Midoriya knew three things for sure.
1- Kacchan would be coming after him, leaving Iida to defend the weapon. This meant their best course of action would be to use himself as bait, leaving Uraraka free to move ahead to secure the weapon.
2- All Might and the other students would be watching the fight remotely. Which means there are cameras throughout the building, and where there are cameras, there's a free method of tracking.
3- Kacchan always started out with a strong right hook.
These three things were all he needed to initiate phase one of the plan. He set his mask to mute, so only Uraraka and All Might could hear him through their headsets. Then wall hopped his way up to hang from a pipe and open the grate for the industrial vents. Once the grate was open, he swung his body up into the vent and perched himself in the shadows.
The monitor on his command center showed his target approaching, no doubt planning a sneak attack of his own based on his prey stalking posture. He set the magnetization level of his bolos to a 4, strong enough that his target wouldn't be able to pull them off if things went as planned. And then he just had to wait.
He watched silently from above as Kacchan stalked past, calculating the exact right time and position for his attack. He grabbed the edge of the vent and slowly lowered his body down, swinging his legs just enough to build up the necessary momentum, and then released his grip at the height of the arch so he could fly kick directly to the area between Kacchan’s shoulder blades.
The kick had the desired effect, it sent him to the ground, but more importantly it made him mad. Kacchan was smart, but easily distracted by his anger, so Midoriya had to keep him angry so he wouldn see through his plan.
As predicted, Kacchan immediately sprung up from the ground and rounded on Midoriya with a growl and his signature right hook. Midoriya swung the bolo up around Kacchans elbow, just above his gauntlet, as he slid beneath the punch with ease. Once he heard the click of the bolo attaching to itself he took off in a full sprint towards the stairs to initiate phase two.
“The fuck is this Deku?!” Kacchan screamed as he followed in hot pursuit.
His feed of the cameras showed him exactly where the weapon was hidden, so he told Uraraka the best route to her objective as he dodged the blasts approaching from behind.
A painful blast of searing heat to his back informed him Kacchan had officially caught up. He let out a pained yell, and then cursed himself for probably hurting the ears at the other end of his comms. Sure enough Uraraka was asking him if he was alright, but he didn't have time to respond just yet, it was time for phase two.
Midoriya pivoted to face his opponent and did some quick calculations in his head of the surrounding structure determining the best possible jump points and holds. A barrage of hits and kicks swung wildly in his direction. Small blasts sending heat, and bright flashes of light all around his body as he blocked and dodged.
“Since when are you so slippery you damn nerd?!”
Good, he was getting frustrated.
As Kacchan lunged forward with a straight on with his left, Midoriya saw his opening and took it. Bobbing under the hit, he wrapped the other bolo into place at the same time that he grabbed the arm and swung his body around into position for a shoulder toss.
The look on Kacchans face when his full body flipped through the air and was consequently slammed onto his back like he was a human pancake, filled Midoriya with so much petty pride, that he couldn't help but smirk a little.
But more importantly, both bolos were now wrapped around either of Kacchans arms which meant phase two complete, time for phase three.
Midoriya took off once again before Kacchan would have the time to catch his breath, he was now half way to his target position. And Kacchan should be plenty mad at this point to give him the data he needed.
Midoriya found the room he was looking for, a large open space with several concrete pillars giving him plenty of space and places to hide. He turned off the mute function of his mask temporarily, for this next part, he wanted his stealth to be compromised just a bit.
Kacchan arrived right on time, just as Midoriya had moved himself into position behind his desired pillar.
“Where the fuck are you Deku?! I know you're in here!”
Okay, now here comes the hard part. Midoriya used a combination of sprints, rolls, and fake outs to move between the pillars. Dodging both blasts and debris from the concrete that took the bulk of the heat for him. After a few minutes of this, They were both drenched in sweat and Kacchan was practically foaming at the mouth as he unleashed his barrage of curses and insults.
Midoriya heard a faint beep from one of Kacchans gauntlets and the boy took on a manic expression. This was what they were both waiting for. Midoriya dashed to the last pillar and prepared himself to leap out of the way.
“Lets see you try and dodge this Deku.” Kacchan said with an unhinged grunt.
Midoriya could hear the clicking of Kacchans gear sliding into place for this blast, as he assumed a deep bracing position with his arms and legs.
Midoriya couldn't hear what All Might was saying through the enemy team's comms, but he could hear Kacchans response.
“He’ll be fine, as long as he dodges!”
Welp. That can’t be good.
Once Midoriya heard the tell tale sound of the grenade pin being pulled, he flung himself as far as he could out of the way, only to be caught up in the shock wave of a massive blast.
His body was thrown harshly from its trajectory, his vision went white as he was slammed into a wall which quickly crumbled away with him.
For a moment all he could hear was high pitched whistle tones and what almost sounded like several people yelling in his ear, but he couldn't even begin to comprehend what they were saying. A nauseous dizziness had his head swaying beyond his control as his brain slowly caught up to what had just happened.
A massive hole was blown through not only the concrete wall of the room they were once in, but the two other walls behind that one leading outside. As the dust began to settle he could see huge chunks of debris, exposed wires and dripping pipes, that was one big blast.
He mumbled out the info Uraraka would need for phase four of their plan while still in a daze. But as he continued to reboot his system, his emotions flooded out the more rational part of his brain.
Bakugou had just unleashed enough power to be considered a sizable bomb, it blasted through several feet of concrete as far as 50 feet back and in a 15 feet wide radius. And it was pointed at him. That was an undoubtedly fatal blast, if he hadn't dodged in time that would have killed him. And based on the pain and heat his adrenalin was mercifully shielding him from at the moment, it almost got him anyway.
Midoriya gritted his teeth as rage filled tears flooded his eyes. He was shaking with anger and frustration, unable to hold himself back as all higher thinking temporarily flew from his brain. He painfully drug himself up off the ground and grabbed for his collapsible staff and stalked towards Bakugou with all the cold determination he usually reserved for the most formidable criminals.
“Are you fucking stupid?!” Midoriya screamed as he limped in to fight the stunned looking Bakugou. “A fatal blast?! Indoors?! In a base you're meant to be defending?!”
He continued to vent his frustrations as he went into full offensive mode with his staff. It's not like Bakugou could hear him anyway with his mask on, so he saw no reason to hold back.
“You had that aimed at me! Do you even realize how close you just got to committing man slaughter?! You’re supposed to be a fucking hero student!”
Bakugou's eyes continued to get wider and wider as he did his best to fight off Midoriya's attacks, probably shocked at the switch away from his usual defensive maneuvers. Midoriya could end this fight quickly by simply gassing him now. But they still had phase four of the plan to go, and Midoriya had a lot more to get off his chest. So he just kept hitting him into position.
“Are you so blinded by your hatred of me that you forgot where you were?! Forgot what you're supposed to be doing here?! Your assignment was to subdue and capture, not to jump straight to killing blows?!”
Bakugou landed one hit straight to his gut, Midoriya buckled over as the oxygen left his lungs.
He was suddenly reminded of the burn marks that littered his torso; of the fist that hit almost the exact same position almost one full year ago. The second he could breathe again, Midoriya started laughing, he didn't know why, but for some reason this suddenly seemed funny to him. The words left his lips without his permission long before he even realized he was saying them.
“I don't even know why I’m surprised at this point. I already knew you waned me dead when you told me to kill myself in middle school! I guess you got tired of waiting for me to handle the problem on my own, right, Kacchan? Was I taking too long to find a suitable building to take a swan dive from?! So now you’ve decided to try and take matters into your own damn hands?!”
Midoriya swung his staff like it was a baseball bat at Kacchans legs, for a moment it looked like Bakugou would be too stunned to dodge it, but he managed to jump over the swing at the last second.
“SHUT THE FUCK UP DEKU!” He yelled as he lunged, setting off a small explosion right by Midoriya's ear.
His comms system crackled in his ear with static, perhaps damaged by the close proximity to the blast, but he could still faintly hear voices in his ear, so it was still functional.
His own rage blinded him to some essential knowledge. Bakugou telling him to ‘shut the fuck up’ meant he could very much so hear him. Because in all his shock he forgot to put his mask back into mute mode. Meaning...everyone could hear him. But adrenaline and trauma combined to cancel out his usual level of observation. So he continued venting as he swung.
“Ten years Kacchan! I spent ten fucking years as your personal punching bag! Taking all the hits and letting you burn out all your frustrations! I swallowed every insult, and hid every scar from my mother, and for what?! I protected you from yourself because I thought you could be a great hero one day!”
“I SAID SHUT UP!”
“NO! I was silent for too damn long already! I looked up to you! I thought you were so cool! I thought you could be the best hero of our generation! That you could win any fight! Because you were my friend! And it didn't matter how much you hurt me, or tried to push me away, because you were the only one I had!”
“THATS NOT MY FUCKING NAME, BAKUGOU!”
Bakugou stumbled back for a moment, Midoriya was able to see through the red long enough to realize they were in position, so he let out a low whistle, the signal he and Uraraka had decided on ahead of time to initiate phase four.
He sprung forward with his staff, getting right up in Bakugou's face.
“My name,” he said with a snarl, “Is Izuku Midoriya! And you would do well to remember it! Because I'm the one you're about to lose to.”
He saw Bakugou's face morph from shock to carnal rage as he reached towards his gauntlet. This was it. Midoriya only had about three seconds to do what he had to do.
He stabbed his staff upwards with all his might so it was lodged in the pipes near the ceiling directly above Bakugou, and then promptly sprung backwards in a series of flips meant to get as much distance between them as possible.
Just as Bakugou was about to pull the pin of his other gauntlet, Midoriya cranked the magnetization of his bolos to max for just a second.
Three things happened all at once.
Bakugou's arms snapped together at the point the bolos were still wrapped around them from earlier. Then they were flung upwards to snap onto the metal of Midoriya's staff. And lastly, the blast Bakugou had already begun to set off, was detonated, not straight ahead towards Midoriya, but directly overhead, blasting a giant hole in the ceiling above them.
Huge chunks of Concrete and rebar began falling down around them, but Midoriya was already back on defense. He used up all the kinetic energy he had saved in his shoes during this fight to dodge and spring forward, barreling right into Bakugou. They both slid roughly along the ground acquiring several scrapes, but they were both out of the way of the falling debris.
Midoriya grunted against the pain, moving as fast as his body would still allow him to go as he quickly straddled the flippant Bakugou before he would have the chance to recover. For half a second they made eye contact with one another, one boy thrashing beneath the legs of the other with his arms pinned to his sides. Bakugou's eyes were swimming with a mix of rage, fear, and just a small dash of something Midoriya couldn't define. Midoriya directed his right wrist at his face, just under the nose, and pulled the pin. The potent sleeping gas, from which he got the code name Nox, knocking Bakugou out in just three seconds.
As Bakugou's frantic movements and screams slowed, and eventually stopped all together, Midoriya had just enough time to say one last thing.
“And that is how you subdue a criminal whilst inflicting minimal injury!”
Somewhere above him, Uraruka was using the debris Bakugou’s blast had created, to clear a path between herself and the weapon. Using her quirk to distract Iida and fling herself onto the massive fake bomb. The buzzer signalling their win sounded off just as Midoriya dismounted Bakugou's limp form and began to stand.
Midoriya glared down at his former friend, swallowing down a bit of bile and the last of his tears. Now that the fight was over, his adrenaline high was starting to crash fast. The rage dissolved from his body in waves, with each ebb of emotion being replaced with exhaustion.
With one shaky exhale of a sigh he crouched back down next to Bakugou and began administering first aid. He wasn't badly injured, but he did have a few open scraps with dust and other nonsense in it, so he gently cleared him with disenficing wipes. A task that got harder and harder to do as his vision started to blur and distort.
Before he knew it. Midoriya collapsed down on the ground right next to Bakugou, the extent of his injuries and severe exhaustion from his emotional outburst finally becoming too much for his body to handle.
When Midoriya's heavy eyes finally fluttered back open, he was laying in a bed with plain white sheets, he groaned against the strain in his body and the bright, clinical lights over head.
“Are you awake my boy?” A deep familiar voice asked him.
Midoriya forced himself to look at the source despite his earth splitting headache, and was surprised to see All Might sitting by his bed.
“A-All Might?” He asked sleepily.
All Might smiled at him. “I’m glad to see you are alright. You had us all scared for a moment there.
Midoriya was about to ask what had happened, but he was already starting to remember. Yeah, he could see why his teacher would be concerned.
“Sorry.” He said sheepishly. “Is everyone else okay?”
“There's no need to apologize. And all things considered, you were the only one truly injured. Though myself, and the others, do have a few questions for you. Do you feel up to answering them now?”
All Might smiled warmly before asking, “Is it agility of analytics?”
“Your quirk. Watching you match I couldn't determine which it was.”
This made no sense. All Might already knew he was quirkless. He had told him so when they met after the slime villain attack. He had spilled his guts about how he wanted to be a quirkless hero to All Might, and he had told him it was impossible.
“You...You don't remember me?”
“Ah, well, it's only my first day of teaching, I haven't had the chance to memorize everyone's files yet. But needless to say you've made quite the impression.”
Midoriya didn't know what to say. Their meeting was one of the lowest points of Midoriya's life. It had changed and shaped him into the person he was now in more ways than one. It mattered to him in ways that rivaled finding out he was quirkless or the day his dad left for America. And All Might had forgotten all about it?
Maybe he just didn't recognize him. His appearance had changed quite a bit as a result of his training and his vigilante activities. Maybe if he just gave him a subtle reminder, All Might would figure it out.
“I...I’m quirkless?” He said with hesitation, hoping that alone would be enough to spark some recognition in his hero.
“Quirkless?” All Mights eyes went wide for a moment before his face was schooled into a new expression “Oh my boy. If I had known you were so defenseless I would have stopped the match immediately. I’m sorry I missed that.”
A small flicker of the now familiar rage ignited in Midoriya's belly once more. Defenseless? The only reason Midoriya wasn't more seriously injured, or hell, killed, was because he had the agility training and the support gear necessary to leap far enough out of the way. From the top of his head, he was pretty sure he was the only one in class who would have had half a chance of dodging that blast.
“My lack of a quirk doesn't make me defenseless. But yes, you should have stopped the match. Because if anyone else had been at the receiving end of that blast, you'd likely have a dead student on your hands.”
“I-I did consider stopping the fight. But you seemed so fired up and...Well I thought the experience may be cathartic for you. To get a win against a student who had caused you such grief.”
Midoriya bit down on his check to prevent himself from saying anything he may regret later. After counting to ten and taking three deep breaths he came to the conclusion that All Might still didn't remember him.
Was he truly so forgettable and insignificant in All Mights eyes? He had revealed his true form to him, Midoriya knew his big secret. Did he at least remember that much?
“All Might.” Midoriya gestured with his finger for the man to come closer so he could whisper in his ear.
When the man complied by leaning over his bed, Midoriya swallowed hard and asked “Aren’t you already close to your limit for the day?” As he gently poked at his torso where he knew his weak point was hidden.
All Mights face blanched white as a ghost as he took in the implications of what Midoriya knew. His sunken eyes searching Midoriyas for any hint of malicious intent, before the recognition Midoriya was looking for finally flashed across his face.
“It's you. The boy from the roof.”
Midoriya tried not to think too hard about it. About how close he was to considering taking Kacchans advice before Dare showed up that day. He swallowed down his emotions, doing his best impression of Toshi’s sleepy indifference.
“Yeah… It's me.”
A few beats of uncomfortable silence passed between them. But just as All Might was about to open his mouth to speak, the door slid open and in walked Aizawa and recovery girl.
“All Might. It's past time for you to leave for the day. Recovery Girl and I need to speak with my student.” Aizawas tone did a poor job of hiding his distaste for the man. But if All Might himself noticed this, it was well hidden in his own response.
“Ah, yes, of course. I’ll leave you to it then.” He stood with a bow. Making hesitant eye contact with Midoriya before exiting the room.
“How are you feeling deary?” Recovery Girl asked, her voice laced with concern.
“I'm fine.” Midoriya replied automatically.
“Are you sure? You got quite a few burns and scrapes during your match. Not to mention the things your classmates over heard…”
Midoriya was confused for a moment by that statement before he realized what she was talking about. Like a polaroid finally developing, the delusion of privacy faded away. He forgot to mute his mask before venting at Bakugou. Not only did Bakugou hear him, everyone else had too via the cameras. The whole class now had intimate knowledge of the things Bakugou did to him when they were young.
Shit! Was he in trouble? Was Bakugou? Everyone heard him have a near melt down, would they look at him differently now? Would they see him as fragile and useless like All Might did? Would they use this against him? Would they even care?
As the silence in the air grew palpable, Midoriya realized they were still waiting for him to respond. So he forced himself to say something.
“Do you think if you say it enough times, that will make it true?” Aizawa deadpanned.
Midoriya looked down at his hands as he clenched at the bed sheets. This was it. Between being quirkless, and now being deemed unstable, Aizawa was gonna expel him for sure. Was there any way to convince him not to? Anything he could do or say to prove he still had potential?
“It is true, I’m fine, really. I’m a lot stronger than people think I am. I can handle this. I'm used to it.”
“You being used to it is precisely why we are so concerned, Midoriya.” Principal Nedzu popped up suddenly from the folds of Aizawa's scarf. Startling Midoriya into a yelp.
“Ah! P-principal Nedzu, sir. H-have you been in there the whole time?”
“Yes, of course. It's quite comforting and convenient for me.”
Recovery girl finished detaching him from the monitors and handed him a healing gummy with an affectionate pat to his hand. After looking to Nedzu, she seemed to read silent instructions from him to leave the room, so she did so after giving Midoriya one last reassuring smile.
“As I was saying.” Nedzu began as the door slid closed “You made some very serious and startling accusations during your fight with Bakugou. After reviewing the tapes, it's clear disciplinary actions must be taken. I only wish we had been made aware of the situation ahead of time.”
Midoriya hung his head to avoid the angry gaze of his mentor.
“I...I understand sir... I’m sorry to have been such a disappointment to you.”
“What are you talking about, problem child?” Aizawa questioned with a furrowed brow.
“I know you had higher expectations for me after admitting me to multiple courses… Am I… Expelled from the support course as well?”
“Expelled?” Nedzu asked, “Who told you you'd be expelled?”
Midoriya looked back and forth between Nedzu and Aizawa waiting for one of them to say something, when neither party did, he spoke for them.
“You said… You said there would be disciplinary actions, so I just assumed. Did you mean detention then? Or-?”
“Midoriya.” Aizawa pinched the bridge of his nose. Clearly exasperated with him. “You're Not the one in trouble here.”
“No. You're not.” Aizawa sighed deeply. “Nedzu, could you please explain to the boy before I have an aneurysm.”
“Yes of course.” Nedzu offered before crawling out of Aizawas scarf and onto Midoriya's bed with him. “I was of course referring to Bakugou. If the things you said during your match are true, as the scarring recovery girl found on your torso suggests they are, then Bakugou should have never been admitted to the hero course in the first place.”
“We will be, of course, launching an investigation with the local police department, and pending results, he will be expelled.”
“You can’t do that!” Midorya yelled before he could stop himself.
Aizawa and Nedzu shared a glance before Nedzu turned back to him to ask, “And why is that, Midoriya. I should think you would be happy to hear your former tormentor would no longer be enrolled with you.”
“Because he would make such a great hero! It's everything he ever wanted growing up, and he worked so hard for it, you can't take that away from him now!”
“Hard work or no. His words and deeds suggest he lacks the empathy and mindset necessary for hero work.”
Midoriya panicked internally for a moment. On the surface, what Nedzu was saying was true. But it wasn't that simple, was it? Bakugou wasn't lacking empathy, not really. In fact, when they were really little, he used to be so nice. But as they got older he changed, what was it that changed him? Was it just him getting his quirk? Or was there more to it?
Midoriya searched his memories as quickly as he could to try and find the root of the problem, and once he found it, he wasted no time in telling the others.
“It's not his fault. The adults in his life failed him, repeatedly. They filled his head with all these expectations and encouraged his more violent impulses. If just one person had told him what he was doing was wrong, then he might not be like this.”
“Hmmm.” Nedzu seemed to be considering this, so Midoriya added more to his argument.
“The teachers at our old school encouraged all the students to test out their quirks on me. Not just Kacchan. If he was really the problem here, then none of the other students would have joined in, but they did. And his mom…”
He didn't want to throw Auntie Mitsky under the bus, but if he was honest, she was part of the problem as well.
“His mom is just as aggressive as he is. Possibly worse even. And she puts a lot of pressure on him to do well in school and stuff. He never had any way of knowing better.”
Nedzu and Aizawa shared another glance before Nedzu one again turned his attention to Midoriya.
“So what do you suggest then? If you don't believe expulsion to be the best option.”
Midoriya thought about it for a moment before responding.
“Honestly? I don't know. Maybe therapy or community service or something? I just know that if you crush his dreams now, when he's so close to becoming something better, that it would be a mistake. He has the potential to be such a great hero, he just needs someone to show him how… He deserves the chance to prove himself.”
Nedzu and Aizawa stared at each other much longer this time. Some sort of silent battle of wills clearly taking place between them, before Aizawa finally broke eye contact and released a long, low sigh.
“Fine kid, you win. He can stay.” Aizawa began before pointing directly at the principal to list his demands. “But he's on probation. I’m talking mandatory therapy sessions with Hound Dog, anger management classes, and 30 hours of community service. Minimum.”
Nedzu looked to Midoriya instead of answering Aizawa directly.
“Does that sound agreeable to you Midoriya?”
It sounded a hell of a lot better than expulsion. He was pretty sure Kacchan would be furious about it. But in the long run, it would be good for him. So Midoriya nodded enthusiastically before Aizawa sensei would have the chance to add on more.
“And you.” Speaking of Aizawa adding on more… “You should be seeing Hound Dog as well.”
“What? Why me?”
“Because you clearly need it.”
“ But, I thought you said I wasn't in trouble?”
“You're not! I- You know what? Nedzu, I need to go lie down for a while before our conference with the Bakugous later.”
Aizawa had his hands up in defeat as he made a swift exit from the room. Midoriya flinched, unsure what he did to upset his homeroom teacher so much, but glad for the reassurance that he wasn't in trouble.
The room was silent for a moment before Nedzu turned to face Midoriya once more with a smile.
“So, how is your assignment from me going?”
“Oh my gosh! I almost forgot! I promised Hagakure and Yaoyorozu I'd take them to go see Mei after class! What time is it?”
Nedzu checked his pocket watch before responding.
“Class should be out in about five minuets. If you feel up to walking now, you should arrive just in time.”
“Then, I'd better get going!”
Midoriya flng the sheets off himself and was halfway to the door before Nedzu cleared his throat to regain his attention.
“You may want to change back into a pair of pants at the least before you go.” Nedzu said with a soft smile as he pointed to the folded uniform sitting in a chair by the bed.
“Oh, right.” he said with a blush.
Midoriya changed out of his medical gown as fast as humanly possible before dashing out of the room. He didn't want the girls to think he was flaking on them. A promise is a promise after all.