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My Hero

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When the students of class 1A filed into their classroom that morning, there was absolutely no indication that it would be anything other than a perfectly normal day. Little did Uraraka Ochako know that today was the day she died. Death by social suicide.

Uraraka beamed at Midoriya Izuku on the way to her seat. “Morning, Deku-kun!”

Midoriya smiled back and returned her greeting.

Yep, perfectly normal start to what should have been a perfectly normal day.

Here’s what lead to Uraraka Ochako’s demise: a single page, double-spaced essay in 12 point font. The essay itself was easy and straight-forward to write. Aizawa-sensei had given them a week to write it, but that was really just so they’d all have time to really think about what they wanted to write. Actually writing the essay only took most students fifteen minutes. It took Iida Tenya an hour, but only because he typed up several drafts to practice “good essay-writing procedure”. Uraraka had told him it probably wasn’t necessary since it didn’t seem like that serious of an assignment, but then Iida had lectured her for a while on how every assignment in Hero School was Very Serious and an Important Step toward their Futures.

The subject that Aizawa assigned had seemed like something that would have been more appropriate for a grade school essay, but since they were learning to be heroes it only made sense that they should take a moment to think about their inspiration every now and then. Specifically, they were assigned to write about their own personal heroes.

Uraraka was a little embarrassed to turn her paper in since she had decided to basically gush about Midroiya for an entire page, but it would only be Aizawa reading it, so no big deal. Aizawa probably couldn’t care less about her silly crush, but Uraraka felt like he would at least appreciate her reasoning for choosing Midoriya as her hero and would give her good marks without commenting on the more sensitive aspects of her feelings.

Then the other shoe dropped and Uraraka took back every ounce of trust she had ever placed in Aizawa.

Aizawa flopped into the room and unzipped his sleeping bag right as the bell went off. He stood up behind his desk and greeted the class.

“I hope you all wrote good essays. If they’re boring I honestly might pass out,” he droned as he pulled a small box out of his sleeping bag. “I’ll draw names from this to determine presentation order.”

There was an immediate outbreak of noise as several students tried to talk over each other.

Hah? The fuck is this about, sensei?”

“We have to read them? In front of everyone?”

“Presen-what now?”

Ultimately the class settled as Class President Iida took the lead. “Sensei, I believe that we were not aware that this assignment had a presentation component. Consequently, none of us practiced and so we are not prepared to speak about our topics.” Curiously enough Iida’s face went a little red while speaking.

“As pro heroes you will often have to make press statements without any time to prepare. Besides, it may be helpful to hear what your classmates admire in a hero,” Aizawa countered with a bored tone. “And really you’ll just be reading word-for-word what you wrote.”

“Right,” Iida responded weakly, sitting back down. “Word-for-word…”

Honestly though, at this point Uraraka was barely processing anything that anyone was saying. Her heart had stopped and her mind felt like it now existed two feet to the left of where she thought she had left her body. Read essay… out loud? To class? The class which Deku-kun was a part of? Read the essay about Deku-kun to Deku-kun?

Uraraka absently pinched herself. Nope. Not a nightmare. She was really going to have to basically reveal her crush to the entire class, including Midoriya. There was no other way to look at it. The title of her essay was literally, “My Hero: Midoriya Izuku.”

Maybe she could eat her essay? Just like subtly tear it into pieces at her desk and eat them one at a time. However even as she schemed and the first student got called up front, her body refused to move. In a desperate attempt to avoid the intense psychological pain of knowing what was to come, her mind simply shut down and went completely blank, allowing her to focus on what the other students were saying.

Many of her classmates’ speeches were fairly predictable. Kirishima gave a passionate speech on the manly hero Crimson Riot and how he inspired Kirishima to the point of choosing the name “Red Riot” for himself.

Some speeches were unexpected and fairly moving. Bakugo gave a surprisingly sensitive and well-written speech on All Might. The highlights included Bakugo reflecting on how he’d blamed himself for All Might’s forced retirement and how All Might’s had said there was nothing to forgive. Apparently Bakugo had recently realized that All Might can only be victorious through his selflessness. “Because All Might wants to save others with all his heart, he is able to fight unburdened by his own limitations. He wins not because it is required for his image as a hero but because it is required in order to save everyone. There is no room in All Might’s heart for blame or self-grandiosity, only pure focus on what matters: the innocent lives he protects.” Honestly the speech was so good that it might have brought Uraraka to tears if Bakugo hadn’t delivered the entire speech in the world’s most ferocious growl.

Every once in a while Uraraka had a brief moment of panic as she remembered that she had written about a classmate in what was essentially a grade school essay on personal heroes, but then her mind beat all that back down into her subconscious and she was able to focus on her classmates. Her classmates who wrote totally normal essays on actual pro heroes they admired, not boys of the same age.

Midoriya’s speech was actually really cute. Everyone probably expected it to be about All Might, but Midoriya took a different approach. “Every single time we had an assignment like this in grade school I would write about All Might. Truthfully I could have written ten essays on All Might in the past week and not run out of things to say. However, when I really thought about this assignment, I realized that I wanted to use it to honor someone who I haven’t given enough credit until recently. My mother.” Midoriya never talked about himself so it was really interesting to hear about his family situation. His father worked overseas so his mother had essentially raised and supported Midoriya as a single mother. Uraraka did tear up a little during this speech, but Midoriya had tears streaming down his face by the end of it.

Just as Uraraka began to feel guilty about writing an essay that would probably sound super shallow after Midoriya’s speech, Aoyama took the stage and things got really interesting. He cleared his throat as dramatically as possible. “My hero,” he paused and looked around, seemingly for effect. “Is Midoriya Izuku.”

Uraraka’s heart leapt to her throat as she wondered if she had somehow switched essays with Aoyama. The only thing worse than her having to read out her feelings about Midoriya to her entire class was having Aoyama read them for her in an obnoxious theater voice.

But somehow, against all odds, Aoyama had written his essay on Midoriya too. Uraraka had no idea if that made her situation better or worse.

“Right away I noticed many similarities between Midoriya and myself. We both had self-destructive quirks that we could barely control. Not only did we both start school far behind all of our other classmates, but attempting to catch up was dangerous and painful. However, while I was content to use my quirk the way I always had been, suppressing it and only letting it out a little at a time, Midoriya worked tirelessly to better control his. Although he was already strong just by virtue of what he could use of his powerful quirk, he demanded more of himself. While I was too scared to use my quirk for more than a few seconds at a time, Midoriya fearlessly let his quirk break his bones in order to pursue his dream. Midoriya could only do these things because he looked far ahead, while I only focused on the pain of now. I only recently worked up the courage to befriend Midoriya, but I have always wanted to tell him how much he has inspired me to work harder. In a way, I am very thankful for this assignment, and perhaps I can give a copy of this essay to Midoriya so that he can finally know how much he means to me.” Aoyama winked as he finished reading the last sentence.

Well, one good thing about the forced readings was that Aoyama was able to save paper and just speak his feelings out loud rather than printing them off again to give to Midoriya. Always a bright side.

As Aoyama took his seat Uraraka glanced over to Midoriya. Predictably he was bright red, arms up and attempting to shield his face. In front of him Bakugo looked like he was either shaking in muffled laughter or thinly suppressed rage. Probably both at the same time.

Aizawa reached into his box of torture and the Gods selected the next sacrifice. “Todoroki, looks like you’re next.”

Uraraka looked down to the offending essay on her desk. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as she thought? Maybe Aoyama had gushed about Midoriya way more obviously than anything she had written? She honestly couldn’t remember what all she put in. As she tried to skim over her essay, she noticed that Todoroki hadn’t begun speaking yet. She looked up to the front of the classroom, but Todoroki wasn’t even up there yet. Glancing toward Todorki’s seat, she felt her eyes widen at his appearance.

Todoroki’s skin was so pale that he looked like a corpse. There was a far-off, dead look in his eyes that worsened the effect.

“Now we’re doing fine time-wise, but anytime today you’d like to get up here, Todoroki?” Aizawa drawled.

Todoroki opened his mouth and closed it a couple of times. “Aizawa-sensei,” he said robotically, “I seem to have forgotten to do the assignment due today.”

Aizawa looked unimpressed. “Todoroki, your essay is right there on your desk in front of you.”

Todoroki looked down, seemingly baffled. “Oh. Um. My dog ate my homework?”

Aizawa put his head in his hands and sighed. “Again, your essay is literally sitting on your desk in front of you.”

Todoroki made a sound as though he had just understood a very difficult math problem. “Pass,” he said confidently.

Aizawa still had his head in his hands. “You can’t just ‘pass’, Todoroki. Quit wasting my time.”

Todoroki still hadn’t moved from his chair. “Aizawa-sensei, I would like to request a failing grade for this assignment.”

“Just get up here before I expel you!”

For a second Todoroki looked like he was actually considering letting Aizawa expel him. Fortunately Todoroki finally decided to get up, walking to the front with a death grip around his essay.

Looking as though he would rather be kidnapped by the League of Villains, Todoroki began to read. “My hero--” he brought the paper up to completely cover his face, “My hero is… Midoriya Izuku.”

Aizawa rolled his eyes so forcefully that he almost fell backwards off his chair.

“Before I fought Midoriya in the sports festival, I refused to use my left side. From the time I was six all the way until a few months ago, I rejected it in order to reject my father.”

Huh. Of course Uraraka knew that Todoroki was Endeavor’s son and that Todoroki only used his ice before the sports festival, but she had never given it much thought. Endeavor always came off as super standoffish in interviews, but for the first time she wondered what kind of father he was like to Todoroki. Uraraka found Todoroki’s speech fascinating so far, but both Aizawa and Todoroki looked like they regretted everything that led them to this moment.

“Through his actions and his words during our fight, Midoriya was able to remind me that the fire is my power and what separates me from my father is what I use that power for. Midoriya reminded me that my first priority is becoming a cool hero, not spiting my father. He reminded me that the best heroes don’t get hung up on weird principles that affect their work. They focus on saving people. And again during the licensing exam, Midoriya was the one who snapped me out of my petty, self-centered behavior. I hadn’t even realized I’d fallen back into my old bad habits, but there he was.”

By this point Todoroki looked like he was in actual physical pain. His words became more and more stilted.

“No matter how big or small the moment, Midoriya always swoops in to save me from myself. Seemingly unsolvable problems were completely broken apart by him. Knowing him has completely changed my life. I don’t think I would have been able to become a hero in the end if Midoriya hadn’t help me find my way back to the right path. If I save anyone in the future, it’s only because Midoriya saved me first.”

Looking up to the heavens, Todoroki paused as though begging for death. Merciful release from the mortal realm did not come.

“Midoriya was my first friend, and I honestly cannot imagine anyone who I’d rather have by my side. I hope to someday be there for him the way he continues to be for me. I hope to become a cool hero like him.”

The final stage of grief: acceptance. Todoroki took a deep breath and monotoned the final line.

“I want to be his hero too.”

Todoroki walked woodenly back to his chair. Midoriya had turned a violent shade of red and was not so subtly attempting to push his face as hard as physically possible into his desk without breaking it. Bakugo looked absolutely ready to throw down.

Excited whispers still flitted across the room as the next victim (Iida) marched up front. If nothing else, this God-forsaken day had brought them an incredible Vulneroki (Vulnerable Todoroki) moment to look back on and fondly reminisce about. Hey remember that time the class heartthrob essentially confessed to plain Midoriya in front of the class and everyone had to hold in their squeals? Classic shoujo manga moment.

The class’s chatter only died down when they noticed that Iida was almost as red as Midoriya. Despite his flustered appearance, Iida stated in a strong and confident voice, “I also wrote about Midoriya.”

Aizawa groaned, “This is beginning to feel like a punishment game.”

Iida swiveled his head toward Aizawa, a look of hope dawning his face for a brief moment. It was not to last.

“Just get on with it Iida.”

“Right,” Iida nodded with a perfect, confident voice as the light in his eyes died. “Midoriya Izuku is my hero as well as my dearest friend. During a very difficult time in my life, he was there for me. However, I rejected his help. Any normal friend might have given up on me, but Midoriya didn’t. Midoriya recognized that I needed saving even when I myself could not see it. I could not see how far I’d strayed from the path of the hero. Even though I had attempted to push him away, he still came running. He saved not only my life, but my heart. Midoriya works harder than anyone else in the class, but he always takes the time to help out a friend in need. He’s very observant, but sometimes a little too reckless. It’s both an admirable and dangerous quality that he is completely prepared to hurt himself in order to help others. He is not the perfect hero yet, so until that day comes, I will protect him. I will do everything in my power to prevent him from succumbing to his own self-sacrificing nature. Even if he pushes me away someday, I will continue to meddle. Because that’s what Midoriya taught me. That’s what it means to be a hero.”

Tears welled up in Iida’s eyes, and whether they were due to the emotional impact of his speech or the sheer embarrassment of the moment was anyone’s guess. “Midoriya and I will save each other when one of us goes too far. My dream is for us to become the best heroes—together.”

Head down, Iida lurched back to his seat. Uraraka absently thought that someone should check Midoriya’s pulse. He hadn’t moved an inch since the end of Todoroki’s speech.

Instead of reaching into the box for the next name, Aizawa sighed and looked out at the class. “Okay, how many other people wrote about Midoriya?”

Uraraka raised her hand slowly and glanced around. She had no idea if it was even a surprise at this point, but a handful of other students had raised their hands. For the first time in his life, Bakugo looked like he was too angry to even speak. Uraraka thought he might even pass out from the intense rage.

Aizawa looked so very tired. “Let’s just get all the Midroriya speeches out of the way.”

The identity of the next student to present actually was surprising, not so much the contents of his speech though.

“Midoriya is my hero because he spent the entire licensing exam fooling around with a naked, older girl but he still managed to pass. What an absolute legend.”

Suddenly and violently revived, Midoriya stood up at his desk. “Mineta-kun! I told you that was a misunderstanding!”

“Mineta, sit down. You fail.”

“WHY?”

Because.”

Next up, Tokoyami gave what would have been a very sweet speech about how Midoriya can make anyone feel good about themselves due to his sheer enthusiasm over any and all quirks, if Dark Shadow hadn’t spent the entire time in raucous laughter, that is.

Asui gave a poignant speech on how even when his classmates told Midoriya that he was wrong, he took their concerns into consideration but sill did what he ultimately thought was right. Midoriya was a hero to Asui because even though she said something hurtful in order to stop him, he thanked her and validated her concerns. He did what he could to save others, but he was able to learn from his previous mistakes and do what he felt was right without putting himself or others in unnecessary danger.

“A true hero compromises on details, not ideals,” finished Asui.

Finally, it was Uraraka’s turn. By this point she was actually excited to give her speech. As one of Midoriya’s best friends it would have probably been more embarrassing not to have written about him. Besides, her speech was pretty tame compared to Todoroki’s and Iida’s.

“Midoriya Izuku is my hero because no one else has inspired me the way he has. Although I was always somewhat ashamed of my reason for wanting to be a hero, Deku-kun told me that my goal was as admirable as anyone else’s. Knowing him and seeing him work hard every day with a single-minded focus on his goal of ‘becoming a hero who saves people with a smile’ has inspired me. My dream is so much bigger now than what it started as. I want to be like Deku-kun and put everything I have on the line for the sake of my dream. I want to be the best hero, one that never gives up!”

On her way back to her seat Uraraka locked eyes with Midoriya. He looked a little embarrassed but gave her a shy smile. Uraraka beamed back. It was nice that her speech was able to make Midoriya smile without destroying him like the others did.

Wait.

Uraraka’s eyes frantically darted around the class as she sized up her classmates. Didn’t Midoriya seem way more moved by some of the other speeches? Sure there was a slight flush on his face after her speech, but he was red from head to toe after some of the speeches! Perhaps she had been focused on the wrong thing this entire time. Instead of worrying about not embarrassing herself in front of Midoriya, she should have really been worried about her place in an apparently class-wide competition for Midoriya’s heart. How could she compete with someone like Todoroki? Even Iida had dealt a surprisingly intense blow to Midoriya’s heart. His dream was to be a hero with Midoriya, not just at the same time as him!

Although she was sitting in a pose of defeat—head in her hands and staring blankly at her now essay-less desk—Uraraka felt a flame of determination burning deep in her heart. No matter what the topic of her next essay was, she would find a way to gush about Midoriya. She would out-gush every single one of her classmates. Next time, it would be her essay that killed Midoriya with feelings!

Go big or go home.