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pace yourself, darling, you're going far

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“I should’ve known you were Eraserhead’s kid,” Vlad King sighed at Hitoshi, who blinked up at him and threw his mentor a questioning look. Aizawa kept his face blank and Nezu’s smile grew a little wider.

It was the day after the festival and while the rest of the students had the day off, Hitoshi had to meet with the teachers about his transfer. It was a given that  he would be put into 1-A, but the principal had decided to at least inform 1-B’s homeroom teacher Vlad King about Hitoshi’s rather unique circumstances. The other hero had been disapproving of the deceit, but ultimately agreed that it had been a good idea and would keep the details about it to himself. (Not that Principal Nezu would have allowed otherwise.)

“I’m not actually related to him,” Hitoshi pointed out politely. Vlad King snorted in amusement.

“Trust me, it doesn’t look that way,” Vlad King dryly said. “In any case, it eases my ego a little bit to know that my class didn’t lose to just any Gen Ed student. Tetsutetsu is still sulking about their loss in the cavalry battle.”

“They shouldn’t have let their guard down regardless,” Aizawa commented. “I know I’ve prepared a lecture for my class already.”

“Those poor souls,” Hitoshi blandly said. 

“Well with that out of the way, let’s continue on,” Principal Nezu cheerfully clapped his paws. “We have lots to discuss still! Now, about those profiles you have, Shinsou-kun…”

“How’s the fit?” Yamada asked as Hitoshi rolled his shoulders and stretched his arms out. “Too tight?”

“It’s perfect,” Hitoshi said, unable to keep the grin off his face. After the meeting with the heroics homeroom teachers and Principal Nezu, Aizawa had dragged him to their usual gym, where Yamada was waiting with his hero costume . He hadn’t actually expected to get it so soon, and he almost felt like crying when he put it on. And then there was his new support item, the Artificial Vocal Chords.

Yamada sniffled loudly as Hitoshi stood in front of his two mentors in his full hero gear - hooded jacket and pants with reinforced boots and a utility belt, all in a dark gray and purple color scheme, capture weapon around his shoulders and voice changer hanging around his neck. “He looks like the two of us combined, Shouta!” Yamada exclaimed, teary eyed as he brought up his phone to snap pictures.

“We literally helped him design his costume,” Aizawa dryly said, but still smirked at him. “It looks good on you, kid.”

“No one is ever going to believe we’re not related,” Hitoshi couldn’t help but say, grinning. “Anyway, let’s start training - I want to try the voice changer.”

Yamada had told him not to underestimate the Support Department, and he was right. The Artificial Vocal Chords was an impressive invention, its shifting mechanical plates able to transform his voice without needing to convert it to electrical signals. It widened his already vast possibilities, making Hitoshi giddy to use it against his new classmates soon.

“He gets that scary grin from you,” Yamada whispered loudly to Aizawa. “He is right, literally no one is going to believe you’re not related.”

“Then I hope everyone is ready to fight Touma in the pit,” Aizawa deadpanned.


“First, let’s talk about the Sports Festival,” Aizawa carefully stared at each student in his class, the day they returned from the short break. Some of them ducked their heads in shame and some looked upset. “I’m not disappointed in your performances, as I was able to see that everyone gave it their all. But I do want to hear everyone’s thoughts.”

At first, no one said anything, some of them glancing at each other hesitantly. Then Yaoyorozu quietly raised her hand and at Aizawa’s nod, said, “I think a lot of us underestimated our opponents. We may have given it our all, but…”

“We didn’t expect Shinsou!” Kirishima sighed, pouting. He was one of the quickest to lose against the other boy after all. “Like, he even straight up challenged us to our face two weeks ago!”

“And none of us took him seriously, I think,” Yaoyorozu hesitantly finished. 

“Tch,” Bakugou scowled, “that bitch wouldn’t have lasted in a real fight against me.”

“Language, Bakugou,” Aizawa blandly reprimanded. “And that was a real fight - you don’t think in a real fight that anyone is going to hold back on using their quirks, do you? You may not be happy about it, but Shinsou won your match fair and square.”

“I mean, he was able to dodge your punches, Bakugou,” Ashido pointed out. Bakugou clicked his tongue and sank further into his seat. “And he took that kick like a champ.”

“He knew all our quirks,” Ojiro added, looking thoughtful. “1-B’s too. He was prepared for any of us, I think.”

“I’m curious about his quirk though,” Midoriya started to mumble. “I think it’s some kind of mind control quirk. At first I thought it was a touch based paralyzing quirk, but his matches with Kacchan and everyone after disproved the paralyzing part. Then his match with Todoroki-kun proved that he didn’t need to touch someone to use his quirk, and that he could control someone to the extent that he can make them use their own quirk. I’m still not sure about the trigger conditions, or the proximity, or--”

“Wouldn’t you know, Iida-kun?” Uraraka piped up, asking their class rep. Aizawa fought an amused smile when Tenya blinked at the sudden attention he received from the class, face flushing the way it always did when Hitoshi was brought up to him. He knew that Tenya was struggling with Tensei’s condition and this was the closest Aizawa has seen him to his usual self since the Sports Festival.

“I-- Why would you say that?” Tenya stammered. Uraraka tilted her head, looking both innocent and mischievous. 

“Don’t you know each other? You did approach him and cheer him on before his match with Kirishima-kun!”

“We’re mere acquaintances!” Tenya insisted. “His father works for the family company, but I do not know him well enough to know his quirk!”

“Why are you so red?” Asui bluntly asked. Aizawa softly snorted to himself when Tenya only reddened further. Tensei hadn’t been kidding about this.

“My engines are merely overheating!”

“Back to the topic at hand,” Aizawa interrupted, saving the young Iida scion from further embarrassment. “I want you all to reflect further on the sports festival and learn from it. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you didn’t make it to the final round, and resolve to do better next year.” 

“Yes, sensei!”

“Okay, but seriously Iida, why are you blushing--”


Hitoshi donned his new uniform - the one with one button on each shoulder instead of two, the Heroics one.

He was joining 1-A today.

His classmates at 1-C were all very sad to see him go, of course, but they were happy and proud for him and there had even been a class party the other day to commemorate the occasion. He had to promise Matsuda, Sakamoto, and Takashima that he’ll still be their friend, and that he wasn’t going to simply just forget his Gen Ed classmates despite the short time he’s spent with them. Hitoshi still wasn’t sure how he went from having zero friends and acquaintances his age to having a whole class patting him on the back in support for a job well done but… It’s nice. And good. He felt good.

Hitoshi took an earlier train than usual though, and also put on a medical mask, because winning the UA Sports Festival had gained him a lot of recognition that he wasn’t really completely prepared to deal with. Aizawa had warned him about the brief moment of fame, but it had only been a few days and he was already absolutely over it. He had to blacklist his own name, for god’s sake, because he didn’t want to see all those articles about him online. Principal Nezu had been pleased though, because true to his predictions the board had practically bent themselves backwards at possibly changing the entrance exam. There had been many, many questions - from media and pro-heroes alike - about how a kid with a powerful enough quirk to defeat Endeavor’s son had ended up in General Education.

Yokohara had also texted him last night about how now some of their old classmates were pretending they had been buddy-buddy with UA’s first year champion, when Hitoshi was pretty sure half of them didn’t even know his first name until the Sports Festival. Was it a little infuriating? Yes. But Hitoshi was good on keeping his anger and taking it out productively, like when he was running or sparring with Aizawa or Yamada. It was healthier that way, instead of letting it brew and stew inside him like the rest of his negative emotions. 

Despite being early, he met some of his now-former classmates at the shoe lockers and he politely exchanged greetings with them. Some of them patted him in congratulations once again, and he’s glad that there didn’t seem to be any bitterness towards him for transfering. There was always next Sports Festival, Takashima had assured him, and with his success there seemed to be a growth in determination within the Gen Ed department.

Hitoshi knew he couldn’t afford to slack off now.

Aizawa always said that Yamada was the dramatic one, but Hitoshi couldn’t help but think that Aizawa couldn’t have been with Yamada for this long without the dramatics rubbing off on him. And he was right, because Aizawa was just as bad as Yamada at being dramatic.

His mentor didn’t want to introduce Hitoshi as 1-A’s new member the normal way, no. Aizawa wanted to take advantage of 1-A’s continuing ignorance of him as much as possible, and that meant that Hitoshi’s early morning had been spent sitting around in Ground Gamma, fully decked in his hero gear and waiting for Class 1-A’s training exercise to start.

(He’d been bored enough to take a selfie of him laying on one of the pipes, face bland as he made a peace sign. He sent it to the group chat that included Yokohara, Sakurai, and his 1-C friends, captioning it with ‘day 1 of hero course: already unsupervised.’ The spam of replies that followed, even if all of them were in class right now, warmed his heart.)

Finally, he heard the distant groaning of a gate opening, and with his hood up he quietly walked across the pipes and settled himself as close as possible to the assembled class while still being hidden in the shadows. No one noticed him as he listened in.

“You’ll be separated into groups for this exercise,” he heard All Might say, grinning widely as he held up a box of lots. “It’ll be five groups of four - do you know what that means?”

“We won’t be fighting each other?” Midoriya asked. “Since it’s an odd number of teams.”

“Very much right, Midoriya my boy!” All Might nodded. “You will be asked to take your turn one group at a time and your tasks are simple! You either make it to the center, where there are hostages are waiting for you, or you apprehend the acting opposition!”

“Opposition?” someone said, “Another teacher acting as a villain, I suppose?” All Might kept his grin wide. Hitoshi bit his lip to prevent a snicker from coming through.

“Perhaps so!”

“Each group will have 30 minutes to complete the exercise,” Aizawa continued from where the other hero left off. “And each member of your group will be worth 25 points. For every one of you taken out or captured by the ‘villain,’ those points will be deducted from your total.”

“Yikes, harsh,” another person said. Aizawa ignored them.

“You fail the exercise if your entire team is captured or time runs out,” Aizawa said. “There’s also a catch: you won’t be able to watch the other teams’ exercise until everyone has had their turn.”

“That makes sense,” Yaoyorozu hummed. “Since we’re all doing the same exercise, it would be unfair if the groups after the first one knew what to expect. So all of us will have to do it blind.”

Aizawa nodded at her. “All Might will stay down here with you all while I watch the feed in the observation room. After the exercise, we will go over everyone’s performances. Now let’s form the teams.”

With his phone, Hitoshi made a note of the team compositions. This was a test for him, too, he knew. Maybe just for Aizawa’s own evaluation, but what else was new? Still, his mentor had given him permission to go all out, to use as much as he wanted from what he’d learned so far, and Hitoshi was excited . Four on one may be an unfair matchup, but Hitoshi had the element of surprise on his side.

‘some groups are a little stacked, dont u think?’ Hitoshi couldn’t resist texting Aizawa as he made his way into position.

‘deal with it’ was the only reply.

Group one consisted of Kirishima, Aoyama, Hagakure, and Shoji. Hitoshi kept his distance. He didn’t know much of Shoji’s quirk, compared to the other three, but he knew it came with enhanced senses, including hearing and sight thanks to his extra appendages. Hitoshi couldn’t move as quietly as Aizawa and if he wasn’t careful, he’ll give his position away. Hagakure was also hard to keep track of, considering the girl’s hero costume was literally a pair of gloves and boots. How that worked, he didn’t know, and just hoped it involved some witchcraft from the Support Department rather than the embarrassing alternative.

“Anything yet, Shoji?” Hitoshi heard Kirishima ask his classmate, voice echoing amongst the pipes. Hitoshi kept still from where he was, above and ways behind them. 

“There are many sounds around,” Shoji said as the group carefully walked forward, on guard. “I admit, it might be hard to distinguish someone moving around under all the pipes and machinery making noise.”

Interesting, but that might be a bluff. Hitoshi pursed his lips, then decided to carefully move onto another wide pipeline, glancing quickly at the group for any reactions when his boots softly hit the metal. Nothing, he noted.

“This place is horrendous,” Aoyama couldn’t help but comment, scrunching his face when a nearby pipe dripped water beside him. “We just have to go straight, yes?”

“I think so,” Hagakure piped. “The hostages are supposed to be in the center.”

“I kinda expected the ‘villain’ to attack us by now, honestly,” Kirishima scratched his cheek. Hitoshi checked his timer. It had only been five minutes since they started. He thought for a moment, and then shrugged.

“You just had to ask. What’s up?” he blandly said, dropping down behind them with one end of his binding cloth attached to a pipe. The four students whirled around to face him.

“What the hell--” Hagakure yelped right before Hitoshi put them all under his quirk. It was easy to lead them to the center and place them in the empty hostage cage after that.

Aizawa and All Might hadn’t specified to their class who the hostages were, after all.

“Group one is out,” Aizawa’s voice announced through the speakers. Hitoshi wondered how worried the rest of 1-A were now.

Group two had Ashido, Koda, Uraraka, and Mineta, and they had lasted even shorter than the first group had. Hitoshi supposed he should thank Mineta for that, though the brief look at the short boy’s personality had given him a sour taste in his mouth. 

As he lead the four to the hostage cage, Hitoshi couldn’t help but think how much harder all this would’ve been had his quirk worked like it did before his middle school incident. Not needing a vocal response had been an incredible upgrade to his already, frankly, terrifying quirk, and he wondered how the other hero students were going to take it. His classmates at 1-C hadn’t minded for the most part, more focused on the fact that he was able to one-up the hero students with it, but Takashima had been a little upset to find out that he had lied to them about the trigger conditions. Would 1-A treat him with suspicion or mistrust? He really hoped not - Aizawa did actually seem to like this class, but he knew that his pseudo-Dad #2 had no tolerance for quirk discrimination.

(“If anyone gives you shit for your quirk, I’ll fight them,” Aizawa had said so seriously on his first day at UA that Hitoshi wasn’t sure if he was joking, even just a little.

“Shouta, no,” Yamada had groaned.)

“Group two is out.”

Group three included Tokoyami, Bakugou, Iida, and Asui - two of which had been under his brainwashing before. Not a problem, as neither had been able to resist his control last time, but Bakugou was going to charge at him the moment he saw him. Despite having his hood up to hide his unique hair and his voice changer over his lower jaw, Hitoshi’s distinctly sleep-deprived eyes were still a dead giveaway.

(Maybe the face slap during their match had been uncalled for, but in his defense… Well, actually, Hitoshi had no excuses. His hand moved on its own, maybe?)

It was also the group to have the most mobile members. Iida had his engines, Bakugou did that thing where he flew across like some kind of rocket, Asui could leap a significant distance, and Tokoyami had Dark Shadow. The bird headed boy could probably fly. And that meant they were probably going to try to get to the center as fast as possible.

So, the first order of business was to disrupt their path. Hitoshi stayed grounded for what he was about to pull, capture weapon ready to go as soon as he heard the four’s approach. Not hard to anticipate, considering the amount of yelling Bakugou was already doing.

He shot the binding cloth up towards the large pipe above him just as the group became visible in his sight, and with a peace sign thrown at them, Hitoshi pulled hard and collapsed the large hunks of metal to the ground.

“Fuck!” He heard as Bakugou crashed into a pipe section last minute, as well as Iida. Asui and Tokoyami were nimble enough to dodge the rain of cylinders and Hitoshi recalled his capture weapon, pulling himself up to another pipe just in time to avoid Dark Shadow’s swipe.

“Die!” Hitoshi heard Bakugou yell at him and he jumped from his position and swung backwards, facing the attacking group. Bakugou snarled, ready to charge again, and to the side Hitoshi saw Tokoyami preparing another attack with Dark Shadow.

So he dropped straight down, and made the two crash at each other.

(Hitoshi was glad he’d been practicing here the past few weeks. It gave him the home advantage, plus he’s not sure he would’ve been able to catch himself from that fall last minute, otherwise.)

Then, before the group could collect themselves for a follow-up, Hitoshi pressed the first preset button on his voice changer and with Aizawa’s voice said, “Group three is out.”

“Wait a fucking minute--” “Sensei?” “Huh?” “What--”

Maybe it hadn’t been necessary, actually, but Hitoshi had been dying to use his new support item and it was funny when two minutes later, the real Aizawa’s voice echoed, “Group three is out.” He sounded totally unimpressed. That was probably aimed right at Hitoshi.

Group four was Ojiro, Sato, Jirou, and Kaminari .

Now, Hitoshi was sure Kaminari was an okay guy. He looked harmless, really, and Hitoshi of all people wasn’t going to judge someone based on their quirk. It’s just...

Getting electrocuted had been painful, and the circumstances surrounding it made it worse. Hitoshi thankfully didn’t come out of the incident with any physical scars, but the mental ones still itched, even almost a year later. He’d gotten a lot better, especially with his parents’ help, but he still couldn’t really help it sometimes. Certain things still got to him, and sometimes that included the thought of experiencing the jolting feeling over and over again--

And all the metal pipes surrounding him didn’t help either.

Suck it up, Hitoshi, he thought to himself. How was he going to be a hero if he couldn’t at least bear with this?

“His quirk can’t hurt me if I don’t give him the opportunity to use it in the first place,” he had told Aizawa during the Sports Festival. So that’s just what he had to do. Was it the easy way out? Probably. But every other thing in Hitoshi’s life had been hard, so he could afford this much. Though with Jirou on the same team, he’ll have to make it quick before she found him with her quirk. Thankfully, no one on their team had a plan beyond “run, fight the villain, and then save the hostages.”

Dealing with Kaminari’s quirk could wait another day.

“Group four is out.”

So far, none of the groups had deviated from the expected pattern of going straight for the center and fighting the villain if necessary. It made sense, and if they were aiming to pass it was the simplest strategy. Separating risked one of them getting cornered and captured before any of them knew it, and there was power in numbers. Too bad all of them were susceptible to his brainwashing.

Fifteen minds under his hold, still. Not even a hint of a headache so far. Yamada was going to be excited to find that out - he’d been wanting to find out Hitoshi’s limit as far as the number of people went since the beginning.

Group five was another stacked composition consisting of Midoriya, Yaoyorozu, Sero, and Todoroki. Admittedly, he was most curious about Midoriya out of everyone in 1-A, for multiple reasons. Hitoshi knew that Midoriya was one of the three people that had gained a perfect score in the quirk theory and analysis part of the heroics written exam (Hitoshi being the second, and Monoma from 1-B being the third), and Yamada had told him that the boy was an enthusiast like them - Hitoshi had gotten a glimpse of that during the Sports Festival. Hitoshi also knew that Midoriya had a quirk that was just as destructive to his body as it was to everything it was aimed at, and he was itching to talk to him about it. Hitoshi had theories .

Still, he had an exercise to do, and they were the last group to go. And Hitoshi had to hand it to them - they were probably the most prepared out of everyone. Perhaps it was because of how they had to listen as the other four groups were taken out before even hitting the fifteen minute mark, feeding into their worry and anxiety about what was hidden in the shadows of Ground Gamma’s pipes. Surprise, it’s just their sadistic homeroom teacher’s protege.

He had to give it to Todoroki though - as he stumbled dodging the wave of ice aimed at him the moment his feet hit the edge of a building - the boy’s reflexes were insane .

“Damn, give a guy a warning, would you?” Hitoshi said as he rolled away from the shot of tape aimed his way. He met Todoroki’s eyes as they narrowed, and then widened in recognition. Hitoshi smiled, and took control.

“Todoroki, what--!” Yaoyorozu gasped as Hitoshi made Todoroki attack her. “Midoriya, Sero! He’s being controlled!”

Midoriya’s head snapped towards Hitoshi, “It can’t possibly be- No, it could only be Shinsou!”

“You guys are smarter than the others,” he commented and, when Sero made a questioning sound, brainwashed the tape boy too. Yaoyorozu was struggling against Todoroki, unable to create anything long enough to stop the controlled boy’s attacks - the same tactic Tokoyami used against her in the Sports Festival. Midoriya had been running towards Todoroki to help his teammate, but Sero’s tape wrapped around his ankle and brought him to the ground. “How did you guess?”

Midoriya took the bait, “I--”

Yaoyorozu looked over to see Midoriya fall under the brainwashing, faltering just as Todoroki knocked her down. “Sorry,” Hitoshi called out to her.

“Oh no--”

Hitoshi had barely started leading them towards the direction of the hostage cage when he felt a resisting tug in his mind. He frowned as it became insistent, and after a particularly harsh tug that almost broke his control, Hitoshi turned towards Midoriya. The other boy was still blank faced, nothing betraying the struggle inside, and Hitoshi dared to look deeper.

Only to be met with the feeling of multiple eyes looking right at him.

“What the--” Hitoshi muttered incredulously at Midoriya. Alarm bells rang as the pull against his control became harder, harsher, and he barely had time to command the other three as Midoriya broke his finger and out of his control.

Okay, what the fuck, he thought a little hysterically from behind the last minute wall of ice he made Todoroki do. What the fuck.

“Let them go!” Midoriya yelled, coming down with his fist raised right above him. Hitoshi quickly grabbed a pipe with his capture weapon and pulled himself up to dodge, mentally commanding the other three to do so as well and to prepare something to subdue their ridiculous classmate.

“What the hell was that?” He couldn’t help but shout at Midoriya, who went from charging at him to trying to snap his teammates out of his brainwashing. Hitoshi gritted his teeth, and clenched their minds with an iron clad hold. “Who were they, Ninth Holder ?”

That had gotten Midoriya’s attention like nothing else, eyes wide as saucers and face pale, looking completely shaken. “How do you know about that?” Midoriya gasped.

“Your tenants were literally screaming so loud I could hear it, and I’m not even a real telepath,” Hitoshi muttered, both to himself and the now brainwashed Midoriya. He kept Midoriya’s connection separate from the others, like he was holding it singularly with another hand and with more firmness than he’s ever had to use.

He practically made them run to the hostage cage, just to end the exercise as soon as possible. Before Midoriya broke out of his control again.

“...Group five is out.”

Seriously, what the actual fuck.


“Congratulations, you all failed,” Aizawa dryly told the entire caged class right after Hitoshi, who sat on top of the cage out of the other kids’ sights, released them all from his control. Twenty under his brainwash throughout an hour, a new record for the kid. Not to mention whatever that mess with Midoriya had been. Aizawa had been just as shocked as Hitoshi when Midoriya had broken out of his control, but then again it was the problem child. Midoriya continued to be an outlier in just about everything.

“Not again!” Kirishima wailed dramatically, probably recognizing the unique feeling being brainwashed gave. “We didn’t even last ten minutes!”

“That felt really weird,” Uraraka hesitantly said. “Like, I wanted to do what I was told? But it wasn’t me doing it.”

“That fucker is dead ,” Bakugou growled. Kaminari and Aoyama hurriedly backed away from him.

Yaoyorozu raised her hand, “That was Shinsou, wasn’t it, sensei?” Midoriya, who had been suspiciously quiet when he would’ve been mumbling by now otherwise, finally perked up.

“It was!” Midoriya enthusiastically nodded. “It’s definitely a mind control quirk! Such a powerful one too, to be able to make both Todoroki-kun and Sero-kun fight me and Yaoyorozu-san at the same time!”

“I’m more interested in his weapon, kero,” Asui piped up, finger on her chin. She blinked at Aizawa. “It looks just like yours, Aizawa-sensei.”

All Might, who stood beside Aizawa, thankfully kept his big mouth shut and only surreptitiously glanced up at where Hitoshi sat. He had met Hitoshi earlier this morning and had to be convinced that no, he was not Aizawa’s biological son. Hizashi and Nemuri had been laughing in the background, the traitors.

“Be more concerned on how you all lost four to one,” Aizawa dryly said. His students shifted uneasily, a little ashamed.

“That’s a little unfair, don’t you think, sensei?” Hitoshi drawled, and the caged teenagers comically looked around to find the source of the voice until Hitoshi hopped down from his position. He had his back turned to 1-A, but with his hood down, everyone could clearly tell who he was with his signature hair. Aizawa carefully kept his face blank as Mineta squeaked. “You knew I would have the upper hand regardless. Thanks for feeding my complex, by the way, making me play villain.”

“It helps with personal growth,” Aizawa blithely said. They were both clearly joking, though as expected, Hitoshi’s casual speech towards Aizawa was met with varying degrees of alarm from his students. He’d have to speak with the kid about that, now that he’s actually in his class now.

“Good job, young Shinsou!” All Might grinned, patting Hitoshi’s shoulder almost roughly. To the kid’s credit, he took it like a champ, barely huffing at the sudden force despite being nearly slammed to the floor. “I admit, I wasn’t expecting a complete clear out! But I suppose that’s why you’re in the Hero course now!”

“Meet your new classmate,” Aizawa grinned toothily at the surprised 1-A. Beside him, Hitoshi looked almost like a carbon copy of Aizawa, despite the different hair and costume. He could see the wheels in Todoroki’s mind already turning.

“Shinsou Hitoshi,” Hitoshi smiled blandly after a brief bow. “Nice to meet you.”


After being thoroughly chewed out by Aizawa and placated by All Might, 1-A went back to their classroom, exhausted. They had been graciously given the remaining hour they had before lunch as a study period, though not out of pity. Aizawa had just wanted to nap.

The extra desk at the back row, near the windows, threw off the symmetry of the classroom but drove home the point that they were a class of 21 now. It was a change they’ll have to quickly get used to. Hitoshi had been more or less prepared for his new classmates, but it was clear that almost all of them weren’t sure what to make of him. Midoriya looked both afraid and dying to approach him. 

“Hey, man!” Kaminari beamed at him before Hitoshi even got a chance to settle into his new desk. Hitoshi blinked at the sudden brightness in front of him. “Welcome to 1-A! Can I just say that you were totally cool during the Sports Festival? And during today’s exercise too! You really had us all pinned down.”

“Thanks,” Hitoshi slowly said. “I just did my research. And trained.”

“Oooh, have you been spying on us?” Ironically said by Hagakure, the girl that was literally invisible. “Mashirao said you knew everyone in the hero course’s quirks!”

Those seemed to be the magic words to get Midoriya to perk up and suddenly join the conversation. “Is it true?” Midoriya asked excitedly. “Even 1-B’s? I haven’t been able to see their class in action at all, since we haven’t had joint training yet, and I wasn’t paying enough attention during the festival--”

“Like I said, research,” Hitoshi shrugged. “I saw some videos, took some notes--”

“Notes?” Midoriya almost yelled. Kaminari and Hagakure snickered when Hitoshi jumped back, eyebrows raised, at the sudden sound. Midoriya reddened but with a hasty ‘gimme a sec!’ he scrambled back to his desk to dig into his bag.

“Uh oh,” Kaminari jokingly said, “you unleashed the monster.”

“Midoriya-kun gets really intense when talking about quirks,” Yaoyorozu, who sat in front of him, sheepishly said. Hagakure giggled before being dragged into another conversation with Ashido and Jirou.

Midoriya came back, suddenly looking hesitant, clutching a notebook in hand. “Oh, sorry, I shouldn’t have assumed--” He babbled. “We don’t have to talk about quirks and stuff right now, I’m sure you want to talk to our other classmates - they’re all really nice but we didn’t want to overwhelm you, but that’s what I’m doing, isn’t it? Oh no-”

“It’s fine,” Hitoshi cut in. He bit his lip unsurely, tapping his finger against his desk. “It would be cool to compare notes with someone.”

“Oh, do you like doing that kind of stuff too, Shinsou-kun?” Uraraka appeared from behind Midoriya, smiling. Beside her was an uncertain looking Iida, who met Hitoshi’s eyes for barely a moment before immediately looking away. (Hitoshi really didn’t get him, but he figured Iida was busy thinking about his brother. Aizawa had tersely told him what had happened to Iida Tensei and Hitoshi knew the abrupt end to the hero’s career was going to be hard on a lot of people, his family especially.)

“Sure,” Hitoshi rubbed his neck awkwardly. “I only really have one other person to talk quirks with, so a different point of view is always interesting.”

“Not gonna lie, I wanna hear more about yours,” Kaminari piped up. “It felt really weird, but comforting. Like I was being hugged by a cloud!”

Midoriya had been furiously flipping through his notebook, and when he got to a certain page, laid it flat on Hitoshi’s desk. Hitoshi peered at it, and despite it being upside down, he could recognize his name on the top of the page. “Huh,” Hitoshi turned the notebook right side up, “mind if I read this?”

“Oh, I don’t mind!” Midoriya beamed. “I was hoping you’d tell me what I got right, actually!”

The profile was… impressive. There were a lot of slashed through words, clearly from during the earlier matches of the Sports Festival, but the rest were more or less accurate. Midoriya had gotten it spot on when he wrote “voice activated,” a safe assumption if one took account his support gear, but Midoriya hadn’t surmised the response requirement of his quirk yet. 

“You’re right that my quirk is voice activated,” Hitoshi said, “but you’re missing something else. And I guess calling it Mind Control is close enough, but it’s actually Brainwashing.”

Brainwashing ,” Midoriya gasped gleefully. “Mental quirks are rare enough, much less ones that can influence the mind, and brainwashing is even rarer-- The potential for hero work is incredible, especially if your quirk is as versatile as it seems to be so far!”

“It’s a work in progress,” Hitoshi muttered, a little embarrassed at the blatant praise the other boy was giving. Already Midoriya was hastily correcting his notes and adding to it, just based on the name alone. 

“Still, that’s pretty cool!” Kaminari cheerfully said. “I just electrocute stuff, including myself, haha!” Then he snapped, and a bit of electricity went off from his fingers.

Hitoshi, involuntarily, flinched.

Thankfully, most of them didn’t notice, Midoriya and Uraraka preoccupied with assuring Kaminari that his quirk was amazing too. Iida, however, had been looking at him. Hitoshi had almost forgotten he was there because of how solemnly quiet the usually exuberant Iida was.

“Are you okay?” Iida lowly asked. Hitoshi shrugged, trying to be nonchalant.

“Just got a little surprised,” he quietly said back. Then hesitantly ventured, “Are you?”

Hitoshi may not know Iida well, but even he can tell there was something wrong with the terse smile he got in return.

“Shinsou-kun,” Midoriya hesitantly approached him as everyone left the classroom for lunch, “can we talk for a second…?”

Hitoshi, knowing the other boy was going to bring up what happened during the exercise, nodded. It was fortunate that Aizawa had the foresight to remove the audio of their brief altercation when the class had gone back and watched the matches, as going from Midoriya’s expression, what Hitoshi had said wasn’t for everyone’s ears.

“I won’t tell anyone about what I saw,” Hitoshi assured him once they were alone. The relief on Midoriya’s sigh was palpable. “It’s not exactly my business, and I just said what I said to throw you off.”

Midoriya wrung his fingers, “Well, actually… I’m not sure why… they .. were there either.” Hitoshi frowned at him.

“...You have the presence of multiple entities in your mind, and you don’t know why?” He asked slowly. Midoriya grimaced, and Hitoshi risked another question. “Did you inherit your quirk or something?” The other boy looked at him with wide eyed shock.

“I- It’s--” Midoriya stammered. “How--?”

“Midoriya, I called you ‘Ninth Holder’ because they did,” Hitoshi explained, and Midoriya’s face paled further. “And unless there’s another explanation for that…”

“I need to talk to somebody first!” Midoriya abruptly squeaked, “Thank you for keeping quiet about it, Shinsou-kun! I-I’ll see you later!” At that, he practically sprinted away and down the hall, leaving Hitoshi gaping at his back.

Aizawa was right - Midoriya was a strange anomaly. Hitoshi could barely keep up.

The moment he grabbed his tray of food, Hitoshi was practically accosted by Uraraka and Asui and forcibly dragged to their lunch table. Iida, and surprisingly Todoroki, were already sitting there.

“Okay,” Hitoshi deadpanned. “I guess I’m sitting here today.”

Uraraka grinned at him unrepentantly. “You’re welcome to sit here any day! Deku won’t mind either!”

“Where is he? I hope he’s not skipping lunch,” A less sombre looking Iida asked. Beside him, Todoroki quietly slurped his noodles while staring intently at Hitoshi. Asui was also staring.

“He said he had to talk to somebody…” Hitoshi said, eyebrows furrowing at the twin gazes at him. Uraraka hummed, saying something about Midoriya probably meeting with All Might, but that was drowned by Hitoshi directly saying, “Why are you two staring at me like that?”

“The more I look at you, the more I see Aizawa-sensei,” Asui bluntly said. Todoroki eyes narrowed further and nodded slightly in agreement.

“I’m not related to him,” Hitoshi truthfully said. He felt kind of like a broken record, with how many times he’s had to say it today.

Asui put a finger on her chin, “Is that so.”

“I have said I’ve met his parents,” Iida added firmly. “Neither of them look like Aizawa-sensei-- Ah, well...”

“My father is not related to Aizawa-sensei either,” he dryly said. Iida smiled sheepishly, and Hitoshi had a moment of realization. 

Having spent almost a year around the company of Aizawa and Yamada had made him more comfortable in speaking his mind. Yamada thought his rare moments of sass were a riot, and Aizawa appreciated his honesty and occasional bluntness. And having friends for the first time since his quirk appeared also helped - Yokohara was natural at leading even the most introverted person into fluid conversation, and his friends from 1-C didn’t even falter talking to him even after finding out how his quirk actually worked. Hitoshi hadn’t realized how much of himself he had locked up until he was able to talk to other people again.

So he couldn’t help but vocalize, not even holding back, the thought he just had. “Huh, I don’t think I’ve seen you smile up close before. It’s nice.”

Iida’s jaw dropped minutely, his eyes widened, and the tips of his ears and his cheekbones turned bright red alarmingly fast. “I- What-”

Uraraka shrieked, slamming the table with a palm, and burst out a brief cackle. “Oh my god, Iida-kun, your face --”

“Sorry,” Hitoshi quickly backtracked, “if that was weird or something.”

“No, no, it’s alright,” Iida strangled out. He looked kind of constipated, so it was clearly not alright, but Hitoshi hoped that the other boy was just embarrassed by the comment. In hindsight, Hitoshi would have been too, had that been directed at him.

“Iida-kun blushes easily,” Asui commented casually, feeding into Uraraka’s hilarity. Hitoshi didn’t exactly get what was so funny, but 1-A was full of strange kids. 

“Please pull yourself together,” Iida exasperatedly begged Uraraka.

Asui switched her gears, turning to Hitoshi with a small smile, “Welcome to 1-A, Shinsou-chan. You can call me Tsu-chan, since I think we’ll be hanging out a lot together from now on, kero.”

1-A was also full of friendly kids, so far. Hitoshi’s been in UA long enough to not be shocked at how different it was from middle school, but he still got surprised every now and then at people’s friendliness towards him .

“Shinsou-chan is a mouthful,” he told her, rubbing his neck nervously, “But some of my friends call me Shin-chan, so I don’t mind being called that. If you want.”

Asui looked absolutely delighted.

Then Todoroki quietly put his chopsticks down, and solemnly asked, “Does your hair stand up like that because of your quirk, like how Aizawa-sensei’s does?”

Everyone blinked at him. Hitoshi sighed, “My hair is styled .”

Todoroki nodded after a moment of thought, and Hitoshi almost thought the matter was dropped as quickly as it was brought up. But then, apparently the stoic boy wasn’t invulnerable to the Class 1-A weirdness. “Is it because you look too much like him if it’s down? Have you considered dyeing your hair black?”

“Oh my god , Todoroki--”

Chapter Text

“How was your first day in the hero course?” Yamada cheerfully asked during afternoon training. Hitoshi looked up from fiddling with his voice changer, and made a face.

“They’re… eccentric,” he settled on saying. From a few feet away, where he laid on the bleachers, Aizawa snorted.

“That’s an understatement,” his mentor said. “I saw you’ve been unofficially adopted by Midoriya’s group.”

“Uraraka-san is a force to be reckoned with.”

“I bet Tenya-kun is happy,” Yamada cackled to himself, and Hitoshi threw him a baffled look, which was quickly waved off with Yamada’s wide grin. “Don’t mind me, dear listener, let me know more about this morning’s exercise! I heard you got the entire class under your hold!”

“Ah, right,” Aizawa frowned, sitting up to look at him, “what was that with Midoriya?”

“He broke out of my brainwashing,” Hitoshi explained to a curious Yamada, who made a surprised face. As someone who’s been under Hitoshi’s quirk enough times, he knew better than most how hard it was to do that without outside interference unless Hitoshi was completely distracted. “He managed to use his quirk to break his finger, and the pain from that was enough to snap him out of him.”

“That is ridiculous ,” Yamada exclaimed. “Shouta, what have you been teaching these kids?!”

That has All Might written all over it,” Aizawa scowled. “I’ve talked to Midoriya enough times about controlling his quirk properly and I know Recovery Girl is just as sick and tired of healing the boy’s broken bones every week. The Sports Festival was the last straw for her.”

“Well, that’s understandable, with his track record so far,” Yamada nodded. “And it’s only the first term! Realistically, the way he’s doing won’t be viable to last him throughout the next three years, much less to the next term.”

“He’s still putting too much power into his punches,” Aizawa simply said. “He’s stuck on that.”

“Can’t he just, I don’t know,” Hitoshi waved his hand around, “spread his quirk all over his body instead of the one part?” His two mentors turned to him, considering looks on their faces. “His quirk isn’t an on-and-off emitter quirk, from what I could gather the brief time I brainwashed him.”

“You could tell that?” Yamada excitedly asked, always eager to discuss Hitoshi’s quirk. The voice hero was very adamant that there were still some things they’ve yet to discover about it, and any little new development was always thoroughly dissected. 

“I had some ideas, going by the entrance exam and sports festival,” Hitoshi carefully said. “But you know, since we started experimenting with using people’s quirks under brainwash, it’s gotten easier to get an impression of someone’s quirk. An on-and-off emitter quirk just feels different from a ‘dial-type’ like yours, or a mutation or transformation one.”

“The quirk factor, even if the exact composition of it differs from person to person, does always link toward the brain, since it’s how we’re able to consciously control it as we want,” Aizawa contemplated. “In brainwashing someone, you get access to their brain functions, so it’s not far fetched for you to be able to get a ‘feel’ of a person’s quirk factor.”

Yamada made a curious noise. “The theory is sound. We have gone past the point of you just telling me to use my quirk -- something I’ve noticed during the sessions we had before the sports festival, it felt more like you were the one using it.”

“I’ve had more practice with you more than anyone else,” Hitoshi pointed out. “With Todoroki, for example, both times I still had to command him.”

“Still, you were quick to make him use his ice to protect you from Midoriya’s backlash,” Aizawa said. “In any case, have you brought your suggestion up to him yet?” Hitoshi shook his head. “I thought I saw him talk to you privately during lunch?”

“There’s something about his quirk that is… odd,” he admitted. “I’m not under liberty to say any more than that, but that’s what was more important to him to talk about.”

“Problem child,” his mentor muttered, and Yamada snickered. “Consider talking to him about it soon, before internships. God knows with his luck, something is bound to happen in the week he’s not in school.”

“You know, for someone who keeps complaining about this class, you seem to worry about them a lot,” Hitoshi couldn’t help but cheekily say. Aizawa leveled him with an unimpressed stare. 

“Shouta just doesn’t want to admit they’re his favorite homeroom so far,” Yamada chuckled, then ruffled Hitoshi’s hair. “Of course, you’re still his favorite student.”

“I hope so,” Hitoshi rolled his eyes, and mockingly said, “I earned that title. I didn’t spend months of working my ass off under his hell training just to lose to some other upstart. You should’ve seen how they looked when I spoke to him casually.”

“Keep at it and I’ll call you son in front of the class one of these days,” Aizawa deadpanned.

“Do it, dad , I know the law,” Hitoshi grinned toothily. “Todoroki would have a field day, and I’ll even bear through more of his questions just to see my classmates’ faces.”

“You two are so cute,” Yamada cooed.


Hitoshi jerked his head up to look for the source of the voice, and saw Kaminari making his way to him through the crowd of people in the train station. He blinked at the grinning blond in front of him, looking way too bright. Hitoshi was briefly reminded of Yamada in the mornings.

“I didn’t know you’re from around here too!” Kaminari said, and Hitoshi made a curious noise. He hadn’t known Kaminari was from Saitama either, considering this was the first time he’s seen the other boy at the station. He wouldn’t have missed him, with the flashy hair and the distinctive UA uniform. “Then again, if this is your normal train, that makes sense. I usually take the one after this one, you know?”

“Cutting it close, aren’t you?” Hitoshi raised an eyebrow at him, considering the next train to Musutafu was 20 minutes from now, which would barely give someone enough time to get from the train station to campus. Kaminari sheepishly scratched his head.

“I sleep through my first alarm a lot,” the blond laughed. “But this morning my sister was making a racket so I woke up earlier than normal. But hey, I could totally take this train more often now that I know you’ll be here too!”

Hitoshi twisted his mouth unsurely, but ultimately shrugged. “Do what you want,” he muttered, though Kaminari looked happy about it regardless. “I have some friends that’ll be joining us, though.”

“Oh? Are they from UA too?”

Before Hitoshi could deny it, he was tackled from behind by the ever exuberant Yokahara. “Shin-chan!” She grinned into his back, arms wrapped around his waist in a tight hug. “Good morning!”

“Good morning, Shin-chan,” Sakurai timidly repeated, offering a smile instead of a hug, to Hitoshi’s relief. 

“You have way too much energy for how early it is, Yoko-chan,” Hitoshi sighed. “And good morning to you too, Saku-chan.” (He’d been forcibly strong armed into using nicknames for the two girls two weeks ago, and still it felt weird to say. But Yokohara had an unusually strong grip, and Sakurai’s disappointed face would make even the most hardened of criminals cry. Hitoshi had lost the fight before it even started.) From the corner of his eye, he spotted Kaminari’s surprised expression and with a gesture, pointed the two girls’ attention to him. “This is Kaminari, by the way. He’s in my hero class.”

“Oh, nice to meet you,” Yokohara smiled, finally releasing Hitoshi from her clutches. Kaminari looked flustered at the face of her pretty smile. “I’m Yokohara and this is Sakurai, we’re Shin-chan’s friends from middle school.”

What she said was technically true, but Hitoshi still couldn’t help but internally cringe. He considered Yokohara and Sakurai to be his friends post-middle school, but it probably was a complicated thing to explain. He simply just wanted nothing to do with Nabu Middle now that he’s finally graduated, even if Yokohara was a stark reminder of the clusterfuck his last actual attendance day had been.

The train ride to school wasn’t so bad, mostly Yokohara and Kaminari talking more or less about him, with Hitoshi interrupting once in a while. It was strange how eager his classmate was to learn more about him, but maybe he just wanted to keep Yokohara talking? Boys tended to just go with what she wanted just to keep her attention. 

Then the subject of their quirks came up. Of course Yokohara would be curious, considering Kaminari was in the hero course, and Hitoshi knew she only paid attention to his parts of the UA Sports Festival.

“Electrification?” Yokohara and Sakurai both blinked at the other boy. Sakurai flickered her gaze at Hitoshi, who gritted his teeth in an effort not to react visibly. 

“Yeah, I can charge out electricity from my body,” Kaminari explained cheerfully. “Not like, a dangerous amount, but enough to paralyze someone if they touch me. Though I can’t use too much or it starts backfiring on me.”

“That sounds like a good quirk for heroics, though!” Yokohara managed to say, despite the tenseness of her shoulders. Hitoshi wasn’t the only one who associated electric quirks with their old school mate. “I’m sure you’ll be a great hero.”

Kaminari blushed, looking sheepish at the compliment. “If anything, at least I can charge people’s phones whenever,” he joked.

“This is our stop, Kaminari,” Hitoshi interrupted, mentally thanking the gods for the end of conversation as the train slowed down to a stop. Hitoshi tried not to meet any of his friends’ eyes as Kaminari scrambled to get ready to disboard. “I’ll see you around, Yoko-chan, Saku-chan.”

“Your friends are really nice,” Kaminari said as they walked to the direction of the UA campus. Other students were also making their way to school. “And uh, Yokohara-san is really pretty.” 

Hitoshi shrugged as casually as he could. “You’re not the first to think so,” he simply said, not seeing the contemplative look on his classmate’s face. 

They swapped out their shoes to their indoor ones, and made their way to the 1-A classroom. 

“Oh wow, you’re here earlier than usual, Kaminari,” Jirou said, sounding surprised. Kaminari stuck a tongue out a her.

“Just because I’m not late!” Kaminari whined, “Besides, you better get used to this! Shinsou and I come from the same station, apparently!”

Hitoshi, who had been silently slipping through the desks towards his own, looked back at Kaminari unimpressed. “I thought you said you always sleep through your first alarm.”

“I can wake up early again!” Kaminari insisted. “You’ll see tomorrow! I’ll be at the station, same time!”

He squinted at his pouting classmate, “You just want to talk to Yokohara again, don’t you?”

“She’s really really pretty,” Kaminari defended. “And she has a nice personality!”

Mineta, who had been staunchly avoiding Hitoshi since the training exercise, seemed to zoom in on Kaminari’s words. “A pretty girl with a nice personality ?” the small boy’s eyes seemed to gleam. Hitoshi’s lips thinned at his tone of voice.

“No offense, Kaminari,” he managed to dryly say, ignoring Mineta’s attempts to get Kaminari to say more about the mysterious beauty , because otherwise he’d be tempted to do something that will get him in trouble. “But she is so out of your league it’s not even funny. Plus, she’s not even single.”

From her seat, Jirou snorted, and Kaminari looked a little offended, but not hurt. “Hey, man, if you’re dating her or something just say so!” the blond ended up saying. “I wasn’t sure, but I guess since she hugged you and you have nicknames for each other…”

“I’m not dating her,” Hitoshi rolled his eyes. “I don’t have any interest in that at the moment. It’s her and Sakurai that are dating.”

Kaminari shut his mouth, lips forming an O of realization. “Oh! Good for them! I guess they’re cute together?” he exclaimed. “Though isn’t it a little weird, third wheeling?”

“No, they prefer it when I take the train with them - they say it helps ward off perverts ,” Hitoshi narrowed his eyes at Mineta, who finally caught on with the program and hastily retreated back to his seat. “Nothing discourages gropers more than being stared down at by a tall kid who looks two blinks away from getting into a fist fight with death.”

“You do have a resting bitch face,” Todoroki, who had been quietly sitting on his desk, commented. Kaminari choked back an incredulous laugh.

“Thank you,” Hitoshi deadpanned.

“You must get it from Aizawa-sensei.”

“Todoroki-kun, oh my god,” Yaoyorozu whispered from her seat.

“It’s going to be a long day, I can already tell,” Aizawa, who had suddenly appeared at the teaching podium, tiredly said.

During lunch, once everyone had settled into the table with their food, Hitoshi handed Midoriya a few stapled sheets of paper.

“Uh?” Midoriya blinked, staring at it for way too long. Hitoshi waved it a little to signal that he should actually take it from him. “What’s this, Shinsou-kun?”

“My notes,” Hitoshi blandly said. “On your quirk.”

The speed in which Midoriya had snatched the papers from his hand would’ve impressed Aizawa. The fervor he read it with would’ve impressed Yamada. Really, Hitoshi liked quirks, but Midoriya was on another level entirely.

Asui hummed at him, “Did you take notes on everyone’s quirk, kero? You seem to be pretty familiar with it all.”

“Like I keep saying, I did my research for the festival,” Hitoshi pointedly said. “Everything I did was by the book, too.”

“Your knowledge is definitely impressive,” Iida complimented. “Indeed, we should all strive to be as diligent as you are, Shinsou-san.”

“What’s with the formality, Iida-kun,” Uraraka giggled. “I’m sure he won’t mind if you call him Shin-chan as well.”

Hitoshi side-eyed her sly grin pointed at Iida, who pursed his lips defiantly. He rolled his eyes, tapping his finger on the table to get Iida’s attention. “Call me what you want,” Hitoshi told him as straightforward as possible. “Though Shinsou-san kind of reminds me of my dad, I don’t mind if you’re more comfortable with it. I’m okay with Shinsou-kun , and I’ve been practically desensitized by Shin-chan considering how many of my friends have adopted that. Just Shinsou is fine as well.”

Iida looked flustered, stiffly adjusting his glasses before nodding. “I understand,” he said, “then, if it’s alright, I will refer to you as Shinsou-kun as of today.”

“Shin-chan-san,” Todoroki muttered under his breath, but everyone heard him anyway. Even Midoriya, who had been absolutely engrossed on the notes Hitoshi had given him. He was starting to think Todoroki had another quirk that involved saying the oddest things in the most opportune moment. 

“No, not that,” Hitoshi decidedly said with a grimace. Uraraka snorted, and Asui croaked a light laugh. Iida looked exasperated at the other boy. “Call me Shin-chan-san and you will pay for it.”

“Anyway!” Midoriya exclaimed, looking up at Hitoshi with gleaming eyes, “Shinsou-kun, this is so cool! I haven’t gotten a quirk report from an outsider before! Can I make a copy of this? It’s just, the suggestions you have, especially the part where I should try to spread my quirk all over my body--”

“That is your copy,” Hitoshi said. “I gave you that so you could have it. Fair’s fair, since you showed me your notes on me. Anyway, that’s what friends do, right?”

Midoriya, to Hitoshi’s alarm, looked about ready to cry. “Shinsou-kun, you’re amazing,” he sniffed.

“It’s just notes ,” Hitoshi stared at him, baffled.

“He does that sometimes,” Asui unhelpfully said.

“By the way, Shin-chan, what are you doing for your internship?” Uraraka asked, derailing the conversation in another direction. “You must have gotten a lot of offers, since you won the Sports Festival! How many did you get?”

Iida, Hitoshi noticed, had stiffened minutely at the mention of internships, but he wasn’t going to call out the other boy on it. Maybe it had something to do with his brother - it would’ve made sense if Iida had been hoping to intern with Team Idaten.

“I didn’t look at the list,” Hitoshi admitted. Aizawa had it with him, of course, but first he point blank asked Hitoshi who - excluding Aizawa and Yamada themselves - he’d like to intern with for his first internship, and when Hitsohi had provided the hero name, Aizawa had nodded and told him they had made an offer for him and that was that. “Sensei didn’t give me an exact number either, but he said Todoroki only had a little more than I did.”

“I had 4,000 agencies offer,” Todoroki informed him blandly. Hitoshi took a second to process the number, and froze.

“What?” he weakly wheezed. 

“He beat everyone else in class by a mile,” Uraraka nodded. “That’s amazing, though, Shin-chan! As expected of the champion!”

“It may not be as flashy as other people’s quirks, but yours is really practical for hero work,” Midoriya started to mutter. “During the final round, you were able to show how you can take control of a fight without physical confrontation, and even then you held yourself well fighting against Kacchan - and all the pros knew he was #1 in the practical exam - so they can’t say you’re a slacker when it comes to combat. Then with your match against Todoroki, you showed that you were able to make him use his quirk, and there aren’t a lot of quirks that can affect someone’s quirk factor like that so easily--”

“But if you didn’t look at the list, then how were you able to make an informed decision?” Iida lightly reprimanded. “Internship choices are due today, I hope you know that!” 

“Are you interning with Aizawa-sensei?” Asui asked.

“No,” Hitoshi rubbed his neck, still shocked at the number Todoroki had casually thrown. “No, I, uh, told Aizawa-sensei that I was hoping the Wild Wild Pussycats were offering, and he told me that they were, so... Decision made. My second choice was Ms. Joke, who I already knew put in an offer as well.”

Uraraka made a surprised noise. “I didn’t expect that from you, honestly.”

“Is it because Mandalay and Ragdoll both have mental quirks?” Midoriya asked. “There’s not a lot of high profile pro heroes with non-combative quirks like yours and theirs, so your choice makes a lot of sense…”

“Partly,” Hitoshi shrugged. “The other part of it is… well, I was told that I could possibly use my quirk in rescue and recovery operations. And who else better to learn that from?”

The problem with picking a hero name, Hitoshi found, was finding balance. He didn’t want one that basically shouted what his quirk was, nothing too villainous sounding, but still something distinct enough to set him apart and make people remember who he was. When Hitoshi had been younger, he’d thought about what his hero name would be, of course. (Some of them were childishly stupid - All Mind was particularly cringey, thinking back on it - and some of them sounded a little too obvious with the brainwashing thing.) He had stopped daydreaming so much when he got to middle school and everything started weighing on him even more heavily though, and even under the tutelage of two pro heroes, he still hadn’t let himself really think of hero names again until now. 

“What about Hypnosis Mic?” Yamada cheekily grinned at him while they ate gelato in the living room, some vintage American hero movie playing on the television. Hitoshi was spending the weekend before internships with his ‘second set of parents’ while his ‘biological parents’ went to Hong Kong for a wedding. It was just him and Yamada that Saturday night, Aizawa having gone to patrol after dinner.

“I’m pretty sure that’s copyrighted,” Hitoshi dryly said. “And just because my quirk is part vocal doesn’t mean I’m putting Mic in my hero name.”

“Kirishima literally changed Crimson to Red, which means the same thing, for his hero name,” Yamada pouted. “Come on, you’re my child, too. Give some love to your third dad!”

Please , don’t say it like that,” Hitoshi groaned. Yamada snickered at him. “I’m also not going to take 1-A’s naming example. Tailman, Invisible Girl, Sugarman, Earphone Jack, Pinky -- seriously, how did any of those get approved?”

“Nemuri has strange taste,” the voice hero said. “Honestly, you’d think that since they decided on going to UA to become a hero, that they would’ve had given it better thought. Hero names are important!”

“It is hard to think of something that sounds right,” Hitoshi grumbled. “Mindjack isn’t clicking with me, and neither is Brainwave. I like the sound of Operator, it’s simple, but that’s kind of… sinisterly vague, isn’t it?”

“I don’t think so,” Yamada hummed. “I mean, it’s not like it’s Manipulator or Controller - now those are a little too unfriendly. And it does tie well enough with your quirk, both the brainwashing and vocal aspects of it. Operator, the mind control hero? The brainwashing hero? I like it, actually.”

“Hm, I’ll ask my friends for their opinions too, I guess,” Hitoshi muttered, scraping the last of his dessert from his bowl. “Hopefully I decide on something I can deal with for a week, at least.”

“Just make sure you decide something before it catches on and is on a bunch of paperwork and your provisional license,” Yamada advised. “Changing all that is a nightmare and a half.”

Hitoshi snorted at him. “You would know, Presenting Michael .” Yamada squawked.

“Did Shouta tell you that?!”

“I’ve seen your high school yearbooks, he didn’t have to tell me anything.”

“Oh, you look even more like Eraserhead in person!” Pixie Bob grinned at him, when Hitoshi finally met up with the Wild Wild Pussycats at their agency, still in his UA uniform. 

“That’s what everyone says,” Hitoshi tiredly said before respectfully bowing at the pro heroes in front of him. “Shinsou Hitoshi, I’ll be in your care.”

“Welcome, welcome!” Ragdoll cheerfully circled around him. Tiger loomed behind her. “We hope you get to learn a lot from us!”

“Honestly, it was a bit of surprise that you chose us out of all the offers you got. I’m sure you had a lot of higher ranking heroes interested.” Mandalay said. Hitoshi rubbed his neck.

“I didn’t really look, actually. I was already hoping to intern with you before I got the list,” he told her, straightforward. “I’m not that interested in rankings, honestly. I want to be a hero to help people, but I’m not that well versed in rescue operations yet, especially with my quirk. And, well, there’s not a lot of pro’s with non-combative quirks…”

“Say no more,” Mandalay gently laughed. “Let’s do our best then, Shinsou-kun. I hope your week with us proves to be invaluable to you as a hero-in-training.”

His first day with the Pussycats involved a lot of learning about the proper rescue procedures for different situations. While the hero team was mostly involved with mountain and terrain rescue, there were times they were called for wide-scaled destruction, such as the incident in Osaka a few months back. 

“We each have our part,” Mandalay explained to Hitoshi as they made their way to the Pussycats’ training grounds, which was a whole forest right by a mountain. “For example, in the case of Osaka, Ragdoll found the ones that needed help, Tiger got into the hard to reach places, and Pixie Bob manipulated the ground to make the victims more accessible. I mainly tried to assure everyone that help was coming, and kept them updated with the rescue operations. My quirk is a little hard to use for proper communication, since it’s one sided. The connection Ragdoll and I are able to form helps a little, though.”

“Is that because you both have mental quirks?” Hitoshi asked curiously. “Eraserhead made me read up a lot on it, and researchers keep saying that with enough synergy, two mental quirk users can ‘link up’...” 

“That’s right,” Mandalay nodded. “It’s not common, especially since our type of quirk is already rare in the first place, much less among heroes, but well, we already form a link with other people’s minds anyway. What’s a more deliberate connection in addition to that?”

“How does your quirk work, anyway?” Ragdoll blinked at him with a grin. “Brainwashing, right?” 

Hitoshi nodded. “Basically, if I say something and a person responds, I can take a hold of their mind and command them to do almost anything.”

“What a powerful quirk,” Tiger noted. “What kind of response do you need?”

“Both verbal and body language works, as long as it counts as a response to what I say,” Hitoshi rubbed his neck. “A telepathic response gave me a nosebleed the last time I tried with that, but I can send telepathic commands just fine.”

“You can make people use their quirks too, can’t you?” Pixie Bob asked. “Wasn’t that what you did with Endeavor’s son?”

“If you can control someone’s quirk, that would actually help a lot of kids,” Mandalay said. Hitoshi looked at her curiously, and she smiled at him. “You had a quirk counselor when you were younger, haven’t you? Nowadays, with more and more powerful quirks emerging, a lot of kids have a hard time controlling theirs. I imagine that with enough care and direction, you can help with that.”

Hitoshi flushed, looking away nervously. It wasn’t actually the first time he’d heard the same - the quirk counselor he had been seeing a few months ago had theorized the same thing when he and Yamada had first started quirk control exercises. He hasn’t seen his quirk counselor since he stopped needing his sessions, but Hitoshi had a standing offer with him, if he was ever interested in pursuing that line of thread. Hitoshi had immediately declined before, because he had been too much of a mess himself to even think about trying to help younger children, but maybe now… 

“I’ll talk about it with sensei,” Hitoshi acquiested, and ducked his head at the heroes’ approving looks. 

The following day was then spent on shadowing the Wild Wild Pussycats as they rescued a group of campers who had been unfortunate enough to have come across a landslide during their hike down one of the nearby mountains. It wasn’t a super exciting operation, but Hitoshi still felt accomplished when he helped with first aid as they waited for the helicopter to arrive. The college student he had carefully wrapped a bleeding gash for had thanked him profusely, as apparently he couldn’t stand the sight of blood - to the extent that it was almost a phobia for him - especially if it was his own. 

“Good work today!” Pixie Bob grinned afterward, ruffling his unruly hair affectionately. “Maybe when you graduate you can just join us! Chesire would be a good Wild Wild Pussycat name for you, don’t you think so?”

Hitoshi sputtered, “Chesire- Like the cat from Alice in Wonderland?”

“You have the right color scheme for it,” Ragdoll chirped up. Tiger looked at him consideringly before nodding.

“You are rather purple.”

“I think Eraserhead would hunt us down if we steal his mini-me,” Mandalay dryly said. That did not stop Pixie Bob from later showing Hitoshi a photoshopped purple version of their hero outfit, though.

The third day of internships was when shit hit the fan. It started when Hitoshi received a location pin from Midoriya shortly after Mandalay had gotten a call. He frowned at the lack of information accompanying it, and zoomed into the map.

“Hosu?” He muttered just as Mandalay came back into the waiting room, where he and the other Pussycats had been sitting around.

“We’re being called down to Hosu,” Mandalay urgently said. Hitoshi looked up, eyebrows furrowing as he flicked between the hero and his phone. “The thing that attacked USJ - Nomu - there are three of them wreaking havoc in the city right now. There’s a lot of damage already and the attacks just started.”

Hitoshi’s mouth dried as he made the connection. The Nomu at USJ had almost killed Aizawa, and there were three of them in Hosu, where Midoriya had sent his last location from---

“What can I do?” He asked the telepath as the other three heroes scrambled to get ready, swallowing as much of his nervousness as he can. Mandalay looked conflicted, clearly tempted to leave Hitoshi at headquarters for the time being, but let him follow her through the building. “I can help .”

“Stick close to us,” she sighed at his pleading expression, giving in. “We’re concentrating on rescue and evacuation, the other pro’s are handling the Nomus.” She hesitated for a second, before asking, “How many people can you hold under your quirk?”

“At least twenty at a time,” Hitoshi bit his lip, “I’ve never… I don’t know my current limit.”

“You should figure that out soon,” Mandalay admonished lightly. “But the reason I’m asking is because there’s going to be a lot of panic among civilians. If we need crowd control…”

“I can do it,” Hitoshi assured her. He met her eyes. “Trust me, Mandalay-sensei.”

Mandalay exhaled heavily. “Alright. You have permission to use your quirk if necessary. Don’t do anything reckless.”

The next few hours were a haze of heart pounding activity. Hitoshi wasn’t able to check what Midoriya’s location pin had been about, not when it was on the other side of town and he was under the watchful eyes of four pro heroes. But at the very least Midoriya had ended up sending a follow up message to everyone that had received it saying that everything was okay. Hitoshi didn't need his gut clenching to think that there was definitely more to it, but he’ll come back to that later, when he didn’t have a job to do.

“Hey,” he quietly approached a middle school girl curled up by a building. He frowned in worry when he noticed her taking deep, gulping breaths. “Can you hear me? Don’t… don’t worry, I’m a hero intern.”

The hitch in her voice and the wild eyed look on her face told him all he needed to know. He’s far too familiar with panic attacks. Hitoshi chewed on his bottom lip, looking around for any paramedics but seeing none. The Pussycats were still within viewing distance, but were preoccupied with a couple that was trapped under some rubble. 

“I can help you calm down, but I’ll have to use my quirk,” Hitoshi slowly told the girl, holding out a hand for her to grip with her shaking ones. “Is that okay?” Jerkily, she nodded, and Hitoshi put her under.

He knew the theory of calming someone down through an attack with his brainwashing, having talked about it with Aizawa and Yamada after Yamada had brought it up that one night, but he’s never actually had to use it. He’s the only person he knew that suffered through panic attacks often, and it’s not like he could brainwash himself. Still, he started with the basics, what usually worked for him if it wasn’t a severe one. 

“That’s it,” Hitoshi soothingly said as he slowed down her breaths to a normal pace. He tried to make the fog in her head feel as comforting as possible. “You’ll be okay. It’s over now, and we’ll get you home, alright?”

“I want my mom,” she sniffled after her hands had stopped shaking and Hitoshi felt her suffocating panic recede. He carefully pulled her up, letting her grip his arm as they slowly walked towards where everyone else was. 

“You’ll see her soon,” he assured her.

She hadn’t been the only one he’s had to use his quirk on. Turned out that brainwashing was handy in calming people down even from the most severe circumstances - case in point, Mandalay had him brainwash a particularly hysterical man who had been near to bleeding out had Hitoshi not slowed down his heart rate and calmed him down as the paramedics hurriedly stopped the flow of blood from the man’s side. And he was just one of dozens.

“How are you holding up?” Mandalay gently asked him as he rubbed the bridge of his nose and blinked rapidly. “I didn’t actually expect to ask you to use your quirk as much as you have already. Sorry.”

“It’s alright, but I am getting tired,” Hitoshi said honestly. “I’m still okay to use my quirk, though. I know what a quirk headache feels like, and this is definitely just physical fatigue.”

“We’ve been at it for a while, the sun is about to set,” Mandalay looked even more tired than him, which, considering his permanent eyebags, said something. “Ragdoll is doing one more sweep of the area, then we just have to stop by the hospital for a quick health check. Do you want to come back with us at headquarters after, or would you rather get someone to pick you up at the hospital?”

Hitoshi thought for a little bit, checking his phone. There were missed calls from his parents and Aizawa, all of which he should return soon. “My house is closer to here than it is to headquarters, so I think I’ll just ask my parents to pick me up.”

Over an hour later, Hitoshi found himself staring at the hospital vending machine, wondering if it was a good idea to get a can of coffee at that point. His dad was on his way to pick him up, coming from work, but with most of Hosu’s roads closed and police checkpoints all around, Hitoshi expected that he’ll take a while. 

What he hadn’t expected, however, was hearing Iida, Midoriya, and Todoroki’s voices as he walked through a hallway. Hitoshi stopped at a closed door, sipping on his ill-advised coffee for a moment, before throwing caution to the wind and knocking briefly prior to entering the room. He at least wanted some kind of answer about the location pin.

“Shinsou-kun?” Midoriya squeaked. Iida and Todoroki looked equally shocked to see him standing there, which was fair, considering as far as they knew his internship wasn’t at Hosu.

“What the hell,” Hitoshi squinted as he took in Todoroki’s and Midoriya’s bandage wrapped limbs, and both of Iida’s arms in slings. Aizawa was going to lose his shit. “Was the location pin you sent an SOS or something?”

“I- uhm, well- yes?” Midoriya stammered. “But what are you doing here, Shinsou-kun?”

“Was helping with evacuation and rescue,” he tiredly told the three. “The Wild Wild Pussycats were called in and they let me help. The Nomus did a lot of damage in such a short time. But I’m guessing you three were busy with something else.”

At that, Iida looked practically ashamed. Midoriya’s eyes flittered between Hitoshi and Iida and Todoroki, who wasn’t looking at anyone either. Hitoshi sighed, and chugged the rest of his coffee. 

“Look, I won’t ask,” he told his classmates. “Whatever it was, it looks like you guys have been through enough. At least… you guys are okay.”

Hitoshi had meant to say all that to reassure them, but it only seemed to make Iida and Midoriya feel guiltier. Thankfully, before it could get even more awkward, Hitoshi received a text from his dad telling him he was outside to pick him up. “I’ve got to get going,” he said, taking another look at his friends and frowning. Hitoshi thought for a moment. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” he hurriedly added before quickly walking out the door.

“What do you get friends when they’re in the hospital?” Hitoshi asked his father, halfway through their trip home. “Flowers? Fruit?”

Touma glanced at him, and mirroring his exhaustion. Really true to genetics. “I don’t know, your mother usually takes care of that. Ask her. Or ask your other father.”

“Aizawa-sensei literally snuck out of the hospital while wrapped up like a mummy - I highly doubt he goes to hospitals willingly.”

“Ask your other other father.”

“I think you like saying that way too much.”

Chapter Text

The fourth day of his internship, Mandalay pulled him aside to talk. “Yesterday, you told me you didn’t know your limit for the number of people you can have under your quirk. Has testing it not been an option? UA should have the resources for it,” she said.

Hitoshi’s shoulders tensed, and his lips curled unsurely. He hesitantly asked her, “You’ve read my school file, right?”

“Eraserhead sent it to me, as per regulations,” Mandalay nodded.

“Does it… Is there any mention of a quirk incident from about a year ago, during my last year of middle school?” Hitoshi wasn’t privy to the contents of his academic file, but something like that tended to stick permanently, no matter how hush it was kept.

The hero looked at him contemplatively, “There is, yes. It doesn’t elaborate much more than saying it was aggravated by a second party, that you were found to be at no-fault, and that you required hospitalization afterwards.” At Hitoshi’s conflicted expression, Mandalay gave him a sympathetic look. “Whatever you share with me, I can keep private, Shinsou-kun. I just want to help.”

“Technically,” Hitoshi carefully said, “the most I’ve brainwashed at the same time was over 300 people.”

Mandalay stared at him, “Oh. Oh my god.”

“Eraserhead and my quirk counselor said I experienced a quirk awakening during the incident,” Hitoshi picked at one end of his capture weapon. “My quirk hasn’t always been as versatile as it is now, because of how little I used it. I used to strictly need a vocal response, and I couldn’t even take control of two people simultaneously.”

“You’ve undergone quirk therapy for this, I hope? And I’m guessing Eraserhead took you under his wing post-incident,” Mandalay asked, concerned. “An awakening is no small thing, despite quirk evolution becoming more and more common.”

“I’ve had plenty of time to adjust,” Hitoshi assured her. “I don’t think Principal Nezu would have allowed me into UA, much less the hero course, if I hadn’t.”

“I see why you wouldn’t know your limit, now,” Mandalay huffed incredulously. “300? Good lord. And I imagine there aren’t a lot of volunteers lining up to let you experiment.”

“I only know I can hold 20 because of a training exercise with my class,” he confirmed. “Brainwashing 300 deliberately might be too much, though. I was in the hospital because of a coma after the incident. Present Mic thinks that I can maybe actually manage half, theoretically, though unless I brainwash every freshman in UA I won’t be able to say for sure.”

“I’m starting to rethink Pixie Bob’s pitch about getting you as one of us after you graduate,” Mandalay cracked a grin at him, to which he flushed. “No wonder Eraserhead has taken a shine to you. Your potential is immense. And I already thought so after how you handled yesterday, but you really will make a great hero.”

“Thank you,” Hitoshi buried his face in his capture weapon, cheeks flaming red. His heart always fluttered whenever someone said that to him. “I’ve already learned a lot under your instruction.”

“Good to hear that,” Mandalay smiled. “Now let’s join the others, we still have more to teach you.”

After a day of learning from Tiger on how to rock climb, among other ways of navigating natural terrain, Hitoshi managed to have enough energy to shower at the agency, not bothering to style his hair afterward, and to change into his casual clothes. He then stopped by a supermarket to buy apples and oranges. Hitoshi hoped none of his three friends were allergic to either. He’s pretty sure he’s seen Iida take apples and oranges from the fruit platter at the company parties.

With one of Hosu’s train lines still out of commission thanks to a Nomu, it took a bit longer than usual to get to Hosu General Hospital. Hitoshi barely had an hour left of visiting hours by the time he arrived.

“Oh, Shinsou-kun,” Iida looked at him, surprised. The other boy was sitting up on his bed, having been watching the television across from him. Midoriya and Todoroki were nowhere in sight. “I- We didn’t actually think you’d be visiting.”

Hitoshi raised an eyebrow, “I said I would, didn’t I?” Iida turned pink, whether it was out of embarrassment or something else, Hitoshi didn’t know. “I brought fruit for you guys. Where’s the other two?”

“They’re both getting checked up again,” Iida explained as Hitoshi pulled up a chair beside Iida’s bed and started taking out the stuff from his bag. “I apologize it’s just me at the moment. I’m sure they won’t be long.”

“Why are you apologizing?” Hitoshi frowned at him, eyebrows furrowing. He put a plate down on the side table with the paring knife he had borrowed from the nurses, carefully wiping down one of the apples with a fresh paper towel. “I came to see you, too. We’re friends, aren’t we?”

Iida flushed darker. Hitoshi frowned deeper, despite the sudden anxiety that formed in his stomach. Was he assuming too much? Did he offend Iida?

“Yes,” Iida said, higher pitched than normal. He cleared his throat before nodding too many times. “Yes, I consider us friends, Shinsou-kun.”

Hitoshi’s lips twitched into a half smile, suppressing a sigh of relief. “I technically have known you longer than anyone else in class,” he said as he started to cut the apple. “Even if we only saw each other maybe once or twice a year.”

“I’ve always looked forward to those times,” Iida blurted out, and Hitoshi blinked at him, taken aback. Iida quickly backtracked, “I mean, there weren’t many other children our age at those events, and uhm, even if we didn’t talk, I wanted to know how you were-- oh, that sounds a little strange, doesn’t it--”

“You were looking out for me?” Hitoshi had tried for a teasing tone, but it came out more weakly than intended. 

“I-” Iida stammered. “I couldn’t help but pay attention to you. I’m glad to see you’re much happier now than you’ve ever been. Not! That I mean you always looked bad or or !”

“No, it’s okay,” Hitoshi said, eyes blinking rapidly as he concentrated on the apple. His hands were only slightly shaking. “I was… sad a lot. I know it showed. But you’re right, I’m happier now. So, uhm, don’t apologize for saying the truth.”

“Then, if I may say so,” Iida coughed, his eyes firmly not looking at Hitoshi, “I think you look nice. With your hair down. I don’t think I’ve seen it like that since we were twelve. Of course that doesn’t mean I don’t think you don’t look nice normally, oh dear --”

Hitoshi self-consciously pulled the lock of hair by his ear. He rarely wore it like this in public, unless he was really tired, and only then Aizawa and Yamada were the only ones outside of his family that have seen it like this in recent years. “You think so? It’s getting a little long, if I don’t cut it soon I might really end up looking like Aizawa-sensei,” at Iida’s firm nodding, he grinned lightly. He held up a slice of apple he had speared with a toothpick. “You say a lot of nice things, Iida. Here, I’ll feed you since you can’t use your arms.”

Iida made a strangled sound, then carefully looked at the slice of apple. “ Usagi ringo ?” he incredulously said, finally noticing Hitoshi had cut it in the popular rabbit shape.

“What? It’s cute,” Hitoshi muttered, lightly defensive, as he held up the apple slice closer to the other boy’s face. 

“Is this what Tensei calls gap moe ?” Iida whispered, sounding distressed. Hitoshi looked at him, confused.


“Nothing, Shinsou-kun!” Iida exclaimed before leaning forward and eating the apple slice in one bite. “This is a good apple! Thank you!”

Hitoshi, despite his confusion, relaxed and held up another slice. “I’m glad you like it,” he told him, “I got oranges too. I bought both with you in mind.”

Iida choked .

He ended up not seeing Midoriya and Todoroki before he had to go, but he did leave the cut up fruit in their room. Iida promised him he’d pass on Hitoshi’s well wishes, as Hitoshi wasn’t sure he’d be able to visit again before they got discharged in a day or two. He sent a text to Midoriya and Todoroki regardless.

(Hitoshi thought he was getting the whole having friends thing down. He definitely hasn’t offended or driven anyone away yet, as far as he knew, and his hero class friends don’t seem to have any suspicions about his lack of social experience. Only Yokohara and Sakurai seem to know that he spent virtually his entire childhood up to his middle school graduation practically friendless, and that was because they were there to witness it.

A year ago he only had his parents and his therapist as his personal contacts on his phone. Then came Aizawa and Yamada, and just those two alone had been a big leap for him. Now there were times when he couldn’t even keep up with all the group chats he was in - between his non-hero course friends, and Midoriya’s friend group, and the class 1-A chat, well it was a miracle if a day went by and he didn’t have over a hundred unread messages by the time school let out.)

Hitoshi hadn’t pressed Iida during his visit, about what had happened to them yesterday. If the other boy wasn’t inclined to talk, then Hitoshi, of all people, could respect that. God knows there were many times when he bottled everything up, not wanting to burden anyone. Of course it wasn’t healthy in the long run (see: his spectacular breakdown during his first year of middle school, which had prompted the need for his therapist and pills in the first place), but all Hitoshi could offer was to be there for his friends. He definitely was not qualified to give advice, but at the very least he could listen.

“Thank you, Shinsou-kun,” Iida had earnestly said, right before Hitoshi went out the door. “Maybe one day I’ll be able to take you up on that offer. But it means a lot to me that you did.”

He had weakly smiled, averting his eyes from Iida’s open expression. “Just say the word, and I’ll be there.”

The rest of his internship week went by calmly, in comparison to what had happened in Hosu. There was only one other mountain rescue that needed to be done, and the rest of the time Hitoshi spent either doing physical training with Tiger and Pixie Bob, or going over how his quirk could be used for the Pussycats’ line of hero work with Mandalay and Ragdoll. He definitely learned a lot from the hero group, the fact that he was under the tutelage of four pro’s definitely working in his favor, and by the time he had to say his goodbyes, Hitoshi was almost disappointed to go.

“You’ll see us again soon,” Pixie Bob winked, pulling him into a hug after he respectfully bowed. “Offer still stands though, if you ever want to join us!”

“Come see us again sometime!” Ragdoll beamed at him. “Or better yet, intern with us next time too!”

“If your other classmates need work, we’ll whip them up to shape,” Tiger said.

“We were glad to have you here,” Mandalay smiled gently, patting Hitoshi’s shoulder. “You did good, Shinsou-kun. We look forward to seeing you grow as a hero.”

“Thank you for everything,” Hitoshi said with as much sincerity and gratefulness as he could let out. “It’s been an amazing experience, being under your care.”

“Awww,” Pixie Bob cooed.

It was almost strange, donning his uniform and heading to UA after a week of going straight to the Wild Wild Pussycats’ agency. He even almost took the wrong train, but thankfully Yokohara and Sakurai had spotted him before he did. Kaminari was nowhere in sight, probably having slept in that morning despite his insistence that he was going to keep up with waking up earlier.

Hitoshi spent a few minutes before homeroom catching up with his friends at 1-C, especially since he hadn’t seen them the past week. Matsuda was eager to hear about his internship with the Pussycats but Takashima focused more on Hosu. Stain had gone viral the other day, and everyone was talking about him. At least Sakamoto, true to form, wanted to hear more about what the academics in the hero course were like.

By the time he made his way to his classroom, the bell was only a few minutes away from ringing. Everyone was chatting in groups about their internships, and Hitoshi snorted quietly to himself when he saw Bakugou’s new hairstyle.

“Shinsou!” Kaminari beamed at him, “how was your internship? Who did you go with, again?”

“The Wild Wild Pussycats, wasn’t it?” Uraraka said, breaking out of her intensely focused aura. “I saw them in the news, helping in Hosu. Were you there too?”

Hitoshi shrugged, “Yeah. Mandalay let me come with them to help with civilians.”

“That must have been crazy,” Ashido said. “It looked pretty bad out there!”

“Hm,” Hitoshi hummed, and his eyes strayed toward three particular classmates huddled together. Kaminari must have followed his gaze, because then he started on how out of everyone, Iida, Midoriya, and Todoroki looked to have changed the most.

Hitoshi agreed.

When it came to Foundational Hero Studies time, the class put on their hero costumes and followed All Might into Ground Gamma, the training ground Hitoshi was becoming intimately familiar with. Iida was stuck in his gym uniform, his own costume still under repairs. All Might announced that today’s exercise was a rescue training race, and Hitoshi couldn’t help but sigh in relief. His muscles were still a little sore from Tiger’s rigorous training, to be honest.

“Hm, since we have 21 students, we’ll do three groups of five, and one group of six,” All Might nodded. “Now, let’s draw lots!”

Hitoshi thought that maybe Iida should sit out for the exercise, considering his evident injury - a sentiment his other classmates shared. But the worry for their class president was overshadowed by Midoriya lighting up green and leaping around with his quirk, without breaking his bones.

So he finally figured it out, Hitoshi thought as he watched intently. He had been right about Midoriya’s quirk after all. 

Then Midoriya slipped on a pipe and fell, and Hitoshi facepalmed.

“Good job,” he told Midoriya afterward, patting his back sympathetically. “You worked out your quirk, then?”

At that, Midoriya looked up at him and nodded, grinning. “Yeah! Your notes really helped, and I was able to figure out what to do during my internship. I’m a taiyaki!”

“I have no idea what that means, but you do you,” Hitoshi dryly said. He then turned to Iida, who was just beside him, “Good work to you too. I hope you’re not pushing yourself too hard.”

“I’m grateful for the concern, Shinsou-kun, but I’ll be fine,” Iida smiled at him and Hitoshi gave him a muted one in return.

Hitoshi ended up in the third group, and winning. It would’ve been sad if he didn’t, considering how much mobility training he’s done in Ground Gamma. Still, Asui had given him a fair fight. 

He’d been tuning out the conversation in the locker room as he changed back into his uniform after Foundational Studies was over. Everyone had just been talking about the exercise anyway, the less mobile boys lamenting over how to improve, but then he processed Mineta’s excited babbling. He turned around, furious. There was a peeping hole in the wall.

“Yaoyorozu’s honkers! Ashido’s figure! Hagakure’s floating panties!” Mineta drooled, oblivious to Hitoshi’s burning glare. Tokoyami, who had noticed, looked between Hitoshi and Mineta warily. “Uraraka’s--”

“Hey,” Hitoshi growled lowly. Mineta froze and squeaked, and he didn’t hesitate in brainwashing him. The locker room was silent, and Hitoshi jerkily put on his tie and blazer as he stared down at the still boy. “Punch yourself in the face.”

“Shinsou-kun!” Midoriya exclaimed as Mineta did just that. 

“Shinsou-kun--” Iida started, a frown on his face, and Hitoshi avoided looking at them as he kept his dark glare on his whimpering, perverted classmate.

“I do not , under any circumstances,” Hitoshi gritted, “tolerate sexual harassment, especially towards our classmates. Have some goddamn respect , Mineta.”

With that, he swiftly left the locker room, not even looking back when he heard his classmate scream in pain as one of Jirou’s earphone jacks went through the hole and stabbed him in the eye. Distantly, he could feel the clawing in his chest, and he swallowed heavily, trying to keep the rising panic in him down.

“Yokohara-chan has such nice breasts, it’s a shame she keeps them hidden like that--”

“--have you seen her legs, dude. Hey, Shinsou! I’m sure you could make her wrap them around you--”

“--could probably get any girl on her knees, huh, Shinsou? Just kidding! Haha--”


Hitoshi jerked at the sound of his first name, looking up to see Aizawa’s worried gaze. He hadn’t realized he was sitting on the floor, in the middle of the hallway. He didn’t even know when he arrived at the main building. He gripped his chest, breath hitching, wishing desperately that he could brainwash himself to calm down, his classmates were going to be arriving any minute now, and Hitoshi was a goddamn idiot, using his quirk like that on his classmate, he was going to get into trouble, he was going to get kicked out of the hero course--

“Hitoshi, breathe,” Aizawa gripped his wrists firmly, keeping them still to prevent Hitoshi from pulling his hair, or scratching his skin. “I’m right here for you, kid.”

“I can’t- I-- dad, help ,” he choked weakly, and saw Aizawa make a snap decision.

“Hold on,” Aizawa said, tucking an arm under Hitoshi’s knees and another on his back and lifting him up in his arms. It must be odd carrying him like this, Hitoshi distantly noted, considering Hitoshi was almost as tall as Aizawa. He clutched weakly at Aizawa’s binding cloth.

He barely heard Recovery Girl asking his mentor what had happened, choosing instead to concentrate on pulling himself back together as he was laid down on a bed. His shaking hands gripped a pillow, putting it on top of him, a portion of it over his lower face. He clutched it close, breathing in the smell of detergent and fabric softener as he clenched his eyes firmly shut. A hand gently brushed his head.

Hitoshi didn’t know how long it took for him to calm down, but when he opened his eyes, Recovery Girl wasn’t in sight. Aizawa, however, sat on a chair beside his bed.

“Shouldn’t you be in class?” He roughly asked the hero. 

“You’re more important,” Aizawa said, unhesitantly. “I told Hizashi to cover for me. It’s fine, it’s just the third years.”

Hitoshi stared at the ceiling, lowering the pillow down his body so that he could breathe again. “Now that was something I haven’t experienced in a while.” Aizawa hummed in agreement, dark eyes peering carefully at him.

“Are you feeling better?” 

“Yeah,” Hitoshi sighed, running a hand over his face. “I may have fucked up, though.”

“Language,” Aizawa automatically admonished. “And I’ll be the judge of that. What happened? There’s only a few triggers that could have caused an attack that bad.”

“There’s a peeping hole on the wall shared by the boy and girl locker rooms in Ground Gamma,” Hitoshi muttered. “Mineta thought it would be neat to peak and see the girls in their underwear. He was saying gross things and I just… snapped . I brainwashed him and made him hit himself.”

“That boy,” Aizawa scowled darkly. “I’ll talk to your classmates about what happened, get their side of the story, but Mineta is on thin ice.”

“I hate this,” Hitoshi whined behind his hands. “I’m not even the victim, but I keep reacting like this whenever- whenever-- It’s just, boys my age talk about sexual stuff all the time but I can’t stand it. I feel gross, and disgusted, and like my skin is crawling...”

“Hitoshi,” Aizawa carefully said, “I’m not sure if I should have brought it up before but… have you ever considered that you might be experiencing sexual trauma?”

Hitoshi pulled his hands away from his face and stared at the older man. “I’m not a victim,” he insisted. “No one ever told me to- to suck their dick, or whatever.”

Aizawa exhaled, looking pained. “But people told you that you could make someone do that, haven’t they? Something like that, that’s still sexual harassment, Hitoshi. You don’t like thinking about using your quirk like that, but people keep pushing the idea on you. Made assumptions on the sexual things you could do to people, or have people do to you. I’ll even say that people went to as far as imply that brainwashing someone was the only way you’ll ever be intimate with anyone that way.”

“They, they usually called me a liar, whenever I said I would never do that,” Hitoshi swallowed dryly. His voice sounded small. “They always sounded like they were joking when they said it, but I knew. I knew what they thought.”

“The incident with Hori may have pulled the curtain, but I think this issue has been building up in you for a while now,” Aizawa told him. “You’ve been able to shelter yourself from it by being careful of the content you come across and having only adults you trust around, but it’s not as easy to filter real life. You’re surrounded by kids your age, and naturally your peers are becoming more and more curious about their and other people’s bodies…”

“Oh my god, please don’t tell me you’re going to be giving us Sex Ed,” Hitoshi grimaced in horror. “At least warn me ahead of time? So I can sit out and not puke in the classroom.”

Aizawa huffed. “I’m sure an exception can be made for you. Who knows, maybe this year I’ll make All Might do it.”

“You will be traumatizing a whole set of future heroes.”

“Getting back to the more important topic in hand,” Aizawa pointedly looked at Hitoshi, who glanced away. “Listen to me, Hitoshi. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. People made those comments to you . You didn’t want them. You were being sexually harassed by your classmates, and I think it’s time you need to talk to someone about it. Ideally your therapist, but we can find a specialist if you’d rather talk to with a shorter term arrangement.”

Hitoshi wrung his fingers anxiously. “Can I think about it?”

“Yes,” the hero brushed Hitoshi’s hair back soothingly, “but don’t think I’m not telling the other three about this.”

“What if therapy doesn’t work, though?” He blurted nervously. “What if I still end up… not okay?”

“Then we try something else,” Aizawa said evenly, but then frowned, “Unless you’re not talking about your mental health. Hitoshi?”

Hitoshi clutched his pillow again. “It’s just, people are supposed to like sex, right?” He squeaked. He thought his mentor may have muttered a ‘jesus christ’ but he was determined not to look at him.

“Not liking sex doesn’t make you not okay,” Aizawa sternly told him. “Plenty of people are asexual, and they’re fine as they are. And while I hope it’ll be a few years yet before this becomes important, I want you to understand that you shouldn’t settle for someone that won’t respect your wishes, especially in regards to something as important as that to you. If you decide to become cellibate for the rest of your life, that’s fine. As long as you’re alright, mentally.”

“Okay,” Hitoshi weakly said. “I don’t think I can even think about settling with someone right now, much less dating. I don’t even know if I like boys or girls or both.”

“You’re better off talking to Hizashi about sexualities,” Aizawa said, voice dry. “I’m simply gay.”

“Really?” Hitoshi raised his head to look at him with a surprised expression. “I thought you were just Mic-sexual.”

Brat .”


Aizawa was probably abusing his power, or whatever, when he signed Hitoshi out so that the kid could go to his and Yamada’s house to recover, despite the school day not even being half over. It was fine, Hitoshi was ahead of his general classes anyway due to his time in General Education, Aizawa reasoned. 

When he entered his classroom for the end of the day homeroom, the class turned quiet. Aizawa stared at them, noting Iida’s concerned glances back at Hitoshi’s desk, Midoriya’s anxiousness, and Mineta sinking in his seat, his cheek red. The rest of the class looked equal parts nervous and concerned. Even Bakugou, who had his arms crossed and jaw clenched, kept his mouth shut.

“Uhm, Aizawa-sensei, we haven’t seen Shinsou-kun since this morning…” Midoriya hesitantly said, hand raised.

Now, Aizawa wasn’t going to air his kid’s issues to his classmates, despite how effective it would be in showing the gravity of the situation. But he wasn’t going to make it look like Hitoshi had snitched and ran, either. Thankfully, someone else had taken initiative. “Shinsou went home earlier,” he answered Midoriya’s unspoken question. “I’ve already talked to him. What I’m more interested in, is this .” He held up an innocuous sheet of paper, meticulously lined with neat writing. It was an incident report, the paper having found its way on his desk during lunch.

“I was just joking!” Mineta desperately exclaimed.

“We heard you, you pervert!” Hagakure yelled, turning in her seat to look at her classmate. “My floating panties, huh?!”

Honkers ,” Yaoyorozu grimaced, shuddering.

“You’re so gross!” Uraraka waved a fist threateningly. “Shin-chan was right! Have some respect!”

“I bet that report is biased! He’s the one that used his quirk on me!” Mineta whined. “That’s not allowed, is it?!”

“If Eyebags hadn’t, then I was,” Bakugou growled. The small boy paled.

“I was the one who gave the report to Aizawa-sensei,” Iida sternly said. “While I don’t approve of how Shinsou-kun handled the situation, you shouldn’t have tried to take advantage of your discovery. We could have asked Sero-san to tape up the hole immediately, for example, while we--”

“That’s not any better!” Mineta exclaimed. “Everyone can tell you have a thing for Shinsou--”

Iida turned red, “I am capable of being impartial in important class matters, as class president--”

“Don’t out Iida like that, man--”

“Not cool, Mineta!”

“Dude,” Kaminari urgently hissed at Mineta, eyes frantically glancing at Aizawa’s blank expression, “just take the punishment before you make it worse.”

“I didn’t even actually look--”

“Yeah, because Shinsou stopped you!” Ashido yelled. 

“If all of you don’t shut up right now , I’m going to start handing out expulsions,” Aizawa lowly said. The class froze. Aizawa looked around the room, before calling out some names. “Koda, Shoji, Sato, come up here.”

The three hulking students stood in front of him nervously. He laid down the paper on his desk, and gestured the three to read the paper. “Be honest with me, and tell me if what is written here is true, word for word.” Shoji was the first to nod, and Sato and Koda did the same. He let them go back to their seats. “Jirou, come up,” he called and told her to do the same thing. She also nodded.

Aizawa sighed heavily. “I thought I made it very clear during the beginning of the year, that I did not tolerate sexual harassment. Was I not clear, Mineta?” At the boy’s frantic head shake, Aizawa frown got deeper. “You’re coming with me to the principal’s office after this. But let me make one thing clear, and this goes for everyone , there is no place in the hero course for you, if you’re going to have the morals of a villain. Understood?”

“Yes, sensei,” a subdued class echoed. 

Mineta wasn’t expelled, but he was given an in school suspension for a week. The punishment could have been more hard handed, but it was true that Mineta hadn’t actually looked through the peephole. Still, Aizawa had been so close to expelling him, had it not for Nezu stopping him, the damn animal. Mineta only had one more chance though - another incident like this, and he would be shifted off to Gen Ed or out of UA’s gates.

“I’m home,” Aizawa tiredly called out, removing his boots at the entryway of his house. His cat languidly approached him, meowing quietly. “Hey, where’s your other humans?”

“Welcome home,” he heard Hitoshi say as he picked up the cat, and he looked up to see the teenager peeking from the kitchen. He was out of uniform, unsurprisingly, and looked a little better than when he had sent him off with Hizashi earlier that day. Hitoshi approached and peered at him closely. “It went that bad?”

“This class is a fucking nightmare,” Aizawa grumbled. Hitoshi huffed.

Language .”

“Are you staying the night?” he asked him as they made their way towards the kitchen. He could hear Hizashi humming as something sizzled in a pan. 

“I called the alpha parents earlier and told them what happened,” Hitoshi said. Aizawa rolled his eyes at how he referred to Touma and Hotaru. The kid was trying out various ways of referring to the two couples. “They said it was fine, but they want to talk to you as soon as possible.”

Aizawa side-eyed Hitoshi. “Did you tell them about what we talked about?”

“No,” he mumbled, pulling the sleeves of his sweatshirt over his hands nervously, “I’d rather you tell them.” Aizawa ruffled his hair to ease him.

“I’ll handle it, then.”

“Shouta! Welcome home!” Hizashi grinned at him as Aizawa took a juice pack from the fridge. “We’re having hamburger steak for dinner.”

“Smells good,” he murmured, accepting Hizashi’s peck on his lips. From the side, Hitoshi made a disgusted face.

“You’re both my teachers and parental figures, that’s double the gross,” Hitoshi muttered petulantly as he set the table. Hizashi just laughed.

Conversation during dinner was kept light, no one bringing up what had happened that morning. Instead it was mostly Hitoshi telling Hizashi and Aizawa about his week of internship under the care of the Wild Wild Pussycats. It seemed like the kid had learned a lot from them, and Aizawa couldn’t help the swell of pride at how he assisted in Hosu. 

“Mandalay’s idea is good,” Aizawa said, after Hitoshi told them about the quirk control for kids thing. “Your counselor mentioned something like that to me, the last time we talked.”

“I think it would’ve helped me as a kid if I had something like that,” Hitoshi murmured, picking at his food with chopsticks. “I mean, my grandfather sort of helped me that way? But there was only so much he could do, with a persuasion quirk like his. I just… I don’t think parents would be too keen on signing their kids up to get brainwashed by a teenager.”

“You will need to be specially licensed for it, for sure,” Hizashi nodded, then pointed at Hitoshi. “But you have amazing control of your quirk now. As long as you’re straightforward about what you’re doing, I’m sure there are parents that would be relieved to have something like this as an option.”

“Uncontrolled quirk incidents among young kids are getting more and more common,” Aizawa told him. “Just last month, a five year old accidentally set his house on fire because he fell off the bed. Little kids’ emotions are already all over the place, and with the stress of sudden quirk development…”

I’m an emotional mess with a history of severe quirk complexes,” Hitoshi dryly pointed out. “Am I really the right person to deal with these kinds of children? It would be a miracle if I even passed a psych test for it.”

“I mean,” Hizashi slyly grinned, “they let Shouta become a teacher.”

Aizawa cuffed his partner in the head.

“If you are interested, though, I can walk you through the procedure,” Aizawa said. Hitoshi looked at him curiously. “It was something I considered during my youth as well, due to my own quirk, if becoming a hero didn’t pull through.”

At the mention of Aizawa’s own interest in it, Hitoshi looked to give it more thought, “I’ll… talk to my quirk counselor first. But I think I actually am interested. Especially if it would help others.”

Aizawa smiled at him, and patted him on the shoulder, “You really have your heart in the right place, huh, kid?”


Since the Aizawa-Yamada house was only a short drive from UA, Hitoshi didn’t need to take the train to get to school the next day. Of course, Kaminari didn’t know that, so he wasn’t surprised to receive a text from Yokohara while he sat in the backseat of Yamada’s car.

‘Kaminari-kun asked if we knew what was up with you, since you weren’t in the train with us,’ Yokohara said. ‘Are you okay?’

‘I’m fine,’ He texted back. ‘I stayed with parents 2.0 last night.’

‘Okay!! Do you want to meet up at Chat Tea later? Up to you if you want to invite the others.’

‘I’ll ask in the group chat if they want to come.’

“Shinsou-kun,” Iida greeted him as he entered the classroom. The only other people there were Todoroki and Yaoyorozu. “I’m glad to see you’re well.”

Hitoshi shrugged at him, a little self-consciously. “Sorry for yesterday,” he rubbed his neck, “I didn’t mean to cause trouble.”

“Don’t apologize, Shinsou-kun,” Yaoyorozu gently said. “The other girls and I actually appreciate the thought of what you did.”

“You didn’t get into too much trouble, I hope?” Iida asked, frowning worriedly. “I tried to be as impartial as I could in the incident report I gave Aizawa-sensei, so I had to be honest about your quirk usage…”

“It’s fine,” he hurriedly assured the class president. “Aizawa-sensei talked to me, and I’m serving detention the next few days.” Of course, his detention with Aizawa probably just meant helping Aizawa grade some quizzes or something. As long as it had an answer key, Aizawa usually roped him into grading when Hitoshi had nothing else to do. His mentor said it helped him retain brain cells.

Slowly, the rest of his classmates trinkled in. The girls all shared Yaoyorozu’s sentiment, and Hitoshi felt kind of embarrassed at their gratefulness. It felt a little undeserved - he did end up using his quirk against his classmate, and then, unbeknownst to everyone, proceeded to have a panic attack at school. He just had some common decency, that’s all.

“Hey, Shinsou,” Kaminari approached him, looking relieved to see Hitoshi, “You good, man? We were pretty worried when you didn’t show up for class after running out of the locker room.”

“Something personal came up,” Hitoshi uncomfortably said. Kaminari blinked at him expectantly, and Hitoshi felt a grimace forming. “It’s. It’s nothing.”

“Stop bothering Eyebags and get back to your fucking seat, Discount Pikachu,” Bakugou grunted, and that was probably the one and only time he’s ever been grateful towards the explosive blond.  

The day went by normally, thankfully. Hitoshi was able to relax during lunch with Midoriya and the others, listening to him and Uraraka chatter about Kamui Woods’ villain capture last night, Asui and Iida adding their two cents once in a while. Todoroki quietly ate his food. At some point, Iida had given him a cookie.

Hitoshi had smiled to himself at that.

“How are you, really, Shin-chan?” Yokohara asked him on their way home. The sky was a deep orange by the time he, Yokohara, and Sakurai had arrived back at Saitama, after hanging out a bit with his Gen Ed friends. 

“Can I ask you something personal?” he scuffed his feet as they walked through a neighborhood. At Yokohara’s nod, Hitoshi sighed. “How do you deal with… knowing. That Hori wanted to…”

Sakurai made a surprised noise, and there was a rare frown on Yokohara’s face. Hitoshi couldn’t look at her properly, staring at the ground instead.

“I’m lucky in the regard that, even with my literal attention grabbing quirk, that the worst I’ve had to experience was catcalling,” Yokohara carefully said. “But, as unfortunate it is, every girl deals with that. I know that, in a distant kind of way, what Hori wanted to do was rape. But I think, between the two of us, you had to deal with worse.”

“Don’t compare it like that,” Hitoshi muttered uncomfortably. “You could’ve been…”

“But I wasn’t, thanks to you,” Yokohara said easily. “Shin-chan, you said no to him, even if he ended up hurting you. And the only reason why anyone knew about why Hori even cornered you in the first place was because you were being honest. And I’m honestly grateful for that, otherwise me and the other girls wouldn’t have known what kind of people he and his friends were - as if assaulting you didn’t make them look bad already in the first place.”

“I think you were really brave, Shin-chan,” Sakurai quietly smiled at him. “I… I always knew you were a good person.”

“We should’ve said something earlier,” Yokohara looked at him sadly. Hitoshi didn’t see pity in her eyes, just empathy. “I could’ve tried harder to stop everyone from saying the things they said. I can see clearly now, how badly you’ve been affected by all those years of so-called jokes and so-called teasing. The things people said to you, about you, were disgusting, and they should all be ashamed for even thinking like that in the first place.”

“It wasn’t your responsibility,” Hitoshi grunted, voice thick. “The teachers ignored it too.”

Yokohara took one of his hands, and Sakurai took the other. “You know that it’s not you that’s wrong, it’s them, right?” Yokohara squeezed his hand. “The way you’re feeling is valid. And we’re here for you, okay?”

“I don’t think either of you signed up for dealing with my hidden traumas when you decided to become my friends,” Hitoshi joked weakly. His eyes stung. “I have a therapist for these things, you know.”

“Oh we know,” Yokohara airily said as Sakurai giggled. “But like we keep saying, this is what having friends is like, Shin-chan.”

Hitoshi bit his lip, and then laughed. “I’m starting to see that.”


Chapter Text

Following Aizawa’s announcement of a summer camp after the term finals, Kaminari exploded into panic. Hitoshi watched him flail.

“I haven’t studied at all!” his classmate wailed. Hitoshi felt a little pity for him. “With the sports festival and then the internships, I haven’t given it any thought at all!”

“Your grades can’t be that bad, can it?” Hitoshi couldn’t help but frown. It’s not like the heroics course academics were particularly difficult, especially compared to Gen Ed’s. Kaminari must be smart enough to have passed the entrance exam, after all.

Kaminari stared at him, as did Ashido and Sero. 

“You’re looking at the peanut gallery,” Bakugou snorted from a few feet away. “Bottom of the class.”

“Bakugou, have mercy!” Kaminari clutched his chest. Ashido pouted, clapping her hands together pleadingly.

“Yeah, Bakugou! You could help us study!”

Yaoyorozu perked up in her seat, smiling brightly, “Oh, I wouldn’t mind helping anyone that needs assistance!”

Ashido turned to her with sparkling eyes, “Yaomomo, you’re an angel!”

“How are your grades, Shin-chan?” Uraraka asked curiously, her and her friends joining in the commotion. “I heard Gen Ed has a harder curriculum than ours.”

“That’s because Gen Ed doesn’t have hero classes like you do,” Hitoshi shrugged. “And my grades are alright, I guess.”

“No need to be modest, Shinsou-kun!” Iida said, making a chopping motion with his arm. “You ranked number 1 in the written entrance exams, did you not?”

“Wow, Shinsou-kun!” Midoriya exclaimed to a blinking Hitoshi. “The written exam definitely wasn’t easy!”

“Wait, Iida-kun, how did you know that?” Uraraka grinned widely at Iida, who narrowed his eyes at her.

“The exam rankings are public,” Hitoshi dryly answered for his classmate. “It’s not a big deal. Shiketsu’s Gen Ed exam was harder than UA’s.”

Asui raised her eyebrows at him. “That’s still really impressive, kero.”

Kaminari whistled, also looking at him in a new light. “Dude, that’s really cool! How did you do it?”

“With spite,” Hitoshi said blandly. It was true, though. Nothing had been a better motivator than saying Fuck You to his middle school, academic style.

The electric boy then pouted at him pleadingly. Hitoshi stared at him, straight faced. “Help me study, Shin-chan!”

“That face won’t work on me, it’s nothing compared to Sakurai’s.”


“I’m going to have to work hard to defend my class ranking then,” Yaoyorozu said, smiling amusedly at their classmate’s antics. “Let’s do our best, Shinsou-kun.” Hitoshi managed to return the smile with a muted one of his own.

“Hey, seriously, do you think you can help me study?” Kaminari nervously asked Hitoshi later that day, actually looking genuinely worried. “I’m barely passing in most of the classes, and I really don’t want to get kicked out of the hero course because of my grades…”

Hitoshi looked at him, rubbing his neck. It wasn’t like he was opposed to tutoring someone, he had been doing that with Matsuda back in Gen Ed. And Kaminari could be considered a friend, even with Hitoshi’s minor phobia of the other boy’s quirk. “I guess?” He said hesitantly, and Kaminari’s eyes gleamed with hope. “I’ll help as much as I can.”

“You’re the best, Shin-chan!” Kaminari wailed, hugging him tightly. Hitoshi grunted at the surprising force.

“Please let go of me, or I’m retracting my help.”

“Does this mean I get to come over to your house?!”

“Oh god .”

Kaminari stared at the Eraserhead poster on Hitoshi’s bedroom wall. The poster stared back.

“Not a word,” Hitoshi held a finger up before a sound could come out of Kaminari’s open mouth. Hitoshi hadn’t found any excuse as to why Kaminari couldn’t come over to study, when they lived in the same area. His parents weren’t due home for another three hours or so, at least, and hopefully his classmate would be gone by then.

(Hitoshi had never brought a friend home until Yokohara and Sakurai, and a few weeks ago his 1-C friends came over one Sunday to hang out. Both times his parents looked near tears in happiness, and his mom even gave each of his friends a hug. It had been embarrassing .)

“Isn’t it just a little weird, though? Having a poster of our homeroom teacher?” Kaminari insisted. “Wait, is this autographed--”

“Kaminari,” Hitoshi sighed.

“Is it true then that you’re his personal student?” Kaminari grinned at him as he continued to snoop around Hitoshi’s room. Mostly at his hero merch. “I mean, I know Todoroki thinks you’re related--”

“We’re not related.”

“--You gotta admit you using the same weapon as him is kinda sus!” The blond sang. “And you both radiate the same Tired energy. Oh, you have the limited edition Present Mic figure! Lucky!”

“That was a gift,” Hitoshi carefully kept his face neutral. “Also I thought you wanted to study.” Kaminari pouted at him.

“Hey, let me enjoy being the first to get a sneak peek into the mysterious transfer student’s life!” 

“Just don’t break anything,” he rolled his eyes. “And are you really the first if Iida has technically known me longer?”

Kaminari looked at him slyly. “Oh? Has the class rep been in your room?”

“No,” Hitoshi blinked at him. 

“Aw, really? So he hasn’t seen your Ingenium collection? I bet he’d get embarrassed.”

“Why? It’s his brother’s merch, and from what I can tell about Iida, he’s just as likely to have the same stuff as I do,” Hitoshi frowned at him, confused. “My dad works for his family, he literally gets it from them. That’s why I have so much.”

He’s Ingenium now though,” Kaminari held up a dark blue hoodie that just had INGENIUM written in white bold letters on the front. He bit his lip, clearly holding in a laugh. “Shin-chan, I beg you, please wear this in front of Iida one day.”

“It’s about to be summer .”

“I need to see it.”

“You need to study .”

It took another half hour of Kaminari snooping through Hitoshi’s room before they finally settled down on the floor to study. He may have had to bribe the other boy with snacks, but at least they were starting with what they were supposed to do.

“What do you need help most with?” Hitoshi asked as they took out their textbooks. Kaminari laughed at him uneasily.

“Uh, Math? History? Biology? Honestly, almost everything but English as far as the general subjects go. I can already feel my brain melting.”

Hitoshi winced internally. There was only a week until finals. He had his work cut out for him. Especially once he saw what Kaminari considered as notes.

“I. Am going to lend you what I have,” Hitoshi said weakly as he flipped through the pages and pages of incomplete sentences and doodles, “and I’m going to teach you how to take notes in class or when you’re on your own. Kaminari, are you okay?”

“Uh, yeah?” Kaminari sheepishly scratched his head. Hitoshi gave him a pointed stare. “I… kinda have trouble paying attention in class.”

He pursed his lips, “No offense, but do you have some sort of…”

“ADHD,” Kaminari waved, laughing a little shakily. He wasn’t meeting Hitoshi’s eyes. “Side effect of my quirk, unfortunately.”

“Okay, I’ll see how I can help you work around that. You should probably mention it to our teachers, see if they’ll let you record lectures or something, ” he said easily, to Kaminari’s surprise. He gave his friend a dry look. “I literally have my pill bottles out in the open, I saw you looking at them. Don’t tell me you thought I was going to have a problem with you for something like this?”

“I mean you have some other problem with me, so I wasn’t sure.”

Hitoshi looked at him blankly, and Kaminari’s face went from casual to panicked in a second. The other boy slapped a hand over his mouth.

“Wait, I didn’t mean--”

“No, it’s okay,” Hitoshi uncomfortably interrupted. His shoulders were stiff. “You noticed, huh?”

“I guess we’re talking about it?” Kaminari weakly laughed, scratching the back of his neck. “Listen, I may be a bit of a dumbass, but I’m not oblivious. I don’t think anyone else has noticed, but I kinda felt how uncomfortable you were around me sometimes.”

“It’s nothing personal,” Hitoshi lowly said. He pinched the bridge of his nose and scowled to himself. “I have… issues. One of them is a bit of electrophobia.”

“Oh,” Kaminari looked hesitant, but continued, “so my quirk…”

Hitoshi tapped his fingers on his knee, inwardly anxious. But… his classmate-slash-friend deserved some sort of explanation. “One of my middle school bullies had an electric quirk, kind of like a taser. There was an incident last year where he used it on me, among other things, and I’m still working through it.”

“Oh, Shinsou,” Kaminari face crumpled. “I- I get it now. I’m sorry. Shit, dude.”

“No need to be sorry, you didn’t do anything to me,” Hitoshi’s mouth twisted into a half-smile, half-grimace. “If anything I should be the one apologizing.”

“Phobias are no joke!” Kaminari frantically waved his hands. “Plus I know how scary it is to be electrocuted, trust me. But… thank you for telling me, Shinsou.”

“You deserved to know anyway,” Hitoshi shrugged, still stiffly. “And you keep insisting we’re friends, so.”

Kaminari beamed, scuttling towards Hitoshi. Close to him, but not too close, which Hitoshi could appreciate. “Of course we’re friends! You’re a cool guy, and admirable too. And now I can say I unlocked your tragic backstory--”

Hitoshi snorted. “Not until you’re a level 35 friend. You’ve barely scratched the surface, Kaminari.”

“Aw, damn. What if I treat you to McDonald’s tomorrow?”



“I feel enlightened,” Kaminari said so seriously, staring at his notebook intently. It was the third day of their study sessions, this time in Kaminari’s house, since it was the blonde boy’s birthday and his family had plans once they were done studying. “I’ve opened my third eye.”

“Congratulations, you’re caught up with math,” Hitoshi dryly said without looking up from his own personal review sheets. There was a second copy of everything for Kaminari, too. 

“Shin-chan, I owe you my life,” Kaminari fiercely said. “This is the best birthday gift I’ve gotten today.”

“Happy birthday. Try to say that again after we’re done with Biology.”

Kaminari pouted, and slumped down onto the floor with a whine. “Can’t we do that tomorrow?”

“I told you, I have doctors appointments tomorrow,” Hitoshi wearily sighed. His classmate at least looked sheepish at forgetting that fact. “You can come over to my house on Saturday, but I have my other friends coming over too, if you don’t mind.” 

“I can?” Kaminari looked up at him in surprise. “I mean, I totally don’t mind the others, but wouldn’t they mind me?”

Hitoshi looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “Yokohara and Sakurai will be there, and the others are my friends from Gen Ed. I don’t think any of them would mind, it’s my house.” He then glanced away, the tips of his ears reddening as he muttered, “You’re my friend too, anyway.”

Kaminari made a weird face, before laying flat on his back and covering his face with his hands. “Shin-chan, I’m dying,” he wailed, to Hitoshi’s bafflement. “I get it now, class rep! I get it!!”

“What the hell are you saying?” Why was he calling Iida, anyway?

Kaminari just started giggling uncontrollably, and Hitoshi was inexplicably reminded of Yamada.

(Oh god, did that make Hitoshi Aizawa? If so, Yamada can never find out, he’ll never live it down.)

“Shinsou-kun, Aizawa-san,” Ohtori, Hitoshi’s quirk counselor, greeted them with a smile. He ushered the two into his office. “I admit, I’ve been looking forward to this meeting. Glad you’ve considered my offer, Shinsou-kun.”

Hitoshi shrugged. “It… does seem like a good idea.”

“We’ve been talking about it for a bit,” Aizawa told Ohtori. He took out a folder of papers from his bag, handing them to the counselor. “Principal Nezu also has signed it off already as well, since Shinsou doesn’t have his provisional hero license yet.”

“Hm, yes,” Ohtori nodded as he flipped through the documents. Hitoshi made himself comfortable on one of the single sofa seats. “Speaking of, the soonest Shinsou-kun can take his provisional medical license exam is in two weeks, if that’s fine. It’s mostly going to be a quirk demonstration and an ethics test for you, Shinsou-kun, since the exam is personalized. It helps that I’m vouching for you, as did Miyako-san. In the meantime, you’re technically registered as my intern so you’ll be able to use your quirk here.”

“Do your patients know what I’m going to be doing?” Hitoshi asked, a little anxiously. He’s still not sure how someone could possibly be comfortable with their child being brainwashed by a teenager. A hero-in-training teenager, yes, but still with a quirk that could easily be abused.

“I’ve brought it up with a few parents,” Ohtori smiled reassuringly. “As expected, they would like a demonstration first, but most of them looked interested. Mostly the ones whose children have volatile quirks.”

“Makes sense,” Aizawa muttered. He glanced at Hitoshi, rolling his eyes lightly at the unsure expression still on his face. “Don’t look so worried, it’ll be fine. Ohtori-san and I will be here to supervise until you get your provisional license.”

“Aizawa-san is right. I saw your match against Endeavor’s son during the Sports Festival, it looked seamless, the way you had him use his quirk. And from what Aizawa-san has told me, you haven’t had trouble with anyone else either,” Ohtori said, patting Hitoshi’s shoulder. “You’ll do great, Shinsou-kun.”

“Let’s talk about scheduling,” Aizawa said, straight to the point as always. Hitoshi looked between the two adults expectantly. He knew signing up for this was going to cut into his free-slash-social time, since Ohtori’s patients were young children coming from school. “Ohtori-san and I decided it was best to start you off with three kids, one for each day on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. That leaves Wednesday and Friday free for you, and we’ll try to keep it that way for the sake of your social life and school work.”

“Oh, great,” Hitoshi deadpanned. His already seemingly packed schedule was getting even more tight. It was a good thing he sometimes didn’t sleep - who knew not being an isolated introvert made one so busy.

“Now, about the children you’ll be meeting next week…”

“Happy birthday, Shinsou-kun!” Matsuda greeted at him during lunch on Friday. Takashima and Sakamoto echoed the greeting as well, though a little more quietly.

“Thanks,” Hitoshi nodded casually, and left it at that. Then he noticed how abruptly silent his lunch table had gotten.

“It’s your birthday?” Uraraka gasped, then looked at him accusingly. “And you didn’t tell us?!”

“It’s not a big deal,” Hitoshi hurriedly said as Midoriya started to look guilty and Asui stared at him thoughtfully. Todoroki looked confused, not seeing what the big deal was. Iida made a precise hand motion.

“Nonsense, Shinsou-kun,” Iida’s eyeglasses glinted under the cafeteria light. “As your friends, such information is important to us. At the very least we would have wished you a happy birthday earlier--”

“We can get him a cake from the lunch line, kero,” Asui suggested and with a speed that even Iida had balked at, Uraraka grabbed her and the class rep towards the almost empty food line.

“Oh, no,” Hitoshi weakly said. Cake with Iida involved meant--

“They mean well, Shinsou-kun!” Midoriya hastily said, misunderstanding his look of dread. “We won’t make it a big deal if you don’t want to, which obviously you don’t since you didn’t tell us, though I kinda wish you did--”

“Oh don’t worry, he didn’t tell us either,” Takashima snorted. “His middle school friends told us a few days ago.”

That was why his non-hero course friends were coming over to his house tomorrow in the first place. Matsuda and Yokohara had been adamant that he had some sort of party or gathering for his sixteenth birthday, and the others had been swept up into it too. Though he’s pretty sure Sakamoto just wanted to compare notes on the general subjects, since their exams started next week. Come to think of it, he didn’t actually tell Kaminari why everyone was coming over, and not to mention he hasn’t invited Midoriya and the others either, did he? Which was a little rude, he guessed, since they were his friends, though it’s getting a little hard to keep track of what to do in these situations--

“Uraraka, wait--”

“Wah! Iida-kun!”

“Oh shi--”

Some instinct in him urged Hitoshi to move, and he did. But it was a little too abrupt, and he may have tripped a little on his seat, and Midoriya had also moved from beside him, and suddenly there were a lot of surprised yells and flailing limbs and something on his stomach.

“Oh no,” Iida lowly moaned, sitting on the floor by Hitoshi. He sounded absolutely devastated. “Not again .”

Hitoshi, with despair, looked down to see a downturned plate on his stomach. He could smell the sweet chocolate wafting from it. “ Why ,” he groaned, “does this always happen.”

“I’m so sorry,” Iida had his red face hidden in his hands. It was like the last Christmas party again. “I don’t even know how ...”

“Well,” Todoroki blandly said, still on his seat, “you tripped.” He didn’t specify who. He probably meant both of them.

There were some giggles and snickers sent their way as they straightened up with the help of their friends, but Hitoshi was at least comforted by the fact that he wasn’t alone in this. Even if his uniform shirt was ruined now.

“Why don’t you help Shin-chan clean up? We’ll take care of the mess here.” Hitoshi heard Uraraka whisper to Iida, who then made a strangled noise. He looked at the class rep and shrugged.

“I’ll be fine, I’ll try to… do something about this in the bathroom,” he gestured to the icing and cake smeared on his shirt. What a shame, he’s sure Lunch Rush’s cake was good.

“No,” Iida coughed, stiffly following Hitoshi out of the cafeteria. “It was my fault, as always. This time I should at least help.”

Hitoshi couldn’t help but let his lips twitch into a smirk. “Yeah, you kinda left me high and dry last time.” Iida sputtered, and he snorted. “Don’t worry about it, I’m not actually mad or upset.”

They entered the bathroom, thankfully empty, and Hitoshi carefully took his uniform shirt off, making sure his tank top undershirt didn’t get stained as well. He knew it was futile before he even ran the stain under running water - chocolate was hard to clean up. At least his tie made it out unscathed.

“I’ll have to get a replacement from Recovery Girl,” he muttered to himself. Hitoshi pursed his lips, considering his options. “Do you mind if you asked her for me, Iida?” He turned around to face his classmate. Iida had been blankly staring at his back. “Iida?”

Iida jerked into attention, and stiffly pushed his glasses up. A nervous tell, though Hitoshi wasn’t sure what he had to be nervous about. “Yes! Yes, I’ll head there right now. Just one moment!”

One moment turned out to be five minutes, which was impressive considering Recovery Girl’s office took more than half that time to walk one way from the lunchroom. Iida didn’t even look a bit out of breath.

“Did you use your quirk to get there and back faster?” Hitoshi asked, eyebrows furrowed as he took the folded shirt from his classmate’s hand.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Iida said. Hitoshi stared at him for a moment before letting it go.

“By the way,” he tried to casually say as he put on the new shirt, “I’m kind of having a small gathering at my house tomorrow, since it’s my birthday and all. Just my Gen Ed friends and two from another school, and Kaminari too. If uh, you don’t have plans, I guess it would be cool if you were there too.” Hitoshi awkwardly trailed off, rubbing his neck and avoiding looking at his classmate. “I was gonna invite Midoriya and the others as well. I live in Saitama, though, so if it’s too out of the way for you then it’s fine if you don’t go--”

“I’ll go,” Iida hurriedly replied. He cleared his throat, when Hitoshi finally looked at him. Iida shifted on his feet, also looking awkward. “Of course I’ll go.”

“Cool,” Hitoshi muttered, though he smiled at the other boy. “Now let’s head back to the others, hopefully my food is still okay.”

“I can buy you a replacement--”

“What? No need, Iida, really--”


‘what does your kid like,’ was the text Aizawa opened from Tensei during the tail end of the school day. He squinted at it suspiciously.


‘becoz tenya is freaking out abt getting him a bday gift lmaooooo’

Hm. That was right. Hitoshi was going to have a small birthday party at home with his friends tomorrow, for the first time in almost a decade. (And what a sad thought that was, but Aizawa tried not to dwell on that too much.) Aizawa and Hizashi would be eating out with the Shinsou family tonight for the occasion, their gifts to HItoshi already in their car. Aizawa considered his options. 

‘Heroes and cats, if you want a safe bet,’ he texted Tenya instead. ‘If you’re aiming to impress: supernatural/paranormal stuff, especially from American media; anything of that South Korean hero E-motion or Mandalay from the Pussycats; cycling stuff; books about quirks, especially mental ones.’

The reply didn’t take long to arrive. ‘While I was hoping my brother would not immediately go telling you about my need for advice, I truly do appreciate the insight you have given me. I cannot thank you enough.’

‘You better pick a good one.’

‘I hope so, sensei!’

Aizawa didn’t actually like to meddle with people’s personal lives, especially with relationships. But Tenya was a good kid who meant well, and at least was considerate enough not to push Hitoshi into anything, despite his apparently long-time and, frankly, painfully blatant crush on the boy. And Hitoshi didn’t seem to mind him at all -- cake incidents notwithstanding -- and seemingly appreciative of having Tenya’s familiar face around. How a smart boy like Hitoshi could be so blindly oblivious to the bright red signs Tenya was showcasing, though, Aizawa still couldn’t figure out. Anyone that watched the two interact for more than five seconds could tell that Tenya was hypothetically tripping over his feet over Hitoshi. It’s actually ridiculous.

Aizawa didn’t count giving Tenya gift advice as giving him his approval, though. Hitoshi still had a lot to work out through, one of those being how he felt about romantic relationships, and his well-being took priority for Aizawa. Plus Aizawa liked to avoid high school romantic dramas among his students as much as possible. He still cringed at the number of love triangles gone awry he’s had to intervene on during his career at UA.

“Hey, Iida-kun,” Aizawa heard Uraraka slyly grin at the already wary looking class rep during their last few free minutes of class. “What did you mean earlier when you said ‘not again’? When you dropped cake on Shin-chan.” 

Ashido turned her head at the two like a bloodhound, grinning toothily, “Yeah, class rep, what was that?” Some of their other classmates looked interested in the answer too. Aizawa reckoned the Iida-Shinsou ongoing saga was like watching some sort of shoujo anime for them. 

“It was just an accident,” Iida pursed his lips, trying desperately to suppress his reddening cheeks. Uraraka squinted at him.

“Shin-chan!” She called out to the boy across the room, who had been engrossed in a conversation with Yaoyorozu. Hitoshi looked up and raised an eyebrow at her. “Does Iida-kun drop desserts on you often?”

“Today was the third time,” Hitoshi answered honestly. Aizawa snorted quietly to himself as Iida sputtered. “It’s always cake, somehow.”

“I’m really sorry!” Iida said through Uraraka and Ashido’s giggling. 

Hitoshi waved it off with a half grin. “I told you it’s fine, didn’t I? Though maybe next time aim for my mouth, so I can taste some of it at least.”

Some cultures, particularly western ones, if Aizawa remembered correctly from some of Hizashi’s ramblings, had a wedding tradition of couples smearing cake on their partner’s mouth. Aizawa could guarantee that Hitoshi had not been thinking that when he made the comment, but it was clear from some raised eyebrows that some of his classmates did. Aizawa covered his mouth with a hand to hide the grin on his face.

“Hey,” Kaminari started, “isn’t that an American wed--”

“Kaminari,” Sero and Ashido hissed to hush him up. Iida let out a sound that was part steam-engine and part strangled gargling. Uraraka looked like Christmas had come early.

Hitoshi, noting Asui patting Iida sympathetically as he once again had his face in his hands, frowned concernedly. “Was it something I said?”

“Oh my fucking god, I’m going to murder you both ,” Bakugou growled just as the dismissal bell rang.

“Sweet sixteen!” Hizashi grinned, ruffling Hitoshi’s hair as he and Aizawa sat down across Hotaru and Touma. They had a private room at a nice restaurant in the city, and Hitoshi sat at the head of the table. 

“Happy birthday,” Aizawa said a little less energetically, but just as sincerely, handing Hitoshi two different sized gift bags. The bigger one was from Hizashi, and Aizawa had to reign him in for him to not go overboard with the gifts. Honestly, between the four adults, Hitoshi was a little spoiled.

“Thanks, dad-sensei,” Hitoshi cheekily grinned and Aizawa rolled his eyes at him. 

“Good to see you two again, it’s been a while,” Hotaru put in her own joke, as they had seen each other just a few days ago. “Order whatever you like, it’s Touma’s treat tonight.”

“I thought Yamada was paying,” Touma dryly said as he flipped through the menu. “Don’t pros like you make a lot of money?”

“You would know! Don’t they say that you could look at a hero and guess their net worth?” Hizashi laughed. “Or are you finally cashing in on child support?”

“I think I’m worth more than one dinner,” Hitoshi pouted exaggeratingly. “I should get the most expensive thing they have, if Yamada is paying.”

“It’s your birthday, do what you want,” Aizawa snorted. 

Dinner was a warm affair. It definitely felt different from when Aizawa and Hizashi went out with Nemuri and Tensei, but it was just as comfortable. Hitoshi did end up ordering one of the more expensive items in the menu, but given the kid’s preference for seafood, it wasn’t much of a surprise. They even had the waiter put a candle on the cake they ordered, and Hizashi happily recorded the four adults singing Happy Birthday to the embarrassed but pleased teenager. 

Despite Touma’s earlier comments, he did pay for dinner, almost throwing Hizashi’s bank card right back at him when the check came. Hizashi had squawked, then tried to argue that Touma can pay for Hizashi’s upcoming birthday dinner instead, but Touma was immovable. 

When it was time to part ways, Hotaru pulled both men in a hug while Hitoshi was distracted putting his gifts in the car. “I’m really glad we met you two,” she said heartfully, and Aizawa wasn’t much of a blushing man, but the sincerity in her voice flustered him. “Both of you have been so good to Hitoshi, and Touma and I are grateful to have you in our family.”

Hizashi looked near tears at that, and Aizawa’s throat struggled to work. “While the circumstances were rough, we’re also glad we met you all,” Aizawa managed to say. “Hitoshi is the closest thing we have to a son, and we’re honored to be a part of his -- of your family’s -- life.”

Hotaru just laughed airily, slapping Aizawa lightly on the bicep, “What are you talking about? Biologically or not, he is your son. Don’t forget that, Shouta, Hizashi.”


Noon on the dot, Hitoshi’s doorbell rang. Iida stood straight at his porch, a gift bag in hand.

“Punctual as always, class rep,” Hitoshi joked lightly as he let him in. “You’re the first one here.”

“Your invitation was for 12 o’clock, was it not?” Iida frowned, looking a little confused. Then he perked up a little, and handed Hitoshi the gift bag. “Ah, this is for you. Again, happy birthday, Shinsou-kun!”

“You didn’t have to get me a gift,” Hitoshi muttered, a strange fluttery feeling stirring in his chest at the gesture. “But thank you.” Iida beamed at him.

“I wanted to, Shinsou-kun.”

“Cute,” Hitoshi’s mother giggled from where she stood with his father near the hallway entrance. The two teenagers startled, and Hitoshi turned a little pink at his mother’s wide smile. 

“Good to see you, Iida-kun,” Touma greeted the young Iida scion with a nod. Iida stiffly put a hand up in a wave.

“Thank you for letting me into your home, Shinsou-san!”

“You’re welcome here any time, Iida-kun, you’re Hitoshi’s friend after all,” Hotaru smiled at Iida. She turned to Hitoshi and patted him on the cheek, “We’ll be heading out now, then. Enjoy your party, and order what you guys want for dinner, but don’t go too overboard.”

“Yeah, because I’m such a crazy party animal,” Hitoshi dryly said. “Don’t worry, we have Mr. Class Rep here to keep us in line.”

Iida puffed up his chest in acknowledgment, “We won’t make trouble for you, Shinsou-san.”

“Keep the cake off Hitoshi and the floor and we’re golden,” Touma snorted in amusement, and while Hitoshi grimaced, he couldn’t help but grin a little when Iida deflated and his ears turned red.

“Don’t worry about it,” he told Iida once his parents left the house. Hitoshi rolled his eyes in exasperation. “I’m pretty sure neither of us is ever going to hear the end of the cake thing.”

Iida pushed up his glasses, flustered, “Tensei never fails to bring it up either.” He sighed. “Not that I could blame him. Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence…”

“Three times is enemy action?” Hitoshi smirked at the other boy, teasing, “Are you after me, Iida?”

Right at that moment, the doorbell rang again, so Hitoshi missed Iida’s entire face flaring red alarmingly fast and choking on his own spit.

“Shin-chan!” Kaminari and Yokohara exclaimed the moment Hitoshi opened the door. They were both decked in party hats and had streamers around their shoulders. From beside Yokohara, Sakurai looked at him apologetically.

“Oh dear god,” Hitoshi blankly said.

“You could’ve given me a little warning that it was your birthday yesterday, Shin-chan!” Kaminari whined as they trailed into the house. “I barely had time to get you a gift!”

“You didn’t have to get me anything,” Hitoshi sighed, even as he accepted the gifts shoved at him by his friends. “I didn’t get you anything for your birthday.”

“You helped me study for the exams, I think that’s more than enough!” Kaminari insisted. The blond finally then took notice of Iida. His eyes glinted. “Class rep, you’re here!”

“Of course I’m here, I was invited,” Iida said. He looked at Yokohara and Sakurai curiously, before facing them and bowing in greeting. “Hello, I’m Iida Tenya. You must be Shinsou-kun’s middle school friends. It’s nice to meet you!”

“Iida? Oh!” Yokohara’s grin and eyes widened, which Hitoshi didn’t think bode well. He shared a distressed look with Sakurai, who sheepishly shrugged. “It’s nice to finally meet you! Shin-chan’s told us about you!”

“He has?” Iida croaked.

“I have?” Hitoshi asked, baffled. 

“He has!” Kaminari cackled. He patted Hitoshi’s back before slinging an arm around his shoulders. “Hey, Iida, have you seen his Ingenium collection yet?”

Iida sputtered, “I- technically speaking, that would be my brother’s merch--”

The doorbell rang again, and Hitoshi hastily escaped Kaminari’s arm to open the door. It was Midoriya and Todoroki, who each had a container of food in their hands.

“My mom insisted I bring something,” Midoriya babbled, holding up what looked to be a container full of cupcakes, “I haven’t been invited to a birthday party since I was a kid, so ah, I wasn’t sure what was appropriate, so I hope I’m not overstepping, Shinsou-kun…”

Todoroki, on the other hand, had brought fried chicken. “I wasn’t allowed to birthday parties as my father considered it a waste of time. Fuyumi-neesan got a little excited, I think, so she made a lot of karaage. Is that okay?”

“I like karaage,” Hitoshi answered almost automatically. He and his mother had prepared a generous spread for lunch, but a little more food couldn’t hurt. He looked between his two powerhouse friends, a little concerned at their words, but, well. Hitoshi wasn’t one to talk. “And you’re fine, Midoriya. Come in, we can all bond over our shared childhood of missed birthday parties later.”

Sakamoto, Matsuda, and Takashima arrived at the same time just a few minutes later, also bearing gifts, and in Matsuda’s case, a pack of party poppers of which was gleefully shared with Kaminari and Yokohara. Uraraka and Asui came not much later, apologizing profusely because their train had been stuck for a little bit on the way.

Lunch was a rowdy affair, but seeing all his friends - friends he only just made these past few months - together and getting along relatively well made his chest glow with warmth. It was nice, that feeling. 

The rest of the afternoon went by in a blur. They played Mario Kart until Matsuda literally jumped on Kaminari for blue-shelling her for the third time. Then they switched to Smash, which wasn’t much of a better idea because Uraraka started becoming frightening after a few matches, and for someone who had never played the game before, Todoroki took her on with the same intensity as he did the Sports Festival. Their match had been one for the record books, surely.

Hitoshi, at Uraraka and Yokohara’s urging, opened his gifts in front of all of them. The attention was different from the kind his two sets of parents gave him during Christmas and it almost made him nervous, but he was able to swallow most of his anxiety down and just enjoy the moment as much as he can. It helped that he appreciated all the presents he got, and if anyone noticed him blinking away some moisture from his eyes towards the end, they mercifully didn’t say anything.

It was past 8 pm when they finally wound down, spending the last hour and a half watching a movie and eating pizza for dinner. Hitoshi had found himself nestled in the middle of the larger couch, in between Iida and Kaminari, and he idly mused that he could fall asleep at that moment. For all of Iida’s bulky body and sharp angles, he was surprisingly comfortable to lean against. Warm too. 

“I’m going to die , they’re so cute,” he heard Uraraka whisper, but when he turned to look at her, she had her attention entirely on the television. 

When it was time for everyone to leave, Kaminari had given Hitoshi a considering look, before sighing and patting him on the shoulder. Hitoshi couldn’t parse what that even meant.

Yokohara, on the other hand, was less subtle, whispering into his ear during a hug, “Good job today, Shin-chan, but I think we need to work on one aspect of your social skills a little more.” Before Hitoshi could even wonder if he should be offended or not, Yokohara had giggled away with Sakurai.

Iida was the last to leave. Hitoshi felt the urge to say something he couldn’t earlier.

“Hey, thank you for the gift,” he said, rubbing the back of his neck nervously. “I… I really actually like it.” The other boy had given him a surprising amount of merch of a foreign hero he liked, including stuff he didn’t even know was sold in Japan. He huffed a little and smiled at Iida. “I don’t know how you found out, but she’s one of my favorites.”

“I admit I had some help,” Iida sheepishly said. “I couldn’t find a Japanese copy of her book, however, so if you don’t want the Korean version, then I can return it--”

“No, no, it’s fine,” Hitoshi hastily waved. “I know a bit of Korean, so it’ll be good practice for me.”

“You really are very talented, Shinsou-kun,” the smile the other boy gave him was warm, and it made Hitoshi duck his head in shyness. 

“I’m really nothing impressive,” he muttered, a little self consciously.

Iida cleared his throat, “I beg to differ.” Hitoshi stared at him wide eyed, and Iida stared back. The silence that followed was almost suffocating. 

Then Iida suddenly swayed forward, then almost immediately jerked back, arm quickly raising at an angle before stiffly landing on Hitoshi’s shoulder. “Thank you for inviting me, Shinsou-kun!” Iida said, almost a little too loudly. He patted Hitoshi twice. “It has been an enjoyable day! I’ll see you in school on Monday!” Then he swiftly turned around, and power-walked away from the Shinsou house.

Hitoshi could only gape at his back. His heart was racing, and he struggled to wonder why. “What,” he whispered to himself, “was that?”