It's said the smallest decision can set off a chain reaction that changes the world. There are infinite universes out there, each defined by one small, single change from the rest. So that raises the question:

What sort of change created a world like this?

"It's fine now. Why? Because I am here."

Izuku sniffled as he stared at the computer screen, the boisterous laugh which had once left him bouncing with endless excitement now making his chest heavy with despair. His vision blurred with tears as he hugged his knees to his chest, the Hero's form growing even blurrier against the bright flames surrounding him in the video. In the background he distantly registered his mother standing in the doorway of the darkened computer room, speaking in low tones.

" this since... keeps watching... two days... Quirkless..."

The last word made Izuku wince, sucking in a shuddery breath drowned out by the crackling roar of fire in the video. More tears bubbled up in his eyes, obscuring his vision almost entirely, and as the video clip neared the end he heard his mother walk over.

"Izuku, I need to go run some errands," she announced, forcing a sad smile on her face. "Ayane-chan is going to watch you so be good for her while I'm gone, okay?" Izuku sniffled but nodded, not looking back at her. Unseen by him her smile faded, replaced by a look of near despair and hollowness as she left. Izuku remained still as he listened to her footsteps distantly retreat and the front door close, just watching the clip in silence. As it reached the end more footsteps approached him, softer and lighter than his mother's.

"I think that's enough of that for now," a new voice commented, and a hand reached to grab the mouse and closed out of the window. Blinking back his still-unshed tears, Izuku craned his head back to see a familiar teenage girl leaning over him to his right, her left eye covered by a white eye patch. She turned to look at him with her good eye and smiled, soft and gentle. "Watching videos in the dark is bad for your eyes, Izu-chan."

The young toddler just sniffled, rubbing at his eyes as he looked away from the screen. "Ayane-nee, mom told you, right?" he asked quietly, frowning heavily. "A-about the d-d-doctor..." He trailed off, unable to finish, and just looked down at his lap in heavy shame. Already he felt his eyes begin to water again, his face scrunching up in agony.

"She did," the teenager confirmed gently, pausing before she added, "That's a lot to take in, huh?"

Izuku openly sobbed at that, his head tilting back with a low whine. The older girl startled before quickly scooping him up into a panicked hug. "H-hey, don't cry! I-it's not that bad!"

"B-b-but I'm Quirkless!" he wailed, and actually saying it out loud just made him cry harder. Ayane made a noise of distress, clearly not sure how to handle a crying toddler. Thinking fast, she put him back down on the chair and began wiping away his tears.

"Is being Quirkless really that bad?" she asked, and his crying faded long enough to stare at her in a mix of shock and horror.

"H-h-how is it not bad?" he sobbed. "I-I-I c-can't, I c-c-can't—" I can't be a Hero, he thought dismally, but he couldn't say it out loud. His babysitter frowned, her hand raising to her mouth as she glanced to the side with a thoughtful gleam in her eye.

"...Izuku, do you want to know a secret?" she asked, turning her gaze back to him. Sniffling one last time, he wiped at his eyes and bobbed his head, and she gestured for him to lean forward. Blinking, he did as told, and she moved her head close to whisper in his ear. "I wish I was Quirkless."

He reeled back at that, his eyes wide and jaw dropping with disbelief. "Wha—why!? Why would anyone want to be Quirkless!? Especially you! Your Quirk is so cool and pretty!"

"It's got its nice parts," she agreed, absently reaching for the silver wing-shaped hairclip pinning her bangs to the side. "But it's got downsides, too. All Quirks do, some way worse than others. In fact..." She trailed off, looking hesitant, before shaking her head. "No, actually, I think you're a bit young to hear that one. But I know some people who would give anything to be Quirkless. And even then, some Quirks don't really do anything that special or flashy, so they might as well be Quirkless.

"The point is," she continued, meeting his gaze squarely, "Being Quirkless isn't that bad."

Ayane smiled at him then, warm and kind and full of fondness, and as he stared at her Izuku saw no pity in her eye, no guilt or sadness like his mom. Only gentleness and love.

Izuku felt himself start to tear up once again and burst into sobs once more, but this time for a different reason.

I wonder... How would things be if we never met?

Chapter 1

.::Rise and Shine::.

The first sign something was wrong was when Todoroki Shouto opened his eyes just enough to glimpse an unfamiliar cracked gray ceiling instead of his dorm room.

That alone had been enough to jolt him into instant alertness, any remaining traces of sleep vanishing as his eyes snapped wide open. He remained still, doing his best to catalogue his surroundings while his eyes adjusted to the dim lighting. The room he was in looked empty and long-abandoned, void of furniture save for a tattered couch just in his peripheral vision and the paint on the walls chipping and cracked. Shouto himself lay in a corner, wrapped in a thick blanket and curled up on a slightly lumpy pile he suspected to be more blankets.

That was as much as he could observe without actually turning his head. He experimentally twitched his fingers and toes, finding everything responded fine and he didn't seem to be restrained in any way. After a long moment he rolled his head slightly to the side, getting a better look at the room. It confirmed there to be no furniture besides the couch, though he now noted a pair of boots next to him that seemed to be his size and he could see an open doorway which served as the only source of light in the room.

Dawn, he thought dimly as he studied the pale blue glow in the hallway outside, the soft color too natural to be from a light bulb. As he considered the implications something moved on the couch and he startled, snapping his gaze towards it. Now that he was looking at it directly he realized that someone was laying there, swathed in a ratty blanket similar in color to the couch's material, but he could clearly see a head of inky black hair facing away from him.

The person shifted a bit, rolling over slightly and a hand falling over the edge. Shouto felt his heart stutter to a halt as he recognized the wrinkled, purple skin marring the uncovered wrist, metal staples almost serving as a bridge to the unscarred hand. Dabi.

As if sensing his thoughts the figure rolled their head over, revealing the man's hideous patchwork face. The sagging purple bag beneath his right eye wrinkled further as the eyelid parted, a single turquoise orb glinting in the darkness. Shouto's blood chilled as it quickly aimed right at him to meet his own gaze, the staples lining the makeshift Glasgow grin stretching from his lips tugging tighter as the corners of his mouth twitched upwards in a small smirk.

"Mornin', Shouto-chan," the Villain mumbled sleepily.

At the sound of his voice a switch flipped in Shouto's brain and his shocked fugue vanished. He shot upright immediately, throwing the blanket aside and rolling off his makeshift bed to jump to his feet, his right foot slamming on the ground and sending a wall of ice rippling towards the couch.

A startled yelp sounded as the ice quickly encased the Villain, leaving only his head exposed, but Shouto paid him no mind as he bolted from the room. He snatched up the boots almost as an afterthought as he ran, ignoring the man's screams and shouts as he fled down the hallways.

Shouto had absolutely no idea what the hell was going on, but Dabi's presence made it quite obvious he'd been captured by the League of Villains. The Villain's yells echoed clearly through the dilapidated halls, and Shouto knew he likely only had seconds to get away before someone would come to investigate. Thinking fast, he ducked into one of the open doorways with telltale dim light filtering out and found it thankfully empty of people.

His attention immediately honed in on a dusty-looking window on the far wall and without hesitation he surged towards it, slamming his right palm against the glass. Ice frosted the window instantly, the brittle glass cracking under the cold and the icy coating minimizing damage to himself as he barreled through it. As he found himself in a free fall he had only two seconds to regret not looking out beforehand before he landed on the ground.

His training took over and he instinctively rolled upon landing, springing to his feet and running once more. He glanced around desperately as he ran from the building, trying to identify his surroundings. He appeared to be in some sort of abandoned factory district, the nearest buildings (still a bit too far for his liking) worn and shabby looking even from a distance. The sky still looked largely dark, but he could glimpse a pale yellow tint between some of the buildings telling him sunrise had just begun.

While looking around he spotted shimmering light reflecting off water through a hole in the fence enclosing the property, and he quickly changed course towards it. As he moved he glanced down to take stock of his state, and was surprised to realize he now wore jeans and a ratty-looking sweatshirt over a plain t-shirt. He had socks on but running barefoot wouldn't do much good. A glance at the boots revealed them to have zippers on the sides, and after a second's hesitation he began fumbling to tug them on, slowing down but not stopping..

It added a few heart-pounding seconds to his escape, making him wary of a Villain appearing to apprehend him. To his relief though no one appeared, and he tugged the zippers up—confirming the boots fit—and sprinted the remaining distance to the river. Three long strides later Shouto dove into the water, triggering the heat in the left half of his body to combat the icy chill as he swam with the current as fast as he could.

Like every morning, Uraraka Ochaco awoke to the alarm on her phone ringing.

Unlike every morning, when she reached for her phone on her headboard her gloved hand just swatted empty air.

That was enough to knock some of her grogginess away, moaning drowsily as her hand continued to pathetically paw at the air above her head and consistently fail to hit her phone or even the headboard. As she continued her sleepy fumbling some more of her grogginess faded, just enough to recognize that the alarm didn't come from above her head, but next to it. With that she dutifully repositioned her hand and her gloved fingers finally made contact with wood, patting around until she felt the familiar shape of her phone and finally hitting the volume button on the side to trigger the snooze.

Satisfied at the resulting silence, she exhaled and snuggled against her pillow to let herself wake up naturally.

Five seconds later she abruptly remembered she didn't have a bedside table and bolted upright in bed with a startled blink.

Her first thought upon looking at the room: it wasn't her dorm or her room at home, but it definitely belonged to her. She had always kept her room on the plainer side, but she recognized a few things like her beloved cactus plant on the desk and a framed family photo. Confused but not necessarily panicked (yet), she got out of bed hesitantly and started walking around the room, absently tugging her sleeping gloves off as she looked at everything.

Yep, this is definitely my stuff, she decided when she noticed a giant poster from an old anime about constellation-themed magical girls. She'd gotten it for her fifth birthday, but had opted against bringing to UA since it felt a bit too childish for a Hero in training. Confusion growing, she returned to her bed and snatched up her phone, and paused when she unlocked it. The lock screen photo was different; instead of her, Tsuyu and Ashido in their cheerleader costumes from the Sports Festival, it now showed her wearing a t-shirt with the logo for her dad's construction company.

"Is that a construction site?" she asked aloud, staring at the photo. The more she looked at it, the more certain she was that yes, it was a construction site. She could recognize the equipment in the background, and she held a hard hat under her arm as she grinned at the camera. The same hard hat which she now realized sat on her desk, right next to the photo of her middle school graduation.

As she pondered over the implications of this she heard a knock on the door. "Ochaco, honey," her mother's familiar voice called gently, making her perk up instantly. "Are you awake?" For half a second Ochaco considered the possibility she had been captured by a Villain and taken to some place, and that the person outside her door wasn't her mom. Then she looked at the poster for the Starlight Squad, and immediately dismissed the possibility. No way a Villain would bother learning about that.

"Yeah, I'm awake," she confirmed. The door opened and her mother poked her head in. She looked a bit different from how Ochaco remembered, but not in an imposter sort of way. Her hair looked a bit shorter, the worry lines on her face a little deeper but her overall expression a little less tired as she smiled.

"You're such an early bird, Ochaco-chan," she teased lightly. "Getting up early even on your day off."

Her phrasing made Ochaco blink. "Day off?" she repeated without thinking. Her mother's smile faded slightly at that, looking briefly surprised.

"Did you forget? Yesterday another boy almost got kidnapped on the way home from school, so your father wants you to stay at home today. He already headed out to the construction site so he could get an early start."

"O...oh," Ochaco said quietly, trying to process her mother's words. A boy almost got kidnapped? Her dad? What? As she struggled to figure out what was going on her mother sighed and shook her head sadly.

"I swear, sometimes it feels like this world's going to hell in a hand basket," she murmured. "It's good for business, I'll admit that much, but I wish things were just a bit safer, or you could at least have gone to high school..." Pausing, she then blinked and quickly smiled. "Oh, sorry sweetie, I didn't mean to talk like that in front of you. Anyways, breakfast is ready whenever you're ready to eat. You can even come down in your pajamas if you want," she added with a teasing smile, "It's been a while since we've had a day with just us girls here."

With that she withdrew and closed the door, leaving Ochaco to stand in ever-growing confusion. Slowly her gaze trailed to her phone, her index finger clicking down the power button to rouse it from sleep and reveal the photo of her again. Feeling a sense of unease growing in her stomach, she quietly unlocked her phone and found a group chat with several unread messages, recognizing the names as some of her dad's foremen.

'We'll miss you this week Ochacha! Just stay safe at home!' 'Don't worry about us, we'll be fine!' 'We're not totally dependent on you yet Ojouco-chan! We can last a week!'

Do... Do I work for dad's company? Ochaco wondered, her unease growing. Frowning, she quietly exited the chat app and pulled up her internet browser, going straight to Google.

Similar to Ochaco, Ashido Mina immediately noted her room fit her tastes, but didn't really match her dorm. She'd bought a lot of stuff just for moving to the dorms at UA, knowing she'd likely have her friends over more often, but this room had most of her old stuff.

Of course it was still very pink. Mina embraced her overly pink appearance from a young age and her bedroom reflected this. She especially loved the popping contrast of hot pink and black in particular, it felt so mature and cool. Her dresser, with the hot pink drawers and fuzzy top? She basically forced her parents to buy it for her when she was seven. The pink leopard print lampshade? She got that in middle school on sale at a fashion shop.

Surveying the room, Mina nodded and silently concluded, Yep, this is my room. She might not recognize the actual room, or a lot of the stuff in there, but this was definitely her stuff. Ergo, the room must belong to her.

With that settled, Mina began exploring the new space, opening a sliding door to reveal a closet. She found several sailor uniforms hanging up, with a black top and white fuku with two columns of red buttons down the middle, matched with a pleated red skirt with black trim on the bottom and a single thin white line just above the trim. Huh. Neat! But why was it here?

Frowning, she left it alone for the moment and went to her dresser, picking up the framed photos on it. They weren't all that familiar, but she did notice one had her in that very cool uniform, along with one of her middle school friends in the same uniform. They stood in front of a sign for a school called... Sakakura High School? Grabbing a cell phone which had been plugged into a charger sitting next to the frame, Mina unlocked it easily and quickly searched the school's name.

A beat passed as she looked at the top result.

"Haaah!?" she blurted, nearly dropping the phone. "It's in Kamino!?" She ran to the window and threw the pink leopard-pattern curtains open, revealing the skyline. Mina stared in shock at the city spread before her, taking a long moment to just absorb it.

...Mina didn't actually remember any landmarks in Kamino, or even Yokohama in general, so she wasn't sure if this was actually Kamino. But she could at least tell this place wasn't Musutafu or Tokyo.

As she looked at the city in confusion she noticed a distant explosion on a high-rise building, making her perk up. Villain attack? When another explosion occurred, she nodded to herself in confirmation. Yep, definitely a Villain attack. As a Hero in training with a provisional license, maybe she should go help. Or not. Thinking it over, she realized that, no, she probably shouldn't go help seeing as she didn't even know what was going on.

Decision made, she closed the curtains and turned back to survey her new bedroom, trying to figure out what to do. Mina knew she wasn't necessarily the best student when it came to stuff like academics or strategy, but she was pretty sure her classes at UA had never covered a situation quite like this.

Unsurprisingly, it took about two minutes for Kaminari Denki to wake up enough to enter full-blown panic mode.

In his defense, he'd never been a morning person. He considered it a victory that he no longer hit the snooze button on his alarm repeatedly and actually got out of bed the first time it went off. He usually spent his mornings shuffling around his room blindly, his eyes refusing to open for the first five minutes and leaving him dependent on his familiarity with the space to get around.

That had been what made him realize something was wrong. He kept bumping into stuff where stuff shouldn't be. Really, looking back his first clue should have been when he rolled out of bed on the right side only to bump into a wall. His bed in the dorms was against the left wall, not the right. But in his still-groggy state he'd just gotten out on the other side and proceeded to shuffle around like a zombie and bump into everything, far more than usual.

After nearly tripping over a shirt on the floor and then almost stubbing his toe on a waste basket, he finally managed to peel open his eyes enough to recognize he didn't recognize anything.

He yelped when he finally noticed, rubbing at his eyes to get rid of the lingering sleep and just swiveling his head around wildly. "What the hell, this isn't my room!" It looked nothing like his room at UA. If anything, it looked like a bunch of stuff that had been randomly grabbed just on the basis of how "cool" it was. Which, okay, he had to admit a lot of it was pretty cool. Like the collection of hats hanging on the wall. Or that lamp shaped like a lightning bolt. Or that framed autographed shirt from Deep Dope on the wall...

And the framed photo of him from that concert next to it...

Denki spent about three seconds staring at the photo, his face blank. That was definitely him in the photo, there was no denying that. He was sitting on some guy's shoulders pumping his fists into the air, electricity visibly crackling around his hands.

Okay, fine. So the room had a photo of him, and also a lot of stuff he thought looked really cool. But the arrangement was different than what he'd do! And he still doesn't recognize anything here! Though seriously, where did that lightning bolt lamp come from? That thing was awesome—no, bad Denki! Focus! Something was seriously wrong here! This might fit his tastes, but this wasn't his room!

But the biggest red flag?

There's a school uniform on top of the chair and it's DEFINITELY not UA's.

He couldn't even recognize what school it belonged to. It was a totally different style from UA's, a classic white button-up shirt with teal trim on the pockets and sleeves, along with a pair of dark blue plaid pants. He held the shirt up with a grimace, silently questioning what the hell what the hell wHAT THE HELL—

"No!" he scolded himself, slapping his cheeks with a frown. "Calm down Denki! Just... just calm down and think!" Right. Okay, to recap: he didn't know where he was, but he had a lot of his stuff here, but also some stuff he didn't recognize, like that lamp and those photos of him with some strange guy and also a cell phone—

A cell phone! He snatched it up immediately, jabbing the power button desperately. The screen lit up to reveal a photo of himself sleeping in that weird uniform with his face covered in hand-drawn lightning bolts, which, what the hell. He definitely didn't remember that. He pushed past the rising panic and entered his password, and to his immense relief it worked.

Hands trembling, he opened his text messages and promptly felt his stomach sink as a stream of unfamiliar names greeted him. Seriously, who were these people? The previews of the most recent texts sounded friendly and familiar—'see you later', 'lol nerd', 'ill tell him congrats for you', 'Don't forget to brush your teeth this time!'—but the names rang absolutely no bells.

As Denki scrolled through the list, desperately searching for someone familiar, he suddenly froze as a single name popped out at him. An angelic choir seemed to sound somewhere, a ray of golden light filtering from above to illuminate the lone name. With a deep breath he jabbed the text message and opened the contact information, hitting the call button and raising his phone to his ear with a pathetic whimper.

Around the same time, Jirou Kyouka stared at an unfamiliar apartment with pursed lips. While the space wasn't familiar, she recognized a lot of her furniture and possessions, a rug with a gray and black checkerboard pattern lining the floor and some of her instruments scattered about. Some things were missing, like her drum set and a few guitars, but she still had some of her amps and her favorite bass guitar. If anything, it actually felt a bit less cluttered than her dorm since this room was larger.

More notably though, her walls had been decorated with framed vintage album covers from her house, which... didn't make sense. Her dad had spent years collecting those, he'd freak out if she so much as touched them let alone take them into her room. Seriously, some of them were over two hundred years old, passed down from generation to generation on her father's side since before Quirks even emerged. Those were probably more valuable than their house.

But even more disconcerting than that was the school uniform laid out on her desk chair. White button-up top with a powder blue vest and a blue plaid skirt—definitely not UA's. Kyouka didn't know what school it belonged to; the vest had an emblem for it embroidered above the heart, but she didn't recognize it at all. So at the very least, the school wasn't in the Musutafu area.

As she studied it contemplatively she heard a cell phone ring and jumped, her head swiveling to see one sitting on the desk. The case didn't look familiar and the ring tone was a different Deep Dope song from the one she set. She walked over cautiously to peek at the screen, but when she saw a familiar name displayed she lost all hesitation and snatched it off the table to answer.

She didn't even lift it to her ear before she heard a wail from the other end that made her wince. "JIIRROOUUU!" Kaminari's ever-recognizable voice whined. "HELP ME! I'M IN AN UNFAMILIAR PLACE AND THERE'S A BUNCH OF MY STUFF HERE AND THIS UNIFORM I DON'T KNOW AND I HAVE TEXTS FROM ALL THESE PEOPLE I'VE NEVER HEARD OF—"

Kyouka winced as he continued to whine, holding the phone a little farther away from her head. Gritting her teeth, she pulled it close long enough to snap an irritated, "Calm down and shut up!" Almost immediately Kaminari went mercifully silent, though she could still hear him whimpering. Good enough. She took a deep breath, pinching the bridge of her nose as she moved the phone closer.

"Look, Kaminari. I'm not sure what's going on either," she said levelly. "But I'm in a different room with a bunch of my stuff."

"Wait, so you're not at UA either!?"

"I wish," she grumbled. It would be so much easier if one of them could get Aizawa, or even just one of their classmates like Yaomomo or Iida. For now though it looked like they were on their own. She took a breath as she tried to organize her thoughts. "Okay, first thing we should do is probably to assess our surroundings and get as much information as possible."

"Y-yeah, that sounds good," Kaminari agreed shakily, and Kyouka nodded as she surveyed her desk once more.

"Okay. Right now I'm looking at my desk and I have a different uniform too, and..."

She trailed off as she noticed an album propped on the desk like a photograph, her dad's name printed in the lower corner of a picture of her parents she recognized from their college days. They sat on a beach close to sunset, and her dad leaned forward to gaze at her mother with a transfixed smile. She sat cross-legged on the towel wearing a flowy shirt and jean shorts, her hair longer and hanging loose over her arm as she strummed a guitar.

They looked happy and content, totally at peace with themselves, but she barely paid them any mind. Her eyes were pointedly fixed on the draping black ribbons printed on the upper corners of the image, and the title "For Mika" in the lower left corner above her dad's name.

She faintly heard Kaminari calling her name just before the phone slipped from her fingers.

When Izuku woke up in an unfamiliar room, he quashed the initial instinct to freak out to focus on investigating instead.

The room looked unfamiliar, but not overly threatening. The bed he'd woken up in had a dark green cover, and there was a desk with a currently closed laptop and a small flat-screen TV. There were bookshelves, too, full of neatly-organized notebooks and books, and a dresser with a mirror with photos taped to it and what looked to be an envelope sitting on top of it? The bedside table had a dimly glowing orb-shaped lamp that gradually grew brighter with each passing minute, which provided the only light in the room since it lacked any windows.

The lack of windows admittedly unnerved Izuku a little bit, but at least the walls weren't bare. If anything, he found it comforting to find himself surrounded by posters for various Heroes. Some of them even felt like ones he had, like that limited-edition "Put Your Hands Up! Radio" poster from when Present Mic first started his radio show, and a reprint of the sadly defunct international rescue team Storm Chasers his neighbor gave him.

Other posters he didn't recognize at all though. In fact, some of the Heroes displayed were unfamiliar, which was beyond weird. Izuku knew all the Heroes big enough to have their own merchandise, and plenty more who didn't. So to see some he didn't recognize at all made him feel a bit uneasy.

More noticeably though, none of them displayed All Might.

The distinct absence of his mentor was almost as blaring as if the man had actually been in the room himself. His own room had been plastered with All Might memorabilia—both at home and after he moved into the dorms—so the distinct lack of his face among all these other Heroes made it feel off. Right now, Izuku would really feel better if he could see even a drawing of his mentor's bright, dazzling grin.

He got out of bed slowly, noticing he wore unfamiliar pajamas as he did so. They felt really nice and soft though, a classic button-down shirt and pants combo made with mint-green flannel that seriously, felt so soft. When he looked down he could pick out loose threads and slightly rough-looking patches in the fabric. Izuku bit his lip, wondering if he should be worried about wearing pajamas that someone clearly wore on a regular basis, and decided to check the dresser for something else to wear.

Pulling open the drawers... didn't really alleviate his unease. He found all sorts of shirts and pants that showed similar signs of regular usage, all of them looking to be his size. That just made him feel even more unsettled. Obviously he recognized none of it, but the clothing fit his tastes. Lots of basic t-shirts and shorts, though surprisingly few Hero-themed pieces of clothing.

As he looked through the drawers with a frown, he briefly glanced up at his reflection only to freeze. Something's not right. Izuku abandoned his search to stare at the mirror more closely, trying to pin what it was.

As far as he could tell, he looked normal. His hair was still dark and curly, if a bit messier due to just waking up. His eyes were the same vibrant green, his skin a healthy complexion. Actually, now that he thought about it he might look a little paler than he remembered, but not unnaturally so. Just the sort of pale from when he didn't get as much sunlight, like in winter. Also, he thought he might have a few less freckles than he remembered...?

He frowned, that sense of unease growing a little more. Overall he saw nothing blatantly wrong with his reflection and those tiny details could be his imagination, but he still couldn't shake the sense something was off. Staring so closely at his reflection was starting to feel kind of weird though, like he wasn't looking at himself, and he quickly lowered his gaze only to pause as his eyes lit upon the envelope.

There, in his own handwriting, was the simple phrase: "Izuku - Read In Case of Emergency".

"What the...?" he mumbled, frowning as he picked up the envelope. No matter how he looked at it, that was definitely his handwriting. The only alternative explanation he could think of was someone using a quirk to copy it, a thought which instantly set him on edge. Had he been kidnapped? Was this part of a trap?

Before he could think further a knock sounded on the door, making him jolt and almost yelp in surprise before forcibly smothering the sound. If he'd been kidnapped, it would be best to hide his consciousness as long as possible, even if it might just be a few seconds. "Izu?" a raspy voice called, and Izuku froze, his blood chilling and his eyes growing wide in horror.

He recognized that voice, that dry edge forever tinged with a quiet rasp, he could recognize it anywhere even if he'd only heard it a few times before. It was impossible to forget it. Not after he'd heard it breathe into his ear as a hand wrapped four fingers around his throat with the fifth hovering just above his skin. Not when he could still hear the low threats to Asui and taunts to Aizawa-sensei amidst the battle that still haunted his nightmares.

Shigaraki Tomura, Izuku thought in mute horror, his hands trembling as his grip tightened on the envelope. Just hearing him brought back all sorts of horrific memories, of all the trials and pain he and his friends had suffered because of this man and his twisted followers. If Shigaraki was there, that could only mean he must have been captured by the League of Villains, and was most likely in their headquarters.

Fighting Shigaraki head on would be tantamount to suicide. Izuku still lacked a good deal of control over One for All, and Shigaraki's mere touch could disintegrate people. It would only take one five-fingered slap to spell death for him, which he might be able to avoid—but even if he got away, then what? As far as he could tell he didn't have any of the gear Hatsume made him to help mitigate the blowback to himself, and he was still likely in the heart of the League of Villains' headquarters, surrounded by more Villains.

"Izu, are you awake?" the Villain called, breaking his line of thought. His voice was a bit softer than expected, lacking the taunting edge or quiet undertones of menace Izuku usually associated with it. He held his breath, not daring to make a sound in fear of what the Villain might do. After a moment Shigaraki called out again, a bit softer. "If you still feel bad, I guess I'll tell Kurogiri to put breakfast away for now. Just come out whenever, I guess."

Breakfast? Izuku thought almost hysterically. He'd been captured by the League of Villains, and Shigaraki was talking about breakfast? The sheer normalcy of the comment made him almost want to laugh. He expected the man to burst through the door and begin taunting him with that sleazy smile of his, rake four fingers through Izuku's hair while whispering menacing threats under his breath. Not talk through the door to let him know about breakfast.

Caught up in his frantic train of thoughts, Izuku almost didn't register the soft thuds of footsteps walking away until they'd almost faded completely, and he jumped as he realized that Shigaraki had left. Trying to steady his rapid breathing, he mentally counted to ten to try to calm himself. He then heard paper crinkling and froze, his eyes sliding downwards to see the edges of the envelope crumpled under his fingers.

Izuku - Read In Case of Emergency

The familiar strokes of his own handwriting seemed to call out to him like an old friend, trying to comfort him. Once again his thoughts returned to the possibility of a quirk that mimicked handwriting, a possibility that seemed even more likely now that he knew Shigaraki was involved. This could be a trap, some sort of way to get his guard down.

This situation was also, without a doubt, an absolute emergency.

Swallowing harshly, after a moment's hesitation he turned the envelope and opened the flap, pulling out several folded sheets of paper. He unfolded them with shaking hands and saw his handwriting once more, the words "DON'T PANIC!" written at the very top of the first page and underlined multiple times. Beneath it were six words that made him hold his breath:

Dear Izuku,

Hi, this is you.

At long last here it is, the giant MHA fic I've been working on!

I've had this on the backburner for a while now, since... Last August, apparently. Wow. A heads up, this is going to be a HUGE story. The draft is already at 15 chapters, and that's not counting sections and scenes I've cut out or rewrote. It's constantly evolving. This story will primarily follow the six characters here, but they won't be the only Class 1-A members we'll get to see.

It took a while to decide the title. I ended up borrowing from the lyrics of "Hero" by Elizaveta. It was a toss-up between this and the line Gamble an Unknown Price from "What Did We Know" by Rachel Rose Mitchell. Both of these songs are INCREDIBLE and really fit this story's themes and plot, but I decided that the energy of Hero is more in tune with this story's atmosphere. I highly recommend listening to both of them!

For now I'll probably be doing updates once a week. I hope you enjoy the ride!