"Mom, I'm home!" Izuku shouted, swinging the apartment door open and skipping out of his shoes. He stayed close to the entrance as he closed it behind him, looking around their home as silence responded. "Mom? Mom!–I'm home late, how is she not here?"
"Izuku!" As if on cue, his mother came stumbling down the hallway and tackled him in a hug. "Oh, you're finally here! You didn't text me when you left the school so I thought you got attacked on the way!"
Izuku grunted upon impact and returned the hug, grounding his legs as he supported his mother off the ground from the sudden embrace. "Sorry about that, mom," he groaned his apology. "My classmates stopped me to exchange phone numbers. They made a group chat and kept spamming messages. I've just been chatting with them the whole time."
"Don't apologize for making new friends," she admonished him, "but you are okay, right?" Her hands prodded his head as she was lowered back to the ground, assessing his well-being and injuries. "Mitsuki called and said Katsuki was held back at school too. What happened between you two?"
He withheld his sigh while gently pulling his mother's hands away. He shouldn't have been surprised that Katsuki's parents called over, knowing if anything happened to either of them then the other was most assuredly involved somehow. "I'm fine, I promise. We had a mock hero class today involving combat and Katsuki and I were placed on opposing teams. I won" – Izuku was quick to interject at the sight of horror that brushed over his mother's face – "and he lost, and Recovery Girl healed our scrapes. I stayed back because a teacher wanted to make sure I was doing all right after we fought and I'm late because of that. I don't know why Katsuki stayed so late. He and I didn't fight after class; I didn't even see him after classes ended. I promise you."
Though it softened, his mother still bore upon him a look with worry. "She fully healed you, yes?" Izuku rolled up his sleeves to show his arms bare of wounds or bandages, even lifted his shirt to show there was nothing hidden there either. It was enough evidence to ease her heart, dropping against him into another, softer embrace. "You two shouldn't have been fighting in the first place. Why did they let you do that?"
"It was a complete accident." Izuku was convinced it was fate that had them butt heads so often. "They chose our teams at random. It was by complete chance we were pitted against each other. Not like our relationship could get any worse anyways." He mumbled the latter sentence to himself, because he still pondered why they were given a chance at all; both of them. Even as the top two scorers of the physical practical exam, they both had a mark on their records in biology or attitude. At best, he believed they'd both been thrown into General Studies, and at worst just separate between the two hero classes of their year. Since he thought about it, why weren't they in different homeroom classes to begin with?
"Heaven forbid it got any better," his mother sighed. Heaven was probably in control of the twisted fate pitting them at each other's throats, Izuku considered sourly. His mother patted down his arms and ushered him down the hallway. "You wash up now, and I'll start dinner so it's ready when you get finished. Now hurry."
Izuku did as he was told, parting with one last hug before hurrying on to his room. He didn't make it far in as the contained air blasted him in the face, and the first thing that caught his eye was the face of the number one hero. Though plenty of his hero merchandise had been boxed away into his closet, his desk had remained a shrine of sorts surrounded by a select amount of hero iconography.
It was wild All-Might was technically his teacher, Izuku mused as he moved along. Number one hero on the charts and strongest man in the world was a heroics class high school teacher, and despite the man only having roughly three hours to stay in his public form, he went about the school grounds parading both faces and names to go with either one. A part of Izuku was amazed the man could manage it at all; another was asking why he was there to begin with. What did the greatest hero in Japan have to do teaching heroics to high school students when the world was convinced he was still in his prime? Why would he willingly place himself in a situation surrounded by people he didn't know — children, no less — and unknowingly share his biggest secret without any of them yet knowing? Someone was bound to notice it after a while, right? He would have to work both personas in a single day in a bloated campus while changing uniforms between the two men to ease off suspicion, Izuku assumed. How was he going to handle that?
More importantly, why did Izuku care? The green-haired teen looked himself in the mirror, the running water behind him his thoughts out his head. Why should he be bothering himself with the problems of another man's secrets when he had his own to hide? His lie about a quirk was going to get him in trouble when the curtains got pulled back, he was well aware of that. Here he was, trying to make new connections with his class and willingly handing over his number so the pink-skinned girl Ashido Mina could include everyone in a group chat, and then spouting bull through his teeth and hoping his friends would play along with it. Iida and Ojiro couldn't have been handling it better, being dragged along in a masquerade around a group of individuals they'd probably come to know as allies in their future as heroes and just as classmates in the few years coming. The only friendship not at stake was Hatsume's, Izuku assumed and hoped. At least he'd have someone to fall back on if shit hit the fan.
"Izuku?" His mother knocked on the door, pulling him out from his musings swiftly. "Dinner's almost ready. Don't stay in there too long before it gets cold."
"I'll be right out," he replied through the door, swiping the bucket of water at his feet and pouring it over himself. "Just a few minutes. I'll heat it up if I'm too long. Thank you." His mother took his response and walked away, leaving Izuku to finish cleaning himself up.
He lied to her, too. His own mother wasn't let in on his plan to keep his quirklessness a secret from his classmates because he didn't really plan on inviting anyone over to meet her. She was probably still under the guise that he was being up front about his lack of a quirk and was being accepted for it regardless, with how quickly she accepted the detail of him "making new friends" with his class just a moment ago. He really only did have Hatsume to lean on, didn't he?
Izuku would have to take the brunt of everything when it came crashing down on him, he knew that. Answers and explanations were his responsibilities to bear. Friendships were his to decide. Letting people get close required his consent.
Izuku ran his hand down his arm, rubbing the texture of his new skin.
Figuring out what was up with himself was his job to discover, as well.
There was a mystery running amok that Izuku was beginning to notice, slowly but surely. Not to be a downer on himself, but Izuku should not have won the fight against Katsuki yesterday. For all his training in the past year, all his struggles he'd faced physically and mentally, and as confident as he had gone in despite the odds, the end result should have been his loss.
Izuku's arms had been nearly blown open. Two different blasts exploding beside his body had torn through his skin indirectly and the muscle beneath had boiled and seared from the heat. He should have been down for the count then and there, and Katsuki with the lesser wounds should have walked away fine and won the battle trial in the end. But still he got up, and still did he swing his arms about with all his strength, even using them to protect his head from falling rubble.
Earlier than that was the entrance exam. Robots thrice his size batted him about like a fly, but still he pressed on and fought his way for the top score. In the heat of battle, Izuku hadn't considered any of his wounds being grave, but since searching online about the human body and its durability, he had every reason to question how he had managed to succeed. Human bodies without extra strength or durability enhancing quirks were not really durable, and what wounds during the exam that had caused him minor inconvenience should have amounted to blood vessel deep cuts, broken bones, bruised and batter skin, and - in the case of the rubble that clobbered him across the face and had him kissing pavement a second later - irreversible damage and a question of survival. A case of one wound at a time ending in survival was often found in the news, but multiple received in quick succession within the span of half an hour or less?
Even earlier than that was the robbery at the mall. That time he was shot, a wound that remained a phantom pain in his shoulder that popped in every once in a while whenever he remembered that day. Now, according to the internet, it wasn't impossible for bones to stop bullets; the situation itself was rare to happen, but it could, all the same. What was impossible, on the other hand, was losing a gallon or so of blood from any wound and not dying as a result. And Izuku had done just that, bleeding his way to the hospital and then some. If not dead, he should have been long-time hospitalized and probably unable to even register for Yuei's entrance exam. But his body replenished enough blood alongside a transfusion process before and after his bone reconstruction surgery and he was discharged a week later.
How — and why — in the hell was Izuku still in one piece? As grateful for his survival as he was, the fact he survived nigh impossible situations and prospered healthily afterwards was stretching his level of belief into the event horizon of improbability. How could an average, non-enhanced teenage human body endure all that without lasting consequence?
Izuku gazed up to the towering central building of Yuei High peering over the school border wall he walked alongside. He made a dream a reality and was on the road to realize more, but how was it all possible?
"Hey, kid!" A woman's shout dragged Izuku out of his thoughts and to the news anchor and cameraman jogging his way. "You're a Yuei student, I can tell! What's it like studying under All-Might? What is he like as a teacher?"
Izuku blinked as his first response, darting his eyes down the road to the swarm of other reporters just outside the school's front entrance. "I've only had one class with him," he answered, "yesterday. He didn't really even teach us anything. I was only around him for, like, ten minutes."
The lady reporter gave a quirk response of frustration, stomping her foot and nearly throwing her mic to the road. "Dang it, we're never gonna get a scoop with these. Someone here has to have something headline worthy about All-Might." Izuku cocked an eyebrow as he continued walking on without her and her cameraman, watching other students get cornered and questioned like him. Guess news of the jolly blond giant's employment found its way around. "Wait a second, kid, don't I know you from somewhere?"
Izuku glanced back and sized the woman up and down with confusion on level with her expression. "Uh, no, I don't think I've met you before. Or know you."
"Hmmm." The reporter tapped her microphone against her chin in thought. "I've seen you somewhere, I think…"
"Midoriya, move along." Izuku's head snapped back to the entrance, to the dark-haired and dressed man that was his homeroom teacher ushering in the other students. "Classes start soon. Don't be tardy."
"Yes sensei," he responded quickly, shuffling past Aizawa alongside the other remaining students.
"Ah, excuse me, sir!" The reporter Izuku left behind was quick to collect herself and march onwards to the pro hero standing before her. "Do you have a moment to tell us about All-Might's position and job amongst this school's staff—my word you're a mess! Who are you anyways?"
"All-Might isn't on the job today," Aizawa responded, shouldering the comment about his looks. "Now go away. This is a school, and the students have classes to get to."
"S-sir, wait please!" the reporter called out to the pro hero as he turned on his heels and walked back into campus, following the students. "Please! I just need a word from All—" She tried to follow him, but as soon as she was close to the entrance an alarm blared, and seconds later did a wall of metal fly up from the ground and seal off the door between the city and the school.
Izuku blinked in surprise at the sight, as his homeroom teacher strolled by him. "Without a guest pass or a school I.D., people aren't allowed in," Aizawa informed him. "Some people are too noisy and too nosey for their own good. They have at least some brain cells not to climb over and be arrested for trespassing."
"Does the school not have guards?" Izuku asked as he followed him along to class.
"If they're permitted to use their quirks to defend people, the Commission and the country want them employed as heroes and street enforcement, not watching over teenagers. Argued we have enough heroes in our staffing to deal with it ourselves; even more now with the number one in our faculty. Even Nedzu has a problem strong-arming the suits to employ more of us."
The green-haired teenager furrowed his brow and gazed back at the vacant and cold steel door that blocked what view he had left of the outside world. "But those were reporters, not criminals."
"They'll consider it a waste of resources then, if it's just dealing with pesky but law-abiding citizens. If it isn't a threat, then it isn't warranted. We'll only get help if laws are broken." His homeroom teacher looked and sounded as annoyed by the facts as Izuku felt hearing them. He thought the biggest hero school in the country would be given some assistance from the HA and law enforcement in keeping heroes-in-training safe from any ballsy criminal looking to make a name preying on the young. If it could happen in the old days of early heroics and the establishment of the Association, surely it could happen again.
Aizawa dropped a hand down on Izuku's shoulder as they entered the school building, stopping them both in the empty entrance hallway. "I watched your match with Bakugou last night. The principal lent me the audio and All-Might's summary of your fight. I'm unimpressed." Izuku swayed in place at the quick and harsh statement from his homeroom teacher. "You showed a cooperation and understanding of and with your teammate to devise a plan to win, but splitting up and taking on one student or the other alone and meeting halfway with Bakugou to settle a grudge match in the middle of class and end up harshly injuring yourself and a classmate is reckless and childish. You seemed to know their plans before the match began, so I take it you understood both your opponents, and if you did, you would have scaled the building with Uraraka to take on Iida together and end the match without destroying the building or resulting in critical wounds. Your two opponents seemed uninterested in regular communication, that you two could have secured the weapon before Bakugou ever made it back. But you didn't."
Izuku wanted to challenge that, he really did, but he could hear it; the voice that would bite at authority like Bakugou would at the slightest word of an insult. And though his sensei's words were very critical, they were not without critique. "I had faith in Uraraka in handling Iida," he defended himself weakly.
"When you could have given her teamwork," his teacher was quick to attack. "There's a difference between the two, having faith in someone and working with someone, and that's misreading the situation and not taking the danger seriously. Faith only comes from those who are or think you will be dead." Izuku gave the pro hero a concerned look for that. "Now, if this were any other situation, I would expel you from my class here and now for your misbehavior, not towards Uraraka but towards Bakugou. You would be transferred to our General Education department for the rest of the year until we saw the correct behavior in you and would consider placing you back into a heroics class next year. However, the principal and his loyal follower you know as All-Might persist that you are not the aggressor in this situation between you and Bakugou, and the audio archived from your earpieces shows your mind was not solely on the fight with him but the battle and objective as a whole, whereas Bakugou was only interested in fighting you. And while the rest of your shared words lead me to believe they are making a mistake in their judgement of you, they've convinced me you are not a complete problem to the class. Consider this a warning to keep yourself in line. Is that understood, Midoriya?"
His teacher had the authority to expel him just like that? Did all the teachers at this school do that? Regardless, it seemed Izuku was getting away without expulsion on his record. He was pretty sure there was more to having faith in someone than his teacher thought, but Izuku had to bow to the truth that working alongside Uraraka probably would have been a safer bet. He had never really fought Iida or sparred with him before, but if he was anything like his family of pro heroes in combat, the green-haired teen could think of a counterplay or two that could have won them the game. Katsuki wasn't slow in the slightest, but Izuku does remember dropping a floor on both their heads, so it wasn't like his sensei was without his points. "Understood, sir."
"Good. Class starts soon. Let's go."
Izuku followed his teacher through the hallways, silently watching the back of the man's head. So this was Eraserhead, a pro underground hero he had only read between the lines of police and news reports. He could see it, with the man's hardened attitude and to-the-point vocabulary, why the man was probably better suited to that line of work than the pro hero spotlight. Not to knock him completely; to be a hero at all, the man had to have some aspect about him worth admiring. Izuku guessed he would have to wait and see it.
Izuku also guessed he would have to wait to see Katsuki again, because he was not in class.
He was the only absentee, Izuku noted, gazing over the heads of his other classmates either not thinking anything of his absence or questioning it the same as he was. He knew Katsuki had to stay later than he did after their fight, but he didn't think the aggressive blond was staying behind for that long.
"Quicker to quiet down than yesterday," Aizawa judged everyone after the bell rang. "Still needs work. I spent my night reviewing all of your battle trials, and the same can be said there. For the most part, you've all at least come in with some level of understanding of what you'll be asked of here, from here on we will do everything to work out your problems and shape you into proper heroes. Midoriya." The green teen snapped his attention to his teacher. "Control your anger and behavior. Do not let it dictate your actions or affect your teammates.
"Same for you, Todoroki." The white-and-red-haired boy in the back row, seated beside Yaoyorozu, peered up at their teacher. "Heroes are allies. Your job is to work alongside each other, not on your lonesome in a manner that hinders your teammate's ability to do their work too." Izuku noticed the completely disinterested look on the other boy's face, his eyes spacing for a moment. "Am I understood?"
"Yes, sensei," the boy replied. Izuku had seen the boy use an ice quirk for their physical test the other day; he wasn't sure how that translated to and affected his personality.
"Good." Their teacher gazed over the room of students' heads. "All of you can improve, and that is why you are all here. Over the next year, you will all be putting out your best effort to perform and do better than your last performance. Now then...Kirishima."
"Uh, sensei," the red-haired boy with his hand in the air responded as he was called on, "what about Bakugou? Why isn't he here?" At least someone wanted to ask it, Izuku hummed to himself. If their teacher had the right to expel them on his own free will, then did Bakugou meet the worse fate of their fight's outcome?
"Bakugou is on medical leave as per Recovery Girl's orders," Aizawa answered. "He won't be joining us for class today because of such, despite his best efforts to ignore her demands. Trying to go against her word is the equivalent of asking to be showered in hell fire." While the man himself didn't sound scared in the slightest, Izuku could feel the chill that washed over the rest of them.
"Now then," he continued, "if that is all, it's time for your next big step." Izuku tensed in his seat. This school just didn't let up, did it? Skipping orientation for a physical exam on the first day and then fighting each other on the second? How much farther could they go on just the third? "You need to pick a class president."
And just like that, all worry in Izuku's body puffed out of his body so he could sink into his chair with despair. He would have taken sparring with his teachers over class president debating. The position itself never amounted to anything from anyone in the past, least not for Izuku's classes, so he had little faith in it being any better in a hero school with teachers that could rule with an iron first. And given his classmate's loud shouts over one another to take the position for themselves, Izuku was content with blending in with the green of his chair.
And suddenly Izuku's heart went out to Iida for doing God's work.
"This is a role laden with responsibility and tasked with carrying everyone else's weight!" the Ingenium prodige continued his announcement, garnering the rest of the class's hushed attention on him and his shakily raised arm above his head. "It is a position that requires the trust and faith of your peers around you! If we are to determine a leader among us, then there is only one way to settle this debate! We must put it to a vote!"
"You say that but your arm is still raised!"
Despite the blue-haired boy's pose, his words had dropped on the rest of the class like a blanket. The idea of voting for the class president instead of fighting tooth and nail for the position was a better idea, and it took only another question to their teacher to permit the process and have Iida passing slips of paper out to everyone to make their choice.
And now Izuku had to choose someone for the role of class president. One of the girls had mentioned that "they had barely known each other as of now and yet had to choose who they thought would make a good class president," and while that may be true for some of his classmates, he already knew some of them. Ojiro was a good, level-headed friend who liked his humor; could make for a nice and friendly class president. He could remember every lecture Iida gave him about health and safety; he already had a role-model aura to him. Uraraka seemed like a sweet girl with a big heart; Izuku wasn't really sure what he could call her energy. Kirishima and Tsunotori were really nice and friendly people too.
But one look over his shoulder, to the girl in the back row with the big puff of raven-black hair writing down her choice and folding the paper neatly before handing it forward, wiped clean any other option for the role before he wrote down anything. And when he did, he spared a moment catching a glance with his tailed friend and the red-haired boy looking his way briefly.
He had confidence in the people he knew to make the right choice.
"So," Kaminari began, turning in his seat to face and point at the other blond boy, "where do you learn your fighting moves? Is there, like, a dojo that's teaching you everything?"
Ojiro nodded, setting down his bowl of food. "Yeah, I attend a dojo of a family friend's business. It's where I've learned a lot of my self-defense and my general martial arts training. Midoriya and I did self-defense classes together last year." He pointed to the green-haired boy across the table. "Offense wise, though, I've actually been trying to copy and incorporate moves from video games and movies."
"Wait, really? Like what? Which games? Have you mastered the Hadouken?"
"Yes, action oriented, mostly 2D fighters, and no. I've got an extra limb and all" — he held his tail over his shoulder to emphasize his words — "so I decided to start using the more dynamic moves formal schools won't teach you. I still want to use real martial arts, but the more I know, the better I can be. I wanted to show off yesterday some of what I've practiced but, well, ya' know…"
"Jack Frost over there, yeah," Kanimari sympathized, glaring across the cafeteria hall to the bi-colored boy seated alone while he ate. The two boys gave the ice-wielding boy the stink eye, their few moments of silence interrupted as the brunette between them spat out her milk suddenly.
"Uraraka!" Iida announced in concern, offering his own napkins over the table to the girl covering her mouth and trying to clean up her spill while shaking. "Are you okay? Did your food go down the wrong pipe?"
"I'm fine, sorry," Uraraka stuttered and coughed, pounding a fist on her chest as she composed herself. " Sorry, I was—I got lost imagining Todoroki dressed up as Jack Frost."
"You meant the little cartoon guy dressed in purple jester clothing?" Ojiro asked for confirmation, receiving an answer in the form of the brunette nodding her head.
Kaminari looked between the two with confusion plastered all over his face. "No. Jack Frost, the evil winter guy. Who are you talking about?"
"Who are you talking about?"
Momo suppressed a laugh beneath her hand as the majority of their lunch table delved into a heated discussion over fictional characters. Conversations like these were unlike any she had ever been involved in or overheard growing up. Other girls and boys she spent time with from classes or from families that were friends with her parents were taught to be formal and level-headed, same as she was. But the chaotic energy of her classmates debating which between a folktale character and an iconic video game enemy deserved more recognition over the other was a sight the tall girl found herself interested in watching.
It was strange, experiencing just how different her classmates were so far from those she had previously. Iida's stern nature and his heroics family upbringing was maybe the closest to anyone Momo had met before, but his quirky tendency to slip and react so animatedly when he spoke contrasted greatly with the soft spoken natures she had grown up around. Ojiro's calm attitude was supplemented by his dryer humor than the rest of the group that could make her laugh more than any other joke she heard from other kids before. Kaminari and Uraraka operated with open and slightly loud personalities differentiated by the boy's constant quips and jokes and the girl's moments to stare away with eyes of awe and provide the loudest laughter to every hard-hitting punchline. Everyone stood out from one another as a bright and colorful cast of characters Momo was happy to get to know more.
The only other member in their circle not partaking in the small argument was the green-haired boy sitting beside her, picking away at his food with disinterest. A far cry from the boy she was familiar with, with words firing from his mouth or his hands flailing about in imitated movements she was trying to decipher. Momo tuned out the rest of their group while she asked, "Midoriya, are you all right?"
He didn't respond, continuing to pick at his lunch and nibble only small pieces at a time. His silence only sprouted worry in her, up until he replied, "Yeah, I'm fine. Just...processing still, is all."
The class president election, Momo presumed, thinking back to the green-haired boy's reaction when all the votes were tallied. "I still don't see why you're so upset over this, Midoriya. The position of class president is one I believe you've earned. Not just anyone can be trusted with bringing everyone together."
"Yes, because that's what I'm good at," Midoriya drawled out sarcastically. "I can't even get Hatsume to join us for lunch and meet you. It's been fifteen years, and I've got five friends. And Kaminari. How am I supposed to bring 19 other people together?"
Pushing aside her own interest to meet this pink-haired girl attending their year's support department, Momo pressed on. "You may only have us here, but you earned yourself almost half of the class's votes. I think most of us have faith in you enough already for this position."
That only seemed to sour Midoriya's expression even more, and the tall girl could not understand why. A part of her was envious of how easily he had won the election, gaining a whole four votes more than what she had garnered in her placement as vice class president. But she was still one of those seven votes in the green-haired boy's favor, so she knew well his victory was in part of her own doing. For what reasons did he not see any worth in the position entrusted upon him?
"Still bull," Midoriya stated, drawing Momo out of her thoughts. "You should have won. Thought I could trust these guys to vote for you too. Traitors."
The black-haired girl blinked in surprise at his words. He had...voted for her? He wasted his vote on her?
"Hey, Midoriya," Kaminari spoke up, splitting off from his own group's discussion and injecting himself into that between the other two teens. "What do you think of hanging out this Sunday as a group out in town?"
Before Kaminari could elaborate or Momo could cut him short and talk to Midoriya herself, their conversation was interrupted by alarms blaring overhead and throughout the cafeteria. What was once white noise of other students drowning in their own discussions turned into shouts of confusion, annoyance and eventually worry as the speakers above shouted a Level 3 warning.
"Security Level 3?" Iida shouted over the crowd, turning about as everyone was running about in sudden fear. "What's Level 3?"
"It means someone's infiltrated the school grounds!" another student shouted among the chaos, pushing his way through other students. "This is the first time it's happened in my three years here! Hurry up, all of you!"
Momo felt the panic rise up in her slowly. Someone had broken into the school; into Yuei of all places? Who in the world would do that? Who could do that? Where in the school grounds were they, and what were the teachers doing to handle them?
Before she and her friends could move and run with the other students to somewhere more safe, a hand roughly gripped her arm and held her back at the table. Midoriya, instead of joining the crowd and escaping the cafeteria, climbed atop their dining table and tried his best to usher his friends up with him. "I'm not getting trampled by Yoshi's Smash Attack," he shouted his reason over the loud crowd crashing past them. "Neither are ya'll. Got my back blown out over a table last time I ran to a door with a crowd."
"This is too hectic," Ojiro commented, curling his tail around his torso and looking over the crowd around them. "Where are we supposed to go, anyways?"
"Yuei has a net of safety bunkers around campus," Iida announced his answer over his shoulder, balancing one foot on the table and his other on the bench. "Back when the school was used as a safety camp during the early era of heroes and villains."
"How many of them do you think will make it there with foot marks on their body?" Kaminari swayed on the table top, holding on to Iida's shoulder to balance himself. "Not like getting in this is any more safe."
"And they won't listen either." A new, deeper voice interjected into the conversation, and when Momo looked over her shoulder she nearly jumped off the bench at the mouth and ear hanging on a tentacle between her classmates. "They should be out of here soon enough though, so we can follow after them without being trampled."
Momo followed the arm across the hall, stretched over the heads of their rushing schoolmates, to the tall boy near the wall of windows where the tentacles connected to his arms. He was one of their classmates under Aizawa — Shoji Mezo — and he was following the same protocol they were, standing atop the bench and table nearest to him.
"Any idea what's going on outside?" Momo directed her question to his extended ear. "Who's forced their way inside?"
"The press," Shoji answered flatly, turning his appendages around to point at the windows his body stared out of. "Present Mic and Aizawa are holding them off at the main door. And the gate just looks gone; not sure who opened it."
"Are you fucking kidding me?" Midoriya hissed beside her. "It's been hours. What are they still doing here? The hell are they breaking in now for?"
"I've tried shouting it to the crowd, but I guess you guys didn't even hear me." Shoji's extended mouth sighed, and Momo gave a second of thought to imagine how it connected through his arm all the way back up to his throat and vocal chords. "Nor do they want to listen to me; nothing new there. We can only really wait this out for now."
Momo wasn't too keen on that idea. It had been only a minute or two of panic, and the crowd had barely filed out of the cafeteria. There was still enough time to try and drown out their own voices and get the message across, but none of them had a quirk for amplifying their volume as their English teacher could. But lucky for her, quick thinking meant she knew ways around that. Hopefully her actions wouldn't get her in any big trouble.
"Uh, Yaoyorozu?" Ojiro asked for her attention, the girl refusing to look his way while she unbuttoned her shirt from the waist up. "What are you doing?"
"Yaoyorozu!" Iida's scolding shout was almost enough to turn heads their way to Momo revealing her whole stomach, but they only snapped back to their task at hand of running away. "This is a public setting! This is no time for indecency!"
"You can yell at me later," she waved him away, focusing her mind elsewhere and recounting the elements she needed to. "Midoriya, catch."
"What?" Instead of explaining more to the boy, her belly shined as her quirk activated, and Midoriya's hands shot out to catch the microphone that formed from her body. "Oh. Oh!"
Momo gave their table a quick look. "Cover your ears," she ordered, and they complied while Shoji's appendages drew back towards his body. The only one who didn't was Midoriya, who took it upon himself to switch it on and point it at the crowd's escape entrance.
"Good morning Greendale!" his voice boomed from the device, shrieking slightly as it adjusted and blasting louder than the rest of the students to draw their attention back to the six of them atop the table instead of rushing out the door.
"Greendale?" Momo asked him, and the boy just shrugged.
"It's a good comedy show," he replied with the mic lowered, before picking it back up and speaking slowly through it. "You can all calm down now. It is just the media. Being assholes." Midoriya took a second to look over the crowd taking in his words and easing off of one another, following the pointed hand towards the windows. "So being the media, essentially."
"Why are you on top of a table?" one of the students shouted at them.
"Why are you on top of your classmates?" Midoriya fired back, still speaking through the microphone. "Pretty sure I'm in the less egregious spot. Though I'm pretty sure not everyone heard me." The teen looked on past the crowd, to the cafeteria entrance where some students were still shuffling out of. Momo hoped they were running ahead to pass on the word to anyone else who hadn't known it was just media trespassing.
At the very least, they had managed to calm down the cafeteria as a whole, so Momo took that as the sign for her and her friends to finally climb down without the fear of being run over. Kaminari and Iida helped Uraraka down to the floor, the girl having stood stiff ever since she was ushered up, and Momo didn't blame her. She wasn't sure how much of their class was willing to continue the day with a safety breach like that.
But looking at Midoriya being the least perturbed of everyone around, offering the rest of their friends a hand and asking if they were all right, before coming around to ask her the same, Momo could at least rest assured she made the right call putting her faith in him to watch over them. One day, she promised, she'd be there to do the same for him.
Izuku volunteered to be the one to turn the microphone into the school staff. He had tried to give it back to Yaoyorozu, but its creator turned it down, stating she had no use for it. And, well, since he didn't either and thought it would be a worthless early birthday present to everyone else, he opted to give it to the school for them to make use of instead.
His classmates were also not letting him turn down the role as class president after his joint effort with his vice in calming the situation, so instead of allowing Yaoyorozu to turn in the object she created with her quirk outside of class, his role as class prez would take the brunt of the blame; unlicensed quirk uses without supervisor permission did incite penalty, but Izuku would explain it well enough that the situation at hand permitted such a minute use of his classmate's quirk. He'd find a way to weasel out of this role soon enough, Izuku told himself. Not that it wasn't a rle for him; he wasn't the man for it.
His classmates holding 'faith' and 'trust' in him should have decertified him from the nomination altogether. Iida and Ojiro knew he was withholding information from the rest of the class by his own intent, and yet he knew for a fact they voted for him. Yaoyorozu had basically admitted to swapping votes with him for one another, and her persistence that he fit the role rather well felt like intentionally building herself up to be disappointed. She couldn't have known any better, mostly because he had more trust and faith in her not to act in such a spiteful way of her own volition. And given neither Uraraka or Kaminari complained over their one votes and his overwhelming cheat of a victory, so he assumed they made two more of his total of seven votes. That still left two unnamed classmates who had thought he was good for the role, but if America could drain the swamp, so could he.
Half the class had voted for him and Yaoyorozu alone, so she was really the only classmate he could pass the role on to. But she didn't want it and turned down every offer he gave her. Aizawa forced him to take it, his vice wouldn't accept the opportunity for a promotion, and his classmates had the snake of Eden's garden whispering in their ear to convince them he was the man for the job. The only way he could see himself out of this position was instigating a trial by combat he would throw on purpose just to break free.
Then again who the hell would buy it?
"Midoriya," a voice called out behind him, and the green-haired teen peered over his shoulder to his tall, masked classmates following behind to catch up. "Is it alright if I walk with you?"
"Be my guest," Izuku responded. "I was just taking this to the teacher's lounge, is all. None of us have any use for it, might as well let the school find a purpose for it." He held the microphone slightly towards the taller boy that caught up beside him. "You want it?"
Shoji raised one of his hands to turn down the offer, while another morphed into a mouth beside his head. "I don't need it, thank you. Although I think Yamada-sensei is vocal enough that they probably won't need it either."
Izuku blinked a moment, taking in the sight of the disconnected facial feature before it became obvious to the other boy that he was staring. Izuku shrugged and let the microphone return to hanging at his side. "It's not like Present Mic will always be around when we need him. Our teachers are heroes. I wonder how they work out getting a call in the middle of a lecture. Do you think if they don't come back after 15 minutes we could just go home?"
"I don't think that's how that works," Shoji admitted, looking on ahead as they turned the corner. "I assume most of our teachers might be last-minute resorts, given they technically work two jobs. I haven't heard Kayama-sensei in too many missions the past few years like most other heroes. I think it comes with the trade."
"Ishiyama-sensei is around a lot though," Izuku countered, watching his classmate's interest peak from the corner of his eye. "With a quirk like controlling and freely reshaping cement, maybe it's just because he has more practical uses in the field. Midnight's perfume isn't exactly a fast ranged-attack quirk. You could probably outrun it if you're in an open place."
"You could probably outrun most everything in an open place." Shoji shrugged as they turned the next corner, the teachers' lounge door in sight. "Other than the earth. Bit of an unfair advantage. How do you combat something like that without the strength to counter?"
Izuku shrugged as their walk slowed to a stop. Some quirks were just built unfairly with circumstantial methods of counteracting and defeating; most of the top ten heroes and then some in Japan were a clear example of that. What could most of them do to fight against pure stone and sheer force? What could someone like him do against criminals and villains like that?
When Izuku finally knocked on the teachers' lounge's door he wasn't expecting the face of a police detective to be the first one he saw.
"Oh," the man announced in surprise, looking between the two teenages before pointing a finger at Izuku. "Midoriya, right? I heard you made it in. Congratulations."
"Uh, thanks," Izuku responds, taking a moment to rack his brain before pointing back at the detective, "Detective Naomasa. Are you here because of the break-in?"
"Not at first, no, but it's a good thing I am here. Police should be here shortly to help your teachers outside with the press. Most of your teachers are still out there now; is there anything I can help you boys with?"
Izuku held up the microphone to the man. "Used this earlier; the cafeteria was a mess. Was thinking the school could use it more than us."
"I'll hand it over to Power-Loader and the principal, then," Naomasa responded, accepting the microphone dropped in his hands. "What happened in the cafeteria? Is everyone all right?"
"Other than being a bit freaked out, I think everyone was fine," Shoji reported to the detective. "The alarm had people panicking, no one knew why it was going off, but Midoriya here was able to calm them down."
Izuku popped an eyebrow up at his taller classmate. "Aren't you the one who knew why it was going off?"
"Aren't you the one who shouted at everyone and told them about it?"
"I didn't shout," Izuku deflected and pointed at the microphone. "I just spoke loudly. That was shouting at everyone."
"Oh, you've calmed down your peers for me, good." The two students looked down between the detective's leg to the furry and suited mammal pushing his way through. "Our intercom was experiencing a maintenance error earlier and we've been trying to relay the message about the media across campus. Cameras worked wonders in letting us know our speakers weren't working. Thank you both for assessing and approaching the situation in an appropriate manner." Nedzu looked up to the microphone in the detective's hands. "I take it either Yaoyorozu or Manga created this for you, though I believe your sister class's student doesn't create near-perfect images like this."
Izuku nodded his head to their principal, peering just around the detective's shoulder to search for any other staff members. "Yeah, Yaoyorozu made that. Had to make sure people could hear us."
"Though free use of quirks requires official and legal permissions, given the circumstances today I think we can turn the other cheek. Do give her my thanks as soon as possible. Is there anything else you boys need help with?"
The two teens looked to each other, both sharing a shake of their heads with one another before relaying it verbally to their principal.
"Then I suggest you both hurry back to your classroom, though I can't be certain you'll be there for long. Your homeroom teacher will be checking up on you all shortly, and you may all be leaving earlier than scheduled. Try not to pass it on and get your classmates' hopes up if that does not become the case." The principal waved a paw as the boys took the hint and bowed before walking away. "Thank you both for your actions in calming the situation. I'll look to adding some extra credit if Shota doesn't strike it down."
Right before the door could close and the boys turned the corner, the detective shot back out of the room. "Oh, right, Midoriya," he announced to draw their attention back for the moment. "I saw the recording of your performance in the entrance exam. Good work. I'm happy you're following my advice." Naomasa gave them one last smile before he dipped back into the teachers' lounge, the door easing shut behind him, and leaving Izuku with another sour thought as he and his classmate returned to their homeroom. Because of course someone had to remind him of his self analysis that had him butting heads with a brick wall for answers.
"So," Shoji began, peering back over his shoulder a moment, "you met that officer before?"
Izuku looked back up to him. "Detective Naomasa? Yeah, once or twice. Technically twice but they were both about the same thing, so it's also technically once, if you squint. It was last December. He told me to get a hero's license of my own if I wanted to do anything about apprehending criminals legally."
"That means...that was you at the mall." Having that event brought up gave Izuku more surprise than distaste, hearing it come from one of his own classmates. "On the news, the baseball boy who helped capture those criminals."
"Yeah that was me," Izuku submitted his answer. "I don't even watch baseball, or like baseball. It was just a piece of junk someone threw away, until I found it. Lasted me all the way to the entrance exam."
"Which means you're also the guy who defeated the zero pointer."
To that, Izuku had to audibly sigh. "Defeated? Pretty sure that thing was still standing. All I did was take a crash course in anger management. I don't think it worked."
"I guessed you were, yesterday, when you showed up with a baseball bat in your hands," Shoji explained, somewhat brightly if Izuku was hearing his tone of voice correctly. "I almost forgot about the mall attack, but I remember what you did at the entrance exam. I was there."
Izuku looked up and down the taller boy. "Oh yeah, you were in the testing area too. Saw you at the entrance, I think."
"And I saw you at the end. I thought it was a coincidence for a second, but I never got close to see you better. What you did was amazing."
"It was not amazing," Izuku shot back, "in the slightest. That was the distraction bot; it probably cost me more points than running off to try and take down another pointer. But my friend got hurt by it, so I had to help her first. That's all I did."
"But you took on the zero pointer," Shoji pushed, Izuku unable to hold back the groan that jumped from his throat. "No one in any of the other testing sites did that. I've heard nothing about somebody else here fighting a zero pointer and I've heard some talk about what you did. To have the strength to beat a zero pointer into the ground would have to be that which could rival All-Might's. I don't think Endeavor or Mirko could pull off something like that with their strength like you did, Midoriya, at least not as easy as you did. Yaoyorozu said you had a lot of strength yesterday during the battle trial but I think she's underselling what you're capable of, Mi...Midoriya?"
Instead of being by Shoji's side, Izuku had stopped in his tracks behind the other boy, frozen stiff with eyes wide enough to take up half of his face. The hell did he mean by 'beat a zero pointer into the ground?' Yeah, Izuku had damaged the gigalith of a machine, but all he had done was dent the obviously weak plating at the foot of the machine, an intentional inverse of how the smaller robots were designed for garnering points. He had either done enough damage to warrant the zero pointer as 'defeated' and stop it in its tracks or the buzzer had sounded and stopped the machine automatically, that was what Izuku told himself. It made sense to him. What Shoji was telling him did not.
"It wasn't that impressive." Izuku's words drew out as he stepped forward to his classmate's side again. "It's not like I broke it any. The thing was still standing."
Shoji stared at the shorter teen for a brief few seconds before he responded, "You broke the earth beneath it, Midoriya. With it. Even if you couldn't knock it over, you had trapped it. It's no less impressive, what you did." Ah yes, Izuku gathered internally, because digging a twenty-something-or-other story robot into the ground made more sense. "Kind of similar to how you fought Bakugou yesterday, using his gauntlets to win at the end."
Ah, right. The battle trial against Bakugou, where his arms nearly tore apart from a violent blast and had their wounds probably seared shut from the heat, but he still mustered the strength to swing his body and bat and whack Bakugou's arms and gauntlet into the air without giving him time to stop him. He barely even felt the pain; it looked worse than it felt at the time.
"Yeah well I'm not of it," Izuku moved on, his mouth speeding on ahead of his brain, ushering his classmate forward and towards their classroom. "I was angry at the time, not thinking straight. I'm not proud of how I acted, so can we not talk about it? I'd rather be remembered for something I am proud of."
Shoji took the hint, pushing along with his own feet and bowing his head. "Oh, sorry, Midoriya. I—"
"It's fine," Izuku interrupted him. "I'm sorry for snapping at you. Just...been a long day."
The taller boy agreed. "Hopefully we are let home early. I wonder where everyone else was during the panic."
Izuku agreed with his classmate in his wish to be let go from school early. He'd like to home, away from the mass pile of people, away from the judgement and questioning of his peers, and locked away in his own room so he could figure out...
What the fuck was going on with him.
Nedzu took attacks on his school seriously. He was the dean of a large campus fostering several years of hero hopefuls and members of society that would go on to best compliment them; it wasn't any mystery as to why their school would be a target of criminals. The only question Nedzu had to answer was how he would react and prevent any future infiltrations, because the safety of his students was the top priority in everyone's mind, including his own.
Never once, though, did Nedzu predict the press would break into his campus grounds. They had always been a nuisance and a critical thorn in his side, and conversing with the head of other schools like their rival Shiketsu did he know the press was a thorn in everyone's side. No one was more critical of rising heroes than those that pushed gossip for a paycheck on the most marketable and profitable profession in heroics. Nothing bothered kids more in their years at Yuei than those who shoved cameras in their faces.
But then again, he didn't know of a reporter who could disintegrate layers of steel into dust.
The small headmaster turned his gaze on the detective across his office. "Anything to update us on a potential suspect?" he asked the gentleman in the trenchcoat.
The man, clicking away at his phone, sighed through his nose and returned Nedzu's look. "None of the news anchors or cameramen could have opened the entrance to the school like that. Last reported disintegration quirk we can find in the records is from a gentleman who passed away fifty years ago, though it was reportedly weak in use. Could be someone from out of the country, could be someone off the records down the family line, could be a special guy born outside of a hospital and raised underground for all we know. We'll need more time to follow up on any of those routes, and I'll make sure to keep you noted."
"Thank you, Naomasa." Nedzu nodded his gratitude to the man. "If it is someone he can handle" — the principal gestured a paw to the emancipated man seated beside his desk — "without the media learning of their presence, do not hesitate to let him know before I do."
"I'll make sure to keep my phone off silent, then," Toshinori reasoned. "It's been a decade since the last attempted break in to this school. I'm surprised our culprit slipped away so easily."
"Camera footage hasn't found any suspicious activity either," Nedzu added on. "Whoever entered the school either entered unseen or never at all. Though I doubt someone with no easily found records tore down our front door for a laugh. Ryo should be sweeping the campus now for any lingering scent."
"Unseen, you say." The number one hero tapped away at his chin. "Class 1-B has that student with the invisibility quirk. Do you think she or her family could have any connection to this?"
"Hagakure is accounted for on security footage, so we can consider her clear. I'm reluctant to believe the family of our students would use their children to find a way to sneak inside our school, and it still wouldn't explain the pile of rust at our front porch. If Ryo's search ends up short of a trail, consider them clear too."
It was a messy and complicated subject, treating his students as criminals or withholding connections to some. The lack of trust required to make the assumption was one that wouldn't be left off lightly if the news discovered his habits. Nor would the parents and families be appreciative of treating their children as accomplices to crimes. Even in the years where his students emminated an aura of caution and unease onto their surroundings, not one of his students or graduates had been connected to criminals before their attendance at his school.
As Aizawa let himself into his office, followed by a trio of blond-haired family members, Nedzu knew that streak of luck was at a potential end at its worst.
"Thank you for still agreeing to come on such short notice," Nedzu greeted the family, stepping forward across his desk as Aizawa and Naomasa offered them the seats facing the desk. "Do pardon our entrance; it seems someone has tried to sneak around under our noses. We are already at work with the police to see this perpetrator face justice" — he shared a nod with the detective who plopped into the empty chair back at the door — "so understand I am taking this situation and the safety of my students seriously. Your son may have been exempt from classes today, but with our suspect still on the loose, it means there is potential for this to happen again. The safety of your son and every other student attending within these walls are our top priority."
The mother waved off his concerns with her hand. "I wouldn't have let this brat go here if I didn't trust you guys to do your job," Bakugou Mitsuki iterated. "We heard a bit about it on the way here. I thought the paparazzi was more civil than this."
"We don't know if it is the press yet," All-Might, still in his thin form, explained. "As far as we are aware, it's unlikely it was just some reporter opening the floodgates for the other outlets."
"They're still being tried with breaking and entering," Aizawa followed up, standing tall on the opposite side of the desk from the blond hero. "If they are responsible for opening the entrance or not doesn't matter; forcing their way through for a scoop on the number one instead of focusing on the damage done is linking them all as accomplices."
"That's good to hear," Bakugou Masaru sighed. "None of the other students were hurt, right? A friend of ours has a son that goes here."
"Midoriya, I presume?" The two adults nodded to Nedzu's question, while their son between them stared down at his own feet. Bakugou Katsuki, ushered in by his parents and seated in silence between the two. Aizawa said the boy wasn't so loud, but seeing him so quiet contrasted greatly with his boisterous personality during the entrance exam and his hardened fighter attitude in their battle trial course. "He's fine; he and some of his classmates worked together to control many of the other students after the alarm went out. No physical injuries we were able to find, though he and the rest of our students are understandably distracted otherwise by the commotion. They were sent home early, in fact, in case the school felt too empty when you had arrived; we thought it was only right after an experience like that. If it is all the same to you, now that you are here, I hope we can find an equal ground regarding your son's admittance in our hero program."
"I would too," Mitsuki agreed, her hand dropped down on her son's head to ruffle his hair, completely ignoring his growls. "Kid here's been wanting to be a hero ever since he saw All-Might on T.V.. I know he can be difficult at times — speaking from my own experience here — but I wouldn't think he's done anything to jeopardize that."
"That will depend on his answers today." Aizawa took control of the meeting and swiped the small stack of papers off of Nedzu's desk. "You and Midoriya both would have been let off with warnings for your grudge match overriding your class and your assignment at hand if it weren't for other factors outweighing your misfortune. First of all; your costume's gauntlets."
The young Katsuki ripped his eyes away from the carpet floor to his teacher above. "What about them?" he asked abrasively. "I designed them for my costume."
"And they are well designed," Nedzu complimented, "don't get us wrong. Many heroes struggle to find a tool or device that can amplify their quirk; some just don't have the quirk for it. To understand yours well enough that you could determine a mechanism that increases the blast of your Explosion is admirable. But it is not your creativity we are questioning, young Bakugou."
"It's their presence," Aizawa continued. "Those gauntlets weren't supposed to be with your costume. Given the note about your attitude coming into this school is one of the first we've ever received and accepted into our programs, we were planning to judge your character first, without enabling you or your quirk with more destructive power. Your gauntlets were to be held on standby until enough classes passed and you could be trusted with them. Was there not a note with your costume that would have told you such? Our support department was supposed to have left one behind for you."
"There wasn't a note anywhere," Bakugou answered, looking between his teachers with a judging glare. This was probably the side of the boy Aizawa had informed him about, Nedzu mused. "I used the gauntlets because they were given to me like they were supposed to be."
"Oh they weren't supposed to be, but that does raise into question how they got to you to begin with." Peering over the blond family's shoulders, Nedzu could see the detective nod his head and inform him the boy was telling the truth. "Maijima isn't one to lie to us like that. It seems someone slipped under his nose and went ahead with the delivery. We'll have to look into that more ourselves then, if you aren't to blame. Consider that one weight off your shoulders. Now to address the rest, namely your behavior."
"The fuck is that supposed to mean—ah, what the hell!" The teen turned on his mother, flapping his arms to bat hers away from the back of his head. "Stop doing that!"
"Stop disrespecting you teachers!" she all but shouted back. "I told you not to use language like that! Did your explosions knock your memory around or something?"
"Not now, you two, please," Matsuru pleaded with his family, both mother and son seated perfectly still with glares and growls pointed at one another. The blond man sighed in relief as they quieted down, himself turning forward to the three members of Yuei's staff watching them with various expressions. "I take it, this is what you mean?"
Aizawa hummed in disapproval but Nedzu took to vocalizing their thoughts. "Just about, actually. Students with abrasive behavior are nothing new to our school; it seems a student from our other first year hero course has already developed a rivalry with Class 1-A from seemingly out of nowhere. The difference here is that Monoma seems to respect his classmates without hesitation, while young Bakugou here has his own rivalry with Midoriya."
"Deku isn't my rival," the blond boy growled up to the principal.
"But there is something between the two of you," the rodent-mutant acknowledges. "Attended the same junior high, entered this school with a warning between your 'relationship,' a familiarity obvious from his use of your name and your use of such a degrading nickname. Midoriya not only made it into this school but achieved the highest grade within our physical and entered the top one percent of all entrance examinations. Why would he still classify as a 'puppet' to you?"
"Because he's quirkless." At least the boy was aware of the fact as much as they were, Nedzu mused. "The hell is he going to do as a hero without a quirk? Get himself beat up so another hero doesn't? Be cannon fodder?"
All-Might squirmed in the seat beside the principal. "Young Bakugou—" he had moved to interrupt with the boy's parents, but Nedzu stuck up a paw to stop them.
"I want to hear him out," the principal told them, turning his attention on the teenage boy. "You believe he shouldn't be here because he lacks a quirk?"
"He can't be," Katsuki persisted. "Heroes put their lives on the line because they have the power to prove their place. It's not like villains go out with their bare hands to hurt people and start shit; they're dangerous and Deku doesn't get that. Without any power of his own, he's nothing but a hazard to himself and another head in the way of real heroes doing their work. He could have done literally anything else where his powerlessness would be useful and not a nuisance or get himself killed. He's not being realistic about this. He can't be a hero without a quirk."
Nedzu could see the lanky man to his right fidget from the corner of his eye, and how the detective across the room looked to the number one hero's deflated form with concern, but he drew no attention to it. "I can pick out of your words some worry for young Midoriya there, Bakugou," the principal told him. "If he doesn't have a means to defend himself, he could very possibly die. It's admirable that you do care for your classmate's well being, though your means of expressing it are far less satisfactory or comforting. Having to dig for that mindset instead of finding it on full display is disheartening. But what of yesterday, in your mock battle simulation? Paired up against someone with a quirk like yours should have yielded in Midoriya's loss, by your standards, and yet he still won. How would that be, do you think?"
"Through a fucking fluke." Katuski's abrasiveness is on full display still, despite the glare and concerned stare pointed at the back of his head from either of his parents. "Deku barely even hit me or hurt me. The only thing he did was break one of my gauntlets and drop a roof on my head. He couldn't even beat me himself, the hell is he going to do in the real world? Why did you even accept him if he can't do anything himself?"
Finally there was an audible sigh out of Aizawa, flipping through the papers in his hands while he spoke. "Midoriya is still in my class because this school does not prioritize quirks. If all we did was care about someone's powers over anything else, the heroics scene would be overridden with people looking for excuses to throw their weight around and find and excuse to abuse their powers. Midoriya is not being expelled because he shows promise in his character and has met expectations to be here, and for that he gets to stay. The same cannot be said for you, Bakugou."
Nedzu took that as his queue to act, fiddling about on the keyboard beside him as the young boy and his parents looked to the heroics homeroom teacher with shock. "What…"
"As of today, Bakugou Katsuki, you are hereby expelled from Yuei's heroics class and will be transferred to our General Studies course starting tomorrow," Nedzu informed the family, clicking away as he changed the boy's profile.
"That's bullshit!" the teenager shouted, his hands poised to spark off his quirk but prevented from doing so as Aizawa's hair glided up and his eyes shone red. "You can't expel me."
"On the contrary, we have every right to. But good news for you, this may only be temporary." Without a fear in the world did Nedzu step forward to the edge of his desk, staring down the boy dragged into his seat by his parents. "We had accepted you into our heroics program from the beginning because you showed progress, Bakugou. Both in the written and the practical exam, you proved to us that there is a hero behind the warnings we were given. Somewhere within you there is a man capable and worthy of protecting this country from the criminals that aim to disrupt peace and the villains that look to overturn it. However, hiding that man from us is this wall not only of attitude but of judgement and scrutiny of his peers. Here at Yuei we do not accept students or admit heroes who cannot work with or respect their fellow men and women in the field or behind closed doors.
"The plan for yesterday's class was to pair you boys on the same team to gauge the conflict between you both without placing you in the positions to clash with one another in a way that wouldn't be a detriment to your grades," Nedzu continued, "but now I am no longer sure that would have worked any better than how it had gone down. We could have placed you both in separate classes to brush these problems under the rug and let it sit and stir as the years went on without ever addressing what's at hand, but we do not work like that. And if you are to look down on your own classmates because of some arbitrary power scale, then we can only determine your attitude as a harm to the class as a whole, and we have no reason to expel nineteen students because they kept their attitudes in line."
"Nedzu, sir," the boy's father interrupted, his hands on his son's chest as the young Bakugou leveled his breathing under his mother's scolding. "What do you mean this is temporary?"
"I said it may be," the mutant principal clarified. "We do not expel students from our school in its entirety, not unless they are to truly break the law. We've yet to have a student who does just that. We do not treat our students as villains when they do not act as such. Demotion is our usual means of expulsion, an experience for our students to reflect upon themselves and find what it takes to be someone better. In just over a month, our school will be hosting our annual Sports Festival. Performance there helps us in determining which students show the potential to grow greater than their peers and even change courses by the time the next school year rolls around. Usually we make no exceptions, but given the abnormalities this year I'm willing to bend the rules ever so slightly." The short principal kept his stare level with Katsuki's glare. "Bakugou, if you can prove and show yourself as someone who has grown or is willing to grow beyond this unfair discrimination of your peers, within these next few weeks and even during the festival, then you will be readmitted to Class 1-A immediately afterwards. Consider this temporary expulsion of yours a warning. If you fail to do so then you will stay within General Studies until the time comes for us to consider you again for our heroics courses. We thank you for your compliance."
The Bakugou's left not too much later, after a short discussion on his standing grades and his new schedule for the time following. The young Bakugou had wizened enough to keep quiet during the time, wallowing and contemplating in silence where he sat. Detective Naomasa had led them out the room upon volunteering, wishing them a safe ride home and promising to look out for them as they left through the front entrance mess being cleaned up by Power Loader and a few machines by his side. That left Nedzu with the two heroics teachers, Aizawa flipping through the papers in his hands and All-Might staring at the floor with vacant eyes. "Yagi—"
"Is that how young Midoriya saw me?" the lanky man interrupted the principal, drawing both pairs of eyes to him. "Is that how he thinks of me still?"
"Have you been treating Midoriya like that?" Aizawa accused the man, not budging under his superior's small glare between the two men.
The number one hero fiddled in his seat, hands grasping at one another flimsily while looking back over the table to the underground hero with a sorrow expression. "I met the boys a year ago myself. A criminal with a body of slime was running amok and had taken Midoriya hostage when we first met. I had...told him something similar back then. Not as harsh, not to my memory, but I had told him the same about being realistic when choosing his future."
"You are worried he aligned your concern for his safety with Bakugou's belittlement of his worth and quirklessness," Nedzu determined. "That's understandable. I believe you told me you had worked to remedy that yesterday."
"I hope I did. It's hard to tell with Midoriya. I'm unsure if he believed me in my support for him making it this far."
"Given his other opposition I'd find it likely he hasn't," Aizawa interjected. "We placed him in a class with the only kid here who seems to dislike him, and to a concerning extent. Do either of you actually believe Bakugou can change himself in just a few weeks from being like that?"
Nedzu looked to 1-A's homeroom teacher. "Do you not?"
"I'd rather be proven wrong in my judgement here." It was an answer enough for Nedzu to accept. "If he fails to show growth in this small time frame, he'll still have less than a year left to try again next year. If my students last year could work their way into 2-A, he should be too."
The principal hummed as he jumped down to his chair. "A shame he is as brusque as he is. He'd be a great addition to the world of heroes with his quirk and determination. We'll just have to pull him out of his tunnel vision if he is unable to find the way out himself. Thank you gentlemen for helping me settle this manner." The underground hero bowed for his wordless exit, giving the other hero one last look before twisting out the door. All-Might made no effort in challenging the other man, and he too bowed to the headmaster of the school before taking his own leave in silence.
School years have had worse starts, Nedzu tried to reason. Expulsion of one student and a minor break in of the press wasn't as concerning as the loss of their entire first year heroics class the year prior, but the sight of the school's disintegrated entrance and the tension between the expelled boy and his quirkless classmate with the power to theoretically topple buildings proved to be heavy enough on their own. Still, the principal could not find it in himself to squander his intrigue amidst the concern. Something special was going to take place this year, he was certain of that. He could only do his best efforts to ensure whatever it was wouldn't come to harm his students.