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AllMightAllTheTime said at 12:13pm:

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In one universe, Izuku turns right to head home to a wet-eyed mother who fusses over his bruises and attempts to save his now waterlogged notebook. He ends up passing under a bridge where he is attacked by a villain and saved by a hero in the same breath, and has his heart break under that hero’s words. He’ll prove himself to be brave if not clever by rushing in to save his schoolyard bully, and have that same hero mend his broken heart with words and a declaration under a setting sun.

This is not that universe.

Izuku pauses at a crosswalk, knowing he should head home but reluctant to see his mother’s watery smile, hand still clutching at his notebook but knowing without much doubt that it’s a lost cause. Most of the back half of it is a solid wet mass of pulp and running ink.

He turns left instead, heading to an internet cafe he’s been to once or twice that he knows won’t look too closely at his singed sleeves and mottled bruises. It’s cheap, has a decent internet connection and rentable computers, and it’s close enough to the main streets that it wont give his mother a heart attack when he says he’s going to stay a little late.

And it’s there that the two worlds’ differences truly shine.

TooTiredToFunction: bad day?

AllMightAllTheTime: You could say that. Bad week more like. At least I got to see Mt Lady’s debut

TooTiredToFunction: heard about that. she’s the one with the growth quirk, ye?

AllMightAllTheTime: Yep. Really interesting too, I don’t think she can control how much she grows and shrinks, it’s more like an on off switch. Which is too bad, it’s a lot more limiting that way, especially in the city. Unless it’s to fight a kaiju, she’d probably be more effective as a disaster relief specialist working with collapsed buildings and stuff. Although I guess it would be difficult for her to know where people are trapped, unless she has a sensor quirk sidekick, and so it would be hard to prevent accidental injuries, plus being a combat hero is always more marketable and she seemed like the type to really play into the crowd and im rambling again aren’t I

TooTiredToFunction: it’s fine, it’s always interesting to hear your take on new heroes compared to the hero net news

AllMightAllTheTime: To be fair, Hero Net doesn’t really take into account a lot of things outside of popularity rankings

TooTiredToFunction: you mean they’re hacks

AllMightAllTheTime: Wellllllllll

TooTiredToFunction: they’re hacks. say it with me

AllMightAllTheTime: Hey do you think if Ectoplasm gets a cold his clones do too? Would he accidentally make clones by coughing?

TooTiredToFunction: don’t change the subject SmallMight. you know as well as I do that there’s very little actual good analysis for heroes out there because everyone treats it like a reality tv show

AllMightAllTheTime: Technically it is reality tv

AllMightAllTheTime: Also these are important questions that need asking, and usually you’re the one to text me at four am with them. Aren’t you still haunted by wondering if Gun Head has bullets for eyes.

TooTiredToFunction: Those are important questions and I still demand answers at all times of day. the truth never sleeps. hence why you should agree with me that we could make a better hero analysis show with duck tape and my cousin’s video camera

SharkTrain2000s: So you keep saying, and yet I don’t see either of you making one

TooTiredToFunction: yet, you mean. if SmallMight would get over his respect for hacks over at hero net we’d be in business. no way im doing it on my own

SharkTrain2000s: what would you even call it lol. Two Nerds Talk A Lot?

AllMightAllTheTime: Heralytics

TooTiredToFunction: sounds like heretics. im in

fringinfrackle: what about Ana-Ro? Analytical Heroes

TooTiredToFunction: ...

AllMightAllTheTime: no

SharkTrain2000s: no

memmmmmmme: no

BadBarkie: no

Izuku leans back from the uncomfortable office chair and finds his eyes drifting to the still-soaked notebook slowly drying on some paper towels next to him. The idea of a longer form analytics project has come up before, and it’s honestly something he feels like he would be interested in. There’s only so many notebooks he can go through, and he knows there’s stuff he’s missing that would be helped by debating things with other fans. He’s just always hesitated to go the extra step and actually do it. Part of it feels like a concession: it would no longer be some nebulous training for the future, it would be proof that he’s just another fan with a big mouth.

There’s the faint sound of a ding coming from his phone.

TooTiredToFunction to you: hope I didn’t step out of line. i honestly think you could do better than those assholes at hero net

You: Us, you mean

TooTiredToFunction to you: I mean yeah, who else is going to make sure you don’t just ramble on about all might for forty minutes

You: I do like other heroes, you know

TooTiredToFunction to you: sure, SmallMight.

You: I thought you were going to be nice to me now >:C

TooTiredToFunction to you: SmallMight, this is me being nice

Izuku smiles and turns his attention back to the message board. fringinfrackle and SharkTrain2000s are now arguing over show names, so he tabs over to the hero gossip section of the community boards. Most of it is pretty uninteresting: supposed sightings and rumours of scandals that are one step away from being trash magazine titles, but he’s used to that. You can get some good tidbits on hero movements or updates, but most of the time the only reason he reads the gossip section is to laugh with the others over the really weird posts. It’s also helped him determine who the real popular heroes are, outside of the more official popularity ranks. There’s a surprising amount of die hard fans for underground heroes and sidekicks that never get talked about in Hero Net or on TV.

Eraserhead spotted at cat cafe!

He closes that tab too after only a few glances over the posts, navigating over to the fan theory page.

All Might Slowing down? Pillar of Peace’s average down by twenty percent since last year…

Show all comments
                                LackDaisy: LOL. What are you, one of Endeavor’s stans?
                                Nekoneko: everyone knows all might is overrated anyways
                                San2810: you ever learn the difference between correlation and causation? Villain attacks are down across the board, of course All Might is gonna be “slower’
                                EndEndeavor: LOL
                                                 EnDevour: @EndEndeavor: Fuckin change ur name already asshole
                                                 FuckingEndEndeavor: @EnDevour: Better? :3

 

Izuku quickly closes that tab too and sighs, leaning back against his chair as he eyes his notebook again. All Might has been less active than past years, but it’s not just a case of less villain attacks. He’s been less active in his philanthropy work too, cutting down hospital visits and charity events as much if not more than his hero work. As far as he can tell the hero has compensated by upping monetary donations, but that’s not necessarily sustainable. Heroes are paid by what amounts to a bounty system after all.

He doesn’t know what it means, and he doesn’t like thinking about it, so he turns back to his notebook and tries to see if anything is recoverable. There’s not a lot, unfortunately, and he feels an echo of that desperate fear and rage from earlier in the classroom. He can hear Kacchan’s words ringing in his ears.

AllMightAllTheTime: ok i’ll do it.

BadBarkie: wait you can’t be serious, i thought u two were joking

fringinfrackle: *you

BadBarkie: fuck off

TooTiredToFunction: fucking finally. you’re the best SmallMight, i’ll get my cousin’s camera next week

AllMightAllTheTime: I’m going to have a lot of free time soon, but I’ll send you my schedule anyways

SharkTrain2000s: I feel like we’ve just witnessed something. maybe not something great, but something for sure

memmmmmmme: i’ll prep your funeral arrangements for when you inevitably piss off a villain….or a hero

TooTiredToFunction: ha ha

There’s another buzz of his phone.

TooTiredToFunction to you: you sure about this?

You: Not really but I’m tired of losing notebooks. At least it should be harder to lose something online?

TooTiredToFunction to you: did you decide on whether you wanted to go the podcast or youtube channel?

You: I like the idea of the podcast because it makes it seem more anonymous, but I don’t know

TooTiredToFunction to you: we could always use masks if you’re worried about people recognising us

You: Really? Wouldn’t that be pretty suspicious though?

TooTiredToFunction to you: only if we’re dumb about it

Izuku glances up quickly to make sure no one is paying any attention, even though there’s really nothing to pay attention to in the first place. A habit from school, mostly.

You: My time is almost up at the cafe and I should be getting home soon anyways, but if you want we can meet up at the regular spot and hash things out more?

TooTiredToFunction to you: sure, sounds good. Let me know when you get home safe, there’s reports of a villain attack nearby

Izuku glances quickly at the TV in the corner of the room, which sure enough is broadcasting a live feed of some sort of attack. He can barely make out the villain involved, some sort of slime creature, and it’s too dark to make out much, but he still recognises the street.

You: Awww, you care. Will do! See you later Shinsou

TooTiredToFunction to you: later, SmallMight

 


Izuku met Shinsou—or TooTiredToFunction—on the online message boards of HeroFanCollective near the beginning of the school year. He’d been doing research—not on All Might, despite what Shinsou keeps saying—and found the semi-obscure group mostly by accident. Although the main pages get a decent amount of traffic, the message boards were a lot more isolated. They ended up being less intimidating to use at first, so Izuku tentatively started to reply to chats and even brought up a topic or two, usually late at night. It was in a specific board named 6AmRambles that he really got his name out.

He’s still embarrassed about the semi-infamous event that led to his current renown in the message boards. He’d been mostly delirious from sleep deprivation from having to redo an important essay the day before it was due, because the first copy was “mysteriously” destroyed at school. As such, after four hours of frantic writing and at least one too many cups of coffee for a pre-teen, he’d started a round of procrastination analysis that quickly spiralled out of control.

Could you determine the number of times it would theoretically be possible to fold Edgeshot in the same way you can a piece of paper? Would it be less or more than seven?

Probably not, but you can write a five-hundred word, no paragraph break and no punctuation, stream of consciousness post about it, and have it then screenshotted and memed across the platform.

Shinsou was one of the rare souls who actually read the thing in entirety, and commented on it, mostly by daring Izuku to do it again. Their friendship only bloomed from there.

Also, the next week Izuku did the same thing again, this time on the topic of All Might and whether his punches could theoretically be used as kinetic propulsion in space. To which Shinsou asked the most important question: If All Might yelled out his american attack names in space, would anyone hear it?

(Naturally that rant was a good two times longer.)

All that to say, when they both realised they lived in the same city—and not that far from each other either—they met up once or twice when the stars aligned. Neither was necessarily great at real life social skills, and their schedules didn’t usually work well together, but they’d gone to one Hero convention together, and met up at a cat cafe a few times.

This would be the first time they’d really interacted for more than an hour or two. And, to make things worse in Izuku’s mind, this would be the first time someone would actually be paying attention and possibly responding to his hero rambles in real life. He knows most people find it off-putting, but Shinsou specifically picked him for the analysis show, so that had to mean something, right?

It hasn’t stopped him from fiddling with his jacket strings, though, as he leans against the stone wall of the cafe. It’s not hard to spot Shinsou as he makes his way over, hair a shocking blast of grey-purple in a sea of colourful quirk-enhanced fashion.

“Yo,” the boy says once close enough, hand barely rising in greeting.

“Hello!” Izuku says, jumping up and forward a little in his haste. “I’ve been looking over my notes for a good hero to start off with, and I think we’d get the most impact with—”

“All Might, right?” Shinsou completes, ducking under the door frame to the cafe.

“I mean, ok, sure. All Might is the most well known, and his name would be a good one to start with. But honestly, there’s so many people talking about All Might all the time, there’s not much else to talk about anymore? It wouldn’t be anything really challenging—ah, thank you—” Izuku responds, distractedly going about sanitizing his hands before the door attendant lets them into the cat room.

“Hmm, true,” Shinsou mumbles, eyes already roaming around for an empty table. It’s not too busy luckily, and he leads them over to a corner next to a frankly alarmingly towering cat tree.

“And I know it might not be as popular, but it might be more fun to do someone a little less well known?”

Izuku sits down and hopes his voice isn’t cracking too much. He has a bad habit of slurring or stuttering over his words when he’s nervous, and he’s not used to having to pay attention to that in person with Shinsou. Online is so much easier.

“Well,” Shinsou drawls—actually drawls, Izuku knows he doesn’t sleep much and has a pretty apathetic attitude, but it’s strange to hear that literally in his voice— “I never suggested this to be popular in the first place. And as much as I know you love All Might and could probably do a whole show just on him—well. Here, look at this.”

He places a sheet of paper on the table between them. A cat is dangling one dainty paw from the cat tree about a centimeter above Shinsou’s hair, so it takes a moment for Izuku to register what he’s looking at.

“These are all support heroes or sidekicks?” He asks, sorting through the names. There’s not a ton of them, but it’s obvious that none of them have strong fighting quirks, and combined they would probably still be under the 50th spot in the Hero Rankings.

“Figured it would probably not be a great idea to analyse underground heroes if their work depends on secrecy, so this is the closest I could get,” Shinsou says leaning back.

“To what?” Izuku can feel his eyebrows pull down slightly, but the both of them are distracted for the moment by one of the employees coming by for their order. She’s wearing one of the uniforms of the cafe, but intense modifications have been made to accommodate her disjointed physic and tail. Seems a little too on the nose to work in a cat cafe if you have a cat mutation quirk.

Izuku blinks away his offhand train of thought on whether she can understand the cats or communicate with them and turns back to Shinsou.

“Wait, I think I get it. All of these heroes lack a combat quirk—they’re either search and rescue specialists or they use minimum quirk abilities in fights.”

“I figure we could play to our strengths,” Shinsou shrugs, “plus it would be more interesting. And really. It’s about time some of these heroes got talked about. None of the big names need anymore press, but some of these heroes and sidekicks are living paycheck to paycheck.”

“Would be nice to be able to support some more unknown heroes, that’s true. And I know there’s a few diehard fans of some of these heroes who will watch anything that mentions them just because it’s so rare.” Izuku bites down on his nail and looks the list over again.

“Well, it looks like we had the same thought. Is there anyone in here that you’re leaning towards? I don’t necessarily have more or less information on any of them, we’ll probably need a week or two to research.”

Shinsou shrugs, hands idly going to the back of a cat wandering close by.

“Well, if we wanted to split the difference between popularity and obscurity, there’s always the Wild Wild Pussycats,” he says.

Izuku snaps his head up.

“That’s perfect! They’ve been really quiet lately, but they used to have a big fan base. And they’re not as obscure as some of these, where information would be real hard to find.”

Shinsou nods.

“And, if we want to ease people into the more obscure heroes—or even the underground ones, although I agree we shouldnt go in depth with them for safety reasons—we can always have a mini news section where we highlight one hero. Maybe local ones?”

“Hmm,” Shinsou agrees, accepting the drinks the cat waiter brings by for them.

“Oh, what if we have a segment on quirk law and hero politics? I know you like talking about that stuff more than you like talking about quirk analysis, so that way both of us can have something. Which would be a relief, honestly, I’m not sure how’d I’d feel being the only one talking. Hmmm. Maybe we should have different shows for different days? How long an episode do you think?”

“Twenty minutes or so seems to be the average,” Shinsou adds in the breath it takes for Izuku to pause.

“Right. Right.”

Izuku hesitants, his mumbling cutting off as his brain catches up with his mouth. An orange and white tabby is stretching across his lap and digging tiny points of pain into his legs.

“Uh, Shinsou?”

“Hmm?”

“Why did you want to make a hero analysis show in the first place? I know it’s not your passion, and you’re not, um, you’re not any more extroverted than me. So. Why?”

The other boy eyes Izuku for a long moment, deadened eyes still sharp enough to cause him to second guess his words.

“You know what my quirk is, right?”

Izuku nods. It had come up during one of the 6AmRambles, although he got the sense Shinsou regretted ever mentioning it so hadn’t brought it up since.

“I want to be a hero,” Shinsou continues, slowly, as if gauging a reaction.

“Oh! Me too! You know, a quirk like yours would be really good for hero work, you could calm people down, stop villains in their tracks, get information quickly…Uh, Shinsou?”

The boy is grimacing slightly, although it doesn’t really look like in anger. It takes a moment for Izuku to recognise it as a smile.

“You would be one of the only ones to think so. I’ve been called a villain for my whole life, just based off this quirk. Society has some pretty fucked up ideas of what boxes people should be put in for their quirks—or their lack of one.”

Izuku flinches back. He’d made sure to not advertise his quirkless status online.

“Um. True. If you have a powerful quirk, obviously you’re pushed into heroics, and everyone else is told it’s impossible. And, uh, it’s not like you can even use your quirk if you’re not a hero anyways, so the only really context people have for them is. Well. Heroes and Villains.”

Shinsou brings his cup to his face and eyes Izuku over it.

“You want to go to UA, right? Their exam is notoriously skewed for flashy, combat based quirks, despite the large swath of heroics that shows you don’t need those.”

“....oh.”

Izuku thinks about all his plans up till now for becoming a hero—it’s always started at UA, but if he can’t even get past their entrance exam because he doesn’t have a quirk, nevermind a powerful one, then what really does he have left?

He feels more than a little chagrined to realise he hasn’t even bothered learning any combat skills or anything to prepare, although it’s not like the school clubs would take him in anyways.

“So by researching all these heroes we can maybe learn something to take into the exam? And, um, since almost all of these are UA alumni, there’s a chance we can get our name known beforehand, even if it’s just as two really intense fans?”

“Pretty much,” Shinsou says, leaning forward again to plop his head in his hands. “Plus. Don’t you want to see everyone’s faces when you show up having done what amounts to a full year’s worth of homework beforehand?”

Izuku pauses, feeling a sort of burning sensation rise up his throat. It’s been a somewhat familiar feeling in the past couple months.

Turns out, spite burns the user just as much as it does the target. But by gods does it make a good motivator.

“Right!”

Their first video releases two weeks later. A fifteen minute analysis of the Wild Wild Pussycats that’s filmed just slightly off centre. Izuku looks visibly nervous on camera, even with the plain paper mask of a smiley face overtop. Shinsou looks as calm and collected—bored, even—as usual, although he opted for a frown instead. Contrast, or something.

They film it in the park. Mostly because neither of them have any idea of where they’ll be able to find an empty, free indoor spot to film, and neither of them want to try it at home where their parents might get involved.

It means the audio has a slight static from ambient sound, and the lighting makes a drastic change as they keep pausing whenever someone wanders by.

It should, by all means, be a total disaster.

And indeed, in the first couple days after uploading they get a meager couple views. And then someone notices something strange in the background.

MissMountain @ Sakuraigi
                          Wait, is that Hawks in the tree back there? @JumboShrimpJuice , take a look at this video, around 4:08 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ

6 replies 23 retweets 40 likes

SharkAttack 4 days ago:
wow you two nerds actually did it. masks tho?
            Heralytics 4 days ago:
            Haha, well, S said I can’t give anyone his secret identity or he’ll have to kill me
            -I

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA 4 days ago:
I mean ignoring the fact that you two losers look ridiculous, not bad. I think you could have gone through more of their style tho, that’s all anyone really cares about. I think my sister has Tiger’s dress still in her closet
            Heralytics 3 days ago:
            well tell her to give it back
                  Heralytics 3 days ago:
                  Ignore S

MtClimber 1 hour ago:
OMG 4:08
           Jambersclambers 1 hour ago:
           Wow you weren’t wrong. That’s for sure Hawks. Wonder what’s he doing.

Last 1 Standing 1 hour ago:
Naw its probably a cosplayer. No ways these nobodies would stumble on a real pro hero

Jan1291998987 1 hour ago:
Hot single HERoes NEAR you!! LINK HERE
           grapecandy 1 hour ago:
           It’s a lie! My computer got hacked! Nooooooooooooo
                 No Might 1 hour ago:
                 Ha serves you right for being an idiot

midnight101thgindim twenty minutes ago:
Can’t be a cosplayer, they made cosplaying as a pro hero in public outside of conventions illegal because it started to interfere with actual hero work
            JAXK twenty minutes ago:
            Maybe he was trying to figure out what two kids in masks were doing in a park after dark? They do look pretty suspicious imo
                  HeyGhosts ten minutes ago:
                  Maybe it’s aliens

Wasted and Alone two minutes ago:
I know everyone is going crazy over the Hawks sighting but can we talk for a moment about the actual video? Concise, well researched analysis about both the history of the group and the current tactics and skills used, as well as a pretty funny banter between the two hosts? Like, that whole “I’m EYE and I’ll be your quirk analysis for today” “And I’m here *slurrrrrrrp*” was both strangely funny and seemingly genuine?
            MtClimber one minute ago:
            Yes! I got distracted by Hawks but the video itself is pretty good, if amateur, and the hosts are pretty cute too! That’s a sub for me

Izuku closes his laptop gingerly as he tries to catch his breath. Someone called him cute online! Also people are talking about the video! Even though it’s mostly all about the figure in the tree that they hadn’t ever noticed until editing.

He’d looked up MtClimber as soon as they commented, at first out of idle curiosity, and then mild panic. They’re a mod for a few Mt Lady communities, that while pretty small and new, meant that when they shared the video, it ended up getting a lot more attention than he expected.

He has no clue how they found it in the first place, honestly. They’d already resigned themselves to the knowledge that the first couple videos would more than likely not reach too many people outside of the HeroFanCollective.

He glances down at his phone, still open from the minor freak out he’d had at Shinsou when the first wave of comments came through. There’s a new message

TooTiredToFunction to you: hold on I have a great idea

TooTiredToFunction to you: image attached (3MB)

TooTiredToFunction to you: you know that old supermarket over by Bespin St? It’s right next to one of the parks

TooTiredToFunction to you: if we filmed on the roof than we’d be overlooking the bigger trees

You: Is that what I think it is?

TooTiredToFunction to you: our new gimmick? Yep

The video starts with a minor burst of static, before focusing on the two figures huddled in frame. Both are sitting on cheap plastic chairs. One has a white hoodie and a large notebook in hand, slightly crumpled paper mask with a drawn on smiley face covering their face. The other is wearing a black hoodie, hands empty, with a slightly less-crumpled mask with a frown.

They appear to be sitting on a low roof. The tops of a nearby building can just be seen out of frame, and the branches of a tree serve as a backdrop. There’s a small chalkboard propped up next to the two sitting figures, that mostly seems to be serving as a prop, styled like a stereotypical crime board with string and post its. The only thing viewable from this distance is a blurry screenshot of the profile of a man, wingtips only faintly visible.

“Welcome to Heralytics!” the figure in white says, hands fiddling with the notebook. There’s a sticker of All Might on it.

“Today we’re doing something a little different! Well, as different as you can get from having only one video. We want to thank our first fan, MtClimber, who was generous enough to share the previous video about the Wild Wild Pussycats—”

“Meow,” the figure in black says, deadpan.

“—And so we figured we would take this episode to talk about one of our newest heroines on the scene in tribute! Mt Lady herself!”

The figure in black leans over and spins the chalkboard, revealing a full spread image of the hero mid battle, patchworked out of what appears to be six standard printer papers. One of them is drooping slightly.

“What do you think, S, do we have enough to go over for a first episode? She’s pretty new.”

“Hmm. New, maybe, but she’s been busy since her debut. Seems to have drive to prove herself.”

The two get to talking, going over the sightings so far, and what is currently known of the new hero. There’s some speculation on her quirk, on ways to make her fighting more effective, a brief segway into why newer heroes have so much PR work when they could be on patrol, and why in particular Mt Lady seems to be trying to appeal to the masses in such a way.

But those of you with keen eyes will instead pay attention to the background, where nestled in the branches of the backdropped trees, a small plush hawk sits. It has sloppily glued safety goggles and a goatee drawn in marker.

At no point do the two figures address it, or talk about why their first video was shared in the first place. At some point, a squirrel climbs up the tree and starts a fight with the hawk, eventually winning by throwing it off the branch with a victorious chitter.

The two figures don’t even pause.

Chapter Text

They’re at a bubble tea shop doing some last minute editing to the next episode—a look at some new bit of quirk law that would make self-defence even stricter, and that Shinsou spent the good part of a night ranting about—when the explosion hits the street.

“Oh shit,” Shinsou yelps, grabbing hold of the laptop to keep it from falling off the table. Izuku doesn’t fare as well, having been thrown off his chair during the first shock wave.

“Who is it?” Izuku says from his position on the floor.

“Looks like a villain with a strength quirk—or no, looks like it’s just isolated to the ground. Vibrations maybe?”

Izuku pulls himself up, having to fight against the still ongoing shockwaves. The rest of the customers have already either run out the back, or are pressed up against the window to watch.

“Can you tell which hero is on the scene?” He says, trying to peek over the crowd. Shinsou is already moving, taking the break in shocks to stand on a nearby chair.

“So far I’m just seeing some first responders trying to herd the crowd—no wait, the fight’s moving closer. Looks like Kamui Woods and a sidekick, I don’t recognise them,” Shinsou says, one hand using Izuku’s head as a brace.

“Kamui has been pretty active lately, hasn’t he? That’s like the third time this week,” Izuku muses, taking over laptop guarding duty.

“Hey! A villain attack doesn’t mean you can climb over whatever you want,” a voice snaps at them. Izuku turns to see one of the employees heading their way and starts gathering their stuff.

“C’mon, lets see if we can get closer,” he says, nudging Shinsou with an elbow.

The two of them dart out of the shop just as one of the tremors starts up again. A cloud of smoke starts slowly drifting up into the sky from a block or two away. It looks like a decent chunk of the road has been gouged out or dug up, and it takes a moment for him to find a clear path over.

“Hey, wait.” There’s a hand at his elbow, and he blinks back over at Shinsou in confusion. He’s digging into Izuku’s bag for some reason.

“What is it?”

“This is the perfect opportunity,” Shinsou says, eventually surfacing with a pair of familiar masks. “We can stream it, Shark loves that kinda thing.”

“I thought you didn’t like Shark,” Izuku says, taking the mask. Now that he thinks about it, it would be cool to do a live analysis, like in a news segment. He can already imagine himself with one of those black microphones and a hand up to his ear.

“Exactly, Shark is never online at this time, it’ll piss them off.”

Izuku snorts, but follows along as Shinsou heads towards an alley. It seems like the fight has been contained, although it’s still ongoing, because there’s more and more columns of smoke rising from the same block, and at one point he even sees Kamui’s wood arm go swinging over a building.

“Who’s going to film? We don’t have a stand with us,” he asks as the both of them quickly put on the masks and head towards where a small crowd has gathered at the end of the fight.

“We’ll prop it up against one of the debris piles, but worst comes to worst I’m fine being your camera man,” Shinsou replies, ignoring the curious looks from bystanders much better than Izuku can.
They set up quickly—luckily the shockwaves have stopped now, the villain too distracted with fighting to try anything too large scale—and so they find a decent piece of rubble to stand the camera on. It looks like it might have once been part of a doorway. It takes another minute or two to figure out how to live stream it, especially since they have to set up the laptop and connect it, but eventually they get things working

AllMightAllTheTime: Doing a live analysis of the villain attack over by the plaza!

BadBarkie: wait what?

fringinfrackle: at least link it if you’re going to start with something like that

memmmmmmme: link

BadBarkie: link

Killingtime: Link

losseddd: l i n k

AllMightAllTheTime: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Um4OQ6KP1m4

Izuku shoves his phone in his pocket and straightens up in front of the camera. There’s another crash from behind as the villain gets thrown into a building, and he can barely hear the crowd’s gasp through the pounding of his heart.

“W-welcome to Heralytics! As you see, it’s another day and another villain fight!” he squeaks out at Shinsou’s nod, body angled so that he can look over to the fight but still keep most of it in frame.

“S’rude of them,” Shinsou says, doing the same so that they’re mirrored.

“I don’t think villains care much of politeness—ouch, there’s a good example, Kamui Woods just got knocked into the ground with one of the villain’s hits. They seem to be some sort of ground manipulator, we’ve seen both earthquake style effects and rock pillars, but they don’t appear to be too strong a fighter—”

“Don’t crush their dreams like that, they look like they might cry.”

“—fight’s taking a while mostly because all the buildings here are made of stone. Gives them a lot of ammunition. Kamui’s capture techniques don’t seem to be working either because the villain can tunnel into the stone to hide. That seems like cheating—”

“Oh, it is, but I’m pretty sure that’s part of being a villain.”

“—and now the sidekick has clotheslined the villain. We should really get their name, they’ve been providing a good deal of support and keeping the fight contained while Kamui makes sure the plaza doesn’t fall on us—”

“Ten out of ten heroism right there.”

“—ooooooh, that looks like it hurt. Oh, and there goes the camera, these shockwaves are pretty strong. One second everyone we’ll get it focused on the action soon—”

R33dUX: dat feel when some kids hobby is better than the national news
LarsonD: oh f
cammomileee: f
pokeeeeee: this villain doesn’t know when to quit, huh
2manyHands: can’t run with the sidekicks in the way, and it’s not like heroes will just let them go
SharkAttack: DASJHLAKDJSKL I WAKE UP TO THIS
MtClimber: Oh hi Shark!
MtClimber: Just in time, it looks like the fight is getting serious
midnight101thgindim: “Villain looks desperate, we should back up a bit in case they do something stupid” do you have room to talk like that, I?
LarsonD: prophetic
SharkAttack: serves you right for doing this without telling me dudes
MtClimber: I hope the camera is alright!
R33dUX: do these kids do this a lot? Never heard of them
midnight101thgindim: they do hero analysis vids usually, this is the first stream im p sure
MtClimber: yep!
EndEndeavour: wow been a while since ive seen a smack down like this
pokeeeeee: what you mean? The fight seems pretty even
EndEndeavour: im talking about purple haired kid’s snark
SharkAttack: ayyyyye that’s our TooTired, always with the clever mouth
MtClimber: TooTired? Do you know them
SharkAttack: oh ye these two clowns are from a hero message board. Been talking about starting a channel for a while. Thought it would be a joke
MtClimber: could you link me the board? Im curious
2manyHands: aw fuck that’s a cop out, you can’t just cc over and over to cheese the fight
cammomileee: looks like the fights going to be wrapping up now
LarsonD: the sidekick is hot, hey, move the camera a bit so we can see ‘em better
R33dUx: ugh
SharkAttack: sure, ill pm you
MtClimber: thanks!
midnight101thgindim: fuck
SharkAttack: oooooooh
R33dUX: well looks like thats over
EndEndeavour: ugh, it was just getting good
LarsonD: you know im more angry that it’s going to take forever to fix that road. Talk about traffic jams
pokeeeeee: kamui woods is cool, even if he does look like a burnt piece of jerky
MtClimber: RUDE
2manyHands: the winner was obvious, paper beats rock
R33dUX: LOL
SharkAttack: hey SmallMight, give me mod power so I can ban this trash
MtClimber: SmallMight?
LarsonD: SmaaaaaaaallMight?? I guess he does seem to wear a lot of all might clothing
SharkAttack: oops
cammomileee: oh looks like the cops have finally noticed the two suspicious masked kids with a camera
SharkAttack: filming heroe fights isn’t a crime
MtClimber: disrupting the peace and acting suspicious is though, and let’s be honest, masks are a little…
SharkAttack: it’s not like they’re hiding anything interesting under there
R33dUX: oh we running
LarsonD: oh lord we running
EndEndeavour: fuck ye kids, you run
MtClimber: these camera shakes are a little nauseating

...

Izuku slides around a corner as one of the mothers in the crowd points over to where they were set up to one of the attending police.

“This was a bad idea!” he whisper-shouts to Shinsou, who as usual looks pretty unphased by the situation.

“This was the best idea.”

They duck into the next street and slow, the lack of footsteps behind them a welcome sign. Izuku leans down and braces himself on his knees as Shinsou pats his back idly. Izuku waits until his breath is back before continuing his mumbling.

“Oh man, Mom would be so disappointed if we got in trouble. So disappointed. She’d probably cry, and if she cries, I’m going to cry, and I already cry enough as it is. I cried earlier today because the limited edition All Might bike lock sold out and I couldn’t get it, and I don’t even have a bike.”

Shinsou nudges him with a foot.

“It was fun though, right?”

Izuku pauses, tugging at his hoodie.

“It…...was so cool! I can’t wait to re-watch and pick it all apart again! We, uh, we should do it again.”

School finishes, and Izuku has to figure out what he’s doing next. UA, obviously, but the more and more he talks with Shinsou, the more he realises he doesn’t know what that means. Even if he trains hard for the next ten months, there’s very little chance he’ll get strong enough to win a spot in the hero course.

He’d going to try anyways.

Which means his schedule is even busier than when he was at school, since he’s juggling a series of exercises and frantic studying with his new hobby and friends. He can’t afford late nights chatting with people on message boards, even though he honestly thinks they were part of the reason he survived school. He tries and pops in when he can, but more often than not he ends up talking with Shark and the others through the live chats or in youtube comments.

He writes an essay about the decline of Golden Age heroes with the oversaturation of media-based heroes and petty criminals, and doesn’t even obsess over the negative comments questioning his status as a fan. He and Shinsou meet up each week to go over their next video plan, or to answer the few fan questions they get, or just to hang out while prepping for the entrance exam.

The whole time Shinsou has been pretty quiet about his plan for their identities—supposedly he wants them to get a decent amount of renown before going public, just so they can “milk the mystery”. Izuku sees how that might help them get a little more notice in the short time they have, but honestly he’s just happy he doesn’t have to worry about any of his classmates seeing him anymore. If Kacchan were to get a hold of the videos….he, well, he’s not sure what would happen. Kacchan has been pretty quiet lately, after being sick for a week or two a while back.

And of course, the hawk plushy continues on joining them in their videos, hiding somewhere in the background, perched on different items like it’s namesake is curiously looking in. It has a bit of a dark spot where Shinsou sloppily sewed up a rip from the squirrel attack, but otherwise it doesn’t change.

His mother says she’s so, so happy for him. He has what could tentatively be called friendships, and a goal, and he’s not come home with bruises or burns in months. He feels happier too—that drive, which up till now has had to stay banked under a layer of stress and fear and sadness finally burning it’s way to the top.

Izuku nudges the door open and waves goodbye to his sleepily shuffling mother, who gives him a big—if tired—smile in return.

He tests the grip of his running shoes mostly as an excuse to take in the morning view, the sun just peeking over the horizon. It’s slightly too cold to linger though, so he takes off. A jog around the block a few times until he’s warmed up, and then he runs down to the shopping district over by Bespit station to pick up anything his mom’s asked for, or to just take a look at the new hero merch.

The run today is quiet, just the sound of his feet on the pavement and the slowly waking neighbourhood. He doesn’t pass anyone, and it’s still too early for most commuters. He’s run into a few regulars during these runs—other runners, early risers, even a few low-level heroes heading on patrol.

It’s nice. Feeling like he’s doing something long enough to recognise faces.

By the time he arrives at the store—no groceries today—he feels a little more ready to face the less relaxing parts of his new routine.

He heads back, arriving just as his mother is finished with breakfast, and quickly showers and changes. His notifications are looked through—someone sent him a meme about All Might that he saves to his desktop and chain sends to the HeroFanCollective group. He checks in with Shinsou—busy today, and it’s their off day anyways. They have to write something for the next episode but neither of them does better with an audience when they try and work.

And then he sits down and attempts the thing he’s been trying to get done for the past two months but has so far not been very successful at. The deadline is soon, however, so he sits down with a grimace.

My Hero Academia! UA Entrance Application Essay

It’s supposed to be a short form description of himself, why he wants to be a hero, what his quirk is and how he anticipates using it in heroics. Mostly a fluff thing, as UA only accepts students based off the entrance exam anyways.

He could not do it, but…

Well, he needs to be noticed, right? And he’s already going to have trouble without a flashy quirk. There’s a good likelihood that they’ll keep a closer eye on the students who jump all the hoops and look the most determined, so it would be good to do.

He just hates talking about himself. Or having to talk about his quirkless status. What is he supposed to say?

Hi, my name is Midoriya Izuku and I’ve been called worthless my whole life. I don’t have any skills but I really want to be a hero, pretty please?

“Ugh.” He pushes away from the desk and flips his phone open, absentmindedly checking on the hero news in distraction.

A robbery stopped in a big bank, an accidental quirk outburst at a school that required hero intervention—ouch—a big apartment fire. All pretty boring in the grand scheme of hero news, so he flips it off again and starts chewing at his nails.

He has twelve drafts, each one completely unusable in different ways. Either he rambles too much in an attempt to cram as much context as possible—doesn’t have a quirk but, doesn’t know how to fight but, doesn’t have much self esteem but—or he ends up going in circles and circles.

His eyes land on his old hero analysis notebook—the one that Kacchan burned. His mouth twists, and he jerks out of his seat to pad over and flip through it. The ink has dried weirdly, and it’s almost impossible to read most of it, but his eyes roam across the warped pages anyways. He knows what it said anyways.

He starts writing.

Shouta doesn’t usually read the student applications. There’s too many, he doesn’t care about them until they’re standing in front of him pretending to be heroes, and he just doesn’t have time. But sometimes one or two get sent around to the teachers if they’re particularly noteworthy or interesting, and so he reads them. Mostly because Nezu will always want to talk about them at the next meeting, and it’s too much hassle to try and get around it.

He doesn’t expect much out of them by now—even the remarkable ones all boil down to hero worship or teenage ego, and he may not be a literature teacher but his standards for acceptable reading is not twelve year olds with a chip on their shoulder.

Which is maybe why he’s so surprised when he sees the folder on his desk on Monday. He only came in to prep a few things in anticipation of the recommended student process.

He debates leaving it there and pretending he didn’t see it, but he can already see Nezu’s face, so he sits down with a tired sigh and half-heartedly pages through it.

School records, decent grades, lackluster remarks from the teachers—aha, application essay. His eyes are bloodshot and slightly bleary, so his reaction is a bit delayed when he finally gets to reading.

When I was four I was told I would never be a hero. No, worse than that. I was told I would never be a productive member of society, I would never amount to anything, I wouldn’t ever be a human on the same level as everyone around me. A little quirk of genetics—funny, right, because I didn’t have one.

A quirk, that is.

My whole life I built my personality around heroes. Those courageous few who looked at a world in chaos and stepped in to shield the innocent from it’s dangers. The sight of All Might rescuing hundreds with a reassuring smile seemed to jump out of the screen and yell directly at me that everything was alright, that everything would be fine. It didn’t matter if I was quirkless, because look, All Might is here!

Naive, maybe. But I haven’t changed my mind. It takes a special sort of person to become someone others rely on. Heroism to me was never about catching villains or big flashy fights—it was helping people, raising them up, showing them that everything would be ok.

People tell me it’s useless to try and be a hero. That I’d be better of waiting for the next life to get a quirk and be useful. But twenty percent of the world is quirkless, and most heroes don’t have quirks that are directly useful for combat. The percentage of quirks that are actually powerful enough to be considered hero-worthy are rather small, even in actual heroes.

I would know, I spent my time after hearing I’d never have one picking apart every single hero and villain's quirk and fighting style. Notebook after notebook, page after page. Strengths and weaknesses, theories and statistics. Each time I was picking at a scab that would never heal.

I want to be clear: I was never jealous of these heroes' quirks, or at least not in the way I’m sure you are thinking.

It just gets so very frustrating to watch them use their quirks so carelessly and inefficiently. It was as if I, through my lack of one, saw all the ways they were wasting it. Childish jealousy? Maybe. But I’ll let you decide that.

Following is around five years worth of analysis on the top ten ranked heroes, as well as the heroes currently publicly employed at UA.

Well. That is certainly a first.

He leans back and settles the papers back into their folder. No doubt Nezu already has an opinion and a plan for this student—he can’t see any way the slippery rat wouldn’t. The principal puts too much effort into his entertainment. The fact that his entertainment comes from humans is mostly a non-issue in face of his dedication to the school and students.

He’s not sure what it means for him and his class, however. The chances of the student getting into the hero course are pretty much nil with the way the entrance exam is structured, and Shouta doesn’t much like the idea of teaching this student anyways. Too tiresome.

Whatever the case, he is not looking forward to the fallout.

AllMightAllTheTime: Im just nervous you know?
SharkTrain2000s: idk why, youll either get in or you wont
memmmmmmme: if you dont get in you can just become a pro youtuber
TooTiredToFunction: we’ll get in
N1MtClimber: I didn’t know you two were applying for UA! I believe in you two!
AllMightAllTheTime: Miss Mountain! You’re in this chat?
SharkTrain2000s: ye she asked for it during the first live stream
N1MtClimber: Sorry for intruding!
AllMightAllTheTime: Oh no! Don’t apologize, it’s because of you that we have as many viewers as we do
memmmmmmme: speaking of, how come you haven’t been replying to comments lately?
TooTiredToFunction: too tired
memmmmmmme: ha
AllMightAllTheTime: We’ve been busy! Not only to prepare, but because of the big video
TooTiredToFunction: SmallMight
AllMightAllTheTime: whoops
SharkTrain2000s: big video, huh
N1MtClimber: Ohhhh, now I’m excited! What’s it about?
TooTiredToFunction: it’s a secret but we’re almost done
AllMightAllTheTime: Soon! I can’t wait to see what people think
N1MtClimber: Oh, that reminds me, you should really think about a better community page than just youtube. Maybe with mods? There havent been too many issues yet, but the livestreams can be...heated
TooTiredToFunction: sounds like you’re volunteering
N1MtClimber: I just think it would help a lot! Oh, and you should think of getting a PO box or something so people can send stuff
SharkTrain2000s: thats a lot for some no name youtubers
N1MtClimber: not really! Everyone is doing it now, and even small content creators can have dedicated fans.
N1MtClimber: here, check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6DqxXhi62k

Izuku clicks the link with a decent amount of hesitation, slightly weirded out by how excitable Miss Mountain seems about it all. He really doesn't think they’re big enough to warrant moderators or fan mail.

The video is titled Hero Weekly Recap and seems to be one of those quick overly edited news videos. He doesn’t recognize the channel, but he’s seen others like it.

At first he doesn’t understand why Miss Mountain would send it—although it’s interesting, it doesn’t really add anything to the conversation.

About a minute in he gets his answer.

The host is a mutant type quirk user, with a deer-like head crowned in a wreath of antlers. They’ve obviously been filmed with a greenscreen in the background, as the whole time there’s been a steady rotation of news clips, videos, and photos.

The host wraps up a quick clip of an attempted robbery at a supermarket and transitions to what looks like a collage of a bunch of pictures—screencaps of different videos.

“There’s been a rise in DIY hero watching in the past year, stemming from Hero Net discontinuing their much loved To Catch a Villain show. For the most part, hero agencies discourage hero chasers, for supposed safety reasons. But some enterprising folk have found a loophole—here’s our top five amateur hero chasers of the month.”

In the corner of the collage—small enough to be overlooked, if Izuku wasn’t looking for it—is a blurry screencap of him and Shinsou running from the first responders during that first live stream.


You: I think I’m going to puke

TooTiredToFunction to you: it’s not that bad. I mean, they didn’t say anything bad

You: how did they even find out?

TooTiredToFunction to you: sorry to burst your inferiority complex, but how many subscribers do we have now?


You: ...what. How did it get the large


TooTiredToFunction to you: you realise we’re doing something that’s….not done anywhere else? Or at least not to the same degree. Actual analysis, based on something more than just how flashy or cool a hero looks. Debate on controversial topics like quirk laws and vigilantes. And that’s not even counting the memes

TooTiredToFunction to you: not to mention the mystery of the crappy masks and the lack of obvious quirks

TooTiredToFunction to you: ….midoriya?

 

Izuku is busy frantically looking over the channel—he’s been pretty bad at paying attention to things like the view count or subscription numbers because he knows himself enough to know he’ll start obsessing over them if he does. He answers questions that are about the analysis, and otherwise ignores everything he can.

The number doesn’t change, no matter how much he stares.

The last video on it’s own has broken 4k views. The subscriber count actually ticks up one while he watches, the 9,531 turning into 9,532.

He falls back onto his bed and replies.

You: end me now shinsou

TooTiredToFunction to you: oh wow no ponctuation. you must be freaking. Don’t worry about it SmallMight, we’re still considered small fry.

You: why

TooTiredToFunction to you: I’m assuming you’re talking about why we have that many, not why we’re still small fry. Like I said, we got something unique down. Also, I’m hilarious as fuck

You: im just. Wow

TooTiredToFunction to you: I was going to bring it up anyways, because I think it would be cool to release you know what when we hit 10k

You: I guess that makes sense. I still have to finish up the editing anyways. Training has been kicking my butt

TooTiredToFunction to you: find any coaches? My uncle says he’ll let me use his gym as long as I watch my younger cousins on weekends.


You: not yet. It seems like something that’s pretty expensive, and I already blew my budget on props this month

TooTiredToFunction to you: well, we have three months left.

You: not a lot of time

TooTiredToFunction to you: not really, unfortunately.

You: speaking of, I should head back to my workout. I’ll message you later

TooTiredToFunction to you: kay. Oh, before you go, look at this cat: cat

You: omg

Izuku closes the messaging app and sighs, leg bouncing up and down a bit as he eyes his laptop anxiously. He hoped people would be watching the videos they made, but for some reason he was not expecting it to actually happen. And so quickly. He’s been so distracted with all the things he has to do—applications, training, research, editing—that he’s completely forgotten that youtube is technically a social media platform.

He feels a weird sense of euphoria over it all.

Maybe it’s a fluke. Maybe it will fail in a few months when the novelty fades. There’s always a bunch of maybes hanging around in his head.

But for now, at least, in this moment, he’s no longer useless, quirkless Deku.

He’s “I”, analyst and creator of Heralytics, someone people want to listen to and talk to. Someone who’s worth at least a couple moments out of someone’s day.

He jerks to his feet with a burst of energy and nods decisively. This is just one step to his goal. Just one success of hopefully hundreds more. He’s going to have to work hard, but he can do it.

“Right!” he mutters, heading over to the newly bought weights in his room, “I just have to keep trying.”

The hawk plush sits centre stage in front of what looks like a homemade stand, silent and still. The background has been painted to look like the interior of some sort of courtroom, and the plush has been dressed to match, including white judge wig and a small judge’s robe. There’s a wooden mallet on the stand, and all in all, it wouldn’t look too out of place in some western crime drama.

If you ignore the fact that it’s a plush, and that everything looks to have been painted by children.

“Order, order!” a voice yells out over the quiet, coming in the direction of the stand. There’s just the slightest hint of a shadow that suggests someone crouching under it.

“I declare the court now in session as to the affair of I vs S. If the accused would present themselves.”

The now familiar figure of “I” steps forward, dressed in a sloppy and slightly too large suit. It looks like it was probably borrowed from a male family member or bought at a second hand shop. The customary paper mask has been redone on slightly thicker cardstock, and the lack of hoodie means that the thick tangle of green curls is on full display.

“And the prosecutor for this session.”

“S” steps forward much in a similar way, in a slightly better fitting suit. He appears to also be holding a thick folder, and has gone through the effort of shoving a pair of overly large glasses overtop where the eyes in his mask would be.

“Prosecutor, if you would present your case.”

“S” steps forward, slapping a hand down on the prosecutor bench.

“Today, heroes and gentlefolk, we are gathered here to debate something fundamental and cherished to our society. Something that is sacred to all of us. The accused stands here today in an effort to tear that down around our ears, to insert chaos and anarchy on our domain. He might look like a small mouse of a man, but I assure you, you are looking at a monster of a human.”

There’s a gasp from the still unseen audience.

“For years we have thrived in a society filled to the brim with amazing, pure quirks. Heroes of all colours and stripes have kept us safe and comfortable. And the laws are clear. They are there to protect us, to keep society in order. Although others might struggle under these supposed restrictions, they are necessary to keeping the order of our society safe. Everything has a place, everything has a reason. And this man here,” another slam as he points to “I”, “is why we have these laws in the first place. Because, my dear jury, this man is…”

A pause, as you can almost here the audience leaning in.

“Quirkless!” The pointing hand reaches down and throws open the folder, the camera switching to one just over his shoulder to showcase it. The first page is an xray of a foot.

A much louder gasp from the crowd. The sound of a baby crying. The camera swings back.

“Worrying, for sure. Does the accused have anything to say to these allegations?” the voice of the supposed judge asks.

“I” steps forward, hands wringing anxiously.

“It is true, your honor, I am...quirkless.”

“Hmm. I see. In that case, I suppose the verdict should be—”

“—Wait!” His voice cracks over the room like a firecracker “I may be quirkless, but I am not guilty of these accusations. This man might say I am a danger to this society, but that is only because he does not want to address the real danger here!”

A shaking hand points over to the prosecution.

“I may be quirkless, people might say I’m not worth much in this society of heroes and quirks. But! At least I don’t have a villainous quirk!”

The audience goes absolutely silent.

There’s a gasp of air from whoever is voicing the judge.

“Is that so, prosecution?” the hawk plushy says, attention turning. “S” looks taken aback, or at least, as much as he can with a covered face.

“It’s true! He has a brainwashing quirk that lets him control others! What could be more villainous than that?” the voice of “I” goes ringing out.

The audience starts up an indistinct murmur, rising in volume at the proclamation. The sound of a gravel banging echoes, despite the fact that the hammer on the stand never moves.

“Order, order! In the court of public opinion, it is obvious the verdict. In the case of I vs S I find you both guilty! You’re punishment will be social ridicule and prejudice.”

“S” slams a hand back down on the bench, turning his body towards the stand.

“Respectfully your honor, I decline,” he says, standing straight and reaching back with one hand to untie the mask and slip the glasses off.

“What?” The plush screeches.

“You don’t have any authority over me. This whole trial is a sham, and I don’t believe in it. I never have.”

The camera pans so that instead of facing each other, you see that both “I” and “S” are facing the judge.

“Society might say we have no use, that we’re villains waiting to happen, but society is wrong. And we’ll prove it.” “I” is already reaching out as he speaks, hands following “S” in untying his mask. As is it is, the camera doesn’t let the viewer see their faces, but it feels symbolically important anyways.

“Oh, and how do you plan on doing that?” the judge asks.

There’s a pulling sensation that makes the viewer want to lean forward and absorb the scene in fully, as if some secret or hint could be hiding in the anticipatory silence.

Katsuki has to physically stop himself from pressing his nose to the screen, hands gripping his desk in sheer anger and incredulity. It took a while to recognise, but that hair and that voice could come from no one else, even before the whole quirkless reveal.

“Katsuki! Dinner!” His mother yells out from the bottom of the stairs, causing him to jump back and reflectively cause a minor explosion with one of his hands.

“Coming,” he rasps back, hand going to his throat to rub at the faint scar circling it. Months later and he’s still not healed, or used to having to hoard his voice unless he wants to be mute for real.

He eyes his computer for one long moment because clicking his tongue to his teeth.

Whatever, it’s not like useless Deku can do anything anyways. Even heroes couldn’t save Katsuki from the slime villain—what does a powerless nerd think he can do?

Chapter Text

Hitoshi wouldn’t say he’s angry. It’s not quite that extreme of a feeling—it doesn’t consume him or affect his personality. He just...hates how black and white most people seem to see the world. Not even that whole “grey morality is still morality” bullshit people like spouting whenever they get caught stealing from convenience stores.

There’s this strange moral purity that people attribute to themselves because they’re normal. This idea that they’re part of the status quo and therefore powerful. If you’re not born with a heroic quirk—well, what are you doing with your life?

He wouldn’t say he’s angry about it—anger requires too much energy.

He’s just bitter.

Bitterness is an easier poison to swallow at this point. He gets up, gets dressed, puts on a mask of apathy and doesn’t let the barbed words of his classmates and teachers reach any soft spots inside of him. At first he tells himself he doesn’t need them—he’ll do it on his own.

He sees he was pretty naive thinking that, now.

“Midorya, breathe,” he says, hand on his cheek as he watches the other boy pace. They’re waiting for Hero Net to play an All Might special before they finish up filming the next live stream, because Hitoshi promised Midoriya that he’d watch it with him in exchange for Midoriya-san’s cooking. It’s also a bit of an apology for all the stress that’s come with the release of that video as Hitoshi has been calling it in his head, but he’s not going to mention that to Midoriya.

“It’s just—I haven’t been able to bring myself to read the comments, what if they’re horrible. What if everyone hates us now?”

“They won’t,” Hitoshi says. He’s not even lying, although there’s a fair share of cruel comments on their last video—or people thinking it’s a joke or that they’re lying—for the most part the community has been supportive. The crew at HeroFanCollective have been particularly good about it all. He gets the sense if anyone were to say anything bad, MtClimber would show up in their house and murder them.

On top of that, just like he calculated, their views and subscribers have tripled. They’ve been mentioned in multiple hero community threads, on other social media sites, even a youtube video or two.

And once Midorya gets over his nerves about the situation and actually starts looking at the reaction of his audience, he’ll see what Hitoshi has always known.

Eighty percent of the population has quirks. That sounds like a high number, but if you think of it, that means twenty percent is quirkless. That’s a large chunk of the world. That’s one in five people. That’s more than most genetic traits. And it impacts a person’s life so hugely. And when you start calculating the percentage of actual useful quirks, instead of weaker or less desirable ones like Hitoshi’s, that number skyrockets.

People want to be powerful. They want to be part of the status quo. If they think they’re alone, that there’s no one else like them—well, that makes them weak. That makes them other. And otherness is bad in a society obsessed with unique normality. Be different and strange because of your quirk, but only in the ways the world tells you to be.

And here’s Heralytics, having broken down what society actually means when they say that in dozens of hero analysis videos. Showing the ways that a seemingly powerful quirk is weak, or an obviously weak quirk can be used creatively for great affect. And then taking the stand and—at least on screen—showing you can be proud of your weakness, your supposed lack.

It’s cracked open a topic that most hero communities don’t dare talk about—it’s brought people together in ways that even he has trouble following sometimes.

He closes his eyes and lets Midoriya’s mumblings wash over him, the background hum of the news show starting up blending in with the slowly calming words.

Three years ago Hitoshi spent two weeks in the hospital. It’s for a dumb reason—school was being just as painful as usual, with the fearful and disdainful eyes of his classmates following him wherever he went when they weren’t outright ignoring him. The absent family too afraid to interact with him, the way everyone was pulling back. He felt like he was alone, and although he can usually use his spite and emotional turmoil to motivate himself to show them wrong—he was just tired. He didn’t do anything drastic. He just let himself drift through life in a haze, as if he was stepping outside of the world that had already pushed him aside. Food, school, family. He withdrew until he was basically sleeping all day.

The mandated psychologist they assigned him wasn’t bad, although he always got the sense that they too would rather be anywhere but talking to Hitoshi, but they did give some good advice. Except it's hard to reach out when you have no one willing to interact with you.

Unless it’s online. Hitoshi’s quirk doesn’t work online, and no one needs to know what it is anyways. There’s freedom in that sort of anonymity. So he starts researching support groups and interest groups. And there’s still some burning piece of him fueled by spite for the way his classmates spit villainous as if it’s a disease, so he signs up to a hero community message board under the name TooTiredToFunction. It was true at the time.

The same week his parents move overseas and shove him into his uncle’s house. It’s a lot louder—he has younger cousins and a newly remarried uncle with his lawyer wife to contend with, and he doesn’t have time to sleep because he’s being dragged to after-school events and family dinners and catch up classes.

So at the same time as he’s slowly stretching out online, he finds himself for once actually interacting with the world around him and not being rebuffed. It turns out that the world isn’t just a place where the status quo is the most powerful—there is a spot for the outliers too.

He really does have to thank Midoriya. He might not have been the first, or the most important connection that Hitoshi made in those pivotal three months, but he has become a strong pillar.

Nervous murmurs and bad self esteem aside.

By the time the special finishes, Midoriya is as calm as he usually is, grin still stapled across his cheeks like some sort of afterthought at just the topic of All Might. If it weren’t for the fact that obsession has become a mainstream thing when it comes to heroes, Hitoshi would be worried.

“You ready?” he asks, leaning back a little.

“Oh sure—did you see that clip about the fight at Ajax, though? The way All Might used the kinetic force behind his punches to create an actual vortex and trap the wind villain in the eye?”

“That was pretty cool,” Hitoshi admits, getting up to set up the laptop and camera. They’re filming inside for once, at a local community club that okayed their use of one of their meeting rooms. “I know the accepted theory is that All Might has a strength augmentation quirk, but it’s pretty interesting how he can use it to affect even the air around him like that. How do you even measure that sort of hit strength? You’d think he’d be liquifying villains left and right.”

“It must be a variable quirk—he can adjust the percentage of power.”

“Sure—most strength quirks are like that. But most strength quirks don’t also get to the level of creating tornadoes and hurricanes either.” The laptop opens their streaming app reluctantly, chugging as the fans start running in overdrive. They really need to get some better equipment.

“Speaking of, how's the training going?” he continues.

“Ugh—” Midoriya slams his head on the table. “Good? I can lift a decent amount now, and run the full route without strain. But it just doesn’t feel like enough, you know?”

“Yeah. My stamina is still crap. At least Uncle let me join the aikido class.” He still has bruises from said class, but he also no longer gets knocked down by a stiff wind, so you lose some you gain some.

“Hey, if we combine into one being, we’d be pretty well set,” Midoriya jokes, lifting his head. “I’ll give you my stamina and you can give me the martial arts skills, and together we’ll be unstoppable.”

“Muhahahaha,” Hitoshi deadpans.

“And on that totally not creepy note—” Midoriya spins his chair so he’s facing the camera—having caught the slight motion of Hitoshi reach over and pressing the start stream button just before his laugh—and smiles wide, expression un-impeded by a mask or hoodie. ”Let’s get this train wreck on the road. What's the topic for today?”

“Why, Mister I, that would of course be...villains.” Hitoshi accepts his cue, twirling his own chair, hand going to the hawk plushy in his lap like it’s some fancy breed cat and he’s the cliche old-school bald supervillain.

“But isn’t that in bad taste, Dr. S? Considering...you know?” Midoriya picks up, picking up a stack of thick cue cards. Most of them are blank, but the audience doesn’t have to know that.

“Oh, for sure. But here’s the interesting thing—most villains have either perfectly normal quirks, or they’re quirks that would work just as well in heroics. In fact, if you look at the past five supervillains in Japan in the last year, you’ll see an interesting trend…”

 

SharkAttack: oh shit it’s the meme team at last
LarsonD: thought the internet police had shown up to take you in for your crimes
2manyHands: a special on villains, huh. Finally
MtClimber: Hello I and S! Good to see you back
midnight101thegindim: aaayyyyye
SharkAttack: oh shit, it’s the first stream since you know what. look at these numbers
SharkAttack: my boys are famous
MtClimber: people really like them!
EndEndeavour: huh, didn’t think they would have the guts to do a villain analysis
EndEndeavour: ok but Fly Man doesn’t even count as a villain. He’s too dumb to be a villain
cammomileee: villains can be dumb too. Think about Sand Head. He literally didn’t have a brain
EndEndeavour: ...fair
BestJorts: feels weird to see them praise a villain even a little
LarsonD: tbf it’s all back hand compliments
midnight101thegindim: “not as weak as he comes across” ouch
D4v3: first time watching live!
D4v3: oh shit a villain segment
SharkAttack: climber you modding now?
MtClimber: yes! Tired gave me mod priviledges
SharkAttack: good, here comes the rabble

They’re just wrapping up the show when there’s a loud explosion from somewhere in the community centre. It’s loud enough that it downs out Midoriya’s goodbyes and immediately triggers the sprinkler system.

“Ah shit the computers—”

“—what the heck was that?”

SharkAttack: what the fuck guys
MtClimber: oh no!
BestJorts: the fuck is this

They both look towards the sound before Midoriya snaps into motion, shutting down the stream and shoving all their equipment into their bags as fast as possible. They can just vaguely hear laughing in the distance, and Hitoshi grimaces. Of course the day they do a villain show an actual villain shows up.

“Come on, let’s head out back,” he says, but when he turns Midoriya is already poking his head out of the door in the direction of the explosion.

“We should check to see if anyone is injured!” the boy says, slipping out and jogging down the hall.

Hitoshi stares at the spot where Midoriya was and blinks. He should have seen that coming, he guesses. Ugh, and now he’s soaking wet from the sprinklers, and he’s going to have to go save him from whatever trouble he inevitably gets into.

His hair hangs limply around his face, forcing him to brush it back as he rushes out after Midoriya.

The both of them skid down the now slick halls, very quickly entering into a part of the building where smoke is starting to fill the rooms. It seems to be concentrated in the workshop areas of the community classrooms, and they can already see a few people streaming out waving their hands in front of their faces. None of them appear to be injured or in fear of their lives.

“Is everyone alright?” Midoriya yelps once they run in close, peeking through the mostly obscured doorway. The closest person turns towards them and coughs. He looks like an older worker, with a blacksmith apron and a pair of now cracked glasses.

“Come on people, step back and get out of the smoke. She handled the fire already, but smoke can be just as dangerous,” he calls out, before turning slightly to the both of them. “Everything’s fine kids, go on, the rest of the classes are cancelled today until we…..fix this.”

“What happened?” Hitoshi asks, snagging the back of Midoriya’s shirt so he doesn’t go barrelling into the smoking room.

“No worries! A slight miscalculation!” a voice chirps right in his ear, and he flinches back, dragging Midoriya with him. A grinning face and a half mask stares at him from out of the smoke.

“Sorry Ichirou-san! Won’t happen again,” the voice continues, stepping out and revealing a strange looking girl holding the remains of some equally strange device.

“This is the third time this month, Mei-chan. The board isn’t going to let you keep coming if this keeps up,” the old man says, with a bit of a wry smile. “Ok you all, let’s get out before the smoke gives me a heart attack.”

They all get shuffled out of the building, the weird girl following without dropping that creepy smile.

“What were you making?” he asks in an undertone, as the girl starts poking at the scrap in her hands. It’s still sparking. When he glances over he sees that Midoriya is rock silent, seemingly paralysed from just the proximity of a girl their age. He rolls his eyes.

“You want to know?” she asks, leaning in.

“Uh, yeah? I guess. I asked.” He leans back.

“You really want to know?” she asks again, leaning in further so that he can see the whites of her eyes through the tinted glass.

“Now I’m not sure,” he mutters, taking a step back.

“This baby was going to explode! But in a much more controlled manner. A small explosion meant to simulate the ignition required for self propulsion! One of the wires must have gotten crossed, or else the chemical mix is still not pure enough…hmmm, exciting isn’t it!” she says brightly, pulling back.

A couple feet away Ichirou-san is talking with a purple faced, thin man with a balding head, and the girl quickly hides the scrap behind her back.

“Hey, what do you say you help me with it! I’ll pay you back in whatever baby of mine strikes your fancy!”

Hitoshi leans over and pokes Midoriya in the stomach. The girl doesn’t seem to notice and starts listing all her “babies”.

“Pst, earth to SmallMight. Midoriya. Hey.” He starts shaking him.

“Wha—oh! Um, yes?” the boy startles with blink. His head is just as plastered by the water, causing him to look a little like a sheep that fell into a stream.

“Let’s get out of here,” Hitoshi whispers, huffing the bag with their electronics higher.

“Wait!” the girl yells, slipping between them suddenly. “You! I know that voice! You’re that funny one on that one hero show, right? You should really think about upgrading your recording set up.”

“Um, thanks?” he mutters, eyeing her.

“You recognise us?” Midoriya yelps, jumping again.

“I’ve just had a great idea!” the girl says, ignoring them. “If you help me test, oh, just a small gadget or two, I’ll make you a brand new, improved recording system! What do you say?”

Her smile could literally blind them.

“No—”

“—sure!” Midoriya chirps back, with what looks like a reflexive smile in return. Hitoshi feels dread start to gather in his stomach. Oh, oh no.

This isn’t going to end well, he can tell.

And that’s how they gain one more member of the Heralytics. Luckily, Hatsume Mei doesn’t want to be on the show herself, and rarely actually asks to meet or anything. Mostly she wants them to showcase one of her inventions, or talk about support gear and services during their episodes.

She becomes, in essence, their first sponsor.

He can’t even complain that much, because with better cameras and microphones, there’s a very obvious spike in viewers and subscribers. People seem to appreciate the higher quality videos.

And it’s good for their goal to get into UA too, since Hatsume is more than willing to talk support gear with them, tailored to their quirks or lack of them. Her and Midoriya have bonded over analysis which hero has the right sort of gear for them or not.

Hitoshi wouldn’t mind—he’s already gotten a promise for a voice amplifier and modifier—if she wasn’t so…loud.

Midoriya can be loud, but mostly only when he’s anxious or scared. Hatsume is loud all the time. Not even just in volume. In shear personality.

He’s glad he doesn’t have to deal with it very often.

The second thing that changes is a ramp up of their UA entrance training. They’re now down to a month before the exam, and with all the stress from the channel, some of their preparations for the exam have lagged behind.

Now that they’re not worried about their identity or secrets, they slow down the videos to two a week and let their viewers know that they might be sporadic since they’re going to be dealing with exams and school soon.

And then the last few weeks pass quickly. Before he knows it, Hitoshi is waiting at Midoriya’s door with the remnants of what might be nerves trying to distract him. He doesn’t have to wait long.

“Good luck, the both of you!” Midoriya-san says with a watery smile as her son stumbles out of the door with a queasy look. His hair looks like someone decided to stage a full scale invasion in it.

“Ready?” he asks, shoving his hands in his pockets.

“Not at all” Midoriya says with a wide-eyed look, falling into step. “What if we fail?”

“Then we go into gen ed or support and try to get enough attention they’ll offer us a spot—I’ve already explained the sports festival plan, right?”

“Sure. Right.” Midoriya doesn’t look reassured.

“It’ll be fine, SmallMight,” Hitoshi says, with a bit of annoyance. They can’t start obsessing over what-ifs now. Usually the other boy is the one with the overabundance of optimism and determination

“Um, Shinsou?”

“What?”

“Can I call you Hitoshi?”

Hitoshi stops in the middle of the street.

“It’s just, you already call me SmallMight, and we’ve known each other for so long, and we’re friends, right? Friends call each other by nicknames, and…” Midoriya looks like he’s about to combust on the spot.

“...Sure,” Hitoshi says, continuing to walk. He supposes he’ll have to get used to thinking of Midoriya as Izuku now. He’s never had a friend he could call by their first name before.

Suddenly, his nerves are completely gone.

They split up when they get to the gates of UA. Both of them want to feel like they’ve done this on their own—through their own efforts. They have too much to prove to themselves.

Izuku pauses to take in the sight of the grounds and squashes the last bit of nerves trying to trip him up. He can do this!

A girl with a bouncy hair cut looks at him curiously as she passes, but he settles himself and just breathes it in for a moment. This will be the only chance he gets at the exam, and no matter what Shins—Hitoshi says, their best chance is to get into the hero course through the exam, instead of later.

He calms his breathing and opens his eyes—

—Right into the glaring face of Kacchan.

Izuku jumps back and almost trips over his own feet, but Kacchan doesn’t do anything but glare intensely at him, before hoarsely huffing and turning around dismissively. It’s such an odd thing for the boy to do that Izuku is left gaping after him for another minute, before the bell ringing reminds him he has somewhere he needs to be.

Suddenly, his nerves are back full force.

Shouta always sleeps through the theoretical part of the exam. Most of the other pros don’t even show up until the practical, and if they do it’s only to place bets or deal with last minute paperwork. Even the principal usually only shows up for the “exciting” bit.

This doesn’t seem to be most years, however.

He finds a corner that’s out of the way and curls up in his bag, eyeing Nezu for a moment sitting calm as you please in a ring of teachers, and settles in for the long haul. The written portion lasts a few hours, so whatever mischief is being cooked up will happen if he’s awake for it or not. As long as they don’t drag him into it.

He’s asleep for maybe twenty minutes or so before Hizashi is poking him awake, default grin stretched wide across his cheeks. Shouta glares at him.

No. Whatever they are up to can be done without him, and he’s not going to get conned into helping.

“C’mon brooooooo,” Hizashi wines, quiet enough for him that it doesn’t immediately make Shouta want to punch him.

“You might as well join us,” Nemuri says from the table, leaning backwards to eye them. “The quicker we finish the quicker you can go back to sleep.”

Ugh. She’s right.

He shuffles over, sleeping bag still zipped up, and collapses in one of the chairs. He’d been up all night chasing down a drug runner for a local gang to get information on a new street drug wreaking havoc in parts of the city, and he doesn’t have the energy to argue.

“Well then! If you would continue, All Might?” Nezu says as soon as Shouta sits down. The figure that Shouta has mostly been ignoring until now straightens.

“Of course! As you know, I will be working with you all for the next few years. I will do my utmost to be a teacher worthy of UA and the philosophy of Plus Ultra! What is maybe not known until now is that I am also here to search for a suitable successor among the students. Principal Nezu has given his blessing for this, and I beg your patience as I look in on the students.” All Might bows, ramrod straight like some sort of folding chair, and Shouta pinches his nose.

Reckless meathead with no teaching experience, poaching from the student pool before they even graduate. Perfect. Can’t go wrong at all.

“Perfect! The school is glad to have you, All Might. Now, about the current applicants, I have the list of recommendation students here. I’ll pass around each of them to the proper teachers. Make sure to give them a look over—they’ve shown promise!” Nezu says, dainty paws pressing together.

“As well, we have a few interesting applicants this year that I’m sure you’re interested to see. Whether they get into their preferred placement or not, I’m sure they’ll show us something truly interesting. I’ve gone through the effort of including their profiles in all of your folders.” Nezu’s smile does not fill Shouta with trust.

Sure enough, problem child number one stares back at him on the first page, plain freckled face belying the chaos he’s cause among the teachers just from one essay.

“You can’t be serious,” Vlad King says, paging through the document, “you’re really going to put stock in a fourteen-year-old?”

“He did provide us with some valuable critiques based solely on publicly available information! That sort of cleverness should be rewarded!” Nezu replies without missing a beat.

“If we wanted to reward them we would have changed the entrance exam,” Shouta says, eyeing the page just under listing the other problem child. The both of them are part of some sort of hero analysis video show, and at first glance neither of them appear to be a good match for heroics. On paper.

“We can’t change the entrance exam without the sponsors wondering why, and anyways, the other option would be to have humans instead of robots, and that’s just not doable,” Nemuri says, tapping her nails on the table. “It’s a shame, I’d be interested to see this brainwash quirk in person.”

Shouta eyes Nezu with suspicion. There’s a good likelihood this is a test—for the teachers as much as it is the students.

Somedays, Shouta wishes he’d never been lured by the promise of a steady paycheck and accepted becoming a teacher. On days like this, it feels a lot more like becoming a minion.

“Well, if that’s all!” Nezu crows with a grin, “It looks like we have a while longer before the written exam finishes. If there are any other questions? No? In that case, does anyone wish to have a friendly wager about the results?”

Shouta lays his head on the table and ignores the chatter. No one’s wagered with Nezu since it became obvious that his quirk let him calculate the likely outcome of the exams down to a ridiculous degree, such as who was likely to faint at the sight of the 0 pointer.

Honestly, the whole exam is more for the semblance of respectability. Nezu probably already has the student list written out and ready to be sent as soon as the individual scores are calculated.

Izuku stares at the towering form of the 0 pointer and feels his stomach drop to his feet. It’s bigger than huge—it blocks out the sun.

Past the pounding of his ears he can just make out a cry of help as the giant robot makes its way down the street, collapsing buildings in its path and raining debris and smoke with each step. Izuku can just make out a struggling figure in the shadow of it’s bulk.

He doesn’t stop. He doesn’t think. Or, perhaps it is more accurate to say that he doesn’t feel—his brain is going a mile a minute. Calculating the robots speed, it’s reach, the pattern of debris. The way it doesn’t seem to be locking on any of the fleeing applicants—it has a set path, a programmed routine. It’s large, it’s destructive—but it’s not intelligent.

He can do this, he thinks with a gasp of breath as he goes sliding across the pavement. He can do this. It won’t save his disastrous exam—he barely got a point or two—but it stopped being about the exam once it became obvious that someone was in actual danger.

“You ok?” he yells, dodging around a large chunk of stone that’s jutting out of the broken pavement. It doesn’t look like he’ll make it in time—he’s not fast enough.

“My leg—I’ve used up my stamina, I can’t float the stone off of it,” the girl—he vaguely recognises her as the one at the steps of the gate earlier—yells back, hands trying to reach back and push the debris off of her.

“What’s your quirk?” another voice yells out from one of the side alleys. Izuku has a moment to blink at the sight of Hitoshi running past one of the falling apartment blocks in shock.

“I can cancel gravity—” the girl gets just that far before Hitoshi’s quirk activates on her.

“Use your quirk to make you and the rock on top weightless!” The command snaps out, just as Hitoshi throws something round and shaped like a baseball towards Izuku, who catches it out of instinct.

He looks down at the slowly blinking orb for a fraction of a second before he gets why Hitoshi threw it to him. He presses the button and doesn’t release it. Counts in his head, watches the arc of the 0 point robot’s steps—not yet, not yet, the girl reaches back and floats the debris off of her, rising up with it, not yet, not yet.

There, just as the foot is at the peak of its arc, the most unbalanced—he throws the orb.

There’s an explosion of white light, and Izuku reflexively covers his eyes. When he blinks them open, it’s to see a large mass of white gel like substance now coating the frozen foot of the robot, as well as part of the buildings nearby, the ground, and even the now no longer floating girl. She’s safe though—both Izuku and Hitoshi helped Hatsume test the stasis gel to make sure the force of it expanding doesn’t injure upon release.

“Oh god,” Izuku says, falling backwards as his emotions catch up with him. “Oh my fucking god.”

“BZZZ, THAT CONCLUDES THE PRACTICAL PORTION OF THE EXAM! I REPEAT, THAT CONCLUDES THE PRACTICAL PORTION OF THE EXAM!.”

Izuku hears Hitoshi walk up and looks up just as the other boy offers out a hand.

“We did it,” he says, with one of those awkward grins of his. Izuku blinks, and then starts laughing. He knows he’s not talking about the exam—they won’t know that until weeks later, and the chance of Izuku passing are miniscule. But in this moment—yeah, they did do it. They saved someone. They were heroes.

“We should go get her down from there,” he says with his own grin, grabbing a hold of the hand offered and using it to pull himself up. He feels like he’s one big ache—he didn’t notice it, but one of the falling rocks must have hit him in the shoulder because he’s a mass of pain there.

It looks like the girl is waking up out of Hitoshi’s quirk, because he can hear her start to freak out about being suspended in the air by white strands of goo.

“Hold on! We’ll get you down!” he yells up, hands fumbling around until he hits the can of solvent Hatsume gave them. They’ll need to figure out how to get up to her, but at least she won’t be cutting pieces off of herself with scissors like the first time the stasis gel was tested.

He doesn’t hear the sound of a camera flashing—capturing him, Hitoshi, and the still frozen 0 pointer in mid step, the dust and smoke scattering the sun set like some sort of painting. In that moment, the crowd is completely silent to him—in that moment, all that he can see is what is in front of him.

Chapter Text

They meet Recovery Girl, are given a kiss on the cheek and some candy and told to go home. Their scores will be calculated and sent in a week’s time, and in the meantime they should be proud of their efforts, supposedly.

The girl they saved thanks them—a lot. Her name is Uraraka Ochako and she has a gravity quirk that lets her nullify the gravity of anything she touches. Unfortunately using it on herself or for too long makes her nauseous, hence why she was having trouble earlier. Hitoshi’s brainwash quirk completely bypassed that effect, restoring her ability to use it.

Izuku doesn’t think he’s seen his friend blush at any point since meeting in person, but when she calls the ability cool, Izuku is pretty sure that’s a blush on his face.

Of course, Izuku doesn’t fare much better, because she almost immediately asks for both their contact info and suddenly he can’t seem to function like a human at all.

By the time he’s waved off both Uraraka and Hitoshi, his body is screaming at him to lie down and his brain feels like mush. He can’t even find the energy to worry about his score, or what he’s going to do if he can’t get in. He walks home in a daze.

His mother meets him at the door with a hug and more tears—Izuku didn’t even notice when he started crying on the walk back. They eat dinner, Izuku takes a shower and then mostly collapses on the sofa in an attempt to stay awake until at least eight. Once he’s horizontal though, he really doesn’t know if he’ll make it back up again.

Luckily he doesn’t need to—his mom comes around with a blanket and the remote and switches the TV on so it’s playing Hero Net. He feels his eyes close as the familiar drone of the hero rankings filters through.

His mother's hands start combing through his curls, and he falls asleep to the combined effects.

He thinks he hears his mom says something just as he falls under, but it’s too quiet for him to understand.

The week passes slowly. Izuku and Hitoshi work on a video about bad quirk matchups—when the only hero available is under a severe disadvantage because the villain has a hard counter to their fighting style, or because their quirk doesn’t work on them at all—and mostly just simmer together in a mix of nerves and pride.

No matter what happens now, they both know they went out and gave it their all.

pokeeeeee: ayyyye you’re back
losseddd: been a while
SharkTrain2000s: you say that like you’ve been here for long yourselves
toemura: we can still be worried. how’d it go?
N1MtClimber: Yes! How’d it go?
TooTiredToFunction: poorly
AllMightAllTheTime: it wasn’t that bad!
TooTiredToFunction: SmallMight made a friend
BadBarkie: ooooooooooooooo
AllMightAllTheTime: She asked for your number too!!
N1MtClimber: OOOOOOO
AllMightAllTheTime: NOT like that! She was just saying thank you for helping out
TooTiredToFunction: more like for saving her life
SharkTrain2000s: wait what
losseddd: what
pokeeeeeee: wat
fringinfrackle: vat
N1MtClimber: what happened??
AllMightAllTheTime: You know how we’ve been quiet on where exactly we’re going?
SharkTrain2000s: you’ve been real squirely ye
TooTiredToFunction: we weren’t gonna say anything until the results came back
AllMightAllTheTime: and we still aren’t! We’ll be uploading a video of our live reactions to getting either our acceptance or rejection letters
SharkTrain2000s: hardcore
TooTiredToFunction: but you can say the exam was very...intense
AllMightAllTheTime: We should know what the answer is in a couple days!
N1MtClimber: How you holding up?
AllMightAllTheTime: I feel like I’m going to die!
TooTiredToFunction: oh mood
losseddd: big mood
BadBarkie: wig
SharkTrain2000s: what does that even mean

Originally Hitoshi suggested they do a live stream for their letter openings, but the idea of having a possible rejection live broadcasted was too embarrassing for Izuku to even imagine, so they’ve decided they’ll record it but not upload it if it goes poorly. At least that way they can edit out any crying.

He hugs the hawk plush closer and tries not to let his nerves get the better of him. Just a few more days.

The letter arrives on a Wednesday, a day earlier than originally anticipated, and it sits innocently on the kitchen table for a good hour before Katsuki sees it.

“You going to open it?” his mom asks, watching him glare at it. She’s not yelling for once—has mostly stopped since the attack in deference to Katsuki’s own forced quiet—which just makes her tone come across as vaguely snide.

“I already know what it says,” he snaps, snatching it up. His mother just raises an eyebrow.

Katsuki stomps back up the stairs, refusing to look nervous or scared or whatever other nerd emotion his mom is insinuating with her words. Of course he got in—there’s no other outcome possible. Katsuki is the best, and he proved it at the exam, taking point after point.

He throws himself on his bed and opens the letter—carefully. A small round disk falls into his hand, flashing gently. He frowns and places it on the bed, hand reaching back into the envelope for the paper stuck inside.

Dear applicant,

This holo-letter device has recorded your scores for the UA entrance exam including any additional information on your placement. To start the recording, simply press the biometric scanner on the side of the device so that it can scan your prints. This is done as a security measure

Blah blah blah

He reaches over and activates the device, refusing to wait another minute. As soon as he gets confirmation of what he knows, he can shove it into his doctor’s and family’s faces. He’s going to become a hero, and nothing’s stopping him.

The device flickers for a second, before he’s staring up at a larger than life holographic display of Present Mic mid-lunge.

“Helloooooo listener! Present Mic here to personally congratulate you on your placement in the UA Hero course exam! I’m sure you’re at the edge of your seat wondering what you got, so I won’t delay any longer.

"Bakugou Katsuki, you placed first in your bracket! With a 98% on the written exam, and with a total of seventy seven villain points in the practical, you’ve shown your hero potential with gusto!

"Feel proud for what you’ve accomplished, and we’ll be watching closely as you progress on your path to being a hero who exemplifies the Plus Ultra mentality!

"A packet of additional information has been included with this message, and will now print off of the holo-letter device. Be seeing you soon, listener!”

The message finishes with a splutter, cutting off and settling down on Katsuki’s still-open palm with a click. He’s left blinking at it while it starts printing out paper at an alarming rate. How it’s able to do that when the disk is smaller than his hand and the paper is regular sized printing paper, he’s not sure and doesn’t really care.

He puts it back on his bed and stands up, hand reaching up to rub at his throat.

He didn’t doubt it, but it’s nice to have that validation. First place, as he deserves. Even seeing that nerd before the exam couldn’t throw him off his game, and this just goes to show what he’s been saying this whole time.

His eyes flicker over to the computer and he grits his teeth.

What was the nerd doing at the exam in the first place? A quirkless loser like that doesn’t stand a chance of getting in, and it’s not like UA would allow them to record anything on the grounds, not to mention during the exam.

“Tch,” he spits, spinning around to boot up the screen with a glare. The youtube channel is already open, paused half-way through a video on Backdraft, and he smashes the back button forcibly until he’s back on the new videos page.

He clicks on the newest video with enough force he can hear the mouse button crack, and settles in to hate watch.

AllMightAllTheTime: video posted!
N1MtClimber: Yay!
SharkAttack2000s: I’m at my sister’s recital: what’s the verdict?
BadBarkie: still watching
R33dUX: wait I didn’t realise they were applying to UA
N1Climber: Me neither! But it makes sense
SharkAttack2000s: no way
pokeeeeeee: just started
N1MtClimber: They got in!
LarsonD: ayyyyyyye
toemura: just into support and gen ed
N1MtClimber: Doesn’t matter! They still got in!
SharkAttack2000s: no way
fringinfrackle: ay congrats bros
memmmmmmme: im late wat I miss
Hotato: herabros got into UA
Killingtime: wow
2manyHands: …
BestJorts: they know what they’re good at!
EndEndeavour: et tu brutus
SharkAttack2000s: what does that mean
LarsonD: shhh they’re talking about their exam
HatsuME: glad to see my babies helped out!

Hours later and Izuku is still vibrating.

“We knew this could happen,” Hitoshi says with one hand on his chin, watching. “The practical exam was skewed against us from the start, and the one robot we shined against was the 0 pointer.”

“I know—I just, ugh,” Izuku mumbles, turning to pace again. “Why did they place me in support? I’m not Hatsume-chan! ”

“I don’t know—the fact that analysis and tactics is a support role?” Hitoshi says wryly, leaning back. The hawk’s plush is squeezed between his arm and the back of the sofa, and he idly reaches back to push it into Izuku’s arms.

Izuku hugs the slightly battered hawk and bites at his nails, mind racing.

“And what did they mean by: we’re looking forward to the waves you’ll make. That sounds ominous, doesn’t it? Like, didn't the principal's smile come across as vaguely threatening?” He mutters, turning back to Hitsoshi to throw himself onto the sofa next to him.

“We made it though. One step closer,” Hitoshi says, nudging him with his knee.

“We did,” Izuku says, muffled by the cushions. “Oh man. I just realised. I’m going to have to share a class with Hatsume-chan.”

“Your funeral,” Hitoshi says with a laugh, stretching with a brack-cracking sound. “Come on, I’ll bring you to my uncle’s gym to work off that nervous energy. This last video should last us for a while anyways.”

“You just want an excuse to throw me around,” Izuku complains, borrowing further into the cushions. Izuku can brawl just fine, and his stamina and pain tolerance has been honed by years as the schoolyard pariah. But Hitoshi is scary with only a couple months training under his uncle.

“Not going to get better if you just lay there,” Hitoshi says his a crack of his neck. “Come on, stop sulking.”

So saying, he reachings down and grabs Izuku by the collar of his All Might sweater. Having anticipated this, Izuku reaches back and grabs hold of his arm, pulling with as much force he can in the awkward position. There’s a thump and yell as Hitoshi goes flying.

Izuku pushes himself up to laugh at his face and has to doge a thrown pillow.

“Oh it’s on,” he says, eyes narrowed and hand reaching to pick up his own ammunition.

That’s the scene Inko walks into a couple minutes later, living room half-a-step away from a war zone.

And thus the rest of the week passes quickly. There’s a lot to do: getting uniforms, handling paperwork, talking with the administration about classes. There’s barely any time to deal with the Heralytics channel, or any of the other projects. Even Hatsume is busy, as seen by the fact that there’s been a lot less explosions in their social life lately.

Maybe that’s why he misses it.

EndEndeavour: Look, all I’m saying is that the system is broke
SharkAttack2000s: yeah, no one is arguing that lol. Even SmallMight has been worn down by Tired’s cynicism
2manyHands: not cynicism if it’s true
pokeeeeeee: heroics has always been a shit show of popularity contests and show bizz, not a shock
N1MtClimber: Historically that was for good reason! With quirks just emerging and the laws still new, heroes had to be ambassadors
SharkAttack2000s: and those anti-quirk groups didnt help. Now we cant even use our quirks to scratch our asses at work, not even mentioned in self defence
N1MtClimber: and yet those with weak quirks—or no quirks at all—are looked down on
2manyHands: even by heroes
EndEndeavour: it’s fucked up
SharkAttack2000s: and we all like heroes—heck, Heralytics started on a hero fan forum
2manyHands: speak for yourself
N1MtClimber: you can still like something and be aware of it’s negative aspects! And there’s still hope—with Heralytics going to UA, that means at least two potential heroes are aware of the problem
2manyHands: that’s if the heroes don’t corrupt them
pokeeeeeeee: and they’re not learning to be heroes yet. Both of them are in other courses
EndEndeavour: so, what are we going to do about it?
SharkAttack2000s: what makes you think I’m going to be any part of this
EndEndeavour: you chickening out?
SharkAttack2000s: fuck no
N1MtClimber: I think I can help with that! I was able to convince Tired to sign up for a PO box finally
N1MtClimber: Those of you interested, I’ll set up a private discord and you can ask me for an invite

The day before classes start Izuku and Hitoshi meet up with Hatsume to celebrate the last free day they’ll have for a while.

“Thanks for the stasis gel again, it really saved us in the exam,” Izuku says as they squeeze themselves into a booth. Hatsume is already digging a bunch of gear out of her bag.

“Oh, it was nothing! You paid me back already just by talking about it on your show—I’ve gotten so many enquiries about it already! Of course, I can’t sell it without a patent, and making support gear for non-heroes is illegal, but the exposure was worth it!” She says with a grin.

“Good thing UA didn’t mind us bringing in non-licensed support gear,” Hitoshi says wryly, leaning out of the way of her flailing arms.

“They really couldn’t argue when I pointed out that it wasn’t against the rules, and that since Hatsume isn’t licensed yet any gear she makes is just civilian-grade. Lots of grey areas,” Izuku returns, idly picking up one of the gadgets now littering the table to stop it from rolling off. Most of them appear to be modified versions of the stasis gel, so he makes sure not to press anything. Last thing they need is to be kicked out of another cafe.

“You mean it wasn’t the ‘what would have happened if we didn’t stop the 0 pointer from crushing Uraraka’ question you opened with?” Hitoshi says into his palm.

“I’m sure their tech is advanced enough it wouldn’t have actually have crushed her! It, uh, just didn’t seem like that at the time,” Izuku hurries to reply, uncomfortable with the insinuation. As if he would blackmail UA into not drawing charges on them. Or, he supposes, his first denial should be about whether or not UA would make their test actually deadly and risk killing someone.

“Sorry I’m late—um, what was that about being crushed?” Speak of the devil.

“Uraraka-chan! Um, it was nothing. Just talking about the exam again. Thanks for coming,” he says, making room for their last member to squeeze in. She’s wearing a Thirteen branded t-shirt and a pair of floral shorts, and Izuku has to force himself from reflexively blushing just at her smile. He’s mostly gotten over his nerves at talking with a cute girl.

“Here we go!” Hatsume says, finally emerging from her bag. “Oh, Ochachan, when did you show up? Nevermind, congrats on getting into Heroics etcetera, here, look at this.”

She pushes a slightly banged up box across the table.

All three of them eye it warily. Even Uraraka—who hasn’t had time to really experience the Hatsume insanity—has learned to be aware of the likelihood for anything Hatsume touches to turn into an explosive.

“Go on! It’s a gift to celebrate getting into UA!”

Izuku reaches out first, the guilt for thinking bad about their friend breaking him from his paralysis.

“You didn’t have to! You’ve already done a lot for us!” he says worriedly as he pops the lid off. Sitting in a pad of foam are five sets of small devices, shaped a little like earbuds.

“I would have made cupcakes or something if I knew we were going to be exchanging gifts!” Uraraka agrees, leaning in to look.

Hitoshi of course doesn’t even bother with politeness and reaches in to take one.

“What is it?” he asks, rotating it to get a better look.

“A specially made radio-receiver! With three channels of privacy, a bluetooth connection for music, noise cancelling and noise amplifying technology, and a slim, sleek design!” Hatsume immediately goes into demonstration mode.

“Here, this button here will switch the channel—go ahead and pop it in—it’s paired to the other sets, so as long as you’re talking above a whisper it will pick it up and play it through the other receivers. Like a much better, much smaller walkie talkie. The dial here will adjust volume and whether it’s playing what’s recording through the other pairs or what's around you. With the dial to max noise amplifying, you’ll be able to hear even a pin drop on the other side of a wall!”

Izuku stares at the little device a little in shock. That seems like a lot for something that’s so small. He knew Hatsume was good—the stasis gel showed that—but this is one step away from being professional hero gear. He can feel his eyes water.

“No tears, mealticket! With these I’ll be able to call upon your services to test out my babies whenever I like!”

And his face is suddenly dry.

“You designed this based of our video on non-combat support services?” Hitoshi asks, already putting his in. Izuku startles.

“That’s right!” she says, “You made a good point about the fact that most support gear is less likely to be a jetpack or hoverboots—it’s going to be communication, tracking, protective gear. And it ended up being a good challenge.”

“Wow,” Uraraka says, putting hers in. “This is really impressive Mei-chan!”

Hatsume smiles with an edge of sleep-deprivation to it and reaches out to grab Uraraka’s hands.

“Ochachan you’re going into heroics—promise me I’ll get first bid on all your gear.” Her stare is that of manic intensity.

Izuku turns to Hitoshi and leaves them to their negotiations—Hatsume has already done the same to the both of them.

Hitoshi is in the middle of pairing his set of earbuds to his tablet—the one Hatsume made for them that has a special app for their channel resources and chats—and raises an eyebrow when he notices Izuku staring.

“I was thinking,” Izuku says slowly, and he can feel everyone switch their attention to him in a snap. He swallows the nerves suddenly choking him and continues.

“I was thinking, between the four of us we have someone in three of the departments—me and Hatsume-chan in support, Uraraka-chan in heroics, and Hitoshi in gen ed. Maybe when we get to school, we should see if we can find someone in the business classes?”

“Hmm, that would be a good idea. You never know when you need a marketing minion!” Hatsume agrees.

“I’m not sure about a minion, but having more friends is always good, right?” Uraraka muses.

Izuku turns to Hitoshi, waiting for his reaction. Out of all of his new friends, Hitoshi has the most veto power. Not just from being his friend the longest, or being the real catalyst for Heralytics, but because he’s the most solitary. Hitoshi doesn’t befriend easily, and has mostly been in the background of any hangouts when there’s more than just Izuku there.

“Hmm.” He leans back, looking off in the distance for a second. “Having a well rounded team is essential to any hero agency—and with both you and I aiming for heroics, I’ll probably have to get used to the group expanding anyways. Sure, I guess.”

Izuku sighs in relief. And then snaps his head back up.

“Wait, what hero agency?”

Hatsume reaches over and pats his head.

“Your ignorance is cute, mealticket!

And then it’s day one of UA classes. Izuku, Hitoshi, and Hatsume wave goodbye to a determined-looking Uraraka—the heroics course is in a completely different part of the campus—and head towards the building they were told to show up at in their information packets. It ends up being a gym of some kind, and there’s already a decent amount of people there, so they quickly find a less crowded corner and settle in.

Izuku can feel himself mumbling as they wait for the teachers, cataloging the other students and their quirks as they go by. There’s a few that catch his attention right off the bat—for some reason he sees a few heroics students in the crowd, and his eyes flicker across them quickly.

A girl with a head of thorns, looking serene and calm. If she can manipulate those, depending on how strong they are naturally she would have a good mix of offense and defense.

A boy with completely slate-black skin and white hair, merging a bit with the shadows in the corner. Some sort of illusionary quirk? If he can do that wherever it’s dark, he’d make a great underground hero.

A boy with what looks like a praying mantis head, idly popping what looks like a blade out of his elbow over and over like a tic. Blades are risky for a hero, since it’s seen as a bit of a villainous tool, but he has a lot of visual appeal with his unique form.

There’s others, ones with less obvious quirks at first glance, and he makes sure to note them down too. He knows more than anyone that there’s a good chance the really dangerous are among the less attention grabbing group.

His eyes flit towards the other students.

A support student with metal hair who’s sheepishly handing someone their bag—magnetic quirk? Bad control over it, whatever it is.

A gen ed student with a dead look and no hands—no wait, there’s a pair of semi-translucent hands tying another gen ed’s sneakers a few steps away. That could be a very useful quirk, if the personality involved isn’t too troublesome.

Another support student, this time with a pair of large glasses and yet no eyes—their face is just a smooth blank slate. They’re holding some sort of tablet, similar to the one Izuku and Hitoshi use, and using it to talk to the student next to them. The glasses are streaming small glowing text across the glass. Data quirk of some kind?

And there, huddled alone in a corner of the room, a boy with a sleek hair cut and round glasses, muttering down into a held laptop. There’s a pair of dark tendrils poking out of his back, holding a notepad and a phone respectively. The business class emblem is just visible on his uniform.

Izuku nudges Hitoshi and nods in his direction. He glances over and nods, but doesn’t have time to answer before the light at the end of the hall snaps on. There’s an older student there with a wide grin and oval eyes. He’s standing in front of a student with long pink hair and a student with pointed ears and a narrowed eye look.

They turn to the stage and settle into paying attention to the opening ceremonies.

They can always talk later. And with Hatsume’s radios they don’t even have to be in the same class to do so.


Hitoshi splits off to join the other gen eds, and Izuku and Hatsume follow their new teacher down the halls. Power Loader is a strangely small man in person, despite the bulk his exoskeleton makes up for. Izuku eyes him consideringly—The way he walks belies some sort of injury, and he wonders if that’s why his combat gear is a mech instead of a more advanced exoskeleton. It’s powerful, for sure, but maneuverability—

“—is made up for the fact that the mech is more stable than even a high-tech exo-suit, and a lot less expensive to replace. You were mumbling, kid,” Power Loader says, turning around in front of a tall closed door.

Izuku blushes bright red. He can feel Hatsume’s grin right next to him. His mumbling usually isn’t this bad—he must be more nervous than he thought.

“Don’t apologize. A good inventor should always be asking questions of the world around him. Even if they’re not pleasant. Go on, sit yourselves down and we’ll get through the introductory stuff.” Power Loader’s voice is slightly raspy, and where there’s a bit of that dead-faced instructor tone to it that Izuku has come to associate with teachers who hate their jobs, his body language is open and gentle.

“I’ll get you to do the awkward introductions first off so you can repress them if needed, and then you’ll be watching a forty-five minute safety film before I’ll even let you in the Support Studio. Not that you’ll be going in there in your first month, anyways, but there’s always a group of you who think you can sneak in, so, in the interest of no one’s hands getting cut off, you’ll suffer through the film. Syllabus and class information is on your tables, sit wherever,” he continues, waving them in.

The inside of the classroom looks like something out of a scifi movie—rows of belted draft tables in the centre, hanging example gear serving as dioramas and decoration, shelves filled with supplies Izuku can only dream of. He feels very out of place. He’s not an inventor of any kind.

He shuffles over to where Hatsume is already claiming a table and tries to not look like as much of an idiot as he feels. He always got good marks in class, but…

He’s ramping himself into a full on panic attack when he gets broken out of it by someone falling into the seat on the other side of him. It’s the student without a face—he obviously can’t get any sense of their expression but they don’t appear to be wondering what he’s doing here and judging him for his life choices.

In fact they’re pretty much ignoring Izuku and taking out an extremely modded tablet. It has eight legs like a spider that act as a stand of a sort, and some sort of speaker-like protrusion coming from the top.

“Ok, you on the end, go ahead and introduce yourself and your speciality. We’ll go down the rows clockwise,” Power Loader says once they’re all sitting.

Izuku forces himself to pay attention.

“My name is Watanabe Chie, and my quirk is Fast Charge. I can recharge any electronic device in mere seconds as long as there’s a powerline in a kilometre of me. My speciality is hardware and computers and I like playing video games. Please take care of me.”

“I’m Saito Gin and I magnetise any object that’s smaller than me in an area around myself! I, um, can sometimes forget to stop it. Sorry in advance if I mess with any of your devices. I’m interested in robotics and want to make rescue bots! Oh, and I like folding origami, I guess?”

“Hello, my name is Ito Haruto and my family makes hero costumes for a living. I’m interested in chemistry and synthetic fabrics, and my quirk, Weave, let's me manipulated and sew fabric with my hands. I’ll be in your care.”

“H-hello. Um. My name is Sato Akane and my quirk is called Animate. It, um, lets me puppet anything smaller than twelve inches, and, um, works best with anything vaguely humanoid. I like, um…….”

Izuku doesn’t think he’s ever met someone who mumbles more than he does.

“Just spit it out, kid. Don’t worry, nothing you’ll say is going to surprise me,” Power Loader says, leaning forward. It should come across as threatening, but for some reason Izuku just feels like the pro is trying to be comforting.

“I like hacking and software manipulation! I’m sorry, um. I also sew dolls in my free time. Sorry.” the girl yelps out, straightening. Izuku is relieved to see no one laughs at her, which is already a huge improvement over middle school.

“Yoshida Daisaku! My quirk’s Chem-Sense! It lets me detect chemical compositions at a glance and how to neutralize them! Despite that I don’t really work with chemicals and prefer to work on theoretical designs and blueprints! I like math.”

“Hello, my name is Nishida Ayumi and I specialise in blacksmithing and gunsmithing. My goal is to one day supply the hero Snipes’ weapons. My quirk is called Blueprint and it feeds me information about the size and dimensions of 3D objects as a 2D image. I hope we can be friends.”

“Hello,” the mechanical voice of his neighbours tablet says. “My name is Okimoto Aki, and my quirk’s name is Data Net. It allows me to quickly read and internalise any digital data as long as I have a stable internet connection. I enjoy logic puzzles and mysteries. Thank you.”

And then it’s Izuku’s turn. He’d been so caught up with the introductions and meeting his new classmates he’d completely forgotten to think about what to say.

“Oh! Um, hello. My name is Midoriya Izuku, and I guess you could say my specialty is analysis, especially to do with quirks. I like dissecting hero moves and combat, and have a video series with my friend on the subject. And, um—”

It’s not courage that makes him do it—it’s the blind panic that’s driving his words without his brain really thinking about it.

“I’m quirkless. Nice to meet you.”

He sits down with a thud and tries to blink through the rising tears. No one is laughing, blowing up at the confession, but he can feel their stares.

Hatsume stands up to start her defacto introduction, and Izuku tunes it out. He’s heard all formats of it already, and it repeats the word baby way too much for comfort.

First day of classes, and he’s already blown it.

Chapter Text

By lunch time Izuku is too tired to worry about what his class thinks of him—their first lessons were just as tedious as they were exhausting. Safety demos, studio tours, tool lists and descriptions. There was even, despite his perception of the support class only being about engineering and inventing, an introduction to their theory and information classes that involved a lot of textbooks and worksheet packages.

Hatsume coasts through it much more easily than Izuku does, but then again, she’s riding hard on the high of finally being able to make more of her babies.

“You will not guess what happened in our first class,” Uraraka says, sliding into place next to him as he stares off into the distance. “Uh, Midoriya-kun? Are you ok.”

“He’s just in the midst of an information overload,” Hatsume says, reaching over him to steal a bit of Uraraka’s food, which only results in a pitched fork battle.

“Is that any different than usual?” Hitoshi asks, not so much sitting as letting gravity do its work on the other side. He taps one side of his head and raises a brow in Hatsume’s direction.

“Don’t worry! No one’s listening,” she chirps, fork caught and pinned to the table by Uraraka’s. Satisfied with her victory, Uraraka turns to try and wake Izuku up.

“And Ochachan, we know what happened because you were talking about it through the radio-buds!” She continues.

“Oh, right! I’m still not used to it,” Uraraka says, abandoning Izuku to his minor melt down. “It was crazy—I know heroics is hard, but to expel a student on the first day…”

“More room for us,” Hitoshi says dryly, “although really it’s just your class that’s like that. The other heroics classes were with us for the opening ceremonies and aren’t anywhere near as intense. Guess you won the teacher lottery.”

“Perfect,” she replies, sighing.

“Heroics has stagnated for years because of the way agencies are forced to take on a business model instead of a charitable one, the way popularity means more than actions, the lon-running political interference in the running of hero organisations and task forces, and the way that the media portrays heroics as flashy and glamourous. The principal said he was interested in the waves I would create—he came to his position of power out of a time when quirks were still something to be dissected—he knows how public opinion changes so quickly,” Izuku finally finds his voice.

“Why would he place me in support instead of management, despite my skill set being more suited to the latter? The current apathy towards changing the hero system has a lot to do with our current attitude towards quirks. I could have theoretically made a lot of waves changing things from inside the system as someone who worked in publicity or hero marketing—so why support?”

His friends eye him.

“Here,” Hitoshi says, shoving his juice box over. “Drink something before you pass out. And then say that all again, but talk more about how broken the hero system is and why. We still need to make a video for this week. Got any opinions you want to add, you two?”

The two girls look at each other consideringly while Hitoshi takes out his camera.

“We’ll have to do it off grounds, but I’ve already checked—there’s no rules against leaving during free periods if we’re back before class.”

“Well…” Uraraka starts.

“...and I mean, it makes sense for there to be some oversight and control over quirks, especially when the laws were first starting. But wouldn’t it make sense for you to be able to apply for a license, similarly to a hero license, and then be able to use your quirk in a mundane job, like construction?”

The girl slaps her hand down on the ground and waits for the response. They’re outside, on a patch of grass, but the sound still comes through crisp and clear as if in a studio.

BestJorts: who is this girl
N1MtClimber: idk but I like her!

“You would have to have the infrastructure for something like that, which would require a huge amount of capital. To fund it, it would be the easiest to charge a fee for the licence itself, which would create an undesirable wealth gap between those who can use quirks and those who can.”

SharkAttack2000: true, but SmallMight usually would be the one pushing for something like that
2manyHands: looks like he’s playing devil’s advocate—and it’s working
pokeeeeeee: the girl with the goggles has been grinning the whole time and it’s freaking me out

“And yet having it so that all people who want to use their quirk need to be combat-ready and trained is better? As it is, that basically makes the only portion of the quirk-capable populace a militia!”

EndEndeavour: oh shit

“Exactly. Countries used to have mandatory drafts—but politically it would be difficult to slide that now. You would have countries drafting the most powerful quirks no matter who they belong to, no matter the cost. It would be a public nightmare. But if you make the draft the most desirable thing possible—if you make it so that your militia doesn’t look like a militia at all…”

2manyHands: the fuck. The literal fuck

“You love heroes though, SmallMight,” the girl with goggles says, leaning forward with a shark grin. “You love them so much your room is plastered wall to wall with them.”

“I do! Heroes try to keep us smiling. They tell us everything is ok, and they save not just our bodies—but I’ve been thinking, right. And the hero system has little to do with heroes. What does beauty have to do with saving people? What does entertainment and sport? Why do heroes have corporate sponsors and film deals? Some of it has to do with making sure they’re trusted by the public—but most of it is about appeal. Appeal to be like them—not to be saved by them.”

LarsonD: I’m
LarsonD: wow
EndEndeavour: it makes too much sense
2manyHands: fuck. i know they were scum but fuck.
N1MtClimber: I have to go

“I—if that’s true, why do you want to be a hero?” The girl asks, looking taken aback.

“Isn’t it obvious? Heroes at their core are still heroes—most of them. They want to save people, they want to help. They feel a need or a desire to protect things. To change hopeless situations into happy endings. To make waves in a sea of despair. And I want to make waves.”

“Extremely interesting, but a little off topic,” the dry voice of S filters through from behind the camera. “And we’re going to be late for class if we don’t wrap it up. Conclusion?”

“Oh, um sorry. I think your idea is great, Ura—um, Miss U. But there would need to be a lot of work to get a civilian license program off the ground.”

“Oh, uh, no worries! This was really interesting! We should do it again!”

“More of an excuse to show off my babies!”

“Heard it here folks, expect more of these short videos in the future.”

SharkAttack2000: wait you cant just leave it at that
memmmmmmme: im shook
BestJorts: are we actually in a dictator state
2manyHands: i knew it. All these npcs thinking they’re the star of the show but they’re actually the villains in disguise. Ironic
pokeeeeeee: calm ur hate boner dude, we know already that ur some edgelord hater
pokeeeeeee: besides this still is just some dumb theory some kid spewed out on the internet
SharkAttack2000: are you saying you dont believe it
pokeeeeeee: oh I do. I just don’t want the shadow goverment suddenly interested in this chat thinking im a good kidnap target. Have fun 6ft under ya’ll

SUPER SECRET NERD SQUAD

Shinsou Hitoshi changed name to Your Overlord

Your Overlord changed Midoriya Izuku to Lord Nerd

Your Overlord changed Hatsume Mei to Lady Gearhead

Your Overlord changed Uraraka Ochako to Lady Knight

Lord Nerd: wait if we have the radio-buds why do we need a group chat
Lady Knight: for the memes

Lady Knight changed Your Overlord to Eye Bags Like Gucci

Eye Bags Like Gucci: wait no
Eye Bags Like Gucci: i figured you would want somewhere to add any new minions to
Lord Nerd: what does that mean
Lady Gearhead: I think he means for when you inevitably recruit the school into your revolution and go to war against the status quo!

Lady Gearhead changed Lord Nerd to Viva La Revolution!

Lady Knight: I think it’s a good idea! Do you mind if I add some people from 1-A? There’s a few people curious about the infamous youtubers on campus
Viva La Revolution!: I’m fine with it! As long as they’re not, um, weird about it
Viva La Revolution!: also how do you change your name back
Eye Bags Like Gucci: dont tell him this is even better
Eye Bags Like Gucci: also I’m fine with it. I have admin powers over this chatroom. I am not afraid to ban hammer
Lady Gearhead: what if I made you an actual hammer
Eye Bags Like Gucci: that’s fucking terrifying
Lady Knight: also, um, I didn’t realise how popular your channel was
Lady Knight: have you seen this?

Lady Knight shared file

 

Viva La Revolution!: what
Eye Bags Like Gucci: omg uraraka you’re my new favourite
Lady Knight: it wasn’t me! Someone in class sent it to me
Lady Gearhead: it’s amazing. beautiful. a masterpiece
Viva La Revolution!: why
Eye Bags Like Gucci: this is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. I can die happy now
Viva La Revolution!: no!

MissMountain @ Sakuraigi
          1/? It took me a while to not just dismiss this out of hand, or brush it off as tin foil hatting. It...brings up a lot of questions, whether you believe in it or not https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK8LH_KeG7A

35 replies 131 retweets 338 likes

MissMountain @ Sakuraigi
          2/? There’s a lot to be said about the commercialization of heroics. I think a lot of people would agree with me that it’s considered to be a necessary evil. Heroics is still a job, one that depends on public opinion

21 replies 90 retweets 104 likes

MissMountain @ Sakuraigi
          3/? But maybe it’s time we really looked into why heroics is kept this way—other community service jobs such as police or paramedics don’t have even a fraction of that kind of social pressure

9 replies 59 retweets 90 likes

MissMountain @ Sakuraigi
          4/? And although there’s not been a serious war since the discovery of quirks, there’s been plenty of tensions. Not to mention the early protests of quirked individuals in the army

5 replies 41 retweets 76 likes

Read More?

The next couple of days Izuku spends frantically trying to remember his class schedule and keep up with his eccentric but genius classmates. There’s already been three fires, five accidental quirk uses—Saito the main culprit there—and no less than fifteen ambushes where one of his classmates or someone from another class catches him alone to try and squeeze Heralytic’s insider information out of him.

It’s enough to make him regret having agreed to having his identity semi-public—although Hitoshi and his names are never directly linked on their channels, their faces are now well enough known that any student who stumbles across one of their videos would most likely recognise them in the halls.

Luckily, it seems with the channel hype and the newer controversy from the latest episode, no one has made any mention of him being quirkless in class. At most he got an off-hand comment from Saito that it must be nice not to fry any computers he comes into contact accidentally.

The one good thing from it all though is that it’s gotten him the perfect in with the management course.

“So, Midoriya Izuku. Quirkless, above average intelligence according to school reports, borderline-genius level intelligence according to UA exam results—that’s publicly available knowledge by the way—and a social media presence that is both far reaching and sparse. I wonder, is your reticence to engage with your audience a calculated mysticism, or do you not realise the impact of direct interaction in branding?” the business course student pushes his glasses up higher on his nose and stares at Izuku with a sharp, calculating look.

Izuku fidgets.

“Uh, who are you?” he asks, nervously looking behind to see if anyone has noticed him get kidnapped from the school hallways and shoved into what looks like an empty classroom. The group of business students just lean in, as if smelling blood.

“Your decision to remain a humble and plain figure on camera is a shrewd one,” a girl with twin braids and fly eyes tells him, “but an upgrade in wardrobe and product would show your viewers that you are above them intellectually and they should take your words as those of an expert.”

“Your co-host Shinsou Hitoshi is a slippery one,” another complains, poking their head from out of the wall. They’re mostly an indistinct blur in Izuku’s eyes. “I wanted to ask him about his opinion of the use of makeup versus the perceived intimacy of his bare un-slept face.”

“Your statistical knowledge of hero fights is impressive, Midoriya.” This is from a boy with blond hair and a dead look in his eyes. “How would you feel about creating a cross-examined spreadsheet of villain attacks versus on-call heroes? I would love to see your notes.”

Izuku feels a little like he’s being slowly eaten alive.

“Ok, ok, give the kid some space,” a voice rings out, calling for his salvation. An upperclassman with strange cracked skin pushes through the crowd.

“You’ve created a stir in the hive, Midoriya,” she says, settling in front of him with her arms crossed and eyebrows raised. She’s tall, almost hunched back above the rest, with long black hair that trails off into whisps and skin that looks like some sort of rock, cracked or broken with more smoke trailing out—

Wait, no, that’s steam that’s slowly escaping. He can see the slightest bit of glow from her cracks that pulses in time with the flow, and with a somewhat nauseous lurch he realises it’s synched with the beat of a heart.

“Um, I’m sorry?” he asks, trying to find an escape route. In the back he briefly makes eye contact with that one student he remembers from the entrance ceremonies, the one with the dark tendrils. He’s re-considering his decision to attempt to make contact however, because he’s smiling at Izuku’s awkwardness, and Izuku already has one too many friends willing to watch him squirm.

“Don’t be, it’s about time someone decided to shake things up here,” the upperclassman says, smiling. “Although we’re disappointed we won’t be seeing you in the hive yourself, we have a bit more freedom than other classes when it comes to collaboration. UA understands that the hive is best suited to the role of, let us say, facilitators.”

“The way you keep saying hive is a little concerning, I’m not going to lie,” Izuku says, relaxing now that it seems like he’s not in any real danger.

“A little in-joke,” she says, brushing that off. “Not important. What is important, is that we feel like we have something of a potential deal between you and us. You are uniquely positioned to be both observer and observed.”

“...What are you suggesting?” he asks.

“What are your thoughts on...merchandise.”

Despite the stress and the hectic schedule of school, friends, and his always-expanding hobby, those weeks of discovery quickly pass by. The calm before the storm, as it were.

13,903 and counting subscribers.

Izuku doesn’t notice too much of a difference after the video with Uraraka, but he’s too busy to really dig deep into whatever reaction is brewing because of it. After a while, people stop coming up to him and Hitoshi and the questions about the channel die down, no doubt because they’re no longer the most interesting kids on campus. Supposedly some of the upperclassmen were doing some sort of joint exercise, and one of them accidentally set one of the teachers’ hair on fire, so that’s been at the top of the school gossip instead.

Izuku makes sure to pass an extra couple yen to the management class in thanks for that.

In the meanwhile, he’s working on his first support invention. It’s not hoverboots, or stasis gel, or anything particularly creative or mechanical. He was able to convince Sato to help him program a villain attack location map, a sort of rss feed that would update with every publically reported villain attack, whether they were resolved by heroes and how long it took, and what sort of severity it is. Hatsume helps him build a sort of foldable tablet to use it on, thin enough to roll up but flexible enough that at it’s full length it covers the whole of his desk.

He doesn’t think it’s anything too interesting—nothing like Nishida’s targeted dart launcher or the strange alien-looking probably-not-a-bomb device that Okimoto is working on. Even Ito is working on some new innovation that will supposedly create a self-healing kevlar fabric.

Izuku is just making a map.

Power Loader doesn’t seem too disappointed, at least, and spends a good forty minutes going over with him the sort of most important information for a hero at first glance. There’s a lot of information that ends up just being clutter in the first couple prototypes, but as he’s re-writing the program again and again, and learning how to work with holo-tech, he’s starting to see the shape of what he has.

“What is it?” Hatsume says, leaning in. She’s staring intently at the sluggishly blinking lights in his lap as he sits, frowning at it. As they watch another light pops up, about a city block away.

“I’m not sure—something about this pattern is off. Doesn’t this cluster here look too—organised?” He points to where a section of the city is glowing with low red light—the colour combination he’s assigned to “unresolved villain crime, no current threat”.

“Hmm,” she says, leaning in further. On his other side Hitoshi glances over, and then seems to see something over both their heads.

“Heads up, buttercup,” he whispers, nudging Izuku, who blinks and stretches his back out. He looks over to where Hitoshi is low lidded staring at and sees the familiar figure of Kacchan stomping over, making a beeline towards them.

“Oh no. I honestly thought he’d forgotten about me,” Izuku whispers back, gathering his map back up into its charging tube. Kacchan was...not happy about the war video. But after a single snarled push in the hallway he’d seemed to calm down and go back to ignoring Izuku.

“Oh, you know each other?” Uraraka asks, zoning back into the conversation. She’d been concentrating very heavily on some sort of heroics class field trip notice.

“Unfortunately,” Hitoshi says, slumping down further on his seat. Kacchan is almost close enough to hear, so Izuku elbows him quiet.

“Deku,” Kacchan starts, voice just above a whisper. Izuku never did get an answer for why he’d suddenly gotten so quiet after missing school—although he’d certainly tried.

Izuku tries to fit on a smile that doesn’t feel too awkward.

“You—”

He doesn’t end up hearing whatever rant is coming his way, because as soon as Kacchan starts talking, a loud alarm starts blaring from the speakers, and there’s a sudden cacophony of yelling students.

“What the fuck,” Hitoshi says, snapping upright. Izuku tries to peer over the crowd, but can’t see anything. The automatic voice keeps droning on about an intruder and evacuation.

“It’s the media!” Hatsume says, using Izuku’s head as a support to stand on the table. Her eyes are locked on the wide windows overlooking the campus grounds. “They must have gotten in somehow.”

Izuku turns his head and catches Uraraka’s eyes. They don’t have to really think about it—she’s already reaching out to cancel Hitoshi’s gravity. Izuku has already forgotten Kacchan’s presence.

“Woah, what, wait,” Hitoshi yelps as he rises. Izuku taps his radio-bud.

If we use your quirk we should be able to calm a good portion of the crowd, and the others will follow suit when there’s not as much of a crushing force trying to trample them,” he says, joining Hatsume on the table.

What! No way, SmallMight, I can’t control that many,” Hitoshi snaps, he’s hit the ceiling now, and a few people have started to notice.

Just try! Here, I’ll start you off, just repeat after me,” he takes a deep breath, “WOULD ALL CLASS REPRESENTATIVES SAY THEIR NAMES.

He honestly doesn’t think it will work. Hitoshi really can’t control that many, but he only needs to control a few, not even at the same time, to start a cascade.

Repeat after me! Everyone calm down, there is no danger. The media has broken the gate. I repeat—

He gets a series of people yelling up at him with questions—including said class representatives.

Soon the chant is picked up, not just by those momentarily in Hitoshi’s thrall, but for once the mob mentality is on their side. The ones brainwashed cause those around them to join in, until the message has traveled the whole room over and the panic starts dying down. Izuku can see the moment Hitoshi cuts his quirk, as those original few start looking confused.

Hitoshi looks embarrassed and uncertain with everyone’s eyes on him, so Izuku goes to ask Uraraka to drop him down—but a hand reaches out and grabs a hold of his elbow before he can. He turns back to see Kacchan’s tense face, and pauses. He glances back at the rest of the group, who aren’t paying any attention to him right now.

“Right, ok, let’s find somewhere a little quieter,” he says, turning to face his...whatever Kacchan is to him.

Mount: ok, sorry it took me so long to get back to everyone
Sharktooth: naw, it’s been crazy lately
HandSoap: everyone was busy being pussies and freaking you mean
EndEndeavour: what was the point of you all changing your user names but keeping the theme the exact same?
HandSoap: idk, do you use the exact same username everywhere? What are you, obsessed?
EndEndeavour: you’re one to talk
Mount: shhhhh. You’re both hate fans anyways, neither of you have a leg to stand on
Mount: why am I even friends with you
Sharktooth: you’re a lot less bubbly when in a private server, huh
Mount: kiddo you’ll appreciate having a clear cut separation between public and personal persona when you’re older
EndEndeavour: oh because you’re so much older
Mount: back on topic, I have the PO address, that means we just need the rest of the info
Sharktooth: why are we doing this again?
HandSoap: because when you stumble across important npcs you gotta make sure you minmax your relationship with them for the best ending
EndEndeavour: because we’re all self-aware enough—besides Hands—to know that if we’ve stumbled on the kids, other interested folk will have as well
EndEndeavour: ones less likely to be amused by their bumbling analysis of heroes and villains
Sharktooth: that might get pissy about being told they suck by a pair of 14yr olds
HandSoap: the minions are weak anyways
Mount: look, we may be varying shades of villainous ourselves. And im still not convinced that you’re actually a villain and not just a weird loner, hands. But anyways, we might be villains, but you don’t bite the hand that feeds
Mount: and watching two tiny kids make fun of and dismantle the system is the highlight of my day
HandSoap: the fuck you saying you hag
HandSoap: I don’t like them.
EndEndeavour: but you don’t hate them, which for you is basically a declaration of love
EndEndeavour: like we get it, “rawr, im an edgy rebel who doesn’t like heroes or society or eating something that’s not been packaged in a plastic seal”
EndEndeavour: you’re basically the epitome of an internet troll in human form
HandSoap: at least im not the cliche with daddy issues. You should get a better writer, your personality is basically just a psa on safe sex
Sharktooth: OOOOOH BURN
Mount: look, you’re all the prettiest princesses, can we get back on topic?
Mount: cards on the table: it doesn’t matter if you’re using the Heralytics platform to recruit, as entertainment, as part of some sort of plot
Mount: the easiest way to keep the platform going without the kids and their hanger-ons getting squished by a villain shaped accident is to make sure they have just enough rope to hang themselves
Mount: hence the information packets. Now. Are you going to play, or are you a coward?

ML: got them, hook, line, sinker
Unknown: And you thought you weren't suited for info-tech
Unknown: Good, send the intel to the department through the backdoor and keep them thinking you’re on their level. If we’re lucky we can keep gaining their trust and follow the trail right back to whoever’s pulling the strings
Unknown: Oh, and agent? Keep an eye on those kids, if they get hurt because of the department’s mission I’ll have you running beat patrols for the next five years
ML: you know I thought I could stop being a babysitter when I became a hero
Unknown: Didn’t you know? Being a hero just means being a babysitter to the whole world

Shouta shuffles into the meeting room and almost stumbles over the lounging figure of Nemuri. He eyes her warily and edges around, sinking into the closest seat. He spent all last night finishing the preparations for the upcoming USJ trip and then had to deal with a four A.M. wake up call of some kids spray painting the walls of the alley behind his apartment. They won’t be doing that again, but also, Shouta now feels like he’s spent the night on duty despite things having been quiet the past couple days.

Ironic, or something.

He dozes lightly as the rest of the teachers trickle in, mind slowly churning. The upcoming meeting should be a quick one going over the new students and the upcoming curriculum, but he’s learnt not to trust the meeting schedule. Someone will go off topic and they’ll be stuck here for way longer than needed. Not to mention the fact that they still don’t know what happened earlier today with the media and the gates breaking.

Sure enough, they get about halfway through the regular talking points before someone derails things. It’s not even All Might for once.

“About Midoriya,” Power Loader starts, and Shouta reluctantly opens his eyes. That’s the problem kid.

“Ah yes, how is he settling into the support course?” Nezu says with a smile. Shouta thinks he’s read somewhere that rodents only smile as a threat display, and believes it.

“Well enough. You were right about his intelligence: he’s picking up the mechanical skills despite not being an inventor. I’m more worried about how well he is soaking up information, actually. He has an incredible head for numbers and details, but it’s clear he hasn’t been taught how to manage or deal with his own intellect. The mumbling, the hyperfixation, the lack of self-esteem. He needs someone willing to show him the ropes of data analysis that’s not going to just be swept up by his thought process.”

Shouta can feel a few of the teachers attention swing towards him and sighs.

“He’s not in heroics—not my problem,” he says, closing his eyes again.

“Oh come on, Aizawa, you can’t still be angry about the youtube videos! Children have overactive imaginations you know,” Hizashi says, practically in his ear.

He swats him away and opens his eyes to glare.

“That child flat out called the hero system a commercialized war machine, I am not handing him more weapons with which to hang himself,” he mutters, ignoring the confused and surprised murmurs of the other teachers. Obviously some of them haven’t been googling themselves, or else they would have stumbled on the Heralytics channel much sooner.

“Interesting, interesting. Very well, I’ll take your recommendations under consideration,” Nezu says, smile never wavering.

Shouta just eyes him.

“Why are you so interested in a support student anyways?” Vlad King asks.

“I’m interested in all students who pass through these doors!” Nezu says, shutting down any more questions about what he’s scheming. Shouta thinks worriedly of his empty class spot.

The rest of the meeting passes mostly uninterrupted and Shouta lets himself hope that will be the end of it. He’s not that lucky.

“Oh, Aizawa-kun, if you would stay behind for a moment,” Nezu says as everyone starts packing up.

He slowly sinks back into his chair and eyes the principal as everyone trails out. Nemuri squeezes his shoulder for a moment before running to catch up with Hizashi.

“I’m sure you’re thinking I’m going to ask you to accept young Midoriya into your class,” Nezu starts. Shouta has never actually ruled out telepathy as being part of Nezu’s quirk. “Although he would certainly benefit, I had a different student in mind.” He pushes a folder across the desk.

Shouta feels his brow rise.

“You have something else planned for the kid?” he asks, slowly opening up the document. It’s the school records of the other problem child, of course.

“It will of course be conditional on how he performs in the sports festival, but from observation he would benefit greatly from your teachings. You might want to look into some tutoring as well,” Nezu continues, ignoring him. It’s very telling. Shouta starts preparing himself for whatever scheme the principal is concocting.

“Right,” he says, looking down at the papers in his hands. Part of him wonders if Nezu is trying to coerce him into taking on the kid because of their similar eye bags.

“And this doesn’t have anything to do with the incident earlier today?” He prods.

Nezu just continues to smile.

Unsent message: can you read this
Unsent message: the radio-buds arent workin
Unsent message: theres villins at usj if you can read this i ned u to get the pros
Unsent message: one of them has a warp qirk
Unsent message: i connectd my phone to th radio-bud
Unsent message: im gonna try ad float it out of the dome thru a crac n get a signal
Sent message: pls if u can read this send help

Chapter Text

A day earlier:

If someone were to have peeked into the empty English class that day, they would have probably seen a very awkward conversation going on. As it is, Izuku would have liked the distraction—he really doesn't know what's going on.

Kacchan continues to glare at him, blocking him from the door as if he thinks Izuku will run off. Maybe not a completely odd idea, since Izuku spent a long time running from Kacchan as a kid. But still. Strange.

“What’s this about?” he asks, keeping one foot planted, just in case. Just because he hopes Kacchan is smarter than to get into a fight on UA grounds doesn’t mean he’s going to be careless about this. Training might have taken a backburner to school, but he still goes to Hitoshi’s uncle’s gym when he can.

Kacchan’s eyes narrow.

“What are you doing here, Deku?” he raspes out, and Izuku is struck again by how quiet Kacchan is now.

“Are you asking in the general sense, or like, what I’m doing standing in front of you right now? Because I’m not sure of the second one…”

Izuku watches as Kacchan’s hands start clenching and decides it’s better for the both of them if he eases off on the jokes.

“Um, well, going to school?”

“As a support student?” Kacchan’s voice is mocking, but Izuku can tell there’s a lot being unsaid there. He can feel his brows furrow.

“I—um, I’m not sure what you’re insinuating? Support is an important part of hero work,” he says, shifting his weight slightly. Kacchan smiles, but it’s not a happy look.

“So you’ve finally faced reality,” he says, seemingly done with the conversation. He’s already turning around to leave.

Izuku debates just leaving it at that—at a weird, slightly aggressive conversation between old friends-enemies. But he’s learnt a little about how to stand up to himself in the past year, so he squares his shoulders and steps forward.

“I haven’t given up on being a hero,” he says quickly, spitting it out between his teeth, “I still haven’t given up. But Support isn’t a downgrade—without support, any hero would be dead in a week. So I’m not sure what part you're looking down on, but you’re wrong on both accounts.”

Kacchan turns back, eyes once again blazing with some unspoken emotion.

“If you don’t believe me, that’s fine,” Izuku continues, feeling a swell of something in the back of his throat. “But I’ll do it whether you believe in me or not, just watch.”

For a second Izuku thinks Kacchan is going to lash out anyways, but the boy just clicks his tongue and turns around again, slouching out of the door.

Izuku sighs and relaxes his stance, feeling his hand start to tremble just slightly.

That was...weird.

Sharktooth: Yo hands, the fcuk you doing
EndEndeavour: ?
HandSoap: busy
Sharktooth: you said you’d play hero royale with me
EndEndeavour: thought you said your “mom” told you you couldn’t play that anymore
Sharktooth: why do you keep putting quotes around mom
Mount: Isn’t your “mom” your boss? Thats weird bro
Sharktooth: Hands calls his sensei, how is mom weirder
Mount: where is Hands? I wanted to talk about the package we’re sending
Mount: your icon says you’re online
EndEndeavour: mount you dont call ur boss any weird names right, I can’t be the only one
Mount: I call him sir mostly
EndEndeavour: oh thank fuck
Sharktooth: kinky
Mount: oh fuck off, momma’s boy
Mount: and End you have no leg to stand on, you don’t even have a boss
EndEndeavour: I am my own boss
Sharktooth: deep

Mei hums a little and stretches her back, feeling the pop travel down her neck and arm and tingling her fingers. Probably not healthy, but if she loses a hand she can just build herself a new one. That would be an interesting project, actually…

“Um, Hatsume-san?” a voice says, with the cadence of someone who’s tried to get her attention for a while. Mei blinks and turns.

“I was wondering if you could look at something for me?” Sato asks, nervously fiddling with a tablet and turning, wet, watery eyes Mei’s way. Mei has to stop herself from cooing.

“Of course!” It’s rare for her classmates to ask for help. Although they all have different specialities, and Mei herself works best with mechanical babies, most inventors are rather possessive of the projects they think up themselves. So group inventing doesn’t happen as often as it probably should—besides when Mealticket is asking, of course. Mei has a feeling the rest of the class is just as interested in seeing what he’ll think up as she is, and he doesn’t have an inventor’s innate distrust of other geniuses.

“It’s, um, it’s an upgrade for Midoriya-san’s map project. I talked with Power Loader and he agreed to let me hook into the low grade police network—um, that is, the semi-public report network that they share with hero agencies. And well, um, me and Midoriya-san were looking at pattern analysis and prediction models, and I could really use your help with figuring out the display for a sort of HUD for it? Because, um, the map is great and all but I think Midoriya-san isn’t thinking long term enough and it would work great for enhanced AR…”

Mei lets the girl mumble away and turns the tablet around. Although her understanding of code is good enough to read the program sitting merrily on it, it takes a moment for her to really get what Sato is saying.

“Oh! I see, yes, I can make something like this quite easily. Hmm, we should probably talk to Ito about designing something that’s wearable…” Mei quickly turns around to see that most of the class has already left for today.

“Tomorrow, I guess. In the meantime I can get started with the actually lenses.”

“Thank you!” Sato says, bowing. Mei eyes her for a second. She is cute.

“Hey, while you’re here, could you take a look at my baby here? Something’s a little off with the rotator cuff and I think it might be a feedback loop in the embedded computer,” she says, picking up the drone. Normally she wouldn’t let another inventor touch her babies before they’re perfect, but she doesn’t see how Sato can make things worse.

“Oh. Um. Yes!”

Izuku and Hitoshi head towards the gym after school, after waving off an excited Uraraka. Supposedly the hero kids are going to some sort of field trip, so they won’t be seeing each other at lunch tomorrow.

“So I’ve been thinking about the business class again,” Izuku says as they walk.

“Hmm?” Hitoshi hums, eyes half-lidded. Izuku feels a little bad that he’s had to edit their videos while Izuku catches up in class, but Hitoshi keeps hitting him everytime he says sorry, so he doesn’t mention it.

“They keep pestering me about logos and t-shirt designs and making an actual site, besides the youtube channel. And it got me to thinking...”

“Uh oh,” Hitoshi replies with a grin, and Izuku huffs out a laugh.

“I was thinking, with school and training and all, it’s been a while since we’ve done a really long, in depth analysis on something. If we’re going to be, well, branding ourselves, maybe we should do it at the same time as we do one? It’ll be more work, but, well, it would make me feel less like we’re selling out.” He shrugs.

“Got something in mind?”

Izuku pauses.

“Well, we’ve touched on a lot of under-appreciated heroes, and some big villain fights. We’ve talked about quirk law, done a timeline video on the history of quirks...even done the reveal video. I know people are really looking for a video on Hawks because of the meme, and there’s a bunch of people talking about the video we did with Uraraka on hero licenses...but. Most of what we end up talking about is well documented, if not well known. I was thinking something a little more mysterious.”

“You’ve been staying up late watching American TV again haven’t you,” Hitoshi says, laughing. “Let me guess. You’ve already found a cold case or missing hero dossier, and you want to go crawling through dusty archives and interviewing old ladies about the handsome stranger that moved out of the neighbourhood thirty years ago.”

“I—well. Yeah,” Izuku says, biting his lip.

“Well, what you already find out?” Hitoshi asks, slowing down in front of the gym’s doors. Izuku can just make out the sounds of the junior member’s class from inside.

“Well—”

Now:

“—so there’s a list of forty five missing heroes, ones that can’t be explained by accidental death or by being killed in the line of duty. That might not be a lot if you’re looking at it from a macro view—it’s about one every year or so. But in a micro view, it’s strangely consistent and worrying, and there’s a lot of circumvential evidence that says that something is up. Mainly, that each had versatile or strong quirks and were working in Japan during their disappearance. Still maybe nothing to be too suspicious about that, except—” Izuku stops and glances down at his tablet, where a light is flashing obnoxiously.

“What?” Hatsume asks, leaning in. It’s just them and Hitoshi today, since Uraraka is gone on her trip, and as such she’s ended up stealing a good half of Izuku’s lunch. He doesn’t really notice, frowning as he opens up the chat app. They don’t use it much anymore now that they have the radio-buds.

SpaceMace: pls if u can read this send help

“Shit,” Izuku says, instinct forcing him to stand up.

“What is it?” Hitoshi asks, already looking at his own app. “Isn’t she supposed to be on that trip?”

“She’s not answering,” Izuku says, frantically trying to connect through the radio-bud.

“Her pair isn’t answering either,” Hatsume says with a frown, clicking away on her own tablet, the radio-bud’s report log already pulled up.

Izuku pulls out his map and frantically tries to remember what Uraraka said about the trip. Not a lot, or at least nothing that’s useful now. Hatsume startles as soon as she sees the map.

“Wait, I have an idea—SATO-CHAN!” she screams over the lunch chatter, causing quite a few students to flinch around them. There’s a lot of eyes on them now.

Izuku glances up and looks over to where Hatsume is waving, where the shy programmer from his class is hesitantly picker her way over. Hitoshi nudges him down.

“Come on, SmallMight, you can’t panic now,” he says before turning towards the crowd curiously looking in, “And you assholes can mind your own business.”

Izuku takes a deep breath and nods. It could be nothing, after all.

“Um, what is it?” Sato asks, hesitating on the edge of their table.

“I need your hacking skills,” Hatsume says, pushing her tablet over. “The signal isn’t strong enough to locate her exactly, but based on the last successful ping, she’s somewhere here. Considering the signal was lost about twenty minutes ago, and about three minutes ago it showed up again, there’s a good likelihood we’re looking at a block. If we use the radio bud as a relay point we should be able to figure out where it’s coming from and take it down.”

Izuku blinks.

“Which teachers are still here?” he asks Hitoshi, mind whirling.

“Most of them, I think. It’s just Aizawa and All Might that left with class 1-A right?” Hitoshi says, “If you’re thinking about telling one of them, we’ll probably need a bit more proof than just a cryptic message. If Hatsume explains the radio-buds to Power Loader do you think he’ll believe us?”

“Maybe, but we’d still have to convince the other teachers too. Power Loader complains all the time about how difficult it is to get the teachers to agree on something,” Izuku says, turning to ask Hatsume her opinion.

There’s a student peering over both Hatsume and Sato’s heads, and Izuku just barely recognises him as one of the class 1-B kids.

“That’s USJ,” said kid says, pointing to the map. “We’re supposed to head there tomorrow after class 1-A finishes. What’s going on?”

Izuku looks around as realises that there’s a large group curiously gathered, despite Hitoshi’s previous warning. He looks over expectantly at Hitoshi, but the other boy just looks at him evenly and doesn’t even try and use his quirk.

“I can get Power Loader if you want!” the excitable Saito from support class says, waving his arms.

“If you are in need of aid, I am skilled at writing persuasive speeches,” one of the business class students says, popping their projected head through the table. Everytime Asai does that it still freaks Izuku out.

“Is this for a video?” someone asks from the crowd.

“Well, boss?” Hitoshi asks, looking at him with something sharp and anticipatory behind his eyes.

Izuku swallows.

They call Power Loader over first while Hatsume and Sato work on figuring out the block. By the time the teacher arrives—with one other— they’re no closer to breaking the block, but they’ve transferred the relay point to a nearby cell tower and are patched into the closest camera. The couldn’t connect to anything inside USJ itself, but there’s security cameras along the road. Hitoshi is using the map to help them pinpoint the likeliest point of access for someone to have been able to set this up in such a short time.

And sitting in the midst of about five other students sits Izuku, tablet in hand, rapid fire words tumbling out of his mouth. The rest of the students are keeping a curious eye on the proceedings but not interrupting, creating an almost physical wall between the core and the rest of the world.

There’s confusion from the teachers when they arrive, of course, but Izuku barely even pays attention to them. Hatsume has already pulled Power Loader over to the radio-feed, and there’s nothing he can add to that conversation. It’s the other person who trails behind the support teacher that catches his eye.

“What do you have for us, Midoriya-kun?” Principal Nezu says, climbing onto the table and inserting himself seamlessly into Izuku’s stream of consciousness. Izuku blinks and just accepts the new variable.

“About twenty nine minutes ago, the signal from Uraraka’s radio-bud—a device used as a sort of bluetooth ear-bud—cut out. Nineteen minutes later it reappeared with a distress message. Looking at the radio-bud’s event log shows the latest location to be at USJ, and attempting to hack into the network there only returns an error message. The timing and precision rules out any accidental tampering, as an accidental outage would have triggered the backup generators and called the maintenance company in charge of that grid. Conclusion: it must have been tampered with. It is likely that Uraraka was able to move the radio-bud somewhere outside of the block’s field, but considering she’s not answering now, she’s either not with it or indisposed. I’ve been able to narrow the block to being quirk based, based on the fact that it doesn’t respond to the attempts of Hatsume and Sato, and that not three days ago a villain with a electro-field dampening quirk escaped from jail. The Map shows that his last known location was still in the city.”

Nezu hums in the back of his throat and doesn’t seem the least bit disbelieving.

“Any suspected accomplices?” he asks instead.

“Considering the fact that the students were with two teachers, and are already semi-trained with powerful quirks, there would need to be at least four others. One to keep anyone from escaping, one to deal with Aizawa, and at least two powerhouses to distract All Might. Considering how long it’s been, there has to be some other mitigating factor I can’t calculate to explain how the effect is still on going with both pro heroes there,” Izuku says, shuffling the papers one of the business students had handed him at some point. He’s sketched out his proposed timeline on it earlier, and turns to show Nezu. “Which is worrying.”

“The more worrying factor, Midoriya-kun, is that All Might isn’t there at all. He stayed behind to deal with another matter. Considering the last minute change, it’s likely they didn’t know this before the attack,” Nezu says, rubbing one paw along the bottom of his snout.

“It’s legit!” Power Loader calls from the other side of the table. “We’ve just got video of one of the 1-A kids running down the road. It’s the fast one, at his speed he’ll probably be here in twenty minutes.”

“A lot can happen in twenty minutes. It would be irresponsible to wait for him to arrive to get a full report on what is happening. I’ll notify the combat teachers,” Nezu says, while taking out a small tablet with the school’s emblem splashed across it.

“I would hate to interrupt the learning experience you are all benefiting from, but considering the potential serious nature of this event, I’ll ask for you all to stay put here and away from the windows in case of other attacks. Power Loader, if you would stay with the children?”

Izuku feels a seed of panic worm its way into his calculations.

Perhaps Nezu can feel it, because he turns to Izuku next.

“As for you and your friends Midoriya-kun. If you could join me in my office, we can see about continuing your analysis. It would be a great help to the heroes to know about any other suspected villains that might be apart of this attack.”

Ochako is bone tired. The sort of tired that’s going to chase her dreams for the next week. The sort of tired that has eyes and hands and is trying to kill her.

“Do you have a plan-ribbit?” Tsuyu asks, one hand on her wrist to keep her from metaphorically floating away. Keeping her quirk active isn’t usually this tiring, but the stress is eating at her control.

“Not really, but I have a hope,” Ochako says, eyes still closed. “Aizawa-sensei can’t deal with all those villains for much longer, and it looks like the ring leaders are getting antsy. If they honestly think they have something to kill All Might with, there’s very little we can do to try and fight against them with. So, we don’t fight. Can you see Momo anywhere?”

Tsuyu ribbits, and then replies

“Over there, by the stairs. Are your eyes going to be ok?”

“They’ll have to be,” Ochako says, gently pushing Tsuyu away from her, “but for now, I need you to find Momo and ask her to make these two things, ok. And find Hagakure-chan—we’ll need stealth for the next part.”

She waits for the sound of Tsuyu jumping off before letting herself slide down the wall a bit. She didn’t want to say anything earlier, but her sight isn’t getting any better, even now that they’re out of the water. At least it’s stopped hurting.

She waits, and waits, and keeps her breathing even and her quirk active, and eventually hears the soft footsteps of another person.

“Hagakure-chan?” she whispers, hand clenching around the pipe she liberated from one of the villains earlier.

“It’s me—Momo gave me the things you wanted?”

Ochako sighs.

“Good. Then here’s the plan—”

Shouta is flagging. He knows his limits, and knows when he’s started to hit them. The villains were smart, bloating their numbers with mutant-types that he can't use his quirk on and swarming him with bodies, but it’s the main three that he’s most worried about.

The kid with the hands, the tall figure of smoke with the warping quirk, and the hulking beast behind them. Supposedly strong enough to kill All Might—which unlike a lot of others, Shouta doesn’t believe to be impossible.

Shouta smashes one of the thugs trying to stab him into the ground and doesn’t let himself relax. Even if they do leave, he still has about sixty small-time villains and a bunch of students to protect.

“You certainly deserve the title of pro-hero,” the kid says, walking towards Shouta idly, causing most of the small fry to back off. “But you’re starting to slow down.”

“Not enough for you to be an issue,” Shouta bluffs, narrowing his eyes further. They’re extremely dry, but he’s used to it.

“Oh? I didn’t take you for someone that deludes themselves,” the kid snarks back, continuing to walk forward. Shouta settles his stance and keeps his hands on his capture device.

“And you aren’t?” Shouta says, buying time. The kid pauses. It’s impossible to see his face with the fricking hand in the way, but Shouta figures he hit a nerve.

Shouta doesn’t waste time—can’t afford to. He goes on the attack. Maybe if he was a little less tired he’d notice the way the kid—he’s just a fucking kid—had been paying him just as much attention as Shouta was paying him.

He can hear someone gasp behind him as kicks the kid away, arm a raring agony hanging limp from it’s socket.

The kid just laughs, this dry, rasp of a thing, and picks himself up.

“Noumu, finish him,” the kid says, and Shouta doesn’t even see the hulking beast move before the pain hits.

A small hand closes around his, and Shouta wants to curse his students but actually physically can’t at this point. His jaw got broken at some point, and so he can only blearily glare back at where he suspects Hagakure is kneeling. He’s still in the hands of the beast, which means his student is closer than she has any rights being to the monster.

At least she’s smart enough not to talk, just gently feels for his pulse before slipping something into his hand. He instinctively closes around it, one of the last muscles he can feel at this point.

It’s not hard to recognise it.

“What took you so long?” the kid says. He can just make out the smoke figure responding.

“I dealt with the space hero, but one of the students escaped. The pro heroes are likely to show up soon.”

Shouta breaths deep. A glimmer of hope, afterall.

“Nothing's going to plan,” the kid whines, scratching at his face. “Where’s All Might? The raid can’t start if the boss isn’t here.”

“It’s possible our information was wrong. It would be prudent to retreat if that were the case, as to not overplay our hand,” the warp-quirk says, and Shouta still can’t figure out whether he’s supposed to be a subordinate or a babysitter.

“Right. Right. The longer we’re here the longer there is for something to go wrong.” The kid calms down, scratching stopping altogether. The smoke sounds as surprised as smoke can, Shouta guesses he didn’t expect such easy acceptance.

“But...if we can’t kill All Might here, then the next best thing would be to kill one of his precious students, wouldn’t it?” the kid says, and Shouta inwardly curses. He’s not sure who the closest student would be—Hagakure doesn’t really count, since there’s no way for the villains to have caught her unless one of them has a quirk to see thermal.

It doesn’t matter, any of them dying is inexcusable. His hand twitches on the object in his hand, and he forces his eyes open. If his students are smart enough they’ll hide—

Or not.

“It’s you,” the kid says, as if surprised. Shouta watches as Uraraka staggers away from the rock she was using as support. From where she is, she’s already in arm's length of the villain.

“I can’t let you hurt anyone else,” Uraraka says, and Shouta curses her silently. Out of all of them, he figured she would be the less hot headed one. He can feel another bone crack as the beast pulls him back from the ground. It’s like a child with a broken toy, twisting him this way and that.

There’s a moment of hesitation from the kid, before he sneers, hand snapping out. Shouta feels the extra strain of his quirk activate mostly out of instinct.

The kid turns.

“You really are cool, Eraserhe—”

Uraraka takes the opportunity and snaps her own hand out, and Shouta just has the strength to activate the device in his hand into the ground in front of him. The stasis gel bursts with a bang, quickly covering him and cushioning him from the ensuing blast of light. He just makes out the villains surprised shout as Uraraka’s flashbang goes off, blinding the whole area.

He can barely make out some muffled yelling, but considering the potency of Momo’s creations, there’s a good likelihood neither of the kid’s accomplices can hear any better than he can.

Smart kid.

Uraraka runs as fast as she can—trusting herself to know the right distance and angle to turn. The creature isn’t far, she just needs to get into touching range. She’s lucky she doesn’t need her sight or sound for this next part.

Aizawa-sensei was a limp shadow on the ground, but at least in the stasis gel he shouldn’t get caught in the effects of her quirk, and with a little luck—

There, her hand just barely brushes the skin of something hard and overly-hot, almost feverish. She activates her quirk as fast as she can and hopes to whatever god listening that this will work, straining with all her might as she does. It feels like it struggles, or maybe just that it’s so heavy that it requires more effort than she expects, but inch by inch, she feels it float up.

She only has a few more seconds before the effects of the flashbang disappear, so she reaches down with one hand and grabs hold of part of Aizawa’s stasis gel.

“Please work,” she whispers, activating another capsule and letting the gel explode and cover the both of them.

She doesn’t really understand what happens in the next minutes, besides that at some point she can make out the muffled sounds of Bakugou blasting somewhere nearby. There’s shouts, at one point a high pitched scream that she feels travel through her spine, and then silence.

She concentrates her hold on the villain in the grasp of her hold—she can tell when he hits the ceiling—and tries to breathe. They have ten minutes of air in the stasis gel bubble, and she just has to hope that the others can hold out that long. And that help will arrive before that.

She breathes. And breathes. After a while she feels the strain of her quirk fade, like a cramp finally eased. She doesn’t let herself think about what that means.

She breaths through the pain of her cheek—the villain with the hands must have gotten to her, and she never was able to see what effect he had except that it made Tsuyu gasp when he used it on Aizawa-sensei.

After an eternity of breathing she can feel the crack in the shell of the stasis gel, and gentle hands reaching in to scoop her out. She can barely make out the feeling of one of the teacher’s—Midnight, she thinks, based off the feeling of the body holding her up.

“You can let go now, Uraraka-chan,” Midnight says gently, and she does.

Mount: low blow hands
Mount: low fucking blow
Sharktooth: ???
Mount: forget about it. ping me if you need me im going to be sending the package tonight
EndEndeavour: is this about the USJ thing?
Sharktooth: the what?
EndEndeavour: dude, it’s all over the news, where are you?
Sharktooth: out of the country, mom wants me to deal with some upstart rivals
EndEndeavour: check the news, villains attacked UA or whatever
EndEndeavour: how mount knew it was hands I have no fucking clue
HandSoap: fuck off
HandSoap: I was doing what I had to
EndEndeavour: not what you wanted to?
HandSoap: what?
EndEndeavour: Just, you always go all crazy talk about what your ideals or whatever
EndEndeavour: but I’ve never seen you talk about what you actually want, besides like, the newest rpg
Sharktooth: awww man, you know how angry mom’s gonna be that you targeted UA
Sharktooth: they’ll for sure increase police presence in the city
Sharktooth: and unlike some of us, we don’t have some fancy in with the government
EndEndeavour: dude, just bribe them, isn't that the point of the yakuza
Mount: sorry guys. I’m just angry because my contact at the hospital said the girl from that one video got injured
Mount: which means we might not see her on another episode again
Sharktooth: awww, that’s too bad. She was cute
Mount: also, Hands, I thought you were recruiting from UA, not killing them
Mount: weren’t you keeping an eye on the kid from the slime attack?
HandSoap: sensei wanted to make an example of UA’s vulnerability
Mount: huh. Yeah I guess you’ve done that
Mount: seems overly complicated though
Sharktooth: you just say that because you’re a thug
Mount: excuse me, I’m a lady, ok
Sharktooth: a lady thug
Mount: thank you
Mount: and I’ll let you know my organisation is one of the best information and racketeering groups in the country
Mount: so take that
EndEndeavour: hey, think you could attack Endeavour’s agency next? I’ll pay you
Mount: dude your obsession isnt healthy
EndEndeavour: I think my life would be healthier without him in it
Sharktooth: what do you even have against the guy
EndEndeavour: you dont wanna know

Izuku watches the news of the attack and eats another cookie from the tin Power Loader’s left on the desk. They’ve been given a week “off” which really just means him and the other support students are free to make what they want without adult supervision. No doubt the teachers have their hands full figuring out what to do in the aftermath. Izuku has already been forbidden from making a video on it.

“How does this look?” Ito asks, pulling a dark green hoodie up for inspection. It has a large collar that covers the mouth and the sockets for where Hatsume’s lenses with sit.

“Good,” Izuku says after a moment of thought, “you can barely tell it’s tactical at all.”

Ito nods, taking his due.

“I have finished the inputs and outputs,” Okimoto’s synthetic voice says, and Izuku turns to look at the net of nodes that will be worn under the hoodie. “You will need to become accustomed to the feedback before using it at its full power. I would suggest a twenty four seven usage until full mastery.”

Izuku nods determinedly.

“And the Neural-Map is finished too, although I really only had to tweak the power flow—Sato-chan made the interface,” Hatsume says with a grin.

Izuku nods again.

“Ok, that’s pretty much...everything, right?” he asks, going down the checklist. There’s already a long list crossed off, from when they were designing Hitoshi’s suit. It was the only way he would agree for them to make him his own—one for him, one for Hitoshi, one for Uraraka.

There’s a long ominous pause from the rest of the class.

“That’s everything right?” he repeats, some strange sense of foreboding rising in his gut.

“Of course! Haha,” Hatsume laughs. Izuku eyes her.

“Great. Then lets assemble it and wait for Power Loader’s ok. And probably break for lunch,” he says wryly, looking at the clock.

Heralytics @TheHeralyticEra
                We’re here! Thanks for all your support, we’ve finally made a twitter to talk to you all directly! You can watch the latest video on our channel now! It’s a big one, so we’ve split it in parts! Keep an eye out for part 2 -I
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWRipf9VRT0&t=420s

101 replies 498 retweets 1302 likes

Chapter Text

Where are the missing heroes? (part 1)
5,917,930 views

Heralytics here! Today we’re looking into a strange and worrying trend from the past 47 years of heroics: otherwise strong heroes suddenly disappearing while in a certain geological area. Is it the Bermuda Triangle, you ask? No, it’s actually here in our homeground of Japan. In this multipart investigative project, we take a look at all the victims, what they have in common, and what could possibly be the cause.

Show More

Amane The Wise six hours ago:
          Huh. this is weirdly...creepy. I’m glad they’ve started to branch out, but I feel like I’m watching a horror show in live action

Hotato six hours ago:
          Idk, seems like a bit of a reach

Best Jortest six hours ago:
          Man these kids keep getting better and better. I remember when Ultra Light stopped showing up. Everyone just thought she’d gone to retire in America

Meme Queen six hours ago:
          No one, absolutely no one:
          Heralytics: what if...we completely upend your world view on heroes?

HeyGhosts six hours ago:
          I think we all know what the cause is…
                     STAN LUNA five hours ago:
                               What, ghosts?
          HeyGhosts five hours ago:
                     No, aliens

midnight101thgindim six hours ago:
         I think the most interesting bit about this is the consistency. It can’t just be a random coincidence, or the effect of poor safety protocols. It would have to be the action of a group. We might be looking at a full blown conspiracy here
                    Last 1 Standing four hours ago:
                              Now thats a reach

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA six hours ago:
          Hmm. I remember some of these heroes, I think the tagline has always been that they’ve retired or moved to canada or something. Wonder if agencies are trying to cover up that they’re losing their heroes
                    Heralytics five hours ago:
                              Good point! There has to be some amount of industry knowledge about the phenomenon, we’ll for sure cover that in the next part! -I
          AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA four hours ago:
                     Don’t act so polite now SmallMight, I know what you’re like when you’re sleep deprived and on the HeroFanCollective

Izuku, Hatsume, and Hitoshi all go visit Uraraka at the hospital the day after the attack. Izuku brings the hawk plushy, and tries not to cry. The stress of being on the sidelines, having only the reports of the map and eventually the radio-buds when the block went bad made him feel helpless, and he can’t even imagine how Uraraka feels being at the centre of it all.

She’s groggy from surgery when they get there, but smiles wide as soon as they walk in. It’s obvious that people have already visited—there’s a large stack of flowers and cards on her side table, and someone’s even left a jacket on the nearby chair.

“Nice shiner,” Hitoshi says, hands shoved into his pockets. Izuku takes the pause as everyone decides on how to react to that by dragging a chair close and collapses onto it. He’s not sure he would call the bruises around her eyes from the surgery just a shiner, but Hitoshi’s understatement at least makes Uraraka laugh.

“How you doing, Ochachan?” Hatsume says, bypassing the chair completely to flop down on the bed next to Uraraka’s hip.

“Better now,” she says, eyes only slightly unfocused. She’s at least tracking who’s talking where, which is more than what she was able to before. “The doctors say they think I’ll regain full vision, but I might need glasses for a while.”

“That’s good!” Izuku says, relieved, “I’m so glad the teachers arrived in time.”

Uraraka smiles dims.

“It’s all because of you all! Especially you, Mei-chan, I don’t want to imagine what would have happened without the radio-buds,” she says, scratching at her hospital wrist band, “I’ve, um, I’ve been trying not to think about it.”

Izuku feels like he’s suddenly stepped on a landmine.

“Don’t have to think about it, it didn’t happen,” Hitoshi says, leaning a hip against Izuku’s chair. “At this point you should be more worried about how you’re going to get better—if you’re not careful one of us might just snag your spot in the hero course.”

“Hitoshi!” Izuku gasps, but Uraraka just laughs.

“Just try it!” she crows, clenching one fist.

“I know who I would pick for that fight,” Hatsume laughs, bumping her own fist against Uraraka’s.

Izuku smiles, leaning back again. Yeah, they’ll be alright.

“The students?” Shouta rasps, staring at the hospital ceiling. The vague form of detective Tsukauchi leans a little closer and does Shouta the favour of pressing the hospital bed controls and leaning it forward more so Shouta can actually look at him.

“All in stable condition. Most of them had only bumps and bruises, but a few were taken to the hospital to monitor for smoke inhalation or other complications. Uraraka-san was the most injured, and she’s recovering in the room next door,” Tsukauchi says, sitting back down.

Shouta tries to nod, forgetting that the neck brace doesn’t give him the room to do so.

“You’ll be glad to know that Thirteen is recovering as well, with the aid of specialists in quirk rebounds. Despite the odds against you, everyone survived.”

Shouta closes his eyes. He lets himself feel the relief for a moment before composing himself again, as much as he can.

“And the villains?” he asks then, knowing that, if the detective is here there is a good chance there’s been an issue with the investigation. Otherwise Hizashi or even Nezu would be the ones answering his questions.

“I wanted to ask you some questions about that, actually. We’ve been able to establish a timeline of the events in thanks to the students, but there’s details still missing. If you feel up to it, it would help us greatly.”

“Of course,” Shouta says, breathing in deep, “what do you need to know?”

“According to reports, there were three main villains in charge of the attack. The one with the warp quirk, the one with the disintegration quirk that seemed to be giving orders, and the mute one with the mutant quirk that you fought. Your student was able to incapacitate the last one with her quirk, but even when that was released, he didn’t fight back or struggle. In fact, there didn’t appear to be any real higher cognizant function at all. I would like to know, if during your fight, you were able to ge a read on his motives or lucidity. We want to rule out quirk backlash,” the detective says, getting out a notepad. Shouta blinks.

“He seemed to act only when given an order. I didn’t have time for a complete profile, but there was a certain dead feeling to the way he moved. There was enough intelligence to determine fighting moves and there wasn’t as much micromanagement as to suggest a full puppet, but he certainly made simplistic decisions. Brawn over brain,” he says after a moment, thinking back.

“So it is completely possible his current state is his default state?” Tsukauchi asks.

“I would have to see him again to be sure, but that’s my professional opinion,” Shouta agrees.

There’s a pause as the detective writes that down.

“That helps a lot, thank you. Now, about the rest of the fight…”

The questioning goes on for a while after that, although Shouta knows he’s getting a gentle interrogation. If he wasn’t injured, there’s a good likelihood that he’d be questioned for much longer.

Eventually the detective seems to come to the conclusion that he’ll get no more information for the moment and thanks Shouta one last time.

Shouta takes the moment to ask his one last question.

“Do we have any information on how the villains got their information?”

The detective pauses.

“Unfortunately not yet. We are looking into it, however, as well as searching for the villain with the electro-block quirk that kept you from calling aid. We have a good lead as to his identity, so it should be a matter of time. There’s hope that with a more lucid villain to interrogate we’ll be able to advance the investigation more.”

Shouta closes his eyes.

“Of course.”

Eventually life goes back to normal, or as much as it can. Uraraka limps back into class after an extra four days, but her spirit seems to be completely recovered. Izuku can’t help but feel relieved—he doesn’t know what he could say or do to help her if that wasn’t the case.

“So!” she says brightly when they all wander over to their normal table. Izuku can’t help but think about the fact that it’s the one where they first got her message.

“I hear you’ve made quite a stir in the air,” she says with a grin, nudging him.

“We haven’t?” he asks, before turning to Hitoshi. “We haven’t, right?”

“Kinda,” Hitoshi refutes, shoveling something into his mouth. “You did end up holding a mini spec-ops meeting in the cafeteria, and then get called into the principal’s office, and that’s before the news broke about USJ.”

“And we’re already semi-famous because of your channel,” Hatsume agrees, before turning to Uraraka.

“I almost forgot, I have an upgrade for your radio-bud, since you lost your other one and all.”

She reaches into her bag and takes out a box. Izuku rubs his ear where his upgraded radio-bud already sits.

“It’s patched into an app me and Mealticket here designed, and will automatically track your GPS signal, heart rate, and will send an alert to the rest of the network when signal is lost for more than a minute. Try not to accidentally kill it or anything, because the alert is preeeeeetty loud,” Hatsume says with a grin, flourishing the box.

“Oh, and I’ll need your phone so I can add the app.”

“You didn’t have to do that!” Uraraka says, but her hands are already reaching. There’s a smile on her lips, even though her eyes seem a little watery.

“Of course I did! I can’t just not fix my babies when there’s a problem, especially not one with a pretty obvious solution!” Hatsume refutes, leaning back stroking her chin. “I did debate playing around with some sort of light-based information transfer in the event of another blackout, but it turns out coding information on light waves is very difficult. No-Face is looking into it.”

“You really should stop calling Okimoto-san that,” Izuku chastises, but Hatsume just waves him off.

“No can do, Mealticket.”

“Speaking of, we need to talk about the next part of the investigation,” Hitoshi says. Izuku flinches.

“I promised I’d release the merch line and do a Q&A before the next segment,” he mutters.

“What do they have on you? Blackmail? Your soul?” Uraraka asks, leaning forward.

“No! Just, ugh, upperclassman Rin is scary. She keeps saying the hive is disappointed when I put it off,” he whispers, looking around. The business class seems to be everywhere these days.

“We should do it either before or after the sports festival,” Hitsohi says, leaning back. “Probably after, so it doesn’t get overshadowed or rushed by it. We’ll be really busy as it is. I know Uncle has been bugging me to step up training lately.”

“Oh right, that’s coming up soon,” Hatsume says, a glint entering her eyes, “I have so many ideas for new babies for it. What do you think about an ice gun?”

“Wouldn’t that just be copying Todoroki-kun?” Uraraka asks.

“That’s Endeavour’s kid right?” Izuku asks, “He’s supposed to have fire too right? You could probably create a gun for each so you can counter him. I’m assuming we’ll have to fight each other at some point—it’s only logical.”

Uraraka straightens up.

“Wait Mido-kun, how would you fight against us? Or the other students for that matter, but it would be good to know our own flaws before we start.”

Izuku pauses.

“Well…” he hedges, looking around, but both Hitoshi and Hatsume have paused and are staring at him intently.

“Well, actually, I’ve already thought that through? I have, um, I have analysis on most of the notable students, actually. It’s a habit! Nothing creepy, I swear,” he blurts out.

“Saying it’s not creepy makes it more creepy, Small Might. Can we see?” Hitoshi asks, leaning forward to put his chin on his hands.

Izuku mutely hands over his notebook.

Shinsou Hitoshi - General Education Student
Quirk: Brainwashing

High intellect, high charisma although under-utilized, built for speed more so than strength.

Hitoshi has been training under his uncle for a year now in martial arts, but he still relies on his quirk instead of violence to get out of trouble. Having developed a keen eye for details and knowledge of human psychology, he’s become adept at using words to get people to answer him when he needs to use his quirk. Despite this, he is still hesitant to use his quirk out of fear to be perceived as villainous, and is slow to take initiative or charge despite having a good head for leadership.

If someone knew about how his quirk works, it would theoretically be easy enough to get around. You would just need enough willpower to not answer, or a physical gag. As well, he doesn’t have any defence for long range weapons or quirks, and is still only of average physical ability.

Conclusion: long range attack before he’s able to use his quirk would be the fastest way to incapacitate.

His danger comes mostly from the versatility of his quirk once active. Possible future techniques to look into would be long lasting commands, commands done through different voice modulators or recordings, repeated commands done while target is in a non-lucid state, and commands done with increasing complexity.

Physically, should look into a weapon of some kind, and a disguise kit of some kind. Would hesitate to suggest a recognisable costume—the less likely villains are to recognise him the better. Needs better stamina, and training for underground work. Suggest Eraserhead as an example?

Ask Snipes about guns—maybe sniper? Talk to Present Mic about sound amplification: long distance command + tranq gun.

Hitoshi raises his brow and looks at Izuku considerably.

“Here,” he says, passing it over to Hatsume.

 

Hatsume Mei - Support Student
Quirk - Zoom

Genius intellect, singular focus, average physical attributes but high creativity and resourcefulness. Distractible and not concerned with social mores.

Hatsume could be a hero if she wanted, but support suits her more. She has little combat training, but still has decent strength from lifting heavy gear and using machinery. Her quirk is great for identifying targets far away, and if combined with her personal gear, would make her the perfect observer for villain activity. Since her desire for creation is so large, and her skills are good enough that she’s making a new invention each week, determining counter measures for each would be difficult on a short time frame.

Main weak points of her inventions are mostly in the testing. Introductions of certain elements or environments can cause unforeseen consequences. See incident with spores via engine combustions from first week.

A lot of her gear needs large maintenance tools or fuel sources. Not easy to repair or transport in the field.

Conclusion: attack when no access to gear for most optimal incapacitation. If not possible, various substances such as tar or acid can destroy gear. Do not let her have time to think through the event, or give her material of any kind to improvise with. Especially don’t give access to combustibles.

Can be distracted by offering to show off her inventions.

Physically, needs training. Would suggest training in self-defense and first aid even if not a hero student, as support workers are still targeted by villains. Suggest training in guns as well, talk to Snipes about possible sniper training as well? Why do I know so many potential snipers.

Future techniques would be to test whether quirk can be used for magnifying of sight instead of just distance zooming. Nanite inventions would be hard to counter, but with a large enough magnification would probably not be out of the realm of creation. Talk to Power Loader about possible bio-tech?

Needs better lab, one without a classmate prone to shorting out computers nearby

“Hmmm, nanites you say,” Hatsume hums, eyes bright and wide.

“Oh you just had to say that, didn’t you,” Hitoshi complains, tugging the notebook out of her hands to pass to Uraraka, who hesitantly takes it.

Uraraka Ochako - Hero Student
Quirk: Zero Gravity

High level of improvisation, keen intellect, well suited to physical fighting and brawling. Self-esteem issues.

Uraraka has the most training of all of us, and it shows. Her physicality is a lot more developed, and combined with the fact that her quirk requires touch to activate, makes her well suited for front-line combat. Her quirk is both extremely useful for dealing with villains, and also leaves her open for attacks from others. Considering the side effect of nausea when used on self, it appears there’s still a ways to go in development. Quirk stamina is an issue as well, as the effect is a constant drain.

Has good potential for rescue hero work, especially if her quirk threshold increases. Being able to lift large amounts of debris safely will come in handy.

Currently still needs more combat training, especially hand to hand. Needs some sort of long range attack, or a way of forcing villains closer so she’s not always running into their field of attack. Needs better stamina, and more training with larger amounts of quirk use. Quirk backlash is a real danger.

Conclusion: don’t get in range, don’t give her environmental ammunition, and wear her down. Long range attacks would work well against her.

Look into something like Eraserheads capture weapons? Something that would allow her to pull enemies closer, as well as act as a defense. Look into ways of increasing her self-confidence. Would be a good field commander.

Future techniques would be to increase quirk stamina and the amount she can lift at a time, and for longer. As well, using the quirk on herself, and having some sort of gear to control while weightless. Ask Powerloard about directional thrusters. Training in zero gravity environments? Swimming? Look into how astronauts train.

“Huh, you really think so?” Uraraka asks, tilting her head. “I don’t have a self-esteem issue, do I?”

Izuku winces.

“Boy here can’t talk, he’s the poster child of self-esteem issues,” Hitoshi says.

“That’s not true!” Izuku cries, “I didn’t mean it badly Uraraka! I swear! It’s just that you tend to let others take the lead and doubt yourself a lot, even though you’re just as smart and way more trained than us.”

Uraraka blinks.

“Oh. Um. Thanks?”

Izuku feels himself start to sink into the chair.

Tomura throws the controller away and throws himself onto the ratty couch. He has a pounding headache, and the flashing game over screen isn’t helping. He reaches up to scratch at his collar and forces himself to wrench his hand away at the last minute.

His eyes flitter over to the computer. It’s still on, flashing the unread message symbol in his face. He stares at it for a moment or two, debating whether he has the energy to answer it.

What the fuck do these NPCs even want now? He’s sent the info Mount wanted, there hasn’t been a Heralytics video since the way-too-accurate missing hero one, and Shark is banned from playing games right now or something.

Fucking Shark. How a teenager almost as old as him still follows after mommy like some sort of dog is fucking disgusting.

His hands twitch.

Sensei hasn’t called in a while, not since the disaster that was USJ. They never did end up confirming All Might’s current status either, so it was a bust in all possible ways.

He feels a brief flash of warmth and realises he’s disintegrated another part of the sofa. He curls his fingers in, so that only his thumb is sticking out. His knee starts bouncing.

Kurogiri is out right now, and none of the minions are worth more than a shallow grave. He’s run out of games to play on his own. He has nothing to do but stew in his own bitterness.

He wonders when Sensei will be back. He hasn’t mentioned his new hobby online, but maybe if he tells him about the kids who are looking into the missing hero cases he’ll come back. But then Sensei might want them dead. Not that Tomura cares. The videos are entertaining for a bit, but they’re still wannabe-hero trash. They’d deserve it if Sensei wanted them dead.

He feels a couple of his nails dig into his neck and forces them away again. His eyes flicker around again, taking in the bare walls and low light of the boarded window.

They’re unimportant. Not even in the hero courses. Sensei won’t care.

His head droops and he stares at the floor for a second or two.

His head is killing him, and his hands are restless. The kid’s might be unimportant, but he could do with something to take his aggression on right now. Something that’s not just some piece of cheap furniture.

He eyes the door.

Sensei won’t be happy if he kills another civilian, or someone noticeable. But one of the trash minions that escaped getting arrested after the USJ attack is probably fair game.

He gets up, hands twitching, when his computer sends out another annoying notification sound. He shudders.

Man, his head is pounding.

JackRabbit: you seen this? Heralytics_Meme.png 

Shrike: where’d you find this?

JackRabbit: it’s a meme that’s been going around. I’ve seen a few different versions. You know what a meme is, old man?

Shrike: I’m not that old

JackRabbit: ye sure. But the kid is familiar right? I’m not blind?

Shrike: Could be a coincidence

JackRabbit: Uhuh. You want to tell me that someone else has those eyes?

Shrike: kid looks nothing like him

JackRabbit: didn’t he go on leave a decade ago for family reasons?

Shrike: drop it, Jack

JackRabbit: what? Why?

Shrike: I said drop it.

JackRabbit: yeah sure whatever, captain.

JackRabbit: hey, for no reason at all, if you run into him again, show him this at least https://youtu.be/J2lsmxWlo60

JackRabbit: kid has promise even if he’s not related

“You wanted to see me?” Izuku asks, peeking his head into the office. Principal Nezu looks up from his desk.

“Ah, Midoriya-kun! Come in, come in.”

Izuku shuffles in and hovers awkwardly in place in front of the desk.

“No reason to be so polite!” Nezu says, waving him over to the coffee table with its arm chairs. He hops down himself and wanders over with his hands clasped behind his back. Izuku follows.

“I wanted to thank you again for the assistance you provided during the attack,” Nezu says, reaching up to take a pot of tea down from a nearby counter. Izuku sinks into one of the chairs and tries to wave off the gratitude. Nezu ignores him.

“It’s impressive that you and your friends would have such a well developed information gathering set up, although I suppose I should have expected it from someone with such an interesting application essay. Power Loader tells me your holo-map is still only in the prototype stage?”

Izuku nods, watching uncomfortably as the principal pours them both a cup.

“That’s marvelous, I’m sure the future versions will be a great help to both the police and heroes alike. You should look into patents soon,” Nezu says, sipping at the tea. Izuku realises it’s just the right temperature despite looking freshly brewed.

“Oh! Um, I thought all support-made gear was patented under the school’s authority?” Izuku asks, reaching out for his own cup so as to have something to do with his hands.

“That’s true. But only for regular support students,” Nezu says, with a smile just peeking over his cup.

Izuku pauses.

“What?”

“Did you ever talk with your classmates on their acceptance letters?” Nezu asks, placing his cup down and crossing his hands. “I’m sure you found it odd that the principal of the school was addressing both you and Shinsou-kun directly.”

“I did find it odd, but nothing came up once class started so I assumed it was just paranoia,” Izuku says, hands clenching.

“Did you?” Nezu says, raising a strangely human brow. He leans forward and places one furred paw on his snout. “You didn’t try digging at all?”

There’s a very loud silence.

Izuku straightens and lets his limbs go loose.

“Traditionally the acceptance letters are done by either the homeroom teacher or a teacher with adequate public relations. If it wasn’t Power Loader, it most likely would have been Present Mic. There are no recorded instances of exceptions, but there wouldn’t likely be anything recorded anyways because of the triviality of the policy. Asking around only reinforced what the regulations online say,” Izuku says, shedding his nerves.

“Of course. It is not a common occurrence at UA. Other schools have the privilege of being less regulated and regimented, but with hero agencies and organisations watching us closely, anything outside of the boundaries of their limited understanding is looked down upon. It’s why the entrance exam is set up as it is, despite many of the current teachers themselves unlikely to pass it if they were your age,” Nezu agrees.

“I’m sure you read your entrance paperwork very closely,” he continues, staring at Izuku unblinkely. “It’s likely that you noticed that your placement in support was classified under Support Section S1-A.”

Izuku feels himself distantly swallow.

“I’d assumed that was a classification for filing, but the way you’re emphasising that gives me the feeling that it has a deeper meaning. You mentioned that I was not a regular support student, which assumes that there are regular support students and irregular support students.”

Nezu gives an approving nod.

“S1-A. Or, Specialist Training Class 1-A. It is not a class exactly per say, does not have a homeroom teacher or a classroom. It is instead a catch-all course placement for those students who show extreme promise in non-traditional aspects of hero work. They are placed in one of the other courses to start, while additional curriculum is then added,” Nezu says, smiling wider.

Izuku feels his brows raise.

“That’s...rather clever. A way around the disapproval of the traditionalists, I’m assuming. It would mean listing them as in one of the four accepted courses while being able to tailor a curriculum for their needs. That seems like a lot of work for one or two potential students, however,” Izuku muses.

“Oh, it’s not as rare as that. Uncommon, yes, but we get one every couple years or so. We even have a current teacher who went through the program. The work mostly comes with creating the right sort of additional programs for each student, hence why there’s an adjustment period where they’re only involved with their regular classes,” Nezu replies, leaning back enough to reach under the coffee table.

“Considering your extra-curricular activities and your current interest in heroics, I have taken the initiative to construct your lesson plan myself. It will be rather grueling, but it should leave you enough time for both your regular classes and your fun little analysis project.” He passes a stack of paper over.

Izuku flicks his eyes over the front of it as he accepts it.

“You approve of the youtube channel? No, sorry, that’s the wrong question. You mentioned Hitoshi, is he also enrolled as S1-A?”

“Close. Shinsou-kun was flagged as PACT—pre-approved course transfer. He’ll be taking one of the empty seats in the hero course if he does well in the sports festival,” Nezu replies, pressing his paws together in delight. “I must say, it is refreshing to have such a quick-minded student. It does make me wonder why you hide it under all the timidness.”

Izuku flicks his eyes up from the pages.

“And the separation between attitudes isn’t healthy. Pretending for so long will only negatively impact your mental health the longer it goes on,” Nezu continues, tone not changing at all. “I’m sure you’ve already noticed bleedthrough.”

“It’s not easy being seen as the gifted kid, especially without a quirk. No one liked reminders that I could be more intelligent than them, and it became obvious quickly that if I wanted to survive school I would need to straddle the line of clever and oblivious. It became easier to shed once Hitoshi entered the picture, but habits are hard to break,” Izuku says, “Plus, humanizing myself was a good way to give my friends help without them arguing against it. Can you imagine a Hitoshi without motivation for making himself known through Heralytics, or the confidence to stand up to a whole cafeteria of students and take charge?”

“And you’ve been orchestrating Hatsume-chan into collaborating with other support students, not to mention focusing her genius on devices that are actually practical in the field. And one cannot forget your influence on Uraraka-chan, considering it saved both her life and her teacher’s,” Nezu agrees.

Izuku winces.

“Staying in the background is good and all, especially if you wish to become an underground hero. Considering your views on heroics and the established norms, however, it is unlikely to last if you desire any real change. Eventually you will need to bare your teeth,” he continues, smiling.

Izuku eyes said teeth and muses that most people probably forget that rodents have incisors, along with more well known flat front teeth. Even those are sharp enough to chew through a human chest.

“For now, however, it would be my pleasure to sharpen your teeth while teaching you on how to keep them hidden from the world, in a more healthy manner,” Nezu finishes, lifting his cup to give him a salute of sorts.

Izuku glaces down at the paper in his hands for a moment, before nodding once.

“Thank you.”

He whistles as he passes down the alley, letting his backpack swing from his shoulder with each step, causing a muffled drum beat to accompany the sound. He’s looking forward to being back home—despite what the group chat says, his mom isn’t actually that overbearing and he hasn’t seen her or his sister in a long time. He’d been dealing with on of the international trade routes instead, since one of the managers got arrested.

He still has a suspicion that his mom was just trying to get him out of the way so that he didn’t cause another incident like last time, but he doesn’t mind too much. Traveling is fun.

He nudges the door open with his foot and enters down the dark steps without bothering to turn the light on. It feels a little slick, like maybe the door is leaking in rain water again. He absently notes to get Abarai to fix it again.

“I’m back!” he yells out, stepping into the restaurant’s backroom. “Man, you won’t believe how bad US airlines are, I swear I was stuck in that airport for an eternity.”

He slings his bag over one of the chairs half-blind.

“Sis? You in?” he yells out again, pausing. Usually his older sister is loud enough to be heard from blocks away.

His eyes start adjusting to the dark. There’s a figure slumped over one of the seats.

His hand slams out and hits the light switch, blasting the room with sickly yellow light. Sitting slumped over what looks like a half-eaten sandwich is the familiar figure of Abarai, blood pooling from a gun wound through the back of his head.

He backs up, eyes frantically looking around. Fresh off the airplane he doesn’t even have any of his weapons. He lands on a still holstered pistol next to the cooling body of his childhood bodyguard. He snatches it up without letting himself think about it, hands only slightly shaking.

“Be back for you, old friend,” he whispers, shuffling towards the door as quietly as he can. If anyone is here, they already know about him, but that’s no reason to be careless.

His eyes catch on the streaks of blood on the floor and dryly swallow. Not rainwater after all.

He slips through the door into the kitchen and sees what looks like a few overboiled pots of water still simmering, and nothing much else. He slinks forward, breath heavy in his chest, and makes sure to grab one of the paring knives on his way to the service door. He stays low to the ground, and stops to listen with his head pressed to it.

Silence.

He curses quietly, and pushes forward, opening the door only enough to slip his body through.

Unlike the previous rooms, the restaurant itself is in stark disarray, chairs and tables thrown about and shattered. There’s blood streaked in front of him, a figure in dark blue that’s at the end of a drag trail. Another laying stomach-up on an intact table, hand still clutched around a steak knife.

Heart in his throat he moves further into the room, some long forgotten prayer stuck on his tongue. He moves through the broken furniture maze until he catches a glimpse of straw-blond hair.

He stands and runs.

And stops.

His mother looks defiant, still wrapped around his sister like some sort of shield, graceless and without the poise that he’s used to seeing from the family’s boss. His sister—body twisted and broken in a way that screams quirk use—looks small in her arms.

Neither of them move.

It’s silent in the room, except for his harsh breathing.

“You shouldn’t have come home, young master,” a voice says directly behind him, the sound of a gun clocking echoing through the silence. “My boss might have been able to forget a single son if you didn’t show your face in the city. Now I have to get my suit dirty again.”

He stops breathing.

“Why?” he whispers, eyes still locked onto the wide-eyed expression of pain on his mother’s face. He can feel the muzzle of the gun press into his back, metal still hot.

“Dear ol’ mommy here didn’t want to play ball with my organisation. Can’t have rumours running around that you can just say no to us, you know? Nothing personal kid,” the gun says, chuckling.

He blinks wetly. He won’t have time to turn around and shoot.

“Well, goodnight kiddo, say hi to your family in hell for me, will ya?”

The sound of a gunshot is loud in the darkness of the room. He can feel the blood starting to drip.

“What—?” the voice says, staggering back.

He turns, hand not letting go of his grip around the assassin's gun hand. His spikes go in deep, to the bone, and he knows without looking that the hand is less than useless. He grinds his quirk in deeper.

“Fucking hell—”

He feels his grip loosen as the assassin reaches up and activates his own quirk, flinging him away violently. He feels the breath forced from him as he hits the wall, the gunshot wound bursting with more blood.

“You fucking brat!” the assassin yells, holding the wreaked arm closer. He lifts a hand and makes a clenching motion with his fist.

He screams, feeling his body start to contort into itself.

“I was going to be merciful and kill you cleanly, but now I think I’m going to wring the blood out of your pores until you choke on your own marrow,” the assassin screeches, dark black veins popping from around his eyes.

He can barely hear him over the pain.

Then, there’s blissful silence, drowning out his own screams and the pain itself. He figures this is what death feels like, one last mercy before the end—but—

A bang. An absence of pain. He watches the assassin crumple to the ground, motionless.

“You ok kid?” a voice asks, gruff.

He looks up, one eye swollen and bloody, to see a tall figure hunched over him. A hand reaches out and feels his pulse.

He blinks the shadows in his eyes away.

His saviour is wearing black body armour and a black bandana over the top of his head and eyes. That, combined with the bloody knuckle duster near his face is an obvious clue as to his identity.

“A vigilante saving a yakuza heir, ironic,” he chuckles, closing his eyes.

He never hears the response—he passes out right then and there.