A/N: Before we get started, if it isn't already obvious, this story will get dark. There's kind of no way around it with this variety of story. My goal is to handle the subject with tact, focusing largely on the emotional recovery and growth of all the characters involved.

Please take a moment to read the notes at the end.

See you at the bottom.

Enjoy.

-Cindermane

DISCLAIMER: I don't own My Hero Academia.


The Burden of Choice
Chapter 2

Yaoyorozu sat on a bench outside of the hospital. Midoriya sat next to her, bent over his knees, staring at the ground with Todoroki on his other side. Her mind was racing like water in a river. As they sat in silence, Momo couldn't help but consider the boy to her left.

Her first impressions of him were… lacking, to say the least. On their first day, the boy was shy, jumpy, and introverted. That all changed the day of the battle trial. After that, the words reckless and impulsive came to mind. In her eyes, he'd gotten caught up in some silly rivalry, risking himself to simply prove a point and losing track of why the exercise was happening in the first place. It wasn't until the Sports Festival that it all changed.

Not only had he taken first in the obstacle course and survived the cavalry battle, but his duel with Todoroki was nothing short of amazing. The fact that he would push his body so far, endure so much pain, and for what? Momo was no fool, he did it to bring out the best in his opponent. It was the only answer. She knew that Midoriya could've won that fight if he'd just kept going, but he didn't. He pushed Todoroki to his limits and beyond, and why? To save the boy from his own demons.

Her eyes shifted to the son of Endeavor. Her family was in the same social circles as the Todoroki's. She'd heard the rumors. How his mother gave him the scar on his face, how his father's hatred of All Might had pushed the boy to his limits. Yet, somehow, Izuku had inspired Todoroki, helped him to break whatever chains held him. Izuku saved Shoto from himself, who in turn saved her during the finals. After all of that, Momo could no longer ignore or deny the passion and drive that filled Midoriya. The way he had touched those around him, he had lit a fire, not just within himself or his close friends, but in all of 1-A. It was the burning drive to succeed, no matter what, no matter the personal cost. She'd never thought that blaze would falter.

But now…

If what Izuku saw could bring such a strong boy to his knees… Her eyes narrowed. A spark of anger burned in her chest. Whoever did this to him, to them, was going to pay.

A slight whimper from Midoriya drew her thoughts. Her gaze softened. Justice would have to wait. She placed a hand softly on his back, felt his muscles tensing slightly. His breath caught in his lungs. It was for less than a second, but it was enough. It broke her heart.

"We're back," Ashido yelled as she, Iida, and Kirishima approached, six disposable cups of hot tea in hand. Midoriya flinched, head jerking up towards the noise. He looked like a deer caught in the headlights. Momo glared at the pink skinned girl. She immediately reeled herself in, a look of apology in her eyes.

Taking two of the cups, Yaoyorozu gently handed one to the green haired boy next to her. Five of them quietly sipped their tea. Momo watched Midoriya, who didn't move, staring at the styrofoam cup as if it was some foreign object.

"Midoriya." She said softly. She saw his shoulders tighten ever so slightly. His breathing was quick and shallow. "Midoriya." She tried again. He tensed even further. Bent over his knees, eyes clenched shut, as if he thought if he tried hard enough they'd just go away.

She looked at her classmates each in turn, silently asking for help. Some shrugged in defeat, others eyes widened. Not even Mina, who was notoriously the most outgoing of the class, offered any help. They didn't dare speak, no one knew what to say or do.

Yaoyorozu shook her head slightly. She would keep trying, for all their sakes. "If you don't want to talk-"

"My mother's apartment." He said rapidly, cutting her off like it was some kind of confession.

"What?"

"I…" His eyes went wide. Yaoyorozu instantly recognized his descent back into panic. Placing a hand on his knee, she felt him tense. Her touch was good. It grounded him, kept him from falling further into his anxiety.

He took a deep, shaky breath and let it out. "I… I found her in an alley by my m-mom's apartment. There was blood… so much blood…" He stopped there, leaving a long stretch of silence to hang heavily over the group.

"Midoriya." He looked up, meeting the taller girl's gaze. There was a frenzy in his eyes that worried her. "You found her in the alley…" She gestured for him to continue. He swallowed hard.

"I found her in-in the alley and I…" He stopped. Stopped talking. Stopped breathing. Just stopped. He inhaled suddenly, the breath catching in his throat. She saw tears start to cascade down his face. Letting out a strangled gasp, he shook. Iida took a step forward to help, but Yaoyorozu gestured for him to stop. Midoriya needed this. He needed to be given the time to say what he needed to say, what he had to say. He needed to understand that he was not alone in this, that he didn't have to shoulder the burden on his own. "It's… It's my fault." He let out a sob. "She's… she's…it's because…" He was making less and less sense.

Momo reached for his wrists, holding them softly. "Midoriya." His hands were shaking. "Midoriya, you to calm down. Look at me." She leaned down to make eye contact. "Look at me." He did so. "It's not your fault."

"But-"

"It is not your-

"My name."

She was not expecting that. "What?" She began, as he tore his hands out of hers and stood up in defiance. The tea fell to the ground, splattering hot liquid all over the concrete as everyone jumped back in reaction.

The green haired boy stared down at his trembling palms. "My name… Her blood… She… She…"

Momo panicked. The situation was spiraling out of control. She had to do something, and quickly. She needed some way to force him to focus. Standing, she hoped she wouldn't regret what she was about to do.

"Izuku." She shouted.

The boy went silent as all eyes turned to Momo in shock. She swallowed hard. "Midoriya." She carefully took his hands in hers. "If you don't want to tell us," she said slowly, "you don't have to. But we're your friends, and Uraraka's. We're here to help you, both of you. Say the word, and we'll back off, but if you need to talk-" The boy flung himself forward, wrapping his arms around the taller girl, sobbing hard into her side. For a second she simply stood there, arms out awkwardly, before embracing the hug.

"They wrote my-my name i-in her blood." He sobbed.

Her eyes widened. "They what?"

"They took h-her because of me." She looked to Todoroki, still sitting down. He look just as shocked. They stood there for several minutes as his body was wracked with sobs . She rubbed gentle circles on his back as he let out all of the stress, anxiety, and desperation of the last hour. Eventually he stopped, released Yaoyorozu, and took a step back. He looked awful. His eyes were bloodshot, and his clothes wrinkled. His face was expressionless, as if he had just cried out all his emotion onto her shoulder. He sniffled several times, and Momo immediately felt a well of protectiveness spring up inside her.

She placed a hand on his shoulder. "Why don't go inside with Ashido and wait for some news." He simply nodded once.

"Yeah," Ashido took his hand and began to lead him back to the waiting room. "I'll stay with you."

Momo waited till they were out of sight before collapsing onto the bench, her head in her hands.

"Shit." Three sets of eyes swung towards Kirishima, but no one disagreed.

Iida grimaced. "We cannot ignore the implications of this."

Todoroki nodded. "You're right. There are other places far more public where they could've dropped her if they wanted to make a statement. The fact they did it at his mom's apartment, and wrote his name… in her blood. This wasn't meant to be a statement."

Kirishima's face darkened. "It's meant to be a threat."

Several minutes passed in silence. Yaoyorozu had nothing to say. The past five minutes had taken all of her energy. She needed time to recover and gather her thoughts.

"We should head inside and wait with Midoriya." Iida said in a quiet voice. Kirishima and Todoroki slowly nodded their agreement.

"You…" Momo began. "You guys go ahead. I… I need a minute." Her head fell back and she stared up at the dark sky.

"Very well." Iida said. "Take whatever time you need." She heard their footsteps begin to retreat. She was alone.

"Yaoyorozu." Her head shot up, her gaze meeting the dual colored eyes of Todoroki. They held contact for several seconds before he looked away. "I wanted to say thank you. I mean… for helping Midoriya. I'm not sure it's something I could have done."

She couldn't help the sad smile that crossed her lips. "Class 1-A is as much my family as my parents are. The fact that this whole thing, Uraraka's kidnapping, the torture, his name, it doesn't just hurt him." Adjusting herself on the seat, she looked at Todoroki. "Why would someone do this? What did he do to deserve such treatment?" She felt the sting of tears behind her eyes, but forced them back. She was a leader. She couldn't let herself succumb to emotion, not now, not when they so obviously needed her to be strong for them. Letting out a shaky breath, she continued. "I know I'm not his close friend, not like you or Iida, but I couldn't just stand by and see him so, so…broken. And when he started to break… I couldn't stand there and do nothing. I mean, seeing him like that, it's just…wrong."

Todoroki placed a hand on her shoulder as he sat beside her.

"You did what you had to."

Looking up into Todoroki's eyes she confessed, "I called him Izuku," even though he was there and he'd seen what she'd done.

"It was necessary." He tried to reassure her. "Don't think anything of it, really. I'm positive he doesn't."

Nodding, she sighed. "Thank you, Todoroki."

A moment of silence passed between the two before the boy rose walking several feet away before stopping. "Yaoyorozu." He called over his shoulder.

The girl looked up. "Yes."

Turning just enough so she could see his face, he gave her a reassuring look. "Call me Shoto."

Momo simply nodded, offering the boy a weak smile in return before watching him walk away.

Her eyes followed him till he disappeared through the doors of the hospital. The second he was out of sight, she broke. She felt a warm tear run down her cheek. Then other. Letting out a quiet sob, she hugged herself, unable to hold back the raw emotion any longer.


Seven black clad vultures huddled around the bloodied body of his student, Uraraka. That's the image Principal Nezu couldn't shake from his mind as he sat quietly in a private room of the Musutafu General Hospital's Surgery and Recovery Wing. Foot tapping impatiently against the plastic upholstery, he waited for word on the status of his student.

Thoughts of Uraraka conjured more images, memories. Knives and needles. Electricity coursing through his brain as monitor's flashed, letting out a symphony of high pitched rapid beeps. A bright light from above reflecting off the white lab coats surrounding him on all sides. His eyes twitched, though his face never lost his soft smile. He hated hospitals.

He was drawn from his thoughts by the sound of the door opening. "Finally. It's about time someone-" He stopped after seeing who it was. "Oh. Hello Chiyo."

The elderly woman shared a knowing look as she closed the door. "Expecting someone else, Nezu?"

The principal sighed. "I've been attempting to meet with the administration here for the past forty-five minutes. You know how I feel about the absurdity of all this red tape."

Recovery Girl made her way to one of the chairs next to the small animal, settling into it. "I know all too well what you mean, but what do you expect? You're trying to move one of their patients to U.A. when she's not even out of surgery yet."

Nezu's smile faded as his mind went towards his broken student. "How is she?"

She was silent for a long moment as she considered her next words. "It's not looking good, Nezu. She'll survive, but…"

He shook his head. It's not like he wasn't expecting this. All the initial reports he'd received pointed to permanent damage, even after the use of healing quirks.

Chiyo took a deep breath. She'd seen horrible, awful things. Sights that made even the strongest of heroes cry. But this…to a girl so sweet. "This shouldn't of happened, not to her. Her wounds, her hands in particular. The nerve damage goes all the way up her arms. There attempting to repair them, but if they can't…" They both knew the implications. It didn't need to be said aloud, and she couldn't bring herself to say it.

She'd lose her quirk.

The principal's hands tightened into fists, his smile gone. "That poor girl. To think, she was caged and tortured like some common animal. Punished for things she had no control over." Anger bubbled up in his chest. He could relate, he had no control over who he was or what happened to him after his quirk manifested. "She had no way of knowing this would come of Midoriya's friendship."

"You can hardly blame the boy."

The principal's smile returned. "Of course not. This is as much a wound to him as it is to her." He took a glance at the elderly woman.

Her eyes were fixed on the fluorescent lights above her, her mind in turmoil. "This is wrong, Nezu. This whole thing. They're children." She shook her head in disgust. "What did they do to deserve this?"

Nezu pondered her question for a moment. He knew his propensity for long talks on heroics, of the philosophies of good and evil and he knew now was not the time to burden the woman with such discussions. Still, something needed to be said.

"Can you not see it Chiyo?" She gave him an inquisitive look encouraging him to continue, so he did. "Destiny has chosen 1-A. Each and every one of them has caught a glimpse of what's out there, yet instead of running from the shadows, they have chosen to stand in the light." He shook his head sadly. "Their fate was sealed the day the League of Villains attacked the USJ. That day they saw the true evil which lurks in the darkness."

Chiyo's face fell at the memory. They had been lucky that most of the injuries were superficial, mere cuts and bruises. If things had been even a little different… She stopped herself. It was never a good practice to play with what if's. Instead, she turned her mind to the words of her principal. "Then why Midoriya? Why hurt him, of all people?"

"I felt it from the moment I saw him in the entrance exam, before I even knew he was Toshinori's successor. The boy has a sense of destiny about him, purpose yet unrealized. I've seen it, and I can only assume so has our enemy."

"They wish to stop him while he's young."

Nezu laughed. "Exactly. Shigaraki has seen it. Yet, in their attempt to rid themselves of All Might's chosen, they've made a fatal mistake." His grin turned sadistic. "They've gone too far with what they did to Uraraka. This declaration of war will not go unanswered.

"I once wished to save Shigaraki. It is all too clear to me now. He is beyond saving." Small paws tightened into fists as a manic look began to burn in Nezu's eyes. "We've stood on the sidelines for far too long, Chiyo. Those who worship the darkness have grown powerful. But now, with the fall of All Might, they've stepped out of the shadows. Their very presence threatens our society at its core. We have no choice. It is time to make sure that the wrongs done to my students are avenged." There was fire in his eyes, a manic, almost sadistic determination.

Chiyo frowned. Nezu could get a little out of hand, go to far. This, what he was talking about, the rage she saw welling up in him, was extreme. "I hope you're not talking about revenge."

He laughed. It was a cruel sound, almost insane in its volume. "No. Justice. I'd never do to them what they did to her, what was done to me. What I have planned is arguably far worse. We'll take them out, one by one. We'll destroy the pillars on which their League of Villains rests. Shigaraki will be last of all. All alone, he'll stand, helpless against the forces of the light."


A/N: Hey guys. Thank you for all the favorites and follows, and especially the reviews on that first chapter. They were really encouraging and helped fuel the fire for this chapter.

I'm pretty happy with how this chapter turned out and have been excited to share it with you. Hopefully, I achieved that nice balance I was aiming for. As always, I'm looking to improve, so please leave a review and let me know what you liked and what you didn't.

A note on Yaoyorozu using Izuku's first name, it's a thing there in Japan. It's disrespectful and rude, unless you're given permission, like with Tsuyu. For some characters, I don't think they would care, but more higher class people (like Iida, Todoroki, and Yaoyorozu) would be more likely to follow tradition.

I would love to hear your thoughts on Nezu. He's a character that, in all the fanfiction I've read for this show, I've only seen once, and he only said like a couple of things. In this, he accidentally got a little more crazy than I originally intended. The lack of content to refer to made him hard to write for.

Your reviews mean a lot to me. I consider all of them carefully. I want to know ALL of your thoughts and opinions, good and bad.

Special thanks to DGSchneider helping me with copy editing. She is the best.

Until next time

-Cindermane