Titanium Soul

[CHAPTER 10]: Remora

In Which Aizawa Actually Expels Someone, I Promise

REMORA (n): an obstacle, hindrance, or obstruction.

Izuku walked out onto the sports field alongside his classmates, clad in the UA gym uniform. The class's energy ranged from 'confused' to 'nervous', mostly because of the offhand remark about expulsion from their homeroom teacher earlier. It had been a joke, right? Right?

Aizawa stood waiting for them next to a stack of crates. "Now that everyone's here, we may as well start. I trust you all remember the basic gym tests you did in middle school? 50-meter dash, standing long jump, side-to-side stepping, upper body training, grip strength, seated toe touch, softball throw, and endurance running."

"Typically," he continued as he popped the lid off one of the crates, "usage of Quirks in these tests are prohibited. Some garbage about how they're supposed to test students' physical fitness rather than mastery of their Quirks… all that does is teach kids not to use every resource at their disposal. What we're going to do today is try to correct that."

He fished a softball out of the crate and held it in one hand. "This ball is 6 cm in diameter, weighs 185 grams, and is made of foam and aluminum, with a tracking device in the center. Your job is to do whatever you need to do to get the highest score you can. Use your muscles, your Quirks, whatever you can think of. Got it?"

A chorus of "Yes, Sensei!"s rang out across the field.

Aizawa smirked and tossed the softball back into the crate. "Alright, let's get started. First up, 50 meter dash. Your goal is to get to the other end as fast as possible. When I call your name, come up and get ready to go. Yuuga Aoyama, Mina Ashido, you two are up first."

The pink girl with tiny horns and a sparkly blonde guy with some kind of blinged-out belt lined up at the marks. Ashido took a typical runner's stance, while Aoyama stood facing away from the course.

Aizawa waved vaguely. "You can start whenever you're ready, the computer will do the math."

Aoyama smirked and jumped into the air, launching himself down the track with a… pelvic thrust laser beam? On further consideration, "laser" might have been a misnomer, since it actually provided thrust. It was probably closer to some kind of particle beam, or even just physical force projected using light as a medium, rather than a beam of actual light energy… Quirk physics was fun.

Aoyama's glitterbeam of, well, whatever it was did run out halfway down the track, so he had to get back up and launch himself again. Something about exploding his stomach if he fired too quickly? Ashido still beat him by skating on some kind of goo, though.

Kacchan and 'Tooru Hagakure' were up next, the latter of which turned out to be invisible? It didn't seem to be voluntary, so it was probably mutant-type rather than transformation or emitter…

Izuku's eyebrows rose as Kacchan bounded forwards, launching himself with his explosions. Izuku had definitely known he could do that, but the power and endurance exceeded his estimates. To be fair, this was the first time Izuku had actually seen Kacchan go all-out. He'd have to update his notebooks later...

As Iida and 'Jiro Kyoka' (that girl with the dangly earlobes who talked back to Kacchan earlier!) made their way up to the track, Kacchan sauntered over to where Izuku and Mei stood and smirked. "Oi, Deku. If you're so serious about not being a useless piece of shit anymore, you better fucking prove it. If you're lucky, I might even hold off on sending your rusty ass right back to the junkyard it came from."

Mei glared. "Zuzu doesn't have to prove anything to you, Bakugo. Screw off."

Izuku glanced over to her. "Mei, can we just–"

"What's wrong, Grease Monkey?" interrupted Kacchan. "Afraid your bucket of bolts over there can't handle some real high performance?"

Izuku frowned. "Kacchan, stop trying to–"

Mei's eyes narrowed. "Y'know what, Blasty? If you wanna get stomped into the dirt that badly, we're not gonna stop you."

Izuku crossed his arms. "Seriously, guys–"

Kacchan laughed derisively. "Oh, you think you have a chance? Nice one. Hey, I bet Aizawa-sensei will let you transfer to Gen Ed if you ask nicely. If you bring Deku to a science fair, you might even get third place!"

Izuku shrugged and gave up on getting them to stop. Maybe HERoS could run some simulations to prepare for the actual test…

Mei grinned viciously. "Don't worry about trying too hard to keep up with Zuzu, alright? If you faint, I'll call a bomb disposal squad, it's the least I can do. Unless pest control would be more appropriate?"

What had Bakugo's time been? 4.13 seconds? The best Corpus Primus 2 could do was likely somewhere around 5.2. But... Aizawa-sensei had as good as said this wasn't a running test. His problem with the normal tests was that they "teach kids not to use every resource at their disposal," right?

"Oh, worry about yourselves first. It's gotta be a long walk to the nearest recycling bin, and I'd hate for someone to be accused of littering when I leave him flattened on the field."

And he'd been very specific in the vagueness of the tests' rules. "Your goal is to get to the other end as fast as possible," he'd said. Meaning, mused Izuku, that the mode of transportation was left ambiguous. Well, obviously, since Aoyama had used his beam recoil to launch himself. But that meant that as long as the end goal was reached, anything went?

"I'd like to see you try. That chassis is tungsten-plated titanium, so the only thing being flattened today is your pride, bucko. Gods know you need it."

Izuku pulled up the blueprints to Corpus Primus 2 and hummed thoughtfully. There was a small secondary computer built into the body, so technically HERoS should be able to perform simple movements without the head being docked…

"Really? 'Bucko'? Sounds to me like someone's scraping the bottom of the barrel. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, it's not too far from dumpster diving and you definitely have practice with that–"

Hitoshi Shinsou brought his attention away from his bickering classmates as Midoriya went up to the track. Entertaining as they were, Hitoshi was going to need to know what everyone was capable of if he wanted to make it through these tests.

Sure, he could probably just muscle through them himself, but his physical fitness was a joke and the teacher had said to use every resource at their disposal. So, assuming the tests were in the order that Aizawa-sensei had listed them, he'd have the first six tests to figure out what everyone's Quirks were and the last two to take advantage of them.

Or more realistically, he'd have to make it count in the softball throw. Once his own Quirk was figured out, that was it, and he'd feel bad bringing someone else's score on the endurance run down by making them help him out anyways.

So, in summary, he needed to know how strong everyone was so he could pick the best one to brainwash to get a high score himself. And after that display in the Entrance Exam, Midoriya was at the top of his list.

Hitoshi frowned as Midoriya didn't take a runner's stance at the start of the course. Was he going to go all Transformers and drive? Reveal some hidden rockets and fly? Just teleport like the pseudoscience wet dream he was?

No. He did none of those things.

What he did was pluck his own head off his shoulders and throw it down the course in a picture perfect overhand throw.

"1.04 seconds," droned Aizawa impassively.

What the fuck. That was allowed?

The two students that had been furiously shit-talking each other went silent.

"Damn," muttered a sharp-toothed, green-haired girl nearby. "That's a great idea. I can do that too."

The pink-haired girl– Hatsume, was it?– started laughing. "Get dunked on, Kacchan."

The blonde one's hands sparked furiously for a moment before he clenched them into fists. "Cheap tricks as usual, Deku? That's fine. I'll just have to crush you so hard your bullshit can't save you." He stormed off.

Hitoshi filed a mental note to figure out what was going on there later, because it sounded like there was some certifiable tea between those two.

Shoto Todoroki walked silently up to the course. He would be running alongside the green-haired girl from the recommendation exams– Setsuna Tokage, can split into flying pieces, threat level: inconsequential. Waste of a recommendation– although to call it 'running' would be a stretch. The entire test was pointless, of course, but he would humor the teacher for now.

Tokage grinned and bumped shoulders with him. "Heyo, Todoroki. Been a while, huh? You ready to rumble?"

Shoto ignored her, staring at the teacher for the signal to start.

Tokage sighed. "You're no fun, man. I'm more hot-blooded than you and I'm part reptile!"

Good. The teacher signalled the start of the test and Shoto shot forwards, leaving twin trails of ice in his wake. The fire beneath the skin of his upper half swirled restlessly, but as always he pushed it back down. That Quirk was not something he would use; his lower half– his mother's ice– would get him through this.

A blue blur swept past him, a billowing UA gym uniform followed by a swarm of flesh-colored chunks that were presumably Tokage.

Shoto frowned as she passed the finish line a full half-second before him, but ultimately disregarded it. It wasn't like the test meant anything, did it? Being a hero was about defeating villains, not running 50 meters quickly.

He sighed and mentally marked the day as wasted.

Yui Kodai stared at the sand pit for the standing long jump test. It felt like the kind of thing her Size should be able to help with, but the question was how? She didn't have anything she could use as a bridge on her, and…

She blinked. Hadn't Aizawa-sensei said something about using quirks and whatever they could think of? She glanced around, eyes landing on the crates that held the gym equipment. She slowly moved towards it, speeding up when she realized Aizawa-sensei wasn't going to stop her. She dragged a crate back to the start line and climbed onto it.

She took a deep breath and touched her fingertips together, triggering her Quirk. The crate suddenly became much larger, and Yui suddenly went much higher.

Propelled into the air by the momentum of the crate's size change, she hummed thoughtfully.

Perhaps she should have thought of how to land before doing that.

Ah! She could make her jacket bigger and use it as a parachute!

One rough landing and a number of bruises later, she vowed to have a real parachute installed in her hero costume.

Minoru Mineta staggered to a stop when the timer went off, unsteady from repeated high speed bouncing against his Pop-Off grapes.

The path to redemption was not an easy one, but he would not fail for lack of effort. Minoru would fight All Might himself for the chance of a single approving comment from his Goddess; not that he was owed anything at all.

If She felt the path of a Hero was one that was worth Her time, then such was the greatest metric of Minoru's worth; if his entire life's work could be compared to but a minute of Her efforts, then he would consider himself very blessed indeed.

Speaking of his Goddess, was that her in the distance? She was in 1B, right? What could She be doing here– not that it was his place to question Her.

"Ah! Izuku, Mei!" Her divine voice rang out across the field. "We finished unpacking, so I brought some people from 1B over to check out what you're all doing over here. Is that okay?"

Aizawa glanced over Her for a moment before shrugging. "Do whatever you want, you're not in my class."

Cheers rang out from the small group approaching.

Minoru nodded wisely. Clearly, he was not alone in his knowledge that his Goddess was the source of all good in this world.

Izuku glanced over to Momo. "Oh, hey. We're almost done with the side-stepping test, next up is upper body training."

She nodded. "Have you seen any interesting Quirks so far?"

He grinned gleefully. "Have I ever? Setsuna can chop herself up and fly! Sero's elbows are tape dispensers! Kendo can make her hands three times bigger than her entire body and I'm pretty sure the mechanic is some kind of relative spatial distortion because she can still move like they aren't! Every single Quirk here is insane!"

A brown-haired girl with pink cheeks leaned in towards him. "Wow, you sure know your stuff, huh? I'm Uraraka Ochako, from 1B!" She stuck out a hand.

Izuku shook it nervously. "Uh, Izuku Midoriya, 1A. Pleasure to-" He blinked and looked down at the ground. "Did you just remove my gravity?"

She grinned. "Yep."

He stared at her. "Have you considered selling your services to a space program?"

She blinked. "Can't say I have. My limit is one or two tons, would I be able to charge much?"

He frowned and did some research internally. "It, uh, takes over a million yen per pound of payload to send things to orbit with a rocket. You can do 1 ton without the rocket."

Her eyes shone. "I think I have some calls to make."

Momo put a hand on Uraraka's shoulder. "Socializing now, revolutionizing the space industry later."

"But… a million yen per pound," whined Uraraka.

"You also don't have a Commercial Quirk License," pointed out Izuku. "At least, I assume you don't. I don't think they're hard to get, but you do have to be a legal adult."

Uraraka frowned and tapped her chin. "Well–"

Another hand was placed on Uraraka's other shoulder, this one belonging to… a frog girl? "Please don't get involved in illegal space programs. We're supposed to be Heroes, kero."

Uraraka pouted but acquiesced. "I'll just have to wait, then."

Izuku turned back towards the tests, where Aoyama struggled to perform a full pull-up. He looked down at the ground, swung backwards, and fired his navel laser downwards to push his chin above the bar.

Uraraka nodded respectfully. "Relatable. I mean, if I had to do it I'd just nullify my gravity and do as many as I could before I hurled, but still a mood."

Hitoshi Shinso watched as the tests slipped by, one by one, with him getting nothing but subpar scores. He knew a lot of the classes' Quirks, but none of them seemed like the 'instant win' option he was looking for. The best choices he had for the softball throw were… Midoriya, Bakugo, and Tokoyami.

Tokoyami's Quirk was actually a sapient entity and Hitoshi didn't know if he'd be able to control it by just controlling the host, and… well, he wanted to live long enough to enjoy having made it into the Hero Course, so the less said about Bakugo the better.

Which meant his only real option was Midoriya.

So as his name was called, Hitoshi wandered over to him.

"Hey, Midoriya."

Midoriya looked over at him. "Yeah?"

Hitoshi steeled himself to destroy any chance at friendship with this classmate, before speaking once more. He already had the perfect question prepared; one that nobody could resist responding to even if they didn't actually answer it. "Are you gay?"

Midoriya tilted his head in confusion. "No?"

Hitoshi stared blankly. It didn't work. Why didn't it work? Maybe he had to try again?

"Are you sure?"

Midoriya blinked. "Pretty sure. I haven't, like, tried it, but I don't exactly, uh, have the requisite equipment."

"Yet," chimed in Hatsume.

"Yet," agreed Midoriya. "Wait a second. Mei, no! Never! I'm not gonna be a sex robot!"

"Never say never," teased the brown-haired girl from 1B standing nearby.

Aizawa cleared his throat. "Shinso, if you're done propositioning your classmates, I've been calling you up for the ball throw for the past minute."

What the hell. Why didn't it work? What was he supposed to do now?

He slowly walked up to the ball throw zone like a man approaching the gallows. His master plan was shot, and nobody was gonna answer his questions now… maybe just cut his losses and use it on the endurance run test? No, that'd bring their scores down, he couldn't do that just to bring himself up. He had to use his Quirk here, if at all.

Hitoshi picked up the ball. And he had an idea.

Izuku's eyes focused on Shinso as he held the ball. He was one of two people who hadn't used their Quirks so far, and Izuku was really looking forward to finding out what it was.

Unless he was Quirkless? Not impossible, but also not probable. Especially given the smirk that was spreading across Shinso's face.

He looked at the ball in his hand, then back up in the direction he was supposed to throw. "I guess it's time to use my Quirk, huh." He turned to the crowd of waiting students. "You guys might wanna step back… this one's a real doozy."

The crowd obliged, moving away from the circle. Excitement permeated the atmosphere; what the heck was about to happen?

Shinso dropped into a dramatic throwing stance. "Alright, get ready!"

Izuku leaned forwards almost subconsciously. What kind of Quirk required that much warning? How much raw power did Shinsou hold within him?

Shinso's body twisted, and his arm whipped forwards. The ball flew through the air for one glorious moment, before landing.

"43 meters," read Aizawa.

Shinso looked at the ball on the ground a measly 43 meters away from him and rubbed the back of his head. "Whoops. Forgot to use it." He turned back to Aizawa. "Can I try again?"

Their teacher blinked. "What? No. Get off the field so I can finish these tests and then expel you-"

And then Aizawa froze.

Shinso sauntered up to him and plucked the tablet from his fingers. "Alright, let's fix these scores. 50m dash? 0.0001 second. Standing long jump? 400 miles. Side stepping? I did 99999999999 of those. Pull ups? Same. Grip strength? 500 tons. Toe touch? Let's say 400 miles again. Softball throw? 800 miles. And let's go ahead and say I'm gonna do 10 thousand laps on the endurance run."

He set the tablet back in Aizawa's hands and turned back to the rest of the class, grinning wildly.

"Oh, I get it!" said Uraraka, slapping her fist into her palm.

Izuku nodded. The real reason Shinsou had been asking him those question was-

"He was hitting on you!" concluded the pink-cheeked girl.

Shinso facepalmed.

Aizawa cleared his throat and looked out at his class. "Well, the results have been compiled."

Izuku leaned forwards expectantly.

Aizawa continued. "Hitoshi Shinso got first place, and that tells you all you need to know about the validity of these results. I am now deleting these from my computer, and we are never doing this again."

Various groans and boos rang out.

Aizawa looked down at his tablet. "That being said, will Shoto Todoroki step forwards?"

The two-toned boy moved to the front, a bored expression on his face. "Yes, sensei?"

Aizawa frowned. "I have your Quirk on record as "Half-Cold, Half-Hot. Why did you only use half of that today?"

Todoroki stared back stonily. "I swore an oath to never use that fire."

Aizawa nodded sarcastically. "I see. Was there a reason for that?"

Todoroki blinked. "Yes."

Aizawa crossed his arms. After a moment of waiting, he raised an eyebrow. "Are you going to tell me what it is?"

Todoroki tilted his head. "I don't think that's any of your business, sensei."

Aizawa leaned forwards. "Interesting. See, as the homeroom teacher of a Hero Course, the circumstances of one of my students not using their Quirk kind of is my business. However, I can make it not my business. Would you like me to do that, Todoroki?"

Todoroki smirked lightly. "Yes. Yes, I would."

Aizawa smiled. Pleasantly. "Good to hear. Pack up your bags and scram."

Todoroki balked. "Come again?"

Aizawa's smile turned sadistic. "You heard me. I don't have time to teach brats who think they can half-ass UA's Hero Course just because they're the son of the Number 2 Hero. You're expelled. Buzz off."

He turned to the rest of the class. "This is why I didn't let you unpack earlier. At this point, I'm fairly confident the rest of you aren't going to completely waste my time, so we can continue this tomorrow. You're all dismissed."

Wait a second, Todoroki was the son of Endeavor?

Wait a second, Aizawa just expelled the son of Endeavor?!

Mei raised her eyebrows and wiped her forehead. "Damn, Zuzu, your homeroom teacher is intense."

A/N: Alright, the Quirk Apprehension Exam! Bakugo and Mei not being able to stay in the same room without talking shit, Izuku semi-intentionally flexing on Bakugo, a rundown on who's here, Shinsou's Gambit, Todoroki getting expelled… I'm pretty sure I at least mentioned all 20 students of this new 1A here or last chapter, but in case y'all don't wanna comb through them for every single namedrop I'll list em here too:

1) Aoyama, Yuuga
2) Ashido, Mina
3) Bakugo, Katsuki
4) Hagakure, Tooru
5) Iida, Tenya
6) Jiro, Kyoka
7) Kaibara, Sen
8) Kaminari, Denki
9) Kendo, Itsuka
10) Kirishima, Eijiro
11) Kodai, Yui
12) Kuroiro, Shihai
13) Midoriya, Izuku (and Hatsume, Mei)
14) Mineta, Minoru
15) Sero, Hanta
16) Shinsou, Hitoshi
17) Todoroki, Shoto (well, not anymore)
18) Tokage, Setsuna
19) Tokoyami, Fumikage
20) Yanagi, Reiko

Whaddya mean Todoroki was sideways? Ice on his right and fire on his left? What are you talking about, that's dumb, it's always been ice on his bottom half and fire on his top half! Maybe they changed it in the anime?

Also don't give me shit about expelling Todoroki. The Sports Festival arc is gonna be way cooler this way, just watch.