Heads up everyone! This fic now has a Russian Translation that is being worked on and posted, courtesy of fanfic user alexandr-scherbak-sun and friends. It can be found an the site ficbook under the same title as the original fic. So if you search 'ficbook' and the name of this fic, then it should be able to find it. Go show the translators some support if you can!

Once again, the episode started off right where the last one ended. When Bakugo challenged Midoriya to fight him, Midoriya immediately got nervous. He pointed out that they weren't even supposed to be out here, and tried to insist that they wait to do this during class or to reserve a training area instead. Bakugo pointed out that, if they did that, they'd be stopped if they went all out.

"Yes, Bakugo, that's entirely the point." Aizawa said dryly. "We do that because people tend to get hurt very badly otherwise."

"You don't have to say it like that, I'm not fucking five." Bakugo protested.

"Your other self's actions suggest otherwise."

"What's so wrong about wanting to know who wins if we use our full strength, huh?!"

"Nothing is wrong with wanting to know. There's plenty wrong if trying to figure it out results in unnecessary injuries and property damage. There are plenty of ways you could challenge each others skills and abilities and still have it be a supervised spar."

Bakugo seemed to growl under his breath. He was frustrated at being denied so firmly, but deep down he knew he didn't have a leg to stand on here.

Bakugo had a strangely blank look on his face as he asked "What part of you made All Might do what he did?"

Some of the watchers squirmed uncomfortably at the expression, and a few even shivered a bit. The total lack of emotion he displayed while asking that was unsettling. They'd grown used to Bakugo being loud and aggressive, and the change in behavior made some of them start to realize that this whole encounter may hide something more serious than Bakugo's usual bravado.

"Um, isn't that something you should ask All Might? He's the one that made the decision." Izuku pointed out. Even he didn't understand why All Might chose him, sometimes, so how could he answer that?

"He brushed me off before." Bakugo countered.

"True, but that was before I knew how much you'd worked out on your own." All Might explained. "I don't think I'd be so tight lipped if I knew you'd pieced this much together."

Bakugo asked: If the way Midoriya admired All Might was the right one, did that mean that Bakugo's admiration was wrong?

"Why does one of you have to be right and the other have to be wrong?" Uraraka asked, some frustration leaking into her voice. "Why does everything have to be a competition? Why does there always have to be a winner and loser?"

"I don't know! I just, I just always thought that's how it had to work! If you weren't winning, then it meant you were losing because those were the only two options." Bakugo looked at All Might. "But...I've started thinking that it doesn't have to be like that." Just because someone wasn't number one didn't mean they lost, didn't mean they were losers. Eraserhead and Nedzu weren't losers. Heroes like Best Jeanist and Gang Orca and Gran Torino weren't losers either. And All Might wasn't a loser just because he had to retire and couldn't be number one anymore. He had to remember that.

As both boys stared at each other, memories of their younger selves flashed by. A little Bakugo, watching All Might win a fight and eagerly declaring how cool he was. A little Midoriya, watching the debut video with teary eyes. Between the two boys hung the question "Can I be a hero too?"

The students stared at the screen as the question seemed to pull at their own hearts. Each of them had asked themselves that question at some point, sometimes over and over again. Can I be a hero? With all my flaws, and my issues, and my challenges, and when others say I can't; can I still be a hero?

The teachers felt it too, though in a more nostalgic way. They'd asked themselves that when they were younger too, and a version of it could pop up when their own hero work became particularly trying. Yamada knew that he'd questioned if he could still be a hero after everything that happened with Oboro, and knew that Shouta had felt something similar.

"Ah, it is fascinating, is it not?" Nedzu said. "These two boys idolize the same person, saw him in all the same fights and rescues and other such situations. Yet they fixated on different things, and both came up with different ideas about what it means to be a hero. It's an excellent example of how our personal perspectives can influence the way we take in and interpret data."

The teachers turned to stare at Nedzu, who pretended not to notice.

Midoriya was backing up with his hands raised, asking if Bakugo was really going to fight. Bakugo told Midoriya he should prepare if he didn't want to get hurt, and commented on the change in Midoriya's fighting style recently. Midoriya tried to tell him to wait again, but Bakugo threw himself at Midoriya anyway.

With the flashback having pulled on (most) people's heart strings, the reactions to Bakugo initiating the fight was a bit more mixed than it would have been otherwise. There was plenty of sighing and other noises of exasperation of course, along with words of protest, but others held back their words, waiting to see where this would go. Then there were those who couldn't help sitting up eagerly, excited to see how a fight between the powerhouses would play out.

Surprisingly, Aizawa was one of the ones that held his tongue. That flashback made him think that part of the reason Bakugo decided to start this was because of some festering feelings he had. That didn't make this an okay way of dealing with them, but if he was going to have to give a lecture then he decided that he might as well get more information first so that he can make it have more impact. For now, he took solace in the fact that Midoriya was still trying to avoid the fight. He had a feeling it wouldn't last, but credit where credit was due.

As Bakugo blasted forward, Midoriya noticed he was leading with his right again. Midoriya thought this must be a feint, since Bakugo already knew that he knew to prepare for that move. However, it wasn't a feint, and Midoriya got blasted. Bakugo commented that the other boy thought too much.

Izuku grunted as he felt the impact and heat roll across his skin.

"Interesting, this is like an inversion of their first clash during the battle trial." Momo observed "During the battle trial, Midoriya's ability to anticipate that move showed how much he'd grown in confidence and ability; as well as how much he knew about Bakugo. Now Bakugo is using that very same move to show how he's improved since then, and how well he knows Midoriya."

"Yeah, I can see that. Now if only they could figure out how to know each other outside of a fight, then we'd be golden." Jirou said.

Momo nodded. How was it that two people could know each other so well and so long yet also understand each other so little?

Midoriya asked if Bakugo was serious. Bakugo flew up to try and hit Midoriya again, and Midoriya dodged. The scene pulled back to show numerous explosions from a distance, and a robot sentry noticing them. The robot sent a message to Eraserhead, telling him to go scold his students. Aizawa, who was sitting at a computer, was annoyed as he got up. As he left the room, he was surprised to be stopped by someone.

For a brief moment, some of the students got nervous when Aizawa was stopped. With how often they and their teacher had been attacked unexpectedly, they couldn't help it. But after a few more moments of thought, they realized that Aizawa just looked surprised, not alarmed or defensive. So the chances of the unknown person being a villain was unlikely.

Other students hadn't even considered that possibility because they were too distracted by something else.

"Oh my gosh look at his hair!" Kaminari asked, somehow sounding aghast and delighted at the same time.

"You look really good with your hair up like that, sir! You should wear it that way more often!" Ashido chirped.

Aizawa rubbed his eyes while the sound of giggles washed over him, which he felt demonstrated quite well why he didn't wear his hair like that during class.

"First off, she's absolutely right that you look good with your hair like that- hear me out!" Present Mic held up his hands when Aizawa glared at him. "Having your hair tied up would also make it less obvious when your quirk is activated or not. I get that showing that can be helpful during class, but during fights it can kinda give you away."

Aizawa's glare softened into a more neutral look. "That's a fair point. It did come back to bite me during the USJ."

"Of course I'm right! I could help you come up with a unique and eye catching hair style like mine, if you want."

Aizawa rolled his eyes and huffed a laugh. "I think I'll settle for keeping some hair ties on me while in costume."

"You are no fun!"

Bakugo and Midoriya both hunched down in their seats a bit. Now that the robot had spotted them, they were both definitely going to get in trouble. Their Aizawa looked at ease now, but they knew that wouldn't last, and that their other selves would have to deal with an angry Aizawa no matter what.

Back at the fight, Midoriya was asking Bakugo to wait again. He said they didn't have to fight and that Bakugo's admiration wasn't wrong, no one had said that! Bakugo went after him again mid-sentence and Midoriya cried 'wait!' again. This triggered a memory in Bakugo, of a very young Izuku running after him while saying 'wait!'. He remembered that, even though Midoriya was always behind him, the boy would reach out a hand to help him. Even when he hurt Midoriya, the boy would stick to him.

Recovery Girl sighed. "I've said it before, that boy is so much like you, Yagi, but sometimes he's even more self sacrificing than you are. I know we're all about 'plus ultra' here, but too much of anything can be a bad thing."

"You have a point." Yagi admitted, rubbing the back of his neck. On the one hand, such scenes showed part of the reason he'd chosen young Midoriya as his successor. The boy was always willing to extend a helping hand, even when it was refused time after time. On the other hand, that also opened up young Midoriya to abuse he might not have experienced otherwise. Could young Midoriya keep that heroic nature while also protecting himself better? Where do you draw the line between being kind and heroic, and putting yourself into a position to be hurt and taken advantage of? Should a hero stop sticking their nose into things if all it gains them is painful rebuffs?

Meanwhile, over with the students, there continued to be mixed feelings. The students couldn't help but be impressed by the moves that were already being showed off, but they also didn't like seeing Bakugo go after Midoriya when it seemed clear that only Bakugo wanted this fight.

"Is this really necessary?"

"Couldn't he just talk to him? I know Midoriya was being quiet earlier, but that might have just been surprise. He might have talked if Bakugo gave him more time."

"Why does he need to know so bad anyway?"

"I still don't get what Bakugo really wants here..."

Jirou raised an eyebrow. "So, you didn't want him following you around, and you hurt him to try and get him to stop, but he kept following you anyway. Did you seriously never try anything else? Like, even putting aside how messed up it is that you kept hurting him just for trying to be friendly and helpful, what the heck were you trying to accomplish? Isn't there some saying about how the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results?"

"My younger self didn't see it as 'friendly and helpful'." Bakugo said. But she did have a point about the other thing. He'd felt like Deku was looking down on him whenever he did that stuff, so Bakugo hurt him. He did it because he was mad, but also to get Deku to 'realize his place'. But that never changed Deku's behavior. Deku was the one thing in his life that his usual methods didn't 'solve', but instead of trying other things he just kept doing the same thing.

"Well, to be fair, that applies to me too." Midoriya said. "I already know that talking to Kacchan doesn't really help, it didn't help back then, and it didn't help during the final exam, not until I punched him, but I'm still trying to talk him down here."

"Hm, I told you to keep things even after the final exam. Maybe if the other me had said that too then the other you would know to punch me and then try talking."

Midoriya laughed, shortly and awkwardly, uncertain if he should have taken that as a joke. Which made sense, because Bakugo wasn't sure if he'd meant it as one.

'Even. Forget being the best, how can I be even with Deku, or Shitty Hair or any of them ever again after they had to save me? How can I be anything but the lowest of the low after I ended All Might?'

Bakugo lunged again and Midoriya dodged. Bakugo yelled at him to fight, not run! As another childhood memory played, this time of them both getting a special All Might trading card, Bakugo thought about how they both admired the same person. Then he remembered how All Might had talked to him about pride after the battle trial, and how All Might had talked to him about his anger at seeing Midoriya progress so quickly during the final exam. Bakugo kicked Midoriya in the chin, then tried to use his quirk again but Midoriya deflected it. As this happened, Bakugo kept asking 'why?'. The deflections caused Bakugo to fall down. When Midoriya saw that, he ran forward with his hand out, asking if Bakugo was okay. Bakugo slapped his hand away

When Midoriya saw Bakugo slap his hand away, something in his chest tightened. "Heh, how's that for trying the same thing and expecting different results?"

Midoriya was hunched over a bit, so Uraraka and Iida were able to share a look of concern over his head without Midoriya seeing. Then Iida placed an arm across his shoulders and Uraraka lay her hand over his. The touches didn't make the feeling in his chest go away, but he did sit up straighter.

"So, does this count as proof that Midoriya was right to have Kirishima be the one to hold his hand out during the rescue?" Kaminari asked.

Kirishima and Bakugo both winced, and Kaminari yelped when Sero suddenly elbowed him.

Bakugo told Midoriya not to worry about him. His voice broke as he asked what was wrong with Midoriya, and told him to fight again. His voice continued to be strained as he asked how he could end up running after someone that had always been behind him before. How did a small fry like him become strong and get acknowledged by All Might?

"Why is it that you became strong...while I...why was I...why was I the one who ended All Might?!"

Previous to this, there had been a low hum of background noise. There usually was during the episodes, one that was caused by people making involuntary noises or making random little comments to those around them. Given the content of this episode, the tone of that hum had been one of discontent.

When that line was said, all of those noises ceased. Stunned silence took hold of the room as the words settled in the air and in their minds.

Bakugo cried that if he'd only been stronger, and hadn't gotten kidnapped, then this wouldn't have happened. No matter how hard he tried not to think about it, it would come to mind unexpectedly. He didn't know what to do!

"No, dude, no, it's not your fault! This...it could have happened to any one of us." Kirishima said desperately.

"My power was waning far before the fight in Kamino, young Bakugo. If I had not used the embers up there, I still would have lost them, just at a slightly later date."

"I know! I know you would have lost them eventually, dammit, but he doesn't!" Bakugo yelled, jabbing a finger at the screen. "But if it hadn't been for me, you wouldn't have lost them in front of everyone! You wouldn't have had it broadcast on live TV for the whole nation to see! The whole world saw you like that because you had to rush in and save my dumb ass!" He turned to Kirishima now. "It could have happened to any one of us, but it didn't, it happened to me! It wasn't- I should have- and now it's sound like that All for One bitch actually wanted all this to happen and I was just..."

Bakugo's rage and hurt tangled his words together and made him unable to continue. Kirishima reached out for him, but Bakugo stood up and went over toe the side of the room, where he started pacing.

Midoriya looked at Bakugo, stunned. He'd been carrying that with him all this time? He'd been thinking about it...worrying about it...

The rest of the class was similarly stunned. Bakugo had been quieter after they watched the fight at Kamino, sure, but most of them figured he'd just been overwhelmed like the rest of them had been. It had been a lot to take in after all. With the way he acted, they never would have guessed he was holding in this much guilt and pain.

Bakugo continued to pace rapidly, trying to work off the emotional energy in whatever way he could without actually leaving the room. A part of him wanted to leave, wanted to deny this part of him and what had happened and the fact that all his classmates were now seeing it. But he also felt that not knowing exactly what they saw would be even worse.

Some of the students stared fixedly at the screen, trying to give their Bakugo what little privacy they could. Others couldn't help looking back and forth between Bakugo and the screen, either out of nervousness or concern. Kirishima watched him the most. He wanted to do something, anything, that might help, but had no idea what would actually be helpful. Midoriya was in a similar boat, but he looked much less. He knew quite well that Bakugo sometimes found his very presence annoying, and he didn't want to do anything that might cause things in the room to escalate.

Izuku's voice-over explained that there might not be any real meaning to this fight. Winning or losing didn't matter. But he felt he still had to go through with it, because he was the only one who could accept Bakugo's feelings right now.

'I would have accepted them, if he'd talked to me about them.' Kirishima thought. But he also wondered if that was entirely true. He wouldn't try to make Bakugo feel bad about having these thoughts and feelings, of course, but when he did hear about them the first thing he did was tell him that perspective wasn't true. He still thought it wasn't true, but maybe that wasn't what Bakugo really needed to hear right now.

Bakugo lunged forward at Midoriya again, and this time Midoriya did the same. He kicked Bakugo in the face before commenting that he could see if Shoot style worked on him. Bakugo wore a feral grin, and Midoriya said he'd go all out. He wouldn't be a sandbag!

Aizawa sighed, disappointed, but not surprised. He could see where Midoriya was coming from. Bakugo's thoughts and feelings about this did need to be addressed, and Midoriya fighting back was better than him just letting himself be a punching bag for Bakugo to take his emotions out on. However, Bakugo's mental health shouldn't be Midoriya's responsibility. It was one thing to try and be supportive of someone, but another to let someone drag you into a dangerous, unsanctioned fight just because the other person didn't know how else to handle their emotions. Bakugo's lack of coping mechanisms should be handled by the adults in his life, not by his fellow students.

As much as Aizawa cursed this place because of the pain factor, he was glad he was seeing all this. He hadn't realized how much he was dropping the ball in some areas of his teaching. As the teacher responsible for Bakugo when he got kidnapped, he should have been one of the first ones to make sure Bakugo was getting the help he needed. He should reduce his patrol hours so he could focus more on teaching this year, these kids were going to need it.

Midoriya's voice-over said that Bakugo wanted to let out these feelings by fighting, and Midoriya couldn't reject him. It was kind of twisted. Despite knowing each other nearly their whole lives, they had never talked about how they really felt before.

Bakugo had paused in his pacing when his other self got kicked in the face, letting out a grunt of pain. Before he got a chance to start back up again, he heard what the voice-over said. His eyes locked onto Deku, who was also looking back at him. Deku startled when their eyes met, but he didn't look away.

"You could."

Deku looked confused and Bakugo rolled his eyes.

"You could reject me. You could run off and get a teacher."

"I could." Deku acknowledged. "But I won't."

Bakugo nodded sharply, accepting of the words but not sure what to do with them just yet.

He'd never really had a problem before, about not talking about his feelings with other people. Why waste time talking when you can spend that time taking action? But hearing it said like that, and looking back on all he knew now, it did seem kinda messed up, didn't it?

Bakugo launched himself straight up, then came down with blinding speed and power on top of Midoriya. Midoriya jumped out of the way, and Bakugo came at him again while he was still in the air. Midoriya managed to deflect his hand, but that allowed Bakugo to land a hard hit on his stomach and sent him flying. Midoriya hit a metal railing hard enough to bend it.

The room was filled with gasps. They were gasps of awe at first, seeing the move that Bakugo pulled off and how fast Midoriya moved, then they turned to gasps of concern when they saw just how hard Midoriya got hit. The things in the mock cities were meant to be broken, and probably weren't built as strong as they would be in an actual city, but you still had to hit metal pretty hard to bend it like that!

Midoriya hadn't been very loud when that first blow hit. It was hard to make any noises of pain when it felt like all the wind had just been knocked out of you, but he definitely let out a cry when his back slammed into the railing. Thankfully, his friends had acted fast, and by the time that second hit came they already had him laying down with a towel in his mouth.

Kirishima saw that, and grabbed a towel himself. He walked up to Bakugo and held it out to him saying "Just in case."

Bakugo didn't say anything, but took the towel without resistance.

Midoriya just managed to get back up and vault over the railing before Bakugo could hit him again. Bakugo did managed to grab Midoriya's arm though. Bakugo threw Midoriya so hard that Bakugo himself slammed into the railing and Midoriya was sent rolling across the ground again.

Both boys could be heard this time around, and students and teachers alike winced at the sight of the hits and the noises that followed them. Not even Bakugo's accidental hit to himself, which might have gotten some giggles in other circumstances, got past the stunned awe and concern. Aizawa hoped that he or another teacher would get there soon, before things really did go too far, and he was far from alone in this hope.

The boys each took a moment to get up. Midoriya realized that his usual style of analyzing while fighting was taking too long. That meant Bakugo had gotten stronger. Midoriya smiled as she said that was only natural.

Bakugo frowned. How was it that the nerd could smile like that when thinking about Bakugo getting stronger, when Deku getting stronger only filled himself with uncertainty and unease and anger? And why did he feel accomplished when the nerd acknowledged that he'd gotten stronger? He hadn't felt that way since he'd seen his other self be kidnapped.

Bakugo went after him again while demanding to know what he was smiling about. Bakugo said he was sure Midoriya was up to something, that's what made him sick! He could never tell what Midoriya was thinking! No matter how much he beat Midoriya up, he still stuck close!

"I think the rest of us are wondering why he stuck with you too." Jirou said. Early on in this viewing, those words would have held sarcasm, or caustic bite. There was still some bite to it now, but it was overshadowed by genuine curiosity. She, and many others in the room, couldn't imagine sticking around someone who treated them like Bakugo had been shown to treat Midoriya.

Neither Midoriya or Bakugo replied. Bakugo because he was still confused on that himself, and Midoriya because he was giving the question serious thought. He'd considered this a bit when his classmates had first seen him and Kacchan in middle school together, and had talked to Uraraka and Iida about it a bit. So much had been happening though, so he hadn't thought much about it since then. He'd told Uraraka and Iida that it was because he admired him, and he did, Kacchan was incredibly talented and had a lot of potential. Like Shinsou had said during the Sports Festival, you can't help the things you admire.

He didn't think it was just that though.

Maybe he held out hope that, if he stuck around long enough, then things would go back to the way they were. Maybe if he did this or that right then Kacchan, who had once been his best friend, would consider him worthy again. Maybe it was like that boiling frog saying, where Kacchan's behavior changed gradually enough to him that, by the time things got really bad, he now considered it normal. Normal for someone like him anyway. It's not like anyone, besides his mother, had treated him with much kindness after he was diagnosed quirkless.

Maybe he just didn't want to accept that things had changed so much, and that, despite caring for Kacchan immensely, he didn't truly understand the boy at all.

Bakugo yelled that even though Midoriya was nothing, it was like he was looking down on him. Midoriya gasped in shock. Bakugo continued to talk, saying Midoriya's acted like he was better than Bakugo. It was an eyesore! Midoriya looked deeply hurt as he asked if that's what Bakugo really thought.

Bakugo shifted his weight uncomfortably. "I get that's not what you meant, now." He still didn't fully understand what Deku's actual deal was, but he'd seen and heard enough to know that the nerd wasn't looking down on him.

"That's good to know, thank you." Izuku said, his tone a little uncertain, but genuine.

Midoriya said it was normal to want to have nothing to do with someone who was always looking down on you. But because Izuku had nothing, he could see both the parts he hated about Bakugo, and he could see all the amazing things he was capable of! Bakugo had all the things he didn't have, and Bakugo was so much closer to him than All Might was!

Hearing Izuku admit to hating parts of Bakugo actually caused quite a stir among the audience.


"Did I hear that right?"

"I never really thought of Midoriya hating anyone before, except maybe the League members."

"I mean, it makes sense from what we saw in those flashbacks, and some more recent stuff too. I guess I just never really thought of it like that before."

"Huh, never thought I'd hear you say that." Bakugo said, looking over at Deku. He knew now that he probably deserved that, but he still didn't expect to hear it out loud. The nerd stiffened under his gaze, but just like he had before their first heroics lesson, he stared back unwavering.

"Yes, there are things you do that I hate. You've hurt me, and sometimes others. You've done some very unheroic things, but I always knew you could do heroic things too."

"The world is not all black and white, as they say." Tokoyami said.

"One person can do a lot of great things and a lot of bad things." Todoroki said, thinking of his own father. Despite how the man treated his own family, it was undeniable that he'd saved a lot of people over the years. He'd seen a number of similarities between his old man and Bakugo, and it made him wary of the boy from the start. But, from what he'd seen, there was hope for Bakugo course correcting and not going down the same kind of path that his father did.

Bakugo nodded slowly as he took everything in. He'd stopped pacing, and now had enough going through his head that he felt the urge to go stare at the wall. He didn't want to miss anything though, so that would have to wait.

It was impressive, really, how much he'd misjudged things between him and Deku over the years. He'd thought the other boy was looking down on him, but he knew now that Deku had been looking up to him, had even been envious of him. Deku had even put him in the same category as All Might, in a way, and that truly blew his mind. For all his boasts and bravado, he knew he was nowhere near All Might's level right now.

He'd wondered for so long why Deku kept sticking to him and following him around. He'd never have guessed it was because Deku was chasing after him the same way that he'd always chased after the image of All Might.

Midoriya powered up OfA and rushed at Bakugo. Bakugo realized he was going faster than before. Midoriya's thoughts revealed that his emotions made him lose some control, so he put in more power than the 5% he'd been maintaining. He hadn't realized he'd gotten strong enough to use more, he was using 8% now. Midoriya went for a high kick that forced Bakugo to block rather than dodge or counter. Midoriya said he'd chased Bakugo because he thought he was so amazing!

"Well done, my boy! That's excellent progress!" All Might praised immediately.

"It's only three percent more than before." Izuku protested.

"It hasn't been that long since your other self learned to keep a consistent 5%, young Midoriya. All things considered that's very fast progress, and bodes well for how strong you will be by the time you graduate."

"Hm, when you put it like that, I guess it does." Izuku admitted. So much had happened since they'd seen the internships that it was hard to remember how little time had actually passed. "Thank you! I'll continue to do my best!"

Recovery Girl felt a little skeptical about this revelation. Losing or gaining weight quickly, be it through muscle mass or fat, could have complications. She really had no idea how OfA would affect that though, so she decided not to say anything. It would ruin the moment, and if it caused problems later then she'd know to address that in their own timeline once they got back.

Midoriya thought that 5% to 8% wasn't a big change, but it made just enough of a difference. Bakugo stayed on his feet, but was pushed far back. When he stopped moving he wore a wide grin and said 'you passed me'.

"Speak for yourself, Deku." Bakugo grumbled, shaking his arms out. He'd definitely felt that blow land. He'd managed not to make a scene about it and kept quiet, but that didn't make blocking that blow hurt any less. He'd started pacing again for a little bit, but now he'd stopped and was paying full attention to the screen once again. He had a good idea of what that grin meant, and felt the age old exhilaration of knowing things were about to get intense.

Red hot explosions suddenly burst behind Bakugo, and he shot straight for Midoriya. Midoriya met him head on, and the fight became so fast it was hard to follow. Green lightning struck and explosions detonated. Bakugo deflected, Midoriya's footwork almost looked like dancing. Midoriya's foot passed so close to Bakugo that the arcs of lightning brushed his face. Bakugo's answering explosion shattered windows and set the street ablaze. They both were sent flying back but went for each other again as soon as they found their footing. Midoriya screamed 'is that all you've got?!'.

There was a collective gasp when Bakugo moved. They'd never seen Bakugo use explosions quite like that! Some let that breath out in cheers, wordless cries of adrenaline as they watched the display of skill and power by both of their classmates. Others couldn't let the breath out at all, only capable of gaping as they tried to take in the lightning fast movements and resounding power.

Midoriya's eyes couldn't have gone any wider. Despite feeling pain from the clash, he showed no outward sign of it. He was too caught up in drinking in every move of the fight, pride surging for both himself and Kacchan.

Bakugo couldn't help the feral grin that crossed his face when he heard what Deku was screaming at his other self. He always thought he felt most 'on top' when he was blatantly outperforming everyone. But having Deku meet him stride for stride like this, he felt more exhilaration from this than any curb-stomp fight he'd ever had before.

Midoriya's thoughts were heard again. He didn't want to admit it, but when he was more focused on winning than on saving someone, he inadvertently started spouting more insults. That was because his mental image of 'victory'...was Kacchan.

"Oh man...that's so..." Kirishima's voice was hushed and awed. He hesitated to say 'manly', because despite his broad definition of that term, it didn't seem quite right here. But something about the way Midoriya said that, and him admitting to imitating Bakugo like that, the same way he'd done during the USJ to intimidate the villains...

He felt like he could really understand Midoriya in this moment. He didn't have the same complicated and long standing relationship with Bakugo that Midoriya did, but he felt like he'd latched onto Bakugo for the same reason. He saw how amazing Bakugo could be, under all the insults and swearing, and felt that Midoriya wasn't wrong in his mental image of him. Bakugo had his issues to work out, but his drive to win was awe inspiring.

A few people couldn't help laughing at what Midoriya said. It was an amusing mental image, Midoriya being so focused on winning that he started channeling Bakugo.

Bakugo heard the laughter, but for once it didn't reach him enough to make him angry. 'I'm his mental image of victory, huh?' his grin from before gained a sardonic edge. 'Even with everything I did, and how I got kidnapped, he still...and I thought he was looking down on me. I really was being an idiot.'

Both boys jumped up into the air. Bakugo thought he'd have the advantage here, but Midoriya's thoughts revealed he had a plan. He wasn't nice enough to just go along with Bakugo's stress relieving fight.

Uraraka actually smiled a bit at that. She'd never liked how Bakugo acted toward Deku, and how Deku had often seemed so afraid of him. Despite how this fight had started, she felt like Deku having that thought was another important step for him. Deku wasn't just thinking about helping Bakugo during this whole fight, he was thinking of himself too, getting his own thoughts and feelings across rather than just letting Bakugo vent.

Midoriya kept up shoot style earlier, so now that's what Bakugo would expect him to use. But Midoriya had only stuck to that to reduce damage to his arms and give Bakugo false expectations. Bakugo was taken off guard when Midoriya switched to his fists, allowing Midoriya to land a blow right to his face.

There had been just enough build up that Bakugo had time to shove his towel in his mouth before the blow landed. So his voice was muffled when the blow hit, but still full of pain.

"I know it's already been said why this fight is a dangerous and bad idea, but I feel the need to point out that hitting the side of his face that hard with One for All could do a lot of damage. You could have broken his teeth, or his jaw, or done much worse if you'd hit his more of his skull." Recovery Girl admonished.

Midoriya winced at that. He liked to think he'd know how to temper his strength enough not to make a head shot deadly, but he'd just admitted earlier that he'd started using 8% without really realizing it. So he definitely should have been more careful with his hit.

"Similarly, things could have ended very badly for Midoriya when his back hit that railing earlier." she went on, now giving Bakugo a look.

He still had the towel in his mouth, and was reeling from the pain factor, but managed to nod in acknowledgment.

Midoriya remembered All Might pointing and saying 'you're next'. He declared that he wanted to beat Bakugo, the incarnation of victory, so he could live up to the expectations of All Might.

Yagi smiled down at Izuku. "I've said this before, and I'll say it again if you need it. You don't have to worry about meeting my expectations. You already have, and sometimes you even find ways to surpass them. You've still got things to learn of course, that's natural at your age, but you don't need to do things like this to prove yourself."

Tears burned at the corners of Izuku's eyes, and he tried to blink them away. The others were trying to get Izuku to keep the towel in his mouth, to be safe, so Izuku quickly wrote down his answer instead. "You have no idea how much that means to me. But even if I don't have to prove anything to you, sometimes I need to prove things to myself."

Despite the hard blow, Bakugo declared he wouldn't lose so easily. Before Midoriya could pull back from his punch, Bakugo grabbed him and flipped in midair so Midoriya was below him. Then he let off an explosion that blasted them into the street so hard that some of the pavement broke. When the smoke cleared, Bakugo was pinning Midoriya to the ground while they both panted heavily. Bakugo said 'I win...'

The emotions that filled the room were, again, mixed. There was continued awe at the last move they just saw, fear from seeing the street crack, relief that the fight was over, concern over both boys' health, and a general feeling of discomfort. Some of the students found themselves thinking back to the Sports Festival. Bakugo's fight with Todoroki had left them with a similar feeling of things not fully resolved. Not yet, at least.

Since the fight really did seem to be over, both Bakugo and Midoriya removed the towels. Midoriya stretched his jaw and Bakugo rubbed his face.

"Congrats, Kacchan." Midoriya said tiredly.

Bakugo looked at Midoriya, his expression unreadable, then he looked down. "I don't deserve that."

Bakugo thought to himself, that even with All Might's power, Midoriya still lost to him. But why? Why did Midoriya lose?

Some of the students looked at Bakugo in confusion. Wasn't he all about winning? Why did he sound confused or upset that Midoriya lost? Wasn't that what he wanted?

"I would suspect it is due in part to Midoriya not having full access to the power of One for All, though your other self wouldn't know that, of course." Iida pointed out. He wondered how close to All Might's full power his friend really was. If the power increased each time it was passed on, then 8% to All Might would not be the same thing as 8% to Midoriya.

"That's another reason why a supervised match would have been better, if you actually wanted to know about strength." Present Mic said. "A lot of battles aren't settled just by who is stronger, or even whose smarter or faster. The environment you're in plays a big part, and so does each person's mental state. Teachers could have given you pointers or helped you work out what the root problem was."

"Oh yes! A plethora of things can affect the ultimate outcome of a fight." Nedzu agreed. That's why he tried to make plans for every possibility he could think of, and he could think of a lot of possibilities.

A voice called out for the two of them to stop.

Aizawa let out a long breath and thought 'Finally!'

The voice belonged to All Might, who said that he'd overheard what they were saying. He apologized for not noticing.

Despite his injuries, and the fact that he'd lost One for All, the students all relaxed upon seeing that All Might had arrived on the scene.

Bakugo and Midoriya were the exceptions to this. All Might said he'd overheard, but they didn't know how much, and they weren't sure how he'd react to it.

Still, All Might coming to meet them was better than Aizawa.

Bakugo asked him why he chose Deku. He knew it happened around the time of the sludge villain, but why Deku? All Might said it was because he was powerless, yet he acted more heroic than anyone else. He said he'd thought Bakugo was strong, already strong enough to have a good chance. He wanted to give Midoriya a chance to stand in the ring too.

Yagi ruffled young Midoriya's hair, thinking back to how impressed he'd been by the boy that day. Midoriya leaned into it gratefully.

A younger, less experienced Bakugo, would have heard that explanation and thought it meant that Deku had been chosen out of pity, because he wasn't strong enough to move forward without All Might's help. But the one that was watching now was more understanding. He already had a powerful quirk; what he needed was all the other stuff that went into making a hero. The kind of stuff Best Jeanist tried to teach him. Giving Bakugo more power would have made little difference to him, at that point, but it had made a world of difference to Deku, who All Might could already call heroic.

Deep down, he could admit that being given OfA before he went to UA would only have made his own issues worse. He could also admit that Deku did deserve a chance, he'd proven that plenty by now.

Bakugo said he was weak too. He'd always wanted to be strong, like All Might was! But his weakness is what forced All Might to be like this now. All Might told him that this wasn't his fault. He was already close to his limit, and was always going to end up like this. He said again that Bakugo was strong, but admitted that he'd focused too much on that strength, and ended up burdening Bakugo. He gently pulled Bakugo toward him so the boy's head rested against his chest, and said he was sorry.

Bakugo now remembered something All Might had said to him and the others just after he'd gotten kidnapped, and he started muttering under his breath "It's not my fault. It's not my fault."

No matter what the darker parts of his mind tried to tell him, he had to remember how things actually were. He had to remember that this would have happened one way or another. He also had to remember all he was learning here, so that he could do better when they got back to their own timeline.

A few of the students made sympathetic noises when All Might pulled his other self into that kind of sort of hug, and he stamped down on his automatic reaction to yell at them or say something scathing. He couldn't stop his blush, because it was embarrassing having everyone else see this shit, but otherwise he tried to just ignore it.

The teachers could admit to themselves that they should have given more attention to Bakugo's mental health after everything that happened. Heck, all of the students could benefit from that by now. They'd have to make it a priority when they got back.

Bakugo didn't say anything, but broke out of the almost hug. All Might told them that what he'd learned from years of being a hero was that the drive to win and the drive to save people were both important parts of being a hero. Midoriya admired Bakugo's strength, and Bakugo feared Midoriya's heart. Now that their feelings were out in the open, he figured they could now understand and learn from each other. That's what would make them into the greatest heroes.

The two boys turned to each other at the same time, meeting each others eyes in sync. Bakugo could admit that all the things he needed to learn better about being a hero were things that Midoriya was already pretty good at, and Midoriya's other self had already admitted to trying to imitate Bakugo when victory was needed. It would be a long road ahead of them, one fight couldn't sort out all the issues that had built up over the years. But now, finally, they were starting to be on the same page, and that would make things easier.

The two boys gave each other considering looks. Bakugo said that wasn't what he wanted to hear, and sat down heavily on the ground. He put his head in his arms, but addressed Midoriya. 'You had the strongest lay the groundwork for you, so don't lose.'. Midoriya looked determined, and said he'd get stronger so he could beat Bakugo.

"Ah yes, much of life's frustrations come from the fact that what you want isn't always what you need." Nedzu chirped.

A ripple of laughter went through the room, part surprised amusement and part tired relief. It seemed like there would always be some contention between these two, but maybe now it wouldn't be so hurtful and poisonous like it was before.

Bakugo sighed, then asked who knew about All Might and Deku's connection. All Might told him which teachers knew, and said he was the only student. Bakugo promised not to reveal the secret to anyone, unlike Deku. All Might said he should be begging for Bakugo to keep this secret, then thanked and apologized for how considerate Bakugo would have to be because of this. Bakugo said he wasn't being considerate, he just knew it was too risky to spread this around.

"To be fair, Midoriya didn't tell you the whole thing. He just alluded to it and you figured out the rest." Tsuyu pointed out.

"Well, I'll do one better than him and have the sense not to mention it to anyone at all." Bakugo countered. "I went through all this and put all of this together, and I only brought it up with the one person I was sure already knew about it. Deku mentioned stuff about it to me a week into school."

"Heh, you've got a point there." Izuku admitted sheepishly. He really had let himself get too affected by Bakugo's assumptions during the battle trial.

"It's a bit pointless now, but I still appreciate the discretion you would have shown if things had ended up this way." All Might said.

All Might said he'd have to explain enough to satisfy Bakugo now, it was only reasonable.

"You really don't." Aizawa pointed out. "It's the nice thing to do, given that it was your old enemy that did the kidnapping and that he's figured a lot out already. But you don't have to give him every single detail. It's still a very personal story, with a lot of dangerous information in it."

"Well, perhaps it isn't strictly necessary, but I still believe it is deserved. Both due to all he's been through and figured out, and as an apology for not noticing his distress sooner." Yagi said.

Aizawa shrugged. He didn't think he'd tell the kid absolutely everything, even after all that, but it was All Might's choice.

Midoriya's voice explained that All Might told Bakugo about how the power was passed down to face a great evil, and how he himself had used it to become the number one hero. He also explained about his injury and his limit, and how he chose his successor. Bakugo surmised that if people knew about this it could cause confusion and trouble. Then he complained and asked why Deku had to tell him about it.

Todoroki frowned lightly and asked "Weren't you demanding answers just a few minutes ago?"

Bakugo sighed. "Since I was talking to Deku, I was probably talking about what he told me after our first class with All Might. Maybe if I hadn't heard all that I wouldn't have figured out enough to be told all this."

"Maybe. But would you really be happier not knowing, at this point?"

Bakugo shrugged "Probably not."

All Might repeated that he chose to use up his power, and that it wasn't Bakugo's fault. Bakugo decided that all this info didn't change his drive to be number one. He told Midoriya that he'd go higher than even him, the chosen one. Which made Midoriya say he'd have to go even higher! Soon the two boys were yelling about who would surpass the other. All Might smiled a bit, and thought that they could be proper rivals now.

"That would be the preferable option, and a nice change." Iida said with a nod. He wasn't as good at picking up on emotions, not compared to some of his classmates, but the looks and words between Midoriya and Bakugo already seemed less toxic than they had been before.

Many of the others could sense that too, and it filled them with a sort of hopeful relief. It would be a big step forward if these two could find a way of getting along like that, and would make things less stressful in the classroom too.

The scene faded out, and was replaced by their arrival back at the 1A dorms. As suspected, Aizawa was greatly displeased, and had them both wrapped in his capture weapon as soon as they got in the door. He was now berating them for fighting after just getting their licenses.

The two boys both made little noises of pain as the pressure of the capture weapon irritated some of their on screen injuries.

The sight of an angry Aizawa would usually make all the students feel cowed, even if it wasn't directed at them specifically. Right now though, they were still too focused on the emotions from the last scene for the image to have the usual affect.

All Might tried to calm Aizawa down and insisted that he himself was the cause of the fight. The scene flashed back to when Aizawa first heard about the fight and was stopped by All Might. All Might told Aizawa that he knew the two before UA, so he'd go and bring them back.

"Huh? I thought he really only knew Midoriya before UA, because of all the training and everything." Sato frowned in confusion.

"Perhaps, in regards to Bakugo, he was referring to their brief meeting during the resolution of the slime villain incident." Tokoyami suggested.

"Not really sure that counts as knowing him, but maybe he just put it that way so Aizawa would agree to let him go on his own." Shoji said.

The scene came back to the present. Aizawa glared at the boys and told All Might to explain. All Might whispered to him about how Bakugo had felt responsible for All Might's retirement and had kept those feelings pent up until his inferiority complex exploded. So All Might said it was his own fault for not seeing to Bakugo's mental care, and that the fight was really brought on by the failure of adults. Aizawa sighed and released the boys from his capture weapon.

Aizawa nodded along with Yagi's words.

Present Mic rubbed the back of his neck. "Yeah, we haven't been doing a great job of looking out for mental health stuff this year." He started ticking off things on his fingers. "Didn't seem to pick up on Todoroki having issues using his whole quirk, or didn't address it if we did. Missed Iida wanting vengeance on Stain. Haven't seen any evidence of any of the kids visiting Hound Dog despite everything they've already been through. Pretty much everything about Midoriya. Now the aftermath of Bakugo getting kidnapped."

Recovery Girl nodded too. "Yes, that is a good point. We've been stressed with everything going on too of course, and need to take care of ourselves, but we still need to do our jobs better in that regard."

Yagi let out a small sigh. When you listed it all out like that, and added in how they'd been unable to prevent the attacks on the USJ and summer camp, maybe it wasn't that surprising that some of the students didn't trust them enough to leave Bakugo's rescue entirely to the pros.

Aizawa said the boys still needed a suitable punishment. He asked them who hit first. Bakugo admitted it was him, and Midoriya said he also went in hard. Aizawa declared that Bakugo would get 4 days of house arrest and Midoriya would get 3. They would also have to clean the common areas of the dorms on their own and turn in written apologies. He also told them to visit the infirmary if the pain from the injuries got worse, but not to let Recovery Girl use her quirk to heal them. Then he commanded them to go to bed.

Both boys actually felt relieved when they heard the punishment. Since Aizawa had threatened the class with expulsion more than once, they'd feared their other selves would get a much worse punishment. It would suck to miss out on classes and have to do the extra chores, but they could deal with it.

Aizawa pressed his lips together. Even with Yagi telling him that the fight happened due to Bakugo's mental health getting ignored, he still hadn't brought up possible visits with Hound Dog. Granted, Bakugo's behavior didn't suggest he'd take that idea well, but he still should think of some way to bring this up with him.

The scene changed to the next morning, with Bakugo and Midoriya vacuuming the common room. The whole class was shocked to learn about the fight. Several students commented on how stupid they had been. Bakugo, in a great show of self-restraint, didn't yell at them and just vacuumed more vigorously.

Mineta chuckled awkwardly. "Thanks for not exploding us for saying that."

Bakugo just huffed. If he yelled at them or something Aizawa might make his punishment longer. There was also the fact that they were right, but he didn't want to have to say that out loud.

Uraraka and Iida went up to talk to Midoriya. Uraraka asked if the two of them had made up. Midoriya said he wouldn't call it that exactly, but wasn't sure what it should be called instead. Iida scolded him, saying that the two were lucky to only get house arrest.

"My apologies, I'm sure you are already aware of that fact." Iida said. Midoriya shook his head.

"It's okay, you're right, it could have been much worse." he turned to look at the teachers. "Thank you for your, um, understanding, Mr. Aizawa."

"You don't have to thank me, problem child. All Might was right when he said this whole thing happened because the adults failed. We've been doing that a lot more than we should have this year."

Iida went on to say that the two of them would miss the opening ceremony everyone else was going to. Todoroki asked Bakugo how he was going to get in his extra classes for the make up exam and Bakugo yelled that it wasn't any of his business.

"Oh! Do we actually get to go to an opening ceremony now? We can finally get the full UA student experience!" Hagakure said cheekily.

"Finally! Don't worry, I'm sure our other selves will tell you all about it!" Ashido teased.

"We'll probably see it when it shows you all there, Raccoon Eyes." Bakugo rolled his eyes. He hoped Aizawa would let him go the the extra classes for his license exam. He didn't want to delay that even more than he already had.

Someone called out a thanks for them cleaning, then the class left. The two cleaned in silence for a minute, then Midoriya hesitantly asked Bakugo what he'd thought of Shoot Style. After another minute of silence, Bakugo responded. He told Midoriya that his movements were too big. Even when Midoriya got faster, he was just able to react in time because of that, which wasn't good for a slug fest. Midoriya said 'I see...'. Bakugo went on to say that it had made him mad when Midoriya used it in combo with his fist. Midoriya said 'I see' again, but with more enthusiasm.

The episode ended there.

Izuku and Bakugo looked at each other. They didn't say anything, but an understanding seemed to pass between them.

Bakugo sighed and waved a hand to Midoriya. "Okay, come on nerd, let's talk."

"Oh! Okay." Midoriya got up and followed him to the bedroom Bakugo had been using. The others watched them, either in concern or curiosity, but no one tried to stop them.

"I'm surprised you actually asked to talk." Midoriya admitted, once they were alone. Bakugo huffed.

"Like you or any of your posse were gonna let this whole thing go without us talking. Or the teachers for that matter."

"Good point."

Bakugo sat down heavily on the bed, and Midoriya joined him after a moment of hesitation. Bakugo was at the head of the bed, hunched over with his elbows on his knees, and Midoriya sort of perched at the foot of the bed. Neither one looked at each other as they spoke.

"So...um...did you want to...uh..." Midoriya tried to put his thoughts in order and figure out what to say. He wasn't having much luck. So Bakugo decided to take the wheel instead.

"Look, a lot of stuff was said during that whole fight. We already knew some, but we got other stuff figured out too. You got anything you wanna get off your chest still?"

"Ah, no, not right now." Midoriya admitted. At this point, he was just glad to know for sure that Kacchan didn't still think he was looking down on him. "Do you?"

Bakugo snorted. "I already gotta deal with realizing how much of a dumbass I've been about stuff, and everybody seeing it. Not really in the mood for more revelations or whatever."

"So...where do we go from here?"

Like Midoriya had said on screen, they hadn't really made up. Too much still hung between them to call it that, but progress was being made. That had to count for something.

"That ending didn't seem too bad." Bakugo admitted.

"I thought something like that would be nice too. So, we could just agree to...try to be polite to each other? Or, not get in each others way?"

"Yeah, sure, we can call it a truce or something."

Midoriya nodded. They weren't at the point where they could be real friends. But just because they weren't friends, didn't mean they had to be enemies. "A truce sounds good."

Then, Midoriya took a deep breath, and held out his hand to Bakugo. Bakugo looked at it for a long moment, then reached out and took it. The shook once, sealing the deal.

The tension between them had been like static, an ever present white noise that made it hard to focus and hear each other. Admitting it was there was difficult and painful, but now that they had done it they could finally turn down the static's volume. It wouldn't go away completely, not so soon, but it would make things easier going forward.

It was decided that they would take a longer break between episodes this time. They could all take time to eat and to sleep and take some time to relax in general, which everyone was thankful for because the emotions of the last episode had been pretty exhausting. Plus it had been a while since their last long break, so no one protested.

The watchers broke off into little groups. Some followed Sato into the kitchen to work on putting food together, and some groups found a couch flop onto or a bedroom to hangout in.

"Do you think it's gonna last? This new peace between Midoriya and Bakugo?"

"I sure hope so, they can both be so intense! I don't want another blow up between them anytime soon."

"It's gonna be weird, in a way. I mean, I kinda got used to tiptoeing around them."

"Yeah, if they're figuring out how to act around each other now, then we're gonna have to figure out how to adjust to the change too."

"I'm just glad things seem to be getting better between them. I don't mind a little awkwardness if that keeps up."

"I never really thought about it before, but I think All Might is right about how Midoriya and Bakugo could complement each other really well."

"I can see that too, as long as Bakugo can keep a lid on his BS about being looked down on and stuff. Still don't get where the heck he got that from someone offering to help him."

While the others were having those kinds of discussions, Kaminari muffled a chuckle.

"What's up with you?" Sero asked.

"It's dumb, but you remember what All Might said about giving Midoriya a chance to stand in the ring? I just thought that describing it that way sounds like All Might is saying that Midoriya got One for All, for the same reason that, in Mario Kart, you only get the bullet item if you're close to last place."

"Oh my gosh it absolutely sounds like that! Though, with that fight, I feel like Midoriya was given an unholy combination of a bullet and blue shell."

"Nah, I think it's was just a normal bullet, but Bakugo got so distracted by seeing Midoriya get the bullet that he ran into a banana and spun out for a while."

"Ah, young Bakugo, I wanted to speak with you, if you have time."

Bakugo had paired off with just Kirishima after he and Midoriya parted ways, not wanting to be around too many people after the whirlwind of emotions. Still, Yagi took it as a good sign that they boy felt up to having even one friend with him.

"Should I go?" Kirishima asked, looking at his friend. After a moment of thought, Bakugo shook his head.

"Nah, you don't have to."

Both boys looked to him, and Yagi cleared his throat.

"I just wanted to make sure you weren't blaming yourself for my retirement here and now. You knew about the story of One for All while your counterpart didn't, so I wasn't sure if you still would have developed that mindset."

Bakugo looked down, and his hand squeezed around his own bicep like it was a stress ball. "I know I shouldn't."

"But you still do?" When Bakugo didn't say anything, Yagi hunched down a bit so he could look the boy in the face more easily. "You know the League, and by extension All for One, would have made a big move like that eventually, even if you hadn't been kidnapped, right?"

"Yeah, I'm not dumb, but...I just keep thinking that if I'd done better and been stronger than it wouldn't have happened so soon, and then you'd still have time, and you wouldn't have been on TV when you lost your power and stuff."

Yagi nodded in acknowledgment. "I'm sure things would have been different if you had not been kidnapped, but there is no guarantee that it would have been for the better. After all, my grasp on One for All had been waning for some time. If that fight with All for One had happened later, then it's entirely possible that I wouldn't have had the strength to make it out of that fight alive."

Both Bakugo and Kirishima's eyes widened in alarm. They clearly hadn't considered that possibility.

"It is normal to wonder about what might have happened if you'd made different choices, especially after the events we've seen. I myself have wondered at how different things could be if I'd only managed to defeat All for One years ago. I know that wondering about that won't help me now though, so I try to do my best to move forward, and focus on how I can do better in the future."

Bakugo nodded slowly. "I'll try to do the same."

Yagi smiled, and gave both boys a pat on the head before he walked away. He missed how the gesture made Bakugo look surprised and Kirishima look elated.

Izuku was smiling as he got ready for bed. He didn't think things could go back to the way they had been between him and Kacchan when they were kids, and that was probably for the best. This was the first time in a long time that he felt hopeful that they could forge something like a real friendship, though. There was still a lot going on, but he could be happy that things were improving there, at least.

His thoughts were interrupted by a knock, and he turned to see Aoyama standing in the doorway to the bedroom he was using.

"Hey Aoyama, what's-" Izuku smile fell when he noticed the look at his classmate's face. "Are you okay? What's wrong?"

Aoyama's head was bowed, and he looked troubled. It was pretty similar to how he'd looked after that flashback about him during the License Exam.

Aoyama took a deep breath, and said softly. "There's something I need to tell you."


There was a lot of pressure on this chapter, with it being so anticipated and Bakugo and Midoriya being divisive in the fandom in their own ways. I did my best to strike a balance between being understanding and sympathetic to the pain that Bakugo is going through after the events of Kamino, while also acknowledging that this whole thing wasn't a healthy way to deal with it all and that it's kinda messed up that Midoriya keeps getting put into a position where he feels obligated to address Bakugo's issues when that really shouldn't be his responsibility. I guess the comments will tell me if I was successful or not :P

Now that this episode has been posted, I'm gonna take another break to write and stock up on chapters before I start posting again. I feel like I struggled with getting this last arc out compared to the earlier ones. I'm hoping that the plot line with Eri, which myself and many others have been looking forward to, will go more smoothly.

So, on that note, so sorry to leave you on that cliffhanger with Aoyama!