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Can you hear the Drums?

Chapter Text

Izuku found the game by chance in a yard sale. It hadn’t even had a price on it- it was free, and when he opened it, it sounded fun. 

(He could hear drums in the air, but he set that aside. It was a toy somewhere in collection of old toys, obviously.)

When he brought it to the owner of the home, they had waved him off, promising it was an old board game of his grandfather’s that he had hated , so it was fine if Izuku wanted to take it, no charge, really .

(Later, Izuku would wonder if that man had known what he was giving Izuku, if he had known what the game would do. )

Izuku was happy to take the game, even if he was a bit confused by the look on the former owner’s face and he didn’t hesitate to take it home. He spent at least an hour studying the rules, and warnings along the folding case, and flipping tokens through his hands. He liked the sound of a survival game, of a game that would work to make him think , if what he was getting from the rules was correct.

He smiled at the menacing warning, “Do not begin, unless you intend to finish ,” written along the board’s folding sides.

As if he would stop halfway through, honestly. Still, the bold red letters amused him.

How quaint, he thought, how clever.

(Oh, he despaired later, at the fool he had been, at the disregard he gave the entirely serious warning towards a real threat. At the joy he had felt for a challenge. 

He had never wanted this. Not this .)

Izuku found hand written instructions tucked into the game, witten in a hasty hand, frantic and crooked in nature, as if they had been written on the run, and tucked in later. He smiled at the touches, the thought put into the mood of the game, how it was made to look like a desperate warning to any who played this survival game.

The warnings about supernatural creatures from all over the globe, the bold, underlined, and all capital- 

“DO NOT CHEAT. DO NOT USE YOUR QUIRKS.”  

-dead center of the list. Very eye-catching, and it almost looked like it had been written in blood. (And in the back of his mind, always working, he noted that the warning separated the two sentences, ‘do not cheat’ and ‘do not use your quirks’, two seperate warnings.)

How atmospheric. Still, he didn’t have a Quirk and it wasn’t like he was going to cheat at a strategy game , honestly, Izuku has more pride than that.

The only plainly worded, if not slightly confusing, warning was at the bottom, a simple and clear:

“Three Strikes and you’re Out”  

Izuku didn’t quite understand that one, not then, but he noted it down anyway, memorizing the list and wondering at how the was supposed to work when the list warned of worlds, of zones , and changing rules. Maybe it was a bit like D&D? He folded the paper, and tucked it into his pockets, so he could share it with the others who were going to play with him.

He looked forward to it, excitement making him giddy. It would be interesting to see how the changes to each ‘zone’ in the game affected the rules. It would be fun to have a game that changed so constantly Izuku might not be able to pick it apart within the first ten minutes, might have to struggle a bit. 

Might have fun.

Izuku asked Kacchan if he wanted to join him down at the Center to play.

Who else would he offer the choice to, but his oldest friend? 

(- he’snotafriend anymore ,whenwillyou learn? )

Sure they had been drifting for a long while, and some days Kacchan was more violent than he had any right to be, but there were other days, where Kacchan acted the way he used to. Where he seemed to pause, and consider what he was doing, what he was saying.

And those times were getting fewer and fewer in nature, as the adults around them encouraged his actions in various ways, always enforced the idea that those with quirks were more than those with none...but they were still there, Kacchan was still there under all the bully and bluster.

 Izuku hoped .

This last week, Kacchan had been more like they used to be, more open to interaction and playing together. So Izuku offered him the chance to join him down at the Quirkless Center, to play a new board game that focused on survival and strategy, that sounded interesting and challenging. (And Kacchan would know what it meant that Izuku used the worlds ‘interesting’ and ‘challenging’ both.)

It boasted of ever changing obstacles and trials, that no game would be the same no matter how many times they played, of shifting and varying settings and zones.

Kacchan didn’t much look like it, but he was strategic in nature, and he enjoyed games like the ones Izuku did. It was one of the things they had bonded over, before everything. Was something they still did even now, even if it was becoming less and less common to see.

Izuku knew one of the volunteers, down at the center, who would enjoy a game like this too. He made a note to invite him. It would be a sixty-forty chance he’d join in. The odds were in his favor, so he squared his shoulders and managed to ask without rambling too much.

Aizawa-sensei was constantly tired, and laid back, but he was smart , one of the only adults who ever gave Izuku a run for his money, and he was also one of the few adults present who seemed to actually care about the quirkless who came to the center for support.

He was one of the only adults that Izuku had ever met, who would fight other adults who discriminated against them. (He’d seen him punch one of the more violent men, who liked to show up at the Center and try to get ‘rid’ of those who didn’t fit in with society’s expectations. It was glorious .)

Izuku adored him. (And had some theories about Aizawa-sensei being an underground hero, that he knew better than to voice out loud.)

( Even if they were entirely true, and Izuku would never tell, but he had proof!)

Still, he was excited, when Kacchan said yes , and agreed to head down to the Center and meet him there. Izuku was happy to tuck the tokens and dice away, fold the board up, and giddily shove it into his messenger bag, next to a few blank notebooks and pens, just in case he needed them. 

He kissed his mother’s cheek, bid her a cheerful ‘see you later, I love you’ , dressed in comfortable jeans and a t-shirt, with his red shoes, throwing his messenger bag over his shoulder, and rushed out the door.

(Later, he would be unspeakably thankful that the last thing he ever said to his mother, was ‘ I love you .’ That the last thing he heard her say to him was “I love you too.”)

By the time Kacchan had arrived, Aizawa-sensei had agreed to play, and Izuku had started setting up the board, while Aizawa was reading the handwritten notes, already finished with the side boards.

Izuku hesitantly smiled at Bakugou as he settled across from them, and leaned forward to read the rules on the side boards, while Aizawa finished the handwritten ones. 

Kacchan wrinkled his nose at him, always more controlled in Aizawa-sensei’s presence, because the man didn’t put up with any of Kacchan’s more...spirited actions or reactions, and usually wrapped him up in his scarf (he was so Eraserhead, Izuku didn’t care what everyone else thought.) when he thought to try his luck anyway.

Still, it was a calm response and Izuku basked in it.

Aizawa passed the handwritten notes over to the blonde, and then eyed the tokens.

Izuku had already chosen his, an owl token, carved to look as if it was mid dive, wings stretched wide. Aizawa-sensei had chosen a stalking panther token, and Katsuki eventually picked up a lunging snow leopard token.

Izuku picked up the dice, and grinned up at the other two players

(Faintly, but growing stronger, as if just out of sight, he could hear drums. He dismissed them- just the tv in another room.)

He rolled.

A six.

His eyes widened as his owl slid forward- on it’s own - and the green orb in the center of the game, previously dark, lit from within, words appearing on the surface.

POISONOUS AND FAST TO GROW

IF YOU’RE NOT QUICK

TOMORROW GOES.  

Izuku tilted his head, squinting at the words. The game was obviously warning about poisonous plants, but how was he supposed to-

The drums in the air swelled, and Izuku’s head jerked up, before he felt an odd tugging sensation at his toes. 

He looked down and scrambled to his feet as he realized he was fading like he was made out of dust, that was being sucked towards the orb, still glowing and pulsing unnaturally.

Kacchan and Aizawa-sensei both jumped to their feet, and Izuku was so scared he couldn’t even scream. Panic was stealing the breath in his lungs anyway, it wasn’t like he had enough air to speak, let alone shout.

What was happening .

Izuku leaned away from the game, but when he tried to step backwards he couldn’t move. He was frozen in place, and still fading from sight, towards the sucking swirling green of the orb.

Aizawa-sensei reached for him, but he passed through even the solid parts of his body. A flash of red eyes and floating hair- Eraserhead, he knew it!- and still nothing changed, nothing stopped. He was still going, his limbs fading into green mist. Izuku’s terrified gaze locked onto Eraserhead’s eyes. The barest traces of fear crept over the underground hero’s face.

Izuku’s heart skipped a beat.

Even Kacchan scrambled to attempt to grab him, but his efforts had the same lack of results.

Deku!”

“K-Kacchan- I don’t, I don’t know what-” Izuku gasped in a terrified breath, as the fading reached his waist, and sped towards his chest.

Lungs!

His eyes met wide, frightened red and then moved to hard and focused onyx. 

“I’ll get you out, Izuku.” Aizawa’s voice was strong, intense, focused, and Izuku finally felt the tears he was too terrified to cry begin to well up.

“Promise?” his voice was small, shaking, and pleading for some sort of miracle.

Aizawa nodded, firmly, without hesitation, keeping his gaze fixated on him.

 “I won’t stop,” he promised, with a hard tone, and he was a hero , Izuku knew. He had sworn, his eyes said he was serious.

Izuku closed his eyes as the fading reached his neck, cutting off his words, his breath and then, with the strange sensation of falling, Izuku’s feet hit the ground.

He opened his eyes.

Before his disbelieving gaze…

...all he saw was jungle

Chapter Text

Aizawa Shouta enjoyed his time at the Quirkless Outreach Center. 

It was a way for him to support the children that often needed it most, and to pass important lessons most of society seemed to forget.

It didn’t matter what quirk a person had, their actions made them who they were.

He became a pillar to children who had no one else. He’s built himself to be a support to those who were collapsing. He was a hero in all the ways that mattered, the ways that meant the most. The ways that had driven him to be an underground hero in the first place.

He had no need for fame, for rankings , or popularity. Didn’t want it, didn’t care. 

It relaxed him, reminded him why he worked at UA, why he agreed to teach children to be the next great heroes of tomorrow. Reminded him why he expelled some of his past students.

And he knew he wasn’t supposed to pick favorites, but well- every teacher did, no matter what they said. He just knew better than to let it affect how he treated the other children.

Midoriya Izuku was his favorite.

The boy was painfully smart, analytical, and focused. He wanted to be a hero for all the right reasons, and he persevered in the face of so much hardship, so many voices raised in unison telling him he never could, to give up, it was useless. He broke down quirks and their applications the way most people breathed, and Aizawa had long ago sworn to himself that he would submit a recommendation for him to Nedzu when it came time for the boy to apply to UA. 

And he would, Aizawa was certain.

He rather hoped he could talk the boy into being an underground hero. They could always use more  of those, but even if he wanted to be a ‘spotlight’ hero, Aizawa thought he could do it, and he made sure to show that in every way he could.

He was certain the boy knew who he was, even if he never actually voiced it aloud. And he still flushed just a little when he remembered the rant about how, even if All Might was amazing, Eraserhead was his favorite hero, because he- essentially-  fought quirkless against everyone he took in to the police.

Aizawa was never anyone’s favorite, and he didn’t do what he did, didn’t go out of his way to stay out of sight of the media, to be a favorite for a child. 

He did it to save them, but this boy had still declared it to a room full of children, and argued with anyone that tried to put him down, and Aizawa was...flattered.

Intensely so. 

(Especially since, at the time, Izuku hadn’t known who he was.)

Because his arguments were well thought out and logical, and true. He didn’t set Aizawa- Eraserhead- on a pedestal. He loved him as he was. Aizawa had asked him questions about what he knew and probed at him, just to see why and how the boy thought, and it was those well thought out breakdowns, that brought the child to his attention in the first place.

That Izuku could- had- broken down clips and bits of fights for him, in the few seconds it took him to watch them , only enforced the idea that Aizawa was going to recommend him. 

He liked to play strategy games with the kid, and was pleasantly surprised to find a challenge in him.

So when Izuku brought in a new game, and asked him if he wanted to play, Aizawa stood from his place and walked over to the game table, where he sat down and started to go over the rules.

Bakugou Katsuki would be joining them. Aizawa had worked hard to help widen the blonde boy’s world view, and stop him from developing a superiority complex, but it was hard when he was working against every other adult figure in the kid’s life.

It was slow going, but Aizawa wasn’t one to give up on the hard cases.

And then the game started sucking Izuku into the orb at the center of it.

Aizawa hadn’t felt cold fear and adrenaline dump itself down his spine like that in years .  He hadn’t had his fight or flight instinct kick towards fight like that since he was a teenager. He hadn’t felt the licks of anger well up his chest like a wildfire since then either. 

Nothing he did worked to stop it, and all Aizawa could think was that the game was some sort of object quirk fueled thing and it had taken one of the children in his care.

He wasn’t having it.

 


 

Katsuki struggled with how to view Deku. 

Aizawa-sensei told him that Deku was just as good as him, but everyone else said that he was better, that Deku didn’t have much hope of...anything really, and he was destined to rise to the top.

And some days, Katsuki agreed with everyone else. He was better than everyone else, he was going to be Number One, he was destined for more, it was obvious.

But then...other days, Deku was the quicksilver kind of dangerously smart, that Katsuki admired. He was able to break down hero fights on the street at a glance, and he may not have had a quirk but he still kept up with Katsuki.

And Aizawa’s voice echoed in his head, speaking about heroes, and saving people. About how he wouldn’t ever be able to choose who to save at a glance, that he would have to save everyone, even those he called ‘extras’, and there were other arguments Aizawa-sensei made that just…

They made sense . They made more sense than everyone else.

And Deku used to be- still was?- his best friend, even now, and- and Katsuki missed the fucking nerd some days, not that he’d ever fucking say that out loud.

But...how could so many people say one thing, the same thing, and be wrong when only one person was saying something else?

He struggled with it.

(Some days he wondered, if he ever would have thought about how he treated Deku, if Aizawa hadn’t stopped him, hadn’t pulled him aside to talk about it. He had never yelled, but he’d broken the situation down for him, and that thought...terrifies Katsuki some days.

Terror makes him angry.)

But watching Deku- Izuku - his childhood friend being sucked into a board game , Katsuki can’t stop himself from crying out, from reaching for him.

(And oh , oh, it hits him then- is this what Izuku felt when he fell off the log so long ago, when he climbed into the river and offered him a hand?

Was this what Izuku had reacted too, that bone deep terror, that need to do something- anything- where your body reacts before your brain, and you’re reaching out before you even know that you are?

He hadn’t been looking down on him.

It was instinct .

And Katsuki prays that he doesn’t understand this truth just in time to lose Izuku.)

Aizawa-sensei is furious , and Katsuki understands.

He understands, and he listens as Aizawa breaks down what he thinks the board game is, that now that they started it, they may be stuck completing it . He listens to the man swear that no matter what they face, no matter what happens next, he will keep them both alive and safe.

Katsuki believes him.

And Katsuki remembers terrified green eyes, the hand that had lifted towards him, almost like Deku didn’t even realize he did it, the way Katsuki had reached back before he’d known he was going to, and passed through him anyway-

And Katsuki rolls the dice.

 


 

There’s a text screen in front of him. 

Izuku is shaking, terrified, his eyes flashing around the forest, but the text remains in front of him anyway, bright green on a black background, and he can’t help but read it.

Welcome to Jumanji!

Now that you have begun the game, there’s no turning back! 

 

***

Keep an eye on your mini-map, it tracks where you’ve been!

 Pressing it will enlarge the map, and it will track creature settlements you’ve visited when enlarged. 

The map will allow you to track your teammates and their health once you agree to party! 

Games are more fun when you play together!

***

Voicing “Menu” will bring up your options.

Menu** will allow you to track:

-Your in progress and pending quests
-Creatures and the information you have on them 
-Will recall the board and dice so you may continue the game, and see progress Allow you to access your inventory. 
-Access the Rules 

 

**Please note that the Menu option is not available when Enemies are in the Area.

***

Please note, that as a “NEW GAME” this is the only exception to the Menu** rule. 

More information will become available as you progress!

***

BEGIN IN 3...2...1…

Izuku jumped as the text boxes disappeared, and he was left standing in the jungle, staring around him. 

The sounds, smells, and humidity in the air felt so real . What kind of quirk was this .

And then he gasps sharply, as the slithering sound he had heard suddenly got louder .

It’s not an animal.

It’s plants . Vines. Darting across the ground, aimed right at him , and Izuku remains still for only a moment, terror crawling up his throat.

The riddle he had seen comes back in a flash of memory: 

Poisonous and Fast to Grow

If you’re Not Quick, 

Tomorrow Goes.  

Izuku doesn’t hesitate any more. He turns on his heel and runs . He runs, and he prays. He hopes that he’s fast enough, that he can handle whatever poisonous turns out to mean. 

Is it deadly? An inconvenience? 

He doesn’t want to sit still and find out.

The plants chase him

Izuku has never been so afraid in his life.

 


 

The hardest thing Aizawa has ever done is watch determined, but terrified, red eyes meet his and hold them , as Bakugou Katsuki fades in front of his eyes. 

A child he had silently promised himself to look after, swept away in front of his eyes again. This time with full knowledge that rolling the dice to this game will pull him inside.  But the quirk-game had warned them not to play if they didn’t plan to finish multiple times. The handwritten notes had reinforced it, warned of deadly consequences if they tried to stop anyway. He didn’t want to imagine what the game would do, could do, if they disobeyed when it had already sucked in one of their number.

So he watches, and he swears to himself, holding terrified red eyes, that he will get these kids through this game, whatever it throws at them.

And when Katsuki has faded from the room, his snow leopard four spaces forward, Aizawa takes a deep breath and reaches for the dice. 

He’s not leaving them inside that game alone any longer than he absolutely has to. 

THEY LIKE TO LAUGH

BUT THEY’RE NOT YOUR FRIENDS

IF YOU TAKE THEM LIGHTLY

IT WILL BE YOUR END

Aizawa lands in packed dirt, tucking himself into a roll, coming up swiftly to his feet and scanning his surroundings with practiced ease.  There’s text boxes in front him- bright golden yellow on black- that he reads quickly, frowning. 

A three second countdown is the only warning he gets before the boxes disappear as he reaches that last box, and he moves to take in his surroundings better. He’s standing on a small mountain path, above a jungle, and surrounded by caves and a mountain range. He falls back to old habits, walking softly as he tries to get his bearings and figure out his riddle.

And then the breathless, high sounding cackles echo through the cave systems.

Aizawa feels a chill crawl over his back, and his danger senses scream.

He ducks, and over his head, a real life, actual hyena has lunged for his throat, and- due to his reflexes- missed.

 


 

It is only the ringing warning from Aizawa to not use his quirk , backed by the warning on the strange text boxes- deep orange-red on black- that keeps him from using his quirk.

He shakes, eyes darting around the area, as he tries to figure out where he is, and how he can find the others. He’s also trying to spot what his riddle had mentioned, even as he rushes quickly onward.

IN THE JUNGLE THEY WILL STALK

YOU MUST RUN AND DO NOT STOP

MISS YOUR MARK AND PAY THE PRICE

ONLY THE HOUSE WILL STOP YOUR STRIFE

What was stalking him? And how was he supposed to find a house in a jungle ? The jungle was huge was he even going in the right direction? What if he missed it, or was going the wrong way? How was he supposed to know ? Was that his ‘mark?’ If he missed it what price would he have to pay?

He kept his eyes peeled, scanning his surroundings, hoping he’d find something . The map was useless to him for now, utterly gray except in small spaces at the moment. He hadn’t been anywhere, for it to be filled in yet.

He tried to control his building panic. He knew panic was bad, it led to stupid choices. 

The jungle sounds- so very different than the sounds of his home- were making it worse, making him startle and jump. He’d never heard anything like it, and every little sound was new and scary , because he had no idea what the sounds meant , and he was supposed to be being chased right now.

He wanted to find the others. He wanted Aizawa, he wanted Deku, he wanted this to stop.

He whirled as a branch snapped, and his eyes widened with terrified horror as he spotted what, exactly, he was supposed to run from.

Lionesses.

Katsuki turned, and he ran .

 


 

The only thing that is letting Izuku see through his tears is pure survival instinct. 

And practice, sure, but mostly the desire to not die.

He doesn’t bother to look behind him. He’s already learned to watch where he’s headed, and to keep an eye out for movement that doesn’t belong. He’d already made the mistake of climbing a tree once in an attempt to buy a few moments of rest.

That...had been a bad idea. The ground was safer. He just has to watch for plants that were moving where they shouldn’t. And for the barbs they shot at him. That was why he was weaving around without any set pattern, trying to keep trees between his back and the plants that were behind him.  He’d also learned the even touching the plants was a bad idea, they shimmered strangely under the light, and the one monkey who had grabbed the vine and been dragged along behind him…didn’t last very long afterwards.

Izuku tried to control his breathing. How long would this riddle last? How long would he have to run? Would it be forever? A day? Would this plant chase randomly? Constantly? 

This quirk-game didn’t make sense .

He hopped the other two would be better, would be safe . They’d come after him, even Kacchan, he knew.

The game had said they couldn’t start unless they planned to finish after all.

Izuku slid down a hidden ravine, making a low terrified sound, even as he tried to adjust so he wouldn't tumble down the side. He managed to stagger and keep his feet as he came to the end of the slide, carrying new bruises and scrapes, but alive .

He still didn’t look behind him.

The eyes followed him anyways.