Chapter 17: Reactions
Yagi let out a sigh as the crowd exploded, leaning back in his chair. He chuckled, looking down at the field and watching as Bakugo lept to his feet, throwing Uraraka off his back in the process. He let out a scream of triumph, soaking in the crowd's affection as Midoriya and Uraraka shared exasperated smiles before helping each other up. Yagi grinned at the three's dynamic, wondering if they knew the significance of what they'd just done; the year's top three hero students racing neck and neck across the finish line, only to then act like best friends immediately after. It was the kind of image that would cement itself in the public consciousness for years to come.
"It seems this year's first years have made quite an impact." Nedzu's soft voice sounded from the next seat over.
Yagi smiled down at the diminutive principle, taking in the roar of the crowd. "Indeed. And it's only the first round. The hero course will surely be making waves after today."
Nedzu nodded. "Most certainly." But then, as he looked back down at the entrance, his smile diminished, brow furrowing. "Though I wonder if they will all be positive."
Concerned, Yagi followed his gaze. Twenty seconds after the trio, Todoroki rushed onto the field, his uniform ruffled and dirty. The boy stared wide-eyed at the trio, watching as Izuku jokingly forced himself out of Katsuki's headlock as the blonde attempted a noogie, Uraraka laughing at them. A look of fury overtook Todoroki's face, so intense it gave Yagi a start. The three soon felt Todoroki's gaze, and the crowd was suddenly treated to a staredown, as Todoroki's ire was matched by Midoriya's concern, Uraraka's frustration, and Bakugo's blazing rage.
The stare-down went on until the other students started trickling in. Ida started marching up to Todoroki, arm chopping the air as he berated the boy for his poor conduct towards the other competitors, only to flinch back as Todoroki turned his glare to him. Todoroki's eyes darted from Ida to the approaching Asui and Kirishima, seeing Mineta and a very peeved-looking Sero just behind them. Realizing he was outnumbered, Todoroki leveled one last glare at Midoriya, then turned and marched away with a scoff.
Yagi scratched the side of his head, worry building in his chest. "That may become a problem soon."
Nedzu nodded in agreement. "Indeed. In fact, I'd say young Todoroki is reminding me of another combative future hero who once fought here."
Yagi looked to see Nedzu's attention drawn elsewhere. He followed the principal's gaze and let out a tired sigh. Down in the stands, a pillar of smoke was rising from the hunched form of Endeavor, the heroes around him giving a wide berth as the number two literally fumed.
Should have expected that, Yagi thought to himself, considering if it was worth venturing down to try and calm the angry parent. Fourth place out of three-hundred was still praise-worthy. Though, the man's reaction did make Yogi wonder what the rest of the world thought of his student's achievement.
"Hell yeah! That's my kid! I knew he wouldn't screw this up!"
Masaru lunged for the vase, catching it millimeters before it crashed to the ground. He sent his wife an exasperated-if-fond look as she exploded off the couch and jumped into a victory dance, her arms flailing wildly. He set the vase carefully on the coffee table (not the end table, whose airspace Mitsuki kept flailing into) and looked towards the couch's other occupant for support.
"Izuku! My baby boy!"
Instead, he quickly bolted for the kitchen in search of a tissue box.
Mitsuki whirled around and grasped Inko by the shoulders, yanking the smaller woman up into a hug and twirling her around, uncaring of the happy tears soaking through her shirt. "First and second! I knew we raised those boys right, Inko!"
"Ahhh! Mitsi!" Inko giggle-shrieked as her feet left the ground, startled out of her crying. "Let me down! I'm too old for this!"
Mitsuki just laughed, dropping Inko unceremoniously back on the couch. "This calls for more drinks!" She rushed towards the kitchen, Masaru narrowly dodging out of her way at the doorway.
Inko laughed as he sat next to her, taking the offered tissue box with a watery thank-you. "She does know that was just the first event, right?" She asked jokingly, dabbing at her eyes.
Masaru grinned back. "Maybe. She's not wrong, though. The boys are putting on one hell of a show, especially Izuku with that new Fusion. You should be proud of him."
Inko gave a teary smile. "I am." She then turned to the TV. "But honestly?"
She watched as Izuku fought out of Katsuki's headlock, only to be swallowed into another one by the tape-boy he'd fused with. Izuku smiled up at the taller boy, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly as they traded kind words. The two were nearly bowled over as the pink-skinned girl - Mina, Inko thought - lept and wrapped an arm around each of their shoulders, chatting excitedly as she looked between them, more students swarming the trio in congratulations.
"I'm just glad he's making so many friends."
"U.A. sure found some wild ones this year, huh?"
Kamui Woods nodded as he took a sip of his coffee. He, Death Arms, and Mt. Lady had a little time before their turn to patrol the festival grounds, so the three had joined the other on-break heroes in the refreshment tent to catch the first-year event.
"I don't know," Mt. Lady said, poking through a bento box. "Most of them were only getting through by brute-forcing it. Do we really need more muscleheads out there?"
Death Arms leveled her an unimpressed glower. "You're not really one to talk. Didn't you just step over everything during your first-year event?"
"That was me just being smart about my Quirk! I easily avoided everything, just like that floaty girl." Mt. Lady then looked up thoughtfully. "Although, now that I think about it, how did she stay on course? They said she could float, not fly."
"Look." Woods pointed at the TV screen. A highlight reel of the event was playing, Uraraka currently on screen. As the girl floated above the course, she unzipped the front of her jacket and put her hands in her pockets. Whenever she started to drift off the course, she'd tilt her body to the side and lift her arms up and down rapidly, the back of her jacket catching the air and slowly easing her back over the track.
"Clever!" Death Arms said with a laugh.
"She's just lucky there was no wind today," Woods commented. "I'm more interested in that mess with Endeavor's kid."
Mt. Lady snorted, pouting. "Like father, like son. Trying to keep everyone else out of the limelight."
Death Arms shook his head. "Endeavor's a jerk, but he mostly just tells everyone to stay out of his way. He doesn't actively block other heroes like his kid just did."
Woods gave him a look. "Those walls of flame he throws up doesn't just keep the villains from moving."
"... I said mostly." Death Arms cleared his throat before moving on. "Besides, it backfired hard if that was what the kid was aiming for. All he did was make a spotlight for that Fusion kid."
"Yeah, that was… unique, I'll give you that." Woods finished off his coffee, thinking for a moment. "Wonder what kind of hero he's aiming for."
"If he's smart, he'll go for some kind of all-purpose Support Hero. With a boost like that, he'll have every hero when the country calling him for backup." Death Arms crossed his arms. "I can think of a few fights that would have ended differently if we had that kind of support."
Mt. Lady scoffed. "He'd be foolish to become something so mundane. He just built up too much momentum just to fade into the background when all this is over."
Death Arms gave her a flat stare. "Not every hero is in it for the fame and fortune."
Woods resisted joining in the disapproval, knowing Death Arms would call him out for being just as mindful of the media. Instead, he said, "I am curious how exactly the kid would 'power up' my Quirk. How do you improve on growing wood from your body?"
Death Arms gave him a curious look. "I dunno. Let you make other kinds of plants?"
Woods blinked. "That would… actually be kind of neat."
Mt. Lady let out a huff, turning back to her meal. "Well, you can go experiment with the boy if you wish. My Quirk has no need for improvements."
Woods and Death Arms shared a look, then a conspiring grin. "Might help you cause less property damage," Woods supplied.
Mt. Lady's head shot up, indignant. "I'm getting better about that!"
"Or not get stopped by one-lane streets..." Death Arms continued.
"Oh, that was one time!"
"Maybe be able to fight longer than five minutes before passing out..."
"I skipped lunch that day!"
"Or remind you to look up before growing…"
"Oh, screw you two!"
"Haha! Good on you, kid!"
Mandalay smiled as she leaned back on the couch, tapping out a quick note on her phone as Tiger thumped down on the seat next to her, making the couch shake. She watched as the TV replayed some clips from the event, focusing on Izuku and his Fusion. "Impressive, right?"
Tiger threw his head back and laughed deeply. "Understatement! The way some of these kids are acting, they might turn out even wilder than us!" Calming down, he turned back to the TV. "So, that green bean the one All Might's got you helping with?"
"Yup." And, oh, wasn't that a day. The Number One Hero just showing up at their door randomly, in the flesh, to ask for her help with his protege. Pixie Bob nearly fainted on the spot. "And now that I'm seeing it in person, I think I know why."
Tiger rose a brow. "You didn't before?"
Mandalay typed for a bit before responding. "I knew they were worried about private information bleeding over whenever Midoriya fused. But I think there's more to it than that. See, right there!"
Tiger jolted as Mandalay suddenly leaned forward, pointing at the screen. A replay of just before Midoriya fused was playing, Sero extending his hand as he stood over the boy.
"See how nervous they both are?"
Tiger squinted, seeing Midoriya practically shaking with nerves and the tight smile on Sero's face. "Yeah, I guess. What of it?"
"I'm pretty sure they've never fused before then, hence the nervousness. But look at them now."
The scene shifted to the live feed, showing Midoriya and Sero laughing together, Ashido glomped over them.
Tiger hummed, catching on. "You'd think they'd been best friends for years."
Mandalay nodded. "And it matches with this note All Might sent me a ways back. Midoriya's a pretty polite kid, calling everybody by their family name. But once he's fused with someone, the moment they unfuse, he's calling them by their given name, and them with him in turn. No questions or anything."
Tiger frowned faintly. "That seems like more than a few errant thoughts bleeding over."
Mandalay met his frown with a thoughtful look. "My thoughts exactly. I think there's more to this kid's Quirk than All Might realizes."
As the heroes talked, neither noticed a small figure peering around the doorway from the neighboring room. Kota watched the replays on screen, showing off all the fantastic powers on display, the announcers throwing around words like "rising stars" and "future heroes." The boy's eyes narrowed, a scowl forming on his face as he suddenly turned and ran out of the house, out into the woods.
Within a plain-looking building, in an office containing every piece of All Might memorabilia yet produced, Sir Nighteye leaned intently over his desk. Elbows on the table, laced fingers resting against his chin, the ex-sidekick watched his computer screens with a calculating gaze. U.A.'s Sports Festival played across two screens, one for the third-years and the other for the firsts. His eyes drifted between the two, finally focusing on the first years as the third's event went to commercial. His eyes narrowed as the replays started, never leaving the actions of the green-haired boy. His initial run, his Fusion, the retention of the ice wall, the… rather blunt solution to the minefield.
"Well, there's a resemblance in mindset, if nothing else," he muttered critically. Nighteye heaved a sigh. "I hope you know what you're doing, Toshi."
At that same time, in a rundown apartment building, an elderly man burst out laughing as Midoriya blitzed across the minefield, nearly choking on his taiyaki in the process.
"You sure know how to pick'em, Toshi!" Gran Torino wheezed, finally getting his breath back. He wiped a tear from his eye, turning back to the TV. Suddenly his expression turned solemn. "Although… do you even realize what One For All's doing of this kid?"
His eyes narrowed as he watched the Midoriya-Sero fusion - a banner across the bottom of the screen helpfully dubbing him 'Hanzu' - lept up to the top of the ice wall for the last time.
As the Hanzu fired two tape strands to slingshot himself across the chasm, his veins briefly flashed red, green and yellow lightning dancing across his skin.
"...what he's doing to it?"
Tucked away in a dark corner of Kamino, an unassuming building housed a dimly lit bar. The wispy form of Kurogiri stood at the counter, wiping down glasses. Every few minutes, his glowing yellow eyes would flit to the far end of the bar, warily eyeing the twitchy figure hunched in front of an old CRT television.
Shigaraki's eyes were glued to the screen, a twitch in his left eye. He held a remote tightly in his hand, his pinky finger ramrod straight away from the device as his thumb jabbed two buttons in quick succession, over and over again. Play. Reverse. Play. Reverse.
On the grainy screen, two would-be heroes stood in front of a crumbling wall of ice.
A flash of multicolored light. Now there stood only one 'hero'.
If Kurogiri still had a tongue, he'd be biting it right now. Shigaraki was supposed to be watching the Festival in full, both to familiarize himself with future enemies and scope out potential allies. The second event had likely started by now, but all the young man could do was keep going back to that single moment in the first event.
Kurogiri perked up, turning when Shigaraki finally spoke.
"Not a party-swap."
"A team attack."
"A Quirk that can merge people together."
Kurogiri sat his glass and rag down. "A unique power. Are you thinking he could be swayed to our side?"
Shigaraki snorted violently. He finally hit play and let the footage continue as intended. "Didn't you see how the dork beamed at the crowd? He's a goody-goody through and through. But his Quirk…"
Shigaraki turned slowly towards Kurogiri, his lips pulled back in a wide decrepit smile.
"Think of what the Doctor could do with it?"
A/n: what's this? Plot in my cracky-Fusion fic? What spore of madness is this?
Short little update chapter. Not much, I know, but I wanted to make sure you guys knew that I am always working on this. Next chapter is in the works, but it might take me a bit. Hope you all are doing okay out there.
See you at the next one!