There were several things which could lead to an incredible awkward situation.
Izuku losing it, and dramatically declaring to his opponent that he couldn't beat him right before Todoroki proved him wrong, was one.
Izuku being surprised by the explosion, while he was mid-air with no possibility of anchoring himself, then losing sight of the edge of the arena, was another. Though he was ready to admit it was because Todoroki had out maneuvered him.
And finally, being in the same room with the boy who had almost stopped his heart, was the last but not the least.
Todoroki and Izuku had both been admitted to the infirmary and they hadn't said more than two words ever since. Recovery Girl had pestered non-stop after Todoroki had been found face down by the assisting robots, but she had fixed him. She had also given a UA sweater to Izuku, wrapped him in several blankets and gave him a steaming mug of hot cocoa. Then, she had asked -threatened- them both to rest as she took care of a second year with bad burns.
Ever since that moment, the lingering silence was so thick Izuku could have cut it with a spoon. What was he even supposed to say ? Sorry I freaked out and broke several of your bones ? Nice fight ? Your quirk is amazing and I hope you consider using your flames someday ?
His mug was empty, so he walked to the little Nespresso machine on Recovery Girl's desk, made another hot cocoa, and added a decent amount of sugar.
After a hesitation, he grabbed another mug.
''Todoroki, do you want a hot chocolate ?'' he asked.
The awkward silence turned into something more surprised.
''Yes ?'' Todoroki answered, unsure.
So Izuku prepared another one, put half the amount of sugar he usually used, barely noticeable, really, and brought it to Todoroki who sat up and put his hands around the ceramic. Izuku, who was holding his own mug by the handle, noticed how Todoroki wasn't afraid to burn himself.
But Todoroki didn't drink, preferring to stare at Izuku. And Izuku stared back, unable to not notice that Todoroki looked like hell. His eyes were feverish, dark circles underlines them, and he was pale. Recovery Girl's quirk took its toll on her patients.
''So you're not injured,'' Todoroki said, his voice devoid of any intonation. ''At all.''
Izuku nodded as he sat and sipped his beverage. Unlike Todoroki, the only damage he received was because of the hypothermia, and because of that, Recovery Girl couldn't use her quirk without taking resources he desperately needed since the only thing to do for him was to warm up.
What had saved him was the activation of every Speed quirks he had. He had used them to vibrate and bring his core temperature to something acceptable, had stubbornly refused to pass out, and had broken every piece of ice in his way with Strength and Durability.
He wasn't keen on repeating the experience.
But Todoroki obviously wasn't finished.
''You don't become so good at using your quirk without training every day for years.'' He glanced at Izuku who didn't deny it. ''Do you really train so much because of your admiration for All Might ?''
Izuku understood why he was asking. Most people wouldn't devote so much time at training their quirks. Todoroki was forced to, while Izuku sought refuge in it.
Though he still wanted to know how Todoroki could have thought he was a lost child.
''It's not about All Might'' Not completely. ''It's because I like quirks. There is a point when I use it where everything is peaceful and exhilarating at the same time.
There was nothing like letting himself immerse into a quirk, any quirk, and letting anything else go. Anxiety, fear, doubts, everything was gone and there was only absolute certainty.
''I see exactly what you're talking about,'' Todoroki said.
Maybe he was talking about their fight, or something that happened before, but Izuku was certain it was when he was using both his flames and his ice.
''You say you like quirks,'' Todoroki abruptly added, changing the subject. ''Is that why you were angry that I didn't use my flames ?''
''I wasn't angry.''
If Todoroki had been a little less stoical, he would have raised an eyebrow, but despite that, he still managed to convey how utterly unconvinced he was.
You decided to lash out. You took the decision to use more strength that you would normally do, consequences be damned. Isn't that anger ? Frustration ? Fear ? All of that comes to the same place.
Izuku drank some of his hot cocoa to give himself the time to think about it, but all he found out was that he didn't really want to know.
''When you talked to me, I didn't have the words. I still don't have them. But I know a thing or two about quirks, and I think that's why I pushed you, though I didn't quite realize it at the time.''
Todoroki didn't look like he was too annoyed with him, so Izuku continued, the words crashing into each other like every time he wanted to explain something but was afraid that he wouldn't have his interlocutor's attention for long.
''Your quirk allows you to regulate your temperature by using your left side when you draw ice, and your right side when you use fire. Since those protections are dependent on an equilibrium, and protect you when your resistance to extreme temperatures fails, this is the proof that you actually have one quirk and not two....''
''Do you have a point ?'' Todoroki interrupted him but he sounded more amused than annoyed, which was a more positive reaction than what Izuku was used to.
He quickly went back to the point. ''What I am trying to say is that your power is your own. You don't have your father's quirk and your mother's quirk. Since I presume they can still use them, they didn't pass it on to you. You have something new, that only belongs to you. So hating it made no sense.''
This seemed to strike a cord this time, and Todoroki stayed silent for a while. At one point, he raised the mug to his lips and started to drink.
And his whole face did something. It was extremely quick, but for just this moment, he lost all the usual stoicism.
Todoroki put the mug down, and stared at him.
''Hmm ?'' Izuku braced himself.
''I think you forgot to put the chocolate milk in the sugar.''
''Does Midoriya Izuku have more than one quirk ?'' Gran Torino asked.
Toshinori gulped down.
He had made a promise to Young Midoriya, and as much as he respected his teacher, he couldn't break it now.
''I... I can't answer that.''
''So that's a yes.''
Izuku had decided that he needed to go back to the tribunes, if only to escape Todoroki and Recovery Girl, his mug still in hand, when he realized he had ignored his phone for far too long.
His mother hadn't called, or sent any messages, which didn't mean this was good news.
However, Nagisa had done her best to crash his inbox, and the last two messages were slightly ominous.
N: [If you don't call me as soon as you receive this message,
I will send every spider I know into your bed.
N: [Don't test me.]
Izuku, who was about to watch the next match, ran outside the building until he was sure he was alone and called Nagisa back. She might not have the quirk but she had the network for it.
''YOU IDIOT !'' Nagisa screamed so loud Izuku had to get the phone away from his ear. ''You scared me ! How did you get out of the ice ?''
Izuku took a moment before he answered, fighting against the pain inside his skull. His headaches fed on light and loud sounds, and Nagisa had just thrown a buffet at them. "Speed to generate friction and warmth, then I just had to think about sunny things and break the ice." It had been far from enjoyable and he had been hanging on his consciousness like a man desperately trying to get a hold of a wet soap bar. ''I thought you didn't like watching the Sport Festival ?''
He had actually counted on that.
''I do when I know someone participating in this travesty. It's even more interesting when the person I know jumps on mines, and creates explosion with some fancy legacy kid. It's a good thing that you're so durable.''
Izuku quietly sipped his remaining hot cocoa, which was bordering on lukewarm. My mouth is full so I can't talk and dig my grave deeper.
''So you're okay ?'' she asked, wanting a real confirmation and not Izuku's exquisite explanations about multiple quirks use.
''Will the Todoroki boy be a problem ?''
''Why would he be a problem ?''
''Because sometimes, people who come from old families with powerful quirks don't like to realize they aren't as powerful as they thought. And sometimes,'' she added, her voice low and something dark roaming underneath, ''They can be vicious.''
There was a story here, and it wasn't difficult to guess what had happened.
But Nagisa didn't pause on it, of course. To her, the past shall remain in the past, and she wouldn't have mentioned it if it wasn't to make sure Izuku was safe, so she continued, making sure to cross her t's and to dot her i's.
''Did you call your mom ?''
… And finding exactly what Izuku had been pushing away.
''Is there a reason why you didn't ?''
He wasn't going to avoid this. He could feel it.
''She wasn't comfortable with me being in the Sport Festival,'' he finally admitted, to himself and to her. ''But I begged and got what I wanted. I took so many risks, and I have nothing to show for it. It's not easy to call her and talk to her right after I messed up.''
Izuku knew his mother loved him, and that if he really wanted something, she would accept it. So he had pushed, blinded by how much fun he would have in an environment where quirks could be used freely and in flashy ways.
But it wasn't all.
Izuku stared in front of him, taking a deep breath.
He had lost and he hated it, while he had only himself to blame.
Calling his mother now would mean to hide how disappointed he was, to hide any sign of distress, and he... He just didn't want to do that right now. He just needed some time to hide those feelings in the place where he put everything he didn't want to acknowledge.
It would be fine. Eventually.
A sigh was heard at the another end of the line, a perfect distraction for Izuku not to linger on his feelings.
''You're even more nonsensical than usual, Midoriya,''
''You finished first at the race,'' she reminded him slowly with the tone one would take while talking to a small child or a fool. ''You qualified during the cavalry battle. And for the tournament, you destroyed one recommended student in five seconds and you basically beat the son of the number 2.''
''I didn't,'' Izuku reminded her in case she had missed the moment when he had the clear memory of realizing he was out-of-bounds, and lost because he hadn't been careful.
Nagisa snorted. ''You didn't have a scratch and it's a miracle the poor boy managed to walk out on his two feet. Any pro hero worth the name knows who would win in a real fight.''
''Nagisa...'' he called, not liking what the was saying. It was invalidating Todoroki's victory, which was unfair.
''Don't Nagisa me. You achieved several things for which you should be proud of, and instead, you're focusing on the fact that you didn't finish number one. This is insane. Learn to draw satisfaction from the good thing you manange to do instead of only settling for perfection.''
This last phrase didn't sound like an advice and more like an order.
From the corner of his eye, Minoru was watching Midoriya. The lucky bastard was surrounded by girls fussing over him -actually, only Uraraka and Asui but it was far too many for someone so plain faced. Yaoyorozu even made him sunglasses when he mentioned the light was hurting his eyes!
The green haired boy had went back to the tribunes, without a scratch despite surviving attacks which had destroyed the arena created by Cementos.
It was insane. Minoru had seen him in action at the USJ. He had seen him attacking the villains all by himself, until Asui had dragged him away the villain that had fallen into the water. And now, he had walked out from every attacks Todoroki had thrown at him and even a freaking explosion.
Minoru was realizing Midoriya was in a league of his own with Todoroki and even Bakugou. They had taken the idea of Plus Ultra and ran with it, because unlike Minoru, they could. They were powerful enough to unleash incredible quirks, strong enough to survive those powers, and that made them different from others. Hence, they could fight with each other, but Minoru and people like him would get crushed if they tried to go toe-to-toe with them.
He focused back on Bakugou's match who was about to start.
Some part of Minoru was a little relieved he didn't make the cut to the tournament.
Hitoshi knew that Bakugou was stronger than him. He had a perfectly flashy quirk that hero society loved, he wasn't afraid to use it, and he seemed more interested in fighting strong people than actually wanting to be a hero.
But that wasn't important next to his temper. Hostility was constantly simmering under Bakugou's skin and that was Hitoshi's only chance to win. Either people used anger or they were used by it, and he could take advantage of the latter.
Midnight gave the signal.
Hitoshi barely had the time open his mouth, let alone say a word, and the world was suddenly drowned in flames and violence. He went airborne, his ears ringing, and crashed into the ground.
He tried to get to his feet, and saw Bakugou who wasn't focusing on him anymore. Only there did Hitoshi realize what had happened. The shock of the explosion Bakugou has sent him flying out-of-bonds.
Just like that, he had lost, and with it, his hopes of joining the hero course.
Once upon a time, All for One was the one evil who didn't obey any rules. His quirks kept changing, his strength was unrivaled, and he seemed more like a chaotic entity which could only be fought but never defeated than a being of flesh and blood.
Until their last battle in California.
Nana had been the catalyst of this victory. Her death at the end of this monster had given unlimited strength to those who loved her. Never again, Toshinori and Gran Torino had decided. Never again would an One for All holder fall just after transfering this sacred torch.
For a horrible time, All for One's existence and the mission they had to defeat him was the only thing that allowed Gran Torino and Toshinori to keep going.
So when his teacher, after listening to his frantic story about a child who had the same quirk as the man he hated, talked in an extremely reasonable voice, Toshinori could hardly believe it.
''So, you met this boy who looks like All for One and you didn't think to call your teacher.''
Maybe he had dodged a bullet ?
''I can understand. After all, I am old. Decrepit. Useless now.''
''Then, you let him be enrolled in UA without telling anyone that something could be wrong. You told him about your quirk, which is the most guarded secret in the country. And you cleared him despite the fact he has the same quirk as this son of a bitch, because he is a good kid and because you checked his answers with your friend's quirk. Did I forget something ?''
Toshinori needed to deescalate the situation so his teacher wouldn't appear in UA to drop kick Young Midoriya while screaming ''Vade Retro.''
Though he probably wasn't that dramatic... Probably.
''The resemblance isn't that pronounced,'' Toshinori explained, though he almost winced when he remembered the picture Gran Torino had sent him. ''The same curls and something in the face, yes, but I am almost certain that what set us off was how he looks when he uses his quirk.''
Toshinori had been alarmed every time he had seen Young Midoriya actually using his quirk, and not because of his appearance. And since the young man seems to be attuned to powerful quirks, he had this feeling every time they were looking at each other.
''He told me he could sense others quirks, so this feeling of similarity, at least to me, seems to be more about the same manifestation of their quirks than physical resemblance. Even you became alarmed only after he was almost frozen alive and had to use the full extent of his quirk.''
''Quirks,'' Gran Torino reminded. ''Several quirks because he is able to take them like that his acquaintance of ours. Do you really think the son of a bitch didn't know ? That he wouldn't keep an eye on his bloodline ?''
Actually, Toshinori had thought about that, then desperately tried to avoid thinking about it.
''If he quickly went through... paramours, it's possible that he didn't notice that one... God, you get the idea !''
''Or he could be a sleeper agent. Someone who has a perfect quirk given to him so he could be a hero and infiltrate the higher spheres. He could be aiming for One for All since he appeared right when you're supposed to be searching for a successor.'' Guilt stabbed at Toshinori. ''It could be a plan left by All for One for beyond the grave.''
''He obtained his quirks by asking people who didn't want them anymore. Tsukauchi-kun confirmed it. And you don't know Young Midoriya. He is a hero in making.''
Of that, Toshinori had no doubt.
There was a long pause at the other end of the line. Toshinori started sweating, recognizing the calm before the storm.
''I want to meet him,'' Gran Torino finally declared.
All Might suddenly had a vivid remembrance of his old teacher training him until he was bruised, repeatedly sending him kiss the floor.
And Gran Torino had liked him.
There was no chance in Hell that he would let his teacher approach Young Midoriya if he thought he could be linked to All For One's nefarious plans from the afterlife.
''I won't allow it. He is a young hero in training who has to deal with enough stress without having to deal with someone realizing his true quirk and that he could be related to a villain. He is a child, as such, he had to be protected. You know that...''
''Don't be ridiculous,'' Gran Torino cut him off, admonishing his former student. ''I am not going to treat a kid as a villain just because he has the same quirk as this scumbag.''
It was fortunate that Toshinori wasn't standing because he would have dropped to the floor from sheer frustration.
''Didn't you just tell me how I was stupid for letting what is an obvious villain mole close to me ?'' he sighed, suddenly really tired by his teacher's antics.
''No, I was just illustrating how stupid and dangerous it was for you not to tell me anything. And since I am curious, I am going to offer him an internship.''
Hitoshi almost jumped out of his skin when the green-haired boy who had almost killed Endeavor's son appeared next to him in an oversized UA sweater and wearing sunglasses.
''Hi,'' Midoriya said with a shy smile as if he hadn't just appeared from nowhere. ''Do you have a minute ?''
''What do you want ?'' Hitoshi asked, ready to use his quirk.
Despite what his former classmates thought, he hadn't used his brainwashing ability more than a couple of times when he didn't have the authorization, and always when ''well-meaning'' people wanted to take care of a villain in the making. Even then, he didn't make them do anything, only stopping them in their tracks and leaving.
Though, he was completely aware that they were alone in the hallway, and that Midoriya could be extremely fast. A flashy and powerful quirk perfect to be a hero. If he really tried to hurt Hitoshi, he might not have the time to protect himself. Bakugou had proven that.
''First, I have to admit I was wondering about your quirk,'' Midoriya said because of course, he would, ''But now, I know that this is activated when people answer to you.''
Did he read my records ?
Hitoshi kept himself from asking because then, he would have to ask a question again to use his quirk, and he was starting to get creeped out by this boy who seemed completely calm after having destroyed the stadium in a fit of power.
But he didn't need to.
''I felt it when I answered your question,'' Midoriya explained as if it was obvious. ''Your quirk is cool and incredibly useful, but do you have a physical training apart from that ?''
Annoyance surged through Hitoshi. Here he went, this boy with the perfect quirk who had granted him a place in the hero course and an access to physical training and quirk analysis.
''Are you the one who told Bakugou not to let me talk ?'' he asked, surprised at this idea since he had thought the students in 1-A and 1-B would be too competitive to help each other at the festival.
Midoriya seemed amused by this. ''I didn't. He wouldn't listen to me and he didn't even need to. You used your quirk on Ojirou and Kishima who told us they didn't remember anything,'' he reminded Shinsou, though not on a patronizing tone. It was almost as if he was digging through his memory to remind himself of everything that had revealed Shinsou's quirk. ''After that, since we all saw Kirishima walking without a fight, it was easy to understand that you could hypnotize people, or something. Kacchan is hot-blooded but not stupid.''
Hitoshi decided that Midoriya was strange. Not because of how he had appeared but the total dissonance with the monster who had destroyed the arena and the boy who was gushing about quirks.
'' But I went to meet you to tell you about a girl named Hatsume Mei in the support department. She is very enthusiast about her inventions. Since your quirk is subtle, you could talk to her to have a support item because once your quirk is known, people will just have to shut up to counteract it. If you want, of course. I know that Hatsuma would love to work with a hero in trainin, and it's far less expensive that asking a company to create what you want.''
Hitoshi's mind immediately went to Eraserhead.
But that was too good to be true.
''Why are you telling me that ? Aren't you worried I will be able to beat you now that you have given me a way to neutralize my quirk's weakness ?''
Two questions, his quirk activated, because he wanted to see how Midoriya would react.
He wasn't disappointed.
Midoriya smiled at the idea, warmth reaching his eyes.
''It would be interesting, and if you're better than me... You will win.''
May the best win, Hitoshi remembered. Midoriya seemed quite relaxed and less competitive that one would assume from a 1-A student.
''As for why ?'' Midoriya continued, passing a hand though his hair. ''I don't know you, but you seemed like you really want to be a hero, and since the entrance exam was about fighting robots... Well, I think that anyone who wants to be a hero should be given the occasion to be one... Though that sounds conceited of me now that I'm saying out loud...''
Hitoshi listened to him tripping over his words, finally realizing why he felt so peculiar to him.
Everyone was worried about Hitoshi brainwashing them, even the people he knew. They couldn't get rid of the worry, of the doubt because in one question, Hitoshi could take their autonomy. But not Midoriya.
Maybe because there was someone who thought he could be a hero. Who had even called him a hero in training despite the fact he wasn't in the right class. And because, even if he was still disappointed and incredibly mad that he lost, he was starting to believe that his dream was still within reach.
Maybe he had failed this time, but... He wasn't giving up. He would show them he had what it took to make the hero course. And he would become a great hero.
On TV, Nagisa watched the Todoroki boy managing to win against Ingenium's brother just as he was about to be dragged out-of-bounds, obviously still exhausted.
He isn't going to win the tournament. Not after fighting Midoriya.
And she was right.
Todoroki and Bakugou fought, and at some point, Todoroki simply stopped responding. She heard someone screaming for him to keep fighting, desperately encouraging him, she saw some flame, but they disappeared as fast as they had appeared and ultimately, just as the Bakugou was about to unleash an impressive attack, he gave up.
But not early enough, and the human grenade managed to propel him out of the arena and knocked him unconscious.
Ultimately, it was a disappointing way to end UA Sport Festival, though Nagisa wasn't mad that people shared her lack of appreciation for the tournament. Especially for the first years, it was a just a modern gladiator games where kids with only three weeks of training fought each other for the pleasure of the plebs.
But right as Bakugou was declared the winner, things devolved. The boy who had landed face first on the ground of the arena got back on his feet, obviously upset. Screaming at his unconscious opponent.
Don't do that, kid.
In a fight, tempers could run hot and emotions go wild, especially for a child, but right now, the world was watching him and it was unforgiving.
She could see the disapproving gazes around them, her college classmates silently judging what they were seeing. Because it wasn't a behavior worthy of a hero.
Finally, Midnight didn't take the chance of letting calm down on his own -which he would have, for Nagisa could recognize frustration from hostility- and she put him to sleep just as the kid was starting to calm down.
The consequences of this mishandling could have been easily contained. That's what PR departments were for. People would be indulging towards a teenager with a heroic quirk. Bakugou had time to evolve.
But things went from bad to worse when someone had the bright idea of putting the winner on the Sport Festival on the podium, bound and muzzled as he was screaming and fighting like a rabid animal. The kid kept fighting and screaming like a lunatic even as All Might removed the thing on his mouth, and he kept screaming at the number 1 hero as the latter tried to give him his medal.
He didn't look like a sullen teenager. He didn't look like someone with blood knight tendencies.
He looked dangerous.
All trace of compassion and inner wincing vanished within Nagisa, replaced with pure annoyance.
He can't be that stupid, right ?