Hero Club @thecartoonfanatic01
Planting the Seeds

"She did..."

Izuku walked up to the door to the boys' locker room, which was still taped off by police barricade tape. To his disbelief, he saw not only Mei standing there, but also her club members: Nirengeki Shoda, Manzo Fukidashi, Paula Tsunotori, and Toru Hagakure. Mei was in a heroic pose as she faced the closed door, while Nirengeki stared at her apprehensively, as if she was instead in the middle of a psychotic breakdown.

"A-A-Are you s-s-sure about th-th-this...?" Nirengeki asked in a severe stutter.

"Y-Yeah," added Manzo. "I-Isn't this, like, against the law?"

"Have no fear, everyone!" Mei proclaimed in her usual boisterous voice. "It is our duty as Midoriya's Sidekicks to help him solve this crime! We will find out who framed Minoru Mineta and we will bring the true Villain to justice!"

"Are you sure Mineta didn't do it?" Toru asked timidly.

"Yeah," Nirengeki added. "I'm pegging Mineta for this, one-hundred percent."

"Same here," remarked Manzo.

"Mm-hm, mm-hm!" Paula vocalized.

Izuku let out a deep exhale before replying, "Mineta didn't do it, guys."

Everyone turned around and saw Izuku approaching them. Out of surprise, Toru hid behind Paula, preventing the green-haired boy from seeing her face again.

As for Mei, she pranced forward and took Izuku's hands with delight.

"Ah, Midoriya!" she squealed. "I'm SO glad ya had a change of heart! I knew ya had it in ya! Like a true Yamikumo! Now come on, Midoriya!" Mei escorted Izuku to the taped-off door. "Show us how ya got in!"

But Izuku broke away from her grip. "Three things. One: I'm not breaking into that room ever again."

Mei pouted instantly. "Ah, come on! We'll find something in there this time, I just know it!"

"I don't think we will, Hatsume. Oh, and two: why's the rest of your club here?"

The otaku smiled proudly. "I recruited 'em! They are all your loyal, faithful Sidekicks, and they're happy to help!"

Izuku glared at them, prompting Nirengeki to reply, "More like she dragged us into helping out."

"I dunno," Paula remarked innocently. "This is a lil' fun so far."

Toru meekly nodded behind her fellow club member. Izuku sighed and looked at Mei again.

"And three..." He hesitated for a moment. "I already know who actually did it."

"Whhhaaaaat?!" Mei cried, her yellow eyes seemingly sparkling.

"Who actually did it?" Manzo repeated with suspicion. "Don't tell me you buy Hatsume's story about Mineta being framed and all of that-"

"I'm the one who suggested it in the first place," Izuku interrupted defensively.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Nirengeki exclaimed. "Hold the phone right there! Look, I was in that locker room when Mineta got caught. If I can recall, you were the one who outed him, Midoriya!"

"Yes... That's right..."

"Then why'd you have a change of heart? You told Kan-sensei you heard Mineta talk about the girls' locker room and how no one was guarding it! That sounds like it was the perfect time for Mineta to strike!"

"That's true, I did hear Mineta talk about the girls' locker room...but in that same conversation, he was begging someone to keep an eye out for him just in case. That guy was my classmate Fumikage Tokoyami. He didn't agree to the plan and Mineta got angry. But Mineta's a classmate of mine, and I know he's very smart. He wouldn't risk going through with the plan he created if he felt it was going to be a two-man operation."

"Or he was probably desperate," suggested Paula. "Perverts are perverts no matter what tune they sing."

"That's what I thought at first. And who wouldn't? No one wants to second-guess the class pervert."

"Then why did you, Midoriya?" Nirengeki asked.

"Because I did think about it, and something didn't feel right with the story."

"What's there not to feel right about?" asked Manzo. "Mineta's a pervert, a sexual deviant, Midoriya. He wouldn't hesitate to do something like that."

"Maybe, but all he's done before the break-in was try to sneak peeks under girls' skirts and try to get a little whiff of their scents. Yes, it's disgusting and intolerable, but to break into the girls' locker room and steal a whole bunch of underwear is a pretty big jump from that, isn't it?"

"Or, like Tsunotori said, Mineta was desperate." Manzo crossed his arms. "Your logic isn't pretty sound, Midoriya. Why're you sticking up for Mineta?"

Izuku narrowed his green eyes slightly. "Because I know he didn't do it. I know I'm the one who turned him in, but after thinking about it, I now know I was mistaken."

"Okay," replied Nirengeki. "You say he didn't do it. You also said you knew who really did it. Tell us, Midoriya, who do you peg for stealing all those underwear from the girls' locker room?"

Izuku opened his mouth, but then he closed it for a moment in perplexity. Finally, he replied, "I don't know his name-"

"In other words, you're grasping, Midoriya."

"Hey, hey, listen to him, you guys!" Mei exclaimed, standing beside Izuku and crossing her arms defensively. "Midoriya's a very smart guy and he knows what he's saying! Plus, the cops didn't find the rest of the stolen underwear, right? So if Midoriya knows who framed Mineta, then perhaps we might find the rest of the stash! We'll be heroes, like the guys from Our Hero Academia!"

"Or the cops can just keep hammering Mineta with questions until he finally caves," Manzo replied.

"Midoriya, Hatsume," Paula said softly, "the police have their guy. What else is there to look for?"

"I agree," added Nirengeki. He started walking away with his hands in his pockets. "We're wasting our time with this, you guys. Let's get back to the cafeteria. I'm starving-"

"Shoda," Izuku called, stopping the small teenager in his tracks, "where's your gym locker?"

Nirengeki turned around. "What?"

Izuku faced him. "You said you were there when I turned Mineta in. Were you watching?"

"Yeah, I was. I was sitting on the other end of the same bleachers as Mineta. I saw the whole thing."

"Then you saw how Mineta opened the door and saw all of the underwear inside, yes?"

"Well, yeah. B-But I actually didn't see the underwear itself; I just-"

"Exactly," Izuku interrupted. A light had suddenly entered his eyes, and his voice became more animated. "Now, do you remember what cup size one of the bras was?"

"Wh-What cup size?!" Nirengeki repeated with disbelief.

"Midoriya, have you gone mad or something?" Paula asked curiously.

"Shoda, do you remember what cup size one of the bras was?" Izuku asked again.

"How the heck am I supposed to know, Midoriya?! Like I said, I didn't see the underwear itself!"

"And that's exactly my point!"

Nirengeki sighed exasperatedly. "I'm not following, Midoriya..."

"Shoda, there was someone near you who knew what cup size one of the bras was. He wasn't near Mineta's locker at all, yet he was somehow able to say, with confidence, that one of the bras was a double-D. He even brought up a tag."

"Man, look at the size of that green one."

"The girl wearing it must have some serious knockers!"

"I wonder what cup size it is..."

"It's gotta be a C at most!"

"No, fools. It's a double-D. Read the tag."

"Oh, yeaaaaah!" Manzo said, his eyes widening with realization. "I remember hearing someone say something like that."

Nirengeki looked down at the ground for a moment, processing the newest revelation. Then, he looked back up at Izuku, his eyes still exhibiting reluctance.

"How are we supposed to know that guy wasn't just lucky in his guess, Midoriya?" he asked.

"Shoda!" Mei exclaimed, hopping between her club member and the green-haired boy. "Midoriya said this guy mentioned a tag! A tag, Shoda! How'd he know what cup size the bra was?! How'd he even know this very bra had a tag?"

"Because he read the tag..." Paula replied, astounded. Then, she shook her head. "I dunno, guys... It sounds like a really convincing alternative and all, but how're we gonna prove it? You said you didn't even know who this guy was, Midoriya."

"Maybe not," said Izuku, "but I have to find out who he is. There's still a lot of stolen items that're missing and Mineta is suffering for it." He glanced at the doorway to the boys' locker room. "Maybe I'll wait till P.E. I can find him then."

"If you're gonna find that guy, Midoriya," Mei said, "then ya can count me in!" She jabbed a thumb into her well-endowed chest with pride. "As your Sidekick, I gotta help you take down this Villain once and for all!"

"Sidekick?" asked Manzo. "Villain? Hatsume, this isn't Our Hero Academia."

"We can still pretend it is!" The pink-haired otaku grabbed Manzo and Paula's hands and tugged at them. "Come on, you guys! This'll be fun!"

"If you say it's gonna be fun, then I fear for my life."

Mei smiled craftily. "Says the guy who's a part of myyyyy club..."

"Because there's no other club like it!" Then, he sighed with defeat. "Fine. I'll help. A friend of my onee-chan's is affected by this anyway, so I might as well pitch in if it means recovering the rest of the stolen underwear."

"I guess I'll join too," Paula added. "We haven't done much as a club lately, and I'm bored, so I might as well. As long as it doesn't involve breaking into the locker room like we were about to do, then I'm game." Then, she looked at Toru, who had still been hiding behind her, much to Izuku's surprise. "What about you, Hagakure? You in too?"

"I-I suppose..." Toru replied meekly.

"Alright, then!" Mei shouted loudly. Then, she looked at Nirengeki, who still looked ambivalent. "What about you, Shoda? Ya ready to be a Hero or what?!"

Nirengeki looked from Mei to Izuku and back. Izuku noticed how torn the other boy looked between sticking to his better judgment and indulging in one of Mei's crazy activities.

"I can't say that I blame him..." the green-haired boy thought with sympathy.

Finally, Nirengeki replied, "Fine. It's not like I have any other choice anyway. So I'll bite."

"YES!" Mei shouted with delight. She grabbed Izuku's hands and started shaking them violently, threatening to knock the poor boy off-balance. "We did it, Midoriya, we did it! We have a whole bunch of new Sidekicks to call our own! Ohhhhhh, this is gonna be sooooo exciting!"

"Our own?" said Paula. "Didn't you just call yourself Midoriya's Sidekick, Hatsume?"

Mei looked at her jubilantly. "Well, since I helped out with the recruitment process, I think I'll promote myself to full-time Hero!" Then, she started to swoon with wonder. "Ahhh, full-time Hero... I like the sound of that!"

"Where do ya think we are, kindergarten?!" Manzo exclaimed. "We're not playing- Oh, never mind..."

The otaku ignored her club member and started hopping, her energy now completely unrestrained.

"Ooh, ooh, we should give ourselves code-names, guys!" she exclaimed.

"C-Co-Code-names...?" Toru asked hesitantly.

"Yeah! Just like the Hero names in Our Hero Academia!" Mei started thinking and Izuku could almost see the gears in her head whirring at top speed. "I think I'll beeeee...Gadget Master!"

"Gadget Master?" asked Nirengeki. "Where'd that come from, Hatsume?"

"I dunno. I see myself as the tinkerer type."

"I've never seen you tinker with anything in all the months I've known you..."

"How 'bout you, Shoda?"

"What, me? How am I supposed to-?"

"You'll be Mines!" Mei interrupted.

"M-Mi-Mines?!" sputtered the smaller boy. "Wh-Where'd that come from?!"

"'Cause you like that Gals und Panzer anime, that's why! And you!" Ignoring Nirengeki's deep-red blush, she pointed at Manzo. "You always have your nose in those American comic books, so I'll call you Comicman!"

"Co-Comicman?!" Manzo exclaimed with bewilderment. Then, his expression quickly relaxed as he considered the name. "Actually...I like that sound of that..."

"What about me?!" Paula cried, enthusiasm quickly filling her face. "What about me?! Who am I gonna be?!"

"You'll be..." Mei thought about it for a moment. "Pony!"

Paula gasped, but her eyes were sparkling with wonder. "Pony... My favorite animal in the whole wide world..."

"Just as I thought! And you, Hagakure!" She pointed a finger at Toru, who squeaked and hid further behind Paula. "I still don't know what you look like, so I think I'll call you Invisible Girl!"

"Uhhh, I know what she looks like..." Nirengeki said flatly.

"As do I-" began Manzo.

"And you, Midoriya!" Mei turned towards Izuku, who was startled by the sheer giddiness in her expression, giddiness that almost bordered insanity. "You'll be Yamikumo!"

Upon hearing that ever-so-familiar name, Izuku pursed his lips and turned away from the others. He took a deep breath and flexed his fingers.

"Don't call me that," he said quietly. "I...I don't deserve to be called that..."

"Why not?" Paula asked. "You already dress up like him, Midoriya-"

"Don't call me that name," Izuku said, putting even more force into his voice. "Ju-Just call me Midoriya. The person we're looking for...he doesn't even know who we are, anyway. There's no point in trying to hide our real names from him."

"But don'tcha wanna pretend we're students of U.A. High, solving a crime on our own?!" Mei exclaimed.

"No, Hatsume. We may pretend all we want, but this is still the real world. We don't have any uncanny abilities to call our own, nor any special support tech. I thought I could pretend, but all of that changed when I actually had to save Uraraka and Kodai weeks ago. That was when I learned the truth. At the end of the day, we are just ordinary kids, trying to make a difference. No more, no less."

The green-haired boy started walking away, and as he did, he put his hands into his pockets. His mind started to become haunted by the dark, grimy alleyway again. He grimaced.

"I'll see you guys during P.E."



Izuku relaxed his posture as soon as Kan passed him. He watched him go for a moment before looking at Nirengeki and Manzo, who both nodded at him. Izuku nodded back, right before catching movement in the corner of his eye. He looked at Neito and realized he was watching him, his usual arrogant smirk crawling upon his face. Izuku frowned angrily at him before hearing Kan's voice again.

"Alright, boys!" Kan stared pacing around in front of the boys. "I'm sure you've all heard about what happened to Mineta. He's been arrested for breaking-and-entering and theft, and he'll be formally charged later today. All this because he was thinking with his pants instead of his brain. I trust that the rest of you aren't as stupid as he is. Or is my trust misplaced? ...This is the part where you say, 'No, Kan-sensei!'"

"No, Kan-sensei!" the boys recited fearfully.

"N-No, Kan-sensei!" Izuku replied, a little late on the mark.

"Good! Now, just to make sure none of you will go back on your word and fall into the same damn trap as Mineta did, I'll start this period off by having you run a mile around the track! The girls will be joining you shortly, but don't even think about sneaking a look somewhere! I've got my eyes on all of you perverts! Got it?!"

"Yes, Kan-sensei!" the boys replied fearfully.

"Y-Yes, Kan-sensei!" Izuku replied, a little late on the mark.

"Alright, now move, move, move! Your muscles aren't gonna develop by themselves, ya know!"

The boys started jogging towards the track, where they found a group of girls waiting. They were receiving similar orders from their own P.E. teacher, Rumi Usagiyama.

"Wow, look at all those legs..." a voice said a couple of feet away from Izuku.

"Yeah..." replied a second voice. "Man, look at 'em! So slim and toned!"

"Oh, please," a third voice interjected. "You pervs and your legs! Bloomers are where the real fun's at!"

"Yeah, you got a point. I mean, that kinda garment is so tight and is constantly rubbing against the cheeks, if you know what I mean!"

Izuku clenched his fists and restrained a growl of disgust as the trio started to snicker lasciviously. He was about to tune out of the conversation when the first boy spoke again.

"Hey, speakin' of bloomers, do ya know if Mustard has any in stock?"

"Nah, he didn't mention any. Just plain bras and panties."

Izuku stopped in his tracks. "Mustard?" he thought. "Bras and panties...in stock? If...If this Mustard guy is the real thief, then that means...he's selling the rest of the items he stole...?"

"Hey, Midoriya! Move!"

Izuku squeaked at the sound of Kan's bark. "Y-Yes, Kan-sensei!"

He fell back into line, his mind racing with many thoughts and strategies as the boys entered the track. At that moment, their group merged with the girls', and Izuku saw Mei waving energetically at him while Paula and Toru were flanking her sides. He quickly looked around to see if anyone was watching, then he moved over to join the trio of girls.

"Hey, Midoriya!" Mei cried loudly. "So, what's the plan?! We gonna pounce on the thief when we find him or what?!"

"Shhhhh!" Izuku looked around again worriedly. "Keep the noise level down, Hatsume!"

"Uh-uh! It ain't Hatsume today! Call me...Gadget Master..."

Paula flatly stared at the club leader. "I don't know why you have to say it so quietly, Hat- I mean, Gadget Master. You're not being mysterious or anything by doing that..."

"I just wanted to sound cool, though! Anyway, what's the plan?"

"Okay," Izuku replied. "I think I have a lead-"

"Oooooh, a lead! Well, that was easy! Let's-"

"Hold on, Hatsume! I still don't know if he's the thief or it's just a coincidence. I have to get the bottom of it first."

"You mean we have to get to the bottom of it."

Izuku blinked. "R-Right. S-Sorry, I...I forgot..."

"Alright, everyone!" Usagiyama suddenly announced, as she and Kan put whistles into their mouths. "On our whistle!"

With that, both coaches blew their whistles, prompting everyone to start running and following the track field. Naturally, Izuku, Mei, Paula, and Toru fell to the rear of the pack, as did Nirengeki and Manzo.

"Hey, we're in this together, Midoriya!" Mei said. "Like Hero and Sidekick!"

"I thought you promoted yourself to full-fledged Hero, Hatsume...?" Nirengeki asked.

Mei ignored her and asked, "So, how do ya wanna proceed, Midoriya?"

Izuku briefly looked over his shoulder, then back at Mei. "I'm gonna ask about Mustard."

"M-Mustard...?" Toru asked timidly.

"He's my lead. And if I can confirm his existence, then I'll try to track him down, see what he looks like."

"And if you find this Mustard guy," Paula said, "then what? Whaddaya suggest we do next, Midoriya?"

"I...I don't know."

Izuku looked over his shoulder to examine the same trio of boys from before, who were right behind them. Sensing what they were trying to do, he slowed down a little and positioned himself behind Mei, blocking her rear from view. He could faintly hear one of the boys cursing in anger.

"This guy was smart enough to frame Mineta for the theft," Izuku continued. "It will be a little difficult, finding an area of vulnerability that we can exploit."

"Well, it's a start!" Mei replied. "Come on! Let's go find this Mustard-"

"A-Actually, th-this is something Shoda, Fukidashi, and I must do alone."

Mei blinked. "Huh?"

"We're doing this without the girls?" asked Manzo.

"How come, Midoriya?" Nirengeki asked.

"I have a plan to find him, guys, but...the strategy I came up with cannot involve the girls. Otherwise-"

"What, you trying to leave us out on what you and the boys are doing?" Paula interrupted. "Even though we're all just as capable as you guys?" She crossed her arms. "That sounds...a little sexist, don'tcha think?"

"Wh-Where'd that come from?! L-Look, I'm just doing this because Mustard will get suspicious if you three do what I had planned for me, Shoda, and Fukidashi. It's...It's a little complicated. Pl-Plus..." Izuku examined the trio of boys again. "A lot of guys in our P.E. class are very perverted..."

Mei's eyes started to shimmer. "Awwwww... You're just trying to protect us from the wolves' hungry stares! That is very nice of you, Midoriya...but we're still gonna help you out in your plan!"

Izuku sighed, looked around again for a moment, and replied, "So...you want to ask this Mustard guy if you want to buy some girls' underwear from him?"

Nirengeki, Manzo, Paula, and Toru immediately blushed with embarrassment. Even though Mei's smile was still in place, Izuku could see her eyelid twitching.

"Okay, then!" the otaku cried in a chipper voice. "You do your thing, Midoriya! Just don't be a pervert about it!"

Izuku blushed as well. "Look, I'll call you when I need you. But for now, I need you to keep a low profile. Maybe you can eavesdrop on something important." He looked at Paula and Toru. "The same goes for you two."

"O-Okay, M-Midoriya..." Toru replied. "Wh-Whatever you say..."

"Okay. Thank you for understanding." Izuku faced Nirengeki and Manzo. "You follow my lead, guys. Try and act natural."

"Oh, yeah," Nirengeki replied sarcastically. "Like talking about girls' underwear is something us nerds would do."

"Only in their case. Now come on."

Izuku slowed down his pace, followed by Nirengeki and Manzo.

"So, Midoriya," Manzo said, "how do ya wanna begin with this?"

Izuku was about to say something when the trio of perverted boys caught up to them. Izuku could now clearly hear what they had to say, and he couldn't help but eavesdrop.

"Yes!" one of them cried. "Now we can sneak some good looks!"

"Ohhh, look at the cheeks of the one with the pink hair!" the second said, drool accumulating at the corner of his lip.

"You know," said the third, "I saw the knockers on her. They're ginormous!"

"Really?" the first boy asked. "Man, I wish we were at the front..."

Izuku gritted his teeth and he could feel the white-hot fury bubbling inside him. Before long, he felt something inside him snap like a twig. The next thing he knew, he was holding on to the second boy's shoulder with a vice-like grip. Both trios had stopped running almost immediately.

"H-Hey, what the hell?!" the boy snapped.

"Don't you dare talk like that about Hatsume!" Izuku growled. His face was wearing a horribly vicious expression, and his green pupils were quivering. "Ever!"

"U-Uhhh, Midoriya...?" Nirengeki asked, absolutely befuddled by Izuku's behavior. "Wh-What're you doing...?"

But Izuku ignored him. "Repeat after me, you pervert!" he shouted into the boy's face. "I won't ever talk about a girl like that ever again!"

"Wh-What are you, nuts?!" the boy cried fearfully.

In response, Izuku grabbed the boy's collar. "SAY IT!"

"Yo, man!" one of the other boys exclaimed. "What the hell's your problem?!"

"Midoriya!" Manzo cried. "Let him go!"

But Izuku was blinded with rage. He held the boy so close that their noses were almost touching, and he could even see the terror filling the boy's eyes. But he ignored it. As far as Izuku was concerned, he was holding the muscular man from the alleyway in his grasp, making him regret all the things he had ever done.


"Yo, I'm-I'm sorry, man-"

Izuku started shaking him. "SAY IT!"

Nirengeki and Manzo immediately grabbed Izuku's shoulders, while the boy's compatriots held on to their friend. Before Izuku knew it, he was being torn away from the boy and staring into the towering, muscular form of Sekijiro Kan.

"Izuku Midoriya!" he roared. "What the hell has gotten into you?!"

Izuku gritted his teeth and pointed a trembling finger at the three boys. "Them!" he growled savagely. "They were saying such...such horrible stuff...a-about girls..."

Kan glared at the three boys, who cowered at the sight of his stern face. Then, he looked down at Izuku.

"I'll deal with them, Midoriya," he said. "But you can't just be up in their personal space and threatening to assault them. It's not in your place to do so."

Izuku gritted his teeth and closed his fists, but otherwise, he didn't do anything to protest. Taking his silence as a sign of approval, Kan nodded curtly, turned away, and marched towards the three boys. This gave Nirengeki and Manzo the time to run up to Izuku's sides.

"Hey, uh, Midoriya?" Nirengeki asked. "Was...Was that supposed to be our cue to 'follow your lead'?"

"If that was," added Manzo, "then there's no way I'm gonna threaten them into selling us some panties-"

"No, guys..." Izuku interrupted, his fists relaxing. "That wasn't part of the plan." He looked downcast now. "I'm sorry..."

Manzo was taken aback. "Man, you really exploded in those guys' faces. You must not like people badmouthing girls. And to think you were the one who came up with the idea of pretending we were interested in buying some girls' underwear."

"Then it was a bad idea from the start..." Izuku replied quietly.

"Jeez, Midoriya," Nirengeki said. "Now what do you want us to do? Those guys saw us with you, so they know we're all in cahoots. They're gonna think twice before they consider our so-called offers."

"I...I don't know..." Izuku sat down on one of the bleachers and buried his face in his palms. "I'm...I'm sorry, guys. I...I screwed up..."

Then, the green-haired boy started to weep, startling Nirengeki and Manzo. The two club members looked at one another in hesitation, unsure of how to proceed. Then, Nirengeki looked at Izuku.

"H-Hey, Midoriya, th-there's no reason for you to be ashamed! In fact, y-you should feel better about yourself!"

"Should I...?" asked Izuku, his voice muffled by his palms.

"Well, y-yeah!" Manzo replied. "I-I mean, if saying lewd things about girls is enough to piss you off, then that means you don't have a bad bone in your body!"

"Y-Yeah, man!" added Nirengeki. "I mean, lots of other people here are perverts, boys and girls alike. There are different levels of being perverted, of course, but people like you, without any perversion in their bones, are a dying breed!"

"Damn right! I mean..." Manzo started to blush. "I myself would spend my nights going to porn sites and-"

"I think I get your point, Fukidashi," Izuku interrupted quickly.

"My point is you should actually be proud of yourself. I mean, you saved a bunch of our classmates from some hooligans who gave you a beating, you believe Mineta, the biggest pervert in the school, is innocent of a crime he would definitely have committed, you go out of your way to prove his innocence, and now you absolutely hate it whenever somebody has lewd remarks about another person's body! You're such a caring person, it's almost unreal!"

"Well..." Izuku started thinking about the alleyway again. "If you were me...you'd understand..."

Nirengeki and Manzo looked at each other, momentarily confused by Izuku's ambiguity. Then, Nirengeki nodded at Manzo knowingly, and Manzo nodded back. Then, the latter gave Izuku a grin.

"Hey, tell you what?" he suggested. "We understand the plan now so we'll just continue where you left off. How does that sound?"

"Huh?" Izuku blinked slowly. "I-I thought you said those guys saw you with me?"

"That was back when we had doubts about the whole shindig," replied Nirengeki. "But I think we can go the extra mile. I mean, you're a nice guy, Midoriya, and Hatsume trusts you a lot. We'll see where this goes, Midoriya, and you don't have to worry about a thing. Trust us."

Izuku stared up at Nirengeki and Manzo. For once, they seemed taller than him now that he was sitting on the bleachers. They almost resembled characters from Our Hero Academia. It was a perplexing yet amazing sight...

Just then, Izuku saw a familiar shade of crimson glinting at the corner of his eye. He looked over Manzo's shoulder...and his eyes widened.

"Uhhhhh... Maybe you don't have to worry about asking those guys about Mustard..."

"What?" Nirengeki asked. "What're you talking about, Midoriya?"

Nirengeki and Manzo looked over their shoulders...and their jaws dropped with shock. Mei, Paula, and Toru were running behind the three lascivious boys now, giving them an opportunity to ogle their bodies. However, it wasn't the ogling that concerned Izuku, Nirengeki, and Manzo, but the energetic, animated discussion the girls seemed to be having. Once the two trios passed them, they could hear the girls' conversation clearly.

"I was suspicious of my boyfriend, you see," explained Mei. "So when he's taking a whiz in the bathroom, I take a quick look at the laptop he left on."

"Ooh, clever girl!" Paula replied with giddy interest. "What'd you find?!"

"Yeah, Hatsume!" added Toru, every single trace of her meekness strangely gone. "Tell us all the goodies!"

By that point, the two trios were getting farther away from Izuku, Nirengeki, and Manzo. As a result, they ran after them so they can continue listening in on the girls' conversation.

"I didn't know Hatsume had a boyfriend..." Izuku remarked.

"That's 'cause she doesn't," replied Manzo.

"Yeah," Nirengeki commented. "I mean, who can handle her?"

At that moment, Izuku's eyes met with Mei's, and she gave him a quick but crafty wink before answering Toru's question.

"I went through his search history," she said, "and it was all related to, guess what? Bloomers!"

"Bloomers?!" Paula exclaimed in disbelief. "No WAY, girl!"

Izuku caught a glimmer of interest flashing across the faces of the three boys in front of them.

"Ohhhhh, yes way!" Mei said. "Pictures of girls in bloomers, pictures of women in bloomers, videos of high-school girls at P.E. in their bloomers! 3D girls in bloomers, 2D girls in bloomers! It's crazy, I tell you! Bloomers, bloomers everywhere!"

"So," Toru replied, "what're you gonna do with that information, Hatsume?"

"Well..." Mei placed a finger on her lips, pretending to think hard. "We haven't fucked in a while so I think I'm gonna give my boyfriend an early birthday present...in the form of me..."

She gestured to herself seductively, prompting the boys in front of her to blush, along with Izuku, Nirengeki, and Manzo. But Paula and Toru gazed at her with admiration, as if Mei was some sort of inspirational figure or a goddess to them.

"Ah, you go, girl!" cried Paula, raising her fist with encouragement. "Show that Midoriya you have his heart, not a bunch of girls in pictures!"

Nirengeki and Manzo looked at Izuku with shock. As for Izuku himself, the poor boy was blubbering incomprehensibly.

"So," Toru said, "where are you gonna surprise Midoriya?"

"Usually," replied Mei, "I'd surprise him at home, but I think I'll be extra-generous this time and give him his present at the girls' locker room between classes. I mean, I'm wearing bloomers right now! I'm technically gift-wrapped and ready to go!"

"Ahhhhh, the girls' locker room between classes!" Paula said dreamily. "Kinky!"

"What the hell is happening...?" Manzo asked, the blush on his face deepening.

"I dunno..." replied Nirengeki. "But it sounds like you're gonna be a lucky bastard today, Midoriya..."

Izuku merely hiccuped. His face was definitely the reddest out of the eavesdropping trio. However, none of them argued as they continued to listen in.

"So what?" asked Paula. "You're gonna make your move after P.E.'s over, Hatsume?"

"Yeah, pretty much!" Mei replied. Then, her yellow eyes lit up with awe. "Ohhhhh, I've got another idea!"

"What is it?"

"When class is dismissed, do you think you can hand me your bloomers as well, you two? That way, I can use 'em to rile my man even further!"

"W-With our bloomers?" Toru asked, perplexed. "Ohhh, I dunno, Hatsume..."

"Come on, Hagakure! It'll be fine! I won't make him lick 'em or anything! In fact, this will be the closest you'll ever get to having a man's breath on you!"

"Wow, that sounds like a really good idea!" Paula exclaimed, shocking Izuku, Nirengeki, and Manzo. "I'm in, Hatsume, as long as you return them!"

"I-I guess I'll pi-pitch in too..." Toru added, the nervousness back in her voice. Even though Izuku couldn't see her face, he could tell her face was as red as his, like a tomato.

"Excellent!" squealed Mei giddily. "I knew I could count on you two!"

"Have fun in there, Hatsume!" Paula winked cleverly. "If you know what I meeeeeannnnn..."

"Of course! But before I get to that business..." The female otaku started fanning herself with her hand. "I am gonna hit one of the locker showers first! There's no way in hell I am gonna rut with my boyfriend with the smell that's coming off me right now!"

"You got that right. He's the one who's supposed to be smelly through the whole transaction, not you!"

"I'm not sure where Tsunotori's getting that idea," Nirengeki replied quietly, "but okay..."

"Hopefully no one nabs the bloomers while I am in the shower!" Mei called in a singsong voice that was obviously meant to reach the perverted trio's ears.

Upon hearing Mei's latest declaration, Izuku's eyes widened with understanding.

"I see what she's doing!" he thought. "She's gonna try and lure this Mustard guy out in the open!"

Then, Izuku focused on the three boys, who were now whispering excitedly to one another. Mei, Paula, and Toru took this opportunity to slow down and allow their male friends to catch up to them.

"Hatsume!" Nirengeki exclaimed, the stout boy absolutely befuddled. "I...I can't believe you'd come up with a strategy as crazy and stupid as this!"

But Mei smiled arrogantly. "I know, it's ingenious, huh Shoda?!" She looked at Izuku and batted her eyelashes. "What do you think, Midoriya?! Do you think my strategy is brilliant or what?!"

"It is!" Izuku blurted out, stunning Nirengeki and Manzo. "Those guys fell for that trap, hook, line, and sinker! If they are in touch with this Mustard character, then they'll be sure to ask him to try and steal the bloomers!"

"But what if they try to steal the bloomers themselves?" Manzo asked.

"Then we'll catch them in the act, and we'll make them tell us who Mustard is!"

"That!" Nirengeki shouted defiantly. "Is a flippin' fantastic idea!" He looked at Mei with a smile that stretched from ear to ear. "I'll be damned, Hatsume! You actually came up with a great strategy!"

Mei shrugged, her arrogant smile still etched on her face. "Well," she said, "you guys were dawdling in carrying out your brilliant boys-exclusive strategy, so we girls had to carry out our own!"

"Yeah!" Paula exclaimed. "And what better way to lure a guy into a trap than add in a little sexy spice, if you know what I mean!"

At that moment, the group of six stopped in their tracks, allowing Izuku stared flatly at her. "So you're assuming all guys will fall for anything a girl tells them as long as...the promise of sex is involved?" He crossed her arms. "That sounds...a little sexist, don'tcha think?"

Paula frowned at him as a triumphant smirk crept onto his face. However, Mei had a little smirk of her own.

"Oh, like you're any different, Midoriya?" the pink-haired girl asked teasingly. "Ohhh, I can only imagine the look on your face when Tsunotori outed you as my boyfriend!"

Izuku's face turned red again. "Th-Th-That's because y-y-you said w-w-we'd be having a s-se-se-se-se-"

"Sexual rendezvous?" Mei's eye twinkled. "Well, unfortunately for you...said sexual rendezvous is supposed to be bogus, in case you didn't notice!"

"Yeah," added Paula. "I just threw in your name because nothing else was popping up." She wagged her finger at Izuku. "Sorry, Midoriya, but looks like you ain't gettin' laid today!"

"I-I don't even care about that kinda stuff!" Izuku squeaked with embarrassment.

"Oh, really?" asked Mei. She leaned forward, and Izuku couldn't help but notice how her well-endowed chest jiggled and dangled slightly as she moved. "Not even a little...?"

"N-N-Not even a l-l-little!"

Mei frowned with disappointment. "Aw, phooey. And to think, I was sorta anticipating this bogus rendezvous to be a real thing-"

"Wh-Wh-What?! S-S-Since when d-d-did you f-fe-feel that way?!"

"Since never!"

Mei laughed a little and stuck out her tongue playfully. Izuku blinked rapidly with confusion for a few seconds, before he hung his head low with a mixture of embarrassment and relief. However, Mei seemed to misinterpret this reaction.

"Ohhh, no hard feelings, Midoriya!" she cried. "I mean, you're cute and all, but you're not exactly my type!"

"I didn't even know you had a type, Hatsume..." deadpanned Manzo.

"Of course I have a type! Just like you do, Fukidashi!"

Manzo became red-faced as well. "Y-You don't know that!"

"Of course I do!" The club leader stared at her fellow otaku teasingly. "I mean, I see the way you look at Pau-"

"So, Midoriya!" Manzo cried, his voice cracking in the process. "What's the plan now?!"

Upon hearing this question, Izuku raised his head to look at his compatriots. The embarrassment was gone from his face and replaced with a newfound determination.

"We set up positions around the girls' locker room."

Izuku peered from behind a thick bush, watching the half-open doorway of the girls' locker room. He then looked at two other bushes scattered around the track field, which was now empty. From behind those bushes, he could see Nirengeki's and Manzo's heads poking out from their shelters, watching the door just as closely.

"Shoda and Fukidashi, you guys and I will keep watch on the door from the outside. We'll wait for someone to come."

Their eyes all met, and Nirengeki gave Izuku a thumbs-up. Izuku nodded back and refocused on the open door. He could hear the faint sound of water gushing from a shower-head.

"And what about us, Midoriya?"

"You girls hide in the locker room. Hatsume, make sure the shower is running. You need your story to be as legit as possible."

After about a minute of observing, Izuku heard footsteps and people talking. He looked towards the main school building and saw the same three perverts from before, strolling towards the locker rooms. Izuku pursed his lips with some slight disappointment, but he continued to keep his green pupils trained on the trio.

In no time, the trio approached the doorway and stared hungrily at it.

"And what happens when someone comes along?"

"We set up a way to alert you girls when they do."

One of the boys pushed the half-open door further open, only for everyone to hear a clanking noise. The other two boys jumped back and shrieked in fear, but the first boy stared at them flatly.

"Relax, you guys!" he said calmly. "It's just someone's thermos."

The boy's accomplices sighed with relief, and then the whole trio stealthily tiptoed inside the girls' locker room.

"Okay, Midoriya. What'll we do if the person who comes along is the thief?"

"Well...did you guys bring any disguises?"

Sensing his cue, Izuku put on his mask, leaped out of the bush, and started running towards the locker room, fully clad in his Yamikumo costume. Nirengeki and Manzo leaped out of their own hiding spots as well and joined the green-haired boy. Nirengeki was wearing a thick football helmet, while Manzo had paper taped to his face, with eye-holes crudely torn into it.

The boys reached the doorway, just as they heard three different sets of masculine cries and grunts, and three other sets of feminine growls and yells.

"What the hell is this?!" one of the boys cried.

"Go down, you damn pervert!" Toru shrieked shrilly.

Izuku, Nirengeki, and Manzo entered the room and saw Mei, Paula, and Toru wrestling with the boys. Mei was wearing a pair of steampunk-style goggles and a kerchief over her mouth, Paula was wearing the mask of some anthropomorphic pony character, and Toru simply had her P.E. shirt wrapped around her entire head except for her eyes.

Acting on instinct, Izuku charged forward and tackled the boy wrestling with Mei, knocking him to the floor. Nirengeki did the same with the boy grappling with Toru, while Manzo attempted to do so with the boy trying to pin Paula against one of the locker rows. However, his mask sagged during his charge, partially blinding him.

"Ah! AH!" Manzo cried. "I can't see! I can't see!"

Paula frowned with disapproval. "Are you serious, Fukidashi?" she asked. Then, she shrugged. "Well, I guess it's all up to me now."

She suddenly used an arm to pick up the boy's legs, flipping him to his side in midair, before slamming him down to the floor and knocking the wind out of him. Izuku, Mei, Nirengeki, and Toru all stared with bewilderment, while Paula sighed with relief and dusted her thighs. Then, she looked at the quartet with her pony mask still on; the sight of it would have looked hilarious to anyone else.

"What?" she asked innocently.

"Huh?!" Manzo exclaimed as he readjusted his makeshift mask. "What?! What happened?! Is Paula okay?!" Then, he saw the boy's writhing form on the floor. "Oh..."

"Y-Yo, wh-what the hell's the big idea?!" snapped the boy Izuku tackled. He was lying face-down on the floor, preventing him from seeing who had him restrained. "Are we bein' punked or something?!"

"No," Izuku replied, looking down at his captive with narrowed eyes. "You mentioned a guy named Mustard, said he had girls' underwear in stock?"

"M-Mustard?" A brief glimmer of worry flashed through the boy's eyes. "I-I have no idea what you're talking about!"

"Yeah, me neither!" exclaimed the boy Nirengeki had pinned.

"Don't you lie to me!" Izuku growled. "I overheard you guys talking about him during P.E.!"

"You...You overheard us?" the first boy asked worriedly. Then, he tried to adjust his head, but to no avail. "Heeey...aren't you-?"

"The less you know, the better. Did Mustard tell you he stole all that underwear?"

"N-No, honest to God!"

"Says the guy who said Mustard had a stock of girls' underwear earlier," Nirengeki snarled. "You seem to know how much this guy has. Don't tell me you didn't think about where all of that came from-"

"I-I just wanted to sniff some panties, that's all-"

"Ew, gross," Toru interrupted.

"Oh, God!" exclaimed the third boy. "Are you gonna turn us in?!"

"Pl-Please don't!" the second boy cried. "Oh, God! My parents are gonna kill me if they find out!"

"We'll consider letting you guys go," replied Izuku. "But only on three conditions."

"Okay, okay!" the first boy shouted. "J-Just name your price!"

"I don't want you to pay us anything. First off, I want you to promise me that you three will never tell anyone about this. I prefer this whole conversation is between the nine of us. You got it?"

"Y-Yes, w-we've got it!"

"Second off, I want you to promise me that you'll never, ever think or speak low of a girl ever again!" Izuku tightened his grip on the boy. "They are more than just walking pieces of flesh that you can fantasize about. Do you understand me?!"

The boy looked perplexed by this, and he seemed to mull over his decision. Eventually, he replied, "Y-Yeah, I understand! Loud and clear!"

"Do you promise me you'll fulfill that part of the bargain?!"

"Yeah, deal, deal! W-What's the third condition?!"

"Before I tell you what it is, I want you to know that we will know if you alert Mustard or tell the teachers about us. Know that if you do either, we'll turn you guys in to the authorities. We're recording this whole thing on tape as we speak."


"Now you tell us who this Mustard guy is."

"W-We dunno know his real name!" the first boy shouted. "A-All he know is that he's a second-year student who had just started this lil' business of his!"

"Okay, then. Do you know where he operates this so-called business?"

The three boys looked between one another with apprehension. Then, one of them opened his mouth...

The three boys left the girls' locker room, their faces scarlet with embarrassment and their arrogant bravado finally gone. A couple of minutes later, once the boys returned to the school building, Izuku, Mei, Nirengeki, Toru, Manzo, and Paula all stepped out of the locker room as well, still wearing their disguises.

"Holy crap," Manzo said as he ripped off the sheet of paper from his face. "I...I can't believe that worked out well for the six of us..."

"You can say that again, Fukidashi," replied Nirengeki, as he removed his football helmet. "I...I honestly can't believe I'm saying this, but...I guess Mineta really didn't steal those underwear..."

"I thought you already agreed he didn't, Shoda?" Paula asked upon removing her pony mask.

"Mostly because Hatsume would've just dragged me along regardless!"

"But as you can see," Mei said triumphantly while removing her goggles, "Midoriya and I were right! Mineta's innocent of all charges, and the true Villain is still lurking within the walls of this school! But not for any longer! We're gonna find him and expose him and turn him in like the evil criminal he is!"

"But how d'you suggest we do that, Hatsume?" Toru asked, fidgeting the fabric wrapped around her face. "We don't even have a plan for that in place."

"Ask Midoriya! He's the leader! He'll know the answer!"

Everyone looked at Izuku, who was in the process of removing his entire cosplay. He noticed their stares and stopped in mid-movement.

"Wh-Why're you looking at me?" he asked.

"Because you're the one who kick-started this whole thing!" Manzo replied. "You believed Mineta was innocent. You found out who really committed the theft. You found a way into his business. But it's going to be tough, getting concrete proof that he's the thief. We don't even know where he's keeping the stolen items."

"But if anybody could know how to do it," Paula added, "it's you, Midoriya, hands down. You've got the determination!"

"Not to mention the costume!" squealed Mei.

Izuku stared at his five schoolmates, totally astounded that they were giving him such lavish praise. However, he signed sadly and continued removing his costume.

"Sorry, you guys," he said. "You heard them. Mustard knows how to cover his tracks. You gotta drop off a letter in certain areas of the school and hope that he finds them instead of Old Man Sorahiko. And in that letter, you have to write a code that changes every week so then Mustard knows what you really want. Only, those guys don't know the new code. When it comes to luring in Mustard, we're at a corner here."

"Well, we gotta do something," Nirengeki said. "At the very least, Mustard has to be a pretty shady guy for hiding behind all of these countermeasures. If he doesn't want people to snoop around, then he's gotta be hiding something."

"But until we learn the new code Mustard's passing out, we've got nothing. And who knows if Mustard will follow through with it? The police are still searching for the rest of the stolen items. A careful guy like that is gonna lay low until he feels the heat is truly off the school. We need more information on him." Izuku put a finger to his chin. "...Maybe I should ask Mineta again. He probably knows Mustard if he got the idea to put the blame on him-"

"That won't be necessary, Midoriya," a new voice interrupted.

Izuku and the others looked towards the locker building and saw someone leaning against it, eavesdropping intently. The green-haired boy's eyes expanded with surprise.

"Kirishima?" he asked.

Eijiro exhaled before approaching the group. "I know who Mustard is," he said.

"You do?" asked Manzo.

"Who is he?" Paula queried.

"I don't know his real name," explained Eijiro, "but he's quickly developed a reputation for selling guys a whole bunch of stuff they can jack off to. Mostly porn and hentai." He looked around warily before continuing. "But rumor has it that he's moved up to more...questionable stuff..."

"Like?" Nirengeki asked, his curiosity piqued.

"Pantie shots. Videos that follow unaware girls and women around while focusing on...certain body parts..." Eijiro's eyes narrowed. "And underwear..."

Izuku blinked with horror. Then, he gritted his teeth.

"You knew this," he snarled, "and you didn't bother to do a thing about it?!"

"Like I said, Midoriya," replied Eijiro, "those were just rumors that were floating around. I never bothered to check out if they were true. I..." He scratched the back of his head. "I only sought his porn and hentai services..."

"Kirishima," Nirengeki said, "you said you know who Mustard is, but you're telling us the same stuff those other guys told us before. How is any of this supposed to be helpful?"

"Those guys clearly started seeking Mustard's services very recently. I am, shall you say, a longtime customer, so I know what Mustard looks like."

"You do?!" the others, sans Izuku, cried at the same time.

"Yeah, and I can also tell you this: a couple of weeks before the girls' locker room was raided, Mustard started using the whole letter-and-code system those guys mentioned. I thought it was a little strange, but I didn't ask any questions until I overheard you guys on the track field during P.E."

"You were listening in on our conversations...?" Izuku asked.

Eijiro nodded. "That, plus all of the rumors I was already hearing about Mustard recently giving out actual underwear, got me thinking. So...I followed you guys here and...well, you know the rest."

"A-Are you g-go-gonna t-tu-turn us i-i-in...?" stuttered Toru.

Eijiro's eyes widened. "Oh, hell no! In case it didn't cross your minds, I'm here to help! And as someone who is aware of how Mustard runs his operation, I think I could be very useful to you, not to mention help clear Mineta's name!"

"And what makes you think we can trust you?" Izuku asked, his eyes narrowed with suspicion.

The redhead glared at him. "Midoriya, I said I wanted to help, and I'm giving you Mustard on a silver platter. I don't even have anything to lose by outing Mustard, honestly!"

"Well, I believe you!" Mei cried. She rushed forward and hugged Eijiro's arm tightly, startling him. "Ahhh, come onnnnnn, Midoriya! Don't ya want another member in our little group?"

"Kirishima's got a pretty hood point, Midoriya," Manzo said. "He's our way in, probably our only way in, and I don't think he has anything to gain by backstabbing us."

"I agree!" Paula cried.

Izuku looked at the rest of Mei's club, who were looking back at him expectantly and with approval. He then looked back at Eijiro and Mei; the former was staring deeply and valiantly into his eyes, while the latter was feeling his muscles with a surprisingly hungry look in her yellow eyes. At first, he couldn't help but cast doubt over Eijiro's words.

Then, he remembered what the former bully told him yesterday.

"T-T-To think the guy who I thought was a-a loser was capable of beating bigger, buffer guys up, it...it's astounding! You've got strength, Midoriya, a lot of it...and it's admirable! It's badass! It's... I-It's manly..."

"Okay, Kirishima," Izuku said. "You lead us to Mustard."

A wide, toothy smile appeared on Eijiro's face. Izuku could see his pointed, jagged teeth, which made him look startlingly like a shark.

"Awesome!" he exclaimed. "Look, Midoriya, I w-"

"But," interrupted the other boy, "we have to be very careful about this. Mustard's gone to great lengths to keep all of his criminal activities a secret. If he knows we're onto him, he'll get spooked and get rid of whatever evidence he has left. If he does, we won't be able to prove Mineta's innocence. We have to have a cover story in case he gets suspicious."

"Then let's fall back to your old plan, Midoriya," Nirengeki suggested. "We will pretend to buy some girl's underwear from him."

"Yeah..." Izuku looked away. "I don't think I'm gonna do that..."

"Well, you might not, Midoriya," Eijiro said, his eye twinkling, "but I most certainly can."

Izuku looked at him with surprise.

Izuku stepped into the cafeteria for the third time.

It was still like entering a foreign country. Students filled the tables to the brim, chatting animatedly with each other and fully indulging themselves in today's gossip. There was no table in sight that didn't have at least four students sitting by it. A strange but surprisingly pleasant combination of multiple fragrances hung in the air. The clean floor gleamed freshly and spectacularly from the bright sunlight entering through the windows.

He scanned the tables situated closest to him, one by one. Then, he quickly found the one he wanted to sit at, what with Mei waving excitedly at him.

"Hey, Midoriya!" she called. "Midoriya! Midoriya! We're over here!"

Izuku shook his head upon feeling the many curious eyes train themselves on him. With a lowered head, he approached the table and sat down between Nirengeki and Toru.

"There's really no need to call out to me like that, Hatsume..." the boy said. "We're sitting in one of the closest tables to the door, you know..."

Mei smiled cheekily at him. "Well, I still felt like calling out to you!" Then, she leaned her head in, her yellow eyes shining with intrigue. "So tell me, what's the plan?!"

"...Weren't you listening back at the locker rooms...?"

"Ohhh, I'm just so psyched by this! This is like a mix of Our Hero Academia and a detective manga!" The otaku held in a squeal of enthusiasm. "Ooh, I can't wait till we corner that Villain and show him what for!"

"V-Villain...?" Eijiro asked from Mei's left side. Then, he shook his head. "Wh-Whatever. 'Kay, listen, you two." He pointed at Nirengeki and Manzo, who sat upright attentively. "I am introducing you two to Mustard. I'll tell him you're new clients looking to buy some of his, ahem, new inventory. He knows I'm not in on his new business, but I'll try and convince him to make an exception for us. Hopefully he'll take the bait and let us in."

"What happens if he's convinced?" asked Manzo.

"Knowing him, he'll set up a meeting between classes or after school. Hopefully it won't be after school. I've got baseball practice after school is out." Ignoring a dissatisfied sideways glance from Izuku, Eijiro continued, "When we meet up, we ambush him. He should have some underwear with him, so we'll have concrete proof that he broke into the locker room, stole the items, and pinned the blame on Mineta."

"Sounds like a solid plan," Nirengeki replied. "But...what happens if he's not convinced by your story, Kirishima?"

"Then...I guess we're screwed, 'cause I've got no other way in."

"Have no fear!" Mei exclaimed. "We Heroes will triumph in the end, 'cause that's what we do best! Am I right, guys?!"

A half-enthusiastic cheer feebly leaked out from the group. At that moment, Eijiro stood up.

"Okay, you guys," he said. "I'll take you to him right away. Hopefully he's at the same table-"

"Wait, wait!" Mei cried as she grabbed the redhead's arm. "Hold the phone there!"

Eijiro looked down at her, clearly bothered. "What? You got a question?"

"Not at all!" Mei's eyes were still gleaming, and her lips were curled into a half-crafty, half-insane grin. "We need to give you a Hero name first!"

"A...A Hero name...?"

"Yep! As of now, you're a member of our club, so we might as well give you a Hero name!"

Eijiro looked at Nirengeki, confused, and the stout boy clarified, "It's a code-name."

"O-Okaaaaay..." The redhead looked back down at Mei. "What do you have in mind?"

"Hmmmmm..." Mei scanned Eijiro from head to toe. "You look like a wild guy, and you've got some wicked red hair..."


"Hmmm..." Then, the female otaku's eyes lit up. "I know! I'll call you Red Riot!"

Eijiro blinked with shock. "Red...Riot...?"

Izuku looked from Mei to Eijiro and back, fear filling his green pupils. "Oh, God..." he thought. "Hatsume's really making a scene in front of Kirishima... I don't know how he's even gonna react to such a silly name like that-"

"I like it," Eijiro said, his voice almost breathless with wonder.

"What?!" exclaimed Izuku.

"Yeah, I like it too!" Paula replied enthusiastically.

"S-Sa-Same here..." Toru added meekly.

But Nirengeki looked dubious. "Red Riot?" he asked. "I feel like I've heard that name from somewhere before-"

"Who cares?!" exclaimed Eijiro. "It's a manly code-name for someone like me!" He flexed his arms, showing off his young and developing muscles. "Tell me, you two, what're your code-names?!"

"I'm Mines."

"Comicman for me," Manzo added.

"Mines and Comicman, huh? Awesome! Those are truly manly names as well!"

Nirengeki's eyes suddenly shone. "You...You think so...?"

"Hell yeah!" Eijiro grabbed the smaller, weaker boys and pulled them close to his sides. "Red Riot, Mines, and Comicman, facing the threat like true men and protecting the well-being of this school! Together! HA HA HA!"

Izuku batted his eyelids rapidly. "Holy whoa..." he thought. "Kirishima's actually into this, even if he doesn't know a thing about manga like Our Hero Academia... It's almost unreal..."

"Alright, then!" Eijiro released Nirengeki and Manzo and started marching away from the table. "Let's move! We can't let Mustard out of our sights, now can we?!"

Nirengeki and Manzo looked at each other, seemingly awestruck by Eijiro's overly enthusiastic behavior about this whole sequence of events. Then, they started following the redhead away from the Manga & Anime Club's table, leaving Izuku with Mei, Paula, and Toru. Once the three other boys were gone, Izuku released a deep sigh.

"You think they'll be able to do it, Hatsume?" Paula asked.

"I don't think they can do it!" Mei replied, though she was wearing a toothy grin. "I know they can do it! And with a guy like Kirishima on our side, the Hero Club's gonna be stronger than ever!"

Izuku looked at her curiously. "The Hero Club?" he asked.

"It's what we're gonna call ourselves from now on! In secret, of course! I mean, if we're gonna be a club of superheroes, calling our club the Hero Club out in the open is gonna defeat the whole purpose of having a secret identity!" She leaned her face towards Izuku's, startling him immensely. "Tell me, Midoriya, whaddaya think?! The Hero Club, a place all people can go to when they need help! The Hero Club, a place where regular, mild-mannered guys and gals can turn into people who can make a difference! The Hero Club, a place that-"

"I appreciate the thought, Hatsume," interrupted Izuku, "but you need to stop this right now."

Mei blinked, and question marks were literally popping up over her head. "Huh?"

"There is no Hero Club. We're not Heroes. After this, we're done."

"Whaaaaat?! But Midoriya, you gotta admit, this is fun! Just think about it! We can be like the characters from Our Hero Academia, putting on flashy costumes and fighting crime!" Her yellow eyes twinkled dreamily. "I can just imagine it now! The students of this school banding together to fight great threats that endanger our town!"

"Can you also imagine us getting beat up and killed in the process, Hatsume? Huh? Can you?!"

Mei wagged a finger at him. "Uh-uh! Not if we help each other out!"

"Will you just think about it for a second?!"

The otaku smirked. "Oh, you're telling me to think. You, the guy wearing the Yamikumo costume while saving a couple of girls from some crooks."

"That's only because I didn't want those guys to figure out who I was!"

"And after all that, you still went the extra mile to wear the same costume while breaking into the guys' locker room."

Paula and Toru looked at Izuku with surprise.

"You broke into the boys' locker room?" Paula whispered.

"Only to look for evidence!" Izuku replied defensively. "And Old Man Sorahiko happened to be nearby! I-I didn't want him to recognize me in case he caught me!"

"But I was chat- I mean, distracting him," Mei said. "And even after that, you still wore the Yamikumo costume while we were visiting Mineta."

"You guys visited Mineta?" Toru asked.


"Only to get information," Izuku growled exasperatedly. "I didn't want to be recognized like last time, but it turns out my costume was useless."

"You say that, yet you didn't hesitate even one second to put on that costume while we were jumping those three pervs!" The girl chuckled dramatically. "And now you are telling me I'm, what, crazy to think we should start up a club dedicated to heroics? Admit it, Midoriya, you want this to happen as much as I do!"

"I don't."

"You dooooo."

"I don't, Hatsume!"

Mei covered her mouth playfully. "Ho ho ho, you sooooo do!"

"I agree," Paula added.

"S-Sa-Same here..." stuttered Toru.

Izuku gritted his teeth. "Hatsume," he snarled, "I swear to God, I'm gonna...gonna..."

"Gonna what?" replied Mei. "Tell me, Superhero-san, what're you gonna do to me? It can't be anything hurtful, perhaps?" She leaned her face towards Izuku's again. "You've always wanted to do something like this, Midoriya! I can feel it in my Hero bones! And since you're clearly in denial about this-"

"I AM NOT IN DENIAL, HATSUME!" Izuku hollered, startling the students sitting in the tables closest to his. Realizing this, he hung his head with embarrassment. "We have to stop, Hatsume..."

"Why stop now when it's getting really fun?!"

"Hatsume..." The boy raised his head, and the girls, even Mei, were surprised to see his green eyes glimmering. "This... This is not supposed to be fun! What you're suggesting we do...is gonna get us all hurt!"

"Didn't stop you from dueling those guys in the street like it was a boxing video game!"

"'Cause he was gonna hurt Uraraka and Kodai and h-he's already hurt others before and-and I couldn't stop him b-before a-and I-I c-cou-couldn't l-let him d-do it again! A-And now y-you're all c-ca-caught up in this a-and you're g-gonna g-get y-yourselves hurt and I...I...I..."

Izuku started hyperventilating, and his eyes were becoming bloodshot. Paula and Toru stared at him with concern.

"Whoa, whoa, Midoriya!" Paula cried, while Toru kept some distance between her and Izuku. "Just calm down! Breathe... Breathe..."

The exchange student's slow, soothing words helped Izuku slow his breath. Once it was back to a normal, steady pace, a tense silence fell upon the table, and Izuku hung his head again. Paula and Toru stared at him awkwardly, while Mei was wearing an ambiguous expression.

Finally, Toru spoke. "Mid-Midoriya...?" He didn't respond, so she continued. "Is...Is that why you're doing all of this in the first place? 'C-Cause...y-you saw those s-same guys do s-so-something to someone...and you d-didn't do a t-thing about it...?"

Then, the girls heard Izuku sniffling. He raised his head, and they realized he had been weeping.

"Even worse..." he said. "I was...treated with a dose...of reality..."

Before either Paula or Toru could press for further information, a new voice rang out, "We're in, you guys! We're SO in!"

Eijiro, Nirengeki, and Manzo returned to the table, all three of them wearing proud expressions. Mei shot up on her feet, the giddy and semi-insane face back.

"You reeled him in?!" she cried.

"Yep!" Eijiro replied, giving the female otaku a thumbs-up. "We made an order, and he's agreed to drop it off in the boys' bathroom on the second floor when school is out!"

"The second floor!" Mei flashed him a toothy smile. "That's the perfect place to catch him in the act and take him down!"

Eijiro returned her smile with one of his own. "So it's settled, then?! We meet up at the bathroom once the last period is dismissed?!"

"Yeah, you betcha!" She looked down at Izuku, Paula, and Toru. "Alright, my fellow Heroes! We now have a plan in place! At long last, we can prove Mineta's innocence and put this dark chapter of the school behind us! Let's all recite our motto to get us all riled up for this monumental occasion!"

Izuku and Eijiro both stared at her with confusion.

"You guys have a motto?" Eijiro asked.

"Yep! That one's already been settled!"

"It's a lil' something we took from one of our favorite manga when the Manga & Anime Club was first formed," explained Manzo.

"Sounds cool!" replied Eijiro, his eyes glimmering with enthusiasm. "What is it?!"

However, Mei wagged a finger in his face. "Uh, uh, uh!" she said. "You need to join the Hero Club first before you can get that kind of information! Only members are privileged to the inner workings of our organization!"

"W-Wait a minute," Nirengeki said, perplexed. "We're now calling ourselves the Hero Club?"

"It's a long story," Paula piped up.

"Given that the name was most likely Hatsume's idea, I can't say I'm surprised..."

"Anyway..." Eijiro said, "is there anything I need to do to join?"

"Well..." Mei replied before spending a moment thinking about it. "At this point, I would've come up with a lil' system of rules, but since I'm so pumped up right now, I think I'll just make an exception for you. Congratulations, Kirishima!" She used her palm to give Eijiro a makeshift knighting. "You're part of the Hero Club now!"

Eijiro was stunned by the improvised ceremony for a quick moment. Then, joy filled his eyes, and he flashed his jagged, shark-like teeth.


"Alright, then!" Mei stepped away from the table and faced Izuku and the others with her hands on her waist. "Now that the formalities are out of the way, let's go catch ourselves an underwear thief!"

However, she said the last part so loudly and boisterously that she caught the attention of the tables closest to the Hero Club's. The dozen or so students slowly looked at her awkwardly, unsure if they really did hear what they had just heard. Mei didn't seem to notice, for she was flashing her brightest, bubbliest smile yet at the newly-formed Hero Club.

As for Izuku, he felt some dismay at Mei's eccentric behavior and decisions, but it was being overtaken by a rising feeling of begrudging awe and admiration towards the otaku. Never before in his life had he met someone so blindly passionate about becoming a real-life superhero, someone whose passion overshadowed his like a sun to a white dwarf.

"I can't believe Hatsume wants to go through with this..." he thought. "I can't believe people are even following her lead! Maybe this is how I would've turned out if I kept up my obsession with manga and remained blissfully unaware of reality and its true expectations..."

Just then, he remembered Shimura's words from a couple of weeks ago, once again. With a deep, heavy sigh, the green-haired boy stared out of the window again, pondering on what he had just indirectly started.

"The Hero Club... This is just great. Everyone thinks what I did was awesome, like some anime, and now they wanna do the same thing. They want to follow my example, unaware that their views of heroism is shortsighted and simplified. The truth is...it's not. Being a Hero in real life is only gonna get people hurt. I can attest to that.

"It's a good thing we're only dealing with an underwear thief. After this, I'm gonna put an end to this right now. If I want to be a Hero, if I truly believe in the good deeds of Yamikumo and the rest of Class 1-A, then I have to remind everyone that this is reality. We have to accept it before something goes terribly wrong..."

He clenched his trembling fists.

"We have to..."

Meanwhile, Eijiro was staring at Mei with bewilderment.

"You still didn't tell me what the motto was..." he moaned.

A/N: Alright! This marks the end of that chapter! Now, I know I said earlier that this chapter would mark the conclusion of this mini-story arc of proving Mineta's innocence, and I was planning on making it so. However, I just kept on writing and writing and writing until the chapter became a little too long for my liking. As you can hopefully see, this chapter is the longest chapter I've written for this fic so far. Because of all that, I was forced to split the original chapter into two. Don't worry, though! The real thief will be caught and Mineta's name will be cleared in the next chapter, I can guarantee it!

Also, on a little side-note, Mustard (one of the Villains that appeared during the Forest Training Camp Arc) has just been identified as the main suspect of the break-in, while Kirishima becomes the first non-otaku to join the newly-established Hero Club! HOORAY! And from the next chapter onward, things will speed up as we delve into the true meat of this story!

Alright, I'd like to thank the following for reviewing the previous chapter:

-Haro654: Nope! As you can now tell, it was definitely not one of the teachers.

-MarvelNinja10: Thank you so much! I'm so glad I'm doing Hatsume's character justice in this AU, and I think it's for a good reason too, because I love, love, LOVE writing her and I think she's quite the underdog of the franchise. I do hope she gets more screentime in the future because I think she deserves it!


1) Indeed he is!

2) Is there anything else you would like to say about the previous chapter? Any other likes you might have had? Dislikes, perhaps? Any miscellaneous comments? I'm sorry, but two-sentence reviews are also pet peeves of mine. I feel a review is going to need more detail than that if a fanfiction writer needs feedback on his or her material.


1) I see. Thanks for the pointer, though!

2) Wow, I'm really sorry about the overuse of adverbs! I didn't even notice this! I don't think I even noticed when writing this chapter; it's probably a part of my writing style nowadays. Thanks for providing the link, though; I'll be sure to use it for future chapters!


1) I'm glad I've got Bakugo nailed down to a T so far. He's quite easy to write given his personality. Plus it allows me to be a little liberal with the cursing. XD

2) Don't worry. The IzuMina wholesomeness will commence in a couple of chapters. I'm just trying to get the Hero Club officially established first. Then, we start getting serious. ;)

-Guest reviewer: Could you please be specific for your review? Do you have any specific likes for the chapter? Perhaps any dislikes? Any miscellaneous comments? I need specific feedback, please! Otherwise, I won't know how to make this story even better for you!

Well, hope you enjoyed this chapter! TheCartoonFanatic01 is out. PEACE!

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