Chapter 41

Beta: L33t Horo

Cover: LousGndiner


Shirou let out a huff of exertion as he let his frozen dough rest. It had sat in his fridge fermenting for the past few days, so it was nearing its prime usage date. It was a large dough ball, so there was a lot he could do with it. Luckily, he had bought some spices yesterday, so he didn't need to go out and buy them himself.

Not that he could. Even the spices that he had bought yesterday were ordered online. He turned to look at the nearest clock.

Ten in the morning…

Maybe he should've waited for a little longer, at least until they arrived?

There wasn't much left for him to do, at least for now. He had prepared many of the snacks that his classmates would be having… and that was it. He didn't have a plan going forward. It was pretty much just a waiting game. The few bounded fields surrounding the dormitories had been checked over and over again, so it was pointless to even look over them again.

Though… Shirou pondered. There might be one thing he could do.

The doorbell rang, interrupting his thoughts.

"Well, that was fast," he muttered as he went to the door. Was he so invested in preparing the snacks that he didn't notice anyone from the windows? "I'm coming!"

A short second after, he opened the door.

"Yo, Emiya!" Jiro waved from her casual attire.

"We're here!" Sero greeted, also in casual clothes.

"Nice place you got here," Kaminari smiled as he raised a plastic bag. "I bought a couple of instant noodles from my cupboard. I didn't want to be the guy who didn't bring anything."

"Oh, right," Jiro blinked. "I didn't bring anything, but I made plans with the girls to pay for takeout if we needed it. Is that alright?"

"Well, I didn't actually plan for you guys to actually bring anything," Shirou admitted as he widened the entrance. Honestly, he was more than willing to spend most of the day simply cooking. You know, after they finished both studying and training. "Good to see that you guys came, though. What about the others?"

"Yaomomo is going around and picking everyone up with her family's personal limousine," Jiro said, practically choking it out as she mentally considered the widening wage gap. "They'll be here in an hour. I don't know about Class 1-B, though."

"They'll probably show up," Sero said as he took a seat on a nearby sofa. "In the meantime, what do we do?"

"Since it's just us…" Kaminari's smile grew mischievous. "Show us around! This place is huge!"

"I guess I can," Shirou shrugged. "By the way, you did bring a spare set of clothes, right? We're not just studying today."

"Yup."

"Way ahead of you."

Kaminari was suspiciously frozen in his mischievous smile.

"… You forgot, didn't you?" Shirou sighed. He knew there was bound to be one.

"I brought noodles!"

"Yeah, too bad your brain wasn't included," Jiro snickered.

"Ooh, burn."

"I have a spare set of shirts," Shirou sighed as he now had a practical reason to show them around. Namely, to get to his room and give Kaminari a spare shirt and trousers. "You'll have to return them come Monday, though. Preferably washed."

"Yeah, yeah. I know," he sighed. "I'm not that unreliable, am I? I can wash my own clothes!"

Jiro snickered once more. "Could've fooled me."

Before they could bicker any further, Shirou walked on ahead. Upon noticing that he had started walking away, Kaminari stuck his tongue out at his classmates as he followed him. Sero and Jiro followed not too far behind.

Looks like he was being a guide today.

At least until everyone else arrived.


It would be an hour or two until everyone actually did arrive.

It was merely half-past eleven, yet Shirou severely underestimated the turnout. Out of everyone that arrived, it was the entirety of Class 1-A, and alongside five or so from Class 1-B. In total, Shirou had counted slightly more than two dozen attendees, which was honestly a pretty good turnout, all things considered.

Though, there were a couple entrees that he wasn't sure how to handle.

The day had started fine enough. Bakugo, instead of immediately hounding him for a spar like he thought he would, dragged Kirishima off so that he could drill some knowledge into him. Someone from Class 1-B, Tetsutetsu Tetsutetsu, saw this and immediately joined their little group.

Unexpectedly, another fellow Class 1-B attendee, by the name of Kamakiri Togaru, had followed along and studied under the aggravating teen. If that name sounded familiar, you'd be correct, because it was the student that Shirou had met in the second event of the Sports Festival.

Shirou half expected the guy to try and skewer someone with how he looked at them, but surprisingly, he was well-behaved. Well, as well-behaved as a could have been. Perhaps Kamakiri only acted aggressively during the event itself?

Ah, no. It appeared not. Kamakiri was clearly trying to pick a fight with Bakugo once it became clear that he didn't understand what the explosive teen was trying to explain… which only made Bakugo call him an idiot. That particular cycle continued until Kirishima and Tetsutetsu calmed them down.

The two of them were definitely alike, in personality and in responsibilities.

Fortunately, once Yaoyorozu had formally decided to make use of a self-created whiteboard, any further commotion died down as his classmates took in what Yaoyorozu had to teach. Quite eagerly, if he might add.

It started slow, with the basic equations that Yaoyorozu had internalized lining every corner of the board. However, as she took the time to explain how each of them worked – quadratic formulas and when to use them – the dormitory was more or less filled with the sound of scratching paper.

However, Shirou himself didn't join in. He had already learned it after all. Instead, he talked to a smaller subset of classmates, which included Ojiro and Kaminari, as they were going over classical Japanese. He did get the occasional bemoaning of `why do I need to learn this?` when the questions or subject matter flew over their head, but Shirou managed to slowly work through them.

Luckily, they actually wanted to learn. With an unwilling student, everything would just go in one ear and out the other, especially if they didn't pay attention.

But… it was nice, in a way.

From one incident to an event to another incident, Shirou rarely had time to simply sit and do nothing. Each passing second was usually spent contemplating his next move… which, admittedly, he still did every now and then.

It almost felt blasphemous to take a step back and put aside those thoughts and let himself be immersed in a familiar atmosphere. There was comfort in a classroom setting. Friends whispering to one another, textbooks being flipped through, and notes being written… all of it just reminded Shirou of simpler times, back before he had been thrown headfirst into a war that he – as he realized – had very little business surviving.

Rider… that day in the forest where he chased after her, a completely idiotic move on his part, was where he could have died. He didn't even think of calling on Saber at that moment. He had learned later on, but it wasn't supposed to be a learning experience.

Archer… despite Shirou's victory over him, had let him do so. If the Servant hadn't been convinced of Shirou's convictions, then he would've struck him down and left him a rotting corpse. Shirou still had no idea what made Archer change his mind.

Gilgamesh… had he not underestimated him– or rather, saw him as such an infinitesimally insignificant foe, he would be nothing but a stain on the floor. Especially that thing he pulled out near the end. He still had a headache merely thinking about it.

Those were but three moments where he should have died. People could say that he was skilled enough to rise about such hurdles, but the truth of the matter was, he was just lucky.

Luck and ignorance had brought him this far, but it wouldn't get him any further. Something deep inside told him that.

He shook his head. Yet again he was lost in thought. To distract himself, Shirou allowed himself a cursory glance around the dorm lounge.

It seems that while Kamakiri seemed to be thriving in his corner of the lounge, his classmates had elected to sit in their own corner and review together. It made sense because despite all being students from U.A., they weren't close enough to get to know each other.

Something that Shirou knew would take time to change.

Especially if he wanted them to be ready.

"Do you guys need any help?" Shirou asked the Class 1-B students.

"Nah, it's fine," Kendo waved his concerns away. "I might not look like it, but my grades are pretty good already. I'm pretty sure everyone else from our class is also fine, so don't worry and just focus on your classmates."

"And," Monoma smiled. "It's not like your little show yesterday was meant to advertise a study session. We're here for the other thing."

"Speaking of which," Ojiro started with a frown. "When does that start? And how will it work now? I'd imagine that you can't just do what you usually do with Midoriya and the others."

It appeared his question was interesting enough to draw the interest of their classmates, who looked to share a similar concern.

"True. I didn't really get into the specifics of it, did I?" Shirou muttered. A blunder for sure. "Don't worry, I wrote down my plans somewhere but I left them in my room. Focus on studying first. When you're all mentally tired, we can begin."

"You mean when we're all bored out of our minds," Jiro snorted with a smile.

"Or that," Shirou reciprocated. "Give or take an hour, if you're impatient. Does that sound fine?"

The thumbs-up he got in response was all he needed.


"Damn brats…"

Lit only by the light of various screens, Aizawa Shouta grimaced as his mug of instant coffee failed to keep him awake. Honestly, it was to be expected, especially since he had been awake for the past several hours making sure that no idiots tried to enter the premise.

Three tried. All of which were idiotic reporters, as usual.

Why did he agree to an all-nighter again? Ah, right. Aizawa had been under the impression that someone would be taking watch in the morning after he had finished the night shift. Unfortunately, due to a few misplaced files, he had ended up misjudging the date and only realized that a few minutes ago.

Hound Dog was supposed to take his place tomorrow, not today. This meant that Aizawa was currently emailing whoever he thought was awake among the school's staff to try to take his place.

Fat chance of that, seeing as his fellow teachers would rather sleep in on a weekend, but he still had to try.

Unfortunately, this meant he was currently several hours deprived of sleep and busy watching his snot-nosed brats studying for an hour or two. If you thought that lessons were boring to students, then you had no idea how boring it was for a teacher. The same repeated lesson plan over years could really get to them.

Nevermind that. Aizawa sipped on his mug once more and noted how the brat, the source of all their current worries, was individually helping out as many students in their lessons as possible. Though, sometimes, he'd be confused and ask Yaoyorozu for help.

His eyes narrowed as he felt his phone vibrate.

"About time," he snorted. It was only 11:30. How on earth did it take this long for someone to wake up? "Maybe I can get a little shuteye–"

He frowned deeply. Nevermind. It wasn't a reply to his messages, but a report from the Public Safety Commission.

In light of recent events, the expo held at I-Island is hereon forth canceled. The current situation involving the League of Villains had worried the head honchos at the island so much that they practically folded. Their experts had also predicted that, with the blatant advertisement held on live television, villain activity would triple over a month. By the time the expo would be held, it would be far above the acceptable margin.

And it could've been avoided if they had actually managed to defeat the Beast back then… a shame.

However, Aizawa rolled his eyes, it wasn't like he was looking forward to the expo. Sure, his colleagues would've invited him, but he would've turned down the offer anyway. There was just too much going on for him to focus on that distraction.

Though… he grumbled. He quickly realized that the Public Safety Commission could have assuaged their worries and continued with the expo if they truly wanted it to move forward. The fact that they hadn't…

Only one person's face came to mind.

Nezu… of course, it'd have to be his influence.

Normally, he would've pushed for the expo to go forward if only to lift the spirits of the attendees. However, if the opposite happened, then didn't that mean Nezu felt that they would gain more if it didn't? What connection existed on the island that Nezu sought to exploit–

"Ah, that makes sense," Aizawa snorted. "If they could get his help…"

They'd also have another brilliant mind to help with their current plans. Not bad, if albeit blunt. Nezu had to know that the League of Villains might realize this and react accordingly, or was it fine with him?

Shit, Aizawa flickered back to the screens. He had been too lost in thought and neglected on keeping an eye on the brats. Where did they go now?

The audible explosion answered his question.

"Already bored of studying, you brats?" he snorted.

At least this will be entertaining.


"Damn it! I want a rematch!"

"When you can catch your breath," Shirou exasperated. "I'm assuming you already have ideas on how to improve?"

"Of course I do," Bakugo snorted. "I ain't an idiot!"

"Unfortunately," Kaminari muttered from the sidelines, visibly exhausted from an earlier exercise. "Ah, cruel world, why did you give this guy all the smarts in the world?"

"I heard that! Sleep with one eye open from now on, asswipe!"

"Perhaps don't antagonize the overly antagonistic classmate?" Tokoyami suggested from beside him. He was also visibly exhausted, but he was in much better condition than his peer. "Speaking of intelligence, have you managed to grasp what the Sword suggests?"

"Not even close," he sighed, electricity fading from his fingertips. "Generating electricity is pretty simple, but being overly specific like he's asking is just out of my reach."

"But at least you can maybe reach it on time for the exams," someone sighed beside him. A quick glance revealed it to be an exhausted Sero, as tape dangled from his elbows. "That Emiya is basically telling me to learn a whole new fighting style! In two days!"

"But it'd be worth it, wouldn't it?" Tokoyami affirmed. "Hence why we are all here."

Shirou finally turned away from their discussion and focused on everything else.

After the initial hour spent studying and waiting for everyone to arrive, Shirou had brought them all outside and into the courtyard. Bakugo, of course, had immediately jumped to begin his anticipated spar, but Shirou initially put a hold on it.

The reason? It had to do with the plans he had left in his room. Or, more specifically, the dozen or two notebooks he had written up in the night before. Each notebook detailed Shirou's thoughts and ideas on what he thought would help improve his classmate's overall prowess.

For example, Sero's notebook detailed a fighting style that focused on using centrifugal force, otherwise known as how to use a rope-dart. Naturally, Shirou specified that his quirk would stick onto a blunt object instead of an actual dart, and even included notes on flail combat should he choose that path instead.

In Kaminari's case, it had something to do with magnetism. While Shirou wasn't too knowledgeable on the specifics, he at least knew that electricity and magnetism went hand in hand. If he could generate enough flowing electrons to generate a reasonable magnetic field, he could disarm his opponents of dangerous items like knives or guns and safely deal with them. Perhaps he could make use of even more advanced topics to improve his offensive output… if he could grasp those advanced topics, that is.

Tokoyami's notebook was more of a haphazard case. He wasn't as sure of what he and his quirk could do, other than having a weakness to sunlight, but he surmised that his Dark Shadow can essentially take any shape. If that was the case, then there was no reason that Dark Shadow could take the form of weapons, which was far more in Shirou's comfort zone… Though, Shirou had no idea what his fascination with scythes was about.

The same case applied to everyone. Even Bakugo had a notebook… which he promptly burned to cinders. Oh well, one step at a time.

Though some of them didn't have notebooks, Shirou would get to them later. He didn't anticipate everyone to arrive, so he was still thinking about how to actually help them. That Tokage girl in particular. Maybe just standard CQC?

"Emiya," called an approaching voice. "Are you ready?"

"I'm ready, Todoroki," snapping from his stupor, Shirou nodded. "Are you going to be trying something?"

"Somewhat," he nodded before turning to a downed Bakugo. "But, should I wait for him to get up? Or should I move him?"

"I'll move myself half-and-half!" Bakugo berated as he got onto his feet. He shot a glare at each of them before heading towards a sitting Kirishima, who opted to continue studying for now. He was comfortable with his current combat skill, but academically…?

Yeah, not in the slightest.

"Ready when you are, Emiya."

Shirou nodded and traced a familiar pair of blades.

Then, he dashed.


Emiya was an enigma, Todoroki surmised. However, he wasn't untrustworthy, hence why he was here in the first place.

Though, he definitely had secrets. His father's interest in the sword user only amplified that sentiment. However, Todoroki knew that it wasn't his place to pry it out of him. He'd be a hypocrite if he did. All he could do now was assume the best and that whatever interest his father held in Emiya wasn't incriminating in the slightest.

He had more important things to worry about than his father's interest.

Like this spar.

Of which he was currently losing.

As stupid as it was, Todoroki had underestimated him.

The first few seconds of the fight had been a struggle to survive. Of course, Todoroki had started with an initial wave of ice, making sure to cut off any dodge to the left or right with a second and third wave. Todoroki had honestly thought that that was enough and had begun thinking of what to do next.

However, Emiya had opted to jump over his ice – almost as if he had vaulted over it with a polearm – and close the gap within a few seconds. He could've gotten around that with a larger wave of ice, but the courtyard they were sparing in was far too small for that. He didn't want to hurt anyone around them by doing so.

How unfortunate.

The next several seconds he had spent merely throwing his ice around in vain attempts to push his opponent away. As fate would have it, things didn't go his way. Emiya dodged and weaved through his glacial attacks, seemingly almost having precognition of all things.

Todoroki would get an answer to that sooner or later, but for now, he had to make some breathing room.

Ice flooded the courtyard floor in a flash freeze, catching Emiya off guard as he slipped momentarily. Todoroki took the opportunity to blast him away with a frosty pillar of ice, only made easier with the lack of friction.

He would've capitalized on this too, knowing that Emiya was too dangerous to leave unpressured, but the glint of sunlight above him caused him to take a step back. As he did, a sword found itself wedged in front of him.

Shit.

Todoroki used his ice powers and shot himself backward, using the momentum to ride above the flash-frozen field and dodging the swords falling and piercing the floor where he was moments prior. He even resorted to changing directions, but the swords just kept following him. If Todoroki could just obstruct his vision–

Wait, I took my eyes off of–!

"Behind you."

Todoroki gagged as a sudden impact sent him reeling. Since when did he–!? Soon after, the looming swords circled him as they stabbed into the dirt to form a cage. In the back of his mind, Todoroki likened the situation to Ashido's match against Emiya during the Sports Festival.

"You need to keep an eye on the entire battlefield, or at least as much as you can," Emiya advised. "The ice field was a good idea, but your opponent could easily take advantage of it."

Which was probably what Emiya did. He probably skated around to his blindspot to catch him off guard. A blunder, but Todoroki sighed in acknowledgment. "I didn't even make use of your notes yet."

"You can do that later," Emiya waved that off. "Instead, can you tell me why you didn't even use your flames? I'm sure that would've helped you more. The falling swords should've been weak enough to be misdirected by it."

Ah.

"Two reasons," Todoroki muttered. "The first is that I am not comfortable in controlling my output. Do you remember my match with Midoriya? It's either that or just enough to melt my ice. I need more experience to use it in spars."

"That's fair," he nodded. "The second?"

"I forgot," Todoroki frowned. "I'm… not exactly used to thinking about my fire."

"Also fair," Emiya sighed. "But I'm sure you don't need me to tell you what you need to do next?"

Todoroki nodded.

"Good. Now get ready for round 2."

The swords around him disappeared as Emiya dashed right back in.

Ah, shit–


I can't breathe… shit…

Shinso rasped for breath as he sat on his knees.

"You okay there, Shinso?" Monoma asked from beside him, also ragged for breath. "Don't be stupid and take a while to rest. You aren't going to get any better like that."

He knew that. He wasn't an idiot. However…

Shinso gritted his teeth and laid on his back, ready to begin another set of situps.

Emiya's notes had told him to build up stamina before they could do anything else. The Hosu Incident alone had painfully showed to them that he wasn't even close to the others when it came to endurance. It came with having a non-physical quirk, but he wasn't complaining, not when he could actually do something about it.

The longer the fight, the less useful he was. That was simply a fact. He had to do something more than simply use his quirk. He was more than the quirk that everyone saw as villainous.

From the beginning, he knew that he had to work hard, harder than anyone else– especially if he wanted to carve out his name in history so that others in the future wouldn't be judged like he was simply because of his quirk.

That was the sort of hero he wanted to be.

"Oh! Guts!" Tetsutetsu howled from beside him, covered from head to toe in iron. "I'm joining you, Shinso!"

"Boys will be boys," Tokage laughed as her body parts, courtesy of her quirk, floated around them wildly. "Hey, do you think this whole thing is worth it? You guys are basically just doing what you would have done anyway. It's not like coming here did anything different."

"It's like a gym, Setsuna," the ever familiar voice of their class president spoke up, who was currently busy going through a few martial arts katas as a warm-up. "You don't go to the gym to get stronger. You go for the atmosphere. Seeing others give their best… pushes you to do the same. You don't exactly want to fall behind, right?"

"I guess," Tokage shrugged. Or at least, it appeared she shrugged. It was hard to tell when her shoulders were several feet apart. "But still, it's sorta boring when you don't know what to do. I didn't even get one of those fancy notebooks you guys got."

"Emiya will get to you in time," Shinso rasped as he caught his breath. "Just wait."

"Your faith in the guy really is astounding, you know?" she sighed. "I get that you partnered up with him in the Sports Festival, but did he really leave that much of an impact on you?"

"It's more than that," Kendo took over for him even if she was mid-kata, knowing he likely couldn't respond. "We've all seen what he could do. The Hosu Incident proved that he's far stronger than any of us. Is taking advantage of that strength to get stronger wrong?"

"That Emiya would probably say no," Monoma snorted as he looked on towards all of the Class 1-A students surrounding them. "Ugh, it hurts looking at it all and knowing that everyone in our class is probably at home relaxing or something."

"I thought you got rid of that class pride thing?" Tokage raised a brow.

"Only because our classes have both been getting the spotlight recently!" Monoma frowned. "But I have a gut feeling we're getting overshadowed here. Even that little pervert of theirs is getting stronger."

Sure enough, if they looked far enough into the corner, they could see Mineta Minoru playing with his balls – that sounded wrong – and sticking them to each other. However, he had ended up making a long rope comprised of his balls – Shinso really needed a better way to phrase that – which he was currently spinning like a lasso, but he got frustrated when it stuck to the ground mid-spin, creating the need to make a new one all over again.

"... shit, you're right," Tokage muttered. "Damn, that Emiya guy better finishes soon. I need to know what kind of ideas he has for my body."

"Did you have to phrase it like that?" Kendo sighed as she turned to her friend, Kodai, spinning a staff in her hands while being instructed by Yaoyorozu. Even from this far, Kendo could tell that her friend was slightly grumpy. "She really needs to be more open about it…"


The day went by relatively quickly.

In all honesty, Shirou thought it would've felt like a long day, but as the day progressed, he started to feel as if he had been worried over nothing. As soon as the initial few spars had come to pass, Shirou found himself going around to each of his classmates one by one as a precaution.

As it turned out, his caution was rewarded. While he had provided them all notes on what he thought might help with their inevitable practical exams, his classmates did not necessarily understand what he had written. To be fair, just giving them notes and expecting them to understand was understandably unfair. Hence the need for him to sit down and explain personally.

Once they fully understood, Shirou basically didn't need to give them any more explanations. Though, they'd often come back just for clarifications.

To give context to what he had suggested to his classmates, Shirou had a mental list he went down in order of importance, with the most important ones last. Those he could only help with marginally, those who needed supervision, then those that he had to personally engage with.

Ashido, Asui, Iida, Ojiro, Kaminari, Kirishima, Sato, Koda, Shoji, Hagakure, Bakugo, Midoriya, Yaoyorozu, and Tetsutetsu. For obvious reasons, none of their quirks were within his specialization, except for Yaoyorozu, but that's because she only really needed him as a sparring partner nowadays. He gave them ideas, but it was up to them to accept or make them work. Shirou had faith that they would by the time the exams came around.

As for the others that needed supervision…

Uraraka, Jiro, Sero, Tokoyami, Todoroki, Mineta, Kamakiri, Kendo, and Kodai. These students in particular, due to the nature of their quirks, will be able to make full use of Shirou's skillset. In particular, those with quirks like Tokoyami and Todoroki can essentially mimic what he could do. Namely the ability to create weapons like rudimentary spears or swords.

Tokoyami took it a step further by creating a scythe, which made Shirou have to delve deep into his Reality Marble to recall any scythes that Archer might have seen. Surprisingly, there were quite a few… and Shirou mentally noted that one or two of those could've been useful earlier. He really needed to sit down and familiarize himself with all of the weapons in his Reality Marble.

If he had done that, then maybe Hosu could've ended differently.

"Er, sir Emiya? Are you certain that this will help me?"

Shirou nodded as he cleared his head. He could look through his Reality Marble in its entirety later, no matter how many hours it would take him.

"Yeah, don't stress yourself over it," Shirou replied. "One more time, Aoyama. This will be the last, don't worry."

The last list of people, those that weren't mentioned beforehand, were those that Shirou felt the need to personally instruct, not because their quirks were similar enough to his own, but because he felt that he could offer them more through a one on one session.

Aoyama held his breath and thrust his hips out. The belt on his abdomen shined with blistering light as the glittering beam shot out into the distance, hitting a stray tree and leaving a slight dent into it. He had not put enough power to outright destroy it as it was just for testing purposes, but it showed Shirou all that he needed to see.

Especially with Structural Analysis active on him. It was sort of like applying Reinforcement to an object, flooding the form with energy to get a feel for its blueprints – or if he was reinforcing, imbue it with energy. However, when it came to living beings outside of himself, it was much harder to get right.

He always seemed to miss a few details when it came to analyzing living beings– and when he tried it on a living being? He vaguely recalled doing so to Saber once upon a time. There was almost no difference. It could've been because of her innate magic resistance, but more than likely, it was because he was a third-rate magus.

Luckily, Aoyama didn't seem to have any resistance to Shirou's magical energy entering his body. So the process went smooth enough to get a general look of what was happening inside his body, if albeit spotty in details.

Strangely enough, Shirou felt like he sort of got the gist of Aoyama's quirk. Or at least, how it biomechanically functioned. Some form of energy was generated within his abdomen, but it was unable to exit his body unless it focused on the nearest exit, otherwise known as the navel.

While Shirou had no idea how the energy was generated, he did know that the pain that Aoyama experienced came from the energy haphazardly compacting itself to the nearest area before release– his intestines.

It was unfortunate that the quirk didn't seem to have its own organ to store the energy before release, sort of like Iida's calf engines or even Uraraka's fingertips. The only case he had seen like this was with Midoriya.

Though, he could probably never tell them about that, mostly because he had no way of explaining Structural Analysis.

"Well? Sir Emiya?"

Speaking of which…

"There are two ideas I have that could help you," Shirou replied. "The first idea is unviable. The second is difficult, but I personally think you can do it."

"Truly? Well then, what's the first one?"

"Surgery to replace your navel for something sturdier," Shirou smirked as he watched Aoyama's face drop in horror. "Hence the idea being unviable. Which is why the second idea will be what we're going for."

"P–Please do go on," Aoyama wearily laughed.

"Have you tried manipulating the energy – in other words, the energy that your final laser is comprised of – and sending it somewhere else? Anywhere besides your navel?"

"I have!" he says with confidence. "Ever since I got this quirk, I have tried over and over to change the output location to something like my hands or feet. I have yet to get that to work."

"Then try it right now," Shirou smiled. "One more time."

"You said that last time, sir Emiya," he sighed as he stretched his hips from side to side. "I fear that I may be getting sore, but why not? Let's try my hands."

Once more, Shirou focused on looking at how the energy was coalescing. It surged straight for his navel without a hint of changing direction–

"Stop," Shirou halted him, much to his confusion. "I don't really know how your quirk works, but do you always have to flex your abs like you're expecting someone to punch you in the gut?"

"Yes…?" he raised a brow. "It is how I activate the laser."

"Have you considered that flexing your abs causes the laser to spawn from there, rather than it being the activation condition?"

Aoyama paused.

"I…" he muttered as he looked towards his stomach. "... admittedly, that hasn't crossed my mind."

It hadn't? Even when he had the quirk since childhood? Strange, but Shirou wasn't going to shame him for it. Sometimes things that were obvious in hindsight weren't so obvious back then. He'd give Aoyama the benefit of the doubt.

"Then let's try to flex your other muscles and see what sticks," Shirou advised. "Don't worry. I think we're making decent headway."

Aoyama nodded and took a deep breath.

Shirou watched as, after a few seconds, the energy once again came into being. However, from how he could see Aoyama's right palm tendons tense in anticipation, Shirou saw the energy appear from within it. However, Aoyama winced and relaxed his palm. As a result, the energy dispersed into nothingness.

"It didn't work," Aoyama sighed in defeat. "Forgive me for wasting your time, sir Emiya."

"Not necessarily," he smiled. "I think that we're making headway. I can feel it."

"But…"

"One more time," Shirou smiled. "One more."

Aoyama looked him in the eye, some strange look in his eye before sighing and nodding. "As you wish."

One second passed.

Two seconds.

Three.

Aoyama winced.

"Keep it going."

"Um, my hand is starting to cramp…!"

"Trust me."

Aoyama grit his teeth as his fingers twitched in protest. Had Shirou asked him, his classmate would've described an indescribable feeling of itchiness. It was almost as if he could feel the blood vessels scream in protest. With every passing second, his hand hurt more and more, but with the calming smile on Shirou's face, Aoyama pushed through it.

A forbidden thought ran through him, recalling when he first activated his quirk.

It was nearly as painful as this–

And then, light.

It barely lasted a second, but Aoyama's eyes widened as he saw a mere pulse of glittery light leave his palm before dispersing into the wind, almost as if it was an illusion.

It was barely even a second.

Not even half of one.

But it didn't stop the look of shock growing on his face.

"It… worked?"

"Holy shit!" the familiar voice of Kaminari shouted. "Did you guys see that!? Aoyama shot his quirk from his hand! That's insane!"

"Holy shit, Emiya," Jiro blinked as she was mid-kata. She was being helped by Kendo to make more use of her upper body outside of her staff, but the both of them were simply wide-eyed. "That's crazy. How did you…?"

"I had a feeling," Shirou smiled. "It's somewhat similar to what Midoriya experienced when I first invited him. Speaking of which…"

"He's got his notebook out," Uraraka laughed as she watched Midoriya stare at Aoyama intensively, scratching and running his pencil all over as if to make edits to them. "He's muttering up a storm too!"

"Pardon, but what did you mean by it was similar to Midoriya?" Aoyama asked.

"Hm?" Shirou blinked before he answered. "Oh, right. What I meant was that Midoriya struggled to make use of his quirk initially, remember? He could only make those self-destructive finger flicks. Now he can spread that explosive energy throughout his body. All it took was a change in mindset… and methodology. Honestly, it's surprising that neither of you thought of these suggestions despite having your quirks for this long."

"W–Well…!" Midoriya suddenly stammered as he fumbled to catch his notebook. "I only unlocked my quirk recently, remember?"

"... In truth, I am much the same," Aoyama sighed. "I unlocked my quirk later in life. Far later than other kids. However, I was much more focused on strengthening the output than anything else."

I suppose that'd explain the seeming lack of foresight.

"Understandable," Shirou nodded. "Well, now we have some groundwork. For the rest of the day, I'll be helping you develop a new combat style that can center around consecutive use of your lasers. You said that it gets painful after a full second, right? Then spread it out. A burst from your hand, then your other hand, then your navel, and maybe other parts of your body too, before rotating back to the other locations. If you want, we'll see if we can continue this after the exams. Does that sound alright with you?"

Aoyama clenched his hand, noting how it was still trembling from the sudden laser burst. "... and perhaps modifications to my costume will have to be in order…?"

"That too," Shirou nodded. "Now, I trust you'll be able to continue practicing from here on? You'll want to focus on making these hand lasers come out quicker, like your navel laser, or even faster."

"Understood, sir Emiya!" Aoyama gave a flamboyant salute. "I swear, I will repay this debt!"

"You really don't have to," Shirou sighed. "Now, next up is…"


"Come on, Kirishima!" Tetsutetsu called from the middle of his pushups with Shinso. "Get in on this! Why're you just studying over there!?"

"Look, I'm really not looking forward to biology, alright!?" Kirishima shouted. It was his worst subject by far. "Give me a few minutes! I'm nearly done copying Yaoyorozu's notes!"

"Copying is unmanly!"

"Copying is the highest form of compliment and praise!" Kirishima countered. "It's manly admiration!"

"I resent that!" Monoma shouted from his own pushups, not wanting to let his friends do them by himself. "I do not admire any of you!"

"Then what about Emiya?" Shinso grunted.

"The exception," he muttered. "But only because he doesn't seem the arrogant type."

"Look, I'm nearly done here," Kirishima sighed. "Just give me a minute. I'll even spar with you if you want, Testutetsu."

"You better!"

Kirishima rolled his eyes and went back to copying. Damn, how did she make her notes this neat-looking? Even his own copy looked worse in comparison. Still readable, but he'd have to probably ask to borrow a separately colored pen. Maybe some blue, if only to underline what was important to memorize.

Bakubro had left a while ago. Well, not leave the dorm or venue per se, but leave to get something to eat. He had already helped Kirishima with some of the math stuff, but Kirishima probably need to look at his notes again because he was starting to forget all over again.

It was the numbers man! They were everywhere!

Kirishima shivered – ah shit I screwed up that line – as he finished copying. Now he had most of his classmates' notes, from Bakugo to Yaoyorozu to Midoriya and even Iida. All from different subjects, of course, but he only really copied from the highest scorers. Not from Kaminari or Mineta, because he wanted to pass.

Sorry but not sorry, you two.

Kirishima groaned as he stretched out his body, having been hunched over on a bench for far too long. He got on his knees and stretched even further, wincing as he cracked his back. Well, at least he was feeling more limber than before.

"Alright, I'm ready!" Kirishima shouted as he got onto the courtyard, where Tetsutetsu was waiting. "Let's go! I've got something new I want to try out!"

"That thing, right?" Tetsutetsu grinned as he tossed away his shirt, his entire body turning to steel midway. "Let's brawl!"

"I think this was supposed to be a spar though?" Jiro muttered from the sidelines. "What's the point if you both just hammer into each other?"

"Endurance for our quirks!" Kirishima shouted from the bottom of his soul. Speaking of which, he hardened his body. He hardened his mind. He hardened his soul– "Get ready, Tetsutetsu, to feel my Red Riot–!"

A sword stabbed the earth between them.

"–Unbreakable…! Eh?"

It was then that he noticed Emiya standing right beside him with…

"... quite frankly speaking, that look on your face is kinda giving me the heebie-jeebies, Emiya," he muttered. "Also, you kinda ruined my moment. Is something wrong?"


From the moment Kirishima had activated his quirk, a familiar scent took Shirou's notice. It caused him to go into overdrive on the slight chance that they were being attacked on campus, like back during their trip to USJ. However, upon noticing the distinct lack of portals, he relaxed somewhat.

However, that was before he caught sight of Kirishima looking like some kind of craggy monstrosity.

It wasn't the monstrosity part that had him panicked.

No, it was the black lines all over his body, tracing where his veins were.

Outside, he was calm.

Inside, Shirou panicked.

That was Angra Mainyu's blood, flowing freely within Kirishima like a free-flowing river. The tarlike blood was inside of him and he was acting completely fine!? Didn't that have corruptive properties, if Stain was anything to go by? How was Kirishima fine but a man like the Hero Killer was writhing in maddened agony?

Was there a difference in dosage and ingestion? Was the blood in Kirishima minuscule in comparison? Did directly drinking the blood as opposed to it entering by a different method influence the outcome?

Shirou had too many questions.

None that had to be answered right now.

"Kirishima," Shirou said. "Are you feeling alright?"

"Well, other than the heebie-jeebies, completely fine?" he raised a brow. "Uh, should I be feeling alright?"

"You are aware of the black lines on your body, correct?"

"Yeah, they sorta look cool, right?" Something inane just came out of this man's mouth. "Like, I didn't know my quirk gave me these, but I got used to it pretty quickly."

Shirou blinked.

"Kirishima, those aren't from your quirk."

"Eh?" He blinked. "Why'd you say that?"

"That looks like the Beast's blood."

Kirishima blinked his craggy eyes.

"These are?" He pointed at his blackened veins.

"Yeah," Shirou muttered as he tried to find a reasonable explanation. "You see, back at Hosu, I saw what his blood could do to someone. It pretty much turned the guy into a raving madman."

Well, more of a madman than he already was.

"Really?" He blinked before looking at his veins – likely still processing what he was told – then back at Shirou. "I don't feel like a madman."

"That's what's confusing me," Shirou muttered as a few classmates decided to get closer to them to listen. Ah, at this rate, it'll distract everyone from their training. "Did you get checked up by anyone after Hosu? That might be where it happened."

"It's where I learned how to make this form," Kirishima offered. "But yeah, after the whole incident, I don't think I actually went to a hospital proper. No visible injuries so that kinda meant that the evacuees had to take priority."

"Reasonable… but I'm surprised by how calm you are," Shirou raised a brow.

"I'm surprising myself," he muttered back.

Still, it was strange, Shirou thought. "If you had no injuries, then how did the blood even get into you?"

"It wasn't from Hosu," Todoroki frowned as he interrupted. "Remember USJ? Kirishima was defeated by the Beast back then, but not before he was enveloped in that black form of his."

That was probably how it entered… Just breathing it in sounds far-fetched, but if we're talking about a miasma expelled by his Noble Phantasm… was the potency weaker or stronger than directly ingesting the blood…?

No, more importantly…

"Then that means it's been in his body for around a month or two?" Shirou concluded with a deep frown. "Kirishima. Sorry to say this, but I'd rather play it safe and send you to Recovery Girl. This is a little more than concerning. She should still be in the clinic at this time."

"Yeah, I hear ya," he sighed as his Red Riot Unbreakable turned back to normal. "Sorry, Tetsutetsu. We'll spar later, or whenever Recovery Girl says it's okay."

Interestingly enough, the veins disappeared.

"Don't apologize for something out of your control. It's not manly," his Class 1-B counterpart shrugged. "More importantly, who am I gonna spar now!?"

"Allow me," Yaoyorozu stepped up. "I haven't really fought someone with the capability to shrug off much of my attacks. It should be a learning experience."

"There you have it," Shirou smiled. "Sorry, Kirishima. I'd accompany you, but…"

"You can't leave the dorms without the teachers getting into a fuss, I know bro," he smiled. "Don't sweat yourself over it. I know my way around campus anyway."

As Kirishima made to leave, Shirou moved out of the courtyard so that Yaoyorozu and Tetsutetsu could do their thing.

But… the worry still didn't leave him. If he missed something this big with Kirishima – a classmate – happening right next to him, what else had he missed?


The rest of the training had gone off without a hitch.

He honestly expected the whole thing to be rockier than it ended up being. Even the vague ideas he had for some of his peers like Mineta seemed to do well. The lasso of his orbs, some managing to shrink in size slightly, created a binding tool that could end a fight in seconds… provided that the opponent had no way of removing it.

But unfortunately, there were those he could barely help even when he tried. He still tried giving them better awareness and tips on how to catch an opponent off guard, but he couldn't improve their strengths.

Jiro was one sort of example. In the end, Shirou had ended up asking Kendo for advice, to which she just decided to take Jiro under her wing. Surprisingly, Jiro showed to be apt in some martial arts, though that might explain how her kicks were good enough to deal with the robots back in the entrance exam. Apparently, Jiro even gained some ideas of her own, though what they were, she wouldn't exactly say.

Sato was also another example of someone he could barely help. All he could do was advise him on how to avoid tunnel-visioning, because that's what he usually ended up doing when he used his quirk… speaking of which, Shirou had to see if he was actually susceptible to diabetes or something.

"Ah, sorry. Can you pass the sauce?"

"Mind your manners!"

"No problem."

If Shirou had to describe how the others had taken to it, he was surprised to see that they didn't complain. Though, he imagined that if he had gone with his original plans, then there would've been some grumbling. Apparently, beating some combat knowledge into your students, quite literally, wasn't the smartest way to go about things.

… Sometimes, Shirou complained about his lack of formal training. The closest thing to that he ever had was with Saber, whose methods were more or less exactly what they – Kendo and Yaoyorozu – told him to avoid. Damn you, Archer! Why didn't you know how to train others better– wait… Saber was probably the only one to teach him too. Shit.

"Oi, Emiya," Jiro muttered with a mouthful of pizza. "How'd you even find the time to make this and prepare for today?"

"Spare time," Shirou smiled. "That, and making dough and letting it rise in the fridge overnight isn't that difficult. It's mostly a waiting game. Luckily, I was bored enough to have this rise for a week."

"You'll have to tell me the recipe," Sato smiled as he took a bite of what he had brought along, which was a pie. Speaking of pie, Shirou really needed to ask Sato about his recipe once he recovered from overusing his quirk. It really was an interesting recipe. He didn't even know you could put miso in a pie. "I'd like to try my hand at it. I mostly work with pastries, so trying something new once in a while should be fun."

"Will do," Shirou nodded. "Remind me to do that after the exams."

After the sparring and training had ended, Shirou let them have some time off and relax until they left for the day. It was already nearing sundown, so they should be heading home soon… at least, after they finished devouring the feast he had prepared.

Naturally, some of them brought some extra snacks, but those were quickly eaten while Shirou prepared a filling dinner. All except the cup noodles though, which a few elected to just bring home with them, much to Kaminari's thankful exasperation.

"He probably has loads of spare time!" Ashido contemplated. "Must be nice~ I always have chores to do."

"You'll have a lot more if you live alone, I can tell you that much," Ojiro muttered as he rubbed his tail with a wince.

"Sorry about that, Ojiro," Midoriya muttered. "I should've held back a little more."

"No, it's fine," Ojiro smiled. "I'm starting to see that I've been over-relying on my tail. I'll need to add some sort of protective covering for it, but that might ruin the whole karate aesthetic I'm going for."

"Personally, I think aesthetics should be an after-thought, but you do you," Shirou sighed. Something's never changed about teenagers, no matter the world… shit, he was already sounding a lot more like Archer.

"Heresy!" Aoyama declared as he elegantly ate a pie with a knife and fork. "Aesthetics are the soul of a hero's reputation! If you aren't flamboyant, then nobody will pay attention to you! You must sparkle in the public's eyes!"

"Sit down, Aoyama!" Iida scolded. "You'll drop your plate!"

"I think having the public's attention is the last thing Emiya wants!" Kaminari laughed a bit before looking at the pizza slice in his hands. "… Damn, you'd think that you ordered take-out, but this definitely tastes fresh."

"I know right!?" Uraraka beamed. "I think you could open your own restaurant with this! There aren't many pizzerias outside of those big brands."

"Or even start up your own classes!" Kendo pointed out. "What do you think, Emiya? I'm certain that there's room for a culinary club at UA. All you have to do is put in an application."

"I'd join!" Uraraka smiled.

"Samesies," Ashido winked. "Kirishima probably would too. He might not look like it, but the guy knows how to make a good lasagna."

"There's probably a story there, but I'm too tired to ask," Jiro smirked. "Ditto for that cooking club by the way."

"Same, kero."

"Yes!" Hagakure… bounced? That was pretty much the only visible thing he could see. "This thing is so good that it's making me red all over! I definitely want to make it too!"

Nope. Not even going to look to see if she was red or not. Not even with Structural Analysis.

"Something to think about, I suppose," Shirou nodded. Though, he probably won't start up anything of the sort. He only had one goal, after all…. Speaking of goals. "So, how did everyone feel about this session?"

"It was great!" Midoriya smiled. "I can't wait until tomorrow! There's this maneuver I want to try next–"

"Ah," Shirou winced. "I don't think tomorrow is going to be great."

The puzzled looks he got in turn were almost damning.

"What do you mean?" Shinso, who had been sitting slightly further away with Monoma, asked. "I had thought that you intended this to last throughout the weekend?"

"Normally, that would be the case," Shirou started. "But, we ended up doing more than I thought we would have done. I honestly expected that the first day would end up being a struggle and that we would pick up the slack tomorrow. However, with all, that's been achieved…"

"You want us to go home and relax?" Bakugo, who was silently eating further away from them, narrowed his eyes. "I ain't weak like the rest of these mobs, Emiya."

"As vicious as ever," Monoma snorted. "All bark from a dog who couldn't even scratch Todoroki in your spars today."

"I was holding back, copycat!"

"To be fair," Todoroki pointed out. "He was trying something new. Redirecting his explosions with other delayed explosions isn't as simple as he made it look… probably."

"I don't need your help, half-and-half!"

"It doesn't change anything," Monoma shrugged. "He still lost~"

"At least I'm doing some worthwhile training," Bakugo growled. "What are you doing? With your pathetic quirk, you can't even train it to be better!"

"Oi!" Kamakiri, who had been happily eating a bag of chips, snarled. "The hell are you doing going off on my classmate, huh!?"

"You keep out of this, bug!" Bakugo snarled back. "Or is the leech too afraid to talk for himself?"

"You–!"

"Kamakiri, leave it," Monoma frowned. "I'm not afraid of him."

"Big whoop," Bakugo huffed. "Answer. What the hell are you supposed to be doing when everyone else is putting in the effort? Sit on the sidelines doing some quirkless exercises? Well?"

Monoma's eye twitched. "Well–"

"There's nothing that says that a fake can't surpass the original."

Eyes, both angry and surprised, turned to him.

"... What I'm saying is that, if given enough time and effort, even a copy can become something greater," Shirou explained. "You hear it often in regards to some sports. A promising newcomer comes around admiring the champions around them and copies them, and through their efforts, become a champion themselves. While it might be hard to say how Monoma can become a hero without relying on copied quirks, it remains a fact that he can still become one if he tries. The only question is about the amount of effort he needs to put in. From where I stand, he's putting more than enough."

Monoma simply blinked.

"Those are some manly words!" Tetsutetsu howled. "You're right! If you put enough effort in, anything is possible!"

Well, that's a simplified way of looking at what I said, but let's go with it.

Bakugo frowned but huffed as he looked away. "... Nice and pretty words, but that doesn't change anything. That leech needs to do something more than steal someone else's effort. He can't do anything alone, then what's he supposed to do when he is alone?"

"You don't think I know that?" Monoma snorted. "I'm not an idiot. This quirk of mine… I can't get stronger on my own. I can't be anything more than someone who waits for others to get stronger…"

"What did I expect from a leech," Bakugo rolled his eyes. "If you're that pathetic, then why don't you–?"

"But!" He raised his voice momentarily. "I can at least help those around me get stronger. If they grow, then that will be my growth. If their strength is the only thing I can copy, then I'll make it so that their strength topples everyone around them. I can't be the main character, but at the very least, I can be someone who supports the stage they stand on."

He narrowed his eyes at Bakugo.

"Their strength will be my effort because I've put effort into raising that strength," Monoma declared. "Unlike you, I'll never be alone."

Shirou blinked.

That's… actually admirable… ignoring the implied barb at the end there.

Shirou originally thought that they were alike because of their ability to copy, be it quirks or the experience behind weaponry, but that was where the similarities ended he supposed. Whereas Shirou copied the skills of those long since passed, Monoma could not, and thus, needed the living to be as strong as they could.

That sort of philosophy of bettering others around him so that he could be better… was equally as altruistic as it was selfish.

Hmm… maybe there were still a few more similarities between them.

"Tch. Just a fancy way of saying that you'll make others do more work," Bakugo frowned and got up from his seat. "I'm done here. If you want to take a breather 'cause you're tired, Emiya, then knock yourself out. I'm heading home. At least I can get something done back there."

Not a single person protested his departure. However, Shirou did manage to catch a glimpse of Midoriya reaching out to say something… only for him to be completely snubbed with a glare. It seemed that Bakugo still hated his classmate, but Shirou still could not tell why.

Perhaps it will resolve itself without his input. It didn't feel right to intrude on their problems when neither of them seem to want any help… Though, he would do so if one of them asked.

"… Well, that was intense," Sero muttered as he chewed a pizza slice. "Sorry about our resident angry dude. He's just like that for some reason."

"Gah!" Kamakiri rubbed his head in frustration. "I should've said more!"

"No one's blaming you here, Kamakiri," Kendo sighed but shot a glare towards their resident copycat. "You shouldn't have antagonized him in the first place, Monoma. What were you thinking?"

"That guy needed to be taken down a peg," Monoma shrugged. "He's just way too stuck-up in his ways. It's going to bite him in the ass sooner or later."

"Then let him reap what he sows," Kendo sighed before turning to Midoriya. "Sorry, I know that he's your friend or something, but with guys like that, the only way they're gonna learn is if they crash and burn."

"It's fine," Midoriya smiled. "I realized that a long time ago. I'll just have to be there to help him when that time comes."

"He really doesn't deserve that sort of support," Tokage drawled. "Doesn't he hate your guts?"

"Definitely~" Ashido drawled similarly. "It's starting to get old."

"Just because I'm hated, doesn't mean I can just give up on him," Midoriya muttered. "It's just… it's complicated."

"No shit," Jiro snorted. She then looked at the clock on the wall. "Speaking of shit, I'm going to be in a lot of it if I don't leave soon. My parents were sorta strict on curfew this time."

"Ah, I suppose I'll tell my butler to prepare the limo," Yaoyorozu smiled as she took out her phone. "Would anyone else like me to drop them off?"

"Me!" Ashido raised her hand, pizza and all. "I'm not missing a chance on the limo, Yaomomo!"

"Me too!"

"Three~!"

Just as more and more of his peers were starting to take her up on her offer, a familiar face showed up walking through the door.

"Sorry it took so long, guys," Kirishima sighed. "Recovery Girl wanted to do some tests, then the Principal and then this blonde foreign guy with blue eyes that showed up… it was like I was a patient in a movie or something–"

His eyes widened at the table, which had several plates already stacked and awaiting cleaning.

"No… I've missed everything!" Kirishima wailed. "At least tell me there's some pizza left! Just tell me that!"

"Sorry," Ojiro raised a half-eaten slice. "I've already…"

"NOOO!" He fell to his knees. "The inhumanity!"

"We have cup noodles though," Kaminari pointed out.

Sadly, it didn't make him feel any better.


After his classmates had left, Shirou had spent the next several minutes cleaning up all the plates. In hindsight, he should have purchased plastic disposable plates, but he supposed that it wouldn't be wrong to say that he found some mild comfort in doing the dishes. Any excuse to be in his kitchen was a good enough excuse, in his opinion.

Which was why he sighed in exasperation once he heard knocking on the door.

That must be the usual check-up guy, Shirou mused. He also reminded himself to tell the guy that he needed a dishwasher installed in this place if he was going to be staying for another month or two. It all depended really on Nezu's progress on both locating Avenger and waiting for the slanderous rumors to die down.

After Shirou wiped his hands clean, he called out to the door. "I'm coming!"

After the knocking increased in tempo, Shirou simply frowned at the impatience. He mentally prepared himself as he opened the door to find…

"Aizawa? Why didn't you use the doorbell?"

"Finally," he snorted as he ignored his question, eyes almost bloodshot with how the dark rings underneath twitched in tandem. "Took you long enough, brat. You're dealing with the new tenants."

New– what now?

"Wait–"

"Don't care. Don't have time. Don't have the patience to explain either," Aizawa growled as he made his way into the house, or more specifically, towards the nearest couch. "Damn Nezu… First, they all stood me up, then he drops this crap on me? I expected it, but it doesn't make me any less irritated."

"Did you sleep at all…?" Shirou raised a brow as he took a curious whiff. "... or a bath? What did you mean by new tenants?"

Aizawa didn't answer as he collapsed on the couch.

A short second later, his quiet snores could be heard.

Unbelievable.

Though, he supposed it was to be expected? If Aizawa truly didn't get any sleep in the last 24 hours, then Shirou was surprised that a pissy mood, paired with some uncharacteristic rambling, was all that he got.

It still left him with unanswered questions.

"Wasn't I supposed to be the only tenant here…?" Shirou muttered as he made to close the door behind him.

What did Aizawa mean by new tenants? Plural at that– more than one! Wasn't Shirou's ill reputation the reason that this dorm was built in the first place– and that the dorm was meant to be the most secure place on UA just so that it could protect him? Were his preconceptions wrong?

"I don't get it," Shirou muttered. "Is there… someone else who's being slandered? Or rather, someone who needs to be protected?"

If so, then he supposed that he couldn't really complain, nor would he do any of the sorts. If people needed help, then he would give it to them.

The doorbell rang a few seconds later. At least someone was using it.

"One moment!" Shirou shouted as he draped an unused towel as a blanket for his teacher. He would've gone into a spare room to grab a blanket, but people were at the door. "It's just one thing after another," Shirou mumbled.

Shirou took a deep breath to prepare himself for whatever he'd find on the other side as he swung the door open…

"Oh, hi? Is this the right place? We were following our guide, but he sort of left us behind…?"

… only to reveal a young lady with blonde hair.

A foreigner? At least Shirou didn't have to worry about a language barrier, seeing as she spoke as well as a native speaker.

"Actually… is that our guide passed out on the couch over there…?"

"Yes, yes it is," Shirou sighed. "I think he just had a long day. You'll have to forgive him."

"Oh, no worries! He guided us to the front of this place before running off, so I guess he just thought we'd know where to go next?" She rambled. "I mean, we did, but we had to carry our luggage here."

"Let me help," Shirou mentally apologized for his teacher's actions once again. He imagined that, once Aizawa awoke, he'd be apologizing profusely of his own accord. We all had our bad days. "Is it still at the front?"

"No worries!" Someone shouted from behind the girl. His form was obscured as he carried a stack of luggage. Though, they seemed haphazardly packed with a few clothes sticking out of the seams. "Though, I'd appreciate a little help. My daughter seems to have run off ahead of me."

"I just wanted to check if this was the right place!" She fumed. "I saved us some time!"

"And you're both wasting it the longer we stay outside," Shirou sighed. "I'm sure there's a story here, but I'll ask about it tomorrow. It's extremely late, don't you think?"

Whatever their story was, he'd be able to get it out of them later.

"Oh, right. I forgot to introduce myself," Shirou muttered as he grabbed one of the suitcases from the man, lightening his load. "My name's Emiya Shirou. Last name Emiya, first name Shirou. You?"

"Ah, of course! Where are my manners?" The man corrected his glasses. "My name's David Shield. First name David, last name Shield. This here's my daughter, Melissa Shield. As you can see, we've been told to stay at this dormitory for the foreseeable future."

"It's better than the motel that you would've booked," his daughter fumed. "You should be happier that uncle even suggested this place. It's like a mini-hotel, don't you think?"

"You might find room service lacking," Shirou smirked. "Come in. I'll show you to the female dorms, miss Shield. It's definitely better than any dingy motel."

"I suppose you're right," David apologetically smiled. "Who knows what dangers lurk out at night?"


"Ah, I'm tired…"

A lone street. It was only an hour ago that it had been evacuated so that he could deal with the raging fire within. Speaking of which, how had said the fire started? But of course, by some old fart forgetting to turn off the stove!

Backdraft, the Fire Fighting Hero, slowed his pace to a crawl as he stared at the still-burning building.

Nobody was around, not even the media– not that they would, seeing as this district had long since been abandoned thanks to the League of Villains. He only really responded because he had nothing else to do, which proved to be a mistake.

Hell, the building itself was empty, save for the old fart who had started the fire and he was probably long dead by now, especially if the gas had spread throughout his apartment before igniting. There was no merit for the professional to even try to put out the building.

Hence, here he sat, staring as an old and decrepit building came crumbling down.

… Not to mention, his wrists had been feeling sore lately. Any further use and he was worried that he might sprain them. Maybe he ought to take a break? Yeah, he could use this incident to say that he wasn't in the right mind and that he needed some time off to get back into shape.

"At least it's over," Backdraft sighed at the ruins. "The paperwork is going to kill me…"

He spun around and activated his quirk, creating a lash of water that diverted what looked to be knives away from his back.

"... because I'm not used to filing villain takedown reports," he sighed once more. However, his singular eye narrowed as he took his assailant in. "What do we have here? An imitator?"

The figure looked like the Hero Killer, Stain. However, in place of the grungy combat attire, it seemed that the imitator chose to wear much more modern equipment… well, as modern as hockey equipment could hope to get.

The imitator gritted his teeth in frustration and withdrew a long blade from his behind. A short katana from the looks of it… what were they called again? A wakizashi? A short second later, the assailant bolted forward.

"Don't think that I'm going to make this easy for you," Backdraft humphed as he shot yet another pulse of water at the lad, as the burning remains behind him were bright enough to reveal a youthful gleam in his eyes. "Just surrender now and I'm sure your sentence can be reduced–!"

His pulse of water was sliced apart.

What–!? Should I increase the output?

Backdraft grunted as he did as he mentally said. The torrent of water bursting from his pipe-like hands echoed across the abandoned district, spearing the air towards the juvenile without hesitation. If the brat came to kill him, then he'd find that incredibly difficult!

However, the lad dived under the torrent. Backdraft, quickly realizing that this teen was less cautious than he had first assumed, backed away so that he could redirect the flow towards him. He had carved up the pavement a bit, but honestly, his life was on the line here!

At least he wasn't one of those things back at Hosu. He had sat out of that mess for a reason–

A knife?

The sharp pain of being stabbed couldn't be ignored as his control over his own quirk waned. The entry wound was at his right shoulder, which entirely cut off the water flow from his limb. Did the brat study his quirk beforehand? If so, this meant that this was premeditated, but more than that… did he throw that when he dived under the torrent!?

The torrent capable of shattering concrete!? Who was that focused!?

It hurts! It hurts… but, he couldn't let that distract him! Oh, how it hurts! However, he wasn't just going to shrivel up and die! A last-ditch attempt, one more torrent of water, this time concentrated enough to the point that it would cut even steel–!

However, before he could even let it loose, a knife found itself lodged right in his forearm, cutting off the water flow lest it ruptures his arm from the inside out.

"You were sloppy, young Spinner," a distinct voice called out from above him.

A familiar voice.

"Stain…? The real one…?"

"I'm deeply ashamed, master!" The juvenile, Spinner, scathed. "My aim was off! I gave away my position too early!"

"It is a fault in your technique. You have yet to master silent movement. It will be a necessity if you want to defeat even the most guarded of individuals," Stain shook his head. "It appears that it was far too early for a test run. No matter, we have a few days at the very least."

A few days? Were they planning something?

"What are you deviants planning…?" Backdraft muttered as he eyed a few possible exits. The only real promising one seemed to be the one directly behind him. In other words, the raging fire. His suit should be able to protect him from the flames long enough to get to a populated street… hopefully.

"Spinner," the Hero Killer called again. Backdraft watched as a knife pierced the pavement in front of him. It was almost taunting, because even if he wanted to, Backdraft couldn't pick it up. His hands were pipes, after all. "Kill him. Then we'll be done here."

Shit! He had to try to talk his way out of this! His quirk couldn't even work right now!

"Wait! Why would you kill me!?" He almost interrogated, if it weren't for the mild panic in his tone. "I'm just a rescue hero! I save lives! Isn't that what you preach!?"

"To know of Stain-sama's creed without even hearing it from his mouth," Spinner frowned as he walked forward. "How is that?"

"A harmless internet search, I swear! I was just curious!" he rambled on as he took a step back. "It's commendable, truly! You want to save lives, even if your methods are questionable to others. I think it's a good thing!"

He had to talk his way out. It was the only–

"Then you'll have no complaints when you die, correct?" Spinner's frown deepened. "Mizuno Shobo, a young hero who wanted to carve out a fire fighting rescue niche yet he had no way to do so… not when actual firefighters themselves had been doing such good jobs. So good, in fact, that if there was a hero that imitated them, he wouldn't be able to make a splash. At least… not without a little extra help. A surplus increase of fires, sabotaging firetruck paths with suspiciously uncooperative drivers, and even damaged equipment. Sound familiar yet?"

Backdraft's single eye widened.

"How– Where did you…?"

"A knife in the right place can make birds sing," Spinner cut him off. "You really should've silenced them when you had a chance."

THOSE GOOD-FOR-NOTHING SONS OF–!

Seeing no alternative in diplomacy, Backdraft turned and leaped into the flames, ready to run until his legs crumbled in exhaustion–

His leg caught on something.

It felt like someone grabbed onto it.

"Die."

Whether it was Spinner's voice or that of an old man, Backdraft could not say.

For dead men tell no tales.


Next Chapter: Late May (unless there are delays, see profile for possible updates)


A/N: Finally done with the chapter, so yay?

To be honest I waited till the end of the month, mostly because I was busy trying to fix my drives for the past few weeks.

Also, another heads up for the upcoming chapter, it won't have the exam, but it might end just before that gets started. I tried to speedrun to it, but there are things I haven't covered in this chapter so I decided to cover them in the next. Think of it as a slow chapter until we reach the inevitably action-heavy practical exam chapter(s), of which there might be 2 or 3, but I feel 2 is a good number. Let me know if you want me to cut it down to one chapter, but if I do, just know that you won't be seeing much of the fighting outside of Shirou.

Bloody Shirou wankers reading nothing but the scenes with Shirou in them.

Also, I may end up being late on the May chapter, because I'll be on a vacation with my family, who I haven't seen in well over two years now. That, and I have an extra semester to go through because I'm an idiot and missed the fact that I had failed a couple of classes years ago and didn't retake them. I blame COVID. It made online classes a thing and I hate them vehemently.

So yeah, expect delays. Totally not because I'm playing games when I'm supposed to be writing. That'd be blasphemy.

Until next time,

Kappa

A/N 2: Fixed some errors.