"God, Christmas can't come soon enough," Sero Hanta groaned, sliding his hands down his face and his body down the bench. "I haven't seen my aunt and uncle in months; this is the only time each year I get to."

"I think mine live in my old room now," Kaminari Denki interjected. He flicked a leaf off Sero's shoulders, the tree behind them still shedding from the winter breeze. Could probably see them every weekend if I wanted to spend the day off at home, but they're those cringy relatives that knit sweaters for their nieces and nephews."

"Oh my god, they still do that?"

"They do. They don't need a seasonal reason to, either. They made one for Duran Duran."

Sero whimpered and set a consolidating hand on his friend's shoulder. "I'm so sorry for your loss."

Denki raised his own hand to pat down on his friend's. "Thanks man."

"Less sorry for you because you put up with him" — the tape dispensing student pointed across the yard to their shortest classmate trying and failing to approach the mushroom girl and lizard girl of their sister class through Ibara Shiozaki's vines — "but it's more his fault than yours so I'll let it slide."

"Oh don't remind me." Denki rubbed over his eyes with a sigh. "He was terrible last month. He kept coming to me for a distraction and I think it's the most uncomfortable I've been around him."

"He actually did that? I thought that was just an internet joke."

"Yeah, and I thought the moon landing was real, but then you meet people like Mineta and you find out shit like that is something they take one hundred percent seriously."

The two boys looked back to their classmate's struggles as a newcomer joined the group. The green-haired boy of Class 1-A waved to the girls as he picked Mineta Minoru off the group and turned away to place him back down. The two benched boys laughed watching their classmate get treated like a toddler, and they nearly applauded as Izuku Midoriya had somehow verbally convinced the other boy to walk away and leave the girls be.

"At least we have him in our class," Denki complimented Midoriya. "A shame he doesn't hang out with us more."

"Yeah, that's Ashido's fault," Sero winced, looking back over his shoulder to their dorm building. "It's been a month and they haven't talked once since. I don't get how easy it is for him to just shut off and not talk. It's kinda creepy how quick he swaps into that."

"I bet you he's an assassin," Denki joked as they watched their classmate stay to interact with the girls, quickly striking up conversation and getting close to Setsuna Tokage while the other two girls bid them farewell and walked off. "Or played AC a bunch."

Sero squinted at his classmate across the yard animate his body so fluidly as he talked with the 1-B girl, their words too far to hear, before he turned that stare to the boy beside him. "This is Midoriya we're talking about; I don't think he gets Iida levels into character like that. And AC's a Nintendo game. How would he learn killing from that?"

Denki looked at his friend with bafflement. "No, I'm talking about Assassin's Creed. Did you think I meant Animal Crossing?"

Sero turned his head away with a grunt in embarrassment before surprise dawned on his features and turned back to Denki. "Wait, did you just say the moon landing was fake?"

"What, you didn't know that?"


Denki bit his lip with a sharp inhale to follow. "Actually this is a bit strange," he muttered.

"It's really not that weird," Sero grunted, rising from a squat and resting the barbell on the stand around him.

"I mean it kinda is? Look at him." Denki gestured across the workout center, to the boy and girl spotting each other on the other side of the building. "No one else in our class talks with anyone in 1-B other than our pres. and vice pres. and Midoirya's been chatting it up with their girls for weeks. What is he doing?"

Sero followed Denki's finger across the room, to the spot where Midoriya was spotting for the big sister of Class 1-B, Itsuka Kendo, with weights that looked to press 150 kilograms down on the girl's arms. "I think he's just making sure she doesn't drop it and get choke slammed. And I bet one thousand yen Midoriya is just a physical freak. He's been exercising a lot these past few months. I feel like he's trying to give Sato a run for his money with how thick his arms are getting."

It was a strange sight to see, as over the past several weeks Midoriya's biceps had nearly bulked about fifty percent of their size earlier in the year. Denki and Sero knew the other boy was already powerful enough with his quirk; why he felt the need to grow his body even bulkier actually frightening to think about.

"But they already have Other Kiri in their class; what does Kendo need Midoriya for that her classmates don't already fill? And doesn't he train alone most of the time anyways?" Denki stroked his chin as the boy and girl across the room swapped roles and added weight to the bar. "Why would he go to someone outside of our class when he only hangs out with like four of us anyways?"

Sero shrugged and chugged down a bottle of water. "Maybe they knew each other going into this school. He and Bakugou knew each other, probably went to school with her too but just got separated by the classes." The tape dispensing boy nearly spat his water back up as he and Denki gazed across the room, watching in silence as the leading girl in their sister class felt up Midoriya's arms and chest in a public setting.

"Oh my god, I'm right."

"Oh my god, you are right."

"They know they're in a public place, right?" Denki asked as he turned his back on the pair, crossing his arms with a squished-in expression. "Like we aren't the only other ones here, too."

"Yeah, they know," Sero responded. The moment between the boy and girl was short before the two dropped back into the exercise, Midoriya on his back and pressing the bar as Kendo stood over him. "You're right, this is weird. Are they dating?"

"I think they are. Just friends don't do that with each other, right?"

"I don't think they do."

"Imma just" — Denki waved a hand to the equipment Sero was using — "start."

"Is that too much weight for you?"

"No." Denki rested the bar atop his shoulders before rising straight up and leaning backwards. "Yes. Help."


"Yo, Kami, you good?" Eijiro Kirishima snapped his fingers in front of Denki's eyes, pulling him out from his glazed expression and back to the lunch table around him.

"Uh, what?" The electric boy blinked and looked around the cafeteria. "Yeah. What he said." He turned his head back to Kirishima. "What?"

"You've been quiet for the past five minutes staring into space. Everything good?"

"You didn't have to stop him," Katsuki Bakugo grumbled from the other side of the table. "It was just about to be peaceful."

"How would it be peaceful when you're here?" Denki joked, before coiling in on himself at the fiery glare Bakugou gave him.

"Well, at least you're still cracking jokes," Kirishima shrugged. "You're all right?"

Denki nodded, pushing a smile onto his face. "Yeah, I'm fine."

Not a moment later did Sero come crashing down on the table beside Denki, slamming down his tray and leaning over to his friend. "You see Midoriya too, right?"

The electric wielder fell on himself like mush as he groaned under the loud conversations from their schoolmates around them in the cafeteria. "Dude, I don't know what the fuck to think anymore. It's been eating at me all week."

"Okay, so you lied to me." Kirishima pouted and leaned over the table. "What are you two talking about? What's up with Midoriya?"

Sero pointed over Bakugo's shoulder, and the two boys beside him followed his gaze across the mess hall to the table where Midoriya sat, flanked by Hatsume Mei and Yaoyorozu Momo on either side of him. The two Class 1-A students faced each other in some heated discussion drowned out by every other student's voice, a pen being swapped between them for a notebook the three boys could barely see between their arms, while the support department student jotted away on her own notebook as she felt up the boy between them and wrapped tape around his arms and torso.

Kirishima passed a glance to the boys beside him analyzing their classmate across the room before looking at Midoriya again. "What am I supposed to be seeing?"

"That," Sero answered, jabbing his finger Midoriya's way. "Exactly that."

"Bakubro, dude, you gotta see this," Denki urged the blond boy still digging into his meal.

Bakugo didn't look up from his lunch as he asked, "Does he have two heads?"

"Uh, no."

"Then I don't care."

The red-headed boy leaned back in his seat and gave his classmates a disappointing stare. "What is so important about Midoriya having lunch with them?"

"Just look at him," Sero urged. "When has he ever been that comfortable around Yaomomo? He still gets nervous around Hagakure. And they're chatting up a storm while that tech girl throws his hands all over him. In a cafeteria. With none of his other friends around."

"What is it with girls feeling him up in public?" Denki pondered out loud.

"Does that happen often?" Kirishima asked them bewildered.

"Yeah, Kendo from 1-B is dating him and was groping his arms in the gym the other day," Sero answered.

"And Tokage from that same class was feeling him up by the blossom tree near their dorms," Denki added.

"Yeah—wait, when was that?"

"Been meaning to tell you about that one. Saw them together again yesterday playing video games. Pretty sure it was her Switch. Does Midoriya play video games?"

"No, hold on, don't move on from that," Kirishima interrupted the duo. "Midoriya's dating Kendo? Why hasn't he told anyone?"

"I'm not sure he is anymore," Denki joined Kirishima, turning on Sero. "I'm starting to think he's just like this with girls, but it's just so weird. Who just lets people touch them in public like that?"

"When doesn't Hatsume touch someone like that?" Kirishima asked.

"Yeah but that's only one of the girls. What about the other three?"

"Why does Deku's sex life matter to you three?" Bakugo interrupted them, garnering their attention. "Can you all just shut the fuck up about this? There are absolutely zero undertones to Deku being around girls."

"He's probably having sex with them," Mineta chimed in beside Bakugo, and then the table took notice of him with a shared groan of pain.

"Ah, with this shit again," Sero cried into his hands.

"I'm sitting across from you," Kaminari exclaimed, "how did I not see you sooner?"

"Mineta, bro, it's not manly to just assume that of someone's life," Kirishima complained.

Bakugo looked down at the purple-haired boy with disgust. "Why the hell are you even here?"

"Because I know exactly what you guys are talking about," Mineta began to explain. "I saw how he was last month too, and I've seen him with the girls since, and I'm positive I've figured out what they're doing so close to him."

"No," Bakugo announced, "I'm not listening to this. Fuck this shit." And with that, the blind boy gripped his tray and stomped off from the other boys.

"I am tempted to do the exact same," Sero told Mineta. "I think we all are. That is the most outrageous claim I think you have ever made. In what timeline would Midoriya ever be doing that?"

"This one. He's been weird ever since November started, and now he seems livelier than ever. And it's because it is now Destroy Di-"

"No." Kaminari shot from his seat and stumbled away from the table, followed by the other two boys leaving behind a pleading Mineta. "I'm sorry man, I can't look at you right now. You're giving me 'Nam flashbacks. I'm gonna go deal with the Christmas sweaters."

"Christmas sweaters?" Kirishima questioned.

"His aunt and uncle are sinister."


"Ya know, he might have a point," Sero noted, only to be met with a hand pressed into his face.

"Don't even humor it," Denki told him. "Don't you dare give him the validation of being right."

"Okay then, so why do you think Midoriya's been hanging out with all these different girls? How did he go from stuttering around Uraraka to shutting down because Ashido pranked him on Halloween to stuff like that."

With the two boys standing just outside the classroom and standing before the glass walls that separated them from the outside world, Sero pointed down towards the ground below, where Midoriya and who looked to be Kyoka Jiro were walking shoulder-to-shoulder down the main trail from the school building towards their class's dorms.

"When was the last time he and Jiro even talked outside of class?" Sero questioned his friend. "Like that's not even subtle compared to what he's been doing with everyone else."

"How is being groped less subtle?"

"How is that being 'just friends'?"

Denki threw his hands into the air. "Alright, fine, so he's dating them. What next?"

"All of them?" Sero quirked an eyebrow towards his classmate. "You think he's dating five girls? At the same time?"

"Yeah, that...polymorphous thing Midnight sensei brought up in class the other day; multiple people in a relationship."

"That's not what it's called."

"Polyglot."

"Pretty sure Present Mic used that word as a synonym to multilinguist."

"Polygon." Kaminari only received a dead stare from the other boy. "I'm not gonna remember it, man. Don't give me the disappointed mom look. Aizawa sensei does it enough."

Sero pinched his nose before submitting with a sigh. "You think Midoriya — shut in, muttering, quirk-that-will-snap-your-neck-by-blinking Midoriya — is dating five girls?"

"Ya know, I thought it'd sound more weird saying that out loud, but oddly enough it sounds...sound. It doesn't sound that wrong."

"Yeah, that is kinda weird," Sero agreed. "Midoriya in a polygamous relationship. Why does that sound so believable?"

"What does that say about Midoriya?" Denki looked down at their classmates again as they entered the dorm room. "Doubt he's actually doing what Mineta thinks they are but honestly them being in some kind of 'relationship' would make a bit of sense. I'm proud of the guy."

"Not even the slightest bit jealous that Jiro's probably in this relationship with him?"

Denki shrugged and spun around. "There's other fish in the sea and all that. I don't think I have it in me to be mad at Midoriya of all people for this. That's probably what it says about him. Dude's too kind to be jealous of."

"He is excessively nice, yeah," Sero admitted. "Why are we still up here anyways? Classes are over."

"Huh? Oh right!" Kaminari fumbled for his phone in his backpack before lining it up against the window. "I have to take a picture of the sunset view we get up here. I've been meaning to take one so my family can frame it while I'm living in the dorms."

"Yeah," Sero agreed, gazing out into the horizon as the purple and orange sky rolled over the city. "We do get a nice view."

"Hell yeah we do."


"So" — Kirishima clapped his hands together in front of his mouth as his eyes darted between Denki and Sero standing among the desks of their classroom — "Midoriya is just dating all of them? You're sure about that?"

"Eh," Sero sounded out, shaking his hand, "sixty percent sure."

"Eighty-five percent sure for me," Denki followed up. "I stan Midoriya being in a happy relationship with people that make him this happy."

"So you believe me?" Mineta asked them from the podium with hope in his eyes.

"No," Sero quickly shot him down. "One, it's Midoriya, and two, we're sixteen. We'd all get in trouble for stuff like that. We think it's just plainly romantic at this time, nothing more."

"But have you asked them if that's the case?" Kirishima questioned the pair.

"I'm too afraid to," Denki answered. "I got Hagakure mad because I pestered her about boys before she came out so I don't want to jump in and just assume shit to Midoriya's face and go through that again. If it's real and they're keeping it to themselves, then they can open up about it when they want to."

"Same for me," Sero admitted. "We ask them to their face and we turn out to be wrong and Jiro will probably hit me. I'm not gonna embarrass us and them by doing that."

"What, you can't just text him and ask?"

"Dude, that is what I just said," Sero stressed at the red-haired boy. "Midoriya already wrote Ashido's name in the Death Note for dressing up as the Alien for Halloween and scaring him so hard that this guy" — he pointed down at Mineta — "came running down the hall with a horse head thinking a princess needed to be saved with how high pitched his scream was."

"I really did think he was a girl," their short classmate snickered.

"Yeah and that laughing did not help him. I'm not stressing the guy out more telling him we've seen him so close to all these girls that we think he's dating them, alright? Dude's had it rough having to live in the same building as the girl who embarrassed him in the cafeteria and Ashido hasn't bothered me for weeks about crushes and ships, the cold shoulder has hit her that bad. He's our friend; I'm not gonna make him feel like shit if we say this and we're wrong and he gets embarrassed again. We're just not gonna bug him about it."

"Yeah, I ain't doin' that to him," Denki agreed. "Dude's been through enough already, who am I to judge him if he's dating like half a dozen girls? That's his business, not mine. Long as he doesn't go hurting anyone, I ain't gonna stop him."

"But what about Uraraka?" Kirishima brought up. "Do we think she's a part of this? Wouldn't she be hurt if she finds out her crush is dating all these other girls and not her."

"No, she's fine. She's got Iida."

Three heads turned on him before Denki realized what he said, and when it dawned on him the words that came out of his mouth, the electric user turned his horrified expression away from the others so slowly that his neck could be heard creaking. "God damnit, why do I talk?"

"They're dating too?" Sero walked close to his friend, trying to stand face-to-face with him as the other boy refused to look his way. "Since when?"

"Since they told me not to talk about it so I expect you all not to either," he threw a hand waving at the other boys and he still refused to look their way.

"Alright," Kirishima agreed, "guess I'm keeping two more secrets now. That's...going to be weird walking around them in class not being able to talk about it. This isn't manly at all, prying into other people's lives."

"We're not prying into them, we're accepting them without even having to ask. Big difference."

"If we are right though," Mineta continued, sitting atop the podium, "then we need to ask Midoriya how he was able to get so many girls into one relationship. That is vital information."

"But what if - and here me out on this - he did it by just being himself?" Sero spun his arms to the side with a shrug. "This is Midoriya we're talking about. Dude has a fan club down in 1-H because he knows how to smile good."

Denki finally looked back to his friend in shock. "Does he really?"

"Let's just not pester them at all about this, okay?" Kirishima chimed back in. "We're going to leave Midoirya, Tokage, Kendo, Yaomomo, Jiro, Hatsume, Shiozaki, Uraraka and Iida all alone about their relationships, right? We're going to treat them like we always do. Like nothing has changed."

"Yep," Sero nodded along with the other two boys, before the tape dispensing boy looked at the fourth boy with surprise. "Wait, Shiozaki? The vine-haired girl? Why her?"

"Oh, I saw Midoriya give her like three boxes of chocolates this morning," Kirishima answered. "It was like right when you texted us to meet you two here. You said half a dozen just a bit ago, so I assumed you mean her too?"

None of the other three boys responded right away, worrying the stone-skinned boy as the three classmates stared at him blankly. He had half a thought to call their teachers for help before each of his classmates had reacted to Kirishima's short story.

"Oh my god, I am right!" Denki exclaimed, collapsing on a desk with his head in his hands. "I'm a genius, an actual mastermind. I was right from the start."

"Midoriya is actually dating six girls," Sero moaned out, leaning over another desk and cupping his jaw. "The madlad is actually dating six girls. This is real."

"He's an actual god," Mineta praised him, down on his knees and clasping his hands to the ceiling. "We have a deity in our class. This is amazing!"

Kirishima nearly dug into his eyes when he clasped his hand over them. "Bakubro was right to skip out of this. This was a mistake."


It was a week away from Christmas, and a week had passed since the boys' revelation of their classmates' relationship, and it had been time eating away at the patience of Sero and Denki. It dampened their minds, watching the kindest boy in their class dance around six different girls at once between classes. He was never with all six at once (least to their knowledge) but it had become more common to see the girls in pairs with the green-haired boy. Hatsume and Yaomomo were the common duo to spend time with him, but the likes of Tokage and Jiro by his side one day and then Shiozaki and Kendo on another left the pair of boys amazed how well he was balancing his time with each of the girls.

They had nearly rewritten their assumption to — dare they humor Mineta — a harem, but it wasn't like those girls only got together with Midoriya only, even if not in one whole group of six themselves.

"They're up to something," Denki muttered over Sero's shoulder, their attention locked on across their dorm's common room to the two girls in the kitchen area. "I can feel it in my bones."

"I'm pretty sure Jiro is just helping Yaomomo make her lunch but I think my emotions won't let me be convinced," Sero commented. "Doesn't she usually make the lunch by herself?"

"I don't know; I don't watch her cook. Smells good though."

"It really does. It's making me hungry for pancakes though."

Denki looked over at his friend. "How does beef make you want pancakes?"

"I have no idea."

The two boys turned their attention elsewhere as their pink-skinned classmate came jogging in through the front door. "Oh, you're back," Yaoyorozu noted. "How was the run?"

"I can't feel my anything," Mina Ashido panted out, stumbling forward and collapsing on the sofa across from the boys. "Where's Iida?"

Sero gazed over his shoulder to the clock over the television. "Two hours ahead of you. Although he might still be out there since he ran off looking for you after the first half hour."

Ashido whined and melted further between the cushions. "How does he have so much energy to run? I thought I would be able to keep up just fine."

"Crazy," Jiro drew out. "It's almost like he has a quirk made for running or something." She took a sip of tea over the sound of Ashido's anomalistic whimper.

"I don't know why you thought it would be a good idea to take him up on that offer," Denki commented. "It's like you asked an Olympian to teach you a sport for your first-time experience without holding back."

"What kind of analogy is that?" Sero asked him.

"Oh, I've been reading a book about similes and metaphors to use from time to time so I can sound smarter. How was it?"

"Did it tell you explaining that would ruin the illusion?"

"No, but now I wish it did."

With what little effort she had left, Ashido picked herself from the couch and trudged along the room to the stairwell. "I'm gonna go take a nap or three. Wake me when it's tomorrow."

Sero and Denki waved her off, as did Yaoyorozu, but both boys took notice of Jiro typing away on her phone while watching their classmate escape to her room while whimpering with each agonizing step.

"What's the box lunch for?" Sero decided to ask, nodding Yaoyorozu's way as the tall girl wrapped up the box with a bow.

"This? It's Midoriya's lunch."

The two boys didn't need to look at each other to share their thoughts. "You're making Midoriya lunch?" Denki asked slowly.

The statement caught up with the girl as her cheeks tinted a soft rose, pushing the box to the side of the counter. "Yes, but it's not because of something like that!"

"Is it really though?"

"What are you trying to imply, Sparky?" Jiro countered in defense of the taller girl, and before the blond boy could follow suit, the four students reeled as the speakers blasted a guitar riff and keyboard track backed by a loud whistling through their eardrums.

"Ah, what the hell?" Sero exclaimed, looking around the common room with his classmates at the speakers blasting music around them. "What's playing that?"

Jiro cupped her hands over her ears as she sulked over the countertop, consoles by Yaoyorozu at her side. "Fuck, why is it so loud?"

"Why do I know this song?" Denki asked fairly calmly. "I've heard this before. I know I have."

In a sudden moment that surprised the four again, their front door burst open, allowing the orange-haired girl and green-haired girl from their sister class stumbling in to catch their breath, the door swinging back to limp open behind them.

"Kendo? Tokage?" The vice-president of Class 1-A aided Jiro to a sofa while ushering herself over to the other two girls. "Why are you here? What happened?"

The president of Class 1-B regained her breath sooner than her classmate. "There's a guy out there. He's heading right this way. We had to warn you guys."

"What? Who?" Sero acted alarmed, rushing over to the girls and helping Tokage over to a cushioned seat as she was able to breathe again. "Is it someone with the League?"

"Where do I know this song from?" Denki clawed at his head, rubbing his forehead as he searched for answers amidst his schoolmates' panic.

"We don't know," Setsuna admitted to Sero's question. "Never seen him before. We don't know how he got in. But he was B-lining it for here and he has a weapon."

"He's armed?" Jiro was able to ask underneath her headache.

"With a shotgun."

"A shotgun?!" the two 1-A students helping the girls exclaimed who nodded feverishly.

"We've already contacted the teachers. They should be on their way soon. But we have to hurry and get ready before he gets here—"

Denki clapping his hands together shook the students around him and earned their attention as he bounced in his seat with recognition. "I do know this song! I knew I heard it before!"

"Kami, dude!" Sero shouted back at him. "The music is not that important! The villain's probably playing it as a distraction!"

"But this is a video game song! Isn't this 'The Only Thing They Fear Is You'?"

With the guitar solo that followed his exclamation, the door to the common area peeled open, and the six present heads turned their attention to the figure that stood between the frames. Clad in green, gray and orange armor, disguised by a mossy colored helmet and a big glass visor, and hauling a double barrel shotgun in his hands, was the man Denki associated the music overhead with, filling him with as much awe as the fear easing into him and his friends around him.

"Holy shit," Sero breathed out, taking Tokage's arms in his hands and slowly trying to pull her away.

"It's fucking Doomguy," Denki vocalized his thoughts, crawling back atop the couch as his classmates stumbled back from the man slowly walking into the common area. The man in armor wasn't as tall as Denki was expecting, but the bulk of the man and the weight of his own footsteps still had him take the video game character all the more seriously.

"Where's the demon?" the armored man questioned over the music blaring around them.

"Demon?" Jiro repeated with a shaky voice. "What demon?" The punk rock girl nearly jumped back as the man turned his head her way, arms rocking the gun in his hand slightly.

Denki was still trying to wrap his head around the man's existence before him — nearly chalking it up to some man taking the look because it was intimidating enough on its own — before footsteps came stomping down the stairs. "Can you turn that down?" the voice coming down shouted to them over the music. "I'm trying to sleep! I know you heard me when I said that—"

Ashido stopped short from the bottom as she took notice of the room and the room took notice of her. Denki looked back at his classmate, disheveled from her run and already dressed in pajamas despite it only being midday. Then he took notice of her curled horns. And her black eyes. And the golden pupils. And the bags that made her face look sunken in and dead despite the surprise and shock that was starting to form. And her discolored skin compared to everyone else in the room.

And then it clicked in his head as the gun in Doomguy's hands clicked too.

"Ashido, run!" he yelled at her, unable to stop the intruder who aimed the gun her way and fired the first shot. Where before the bang there was his classmate on the stairwell, after the bang that made him blink there was nothing left in her place but red on the wall. "You bastard—"

As the electric wielding boy turned on the man sparking with power, so too did the man turn to him, repositioning his gun and firing again. Sero watched in horror as Denki took the blast to the chest, launching back over the couch and landing flat on the floor with a grunt of pain. And then the air in the room shifted.

"Shit!" the armored man announced, rushing over to the fallen boy as he waved an arm Kendo's way. "Turn it off! Turn it off!" The orange-haired girl fished into her pockets, yanking out her phone and tapping at the screen violently. In a few seconds the music overhead clicked off, and everyone in the room rushed over and knelt around their fallen classmate.

Denki blinked away his fuzzy vision taking notice of all the faces over him, but taking keen interest in the helmet that rose to reveal a face of freckles and emerald eyes staring in horror at him. "Midoriya? 'S that you?"

"Yeah, it's me," the boy in the green armor responded, his hands dancing over the laid boy's upper body. Denki let out a small chuckle as the hand that dug under his shirt tickled his skin. "Oh good, I didn't break anything. I'm sorry man, I didn't mean to shoot you."

The electric boy looked down at his chest, and to the giant red blotch that decorated his shirt. "It feels like I'm bleeding," he wheezed out.

"It's all paint, I swear. I just shot you from too close; I shouldn't have shot you at all. I'm so sorry about that, Kaminari."

"What's going on here?" Sero interrupted, separate from the crowd around their classmate to find himself alone in his confusion. "Am-Are we missing something? Midoriya, what the hell?"

"Sorry, sorry," the green-haired teen apologized as he hoisted Kaminari to his feet, easing the other boy around and back down on the couch. "This was supposed to be a prank on Ashido. I didn't mean to shoot you, Kaminari. I panicked when you charged at me."

Denki nodded away the apology while he swiped a hand over his shirt and examined the red liquid staining it and his hand. "Is this paint?"

Midoriya nodded, hanging the shotgun on his finger by the trigger. "Yeah, I had Mei craft me a paint gun to look like a real double barrel to go with everything else. Power Loader had to test and redesign the whole thing so the shots of paint wouldn't end up harming anyone like actual bullets."

"He let you make a gun?"

"He let me use a gun for this one time. We have to destroy this tomorrow. The principal doesn't want something like this to stay on campus and give the wrong impression."

"No, hold it." Sero interjected himself into the conversation, giving the four girls stationed off to the side a quick glance before focusing on the boy in Doom armor. "Need a bit more context. Why are you dressed as Doomguy? Why are none of you acting weirded out by this?"

"Oh, right," Izuku perked up, swiping the helmet off his head and cradling it by his side. "Um, this is a prank. I was gonna come in and scare Ashido like this because of what she did on Halloween. And they were all helping me do this." He pointed a thumb the girls' way, each of them feigning embarrassment as they looked elsewhere.

"You" — Sero gestured to the four girls, face perplexed as was Denki's — "all helped him with this?"

The four girls nodded, Setsuna stepping ahead of them to speak first. "Shrubury here caught me playing the game at lunch and asked me to help him get into character better by playing the game and experiencing it for himself.

"I was asked to choose the music and set it up to the speakers," Jiro followed, pointing to the room around them. "That whole entrance thing and how they" — she pointed at the 1-B girls — "acted was all part."

"I was helping Midoriya bulk up for the part," Kendo explained. "He wanted to add some mass to his muscles to look more beefed and bulky like the character."

Yaoyorozu took the attention to herself with a nod. "And I helped Hatsume in designing the suit with light materials so it would be cheap enough for the teachers to allow us to make it for this and organizing meals for Midoriya so he could gain weight and turn it into more muscle."

Denki threw his hands up to interrupt any following voices. "That's really cool and all and it's completely shattering my worldview of how teamwork works but" — turning to Midoriya as he shifted his topics — "why Doomguy? Couldn't you have just asked Hatsume to make the metal skeleton from the Aliens movie and walk up to Ashido saying, 'Get away from her, you bitch'?"

"You actually watched the sequel?" Sero asked him. "I thought the first one was too much for you."

"Dude, the whole series is amazing. I binged every film after that night. It's fantastic."

Midoriya lit up at the question he was given. "Oh! Because it's December." The boy gestured to his attire with a wide grin. "Ya' know, DDD." At the blank glances from both other boys, he continued. "Doomguy Dress-up December."

Sero and Denki blinked in unison, neither speaking for half a minute that felt like thirty. "Alright, sorry, I think my ears are still ringing from the loud music, being shot and hitting my head on the ground first. D-what?"

"Doomguy Dress-up December. It's a thing my dad got me into while I was in elementary. Anytime he came back home from work for the holidays, I got to play that old pixel version of Doom with him; mom wouldn't let me play it without him." Yaoyorozu handed the boy a phone decorated in blotches of yellow, red and blue on the casing. "Thanks, Momo. When I was ten, he decided to turn it into a thing of dressing up in the costume of the character. It was actually really fun. Here."

Midoriya turned his phone screen to the two boys, displaying a picture of a man that looked like their green-haired classmate aged up twenty years shoulder-to-shoulder with four other brawly men, all of them dressed in Doom armor.

"My dad still does it when he isn't able to come home for the month," Midoriya explained. "He found a group of fans in Russia to do it with one year. It's hilarious, actually. They stopped a robbery walking into a store wearing this with the helmets on. Robbers took it completely seriously before anyone could say otherwise. Dad isn't even a hero but he's already arrested seven guys. Love him."

Denki rubbed his forehead, switching his gaze between Izuku and the group of girls. "So that's what all that was."

The five receiving students looked at the blonde boy confused. "What was what?" Midoriya asked.

"Wait, are you actually serious?" Sero interjected. "Did your dad call it DDD or did he say that's what it was?"

"What? No. He thought of the acronym after we got a costume. He said it worked well written in English to have the words begin with the same letter." Midoriya glanced between the two other boys. "Why? Is it something else too?"

Sero shook his head slowly, dipping his mouth between a frown and straight line. "Nope, I'm just...comending your dad for being smart. I don't know English well enough to think up something like that."

"Oh we're doing this then," Denki muttered to himself before following along. "Is your dad English?"

"No, he's Japanese, he just works everywhere. He's basically a polyglot now; he can make a sentence of cusses out of four languages."

Denki switched to an expression impressed with what he was hearing, turning his head to a deadpanning Sero that wouldn't return the stare. "Well would you look at that. Learn something new every day."

"I'm not humoring you."

"You don't have to. It feels like my chest caved in but my heart was validated."

"So Midoriya's had you all helping him with this?" Sero asked the girls again, each nodding in confirmation. "What did Shiozaki do?"

The girls from their class looked confused. "Shiozaki wasn't a part of this. What do you mean?"

"We heard Mido here gave her chocolates the other day," Denki answered, pointing at a surprised Midoriya. "Was just starting to think those were, like, Thank You chocolates if she had done something to help you guys with this whole thing? Three boxes for you three girls in 1-B helping him."

"Oh, no, those were apology chocolates," Midoriya explained hastily. "Ibara found out what kind of prank we were working on and she thought it was for her since it's a guy shooting demons and all and mistook it for an insult. Setsuna told me those were her favorite flavors so I bought them for forgiveness."

The two boys audibly shared their understanding in unison before the room fell into a quick silence. "So, the prank?"

Midoriay blinked before jolting alive. "Oh right!" He snapped his helmet back on and fiddled with his belt, loading two clips of paint rounds into the toy gun. "Sorry for scaring you guys like that." The helmet distorted his voice to a deeper octave the boys internally agreed fit the character. "Be right back. I have a Daisy to avenge."

The six students watched their classmate stomp up the stairwell marked with a giant red stain of paint, the sight of which startled the girls back to life too. "Oh right, we have to clean that," Yaoyorozu announced. "Aizawa only agreed to let us do this if we made sure to clean any mess made. I need to go grab some cleaning supplies."

"I'll come with you," Jiro tagged along, following the girl down the hallway. "You two can go back now if you want. This is our dorm; we'll take care of the mess."

"As long as that's okay," Kendo replied. "I think we'll head back, check on Shiozaki and see if she's going to accept our apologies. Thanks for having us."

"Call me if anyone has any more prank ideas," Setsuna called back as they left the building. "I need to do more things like this."

Sero and Denki waved the 1-B girls goodbye, sending silent sympathy Kendo's way as she groaned at her classmate's scheming. With their own classmates gone and faint banging up the stairwell into their dorms, the two boys were left alone again.

Denki fiddled with his shirt as he pulled himself up to a teetering stance. "Alright, well, that was a first for me. Ashido's alien costume was cool but that armor looked like actual metal."

"Yeah," Sero agreed. "And he really did beef up for the role too. Wonder if he's gonna keep the muscle."

"I wonder if he's gonna keep the costume. He could probably try sending it in officially. That'd be sick to fight crime with." The boys rejoiced in a shared imagination of fighting villains with the Doomguy before the bubble was popped by Denki. "Wait, he was just calling a few of the girls by their names."

Sero blinked as he registered his friend's words before snapping his head to the stairwell. "That sly motherfucker," he said agast. "He really tried to play that around us."

"The audacity."