Disclaimer: I do not own My Hero Academia or Fate/Stay Night
Stain often paid attention to the news, once they got past the glorifying of all of the fakes the real news of the world could truly appear. It was also an easy source of information in regards to a number of situations. Every day that passed and there wasn't an announcement towards the discovery of the location of a criminal ring often meant the complete opposite. The population was controlled by the media, hence the population needed to be shown only the things that mattered most to them.
Which was why it was mildly surprising when the next news article came on and showed what it did. It was clear why they had to show it though. Most of the footage was shown through handycams, likely people in the vicinity having filmed the action taking place. By having filmed it, they had forced the media's hand. By using the footage, they could manipulate it to better suit their needs. Much better solution than allowing the footage to be posted to online forums and allowing the population to make up their own minds in regards to the footage. That would still happen but at least this would stem the flow.
It was the best they could do.
"What seems to be happening in the world today?" asked Gentle as he strode into the room before taking a seat on the nearby sofa.
"It seems that some kids were showing the fakes what for," summarized Stain. "Three teenagers managed to take out an entire agency before escaping when being hunted by one of the big fish."
"My word, they must be rather strong to do such a thing," commented Gentle. "I wonder how they managed to get away?"
"If you've got the whole world hunting you, it doesn't matter how you get away but how often you get away. You're never going to be anything more than another speck if you get caught right away. You'll be forgotten and soon enough everyone will have forgotten the terror that you wrought."
There was small pause as the news story changed and Gentle turned his attention to his fellow villain. "Is that what you're afraid of Stain, being forgotten?"
Stain looked over his shoulder and glared menacingly at Gentle before a wicked smile spread across his face. "With what I've accomplished, I will never be forgotten. But what about you, does anybody even know who you are?"
Gentle scoffed at the remark. "It matters not if my name is known, so long as those I challenge are brought to the justice only I can bring. My name will not likely be etched into history, but my actions most certainly will have an affect on all I encounter."
Several seconds passed before Stain's grin widened. "Perhaps there is hope for you yet Gentle."
Gentle lightly chuckled in response. "Perhaps there is."
The silence in the room was deafening as Bakugo looked out through the blinds covering the windows. Behind him were Jiro and Yaoyorozu, the two of them slowly bandaging the wounds that they had received through the multiple battles they had been through. Bakugo had to admit that they had fought and fought hard against opponents who, for the most part, had been surprised by their level of strength. If they were to encounter any heroes from here on out then there was no chance of them not going all out from the get go.
Looking down at his fist, Bakugo recalled the battle he had had with Ryukyu. She had indeed been one of the top ten ranked heroes but she was on the lower side of things. Ryukyu had even taken the three of them on with relative ease after having gotten serious. There was no real telling just how much damage Jiro had managed to cause in her initial attack but it had definitely done some manner of pain to the number nine hero. It was hard to tell if any of his strikes had done nearly as much damage to the hide of the dragon from an external standpoint
Regardless, for all of his bravado, Bakugo knew that the three of them were clearly outmatched and rightfully so. Nobody simply found themselves as one of the strongest heroes by chance. For all of the training they had gone through, the three of them were still teenagers who hadn't even completed a single year at U.A. They had fought multiple heroes and sidekicks who had stood in their way before being set upon by Ryukyu and her third year recruit. They'd never stood a chance.
But they had fought regardless, because true heroes kept fighting regardless of the odds against them.
Begrudgingly, he could feel Shirou's pride.
"How are you feeling?" asked Jiro, the first words that had been spoken since the three of them had encroached upon the abandoned property.
"Fine," grumbled Bakugo as he moved away from the blinds, grabbing at the role of bandages that Jiro tossed his way. "We should keep holed up here for the next couple days, we're exhausted and in no condition to fight. Unless we need to go out for food, we keep our asses out of sight. Let the heroes come to us if they're still searching for a fight."
Jiro nodded in affirmation, still apologetic about having been caught in the first place. None of them would be anywhere near as hurt as they currently were if she had been more careful of her surroundings. If she hadn't been spotted, then...
"Quit your moping Jiro," scoffed Bakugo as he finished tying a piece of bandage around his forearm. "They've been searching for us for ages. If it wasn't you who'd been spotted it would have been one of us at some point. We couldn't keep out of their range forever."
Bakugo's words of comfort (or at least what Jiro assumed was comfort) did little to ease her mind. Even if it was true, it didn't make the situation any easier to swallow. "Thanks," she finally responded, averting her gaze as she did so.
Clicking his tongue in annoyance, Bakugo set about dealing with his wounds to the best of his ability. Several minutes passed by before he grumbled out at the one person who seemed to be more downtrodden than the teenager who had suffered the most damage and had gotten them thrown ito the lion's den in the first place. "Alright Ponytail, are you moping over the fact that we didn't take up the Pussycats offer?"
"What? No. Of course not."
Both Jiro and Bakugo looked at Yaoyorozu with concern, neither of them believing her words in the slightest. "Momo," said Jiro softly. "I know the offer was tempting but at the same time, it wasn't what we set out to do. Plus it's not like we would have been able to go on our own, the Wild, Wild Pussycats would have walked us there and how do you think that would have gone down with Shirou when the three of us rock up with four professional heroes?"
"Look Ponytail, the whole situation is shit and we have to accept that for what it is," grumbled Bakugo as he set about looking after his wounds. "We're out here busting our asses off for what we believe in and you have to figure out what it is that you believe in if we have any chance of surviving out here. If you pause or waver for a single second, you're toast and you'll be dragging us down with you. If you want to go find Shirou do so on your own but don't make this all about you."
The pain on Yayorozu's face was evident before she sprung to her feet and marched to the nearby room and slammed the door behind her. "That was harsh of you," acknowledged Jiro.
"I had to be," responded Bakugo.
"I know, doesn't mean I have to like it."
Having tucked herself into a ball on the floor, Yaoyorozu tried to suppress the emotions she was feeling with little success. Of course she wanted to see Shirou, she was the only person in their grade who had spent so much time together. She had slaved away with Kendo through Shriou's intense training session.
But now Kendo was gone, dead at the hands of the League of Villains. She knew that it was almost a certainty that Shirou was going after them and she wanted to be by his side when he did so. She wanted to watch him get revenge for what had happened to her friend, her partner during those tough times. She wanted to be there, to support him in any way that she possibly could. It didn't matter if her assistance wasn't wanted, she just needed to be by his side.
The other two simply could never understand her feelings. She had left the safety of U.A, convinced Jiro to leave as well more so because she didn't want to spend so much time alone. Now however she wished that she had never considered talking to Jiro and having just run away by herself. That way she could have accepted the offer made by the Wild, Wild Pussycats and currently be on the way to Shirou's side, where she needed to be. Where he had trained her to be.
This is what Shirou had trained her to do, so she had to do it. That was what her purpose was.
Had it just been herself and Jiro, undoubtedly she could have convinced her to join her in a quest to find Shirou and fight directly by his side. She knew that Jiro wasn't as devoted to the cause as she was but Yaoyorozu knew that a few suggestions would have been all it needed to get her to go along with her plan.
Then Bakugo had inserted himself into the mix and her plans had been thrown into disarray. He had inserted himself into the mix and made the first move a boisterous when he had assaulted the Support Course Studio, breaking the door down and forcing all attention onto them. She had already planned for herself and Jiro to simply glide away, even make it seem as if the two of them were merely taking a leave of absence in order to get internal affairs in order. Bakugo had destroyed any chance of that to happen and had made it so much harder for them to track down Shirou.
Then Bakugo had poisoned Jiro's mind, tempting her down a path where they would help Shirou by drawing attention away from him. In theory it did help but only in the simplest on senses. The barest of margins. By putting themselves at risk however, if Shirou was to witness it and feel he needed to do something, it could very well jeopardize his entire operation. There was no chance that he wasn't aware of what they had gone through and how they had even been cornered by a member of the top ten heroes.
Then, just when everything was going pear shaped, a golden opportunity fell into their lap. The Wild, Wild Pussycats were going to actively tell them where Shirou was located, giving them her final goal. Then Jiro, manipulated by Bakugo's plans, had taken his side in verbally attacking the Wild, Wild Pussycats! She could have taken the offer but when she had done that, she had been pushed into a corner, unable to say anything before having to find herself following. She couldn't take the team of heroes up on their offer, they had just had been completely shot down and told that their entire plan had been an utter waste of time. There was no feasible way that she could remain with them.
Then, the final nail in the coffin, was that she truly believed that Bakugo didn't trust her in the slightest. He had taken over her operation without so much as a second thought and had run roughshod through it. While she did her best to not let her outward expressions show the inner turmoil she was suffering, it was evident in that he didn't have faith in her in how he referred to her.
Not once had he referred to her by anything else. She had been around Bakugo enough to know that he didn't refer to anybody who he felt was beneath him or have some manner of respect for. Jiro, he had called by name. Jiro had earnt Bakugo's respect.
She was still just Ponytail.
If she wanted any chance of meeting back up with Shirou, she had to be more than just Ponytail. She couldn't take on the entire hero industry while trying to find Shirou. She needed the strength and skill that both Jiro and Bakugo brought to the table.
She had to be more.
She had to.
"Shirou, we need to talk."
Shirou knew the tone that Rin was using immediately, understanding that she wasn't asking him to meet up with her later. Rin was telling him that they were going to have a conversation immediately and there was no possible chance of saying no.
"Sure thing," he responded as he left the comforts of the living room where he and Eri had been watching some children's program. The young girl didn't so much as move a muscle as Shirou left her alone. "What do you want to talk about?"
"You, or more importantly, that," said Rin, her eyes temporarily glancing at the metal arm that hug off Shirou's shoulder. "Given this is your plan in play, it only makes sense that you fight at your peak. I believe it is time for Eri to utilize her skill and give you back your arm. She's been practicing under my watch and I believe she'll be able to do it no issue."
"That's good to hear."
"However," said Rin, her eyes sharpening slightly. "There is something that I've been witnessing with your interactions with Eri which has shown me something that I have not seen in quite some time. I don't know if you're as dead set on your plan as you think you are."
Shirou's glare immediately came into play but he didn't say anything, allowing Rin to continue. "The first few months of being in this world changed you, as you tried desperately to find a reason to fit in while still chasing your ideals. Quite frankly, it failed. You had grand ideas on how to shape the world but it changed who you were. However, watching you interact with Eri and even with how you spent time with the students from 1-A, there were glimpses of the old you, the you who fought alongside Saber in the Grail War. There's a happiness to you which has been lacking. I just want to know if, if you keep with your plan as is, will you snuff out that little hope of happiness once and for all."
Shirou's face remained rooted in place throughout the entirety of Rin's speech, impossible to read any form of expression. He did his best to mentally recall how they had experienced their first few months adjusting to this new world and how he had felt, how the world around him had made him feel. While his current features didn't show it, he was a grizzled veteran who had spent a lifetime in battle to save everybody that he was able. In this world however, he couldn't actively go about saving people as he once had purely because this world was full of 'qualified' individuals who saved people as a profession.
They weren't saving people because it was the right thing to do. They were saving people because it was what they were paid to do. He could recall the anger he had felt at the system and how cheerful he had been before he had learnt of how the society in this reality operated. Had he truly gone so far off of his beliefs?
"Shirou, by the end of the day, you will have your arm back," affirmed Rin. "I really hope that you use it in the way that I know you can."
With her part having been said, Rin glided past Shirou to go interact with Eri and leaving Shirou standing there in silence. After several seconds had passed, Shirou knew that he had to go have a think about what the version of him as he was would do, and what he would have done before he entered this world.
What would Shirou Emiya do?
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