Izumi is vibrating so hard from nerves that it's almost shaking the row of seats on the train. Katsuki sighs, fighting down her irritation at the anxious energy flowing off her younger friend. A quiet string of mumbling is streaming from her, and the other commuters are looking at them sideways with judgemental looks.
Katsuki bares a hint of tooth at them in a low-key snarl, causing most of the other commuters to look away. She then turns her attention to Izumi who is still in the process of working herself into a fit.
"Oi, nerd," she says, clapping a hand down on Izumi's shoulder as the girl nearly jumps out of her own skin at the contact. "Calm the fuck down. You'll be useless if you try and take the tests like this."
"But Kicchan, what if -" the greenette exclaims, and Katsuki cuts her off with a glare.
"You will pass the written exam because I helped you prepare for it," she says, tone just threatening enough to keep Izumi silent, the 'or else' clearly implied. "And you've been preparing for the physical exam as long as I have, nerd. If you do shitty on it, then I will personally beat your ass."
Izumi chews on her thumbnail, still looking uncertain but there is a slight smile on her features now and the nervous energy from her has dissipated. Katsuki averts her gaze, feeling a slight warmth in her chest at the fact that she's managed to calm her down.
They manage to get to Yuuei without much more discomfort after that, and the other passengers on the train finally leave them alone. When they reach the front gates, even Katsuki has to pause for a moment at the sheer size of them, as well as at the weight of the moment.
She glances down to Izumi, and sees her friend looking up at the gates with tears welling up in her eyes. Katsuki nudges her, and Izumi glances up, before beaming in excitement as her tears fade.
"Kicchan! We're actually here! We're at Yuuei! I can't believe it, what if we see All Might? What if we see Midnight?" Izumi looks like she's about to burst into tears again, and Katsuki quickly grabs her wrist before she has a total meltdown.
"Okay, don't lose your shit yet, Izu. Just come on," she says, letting Izumi go as soon as her friend starts following on her own. Of course, as soon as Izumi is out of her grasp she manages to trip on air. Katsuki turns at the sound of her inhale with wide eyes, but she'll be too late to catch her, she knows this.
But Izumi doesn't hit the ground, instead floating about a foot in the air. Katsuki blinks, then lifts her eyes to see a pink-cheeked, brown-haired boy staring at them both in concern, a hand still outstretched. He's taller than Katsuki by just under half a foot, even if he carries himself like he's the same height, and his face is rather round.
"Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry!" he exclaims, tipping Izumi enough so that she can get her feet under her again and canceling his Quirk so that she lands on her feet. "I would have asked before using my Quirk on you, but it would be a bad omen to fall before the exam right? So I just reacted instead, I hope you'll forgive me."
Katsuki is already tired, and she can already tell Round Face is the same kind of person as Izumi and that they'll probably get along like a house on fire if they both get into Yuuei. Beside her, Izumi is turning bright red, waving her hands in apology and trying to stutter out that it was fine.
In front of them, Round Face is waving his own hands, looking a little sheepish as he tries to stammer out an apology of his own for causing Izumi such apparent distress, and Katsuki checks her watch wanting to be done with this. Thankfully they only have a few more minutes until Katsuki had planned to be there, and she refuses to be anything less than ten minutes early for this exam.
"Come on, Izu," she says, deciding the rescue the shorter girl by grabbing her hand and beginning to walk. Izumi yelps and stumbles after her, face still bright red. "We're going to be late."
"Wait, Kicchan!" the greenette squawked glancing over her shoulder at Round Face for a moment. "I didn't get a chance to say thank you!"
"You had plenty of chances," Katsuki snorts, not releasing her friend, having learned her lesson before. "You just blushed and stuttered through all of them so I rescued you. You're welcome."
When they're seated in the testing room - right next to each other, since they are seated by middle school and they're the only two from Aldera - Izumi is still red from where she's seated beside Katsuki.
"Seriously, calm the fuck down, Izu," Katsuki snaps, leaning back in her seat as much as she can with her uniform skirt. "It was an accident, and it was just a boy, no need to be so embarrassed about it. If you don't get focused again on why we're here you're going to fail and have to deal with me afterwards."
That threat, more than anything, manages to snap Izu out of her flustered funk. Katsuki watches passively as her friend's face returns to its normal color and determination once again fills Izumi's gaze. Just in time too, since a familiar-looking hero has walked onto the stage as the huge screen at the front of the room lights up with Yuuei's logo.
The room automatically quiets down, and Katsuki can see Izumi leaning forward a little to try and get a better look at the person down below. The room is now dead silent, everyone's nerves showing as they wait to hear what the hero has to say.
"For all you examinee listeners tuning in," the hero down below begins, "welcome to my show today! Everybody say 'hey'!"
The silence continues, so gentle that a pen falling would break it. Katsuki smothers the urge to snort at the lack of response, and beside her, Izumi winces a little - her history with anxiety kicking her empathy into gear for the hero at the awkward situation.
"What a refined response!" the hero presses on, his tone a little less enthusiastic before shaking it off and continuing. "Then I'll quickly present to you the rundown on the practical exam! Are you ready?! Yeah!"
Dead silence meets him again, and this time a small twitch of a smile appears on Katsuki's face. Beside her, Izu has finally recognized the hero down below, and she is practically sparkling as she covers her mouth with her hands.
"It's the Voice Hero, Present Mic! Wow!" she exclaims, doing her best to curb her reaction out of respect to those around her. "I listen to him every week on the radio! I'm so moved! All the teachers at Yuuei are pro heroes! Kicchan, isn't this amazing?"
"Izu, shut up," Katsuki replies quietly, catching sight of several of the other students around them beginning to side-eye her friend. Izu looks over at her in surprise, before following her gaze and flinching back at the attention from the other test-takers. Down below, Present Mic continues to give an explanation of the test, and both girls direct their attention to the cards they'd been given when signing in.
They have different test center numbers for the mock urban battles, with Izumi going to center B and Katsuki going to center A. Katsuki frowns. They hadn't anticipated being separated like this before the exam, but glancing up at the greenette, it looks like she is unbothered.
"So, they won't let you work with your friends, huh?" the blonde says quietly. "I bet if there were more of us from our shitty middle school they would be in C, D, E, and so on. It probably helps to keep extras from cheating by making plans about how to work together. Weaklings, I'll win on my own."
"Kicchan," Izu scolds, before turning her attention back to the front where diagrams of robots are now on the screen. Present Mic goes through the points system and general rules, before a hand shoots up from the crowd.
"May I ask a question?"
Present Mic agrees, and a girl in glasses with dark blue hair in twin braids stands up, holding a printout that is on all of their desks. She moves with sharp motions, each one pointed and intentional, and her tone is equally regimented.
"On the printout, there are four types of villains. If that is a misprint, then Yuuei, the most prominent school in Japan, should be ashamed of that foolish mistake," she says with conviction, staring out over the crowd. "We examinees are here in this place because we wish to be exemplary heroes."
"What crawled up her ass and died?" Katsuki mutters, rolling her eyes at Izumi's reprimanding look. "Seriously though, he hasn't even finished the fucking instructions, and does she think Yuuei wouldn't check this shit? They're the top school for a reason."
"In addition," the girl continues, suddenly whipping around to point a finger at Katsuki and Izumi as she glares, "you over there with the curly hair, and you with the blonde ponytail - you've been muttering the entire time. It's distracting! If you're here on a pleasure trip, you should leave immediately!"
"M-me?" Izumi stutters as Katsui rises half out of her chair.
"You got a problem with me Four Eyes, come and say it to my face," she snarls, eyes narrowing as she stares down at the other girl who practically screams rich and entitled. "And if you've got a problem with her, then come and tell me that too and I'll deal with that shit right there and then."
"Alright, alright, calm down you two," Present Mic says, waving his hands a little anxiously to calm the room down, as muttering has picked up at both girls' challenges. "Examinee 2233, please sit down. Examinee 7111, I hadn't reached the answer to your question yet, so if you sit down as well, I will explain how it is not a misprint."
Katsuki grumbles but sits down easily enough, feeling the grateful shoulder bump that Izumi gives her at the earlier defense. Private Schooled Four Eyes sits down too, stiff in her movements, and Katsuki keeps the impression she'd gotten earlier about how the girl has a stick up her ass.
"The fourth type of villain is worth zero points. That guy's an obstacle, so to speak," Present Mic declares, the screen behind him adjusting as he speaks. He describes more of the details about it, and a few murmurs emerge from the crowd of students. All of a sudden, Izumi leans forward, eyes narrowed in thought.
"OP…?" she mutters quietly. Katsuki glances at her, but before she can ask about it, Present Mic finishes his presentation with a cheer of Plus Ultra!, and the written portion of the exam begins.
Katsuki rolls her wrist, her hand having cramped up a bit with all the writing earlier. The test was generally pretty easy, and she has no doubt she's passed it. Izumi hadn't looked like she wanted the sun to swallow her whole at the end, so she's probably done fine too, thankfully. Now though, it will be the hardest part of the exam for them both - though Izumi even moreso: the physical test.
She knows her own Quirk will do her well in this exam, but Izumi is Quirkless and will have to rely on being clever. Katsuki doesn't doubt the other girl's abilities, but there is always a chance that pure physical ability will outweigh the benefit that Izumi's brain gives her.
The pro hero Midnight suddenly emerges on the top of a nearby platform, and Katsuki pushes all thoughts of Izumi and her test out of her mind. It won't matter how the other girl does if she herself is too distracted to do her best.
"Alright, kiddos!" the hero calls, jutting a hip out. She scans each of them before cracking her whip. "Go!"
Katsuki takes off, needing no more motivation to go blast some robots. She is halfway down the block, with a short trail of decimated bots behind her, when she starts hearing the other examinees following after her. She scoffs, putting a hand to the head of a two-pointer and sparking her palms. Extras, all of them.
The others trail behind her the whole time, as Katsuki leads the crowd into the fake city. Any robot that crosses her path is blown to smithereens, and she knows that she probably has a feral grin of joy on her face because of it. There is something affirming about taking down every target she sets her sights on, something powerful about seeing all the obstacles before her turn to scrap in an instant of carefully controlled force and fire.
Every now and then, another student appears in her peripheral vision, but she pays them no mind aside from sniping any of their robots that get too close. Some of them yell angrily after her, but Katsuki can't give less of a fuck what the extras are saying, so she just keeps moving.
She blows up another few robots and pauses for a moment, panting at the exertion of setting off so many controlled explosions in such a short amount of time. Honestly, despite this being a test, Katsuki is having fun.
A rumble shaking through the ground jolts Katsuki from her thoughts, and she whirls around to see a cloud of dust rising from across the city. From within the cloud, gleaming metal emerges, revealing the shape of the zero-pointer. A flash of Izu muttering OP…? flashes through her mind as she looks up at the gigantic machine, and a grin slashes across her face. Of course Izumi had figured out something was up with the final robot.
The other examinees all begin to scream, running from the zero-pointer. Katsuki pauses a moment, staring up at it as it looms over the city. She'd been practicing on more pointed attacks rather than general explosions over the past few weeks, so… She sends a blast towards the zero-pointer, then turns to try and get some more points without waiting to see if it hit.
She manages to get two more before an alarm sounds, the robots all powering down as the test comes to an end. Katsuki pants as she stills, wiping her arm across her forehead with a grimace, before pulling out a cloth from the pocket of her shorts that Izumi had insisted she bring and running it over her skin to get rid of the excess nitroglycerin.
Katsuki hasn't been keeping track in the moment, but doing a mental tally of how many she thinks she got, she is pretty sure she's gotten the most points out of everyone here. A satisfied smirk spreads across her lips as she tucks the cloth away again and begins walking back towards the fake city's entrance, paying no mind to the extras around her either celebrating or despairing.
The scowl on her face is familiar as she lingers by the entrance to the school, waiting to see Izu emerge from the crowd. So far five of the eight testing centers have completely returned, with only a few stragglers from two more staying behind. The final one, Izumi's, is still missing about half the examinees.
What is taking them so long? The test should have finished over five minutes ago now. A flash of green has Katsuki straightening, and she is greeted with the sight of Izumi stumbling down the path with Round Face from earlier, accompanied by a tiny old woman.
Izumi's tracksuit is dirtied and torn, and there are smudges of grime all across her friend's face, her hair having fallen out of its ponytail at some point. The other girl looks up and catches sight of Katsuki then beams.
"Kicchan!" she exclaims, and a hint of tension releases from where it had been building in Katsuki's chest. If she can smile like that, then things must have gone okay. "I took down the zero-pointer!"
Her surprise must show on her face, because Izu laughs. Round Face nods beside her, his expression impressed as he glances down at the short, green-haired girl.
"She did," he admits easily, tugging at a longer piece of his bangs. "Used a broken piece of pipe like a javelin and threw it into its knee socket, causing it to jam. I didn't quite catch how she managed to unbalance it from there, but however she did it, it worked. I'd been knocked out by falling rubble and was trapped beneath a slab of concrete when I woke up - I couldn't get it off me when the bot was coming after overextending my Quirk during the exam, so she stepped in."
Katsuki blinks, taking in the information, before a smile baring her teeth spreads across her face.
"I fucking knew it!" she exclaims, walking over to punch Izumi's shoulder lightly. "Who needs a fucking Quirk to be strong? Anyone who relies only on that is weak. Also you owe me ramen, because I fucking called it, that you'd get injured at some point today doing something stupid or reckless."
"Nooo," Izumi complains, but the smile doesn't leave her face. Before she can say anything else, the tiny old woman grabs Izumi by the arm and begins dragging her stuttering ass back to the school 'for a proper checkup'. Katsuki stares after the old lady in surprise, rather impressed with her strength, before following and leaving Round Face behind in the dust.
Now all that is left to do is wait for the results, and Katsuki is pretty sure they both made it in.