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The Great UA Bake-Off

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Two women stood on a grassy field, blazers sharp. The pleasant sounds of birds and a light rustle of the wind seeped in from the background. On the right, the blonde woman grinned. “It’s that time again: the tent is up, the ovens moved in, the judges well-rested and ready to-”

 

“Well, I don’t know about that, Mel,” the woman on the left cut in. “Last I saw him, Paul looked rather peckish.”

 

“Isn’t that just how he normally is, Sue?” Mel asked. “Regardless, today, 12 of Japan’s hero hopefuls will be competing for the coveted title of Britain’s Best Home Baker.”

 

“I don’t think that’ll do much for them in Japan,” Sue pointed out. Mel shrugged, unbothered. 

 

The scene cut to twelve young men and women, eleven of whom being yelled at by the twelfth. A boy with a flash of lightning in his hair was hiding behind a brightly smiling redhead. 

 

I expect you all to be on your best behavior! the yeller continued, mercilessly staring down those who were beginning to wilt and shrink away like dying plants. 

 

“Chill out, Iida!” the redhead laughed, slinging his arm around a rabid blond boy who wiggled his shoulders furiously to relinquish himself from the other’s grip. “We’ll be fine!”

 

Iida chopped a hand forward and spluttered, gesturing towards a boy with dual-colored hair who was currently bringing his hand- which was on fire- closer and closer to the fabric of the tent’s covering before swiping it away. He was like a child at the beach running away from the waves. Iida was not impressed. 

 

A girl with a sunny smile and shoulder-length hair sighed, resigned. “It’s okay- Todoroki’s loaded. We’ll just bill all the property damage to his dad’s credit card. We’ve got this!”

 

Todoroki nodded, turning away from his fiery hand to meet Iida’s eyes and say, “Arson is in my blood. I can’t escape it. No one can.”

 

In his moment of inattention, flame had caught on the linen covering and was quickly spreading up the side of the tent. Iida, panicked, waved his limbs about while the rest of the group tried to pat it out.

 

Todoroki stared at the carnage in awe, the flames flickering in his eyes. “I am a beacon of terror and destruction-”

 

“Shut the fuck up, you shitwipe-!”

 

The footage cut back to Mel and Sue. Sue blinked at the camera, her smile delayed a few moments too late. 

 

“My,” she said. “This is going to be a fun one.”

 

As the bakers were shown to be heading into the tent, the fire put out by Todoroki, who finally realized he could make water with his quirk, a face the screen labeled as Midoriya got in front of the camera.

 

“I’m so nervous I could die,” he said in a rush, wiping sweaty palms on his apron. 

 

“The twelve bakers will be facing a set of challenges to raise money for charity. Attendees of UA, a prestigious school known for its Hero Course, make up the roster for today. Some,” the voice-over of Sue drawled, “ are more prepared than others.”

 

“I’ve already thrown up twice,” Midoriya said, breaths short and shallow. His hair was curly and slightly frizzled out, and his smile was stretched far too widely across his face. Abnormally flushed, he shuffled and continued, “I hope I don’t win. Kacchan would murder me.”

 

As if summoned, the angry boy from earlier appeared in the background of the frame as a blurry yellow splotch, seething. “ YOU GOT THAT RIGHT, YOU SHIT! I’LL BEAT ALL OF YOU EXTRAS! JUST FUCKING WAIT!”

 

Midoriya hiccuped and swallowed sharply. “Oops,” he said. “Just threw up in my mouth again.”

 

In response to whatever look the cameraman was sending him, he added, “Swallowed it, though. It’s fine.”

 

He smiled again. The disbelief of the crew was so palpable it could be felt just by the camera angle alone. 

 

The next mini-interview starred Kirishima, as the screen informed the viewers, the bright redhead from the earlier clip. “I’m totally stoked to be here!” he said, eyes shining. “Anything for a good cause, you know? And we get cake!”

 

With a teasing smile, he flexed his biceps, muscles bulging. “These guns will bring me through for sure, dude! Piping bags are no match for me!”

 

Off-camera, someone let out an oddly frog-like sound and said, “We’ll see how long that confidence lasts, Riot. You know Satou’s here, right?”

 

Kirishima laughed and tilted his head to the side. “Tsu’s right. That man is a beast. Mad respect.”

 

Back in the tent, Mel and Sue shouted out greetings to the new competitors, who either returned the pleasantries, stared into space, or screamed about getting things started.

 

Kacchan ,” Midoriya whispered. Very loudly. “ You can’t be mean to the hosts -”

 

“I’LL SHOW YOU MEAN-”

 

Midoriya paled, reached for a paper bag to breathe into, and stopped trying. 

 

Kaminari, listed the screen for the next interview, and the boy shot the camera a wink and a sharp grin. 

 

“Yeah,” he said confidently, oozing charisma, “I think this is going to go really, really badly.”

 

Distinctly Kirishima-sounding laughter followed.

 

“I tend to… not get along with appliances,” Kaminari admitted, his grin turning sheepish. “But!” He raised a finger, and it sparked. “I have the passion!”

 

“Manly, bro!”

 

“Right?” Kaminari exclaimed, beaming. He barely managed to restrain himself, shooting off a few finger-guns. “I’ve just got this, like, feeling in my gut that in a past life I was a super rockin’ baker-dude-”

 

“Shut your face before I shut it for you, dumbass.”

 

Kaminari squeaked. “Yep! Shutting up now.”

 

“These bakers will be judged by the legends themselves: Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood,” Sue’s voice jumped back in, the screen displaying the fidgeting bakers as they tied up their aprons.

 

“I think this is a wonderful cause,” Mary told the camera, her accent curling around the words delicately. “And I’m just so very excited to see what these young students can come up with!”

 

“I’m expecting more than a few fires, to be honest,” Paul said in a laugh, blue eyes glittering. He let out a long, miserable sigh. “Who knows? Maybe one of them will surprise us.”

 

Satou appeared on the screen for his interview, eyes darting around him. “I-I love baking! I hope I can make something the judges- and my friends- will think tastes nice! Um.”

 

A pleased coo sounded out off-camera. “ Satou, you’re so sweet!”

 

Blushing furiously, Satou managed a soft, “Thanks, Uraraka.”

 

The next scene panned over the English field that the tent had been set up on, Mel’s voice informing the audience that, “ The bakers will be baking today in two challenges: the Signature Bake and the Technical Challenge. Because these students are so inexperienced and this is all being done in the spirit of philanthropy, there is no theme to this week’s episode.”

 

“So keep your ears peeled and eyes to the ground to find out what tricks Paul and Mary have up their sleeves!” Sue chimed in.

 

I-I think it’s EYES peeled and EARS to the ground, actually,” Mel said tentatively. 

 

A moment of silence. “ That’s what I said, wasn’t it?”

 

“Eh,” replied Mel, “ to-may-to, to-mah-to; bis-kit, bit-keet-”

 

“No one says it like that-”

 

“The first challenge is BISCUITS!” Mel exclaimed, and the two smiled brightly as the camera pulled back to them in front of the chosen twelve. 

 

“The judges are expecting twenty-four crisp, evenly-sized biscuits. You’ll have two hours. On your marks-” Sue began.

 

“Get set-” Mel picked up.

 

“Bake!” the two chorused, and the group moved into action.

 

The group moved into action, poring over their chosen recipes and gathering ingredients. The camera scanned over the tables as it was pretty obvious that Todoroki, Tokoyami, Aoyama, and Kaminari had no fucking clue what they were doing. Somehow, Todoroki had already managed to get chocolate all over his face, despite the fact that there was no evidence of there even being chocolate at his workstation, and Kaminari had already shorted out his mixer. 

 

The judges walked around the bakers, carefully appraising their baking practices. Midoriya, uncomfortably aware of their eyes, had sliced open two of his fingers while trying to shave the zest off of an orange. Blushing furiously, he allowed the medic to put the blue glove on his hand.

 

Momo , as introduced by the text at the bottom of the screen, smiled warmly at Sue as she approached. “Hi, there!”

 

Sue smiled back and asked, “Have you ever made biscuits before?”

 

The girl hummed and tilted her head in a so-so motion. “Once or twice- my mother and I like to bake, but we mostly do Japanese dishes. But biscuits don’t seem overly complex, you know?”

 

With an amicable nod, Sue peered over the table and spotted a tea kettle. “What’s that for?”

 

“I’m making tea to go with my biscuits,” Momo explained, and the camera zoomed in on the ornate kettle she placed on the burner. 

 

As she continued to talk about the tea she chose and how it paired with the flavor of her bake, Todoroki, who was at the station behind her, began to become increasingly distracted. Milk sloshed onto the tabletop as his hand jerked in reaction to the hissing of the kettle. 

 

And then the kettle began to really make noise, the tea heated and ready to go. Todoroki froze in place, his eyes haunted. 

 

Sue frowned and called out, “Todoroki? Are you okay?”

 

Setting aside their inability to interact normally for a moment, Bakugou and Midoriya shared a knowing look from across the room.

 

Todoroki, with flour in his hair and chocolate smeared across his mouth, began to do the Robot. Surprisingly well. All was silent as he busted it down in the kitchen, really putting his all into it. 

 

Bakugou watched his classmate scuffle around with a pained expression. “What is wrong with you?”

 

Todoroki pivoted towards Bakugou and held his elbow steady as he swung his forearm back and forth. Not one to be cowed by Todoroki’s specific brand of bullshit, Bakugou held intense eye contact with the dancing moron long enough for everyone else to become uncomfortable. 

 

And then Kaminari tripped over his shoelaces and exploded his oven.

 

As that was being dealt with, the judges approached Midoriya’s table. “What are you making?”

 

His eyes glancing over at the camera in fear every few moments, Midoriya replied in halting syllables, “I- uh- it’s biscuits with… cinnamon and orange… dipped in a white chocolate and a dark chocolate ganache.” He let out a shrill bark of laughter and fell silent and twitchy.

 

“And do you think you’ll be able to budget your time properly for a bake like this?” Paul asked, blue eyes drilled onto Midoriya’s quickly-deteriorating composure.

 

Midoriya let out another string of disjointed laughter and lifted his whisk from the bowl. The ganache mixture slid off of it like slime. “I’m hanging on by a thread, Paul. A very thin thread.”

 

Paul’s eyes narrowed, while Sue smiled good-naturedly and leaned over the table like the two were sharing in on the joke. “More like hanging on by a thin ganache, am I right?”

 

Whisking vigorously, Midoriya just gave her a wild-eyed look and continued to combust.

 

“He’s like a supernova,” Uraraka informed the camera a moment later, peering into a pan to check the color of her caramel. 

 

“Bright and explosive?” Mel guessed.

 

Uraraka snorted. “What? No. He implodes inwardly and then flings his anxiety outwards. Usually in the form of vomit.”

 

They both turned to observe Midoriya, who was whipping with a blank, far-away look in his eyes. They were rimmed with red. Hell, they were pretty sure his pupils were different sizes.

 

“Bakers!” Sue interrupted. “Five more minutes!” 

 

The room promptly inflated with terror.

 

Kirishima hardened his hand to use as a makeshift mallet to break up peanut brittle, glancing up at Kaminari as he passed by his table, who was seemingly unconcerned about his own nonexistent dish. “What’s up, Kami?”

 

“Hey, bro,” said Kaminari, “I think you need a break from Dee.”

 

Kirishima paused in his malleting to shoot Kaminari a confused smile. “What? A break from Dee, who?”

 

For a moment, Kaminari just stood there, unadulterated joy in his face. Already sensing what was to come, Bakugou emptied his biscuits onto the serving platter and picked up the still-hot baking sheet with his bare fucking hands, preparing himself to knock Kaminari over the head with it. 

 

Unable to hold it in any longer, Kaminari pointed at the peanuts and screamed, “ A BREAK FROM DEEZ NUTS!”  

 

The baking sheet went soaring across the room, and Kaminari shrieked, his quirk firing as he ran back to his station. The metal tray flew past Kaminari and landed behind him, but the damage had been done. For the crime of his horrible, barely-logical deez nuts joke, Kaminari had shorted himself out.

 

“Ehehe,” said Kaminari, dazed. “Bleep bloop.”

 

“THAT’S WHAT YOU GET!” Bakugou gloated, grinning fiendishly. He bit into one of his extra biscuits and said through a full mouth, “St’pid extr’s wh’ make d’mb j’kes get F’CKED UP-”

 

“I don’t get it,” said Todoroki, stirring whatever the fuck was in his bowl. It was a deep brown, sludgy blob. No one had seen Todoroki use more than that single bowl in the entire two hour period. He ignored Bakugou’s hate-filled glare and repeated, “What’s the joke? I don’t get it.”

 

Tokoyami hummed, putting the finishing touches on his coal-black, burnt-to-shit biscuits. “They reign over all/ Boffa, break from Dee, Phillip/ Beware of deez nuts.”

 

Todoroki asked, “What?” but it wasn’t audible over Bakugou’s raging of, “ A FUCKING HAIKU? I HATE YOU ALL. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU MAKES ME-”

 

He broke off into a fit of coughing- Tokoyami’s horrendous display of artistry had forced Bakugou to swallow his biscuit roughly enough that it scratched up his throat. 

 

The students, crazed and full of dread, plated their dishes, with the exception of Kaminari, who hadn’t even started to make his before he shorted himself out.

 

Just as Asui finished putting chocolate-covered flies as a garnish on her plate, Sue called out, “Time’s up! Step away from your lovely biscuits- well done, everyone!”

 

Iida, who had somehow sweat so much that it had bled through to his apron, wiped at his forehead with a flour-coated arm. His perfectly uniform biscuits sat in front of him, their edges perfectly rounded and the chocolate coating expertly smoothed. This was his civic duty, after all. Only a little bitch bakes clumsy biscuits, and Iida Tenya was certainly not a little bitch. 

 

When the judges approached his table, Paul eyed the sweat-dripping boy with vague confusion, but asked, “What have you made for us?”

 

As expected, Iida’s biscuits were a hit. 

 

“The biscuit is very short and crispy, which is very lovely on the tongue,” Mary said, crumbs getting caught in the corners of her mouth. Iida glowed with pride, the engines in his legs leaking exhaust from his hard work. Paul still looked confused, but said something along the same lines, and then the two were off to the next baker.

 

After Midoriya almost murdered himself by tripping over his cautionary puke bowl and Uraraka presented the judges with biscuits that were surprisingly well done, the judges arrived at Aoyama’s station.

 

It went poorly.

 

Crème brûlée!” Aoyama warbled, doing a kick-ball-change and bringing his hands up to frame his fluttering eyelashes. 

 

The judges stared at the splat of white goo. “The challenge was… biscuits.

 

“They’re biscuits Français!” said Aoyama with an equally butchered accent and pirouette. 

 

“I- what?” Paul asked, incredulous. “This is not a French biscuit. There’s nothing solid on this plate.” He pointedly jabbed his fork into the cream. 

 

Aoyama laughed like the chef from The Little Mermaid, the sound a garish guffaw of, Hon hon hon,” and did not dispute that claim.

 

From his table, Todoroki eyed Mary with steady eyes; old people fascinated him. They looked like they could keel over and die at any moment- like he could reach out with one finger and send them toppling over like dominos. Maybe he could gather some old people and line them up-?

 

Mary smiled, halting Todoroki’s train of thought. Old people skin was the best.

 

Todoroki could only pretend to be that frail (and believe him, he pretended often); Mary was the real thing. 

 

“Alright,” she said, and the sound of her voice seemed to reverberate through her whole body, Todoroki watching her slightly trembling jaw with extreme interest, “thank you for the effort, dear.”

 

“Yeah, thanks,” Paul mumbled, and Aoyama sent him a wink. Paul’s face spasmed in fear, and the camera moved onto the next dish.

 

As the music shifted to something more on the lines of playful, Satou’s endearingly decorated biscuits became the highlight of the shot. When the camera shifted to capture the apprehensive expression on the baker’s face, the viewer got an unfortunate view of Asui tossing a dead fly in her mouth.

 

“Hi, Satou,” Paul greeted, sidling up to the student’s station. Mary murmured a similar greeting, a smile already creeping up on her face. 

 

“These look positively scrummy,” she said, plucking a biscuit from the platter. Beside Satou, Mel nudged him gently and grinned. 

 

“These are brown sugar, maple, and ginger biscuits,” Satou explained, his voice tentative. The judges popped the biscuits into their mouths, and both of the thin crisps snapped cleanly. 

 

“I-I’m trying to find fault with these,” Paul said, flabbergasted, “but I just can’t. These are stunning. I- just- yeah, these are lovely.”

 

Satou grinned and looked down at the floor, his cheeks pinking. 

 

Mary smiled at him, eyes soft. “Absolutely divine, Satou. Thank you.”

 

As the playful music continued, the next few clips were of Paul looking at Kaminari with an indescribable expression of contempt after he presented them with a stick of butter, a crate of eggs, and a bowl of flour, Kirishima trying and failing to throw a biscuit into Sue’s mouth, Bakugou smiling smugly as Mary hacked on the appalling amount of cayenne, and Uraraka smiling with stars in her eyes after Paul complimented her flavors.

 

And then there was Todoroki. 

 

The music cut. There was a moment of deep, profound silence as Todoroki’s biscuits appeared on television. He would be responsible for the trauma of millions.

 

“I- erm,” Paul said, and then paused. Opened his mouth. Closed it again. Todoroki rode through the silence, unfazed. 

 

“Oh, god,” Midoriya whispered, hiding his mouth behind his palm.

 

“This is… inedible,” Paul told Todoroki, staring at the monstrosity in horror.

 

Todoroki did not reply. 

 

Mary leaned forward, her fork held in front of her like a shield. “I… honestly, dear, I can’t tell if it’s burnt or underbaked. Did you… did you even put it in the oven?”

 

“Yeah,” said Todoroki. He pushed his heels together and then back out again a few times in quick succession. It was simply too bizarre for Mary, who set down her fork and backed away. 

 

Paul bravely stuck his fork into the block and tried to dig up a spoonful. The utensil got stuck. He seemed too shocked to speak. From his worktable, Bakugou scream-cackled.

 

“I don’t think I can eat this. For my safety,” Paul explained, not knowing where to begin on his critique. Just. What the hell.

 

In one moment, Todoroki was standing a few paces away. In the next, he was right in front of Paul and Mary, picking up the monster block and stuffing it in his mouth.

 

Mary yelped in shock, reeling back. 

 

“I really don’t think that’s a-”

 

Todoroki swallowed it in one go, a hand dragging Paul’s fork from the depths of his mouth. One hand holding the almost tar-stained utensil, he smacked his lips together, contemplative.

 

“Good God,” Mary gasped.

 

Todoroki shrugged. “Tastes fine to me.”

 

There was a moment of baffled, somehow reverent silence, and then:

 

“WHAT THE SHIT, ICY-HOT?”

 

“Bakugou,” Mel rushed to intervene, hands raising, “put down the knife.”

 

“Yeah, bro!” Kirishima called out. “Don’t you usually maul people with your bare hands? What’s with the knife?”

 

Sue choked. 

 

“Take a lap, Bakugou,” Kaminari advised, eyeing the impending natural disaster with wary eyes. When his classmates described Bakugou as a force of nature, they didn’t necessarily mean that he was awe-inspiring and unstoppable; rather, he was slightly mangy, caused property damage, and had a compressed, molten-hot core. 

 

“Take a dive off a roof-” Bakugou snarled, brandishing his bread knife, and Kaminari pouted.

 

Like an ancient god rising from a millennium-long slumber, Midoriya came back to himself enough to make eye contact with Kaminari. 

 

“Welcome to the club,” he told Kaminari, who did a double-take and stared at him with a slack jaw.

 

“-and into a pile of horse shit-”

 

“What’s that supposed to mean?” asked Kaminari, but Midoriya had regressed back to Panic Mode, dead to the world. Uraraka waved a hand over his face; no response. She grimaced, patted him on his fluffy head, and inched away. 

 

The rest of the judgments were comparatively uneventful. Mary looked near cardiac arrest when Asui licked a bug wing off her finger, and Tokoyami’s biscuits were declared ‘artificial tasting’ as a result of the excessive amounts of black food coloring. His claims that it was a ‘stylistic choice’ were not taken into account.  

 

The scene cut to an outdoor interview, the clouds beginning to darken as they threatened an incoming storm. Similarly thunderous, Bakugou stood in front of the camera with a scowl. 

 

“WHAT?” he barked, his hands shoved in his pockets and his shoulders hunched up to his ears. “Whaddya want me to say? Old hag can’t handle any heat. ‘S not my fault she’s got the taste buds of a fuckin’ PTA mom. Tch.”

 

Satou appeared on screen again in the next interview, his lips creeping up into a smile. “I was very honored,” he said, eyes askance. “I’m just glad they liked them- I thought they were a bit overbaked.”

 

“Come on, man!” came a distinctly Kirishima-sounding cry from off-camera. “ No self-deprecation on my watch! Your biscuits were SICK!”

 

Rolling his eyes good-naturedly, Satou looked at the camera and smiled. “My biscuits were sick. Thanks, Kirishima.”

 

Any time, bro!”

 

Coming back to the tent, the bakers were back at their stations, ready for the second round: the dreaded Technical.

 

“Bakers!” Sue greeted, Mel by her side. “Hope you’re all still having fun.” Tokoyami muttered something that sounded like, “ Fun is for the blissfully ignorant ,” but no one could really be sure. “Your Technical recipe was chosen by Mary. Any words of advice for our bakers?”

 

Mary clasped her hands in front of her and smiled. “This recipe is a classic. Don’t overdo it.” She nodded at the bakers, who all stared back at her with blank expressions.

 

“Thanks,” Kaminari said flatly. Upon his head was a chef’s hat, which he had acquired somehow within the span of the two challenges. “Really appreciate it.”

 

“Okay!” exclaimed Mel, clapping her hands. “Since your bakes will be judged blind, I’m going to have to ask these two beautiful people to head out. Off you pop!”

 

The two departed from the tent, Bakugou glaring holes into the backs of their heads as they did so.

 

“Today,” Mel continued, “the lovely Mary would like you to make Fraisier Cake. Soft sponge, smooth cream, and a rim of strawberries around the edges. You have two and a half hours. Ready-”

 

“Set-” said Sue.

 

“Bake!” they chorused once again, and the room was sent into motion.

 

As the students took off the coverings over their ingredients, there was a chorus of disgruntled sounds as they realized that their recipes were not very specific.

 

“Make the sponge- MAKE THE SPONGE?” cried Uraraka, flipping the sheet over to try and find a more specific set of instructions. She turned around to where Bakugou was aggressively cracking eggs and asked, “Do you know how to make a sponge?”

 

Bakugou made an annoyed sound deep in his throat, chucked an eggshell into the open trash can, and snapped, “Beat eggs and sugar together, you damn moron. Then fold in flour and baking soda. Got it?”

 

Uraraka brightened and shot him a delighted smile. “Thanks, Bakugou!”

 

Bakugou rolled his eyes and began furiously beating his eggs. What kind of person didn’t know how to make a sponge? Fucking ridiculous.

 

On the other side of the tent, Mel sidled up to Satou and asked, “How’s it going? You had a pretty good morning, wouldn’t you say?”

 

He opened his mouth to reply, but the two were sidetracked by a loud, “plopping” noise coming from Todoroki’s station. They watched in silent awe as he dropped a hunk of coagulated flour and water and other shit onto his counter. Seemingly undeterred by the fact that he was supposed to be making a cake, Todoroki picked it up again and let it fall onto the counter a second time. The sound that followed was even louder than the first. Satisfied, he nodded to himself and proceeded to pick up the hunk and shove it into the oven. No baking sheet. No cake tin. Just raw-dogging it. 

 

After a moment of confused contemplation, Mel turned back to Satou and said, “Are all of your classmates that confident?”

 

Satou shook his head and gave the camera a tentative look before saying, “I think Midoriya is throwing up in the cake tin.”

 

Behind him, a pale-faced Midoriya keeled over a deep tin, softly vomited into it, and rose to his feet in one fluid movement. 

 

“That was so…” Mel waffled, waving a hand around, “gentle?”

 

Midoriya resumed mixing his batter, his hands very visibly shaking.

 

Satou offered the camera the sigh of someone who had far too much experience with Midoriya Mania. “Bless him.”

 

A voice-over of Sue moved along the program with, “ Most of the bakers now moved on to their custards as their sponges baked. While some of the bakers-” here it cut to Bakugou, Momo, Kirishima, and Satou successfully making their custards, “- have it under control, some… do not.”

 

At Kaminari’s station, the camera zoomed in on his hair accessory. “What’s with the toque?” Sue asked with a laugh, leaning in to better examine Kaminari’s hat. 

 

His face froze. “Um.” 

 

There was a moment of awkward silence, and then Sue put him out of his misery, clarifying, “The hat, Kaminari. The hat.”

 

“Oh!” he exclaimed, brightening. Beaming, he said, “Assistance.” And that was it.

 

It was Sue’s turn to flounder, the hostess staring at him with a slightly open mouth, trying to parse out what he meant. “What kind of assistance?”

 

Kaminari laughed a little, and a rustling sound came from inside the hat. Whispering a curse, he cupped the rim of the hat with his hands, trying to keep it steady. 

 

“Is… is there something-?” Sue began, but Kaminari cut her off with another sharp laugh. The two stared at each other for a long moment. 

 

“Good luck,” said Sue, and left.

 

As she walked away, the camera zoomed in on Kaminari’s table as a small object fell from his hat and into the bowl of custard in front of him. It fell in with a wet plop, and Kaminari froze, looking around to see if anyone had noticed.

 

When it appeared that no one had, he carefully lifted up the now custard-coated blob, lifted up his hat, and shoved it back onto his head. After a moment of calmness, Kaminari sighed in relief, closing his eyes.

 

There was an actual, audible gasp of surprise from behind the camera when Kaminari returned to pouring his custard into the cake tin to set, not bothering to remake it after an unidentified object that had been stuck in the boy’s dandruff-ridden hair had splashed into it not even a minute earlier.

 

Tokoyami appeared on the screen, his custard basically just a bowl of milk. He swished it around a bit, looked around the room, and shrugged. “And thus the pure succumbs to the darkness.”

 

He reached for the black food coloring. 

 

“I’m just getting my sponge out now,” Momo announced, sticking a toothpick into the center of it and smiling to herself when it came out clean. “My main goal is to get the whole thing in the fridge as soon as possible to set. You don’t want custard running everywhere.”

 

The camera immediately cut to Kaminari pouring his custard directly on top of his piping-hot cake-like substance. He looked over it with a thoughtful expression before lighting up like a puppy being shown a treat. “I’m the man.”

 

With nothing else to do, he wandered over to Bakugou’s station and peered in at the bowl of custard. He opened his mouth to say something, but he was quickly cut off.

 

Bakugou pointed his knife at Kaminari. “Don’t you dare fucking disrespect my custard or I swear to god I’ll slit you from neck to navel.”

 

“Chillax!” Kaminari laughed, balancing his weight on the edge of the counter. Bakugou opened his mouth to tell him to back off when Kaminari suddenly pitched forward. 

 

The world seemed to halt in place.

 

Except, of course, for Kaminari, who flew forward and knocked Bakugou’s custard onto the floor.

 

“Ohhhhhh shit,” Kaminari whispered into the quiet of the tent. 

 

The scarlet stain on Bakugou’s skin started with his neck, worked up to his ears, and then slowly enveloped his whole face. Kaminari sprinted.  

 

With the background noise being comprised of screaming and popping noises, Uraraka turned to Midoriya.

 

“Hey,” she whispered, leaning in towards him and gesturing to her face, “I think you’ve got a little custard on your chin.”

 

“No,” said Midoriya, eyes glassy, “this is bile, just ignore it.” 

 

He was down six fingers, and his hair was pulled back into a tiny little ponytail. As his bangs fell into his eyes, he began cutting strawberries. 

 

Wait-”

 

Scratch that- seven fingers down. 

 

“YOU GODDAMN SHITTY NERD!” Bakugou raged from his workstation as Midoriya was attended to yet again by the medic. Midoriya winced. “STOP HOLDING YOUR FUCKING KNIFE LIKE THAT!” As he spoke, he chopped his strawberries in quick, efficient slices. His knife skills were impeccable. 

 

“Bakers!” Sue exclaimed. “You are halfway through!”

 

Asui launched her tongue at the refrigerator door and yanked it open. When she turned her mouth towards her sponge, Mel made a strangled, worried sound in the back of her throat. 

 

Hearing the noise, Asui looked up and made direct eye contact with Mel, her tongue lolling out of her mouth. With a snap, she reeled that bad boy back in and croaked. 

 

“Well,” said Mel, “that was ribbiting.”

 

Midoriya burst into tears. 

 

Soon enough, the bakers who knew well enough to chill their cakes were able to take them out, and that was when the pressure really started kicking in.

“How long have we got left?” Kirishima asked, his sleeves pulled back and custard streaked across his hair. 

 

“Fifteen minutes!” Sue called out. 

 

“Motherfucker,” said Midoriya in a surprisingly level voice considering the tears running down his cheeks. 

 

It was time to see if the bakers custards had set.

 

One by one, they lifted the tins off of their bakes. Satou, Uraraka, Bakugou, Kirishima, and Momo were successful. Not much could be said about the others.

 

“Come on, come on,” Iida pleaded quietly with his cake, carefully unlocking the cake tin. 

 

As the cake was revealed, there was a moment of perfect, ethereal stability. 

 

And then the cake collapsed in on itself.

 

Iida let out a shuddering sigh. His shoulders began to shake. In front of him, his custard continued to spill out of his cake and onto the platter. 

 

Mel rushed over, trying to comfort him with a flurry of platitudes. “You’re fine, dear, you’re fine-”

 

“MY CREME PAT IS- IS-” Iida wailed.

 

“We can still make this work!” Mel tried, reaching for his shoulder. Iida shrugged her off and sank to his knees in front of his bake. A strawberry peeled off the side of the cake and onto the countertop.

 

“IT’S ABOMINABLE!” he screamed, tears sliding down his stoic features. Aoyama tried to harmonize with his wails, flouncing around in circles behind him. 

 

“Iida!” Uraraka called out, her voice hardening. Iida waved her off, but she continued to yell, “Pull yourself together! Don’t cry over spilled custard!”

 

Iida kept on blubbering, wiping his hands across his face, which just spread more custard everywhere. 

 

“Five minutes, bakers!” Sue announced, and even Aoyama couldn’t match the pitch that Iida raised his voice to in his ensuing shriek. 

 

“Just put it on the plate, come on, just turn in what you’ve got,” Mel rambled as Iida struggled to his feet. He swayed in place, sorrow so potent in his expression that her eyes got a bit misty too. 

 

The other bakers plated their desserts, and Bakugou started screaming at Todoroki for sticking his fingers in his pile of mush to try and put a smiley face in it, so things were going to shit, to say the least. With a tremulous sigh and quivering lips, Iida placed his messy sponge onto the serving platter with squared shoulders. He would take his defeat with grace.

 

“Time’s up, bakers! Step back from those gorgeous sponges for me!”

 

Kirishima let out a heavy exhale and scrubbed his forearm over his face. “God gives his hardest tests to his-”

 

“Shut the FUCK up.”

 

Smiling nervously, Kirishima sent a thumbs-up at Bakugou. There was no reciprocation. 

 

The judges returned and appraised the bakes with defeated eyes. 

 

“Right,” said Paul. There was a moment of resigned silence. “Um, let’s get to tasting, then.”

 

First up was Asui’s, which was strangely shaped like a beetle. However, it actually tasted nice, so good for her. Midoriya’s looked a mess but tasted okay, even if only half of his strawberries were actually cut; Uraraka’s cake was overbaked but her custard tasted okay; and Kirishima’s was pretty stellar apart from a slightly underbaked sponge.

 

Paul and Mary stepped up to Bakugou’s dish, and Mary remarked, “It looks just wonderful.”

 

“Yeah,” Paul conceded, “looks alright.”

 

The two took a bite, and made considering noises. Bakugou watched intently as they moved their forks around their plates, testing the consistencies. 

 

“Custard’s runny,” Paul commented, and Bakugou’s jaw snapped shut. 

 

“Know what else is gonna be runny?” he snarled under his breath, eyes narrowed into slits. “Your shits after I fucking waterboard you-”

 

“Don’t threaten the judges with bodily harm, please,” Midoriya said as an automatic reflex, immediately regretting speaking up when Bakugou hooked his ankle around Midoriya’s stool and sent the green-haired boy tumbling to the ground. 

 

“Oh, looks like this custard wasn’t set. What a pity,” Mary said to Paul, approaching Iida’s bake. Iida looked at his lap in shame. Mary took a bite and made a happy little hum. “Tastes nice.”

 

Iida stared at his hands for the rest of the initial taste tests.

 

“In twelfth place,” said Paul, “is-”

 

“I ACCEPT DEFEAT-” Iida proclaimed, sniffling, but Paul wasn’t finished.

 

“-this one,” he said, clearly pointing at Todoroki’s. Iida froze. 

 

“I-” Iida whispered, eyes blown wide. Uraraka patted him on the shoulder to help him push through the shock. 

 

“A lot of issues with this bake. For one, I don’t know what it’s supposed to be,” said Paul as he gestured at the pile of brown mush, and Todoroki scratched at his forehead, nose scrunched. “The texture is… crunchy? The elements of this recipe were custard, sponge, and fruit, so I don’t know where that came from. Whose is this?”

 

Todoroki raised his hand. Paul met his eyes, paled, and nodded. 

 

Kaminari was eleventh. 

 

“I take it you didn’t know what you were doing,” Mary said consolingly, and Kaminari nodded his head. From his hat came a high-pitched meeping sound.

 

Mary’s lips pursed. “Is there something under your hat, dear?”

 

All of the bakers looked at Kaminari, who drawled, “Whaaaat? No~,” and rubbed the back of his neck. Paul gave him a searching look.

 

Reluctantly, Kaminari lifted his hat. Mary shrieked.  

 

Todoroki began walking forward with a finger extended to poke her, presumably wanting to see if she’d tip over, but Midoriya grabbed his hand, staring at the top of Kaminari’s head in revulsion.

 

Inside the hat was a half-conscious rat, the mound of fur barely hanging on to its last thread of life. Custard was matted into its fur and dripped off of its ears. It wasn’t moving, the rodent splayed on its back across Kaminari’s hair, and its beady eyes were filled with anguish.

 

Remy!” Kirishima cried out, ecstatic, and that was when Bakugou turned on the handheld mixer that he somehow had with him.

 

“Count your days,” he snarled, the whisks spinning ominously.

 

“‘ Anyone can cook, but only the fearless can be great,’” Tokoyami said morosely. No one appreciated this addition.

 

Aoyama came in at tenth. 

 

“Isn’t it magnifique?” Aoyama asked, wiggling his eyebrows.

 

“It’s bone-dry and overbaked.”

 

He did a plié. “ Oh là là !”

 

Tokoyami was ninth, Uraraka eighth, Midoriya seventh, Momo sixth, Iida fifth, Asui fourth, and Kirishima was third.

 

“In second place,” said Paul, and then he walked over to the best of the worst, “is this one.” 

 

“FUCK ME,” said Bakugou in a reasonable tone. Mary gasped, the breath knocked out of her, and Kirishima whacked him on the back of the head. 

 

Paul, seeming to take Bakugou’s- well, everything- in stride, approached the obvious winner of the cakes and said, “So this one’s first. Whose is this?”

 

Satou raised his hand, and the class cheered for him. Kicking his feet into the legs of his stool, he thanked them with a shy grin.

 

“I mean, great sponge, creamy custard, and a nice distribution of strawberries. Nice job,” Paul told him with a twinkle in his eye.

 

“Ugh,” Uraraka murmured to Midoriya, who had transcended as soon as he heard his name, “someone’s playing favorites.”

 

“My stomach is eating itself,” replied Midoriya. A rash was beginning to appear on his neck.

 

Uraraka nodded like Midoriya had agreed with her and whispered, “I hate teacher’s pets,” ignoring the fact that her best friend was a people pleaser rivalling even an eldest daughter with abandonment issues. 

 

Todoroki appeared on screen for his outdoor interview, and instead of looking at the camera, he seemed to be staring directly at the cameraperson, his gaze averted just enough to be noticeable. 

 

“I mean, it could have gone worse,” he said. “I could have burned down the tent.” He stared intensely at the cameraperson for a long moment, and then added, “That wasn’t a threat.”

 

The next interview was taken by Kaminari who held up a phone as he impatiently waited for the person at the other end of the line to pick up. After five rings, a voice said, “ Eraserhead.”

 

“Hi, Mr. Aizawa!” Kaminari said cheerfully. He flashed a peace sign at the camera and bounced on his toes. “Guess what?”

 

“How did you get my number?” There was the sound of bone cracking and a startled yelp from someone who wasn’t Aizawa.

 

“I- Oh, Nedzu gave it to me. Anyway-”

 

That weasel, I swear-” Aizawa grumbled, but Kaminari bulldozed on with, “I got eleventh in the Technical!”

 

There was a momentary pause, and then the faint sound of someone screaming in pain. “ Aren’t there only twelve of you?”

 

“I just wanted to make sure you knew, and I wanted to thank you for believing in me from day one-”

 

Okay, I have to go now-” accompanied more sounds of punching and swearing.

 

“-and I’m going to dedicate my bakes to you! What do you think?”

 

There was no reply.

 

Kaminari looked down at his phone and said, “Huh. He hung up. Guess he was busy or something. Weird.”

 

Back in the tent, Mary, Paul, and the judges rounded up the teenagers to announce Star Baker. Midoriya, as it turns out, had been sent home after passing out. Upon further investigation, the medics uncovered hives all along his arms, chest, and neck.

 

Kaminari had placed his rank-ass rat on Midoriya’s unconscious body as it was wheeled out of the tent. ( “He’ll keep Mido safe,” he said with a grim expression. No one objected.)

 

“I have the joyous opportunity,” Mel said to the eleven bakers, “of announcing Star Baker. This baker surprised Mary and Paul with their ingenuity, textures, and flavors. Let’s give it up for Satou!”

 

Satou, somehow surprised, smiled broadly. The others patted him on the back and shouted their congratulations. All except for one. 

 

Todoroki was right; he didn’t plan on burning down the tent.

 

Bakugou, on the other hand, never made any such promises.

 

So, yes, maybe UA was being held financially responsible for the damages caused by an exploding teenage nightmare, and, yes, maybe Todoroki had to put out the fire as everyone was evacuated out of the tent by paramedics, and, yes, maybe Todoroki was covering the property damage via Endeavor’s credit card.

 

“AND WHAT OF IT?” Bakugou screamed as he was pinned down by an exhausted-looking Eraserhead. There were the sounds of screaming and crying behind them, and smoke curled around the struggling pair. “I’M IN A FUCKING RAGE, YOU GODDAMN PIECE OF STATIONARY! LET ME GO-”

 

Oh. I guess I was right,” said a voice off-screen.

 

The camera panned over to Todoroki, who was watching the proceedings with the indifference of someone who saw this kind of display biweekly. He had a reminder in his calendar to make popcorn at six every Monday night after the newest Bachelor episode came out. 

 

( “WHY WOULDN’T SHE SEND THAT SMUG LITTLE SHIT HOME?” yelled Bakugou after the end of a Bachelorette one-on-one date. “HE’S SUCH A WHINY BITCH BABY-”

 

“Oh, come on, Bakugou, he opened up about his parents’ divorce-” Ashido argued, but Bakugou screamed over her in fury.

 

“WHO GIVES A FLYING SHIT? Do YOU think he could take a punch? Because I think he would PISS HIS PANTS-”)

 

Todoroki blew a strand of hair out of his face and cocked his head to the side. “Fire follows me wherever I go.”

 

“Okay, Todoroki,” said Momo, rounding the corner to coax him back to the van. “That’s enough.”

 

“I’m a reckoning waiting to happen,” he said as he was pulled away. “My soul is consumed in flames and the sins of my ancestors-”

 

“Shh,” Momo murmured. “Come on, that’s it-”

 

The final scene of the show was of Mel and Sue sitting with shock blankets in the back of an ambulance. 

 

“That’s all for this special, folks!” Mel said with a wobbly smile. “Catch us in the fall for a wonderful next season of The Great British Bake-Off.” She adjusted the orange blanket as the sounds of a fire engine slowly permeated into the soundscape. 

 

“Thanks for watching!”