Inko was going home when she felt this specific feeling of being watched. She hesitated, wondering if it was just her mind playing a trick on her. Since her baby boy had entered the Hero Course, she had felt constantly exposed and there wasn't much she could do about it.
She didn't look back. Instead, she looked at windows and any reflective surfaces on her path, searching for a face that kept coming back in the crowd. But she didn't notice anything of the kind.
Still, Inko walked in the opposite direction of the apartment. Then she dived into a store as soon as she could, and even managed to leave by the exit reserved to the staff.
She did that three times until she was certain that no one was able to follow her. She didn't even know if there was someone out there, but it didn't matter. She knew she wouldn't be at peace if she didn't do anything to keep anyone from finding her home.
By the time Inko came home, Izuku was asleep in his room, still in casual clothes and one of his notebooks still in his hand. He must have fell asleep while working on quirk applications.
She looked at her son for a moment, filled with love towards this adorable boy, so strong and so sweet. And with a light that would shine on the world, no matter how much she would prefer to hide him and to keep him safe.
At least, he was happy. Before high school, Izuku had been a ghost. No trace, no attachment, no friend. Quiet. Now, he had friends and seemed happy to live his life.
She thought about telling him that she had a feeling she was followed tonight. Two years ago, she wouldn't have hesitated. But ultimately, she decided against it. Izuku would blame himself, and it would undo all the progress he had made, and just for a hunch.
This is probably nothing anyway.
The date of the exams closed in, bringing stress to everyone but especially to Iida who was still on bed rest. And he became what polite persons would call a little crazy.
Iida was horrified at the very idea of missing classes, so not only did he took Yaoyorozu's notes, but also Uraraka's and Izuku's in order not to miss any details. He asked to know everything that happened during training.
Izuku didn't even study for his exams. He just kept repeating what happened in class and reading his notes out loud to his friend, and it was more than enough.
Finally, the day of the written test, Izuku was almost certain that Iida sneaked out of his home to take it.
And when Recovery Girl warned him that he wouldn't be allowed to go to the practical test, their poor friend on hospital leave looked like his soul was leaving his body.
But Iida wasn't the only one affected by stress.
In the meantime, Kacchan had turned into a ball of nerves and Izuku was the trigger to every single one of his explosions.
If he approached, Kacchan screamed. If he trained quirkless, Kacchan yelled at him to stop wasting time. If he blinked in his general direction, Kacchan usually glared but Izuku could sense he was biting his tongue not to bark anything at him.
On the day of the practical exam, when 1-A learned that they would have to fight their teachers, All Might included, a general feeling of outrage and fear swept through the ranks as if all the students formed one mind.
It was supposed to be robots, Izuku whined silently, while his classmates were a little more vocal about their feelings. Robots were easy, at least for him. He could use all his quirks without worrying about collateral damages. He didn't have to be afraid to hurt anyone.
''Aizawa-Sensei!''Hakagure revolted. ''This is an ignominious lie!'' she said with everyone else.
But what set her apart for her classmates was that she stumbled on something on the ground, and from the corner of his eye, Izuku saw her starting to fall. He was still distracted by who he would fight and mentally checking what he knew about his teachers' quirks, because his hand immediately flew to stabilize her, despite the fact that no one, especially the boys, touched Hakagure.
And his fingers did touch her, but never made contact with the skin. Instead, Izuku felt something that couldn't be anything but fabric under his fingertips.
An actual costume.
''Don't say anything!'' Hakagure whispered frantically.
All this time. All this time and everyone in this class was afraid to hit her and to touch something strategic during the hero training.
This was brilliant.
''Hakagure, you're a conman,'' Izuku said, in awe.
''You say the sweetest things, Midori. But don't. Say. Anything.''
Izuku couldn't see her face but he could hear the threat and one just did not mess with the ultimate invisible prankster, so he pretended he didn't discover anything, and listened to the groups and who they would fight.
Now, they were missing Iida, so they all knew one of them would have to fight alone. And Izuku had the bad feeling that it was going to be him, because let's be honest, he had never been lucky. Worst case scenario, he would have to fight alone against Eraserhead. From a strategical viewpoint, it made sense because everyone thought Izuku had one powerful quirk, but his first act of vigilantism had shown he could get rid of the effect of Erasure. And no one could know because he wouldn't be able to sell his quirk as a mutation and too many questions would ensue.
Fighting quirkless would be complicated. Fighting with several quirks while pretending to be quirkless every time Aizawa-Sensei would look at him would be even more.
It turned out Izuku was twice wrong.
Ojirou was the one who was alone, against Power Loader.
And Izuku, allied with Kacchan, would fight All Might.
All Might. Even with limiters on his wrists and ankles, it was All Might. The Symbol of Peace. The number 1 hero. The holder of One for All. The god of pro heroes.
And Kacchan. Who... didn't quite appreciate him those days.
Izuku almost started counting his quirks to calm himself, but instead, he looked at All Might. And looked at One for All, the shiny quirk he hadn't been able to ignore since the day he had first met All Might.
He took a deep breath.
Okay. You can deal with that. Both of you just have to find a plan and to stick with it.
''We have to fight him. To fucking hit him with all we got as soon as this starts.''
''Are you insane? It's All Might! We need to run!''
Toshinori was waiting in front of the giant gate that would lead him to an entire complex of empty apartments. Ground Beta, the place where he had first taught his class. Also the place where Young Bakugou and Young Midoriya had fought each other.
The two boys' interactions were explosive, especially since the internships were over. Childhood rivalry was proof of passion but future heroes couldn't afford to be overwhelmed by those kind of feelings during hero work, so this trial by fire was necessary.
Actually... Toshinori's old doubts interrupted him but he didn't listen. Aizawa-kun had made the team and Toshinori was trusting his judgement.
All Might was left outside the field and a villain entered Ground Beta, ready to track down the two little heroes who deluded themselves into thinking they could stand against him.
He half expected them to go and find him at the gate, but it made sense that they would prefer to ambush him inside. And who was he to deny them the chance to affront him?
He walked inside the block of buildings, curious -he had to admit it- of what they would do.
He didn't expect to find... something that wasn't a student but that shouldn't have been here anyway. He paused, looking at Young Midoriya's helmet on a stick.
Is that a totem? Toshinori didn't approach, but pondered. It couldn't be a trap because it was only a stick in the ground, with the helmet on top of it. Maybe a totem, but what would be the point?
Make me pause at this precise location.
Toshinori had barely finished the thought when a green blur appeared from nowhere and Young Midoriya punched the ground with all his power. The earth rippled and the shockwave hit Toshinori like a car crash. He anchored himself and pushed through it, One for All starting to flare up, but as spectacular as it was, Young Midoriya had avoided hitting him directly so it was withstandable.
But someone else who had been sneaking behind his back hadn't been so lucky, and when Toshinori glanced behind him, he saw that Young Bakugou had been sent backwards at high speed, not expecting it either.
''FUCKING DEKU !''
The small force of the nature immediately became sheepish. ''Sorry Kacchan!''
So, naturally, Toshinori tried to grab him while he was distracted. Maybe that will teach them not to be distracted during a fight.
But Young Midoriya avoided his hands at the last second, and did it again when Toshinori tried to punch him. Absolutely focused, he avoided most of Toshinori's hits, but barely. No doubt that he was using everyone of his speed quirks.
How long can you hold that speed?
The answer was long enough but Toshinori pretended to go to the right and when Young Midoriya reacted accordingly, Toshinori kneed him in the face. The boy flew backwards with a grunt and hit a wall.
''Who do you think you're facing, heroes?'' Toshinori asked with the same intensity he used against villains. This was what allowed to convey how serious he was and for them to realize that fighting what was about to happen wasn't worth it.
He reported his full attention to Young Midoriya. He didn't know why, as he didn't even move, but Toshinori suddenly had the feeling he was the one to watch out and that something was about to happen.
''You're right,'' the boy admitted while swiping his face with his sleeve.
He got back to his feet, without showing any sign that he was hurt. His head didn't even show a red trace where Toshinori had hit him.
''I'm sorry for underestimating you, All Might,'' Young Midoriya smiled.
And then, his whole demeanor changed. He didn't even move but the hesitation and nervousness vanished as if they had never existed.
Red lines of power started to appear on his skin, the same as All for One when he started to activate quirks.
A lot of quirks.
Young Midoriya whipped his arm, throwing an air blast at Toshinori who avoided it but it still gave Young Midoriya the occasion to appear in his space and to start fighting him in close range.
Toshinori felt it every time the boy managed to land a punch. Fortunately, the hero was stronger even with his manacles, but they matched each other in speed and Young Midoriya was completely taking advantage of it, avoiding the worst of All Might's punches at the last second thanks to brusque accelerations.
And at some point, Young Midoriya became the only thing he could pay attention to. Someone who would one day match him. Someone with several quirks.
Someone who didn't seem to care that much when Toshinori's hits landed, except for the fact he was pushed back. But never for long.
Impossible to defeat, Toshinori could just stop him for a moment and then, he was back in the game. Relentless.
Toshinori's heart started to beat loudly in his ears.
And since he had been so focused on Young Midoriya, he didn't see that his opponent was actually leading him towards a specific direction, where Young Bakugou was waiting for him.
The explosion hit him when he wasn't expecting it and he didn't even manage to avoid all of it. It rattled him to the bone, making his ears ring, and he retreated twenty meters away from them, unable to hide a smile. They are working together.
Both boys stood side by side, though at a distance. Young Midoriya was watching him intently, all his quirks still activated and ready to bolt as soon as Toshinori would make any move. While Young Bakugou seemed as ready -if not more- to fight but more ruffled. Toshinori realized than when Young Midoriya and him were fighting, Young Bakugou probably had to handle the wind caused by their movements.
''That point is for me,'' Young Bakugou said.
''That's cruel, Kacchan. I did bring him to you.''
And with that, their half second of teamwork is gone.
That just wouldn't do.
''Congratulations, heroes. You showed wits and courage. But this was only a warm-up.''
Suddenly, both of the boys didn't look so confident.
And Toshinori took advantage of it.
It was obvious they couldn't work together for long. They weren't coordinating their attacks, they were actually in each other spaces' and Young Midoriya had to dodge explosions as much as Toshinori while Young Bakugou was frequently hampered by the wind pressure Young Midoriya's attacks brought.
It finished with Toshinori throwing a fence at them and both knocking them down. They started arguing before they were even back on their feet, making Toshinori roll his eyes.
''Stop always interfering.''
''I'm trying to help you!''
''I don't need your fucking help!''
''You know what? Fine!'' Young Midoriya screamed back before jumping on the walls like Gran Torino and leaving through the roofs.
Toshinori was about to follow him but Young Bakugou attacked, and kept him busy between the fire and the shock of the blasts. Truly, Young Bakugou was strong and had the drive of facing any villains.
He had just managed to push him back when Young Midoriya jumped from the roof, in the opposite direction of where he had disappeared, and, still in the air, threw what looked suspiciously like a Texas Smash at Toshinori.
That could have worked if he hadn't prioritized power over speed.
Toshinori countered with his own, propelling Young Midoriya even higher but the boy managed to touch a wall, and immediately slide downwards and onto the street thanks to one of his quirks.
Toshinori wasn't surprised that Young Midoriya didn't even pause and immediately attacked him.
But then, it happened again. This horrible feeling of dejà vu he had to control.
He knew they weren't the same person, obviously. But he couldn't help that his instinct, honed by decades of fighting, was screaming at him to be serious, recognizing the power that had hurt him all those years ago.
But somehow, he had to keep reminding himself that, and as they fought, he noticed the similarities more and more.
The same expression as he was juggling with several quirks, the same amused eyes.
The same tranquil and devastating strength.
Toshinori's next punch was slow because he was disturbed and Young Midoriya took advantage of it, grabbing Toshinori's wrist and using it as a support base to launch his foot and to kick Toshinori in the face. It stunned him for half a second, and with his speed, Young Midoriya took the opportunity to hit him again.
He was probably aiming for his plexus solar. But then, Young Bakugou arrived with the attention to blow Toshinori's face off, so he moved in order to grab him by his arm and to use him as a human mass to bludgeon Young Midoriya. With all the care in the world, obviously.
Except that he got distracted. Just as Young Midoriya's super charged fist connected with the painful scar on his side, exactly where he had lost his stomach.
And just like that, Toshinori wasn't in UA anymore but in California, about to have his guts ripped open in a fight most of his predecessors hadn't survived.
Toshinori reacted before he had the time to think, ceasing to hold back and putting all his strength in the punch, in a desperate and frantic attempt to make his enemy get away from him.
Young Midoriya only had the time to put an arm in front of him. The punch made him smack himself in the face and hit him like a trainwreck, propelling him through the air.
And through the wall of one of the empty building.
Pure horror gripped All Might and he ran towards the hole Young Midoriya had made upon the impact with the building. Young Bakugou didn't follow him, frozen where he stood.
God, tell me the walls are made in cardboard, he prayed despite the dust of the broken bricks all around him.
He found the landing impact, but Young Midoriya himself was nowhere to be found.
It's only when Toshinori heard the scream of surprise and anger of the explosive boy that he realized that Young Midoriya was already out. Toshinori got out of the building just in time to see them flee, Young Midoriya looking none for the worst for wear.
Toshinori didn't follow them.
He needed a moment to regain control.
''Let me go!'' Kacchan growled just as they arrived in one of the empty buildings, safe from All Might.
Izuku stopped holding him by his arm, just above his elbow and the grenade part of his costume.
He felt... He felt like after a very long session of training. He wasn't in pain yet, but tomorrow, he would wake up stiff and in pain because all his muscles would hurt. But at least, he now knew the limit of three Shock Absorption quirks, so there was that!
Izuku couldn't keep himself from smiling. It was All Might. His hero who he was fighting with so many quirks, and it was strangely exhilarating. Almost as interesting, though his head hurt, it was nothing compared to what had appeared with the noumu or against Todoroki.
That meant he had gotten stronger since he had arrived to UA.
Izuku focused back on Kacchan, who was silent and obviously thinking. Usually, he would let him be, but they couldn't waste any more time.
''We tried to do it your way and to fight. Can we do it my way and run for the hills now?'' Izuku asked.
''Let me think,'' Kacchan growled but not with real animosity. Something other than Izuku was troubling him for once.
But they were in the middle of a test.
''We have seven minutes left. Time to think fast.''
''Shut up, Deku! We can't do that anyway. All Might isn't going to look for us. He is going to wait for us at the gates.''
No, he wasn't. All Might was still moving. Izuku could sense it, and even if he had the direction instead of an actual distance, but he knew he was right. He just had to explain to Kacchan that he had a way to track All Might, and hence to avoid him.
''He isn't...'' Izuku started.
''Stop. Fucking. Acting. Like. You. Know. Everything.''
''I at least know that. He is still at the center of Ground Beta because he is a teacher and his first instinct will be to make sure we are okay. He can't help it and if we hurry, we have a chance to cross the gates before he has the time to reach is. All we need is to get out of the buildings zone so will have a straight line. It makes sense.''
''We have six minutes now. Why not listen to me this...''
Kacchan punched him in the jaw.
Now, Izuku had just been thrown through a building, and though he was definitely going to feel it in the morning, he was fine. But it had been because all of his Shock Absorption quirks and some more were activated.
The same quirks Izuku had stopped using as soon as he was safe.
The punch stunned Izuku who crashed into the ground, pain only registering after a second, and he stayed there, incredulous.
There was a taste of copper and salt in his mouth. Blood. He had bitten the inside of his mouth.
When Deku had hit the ground, a flicker of regret had crossed Katsuki. Not much. Just a 'Maybe I shouldn't have done that' moment, overwhelmed by an intense surprise at the idea that the one who had survived an explosion unscathed at the Sport Festival could be hurt by a simple punch, but anger smothered both.
The same anger that hadn't left him since the news of Hosu had reached him. The same anger of when he had seen that while he had been stuck in this stupid agency, being constantly criticized and poked at to make him change, Deku had been been doing actual hero work. And though the situation had been bordering on nightmarish, agencies were now fighting between themselves to have Deku, Half and Half, and Glasses.
But if he was honest, it had nothing to do with Hosu and everything to do with Deku himself. Deku who was half-hassing everything while Katsuki was busting his ass off. Deku who was actually so fucking strong than when he got serious, even All Might himself paid attention.
Deku who didn't follow any rules, didn't follow any logic, and hence, was deeply unsettling.
''Listen,'' Katsuki said after a hesitation. ''Here is what we're going to do...''
The plan was simple. Katsuki would distract All Might. Deku would use one of his gauntlets to hit him, distracting him because there was no way he would guess they would willingly work together, then they would cuff him. If that didn't work, Deku would have to run while Katsuki would keep All Might from coming after him.
Deku listened without saying anything, sitting on the floor. He wasn't looking directly at Katsuki, and the fingers of his right hand were clawing during the whole conversation. Katsuki had previously noticed he sometimes did that when he was training with someone.
When Katsuki finished, Deku nodded once, still not looking at him and he started to get up.
Apologize. Katsuki knew he had to.
But then, Deku glanced at him.
It was as if his gaze was made from the essence of cold itself. It was something that made Katsuki realize how heavy the silence was around them, and how empty the city was.
And there was no way he would show weakness after witnessing something like that. He didn't even want to turn his back on this bastard but Katsuki was the first one to leave, so he had no choice.
Katsuki found All Might. And he was disturbed to see he hadn't tried to go back to the gate, searching for them, almost frantic, obviously worried. No doubt that it was because he was scared he had hit Deku too hard but Deku was the bastard who had survived an explosion, and nothing seemed to be able to fucking stop him, so why fear that anything would happen to him?
All Might saw him, tensing, and he immediately glanced around, trying to know where Deku was hiding. Which catapulted Katsuki to a new level of rage.
Always focused on Deku, almost ignoring Katsuki as if he was small fry next to this crazy bastard.
''YOU'RE FIGHTING ME!'' he screamed.
And he pushed his quirk to the absolute limits. He fought with all his strength, all his rage, never giving up.
But it was All Might.
And as frustrating as it was to admit it, Katsuki couldn't beat him on his own.
Deku needs to hurry the fuck up.
His wrist were burning, the pain of going plus ultra reminding itself to Katsuki. But he didn't stop. Even when All Might grabbed his face, even when he thought he didn't have anything else to give.
And then, All Might dropped him and ran, leaving him in the dust.
Katsuki just watched him, in pain, exhausted, not understanding what was going on.
Only to realize why Deku wasn't coming.
Five minutes left.
Izuku left, leaving the gauntlet behind. He didn't use Vanish. He couldn't not when he was so... well, he wasn't calm enough and let's leave it at that. It didn't need the quirk anyway. He could sense where All Might was and Kacchan's explosions were loud enough to wake up the dead and make them call the cops.
This was his plan, at first. Hide, and avoid All Might. Minimize the risks, and get away.
The noises of the explosions were still reaching him when he started to walk outside the complex of buildings but they stopped when he was about ten meters away from the gates. He sensed One for All flaring up.
He passed the gates just as All Might was about to reach him.
Young Midoriya didn't stop when Toshinori called him, and as he walked, he didn't seem injured. Because it was Toshinori's first thought. I injured him so he had no other choice than to leave. Which was actually a good thing, better to quit than to push beyond his limits and break. But he had accelerated, and even though All Might was only seeing the back of his head, he seemed more furious than anything.
''Did I injure you?'' he still asked as he ran to reach his level.
Young Midoriya didn't stop, still looking straight in front of him, and when he talked, he was distant : ''No, my quirk gives me enough shock absorption.''
That was a very good thing to know but it didn't explain why Young Bakugou was still in Ground Beta, alone.
''So you abandoned your partner ?''
He didn't mean to ask it like that. He meant it as ''Did Young Bakugou and you planned for him to be a diversion and for you to escape ?'' but he was still unsettled by what had happened and how his own brain was playing tricks on him, so the words escaped before his brain had the time to check their meaning.
And before he had the time to rectify what he meant, Young Midoriya answered his question, still as unbothered as before. ''I did and I won.''
That wasn't like Young Midoriya at all. Young Midoriya wasn't cold towards others. He didn't care about being the best.
''This is a good lesson,'' Young Midoriya continued. ''If he keeps treating people like they are beneath him, one day, they are going to leave him for dead,'' and there was a frightening edge to his words.
This was an ugly and cold anger that All Might was witnessing for the first time with Young Midoriya. It was the kind of things which could lead the sweetest boy to a dark path unless someone didn't set him straight.
''Heroes aren't only strong quirks,'' Toshinori reminding him, struggling to find the right words. ''You should know that they have to be model of bravery and of noble deeds. Abandoning your partner... Taking the easy road... It's not something we do and it's disappointing that you made such a choice.''
Young Midoriya froze.
And turned towards him, so Toshinori finally managed to look at him in the eyes and to see his whole face. There was a mark, starting from his jaw and spreading though his cheek, the kind that promised a spectacular bruise. For a moment, Toshinori was horrified to think it was because of his own knee or when he had used a Califorinia Smash on him, but he hadn't blinked at those, so it couldn't be him.
If Young Midoriya had tried to control his anger before, it had now gained a horrible edge and Toshinori could feel it spreading through the air. That was the kind of emotion only quiet and calm people could show, for they controled everything until the rage gained a new dimension, more akin to wrath. Next to that, Young Bakugou's difficult temper was nothing.
''Why is that he can insult me and hit me and I don't even have the right to walk out? Why do I have to be the better man about it?'' Young Midoriya said, his voice barely above a whisper but saturated with something horribly cold.
''What... What happened?''
Young Midoriya shrugged, anger gone once again as if it had never existed but Toshinori now knew that it was only hiding.
''What always happens with Kacchan,'' the boy simply said.
As if he had heard them, an explosion was heard from inside Ground Beta.
By the time he looked back, Young Midoriya was gone.
His jaw was throbbing, pain spreading in half of his face, but Izuku didn't care. It just hurt. No, what was bothering him was the red mark on his skin which would evolve into one spectacular bruise.
Now, it shouldn't be that complicated. He had a healing quirk. Self-healing. Deep range, which explained why he didn't have any scars, but also incredibly slow and on a bruise, he was almost certain that it wouldn't do anything.
But he didn't want to explain to his mom why, despite several Resistance quirks, someone had managed to hurt him. This would lead to awkward questions, so he looked at his pitiful reflection and focused on Medium Healing, trying to push it the same way he pushed all his quirks.
And it didn't do anything.
I had this quirk for eleven years and it still does whatever it wants.
Izuku wasn't beyond good old threats : ''If you don't fix that right now, I am naming you Minor Healing instead of Medium Healing.''
Sadly, it didn't work either.
''You suck,'' he childishly said to Minor Healing, just as someone was entering.
''Who are you talking to?'' Todoroki asked, in a new costume.
Not trying to hide his left side with ice anymore, which warmed Izuku's heart. In training, he used his flames to keep his ice from freezing him, but it was rarely more than that. Sometimes, Izuku wondered if they were facing the same problem. Not enough control to use their quirk.
''Myself,'' he answered, noticing how Todoroki's eyes trailed to the soon-to-be bruise on his face.
''First sign of madness.''
''I'm well past the first sign,'' Izuku reminded him.
Todoroki grabbed a towel from his locker and the temperatures dropped around him. Izuku watched him create an ice cube the size of an apple, which he shoved into the towel, and he gave it to Izuku.
''For your face. I didn't expect All Might to be so hard on you.''
Izuku didn't answer. He didn't want Todoroki to think All Might had punched him in the face but he also didn't want to snitch on Kacchan. That was between them.
But he didn't need to. Todoroki just looked at his face and he guessed. ''Bakugou? Why would he do that?''
Izuku shrugged, not wanting to think about the exam. When they were little, unlike everyone else, Izuku had never been intimidated by his friend. He took everything in stride, at least four quirks at his disposal at anytime. He remembered playing with him and the others, but the more he thought about it, the less he remembered being friends with them up to the moment he had first manifested his quirk.
He put the iced towel on his face, wincing.
He didn't want to think about All Might either. You were rude at him.
''It must be the day,'' Todoroki continued. ''You missed Mineta fighting Sero.''
''When they finished their exam. Sero woke up, they talked, and Mineta attacked him and insulted him. I am not sure why, but I saw Uraraka separating them. She just walked to them and touched them with her quirk. Aizawa had to lasso them back to the ground.''
Izuku blinked, then waited for Todoroki to tell him more. This sounded like an interesting story.
After sending Young Bakugou to the infirmary, Toshinori didn't manage to find Young Midoriya again. He wasn't answering his phone, but it might simply be because he wouldn't answer it inside the school.
Or maybe because he is angry at you.
As he kept looking for him, he had the time to think.
Did I... Was I unfair to him ?
Apart from the obvious, of course. Apart from tricking him into revealing his quirk, from sending him to Gran Torino without warning him that he was aware of Transfer.
But he was reminded of several things. How he tended to trust that Young Midoriya would be fine, no matter what. Because he was powerful, because he had the quirks for it.
During his first day of teaching, he remembered consoling an upset Young Bakugou while Young Midoriya was standing right here. Young Midoriya who had almost been blown up by his classmate. Young Midoriya whom All Might had almost called off during the training without worrying about what Young Bakugou would do.
Did I ask him if he was okay after Stain ?
No, he had not. He had been busy coming clean to think about everything else.
And you did it again today. You used too much power against him, and as soon as you realized he was okay, you didn't even ask how he was doing or apologized.
There was a frightening pattern of Toshinori not considering Young Midoriya like the child that he was. Did I do that because he is powerful or because I assimilated him to All for One? He wasn't sure of the answer. He wanted to think it wasn't the latter.
Young Midoriya was obviously careful with his quirk. He hadn't used all his quirks until he was against Toshinori himself, careful not to hurt his classmates. Compared to that, Young Bakugou didn't show as much care.
If Young Midoriya had send an explosion towards Young Bakugou, how would I have reacted ? The answer was clear.
That wasn't a rivalry. Toshinori, hell, even Aizawa-kun, had thought it was because Young Midoriya was so strong, and as such, he wasn't seen as a victim. But he never talked back to Young Bakugou, never started anything. It was as if Young Midoriya's very presence triggered Young Bakugou's temper.
And that wasn't even talking about what Toshinori himself had done today.
He went back to the school, changed into a suit as he stopped using One for All, and walked to the teacher room, knowing Aizawa-kun would still be there. Just as he was about to enter, Young Mineta, still in costume, fled as if hell itself was after him, almost running into Toshinori and he apologized without slowing down.
Toshinori found Aizawa-kun inside, looking at his computer screen while doing some paperwork, and looking even more exhausted than usual. This man needed to sleep.
''What happened with Young Mineta?''
Aizawa-kun didn't look up : ''He attacked Sero, and without any provocation, so he is going to cool off for a couple of days. He told me he had trouble sleeping since the USJ attach, which I can understand...'' He rubbed his eye, probably not realizing what he was doing. ''… but that's no excuse.''
Then he looked at Toshinori and confronted to the glare, the number 1 hero had to refrain from hiding behind a lamp.
''As for you...,'' the Erasure Hero growled. ''What was that with Midoriya ? I know you're new at the job but attempted murder isn't a validated teaching method.''
''You saw that?'' Toshinori winced.
Aizawa-kun nodded. ''And so did most students. No one wants to fight you, now. What happened?''
I don't know.
''He accidentally hit a old would and... I panicked.''
The words were light but Aizawa-kun immediately understood what he meant, dropping his pen on the pile of paperworks.
''Sometimes,'' his colleague started carefully, ''Pro heroes can't help but to reach as if they were in a real fight. Do you think it will... happen again?''
Translation : Do I have to keep you away from our very fragile students?
''It's unlikely,'' Toshinori said even though he had no idea, but could only hope.
But he doubted it would happen with anyone else. Only Midoriya had created this kind of reaction, and he still remembered the horror that had passed through him when he had hit him. He would remember it for the rest of his life. And he wouldn't let that happen again.
''I will. But I need to talk to you about something else.''
Aizawa-kun braced himself and Toshinori told him what had happened between Young Bakugou and Young Midoriya. It must have happened in a place with no cameras because it was obvious that he had no idea a fight had broken out.
''They fought with each other?'' Aizawa-kun repeated. ''During the exam?''
''No, that's the problem. Young Bakugou punched Young Midoriya and Young Midoriya didn't retaliate. And I am just realizing that it's a common pattern.''
Shouta's plan had been simple : force the two boys who absolutely didn't get along to fight a common enemy so they would either learn to put their difference aside, or they would fail.
He had completely misunderstood how the animosity had started to fester. Unlike All Might, he knew the animosity was one-sided. But he hadn't actually paid attention to it. He wanted Bakugou to progress, and Midoriya was the perfect way to make him realize how destructive his behavior was. He had rationalized that by thinking that Midoriya had to learn to deal with difficult people anyway.
But Midoriya might be quiet but he wasn't a doormat. And now, because Shouta had not thought this through, he had just given the boy another reason to do things on his own and to not talk to the adults in his life when he had a problem.
Bakugou was standing in front of him, back in uniform, dark circles under his eyes because of Recovery Girl's treatment. He looked positively furious, but was trying to reign the anger in.
''Did you hit Midoriya ?''Shouta cut to the chase.
Bakugou nodded. ''I did.''
This time, Bakugou hesitated. Looked up, and Shouta saw something like worry amidst the perpetual anger.
''What did he tell you?'' the teen asked carefully.
''He didn't tell me anything because when I went to find him, he seemed to have vanished and I couldn't even call him because he is the only one in this class who didn't give me his phone number.''
Which greatly annoyed him. Worse, he was almost certain that All Might had Midoriya's phone number but he had become pale like Death when Shouta had asked for it, and quietly explained that he didn't want to share Midoriya's private information without his permission.
Bakugou sighed, avoiding once again to look directly at Shouta.
''He pissed me off. I was trying to think and he kept talking, and... I just wanted him to shut up for a second and to let me think.''
He lashed out.
''I see,'' Shouta sighed. ''You're suspended for three days.''
''What were you expecting ?'' At those words, Bakugou froze. ''You attacked a fellow student.''
It finally seemed to dawn on the boy. He had attacked a fellow classmate. He had almost injured him. And he didn't say anything, because despite what most people believe, Bakugou was careful of respecting the rules. His file was perfect, he obeyed every teacher, it was just that when Midoriya was concerned, rules didn't matter anymore.
Because he was lashing out. Getting rid of his frustration on someone else, and that was unacceptable.
And Shouta, moron that he was, had thought it was a good idea to use Midoriya to help Bakugou get over serious issues.
When Shouta talked again, he had Bakugou's complete attention : ''I want you to think about what you want to become. A hero ? Someone people can count on and who can defeat villains ? Or someone no one will trust, or like, because you are attacking indiscriminately allies and enemies ? And then, I want you to act to become who you want to be. Because right now, I am only seeing someone incapable of controlling himself.''
Izuku went back home after visiting Nagisa, hoping for once that his mom wasn't here yet, but he found her cooking.
She took one look at his face and dropped everything, rushing to him and holding his face between her hands, all concerned.
''What happened? Who did that?''
''A classmate. I had the practical test today, and we had to fight, and I wasn't expecting it. I don't think he expected to hurt me like that either, not after what I did during the Sport Festival ?''
Alas, he had pronounced the two forbidden words, and his mom gave him a definitely non-amused look.
''When you jumped on landmines or when you decided to decided to be frozen alive then roaster, then blasted away?'' she asked, deadpan.
I can't win.
But at least, I diverted her attention away from Kacchan, right?
But of course, he was wrong.
''Do you teacher know? Don't think I didn't notice you haven't gave me a name yet. Is it the boy with an ice quirk?''
''No, it wasn't. It was someone else, and Nagisa already offered to eat him.''
''What a nice girl,'' his mom said with a worrying smile while still checking him for injuries.
Later, while he was in his bed, pretending to sleep but actually checking some new quirk analysis online, Izuku received a message from Amano Jin, the man who used to have Taser. He was regretfully explaining that he wanted his quirk back.
It was as if a hole has opened under Izuku.
He laughed. He couldn't help it. It was just ridiculous how this day was getting worse and worse.
The video was barely finished, but Mamoru still rewound it, eager to grave every image in his memory, and already remembering every word. The middle school student was in class, his phone hidden behind a textbook so he could watch his new obsession to his heart content, but sadly, he couldn't listen to what Stain was saying.
Not that he needed to. Stain's message couldn't be forgotten. But now, he liked to watch how all this supposed heroes were terrified by his mere presence, by how true his message was. How this wannabe hero student got what he deserved for thinking he was hot shit just because of his quirk, his money, or his network, or all three of them.
Even this crazy guy from the Sport Festival wasn't proud as he was holding his pathetic friend in his arms. Though, even Mamoru had to admit that how he had reacted, so fast and so similar to All Might, was cool.
It was probably why Stain hadn't cut off his head when he was distracted...
A paper ball bounced on the back of Mamoru's head in the middle of the class, and it landed between his chair and his back but the middle school student didn't bother to check what was written on it, and let it fall on the floor. Something like VILLAIN, CREEP, or FREAK. His classmates weren't as imaginative as they would like to think.
He hated every single one of them. He hated how they had decided he was a villain because if his quirk. How they all wanted to be heroes even they weren't worthy of the position. Even those who hadn't made fun of him were too happy to look away when Nakamura was pushing him around.
But Mamoru didn't say anything. He didn't react, trying to control his expression so he wouldn't smile, and he waited for the end of the classes.
Finally, their homeroom teacher freaking let them go. It wasn't like he wanted to spend more time than necessary with his students, but as they left, the useless adult thought he had to share some wisdom : ''And don't forget to consider your future options. High school will arrive sooner than you're expecting it, and you can't allow yourself to be caught off guard.''
At this thought, unease swept through Mamoru. He didn't have the grades to go to the big leagues like UA and Shiketsu. As for the rest... Being a hero was out of question with his quirk, and even gen ed wouldn't like someone whose quirk could only be used to hurt people.
It's not like I can actually train with my quirk.
Three of his most idiotic classmates left school together. One was Nakamura, a dude with an electricity quirk who had made sure everyone in Mamoru's school knew he had a villainous quirk. The other was Tanaka, who had an infrared quirk, and who followed Nakamura around while never contradicting him. And finally, Ito, a girl who had long metallic hair she could control as she wanted.
Mamoru followed them to the abandoned spot they used to train their quirks, because everyone of them was determined to become a hero. As soon they made sure no one was around, familiar inhalors appeared in their hand, and they all took a whiff.
Because they were morons who thought that taking Nectar once in a while when they needed it was enough. It actually didn't work like that. The long you took it, regularly, and the stronger you got.
Mamoru startled when he revealed himself, all of them immediately hiding their colorful inhalers.
Afraid Mamoru would snitch.
''What do you want, you freak ?''
Mamoru smiled. He didn't say anything. He just brought the inhaler to his mouth and pressed the tip, tasting the familiar taste of the Nectar.
Time for a test.