“Midoriya, you’re expelled!”
The damning words echo in his head.
Expelled. Expelled. Expelled.
Izuku doesn’t know what he did wrong. How did it all come to this?
It’s not his first time taking the test. He could say that he can’t remember how many times he’s taken it by now, but that would be a lie. He knows exactly how many times he has failed. And with each time he retakes the test, his chances at passing become vanishingly small. Because what does it say about him that his success rate was less than seven percent? That the only time he passed was due to a twist of fate that he hasn’t been able to replicate no matter how hard he tried?
Gasps ring out from some of the students. Most of them look on in horror, while some seem relieved that he was the one who failed, not them.
Kacchan smirks at him with perverse glee shining in his crimson eyes.
He turns away.
But it’s not the look of pity on his classmates’ faces that makes his heart sink. It’s the fact that not once does anyone say a word as he walks back to the building, leaving behind his life-long dreams in tattered pieces.
As soon as he’s out of sight, Izuku breaks into a run, not bothering to change out of his gym clothes or to grab his backpack from his classroom.
(It’s not like he’ll be needing it.
Izuku comes home to an empty apartment. The ride back had been agonizing in its slowness and even now he can hear the whispers that accompanied him on the train.
(“Hey, isn’t that a UA uniform? I think they wear those to the Sports Festival, right Michi?”
“Yeah, it is. What is he doing here, though? He should be in school now, shouldn’t he?”
“You don’t think…”
“Shh, I think he’s looking our way.”)
He knows he has until nine thirty-eight before his mom comes back home, tired from a long day at work and softly complaining about a case that has been dragging on forever. She will greet him when passing through the door and then head straight to her room to sleep off the stress of her day. She won’t notice his downturned expression until the morning when she will ask how his first day of school had been.
(It will be too late by then.)
But he has time now. He settles in his bedroom and pulls out his notebook from where he hid it under the bed just this morning. It’s different from his regular analysis notebooks. Instead of “Hero Analysis for the Future” it bears the simple title of “Analysis #1”.
(He hopes one notebook will be enough.)
He turns the pages to where he left off and writes down everything he remembers from today: the train he took in the morning, the exact time he walked into class, everything he said and everything his classmates said to him, how Aizawa-sensei took two seconds longer to interrupt the class and send them to the training grounds, the score everyone received at the quirk apprehension test,… his own score.
It doesn’t make sense.
He… he had thought he had it this time. He thought he finally figured out what went wrong. But every time, there is something that trips him up. Someone starts talking too early, someone doesn’t talk at all. Someone does things differently, and everything changes as a result.
The only thing that has stayed constant so far is that he gets expelled at the end of the test.
And he still doesn’t know why.
… But that’s a lie, isn’t it? He knows why. He knows exactly why. It had been the same at Aldera Junior High after all. He’d just thought that Aizawa-sensei would be different. He had hoped that he would finally have a teacher that didn’t hate him.
(He should have known not to expect anything to be different.)
What he doesn’t know, what he can’t figure out is how he passed the first time at all.
He has tried so hard to reproduce the exact parameters, but as he has come to learn even the slightest difference in timing can change everything.
He has even tried to score a bit better at the test before. Just enough to earn him the nineteenth spot, leaving Mineta as the dead-last.
It wasn’t enough.
He wasn’t enough.
None of his efforts to alter his fate had worked. None of his meticulously designed plans had come to fruition. In the end, the only thing that he had to show for his failed trials was his notebook.
He started it the third time he woke up on a day he had already lived before. Now, every time that he respawns, Izuku takes out a new notebook and writes down all his theories in the vain hope of escaping this hell.
One of the USJ villains has a time travel quirkDISCREDITED - no motive, attempt #2 didn’t involve USJ
Hidden/invisible quirk - specific activation requirement (death)
Two joints = quirkless?DISCREDITED see “Study of the Quirkless Phenomenon” by O. Hijuyo
- Tests 2-5 prove that any method works, self-induced is equally effective (test #6)
- Name: Second chance? Redo? Reset?
- How it works: death results in waking up the day of the quirk apprehension test. Memories intact, no injuries. Save-point like a video game?
- Specific win condition or just survival? Quest to get past the USJ attack?
- Further tests: ???
At the very bottom, he adds the following:
Attempt failed. Will try again tonight.
Aizawa Shouta isn’t in a good mood. To be fair, he very rarely is. Juggling two jobs, annoying colleagues, worse criminals, and reckless teenagers who made it their mission in life to frustrate him could do that to a person.
Having to visit his now-former student because Midoriya forgot his bag in the classroom does nothing to improve his disposition.
He doesn’t feel guilty per se. It is perfectly rational to expel a student who can’t control their quirk. Especially seeing as –
eyes blown wide open in terror and pain –
maniacal laughter echoing through his mind –
excruciating pain –
He shakes his head. No, he doesn’t feel guilty about sparing one of his students from a terrible fate. It doesn’t mean, however, that he doesn’t feel like shit for crushing his dreams, no matter how unrealistic they are.
He sighs again as he checks that he has the correct address. Building 2, apartment number —
Shouta freezes as he registers what he’s seeing. A dark shape stands atop the building, dangerously close to the edge. Smaller than himself and clad in a very distinctive uniform. A shock of green curly hair.
He knows that shape.
Panic squeezes his heart as he breaks into a run.
No, no, no, it can’t be happening! Midoriya was supposed to be safe!
He scales up the side of the building, backpack long forgotten behind him. Shouta is careful to keep his approach silent so as to not startle the teen. Once he reaches the roof, he reassesses the situation.
Midoriya isn’t as close to the edge as it had looked like from the ground. He’s standing still, facing away from him, a notebook clutched in his right hand. He hasn’t noticed him yet, which gives Shouta the precious seconds he needs to prepare to catch his student with his capture weapon should it prove necessary.
He advances quietly before calling out.
The teen startles at that and turns around rapidly.
His grip slackens, sending his notebook plummeting to the ground. Shouta tenses. He can’t fuck this up.
“Midoriya, step away from the ledge,” he says, trying to keep his voice gentle.
“Wh– what are you doing here, sensei? You– you’re not supposed to be here…” he trails off, thankfully taking a step away from the empty void behind him. His face shows his surprise but what worries him is the darkness that lurks in his student’s eyes.
“Whatever you’re thinking right now, we can resolve it. It doesn’t have to end this way.”
Midoriya’s face twists into a mockery of a smile.
“Doesn’t it? I’ll never be enough. I knew that already. Everyone has made sure to make me know where my place is. UA was supposed to be better, you were supposed to be better!”
The words strike Shouta harder than any weapon ever could.
his head being slammed on the unforgiving floor –
five fingers extended to grab at –
ashes and dust, just ashes and dust –
too late, always too late –
Midoriya’s expression falls as tears begin to flow down his cheeks.
“It was supposed to be different… But, you hate me, why else can’t I pass again? I tried everything, but it’s never enough! Not even scoring higher worked…”
Pass again… Scoring higher...
Midoriya placed last this time. What he was saying didn’t make any sense, not unless… Not unless he remembered last time too.
His heart clenches at the implication.
The loops had never been logical. They always started on the same day, but their length varied from a day to a week with no rhyme or reason. There didn’t seem to be a commonality to how his actions affected the loops, and still no answer as to what caused them in the first place.
But this changes things. If his actions had no effect on the time loop, then maybe Midoriya’s did. Bile rises in his throat at the thought. Because the only thing in common with the attack would be –
ashes and dust, just ashes and dust –
“... Midoriya… do you remember the USJ?”
This time, it’s Midoriya who freezes, eyes wide and mouth open in naked surprise.
“You… you remember? But then… why? If you remember the attack, then why did you expel me all those times? Did you regret passing–”
“No,” Shouta interrupts. The words are hard to find and harder yet to say, but his student deserves an explanation. He owes him an explanation. “I wanted to keep you safe. If you didn’t pass, then you wouldn’t be involved in the attack.”
“But I could’ve helped!” he protests, full of indignation.
“You died, Midoriya! I saw you disintegrate under the touch of that villain, and then you were gone! I couldn’t let that happen again.”
Midoriya lets out a soft “Oh”. His eyes fill with an understanding that Shouta would have done anything to make it disappear. Children shouldn’t have those kinds of eyes.
“There is no saying how long these loops are going to continue happening, and we don’t even know what triggers them,” he continues because he can’t stop now that he’s started.
“That’s not true.”
“I said that’s not true. I know why it’s happening. I just don’t know how to make it stop.” Midoriya averts his gaze. “It’s my quirk,” he admits so softly Shouta has to strain to hear it.
“Your quirk? I thought your quirk was Superpower?” He had seen that quirk in action, seen the kind of damage it wrought, and there’s no way that it could also be affecting time. Quirks just didn’t work that way.
Midoriya looks even more contrite if that’s at all possible. “It’s complicated,” he mumbles before he seems to visibly steel himself.
“My quirk sends me back in time when I die. Always to the same day. I didn’t know it was affecting you too! I’ll have to figure out how that changes things, probably need to run more experiments...”
“No.” Oh, kami no, he thinks as his heart sinks for the countless time this evening. Doesn’t he realize what he was saying? Does he really value himself so little?
“Promise me that you won’t try to force the resets. You can’t… you can’t continue doing that. We’ll find a way to test it safely but promise me that first.”
The way Midoriya looks stunned at the show of basic human decency makes something inside Shouta seethe in rage.
“I– ok, Aizawa-sensei, I promise.” He looks away. A long silence ensues. “What are we going to do now?”
Shouta kneels down and opens up his arms in a clear gesture. Midoriya wastes no time to return the hug.
“We’ll figure it out, Problem Child. Together. Everything will be alright.”
Midoriya gives him a shaky smile before burying his face in his scarf.
It will be alright. He will make sure of it.