A/N: Once again, I will have to apologize for the lateness of this chapter. I had to contend with projects and finals on top of trying to write for my other fics. But fortunately, after quite a fight, I'm finished with the semester, everyone! And that means I can devote the entirety of my focus on my fics and have tons of fun writing! HOORAY!
Anyway, in the last chapter, I asked all of you what you guys wanted me to pursue for my next MHA project. The choices were a crossover between "My Hero Academia" and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a fic focused on Izuku and Class 1-B, and a third project whose details I did not want to disclose in case I got interested in that. Of the four people who chose to leave their two cents (I'm not judging any reviewers who didn't cast a vote, though; it's cool!), it's a tie between the MHA/MCU crossover and the Izuku/Class 1-B fic. Perhaps I should've left some specific details on what the third project should've been if I was hoping it would get at least one vote, but it doesn't matter right now. Remember, this was never meant to be a poll. I just wanted to get into your head-space a little and see what direction I probably should take.
Now that enough time has passed for me, and I have seen the results, I just wanted to say that I'm 90-95 percent sure I know what I want to do for my next MHA project. I know there's some pretty strong enthusiasm towards the MHA/MCU crossover, but I am afraid to say I've settled on the Izuku/Class 1-B fic. This is simply because I've already written more content and done more world-building for that fic (quite a lot, in fact) compared to the MHA/MCU crossover.
Now that doesn't mean I won't be doing that crossover; it's just that I need more time to figure out that fic. All I have to show for it right now are some disjointed scenes and perhaps just a portion of the beginning I wanted for it. But for now, the Izuku/Class 1-B fic is where my interest lies, and I cannot imagine that changing at the moment, especially given it's supposed to be a bit of an ambitious project; I won't lie about that. But I guess we will see about the MHA/MCU fic a few months into my Class 1-B fic, depending on how much the readers enjoy reading it, and how much I enjoy writing it.
Anyway, in other news, I'm pleased to say we are officially halfway done with this fic. The first half of this fic will come to a close with this chapter, and after that, we'll be getting ourselves into the true meat of the story! ANOTHER HOORAY! :D :D :D
Okay, I think I'm done with this exposition. It's time to proceed with this long-awaited chapter! ENJOY!
P.S.: Having watched the ninth episode of Season 4 while writing this, I must say, KiriMina got elevated higher in my list of favorite MHA shippings. Not that this will affect the pairings of this fic, of course; I'm way above false advertising. But maybe this'll be something I will keep in consideration when thinking about what to write next for this fandom... ;) ;) ;)
P.P.S.: The scene of Eijiro watching Mina confront Gigantomachia in the same episode reminded me of the scene where Izuku stood by and watched the girl in the alleyway get assaulted. I didn't even know about that scene with Eijiro. It was honestly pretty crazy seeing that in action.
"Help! Help me! Someone, please! Help me!"
"Calling for help won't do ya any good. As you can see, no one gives a damn."
"Why didn't you help me? You were there..."
"Hey, thanks for the help back there! We owe you!"
"I hate it when people pick on others who they think are defenseless. ...I also hate it when other people don't do something about it."
"NO! I'M NOT LETTING YOU GET AWAY, VILLAIN! I WON'T LET YOU GET AWAY WITH YOUR CRIMES!"
"ACK! AAAAAAACK! AGH! AGH! St-Stop... Let... Lemme...go... Ack!"
"NEVER! YOU'LL PAY FOR WHAT YOU DID TO THAT GIRL YESTERDAY! YOU'LL PAY FOR WHAT YOU DID TO HER!"
"Thank you, Midoriya...for caring about me..."
Izuku opened his green eyes with a soft gasp. At first, his mind didn't process his surroundings, but after a few seconds of contemplation, he realized he was lying on his bed, staring at the ceiling. With a sigh and a tired groan, he sat up and rubbed his eyelids.
"I can't believe it's been three days..." he thought.
Then, once that memory returned to the forefront of his mind, Izuku lowered his hands to his lap and stared down at his outstretched palms.
"Hey there, Midoriya..."
As Detective Nishiya scribbled something on his notepad, Izuku looked over his shoulder and saw...
But it seemed like he wasn't looking at Mei Hatsume. The Mei Hatsume he knew would be overly energetic and eccentric, with a myriad of skewed priorities that mostly related to her hobbies. Right now, it was like he was staring at her timid, more subdued identical twin. Nevertheless, Izuku overcame the strangeness of this new Mei and gave her a friendly grin.
"Mm-hm," Mei replied while slowly nodding her head. "Did...Did you finish giving your statement?"
"Y-Yeah." Izuku took one last look at Nishiya, who nodded at him, allowing the boy to join his newfound friend. "S-So, w-what do you need?"
The two teenagers began walking across the track field of the school, which was currently swarmed with additional police officers. At the corners of his eyes, Izuku could see Ochako, Eijiro, their friends, and the rest of the Manga & Anime Club giving their own statements to officers.
"I...I just wanted to thank you..." Mei said. "F-For saving me back there."
"This is the fifth or sixth time you've thanked me for something, Hatsume. Please, don't mention it."
"We-Well, y-you're the first person who didn't pretend to care about me. I-I owe you that much! A-Also..."
Her voice trailed off, prompting Izuku to ask, "Also...?"
Mei hesitated for a moment before saying, "L-Look, I-I know you're not th-the biggest fan of th-the Hero Club, b-but...I-I think what we just did today was awesome and cool and good for the school and I-I wanted to-"
"You wanna keep the Hero Club going?" Izuku completed with realization.
Mei nodded. "And, you know...since we're friends...I-I thought we could-"
"Hatsume...you...you nearly had a breakdown back there. Do you really still think it's safe for you to be doing things like this on a regular basis?"
"Not if you and the others are with me! Plus, you admitted back in the locker room that this is something you've always wanted to do, all along! To be a real Hero, like Yamikumo!"
"I wasn't lying about that, Hatsume." Izuku warily looked over his shoulder to see if any officers were eavesdropping on their conversation. "It's something I wanna do, deep down inside...but I am also very aware of how dangerous it can be. We can dream all we like, but reality always has a way of ruining our dreams. We need to accept that."
"I've accepted it, Midoriya! Which is why I think...the Hero Club should have rules."
Izuku stopped walking. "Rules?"
"Y-Yeah. Rules. Stuff to keep the members in line."
"I..." Izuku lowered his head. "I dunno..."
"Midoriya, you know Mustard's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this town. You know it, I know it, everyone in the Manga & Anime Club knows it...hell, everyone in this school knows it. Look at what we've done today, Midoriya!" She gestured around the track field. "Mineta was innocent this whole time, and Mustard would've gotten away with it if it was not for us! The police may say that they tried their best, but in reality, they did diddly-squat! And thanks to us, in just a few minutes, Mineta's gonna learn someone believed in him! Imagine that, Midoriya. Imagine the look on his face when he realizes you believed him and never stopped believing him."
Izuku raised his head, and as he did, the defeated expression on Minoru's face returned to his mind.
"Midoriya, give it up. You're just overthinking this whole thing. Just imagine the headline for tomorrow. 'Class Pervert Expelled for Stealing Girls' Underwear'. Don't ya think it's got a better catch than 'Class Pervert Framed by Conspiracy in Girls' Underwear-Stealing Scheme'?"
"Lo-Look, I'm not gonna try and force you again, Midoriya," Mei said earnestly. "You're my friend now, and whatever you decide to do, I'll support it, hands down. But you have to take some time to think about it. J-Just think. If we, a bunch of kids, were able to crack this case wide open when the cops gave up so easily, then think about all the stuff we could do to help this town."
Izuku looked down at his feet, immersing himself in his thoughts. He could hear Mei turning on her heel and leaving, but as she left, she imparted eight last words.
"Just think of what we could do, Midoriya."
"Just think of what we could do, Midoriya."
"It's been three days," Izuku thought.
At that moment, he remembered the headline of the newspaper he saw at the convenience store weeks ago, before the whole debacle with Mustard, before the incident with the girl in the alleyway...before everything...
OUTSMARTED! POLICE RELEASE SUSPECTED YAKUZA MEMBERS
Izuku took a deep breath before standing up from his bed and stretching his arms like he was flexing them, perhaps the first time he ever did so. As he did, he could feel the vague impressions of the wounds he sustained from his fateful fight with the muscular man. He looked at himself in the mirror a few times after recovering from that fight and realized they were probably going to scar over.
At that thought, Izuku stopped stretching and lowered his arms with a concerned frown. His eyes instinctively gravitated towards his Yamikumo cosplay, which was hanging from the open door of his closet. He remembered how good it actually felt, living out his dream in spite of the reality of his circumstances...
"Hatsume's right. We did something when the police couldn't. We...We actually did it...and now I'm expecting myself to just sit back, be a normal kid, and pretend nothing's happening? How can I?! Everyone knows something's happening in this town! Uraraka and her friends know it, Hatsume and her club know it...even Kirishima has some idea of what's truly going on! And yet..."
All of a sudden, Shimura's words returned to Izuku's memory.
"Life's not fair, Midoriya-kun. It's unpredictable, a series of random occurrences. No matter how much mankind tries to control it, life somehow finds a way to make their efforts blow up in their faces. It has always been this way and it always will be. Sometimes things go your way, other times they don't. You never know."
Then, Izuku narrowed his viridescent eyes with defiance. "You're right, Shimura-san. Life's not fair. Sometimes things go your way, other times they don't. Which is why..."
Without a second thought, the boy ran over to his desk, opened a drawer, produced a notebook, and began scribbling in it. His hand was now a blur, while his pupils darted from one side to the other and back rapidly.
"I'm sorry, Shimura-san, but...this is not gonna go your way! If life's unpredictable, then there's a chance this town can get better! And I'm gonna lead the charge to see it through, because no one else will! Fear not, Shimura-san!"
He stood up, marched over to his window, and drew the blinds open, bathing his bedroom with bright morning sunlight.
"For the Hero Club is here!"
A couple of seconds later, he winced from the overabundance of light and closed the blinds, sparing his green eyes from any further assault.
"Yeah, it's too bright outside..." he mumbled.
Izuku stepped into the cafeteria.
It no longer felt like entering a foreign country to the viridescent boy. Students still 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. First, there was the table hosting the boys' basketball team, which included the foul-mouthed Yosetsu Awase, the calm and collected Sen Kaibara, and the approachable chatterbox Kosei Tsuburaba. Then, there was the table hosting the Literature Club, led by the massive but eloquent Jurota Shishida. Finally, there was the table hosting the seniors, including the popular Mirio Togata and Nejire Hado.
Then, the most foreign thing happened. As soon as Izuku entered, silence slowly took over the cafeteria, and everyone's heads turned towards him, one by one. Not a single word was spoken in response to his presence. He felt his skin crawl at the massive amount of attention that had suddenly been placed upon him.
Awkwardly, Izuku walked over to the nearest unoccupied table and sat down. Once he did, he heard all of the whispering break out amongst the students.
"Hey, look, you guys."
"Yeah, it's Midoriya..."
"Man, so that's the guy, huh?"
"Yeah, it's him..."
"Guess looks can be deceiving."
"Wait a minute, is it really true that he and his friends-"
Izuku did not get to hear the rest of that last whisper, for the green-haired boy became focused on the notebook and pen that he procured from his backpack. He opened up the notebook and began scribbling in it for a few moments. Just then, he was interrupted by a palm that slammed itself on the table, right in front of his face. After recovering from his shock, he looked up and saw-
The look in the class representative's eyes was stern and judgmental as usual, but Izuku could make out the faint traces of an approving smile in the corners of his lips. Without saying a word, the bespectacled boy pointed his chin down at the table. Izuku looked down and saw a newspaper right under Tenya's palm. He quickly recognized it as the unofficial school newspaper produced by Mirio Togata's Journalism Club.
"Read it, Midoriya," a voice said.
Izuku looked up and saw Ochako sitting down on the opposite side of the table, joined by Tenya and, to his surprise, the rest of the group that participated in Mustard's capture: Yui, Momo, Shoto, Eijiro, Denki, Hanta, Nirengeki, Toru, Paula, and Manzo. The only ones who were missing were Mei and Mina. Izuku was puzzled by the presence of groups with such different likes, dislikes, and hobbies. Nevertheless, he acquiesced, took the newspaper, and read the front page.
"Hero students...catch true underwear thief?!"
"Mm-hm!" Ochako replied, nodding her head vigorously.
"Everyone's read that already!" Eijiro exclaimed with a jagged grin. "They know all about what we did!"
Out of curiosity, Izuku continued reading the article. "At the end of last week, a group of students continued investigating what seemed like an open-and-shut case about a pantie thief. What their amateur sleuthing found was even greater than the school administration could've imagined. Thanks to their efforts, the student who had been previously accused of last week's daring break-in and theft at the girls' locker room, Minoru Mineta, has been exonerated of any wrongdoing, while the real thief, whose name is being withheld by the police due to the sensitivity of their investigation, has been expelled from school and arrested for breaking-and-entering, theft, and video voyeurism. Authorities assure the student body that there is no longer a threat on campus."
"Neat, huh?" Denki asked, flashing a grin at the boy.
"Man, I felt like such a badass..." Hanta commented. "In fact, I still feel like a badass!"
"Yeah!" exclaimed Paula. "You guys should've seen me when I first arrived at school today! Everyone was looking at me, whispering their ears, and even asking me questions! I've never been the center of so much attention before!"
"Yeah, same here!" Manzo cried excitedly.
"R-Re-Really?" Toru stuttered meekly from behind Paula. "N-N-No one s-se-seemed t-t-to n-no-notice me..."
"Well, that's 'cause you're such a quiet lil' mouse, that's why, Hagakure!"
Everyone looked over their shoulders and saw, much to their surprise...
"Hatsume?" Izuku asked incredulously.
Indeed, it was Mei Hatsume. And yet, when he gazed at her, Izuku couldn't help but feel there was something completely different about her. But he couldn't figure out what, exactly. Her salmon-pink hair was still dyed and styled the same way as before. She still had that overly enthusiastic, semi-manic grin plastered on her face. Her sapphire-blue eyes were still wide and sloped a little upwards-
"Hatsume!" Izuku cried with realization. "Your...Your contact lenses-"
"What about 'em?!" Mei said in her usual loud, boisterous voice.
"Y-You're not wearing 'em-" began Nirengeki, who also caught on to the subtle difference.
"Whaddaya mean I'm not wearing 'em? My eyes have always been like this!" Then, Mei noticed the newspaper in Izuku's hands. "Ooh, whatcha got over here?! Gimme, gimme!"
She snatched the newspaper from Izuku's hands, nearly tearing it in half in the process, before reading the front page. A few seconds passed before a familiar glint passed through her new sapphire-blue eyes.
"I think we did well, guys," she said.
"We...Did well?" Nirengeki repeated, perplexed. "Are...Are you alright, Hatsume?"
Mei saluted. "Never been better!"
However, Izuku continued staring at Mei incredulously. "Hatsume's still acting like her usual self," he thought. "There's no doubt about that. And yet, she's a little...calmer than usual. And there's her eyes. She's definitely abandoned the contact lenses... Could it be because of...?"
He then remembered their exchange in the bathroom last week.
"No one's ever wanted to be my friend before! Not even Shoda and everyone else in the club! You're...You're the only one who actually asked, straight up! The only one in my entire life! It's so weird, but...but I don't think I've felt like this before!"
"Okay then, Hatsume. Let's be friends. We can help each other."
Izuku smiled happily at Mei and her...slightly improved mannerisms, just as Tenya spoke up.
"It's good to see you're holding up fine, Hatsume. You certainly seemed traumatized by last week's events."
Mei looked at the bespectacled boy with a semi-manic smile. "Well, what can I say?!" she exclaimed. "No one takes down the Gadget Master without a fight!"
"Th-The Gadget Ma...?" Then, the confused Tenya shook his head and reached into his pocket. "L-Listen, Hatsume...your role in apprehending that sexual deviant was extremely vital for the police investigation. If it wasn't for your persistence, your courage, and your, well, unconventional personality, then perhaps Minoru Mineta would have lived a terrible future... Goodness, I still can't believe I'm saying that- Ack!" Tenya clutched his elbow. "Hey!"
"Be a little nicer, Iida," Ochako remarked as she lowered her elbow.
"S-Sorry. Well, ahem, because of that, I have taken the liberty of coming up with a...most gracious reward for your effort and perseverance in this matter."
"Ooh, ooh!" Mei gushed, her sapphire-blue eyes lighting up. "Does that mean you'll accept my apology for tinkering with your cool samurai costume?!"
Tenya's eyes widened with outrage. "Wh-What?! Heavens, no! You still sullied such a valuable icon of hist- OW! Uraraka!"
"I told you to be nicer, Iida," Ochako remarked as she lowered her elbow again. "She was sorry, after all."
"Agh, fine..." The class representative looked at Mei and, with great effort and a strained voice, said, "Alright, I...I accept your apo-"
"You're welcome!" Mei interrupted.
"Y-You're welcome?! I didn't even thank you for anything-"
"Does that mean I can borrow your samurai suit whenever I feel like it?!"
"NO! Absolutely NOT! That suit is off-limits, Hatsume! You've done enough with- Alright, alright, Uraraka, I get it, I'll get to the point!"
"Good," Ochako replied as she lowered her elbow once again.
Tenya sighed before reaching into his back pocket. "Hatsume, accepting your apology was not what I had in mind when I mentioned a reward-"
"Ooh, you wanna kiss me on the cheek?" interrupted Mei, interest seeping into her face.
"Yes." Then, the boy's eyes enlarged. "Wait, what?! No! Absolutely NOT! Wh-Where'd that come from?!"
Mei shrugged nonchalantly. "I dunno. You're like a tsundere, Iida. All tsunderes wanna kiss their male protagonists when they're defrosted."
"I am not a tsundere, Hatsume! thank you very much! And you're not a male protagonist! You-You're not even the right gender, n-no offense! C-Can I just explain what my reward is without interruptions, please?!"
Tenya sighed heavily before producing a familiar pair of goggles and showing it to the otaku girl. Mei stared at them for a brief moment before gasping and covering her mouth. Izuku looked at them and recognized them as Mei's signature pair, though the strap, which had been snapped in half the last time he saw them, had been taped back together.
"Midoriya found this outside the boys' locker room and lent them to me..." Tenya explained. For the first time since Izuku became friends with him, there was a sheepish tone in his voice. "You seemed to forget about them following that whole incident with Mustard, but I didn't. S-So..."
His voice trailed off, prompting Mei to say with realization, "You fixed it?"
Tenya held out the goggles. "You always wear these to school, so I assumed you treasured them. Consider this a sign of thanks from me for your assistance-"
Izuku and the others watched as Mei nearly tackled Tenya to the floor...while kissing him. Straight on the lips.
Izuku simply watched the scene unfold, unsure of what was going on. Ochako and Momo stared at Tenya and Mei, totally stunned by the latter's confident response. Shoto and Yui both also stared, though their expressions remained neutral, as always. Eijiro, Denki, and Hanta couldn't help but feel jealous at how the bespectacled boy they once considered to be a pompous nerd was already getting some action before them.
Nirengeki was blinking rapidly, as if he thought he was dreaming and was trying hard to wake himself up. Manzo's lower jaw was hanging open as he gawked incredulously at Mei's brazen show of confidence. Paula was probably the only one who showed a positive reaction to the scene, covering her mouth with a gasp as her blue eyes glittered with wonder. As for Toru, she peered from behind Paula's shoulder, examining every inch and detail of the kiss.
At the corner of his eye, Izuku could see several other students in the cafeteria watching, either flabbergasted or amused by the turn of events.
"Oh, man," he thought. "I wouldn't wanna be Iida right now..."
After about a minute of being in this position, Tenya was able to forcefully pry Mei off of him, tearing her lips away from his. He started hacking, sputtering, and spitting at the floor in shock while the others continued to watch, flabbergasted.
"Wow, man," said Eijiro. "That was...actually pretty smooth of you right there."
"Wh-Wh-What?!" Tenya snapped. Then, he glared at Mei, who was smiling unusually happily. "YOU! You made that move without any consent from me!"
"So?" Mei asked obliviously.
"S-So? Th-That is considered sexual assault!"
"What're you talking about, man?" Denki asked, frowning jealously. "You're frigging lucky you've got a hot girl slobberin' all over you! Plus, it looked like you enjoyed it a little."
"I'm very worried about your perception of gender roles, Kaminari!" Tenya started spitting again, continuing to feel Mei's saliva in his mouth. "Ugh! I gotta go to a bathroom and wash all this off!"
Before Ochako could stop him, Tenya ran off, still trying to wipe his mouth. She watched him go in genuine shock for just a brief moment, before finally recovering and looking at Izuku.
"I'm-I'm sorry about that, Midoriya-kun!" she cried. "I'll-I'll go check on him!"
With that, the chestnut-haired girl ran off. Yui, Shoto, and Momo watched her go as well before following their friend, one by one. Once Izuku, Eijiro, Denki, Hanta, and the Manga & Anime Club were left alone, Mei abruptly started laughing and slapping her thighs with disbelief. The others stared at her incredulously.
"Wow!" the otaku girl cried as soon as she recovered from her cackling. "That sure worked like a charm!"
"Wait, what?" Izuku asked. "You're...You're saying you kissed Iida...just to get him to leave?!"
"B-But what about him fixing your-"
"Well, I am grateful to him for that..." She fondly looked down at her taped-up goggles for a couple of seconds. "But I'm not that grateful! See, if he stayed for any longer, Midoriya, then he'd definitely be all over our business. And there's no way we can let that happen, especially considering what your response is gonna be!"
"W-Wait a minute, response?" Nirengeki asked.
"Whaddaya mean by 'response'...?" Manzo asked hesitantly.
Mei winked craftily at the two boys. "Ohhhhhhh, just you wait and see!" Then, she looked at Izuku again. "So, Midoriya, d'you have a response for me or what?"
"Ooh, ooh!" Paula cried, her eyes sparkling with realization. "Are you two dating?!"
"WH-WHA-WHAT?!" Izuku squealed, his face as red as a tomato.
"Nope!" Mei replied calmly, her eccentric grin still in place. "See, I have something bigger planned, something that I have consulted with Midoriya about, but I'm gonna need his approval to proceed first! So..." She looked into Izuku's eyes with overflowing intrigue. "What's your response, Midoriya?"
To the surprise of everyone else, Izuku nodded...and smiled, triggering a giddy squeal from Mei.
"YES!" Then, the otaku girl lowered her voice while warily looking around the cafeteria. "Sorry, guys, but this needs to be kept hush-hush here!" She put on her signature goggles, momentarily surprised by how strong yet flexible the tape was. "Come follow us, you guys, and we'll show you what's up!"
With that, she grabbed the student newspaper and started walking away, prompting the others to look at Izuku.
"She said 'we', Midoriya," Paula remarked. "Not 'I'..."
"D'you guys have something planned?" Toru asked.
Izuku smiled ambiguously at them while tucking his notebook under his armpit. "Only the best..."
"Well, well, well, judging by this newspaper, I'd say...not bad for the Hero Club's first day! Not bad at all!"
Izuku, Mei, and the rest of their group, Eijiro, Denki, and Hanta included, all entered the Manga & Anime Club's meeting place. They could hear many students still loitering around in the hallway, but the sounds were cut off the moment Paula closed the door behind them.
"Wait a minute," Manzo said. "First day?"
"Yep!" Mei rolled up the student newspaper that she still had and started whipping it around like it was a pointer. "But it's quite a disappointment that the paper did not mention our name! We need to do better in that regard, everyone!"
"Wait, we're still doing this Hero Club shtick?" asked Nirengeki.
Mei nodded her head vigorously. "Mm-hm! Consider last week's events...our debut!"
"Debut, huh?" Denki asked with a smile. "Well, that sounds exciting!"
As for Hanta, he raised his hand, catching Mei's attention.
"You!" the pink-haired girl cried, pointing at him with the rolled-up newspaper. "Plain-faced guy with the weird teeth!"
"Pl-Plain face?" Hanta repeated, momentarily flabbergasted by the description before quickly moving on. "W-Well, uhhhh, Ka-Kaminari and I talked to Kirishima about it, a-and...w-well, we're interested in joining this Hero Club."
"You wanna join?" Nirengeki asked incredulously. "Why?"
"W-Well, we think what we did was pretty awesome and badass and, w-well...b-badass, and we want in on whatever you guys have planned next!"
"Plus you guys are the Manga & Anime Club!" Denki added. "You guys are into stuff like that, right?"
"W-Well, y-yeah, but-" Manzo began before being silenced by Mei's wagging index finger.
"Hold on a minute, you two!" she cried, staring deeply into the boys' eyes. "Do you have a sponsor?!"
"A...A sponsor?" asked Hanta.
"Why the hell do we need a sponsor?!" Denki exclaimed. "We helped you guys catch Mustard!"
"That's how Red Riot joined us!" Mei replied.
"Red Riot? Who the hell's Red Riot?"
"That'd be me," Eijiro replied, pointing at himself with this thumb. "Oh, and by the way, I don't think I remember joining the Hero Club that way-"
"Nope!" interrupted Mei with a cheeky smile. "Midoriya gave you his approval!"
"I-I did?" Izuku asked, confused.
"Yep! In your own words..." Mei cleared her throat before putting on her best Izuku voice. "Okay, Kirishima. You lead us to Mustard."
"Oh, yeah," replied Manzo. "Midoriya did say that earlier."
"That was a good impression, by the way," Paula commented.
"Mm-hm, mm-hm!" Toru vocalized in agreement.
"Okay, then," Hanta said. "How do we get ourselves a sponsor?"
"A current member of the Hero Club must vouch for you!" said Mei.
"A...A current member, huh?"
"Well, that should be easy!" cried Denki. Then, he clasped his hand on Eijiro's shoulder. "Yo, Kirishima! Buddy! You mind vouching for me and Sero?!"
"Sure!" Eijiro replied brightly.
"Alright, then!" Mei exclaimed. "Since Red Riot's agreed to be your sponsor, that means you two are in!"
With that, Denki and Hanta exchanged a high-five before Mei spoke again.
"But first, you two need Hero names!"
"Say what now?" Hanta asked, his exuberant smile fading in an instant.
"How're you supposed to help people if you guys don't have code-names to protect your identity?!"
"Huh," Denki replied. "Sounds fair, I guess. So, what're your code-names, guys?"
"The name's Gadget Master! And tinkering is my game!"
"It really isn't," Nirengeki replied with a disapproving shake of his head. "O-Oh, I'm Mines, by the way."
"And I'm Comicman!" Manzo cried proudly.
"Sweet!" Denki replied. Then, he looked at the girls. "How 'bout you? I betcha your code-names are super-hot-"
"I'm Pony," deadpanned Paula.
"That doesn't sound sexy at all..."
"A-An-And I-I'm I-In-vi-vi-vis-si-sib-b-b-" Toru stuttered severely.
"She's Invisible Girl," Paula said, stepping in for her mostly unseen friend.
"Invisible Girl, huh...?" Denki asked.
The blond boy suddenly stared spacing out, which Paula was quick to notice.
"Don't even think about undressing Hagakure in your mind, Kaminari!"
"I-I'm not! I'm-I'm trying to think of a cool code-name!"
"Given your track record with girls," Manzo said, "I doubt it." Then, he suddenly crossed his arms. "Listen, just because you're one of the fastest runners in the baseball team, it doesn't mean you can-"
An excited grin suddenly broke out on Denki's face. "That's it! I'll be Chargebolt!"
"Chargebolt?" repeated Nirengeki.
"Yeah, it's Chargebolt 'cause I'm the fastest runner in the baseball team-"
"And you survived eating a bunch of bolts on that dare last month!" Hanta completed. "Dude, that's such a cool name! I really like it!"
"You ate bolts last month...?" Manzo deadpanned.
Denki ignored him and looked at Hanta with interest. "What about you, Sero? Didja decide on your Hero name?"
"Honestly, I...I don't know what I should call myself..." Hanta replied. He looked at Mei for guidance. "Yo, does that mean I can't join the Hero Club anymore?"
"Ah, don't sweat it!" Mei cried with a dismissive motion of her hand. "I'll come up with a name for you!"
"Y-You will? Oh, thank goodness for you!"
"Why, thank you! Now, let's see... Hmmmm..." Mei started thoughtfully tapping her chin with her index finger. "Well, you were the one who got the tape that we used to restrain Mustard. We would not have been able to keep him in one place without it."
Hanta sheepishly scratched his cheek while blushing. "Ah gee, thanks..."
After a minute of self-deliberation, Mei lightly hit her palm with her clenched fist. "Ah, I got it! You'll be Cellophane!"
"You mean the stuff they use to package food in boxes?" Denki asked.
"I don't even think that can be considered tape, Hatsume..." deadpanned Manzo.
"Well, Our Hero Academia has a guy with a tape Quirk who goes by Cellophane!" Mei cried defensively. "To be honest, he looks a lil' like you, Sero!"
"Re-Really?" Hanta asked.
"Ohhhhhh, yeah!" Izuku suddenly exclaimed. His freckled face was now wearing a grin that stretched from ear to ear. "I remember Cellophane! You do look like him, Sero!"
"Really, huh? Maybe I should start reading your stuff, Midoriya..."
"Yeah, you definitely should! I think you'll like Cellophane, Sero! It's a shame Shimura-" Izuku suddenly remembered. "I-I mean, Yagi-sensei keeps him relegated to the background a lot."
Hanta crossed his arms. "Sounds disrespectful, if ya ask me."
"Alright, then!" Mei suddenly cried with a proud, almost haughty smile. "Now that this is all settled, I hereby declare you official members of...the Hero Club!" With the newspaper, she patted Denki's shoulders, one by one, followed by Hanta's, much to their confusion. "Welcome to our establishment, Chargebolt and Cellophane!" Then, she gave a sideways glance at the still-rolled-up paper. "Oh, excuse me! I wish I had an actual sword for this kinda thing, but the school would give me the boot before you could say 'uncle', so-"
"Wait a minute!" Hanta cried, his eyes now bulging with concern. "You could've used a sword on us?!"
However, the rest of the Manga & Anime Club didn't look too worried by Mei's expression. In fact, they looked somewhat amused by Denki and Hanta's reactions.
"Ah, don't mind her, Sero," Nirengeki said. "Hatsume says stuff like that all the time."
"You'll get used to it," added Paula.
"Alrighty, then!" Mei cried while casually tossing the newspaper away and clapping her hands together. "Now that we've inducted you two into the Hero Club, let's get our first official club meeting underway! But before we begin, does anyone have any questions?! Yes, Tsunotori?!"
Paula lowered her hand. "I-I didn't know this was gonna be a long-term thing-"
"Well, you thought wrong!"
"Why?" Manzo asked hesitantly. "I mean, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed what we did, but...what exactly is this Hero Club gonna do now?"
"Well," Izuku suddenly replied, "we do what we did before. Help people and stop criminals. Anonymously, of course."
"Criminals? Midoriya, not everyone in this school is gonna be like Mustard-"
"I'm not talking about criminals in school like Mustard. I'm talking about criminals...in general."
Manzo blinked rapidly, overwhelmed by the revelation. "W-W-Wait, y-you mean like...a-actual criminals?"
"Yes, that's exactly what I mean."
"So it's just like in Our Hero Academia," concluded Nirengeki. Then, he sighed. "Listen, Midoriya...I too enjoyed what we did to catch that sicko Mustard, I really did. But...isn't fighting real criminals kinda...you know, dangerous?"
"Yeah, I know it can be dangerous, Shoda," Izuku replied in a soft, earnest voice. "Regularly doing what we did to catch Mustard in the act, but only with gangsters outside of school and the like... But you have to understand, the only reason why Mineta is no longer expelled and in jail is because of our actions. And now we've tapped into something that none of us knew existed within us."
"A-And th-that is...?" Toru asked timidly.
"Our desire to do the right thing." Izuku looked down at his outstretched palm. "We have to keep doing the right thing... We just have to, 'cause it's clear at this point that no one else will do it for us. We all cannot just stand by when someone needs help." He looked up determinedly. "We have to keep the Hero Club going."
"I understand your rationale, Midoriya," Manzo replied, "but what you're suggesting is vigilantism. And let's not forget we are all underage. None of us are qualified for that sort of thing."
"I know, Fukidashi. But you know all about the Shie Hassaikai, right?"
"Of course. Who doesn't?"
Manzo's statement was punctuated by nods from Nirengeki, Paula, Toru, Eijiro, and even Denki and Hanta.
"That proves my point, guys," Izuku replied. "We know all about the Shie Hassaikai and their influence on this town. This town that we call home, it's now a breeding ground for criminals of all kinds. Everyone knows about it, and yet no one's done a thing about it. It's like...we've surrendered to our circumstances. Like we've accepted it as a way of life. That...is unacceptable."
"So...you're saying the Hero Club is supposed to set an example for others?" Paula asked. "To encourage them to do the right thing?"
"Yes, that's exactly right."
"Whatever happened to you saying you were gonna be done after we nabbed Mustard?" asked Manzo.
"Yeah," Nirengeki added. "I remember you making such a big deal out of this being a one-time thing."
"Really?" Eijiro asked, surprised.
"What changed your mind, Midoriya?" asked Paula.
Upon hearing the half-American exchange student's question, Izuku lowered his head with a look of shame creeping onto his freckled face. A certain memory was swimming back to the forefront of his mind...
"Help! Help me! Someone, please! Help me!"
"Calling for help won't do ya any good. As you can see, no one gives a damn."
"Once..." Izuku said, his voice heavy with gloomy reluctance, "Once...I had an opportunity...to do the right thing...to...to help someone who was in need... But...But I didn't take it... I was..." His voice choked as his eyesight became blurred. "I was too afraid to help..." Then, he recollected himself and looked back up, his eyes shining with determination. "That's a feeling no one should experience. And if that was awful for me, then...then I can't even imagine to think about...how the person I failed to save is feeling right now."
Once he stopped speaking, Izuku realized the others were staring back at him with bewilderment. Even Eijiro, Denki, and Hanta were stunned by such an admission. After a tense silence, Nirengeki spoke up.
"I see now. So...you've been eaten away by guilt this whole time...and the Hero Club is your way of preventing an event like the one you just described...from ever happening again."
"N-Not exactly. That incident was just the trigger. My...My origin story..." Izuku took a deep breath and stared up at the Manga & Anime Club sign. "It's like you said, Tsunotori. The Hero Club is supposed to be the shining example for others in this town. If anything else, the Hero Club should show everyone in this town that...they no longer have any reason to be afraid."
"Cool phrase right there, Midoriya," remarked Paula.
"Mm-hm, mm-hm!" Toru vocalized in agreement.
"Look," Izuku said while looking back at his new allies, "if you guys don't wanna keep going, then that's fine-"
"No, no, no!" Nirengeki suddenly said. "I'll...I'll keep going!"
Izuku's eyes widened. "You...You will?"
Nirengeki nodded with narrowed eyes. "I know how it feels, Midoriya. My parents' ramen shop is the meeting place for a bunch of Shie Hassaikai thugs, and they have driven all the other customers out. We cater to criminals at this point. And it's all because of them the cops are breathing down my parents' necks.
"I...I think the only reason they haven't been arrested yet is because someone at the top of Shie Hassaikai is paying the police off, because the thugs like my parents' ramen. But I know it won't be long till something bad happens." He looked down at the ground with concern. "Either the thugs do something that'll get my parents arrested...or my parents will..." He hesitated. "Will outlive their...usefulness..."
Everyone else simply stared at Nirengeki, stunned by his story. Even Mei, Manzo, Paula, and Toru looked rather surprised by their friend's revelation.
"Man," Denki replied, shocked. "That sucks..."
"That doesn't just suck!" Eijiro cried, his eyes suddenly burning with rage. "That's absolutely unmanly of those crooks!"
"You sure have a thing for manliness, don't you, Kirishima...?" Paula asked hesitantly.
"W-Well," Manzo said, "if Shoda's willing to keep going, th-then I will too!"
"You will?" asked Izuku.
"Hell, yeah! Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to find the safest routes home?! Those Shie Hassaikai thugs are all over the streets and their numbers are growing! Every day I have to find a new route home and...I'm honestly sick of it." Manzo clenched his fists tightly. "If we could succeed where the police failed with Mustard, then why the hell should I have any doubts about this club's chances of success?"
"I'm in too!" Paula cried. "And so is Hagakure! Right, Hagakure?"
"Y-Ye-Yeah!" Toru shouted, trying her best to conceal her nervousness. "L-Let's kick s-some Sh-Sh-Shie H-Ha-Hass-s-sai-k-ka-kai b-bu-butt!"
"Now that's more like it, guys!" Mei exclaimed enthusiastically. Then, she focused on Eijiro, Denki, and Hanta. "So, what about you three? You're all still in, or what?!"
"Damn right!" Denki cried while excitedly sticking up his thumb.
"We just joined, after all!" added Hanta. "Can't afford to waste our new membership!"
"We're with ya till the end, Midoriya!" Eijiro shouted boldly. "We're all gonna help you take names and kick asses!"
"Just tell us what to do next, Midoriya!"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa there, tigers!" Mei cried, her voice overflowing with excitement. "Before we can get things started, I think we need to lay out some groundwork for the club!"
"Groundwork?" asked Manzo.
"Yep! And first thing's first, I'd like to show you all the mission statement I worked on for the Hero Club!"
"A mission statement?" Paula asked.
"Since when were you working on a mission statement, Hatsume...?" asked Izuku.
"Since the weekend." Mei gave the green-haired boy a cheeky smile. "What? I knew you were gonna say yes to the Hero Club, so I thought I'd do this in advance!"
All of a sudden, she reached under her shirt and fiddling around with her breasts of all things. Izuku and the girls looked away quickly. As for the other boys, they gawked at the sight in a voyeuristic fashion for a second before finding enough sense to whip their heads away as well. Unbeknownst to them, this unexpected move was not sexual in nature; instead, the pink-haired girl procured an ancient-looking, rolled-up scroll of paper after some difficulty.
"Alriiiiiiiight, heeere we go!" the otaku cried boisterously, catching the attention of her peers again. Instead of voyeurism or embarrassment, the entire group shared a reaction of flat confusion.
"Is that...a medieval scroll?" Nirengeki asked.
"Yep! Nifty, huh? Wanna know where I got it from?!"
"You know, I think I'd rather not..."
"Aw, phooey. Well, if you insist..." Mei unfurled the scroll, allowing the others to see her handwriting through the almost-see-through paper. "Okay, here goes!"
The otaku girl cleared her throat before using a dramatic voice. "We, the members of Hero Club, swear to protect all that is good and innocent from the forces of evil and injustice, anywhere and everywhere. With our seven values of courage, compassion, honesty, reliability, teamwork, perseverance, and (most of all) anonymity, we intend to scour and rid all the neighborhoods of the criminals that infest it and restore them to what they once were: peaceful, normal neighborhoods that accommodate any and all people. In the face of oppression, we will not rest. We will not desist. We will not yield. We will not crumble. We will not give up. We will not do any of those things until we have completed our mission, no matter what it takes, for that is what it means to be a Hero. Anyone can become a Hero if they find the spirit within them to do so. Do you have that spirit?"
The otaku took a deep breath before lowering the scroll and looking up at her club members. Upon seeing their intrigued expressions, her lips curled into a smile that stretched from ear to ear.
"Well, guys?" she asked. "How's that for a mission statement?"
"I gotta hand it to ya, Hatsume," Eijiro replied. "That was such a..." He suddenly clenched his fists so tightly they began to tremble. "Such a manly mission statement!"
"Aw, gee! Thanks, Red Riot! I spent all weekend writing up that statement!"
"So, lemme get this straight," Denki said, "we're gonna be pretty much like those superheroes from the American comic books and movies. Is that right?"
"Well, why do ya think this is called the Hero Club, Jamming-Yay?" Hanta asked while lightly slapping the back of Denki's shoulder.
Upon hearing the nickname, the blond boy blushed with embarrassment. "Pl-Please don't call me by that, Sero..."
"Alright!" Mei cried while casually tossing the scroll away. "Now that the mission statement's out of the way..." The otaku girl looked Midoriya, who tensed up. "Midoriya, I know you worked on something too!"
"Wh-What?!" Izuku exclaimed, his voice cracking. "H-How'd you-?"
"Know? You've been carrying around that notebook all fidgety-like, Midoriya, so I know there's something exciting inside! So, since I'm right, will you please do the honors?"
"O-Oh!" Izuku cried, surprised by the attention suddenly placed on him. "S-Sure!" He pulled out the notebook he had on him earlier and opened it. "Okay, everyone. Listen up. If the Hero Club's gonna work, then we're gonna need rules."
"Rules?" Manzo asked. "Since when did you have a list of rules for us, Midoriya?"
"Well, just now."
"Why write rules for us?" Nirengeki asked curiously.
"W-Well, i-if we're gonna fight th-the Shie Hassaikai and other criminals, th-the Hero Club is g-go-gonna have to do it a certain way. S-So w-we don't get in over o-our heads..."
"That makes sense," Manzo replied.
"Okay, then!" Eijiro cried, his jagged teeth bared in a wide, excited grin. "So, what're your rules for us, Midoriya?!"
"Well, uh..." Izuku tried to clear his throat. "Well... R-Rule number one, uhhh..."
The green-haired boy looked back up at the rest of the group, and they were staring back at him expectantly. However, timidness and apprehension took a tight hold over him, and he couldn't find the strength or courage to produce words in his mouth anymore.
"Oh, no!" he thought in distress. "Everyone's looking at me, like I'm their leader o-or something! I know I'm the one who wrote the rules, b-but I didn't ask to be in this role! I-It's too much pressure!"
"Well, alrighty then!" Mei suddenly cried, still using her usual chipper voice. "If you're gonna be too nervous of a wreck to carry on, then I guess I'll take over from here!"
With that, she walked forward and snatched the notebook from Izuku's hands, an action that he gladly accepted. With an embarrassed sigh, the green-haired boy stepped to the side and simply watched as Mei read his handwriting.
"Huh. Ten rules, eh? Gotta love your lucky numbers!"
"Ten's a lucky number...?" Denki asked in a confused whisper.
"Rule number one!" Mei recited in a deep, unnecessarily dramatic voice that startled everyone else. "You do NOT let any adults know about the Hero Club!"
"This reminds me of a movie I once watched back in America!" Paula cried with excitement.
"Rule number two! When someone asks for help, we help."
"Well, that was an obvious one," replied Manzo.
"But what if the request is a dangerous one?" Nirengeki asked.
"Well," Mei said in response, "this next rule addresses that. Rule number three!"
"You don't have to use that voice every time you read a new rule, ya know..." Denki commented quietly.
"What're you talking about?!" Eijiro cried, glaring at his friend. "That's such a badass voice! Keep it up, Hatsume!"
The otaku flippantly ignored both of the boys. "If you find yourself in any danger, retreat in any way you can."
"Retreat?" Hanta asked.
As for Eijiro, he looked at Izuku with an affronted face. "Sorry, but I can't say I agree with this rule, Midoriya." He raised a clenched fist. "We're gonna be fighting Villains down the road! We cannot just retreat like cowards! It's not manly!"
"Look, Hatsume nearly had a breakdown last week!" Izuku cried defensively. "What if she gets herself into danger again and has another breakdown?! Remember, we're facing off against the Shie Hassaikai, not Mustard. Who knows how any of us are gonna react in the face of actual criminals?! We can't have a really terrible incident on our conscience!"
"Well, I know what I'm gonna do when I find myself in danger, and it's punch my way out like there's no tomorrow!"
Before Izuku could respond, Mei cried, "Ooh, ooh, I like this rule! Rule number seven!"
"I think you skipped a couple of rules..." Denki remarked.
"Uhhh, Hatsume?" Izuku asked, catching the otaku girl's attention. "Ma-Maybe you should go in chronological order. You might confuse everyone if you just read the rules that you like. Pl-Please...?"
Mei pouted adorably. "Ahhhhh, fine...but it's only 'cause you said the magic word, Midoriya..." She scanned the list again before retaining her dramatic voice. "Rule number four! Everyone must wear costumes and refer to each other by code-na- Hey, I was way ahead of you there, Midoriya! We make such a great team, you and I!"
"But you didn't write any of these rules..." Nirengeki commented.
"Well, I'm the one who encouraged him! So I pretty much wrote them with him in spirit!" Suddenly, Mei's attention was caught again, like a moth to a flame. "Ooh, rule number five! The Hero Club shall only be active at night and during the weekends and holiday breaks!"
"Whoa, wait a minute," Manzo said curiously, "why during the nighttime...?"
"Remember rule number one," Izuku replied. "How're we gonna keep the Hero Club a secret from the adults if we're all gonna keep sneaking out from their watch every day? Especially during school?"
"Well, it's not like the adults give a shit-"
Manzo's blood suddenly ran cold. "Oh, right... Aizawa-sensei..."
"Look, the only way the adults won't know about the Hero Club is if we operate during our time off."
"So we pretty much lead second lives," concluded Nirengeki.
"Just like American superheroes!" Paula cried, her eyes shimmering with wonder.
"Y-Yeah..." Izuku sheepishly rubbed the back of his head. "Pr-Pretty much..."
"But how're we gonna juggle between days of school and nights of Hero work?" Manzo asked. "I need to study for tests."
"Actually," Mei replied, "it looks like the next rule addresses that too!"
"I swear," Nirengeki said disapprovingly, "if you use that stupid dramatic voice again, I'll-"
"Rule number six!"
"Aaaaannnnnd she's done it..."
"Only three Heroes will be active per night. That number will be flexible depending on how many people will join the Hero Club."
"Three Heroes per night?" asked Manzo. "So we're gonna do this on certain days?"
"Like you said, Fukidashi," Izuku replied. "So we all have enough time to sleep. We'll figure it out later on."
"Rule number seven!" Mei exclaimed. "Oh yeah, I definitely like this one. Don't kill anyone, or otherwise subject them to unnecessary injury, unless it's absolutely necessary."
"Well, that's pretty self-explanatory," Denki commented.
"Wait," said Eijiro. "Unless it's absolutely necessary?"
"If there's no other way out of a fight," Izuku replied. "But I doubt that'll be the case."
"Rule number eight!" recited Mei. "We treat everyone with kindness and sympathy, even if they are criminals."
"We can't sink to their level, guys," explained Izuku. "Regardless of who they are and what they've done, we do not have any right to treat them like garbage."
"Rule number nine! If this is your first night at the Hero Club, then you have to go out on patrol."
"Ooh, now this really sounds like that one movie I watched!" Paula commented. "I forgot the name, though-"
"And last but not least, rule number ten!" Mei paused for a moment, confused at Izuku's choice of words. "Always do the right thing..."
"Always do the right thing, huh?" Eijiro asked.
"What the hell does that mean?" Hanta asked.
"I...I honestly don't know..." replied Izuku. "I wrote that on instinct, but I lost the meaning."
"Well, I still like it!" Mei cried. "It's a good reminder for all of the members to keep their spirits pure and motivated while they're in the Hero Club! I think we'll keep that as a rule." The otaku girl handed the notebook back to Izuku. "So tell us, Midoriya, what should we do first?"
"Wh-Why're you asking me?!" Izuku cried.
"Well, you're the one who jump-started this whole thing. I couldn't have thought up of this without your help."
"Yeah," Nirengeki replied. "You're the one who roped us into helping you prove Mineta's innocence and dress up in those costumes of ours."
"Wait, you guys have costumes?!" Denki exclaimed.
"Look, look, I didn't have enough time to really think this over!" Izuku interjected. "I just thought of those rules from the top of my head! I-I don't have anything else in mind for us right now-"
"Okay, then," replied Mei. "I'll start us off with this topic: how exactly are we gonna recruit more members?"
"Yeah! Surely we can't be the only members of the Hero Club! There's only nine of us!"
"Well, aren't we supposed to be a club of secrecy?" Nirengeki asked. "How're we gonna find the perfect people to recruit? People who we know won't rat us out?"
"Not to mention people who won't just think of us as silly," added Paula. "Or crazy. Or suicidal. Or all of the above, pretty much."
"Why don't we just start off with what we did with Mineta?" Eijiro suggested.
"What do you mean by that?" Manzo asked.
"Well, think about what happened. First, a crime was committed, which was Mustard breaking into the girls' locker room and stealing all those panties. Second, a suspect was arrested, Mineta. Third, Midoriya felt something was off about the official story, so he dug deeper. Fourth, he recruited us for help, and, well...you know all the rest. So basically, the only reason we're here in the first place was because of that break-in."
"So..." Izuku replied slowly, "you're suggesting...we find crimes to solve? Is that what you're saying, Kirishima?"
Eijiro grinned. "Yeah, pretty much!"
"Oh, I get it!" Mei cried excitedly. "So you're thinking we should scour the newspapers for any unsolved crimes, and if we find anything, we look into 'em!"
"Uhhhhh...I didn't have that in mind, but...that's actually a good idea!"
"Alright, then!" The grinning Mei pointed high in the air. "Hit the newspapers, everyone, 'cause we've got some crimes to solve!"
A split-second later, the school bell rang, and everyone could hear the students filling the hallways outside. With her wide grin still in place, Mei lowered her arm and crossed her arms.
"Well, let's just continue this tomorrow! For now, I want everyone to read whatever newspapers you can find and check if there are any unsolved crimes we can look into! Then come back with your reports tomorrow. Now...remember the Hero Club motto, everyone!"
"Wait, now this club have a motto?" a perplexed Hanta asked.
"Of course we do! We've always had one!"
"Since when...?" Nirengeki asked slowly.
Mei stared at him. "So you're telling me you don't remember the motto?"
"Of course not, Hatsume! No one remembers the motto because we never even settled on one!"
"Really now?" Mei thought about it for a minute. "Oh, yeah... I think you're right, Shoda..."
Nirengeki sighed and slapped his palm. "Jeez..."
"Okay, then! Let's decide on a motto!" Mei looked at Izuku. "What do you think our motto should be, Midoriya?!"
"M-Me?!" squeaked Izuku. "Wh-Why're you asking me?"
For once, Mei sighed and shook her head. "Midoriya, you weren't able to read the rules that you wrote for us, you didn't make a decision on what the Hero Club should do first, and now you're nervous about coming up with a motto? A motto of all things?!"
"B-But...I-I don't even-"
"Midoriya, you're the catalyst behind all of this. We're here because of you, and we're willing to stay. And as the catalyst of the Hero Club, well, I believe you should have the right to make at least one decision for the Hero Club on its first day of operations!"
Izuku blinked slowly. "You...You think so...Hatsume...?"
"Why, of course! And it's just a motto, Midoriya! Shouldn't take you that long to come up. So just think for a few seconds and give me your best shot."
Already, Izuku felt the gears in his mind whirring faster than they ever whirred before.
"I gotta think of something," he thought. "A motto... A really, really good motto..."
"Welcome back, Midoriya-kun!"
"Hi, Shimura-san! Has the newest volume of Lone Piece come in yet?"
"Uh-huh. It's waiting over at that shelf. I have it marked just for you."
"Thank you so much, Shimura-san!"
"One that's appropriate for the Hero Club... One that'll stick with its members for as long as the Hero Club exists..."
"Welcome back, Midori- Hm? Midoriya-kun? Were you just crying?"
"Are the bullies picking on you again?"
"No... Yes... I-I tried to stop them, but-"
"Hey, there's no buts about it. Even if there's no way out, that's no excuse to submit. You stand up to them, kiddo, and you do it with resolve. Bullies always avoid people who show their inner strength. One day, you'll have the strength to show them why they should never mess with the likes of you! Alright?"
"That's the spirit, kiddo!"
"One's that's simple and to the point..."
"Well, I don't know what to tell you, Midoriya-kun. Your mother and I won't be around forever. You've gotta find someone else who will listen to you and care about what you have to say. Otherwise, you're just gonna be alone in the world, and that'll be a whole lot scarier than facing off against a group of bullies."
"And most of all, one that'll give its members the hope and determination they need to carry forward..."
"Wow! Look at that, Mommy! Plus Ultra Manga!"
"Plus Ultra Manga, huh? That sounds interesting, Izuku! Hey, let's check it out!"
"Hope and determination..."
"Hi there, welcome to Plus Ultra Manga. Huh, I see we've got a first-timer here."
"Hi there! I'm Izuku! Izuku Midoriya!"
"Nice to meet you, Izuku. I'm Shimura."
"Wooooow... You look like a skeleton!"
"Izuku, look away, honey!"
An awkward silence hung in the classroom for a few moments. Then, Nirengeki asked, "What'd you say, Midoriya...?"
"Plus Ultra!" Izuku replied. "That's gonna be the Hero Club motto!"
"Plus...Ultra...?" Eijiro asked.
"I've never heard of such a phrase before..." Denki whispered to Hanta.
"It's in Our Hero Academia!" cried Mei, her sapphire-blue eyes twinkling with awe and realization. "And it's also the name of the local manga café!"
Izuku looked at her. "Wait, you know what Plus Ultra Manga is?"
"Of course, Midoriya! I'm a fan of all things anime- and manga-related, so I go there all the time!"
"I mean," Manzo added, "it's the only manga café in town, so..."
"Plus Ultra Manga, huh?" asked Hanta. "I think I've heard of the place."
"Hey, maybe we should all go there sometime!" Eijiro suggested. "Check it out, maybe get ourselves more immersed in the stuff that Midoriya likes!"
"You're not allowed to come back here until you find something productive to do at school, Midoriya. I don't care what it is, as long as you make friends and enjoy life beyond the pleasures of manga. Once you're able to do that, you're free to come back in and read to your heart's content."
"Y-Yeah..." Izuku commented warily. "M-Maybe some other time..."
Before Eijiro could speak up, Mei cried, "Well, I like that motto a lot! Let's consider it official!" The pink-haired girl quickly looked around before grabbing the student newspaper she tossed aside a few minutes earlier and rolling it up. "I hereby declare the first-ever meeting of the Hero Club...adjourned!"
With that, she whacked the nearest table with the rolled-up newspaper she had in her hand. As soon as she did that, the others delivered flat stares at her.
"Did you just pretend that newspaper was a gavel?" Denki asked.
"Ah, don't mind her, Sero," Nirengeki said. "Hatsume does stuff like that all the time."
"You'll get used to it," added Paula.
A/N: And that officially marks the end of this chapter! Yes, there was quite a lot of exposition here compared to the last chapter, but finally, finally, the Hero Club has been founded, and now its members have taken it upon themselves to do some real-life crime-fighting! But how will they accomplish this and make their club of secrecy known to all those who'd be potentially interested in joining? Well, that's something you'll have to wait and see in the next couple of chapters!
Now, I'd like to thank the following for reviewing:
1) Thanks! Yes, obviously there's a very good reason why being called crazy triggers Mei so much. Fortunately, she and Izuku have buried the hatchet and are now working together (sort of) to set up this Hero Club! You can expect a bunch of good things ahead of these partners!
2) Thank you so much for your patience. Do bear with me, because while I'm on winter break, I have other fics to attend to. But I'll try my best to pump in a couple of chapters for this story before my break ends and I go back to school.
-SilentReader97: "Good chapter"? Is that all you have to say in your review? I know it's a compliment, but please, next time you review, I want specifics. What did you like about the chapter? What did you not like? Any comments or beliefs that I should know about? Any questions? Please, I'd like to be in the loop about these things so I can keep improving the story into something you love reading.
1) Wow, I'm so glad my depiction of schizophrenia and its effects on others is very on point! Thanks for your professional input! To be honest, my only experience with people suffering from schizophrenia is through films and TV shows, and you know how Hollywood likes to embellish things. But I'm glad I avoided the stereotypical territory, especially since I had to talk about Mei's AU past and all.
2) I accept your offer for a cyber-handshake.
3) I've heard of the "Persona" series before, but not enough to understand the reference. Either way, I've already got an entire story on how Izuku and Mina are going to connect, and it's going to be pretty personal for the both of them.
4) Thank you so much for the offer! I appreciate it. I'll be sure to shout out to you via PM if I need some consulting! :D
1) If you were planning on skipping the story, why did you bother leaving behind a review in the first place? If you left a review, then that means you, at the very least, had to scroll through the entire chapter in order to get to the review box and write your review, which means you caught some split-second glimpses of my writing. That's not skipping at all.
2) I don't know who you'd prefer Katsuki and Ochako's romantic partners to be, but this story is in no way an attempt to insult your favorite pairings. That's why I put up those shipping disclaimers in the summary in the first place, so people of certain parties know this fic is not going to be their type and therefore steer clear of it.
-W0lfWarrior: But...Ochako is going to be a part of Katsuki's development... That was the plan all along...
1) Hey, looks like your vote counted! Thank you so much for responding with your two cents! Your feedback was greatly appreciated!
2) Would you mind being more specific as to why you enjoyed the story? I need more details so I know what I can do to keep making the story a great read for you.
1) Indeed, Kaminari and Sero are a little less interested about redemption, but the Hero Club should humble them down a peg or two!
2) As much as I would have loved to do that MHA/MCU crossover, unfortunately, it's still on the drawing board as of this writing, so...it's a no-go for now. We'll see what happens in a few months.
1) Thanks! Being out of Izuku's POV for once in this fic was a unique experience for me, since this is primarily supposed to be Izuku's story.
2) Well, since Mei is pretty much the co-leader of Hero Club, she'll definitely be privy to a lot of the personal happenings and interactions between the club's members. And since we're talking about Mei, her respect for privacy is close to zero. XD
3) Ah, I think Izuku will become as great as a role model to Mei as she is to him... ;)
4) Neither of those two scenarios you proposed are what I had in mind for the MHA/MCU crossover, but those are pretty good ideas nonetheless. Unfortunately, I'm settled on pursuing the Class 1-B project first, since I've already pumped out a lot more material on it compared to the crossover. Depending on what the reaction is, and what my personal opinion of that project is further down the road, I could start more serious work on the crossover, though. We'll see about that. You would've liked the crossover, though, I think. Sorry about the potential wait.
-Guest reviewer #1:
1) Thank you so much for responding with your two cents! Your feedback was greatly appreciated!
2) Do you have any specific comments for the chapter you reviewed on? Please, I don't mean to sound pushy, but I need detailed feedback in addition to that vote.
-Guest reviewer #2: Thanks! I'm glad the fic is original in concept; I really like doing original stuff. But can you please be a little more specific in your feedback next time? Like, what did you like about the chapter? What did you not like? Any comments or beliefs that I should know about? Any questions? Please, I'd like to be in the loop about these things.
-xnickyx123: Please, please, please don't beg me to update in not one, but TWO different reviews. I'll have to repeat myself on this. You definitely need to understand that life outside of writing can be quite a hassle for me, and it gets in the way oftentimes. I am trying my best in getting these chapters done, but the relationship between the writer and the reader is not a one-lane street. You, the reader, need to be patient with me, the writer, and understand I am a person with my own life to attend to as well. I assume you have your own life to attend to a lot of the time? Well, me too. In the words of Neil Gaiman, "People are not machines. Writers and artists aren't machines." And pardon my French, for I do not mean to sound disparaging in any way, but I am most certainly not "your bitch".
-Gomizia: Thanks! I'm so glad Mei of all things is what got you officially hooked on the story! I hope my slightly altered characterization of her is just as perfect as it was before!
-Guest reviewer #3:
1) Well...I'm glad to know my interpretation of such a character was enough to make you feel all that rage and passion.
2) Is that all you have to say for your review? Please, next time you review, I want specifics. What did you like about the chapter? What did you not like? Any comments or beliefs that I should know about? Any questions? Please, I need more feedback so I can keep writing the story the way you like it.
Well, hope you enjoyed this somewhat late chapter! TheCartoonFanatic01 is out. PEACE! And always remember...PLUS ULTRA!