With his arm still held up, Izuku clenched his fist before popping out his middle finger right towards Katsuki, "You want this flag, Kacchan, you fucking ball-less piece of shit? Come and take it."
On all the teams, everyone from class 1-A stopped dead in their tracks. There was no way they had just heard what they thought they heard. The initial shock was short lived, however, as Katsuki snapped out of it first, face twisted in rage, "What did you just say!?"
Izuku let his arms fall to his side, "I called you a fucking ball-less piece of shit. What, all those explosions leave you with fucked up hearing? Or are you just a dickless dandelion idiot?"
"I'm going to kill you!" Katsuki roared as he launched himself as Izuku, his explosions rocketing him through the air at breakneck speeds. As he quickly closed the distance, Izuku didn't even try to dodge. Instead, he reached behind his back, and pulled out from his waistband one of Mei's Capture Guns. With a small flourish, Izuku snapped his arm up and pointed the gun right towards Katsuki. The other boy only had the briefest of moments to realize that something bad was about to happen. Not enough time to stop- or dodge.
Izuku pulled the trigger and shot out a large red net that ensnared Katsuki. Without his explosions to help propel him, he lost speed, tumbling through the air still headed right for Izuku. Lifting a leg, Izuku kicked Katsuki in the side while at the same time, activating the single Hover Sole and having it launch Katsuki back down toward the ground with a loud thud. Izuku didn't have time to watch Katsuki hit the ground, though. A sudden chill was all the warning Izuku had as a pillar of ice rushed right towards him. Kicking off the ground, the ice raced past Izuku and upward into the air. Using the Hover Soles to twist around, Izuku activated the third piece of tech he had grabbed from Mei: the Wire Arrows. From his belt, the two wires shot out and snagged the side of the pillar as it continued to rise into the air, dragging Izuku safely away from the rest of the students that were converging on his position.
Using his momentum, and the propulsion from his boots, Izuku swung up to the top of the ice pillar and latched onto the edge, briefly holding himself upside down with just one hand. Righting himself, he looked down and saw that the teams were grouping up at the base of the ice Shouto had made. Smirking, Izuku activated the Hover Soles and reeled in the Wire Arrows, yanking himself forward and slingshotting himself down the ice. Once the arrow's had detached, Izuku skied down, right towards the group of students who were all stunned to find Izuku heading right for them, looking like he was ready to crash into them. A few dove out of the way, while some readied themselves for the impact. Izuku however, at the last possible moment, pushed off and flung himself right over their heads. Sailing through the air, Izuku corkscrewed and landed behind everyone. Stopping only long enough to flip them off, Izuku rocketed away, heading deeper into Team C's zone and closer to their ice fortress of a base with a horde of student hot on his tail.
"You want this flag, Kacchan, you fucking ball-less piece of shit? Come and take it."
In the most undignified way possible, Ochako fell flat on her face. While she had tripped on her own two feet, if you had told her she'd tripped on her jaw when it hit the floor, she'd believe you. The sheer absurdity of the moment stunning her into a clumsy pile of limbs.
Then there was everything that happened next.
In the span of seconds, Ochako watched as several unbelievable things happened. First was Izuku immediately confronting Katsuki while holding the black flag that could lead to an instant loss for himself and his team. A move that apparently no one on his team had any idea was going to happen, judging by how much they were freaking out. Then came the language. Words she would have never imagined coming from Izuku. Words she didn't think were physically possible for him to use. Words that were not only vulgar, but also bait to antagonize Katsuki into attacking. Finally, there was the way Izuku was moving. Even with the support gear he had, the way he moved through the air was just not possible. Izuku was by no means flat-footed. He was athletic. He could dodge around perfectly fine when in a fight. But these moves, these flips and kicks. The hand stand and aerial showboating. This was a level of acrobatics that Izuku had never shown before, and she was certain All Might had never taught him.
Maybe, just maybe she could believe if just one of the things she saw happened. Perhaps Izuku's desire to win could be driving him to act out recklessly. Some repressed resentment towards Katsuki, making him say things he otherwise would keep to himself. Even the way he was moving she might be able to explain away as some combo of Mei's support gear and an unknown Quirk from his 1-B teammates. All of them together though, defied all reality. This was impossible. Absolutely and completely impossible.
And yet it was happening. Right overhead, Izuku flew by only to land a few yards past everyone and suddenly take off, with everyone in hot pursuit.
Hitoshi stopped and offered her a hand, "Come on. We need to go after Midoriya and get him before one of the other teams does. He's in our zone. This is our best chance."
Taking his hand, Ochako got up and started running with him, "Shinso, what the heck is going on?"
"You're asking me? I was going to ask you that."
"I...I have absolutely no idea. This feels so wrong!"
Hitoshi nodded, "No kidding. But we can't stop to think about it now. With everyone chasing after Midoriya, we can't risk letting another team steal that flag."
With everyone chasing...Wait!?
Ochako ground to a halt, startling Hitoshi, "Uraraka?"
"Everyone is chasing Deku."
"No I mean look," Ochako motioned to the other bases, "Team A still has all their people, but look at the other bases. They're almost empty."
Hitoshi looked around and saw what Ochako saw, the other two teams had indeed emptied their bases, save for a one or two students left to man the forts, "Hey...hold on a second. You're right!"
Ochako glanced back towards the chaos ahead of them. She wanted to win. And the guarantee to that win was getting that black flag Izuku was carrying. Every competitive fiber in her being was screaming at her to give chase. But in the back of her head, something else was screaming. Warning her that something was not right. That chasing after Izuku was the wrong thing to do. The more she listened to it, the more this voice overpowered anything else.
"Shinso. I have an idea."
"MIDORIYA! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?"
Tenya's arms were a blur as he tried not to freak out too much. Unfortunately he was not doing a good job.
"Dude, what is going on? Wasn't the plan for only Iida and Toga to leave our zone? When was this decided?!" Denki's head was spinning. He couldn't have forgotten some part of the plan right?
"No, you're right Kaminari. Midoriya was not supposed to leave the base. Much less actually take the flag with him," Momo clarified.
"I knew you 1-A show offs couldn't be trusted! The green screwball stabbed us in the back so he could hand the win over to his girlfriend!" Neito fumed, on the verge of pulling handfuls of blond locks out of his scalp.
Reiko watched the chaos quietly for a few moments, "if that was his goal, why attack the loud one? Why would he go over there so armed? Why not simply hand the flag over? We are missing several pieces to this puzzle."
Calming himself, Tenya nodded in agreement.
Even if I take into account Midoriya's history with Bakugou, this action still makes no sense. Midoriya wants to win today. As for Uraraka...she would never accept a win being handed to her. No, Yanagi is right. We're missing something vital here.
"Hey! Hey! Yida Yite! Um...Glasses! Whatever your name is! I forget!"
From the top tower of the base, Mei frantically waved her arms, trying to get her teammates attention. Tenya turned to look up at her, frowning, "Iida! My name is Iida! Please, as a fellow student of our illustratious school, you must work on remembering your fellow students' names!"
Mei waved that concern off, and pointed down below herself, to the open window, "Whatever! just get over here! You guys need to stop wasting time!"
Neito looked annoyed, "is she stupid? Wasting time? We're screwed. Our plan is shot. How can we worry about time when we've been stabbed in the back!?"
Tenya was close to agreeing when he finally noticed that Mei was pointing to the window, in a strange mix of trying to be obvious to him, but subtle to anyone else. It was a strange sight.
What is she trying to tell me?
"Let me see what she wants."
Hurrying back to the base, Tenya started to climb up to Mei, but when his hand grabbed the window ledge, a hand shot up and took hold of his wrist very suddenly. Tenya was very proud of himself that he didn't go 'eep' or make any kind of noise at all.
He did almost Recipro Burst off the wall, but he'd never admit that.
Looking down, Tenya confirmed that it was indeed a hand holding him. A hand that was attached to a wrist and arm, with a black flag wrapped around it.
Crouched below the window seal, Izuku held onto Tenya's wrist while desperately shushing him, "quiet! Don't make a scene! Look up at Hatsume like you two are talking! Hatsume please pretend to be talking to Iida too."
Mei glances over the ledge to flash a thumbs up before she started talking, though she was only listing off her inventions to herself.
While it was hard to talk like this, Tenya kept his eyes up, "Midoriya, what is going on? How are you here and over there at the same time?"
"I'm not over there. That's Toga."
"Huh?! That's Toga? Midoriya, please explain!"
Midoriya frowned, "I'll tell you what I can, but it's going to be quick and there are some parts I promised her I'd keep to myself. You know how she's been hesitant to talk about her Quirk. This is part of that…"
Tenya nodded. He was very aware that Toga had not let anyone know about her Quirk. Not their small group of friends or anyone in the class. He had guessed her reasoning had some connection to her turbulent past with her parents and the reason she lived at U.A.
"She told you her Quirk? Is that why she pulled you away?
Izuku nodded, "Yeah. Listen, the original plan is still a go, but Toga had a better idea for her part in it."
Following Himiko, Izuku watched as she nervously looked around. They had made it to the base and Himiko looked like she was looking for the perfect blind spot.
She's really being careful. I wonder why?
"Ah! Yeah this will do. Come on, Izuku."
Grabbing hold of Izuku's hand, Himiko pulled Izuku along up to a higher floor in the base, finding a room that had no opening to the outside. Once inside the room, Himiko nodded to herself, "Yep this is good. No one can see us or should be able to hear us. That crowd is just perfectly loud. Hmm?" Turning back, Himiko noticed the blush that was spreading across Izuku's freckles cheeks. Flashing Izuku a smile that was a tad more devilish than was needed, Himiko couldn't stop herself from teasing him just a little, "What's the matter, Izuku? Getting a little worked up because I brought you somewhere where we could be alone?"
Izuku's blush deepened, "W-well it's just…"
"Just?" Himiko echoed, tilting her head to the side.
"I've never...held a girl's hand before."
Looking down, she saw that she was still holding his hand. She gave it a little squeeze, letting her thumb gently rub along along his knuckles in small circles. When Izuku's knees buckled a little, Himiko had to bite back a squeal.
Oh my god, he is just so adorable! I totally made the right call to hold back and take it slow with him. If I had actually tried to take him back to my room the first day of class, I might have actually killed him… Though depending on how this goes...Maybe this is as intimate as I'll get to be with him. Ah fuck it. You dragged him here. Just get it out in the open. Can't really just pretend I didn't make a big deal of wanting to talk to him alone.
Taking a breath, Himiko readied herself for what was to come next.
"Okay, Izuku, listen. It's about your plan."
"Oh?" Hearing that, Izuku straightened and gave Himiko his full attention. Doing his best to ignore just how soft her hand felt.
"Yeah. I think it's a good plan. For the most part. I just think that Bakugou and Shouto are too much of a wild card factor."
Izuku nodded in agreement. While his plan was to make sure that their defenses were up to the task of defending their whole zone, and by extension their flags and the black flag, if it came down to it, those two could cause a lot of trouble if they really wanted to.
"I know. But I wasn't able to come up with something that would deal with them. The plan I told everyone was the best I could come up with."
"The best you could come up with, with a key piece of information missing you mean."
"Look, Izuku. I have an idea on how to deal with those two, and honestly probably a lot of the other people on the other teams too. But… I'm going to have to ask you to trust me. You see-"
"Of course I trust you, Toga." Izuku answered instantly, cutting Himiko off and leaving her opening and closing her mouth, unable to form words.
Wait hold on a second!
"I-Izuku! Wait! I haven't even told you what I want to do!"
Izuku just shrugged, "Sure, but that doesn't change the fact that I trust you, Toga."
Once again, Himiko found herself at a complete loss when it came to Izuku. When they had first met, he had acted so selflessly to help her, refusing even the most basic reward. Then when they met again, he invited her into his home and made her feel like she was actually welcomed somewhere. Now this. Giving her such unconditional trust while she was very obviously acting coy and keeping her cards close to her chest. Himiko was someone who prided herself in reading people, knowing what they thought and how they would act. But Izuku was just too pure for her to get a read on. He was too much an enigma for her to understand. He was just this bundle of kindness filled with joy, hope, and more than a handful of determination.
A ray of light in a very dark world.
A ray of light that was so bright, it hurt to look at, but she couldn't turn away. And she'd never want to.
"I can transform into people by drinking their blood."
It took a second for Himiko to realise what she had just blurted out. When she did, she slapped her hands over her mouth to stop herself from screaming.
I DID NOT JUST FUCKING SAY THAT!
She could not believe she had just said that out loud. She had planned to build up to it. Start off by explaining how everyone had been so freaked out by her Quirk, horrified by it. It had made her an aberration, a monster. She had needed to build up a buffer of sympathy and understanding to cushion the revelation. Start off with what her Quirk was, and then lead into how it works. But no, she had been so caught up in learning that Izuku trusted her that she spoke without thinking.
You fucking stupid bitch! Now you've gone and done it. Months of dealing with U.A.'s bullshit. Weeks of friendship, and you throw it all-!
Snapping out of her thoughts, Himiko was stunned to find that Izuku was in her personal space. Eyes analyzing her and hands scribbling away at an invisible notebook, "Does the blood act like a genetic blueprint for your Quirk to work? Does it have to be blood or would any DNA sample work? When you transform, is it just an external change, or does your whole body transform too? Do you get the person's Quirk? Memories? How long can you…"
Izuku's questions were coming in fast. That, coupled with the fact that this was not the reaction Himiko had been expecting, left her reeling and feeling unexpectedly exposed. Her defenses were getting peeled away, leaving her stark before Izuku's gaze. His were eyes taking in everything they saw.
She felt suddenly very bashful.
Which was a first for her.
"Sl-slow down! Wait! Just wait!"
Himiko's hands snapped up to push herself away, giving herself some much needed space.
Izuku snapped to his senses and backed off, rubbing his head bashfully, "Oh, sorry about that, Toga. Old habits."
"Izuku you...sigh… You heard what I actually said right? The whole thing?"
Maybe he just got the part that I transf-
"That you're able to transform by drinking blood? Yup, I heard you." Izuku said with an excited smile.
Holy fucking shit.
Izuku looked confused, "Should I be?"
Himiko didn't know how to answer that. She never saw her Quirk as weird. She loved it. She loved being other people. If she had a chance to be someone she liked, or better yet, someone she loved, it was one of the most exciting feelings there was. And the way to make it happen was all the more sweeter. Blood was such an intimate part of a person. It gave them life and filled them up. And it came in so many different tastes and smells. Sweet, sour, sometimes tangy and savory.
Himiko loved everything about her Quirk. She loved everything about herself. She loved that because of the way she was, it made it so easy for her to love others too.
She loved it all, despite the world telling her how wrong she was. Despite everyone trying to fix her.
After a lifetime of being rejected, to find someone who accepted her, well, it just reinforced that she had found the right person to fall in love with.
Standing there alone with Izuku, with her love now expanding to new realms she hadn't even dreamed of, Himiko realized just how close to the edge she was. Sports Festival be damned. Crowds be damned. One slip and she was going to make her sweet Izuku scream her name.
Over and over again.
"Izuku," She started, "You're something else. You know that.? You're the first person I've met who hasn't treated my Quirk like it makes me a monster."
Izuku looked stunned, "Wait? I'm the first? But what about your...Oh…"
The word hung at the tip of his tongue. Parents. She could see him put some of the pieces together, and watched as a deep and very unhappy frown spread across his face. She much rather he had his smile back.
"But what about the people here?! The teachers?! And I'm sure our classmates wouldn't treat you like that!"
That was an interesting point. Despite her friction with the staff, they tended to focus on her actions and state of mind. 'Don't stab people, Toga,' was more or less the running mantra. As for the actual act of her drinking blood? Thinking back, they were concerned about how she got the blood, more so than her actually drinking it. Heck, they actually make her some to drink. It tastes like crap, but they've never actually told her to not to drink blood. Hell, they approved all the support gear on her costume made to bleed people.
"You...might have a point. Though things are a little more complicated than me just having to drink blood to make my Quirk work."
"What do you mean?"
Oh boy, in for a penny, in for a pound I guess.
"I don't just drink blood to use my Quirk, Izuku. I drink blood because I have too. You need food and water right?" Izuku nodded, "Well I need food, water, and blood to function. If I wasn't able to drink blood, I'd go crazy. Literally crazy, Izuku. And if I'm being honest...I love it."
"You love it?"
"You know how some people love a good steak. Or they'll crave a pizza from their favorite fast food place. It's like that. I love blood. The tastes. The smell. The whole gambit. So...I guess you can see why I've kept this side of myself a secret. Hard to explain just my Quirk without diving into my other weird... quirks."
Izuku nodded. If Himiko has grown up with her parents hating her Quirk and the side effect, if that's the way you wanted to go with, he supposed it was natural that she wouldn't want others to know. But that line of thinking only made him want to say something against that viewpoint, "Toga, I don't think it's weird at all."
"Huh?!" That wasn't what Himiko had expected to hear.
"You said it yourself. For you, blood is just as important as food and water. So the fact you like... drinking it to survive and to use your Quirk isn't something to be ashamed of."
"You paused there for a bit, you know." Himiko said with a smirk.
Izuku scratches his head, "okay, maybe it's a little weird. But Toga, take a look at the Quirks in our class alone. Quirks are super cool, but they are also really weird if you think about them."
Himiko laughed a little at that. He made a pretty good point. While she did, Izuku was struck by something she had said during their first week of class.
It keeps my blood levels level.
"Hey, Toga. Those juice packs you're always drinking that the school makes for you. They aren't juice, are they?"
Wow, he can be sharp when he wants to be.
Himiko shook her head, "Nope. Artificial blood."
"And they taste bad?"
"That's right. Bitter and the texture is off. But I'm getting used to them...or more like I've accepted that they aren't gonna get any better. It keeps the edge off, I guess. It's just not very satisfying."
"Well," Izuku rubbed his hands together nervously, "if you ever want something not fake...I wouldn't mind letting you have some of my blood; think of me as an all-you-eat-buffet… If that's not a weird thing to say, of course!"
Are you kidding me? Are you fucking kidding me!? He just-! Izuku just said I could-! Kiss him! Kiss him! I'm fucking kissing him! I'm kissing him and then fuck this whole Sports Festival. I'm taking Izuku with me and making him mine!
Himiko closed the distance between them faster than Izuku could blink. By the time she had her arms draped over his shoulders and pulling him into a tight embrace, Izuku's mind only just sent the signal to his mouth to start squeaking and stuttering. Himiko's eyes darted to look at her target. Lips that were perfect for being kissed and just begging to be nibbled too. She leaned in, not caring one bit about the Sports Festival anymore. It was stupid, and she hadn't wanted to be part of it to begin with. It didn't matter to her.
But it matters to Izuku.
Himiko's conscience screamed at her. Screamed over the raging fire in her blood, and the searing ache and desires that made her tremble with want. It screamed that while she might not care about the Sports Festival, Izuku did care. He wanted to win today. He wanted to use today to not only settle things with Katsuki, but to help further his dream of becoming a hero. Today was important to him, so it was important to her.
And she had brought him here to this secluded place for a reason, after all.
At the very last possible second, Himiko turned her head to the side, missing Izuku's lips, and planted a kiss right onto his blushing cheek. A kiss on the cheek was mild enough that she'd be able to keep herself under control. If it had been lips, well... Knowing where Midnight had all her emergency condom stashes all over campus would've come in quite handy for her.
Damn you, conscience!
She didn't like that she could imagine her conscience waving back at her smugly. She really didn't like that her conscience was herself dressed up as Midnight. That whole image brought up a lot of questions she did not want answers to.
"Thank you, Izuku. You have no idea what that means to me."
Izuku tried to say something along the lines of 'your welcome.' But it came out as more of a high pitched mutter.
Pulling back, Himiko smiled, "So, Izuku. I think it's time I told you my plan, don't you think?"
Izuku's glazed over expression took a second before it hardened, as he refocused back on the task at hand, "R-right. You sounded like you had a way to keep Kacchan and Todoroki off our backs."
"Yep. You see my Quirk lets me transform into someone else. And while there are some limits to it, like I can't use their Quirks, or have access to their memories. It does let me change more than just my own body. I can transform dressed like they are."
Izuku blinked, "Wait you can transform clothing too?"
"...How does that even work?"
"Er...I have no idea. It's just something I can choose to do." She could see that Izuku's hands were starting to scribble again, "Anyway! Back on topic. Bakugou and Todoroki are both gunning for your head at this point. Right?"
"And," Himiko plucked the black flag from Izuku's pocket, "They're both going to be gunning for this little thing too. Right?"
Izuku's impression of a bobblehead was still going strong as he nodded again.
"Soooo, if we took this flag here, and wrapped it around your arm like so," with a little flourish Himiko tied off the flag in a cute bow, "You make for a very enticing target, for those two and anyone else gunning for an instant win. Wouldn't you say?"
The gears in Izuku's head clicked into place as he got exactly what Himiko was getting at, "You want to transform into me and become a distraction!"
"Bingo. Instead of stealthy- which, by the way, I love you know what I'm good at- I'll head into Team C's zone and make as much noise as possible. Not only will that keep them busy, but should draw out quite a few people from the other teams, making Tenya and Momo's jobs easier. And while I'm at it, if I happen to see a C flag, well, I'm sure I can make the time to snatch it up and get it in the air for you."
"Toga, this sounds great! But what about you? By the end of this match, everyone is going to know about your Quirk."
Himiko shrugged, "They'll know I can transform into people. How I do it can still be our secret."
"Okay, if that's what you want. Though I really think you can trust our classmates, Toga."
Crossing her arms, Himiko broke eye contact, "Maybe…"
"So how are we going to do this then? Do you have a knife or something sharp?" Izuku asked as he held out his hand for Himiko, "Actually, would you be allowed to have something like that?"
No knives. I got triple checked before getting to the stadium. Then checked again. It's like they don't trust me or something. It's not like they've found me with any knives since...yesterday?
Chuckling to herself, Himiko shook her head, "Nope. Got nothing like that right now, soooo," reaching up, Himiko hooked a finger into her mouth, and pulled back, showing off her fangs, "we'll just have to do things the old fashioned way."
Taking his hand, Himiko watched for any signs that Izuku had a problem with her biting him to draw blood. She was a little surprised that he didn't just seem okay with it, but was watching her very intently.
Right...This is all Quirk related, so he must be taking mental notes. Well, guess I better give him a good show then.
Lifting his hand up, Himiko briefly let her eyes travel down to his exposed wrist. She'd be able to get a good mouthful from there, but she didn't want to leave Izuku in any kind of weakened state. He had to go the distance today, after all. Ultimately, she decided on his pointer finger. To make her plan work, she wasn't going to need that much blood. And while this moment had been a long time coming for her- a day she had fantasized about and ruined more bed sheets over in the throws of her own passion than she could count- She had to remember that Izuku had already told her she could get herself a taste any time she needed it.
Overall, today was a good day for Himiko.
"You're going to feel a little pinch when I bite down okay. If it hurts..."
"It's fine, Toga. Like I said. I trust you."
Bringing Izuku's finger up to her mouth, she briefly thought about just nipping his knuckle and pressing her lips there to get what she needed, but that would be boring. This was a momentous occasion for her. Why not have a little fun and make sure they both never forgot what came next. Striking her tongue out, she ran it up the curve of his finger, where she gave the tip just under his fingernail a little flick of her tongue.
Himiko caught the fingertip between a fang on her lower jaw and her top teeth and bit down before wrapping her lips around the finger to the second knuckle. Himiko thought about making a little show for Izuku, a demonstration of a few talents and tricks she knew, but when her tongue ran over the little incision her fang had made and that first drop of blood landed on her tongue, this moment stopped being a game for her.
The memory of her first taste, almost a year ago.
Putting up with the horrible fake packs.
Forcing herself to only take enough for a quick transformation at USJ..
It all became worth it. With that little taste, Himiko dove head first into nirvana. Her knees buckled. A moan ripped itself out of her throat, and she was pretty sure she was starting to cry. She had waited so long for this. To taste the blood of the boy that saved her. And without a single doubt.
It had been worth it.
To get what she needed for the match, took less than a minute. At most, maybe thirty seconds. For Himiko, as her mouth was covered with the sweet metallic flavor, seconds might have well been hours or days.
A few more flicks of her tongue and she knew she had enough. She wanted more- oh she wanted more- but there was a time and place to be greedy, and this was neither. Pulling back with a pop and leaving little stands of spit connecting her lips and his finger, Himiko kept a grip onto Izuku's wrist as she swallowed. A piece of Izuku was inside of her now. The thought alone drove her mad. Lust threatened to take control, but she forced it back. Izuku trusted her, and she was not going to lose control now.
Opening her eyes, Himiko looked at the wet finger in front of her. The tip stained a little pink with a mix of his blood and her spit. Gently, lovingly, Himiko closed his hand into a fist and wrapped her fingers around it. Applying pressure to the little snip so it would stop bleeding. When she was done, she looked up at Izuku, eyes lidded, and cheeks flushed crimson.
"Are you ready to see something cool?"
Throughout the whole experience, Izuku forgot how to speak, so he only nodded his head. With a huge smile, Himiko started the transformation, transfixed with Izuku's eyes as he watched her with awe and wonder.
"I see. So you haven't left the base since Toga took you aside then?"
Izuku shook his head at Tenya's question, "Nope. I've been hiding here the whole time."
"Then when you came to check on things with everyone? And took our flags to store in the base, that was Toga?"
Tenya rubbed his chin, "Amazing. I never suspected there had been a switch at all. Her ability to impersonate you is incredible. But why keep this a secret until after the start of the match?"
"She said we had to really sell that she was me with the flag. One of the best ways to do this would be for you all to genuinely think that I was out there putting our win at risk. She wasn't convinced you all could fake your surprise...sorry Iida."
Tenya wasn't a fan of the deception, but he couldn't argue with the logic behind it. If they hadn't sold the lie, then members of the other teams would get suspicious and then everything might have fallen apart, "I understand, Midoriya. We are here to win, and I suppose I'm relieved that Toga is taking this so serious. So what now?"
"You and Momo will hit the other bases like we planned. With Toga keeping everyone over at C, that's left B and D wide open."
"Got it, I will inform everyone at once!"
Leaping down, Tenya hurried off to quickly explain the situation, and then to begin their attack.
With the Wire Arrow's pulling her up, Himiko slipped through an opening in Team C's base and pushed her back up against the icey wall. Peaking around, she watched as several students ran by underneath her, scanning the area around them on the field, not suspecting she had pulled herself up to the base's top.
After minutes of being on the run non-stop, she took the brief opportunity to collect her breath, and stretch. She had anticipated that being a moving target would be a workout, but most of the trouble came from making sure Katsuki was too angry to actually think about what was going on. Izuku's warning rang in her ears the moment she started her attack.
Kacchan isn't dumb. He'll figure out that something is wrong the moment the match starts if he has time to think. You have to figure out a way to keep him so focused on you and the flag that he won't think about anything else. Keep him driven, and keep him angry.
Keeping him driven was easy; she just had to make sure she kept the black flag around her wrist in plain sight. Keeping him angry was a joy. Katsuki clearly had no emotional defenses in place to deal with a scenario where Izuku finally just gave Katsuki all the same shit he spewed out. While it was a joy to keep the boy in such a constant state of rage, it sure was tiring. He was surprisingly mobile, on top of being a long-distance threat. More than once already she had been a little singed by his explosions. Though she's gotten in a few shots of her own. A smack here or there to really help piss him off. She had also gotten him to accidentally blast some of the other teams on more than one occasion. Though after a while, his wild shots started to get more targeted, and getting others hit stopped being so easy.
At least this short downtime allowed her to enjoy the feeling of the way Izuku's muscles pulled and tightened as she stretched and kept herself loose. While his body had been pretty stiff at first, some strenuous stretching before the match allowed her to move how she wanted.
Stopping briefly to admire herself in the ice's reflection, she had to admit she was loving getting a chance to be Izuku again. A year ago, she had squealed at how cute she looked when she had turned into him after getting her first taste of his blood on that little piece of cloth. Now though, after whatever training he had gone through and a nice round of puberty, Izuku had gone from cute to mouth-watering.
Whoops, easy girl. Don't forget that you're in a boy's body now. Getting all worked up is a lot harder to hide.
Mei had been a little off when she had said that Izuku was more solid than he looked underneath his gym clothes. Izuku wasn't just solid; he was coiled steel. In his compact frame, he packed a lot of power, which had been a welcomed surprise for Himiko.
She could do a lot of damage to someone, say an explosive blond, if she wanted to with this body.
Buuuut, I don't think that would be a good idea. One, because I'd rather not deal with a lecture from the teachers today, and two, I bet Izuku wouldn't like me doing that. Him being so open to this was shocking enough. Don't want to give him a reason to turn against me now…
Letting her mind drift, Himiko wondered if it had been a mistake to hide her Quirk for as long as she had. He clearly didn't have an issue with it right now, and even Ochako had said that she didn't know of a single Quirk that Izuku hated. Izuku, heck all her friends were very understanding people. The same could be said for the class too, now that she thought about it. Still, she knew there were things about her past that she couldn't let get out.
Jr High and Saito.
What she did to survive living on the street and her time with Mr. Stain.
If these things got out- If the things she did got out- she doubted even someone as kind and good as Izuku would want to be near her. This life she had now would be over. And this life, even with the hassles and numerous pains in the ass she had to deal with, was not a life she wanted to see end.
So she would keep her secrets.
She would hide all the blood she was soaked in.
The buckets and buckets of blood.
Shaking the thoughts from her mind, she reloaded the Capture Gun she had taken from Mei. While she preferred a nice simple knife as her weapon, she could appreciate the crazy girl's invention. The boots and wires had also proven to be very useful in helping her keep ahead of everyone. Himiko couldn't stop herself from smiling; her plan was working perfectly. Maybe a bit too perfect if she was being totally honest with herself. She hadn't expected all three teams to pretty much empty their benches to try and get the black flag.
Though I suppose that just shows how everyone is determined to show they are number one, huh?
Scanning the room, Himiko smirked when she found two red flags, ancord to the ceiling with ice. Snagging them, Himiko turned to leap out the window and to continue her role as bait, but stopped when she saw there were some birds sitting on the window's ledge.
Lots of birds.
A very concerning number of birds.
The birds started going nuts, cawing and tweeting in a mad frenzy, while down below Kouji began pointing wildly up towards the window Himiko was at. Jirou smirked and patted him on the back, "Awesome job! Guys we found him! Midoriya is in the base!"
Himiko swore, "Always beware the silent ones! If he sics dogs on me, I'm done! Out of the way, birds! Tweet tweet, mother fuckers!"
Diving out of the window, and trying not to hit anything with feathers, Himiko twisted herself around and threw the flags she had been holding up into the air. She didn't have a chance to see if they started to glow green when she finished her twist and landed on the ground, ready to take off running. However, that plan was quickly derailed when as she landed, her feet sunk into the ground, "Wait what the heck!? Why is the ground marshmallows now!?"
"Alright, Honenuki! We got him! Tsunotori! Take out those boots of his before he has a chance to recover!"
While Juuzou focused on keeping the ground soft, Pony from behind followed Itsuka's orders and launched her horns right for Himiko.
Ah crap! Stupid 1-B!
As fast as she could, Himiko was able to snag one of the horns out of the air, preventing it from hitting one of her boots. She wasn't able to grab the last one, as it darted around her hand and impaled itself into the boot sending smoke and sparks out of its heel.
Growling in frustration, Himiko shot the Wire Arrow's out and began to pull herself free, while at the same time, used her one working Hover Sole to help.
"Asui!" Jirou yelled, "Don't let him get free before we get the flag!"
Tsuyu leapt forward and wrapped her long tongue around Himiko's arm, pulling her back. While being held, Jirou and Itsuka rushed to grab the flag from her other arm. Itsuka enlarging her hands to extend her reach.
Glancing down at the tongue holding her, Himiko raised the horn she had been able to grab up into the air, making sure Tsuyu saw what she was doing, "Sorry, Tsu!"
As gently as she could, but still putting enough force to do something, Himiko pricked Tsuyu's tongue, making it loosen its grip. Retching her arm free, Himiko pulled out her capture gun and fired several rounds towards the advaning Team D members, wrapping them up, and buying herself the time she needed to get free.
With only one working boot, Himiko could tell her arial mobility was compromised. What's worse is that she wasn't sure if the boot that had been broken was going to explode. She didn't like how much smoke was coming out of it.
Need to ditch this thing quick. I don't like leaving a smoke trail, even if I want them following me. Where's Bakugou? If this thing is going to explode, I want to throw it at him.
As the capture-the-flag match waged on, Midnight was doing her very best to keep a straight face from her judge's podium, even as her mind raced and eyes followed the most difficult student to ever be admitted to U.A.
Almost immediately Midnight knew that it was Himiko in disguise. The girl wasn't even trying to hide it. The only reason none of the students seemed to question it was because none of them knew what Himiko's Quirk was. The teachers, though? They all knew.
After the first mid-air flip, Midnight's ear piece came alive with chatter from the other teachers around the stadium.
"That's not Midoriya!"
"When did she get the blood to use her Quirk?"
"She shouldn't have any blood in her system to transform, right?"
"Should we intervene?"
"Did she hurt Midoriya to get his blood?"
"Does anyone see Young Midoriya?"
It was only when Nezu popped on and told them that he could see Izuku hiding in the top of Team A's base when Tenya came over that the teachers calmed down. Himiko hadn't snapped and attacked the poor boy. No, all evidence pointed to that for Himiko to transform, the blood must have been given willingly. Which for Midnight was as much of a relief as it was a whole new can of worms that she was going to have to deal with. But one that she had been expecting to have to deal with eventually.
Sooner or later, Himiko's Quirk was going to come out. After that, how her Quirk worked would soon follow.
She's held onto that secret for so long because of where it could lead. She was so afraid that she'd lose everything she's built here, or more like she'd lose the reason she even came here to begin with: Midoriya. What the hell changed between now and our last conversation on the matter?
Midnight had a feeling that their next session was going to be an interesting one, to be sure. She also had to wonder, Now that Toga has gotten what she's wanted, what happened next?
With a sigh of relief, All Might slipped his phone back into his suit pocket. When the match began and Himiko disguised as Izuku started her attack, All Might had quickly excused himself from his seat and hurried into the hall to contact the other teachers. Fortunately, Nezu's reassurance that he had seen Izuku hiding was enough to bring All Might out of his momentary panic.
With the panic gone, All Might himself relax. Relax and feel a little guilty. While he wasn't alone in his sudden fear for the worst, he hoped he wasn't alone in his guilt either. All Might couldn't ignore that the worst outcome could be a possibility, but Himiko had shown the ability to keep her more violent tendencies in check over and over.
We all jumped to conclusions far too fast just now, didn't we…
Sighing and straightening himself back up, All Might snuck back into the box suite. His hurried excuse of needing to make a phone call appeared to not have raised any suspicions, much to his relief. Mr. and Mrs. Uraraka were cheering loudly for their daughters team, though a few passing comments made it clear they couldn't actually find her in the huge crowd.
"Everything alright?" Inko asked as he took his seat.
"Oh yes. Everything is fine. How's the match going?"
"Everyone is chasing Izuku! But they can't catch him!" Eri waved her arms about as she watched, amazed at all the flashy Quirks being used. Inko reached over and patted her on the head.
"He's putting on a great show, isn't he sweetie?"
While Inko had a bright smile, All Might could hear something off in her voice.
Inko waved him off, "It's nothing. Just something nagging me, I suppose."
Inko's eye's followed the match for a little longer before she answered, a little uncertain, "You wouldn't happen to know if any of those students down there have an illusion Quirk or something?"
All Might shook his head, "I don't think so. Why?"
"It's just… You might find this hard to believe but I just don't think that person down there is my son."
All Might blinked a few times, A mother's intuition I suppose.
"I suppose watching Young Midoriya move around like that is surprising."
Inko shook her head, "No it's not that. I just don't see my boy going around flipping his classmates off like that. My Izuku is a good sweet boy, after all."
Eri looked up at Inko, "Oh is that what Izuku's been doing when he does this?" Eri started to mimic what she had seen, much to Inko's horror as she cupped the girl's hands to stop her.
Mr. Uraraka broke out into a fit of roaring laughter before a hard pinch from his wife got him to shut up. All Might turned away, hoping that his coughing hid the fact that he also almost broke out laughing. When he turned back around and saw the glare of disapproval coming from her, he gulped nervously.
Glancing around, and confirming that she could only see Hanta guarding the front entrance to Team D's base, Ochako dashed between large rocks, making sure he wouldn't spot her approach. She had been lucky so many members of the team had decided to follow Katsuki's, and, if she was being honest, everyone else's lead and decided to go for the instant win. Now only a few yards away from the base, Ochako kept her eyes on Hanta and waited for him to look away. As she waited, her mind drifted back to the start of the match and the strange behavior of Izuku.
Something is up; that's for sure. Even if Izuku is the bait, there's no way he'd act like that. Izuku doesn't curse, ever. And if he is acting on his own, then one of his team members should be doing something to stop him, but they aren't doing anything. They're just staying in their zone. It's like they're waiting for something….AARRGH! I'm missing something here. What is it? What could I be overlooking!?
When a large explosion went off over towards her team's zone, Hanta turned to look, "Come on guys! Get that flag!"
Seeing her opening, Ochako floated herself and kicked off the ground, soaring upward and grabbing hold of the top floor of the base. Pulling herself around, she found an open window and snuck inside. Looking around the room, Ochako smirked as she saw several flags hanging along the walls. Hurrying, she grabbed them and stuffed them into her pockets.
That's four. I'll head down and see what else I can find, but I probably shouldn't stay too long. It'd be just my luck that Sero will pick that moment to come and do a flag check.
Finding the door to the lower lever, Ochako was about to open it when suddenly it opened all on its own. Panicked, Ochako started to reach out. Ready to float Hanta the moment he stepped through. She came to a sudden stop, almost tripping, when Tenya stepped through the door, looking equally shocked to see her.
For a brief moment, both just looked at eachother, then their eyes wondered. Ochako found the flags Tenya had clenched in his fist, and he found the flags sticking out of her pocket. The roar from Tenya's engines was the only warning Ochako got before Tenya twisted around and kicked, the mufflers in his calf propelling his leg at super human speed. Ochako leaned back, Tenya's foot just missing her as she stumbled to regain her balance. Even though he missed, Tenya's speed was able to give him the chance to make his next move while Ochako started hers. Rushing forward, Tenya body checked Ochako. Driving her into a wall with a loud thud. The cheap plywood wall cracked from the impact. While Ochako hissed and groaned from the impact, Tenya started to reach for her pockets to steal the flags.
"I apologize, Uraraka, but I will be taking thes-!"
He had expected Ochako to be too dazed to do anything to stop him, but he had made a big mistake. Even while dazed, Tenya was letting himself stay in her strike range for far too long, something Ochako took full advantage of. Feeling a strong pressure on his chest, Tenya looked down and only had time to realize that Ochako had her fingers pressed into him, before she pushed him back and he floated into the air.
Ochako smirked triumphantly as she shook her head to snap herself out of her daze, "You were saying, Iida?"
Ochako was about to reach out to try and free the flags from Tenya's hand, when he did something she hadn't expected. Pointing his legs out, he fired off his engines in a quick burst, pushing him away from her reach, and right into a wall at the other side of the room. Right next to one of the windows.
"Sorry, Uraraka, but you won't be getting these!"
For a moment, Ochako panicked. From her point of view, it looked like he was going to try and fly away with the propulsion from his engine's while still under the effect of her Quirk. Which was insane. As far as she was concerned, he'd be more likely to blast off into the sky or dive-bomb into the ground.
"Iida! Wait a second!"
When Tenya smirked at her, she froze.
"Sorry, Uraraka, I might not be able to get your flags, but you won't be getting these."
Gripping the window seal, Tenya pulled himself around, but instead of trying to get out, as Ochako had been afraid he'd try. Instead he took his flags and tossed them into the air. Ochako watched them float up, confused as to what Tenya was doing. Her confusion only deepened when the flags came to a stop in midair before jerking to a stop and then zipping away.
Racing to the window, Ochako followed the flags as they were pulled away and right towards Team A's side.
It's like they're being pulled by...Wait, wait one second! A telekinesis Quirk! But they weren't glowing! If it was Deku, they'd be glowing green! What is going on!?
Ochako got her answer when the flags were snatched out of the air by Neito and Ochako's jaw dropped. But even as her mind reeled as she took in this new information, she saw something else happen. Besides Neito was Reiko. And Ochako watched as she also pulled a set of flags out of the air and right into her hand. Ochako was floored. Team A had two other members with Quirks like Deku's.
Since they had people like Deku, they don't have to send a whole lot of people over to steal flags. Especially since everyone is...
Ochako's stomach dropped. While many of the finer points still eluded her, the broad scope of what had happened hit her like a truck. She had known from the start that Izuku was going to have a plan. She knew it, and she had been ready to fight against it, but she hadn't been prepared for something like this. As far as she could tell, everything had gone exactly like Izuku had wanted. He had everyone caught hook, line and sinker.
"Deku, you magnificent, infuriating-!"
"HEY! OUR FLAGS! WHERE ARE OUR FLAGS!?"
Hanta's scream from below cut Ochako off. The panicked screams got both Ochako and Tenya's attention. Soon they could both hear him rushing up to the room from below.
Oh, he must have heard our fight! Crud! Time to run!
Despite wanting to grill Tenya over what had just happened, Ochako didn't want to risk getting caught by Hanta. Ochako leapt out the window and floated herself briefly so she could land safely. Releasing her Quirk, and hearing the effect above as Tenya hit the floor, Ochako took off for her zone. Behind, she could hear Tenya make his escape too, engines roaring to life and speeding away.
I need to get some more people together. Warn them about what's going on. If Deku set this part up, there's no way he'd risk it all going to pieces by letting his team lose by having that black flag stolen. We need to regroup and-!
"TEAMS! You have one minute left in the match! I repeat! ONE MINUTE!"
ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?
Realizing she didn't have time for any of her original plan, Ochako broke into a mad dash for her zone, hoping that the added flags she was able to steal would be enough to safeguard her team from elimination.
"So, you think you could just sneak into our base while everyone else was away? Did you really think we'd leave it unprotected?"
Hitoshi froze. After not seeing anyone around the team's base, he had hoped that he would be in the clear, but that was clearly not the case. He had only been able to make it through the first door and reach for a couple of flags when he was spotted. Scanning the room, Hitoshi couldn't tell where the other person was.
"Shouji, get down here! Someone from another team tried to sneak in! He's from your class!"
Shouji's here too? Great, I do not want to get in a fight with that guy. Also where is that voice coming from? It almost sounds like…
"I'm on my way!"
"Good. Let's make sure this purple haired rat doesn't get away. "
Looking up, Hitoshi was startled to find a face sticking out from a dark corner of the room. The boy's white hair stood out, while his black skin melted into the shadows. Above, the sound of footsteps paused, before their pace redoubled, "Purple hair? WAIT DON'T TALK-!"
"Better to be a purple haired rat than a bleach-haired coward. You like hiding up there?"
Shihai's eyes narrowed angrily, "What did you say to…"
As Hitoshi's Quirk took effect, he was already on the move. Grabbing the flags he saw, he turned to make a run for it, pausing briefly as he watched as a small drone flew by overhead. Its camera turned down to look at him before flying around the base and disappearing.
Okay...that was weird.
A loud crash came from behind, followed by a loud groan, "Crap, he got you to talk! Wait, Shinso! Hold it right there! And what's that buzzing sound!?"
Hitoshi took off running, praying that all the laps Tenya made him run in the past couple of weeks paid off now. And that Mezou didn't give himself extra legs or something to make himself run faster.
Himiko was coming to the conclusion that she may have underestimated her fellow classmates and the people from 1-B.
A little bit.
Just a little.
I suppose you put enough blood in the water and get enough piranhas together, sooner or later they'll tear their prey apart.
After leading everyone around by the nose, a disturbing trend started to take place after Himiko lost her first boot. The teams started to remember that they were teams. One such team attack involved a boy creating a solid wall of air suddenly in her path as she was swinging by and Minoru littering the area with those purple balls which ended up snagging one of her Wire Arrows and forcing her to take the device off before she was grabbed. As she was swinging away, though, Dark Shadow grabbed her remaining line and Mina, with a well-aimed squirt of acid, melted it.
Her next loss was more of a self-inflicted injury, but she still blamed Katsuki for it. She thought she saw him by himself. A perfect target for a well aimed Hover Sole kick. Unfortunately, in her tunnel vision, she missed Eijirou coming to his defense. So when she whirled around to deliver a kick, her toe didn't hit Katsuki's face, but Eijirou's hardened skull. His hardened skin shredded the front of the boot. Himiko counted her blessings that she hadn't also broken her foot along with the poor boot. She had hopped around briefly in some pain, cursing Eijirou out some, though she knew the boy didn't deserve all of it.
So now both boots were off and discarded, her Wire Arrows victims of team attacks, And her Capture Gun? Out of ammo. It had made the greatest hollow thunk when it hit Katsuki in the head after she chunked it at him.
So now she was just down to herself and a disguise, which if she was trying to disappear, would be more than enough, but since she wanted to be a target. Things were a little dicey for her now. It didn't help that her back was to Team C's base and everyone else was converging on her from all other sides.
The only reason she had any space at the moment was that a few of the other team members had tried to rush her, and were now rolling on the ground after she had defended herself. Himiko did feel a little bad for Toru though, who was sitting down rubbing her head. At least that's what Himiko guessed she was doing. She hadn't meant to throw the girl into a walking steel beam head first. That Tetsutetsu needs to learn to drop his Quirk faster. But the space she had now didn't change the fact that she was cornered.
Something Katsuki noticed and planned to capitalize on immediately.
He was done chasing. Done with the pot shots. Done with the constant badgering. Done with being led around like a complete fool.
"DEKU! You're done!"
A quick series of explosions propelled himself into the air, before he twisted himself around and dive bombed right where Himiko was standing. As he rocketed down, he twisted his hands to his side and used his explosions to start to corkscrew down, gathering extra momentum and sucking in air to fuel his attack. He had wanted to save this for the last event. He had worked on this move in preparation of the Sports Festival to deliver a decisive victory against whoever he had to face in the tournament that was to come. To have to use it now was a blow to his ego, but he would be damned if someone else was going to get that flag.
If that shitty nerd wants to act like a big shot, then he can take some big shots!
Himiko was startled to hear Katsuki scream at her. She was shocked when she realized he was above her. Looking up, Himiko could tell what was about to happen was not going to be fun, For herself and everyone else nearby. "Well shit."
Katsuki's explosion hit the ground right in front of Himiko, who threw up her arms to protect herself fruitlessly. The heat and fire from the explosion wasn't the worst part, though she could feel an uncomfortable amount of heat hitting her chest, it was the force behind it, kicking her off the ground and sending her sailing through the air until her back slammed into the icy walls of the base behind her, leaving her dazed.
Everyone else had been far enough away that they weren't thrown back, but several students were knocked to the ground and everyone was stunned by the ferocity of Katsuki's attack. With everyone else recovering, Katsuki ran through the dust and smoke kicked up from his attack and zeroed in on his target. Lifting his boot up, he pressed it into Himiko's stomach, holding her up as he bent down and began yanking off the flag around her wrist, "You should have known better than to try this shit Deku. Now looks what's it's got you," Katsuki pulled the flag free and held it above his head triumphantly, "a one way ticket back to the stands with the rest of the ext-"
"Oh my god! Bakugou killed him!"
"Oh man, Midoriya's face is all screwed up."
Katsuki froze. With more of the smoke clearing, some of Himiko could now be seen. The skin around her face was scrunched up and sagging. Clumps of green hair and scalp were hanging off.
Wait… it wasn't a direct hit! How'd he get so fucked up!? I practiced to make sure this wouldn't-
"Hey," Minoru said, poking his head through the smoke and pointing just above Katsuki's boot, "Since when did Midoriya have boobs?"
The flag forgotten, Katsuki, and several other students looked at what Minoru was pointing at. Izuku's gym top had been blown open from the force of the blast, with the edges strangely looking like they were melting into some grey sludge. Underneath, was not the chest and stomach of a young man, but the body of a young woman, covered only with the remains of a badly-scorched sports bra.
"Fucking hell, Baku Bitch, you trying to kill me?"
Snapping his head back up, Katsuki felt himself reeling, that voice had started out like Izuku's, but then changed, becoming more feminine. Katsuki watched as the hanging clumps on Izuku's face started to fall off, turning grey and splashing as they hit the ground. Soon his whole head was starting to melt. Blonde hair peeking through the remains of green. Remains of a freckled face falling away to leave a dazed, but sinister smirk. Himiko stared up at Katsuki, her grin widening as she watched his utter confusion, "What's wrong? Expecting someone else?"
"Bun Bitch!? What the hell is-?"
Himiko held up a hand, "Hold that thought. Mineta, you keep staring at my chest, and I'm going to slit your throat."
"Eep!" While Minoru ducked his head, several other students were still trying to figure out what was going on.
"Wait that's Toga!?"
"Wait she transformed into Midoriya?"
"Oh wow, that's her Quirk!"
"So that's why Midoriya was acting so weird. It was Toga all along."
"None of that shit fucking matters!" Katsuki screamed over all of them, "I still got the flag. I won!" glaring down at Himiko he held the flag in her face, "Doesn't matter if it was Deku or you, Bun Bitch. You still weren't able to stop me. All you did was prove what I already knew. Deku was too much of a chicken shit to have actually come out and face me."
"TEAMS! You have one minute left in the match! I repeat! ONE MINUTE!"
As Midnight's warning echoed over the loudspeakers and students let out surprised yelps, Himiko looked from the flag to Katsuki, before her eyes drifted to his side, and her manic smile got bigger. Showing off every one of her teeth, "oh, Baku Bitch. What happens next is going to be an utter joy."
Katsuki frowned, "what the fu-"
"GUYS! Our flags are gone!"
From the side Himiko had seen him running from, Hanta screamed at the top of his lungs, waving his hands around trying desperately to get his teammates attention.
Jirou gasped as she froze, "What!?"
She was cut off when Mezou rushed over from his team's base, "What were you guys doing!? You left us wide open! They sent a drone over and-"
Minoru cut him off, "Wait we still have our flags, right!?"
While Teams B and D started to panic Team members from C looked on confused but in higher spirits.
"Okay we won, but what's going on with the other teams?" Mina asked.
Eijirou shrugged, "I have no idea. Actually, where are Uraraka and Shinso? I haven't seen them since the match started. Do you think-?"
Dark Shadow began pointing wildly towards Katsuki and Himiko, and Fumikage was looking more than a little horrified, "Bakugou! The flag!"
Everyone stopped and turned. Katsuki blinked and looked down, his victorious smirk fading as the black flag in his hands melted through his fingers and splashed into a gray puddle on the ground, "wha-?"
"Eat shit, Boom Bitch, and choke on it. Looks like that's another one in the win column for Izuku."
Pulling out a small hand full of red flags, she took great great joy in flashing them at Katsuki before tossing them into the air, "IZUKU! CATCH!"
The flags didn't even have a chance to finish their arc up before they started glowing bright green and zipped away, right towards the top window in Team A's base, and then right into Izuku's outreached hand. The hand with the black flag wrapped around its wrist.
Shouto looked from Izuku who was standing in his base, then towards Katsuki and the gray puddle on the ground, "we've been chasing a fake."
As the members of the three teams stood in shock, it dawned on them just what had happened. They all had been so focused on getting the black flag, the fake black flag being waved in their faces by a disguised Himiko, they had left their own bases open. They had left their flags wide open to get stolen. Now with less than a minute left, the gravity of their mistake and the horror of Team A's plan came to them in crystal clarity.
In short, they were screwed.
Himiko knocked Katsuki's boot off herself, and hurried away. Her job done, Himiko dashed away, leaving the rest of the students to figure out what they were going to do. Shouto came to his senses first, as he used his ice to propel himself right for Team A. Soon everyone was in a mad dash running for Team A's zone. They had no plan, no strategy. They were just a panic driven horde.
It took a few seconds for Katsuki to snap out of his shock, before her turned towards Team A's base, his eyes zeroing in on Izuku.
Katsuki rocketed after everyone, screaming Izuku's name over the noise of his own explosions. Soon, Shouto, the teams and Katsuki ran headlong right into Team A's defenses.
Shouto, as he reached the border between his team's zone, was hit by Team A's first line of defense: capture nets. While he had been forced to deal with them while Himiko had acted as a distraction, this time they were coming in waves, fired from every team member on Team A. To quickly protect himself, he created a small wall of ice and ducked down behind it.
They made sure to capitalize on Yaoyorozu's Quirk, didn't they?
Shouto knew trying to go through everyone would take too much time. He also didn't want to encase the whole zone in ice as that would slow him down as his body dealt with the cold, and he could risk trapping Izuku inside his own base, making it impossible for himself or any of his other teammates to secure the win. So if going through wasn't an option, he would just have to go over. Pushing his right foot down into the grass, Shouto began to form a pillar to propel himself over everyone. However, he had only been able to form a few feet of ice when, just past the top of his wall, the ice flashed green and deep cracks formed in the pillar just under his feet. A second green flash of light shattered the ice beneath him, sending him tumbling back.
Midoriya!? I see; he's breaking the ice while it's still being formed.
Hitting the ground, Shouto tried to rise up, but had to immediately roll to the side as large chunks of ice sailed by. Izuku was chipping off pieces of the ice and forcing Shouto back. Grunting and still staggered from his fall, Shout tried putting up ice between himself and the sudden attack, but it wasn't helping much. The shards were either punching through the hurried defenses or the first attack weakened the ice enough for the next to get through. Suddenly on the back foot, and having his own ice used against him, Shouto's concentration broke. He wasn't able to pay attention to all his surroundings, so when he took another step back, his ankle rolled. Not enough to hurt, but enough that he started to fall back, just as another chunk of ice was headed straight for him. His right foot was in the air, and he right hand was out to his side as he desperately tried to regain his balance.
But his left hand was pointed right at the oncoming ice
For the briefest moment, survival instincts took over, and Shouto's right arms burst into flame, ready to blast the ice into nothing, but the attack never came. The bright green glow around the ice vanished while Shouto extinguished his arm and fell to the ground, shocked and ashamed he had started to use fire in a match. While he held his right hand and arm against his chest, he wondered why Izuku's attack had stopped so suddenly. A series of explosions overhead answered his question as Katsuki rocketed by.
A war was breaking out at the border of her team's zone, but Himiko wasn't paying it much mind now. After her cover was blown, and using the distraction from Midnights time remaining announcement, Himiko had escaped and done what she does best. She disappeared. Now all alone, she quickly made her way through Team C's base looking for any remaining flags that she could take. However, much to her disappointment, she wasn't able to locate any.
Someone actually went through the trouble of hiding a few of them.
After realizing that there just wasn't enough time left to search and make it back to base, HImiko casually strolled out of the fort, content and feeling pretty good that she had been able to pull one over on Katsuki.
So maybe this Sports Festival isn't a complete waste of time. Still…I guess I better get myself ready for some questions later. I'll probably need to explain why I kept my Quirk a secret for so long, on top of just answering questions on what it is. Also, I just know Midnight is gonna want to know how I convinced Izuku to let me have some of his deliciously sweet blood.
Himiko smiled hungrily at the fresh memory of the taste, and the look of rapt attention izuku had had as he watched her drink. The dilated pupils. The dusting of red that covered his cheeks and spread down his neck, disappearing underneath the collar of his gym top. The way his breath hitched at first, and he shuddered when she started to suck. All of it made Himiko's insides twist and warm up in ways she couldn't even begin to describe with words. Wrapping her arm around her body, she could help but think of what was to come later.
Oh, tonight's gonna be a good night.
Her mood was only damped a little as her fingers ran across the melting remains of her disguise. She hadn't bothered to try and reform Izuku's face, but she had been able to reform most of Izuku's gym top, so that she at least looked like she cared about modesty, but she still looked like a walking melted wax sculpture. With every step, a little more grey sludge dropped from her body. The disguise was a loss. She would have to drop it completely and make a new one if she wanted to play at being Izuku again.
She could do it now, but she doubted that U.A. would look kindly on her exposing herself like that. She had brought parts of her costume to wear under her gym clothes at Principal Nezu's suggestion, but those were now pretty much ruined thanks to Katsuki's attack, and the rest of her clothes had been destroyed when she had done the transformation earlier. So while she wasn't technically naked, a stiff breeze would probably be enough to finish off what the explosion had started.
Hopefully I'll have a chance to get changed. I'd rather not go much longer looking like this. Not exactly a good look, and holding it all together is starting to be a real pain in the ass. Oh, and I get to explain to the nutjobs in the Department of Support why I need new transforming underwear...greaaaat.
Startled out of her thoughts, Himiko looked up to see Ochako running like mad as she crossed over into her team's zone. Not far behind, Hitoshi was right on her tail. Both skid to a stop once they crossed over. With Hitoshi bent over and breathing heavily and Ochako also taking big gulps of air, but holding herself up. Showing she was ready to defend herself if she had too. Himiko waved her off, "Oh please catch your breath. Do I look like I'm in any shape to fight you? Relax already."
While Ochako still looked skeptical, she went ahead and put her hands on her head and worked at catching her breath. While they recovered Himiko noticed the red flags in their pockets, Huh. Guess not everyone took the bait. Not bad.
Hitoshi looked up at Himiko skeptically, "Why do you look like a melted candle anyway? You get hit by something? And why aren't you helping to defend your base?"
"Actually," Ochako cut in, "Why are you at our base?"
Himiko rolled her eyes and raised her hands up, showing that she didn't have any red flags on her, "I said relax. I'm empty. And I've been here since the match started, helping my team. So I think I've done my fair share, thank you very much."
Ochako blinked, "Wait? You've been here?"
"Yep, this right here is the remains of my transformation." Himiko reached over and pulled a glob of melting skin from her arm and let it fall and splatter on the ground.
"Your...transformation?" Hitoshi asked while Ochako's eyes started to go wide.
"Yep. My transformation into Izuku. My Quirk lets me transform into different people."
Himiko let that sink in while over the loudspeakers Midnight's voice echoed, "TIME IS UP!"
Over the announcement of the end of the match, Ochako covered her face with her hands and screamed in frustration, "AHHHH! That was what I was missing! Your Quirk! You were a distraction the whole time!"
Himiko smirked, "Yep."
"What about the flag around your wrist? It's gone." Hitoshi wondered.
"Baku Bitch got it, but it was a fake."
Ochako screamed again while Himiko started laughing. With the match, over she waved goodbye as she hurried off. "Hey don't feel too bad. You two probably saved your team's ass. So look at it this way: you did more to secure your victory than anyone else on your team."
"Here they come! Wait for my signal! Kaminari get ready!" Momo called out while everyone else got their Capture Guns at the ready. The moment the first few students crossed into their zone, Momo dropped her hand. At once everyone started firing nets, snagging and tripping up the first several students who were up front. Quickly though, Team A's first volley stopped as they were forced to reload or move onto another Capture Gun. This pause was long enough for the students that hadn't been caught to make their move.
Jumping over or around their fallen comrades, the next wave hurried deeper into the zone, and towards their target. Fumikage lept around an ensnared Mina who was quickly melting her way out of the net around her.
"Don't let them reload! Dark Shadow! Go for their base!"
"YOU GOT IT!"
The living shadow shot forward, ready to plow through any defence that got in its way.
Denki smirked as he grabbed hold of all the wires, "Alright! Time to show the world what happens when you get near a downed power line!"
Bolts of lightning zapped down the lines, and spread out along the wires, creating a giant wall of electricity. Anyone unlucky enough to be near a wire was instantly hit and stopped in their tracks. Anyone that wasn't hit also stopped not wanting to find out if getting shocked hurt as much as it looked like it did.
Momo smiled triumphantly; the plan was working just as intended. Seeing their teammates tied up or getting zapped was enough to send the other teams into a panic. They needed to press on, but weren't sure how to do it. The chaos was perfectly keeping them back and their flags safe. There had been a couple of students she had been worried about breaking through, but so far they had been held back. Fumikage and Dark Shadow had been one of those worries, since she was unsure if the nets would be effective against the shadow. However, when the lightning net was set off, Dark Shadow had recoiled back so fast Momo almost missed it. What she found strange though was that Dark Shadow had been far enough away from most lighting that he shouldn't have had to worry about getting shocked too bad. But once that lightning flashed, Dark Shadow did everything it could to get away. Momo made sure to take note of that for later.
The next student was, of course, Shouto. His ice could easily have devastated the whole area, but for some reason he hadn't chosen to do that. She assumed it was related to not making getting to Izuku and the black flag too difficult since time was almost up. When he put up his wall, and then tried to go over everyone else, Momo felt a twinge of panic set in. They didn't have a solid plan to deal with an aerial invasion. She knew that to slow him down, she would need to target his ice platform he was pushing himself on. With a hand going to her top, she was ready to create a small cannon to blast the ice, but, fortunately, Izuku was able to save her the trouble and not only shattered the ice underneath Shouto, but was able to push him back.
A loud series of explosions reminded Momo of the final troublesome student they were going to have to deal with.
Katsuki, who like Shouto, was taking an aerial approach to his assault. Propelling himself over the ground and safely away from the lighting coursing through it.
"AIM HIGH! TAKE OUT BAKUGOU!"
Momo screamed as she and several of her teammates aimed their reloaded Capture Guns up and fired. Unfortunately, Katsuki was more a force of nature now, a raging storm of fire and smoke. So he easily blew through the nets and raced by. As he did, Momo hoped that Izuku had a plan for this. Or at last was ready for a fight.
Get the flag!
Get the flag!
Get the fucking flag!
Even as around him chaos erupted as the three teams hit Team A's fortifications, Katsuki ignored it all. None of it mattered. No, only three thoughts raced through Katsuki's mind as he blew up a wave of red capture nets fired at him.
First was the obvious and loudest, get the black flag and win. This thought drove him forward, regardless of what was being thrown at him to slow him down. He powered through. If he was thinking about it, he'd know he was lucky that everyone was attacking at once. It spread Team A's defenses thin, giving him the opening he needed.
Second, his mind considered Izuku. As much as it twisted his stomach and made his blood boil, he knew that once he reached him, he would have to act fast. There was a good chance that Izuku was waiting for him. That he was prepared. That Katsuki couldn't just brush Izuku off anymore drove him insane. That he couldn't deny that Izuku was strong ate away at the very foundation his world was built on.
When did this happen?
How did this happen?
Why did this happen?
Katsuki didn't have answers to any of his questions.
Strong enough to be kind. You have to actually be strong to say that. What drove him to be able to!?
Katsuki pushed the thought back down; he couldn't afford to think about them. So they joined the last thing on his mind. The tiny voice of worry that just wouldn't shut the fuck up.
Where had Himiko gotten those red flags?
The answer was obvious, but he hated it. Himiko hadn't left his team's zone the whole time she was acting as a distraction. So those flags had to have been his. Teams B and D had been hit while everyone had been distracted, and they had at least left a few people behind to defend themselves. Team C though? They had followed his lead in going all-in on the black flag. Could Himiko have emptied them too? There had been moments when he had lost sight of her. Times when she had just vanished. What had she been doing when no one could find her?
How many flags did they have now?
With only a few yards separating himself and the base, he stopped listening to himself and did what came natural to him. He blew shit up.
Ripping his hands up, he pointed them right towards the open window Izuku stood in and fired. On the roof above Mei lept to safety, her Wire Arrows pulling her out of harm's way, exactly like Katsuki expected. Izuku, however, didn't do what Katsuki had expected. The room Izuku was in had two openings. Front and back. Katsuki had been ready to give chase when Izuku dove out the back.
He had expected him to run away.
Instead, he jumped out the front window and collided right into Katsuki, sending them both tumbling to the ground.
He hadn't run. He had attacked.
Hitting the ground, Katsuki ripped and tore at the grass and he hurried to right himself, only to feel himself get yanked back by his own gym top. The bright green glow clued Katsuki immediately on what was happening. While he had tried to get up, Izuku had simply rolled on the ground to face him and with both his hands out, was using his Quirk to keep Katsuki back.
Like hell, you little shit!
Ripping his arms free of Izuku's hold, he propelled himself forward, breaking free completely. He landed right on top of Izuku. One boot just past his head, the other right under his shoulder. Swinging his hands forward, his palms were now pointed right at Izuku, popping and sizzling as he readied to fire. At the same time Katsuki did this, Izuku reached out and grabbed two large boulders, left as obstacles, and ripped them from the ground. Swinging his own hands up to face Katsuki, he pulled the stones hard, to throw into Katsuki's side.
"TIME IS UP!"
Midnight's announcement over the loudspeakers was accompanied by a loud buzzer that cut through the noise of the match.
As everyone around them stopped their attack, groaning in annoyance or simply bent over trying to catch their breaths, Katsuki and Izuku were frozen in place. Twin stones levitating right next to Katsuki where Izuku had stopped them at the buzzer, and Katsuki's hands, smoking and dripping sweat poised to unleash an explosion right into the prone Izuku. Neither moved. Both knew the match was over, but neither made any move to drop their guard. Both were simply frozen in mid-attack.
"Um, guys," Mei said, dusting herself off, "The match is over. You can get up now. You both look ridiculous posing like that."
Izuku's eyes never left Katsuki's hands, looking for some tell that the paused attack was going to be unleashed. Slowly, Izuku let his Quirk relax and let the stones drop to the ground with dull thuds. Katsuki let his gaze flick to the side, eyeing the grounded rock before his hands stopped smoking and he pulled himself back. Taking a few steps back, he gave Izuku room to stand. Both continued to stare each other down for a few more seconds before they were interrupted as Eijirou came running up to them.
"Hey, Bakugou! Were you able to get the flag?"
Clicking his tongue against his teeth in frustration, Katsuki jerked his thumb over towards Izuku, "Use your damned eyes, Shitty Hair."
Looking over at Izuku, Eijirou spotted the flag still wrapped around Izuku's wrist.
Eijirou's shoulders slumped disappointed that their chance to secure a win was gone, "Man we got played."
Righting himself gave Izuku a thumbs up, "Great job, man. You guys had our number from the start."
Izuku blinked a few times before rubbing the back of his head, embarrassed at the sudden praise, "It wasn't anything that special, plus all I did was think up some ideas. Everyone else were the ones who made it all work. Plus, Toga did most of the work keeping you all distracted for almost the whole match."
"Come on, Izuku, give yourself more credit than that." Himiko walked up to them smiling brightly. Her front was now recovered and her face was her own, but her body, the gym clothes, looked like melted wax, her transformation barely holding together.
"It was your idea that let us kick ass just now...Speaking of ass, you guys and the rest of your team better line up to kiss some."
Katsuki's face darkened but he was cut off by Eijirou, "what do you mean, Toga?"
Himiko pointed back to Team C's base, where Ochako and Hitoshi were shaking hands and looking pretty pleased with themselves, "Those two probably just saved the rest of you from a one way trip to the stands."
Eijirou tilted his head, "Wai,t huh? What'd they do? I never saw them at all during the-"
Katsuki swore, loudly before stomping off with Eijirou following after him. He had seen what Himiko had really been pointing at. All the red flags sticking out of their pockets. It was bad enough he hadn't been able to get the win, now he'd owe Ochako and Hitoshi for possibly saving their team from losing.
"All right teams! It's time to announce the winners who will be moving on to the next round! Team A, you were able to keep hold of your reward, so it all comes down to which teams got the most flags."
Cracking her whip, the giant projection behind Midnight popped up with the four teams and their flag totals.
Team A: 18
Team B: 5
Team C: 9
Team D: 0
"Team A you are the winners with Team C in second place. Members from these two teams will advance!"
Team A erupted into cheers as their victory was made official while Team C sighed in relief, happy that they were at least moving on. Then underneath the team top scores, more names and numbers flashed up, showing who was able to steal flags, and from where.
Toga Himiko: 5 C-Flags.
Iida Tenya: 4 D-Flags.
Yaoyorozu Momo: 2 B-Flags
Uraraka Ochako: 4 D-Flags
Shinso Hitoshi: 2 B-Flags
Looking up at these new numbers, Mina started running over them and the final score, "Hey wait a second...we only had three of our original flags left!"
Mashirao nodded, "If Uraraka and Shinso hadn't broken off and captured the flags they did, there's a good chance we would have lost."
Overhearing the two talk, Katsuki gritted his teeth. It had been exactly what he had been afraid of. Not only was he not able to get the win, but it had been Hitoshi and Ochako that had saved their team.
Over the loudspeakers, Present Mic announced that there would be a short intermission as everyone broke for lunch. Afterwards, the third event of the day would be officially announced. As everyone started to disperse, Ochako waved off several congratulations from the other team members and heartfelt thanks from her own. Dark Shadow was openly weeping in joy while Fumikage tried to ignore how embarrassed he was over his shadow's action. Moving through the crowd, Ochako scanned everyone as she looked for Izuku. She wanted to be sure to congratulate him. And maybe slap him over the head for pulling off such a dastardly plan. She found him with a few members of his team, Momo, Tenya, Mei, and Himiko, still stuck wearing her melting disguise. They were all still basking in their win, judging by the smiles they all had. She was about to call out to them, when Himiko suddenly wrapped her arms Izuku his neck and leaned in to say something right into his ear that left Izuku babbling and blushing. Momo put a hand over her mouth, while Tenya's hands chopped in the air. Himiko skipped back, laughing at all their reactions.
As Ochako inched forward, she finally got close enough that she could hear the end of Momo and Tenya's reactions.
"A joke is one thing, but that was so scandalous. Imagine if someone who didn't know she wasn't serious heard that."
"To invite Midoriya into the girls' locker room for a quick shower to get cleaned up. Toga goes too far sometimes. As her friend and class representative, I think I need to have a talk with her."
Izuku sputtered and tried to play it off, but he was so flustered he couldn't really speak, and was just waving his hands around. If Ochako wasn't fuming, she might have said he looked pretty funny. But she was fuming. Grinding her teeth together, Ochako turned away from Izuku, and towards the tunnel that Himiko had disappeared into.
Alright...Enough is enough! I'm nipping this in the bud right now! Toga is not going to keep harassing Deku like this!
While Ochako went after Himiko, Izuku was finally able to get himself under control, "Really guys, she just has a...unique sense of humor is all. Don't be so hard on her. Besides, it's not like she messes with anyone else like this."
Momo raised an eyebrow and rubbed her chin as she thought about that, "I suppose so…"
"Regardless, let us get going. We are on an intermission and should use the time to eat and prepare ourselves for what's to come. Midoriya, let's go find-"
"Midoriya," Shouto cut off Tenya as he walked up to the group, giving everyone else a brief nod, "I'd like to talk to you before you go eat. Follow me."
Izuku blinked, startled at the sudden command, what could Todoroki want to talk about?
Noticing the concerned look from Tenya, Izuku put on a smile and hastily replied, "Sure, not a problem. Iida, save me a seat, alright?"
"...Alright. I'll find Tsu and the rest and we'll make sure to save you a spot. Just don't take too long."
Shouto simply turned and walked away, with Izuku following close behind. Neither were aware that their leaving together had grabbed the attention of someone else.
Izuku followed after Shouto until the other boy had led him down a hallway and to a tunnel entrance that was isolated from the main entrances, and all the people coming and going. Something Izuku picked up on immediately.
He must really want some privacy. What could this be about?
Shouto stopped and leaned against a wall, eyeing Izuku who stopped walking when he could stand across from him. For a brief time neither said anything. The longer the quiet went on, the more Izuku swore he was being examined. Shouto's cold glare never let up and the only reason Izuku was sure the drop in temperature around him wasn't because of Shouto was because he didn't see any actual ice.
Todoroki…He's as intimidating as Kacchan is, but it's such a different kind of intimidation. At least with Kacchan, the smart move was normally to not say anything. But I don't know what to do with this. Do the opposite maybe? Should I say something?
"You know, Todoroki, if we wait too long, the cafeteria is going to be really...crowded."
Izuku trailed off when Shouto kept staring at him. At this point he decided that he would just wait until Shouto was ready to talk. Convinced that anything that came out of his mouth at the moment would probably just make things more uncomfortable .
"You overpowered me."
Izuku tried not to be too startled when Shouto started talking, "I what?"
"At the end of the match, you used my own ice against me. You pushed me, forced me back until I broke my oath."
Izuku's eyes lowered until he was looking at Shouto's left arm and hand, "You mean...your fire?"
It's true I've never seen him use his left side besides whenever he melts his ice after class or training. But I thought it was a control thing. It's an oath? Why would-?
"It's not my fire."
The harshness, and contempt in Shouto's voice started Izuku out of his thoughts.
Shouto took a breath, calming himself so that he could continue, "When you were attacking me, you didn't let up. You didn't give me a chance to counter. You completely overwhelmed me. That kind of attack, that kind of pressure, reminded me of something. All Might."
"You might not," Shouto paused briefly. For the first time Izuku thought he saw the boy look a tad uncomfortable, but he powered through and went back to his cold self, "You might not remember, but during the USJ attack, All Might was able to beat that Nomu in a similar way. He won by completely overpowering his opponent- just like you did with me."
While the events of that day were hazy for Izuku, and a few spots still completely blank, that fight was crystal clear, but why is Todoroki trying to compare us?
"Todoroki, I don't understand what you're saying."
Shouto looked right at Izuku as he started to talk, "You fight the same way All Might does. You even use his 'smash' catchphrase. On top of that, you just happened to be trained by someone from his agency. He's also gone out of his way to give you extra attention, inviting you to lunch so you two can talk, not to mention during class he keeps an eye on you almost the whole time."
Wait!? Wait what's going on here? What does Todoroki know? What does he think he knows!? He can't possibly know about One for All, right!?
"Then there's your Quirks."
Izuku's brain stopped. He locked himself down, not trusting his thoughts, his actions or voice. He was sure that if he did anything, it would only make things worse.
"You said your Quirk was a superpowered version of your mothers. And All Might's Quirk is pure superpower. Separately, these things could be written off, but all together it's too much. You'd have to be blind to miss it."
Izuku held his breath, bracing for what came next.
"Midoriya, you're All Might's love child, aren't you?"
Izuku's mouth started moving before his brain fully grasped what Shouto had said, "Todoroki listen! You can't tell anyone about this! All Might trusted me with...wait...huh? I'm sorry what did you just say?"
"So you are his illegitimate son."
"WHAT!? NO! How could you even think…" Izuku paused as he replayed everything Shouto had said, "...Okay maybe if you put everything together like that it might look that way, but Todoroki I swear, All Might isn't my dad! My father is...he's...nothing like All Might…"
Shouto raised an eyebrow as Izuku trailed off. The change in body posture, the change in his tone and the way his eyes looked away. It all spoke volumes. Even if he had gotten who Izuku's father was wrong, the topic in general seemed to be a sore spot for the other boy. A realization that made Shouto start to feel uncomfortable. And as he looked closer, the look he saw from Izuku reminded him so much of his siblings. His sister, and brother watching from afar, left behind as his father pushed him forward.
That made him feel guilty, but he pushed it down. He brought Izuku here to talk. And while he had been wrong about what kind of relationship there was between Izuku and All Might, there was one thing he learned, "He's not your father, but you two do have a connection."
The far off look from Izuku vanished in a instant as he held up his hands and started to deflect, "That's not-"
"Midoriya, you said that All Might trusted you with something."
Izuku's hands dropped to his side but didn't say anything.
"Regardless of what kind of connection you have, you can't deny that one exists. You have a connection to the number one hero, and I have a connection to the number two."
"You mean Endeavor."
"That's right. I've never denied that he's my father, but I've tried not to bring it up, though I bet you figured it out the first day"
I mean I did, but what does this have to with anything? All Might, myself, Todoroki and Endeavor. What is this all about. Wait...what was it that Tsu said to me before the Sports Festival...
"Midoriya, I don't have a grudge against you personally, but your connection with All Might makes you someone I have to crush. If I can beat you and win this tournament without his Quirk, then that'll be the perfect way for me to show my father I don't need him or it."
Resentment. Izuku could see it in Shouto's eyes, etched in his face. Feel it radiating off him. It was a look, a feeling he knew all too well himself. A feeling he had lived with after his father had up and left him and his mother.
"Todoroki, I don't understand. Why is crushing me going to help you show you father you don't need your-" A sharp look from Shouto made Izuku quickly change his words- "you don't need his Quirk?"
Shouto was quiet for a few moments. Izuku watched him carefully, looking for any sign or hint as to what he was thinking. When his hand reached up and touched his scared face, Izuku had a sinking feeling he wasn't going to like the answer he was given.
"I suppose that's a fair question. I dug into your personal life afterall. Midoriya, what do you know about Quirk Marriages?"
The story that Shouto told Izuku left him reeling. The sinking feeling he had had was now replaced with something worse. Emotional abuse, physical abuse, all in the name of creating an heir that would do what his father couldn't- surpass All Might. A family shattered, his brother gone, and his mother- pushed to a physiological breaking point where she felt such hatred and disgust towards Endeavor that just by looking at her own child, his son, was enough to make her snap. Pushing her to try and burn Shouto's left side away with scalding water.
Throughout the whole conversation, Shouto's voice never wavered. He spoke with the same cold voice he always used. His eyes though, the more Izuku looked into those eyes, the more he felt he could see another side of Shouto.
"Today, if I can win against you- someone who has the eye of the greatest hero on him, the one person my father was never able to surpass- with only my ice, Then I will have denied my father everything. I'll shatter his dream no matter what it takes. That is why I'm here, and I won't let anyone get in my way."
Izuku was still trying to come to terms with everything he had just learned. Endeavor was a powerful hero, but Izuku had always suspected that the number two wasn't that good of a person. His interviews painted him as a rather harsh individual, on top of how often the villains he dealt with almost always ended up in the ICU before prison. Himiko had not exaggerated when she brought up his habit of burning people to a crisp. But this? This was beyond anything he could have thought of. A man driven by pride, jealousy, and spite, desperate to leave his mark on history, even it seems, at the cost of his own family.
As Izuku thought of this, something else that Shouto said picked at the back of his mind. That last line grabbed his attention.
He's just here to shatter Endeavors dreams? But that doesn't make sense. If that was the case why would-?
Shouto sighed and pushed off the wall, "Like I said, I don't hold a grudge against you. And if you alone have been able to catch the eye of All Might, then I suppose I should be congratulating you."
"But that doesn't change what I'm going to do. I'm going to crush you in the next round. I'm going to win and destroy my father's ambitions with only my right side."
As Shouto made his declaration Izuku watched him closely. That resentment still emanated from him. It and so many different emotions wrapped Shouto up in a dark cloud.
All of these emotions driving the cold and seemingly emotionless boy. Emotions that Izuku couldn't help but connect to Endeavor, because just from the story, these seemed to be the same emotions that had driven him down the path he was on. However, past all of it, Izuku swore that just under the surface he could see something else. A feeling buried deep down that even Shouto didn't realize was there.
He looks so sad.
"Sorry for wasting your time," Shouto said simply, before walking away.
The words died in his throat. Izuku wanted to say he understood. That he understood the pain of having a father who cared only about himself. That his own father had treated him and his mother like garbage. But he couldn't bring himself to say it. The words, no matter how Izuku tried to twist them around only sounded shallow, patronizing, and condescending. How could he even think of comparing the two men? His father was selfish, and had abandoned his family after only a few weeks of trying to 'help' Izuku control his Quirk. He had only done this once, and after that, he might as well not have existed at all. Away overseas, he was practically gone from their lives, except for the occasional unpleasant phone call. What he had done was horrible, but he had only done it once. Endeavor? He had committed his sins multiple times. With each child, he tried to cement his place in history, and when one failed to be what he wanted, they were cast aside and a new child was brought in until Shouto was finally born. Shouto, who now bore the brunt of his father's twisted desires to become stronger than any hero in history. Izuku had to deal with the pressure from his father for weeks. Shouto had to deal with it for years. Izuku's mother had been hurt by him leaving. He could still remember nights when he would hear her crying in her room, when she thought he was asleep, but she had been able to pull herself up and raise him despite everything. Shouto's mother? Pushed beyond the breaking point and left shattered. He hadn't even seen his mother since the day she burned him.
At least his own father had the good grace not to show his face again, but Endeavor stayed. Stayed in the same house, with the family he destroyed. His father, a man who didn't think his son could do anything. Shouto's father, a man who wanted his son to do everything.
So really, how could Izuku say he understood anything that Shouto went through. Although, as he watched Shouto walk away, a new thought crossed his mind.
I can't even begin to imagine what living with Endeavor was like, but the damage, the hurt it caused Todoroki...That's something I might know something about.
What his father had done, had started him on a path that left him screwed up for years. Years of a bleak existence of living one day to the next, wondering what new pain he was going to experience, because he was too weak, too worthless, to have anything else. His mother, doing everything she could just to keep his head above the water while everyone else tried to push it down. That messed up life finally came to an end when he ran into his salvation. Ochako, who burst through the dark clouds of his life like a ray of light and hope. And then All Might, who reached out and pushed him towards his dream.
Endeavor had done the same thing, sending Shouto down a path of pain and isolation that had clearly screwed him up too for years. Izuku hoped that at the very least, he had someone there for him to help him. One of his siblings, perhaps. Still, it was clear to Izuku that Shouto was still consumed by everything that had happened and that no one had reached out to him yet. No one offered their hand to save him. Maybe they had been put off by the boy's cold nature. He clearly went out of his way to keep everyone at arm's length. Izuku wondered if perhaps he was the only person outside of Shouto's family that even knew anything that the boy went through.
But I know about it. And now that I do...I don't think I can just do nothing. But how can I help Todoroki?
Ochako huffed in annoyance. She had gone after Himiko when the girl had disappeared into the tunnel after their Capture the Flag match, but had lost sight of her. After aimlessly wandering the halls, she decided to make the trek down to the first year locker rooms. Maybe she had been serious about taking a shower after all.
If she isn't here, then I'll talk with her later. I'd rather not have to wait in line too long to eat before the Sports Festival starts up again.
Opening the door to the room, Ochako slipped in, and right into the middle of a conversation between a cleaned up Himiko, and to her shock, Principal Nezu.
"...urprised you're just giving me this, though. The other one I get, but this? What kind of hoops did you have to jump through?"
"Miss Toga, you've managed to make it to the final event of the day. Don't you think it would be unbecoming if you weren't able to give it your all? And as for any hoops, do you honestly think there's anyone that could make me jump though any when dealing with one of my students?" Nezu looked like he was smiling. His voice was even still jolly and light. But underneath it, there was an undertone that made Ochako gulp nervously.
Himiko chuckled and Ochako watched as she tossed one of her juice packages between her hands as she looked down at Nezu, "Anyone ever tell you that you have a bit of a nasty streak?"
"Oh come now. I'm adorable. Now drink up, Miss Toga, I think you have a visitor."
Himiko blinked and turned to look back at Ochako who was standing awkwardly at the door. Nezu waved goodbye to Himiko and walked out. Pausing briefly to look up at Ochako, "before I go, let me quickly commend you, Miss Uraraka. Your keen eye and quick thinking saved your team from an untimely exit. Well done."
"O-Oh! Um thank you, Principal Nezu."
Nezu looked up at her, glanced back at Himiko, who had stuck a little straw into her drink pouch, and was downing it quickly with a heavy blush on her cheeks, then back to Ochako who still seemed unsure just what she had walked in on, "I'll leave you two alone now. Don't take too long, though. You should make sure you get a chance to eat something before the next round. You both want to be at your best later."
With a wave of his paw, he exited the room, leaving Ochako and HImiko alone. There was an awkward silence that drifted between the two that was only broken when Himiko got to the bottom of her drink, slurping air through the straw and squeezing the packet as she tried to get as much of it as possible. When Ochako thought she was going to suck the whole thing through the straw, Himiko finally stopped, sighing and mumbling something about it being a shame they mixed it all together because it made the flavor all over the place. Turning towards an open trash can, Himiko tossed the empty pack mimicking a free throw and smirked as it went in.
"Nothing but net. I guess if this hero stuff doesn't work out, I can try out for basketball." When she looked back over at Ochako, she seemed genuinely surprised to see her, "Oh! You're still here?"
Alright. Let's get this over with.
Taking a deep breath through her nose, and exhaling out her mouth, Ochako fixed Himiko with a serious look, "yeah. I'm still here. Listen Toga, you and I need to have a talk."
"Oookay? Can we talk and walk? I'd rather not miss lunch." Himiko asked as she started to walk for the door. She was still smiling, even if she was a little bemused at Ochako. That bemused smile soured when Ochako took a step to the side to block the door.
"No. I think it'd be better if we do this privately."
The two looked at each other. Each in a vastly different state of mind. Ochako was tense, her eyes narrowed, and fists clenched. Himiko was still smiling, her body loose and she had her hands in her pockets, "Alright. I have no idea what's going on. So please, talk. Clue me in on what the heck is going on."
Is she upset about me hiding my Quirk till now? Nah, she's not petty like-
"I want you to leave Deku alone."
Ochako's tone was firm and made it clear she wasn't joking. Himiko blinked a few times, her loose posture gone. "You wanna run that by me again?"
Ochako took a step away from the door, and moved closer to Himiko, "Ever since I met you, you've gone out of your way to touch Deku. The very first thing I saw you do was tackle him to the ground and grind on him!"
As she talked, Ochako kept advancing towards Himiko. Now that she had started, weeks of frustration- weeks of feelings she had kept in check- came rushing out, "You latch onto him without warning. Rub on him. Invade his personal space without a care, and say things to him. Imply and you'd want t-to do things just to get a rise out of him. To tease him. I don't know what's worse, that you're oblivious to what you're doing to Deku, or you don't care. He hates it. He hates being made uncomfortable."
Ochako was now standing right infront of Himiko, staring right into the other girls eyes, "You want to be his friend, but this behavior, it's past fun and games. You're...you're sexually harassing Deku. And you are going to stop."
Ochako wasn't sure what she expected from Himiko next. Denial? Excuses? Maybe an apology? It was definitely not for her to suddenly start laughing. She was laughing so hard, tears started running down her cheeks, and she bent over, clutching her sides.
"Oh, oh my god that's a good one!" Himiko took in several shuddering breaths as she tried to calm herself, "I'm sorry, but that's just too funny. Izuku hates...ha ha ha ha ha!"
Himiko held up a hand, as she tried and failed a few times to get herself under control, "Just...one sec. Oh god. Okay I'm," she started snickering again, "Wait no really. I'm fine, ha ha ha...okay really I'm fine now. Wow yeah, back to normal."
While Himiko wiped away a few tears, Ochako's face was flushed with anger. Himiko didn't seem to notice, "Okay, here's the thing. This sounds more like a you problem. Because Izuku hasn't said anything like that to me. Soooo until I hear from him that he doesn't like me getting a little close, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. And you? You can just deal with it. 'Kay? 'Kay." Seeing that the conversation was over, Himiko started to walk around Ochako, "Glad we had this talk. Now that this is done, if you excuse me, there's a lunch tray with my-"
She was stopped when Ochako turned and grabbed her arm. Holding her in place with a vice-like grip, "We are not done!"
The room went stone cold.
"You listen to me, Toga. I know how he feels. I know what he thinks. Just because Deku hasn't said anything doesn't change a thing. I'm here because it's my responsibility to look after him. I promised I would, even if that means I have to protect him from you. Do I make myself-"
That single feeling exploded throughout Ochako's whole being as her instincts reacted as fast as they could to a sudden threat. Ochako, though, wasn't anywhere near fast enough. She had only just recognized that she was in danger when her world flipped on its head, and she was slammed into the hard concrete floor. The impact drove the air out of her lungs and left her dazed, with stars and spots dancing across her vision. Sucking in as much air as she could, hacking and wheezing with each try, Ochako became very aware that Himiko was standing over her. Looking almost like she had back during the USJ attack.
There was murder in her eyes, and death dripping from her very being.
"You fucking bitch."
Himiko was pissed off. If there was one thing she hated more than someone thinking they could make her do something she didn't want to do, it was someone who thought they could make her do something she didn't want to do while at the same time being a bold-faced liar.
To wear that liar's mask so boldly, so openly, and then try to tell her what to do? That was a huge mistake. At least the heroes and teachers were honest when they tried to get her to think of other things to do. Then on top of everything, on top of the lying, Ochako had brought up another sore spot for Himiko.
"You think you know everything that's going through Izuku's head? Fuck you. If that were true, then you knew exactly what Izuku was doing back at the USJ when he pulled us out of that shit show."
Ochako stopped breathing.
"You knew that Izuku was going to stay behind, leaving himself at the mercy of those villains. You knew and then you still went along with it to save your own pathetic self. You let yourself get saved and let Nomu have him!"
"N-no, that's not- "
Himiko spoke over her, not caring to listen to what she had to say. She was past done. Done listening to some who lied so obviously and acted like she was so much better.
"And then after you left him to die, you have the gall to say that it's your place to protect him!?"
Ochako had regained her breath. The room wasn't spinning, and all those blinding stars were gone. She could see Himiko in crystal clarity, but she couldn't bring herself to move. Himiko's words kept her held down. They beat her down more than any punch she could throw.
"You don't know anything, Ochako. You think a little training and a new costume makes you ready to face the world? You think you've seen the worst this world has to offer because you fought the League? That fighting them off makes you strong enough to face the world and protect someone? Let me tell you something; you don't know anything! The world is filled with evil and horrors that would leave you screaming. The world is filled with things that can do far worse than just scar your body; it'll scar your very soul and leave you a husk. I've seen the things out there, and I know for a fact that you can't protect Izuku. You wouldn't even be able to protect yourself. So don't even try to pretend that you can."
Standing up, Himiko stepped over Ochako and walked for the door, stopping with it just opened a crack, "You think Izuku needs protection from me? I'm the only one here that can protect him."
Ochako couldn't bring herself to look at Himiko as she left. Leaving her alone in the quiet locker room. She had come here, resolved to end something. Now? Now that resolve lay shattered along the same floor she was sprawled out on. To have that thrown into her face was just about enough to break her.
She lay on the ground for a while. She might have cried some too. Because of the accusation she didn't know Izuku as well as she thought and had left him to die because of it? The harsh reality that she might not be strong enough to keep her own promise? That Himiko was right and she was the only one who actually could protect Izuku? That she might be losing a part of her bond with Izuku as a result? It could also be because she was so unbelievably frustrated she had just gotten her ass handed to her so easily.
It could have been any one of these single reasons or some combo of them all but despite this, slowly she sat up. The act itself was like gathering the shattered pieces of her resolve. Standing up was putting them back together, even if it wasn't a perfect fix. Using a sleeve to wipe her cheeks, and wincing at the full ache that ran along her back and head, Ochako left the locker room. Himiko's words echoing inside her.
I'm the only one here that can protect him.
Those words, on top of everything else dampened the fire in her. But each step forward, it was like a press of a bellow, feeding the forge inside her. Each step, feeding and heating the fire of her spirit. It would take a little time, Himiko's words had done a lot, but eventually that fire would blaze again. Ready to reforge her resolve into something new.
If she was willing to temper it with some to keep it from being so fragile and easily broken again.
"Uraraka? Everything alright?"
Ochako stopped, stunned at the new voice. Turning around, Ochako found Midnight standing just around the corner. The normally energetic woman was visibly subdued and her eyes never left Ochako. She briefly wondered if the teacher knew what had just happened, but even if she had been right outside the locker room, she would have had to know to listen. The walls weren't so thin that even a loud conversation could be heard by someone passing by.
Putting on her best smile, Ochako waved at Midnight, quickly brushing off her concerns, "Oh, I'm fine. Just some pre-match jitters, I guess. It's exciting to have made it to the third round."
Midnight frowned; her eyes seemed to bore into Ochako, "You're sure there isn't anything you want to talk about. Or need help with?"
Pausing, Ochako's smile almost faltered, but the young woman kept it up, "It's fine. Nothing I can't handle."
"...Alright. Why don't you head on to the cafe? Don't want to move onto the round on an empty stomach."
"Yes, sensei." With a nod, Ochako turned and hurried down the hall. While she was still shaken inside, she knew that this was a problem between herself and Himiko now. And it was a problem she was going to address. One way or another.
When Nezu had called her and told her she needed to urgently head for the first years girls locker room, Midnight had been alarmed, and started to hurry for the room immediately. When he mentioned that there was without question going to be a confrontation between Ochako and Himiko, she had broken out into a sprint. From her talks with Himiko, she knew the girl had issues with Ochako. There was something about the girl that rubbed Himiko the wrong way. It didn't really help that Himiko couldn't say exactly what it was that got under her skin. It always came down to some lie that Ochako was always telling, but Himiko had no idea what the lie even was.
Nezu then finished his call by giving her an order. Listen in, but do not interfere unless she was sure someone's life was at risk.
She almost cursed him out then and there, but held back. Confrontations between students weren't exactly rare. U.A. was practically a breeding ground for rivalries; she herself had said so to Midoriya back during his first week. By telling her to stay out of it and let it play out, it boiled down to simply this. Did she trust Himiko not to step over the line? The way Nezu spoke, he seemed sure there was going to be some kind of physical altercation, but would Himiko leave it at that? Reaching the locker room, Midnight pressed her ear to the wall and listened. Judging by what she heard, she had arrived quickly enough to only miss a little of the start. But what she heard made it easy to fill in. It was a heated and one sided start. When Himiko had finished laughing, and she heard her move to leave, she hoped that was the end of it. But Ochako must have done something to stop her, and she kept going.
Then Midnight heard the thud, and she felt her heart race. There was no question in her mind that Himiko had attacked. But how had she? A shove? A punch? Enough to force her to step in? A hacking cough and wheezing breaths let her know that Ochako wasn't dead at least. Then Himiko started to talk, to vent. To accuse and lecture.
You don't lecture someone you plan to kill.
Himiko left the locker room right after she was done, with the door opened. Midnight caught her next words perfectly.
"You think Izuku needs protection from me? I'm the only one here that can protect him."
Exiting the room, Himiko's eyes immediately zeroed in on Midnight, who looked back at her, mirroring her seriousness, "We are going to talk about this tonight."
Himiko didn't argue. She didn't complain. She didn't even roll her eyes in annoyance. She just nodded, and mumbled a simple, "Yeah…" before turning and walking away.
Midnight waited in the same spot, she could hear Ochako break down briefly. She was tempted to go in, but after only a minute, she heard the crying stop and Ochako shuffle around. She wasn't sure what she expected to see when Ochako left the locker room, but the brief look she got put most of her fears aside.
Ochako looked determined.
So at least there was that. Though, that also meant that whatever was going on between the two wasn't over yet. Not by a long shot.
Watching Ochako turn a corner and leave, Midnight let out a long and heavy sigh, "I swear, these kids are going to make me go gray."
Something happened. Something changed.
That was the only conclusion Izuku could come up with for the strange behavior of Ochako and Himiko. During their lunch, the two had very obviously tried to sit as far away from the other while they ate. Not even joining the rest of the group at their table, they had eaten at opposite sides of the room. The odd situation was brought up by Tsu, but Tenya downplayed it, assuming the two were probably in their own heads, getting ready for the upcoming third event.
Izuku wasn't so sure of that. There had always been some weird kind of tension between the two. Try as he might, Izuku had never been able to figure out what was the reason the two butted heads. Now though, it was open hostility. He saw them sneak looks at the other. He didn't want to use the word, but hate fit the look they had in their eyes.
Now, not only did he have Shouto's words ringing in his head as he joined everyone back out to the field, but now he also couldn't help be worried over what was going on between those two. He had tried to ask, moving through the crowd to find them, but both had simply said 'nothing was wrong.'
Sighing, Izuku decided that this was not something that he was going to be able to figure out at the moment, and turned his attention back to the podium as Midnight got up to address the crowd.
I just have to make it through this next event. Then...then I can try and figure this whole thing out.
He didn't like that he was having to put his friends' problems out of his mind like this, but he knew that if he focused on them, and Shouto too, he wasn't going to be able to focus on the Sports Festival. And while harsh, if Ochako and Himiko wanted to have their best chance today too, they would have to deal with whatever was bothering them so much.
"Alright, it's time to see what the members of the two winning teams will be doing for the third and final event!"
With a crack of her whip, the giant screens around the arena began to spin. Izuku watched the screens, feeling his whole body radiate anticipation.
While the sports are different every year, the final event is always some kind of one-on-one competition. Last year was a racquetball match. That had been fun to watch.
Slowly the spinning list of events slowed down, before snapping to a stop and landing on the third and final event.
While he was shocked, Izuku wasn't disappointed with the result. In fact, in many ways this was exactly the kind of sports match he wanted. Afterall, there isn't much a person can do to refute who wins in a one-on-one fight.
Izuku wasn't the only one that found this result satisfactory. Ochako clenched her fists, but was able to keep herself from looking at either Himiko or Katsuki, the latter who had an almost feral grin on his face as he got excited at the chance to put down some uppity extras.
"Now that the event is decided! Let's see who will be facing off against who!"
A large bracket popped up on the screen, and at the end, the names of eighteen winners began to fill in under each empty spot until the whole bracket was completed.
Round 1: Midoriya Izuku vs Hatsume Mei
Round 2: Yanagi Reiko vs Kaminari Denki
Round 3: Bakugou Katsuki vs Kirishima Eijirou
Round 4: Monoma Neito vs Shinso Hitoshi
Round 5: Toga Himiko vs Ojiro Mashirao
Round 6: Uraraka Ochako vs Ashido Mina
Round 7: Yaoyorozu Momo vs Tokoyami Fumikage
Round 8: Todoroki Shouto vs Iida Tenya
Eijirou slapped his hands together, "Ha! Looks like it's you and me in the first round."
Katsuki just huffed and growled out, "I'm going to fucking destroy you."
"That's if your fireworks can get past my defences," Eijirou countered confidently.
While the rest of the students began to size up their opponents, Tenya glanced over at Shouto and found the other boy staring at him coldy, Neito was smugly smirking at Hitoshi, and Mashirao tried not to think about fighting someone who had just run circles around him in the last event, izuku let his eyes wonder from his name on the bracket, to where Ochako's name was. Curious to see, despite knowing he should be focusing on his current opponent, when he would be facing her. Following the lines, Izuku felt himself tense. It would be in the finals. The final match of the tournament, of the whole Sports Festival, was when he would have to face Ochako.
"Now that we have our bracket determined, it's time for the recreational games," Midnight said with a smile, that wasn't predatory.
"This is still a school sports festival. You all should have the chance to have some fun, too. So have some fun. The tournament will begin afterwards!"
While the rest of the first years began to compete in the recreational events, the final constants either watched and cheered on their classmates or kept to themselves as they waited for the tournament, not wanting to risk anything so that they could be at their best for the last event. Izuku found himself standing alone. His friends being part of the later group, choosing to spend the time mentally preparing for the upcoming matches.
"Hey, Midoriya," Mei tapped Izuku's shoulder to get his attention before motioning towards one of the empty staff tunnels, "Do you have a second to talk privately?"
"Um okay?" Taken a little off guard, Izuku found himself answering and nodding his head on reflex. Not giving him a chance to change his mind, Mei started walking, dragging Izuku with her.
Wait, why does Hatsume want to talk to me? I don't think I can deal with another bombshell heart-to-heart today.
Walking into the tunnel, Izuku was startled to find other students waiting for them, all carrying various cases and containers. While Izuku gave them and the stuff they had an inquisitive glance, Mei spoke up, answering his unasked question.
"These are guys from my class. They're just dropping off some of my babies for me."
One of the support students grunted as he placed a large metal suitcase on the ground, "I think that's everything on the list you gave us. You sure you want all of this Hatsume?"
"Yeah this is a lot of stuff."
Mei gave them all a thumbs up, "I got it totally under control. Thanks, guys!"
With some still looking befuddled and some seemingly just used to Mei's eccentricities, the group left the two and large pile in the tunnel. Leaving Izuku to wonder just what was going on.
"So Hatsume, what did you want to talk about?"
Mei smiled brightly, "My babies, of course. Here let me show you."
Mei hurried around, opening cases and giving Izuku a quick rundown on what each was. Some he recognized from a few of his visits to the Development Studio but others were brand new. Blinking at all the impressive gear, Izuku could only nod his head as he listened to Mei, who was doing her best impression of an infomercial pitchman, "Um why are you showing me all of these?"
"Well so you can pick out which ones you'll wear in our match, of course. I don't have any of the gear from your costume ready yet, so I figured I'd let you pick from everything that I've made to make up for that."
"I'm sorry, what?"
"Well," Mei looked away, scratching at her chin, "I figured that since I'm going to be wearing my babies out in our match. It's only fair that you get to wear some too."
...WOW she's really bad at lying isn't she.
"You just want to use me to show off more of your inventions to the crowd and any investors that might be watching. Don't you?"
Mei was silent for a few seconds before reaching down and pulling out a pair of boots, "These are electromagnetic boots. They don't have the same propulsion power as my Hover Soles, but they're much sleeker and they'll boost your mobility a lot too-"
"Hey! No changing the subject...even if those do look pretty cool."
Mei sighed, "Alright. You're right. I'm not really interested in the tournament. I got to show off in the first two events, and a showcase in a one-v-one fight would be a nice way to round out my sales pitch. So after we're done showing off, I'll bow out and you'll get a win to move onto the next round. Sound like a deal?"
"No." Was Izuku's immediate reply.
"But why? This is a big chance to get my babies out and in front of potential customers! I promise I won't do anything underhanded if that's what you're worried about. None of my babies will force you out of the ring. It's an honest free win. You just have to humor me a little is all!"
Izuku just shook his head, "It's not that I don't trust you, Hatsume. I just can't accept a win like that."
Mei looked genuinely confused, "But a win is a win right? Is this a macho thing?"
"It's more a heroics thing. I'm here because I want to take this opportunity to become a hero. You want to show off your inventions to investors and customers. I want to show off myself to professional heroes here to scout out tallent. If I didn't earn my win, they'll know. But more than that, I'd know I didn't earn the right to proceed to the next round. I think everyone who made it to this final event would say the same thing, too. I mean, you wouldn't be as proud of one of your babies if someone else built it, and said you could take the credit, right?"
"Well...crud." Mei's shoulders slumped in defeat. When Izuku put it like that, she couldn't argue against his point. She was about to start packing her gear up, when Izuku continued.
"Besides I'm surprised you don't have more faith in your own babies."
"I know that you've made some incredible support gear. What you used today alone was just awesome. And the things we've talked about for my costume are always so incredible."
"But you kept turning so many of my idea's down, though." Mei grumbled, remembering some of the hard 'no's' Izuku had given on some of her upgrade ideas. It wasn't her fault that the arm thrusters she pulled out to make his punches stronger almost threw him through a wall. It had only been a little technical glitch.
"My point is," Izuku continued on, "that you've made some really awesome gear here; wouldn't you want to show them off as long as you could? Show them how much faith and pride you have in your own work? Why just bow out so early? Wouldn't it look better for you to use your inventions in a real fight, and not just some glorified demo?"
Mei blinked before a wide, almost Toga like, grin split her hace, "You have a point! If I can show that someone with no battle experience like myself can not only go toe-to-toe with someone from Heroics, but can also beat someone from Heroics too, then I'm sure I'd be up to my neck in endorsement deals!"
"I'm not going to make it easy for you. I plan on winning," Izuku declared with a determined smile. Happy to see her turn her mood around and actually wanting to compete.
Mei waved him off, "Oh I'm not worried. Unlike your Quirk, my babies don't give me headaches. So I'll be fine."
Izuku chuckled, "Okay, first of all, ow. Second, how is that fix you mentioned coming along?"
Mei had already turned around and was going through her gear, waving him off, "It's coming. The last mannequin's head didn't explode this time. It only imploded a little. But we can talk about that later. Right now I need to get ready. So shoo, you're distracting me."
Knowing when to bow out, Izuku left Mei to her own devices. Happy that at least this conversation had been better than his last one.
...Wait!? Did she say explode!? Did she say Implode!?
While Izuku wondered just how okay he was with the idea of putting something on his head that might take his head off, his thoughts were interrupted when an announcement over the loudspeakers pulled him out of his thoughts.
"Midoriya Izuku! Hatsume Mei! Please report to your waiting rooms! Midoriya and Hatsume! Please report to your waiting rooms!"
While Izuku had sat inside the waiting room, he tried to keep his thoughts focused. Wholesome might overlook Mei because she wasn't from the Hero course, Izuku knew he couldn't afford to make that mistake. Even in the short time he'd been working with her to develop his new costume, he had seen just how brilliant she was. Terrifying and borderline insane, but most definitely brilliant. Her inventions were the ultimate wild card. Her getting past the first event, and making sure their team survived through the second was not a fluke.
If he had some idea on just what she was going to use, he'd be able to form a better battle strategy, but as it was, he would have to rely on some spontaneous ingenuity to come up with a plan on the fly.
Maybe I should have waited until she showed me everything in those boxes before convincing her to try and win, Izuku thought with a bitter smile.
Even as he thought of his upcoming fight, he couldn't stop himself from thinking about other things too, even if he knew he couldn't afford to be distracted. First was of course Katsuki. Fate must have decided to have a laugh when it made the final event an actual fight. He wanted to use today to settle things with Katsuki once and for all. What better way was there than a chance for the two to beat each other senseless until one of them drops? Then his mind drifted to Ochako and Himiko. Seeing his two friends now so openly hostile was disturbing and made Izuku want to act, even if he wasn't sure what he should or could do. On one hand, Ochako was his best friend, and his immediate reaction was to come to her defence and try and cool everything down. On the other hand, after learning about Himiko and her Quirk and how she was so slow to come forward with it because she was worried how she'd be viewed, made him also want to look after her. It was also probably the case that whatever was going on between the two was none of his business and that sticking his nose into it could probably just make things worse.
Then of course there was Shouto and the dumpster fire that was his father-issues. Sitting in the waiting room, he had time to think about everything Shouto had told him. And the more he thought about it, the angrier he got. Of course he felt angry at Endeavor. The man was a hero; that was supposed to mean something. He was supposed to be a symbol for everyone to follow, not be a jealous monster that schemes easy to come out on top. It was disgusting. Yes, that made him angry, but so did some of the other things Shouto said. Things that might have gone overlooked by anyone else, Izuku found himself zeroing in on them.
Todoroki, what you're doing-
A knock on the door startled Izuku out of his thoughts. Looking up, Izuku called out to whoever was on the other side, "It's open!"
Izuku jumped in his seat when All Might stuck his head in, "Ah! Young Midoriya. Excellent. I was worried I might pick the wrong door."
Laughing, Izuku shook his head, "You probably shouldn't worry too much. Hatsume probably wouldn't even notice you."
"Ha ha ha. You might be right. Power Loader has told some of us teachers some...interesting stories."
"I think you have to be a little crazy when you're brilliant. It's probably a rule."
All Might smirked, "Says the boy who is an expert in analysing Quirks."
"All Might!" Izuku looked away, but didn't refute the claim. He knew he could be a little...overzealous when it came to Quirks and Heroes. "So All Might, what are you doing down here. Is everything alright with Mom and Eri?"
"Oh they're both just fine, though we've had to spend some time teaching Eri that there are some things that little girls should not copy." All Might said with a chuckle.
"She's copying what she saw you do during that second round."
Izuku blinked, What she saw me doing? But I was hiding out for almost the whole match. It was Toga out... there….
Izuku's hand covered his mouth and he gasped in horror, "Oh no! She's!"
"Yep. Your mother was keeping her hands on hers so she didn't try and flip anyone off."
Izuku sunk into his chair, "Oh Toga, what have you done?"
"Speaking of Young Toga...I suppose you know about her Quirk now."
Izuku nodded, "Yeah she told me when we were hiding in our base. Did you know, All Might?"
"Yes. All the teachers are aware. I suppose you know how it works too?"
"You mean the blood thing? Yeah she told me she has to drink some blood to make it work. I let her have some of mine afterwards."
Absently, Izuku rubbed his finger that she had drank from. The image of her looking so euphoric while she sucked on him was not something he was going to forget any time soon.
"Ah, I see. So you made the offer."
Izuku shrugged, "Well yeah. It was her idea to pose as me to keep everyone distracted while we stole flags, and she needed my blood to use her Quirk. It's not that big a deal."
Not that big a deal he says. Young Midoriya, you are far more understanding than you give yourself credit for.
"Anyway, as to why I'm here. I told you're mother and Eri I was going to go grab some snacks for her. Figured that was a good enough reason to give me time to come see you."
"Really? What for?"
Smiling, All Might patted izuku on the shoulder, "I wanted the chance to walk you out to your first match. And to tell you I'm very proud of the way you've fought today. Two first place wins in two events. Very impressive."
Izuku blushed and rubbed his hands together bashfully, "I mean I didn't do it alone."
"True, but what's important is you found a way to win. And to do it in a way that showed off what makes you great. Your control over your Quirk has come a long way. Before, even if Young Uraraka had removed your gravity, would you have been able to move around like that?"
Izuku shook his head while All Might continued, "And then there was the team event. I could tell you took charge immediately and set about putting a plan into action. Don't underestimate your wins, Young Midoriya. You showed ingenuity and leadership in spades already."
"MIDORIYA IZUKU! HATSUME MEI! PLEASE MAKE YOUR WAY TO THE FIELD! YOUR MATCH IS ABOUT TO START!"
"And now, Young Midoriya, it's time to show the world your strength."
"HEY GUYS, ARE YOU READY!?"
Present Mic's voice screamed out over the cheering crowd, as he pumped them up.
"After two incredible rounds, it all comes down to this! A serious battle! This is the one-on-one event where you can only depend on yourself! To win, you'll need heart, skill, body, wisdom and knowledge! These are the keys to open the way to the top!"
Around the newly finished fighting arena, large pillars of fire shot up into the air. The pyrotechnics fuels the excitement in the stadium.
"Listeners here and everywhere! It's time to get the final event underway! Let's hear it for the fighters of round one! First up, even though he's dominated the day, he looks a little green around the gills! From the Hero Course, put your hands together for Midoriya Izuku!"
Izuku rolled his eyes and tried not to think about how many people were watching him at the moment.
Seriously? That's my intro?
"Versus- A lady who's inventions are as dangerous to herself as they are to everyone else and it looks like she's brought her whole workshop with her! From the Department of Support, the madwoman herself, Hatsume Mei!"
As Mei entered the arena, Izuku felt his eyes bulge. Not only was she wearing enough gear to pass as a cyborg, she was pulling huge boxes behind her on a hover flatbed.
Wait a second? Did she bring everything with her!? There wasn't this much gear back when we were talking!
Izuku's eyes quickly went from support gear to support gear trying to guess what each piece did. Some seemed obvious, while others were a complete mystery. Up on her podium, Midnight looked Mei over before smirking and giving the girls a thumbs up.
"It looks like our judge has given her the "okay!" If anything, this first match won't be boring! Now, lets go over some simple rules! There are three ways to win! Force your opponent out of bounds, or immobilize them. You can also win by making your opponent say, 'I give up!'"
More fire burst up, giving the match a more intense and dangerous feel. You could almost say it resembles a deathmatch you'd see in old B movies rather than a school sports festival.
"Also! Bring on the injuries! We have U.A.'s greatest doctor and heroic healer on site! Recovery Girl is on site and ready to get you all back into fighting shape! So don't worry about silly morals and ethics. If you want to win, you have to fight!"
Izuku swore, he swore that from the stands, namely the student section, he could feel eyes boring into him. Warning him not to be stupid.
It feels like someone doesn't trust me. It's not like I go around doing stuff that gets me hurt on purpose. I'm not that bad!
The eyes looking at him looked harder.
I'm not that bad! I'm a victim of circumstance!
"But of course, anything life-threatening is a no-go! Heroes should only use that kind of force if they have to stop a villain! So our judges and safety officials are ready to step in if things get too crazy!"
While Midnight nodded, on the other side of the arena, Cementoss waved to the crowd, promising to step in if he had to protect the students.
Midnight stepped up and pointed her whip at both Izuku and Mei, "Fighters, are you ready?!"
Izuku nodded, while Mei smirked devilishly. Midnight nodded, "Then let's get this fight underway! Ready…" Izuku took a deep breath as he felt his whole body tense up, "...FIGHT!"
With that, Midnight dropped her whip, signaling the start of the match and immediately Izuku rushed forward. He only made it a few steps when Mei put a hand over her ear, and a sudden, horrible feedback ripped through all the loudspeakers in the stadium. Izuku covered his ears, while above, Present Mic started playing with the audio controls in his booth.
"Whoops! Sorry about that. Ah there we go, looks like I'm all hooked up!"
Izuku blinked in confusion as the feedback died down and Mei's voice started to come through all the loudspeakers. Taking her hand away from her head, Izuku saw she had a small over-the-ear mic on.
Wait, what is going on?
"I'm sorry, Present Mic-sensei! But I'm hijacking your audio equipment for a little bit." Mei smiled brightly as she raised her hands out towards the crowd, while never taking her eyes off Izuku, "Ladies and gentlemen! I'd like to welcome you all to my glorious demonstration! Today, I will show you, and the world, that no Quirk is a match for the right gear!"
I'm sorry, HUH!?
300k! I can not even...like holy crap!
I swear everyone! This is an Izuocha fic! It is! Even if Himiko is giving Ochako a beating in the Dekubowl...and in real life.
So, I can not believe I was able to get this chapter out as quickly as I did. I hope you all liked it. Like the flying scene in the last chapter, the two big Toga moments have been a long time coming. Her confession and dumping on Katsuki have been something I've had planned for such a long time. It was so much fin getting them down on paper finally :D
The Shouto / Izuku talk gave me a lot of issues. I knew I wanted to draw some parallels between their fathers, but the dialog was so tricky. This scene has been done so many times by better writers it was really intimidating. I hope it came out okay.
Now its time for the tournament! Got my bracket made up and ready to go. Feel free to place your bets. Let's have a little March Madness...in July!
Thank you to all you wonderful readers who have taken the time to read my story! You all are awesome! If you'd like, please feel free to leave a comment or review! Critiques are more than welcome too! I'm always looking to improve!
And lastly a huge thank you to my beta reader Tmalasia! This chapter had over 400 edits _