Toshinori had spent a week going in and out of the hospital, pain and blood following him, his body failing him. The doctors and Recovery Girl were unanimous : he needed to rest, and to stop using his quirk so recklessly.
When he had asked what they meant by reckless, Recovery Girl had chewed him out and told him that using his quirk until his body just refused to be used that way anymore wasn't healthy and that he should know it.
As if he could stop when there was so much work to do. So many villains who kept targeting the innocents, so many catastrophes had to be narrowly avoided, and someone had to be here to prevent that.
And Young Watanabe Mamoru hadn't been found yet, and no one would feel safe until this boy was arrested. Everyone lived in fear of a next mass attack, and the victims of the gas attack were still not healed. And that included Young Midoriya's mother.
Toshinori sighed, not daring to imagine what Young Midoriya was enduring. He regularly had him on the phone, but the boy always changed subject when he tried to talk about it.
The Summer Camp was approaching. That meant he had two weeks to take care of the Mustard situation.
And as he looked at the file on his desk, he realized he had to stop delaying this choice.
The departure to the Summer Camp was at dawn, which almost murdered Izuku on the spot but Todoroki was nice enough to gently wake him up when they arrived at UA, and Fuyumi, who was the one dropping them in her car, gave him a thermos of her coffee, which was strong enough to wake up the dead.
So barely enough to wake up a green-haired-teenager who had spent the last decade getting used to near lethal amount of caffeine. But it was enough to make him greet everyone, to get into the bus, and to close his eyes, just for a tiny second.
He wasn't extremely surprised to see he had fallen asleep and only woken up when the bus had stopped, but several things made him pause.
Iida, who had been seating right next to him, was unnaturally still as Izuku was using his shoulder as a pillow, the same way every cat owner was too afraid to move once they were chosen as bed. The other thing out of the ordinary was the green blanket on him, and since all their bags where inside the belly of the bus, it was probably coming from Yaoyorozu's quirk. And last but not the least, there was a sign on his knees.
Frowning, Izuku turned it around to read what was written on it, which made Iida jump in surprise.
[Nap ongoing. No brusque movements around me, please.]
Izuku blinked slowly, realizing he loved everyone of his classmates and would fight for them any day.
Ochako stretched as she got out of the bus. Spending time with everyone was great but not moving for so long did a number on her, and she wasn't the only one. Mina and Hakagure had started to jump up and down, Kaminari was complaining under his breath, and Sero was also stretching.
They were greeted by the sight of two members of the Wild Wild Pussycats, to Midori's bliss and he started to swoon about how incredible they were, the hero fanboy at his best, and the two women didn't seem to mind the admiration.
At least until one mistake.
''And they had been operating for the past twelve y...''
Pixie-Bob grabbed Midori's face in her gloved hand, her claws shining in the sunlight, her eyes burning with something crazy.
''We are eighteen in our heart!'' she hissed.
No one moved, except for Midori, who slightly nodded.
''Now. Repeat. It.''
Midoriya Izuku, the man who fought against the villains at the USJ like it was a common exercise, the man who had destroyed the arena of the Sport Festival, the man who had survived and neutralized Stain, took one look at those fiery eyes, and repeated: ''You are eighteen in your hearts.''
She let Midori go, and Ochako's friend went to her side with the look of a man who had just seen his life flash before his eyes. She watched him and he smiled with his eyes, then glanced at the Wild Wild Pussycats, as if saying: ''They are so cool but also a little scary.''
Midori smiled more than usual these days, because he didn't want people to worry about him. He didn't want to talk about anyone to what had happened to his mom, and of why he was living at the Todoroki house now.
But as long as he didn't want to talk, she would give him his space. Forcing him to talk would do more harm than anything else, especially when he seemed to be craving some semblance of normalcy.
So she stopped checking for signs that he would explode, or start trembling, or tear up, and she let her eyes wander, until she saw something strange and worrying.
Aizawa-Sensei had a hand in front of his mouth as he was talking with Mandalay, but the corner of his mouth was still visible and up. Well, it was trying to, but the Erasure hero was trying to control the expression.
Their teacher had three expressions at most: utterly exhausted, furious, and smiling like the cat what had just eaten the canary. Him trying to suppress a smile... It just wasn't good.
''Doesn't Aizawa-Sensei look a little too happy?'' she wondered out loud.
Midori looked at their teacher, frowning.
Then he took a step back. Another. Discreetly, he started to back down towards the bus. Ochako, not crazy, followed him.
It wasn't even a conscious decision. They just tranquilly walked away, passed behind the bus to be hidden from everyone's eyes, and right as they did, the rest of the class realized it had been a trap. They all tried to climb back into the bus, but they never made it, as one member of the Wild Wild Pussycat appeared in front of them, earth obeying her, and everyone was swept away, screaming as if they were precipitated in the depths of Hell.
''I feel guilty,'' she admitted as they scurried off in the entrails of the bus, crawling in order not to be seen through the windows.
''So do I,'' Midori admitted. "I should have grabbed Todoroki and Iida.''
''And Momo.'' Since the Yaoyorozus had welcomed Ochako in their home, the two girls were rarely separated and she was hoping she wouldn't be mad at her. ''And Tsuyu.''
Midori paused and looked at her, hesitation and doubt all over his face.
''Do you feel guilty enough to step down the bus and follow them?'' he finally asked.
''Don't be ridiculous,'' Ochako chided him and they both hid behind seats. A little too close to each other, by the way, but she was furiously refusing to acknowledge what Aoyama had asked her during their finals, so this would have to do.
The pro heroes and the child that was accompanying them, the blond member of the Wild Wild Pussycat actually laughing, quickly walked in and they didn't notice them. Soon, the bus started up, bringing the two clandestine teenagers closer to where they would live for the next two weeks.
But the sounds of footstep didn't stop.
Midori and Ochako both looked at each other as they drew closer.
Ochako passed both her thumb and her index under her eyes to indicate the dark circles linked to the lack of sleep, then signed an interrogation point. Her sign language was extremely rusty because she had only spoken it during classes, several years ago, but she could still asked basic things when silence was a matter of survival.
It wasn't the case for Midori who started to sign a whole conversation, and she vaguely understood that since the footsteps were so loud, it indicated a certain weight the two women and the child didn't have, so yes, it was certainly Aizawa-Sensei who had smelled fresh meat or something.
That's how Aizawa-Sensei found them: Midori signing something lyrical about their imminent doom, and Ochako silently asking him to freaking slow down and to repeat himself.
Their homeroom teacher had almost passed past them and blinked several times when he saw the two teenagers. He tilted his head, trying to understand when they had disappeared.
''How?'' he finally asked.
They both shrugged.
Now, if only to encourage their wits, the pro heroes should have let Ochako stay on the bus. She had earned it, and so did Midori.
It was entirely unnecessary for Aizawa-Sensei to whip out his capture weapon, and to kick them out of the bus, but at least, he stopped the damn vehicle before he did. Ochako had been pushed from a moving car once, and she didn't want to repeat this experience.
She was about to use her quirk to jump from a cliff -because Plus Ultra, she guessed- without injuring herself, when Midori stopped her, his eyes shining with something wicked.
''Uraraka? How long can you carry someone with your quirk?''
A tricky question. It depended on a lot of factor, going to when was the last time she had eaten to what force would be used to push her upwards. If the floating was just because of her quirk and not because she had jumped before, the toll would be greater.
''That depends on how much you weight, what you need me to do, and if I am allowed to throw up,'' she summarized. ''Why?''
Shouta watched Midoriya kneeling so Uraraka could climb on his back, then getting to his feet without any sign of effort, as if he wasn't carrying a girl that was almost his size, but with this quirk of his, that wasn't surprising.
Uraraka took a second to get used to the piggyback ride, then touched Midoriya and herself. At the second she was done, Midoriya took a running start as the gravity girl was desperately hanging on. She managed to keep her composure until he took a inhumane leap, the cliff under his feet cracking in worrying lines, and they flew through the air as if they had just been catapulted, followed by Uraraka's scream.
Shouta would have screamed too.
They disappeared in the horizon, Midoriya using the crowns of the trees to run as if he was on a mere obstacle race. Shouta followed them with his eyes as long as he could, and at no point did the two high school students showed anything like doubts or fear at the idea of falling.
''His quirk looks like All Might's...'' Pixie-Bob said, not managing to hide the awe in her voice. ''If they continue like that, they might actually make it to lunch.''
''What if the girl's quirk stop mid-air?'' Mandalay asked.
No doubt that she was imagining a very long fall and a brutal stop, with no adult close enough to help the two reckless teenagers.
''Don't underestimate my students,'' Shouta answered. They control the situation.''
Kouta, Mandalay's nephew, scoffed.
It took Uraraka and Izuku one hour and half to arrive to where the Wild Wild Pussycat were waiting, ten of which spent because Uraraka had screamed at him to land so she could throw up. So they walked towards the Summer Camp, Uraraka a little green, Izuku with the start of a headache, notably ruffled because of the wind, but... they were smiling.
For they had flew, and there was nothing more exhilarating than that.
What was less pleasant was Mandalay's nephew trying to kick Izuku at a strategical place because he disliked heroes. Slide and Glide allowed Izuku to slide away from the little leg, avoiding an unfortunate fate, and he went and hid behind Uraraka, who was still slightly green.
They met the two other members of the Wild Wild Pussycats who had actually been retrieving pizzas for everyone, and they all ate together. The Wild Wild Pussycats answered to all of their questions and were incredibly cool and pleasant as long as no one mentioned for how long they had been in activity.
And when Uraraka and Izuku worried about the security, all the adults explained that the location of the camp was an absolute secret, and that between the Wild Wild Pussycats, Aizawa-Sensei and Vlad, they had taken all the measures to take care of forty teenagers so everyone could be safe.
Izuku looked at the huge zone to cover, all the hiding spots, and how there would be only six adults to monitor all this, and he decided not to say anything.
To say that 1-A was not happy that Midori and Ochako were fresh as daisies, while they looked like they had stumbled on every rock on the road, was an understatement. Awful words were thrown around. Traitor. Sell out. Monsters. Soulless.
''We help make you food,'' Ochako informed them.
And with that, all was immediately forgiven.
A grateful belly was not something to be underestimated.
Minoru was busy hiding his inhaler, whose content was about as expensive as water on the moon these days, when Kaminari sneaked up on him, all excited because there were hot springs here. Which was pretty cool, if the future hero had to admit it.
What was less cool was that Minoru absolutely couldn't go, because that meant taking off the bandage on his arm and what was hidden beneath it.
The rash had appeared when Minoru had started to slow down on his Nectar consumption. He hadn't even tried to stop, just to slow down, because these days, the stuff was incredibly difficult to find. More expensive too. He simply didn't have the budget.
It had put his nerves through a grinder and it had ended with him attacking Sero because he had been really annoying at the time, but it had calmed, and he had thought he could deal with it. Deal with the aching in his bones, with the headaches, and the intermittent light sensitivity.
And then, something purple had started to appear on his forearm. He had thought this was dry skin mixed with whatever one could pick up in a school full of quirks, and when he had tried to get rid of it, it just spread. And it was a little sticky, not unlike the balls on the top of his head. And it had bled until he started to use his inhaler more often.
But Minoru still had the rash on his arm. It hadn't disappeared.
But he could hardly say that to Kaminari.
''Hot springs suck, dude. I am going to stay here. Excuse me for saying it but I am not interested into hanging out with a bunch of naked dudes.''
Kaminari was a little disappointed, which saddened Minoru, but there wasn't anything he could do about that.
It's not like he could actually ask for help. Despite what Aizawa-Sensei had said, this was going to be in his file. There would be consequences.
It wouldn't be the first time their homeroom teacher had lied to them in order to have what he wanted. And if he had been ready to expel someone like freaking Midoriya just because he wasn't satisfied with his efforts, why would he be lenient with Minoru?
Their first evening at the Summer Camp had been animated, especially with one savage pillow fight that had almost killed Satou and send Aizawa-Sensei running at them, only to find all the boys pretending to sleep in their futons like the little angels they weren't, but the night was now awfully still.
The only one still awake was Dark Shadow, who was exploring the room as far as he dared, Tokoyami's pocket light under his blanket keeping him calm, and Izuku was just looking at the ceiling, unable to sleep.
Usually, he trained until exhaustion hit him like a hammer. Today had been fun but he hadn't approached his limits, still had energy to spare.
And time to think.
Which was just unacceptable.
Izuku got out of his covers, walked away, and he almost died because a Todoroki, who had probably been too hot, had iced the floor during his sleep. That boy never knew how close he had been to be smothered by a falling insomniac, and was only saved by Balance.
Dark Shadow raised his head to see what Izuku was doing, and Izuku raised his index to his lips, silently asking him not to wake up anyone. Dark Shadow seemed surprised for a moment, maybe because Izuku could perfectly see him in the dark, then he solemnly nodded.
Finally, Izuku sneaked into the kitchen, still in his pajamas, Vanish in tow.
He wasn't expecting to find a Mandalay in red nightclothes, silently drinking from a mug with a painted cat on it, checking on her phone.
Izuku hesitated for a moment, not wanting to bother her. But she was obviously reading on her phone, and smiling, so ultimately, he dropped Vanish and knocked to announce his presence.
Even with this precaution, her head whipped incredibly fast in his direction, her eyes scanning the one who had managed to sneak up on her, then she smiled, amused when she recognized him. It was different from the cat-smile she had in costume. It made her seem more approachable. Less like Mandalay and more like the woman with a real name under the hero shield.
''Hey? You're not sleeping? You realize you will have to be ready at 7.30 in a few hours?''
''If I could sleep, I would,'' Izuku apologized with a smile. ''I have more energy during the evening than during the morning.''
Her smile got sad. Or maybe tired.
''I know what it's like,'' she admitted. ''Hot milk helps, if you're interested.''
Izuku was indeed interested and quickly warmed up some milk in the microwave. He was about to drink the beverage when Mandalay stopped him, retrieved some honey, and told him to try it.
It changed his life forever, and from now on, he would always drink this when he would wake up in the middle of the night.
They both drank in a comfortable silence, with the easy companionship of two people fortuitously finding each other in the middle of the night while the rest of the world was still asleep. A comfortable silence that was broken by Mandalay.
''I'm sorry about what Kouta tried to do.''
''Don't apologize.'' Someone apologizing for someone else was meaningless, but Izuku wasn't going to tell that to the pro hero. ''He is just a kid.''
Kouta was... an interesting child.
''Why does he hate heroes?'' Izuku asked before he had the time to think about it, something that had been happening more and more these past few weeks.
Not that someone disliking heroes never happened. There were actually some rare souls that didn't like heroes, either because, like Stain -and Izuku gritted his teeth at the mere memory- they thought they were corrupted or not good enough, or because they were general detractors of the hero industry. It took a toll on the body, a lot of people targeted you and your loved ones... Not everything was good in this life, but it was surprising that a boy that young would be so virulent towards heroes when his own aunt was one.
Mandalay hesitated. Then she told him about Kouta's parents and how their loss had left the boys despising heroes to the point where he didn't even want to use his own quirk.
Why didn't I guess? I should have guessed.
The Water hose.
Izuku wasn't naive. He was perfectly aware that heroes died. That some villains actually sought out the killing blow, considering it a honor. Despite the training, despite the quirks, despite the sidekicks and justice on their side, not everyone was coming home.
Maybe... Maybe that wasn't so bad that Kouta was angry. At least, it meant he was feeling something.
Teenagers weren't built to wake up at 7 am and Denki whined and begged for five more minutes, but since he was a hero and a man, he manage to (technically) wake up and to prepare himself.
Though, for honesty's safe, he had to admit Iida had woken him up three times.
But for once, he wasn't the worse.
Their class rep was kneeling next to a futon whose owner was completely isolated from the outside world by a cocoon of blankets. Iida was gently talking to whoever was inside, a hand on where his shoulder probably was, and he was exhorting him to get out and get up because a bright day was waiting for them.
There was no response coming from the cocoon, and Denki was wondering if he could also go back to bed when Iida finally yanked the blanket to expose whoever was hiding inside to the sunlight.
Or at least, he tried to.
A hand grabbed the blue blanket right before Iida managed to get it away, mere fingers against Iida's whole upper body strength, but their class rep couldn't do anything against them. But still, the blanket had slipped enough to reveal a face that should have been familiar but wasn't.
At least, for Denki, who was refusing to acknowledge that whatever was coldly looking at Iida like he was planning to kill him slowly, with nothing personal but just to make everyone understand that what the class rep had just done was grave and could not be repeated, was their classmate who muttered about heroes and quirks and who was generally adorable.
''Midoriya!'' Iida started to complain.
Midoriya growled at the class rep.
Now, when most people said someone growled, they meant that they were quietly angry and that it was time not to annoy them. But here, it was an actual growl that wasn't supposed to come from a human throat, and Denki couldn't blame Iida when he decided to slowly back down, while Midoriya hid again inside his blanket.
''Give up, Iida,'' Todoroki advised. ''He is impossible to wake up before at least 7:30. And he is scary before his first coffee.''
My time to shine.
''But the training starts at 7:30! We can't leave Midoriya here! It's our responsibility to make sure everyone of us get to the training ground in time...'' Iida said, his voice getting quieter as Denki left to grab a bowl and some water. Icy water.
He came back, a huge smile on his face, and started to walk towards the boy hidden inside his futon.
''Someone stops him before he gets killed.''
''No one can stop stupidity.''
No one made a move to prevent what was about to happen.
Until Midoriya's face emerged from his cocoon, his eyes cold as the heart of winter.
He looked at Denki, making him stop dead in his tracks. Something he didn't often listen to, maybe his survival instinct, was telling not move. Maybe if he didn't move, he wouldn't see him.
But he was out of luck.
Midoriya's gaze paused on the bowl of water in Denki's hands, and then, he moved so fast Denki's eyes weren't able to see what he did. He just felt something hitting him in the chest, chasing all the air from his lungs, and he would have been thrown through the room if Shouji hadn't caught him.
The little demon hid again inside his futon, and while Denki was trying to relearn how to breathe, he saw the weapon used against him, which had bounced on him before falling on the floor: a pillow.
This little green goblin had tried to murder him with a pillow.
Izuku woke up as his phone was beeping in his ear, insisting on waking him up despite the awfully early hour.
Ultimately, what allowed him to truly wake up wasn't the alarm he had specially set up to ring at the last possible minute so he could get ready in time while sleeping to the last second, but the sight of the room where they had all slept completely empty.
''Guys?'' he weakly called.
Not even Todoroki and Iida were still here.
He jumped out of bed, ran under a shower, got dressed, grabbed some coffee from the kitchen, and ran out to the training ground where everyone was waiting for the Hell Camp to start.
The advantage of being on private property is that I can use as many speed quirks as I want.
He joined his classmates, not hurt that they didn't wait for him, because it wasn't their jobs to make sure he was ready in time. But still, he was a little surprised.
''Why did none of you wake me up?'' he couldn't help asking.
The look of utter disbelief and even fury for some of the students was a sight to behold.
Tiger screamed for anyone with an enhancer quirk to go with him, so when Izuku walked to him, he was surprised that the pro hero with a stretchy limb quirk just stared at him for a three full seconds and just say ''No. Just no. You're not training with me.'' He sent him to Ragdoll, who was sitting on a crate or something, and holding a box of eggs in her hands.
Izuku's bad feeling was confirmed when she saw him coming, grinned like the Cheshire cat, and threw at egg at him, yelling ''CATCH!'' so loud the students around them turned their heads to see what was happening.
Izuku catched the egg one-handed, not even using a coordination quirk, and grabbed it between three fingers, only for the thin shell to rupture and yolk splashed his palm.
Which was to be expected and which didn't warrant Ragdoll's laugh, as far as Izuku was concerned, but to each its own, he guessed.
''I know all about you. You have a lot of power, but you can't control it, right?''
Izuku nodded, swiping the goo on the leg of his gym uniform. He could feel he wasn't going to like this training. Not at all.
''It's okay, it's okay,'' Ragdoll laughed. ''That's why we have training. You goal is to catch the egg without breaking it! Good luck!''
And she carefully selected another egg from its green box. A green Izuku could see through the spaces between the planks of the crate the Wild Wild Pussycat member was sitting on. He realized it was packed to the brim and that if they wanted, people could throw eggs at him for the whole week.
Izuku looked at the egg in Ragdoll's hand. The egg didn't look back.
It was strange to see Sir in UA but Mirio was strangely excited about it. Something was about to happen, something linked to All Might -All Might!- calling him and asking to meet him. Sir obviously knew what it was about because he had been in an excellent mood ever since and when he had asked if he could join Mirio, the Third Year had accepted even though his mentor was being all secretive.
Sir paused before they arrived, and looked at him, one of his rare smiles on his face.
''I know you can do it, Mirio. I have known it since the day I met you.''
Before he could ask what he meant, Sir opened the door, revealing the number 1 hero patiently waiting for them.
''Nighteye,'' All Might smiled, and Mirio could be wrong but there was something awkward in the air between them. ''Young Togata. Thank you for meeting me.''
Izuku was covered in yolk. Forearms, the front of his gym uniform, and in his hair. In his hair, because he had approached one of the egg so fast that the damn thing had exploded mid-air.
This might have been a little frustrating.
Izuku's usual technique of slowing before he rammed into something wasn't working with something so fragile. He needed to slowly decelerate the egg and himself, accompanying the movement in a fluid motion.
So now, he just needed to actually manage to do that while Ragdoll was throwing eggs left and right.
When she wasn't laughing at him.
All Might and Sir Nighteye were waiting for Mirio's answer and he had no idea of what to say. A thin All Might, by the way. An injured All Might.
The mere thought of someone managing to hurt the Symbol of Peace was something that had never crossed his mind until today, and that wasn't the craziest thing he had learned in the last twenty minutes.
But that was the scariest one. All Might had always been there. The Symbol of Peace, undefeated, absolute. To know that such a foundation of their country, of Mirio's world, was hurt... It made him realize how fragile things were.
Sir was looking at him expectantly, so proud. This pride meant the world to Mirio, because this man had believed in him, had taken him under his wing. He would never have been among the Big Three without his help.
But right now, words like One for All, and All for One, were echoing in his head, so many strange concepts. A new threat. A quirk unlike anything else, the possibility of receiving All Might's power. A shortcut to become the Symbol of Peace. The pride in Sir Nighteye's eyes. And having to stand against a man who had caused chaos and destruction since the rise of quirks.
Mirio had to say yes. He just had to.
Not because All Might asked or because Sir was obviously overjoyed at the idea of inheriting One for All. But because of All for One. Someone had to stand between him and everyone else, and he would have done that without the quirk.
It was what a hero did, after all.
Can you really take on the man who almost killed All Might ? Even with his quirk ?
There was only one way to find out.
You have to accept.
They are counting on you.
''I...'' he started.
Just as All Might said: ''I am not asking you to answer now, of course. This is a big decision and there is a lot to process. Take the week to think about it.''
Oh, thanks God.
Not that he wanted to refuse but no one would accept this kind of proposition in the second, right?
''Okay, time for a break!''
Without exception, every students fell to a ground with a groan, no one wanting to move anymore. Unfortunately, Asui, whose training consisted in climbing, wasn't quite to the ground. Ashido and Jirou gasped when they saw her starting to fall, jumped to their feet, and ran to catch her.
Asui gracefully landed on her feet just as Jirou and Ashido collided in each other, and they all fell again in a tangle of limbs.
As for Todoroki, who was still in his barrel of water, he disappeared inside it.
Izuku and Iida made sure he wasn't drowning, but when they tried to drag him out, they realized he was simply too heavy and they were too tired to manage to extract him.
So they made the barrel fall, to Todoroki's indignation, and they called it a day.
By the time the training was over, Izuku was in actual pain.
He had been leisurely using his quirks all day long, taking advantage of the fact he was allowed to and didn't have to hide, and he was now paying it because Ragdoll's training hadn't allowed him to take breaks like he was used to. So now, even the declining daylight was hurting his sensitive eyes, and his brain was manifesting its displeasure with a vicious headache.
Nothing that a good night of sleep wouldn't fix, but he still had to cook dinner with everyone, before crawling into his futon, so Izuku, after coming back from a twenty minutes scrub to get rid of the raw eggs that had almost permanently fused with his skin, put himself on front of a pile of potatoes and tried not to move too much.
He was badly and slowly peeling potatoes when he saw Kouta disappear in the forest. He followed him with his eyes, using Zoom, as long as he could.
Yes, headaches weren't going to stop him from using his quirks. He usually stopped when he started bleeding.
And since he was looking at the kid and not at what he was doing, he almost lost his thumb to a peeler.
Todoroki, who had been lighting fires not far away from Izuku, hurried to his side and gave him a towel before he bled all over their food.
''Are you okay ?''
Izuku thought about it, and Todoroki braced himself.
''I am wondering if I should respect someone's space or... talk with someone who didn't ask me anything.''
Todoroki slowly blinked at him, probably stunned by the sheer hypocrisy of what Izuku just said.
''How unlike you... to ask for permission before meddling in someone's business.''
Probably because I learned from experience how uncomfortable it can be to have people worrying about me.
''Maybe I am getting wiser in my old age?'' Izuku proposed instead.
''Allow me to doubt it.''
They could have exchanged more pleasantries but Izuku was still bleeding, so he went back to the room to find the first aid kit -for the adults expected them to randomly hurt themselves so everything they would need was in reach- and was starting to take care of the cut when he paused as he watched the blood so red.
There was one quirk he had never used in his arsenal. He had asked Nagisa afterwards to tell him about it because his holder didn't had the time to talk about it before he had slapped the quirk out of him. Bloodcurdle was a complicated quirk to use when one didn't have an immunity to every diseases that could be transmitted by blood contamination, but Izuku knew where himself had been.
So he took a lick, activating Stain's quirk.
And when he promptly crumbled to the floor like the moron he was, he wondered what the hell he was expecting.
No one knew Kouta's hiding spot, so he wasn't especially pleased when the green-haired happy-go-lucky moron from the day before appeared behind him. No, he didn't manage to startle Kouta. He definitely saw him arriving, he just didn't deign to acknowledge his presence at the time.
''I thought you would want something to eat, so I brought you a plate'' the green-haired boy said.
Kouta could barely believe this guy and his curry had dared to invade his sanctuary.
''Nope, don't want it. I don't feel like fraternizing with you people, so get out of my secret base.''
Midoriya put the plate on the ground, and started to leave.
Kouta remembered how he had jumped through the air, trying to impress his friends. How he had kept trying to catch eggs like an idiot all day.
He hated morons like him the most.
''Improving your quirks... Stretching them to their limits... It's just gross. To flaunt your powers like that.''
Midoriya paused and looked at him, not showing any anger or anything, like all those adults who were thinking Kouta was just a child lashing out and who were never actually listening to him.
''You're all freaking crazy,'' Kouta continued. ''Calling yourself heroes and villains and going around killing each other like idiots. And talking about your quirks all the time... all just to show off. Morons.''
As far as he was concerned, villains and heroes were only separated by a licence, imbeciles who were fighting each other for no reason while everyone else was congratulating them for playing this stupid game.
Midoriya hesitated, as if he was still thinking about leaving and just letting Kouta's words ringing in the air, empty of meaning for someone who wouldn't listen to a kid.
But ultimately, he talked.
''You have every right to not want to use your quirk,'' he said softly, but there was a touch of iron in his voice that made Kouta listen. ''But it's not your place to tell us what we should do with ours.''
The older kid wasn't trying to intimidate Kouta, or to frighten him, or anything. When he said that, Kouta just sensed that he wasn't even trying to convince him.
He was just stating a fact.
Then, Midoriya sighed, hesitated, but still made the error of opening his mouth: ''I know that the Water Hose were your parents. I don't think they were morons. They kept a villain from hurting a lot of people, they were protectors until the end...''
Mandalay told him?
Kouta was about to yell at him to shut his mouth when Midoriya said something that no one had ever told him.
''… but it doesn't mean that you don't have every right to be angry.''
Those words stunned him. He was never told that. He was asked to understand his mom and dad's stupid sacrifice that had no point, he was asked to try to understand, but no one had ever said that.
What is he trying to do?
''You're just telling what I want to hear...'' Kouta realized. ''You don't know what it feels like !''
The smile Midoriya offered him next wasn't a nice one.
''It's the most frightening thing in the world. One day, you're safe, and the other, nothing is the same anymore. You realize people you love can disappear in a moment, just when you were looking elsewhere. At first, it doesn't feel real, and then, it feels like it's the world that is wrong.''
That was... That was scarily accurate.
But Kouta wasn't about to admit it.
''Get out of my secret base,'' he simply repeated.
And Midoriya obeyed, leaving the plate of curry behind him.
The horror that spread through the 1-A and 1-B classes when they realized they weren't allowed to crawl to bed to heal from the horror inflicted by the training from Hell they were subjected to was a sight to behold. Instead, they had to participate in a courage test.
Some whined. Some screamed. Some promised vengeance. The six students who were stuck in remedial hell manifested their displeasure, but Aizawa-Sensei's scarf of doom had no interest in animosity, so they were dragged away without any mercy.
Kacchan was among them, the only one not fighting. He didn't quite seemed resigned to his fate, and Izuku was just not used to.
Especially when his childhood friend had seemed about to commit a gratuitous and violent murder every time Izuku was in his line of sight. One might wonder if he was still upset about what had happened during the finals.
1-B was the first to go into the forest, preparing themselves to scare 1-A, and Izuku waited with his eyes close, following with his mind the golden sparks of quirks being used. At least, until Yaoyorozu put a hand on his shoulder to tell him they were the one to go next.
'Kurogiri, about this child Tomura doesn't like... Tomura doesn't need to know but I would hate for such an interesting quirk to disappear. Make sure nothing happens to him.''
From what Kurogiri remembered from the USI, Midoriya Izuku's safety was hardly a source of concern, but when Sensei asked something of him, he had his reasons.
Midoriya Izuku, a boy who had been unknown several months ago, but who had a quirk who might one day rival All Might's. Such quirks didn't come from nowhere, and Kurogiri was well placed to know that one's quirk didn't have to come from one's blood.
It made sense for Sensei to offer a quirk to someone who could help them later. Being offered a power was a mark of trust, and if Midoriya Izuku had one of Sensei's quirks, it made sense that the boy had to be protected as an asset.
At least, that was what Kurogiri could guess from Sensei's interest.
But even if he was wrong, it didn't matter. Sensei's orders were absolute, and as soon as Kurogiri would deliver the quirk his master had been coveting, he would be back to make sure Midoriya Izuku didn't make any unfortunate encounter.
But first, there was the one able to detect that something was wrong, and who had such an interesting quirk, to take care of.
Ragdoll never saw the rock that was warped right above her head.
''I am sorry, Ragdoll,'' Kurogiri apologized truthfully as he started warping them to where Sensei was waiting for them. He didn't like to employ such crude methods with the quirk Sensei had offered him. ''But I simply don't have any time to waste.''