Chapter 1

.:. A (Not So) Ordinary Day .:.

Watanabe Rokuro considered himself an average man of average means.

He worked full-time in the advertising department at the MaruMart Food Company, which specialized in producing cheap bento meals and other convenience store foods. It was decent, steady work, and while he didn't see himself becoming a manager, after several years he'd slowly worked his way to a rather comfortable position. It gave him a steady income to rent a reasonably nice apartment in central Naruhata while he saved for an even nicer place.

He also had a fairly average social life, though he'd recently broken up with his girlfriend of six months. That had been a bummer, but thankfully his friends hadn't let him mope too long. Last night they'd taken him out to several bars to celebrate his thirty-first birthday, the celebrations going late into the night since none of them had work the next day.

Most of the night was a blur. He had vague flashes of cheering, a drunken fist fight, and a group of girls with blue skin and orange hair cackling as they ran away carrying one of his friends. That last one should probably be concerning since he didn't remember seeing Takashi after that, but once he woke up he had more pressing issues.

Specifically: hangovers sucked when you had Hexa-Vision.

The moment he opened his eyes he regretted it instantly, all six eyes squeezing tightly shut with a hiss of pain as the light violently assaulted him through the gaps in the blinds. A tired, pained groan slipped out as he shoved a pillow over his head. Hexa-Vision, in his humble opinion, was a very average Quirk that didn't stand out much beyond the four extra eyes. It didn't give him any hidden powers, it just gave him an increased field of vision, increased perception to detail, and the ability to see more colors than the average person.

Which is why hangovers sucked when you had Hexa-Vision.

After several minutes he forced himself to get up, reluctantly tearing the pillow away from his eyes. He grabbed a bandana from his bedside table and tied it over the top half of his head to cover up the top four eyes, leaving only the bottom two exposed to minimize the light sensitivity. Still, the light burned when he opened them. He'd glare at the blinds if it didn't hurt so bad.

He got up and shuffled to the kitchen to make himself... a late breakfast, maybe? A glance at the clock on the microwave said it was 1:12. Okay, lunch it is then. He grabbed some leftover curry rice from the fridge and tossed it in the microwave, checking the email on his phone while he waited. Most of it was the usual—spam mail, text from his friend, someone asking if he'd heard anything from Takashi...

Rokuro paused when he saw one saying a package had been delivered. Come to think of it, he did order a custom coffee thermos online a few days ago as an early birthday gift to himself. His stomach promptly sank when he saw the email had arrived two hours ago though. A surge of panic shot through him and he all but flew to the door, fumbling with the locks desperately before throwing it open.

Almost immediately he regretted the impulse when he was fully assaulted by the bright afternoon sun. He ducked his head and shaded his eyes with a pained hiss, the light burning through even his makeshift blindfold to harm the four it shielded. However, when he forced himself to squint he could make out a cardboard box at his feet.

Relief washed over him and with a victorious sound he bent down and scooped up the package, holding it close to his chest. As he straightened up and started to turn he froze though, suddenly noting a black blob not too far away.

It was his next door neighbor, Ai-something or other. Aichi? Aigawa, maybe? He didn't know, they never really spoke. The scruffy man stood at the end of the hall not far from the stairs, holding a plastic bag from the nearby corner store. Evidently he'd been returning from a rare daylight excursion to restock on supplies.

For a moment they just looked at each other in silence, Aijima(?) grumpy-looking with heavy bags under his eyes as always and Rokuro with one arm still shielding the upper half of his head and only two eyes peeking out. After a beat Rokuro just gave a simple nod and retreated inside, closing the door and locking it before slumping against it with a tired groan.

He had no idea what Aimoto (no, that wasn't it either) did for a living, but the man honestly looked like a vagrant. They'd only talked once, shortly after Rokuro moved in, when the man visited to ask him to keep it down during the day since he worked at night. That was the only reason Rokuro didn't freak out at the loud thumps next door at the ungodly hours of four in the morning when the man would return.

Whatever that job was, Rokuro didn't want to know. He didn't want to know anything about the man. He swore he once saw the man with a stab wound, staggering into his apartment just as Rokuro had been leaving for his own job. Another time, Ai—...kawa? Hmm, closer, but still wrong—had left the door open long enough for Rokuro to see inside, and the room had been bare. No furniture, just a suitcase and a sleeping bag.

Yeah, Rokuro didn't know a thing about Aihara, and he absolutely had no interest in ever learning about him. All that mattered was that the guy hadn't stolen his package, whether that was due to him being absent or simply not caring overall unimportant.

Dropping off the box on the kitchen counter, he retrieved the now-finished curry rice from the microwave and sat at the table to eat. As he did he pulled out his phone to search for apartment listings. He'd only bothered staying here as long as he did because it had an easy commute to his workplace, up until the office moved to a new building last year. After that, he only put off searching because Chie—no, Tamiya-san, he mentally corrected himself with a scowl, they had broken up—lived nearby.

Now that they broke up though, he had no reason to stay. He wouldn't be doing much else today anyway with this stupid hangover, so might as well browse some apartments closer to the new office. He paused only long enough to finish eating and carry his dirty dish to the sink, before returning to the seat to resume his browsing with his full attention. Maybe this time he could splurge on one with a balcony, he had a good amount saved up.

As he scrolled through the listings he suddenly felt a sharp stab of pain in his forehead, making him flinch and hiss in pain as he dropped the phone. "The hell?" he growled to himself, reaching to rub his head. "Friggin' hang...ov...ers..."

His voice trailed off as his fingers brushed over the bandana only to feel something hard and bumpy beneath the fabric. Sitting in shock for a second, he frantically tore off the bandana and opened the camera on his phone. It was still set to use the front camera after a deluge of drunken selfies last night, letting him immediately see himself. He clutched the phone tightly as he brought it closer to his face, eyes wide.

"What the fuck," he whispered, staring at the screen. Black, shiny material glistened on top of his forehead over his eyebrows, forming a bumpy-looking ridge. With his free hand he reached up to touch it, the material smooth and slightly warm to the touch beneath his fingertips. "What the actual...gk!"

He cut himself off as his left shoulder suddenly twinged with heavy pain, even sharper than the pain in his head. The phone dropped from his hand as he quickly grabbed at his arm, only to feel the skin... bulging? His head snapped to the side and he didn't know which was worse: seeing the skin shaking and vibrating, as if something was about to burst out...

...or the black crystal that began to break through the skin around his knuckles.

Tears filled his eyes as his breathing began to pick up pace, his whole body shaking. What the heck, what the heck, what the heck...

The last thing he saw was the skin on his arm exploding, another arm bursting forth.

Then, Watanabe Rokuro knew nothing.

Meanwhile in Musutafu, Midoriya Inko stood in her kitchen washing the dishes after lunch. Izuku had already bounced off to the computer room, something about a HeroTuber he liked doing a big charity livestream today. Honestly, Inko would prefer her son go outside and play rather than coop himself up indoors. It was such a lovely spring day outside after all, and the weather had been so dreadful this past week.

Alas, she knew today was not the day for Izuku to go anywhere though. Her baby boy had come home yesterday with fresh bruises and a splint on his wrist after an accident at school. A genuine accident, not some flimsy attempt to cover up bullying. A classmate had accidentally made some light bulbs explode, and a girl who'd been walking past Izuku's desk had been startled enough to trip and crash into his desk. She ended up breaking her arm from how it'd hit his desk.

Izuku had gotten away relatively scot free compared to that poor girl, but the doctors said he still needed to take it easy. In addition to his wrist, his ankle had gotten caught on the leg of either his desk or chair when he'd been knocked over, and it had some minor swelling. Nothing serious, but still enough to advise against any strenuous activity.

What a shame, she thought with a wistful sigh as she glanced out the kitchen window. They were still in the part of March where the season seemed to be in a constant state of flux between winter and spring. The weather had been so dreadful this week, fluctuating between rain that left everything soggy and windy days that made it too much of a hassle to go outside. Today was the first truly beautiful day of spring, and he couldn't even enjoy it properly.

Maybe she would make something extra special tonight for dinner. Last night she'd made katsudon, his favorite, to make up for his bad day at school, but she could get something special. Something to celebrate the start of spring—something with bamboo shoots, maybe? She did recently get a tempura recipe using some from Mister Tachibana...

Mind settled, she left the dishes in the sink to soak and checked the clock. It was only a bit after one-thirty, she could run to the store and pick up the ingredients and be back by three at the latest. She went to grab her coat and wallet, and quickly peeked into the computer room to let him know she was leaving.

Inko stopped herself short though when she saw her son eagerly watching the stream, bouncing in his chair. She was too far away to see the monitor clearly, but she recognized the voice as a HeroTuber who liked to talk about heroes' histories rather than their fights. Things like the evolution of their public image and personas, events that inspired and shaped their careers. Sometimes he even got to interview Pro Heroes.

Fondness swelled in her as she picked up Izuku's excited mumbling. He'd mentioned that a few Pros would be appearing throughout the event, and based on his bouncing she suspected at least one was on screen right now. Seeing him so happy and excited, she couldn't bring herself to interrupt him even just to say she was leaving.

With that in mind Inko turned and quietly crept away before he could notice. The trip would be quick and he said the stream would last for most of the day, so he probably wouldn't notice. Just in case he decided to look for her she wrote a note and left it on the kitchen table before pulling on her coat and heading for the door. As she did she failed to notice the cap of a pen had fallen to the floor not far from the front door.

She did notice when she stepped on it. The cap rolled under her foot and made her lose her balance, not enough to make her fall but still making her stumble a few steps to the side. She swayed towards the wall, her shoulder colliding with it.

In the computer room, Midoriya Izuku couldn't stop bouncing and shaking in his chair as the livestream continued. Mach7, one of his favorite HeroTubers, had been talking about this charity livestream for the past month, and so far it was living up to the hype. It had started with Rock Lock next to him!

They were in a park outside the hospital they wanted to raise money for with a bunch of kids and parents from it, so Rock Lock had shown off one of his tricks and thrown a tile which he locked in place mid-air, and then jumped on it! Then, they went around borrowing some stuff from the kids, and he basically made a whole staircase out of all sorts of things! He even used a water bottle, which he then dunked into a trash can! It was so cool!

After that, another hero named Manual showed up, which had Izuku even more excited because he worked in Hosu, not Esuha City where the show was. Manual had once appeared as a guest on Mach7's videos (and it was so amazing!), and he'd explained back then that his classmate had been a patient at this hospital in elementary school. Izuku knew that this hospital had a special place in Manual's heart, but he still didn't expect him to come out all this way!

Izuku felt like he was hyperventilating as he watched Manual use his Quirk on the fountain to make water animals the kids called out. Usually Manual didn't do stuff that fancy since his Quirk required a lot of concentration, and even now the animals weren't that detailed. But still, Manual was clearly trying so hard to make those kids happy and putting his all into the animal shapes, he was just so amazed and touched by it!

When Manual managed to shape a giant bird silhouette rising from the water, he seemed to reach his limit and the water all fell down with a magnificent splash. Some of the closer kids and parents shrieked with surprise and delight as they got drenches. Everyone began clapping and Izuku joined in too, even if they couldn't hear.

"Wow, that was really impressive!" Mach7 cheered. "I think we're gonna need some towels for that though!"

"Yeah, sorry about that folks," Manual laughed, looking a bit sheepish. "Luckily I had a feeling this might happen, so I came prepared!" A sidekick from his agency and a few nurses appeared on camera carrying towels with Manual's colors, handing them out to the people who'd gotten splashed. He jogged over to talk to them while the camera focused back on Mach7 and Rock Lock.

"Man, not even an hour in and we're already off to a great start!" Mach7 declared cheerfully. "The crowd's having a blast! Yutaro, what's the current donation count?"

"Twenty million yen!" the cameraman declared cheerfully, and a small chorus of cheers rose up.

"That's a strong start, and I hope you keep up the momentum," Rock Lock said with a nod. "The Minakata Hospital has a lot of patients with serious illnesses, so it always needs to replace equipment. Some people's Quirks become a lot more destructive when they get sick."

"That's right," Mach7 agreed with a nod. "I've told all you viewers before how when my sister had a brain tumor, it messed with her Quirk and she started secreting a corrosive mist at random. We didn't even know that was possible, her Quirk is more of the harmless colored mist variety. Luckily it never spread far from her body and the effect was pretty slow and weak, but she melted a total of four beds while getting treated. Hospital beds are not cheap, folks. Even if you've already donated, we definitely wouldn't mind you giving another one."

Izuku just bobbed his head grimly, feeling a bit somber at the reminder. However, the mood didn't last long before Mach7 cracked a smile. "But enough of that! We've still got another five hours to go before we end, so let's raise as much money as possible—and more importantly, put some smiles on these faces!" The crowd around him cheered enthusiastically, Izuku joining in.

"That's right!" Rock Lock agreed with a nod and smirk. "I've got to head out for my patrol unfortunately, but you'll be having more guests after this, right?"

"Oh, we've got a lot of people scheduled to show up!" Mach7 confirmed with a giant grin. "Most are going to be a surprise, but if you want a hint: Yutaro's already FREAKED OUT."

"He's right, I spent five minutes straight screaming," the cameraman laughed, and Izuku's jaw dropped as he nearly fell out of his chair.

"O'Clock is coming!?" he all but screamed, his voice so high it came out more like a wheeze. As a long-time fan of Mach7, he knew Yutaro loved O'Clock. Yutaro said that O'Clock had saved him years ago before they started the series, and ever since then he'd been wanting to meet the hero again.

This was amazing! This was more than just another awesome hero, this was a reunion Izuku and so many others had been waiting for since the videos first started uploading! Of course even without the emotional connection to O'Clock Izuku would still be super-excited to see him. His Quirk was just so cool! It wasn't super-flashy like a lot of Heroes, way more suited for close combat, but—

A loud crash from elsewhere startled him out of his line of thought, making him jolt and nearly fall out of the chair. His head whipped around to stare at the door wide-eyed, the stream forgotten for the moment. What was that? That definitely didn't sound like something getting knocked over or even his mom simply falling, this was much louder.

"Mom?" he called after a second. "What was that noise?" He waited but got no response, and with each second his apprehension only grew. His heart began to hammer anxiously as he got off the chair, turning to face the door fully. Heroes don't hesitate, he reminded himself, and balled his hands into fists as he limped towards the door.

He only made it two steps when he heard confused shouts from the computer, making him freeze and spin around. The crowd had started to shift and move, Mach7 looking at something off-camera as Rock Lock stood tall and attentive next to him. What the...? Was something happening?

Izuku stared at the screen for a moment, curiosity pulling at him, but then he forced himself to turn away and ran towards the door. The live stream could wait, he needed to check on his mom. "Mom!?" he called more forcefully. "Mom, are you okay? What was that—"

The question died on his lips as the living room came into sight, Izuku freezing in place and staring. His mom was near the entrance staring at Mister Tachibana from next door, which made no sense because Mister Tachibana wasn't in their apartment, he was in his. There was a big hole in the wall separating their apartments, Mister Tachibana fussing over his mom whose shoulder was covered in bits of plaster and dust.

"MOM!" Izuku cried more sharply, racing over. "What happened!? Why is there a hole in the wall!? Are you okay?!"

"I'm fine, sweetheart," his mom replied faintly, still staring at the hole. "I tripped and fell against the wall."

"Midoriya-san, that's not enough to explain how you made this giant hole!" Mister Tachibana replied sharply. "These walls are sturdy! Trust me, I've fallen against them plenty of times, but the most I've ever seen is a dent! I've never seen someone hit it hard enough to demolish a whole chunk of it!"

"I don't know what to say," Mom said, shaking her head. "I just tripped and hit it with my shoulder! I—I don't know how it did... this!"

The last remark had Izuku's gaze zeroing in on her arm, and he gasped as he noticed something beneath all the dust and plaster. "Mom, your sleeve's all torn up!" he cried, racing over as quickly as his ankle would let him. His mom twisted her head to look at it and her eyes widened at the torn fabric of her coat sleeve. Almost immediately she began ripping the coat off, making Mister Tachibana jolt and shout in alarm.

"Wait, don't move your arm too much—" He stopped short once the coat was gone though, and all of them froze, just staring at his mom's perfectly undamaged arm.

For a moment none of them spoke, and Izuku's gaze flickered to his mom's coat which had fallen to the floor. In her rush to remove it she'd turned the sleeve inside out, and the rips in the fabric were much more clear without the dust getting in the way. The sleeve had been shredded, the rips far too big to fix up. Yet when he turned back to her arm, it didn't have so much as a scratch, even on places where the dust had gotten past the sleeve.

Izuku was a smart child. He knew enough to recognize that his mom's arm shouldn't be fine. Even beyond the lack of scratches or cuts, if she hit the wall as hard as Mister Tachibana said she did—hard enough to make that hole—it should have hurt her shoulder. Dislocated the bone or something, like Goro-kun did in gym class that one time when he fell and hit the ground really hard. Despite that her arm looked perfectly fine though.

Even now she slowly lifted it and tested it by turning and bending it in every direction she could, a look of wide-eyed wonder on her face. "I don't feel any pain at all," she said softly. "It—it should hurt, but... I don't feel anything. It feels perfectly fine."

"It might be shock," Mister Tachibana said, but he sounded doubtful. They stood for a moment longer, and Mom took a deep breath before turning to Izuku.

"Izuku, sweetie, why don't you go back to that live stream?" she suggested, and he frowned. He knew she was just saying that so she could talk to Mister Tachibana alone, and it bothered him they wanted to leave him out of this. Still, he didn't want to cause any trouble, so in the end he just nodded.

"Okay, mom. But you'll come talk to me when you're done, right?"

"Of course," she promised with a smile. "We just... need to figure some things out. Just go enjoy your show for a little bit, okay sweetie?"

"Okay, mom," Izuku agreed, and with great reluctance he turned and retreated to the computer room. Leaving his mom alone after that left a bad taste in his mouth, but... she seemed fine, somehow? Besides, the livestream was still going strong, and he was still curious about what all that shouting had been about right before he left. By the time he reached the room there was even more shouting.

Izuku didn't even manage to reach the computer before freezing at what he saw on the monitor. For several seconds he stood staring in shock, and then he spun and raced out. Mom and Mister Tachibana had gone back to talking through the hole in the wall, but they turned to face him as he entered. "Izuku, sweetie, I thought I—"

"Mom, there's a monster attacking the livestream!" he interrupted breathlessly, and his mom froze. Eyes widening, she turned and followed him back to the computer. Just as he'd said, there was some sort of monster battling the Pro Heroes.

He couldn't think of another word to describe their opponent. It had long, gnarled arms with raw-looking reddish skin that swung around like—like taffy. Its face didn't look remotely human, either, with bulging eyes and a fleshy, hanging protrusion from its mouth with that same mottled red skin as its limbs. The head was crested by white and red protrusions that formed a crown of sorts, and he could see more similar protrusions growing along its arms as it swung at Rock Lock who barely dodged.

The Lock Hero dodged the blow but didn't try to attack it, shouting instead at Manual. As he did the fleshy protrusion framing its jaw abruptly rose and began waving as glowing golden needles shot out. Manual wasted no time, using the fountain to create a wall of water to block the needles. The wall collapsed as the needles exploded on impact, making Izuku gasp.

"Oh my gosh," his mom whispered, hands rising to cover her mouth as the hero duo shouted something more. Izuku watched them surge into motion with a frown, noticing how they gave the monster a wide berth even as it tried to swing its overly long arms again.

"Why aren't they fighting back?" he asked aloud. "There's a lot of people in that crowd, shouldn't they be" He trailed off as he finally noticed one other detail about the monster, a detail that had him suddenly feeling numb:

It was wearing the hospital nurse scrubs.

Neither mother or son spoke as they watched the heroes continue to avoid the monster for another thirty seconds before the camera abruptly swiveled to the side. His breath hitched as it revealed several people had taken shelter behind an earthen barrier of some kind, likely erected by one of the crowd members at the heroes' request. Among the people in view though was Yutaro, the cameraman curled up clutching his leg.

Yutaro rarely showed himself on camera. He had a minor cosmetic mutation that gave him large, curling ram-like horns and fluffy white fleece in place of body hair. Now though... Now his bottom legs sported what looked like—like leaves, and twigs?

Izuku had no idea what was going on, but he and the rest of the world would soon find out.

At long last, after several months of work, we finally present to you: Aftershock!

This is co-written with CocoaNerd from AO3, who was actually the one to come up with the initial idea of a Second Quirk Boom on the Discord server for my other story, Ignite to the Call. Credit also to Darkthestormcloud, Snowyh2o, CatchingPurple, Bunnearybunny/seagull and pastelboy who were present for the initial conception and still serve as contributors. As you can probably guess from that list, this story has a LOT of plans in store for it. And I can guarantee now it won't be a canon rehash.

By the way, as a word of warning: this will eventually have some minor manga spoilers. We plan to try keeping them to a minimum, and they honestly won't come up for a while (besides the Quirks of the 1-B kids). The next season of the anime should actually reveal a lot of the spoilers in question, hopefully before they show up in the story. But just warning you now!

We're planning on weekly releases every Friday. We posted today (a Monday) to start off the week strong, but the next chapter will be out on Friday!

(And an exclusive note for FFN: please consider going to AO3 instead. Yesterday I posted another story called Smoke and Mirrors. At the time of writing this note, it brings up a "Story Not Found" error message. This is the SECOND TIME it's happened since I posted it. If it's up, you can find a rant about FFN's many, many, MANY issues in chapter 3, which I posted at 2 AM because I was afraid it'd go down again. But PLEASE. If you have a chance, leave this site. FFN has so many issues, and after yesterday I'm genuinely paranoid you won't even be able to read this chapter until Tuesday. PLEASE, consider leaving it. AO3 has a lot more MHA content anyway because it already existed when MHA came out.)