AN: So hello all, here I am back again with another chapter! Hope you enjoy!

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( - )

(Last Time)

Nodding, he followed the larger teen, his gaze already on their teammates. One of them was a smiling, blue-eyed girl, who had her orange hair tied up in a ponytail. The other was a short blonde, with large blue eyes, horns and hooves.

Momo was right when she said they had to make do with the team they'd been assigned.

"We can do this," Izuku muttered, more to himself than to Shoji. Not that that stopped the other teen from nodding in agreement.

If they moved quickly and maximised the use of Shoji's Quirk, then there was a chance they could speed run the entire event.

"Oh and by the way," Midnight's voice rang out one more time, attracting both their attention, and that of the crowd. "There will be several judges watching this task too, and whenever they feel that you haven't acted appropriately or expediently, they will add a time penalty to your final score."

Izuku grimaced.

This task wasn't going to be either easy, or fun.

( - )

Chapter 18

( - )

(With Izuku)

Meeting new people was always an uncomfortable experience, or at least it was for him.

Especially after having spent the majority of his life, including his formative years, in a juvenile reform institution where his every action and movement had been carefully controlled and observed.

He had been told when to wake up, when to go to sleep, what to eat, when he could leave his room, when he should train and what he would be doing during training. His minders had also decided who he could spend time with, and for how long he could spend time with them, and what they could and could not talk about. His every action had been decided for him. The only input he had in his own life, had been what he would do next, once it was considered safe for him to return to normal society.

When he had been in Asphodel, there had been a prisoner population of over four hundred scattered across the very large complex, which in itself was made up of numerous above ground buildings and a complex subterranean labyrinth of laboratories, cafeterias, rec rooms, dormitories and training facilities. The four hundred inmates had included young offenders with dangerous Quirks who couldn't be contained in regular juvenile detention facilities, and those with unstable Quirks or complex mutations which made living a regular life all but impossible.

There had been four hundred inmates, and yet in his time there he had only met a dozen other inmates during rec time, training and in the communal cafeterias, and of the dozen or so he'd met, he had only been able to properly socialise with just a handful of them. And even then, their interactions had been monitored.

Izuku withheld a grimace at that thought.

He'd even been given icebreakers and a list of topics he should talk about prior to his mandated social time.

It hadn't exactly been a natural meet and greet, and even years later his relationship with those he had met in Asphodel, Doctor Nakamura notwithstanding, had remained awkward and strained. The atmosphere at Asphodel hadn't been conducive to building strong relationships, nor had it helped him develop his social skills.

Suffice to say, U.A. in contrast had been an experience, one that had been quite pleasant for the most part.

During his time at the school, he had managed to make genuine friends and acquaintances with a good proportion of his classmates.

This being despite his social ineptness and significant baggage.

Not that he'd had to do much in the end, after all, realistically his new friendships had been more down to other external factors. For one, his classmates were all generally quite friendy and gregarious. And perhaps more importantly, they were all also 'new friends' of circumstances; as when they had first met they'd all been strangers starting a new school together and thus were united in their common desperation for new connections and social bonds, which naturally encouraged friendships to grow within the class due to their general proximity.

It was hard not to empathize and make social connections with people you spent the majority of your days around.

That said, despite the basis of most of his new friendships being routed in humanities general need for meaning and connection, it didn't take away from the fact that he had made real friends. He didn't doubt his new friends and their genuineness.

What it did mean, however, was that he'd also not become any better at socialising.

Which was a problem, as now he could no longer rely on desperation and fear of loneliness any more when it came to dealing with his new, if only temporary, teammates. School had started well over a month ago, and the students of Class 1B, like their counterparts in Class 1A, had long since created bonds, established friendship groups and separated into cliques. Which in turn meant that he would now have to rely on his own charisma and lacking social skills when dealing with the two Class 1B girls in his teams.

Nodding to himself at that realisation, he braced himself as he prepared to use his meticulously crafted and pre-prepared one-liner – he had spent hours before U.A. ruminating on just how he would introduce himself to his peers and in that time he had come up with the perfect opening to any new meeting between social equals.

Raising a hand in greeting as he and Shoji joined up with the two Class 1B girls, Izuku forced a smile. "Hey…."

"Hey…" Itsuka Kendo, a pretty, blue-eyed and orange haired girl, replied with a stiff smile, raising her own hand in greeting. Her voice was strong and confident, which was a contrast to the uncertainty of her response.

Shifting his gaze to the raised hand, even as she lowered it, Izuku noticed that her palm had a number of calluses, and that her knuckles were covered in a litany of small, white scars.

"Hello," The other girl, a blonde haired girl with unnaturally large and doe-like blue eyes and a pair of curved horns, added on. Her voice was high and sweet, though her accent was certainly foreign. She sounded like one of the American actresses that he'd seen in one of the subbed vintage movies that had been re-released recently. Those movies like so many other niche movies of that era were a relic from back when old Hollywood was still a thing, and American movies still dominated the film industry.

"Hi," Shoji added, finishing the round of greetings. The larger teen loomed over all three of them; his six arms, masked face, and broad build – he made even Izuku look small – gave him a naturally intimidating vibe.

An awkward silence followed, as Izuku struggled for what to say next as he looked between the two girls.

Did he make a witty comment and break the ice? If so, what should he say? He didn't know their humour, nor was he all that witty.

He did have a good joke Doctor Nakamura had told him about how much a polar bear weighed – it was enough to break the ice – but he wasn't sure whether to save that joke for another time, after all a joke of that quality should be saved for special occasions.

Or, should he give them a compliment? Doctor Nakamura had always told him that being complimentary and respectful was a good way to build up a rapport with girls.

That, or he could just bulldoze ahead and skip the usual conversational procedure and just get on with planning out the task ahead of them?

Midnight had only given them five minutes to plan out what they would do before she randomly picked the first pair, and the clock had already started.

Worrying his lip, Izuku decided to go with the third option.

Only, before he could speak again, Kendo had already taken the initiative, even as Tsunotori looked to her for leadership. Shoji, meanwhile, strangely looked at him for the same reason.

"Right, we've not got much time, so let's get started with a basic rundown. I'm Itsuka Kendo, I'm the Class President for Class 1B, and my Quirk is called 'Big Fist'. What it does is pretty self-explanatory; it allows me to expand my hands, and gives the proportionate strength, so you know, I can actually hold them up. My current limit is one metre wide at the palm. I specialise in close quarters combat, but I've had some Rescue Training in the U.S.J.. My Quirk is suited to stabilising collapsing buildings, and carrying large numbers of injured." Kendo rattled off, her tone very matter-of-fact, as she then looked at Tsunotori.

Tsunotori looked back at her, and nodded.

"Tsunotori's Japanese is good, but she's not quite fluent enough to speak fast yet, and since time is of the essence, I'll do her. Her name is Pony Tsunotori, and her Quirk allows to her launch her horns and control them at will. She also instantly regenerates the lost horns, and can launch them again. Her upper limit is controlling four horns at once, she could create and control more if she has to, but the more she creates and launches the less control she has. She also has a mutation, which gives her enhanced leg and back strength. But it also means she has hooves, which can affect her balance in certain situations." Kendo pressed on, talking for her friend now.

"What are her specialities when it comes to rescue work?" Izuku asked, holding back his inner Quirk dork. A part of him wanted to desperately grill the two girls on their Quirks, so he could add them to his notebooks – it was so much better seeing Quirks and meeting their users in person as opposed to watching Pro Heroes on TV.

"She is good at aerial support and reconnaissance. While she could use her horns to balance and move people around, due to their sharpness and shape, anyone she did move wouldn't be well secured." Kendo answered. "I suggest using her to find the injured, and to support us in getting to them."

"Sounds good," Shoji nodded. "I'm Mezo Shoji. My Quirk is a mutation type. It gives me six limbs and enhanced strength. I have full control over my limbs and can extend and reshape them to my will, including replacing the hands at the end of my limbs with additional ears, eyes or noses if needed. We've not had proper rescue training yet, but I specialise in tracking. I would be best placed finding and identifying the injured. Though with my six arms and strength, I can also safely carry large numbers of injured."

"A support type. I think with Tsunotori taking over watch, you would be better placed on the ground finding and identifying the injured. I think our Quirks would synchronise well. You and I can handle the bottom floors of the building." Kendo nodded.

"It could work, but it might also be good to split up." Shoji suggested.

"It was made a team event for a reason. With my expanded hands and your strength and extra arms, we could find and rescue large numbers of injured at the same time. With both of us working together, we wouldn't need to do as much running back and forth moving the injured as we would if we were alone. Except in the case of the very injured that need immediate evacuation, at which point we could temporarily split up." Kendo replied quickly, her tone even and calm, even as she shot down Shoji's suggestion without a second thought.

Kendo, it appeared, was a natural leader.

She also had an easy confidence, and from what he could see, a good basis in tactical thinking.

"What about you, Midoriya?" Kendo pressed on, her blue eyes locking onto him.

"Oh err, I'm Izuku Midoriya, and my Quirk is called Titan. It allows me to create a fifty foot Titan form that I can pilot around. My Titan form is pretty… well, destructive, though. I don't think it would be safe to use in a rescue situation. At a push, I could use it to stabilise the building, but hopefully that won't be needed. In my base form though, I retain some scaled down enhancement from my Titan form; including enhanced strength, durability and healing, and the ability to harden my flesh at will. I'm more combat oriented. But with my enhanced strength, I can carry the injured and hold up walls. Depends on what the situation is..."

"I don't think you should go full Titan." Kendo stated bluntly. "But with your enhanced strength you can still move people. You can come and support Shoji and me."

Nodding at that, she turned to the others.

"I," Izuku began, interrupting her, and drawing attention back to him. "I don't know if your plan is optimal."

"Oh?" Kendo asked, turning back around, her eyes narrowed.

"Two minutes remaining!" Midnight's voice rang out in the background.

"Yes, I think it would be better if Shoji stayed back and used his Quirk to find and identify the injured. We then react to it, with you and me taking the lower floors, and Tsunotori taking the upper floors." Izuku suggested.

"If this wasn't timed, that could maybe work," Kendo replied evenly. "But this is a timed event. If we did your idea, we'd just be wasting time running back and forth while waiting for Shoji to find people. We don't have any way of communicating long distance, so it's better to keep on the move with you, me and Shoji working as a team on the lower floors, while Tsunotori covers the upper floors."

"Yes, I agree with Kendo's idea," Tsunotori chirped, nodding her head enthusiastically.

"It's as good a plan as any," Shoji shrugged, glancing back at him apologetically.

"Either way, we don't have much time left, so let's go with my plan." Kendo said, a slight frown on her face as she gave him an expectant look.

Looking around at the three, Izuku had to withhold a sigh as he caved in and nodded.

"Good, now we have a little bit of time left before Midnight picks the first team, so let's plan out as much as we can." Kendo pressed on, fully taking the lead now as she continued to outline her plan to the others.

( - )

(Sometime later)

Izuku watched with his team from the sidelines as the third randomly selected team started rescuing the 'civilians'. As he watched, he could hear Present Mic's voice booming out in the background as the eccentric teacher continued to commentate on the event, with Aizawa occasionally chipping in with an acerbic remark.

So far, he had been rather impressed by the groups that had already gone.

The first group to be picked had been Todoroki's team; an odd combination of Jiro from Class 1A's, Juuzo Honenuki the winner of the event, and the former Hero Course student, Minouu Mineta. Despite being randomly assembled, however, the group had worked quickly and efficiently, and had done very well.

When the building had burst into fire – it seemed Powerloader and Cementoss had used the time they'd been planning to install several obstacles – Todoroki had easily extinguished the flames with his ice. He'd managed to put out the fire before it could even singe a single one of the dummies scattered throughout the building, and then melted the ice in the next move. With that done, he had then started stabilising unstable walls with ice, and creating ice slides to some of the windows on the upper and middle floors.

Honenuki, meanwhile, had slid into the earth like it was a liquid and shot forwards, bypassing collapsed walls and blocked doorways as he headed for the dummies situated throughout the building in the harder to get places.

Mineta on the other hand, had used the sticky purple balls he had in place of hair to create both a ladder up to the upper floors, which he had then clambered up to get to the top floors, even as Jiro acted as support, using echolocation to find the dummies, and using the speakers in her boots – a piece of support gear she'd had to apply to use prior to the Sports Festival – to tell her teammates where the dummies were.

For going first, they'd done very well.

They had managed to rescue all twenty of the 'civilians' within the ten minute time limit, and had only received three time penalties. Two for Mineta for handling the dummies quite roughly as he flung them onto Todoroki's ice slides, and one for Honenuki for keeping one of the dummies underground for too long – they'd deemed it long enough to possibly cause respiratory issues for the potentially injured dummy.

Suffice to say, the crowd had been impressed and had cheered loudly, even as Todoroki's team set a high standard for the rest to follow.

The second team had been the one made up of Kaminari, Shiozaki, Setsuna Tokage, and Mei Hatsume, and like Todoroki's team, Shiozaki's team had done very well.

The support course student, Mei, had distributed communication devices even as she then used one of her gadgets – which sprayed foam that expanded and hardened – to extinguish the fires on the lower floors, and to stabilise some of the walls.

Kaminari, meanwhile, armed with a high-powered water gun and jetpack courtesy of Mei, had joined Tokage as she headed for the upper floors, with Tokage splitting her lower body, her arms and her torso into a dozen of pieces, even as she hung floating in the air.

While Kaminari fought the fires, Tokage had used the pieces of her body to explore the building and find the dummies on the upper and lower floors, with her then using her communicator to tell Shiozaki, who in turn used her vine-like hair to sweep the building, carefully cocooning the dummies she could find in her locks, even as she brought them to safety.

All told, they had managed to find and save sixteen dummies before the time ran out, and in doing so had picked up only one penalty when Kaminari had received a burn on the upper floor while firefighting. The bottom of his trousers had caught alight, and he'd received a minor but not debilitating burn in the process.

It had been a solid effort.

Though whether it was enough to beat Todoroki's team, he wasn't sure.

Neither Midnight nor the independent judges were posting their overall scores or how much time they were penalising. The only thing they did know, was how many dummies were rescued in the ten minutes. Which, as far as he could tell, was just one element of how the final score was tallied.

It made gaging what time they had to beat very difficult, which in turn only made the event more stressful as the watching teams continued to talk tactics, and make changes to their original plans based on how the others did.

Did they focus on rescuing as many dummies as they could before the ten minutes were up?

Or did they focus on making as few mistakes as possible, so as to avoid the unknown time penalties?

The heroic answer was to save as many as possible, as quickly as possible.

But the pragmatic answer was to save as many, as you could, as safely as you could.

He was of the opinion that they needed to act cautiously and save as many as they could, as safely as they could.

The other three, meanwhile, were of the opinion that they needed to save all twenty dummies as fast as they could, with their reasoning being that death was permanent, but injury was something that could be healed after the fact.

He had been outvoted, which was a shame because it was at that moment that Midnight announced the next team.

It was their turn.

( - )

Ten minutes later, after both Cementoss and Powerloader had finished repairing and resetting the building – each time they rearranged the layout and obstacles, and changed up the locations of the dummies – they were ready to go.

From where he was standing at the start line, Izuku could already see a couple of 'civilians' just visible through the windows on the upper floors. The way they were posed made it look like they were either trying to escape, or were waving for help.

It was a bit disconcerting.

Beyond the dummies, he could also see smoke beginning to float out of some of the glassless windows, a sure sign that a fire had already started on the upper floor. From what he had seen in the previous attempts, the fire was most likely in one of the stairwells, blocking access to the upper floor, and cutting off any kind of escape.

The lower floor meanwhile was quiet. There was no smoke visible, but he could see some cracks forming along some of the outer walls as the building started to destabilise. Cementoss had used his Quirk to create the building, but had obviously done so with deliberate flaws in the structure.

Glancing left and right, he saw his teammates were all looking grim, their gazes locked on the building as they too assessed the ongoing situation.

He had no doubt that they were already going through plans in their minds for what they would do first. During their planning, Kendo had outlined a basic strategy that they would follow, but had left some of the finer details out, so they could better adapt to changing circumstances. After all, with the obstacles and inner make-up of the building and the position of the injured 'civilians' constantly changing, it was difficult to plan too far ahead.

Rolling his shoulders, Izuku grit his teeth as he waited for Midnight to say 'go'.

By his side, he could see that Tsunotori had already launched two of her horns, and was now standing on them like they were floating skis. By her side, two more curved horns were hovering. Her first job was to fly to the upper floor and grab the closest dummies and bring them back down as quickly and safely as she could.

The 'civilians' they rescued could be dropped off at the mock first aid station that had been set up behind them.

After that, she was supposed to search the upper floors for any other injured 'civilians'.

Looking over at Kendo and Shoji, he could see both of them had crouched down and taken a runner's stance. Two of Shoji's limbs were already sprouting multiple ears and another two had extra eyes, all of which were pointing in the direction of the apartment building.

They were both ready to move in an instance.

Taking a runner's stance of his own, he took a deep breath and prepared to launch himself forward.

He was ready.

He could do this.

Rescue work might not be his forte, but he would do the best he could. Not just for himself, but for his team too. It wasn't just his future career on the line here.


Without a second thought, he exploded forward. The ground beneath his feet cratering slightly as he moved. The roar of the crowd all around him turned into a dull buzz, as he instead focussed on the task at hand to the exclusion of all else.

He needed to do well here.

He needed to show that he could be a hero, that he could rescue people.

People were watching him, waiting for him to make a mistake, waiting for him to prove them right.

He wouldn't give them the satisfaction.

"With me!" Kendo shouted, as the three of them moved as one.

From his periphery, he could already see Tsunotori shooting up towards the upper floor.

Jumping, he vaulted through one of the glassless windows on the lower floor.

"The walls are unstable, move quickly and move carefully." Kendo shouted.

She'd already found the first mannequin, and was cupping it carefully in her now gigantic hand.

"I can hear three more up ahead." Shoji said, his brow furrowed as he jogged through the narrow hallways, with Izuku following close behind him.

From what he could tell, the dummies had some kind of speaker sewn into them which made noise.

"Midoriya, go right, there is one in the room closest to you. Kendo left, there is another one there. I'll go straight on, there are two in the corridor ahead." Shoji rattled off quickly.

"Right," Izuku nodded, darting right and running through the open doorway.

There was a mannequin laying down on what looked like a concrete sofa. Without a word, Izuku dashed over and picked it up carefully. They'd not received much training on rescue work, but they had at least been taught how to properly carry a potentially wounded civilian, and he made sure to follow the instructions he'd received as closely as possible.

Unfortunately, the moment he picked up the civilian, was also the moment that the entire room burst into flames.

Smoke was already filling the room and the narrow corridor outside.

"There's a fire here, and it looks like the ceiling is about to fall through," Kendo's voice sounded out, "Shoji, come collect these civilians off me, while I deal with the fire and keep the ceiling from falling down."

"There's a fire here too!" Izuku shouted back, his eyes narrowing against the smoke as he looked around. "I'll drop off my civilian and come back to help."

Not waiting for a response, he dashed around the flames and leapt out of the nearest window, carefully tucking the mannequin into his chest to keep them safe, even as he shouldered his way forward and landed smoothly on the ground. Hazarding a glance back at the smoke filled room, he didn't say a word as he instead ran over to drop off the civilian at the first aid station.

As he arrived, he saw that Tsunotori had already dropped off the three of the dummies from the upper floors.

Carefully laying the mannequin down, Izuku turned and saw Shoji running towards him with four other mannequins in his giant webbed arms.

With his one, Shoji's four and Tsunotori's three, that made eight of the twenty 'civilians' already accounted for.

"The walls aren't stable, and the fire is spreading. Kendo is doing her best, but she needs help." Shoji said, the moment he set the rescued 'civilians' down in the first aid station.

Nodding, Izuku ran back to the building, Shoji lumbering behind him.

Overhead, Tsunotori flew back down from the upper floor, with two more dummies. One of them held in her arms bridal style, and the other held up by her two hovering horns. One of the dummies looked slightly singed – he suspected they'd be getting a time penalty for that.

"The fire is spreading." Tsunotori shouted as she saw them. "I need help."

"Shoji, you help Kendo, I'll help Tsunotori." Izuku said, as they continued running towards the building.

Shoji nodded. "How are you going to get up there? One of the stairwells has collapsed, and the other is on fire."

"Climb," Izuku answered succinctly, his skin shimmering blue as he used his hardening to reinforce his hands and forearms.

Not waiting for an answer he leapt forward clearing a good two metres grabbed onto the wall, his hardened fingers digging into the concrete like putty, even as he started clambering up the outside of the building like a spider. As he climbed, he could feel the walls cracking and groaning in response to his added weight.

From down below, Shoji spared him a single look, before running back into the smoke filled lower floor.

Things were not going well.

If anything, they were escalating out of control as the fire continued to spread, and the building started to fall down around them.

Clambering through the window, he ignored the thick smoke all around him as it stung his eyes and clogged his lungs.

"Midoriya, you're here." Tsunotori's muffled voice sounded out as she flew next to him. She had a cloth wrapped around her lower face.

Ripping the sleeve off his shirt, Izuku did the same.

"Follow me," Tsunotori continued, as she shot forwards on her horns.

Following her, he felt his eyes start to water as they got to work. His skin prickling uncomfortably due to the heat.

"There is at least one more back here that I can get. I'm not sure what's behind this collapsed doorway, though. I'm not strong enough to get through." The blonde said, gesturing to a pile of rubble. Above the pile, he could see daylight through a small hole in the roof. "You check that one out, while I'll get the other one."

"On it," Izuku nodded, sweat beading his brow as he eyed the collapsed doorway.

There was no getting through, not unless he wanted to bring the rest of the roof down, which would endanger both himself, Tsunotori and the two civilians.

But there might be a window, he thought, as he ran into the room next door.

He wasn't one hundred percent sure on the existence of a window as the room was at the back of the apartment block, on the opposite side of the first aid station, but with the timer running down it was a gamble he was willing to make.

Heading to the window in the new room and wiping his teary eyes with the back of his dust covered hand, he didn't even try to second-guess himself, as he quickly climbed outside and started to clamber along the wall of the building.

His booted feet couldn't find any purchase, and his grip on the wall wasn't as secure as he would have liked. He could feel the concrete crumbling, even as he edged his way along the wall, relying almost entirely on his upper body strength to hold him up.

He wasn't sure how long it had been since the event started, but there couldn't be much time left.

It had to have been almost ten minutes by now.

Holding back a growl, Izuku found purchase on the ledge of the flat roof, his fingers hooking over the edge, even as he swung backwards up, and then threw himself forwards through the small, half collapsed window frame below him – the only entrance to the room beyond.

Rolling as he landed, Izuku coughed as he looked around with streaming eyes. The entire back wall of the room collapsed behind him as he stood up, sweeping away the smoke, and fully opening the room up to the outside world.

There were two mannequins in the room, both of them huddled in a corner.

Coughing again to clear his burning lungs, he threw the rag in his hand away as he instead ran over to the two 'civilians', sweeping them up in his arms as he did so.

There would be no getting through the doorway, and he couldn't crash through the wall either, not without bringing down the entire upper floor. At the same time, he couldn't climb down the side of the building either, not while carrying two mannequins.

He had no choice.

Not unless he waited for Tsunotori to come help him. Which would take both time, and also further endanger the 'civilians' who had probably already breathed in too much smoke.

It was just a shame they didn't have anyone on their team that was suited to putting out fires.

Lowering his head, and holding the two mannequins close to his body, he ran towards the edge of the building and jumped.

The concrete below him broke to pieces as he pushed off his body arcing high into the air, as the jump carried him one, two, three metres up into the air, only for gravity to then quickly reassert itself as he fell towards the ground.

He'd never jumped from this height before.

The building was probably fifteen metres tall, and his jump had added extra height on top of that.

Looking down, the earth looked a long way away.

Still, his body was enhanced, and he had practiced landing from five metres before. How much different could it be?

"Midoriya!" Tsunotori shouted, as she saw him. She sounded both surprised, and maybe a little scared.

Turning his head, he was just able to catch a glimpse of her, before he plummeted, his legs bending naturally as he landed on the hard ground below him. His feet tore up the concrete, and his joints screamed out in displeasure, even as he sank low into a crouch.

His back hurt, and his legs felt like they were on fire.

Springing up from his crouch, Izuku exploded forward in a run, his breathing ragged as he kept the two mannequins close to his body.

He needed to get to the first aid station.

Rounding the edge of the building, he was peripherally aware of Tsunotori flying alongside him.

She was saying something, but he couldn't hear her.

All he could hear was the roar of the watching crowd, and the thunder of his own heart.

Sprinting forwards, he saw the first aid station up ahead.

Kendo singed, red faced, and with soot visible in her orange hair was waiting ahead of him. She looked tired, and out of breath. Around her, he could see several singed and sooty dummies.

Shoji meanwhile, had just entered the station, with two more 'civilians' wrapped up in his arms.

Behind them both, he could see Midnight smirking, her cropped raised as she prepared to bring it down with a crack!

She was about to call time.

Letting loose a shout of panic, he crossed the final few metres, even as Midnight's riding crop swished through the air.

"And that's time!"

Panting, hands on his knees and his shirt and tracksuit more than a little singed, Izuku collapsed to the ground, even as Shoji relieved him of the two dummies.

"You did good, Midoriya," Tsunotori said, as she patted him gently on the pack.

Taking a deep breath of fresh air, Izuku looked and nodded. "You too."

As he looked around, he counted eighteen dummies.

He could only hope that they had done enough.

( - )

(In the executive box)

Watching as young Bakugo exploded out of the top floor, three dummies thrown over his shoulder, Principal Nezu couldn't help but tut in disapproval.

The boy had both spirit and talent, but he was too hot-headed and emotional for rescue work. He lacked patience, and perspective.

Then again, not all heroes were cut out for that type of hero work.

Just looked at Endeavour, the number two hero.

The flame using hero was incredibly talented, and possessed a will forged of pure steel. But he was far more specialised for taking down villains, than he was for either rescue work or crowd control. His Quirk was too dangerous and powerful to be safely used to its maximum in those kinds of scenarios.

But such was life.

In the end, there were very few heroes that could call themselves the jack of all trades.

Heroes like All Might that excelled in everything were a rarity.

Most Pro Heroes instead discovered where their talents lay and tended specialise in that niche. Though often they were able to act outside of that specialisation when needed, though often when they did their efficiency and effectiveness was often impacted.

Unfortunately for Bakugo, along with several other promising first year students, this kind of event wasn't for them.

If the second event had been the Cavalry Battle, like he had initially planned, then they almost certainly would have had their chance to shine, even as those not suited for those types of heroics suffered.

But alas, it wasn't to be.

Shaking his head, he made a few more notes on his proforma for this team.

"And, how are you finding the second event, Toshinori?" Nezu asked, as he felt someone sink into the seat next to him.

"Interesting," All Might, or rather Toshinori Yagi in his shrunken down form, answered. "You certainly put together a difficult second event this year."

"Indeed, but I think it's good to challenge our students. Often times, overcoming a difficult and unexpected test is the best way to teach them." Nezu smiled.

"True," Toshinori allowed, his shadowed blue eyes shifting over to him.

"Speaking of difficult tests, how is it going with young Mirio, your protégé?" Nezu pressed on, his black eyes glinting with curiosity as he too looked sideways at his old friend.

"He's doing well." Toshinori said after a moment of thought. "I've given him One For All, and he's handling it well. The power was a little much for his body at first, but his conditioning, and his self-control and willpower is phenomenal. He's already worked out how to use it, and can comfortably use it at 25%." Toshinori smiled, a hint of pride entering his sunken eyes.

"So, no regrets about your choice?" Nezu asked slyly.

"I had some at first. I thought I'd been pressured into it. But no, now I've had time to properly meet him, and to start teaching him, I have no regrets. He will be a fine successor, and will probably become a greater hero than I ever was." Toshinori said, his smile widening.

"High praise," Nezu nodded. "I'm surprised you're here, actually, and not giving Mirio a few more pointers before his own competition tomorrow?"

Toshinori chuckled and shook his head. "I doubt he needs any pointers. He's already said he won't be using One For All. He wants to win the third year Sports Festival using his own power. He doesn't want to use the power he inherited from me until he feels he's earned it. He's a good kid."

"You sound very fond of him, even after only knowing him for a short time." Nezu smiled, raising a furry eyebrow.

"He reminds me a lot of myself when I was his age." Toshinori shrugged, looking slightly uncomfortable for a moment.

Nezu hummed and nodded, his attention returning to the ongoing event, even as Midnight swished her crop through the air and called time.

The second event was over.

"So I'm curious," Toshinori said, catching Nezu's attention. "Why did you arrange the teams the way you did?"

"I don't know what you mean, Toshinori?" Nezu chirped. "They were randomly selected."

"Uh huh," Toshinori asked disbelievingly, his gaze on the field below as the first year students assembled in front of Midnight, even as Powerloader and Cementoss disassembled the apartment block and prepared for the third and final event. More particularly, his gaze came to rest on a student with spikey green hair.

Smiling, Nezu saw what he was looking at. "I know you have bad memories of that night, Toshinori. But remember, it was more than ten years ago now, and more importantly, it was an accident. Izuku is not the first child that awakened their Quirk in a traumatic way, nor is he the first child that lost control of their Quirk when they did awaken it."

"I know that, and I don't hold it against the boy." Toshinori replied defensively.

"And yet, you remain wary around him, and constantly keep an eye on him." Nezu said, his voice turning a mite sterner. "Do you truly have so little faith in Doctor Nakamura and the work they do over at Asphodel? Do you not believe in second chances?"

"It's not that, and you know it." Toshinori bit out. "I don't dislike the kid. I know he means well, and I truly do believe that if he continues to work hard, and train the way he is, that he'll become an admirable hero in the future."

"But?" Nezu queried, his gaze also falling on the nervous young teen they were talking about as he did so.

"But his Quirk worries me. Nakamura said it was a mutation one, a genetic anomaly that occurred through sheer chance as the dormant genes he inherited from his forebears came together in a unique and unexpected way…" Toshinori said, trailing off.

"Yes, Doctor Nakamura also believes that he is a perfect case study for the often disputed Quirk Singularity Doomsday Theory that he is a proponent of," Nezu nodded. "And honestly, having read through his research papers myself, I find myself coming around to his way of thinking."

"I'm aware," Toshinori said dryly, "But that's only if Nakamura's theory is right, and that Midoriya's Quirk is the result of him hitting the genetic lottery."

"And you don't think he is?" Nezu asked, somewhat rhetorically.

"He would not be the first person I've met with multiple Quirks grafted together, nor would he be the first person that man has experimented on…." Toshinori said darkly.

"That man is dead, Toshinori." Nezu said gently.

"Maybe, but that Nomu at the U.S.J. had multiple Quirks grafted into it… and there is only one villain I can think of that can steal Quirks and pass them on to others… that Nomu, I think it was a failed experiment…" Toshinori said, his hand clenching into a fist.

"And in turn, you suspect that Midoriya might be a successful experiment. Another Nomu, only less monstrous, and more… refined…?" Nezu asked, his dark eyes narrowing.

"I didn't say that!" Toshinori shot back defensively.

"But you think it, though." Nezu stated bluntly.

Toshinori didn't respond, his gaze instead shifting to the large screen above, even as Midnight raised her crop and the names and pictures of sixteen students – the members of the four successful teams – appeared overhead:

Shoto Todoroki

Mei Hatsume

Juuzo Honenuki

Kyoka Jiro

Ibara Shiozaki

Itsuka Kendo

Setsuna Tokage

Monoma Neito

Pony Tsunotori

Mezo Shoji

Tetsutetsu Tetsutetsu

Eijiro Kirishima

Denki Kaminari

Minouu Mineta

Izuku Midoriya

Toru Hagakure

It was going to be an interesting line up for the third round, which like every year, would be a one-on-one knockout tournament.

( - )

AN: So a lot happening, and hopefully an exciting chapter, with perhaps an unexpected ending?

Either way I hope you enjoyed the chapter.

Also I am on a discord with a load of other writers, so if you fancy popping over to ask questions or offer suggestions about this story, or any of my other ones, or to find new authors you might not have come across yet, please feel free to use the link in my bio.

Thanks for reading and if you have any suggestions or questions feel free to PM me or find me on Discord.

Catch you later.