Their return to the bar was especially undignified since the warp gates carried momentum. Kurogiri almost landed on his charge but since Shigaraki Tomura was cursing and waving his hands, blind to the not decayable proofed people around him, survival instinct allowed the bartender to stay upright in extremis.
''Fuck !'' Shigaraki yelled.
Kurogiri started walking, not even to get away from Shigaraki Tomura, but to burn through the adrenaline still running through his veins. He needed to convince himself All Might wasn't about to crush him between his fists. And for his brain to realize that no kid with feverish eyes was about to run through him.
A prouder man would have trouble admitting he ran away because of a child. However, a prouder man wouldn't have lived as long as Kurogiri.
''So... I take it didn't go well ?'' a deep and horribly familiar voice asked.
Kurogiri froze, a foot still in the air. At the same time, Shigaraki Tomura got eerily quiet.
The TV in the bar was on, and someone was watching them, undoubtedly curious about why seventy villains went out and only two came back.
This is about to be one awkward conversation.
Fortunately, Kurogiri wasn't the leader of this league.
''We got crushed,'' Shigaraki admitted. ''I was shot, both arms and both legs... He got Noumu too. Our canon fodder was taken down in a flash... Even the kids were strong...'' He raised his head, still trying not to move because of his wounds. ''The symbol of Peace, is in perfect health. You were wrong, Sensei,'' he added with an uncharacteristic since he was addressing the man he adored.
''No, I wasn't,'' Sensei said, absolute.
''What of our creation ?'' the Doctor asked, clearly more interesting in his bio engineered weapon than details like bullet wounds. ''Did you retrieve Noumu ?''
''He was sent flying. And without precise coordinates, no amount of warping could let us find him. I just didn't have the time to look for him.''
Not when the place was infested with heroes and cops.
Predictably, the good doctor wasn't comprehensive about the disaster that fell upon them.
''Do you have any idea how much trouble we went to make him as strong as All Might ?''
''It's a shame,'' Sensei commented flatly.
''He wasn't as strong as All Might !'' Shigaraki Tomura complained. ''A kid managed to fight him. A kid as strong and as fast the Noumu.''
Kurogiri sensed the sudden shift of interest and he preferred to keep Sensei focused on someone with an interesting quirk rather than on their abject failure.
''A first year with a enhancer quirk similar to All Might. He was fast, strong, and managed to survive being hit by Noumu. Also, he might have something to block pain. He was almost at a pro-level.''
''Another one who walked into the path created by fools.''
He seemed more annoyed that interested, but it was true than simple quirks like strength and speed must not have seemed that interesting compared to the variety of quirks Sensei had access to. Especially since simple quirks were favored by heroes.
''It was just a green runt,'' Shigaraki commented, not happy to see them interested by the first year.
''If he hadn't been here...'' Shigaraki continued, ''We could have killed All Might.... That damn brat.''
''No use over crying over spilled milk,'' Sensei gently advised him. ''This endeavor was not a complete loss.''
Like every time Sensei addressed Shigaraki Tomura, the young man focused his whole attention on him, mesmerized by the presence of his mentor.
Even as he was bleeding on the floor.
''Find stronger troops. Take all the time you need. Get stronger. Because for now, as we can't move freely, we need a symbol like you. And next time, the world will know of the terror you represent.''
Somewhere in the United States of America, Doctor Tsubasa was quite perplexed about how this mission had turned into such a fiasco.
And why was Shigaraki soaked to the bone ?
''Do you really think he is ready to be a good successor ? This wasn't a frank suc...''
''We're going to Japan,'' Sensei said as he got up and left the terminal.
The Doctor blinked, but he was suddenly alone, and no explanation came to mind.
''WHAT ?'' he still asked to the sudden void Sensei had left.
Hizashi was exhausted, grumpy, and angry. He had a recording in a hour, which he had already delegated to a friend, and he needed Shouta to be OK quickly. Instead, his roommate was finally catching back all his sleep hours in the infirmary, covered in bandages. Internal bleeding, broken ribs, several fractures on his arms, and a concussion.
It could have been worse. It could have been so much worse. He had watched the video feed, for there were cameras everywhere at the USJ in order to monitor the kids, and if Midoriya hadn't intervened when he did, Shouta would be dead, and students would have followed.
''Well, congratulations. You managed to protect all of your students and to get out alive after diving into a pool of villains,'' Hizashi mocked him.
He would be proud later. Now, he was just annoyed because his friend was hurt, and a thousands of questions were swirling in his head.
When will he wake up ? Will he be alright ? Will he heal fully or will he have to live with the remnants of his injuries for the rest of his hero career ?
How did they know All Might would be here ? The students had been warned last, so it couldn't come from a tweet or something, or the villains wouldn't have the time to plan this whole operation. And they planned it since All Might teaches third years most of the time. First years on their third days were easier to handle than students who had two years to hone their skills. Worse, they managed to hack UA's security system. We weren't warned until Tensei's brother arrived, so they also did something to our communication system...
His attention was distracted as he saw that amidst the sea of white bandages that had become Shouta's face, his eyes were now open, and the sight if it was terrifying. Red, blood-filled eyes which seemed to have seen a truth no mortal was supposed to know, and know the weight of it would haunt them forever.
Relief flooded him at the same time he was dealing with the death glare that was Shouta's default expression. He opened his mouth to tell him how relieved and happy he was.
''IT'S ALIVE !'' he screamed instead.
… Close enough.
Katsuki went straight to his room as soon as he got home. His parents were still at work, so he would have peace until they turned on a television. Then, phone calls and screams would happen.
''You want to be a hero, don't you ? Well, time to make hard decisions. Will you let this brat die to arrest the villains ?
The words kept echoing in his mind. During the whole fight against the ugly motherfucker, he had been frustrated to be stuck as the warper's babysitter, but when Hair for days had been taken hostage...
Katsuki let himself fall on his bed, watching his hand. He always had been the biggest fish in the pond until he came to UA, but today had proved he was starting to become average. While Deku and Half and Half was fighting a real villain, a villain who had made fucking All Might paused of all people, he was stuck where he was but it wasn't the worse.
If All Might hadn't arrived, Katsuki would have let the misty fucker go. He knew it wouldn't save Kirishima but he wasn't ready to watch him get tortured to death in front of him.
If All Might hadn't arrived when he did, he would have doomed them all because he didn't find another solution.
He chuckled, frustration eating him alive.
Deku would have found something. The nerd didn't even seemed worried.
Why didn't you threaten to explode your own hostage ?
Would Handy McUgly have cared ?
It couldn't have hurt.
Some part of him knew why. If he killed anyone with his quirk, it would stick to him all his life. Hero students had been expelled for less and no one had any patience for vigilantes. It was the ultimate dark stain on one's record.
Not that Deku and Half and Half seemed to care. They were lucky their villain had regeneration. Though, with how Deku was hurt, he would probably have a pass for lashing out in self defense.
It was also supposed to be the last confirmation he needed. Somehow, he had been wrong about his quirk, even if he could still picture green flames, the same as Deku's eyes when he was talking about quirks. It pissed him off to think he had invented the memory, but if he had this quirk, he would have used it to keep his arm from being crushed like a toothpaste tub.
Still, he grabbed his phone and called someone from his old band. The only other one who had entered at a hero school, in the west. He had to remember Deku.
He picked up the phone at the second ring.
''Who else ?''
''… It's just that I don't think you ever called me.''
Why would he ?
''It won't take long. I just need to know if you remember what was Deku's quirk.''
''… Deku ?'' he asked in a strange voice. ''Izu-chan ?''
''Small, green hair, could never shut up about quirks,'' Katsuki confirmed.
There was another pause.
''Bakugou, it was so long ago... I just don't remember.''
''Thanks for nothing, Tsubasa.''
He hung up.
It wasn't like he really needed a confirmation anyway.
At UA, still in costume, Minoru finished throwing up in the toilet. He thought he had nothing left to give but the fear in his guts disagreed.
People had tried to kill him.
He had almost died.
His legs were shaking when he got up.
Minoru wasn't like Midoriya, Todoroki, or Bakugou. Damn, he wasn't even like Asui. His alter sucked. He wasn't brave. And when someone tried to kill him, he got scared !
I didn't sign up for this.
''Mineta ?'' Shouji asked. ''Are you OK ?''
He wiped his mouth and got out. Shouji was waiting for him, and so was Asui since it was an unisex bathroom.
He almost cried when he saw they had stayed behind to make sure he was alright.
Even though he wasn't.
Inko draped herself in her dark red shawl, enjoying the comfort of something she had in her possession for a decade, and she took a deep breath.
He is fine.
Izuku was soundly sleeping in his bed, surrounded by All Might posters and figurines, and half dead to the world. Oh, he could answer when he was talked to and he had acknowledged Inko's presence, but that was all.
Her son was a boy with incredible tenacity and stamina, but once he was stopped, he had to bear the full drawback of his vitality. He didn't catch common cold and cough for a few days, but he stayed in bed for three days with fever. When he overused his quirk, he didn't stop because he was tired like most people, but continued until he was done, then his whole body shut down, forcing him to rest.
Izuku was powerful. She never asked how many quirks he had, but when he used them inside the house, it was natural, as if it was just an extension of his will. She never achieved such level of control and she only had one quirk.
And if he was that tired, it meant it was no small incident.
There were times where she would have given anything for Izuku to have the same quirk as hers. And still to this day, she worried about him being a hero. It meant putting himself in danger. Drawing attention to him.
She checked on him again. He seemed even younger than he really was. He was still in uniform, though his jacket was on the floor and he was holding his tie in his hand. She wanted to wake him up, to talk to him and to make sure he was OK, but it would be selfish when he so obviously needed to rest.
She went back to the living room and she switched on the TV, wanting something to distract her from very dark thoughts.
She missed Hisashi. Inko had never been scared with him at her side.
Despite what his mother affirmed, Izuku wasn't in a coma after a quirk overuse. He was conscious enough to be vaguely aware of his surroundings and greatly grateful that no one tried to interact with him in those moments.
He woke up the next morning, a message on his phone indicating that today's lessons were cancelled, but since he was smelling coffee, he dragged himself out of bed. His mom was already eating breakfast and she smiled when she saw him walking wrapped in his blanket.
Izuku expected her to be frantic and ready to reconsider his whole schooling at UA, but she was quite calm. Maybe because she had the time to process what had happened, maybe because it was early in the morning, so neither of them were truly awake. They were just good at pretending.
In the end, she only wanted to know three things.
Were you in danger ?
Yes, he had been. Villains had attacked and they hadn't cared that they were kids.
Were you a target ?
No, he had only be a nuisance. They had been after All Might.
Did you put yourself unnecessarily in danger ?
No, he hadn't. Every time he had taken a risk, if had been strictly necessary.
She looked like she wanted to ask something else, but in the end, refrained to do so, and Izuku didn't comment on it. She simply explained she had to go to work, though she could stay in he wanted.
He told her he was alright and not to worry about him.
She asked he didn't spend the day alone, so he called Nagisa, who told him to come at her place this afternoon.
An emergency meeting had been programmed to talk about what happened at the USJ and no one expected to see Aizawa-kun here, and Toshinori was no exception. His colleague was covered in bandages, moved like a mummy, actually looked like a mummy, and nothing could explain how he was not collapsing, except maybe sheer will.
Next to him, Present Mic looked desperate but resigned to his fate.
To make things worse, Tsukauchi didn't have good news.
''Shigaraki Tomura had a quirk that allows him to decay anything he touched. However, he isn't on the record dedicated to men between twenty and thirty years old. The same can be said about Kurogiri. They live in the shadows, undeclared.''
''So we don't know anything about them,'' Vlad King summarized.
Snipe sighed: ''We have to act fast or as soon as he is healed, we will have to face him again.''
Shigaraki Tomura. A man who had led a team of villains into UA to attack All Might himself.
''The leader...'' Toshinori accidentally said out loud.
''What it is ?'' Nedzu asked.
''No sane people would take so much risks. As soon as I arrived, he started to taunt me. He even revealed the noumu's abilities, and I have the impression he was showing off. And when things turned for the worst for him, he became hysterical.''
And Young Midoriya's mere presence seemed to have riled him up.
Oh God, Young Midoriya. What was left of his stomach dropped every time he thought about what had almost happened. Not only had he been almost killed, but the worse was that his intervention had been necessary. If he hadn't jumped in, Aizawa-kun would probably be dead.
Toshinori had watched the videos of the USJ and this time, he didn't see All for One, but only a terrified child. A child who had almost died again and again but who had kept fighting, despite a broken arm.
Most people thought adrenaline shut off the pain. It was a lie. Fear of death was a much stronger motivator. When to stop meant to die, everything became secondary. You just pushed through the pain, through the fear, and went at every obstacle in front of you.
Toshinori remembered it vividly.
''Still, he would have to be insane to reveal everything about his trump card,'' Nedzu declared, his voice clearing Toshinori's memories.
The more he thought about Shigaraki Tomura, and the more uncomfortable he was. He had met a lot of people. Villains usually didn't wake up one morning and decided to be evil. They just stopped abiding by the rules until hurting people was worth it in order to attain their goals.
But Shigaraki was the opposite.
''He is a manchild who think he is entitled to everything he wants,'' he thought out loud.
''Children usually don't decide to murder a bunch of people,'' Vlad King said.
''He probably didn't assist to the quirk lessons when he was a child,'' Midnight noticed.
She would know.
Those lessons were about helping children controlling their quirks but also to make them understand that everyone was equal despite what quirk they could have.
Not that Toshinori ever assisted to one.
''It's concerning to see those people following what amount to a child,'' Tsukauchi-kun noticed. ''Criminals have a rough life because of the symbol of the peace. And until now, this is the first time in decades villains formed a league of their own.''
''And children were targeted,'' Snipe added.
Toshinori gulped down. They could have been killed, but they didn't even have a licence to hide behind so they could use their full strength. Since they were told since birth that using their quirk was illegal, and since the hero system had no patience for Vigilante, this was a miracle they had been able to fight efficiently.
Though, if Young Todoroki and Young Midoriya had seriously injured anyone, they would have never faced the consequences.
A villain broke his neck when he was punched with super strength ? I deeply regret it, but as I was fighting to protect my students and my colleagues and I had to use my full power. Indeed, it's a shame.
A villain was impaled by an ice spear ? Yes, I can confirm that Aizawa used Young Todoroki's remains of his escape as an unconventional weapon. He truly had no choice.
It was probably a good thing Young Bakugou had been busy securing Black Mist. It was hard to explain away wounds provoked by explosions.
Nagisa had been strangely enthusiastic at the idea of letting him spend the afternoon at her house. Not that they didn't spent time together, but... they just did, simply hanging out, doing their own activities in the same room. And Nagisa was always stoic about it.
He should have smelled the trap. He should have sense the abyss opening under his feet, but even he couldn't imagine the depths of such a betrayal. But he had willingly walked into the spider's den, and once he did, it was too late to escape.
Three spider shaped toddlers dropped the diverse sharpies, tablets, and other toys they were holding when they saw him arrive and Nagisa closed the door behind Izuku before he had the time to flee.
''I might have found a new quirk for you,'' she whispered into her ear as if there weren't three children climbing on the wall to get closer to Izuku. ''An electrical one.''
Quirk... No, shameless bribe.
''Children,'' Izuku answered.
He even pointed in case she didn't notice them.
''They are my nephews and niece. Actually, they are my cousin's children, but that's not important. What is important is that I have a paper to finish and I need help.''
Izuku was an only child. He had no little cousins either, nothing that could have prepared him to deal with tiny humans, or anything close to it.
''I survived death, and your cousins are going to finish me.''
''Don't be dramatic, Bug. Also, can you sign ?''
Izuku could sign but his skills were rusty. It had been a secondary language all around the world since quirks had appeared and people with mutations did not always have vocal cords or jaws which agreed with oral language.
The three little tornadoes where named Hisano, Itsuku, and Rin. Hisano never actually walked on the floor while Izuku was here, and was incredibly enthusiast about everything, which was adorable. Itsuku and Rin were brother and sister, Itsuku a bright little girl who kept asking, well signing, questions to Izuku, and Rin, a year older than the others at eight years old, was extremely dignified for what was essentially a baby. Also, he was the one who had the less spiderish features, with only a few more eyes than usual on his face.
There was some awkward moments, like when Itsuku asked if Izuku was Nagisa's boyfriend, and they both almost had a heart attack. Also, the teasing about Izuku's clothes was relentless, especially as every Shirubakumo seemed to be wearing Fashion Week worthy outfits.
The other things that gave trouble to Izuku was the signing in itself. He used to speak it fluently in America, but had lost some of his skills since he was back in Japan. It was complicated by the fact that even if the sign language they were talking was supposed to be universal, like every language, there was an accent, and in some cases, words that were probably invented, and Izuku couldn't exactly read their face to understand them better. Of course, the advantage was that he caught back a lot of skills in one afternoon.
The kids also realized that, contrary to almost anyone in their family, Izuku couldn't see what they were doing behind his back. Chaos ensued.
But the providence smiled at him when he asked who were their favorite heroes and they all answered Gang Orca. Nagisa could never have predicted the maelstrom of squee it would produce, and she quickly sought asylum on the ceiling while movies were watched, games were played, and furious conversations about how great Gang Orca were talked.
Izuku also shamelessly took advantage of it. Since he was moving quickly through the house, he frequently got stuck in the webs and he only had to call for help for three tiny heroes to save him. And when he took a quick nap on the couch while he thought they were distracted by an All Might movie, he couldn't even blame them for webbing him.