Joestar.”

“He was!” Pony yelled while flailing her arms.  “He was because Johnny was the hero an—”

“Heroes vs Villains training: begin!”

“Crap!” Fukidashi yelled.  “We got distracted by JoJo and forgot to make a plan!”

“It’s OK,” Pony said as she bent over, putting her hands on the ground with her hooves.  “Mount me!”  She waited for Fukidashi to climb onto her, even kicking some gravel back at him, but he was motionless.  Eventually, a few symbols appeared came on his face.

“>//<”

“Don’t be embarrassed,” Pony said.  “We’re losing the time, so please get on top, partner.”  Fukidashi hesitantly climbed on Pony’s back, putting his feet in the stirrups on her hoof guards. 

“OK, I’m— woah!”  Pony immediately took off in a sprint, running on all fours like a horse.  Fukidashi held onto the harness to keep from flying off his partner’s back.  “So, what’s the plan.  How can we find them?”

“We’ll just got to search around the place.  You keep the looking out.”  Fukidashi looked over every doorway they passed, but saw no sign of the villain team. 

“Let’s head upstairs next,” Fukidashi said.

“On my way!”  Pony retuned to the main hallway and quickly trotted the staircase.  As the two heroes ascended, Pony suddenly stopped dead and fell to her side, knocking Fukidashi off.  “OWIE!  My nose!” Pony cried as she held her face.

“What was that?” Fukidashi asked.  As he placed a hand on Pony’s back, he reached up and felt the air wall Tsuburaba had left.  “It must be one of their Quirks.  It feels like a wall.  Looks kinda like glass, too.”  Pony got up and kicked the wall, but nothing happened.  “I might be able to break it.  Let’s back up a bit.”

“Please do that!  Wall is jerk!”  After descending the stairs, Fukidashi looked up at the wall and tensed up.

“BOOM!” he suddenly shouted.  With his shout, his head changed shape for an instant, becoming jagged like an action word bubble in a comic.  At the wall, a small explosion appeared before it, blowing the solid air back to its gas form.  “Looks like I only need one to break these.”

Manga Fukidashi.  Quirk: Manga.  He can summon different effects by shouting onomatopoeia, like making an explosion with “boom.”

“Super cool!” Pony gushed.  “Let’s go!”  Fukidashi climbed back onto his teammate and they made it to the second floor to continue the search.  They checked the floor for their opponents, but found no trace of them, so they continued to the third floor.  “How’s our time, partner?”

“We’re fine so far,” Fukidashi said.  “Thanks to your speed, we’re searching at a pretty quick pace.”  Once they were on the third floor, Pony ran down the hallway to pursuit, but Fukidashi saw something down a different hall.  “Hold on.”

“What up?” 

“Those walls were clear, but they glimmer like glass at certain angles,” Fukidashi explained.  “I think I just saw one down that way.”  Pony backed up and trotted in the direction her partner pointed, eventually seeing the shiny glass-like wall he noticed.

“You’re right.”

“Once we’re close enough, I’ll blow it up with my—”

“No,” Pony said.  “I wanna try.  Now that I can see it…”  She tore off at a top-speed gallop and put her horns forward.  “I wanna smash one!”  Fukidashi braced himself for a crash, but instead, his teammate pierced the wall with her horns.  They slowed down quite a bit, but Pony broke through with ease, and their speed returned once Pony kicked off again.

“Looks like we’re on the right track.  There’s another one just ahead.”  Pony put her horns down again, but Fukidashi was ready with his own attack.  “BOOM!”  The wall shattered and the duo sped up.  As they came to an intersection, the speech-bubble boy noticed Kaibara peeking around the corner.  “Hang a left.  I saw Kaibara.”

“Gots it!”  Pony galloped down the hall and prepared to make a left, but as she began turn, Kaibara jumped out into the open, his right arm spinning at a high speed and aiming at Fukidashi.  As her partner crossed his arms, hoping to block the blow, Pony bucked her legs up, flinging Fukidashi over Kaibara and out of harm’s way.  Kaibara quickly corrected himself to aim at Pony, but she knew how to counter.

“Now, super Pony horn cannon attack!” she called out.  Her left horn fired itself out of her head like a missile, flying into Kaibara’s shoulder.  It wasn’t hard enough to pierce his skin, but his punch went sailing over Pony’s head and dug into the floor.  She dashed behind Kaibara and kicked both legs into his butt, sending him flying forward.

Pony Tsunotori.  Quirk: Horn Cannon.  Aside from her horse-like speed, strength, and stamina, she can fire her horns out like a cannon.  Her calling out an attack name is just for show, though. 

“Those things can detach!?” Fukidashi said as stood back up.

“Yup!” Pont said as she picked her horn up and placed it back into her head.

“Those things can reattach!?”

“Get back on,” Pony asked.  Fukidashi jumped onto Pony’s back, but Kaibara came at them again with another spinning punch.

“FWOOSH!” Fukidashi called out with his head becoming more cloud-shaped.  Out from his head came a strong gust of wind.  Kaibara tried to fight against it, but he was blown back and the hero team ran off.  “Good thing we escaped him for now.  I doubt we could beat him head-on.”

“You could say that two times,” Pony said.  She put her head down and ran into another air wall, piercing it with her horns.  As she pushed off to regain her speed, she crashed face-first into another wall, knocking her and Fukidashi down.  “OW!  AGAIN, THE NOSE!”  Fukidashi looked and saw the air walls were closer together now, but this at the end of the hall, he could see the weapon.  It was in a small room at the very end of the hall with Tsuburaba guarding the entrance and making more solid air barriers. 

“Pony, we’re almost there.”

“Really?  Then let’s— uh oh.”

“What?” Fukidashi asked.  Turning around, he saw Kaibara was running towards them.  “Crap.  Nowhere to run from this guy now.”

“That’s OK, partner,” Pony said, standing up and walking towards Kaibara.  “You break the walls and get the bomb.  I’ll fight.”

“If you insist,” Fukidashi said.  “BOOM!” he called out.  With the walls so close together, his explosion damaged a few at once.

“Pony’s ready to kick butt,” the horse girl declared as she got down on all fours again.  She charged at Kaibara, who was spinning both arms, and rammed her horns into his hands.  Kaibara caught the horns, which stopped his spinning for a moment, but they began to move again soon after.  Pony’s left horn broke off and she was spun around by her right one.  Kaibara turned around and pitched Pony down the hall, where she landed in a tumble.

“Dizzy yet?” Kaibara said as he raced after his opponent.  Pony seemed to be nauseous from all the spinning, so once Kaibara reach her, he spun his arm again for a finishing blow.  As he raised his fist, Pony’s dizzy expression turned back to a determined glare.  She rolled forward into a handstand and thrust her hooves up, hitting Kaibara in his chin.  She smiled, congratulating herself on a successful attack, and galloped down the hall to collect her horns.

“BOOM!” Fukidashi yelled, destroying more of the air barriers.  He was tired and out of breath, but he had worked his way forward, closing in on Tsuburaba.  The oval-eyed boy continued to reinforce his barriers, but it was clear from his ragged breathing that the constant Quirk usage was taking its toll.  “Hey, Pony!” he called out. 

Turning around, he saw Pony’s hooves clashing against a spinning punch from Kaibara.  The two attacks canceled each other out, making Kaibara skid back and Pony backflip onto all fours.  “What?” 

“Get ready to go for the weapon.  Another hit and the path will be clear.”

“I don’t think so!” Kaibara yelled running past Pony.  He spun his arm and raced towards Fukidashi, but a pair of sharp pains in his thighs forced him to the ground.  Pony, now without her horns, dashed past him as Fukidashi took a huge breath.  Tsuburaba took his own deep breath and formed one more barrier on front of him and the weapon.

“BOOOOOM!”  A big explosion destroyed the remaining solid air barriers and threw Tsuburaba off his feet.  Pony galloped past her teammate and leapt through the doorway, landing face-first on the fake bomb.

“Got it!” She cheered while hugging the weapon.

“Weapon captured!” All Might said over the loud speakers.  “THE HERO TEAM WIIIINS!”

“Aw man,” Tsuburaba said as he rubbed his head. 

“Hey,” Pony said, extending a hand to Tsuburaba.  “Good game!  Your Quirk is neat!”

“Uh, thanks,” Tsuburaba said as Pony helped him up.  “I’ll need to work on it if we ever fight again.”

“How’re you feelin’, Fukidashi?”  Pony asked as she bounced over to her teammate, who was busy catching his breath. 

“I’ll be fine… just tired.”

“How ‘bout you, Kaibara?”

“I’m OK,” Kaibara said as he handed Pony her horns.  “Good game.”

“Yeah!  Super fun!”  After putting her horns in place, Pony grabbed her teammate’s hand and ran down the hall, leaving the villain team on their own. 

“Man, Pony’s got way too much energy,” Tsuburaba quipped.

“Yeah.”

“She’s pretty cute.”

“…Yeah,” Kaibara said.  Tsuburaba wasn’t sure why, but he could tell Kaibara was a little dejected. 

“Don’t get jealous on me.  You’re cute too, dude.”  He gave his teammate a wink and walked off to join his classmates.  Kaibara made sure he was alone before his neutral face slowly transformed into a big grin.

Chapter Text

“HA HA HA!  Well done, all of you!”  The remaining class 1-B had returned to the tunnel where they had entered the training grounds to meet the hero and villain teams.  All Might had gone back to his normal theatrics once he named Pony the MVP of the final round.  “We did some great training today!  There were a few injuries, but you should see that as your incredible strength and desire to win pushing you!  Now go get changed and head back to class!”  As soon as he finished talking, All Might was gone, sprinting down the tunnel and leaving a trail of steam in his path.

“Does anyone feel like he was rushing there?” Kendo asked. 

“Eh.  He’s a busy guy,” Setsuna answered with a shrug.  “He’s probably got something important to do.”  With their first hero class over, the students returned to the school building and changed back into their uniforms.  While most went back to the classroom, Kendo, Setsuna, Awase, and Honenuki had decided to go to the nurse’s office and check on their classmates.

“So, what’s the deal with the nurse here?” Setsuna asked.  “I feel like All Might really talked here up.”

“She has a healing Quirk,” Kendo explained.  “Everyone should be healed by now.”

“Oh yeah?  …Hey, guess you’re right.”  gesturing ahead, Setsuna pointed out Shoda, Shishida, Bondo, and Kamakiri walking their way. 

“Hello, everyone,” Shishida greeted.  “The rest of the training went well, I assume.”

“Yup,” Awase said.  “All Might said to go get changed.  You were the MVP of your round, by the way.”

“Good job, man,” Kamakiri said, bumping Shishida’s arm.  The costumed students walked by to go change, with Bondo and Honenuki sharing a knowing nod. 

“I don’t think he’s mad at me,” Honenuki said with a relieved sigh. 

“I wouldn’t worry about it,” Kendo said as they continued to the nurse’s office.  “If Bondo doesn’t hold a grudge, then I’m sure Shiozaki will have nothing against you.”

“Agreed,” Setsuna added.  “I doubt she could even hold a grudge for more than 10 seconds.”  After a minute of walking, the group found Recovery Girl’s office and walked in.

“Excuse me,” Kendo said as they entered. 

“Oh, hello,” Recovery Girl said.  “Are you kids hurt?”

“No… well, Awase is.”

“Yeah, I think my shoulder’s out of its socket,” he casually stated. 

“We’re from class 1-B,” Kendo explained.  “Are our friends here?”

“YO!”  They heard Tetsutetsu yell.  He popped out from behind a curtain, looking no worse for wear.  “Class over?”

“Yeah, we came to check on you guys,” Setsuna chimed in.  “How’s things?”

“We’re good,” Tetsutetsu said.  Kendo walked past him, checking the behind the curtains for her other classmates.  Just behind the iron boy, she found Yui climbing out of a cot.

“Hey!  Feelin’ better?”  Yui perked up when she heard her friend’s voice, with her normally blank stare having a wide-eyed elation. 

“Kendo… Yes, I am.”  Yui shuffled her foot around and looked at the ground, not used to conversation. 

“Great!  Class is over now, so you should head back to the changing room.”

“I, uh… I don’t know where it is from here.”

“That’s fine,” Kendo assured her.  “C’mon.  I’ll show you.”  She offered her hand to Yui, who stared for a moment before taking it.  As Kendo led Yui out of the office, Honenuki walked to the cot in the back of the office.  Laying in it was a sleeping Shiozaki.  The guilt from before welled up in Honenuki again, but a hand falling on his shoulder distracted him from it for a moment.

“Was that you?” Tetsutetsu asked.  The skeleton-faced boy nodded in confirmation.  “She’s fine, dude.  She’s just asleep ‘cause Recovery Girl’s power makes you sleepy, see?”  Honenuki turned around to see Awase already in a deep sleep on Tetsutetsu’s cot.  “Just watch… WAKE UP!”

“Stop screaming!” Setsuna screamed.  Honenuki ignored the two and watched Shiozaki began to stir from her sleep.

“Mnn… Who’s…?”  She opened her eyes slowly and saw her classmates looking over her.  “Oh… Hello, everyone.”

“Shiozaki,” Honenuki began, “I’m so sorry.  I was too—”

“I forgive you.”

“Huh?”  Shiozaki sat up in her bed, leaning up to eye level of her friends.  Honenuki had gone mute in shock while Setsuna giggled and Tetsutetsu slapped his back repeatedly.

“Called it,” Setsuna said.

“I hold nothing against you,” Shiozaki said.  “Don’t beat yourself up.  I’m fine now, so there’s nothing to worry about.”

“I… Thank you!” Honenuki said with a deep bow. 

“All’s well that ends well!” Setsuna declared.  “First day is over and no one’s dead or worse.  I call that a win.”

“You said it!” Tetsutetsu said, high-fiving the lizard girl.

 


 

By the time everyone returned to class, the school day was just ending.  In just one day, friendships, rivalries, and even crushes had sprouted among the students.  Kendo stood at her desk and looked over her classmates with a small smile. 

“What’re you looking at?” Shiozaki asked.

“Nothing,” Kendo answered.  “Hey, check it out.”  She motioned at the opposite corner of the room, where Setsuna was talking to Rin.  They couldn’t see her face or hear what she was saying, but it was obvious she was doing all the talking.

“She certainly works fast,” Shiozaki said as Setsuna handed a slip of paper to Rin.  He looked down and blushed as Setsuna turned and walked away.  Now that she was facing them, Kendo and Shiozaki were shocked to see that she was blushing too.  Her hands were folded and her smile seemed more innocent than mischievous.  Her eyes locked with Kendo’s and she walked over, now pouting.

“Were you guys watching?” she asked. 

“Can you blame us?” Kendo countered.  “That was adorable.  After how bold you were during training, I’m surprised how bashful you looked.”

“Perhaps her bark is worse than her bite,” Shiozaki added.

“Shut up,” Setsuna barked, blushing even deeper.

“Oh, you pure maiden,” Kendo mocked, imitating Setsuna’s voice. 

“It’s different,” the lizard girl explained as she looked away.  “Flirting is easy.  Being forward and serious is tough.”

“I gotcha.  I was just joking,” Kendo assured her.  “If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a train to catch.”'  

“I’ll also be going to the station,” Shiozaki said.  “Shall we walk together?”

“Sounds good,” Kendo said.  “Hey, Monoma!  Train’s leaving soon.”  The blond boy gave her a thumbs-up and held up his packed bag, not bothering to look back from his conversation with Tetsutetsu.

“I take it you two live near each other?” Shiozaki asked.

“Yup.  Same apartment building.”  The two girls left the room and walked down the hall, joined not long after by Monoma and Tetsutetsu.

“Hey, hey, guess what?” Tetsutetsu said excitedly.  “Me and Monoma are gonna be best buddies!”  Kendo gave Monoma an aside glance as he was put into a headlock by Tetsutetsu.

“It was a… spur of the moment decision,” Monoma explained. 

“Well, good for you, ‘best buddy.’” Kendo said as she ruffled her friend’s hair.  “Now that I think about it, Setsuna was right.”

“About what?” Shiozaki asked. 

“I think this year’s gonna be a good one.”

Chapter Text

While the Hero Course was the crown jewel of U.A. and always had the attention of the public, there was more to the school then just heroics.  Not only did they have general studies and business classes, but they also had a second-to-none Support Course to let the next generation of inventors run wild.  Support items will always be in demand, so the future heroes will need top-tier support.  Vlad King had said that they’d need to make friends in the support course eventually, but a few students from 1-B decided to be proactive and pay them an early visit.  Honenuki was leading the way after Tetsutetsu had gotten the group lost.  While they headed the group, Kaibara, Awase, Tsuburaba, Rin, and Setsuna followed close behind. 

“It should be just around the corner,” Honenuki said.

“We’d have gotten here eventually if we went my way,” Tetsutetsu grumbled.  Before anyone else could speak up, an ear-splitting explosion went off just around the corner, shaking the ground beneath them.

“W-What the hell?” Awase yelled.  He and Tetsutetsu were the first to turn the corner while the rest were not far behind.  On their left was an open set of blast doors that a cloud of smoke was pouring out of.

“Is everyone OK!?” Tetsutetsu yelled as the group ran inside.  A giant fan at the opposite side of the workshop had blown all of the smoke out of the room, letting the support students inside continue on as if nothing happened. 

“Don’t worry, kids.  We’re all good in here,” the teacher said as he came up to the 1-B group.  They recognized the Support Course teacher as the Pro-Hero Power Loader, a short man with large hands and hook-like fingertips.  Instead of his usual robot armor, he only wore the yellow helmet, which looked like a cross between a dinosaur skull and a mechanical crane.  “You’re all from the hero course, right?  Class 1-B?  What can I do for you?”

“That’s us,” Setsuna answered with a wave.  “We all came to see if we could get some support gear.”

“Alright, I think we can work something out,” Power Loader said.  “Come on in.”  The group walked inside of the large design studio, where the support students gave them a quick glance before returning to their work.  “It’s still early in the school year, so some of our first-years are still getting used to things.  I’m sure one of our upperclassmen could help you today.”  Power Loader looked through the rows of design work for a student that wasn’t busy.  “hmm… It seems most of our older students are busy, so I may set some of you up with a first-years.  Do any of you kids know what you want?”

“Oh!  Oh!  I do!” Tetsutetsu said while waving his arms around.  “I wanted this thing that’s like… It’s like, uh… Awase, what do we want?”

“We wanted something for training,” Awase said.  “Me, Tetsutetsu, and Kaibara came here for the same thing, and I think it’s kinda simple, so we’ll take a first-year if you need.”

“Perfect,” Power Loader said.  “Hatsume!  You’ve got a request!”  Almost Immediately, a girl with pink hair that resembled tentacles came running their way.  She wore steampunk-style goggles on her forehead, a black tank top, loose brown cargo pants, and black work gloves.  Her face was also covered in soot, oil stains, and chocolate stains. 

“Seriously?!  Awesome!” the girl squealed.  “What is it?”

“Ask him,” Power Loader said, pointing to Awase. 

“Hey, all!  The name’s Mei Hatsume of Class 1-H.”  Out of her pocket, Hatsume produced six business cards with her face printed on them.  “Here’s my card if you need any future work done.  Here, here, taketaketake,” she quickly said, handing her cards to each student.  “Follow me to my work station, whoever you are!”  Awase gave a nervous look at Power Loader before being dragged off by Tetsutetsu and Kaibara. 

“Alright, the rest of you want different things, right?” Power Loader asked.  “In that case, I’ll grab a third-year for you.  Haya!”

“What’s up?”  From a workstation in the back came a taller girl with very short blonde hair who was busy wiping soot from her face.  She wore a plain black shirt, red gloves, a red bandana around her neck, and loose jeans.  “Got a request?”

“A few.  These are some first-years from the Hero Course.  Take care of ‘em for now.”

“You got it, sir.”  With the last of the hero students set with a support course member, Power Loader walked off to continue his own work.  “I’m Yuyu, by the way,” the older girl said.  “Let’s head to my station and I’ll try and hook you all up.”

While Yuyu took her share of the 1-B students to her workstation in the back, Hatsume brought her three customers to her cluttered space.  “OK, OK,” she said, hastily clearing her station and grabbing a notepad.  “What can I do for you guys?”

“We want something to train our punching and grip strength, since all three of us are physical fighters,” Awase explained.  “My idea was a pair of gloves that forces the hand into a fist, so it works out your hand when you move it.  All three of us wanted one, and if it’s simple enough to make, Honenuki and Rin over there wanted some too.”

Hatsume wrote down the request and frowned to herself.  “It’s a simple job.  I can knock it out in an afternoon.”

“Awesome!” Tetsutetsu said. 

“NO!  Not awesome!” Hatsume complained.  “It’s not complicated enough!  There’s no metal rivets, there’s no power source, not even a navigational A.I!” 

“Do we need those?” Kaibara asked. 

“I want a challenge!” she whined.  “Maybe you guys need some gear for your Quirks.  Show ‘em to me.”  Awase wanted to tell her that’s all they needed, but Tetsutetsu jumped in front of him almost immediately.

“Check this out,” he boasted, turning his skin to metal.  “Cool, huh?”

“Hmmm… I got nothing,” Hatsume said with a shrug.  “How ‘bout you, plain guy?”

“Me?” Kaibara asked.  “I can spin my arms and legs like drills.”  Hatsume rubbed her chin and squinted at Kaibara before gasping.

“Propellers!” she squealed.  “Wrist mounted propellers, and when you spin them, they work like a helicopter and you can fly!”  She whipped around and grabbed blueprint paper, sketching her idea at an unreal speed. 

“That’s kinda funny to imagine,” Awase said, “but—”

“I like it,” Kaibara said in his usual monotone. 

“Seriously, dude!?  You’d cut your fucking head off!”

“I’ll work on a safer version later,” Hatsume said, putting away her blueprints.  “What’s your Quirk, big guy?”

“Uh, mine’s not really compatible with any support items,” Awase explained, trying to think of an exit.  “It’s just welding.”

“Welding?”

“As long as I’m touching them, I can fuse two things at a subatomic level.”  Hatsume stared blankly before darting off.  She went to a shelf of half-finished inventions and grabbed two broken-looking ones, bringing them back to Awase.

“Show me,” she asked.  She shoved the junk into Awase’s hands and looked up at him expectantly. 

“Uh, sure.”  He jammed two flat ends together and activated his quirk, fusing them into one.  Hatsume took it back and tried pulling it apart, but it wouldn’t budge. 

“Woah, it’s really fused!  This could be very useful indeed.”  She switched her gaze from the fused inventions to Awase, looking him up and down and smirking.  “You should come back here more often.  You’re Quirk could really help us out, big guy.”

“Uh, sure… the gloves are really all we need, so—”

“Hold on,” Hatsume interrupted.  “I can still make you some gear… What are your thoughts on becoming a cyborg?”

“Huh?”

As Hatsume worked with her clients, the rest of the 1-B worked with Yuyu on their requests.  “Alright, so that’s two breath regulators,” she said, looking at Tsuburaba and Honenuki.  “And you wanted the undershirt to help you avoid overheating, right?”

“That’s right,” Rin said.  Yuyu scribbled on her notepad and look down at Setsuna.

“What about you?”

“Like, um,” Setsuna twirled her hair through her fingers, trying to find the right words.  “OK, so, I want metal claws to scratch at things with, but I can’t really wear them ‘cause my Quirk makes my limbs detach.  Is there some work around for that?”

“Hmm… maybe.  I can have them strapped to your upper arm and make them retractable.  That way, when you pop your forearm off, the claws aren’t in the way.  How’s that sound?”

“Perfect,” Setsuna said with a thumbs-up.  “Thanks a bunch!”

“Sure thing,” Yuyu said.  “Always happy to help the younger students.  They’re usually more grateful to us support kids.”

Suddenly, a crash was heard near the front of the design studio.  Yuyu turned around to see Awase sprinting out of the studio with Tetsutetsu and Kaibara not far behind.  “She’s a fucking lunatic!” he yelled as he ran out.  Hatsume was trailing them with a set of blueprints in her hands. 

“Come back!  Cyborg’s are the future of heroics!”  She ran out the door, but stopped there.  “Call me!” she yelled down the hall.  She sauntered back inside with a pleased smile on her face.  “I gave him my card.  He’s got my number,” she said to Yuyu, who looked unimpressed. 

“Mr. Maijima?” Yuyu called out.  “Hatsume scared off those 1-B kids.  Can I put her in time-out?”

“Up to you,” Power Loader yelled from his office.

“No fair!” Hatsume whined as she ran further into the workshop.  Yuyu held her arm out and activated her Quirk, stretching out her fingers like tentacles.  Her fingers crossed the room and grabbed Hatsume, wrapping around her waist and plucking her into the air.  “This is BS, man!” 

Yuyu Haya.  Quirk: Sticky Fingers.  She can stretch her fingers into long, sticky tendrils.  Perfect for grabbing far-away tools or her excitable classmates.

“15-minutes time out,” Yuyu said, stretching her other finger into the corner near her workstation.  In that corner was a small cage with a wooden sign above it that read “Time out,” with the words “Hatsume’s desk” spray-painted next to it.  Yuyu opened the cage and dropped Hatsume into it.

“No fair!” Hatsume yelled. 

“If you don’t like it, then stop scaring people off,” Yuyu lectured. 

“Seems extreme,” Tsuburaba said. 

“Well, Hatsume’s an extreme person,” Yuyu said.  “Besides, I’m used to excitable people.  My girlfriend’s the same way.”

“I demand a trial!”

“20 minutes,” Yuyu declared, making Hatsume immediately quiet down.  “Anyway, I can get the shirt and breath regulators done in two days.  I’ll work on blueprints for those claws and give you an update when I can.”

“Thanks again,” Setsuna said.  “You support kids look super busy.  It hasn’t even been a week since school started.”

“Well, we like to jump right into things,” Yuyu said.  “Most kids don’t even stop during break and just work at home.  You definitely feel like a mad scientist after a while.  Some more than others,” she said with a glance in Hatsume’s direction.  “Check back in a couple to get your gear, boys.” 

“Sounds good,” Tsuburaba said as the group walked away.  “See you around.”  Yuyu waved the kids off before turning to Hatsume and unlocking the cage.

“You’re already a handful, but you’ve got skill.  Get back to work.”

“Thanks,” Hatsume said as she hopped out.  “I’ll try not to scare the next ones.”

“Somehow, I doubt that.”

Chapter Text

U.A., being one of the top hero schools in Japan, was obviously exclusive.  This means that, with certain exceptions, most students came in with no one familiar.  With so many new classmates, one would think it would take a while to figure each other out and pick up on their traits and personality.  In Kendo’s case, however, no one in class 1-B had this problem.  From the beginning, it was clear – she was the class mom.

It wasn’t even a week into school when people began to notice.  Of course, Monoma had a part in this, pointing it out to his friends.  He was sat on the edge of Kaibara’s desk in the back-left corner of the classroom with Tsuburaba and Kuroiro next to him.  “She’ll be back from the bathroom any second,” the copycat began, “Who’s gonna be her target?”

“Probably Shishida,” Kuroiro guessed.  “He’s sleeping at his desk.”

“I’d guess Awase.  He’s playing video games,” Kaibara said. 

“Fukidashi’s drawing and he’s closer to the door,” Tsuburaba pointed out.  “I’d say him.” 

“You fools,” Monoma said with a haughty chuckle.  “The answer is all of them.  She’ll pounce on all three within five seconds.”  The four boys looked expectantly at the door, and after a moment, it slid open.  “Just watch.”

Kendo walked inside and surveyed the classroom, immediately noticing people who weren’t ready for class.  “Fukidashi, class is about to start, so put your drawings away for now.  You too, Awase.  Turn off your game.  Shishida, wake up.”

Monoma silently cheered to himself while his friends gave him an unimpressed look.  “Wow, good guess,” Tsuburaba said sarcastically.  “It’s not like you’ve known her for years.”  Before Monoma could retort, they heard Setsuna from the hallway.  It had become almost a routine that she arrives while singing her favorite show’s theme song. 

“EXTREME!  EXTREME!  EXTREME DINOSAURS!” she screamed from down the hall.  “TAILS THAT SNAP LIKE THUNDERCLAPS—”

“Setsuna!” Kendo chided from the doorway.  “You shouldn’t disturb the other classes like that.”

“You’renotmydad,” Setsuna said quickly as she entered the classroom.  She was followed by Pony, who entered while finishing up an apple.

“Hey, Kendo,” she said with her mouth dripping with water.

“Hi, Pony,” Kendo greeted while handing Pony a handkerchief.  “Class is starting soon, so you should clean up a bit.”  As Pony cleaned off her face, Kendo turned her attention to the boys.  “You guys, get to your seats, and tuck in your shirt, Kuroiro.”

“It’s because I’m black, isn’t it?”

“Man, that just gets funnier every time you say it,” Tsuburaba sarcastically quipped.

“Yeah, it does,” Kuroiro said, still giggling to himself.  As everyone in class took their seats, the door opened again to reveal Mr. Kan.

“Alright, class has begun,” he said as he entered.  “It looks like everyone’s here, so let’s get right down to business.  I’ve finished looking over the footage of your matches.  For the most part, I was impressed, but you all can still improve.  Winners and MVPs, don’t think you had a perfect showing, and the losing teams, don’t dwell on the past.  Once you figure out what you can do better, you can put it out of your mind.  Now, on a different note, you all have to pick a class representative today.”

Almost every student perked up at those words.  At U.A., being the class rep was a great way to get noticed by agencies, so it was a hotly contested spot every year.  “I wanna do it!” Tetsutetsu called out.

“No, me!” Setsuna said with her hands up.

“It should be me,” Kuroiro announced.

“Please don’t pick me,” Shoda said.

“Calm down!” Kan said.  “We’ll be choosing the old-fashioned way – with an election.  If you want to run, then you’ll come up and say a few words about why you’re the right person for the job.  After the candidates have said something, we’ll vote.  You can’t vote for yourself, either.  Is that fine with all of you?”

“Yes, sir,” the class said.

“Good.  Everyone who wants to run, raise your hand and we’ll go in alphabetical order.  You have 5 minutes to prepare.”


 

Shit, shit, shit! Awase thought as he stood at the podium in front of the class.  I hate going first.  I still don’t know what I want to say.  Do I even want this job?  It had been a while since he came up, but Awase was still silent.

“Are you going to make your speech?” Kan asked.

“DON’T VOTE FOR ME!” Awase blurted out.  After another moment of stillness, he returned to his seat.  No one said a word.  Pony clapped.


 “I’ve been the class representative all through middle school,” Kendo said.  “I have plenty of experience, and I honestly enjoy the work.  If you vote for me, I promise to do my very best.”


 “Darkness is always closing in,” Kuroiro growled.  His hand was running through his hair, making it appear spikier.  “That darkness of villainy creeps ever closer, but with the Ebony Hero at your helm, this ship shall never be lost in the night.”

This is a weird metaphor, the class thought.  It reeks of Chuunibyo.  Pony still clapped.


“I’m sure you’ve all noticed my great intellect by now,” Monoma said.  “Having me as your class rep will certainly benefit you all.  With my copying Quirk, I already have to pay close attention on you all so I know what to do if I copy your Quirks, so you’ll always have my focus if I lead this class.  I’m sure you’ll make the smart choice.”

He makes a good point, the class thought, but that ego’s too hard to deal with.


 

Kan was waiting for an opportunity to interrupt, but Shishida didn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.  “To be a competent leader, both in the classroom and in the field, requires traits such as charisma, knowledge, empathy, and so much more.  I believe I have those such traits.  If your vote—”


“Shishida,” Kan finally said, “It was supposed to be under a minute.”

“…I see.”


 “I’ll give you all cybernetic enhancements!” Hatsume announced.  “It’s the future of heroics.” 

“Young lady, are you a member of this class?”

“No, I am not,” Hatsume said, placing a stack of business cards on the podium.  “I’ll just leave these here.”  She left without another word, but she did wink at Awase, who shuddered.  Pony clapped.


 

“I’m really strong!” Tetsutetsu exclaimed.  “A leader’s gotta be strong, right?  So, if you pick me, I’ll be even stronger!”

I don’t think he knows what a class rep does, the class thought.


“Who here like’s dinosaurs?” Setsuna asked.  “If I’m your class rep, I’ll make sure all the other classes know our power.  How, you may ask?  I’ll get Support Course to make us a robot dinosaur to be our friend and we can ride him around and he’ll fight with us and—”

“That’s enough, Tokage,” Kan said.

“…and his name will be Jeff Goldblum, thank you!”

"I heard robot dinosaur!" Hatsume yelled from the hallway.  "Do you guys need me?"

"Go back to your own class," Kan yelled back


 

Once everyone had voted, the class was in total silence as Kan counted the ballots.  “All right,” he began, “it looks like your class representative will be Itsuka Kendo.  Your deputy representative will be Jurota Shishida.”  The class gave a small round of applause as the two elected students went to the front of the class. 

“Thank you,” Kendo said with a small bow.  “I promise to do my very best.”

“As will I,” Shishida added. 

 

Chapter Text

“OK, I think we have everyone,” Fukidashi said.  He was sat at the end of a long table in his apartment, having finally finished preparing the game board.  Tonight was the second meeting of Class 1-B’s Dungeons and Dragons group.  On his left, Fukidashi could see Setsuna, who was playing with her phone while huddled under her dinosaur-themed sweatshirt, and Monoma, who was rolling his dice to see which one’s felt lucky to him.  Across the table was Tetsutetsu, who was inspecting his Goliath Barbarian mini-figure.  On the right side of the table was Kuroiro, who was checking the player handbook, and Shoda, who had just finished updating his character sheet.  That wasn’t everyone around though, as Kendo was sat at the corner of the table.

“Yeah, we’re all ready,” Kuroiro said. 

“Feels a little crowded in here, doesn’t it?” Setsuna said, looking at her friend.  “What’s up with that?  I didn’t think you would be interested in this stuff.”

“I’ve never tried it,” Kendo said, “so I asked Fukidashi if I could play a guest role.”

“Is everyone ready?” Fukidashi asked.  “If so, I’ll start the recap.  Last time, in the adventures of the Howling Scavengers, you continued on the quest given by the disposed king of Syndalle, King Dracule, to rescue his daughter, Princess Saphro.  You had entered the underground hideout of the bandit leader, Bulstarro, where you’ve fought against his underlings and a gargoyle.  You had some close calls, including the near death of your bard—”

“I thought gargoyles could be poisoned!  Sue me!” Setsuna yelled at no one in particular.

“—but you’ve all made it through, miraculously, and have hunkered down in the barracks for a long rest.  Now…”


The soon-to-be legendary rogue, Phantom Thief Roark Duskbringer, awoke from his uneasy sleep on a hammock in the bandit’s barracks.  He groggily opened his eyes to see the half-draconic bard of the group, Vodette Komodoensis, was asleep on the floor.  Remembering that she was supposed to be taking the last lookout shift before they continued the mission, he lobbed a nearby metal trinket at her head

“OW!  What?” Vodette asked he she rubbed her head.

“Lookout was pretty boring, huh?” Roark said as he climbed out of the hammock. 

“Well, yeah…” Vodette said, avoiding eye contact and twiddling her fingers.  “It’s not like anyone could get in if there were any bandits was left.”  She gestured to the door, or more specifically, the goliath sleeping in front of it.  Their resident barbarian, Grog Blackforge, had been sleeping in front of the door, but was beginning to stir. 

“Smash?!” he yelled as he awoke, grabbing his hammer.

“Not yet,” Roark said as he dug through the clutter around the room, snagging a few valuables for himself.  “Hey, wake up, you two.”

“Man, you guys are too loud in the morning,” a voice said from under a blanket.  Poking a white-haired, jet black-skinned head out was the dark elf wizard, Xanther Paleblud.  As he climbed out of the hammock and smoothed out his red and gold robes, the last member of the party got up from the floor and stretched. 

“Now that we’re all rested, we’ll continue with the mission as planned, right guys?” asked Valon Star, the dwarf paladin clothed in heavy armor and a blue tabard. 

“Yeah, but we should scout it out first,” Vodette suggested.  “We don’t know where the princess is, so if we’re all wandering around aimlessly, we may end up in another big fight.”

“Send Grog,” Grog said dimly.  “Grog can smash his way to the princess.”

“And where is she, Grog?” Xanther asked smarmily.  “In which direction will you smash?”  Grog didn’t answer, but he did drool a little. 

“As I was saying,” Vodette continued, “Mono— Roark is the sneakiest, so he can scout ahead.  Once he makes sure an area is clear, we can all go through.”

“I suppose I could,” Roark said, casually looking over his findings, “but what’s in it for me?”

“I won’t hit you with my lute,” Vodette said, brandishing her stringed instrument like a club.  “How’s that for a reward?”

“I’d take it,” Grog suggested as he scooted away from the door.

“Alright, but if I get killed, none of you get my stuff.  Bury me with it.”  Roark peeked out the door and, seeing it was clear of enemies and booby traps, walked outside.  His companions followed several feet behind, making sure they were far enough behind to not give his position away to any enemies. 

“So, what kind of rewards do you think the king will give us?” Xanther asked.  “I could use some new books on Magic.”

“Grog needs better weapon.  Handbook says royalty can give really good items.”

“No Metagaming,” a voice in everyone’s heads said.


“C’mon, Fukidashi,” Tetsutetsu said as he pulled out a few crumpled dollar bills and some bacon from his pocket.  “Can I get something cool?”

“No bribing the DM,” Fukidashi said.

“I’ll throw in this half-eaten bag of chips.”

“I gave you those.”

“…You can eat?”


 

 “I don’t think our reward will be anything too plentiful,” Valon said to the disgruntled Grog.  “The kingdom has been taken over, so the king doesn’t have much anymore.”

“Wait!” Roark yelled, racing back to the group.  “What are we getting for this mission?”

“…The gratitude of a father?” Valon said, trying his best to sound positive.  Roark scowled and looked ready to throw a tantrum, but after seeing Vodette readying to swing her Lute, he returned to his sneaking duties.  He snuck and snuck, but no enemies were found.  Eventually, after a long, winding cavern of nothing, he happened upon a locked door. 

“Hey, guys.  I think we got something.”  The group joined their rogue in front of the door, which seemed too strong to smash, much to Grog’s disappointment.  “I think I can pick it, but I’ll need some inspiration.  Vodette, gimme some lock-picking tunes.”  Vodette gladly pulled her lute back out and began to play while prancing around. 

Oh yeah, he’s… picking a lock~

He’s doing that thing… because he rock…s~

He sure does know how to pick~

Even though he’s a total prick~

“…Thanks,” Roark said.  “I think I’ve got it.”  He picked the lock easily and opened the door to a pitch-black room.  “Anyone got a torch?”

“Grog’s got one.”  With a torch now lit, they could make out the room.  It was a small portion of the cave sectioned off to be a dungeon.  Inside was a prisoner on the far side of the room, a young woman sat on the floor, bound with ropes and gagged.  She had fair skin, a fancy blue dress and purple cloak, and long ginger hair.


“What’s so funny, Monoma?” Kendo asked the snickering blond boy.

“You’re the princess?” he asked between his laughter.  “I thought you would be the bandit guy.”

“You don’t have to be an ass about it,” she huffed. 

“You’re right about him being an ass,” Setsuna began, “but I’m also kinda surprised.  I didn’t think you’d wanna be a princess if you could be some sort of fighter.”

“What’s wrong with that?” Kendo asked, a little dejected.

“N-Nothing!” Setsuna said.  “Nothing at all!  I was just curious is all, hehehe.” 


 The young woman lifted her head when the torchlight broke through the darkness.  She had been in the dark so long that the fire’s light stung her eyes even when closed.  She began to panic when she heard footsteps approach, but they sounded lighter than the steps of the bandits.  A pair of hands came around her head and untied her gag.  “Who’s there?” she asked fearfully.  Before anyone could respond, Roark began to snicker. 

“That’s your princess voice?” he asked.

“Dude,” the voice in his head chided.

“Sorry, sorry…”

“You’re the princess, right?” Vodette asked.  “Princess Saphro?  We’re your rescue party, girl.  Sent straight here by your pops.”

“My father… so he’s alive.  I’m so glad.”  As her eyes adjusted slowly to the light, she opened them to see a blonde man kneeling in front of her, wearing leather armor and a black scarf.   “Who are you all?”

“We’re the badasses who busted in here for you:  The Howling Scavengers.  Patent pending,” Vodette said as she helped untie the princess.  “I’m Vodette, I’m a dragon… Well, dragon-in-training, that is.”

“I see,” Saphro said with a confused look.

“So, how’re you holding up?”

“I’ll be fine, than— mmph!”  Roark suddenly stopped untying the princess and put the cloth back over her mouth.

“Vodette, back up,” he instructed.  Vodette was confused, but followed the order and ran behind Grog.

“What, what is it?” she asked.  “Is she a secret monster person?  Is this a trap?”

“I had a thought,” Roark began.  “Who would give us more treasure for the princess?  Her kingdomless father or the guy who took the kingdom in the first place?”

“What are you getting at?” Xanther asked, already guessing where Roark’s mind had gone. 

“You can’t be serious,” Valon said.  

“MMMPH!” the princess squealed.

“Hold on, slow down,” Roark said with his hands up.  “I’m not suggesting anything… but tell me, who’d give us more treasure?”

“MMPH!”

“Not now,” he said while pushing the princess’s face away from his own.  “Who’d give us more, Valon?”

“Roark, that’s not—”

“Because I think the new king of Syndalle would.  That’s my guess.  Who’d give us more?”

“Roark,” Xanther began.

“Who’d give us more?”  Valon sighed and face-palmed as Roark waited for an answer.

“…The new king.”

“So, I’m right,” Roark said.  “Sooooo— ACK!”  He was interrupted by the princess ramming her head into his own.  “Ouch!  Not very princess-like of you.” 

“MMGHMMMNMN!”  Princess Saphro was stomping her bound feet and mumbling obscenities at Roark, who ducked behind Vodette. 

“As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted,” Roark began while squinting at the princess, “we could get a ton of treasure if we hand her over to the new king.”

“Not very nice,” Grog said.  “She’d probably die.”

“Don’t be so sure,” Roark countered.  “The new king doesn’t want to hurt her.  In fact, he wants to protect the princess.  I know this because, dramatic pause… he’s my older brother!”


 

“You didn’t mention this in your character profile,” Fukidashi said.

“I know.  I’m lying,” Monoma said. 

“…Roll for bluff.”  Monoma grabbed his purple D20 die and spun it across the table. 

“…9.”

“Everyone else roll insight,” Fukidashi instructed.  “If you get higher, you see through the lie.”


“Not a chance,” Xanther said.

“Don’t make stuff up,” Valon scolded. 

“You’re not fooling Grog,” Grog said, flicking Roark upside the head. 

The princess mumbled something that sounded like “I don’t believe you.”

“Seriously?!” Vodette exclaimed.  “That’s awesome!  Can he get me dragon scales?”

“He can,” Roark fibbed.

“What about a sword made of platinum?”

“Vodette, he’s lying,” Valon explained.

“…Oh.”  Vodette said disappointedly.  “In that case, no way.  Now go untie her, Roark.”

“…You untie her.” 

“Not a chance.”  Vodette grabbed Roark and threw him forward, making him fall face first into the princess’s lap.

“Ehe… Your rescue has arrived, fair lady.”  At this point, Saphro’s anger had done a complete 360 and became a calm rage as she let Roark untie her.  “All done,” Roark said as he untied her hands and ran backwards.  The princess got up, untied her gag, and smoothed out her dress and cloak.

“Thank you all for rescuing me," the princess said with a bow.  "I am Saphro, princess of Syndelle.”

“No hard feelings, right?” Roark said.  A glare from Saphro was all it took to make him duck behind Grog again.

“If you’ll accompany me back to my father, I will reward you in some way.  I do not have much anymore, but whatever I can give, I will.”

“We should probably skip the introductions for now and get going,” Valon suggested.  “We may have fought some bandits, but their leader—”

As if on cue, the group heard a mess of footsteps coming from down the hall.  “They’ve reached the princess!” A booming voice yelled.  “Kill them all and recapture her!”

“…is right down the hall,” Valon finished.

“Grog will smash them all!”

“I’ll prepare my spells,” Xanther said dryly, flipping open his spell book.  “What a drag.”

“You should probably take this, princess,” Valon said as he handed the princess a short sword. 

“Everyone behind the tanks!” Vodette ordered, taking the princess with her behind Grog. 

“Don’t worry, everyone,” Roark said.  “We got this.”

“Is that why you’re hiding behind me?” Valon asked.

“If anyone needs to be healed, I can help you,” Saphro said.  The group readied they’re weapons as the bandits drew closer.

“Howling Scavengers,” Roark began.  “What’s our motto?  Fight for…”

“Justice?”

“Knowledge?”

“Smashing?”

“Dragons?”

“Survival,” Roark clarified.  “fight for survival… ‘Let’s not die’ on three.  One, two, three!”

“LET’S NOT DIE!”

Chapter Text

The normal day for a student of U.A.’s Hero Course began with subjects like Math and English like any other high school.  After lunch, however, was Hero Basic Training, a class exclusive to Hero Course students.  Some days were spent in the classroom where they learned proper hero protocol, they exercised and practiced combat on other days, and some days had them practicing hero work in their costumes.  Class 1-B was spending their day in the classroom while Class 1-A was doing rescue training in a special facility called the USJ.

“Moving on, let’s talk about victims and any signs of distress,” Kan said from the podium.  “Some are obvious, like waving your hands above you head – Tsunotori, demonstrate for us.”  Everyone turned to see Pony, who frantically swung her arms above her head.  “That’s an obvious one, but if a victim isn’t in a position to give an obvious hint, they may try for something subtler.  If you think someone is in any danger, try and make eye contact with them.  Their eyes can tell you exactly what’s happening.  Someone may also subtly activate their Quirk to get attention, such as if Shiozaki started moving her hair in an erratic way or Kaibara was slowly spinning his arms.  All of these—”

Kan suddenly stopped himself when he heard something.  A loud banging from outside.  The students with window seats could see a metal wall rising around the perimeter outside U.A.  “Isn’t that the U.A. Barrier?” Monoma asked. 

“Yes, it is,” Kan said, looking out the window.  “It activates when someone enters the premises without clearance, or it can be activated manually if security has been compromised in any way.  It’s most likely the press again.  They’ve been restless since All Might began teaching here.  Just ignore—” 

The classroom door was suddenly yanked open.  Everyone turned to see Midnight and Ectoplasm in the hall.  “Vlad, we’ve gotta go,” Midnight said.

“What’s wrong,” Kan asked

“There’s villains attacking the USJ,” Ectoplasm explained.  “Eraser and 13 are there, but apparently, the 1-A students were split up by a warping Quirk.  All Might is on his way, but he’ll need backup.  One of my clones is asking some third-year students to come keep an eye on this class.”  Kan growled to himself and glanced at his class before walking to the door. 

“Class rep?”

“Yes, sir?” Kendo answered.

“You and Shishida are in charge until the senior students arrive.  Under no circumstance will any of you leave this room.  Understand?”

“Y-Yes, sir.”  Kan picked up the pace and left the room, but then turned back to his class

“Stay safe.  I’ll be back soon,” he said before shutting the door.  The class sat in silence for a moment before Awase spoke.

“Holy shit.”  No one had to add anything.  He had said exactly what they were thinking.

“1-A’s being attacked?” Pony asked for clarity.  “Hope they’re OK.”

“They said All Might’s on his way,” Rin said.  “I’m sure it’ll work out—”

“You don’t know that,” Kuroiro said.  He wasn’t looking up from his clenched fists on his desk.  “We don’t have any details… so… they could all be—”

“That’s enough, Kuroiro,” Shishida said.  “This is no time to be saying that.  We just have to be patient and have confidence in our teachers.”

“Agreed,” Kendo added. 

“This is stupid!” Tetsutetsu suddenly yelled.  “Do they just expect us to sit around while our schoolmates are attacked?         

“That’s what we we’re told to do,” Kendo said sternly. 

“We have to go help them,” the iron boy said as he slammed his desk with his fist and stood up.  Kendo rose from her seat to lock eyes with Tetsutetsu. 

“We’re not leaving the classroom.  Sit back down.”  She stared down the iron boy, but he still left his desk and walked to the head of the room.  Kendo went and blocked off his path, not breaking eye contact.  “I said to sit—”

“I’m with Tetsutetsu,” Kuroiro said, now standing.  “We have to go and help.”

“Both of you, just calm down,” Shishida said.  He left his seat and grabbed Kuroiro’s shoulder.  “You both heard Mr. Kan.  We’re not to leave the classroom.”  Kuroiro grabbed the hairy boy’s hand and squeezed, pulling away and looking back.  Shishida could see pure rage in the boy’s eyes.

“I’m going,” he snarled.

“You too, Kuroiro?” Kendo asked in disbelief.  “You’re usually more mature and levelheaded than this.  What’s gotten into you?”  Kuroiro shifted his eyes to Kendo as he joined Tetsutetsu.

“My cousin is there.”

“You’re cousin?”

“The Space Hero 13 – they’re the reason I want to be a hero,” Kuroiro explained.  “They’re a rescue specialist, not a fighter.  I have to help 13, or they could die.”

“If you’re that close to your cousin, you should heave more faith in them,” Shishida said.

“Before this goes any further,” Kendo began, somewhat nervously, “does anyone else want to leave and go help 1-A?”  She waited, hoping no one else would stand up.  Eventually, Honenuki left his desk, his eyes hidden by his hair.  “Honenuki?”

“I… I don’t want to see my schoolmates hurt if I can help it,” Honenuki shakily said.  He seemed to be forcing himself to stand more than the others.  After another moment, someone else rose up.

“You too… Shiozaki?”  Kendo watched her vine-haired friend join the boys, still as composed as ever. 

“Everyone sane is going crazy,” Shoda mumbled in his seat.

“Yeah, and Tetsutetsu too,” Reiko added.

“I cannot ignore someone in distress,” Shiozaki said.  “I hope you can understand.”

“I don’t!” Kendo snapped.  “I don’t understand why you can’t just leave this to the teachers!  We’re not ready to fight villains yet.”

“Maybe not, but neither is 1-A,” Tetsutetsu said.  “They’re being forced to fight before they’re ready, so we have to go back them up.” 

“You don’t!  There are pros going to help right now.”  Kendo began to slowly back up, pressing against the door.  “Do you think you can do something that they can’t?  They’ll probably have resolved the situation by the time you get there—”

“So, we should do nothing?” Kuroiro asked.

“That’s right.”  Kendo hoped that they would back down, but all four students seemed resolute.  “I’m not letting you past me.

“It’s four against one,” Kuroiro pointed out.

“Are you going to fight me?” Kendo asked.  No one answered.  They didn’t want to. 

“Actually, it’s four against two,” Shishida said, joining Kendo in front of the door

“Make that three.”  Behind the group at the head of the class, Monoma appeared and walked through to the class reps’ side.  “Everyone’s getting hot-headed and emotional, so it’s fallen on me to be logical.”

“I don’t want to do this,” Tetsutetsu said as he activated his Quirk.

“The don’t do this,” Kendo pleaded.  The room fell silent once again as the all seven students stared each other down.  No one wanted to fight, and no one wanted to see them fight.

That’s when the face-off was interrupted.  The door slid open slowly, making Kendo jump forward in surprise.  She whirled forward with her hands up, half-expecting a villain.  Instead, it was a boy in a U.A. uniform with a mop of black hair and pointed ears.

“Ah, you must be the upperclassmen that Mr. Kan told us would be coming.  I’m Jurota Shishida, the deputy representative.  This is Itsuka Kendo, our main representative.  As you can see, we were having a bit of a situation with our classmates, but with you here, I’m sure it can be resolved much more simply.” 

The older boy grimaced as he looked over the students, who were all staring back at him.  Slowly, the boy’s head lowered and he began holding onto the doorframe for support.  “It’s not working.  Mirio, Nejire… I’m picturing them naked, but it’s not working.”

“Did he say naked?” Tetsutetsu asked.  “I’m not naked.”

“What… are you OK?” Kendo said. 

“Everyone’s staring,” the boy grunted.  “I know they’re judging me.  I can’t do this.”  He backed up and slowly closed the door.

“Well… that happened,” Monoma said.  “Good timing, though.  Now that everyone’s calmed down, we can resolve this logically.”

“Resolve what?” a voice said from the desks.

“Haven’t you been paying attention?” Monoma asked.  “We’ve been… wait, who said that?”  Everyone looked to the source of the voice on the left side of the class.  It sounded like it had come from Yanagi’s desk, but it wasn’t her.  Instead, they saw a face with beady black eyes and a big smile poking out from the wall.

“A… phasing Quirk, I’m guessing,” Yanagi said.  The face turned to her and moved further into the room, revealing a whole head with blond hair. 

“Yup!  You too?”  Yanagi nodded while the rest of the class just watched.  “Cool!  I’m Mirio Togata from class 3-B.  I’m here to look after you all.”  The boy’s head moved up the wall as he fully phased into the classroom.  The only problem was that he was fully nude. 

“Woooooaaah!” Monoma said in shock. 

“Please dress yourself!” Shishida yelled while turning away. 

Tetsutetsu stared straight at the naked boy before gasping.  “So that’s what that guy meant when he said ‘naked!’ Right?” He turned to Shiozaki for confirmation, who was hiding her blushing face behind the iron boy.  Most of the quieter students simply turned their heads.  Yui decided that she had made the right decision not to turn around.  Rin scooted his desk further away from the naked upperclassmen.  Setsuna covered her eyes, but then spread her fingers apart to see.  Pony looked on confusedly before her eyes were covered by Tsuburaba. 

“Huh?  Oh!” Togata finally said.  “I forgot my school uniform can’t phase with me.  It’s been a while.”  He stood still in the deafening silence of the classroom before turning to the students at the front.  “Anyone wanna arm wrestle?”

“Put some clothes on!” Kendo yelled with her hands over her face.

“Oh yeah.  Be right back.”  Togata turned around to exit through the wall, forcing Yanagi to lean back to avoid being hit in the face.

“Today is weird,” Fukidashi said. 

“That’s understating it,” Kaibara added.

“I-I saw it,” Yanagi slowly said with wide eyes.  “It w-was right in fr-front of me.”

“I was too late,” Tsuburaba moaned.  “Pony… she saw… it.”

“Pony, no,” Shiozaki sobbed.  “You’re innocent mind.”

“Not big deal,” Pony calmly said.  “Who’s care if we saw his—”

“Ding dong!” a voice said as the door opened.  It was a third upperclassman, a girl with long blue hair that swirled around at the end.  “Hello!  Class 1-B, yeah?  What’s up?  Why are you guys standing?  Is it a game?  Can I play?”

“Not a game,” Monoma quickly said.  “Some of us wanted to go help at the USJ, so we we’re just having a disagreement.”

“Ooooooh, OK.  That’s a bad idea, right, Amajiki?  Amajiki?  Hey, come on.”  The girl reached into the hall and grabbed the dark-haired boy by the collar, dragging him inside.  “I’m Nejire Hado, this is Tamaki Amajiki, and you know Togata already.”

“A little too well, you might say,” Monoma added. 

“OK, I’m dressed,” Togata announced as he walked inside.  “What’s up?”

“Some of them want to go help at the USJ,” Nejire explained.  “Bad idea, right?”

“Yeah,” Togata said, rubbing his head.  “I’m glad we’ve got some hot-blooded first-years, but I doubt you’d get to do anything by the time you made it.”

“It feels wrong to do nothing, though,” Shiozaki said.

“I get what you mean,” Togata said.  “It’s the four of you want to go, right?  It’s good that you want to help, but you’re still just students.  Right, Tamaki?”

“Right,” Amajiki said, now huddled in the corner and facing the wall.  “Until you get a license, you’re just students.  Your job is to learn while the adults fight.” 

“You heard our seniors,” Shishida said.  “So, would you please sit down?”  After a few moments of hesitation, Honenuki and Shiozaki returned to their desk with their heads down.  Tetsutetsu growled to himself, but still sat back down.  Kuroiro looked the angriest, but realized he was outnumbered and sat. 

“OK, we got some time to kill,” Togata said.  “Uuuuuh, what’s something we can do.  Nejire, do you know any games?”  The senior girl ignored her classmate, focusing on the 1-B students. 

“Hey, why’s your head shaped like that?” she asked Bondo.  “Oh!  Oh!  You!  Why do your eyebrows go around your eyes?  Hey, you’ve got a speech bubble for a head!  What’s that about?”

“…Hangman it is!”


The sun was already beginning to set by the time the U.A. barrier had gone down.  The loud banging of its disarming drew everyone’s attention as the class had long since become silent.  Despite their upperclassmen’s attempts to keep everyone distracted, the students of 1-B had a lot on their minds.  They were worried about 1-A, worried about their teachers, and worried about each other after a fight nearly broke out.  There was a tension in the air that they all felt. 

“Looks like the situation’s been resolved,” Monoma said.  “About time.”

“That’s good,” Kendo said.  “We’ll finally know what’s happened.”

“Don’t get down in the dumps, guys!” Togata yelled.  “I’m sure it all worked out fine, so stay positive!”  The students tried to internally match their senior’s vigor, but none could manage it. 

“Guys, I think Yanagi’s still traumatized,” Shoda said.

“Why’s that?” Togata asked.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Monoma began.  “Maybe because her face was about an inch from your—”

“Cocky little pricks!” they heard from the hallway.  It took a moment to recognize, but they realized it was Present Mic.  “Can’t believe they thought they could beat us Pros.” 

“Tone it down, Mic,” They heard Kan say.  After a moment, the door slid open and Kan walked inside.  “Alright, you seniors are free to go.”

“’Kay,” Nejire said as she dragged Amajiki outside.  Togata waved goodbye and followed his classmates. 

“Alright, I’m sure you’re all curious about what’s happened,” Kan began.  “…Why do some of you look traumatized?  Especially you, Yanagi.”

“I saw it,” she mumbled to herself.  “It was… right in my face.”  Kan stood in a confused silence before noticing Shiozaki was crying and glancing at Pony.

“Shiozaki, why are you crying?”

“Pony’s innocence has been taken,” she half-sobbed.  Kan looked to Pony, who seemed normal.

What Pony wanted to say to her teacher was “the upperclassmen kept us safe and entertained, although Togata had a wardrobe malfunction.”  This may have raised a question or two from Kan, but would be ultimately harmless.  What she said instead was “Togata got naked and showed us good time.  I felt safe with him.”  After a moment, Kan walked out of class and cracked his knuckles.

“I’ll be right back.”

“Wait!” Kendo called out as she ran after him.  “It’s a misunderstanding… kind of.”


“Where was I?” Kan said, now back with his students.  “Oh, Right.  A villain with a warping Quirk teleported a large group of thugs to the USJ during 1-A’s training and split the students up across the facility.  Thankfully, most of the students held them off without serious injury.”

“So, they’re all OK?” Tetsutetsu asked.

“For the most part.  One student was severely injured in his legs, but that was apparently due to his Quirk.”

“A Quirk that hurts its user that badly?” Shishida said.  “I wonder how he made it into the hero course.

“What about the teachers?” Kuroiro asked.

“The 3 teachers that arrived before us – Eraserhead, 13, and All Might – sustained some serious injuries.  Eraser had broken arms and a cracked skull, but it’s non-fatal and he’s expected to recover, albeit with some damage to his eyes.  13 has some lacerations on they’re back, but they’ll also recover.  All Might took damage as well, but he should be back to normal by tomorrow.”

“I didn’t even think All Might could be hurt,” Setsuna said.

“That’s all the information I can give you.  Class tomorrow is cancelled, so you’re rescue training has been delayed until wednesday so the USJ can be repaired and its security system upgraded.  That’s all – you’re dismissed.”  Kan left the classroom in silence.  Everyone’s packing up seemed slow and quiet compared to the usual.

I wonder how 1-A is doing, Kendo thought.  Mr. Kan said they weren’t injured, but fighting villains like that must’ve been scary.

“Thinking about something?” Monoma asked. 

“It’s nothing… Actually, I wanted to see if I could find someone from 1-A.  They’re probably still here, so I wanted to, y’know…”

“Check up on them?”

“Yeah.”

“Might as well,” Monoma said while pulling Kendo towards the door.  “You’d be moping on the train if you didn’t, so let’s go.  I’ll tag along so you don’t feel weird.”  Kendo softly smiled at her childhood friend as they left the room.

You’re worried too.  Aren’t you, Monoma?  Shutting the door behind her, Kendo heard footsteps approaching from behind.  She turned and saw Shiozaki and Tetsutetsu coming up to her.

“Kendo,” Shiozaki began, “I… I’m sorry for how I acted.  I was unreasonable and made trouble from you.  Please forgive me.”  She bent down into a low bow, which Tetsutetsu copied.

“I’m sorry too,” he added.

“It’s fine, you two,” Kendo said.  “Today was really tense, so I don’t blame you.  I’m sure I acted a little high-strung, but I was worried that you’d get in trouble, or worse, that you’d be caught up in the villain attack.”

“We won’t do it again!” Tetsutetsu suddenly yelled.  “You were so manly to keep is in line.”

“We appreciate that you can kept us from acting rashly,” Shiozaki said.

“If you guys are done kissing her ass, I can hear some people down the hall,” Monoma said.  “Kendo and I are gonna ask how they’re doing if you wanna come.”

“Totally!”

“I would love too.” 

The four students walked down the hall to 1-A’s classroom, but found it deserted.  “I guess they all left,” Monoma said.

“Not all of them.  Two people’s desks in the front still have their stuff,” Kendo pointed out.

“Should we wait or try catching up with whoever just left?” Tetsutetsu asked.  Before anyone could make a decision, another voice spoke up.

“Move.”  The voice was gravelly and harsh, almost bratty.  The 1-B students looked and saw a student with an unkempt uniform and wild blond hair behind them.  They moved from the doorway, letting the student through.

“Excuse me, you’re in 1-A, right?” Kendo asked. 

“What’s it to you?” the boy asked, not looking back as he grabbed his bag. 

“We heard about the incident at the USJ,” she continued.  The boy ignored her and walked outside the classroom. 

“Yeah, it sounded wild,” Tetsutetsu added.

“It was nothing,” the boy said, finally looking at them.  His face was twisted up with anger, looking all too natural that way.  “Those villains were all weaklings.  I would’ve killed them all myself if the pros didn’t show up.”

“Killed them?” Shiozaki softly gasped.

“What the hell are you extras asking for?”  His voice was starting to rise and his fists were clenched.

“Calm down, man,” Monoma said.  “We just came by to see if you 1-A kids were OK.”  For some reason, this really set the boy off.  He grabbed Monoma by his tie and pulled him close, while in his other hand, a series of small explosions came out of his palm.

“Those shitty villains were nothing!  I could’ve killed them all myself!  You shitbag extras better back the fuck off!  I DON’T NEED YOUR GODDAMN PITY!”  He threw Monoma forward onto the ground and walked off, still creating explosions in his hand.  Tetsutetsu hardened his fists into iron and lurched forward, but Shiozaki held him back.

“Please, don’t start a fight, Tetsutetsu,” she begged.

“That 1-A bastard just threatened my buddy,” he growled.  “Let me kick his ass.”

“Monoma, are you alright?” Kendo asked.  She bent down and looked over her friend before helping him up.

“I’m fine,” he assured her.  As he watched the 1-A boy’s back, he felt his blood begin to boil.  “I’m just fine.”

Chapter Text

Even with a day off, Kendo couldn’t rest easy.  She knew that Monoma was upset after what happened with the 1-A student, but he just wouldn’t show it.  Whenever she would text him or when she dropped by his apartment, he would act normal.  The news wasn’t making her any more relaxed as the media consistently piled praise on the “brave students of Class 1-A.”  It’s not that Kendo didn’t agree with them – they’re obviously talented if they made it into U.A.’s hero course, and fighting against villains with barely a week’s preparation definitely qualified them as brave – but she know her own class would have mixed feelings at best.  Once Wednesday rolled around, she was anxious to see the state of her classmates, starting with Monoma.

It had been a quiet train ride that morning.  Monoma would respond normally to Kendo’s attempts to start a conversation, but that was all he would say.  For the most part, he just seemed low-energy.  This changed once they reached their stop.  After exiting the train, there was a giant screen playing the morning news across the street.  The anchors were talking about 1-A again, noting that U.A.’s opening its doors for the first time since the incident.  “We’ll be sure to keep an eye those strong first-years from Class 1-A,” the anchor said.

“Did you see, Kendo?” Monoma asked, wistfully staring ahead as they left the station.

“Yeah, looks like the news is still on the USJ incident,” Kendo said.  “I’m not surprised, though.”  She glanced over her shoulder and saw the news changing to another topic, but not before showing footage of the 1-A students. 

“Not the news itself.  The footage of 1-A.  Notice anything about them?”

“They seemed… normal, I guess.”

“That’s the problem,” Monoma said.  “The media says that 1-A are ‘so brave for fighting off those villains,’ but most of them seem fine.  Chipper, even.  If it were us at the USJ, we’d be in the spotlight.”  Kendo thought over what he had said and quickly got angry.

“Monoma, we have no idea what it was really like there,” Kendo said.  She walked ahead so she could look back and lock eyes with the copycat.  “We may be equal on paper to 1-A, but putting us in that exact scenario doesn’t guarantee the same outcome.  We could’ve died there, same as them.”

“But they didn’t.”

“That’s no excuse for saying something so selfish.  You’re trying to make this about you when they’re still victims.  Even if they came out physically fine, some of them may be, traumatized.”

“You think that guy was traumatized?”

“So, it is about him.  Monoma, people were out to murder him.  It’s not that crazy to think he was at least in a bad mood.”

“Kendo, you know how well I can read people,” Monoma said.  Kendo didn’t respond, but she knew he was right.  Monoma was cocky and boastful, but his boasts tended to be about his actual talents.  He just had the habit of bragging about them, and far too often at that.  “You could tell as well as I did that anger and violence are normal for him.  If the media is calling him a ‘brave hero-in-training,’ then what are we?”

“We’re brave heroes-in-training too.  This whole news cycle about 1-A doesn’t change the fact that we’re in the hero course too.”

“I wonder who realizes that besides us?”

“If recognition is all you want, then you shouldn’t be envying your peers,” Kendo lectured as they entered the U.A. grounds.  “You should be working hard to get noticed some other way.”

“Easy for you to say.”  Monoma looked away from Kendo and walked ahead.  “Miss Perfect.”

“Monoma, you know that I’m not perfect.”

“Doesn’t stop you from acting like it.”

“Did I so something?  What’s this really about?”

“…No.  I’m just… frustrated.” 

“I know.  I can understand why, but we should both just try and continue on with school like normal.  At least, for now.”

“…You’re probably right.”  Kendo knew this wasn’t the end of their discussion, but that was all she’d get from Monoma for now, so she relented and they continued to class.  Once she arrived, she could tell the tense atmosphere from Monday was still present. 

I guess Monoma’s not the only one feeling down about all this.  Seeing that she still had time before class started and that she and Monoma were the last to arrive, she walked to the podium and cleared her throat.  Most of the class were already quiet and at their seats, so Kendo had their attention already.  “Hey, everyone,” she began.  “I wanted to say something.  I know you all have different thoughts on what’s happened with 1-A’s media attention of the past couple of days, but I think we should put all that behind us.  We’re all awesome and people will notice.  We’ve just gotta work hard and do our best.  Thank you.”  Kendo returned to her seat, but not confidently.  Everyone’s anxiety wouldn’t leave with a single pep talk, but she was content with taking small steps if it meant returning to how things were before the USJ incident.  Everyone had been growing close, but the argument she had with Kuroiro and the others had made them skittish to a degree, and comparing themselves to 1-A wasn’t helping.

As the morning bell rang, Kan entered the classroom.  “Class is in session,” he said.  “It’s good to see you all.  I hope you spent your day off productively and you’re ready for today.  Now that the USJ is rebuilt with an overhauled security system, we’ll be doing our Rescue Training for our afternoon classes.  In order to ensure your safety, five teachers will be present – Myself, All Might, Snipe, Midnight, and 13.  You’ll be learning how to rescue civilians from natural disasters and other incidents like fires or shipwrecks.”  His announcement was met with silence and sullen looks, along with a few nervous glances around the room.  “…Don’t look too excited,” he mumbled.


Morning classes had gone by quickly enough and Class 1-B had gone to lunch.  To Kendo’s relief, everyone was sitting together and talking as they normally would.  She was at the girl’s table, scrunched between Yui and Shiozaki.

“Are you feeling alright, Kendo?” Shiozaki asked.  “You’re not eating much.”

“Hm?  Oh, I’m fine.”  Kendo gave a smile, but none of the girls were convinced.

“You’ve got something on your mind, girl,” Setsuna pointed out. 

“It’s just… everything’s been weird since Monday.  Everyone’s on edge and thinking about 1-A and the argument that happened.  I know it could take time for things to go back to normal, but I wish it was normal right now.”

“I see what you’re saying,” Yanagi said.  “I’ve noticed too.”

“Maybe we need something big to happen,” Setsuna suggested.  “Like, something to bring us all together where we can all work together and play off our strengths.”

“That’s pretty vague, but I agree,” Kendo said.”

“What could we d-do, though?” Komori asked

“Dunno.  Maybe we’ll think of something over rescue training.”


Once afternoon classes had begun, Class 1-B was sent to change into their hero costumes and come outside.  The USJ is an off-campus facility, so they took a 10-minute bus ride.  Kendo had hoped people would be talking on the bus, but it was mostly silent.  I gotta find a way to get everyone interacting, but my mind is blank.  She looked over the students on the bench opposite her and noticed Setsuna fiddling with a hunk of metal strapped to her arm.  “Hey, Setsuna, what’s that on your arm?”

“Oh, this?” She said, obviously glad that someone asked.  “Check it out.”  With a flick of her wrist, the gadget began to unfold down her arm.  It folded over the top her forearm and hand with claws over her fingertips.  “I got me some special claws to fight with.  Best part is that they don’t mess with my Quirk.”  By flicking her wrist up, the claw gauntlet popped up off her forearm, leaving it free to be popped off.  “Pretty sick, yeah?”

“Yeah, they look pretty cool.”

“Hey, can I see those?” Kamakiri asked from further down the bench.  Setsuna took off one of her gauntlets and handed it down.  “It’s pretty well made.  I may get something like this to help with my close combat.  Who made it?”

“A senior girl in the Support Course,” Setsuna explained.  “Her name’s Yuyu Haya, though you’d probably get a freshman to help you if you go now—“

“NOPE!” Awase suddenly yelped from his seat next to Kendo.  “Stay far away, man.”

“What’s wrong, dude?” Kuroiro asked from the back of the bus.  “Girl trouble?”

“More like stalker trouble,” he moaned.

“…Sucks to be you,” Kuroiro said with a laugh.

“Yeah, it does!  I caught her sneaking her cyborg blueprints into my book bag during lunch.”

“Plus,” Honenuki interjected, “there was that time she took your measurements in the hall.”

“Wait, I don’t remember that!” Awase said worriedly.  “Did that really happen?!  Why didn’t you say something?!”  Honenuki looked at Kuroiro and they both began to snicker.

“Sounds like a personal problem, man.”  They both laughed loudly, which spread to the rest of the bus.  Soon, almost everyone was laughing.

Looks like they’re back to normal, Kendo thought as she laughedShe leaned her head back onto the window and looked to her left.  In the first pair of seats to the left of her bench, she saw Monoma sitting with Pony.  He was staring out the window, seemingly lost in thought.  I know there’s something else on his mind, but what?


Once the bus arrived at the USJ, the students disembarked.  Outside of the building waiting for them were Snipe, 13, and Midnight.  “Mr. Kan?” Kendo began.  “Wasn’t All Might supposed to be here too?”

“He wasn’t feeling well,” Kan explained.  “It’ll be fine with just us four.  You’re up, 13.”  As Kan moved to the back of the student group, 13 came up to them.

“Hello, everyone!” they said.  “I’m glad to see you’re all here.  Now that the USJ has been repaired, we’re finally ready for some rescue training.  Come on inside.”  As the class followed the pros inside, Kendo stayed in the back and looked at everyone’s faces.  They didn’t seem as anxious as before, and Kuroiro especially looked excited.  Small steps, she thought

Inside of the massive dome-shaped building, 1-B found themselves comparing the facility to an amusement park.  There was a few more domes inside, marking the fire and storm areas, a lake with a boat in the middle, a forest, a ravine, and even a damaged city area.  “Holy crap!” Awase said.  “It’s gigantic!

“I created this facility to prepare you aspiring heroes for any disaster scenario,” 13 said.  “Landslide, shipwreck, fire, whatever you can think of.  It’s the Unforeseen Simulation Joint, or USJ for short!”

“This is crazy!” Setsuna said.  “I’m pumped!”

“Before we begin,” the space hero said, “I’d like to tell you about my own Quirk, Black Hole.  Whatever I suck up through my fingers is disintegrated – even people.  I can easily use this to kill, just like your powers can easily kill in some way.  This is why Quirks are so heavily regulated and watched over.  Never forget how deadly you can be if you’re not careful.  But, on the opposite side, all of you have the potential to rescue someone with your powers.  You’ve learned your strengths and weaknesses from your teachers so far, and now that you’ve used them in combat, you know how your Quirks can be used against villains.  We will have no combat here, so focus your efforts on using your Quirks to help.  That’s what being a hero is all about – helping others.”  13 gave a small bow as 1-B applauded his speech.  “Thank you for listening.  Now, let’s get rescuing!”

Chapter Text

“Right here will be our first exercise,” 13 announced.  “The mountain zone!”  Class 1-B had climbed up the small mountain area and were now staring down a ravine about 30 feet deep.  Snipe had left the group to find a high vantage point to watch over the facility while Midnight stood guard at the entrance.  “Firstly, three of you will play the victims and go to the bottom.  One will be unconscious, one will have an injured leg, and one will be very worried.  Once the victims are set, four of you will be rescuing them.  You heroes will have these tools here at your disposal.”  13 gestured to a pulley, ropes, first-aid kit, and a sturdy stretcher on the ground.  “For our victims, let’s have… you three.”  They pointed over to a small group made up of Monoma, Shiozaki, and Kamakiri.

“Dibs on being asleep,” Kamakiri said quickly.

“Unconscious,” Monoma corrected.  “In that case, I’ll take injured leg.”

“As for our heroes, how about you four?” 13 said, pointing to Kendo, Tsuburaba, Bondo, and Pony.  “Sound good?”

“Yes, teacher,” Kendo said.

“Uh, question,” Kamakiri said.  “How do we get down?”

“Normally, I’d have you just back walk down, but let’s try some lateral thinking,” 13 suggested.  “Whose Quirks would work best for getting our victims down the ravine quickly?”  As everyone thought over the question, Kuroiro raised his hand.

“I can suck them all into my body,” he said.  “If someone else can lower me into the ravine, then you don’t have to do it 3 times in a row.”

“Great thinking, Shihai,” 13 said with a thumbs-up.

“In that case,” Shiozaki began, “shall I lower us in with my vines?”

“Works for me.  Is that cool, 13?”

“Go right ahead,” 13 said.  “Just be careful.  If you need assistance, Vlad and I are right here.”

“Alright, hop in, you two,” Kuroiro instructed as his chest became a portal.  Kamakiri and Monoma jumped through as Shiozaki detached a large bundle of vines that rooted into the ground.  The vines wrapped around her and Kuroiro, slowly lowering them into the ravine.  Once they reached the bottom, Kuroiro expelled the two boys from his body and the vines brought him back up. 

“Alright, let’s get set,” Shiozaki said.  Kamakiri laid on his back with his hands behind his head, looking a bit too comfortable.  Monoma leaned against the cliff face and chose his right leg as the injured one.  “We’re ready!” Shiozaki called out as she sat down.

“Then call for help,” 13 explained.  “You’re the worried one, right?  Get the heroes attention.”

“Ah, right,” Shiozaki said.  “Help!  We’re down here!  Please, save us!”

“She’s a good actor,” Kamakiri quipped.

“Cadavers don’t talk,” Monoma said.

“I’m unconscious, not dead.”

“Nah.  I upgraded you to dead.”

“That’s not an upgrade,” Kamakiri complained.

“It is if you’ve been good,” Shiozaki said.  “You’ll go to Heaven.”

“See?  I upgraded you,” Monoma said.  “Now stay still.  I see some people coming.”  Above the victims, Tsuburaba was steadily making air platforms going down.  He and Kendo were jumping down on them, reaching the ravine floor quickly.

“Hey,” Tsuburaba greeted.  “You guys need saving?

“Stop lookin’ at me with them big ol’ eyes,” Monoma said with a laugh.  Tsuburaba didn’t seem amused.  Pony clapped.

“How’d she even hear me?” Monoma wondered.  While he was distracted, Kendo had come up to him and knelt down.

“You’re injured, right?” she asked.  She went to touch his leg, but he pulled away with a sour look on his face.  “You’re not supposed to move it.”  Monoma relented and let Kendo examine his leg.  “We’ll have to splint it before we bring you up.  Tsuburaba, hand me the med kit.”  Kendo took out supplies from the kit and began making a splint for Monoma’s leg, with him looking uncomfortable all the while.  As she finished up, the stretcher was lowered down by Pony and Bondo.

“That was fast!” Tsuburaba shouted to his teammates.

“Bondo put it together super quick!” Pony yelled back as Kendo and Tsuburaba lowered Kamakiri onto the stretcher.

“You two are so good at this, I must say,” Shiozaki complimented. 

“I’m mostly just following orders,” Tsuburaba said.  “Kendo’s the real expert here.”

“I wouldn’t say that,” Kendo said.  As the stretcher lowered back down, Kendo bent down and slid her arms under Monoma, picking him up in a bridal carry.

“Isn’t that cute,” Tsuburaba said.  He laughed at his own joke for a moment before noticing his friend’s face.  Monoma didn’t just look embarrassed, he looked mortified.  Even more than that, Tsuburaba could see frustration and even vulnerability in his face.  He was also facing away from Kendo.  As she placed him on the stretcher, his expression changed back to normal, but Tsuburaba knew something was wrong.  What was that about?


“Great job, everyone!” 13 cheered as the class left the mountain zone.  “You all did so well at this rescue training.  Now, let’s move on to the shipwreck zone!”  The students were led to the facility’s lake, where a lone boat was placed in the center.  As 13 chose the heroes and victims, Tsuburaba looked across the crowd at Monoma.  He seemed to be back to normal, but Tsuburaba wasn’t convinced. 

“Hey, Kaibara?” he whispered.

“Hm?”

“Does Monoma seem… off to you?”

“In general?”

“No, just today.”  Kaibara looked at the copycat and thought hard, but got nothing. 

“Not sure.”

“I notice it,” they heard Pony say on their left.  “Monoma’s been upset over something.”

“How can you tell?” Kaibara asked.

“Women’s institution.”

“Intuition,” Tsuburaba corrected.  As the victims of the shipwreck exercise – Yui, Kendo, and Fukidashi – headed to the boat, Tsuburaba saw Monoma back up from the crowd and take a seat on the edge of a nearby fountain.  The oval-eyed boy grabbed Pony and Kaibara, deciding this was a good time to confront his friend.  “Hey, Monoma,” he greeted.  “Mind if we sit?”

“Go ahead,” Monoma said casually.

“What’s upsetting you?” Pony bluntly asked.

Right to the point, I guess, Tsuburaba thought.  Having someone as blunt as Pony can be a blessing and a curse.

“What’re you talking about?  I’m fine.”  Tsuburaba and Kaibara sat down on Monoma’s left, while Pony sat on his right. 

“During the first landslide exercise, I noticed you were pretty uncomfortable when Kendo picked you up.  It was way past embarrassment.”

“We don’t want to pry,” Kaibara said, “but is there something going on between you and Kendo?  I know you two grew up together.  Did something happen?”

“Childhood friends romance,” Pony whispered to herself.  Monoma stayed quiet for a while, but then sighed and leaned forward, leaning his head into his hand. 

“Pony, have I told you that Japanese isn’t my first language either?”

“Really?” she said with a gasp.  “But you’re super better than me at it.”

“My father is Japanese, but I was born in Belgium where my mother is from.  We moved to Japan when I was six, so I’ve had a lot of practice since then.”

“I didn’t realize you weren’t fully Japanese,” Tsuburaba said.  “Sorry, go on.”

“When we first moved, I wasn’t that great with the language, so that made socializing… difficult.  My parents also dressed me like a nerd, so that didn’t help much either.  What I’m getting at is that I was a pretty easy target for bullies.  I guess this all started at the playground near my apartment building…”


 "C’mon, fight back!” the bully yelled.  “Use your Quirk or something.”  Monoma knew he couldn’t fight all three of them, and his parents had told him that using Quirks openly was against the law.  As he held his scraped arm, his frustration kept building until he began to cry.  “Hey look!  The little baby’s crying!”  The three boys laughed at him, which only made Monoma feel worse.  He rubbed his eyes and almost ran off, but someone spoke up before he could.

Leave him alone!”  It was a girl’s voice.  Rubbing his eyes, Monoma looked and saw a girl about his age standing up to the bullies.  She had ginger-colored hair pulled into a ponytail by a blue bow that matched her blue dress.

“Hey, it’s that girl again,” one of the boy’s said.  He and the other kid immediately bolted, while the leader stayed and tried looking intimidating. 

“Buzz off!” he yelled.  The girl took a few steps towards the bully, making him run after his friends.

“Are you OK?” the girl asked.  Monoma took a while to answer, having to translate everything in his head.

“I’m fine, thank you.”  He turned around to head home, but the girl grabbed his arm. 

“You’re hurt.  Let me take you to my mom.  She can fix you up.”  She didn’t bother waiting for a response, before dragging the boy off with her.  “My name’s Kendo.  What’s yours?” 


 

“I knew it,” Pony mumbled to herself.

“So, Kendo would protect you from bullies,” Kaibara said.  “Sounds like her.”

“She’d do it whenever and wherever she saw someone being picked on,” Monoma continued.  “I just happened to need help a lot.  Usually, she’d intimidate them into leaving, but sometimes, a fight would break out.  I got used to patching her up if that happened.  Eventually, the bullying stopped, but by then, me and Kendo were almost inseparable.”

“So, what happened?” Tsuburaba asked.  “Why are things weird now?”  Monoma sighed again and tilted his head down.

“I think I had my realization back in third grade.  Kendo got in a big fight on my behalf and, of course, I needed to treat her injuries.”


 

“You didn’t have to do that,” Monoma said as he cleaned off the cut on Kendo’s face.  “Why do you always do this?”

"I didn't like the way they were treating you," Kendo said with her arms folded and cheeks puffed.

“Your mom’s gonna be mad.”

"I think she’s used to it.”  Monoma stuck a bandage on her cheek and moved on to her scraped knee.  “She’ll probably be madder that I ruined my new skirt.  I don’t mind, though.  Heroes always have damaged costumes after a big fight.”

“Heroes?”

“Yeah.  When I grow up, I’m gonna be a hero,” she said with a big smile.  “I wanna protect everyone like how I protect you!”


 

 “That’s when it hit me,” Monoma said.  “To Kendo, I'm someone who can't protect himself.  Someone who always needs a hero.  She coddles me because she thinks I’m weak and incompetent.”

“It doesn’t seem that way to me,” Tsuburaba said.  “She’s like that with everyone in class—”

“No.  She looks out for everyone, but she knows you can all take care of yourselves when push comes to shove.  If there was a disaster like the USJ, Kendo’s mind would immediately go to ‘protect the weak,’ and I’m who comes to her mind.”

“I don’t think you’re weak,” Pony said.  “You’re super smart and strong and you’ve got a cool Quirk too.  You’ll be good hero, Monoma.”

“…Thanks, Pony.”  Monoma cracked a smile and patted Pony on the shoulder.  “I needed that.”

“You guys have known each other for a long-ass time,” Tsuburaba began, “so I don’t think I can really comment.  I just can’t see the whole picture of your relationship.  I say you confront Kendo about this.  It may get ugly, but the longer you put it off, the uglier it’ll be.”

“I agree,” Kaibara added.

“Maybe your right,” Monoma said.  He looked up and saw the training was about to restart.  “C’mon, let’s go watch the training.”

“’Kay!” Pony said as she hopped off the fountain.

“Never change, Pony,” Monoma mumbled to himself.


 

 “Alright, it’s time for our last exercise,” 13 announced as they entered the ruined city area.  “Four of you will be the heroes and all the rest will be victims – half of which have to remain silent.  The victims will have 10 minutes to spread out and hide.  Our four heroes will be… you guys.”  The 16 victim students ran off into the buildings, leaving behind the hero team of Kuroiro, Yui, Tetsutetsu, and Monoma.

“I’ll let Midnight and Snipe know that we’re almost done,” Kan said.

“Sounds good,” 13 said.  “…10 minutes are up.  Get going, heroes.”

“We should split up,” Kuroiro suggested.  “We’ll cover more ground that way.”

“Good idea!” Tetsutetsu said.  “Wanna go together, buddy?”

“I’ll go with Kuroiro for now,” Monoma said.  “Kodai has a better view of things with her size-changing Quirk, so you’d be better off with her.”

“Great Idea!  Let’s go, Kodai!” the iron boy yelled as he ran off.  Yui followed slowly as Kuroiro and Monoma walked off the other way.


 

“What’s taking those guys so long,” Honenuki thought as he tossed some rocks against a wall.  He was in the half-collapsed second floor of a building – not hidden, but not in plain view.  “I’m gonna die of boredom.”

“Funny.  I’ve never been called ‘boredom’ before.”  Honenuki instinctively jumped forward after hearing the deep, intimidating voice behind him.  He turned around and took a fighting stance once he landed.

“Who’s there?”

“No one special,” the voice said.  From out of the darkness, a giant, musclebound figure came forward.  He wore black combat clothing with spiked shoulders and a gas mask with spikes along the sides.  “Don’t bother fighting back.  You cannot defeat me alone, boy.”

 

Chapter Text

“This’ll be way easier when we find Yanagi and I can copy her Quirk,” Monoma said to himself as he paced around the street.  “Almost done in there, Kuroiro?”

“Yeah, no thanks to you,” Kuroiro said as he walked out from the basement of a destroyed building.

“Hey, I spotted her,” Monoma said defensively.  “I’m the eyes, you’re the carrier.”  Kuroiro sighed at the copycat and opened his chest portal, allowing Kendo to tumble out onto the ground.

“Man, it’s dark in there,” Kendo said as she stood up.  “Ever think about some interior decorating?”

“It’s a reflection of my soul,” Kuroiro grunted while swishing his cape.  “It’s an ebony void of nothingness that consumes all—”

“Nerd,” Monoma and Kendo said together.

“…Let’s just drop her off and continue the search.”

At that moment, the three students felt the earth shake beneath their feet.   A deafening crash came from further inside the city as they watched an entire building implode into itself.  “What the hell?!” Kendo yelled.  “Come on!  We’ve got to see what happened!”  They ran down the street and turned the corner, now facing the totaled building.  Running toward them was Tetsutetsu, Shiozaki, and Shishida, who was carrying Shoda and Yui on his back.

“YOU GUYS!  HOLY SHIT!” Tetsutetsu yelled as he reached the others.  “THAT BUILDING JUST CAME DOWN!”

“WE NOTICED!” Monoma yelled back.  “How, though?”

“C-Could it be a villain?” Shoda wondered as he and Yui climbed off Shishida

“No way,” Kendo shakily said.  “There was a full sweep of the facility after the attack.  There’s a brand-new security system.  It’s impossible…”  The students’ hearts sank when they saw a titanic figure clothed in black emerging from the dust cloud.  “No… way,” Kendo said, barely above a whisper. 

“Look in his hand,” Shiozaki said.  Gripped in the villain’s right fist was an unconscious Honenuki.

“Where are the teachers?” Shoda asked.  “Where’s Snipe or Mr. Kan?”

“I can answer that,” they heard behind them.  Yanagi was floating down and had lost her stoic expression, now looking fearful.  “After the building came down, I got a bird’s eye view.  The teachers… they’ve already been defeated.”

“You’re kidding,” Monoma said.  “What the hell do we do now?”

“I’m gonna go save our friend,” Tetsutetsu said as he turned his skin to metal.  “Shiozaki, Kuroiro, I know you’re with me.”

“Yes.” 

“You bet your ass I am.”

“Kendo, Shishida… are you gonna stop us again?”  Tetsutetsu looked to the class reps, who were lining up with him.

“You think I’d want to stop you now?” Shishida asked as he rolled his shoulders.

“You’re right, Tetsutetsu.” Kendo said while tightening her mask.  “We can’t run.  It’s our fight this time.”

“If Kendo’s going to fight, then I will too,” Yui declared.

“Looks like we have no choice,” Yanagi said.

“This is gonna suck,” Shoda moaned as he cracked his knuckles.

“Guys, we should think about this before we rush in,” Monoma said.  “That guy destroyed a building.”  The class reps took off in a sprint, followed by their classmates.  “He defeated four pros,” the copycat said as he ran with them.  He could tell instantly that convincing them not to fight yet was pointless, so he begrudgingly started copying as many Quirks as he could.  “Son of a bitch.”

They could hear the villain laugh to himself as he stopped walking, staring them down in the middle of the street.  “You children think you can defeat me?  Then… show me what you can do!” 

Shishida made the first move, leaping ahead of the group.  He jumped at a dented light pole and swung on it, hurling himself towards the villain’s left side.  “Spinning Cannonball!”

“Useless!” the villain jeered.  He raised his free arm and blocked the attack with ease.  “And while I look away, you’ll try and rescue your classmate.  Isn’t that right.”  He swung his arm, sending Shishida flying backwards into a building, and turned to see a cluster of vines rushing towards his hostage.  The villain swerved his hostage away and grabbed the vines with his left hand, yanking them back.  Shiozaki went flying forwards with a yelp, but she detached them quickly and crashed further down the street.

The villain cackled to himself as Yui approached him while growing in size.  She had reached her upper limit of 20 feet when she attacked, bringing her fist down on the villain.  Despite the amazing size and strength of the attack, it was blocked once again.  “Useless, Useless!”  Running up to the villain was Kendo who had enlarged her fist.  She threw a giant-sized punch into his stomach, but it had little effect.  The villain brought his knee up into Kendo’s stomach, sending her flying up into Yui’s chin.  This staggered the giant girl, letting the villain use his arm again.  He threw a lightning-quick punch, using the air pressure to knock Yui and Kendo down the street.  Yui was sent into a building, crushing through the wall, but she still reached up and caught Kendo.  “Is that all, children?” the villain asked.

“Not even close!” Tetsutetsu yelled as he and Shoda jumped towards the villain with their arms cocked.  He raised his arm to block, but felt a metallic fist dig into his lower back.

“Watch yourself next time,” he heard Monoma say.  “Remember, you’re outnumbered.”  Tetsutetsu slammed his fist across the villain’s cheek while Shoda struck his chest.  The villain stumbled, but recovered quickly and craned his neck back to see Monoma.  “Bye now,” he said as he phased into the ground with Yanagi’s Quirk.

“Cocky little…”  The villain swung his arm out at the retreating Tetsutetsu and Shoda, sending both boys flying with the attack’s air pressure.

“Holy crap, we’re gonna die!” Shoda yelled as his Quirk activated and aclump of hair spiked up.  As the two boys flew back, they felt vines wrap around their waist and slow them down.

“Hey, it’s Shiozaki!” Tetsutetsu gratefully exclaimed as he and Shoda landed.  They could see their vine-haired classmate not far away.  “Thanks for the catch!”

“Of course,” she said.  “I don’t think I can get close enough to grab Honenuki, nor could I pry him from that villain if I did—”

“WAIT!” Tetsutetsu suddenly yelled.  “I have an idea!”

Kendo left Yui’s side and rushed at the villain again, this time with both hands enlarged.  “Let go of my friend, you bastard!” she yelled.  Kendo threw her hands forward for a double palm strike, but the villain held back the attack with his left arm.

“You all keep throwing yourselves at me,” the villain said.  “You have no hope of defeating me like that.”

“Defeating you isn’t my priority.”  At that moment, the villain felt a strong pull on his right arm.  Honenuki was in the pull of Kuroiro’s suction.

“Let him go!” Kuroiro yelled.  The villain grunted and threw his left arm back, knocking Kendo to the ground.  She fell hard on her back and clenched her eyes from the impact.  When she opened them again, the villain was throwing a punch towards her.  The moment before it landed, however, Kendo was out of harm’s way and the punch hit the ground.  After a moment of confusion, she realized she was on Pony’s back. 

“Pony!” Kendo happily greeted.

“We came at good time, it looks like,” the blonde girl said as they galloped away.

“We?” Kendo asked.  She looked back to the villain and saw the Kaibara jumping towards the villain from behind, landing a spinning punch to the back of his head.  He still had an iron grip on Honenuki, but his right arm was now being clamped by Kamakiri’s mandibles.

“Cavalry’s here,” Pony said as Kendo dismounted. 

“Good, now we can really start the fight,” Kendo said.

“If you’re heading back into the fray,” she heard Shiozaki say behind her, “then allow me to assist you.”  Kendo turned around to see that her friend had wrapped her vines around Tetsutetsu and Shoda’s waist.  “Once you land a hit, I’ll pull you out of harm’s way.”

“Alright, then hook me up.”  As the vine tied around Kendo, she rushed to towards the villain with Tetsutetsu and Shoda by her side.  Another vine was snaking its way towards Kaibara, who joined up with his attacking classmates.

“You think pitiful tricks like that will be enough?!” the villain yelled, still struggling against Kuroiro’s suction and Kamakiri’s grip.  “That won’t be— UGH!”  He was cut off by an orange ball of hair crashing into his left shoulder.

“SPINNING CANNONBALL!”

“That… won’t be… GRRK!”  He pitched forward when a spinning punch suddenly rammed into his stomach.  He looked and saw Monoma smirking at him before he phased back into the ground.

“LET HIM HAVE IT!” Kendo yelled.  Her giant fist plowed into the villain’s head, while the iron fist and spinning arm went up into his chest and an enhanced palm strike slammed his stomach.  The villain was nearly knocked off his feet, but at the last second, he stabilized. 

“Little bastards think you’re tough?” he panted as he ground his foot into the pavement.  The four attacking students were being reeled back by Shiozaki’s vines, along with Shishida, who leapt backwards by their side.  “Let me show you true power!”  He swept his free arm in front of him, creating a wall of air pressure that swept towards them, but it was blocked off by a barricade of Solid Air walls.  “Crap.  More of them have arrived.”  He looked off to the side and saw Tsuburaba riding Pony and creating a series of barriers around him.

“Sorry to keep you waiting,” he said to his classmates.

“Took you long enough,” Monoma said as he floated at his side.  “Good job, Pony.  You’re doing great, sweetie.”

“A useless tactic,” the villain said as he cocked his fist.  “With a swing of my arm, I’ll destroy them all!” 

“BOOOOOM!”  The villain’s attack was halted by an explosion going off on his back.  He dropped to one knee, but only for a second, and looked back to see Fukidashi.  “You seem to think that I’d let you do something like that.  Now that I’ve arrived, I won’t let you win.  B)”

“Puny, insignificant— ARRG!”  The villain suddenly felt a sharp pain in his left side.  Looking down, he saw Rin had sunken in his scaly, draconic fingers deep into his ribs.  He pulled them out again, only to launch an assault of sharp jabs. 

“ATATATATATATATA!” the dragon boy yelled as he attacked.  The villain swung his arm towards the martial artist, but he ducked at the last second.  As the villain’s arm slowed to a stop, Setsuna dove out from behind Rin and grabbed it, scratching at it with her mechanical claws.

“Get off of me!” the villain yelled as he swung his arm around.  Setsuna held on until the swinging stopped as Rin continued his attacks.

“This arm is causing all sorts of problems for my buddies,” Setsuna said as she scratched, ripping up the sleeve and drawing blood from the villain’s arm.  “Let’s put it out of commission, Rin!”  She jumped back from the arm as Rin grabbed the villain’s wrist.  He shot his free palm up into the villain’s elbow, making him groan in pain. 

“Fukidashi, hit him again!” Rin called out as he jumped back.        

“BOOM!”  A second explosion came, this time on the villain’s arm.  “Now you, Komori!”  The mushroom girl dove out from hiding and grabbed onto the villain’s arm, spreading her spores all over.  The villain swung his arm, now weaker from the damage, and Komori flew off, but Yanagi phased out from the ground and caught her.  In an instant, a layer of soft mushrooms covered the villain’s damage arm.

“You think this will stop me?!” the villain yelled.  “I’ll still kill you all!”  He turned away from his attackers, now focused on the two boys keeping his right arm occupied – Kuroiro and Kamakiri.  “Starting with you two—”

“AWASE, MONOMA, NOW!” Kamakiri called out.  The villain looked behind him and saw the copycat and welder crouched behind his legs.  They both grabbed his boots, fusing the bottoms to the concrete.

“Why you little — huh?”  The villain’s attention went to his right shoulder as he felt something heavy flowing onto it.  He looked and saw Bondo behind him, shooting a stream of glue that hardened almost immediately, locking the villain’s right arm in place.  “My feet are stuck to the ground… my left arm is damaged and has a cushioning layer of mushrooms on it… my right arm has been stuck in one position… but I won’t stop until you kids are dead by my hand!  AND I’LL BEGIN WITH MY HOSTAGE!”

“EVERYONE, STOP HIM NOW!” Kendo called out.  In an instant, the entire class swarmed the villain.  He felt each of his fingers being individually pried away from Honenuki – Kendo on his thumb, Tetsutetsu on his pointer finger, Awase on his middle finger, Kaibara on his ring finger, and Shishida on his pinkie.  Kuroiro had ran up to Honenuki and placed his hand portals on the boy, giving him an air-tight grip.  He was pulling with all his might, backed up by Shoda, Komori, and Fukidashi.  Kamakiri’s mandibles clamped down even harder, breaking the villain’s skin and drawing blood.  Bondo had wrapped his gigantic arms around the villain’s right elbow and squeezed tight, while Yanagi and Monoma were floating behind the villain and punching the back of his head.  Shiozaki had wrapped her vines around Honenuki, trying to pull him free.  Yui ran to the villain’s left arm and grew in size, using her giant strength to keep the arm straight.  Tsuburaba created an air barrier that went around his shoulder and elbow, making sure the left arm was immobile.  Pony was repeatedly ramming her horns into the villain’s stomach as Rin jabbed into his ribs and Setsuna clawed his back.  “WE’RE ALMOST THERE!” Kendo yelled.  “KEEP GOING EVERYONE!”

“JUST LET GO ALREADY!” Kuroiro shouted in frustration.  The attacks from all 19 students were taking their toll on the villain and he began to falter.  His knees locked and his breath was erratic.

“I… won’t… looooose!” he roared as the attacks kept coming.  “All of you… WILL DIIIIIE!”  That’s when his grip finally loosened.  His fingers were pulled open and Honenuki popped out from his hand into the waiting arms of his friends.

“We… we got him!”  Kuroiro yelled joyously.

“Everybody back!” Kendo ordered.  The class all retreated from the villain, grouping up down the street.  The villain raised his head and saw 1-B staring him down.  They may have been injured and short of breath, but in that moment, he was at their mercy.  “It’s over,” Kendo told him.  “You’ve lost.”

“You really think that?” the villain asked.  “It’s far from over.”  With a single flex of his muscles, the Solid Air barrier covering his left arm broke.  He clenched his right fist and began to curl his arm, cracking and breaking apart the hardened glue over his shoulder.  With his right arm freed, he quickly scraped the mushrooms off his left one. 

“You’re kidding me,” Setsuna said.

“Is he… Is he even weakened?” Fukidashi asked. 

“I’ll end this now,” the villain said as he raised his fists over his head, “with my full strength.” 

“RETREEEEEAAAT!” Shishida ordered.  Most of the class turned and began running for their lives.  Tsuburaba quickly began creating a one last air barrier.

“Tsuburaba, come on!” Kaibara yelled as he grabbed the boy’s jacket and pulled him away.  Kuroiro opened his chest portal and shoved Honenuki inside before sucking in Shoda, Bondo, Rin, and Shishida.  Tetsutetsu saw that Shiozaki had fallen in the chaos, so he transformed his back into metal and dove on top of her.  Yui immediately grew to full size and surrounded Kendo, Monoma, and Pony with her body.

“WAIT!  YUI, STOP!” Kendo yelled with teary eyes as Yui gave her a small smile.

“I’ll protect you… Kendo.”  Kendo had no time to argue.  At that moment, the villain slammed the ground with his fists, creating as shockwave powerful enough to obliterate the ground beneath him and send Class 1-B flying away. 

“Now, it’s over.”

Chapter Text

What… what just… happened?  Kendo’s mind was foggy and half-conscious.  We were… fighting…  As her senses returned, she felt the cracked concrete on her back and creaking pain in her bones.  Fighting… a villain… and he…  Her eyes shot open and she sat up, ignoring her pain.  “Yui?” she called out.  “…Anyone?”

“I thought you were out for the count,” she heard Monoma say behind her.  Kendo turned and gasped, seeing a fallen Yui on Monoma’s lap.  “Don’t worry, she’s just unconscious.”

“She… she got hurt protecting us,” Kendo said with a cracking voice.  “I thought we won—”

“This isn’t the time for tears,” Monoma said.  “We have to regroup with anyone else that’s still up.”

“You’re right,” Kendo said.  She looked around and realized they were near the edge of an enormous crater.  In the center was the villain, who was sitting and looking over his injuries.

“We should go check now while he’s preoccupied,” Monoma said.  “I sent Pony ahead.”  Kendo took Yui in her arms as she and Monoma quietly retreated from the crater.  Just over the rubble of an overturned building, they found a small grouping of conscious students — Shoda, Bondo, Shishida, Rin, and Honenuki – who all looked relatively uninjured.

“Finally awake, Honenuki?” Monoma asked.

“Awake and alive… thanks to him.”  Honenuki motioned behind him to a passed-out Kuroiro leaning on some rubble.  “Apparently, any damage Kuroiro takes doesn’t hit people inside of his void, but if he falls unconscious, everything’s expelled.”

“It was his quick thinking that saved us,” Shishida said as Kendo laid Yui down near Kuroiro.

“If you wanna complement someone, how ’bout throwing some my way?”  Everyone turned to see Tsuburaba approaching them while leaning on Kaibara.  “Those air walls I made absorbed a lot of the initial force, y’know?  Especially that last one I made.” 

“You’re right.  Good thinking,” Shoda said. 

“We were blown further back with the others,” Kaibara said.  “We all survived, but us two were the only conscious ones.”

“Everyone else is down?” Bondo asked.

“Does that mean we 10 are the only ones left to fight that guy?” Rin asked.  Just then, some moving debris caught everyone’s attention.  They saw a cluster of vines pushing away fallen wreckage and they rushed to the source.  There, they saw Shiozaki cradling a bloodied, battered Tetsutetsu in her arms.

“You reckless fool,” she scolded, barely holding back her tears.  “Why didn’t you ignore me and run?”

“Shiozaki,” Monoma began, “we both know he’s not that type of guy.”  The vine-haired girl bit her lip and held the fallen iron boy closer.

“Just once… you should think of yourself,” she whispered. 

“Look who’s talking…”  Shiozaki gasped when she heard Tetsutetsu mumbling something.  His hand pulled hers away and he began to sit up.  “That whole fight, you only thought of others.”  His voice was raspy and pained, but everyone could hear his words.  “You were the first to try grabbing Honenuki… You made sure whoever was attacking could get away… You never even fight directly… because the thought of hurting even a villain sickens you.”  Tetsutetsu leaned forward into a crouch, nearly falling forward.  After a moment, he stood up and offered his hand to Shiozaki.  “I’ll protect the person… who protects everyone else… until I’m strong enough to do it.  Deal?”  Shiozaki wiped her tears and took the hand, rising to her feet.

“Deal,” she said with a small smile.

“So… what’s the plan?” Tetsutetsu asked as he turned to Kendo and Monoma.  “Fight or run?”

“Let’s brainstorm while we still have time,” Monoma said.  He looked over his remaining classmates, thinking about each of their Quirks.  “I’m sure there’s something here.  I just have to think.”  The copycat ran his hand through his hair as he wracked his brain.  Come on and think, dumbass, he told himself.  Thinking with other people’s Quirks in mind is your specialty. 

“I have an idea,” Kendo said, somewhat quietly.  She was looking down at her feet, not at her classmates.  “There’s 11 of you and 8 unconscious people.  If some of you double up on carrying people, you could even grab the teachers too…  I’ll hold off that villain while you all escape.”  Everyone was stunned silent by Kendo’s plan, but they could tell she was absolutely serious.

“That’s not gonna happen,” Monoma said.  “We’re not leaving you.”

“This is the only way everyone can escape alive—”

“It’s not everyone if you stay behind to die!” Monoma suddenly yelled.  He grabbed Kendo’s shoulders and forced her to look in his eyes.  “You’re not going out there alone, and I’m not leaving you behind.  I’ve had enough of you getting hurt for my sake while I sit back and watch.  If we’re dying today, we go together!”

“Please, don’t do this,” Kendo said as she began choking up.  “If nothing’s done, then all of us…” 

Monoma hung his head and let his feelings of powerlessness wash over him.  How could this all happen? he wondered.  It was just rescue training, but now… we keep sinking deeper into this horrible situation.  What can we… wait… sinking.

“Uh, guys?” Honenuki began.  “I, uh—”

“I’ve got it!” Monoma suddenly said.  “Honenuki, can you soften the ground up to the middle of that crater from its edge?”

“Probably, but—”

“Then I think we can win.”  Those words stirred some hope in Monoma’s classmates and they listened intently. 

“Whatever it is, I’m in,” Tetsutetsu said as he hardened his fists.

“I figured, you sturdy bastard,” Monoma said as his confident smirk slowly returned.  “We all need to work together for this…”


 

It looks like they’re not coming back, the villain thought to himself.  Should I go to them?  Or…  His train of thought was stopped when he noticed the ground changing.  From the rubble where class 1-B had landed, the concrete was softening into quicksand in a straight line towards him.  “Trying to trap me so that they can escape, eh?  A fair plan, but now that I see it coming, I can avoid it.”  He watched as the softened ground made it half-way through the crater, but he then felt himself sinking.  “What?”  He looked down and saw the ground had softened under his feet.  “But it’s not even close to me!  How could—”  The villain looked behind himself and saw another trail of softened ground had come up behind him.  He traced its path back to Honenuki, who retreated from his position at the opposite edge of the crater.  The ground hardened, but the villain had already sunk up the bottoms of his knees.  “If he was behind me, then the ground I was watching came from…”


“I can see why Honenuki was recommended,” Monoma said as he returned the ground to normal.  “This Quirk is pretty damn useful.”  He turned to see Shoda, who’s hair was standing up with two spikes, was climbing onto Pony.  “Your turn, you two.”

“Let’s rock!” Pony yelled.  She tore off in a high-speed gallop towards the villain.

“Don’t think you’ve won just because my legs are stuck,” the villain said.  He threw a massive right hook, sending a blast of air pressure towards the duo, but with all the damage he had taken, it came out much slower.  Pony had no trouble dodging as she barreled towards him.

“That’s my girl!” Monoma cheered as Tsuburaba, Bondo, and Shiozaki stepped forward.  “Now, you guys.”

“Got it,” Tsuburaba said.  He took a deep breath and started blowing towards the ground as he ran.  His Solid Air started making a platform under his feet that steadily rose up.  Shiozaki and Bondo were right behind, keeping their eyes on Pony and Shoda as they approached the villain.

“Looks like the air platform is a success,” Kendo noted as her fist grew.

“Let’s move out!” Monoma yelled.  He sprinted down the crater, spinning his arm like Kaibara, who ran on his left.  To Kaibara’s left was Shishida, who ran on all fours like an animal, and Rin, who’s entire body had scaled over.  On Monoma’s right was Kendo and Tetsutetsu.

“What’re our odds?” Kendo asked. 

“With this group… we can’t lose!” Monoma yelled.  Kendo took in his excited smile and newfound vigor, thinking back to their childhood together.

Looks like you really belong here, she thought.  You and me both… we’ve found our place with these people.  That’s when a glint of light caught Kendo’s eye.  She saw Monoma’s arm was still spinning using Kaibara’s Quirk, but was also becoming metallic.  Am I seeing things?

“Ready, Shoda?” Pony asked. 

“Ready!”  As the pair reached the villain, he punched down towards them.  Pony sidestepped the attack and bucked Shoda off her back.  The villain’s right arm was Shoda’s first target as he unloaded a kinetic palm strike into it.  The villain groaned in pain as Shoda jumped up, landing another hit on his left arm.

“Good hits!” Pony said she caught Shoda on her back.  “Leaving it to you guys!” Pony yelled while looking up.  The villain looked above himself and saw Tsuburaba, Shiozaki, and Bondo standing on an air platform.  Shiozaki’s vines raced down and encircled the villain, holding his injured arms to his sides.  Bondo’s glue then rained down on him, hardening into a glue cast that kept his arms pinned.

“Crap,” the villain said.  “Those kids got me.”  He watched helplessly as the remaining six students pounced at him.  Monoma drove his spinning metallic punch into his head while Kaibara and Kendo attacked his chest.  Rin and Tetsutetsu slammed the villain’s ribs while Shishida shoulder-checked his stomach.  “Well… played.”  As he fell backwards, Bondo sprayed one last layer of glue at the ground, making sure that once the villain went down, he’d stay down.  Monoma landed in a tumble after his attack.  He picked himself back up quickly and looked back, seeing the villain was completely immobilized. 

“WOOOO!” Tetsutetsu yelled.  “WOOOOO!  THAT’S CALLED TEAMWOOOORK!  IT MAKES THE DREAM WOOOOORK!”  Monoma couldn’t help but laugh at his friend’s goofy celebration. 

“Good job everyone,” Tsuburaba said as he hopped off his air platform.  “Y’know, let’s just not come in tomorrow, yeah?  Call in sick or something?”

“I second that,” Rin said. 

“We should go and check on the others now,” Shiozaki said. 

“Shouldn’t we unmask him first?” Shoda suggested.  “That’s what people do on TV when they catch a masked criminal.”

“Uh, that’s okay,” the villain said.  “You don’t have to.”

“Well, that’s not suspicious,” Kendo sarcastically said.  “Rin, help me pull it off.”

“Wait, hold on!” the villain said as the two students grabbed the cracked gas mask.  “I don’t— I-I’m-I—”  As they pulled it off, a pair of familiar blonde hair bangs perked up.  “I AM HERE!”

“ALL MIGHT!?” the students yelled in unison. 

“HA HA HA!  THAT’S RIGHT!  IT WAS ME THE WHOLE TIME!  I wanted to give you some experience like 1-A had in fighting villains, so I posed as one!  I hope I didn’t hurt you all too bad.  I made sure to hold back a little.”

“So… we weren’t in any mortal peril?” Shiozaki asked.

“That’s right,” the students heard behind them.  Walking up was Kan, along with Snipe, Midnight, and 13.  “All Might and I planned this little exercise so you could feel what fighting a real villain would be like.  I’m proud to say that you all went beyond my expectations—”

“LITTLE EXERCISE?” Kendo yelled.  “Wh-What about Honenuki being taken captive.”

“Yeah, sorry about that,” Honenuki said.  “All Might said he wanted to take me out of the fight because of how strong my Quirk is.  Plus, he said having one of your friends be the hostage would make you fight harder.  I was about to tell you before Monoma said he had a strategy to win.”

“…And you stopped because…?” Kendo asked.

“…I wanted to win,” the skeletal-faced boy said while rubbing his head sheepishly. 

“But Yanagi said all the teachers were defeated,” Monoma said.

“She was in on it too,” Kan explained.  “If she flew up and saw us, she would know something’s up, so we had her fool you.”

“Recovery Girl is here taking care of everyone else,” 13 said.  “Head up around the rubble and she’ll heal you up.”

“Honenuki, could you soften the glue around All Might?” Kan asked.  Honenuki nodded and went to help All Might.  “Are you all ready to head back to class?”  No one answered as they all absorbed the information.  Monoma and Kendo had matching thousand-yard stares.  Shishida had seemingly lost his mind, manically giggling and repeating the explanation over and over.  Pony fell to her knees and was softly crying.  Shoda passed out.  All the color drained from Rin’s face.  Kaibara was punching himself in the head and mumbling something about waking up.  Tsuburaba was flailing his arms angrily and mumbling obscenities.  Bondo walked off in frustration.  Tetsutetsu was frozen in shock, not even blinking.  Shiozaki had her head in her hands and was quietly saying a prayer.  “I’ll take that as a no.”


“That’s the last of ‘em,” Snipe said as he exited the bus.  Most of Class 1-B was unconscious, either from the fight or from Recovery Girl’s healing, so the teachers were forced to load the mostly-asleep class onto the bus themselves.

“They didn’t need much healing,” Recovery Girl said to Kan.  “You can wake them up once you’ve gotten back to U.A.”

“Thanks again, ma’am,” Kan said, “and thank you, All Might.”

“Of course,” All Might said with a thumbs up.  “Your students are quite tenacious and have excellent potential.  Let’s train them well.”

“I’m glad you think so.  In that case, we’ll get going.”  As the bus pulled away, steam began to pour from All Might’s body and he shrunk down into his skinny, emaciated form.  “Man, those kids…”

“Tough battle?” Midnight asked.

“Oh yeah.  They were so in sync, even though they’ve known each other for less than a month.  I may not have been at full power, but it was difficult nonetheless.”

“Is that so?” 13 said.  “Now that we’ve seen 1-A and 1-B in action against a villainous force, how would you compare them, All Might?”

“Tough to say.  Both are powerful, but I can tell that they’ll grow in different ways.”

“How d’ya mean?” Snipe asked. 

“Class 1-A is built on rivalries.  They’ll grow because they aim to surpass one another.  Not to say they aren’t close, but they push themselves to go beyond each other.  1-B, on the other hand, is a cohesive unit already.  They’ll grow by bringing each other up and work together to surpass anyone else.” 

“Think so?” Midnight said.  “We’ll have to keep a close eye on both classes.  The way they turn out will be quite interesting.”


 

“Alright everyone,” Kan said.  “I know it’s been a long day and you want to get home, but I still have some announcements to make.”  The student had all regained consciousness and were in their seats, glaring at their teacher.  “You can stop pouting.  There wasn’t any real danger, so stop being bitter about it.”

“You made me feel emotions again,” Monoma hissed.  “How dare you.”

“In any case,” Kan continued.  “Your fight isn’t over.  A new challenge is approaching that will push you even further.”

It’ll be tougher than facing All Might? the class thought.  What could that be?

“In two weeks, you’ll be participating in the U.A. Sports Festival.”

That doesn’t sound tougher at all!

“The principal decided to push it up in the schedule to show U.A. is persevering after the villain’s break-in at the USJ,” Kan explained.  “The U.A. Sports Festival is one of Japan’s biggest sporting events, having overtaken the Olympics in popularity.  Not only will the whole country be watching, but many pro-heroes will be there scouting for new talent.  You’ll have this opportunity to show off your skills once a year, but this is your first time.  You must come out strong and show the world your grit.  Are we clear?”

“Yes, sir,” the class said together.  Even after their tiring day, the thought of the upcoming challenge stirred excitement within them. 

“Good.  Once you’ve rested up from today’s battle, then start training until you drop.  Dismissed!”  As Kan left the room and the students began packing up, Tetsutetsu rushed to the door.

“I’m gonna go scout 1-A!” he announced.  “Try and intimidate ‘em a bit!”

“You sure, man?” Monoma asked.  “You took a big beating and Recovery Girl’s healing makes you tired—”

“It’s cool!” the iron boy said as he ran off.

“Shiozaki?” Kendo said.  “Can you go with him and make sure he doesn’t start a fight or pass out in the hall?”

“Of course,” Shiozaki said as she walked off.  As more of the class left, Kendo stayed in a contemplative silence until it was only her and Monoma in the classroom.

“Ready to go?” the boy said.

“Yeah,” Kendo replied.  “…Actually, before we go…  I just wanted to say that you really surprised me today.”

“How so?” Monoma asked.

“Well… I could only think of sacrificing myself to help everyone get away, but you were able to think of a winning strategy so quickly.  You were a much better leader than me,” Kendo said with an embarrassed blush.

“Nah,” Monoma said.  “You’re the real leader, class rep.  I may have been the quick thinker today, but you’re just as smart.  Plus, you go out of your way to help everyone and look out for them.  I was just lucky today.  I could never do what you do.”  He began walking to the door, followed by Kendo.

“If you say so,” she said.  “I’ll have to real pick up my game if I’m gonna rally everyone for the Sports Festival.”

“Just two weeks away,” Monoma mused.  “We gotta step up our game if we’re gonna win.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

Chapter Text

“Alright, I’m almost done setting up,” Fukidashi announced.  “Thanks again for letting us use your apartment, Pony.”

“Sure thing!” Pony said with her mouth full of apple.  She was sat on Fukidashi’s left along with Shiozaki, who was rereading the handbook confusedly.  Sitting opposite of Fukidashi was Awase and Rin, who were both looking through the mini-figure collection for their pieces.  On the remaining side of the table was Shishida and Kamakiri, who had been fleshing out their character sheets. 

“Is everyone ready to start?”

“This game still confuses me,” Shiozaki said with a little embarrassment.  “I can never remember what I can and can’t do.”

“You’ll get it as you go,” Rin assured her.  “Just speak up or check the handbook if you’re lost.”

“This game is stupid,” Kamakiri said flippantly.

“Them quit playing,” Awase fired back.

“Never!”

“…We’re all ready,” Shishida said.

“Then I’ll begin the recap,” Fukidashi said.  “Previously, in the adventures of the newly-named Pegasus Hooves, the original four members had been hired to investigate Millsy Village, for rumors have started to spread about its dead rising from the grave.  Once you had arrived and collected some information, you were forced to intervene as another group of adventurers were making trouble for the village.  As you fought, two more travelers helped you – a sorcerer from the Tabaxi race of animalistic cat people, and an assassin from the Thri-kreen race of humanoid mantis.  Once the fight ended and you learned of their shared goal in investigating the rumors, you grouped up and headed for the graveyard.  Now…”


 

The midday sun hung high overhead, putting the Pegasus Hooves at ease.  They had almost reached the graveyard and the sun wasn’t even close to setting.  “We makin’ good time!  Let’s pick up the pace!”  Leading the group of hardened travelers was Annie Mustang, a young blonde girl with an extremely chipper demeanor.  Annie was a Tiefling with peachy, human-like skin, but she had the obvious racial traits of hooves, a tail, and two tall horns.  She wore leather armor with a bow and quiver hung on the back, appropriate for her ranger class.  Other than that, she was dressed like a normal village girl with a long yellow dress, an oversized green neckerchief, and a white apron. 

“Is this little girl really your leader?” a voice in the trees asked.  Hopping down to join the group was T’rali Marrowblade, the Thri-kreen assassin.  He was wearing a leather tabard, kept open at the sides to free up his four insect-like arms, and forest green pants.  His head was fairly human-like, an oddity among his race, but it still featured long antennae and curved mandibles alongside his green Mohawk.  “I’m still not convinced about this little alliance if she’s the one making your decisions.”

“What’re you sayin’?” Annie asked.  “I’m a good leader!  Besides, I won Rock-Paper-Scissors.”

“That’s how you decided?” T’rali asked.  He shot his original companion an annoyed look before hopping back into the treetops.

“I apologize for his behavior,” said T’rali’s companion, the Tabaxi sorcerer Verdant McCoy.  Despite looking very animalistic, Verdant was the more sociable and well-spoken of the duo.  He wore green robes with chainmail armor and a horned helmet.  “While our alliance is in effect, we’ll be sure to follow your leadership, Miss Mustang.”

“Alrighty!”

“If I’m being honest,” the sorcerer continued, “I do have an ulterior motive in joining you all.”  He looked behind him to the adventurer who walked at the back of the group.  “I’m interested in that strange device at your hip.”

“Who?  Me?”  The person Verdant was speaking to was Guile Thompson, a man with spiky black hair held up by a blue headband.  He wore metal armor with large shoulder pads over a black overcoat and blue clothing.  On his back was a Greatsword, while at his hip was a metal pistol in a holster.  “You mean this thing?” he asked while pulling out the weapon.  “It’s just a little gadget I learned to make.  It’s called a gun.”

“Fascinating,” Verdant said, looking closely at the device.  “I’d like to inspect it at some point, if you’d allow me.”

“Maybe some other time,” Guile said as he quickly holstered his weapon.  “This baby Is one of a kind and handmade.  I’m not letting it leave my hands unless I completely trust the person.”

“Fair enough,” Verdant said with a shrug.  “I wonder how far this graveyard is.  It feels like we should have arrived by now.”

“Rin— I mean, Lin!” Annie began.  “Check our map!  Are we there yet.”  Pulling out their map was Lin Fei Long, the half-draconic monk.  Lin had come from another continent, made obvious by his foreign red clothing.

“We’ve been following along the river, so we’re going the right way,” Lin said as he flipped his braid back.  “It shouldn’t be long now.  We’ll definitely arrive before sundown if we keep this pace.”

“I can only hope we do,” the last member of the group said.  To Annie’s right was Maria Pleasance, a cleric of the healing church of Sarenrae.  The elf woman was clad in delicate white robes with an emerald scarf held around her arms.  Over her green hair was a turquoise veil held by a gold circlet.  “I cannot bear the thought of departed souls watching their bodies torment the living.”  She clasped her hands dramatically and looked to the sky, a white light shining down on her.  “I can only pray that we may cleanse the evil of this land quickly.  Oh, Sarenrae!  Impart upon us the strength to carry out this mission!”

“You must be fun at parties,” T’rali said from the treetops.           

“Look who’s talking, grasshopper,” Guile said dismissively. 

“That’s our word,” T’rali fired back, lobbing an acorn at Guile’s head.

“Hey, Guys?” Lin said.  “W—”

“Stop fighting, you two,” Maria begged as a single tear went down her cheek.  “Please, do not dispute on my behalf.”

“It’s just a little spat, miss,” Verdant assured her.

“Guys—”

“No infighting!” Annie declared.  “Your fearless leader says that fighting’s bad!”

“Guys!” Lin shouted.  “…We’re here.”  The group looked to their right and saw the graveyard just downhill.  It was in complete ruin with most of the gravestones and tombs in shambles.

“Sweet!” Annie said as she walked closer to the hill’s edge.  “Let’s go investiga— woah!”   The Tiefling girl fell forward and tumbled down the hill, crashing into the rubble headfirst.

“Annie!” Maria and Guile called out.

“I see a stairway just around the hillside,” Verdant pointed out.  “We should go and check on her.”  The five adventurers ran down the stairs and weaved through the broken-down gravestones, eager to check on their leader.  Once they reached their fallen comrade, they realized her skirt had flipped up in her tumble. 

“Oh, uh, A-Annie…” Lin stammered as he looked away.  As T’rali approached the fallen Tiefling to assist her, Maria jumped between them and blocked everyone’s view of Annie.

“Avert your eyes from this pure maiden!” she commanded.

"Fine,” the mantis man said with an exasperated sigh.

“Annie, are you alright?  Do you need healing?”  Maria helped her leader pull her head from the rubble and lay her down more comfortably.

“I’ll be fine,” Annie assured her.  “Landing was pretty soft, actually.  Just need a minute.”  As Annie sat up, Maria’s face became twisted in fear and she backed away.  “What’s wrong?”  Annie shifted her hands around to stand, feeling another hand under hers.  “Huh?  What’s—”  She froze up once she realized what had broken her fall – a decaying corpse.  No one moved.  Everyone was silent.  Annie just looked down at the corpse for a good 10 seconds.  “…KYAAAAAAAAA!”  She bolted from the corpse and leapt into Mari’s embrace, burying her face in the cleric’s chest. 

“Doing alright, fearless leader,” T’rali asked.

“I guess the zombies don’t bother getting back in their graves,” Lin noted with an uncomfortable chuckle.  Now that they had a better look at the graveyard, the group could see other corpses dotting the area.  “Time to investigate, right?”

“Don’t wanna,” Annie whimpered from Maria’s chest. 

“Let’s just get started,” Guile said as he stepped around the rubble, watching carefully for bodies.  The group paired off and began pouring over the graveyard for any clues.  Eventually, Annie and Maria happened upon a tomb that was mostly intact. 

“Found something!” she called out.  The rest of the group joined their leader at the tomb, looking it over closely.  It was the largest structure In the area, sitting at the very back of the graveyard and overcome with moss and vines.

“If I had to guess,” Lin began, “this tomb was the first structure here and belonged to someone important.  All these other graves came later, turning this place into a graveyard over time.”

“Sounds likely,” Guile added, “but it looks untouched.  The stone door looks like it hasn’t moved in ages.  If all of the dead are rising at night, why is this structure the only one not affected?”

“I can think of three possible explanations,” Verdant said.  “Theory one: there are no bodies inside of the tomb to rise.  It could be because the tomb was never used for the intended person for whatever reason, or the body is so old and broken down that it cannot become a zombie.  Theory two: there are zombies inside, but they cannot get out at night because they’re either too weak or the tomb is too strong.  Lastly, theory three… the cause of these nightly zombie attacks Is inside this tomb.”

“Why do I have a feeling that it’s the third option?” Guile groaned.

“Only one way to finding out,” Annie said.  “Let’s open up this door.”


 

“Are any of actually strong enough to bust it down?” Kamakiri asked.  “No one here has a really great strength stat or blunt weapons.”

“We could push together,” Pony suggested.  “Don’t have to break.  Just push.”

“Will that be enough?” Shiozaki asked.

“Let’s find out,” Fukidashi said.  “Roll a strength check, everyone.”


 

“Put your back into it!” Annie ordered.

“Push harder, Guile,” Lin groaned.

“I am pushing harder!  I’m doing most of the work!”

“Why aren’t you helping, cleric?” T’rali asked.

“I’m afraid my strength would make little difference,” Maria said.  “I shall pray for your success.”

“Lazy-ass cleric.”

“Quiet complaining,” Verdant scolded.  “We’ve almost got it.  One last push, everyone.”  The group heaved forward, finally forcing the door open.

“We got it!” Annie cheered.  “Good job, everyone!”

“I think I pulled my everything,” Lin complained. 

“Man, it’s dark in here,” Guile noted.  “Anyone have a torch?”

“Allow me,” Verdant said as he lit his torch.  With the room illuminated, they could see that no coffins or bodies were present.  Instead, a staircase downward was before them.  

“Looks like this place has a real ass to it,” T’rali said.  “Should we head down?”

“One second,” Annie said.  She took the torch and held it to the wall, revealing sculpted pictures and strange hieroglyphics.  “Can anyone read these?”  

“It seems to be Elvish,” Maria said as she approached the wall.  “The walls tell of a Queen from a long time ago… the person in this tomb is named Queen Adelia.  The first part of this claims she died of a heart attack, but further down, an addendum was added.  It turns out her brother had poisoned her to seize power.”

“How far back was all this?” Verdant asked.

“200 years ago exactly.”

“200, eh?” Guile said as he grasped his pistol.  “Sounds like it’s Curse O’clock.” 

“We should head further in before it gets dark,” Maria suggested.  “If we don’t stop the zombies’ source of life, they overrun us and we won’t survive the night.”

“You want me to scout ahead, fearless leader?” T’rali snickered as he readied his sickle.  Before he could head down the stairs, Annie walked in front of him.

“Leader should go first,” she said without a hint of fear in her voice.  “Everyone, let’s head down and see if the zombie problem is from here.”

“Right behind you,” Guile said as he ran after her.  Lin and Maria joined them soon after as Verdant came up to T’rali. 

“Coming?” he asked.

“Looks like she has a backbone after all,” T’rali noted.  The six travelers felt a chill in the air as they continued downstairs.  Once they reached the bottom, an ethereal fog began to pool at their feet. 

“Looks like we have our answer,” Maria said.  “I promise in the name of Sarenrae that this fiend shall no longer taint the departed with her wickedness.”

“What she said,” Guile added as he cocked his pistol.  As they continued on, they saw that candles lined the wall, giving them enough light to put out their torch.  Further into the tomb, the Pegasus Hooves finally found their target – a pristine coffin decorated with jewels and gold.  As they approached, a rumbling in the ground halted them and the coffin began to move.  It’s top swung open and a figure sat up.  Staring them down was Queen Adelia, wrapped in bandages and a generous layer of jewels. 

“Be wary, all,” Verdant said.  “I feel a tremendous amount of malevolent magic from her.”  The sorcerer clenched his fist and focused his innate magic energy, forcing it into his hand.

“Magic or not, I won’t be defeated,’ Lin stated as he cracked his knuckles.  The mummified queen looked over the intruders in her tomb.  Though her wrappings hid her expression, it was obvious she was amused.

“Have you come to die?” she said slowly.

The group looked to their leader for her signal to attack.  Annie grabbed her bow and pulled an arrow from her quiver, smirking all the while.  “I say thee… neigh.” 

“You heard the lady,” T’rali snickered while grabbing his sickle.  “What’re your orders, boss?”

“…Forward assault!  Destroy the evil, Pegasus Hooves!”

“Yes, ma’am!”

Chapter Text

In becoming the default big sister for Class 1-B, Kendo had picked up on the different personality traits of her class, especially with her close friends.  That’s why she was a little shocked when Shiozaki had asked her, Tetsutetsu, Monoma, and Setsuna if they’d want to come visit her home.  Shiozaki was a very polite, gentle, and friendly person, but Kendo knew she was also introverted and somewhat shy, which made the offer surprising.  On the other hand, Kendo could tell that her friend had something weighing on her mind.  Once Saturday came, the four students had arrived in Kanagawa, the home prefecture of their friend, after a quick train ride.

“Y’know, it’s kinda weird we’re going to hang out at Shiozaki’s place before anyone else’s,” Setsuna noted.  She wore ripped jeans, red and white sneakers, a dinosaur-tooth necklace, and a black T-shirt with a bearded dragon image that read “drawn to scale.” 

“Think so?” Tetsutetsu asked with his mouth full.  “I’m surprised she didn’t ask us before.  She’s super friendly.”  The iron boy was wearing a black shirt with the Kanji for “Iron” on the front, gray and blue track pants, and white sneakers.

“What are you even eating?” Monoma asked.  He was wearing a white shirt with the top two buttons undone, tan shorts, and brown sandals.

“Lug nuts.”

“Is that a brand name or something?”

“Nope.’  Tetsutetsu pulled a few metal bolts from his bag and showed them off to his friends before popping them in his mouth.  “It’s how I power up my Quirk.”  The squeaking and crunching of his chewing made the others cover their ears and groan.

“Maybe put those away for now,” Kendo suggested.  She wore a short blue dress with a red blazer, a wide leather belt, and dark blue shoes.

“’Kay.  Are we there yet?”

“We’re on the right street,” Monoma said.  “It should be just up ahead.”  They continued up the street, following the building numbers until they reached a small flower shop.

“Is this it?” Setsuna questioned.  “This isn’t an apartment building.”

“Look again,” Monoma said as he pointed up.  “There’s an apartment above the store.”

“I guess her family owns this place,” Kendo said.  The store had huge windows showing off the colorful plants, and the wooden sign hanging above the door that read “Tower Flowers.”  The four entered the shop, immediately smelling the delightful mix of scents. 

“Wooooow,” Kendo said, admiring the plants and breathing in their aromas.  “What a beautiful shop.”

“Flowers are super manly!” Tetsutetsu announced without a hint of irony. 

“I’m glad you all like it,” they heard from further inside the shop.  They turned to see Shiozaki coming up to them, wearing a floral apron over a long-sleeved, ankle-length green dress along with a turquoise shawl, a silver cross necklace, and light green boots.  “Thank you for coming.”

“Of course,” Kendo said.  “Thanks for having us.”

“Owning a flower shop seems pretty appropriate for you,” Monoma noted as he played with a rose.  “Anyway, why the sudden invitation?”

“Don’t be rude, man,” Setsuna said, throwing a package of seeds at the copycat’s head.

“It’s fine,” Shiozaki said.  “I realize my invitation was a little out of the blue.  Why don’t we go upstairs?”

“Yeah, let’s go!” Tetsutetsu said with his usual cheeriness, making Shiozaki smile. 

“Mother, my friends are here,” she called back.  “We’ll be upstairs.”

“Alright, dear,” they heard Mrs. Shiozaki say from the back of the store.  They’re vine-haired friend led them to a staircase at the side of the store that went up to her apartment.  As Shiozaki unlocked the front door, both Kendo and Monoma noticed it had a few different locks on it.

“Make yourselves at home,” Shiozaki offered as they entered her apartment.  “I’ll make us some tea.”  Her home was average sized, but had very cozy and soft decorations and furniture.

“Dang, this place looks comfy,” Setsuna noted as she flopped onto the couch.  Kendo walked by the kitchen door to a wooden dresser, looking at some family photos.  Shiozaki’s mother looked almost exactly like her while her father looked like a normal Japanese business man, albeit a little overweight.  Also on the dresser were incense candles and a set of rosary beads. 

“These are pretty,” Kendo said as she fiddled with the beads.

“Hey, look at this,” Monoma said as he held up a pillow with “live, laugh, love” embroidered on the front.  “You owe me five bucks, Setsuna.”

“Hehehehe, whatever,” she giggled.

“Is this the bathroom?” Tetsutetsu asked as he opened a door in the hallway.  “Nope.  Closet.  Good thing I noticed this time.”

“It’s at the end of the hall,” Shiozaki said as she brought out a tray with five tea cups.  She set it down on a coffee table in front of the couch and sat in a nearby wicker chair, setting aside her apron.  Kendo and Monoma sat on the couch with Setsuna, leaving the remaining chair for Tetsutetsu. 

“Hey, question,” Setsuna began as she took some tea.  “What’ve you guys been doing to train for the festival?  I’ve just been popping off my limbs and growing them back like normal.”

“Weight training mostly,” Kendo answered. 

“I’m trying to switch between Quirks quicker,” Monoma added.

“I’ve been jumping off buildings in the training areas!” Tetsutetsu announced as he returned from the bathroom.  “I saw this other guy doing it and thought ‘yeah, I can do that.’”

“How dangerous,” Shiozaki said with some worry.  “I’ve been working on stretching and shortening my vines so that I wouldn’t have to detach them as often.  I’ve also been improving their strength by burrowing them through the ground.”

“Badass,” Tetsutetsu complimented as he took some tea and sat in a chair.  “So, what’s on your mind?”

“Well, um…”  Shiozaki’s hands twitched a little before she took some tea for herself.  “I still feel remorseful about what happened Monday… so I wanted to give you all a more proper explanation for my actions that day.  Especially you, Kendo.”

“Monday?” Kendo asked.  “You mean the when the villains attacked the USJ?”

“That’s right.”  Shiozaki was avoiding eye contact and seemed to be holding onto her tea more for support than to drink it.  “I acted inappropriately that day and I’m afraid my choice of words may have seemed a bit self-righteous.”

“I didn’t think that,” Kendo assured her friend.  “I know you and the others just wanted to help.  I don’t even remember what you said exactly.”

“I remember,” Monoma claimed as he sipped his tea.  “She said that she ‘cannot ignore someone in distress.’”

“Oh yeah, I remember that,” Tetsutetsu said. 

“Why would that seem self-righteous?” Setsuna asked.  Shiozaki set her tea down and began twirling a vine around her finger.

“I feared my wording implied that you all wouldn’t do the same.  I realize that you were trying to protect us from making a rash mistake, but at the time… I just couldn’t bear the thought of our peers being attacked.”

“Oh, don’t be silly,” Kendo said with a small chuckle, trying to lighten the mood a bit.  “I get why you’re feeling a little guilty, but no one’s thinking that way but you.”

“Yeah, girl,” Setsuna added.  “It was a stressful time and you wanted to help.  That’s nothin’ to get upset about.”

“That’s not the end of this, is it?” Monoma suddenly asked.  All eyes went to him as he finished his tea.  “You’re not afraid of giving a public apology, so if that was all, you would’ve said so in class.  You’ve also been very uncomfortable since we arrived and that hasn’t changed since you stated your guilt.”

“Monoma, shut up,” Kendo chided with a chop to her friend’s shoulder.  “We’re guests here, so—”

“He’s right,” Shiozaki said.  “He’s right in saying that I have more on my mind.  I asked you all to come today because… I think I can trust you all with my feelings.”

“What about?” Tetsutetsu asked, now leaning in more inquisitively. 

“I haven’t always wanted to be a hero,” Shiozaki explained somewhat quickly, as if she wanted to get it out before she could convince herself not to.  “My ambition is somewhat newfound, but there’s a reason that I can’t ignore someone in need.”

“You OK?” Setsuna asked.  “You don’t have to tell us if you’re upsetting yourself.”

“I agree with Setsuna,” Kendo said, “but if there’s something you really want to share, then we’ll listen.”  Shiozaki smiled gratefully at her friends on the couch, then turned to see Tetsutetsu giving her a thumbs-up and his normal toothy grin.  This calmed her down greatly and she took a deep breath. 

“Two years ago, I had no interest in being a hero.  I dislike fighting, and back then, I thought that was the only job heroes did.  My plan in life was to run this flower shop like my parents.  I also had very little practice with my Quirk at that point.  I could barely move my vines in precise or powerful ways, nor could I grow more at will.”  She took her tea and sipped it, calming her nerves again.  “It was a Saturday night at around eight– our usually closing time that day.  My father was away on a business trip for that weekend, so my mother minded the shop while I was in my room.  I heard her enter and went to greet her, but she… wasn’t alone.  A man and a woman were with her… and they were both holding guns.”  Shiozaki paused, leaving the room both silent and still.  None of her friends knew how to react, so they simply waited for her to continue.  “The woman pointed her gun at me and said to lay face down on the couch.  I complied as the man took my mom into her room.  I could hear him question her about any valuables in the house that were hidden.  Then, the woman… she began to tie and gag me.  I was… too afraid to resist or even react.  After she finished, she picked me up, placed me in the hall closet, and locked it.  I didn’t know it at the time, but the man was doing the same to my mother at the time after drugging her, and she was locked in her bedroom closet.  The criminals were only in our house for about 5 minutes after that, but once they were done… they left us alone.”  The vine-haired girl gripped onto her dress and looked down at her trembling hands.  “I was… trapped in that closet… for 22 hours.”

“22 hours?” Tetsutetsu repeated without his usual loudness.

“I-I couldn’t do anything,” Shiozaki shakily whispered.  “I could b-barely move.  I couldn’t use my Quirk well e-enough to free myself.  All I could do was cry and pray for rescue to come.”  As a tear slowly ran down her cheek, Shiozaki felt a hand softly fall her own.  She looked and saw Tetsutetsu leaning in close and with a very serious expression.

“We’ve heard enough,” he said.  “Don’t cry just so we can hear your story.  None of us want to see you upset.”

“I really don’t know what to say,” Kendo said.  After a moment, she stood up and marched over to Shiozaki, wrapping her in a tight hug.  “We’re right here for you.”  Shiozaki’s breathed hitched, but her smile returned as she hugged back

“Thank you.”  Kendo eventually released her grip, but instead of returning to the couch, she stood next to her friend.  “As I was saying, I was in there almost a full day.  Eventually, my mother regained consciousness and, despite being bound like me, she was able to escape and signal for help from the window…”


Shiozaki couldn’t tell if she was asleep or awake.  She had been in the pitch-black closet for so long that it was impossible to tell.  She had given up on struggling against the ropes or crying through her gag long ago.  The most she could muster was the occasional whimper.  That’s when a series of quick footsteps roused her from her dazed state.  Her energy returned and she began kicking at the door and yelling for help.  “Hmmph!  Hllmmph!”  The footsteps rushed to the closet door and flung it open, nearly blinding Shiozaki as the light hit her eyes.  She instinctively clenched them shut and looked away.  In an instant, a pair of hands began untying her bonds.

“Don't worry, miss,” an unfamiliar voice said.  “I’m a pro-hero.  I’ll have you untied quickly.”  The ropes gave away and Shiozaki could move again, though not without some soreness.  As the hero untied her gag, she rubbed her eyes and slowly opened them, trying to adjust to the light.  She didn’t recognize the hero kneeling before her.  His costume seemed to be made mostly of wood, including the mask and helmet, with a dark blue bodysuit underneath.  “You and your mother are safe now,” he said in a gentle voice.  The lingering feeling of hopelessness that had built up over the last 22 hours vanished and Shiozaki burst into tears, diving into the hero’s embrace.  “It’s alright.  I’ve got you.”


 “Kamui Woods,” Setsuna said.  “That was him, right”

“That’s correct,” Shiozaki said.  Her face no longer looked upset, but became a nostalgic smile.  “He was the hero who rescued me… and he’s my inspiration for becoming a hero myself.  For anyone who feels hopeless or endangered in this world, I want to do what he did for me.  I want to hold them close and say ‘It’s alright.  I’ve got you.’”

“I’d expect such a noble goal from you,” Monoma said. 

“Shiozaki… that must’ve been hard for you,” Kendo began, “but… thank you for telling us.  I’m flattered you’d share something so personal.”

“That was… so manly,” Tetsutetsu said while tears rushed down his face.  “Holding out for so long… and then bouncing back with so much resolve… YOU’RE A PINNACLE OF MANLINESS, SHIOZAKI!” the iron boy wailed.  Shiozaki was confused for a moment, but giggled with a slight blush on her face. 

“Thank you all for listening,” she said with a curt bow.  “I’m sorry for springing all this on you.”

“It’s cool,” Setsuna said.  “Now that we’ve got all that out in the open, I vote we go and do something fun.  It’s Saturday, we’re dumb teenagers, and we’re all together, so let’s go out.”

“OH!  OH!” Tetsutetsu yelled with his hand up.  “I saw an arcade on the way here!  Let’s go there!”

“I like where your head’s at,” Setsuna said.  “How’s that sound?”

“An arcade?” Shiozaki questioned. 

“Not digging the idea?” Tetsutetsu asked, a little dejected.

“Oh, no.  If everyone on board, then I’m all for it."

“Then it’s settled,” Kendo announced.  “We’re heading to the arcade!”

Chapter Text

“What a place!” Tetsutetsu said in awe.  The five students had arrived at Wonderworld Arcade, a giant plaza of different gaming machines.  “I wish I had something like this near my house!”

“Dude, this looks kickass!” Setsuna agreed.  “They better have that Jurassic Park game.”  She and Tetsutetsu raced inside while Monoma and Kendo hung back with Shiozaki.

“So, what’s with the wardrobe change?” Monoma asked.  Before they left her apartment, Shiozaki had wrapped her head in a light blue scarf with a floral border, completely hiding her vines.  “Don’t plants need air and the sun?”

“I’m just protecting them,” Shiozaki said defensively.  “I’ve been training every day, so I’m just resting my vines and protecting them from harm… and my headscarf is quite breathable, thank you.”

“Touchy,” Monoma said.  “Let’s head inside before those two fully regress into middle schoolers.”

“We’re probably too late, in that case,” Kendo noted as they entered.  They looked through the rows of machines and quickly found their friends at the Jurassic Park game.

“You gotta shoot the dinosaurs!” Tetsutetsu yelled.  “You’re just shooting the humans!  They’re helping us!”

“I can’t do it!” Setsuna cried.  “I can’t hurt my babies like that.”

“They’re eating you!”

“Then I accept my fate,” she said with a calm smile and joyful tears.  “I will become nourishment for my beloved raptors.”

“You are way too happy about— shit, I died!”  Tetsutetsu hung up his toy gun and shot a glare at the reptile girl, who was serenely drying her tears.  “Ok, what’s nex— Terminator!” he shouted with an emphatic point.

“Oh, hell yeah,” Kendo said.  She and the iron boy raced to the Terminator game and put in their money. 

“See anything you’re interested in, Shiozaki?” Monoma asked.

“I’m not much of a gamer,” she answered sheepishly, “but I’m enjoying myself just being here with all of you.”

“I’ll find you something,” Setsuna said.  “I don’t want you to be the mom at an amusement park.  Like ‘Oh, I don’t want to go on any rides.  I’ll just sit on this bench and hold everyone’s phones.’  Like that.  Depressing.”

“Get the one on the side!” Tetsutetsu yelled.

“You get it!” Kendo yelled back.  “I’m up to my ass in robots!”

“Shoot her!” Setsuna cheered.  “Shoooot heeeer!”

“And you’re dead,” Monoma said.  Kendo and Tetsutetsu hung up their guns and looked around the arcade for something new to play.

“I’m not seeing any fighting games,” Tetsutetsu said.  “Seems like a weird thing to be missing.”

“Uh, take a look over there,” Monoma pointed out.  In the corner of the arcade hung a neon sign that read “Brawler Pit” with a wide array of fighting games underneath.  “That do anything for you?”

“I love this place!” the iron boy said as he bolted towards the games.  Setsuna and Kendo followed suit, and even Monoma seemed excited by the find.  Shiozaki, on the other hand, seemed oddly uncomfortable.

“There’s so many!” Setsuna said.  “Which one are we doing first?”

“Looks like they have the newest Street Fighter,” Kendo pointed out.  “We could—”

“WAIT!” Tetsutetsu exclaimed.  He slowly pointed across to an old machine sat in the corner.  “That one.”

“I’m game,” Monoma said as they approached the machine.

“Good find,” Kendo complimented as she popped a coin inside.  The screen instantly lit up and the music blared out at them.

Gonna take you for a ride~

“Marvel vs. Capcom 2,” Tetsutetsu slowly said, almost with reverence.  “One of the greatest fighting games ever.”  He inserted his own money into the machine and leaned in next to Kendo.

“It’s definitely a good one,” Setsuna agreed.  “I kinda suck at games like this though.”

“I’m not great either,” Monoma added.

“After they go, let’s play and see who sucks less,” she suggested.  “You wanna play a round, Shiozaki?”

“Oh, I’m fine, thank you—”

“C’mon, you keep blowing off games!” Setsuna moaned.  “One round.  Just watch closely and you’ll pick it up quick.”

“If you insist,” she sighed as Kendo and Tetsutetsu’s match began.  Kendo’s team was Charlie, Chun Li, and Rogue while her opponent had chosen Zangief, Juggernaut, and Colossus.  It was a close match, but once they were down to their last character, Tetsutetsu clinched the victory. 

“Oh yeah!” he cheered.  “Who’s the man?  That’s me!  Good game.”

“You too,” Kendo said while shaking her friend’s hand.  “You guys wanna play?

“You bet!” Setsuna said as she and Monoma payed the machine.  “Let’s see who’s better at not being terrible.”  She picked out her team of Morrigan, Venom, and War Machine while Monoma played with Iceman, Jill Valentine, and Silver Samurai.  Their match wasn’t as close as the previous one, with Monoma winning with two characters remaining.  “Alright, good game, good game, little bastard, good game,” Setsuna said quickly.  “You’re turn, Shiozaki.”

“Um… it looks a little complicated for my tastes—”

“Nah, you’re not getting out of this,” Setsuna ordered as she put more coins in the game.  “The money’s in the machine, so get up here, girl.”

“A-Alright then,” Shiozaki said as she grabbed the joystick.  It took a little time, but she eventually picked out a team of Sakura, Marrow, and Tron Bonne. 

“The buttons are labelled, so you should pick it up quick,” the lizard girl told her friend.  “I’m not gonna hold back though.”

The match lasted only 25 seconds.

“Holy crap, you creamed me!” Setsuna yelled in disbelief.  “H-How?”

“Oh no,” Shiozaki mumbled to herself.  “I couldn’t hold back enough.”

“What do you mean hold back?” Kendo asked.

“I-I, um, that’s not what…” Shiozaki stammered out.  “B-Beginner’s luck?”

“That looked more like muscle memory to me,” Monoma remarked.  “You’ve played this before, haven’t you?”  Shiozaki fiddled her hands around and looked away from her friends.

“Maybe a little.”

“Me next!” Tetsutetsu called out.  “If you’re so good, then I want a crack at you!  And don’t hold back, y’hear?”

“But if I don’t hold back—”

“Fight me at your best, Shiozaki,” he said with absolute seriousness.

“This feels more dramatic than it should be,” Kendo noted.

“At least it’s entertaining,” Monoma added.  Tetsutetsu paid for another round and Shiozaki reluctantly took the controls again.

“If you insist, then I’ll use my regular team,” she said.  Tetsutetsu used the same team from his match against Kendo while Shiozaki selected B.B. Hood, Sonson, and Storm.

This round took 20 seconds.

“A-A perfect victory,” Monoma said in shock.

“I couldn’t even follow it,” Kendo claimed.  “Her moves were too fast.”

“How much have you played this game,” Tetsutetsu asked.  Shiozaki looked away, trying to hide her reddening face.

“Back in middle school… I had a bit of a reputation here,” she explained.  “My hero training takes up most of my free time now, so I haven’t been here in a long while, but… most of the older games in this area most likely still have my high score.”

“That’s wild,” Setsuna giggled.  “You’re a lot of things, Shiozaki, but I didn’t expect ‘fighting game savant’ to be one of them.”

“P-Please, keep your voice down,” Shiozaki nervously requested.  “I don’t want to be recognized by anyone.”

“That explains the scarf,” Kendo said. 

“You’re incognito?” Setsuna asked before breaking into a giggle fit.  “That’s adorable.”

“If you’re so good, then let’s play more!” Tetsutetsu practically begged.

“I don’t know,” Shiozaki said while covering her cheeks.  “It’s such an embarrassing hobby.”

“No, it’s not!” the iron boy promised.  “I think it’s badass!”

“R-Really?”

“I’m gonna find a game that I can win against you at!  ‘Kay?”  Shiozaki couldn’t help but smile at Tetsutetsu’s excitement.

“I suppose,” she said as her blush faded a little, but not all the way.


“HAHAHAHAH!  I didn’t win a single time!” Tetsutetsu loudly laughed.

“Geez, I blew through a lotta cash today,” Setsuna said as they left the arcade.

“Same here,” Kendo said.  She looked up at the setting sun and checked her watch.  “I told my mom I’d be home soon, so me and Monoma are gonna head out.”

“You guys really are joined at the hip,” Setsuna joked.  “Guess I’ll bail too.  See you around, Shiozaki.”

“Goodbye,” she said as her friends walked off to the train station.  “Aren’t you going with them, Tetsutetsu?”

“I don’t have anywhere to be, so I thought I’d walk you home,” he explained.  “Is that cool with you?”

“Oh, of course.  Thank you.”  As they walked off from the arcade, Shiozaki loosened her headscarf to fall around her neck.  “The setting sun always feels nice on my roots.”

“That reminds me.  I was wonderin’ about something,” the iron boy said.  “Are those thorns on your vines sharp?”

“No, they’re blunt,” she explained.  “They hurt a little bit if I lay down on them, but they’re harmless otherw—”  As she explained, Tetsutetsu snatched a vine in his fingers and was fiddling around with it. 

“Hey, you’re right.  They are blunt.”

“P-Please don’t touch those,” she whimpered as he face erupted into a blush.

“OH, SORRY!” Tetsutetsu yelled while leaping away from her.  “I forgot that was hair for a second!  I’m super sorry!”

“It’s f-fine,” Shiozaki said as she held onto the vine.  “You just caught me off guard.”  They resumed their walk, this time in silence.  Shiozaki was now twirling the vine around her finger while her silver-haired companion was still upset with himself.  “…Tetsutetsu?”

“What’s up?” he answered, now comfortable enough to return to her side.

“Why did you decide to walk me home?”  The boy stayed quiet for a while, almost as if he was piecing together the words in his mind like a puzzle.

“…I was thinking about what you told us at your house,” he said in a subdued tone.  “If that happened to me, I don’t think I’d ever feel totally safe, especially alone.  I wanted to walk with you so you could feel comfortable.”  Shiozaki was a little stunned, but the more she thought about it, it wasn’t a surprising thing for him to do.  He was always a helpful and selfless person.  The surprise was more from hearing him put it into words.

“How… thoughtful,” she slowly said.

“That was a real manly move telling us, y’know?” he said with his usual gusto returning.

“That’s another thing I’m curious about.”

“Huh?”

“You always speak of ‘manliness’ and say almost everything is ‘manly.’  Why is that?”

“That’s just ‘cause I’ve seen lots of manly people and stuff since I came to U.A.,” he explained.  “To me, manliness means that you’re putting yourself out there with passion.  You’re just you and no one can change that.  You stick to your guns and your open about what your deal is.  You just say ‘hey, world!  People!  I’m me, and that’s not changing anytime soon!  I don’t care if you don’t like me because I like me!’  Y’know?”

“I see,” Shiozaki said.  “You’re not speaking of masculinity per se, but what an ideal way of living is—”

“Oh my god, look at that dog!  He’s so tiny!  Hi, puppy!”  Shiozaki was a little taken aback, but couldn’t help but giggle at the boy’s futile attempts of getting a dog’s attention.  She looked further down the road and realized they had already arrived at her flower shop.

“We’ve arrived.  Thank you again for keeping me company.”

“Sure thing!”  Tetsutetsu walked off towards the train station, giving Shiozaki a wave as he went.  “See you at school!”

“Safe trip!” she called out.  As she watched him go, and attempt again to get the dog’s attention, Shiozaki felt a small twinge in her chest.  What a sweet goofball he is. 

Chapter Text

Tetsutetsu slammed the door to Class 1-B open and shuffled inside.  The rest of the class followed suit without a word.  The Sports Festival was over and none of them felt satisfied.  Some students went to their seat while most mingled at the front of the room.  Eventually, Kuroiro broke the silence.  “Soooo… that was shitty.”

“Yeah,” Rin said.

“Agreed,” Fukidashi added.

“C’mon guys,” Kendo began, “It wasn’t so bad.  Let’s just stay positive.  I’m sure we all made an impression on the audience.”

“By doing what?” Kaibara asked.  “I don’t think I used my Quirk once.”

“There were 16 spots in the finals,” Monoma said.  “Class 1-A took 12 of them, a student from both the support course and general studies made it… we had two.”

“If that tail guy didn’t forfeit, it would’ve been 1,” Tsuburaba noted.

“Not a good time, man,” Kaibara said.

“It doesn’t matter now,” Kendo said, trying to reign in the conversation.  “It’s all in the past.  We have one next year and the year after, so let’s all just think about those.  We just have to think positively, guys.”  Kendo forced a smile to her face, but she knew her words weren’t doing much.  She couldn’t even get herself to think on the bright side, no matter how hard she was trying.

“I feel like shit,” Tetsutetsu said.  “So many people gave up their chance to fight in the finals to get me there… I wasted it!  I didn’t win a single round!”

“Don’t blame yourself, man,” Setsuna said.  “I would’ve done way worse than you.”

“Same here,” Yanagi added.

“I would’ve lost too,” Komori claimed. 

Tetsutetsu knew what they meant, but his mind wasn’t changed.  “You too, Shoda,” he continued.  “You shouldn’t have dropped out.  You probably could’ve won it all.”

“I think you’re overestimating me,” Shoda said sheepishly.  “Someone as strong as Todoroki would’ve destroyed me—”

“He’s not that strong!” Honenuki suddenly snapped.  Everyone looked and saw his face twisted in anger, though it slowly shifted back to normal.  “No one’s that strong with no weakness.  If he was so perfect, he would’ve won.”

“He could’ve won,” Yanagi said.  “If he had used his fire in the final round, he might’ve beaten Bakugo.”

“Maybe,” Honenuki grumbled. 

“Let’s change the subject,” Kendo suggested.  “Um… How about Shiozaki?  She made it the furthest of all of us!  Let’s give her some praise, huh?”  She looked to Shiozaki, but realized how saddened she seemed. 

“I deserve nothing of the sort,” Shiozaki said with her head down.  “I wasted the opportunity given to me.”  She stood from her desk and bowed deeply at her classmates.  “Please forgive me, everyone.  I was defeated in such an embarrassing way and couldn’t make a name for our class as planned.”

“You don’t have to apologize,” Awase assured her.  “I don’t regret anything that happened out there today.”

“That’s the spirit!” Kendo quickly said.  “We shouldn’t be regretting what happened.  We just have to look towards the future.”

“What future?” Monoma said as he sulked.

“Well, aren’t you a ray of sunshine today?” Kamakiri quipped.

“Cheer up, Monoma!” Pony said.  “We get ‘em next year, yeah?”  Monoma looked down at Pony and smiled a bit at her positivity.

“Of course, we will,” the copycat said while patting Pony’s head.  “Those 1-A bastards only got lucky.”

“What’s gotten into you with them?” Kendo asked.  “I know you’re frustrated, but we know that not everyone in 1-A is some jerk like that Bakugo guy.”

“Maybe not outwardly,” he continued, “but they all think they’re better than us.”

“Kirishima doesn’t!” Tetsutetsu said.  “He’s a good sport and a true man.”

“You’ll all see soon enough,” Monoma proclaimed.  “They’re all nothing but egocentric, attention-grabbing lowlifes—”

“That’s enough!”  Kendo chopped her friend over the neck before he could go any further.  He didn’t fall unconscious, but he was dazed enough to stop.  “We’re all frustrated, I know… but we shouldn’t blame 1-A.  It was just a competition—”

“Yeah, one that the whole country saw and apparently decides our futures,” Kuroiro said.  Kendo was getting more frustrated with each comment and had even begun turning red in the face.  Everyone could tell her patience and optimism was running short.

“If I may,” Shishida said, “I’ll continue what Kendo is saying.  Any regrets we may have are our own and shouldn’t be taken out on our sister class.  If anything, we should be fostering a friendly atmosphere with them.”

“Exactly, Shishida,” Kendo said as she calmed down.  “Don’t listen to what Monoma’s saying about them being egocentric or whatever.  I’m not saying they’re all nice – I think Bakugo’s proven that – but most of them are friendly like us.  Give them a chance and be friendly if you talk to them, alright?”  Each of the classmates looked unsure at best, but Kendo decided this was enough for now.  It was good timing too, as the door slid open and Mr. Kan walked inside.  As everyone returned to their seats, they all felt guilty for his sake.

He must be so disappointed in us, they all thought.  He stepped to the podium and cleared his throat.

“I’ll be frank,” he began, “that wasn’t an amazing showing on our part.”  The class’s hearts sank as more shame weighed down on them.  “Before we end the day, I’d like to share an anecdote with you all.  Many years ago, during my first year attending U.A., I personally had a lot riding on the Sports Festival.  I didn’t have the best showing earlier in the year and my grades were nothing to gawk at.  That Sports Festival was my big chance to show the world what I was made of.  The first event was a game similar to Capture the Flag – there were 50 flags and whoever had one at the end of the time limit moved on… I lost in that first round.”  The class went wide-eyed in surprise, but before anyone could interrupt, Kan continued.  “I was the only student in the hero course to be eliminated that round.  As I watched my peers continue on, I kept thinking ‘I’m such as disappointment.  I blew my chances.  My hero career is over.’  But, as is plainly obvious, that wasn’t the case.  I became a hero, and now, I’ve been entrusted with the next generation at my alma mater.  Do you all understand what I’m saying?  While the Sports Festival is important, it doesn’t decide your future.  You do.” 

“We promise to do better next time!” Tetsutetsu suddenly shouted.  “Thank you for not giving up on us!”

“We’re all grateful that you support us, sir,” Shiozaki added. 

“We have 3 years together,” Kan said.  “I’ll support you all the way until you become the strongest class to ever graduate from this school.  Are we clear?”

“Yes, sir!” they all shouted.

“Now, what else did I have to say?” he asked himself.  “Oh right, the internships.  You’ll have tomorrow and Friday off, but once you return on Monday, we’ll have scouting reports from pros ready.  You’ll be interning with them for a week later this month.  Even if you get no requests, you’ll all be interning with someone.  Until then, think about how you can improve yourself.  Class dismissed.”  As their teacher left, Class 1-B slowly began packing up. 

“I can’t believe he’s not mad at us,” Komori said.

“He’s not the type to get mad over something like this,” Shishida assured her.  “We truly have an excellent teacher.”

“He sure is manly,” Tetsutetsu said.  “I’m gonna go to the gym and keep training.  You wanna come, little buddy?”

“Me?” Shoda asked.  “Sure.  I wanna test a new move I was saving for the finals.”

“A new move?” the iron boy asked as they left.  “Kickass!”

“Kuroiro,” Honenuki began.  “Can you help me with something?”

“What is it?”

“I need you to shoot me with a flamethrower.”

“…Yeah, sure.”

“Wait, why the hell are you gonna set yourself on fire?!” Awase asked.

“That Todoroki guy has fire and ice,” Honenuki said.  “I gotta start training if I’m ever gonna fight him.”  He walked to the door with Kuroiro, but then turned back to his classmates.  “And when I do fight him, I’m gonna win.  All of you can count on that.”

The rest of the class slowly left, but instead of sulking, they were talking about how they can train harder or offering each other advice.  “We may not have done great,” Kendo said to herself, “but we can at least bounce back quickly.”

“Is that really a good thing?” Monoma asked.  “Getting used to failure?”

“Don’t be such a pessimist,” Kendo said.  “Think about what Mr. Kan said.  Today didn’t decide our whole future, so quit sulking.”

“Fine, moooom.”

“That’s right, I’m the mom,” she said as they left the classroom, “and you’re the little toddler I have to keep a leash on.  Oh, that reminds me.  I don’t want you acting like such an ass around 1-A again, got it?”

“…No promises.”

Chapter Text

After being given an extra-long weekend after the Sports Festival, most students were spending it by themselves.  Kendo had other plans and instead spent Friday preparing her apartment for the arrival of her six guests.  Man, I haven’t had a sleepover since I was a little kid, she thought as she laid out snacks.  She checked her phone again and saw it was almost 8:30.  They should be here soon.  As if on cue, there was a knock at the door.  “Coming!”  Flinging open the door, she saw her first guest was Yui.

“Hi, Kendo.”

“Hey, come on in!”  Yui stepped inside and handed off a box to Kendo.

“I brought cookies.”

“Thanks so much.”  As Yui took off her coat, Kendo noticed she was already wearing her plain blue nightgown.  “Did you wear that here?”

“You said girls wear their pajamas at sleepovers.”

“The idea is that you change here, Yui.”

“…Oh.”  Another knock interrupted their conversation and Kendo opened the door again.

“Yo,” Setsuna greeted.  She strode inside, followed by Kinoko and Pony. 

“Thank you for having us,” Kinoko said as she handed off a bottle of soda to her host.

“I brought movies!” Pony announced.  “Got musicals, got anime, got comedy, got romance, got action – all the good stuff.”

“Sounds good,” Kendo said.  “We have almost everyone now, so— oh, those’re tits.”  Setsuna had begun changing in the middle of the living room and had her shirt and bra off already.

“What?  It’s just us girls here.”  She flipped her hair proudly and puffed out her chest before zipping up her dinosaur-themed onesie.  “Better?”

“You two can change in my room,” Kendo told her other guests.  Pony trotted off to put on her pajamas while Kendo dragged Setsuna off to the hallway closet.

“You’re just jealous of my ‘talent,’ girl,” Setsuna claimed. 

“Shut up and help me get the comforter,” Kendo said with a playful chop on her friend’s head.  She reached up and grabbed a massive blue comforter from the top shelf, handing part of it off to Setsuna.

“We doin’ this old school?” Setsuna asked with excitement as the comforter unfurled in their arms.  “Nice.  Gonna cuddle with my gals tonight.”

“Hold onto that so I can move the furniture,” Kendo instructed.  She grew her hands to giant size and picked up the couch easily, moving it against the wall.  She did the same with the coffee table, leaving the living room wide open. 

“Need me to do anythin’?” Pony asked as she returned, now wearing a white T-shirt and yellow sleep pants with an apple pattern.

“Yeah, grab an edge of this,” Setsuna requested.  “You too, Yui.  Let’s spread this baby out.”  While Kinoko went to change, the other four girls spread the king-sized comforter out over the floor.

“Looks good,” Kendo said.  “That’ll fit everyone, yeah?”

“Totally!  And if it’s not, we can just get closer~,” she said with a flick of her slightly forked tongue. 

“What’s up with you tonight?” Kendo asked with a giggle.  “You’re sillier than usual.”

“Dude, I’m in my dinosaur jammies and I’m gonna be cuddling with my six cute girlfriends.  Tonight’s a good night.”

“Don’t you have a boyfriend?”

“He knows what I’m about,” Setsuna said.  “He trusts me to not sweep one of you off your feet… or hooves, in Pony’s case.”

“Hey Kendo?” Kinoko asked as she entered the living room, now wearing a light green pajama set with a mushroom pattern.  “What time do you want us to leave by?”

“Dunno.  We’ll figure that out when we wake up,’ Kendo said before a knock at the door caught her attention.  “Coming!”  She went and opened the door, letting Reiko and Ibara enter.

“Hey,” Reiko greeted with her usual deadpan tone.  “Thanks for inviting us over.”

“Yes, it was very generous of you,” Ibara added while handing Kendo a small bouquet.  “Please accept these.”

“Oh, thanks.  They’re so pretty.  I’ll go put them in water.”

“That’s everyone,” Setsuna announced.  “Party’s officially begun.”

“You two can change in my room,” Kendo said from the kitchen.

“I wore mine under my clothes,” Reiko said as she began to disrobe.  Once her street clothes were off, she was left wearing a pure white, floor length nightgown with long sleeves.

“What’s with the old-fashioned PJs?” Setsuna asked while looking over her friend.  “I didn’t expect that from you, but I did think Ibara would.”

“I got it last year for my Ring cosplay,” Reiko explained.  “It’s cute, so I kept it.”

"It sure is,” Setsuna said as she pinched the nightgown’s hem and lifted it up.  “What’s goin’ on under here?”

“Nothing you need to see,” Reiko said while smacking the hand away.  “What do we have planned, Kendo?”

“Whatever we want.  Pony brought movies, I’ve got a PlayStation, we have the internet – we can do anything we want.”

“What if we wanna start a witch coven?” Setsuna asked.  “You said ‘anything we want.’  We can, like, do blood magic or sacrifice a virgin.”

“In that case, Monoma lives a floor down.”  While Kendo set up her PlayStation and Setsuna spent a while laughing her ass off, Pony picked out one of her movies.

“I vote this first!” she said.

“Labyrinth?” Kendo read off the box.  “Never heard of it.  Is this from America?”

“Yup!  It’s reeeeaaaally good.”

“Fine by me,” Reiko and Kinoko said.

“I trust Pony’s recommendation,” Ibara said, returning to the living room wearing a turquoise nightgown with a rose pattern.

“Cool with me,” Setsuna added.  “Any opinions, Yui?”

“No.”

“Didn’t think so.”

“Labyrinth it is,” Kendo announced while putting the disc in.  “Everyone grab a spot on the comforter.”

“Kendo, you’re not in your pajamas yet,” Yui pointed out.

“Oh, you’re right.  Guess I forgot.  Be right back.”

“David Bowie’s in this movie,” Pony pointed out while huddling up with Kinoko under a blanket. 

“Is he the villain in this?” Setsuna asked.  “I think I’ve heard of this movie.”  She slid up next to Ibara and stealthily tried pulling up her nightgown before a vine batted her hand away.

“I hope you can keep your hands to yourself while we’re asleep,” Ibara told her.

“Of course,” Setsuna innocently said with her hands up.  “It’s no fun pervin’ on your friends if there’s no reaction.  I’ll stop for n— uh oh.  Where’s this hand goin’?” she coyly said while reaching towards Reiko. 

“You’re handsy when we’re not at school,” Reiko said while mummifying herself with a blanket. 

“Fitting that I’m gettin’ handsy at Kendo’s house, eh?”

“Do we have to kick you off the comforter?”

“But it’s so comfyyyyyy!  Anything but that.”

“Anything?” Reiko pondered.  “Ibara, how many blankets do we have?”

“Plenty…”

“Alright, I’m ready,” Kendo said as she returned, now wearing a blue T-shirt and pink shorts with her hair down.  “I’ll order the pizza soon…”  She trailed off after noticing Reiko and Ibara finishing up a tight blanket cocoon on Setsuna.  “What’d I miss?”

“Nothing she wasn’t doing before,” Reiko explained.

“A necessary precaution, I assure you,” Ibara said while braiding Pony’s hair.

“You good, Setsuna?” Kendo asked.

“Mmmf!  Mmmrgmffrm,” the lizard girl whined while wriggling around. 

“You sound fine.  Movie time.”


“Uuuugh, I’m stuffed.  Too much pizza,” Pony moaned

“There’s no such thing as too much pizza,” Setsuna said.  “Good movie choice, by the way.”

“What’s next?” Yui asked.  “I’m having fun.”

“I’m glad,” Kendo said.  “Right now, let’s just digest our food babies for a little bit.”

“We could tell scary stories,” Reiko suggested.  “I know some good ones.”

“That sounds fun!” Pony said excitably.

“Is that fine with everyone?” Kendo asked.  The rest of the girls nodded in approval, but didn’t move.  “Alright, once we can move around without feeling gross, we’ll do scary stories.”


 

 

 

“…The creaking in the attic got louder as the girl climbed up the ladder,” Reiko dramatically recounted.  The lights were all off, leaving the apartment pitch-black aside from the flashlight pointed up at Reiko’s face.  Most of the girls had instinctively huddled close, aside for Pony, who was oddly absent.  “She ascended further and pointed her flashlight towards the noise, but didn’t see anything.  ‘Hello?’ she shakily called out.  No answer.  She crawled into the attic and stood up, walking towards the creaking noise.  It seemed to be above her, so she looked up.  There, tied to a support beam, was a noose that swung and creaked as if there was a body hanging from it.  She wanted to scream, but an otherworldly finger pressed against her lips.  ‘Shhhh,’ a voice said.  ‘Don’t be hasty… you’ll get your turn soon enough.”  As soon as Reiko turned to flashlight off, one of Ibara’s vines shot to the light switch and flipped it on.  “So, what’d you guys think?  I’ve been working on it for a while now.”

“Scary,” Yui said while hiding behind Kendo.

“I agree with Yui,” Ibara said.  “It was a little too much for me.”

“U-U-Um, where’s P-Pony?” Kinoko stuttered out.  Setsuna pointed to the couch, where they saw a pair of horns sticking up from behind it.

“Pony?  You OK?” Kendo asked.  Pony slowly lifted her head from behind the couch, whining with tears forming in her eyes

“Not scary,” she whimpered.

“Oh geez.  I think that was a little too much, Reiko,” Kendo said.  She looked and saw Reiko was also close to crying.

“I’m sorry, Pony!” she wailed while jumping to the centaur girl and wrapping her in a hug.  “I didn’t mean to scare you so much.”

“Not scared,” Pony insisted while holding Reiko closely.

“Lots of emotions tonight,” Setsuna noted while sliding her hand near Kendo’s shorts.

“Hehe, you’ve got a point.  Let’s pick a lighter activity ne— HEY!”

“I saw ‘em!” Setsuna yelled triumphantly.  “White with blue stripes.”

“Ibara can you wrap her up in blankets again?” Kendo requested while pulling her shorts back up.

“Of course.  Would you assist me again when you have a moment, Reiko?”

“Sure,” Reiko said while patting Pony on the back.  “Do you want to do anything, Pony?  Any other movies or shows you want to watch.”

“Well… I brought something like that, yeah.”  Pony crawled over to her bag and dug through it for a moment.  “I’ve been rewatching JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.  Brought it with me just in case.  I’m at the final story of Part 3.”  She paused for a moment before hiding her face bashfully behind the case.  “It’s fine if you don’t wanna.”

“No, that sounds good,” Kendo assured her.

“I’ve never seen it,” Yui said while pinning Setsuna’s arms to her sides.

“It’s about buff dudes punching with ghosts,” Setsuna explained.  “I’m so peeking under your nightie when we’re watching, Yui,” she snickered before Reiko wrapped a blanket tightly around her mouth.

“Another word and you’re banished to the couch,” Reiko threatened. 

“Mmmgrmmffmmnn,” the lizard girl grumbled. 

“I’ll set up the episode,” Kendo said.  “Why don’t you give us a little recap, Pony?”

“OK!  Um, once, there was this stone mask…”


 

“Five seconds have passed.”

The one thing I know, DIO, is that the next time I see your face, I’m probably going to bust a vein.

“Six seconds have passed.”

Bring it on, DIO.

“For such a ridiculous-sounding story, it’s quite gripping,” Ibara said.

“Shh!  This the best part!” Pony said.

“ROOOOOOOAAAAAD ROOOOOOOLLLEEEEEERRR!”

“He’s dropping a steam roller on him?” Kinoko said in disbelief.  “That seems excessive.”

“That basically sums up the show,” Kendo noted.  They watched intently as the show came to a close and Pony retrieved her disc.

“Cool, yeah!?”

“Very cool,” Reiko said with a thumbs-up.  “Even better since Setsuna wasn’t talking through it this time.  Isn’t that ri—”  The ghost girl paused from shock and disappointment when she saw Setsuna had rolled over to Yui and maneuvered her head under the girl’s pajamas.  “Uh, Yui?”

“Hm?”

“Any problems over there?”  Yui looked over herself confusedly before finally noticing Setsuna.

“Oh.”  She pushed away the lizard girl, who was giggling and blushing under her blanket gag. 

“Pll pnk,” she mumbled.

“Well, you seem proud of yourself,” Kendo said while grabbing a half-eaten tub of ice cream.  “I think I’ll finish this off for you.”

“Nnnmmm!” Setsuna cried.  She wormed her way over to Kendo while shaking the blanket off her face.  “Gimme a bite!  Pleeeeease?”  Kendo looked down at her sternly, but relented and fed her a spoonful.

“What should we do next?” Kendo wondered. 

“I have a suggestion,” Kinoko said.  “I was looking online at really obscure world records.  It could be fun trying to break a few.”

“That’s a great idea!” Kendo said.  “Text me the link and we can look through them.”


 

“Are you filming yet, Ibara?” Kendo asked while putting Yui’s hair in pigtails.

“Just a moment… alright… go.”

“Hi!  I’m Pony Tsunotori!”

“I’m Reiko Yanagi.  We’ll be breaking the world record for…” she leaned of camera to read off Kendo’s phone.  “Most lemons caught while blindfolded.”

“I only have three lemons in the house,” Kendo said.  “So, we’ll be reusing them.  Setsuna, you hand them back to Reiko.  Kinoko, get the timer ready.”  Pony tied off her blindfold and Reiko had the lemons ready.

“Ready?” Kinoko asked.  “…Go!”

Pony missed every single throw.  “Got i— nope.  Got— Go—”

“You’re blowin’ it!” Setsuna yelled.

“Thanks for the faith,” Reiko said.

“Oh, got one!” Pony cheered.

“Time,” Kinoko called out.  “We got one.”

“What's the record?” Pony asked.

“34,” Kendo told them.

“…We close.”

“Hey, I got an idea,” Setsuna said.  “Another record we could do.”

“What?” Reiko asked.  She immediately regretted asking as Setsuna reached down and threw her nightgown up. 

“Best skirt flip!” Setsuna announced.  “White panties.  A classic.”  Reiko shoved down her nightgown and blushed, losing her calm stoicism for a moment.

“Ibara, Kendo… get the blankets… and any long clothing you have.”

“I think I have some scarves lying around,” Kendo sighed.

“C’mon guys, it’s just a joke!” the lizard girl said innocently.  “…Guys?”


At around 1:30, Kendo decided to end the festivities and prepare for bed.  Everyone grabbed a blanket and took a spot on the comforter.

“Good night, everyone,” Kinoko said.

“I still feel guilty, Pony,” Reiko admitted.  “Is my story gonna give you bad dreams?”

“I’ll be good!”

“Do you want to sleep near each other just in case?”

“’Kay!”  Pony flopped down next to Rieko and nuzzled into her chest while the ghost girl draped a blanket over them.

“How nice,” Ibara commented while putting her vines in two Odango-style buns.  “Sweet dreams, all.”

“Night,” Yui said while laying down next to Kendo.

“How you doin’ up there, Setsuna?” Kendo asked. 

“MMMRRGG!”  Every spare blanket and a few of Kendo’s scarves had been used to restrain the squirming Setsuna.  "MRRMR FRRMRRFF!"

“I told you we’d banish you to the couch,” Reiko said.

“She’s right.  We warned you,” Kendo told the lizard girl.  Ibara flipped the light switch with her vines, turning the room almost completely black.  It was silent for a moment, but Setsuna’s whining stopped that quickly.  Kendo turned her head to Ibara, who looked a little guilty.

“Can she really do much like that?”  Kendo tried to stay strong, but relented and grabbed Setsuna with her enlarged fist, placing her between the two of them.

“You’re still on thin ice,” she was told.  The lizard girl didn’t mind and happily giggled while snuggling into her friend’s chest. 

Chapter Text

“I can’t believe the train was so late!” Kendo worriedly yelled as she ran through U.A.’s halls with Monoma behind her.  “We’re so busted!”

“I’m sure Mr. Kan will understand,” Monoma calmly said as they reached the classroom.  Kendo stopped to catch her breath while Monoma fixed his hair.

“I hope your right,” Kendo said as she slowly opened the door.

“Sorry we’re late, Mr. Kan.  The train—”  Once they were inside, they realized their teacher was also late, despite everyone else being present.  “Oh, uh… Morning, everyone!” Kendo greeted.  After the mixed bag of emotions the Sports Festival brought on the class, Kendo turned up the cheerfulness to gauge how the class was doing.  To her delight, everyone seemed to be back to normal already.  Kuroiro and Honenuki were joking around as usual, having brought up Hatsume to Awase again.  Tsuburaba and Pony were having a conversation as Kaibara snuck a few glances at the Solid Air user.  Kinoko and Ibara were talking with Reiko, Shishida slept at his desk, Fukidashi was scribbling in his sketchbook – things looked to be ordinary.  “I guess Mr. Kan is late too.”

“Looks that way,” Monoma said as they sat down.  “He might be busy.  You remember what comes today, yeah?”

“You mean the internship drafts?  Yes, I remember.”

“Think we got any?”

“It doesn’t matter if we got any or not,” Kendo said.  “Mr. Kan said we’ll all be taking internships no matter what, so don’t sulk like you did last week.”  As Monoma huffed and turned away, they heard the classroom door slide open and Mr. Kan entered.  Everyone immediately noticed how tired he looked – his hair was disheveled and his face looked scruffy as if he forgot to shave.  He had also forgotten his mask, putting the dark bags under his eyes on display.

“Good morning, class,” he half-yawned.  “I assume your extended weekend was restful.”

Yours obviously wasn’t, they all thought. 

“We’ll be having a special hero informatics class today, but first… yawn… let’s talk about your internships.”  From under the podium, Kan brought up a stack of folders onto the podium.  “I won’t bother showing you the request numbers, so come up and take the folder with your name on it.  You’ll find your requests inside.  Midnight will be here in a little while after she finishes up with 1-A.”  With that, he slowly trudged back to the door.  “If you need me beforehand, I’ll be in the teacher’s lounge.”

Once he left, the class slowly began taking their folders.  “What’s up with him?” Setsuna wondered. 

“Maybe he’s hung over?” Kamakiri suggested.

“I doubt that,” Shishida said.

“HOLY SHIT!” Awase suddenly yelled from his desk.  He was looking down at his folder with extreme shock on his face.  “Remember how we were talking about not making an impression on people and not using our Quirks during the festival?”

“Yes?” Shishida said.  “Why?”

“I only got three requests, which is more than I expected.  I didn’t use my Quirk once in the festival or show off my fighting, so I expected no requests at all.  So, how did I get a one from Rock Lock?”  Awase pulled a paper from his folder and showed it off to his classmates. 

“Woah.  He’s a pretty high-up pro,” Tsuburaba noted. 

“Our Quirks and fighting styles are pretty similar, but how could he have known that?” Awase wondered.

“How peculiar,” Shishida said as he inspected the paper.  “It may just be a coincidence, but whatever the reason, I’d just be glad you got such a good request.”

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence,” Shoda added.  “I got two requests and one of them is from Fatgum.  We have similar Quirks too, but I didn’t show mine off at the festival.”

“Oh, I love Fatgum!” Pony said.  “He so round and funny.  Good job, Shoda!”

“At what?” he asked.  “I didn’t do anything.”

“Weird,” Rin said.  “Two requests in a row have been very fitting.”  He looked down at his folder and suddenly seemed anxious.  “Should I even hope for…”  He shakily reached down and began opening the folder.  “No way.  It’s too much of a stretch.  There’s no way she’d—”  Once it opened, Rin froze as he looked at the only request in the folder.

“What is it?” Setsuna asked as she looked over the boy’s shoulder.  “Only one, huh?  …WHAT?!  WHAAAAAT?!” 

“What is it?” Kendo asked. 

“RYUKYU!” she shrieked.  “Rin got a request from Ryukyu!”

“THE NUMBER NINE HERO?!” the whole class yelled.  “How did you get that!?”

“I don’t know,” Rin said with tears in his eyes.  “Ryukyu’s my favorite hero ever.  I’m not gonna question this.  It’s too good to be true, but I’m just glad it happened!”

“I can’t believe it!”  Setsuna yelled.  “I’m so jealous!  Ryukyu’s my favorite hero too.”  She bounced back to her own desk and grabbed her folder.  “If you got someone that big, then who did I… AAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!”  Setsuna fell backwards and screamed in delight, making a few students cover their ears.  “I GOT ONE TOO!  RYUKYU WANTS ME TOOOOO!” she bawled. 

“They both got a request from the number nine hero in Japan,” Monoma said as she picked up Setsuna’s folder, which she dropped in her crying fit.  “Moreover, it was their only request.”

“I’ll admit, it’s pretty strange,” Kendo said as she held Setsuna.  “Could this just be because we’re U.A. students?”

“If that were the case, the Sports Festival wouldn’t have been such a big deal,” Monoma pointed out.  “Before we get to the bottom of this, I’m curious…”  He turned to looked at Reiko and Honenuki, who were both checking their folders.  “If Rin and Setsuna could get a request from such a high-up pro, then what did our recommended students get?”  Everyone looked to their classmates, who both pulled out a single sheet of paper.

“THEY BOTH GOT A HERO EVEN HIGHER IN THE TOP TEN?!” the class yelled in disbelief.

“The number 7 hero, Crust,” Honenuki said.  “He can manipulate the earth with his Quirk like I can.”

“Mine fits too,” Reiko said.  “The number 5 hero, Edgeshot.  We’re both stealth-based heroes.”

“I know we keep saying to not question this because it’s too good,” Kaibara began, “but how did we get such good requests?”

“I can answer that,” a voice said as the classroom door opened up.  “To your seats, students!”

“Yes, Miss Midnight!”  The 18+ heroine sauntered to the podium and pulled out a stack of dry erase boards and markers. 

“Class reps, pass these out to your classmates.”  As Kendo and Shishida took the boards and markers, Midnight looked them over and saw the delight in some of their faces.  “You kids are lucky to have such a good teacher.”

“What you mean?” Pony asked. 

“You were all wondering why your requests are so good despite how little you could do in the Sports Festival.  It’s because of Vlad.”

“Huh?”

“Vlad spent the past four days networking on your behalf,” Midnight revealed.  “Day and night, he was calling every hero he knew, using up every favor or connection he had, and asking his fellow teachers for help in getting you all great internships.  He even asked some of the older students here to connect him with pros they’ve interned with. 

“Seriously?” Kuroiro said. 

“Of course, a couple of you made enough of an impression that he didn’t need to market you, but for the most part, he was sending other pros footage of your training exercises and talking you up.  The Heroes vs Villains training, the rescue training, you fight with All Might – he was dead set on showing you off to everyone he could.  In the end, it payed off, and you all have some great internships lined up.”

“He really did that for us?” Kendo asked.

“I knew he was manly,” Tetsutetsu began as tears ran down his cheeks, “but he really outdid himself.”

“We must think of a way of thanking him properly,” Shiozaki said.

“Silence!” Midnight demanded with a crack of her whip.  Everyone instantly stopped talking and sat at attention.  “Vlad doesn’t care for big gestures or heartfelt thanks.  He’d much prefer if you didn’t bring this up at all and just focus on your internships.  I’m not saying you can’t be grateful, but there’s some advice for you.  Now, let’s move on to your Hero Informatics class.  Today’s special lesson… picking hero names!”

“Woah, really!?” Awase yelled excitedly.

“Kickass!” Setsuna cheered.

“I know you’re all excited and have probably thought about this before,” Midnight continued, “but make sure you give this some serious consideration.  You can change your name in the future, but ideally, this will be your handle for your entire career.  Pick a name you won’t regret when you’re older.  Something sensible and rolls off the tongue.  Most importantly, your name is an indication of what you want to present yourself as.  Think of All Might, for instance.  He’s a pillar a strength, so his name tells you that his strength is what you should think of.  Take some time and think carefully.”  Most of the class took her advice and began thinking about their names, but surprisingly, Monoma and Kendo were frantically writing theirs already.  In fact, they seem to be racing each other. 

“Me first!” Monoma called out as he jumped from his desk.

“No, me!” Kendo said as she grabbed Monoma’s jacket and pulled him back.  The two of them stumbled their way towards the podium and were still wrestling once they made it there.  It eventually stopped when Kendo grabbed Monoma’s board and threw it to the back of the class.  “OK, here’s mine,” she said as she fixed her hair and uniform.  “The combat hero: Battle Fist!”

“I like it,” Midnight said.  “It seems like you’ve had this name planned for a while.”

“Yup.  I thought of it when I was little.”

“Approved!  Monoma, you can go ahead.”  Kendo playfully stuck her tongue Monoma as he walked past her to the podium.

“The copying hero,” he announced as he presented his board.  “Phantom Thief.”

“Creative and very sleek.  Approved!”  

“Thank you,” he said with a prideful smirk.

“These first two names are good examples of two different naming styles,” Midnight explained.  “A hero name can be representative of your Quirk and fighting style, like Battle Fist, or it could relate to the image you’re trying to cultivate, like Phantom Thief.  Once you have a name in mind, just come on up.”

“Me next!” Pony called out, happily scampering to the front of the class.  “The Riding Hero: Bronco!”

“Very nice, Pony,” Midnight complimented.  The class applauded the centaur girl, causing her to blush and hide her face behind her board.

“C’mon, you don’t gotta clap,” she said with a satisfied smile.  Pony trotted back to her seat, leading to Kuroiro standing up and taking her place at the podium.

“The Ebony Hero,” he said while posing dramatically.  “Endless Void of Absolute Darkness!”

“…Waaaaay too long,” the whole class responded with Midnight nodding in agreement.  Kuroiro sighed and started scribbling out words on his board.

“Void.”

“That works.  Approved.”  Kuroiro shuffled disappointedly to his seat, but felt a hand hit his shoulder.

“I liked your first one,” Honenuki said while going to the podium.

“At least someone had good taste.”

“Just your name?” Midnight questioned while looking over Honenuki’s board.

"Yup.  I’ll be the Softening Hero: Juzo.” 

“If you insist.  It’s at least short and easy to remember.  Approved.”


 

“The Bestial Hero.  My hero name shall be Beastman.”

“Fitting and catchy, Shishida.”


“The Razor Hero: Mandiblade.”

“Excellent portmanteau.”

“Huh?”

“Combination of words, Kamakiri.  I’m saying it’s approved.”


“The Reptile Hero: Indominus!”

“A name meaning ‘fierce and untamable.’  How fitting, Tokage.”


 “The Draconic Hero: Shenlong.”

“Oh, god of dragons,” Midnight moaned sensually.  “Perfect.”

Why did she moan like that? Rin wondered nervously.


“The Peaceful Hero: Maria.”

“How nice, Shiozaki.  I take it you’d like to display your pacifism first and foremost.  A great name choice.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” Ibara said with a bow.

“GOT ONE!” Tetsutetsu suddenly yelled before hastily scribbling down a name.  Once Ibara left the podium, Tetsutetsu ran up and slammed his board down to show his classmates.  “Metal Hero: Real Steel!”

“Very catchy, Tetsutetsu.  Approved,” Midnight said.  “Now, who’s next?”


 

“The Ghost Hero: Onryo.”

“How clever, Yanagi.”


 

“The Shifting Hero: Minmax.”

“It’s adorable!” Midnight cooed.  “Lovely work, Kodai!”


“Glue Gun Hero: Trapper.”

“Very nice, Bondo.  Approved,” Midnight said.  I didn’t realize he could talk.


 

“The Sound Effect Hero: Echoes!” Fukidashi announced while posing with Pony mirroring him in her seat.

“Approved!”


“The Welding Hero: Fuse.”

“Short, sweet, and to the point.  Excellent, Awase.”


“Th-The Mushroom Hero: Mycelium.”

“Very nice work, Komori.  It’s definitely difficult to make mushrooms sound cool, but you’ve pulled it off.  Approved.”


 “Um, I’ll be the Kinetic Hero: Impact.”

“Approved!  Well done, Shoda” 


 

 “The Protection Hero!  My name is Barricade.”

“It’s perfect, Tsuburaba!” 


 

“Drilling Hero: Spiral.”

“Nice work, Kaibara.  Approved!” Midnight said.  “With that, you’ve all picked out a hero name.  I’d say that went very smoothly, wouldn’t you?”


 

Once their morning classes were finished, Class 1-B hung around in their classroom to look over their requests again.  “I can’t believe I got a request from Ryukyu,” Setsuna said.  “It feels like a dream.”

“I’m happy for you, Setsuna,” Kendo said.  “I think I may go with Uwabami.”

“The snake heroine?!  You have to get me an autograph!”

“I’ll see what I can do.”  Kendo put her folder away and looked over Tetsutetsu’s shoulder at his requests.  “How’d you do, Mr. Top 16?”

“I got, like, 25!” the iron boy announced.  “That’s way more than I thought I’d get.”

“Any idea who you’ll pick?” Monoma asked.

“Hell yeah.  I’m interning with Fourth Kind.”

“Is he that hero with the business suit and four arms?” Kendo asked.

“Yup!  He’s a real manly hero.  I’m super happy he noticed me!”

“Nice work, man,” Setsuna said.  “How ‘bout you, Ibara?  How many requests?” 

“I have about 40,” she said while looking through her folder.

“Wow!  I think that’s the most in the class.  Nice job,” Kendo complimented.  “How’re you gonna decide?”

“I’ve already decided, actually,” she said with a small smile.  She opened her folder and pulled out the top request – Kamui Woods.

“Dang, girl,” Setsuna said.  “That’s gotta be fate.  You gonna tell him about, y’know…”

“I don’t know if I’ll tell him that specifically,” she said while twirling a vine around her finger, “but I would like to let him know that he inspired me at the very least.”

“Good on you,” Monoma told her.  “I got a couple requests, but it isn’t anyone notable.”

“You’ll get good experience anyone,” Kendo said.  “C’mon, let’s go get some lunch.”

“Sounds good.”  The students left their seats and went to the door, but before they could leave, it opened from the other side.

“I AM HERE!  AND GLAD YOU ALL HAVEN’T LEFT YET!”

“A-All Might?” Kendo said.  “What can we do for you?”

“I’ve come with a very special opportunity!  Specifically, for young Monoma!”

“Me?  Why meEEAH!”  Monoma was yanked down the hall by All Might, who brought him to a stairwell.

“Sorry about that!  I didn’t want your classmates to get jealous, so I wanted to tell you in private!”

“They already heard you say the special thing is for me,” Monoma pointed out while rubbing his shoulder.  “Why wouldn’t they be jealous already.”

“…Good point!  That’s your acute mind at work again, and that’s exactly why Vlad and I set up a special internship for you.”

“For me?”

“That’s right!  We both know your mind is your greatest strength, so this internship would help you adjust that to the world of crime, although it’s a bit unorthodox.  Interested?”

“…I… Of course, I am.”  Monoma felt awestruck that All Might himself would go out of his way to set him up with a special internship.  He smiled, not smirked, and bowed to his teacher.  “Thank you so much for this opportunity, sir!”

“Of course, my boy,” All Might said with a hand on Monoma’s shoulder.  “I know you must feel frustrated after last week, but I promise that I haven’t forgotten about you or any of your classmates.  You’ll all be great heroes.  I can tell.”  Monoma’s eyes flooded with tears, but he wiped them away quickly and raised his head.

“So, what kind of internship is it?”


 

“I can’t believe how much I slept,” Kan said to himself as he walked down the hall.  “The sun’s already going down.  I’ll have to thank All Might for covering their afternoon hero courses tomorrow.”  He rolled his shoulders and let out a big yawn as he reached Class 1-B.  Midnight probably told them all about what I did.  He peeked inside and was relieved to see the lights were off.  Good.  None of them stuck around to thank me, he thought as he walked inside and flipped the light switch.  “Now, where’s my lesson planner?”  That’s when the chalkboard caught his eye and he walked to the center of the room to get a better look.  On the board was 20 different messages for him in multicolored chalk. 

Thank you so much for all you’ve done – Kendo

We promise to beat 1-A next time! – Monoma

You’re a true man!  Thank you X 1,000,000! – Tetsutetsu

You’ve done so much for us and we can’t thank you enough.  Bless you – Shiozaki

You the bestest! – Pony

Kan read through each one of them before cracking a smile.  “Heh…  Those kids…”

Chapter Text

Another day, another batch of insane ramblings by Monoma, Kendo thought as she rubbed her temples.  After interrupting her friend’s latest tirade against 1-A, she made her way to the cafeteria and bought lunch before arriving at her usual table with the rest of the 1-B girls.  Well, most of them…

“That’s weird,” Kendo said.  “Reiko’s not here again?”

“She hasn’t sat with us all week,” Kinoko noted.     

“I asked about it, but she didn’t give a clear answer,” Pony said.  “Hope she’s alright.”

“Could it be us?” Yui wondered.

“I doubt it,” Ibara said.  “If one of us were the problem, she would confront the person.”

“Y’know what I think?” Setsuna interjected.  “I think our little groovy ghoulie has been meeting someone.”

“A boyfriend?”  Pony excitedly asked.  “Think that’s where she’s been going for lunch?”

“Not only that,” the lizard girl continued, “but she’s been sneaking around after school too.”

“It’s none of our business if that’s the case,” Ibara said.  “If she’d rather keep it to herself, then we should respect her privacy.”

“Or, or,” Setsuna quickly said, “hear me out… we could check up on this dude or lady and make sure they’re good enough for her.”

“You just want an excuse to pry into her business,” Kendo accused.

“C’mon, I’m curious!” Setsuna whined.  “Don’t tell me you’re not.”

“How would we even find out?”

“I have a little theory that may lead us in the right direction,” the lizard girl began.  “This started the day after our Sports Festival break, so I think someone from 1-A may have stolen her heart.”

“Ya think?” Pony asked.  “Monoma’s gonna get upset if that’s case.”

“He can be upset all he wants, but we gotta find out,” Setsuna declared.  “Kendo, you said you wanted us to be friendly with 1-A, right?  Let’s take this opportunity to meet them and see if anyone in that class has been sneaking around too.”

“…This could be a good opportunity to build our relationship,” Kendo told herself.  “I could meet their class rep.”

“I don’t want to get involved if Reiko will get angry,” Kinoko said.  “I’ll pass on the spying, if that’s alright.”  Yui looked at Kinoko and then nodded in agreement.

“That’s fine,” Setsuna told them.  “The four of us will investigate 1-A and see if she’s seeing someone in that class.”


 

Once afternoon classes had ended, the girl’s plan went into motion.  The four of them arrived outside of Class 1-A and Kendo huddled them up.  “We may have seen each other at the Sports Festival, but this is our first formal meeting,” Kendo explained.  “Let’s play this carefully and put out best foot forward… where’s Setsuna?”  The vein on her forehead popped up when she heard 1-A’s door slide open. 

“Square up, THOTs!” Setsuna yelled.  “The Class B bitches are here and— EEP!”  Setsuna was quickly pulled away by a few of Ibara’s vines, which also slid the door closed.  “Whaaaat?”

“That is not our best foot forward,” Kendo lectured.

“I disagree.”  While Kendo gave her a chop on the head, someone exited the class – a tall boy with dark blue hair and glasses.

“Is there something I can help you all with?” he asked.

“Oh, uh, yes,” Kendo said.  “I’m Itsuka Kendo, the class rep for 1-B.”

“Hello, Miss Kendo.  I am Tenya Iida, the Class 1-A representative,” the boy said with many hand gestures.  “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“You too, Iida,” Kendo said while shaking his hand.

“Anyway, what brings you all here?”

“Well, it’s not something that important.  One of our classmates has been… well, she’s kind of—”

“She’s been sneaking around and I said she may be dating someone from this class so we wanted to investigate,” Setsuna speedily explained.  “Sorry, but you were going nowhere fast.”

“I see,” Iida said with more hand gestures.  “You’d like to know if anyone in our class has been acting similarly?”

“Basically, yeah.  Sorry about this,” Kendo said sheepishly.  “It’s kinda weird to meet for this reason.”

“Not at all,” Iida assured her.  “I understand that tensions may be seem high between us after the Sports Festival, but I’d like nothing more than to improve our classes’ relationship.  Please step inside, ladies.”  Iida led the girls inside the classroom, which was still pretty full for the end of the day.  The 1-B girls recognized most of the students there from the Sports Festival – aside from Iida, there was Uraraka, Tsuyu, Sero, Kaminari, Mina, and Hagakure.

“Hey, check it out,” Sero said.  “It’s Class 1-B.”

“Not only that,” Kaminari added.  “It’s the ladies~.”  He left his seat and confidently approached the group.  “Have you warmed up to my offer, angel?” he said to Ibara.

“Who— oh, Kaminari,” she realized.  “Good afternoon.”

“She already forgot me,” he moaned into Sero’s shoulder.

“I don’t think it’s him,” Pony pointed out. 

“Listen up,” Setsuna said.  “Which one of you 1-A dudes or ladies is gettin’ friendly with our friendly ghost?”

“Could you start over, ribbit?”

“I’ll do the talking, Sets,” Kendo said.  “It’s a long story, but we think our classmate, Yanagi, is dating someone from this class.  We were wondering if any of you have noticed one of your classmates skipping out of lunch and sneaking around after school, at least since the Sports Festival.”

“What does Yanagi look like again?” Uraraka asked.

“Gray hair that covers her left eye, puckered lips, leaves her arms hanging kinda like that,” Setsuna explained, pointing to Tsuyu for her last example. 

“I think I remember her, ribbit,” Tsuyu said, “but I haven’t seen her around.”

“I can’t really think of anyone acting strangely,” Uraraka added.

“Wait, hold on!” Mina suddenly said.  “If she’s been sneaking around after school, then why don’t we just follow her and go see for ourselves?”    

“You mean spy on her?” Kendo asked.  “I don’t know.  It seems like we’re invading her privacy too much.  Besides, how could we even do that without her noticing?”

“I can do it!” Hagakure offered.  “I can peek around corners with no one noticing.”

“They have a good point, Kendo,” Setsuna told her.  “C’mon, let’s go check up on Reiko.  I know you’re curious.”

“Yeah, c’mon, c’mon!” Mina and Hagakure prodded.

“Wait, why are you two so invested now?” Kendo asked the lively 1-A girls. 

“Nothing like this happens here!  It’s boooring,” Mina whined.  “We wanna tag along, so let’s go spy on her.”

“…Fine, but as soon as we see who it is, we’re gone,” Kendo instructed.  “We won’t ask Reiko anything and we won’t confront the guy.  Are we clear?”

“Fine by me,” Setsuna said.  “Ibara, Pony, you still in?”

“I suppose.”

“Sure!”

“’Kay, let’s go!” Mina said while she and Hagakure ran outside.  “Where is she?”

“I know the general direction she goes,” Setsuna explained.  “We’ll find her eventually if we look around.”

“I think we’ll tag along, ribbit,” Tsuyu said as she and Uraraka joined the rest of the girls.  “Mina and Hagakure can get a little overexcited, so we’ll keep things from getting out of control.”

“Thank you, Asui, Uraraka,” Kendo said gratefully.

“Call me Tsu.”


After formally introducing themselves, the girls of the hero course followed Setsuna’s lead to where Reiko should be.

“I saw her heading down this hallway the other day,” the lizard girl explained.  “It’s kind of out of the way, but that’s all the more reason it’s probably a secret relationship.”

“I honestly can’t picture any of the guys in our class doing something like this,” Hagakure said.  “Maybe it’s someone quiet and shy like Kouda or Midoriya.”

“You think it’s Deku?” Uraraka asked somewhat nervously.

“It was just an example.  Chill,” Mina said.  “Maybe someone antisocial and cool like Todoroki.

“She’s kind of a goth if that narrows your search,” Setsuna noted.

“Then It might be Tokoyami, ribbit,” Tsuyu suggested. 

“Right here,” Setsuna said as the group stopped.  “This is the furthest I’ve followed her, so from now on, we take this slow.  Hagakure, you take point.  Peek around the corners and try to spot Reiko.”

“I’m on it,” the invisible girl announced.  “Stealth mode time!  Special agent Hagakure is on the scene.”  She pressed her back to the wall and slid down to the corner, peeking her clear head around to survey the area.  “Not here.  Let’s go further—”

“I AM HERE!”

“WAAH!” The girls all yelped in shock when All Might suddenly appeared from behind them.  “ALL MIGHT, WHAT THE HECK?!” Pony yelled.  “Scared me half the death!”

“Oh, Sorry!  I didn’t mean to startle you like that!”

“I-It’s fine,” Kendo assured him.  “Anyway, what can we do for you, sir?”

“Nothing, really!  I just wanted to say that I’m so glad our two hero course students are hanging out together!  It warms my heart to see—”

“She’s coming!” Hagakure loudly whispered.  “Act natural!”

“Crap!” Setsuna said.

“Wait, who?” All Might asked.  “Who’s co—”

“I said ‘act natural!’” Hagakure insisted.  The girls and All Might all pressed against the walls and struck ‘normal’ poses.  Kendo and Ibara pretended they were having a conversation, but had horribly uncomfortable faces.  Mina and Setsuna were pretending to fight by punching in slow motion.  Tsuyu and Pony posed like the animal their powers resembled, with Tsuyu crouched down and Pony on all fours, pretending to graze.  All Might flexed his arms and stood like a statue while Uraraka and Hagakure hung on his biceps like monkey bars.  Eventually, someone did come around the corner, but it wasn’t Reiko

“Just a few more modifications and my Hover Soles will be even better!” Hatsume told herself, not noticing the other girls as she walked down the hall.

“Hagakure, that wasn’t her,” Pony pointed out.

“Sorry!  I only caught a glimpse and panicked,” the invisible girl explained. 

“What’s going on here?” All Might asked.  “Are you spying on someone?”  Kendo looked to Setsuna to explain, but the lizard girl whistled innocently and looked away.

“Kinda,’ Kendo sighed.  “We think Reiko’s dating someone from 1-A and our curiosity got the better of us.”

“We only wanted to make sure she was alright.  Promise,” Pony said.

“I was against it from the start,” Setsuna claimed.  “It was all their idea.  Uuuuh, they forced me to come— OW!  Why with the chopping, Kendo?” she asked while holding her arm.

“I see now,” All Might said.  “I’m sure you have good intentions, but Yanagi is a smart girl.  She wouldn’t be seeing someone if they didn’t make her happy.  I’m sure she’ll tell you when the time is right.”

“You’re probably right, sir,” Ibara said.

“Wait, I see her,” Hagakure whispered.  “I’m sure of it.”

“Is she with anyone?” Uraraka asked.

“Not yet, but she has our back to us, so you can look too.”  The girls and All Might all grouped up at the corner and peeked around to see Reiko. 

“Why are you spying too, ribbit?”

“You got me curious,” All Might whispered.

“She’s definitely waiting for someone,” Mina said.  After a few moments, they saw a boy walking down the hall, finally causing Reiko to react.  They locked eyes and approached one another.

“Is that him?” Uraraka asked.  “He’s not in our class.”

“He’s not from ours either,” Setsuna said.

“Wait, I remember,” Mina said.  “He was that General Studies kid from the Sports Festival.  What was his name?”

“Hitoshi Shinso,” All Might clarified.


“Hey,” Shinso greeted.

“Hey,” Reiko said back.  Neither of them said anything for a while.

“This is harder without coffee or cats,” Shinso claimed.

“Agreed.  Wanna just go?”

“Yeah.”

“Meet me outside then.  I gotta take care of something.”

“Are you gonna use your Quirk?”

“Yeah, why?”  Shinso didn’t answer, but smirked and took out his phone.  “This again?” Reiko groaned.  The purple-haired boy was undeterred by her complaint and turned up the volume on his phone, blasting an old theme song.

Young Danny Fenton, he was just 14

Reiko tried to stay aloof, but started to chuckle when she saw Shinso’s shit-eating grin.  “You still think that’s funny?”

“You’re the one laughing,” he pointed out.

“Dumbass,” she said while phasing through the wall.


“What happened?” Mina asked.  “She disappeared?”

“Her Quirk is phasing,” Pony explained.  “Wonder where she went?”

“Behind you.”  The girls and All Might flinched and turned around to see an unamused Reiko.  “What you doing?  And why is 1-A here?  …And All Might?”

“Uh, anyway, girls!” All Might began.  “That’s why spying on your friends is bad… BYE!”  He dashed off in his normal fashion, leaving the girls to fend for themselves.

“Reiko—“

“Me first,” Reiko insisted with her hand up.  “I know you’ve been wondering about what I’ve been doing.  I was going to tell you, but I wasn’t sure when.  I didn’t want to seem like an idiot if this fell apart quickly.  In the future, I’ll be more open, but only to avoid any of you acting foolish like this.  Now, you go.”

“We’re sorry, Reiko,” Kendo said.  “All of us.”

“We promise to respect your privacy in the future,” Ibara added.

“Does that include you four?” she asked the 1-A girls.

“Yeah, sorry about this,” Uraraka apologized with her friends nodding in agreement.

“Now that we’ve got all that out of the way, give us details, girl,” Setsuna said.

“Yeah, c’mon!  Tell us!” Mina demanded with Hagakure parroting her swinging arms.

“Not much to say,” Reiko said while looking at her feet.  “We already knew each other before the Sports Festival, though just in passing.  We both go to a cat café with a goth theme pretty frequently.”

“Nekonomicon?” Pony asked.

“That’s the place.  On Thursday, we were there at the same time, so I decided to congratulate him on his performance at the games.”  She blushed a light pink and swiveled her foot around the floor.  “Things just sort of… went from there… and he gave me his number.”

“You sure are seeing a lot of each other if this just started,” Kendo noted.

“You think?” she asked worriedly.

“N-No!  That was— Forget I said anything!” Kendo backtracked.  “If you’re both happy to see each other, then that’s a good thing.”

“You make a cute couple, ribbit,” Tsuyu complimented.

“Thanks.  I should get going.”

“Have fun on your daaate~”

“Shut up, lizard,” Reiko snarked as she walked off to her date.  Oh well.  Friends that care too much are better than none at all.

Chapter Text

With the relationship between 1-A and 1-B officially starting, Kendo had high hopes.  It was true that people like Bakugo and Monoma were lost causes when it came to the classes cooperating, but for the most part, their interactions had been mostly friendly.  It helped that Kirishima and Tetsutetsu had become fast friends since the Sports Festival.  It seemed like things would be going smoothly, but something still stuck out in Kendo’s mind – Ibara seemed very anxious and nervous around them.  She had been fine the first time they visited, but since then, she would sometimes go out of her way to avoid that room or a group of their students.  I wonder what’s on her mind, Kendo thought.  Class had just ended and people were packing up to go, so this was Kendo’s chance to ask.

“Hey, Ibara?” Kendo began.  Ibara turned around and smiled, quickly closing her book bag. 

“Yes, Kendo?”

“I don’t mean to pry if it’s something personal, but I feel like you’re trying to avoid 1-A or at least someone in that class.  Is something wrong?”

“Oh, um…”  Ibara looked away from her friend and held tightly to her bag. 

“Don’t try and guilt trip her, Kendo,” Monoma said as he approached the girls.  “If she doesn’t want to be buddies with those egocentric 1-A fools, then why force her?”

“Monoma, name-calling like that isn’t gonna help anything,” Kendo lectured.  She chopped at his neck, but Monoma had planned ahead and protected his neck with Tetsutetsu’s Quirk.  “Besides, you’re the one trying to guilt people into going against 1-A with you.”

“When did this become about me?  Ibara, neither I nor Kendo will judge you, so just tell us what’s wrong.”  The vine-haired girl looked across the room and made eye contact with Reiko before sighing.

“I agree with Kendo that we should foster a peaceful relationship with our sister class…”  Kendo smirked at Monoma, who pretended not to notice.  “…But only after I’ve exorcised the demon dwelling inside Bakugo.”  Both Kendo and Monoma were frozen in shock, letting Ibara slip by them and walk outside with Reiko.

“W-Wait, Ibara!” Kendo called out.

“This is gonna be good,” Monoma told himself.  They ran out of the classroom and caught up to the two girls.

“What makes you think he’s is possessed?” Kendo asked, internally pleading for this to a dream. 

“It was at the Sports Festival,” Ibara explained with absolute seriousness.  “The awards ceremony, to be specific.  Katsuki Bakugo has a demon inside of him that nearly swallowed his soul that day.  You saw it’s animalistic and bloodthirsty behavior.  That boy is possessed, but I will save his soul!”

“Oh, god,” Kendo moaned while rubbing her temples.  “Reiko, do you believe he’s possessed too?”

“Not sure,” the ghost girl said, “but I’ve never seen an exorcism in person before.  Might be fun.”

“I think it’ll be very fun,” Monoma added.  “Ibara, you’re doing the right thing in helping this poor, troubled boy.”

You can just leave, Kendo told herself.  You don’t have to get involved, Itsuka.  You can just go… leaving Monoma unattended…  Why me?  They arrived at Class 1-A quickly and stood before it’s giant door.  “This is your last chance, Ibara.  You can turn back… please turn back.”

“I cannot,” Ibara said.  “It is my duty to save wayward souls and let them feel the light.  I promise to save his soul.”  She took a deep breath and handed her bag to Reiko.  “Would you be so kind as to hold my tools?”

“Sure.”

“Ooo, she brought tools,” Monoma excitedly said. 

“When did I lose control?” Kendo wondered.  Ibara slid open the door and the four students walked inside.  At the head of the class was Iida, Uraraka, and Midoriya, who looked ready to leave.  Mingling in at their desks were Kaminari, Kirishima, Sero, Mina, and Sato.  Packing up on their own was Tokoyami, Todoroki, and Bakugo.

“Hey, it’s 1-B again,” Uraraka noted.

“Ah, welcome,” Iida said.  “It’s good to see you all again.”

“Hi,” Kendo said with little energy.

“I don’t believe we’ve met,” Iida said while extending his hand to Monoma.  “My name is Tenya Iida, class representative.”

“Nice to meet you,” Monoma said with less spite than usual as he returned the handshake.

At least his mood’s good enough to behave right now, Kendo thought.  Bright side, Itsuka, bright side.

“What brings you here today?” Iida asked.

“I have business with one of your classmates,” Ibara politely explained.  “Is Katsuki Bakugo here, by any chance?”

“Why him?” Uraraka asked.

“Bakugo, you have a visitor,” Iida announced while turning and gesturing to his blonde classmate.

“Who the hell is it?” he asked before looking.  “Why the hell are those extras here?”

“Please be polite!” Iida lectured.  Ibara walked briskly to Bakugo and stared into his eyes.

“What the hell are you lookin’ at?!” he yelled

“Geez, Kaminari.  You’re lower on that girl’s list than Bakugo?” Mina said.  “That’s gotta suck.”

“Reiko, my tools please?” Reiko came to Ibara’s side, positioning herself out of Bakugo’s line of sight, and opened the bag.  “Thank you.  Katsuki Bakugo… I promise to exorcise the demon that consumes your soul!”

The entire class went silent and stared at Ibara.  The first move was made by Mina and Sero, who burst out laughing.  Uraraka joined them quickly.  “I—you— what!?” Iida yelled with wild hand gestures.

“What the hell are you talking about?” Bakugo growled while clenching his fists.

“Easy, man,” Kirishima said as he came to Bakugo’s side.  “Let’s not start a fight.”

“Um, excuse me,” Tokoyami said as he approached Ibara.  “I believe you may be confused.  My Quirk, Dark Shadow, might be what you’re thinking of.”  From Tokoyami’s body came the small black form of Dark Shadow, who looked up at Ibara with sad eyes.

“I promise that I’m not a demon,” Dark Shadow said.  Ibara stared blankly at it before patting it on the head.

“No, I’m quite sure that Bakugo is the possessed one,” she said.  “I know this is just your Quirk.”

“I don’t think Kacchan isn’t possessed, Shiozaki,” Midoriya said.  “He’s always been, well…”

“A douche?” Sato suggested.

“A turd?” Kaminari added.

“A psychopath?” Todoroki included as he joined the crowd.

“A psychopathic doucheturd?” Monoma proposed.

“Why did I bother coming?” Kendo questioned as she sulked in the corner.

“Whatever the case, I shall exorcise it,” Ibara declared.

“You lookin’ to die, Giving Tree?” Bakugo growled.  Ibara backed up a step and pulled her cross necklace out from her bag, holding it out defensively.

“The beast shows itself,” she said. 

“OK, we’ve got the cross,” Monoma noted while recording the situation on his phone.  “What’s next?”

“Garlic?” Dark Shadow suggested.

“That’s for vampires,” Tokoyami corrected. 

“Neither of you are helping!” Iida yelled while furiously chopping his hand. 

“This is the dumbest bullshit I’ve ever seen,” Bakugo claimed.  “I’m out of here.”  He tried to walk forward, but felt his shoulders and right arm being grabbed.

“As your bro, I can’t let you go yet,” Kaminari said with a mischievous smirk while holding his left arm back.  “Right, Sato?”

“Yeah, man,” Sato added with his hands clamped on Bakugo’s shoulders.  “You’ve gotta get this thing removed, right?”

“Get off me, dipshits!” he yelled before Kirishima grabbed his right arm.

“They’ve got a point, bro,” Kirishima snickered.  “Demons are no good.”

“You traitor!  I’ll kill all you shitbags!”  While Bakugo’s classmates turned on him, Ibara had taken out an incense candle and lit it, placing it on Bakugo’s desk.

“This should help weaken the wicked spirit.”

“It smells like ass!”

“Then it’s working.”  Ibara bowed her head slightly and began saying a prayer, ignoring Bakugo’s many threats.  At this point, Kendo had moved on from sulking to rhythmically banging her head on the wall.  Monoma was wishing he had brought popcorn.  Reiko was noting the procedure in her head.  Midoriya was convinced he was dreaming.  Tokoyami and Dark Shadow both seemed intrigued.  Sero, Mina, and Uraraka were still laughing.

“No fire in the classroom!” Iida instructed.

“…Should I leave?” Todoroki asked.

“OH!  Todoroki!” Mina called out between her laughter.  She ran up to him and whispered something in his ear.

“Why would I—”

“Pleeeeaaase!” Mina begged.  Todoroki sighed and leaned in towards Ibara.

“What part does this play?” he asked while poking her metal cross.  No one could see, but there was a small flame between his finger and the cross.

“She presses that to his head near the end,” Reiko explained.  “At least, I think.”

“…who prowl throughout the world, seeking the ruin of souls, Amen,” Ibara mumbled as she finished her prayer.  “It’s finally time.” 

“This can’t end well,” Midoriya said. 

“Keep that shit away from me!” Bakugo yelled.  He lurched forward, but Mina and Sero grabbed his sides and held him in place.

“The demon is lashing out,” Ibara noted.  “In the name of God, begone from this child!”  She pushed the cross out onto Bakugo’s forward, which singed his skin on contact.

“AAAGH!  WHY IS IT SO HOT!?” he screamed.  In his laughter, Kaminari leaked some electricity from his hands, making Bakugo shake and sputter.

“It’s working!” Ibara said joyously.  “BEGONE, DEMON!”  Monoma lost control and broke down into laughter at the sight, but made sure to keep filming.  Reiko shared a confused look with Tokoyami and Dark Shadow.  The group holding Bakugo fell away in hysterics.  Midoriya and Iida were wide-eyed in shock with agape mouths.  Uraraka had a similar expression, but was also laughing nervously.  Todoroki had no reaction, but still seemed pleased with himself.  Once Ibara pulled her cross away, Bakugo slumped onto the floor.  In his confusion, his rage had done a complete 180, leaving him almost catatonic.  “Are you alright, Bakugo?” Ibara asked with sincere worry.  She looked in his eyes and moved around, making sure his pupils were following her.  “He’s responsive.  It seems like we succeeded.”

“I feel like I learned a lot,” Reiko said with Tokoyami and Dark Shadow nodding in agreement.

“I’m disappointed in you, Todoroki,” Iida said, having caught onto why the cross burned Bakugo.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Are you alright, Kacchan?” Midoriya asked.

“He should be fine now,” Shiozaki told him as she gathered her tools and took her bag back.  “I’m just glad I could help him.”  She walked to the door before turning around and bowing.  “Thank you for having me.  Have a blessed day,” she said before leaving. 

“Kendo, it’s time to go,” Reiko told her friend.

“’Kay,” she said flatly.  She turned around and bowed deeply to Iida.  “I’m sorry for… sorry.”

“I-It’s fine,” Iida assured her.  “Trust me, I know this wasn’t your fault.  Being a class representative can be a demanding job.”

“I’m the single mother to 19 toddlers,” she moaned.  “How’d this happen?”

“I’d just like to point out,” Monoma interjected, “I behaved myself the whole time.”  Kendo’s face immediately twisted in anger – the kind of anger only a mother of a troublesome child could have – and she grabbed him by the jacket.

“You di— you m— you— yooouuu,” she growled while yanking Monoma out of the classroom.  “Yoooouuuuu!”

“Later,” Reiko said as she followed her classmates.  Walking down the hall, she felt the floor shake as an enormous explosion went off in Class 1-A.  “I guess we left at the right time.”

Chapter Text

After two weeks of anticipation, the time had come for 1-B to begin their internships.  Mr. Kan led them to the train station Monday morning where the class parted ways.  Monoma had taken a train to Tokyo for his special internship.  This is the place.  He took a deep breath and walked with confidence into the Tokyo Police Headquarters.  Once inside the sizeable lobby, he was approached by a police officer with an orange cat head.

“Neito Monoma?” the cat officer asked.

“That’s me.”

“I’m Tamakawa Sansa.  I’ll be overseeing your internship along with Detective Tsukauchi.  Please come this way, meow.” 

Meow?  Monoma followed as Sansa led him deeper inside the station, passing other officers and a few heroes.  “I saw you at the Sports Festival.  You were the one copying people’s Quirks, right?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“That’s real interesting Quirk, meow.”

“Thanks.”  Why is he wearing a bell around his neck?  Monoma was led to a large office near the back of the station.  He entered and saw a man with black hair pouring over papers at his desk.  “Detective Tsukauchi?”

“Yes, come in,” the man said.  “It’s nice to meet you, Neito Monoma.  Or should I say Phantom Thief?”

“Monoma’s fine, sir.  Thank you for hiring me for the week,” Monoma gratefully said while shaking his hand.

“Well, after what I was told, it seemed like you’d be a good fit.”

“That’s very kind of you to say… but honestly, I’m not completely sure why I’m here,’ Monoma explained while taking a seat.

“Vlad King and All Might thought of sending you to me because you have a gifted mind and think that’s what you should focus on honing.  In law enforcement, Heroes tend to be the brawn while Police are the brains.  We gather intel, strategize on important missions, and handle villains once they’re subdued.  You, Monoma, might be the perfect mix of those two groups.”

“You really think so?”  Monoma was blown away, but fought to keep his cool.  “I’m… really touched that someone would think this way of me, especially All Might himself.  So, what will we be doing this week?”

“Hopefully, what you learn this week will help you start thinking with a bigger picture.  You’ve shown talent in gathering intelligence, strategizing, and thinking with other Quirks in mind, but there’s only so much experience you can get in a simulated environment.  Hopefully, once you’ve seen how the real world of heroics works, your talents will mature and your field of vision will greatly expand.”  The detective stood up and grabbed his tan overcoat and hat from the nearby rack.  “I’ll also try and give you some normal hero experiences.  Put on your costume.  We’re going on patrol.”

“Yes, sir.”


“Welcome to your workplace for the next week!” Togata announced.

“Thanks again for this,” Kamakiri said.

“Sure thing!  I’m always happy to help some hot-blooded newbies get good experience.”

“Um, I-I have a question,” Kinoko said.

“Shoot!”

“What are o-our employers like?” 

“Super nice!” Togata assured them.  “Centipeder and Bubble Girl are awesome!  You’ll definitely get along!  Sir Nighteye is a little more rigid, but I doubt you’ll see much of him.”  Togata flung the doors open and entered the office with the juniors behind him.  Waiting for them in the lobby were a pair of Heroes – a dark-skinned woman in a blue and black costume that exposed her stomach, as well as a man with a centipede for a head wearing a fancy suit.

“Welcome!” the woman said cheerfully.  “I’m Bubble Girl.”

“And I’m Centipeder,” the man said.  “Thank you for accepting our offers despite us being just sidekicks to Sir Nighteye.”

“W-We’re just glad you offered,” Kinoko said while bowing deeply.  “Thank you very much for having us.”

“Of course,” Bubble Girl said.  “Mirio said you were up to it, so why not?”  She walked forward to Kinoko and held her hands between her own.   “I hope that I can help you come out of your shell this week, Komori.”

“H-Huh?”

“When I was shown footage of you in action, I was impressed, but more than that, I saw how unsure and nervous you were,” Bubble Girl said.  “It reminded me of myself in school, so I’m gonna help you gain some confidence.  By the end of the week, you’ll feel like a totally new person!”

“U-Um, a-are you s-sure?  I thought w-we would j-just be doing h-hero stuff.”

“Being confident is important for being a hero.  Right, Centipeder?”

“Quite right,” the bug-themed hero said as he approached Kamakiri.  “As for you, I also intend to help shift your demeanor to something more acceptable for heroics.”

“What’re you talkin’ about?” Kamakiri asked with a glare.

“I noticed a very rough and uncultured conduct in the footage presented to me,” Centipeder explained.  “Your teacher agrees, in fact.  Such unscrupulous behavior is unbecoming of a hero.”

“Mind sayin’ that in a language I understand?” Kamakiri asked.

“I’ll be working on fixing your bad attitude this week,” Centipeder said while taking out a comb.  “We’ll begin with your inappropriate hairstyle.”

“WHAT!?” Kamakiri yelled while protecting his Mohawk with his arms.

“I’ll turn you into a proper gentleman even if it kills me.”

“Hahahaha!” Togata laughed.  “Sounds like you guys are gonna have an interesting week.”

“Mirio,” another voice said.  Approaching them was a green-haired man in a light gray business suit.  He was holding a document and had a sour expression.

“Mornin’, Sir Nighteye!  These are the first years I told you about.” 

“Good morning,” he said while looking them up and down.  “I was looking over your mission report, Mirio.  You seemed to forget my rule of putting jokes in your reports yet again.”

“Well, it was pretty short, and I couldn’t really think of any,” Mirio casually explained.  “Sorry about that.”

“It looks like someone needs more time in Tickle Hell,” Nighteye said while dragging Togata into his office.

“Aw, darn it,” Togata said with a laugh.  Kamakiri and Kinoko watched in confusion and fear before giving each other a look.  They didn’t realize it, but they were having the exact same thought.

We’ve made a terrible mistake.


“Yanagi?  Hey, Yanagi!”  Reiko was content with waiting in silence, but it seemed that wasn’t going to last.  She had arrived early and was waiting in a small, dark office for her employer when a familiar non-face showed up.  “It’s me, Hagakure!”

“Hey,” the ghost girl greeted.  “You got an internship here too?”

“Yup!  I couldn’t believe it, but it’s really happening!  Edgeshot wanted me!”  Hagakure set her briefcase down and sat down next to Reiko.  “Soooo, how’s things with Shinso?”

“Fine.”

“Don’t be shy~.  I want details.”

“Not many details to share,” Reiko flatly stated.  She’s awfully perky this early in the morning.

“Sorry to interrupt,” a voice said, “but let’s begin.”  The two girls looked around, but couldn’t locate the voice’s source.  “Welcome.  I am Edgeshot, the stealth hero.”

“No kidding.  I have no clue where you are,” Hagakure said.

“Where I am?  Girls…”  In an instant, the pro-hero was in front of the girls, sitting cross-legged on his desk.  “I’ve been in front of you this whole time.”

“Oooooo,” Hagakure said while clapping.  “Cool trick!”

She’s so embarrassing, Reiko thought.

“Thank you for accepting my offer.  I’m always interested in prospective stealth-focused heroes.  Gaining notoriety and stopping crimes flashily is a priority among many heroes these days, so we’re something of a dying breed.  I hope to give you both good experience this week…”

“Thank you, sir!” the perky invisible girl said.

“Thanks,” Reiko said with a small bow. 

“That is, if you can pass my test.  You walked through my office to get here.  Now, I want you to exit and meet me outside, but do it without anyone noticing.  You have 5 minutes.  If you pass, I’ll employ you for the week.”

“5 minutes!?” Hagakure asked in disbelief.  “W-What happens if we fail?”

“You’ll be asked to leave and never return.  Good luck.”  Before either girl could ask another question, Edgeshot disappeared once again.

“What a pain,” Reiko groaned.

“How mean!” Hagakure whined.  “Giving us a task like that so soon.”

“No point in complaining now,” Reiko said.  “I’ll try and scout the area while you get ready.”

“Thanks, Yanagi,” Hagakure said while disrobing.  “If we work together, we can clear this in no time!”

“Right.”  Reiko floated up and phased her head through the ceiling and scanned the rooftop.  Looks like I can recharge up here when my 30 seconds of intangibility are up.  She floated onto and the roof and dropped down before crawling forward.  She phased her head downward and peeked into the office below.  There’s a lot of people here, so Hagakure may have to take this slow.  I wonder if we’ll pass in time.  Reiko pulled her head back and sat on the roof, looking in the direction of the entrance.  I could just go to Edgeshot now and ensure I pass…  She thought over her options for a moment before sighing and returning to the office.  “Hagakure?  You still here?”

“Yeah, I’m right here,” Hagakure said from above her clothing pile.  “What’s it look like?”

“Normal hero office, I guess, but there’s a lot of people walking around.  I’m positive they’re all in on this, so if you brush up against them, that’ll mean failing.”

“Don’t worry.  I’ll be as quiet as a mouse.”

“We still have another problem,” Reiko said while motioning to the door.  “You can’t just walk out or everyone will notice the door opening and closing.”

“I’ll need a favor in that case,” Hagakure began.  “Can you cause some distraction.  I just need a second to slip out.  Please?”

“I’ll see what I can do.  Once I leave, count to 20 and then slip out.  We’ve got one shot.”

“Thanks.  After that, feel free to go to Edgeshot.  I can handle myself from there.  Promise.”

“Right.  Good luck.”  Reiko phased up into the ceiling passed into the office, careful to remain out of sight.  Let’s see.  What’s distracting here?  Her eyes drifted to an office lady leaning against the wall near a bookshelf.  I don’t have enough time to find another target.  As much as I hate it, I’ll have to pull a Setsuna.  Reiko internally groaned as she floated down the wall, hiding her face behind the bookshelf.  As her time counted down, she grabbed the hem of the woman’s skirt and pulled it down, causing her to shriek.  All eyes went to the woman, letting Hagakure open and close the door with no one noticing.  What a weird way to start my internship, Reiko thought as she floated out to the city block.  In front of the entrance was Edgeshot, who was signing autographs for a couple of middle-schoolers. 

“Done already, Yanagi?  Is Hagakure with you?”

“We split up, but she should be here soon.”  Edgeshot’s phone buzzed and he took it out, giving Yanagi a confused look after reading the message.  “Did one of you… pants my assistant?”

“I… needed a distraction so Hagakure could sneak out of your office without being noticed.”

“…Well, it worked.  Points for creativity, but you should apologize later.”  Their attention was drawn to the office entrance when it was opened by an unseen force.

“Nailed it!” Hagakure said.  “Do we pass?”

“You do.”

“Alright!” Hagakure cheered while wrapping her see-through arms around Reiko.  “We did it, Yanagi!”

“Yeah.  Good job,” Reiko said while subtly returning the embrace.

“If you two are ready, I’ll brief you on what we’ll be doing this week,” Edgeshot explained.  “I expect great things, Onryo and Invisible Girl.”

Chapter Text

“Impact?  Impact?  Hey, Shoda?”

“Huh?”  Shoda had been lost in his thoughts until that point, but came back to his senses quickly.  He was on patrol with his upperclassman, Amajiki, and their employer, Fatgum.  “Sorry, sir.  I guess I’m not used to being called that yet.”

“I gotcha,” Fatgum said while shoving candy in his mouth.  “You looked a little off.  Thinkin’ hard about somethin’?”

“No, it’s nothing, sir.”  As they came to a corner and waited for the light to change, Shoda noticed an electronics store with display TVs on.  It was showing a hero gossip show talking about Best Jeanist and his “volatile intern.”  Shoda could see a picture of Bakugo with Best Jeanist and audibly sighed without realizing.

“That didn’t sound like nothing,” Fatgum said.  Shoda wanted to say he was fine, but he knew Fatgum had already figured him out. 

“Have you ever felt like… like you missed out on something… just because of your own stupid pride?”

“You’re talking about the Sports Festival?” Fatgum asked.  “I didn’t go to U.A., so I don’t know how much I can relate… but I know what you’re talking about.  You feel like you should’ve stayed in the finals, right?”

“A little.  Everyone in my class regrets how poorly we did.  I may have been able to get farther than the others if I had stayed, so I guess I’m a little guilty.”  Fatgum thought hard, but couldn’t think of anything, so he settled for a hard pat on the back. 

“Cheer up,” he said.  “Want some candy?”

“I’m good, sir.”

“…Shoda,” Amajiki quietly said.  Shoda looked to him, which almost made him shrink away, but Amajiki forced himself to keep talking.  “You said to Midnight that… you didn’t feel like you earned your place in the finals… You’d feel worse if you stayed… so don’t think about what could’ve happened… if things were different.”  Amajiki immediately turned away and pulled his hood lower to avoid looking at his junior.

“…You’re right,” Shoda said.  “Thanks.”  Shoda’s gratitude only made Amajiki shy away even more, but Fatgum grabbed his two interns and pulled them close.

“Glad we got that all settled,” he said with a smile.  “C’mon, let’s go get some lunch.  I’m hungry.”

“You’re always hungry,” Amajiki mumbled, making Fatgum laugh.

“You bet I am!”


 

Think of something to say, Awase told himselfHe was coming to the end of his morning patrol with his employer, Rock Lock, who had barely spoken.  Does he hate me already? 

“Listen,” Rock Lock finally said, “I may have taken you as an intern, but don’t think I’ll be letting you get in my way.  I owe Vlad a favor, that’s all.  I still have work to do, so I won’t put up with any bullshit.  Got it?” 

“Yes, sir!”  Awase stiffened up and stood at attention, trying to act as serious as possible.  “I won’t give you any bullshit, sir!

““You better not,” the pro grumbled.  “I don’t want some rookie getting in my way.  Just ‘cause you came from U.A. doesn’t make you hot shit.  Got it?”

“Got it, sir!” Awase had tensed up so much that he was walking like a robot.  Yup.  Hates me, he internally moaned.  His attention shifted when he heard screaming from further down the road.  “Trouble?”

“Sounds like it,” Rock Lock said.  “Follow me, kid.”  They ran up the street towards the commotion before seeing a car driving wildly towards them.  “It’s out of control.  Stay back, kid.”  Rock Lock ran into the street towards the car, which began to collide with other cars and make them spin out of control.  He leapt into the middle of many collisions and threw his hands towards the ground.  “Deadbolt!” he called out as he spun his hand into the ground.  In a flash, almost every car around him stopped, but one of them escaped his radius and rocketed towards the sidewalk.  “Look out!”

“I’ve got it!” Awase yelled.  He dove in the car’s path and rammed it’s front, skidding his boots into the ground.  He reached down to the right tire and fused it to the ground before doing the same to the left one.  “…I’m OK,” he announced as the car fully stopped, more to assure himself than anyone else.  As he unfused the tires from the ground, he heard a voice behind him.

“Are you alright?”  Awase turned to see a woman with a baby carriage looking at him. 

“Yeah… I’m pretty sturdy,” he clumsily said. 

“Well, thank you,” she gratefully said.  “You saved me and my baby.”

“…Uuuh… you’re welcome.”  As Awase awkwardly waved the woman off, Rock Lock returned to his side.  “I know you said to stay back, but—”

“I’m impressed,” the pro said.  Awase was stunned silent.  “Maybe I can teach you a few things.”

“I… Yes, sir!  Thank you, sir!”


In the bustling cityscape of Musutafu, Ibara looked out over the traffic-filled streets from the roof of an office building.  To her right was her fellow intern and peer from Class 1-A, Hanta Sero.  “What a view,” Sero said.

“It’s quite lovely,” Ibara agreed.  “Looking down from such a height makes one feel like a hero, wouldn’t you say?”

“Totally.”

“Cellophane, Maria, front and center,” they heard behind them.  The voice came from their employer for the week, Kamui Woods.  “Let’s get in one more exercise before we break for lunch.”

“Alrighty.”

“Yes, sir.”  The two students went to the west side of the building, which gave them a view of Kamui’s agency down the street. 

“I want you two to swing over to the roof of the office.  I’ll go first to give you a demonstration.”  Kamui’s wooden gauntlet started to shift around and formed a tendril that he shot out.  “Watch carefully now.”  He grabbed the corner of higher building before jumping from the rooftop, swinging fluidly over the city and landing on his rooftop.

“Easier said than done,” Sero noted while stretching his arms.  “Guess I’ll give it a shot.”  He shot his tape up and leapt forward, swinging over to the agency.  His landing was a little rougher, but Kamui looked pleased with Sero and gave him a pat on the back.

Calm yourself, Ibara told herself while taking deep breaths.  Just do as he explained… and don’t look down.  She grabbed her vines and threw them at the building like a lasso.  They hooked onto the corner and Ibara jumped, holding tightly to her vines.  Her dress billowed and blustered in the wind, making her thankful she added tights to her ensemble.  As she approached the agency, her vines stretched and lowered her down for a graceful landing.

“Perfect,” Kamui complimented.  “You’re both getting the hang of this quickly.”

“Thank you, sir,” Ibara said while blushing slightly.  “I didn’t even look down this time.”

“Really?  That’s a hard habit to break,” Kamui said.  “I’m impressed.”  Ibara wanted to thank him again, but before she could, his phone started ringing.  “Excuse me,” he said while taking it out.  “Give me a minute to take this, then we’ll go get something to eat.”  Kamui walked off to take his call privately, leaving Ibara and Sero on their own. 

You should tell him soon, Ibara told herself.  You can’t keep putting this off.  There may not be a better time.

“Swinging like that is hard on my arms,” Sero said.  “It must hurt your head like crazy.”

“Hm?  Oh, not really.  I make sure to hang on with my hands when I swing.”

“Oh, like Tarzan or something.  I gotcha.”

“Yes… Um, Sero?”

“’Sup?”

“I need to… talk privately with Mr. Kamui.  Would you mind if…”

“Give you a minute?” Sero finished.  “Sure thing.  Tell Kamui I went to the bathroom.  I’ll be back in five.”

“Thank you very much.”

“No prob,” Sero said as he walked inside and down the stairs.  After a minute, Kamui ended his call and walked back to Ibara. 

“Sorry about that.  Where’d Cellophane go?”

“He had to use the bathroom,” Ibara explained.  “He’ll return in five minutes.”

“Alright.”  Kamui walked to the edge and looked out over the city while Ibara tried to untangle the knot in her stomach. 

It’s now or never, she thought.  Tell him.  Ibara gripped at her dress tightly, but took a deep breath and finally approached the pro.  “Um… Mr. Kamui?”

“Yes?”

“I was… wondering something,” Ibara said slowly, without looking at Kamui as he turned to her.  “D-Do you… remember… the cases you resolve?”

“I try to,” Kamui said.  “The smaller ones tend to slip the mind, unfortunately.”

“I see.”  Ibara gulped and started twirling a vine around her finger.  “Do you remember… an incident at a… flower shop in Kanagawa?”

“Flower Shop…” Kamui pondered.  “That doesn’t ring a bell.”  Ibara’s heart sank a little, but she had come too far to stop.

“I-It was two years ago,” she quickly continued, trying to jog his memory.  She still avoided looking at him even though looked at her.  “It was robbed… as was the apartment above.  The woman wh-who owned the store… and her daughter… they were both r-restrained… for a-almost a full day… you were the one who f-f-finally rescued them.”  Ibara didn’t notice she was crying until she felt tears flowing down her cheeks.  She gripped at her costume like a lifeline and finally looked Kamui in the eyes.  “Do you remember?” she finally asked with a cracking voice.  Kamui was still as a statue.  It took him a moment, but he finally moved when he placed his hand on Ibara’s head.

“I do remember that,” he said warmly.  “I went to through the apartment window, so the ‘flower shop’ part confused me.  That was you, wasn’t it?”  The words got caught in her throat, but Ibara nodded.  “It’s been in the back of my mind since the Sports Festival.  I wanted to ask you, but… well, I couldn’t find a good time.”  Ibara finally broke down and buried her face in Kamui’s shoulder.

“Y-You’re the reason I’m here,” she told him.  “You’re th-the reason I want to be a hero… thank you… thank you so much.”

“I’m so glad to hear that,” Kamui said as he gently hugged the girl.  “The thought of inspiring someone like you… I’m moved.  Thank you for telling me.”

Chapter Text

“Sooooo… advice, advice,” Mt. Lady pondered while knocking her head.  She was in her office, sat on a couch and scarfing down cookies as one of her interns, Yui, filed her paperwork.  “I dunno what to say about stealth or nothin’ for when you get small, soooo…  Oh, I know!  When you get really big, you have to be really mindful about your butt.  It’s pretty easy to cause property damage by accidently backing into stuff.”

“OK,” Yui said. 

“Uuuuuuh… did you see my win against that villain with the Shark Quirk?  Totally boosted my ratings, yeah?”

“Mhm.” 

“This is nice,” Mt. Lady mentioned.  “You’re way cooler than that grape kid.”

“Thanks.”

“Come sit here with me,” she invited.  “Want a cookie?”  Yui stared blankly at her employer before joining her on the couch and taking a cookie.  “So Kodai – can I call you Kodai?”

“Mhm.”

“Kodai, you and I are a real pair.  Us size-shifters gotta stick together.  People will always say ‘oh, you cause to much damage to be a city-based hero’ or ‘you stepped on my apartment.’  The best advice I can give you is to not listen to the haters.”

“Alright,” Yui said with cookie crumbs around her mouth.

“You are so freakin’ cute,” Mt. Lady complimented.  “You should totally come be my sidekick after you graduate.”

“OK.”

“Yui – can I call you Yui?”

“Sure.”

“Yui, you should stay late and we can hang out and stuff.  Ooo, we could paint each other’s nails.  Violet’s your color, girl.  I’m more of an aqua, y’see…”

“Mhm,” Yui nodded.  I wonder if everyone’s internships are like this…


“Holy shit!” Tsuburaba yelled as a fist larger than his body flew towards him.  He clung tighter to Air Jet as the Buster Hero flew them out of the way.

“Barricade, we need more air walls!” Air Jet instructed.  He flew up and surveyed the building-sized, boar-like villain he and his intern fought as another air wall was broken.  “We need to protect the civilians and keep this villain here until backup arrives.”

“F-Fine!” Tsuburaba nervously said.  “Just keep us from getting smashed, OK?”

“That’s the plan.”  Air Jet aimed his arm cannon and fired a wind blast at the villain’s face, stopping his assault for a moment.  “Now!”  Tsuburaba took a huge breath and started making a barrier as Air Jet flew them around the villain.  With he added mobility, the barrier twisted round the villain and constricted his movement.

“How’s that?”

“Great job.  Let’s go in for another layer before backup arrives.”

“It looks like they’re already here,” Tsuburaba said.  The flying pair looked up and saw a set of crimson wings descending towards them from the sky.  Tsuburaba immediately recognized his 1-A peer, Tokoyami, but he knew the wings didn’t belong to him.  He could also tell Tokoyami was a little embarrassed by whoever was carrying him.

“Behold!” the person carrying Tokoyami said, holding the bird-headed boy in front of himself.  “It is I, Whole Bird Man!  With the power of being an entire bird, I have arriiiiiived!  …Nah, I’m just pulling your leg.  It’s me – Hawks.”

“Woah!  The number 3 hero!” Tsuburaba said in excitement as Hawks moved Tokoyami out of the way of his face.

“Thanks for coming so quickly,” Air Jet said as he readied his air gun.  “Let’s take this titan down together.”

“Sounds good,” Hawks said.  “Tsukoyomi, you and Air Jet hit him hard.  I’ll make sure he doesn’t wreck anything on his way down.”

“Yes, sir,” Tokoyami said.  “Dark Shadow, attack!”

“Aye aye!”  The black figure of Dark Shadow burst from Tokoyami’s cloak and rushed towards the villain’s head.  After it landed a blow to the head, Air Jet finished the job with an air blast that knocked the villain into unconsciousness and off his feet.

“I’ve got him,” Hawks casually stated as many feathers left his wings.  The feathers flew behind the villain and slowed his decent onto the street.  “Nice.”  Hawks and Air Jet flew to the ground and set down their interns as police cars pulled up and civilians returned to the street.

“Hey, it’s Hawks!”

“Hawks and Air Jet?  What a cool combo!”

“Look, it’s that shadow guy from the Sports Festival.”

“That’s right, it’s me,” Hawks announced.  “It’s Hawks.  I’ve got Tsukoyomi with me, and we, uh, we’re bird men – we’re birds of war.  That’s us.  Air Jet’s here.  He did most of the work actually.  Him and uuuuh… what’s your name?”

“Barricade!” Tsuburaba announced.

“Barricade, that’s him.  They did most of the work so give them the credit.  Uuuuh… Tsukoyomi, let’s exit in that cool way we practiced.”

“Right.”  Hawks stretched out his wings and took off soaring while Dark Shadow pushed it’s user off the ground.  Once Tokoyami high enough, Hawks plucked him out of the sky and they flew off together.

“Well, our work here is done,” Air Jet said before leaning in to Tsuburaba.  “Let’s exit like that.  Make it cool.”

“You got it, sir.”  Tsuburaba ran and blew an air platform under his feet.  Once he was about 12 feet up, he jumped and was caught by Air Jet, who flew them away. 

“Pretty good exit, I’d say.”

“Totally,” Tsuburaba agreed.  That was crazy.  I met the number three hero and helped defeat a villain.  I wonder if everyone’s internships are like this…


“Juzo!”

“Yeah?”

“It’s time to train!”  Honenuki got up from the rock he sat on and joined Crust in the center of the rock quarry.  They had done normal hero training like patrols, but Crust was also hell-bent on imparting his wisdom to Honenuki.  “As earth manipulators, we have a specific duty.  Tell me what that is!”

“To honor and appreciate Mother Earth, sir!” Honenuki answered.  He wasn’t used to being so emphatic, but Crust demanded he show passion.

“Correct!”  Now…” Crust sat down in the dirt and closed his eyes, almost meditatively, which Honenuki copied.  “We must pay our respects to the earth that has given us everything.”

“Yes, sir.”  Both heroes took a deep breath and sat in silence.  After a moment, they reeled back and shoved their foreheads into the dirt.

“I LOVE YOU, MOTHER EARTH!” Crust screamed.

“YOU ARE THE GREATEST PLANET EVER!” Honenuki continued.

“THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING US TO USE YOUR POWER TO PROTECT THE INNOCENT!” they yelled in unison.

“…Uh, Crust?”

“What is it, Juzo?”

“Do I have to do this every day?”

“Not this specifically.  I’m just showing you my way of respecting the planet,” Crust explained.  “Find your own way of thanking the earth once you finish your internship.  Recycle a bottle, water a flower, pet a dog.  Do what you want.”

“Alright.”

“Now, let’s get to training.”  They both stood up and Honenuki took a fighting stance.  “Alright, first exercise… WALL!”  On Crust’s command, Honenuki exhaled and softened the ground before him.  He reached down and stuck his hands inside, gripping the soft earth.  With a determined shout, he pulled the ground up, making a wave of earth that he hardened with an inhale.  He then stepped back and admired his handiwork – a sturdy wall of earth.

“How’s that?”

“Wonderful!  You’re getting better at manipulating what you’ve softened more freely,” Crust complimented.  “If your fighting style shifts to use this more, I’d recommend investing in some gloves to avoid wearing out your hands.”

“Good idea,” Honenuki said while looking at his dirty fingernails and bruised hands.  This training is intense.  I wonder if everyone’s internships are like this…


“I think this is the third jewelry store we’ve stopped at so far,” Rin said. 

“Fourth,” Setsuna corrected.  It didn’t sound like she minded, though.  She had been cloud nine ever since their internship began.  Being on patrol with the ninth best hero in Japan made Rin starstruck as well, but after 20 minutes of waiting outside a jewelry store as she and Nejire shopped, his excitement waned a little.  “Who cares?  I’m just happy to be here.”

“Oh, me too,” Rin assured her.

“She’s so amazing,” Setsuna mumbled in a smitten voice.  “So powerful, but still so elegant and ladylike, and so nice too.”  Rin nodded in agreement with the lizard girl.  Everything she was saying was true, but the dragon hero’s oddly small attention span was something he hadn’t known about until working for her.

“’Kay, we’re done,” Nejire announced as she and Ryukyu left the store.

“I’m sorry for making you two wait for so long,” the heroine said in a polite, almost motherly, voice. 

“It’s cool,” Setsuna cooed.  Rin could’ve sworn he saw hearts in her eyes. 

“Then let’s continue on our patrol.”  She and Nejire walked side by side while Rina and Setsuna trailed the pair.

“Is it usually this quiet, ma’am?” Rin asked.

“Yes, it is,” she answered while slowing down, letting her interns catch up a bit.  “My office is in the area, so criminal activity is somewhat rare here.  That’s why I enjoy patrolling often.”  Ryukyu looked to her right as they passed by a cherry blossom tree in full bloom.  She reached out and took a petal between her fingers as more blossoms fluttered by her.  “When people see heroes walking amongst them, they feel at ease.  They take our presence as a promise that we’ll always protect them.  Heroism may bring fighting to mind, but something just as important is making the public feel safe.  Do you understand, Shenlong?”

“I do,” Rin answered.  “We protect their peace of mind as much as their bodies, right?”

“Correct,” Ryukyu said.  “Indominus, you understand as well, yes?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Setsuna graciously replied. 

“Ryukyu’s always teachin’ me things like that,” Nejire said.  “That’s why she’s the best.”

“As always, you’re too kind, Nejire,” Ryukyu said with a chuckle.  Suddenly, the four heroes heard a commotion further down the street.

“Oh dang,” Setsuna said.  “Crime?  In this neighborhood?”

“It’s more likely than you think,” Nejire said as she began floating with her power.  “I’ll go on ahead.”

“Please do,” Ryukyu said before turning to her other interns.  “I trust you two can take care of yourselves?”

“Yes, ma’am!” they both answered.

“Then hurry forward.”  Ryukyu’s Quirk activated and she grew a set of draconic wings from her back.  “A full transformation is most likely unnecessary.”

“Badass,” Setsuna said in awe.  The trio rushed towards the source of the uproar – a convenience store – where Nejire was chasing down a criminal.  “Two more went down the alleyway,” she reported.  “No injured civilians.”

“Good,” Ryukyu said.  “In that case, I’d like to see you two take the remaining criminals.”

“Really?” Rin asked. 

“Don’t worry.  I’ll be watching you from above.”

“Alright!  We won’t let you down!” Setsuna proclaimed.  She and Rin ran after the criminals down the alleyway, coming to an intersection where the perpetrators split ways.  “You go right, I’ll go left,” Setsuna instructed. 

“Got it.”  The interns split apart and Rin continued after his target until they both reached a dead end.  “Give up now,” Rin commanded.  The robber stayed in the corner of the alley, hiding his face in shadow.

 “I wasn’t really with those guys, y’know,” the robber said in a deep, but apathetic voice.  “I just needed cash to buy food.  Can you really call yourself a hero if you arrest me for that?”

“You still broke the law,” Rin pointed out.  “I’ll give you one more chance to give up or I’ll have to get rough with you.”

“Oh yeah?” the robber asked with irritation on his tongue.  “I bet they’ll praise you for that.  Just another fake, I guess.”  He raised his arm and ignited a blue flame in his palm.  With the new source of light, Rin was horrified to see burnt, wrinkled purple skin around the robber’s face, held together by a series of staples.

A fire type Quirk! Rin told himself.  I have to close the distance quickly!  He bolted towards the target and transformed his whole body into scales.  Just as he reached the robber, the blue flame exploded down the alley.  Rin wailed in pain as the fire seared his scaly body and threw him backwards.  The last thing he heard before he lost consciousness was Ryukyu shouting his hero name…

As his senses returned to him, the first thing Rin felt was the burning sensation all over his skin.  The second was the set of hands wrapped around his own.  He groaned softly and opened his eyes, realizing he was back in Ryukyu’s office.  It took effort, but he turned his head to see Setsuna was holding his hand.  “What happened?”  Setsuna jumped a little bit in surprise, but then sighed in relief. 

“I’m glad you’re up,” she said with a surprising calmness.  Rin was used to bubbly and energetic Setsuna more than anything.  “You got hit by a fire blast – a pretty strong one by the look of things.  Me and Nejire took care of the other robbers, but that guy escaped through a storm drain.”  Rin looked down at his chest and saw all the bandages he was wrapped in.

“My scales are pretty heat resistant,” Rin noted.  “If I hadn’t used my Quirk all around my body…”

“Lalalalalala, I’m not listening!” Setsuna hollered childishly, making Rin laugh a bit. 

“I’m glad you’re awake,” he heard behind him.  It was Ryukyu, who walked to his bedside with Nejire.  “You gave us quite the scare.”

“Sorry,” Rin said.  “I messed up and let him get away.”

“You don’t have to apologize,” the pro heroine said with a hand on his shoulder.  “I’m just happy you’re alright now.  Now, get some rest.  Hopefully, you will recover before your time here ends.” 

“Thanks ma’am,” Rin said with a smile. 

As Ryukyu and Nejire left, the senior girl had a question for her employer.  “So, what was it that you saw?”

“…When I was carrying Rin from danger, Rin’s body had seized up and instinctively protected itself by maintain his transformation.”

“So?”

“His body was changing in more ways than just growing scales,” Ryukyu explained.  “I saw his teeth become sharper, more… bestial.  Rin’s Quirk… may not be too different from my own.”

Chapter Text

“You wanted to see us?” Reiko asked.  She and Hagakure entered the office of Edgeshot, who was busy on his computer.

“I did,” he said with his normal stoicism.  “To cut straight to the point, I’ve been contacted to aid the police in a mission and I’d like you to assist me.”

“A-A mission?!” Hagakure asked.  “Already?  With you?  Really?!”

“What kind of mission?” Reiko asked. 

“A simple mission, but important nonetheless,” Edgeshot cryptically explained.  “Detective Tsukauchi of the Tokyo Police Department needs this done soon – tonight, in fact. 

“That’s not a lot of warning,” Reiko commented.

“In the world of heroics, there never is.  They need a stealth hero such as myself, along with some muscle and someone who can capture multiple people quickly.  I already have two heroes in mind to fill those positions and, coincidently, they both have two interns from U.A.  We’ll give you all some experience in what should be a by-the-numbers mission.”

“We’d love to come!” Hagakure said.  “Right, Yanagi?”

“Of course,” Reiko said.  “If you don’t mind my asking, who are the heroes and interns?”


“What’s this?” Kamui mumbled as he checked his office computer.  “A request from the Hero Network?  …Holy crap!”

“What is it?” Ibara asked as she sipped a cup of tea.

“Edgeshot says he needs me for a mission and wants to team up!” 

“Edgeshot!?” Sero asked.  “Nice!”  Kamui leaned towards his monitor and opened the email, quickly reading over the request. 

“A meeting at the Tokyo Police Headquarters… and the mission is tonight… he also wants our interns to tag along.”

“We’re going on a mission already?  Sweet!” Sero cheered.

“How wonderful,” Ibara happily said.

“Hm?  The two of us?” Kamui said.  “Who else is he asking?  …oh…”


“EEEEEEEEEEEE!” Mt Lady squealed.  She rolled around on the couch and over Yui’s lap while clutching her phone.  “EDGESHOT WANTS TO TEAM UP!  THIS IS AMAZING!”

“Congratulations,” Yui said.

“If I impress him, he may even ask to form a teeeeaaaam!” the pro hero cheered.  “My popularity will SKYROCKET!  … Oh, hey!  He wants all our interns to come too.”

“Really?  Should I tell Mineta?”

“Uuuuh… Let’s… keep this to ourselves,” Mt. Lady suggested.  “I don’t think Grape Juice is… ready for something like this.” 

“Alright.”

“Fantastic.  I’ll reply right away,” Mt. Lady said.  I also don’t want that little pervert ruining my reputation.  I can’t be seen in public with him.  “The meeting is in 3 hours.  Yui, get my make-up kit.  We’ve got to make a great first Impression!”


As the sun finished setting and the streetlight’s flicked on, Edgeshot led his costumed interns into the Police Department.  “I’m so excited,” Hagakure squeaked.  “Finally, I’ll show off how cool I can be.”

“Try to be a little more serious,” Reiko requested.  “We’ve gotta act professional.”

“Right!” The trio was led to a board room in the back, where Tsukauchi and Monoma were waiting.  Already seated were Mt. Lady, who looked ecstatic, and Yui, who looked blasé as usual.

“Welcome,” the detective greeted.  “Thank you for taking our impromptu request.”

“Of course, Detective,” Edgeshot said.  “Mt. Lady?”

“That’s me,” the heroine replied in her most pleasant voice.  “Thank you so much for thinking of me.  Minmax and I won’t let you down.”

“Of course.  I only work with competent individuals,” the stealth hero said.  Mt. Lady seemed like she would pop from joy at that moment.

“Once Kamui Woods arrives, we’ll get started,” Monoma explained.  “Until then, please have a seat, sir.”

“Oh hey.  You’re from Class 1-B too,” Hagakure realized.  “I’m Tooru Hagakure.”  Monoma looked wary when she outstretched her hand, but sighed and accepted the handshake. 

“Neito Monoma,” he half-grumbled. 

Looks like he doesn’t want to embarrass himself in front of the pros by going on a rant, Reiko thought.  As she and Hagakure took their seats, another trio of heroes entered. 

“Sorry to keep you all waiting,” Kamui politely greeted. 

“We haven’t been waiting long,” Edgeshot said as he shook Kamui’s hand.  “Thank you for accepting my offer.”

“Oh, of course,” Kamui said with some excitement.  “I hope we can meet your expectations, Edgeshot.”

“I’m sure you will.  Let’s get this meeting underway.”  The remaining heroes took their seats, with Kamui and Mt. Lady sharing a petty glare, and Tsukauchi and Monoma began their presentation.

“Thank you for coming, all.  I’m Detective Naomasa Tsukauchi—”

“—and I’m his intern, Neito Monoma.  Hero name: Phantom Thief.”

“We’ve called you here today for an important task,” the detective continued.  “Two days ago, in Hosu, the Hero Killer: Stain was taken into custody by Endeavor.  By all appearances, Stain was involved with the League of Villains, as evidenced by the multiple monsters similar to the villain Nomu that attacked the area.  Since the USJ incident, the League has been quiet, but in the past two days, their activity has increased.”

“Didn’t most of the League get beat and captured at the USJ?” Mt. Lady asked.  “I thought only two of them escaped.”

“That’s true, but those two were the masterminds of the attack.  They’ve been waiting and watching, and now that Stain has gripped the world’s attention, they’ve begun reaching out.  They’re creating ties to other names, big and small, in the underworld.  Recruiting members seems to be their main goal right now, but they’re also trying to get their hands on Black Market weapons and costumes.”

“Will we be confronting the League in this mission?” Kamui asked.

“Ideally, we will not.  At least, not directly,” Tsukauchi said.  He clicked on the screen behind him and moved out of the way.  On the screen as a picture of a middle-aged man with gray hair, round glasses, and a gap in his teeth.  “This man’s name is Giran.  He’s a veteran broker in the underworld that has recently allied with the League of Villains.  He’s been their main recruiter and the one making deals in their leader’s stead.  This mission’s target is Giran.”

“I see,” Edgeshot said.  “You want to put the League’s recruitment to a halt, or at least slow it significantly.”

“That’s the idea,’ Tsukauchi continued.  “Thanks to our officers in the field, we’ve learned that Giran will be meeting with the leader of a small, elusive group that makes illegal items and costumes.  We don’t know the group’s name or how many will show up, but we have a location and a time – 11:30 tonight in an abandoned warehouse in Eastern Yokohama. We'll listen in on their meeting and learn all we can about both organizations.  Once they've finished, we capture them.  If everyone is in agreement, we’ll get going at 10:30 and stake out the area until the meeting time.”

“Sounds like a plan, detective,” Edgeshot said.


That night, in the Yokohama City, the trio of Pros and their interns took to the shadows to prepare for the mission.  In an unmarked gray van parked in a nearby alleyway, Monoma and Tsukauchi waited and watched for anything suspicious.  “So,” Monoma began, “this is the kind of stuff you do?”

“I’m usually not in the field like this,” Tsukauchi explained.  “Mostly for the very important missions.  Since there are so many of you interns here, I thought having a dedicated mission control would be easier.  Thanks to Edgeshot and his interns, we hid small cameras in and around the warehouse, so I can keep an eye on things.”  The van was outfitted with a few different screens that showed the warehouse and the area around it, as well as a console that was connected to the heroes’ earpieces.  Tsukauchi leaned back and took a sip of coffee before looking at Monoma.  “You’d rather be out there with them, right?”

“…What can I say?  I’m trying to be a hero,” Monoma said.  “I’m sure I’ll remember what you’ve taught me, but… Heroes should always be the front line of justice, right?  They go out and fight.”  Tsukauchi pondered what Monoma said, then checked his watch. 

“Edgeshot, it’s me,” he said into the console.  “I’m sending Phantom Thief to you.”

“Sounds good,” the pro replied.

“Are you sure?” Monoma asked.

“I know you can take care of yourself,” Tsukauchi said with a confident smile.  “Onryo, please return to the van so Phantom Thief can copy your Quirk.”  After a moment, Reiko floated through the van door and landed next to Monoma.

“Have you seen anything yet?” Reiko asked. 

“Nothing conclusive… but we may have just found something.” Tsukauchi flicked the images around the screens until the biggest one was showing the street corner near the warehouse.  A man in a black hoodie was lurking around and scanning the area with his eyes.

“Pretty suspicious,” Monoma quipped.  “Think that’s Giran?”

“No.  A veteran like him wouldn’t be so anxious.  This may be who he’s meeting with.”

“This is Invisible Girl,” they heard from the console.  “Giran has just arrived and is heading for the back entrance.”

“Then the mission has officially started.  Tail him and plant the bug.”

“Leave it to me.”

“You two get going,” Tsukauchi instructed.  “Meet with Edgeshot and the rest.”

“Yes, sir,” they both said.  The pair of interns phased into the ground and hurried to the alley way beside the warehouse, where their fellow heroes were waiting.

“This is it,’ Edgeshot declared.  “Onryo, Phantom Thief, you will join me on the roof.  Mt. Lady, Minmax, be ready near the back entrance.  If either side has back-up waiting in the wings, you’re in charge of taking them out.  Kamui, Maria, and Cellophane, you’ll sneak through the front entrance and wait for my signal to capture everyone inside.”

“Roger,” everyone said. 

“The other gang is coming inside,” Tsukauchi reported.  “There’s three of them.  The leader seems to be a woman wearing a fancy black cloak and a jeweled broach.  Backing her up is a blonde man in a black hoodie and a bald man in a suit with a massive scar on his head.  I’m patching Invisible Girl’s bug to your earpieces.  Edgeshot, you make the calls from now on.”

“Understood.  Let's move out.”

Chapter Text

Giran leaned against a wooden crate near the center of the warehouse and took a drag from his cigarette.  He watched as the front entrance opened and three figures walked in.  “I was wonderin’ when you’d show,” he said in his slimy, casual voice.  “I didn’t know you were bringin’ back-up.  Should I be worried?” he coyly asked.

“These are dangerous streets,” the cloaked woman said.  “I just wouldn’t feel safe alone.”  Giran could tell instantly that her words were hollow. 

They aren’t for her protection per se, he reasoned.  She can take care of herself easily.  She’s just being smart by having people watch her back.  He flicked his cigarette into a puddle of muddy water and approached his client. 

That’s far enough,” the man in the black hoodie warned.  The look in his eyes was like a fearful animal’s – hostile, but nervous at the same time.  “Don’t get too close to the boss all casual-like.”

“Down, boy,” the woman joked.  “Sorry about him.  He’s… jumpy.”

“It’s no problem,” Giran assured her.  “I can talk from here.”  His eyes drifted from the jumpy younger man to the scarred man.  He looked quite a bit older than the other two and had the stone-faced intimidation of a veteran.  Once he looked closer, he saw the man had a black backpack.  “Did you bring some tech to show me, big guy?”

“We did not, and he’s not much of a talker.  Let’s just talk business,” the woman said.  Giran waited for her to continue, but before she did, the scarred man reacted to something behind Giran.  He raised his arm and snapped, sending a blue bolt of lightning into the corner of the warehouse.  It took Giran a moment to realize what just happened, but once he did, he was immediately pissed. 

“What the hell?” he spat.  “Nearly blew my head off!”

“Please excuse him,” the woman said.  “He has a knee-jerk reaction in using his Quirk if he thinks there’s danger.”  Giran looked over his shoulder and saw a puddle in the warehouse corner.  “A rat must have run through that puddle, and once he saw the ripples, he attacked on instinct.”

“Is that true?” Giran asked.  The scarred man nodded and bowed to Giran in apology.  “Fine.  Let’s get down to business.”


“That Quirk…” Edgeshot whispered to himself.  He, Reiko, and Monoma were peering down from a window on the roof, making sure they were out of sight.

“An electricity type,” Monoma noted.  “A strong-looking one at that.”

“…Tsukauchi, end the bug’s transmission and put me through to everyone,” Edgeshot said into his earpiece.  “Tell us what’s been said once we’re done.”

“Right.  Patching you through,” the detective answered.

“Invisible Girl… are you still with us?”

“I’m here, sir,” Hagakure said, making Edgeshot sigh in relief.  “I wasn’t near the puddle that guy zapped.”

“Good.  Everyone, come to the roof.  We may have to abort this mission.”

“Seriously?” Reiko asked.  “Why’s that?”  Edgeshot didn’t answer and kept his eyes on the scarred man.  After a few moments, they saw Kamui and his interns climbing onto the roof while helping the other three heroes up with them.

“What’s wrong?” Mt. Lady asked. 

“I recognized that man with the scar.  His Quirk… it may be too powerful to defeat.”

“Are you serious?” Kamui asked.  “Even with all of us?  And you, the number five hero?”

“Who is he, sir?” Ibara asked. 

“A veteran villain.  I don’t know if he still goes by the name, but when I was younger, he was known as Overdrive.”

“Overdrive?” Mt. Lady asked.  “That name sounds familiar… I feel like I heard it when I was a kid.”

“Should we be worried about why he’s taking orders from someone else?” Kamui asked.  “If this woman has him as a minion, then what does that say about her.”

“Just that she’s well-connected and has money to spare,” Edgeshot explained.  “Overdrive was never a leader.  Just hired muscle to whoever paid him.”

“Wait, I remember,” Mt. Lady said.  “When I was, like, 12 or 13, I saw on the news that he was beaten by All Might.”

“You remember correctly, but that’s not the whole story,” Edgeshot continued.  “Overdrive’s been in many fights in his life and his only known defeat was dealt by All Might, but he was still able to escape afterwards.  He wasn’t heard from again, so it was assumed he retired.”

“If he retired, what’s he doing here?” Sero asked.

“A good question.  Maybe he simply needed the money and didn’t want a flashy job that would bring him attention.”  Edgeshot checked the window again and watched as the meeting continued.  “Even with all of us, I believe our chances of winning are slim.”

“He may not be as strong as back then,” Kamui suggested.  “If we catch him in a surprise attack, we can take him out with no fight.”

“That’s pretty hopeful thinking… but you may have a point.”  Edgeshot backed away and took a meditative pose in the roof’s ledge.  “I’ll think this over.  Tsukauchi, did we miss anything?”

“Not much has been said,” everyone heard in their earpiece.  “Just talk about different types of equipment they could make.  Nothing that can help right now.  I’ll patch you all back in, but it seems like they’re almost done.”  There was a brief silence before the sound of Giran’s voice hit their ears.

“You drive a hard bargain, missy,” they heard him say.  “I think we can work together.  Once the League gets some members and is ready for another big plan, I can put in some work orders.”

“That’s very good to hear, Giran,” the woman said.  “I hope our partnership is a fruitful one.  We’ll be taking off now, but first… Overdrive… take care of the little bugs that have infested this place.”

“Run!” Edgeshot yelled.  Before anyone could react, an explosion of electricity cracked the roof. 

“Oh shit!” Reiko yelped.  She grabbed onto Hagakure and floated away as the roof collapses.  Monoma had a similar reaction and floated with her Quirk while holding a shrunken Yui.

“I guess the mission’s back on,” Kamui said as he fell.  “I’ll grab Overdrive.”

“I’ve got Giran,” Sero announced.

“I’ll take the other two,” Ibara offered.  As Edgeshot corrected his fall and grabbed Mt. Lady, he was impressed by his three comrades’ quick recovery and teamwork.  You and your interns seem to be in sync already, Kamui.  Once the heroes hit the ground, Kamui shot out a wooden tendril that wrapped around Overdrive from behind.  Ibara landed next to him and quickly entangled the hooded man and woman.

“SHIT!” the man yelled.  Across the room, Sero landed and went to shoot his tape, but saw Giran had pulled a gun and ducked behind a crate.

“Kurogiri, get us out of here!” Giran yelled into his own earpiece as he shot around Sero’s hiding spot.

“Overdrive, get them!” the woman commanded.

“No, you don’t!”  Edgeshot pushed his hand forward and activated his Quirk, folding his hand into a thin string that shot towards Overdrive.  “Ninpo: Thousand Sheet Pierce!”  The string dipped under Kamui’s wooden bindings and stuck into Overdrive’s torso.  “Got you!”  Overdrive roared and strained his muscles, releasing a burst of electricity around his body.  Edgeshot was assaulted by the energy, burning and spasming until his was forced to remove his folded finger. 

“Edgeshot!” Mt. Lady screamed.  She looked back to the other villains and saw a black mist surrounding them.  “Oh crap!”

“I’ve got him!” Sero yelled as he jumped from cover and shot his tape towards Giran.  Just as the tape reched him, he disappeared and the mist dissipated.  “Damn!”

“I won’t let you escape,” Ibara promised.  The hooded woman smirked and flung a metal disk from under her cloak.  It flew to Ibara’s feet and exploded, knocking the girl back and loosening her vines’ grip.

“Maria!” Kamui yelled.

“Good luck, Overdrive,” the woman said as she and her associate hastily dove through the mist portal.

“I-I’m sorry!” Ibara apologized as she got up.

“I totally screwed up!” Sero yelled

“It’s fine, everyone,” Edgeshot assured them.  “This was all… my fault.”  His skin was red and burned and his breathing was ragged.  Kamui came to his side and out his arm over his shoulder.  “Mt. Lady, get the interns away.”

“Hold on!” Monoma yelled as he floated down and let go of Yui.  “We can still fight.  It’s nine against one.”

“You have no idea what you’re saying,” Edgeshot told him.  Everyone watched as Overdrive’s already-large body was expanding, ripping Kamui’s wooden bindings to splinters.  His shirt was torn to shreds as his muscles swelled to massive size.  He grew about 2 feet in height and his skin gained a blue tint.  With his clothes gone, the heroes could see his backpack had been hiding a compact generator that hooked into his back.  It was also wired to a pair of metal knuckle guards that were alight with sparks.

“I know this looks bad, but we can still beat him,” Monoma insisted.

“You’ll die,” Edgeshot solemnly explained.  “Overdrive’s only loss was against All Might.  Even with all nine of us, and a decade of age on him, I don’t like our odds.” 

Torai Jindenchi AKA Overdrive.  Quirk: Charge.  He can absorb electricity into his body that expands his size and strength, along with shooting out his stored-up energy.


Once Giran felt the cold air of the warehouse be replaced by the stuffy warmth of the League’s bar, he sighed in relief.  He walked out of the misty portal and took out another cigarette.  “I really owe you one, Kurogiri,” he said.  “A second later and my goose would’ve been cooked.”

“Of course,” the misty Kurogiri said from behind the bar.  “You’re an invaluable part of our operation.” 

“Hey, hey,” a scratchy voice said.  Giran looked and recognized the childish Tomura Shigaraki sitting in a booth playing with a portable game console.  “Who are those weirdos?” 

“Huh?”  Giran checked and saw the man and woman had also been teleported to the bar.  “Oh.  Didn’t realize you guys were sent here too.”

“What is this place?” the skittish man asked.  “Your hideout?  Why’s that guy have a hand on his face?”

“What’s it to you?” Shigaraki said defensively. 

“I apologize for bringing them here on such short notice,” Kurogiri told his boss.  “I suppose you don’t want them here?”

“Not really.”

“I’m sorry about him,” Giran said to the pair.  “Shigaraki, we were just finishing our arrangement.  These nice people will be making the League’s support items and costumes.  Maybe you should be a little courteous.”  Shigaraki groaned and glared at his broker before putting down his game.

“I’ll trust your judgement,” he began, “but I don’t like people who won’t introduce themselves or just kinda hide their face.”

“…You have a hand over yours,” Giran pointed out.

“He’s right, Giran,” the woman said while bowing to Shigaraki.  “I’m sorry for not introducing myself sooner, especially after entering your establishment uninvited.”  She unclipped her broach and removed her cloak, revealing her tanned skin, smoky eyes, and high black ponytail that reached past her waist.  “My name is Kashiko Dokasuru, the leader of Head Games.  If you’ll have us, we’d like to ally with you and sell you our support items.”

“Oh, uh…”  The blonde man stammered for a moment before politely bowing with his leader.  “I’m Seijo Senbo – her bodyguard.  Nice to meet you.”  Shigaraki looked over the pair before returning to his game.

“They’re fine, I guess.”

Chapter Text

“I’m not retreating,” Monoma declared.  He turned and watched as Overdrive finished charging himself and crashed his knuckle guards into each other.  “None of us are.  Right?”

“Mhm,” Yui nodded. 

“It would be shameful to run now,” Ibara asserted.

“I’m not leaving now after I screwed up,” Sero added. 

“…I see,” Edgeshot said while looking up at the floating Reiko and Hagakure, who were floating away from the battle.  “At least our noncombatants are staying back…  Fine.  In that case, take out the generator on his back.”  Overdrive rushed towards the heroes, making everyone besides Edgeshot scatter.  As the villain reached him and threw an electrified punch, the stealth hero folded his body out of the way, making the attack break the wall behind him.  He sprung into the air and swung his hand out, folding his fingers into long claws.  “Ninpo: Heavenly Claw Strike!”  He sliced Overdrive across the back, but the villain was barely phased and fired a lightning bolt at the pro, knocking him across the warehouse.

“I’ve got him!” Sero yelled.  He shot his tape around Overdrive’s arm and pulled, but he couldn’t make the villain budge.  Overdrive dove towards Sero with his arm cocked, but Kamui grabbed the boy in time to avoid the attack.

“Don’t try and attack all on your own just yet,” Kamui warned.  “Let’s wait until he’s worn down.”

“How long’s that gonna take?”

“Hopefully, not long,” Kamui answered.  Behind Overhaul, a giant Yui and Monoma rushed him and slammed their fists in his back.  Overdrive flew forward, but stopped and turned to the pair.  He punched Monoma in the stomach and sent him flying upwards before backhanding Yui.  She blocked the attack, but skidded backwards into a few crates.  Just then, bundles of vines rushed onto the villain’s limbs and entangled them.

“Stand down,” Ibara ordered as her vines detached from her head.  They restricted Overdrive, but not enough for him to stop fighting, and he dashed at Ibara.  Just as he reached her, Reiko phased up from the ground and carried Ibara into the air.

“Thank you for the assistance.”

“I might as well help like this,” Reiko noted.  Overdrive shot a bolt of electricity at them, but Ibara snagged a pipe with her vines and pulled them out of harm’s way.  “Maybe Edgeshot was right and we should’ve left.”

“There’s no use saying these things now, Onryo.”  Reiko turned around and saw Edgeshot balanced on a windowsill, observing Overdrive as he fought.  “I need a clear shot at his generator.  Kamui, try and hold him steady!”

“On it,” the arbor hero answered.  He swung his wooden bindings towards Overdrive, but the villain dashed past his attack and drive his fist into Kamui’s stomach. 

“Mr. Kamui!” Ibara yelled. 

“For a big guy, he’s fast,” Reiko commented.  Overdrive prepared to strike again, but was suddenly through knocked across the room.  Everyone looked up to see a giant Mt. Lady standing over them, wielding a streetlight like a small golf club.

“Sorry to keep you waiting,” she said.  Overdrive got up and shot a lightning bolt at the giantess, but she shrugged off the attack and swung down at him with her streetlight.  Overdrive steadied himself and caught the stack, matching strength with Mt. Lady.

“Now’s my chance,” Edgeshot told himself.  He reappeared behind Overdrive and slashed at the generator on his back, making sparks fly off before a small explosion blew the machine apart.  “Everyone, attack!  His power source is broken, so we have to wear him down!” 

As Overdrive maneuvered the streetlight away, Kamui wrapped his wooden tendrils around his legs and began to squeeze.  Sero compounded the bindings with his tape before Ibara joined in with her vines.  Their combined might was enough to pull his legs together, putting the villain off his balance.  Yui returned to the fray to uppercut overdrive, knocking him into the air.

“Nice job, Minmax!” Mt. Lady commented as she grabbed Overdrive.  “Now what, little man?”  The giant heroine had a pleased smirk on her face, thinking the fight was over, but to her surprise, Overdrive was strong enough to push her grip apart.  As she reached with her other hand to tighten her grip, Overdrive grabbed her costume and yanked himself towards her head, rocketing into her chin.

“Mt. Lady!” Kamui called out.  It seemed like she’d fall backwards, unconscious, but she regained her footing and angrily smacked Overdrive down.  The villain crashed into the concrete floor, making dust and cracked stone fly everywhere.

“Quit making me look bad, asshole!” she complained with a pout.  The remaining heroes looked down at the crater and the unconscious villain that made it.  “If you guys are done gawking,” she continued, “now would be an awesome time to restrain him.”

“Good point, but I could do without the sass,” Kamui said.  He and his two interns worked together and eventually cocooned the villain in tape, vines, and wood.

“So… that’s what pros are like in a fight,” Monoma pondered.

“Scary, huh?” Hagakure said, making the copycat flinch.

“Someone should put a bell on you,” he muttered.  His gaze went to Edgeshot when he loudly cleared his throat.

“What’s up?” Mt. Lady asked as she finished shrinking down.

“I… well, I wanted to apologize to all of you,” he said.  “This mission wasn’t as ‘by-the-numbers’ as I promised.  I put all of our interns in danger—”

“That was more on us,” Reiko interrupted.  “We wanted to stay.”

“Yeah, don’t be so hard on yourself!” Hagakure said.  “We’re just happy we could come.”  Edgeshot looked at the remaining interns, who seemed to agree with the girls, and smiled under his mask.  Down the street, the blaring horn of a police vehicle caught the group’s attention.  They watched as an armored car pull up and let out many officers, along with Tsukauchi’s surveillance van.

“That was quick,” Monoma said as the detective left his car and approached the group.

“They were on stand-by in case fight broke out,” he answered.  “Nice work, everyone.”

“Thank you!” Mt. Lady said, eager for praise.

“We may have won the fight, but our target got away,” Edgeshot said.  “We weren’t here to fight Overdrive, but to capture Giran and learn about this other group.  We’ve failed.”

“Um, Mr. Edgeshot, sir?” Ibara quietly said.  She reached into her utility belt and produced a small metal disk that she offered to the stealth hero.  “When I had that woman entangled in my vines, I grabbed this from under her cloak.  She threw one of these explosive discs at me to stun me and escape my grasp.  I hope this aids in your investigation.”  Edgeshot snatched the disc from her and looked it over before giving it to Tsukauchi.

“Sansa, get an evidence bag,” Tsukauchi called out.  “This may be the lead we need.”

“We may be able to zero in on this group by learning what we can from this device.  If this group is now in business with Giran, we may be able to get some useful information on the League of Villains,” Edgeshot added.

“That’s my intern for you,” Kamui said while putting and hand on Ibara’s shoulder.  “Thanks to her, we’re not leaving empty-handed.  Good job!”

“Th-Thank you, sir,” Ibara mumbled graciously. 

Tsukauchi carefully placed the explosive in a plastic bag and handed it off to be inspected.  “With that bit of evidence and a famous villain now in custody, I’d call this mission successful, at least for our heroes-in-training,” he said.  “Hopefully we can get some information from Overdrive once he’s conscious.  The League is gaining new contacts quickly, but this group… I don’t know why, but they worry me.”

“I’m sure you’ll get somethin’,” Sero said with confidence.

“Cellophane’s right,” Reiko added.  Tsukauchi smiled at the heroes-in-training before the murmur of s crowd caught his ear. 

“Looks like our fight drew a crowd,” Edgeshot noted. 

“Oooh, photo op!” Mt. Lady cheered while grabbed Yui’s hand.  “C’mon!  I’ll show you how to pose for the cameras.”

“There she goes.  Always rolling over for the media,” Kamui grumbled before noticing the jealous expressions on his interns.  “…Well, we shouldn’t let her take all the credit.  Come on, you two.”

“I hope they get my good side,” Sero said as the trio went to the street.

“Can we go too?” Hagakure asked.

“Well… as stealth heroes, we usually leave before the public shows up,” Edgeshot answered awkwardly.  Though he couldn’t see her face, he could sense her disappointment.  “…Fine.”

“Yaaay!”  Hagakure’s gloved hand grabbed Reiko’s and rushed to the street while Edgeshot followed slowly. 

“Coming?” Monoma asked his employer.

“The media has more interest in heroes,” Tsukauchi explained.  “I wouldn’t want to—”

“Nah, I’m not listening to that,” the copycat said while dragging Tsukauchi by his sleeve towards the street.  “You helped out plenty, so come take some credit.  I can’t stand it when talented people are overlooked.”

“…If you insist.”


“I’m glad we’ve got everything settled,” Giran began as he lit another cigarette.  “Head Games will definitely be a great asset to us.  Right, Shigaraki?”  The League’s leader ignored the broker and continued with his game.  “Uh… right, Kurogiri?”

“Of course.  Would you too like to be sent back to your base of operations now, miss?”

“If it’s alright with you, I’d prefer a different address instead,” Kashiko requested while gathering her cloak and broach.  Seijo nervously handed Kurogiri a slip of a paper with an address written on it and rejoined his leader.  “I hope we work well together, Shigaraki.”

“Yeah, whatever,” Shigaraki spat.

“Sorry ‘bout him.  Bad mood, that’s all,” Giran explained.

“Hey, boss,” Seijo quietly said.  He held up his phone to show a breaking news head lone.  Hero team led by Edgeshot stop underworld deal, captures dangerous villain.  “Looks like Overdrive lost.”

“How unfortunate,” Kashiko said.  “Oh well.  At least we won’t have to pay him.”

Chapter Text

“I recognize that smirk,” Kendo said as she and Monoma walked to class.  “Don’t get a swelled head from one successful mission you tagged along for.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.  Besides, I’m sure you did something just as exciting during your internship,” he replied with a knowing grin.

“Yeeeaaah, to-totally.  We… yeah.”  Kendo deflated and trailed off as the pair entered the classroom.  Inside, they saw a few others huddled in conversation.

“You two seriously fought that bad guy?” Pony asked.  “So cool!”

“Sounds scary,” Kinoko said.

“Mhm,” Yui nodded. 

“I didn’t really do much,” Reiko began.  “Of all of us, Ibara probably helped the most.”

“The fact that you stayed and fought is impressive enough,” Tsuburaba added.  “I fought a villain with Air Jet and I was scared as hell.”

“I saw that online,” Kendo said as she and Monoma joined the group.  “That was pretty badass.  Plus, you got your name out there.”

“I guess,” he answered.  “How ‘bout you, Kendo?  Do anything to advertise yourself.”

“…You could say that,” she murmured, making Monoma laugh to himself.  Their attention went to the door as Setsuna and Rin entered the classroom.  Rin still had some bandages around his face and hands and Setsuna seemed to be fussing over him. 

“There he is,” Kendo said.  “How’re you feeling, Rin?”

“I’m good,” he answered while brushing the lizard girl’s hand away.  “I’ve felt fine for a while now.  The rest of these bandages come off tomorrow… tomorrow,” he repeated to Setsuna.

“Buddy, I’m still gonna worry,” she replied with a pout.  “You’re still all red and you have to apply that special lotion—”

“Yeah, you don’t have to keep helping me with that.”

“Well, I’m gonna,” she snapped.  “That’s fun.”

“I don’t want that image in my head,” Kinoko complained. 

“Oh, hey,” Setsuna said.  “I think that’s the first thing you’ve said with no stuttering.”

“Um…”

“Did you get taller, Kinoko?” Kendo asked.  “Or are you just standing a little straighter?”

“Maybe a little,” the mushroom girl replied while rubbing her neck.  “M-My internship with Bubble Girl was… helpful.”

“That’s good to hear,” Reiko said.  “You and Kamakiri were at the same agency, right?”

“Yes, but with different heroes.  He was w-with Mr. Centipeder.”

“Is there a reason he’s playing with his hair like that?” Monoma asked.  Everyone looked to the back desks where Kamakiri was trying desperately to make his Mohawk stand.

“C’mon, you little bastard,” he grumbled while combing his hair up.

“Mr. Centipeder wanted to make him look and act gentlemanly,” Kinoko explained. 

“Wish I could’ve watched that,” Tsuburaba laughed.

“…Wanna see something cool?” she offered with a small grin. 

“I like new Kinoko,” Setsuna said.  “Give us a show, girl.” 

“Kamakiri?” she began.  “What are the rules to a good handshake?”

“Firm but not crushing, two to four seconds, and eye contact,” he quickly explained without pausing his hair care.  After a moment, he realized what he just said and glared at Kinoko.  “Stop doing that!”  Most of the class laughed while Kamakiri stood up in anger.  “C’mon, that was a cheap shot!  I’m still cool, guys!”

“You sure about that?” Kuroiro said as he entered the classroom with Honenuki and Awase.  “I don’t know if I’m classy enough to hang out with you now.”

“Oh hey, Kamakiri, your uniform,” Kendo began.  “It’s correct.  You usually have your shirt untucked or your tie missing.  You did it right today.”  Kamakiri looked down at himself in horror before trying to mess up his clothes.

“This can’t be happening,” he moaned while Kuroiro cackled and the two boys with him snickered. 

“Good morning, all,” Shishida greeted as he entered.  “It’s been a while—”

“Shishida!” Kamakiri barked.  “Tell me I’m cool!  That I’m a rude or have no respect!”

“Why would I say that about you?” the hairy boy asked before smelling the air.  “Kamakiri, are you wearing cologne?”  The question drained the color from the mantis boy’s face and he fell to his knees.

“I don’t wanna wear a suuuuiiiit!” he wailed, sending a wave of laughter through the class.

“Hey guys!” Tetsutetsu yelled as he walked inside with Ibara.  “What’d I miss?”

“Kamakiri became a well-mannered nerd,” Kuroiro explained.

“No, I didn’t!”

“Cool!  Fourth Kind taught me that chivalry and good manners are super manly!”

“Looks like you’re in good company,” Honenuki said to Kamakiri, who was sulking in his seat.

“Hey, hey!  I saw you guys online!” the iron boy continued.  “You fought Overdrive, right?  Monoma, Yanagi, Kodai?  That’s so MANLY!”

“We certainly did,” Monoma said.  “Finally, the public’s eye will be on us instead of Class 1-A.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure,” Ibara began.  “Everyone is still talking about the attack on Hosu and the Hero Killer.  Apparently, a few students from Class 1-A fought with Stain before Endeavor showed up.”

“Curses,” Monoma griped.  “Outshined by those bastards again.”

“I guess nothing’s good enough for you, huh?” Kendo sighed while chopping Monoma on the head.

“Also, curses?” Setsuna asked.  “God, you’re extra.”

“I’m not extra,” Monoma claimed. 

“…Really?” Kendo asked.  “You wanna say that right here, right now, in front of me?”

“…Yes?”

“OK, story time,” Kendo declared.  “Ignoring the obvious evidence, like the plastic wine glass he brings to lunch, I have irrefutable proof of his extraness—”

“Not a word,” Monoma pointed out.

“Two years ago, late in 8th grade, I went over to Monoma’s apartment.  His mom let me in and I went into is room.  He was – and I’m not exaggerating here – he was sitting in a big chair, had his TV showing footage of a fireplace, sipping fruit juice from a wine glass, and wearing a bathrobe and a goddamn fez.”  Kendo turned to Monoma with a dead-serious expression and her hands on her hips, waiting for any response.

“What I do in my downtime is no one’s business but my own,” he replied.  He instantly turned red when the class busted in hysterical laughter that lasted almost a full minute.  “OK, yeah, haha, joke’s on me.”

“You fuckin’ loser!” Setsuna jeered as the laughter finally died down.  “Oh my god.”

“It wasn’t that bad,” the copycat claimed. 

“I honestly would rather have caught you masturbating,” Kendo claimed.

“Now you’re exaggerating—”

“I am not.”

“Do I wanna hear how we got to this topic?” Kaibara asked as he entered with Bondo, Shoda, and Fukidashi. 

“I’ll tell you later,” Tsuburaba said.  “It’s pretty cringy.”

“Monoma and cringe do go hand-in-hand,” Fukidashi noted.

“When did this become all about me?”

“Isn’t it always?” Bondo asked sarcastically.

“Bondo with the zinger,” Setsuna said. 

“Uh, hey, class is about to start,” Monoma quickly interrupted.  “We should get in our seats and stop talking about this.”

“He’s right.  Let’s get ready for class, everyone,” Kendo instructed as she sat down.  It’s been a while, but it’s nice to be back.

Chapter Text

“Alrighty, thank you for being patient, everyone,” Fukidashi said.  “Let’s give a warm welcome to our newest players, Yanagi and Shinso.”

“Hey,” Reiko dryly greeted.

“Thanks for having me,” Shinso said casually.  They were on Fukidashi’s right, across from Tsuburaba and Kaibara.  At the last side of the table was Komori, Yui, and Honenuki, who helped Fukidashi set up the board and mini-figures.

“No prob, man,” Tsuburaba said.  “Any friend of Yanagi is cool in my book.”

“More than friend, it looks like,” Honenuki noted.  Yanagi glared at him and turned away while Shinso chucked and shrugged. 

“Is this gonna work with seven players?” Kaibara asked.

“Yanagi’s not gonna be playing with a normal character,” Fukidashi explained.  “She’ll be role-playing, but she won’t fight or level-up.”

“I don’t really care about that stuff,” Reiko said.  “The role-playing is the only part that sounded interesting.  Shinso wanted in, so I just said ‘fuck it.’”

“We’re all set with the board,” Kinoko said.

“Mhm,” Yui nodded.

“Then I’ll begin the recap,” Fukidashi began.  “Last time, our five heroes completed their quest to rid the nearby mountain of the monsters who had been killing livestock in Joven Village.  You discovered in the cavernous mountain that an Imp had been controlling giant rats to collect food for him.  After a tough battle, you defeated the Imp and are now returning to the village to collect your reward…”


As the band of adventurers continued through the thicket towards Joven Village, four of the members hung back and watched their Bard, Leon Rampart – a bug-eyed half-elf with light-brown hair wearing a flashy red coat over plain green clothes – continued singing his heart out and playing his guitar.

Tonight, the music seems so loud

I wish that we could lose this crowd

Maybe it’s better this way

We’d hurt each other with the things we want to say

We could’ve been so good together

We could’ve lived this dance forever

“Leon, shut up,” one of them said.

...But nooooow, who’s gonna dance with meeeee?

“Seriously man.”

“OK, I’m done,” Leon said while hanging his guitar on his back like a weapon.  “You’re no fun, Al.”

“You’ve been singing for an hour.”  The man talking was Al Genome, a human fighter with dark brown hair and a stern presence.  He wore tight dark clothes and metal armor with a drill-like lance on his back. 

“I was enjoying it,” an emotionless voice said.  Trailing the back of the group was Cosette Vekali, a Goliath Barbarian girl with straight black hair and an oversized mace.  Instead of armor, she wore a short dress made of different animal hides stitched together, along with a leather belt that held her weapon and a few pouches.

“As leader, I say give it a rest.”

“You’re not the leader.  I’m the leader,” Leon claimed.  “Look at me lead.”

“I’m the one who killed the imp,” Al fired back.  “I’ve been the one leading on us since we met.”

“You’re both wrong,” another voice said.  “I’m the leader here.”  The voice came from the imposing half-orc Paladin with ashy blond hair, a monstrous face, and dark metal armor, Clay Groture.

“You haven’t done shit,” Leon said dismissively.  “I’m the most charismatic one here.  Why wouldn’t I lead?”

“Because you already have a leader – me,” Clay replied.

“Wh-Why does it matter?” a quiet voice said.  Everyone turned to the source – a Halfling druid girl named Mycelle Toadstool – who shied away from the attention.  Mycelle had long, mushroom shaped brown hair with flowers placed throughout and wore a light green dress with a dark green cloak.  “We d-don’t need an official leader.  We’re almost at the town, s-so let’s table the discussion.”

“Agreed,” Cosette added.  “Let’s stop talking about it.”

“…This isn’t over,” the three men said to each other as they entered Joven village.  Only a few steps into the town made them notice something odd. 

“It’s deserted,” Clay realized. 

“Hello?” Leon called out.  “Anyone around?  Maybe someone who can give us our reward?”

“Your reward is in the tavern,” everyone heard to their right.  They looked and saw a little girl staring at them blankly.  “Everything will be explained there.”

“Little girl, where are your parents?” Al asked.  The girl ignored him and walked behind a wooden post.  “Hey, hold on.” Al followed her and looked behind the post, but she had disappeared once out of sight.

“Freaky,” Cosette commented. 

“What could have happened here?” Mycelle wondered.  “There were p-people around yesterday.”

“Only one way to find out,” Clay said as he gestured to the tavern at the far end of the village.  “Be on your guard, everyone.”  The five adventurers hurried to the tavern and swung open the door.  Like the town, it was deserted, but seemed fine otherwise.  Across from the door was a note hung to the wall.  The group got closer to the note and leaned in to read the small print.

Turn around, dickbags.

“Turn around, dickbags.”  The grouped whipped back and grabbed at their weapons, ready to battle.  Facing them was a lone man who put his empty hands up.  “Woah.  Why the hostility?”  The man had purple hair, dark bags under his eyes, and an unnerving grin.  He wore a purple cape over a heavy gray shirt and black pants.  “I just wanna talk—”

“What happened to this village?” Al questioned.  “Where is everyone?  Is this your doing?”

“…Yes and no,” the man said as he pulled up a chair.  “Put away your weapons and I’ll explain the situation.  There’s booze behind the bar if you want.”

“Don’t try and tempt us with— Leon, don’t start drinking.”

“You’re not my dad, Al,” the bard grumbled as he grabbed to a bottle of alcohol.  He tipped it back while pushing a barrel to Cosette, who immediately started drinking from it.

“Guys, what if he’s tricking you?” Mycelle warned.  “We should keep level heads.”

“I’m just loosening up,” Leon claimed.  “Tell us about your thing, Mr. Whatever.”

“What is your name?” Clay questioned.

“Gen,” the man replied.  “Gen Miasma.  I’m here investigating the destruction of Joven village.”

“D-Destruction?” Mycelle asked.  “What’s that mean?  The town looks fine—”

“Looks can be deceiving, small person,” Gen said before snapping his fingers.  In an instant, the tavern changed from its pristine condition and showed its true destruction.  Half of the building was gone with only bits of rubble in the ground showing it ever existed.  The side they were on was in complete disarray with broken tables, chairs, and bottles.  Clay walked out from under the ramshackle roof and looked over the town – or what he had thought was a town.  No other buildings were standing.  Even rubble in the ground was sparse.

“What happened here?” Cosette asked.

“Why did it look fine until now?  A spell?” Mycelle questioned. 

“How did I grab the only two real drinks here?”

“Too many questions.  One at a time,” Gen requested.  “I put out those drinks as a peace offering—”

“That’s really not important right now,” Clay interrupted.

“I disagree,” Leon said as he emptied the rest of his drink.

“The village.  Explain.  Now,” Al demanded.

“Scary,” Gen sarcastically commented.  “It was destroyed a week ago.  In an instant, the place was destroyed.  No survivors.  Only a couple of witnesses, and they’re not even sure what caused it.  I’m thinking it was some powerful spell from some powerful asshole.”

“Wait, hold on,” Leon began.  “If it was fine a week ago, why did we walk through like no one’s business yesterday?  Why did it look fine until now?”

“That was my doing.  I made an illusionary town to fool you all.  It’s all a trick on the mind,” he explained while tapping his head.  “I’m what’s called a Psionic – a psychic, if you will.”

“You’re a serial killer?” Cosette asked.

“No, that’s a psycho,” Gen said.  “I have mind powers.  Telekinesis, telepathy, illusions – I have plenty of tricks.  I’ve actually been sitting on the bar this whole time.”  In an instant, Gen was gone, but reappeared sitting cross-legged on the bar.  “Hey.”

“Seems pointless, but alright,” Leon said.

“Sometimes, you just gotta go for style points… hoo-ah.”

“You said you were investigating this village, right?” Mycelle inquired.  “Why?  Were you hired to do it?”

“Coerced, you might say,” Gen said before laughing to himself.  “Seemed more like begging at the time.”

“Screw you,” another voice said.  It was a girl’s voice, seemingly coming from Gen’s pocket. 

“Oh, now you want to speak?  I thought you were shy,” Gen mocked.  He reached into his pocket and tossed a trinket to the ground.  The travelers looked closely and saw it was a necklace containing a large blue gem.  Form the locket, an otherworldly mist rose and took on a human form.  Floating above the floor was a teenage girl with gray hair that covered her left eye.  She wore a fancy white dress that had rips and frayed edges, along with a metal collar that connected her to the locket with an ethereal chain.  Her face was emotionless and featured smudged make-up – most noticeably, a set of mascara tear streaks down her cheeks.


“What a freaky design,” Kinoko commented.

“I don’t remember the make-up part,” Shinso remarked.

“Thought of it on the spot,” Reiko said.  “Cool, right?”

“Super cool.” 


 

“A-A-A ghost?” Mycelle stammered out.  “H-How…”

“I apologize for having Gen trick you all,” the ghost politely said.  “I’m the reason he’s investigating this place.  My name is Anastasia Blithe, but you can call me Ann.”

“…Hello,” Leon casually greeted.  “Hello there, ghost friend.”

“This just raises further questions!” Clay snapped.  “How— what— why—”

“I’ll ask,” Al offered.  “Why would a ghost hire us to kill an imp and have a mystic fake a town?”

“What even is today?” Leon asked while knocking his head on Cosette’s empty barrel of liquor. 

“The mission you accepted was a test,” Ann clarified.  “Gen and I wanted to see you all in action, so we followed you and watched your fight.  For our quest, we’ll need strong companions such as yourself.”

“What quest?!” Clay asked.  “What’s Joven Village have to do with it?  Why the ghost?  This is so convoluted!  My brain hurts!”

“This quest may involve the whole kingdom,” Gen said.  “There’s been plenty of strange happenings all across the land this past few months.  Demonic rituals in Arbosere, experiments on beasts near Aqualung, the dead rising by Millsy Village, and much, much more.  All of it happened after the coup.  Once King Dracule and Princess Saphro were ousted, things have been going to shit all over Syndalle.”

“Joven Village’s destruction had a purpose, though I don’t know why,” Ann added.  “I know because the way it was destroyed… was the same way my home was destroyed… and how I was killed.”

“…How did you die?” Mycelle asked.  Ann was quiet, seemingly in sadness, but her expression slowly became a quiet rage. 

“Thieves raided my family’s manor in search for a locket – a red one, to be exact.  They wanted this blue one as well, but didn’t realize they were kept together, so they missed it.  The manor was then destroyed… with everyone inside.  I cannot rest until the lockets are reunited…”

“So, your resolve bonded your spirit to the locket,” Clay realized.

“Bingo,” Gen said.  “I found this other locket in the rubble of her house not long ago.  Didn’t have anything better to do, so I went along with her idea.  We’re gonna help this ghostly girly find the other locket before more hell breaks loose.  How’s that sound?”


“Wait, wait, hold on,” Tsuburaba said as he started grinning.  “So, Yanagi, you’re saying that on the night your character died… that there was a great big flash and everything just changed?”

“You little fucker.  I get enough Danny Phantom jokes from this guy,” she groaned while pointing to a laughing Shinso.

“You’re just mad because your molecules got all rearranged,” Kaibara added, making Tsuburaba and Shinso laugh even harder.


“You can turn my offer down if you want, but this involves the entire kingdom.  You’ll be swept up either way,” Ann warned.  “Will you help Gen and I stop the evil that plagues the land?”

“…Huddle up, guys, huddle up,” Leon called out.  The five huddled together as Gen moved away, taking Ann’s locket with him.  “What’re we thinking?”

“The ghost has a point,” Clay began.  “All these strange happenings around the kingdom can’t be coincidence, right?  This Gen guy seems pretty strong too, so maybe we can all save the kingdom.”

“I’m not convinced,” Al said, “but we’re all still rookie adventurers, so I doubt a ghost and powerful Psion would be tricking us for no reason.”

“I agree,” Mycelle added.  “If we can help save other places from a terrible fate, we should, right?”

“Sounds good to me,” Cosette said. 

“Alright, you two.  We’re all in,” Leon announced. 

“Nice,” Gen answered.  “Now you don’t need to keep arguing over who’s the leader.”

“Why?”

“I’m the leader,” he declared before walking off.  “Let’s go.”

“Who said you could be the leader?” they all angrily asked.

“I did.  Just now.  I’m also giving us a name.  We’ll now be called Mind’s Eye.”

“Do we get a vote?” Mycelle asked.

“Ehehehehehe… don’t ask stupid questions.”

“You get used to him after a while,” Ann assured her new companions.


“I recognize some of those names Shinso mentioned,” Kinoko noted.  “Saphro is Kendo’s character, right?”

“You also brought up the place Pony went to in her campaign,” Tsuburaba mentioned.

“Fukidashi wanted me to namedrop them.  Hint at future things I guess.”

“I’m building a world here, guys,” Fukidashi declared.  “DM has to plant the plot seeds to be plot points later, y’know?  It’s gonna be cool, trust me.”

“Dude, this is DND,” Honenuki pointed out.  “None of this is cool.”

Chapter Text

Heeheehee.  There he is.  As lunchtime wrapped up and the students worked their way back to their classes, a set of goggles over pink hair peeked out from a corner.  My little cyborg-to-be.  A pair of yellow eyes with scope-like pupils locked themselves on Awase’s back as he walked with Kuroiro and Honenuki.  Now’s the perfect time.  Hatsume fully crept out from the corner and subtly followed the hero students.  Under her arm was a black bag with scrap metal and wires spilling out.  As she crept closer, she whipped out one of her inventions and fastened it to her waist like a belt.  The machine activated and two metal stilts shot out, lifting her off the ground as she pulled out a megaphone.  “Yosetsu Awase!” she yelled into the megaphone.  All eyes went to her, including Awase’s, who already looked surprised and fearful.  “Come to the Design Studio and help me make babies!”  There was a moment of silence before the entire hall burst into laughter, the loudest of which came from Kuroiro.

“Damn, dude!  Your girlfriend is pretty ballsy!” the white-haired boy cackled. 

“Shut up,” Awase said with a tired sigh.  As the students dispersed, Hatsume returned to the floor and scampered over to Awase. 

“Hey!  Come on!  I’ve got some babies I need a hand with and you’re just the guy to help!”

“We’ll leave you two alone,” Honenuki said as he dragged a still-laughing Kuroiro off with him. 

“Hatsum—”

“I’ve also been working on the blueprints for your cybernetic enhancements in my downtime, but I need more of your measurements!”

“Hatsu—”

“I’ll need bicep circumference, finger length, pen—”

“Hatsume!” Awase suddenly barked before taking a deep breath.  “Come over here,” he ordered while dragging her into an empty classroom.

“What’re we doing?” she asked.  “Coming up with an alibi for you skipping class?  I think—”

“Stop,” he said.  “Stop talking for… at least 15 seconds or I might just weld your lips shut.”  This made Hatsume finally settle down and lose her manic grin.  “Enough.  I’m not putting up with your stalking anymore.  It’s creepy and embarrassing and I’ve had enough of it.  Goodbye.”  With his feelings laid out, Awase silently left and continued back to class.  Hatsume peered out of the classroom and watched his back as he walked away. 

Was it something I said?


As afternoon classes in the Support Department continued as chaotically as ever.  Hatsume was noticeably less hectic.  Her usual vigor had slowed to a comparative crawl, though she was still going faster than most other students.  Her senior classmate, Yuyu, looked on worriedly from her own workstation.  What’s up with her today? she wondered.  Did Power Loader scold her?  No, that never upsets her unless he kicks her out.  Yuyu put it out of mind until classes finished.  Once it was just her and Hatsume, she approached her junior.  “Hey, Mei?”

“Hm?”

“You feeling alright?  You’ve been pretty sluggish and quiet since lunch.”

“Must’ve been somethin’ I ate,” the pink-haired girl explained while tightening the screws on her latest creation. 

“Yuyuuuuuu!” a feminine voice called out.  Yuyu turned in time to see Nejire diving into her arms.  “Hi.”

“Hey, Nej,” she greeted. 

“Hi, Hatsume.  What’cha workin’ on?”

“Hydraulic compressors for some second-year,” she flatly explained. 

“Something’s bugging her,” Yuyu quietly explained to her girlfriend.  “That’s the first time she hasn’t gone on a tangent about her project when asked about it.”

“…Boy troubles,” Nejire loudly claimed, making Hatsume flinch.  “Or girl troubles.  One or the other, you’ve got love on the brain.”

“I think you’re barking up the wrong tree, Nej,” Yuyu said. 

“No, she’s right,” Hatsume revealed.  “Awase told me to stay away from him.”

“Aw, really?  That sucks,” Nejire said with a comforting hand on her shoulder.  “Want me to beat him up for you?”

“Nah.  Nothing I can do about it now,” Hatsume casually stated. 

“What set it off?” Yuyu asked.  “What made him finally say no?”

“I invited him to help me out in the studio,” Mei explained.  “I yelled at him through a megaphone to come and make babies with me.”  Yuyu and Nejire looked at each other and both sighed.  “…What?” Hatsume asked. 

“Mei, don’t you think that was maybe, I don’t know, embarrassing for him?”

“I dunno.”

“Let me take this,” Nejire said.  “Hatsume, what else have you done to get his attention?”

“Tried to convince him to become a cyborg, took his measurements in the hall, spied on him as he walked home – normal stuff.”

“No, no,” Yuyu groaned while pinching her forehead.  “Mei, that’s the furthest from normal you can get… which, for you, is normal.  It’s kinda ironic.”

“Well, it’s a little late for that information.  Now what?”

“Oh!  Oh!  I know!”  Nejire proclaimed while bouncing up and down.  “Hatsume, you still have a shot.  We just need to teach you how to act normal for at least a minute.”

“Even that sounds impossible,” Yuyu commented.  “What do you wanna do, Mei?”

“Hmm…”  Hatsume rubbed her chin and looked back down at her workstation.  “My creativity will be stunted if I can’t get him off my mind.  I need to clear the air with him, at the very least.  I’m in, Nejire.”


The trio of girls left U.A. and wound up at Nejire’s house for Hatsume’s “Normalcy lessons.”  Yuyu and Hatsume waited in her excessively pink room as she secretly prepared.

“Question,” Hatsume began.  “How’d you get Nejire to date you?”  Yuyu paused for a moment before laughing.

“Don’t ask me.  I have no clue.  Nejire just kinda showed up one day and wouldn’t leave me alone.  I stumbled into having the perfect girlfriend.  Even now, just the sight of her makes my stomach do flips.”

“No kidding?  Wow.”  Hatsume sat on Nejire’s bed and flopped down on her side.  “My brain’s all scrambled.  I hate it.”

“That’s just how I felt,” Yuyu commented.  Watching Mei have feelings like this is interesting.  It’s like Pinocchio – she’s becoming a real girl.  Her eyes went to the door as Nejire entered, using her Quirk to float off the ground.  She had changed into a blue nightie and was carrying a plastic wand.

“Hi!  I’m the blue fairy!” she proclaimed as she floated inside. 

…Well, that’s some coincidence. 

“I’m gonna turn you into a real girl, Hatsume.”  Nejire reached out and poked a befuddled Hatsume on the nose with her wand.  “OK, ready to start?”

“…I guess.”  Hatsume shot a glance to Yuyu, but the blonde girl was too busy staring at her floating girlfriend to notice.  “What’re we doin—”

“Clothes!”  Nejire grabbed a pile of fabric and whipped it into Hatsume’s face.  “Go change.”  Hatsume held out the outfit – a pink sundress – and grimaced. 

“Not my style,” she declared. 

“Alrighty!” Nejire said with a thumbs-up.  “Next is make-up.  What’s your color?”

“Make-up’s not my thing either.”

“OK, we’ll skip that,” Nejire said nonchalantly while tossing the make-up away.

“Two for two.  Keep it up,” Yuyu snarked. 

“I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, Nejire,” Hatsume began, “but I wasn’t really looking for a makeover or nothin’.  I don’t wanna change too much.  I just need to learn to interact with him without weirding him out.”

“OK, then let’s practice that,” Nejire said.  “Yuyu, you be Awase.  I’ll guide you through talking, Hatsume.”

“Wait, she looks nothing like Awase,” Hatsume pointed out.

“Can’t you just prete—”

“Oh, you’re right,” Nejire noted.  “What should we do?”

“I’ve had an idea for a plastic surgery machine in the back of my mind for a while now.  I just need some scissors, a toaster, several bags of screws, chocolate—”

“Why don’t I just wear a headband?” Yuyu quickly offered.

“That works.”  Nejire grabbed a blue scarf from her drawer and tied it around Yuyu’s forehead before setting her in front of Hatsume  

“OK, let’s start with a greeting,” Nejire instructed. 

“Hi, Awase,” Hatsume began with her usual energy and crazy smile.

“Hey, Hatsume.  What’s up?”  the pink haired girl froze and slowly turned to Nejire.

“Now what?”

“Make conversation.”

“Wanna see this new baby I’ve been—”

“Maybe something other than machines,” Nejire suggested. 

“…My mind is blank!” Hatsume laughed. 

“I don’t wanna rain on your parade, Nej,” Yuyu began, “but I think we’re doing this wrong.  What’s our desired endgame in doing this?”

“Hatsume confessing to Awase and him agreeing to go out with her.  Right?”

“Right,” Hatsume confirmed.

“If they end up a couple, Mei isn’t gonna act like this.  She’ll be herself.  We can’t change who she is and expect her to be happy staying that way, y’know?  Wearing grungy work clothes, being covered in grease and soot, and constantly talking about machines is who Hatsume is.”

“…I guess you’re right,” Nejire said sadly.  “Sorry, Hatsume.”

“Don’t apologize,” she replied.  “We just need some creative thinking!  Right, Yuyu?”

“Right.  Let’s brainstorm.  How do we let Hatsume make her feelings known without scaring anyone?”  Yuyu sat down and scratched her head.  Nejire recognized her girlfriend’s “thinking pose” and mirrored her.  Hatsume copied the pair also, not wanting to feel left out. 

“…Got it!” Nejire announced.  She bolted to her nightstand and dug through the top drawer, pulling out a notebook and pen.  “Love letter!”

“A love letter?” Yuyu asked as Nejire sat Hatsume at her desk. 

“If you can’t find the right words in the moment,” Nejire began, “we’ll find them this way.  Trial and error until you’ve said all you want.”  Hatsume looked down at the paper and grew an uneasy expression.

“Kinda feels like cheating.  Like, I’m being… cowardly by not facing him.”

“It’s not cowardly,” Yuyu assured her.  “You’re just doing things a little different.  You’ve already made it clear to him that you like him, so you’re far from being a coward, Mei.”

“What do I even write?”

“Whatever you really want him to know,” Nejire instructed, “and if you don’t like what you’ve written, just try again.  You can do it!”

“If you insist…”


The next day, Hatsume, Nejire, and Yuyu put their plan into action.  Hatsume’s note was ready in an envelope as they looked through the shoe lockers for Awase’s.  “Don’t worry about him coming here early,” Nejire said.  “I asked Setsuna to stall him after class.”

“As soon as the note is in his locker, I’m booking it back to the studio,” Hatsume proclaimed. 

“Over here,” Yuyu said.  The other girls joined her at Awase’s locker as Hatsume took out the envelope.  She took a deep breath and held it up to the slit in the locker door. 

“Here goes nothing… wait, it’s too thick!”

“Huh?”  Yuyu and Nejire looked closer and realized the envelope was too large for the opening.  “Oops.  Now what?” Yuyu wondered.

“Panic?” Nejire suggested.

“No.  No panicking yet,” Yuyu said.  “Maybe I can pick the lock or—”

“Seriously, guys.  I need to get home.”  The trio of girls froze when they heard Awase coming down the hall.

“Well, shit,” Hatsume groaned.  “Panic?”

“Wait, this is perfect,” Nejire realized.  “You said you it felt cowardly not confronting him head on, so here’s a compromise.  Give him the letter yourself.”  Before Hatsume could argue, Nejire looped her arm around Yuyu’s neck and pulled her away, leaving the young inventor on her own.

“Hold on, Awase!” she heard Setsuna yell.  “I wanna show you that new Godzilla movie trailer.”

“You showed me already.”

“…I wanna show you again!”  Awase turned the corner with Setsuna following close behind.  They both stopped when they noticed Hatsume in front of Awase’s shoe locker with an envelope in her hands. 

“Hatsume,” he began.  “What… what’re you doing now?”  He sounded irritated, making Hatsume nervous.  She looked at Setsuna, who wore an apologetic face, and then at Yuyu and Nejire, who were peeking around the corner.  “Is that another drawing of me as a cyborg?” he asked while pointing to the envelope.  Hatsume forced her body to move and she walked forward.  She swerved to Awase’s right, but stopped to hold the letter out to him.  There was a moment of stillness, but eventually, he took the letter, prompting Hatsume to scamper off without a word.

“Well, my work here is done,” Setsuna said before walking off.  “Later.”  Awase looked around confusedly, ultimately landing his eyes back on the envelope. 

“I hope this doesn’t explode.”  Awase slowly peeled the envelope open and took out the paper inside to read. 

            Awase,

I’m sorry for stalking you.  I ignored your feelings for too long and only focused on my own.  That was selfish.  I’m not used to feeling this way about people – just machines.  What I’ve been trying to say is that I like you a lot.  If you don’t feel the same way, I understand and I’ll leave you alone.

           Mei Hatsume

Awase sighed and looked regretfully at the letter.  He wasn’t sure what to do, but before he could really think of anything, his legs began moving on their own.  He was following Hatsume without realizing.  He rounded the corner, seeing her slowly trudging down the hall, and called out “Hatsume!”

“Hm?”  She looked back and saw Awase approaching her warily. 

“Listen, I…”  He seemed unsure at best, but still looked her in the eyes.  “I read your letter… If your promise to stop stalking me, then I, uh… do you wanna go out sometime?”  His face was turning red, as was Hatsume’s.

“Yeah.  I, uh, I would,” she finally said.  “You have my number already, so… call me sometime.”

“Right.  Right, I’ll do that.  I have to get home now, so… bye.”  He turned and hurried back to his locker, leaving Hatsume on her own again.  She wasn’t by herself for long as Yuyu and Nejire ran out from down the hall and grabbed the pink-haired girl in a hug.

“I’m so proud of you,” Yuyu said.

“Good job!”  Nejire cheered.  Hatsume smiled and returned the girl’s embraces.

“I knew it,” she said.  “He digs me.”

Chapter Text

As morning classes wrapped up and the students of 1-B headed to lunch, Kuroiro stayed planted in his desk and watched everyone leave.  “Hey, Kuroiro?” Monoma began with Tsuburaba and Pony at his side.  “Are you… feeling alright?”

“Why do you ask?”

“You been acting weird,” Pony blurted out. 

“Your look has really changed,” Tsuburaba noted.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Really?” Monoma sarcastically asked.  Kuroiro had always been a little eccentric, but he had seemingly ramped it up in the previous week.  He was wearing a white medical eyepatch over one eye along with red bandages around his hands.  His shirt was untucked and his jacket unbuttoned, showing off a black plastic cross necklace with a dragon on it.  His hair was also shaggier and spikier and he had big earrings.

“Yeah, really.  I’ve always looked like this.”

“You all covered in bandages,” Pony pointed out.  “Don’t be embarrassed if you are injured.”

“Pony, I don’t think that’s it,” Monoma told her.

“I dunno.  Maybe he hit his head,” Tsuburaba suggested with a laugh.

“Don’t concern yourself over me,” Kuroiro told them while running his hand through his hair.  “You’d be meddling in forces beyond your comprehension.”

“Oh, are we?” Monoma tiredly asked.  Kuroiro ignored them stood up, heading for the door.  “I’m pretty sure we can comprehend fake eyepatches.”

“It keeps my dark powers at bay—”

“Yeah, I’m sure it does,” Monoma scoffed as Kuroiro slammed the door behind him.  “Goths.”


Kuroiro shuffled down the hall and glared at the people around him, making a few students nervous.  “Those fools.  They don’t understand the true darkness of my abilities.  The black void that is my soul.”

“Good afternoon, Kuroiro.”  The white-haired boy turned around to see Ibara coming up to him with a pleased smile on her face.

“Hey.”

“I was a little worried about the change in your look recently,” she began, “but then I saw your necklace.”

“My necklace?”  He looked down at the plastic trinket around his neck and went to speak, but Ibara cut him off.

“I’m overjoyed that you’ve found God as well, my friend,” she beamed. 

“Uh, I’m not… th-that’s not what this is,” Kuroiro stammered.  She’s too wholesome.

“Oh.  I’m sorry for making assumptions,” she said with a small bow.  “If I may ask, what is it?”  Kuroiro had been waiting for someone to ask and instantly grew a smirk before posing in a “mysterious” way.

“This charm was forged long ago to seal away evil power,” he embellished.  “I must wear it to keep the power of Black Hole sealed within my body, lest it destroy our very existence.  I must carry this burden on my own and in secret.  Such is fate for the Ebony Hero.”

“…Alright then,” Ibara slowly said.  “Good luck with that… I think.”  She walked off and glanced at him confusedly as she entered the cafeteria.

“She just doesn’t get it,” Kuroiro told himself.

“Doesn’t get what?”  Kuroiro jumped a little bit when he suddenly heard Honenuki behind him.

“You snuck up on me,” he grumbled.  “The true, dark nature of my power confuses Shiozaki.”

“Is that why you’ve been acting like an edgelord?” Honenuki asked, making Kuroiro groan. 

“You don’t get it either.”

“Guess I don’t.  We still on for training later?”

“Sure.”

“Cool.  Let’s go eat,” Honenuki said while leading the white-haired boy into the cafeteria.


Kuroiro looked out the window at the setting sun before putting his eyepatch back on.  Man, I really overdid it with the weights.  I’m gonna be sore in the morning.  His cinched the bandages around his hands and walked back to the personal training areas.  “Honenuki, you almost done?”  He didn’t see Honenuki, but Cementoss instead.

“He’s still at it,” the pro told his student.

“Did he ask you for help with somethin’, sir?” Kuroiro asked.  He peered inside the training area to see Honenuki catching his breath.  He was standing on a layer of cement instead of the normal metal floor.  “He’s practicing his Quirk in there?  Why not just do it outside?”

“Honenuki wanted to practice in a more controlled environment,” Cementoss explained.  While Honenuki went back to his training, Cementoss motioned to a dial near the door.  “These rooms have temperature control.”

“Temperature control?” Kuroiro parroted before looking at the dial.  “30 degrees!?”

“He told me he needs to build up a resistance to the elements,” Cementoss continued.  “Last time we did this, he was at 95 degrees.”  Kuroiro was blown away as he watched Honenuki soften the ground and throw it upwards, creating a wall of cement, all while frozen breath poured from his mouth. 

“That’s intense.”

“He’s quite driven.”  Honenuki returned the ground to normal and trudged to the door.  As he walked out, Kuroiro was immediately shivering from the cold air rushed into the hallway.  “Very impressive, Honenuki” the pro hero complimented. 

“Thanks, Mr. Cementoss.  Sorry I kept you so long.”

“Nonsense.  I’m always happy to help my students.”  Cementoss went to clear out the cement while Honenuki slowly walked off with Kuroiro.

“This is about Todoroki, isn’t it?” Kuroiro asked.  “You’ve had him on your mind since the Sports Festival.  What’s up with that?”

“It’s nothing,” Honenuki replied. 

“This doesn’t look like nothing.”  Honenuki wanted to argue back, but had no excuse.

“Both classes have two recommended students, right?” he rhetorically asked.  “There’s me and Yanagi, and there’s Todoroki and Yaoyorozu.  I don’t think it’s cocky to say that Todoroki and I have better combat-based Quirks than the other two, yeah?”

“Sounds right to me.”

“Me and Todoroki are both the recommended fighting student in our classes,” he continued.  “We’re like doppelgangers.  We should be rivals...  but ever since the Sports Festival, I feels like I have no shot.  I’m supposed to be Class 1-B’s strongest, but how can I do that if I’m stuck behind Todoroki.”  Honenuki clenched his fist and punched his open palm as he glared at the floor.  “It feels like I’m letting our classmates down – like I’m proving everyone right when they say Class 1-A is superior.  I need to train much harder if I’m ever gonna fight Todoroki.”

“Dude…”  Kuroiro didn’t really know what to say, but seeing Honenuki so self-conscious about his strength made him gloomy.  Not even the type of gloomy he enjoyed.  “You haven’t even fought him yet, so don’t just assume you’d lose right away.  Whenever you do fight him, I’ll make sure to cheer you on.”

“…Thanks, man,” Honenuki replied.  “I’m gonna go get something to drink.  Want anything?”

“Something as dark and black as my soul should do.”

“…Milk it is,” Honenuki joked.  Kuroiro sneered as Honenuki walked off before leaning against the wall.

So, you’re trying to one-up someone in Class 1-A too, huh?  He looked down the hall once he heard a set of footsteps.  Walking his way was Tokoyami.  Well, speak of the devil…  “Tokoyami,” he greeted 

“Kuroiro,” the bird-headed boy said as he stopped and locked eyes with Kuroiro.

“…I hope you’re powers of darkness haven’t been giving you much trouble,” Kuroiro hissed while posing.  “A demon with a weak host will eventually devour its container.”

“I wouldn’t worry.  Dark Shadow is completely in my grasp,” Tokoyami assured him while posing more subtly.  “You seem to have a firm handle over your own powers of darkness, but I’d expect that for less-horrifying power.”

“Oh, you think my darkness isn’t as powerful as yours?  Even now, my soul could be shredded and scattered across nothingness.  I truly live a tortured existence.” 

“My demonic powers threaten to consume me and wreak havoc if I lose control.  I must keep constant vigilance.”

“Such is life for a dark soul,” they both said at the exact same time. 

“Just give it up.  I’m way cooler than you,” Kuroiro said.

“Is that so?” Tokoyami asked with an annoyed tone.  The two boys glared at each other for a while before hearing a familiar set of voices coming their way.

“So that’s why you wear a mask all the time?”

“That’s correct.”  The two goth boys looked and saw Honenuki and Shouji walking and talking.  “I’ve often been told my face is somewhat intimidating, so I choose to hide it.”

“I’ve heard that a few times too,” Honenuki answered, “but I just kinda said ‘fuck it’ and refused to hide my face.  I don’t even wear one with my costume.”

“Aren’t you worried that you’d scare the people you save?” Shouji asked.

“A little, but that’s why I wanna be a famous hero.  My face is scary, sure, but I want people to see it and think ‘hey, it’s Juzo, the Softening Hero.  Man, I feel safe.’”

“I see.  That’s an admirable goal,” Shouji complimented.  “I must admit, I wish I had the confidence to do something like that.”

“It’s not really about confidence, y’know?  We’re just doing two different things.  One isn’t better than the other.”

“I see your point,” Shouji said as he and Honenuki approached the goth boys. 

“Hey, I didn’t know you guys were pals,” Honenuki commented.

“Uuuuh, yeah.  Pals,” Kuroiro fibbed.  “Best pals.”

“Correct.  We are… pals,” Tokoyami continued before hastily exiting.  “Well, I should be going.  Goodbye.”

“Later,” Shouji said before following the bird-headed boy.

“Sooooo… pals, huh?” Honenuki asked while tossing Kuroiro a can of juice.  “Really sounded like it.”

“You’re one to talk, Mr. ‘I have to surpass Todoroki,’” Kuroiro shot back.  “I met him after the Sports Festival at a bookstore.  He was looking at gothic poetry.  Since then, me and him have had this… goth-off, for lack of a better term.”

“That explains all this,” Honenuki said while gesturing to Kuroiro’s accessories.  “Trying to get the… edge on him?”

“That was bad,” Kuroiro commented before laughing at the terrible joke.

“I guess we’re both trying to one-up someone in 1-A.  We have more than a few things in common with them.”

“Never thought I’d say this, but I know now what it’s like to be Tetsutetsu.”

“True.”  Honenuki finished off his drink and tossed the can into a nearby bin.  “I’m starving.  After I change, we should go get something to eat.”

“Together?  Like a date?” Kuroiro asked jokingly.

“Sure.  Let’s call it that,” Honenuki replied.  Kuroiro nearly choked on his drink while Honenuki headed to the locker room.  “Be back in 5.”  The white-haired boy looked back and forth between Honenuki in his drink with a blank mind.

...What the fuck just happened?

Chapter Text

With school back in its usual rhythm, time flew by fast.  Without realizing it, the last week of June had snuck up on Class 1-B and finals were close at hand.  “Son of a bitch… Son of a bitch… I’VE BARELY STUDIED AT ALL!” Awase (grade rank 20/20) yelled.

“I feel that!” Setsuna (rank 19/20) said jovially.  “Hahahahaha!”

“Sets, why are you laughing?” Rin (rank 10/20) asked from behind Setsuna.  His girlfriend stopped laughing and turned around slowly.  She was still smiling, but had streams of tears running down her cheeks.

“’Cause I’m hopeless,” she whispered on the verge of both laughing and sobbing.

“D-Don’t cry!” Rin quickly said.  “I can help you study!  You can pass!”

“Thanks.  You’re the best,” the lizard girl complimented while burying her face in Rin’s shoulder. 

“It feels kinda weird that we’re already at finals,” Fukidashi (rank 12/20) said.

“Agreed,” Bondo (rank 11/20) replied.

“This first semester has been one thing after another,” Kinoko (rank 7/20) added.  “We had the Sports Festival so early in the year, then the internships not long after—”

“That’s what I mean!” Awase suddenly barked.  “We’ve had so much shit to do!  I just haven’t had the time!  That’s my problem!”

“It’s not that hard to keep up with just a little studying,” Monoma (rank 2/20) interjected

“C’mon, Awase.  You can still pull off a passing grade,” Kendo (rank 3/20) assured him.

“Everything we’ve learned was pretty simple stuff,” Reiko (rank 6/20) said.  “I’m surprised you couldn’t keep up.”

“Don’t talk to me like I’m an idiot!” Awase griped.

“How’s anyone gonna talk to you now?”

“Don’t you get on your high horse, Kamakiri!” the welding boy fired back.  “You’re not exactly a model student!”

“I’ll be just fine,” Kamakiri (rank 18/20) answered.

“Yeah!  I’m sure we can pull this off, guys!” Tetsutetsu (rank 15/20) shouted with a big smile.

“Hey, how’d we do worse than him!” Setsuna asked.

“Yeah!  You’re supposed to be the class idiot!” Awase yelled at the still-smiling Tetsutetsu.

“It’s not just a written test,” Shoda (rank 9/20) pointed out.  “We’ll have a practical exam too.”

“I wonder what kind of test it’ll be?” Rin questioned. 

“I wouldn’t worry too much about that,” Kendo said.  “I asked Togata about it and he said the final exams are usually against robots like the entrance exam.”

“No way!  That’s great!” Awase cheered.  “Now I just need to study my ass off!”

“If you’re really in dire straits, perhaps I could assist you,” Shishida (rank 1/20) offered.

“Seriously?!  Could you really?!”

“Hey, could me and Rin get in on this?” Setsuna asked.

“Of course.”

“Uuuh, can me and Kaibara join in too?” Tsuburaba (rank 16/20) asked.

“Hero Law isn’t good subject for either of us,” Kaibara (rank 13/20) admitted. 

“I’m happy to help,” Shishida said.

“We’re gonna kick that test’s ass!” Tetsutetsu declared.  “Right, Ibara?!”

“I do hope so,” Ibara (rank 4/20) replied.  “The summer training camp sounds like fun, so I wish we can all succeed.”

“I’ll need to buckle down and study all my notes,” the iron boy declared.  He pulled out a spiral notebook form his bag and showed it off to Ibara.  She took it and flipped through the pages of illegible scribbles, then looked back to the oddly-proud Tetsutetsu.  “I’ve got this in the bag.”

“…It seems that way,” Ibara politely said.  “Perhaps we could study together?  You seem to… have a grasp on the material, so I may learn something from you.”

“That sounds awesome!”

“She’s too polite for her own good,” Monoma noted as he watched the pair. 

“Maybe she could teach you,” Kendo snarked.

“Are we still on for our usual study sessions?”

“Yup.”

“You guys study together?” Pony (rank 16/20) asked as she approached Kendo and Monoma.

“Every finals week,” Monoma said.  “How about you, Pony?  Need a study partner?”

“Could you?!” Pony practically begged.  “My grades aren’t super good.  Hope I’m not imposin’.”

“We’re happy to have you,” Kendo assured her.  “Hey, Yui?” she called out.  “Wanna study with us?”

“OK,” Yui (rank 8/20) answered.

“Those fools.  Flocking to knowledge at the very last second,” Kuroiro (rank 14/20) said to himself.

“Looks like you’re not in great shape yourself,” Honenuki (rank 5/20) noticed.  “Need a tutor?”

“…Yes please.”


The students of 1-B studied and trained all week for their final exams, determined to pass and prove themselves.  After the grueling written test, they gathered outside in their hero costumes for the practical exam.  Waiting for them was Principal Nezu, who stood in front of a line of teachers – Vlad King, Power Loader, Cementoss, Present Mic, Midnight, Snipe, 13, and Ectoplasm.  “Hello all,” the principal greeted.  “I hope your prepared for your practical exam.”

“Bring on the robots!” Awase boasted.  “I’m ready to kick some ass!”

“I’m sorry, but you won’t be fighting robots,” Nezu politely explained.  “After some deliberation, we decided to completely revamp our final exam format to focus not only your own skills, but teamwork and battling against real opponents.  You’ve been split into pairs and will fight against one of our own U.A. staff memebers.  Isn’t that exciting?”

“We’ve gotta fight the teachers?” Setsuna asked.

“Are we ready for something like that?” Fukidashi wondered. 

“I’m sure you’ll do fine, but it’ll be tough,” Mr. Kan said.  “Class 1-A went yesterday and 15 of them passed.”

“Some of 1-A failed?  That’s hilarious,” Monoma commented before being chopped on the head by Kendo.

“If we’re in pairs, then shouldn’t there be 10 teachers here?” Kendo asked.  “I see only nine.”

“Our final proctor is running a bit late– oh, there he is,” Nezu said while looking up.  1-B mimicked him and saw a blue figure hurtling towards the ground.

“I AAAAM… HEEEEEERE!”  All Might crash-landed next between the students and heroes turning the stone beneath him to rubble.  “TO FIGHT!”

“Two of us are gonna fight All Might?” Kuroiro said.  “I feel bad for those poor saps.”

“You are the poor sap, Kuroiro!” All Might announced. 

“…What?”

“You’ll be facing me!  The third match of the day will be me against you and Shiozaki.”

“…What?”

“Having trouble processing it?” Tsuburaba asked with a laugh.  “Dude, you’re fighting All Might!”

“…Shit,” Kuroiro grumbled.

“All Might, sir?” Ibara began.  “If I may ask, how were the match-ups decided?  Both Kuroiro and I are more adept in capture and rescue then in fighting.”

“That’s exactly why this match is happening!  Wanna explain our reasoning, Vlad?”

“I guess,” Kan began.  “The matches and teams were decided based on factors such as fighting style, grades, and interpersonal relationships.  For example, our reasoning behind this pair and opponent was on your personalities.”

“Our personalities?” Kuroiro asked.

“Shiozaki, you’ve made it clear on many occasions–”

“VERY clear,” Mic interrupted before innocently whistling.

“You’ve made it clear that you hate senseless violence,” Kan continued.  “In a life-or-death situation, especially when innocent civilians are involved, you cannot hold yourself back like that.  You can deal with villains however you want, but holding back like that won’t fly in a crisis.  By fighting someone as strong as All Might, you’ll have to push yourself and do whatever it takes to win, even if you have to hurt him.”

“Must I really?” Ibara asked in disbelief.

“If you can win with your usual methods, then that’s great!” All Might said.  “We just wanna make sure you give it your everything!”

“What’s this have to do with me?” Kuroiro interjected.

“You have a knack for staying calm under pressure and pushing your comrades to do whatever’s necessary to succeed,” Kan explained.  “An example would be your Heroes vs Villains training where you convinced Awase to attack Kodai.”

“You also didn’t flip out when you learned I was your opponent,” All Might added.  “Very impressive.”

“Our other match-ups weren’t as in depth into your personalities,” Kan continued.  “We were mostly looking at fighting styles and grades for those.”

“Please take a look at the monitor behind us,” Nezu said.  “Be on the lookout for your name as we announce the rest of the match-ups.”

 

Match 1: Sen Kaibara and Tetsutetsu Tetsutetsu vs. Cementoss

Match 2: Kojiro Bondo and Manga Fukidashi vs. Present Mic

Match 3: Shihai Kuroiro and Ibara Shiozaki vs. All Might

Match 4: Yosetsu Awase and Setsuna Tokage vs. Nezu

Match 5: Kinoko Komori and Nirengeki Shoda vs. 13

Match 6: Itsuka Kendo and Reiko Yanagi vs. Ectoplasm

Match 7: Juzo Honenuki and Kosei Tsuburaba vs. Midnight

Match 8: Neito Monoma and Pony Tsunotori vs Vlad King

Match 9: Hiryu Rin and Jurota Shishida vs. Snipe

Match 10: Togaru Kamakiri and Yui Kodai vs. Power Loader

 

“Your time limit for the exam is 30 minutes,” Nezu continued as he took out a pair of handcuffs.  “You have two options to claim victory – either put these handcuffs on your opponent or escape from the testing rounds through the gate.”

“We can just run?” Pony asked.

“You’ll be up against people much more experienced than you,” Midnight explained.  “In a real situation like this, you may be tasked with finding a hero more suited for the situation, so running to get reinforcements may be in your best interest.”

“Think of this exam like a real battle,” 13 interjected, “and treat us as villains.”

“Now, I know what all of you are thinking,” All Might added.  “You think your only option is to run since you’re so outmatched.  That’s why the design course whipped up something very special for today.”  He pulled out from his belt a pair of thick metal bracelets.  “Booyah!  Ultra-Compressed Weights designed by our very own Mei Hatsume.”

“Ooooh, so that’s what Mei’s been working on,” Awase said to himself.  “She mentioned not being allowed to talk about them.”

“These will weigh us down by about half our body weight, so now, the playing field be a little more even.”

“We’ll begin the exams now,” Kan said.  “Kaibara, Tetsutetsu, you’re up first.”

“Yes, sir!”

“Right.”

“While you all wait for your turn, you can either strategize or watch the other fights inside.  Don’t let me down, class.  Show us all what you can do.”

Chapter Text

“I think we have a pretty good plan,” Kendo said as she and Reiko walked through the facility.  “It’s a good thing we can try to escape instead of fight.  Your Quirk is perfect for that.”

“Yeah, but I think Ectoplasm is prepared for my Quirk,” Reiko noted.  “They’re not gonna make it easy.”  The girls entered a dark room with a large screen on the wall.  Recovery Girl was present to watch over the fights, and already joining her was Monoma and Pony.

“You guys are gonna watch the matches too?” Kendo asked.

“Yeah.  We’ve got a strategy figured out,” Monoma explained, “and our match isn’t for a while, so might as well.”

“I’m gonna run my little tail off!” Pony announced.

“Sounds good,” Reiko said.  “Looks like the first match is starting.” 


“Team Kaibara and Tetsutetsu.  Practical exam: begin.”

“LET’S DO IIIIIIIIT!”

“Don’t give away our location like that,” Kaibara scolded.

“I’M!  SORRY!” Tetsutetsu yelled.

“…Let’s just go.”  The pair of boys jogged through the city area, keeping their eyes peeled for the gate and for Cementoss. 

“So, what’s the plan?” Tetsutetsu asked.  “I’m thinking we fight.  Probably get a higher score that way.”

“Maybe, but we should focus on just passing and worry about score later,” Kaibara said.  They turned another corner and found both Cementoss and the exit gate further down the street. 

“Looks, like we can’t avoid him,” Tetsutetsu said while hardening his skin into steel.  “Get ready, Kaibara.”

“Cementoss isn’t a very mobile fighter,” Kaibara explained.  “If we get in close, it’ll be easy to stay close.  The problem is that we’re always in his range since we’re in a city area.”  The boys felt the ground rumble as Cementoss activated his Quirk.  Between them and the hero, walls of cement sprung up.

“Let’s see you try and counter this,” Cementoss said.  “Will your bodies and Quirks hold out long enough to reach me?”  Tetsutetsu ran towards the walls with his iron fist cocked, quickly followed by Kaibara who spun his arm like a drill.  They shouted and drove their fists into the first wall, making It crumble apart almost instantly.  They kept going and continued into the second wall, shattering it into debris.

“KEEP ON PUSHIN’, KAIBARA!”

“RIGHT!”  They boys continued to pound their way through the never-ending walls, but as time went on, they began to slow down.

“Prolonged fights aren’t your strengths,” Cementoss noted.  “My Quirk has no limitation like that.  All you’ve done is waste time and energy.”

“He’s right,” Tetsutetsu realized.  “I’m running low on iron.”

“My arms are seriously worn out,” Kaibara said while clutching his right arm.  “We need a new strategy.”

“Dammit!  We can’t lose this!  I won’t give up!”  Despite his declaration, Tetsutetsu couldn’t think of anything while more walls popped up around him.  “Shit!  If only there was a way to combine our Quirks.”

“…Wait, say that again,” Kaibara requested.

“This would be way easier if we could combine our Quirks—”

“That’s it!  I never thought I’d say this, but you’re a genius, Tetsutetsu!”  Kaibara quickly unfastened his utility belt and held out his arm.  “Do you have enough iron left for one last push?”

“You bet!”


They’ve been quiet for a while now, Cementoss thought.  Have they given up?  He considered ending the fight then and there, but then heard a sound.  It was Tetsutetsu screaming – not a rare sound to hear, but it was quickly getting closer.  How are they covering so much distance so quickly?  Cementoss got up and backed away from the cement wall closest to him.  They should be slower after fighting for so long.  As the wall burst apart, Cementoss saw their strategy – Tetsutetsu’s legs were strapped around Kaibara’s spinning arm and he was holding his arms above his head, forming a human drill. 

“SO DIZZYYYYYYYY!”

“We’re almost there!” Kaibara assured his teammate.  Cementoss reached down to activate his Quirk again, but Kaibara aimed Tetsutetsu low and skidded him across the ground before swerving up towards Cementoss’s torso.

“LET’S SAY IT!” Tetsutetsu begged.

“You got it,” Kaibara replied with a smile.

“GIIIIIIGA DRIIIIIILL BREEEEEAAAK!” Tetsutetsu’s spinning fists dug into Cementoss and hurled him into the air as the boy’s shouted their attack name. 

“I’ve got him!” Kaibara declared as he unhooked Tetsutetsu from his arm.  He grabbed the handcuffs from his pocket and ran to where Cementoss was about to land.  As the pro hit the ground, Kaibara dove and hooked the cuff onto his ankle.  “Captured.”

“Team Kaibara and Tetsutetsu have passed.”


 

“Alright!” Kendo cheered.  “Now that’s teamwork!”

“That was super cool!” Pony gushed.

“Only Tetsutetsu would agree to such a risky move,” Recovery Girl pointed out, “but they pulled it off with flying colors.”

“Is he OK?” Reiko wondered.  “He’s looking a little green.”  Everyone watching had to turn away from the screen as Tetsutetsu began an extended session of projectile vomiting.  “Oof.”


 

“Team Bondo and Fukidashi.  Practical exam: begin.”

“I can’t believe they made me come back out here,” Mic grumbled near the entrance gate.  He looked around his feet for any bugs, then back at out into the forest training area.  “Not one of them would trade with me.  Bunch of jerks, all of them.  ‘Oh, we need to have the same areas for both classes,’” he said in a mockingly whiny voice.  “At least neither of these kids can summon bugs… I hope.”  Mic grew impatient as he waited for Bondo and Fukidashi to show their “faces” and decided to be proactive.  He took a huge breath and sent an eruptive scream forward into the forest.  “COOOOOOOOMME OOOOOUUUUUT!” Nothing.

“HUUUUURRRRRY UUUUUUP!”

“LEEEEEET’S GOOOOOOO!”

“C’MOOOOOOOOON!”

Still nothing.

“This is boring,” Mic said while checking his watch.  “They’re really biding their time.  They know my location after my attacks, so they must have a strategy if they’ve waited this long.”  It wasn’t long after that Mic finally saw Bondo approaching.  No Fukidashi, huh?  That crafty little gremlin must be around here somewhere.  Mic reeled back and inhaled for another shouting attack, prompting Bondo to spray a pile of glue in front of him.  The glue hardened instantly and Bondo ducked behind it.  “YYYEEEEEEEEAAAAAHHH!”  The leaves and branches were blown back from the shout’s force but Bondo’s glue pile was unaffected. 

Fukidashi’s probably close by, but I don’t know where.  It won’t be as powerful, but I can at least hit him without aiming.  Mic let out another shout, this time into his neck speaker, which sent out shockwaves in all directions.  Now, where are you?

“Hey, Mic!”  The pro looked up to see Fukidashi in the air, silhouetted by the sun.

How’d he get up there?  Did Bondo throw him?  Mic inhaled to attack again, but Fukidashi made his move first.

“SHING!” Fukidashi called out, summoning a bright light from his speech bubble head.

“So bright, even with my shades,” Mic complained before screaming into his speaker and sending shockwaves out.  Once the spots in his eyes went away, Mic checked around the area again.  He had lost sight of Fukidashi, and Bondo hadn’t made a move to attack, but two more piles of glue had appeared much closer to Mic. 

So, it was a distraction to let Bondo get closer and confuse me of where he could be.  If he’s behind one of these two new piles, then I’m in range of his glue.  He could still be behind the first pile, or even behind a tree.   Mic checked behind himself quickly and remembered he was immediately in front of the gate.  I can’t move from this spot without giving either of them the chance to escape, but I’ll totally see them coming.  After another moment of waiting, Mic let out another sound attack aimed straight forward.  At point blank, Bondo can’t be enjoying my solo.  Fukidashi’s probably not holding up awesomely either.  I’ve got this in the bag—

“BOOOOOM!”  An explosion hit Mic’s left side, tearing up his costume and damaging him. 

“Little gremlin,” Mic growled while looking at Fukidashi, who was along the fence on his left.  If you’re over here, I’m guessing Bondo is over here.”  He turned around and saw Bondo running towards him along the right side of the gate.  He could also see that Bondo’s earholes were plugged up by his own glue.  So that’s how he could take so many of my shouts.  He inhaled for another shout, but before he could…

“BOOOOOOOM!”  Another explosion went off, this time at Mc’s feet, and he was thrown into the air.  Bondo shot out glue and nailed Mic in mid-air, making sure that Mic would be staying down once he landed. 

“Welp, you got me,” Mic said as Bondo cuffed him.  “Nice work.”

“Aw yeah!” Fukidashi cheered while raising his hand.  “Up high!”

“Down low,” Bondo said while hi-fiving his teammate.

“Team Bondo and Fukidashi have passed.”


“Team Kuroiro and Shiozaki, please report to Training Ground Beta for your practical exam.”  Ibara looked down at her feet and sighed before heading down the hall.

“I guess I can’t avoid it any longer,” she told herself.

By fighting someone as strong as All Might, you’ll have to push yourself and do whatever it takes to win, even if you have to hurt him.  Kan’s words repeated in Ibara’s mind again, making her heart sink further down. 

I understand his reasoning.  I understand that I must do everything I can to protect people once I’m a hero.  I understand.  I really do.  But…  She stopped and leaned on the wall, clenching her shaking hands together.  I don’t know if I’m ready.  She jumped a bit when she heard heavy footsteps coming her way.  After a moment, Tetsutetsu emerged from around the corner.

“Oh hey!” he greeted with his normal gusto.  “Headin’ to your match?”

“Y-Yes… I am.”

“Good luck!  I’m rootin’ for ya!” he said while bumping Ibara’s shoulder playfully and continuing down the hall

“Thank you… Tetsutetsu?”

“’Sup?”

“I… have a question.”

“’Kay!”  Ibara couldn’t will herself to look back at Tetsutetsu, but took a deep breath and continued.

“Why do you like to fight?”  The iron boy was silent for a while, obviously having trouble putting his thoughts into words.

“It’s… it’s like… I dunno.  It’s just fun to me.  It’s something you have to put your all into, no matter what.”

“But fighting causes pain,” Ibara said.  “I just can’t bring myself to take part.  I could never enjoy it.”

“You don’t have to,” Tetsutetsu told her.  “No one likes to hurt people.  It’s not the pain that makes fighting fun for me – it’s the passion!  You don’t have enjoy fighting.  You don’t even have to fight back if you can win without it.”

“Team Kuroiro and Shiozaki, please report to Training Ground Beta for your practical exam.”  The announcement came again and Ibara still couldn’t bring herself to move, but then Tetsutetsu put his hand on her shoulder.

“If there’s anyone in the world who can defeat All Might without damaging him, it’s you.”  Ibara’s breath hitched.  She could practically feel his sincerity through his grasp. 

“Tetsutetsu… I—”  She was stopped when the boy lightly shoved her forward.  Looking over her shoulder, Ibara saw the boy giving her a thumbs-up and a toothy grin.

“Do your best, OK?”

“I… yes.  I will.”  She smiled back at the boy and sped towards Training Ground Beta.  It took a few minutes, but she arrived to meet Kuroiro at the entrance.  “I apologize for my tardiness, Kuroiro.”

“It’s fine,” he replied.  “All Might said you may need a few minutes.”

“Where is All Might?”

“He’s further in the city.  Probably near the exit gate.”  Kuroiro handed Ibara the handcuffs and they walked into the fake city.  “You’ve got a better shot of actually fending off All Might, so try and cuff him if you can.  I’ll support you if I’m able to, but I’ll also look for a chance to head for the exit.  Sound good to you?”

“Yes.  I’ll… I’ll do whatever it takes to win.  I promise.”  Ibara gripped the cuffs in her hands and looked ahead, ready to face the #1 hero.  Whatever it takes.

“Team Kuroiro and Shiozaki.  Practical exam: begin.”

Chapter Text

“I guess they’re ready,” All Might said to himself.  He stretched out his legs and rolled his shoulders from his position in front of the exit gate before slowly pulling back his fist.  “Let’s see if they can handle an attack from the #1 pro.”  In a flash, his punch was thrown and a wave of destructive force flew down the main road.  The pavement practically evaporated into dust.  The faces of buildings were stripped away.  Small bridges bent and tore away from the pressure.  All the way down the main road was absolute devastation from the single punch.  “A pretty good warm-up, I’d say.  Good job, All Might,” he told himself.  “Let’s see if my students are still up and about.” 

All Might dashed down the block before slowing to a jog about halfway through.  Gotta keep my ears open and my eyes peeled.  Shiozaki can use her vines to try cuffing me from a distance.  There’s also Kuroiro – he may try slipping by me and then run to the exit.  As the entrance gate came into view, All Might stopped and looked around to find his opponents.  “Oh, heroes,” he called out.  “I’m ready to fight if you are!”  He couldn’t find a trace of either student.  “Oh well.  If there are no heroes to stop me…”  All Might clenched his muscles and raised his fists over his head.  “I’ll just destroy this whole area!” 

Before All Might could bring his fists down he felt his arms constricted.  He looked up and saw vines encircling his arms and leading down an alleyway on his right.  “Finally making your move, eh?”  All Might snapped the vines easily and ran down the alleyway.  At the end of it, he didn’t find Ibara, but a bundle of vines rooted in the concrete instead.  Ah, yes.  Shiozaki can control her vines even after detaching them.  They’re probably on their way to the gate now.  All Might turned and ran back to the main road, but didn’t notice as a single vine coiled around his ankle.


“It seems he hasn’t notice the vine on his ankle yet,” Ibara said as she and Kuroiro ran down the side street opposite of the direction All Might had gone.  “As long as it’s on him, I’ll know his location.”

“Right.  Let me now where he is next time he sends a fucking typhoon our way.  It’ll be hard to tell.”

“He’s back on the main road,” Ibara explained while ignoring her partner’s sass.  “I don’t think he knows our location.  Wait, he just jumped.”  The duo looked up worriedly and saw All Might rising above the buildings behind them.

“Think he sees us?” 

“New Hampshiiiiiiire…”

“I’ll take that as a yes,” Kuroiro sighed.

“SMASH!”  As All Might rocketed towards them, Ibara shot her vines forward and pushed Kuroiro ahead while she jumped back.  Just as they landed, so did All Might.  The concrete under his feet was crumbled instantly and the force of his landing shredded the vine around his ankle.  “Pretty sneaky, young Shiozaki.”  Ibara instantly sent more vines to All Might and pinned his arms to his sides, but only for a moment.  “I’m afraid sneaky won’t be enough today!”  All Might flexed and broke the vines apart, then grabbed at the ends still attached to Ibara.  He yanked them forward, sending her flying into his grasp with a pained yelp.  Before she could attack again, All Might pushed her into the building wall, crumpling the metal on impact.  “You just stay here while I deal with your partner.”

“W-Wait!” Ibara gasped.  She watched helplessly as All Might ran to Kuroiro and plucked him off the ground before slamming him down into the pavement.  Kuroiro was stunned, barely having time to react before yelling in pain.

“Is that all, you two?” All Might asked.  “We’ve barely started.”  In an instant, Ibara pushed herself from the dented wall and pulled Kuroiro into her arms.  Her vines then shot up, pulling her up the side of the building. 

“Don’t worry, I’ve got you,” she assured Kuroiro.

“Delawaaaaaaare SMASH!”  Ibara heard the attack coming and swung herself to the right, avoiding the incoming blast of air pressure.  She watched as the attack tore across the building, leaving a deep scar across the metal and windows.

He’s too powerful, Ibara told herself.  I can’t hope to match his strength with my vines.

“SMASH!  SMASH!”  All Might fired two more air-pressure attacks, but Ibara dodged both and pulled herself onto the roof.  Once she landed, Ibara stopped and set Kuroiro down. 

“Are you OK?”

“I’ll be fine,” Kuroiro groaned while holding his side.  “Let’s just keep going.”  He got on his feet, but then fell into Ibara’s arms and coughed for air. 

“Kuroiro!” she said in worry.  As a line of blood trickled from Kuroiro’s mouth, Vlad King’s words dug into her mind again. 

In a life-or-death situation, especially when innocent civilians are involved, you cannot hold yourself back like that.  Ibara grimaced at the memory and bit her lip, trying to think of the best course of action.

Should I really…?

“Shit!  Behind you!” Kuroiro warned.  Ibara looked back quickly and saw All Might above them coming down like a comet.  “Let’s go!”

“R-Right!”  She ran with Kuroiro leaning on her shoulder and leapt of the roof towards the main road.  While a few vines curled around Kuroiro, the rest shot out to another rooftop and hooked on the corner.  The duo swung their way down the street, heading towards their exit.

“Delawaaaaare SMASH!”  A blast of air pressure from All Might destroyed the rooftop Ibara’s vines clung to, but she grabbed onto another building and continued swinging down the street.

“incoming!” Kuroiro warned.  Ibara glanced back and saw All Might rocketing towards them with his arms in an X-shape.

“Carolinaaaaaa SMASH!”  At the last second, Ibara lowered herself and Kuroiro out of the way, but the attack snapped their vine.

“Oh fuck!”

“Hold on!” Ibara cried out.  She hooked her vines onto a broken window and swung out their remaining momentum before tumbling onto the main road.  “Are you OK, Kuroiro?”

“Never better.”  The pair got up and surveyed the area for their opponent.  They were getting very close to the exit gate, but All Might blocked there path.

“I’m impressed that you’ve made it this far without a single attack,” All Might complimented.  “You’re both fine students, but this is U.A., where you push yourself beyond your limits.  Any limits.”

“Shiozaki, are you still good to fight?” Kuroiro asked.  “Shiozaki?”  He looked and saw Ibara’s face twisted up in anguish and anxiety.  “Hey!  Get a hold of yourself!  Didn’t you say you’d do whatever it takes to win?”  Ibara jolted from her nervous freeze and looked to her teammate.  “We’re almost at the gate.  We can pass!  I’ll try and make it there… can you keep All Might away from me?”

“Kuroiro…”  Ibara’s chest felt heavy with emotions and she paused, but then saw the line of blood that had come from her teammate’s mouth.  He’s hurt because of me, she thought.  I promised never to raise my hands in violence.  I thought I was strong enough to uphold my vow, even as a hero.  But now…  “I’ll do it.”

“Don’t forget the cuffs,” Kuroiro instructed.  “If you have a chance to cuff him before I reach the gate, take it.”

“I will.”

“Let’s continue, my students!” All Might said as he ran towards the duo with his fist cocked.  “Detrooooooiiiiit…”

“Kuroiro, now!” Ibara called out.  All Might watched as Kuroiro’s chest portal opened and vines poured out.

“What the— you stored vines in his body for a sneak attack?”  The vines spread out over All Might’s front and then went down, rooting themselves in the ground.

“Kuroiro, get going,” Ibara instructed.  As her partner left, her hair burrowed into the ground and popped up behind All Might, constricting him from behind.

“A pincer attack, eh?” All might commented.  As he struggled against the bonds, a vine holding handcuffs snuck its way across the ground towards All Might’s ankle.

As long as he doesn’t notice, I can end this here.  We can win right now!

“Oklahomaaaaaa SMASH!”  All Might suddenly broke into a spinning frenzy that sent the vines holding him flying away, along with the handcuffs.

“No!  The handcuffs!” Ibara yelled.

“And now for young Kuroiro!” All Might announced.  Ibara quickly wrapped him with her vines again, but he pulled them off as quickly as they grabbed him.  “This isn’t enough to defeat me, young Shiozaki!  You must push yourself beyond any limit to achieve victory!”

“I know that!” she shouted back.  Ibara looked past All Might as Kuroiro ran, still clutching his side.  When she turned her attention back to her opponent, the pro was almost completely free of her grasp and was cocking his fist. 

“Teeexaaaaas... SMASH!”  All Might threw his punch, but a set of vines changed his aim at the last second.  His punch flew into the ground and All Might went sailing into the air.  As he ascended, he felt the vines still around him guiding him away form the exit gate.

“Please forgive me, All Might!”  Ibara shut her eyes as her vines threw All Might down the main road and straight into a building.  She heard her opponent roughly crash through the building and plummet four stories onto the side street, landing with a boom.  Her body and mind were unmoving, but after a moment, she heard an announcement.

“Team Kuroiro and Shiozaki have passed.”  Ibara forced her eyes open and saw Kuroiro at the exit gate.  He waved and leaned against the gate as a robotic stretcher approached him.  Ibara waved back, but then turned and ran down the road.

“All Might!  All Might!”


Holy shit.  It’s been a while since I went straight through a building, All Might recalled.  That girl has some serious power behind those vines.  She redirected my smash and hurled me through a freakin’ skyscraper.  Maybe it’s a good thing she’s not a fan of violence.

“All Might!” Ibara called out again.  “Where are you?”

“Over here!”  All Might slowly got up and unlatched the weights around his wrists and ankles.  He looked himself over and saw his costume was torn and his hair was disheveled.  The ground beneath him had become a crater and debris from the building were strewn around the side street.

“All Might!  I—”  Ibara ran up to All Might, but slowed to a stop when she saw the damage she had caused.  “Are… Are you hurt?”  Her voice was already cracking and tears were welling in her eyes.

Good thing I planned something to say, All Might thought.  Time to be a teacher.  “Young Shiozaki, I… I’m, urp—”  All Might was interrupted when he felt something rising up his throat.  Oh shit, not now!  Not here!  Gimme, like, 3 minutes, you crap body!  Despite trying to keep it down, All Might leaned forward and hacked up an enormous glob of blood onto the ground.  Uh oh.  He stared down at his blood, frozen in awkwardness, but then saw tears falling next to the red puddle.  This can’t possible end well.  Good freakin’ job, All Might.  He looked up hesitantly and felt his heart break once he saw Ibara’s destroyed expression.  She was shaking, holding hands over her mouth in shock, and had tears flowing freely out of her scrunched-up eyes.  “Sh-Shiozaki—”

“I’m so sorry!” she wailed as she ran off.  All Might wanted to chase after her, but on his first step, he felt steam pour from his body. 

“Just perfect,” All Might grumbled as his body shrunk to its skinny form.  “I couldn’t hold out for another minute to give her a pep talk.  After she did so well and gave the fight her everything… she went beyond what I had asked and I can’t even comfort her now.”  All Might ineffectually punched the wall near him as Ibara’s sobs echoed down the street.  “What kinda crap teacher am I?”


“Man, I’m stuffed!” Tetsutetsu said as he rubbed his stomach.  “Nothing like second lunch after losing the first one.”  The iron boy walked through the facility, looking for the screening room to watch the fights.  I wonder if Ibara and Kuroiro are done yet?  He jogged through the halls and looked around, but didn’t see anything he recognized.  Yup.  I’m lost.  He skidded to a stop and turned around, planning to retrace his steps, but something caught his ear.  What is that? he wondered.  He continued down the way he headed, following the soft, erratic noise.  As he got closer, he realized what the sound was.  Who’s crying?  He turned another corner and finally located the source coming from a waiting room.  The door was slightly ajar, so Tetsutetsu decided to peek inside.  Inside, he saw Ibara huddled in the corner with her face buried in her knees.  “…Ibara?” he said while walking inside.  “You OK?”

“…Go away,” she mumbled.

“You look upset,” the iron boy noted while closing the door.  “Did you lose?”  Ibara said nothing, but she did shake her head.  “So you won?  Good job!”  Tetsutetsu instantly regretted saying anything as Ibara began sobbing again.  “Oh, uh…”  He didn’t know what to say, so he just walked to her side and slid down the wall next to her.  “Wanna talk about it?”

“…I did something awful… and no matter how much I apologize and repent… I can never make it up.”

“I dunno what you did, but it’s probably not as bad as you think,” Tetsutetsu said.  “As long as you’re sorry and you apologize, I’m sure it’ll be fine.  I can’t really picture anyone holding a grudge against you.”

“…But I can’t forgive myself,” Ibara said as she raised her head towards Tetsutetsu.  “How could I after what I’ve done?”

“What did you do?”

“I-I was forced to attack A-All Might,” Ibara explained while falling apart again, lip quivering and body shaking, “an-nd when I-I found him, he-he coughed up blood.”  Ibara scrunched her dress between her hands and squeezed her eyes shut again.  “I h-hurt All Might that badly… I’m a terrible person!”

“No, you’re not—”

“I am!” Ibara cried.  “I-I was caught up in t-trying to pass the test and I-I hurt All Might.  I-I-I didn’t want to fight, b-but Kuroiro got h-hurt because of me and All Might k-kept saying—”

“Ibara, stop.” Tetsutetsu sternly insisted.  “Take a deep breath and stop talking.”  Ibara did as he requested and paused her anguish to hear the boy out.  “You’re not a bad person.  No matter what you think right now, you aren’t.  All Might will be fine, Kuroiro will be fine – even if you think you’ve done something wrong, it’s nothing that can’t be fixed.”  Tetsutetsu took Ibara’s hands between his own and looked into her teary eyes.  “You aren’t a bad person, I promise.  You’re the kindest, gentlest, and most caring person I’ve ever met.  I swear that no one thinks less of you for one attack and a little blood – especially not All Might.”

Ibara couldn’t look away from Tetsutetsu’s eyes.  His compassion and kind words draped around her like a blanket and the shaking stopped.  The tears came again, but this time, they were accompanied by a smile.  “…Thank you,” she said before wrapping herself around the boy.  “Thank you, Tetsutetsu.  I’m so thankful… that you’re a part of my life.”

“I feel the same,” he responded while holding Ibara close.  The embrace lasted a long while, but Ibara wanted it to last even longer.  In that moment, she realized what Tetsutetsu was to her – he was a sturdy, unwavering source of confidence and energy.  He was the rock she could always anchor herself to, no matter how bad the situation was.  Eventually, she pulled back, but didn’t let go completely.  She looked over Tetsutetsu closely – his sharp teeth, his erratic and wild eyebrows, his silver, spiky hair.  Most of all, his warm and loving smile. 

Before Ibara could even think, she had already planted her lips on Tetsutetsu’s.

Chapter Text

“Ibara?” Kendo called out.  “You around here?”  Kendo circled back and returned to the viewing room entrance where Reiko was waiting.  “Find her?”

“Yeah, she’s right next to me,” Reiko said while gesturing to the empty space on her left.  “Didn’t see her.”

“Dang.  Maybe Monoma and Pony found her.”

“We didn’t,” Monoma said as he and Pony arrived at the viewing room entrance.  “No sign of her.”

“Hope she’s OK,” Pony said.  “She looked upset on the screens.  Why’d Recovery Girl turn ‘em all off so quick?”

“She probably didn’t want to broadcast Ibara’s meltdown,” Monoma theorized.  “Should we try looking again?”

“I’m gonna,” Kendo said.  “She definitely needs the support right now.”

“Don’t fret over me.  I’ll be fine.”  Everyone turned to see Ibara and Tetsutetsu walking their way.  “Though, I’m flattered that you all were worried on my behalf.”

“Hey, Ibara!” Pony greeted.  “Sure you OK?”

“Yeah, you seemed pretty fucked back there,” Reiko noted.

“It was quite difficult to deal with, but thankfully, Tetsutetsu was kind enough to comfort me—”

“As a true man would,” Tetsutetsu boasted.

“So, I’ll be fine, thank you.”

“We’re glad to hear it,” Kendo said as she hugged Ibara.  “Now that that’s settled, let’s go watch the next round.”  The group of students entered the viewing room, where they saw Recovery Girl and Kuroiro walking in from the nurse’s office.

“Oh, hey,” Kuroiro greeted.  “How’re you holding up, Shiozaki?”

“Much better now, thank you,” she replied.  “Are you feeling better?”

“Yeah.  Quick fix for Recovery Girl.”

“Honestly, All Might hasn’t learned his lesson,” Recovery Girl complained.  “He’s still too rough with you kids.  He nearly crippled Midoriya yesterday.”

“Seriously?” Reiko said.  “Shit, dude.”

“Kuroiro, were you nearly crippled?” Monoma asked.

“Uuuh… no?”

“Looks like out class fared better against All Might, in that case,” Monoma said.  “How sad for the supposedly superior—”  He was cut off by a karate chop the back of the neck from Kendo.

“Monoma, shut up for a while,” Kendo requested.  “Now, let’s see how Awase and Setsuna—”

“THERE YOU ARE!”  Everyone flinched and looked back to see All Might arriving in the viewing room.  “YOUNG SHIOZAKI!”

“Oh, All Might,” Ibara gasped.  “Are you feeling alright?”

“I am!  I’ve been looking for… wait, have you calmed down?” he asked.  “You were so distraught after the match.”

“Yes, sir.”       

“…That’s great!  Now, for what I wanted to tell you before.”  All Might crouched down to get on eye level with Ibara and put a hand on her shoulder.  “I know you hate fighting and I’m sorry.  I’m sorry we forced you into a situation where you had to get violent, but I swear that we had your best interest in mind.  We thought that if this type of situation happened on a real mission against a real villain, then it would turn out much worse.  I’m not saying you have to fight like that once you graduate – I’d be happy if you can go your whole career without attacking like that again – but now that you have and you’ve seen that it’s not the end of the world, you’ll be ready if you must fight again.”

“I understand, All Might,” Ibara said before bowing to her teacher.  “I… I know what to do now.  I’ll become even stronger so that I won’t have to use violence again, but if the day comes when I must, I’ll be ready.  Thank you for helping me through this, sir.”

“Even if it was a little late,” Kuroiro snarked.  “Do I get a pep talk?”

“Oh, ah, yes!” All Might said.  “You did— you were great out there, Kuroiro.  Good job, man.  Super job, in fact—”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever.  Don’t you have a quick exit to make?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” All Might asked before he felt steam coming from his back.  “…Purely coincidence, but I do have to run now.  BYE!”  All Might dashed out of the room, leaving a trail of steam in his wake.

“Called it,” Kuroiro said.

“If that’s all done,” Reiko began, “the next match is starting.”


“Yosetsu Awase and Setsuna Tokage.  Practical exam: begin.”

“Why am I so nervous?!” Awase asked himself.  “He’s a friggin’ mouse and I’m scared shitless of him!”  He followed Setsuna as they peeked around through the backstreets of industrial training area.

“I don’t see him yet,” Setsuna said.  “Motherfucking mouse-ass, sneaker-wearing, tea-drinking, Great-Mouse-Detective-ass—”

“What the fuck are you talking about?”

“I’m psyching myself up by insulting my opponent.  Keeps me calm.”  Setsuna and Awase darted off through an alleyway, working their way towards the exit gate.

“…Do you hear that?”

“You pissing your pants over a 3-foot tall animal in a suit?  Yeah, I hear that.”

“No, listen.”  The pair perked up their ears as rhythmic crashing sounds got closer.  “Is something breaking?”

“Kinda sounds that way, but how would Principal Nezu be able to— HOLY SHIT!”  Setsuna pointed up at a series of pipes, heavy machinery, and pieces of buildings crashed into each other, creating a chain reaction of destruction that now blocked their path with its debris.

“How’d he even do that?!” Awase yelled.

“I dunno, but that little smart-ass blocked our path on purpose.  He’s trying to waste our time and get us to take detours.  I don’t think escaping is a great option anymore.”

“What’re you suggesting?  That we go after the principal?  He’d see us coming from a mile away and just scamper off.  He’s definitely faster on his feet.”

“Maybe, but we’ll just have to improvise—”

“SHIT!  ABOVE YOU!”  Awase grabbed Setsuna and dashed down the alleyway as the building next to them toppled over them.  “How is he even doing this?!”


“Oh, those silly students seem to be heading this way,” Nezu said as he sipped his tea in the operating seat of a wrecking ball.  “I guess they don’t want to chance being crushed trying to find the exit.”  As the principal monologued to himself, he flipped around the crane’s controls and sent the wrecking ball into another building.  “These chain reactions would seem like blind luck, but calculating the fallout and where the destruction will go is as simple as pouring a cup of tea for me… AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”


“He keeps sending wave after wave of shit at us!” Awase complained.  “This is BS, man!”

“You’re telling me,” Setsuna said while peeking around the corner.  “It looks like the principal is in that crane machine up that way.”

“Alright, you’re stealthier than me, so you try and sneak his way and cuff him.  I’ll draw his attention with a head-on assault.”

“Think you can take him?  He is destroying buildings.”

“I don’t know if you noticed,” Awase began while stretching, “but I am sturdy as fuck.”


“What’s this?” Nezu wondered while sipping his tea.  He peered over his controls to see Awase climbing up and running across rooftops, heading straight for the crane.  “It seems they’ve figured out how I was destroying everything, though that itself isn’t too big a mystery.”  Another sip of tea.  “Tokage isn’t by his side, so she’s probably trying to sneak up behind me.”  Another sip.  “I’ll focus on taking out Awase for the moment.”  Nezu finally put his drink down and took full control of the crane, sending the wrecking ball straight at Awase.  He narrowly dodged and continued forward, but the Nezu sharply lowered the ball and made the rooftop crumble, sending Awase falling.  “Oops.  Was that me?  I do hope he’s alright.”

As Nezu pulled the ball from the building he destroyed, he was shocked to see Awase standing on the ball and holding the wire.  “Oh my.  How tenacious.”  Nezu watched with amusement as Awase began shimmying up the crane’s wire before pushing all the machine’s switches in different directions.  “You may be able to hold on by fusing your hands to the wire, but I don’t have to make it easy for you!  AHAHAHAHAHA!”  The crane began swinging around in a circle, which sent the wrecking ball around repeatedly and forced Awase to hold on for dear life.  “That should keep him occupied.  Now, let’s check on Tokage.”

“I’m right here!”  Nezu turned around just in time to see Setsuna diving towards him through the crane’s window.

“Announcing yourself like that isn’t very stealthy,” Nezu calmly stated, “Though you were quicker than I expected.”  Setsuna entered the crane and grabbed at Nezu, but the principal dodged each attack and hopped onto the window.  “Since this location has been compromised, I’ll take my leave.  Even if you ran, you don’t have enough time to escape now!  AHAHAHA!”  Setsuna grabbed at him again, but Nezu leapt from the crane and scurried down the machinery onto a nearby rooftop.  “Ta ta!”


“Gotta… aim this… just right…”  As the wrecking ball flew around in a circle, Awase watched as Nezu ran from the crane across a few pipes.  Even with his hands fused to the wrecking ball, Awase still held on to the spinning machinery for dear life.  He could see Setsuna giving chase, but it was clear that Nezu was faster.  “Steady… steady… now!”  Awase unfused his hands and rocketed off the wrecking ball, flying over the buildings towards Nezu.

“How clever,” Nezu commented.  Just as Awase reached him, Nezu sidestepped the attack.  Awase fly by, by grabbed onto a nearby pipe and fused his hand to it, stopping him completely.  “Be careful, now.  Cornered mice are known to bite.”  Awase dove at Nezu, but the principal hopped up to dodge, landing on the boy’s head. 

“Got him!” Setsuna yelled as she flung herself onto Awase.  This time, Nezu simply jumped away and ran off. 

“Nice try, you two, but you couldn’t hope to outsmart me!”  Nezu prepared to leap off the roof, but felt something grab his tail just before.  He looked and saw Setsuna’s detached arm gripping onto him. 

“I didn’t know you could grab things once your arms are detached,” Awase noted as he ran after Nezu.

“That’s because we’ve never talked to each other before today, dumbass.”  Nezu saw them coming and jumped from the roof, but Awase dove and caught Setsuna’s arm just as it went over the side.  Once he had it, he threw it and Nezu over his shoulder, where Setsuna was waiting with the handcuffs and a cocky smile.

“Oh wow.  You’ve caught me,” Nezu commented.  “Excellent work, you two.”

“Yeah, we’re kinda badasses like that,” Setsuna boasted as she cuffed the principal.

“Team Awase and Tokage have passed.”


“Oh yeah!  That’s four wins in a row!” Kendo cheered.

“Man, we’re on a hot streak,” Kuroiro noted.

“Of course, we are,” Monoma began.  “We are the best of the best.  It was only a matter of time before we got the chance to prove it.”

Chapter Text

“Team Komori and Shoda.  Practical exam: begin.”

“Uh, um, OK, we should, um… I think we should run,” Kinoko suggested.  Her and Shoda snuck through a thin crevasse between the Mountain Zone and Fire Zone of the USJ, directly across from the exit.  “13 isn’t a f-fighter, but their Quirk is too strong to face head on.”

“Good point.  Yeah, running is our best option.”  Shoda peered around the open plaza of the USJ, but saw no sign of 13.  “It was pretty lucky we ran into Kaibara before the match.  I thought I’d be without my Quirk this whole match,” Shoda said while looking up at his pair of standing hair bangs.  “I’ve got two shots.”

“H-How can you use them here?” Kinoko wondered.  “13’s Quirk is too dangerous.  You couldn’t get close enough.”

“I’ll use them for our escape,” Shoda explained as the pair moved ahead towards the plaza.  “I’ve been preparing a special technique since the Sports Festival.  Now might be the perfect time to use it.”

“That’s good.”  Kinoko looked over her shoulders for 13, but still didn’t see the pro.  “13 is probably at the exit, right?”

“Most likely,” Shoda replied as they team approached the USJ’s fountain.  “They haven’t shown themself yet.  Just to be sure, let’s circle around the fountain and scout the area before we head to the stairs.”  Once they reached the fountain, Shoda and Kinoko went to opposite sides and looked around the USJ. 

“Still no sign of them,” Kinoko reported. 

“Nothing on my side,” Shoda added before they rejoined at the side closest to the exit.  “Are we missing something?  13 said to come to the USJ, right?”

“W-We’re in the right place,” Kinoko assured him, “but I’m worried to.  Not seeing our enemy is definitely a bad sign.”

“Your right about that,” a cheery voice said behind them.

“…Komori,” Shoda began.  “Did you check… inside the fountain for 13?”

“No… did you?”

“Nope.”  The two students shared a nervous look before slowly checking the fountain behind them.  Sitting up in the water was 13, who raised a hand towards them and uncapped their finger.  “RUN!”  Shoda and Kinoko bolted from the fountain towards the stairs, but felt 13’s Black Hole pulling them backwards.  “Oh crap!”

“Shoda, grab my cape!” Kinoko instructed.  Shoda grabbed the fabric and watched as Kinoko began making mushrooms on the ground.  Once they appeared, she grabbed them and pulled herself forward.

“Very creative, Komori,” 13 complimented, “but against Black Hole, it’s just not good enough.”  13 uncapped another finger, increasing the suction just as Shoda and Komori neared the stairs. 

“It’s too strong!” Shoda yelled.  He instinctively clenched his eyes shut in fear, but then felt himself being pulled away from 13.  Kinoko had grabbed his jacket and pulled him in front of her.  “Komori, what—  OOF!”  Kinoko suddenly shoved him forward, where he clung onto the stairs.

“Waagh!”  Kinoko finally lost her grip on her mushrooms and fell back towards 13, who capped their fingers and caught her.

“I’ve got you.  Are you OK?” 13 asked out of habit.  “Wait, I mean, uh, MUHAHAHAHAHA!  I’ve got you now, hero!” they boasted evily.  “Am I doing this right?”

“Let Komori go,” Shoda ordered as he got up.

“Hold it right there, hero,” 13 hissed.  “Another move and I’ll atomize your comrade here!  …Oh gosh, was that too mean?”

“Shoda, don’t worry about me!” Kinoko yelled.  “Only one of us needs to escape to pass!  Get out of— mmmff!”  13 abruptly clamped their hand over Kinoko’s mouth and held the struggling girl tight. 

“Would you really abandon her like that?” 13 asked with an evil laugh.

“…It’s true that I could reach the exit right now with my new technique,” Shoda claimed, “but this is supposed to be a real fight against a real villain.”  Shoda looked up at his two standing bangs, then glared at 13.  “I’d never leave a comrade behind.  No matter what.”

“Try anything and I’ll uncap my finger,” 13 warned.  “You’d never make it to her in time.”

That’s what you think, Shoda thought as he activated his Quirk.  I used to only send the kinetic energy I store out from my palms, but now… The first set of his stored energy went into his palm, but the second flowed down into his right foot.  I’ve figured out how to put it into the soles of my feet.  I call this new super move… Shoda sprang forward almost instantly, passing right by 13 and Komori.  After a moment of stillness, 13 felt an enormous, palm-shaped pressure in their stomach and went flying backwards.  “Flash Impact!”  13 was knocked past Shoda, hitting the ground and falling into unconsciousness.  Kinoko was thrown up in the air and was on a crash course for the fountain.  “Komori!” Shoda yelled.  He ran after her and reached the fountain just in time to catch her.

“Auugh, why do I feel airsick?” Komori wondered. 

“Are you alright, Komori?” Shoda asked as his hair returned to normal.  Once Komori realized she was in his arms, her face erupted into a blush.

“Uh, uh, I’m f-f-fine!  I’m O-OK!” she stammered.  Once Shoda set her down, she grabbed the handcuffs and ran over to 13.

“Team Komori and Shoda have passed.”

“Phew,” Shoda sighed.  “I honestly thought we were gonna fail.”

“I-It was pretty touch-and-go,” Kinoko commented.  “…Th-Thank you for s-s-saving me… and c-catching me.”

“Sure thing, but getting me out of 13’s range back there was what really saved the day,” Shoda said.  “Thanks a bunch.”  Somehow, Kinoko’s face got even redder and she turned away.

“You’re welcome…”


“Team Kendo and Yanagi.  Practical exam: begin.”

“Be on your guard,” Kendo warned.  “Mr. Ectoplasm’s clones can appear from anywhere.”  The pair’s exam area was a set of three towers – Training Ground Epsilon AKA The Watchtowers.  They were in the center of the west tower’s bottom floor while the exit gate was in the northern one.

“Yeah, I noticed,” Reiko replied.  “We’ve already got company.”  Kendo looked over her shoulder and saw her teacher’s smoke-like ectoplasm forming together into several clones in front of Reiko.

“Reiko Yanagi,” Ectoplasm growled.  “You’re Quirk is perfect from escaping from a single opponent, but how will you deal with enemies who can appear anywhere and follow you into the air?”  Kendo prepared to dart past Reiko and attack, but another set of clones popped up on her side.  “Itsuka Kendo.  You have a powerful Quirk and commendable skill in martial arts, but dealing with many opponents and drawn-out battles is not your strong suit.”  Kendo and Reiko pressed closer against each other and watched for any movement from the clones.  “Show me your determination!”

“Maybe some other time,” Reiko replied.  “For now, we’re gonna bail.”  She quickly phased into the ground before popping back up and grabbing Kendo, pulling her into the air. 

“You’ve gotten stronger to be carrying her that quickly,” Ectoplasm commented, “but there will always be faster opponents.”  The dozen clones floated up and gave chase to the girls as they ascended the tower, easily gaining on them.

“Kendo, we’ll need a boost,” Reiko requested.

“Leave it to me!”  Kendo spread her arms out and grew her hands to maximum size.  Just as Ectoplasm’s clones were about to reach her, Kendo swung her giant hands forwards, creating a powerful gust that flung the clones back and sent the girl’s flying higher.  “How’s that for a boost?”

“Perfect.  There’s the hall to the next tower.”  As the momentum faded, Reiko set Kendo down on the top level of the tower at a hallway entrance.  They ran inside, but once they reached its halfway point, another dozen clones appeared before them. 

“Will you turn back and keep running?” Ectoplasm questioned.

“Nah.  That’d be a waste of time,” Reiko commented.  “Kendo, run wild on this nerd herd.”

“Don’t gotta tell me twice,” Kendo commented with a smirk while cracking her knuckles.  The first clone jumped at Kendo with an axe kick, but she slipped underneath and elbowed it back into ectoplasm.  She charged into the crowd of attacking clones with no fear, defeating a pair with as wipe of her giant hand.  Another threw a spin kick, but Kendo ducked behind him and destroyed it with a chop to the back of its neck.

“You’re really whooping ass,” Reiko flattered.  One clone flew past Kendo and kicked at Reiko, but she dodged by floating up into the ceiling.  After a few seconds, Reiko emerged in a different spot and saw that another handful of clones had been defeated already. 

“You’re doing quite well,” Ectoplasm began, “so I’ll stop holding back.” 

“Uh, Kendo?  We’ve got company.”  Kendo looked behind her and saw the clones they had blown away in their escape attacking from the opposite side of the hall.

“Crap.”


“Kendo’s really strong,” Pony commented.  “She tearing through them.”

“Yeah, she’s always had a knack for martial arts,” Monoma said.  “She’s still got all her Peewee Karate belts and trophies under her bed.”

“Aw, that’s cute,” Pony cooed. 

“Look like she’s slowing down,” Tetsutetsu pointed out.

“Well, she’s defeated about 20 clones on her own,” Ibara added.  “I’d be surprised if she wasn’t tired.”

“Go, Kendo and Reiko!” Pony cheered.

“They can’t hear you,” Kuroiro said.

“Don’t bring me down now, man!” 


“That’s clone 29,” Reiko stated.  She floated down to Kendo as the martial artist slowly caught her breath and wicked the sweat from her brow.

“That’s all of them, right?” Kendo asked as they continued towards the exit.

“He can make between 30 and 36,” Reiko explained.  “His real body is most likely near the exit.  I’ll try and slip by him.”

“Sounds good,” Kendo said, still short of breath.

“You OK?”

“I’m all good for one last push,” she answered with a thumbs-up.  At the end of the hall, the girls found themselves looking over a tower just like the one they started in, but at the bottom, they could see the real Ectoplasm and the exit gate.

“Congratulations on defeating my clones, but this is your last stop.”  Ectoplasm’s neck suddenly spasmed and he spat out a huge cloud of ectoplasm from his mouth.  It pooled at the base of the tower, where a giant head popped up, almost as big as the tower itself.  “Giant Bite Detention!”  The giant clone head unhinged its jaw and leaned in to chomp down the two girls.

“Kendo, get back!” Reiko yelled.  “If we’re caught in this thing, we’re— oof!”  Reiko was abruptly thrown to the side by a gust of wind from Kendo’s hand.  The jaw clamped down on Kendo and swallowed her up, but Reiko was spared and ducked behind a pillar.  “Crap.  This thing can snatch me up even if I’m phasing, and now it’s got my partner.  Not good.”  Reiko peeked out and saw Kendo reappearing, lodged in the clone’s neck.

“Reiko!” she called out.  “You can do this!  I was too tired to keep going, but now, he can’t make more clones without letting me go!  You’ve got this!”

Kendo… right.  Time to pass this thing, Reiko thought as she phased into the wall and floated down.  My phasing needs a recharge time of however many seconds I stay transformed.  I can’t use all 30 seconds in one go or I’ll be helpless if I’m found.  Once she reached the second floor, Reiko came out form the wall and ducked behind a pillar to recharge.  She glanced around and saw the giant clone was scanning the area for her, forcing her to hide again.  I can’t let him see me or it’s over.  Reiko waited with bated breath as her Quirk recharged.  Once her time was back, she slipped back into the wall and reached the bottom floor. 

“Just one mistake and it’ll be over,” Ectoplasm warned.  “You only have one shot to escape or cuff me, Yanagi, but don’t wait too long.  Time is running short.”

He’s right.  It’s now or never.  Once her transformation had regained its time again, Reiko phased into the ground and headed for the exit gate.  It won’t count as an escape unless I go through the gate, which means I’ll have to pop back out.  I’ll be vulnerable for a second, but if I can make it past Ectoplasm, then I’m home free.  My problem is figuring out exactly where I am.  I can’t make too much of an error here, but I can’t peek my head out without getting spotted. 

As Reiko’s time limit ran low, she shot out of the ground to make her escape, but found Ectoplasm blocking her path.  “Oh shit!”

“Reiko, behind you!” Kendo screamed.  Reiko didn’t need to turn around to know that Giant Bite Detention was closing in on her from behind.

Well, can’t go back now.  Only choice is to go forward!  Reiko landed and leapt headfirst towards Ectoplasm as he threw a spin kick towards her and Giant Bite Detention closed in on her.  Gotta time this… NOW!  Reiko suddenly started floating again and flew underneath the kick, passing through the ground under Ectoplasm.  Once she slipped by her teacher, her Quirk ran out of time and popped out of the ground just as she passed through the gate.

"Team Kendo and Yanagi have passed.”

“…Sweet,” Reiko commented as she fell to the floor

“Wonderful job, you two,” Ectoplasm said as he released Kendo. 

“I kinda had to improvise at the end, but thanks.”

Chapter Text

“Hey, guys,” Kendo greeted as she and Reiko returned to the viewing room. 

“Congrats, you two!”  Pony cheered.  “You both awesome!”

“We’re keeping that winning streak going!” Tetsutetsu yelled.

“This makes 12 passing grades,” Monoma commented.  “If I recall correctly, Class 1-A only had 15 of its students pass, isn’t that right?”  Kendo groaned as Monoma’s face grew manic and wild, a common occurrence when he’s worked up and petty.  “Pretty soon, we will overtake those detestable—”

“Give it a rest,” Kendo ordered while chopping Monoma’s neck.  “That got old a long time ago.  You’ve really got to stop getting so worked up over them.”

“I’ll only stop once I’ve proven us superior,” Monoma groaned.  “That all starts here and now.  If at least two more groups pass, we’ll win over them.”

“It’s not a competition, so quit bringing it up.” Kendo scolded.  “Shouldn’t you and Pony be going to your testing area now?”

“We wanna see all the matches we can,” Pony explained.  “Once this match done, then we leave.”

“Alright, but don’t keep Mr. Kan waiting too long.”

“Hey, it’s starting,” Kuroiro pointed out.


 

“Team Honenuki and Tsuburaba.  Practical exam: begin.”

“Alright, keep your eyes peeled, man,” Tsuburaba warned.  “If you see Midnight or her gas, back the hell up.”

“Yeah.”  Honenuki looked around the rocky testing area of Training Ground Eta, but didn’t see Midnight.  “She’s probably close to the exit.  Let’s head that way for now.”

“We probably shouldn’t head straight forward.  That’ll just be playing right into her sexy, sexy hands.  We’ve gotta be a little sneakier.”

“Right… wait, what?”

“Uh, nothing.  So, it’ll be hard to get close,” Tsuburaba quickly said.  “Both our powers are activated with our breathing.  Midnight really is our perfect counter.”

“Yeah, but I’ve got a plan.”

“Oh yeah?  What’re we talkin’?”


 

Those boys sure are taking their sweet time, Midnight thought.  Don’t they know it’s cruel to keep a girl on the brink like this?  Midnight chuckled at her own double entendre and ripped more of her spandex, letting her sleeping gas spread further around.  I’m sure they’ve reached the perimeter of my gas by now and are strategizing.  If they hold their breath and run in, they’ll only get one use out of their Quirks before having to take another breath.  Midnight checked the ground around her feet and slowly looked over the area.  Honenuki can get me from long range if I’m not careful.  Tsuburaba is the opposite and may sneak up in mid-air. 

Out from the corner of her eye, Midnight finally saw an opponent.  Tsuburaba was coming from her left, walking on solid-air platforms that hung almost 20 feet in the air, out of range of her gas.  “You must think your quite clever, Tsuburaba,” Midnight called out as she brandished her whip, “but you stick out like a sore thumb!”  As her whip flew up, Tsuburaba instinctively took a huge breath.  The whip broke apart the platform, sending Tsuburaba crashing onto and rolling down a rocky hill.  “Go ahead and take a deep breath,” Midnight offered as she approached her opponent.  Tsuburaba got to his feet and went to back up, but backed into the hill he had crashed on.  He picked up a rock and lobbed it at Midnight, but it simply crashed by her feet with a loud thud.  “Throwing rocks?  Is that all you can do?”  Midnight prepared to attack the boy again, but before she could, she felt herself sinking.  “Softened ground,” she realized, “but where’s Honenuki?”  As Tsuburaba ran forward to pass Midnight by, she swung her whip out and snatched Tsuburaba’s leg.  “You can’t hold your breath foreve—”

Click.

Midnight froze when she felt a cuff around her ankle.  She looked down confusedly and saw Honenuki poking out from the softened ground like a groundhog.

“Team Honenuki and Tsuburaba have passed.”

“So, you softened the ground and tunneled underneath me by to take me by surprise, eh?” Midnight realized.  “Tsuburaba was merely a distraction, and the rock he threw was for you to learn my location.  I’m quite impressed.  You boys… have defeated me entirely.”


“Oh yeah!  They did it!” Pony applauded.  “Super quick too!”

“I didn’t doubt them for a second,” Monoma added.

“Time for you two to head out,” Kendo instructed.  “Good luck.”

“Don’t worry.  We’re definitely gonna pass,” Monoma claimed.  “We have 14 wins.  One more round of winners will bring us up to 16, putting us above Class 1-A.”

“That’s pretty cool,” Tetsutetsu commented. 

“Don’t encourage the crazy guy,” Reiko sighed.

“Let’s head out, Pony,” Monoma said.  “But first…”

“Don’t play it off like you’re doing something special,” Kendo said with an eye-roll.   “You’re just gonna copy me and Tetsutetsu’s Quirks and run off.”

“…Yup.”  The copycat quickly reached out and poked Kendo and Tetsutetsu on the arms before rushing out the door with Pony.  “Wish us luck!”

“…Hey, Kendo,” Kuroiro began.  “Has he always been a, uh… fuckin’ lunatic?”

“Tough to say,” Kendo began.  “I’ve hung around him so long that I’m numb to all his weirdness.  He’s always been pretty self-conscious and melodramatic when someone else one-ups him, but this… It’s like he’s obsessed.  That’s all his mind goes to anymore…”  Kendo saw Monoma’s twisted, psychotic face in her mind again and grimaced. 

“It must be hard to see him like that,” Ibara commented.

“Sometimes…”


“Almost there!” Pony told boy on her back.  With Pony’s speed, they had reached the entrance to the Suburban testing area – Training Ground Iota – in only 90 seconds.  Pony galloped through the entrance gate and stopped to catch her breath.

“How’re you doing?” Monoma asked.

“Just fine.  I been training, so carrying you is nothing.”  After a moment of waiting, they heard an announcement come over the training area.

“Team Monoma and Tsunotori.  Practical exam: begin.”

“Alrighty, we’re off!” Pony announced as she ran forward.  “How long you have those Quirks for left?  Only three minutes now, yeah?”

“Actually, I’ve got more time than that,” Monoma boasted.  “Since the Sports Festival, I’ve increased my time limit to nearly six minutes, so I have about four minutes remaining.”

“Badass!” Pony complimented as they tore down the street.  Monoma looked closely as they ran, searching for anything red. 

“Stay on your toes.  Even if Mr. Kan isn’t around, he may have hidden some blood around to grab us with.”

“I’m lookin’!”  After another minute of racing through the streets, the fight began before they even realized.  As they approached another corner and passed by a storm drain, a giant glob of blood shot out and wrapped around them.  “Aaaagh!”

“Crap!” Monoma yelled as he was thrown backwards.  He landed hard on the pavement before Pony landed on top of him and the blood spread out like a blanket, pinning them to the pavement.

“Can’t move,” Pony whimpered.  As the students struggled, they saw Kan approaching them from the down the main road. 

“I’m surprised you weren’t more cautious, Monoma,” Kan began.  “Pony was carrying you, so you should’ve made sure to avoid any traps.”

“Well, what can I say?  I wasn’t expecting you to put your blood in a storm drain.  Gross,” Monoma quipped.  “Doesn’t go back in your body?”

“I only control my own blood, so any germs and foreign objects don’t get reabsorbed with it.  I’d be less worried about me and focus on yourself.”

“Meh.  I got this covered,” Monoma claimed before the blood sheet started growing and stretching.  It burst part as Monoma’s hand grew to giant size.  Now free from the trap, Pony leapt away and took a fighting stance and Monoma stood back up.

“Your Quirk must be running low on time by now,” Kan theorized as he collected his blood back into his body.  “You’ll lose whatever powers you came here with very soon.”

“Then I’ll beat you very soon.” 

Kan walked to the center of the main road to block the duo’s path to the exit gate.  “Try me.”  Pony attacked first and ran at Kan to attack with her horns, but Kan made a shield of blood and deflected the attack.  At the same time, Monoma jumped and threw his giant fist at Kan, but he added more blood to his shield and blocked it.  Kan’s blood then wrapped around his fist as a spiked gauntlet and he swung at his students, but they leapt backwards in time to dodge. 

Shit, Monoma thought.  I’ve only got a minute left with these Quirks.  Once they’re gone, I’ll be… no.  don’t go there.  Think positive, Neito.  Just get Pony past him. 

“Monoma, the cuffs!  They’re gone!” Pony yelled.  Monoma looked to his belt and gasped when he saw the handcuffs were missing. 

"You mean these?” Kan asked as he tossed the cuffs into the nearby storm drain.  “I grabbed it with my blood during your attack.  You should be wary of my power, students.”

“Son of a bitch,” Monoma grumbled.  How could I let that happen?

“Any ideas, Monoma?” Pony asked.

“Just one.  I’ll give you an opening so you can run to the exit.  Mind leaving me your horns to attack with once my power runs out?”

“Take,” Pony said as she removed her horns and tossed them to Monoma, who put them in his belt.  “What’re you gonna do?”

“Something rash and impulsive,” Monoma claimed as his skin turned to metal.  “Fitting, isn’t it?” Monoma bolted at Kan and swung his metallic fist, but it was caught easily by Kan.  He threw another punch, but it too was caught.  “Guess that won’t work,” Monoma noted as his skin turned back to normal.  Once all the iron was gone, both of Monoma’s hands grew and popped out from Kan’s grasp.  He swung his right hand, but Kan jumped back to avoid it.  This is my chance!  Monoma shrunk his hands and chased after Kan.  As his teacher landed, he pounced and cocked his fist.  Which do I use?  Kendo’s is stronger, but slow.  He may block it on time.  Tetsutetsu’s is faster, but will I hit him hard enough?  Which one?!  Monoma had no time to think and hastily activated his Quirk.  He flew towards a surprised Kan and hurled his fist across his teacher’s face.  “Pony, go!”

“Right!”  As Pony galloped down the street and Monoma landed, he looked at his fist and gasped.  It was giant, but also metallic.

“TWO?!  TWO AT THE SAME TIME?!” he practically shrieked before his fist started to shrink.  “Wait!  Turn back!  I need more time!”

“It seems your training has paid off,” Kan noted as he cracked his knuckles, “but how will you defeat me now?”

“I don’t have to defeat you,” Monoma said as he pulled out one of Pony’s horns.  “I’ve just gotta keep y—”  He was cut off when Kan drove his fist into his stomach, sending him flying backwards. 

“You have great potential, Monoma, but you squander a great deal of it on your ego and petty grudges,” Kan lectured.  “You must let nothing hold you back like that.  As for Pony…”  Kan looked over his shoulder as Pony sped towards the exit.  Once she passed over a sewer grate, Kan clenched his right hand and a stream of blood shot up at her.

“Kyaaaa!”  The blood encircled her body like a net and left her squirming on the street.

“Pony!” Monoma called out.  “How much goddamn blood do you have!?”

“Enough to get the job done,” Kan said.  Monoma stood to face him and held out his teammate’s horn like a dagger, glaring at his teacher.  He stepped forward to attack again, but Kan clenched his left fist and Monoma felt his left foot being grabbed.  “This is the end, Monoma.”

Monoma looked down and scowled at the blood that held his leg to the pavement.  “Not yet.  We can still win.  You clench your fists to use your powers, so if I can pry open your hand, Pony can escape.”

“Yet, you cannot escape.”  Kan’s words cut Monoma deep – deeper than Kan meant to.  The copycat’s shoulders hunched down and Monoma gripped the horn in his hand like a lifeline.

I can’t give up yet, Monoma told himself.

What else can you do?  It’s hopeless, Monoma also told himself.

We can still win.  Once we do, we’ll finally surpass Class 1-A.

It’s not like you could do that on your own, you weakling.

It’s not about me.  It’s not about them.  It’s about us.  My classmates— my friends.

You’re powerless.  There’s nothing you can do.

I can’t give up.  Not when they refused to give up.

Why bother?  It’s not like you’re as good as them.

…I’m not as good as them.  I never will be. 

You can’t be.  Not when you’re just a shadow – someone who can never win alone.

I’ll never be as good as them, but...

Monoma raised Pony’s horn over his head.  Kan assumed he would throw at and prepared to dodge, but instead, Monoma brought it down and stabbed his forearm.

“It’s not about me,” Monoma muttered.  “I’ll always be a let-down and a failure, but… I can’t drag them all down with me.  I refuse…”  The blood from his sliced vein ran down his arm and dripped onto the pavement rhythmically like a metronome.  Kan was shaken, almost forgetting the situation and moving to go check on him.  What brought him back to his senses was Monoma’s blood moving.  It formed a tendril that shot out and sunk into the crevasses of his right fist.  “I refuse to hold them back!” Monoma yelled.  His eyes were watery and shaky but his mouth became a smile.  “My friends deserve better than that!”  More blood drained from Monoma’s gaping wound and flooded into Kan’s fist, pushing his fingers outwards.

“Monoma, you’re losing too much blood,” Kan warned.  “This isn’t smart, Monoma.  You have to stop!”  Monoma didn’t answer, but instead dug Pony’s horn deeper into his arm.  “At this rate, you may suffer permanent damage!  You could bleed out, Monoma!”

“Consider it a donation to my comrades.  I can hold out until we’ve won.”  Kan looked over his shoulder and saw Pony was nearly free of his blood net. 

“You really think you’re holding them back?” Kan asked.  “Open your eyes, boy!  They already see you as an equal!”

“Even if they think that, I know it’s not true,” Monoma said as he began to wobble back and forth.  His skin was growing paler and his voice was beginning to slur.  “I deserve to be ignored… to fade into obscurity… to be called a weakling… but they… they…”  The blood tendril broke apart and Monoma fell forward into a pool of his own blood.  Just after consciousness left him, an announcement came from the exit gate.

“Team Monoma and Tsunotori have passed.”

“Monoma!”

Chapter Text

The first thing Monoma felt as he woke up was nausea.  The second was a pulsing headache.  The third was a sharp pain in his right arm.  He forced his eyes open and was greeted by the bright lights of the Recovery Girl’s temporary office.

“Awake already?” he heard the school’s nurse say.  “How do you feel?”

“Not great,” he muttered as he sat up on his cot, only to feel a cane whack against his shin.  “Ow!”

“What you did out there was stupid and reckless,” Recovery Girl lectured.  “I won’t be the only one telling you this today, so I’ll leave it at that.” 

“Ma’am, what happened after I passed out?”

“Pony ran through the gate and completed the exam, but doubled back when she saw you unconscious.  Vlad used his Quirk to put your blood back into your body and rushed you here.  I treated your wounds, but there will be some scarring.  Vlad also wanted me to inform you that you failed the exam.”

“I’m not surprised,” Monoma answered.  As he swiveled to hang his legs over the side of the bed, the office door opened up.  He saw Kendo walk in and immediately freeze as they locked eyes. 

“I’ll give you two some privacy,” Recovery Girl offered as she shuffled out of the room and closed the door.

“Kendo… I—” Monoma was cut off by a hard slap across the cheek that nearly sent him tumbling off the bed.  That single slap hurt more than every neck chop Monoma had ever received before.  As the pain hit him, Kendo grabbed his coat and pulled him closer until their faces were centimeters away from each other. 

“What the hell is wrong with you!?” Kendo screamed.  Her emerald eyes were crumpled with fury and her voice was shaky at best.  “What were you thinking!?”

“Kendo—”

“Wait, I know!  You weren’t thinking!  You did the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen!”  Kendo threw Monoma back, but quickly grabbed his shirt again, this time keeping him further away.  With this new point of view, Monoma could see Kendo’s nose was red and her eyes were puffy – telltale signs of the tears she had shed earlier.  “If that was a real fight, you’d be dead.  If Mr. Kan couldn’t control other people’s blood, you’d be dead.  You be dead and gone and—”  Kendo let go of Monoma and slapped him again, though it didn’t have the same force as before.  “What the hell were you thinking?”  Her voice was running out of anger, leaving sadness to fill the void.

“…Anything I say would sound like an excuse,” Monoma said.  “I just… Kendo, I’m sorry.”

“…Oh, you’re sorry?  Great,” she growled as her anger was reborn.  “You nearly killed yourself over a test, but at least your sorry.  Perfect.  I guess we’re done here.  Back to normal, huh?”

“Kendo, please—”

“Well, go ahead.  Back to normal,” Kendo rambled.  “Our usual thing.  You act cocky, I call you out.  You say something stupid, I clean up your mess.  You freak out over 1-A, I hit you.”  Kendo clenched her fist and Monoma prepared for another hit, but Kendo turned away instead.  “What is it with you and them?  You’re obsessed.  You nearly killed yourself because your so fucking obsessed with beating them.”  Monoma couldn’t see her face, but her voice was enough.  He knew that tears where rolling down her cheeks again.  “You got your wish, by the way.  The last two matches were victories too.  That’s 19 of us passing.  You must be so happy.”

“Kendo—”

“I don’t want to hear it.  I’m done.  I’m done with putting up with your constant bullshit.”  Kendo stormed out of the room and slammed the door behind her, leaving Monoma alone with his thoughts.

…I really screwed up here, he told himself.  I thought I could finally prove myself, but I just messed everything up.  Monoma perked up when the door opened, thinking it was Kendo, but instead, it was Pony and Kuroiro.  Pony only had one horn on her head and already looked pissed beyond belief.

“Pony—”

“Dummy!  Jerk!  Stupid!  Can’t believe you!” she yelled while hitting him.  She paused for a moment, but then launched into a string of English curse words and continued her rant.  She was speaking so fast that Monoma could barely keep up and there were a few words he didn’t recognize.  He’d have to look up later what exactly being a “cuntpile” meant.  After a minute, Pony stopped and tossed her other horn to him, which still had a small film of blood at its tip.  “Ain’t puttin’ that on me until you wash it off.”

“Pony, I’m sorry,” Monoma said.  “What I did was stupid and I promise not to be reckless like that again.

“You better not!  We were super worried!”  Pony paced around the room, still worked up over her teammate’s foolishness.  “Mr. Kan was freakin’ out.  We all were.  I thought you was gonna die.”

“Pony, I promise that I won’t worry you like that again.”  Monoma chastised himself for sounding like a broken record, but all he could do was keep apologizing.

“Better not,” she grumbled, finally calming down.

“Kendo was definitely the most worried,” Kuroiro added.  “She kept screaming at the screen ‘what’re you doing!?’  Once Mr. Kan carried you off, she ran out to see you.”

“I pushed her too far this time,” Monoma realized.  “Whenever we fight, she always brushes it off later, but this time, I don’t think she will… I have to make it up to her.”

“I’m not sure if you can,” Recovery Girl interjected as she came back into the office.  “That poor girl’s heart broke when she saw you like that.  Take it from someone who’s lived a long life – people can only take so much.”

“Well, I have to try,” Monoma said as his own anger gripped him.  “I made Kendo cry over me.  I… I have to apologize.  Even if she never forgives me, I have to do something.”

“You should probably give her a little time to cool down,” Kuroiro suggested.  “Yanagi, Shiozaki, and Tetsutetsu are with her now, so let her work out whatever she’s feeling.”  Monoma wanted to see Kendo right then and there, but he knew Kuroiro was right.

“Fine.”


In an empty hallway of the testing facility, Kendo sat on the floor, not talking or moving.  Just looking down at her feet.  On her sides were Ibara and Reiko, who had comforted her when she thought the worst had happened and were still comforting her.  Tetsutetsu was close by as well, but felt out of his depth compared to the other girls, so he hadn’t said too much.  “I just can’t believe he’d do that,” Kendo repeated.  “He’s always been cocky, but he’s never done something that reckless.”

“You did the right thing telling him off,” Reiko began.  “You don’t need him in your life if his stupidity keeps giving you grief.”

“Doesn’t that seem a little harsh?” Ibara wondered.  “Perhaps Monoma understands what he did wrong.  If he regrets his actions and vows to change, he should be forgiven, right?”

“He’s gotten worse since the Sports Festival,” Kendo said.  “I wish he could just forget about his stupid grudge.  I wish things could go back to how they were before.  When he was just a little egotistical and not crazy.”

“He’s not worth your time,” Reiko claimed.  “If he’d go that far to prove he’s so much better than 1-A, then he’s a lost cause.”

"Wait, hold on,” Tetsutetsu suddenly said.  “Monoma doesn’t think he’s better than them.”

“Have you listened to a word that guy says?” Reiko fired back.  “He’s constantly talking about it.”

“I get what you’re saying, but he’s not talking about himself,” Tetsutetsu claimed.  “Every time he goes on a rant and gets all crazy, he’s not talking about proving himself better.  He always says that he’ll prove our class is better.”

“Does that really make a difference?” Reiko asked.

“…He’s right,” Kendo realized.  As tough as it was for her, she thought back to Monoma’s many anti-1-A rants, including his most recent one.

I’ll only stop once I’ve proven us superior.

“Monoma’s never said he’s better than 1-A,” she continued.  “He says that we’re better… Where’s Mr. Kan?”

“Huh?”

“Mr. Kan, where is he?” she asked while standing up.

“I think I saw him go down that hall to the left,” Reiko said.  “He’s around here somewhere, but why?”

“I need to know something,” Kendo said before running off with her friends trailing behind her.  It took a minute of searching, but they eventually found him.  “Mr. Kan!”

“Yes?  What can I—”

“I need to know something,” Kendo quickly explained.  “When you fought Monoma, after he… near the end, did he say anything strange?”

“…He did, but it seemed personal.”

“Please, you have to tell me,” Kendo pled.  Kan seemed unsure, but relented with a sigh. 

“I suppose I can tell you, since you two are so close.  Monoma was calling himself a let-down and a failure, but he didn’t want to drag everyone down with him by failing.  He said that his classmates deserve better than that.”

“He really said that?” Tetsutetsu asked. 

“I told him you all saw him as an equal, but he didn’t believe me.  He said ‘I deserve to be ignored and called a weakling, but they…’ and then he passed out.  That was it.”

“Woah.  Tetsutetsu, you were right,” Reiko realized. 

“He thinks so highly of us, but not of himself,” Ibara said.  “How sad.”

“…That’s him,” Kendo said quietly.  “That’s the Monoma I know.  The real Monoma.”

You’re not going out there alone, and I’m not leaving you behind.

“He tries to act tough and confident, but he’s never thought much of himself.”

I was just lucky today.  I could never do what you do.

“This whole time… he’s supported us all and tried to help us do our best.  He wants people to recognize us, but doesn’t think he deserves it.”

With this group… we can’t lose!

“I get it now,” Kendo revealed.  “It was an idiotic move, but I understand why he did that.  He wasn’t trying to prove that he was the best – he wanted to prove that he was good enough to be with us.”

“Kinda ironic that he’s the only one who failed, in that case,” Tetsutetsu bluntly added.

“He’s still a douchebag, Kendo,” Reiko asserted.  “If that’s his reason, then I still say it’s a stupid reason.  Just because you know why he did it doesn’t mean you have to forgive him.”

“Maybe…”  Kendo was barely listening at this point, as she was lost in her own thoughts.  He never really talked about this, but if he’d go so far…

“Kendo.”  She was shaken from her thoughts by Monoma’s voice.  Snapping to attention, she looked and saw him at the corner of the hallway, along with Kuroiro and Pony. 

“We’ll… leave you two alone,” Kan offered as he ushered the other students away. 

“Good luck,” Kuroiro said as he a Pony followed the others.

“Monoma—“

“Me first,” he said.  “Kendo… I’m sorry.  I’m sorry for making you cry over me.  I’m sorry for worrying you so much – not just today, but every time I act out.  I’m sorry for trying something so stupid to prove myself instead of just talking about it.  I’m sorry for making you keep an eye on me all the time.  I’m an asshole.  I know that.  I want to… change, Kendo.  I have to.  I promise that I won’t make you cry like that again.  I don’t deserve your forgiveness, but… please, don’t give up on me just yet.”  As Monoma tooth and nail to keep his tears inside, Kendo slowly moved towards. 

“I’m gonna hold you to that,” she said.  “I’ll need to hear it at least 100 more times before I believe it.”

“That’s better than I deserve.”  Kendo stopped for a moment, but then ran forwards and wrapped her arms around Monoma.

“I’m not letting you hurt me like that again,” she mumbled in his ear. 

“I swear that I won’t.”  The two friends held each other close for a while, but finally separated when their friends came out from around the corner.

“I knew they’d make up,” Tetsutetsu said.

“I’m not convinced,” Reiko stated.  “You’re still on thin ice for me.”

“You better keep your promise, Monoma.  I’ll be watching you closely,” Ibara warned, “but I’m glad you’ve apologized.”

“I dunno.  Still felt half-assed to me,” Kuroiro commented.

“C’mon, let’s go,” Pony insisted.  “School’s almost over.”

“Right.  Let’s head back to school and change,” Kendo instructed. 

“That reminds,” Monoma said as they walked off.  “What happened in the other matches?”

“Oh yeah!  The other matches!” Tetsutetsu shouted.  “They were really cool!  Y’see…”

Chapter Text

“Dammit,” Rin grunted.  He flinched as another bullet hit the concrete pillar he and Shishida crouched behind.  “Mr. Snipe could be anywhere in here.  There’s no way to get to the exit without him seeing.”

“Maybe, but we have to seize any advantage we have.  There’s two of us and one of him.”

“Does that really matter if he has a gun and telepathic control over the bullets?”

“No, but at this point, we’re running low on options and time.”  A hissing noise caught the boys’ attention as a smoke bomb started blocking their vision.  “I’ve still got his scent for now, so I’ll distract him.  You get through the exit gate.”

“I’m on it,” Rin replied.  Shishida leapt from his cover and jumped up towards the ceiling where he clung to a pillar.  He then jumped across the room behind another pillar. 

Mr. Snipe is still in this area, but the smoke’s masking his scent.  Shishida perked up his ears to search for his proctor and heard boots creeping towards him.  Found you.  Shishida leapt backwards and spun through the air, passing over Snipe.  I’ll keep my movements erratic so he can’t aim for me at close range.  Once he landed, he darted around Snipe, who kept trying to aim at the boy.  Once he ended up behind Snipe, he pounced at the teacher with his Spinning Cannonball. 

“Sorry, Shishida,” Snipe said as he swung his arm into the attacking boy, creating a stalemate.  “Trying to attack like this was a big mistake.”  As Shishida’s momentum slowed, Snipe pushed him to the ground and pressed his gun to Shishida’s head.  “Now, where’s your partner, partner?”

“Team Rin and Shishida have passed.”

“Past the exit gate, it seems.”

“Heh heh.  Alright.  Ya got me.”


“Soooo… any ideas?”

“No.”

“C’mon.  I thought quiet people were supposed to be smart.”  Kamakiri and Yui were just across from the exit gate, but the dirt field they’d have to cross was riddled with giant pitfalls and traps curtesy of Power Loader.  Yui picked up a stone and tossed it out into the field, making another pitfall appear. 

“We can wing it,” Yui suggested. 

“Ugh, fiiiine.  Maybe I can hit him next time he pops up, but there’s no way to know where that’ll be.”  Kamakiri would soon regret asking as the ground beneath the pair caved in and they fell down Power Loader’s tunnel towards the pro.  “Oh shit!”  Kamakiri shot his mandibles down and managed to cut across the arm of power Loader’s mecha suit, but still fell towards his clawed grasp.

“I’ll take Power Loader,” Yui offered.  “You go to the exit.”  In an instant, Yui grew large enough to wedge herself in the pitfall and stop Kamakiri’s fall.  Before the mantis boy could ask what she would do, he was flung out of the pit by his teammate.

“Oh no, you don’t!” Power Loader jeered as he turned back and clawed his way up towards the exit gate.  “I won’t let you get away that easy!”  It only took a moment before the pro surfaced and located Kamakiri.  Not too far away, he was running towards the gate with his mandibles skimming across the ground far in front of him.  The blades set off any pitfalls before him, letting Kamakiri avoid the traps.  “Clever, but you’re wide open, boy!”  Power Loader went to give chase, but felt one of his robotic arms stuck.  “Huh?”  He looked over the arm and dint’ see anything wrong, but then saw sparks coming out of the tear Kamakiri had left on it.

“This looks important,” he heard Yui say.  Poking her head out of the hole in his device was a shrunken Yui, who tore more wires in the machinery.

“Hey!  Cut it out!  Get out of there!  Those’re important!”

“Oh.  I was right.”  Power Loader batted at his mecha arm to get it working, but before he could fix it, Kamakiri ran through the exit gate.

“Team Kamakiri and Kodai have passed.”


After changing out of their hero costumes and Monoma receiving a lengthy lecture from Kan, the remaining Class 1-B members returned to classroom in time for the end of the day.  “First of all,” Kan began, “I’d like to say that you’ve all impressed us teachers today.  Even if some of you—”

“One of us,” Kuroiro snarked.

“—didn’t pass, everyone here fought your hearts out.  I’m proud of you all.  That’s why I’m happy to announce that everyone will be going to the training camp, whether or not they passed.”

“Seriously?  Aw yeah!” Pony cheered. 

“Really?” Monoma asked.

“Of course.  It’s week-long training boot camp, so having any who failed miss out would just widen the gap.  You and the 1-A students who failed will be taking extra lessons as punishment, but you’ll be there too, Monoma.”

“Nice!” Tetsutetsu yelled.  “It really will be everyone!”

“Extra lessons?  Bring ‘em on,” Monoma said with his usual confidence returning.  “I’ll take on any challenge you give me.”

“I won’t lie.  This training camp will be tough as all hell for all of you.  You may wish you were dead by the end.  Especially you, Monoma, with your extra lessons.”

“Starting to feel less excited—”

“I’ll leave you these guides for what to pack and what we’ll be doing.  Be ready for your toughest training yet.  Class dismissed!”  Kan left the students to take a guide for the trip and pack up their belongings. 

“Man, we need a lot of stuff,” Honenuki commented.  “I gotta do some shopping.”

“I wonder if we’ll get to do normal camp stuff,” Awase wondered.  “Y’know, sit by a fire, swim in a lake—”

“Panty raid,” Setsuna suggested. 

“You’ve got weird priorities,” Kamakiri quipped. 

“It’s not a terrible idea,” Tsuburaba laughed.

“Yeah, Setsuna will be our mole.  Someone on the inside,” Fukidashi added. 

“Yeah, I’m just gonna shut that idea down now,” Reiko said.  “Setsuna, I have no problem tying you up if we’re sleeping in the same room.”

“Is that a promise?” the lizard girl cooed with batting eyelashes.

“Weirdo,” Reiko dismissively said. 

“Don’t run away from your feelings,” Setsuna quickly added.

“Looks like everyone’s getting pumped for the camp,” Kendo commented while looking over the class.  “You excited, Ibara?  …Ibara?”  Kendo waved her hand in the vine-haired girl’s face as she was completely focused on her phone with an embarrassed expression.

“O-Oh!  Yes.  Yes, I am.”

“What’re you lookin’ at?”

“…Wedding dresses,” she explained solemnly.  “I did something shameful and the only way I can repent is to marry Tetsutetsu.”  It took a moment for Kendo to really process what Ibara had said.  By the time she realized, Monoma was snickering in his seat and Ibara went back to her embarrassed wedding planning.

“I… you what?”

“What’s going on?” Setsuna asked as she and Reiko walked over.  “I heard ‘marry Tetsutetsu’ and now I need details, like, now.”

“Yeah, same here,” Reiko requested.  Ibara looked around her to make sure no one was eavesdropping before leaning closer to her friends. 

“After my match against All Might, I was very distraught, but Tetsutetsu was kind enough to comfort me.  He was so chivalrous and good-natured.  I was overwhelmed with emotion and… I kissed him.  On the lips.”

“Scandalous~,” Setsuna commented.  “Gonna hold his hand next, you saucy little minx?”

“So, what now?” Reiko asked.  “Do you wanna ask him out?”

“Not after I jumped the gun so brazenly,” Ibara explained while cupping her blushing cheeks.  “A first kiss is a sacred event.  I don’t regret giving him mine at all, but I practically stole his.  Such an indecency can only be repaid by marrying him.”

“…Theory,” Reiko suddenly said.  “This is like one of those ‘caveman found frozen in a block of ice’ things, but with a teen girl from, like, the 1800s.”

“I’d buy it,” Setsuna replied.

“Ibara, you really don’t have to be so formal and rigid,” Kendo said, trying to rein in the conversation.  “Especially not with someone like Tetsutetsu.  If you wanna date him, just ask him out.  You can’t pursue a relationship and follow every guideline or go in some order.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course!  It’s like an adventure.  Besides, if Tetsutetsu had some problem, he would’ve said so.”  Kendo turned Ibara’s head to look at Tetsutetsu packing his things with the same dim smile he always wore.  “He doesn’t look upset, so you shouldn’t be.  Just ask him out.”

“If you insist,” Ibara said while calming her blush.  “I’ll try.”

“Wait,” Setsuna blurted out.  “If kisses are sacred… Hey everyone!  Bow down to your queen!  Sexy Setsuna Tokage of the heavenly smoochies!”

“You are exhausting,” Reiko commented as the other students still in class ignored Setsuna. 

“Eh, whatevs,” the lizard girl shrugged.  “Anyway, most of the class is gone, so might as well go get some, girl.”  Ibara took a deep breath and got up to confront Tetsutetsu.

“Wish me luck,” she murmured as she forced herself over to her crush’s desk.  “Tetsutetsu?”

“’Sup?” he greeted with his usual vigor.

“I… I wanted to… apologize for being so forward earlier.  If that made you uncomfortable, please know that was not my intention and I’m very sorry if it did—”

“Nah, it’s cool,” Tetsutetsu assured her.  “In fact, it was freakin’ MANLY!”

“P-Pardon?”

“You put yourself out there in a bold way!” he explained.  “If that’s not manly, then I don’t know what is.”

“Oh, yes.  I forgot about your… Anyways, I wanted to ask you…”  The confidence that her friends had given here was beginning to leave Ibara, but she continued on after a deep breath.  “Would you like to… g-go out on a… d-d-date with me?” 

“Sure!”  Ibara was taken aback by the immediate answer, but once it hit her, her blush faded and she sighed in relief.

“How cute!” Setsuna cooed from atop Kendo’s desk.  “Reminds me of myself except with less dinosaur-themed panties.”

“That is not information I needed to have,” Reiko commented.  “Anyways, I’m gonna meet up with Shinso.  Later.”

“Oh yeah!  Me and Rin have a date too!” Setsuna hopped off Kendo’s desk and bolted to her boyfriend’s desk where she jumped into his arms.  “Let’s hit the town, dino boyfriend!”

“Why do you always jump in my arms like that?” he questioned.

“Why do you always look so sexy!” 

As the remaining members of Class 1-B left, Kendo and Monoma were the only ones remaining.  “It took some time, but we really made it,” Kendo mused.  “One semester at U.A. is done already.”

“Feels like a blur,” Monoma added.  “Then again, I did have… priorities that kept my attention.”

“Yeah…”

“I meant what I said,” Monoma suddenly said.  “I’m going to change my behavior.  It’ll take time, but I will.”

“I believe you,” Kendo asserted.  “I’m glad you’re making an effort and I’ll support you.”

“Thanks… Kendo?”

“Hm?”

“You’re my best friend.”  Monoma’s sudden seriousness surprised Kendo, but his genuine tone quickly brought a smile to her face.

“And you’re mine, Monoma.”

Chapter Text

It’s been two days since U.A.’s Training Camp came to a screeching halt.  The League of Villains’ Vanguard Action Squad had attacked the students and pro heroes in attendance with the goal of capturing Katsuki Bakugo.  They succeeded.  27 students were injured to various degrees in the attack, most of whom were in Class 1-B.  One pro, Pixie-Bob, was grievously injured, and another, Ragdoll, disappeared after losing a dangerous amount of blood.  Three villains were captured by the police, but this did nothing to ease the absolute disaster of the attack.

As the train pulled into the station, Monoma stepped off and looked up at the night sky.  In the corner of his eye, he saw a news bulletin reminding people of U.A.’s upcoming press conference.  He then went to leave the station, noticing a handful of people he knew on his way out.  Midoriya, Todoroki, Yaoyorozu, Iida, and Kirishima were entering the station.  They weren’t that close to him and they seemed to have a lot on their minds, but Midoriya’s gaze did find its way to Monoma’s.  The two boys stared for a moment before Midoriya continued on with his group.  For some reason, he looked guilty.  Monoma felt guilty too, but couldn’t place why until the group was gone.  His mind flashed back to a few weeks ago to something he had said to Midoriya after going out of his way to elbow the boy’s head. 

I hear you guys rans into the hero killer.  I guess the Sports Festival wasn’t enough.  You just keep getting attention with one stunt after another, huh, Class 1-A?  But now it’s looking like that attention isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  It’s starting to get dangerous, right?  Pretty scary!  I’m just worried that one of these days, we’re all gonna get caught up in some of your antics!

Monoma cringed at his memory and twisted his hand around the strap of his bag.  What a fool I’ve been.  The memory was thankfully hazy from there on because of Kendo’s neck chop, but the thought of Kendo tightened his grip even more.  She was in danger and I was stuck inside.  She was shot at… 

Monoma had spent the previous day and the last two nights in the hospital with his classmates.  Not that he was injured – he was well aware of that fact – but because he felt needed.  Kendo was also barely injured, but she remained by her friends’ sides.  Her parents had begged her to come home and rest properly, but she was resolute in staying.  Monoma’s parents had also asked him to come home, just for a little while, so he came to a compromise with them, Kendo, and her parents.  She would stay with the others, and once Monoma returned later, he’d bring her some stuff.  Food, a change of clothes, and a few other essentials. 

Monoma made it to the hospital quickly, but stood outside for a while.  The memories of how his classmates had been when he was last there pricked at his mind like needles.  The sight of someone as lively as Setsuna lying in a hospital bed like dead weight.  The sight of someone as tall and muscular as Bondo with an oxygen mask strapped to his face.  His mind flipped through these images like a camera reel, and the last image in his head made him feel sick.  He remembered the sight of his pure, innocent, and gentle friend, Pony Tsunotori, hooked up to a life support machine.

…It’s been almost a day, Monoma told himself.  Some of them must be awake by now.  The voice he forced into his mind was one of optimism and energy – a voice he called upon in his difficult times.  Though he’d never really pondered why, the voice in his head reminded him of Kendo.

Monoma walked into the lobby and looked around.  He didn’t see anyone he recognized, but he expected that.  With the state they were in, no one would be checking out just yet.  Most of the class had inhaled dangerous amounts of toxic gas created by a villain’s Quirk.  The only ones who weren’t affected by the gas was himself, Kendo, Tetsutetsu, Yui, and Awase.  Ibara and Honenuki were knocked unconscious by it, but they were thankfully given gas masks soon after, so they had woken up sometime last night.  Monoma entered the stairwell and quickly ascended to the second floor where his friends were. 

Once he arrived, he looked around and finally saw a few familiar faces.  Watching TV in a small sitting area was Awase and Hatsume, who had come yesterday afternoon.  When she arrived, she had thrown a small fit at Awase for nearly being killed by a monster, but it seemed like she had calmed down since.  He waved at the pair and continued forward, finding Kendo sat on a small bench between Setsuna’s and Kuroiro’s rooms.  She didn’t notice him walking up.  Monoma could already tell how drained she was.  Trying to stay positive for two days straight would tire anyone out.  “I’m back.”

“Hey,” Kendo greeted.  “Bring my stuff?”  Her voice was listless and slow, confirming her ragged state to Monoma.  With a closer look, he could see even more signs – the bags under her eyes and the greasy sheen over her messy hair.  She needed to go home and rest her worried mind, but Monoma knew she couldn’t be convinced yet.

“Yeah, it’s all here,” Monoma said as he handed her the bag.  “Your mom said to eat up if you’re not coming home.”

“Right.  I’ll go change and then have some.”  She took the bag and trudged off to the women’s room while Monoma took a seat on the bench.  He sat in silence for a bit before noticing some snoring coming from Kuroiro’s room.  He peeked inside and saw Honenuki asleep in a chair near Kuroiro’s bed.

Well, don’t you look comfy?

“I told you that I’m fine.”  Monoma’s attention was drawn down the hall when he heard Tetsutetsu coming out of his room.  He still had bandages around his temples and a few other spots, but he had changed out of his hospital clothes and into a dark blue T-shirt and black shorts.  “Doctor said I can leave whenever I’m feeling better.”

“No, you’re still not well!”  Ibara was trying to pull Tetsutetsu back into his room, but was just being dragged across the floor tiles.  She had also changed into normal clothes – a frilly green blouse and long white skirt – since Monoma had last seen her.  “I beg you, please get back in bed.”

“You should be the one in bed,” Tetsutetsu replied.  “The doctor said that poison gas is still your system.”

“Tetsu, you were shot.  I’d feel much better if you got back in your bed and rested.”  Tetsutetsu looked guilty for worrying Ibara, but then noticed Monoma.

“Hey, buddy!” he greeted, stomping over to Monoma with Ibara still ineffectually pulling back on his bicep.  “Back already?”

“Yeah, I didn’t want to stay away for long.  How’s your head?”

“Should be good.  Doctor said my brain isn’t rattled too much and my skull will be all good soon.”

“He has a concussion,” Ibara interrupted.  “Please, return to bed.”

“I will, I will.  Just let me stretch my legs a bit.”  Ibara pouted and relented her grip, figuring that was the best she’d get from the boy. 

“You better,” she sighed.  Monoma internally snickered at the new couple before seeing Kendo return, now wearing a clean blue shirt and black shorts. 

“Hey, you two.”

“Oh hey!  How’re you holdin’ up?!” Tetsutetsu asked.

“I should be asking you that,” Kendo said with a forced chuckle. 

“But Kendo, you’ve been here worrying over everyone,” Ibara pointed out.  “Surely, you must be—”

“I’m good, Ibara,” Kendo assured her as she sat on the bench.  “Just a little hungry, that’s all.”  She dug through the bag and grabbed the food her mom had packed, quickly digging in.  “That hits the spot.”  As Kendo ate, Monoma got up and pulled Ibara out of earshot of the ginger girl.

“Anything change while I was gone?” he asked.  “Anyone wake up?”

“No one else yet,” she answered glumly.  “I’ve been told that their condition has been steadily improving, though something does worry me.”  Ibara motioned across the hospital floor to a wavy-haired doctor talking with a nurse.  “That doctor has checked on everyone and assured me they will be fine, but he’s gone into Reiko’s room more than a few times.  I fear there’s something he’s not telling me.”  Monoma looked at the doctor, experiencing a strange sense of déjà vu in the process, and watched as he walked to Reiko’s room. 

“That is worrisome,” Monoma agreed.  “I’m gonna investigate.”  The copycat slinked over to her room and waited outside for the doctor to exit.  “Hey, doc.”

“Yes?” the doctor said.

“What’s wrong with Yanagi that you’re not telling us?  You’ve gone in there a few more times than the others.”

“Calm down, kid,” the doctor said with an amused smirk.  “Your friend will be just fine with time.  I’m just checking on my kid.”

“Your kid?”  Monoma took a quick look inside and saw Shinso in Reiko’s room.  He was fast asleep, leaning forward on her bed with a hand over hers.  Monoma looked at Shinso, then back at the squinty-eyed doctor with wavy, stood-up dark hair, and finally understood the déjà vu he had felt.  “Oh.  Alright then.”

“Take a chill pill, kid,” the doctor said while ruffling Monoma’s hair.  “Your classmates will be just fine.  Promise.”  Monoma acted flippant as the doctor left, but hearing him say that really did put him at ease. 

“That hit the spot,” he heard Kendo say as he returned.

“Already finished?”  Geez, you were hungry,” Monoma commented.

“Well, y’know.  Hospital food and all that,” Kendo answered.  Monoma didn’t buy her excuse for a second.

“If you’re staying here, you have to eat, Kendo,” he sternly instructed.  Tetsutetsu and Ibara were shocked at how serious Monoma sounded.

“I know,” she replied, embarrassed.  There was an awkward lull in the conversation that was quickly filled when Yui approached the group.  Yui had left the previous night, but returned the next morning, now wearing a white T-shirt and blue shorts.  “Hey, Yui.  What’s up?”

“Pony just woke up,” she quickly explained.

“Seriously?!” Monoma snapped excitedly. 

“That’s great!” Kendo cheered, receiving an energy boost from the news like a shot of coffee would do.

“I knew my prayers would be answered,” Ibara mumbled while wiping a tear away.

“I told her what happened,” Yui continued.  “I think she wants to see all of us.”

“Then let’s go!” Tetsutetsu ordered.  The five classmates hurried across the hospital to Pony’s room, where the blonde centaur girl waited with a smile.

“Hey,” she greeted before both Kendo and Monoma hugged her.

“We were so worried,” Monoma said in relief.

“It OK,” she assured her friends.  “I’m feelin’ good now.”

“We’re so glad you’re feeling better,” Kendo said while rubbing her eyes.  As Monoma pulled away from Pony, he saw Kendo sway for a moment before steadying herself on a shelf.  The anxiety and nerves that kept her wired with energy were finally loosening their grip.  As he eased her onto a chair, Monoma also felt an intense relief wash over himself. 

“So, what happened since the camp attack?” Pony asked. 

“Not too much,” Tetsutetsu began.  “There’s a press conference soon with Mr. Kan, the principal, and Eraserhead about what happened.”

“Then I wanna watch,” Pony insisted.  “If things are bad as Yui said, I wanna support them.  Reporters are gonna cannibal them.”

“Eat them alive, Pony,” Monoma corrected.  In doing something as routine as correcting Pony’s language, he felt a twinge of normalcy enter the room.  While Tetsutetsu flipped through the channels and Pony grilled Ibara for more details, Monoma took a seat next to Kendo.

“Now that she’s awake, everyone else may start waking up soon,” he speculated.

“That’d be nice,” Kendo yawned. 

“…I think you should go home soon,” Monoma said.  “You’ve been here since the incident.  You’re running yourself ragged by staying here and worrying.” 

“Maybe you’re right, but… I just need a little more time, OK?  I have to make sure they’re alright…”

“…Fine,” he sighed.  “A little more time couldn’t hurt.”

Chapter Text

The press conference went as the students expected.  Reporters grilling their teachers for information they didn’t have and asking questions they couldn’t really answer.  It was disheartening to watch, but the real kicker was their lack of info on Bakugo’s whereabouts.  According to Nezu, they had no leads. 

“All we can do is pray for Bakugo’s safety,” Ibara said as Tetsutetsu turned off the TV. 

“That guy may be a douche, but he’s tough,” Tetsutetsu complimented.  “I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

“It was pretty cool how Mr. Principal complimented you two,” Pony said.  “I didn’t know you guys beat up a villain.”

“You bet we did!” Tetsutetsu boasted while flexing.  “That wimp was nothin’ but a punk.”

“Don’t try playing the tough guy,” Ibara lectured.  “You still have a concussion, now sit.”

“You worry too much,” Tetsutetsu said while flopping down in a free chair.  “Things’ll turn out fine.  Now that Pony’s up, the others could be up soon too.”

“That stands to reason, but…”  Ibara looked at the floor and grimaced before taking the seat next to Tetsutetsu.  “I don’t know.  Ever since the press conference started, I’ve had this bad feeling.  I feel as though something terrible will happen again.”  Ibara knotted her fingers around her skirt, but then felt Tetsutetsu’s arm around her shoulders.

“I’m sure it’s fine,” he said.  “You’re just worrying yourself too much.  Our friends will be find and the pros will get Bakugo back soon”

“…You’re right,” she said while leaning her head onto the iron boy’s shoulder.  “Thank you, Tetsu.”

“I forgot you two were couple,” Pony added.  “Lookin’ so cute together.”

“Already on nicknames, eh, Ibara?” Kendo asked.  “Weren’t you the one freaking out over one kiss.”

“What can I say?” the vine-haired girl answered blissfully.

“I think I’ll turn in for tonight,” Kendo yawned.  “Hopefully, things will be better in the morning.”

“Hopefully…” Yui parroted.  Kendo slumped back in her seat and felt sleep take her almost instantly.  Her rest wouldn’t last, however, as shouting voices stirred her from her sleep not too long after it started.

“Quick!  Turn on the TV!”  It was Tetsutetsu.  The TV was on before Kendo’s eyes could adjust to the room’s lights.  Once she was fully awake and stood up to see the TV better. 

“If you’re just joining us,” the TV reporter began, “almost half of Kamino Ward has already been destroyed by the fight between All Might and this unknown villain.  Many Pro Heroes on the scene have also been defeated.  Please stay tuned as we try getting a closer look.”

“What’s going on?” Pony asked.  “All Might’s fightin’ someone?”

“It must be whoever kidnapped Bakugo,” Monoma realized.  “The mastermind of the camp’s attack.”

“How could they destroy so much and still be going?” Kendo wondered.  “All Might’s supposed to be unbeatable.”  The news footage straightened out and showed a bird’s eye view of the battlefield.  From what they could see, Kamino Ward was rubble in every direction.  In the center was All Might, who was bleeding and had a torn costume.

“He looks injured,” Pony said.  “That villain really hurt All Might?”

“It’s not just All Might,” Tetsutetsu pointed out.  Looking closely, they noticed a few other heroes in the background, either injured or defeated.

“Mt. Lady,” Yui gasped worriedly. 

“Gang Orca, Best Jeanist,” Monoma listed off.  “He took down two heroes in the top 10 and can still fight All Might alone?”  The villain in question wore a busted black mask and a black suit.  He didn’t seem worn out from the fight so far, but he wasn’t making a move.

“Who’s that guy with All Might?” Pony questioned.  The hero she was asking about was a short old man in a yellow and gray costume.

“I’ve seen him before,” Monoma explained.  “He was in the footage of the Hero Killer – Gran Torino.  He’s a veteran hero.”

“Mr. Tiger is there too,” Ibara noted.  “Look in his arms.  He has Miss Ragdoll!”

“If they have her, does that mean Bakugo is safe too?” Kendo asked.  They had no time to question anymore the villain made another move.  From what they could see, the villain shot a giant burst of air pressure at All Might and Gran Torino.  The footage went wild as the helicopter tumbled in the dust cloud created by the attack.  The students could hear hospital workers and other patients also watching the news outside their room. 

“What’s going on?”

“I can’t see a thing!”

“Ya think All Might’s alright?”

As the chorus of worried voices echoed into the room, Monoma looked over his friends worried faces.  He felt powerless once again, unable to ease their anxiety.  He was barely keeping it together himself.  Tetsutetsu’s boundless energy had seemingly evaporated.  Ibara bit down on her fist while her other hand gripped tightly to Tetsutetsu’s.  Pony was holding onto Yui for support, while Yui held her back, her normal stoicism fading quickly.  The worst to see by far was Kendo.  She had used up every ounce of positivity in her body long ago.  All she could do was watch and wait.  This’ll turn out fine, Monoma thought.  We just have to keep calm and have confidence… just say that… just tell them… TELL HER IT’LL TURN OUT FINE!  Monoma’s words were stuck halfway up his dry throat.

The footage finally returned to clarity as the dust settled.  While everyone hoped for the sight of a victorious hero, there was nothing of the sort.  The camera zoomed in on All Might, who had changed after that last attack.  He looked like a skeleton with sunken eyes and a grim, defeated expression.  “D-Does anyone else see this?” the reporter asked. 

“What happened to All Might?” someone in the hall asked.

“He’s all skin and bones.”

“Is it over?”  Monoma’s heart sank at these people’s words.  All Might needed support, but everyone’s confidence wavered once they saw his weakened state. 

“Is that… really him?” Tetsutetsu wondered with a heavy gulp.

“Oh god,” Ibara whispered.  “All Might…”

“Did he lose?” Pony asked before burying her face in Yui’s chest.  “Is it done?”

“What now?” Yui asked.  The copycat watched helplessly his friends give into their despair and lose their faith in All Might.

“This… can’t be real…” Kendo whimpered.  Monoma shakily reached for her shoulder to comfort her, but before he could reach, she fell to her knees.  “I can’t watch this!” she sobbed.  Monoma looked back and forth between the TV and his distraught friend, his mind blanking on what to do.  “I can’t look… I can’t…” 

It’s now or never, Monoma told himself.  They’ve all given up.  You have to say something.  Anything!  She needs you!  Monoma clenched his fists and turned to his friends with resolve burning in his chest.  “What the hell are you all talking about?!  It’s not over yet!”  As soon as he spoke, the room was quiet.  Although he didn’t realize it, he had the attention of everyone in the hallway too.  “It doesn’t matter if he looks different!  That’s still All Might!  He’s still fighting for us!  HE NEEDS OUR SUPPORT NOW MORE THAN EVER!”  Monoma wasn’t done quite yet.  He watched on TV as All Might raise his right arm and grew huge muscles on it, energy crackling around him as his emaciated face twisted into his trademark smile.  “Beat this guy, All Might!”

“He’s right!” Pony yelled.  “GO ALL MIGHT!”

“KICK HIS ASS!” Tetsutetsu screamed.

“PLEASE WIN!” Ibara begged.

“YOU CAN DO IT!” Yui shouted.  Their cheers of confidence spread thought he hospital flor.  Pretty soon, all anyone could hear was shouts of encouragement for their hero.  As this wave of confidence spread through the building, Monoma crouched down and finally placed his hand on Kendo’s shoulder. 

“Get up.  Our hero needs support.”  Kendo looked back at Monoma and slowly stood back up, wiping her tears away quickly.

“WIN THIS, ALL MIGHT!”  Her despaired expression did a complete flip, growing excited as she shouted for victory.

There’s your support, sir.  Ironically, the next attack didn’t come from All Might or the villain.  Racing onto the battlefield was Endeavor, who threw a fireball at the villain.  His shouts couldn’t be made out on the TV, but It seemed to grip All Might’s attention.  Just as the villain turned to attack Endeavor, Edgeshot sprang out and attacked.

“Finally, he’s got some back-up!” Tetsutetsu yelled.  As the pair of heroes kept the villain at bay, Kamui Woods swung out and snatched the unconscious Mt. Lady, Gang Orca, and Best Jeanist away from the battlefield. 

“It’s Mr. Kamui!” Ibara cheered. 

“Look!  Tiger too!” Pony added.  “He’s getting them civilians out!”  The camera’s focus shifted to the villain, whose right arm was beginning to grow and change.  Metal spirals, bone spears, and other enhancements grew from the now-giant arm.

“Oh shit!” Tetsutetsu yelled.  “That’s freaky, but if anyone can beat it, it’s All Might!”

“That’s right!” Kendo agreed.  “Go, All Might!”  The villain flew down and threw his giant fist towards All Might, who met the attack with a punch of his own. 

“This is it!” Monoma yelled.  As the attacks clashed and cloud of wind and dust erupted, they could see All Might transfer his power from his right arm to his left.  The villain countered by doing the same, aiming for a killing blow, but All Might dodged and moved the power back into his right arm.  Although the footage had barely picked up any sound so far, they could clearly hear All Might’s battle cry as he put the villain do once and for all.

“UNITED… STATES OF… SMAAAAAAAASH!”  His punch forced the villain to the ground and caused an eruption of force, creating a tornado.  The helicopter shooting footage was sent into a whirl, making the footage hectic and undiscernible.  Everyone’s breath stopped in anticipation as they waited to see the aftermath.  After what felt like an eternity, they finally saw All Might standing over the villain.  He was battered and bloodied, but he was still victorious.  He was still All Might.  The hero raised his fist triumphantly and muscled out as his last hero job came to a close.  This one action sent the entire hospital from motionless waiting into a frenzy of cheers.

“HE DID IIIIIT!” Pony screamed.

“HE WON!  ALL MIGHT WON!” Tetsutetsu cried while picking Ibara up in a bear hug.

“That was amazing,” Yui added while wiping away tears.

“I told you,” Monoma began.  “You just needed to beli— Huurk!”  Monoma was cut off when Kendo pulled him into a crushing embrace.

“That was so awesome!” she yelled.  “He really pulled it off!”

“Yeah.  Crazy, right?  I can’t breathe,” he groaned.  As Kendo put him down, they listened in on the celebration in the hallway, noticing a few familiar voices among the cheers.  “There’s no way…” Monoma began before rushing outside and cracking a grin.  Once he and the others were outside, they saw their classmates among the workers and other patients.  Honenuki was supporting a groggy Kuroiro on his shoulder as they cheered with the crowd. Reiko cried in joy in her room’s doorway while leaning on Shinso.  Hatsume had already pulled Awase aside for an adrenaline-fueled make-out session.  Littered though the rest of the crowd were even more newly-awakened students – Shoda, Setsuna, Bondo, and Tsuburaba from what they could see so far.

“Th-They’re awake,” Kendo began as tears of relief filled her eyes.  “It’s a miracle.  I-I can’t believe it.”

“With all this noise, how could they stay asleep?” Monoma joked while supporting his exhausted friend.

“It’s almost like a plague has been lifted,” Ibara mused.  “The evil has been defeated, as has the curse on our friends.”

“Whatever the reason, it’s super awesome!” Pony cheered.  While she, Tetsutetsu, Ibara, and Yui rushed to their friends in the crowd, Monoma stayed with the fatigued Kendo.

“How’re you feeling?” he asked.  Kendo rubbed her eyes embarrassedly and leaned against the wall while sighing.

“I feel like I’ve done more than enough crying tonight,” she said.  “Don’t worry about me.  Now that they’ve started waking up, I can head home happy.”

“Good.  You deserve some rest.”  Monoma watched Kendo smile brightly and run into the crowd to her friends.  “It’s finally over.”


 

The next morning, Monoma and Kendo woke up to find even more of their friends had come to.  By 10:30, every last member of Class-1-B was conscious.  As he and Kendo visited them all, Monoma actually began to believe what Ibara had said.  It did seem like All Might defeating that villain lifted some sort of curse on them.  Once everyone was accounted for, Kendo finally relented and agreed to go home. 

Monoma watched as Kendo said goodbye to Ibara and Tetsutetsu.  The pair had assured her they’d take her place in watching over everyone’s remaining recovery.  “Alright, I’m ready to go,” Kendo said.  “The station will probably be packed.”

“Yeah, but I think we missed the initial rush.”  Monoma let Kendo go ahead as the pair entered the stairwell.

“…Hang on,” Kendo said.

“Forget something?”  They stopped and Kendo leaned forward on a railing, looking away from Monoma.

"No… I just wanted to say… thank you.”

“For what?” Monoma asked.  Kendo was never one for serious conversations.  Anytime she said thanks, it was done quickly and casually.

“I really wasn’t taking care of myself while I stayed here,” Kendo admitted.  “You realized that… and you called me out.  You made sure I didn’t forget about myself.  And also…”  Kendo turned to face Monoma before leaning back more casually on the railing.  “Last night, during the big fight, I had nothing left in me… and I almost gave up.  You pulled me back to reality.  You helped all of us.  You were our hero.”

Monoma was stunned.  He stared blankly at Kendo, who smiled a little and looked away.  It took him a moment to notice, but he saw Kendo was blushing.  “It was nothing.  I wouldn’t call it ‘heroic.’  I was just helping my friends.  That’s all.”

“Well, even if it was nothing to you… it meant a lot to me.  So, thanks.” 

That’s when Monoma felt it.  The weight on his heart.  The stirring in his stomach.  The shaking in his hands.  You can’t tell her, Monoma ordered himself.  This isn’t the time.  This isn’t the place.  You’ve troubled her enough.

“Anyway, that’s it,” Kendo continued.  “Let’s get going—”

“Hold on.”  Instinctively, Monoma reached out and grabbed Kendo’s arm as she turned away.  As she spun back around, he let go.

“Hm?”

Don’t do this now.  You’re not ready.  You have no idea how she feels.  “It wasn’t nothing to me.  I… really had to dig deep to say all that stuff, but… when I saw how upset you were, I had to step in…”

“Oh yeah?  That’s sweet—”

“Because I love you, Kendo.”  Well shit.  It’s out there.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  While Monoma bereted himself, both he and Kendo froze, almost like those words had stopped time for them.  “You’ve been my best friend for so long that… I didn’t want to ruin it.  I kept it buried, but now… now, it’s finally out.  Itsuka Kendo, I’m in love with you.  And even if you don’t feel the same, I always want to support you, just like you do for me and everyone else.”  With his heart and mind finally releasing those words, Monoma felt a strange emptiness.  He had cleared out any lingering secrets and was left barren.  All he could do was wait for Kendo to react.

“…Is that… how you really feel?”  Her voice was blank and stilted.  She was too shocked to fully react.

“It is.”  After another moment, the emotional stalemate finally ended when Kendo cracked a smile. 

“In that case… I wish you had told me sooner.”  Kendo grabbed Monoma by the shirt and pulled him forward before locking her lips around his.  The copycat’s shock instantly wore off and he wrapped his arms around Kendo’s waist, pulling her closer and returning the kiss.  Any doubts, anxiety, or fatigue felt by either melted away in the other’s embrace.

Chapter Text

With Bakugo rescued and the League of Villains scattered and weakened after their leader’s defeat, U.A. still had a one last problem to face.  Their students had been endangered yet again, and this time, there were serious injuries.  They had to ensure their safety, so the families of the U.A. students received a shocking notice of U.A.’s new boarding system.  Principal Nezu knew his plan was risky and ill-timed, but with how bold villains had been in attacking the students, keeping them under constant supervision was their best option.  That’s why he and Kan were visiting the families of Class 1-B while Aizawa and All Might took care of Class 1-A’s families.

For the most part, their meetings had gone smoothly, especially compared to what they imagined.  So far, every student they’d met with would be returning.  However, once they arrived at the Komori residence, they hit their first roadblock.  “…For these reasons, we believe a boarding system would be in the best interest of our students,” Nezu explained.  “I know U.A. has had its problems, but we hope you can put your trust in us once more.”  Kan and Nezu waited while Kinoko’s father, Takeshi Komori, mulled over the proposal.  Kinoko was sat next to him, not saying anything.  On Kinoko other side was her mother, Enoki Komori, who had also not said much.

“You keep talking about how safe it’ll be,” Takeshi finally said, “but you’ve always said that U.A. is safe.  I don’t see how this will change things.  Sure, you’ll have pro heroes always with them, but there were pro heroes present at both attacks, am I correct?”

“You are,” Nezu answered.  “By staying close to our students and increasing our security, we hope to stop any attack before they happen, and if they do happen for some reason, a pro will be close by.”

“There’s also the matter of the students getting their provisional licenses,” Kan said.  “If they pass the exam, they’ll be able to defend themselves without the law being a problem—”

“Neither of you are addressing my concern,” Takeshi interrupted.  “I don’t want Kinoko to have to defend herself.  She shouldn’t be facing villains at all.  She’s just a student.”

“We wholeheartedly agree,” Kan continued.  “We don’t want our students facing villains yet either.  We want them to defend themselves should the need arise.”  Takeshi stayed stone-faced as he silently thought over what had been said.

“I’m sorry, but… I simply cannot allow Kinoko to return to U.A.”

“But dad—”

“That’s final, Kinoko.”  Takeshi immediately shut Kinoko down and stood up.  “I appreciate all you’ve done for Kinoko so far, but we’re done here.  Enoki, please show these two out.”  Before Kan or Nezu could speak up again, Takeshi was already walking away.  Kan looked to Kinoko disappointedly, expecting her to be sad, but instead, she clenched her hands and shot up from her seat.

“Dad,” she began, trying her best to sound determined through a shaky voice, “I’m going back to U.A.”

“You are not.  This discussion is over—”

“No, it isn’t,” Kinoko declared.  Kan thought back to how timid and shy Kinoko had been all year and smiled. 

She’s grown quite the backbone.  Kinoko followed her father further back in their house, leaving Kan and Nezu with Enoki.  “I’m sorry for my husbands’ rudeness,” she said quietly.  “He’s always been protective of Kinoko, so he’s been worked up like this since the incident.”

“That’s understandable,” Kan said.  “I hope she can convince him to change his mind.  Kinoko is a very bright and caring girl.  Excellent hero material.”

“That’s very nice of you to say,” Enoki replied.  “I’m actually grateful to U.A.  Kinoko’s grown so much in these past few months.  I’d love for her to continue to study there, and I’m sure my husband feels the same way deep down.  I’m confident Kinoko can convince him with a little time.”

“That’s great to hear,” Kan said. 

“In that case, maybe we should take this time to prepare for our next visit,” Nezu suggested.  “It will probably be our most difficult one yet.”

“That’s right.  Tetsutetsu was nearly killed fighting the gas villain.  I just hope his parents are willing to hear us out.”


 

“Of course, he can go!”

“…Really?”  Kan was shocked at just how easy it was to convince Tetsutetsu’s parents to let him go back to U.A. considering he was shot several times at the camp.  Kan’s surprise wasn’t just from that, but also by how much Tetsutetsu’s parents resembled their son.  Both had spiky silver hair, eyebrows that circled their eyes, sharp teeth, and seemingly endless energy.  Seeing what was essentially a female Tetsutetsu freaked Kan out enough, but their casual attitude to what had happened made it worse.  It felt almost like they’d drop the act and scream at him any second.

“I’m honored you’re trusting us with your son again after such a terrible blunder on our part,” Nezu said with a polite bow.  “Do you have any questions for us?”

“Nah, we’re good,” they both said.  The fact that they had said almost everything in complete sync also freaked Kan out to no end. 

“In that case, would you mind if I posed a question?” Nezu asked.  “I hope this isn’t rude of me, but how did you think of such a unique and creative name for your son.”

“Oh, that’s a fun story,” Mrs. Tetsutetsu began.  Kan was a little relieved to finally hear one of them speak without the other.  “We wanted to combine our names when we named our child.”

“Y’see, my name’s Kotetsu,” Mr. Tetsutetsu explained, “and her name is Tetsuko.  So, we decided to name our child Koko if it was a girl and Tetsutetsu if it was a boy.”

“What a fun anecdote.  Thank you for telling us,” Nezu said.

This is the most redundant family I’ve ever seen.  It’s eerie, Kan thought. 


“Well, that’s almost all of them,” Kan said.  “Based on how many of them were affected by the attack, I assumed this would be much harder.”

“It hasn’t been exactly easy, but we’ve got nearly everyone in Class 1-B,” Nezu replied.  “Monoma’s parents were relatively easy to convince, but out last stop worries me.  Kendo was in grave danger during the camp.  Her parents must be angry at us.”

"Kendo herself has always been very laid-back and casual.  If her parents are similar, we may be in for an easy last stop.”  Kan and Nezu approached the door to the Kendo family’s apartment, but before one of them could knock, they heard a woman shouting.

“Over my dead body you’re going back to that goddamn deathtrap of a school!”

“What comedic timing,” Nezu commented nonchalantly.  Kan internally scolded himself for jinxing things and slowly knocked.  After a moment, Itsuka opened the door. 

“Hey,” she greeted embarrassedly.  “I guess you heard all that?”

“Just the end,” Kan answered awkwardly.  “May we come in?”

“Please do.”  Kan and Nezu entered the apartment and looked around warily for the person who shouted earlier. 

“Mom, dad, they’re here!” Itsuka announced, prompting a man to come out from the kitchen.  He was tall and muscular with cropped black hair and a friendly smile, wearing dark jeans and a black button-up shirt.

“Hello, gentleman,” the man greeted.  “I’m Gon Kendo.  It’s pleasure to meet you.”

"Sekijiro Kan.  Thank you for having us.”

“Principal Nezu.  It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“Honey, the U.A. representatives are here,” Gon called back into the kitchen.  “Come say hello.”  Almost instantly, a metal ladle came flying out at Gon’s head.  He caught it without a hassle, almost like he was used to it, and walked back into the kitchen.  “Honey, don’t be like this,” Kan heard him say.

“Your mother seems… feisty,” Kan commented.

“That’s a nice way of putting it,” Itsuka said while rubbing her neck sheepishly.  After a moment, Gon returned while dragging a woman out of the kitchen with him.  She looked like an older, slightly taller Itsuka, and seemed just as angry as her voice had been.  She was dressed in a yellow shirt and blue jeans with a white apron and a white bandana over her short ginger hair.

“Sorry about that,” Gon said with a laugh.  “This little firecracker is my wife, Natsuka Kendo.”  Natsuka didn’t say a word as Kan and Nezu introduced themselves – she only glared.  “Anyway, let’s take a seat.  Natsuka, would you make the tea?”

“Why make tea?  I’m kicking them out right now.”

“Mom, please don’t be rude,” Itsuka requested.

“I’ll be as rude as I want to the shitheads who almost got my daughter killed.”  Natsuka didn’t raise her voice a single time, but the venom dripping from her words instantly put Kan and Nezu on edge.  It was mostly because they knew she had every right to be angry with them, but also because she was genuinely intimidating.  Gon nudged Natsuka and gave her a disappointed look, making Natsuka groan.  “…Fine.  I’ll make the freakin’ tea,” she growled.  She returned to the kitchen as Kan and Nezu sat in there seats across from Itsuka and Gon. 

“First of all, we wanted to thank you for meeting with us and working with our hectic schedule,” Nezu began.

“Of course.  I know things are pretty crazy right now and you have to meet with 19 other families.”

“How have your other meetings gone?” Itsuka asked.

“Very well,” Kan said.  “It took some convincing for a few families, but it looks like everyone will be coming back.”

“That’s great,” Itsuka replied.  Out of the kitchen came Natsuka with a tray of five teacups that she placed on the coffee table.

“There.  Tea,” she hissed while taking a seat next to Gon.  “Drink it and leave.”

“Mom,” Itsuka griped.

“Honey, let’s just hear them out,” Gon suggested.  “This is Itsuka’s future we’re talking about.”  Natsuka stared daggers at her husband, but relented and sighed. 

“I read the letter you sent,” Natsuka began, calmer than before.  “I understand what U.A. is going through.  I know that if Itsuka were to continue pursuing hero work, it would be safest for her there, surrounded by pro heroes 24/7… but then again, she was with at least six of them when she was nearly shot and killed.”  Kan and Nezu knew they had no retort to her point, so they only had one option – bow their heads and apologize.

“You’re completely right,” Kan said.  “U.A. is entirely to blame for the incident going as poorly as it did.”

“All we can offer you is our word that we’re trying to make the school the safest it can be,” Nezu added.  “It’s a lot to ask, but we’d like you to put your faith in us again and entrust is with Itsuka’s future and safety one more time.”

“I know Itsuka wants to go back,” Gon said.  “I’m willing to trust my daughter’s judgement if she feels it’s safe to return.” 

Well, that’s one down, Kan noted.  All eyes in the room went to Natsuka, who still seemed unyielding

“Kan, was it?” Natsuka began.  “Do you have a family of your own?  Children maybe?”

“I do not.”

“Well, as Itsuka’s mother, let me explain something.  Ever since Itsuka was born, she’s always been within my reach.  I can protect her when she’s close, so I feel confident that she’s safe.  Seeing you kid grow up and strike out on their own can be difficult, but if you trust them and the people around them, then you can still feel that they’re safe.  I trust Itsuka.  I trust her friends.  I don’t trust you.”  Kan and Nezu could sympathize with Natsuka’s worries, but her words still cut them both deep.

“I know you don’t want us here, ma’am,” Kan said, “so I’ll make this brief.  Every concern you have and every criticism of U.A. you have is completely true.  We do not deserve another chance with your child after what’s happened.”  As Kan talked, he slowly slid off the couch into a kneeling position.  Nezu noticed and quickly did the same.  “However, if you can find it in your heart to let Itsuka continue her studies at U.A., you have my word that no harm will befall her on our watch.  I’d rather give my life than let my students be hurt again.”

“You have my word as well,” Nezu added.  “U.A. will not have another incident like this again and we deeply apologize for all that’s happened.”  The pair bowed their heads to Natsuka, who thought over what they said.  After a minute, she scoffed and stood up. 

“Whatever.  If Itsuka wants to go, then fine.”  Kan and Nezu raised their heads and smiled, giving each other as subtle fist bump under the table.

That’s 20, Kan thought as he stood.  Once he was up, Natsuka approached him and grabbed his tie roughly. 

“Just one more thing,” she snarled while pulling Kan closer.  “If even a little bit of Itsuka’s blood is spilt because of U.A.’s negligence, I will find you and personally drain every last drop of yours.  Are we clear?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Kan quickly said with a heavy gulp.

“Good.  Now leave.”

“Well, that went smoother than I thought,” Gon commented. 

“Yeah, I was sure she was gonna punch one of them,” Itsuka added.

Chapter Text

With the approval of the Hero Course students’ families, the prelude to their second semesters began with moving into the brand-new dorms – Heights Alliance.  Outside of 1-B’s building, the class’s 20 students had gathered.  “I’m glad to see you all again,” Kan began.  “I know we’ve had a rough go of things, but consider this fresh start.  I want to see you stride into this next semester with confidence.  I’ll give you a briefing on your new home, but first, I must discuss something that happened on the night of All Might’s fight.  Apparently, five students in Class 1-A, who shall remain nameless, were present at the incident and worked to save Bakugo on their own.”

“Seriously?” Kendo asked.

“Yes, and despite succeeding in their endeavor, those students have been reprimanded.  In fact, Eraser initially wanted to expel them along with anyone who knew about it before, which was most of the class, but he changed his mind.”  Everyone in class glanced at Monoma, expecting a rant, but he limited himself to just a smug snicker.  “Anyway, I’m glad you all have some self-restraint and didn’t do something that stupid.  That’s all.  Let’s go inside and I’ll show you the dorms.”  As Kan led them inside, a few students talked amongst themselves. 

“I wonder who it was,” Shoda said.

“Kirishima probably.  He’s real close to Bakugo,” Tetsutetsu claimed.

“My money’s on Todoroki,” Honenuki began.  “If you look back at the footage, you can see a big slab of ice near the battlefield at the start of the fight.”

“You’re both right,” Monoma added.  “I saw those two, Iida, Yaoyorozu, and Midoriya at the train station that night.”

“Yaoyorozu too?” Awase asked.  “She seems too smart to go along with that kinda plan.” 

“Isn’t this the part where you go on a crazy tirade, Monoma?” Kuroiro asked.

“I’m, uh, trying to cut back on those…”

“…Quitter.”

“Shut up.”


After being shown the building by Kan, the students took the day to unpack and decorate their rooms.  It was late at night by the time they all finished and convened in the common area.  “I’m fuckin’ beat, dude,” Awase groaned as he lounged on the couch.

“I know it’s kinda weird to say because of how we got here, but I think living together will be cool,” Tsuburaba said.

“Yeah, it’s gonna be super cool!” Pony agreed.  As the classmates chatted, Kendo, Reiko, and Setsuna came down the stairs and joined them.

“Is this everyone?” Kendo asked.  “If we’re all done unpacking, I thought we could all do something fun together.”

“Can we opt out if we don’t like fun?” Kuroiro asked.

“Smartass remarks aside, Yaoyorozu texted me and said 1-A is looking at their dorm rooms and are gonna vote on who’s is best.  I thought we could do the same.”

“Hey, that does sound fun,” Fukidashi said.

“I won’t make you participate if you don’t want to—”

“I will though,” Setsuna interrupted.  “I’ll make you.”

“—but I thought it’d be a good time,” Kendo continued.  “Who wants in?”  The whole class raised their hands, though a few were more hesitant.  “Alrighty, then let’s get this started.  We’ll hit mine first and then move onto the boys.”

“Wait, are you the only girl on the second floor?” Pony asked as the class went up to the second floor.

“Yup.  There was an odd number of us girls, so It’s just me down here.”  Kendo unlocked her door and the class walked inside.

“About what I expected,” Monoma commented.

“Now this is manly!” Tetsutetsu yelled, making Kendo chuckle embarrassedly.  Her room had been painted black and featured metal furniture with a weathered wooden table.  Her bed had a plain black comforter over it and the walls were decorated with pictures of motorcycles. 

“My mom didn’t let me have stuff like this in my room at home,” Kendo explained sheepishly.  “Was the metal furniture too much?”

“Is it at least comfy?” Kuroiro asked as he took a seat on the cold steel couch.  “…It is not.”

“Kinda reminds me of a garage,” Kamakiri commented. 

“OK, we’ve all seen it, we can go,” Kendo quickly said while pushing everyone out.  “Who’s next, huh?  Boys?”

“Mine’s next,” Fukidashi spoke up.  The class crossed over to the boy’s side and were ushered into Fukidashi’s dorm.  “Weeeell?”

“Cooool!” Pony gushed.  The room was littered with anime and manga merchandise.  The walls were completely covered by posters and almost every surface had figurines on it.

“It’s a real nerdy room, but in a good way,” Kendo commented.  “What’s that extra desk for?”  She pointed to an inclined desk in the room’s corner that had a few sketches on it.

“That’s my drawing desk,” Fukidashi clarified.

“It’s more like a manga author’s room than a hero student,” Monoma pointed out.  “No style at all.”

“Let’s see you do better,” Fukidashi challenged. 

“Oh, you will.”  The group exited the from room and moved onto Monoma’s next door.  “I hope you’re ready to be blown away.”

“…Dang,” Reiko said.  Monoma’s room wasn’t even recognizable as a dorm room anymore.  It was Parisian in style with antique white furniture instead of what came with the dorm.  The walls were painted a soft pastel blue and the bed was decorated with a fancy white comforter.

“It’s lovely, Monoma,” Ibara complimented. 

“Looks comfy,” Tetsutetsu added.

“I didn’t know interior decorating was your thing,” Kuroiro began.  “Where’d you find space for that big, gaping vagina you have?”

“Laugh all you want.  I believe this proves my room far exceeds anyone else’s.”

“You only think that ‘cause you haven’t seen mine yet,” Kamakiri boasted. 

“Bring it, Bug’s Life.”  Kamakiri led the class next door and proudly displayed his dorm room. 

“Pretty badass, yeah?”  His room was lined with weapons.  A stand with katanas was near his bed, a rack of knives on top of his dresser, a collection of foreign swords in the corner – it looked like he was preparing for a war.

“Well, that’s… unexpected,” Shishida commented.

“You’re not gonna go postal on us, right?” Tsuburaba asked half-jokingly.

“Nah.  I just like collecting sharp things,” Kamakiri commented while casually leafing throw a stack of throwing stars as if they were index cards.

“I’m just gonna leave,” Shoda announced.  “I’m too accident prone to be around so many sharp things.”

“Yeah, let’s move on,” Kendo instructed.  “How’d he bring so many?  Did anyone question this?”  Next in line was Awase’s room, which he opened hesitantly.

“No judging, OK?”  Awase’s room seemed very normal compared to the others.  He had a set of dumbbells in the corner and multiple gaming consoles hooked up, but those were the only notable things.

“Why’d we judge this?” Setsuna asked.  “We’re still busying judging Kamakiri.”

“Hey, what’s that?” Kaibara wondered, pointing to a moving lump under Awase’ covers.

“…Hatsume,” he explained.  “She wanted to see my dorm room and fell asleep… 5 hours ago.  Anyway, let’s just go.  She’ll be cranky if we wake her up.”

“You are so fuckin’ whipped,” Kuroiro snickered.

“Shut up.”  The class ascended to the second floor to inspect the next set of rooms.  First up was Tsuburaba.

“Well?  Do I have a kickin’ pad or what?”  His room very kitsch with a 70’s-type design, featuring a neon pink rug, lava lamps, a record player, and even a disco ball. 

“It’s… gaudy,” Reiko said.

“I like it,” Setsuna complimented.

“Figures.”

“Too bright and loud,” Kuroiro complained.  “Your weird Boogie Nights style is giving me a headache.”

“Right, like yours is gonna be stylish like mine,” Tsuburaba scoffed.  Next up was Kuroiro’s room which was initially too dark for anyone to make out.  Once everyone’s eyes adjusted, they saw a very goth room.  Candles, skulls, horror movie posters – he had even put in black carpeting.  “Oh wow, couldn’t have seen this coming,” Tsuburaba sarcastically quipped.

“At least he’s got good movies,” Reiko said while sifting through a stack of horror flicks.  “Mind if I borrow these sometime?”

“Sure thing.  Your room’s up next, right?”

“Actually, mine’s next,” Kaibara spoke up. 

“Oh great.  I get surround sound of you two playing Ticklenuts with each other.”

“Wait, you told him we were dating?” Kaibara asked Tsuburaba.

“I’ve been tellin’ everyone,” the oval-eyed boy explained.  “How can I not brag, you hot idiot?’

“…Gay,” Kuroiro said.

“Seriously?” Honenuki asked.

“Let’s just move on,” Kaibara requested as he went to his door and unlocked it.  Inside was a fairly normal room, but above his bed was a shelf with several cameras on it.

“You a photographer, Kaibara?” Kendo asked.

“Yeah.  It’s just a hobby of mine, but…”  Kaibara led the group to his closet and opened up, revealing hanging pictures and a black light.  “I did turn my closet into a darkroom to develop pictures.”

“Hey, that’s cool,” Tsuburaba said.  “I’ve got room in my closet if you want more space.”

“Sure.  Thanks.”

“This place is boring,” Setsuna complained.  “I wanna see more rooms themed around one or two personality traits.  Reiko, let’s see yours!”

“Fine.  Let’s go,” Reiko sighed.  The class moved across the hall and were led into Reiko’s room.  It was loosely in a Halloween style, having a ghost-themed comforter, a Ouija Board, and spider web curtains, but there were also a few surfer decorations, such as a surfboard in the corner and the setting sun mural on the wall. 

“Ooooh, spooky~,” Setsuna cooed while nudging closer to Rin.  “Dino boyfriend, you’ll protect me from the scary ghosts, hmmm?”

“I didn’t know you surf,” Kendo said. 

“Yeah, I’ve been surfing since I was little.  Me and Shinso went to the beach a lot during our off time this summer, so I got plenty of practice this year.”

“Yeahyeahyeah, who cares?” Setsuna said quickly.  “Everyoooone~!  We’re moving onto my room!”

“Whatever,” Reiko said with an eye roll.  Setsuna skipped out of the room and unlocked her own dorm room.

“Feast your eyes on my lizard den!” she announced.  Between the dinosaurs plushies and figures, Jurassic Park-themed comforter, Godzilla posters, and the dinosaur tooth in a glass display case, Setsuna’s passion about lizards was on full presentation. 

“Well, it’s… exactly what I expected,” Reiko said.

“You mean awesome?  Yeah, you do,” the autotomy girl smugly said.  “I don’t want any of you trying to set up shop here ‘cause of how awesome it is, so let’s move on.  Next floor – who’s up?”

“Yo!” Pony called out.  “Mine’s cool!”  The class went upstairs and entered Pony’s room next.  “See?  Cool, huh?”

“Badass!” Fukidashi agreed.  Like his room, Pony had wall-to-wall anime merchandise.  Along with that, there were a few pro hero items. 

“Amazing, Pony.  10 out of 10,” Monoma complimented while applauding. 

“It’s just like mine,” Fukidashi pointed out, “and you said I had no style.”

“…First of all, how dare you?  Secondly—”

“Knock it off, you two,” Kendo chided.  “Who’s up next?”

“Me,” Kinoko said quietly.  She walked to her room and unlocked it, hesitantly letting people in.  “It doesn’t have anything cool or unique, but I hope you all like it.”

“Nah, it’s neat.  I can dig it,” Tsuburaba said.  Kinoko’s room was mostly ordinary, albeit very girlish, but there were a few mushroom-themed items, like her comforter and an ottoman shaped like a mushroom.

“Hey, what’s this look like?” Kuroiro asked while pointing to the ottoman and snickering. 

“Heeheehee, I dunno,” Setsuna said with a goofy grin, “but it’s a pretty inviting seat, huh?”  She and Kuroiro busted into a giggle fit while the rest of the class finally understood what they were implying.

“I-I don’t know w-what you’re talking about!” Kinoko said with a huge blush.

“Don’t be gross, you two,” Kendo scolded.  “Your room looks great, Kinoko.”

“Yes, don’t listen to those two,” Ibara added.

“Better than mine,” Shoda said.

“Th-Thanks,” she said bashfully.  “I’m sure yours is nice too, Sh-Shoda.”

“We’ll see,” Monoma said.  “You’re up next.”

“Hehe, I guess so.”  Shoda took the class across the hall to the boy’s side and opened up to his room.  There wasn’t much in it, but there were a few posters of famous boxers, including a Rocky poster, and a punching bag.  “Not much to show, really.”

“You have a punching bag?  I have a punching bag!” Tetsutetsu exclaimed.  “Dude, I’m right next door!  We should put a hole in the wall!”

“Why?”

“’Cause then, then we can fight for glory while in our rooms!  Any time we want!  Think about it!  A glory hole, just between us.”

“…I can’t tell if he’s making a joke or not,” Kamakiri commented.

“I’ll pass, man,” Shoda said.

“Let’s go to mine, everyone!” the iron boy yelled while slipping through the crowd to unlock his door.  “It’s super manly!”  Tetsutetsu’s room was a mess of different manly decorations, from motivational posters to a punching bag and other exercise equipment.

“Is your curtain made of metal?” Monoma asked.

“Yeah!  It’s a workout even if I’m just drawing the curtains!  Smart, huh?”

“It’s definitely… something.  Anyway, who’s next?  Bondo?”

"Yup.”  With Bondo being so quiet, no one knew what to expect in his room.  Once he opened up his door, they were greeted by an unusual collection littering the shelves – scale models and figures.  Wooden planes, ships-in-bottles, and even Lego models. 

"Neat,” Monoma said.  “I didn’t take you for a model-builder.”

“Mhm.”

“Oh, look!” Pony called out.  “Is that the new DBZ Lego set?!  The Namek one?”

“It is.”

“Cool!  I wanna help put it together!”

“Same here!” Fukidashi added.

“Sure,” Bondo replied with a smile on his jagged mouth. 

“Let’s bail before I destroy something accidently,” Setsuna said.  “If I stay any longer, I’m gonna trip and ruin it all.  Who’s up next?”

“That would be me,” Shishida said.  Everyone followed the hairy boy up to the next floor and into his dorm room. 

“That’s… a LOT of books,” Kamakiri said.  Shishida’s room was practically a library as the walls were lined with books.  At certain angles, the others could make out a set of weights and a rather inviting bed, but it was mostly just literature.

“Well, I do like to read.  If anyone wants to borrow any, I’ll gladly lend them out—”

“Reading’s for nerds!” Setsuna shouted while holding up a hairy brush.  “Also, I found this on your floor and probably caught a disease from it or something.  Let’s move on before I die, huh?”

“In that case, I’ll go open my door,” Rin said.  Setsuna tossed the brush to Shishida and happily followed her boyfriend into his room, quickly followed by the others.  Rin’s room had normal furnishings, but with several items brought with him from China, such as the oil painting of a dragon hung above his bed.

“That’s pretty,” Kendo complimented.

“Yeah.  I bought that from a street artist after I found out my name meant ‘flying dragon.’”

“It does!?” Setsuna screamed.  “Holy shit, marry me!”

“Uuuuh, let’s finish the room contest first, yeah?” Rin suggested awkwardly. 

“Yeah, sure, fine,” the lizard girl grumbled.  “I wouldn’t wanna pull an Ibara,” she whispered to the other girls.

“Please stop bringing that up,” Ibara whined.  Reiko and Kendo couldn’t help but giggle with Setsuna. 

“Yeah, yeah.  Honenuki, you’re next.”

“Got it,” the skull-faced boy said while exiting the room.  The group moved into Honenuki’s mostly-normal room, immediately shifting their gaze to the one out-of-place item – a massage table.

“Sooooo… what’s the deal with that?” Monoma asked.

“It’s a table for massages.”

“…I got that.  Follow-up question – why?”

“I’m very good,” Honenuki bragged while cracking his knuckles.

“I can back-up that claim,” Kuroiro stated with a satisfied smirk.

“I’m not convinced,” Setsuna said while stepping forward.  “I may need a demonstr—”  Honenuki immediately reached out and grabbed her shoulder, rubbing her back with his thumb.  “…Holy crap,” she moaned.  “You sure you’re taken?”

“He is,” Kuroiro said quickly.

“I don’t care.  I’ll be your hag, man.”

“I’ll think about,” Honenuki laughed.  “I think I was the last boy to show his room.  We’re almost done.  Who’s left?”

“Yui and I remain,” Ibara stated.  “I’ll show you all to my room now.” 

“Yeah, let’s keep it going!” Setsuna cheered.  “I’m definitely not running out of energy and really want to sleep… Rin, carry me.”  Setsuna didn’t bother waiting for an answer before hopping into Rin’s arms.

“Uh, sure thing.”

“Yaaaaaay.”  Rin hobbled along with his girlfriend in his arms, making it to Ibara’s room as everyone entered.  Her room had been painted a light green and had many different plants around. 

“Wow, that’s a lot of flowers,” Kendo said.  “Real pretty, Ibara.”

“Thank you.”

“Did you have to make it so hot though?” Monoma asked while tugging on his shirt.

“Plants don’t like the cold and neither do I.”

“Real hot and stuffy,” Tetsutetsu pointed out.  “Makes me wanna work out.”

“That’s nice.”

“OK, who’s last?” Setsuna asked, prompting Yui to quietly raise her hand.

“In that case, lemme run and get something,” Kendo said before rushing off.  “I’ll be right back.  Start without me.”

“You heard the lady, Yui,” Setsuna said.  The group went next door and were let into the quiet girl’s room.  It didn’t have any theme or outstanding decorations, but there was a small, pear-shaped doll on her desk that grabbed people’s attention.

“What’s that?” Tsuburaba asked.

“Matryoshka doll,” Yui explained.  “I like them.”  Yui took the doll and popped it open revealing a smaller copy of the doll inside.  “They’re neat.”

“Oh, I’ve seen those,” Fukidashi said.  “Those Russian nesting dolls.”

“I’m back!” Kendo announced as she squeezed by the crowd into the room.  “I kept forgetting to give it to you, but I had Yaoyorozu make something during the training camp.”  As Yui put down her doll, Kendo held out another doll just like it, except the top layer looked like Ibara.  Kendo popped off the top layer to show the next doll in line, which resembled herself.  “Yaoyorozu likes these too, so I asked if she’d make you one that looked like the girls in our class.  Cute, huh?”  Yui took the doll and set out the different doll layers on her desk.  After a moment of staring at them, she turned to Kendo and smiled brightly.

“I love it!”

“Aww, Yui.  I’m glad.”  The two girls embraced tightly and were promptly joined by the other girls in the class. 

“This group hug isn’t big enough,” Setsuna complained.  “Get in here, boys!”

“You got it!” Tetsutetsu said as he and the other boys came in and joined the group hug.

“…Setsuna, get your hand off my butt,” Reiko ordered.

“How’d you know it was me?”

“Because I know you.”


 

“Alrighty, listen up,” Kendo announced in the common room.  “You’ve seen everyone’s rooms and your votes have been tallied.  The winner of Class 1-B’s Dorm Room King contest is… Juzo Honenuki!”  A round of half-genuine, half-jealous applause went through the room while Honenuki looked around confusedly. 

“Really?”

“I convinced the other girls to vote for you,” Setsuna explained.  “Now we have leverage to get backrubs.”

“…Cool.”

“Wait, that’s BS!” Monoma declared.

“Yeah, BS!” Fukidashi agreed.

“Recount!” Tetsutetsu demanded.

“I’ll count ‘em again, but they’ll still be for Honenuki,” Kendo explained.

“…Revote!”

“Nah.  No revote.  Everyone’s tired.”

“Don’t be too jealous,” Honenuki said smarmily.

“Hope your proud of yourself,” Monoma grumbled.

“Hail to the king, baby.” 

As Monoma walked off, assuring himself how much better his room was than Honenuki’s, he felt his phone buzz in his pocket.  It was a text from Kendo.  Monoma was confused, but opened it anyway. 

Kendo: Meet in your room in 10 minutes.  We have to talk about what happened.

Monoma looked across the room for Kendo, but couldn’t find her.  He pocketed his phone and headed for his room, now feeling a pit grow in his stomach.  We couldn’t avoid this forever, he told himself.  Guess we have to talk about it. 

Chapter Text

As time slowly droned on, Monoma paced around his room and watched the clock.  He couldn’t stop thinking about what Kendo might say.  Crap.  How badly did I screw things up? he wondered.  As he sat down on the foot of his bed, he flashed back to morning after the Kamino Ward incident.  He remembered the way Kendo had pulled him into the kiss, the taste of her lips, the way she slept with her head on his shoulder on the train ride home.  The problem was that she had avoided mentioning it every time they interacted since then.  Why tonight?  Why now?  Did she just need time to think about it?  Or does she think I won’t cause a scene since the whole class is in the building?  The copy cat was jolted from his thoughts by a knock at the door.  He popped to his feet, but took his time going to the door.  This is it.  With a deep breath, he pulled the door open to face Kendo.

“Hey,” she greeted casually before slipping past Monoma. 

“…Are you in pajamas?”

“Yup,” she answered while untying her ponytail.  “I’ll be real with you – I am super tired, so I just prepared for the very real possibility that I’ll fall asleep on your bed.”  With that, the tired ginger girl flopped backwards onto Monoma’s bed.  “Man, yours is so cozy.”

“I should be more confused by this, but then again, you have fallen asleep on my couch more than a few times.”  Monoma paused awkwardly before looking away from Kendo.  “Anyway, what did you want to talk about?”

“I’m not gonna start with you skulking all the way over there,” she said while patting Monoma’s bed.  The copycat sighed and walked to his bed, sitting with his back to Kendo.  “…Turn around,” she instructed like a mother with a fussy toddler.  Monoma relented with another, more dramatic sigh and laid down next to Kendo.  They were both on their backs, staring up at the ceiling. 

“What’s the point of this?”

“…We did this a lot when we were little.  I wanted it to feel like that again,” Kendo admitted.  “I don’t want this tension between us, but… I guess I didn’t help that by ignoring what happened.  I’m sorry for putting it off for so long.  I just… needed to get my head straight, y’know?  But now, I think we can talk about our feelings like adults.”

“We could also ignore our feelings like children, but whatever.”  Kendo snickered at the boy’s joke, making Monoma crack a smile.  That laugh was music to his ears.  “So… what now?” he asked.  Kendo sighed and stayed quiet, making Monoma think for a moment she had fallen asleep.

“…Did you really mean what you said?”

“I did, but I feel bad for how and when.”

“Oh?”

“You were falling apart worrying about everyone for a couple of days.  When I told you, you were emotionally exhausted.  I also just blurted it out.  I couldn’t restrain myself to an ‘I like you.’  I started thinking I only got that kind of reaction from you because of those factors—”  Monoma was cut off by a karate chop to the top of his head.  This one wasn’t out of annoyance though – it felt more playful to him.

“As always, you’re overthinking things,” Kendo pointed out with a chuckle.  “Don’t forget, I was the one who kissed you.”

“That you did.”  Both teens’ minds went back to their kiss, leading to another long silence.  “…Does that mean you, y’know…”

“Hmm… I dunno.”  Monoma was suddenly glad they weren’t face-to-face as Kendo’s answer made him grimace childishly.

“All that time to ‘get your head straight’ really helped, huh?” he asked sarcastically.

“I guess so,” she laughed.  “But seriously, I don’t know how to feel.  You’ve been like a brother to me, but now my head’s all in a jumble.  I’ve always cared about you, and nothing will ever change that, but us as a couple is… hard to picture.”

“I see…”

“So, let’s try it,” she suggested.  Monoma’s face burst into a blush and he nearly choked on his own saliva.  “…Not the reaction I expected.”

“Sorry,” he said while clearing his throat.  “Just a little surprised…  You’re being serious, right?”

“Yep.  I can’t really picture it, so the only way to find out if it’s a good or bad idea is to just try it.”

“Makes sense,” he said slowly as he laid back down.  “In that case… I’m not really sure what to do now.”

“Me neither,” Kendo answered.  “Neither of us have dated anyone before, and since we’ve known each other for so long, the initial ‘getting-to-know-you’ part is kinda pointless.”

“So, should we skip ahead?”

“Well, you already kinda did with your little confession,” Kendo noted.  She then rolled over on her side and exhaled while burying her head in Monoma’s pillow.  “I don’t think ‘skipping ahead’ is right.  Let’s just say we’re going at our own pace.  We’ll experiment and see what we’re comfortable with already and what needs to come with time.”

“Sounds good to me,” Monoma replied.  “I’m fine with taking my time.”  Kendo smiled and scooched closer to Monoma, now resting half of her head on his shoulder.  Monoma responded in kind and moved his head to lean on Kendo’s.  “I guess this is fine?”

“Mhm… You know what this reminds me off?” Kendo mumbled.

“What?”

“The first time I slept over at your house.  Y’know, when we were really little?”  Monoma filed through his memories of Kendo sleeping over confusedly.  Whenever she had slept over, she took the couch.  He thought back further and further, finally digging up something…


Monoma rubbed his eyes and walked towards the door of his bedroom.  A soft knocking had stirred him that he guessed was from Kendo.  He reached up to the door knob and slowly opened up.  “Hm?”  Just outside was Kendo, softly crying in the middle of the hall.

“I had a nightmare,” she whimpered while rubbing her eyes.  “Can I stay with you?”  Monoma was stunned surprised for a moment, but then stepped aside to let his friend into his room.  Seeing Kendo like this was a shock to his system.  He was used to her being tough and happy 24/7.

“…You OK?” he asked, still having to translate everything in his head.

“Mhm,” she mumbled as she climbed onto his bed.  She seemed to be calming down now that she wasn’t by herself.  Monoma shrugged and returned to his bed, trying to give Kendo some space.  Once he was under the covers, though, Kendo slid over to him and held him close.

“…There, there,” Monoma said awkwardly.  Kendo didn’t answer, instead nuzzling closer to Monoma. 


“Now that you mention it, I do remember that,” Monoma said.  “…Little wuss.”

“Shut up,” Kendo laughed.  “I was, like, 6.  Nightmares are scary—”

“We were three months old, both of us,” Monoma interrupted, making them both giggle stupidly.

“I was four and five quarters,” Kendo joked. 

“I was two and you were 77.”  The pair fell apart in a laughing fit, rocking the bed around.  It took a minute for the tired, loopy teens to finally calm down.  “I do remember that,” Monoma repeated more wistfully.  “That was the first time…”

“Hm?”

“The first time… I felt like I was protecting you,” he explained.  “To me, you were the badass girl who protected me from bullies.  I felt like I was just some guy you hung around with I didn’t really think I could help you in any way until that night.”

“Is that so?” Kendo murmured.  It was obvious from her voice that she wasn’t far from a deep sleep.  “Well, whatever.  We’re here now and… yawn… whatever.”

“Good talk,” Monoma quipped.  After about a minute, he felt Kendo’s breathing slow down as she faded into sleep, nuzzled into Monoma’s side.  It didn’t take long for Monoma to join her with a content smile on his sleeping form…

The first thing Monoma felt as he woke up was Kendo’s arm draped over his torso.  The second was the sunlight coming onto his legs from the window.  The third was an extreme need to pee.  His eyes fluttered open and moved to Kendo, still fast asleep.  In the corner of his eye, he saw his antique clock read 9:43.  Should I wake her up?  …first things first: pissing.  Monoma gently moved Kendo’s arm of himself and rolled out of bed, tip-toeing to the restroom.  After relieving himself and brushing his teeth, he came back out to see her stretching.  “Morning.”

“Hey,” she greeted while yawning.  “Man, I slept good.  I’m usually up by nine.”  Kendo sat up in bed and grabbed her hair tie, pulling her ginger locks into its signature sidetail.  “So, what do we tell the others?” she wondered.

“Up to you.”

“…I think we should wait and see how this goes in practice before we let people know.”

“Sounds good to me,” Monoma replied.  “Some of our classmates do have a tendency to gossip.”

“You can just say Setsuna,” Kendo said as she slid out of bed.  She collected her room key and went to the door.  I think… I think this’ll work out, she told herself as she entered the hall.  As the door shut behind her, she turned to return to her room, but was saw Pony, Ibara and Setsuna in her path, all staring at her vacantly.  Kendo’s mind went blank, but she realized the implications as Setsuna’s face slid into a pervy grin. 

“I knew it,” she began.  “You saucy minx, you.”

“Uh, um, It’s not what—”  Kendo’s stammering was cut off when Setsuna wrapped an arm around her shoulder and pulled her close. 

“I didn’t know you had it in ya,” the lizard girl continued.  “Get it?  Have it in ya?  Eh?”

“You really did that with Monoma?” Pony asked innocently.

“I know it’s not my place to meddle, but I’m surprised you didn’t wait until marriage, Kendo,” Ibara said.  “I hope you two were safe, at least.”

“Hold on, hold on,” Setsuna chimed while on her phone.  “I’m sure I have a fisting joke written in here somewhere.”

“It’s not like that, guys!” Kendo blurted out.

“What happened then?” Pony asked.

“Monoma and I had a talk last night after the dorm room contest and I was too tired to leave, so I just crashed on his bed.  I just slept over.  That’s all.

“What’d you talk about?” Setsuna pried.

“Private things.”

“Private… got it—”

“No, you don’t,” Kendo stated.

“If Kendo says the topic is private, then we’ll leave it at that,” Ibara said. 

“Fine, fine,” Setsuna said.  She and Pony walked off to the common room while Ibara stayed with Kendo.

“So, you’ve finally discussed what happened?” the vine-haired girl inquired.

“Yeah.  We’re, uh, we’re gonna try, y’know, being together.  Don’t tell anyone though.  It’s a secret for now.”

“I promise not to.”  As the girls walked off, they heard people talking in the common room as they passed the stairs. 

“What’s up, Pony?” they heard Reiko say.  “You and Setsuna see something weird?”

“Nah, not really,” Pony replied casually.  “Saw Kendo come from Monoma’s room, but she says they just slept with each other.” 

“…Well,” Kendo sighed, “that secret sure lasted.”

Chapter Text

“Well, it’s been a while,” Fukidashi began, “but it’s finally time to continue the campaign.”

“I actually missed doing this,” Kendo admitted.  “So much has happened lately.  Relaxing and playing a game is just what I need.”

“I don’t even remember what we were doing,” Setsuna added.  “Hit us with that recap, Fukidashi.”

“With pleasure.  When we last left the Howling Scavengers, you had to fight your way out of Jackstone Prison after being wrongfully imprisoned.”

“Most of us were wrongly imprisoned,” Shoda pointed out.  “Monoma got caught pickpocketing and was locked up fair and square.”

“Um, how dare you, first of all.  Second of all, don’t even, thirdly—”

“I killed a demon!” Tetsutetsu bragged.

“That’s right.  In your escape, you discovered that the prison was being used as a demon summoning and feeding ground.  You fought and killed the demon before coming face-to-face with a mysterious woman.  She escaped from your grasp, but while searching her quarters, you found a letter written in some sort of code.”

“Oh, now I remember,” Kuroiro said.  “Now we’re in Tammel Town, right?”

“Correct.  You found someone in the town who can translate, but it’ll cost you a pretty penny.  You’re low on cash, so you’re trying to raise enough money for the translation.  Now…”


In the center of Tammel Town, a group of six adventurers stood around, kicking their feet in the dirt as they brainstormed a way to make quick cash.  “I’d just like to point out that none of this is my fault,” Roark said while fussing with his blond hair.  “I’m the reason we’ve made it this far and, well, I’ve never done anything wrong in my life.”

“I can’t be the queen of all dragons if I’m poor,” Vodette complained.  “I’m too depressed to even bother hitting you.  Grog, hit Roark for me.”

“You got it.”  Roark didn’t have time to react before the dimwitted goliath’s fist collided with his head.  The thief stumbled backward and clung to the nearby tavern wall to steady himself before glaring at his teammates. 

“Uncalled for,” he complained.  “It’s a long road to 300 gold, but we don’t have time to sit around here doing odd jobs for days on end.  We need quick cash—”

“Hey, dumbass,” Xanther began while pressing his black finger into Roark’s chest.  “It was 250 gold until you tried charming your way to a better price.”

“How was I supposed to know it was a man?”

“It wouldn’t have worked if it was a woman either!  You don’t charm people by saying ‘Hey, your knockers are looking swell today!’”

“Alright, alright.  Assigning blame isn’t gonna help us come up with cash… though, if we are blaming anyone, I blame Valon.”

“Why me?” the gray-haired paladin wondered.

“Because I’d have to blame myself otherwise, and that just doesn’t make sense to me.”  As the other members of the group contemplated murder, there final member, Saphro, returned from her conversation with translator.  The ginger princess had long since ditched her more royal clothes, now wearing a simple green dress and gray hooded cloak to better hide her identity. 

“Well, it took some convincing, but he’s given us an alternate way to pay,” she began.  “Apparently, there’s been some strange activity in the northwest and he thinks it’s occult in nature.  If we can investigate and stop whatever’s going on, he’ll waive the fee.”

“That’s great!” Roark cheered.  “Good timing too.  I was just about to suggest prostitution to raise money.”

“That’s disgusting,” Saphro scolded.

“Not you.  I was referring to me being a male escort.  Though, now that I think about it, no one in this dirtheap town could afford me.”  That comment earned Roark a few side glances from the nearby villagers.  “…What?”

“Let’s just go.”  The group packed up and headed northwest, looking out for anything suspicious on their trek.

“So, question,” Vodette began, “what kind of stuff are we looking out for?”

“Summoning circles, ritual items… suspicious caves,” Saphro listed off.  “I’m sure the plot will find us eventually.”

“Yup, the evil plot of the evil people of evil,” Vodette said dramatically.  “GOD, they’re evil!”

“That reminds me,” Xanther interjected.  “I’m starting to feel like we’re not finding trouble, but more like trouble is seeking us out.”

“How so?” Valon asked.

“Ever since we rescued Princess Whatever-The-Fuck—”

“Saphro.”

“We’ve dealt with crazy shit one after the other.  We were just in prison for, like, no good reason, and there just happens to be a demon summoning cult running it.  Now we’re searching for more occult shit around these parts.  Doesn’t feel like much of a coincidence that this is happening to us.”

“What’s your point?” Grog asked.

“No real point.  I just wanted to point out it’s BS.”

“But it’s been fun,” Vodette pointed out.  “Remember that time I hired a prostitute?  Good times.”

“…Putting that aside,” Saphro began, “I think I see something ahead.”  The group picked up the pace and found themselves in front of an ancient-looking tunnel.

“This place reeks,” Vodette moaned.  “What even is that smell?”

“Rotting flesh,” Grog casually answered.  “Smells pretty fresh, too.”

“…Oh, good,” the bard said squeamishly.

“Hehe, uh, guess we should investigate,” Valon suggested.  “Roark, why don’t you sneak ahe— Roark?”  The group turned around and saw Roark already walking off.

“Get back here, douchebag!” Vodette yelled while running after the thief with Grog.

“I don’t wanna!” he whined as Grog dragged him back to the tunnel.  “If there’s demons in there, then I’m not going in!  It eats people!  I’m people!”

“Debatable,” Xanther snarked. 

“It’s too dark for me anyway.  If anyone’s taking point, it’s you, Xanther.  You have Dark Vision.”

“I’m too squishy to sneak,” the wizard complained.  “My stealth also sucks camel dicks.  We should just light up a torch and walk straight in there.”

“…Fine, fuck it, let’s go.  But I’m not taking the lead.  Grog, you’re our meat shield.  You take point.”

“Baby,” Grog teased while lighting up a torch.  The gang of adventurers entered the tunnel, huddled behind Grog for protection.

“I can’t believe we’re fighting two demons in a row,” Roark complained.  “I almost died last time.  Thanks again for that healing, Saphro.”

“Of course,” the princess answered, holding part of her cloak over her nose.  “The stench of death is all over this tunnel.  How many have died here recently?”

“Too many,” Valon stated.  “Whatever’s here, we have to find it and stop it.”

“Or we could run and live,” Roark suggested.  “That’s always a good plan, eh?  Good old ‘stay alive’ plan.  We should do that.”

“If only thieves could steal backbones,” Xanther quipped. 

“Bite me, inky bastard.”

“Oh my various dragon gods, HOW DOES IT SMELL EVEN WORSE NOW?!” Vodette cried out.

“I think I have an idea,” Grog said.  He lowered his torch to light up the ground, giving the group a good look at a giant puddle of blood.  The group slowly looked up to see a giant door across from the, that the blood puddle seemed to have come out from.  “We’re getting close.”

“…the ‘stay alive’ plan is looking pretty good about now,” Saphro mentioned.

“That’s two for bailing.  Who else?” Roark asked. 

“I think there’s writing on these walls,” Xanther said as he walked from the group.

“Don’t ignore me!”

“Grog, can I get some light?”  The goliath, with the rest of the group in tow, walked over and shined the torchlight over the walls.  “…Hmmm… looks like a runic array for demon summoning.  This confirms it.”

“UM!” Vodette yelled while gesturing to the giant blood puddle.

“I know, but now we’re 100% sure it’s a demon.”

“Then let’s prepare to kill it,” Valon said as he drew his lance.  “We can’t run if people are dying to feed it.”

“This is bullshit,” Roark whined before sighing.  “Let’s get his over with.  Grog, bust it down.”

“SMASH THE EVIL DOOOOOOOR!”  Grog ran at the door with his hammer and swung, but the weapon phased right through as if the door wasn’t even there.  “…Lemme try again.”  Grog swung again, but the attack still passed right through.  “I swear, this never happens to me.”  Just then, the tunnel around them began to change.  The door disappeared, as did the blood puddle.  The stench of death was still there, but had greatly lessened. 

“It seems we’ve been played right into someone’s hands,” Xanther said as he grabbed his magic tome. 

“You have, but not by someone who wants to fight.”  Another light pierced the darkness around the group, and they saw a man with purple hair ahead of them.  “Hey.  I’m Gen.”


“Oh shit, we doin’ crossovers now?” Setsuna asked.  “Also, hey Shinso.”

“Yo,” He greeted from a nearby couch, his arm draped over Reiko’s shoulders.

“Now that we’re all together, the stories can intersect,” Fukidashi explained.  “Your goals will sync up and eventually, you can all fight together.”

“I vote we call this the ‘Fukidashi Cinematic Universe,’” Setsuna suggested.

“Seconded,” Kendo added.  “I’m all for the FCU.  By the way, is your character here too, Reiko?”

“Rei’s too tired to role play,” Shinso explained.  Looking closely, everyone could see her asleep on Shinso’s shoulder.

“She’s dead tired,” Monoma joked.  “…Don’t laugh too hard, everyone.”

“Let’s just ignore that and get back to the game,” Fukidashi instructed.

“Screw you, that was funny.”


“…Hi!” Grog greeted happily.

“Are you the one who summoned the demon?” Valon asked sternly.

“First, it’s demons.  Plural.  And no, I didn’t.  I did kill the ones who summoned them.  Full credit goes to me.”

“Wait, there’s two!?” Vodette whined.  “Son of a bitch!”

“There WAS two.  Past tense,” Gen clarified.  “My group took care of one already.  You schmucks are gonna kill the other.”

“OK, I have a question, no big deal, just a little curious,” Roark began.  “Why the hell would we believe a word you say?”

“Because I already translated the letter for you,” Gen smarmily answered.  He reached into his bag and tossed out an envelope to Saphro.  “It’s accurate, I assure you, but TL;DR, some fucked-up shit is going down.”  Saphro gave Gen a confused look before opening the envelope hesitantly.  Inside was the coded letter they had left with the translator in town, along with a readable version. 

“How did you get this?” she asked.  “Who are you?”

“I’m Gen.  Already said that.  How I got it?  Well…”  Gen snapped his fingers and his appearance changed immediately, becoming that of a wizened old man.  “I was the translator you found.  Surprise.”

“OK, what the actual hell?” Xanther complained as Gen undid his illusion.  “I’m kinda sick of people jerking us around already, so you’re on my last nerves, Psionic.”

“Oh, you know what that is?  Cool.  Saves me the trouble of explaining it,” Gen said in relief.  “Sorry for leading you on, but I’m trying to recruit strong people.  You didn’t turn tail from having to fight a demon, so that tells me you’re good enough for what I’m planning.  Of course, I could’ve guessed that since the princess trusts you to keep her safe.”

“Shit!  Saphro!  He knows who you are!” Grog yelled.

“I can see her face.  Anyone who’s ever met her would know who that is,” Gen pointed out.  The Howling Scavengers all took a moment to realize how poorly disguised their companion was and turned to her slowly.

“…Not if I do this,” Saphro said bashfully as she pulled her cloak up over her face. 

“Plus, I’ve helped her out before,” Gen continued.  “Hey, princess.  Remember the guard who helped you escape the night your castle was taken over?  About 30, brown hair, handlebar mustache?  That was me.”  Before Saphro could question him, Gen snapped again and transformed into the armored guard he had described. 

“I-It is you!” Saphro realized.  “How— who— I-I…”

“Let’s not get bogged down by who and why right now,” Gen said as he turned off his illusion.  “Just know that I’m on your side and I’m putting together a big group of idiots to save the kingdom.  I already had my group kill one demon here and I got that other cabal of dumbasses to go get a special weapon forged.  You guys kill the remaining demon and you’ll join this little group of freedom fighters.”

“…Saving the kingdom is my top priority,” Saphro said.  “You’ve helped me before, so I’ll trust you, but the whole group has to agree to this.”

“If you can vouch for him, then I’m in,” Valon stated.  “I’ll stop any evil that plagues the land.”

“Don’t get too ahead of yourself,” Xanther warned.  “We’ve gotta make it through this fight first.  I’ll go along with this plan, but only because I don’t care enough to argue.”

“Yeah, I don’t really know what’s going on,” Grog said.  “If I can finally smash something, then it’s cool by me.”

“I’m in too, Saph,” Vodette assured her.  “Let’s go kick some demon ass.  Then, we save the kingdom”

“I think we’re all forgetting something very important,” Roark pointed out.  “What’s the reward?”

“None right now, but think towards the future,” Gen began.  “If you save the kingdom, then you’re bound to get some crazy big reward.  You’d be rich beyond your wildest dreams.”

“Ohoho, you don’t know my wildest dreams, my man,” Roark replied coyly.  His companions knew he was already sold though.  They could practically see the dollar signs in his eyes.  “I’ll go along with this for now.  Howling Scavengers… let’s kill a demon.”

Chapter Text

“Thank you for seeing us on such short notice, Miss Kendo,” Principal Nezu greeted as Kendo entered his office.  “I’ve called you to my office so we may discuss how your class has adjusted to dorm life.”

“Of course,” Kendo replied while taking a seat across from Nezu.  “I’m happy to help.”

“Excellent.  I’d like to begin with the accommodations.  Have they been satisfactory to you and your classmates or do you find them lacking?”

“They’re great, sir.  No problems to report.”

“Wonderful.  Next question: have you and your classmates felt safe while on campus since the move?”

“Yes, sir.  Having our teachers close by at all times definitely helps us feel secure here.”

“I’m so glad to hear that.  The safety of our students is our absolute priority right now.  Next up would be personal relationships between classmates.  Have there been any changes to their interactions since they’ve become dorm mates?”

“Oh, uh…”  Kendo stayed quiet and awkwardly scratched her cheek, avoiding eye contact with Nezu.  “It’s mostly been good.  Same as normal… but, y’know, living together can be… different.”

“I understand what you’re trying to say,” Nezu said.  “According to Vlad, your class is very close – almost familial – and families can get on each other’s nerves.”

“Y-Yeah…”


“Which one of you fuckers touched my dino chickie nuggies?” Setsuna angrily asked from the kitchen.  “Tetsutetsu, if it was you, I’m chopping off one of your balls.”

“You’ll have to find them first!” the iron boy yelled as he ran upstairs.

“Get back here, dickface!”


“I need to use the microwave,” Kuroiro announced as he opened it and tossed out Shoda’s food.  “Move, I’m gay.”


“Holy shit, Tsuburaba!” Kaibara shouted as he entered the common area. 

“Oh, hey,” the bug-eyed boy greeted.  “Finish setting up you little picture developing area in my room?”

“Yeah, and I made the mistake of shining the black light on your whole room.  We’ve been here a week, man.”

“I’ve had a lot of free time on my hands.”

“Yeah, that’s not all you’ve had on your hands.”


“…A few spats here and there, but we’re adjusting quickly,” Kendo said.  “Nothing you need to worry about, sir.”

“Alright then.  What of your relationships with other classes.  I know a certain rivalry has existed between our two hero classes.  Has this changed at all since you’ve moved in?”

“Certain things, yes,” Kendo began.  “I know Monoma and Bakugo still aren’t on great terms.”

“Ah yes.  Eraserhead told me about Bakugo’s new dodgeball…”


“Hey douchebag!” Monoma yelled across the courtyard.  “I heard you’re costume designer just graduated from preschool!”  Not a second later, a dodgeball rocketed into his groin.  “OOOUUUGH!  ...I think they went back inside me,” he groaned as he held his privates.  “Sesame, Buccaneer, come back.  Papa needs you.” 


“Aside from those two, have you interacted much with your sister class since coming here?” Nezu asked.

“Not as a big group,” Kendo began, “but there are a few interclass friendships.”


“BRO!” Tetsutetsu yelled.

“BRO!” Kirishima yelled. 

“YOU READY FOR THIS, BRO?!”

“BORN READY, BRO!”

“I DON’T THINK YOU’RE READY, BRO!”

“I’M SO READY, BRO!”

“Excuse me,” Ibara said from the entrance to the stairs, rubbing her eyes.  “It’s three in the morning.  Could you please keep it down?”

“Sure thing,” Tetsutetsu replied. 

“Sorry ‘bout that,” Kirishima added.  “Mario Party just gets me so PUMPED!”


“I can’t believe it!” Midoriya squealed.  He was in Pony’s room, being shown her America-exclusive All Might figure.  “I never thought I’d see it right in front of me.  It’s so detailed.”

“Yeah, I got it for my ninth birthday,” Pony explained.  “His hero costume from back then was cool, yeah?”

“How much for it?”  Midoriya suddenly had his wallet out and looked very serious.  “Money is no issue.”

“Uh—”

“$20— no, $30— $35?”

“You keep goin’ up.”

“$50, final offer… $55?”

“You’re no good at haggling.” 


“Sorry it’s kinda late,” Fukidashi said as he handed Mineta a sealed folder.  “Personal training, y’know?”

“I gotcha,” the short boy said as he peeked inside.  “Aaawwww yeah.  That’s some good work.  You’re positive that you won’t do any drawings of real people?”

“Nah.  No real people.  It’s creepy.  Plus, I can’t really imagine them in an anime style.”

“Whatever.”  Mineta looked closer at the lewd drawing and began to pant.  “Dude, your art is fantastic.  I may get Kaminari in on this.  He’s got cash to spare.”

“Sounds good.  Hit me up if you or him wanna commission anything.”

“Sure thing.  In return, could you change my name in your contacts?”

“Yeah, fine,” Fukidashi said while taking out his phone.  “Later, diaper boy.”

“…Better than rat bitch.”


 

“All in all, I’d say things have improved between us,” Kendo finished.

“That’s great.  I think I’ve got everything I need for now.  Your training restarts tomorrow, so I won’t eat up your remaining free time.  Thank you very much for meeting with me.”

“My pleasure, Principal Nezu.  Have a good day.”


After the few days of getting acclimated to their new living space, the hero students of U.A. were ready to dive back into their training.  Class 1-B had suited up and were heading for Gym Gamma, where their teachers waited.  As Kan led them inside, they were greeted by Cementoss, Midnight, and Ectoplasm. 

“I’m sure you’ve all been wondering about the Provisional Licenses I’ve mentioned,” Kan began.  “We haven’t had a chance to discuss them in a while.  Starting today, we’re gonna kick our training into high-gear to get you those licenses.  This will be our first objective of this upcoming semester.”

“Yes, sir!” the class replied.

“This license will allow you to act as a hero when lives are in danger.  Think of it as a learner’s permit before you get a driver’s license.  That doesn’t mean it’ll be easy, though.  The rate of passing examinees is usually very low.  That’s why, starting today, you’ll all be coming up with at least two super moves.”

“Super moves?!  Aw yeah!” Tetsutetsu cheered.  The whole class was buzzing with excitement from the announcement.

“That’s right,” Ectoplasm said.  “These will be your unbeatable techniques to use in a fight.  A killer move, so to speak.”

“These moves will be your calling card,” Midnight added.  “A hero with no super move these days is a rarity indeed.”

“You must find a move that pushes your unique abilities,” Cementoss continued, now kneeling down and using his Quirk to reshape the floor.  “That’s why you’ve assembled here – my personal facility where I can create terrain and objects to suit everyone’s needs.”

“Hey, uh, question?  Real quick?” Setsuna said.  “Why super moves now?  What’s the connection with that and the test?”

“This license exam will be a comprehensive test of all attributes a hero must have,” Kan explained.  “Insight, judgement, charisma, communication, leadership, and most importantly, fighting prowess.  Personally, I believe you all have these traits, but you’ll be up against students from other schools, most of which are a grade ahead of you.  With super moves, you’ll have an edge, and if you’re backed into a corner, they can be your anchor to turn the tides.”

“These super moves don’t have to be an offensive move either,” Ectoplasm chimed in.  “Vlad’s Blood Net, for example, is a super move for capture.  You could use have a move that increases your physical abilities too, or for your hand-to-hand combatants, you could think up some sort of unique strike or combo that involves your Quirk.  Be flexible and open-minded.  You should also seek out costume upgrades and support gear to help with these moves.”

“The Quirk training at the camp was supposed to end with the creation of your super moves,” Kan continued, “but since that was cut short, we’ll be continuing on from now.  Strengthen your Quirks, seek new support gear, and create those super moves.  Do all this with Plus Ultra in your heart.  Are you ready, my students?”

“Yes, sir!”

“Then get out there!”  On Kan’s command, the students rushed forward for their training.  Cementoss manipulated the cement floor into many pillars for individual training areas while Ectoplasm created enough clones to personally advise each student.  Midnight took a high post to watch over everyone while Kan stayed by the door.

Finally, I can continue working on using two Quirks at once, Monoma thought as he walked to his area.  I should start by thinking over possible combinations with my classmates Quirks.  I can’t copy Mutation Quirks like Shishida’s or Pony’s, nor any transformation or emission types that really on a pre-existing mutation, such as Bondo’s or Kamakiri’s.  Of my 19 classmates, I have 12 options – Awase, Kodai, Honenuki, Yanagi, Rin, Shoda, Kaibara, Komori, Tsuburaba, Tetsutetsu, Setsuna, and Kendo.

“Ready to begin, Monoma?” he heard his clone of Ectoplasm say. 

“Yeah, and I know what to do.  I’ve recently been able to use two Quirks at once, so I’m gonna use to today to experiment with that.”

“Sounds good.”  As Monoma began testing his newfound application of his Quirk, the rest of his class tested and theorized for different super moves.

“I’ve been workshopping this move since the training camp,” Kuroiro began as her transformed his hands into portals.  “A way to grab precise targets from far away.  Could you back up?  Maybe 20 feet?”  Ectoplasm floated away, watching as Kuroiro pressed his wrists together and held out his hands.  “Increasing suction,” Kuroiro announced.  The suction on his hand portals grew stronger and swirled around each other, looking almost like a thin tornado  with black streaks extending out from his hands.  The swirling suction caught Ectoplasm and pulled him towards his student.  As he neared Kuroiro, the boy pulled his hands apart, making Ectoplasm fly into his chest portal.  “Pretty cool, huh?”

“Very nice,” Ectoplasm complimented as he floated out of Kuroiro’s body.  “Let’s practice it to improve your timing and reach.  Have you thought of a name?”

“In fact, I have,” Kuroiro revealed while posing dramatically.  “The Luring Call of the Ebony Void—”

“Too long!” he heard Midnight yell from across the gym.

“…How about Ebony Lure?” he yelled back.

“Perfect!” she responded.  Just below Midnight’s perch, Honenuki was busy stretching his legs. 

“I thought this up during my internship with Crust,” he told his Ectoplasm clone.  “If I soften the ground to trap someone and they see it coming, they can evade easily before they sink.  With this, I can grab someone quickly.”  Honenuki backed away from Ectoplasm and took a deep breath.  He brought his leg up and brought it down in a stomp, softening the ground in a straight line towards Ectoplasm the moment he hit the ground.  The softened ground was sent forward in a wave by the stomp’s strength, hitting Ectoplasm’s legs and trapping them.

“This takes considerable leg strength.  A very impressive super move,” Ectoplasm complimented.

“I wouldn’t call it a super move,’ Honenuki began.  “At least, not at that level.  I’m gonna try for a stronger version where I jump up and send out a wave of ground in all directions.  I call that one Planet Waves.”

“I see.  Then let’s practice that.”

“I also wanna try travelling through the ground after softening it, but I’m gonna ask Togata in 3-B to tutor me with that before testing it here.  I should also work on pulling the ground up to make a wall.”

“It seems you have much you want to learn.” 

Not far away from Honenuki, Ibara was having her own discussion with Ectoplasm.  “So, these super moves don’t have to be damage-dealing attacks?  That’s good to hear.”

“Your fighting style is based around binding your opponents, correct?  In that case, think about the most powerful techniques you already use.”

“Hmm… I suppose the attack I used to defeat Kaminari in the Sports Festival would be my strongest, where I attack form below and keep my opponent suspended in the air.

“Then let’s start there,” Ectoplasm began.  “We’ll work on making your vines dig through the ground more quickly.”

“Alright then,” Ibara replied.  “If that shall be my finishing move, then I shall call it… Last Roots.”

“…I get it!” she heard Setsuna yell from across the room.  Back near the center of the gym, Monoma used Tetsutetsu’s Quirk to turn his skin to steel while also trying to use Rin’s Quirk. 

“It seems two transformations affecting the exact same thing – skin in this case – is more difficult to pull off than two transformations that work differently, such as combing Tetsutetsu’s and Kendo’s Quirks.”

“How about we try fighting with them for a little bit,” Ectoplasm suggested.

“Oh yeah.  Sure.  Let’s do that.”  Monoma and Ectoplasm sparred for a little bit, but Monoma’s attention, along with all the other students’, was drawn to the entrance by a familiar figure.

“I’m back.”  Though it was in his skinny from that still felt foreign to them, it was still All Might walking in. 

“Hey, All Might!” Kendo yelled from atop her training area.  She hopped down and went to greet All Might along with some other nearby students. 

“Hey, everyone.  I am here,” he greeted casually.

“Good to see you back on your feet!” Tetsutetsu bellowed.

“How are you feeling?  How’s your arm?” Ibara asked.

“Oh, this?  It’s nothing,” All Might said while moving around his casted right arm.  “It should be fine soon enough.”

“We’re all glad you made it out of that fight alive, even if you’re retiring,” Kendo said.

“That’s nice to hear.  It’s great to see all of you again, but you should get back to your training.  I’ll come around in a bit and advise you each.”

“Yes, sir!” Everyone replied.  As the crowd of students dispersed, Monoma stayed behind and approached All Might on his own.

“We’re happy to have you back here, sir,” he said politely with his left hand outstretched.  All Might waited for a moment before chuckling and shaking the boy’s hand.  That’s weird.  His Quirk…

“Can’t copy it, eh?  You must think your slick,” All Might teased.

“Sorry.  I just wanted to see what it was like, but I’m not getting anything.  Even if it was something like a mutation, I’d feel something.  I got nothing just now.”

“Would you believe me if I said I was Quirkless?” the pro laughed.  “You’re a smart kid, Monoma.  It’s a long and kinda private story, so let’s just say my Quirk ran out of juice and leave it at that.  OK?”

“Ran out of… that doesn’t make any… I-I should still… sorry,” Monoma stammered.  “I won’t pry if it’s something personal.  I’ll get back to my training now, sir.”

“Good man.  I heard you’ve recently been using two Quirks at once.  Is that right?”

“Yes, I have been.  I’m still experimenting with it, but I should have a handle on combining Quirks very soon.”

“That’s great to hear.  Fighting multiple powers in one opponent can be tricky, so I’m sure this new ability will be of great use.”

“Right!  Thank you, sir!”  Monoma quickly bowed to All Might and ran back to his training area to continue his sparring.  I’ve got a lot of work to do.  The license exam is mere days away, but I swear I’ll be ready!  We’ll all be ready!

Chapter Text

“Listen up!  I’m only gonna say this once!” Kan announced.  Class 1-B was on the bus heading to the testing site for their provisional license exam and were nearly there.  “This exam a comprehensive test of everything you’ve learned and all of your fighting skills, but you’re taking it earlier than most other schools.  It’s true that U.A. sending first years has spurred a few other schools to do the same, but most of your foes will still be second and third year students.  They will have powerful Quirks you’ve never seen, gear you don’t understand, and skills you haven’t even thought of learning.”

“No pressure or anything,” Reiko snarked. 

“I know this sounds daunting, but think of all you’ve been through.  What you’ve seen and what you’ve felt.  If I were a betting man, I’d say you’re more prepared for this test than any of your opponents.  Keep their advantages in mind, but don’t lose confidence.  Understood?”

“Yes, sir!”

“Hey, we’re here!” Setsuna said as the bus stopped.  The students followed their teacher off the bus and saw many groups of other students out on a lawn, but no arena.  The only structure they saw was a wide metal column in the ground.  “Wait, are we here?”

“We are,” Kan clarified.  “Look up.”

“…WHAAAAAT!?” the class shouted together.  Perched on top of the skyscraper-tall column was a giant stadium. 

“Welcome to National Bespin Sky Arena, also known as Cloud City.  The tower in the ground supports it somewhat, but what mainly keeps it in the sky is the anti-gravity tech developed on I-Island.”

“Yeah, you just keep saying words, but all I hear is me falling to my death,” Shoda nervously squawked.

“Are we super sure that’s safe?” Pony asked. 

“It is, now look alive,” Kan sternly instructed.  “Not only are you among rivals, but while we’re here, you represent U.A.  Quit gawking and act dignified—”

“Is that Vlad King I see?”  Those words made Kan freeze up immediately, gulping loudly and breaking into a cold sweat.  The students turned to see the source of a voice – a tall woman with straight black hair – coming towards them.  She was dressed in a short pink kimono, reminiscent of a stereotypical female ninja outfit, along with a long purple scarf, black shorts, and ninja sandals. 

“She looks kinda familiar,” Kendo quietly noted.

“I thought that was you,” the woman greeted.  With some effort, Kan slowly looked to her, but wasn’t making eye contact.  “It’s been a while, hm?”

“…Y-Yes… It has,” he nervously agreed.

“These must be your students.  Class 1-B, correct?”

“Yes, that’s, er-hem, that’s right,” he stammered awkwardly. 

“It’s nice to meet you all,” the woman politely greeted.  “I’m an old friend of Vlad’s from when we were both rookie heroes.”

“Oh hey!  I recognize you!” Setsuna said.  “You’re the Kunoichi heroine, Hakkenden!”

“That’s me, but you can all just call me Aisa.  Has Vlad talked about me to you?”

“Nah, I recognized you from the Top 10 Most Beautiful Heroines list.  You’ve been on there every year you’ve eligible.  Respect.”

“Ah, yes.  It’s always an honor to be chosen,” Aisa said.  “I’ve gained quite a few admirers from that… though Vlad here had always been my most enthusiastic suitor.”

“Ooooh?  Do tell,” Setsuna prodded.

“Please don’t,” Kan quietly begged Aisa, who pretended not to hear him.

“Were you two a couple?” Pony asked innocently.

“No, but for a long time, Vlad tried his best to woo me.  He’d send bouquets of flowers to my office—”

“Please stop.”

“He’d write poetry for me—”

“Please stop.”

“Oh, there was this one time where he got a white horse—”

“I think we’ve heard enough!” Kan suddenly snapped.  Aisa flinched, but smiled innocently, as if she had no idea what she was doing.

“Aw, did I embarrass you, Vladdy?” 

“Wow, Mr. Kan,” Kuroiro chimed in from the back.  “I had no idea you were such a cringelord in the past.”

“That’s some top-tier cringe,” Setsuna commented. 

“So, uh, when’s the test starting, Mr. Kan?” Kendo asked quickly, hoping to help save her teacher from further embarrassment.

“The test begins in 25 minutes,” he explained, happy to change the subject. “Once I sign you in, you’ll take the elevator in that tower to the arena and change into your costumes.”

“Good luck out there, kids,” Aisa said.  “Oh, here’s an idea.  Why don’t I introduce you to my students?  Gaikoku Academy class 2-A.  I’ll go grab them.”

“Gaikoku?” Kamakiri asked as Aisa walked off.  “Never heard of it.”

“Really?  It’s pretty famous,” Rin said.  “It’s apparently on level with schools like us or Shiketsu.  They tried scouting me before I chose U.A.”

“They tried scouting me too!” Pony added.  “They’re supposed to be a really diverse school with almost half its hero students from other countries.”

“Wait, why didn’t I get scouted?” Monoma wondered.  “I’m a foreigner too.  Did they not think I’m good enough?”

“Please don’t ask them that,” Kendo requested.  “Let’s put our best foot forward and be friendly, guys.”

“Here they are!” Aisa said to her students as she brought them over.  “U.A.’s Class 1-B.  You guys make friends while I go sign us in.  C’mon, Vladdy.”  She grabbed Kan’s forearm, making him blush, and led him away from the two student groups. 

At the front of the Gaikoku class was a girl that Kendo assumed was their class representative.  She had blonde hair curled into ringlets and accented with a white bow.  Her lips were curled into a smirk, but what drew everyone’s eyes was the frilly white eyepatch over her left eye.  “Hello,” Kendo greeted with a smile.  “I’m Itsuka Kendo, the class representative.”

“Good afternoon,” the blonde girl replied politely.  “My name is Victoria Hope.  I am the representative of my class.”

“Nice to meet you.”  Kendo outstretched her hand to Victoria, but the older girl just looked down at it without moving.  “…What’s wrong?”

“Oh, nothing at all.  It’s just… I’m not used to shaking hands with peasants.”

“Oh shit,” Monoma mumbled from behind Kendo.  “This isn’t gonna end well.”

“E-Excuse me?” Kendo asked confusedly. 

“I make it a point to not involve myself with the lower class on such a personal level,” Victoria explained.  “I’ll learn your name, at the very least, but neither you nor one of your weakling classmates have any credence to shake my hand.”

“It just keeps going downhill,” Monoma murmured as he back away from the two girls.

“Gou, inform them of our superiority,” Victoria ordered the boy to her left, who had just chugged an energy drink.  He was well over 6 feet with slicked-back black hair, pale skin, and bloodshot green eyes with bags underneath.

“We’re gonna tear you apart,” he slurred, as if he hadn’t slept in ages.  “Gaikoku is gonna come out on top, U.A.”

“Well done,” Victoria commended. 

“Hey, um, can I ask something?” a short girl in the back of the Gaikoku class asked.  She had dirty blonde hair in a braid and a beauty mark on her left cheek.  “If you’re from U.A., does that mean you know Present Mic?”

“Uh… yeah?” Reiko answered hesitantly.

“That’s so cool!” the girl replied energetically.  “Present Mic is my all-time favorite!”

“You obviously haven’t met him in person,” Reiko quipped, thinking back to the headaches his lectures would give her.

“I want to!”

“That’s enough, Greta,” Victoria instructed.  “Come along, all.  Let’s get going.”

“Hey, hold on a sec,” Kendo insisted.  She was trying to keep her friendly smile, but her eye was beginning to twitch in anger.  “You’re being pretty rude, y’know?  I wanted to be friendly with you—”

“Well, I don’t,” Victoria responded before looking over Kendo and chuckling to herself.

“What’s so funny?” Kendo asked with a strained rage creeping onto her voice. 

“It’s nothing, really.  It’s just amusing seeing someone so… unfeminine in that uniform.  Like a grown man on a tricycle.  It just doesn’t fit.  Oh-hohohoho!”

“Man, this is just getting worse and worse,” Monoma sighed to himself, now at the back of the group.

“We’ll be off now.  Good luck out there, Itsuka,” Victoria said with a venomous lilt in Kendo’s name.  She turned on her heel and walking off with her class in tow.  “Mitch, get in one last dig.”

“Uh, yeah, you got it.”  The boy she was ordering around was a short, skinny boy with a mane of black spikes in place of hair.  Both Pony and Fukidashi were reminding of Raditz from Dragon Ball by it.  “Hey butch!  Why no custom uniform?!” he shouted obnoxiously.  “Couldn’t get something in flannel?!  Ah-hahahaha!”

“Well, that was… something,” Reiko commented. 

“Flannel!  AH-HAHAHAHA!” they heard the spike-haired boy laugh from far away.

“That bitch did the Ojou Laugh,” Setsuna pointed out.  “Never trust a bitch with the Ojou Laugh.”

“She kinda reminded me of Monoma, but worse,” Kuroiro remarked, “and also girly… girlier.”

“Kendo, are you alright?” Ibara asked worriedly.  Kendo wasn’t moving and her eyes were hidden behind her hair.

“I’d back away, Ibara,” Monoma warned.  “Something very dangerous has been unleashed.”

“What you mean?” Pony asked.

“There’s not a lot that can make Kendo angry,” Monoma explained, “but she does have at least three distinct anger points – people who think they’re better than everyone else, insults towards her friends, and people bringing up her femininity.” 

“That bothers her?” Reiko asked.  “Seems like she wouldn’t care about that last one.”

“Kendo says that she’s ‘a mix of both,’ so she doesn’t like when people call her girly or boyish,” Monoma explained.  “If just one anger point was prodded, she’d get over it quickly, but all three of them were hit within the same conversation.  That fool has released something I had hoped I’d never see again…”

“Kendo?” Ibara repeated cautiously.  There was finally a reaction when Kendo clench her fists and grew a scowl.  Her hair moved as well, putting her furrowed glare on full display.

“That bitch,” she seethed.  “I’m gonna destroy her.”

“Angry Kendo,” Monoma said fearfully.

“…Oh, I just got it,” Kamakiri suddenly said.  “hehehe… flannel.”


Once Kan had signed them in, Class 1-B took an elevator up to the arena to prepare.  Monoma and the other boys had finished changing and were leaving the locker room, heading for the testing room.  I doubt Kendo’s let go of what happened by now.  I’ll have to stick with her during the test if I can.  Getting worked up like that can lead to stupid mistakes.

“What’cha thinkin’ about, buddy?” Tetsutetsu asked.

“Nothing.  How’re you doing?”

“I’m pumped!  We’re gonna kick so much ass!  Plus, we get to see our pals’ new moves and gear!”

“Oh yeah.  Some of us got some upgrades,” Monoma remembered as he looked behind him, noting his classmate’s improved costumes and support items.  Awase had added a metal breastplate to go with his shoulder and knee pads and also sported a pair of Hatsume’s Capture Guns holstered at his sides.  Bondo had a chunky metal mask over his eyeholes that had barrels like a gun.  Apparently, they moved with his line of sight and would help him hit distant targets with single streams of glue, but Monoma had yet to see it in action.  Kamakiri had finally gotten around to getting retractable arm blades similar to Setsuna’s claws so he could fight up close, but his were large scythe blades that would come over his hands when activated, furthering his resemblance to a mantis.  Honenuki didn’t have any new gear, but he now wore a red jacket and black gloves over his normal costume.  Kaibara had two new items, neither of which Monoma had seen in action yet, but ones that Kaibara seemed excited to use – a bulbous red gauntlet around his left forearm and a strange, rectangular metal bar strapped to his back. 

“Yo!” Setsuna called out as the 1-B girls joined up with the boys.  None of the girls had any new support items or big changes to their costumes, but there were a few differences.  Kinoko’s cloak had been traded out for a hoodless, poncho-like shawl that ended just past her elbows.  Setsuna’s body suit was missing its short sleeves, now baring her arms and legs completely, and she had added a green domino mask to her ensemble. 

“It’s time to kick butt, guys!” Pony cheered.  The class filed inside the giant testing room, which held well over 1000 hero students from around the country. 

Looks like I was right.  Kendo’s still pissed, Monoma noted.  He stuck close to her and observed her intimidating glower as she scanned the room for Gaikoku Academy.  “Are you feeling OK?”

“I’ll be fine,” she answered calmly, surprising Monoma.

Maybe she can keep her cool, he thought.  I’ll try and stay close anyway.  Can’t be too careful.  Especially here and now.

“OK, it’s time to get started,” a voice said over the loudspeakers.  “Don’t make me wait or I may fall asleep again.  My name is Mera and I’m with the… yawn… Heroes Public Safety Commission.  Honestly, I could go for a nice coma right now.  I’ve got vacation days saved up…”

Maybe they should’ve gotten someone more… awake to do this, Monoma thought.

“Actually, it’s a little erroneous to say that I’m Mera.  Truth is that we’re so understaffed that they hired someone with a cloning Quirk to clone me so I could host all of these tests all over the country today.  The real me has been so busy lately.  I just kinda want to stop existing at this point.”

They’re that understaffed?! everyone thought.

“Well, I’ll just start the explanation of the test,” Mera continued.  “There’s about 1600 of you here today, so the first phase is a big free-for-all battle or whatever.  There’s a lot of pro heroes around right now, and the general opinion about heroes has been kinda shaky since that whole ‘Stain’ incident.  Thing is, risking your life to save someone deservers some reward, so we pay heroes a salary.  That’s just how this works, OK?  Anyway, where was I?  Oh yeah.  We have a lot of pros, so we’re gonna be looking for the best of the best.  In hero work, a speedy job is the norm, so people who can resolve incidents quickly is what we’re looking for.  First 100 of you to complete the first test will advance, while the rest fail.” 

“Only 100 out of 1500?” Kendo repeated.  “That’s pretty daunting.”

“That’s about 6%,” Monoma noted, “and it’s not even how well you complete it – It’s how fast.  Plus, I’m sure even more will fail in the phase after.”

“Kinda crappy, but that’s life,” Mera said.  “Here are the rules.  You examinees will get three targets to put somewhere on your body.  It can be anywhere as long as it’s exposed.  You also get six special balls.  If you hit a someone’s target with a ball, it’ll light up.  If all three of your targets light up, you fail.  Whoever hits the third target gets the credit for taking down the opponent.  You pass by taking down two people… God, I need coffee.  Uh, we’ll pass out the targets and balls now while we open up.”

“Open up?” Kendo parroted.  As soon as she said that, the walls and ceiling of the room they were in began to unfold and fall away, revealing the real testing sight the examinees were in the middle of.  Around them was a city area, a highway area, a mountain area, an industrial area, and a forest and lake area. 

“This seems… excessive,” Monoma said. 

“I thought it just looked big from the outside, but now it seems even bigger,” Kendo added.

“I’m sure you kids have preferred or disliked terrains,” Mera announced, “so pick somewhere that suits your abilities and fighting styles best.  It’s an entertaining reveal, but it took so much time and energy.  So much energy.  Anyway, get ready with your targets and we’ll begin soon enough.” 

Chapter Text

Looks like they’re passing out targets, Kan noted as he walked through the stadium’s seats.  I think I see my students, so I’ll sit here and keep an eye on them.

“Oh, hi there, Vlad.”  Kan froze again and shakily turned his head to the familiar voice.  He was standing right next to where Aisa was sitting.  “I guess you wanted to sit near me, hm?  Same old Vlad.”

Must escape! Vlad told himself.

“Well?  Come on and sit,” she offered.

Don’t!  You’ll say something stupid and embarrass yourself and your class!  Escape now!  Kan was jolted from his thoughts when he realized his was already sitting two seats away from Aisa.  How’d this happen!?

“So, tell me,” Aisa began.  “Do you think your class is prepared for this test?  They barely have a semester under their belt.  I hope this doesn’t sound insulting, but I honestly don’t think that’s enough time.”

“…It’s true that they’re all rookies compared to their competition,” Kan replied.  “They know the material they’re being tested on, but only at a basic level.  However, I have faith in my students.  They have a laser focus on their goals and two exceptional students to lead them – one who can ignite their competitive spirit and another to build their confidence and strengthen their bonds.  To answer your question… they’re ready.”

“That’s quite the vote of confidence, Vladdy… Hey, remember that time you invited me to karaoke and tried to serenade me?”

“Why are you doing this?” Kan asked while face-palming.

“It’s funny.”


“Everyone!  Let’s stick together and fight as a group!”  Kendo instructed.  Class 1-B headed off towards the city area, where they had the most experience fighting.  “Monoma, any strategies in mind?”

“Yeah, I’ve got one.  I also have an idea about how this test really works,” the copycat began.  “They’re giving us an ultimatum to psych us out and make us rush, but rushing will make us uncoordinated and sloppy.  They’re also presenting the test as if we’re supposed to throw the balls, but that’s a bad strategy.  Our best bet is to incapacitate people and touch their targets when they can’t move.”

“Oh, I get it!” Tetsutetsu yelled.  “We wait and defend until later in the test.  Once we know what our opponents can do and they’re tired, we strike ‘em down and make sure we hit their targets.”

“That’s the ideal plan here,” Monoma agreed.  “It’s not just about fighting though.  In this test, the most useful Quirks are ones that get people stuck without blocking their targets.”

“Stuck?” Setsuna asked.

“Think back to the Cavalry Battle of the Sports Festival.  Todoroki froze a few teams in place, which took them completely out of the running.  We also had to be wary of Mineta’s… hair… grape… ball things.”

“So, it’s smarter to get people immobilized immediately instead of knocking them down repeatedly and wasting time,” Kendo agreed.

“Correct.  That means our most valuable members for taking people out are Bondo, Awase, Ibara, and Honenuki… and me, of course.”

“Of course,” Kuroiro repeated sarcastically. 

“We’ll need to focus on defense at the beginning, so for that, we need Tsuburaba, Ibara, Komori, and Kuroiro.  The beginning of this test will be pretty chaotic for us.”

“Why’s that?” Pony asked.


“So, Vlad… did you tell them?”

“My students are smart.  They’ll figure out the dangers before it’s too late.”

“Your class didn’t do so hot during the Sports Festival, so it may not cross their minds, but a good number of them still showed off their powers.  They may not have had the spotlight, but a perceptive person can still watch it and get information on what they can do.”

“You’re talking about your own students, correct?”

“That’s right.  Vicky made sure to watch every one of them in preparation for today.  Besides, even if the other schools didn’t do the same, it’s still a tradition.  U.A. gets crushed right out of the gate.”


“They’re gonna jump us right at the start?!” Shoda yelped in a panic.  “Why are we heading to the city area where everyone will be?”

“There’s plenty of areas to hide and duck away if we need to.  Going somewhere wide open means we’ll be attacked from all sides and have nowhere to escape too,” Kendo answered.  “More than that, I believe in our strengths.  If we stick together, watch each other’s backs, and give it everything, we can beat anyone.  We beat All Might, remember?”

“That’s right.  Defense, get ready,” Monoma instructed.  As the class neared the entrance to the city area, running alongside the elevated highway area, a buzzer went off. 

“The first phase will now begin.”  Just as the announcement kicked off the test and 1-B reached the city entrance, hordes of competitors jumped out at them.  They attacked from all sides, from the windows of the buildings, from above them on the highway area, even from behind in the open area 1-B had come from, and a storm of testing balls were launched towards the class.

“Here they come!” Monoma yelled.  “Tsuburaba, now!”

“On it!  Cover us!”  Tsuburaba, backed up by Monoma, breathed upwards and began creating a solid air dome around the class. 

“Fukidashi, back me up!” Kendo requested as she faced the attacks from the highway above the group’s western side.  The ginger girl grew her hands to maximum size and clapped them together, sending a blast of wind forward.  “Thunderclap!”

“Fwooooosh!”  With assistance by Fukidashi, their combined wind force sent the balls flying backwards and kept their enemies at bay. 

On the southern side, facing towards the city area, Ibara’s vines shot forward and shaped into a giant wall to keep competitors and attacks away.  “Shield of Faith!”

Class 1-B’s eastern flank was protecting by Komori, who spread the spores in her hair out in front of her.  As the attack balls flew towards her, the spores grew into giant mushrooms that walled off the group.  “Iron Shrooms!”

Facing down attacks from the class’s northern side was Kuroiro.  “What a pain,” he grumbled as his chest became a portal.  “Pull of Darkness!”  As their opponents’ attack balls rained down, Kuroiro’s suction was kicked up to max strength, sucking them all into his body. 

“There’s a ‘sucking balls’ joke here somewhere,” Setsuna noted as she watched Kuroiro.  “Tsuburaba, you almost done!?”  Above their classmates, the solid air user and the copycat had just completed an air dome around 1-B.

“Done and done!” Tsuburaba announced.  “Suck on my Air-icade!”  After a moment, the competitors stopped throwing their balls once they saw the dome held up against it.

“The idea that this test will go by quickly is stuck in the minds of the people who tried attacking first,” Monoma noted.  “They don’t want to waste time breaking through our protection, so they’ll turn to the other schools.”  Just as Monoma finished his prediction, the competitors who had been attacking them turned their attention to each other.  The battle began anew, but without 1-B.

“Hey, you’re right,” Pony realized.  “They ain’t botherin’ to break it down.”

“They aren’t, but we’re not out of the woods yet,” Reiko said.  “Look above us.”  On the rooftop of the building closest to 1-B was a trio of familiar faces.  “It’s Gaikoku Academy.”

“Hey butch!  I see ya!”  The first one they saw was the spike-haired boy called Mitch.  His costume was a maroon bodysuit with a dark gray, fur-lined jacket.  “Vicky wants you for herself, so try not to lose too quickly!  Ah-hahaha!”

“Go ahead and hit ‘em, Mitch,” the hulking Gou instructed.  His hero costume was a mobster-style black suit with a purple scarf and gray jacket.  He also looked more tired than before with his hair disheveled and his eyes even droopier. 

“We’ll tear through their defenses and throw them to the wolves,” the final member of the trio declared.  It was a short, pale girl with black hair in massive pigtails and a gothic-lolita style costume – a black dress and stockings, purple boots and gloves, and a dark blue shawl with a light blue water drop pattern. 

“You got it!” Mitch shouted as he turned around, pointing his spike-hair down at 1-B.  Dozens of spikes shot off his head, rocketing down and staking into the solid air barricade.  None made it through to the class, but the dome was cracked. 

Mitch Zellner (New York).  Quirk: Porcupine.  Instead of hair, he has metal spikes that he can shoot out at high speeds.  They’re pretty durable and quick to regrow.

“You’re done for, U.A.!” Gou announced as he jumped for the rooftop with the short girl not far behind him.  He fell towards the dome with his fists cocked and slammed them into the cracked barrier, shattering it apart.  “I’ll kick all your asses… and finally go back to sleep!”

Gou Yonaga (Japan).  Quirk: Sleepless Strength.  The longer he stays awake, the stronger he becomes, though it goes back to normal if he falls asleep.

With the dome gone, Mitch sent another wave of spikes down at 1-B, making them fall back and dodge.  Gou and his female companion landed in the middle of the group, where the tired competitor slammed the ground with his fists, causing a tremor to separate the class further.  “Smash ‘em, Namida!”

“With pleasure,” the girl responded while she, oddly enough, began to cry.  The tears streaming from her eyes began pooling up around her cheeks and quickly grew into giant tendrils of water coming from her eyes.  “You’ll all see the power of our school!”

Namida Kanashi (Japan).  Quirk: Tear Control.  She can control her tears, usually making them into big limbs to attack and grab with.

The tear arms swung around the area, forcing the already-fleeing 1-B to jump further back.  Spikes rained down on them, debris flew around, and the schools from before had returned to try sniping them with their attack balls.

“Crap!  They planned to split us apart!” Monoma realized.  “All we did was make sure we couldn’t run away!”

“Great googily moogily, it’s all gone to SHIT!” Setsuna yelped.


“Looks like Gou, Mitch, and Namida succeeded in splitting them apart for now,” Victoria noted from the highway area, where she and other Gaikoku students had set up.  Her hero costume was a muted pink jacket over a frilly white blouse with burgundy pants, white gloves, black boots, and a pink cloche hat with a white band.  “I can see Itsuka Kendo.  She’s coming closer,” Victoria purred.  “Kaikaina!”

“Need me, big sis?” a pink-haired girl asked as she came to Victoria’s side.  She had deep tan skin and her hero costume was a blue sleeveless bodysuit, almost like a swimsuit, with a long floral-print sarong. 

“Be a dear and snatch up my prey, would you?”

“You got it!” Kaikaina chirped.  She came to the edge of the highway and, after spotting Kendo below, reached out her right arm.  Her forearm and hand began to transform, now resembling a fishing rod with a three-pronged hook at the end. 

Kaikaina Lawai’a (Hawaii).  Quirk: Fisher.  Her arms can transform into fishing rods, letting her to grab things from a distance, swing around by hooking onto buildings, or use them like whips.

“She’s in my sights!” Kaikaina announced.  She flung her hook down and swirled it around as it approached Kendo.  Once it was on level with her, Kaikaina pulled the wire and caught Kendo in a secure tie before yanking her up.

“Kendo!” they heard Monoma yell.

“What the heeeeeeeeell!?” Kendo screamed as she was pulled up.  Kaikaina grabbed the wire with her free hand and pulled roughly, sending Kendo flipping over her and onto the highway.  “Oof!”

“We meet again, Itsuka,” Victoria greeted with a laugh. 

“You,” Kendo growled.  She attempted to enlarge her hands, but felt the wire that bound her netted around her hands, keeping them from growing.

“Such a simple Quirk.  I knew all your tricks at just a glance during my research,” Victoria explained while pulling out a testing ball.  “As long as we caught you off guard, you’d have no options.”

“Try me,” Kendo dared as she wriggled up onto her knees. 

“Don’t bother struggling, Itsuka.  It’s not ladylike.”  The blond girl crept menacingly towards Kendo, assured that she’s stay helpless, but suddenly stopped.  A pressure lodged itself in her stomach and she doubled over with a sputter.  With her head down, she saw Monoma phasing through the cement road with a steel fist in her torso.

“You shouldn’t drop your guard.  It’s not ladylike,” Monoma mocked with a cocky smirk.  Victoria jumped back next to Kaikaina as Monoma floated away, landing in front of Kendo.  “Are you hurt?  Did they hit your targets?”

“No, but I can’t move,” Kendo explained.  “I need you to get that other girl to loosen her grip.”

“Yeah, that sounds fun and all,” Monoma said coyly, “but I’d rather leave that to the others.”

“The others?” Victoria questioned.

“Uh, big sis?” Kaikaina said nervously.  “We’ve got company.”

Chapter Text

“You’re damn right, you’ve got company!” Monoma boasted as five figures rose up over the highway.  So, Kaibara took Hatsume up on her offer, huh?  I was wondering what that was.  During Monoma’s escape to help Kendo, he had seen Kaibara take the mysterious metal bar off his back and hook it onto his right wrist.  Now that he saw Kaibara in the air, grinning like a maniac, he realized it was a propeller.  Hanging onto Kaibara’s legs was Pony, who swung herself forward and landed on the highway.  Kaibara slowed his rotation and landed next to Pony, making Victoria and Kaikaina begin backing away.  Descending next to Pony was Reiko, who looked more worried about Kendo then from the nearby enemies.  The last two classmates who had come to help were Fukidashi and Kamakiri, who had made it by using Kamakiri’s mandibles to pole-vault up.  They had stretched to their limit, but the pair flipped over onto the freeway and joined the fight. 

“How irritating,” Victoria complained.  “We’ll need back-up on our own.”  She made sure to say this while looking at Kaikaina, who’s eyes had somehow turned a glowing red.

“We’re not letting you get away now,” Monoma declared.  “We’ll beat you long before any… is that a forest?”  Monoma looked behind Victoria and realized a dense thicket of trees had somehow grown on the highway where the pair of Gaikoku students were backing towards.  “That… wasn’t there when the test started.”


Inside the forest that had mysteriously sprung up on the highway, a pair of glowing red eyes seemed like they were staring off at nothing in particulate.  In actuality, those eyes saw exactly what Kaikaina was seeing.  “Looks like Vicky and Kaikaina are in trouble,” the owner of these eyes noted as they turned from red back to their normal brown.  They belonged to a short girl with a tangled mess of black hair, dyed brown at the bottom, who wore a blue bodysuit with armored sleeves and a swirl pattern, along with a black domino mask over her face.  “They’ll need back-up.  Nasuka, Greta, Bruce, go help them out.  I’ll check in on how the others are doing.”

Miru Kimi (Japan).  Quirk: Clairvoyance.  She can see what another person sees, no matter how far away they are, as long as she’s seen their face in person within the past 24 hours.

“Why me too?”

“Because I said so, dumbass.  I’m our mission control, or did you forget?”

“Dang, you’re pissy today.”


“What should we do, big sis?” Kaikaina asked.

“You could start by letting go of Kendo,” Monoma smarmily suggested.  He looked to Victoria for any move she’d make, but she was too busy analyzing her new opponents.

“What now?  We fight, Kaikaina,” Victoria said.

“I was hoping you’d say that,” Kamakiri quipped as his new arm blades unfurled over his hands.  The mantis boy jumped towards Victoria and swung his blade down, but instead of dodging, she crossed her arms to block it.  The scythe came down and collided with her arms, but nothing was cut and the blades bounced off with a clang.  Victoria swung her arm into Kamakiri’s ribs, sending him skidding backwards, but she had to block again when Pony ran and kicked her.  Her hooves sent Victoria flying backwards, crashing into a tree.

“Sis!” Kaikaina called out as she rushed to Victoria’s side.

“BOOM!”  Fukidashi set off an explosion at her feet, knocking Kaikaina forward.  Her grip was loosened for a brief moment, but that was all the time Kendo needed to free herself.  She slipped out of the wire and joined her friends.

“Thanks, you guys.”

“No need to thank us,” Fukidashi replied.

“Actually, thank us more,” Monoma requested.  “Tell me how cool I am.”

“Kamakiri, could you figure out what her Quirk is?” Kendo asked.

“I think it may be something like Rin’s or Tetsutetsu’s.  Her skin was hard enough to deflect my new scythes.  On the other hand, she could be wearing some armor under her clothes.”

“I guess we’ll find out,” Kendo said while her hands enlarged.

“Don’t get so comfortable, Itsuka,” Victoria warned.  “My classmates and I will enjoy tearing—”  She stopped her taunt when Kamakiri’s mandible shot out and stabbed into the tree near her face. 

"Say again?” Kendo mocked, watching for Victoria’s reaction.  She was expecting rage, but her opponent looked more scared of the attack than anything.  She turned her head and looked at the blade near her face with wide-eyed fear.

“Big sis?  You doin’ alright?” Kaikaina asked. 

“…I’m fine,” she insisted while regaining her composure.  “In fact, I’m great.  I can hear our reinforcements not far away.”

“Shit, they’re already here?  They must be using that forest as a base,” Monoma realized.  “Kendo, we should retreat and regroup with our class.”  He turned to Kendo for an answer, but she said nothing.  Her gaze was firmly locked on Victoria, and in an instant, she dashed ahead with her huge fist cocked.  “Kendo!”


“BRING IIIIIIIT!”  Tetsutetsu ran and threw his fist straight at Gou, who responded by doing the same.  For a brief moment, their clashing fists matched strength, but Gou quickly overpowered Tetsutetsu and sent him flying backwards.

“I’ll destroy you weaklings!” Gou announced proudly.  As Tetsutetsu got back up, Rin joined him and the pair ran to fight together.

“You go high, I’ll go low,” Rin instructed.

“GOT IT!”  Tetsutetsu leapt forward and threw a punch at Gou’s cheek, but it was blocked by his opponent’s forearm.  Rin went low and jabbed Gou’s stomach, but it didn’t faze him.  He swung Tetsutetsu into Rin and they went sailing backwards, landing in a tumble. 

“Oh man.  Strength enhancers are tough to fight,” Rin commented.  “We may—”

“Get down!”  Tetsutetsu grabbed Rin and dove behind a pile of rubble, narrowly dodging a few attack balls.  “These Gaikoku jerks are starting to piss me off.  We can’t even fight at full power as long as those other schools are trying to snipe our targets.”

“They definitely know how to mess with us,” Rin agreed.  “They’re making sure to split us into groups so they can beat us or other schools feel confident enough to fight us.”

“We’re running low on allies in the area, but there’s still a few left,” Tetsutetsu noted.  Not far away, Ibara’s vines were clashing with Namida’s giant tear tendrils with Honenuki as back-up.  Her vines seemed to be absorbing the water, but fell apart soon after, forcing Ibara to grow more.

“The salt in your tears are killing my vines quickly.  It seems we’re evenly matched,” Ibara complimented.  “However, it is my responsibility to receive a provisional license.  I won’t let my classmates or my school down.”

“Don’t talk to me about responsibility,” Namida fired back with a venomous tone.  “Not after U.A. dashed Gaikoku’s only chance of—”  She cut herself off when she felt her feet begin to sink into the ground.  Honenuki was behind her and had softened the ground to trap her.

“Thank you for the opening, Honenuki,” Ibara said as her vines dug into the ground towards Namida.  “Now, Last Roots!”

“Don’t bother!”  Namida’s water arms pushed against the ground and pried her from the softened ground, allowing her to dodge the vines that nearly snatched her.  “Tear Bombs!”  She swiped her tendril through the air, sending softball-sized tear drops at Ibara and Honenuki.  They both jumped back to dodge, but Namida sent her left tendril at Honenuki and grabbed him.  “I won’t let you continue troubling us.  Begone!”  With a quick swing of her tendrils, Namida sent Honenuki flying down the city block.

“Honenuki!”


 

 

“Holy fuckin’ woah!” Tsuburaba yelped as Shishida skidded to a halt under the highway.  The bug-eyed boy fell forward off his back while his co-passenger, Setsuna, had braced herself and hung on. 

“I apologize for the rough exit,” Shishida said while sniffing around the area for enemies.  “I remembered what Monoma had said about prioritizing defense early on, so I found it prudent to keep you safe.”

“Really?  Uh, thanks, then.”

“Is that why you grabbed me too?” Setsuna asked.  “You think I’m important?”

I was more just in a rush and grabbed whomever was closest, Shishida thought.  “…Yes.  That is exactly why I saved you.”

“Oh, aren’t you a dear,” Setsuna complimented while patting his head.  “Kinda looks like shit’s going down back there.”

“Seems like they could use some back-up,” Tsuburaba commented.  “Let’s—”

“Hold on,” Shishida suddenly instructed.  “Enemies heading this way.  About 12.  Let’s hide.”

“Oh shit, uh, uh, over here,” Setsuna said, pointing to a rocky area under the highway with many nooks and crannies.  The trio hopped into the bumpy alcove and hid among the rocks as a set of opponents came into view. 

“Stay down,” Shishida whispered while sniffing the air.  It smells like there’s only eight coming straight towards us, but what about the other four?  …They’re lurking in the area, but aren’t part of this group.  So, these eight must be their prey…

“Those three from U.A. must be around here somewhere,” they heard.  “Search around.”

“Dude, I don’t think we lost those four weirdos.  It’s like they know exactly where we were.”

“Quit complaining.  I don’t even wanna think about that.  I nearly got my ass blown up.”

“Did you see that weird lizard one?  She froze me in my tracks!”

“That weird gas gave me the creeps.  What d’ya think it does?”

“Don’t know.  Don’t care.  Just search for—”

“SHIT!  INCOMING!”  The trio from 1-B looked up over their hiding space and saw a group of missiles heading for them.  Tsuburaba made a small dome around them while Shishida and Setsuna ducked down for cover.  The missiles landed and rocked the ground, but the barrier was thankfully undamaged. 

“What a powerful attack,” Shishida commented.  With the solid-air dome around him, he couldn’t sniff for his competition, so the hairy boy settled for peeking over the rock pile they hid behind.  There was a huge cloud of dust and dirt, but Shishida could make out the silhouettes of his pursuers, noticing they were looking around nervously. 

“It’s them!  I knew it!”

“We have to bail!”  As the competitors began to panic, the 1-B students heard something coming up closer.  It was music from a radio.  “It’s that freakin’ song again!”

It’s close to midnight

Something evil’s lurking in the dark

Under the moonlight

You see a sight that almost stops you heart

“I love this song,” Tsuburaba whispered as he and Setsuna shimmied around on the ground.  After a moment, the brown dirt and dust in the air was replaced by a translucent pink mist.

“Stick together!” one of the competitors shouted.  “There’s strength in…”

“Hey!  Hey!  What’s wrong!?”

“Ahh!  It’s that freaky gas again!”

You try to scream

But terror takes the sound before you make it

You start to freeze

As horror looks you right between the eyes

You’re paralyzed

As the gas finally cleared away, Shishida finally saw the competitors, but they had changed.  Their eyes and mouths had become gaping black voids and their skin had turned chalk white.  They were stumbling around, moaning and randomly using their Quirks.  “They’re like… zombies.” 

‘Cause this is Thriller

Thriller night

And no one’s gonna save you

From the beast about to strike

Across from the group of zombified students, Shishida saw the source of both the music and the gas.  On top of a hill was a boy with a creepy smile and grey-blue hair.  He wore a lavender gas mask and black overcoat with red tubes running over his arms and a radio strapped to his waist.

You know it’s Thriller

Thriller night

You’re fighting for your life

Inside a killer Thriller tonight

“Sekigai, they’re ready,” the boy grunted while bobbing his head to the music.

Romero Fujimi AKA Thriller.  Quirk: Zombie Virus.  He releases a pink gas from his body that zombifies whoever inhales it.  The zombies are stronger and more durable than normal people, but have no real cognitive function. 

“Excellent work for once, Fujimi,” a girl with white hair said as she climbed over the hill.  “Now, please turn that song off.”

“Firstly, what d’ya mean by ‘for once!?’  Second, hell no!”

“Fine.  Just be on your guard,” the girl instructed.  She wore a black body suit with white legs and lines, along with a red visor and a black screen strapped to her forearm.  Out of the screen, a holographic chart projected above it and she looked it over closely.  “These eight opponents have been successfully zombified, but they weren’t alone.  It seems there are another three nearby that escaped your attack.”

Kashiko Sekigai.  Quirk: Chart.  She can project a holographic chart that can track and give data on people she’s seen or gotten close to.

“Huuuuh?!  How come it didn’t affect them?!”

“I don’t know, but get to work controlling the zombies.  Habuko, Tadan, please come join us.”

“I-Is it safe?” a shy, girlish voice asked from behind the cliff.

“It’ll be safer once we pass!” Fujimi responded.  “Get your asses out here!”

“R-Right.”  Climbing out over the hill was another girl, but this one had the head of a snake along with unruly red hair.  Her costume was a blue bodysuit with a yellow sash and yellow lenses over her eyes.  “Do you need me to paralyze them, Fujimi?”

“Nah, I’ll practice my control.”  Fujimi held his arm out to the zombies, who paused there shambling.  “Line up,” he commanded.  The zombies slowly trudged together and formed a line in front of their controller.  “Sweet.  Hey, Tadan!  Get down here and help Sekigai find those others!”

“OK!  Sorry!”  The last of the four climbed out onto the battlefield, wearing a mechanical battle suit with many missile silos for his costume.  It had a yellow top and arms, a green midsection, red gauntlets, and blue legs, leaving his simplistic face and tuft of red hair the only part not covered. 

“They’re just over this way,” Sekigai explained.  “If you can hear me, you should know we’re prepared to attack if prompted.  If you’d prefer to leave instead, I’ll allow it.  You have 10 seconds to make your choice.”

“What’re we doin’?” Setsuna asked.  “Think they’re telling the truth, Shishida?”

“…They seem powerful and we’re outnumbered.  Fighting is not our best option.  They already have enough subdued opponents for all four to pass, so they may be honest…”

“We’re out of time.  I say we take the offer,” Tsuburaba suggested.  Shishida didn’t have time to think of a different way to escape, so he rammed his fist through the barrier and shattered it, allowing the trio to stand and face their fellow test-takers.

“We’ll go without a fight,” Shishida said.  “Thank you for you letting us leave—”

“Hold up,” Fujimi ordered.  “I recognize you.  The Sports Festival, yeah?  You’re from U.A…”  The declaration of their school seemed to anger him even more than he already was.

“U.A.?  I wonder if they know Tsu,” Habuko quietly pondered.

“Sekigai, we should take them down now,” Fujimi suggested.

“We’ll have to kick your asses, in that case,” Setsuna boasted.

“We already have enough defeated opponents to gain points from, Fujimi.  Don’t lose track of our goal,” Sekigai ordered.  “You can all leave.”

“You’re seriously doing this?!” Romero shouted.  As his anger grew, his face changed to become more simplistic and creepy, looking more like a mask.  “What the hell happened to make you forgive them?!”

“Forgive us?” Shishida asked.  “Pardon my asking, but have we wronged you all in some way?”

“No.  I apologize for Fujimi’s rudeness.”

“C’mon!  I know you’re still upset!” Fujimi declared.  “If these U.A. brats weren’t so weak, then your—”

“Enough!”  Sekigai lashed out and slapped Fujimi across his cheek, silencing him.

“Oh gosh,” Habuko gasped.

“Oh no, oh no,” Tadan muttered.  Sekigai looked furious for a moment, but quickly regained her calmness. 

“As I said,” she continued while turning to the U.A. students, “you may leave now.  But know that if you try to return and ambush us, I will see it coming.”  She summoned the holographic chart over his wrist again, showing her opponents a map with their faces on it.  “I can track you anywhere in this arena, so a sneak attack is impossible.  Goodbye.”

“Right.  Later.  See ya,” Tsuburaba quickly said as he jogged off with Shishida and Setsuna in tow.

“So, did we do something?” Setsuna asked.  “That felt like some personal shit right there.”

“First Gaikoku, and now them.  We certainly have powerful enemies,” Shishida noted.  “I don’t know what their connection to U.A. is, but something weighs on my mind.  Something about that girl’s Quirk seems… familiar.”

Chapter Text

“Kendo!”  The ginger girl ignored Monoma’s shouts and raced towards Victoria with her giant fist pulled back.

“Don’t be foolish, Itsuka,” Victoria sarcastically advised.  “You shouldn’t fight a battle you can’t win!”  Kendo slammed her fist into Victoria, who blocked and skidded slightly backwards, but still didn’t seem phased.  Suddenly, the blonde girl grabbed Kendo’s wrist and pulled them closer before punching Kendo across the cheek.  For a reason Kendo couldn’t place, her fist felt jagged and bumpy under her glove.  Kendo shrunk her fist and slipped from the grasp while her left hand rocketed towards Victoria’s face.  She expected to finally land a solid hit, but on contact, a sharp pain made her recoil.

“Shit!” she yelped while clutching her hand.  “…So, that’s why you haven’t taken damage yet.  I couldn’t tell since your clothes kept your skin covered…”  She looked and saw Victoria’s face had grown a set of crystals over her skin, forming a scale-patterned armor over her cheeks, forehead, and the bridge of her nose.  “You can generate crystals from your skin.”

“They’re not just crystals, Itsuka,” Victoria haughtily explained.  “They’re diamonds.  Your pitiful strength simply cannot pierce my defenses.  In the future, when people think of Gaikoku Academy, the first name that comes to mind will be Diamond Queen!”

Victoria Hope AKA Diamond Queen (England).  Quirk: Diamantine.  She can form diamonds out of her skin, though they’ll disintegrate if they leave her body for too long.

“Kendo, we should go now!  There’s more coming!” Monoma warned.

“Not until I crush her!” Kendo shouted as she ran at Victoria again.

“Oooh, scary,” Kaikaina said while scooting closer to her “big sis.”

“It’s already too late to run,” Victoria claimed as she covered her ears with her hands.  “Greta, now!”  Gaikoku’s counterattack was kicked off by a blast of sound erupting from the forest.  The blast was aimed for Kendo, who clenched her eyes and covered her ears as she was blown off her feet.  If she hadn’t been temporarily deafened by the sound, she would have heard Victoria’s next command.  “Nasuka, your turn!”  While Kendo soared backwards from the sound attack, she was kicked in the stomach and forced onto the ground.  When she unclenched her eyes, the first thing she saw was a testing ball heading for her targets.

“Get off her!” she heard Kaibara yell.  She looked back at her classmates and saw Kaibara point his new gauntlet at her attacker while spinning his arm.  The speed and power of his spinning sent a twister of air pressure out of the gauntlet, which made Kendo’s assailant jump away to dodge. 

“Was that a tornado gun?!” she heard Pony yell as she got up and backed away from the Gaikoku students.  “That’s badass!”  Kendo finally got a good look at her assailant – a tall and fairly muscular boy, who was now focused on Kaibara.  He wore a black motorcyclist bodysuit with lightweight red armor, white gloves and boots, and a red motorcycle helmet.  She could see wheels coming from the boy’s wrists and ankles, along with a smaller set on the elbows and knees of his costume.

“That was pretty close,” the boy commented nonchalantly.  “Mind if I take that dude, Vicky?”

“I doubt I could make you do otherwise, Nasuka.  Do as you will,” Victoria sighed. 

“Sweet,” Nasuka replied while taking off his helmet, revealing silver eyes and gray hair in a disconnected quiff.  “Hear that?  I’m your opponent, big guy.  That Quirk of yours is gettin’ my wheels spinning.”

Nasuka Binshou (Japan).  Quirk: Wheels.  He has functional wheels growing from his wrists and ankles.

“Nasuka’s getting excited,” Kaikaina noted.  “Pretty rare.”

“That’s just the problem!” a voice from the forest called out.  “We all need more energy!  We’ve gotta pump this crowd up!”  Climbing out of the thicket was a blonde girl the U.A. recognized from their first encounter with Gaikoku – Greta.  Her hero suit was a dark blue bodysuit, black boots, and a red visor.  In her arms was a cherry-red electric guitar that was plugged into the back of her neck.  “Let’s rock!”  She ran a pick across the strings of her guitar with lightning speed, which sent a sound blast out of her mouth.  “Tonight, I’m gonna rock you tonight!” 

Greta Shrika (Switzerland).  Quirk: Amplifier.  She can amplify the sounds of whatever’s plugged into the auxiliary jacks on her neck, sending out powerful sound blasts from her mouth.

“Great.  Two more weirdos to worry about,” Monoma griped.

“You can make that three weirdos, city boy!”  Everyone looked to the sky once they heard the voice of another Gaikoku student.  Descending towards them was a muscular, light-skinned boy with a pale-yellow mullet.  His hero costume was fairly casual with brown pants, yellow boots, an unzipped green-yellow vest that left his chest and stomach bare, and a red and yellow trucker hat.  Coming out of the boy’s right hand was a huge black balloon, about the size of Kendo’s hands when enlarged, which seemed to be slowing his descent.  “Howdy, folks,” he greeted with a deep southern drawl.  “The name’s Bruce.”  He landed with his fellow Gaikoku, students while the balloon shrunk in his hand.  “I have a trucker hat.”

“…You sure do,” Kamakiri awkwardly answered.  “Is that everyone?  I can’t keep up with all these new people.”

“For now, yes,” Victoria said.  “However, if we are still somehow backed into a corner, I can always summon more.”

“Looks like we’re fighting after all,” Monoma grumbled.  “Yanagi, can you do me a solid?”

“What’s up?”

“That forest seems to be serving as Gaikoku’s base.  Can you check around and see how many are still in there?”

“Sure,” Reiko replied as she phased through the ground.  “Don’t be stupid while I’m gone.”

“Important safety tip.  Thank you, Yanagi.”  With Reiko’s exit, the match-up was six U.A. students against five Gaikoku students.

“Kamakiri, you’re with me and Monoma,” Kendo instructed.

“Sure thing.”

“Kaikaina, support me from behind?” Victoria requested

“Got it, sis.”  The 11 test-takers waited in a standoff, watching for either side to make a move and start the fight.

“Oh, Bruce,” Victoria said while removing her gloves, revealing more diamonds in her skin.  “See the one with the horns?  She told me that trucker hats are terrible.”

“WHAT?!” Bruce screamed. 

“Did not!” Pony claimed.  Her response fell on deaf ears as Bruce held his right hand out towards Pony, showing a small hole in his palm.  Out of the hole came a black balloon that swelled to beach-ball size before popping off and flying at Pony.  “Woah!”  Pony sidestepped the quick projectile, but it popped at her side and sent out a wave of air pressure that sent her flying.

“I’ll teach you some respect and knock your ass all the way ‘cross the Mason-Dixon Line!”

Bruce Frey (Arkansas).  Quirk: Balloon.  He can form black balloons from the air pipes in his arms.  He can shoot them off and hit people with the force of a cannonball or send out a blast of air pressure by popping them on command.  They’re also good for floating around if he hangs on.

“Pony!” Kaibara yelled as she flew over his head.  He was about to run to catch her when Nasuka sped towards him and threw a kick at his face.  Kaibara blocked it, but Nasuka pivoted off his arm and went over his head.  He landed on his ankle wheels and spun them to immediately throw another spin kick.  This time, his attack landed across Kaibara’s back, knocking him forward.

“C’mon and show me somethin’ fun,” Nasuka slyly requested.

“BOOM!”  Nasuka zipped away just in time to avoid an explosion at his feet. 

“Greta, can you deal with the weird speech bubble guy?” he requested

“I’ve got him!”  Greta strummed her guitar again and blasted Fukidashi with a sound wave, pushing him away from his classmates.  “Let’s see what you got, little man.”

As her classmates began their battles, Kendo continued her assault on Victoria, this time with Kamakiri at her side.  She reacted strangely when Kamakiri attacked her last, Kendo thought.  Hopefully, I can get her to slip up again.  Victoria finally took her own combative stance and rushed to meet Kendo head-on.  She ducked underneath Kendo’s giant fist and tried for an uppercut, but Kendo enlarged her other fist to block it and push Victoria to the ground.  Kamakiri’s mandible shot down at her, but she blocked it with the back of her diamond fist.  She aimed up at Kamakiri with her other hand, which shot small diamonds from her fingertips.

“Gem Shot!”  Kamakiri crossed his arm blades protectively, but was still forced back by the painful projectiles.  Victoria was still trapped under Kendo’s crushing hand, but she swung her leg across the ground and struck Kendo’s calf, making her groan and drop to one knee.  She pushed against Kendo’s hand got back on her feet, but was then hit across her left side.  As she fell to the right, she saw Monoma phasing out from the ground, once again with steel skin.

“You can’t let her get to you,” Monoma advised.  “Calm down and think rationally, Kendo.”

“I am calm—”

“You aren’t.  She’s in your head.  Take a deep breath and—”

“What’s the matter, Itsuka?” Victoria prodded.  Her voice alone made a vein in Kendo’s forehead begin to bulge.  “You need to rely on your boyfriend for a simple test?  How adorable.”

“Monoma,” Kendo began, “just shut up and let me do this.”

“You’re playing right into her hand.”  Monoma couldn’t continue his talk as Kaikaina attacked with her fishing lure.  Monoma hardened his arm and blocked the hook, but the wire wrapped around her wrist and yanked him away from Kendo.  “Just stay alert!”

“Oh, I will,” Kendo snarled.  “Kamakiri?”

“I’m ready,” the mantis boy assured her as he stepped forward.  His mandibles shot at Victoria, who deflected the stabbing attack with her diamantine arms, but he retracted them and jabbed again.  Pretty soon, his blades were jabbing at high speeds and pushing Victoria back.  “Multi-blade!”

“Pitiful!” Victoria jeered.  “These pathetic tactics won’t work on me!  I am unbreakable!”  That was the last thing she could say before the sharp attacks finally hit something.  Something Important.  Kamakiri’s blade flew past her arm and skidded across the gems on her face.  Her Quirk protected her from damage, but after a moment, she realized the string keeping her eyepatch in place had been cut.  Kamakiri halted his attack as all three students watched the patch flutter to the ground.  Kendo gasped and felt regret pool in her stomach as she remembered her initial plan of action. 

She reacted strangely when Kamakiri attacked her last.  A lightbulb of understanding clicked on her mind once she saw what had been hidden by the eyepatch – a red, jagged, ugly scar over a permanently-shut eyelid.  Victoria was missing her left eye, and from the coloration of the scar, Kendo could tell it was recent – about six months from what she could tell.

“…You saw, didn’t you?” Victoria asked as she fixed her hat and hair to cover her scar.

“…I did,” Kendo answered, not sure how to feel anymore.  Every insult Victoria had slung at her was now competing against her sympathy. 

“Then I know what I must do,” Victoria claimed.  “I’ll break you so badly that you’ll never tell a soul.”  With the renewed declaration of war, Kendo felt her competitive spirit being stirred again, but this time, she kept her cool.

“Try me.”

Chapter Text

For such a small forest, there’s a shit ton of trees, Reiko thought as she stumbled through the Gaikoku’s hideaway.  There isn’t any dirt under the trees either, so it must be a Quirk that can summon them in some way.  I should be mindful of my Quirk’s limit and only phase for emergencies or for quick instances only.  Reiko phased through a thick bundle of trees and immediately untransformed, looking over her shoulders for anyone.  It seems like they sent everyone off to fight, but there may be some stragglers or non-combatants.

"You look lost.”  Reiko flinched and turned around, seeing a Gaikoku student staring at her, leaning back causally with his arms crossed and a sour look on his face.  He was tall and lanky with pale skin, tired dark red eyes, and maroon brown hair.  His hero costume looked like normal civilian clothes, with a cream-colored long sleeve shirt and a maroon vest and shorts, but he also had two BB guns at his side.

“So, what if I am?” Reiko responded as she readied herself for a fight.  “Gonna attack or what?”  Her question seemed to depress the boy, as he sighed and slumped down instead of making a move.

“Wish I could,” he murmured.  “Just gotta leave it to the others, maybe go for your targets… life is sucky.”

What’s his problem?

“Miru, can you just get in here?” he asked while sliding onto the floor.  “You or Kobayashi can have her targets, I guess.”

There’re still two more?!  Reiko heard rustling behind her and jumped to the side, barely avoiding a punch.  The one who attacked was Miru, who kept her physical attacks coming, but Reiko phased backwards through a cluster of trees to temporarily escape.

“Good job.  Really gave it to her,” the boy snarked from his seat on the floor.

“I might’ve if you didn’t say I was here, Daisuke,” Miru complained.  “If you’re not gonna help, then get out of here.”

“Let me see the violence, at least.  Not like I can join in with this fuckin’ Quirk,” he whined. 

Reiko waited behind a tree and listened for attackers, but Miru and Daisuke weren’t coming for her.  So, that boy’s Quirk isn’t suited for combat.  That’s one less person to worry about.  I should try and figure out this girl’s Quirk, and the Quirk of this “Kobayashi” person he mentioned.  Once I know if they’re threats or not, I can report back to the others.  Hopefully, they can handle things on their own.  She kept waiting, and as soon as she looked around for anyone else, Miru dove out and swung her leg at Reiko’s head.  She phased back through the tree in time to avoid it, but Daisuke was now at her side with a testing ball in hand.  Reiko tried dodging, but he was able to hit one of her targets.  Dammit!

“That’s one down,” Miru noted. 

I don’t know how, but this girl’s Quirk seems to let her know where I am.  I’ll have to bust out a Super Move to escape for now.  Reiko transformed again and began floating, but after a moment, she also turned completely invisible.  Ghost Recon.  It shortens my time limit of staying transformed, but now, I can sneak off unnoticed.  Reiko silently phased through a few trees, making sure Miru and Daisuke weren’t following with their eyes.  Looks like it was a success.  My time limit’s almost up.  Gotta find a place to safely recharge.  Reiko made sure she was hidden as her body forcibly untransformed, but once she was visible, Daisuke was suddenly behind her and he grabbed her in a bear hug.  How!?

“Go ahead and get her targets,” Daisuke instructed while turning around, presenting the struggling Reiko.  Miru approached slowly and grabbed Reiko’s kicking leg while holding out her testing ball.  Reiko seemed to panic for a brief moment, but quickly regained her composure and glared at Miru. 

“I wouldn’t piss me off any further.  Us ghosts can really hold a grudge.”  Reiko lurched forward, then rammed her elbows back into Dismuke ribs, making him cough for air and loosen his grip.  She phased down into the ground while wriggling her ankle free of Miru’s grasp, but her arms reappeared and grabbed Miru’s head.  “Phantom Pain!” she called out while slamming Miru’s forehead into the concrete.  Reiko flew up and away from the Gaikoku students as her time ran out again, but she felt confident in her safety this time. 

“You really couldn’t see that coming?” Daisuke said as he helped Miru to her feet, her forehead dripping with blood.

“Bite me,” Miru growled before Daisuke, for some reason, slapped her wound.

“We’ve gotta keep going.  Her phasing seems to be timer-based,” he noted while readying his testing balls.  Miru did the same as her forehead wound quickly healed, as if it had never happened.

So, that’s the reason that boy can’t fight.  He has a healing Quirk, Reiko realized.

Daisuke Saitou (Japan).  Quirk: Healing Hits.  Whenever he tries hurting someone, they’re healed and given an energy boost instead.  He can’t heal himself and loses energy whenever he does heal someone. 

The Gaikoku pair attacked Reiko again, forcing her to jump away each time and use her Quirk to escape, giving her no time to recharge it’s time limit.  “Kobayashi, now!” Miru yelled.  Reiko whirled around to find the third opponent but saw no one.  Instead, she felt her lower body being constricted.  She looked down and saw a cluster of young trees growing rapidly, entrapping her between the wood.  Daisuke went behind her, ready for any attempted escape, while Miru approached to hit her target.  “No escaping now!” Miru claimed.  Reiko watched and waited for the very last moment before Miru’s attack connected.  When she was barely a centimeter from her target, Reiko suddenly phased upwards and shot towards the top branch of the nearest tree.  Her transformation gave out just as she reached it, but for the moment, she was safe.

That was way too close, Reiko thought.  So, this Kobayashi person has a Quirk that makes tress grow rapidly.  That explains the forest.  Reiko was jolted from her thoughts when the branch she stood on snapped away.  As she fell, she looked to the tree she was on and realized it had somehow died.  It took everything she had, but just before she reached Daisuke and Miru, she transformed and swerved her path away before being forced back to normal.  She tumbled across the pavement into another tree, knocking her head.  I am so done with today, she internally moaned.  Reiko forced herself to her feet to face the Gaikoku students, but with her back turned, she didn’t notice the third student sneaking up behind her.

“Boop.”  She jumped when she heard a voice right behind her and realized another target had been hit.  Reiko dashed away and instinctively protected her remaining target before turning to see the last opponent.  The student was a girl about her height with short brown hair, wearing a light green bodysuit with a brown Oak tree pattern around her torso, blue shorts with black stripes on the sides, and hiking boots. 

"Kobayashi, I’m guessing,” Reiko questioned.

“I didn’t want to age that tree so quickly, but this is a test,” Kobayashi noted, ignoring Reiko.  “I’ll find a park and plant another one after this test.”

Kobayashi Hanatsu (Japan).  Quirk: Growth.  She can speed up the growth of plants, turning seeds or saplings into their grown counterparts.

“Forget about the fucking tree and focus on the enemy,” Daisuke grumbled.  “It’s three against one.  We can get that last target easy.”

“Let me see if I’ve got this right,” Reiko began.  “You’ve got a healing Quirk, you’re Quirk controls the growth of plants, and you…”  She paused when she reached Miru, who glared at the ghost girl.  “You always knew where I was, even when I turned invisible.  What’s your Quirk?”

"Like I’d tell you,” Miru scoffed.

“Whatever it is, it’s no threat in a fight.”  Reiko pulled her mask down and stuck her tongue out childishly at her opponents before phasing into the ground.  “It’s been fun, but I’m gonna bail.  See ya.”

With Reiko gone, the trio of Gaikoku students were left dumbfounded and without an challenger.  “Did she seriously just leave?” Kobayashi asked Miru, who activated her Quirk to see through Reiko’s eyes.

“Yup.  She’s leavin’,” Miru growled.

“…Motherfucker!” Daisuke shouted. 


 

“AH-HAHAHAHAHA!  Ya can’t keep this up forever, ya dickhead!”  On the city’s street, close to Tetsutetsu, Rin, and Ibara, Bondo was busy keeping the spike attacks away from his friends.  On the roof closest to them, Gaikoku’s resident loudmouth, Mitch Zellner, kept his seemingly-infinite spikes coming with another round of attacks.  “Take another Spike Storm up your asses!”  As the sharp projectiles rained down towards him, Bondo put his new aiming mask to use and began shooting little globs of glue out, nailing each spike before they could hit his classmates. 

“Splattergun!” he called out as his glue clashed with the spikes.

“You’re gonna run out soon enough!” Mitch jeered.

“That’s what you think,” Bondo quietly said.  “I don’t have to outlast you.  I just need to stall you.”  He snuck a peak at the side of the building, where he saw Awase scaling the wall by fusing his hands to the wall as he climbed. 

“Here comes some more!  Try blocking these, ya dickhead!”  Another round of spikes came, but Bondo’s Splattergun kept them at bay once again. 

“Hey, asshole!” Awase yelled as he reached the roof.  Mitch saw him and backed away from the ledge, standing with his spike-hair pointed at his new opponent. 

“Come any closer and I’ll fill ya with holes, douchebag!”  Mitch shot a few spikes at Awase, who ducked behind the roof’s doorway for cover.  Thinking quickly, Awase tore the door of his hinges and vaulted over the entryway, slamming it down on Mitch.  “Aw, fuck,” Mitch groaned.

“High ground is for wimps,” Awase claimed as he pulled the door back for another swing.  “Why don’t you fight like a real man!?”  Awase batted Mitch off the roof and dove after him.

“Shiozaki!  Gimme a hand!” he requested.

“Shit!  Namida, catch me!” Mitch yelled.  Both boys were caught by their teammates and placed on the ground near them.

“You nearly gave me a heart attack,” Ibara complained.  “Please, don’t be so reckless in the future.”

"Eh.  I knew you’d catch me,” Awase shrugged.  “Now we can fight without worrying about what’s above us.  It’s time for the U.A. counterattack!”  Before she could scold him further, Ibara was attacked by Namida’s tear arms once again, forcing her vines into action.

“Shield of Faith!”  Her vines blocked the water attack while Awase dove around the side and took out his Capture Gun. 

“Plus, now I can back you guys up from a distance!” Awase declared as he shot out the net and entrapped Namida.  She lost her balance and fell to the ground, giving Ibara enough leverage to break apart the water tendrils and attack with her vines.  “Nice one!” Awase cheered.

“Not quite,” Ibara said.  “I don’t have a grip on her.  There’s something else—”  She was interrupted when spikes shot out from the encircling vines, making her and Awase duck for cover behind some rubble.  After a moment, they looked and saw Mitch had protected Namida and cut her free from the net.

“We’re just gettin’ started, assholes!” Mitch yelled. 

“Gou, get over here!  We’ll take them together!” Namida instructed.  The pair of Gaikoku students looked to Gou, surprised to see Rin and Tetsutetsu holding their own against him. 

“Go low!” Rin directed.  Tetsutetsu ducked under and punch from Gou and drove his iron fist into the boy’s stomach.  Meanwhile Rin, dipped around him and jumped up before kicking him across the back.  Gou lurched forward while Tetsutetsu circled around and grabbed his arms. 

“Here’s my Metal Lock!” the iron boy announced while pulling the dazed Gou’s arms back.  Rin jumped up and flipped in the air before delivering a diving stomp into Gou’s face.

“Dragon Dive!”  Gou was pushed back, flipped over Tetsutetsu and slammed onto his stomach. 

“Think this’ll stop me!?” Gou slurred.  “Not on your life!”  He swung his fist at the two boys while climbing to his feet, but they both jumped back to dodge.

“To the left!” Tetsutetsu shouted.  He ran to Gou’s right side and elbowed his ribs, sending him stumbling into Rin’s grasp.  The dragon boy pulled Gou around and redirected him into Tetsutetsu’s incoming attack.

“IRON APOCALYPSE!”  A flurry of metallic punches flew into Gou’s torso and face, making him fall backwards towards Rin.  Just as he leaned back to fall, Rin jumped up and delivered a Dragon Dive into his chest, flooring him.

“Don’t mess with the Armored Brawlers of 1-B,” Rin warned. 

“Yeah!  We don’t mess around!”  The boys shared a fist bump over their defeated opponent before sauntering towards Namida and Mitch.  “Who’s next?” Tetsutetsu asked.

“This looks bad,” Namida noted.  “We should retrieve Gou and escape before he can fall asleep.”

“Sounds good to me— Shit, behind you!”  Namida and Mitch dove to the side, just avoiding a glue attack from Bondo.  Namida summoned another pair of tear tendrils and batted away the glue attacks as the pair ran to Gou.  

“Faster, Mitch!  One hit and we’re stuck!” Namida warned as she desperately fended off Bondo’s attacks.

“Wakey wakey, shit-for-brains!” Mitch yelled while slapping Gou across the face.  Namida grabbed the boys with one of her water arms before using the other to vault into the city. 

“We’ll get you next time!” she claimed as the trio escaped. 

“How much you wanna bet they won’t?” Awase joked. 

“Alright!  We won!” Tetsutetsu cheered. 

“But we didn’t get a single point,” Bondo pointed out.

“…Oh yeah!  Forgot we were doin’ that.”

“Now that we aren’t being attacked, we should go and help the others,” Rin suggested.  “When we were being split up, a lot our classmates rushed to the freeway area.  They may be battling other Gaikoku students right now.”

“Then let’s make haste,” Ibara said, “and pray no one’s been eliminated yet.”

Chapter Text

“Can’t dodge forever, city girl!”  Pony had to dip and duck around as Bruce’s balloons kept flying at her.  As soon as they passed by, they’d pop and either send her flying off her feet or force her to hold still against the wind pressure. 

“Bet’cha I can!” Pony yelled back.  She galloped towards Bruce, aiming for a headbutt, but a balloon sailed into her head and popped, making her tumble back.  “Once I get close in, I can take him down,” she told herself.  “Just need an opening.  Maybe I should try helping the others first and get back-up.”  She snuck a peak over her shoulder to check on her nearby classmates.  Just behind her was Kaibara, who was struggling to keep his eyes on Nasuka.

“Can’t keep up, eh?” Nasuka asked as he speed circles around Kaibara.  “Guess I’m too fast for you!”  Kaibara spun his left arm and shot a cyclone of wind from his gauntlet, but Nasuka slipped out of the way, almost like he was dancing.  “I already saw that!   Show me somethin’ new.”

“If you insist,” Kaibara growled.  He ran at Nasuka with his right arm spinning and swung his arm down, but Nasuka rolled back to avoid the punch.  Just as Kaibara’s fist was about to hit the concrete, he opened his hand and jumped into a handstand.  “Spinner Swing!”  With his arm gripping the concrete, the rest of his body was spun around in the air and a devastating kick landed on Nasuka’s side, sending him flying back.  Kaibara smirked as he stopped his spinning and watched Nasuka slowly get back up.

“Lucky shot,” Nasuka said, brushing off the attack.  “You won’t get another.”

“Kaibara!” Pony said while trotting to his side.  “Cover me from behind.  I’ll get him to hold still.”

“Sure thing.”

“Hol’ up, city girl!  I ain’t done with ya!”  Bruce shot out a balloon at Pony, but Kaibara dove in the way and held it back.

“Go!” he yelled as it popped in his arms.  Pony dashed at Nasuka and he speed her way, eager to clash.  As they reached each other, Nasuka attempted to elbow Pony in the face, but she sidestepped the attack while sweeping a hoof under him.  He jumped up and avoided the attack, but as he did, Pony shot her left horn out and nailed him in the chest.  Nasuka’s armor protected him from serious damage, but the force of the shot sent him flying across the highway.  As he went flying, Pony and Kaibara switched opponents again.

“Don’t go runnin’ now!” Bruce yelled as Kaibara ran after Nasuka.  He shot a balloon at him, but Pony shot her right horn and popped it, propelling Kaibara forward.  With the wind at his back, Kaibara jumped and grabbed Nasuka’s leg, spinning his arm and Nasuka by extension.  As he fell, he threw Nasuka towards the pavement, but a giant balloon from Bruce cushioned his fall and greatly reduced the damage.

“So close,” Pony griped.  Kaibara landed and took a fighting stance while Nasuka rolled back towards Bruce.

“How’re ya holdin’ up?”

“Been better,” Nasuka replied.

“Kaibara, let’s stick together and take ‘em both down,” Pony said while putting her horns back on her head.

“Sure, but first, we should try helping Fukidashi too.  That girl is countering him too well.”  Pony looked across the highway to Fukidashi, who was struggling to stand against Greta’s sound blasts.  She watched him try and make and explosion, but his shout could barely be heard over hers and it came out as a small pop near his feet.

“She drowning out his sound!” Pony realized.

“Yeah.  Try and keep these two away and I’ll assist him.”

“You go it.”

“Ya think we’ll jus’ sit back and let’cha?” Bruce asked.

“You’d be better off,” Pony boasted.  “Go on, Kaibara.”  With a quiet nod, Kaibara wen to assist Fukidashi, but Nasuka was ready to give chase.

“Get back here!”  Pony saw the boy race towards Kaibara and shot towards him with amazing speed.  She dodged Bruce’s balloon attack and swung her hoof down at him, but he zipped out of the way just in time.

“Nice try,” Nasuka mocked.  Pony used her momentum and turned herself to face Nasuka before launching herself and landing a headbutt into his chest.

“Actually, that was my nice try,” Pony mocked back.  She whirled around once she landed and saw a giant balloon flying her way.  Thinking quickly, she dashed around the projectile, making sure she was in a straight line between it and Bruce before galloping towards him.  Just as he had done before, he popped the balloon once she avoided it, but this time, she used the wind pressure to close the distance between the two of them.  Bruce realized how screwed he was instantly and tried making another balloon, but Pony was too quick.  She broke off her horns and drove them into the concrete in front of her opponent before pushing off.  Her hooves flew up into his chin and sent him flying.  “Bronco Uppercut!”

Just across the freeway, Kaibara had alerted Fukidashi that he was coming to assist and the boys ran towards each other.  Fukidashi ducked behind Kaibara as he shot more swirling wind from his gauntlet, matching strength with Greta’s sound blast.  As she strummed away at her guitar, Kaibara grabbed his classmate by the collar and hurled him over the clashing attacks.  Now free from the sound that drowned him out, Fukidashi aimed down at Greta and readied a big attack.  “BOOOOM!”  An explosion rocked the girl and she was blown off her feet, being pushed back further by Kaibara’s tornado gauntlet.  “Sorry to cut you off, but your solo ends here B)” 

“Think you’re funny, little man?” Greta asked angrily as she got up and circled around to their left side.  “Who needs a solo when the band’s all here?”  The clopping of hooves caught he boys’ attention and they saw Pony join them on their right side.  Bruce and Nasuka were following her and joined Greta in surrounding the trio. 

“You’re acting like you’ve got us outnumbered,” Kaibara said.

“This may be a three-on-three battle,” Fukidashi continued, “but…”

“You guys are super out of your league!”

As the battle continued for those three, across the highway, Kendo, Monoma, and Kamakiri continued with their fight.  Kendo grabbed Victoria’s wrist and pulled her close, hurling her giant fist into the girls’ torso, but with her diamond armor underneath, Victoria shrugged the attack off.  “Is this all you can do, Itsuka!?” She asked while punching Kendo in the stomach.

“I’ll break you soon enough,” Kendo assured her.  She enlarged the hand gripping Victoria’s wrist and picked her off the ground, throwing her into a tree.  The wood cracked and bent from the force, but Kendo’s opponent was still undamaged.

“Gem Shot!”  Kendo ducked away from the projectiles, but before Victoria could land a good hit, she was hit in the back through the tree.  Monoma’s metallic fist had phased through and sent her flying forwards.  Kendo jumped at the opportunity and tried to slam her hand down at her, but Victoria rolled away and got back on her feet.  That’s when Kamakiri dove out from the forest and slashed at her with his scythe gauntlets.  Victoria raised her arms and blocked each slash from the gauntlets and the stabs from his mandibles, but this gave Kendo an opening to punch her in the side.  She skidded across the highway, but still seemed undamaged.

“Still nothing?” Kendo asked in frustration.

“Not quite,” Monoma said.  “It may not seem like it, but we’ve got her on the ropes.  Look closely.”  Kendo took his advice and observed Victoria as she took a fighting pose again, realizing her arms and legs were shaking.  “Even if she isn’t bruised or broken on the outside, all of the force behind your punches is still going through her body.  She’ll run out of steam very soon.”

“In that case, I’ll finish this here and now,” Kendo declared.

“I don’t think so!”  Kendo and Monoma both whirled around and dodged out of the way from Kaikaina’s fishing hooks whipping at them.  “You’re going down, U.A.!” 

“Multi-blade!”  Kamakiri shot out his mandibles and parried the hooks’ whipping, keeping his classmates safe.  “If you can end this, then do it!  I’ll keep this one here!”

“Right!  Thanks!” Kendo said.  “Monoma, back me up?”

“You got it,” Monoma replied as he phased down, disappearing from the battle.

“You think I can’t see your tactics for a mile away!?” Victoria shouted.  “You stupid first-years can’t win!  I am indestructible!  A flawless diamond!”  In her rage, her hat and hair had been moved, letting her scar show again.

“Just shut up and fight!”  Kendo ran at Victorian with both hands at giant size.

“Gem Shot!”  Sharp diamonds flew at Kendo, but instead of dodging, she dashed straight into the assault, aiming squarely for Victoria.

“I… I am… indestructible!”  Her ranting was interrupted when Monoma phased up through the ground, his arm transformed into a fishing line with Kaikaina’s Quirk.  He hooked it onto Victoria’s ankle and pulled, yanking her leg forward.  As she fell backwards.  Kendo clenched her giant hands together and jumped forward in a front flip. 

“Meteooooor…”  She brought her fists down and smashed Victoria into the concrete, shattering the diamonds protecting her body.  “SLEDGEHAMMEEEEEER!”  Victoria was pounded into the cement and fell into unconsciousness, lying motionless in a crater shaped like herself.  The Gaikoku students watching had become still like statues with their leader’s defeat.

“S-Sis!” Kaikaina yelled.

“Vicky lost?” Greta asked.

“Looks that way,” Nasuka answered.  “I didn’t think that girl was strong enough to break diamonds.”

“Should we bail?” Bruce asked.  What drew their attention next was many vines gripping onto the side of the highway. 

“Yeah, let’s bail!” Greta yelled.  Bruce made a balloon and jumped towards the forest while Greta hopped onto Nasuka’s back. 

“Hey!  No passengers!” Nasuka complained.

“Just go!  They’ve got more coming!”  Just then, five figures soared up to the highway, pulled up by vines – Awase, Tetsutetsu, Bondo, Rin, and Ibara.  Fukidashi attempted to hit the fleeing Gaikoku duo with an explosion, but Greta blasted him with a sound wave, which also sped up their getaway.  As they approached the forest, she blasted Monoma and Kendo too, allowing Kaikaina the chance to grab Victoria and flee into the forest with them.

“Not so fast!” Kamakiri yelled as his mandibles rushed at the, but the tress blocked his attack and the Gaikoku students escaped.  “Dammit!  They got away!”

“Not for long,” Monoma declared.  “Now that we’ve got back-up, we should press our advantage and give chase.”

“I wouldn’t if I were you.”  As the U.A. students grouped up, they heard Reiko’s voice and saw her phasing up from below the highway. 

“Reiko, your targets,” Kendo said in shock.

“It’s fine.  They didn’t get all three,” Reiko assured her.  “Even if we have reinforcements now – hey, guys—”

“’Sup,” Awase greeted.

“—It’s still a bad idea to give chase.”

“Why?  Who else was in the forest?” Monoma asked.

“Three of them.  One could control the age of plants, so she could control that forest’s terrain.  Another could somehow keep finding me, even with Ghost Recon activated.  Lastly, there was a boy with a healing Quirk.”

“A healing Quirk?  Those are quite rare,” Ibara noted.

“In that case, you’re right,” Monoma said.  “If they can heal each other and control the terrain, we’d lose the battle if we chased them through the forest.  We should head for the city, try and find our classmates, and take out stragglers from other schools.  How’s that sound, Kendo?  …Kendo?”  Everyone looked to the ginger girl, who was staring at her feet dejectedly.  “OK, what’re you guilty about?”

“Hm?”

“That’s your guilty face,” Monoma sighed.  “What’s wrong?”  Kendo looked like she wanted to deny the claim, but she relented and sighed.

“We had a lot of close calls in this fight and wasted a lot of time here.  I kept the fight going when we could’ve escaped because of my grudge.”

“Hey, hey, don’t beat yourself up,” Pony said.  “You got pulled up here and we came to help you.  It’s Gaikoku’s fault.”

“They may have started it, but I kept it going and forgot about the test… and all of you.  So, I’m sorry.”

“No one blames you, Kendo,” Reiko added, “but if it’ll make you feel better, then we forgive you.”  Everyone else nodded in agreement, making Kendo smile.

“Thanks, you guys.  Now, let’s go pass this test.  I’ll make sure every one of you passes before I even try for points.”

“If that’s all settled, let’s get out of here before another swarm of assholes comes out of nowhere,” Awase suggested. 

“I’ll try and spot our classmates from the air,” Reiko offered.

“Good idea,” Kendo replied.  “With any luck, some of them may have passed by now.”

Chapter Text

“Yeah, they definitely went this way.”  One of the test takers knelt down among the rocky outcrop near the highway and traced his fingers through the drying puddle of blood.  “The trail leads around the corner.”

“Could be a trap,” one of his classmates suggested. 

“One way to find out.  Move in!”  The group of 10 students dashed forward, turning the corner to follow the blood trail.  That weaved through the rocks and eventually found the trail stopped at a dismembered arm.

“Holy shit!  Someone lost their arm!?”

“Calm down!  It’s probably just a Quirk at work,” the leader explained.  “This is a trap.  Be on you guard.  Watch all our sides—”  He paused his orders as he turned around and realized the group’s numbers had been cut nearly in half.  “Where’d— Where are the others!?”

“Oh shit!  Guys?”  The six remaining students carefully retraced their steps and were shocked to find their friends trapped in glass boxes.  They were trying to break them down from the inside and talk to their classmates, but no sound could escape.  “What happened?”

“My Air Prison is pretty sweet, huh?”  The six still free turned and saw Tsuburaba standing above them on a boulder. 

“Quick!  Hit his targets!” They threw there testing balls towards Tsuburaba, but all bounced off a shield of air in front of him.

“Nice try, but we’ll be taking your points instead,” Tsuburaba revealed.  As if on cue, a giant ball of orange hair leapt out from the rocks behind the group and slammed into them, knocking them away from each other.

“Spinning Cannonball!”  While Shishida knocked everyone down, Setsuna pounced on the leader and quickly tapped her ball on his targets before hopping to the nearest one to do the same.

“Beep beep, ‘scuse me, sorry, gettin’ your points,” she loudly proclaimed.  “Aw yeah.” 


“Block off the exits!  We’ll flush those shrimps out one way or another!”  On the second floor of a building in the city zone, Shoda and Kinoko hurriedly ducked into a maintenance closet to avoid the five opponents searching for them. 

“Crap,” Shoda whispered.  “Looks like we’re on our own, Komori.”

“I hope the others are alright,” Kinoko said.  “Any ideas, Shoda?” 

“…The leader said to seal the exits, so escape will be tough.  We’ll probably have to fight no matter what.”

“That’s true.  At least we have the element of surprise on our side.”  Kinoko pondered a course of action and quickly started gathering spores in her hand.  “I have a Super Move that will incapacitate someone, but I’ll need some help pulling it off.”

“What is it?”  Shoda looked into her hand and saw the large number of spores condensing into a small white mushroom.

“If you can hit them in the stomach, I can pop this into their mouths.”  Kinoko started making more of these small mushrooms, enough for each of their opponents.  “Psycho Shrooms.  I was able to make a mutated, weak strain of Psilocybin mushrooms after our Super Move training.  They can cause hallucinations to someone who ingests it, meaning they’ll be out of commission if I can get it in their mouths.  The effect only last for 10 minutes, but they’ll take effect once they hit someone’s tongue.”

“Really?  That’s powerful move.  Perfect for capture if you can—”  Shoda suddenly stopped talking and held his breath when he heard loud stomping coming towards the closet.  “Here they come,” he told Kinoko.  “I’ll try and hit their stomachs, but we have no clue what their Quirks are.  He may have something defensive—”

“Shoda.”

“He may know are location already.  His Quirk may have let him hear our plan.  We could be walking right into a trap—”

“Shoda!”  Kinoko jostled his shoulders roughly, bringing him out of his neurotic rant.  “Do you trust me?”

“H-Huh?”

“Do you trust me?”  She leaned in close, and with his eyes finally adjusted to the darkness of the closet, Shoda saw her eyes for the first time.  They were large and resembled cross-sliced shitake mushrooms, fittingly enough.  Kinoko’s eyes captured Shoda’s attention completely.  “Because I trust you, Shoda.”

“…Yes.  I trust you, Komori.”

“Then get ready.  Here they come.”  As the door swung open, Shoda pounced at the hulking student and rammed his palm into his stomach.  The opponent doubled over and coughed for air, giving Kinoko the opening to flick a mushroom into his mouth and shut his jaw with her hands.  After a moment, the boy fell to the floor like dead weight, groaning and drooling on himself.  “One down,” Kinoko noted. 

“Let’s move before they surround us.”  The pair ran from the closet and hurried down the corridor, seeing another test taker walk out across from them.

“They’re down here!”  Their opponent’s arm popped off his torso, connected to a chain, and he flung it the pair of U.A. students.  Shoda blocked the attack and absorbed the kinetic energy into his body before dashing forward and striking his stomach.  Kinoko made her move and fed him a mushroom, taking him out of the fight.

“I see them!”  Shoda and Kinoko ducked around a corner to avoid another opponent, who shot balls of fire at them.

“Get on my back,” Shoda instructed.  Once Kinoko was holding to him tightly, Shoda jumped around the corner and fired his stored energy from his foot.  He flew down the hall and elbowed his opponent, sending him crashing into the wall in an unconscious heap. 

“I’ve got you now!”  From his right side, a girl with a giant reptilian tail slammed Shoda into the wall.  Kinoko hopped from his back just in time to avoid it and leapt onto the girl’s back.

“Who wants snacks?” She asked while shoving a mushroom in her mouth.  “You do!”  The tailed girl slumped forward, letting Shoda out from the wall.  “One left,” Kinoko stated.

“Found you!”  Kinoko was suddenly pushed into the wall by their last opponent, who immediately cornered Shoda.  As she got back to her feet, Kinoko saw this colossal opponent unload a furiously quick barrage of punches, aided by the rocket thrusters in his elbows and the steel knuckles he wore.  “I’ll pound you into paste, little guy!”

“Shoda!” Kinoko yelped.  The student finally stopped his onslaught when it looked like Shoda had fallen unconscious in the dented steel wall.

“Don’t worry.  I didn’t forget about you,” the brutal student growled.  He turned to face Kinoko, who started backing away, but he was stopped by a small hand grabbing his wrist.

“One more round,” Shoda grumbled as he pushed himself from the caved-in wall.  Every hair on his head stood on end and crackled with bright silver energy.  “I didn’t hear no bell.”

“How the hell are you still up?!” his opponent roared.  He threw a massive right hook towards Shoda’s head, but the shorter boy took a fighting stance and sent all of his stored energy into his arms.  He threw a lightning-fast flurry of palm strikes that all landed within a single second. 

“STORM IMPACT!”  Once all of his strikes had landed, the test taker flew down the hall, passing out long before he crashed at its end. 

“Shoda… that was incredible!” Kinoko cheered while jumping onto Shoda, hugging him tightly.

“Well, I mean… I guess.  A little bit.”  Shoda couldn’t continue to humbly brush off his victory as Kinoko planted a big kiss on his cheek, making his mind go blank.

“C’mon.  Let’s go hit their targets,” Kinoko said.  “Shoda?  Hellooooo~?  Anyone home?”


Yui ran through the third floor of the city area building, making sure no one was following her.  As she passed by the wall of windows, she looked down at the wild battle in the street just in case any of her classmates were down there.  As she searched, an explosion shook the building and shattered a few windows further down the hall.  Yui was startled, but quickly recovered and continued her search.  There was no one she recognized, so she continued running until she reached the small room where the duo she had found earlier had holed up.  “How is he?” she asked.

“I’ve been better,” Honenuki groaned as he struggled to move his arm.

“Did you find anyone else?” Kuroiro asked.  Yui shook her head, making the white-haired boy seethe to himself.  “Crap.  We can’t find our class, we’re running out of time, our strongest fighter is hurt, and some shithead enemies can pop out from nowhere at any time.”

“Look on the bright side,” Honenuki suggested.

“…And that would be?”

“I don’t know, but we should find one.”

“Now’s not the time, Juzo,” Kuroiro grumbled.  “Can you stand?”

“Yeah, just help me up.”  While Honenuki got to his shaky legs, Yui stared blankly out the destroyed across from the doorway, still looking for the others.

“Still no sign of Kendo,” Yui stated.  “I hope she’s OK.”

“I’m sure she’ll be fine,” Kuroiro said.  “With Juzo hurt, you’re our muscle, Kodai.  We need to find a manageable number of opponents and take them down.”

“Yeah, you seriously don’t wanna be outnumbered here,” Honenuki pointed out while rubbing his shoulder.

“Shouldn’t we wait for the others?” Yui asked.  “Kendo may be looking for us.  We should try finding her before—”

“Oh my fucking god, STOP TALKING ABOUT KENDO!  FOR ONCE!” Kuroiro suddenly snapped.

“Dude, are you OK?” Honenuki asked.

“No, I’m not!” Kuroiro barked as a vein in his forehead bulged out.  “You just got thrown across a city block and got jumped, and now the only person we have who can fight is the most dependent person on the goddamn planet!”

“Shihai, calm down!” Honenuki yelled back, trying to rein in his boyfriend.  “Don’t start berating her because you’re stressed.  Take a deep breath and calm down.”  Kuroiro glared at the floor, but then closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths.  After a minute, his features softened and his grip on Honenuki loosened.

“You’re right,” Kuroiro relented.  “I went too far.  Kodai, I’m sorry for snapping at you like that.”  The boys looked to Yui for an answer, but she wasn’t reacting.  She was just facing the windows with her back to them.

“…I forgive you,” she began, “but still… you’re right.”  The vulnerability in her voice was palpable, but she didn’t seem upset at Kuroiro.  It felt more to the boys like she was having an epiphany of some kind.  Like something new was worming it’s way into her mind.  “I’ve always been this way.  Passionless.  The people I look up to are the ones who’ve shaped my life.  Always…” 


 “Big brother!  Come look!”  Yui bounced up and down on her bed, waiting for her sibling to arrive.

“What’s up?” he asked.

“Look!  Look!”  Yui clenched her tiny muscles and started humming, trying to focus.  After a beat, her body began to shit and grow even larger than her teenage brother.

“Oh wow!  Look at you!”  Yui lost her focus and shrunk back down, but was then scooped up in a hug by her brother.  “With that kind of power, you’re definitely be a great hero!”

“Think so?!”

“I know so, Yui.”


“It was my brother who first told me I could be a hero,” Yui revealed.  “He was my whole world when I was little.  The only family I had.  I always believed in him… even after he disappeared.  Since then, Kendo was the first person who believed in me that I could believe back.”  Yui turned away from the window and looked at the boys.  For once, they didn’t see an stoic face, but one with profound emotion and resolve.  “I know that I can be dependent sometimes.  On Kendo, Mt. Lady, our teachers… but I want to strike out on my own.  I’d like to carve my own path alongside the rest of our classmates.  Because… you’ve all become my family.”

“Kodai…”  Kuroiro was too shocked for words.  He still felt a pit of guilt from what he had said, but it was outweighed from the shock of seeing Yui like this. 

“I’ll create a distraction.  While I do that, you can grab people with your Ebony Lure.”  Yui strolled to the broken window and looked out over the battle in the street.  “Also, please… call me Yui.”  With that one request, Yui leapt from the window towards the street.  Her body grew rapidly to her new 33-feet limit and fell onto her hands and knees.  While the other test takers were stunned from her sudden appearance, Yui drew her hands up and started striking the concrete with her palms.  “Titan Tremor!”  Her palm strikes shook the ground beneath them and toppled many contestants, giving Kuroiro the chance to snatch them up.

“Ebony Lure!”  Yui continued her assault on the ground as Kuroiro grabbed opponents, but she felt attacks start hitting her back.  As pain shot up her spine, Yui did not falter.  Instead, she gritted her teeth and sped up her Titan Tremor, sending people flying away and breaking apart the ground.  “Yui, shrink!” she heard Kuroiro yell.  With her new control over her Quirk, it only took Yui a single second to return to her normal size, allowing Kuroiro to grab her with his Ebony Lure.  She was pulled up from the ground, allowing her to see the extreme damage she had caused.  In the past, this wouldn’t have made Yui feel anything, but now, with her hero career on the line and friends by her side, she was overjoyed to see how strong she was.

I hope you’ll see me now, big brother.  Wherever you are.  Today is the start of my new life.  A life with a big, happy family.  Today… is my rebirth.

Chapter Text

“OK, that’s 71 people who’ve passed,” Mera announced to the contestants.  “Let’s hurry this along, people.”  As the remaining U.A. students hit the ground below the highway, Kendo surveyed the area and made sure they weren’t already being preyed on by other test takers. 

“Looks like we’re clear for now,” she announced.  “I can hear fighting in the city, so we should head that way.”

“It should just be stragglers by now,” Monoma theorized.  Just above, everyone saw Reiko descending from her scouting.

“Good news,” she began.  “I saw the others.  They passed.  We’re all that’s left.”

“That’s great!” Kendo cheered.

“Setsuna, Shishida, and Tsuburaba we’re entering the anteroom when I checked.  Kuroiro, Honenuki, and Yui were just exiting the city area.  Shoda and Kinoko were about halfway between… and they were holding hands.”

“Aww, that’s sweet,” Pony cooed. 

“So, it’s just us?” Awase asked.  “Then we won’t have to search around for them and can head straight for the action.”

“Let’s move out!” Kendo instructed as they headed for the city area.

“Any plans, buddy?” Tetsutetsu asked.

“I’ve got one cooking,” Monoma replied.  “If we use our full force, we can take out as many people as we need and scare anyone else off.  We just have to make sure 24 people get stuck so we can all pass.”

“WE’VE GOT THIS!” the iron boy screamed.

“Hell yeah, we do!” 


 

Deep in the city area, at a four-way intersection, many small groups from different school were locked in a frenzy of combat.  On the top of a building on the southwest corner of the intersection, Bondo, Fukidashi, Reiko, and Monoma stood in wait for their friends to reach their positions.  “Looks like we’re almost set,” Monoma said.  “Bondo, you ready for this?”

“You can count on me.”

“Fukidashi, while he’s on offense, you make sure he’s defended.  Got it?”

“I’m on it, my dude!”

“Yanagi, if you want to sit this out until the end to protect your last target, that’s fine, but if you want to come with me, I’m happy to have you.”

“Uuuuuh… Yeah, sure, I’ll tag along.”

“Looks like everyone’s ready,” Fukidashi said.  “Monoma, you wanna get everyone’s attention?  You seem to have a knack for getting people to hate you immediately.”

“Well, you know what they say,” Monoma began as he stepped onto the roof’s corner, looking out over the battling students below.  “Do what you love… HEY, FUCKFACES!”  The copycat’s obnoxious shout caught everyone’s attention almost immediately, drawn by the sheer annoyance it exuded.  “Yeah, all of you can suck it!  Class 1-B is the greatest class to ever come to U.A. and none of you can hold a candle to us!  AHAHAHAHAHA!”  The test takers below all took out their testing balls and aimed squarely for Monoma, eager to take him out.  “Fukidashi, blind them!”

“Solar Flare!  SHIIIING!”  Fukidashi poked his head over the side and activated his Quirk, blinding everyone in the streets below with his shining speech bubble head.  “Now you, Bondo!”

“Splattergun!”  As glue rained down on the test takers, who were still blinded by Fukidashi’s attack, the ones who weren’t immediately stuck signaled for a retreat. 

“We gotta go or we’ll get trapped!”

“This way!  It’s a blind spot!”  A group of people ran to the southern street, which Bondo couldn’t aim for, but this exit was blocked off by two U.A. students.

“Better stay the fuck back!” Kamakiri warned as he slashed his mandibles at his opponents like scissors.  “Bitches get stiches, hear me?!”

“All too well.  Such foul language you use,” Ibara grumbled as her vines dug into through the street.  The vines popped out under her opponents’ feet and pulled them towards the ground, pinning them.  “Vine Entombment: Three Days Grace!”

“That street’s blocked!” one of the other schools’ leaders yelled.  “Double back and head north!”  As that group ran away from Ibara and Kamakiri, another pair blocked their way. 

“Pony gonna kick all your asses!”  The centaur girl ran through the crowd and pounded people back with powerful kicks, giving Bondo an opening to nail them with his Splattergun.  As she attacked, Tetsutetsu was at her back, blocking any attacks and flooring people with his iron fists.

“I thought you upperclassmen were supposed to be strong!  SHOW ME SOME GRIT!” he screamed.

“These guys are fucking crazy!”

“Let’s head east!” The number of opponents was quickly thinning, but a sizable number was still trying to escape to the east.  However, Kendo and Rin held the line and kept them in range of Bondo’s glue. 

“Sorry, but we’re in a rush!” Kendo said while swiping people back with her giant hands. 

“There’s nowhere to run!” Rin added.

“T-Try the west!” another school decided.  As they ran close by the building Bondo was on to avoid his glue, they were suddenly beaten back by Kaibara and Awase. 

“We’ve almost got them all!  Keep it up!” Kaibara yelled while pushing people back with his Tornado Gauntlet.  A couple of students were able to get past him, but Awase saw them and pulled out his pair of Capture Guns, shooting them both.  Once they were trapped in the nets, he pushed them down and fused them to the street. 

“You fuckers ain’t gonna beat us!”

“We’re trapped!  There’s nowhere to run!” one of the students in the middle yelled. 

“Just one.  We go up!”  The few people with flight-based Quirks tried escaping into the sky, but were met by Monoma and Reiko.

“Sorry, but U.A. controls the skies too!” Monoma announced while swatting a few down with an enlarged hand.  Reiko kicked down the rest, letting Bondo hit them with this glue and stick them to the ground.  Before long, everyone still in the intersection was either glued to the ground, fused to it, or was pinned by vines.  The U.A. students converged in the middle, making sure no one was trying to come after them from down the streets.

“Looks like anyone on the outskirts that we didn’t hit was scared off,” Reiko noted.

“Rightfully so,” Monoma added.  “Now, let’s hit some targets.”


“Yes!  Yes!  Did you see that!?” Kan cheered from his seat.  “Those’re my kids out here!  Everyone in my class has passed!”

“You must be so proud,” Aisa commented indifferently.

“Of course, I am!  Just goes to show how powerful they are!  No matter what, they have each other’s back!”  While Kan continued his excited cheering, Aisa scanned the stadium for her own students.

Where are you, Vicky?”


…Where… am I?  What happened?  As memories of what she had been doing went into her mind, Victoria’s eyes shot open.  She pushed herself up off the concrete and looked around, realizing she was in Kobayashi’s forest.  “Is anyone here?” 

“That’s 88 people passing,” she heard announced.  “We’re almost done with this round, people.”

88… so, the test is still going.

“Finally up?”  She was jolted from her thoughts by the voice of Daisuke on her right.  “I healed you right away, but we weren’t sure if you’d wake up in time to pass.”

“Daisuke?  Where’s everyone else?”

“Anteroom, by now.  I should be heading there too.”  Victoria looked over her classmate and saw his targets were glowing blue.

“Students who have passed should head to the anteroom immediately,” his targets aid.

“I heard you, shitty voice!” Daisuke barked at his targets.  “Anyway, Gou, Mitch, and Namida brought defeated opponents for us noncombatants, so everyone’s passed so far.  They grabbed a pair for you too.”  He gestured to Victoria’s other side, where two unconscious people from another school where laying.  “Go ahead and hit their targets.”  Victoria stood up and took out a testing ball, but didn’t make a move.  She just stood there, staring at the ball.  “What?” Daisuke asked in annoyance. 

“…Should I?” Victoria wondered out loud.  “I lost the fight.  If you didn’t heal me, I would still be out cold and I’d fail.”

“Vicky, this is seriously not the time for this,” Daisuke angrily claimed.  “Just hit the stupid targets.  If you really want to, you can throw the next round, but for now, just hit the fuckin’ things.”  She didn’t make a move, despite his prodding.  “What the hell happened to your goal?  You want to help fix Gaikoku’s reputation, right?  Then you have to do this!” 

“…He’s already been defeated.  I can’t fix our reputation, and now… my mistakes can't be forgotten.”  She instinctively moved her hand to her scarred eye, where she felt another eyepatch over it, like her first one.  “You had a spare?”

“I always have a spare,” Daisuke said matter-of-factly.  “Just hit the targets.  Our classmates are waiting” 

“…Fine.”

Chapter Text

“That’s 100!  The first phase is officially done!  Woohoo!”

“He’s certainly gotten energized,” Monoma commented.  He and the remaining 1-B students had made it to the anteroom to regroup with their classmates.  As they entered, they were quickly pounced on by Setsuna and Tsuburaba.

“Finally!  You guys really took your sweet time!” Setsuna greeted. 

“That’s everyone.  Looks like we all passed,” Tsuburaba said while counting the group coming in.  “Yo, we got everyone!”

“Alright!” Honenuki yelled from a bench across the room.

“Good to see everyone,” Shishida greeted.  “If anyone is hungry or dehydrated, they have a snack table.  Nearby is the key to take off your targets—”

“Food!” Awase and Tetsutetsu cheered together before running off.  The others slowly headed off too, leaving Kendo, Monoma, Setsuna, Reiko, and Shishida near the entrance.

“How were things on your end, Reiko?” Setsuna asked.

“Kendo got caught by some Gaikoku weirdos, but we helped fight them off.  Apparently, Kendo went wild on that bitchy leader girl.”

“Yeah, I kinda lost my cool for a second,” Kendo divulged with an embarrassed chuckle.

“Yeah, we found some weirdos too,” the lizard girl said.  “It sounded like they had beef with us too.  Also, one of them had a snake head and I’ve been kinda watching her from afar.”

“Shocking,” Reiko quipped

“Did they say what it was about?” Kendo asked.  She scanned the crowd for a snake head and found Habuko across the room, sticking close to Sekigai.

“Not sure, but it’s something complicated with that white-haired chick.  Right, Shishida?”

“That’s correct.”

“Attention, all.  Attention,” they heard over the loudspeakers.  “Our losing contestants have almost finished leaving, so keep your eyes on the monitor and we’ll continue soon.”  The attention of the five U.A. students was then drawn to the entrance, where they saw Daisuke and Victoria enter alongside the last of the winning students.  As soon as Kendo saw Victoria, their eyes met and a palpable tension grew.

“Oh boy, here we go,” Reiko commented.

“Maybe she won’t come over,” Shishida hoped.  He was immediately proven wrong when Victoria slowly stomped their way.  “Or not.  Kendo, if you’d like, I can deal wi—”  Kendo ignored the hairy boy and walked to meet Victoria halfway.  “I don’t like where this is going.”

“Who knows?  Maybe those’re friendship glares,” Setsuna suggested.  The random students who had come in beside Victoria all filed away as they sensed an argument coming.  No one was close by when the two girls reached each other.

“Itsuka Kendo,” Victoria growled.

“Whatever you have to say to me, I don’t want to hear it,” Kendo responded quickly.  “I don’t know what your problem is with us, but I want nothing to do with you.”

“That’s not how this is going to work, Itsuka.”  Victoria was seething, turning red from her hot emotions.  “I won’t let your school embarrass ours again.  I don’t even care that no one in your specific class was involved.  The mere fact that it was U.A. has sealed your fate beneath my heel—”

“So, it isn’t even us?!  It’s just our school?!” Kendo yelled, starting to match Victoria in anger.  “You’re just taking out your anger on us?!  Is that it?!”

“Very justified anger, I assure you!  Gaikoku’s reputation can never recover after what U.A. has done, so I will take revenge!”

“I don’t care about your school’s reputation!  What the hell did U.A. do to make you hate us anyway?!”

“Kendo, calm down,” Monoma said while quickly coming to her side.  “Don’t let her get to you.”

“You really want to know?!” Victoria snarled.

“Yeah, I wanna know!” Kendo growled back, now being held at bay by her boyfriend.

“Because of some random U.A. first years, I can never fight the Hero Killer again!”  The shouting of that name brought the whole anteroom to a silence.  The silence didn’t last as a multitude of powerful explosions shook the ground below them.  On the monitor in the anteroom, everyone could see the many testing areas they had been fighting in being bombed.

“What the hell’s happening?!” Setsuna asked.

“Are we under attack?” Reiko wondered.

“Good timing,” Monoma said under his breath.  Everyone watched as the buildings toppled, the mountains crumbled and fell, and the highway sank onto a slope.  Before long, the arena was in shambles. 

“The situation is this,” Mera announced.  “A large-scale villain attack has occurred.  The final round of the test will have you rescuing the victims.”

“We’re doing rescues?” Reiko asked.  “OK, but who are we rescuing?”

“Look, in the rubble,” Shishida pointed out.  Crawling out into the debris fields was little kids and old people, spraying fake blood on themselves.

"These will be the civilians you will be rescuing,” Mera began.  “Professional persons in need – the Help Us Company, or H.U.C. for short.  Your goal?  Find the H.U.C. victims scattered around the arena.  From now on, we’ll be scoring you on a demerit system based on how well you do.  You all start with 100 points, but drop below the benchmark and you fail.  You start in 10 minutes.”

“10 minutes,” Kendo repeated.  The monitor turning off flipped her attention back to her argument, but she found Victoria already walking away with Daisuke.

“Don’t bother going after her,” Monoma recommended.

“She was talking about Stain,” the ginger girl said to herself.  “She fought him?”

“She did.”  The U.A. group’s attention was drawn another Gaikoku student coming towards them. 

“It’s you,” Reiko said.  “You name is Miru, right?”

“Yeah.  Name’s Miru Kimi.  I figured Vicky wasn’t gonna finish her little ‘explanation,’ so I’ll tell you the rest.”

“Now I remember you guys,” Monoma said.  “I heard about your school online.  Gaikoku Academy was the school Stain attended that made him think all pros were selfish and greedy.”

“That’s us,” Miru confirmed.  “Our teacher was in his class and recognized him long before his arrest.  She knew how bad things would be for us if he kept up his crusade.  Vicky wanted to catch him herself in order to mitigate the P.R. nightmare that would come from his personal history coming out.  She wanted to prove Gaikoku wasn’t like what Stain saw.”

“She went after him alone?” Kendo asked.  “So, her eye…”

“Yup.  It happened a couple of weeks before this school year started…”


In a dark alley, far away from the city streets, the Hero Killer looked over his latest handiwork.  The fight had come out of nowhere, but it was a quick victory nonetheless.  He looked down at the young girl at his feet, blood draining from her head and pooling on the cement.  “I won’t… be beaten… so easily,” she claimed.  The girl looked up at him with her one remaining eye and glared, tears still streaming down just one side of her face.  “You will… no longer… tarnish Gaikoku’s… legacy.”  She struggled to move, but Stain’s Quirk kept her immobile.  He raised his sword over the girl and brought it down through her shoulder, making her cry out.

“You’re here because of that school?” Stain asked.  “You’re angrier about that collection of fakes’ reputation then my purging?”  He roughly pulled his sword from her body and lowered it by her head.  “You’re just like my old classmates.  Greedy.  Wrathful.  You don’t understand what true heroism is.”  He kicked her onto her back and brought his sword up, radiating a killing intent.  “Your death will be another step to a world of true heroism, child.  Goodbye.”  He watched the child’s face twist into mortal fear, but before he could finish her off, a series of needles were thrown into his arm.  Stain instinctively jumped back and saw his new opponent across the alley, recognizing her as Aisa Sarutobi, AKA the ninja hero: Hakkenden. 

“Get away from her!” she yelled.  Stain considered fighting for a brief moment before feeling his arm go numb.  He realized they must’ve been coated in a tranquilizer and decided to retreat.  As he fled to the rooftop, he heard the ninja hero calling out to her student, desperate to keep her awake and alive. 

“She’s trying to save that lost child?” he pondered.  “How useless.  Someone like her is a blight to society.”


“After her fight with the hero killer, Vicky changed,” Miru revealed.  “She was quiet for a while.  Then, once she heard Stain was held off by U.A. first years, and then defeated by the U.A. alum Endeavor, she really went off the deep end.”

“So, she was envious of those students getting to fight against him and help bring him down?” Monoma asked.

“Yup.  It only got worse once Stain’s history came out.  Gaikoku’s been receiving a lot of flak ever since.”  Miru shrugged indifferently and began walking away.  “I don’t really care about you guys or Stain or our schools.  No skin off my ass, but having your class rep acting like that is weird, y’know?  See ya.”  With Miru gone, the U.A. students were left to process all this new information.

“Kendo,” Shishida began.  “We should start preparing for the next phase.  I’ll show you all where the key to remove your targets is.”

“…Right,” she finally replied.  “This has nothing to do with us.  I won’t let it distract me.  We have a test to pass.”

“Well said.”  Shishida led the group across the anteroom to the key to remove their targets.  As Kendo finished taking hers off and formulating strategies for the next phase, the group was approached by another pair of students.

“Excuse me.  You’re from U.A., correct?”  Everyone turned to see Sekigai speaking to them, with Habuko hiding behind her.  “My name is Kashiko Sekigai.  I represent Isamu High School.  It’s a pleasure to formally meet.”  Kendo was taken aback as the white-haired girl bowed slightly, which she awkwardly copied after a moment.

“Y-Yeah.  Itsuka Kendo, class rep.  Sorry, but It’s a surprise to have a friendly greeting today.”

“That’s understandable, especially after what just happened between you and that girl from Gaikoku,” Sekigai replied.  “We had a small run-in with your classmates that may have given the wrong impression of us, so I wanted to extend a friendlier greeting and make a proposal.”  Before Sekigai could continue, Habuko tugged on her sleeve as a reminder.  “Before I do, my classmate wanted to ask you a question.  Go on, Habuko.”

“O-OK.”  The snake-headed girl stepped out from behind Sekigai and shyly bowed in greeting.  “My n-name is Habuko Mongoose.  I-I was wondering… if you’re from U.A., d-does that mean you know Tsu— I mean, Asui?”

“Asui?  Oh yeah, we know her.  She’s in the other class,” Setsuna explained.  “She’s really friendly and popular with her classmates.”

“Th-That’s good to hear.  Thank you f-for telling me.”

“Oh my god, you are so fucking adorable,” Setsuna said in complete seriousness.  “Can I just— can I— I’m gonna—”  The green-haired girl slowly wrapped her arms around Habuko, who was frozen in shock.  Everyone else was silent as they watched.  “Snakes are cool,” she mumbled while finally letting go.

“…Anyways,” Sekigai continued, “I wanted to propose an alliance between our schools.  I’m afraid that very few of us from Isamu have made it this far – just four, to be exact – and rescuing civilians is always a team effort.  My Quirk is well suited to keeping track of many people, so I was hoping we can stick together and all pass.”

“You know, that sounds great,” Kendo immediately replied.  “After fighting other schools for so long, having some cooperation would be amazing.”

“Hold on,” Reiko interrupted.  “While I agree, I don’t trust you guys completely yet.  Setsuna said you may also have a grudge against us.  If that guy in the back is your classmate, I’m inclined to agree.”  Sekigai looked over her shoulder and saw Fujimi glaring over at the U.A. students, making her groan.

“Dammit, Romero,” she said to herself.  “…It’s true that I had a low opinion of U.A. students not long ago, but only for a brief time.  I assure you that my intentions are as stated.”

“I believe you, Sekigai,” Kendo began, “but if we did something to you, I’d like to know so I can apologize.”

“That may not be the case, Kendo,” Shishida said.  “Miss Sekigai, I hope not to pry, but I noticed your Quirk of keeping track of people seemed very familiar.”

Keeping track of people, Kendo repeated in her mind, and brief grudge against us not long ago…  Just then, a lightbulb went off in Kendo’s mind, and she couldn’t stop herself from blurting out “Ragdoll.”  She regretted this immediately when Sekigai’s smile drooped.

“…You’re correct,” she answered.  “Ragdoll is my aunt.  Our Quirks are very similar, so she had trained me a lot when we were younger.  After the fiasco with the League of Villains… and what happened to her… I became embittered against you all for a brief while.  I thought of you all as too weak to defend yourselves, and that’s why she was…”

“I’m really sorry about what happened,” Kendo said.  “I can’t imagine how tough it must’ve been.”

“Nonsense,” Sekigai assured her.  “You’ve had it much worse, Miss Kendo.  My resent wasn’t logical, so I dropped it quickly.  It wasn’t helping me to better myself, so there was no point in keeping it.  I’ve since promised to continue Ragdoll’s legacy as a support-based hero.  Honestly, meeting here feels a little like fate.  I can finally put this fully behind me by cooperating with you all and take my first real step towards that goal.”  Sekigai took Kendo’s hand and gave her an earnest grin.  “I hope we may work well together, Miss Kendo.”  The students of Isamu and U.A. had become so drawn in to Sekigai’s story that most of them, besides U.A.’s resident copycat, had failed to notice a certain blonde Gaikoku student eavesdropping, hearing every word of the Isamu representative.

“That sounds good to me, and please, just Kendo is just fine.”

“I’m happy you’ll have us,” Sekigai said while Habuko waved Fujimi and Tadan.  “In that case, this is Romero Fujimi and Dadan Tadan, our other students who’ve passed.”  Tadan waved at the U.A. students while Fujimi scowled.  “I’ll explain our Quirks in detail if you’d like.”

“Sure.  I’ll introduce you to the rest of our class.”  As Kendo and Shishida led Sekigai and the others over to where 1-B was, both Monoma and Fujimi had stuck to the back of the group.

“You don’t look too thrilled,” Monoma noted.

“Sekigai may have forgiven you guys, but honestly, I haven’t,” Fujimi declared.  “For two whole days, when Sekigai thought the worst had happened, we were there to comfort her.  And then, once she found out what exactly happened to her beloved aunt Tomoko, we stayed by her side.  After seeing her so destroyed… I can’t help but dislike you guys for being too weak to help yourselves.”

“…We’re not the cause of what happened,” Monoma replied with anger on his tongue, “and none of us could’ve done anything to help her.  Don’t talk about this like you were there.  You weren’t.”

“I get what you’re saying, but every time I see you, all I can think of Sekigai weeping.  Even if my anger isn’t logical, it’s still how I feel.”

“I can understand that.  Just don’t make trouble for your class rep if you really care this much.  Your top priority should be your allies, not your ‘enemies.’”  Monoma’s advice put Fujimi in a contemplative silence as they reached the rest of 1-B, who were looking over Honenuki worriedly.

“Do you think you can still compete?” Kendo asked.

“I’ll be fine,” Honenuki assured her with a toothy grin.

“He got thrown down the street and was jumped by a bunch of enemies,” Kuroiro explained to Kendo.  “I hate to say it, but he may be on the sidelines for the most part.”

“It’s a good thing we’re not fighting in this phase,” Shishida pointed out.  “It’s just rescue exercises.”

“Yeah.  I’ll stay in one place and work on treating the wounded,” the skeleton-faced boy said.  “Seriously, I’ll be fine.”

“Then get up,” Kuroiro challenged.  Honenuki laughed off the dare and tried to stand, but his damaged legs couldn’t support himself and he flopped back down in his seat.  “Yeah, you’ll be a huge help.”

“Well, now what?  I’m not sitting out and failing, you guys.”  As everyone tried thinking up a way to help him, two people started coming through the crowd.

“’Scuse me, coming through, move it or lose it.”  Pushing his way through the 1-B students was Daisuke, who approached Honenuki.  “This him?” he asked Namida, who was crouching behind him.  She peeked her head out and nodded, having a very guilty expression on her face.  “Alright then.”  For a moment, no one made a move, but Daisuke suddenly reeled back and punched Honenuki across the face.

“What the fuck?!” Kuroiro shouted.  “You lookin’ for an ass-kicking that badly?!”

“Wait, hold on!” Reiko quickly interrupted.  “He’s helping us.  He has a healing Quirk.”  Everyone looked to her confusedly, but then saw Honenuki stand up.

“She’s right,” he said.  “I feel totally fine.  Hell, I feel better than ever.”  Before he could thank the Gaikoku students, Daisuke pivoted around and began to walk off.

“Everybody gets one,” he claimed.  Namida looked back at Honenuki, wanting to speak, but she settled for an apologetic bow and scurried away. 

“He helped us?” Tsuburaba asked.  “Why though?  I thought those Gaikoku guys hated us.”

“Attention, students.”  Everyone heard Mera’s voice abruptly come over the loudspeaker.  “You have one minute left.  Finish up your preparations and get set for our second phase.  Do me a solid and take care of it quickly, OK?”

“We have no time to think about them,” Kendo instructed.  “Are you and your classmates ready, Sekigai?”

“We are.  You can all count on us.”

“Then get ready, everyone.”  While Kendo rallied the class, preparing them for the next phase, Monoma quietly slipped away and followed Daisuke and Namida to the opposite corner of the anteroom where Gaikoku had set up.  The students he had trailed joined a conversation between most of the other students about rescue tactics.  On a couch nearby, Gou was being awoken by Kobayashi and Miru.

“Stay awake, you dolt!” they both yelled while smacking his head.  Monoma quickly located Victoria, who stood alone at the edge of the group.

“I know you heard that Isamu girl’s story,” he bluntly began.  Victoria didn’t react, but Monoma knew she heard him.  “This last phase won’t be a battle.  You know as well as I do that everyone in this room will need to cooperate.”

“…So, what if I do?”

“Just wanted to say so,” Monoma replied.  “I like hearing myself talk, you see.  I also know that Kendo is very sympathetic and doesn’t hold grudges easily.”  Before Monoma could continue, he saw the anteroom begin unfolding and coming apart, just like the room at the start of the exam.  “That’s all.”  He rushed back to his class in time for the first wave of test-takers to run off. 

“Alright, is everyone set?” Kendo yelled.  “In that case, let’s get to work!”

Chapter Text

“Over this way!” Kendo directed.  “There’s bound to be plenty of civilians in the urban area.”  The students of 1-B, along with their new allies from Isamu, ran into the heavily wrecked city area in their search for civilians. 

“I suggest we split into smaller groups,” Sekigai suggested.  “If we all go to the same place, there are bound to be idle hands.”

“Good idea,” Kendo replied.  “Everyone, let’s group up and head different ways, but stay close.  Try and build your groups around people who can easily search – Reiko, Monoma, Shishida, and Ibara.  Sekigai will be our coordinator.”  The class quickly split off into groups, one of which was comprised of Kendo, Ibara, Awase, Honenuki, Kuroiro, and Tetsutetsu. 

“Waaah!  Help meeee!”

“This way,” Kuroiro said, leading the group to a crumbled-in house with a crying child in the center.

“M-My mommy!  She got crushed!  Waaaah!”

“Oh shit!” Tetsutetsu yelled.

“Oh shit?!  That’s really what you’re gonna say at a time like this?!” the child asked sarcastically.  “Have some control over what you say!  You’re supposed to assure me that things will be alright and check my condition!  Minus points!”

“Uh, sorry!” Tetsutetsu quickly said.  “It’ll be OK, little buddy!  We’ll find your mom!”

“…Waaaaaaah!”

So, we’re being graded by the H.U.C. members, Kendo realized.  I’ve gotta watch myself and be super careful.

“I’ve located a woman trapped in the rubble beneath us,” Ibara revealed as her vines snaked through the cracks below her.  “There isn’t anyone else underneath.”

“Good job,” Kuroiro complimented.  “Can you check the rubble in the surrounding area?  Once we make sure there’s no one else buried nearby, Juzo can softened the ground into something more stable and we can mark off this are as a safe zone—”

“I wouldn’t be so sure.  This area is very unsafe.”  Kendo gritted her teeth when she heard a familiar voice coming up behind them.

“What do you want?” she growled, turning to see Victoria, along with Greta, Mitch, Gou and Kobayashi.

“Look behind you.  That building is unstable.”  Everyone looked around and saw the apartment building behind them was indeed leaning a little in their direction.  “If it’s not secured, any additional shock to it could make it fall.  This area is very dangerous, so it must be evacuated as soon as possible.”  Kendo grunted while looking over the building, then back at Victoria. 

“Sekigai!” she called out.  “Tell Bondo and Kinoko to help stabilize that apartment building, then get the rest of his group to check the building’s inside!  See if Reiko and Monoma are available!”

“On it!” 

“Kobayashi, go assist in stabilizing the building.”

“Sure thing.”  As Kendo and Victoria delivered their instructions, Ibara and Kuroiro had pulled a woman out of the rubble that the child identified as his mother.

“I think my arms broken,” she wheezed.

“Got it!” Awase called out as he began wrapping the arm in bandages.

“You forget to get a splint!” the woman chided.  “Minus points!”

“Oh, uh, uh…” Awase looked around and tried think of something to splint the arm with, but then saw Mitch approaching him.

“Use this,” he directed, handing off a blunt spike from his head.

“This could work.  Let’s see.”  Awase held the spike to the woman’s bandages and fused it to them, making the arm they held stiff and immobile.   “Perfect.”

“Hey, there’s an old guy under this rubble over here!” Tetsutetsu exclaimed.  “Someone help me lift it!”

“I gotcha,’ Gou slurred as they approached the cement slab over the old man.  “I’ll lift, you pull him out.  One, two, three!”  Gou raised the slab up with ease, allowing Tetsutetsu to get the man out of harm’s way.  “H-He doooosn… mmllmn…”

“Huh?”

“Gou said that he doesn’t look too injured and that we have a medical area set up down the street in a safer part of the city,” Victoria quickly explained.

“Already?  OK then,’ Kuroiro responded as he and Tetsutetsu led the civilians away.

“Greta, can you search for anyone else we can’t see?” Victoria requested

“You got it,” Greta answered while plugging a microphone into the soundboard on her neck.  She hummed into the mic, letting out light soundwaves from her mouth towards the ground.  “My sonar isn’t picking anyone up in this immediate area, so we should move on.  There’s a big cluster down the street.”

“Alright, then let’s all—”

“Where’s this ‘all’ coming from?” Kendo suddenly asked.  “Don’t act like you weren’t after my head last round.  You guys go on ahead.  Me and Victoria need to talk.”

“Alright,” Ibara hesitantly responded, leading the others in the direction Greta had pointed out to them.  Victoria looked to Kendo as if she was going to answer, but then turned to Greta and took her microphone. 

“Attention, all Gaikoku students,” she said into it, letting Greta’s Quirk send her announcement over a wide area.  “Make sure you’re working together with the other schools.  Sekigai, the girl with the holographic pad on her arm, is coordinating people, so differ to her if you need a specific person’s Quirk or reinforcements in general.  If any first-years are unsure on procedures, then advise them.  Make sure to direct them to Daisuke’s triage area with their injured civilians.  This area is top priority for evacuation, so work with whomever is nearby.  Get to it!”

“Yes, ma’am!” Kendo heard from all around them.

“Greta, please assist Sekigai and help her make announcements.” 

“OK.”  Greta prepared to go to her, but saw the white-haired girl already approaching them. 

“What’s going on?” she asked. 

“It seems like Victoria here thinks I can’t remember all the shitty things she’s said and done today,” Kendo venomously stated. 

“This test has become one of cooperation,” Victoria explained

“I know that, but you seemed hell-bent on making sure we wouldn’t get this far,” Kendo pointed out.

“We don’t have time to spare right now,” Victoria said with her voice raising.  “What do you want to make this evacuation go smoother?  An apology?”

“You know what?  Yeah.  I want an apology.”  Kendo crossed her arms and glared, thinking Victoria was being sarcastic in her asking.

“Then I’m sorry!” she snapped, surprising Kendo.  “I’m sorry for taking my anger towards the Hero Killer out on you and your classmates.  It was childish and I regret my actions.”  Kendo’s stance softened once she realized the sincerity behind her rival’s words.  “Can we just continue to save civilians now?  If possible, I’d like to make sure my classamtes can pass.”

“…Let me see that microphone,” she demanded.  Victoria handed her Greta’s microphone and waited for a reply.  “Attention, U.A,” Kendo announced.  “From now on, consider the Gaikoku students our allies.  Cooperate with them in rescue efforts like with Isamu.”

“May I?” Sekigai asked, prompting Kendo to hand off the microphone.  “You two catch up with the others and help clear this area.  I’ll call keep you informed using… pardon me, but what’s your name?”

“Greta.”

“Greta and I will keep everyone on task.”

“Then we’re in agreement?” Victoria asked with hope hidden behind her icy demeanor.

“Looks that way,” Kendo answered while holding her hand out.  Sekigai put her hand over hers and Victoria put her hand on top of theirs.  “Allies… at least, for now.”

“That’s fine with me.”


Well, what do you know, Mera thought to himself.  Looking over the arena, he saw students from many different schools working with each other and steadily whittling away the number of injured and trapped H.U.C. members.  The boys upstairs are getting exactly what they wanted.  With All Might’s retirement, they knew as single person couldn’t replace him fully, so what our society needs is a future of heroes who will all work in unison.  Of course, we’ll have to see what how they react once the situation ramps up.  Mera looked over the number of bystanders remaining and clicked his headset on.  “We’re nearing the benchmark to send you in.  Make sure your sidekicks are all set up.”

“We’re ready whenever you are.”

“And make sure your intern doesn’t hold back on her juniors, OK?  We only let you bring her if she promised to show no favoritism.”

“Don’t worry about a thing.  Just let us know when to make our entrance.”

“Right,” Mera replied before looking over the data again.  God, I wanna sleep.


As the rescue effort continued on, the partnership between the three class representatives grew in ease as they worked together.  “Four in that outcropping,” Sekigai reported from the city’s entrance.  She watched as Kendo and Victoria hopped over the rocks and rubble, which ised to be one of the mountains’ tip, in the arena’s center. 

“I see them,” Victoria said.  Kedno enlarged her hands and lifted a piece of rubble the four children were ducked under. 

“WAAAAAHH!”

“There there,” Victoria said sweetly while picking one up.  “It’ll be OK.  I’ve got you n—”  Her sweet-talking stopped when the child she picked up started rubbing his face in her chest.  “U-Um…”

“Listen, this is just my role.  I aint’ happy ‘bout it neither,” the child explained in a surprisingly deep and gravelly voice.  “You’re gonna come across bystanders who’ll make you uncomfortable.  I don’t make the rules.”

“A-Alright then."

“What’s the matter, Victoria?” Kendo smarmily asked while carrying the other children in her giant hands.  “Slowing down?”

“You wish, Itsuka,” the Gaikoku rep retorted with a smirk.  They made their way back towards the city, meeting up with Sekigai, Greta, and Ibara.

“We’re making good time,” Sekigai noted.  “By my estimate, we’ve got more than 50% of the civilians rescued and in a safe area together.”

“Nice!” Kendo cheered.  “Ibara, can you take these kids to the triage center.”

“With pleasure.”  Just then, in the mountain area, a huge explosion quaked the stadium.

“What was that?!” Kendo yelled. 

“Oh no,” Mera unenthusiastically began, “the villains who attacked before are back and they’re after the civilians.  You must fight back the villains and protect the civilians while also saving the ones you haven’t found yet.”

“Seriously!  What that hell?!”  Kendo heard Kamakiri’s voice coming their way and saw him, Yanagi, and Fukidashi being led to her by Monoma.  “They just keep throwing bullshit at us!”

“No use complaining about it.  We’ll just have to divide and conquer,” Kendo suggested.  “Our strongest fighter will fight the villains, our best searchers find the rest of the H.U.C. members, and our best defenders stay with the civilians.”

“We have more reinforcement coming,” Sekigai said.  “Over here!”  Joining them was a group of Fujimi, Tadan, Mitch, and Gou.  “Can anyone get me high enough to see our opponents?”

“Leave it to me,” Reiko offered.  She grabbed Sekigai and floated her up high, where she saw an army of black-and-gray-suited men with strange guns coming through a hole in the arena wall in the destroyed mountain zone. 

“It just seems to be minions.  Where’s the leader?”  Sekigai would immediately regret asking this as the leader showed herself, standing above her minions with a sidekick at her side.  “Th-That’s… the number 9 hero, Ryukyu!”

“It’s not just here we have to worry about,” Reiko added nervously.  “She brought a powerful ally.  One of U.A.’s Big Three – Nejire Hado.”


 

“Ooooh!  It’s like a big, broken amusement park!” Nejire practically squealed. 

“Don’t get too distracted, Nejire,” Ryukyu advised.  “Remember why we’re here.”

“Right!  I’ll get to it!”

“Don’t forget your promise to treat all test takers equally.  You cannot show any favoritism to the U.A. students.”

“Don’t worry about me!” Nejire assured her as she began floating and her expression twisted into something more psychotic.  “I never show mercy.”

“That’s my girl,” Ryukyu said, bidding Nejire farewell.  “Now, we’ll see how these fledgling heroes deal with this situation.  Fight or rescue?  Who will choose what?  Do we have any diamonds in the rough here?  I’m eager to find out.”

Chapter Text

“Ryukyu?!” Victoria screamed in disbelief.  “We have to fight the goddamn Dragon Hero?!”

“Looks that way,” Kendo said while tightening her mask.  “There’s no use in complaining now.  This is the situation and we’ll deal with it like pros.  Ibara’s spreading the word to the others and helping the evacuation, so we’ll buy time for everyone else to save the rest of the bystanders.”

“Yes, but—”

“Hey, up there!” Fukidashi interrupted, pointing to the sky.  “Nejire’s flying towards the city!”  Looking up, the others saw the blue-clad intern floating way above them and singing a cheery tune to herself.

I’m up to the eyes and I love everyone

Today I could cry, I could reach for the sun

I’m walking on air and I’m here and I’m there

I travel the sky, but for what?  I don’t care

Flyyyyyy me straight and fly me high

Flyyyyyy me straight and fly me high

“Pretty ironic for her task of attacking bystanders,” Monoma commented.  “Us here should focus on Ryukyu.  She’s the real threat here, despite how powerful Nejire is.”

“Right.  We can entrust her to our classmates,” Kendo agreed.

“A friend of yours?” Greta asked.

“An upperclassman,” Reiko clarified.

“Hey, I’m gonna head back to the civilians,” Fujimi told Sekigai.  “They’re definitely gonna start panicking and that’ll make protecting them even harder.”

“Wait, what’s your plan?” Sekigai asked as Fujimi ran off.

“Crowd control!” he yelled back.

“…Don’t be reckless,” she quietly requested.

“If everyone else is ready, let’s get to work suppressing the attackers,” Kendo ordered.  As her group headed through the rubble in the center of the arena, Victoria came closer to her.

“Do you think we have a chance at winning?” she asked as they ran.

“We won’t know until we try.”  As they reached a small cliff of rubble, the grouping of students became visible to the small army of costumed minions.

“Ready your cement guns!” Ryukyu commanded.  “Fire!”

“Get down!” Kendo ordered as a layer of liquid cement rained down towards them.

“We’ve got his,” Kamakiri asserted while stepping forward, alongside Fukidashi and Mitch.

“FWOOOOOSH!”  Fukidashi blew a great whirlwind towards the cement globs, slowing their descent.

“Multi-blade!”

“Spike Storm!”  Kamakiri’s mandibles stabbed repeatedly into the sky, taking out cement attacks alongside Mitch’s spikes.  “Gou, get her!”  On Mitch’s instruction, Gou leapt out from cover, soaring over the minions towards Ryukyu with his fist cocked.  The Dragon Hero sidestepped the attack, but seemed impressed with his power as it crushed the stone below.

“Oh dear.  I’m glad I dodged that,” she sincerely complimented. 

“Gou, get out of there!” Victoria shouted as she watched Ryukyu transform, growing in size and sprouting a tail and wings.  Gou whirled around to attack again, but was tail-slapped into the announcing box by the fully-transformed hero.

“God, I wish that was me,” they heard Mera announce with Gou snoring in the background. 

“Let’s move out, men!” one of the minions ordered.  “Split up and head for the city!”

“Tadan, your missiles!” Sekigai ordered.  “Shoot now!”

“I-I’d rather avoid violence,” he meekly said before Kamakiri ran to him and got threateningly close to his face.

“You shoot that goddamn dragon with your missiles or so help me god, I’ll shove my foot so far up your ass, you’ll have to dig it out with an ice cream scooper!”

“That’s a colorful threat,” Reiko commented.

“I-I g-guess.  I-If it’s for civilians,” Tadan began as his missiles prepared for launch, “I have no CHOOOOIIIICE!”

“Where’d that energy come from?!” Monoma wondered.  Tadan’s missiles launched towards Ryukyu and her minions, but the dragon hero lurched forward and roared mightily.  The shockwave of her shout was enough to destroy the missiles long before they reached her.

“They had no effect?” Kendo said.  “Maybe we are outmatched…”


In the center of the city area, all of the rescued civilians were trying to be contained and calmed, but the panic they acted out kept them from moving as a group.  Ibara and Tetsutetsu were in charge of getting people’s attention, along with Namida and Daisuke, but none of them were having any luck.  “Everyone, please calm down!” Ibara pleaded.  “We have to evacuate!”

“You’re stupid!”

“This is scary!”

“I’m belligerent and old!  Grah!”

“They just won’t listen,” Tetsutetsu groaned.  “Namida, can you just push them with your water thingies?”

"Doing that could injure them further,” the Gaikoku student pointed out.  “We just have to take this slow and hope the villains can be held back by our allies.”

“You said they’re fighting Ryukyu, right, vine girl?” Daisuke asked.

“That’s right.”

“Then I’d better go back them up.”

“Since when have you been the one to rush towards action?” Namida asked as he left.

“I’m in the fucking Hero Course, ain’t I?” he rhetorically asked.  As Daisuke ran down the block, he passed by Pony and Tsuburaba running the opposite way.

“Guys!  Guuuuys!” they heard Pony shout from down the street while her passenger kept making air barriers.  “Trouble!  Nejire’s here too!”

“Nejire Hado?” Ibara asked.  “If she’s one of our opponents, this is a problem.  She can fly straight here.”

“She is!” Tsuburaba revealed, pointing to the rooftops where Nejire lazily floated over his barricades.  “We gotta get everyone out of here.  I doubt any of us will pass if we let her hit the civilians with any attacks.”

“Who can fight long range?!  We also need defense!” Tetsutetsu shouted. 

“Leave it to us!”  Out of the crowd came Kaibara, Kinoko, Bruce, and Nasuka. 

“Mushroom girl, get on my back,” Nasuka ordered, “and hold on tight.  I’m not used to passengers.”

“Sure thing.”  As Kinoko rode on Nasuka and spread her spores, Bruce and Kaibara began shooting at Nejire with their black balloons and Tornado Gauntlet respectively.  Nejire dodged the attacks easily, however, and began descending towards the civilians.

“Wow, you guys are strong,” Nejire complimented.  “Betcha that I’m stronger though.”

“This is bad,” Tsuburaba growled. 

“Get back on,” Pony said.  “With my speed, you can keep up with her aiming.”

“Yeah, that’s—”  Before he could hop back on his classmates, Tsuburaba saw Fujimi sprinting down the street.  “It’s him.  The guy with that weird Quirk.”  In an instant, Tsuburaba understood what the Isamu student was coming to do.  “Pony, bring that guy here now!”

“Okie dokie,” she answered while running off.  Tsuburaba ran back towards the civilians and began making a barrier between them and Nejire.

“So, what’re we dealing with?” Bruce asked.  “Y’all know her, yeah?”

“She can turn her own vitality into shockwaves,” Kaibara explained.  “She’s able to float that way too.  Have you ever seen Dragon Ball Z?”

“O’ course.”

“That.”  Kaibara shot more wind from his gauntlet, but Nejire flew around his attack playfully.  Bruce shot a balloon at her, but she backhanded it away and stayed put against the wind pressure once it popped.

“That’s not doing much,” she pointed out.  Nejire then held her arms down towards the H.U.C. members and forced a blue light into her gauntlet-covered hands.  “This’ll be big and loud, but it won’t hurt the people much.  You should treat it seriously though.  If I were a real villain, I could kill them all easily.”

“She is way too chipper about this!” Nasuka noted. 

“Output: 15%.  Wring Wave!” Nejire launched her blast towards the H.U.C. members, but a giant mushroom sprouted in its path, blocking most of it.  The energy that did make it past was held off by Tsuburaba’s barrier.   “Wowie!  So cool!  Maybe I should stop holding back!”

“Please don’t!” Kinoko begged.

“Nope!  I’m gonna get serious,” she announced while cracking her knuckles, her face becoming more unnerving by the second.  “You’ve all piqued my interest.”

“We’ve gotta move the bystanders now!” Tetsutetsu said. 

“I’ll try holding her back,” Ibara announced.  She clasped her hands together and sent her vines forward, trying to encircle Nejire in them.  For a moment, they seemed to work and Nejire was cocooned, but Ibara felt her vines being pushed away in all directions.  In a sudden burst, her vines were shredded by a swirling dome of energy.

“Here’s my Spinning Shield,” Nejire revealed.  She put her hands above her head and moved the energy surrounding her into her palms.  “From there, I’ll move into this!”  She threw her hands forward and shot a drilling blast down at Ibara.  “Spiral Death Beam!”

“Look out!”  Tetsutetsu wasted no time in diving into the attack, blocking the energy with his steel body.

“Tetsu!” Ibara said in worry as he fell to one knee.

“Oh man,” he groaned.  “I hope that was her strongest attack.”

“It wasn’t!”

“Crap.”

“Just hold her back as much as you can,” Tsuburaba requested, having finished most of a dome around the civilians.  “I need an airtight seal around them, so make sure she doesn’t break my barrier.”

“Why?” Tetsutetsu asked.  “Shouldn’t they be running?”

“No time to explain!  Just protect me, Pony, and her rider!” he instructed before going back to his shield creation.  Ibara and Tetsutetsu looked back down the street and saw Pony carrying Fujimi towards them.  However, Nejire had also noticed them and was preparing an attack.

“Look out!” the iron boy shouted.  “Someone protect them!”

“I’ve got them!” Kinoko announced as she sped towards them on Nasuka’s back, leaving a trail of spores on the concrete.

“Output: 20%.  Wring Wave!”  Nejire launched another swirling blast, but Kinoko’s mushrooms sprouted just in time to hold off the energy blast.  Pony galloped ahead and reached the civilians, ducking around the dome to the small opening Tsuburaba had left. 

“In here!” Tsuburaba guided.  Fujimi tucked and rolled off Pony’s back into the crowd of civilians as the tubes around his costume filled with pink gas.  Once Tsuburaba sealed his barricade, there was a burst of mist inside that obscured the civilians completely.

“Oooh!  What’s that?” Nejire asked before attacks from Kaibara, Bruce, and Namida forced her to dodge around in the air.

“Now what?” Tetsutetsu asked.

“Ibara, once the gas is clear, break the dome and lead everyone away,” Tsuburaba instructed.  “Use your vines as leashes and just pull them in the right direction.  Quick!  The mist is clearing!”  Ibara didn’t have time to question her classmate, so she sent a huge bundle of vines around the dome and squeezed.  As the solid air dome cracked apart, the pink gas went back towards the center and flowed into Fujimi’s body. 

“Panicking civilians may be hard to guide and control,” they heard Fujimi say, “but mindless zombies will follow your lead!”

“Goodness!” Ibara gasped upon seeing the zombified civilians.

“Making every one of them walk away is too much of a strain,” Fujimi explained with a struggled voice.  “I can keep them from rampaging, but you have to help them escape.”

“Alright, I understand,” Ibara said.

“I’ll cover you from behind,” Namida offered.  “Everyone else, keep Nejire off our tails!”

“Right!”

“I’m getting so excited,” Nejire said to herself.  “All these cool powers with neat users.  Heeheehee.  I’m gonna go all out!”


“Everyone attack at once!” Sekigai commanded.  “Overwhelming her with numbers is our best shot!”  Kendo was the first to leap into action, running towards Ryukyu with Monoma following close behind.  “Ranged fighters, attack!”  On Sekigai’s command, a rain of spikes from Mitch, a sound blast from Greta, and Victoria’s Gem Shot assaulted Ryukyu.  She raised her claws up to swipe at the incoming pair of attackers, but Kamakiri’s mandibles suddenly clamped down on her wrist, slowing her attack enough for Monoma and Kendo to get in close.  Fukidashi made sure her tail wouldn’t swipe at them by hitting it with a big explosion.

“Monoma, my super move!” Kendo yelled.

“Right!”  The pair threw their fists up side-by-side towards Ryukyu’s scaly stomach.  Just as they reached, their fisted grew to maximum size instantaneously, pushing the dragon hero up.  “Instant Uppercut!”  Ryukyu was hurled into the air by the attacks, giving a everyone an opening to deal some real damage.

“Attack now!” Sekigai screamed.  Fukidashi, Tadan, and Greta all hit the dragon hero with their strongest attacks, creating a huge burst of force that upturned rubble and forming a cloud of dust.  Monoma and Kendo were blown backwards in a tumble, but were confident the bombardment caused heavy damage.

“Did we get her?” the copycat asked.  Everyone watched hopefully, waiting for the dust to clear and reveal a defeated opponent, but they were suddenly assaulted by a massive gust of wind.  Kendo looked up and saw the wings of the dragon hero pounding them down the force of its beats.

“I guess not,” she said.  “Guys, let’s hit her aga—”  She was cut off by Ryukyu suddenly dropping from the sky, crushing her and Monoma beneath her claws.  With swing of her tail, Ryukyu took out Kamakiri, Fukidashi, Mitch, and Tadan, burying them with rubble in the process. 

“Everyone, get away!” Victoria ordered the remaining fighters.  She covered her body in diamond armor and leapt into the fray, but Ryukyu saw her coming and clamped her jaws down over the girls’ torso.  The Gaikoku class rep had no time to struggle as she was thrown down into the cracked stone below. With the few moments he had to react, Reiko grabbed Sekigai and flew off, covered by Greta sending out a sound attack.  Ryukyu responded with a roar of her own that made Greta fly backwards and sent Reiko spinning into a crash. 

“Not my best landing,” the ghost girl admitted.

“She’s far too powerful,” Sekigai realized as Ryukyu stomped towards the city street.  “We would need an army to take her on, but if she can keep defeating these small groups, we have no chance.”

“Sekigai!”  The two girls looked around when they heard the familiar voice of Habuko.  “There you are.”

“Habuko,” the white-haired girl began.  “This battle… we need more people or we’ll fail.  Please, go find anyone you can.”

“Already done,” Habuko revealed while helping Sekigai and Reiko to their feet.  “I came with reinforcements.  We can win this, Sekigai.”

“Habuko…” Sekigai thought over her friend’s words and formed a smile.  “When did you become so confident?”

“I’m not sure,” she replied, watching another lizard girl run past.  “These U.A. students… their attitudes are pretty infectious, right?”

"Agreed."

            

Chapter Text

As Ryukyu climbed over the piles of stone and finally reached the city entrance, she was greeted by the sight of Yui running towards her while growing in size.  As the U.A. student reached her maximum size of 33 feet, now more than a head taller than the dragon hero’s transformed state, she tackled Ryukyu and held her in a bear hug.  They went tumbling to the arena’s center, where Yui held Ryukyu to keep her arms and wings immobile.  The dragon hero struggled against the grip, but couldn’t get enough leverage to break free.  She’s very powerful, Ryukyu thought.  I’ll need slip out in my smaller form.  With a speedy transformation, Ryukyu shrunk into a humanoid form, but her hands were still sharply clawed, her back still featured a set of wings, and a tail was still poking out from under her dress.  Before Yui could adjust her hold, Ryukyu kicked off from her stomach and took off for the city.

“Spinning Cannonball Deluxe!”  As she flew into the city, Shishida had leapt up from the street and threw his body into hers.  As his spinning tackle slowed to a stop, he locked his legs around her wings and grabbed her arms, making them both dive-bomb towards the cement.  Shishida tried spinning them around so Ryukyu would land first, but her tail dug between them and flipped him away.  While the beastly student spun out his momentum and landed surprisingly gracefully, Ryukyu fanned her wings out and flew low over the city street.

“Ryukyu, hey!”  From out of nowhere, Setsuna jumped on Ryukyu’s back and forced them into a crash.  “It’s me, Setsuna!  How’ve you been?!”  Setsuna’s polite and chipper questioning was followed up with brutal slashing attacks from her metal claws.

“Just fine, thank you,” Ryukyu responded while blocking the attacks with her scaly arms and claws.  “It seems you’ve also been well.”  The draconic pro curled her legs up and tried kicking Setsuna into the air, but to her surprise, Setsuna’s whole body ripped in half.

"Oh, check this out!  My Quirk’s gotten way stronger!”  Setsuna’s bottom half disintegrated into dust, making her top half regrow the missing pieces immediately.  “It’s not just my limbs anymore, but anything below my head!  It’s basically a healing factor now!  Cool, eh?!”

“Very,” Ryukyu agreed before throwing Setsuna off her.  She stood up just in time to block an attack from Shishida and batted him away with her tail.  As she turned to continue her trek into the city, she saw Rin lunging at her with a diving stomp.

“Dragon Dive!”  Rin’s attack was blocked easily, but he recovered quickly and jabbed at Ryukyu with his scaly hands. 

“You’ve improved, Shenlong,” she noted.  “You and Indominus both.  Tell me, how has your Quirk been strengthened?”

“I can cover my whole body in scales for longer,” Rin answered while trying for a spin kick.  “They’ve also gotten more durable.”

“I see.  Is that all?”  On her left, Ryukyu saw Setsuna jumping at her with a claw slash, but the dragon hero dipped around the attack.  “Shenlong, try focusing your transformation on your upper back.”  After advising the student, Ryukyu grabbed Setsuna in her arms and launched into the sky with a single wingbeat.  “The results should interest you greatly!”

“Aaaaah!  I’m excited and terrified!” Setsuna announced.

“Setsuna!” Rin called out.  He looked around for a way to reach his opponent when he saw the giant Yui making her way down the street.  “Hey, over here!” he called out.

“What’s she doing?” Yui asked.

“I’m not sure, but Setsuna’s in trouble,” Run explained.  “You can’t get any bigger, can you?”

“This is my limit.”

“…Then throw me!”

“OK.”  As soon as the giantess’s hands wrapped around his body, Rin regretted his request.  “Good luck.”

“Wait, maybe this is— AAAAAH!”  Rin was pitched into the air straight at Ryukyu, instinctively scaling his entire body over.  “H-Hey!  Let go of my girlfriend!”

“She’s all yours,” the draconic lady replied.  She casually tossed Setsuna at Rin and the two students collided.  “Tell me, Shenlong, what’s your landing strategy?”  Without waiting for a reply, Ryukyu threw herself towards the street before redirecting up towards Yui, knocking her back with a tail slap to the chin.  With his giant ally occupied, Rin and Setsuna fell towards the city with no safe landing planned.

“Fuuuuuuck!” Setsuna screamed.

“M-My back!  She said my back!” Rin remembered.  “My back!  My back!”  He scaled over his upper back to its limit as they fell, feeling a sharp pain near his shoulder blades.  “Is that it?!” he wondered aloud.  Once he saw how close the street was, he forgot to question his instructions further and focused on the pain.  As the lizard-like couple came close to a messy collision, their direction suddenly changed and they glided over the street, gradually losing momentum.

“Rin, look!  YOU’RE FLYING!” 

“What?!”  He looked over his shoulder and saw a set of draconic wings had torn out of his shirt.  With a quick flap, Rin confirmed to himself that he wasn’t imagining it.  “Y-You’re right!  I’m flying!  We’re flying!  This is amazing!  I can’t believe—”

“TRUCK!”  The reptilian duo’s flight was stopped when they crashed face-first into an overturned semi-truck.  “…Proud of you.”

“Thanks.”


“Get ready for a big one!” Nejire warned.

“Well, been nice knowin’ y’all,” Bruce said to his U.A. allies.

“You dumbasses better protect me!” Fujimi demanded.  “I’m the only thing keeping the civilians from rioting!”

“It’d be easier if you stop bitching!” Kaibara angrily replied.  “Kinoko, you have to get more spores out.  With Tsuburaba covering the civilians’ tracks, you’re the defender.”

“I’m trying, but I’m running low,” Kinoko said. 

“Don’t worry, guys!  I can take it!” Tetsutetsu claimed. 

“No, you can’t!” Pony pointed out.

“Uh, guys?”  Nasuka waved to get everyone’s attention and nonchalantly pointed up at Nejire, who’s attack was almost fully charged.

“Output: 35%...”

“Dammit,” Tetsutetsu growled.

“Hey!  Tetsutetsu!”  the iron boy looked to his right and saw Shoda sprinting towards him.  “I need a boost!”

“A boost?” he asked before a lightbulb went off in his head.  “You got it, little buddy!”

“Wring Wave!”  Nejire unleashed her powerful blast on the test takers, but Tetsutetsu flung Shoda into the energy and the short student began absorbing the blue wave.  “Oh?”

“Shoda!” Kinoko yelped.  Everyone watched as the last of the energy entered his body and he fell to the street, cushioned by a mushroom. 

“How’d you do that?” Nejire questioned.  “I’ve never seen something like that before.”

“You’re attacks… they’re pure kinetic energy,” Shoda explained as his hair stood up.  “I can absorb kinetic energy and send it right back.”

“That’s so interesting!” Nejire squealed.  “I’m learning about so many cool things today!  Best day ever!”

“Man, she just keeps switching between adorable and psychotic,” Nasuka noted.

“That’s Nejire in a nutshell,” Kinoko added. 

“Dang, you were right about this bein’ like Dragon Ball,” Bruce said to Kaibara.  “That guy’s turnin’ Super Saiyan.”

“I know, right?!” Pony interjected.  “Cool, huh?”

“Look alive, guys,” Nasuka warned.  “I think she’s getting ready for another go.”

“I can reach her and hit her with my strongest attack,” Shoda began, “but I need a guaranteed hit to ensure our victory.”

“That’ll be a problem,” Kaibara replied.  “She was able to use a shield of energy earlier.”

“In that case, we’ll make her use it again,” Tetsutetsu suggested.  “Once we break it, you come in for the finisher.”

“Sounds good to me,” Shoda said.  “Let’s finish this.”


From the city’s entrance, Sekigai and Reiko watched as Yui grappled with the fully-transformed Ryukyu in the street, all too aware they couldn’t help.  “Haven’t you found someone who can fight yet?” Reiko asked.

“I’m trying, I assure you,” Sekigai anxiously stated.  “I just need a plan.  I need manpower, I need information, I need—”

“What you need is a fucking chill pill.”  Snapping Sekigai out from her nervous muttering was Daisuke, who had been waved over by Habuko. 

“About time you showed your face,” Reiko said.  “We could use your Quirk now more than ever.”

“Right…” he said slowly.  After scanning the rubble, he located Victoria sprawled out among the stone.  “How many?”

“Eight,” Sekigai answered, making Daisuke grumble.  “Actually, nine.  Your classmate, Gou, got hit into the announcement box.”

“More like 13,” he said, motioning to the four fighters battling Ryukyu.  Daisuke hopped down to his class rep and knocked her forehead, spreading a wave of healing through her body.  “Now it’s 12.”

“Nnn… Daisuke?”  Victoria blinked and then suddenly shot up.  “Where’s Ryukyu?  How is everyone?”

“She’s in the city, and everyone’s down for the count,” he replied.  “At least, for now.  They’ll be fine in a minute.”

“Wait, you’re going to heal them all at the same time?  That’s too big of a strain!  Daisuke, you could—”

“Don’t get dramatic, Vicky.”  As Daisuke found a vantage point to see both the unconscious students and the four still fighting, he removed the pair of B.B. guns from their holsters.  “These BBs are made with my cells, so they’ll carry my healing effects.”

“I’m telling you, 12 people at once is too much!” Victoria scolded.

“Well, if I can’t fight, I’m gonna help the ones who can,” he declared while cocking his pistols, “because I am a motherfucking hero.”  Before Victoria could convince him otherwise, Daisuke unloaded shots into his allies, sniping the twelve fighters in a matter of seconds.  After a moment, he started shaking and fell backwards into his classmate’s arms.

“Daisuke!”

“He’s losing stamina fast,” Sekigai warned. 

“You fool,” Victoria reprimanded.  “You didn’t have too—”

“So dramatic,” he teased as his energy faded.  “I did have to.  They’re are allies.  We can’t win on our own, Vicky…  Look around…  Even if you can’t see them… we’re all fighting together.”  His voice became lower and finally fell silent as he closed his eyes.

“He’s just unconscious, but I doubt he’ll be awake until we’re done,” Sekigai explained.  “It looks like his plan worked, though.  Everyone’s status is improving.”  The two class reps looked over the rubble and saw the others coming to consciousness.

“Daisuke… you’re right,” Victoria said under her breath.  “We can’t do this alone.  Even right now, we’re all fighting together.”


“Hey, where’d this forest come from?!” one of the costumed minions yelled.

“Did we make a wrong turn?”

“No, it just came out of nowh— aaaaaah!”  The minion was hooked around his body by a fishing lure and yanked from the forest, pulled up to a cliff where Awase, Kaikaina, and Kobayashi were waiting.

“Go ahead,” Kaikaina prompted.

“Got it!” Awase replied as Kaikaina dropped the minion at his feet.  He stomped him down and fused his back to the ground before yanking away his cement gun.  “Alright!  That’s one more down!”

“Here’s two more for you,” Kobayashi said as a pair of trees grew taller, hoisting two sidekicks into view.

“Got ‘em!” Awase declared while shooting them with his Capture Guns.  “Let’s keep this goin’!”


“Another big group is heading our way,” Miru warned, peering out of the corner of a building.  “Get set… now!”

“Splattergun!”  Bondo jumped out of cover and shot the minions, gluing them to the ground and plugging up their guns.  “Any more coming?”

“I’ll check around,” Miru answered while activating her Quirk.  “Stay frosty, big guy.”

“Right.”


“Up there!  Two of them!”  The minions all aimed their cement guns up at Kuroiro and Honenuki, but before they could fire, Honenuki jumped out over them.  He descended into the center of the group and stomped his legs into the stone, softening it as he landed.

“Planet Waves!”  The ground trembled from the mighty stomp and was sent out in a wave all around Honenuki.  The minions’ legs were swallowed up by the softened ground, keeping them stuck once it hardened.

“What the— t-take aim, men!”  Before they could fire, they felt their guns being pulled away from their hands.

“Pull of Darkness!”  Kuroiro sucked the guns from their hands and brought them into his body, leaving them with no means of attacking  “Bam!  Teamwork, motherfuckers!”


“Hey, what’s the situation?” Kendo asked.  “What happened with Ryukyu?”

“Take a look-see,” Reiko said, pointing down the street.  “Yui’s got her for now, but she’ll need back-up.”

“She does, but charging in blindly is foolish,’ Sekigai stated, now biting her nails nervously.  “I need more information.”

“We don’t have time to get more,” Monoma said.  “We’ll need a game plan soon.”

“I know that!” Sekigai snapped.  “…I-I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine,” Kendo assured her.  “While everyone else comes up, Monoma and I can think up one.”

“No,” Sekigai replied.  “You two will be out their fighting.  I must contribute how I can.  I just…”  Sekigai’s anxious declaration was stopped when she noticed something on her holographic sensor.  She was looking at Ryukyu through it, which showed the pro’s physical status and location on a mini-map, but something new had popped up.  Yellow spots had popped up on Ryukyu’s image over certain body parts, such as the neck, her upper back between her wings, her stomach, and a few others.  “What… what are these?”

“They look like they could be her weak points,” Habuko suggested.

“But I’ve never been able to see those,” Sekigai said.  “Only aunt Tomoko could.”

“Well, it looks like you can now,” Kendo stated.  “You said it yourself that your Quirks were very similar.  You’ve pushed you limits and unlocked new strength, Sekigai.  At U.A., we call this Plus Ultra.”

“Plus… Ultra…” 


"So, you’re already getting ready for your Provisional License Exam?  That’s great!”  Sekigai was wrapped in a tight hug by her aunt Tomoko, but couldn’t find it in herself to match the older woman’s energy.  “I know you’ll do amazing!”

“Thank you, aunt Tomoko,” Sekigai listlessly answered.

“What’s wrong?  Not feeling confident?”  Tomoko tried forcing eye contact, but Sekigai, wasn’t looking her way.

“It’s not that.  I just wish… you could’ve taught me more.  This never would’ve happened if U.A. could take care of itself.”

“Hey now, don’t get so spiteful,” Tomoko said, now calmer.  “What happened to me was no one’s fault but my own.  It was scary, and I’m still pretty sad, but I’d feel worse if those kids didn’t come out of it alive.”

“But—”

“No buts.  The past is in the past.”  Tomoko poked her finger into Sekigai’s forehead, getting a small peep out of the younger girl.  “You and your friends are the future now.  Go give it your all, Sensor Girl.”


“Alright,” Sekigai began.  “I have the information I need.  Let’s end this fight and get our licenses.” 

Chapter Text

“Let’s fucking gooooo!” Tetsutetsu screamed.  Pony and Nasuka raced ahead on Nejire’s left and right as Kaibara’s wind attacks and Bruce’s balloons forced her to guard. 

“Spiral Shield!”  She conjured the swirling dome around her, blocking the spinning wind and cannonball-like balloons, but her move put the group’s plan into motion.

“Get ready!” Kinoko warned.  Two huge mushrooms suddenly grew under Pony and Nasuka, allowing them to jump and flank her from both sides.

“Racer Spike!”

“Bronco Axe!”  While the two attacks struck Nejire’s shield with surprising force, Tetsutetsu jumped off a black balloon and was launched forward by Kaibara’s Tornado Gauntlet.  He screamed as he spun towards her like a torpedo with his fists out.

“IRON APOCALYPSE!”  He let loose a flurry of metallic punches that wore away at the energy barrier.  The final attack was a haymaker that made a tear In the shield. 

“Woah!  Good one!” Nejire complimented as the energy moved up into her hands.  “Here’s my counter!  Spiral Death Beam!” 

“Not so fast!”  Nejire tried to turn in time to protect herself, but Shoda had leapt towards her from behind with a kinetically-boosted kickoff.  “Flash Storm Impact!”  Shoda unloaded a barrage of palm strikes on the senior girl, ending with an uppercut to her chin.  As he fell, so did his opponent.

“You did it!” Fujimi cheered.  “I didn’t think you’d pull it off, but—”  His uncharacteristic excitement was interrupted when he saw Nejire falling towards him with her energy attack still in her hands.  “Uh, guys?”  She plummeted to the cement and unconsciously released her energy in a massive explosion, sending Fujimi flying backwards.  “OHHO MAH GAAWD!”

“Oops, uh, sorry,” Shoda apologized sheepishly. 


“Huh?  Where are we?”  While all of the H.U.C. members returned to their normal state, now outside of the city, Ibara and Tsuburaba hopped onto a boulder and waved for attention

“Your attention, please!” Ibara called out.  “In order to safety evacuate you, we were forced to use a Quirk that induced mass hypnosis.  It wasn’t our first choice, but our options were low at the time.”

“We apologize for this, but we assure you the situation should be under control now,” Tsuburaba continued. 

“That’s… actually pretty smart,” one of the H.U.C. members admitted.

“Yeah, keeping a crowd in line is important, so they acted appropriately.”

“Still, you shouldn’t say that you had little options!  That paints you as incompetent!”

“MINUS POINTS!” they all shouted, making Ibara flinch.

“I’m sorry,” she whimpered. 

“They really are trigger-happy with these deduction,” Tsuburaba noted under his breath.  “Hey, Namida, how are the other schools doing with the evacuation?”

“We should be finished soon,” the Gaikoku student reported.  “As they finish up, all we can do it protect those we’ve rescued and hope our allies can win their battles.” 


“Just keep her steady, Yui!” Setsuna instructed as she tried for another attack alongside Shishida and Rin.  Ryukyu was thrashing around in Yui’s loosening hold and the three attackers were thrown back by a tail slap.  “Goddamn, that smarts,” Setsuna moaned.

“We’ve gotta keep trying,” Rin declared as he flapped his new wings.  He still hadn’t gotten full control of flight with no running start, but they made him feel cool, so he kept them out. 

“We mustn’t let her further into the city,” Shishida agreed.  “We’ll try for—“

“Hey, look!” Setsuna said.  From down the street, Kendo and Victoria led a charge of revived fighters towards Ryukyu just as she broke free of Yui’s grasp.  She swiped around with her claws, but Rin, Shishida, and Setsuna ducked away in time while Yui shrunk to avoid the attacks. 

“Took you long enough,” Setsuna joked as she and the others joined with the larger group.  “With this many people, we’ve got this in the bag!”

“That’s right,” Kendo agreed.  “Sekigai came up with a plan to beat her down.”

“Whatever you need, we’re ready,” Yui added. 

“In that case, get set to attack once she gives the signal,” Kendo explained, pointing to the snake-headed Isamu student.  “Ready to fly, Habuko?”

“Y-Yes!” she responded as Reiko picked her up.

“If you’re taking flight, I’ll cover you,” Rin offered.  “I can do that now!  Well, with a running start, I can!”

“Good for you, man,” Monoma complimented as he activated Reiko’s Quirk.  “Let’s move out!”  Monoma and Rin flew ahead towards the dragon hero, making sure to protect Habuko and Reiko.  Ryukyu swiped at them and swung her tail around, but the flying squad dodged the attacks and went above her head.  “Get ready…”  As Ryukyu raised her head and prepared for a roaring attack, Monoma and Rin and ducked away.  “Now!”  Habuko locked eyes with Ryukyu and activated her Quirk, paralyzing the hero.

“I got her!” she shouted.

“Attack!” Kendo ordered.  The long-distance team of Mitch, Greta, and Tadan let out their strongest attacks on Ryukyu’s exposed stomach, pounding her weak spot.

“BOOOOOOM!”  Fukidashi summoned a huge explosion under Ryukyu’s feet, putting the frozen dragon off balance.  As she lurched forward, Shishida and Gou dashed between her and delivered powerful punches, sending her into the air.  Reiko flew Habuko around to face Ryukyu again, letting her reset the dragon hero’s paralysis as she fell to the ground.  Rin and Monoma followed her descent and attacked the side of her head while Yui went behind her and grabbed her tail.  She would’ve fell forward, but Kamakiri held her neck in his mandibles, keeping her upright.

“Ready?” Kendo asked as she and Victoria ran forward.

“Of course.  A Gaikoku student is prepared for anything,” she assured Kendo as large diamonds grew over her body.  “Just be careful with me, alright?  I can’t move like this.”

“I’ll try my best,” Kendo replied with a smirk.  Victoria jumped into the air and formed larger crystal’s around her body, completely encasing herself in diamond.  Kendo enlarged her hand and grabbed Victoria, now wielding the crystal-covered girl like a club.  “One last push!”  Kendo kicked off the ground and somersaulted in the air, aiming for Ryukyu’s back.  “Meteor Diamond Sledgehammer!”  With a mighty shout, she brought down the attack on her foe and the two girls’ combined powers finally brought Ryukyu down.  Just as they landed, an announcement came over the arena.

“That’s it!  All the civilians have been saved!  It’s over!  We’re done here, folks!”

“Wait, was… was that us?” Setsuna asked.

“No, the test seems to have ended because the last H.U.C. members were saved,” Sekigai explained.

“So… none of what we just did with Ryukyu actually mattered?”  The reptile girl’s question poked into Sekigai’s mind like an exhausting splinter, but as she watched the fighters celebrate their victory, she sighed and smiled to herself.

“I wouldn’t say that… but we shouldn’t bring that up to the others.”

“Yeah.” 


With the 100 students all back into their school uniforms, the scores were finally tallied and ready to be presented.  Everyone had gather in the arena’s center and watched the giant screen for the names of whoever passed to be announced. 

“OK, first of all, thanks for all your hard work in the exam everyone,” Mera yawned, back to his low-energy self.  “Before I announce the results, I’ll tell you how you were evaluated.  There was a two-fold demerit system handled by the H.U.C. members and a member of the Heroes Public Safety Commission that was assigned to watch every one of you exclusively.  Basically, your score is based on how little you messed up.  The names of those who passed are listed on the screen in alphabetical order, so let’s take a look.”  Once the screen flicked on and showed the 83 passing competitors.

“Woah, that’s a lot of passing grades,” Kendo said while looking for her own.  “Hey, there I am!  I passed!”

“Phew, same here,” Monoma said.

“I passed 8D!”

“Aw yeah!  Ya’ll can suck my lizard titties!  I’m in!”

“Of course, a hero of darkness could fell this simple task.”

“Right, like you weren’t flipping your lid, Shihai.”

“Looks like we’re heroes, Sen!”

“I never doubted us for a second, Kosei.”

“A splendid showing by us all.”

“Oh yeah!  New wings and a new job!”

“What a relief.  I thought I was gonna fail for a second there.”

“No way, Shoda!  We both did awesome and we both passed!”

“Thank you, Lord, for this blessing.”

“I’M A HERO!  YEAH!”

“Dude, Mei’s gonna flip when she hears this!  I gotta call my parents too!”

“Pony’s a hero now!”

“Kick ass!  Mandiblade is licensed and ready to fight!”

“Shinso’ll be so jealous.”

“Nice.”

“Mhm.”

“We all passed!” Kendo cheered.  “The twenty of us are officially licensed!”  The U.A. students raised there fists up and let out a resounding “Woo-hoo!”

“Congratulations to you all,” Sekigai interjected as the Isamu students joined them.  “I’m overjoyed to report that we four have passed as well.”

“Nice!” Kendo complimented.  “Hey, Victoria!  How’d you guys do?”

“Do you even need to ask?” she questioned sarcastically.  “Of course, all of Gaikoku’s students have passed!”

“Then our alliance was a success,” Kendo said.  “From now on, we’re all semi-pros.  The next generation of heroes is officially on the job!” 


As the sun began to set on the National Bespin Sky Arena, Vlad King stood outside the bus to U.A., waiting for his students to arrive with their new licenses.  “Oh Vladdy!”  He cringed when he heard Aisa approaching him.  “Seems like are classes are pretty close now, huh?”

“Looks that way,” he replied.

“We should setup some joint training in the future.  Everyone’s talking about how this next generation needs to be working together.  How does that sound?”

“Hm.  That does sound like a good idea—”  Kan stopped himself when he noticed Aisa’s playful grin.  “No!  I’m not saying yes to see you!  This is about the kids!”

“Sure it is,” she replied while walking away.  “Well, you know how to reach me, so we’ll set something up in the future.  Good luck out there, Vlad.”

“Same to you,” he responded courteously before exhaling.  “Geez, that woman sure likes pushing my buttons… though I did provide so much ammo when I was younger.  No matter.  Being a teacher is my focus now.  I don’t have time for romantic advances.”  As he made this declaration to himself, he heard someone come up behind him. 

“Mr. Vlad King!  Hey, hey!”

“Oh, Miss Hado,” he said, turning to greet Nejire.  “Did you need a ride back to U.A.?”

“No, I’m going back to Ryukyu’s office.  She just wanted me to give you this.”  Nejire handed him a folded piece of paper and patted his arms before leaving.  “I guess she has a thing for big muscles,” she noted to herself.  Kan was completely lost, so he unfolded the paper, hoping for more answers.  Instead, he found a phone number.  He looked blankly to where Nejire was walking and saw Ryukyu waiting for her.  Their eyes met and Ryukyu gave a small wave and smile, making Kan’s face erupt in red.

While Kan was internally self-destructing, the students of 1-B and their alliance finally exited the elevator while admiring their new licenses.  “It’s really amazing to have this,” Kendo said.  “Feels like a dream.”

“Well, we earned it,” Monoma added, “and I’m positive we outdid 1-A—”

“There it is,” Kendo commented while smacking his head.  “I’m surprised you kept it in so long.”

“Well, I did have to deal with Angry Kendo for a while,” he reasoned.  “You keep me in line all the time, so I decided to be the reasonable one for the time.”

“I did lose my cool for a bit,” Kendo chuckled, “but thanks.  I needed someone watching my back.”

“Sure thing.”  Monoma thought that was the end of the topic, but then felt Kendo plant a kiss on his cheek.

“There.  You get a reward,” she said.

“Not to interrupt,” she heard Sekigai say, making Kendo flush with embarrassment, “but we’ll be heading off now.”

“Already?  Then, we’ll be seeing you.”

“I’ll be sure to say hi to Tsu for you,” Setsuna said to Habuko.

“Th-Thank you.”

“Bye, I guess,” Fujimi added reluctantly.  “I still don’t really like any of you.”

“What a heartwarming farewell,” Monoma commented.  “Y’know, you remind me of a certain blond asshole I know.

“Don’t be so hard on the mirror!” he cackled before being dragged off by Tadan.

“Fuckin’ sniped you!” Awase laughed.

“Congratulations.  You played yourself,” Fukidashi commented.

“In any case, be well, all.”  With a small bow, Sekigai left for her bus and rejoined her classmates.

“If all’s well that ends well, Gaikoku will be taking its leave,” Victoria interjected. 

“Hey, take care, you guys!” Tetsutetsu said before giving Gou a playful punch on the arm.  “You and me should spar sometime, big guy!  You’re tough!”

“Don’t bother,” Miru said.  “He’s been awake too long.  I’m pretty sure he’s sleepwalking.”  Gou finally fell backwards, cracking the cement and immediately snoring.

“Woah!  He made an imprint in the ground!” Pony yelped in a shock.

“Bruce, Kaikaina, help me carry the idiot!” Miru instructed.  “Anyway, be seeing you.”

“Bye-bye!” Kaikaina added.

“Stay gold, Pony girl,” Bruce said with a tip of his trucker hat.

“Stay silver, balloon guy,” she replied. 

“Y’know, you douchebags are OK!” Mitch said.  “Take care, butch!”

“You too, asshole,” Kendo said playfully.

“I’ll be sure to drop by your flower shop,” Kobayashi said to Ibara.  “Safe trip home.”

“Same to you,” Ibara answered.

“You’ll get me that autograph from Present Mic, right?” Greta begged.

“Uh, sure, yeah,” Reiko responded. 

“Come on, Greta,” Namida said while dragging her classmate away.  “Safe travels, U.A.”

“Well, we’re outta here.  Be seein’ you,” Nasuka said with a wave.  Daisuke grunted in 1-B’s direction, but seemed to be hiding a smile.

“Even if we’ve just met today, it feels like way longer,” Kendo commented.  “Anyway, good luck with your studies.”

“Same to you,” Victoria replied with a sincere smile.

“Let’s go, Vicky,” Daisuke called out.  With a final wave, Victoria took her leave.

“Goodbye for now, Itsuka!”

“See ya!”

“I’m gonna miss those assholes,” Tsuburaba said.  “Think we’ll ever see them again?”

“Maybe,” Kendo said.  “Anyway, let’s get going, everyone.  We’re heading home.”

Chapter Text

“Damn, I’m beat,” Monoma commented as he sunk deeper into the common room’s couch.  It had been a few weeks since Class 1-B received their provisional licenses and many had begun a workplace study with a hero office.  “Miss Kopi is really putting me through the wringer.  I’m glad I could find someone with a similar power, but I feel like this new internship is gonna wear me down to the bone.”

“It's certainly been a heavy workload combined with our normal schoolwork,” Ibara agreed while sipping a cup of tea.  “Working with Mr. Kamui has been tough, but it’s been worth it to learn so much.”

“Yeah, we can handle it!” Tetsutetsu added.  “I’m getting so much stronger!”

“Yeah, you’ve really bulked up,” Monoma commented.  “Next time you spar with Kirishima, I bet you’ll clobber him.”

“How is Kirishima and the others?” Ibara asked.  In the previous week, several of their schoolmates had been involved with a high-profile raid on a villain’s hideout that sent a few to the hospital. 

“He should be out of the hospital today,” Tetsutetsu explained.  “The others should be fine by now too.”

“It’s a real shame about Togata, though,” Monoma commented, bringing the room’s mood down.

“I’ve been praying for his health and wellness,” Ibara said.  “Hopefully, there is some way to reverse what’s been done.”

“At least he’s in high spirits.”  Monoma cricked his neck and checked his phone, but saw no new messages had come.  “Hey, have either of you talked to Kendo today?”

“We chatted at breakfast, but I haven’t seen her since,” the vine-haired girl claimed between her sips of tea. 

“She said she was gonna do some weight training, but she should’ve be back a while ago,” the iron boy explained.  “Maybe she pulled a Midoriya and got hurt training.”

“I hope not,” Monoma said while writing out a text to his girlfriend.  Before he could send it, though, the building’s front door opened and Kendo walked inside.  “Well, that answers that.  How was training?”  Despite his questioning, Kendo gave no answer to Monoma, nor a sign that she heard him.  She walked past her friends with her eyes hidden by her bangs.  “Kendo?”

“Kendo, are you well?” Ibara asked worriedly.

“I’m fine,” she mumbled off handedly.  Monoma pulled himself up to see Kendo heading for the stairs to their dorm rooms.

“Are you sure—”

“I’m fine!” she snapped.  Now that they could clearly see her face, her friends could see that Kendo was crying.  Without waiting for a reaction, she raced up the stairs.

“Hey, wait!” Tetsutetsu called out as the trio of classmates chased after her.  Kendo outraced them to her room and locked herself inside just as they caught up. 

“Kendo, if something’s wrong, you can tell us,” Ibara said.  No response came.

“Seriously, what’s wrong?” Monoma prodded.  Still nothing.

“Now what?” Tetsutetsu added.  Monoma stared at the door and listened closely.  It was muffled, but he could make out faint sobbing from the other side.  The sound formed a knot in his stomach and he backed away from it. 

“Kendo, it’s fine if you don’t want to talk right now, but we’ll be here when you’re ready.”  He waited a good 10 seconds for a reply, but there was still nothing. 

“What d’you think it is?” Tetsutetsu asked. 

“Well, first of all, let’s get out of earshot from her room,” Monoma instructed.  “We shouldn’t talk about her like this when she can clearly hear us.”

“Good idea,” Ibara responded as they moved down the hall.  “Do you have any ideas on what could’ve caused this?”

“Not really.  I doubt it has to do with our classmates, or she’d tell us.”  As Monoma brainstormed an explanation, his phone buzzed in his pocket.  “…It’s from Kendo,” he said while opening the message.  There weren’t any words, but just a link.  Once he followed it, he was taken to an article following up on the raid of the Shi Hassaikai base.  “The raid?”

“What about it?” Tetsutetsu wondered.  Monoma skimmed through the article, which had very few new details.  Once he reached the end, however, everything clicked in his mind. 

“Now I get it,” he said while clenching his other fist.  “That bastard…”

“What is it?” Ibara asked.  Instead of saying anything, Monoma turned his phone around to show them the article.  On screen was a list of the Shi Hassaikai members arrested after the raid.

“Let’s see,” Tetsutetsu said while reading the names.  “Kai Chisaki, Hari Kurono, Joi Irinaka, Shin Nemoto…” He paused once he reached the fifth name in the list.  “Rappa Kendo.”

“That dumbass really has no standards,” Monoma growled.  “This is Kendo’s uncle.”

“Her uncle?” Ibara gasped.  “How terrible.  Kendo must feel awful.”

“She’s related to a villain?” the iron boy mumbled.  “Geez, that’s gotta suck.”  Before the conversation could continue, the three classmates heard a door click open.  Once they saw Kendo poke her tear-stained face outside, they rushed to her side and enveloped her in their arms. 

“Kendo, I’m so sorry,” Monoma began in a warm, calm voice.  “It’s fine now.  We’re right here for you.”

“…Thank you.”


“Detrooooooit SMASH!”  From out of the bank’s front doors, All Might busted through with all six robbers in his crushing grip.  Once he was in front of the police, he squeezed the criminals tightly, forcing them to drop their guns.

Woo-hoo!”

“That’s All Might for you!” 

“He’s so cool!”  Among the cheering crowd, one little girl with ginger hair in a ponytail was sticking out above everyone else’s heads. 

“Yay All Might!” she cheered as the hero leapt away from the scene.  “That was so cool!  All Might’s so strong!”

“He sure is.”  Kendo felt a pair of strong hands gently grip her sides and lower her to the sidewalk.  They belonged to a hulking man with long and wild blonde hair and simple clothes that showed off his enormous muscles.  She looked up at this brutish man whose shoulders she had sat on and smiled.

“Uncle Rappa, are you that strong?” she asked while taking his hand.

“Dunno.  I hope so.  I wanna fight him someday.”

“You wanna fight everyone,” Kendo laughed as the pair walked down the street.

“Well, yeah.  I just love fightin’.”

“Me too!”

“That’s my girl,” Rappa said while patting her head.  “Listen up.  If you like fightin’, you gotta be like those heroes.  Villains who rely on guns are nothin’ but cowards, ya hear me?”

“Cowards!” Kendo parroted. 

“I’m serious.  Using a weapon like that is like saying “I have no chance in a straight-up fight.’  To me, fights should just be two people beating the shi… snot out of each other.”

“I wanna be a hero!” Kendo declared.  “I’m gonna get super strong!  Stronger than All Might!”

“If anyone can, I’d say it’s you,” Rappa complimented.  “Just remember what I taught ya.  Life’s about fightin’ fair and fightin’ hard.  Don’t go relying on weapons or cheap tricks and always give everything your best.  Now, who’s gonna be the strongest hero?”

“Meeee!”

“Who wants ice cream?”

“Meeee!”

“Same here.”


“I just don’t understand it,” Kendo mumbled to herself, leaning on Monoma’s shoulder and holding his hand.  Ibara held her other hand while Tetsutetsu had a hand on her shoulder.  “He was always so nice to me when I was little.  I looked up to him, but…”

“You two were very close, it seems,” Ibara commented. 

“Yeah… my dad says he was always a bit of a drifter, but once I was born, he alwasyt tried to stick around.  Uncle Rappa told me about heroes, about fighting – I always remembered what he taught me.  He’s why I wanted to learn martial arts and be a hero.  I don’t understand how he could…”  Kendo gulped loudly, holding in another wave of sobs.

“I guess they were doing some pretty bad stuff,” Tetsutetsu said.  “I haven’t seen anything about It on the news, but it was just making drugs like Trigger, right?”

“No, it wasn’t,” Kendo responded.  Monoma could hear anger replacing her sadness with the new topic.  “After I found out he was involved, I needed answers.  I had to know what he was doing, so I went to someone who was there – Midoriya.  He told me what they were doing.”  She squeezed Monoma’s hand hard as her eyes scrunched in disgust.  “The boss, Overhaul, was creating something that could erase people’s Quirks, but the way he was doing it… he was using a little girl’s DNA to make it.  He would scrape blood and skin from her, and then when she’d be too damaged to go on, he’d use his Quirk to kill and revive her in good condition.”  Kendo’s story put her friends into a trance of shock and horror simply from picturing what she described.

“That’s… inhuman,” Ibara murmured as she began to tear up.  “Ungodly.  Simply hellish.”

“Yeah…”  For once, Tetsutetsu had little to say.

“My uncle was involved in this,” Kendo stated, mostly to herself.  “I…I can’t forgive him.  Not now, not ever.”  Monoma didn’t have anything he could add, so he settled for rubbing Kendo’s back and continuing to hold her.  “I’m going to visit him in prison.  I got permission to go later this week.  Monoma… could you go with me?”

“Of course.  Anything you need, Kendo.” 

“Thanks…”


Later that week, Kendo and Monoma took a train out of the city, heading for the prison Rappa had been sent to.  From what they could see, it was a heavily-guarded facility that kept many powerful villains.  After checking in, the pair was led to a small room divided by a wall-to-wall desk and thick glass.  They sat in the chairs on one side and waited for the one on the other side to be filled.

“You never did tell me what you want to say,” Monoma realized while Kendo leaned forward on the desk, staring intently at the door.

“I’m not entirely sure myself,” Kendo divulged.  “I’m here to see what changed… or maybe what’s stayed the same.”

“Would you rather talk to him alone?”

“No,” she replied while taking his hand under the table.  After another minute of tense waiting, the door finally clicked open.  They could see a police officer in the hallway explaining the visitation rules to Rappa, who was hidden behind the wall.  His fists, however, were coming out from the doorframe.  The sight of the familiar hands triggered a memory in Kendo’s mind of her playful sparring with her uncle.  She pushed it away and squeezed Monoma’s hand tightly.  He’s gone too far, she reminded herself. 

“I got it already,” she heard Rappa say.  His voice hadn’t changed much from her memory, though there was a few more years of age behind it.  The police officer finally led him inside and sat him down, attaching his cuffs to the desk.  As soon as Rappa saw Kendo, he grinned a little and his eyes seemed to soften.  Opposite from him, Kendo sat with a scowl and furrowed brows.  “Been a while, Itsu,” Rappa greeted.  “I’d hug you, but, y’know, cuffs.”

“Right,” Kendo answered with rage in her voice.  Monoma thought she’d start yelling, but she took a deep breath and gave his hand a quick squeeze. 

“Nice to see you too, nerd,” Rappa said to the copycat.

“Hey,” Monoma greeted neutrally. 

“Anyway, how’s U.A.?”

“Stop trying to deflect,” Kendo demanded, intent on taking control of the conversation.  “I know why you’re here and what you’ve been up to.”

“…Right,” Rappa sighed, already knowing what was coming.  “I guess you heard about what the gang was doin’?”

“I did,” Kendo said.  “I kept up with the news, but I got some extra information from a fellow student.  A few of them were present at the raid.”

“Hey, does that mean you know Red Riot?” Rappa asked with some excitement.

“Wait, you were the one who beat the shit out of Kirishima?” Monoma asked.

“Yeah.  That kid was a real man.  Is he out of the hospital yet?”

“Should be.”

“Both of you, shut it!” Kendo ordered before taking a deep breath.  “I heard about your boss’s special project.”

“Oh yeah.”  Rappa fiddled with his calloused hands on the table and broke eye contact with Kendo.  “I was never really involved with that part, y’know?  I was just there to fight people—”

“But you were involved,” Kendo interrupted.  “You were part of the gang.  You defended those monsters.  You knew what was happening, but did nothing.”

“I mean—”

“Uncle Rappa, you’ve been gone for a while.  There’s a lot I’ve learned since I was a kid.  One of these things is that there’s two types of evil people.  People who commit atrocities like this, and people who have the power to stop it, but choose not to.”

“You callin’ me evil?” Rappa asked.  Kendo looked down at the floor, fighting tooth-and-nail to stay composed.

“I don’t know what you are,” she relented.  “Even when you were gone, I wanted to believe you were staying out of trouble.  I knew you’d be doing underground fights and stuff like that, but this… you’ve gone too far.”

“…I know,” Rappa said.  “What happened to that kid was fucked.  I’ll admit that, but fighting heroes, trying to defeat Overhaul, taking on Fatgum and Red Riot… I know you don’t want to hear this, but I’ve been having fun.”

“I’m sure you were.”  Kendo’s rage was gone, now filled by disappointment.

“I’m no role model, Itsu.”

“But you were mine,” she quietly said.  “I took everything you said to heart.”  It looked like Kendo’s tears would fall again, but instead, she chuckled.  “Y’know, I actually quoted something you said to me during the incident at the Training Camp.”

“I remember hearing about that,” Rappa said with delight.  “You beat the hell outta some villain, yeah?  Pretty badass.”

“I guess.  When the villains were attacking, me and my classmate fought someone with a knockout gas Quirk and he pulled a gun.  He nearly killed us, but we were able to beat him once I blew the gas away.  I told him that ‘carrying around a gun is just another way of saying you’ve got no confidence in a fight.’”

“That does sound familiar,” Rappa laughed.  Kendo didn’t have any follow-up, which led to a lull in the conversation.  “So, how’s school been?”

“Tough, but we’re getting by,” Kendo answered.  Monoma could see a nostalgic smile on her face, but her eyes weren’t leaving the floor.  It seemed like Kendo was wishing, or even imagining, that they were all someplace else.

“How’s my old punching bag?”

“Dad’s fine.”

“What about my rival?”

“Mom’s good too.”

“Glad to hear it.  You get a boyfriend yet?”  Kendo smiled and held up the hand interlocked with Monoma’s.  Rappa seemed confused, then shocked, and then a little disappointed.  “The nerd?  Really?”

“Yup,” Monoma sheepishly said.

“You said you know Red Riot, yeah?  Why not date him?  He’s a real man.”

“He’s dating Bakugo,” Kendo explained with a chuckle.  “Besides, I’m happy with what I’ve got.”

“Alright.  Happy for you,” he grumbled, which made Kendo laugh.  She and him looked each other in the eye again, but this made Kendo’s smile fade.  All of the baggage she had come in with returned to her mind. 

“I think we’re gonna go,” Kendo said as her smile finished disappearing.  “U.A.’s really keeping us busy.”

“Right.  Safe trip back, Itsu.”  Kendo stood up and led Monoma to the door.  As she gripped the knob, she turned back slightly, but not enough to look at the criminal she had been talking to. 

“Bye, uncle Rappa.”  She turned the knob quickly and pulled Monoma into the hallway.

“Itsu,” Rappa called out.  Against her own judgement, Kendo looked back inside and saw Rappa smiling and waving.  “Say high to your folks for me.”  With a quick movement, Kendo shut the door and started walking.  Monoma wanted to say something, but his mind was blank.  As they approached the lobby where other visitors waited, Kendo stopped to dry her eyes.  Over the radio, a song played softly as Monoma dragged his thumb over the back of her hand.

Been away, haven’t seen you in a while

How’ve you been?  Have you changed your style?

And do you think that we’ve grown up differently?

Don’t seem the same, seems you’ve lost your feel for me

“Ready to leave?” Monoma asked.

“Yeah,” Kendo nodded.  “Let’s go.”  As they walked off, Kendo walked a little closer to the copycat.  “Thanks for coming with me.”

“No problem.”

So let’s leave it alone, ‘cause we can’t see eye-to-eye

There ain’t no good guy, there ain’t no bad guy

There’s only you and me and we just disagree.

Chapter Text

Another day of school began like normal for Setsuna Tokage.  After arriving in class, she took her seat and looked around for something to entertain her.  “Oh, Reeeiiikoooo,” she cooed to the girl one seat over.  “Reiko, tell me somethin’!”

“Yeah?” Reiko asked, expecting a terrible pun.

“What d’you call a lesbian dinosaur?”

“…What?”

“A Lickalotopuss,” Setsuna snickered while Reiko rolled her eyes.  “Man, I’m funny!”

“You’re definitely something.”

“Hey, hey, I wrote out another song.  You wanna see?”

“After class.”

“Do it noooooow,” Setsuna moaned childishly.  She reached over to Reiko and poked her face for attention, but had to stop when their teacher walked in.

“Morning, everyone.  Class has begun,” Kan announced.  “Before we get started, I have an announcement.  Coming up soon is the annual U.A. Cultural Festival.”

“A Cultural Festival?!” Pony squealed.  “That sounds like fun!”

“Yeah, it does!” Tsuburaba added.

“What a drag,” Kuroiro said to himself, ignoring his own excitement to sound cool.

“I’m sure you’re all excited, but calm down for now.  It’s still some time away,” Kan continued.  “The school has changed up the festival for this year due to security concerns, but your task will be unaffected.  I know you’ve all been busy with your internships, homework, and training, and I’d rather not pile on, but you’ll be putting on an event during the festival.  Think of it as a fun side project to do all together.”

“What kind of event?” Setsuna asked.

“Anything, really.  A shop, a booth, a café or food stand, a performance – think outside the box.”

“Why don’t Shishida and I field some ideas from the class, sir,” Kendo suggested.

“Good idea,” Kan said.  “You two try and find a good idea.  I’ll be back in 10.”

“You got it,” Kendo replied.  As Kan stepped out, she and Shishida came to the front of the room.  “OK, if you’ve got an idea, just shout it out!”

I guess she’s back to her usual self, Setsuna noted with a smile.  Now, what’s something we could do?

“Boxing matches?”

“Mushroom garden!”

“Haunted house.”

“Art exhibition!”  Many more suggestions would come, quickly filling up the board.

“OK, we’ve certainly got a lot,” Kendo noted.  “I’m gonna get rid of some that are unrealistic or inappropriate.”

"There goes my maid café,” Tsuburaba moaned.

“There goes my butler café,” Pony moaned.

“I think our choice is obvious,” Monoma claimed.  “A fantasy play would be the best use of our combined talents.”

“I actually agree with him,” Shishida said.  “Even if someone doesn’t want to act, they can participate in other ways.”

“I could build sets,” Bondo offered.

=“Oh!  I could draw backgrounds and help design costumes!” Fukidashi explained. 

“If we need costumes, I know how to make clothing,” Ibara stated.

“If everyone’s in agreement, then a play’s fine by me,” Kendo said.  “Show of hands, who wants a play?”  A good number of hands rose for the suggestion.  “Anyone opposed?”  No one seemed to have any reservations, so Kendo began erasing the board. 

“I guess we’re putting on a play,” Kendo announced.  “What play, though?  Did you have any in mind, Monoma?”

“I thought we’d write our own.  It can’t be that hard—”

“Bullshit!  Writing’s hard!” Fukidashi empathically claimed.

“Then we’ll collaborate,” Monoma suggested.  “Now, to find out what to make it  about?  Maybe it could be a musical too?”  Just then, everyone’s attention turned to Setsuna when she squealed in joy.  She began waving her arms around, too excited to talk, and started pulling on Reiko’s sleeve.

“No,’ Reiko said to the lizard girl, who kept pulling and grinning like a lunatic.  “No,” she repeated. 

“It’s fate!” Setsuna finally exclaimed.  “This is so fate right now!”

“Something you want to say?” Shishida asked.

“It can be a musical!  No – a full blown rock opera!  A fantasy comedy rock opera starring me and Reiko!”

“Wait, when did we say it was a comedy?” Monoma asked.  “Also, I’m the star!”

“No way!  I already have music written!  I’m the star!”

“I came up with the idea!”

“I’m the best singer in the class!  I proved that last week when we all sang Rocky Horror songs together!”

“Don’t remind me that happened,” Kamakiri interjected.

“Come on, you gotta admit was fun,” Setsuna claimed.

“Who knew Kuroiro could do such a good Tim Curry impression,” Pony complimented.

“Did he have to wear the costume?” Awase complained, earning him some side-eye from Kuroiro.

“We’re getting off topic,” Setsuna said.  “I’m already prepared to do a rock opera and you can’t stop me!”

“Am I interrupting something?” they heard from the doorway.

“Oh!  Mr. Kan!” Kendo yelped in surprise.  “Just a, uh, discussion over details.  We’ll be doing a play for the Cultural Festival.”

“Sounds good.  If that’s settled, take your seats for class.”  As their teacher begun his lecture, Setsuna and Monoma had an intense staredown that radiated passion.

This ain’t over.


Once school had ended, Class 1-B returned to their dorm and waited in the common room.  Setsuna had ordered them to stay put and keep the blinds closed while she prepared something with Reiko.

“She’s really taking her time,” Kuroiro noted with annoyance.

“Maybe she’s relented to my superior ideas,” Monoma suggested.  “We need a serious play.  Something that combines the best aspects of famous fantasy stories like Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter or Romeo and Juliet.”

“That last one isn’t fantasy,” Kendo pointed out.

“Two young teenagers marry within a week of knowing each other?  C’mon, that’s fantasy,” Monoma said with laugh.

“Well, not everyone needs a whole decade to nut up,” Kamakiri mocked.

“Why you gotta cut me down like that,” Monoma whined.  Before the conversation could continue, the lights flicked off.  With the blinds drawn, the room was almost completely dark, but everyone could still see Setsuna and Reiko’s silhouettes step out.

“Lights!” Setsuna ordered.

“…Oh, that’s my cue,” Fukidashi realized.  He took out a flashlight and shone it on the pair of girls wearing strange costumes.  Setsuna wore a blue unitard with dark blue and red underwear worn on the outside, along with blue and white sneakers.  Over her shoulders was a blue cape with white fur and on her chest was red star symbol with a white background.  Reiko had a simple black costume with a mask and a pair of yellow dragons drawn on her chest.

“Oh, what fresh hell is this?” Kuroiro questioned with a smirk.

“For millennia uncounted,” Setsuna dramatically began, “mankind has despaired, for they knew… they would not be able to witness such awesomeness in person—”

“We started a music duo,” Reiko summarized.

“Duuuuude,” Setsuna whined.  “Yes, me and Reiko has formed the greatest comedy musical duo of all time.  We spent countless days hard at work to form the perfect names.  There were many stand outs – The Pussy Posse, Hot Jam Explosion, Big Clit Energy –”

“These’re all winners,” Kamakiri quipped.

“But in the end, only one would stand.  We are… Ninja Sex Party.”

“…So, you want to use the songs you’ve written for a musical?” Kendo asked.  “Do we even have people who can play instruments?  Also, someone turn the lights back on.”

“Let’s see if we do!” Setsuna said while pulling out a list.  “Who can play electric guitar?”  No one raised their hand at first, but Kamakiri eventually put his up with a sigh.  “Boom!  We got one!”

“I didn’t know you could play an instrument,” Awase said.

“I’m a man of many… well, a couple talents.”

“Movin’ on!  We need a flutist!  There’s a couple of songs that need one!”

“I played a little in middle school for band,” Tsuburaba said.  “It was good conditioning for my lung capacity.  I could probably dust it off.”

“Yes!  Now, bass guitar!” Setsuna asked.

“If you need a bassist, Kuroiro’s your man,” Honenuki stated.  Everyone turned to white-haired boy, who shied away slightly at the attention.

“I’m not that good yet.”

“You’re our only hope!” Setsuna begged.  “I’ll bet your great.”

“…Maybe.”

“I’mma mark that down as a yes,” the lizard girl said.  “OK, next is keyboards.  Normally, Reiko would do it, but since she’s in the performance, we need someone in the band.

“I took some piano lessons as a kid,” Shoda divulged.  “Yanagi, if you can give me a couple refreshers, I’ll do it.”

“Sure.”

“Yes!  Good boy, boy!” Setsuna cheered.  “Lastly, drums.  Who’s it gonna be?”

“If it means I don’t have to act, then I’ll do it,” Awase offered.  “I’ve got some experience from band class.”

“Woo-hoo!  We got everything!” Setsuna declared.  “Fukidashi, Monoma, you two are gonna help me write this bitch!  Let’s get to work!”

“Wait, hold on,” Kendo said.  “Mr. Kan still needs to approve this.”

“Oh, he’ll approve it…”


 

“Pleeeeeeaaaaaase!” Setsuna begged, near tears.  “Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease—“

“Fine!” Kan finally relented.  “Just… stop!”

“Yaaay!  Thank you, Dad King!”

“Please stop calling me that.”

“Would you rather I go back to President Dracula?”

“Just leave.”

“You got it!”  Setsuna left the teacher’s lounge cheerily, already thinking about how amazing her play would be.  “Aw yeah.  This rock opera is gonna be the tits!”

Chapter Text

Setsuna peeked her head around the curtain and watched as people trickled into the auditorium, quickly filling up seats.  “This is gonna be freakin’ awesome,” she squeaked.  Near the back of the auditorium, she spotted Vlad King with a camera in his hands, ready to record their show.  “OK, he’s in place,” she noted while ducking to the backstage.  “How’re we doing,