Katsuki woke up early the following morning. He had some stuff he needed to prepare with Genya before class came.
“Hey, Mohawk Head. Up and at ‘em.”
“What is it, Katsuki?”
Genya’s voice sounded a bit sleepy in his head. He had stayed up a while reading the book, after all.
“If we are going to coexist together, we need to set some ground rules.”
“Oh, yeah. That’s a good idea.”
Katsuki thought for a bit.
“Okay, here’s the deal. Whichever one of us is in the backseat needs to give a signal before we take control. No surprises.”
“That’s fair. But, what if it’s an emergency?”
“That’s special circumstance. That will be more case by case. Alright with you so far?”
Genya made a noise of affirmation. “What else? What is this school stuff like?”
“It’s a Hero school. In the first half of the day, we have the basic subjects. You know, Math, English, history. Then in the second half-”
“Don’t tell me you don’t know what math is.”
“No, I do! It’s just... I’ve never really had a formal education. I know how to read and write Japanese, unless the written language underwent any significant changes. But other than that, nothing.”
Katsuki stayed silent for a moment.
“Hey! I was orphaned at eight and every moment after that was me trying to simply survive! You can’t blame me for not knowing math!”
Katsuki mulled it over. “Alright. I suppose that can’t be helped. For the time being, I will do all the school work. I’m one of the top in the class and you’re not ruining that for me. You can learn alongside me. If and when you catch up we can start splitting the work.”
“Sounds like a deal. What about the second half of the day?”
“Second half of the day is normally some sort of practical Hero training. I don’t know how that’s going to be structured right now, since it’s still summer vacation - basically we’re not supposed to have structured classes right now - but that’s basically it.”
“Okay.” Genya seemed to be in thought. “I know you’re training and all, but I want to train, too. Do you think it’d be possible for me to get my hands on a gun?”
“We can ask that in class today. So, how is this going to work? Me one day and you the next?”
“I think I’d prefer to split the training time in half each day. It’s better to train for smaller increments but everyday than longer periods with breaks.”
“Okay, that’s fair. And that’s Monday through Saturday. Sunday’s an entirely free day for the students to do homework and relax, though I’m pretty sure we’re more or less confined to campus for the time being. For that, we can also switch throughout the day.”
“Alright, sounds like a plan. Also-”
“If either of us get significant others at some point, the other can’t take control on dates.”
“I think that’s a given.”
“Well, it’s good that we’ve got the ground rules established. If anything else comes up, we can add to that.”
“Right. Now, breakfast?”
With Katsuki in control, they put on their school uniform and headed down to the first floor to brush their teeth and have breakfast. In the kitchen, they ran into a boy with spiky black hair and plump lips.
“Oh, good morning, Bakugo!” He said before returning to the stove, clearly not expecting a response.
“You want to talk to him?”
Genya was surprised at the offer.
“Why the shock? Didn’t you say you wanted to be friends with them?”
“I mean- yeah. But- aren’t you worried about your reputation?”
“If everything was about my reputation, I wouldn’t let you take control at all. This is about compromise, remember?”
“Well, when you put it that way… sure, can I talk to him?”
Genya found himself in control.
“Good morning to you, too!” He cheered. The boy turned around, clearly startled.
“Oh, uh, Shinazugawa! Right! Sorry, I-”
“I know, I know, this is probably going to take some getting used to,” Genya said, understanding. “Uh, I don’t think I know your name. Katsuki’s calls you all by nicknames so-”
“Oh, right. Rikido Sato,” the boy extended his hand for a handshake. Genya accepted.
“So, we ended up coming up with some chore routines after the dorm contest,” Rikido mentioned. “Yaoyorozu and I are on breakfast and dinner duty. Bakugo is a pretty good cook, too, so ask him if he wants to split some of the shifts.”
“You up for it, Katsuki?”
“He says he’s fine with it!”
Rikido nodded a little, focusing on the eggs in the skillet.
“So, Rikido-” Genya paused when he saw the other boy’s questioning look. “What? Did I say something wrong?”
“Oh, it’s nothing,” Rikido assured him. “It’s just that none of us are really on a first name basis, so-”
“Oh,” Genya replied, feeling a bit sheepish as his ears burned. “I was on a first name basis with all my friends from… from back then, so that’s just what I’m used to.”
“Don’t worry, honestly,” Rikido said. He also seemed to find the conversation awkward. “I mean, if you want to call me by my first name, go ahead. Now that I know why, it’s really not a big deal.”
Genya smiled a little. “Okay.” It felt nice to make a friend again. “Anyways, I’ve been curious for a while, how tall is this body?”
“How tall is Katsuki?”
“You could have just asked me, you know.”
“You’ve always been kinda angry before, so I never got the chance.”
“Oh, he’s one point seventy two meters,” Rikido replied. “About average height. Why do you ask?”
“Oh, that explains it,” Genya said. “My old body was one point eight, so that’s why it feels so short.”
Rikido hummed. “Yeah, that is pretty tall. I’m one point eighty five, though, so you’d still be shorter than me.”
Genya chuckled. “I was one centimeter taller than my older brother, so…”
He fell silent. He missed them all terribly. His brother, his friends, his mentor. All dead at this point. Descendants remained, if they were lucky. He wondered if Sanemi had kids. Probably not, if it was true that he and Giyu became involved after all of that. But Tanjiro and Kanao probably did, and maybe Inosuke and Aoi. Did Zenitsu marry Nezuko in the end? And even if they did have kids, there’s no reason most of their descendants would even remember anymore.
“Uh, Shinazugawa, you still there?” Rikido asked with a pinch of worry.
“Sorry,” Genya murmured out loud. “Just got lost in thought.”
“It’s fine, don’t worry,” Rikido said. “Hey, look. Breakfast’s ready.”
Genya took a few plates from the cupboards and helped set the tables. As time passed, other students began to filter in.
“You missed out on the dorm contest!” Toru called. “It was awesome! Sato won because the cake he baked was delicious!”
“Well, I’m sure I’ll enjoy the breakfast he prepared, then!”
“Mornin’” Eijiro called. “How’s it going, Shinazugawa?”
“Fine. I hope you’re well, too.”
“Greetings, my liege of darkness.”
“Uh… sure, Fumikage…”
The breakfast table was set.
“So much food… I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much in one place.”
Katsuki wondered what he meant by that. “Did you… not have a lot of food back then or what?”
Genya was silent. “We were really poor, and I had five younger siblings. I preferred that they got most of the food so that they’d grow big and strong… And then… after that, well-”
His thoughts fizzled out into incoherency followed by nothingness. Katsuki decided not to press further. Memories were not shared between them unless spoken about directly. Genya had mentioned he was orphaned at a young age. Did he lose his younger siblings then, too? Of course, his older brother had survived, but it sounded like their relationship was dysfunctional, to say the least. The world he came from sounded dangerous.
“Thank you for the meal,” Genya said. “Thank you, Rikido. It was delicious.”
Rikido smiled bashfully.
With breakfast done with and dishes set in the dishwasher - a device that earned a lot of oohs from Genya - Katsuki retook control as they headed up to the main building.
“We’re in Class 1-A,” Katsuki explained. “And then there’s-”
It was a girl with ginger hair tied up in a side ponytail that reminded Genya of Kanao.
“And here come the extras.”
“What is it, Kendo?” Momo asked the other girl.
She sighed. “Monoma wouldn’t stop pestering me until I came over and asked. Is it true that Bakugo is… uh-”
“Yes, and if Copycat has a problem with that, he can kiss my ass!” Bakugo yelled. “Mohawk Head and I are a package deal!”
“Well, tell ‘Mohawk Head’ that there’s nothing to worry about,” the girl said with a hint of a smile. “Monoma didn’t mean much by it this time. Either way, I look forward to meeting with you. I’d better get to my classroom, but we’ll see you around.”
She walked away, and Momo waved goodbye.
“She seemed nice.”
Katsuki walked into the classroom and took a seat at one of the desks. The others sat in around them.
“How is it going, Kacchan? Shinazugawa?” Izuku asked from the seat behind him.
“Don’t talk to me, Deku,” Katsuki grumbled. “And Mohawk Head’s fine, don’t worry about him.”
“Oh, okay.” He could practically hear Izuku’s smile. “I’m happy he’s adjusting well.”
Katsuki felt his heart flutter a bit. But-
“Oh, fucking hell, Mohawk Head! Don’t tell me you have a crush on Deku of all people!”
“I don’t! It’s- well… look, he reminds me of Tanjiro, and he was basically my first friend. My best friend.”
Genya sighed. “I don’t know how I felt about Tanjiro, either. I… never really got the chance to talk to him about it. And now I know he married Kanao. I hope he was happy and all, but… I think I just really miss him. I hadn’t had a friend my age in well… ever, and he reached out to me, even when I acted like a dick. He gave me encouragement and reassurance. And… Izuku reminds me of him. Maybe it’s just the loneliness.”
Katsuki growled. “Well, I… ugh. Why did it have to be Deku?”
“You two have known each other for a while, right? Have you been friends for long?”
Childhood friends, yeah. At one point. But that was a long time ago. And now-
He didn’t get the chance to answer, because the classroom door opened and Aizawa entered, rolling up his yellow sleeping bag.
“Good morning, class,” he said, getting behind the podium. “As I mentioned yesterday, the rest of summer vacation will be spent working towards your provisional licenses. There will be an exam at the end of the summer holidays. This will be no easy task, since even the provisional exam has a fifty percent pass rate.”
Genya raised his hand. “What happens to the people who don’t pass?”
Aizawa looked at him with a mixture of irritation and confusion. “They fail, and retake the exam six months later.”
“Final Selection - our test to become Demon Slayers - was a pass or die situation. You had to survive for seven days on Mt. Fujikasane. Only five, including me, survived in my year.”
“Still, a fifty percent pass rate,” Minoru murmured, terrified. “It’s that hard to get.”
“Indeed,” Aizawa said. “All of you will need to work extra hard for these remaining weeks to stand a chance of passing. So, starting today, you all well need to come up with at least two-”
THe classroom door was flung open as three figures entered.
“Teachers. Cementoss, Ectoplasm, and Midnight.”
“You know, those first two look like they’d fit in among the demons, but the lady terrifies me even more. I feel very… intimidated. Oh, why does she have to dress like that?”
“Stop blushing, dammit!”
Genya buried his face in his hands as the teachers explained the importance of Ultimate Moves.
“So, what’s this? Is this going to be just like the Breathing Forms?”
“You’re asking me as if I know.”
“Anyways, change into your costumes and head to Gym Gamma,” Aizawa said. “We’ll explain the rest there.”
Katsuki followed along with the rest of the boys to their locker room, taking his suitcase with his costume from the classroom shelf.
“What’s this top made out of?” Genya asked as Katsuki changed. “It’s so… skintight. I don’t like it. Makes me feel self conscious.”
“Well, I say it makes me look cool as hell!”
“You sound like nii-chan. Walked around with his uniform unbuttoned because it made his muscles stand out. Can’t understand the sentiment.”
“Well, this is easier to move around in, so we’re sticking with it.”
“This is… weird,” Genya said as they walked towards the gym. “In the Demon Slayers we all more or less just had a standard uniform. Sure, we could customize it to a degree, but they all looked similar enough. All these different costumes are disorienting.”
“Well, we gotta make our mark!” Denki said. “Leave our brand, ya know! Mix practicality with style! We’re individuals, not an organization.”
Genya grumbled. “Still, this just doesn’t seem practical. The Demon Slayer uniform was breathable, hard to tear through, nonflammable, partially waterproof-”
The others listened to him rattle on in mild confusion and interest.
Gym Gamma was a flat, cement filled hall. Cementoss leaned down and pressed his hands to the floor. Instantly, the cement began to flow, rising into sectioned platforms. Ectoplasm formed enough clones for everyone to train with.
“For now, focus on creating Ultimate Moves,” Aizawa instructed. “These should be integral to the identity you want to leave as a Pro. It does not necessarily need to be offensive. What it does need to be is your secret weapon, a move that guarantees victory. Now, get to it.”
Katsuki chose a platform and started to train. Ectoplasm’s clones were easy to dispatch. “About time I could really let loose!” This chance to fight, hone his skills, so that no villain ever tries anything again. He was going to be the new Number One, unstoppable.
Aizawa called the halfway mark of their training session. “Keep working!” He called. “You’ve got another hour!”
“Can we swap now?”
“Ectoplasm!” Katsuki yelled out for his opponent's clone to stop. “It’s Mohawk Head’s turn now!” He let Genya come front.
“Very well,” Ectoplasm said. “Now then, Shinazugawa, what are your abilities?”
Aizawa and the newly arrived All Might came over to observe the new student in action.
“Well, I’m not sure,” Genya said. “We didn’t have Quirks back then. Sure there were a few outliers, like Kanroji-san’s enhanced strength and nii-chan’s marechi blood, but nothing that qualifies as a Quirk. Well, I do have this ability but- it wouldn’t work if there aren’t any demons.”
“So, you’re essentially Quirkless,” Aizawa noted.
“I guess so,” Genya said. “I can still fight, though. I was wondering if I can get a gun.”
“A gun?” All Might repeated, a bit shocked.
Genya nodded. “Preferably a sawed off double barrel shotgun. That’s the one I had before.”
The three teachers exchanged glances. “Well, let’s set you up with a temporary weapon,” Ectoplasm said. “Snipe uses firearms. I’ll call him over.” One of his clones walked out the door.
“Shinazugawa, try using Bakugo’s Quirk while you’re in control,” Aizawa said. “Let’s see if the Quirk factor remained constant.”
Genya held out one of his sweaty palms.
“You need to-”
“I know. I’ve been feeling you do it all morning.”
He tried to ignite the sweat. Nothing happened. Not even a single spark.
“I guess it doesn’t work. Sorry.”
“Young Shinazugawa, how did Demon Slayers fight?” All Might asked.
“With Nichirin baldes,” Genya explained. “Nichirin’s a special metal capable of killing demons. But, because I was a pretty subpar swordsman and had no talent for Breaths, I used a gun, instead.”
“Special breathing technique,” Genya continued. “It’s supposed to increase your heart rate and lung capacity to maximize blood flow. That in turn enhances muscle strength and the body’s natural healing process. It’s a force to be reckoned with when paired with swordplay.”
The Ectoplasm clone returned with another Hero who introduced himself as Snipe. By this point, most of the class had noticed the commotion and paused their training to watch.
Snipe handed Genya a revolver. “We do not currently have the shotgun you requested. First, let’s see how competent you are with this. Then, we can consider getting the shotgun for you.”
Genya nodded, turning the revolver over in his hands. It felt a bit different from his preferred weapon, but he’d have to make due. He clicked Katsuki’s gauntlets off and set them aside so that they wouldn’t get in the way.
“Let’s go to flatter ground,” Ectoplasm said, spawning more clones. “That way there’s more room and you won’t hit anyone with stray shots.”
“Oh, trust me, there won’t be any stray shots.”
Genya followed after the clones.
“I wonder how this is gonna go,” Tsuyu croaked. “He seems confident.”
“I’m sure Shinazugawa knows what he's doing,” Shoto said. “Surviving battle after battle against man eating demons takes skill.”
Genya took a deep breath in, closing his eyes and steadying himself. He could hear the clicking of the battle prosthetics as the clones surrounded him.
“Repetitive Actions. Repetitive Actions.”
“Thus have I heard. At one time the Buddha was staying in the Jeta Grove monastery of Anathapindada's Garden at Shravasti, together with a large assembly of twelve hundred and fifty monks, who were all great arhats, well-known to the people,” he murmured, clicking the gun’s safety off and sliding his finger over the trigger.
As the furious click of peg legs sounded against the cement, Genya’s eyes flew open. He spun around to face the clone closest to him and fired. The clone dissipated.
Genya dodged the blow of Ectoplasm’s leg and fired again. He fired twice more, taking out a pair of clones. With his final shot, he took out the clone all the way on the other side of the gym.
“That was amazing!” He heard Denki cheer from a platform above. “Shinazugawa is amazing! Our trickshot!”
Genya felt a smile creep onto his lips. His new classmates gathered around, asking questions and gasping in awe at his marksmanship.
Snipe nodded in approval. “Your marksmanship is indeed commendable. Very well. When you and Bakugo take costume modifications into consideration, request a shotgun. We will work with the costume development company in order to get the permits in place. You can hang onto this revolver and some extra bullets for now, though.”
Genya nodded. “Don’t forget to come up with a Hero name,” Midnight cheered. “It needs to be approved by me before we put it through, so give it a lot of thought!”
“Hero name? Katsuki, what’s your Hero name?”
Katsuki grumbled. “It was going to be King Explosion Murder, but they didn’t approve of it.”
“That… sounds a bit intense.”
“Then I tried for Lord Explosion Murder, and it was still rejected. I even dropped to title to just Explosion Murder, and it still wasn’t good enough!”
“I don’t think the status of the title is what they have a problem with. That word. Murder. It isn’t something you should take lightly.”
Once training was over with, the class changed out of their costumes and headed back to their dorm building. Izuku, Tenya, and Ochako went to go submit their new costume alterations. Genya, in control of the body, sat at one of the tables with a notepad, sketching ideas, muttering to himself.
“So, it’s pretty much going to be this for the next few weeks until the exam,” Kyoka said, leaning back against the sofa and sighing. “Man…”
“Come on, we totally got this!” Eijiro cheered. “I actually came up with a cool idea for a costume change. I’ll add fabric along my arms so that I can carry people around during rescue missions!”
“Yeah, that sounds cool,” Denki said. “I want to come up with something that gives me more directional output so I don’t hurt my teammates when I fight.”
“Hey, Genya!” Eijiro yelled. “What’s that fabric in the Demon Slayer uniform called? I wanna use it for my costume.”
Genya didn’t answer, still staring intently at his notepad.
“You coming up with costume ideas with Blasty?” Mina asked, looking over his shoulder. Genya’s cheeks reddened a bit and he nodded.
“I want to make the top less skintight, but Katsuki’s not giving up on that,” Genya grumbled. “We’re trying to come up with a way to incorporate the shotgun into those gauntlets of his. And, there’s the matter of coming up with a Hero name.”
“You and Bakugo aren’t gonna share one?” Rikido asked.
Genya shook his head. “Based on what Midnight-sensei said, I’m guessing we’re supposed to come up with separate ones.” He tilted his head, uncertainly tapping the pen against the paper. “But I’ve got no ideas at all.”
“Oh, I know!” Toru exclaimed. “You want it to do something with the Demon Slayers, right? How about the Gun Hero: Demon Slayer?!”
Genya grimaced a little. “I mean, yes, I want it to connect to the Demon Slayers, but I don’t think that name will work. Won’t that be a bit too violent? They didn’t approve of Katsuki’s ‘Explosion Murder.’”
“Good point,” Toru said and seemed to pout, her shoulders slumping down.
“I mean, it’s a good starting point!” Genya insisted, afraid of hurting her feelings.
The front door opened as Izuku, Tenya, and Ochako came in. Izuku looked exhausted. “Hatsume has really good ideas, but she can be really intense, too.”
“Ooh, what’s going on there?” Ochako asked, waltzing over.
“We’re helping Shinazugawa come up with a Hero name,” Kyoka said, leaning her elbows against the table. “No progress so far.”
“I might have an idea,” Izuku offered, coming forward. He pulled up a chair next to Genya, who kept his gaze centered on his hands as a tinge of blush lit up his cheeks.
“Here,” Izuku said. “What about the Pillar Hero? It connects with your past and it sounds cool, too! A Pillar is a support, so it gives the sense that you hold people up!”
“Oh, man, that’s so manly!” Eijiro exclaimed. “You’re a genius, Midoriya! Why didn’t I think of that?!”
“Well, what do you think, Shinazugawa?” Tenya asked.
Genya was smiling a little, and for a second, it seemed like he was going to accept Izuku’s suggestion. Then, the smile faded.
Izuku’s own smile vanished. “Why not?”
Genya sighed and frowned. “I… I wanted to be a Pillar. More than anything. I thought that being a Pillar was the path to my brother’s approval and acceptance. But… I can’t. I can’t take the title without earning it. I was never granted the title of a Pillar. So, no, I won’t take it as a Hero name.”
Genya closed the notebook. “I should probably get some sleep. We’ve got more training to do tomorrow.”
He trudged up to his and Katsuki’s room, disheartened.
“Katsuki, you don’t think my reason for refusing the title is stupid, do you?”
“Look, I can’t dictate what Hero name you want. But, if you don’t think you earned the damn Pillar title, then don’t take it. I get it. I fucking get it. That feeling of not earning it. It sucks.”
“Yeah. The Sports Festival a few months ago. I won first place, but I didn’t earn it because Icy Hot wouldn’t fight me with everything he had. They wouldn’t let me decline the award, forced me to accept it, made me feel like utter shit.”
“You tell me. But, someday soon, I’ll win fair and square. And then I’ll take that award with pride.”
Genya smiled. “Then maybe, someday, I’ll earn the Pillar title for myself.”
“That’s more like it.”
The next day, Katsuki got up early to make breakfast.
“It’s so good!” Ochako cheered as she ate. “I’ll never get used to the fact that Bakugo is an amazing cook.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Katsuki grumbled. He let Genya take control to eat.
“So, Shinazugawa,” Hanta asked as he leaned in closer. “What do you think about Bakugo’s cooking? No need to hold back.”
Genya gave him a confused look. “It’s good. I mean, I’ve got enhanced taste, so-”
“Oh, right. I guess I haven’t mentioned that before,” Genya said. “In my day, it was pretty common for people to have one of their five senses enhanced.”
“Oh, so like Shoji’s extra limbs,” Mashirao noted, pointing a thumb at the ever stoic Mezo.
“I guess so. Funnily enough, all the members of my Final Selection group had one. Tanjiro had smell, Zenitsu had hearing, Inosuke was touch, and Kanao was sight. I had enhanced taste, so basically I can feel all the flavors pushed to the extreme.”
“Doesn’t sound like a useful battle technique,” Kyoka said, eyebrows raised in confusion.
“Oh, nothing,” Genya said, waving off her concern.
“Seriously, what the fuck was that?”
“Seriously, it’s not a big deal, since it’s not going to be useful anymore.”
Katsuki scoffed, not buying it. “Fine, be that way.”
Once breakfast was over, they headed to the 1-A classroom for the objective overview. Aizawa and Midnight were waiting for them.
“Remember to consider costume alterations,” Aizawa said. “Visit the support department to submit your desired changes by the end of the week so that the costume development companies have enough time to process the changes.”
“Yes,” Genya sat straight up at the sound of Midnight’s voice.
“Have you come up with a Hero name yet?”
“Uh, no,” Genya said looking away. “I need some more time to think.”
“Very well, but remember to run it by me by the end of the week as well so that we can get the paperwork taken care of.”
Genya nodded. Aizawa motioned for them to go change.
“We’ll need to come up with changes to your costume to accommodate the gun.”
“Yeah, I know. You wanted to make the gauntlets slimmer, right?”
“I think that’d be better. The bulkiness makes them difficult to maneuver in.”
“So, a slimmer design that can both store my sweat for bigger blasts and operate as a shotgun.
“We can sketch out some more ideas after training today.”
Katsuki’s training went the same as the day before. Complete success. He had already created two Ultimate Moves in the form of Howitzer Impact and Stun Grenade. Now, he was working on developing a third.
“I want to decrease the radius of my blast, while keeping the power output the same,” he explained to Cementoss. “If it works as I envision, it should create a powerful, concentrated beam.”
“Clever thinking,” Cementoss complimented. “In that case, I’ll set up a cement wall at your station. Do your best to blast through it.”
Katsuki nodded, and spent the rest of the day practicing. He attempted to perfect the exact radius needed for the desired effect. The blasts varied from rapid fire bullets to low level long lasting beams.
“Maybe a tad smaller? Try closing off your palm in the seven point position.” Genya suggested.
“Literally no idea what that means.”
“Oh. Learned it in hand to hand combat. Basically, move your thumb and pinkie as if to press them together, but keep all your fingers straight. See how it forms an enclosure in your palm?”
“Yeah.” Katsuki tested out Genya’s suggestion. The results improved. “Thanks for the suggestion, Mohawk Head.”
When it came time to switch, Genya had his own idea in mind.
“I want to give Total Concentration Breathing another shot,” he explained to Aizawa.
“Is that the breathing technique you mentioned?” Aizawa asked.
Genya nodded. “I was never able to do it before, but maybe there’s something about this body that can help me.”
Aizawa dipped his head. “Very well. Get to it.”
Geny scrambled back to his platform. “Relax the upper body, brace the lower body. Strong core. Breathe…”
He took a deep Breath in… and a deep Breathe out… In… Out… In-
He collapsed in a shuddering, coughing fit.
Stars danced in his vision as Genya clutched at his chest. There were fuzzy black spots in his peripherals, and it felt like his skin was on fire. After a few more minutes of coughing, the spots and stars vanished, leaving Genya shaking on the ground in a kneeling position.
“You okay there, Shinazugawa?” Tenya called from a section over.
“I’m fine,” Genya whimpered out, struggling to his feet.
“That didn’t work as I planned.”
“I’ll say. You barely lasted ten seconds.”
“Hey, Total Concentration is hard, even with a well fit body. According to Tanjiro, at least! That’s why I use Repetitive Actions, as well.”
“Repetitive Actions? Are those the prayers you chanted a few times?”
“Yeah. It’s sort of like Breaths, but not as potent. It helps you focus your five senses and increase concentration. Himejima-san taught me that.”
Genya kept trying to practice Total Concentration, but to little avail. “Why isn’t it working?”
Katsuki sighed. “Look, I may have been born with kickass natural talent, but it didn’t hone itself overnight. Give it time. Practice.”
“I know.” Despite what he said, Genya’s voice was filled with newfound determination. “Practice and hard work is all I’ve ever known. The weakest person has the most potential, after all.”
Katsuki scoffed. “That phrase again? How did you even survive for as long as you did?”
“Well, I had my gun. And Repetitive Actions. And my special power-”
“Special power? What special power?”
“Hm? Didn’t you read the book? It talked about it at length there.”
“I didn’t get the chance to read past the introduction yet. You know, been busy getting ready for this exam.”
“Oh, well, I guess it doesn’t matter, then. There’s no more demons, so it would be rendered null, anyways.”
This went on for two more days. Katsuki worked on honing his new move, dubbed “AP Shot,” while Genya tried to maintain Total Concentration Breathing. Katsuki wielded far more success. Genya tried to convince his headmate to attempt the Breathing technique, but Katsuki adamantly refused.
“I’m not doing your work for you!”
On the fifth day of practice, Katsuki stood before the cement wall once more. He took a deep breath in and steadied himself. He held his right arm out in front of him, poising the palm in the seven point position Genya told him about. He formed a small ring with the fingers of his left hand and brought it close to his right hand. He sparked the sweat.
The explosion shot through the small opening in his hands, barreling towards the wall and blasting a hole straight through it.
“Alright! I did it!”
“Great job, Katsuki!”
A chunk of the cement rock broke off and began falling towards the floor. Only now did Katsuki realize that All Might was standing right below. Shit! He had no more powers, he would be able to do anything!
Katsuki’s voice was cut off as Genya took control, reaching for his gun. At the same time, Izuku, with his updated costume, leapt into action.
Izuku’s foot and Genya’s bullet connected with the rock at the same time, blasting it to pieces. Izuku tumbled away and struggled to his feet. One of the pieces struck Genya in the eye. He screamed.
“Shinazugawa!” Aizawa’s concerned voice rang through the air.
“Mohawk- Genya! What the fuck happened?Are you okay?”
“Eye- Our eye! Oh God, I’m so sorry!”
Aizawa and Izuku made their way to Genya’s platform within seconds.
“Can Recovery Girl help?” Izuku asked, his frantic voice reaching loud decibels. “Maybe- if we hurry-”
“Shinazugawa, let me see the injury,” Aizawa said, his voice remaining level. “This is fixable.”
“I’m so sorry,” Genya whimpered, slowly drawing his hands away from his eye. “I was- I was just trying to-”
“We will discuss your rashness later,” Aizawa said. “For now, let’s get you to Rec...overy… Girl…”
His voice trailed off and fell silent, staring at Genya in shock. Izuku had a similar expression on his face. This sensation… it was familiar.
“Mohawk Head… What the actual fuck?”
“This… no- this shouldn’t be possible,” Genya whispered. “There’s no more demons. This power shouldn’t exist anymore. How?”
Beneath his cupped hands, his eye, while splattered in blood, was completely unharmed.
This… this couldn’t be possible. He was positive that the rock shrapnel had caused some damage. But-
“How?” Aizawa said, equally confused. “Shinazugawa, explain. What do you mean, this shouldn’t be possible?”
“It’s… a long story,” Genya murmured.
“Come with me,” Aizawa said. The rest of the class was looking on in concern. “Rest of you, keep training. If necessary, either Shinazugawa or myself will fill you in later.”
Genya scrambled off the platform and hurried out of the gym with Aizawa. The homeroom teacher motioned for All Might to come along. They led him back to campus and to an office.
“I’m sorry,” Genya repeated numbly.
“You’re not in trouble,” Aizawa said. “We just want to understand what’s going on. You said you could be considered ‘essentially Quirkless.’ And now this.”
“It’s- it’s the ability I mentioned,” Genya said. “I just- there’s no way it should exist without demons.”
“Can you explain what this ability is?” All Might asked.
“Well, back in my old body, I had special stomach and digestive organs,” Genya said, meandering. “At least, that’s what Kocho-san said. And… they allowed me to consume demon flesh.”
“You… ate demons?”
Genya nodded. “It was… my only way to even keep up with the others without Breathing. My gun and Repetitive Actions are not nearly enough. But, by eating demons, I could temporarily take on demon attributes, such as limb regeneration and enhanced physical strength. I could also use their Blood Demon Arts, or their specific special abilities.”
Aizawa and All Might looked between each other with concern. “Are there any side effects to this ability?”
“Well… I guess I become a bit more aggressive if I eat too much,” Genya explained. “I kinda started strangling Tanjiro at one point. It didn’t go far, thankfully. And… there’s always the underlying fear that I might lose a bit of my humanity. No one in the Corps liked the ability much. Kocho-san always gave me dirty looks. And… nii-chan tried to gouge my eyes out when he first heard.”
He fell silent. He felt his lower lip tremble as the memory resurfaced.
“He was just worried… He just wanted you to retire and be safe… He just-”
He couldn't convince himself to believe his own thoughts. The horrified looks of Aizawa and All Might weren’t helping.
“Young Shinazugawa,” All Might started to say. He paused, gathering himself. “It’s going to be okay. I don’t know why this ability has resurfaced in a time and place when it shouldn’t, but we will figure it out.”
“It might possibly be on account of the jump into Bakugo’s body,” Aizawa suggested. “This ability has morphed and modified itself into a Quirk. And, I’m going to guess that only you will have access to this, much like how Explosion is limited to Bakugo.”
“That makes sense,” Genya murmured.
“If that’s the case, this power is most certainly qualified as a Mutation.”
“That’s what we call especially rare and unusual Quirks,” Aizawa explained. “They tend to be very powerful, and most often are not connected to the Quirks of the parents in any way.”
Genya looked at his interlaced fingers in his lap. “Oh…” he murmured. “So it’s strong… It’s almost funny, really. Before I’ve always been called weak for having to rely on it, and now-” He felt tired and scared. Every bone in his body felt heavy.
Aizawa must have noticed his exhaustion. “Go back to the dorms and get some rest. When you’re ready, compile everything you know about this ability and get that list to me. We can send it to a Quirk analysis lab and see what the report says. All Quirks need to be documented.”
“Hey, Katsuki? Think you can take control? I’m not up for anything right now.”
Katsuki came to the front and got out of the chair. “Be more careful next time, All Might,” he said, trying to mask the genuine concern with a growl. “Don’t just stand around in the training area.”
All Might looked down, seemingly guilty. “Yeah. Right.”
Katsuki walked out of the office.
“Why didn’t you fucking tell me about this, Mohawk Head?”
“I didn’t think I’d need to. This ability-”
“I don’t mean your damn ability. I’m talking about your brother.”
Genya seemed genuinely confused. “Huh?”
“You talk about him as if he’s some saint, but he tried to gouge your eyes out!”
Genya sighed unhappily. “I know he’s not a saint. Never said he was. A lot of what ‘Nemi did was… fucked, to say the least. But I mean it when I say he was the sweetest person in the world. I know he cared. Can’t I just hang on to that?”
“Look! Things were complicated between us. Both of us hurt each other at one point or another. There was so much shit there and we didn’t get the chance to talk it out because I died! And… if the book and his estate at the tour were anything to go by, he genuinely regrets it all. I just want to keep the few happy memories we have.”
Katsuki fell silent. They didn’t communicate for the rest of the walk to the dorms. Still, Katsuki felt an immense feeling of… concern? Second hand guilt, remembering his own treatment of Izuku? He couldn’t pin it down. He sighed as he pulled open the door to the Heights Alliance building.
“Oh, Bakugo!” The rest of the class was already inside, gathered in the living room and waiting. Eijiro and Izuku ran forward ahead of the others.
“Are you and Shinazugawa okay?” Izuku asked. “Does he have a Quirk, after all? What is-”
Katauki held out his hand. “No- no questions right now. We’re both tired, so we’re going to our room.”
“Good idea,” Momo chimed in. “Everyone, leave them be for now.”
Katsuki tried to suppress the tinge of gratitude he felt for Momo’s intervention and trudged up the stairs to his room on the fourth floor. He shut the door behind him.
“Hey…” Genya’s voice floated to him. “Sorry about earlier. I guess I should thank you for your concern. It’s just… ‘Nemi and I hadn’t communicated properly in years, and right when it seemed we were going to reach an understanding, I died. I just wanted things to go back to how they were. I’d be willing to sweep all the shit he pulled under the rug if it meant just being normal siblings again. That’s how much I missed him.”
Katsuki listened without interrupting. Once Genya finished, he finally spoke up. “Yeah, I guess so.” His response sounded lame. “Well, I guess- look, we don’t share memories, okay. If we want to learn each other’s backstories, we need to talk them out. I don’t know what kind of shit you and your brother went through, and it’s fine if you don’t want to tell me now or ever. Just… I guess I’m always here if you do want to talk about it. Not exactly going anywhere.”
“Yeah… Thanks. I- I don’t think I’m really ready to talk about any of that yet, but thanks for the offer.”
“Yeah, whatever. You want to go downstairs or stay here?”
“Can we stay here? And… can I take control and trim the bonsai? It helps calm me down.”
Without another word, Katsuki let Genya slip into control. Genya quickly removed the bulkiest parts of the costume. He sat down at the desk and pulled forth the small bonsai plant that arrived the day before. He snipped away at the branches with the scissors as a small smile began to spread on his face.
Katsuki decided that Genya was right. This was calming.
They must have fallen asleep at the desk, because when Katsuki opened his eyes, he was slumped in the chair with Eijiro calling from outside the door.
“-go! Come on, you’re gonna be late. Baku- man… you look like shit.”
“Right back at you,” Katsuki said as he pushed past Eijiro and out the door. “What time is it?”
“7:30,” Eijiro replied. “Yaomomo made breakfast pancakes, so hurry up and get down there.”
Katsuki nodded. He took a quick shower and changed into his spare gym clothes. He hurried downstairs for breakfast, grabbing a plate and a few pancakes Momo had set aside for him. Most of the other classmates had already eaten and were clearing their plates.
“Kanroji-san used to make pancakes.”
“You feeling better, Mohawk Head?”
“Yeah. The pancakes smell good.”
“You want to eat them?”
“No, it’s fine. I just need to compile the list Aizawa-sensei asked for.”
“You can dictate it to me and I’ll write it as I eat. It’ll go faster that way.”
“Sure. Sounds like a plan.”
By the time Katsuki set his maple syrup stained plate in the dishwasher, he had written out a small list in their brainstorming notebook.
Potential Quirk Name: Blood Demon Arts??
Genya can copy the Quirk (Blood Demon Art) of anyone (exclusive to demons before) after he consumes part of their DNA (hair, blood, etc)?? (Unclear if this ability carries over yet)
The effects last longer when he consumes more.
He is also capable of self healing wounds, even as extreme as regenerating lost limbs. However, he needs to consume demons to keep his energy up. (Potentially humans now, since Quirks exist???)
The more he eats at a single time, the more impulsive and uncontrollable he gets.
With the list in hand, Katsuki followed the others to the classroom for Aizawa to give instructions. He handed the list to the homeroom teacher. Aizawa gave it a once over and nodded.
“We’ll submit this for analysis. In the meantime, Shinauzgawa, let Bakugo have the full training session today. Wait around afterwards.”
While both of them were confused by the instructions, Katsuki nodded.
Katsuki’s training was identical to before, if only he was slightly more careful of his surroundings. Genya had long since noticed that he was definitely among the top of the class when it came to performance. The knowledge that he was in a strong, capable body this time… It did help alleviate some of his long standing issues of inferiority.
Soon, afternoon came and Class 1-A’s training session came to a close. Class 1-B arrived.
“Ugh, those guys again,” Denki said as Eijiro and Tetsutetsu screamed greetings at each other. “Tried to kick us out early last time. At least we’ll be taking the exam in different places.”
“Katsuki, Aizawa-sensei said that I should stick around after the Class A training session. Should I take over now?”
Genya took control and walked over to Aizawa. The Class 1-A homeroom teacher was talking to a bulkier man Genya assumed to be Class 1-B’s homeroom teacher.
“Hmm… He kinda looks a bit like nii-chan. Just… older and even more muscular.”
Aizawa noticed his presence. “Shinazugawa, this is Mr. Kan, Hero name Vlad King. He’s Class B’s homeroom teacher.” So his assumption was right.”
“Nice to meet you, Kan-sensei,” Genya murmured. “Uh, Aizawa-sensei, why did you want me to wait around here?”
“Aizawa just briefed me on the situation with your Quirk,” Kan explained. “For today, you’ll be training with my class so that we can determine the parameters of your Quirk.”
“Huh?” Genya tilted his head in confusion. “I mean- I understand why you need to test it, but why couldn’t I do it with my class?”
“My Quirk is Blood Control,” Kan said. “The list you provided said you need human DNA for energy. If necessary, I’ll be able to provide blood for you. And, your Quirk bears similarities to one of my students.”
“That damn fucking Copycat.”
“Shinazugawa!” Ochako called as the rest of the class exited. “You coming?”
“I’ll catch up later!” Genya called back. “I’m training here today!”
Ochako looked confused, but didn’t question it. “Tell us about it later, okay!” With that, all of Class 1-A had left. Aizawa took his leave, too, so only Class 1-B and Genya remained.
“Mr. Kan, why is Bakugo still here?” asked a boy with skeletal-like lips. “His training time’s over.”
“We are going by a slightly different procedure for the first half of our time today,” Kan explained. “As you’ve probably heard from the rumors, Bakugo is now sharing his body with a boy from five hundred years ago by the name of Shinazugawa.”
“Ooh,” said a boy with buggy eyes and spiky sandy hair. “I guess that explains the eyes.”
“Still, spiritual possession,” remarked a girl with vines for hair. “It’s a cause for great concern.”
“I can hear you,” Genya said, unimpressed.
“Oh,” the girl exclaimed. “I’m terribly sorry. I mean nothing against you personally.”
“Shinazugawa, go ahead and explain your power,” Kan said.
“Well-” Genya paused. “In my time, there were man eating demons. I had the rare ability to eat the demons and gain access to their powers.”
“Huh. Cannibalizing the cannibals. Quite a turn of events,” remarked a boy with a shadow like body, smiling crookedly.
“These abilities included enhanced strength and limb regeneration,” Genya continued. “And, I would also be able to use their Blood Demon Arts - basically their equivalent of Quirks - depending on the demon I ate. We want to find out if that translates to people’s Quirks.”
“I see,” said a man with glasses and covered in hair. “Sir Shinazugawa requires bits of our DNA to see if he can copy our Quirks.”
“Ooh! I volunteer!” A girl with jagged teeth and distinctively lizard-esque eyes jumped forward. “Do me first!” She grabbed her left forearm with her right hand. With a scream, she ripped her own arm off.
Genya screeched and jumped back. “I- I didn’t mean that! Just some hair or a bit of blood! I don’t need a whole fucking arm-” His voice fizzled out as the class roared in laughter.
“As expected of the conceited Class 1-A,” remarked a boy with straw blond hair. “Bakugo didn’t even brief you on our Quirks.”
“Relax, relax,” said the girl, holding up her own dismembered arm. “That didn’t even hurt. My Quirk is Lizard Tail Splitter. I can pretty much detach my limbs at will. It’ll regenerate, just takes some time and energy. And I’ve killed off my connection to this arm, so it won’t hurt when you eat it.”
Genya felt his heartbeat simmer back down. “Co-could have warned me.”
The girl handed the arm to him. “Name’s Setsuna Tokage, by the way. Let’s see. I wanna see how my Quirk looks like on another person.”
Genya hesitantly took a few bites out of the arm, trying to tune out Setsuna’s faux screams of agony.
“Aah! Nooo! Please, stop!!! The pain! It’s too much!!!!”
“Setsuna, it’s not funny,” said the ginger girl Genya saw earlier that week.
Genya closed his eyes, feeling the strange energy flow through him. He took a deep breath, and-
His right wrist fell to the ground. Setsuna screamed and jumped back before bursting into laughter. “Wow, it is pretty creepy!” She exclaimed.
“I can’t believe it actually works,” said a boy with his hair in a braid. The entire class seemed a lot more interested now. Setsuna pushed the boy with the braid forward.
“Do Rin next!” She said. “Do my lizard buddy next!”
The boy sighed and plucked a few strands of his hair out, extending them out to Genya. He shoved them in his mouth and swallowed them. A moment later, scales grew on his forearms.
Now, Class 1-B was in an uproar.
“Try mine! It’s Solid Air.”
“M-maybe mine? It’s M-mushroom.”
“This is Weld! It’s pretty fuckin’ amazing!”
“Uh, one at a time!” Genya exclaimed, feeling overwhelmed. “I don’t think I can do all of you, anyways. I tend to get aggressive if I eat too much.”
“Just a few more, then,” Kan said. “Kendo, Tetsutetsu, Shiozaki, Bondo, Kamakiri. The five of you.”
The rest of the class stood back and watched. Itsuka - the ginger girl from before - gave him a few strands of hair. Genya’s fists swelled in size.
Tetsutetsu gave him a “Tetsutetsu-verified eyelash!” Genya didn’t miss the uneasy glare he sent the revolver at his hip. When he ate the eyelash, his skin became coated in steel, but the fists returned to his normal size.
“It appears that you can only use one Quirk at a time,” Itsuka said. “Maybe you’ll be able to mix and match them once you train more.”
Genya nodded a little. Ibara gave him one of her vine strands. The thorns cut into his cheeks as he chewed. In an instant, Genya’s mohawk turned from blond to green as the hair changed into vines.
“I like this one. I used to work with plants a lot.” Ibara gave him a light smile.
Next was Kojiro. He had no hair to give, so he spat out some glue for his sample. Genya tried to not look too disgusted as he let it slide down his throat. He found he could release the same gluey substance from his mouth.
“So, even Quirks that would typically require physical mutations are fair play,” Juzo noted.
“Last one,” Genya murmured, hurriedly wiping a strand of drool from his mouth. “I’m getting loopy.”
Togaru, the final volunteer, also had a mohawk. One that looked a lot more like Genya’s old one with it flopping over his forehead instead of standing spikily upright. He ripped out a few strands of hair and offered it to him.
“Let’s just see who’s the best mohawk fighter,” he snarled with a competitive grin.
“Looks like Class 1-A can’t even come up with an original hairstyle!” Neito hollered.
“Stop it, Monoma,” Itsuka said.
“Technically, I’ve had this hairstyle since five hundred years ago,” Genya said as he put the hair in his mouth. “If anything, you’re the copycat.”
Neito let out an exaggerated gasp.
Genya felt the new energy, new Quirk, swirl within his body. It felt… oddly metallic. He held his palm out in front of him and activated the Quirk.
A blade grew out of his palm.
A moment of absolute, unsettling silence.
Then, Genya saw red.
Upper Moon One, pinned by the tree branches his Blood Demon Art produced. Muichiro stabbing his blade into him, still standing despite the glaringly absent arm and leg. Sanemi and Gyomei both going in for the finishing strike. Yes! They were going to win! They were going to-
Blades erupted from the demon’s body, extending, writhing, reaching out in cutting waves-
Genya felt something sharp cut through his body, straight down from the crown of his head and through his nose. Splitting his teeth and tongue in two and slicing through his Adam’s apple. Carving through his chest before veering to his right hip as he stumbled from the pain - a delayed attempt to dodge the attack - where the sensation left his body with a sickening slorp.
On the floor, bleeding. He could barely move, every breath rattled through his bones. His vision was blurry, his ears - ear? - were ringing. Everything hurt and nothing was fine and he was dying he couldn’t feel his limbs anymore-
Cut in half. He was cut in half again-
“...gawa? Shinazugawa? I need you to breathe. That’s right, take a deep breath in. And breathe out. Focus on my eyes. Focus on me. Keep breathing.”
Genya's breaths came out in shuddering sobs as he curled into himself. The blades were gone. His cheeks felt wet. He could feel many pairs of eyes boring into him.
“Thus have I heard. At one time the Buddha was staying in the Jeta Grove monastery of Anathapindada's Garden at Shravasti, together with a large assembly-” he chanted, trying to overpower the din in his head, the sound of rushing waves. He couldn’t even hear Katsuki.
“I’m not there anymore Upper Moon One’s dead he’s not gonna hurt me or anyone it’s done it’s over I’m not gonna get cut in half again I’m safe it’s gonna be okay-”
With a final shuddering breath, Genya felt his shoulders slump as he shuffled away from Kan.
“‘m sorry,” he murmured, wiping at his eyes and smearing the leftover tears. Class 1-B looked at him with concern. Togaru seemed almost guilty. Even Neito was subdued.
“You have nothing to apologize for,” Kan said, sympathy in his eyes. “I think it’d be best for you to get some rest. I’ll walk you back to your dorm.”
“No- it’s… fine. I can get there by myself,” Genya said, pushing his way out of the gym. He didn’t know these people he couldn’t trust them. He hurried back to the Heights Alliance building. He pulled open the door and ignored the greetings of his classmates as he speedwalked to his and Katsuki’s room. Practically strangers, all of them. Where were Tanjiro or Himejima-san when he needed them? He locked the door behind him and curled up on the bed. The sobs returned with sniffles and hiccups. No one was there, it was fine, he could cry.
Katsuki was silent.
Someone knocked on the door. “Shinauzgawa?” It was Mezo’s voice. “What’s going on?”
“I’m fine,” Genya called back, knowing that the audible tears were fooling no one.
A moment of silence. “Do you want to talk?”
“N-no,” Genya sniffled. God, he sounded so meek. Be strong be strong be strong. “I-I said I’m fucking fine!” If you sound strong, they’ll think you’re strong.
More silence. “Alright,” Mezo said from behind the door. “I’m down the hall if you need someone.”
Genya nodded even though Mezo couldn’t see him and sniffled some more.
Katsuki’s voice was less abrasive than usual.
Katsuki was silent.
“Give me control for a moment. I’ll get you to the showers without anyone minding. Take a shower. Come back and work with your bonsai or take a nap. You need it.”
Could- could he trust him? Was this okay- he just felt so tired and scared and overwhelmed. Maybe- maybe a shower would be nice.
“Al-alright. S-sounds good. Th-thanks, Katsuki.”
“Don’t mention it.”
Genya woke up snuggled under the covers in his and Katsuki's bed. The bonsai had moved from the table to the bedside cabinet, the scissors next to it. He must have been tending to it on the bed. He couldn’t remember much of yesterday following the panic attack.
“You feeling better?”
“I think so. Yeah.”
It was still dark beyond the blinds. Genya checked the bedside clock. 3:35 AM.
“You were pretty much out of it by 4:30 last night,” Katsuki said. “You just kinda drifted back down and wouldn’t even respond to me. I didn’t know if you were tired or angry so I just left you alone. Mr. Aizawa came by to check up on us at around 5:00. Told him everything was fine, but you’ll probably have to talk to him later.”
“Hey- no, don’t fucking apologize. You had a panic attack. A very bad one this time. Just… take your time- fuck, I don’t know how to respond to this.”
Genya chuckled tiredly. “It’s fine. Thanks, Katsuki. Really. I think you’re doing pretty well.”
Their mindspace was silent for a moment.
“Can I… talk to you about all this? Maybe it will help if I get it off my chest. You don’t mind, do you?”
“Yeah, it’s fine, go ahead. I did say I’m not going anywhere.”
Genya stayed quiet for a moment, tugging at the blankets and getting snugger. He blinked a few times to clear his vision.
“Upper Moon One- when he… killed me, he had blades coming out all over his body. Just like that Quirk.”
“Yeah, I figured.”
“Yeah, I just couldn’t figure out why else you’d panic like that.”
“Oh… Well, yeah, that’s why… I had a panic attack. It just reminded me of that time. It… hurt. So much. I was stuck there, cut in half and bleeding out while nii-chan and Himejima-san tried to finish the demon off. I- I tried to help with my Blood Demon Arts, though I don’t know how much it did and how useful I was-”
“Don’t. Don’t go there. You did fucking fantastic.”
Genya laughed bitterly. “Yeah, okay. It also just hurts more because… well, from my perspective, that was recent. That was only two weeks ago. All that happened two weeks ago and-” he cut himself off. “I’m scared. I know it’s stupid because the demons are gone and all, but I’m so fucking scared that it might happen again.”
His next question came out pitifully meek. “Is it… selfish? To be this scared of dying? Before, I just focused on keeping everyone else alive, but now- I’m just so fucking scared.”
“Hey. You’re not selfish for feeling like that. If anyone tells you that I’ll kick their ass. The shit you went through, I can’t even fucking imagine it. It was- fucking scary enough to be kidnapped, but to actually die… You’ve seen some shit, so no wonder you’re scared of dying. Mohawk- Genya, look, I’m not gonna pretend I’m an expert on this. I… feel the same about a lot of those things. I don’t want to be weak. I’m supposed to be strong and capable and not need help. But… I do, sometimes. I’ve had to accept that, but it’s still hard, y’know? But, since we’re a package deal now, we gotta help each other or something. Deal?”
“Yeah, deal. Thanks, Katsuki. Really. I think this helped.”
“Anytime, Mo- Genya.”
“You can call me Mohawk Head, I really don’t mind.” Genya smiled sleepily. “It reminds me of Inosuke, actually. He could never remember our names and always got them wrong. Penha, Ganka, Rengya. Got it right about once every seven times. Nezuko was the only one he called by the right name consistently. And Nezuko is basically our collective little sister. I haven’t checked yet, but if Tanjiro and Kanao married and Inosuke and Aoi married, then Zenitsu probably married Nezuko. I wonder how that went over with Tanjiro. He has always been so protective of her, since she was the last family he had left-”
They drifted back to sleep with Genya telling stories of his old friends and Katsuki listening with genuine interest.
It was 9:00 when they woke up again. Genya let Katsuki be in control as they showered and checked the fridge for breakfast.
“It’s Sunday, so we’ve got a free day. Want to work on our costume?”
“Sure. We have to get our design in by tomorrow, right? Let’s try to finalize the details.”
“Oh, good morning, Bakugo!” Ochako called as she came downstairs. She was wearing her gym uniform with the shirt unzipped, revealing a black tank top underneath.
“Morning, Pink Cheeks,” Katsuki said, pulling out some of last night’s leftover beef stew and setting it in the microwave.
“Hey, so- is Shinazugawa okay?” Ochako asked, sounding genuinely concerned. “It’s just that you’ve both seemed out of it for the past few days, him especially. I know it’s an adjustment for him - for all of us - but he just seemed very upset. Is he okay?”
“Is it okay if I tell her? Or do you want to tell her, or just nothing at all?”
“It’s fine. You can tell her.”
Katsuki sighed. “He had a panic attack yesterday. They were testing his ability to copy Quirks, and one of them reminded him of how he died.”
Ochako’s face morphed into sorrow. “Oh… Hey, Shinazugawa? We’re all here for you, you know? Class A sticks together, and you’re part of Class A now.”
Genya came into control. His cheeks instantly flushed a little as he smiled. “Thanks, Ochako. It really does mean a lot.”
Ochako smiled. “Are you doing anything special today?”
“Katsuki and I were going to finalize our custom changes,” Genya said as the microwave beeped. He took the stew out of the microwave and took it to one of the tables. Ochako hummed.
“I should be getting my altered costume today,” she said. “I added better stabilizers to reduce nausea.”
“So, what kind of changes are you looking at?”
Genya fetched their notepad. A few scribbles and sketches lined the pages, notes scrawled in the margins. “These were from before we discovered my Quirk. I guess we’ll need to incorporate a way for me to collect blood.”
“Hm? Collect blood?”
“Yeah,” Genya said, tapping the notepad. “My Quirk allows me to copy other Quirks if I consume a bit of their DNA. Blood seems like the best option, right?”
Ochako seemed to be deep in thought. “Give me that,” she said, pointing to the notepad. Confused, Genya slid it across the table to her. Ochako picked up a pen and started sketching.
“During the attack on the training camp, Tsu and I ran into this very creepy girl. She had these devices to collect blood. A kinda super large syringe. Maybe you can incorporate something like that.”
“That’s a great idea!” Genya exclaimed. “Thank you, Ochako!”
She handed back the notepad, showing a light sketch of the contraption she described.
“Good luck, Shinazugawa!” She said. “The girls and I are having our own training session today, so I gotta run! Bye!”
Genya waved goodbye.
“Guess we’ll work on this for now.”
“Yeah. Let’s go over this again.”
After a couple hours of endless work, they had compiled a decent looking redesign and a plethora of notes.
Changes to Gauntlets:
Slimmer, less bulky, makes it easier to hold gun
Add syringe grappling hook for blood collecting
Syringe fills grenade shaped containers (purple color)
Green- Katsuki’s sweat filled, mini explosives
Purple- Genya’s blood storage, pop off cap for easy consumption
Visor over face mask- hides eyes, makes it hard to tell who is in control, confuses enemy
Add sawed off double barrel shotgun to utility belt
Top less form fitting, less skintight (BUT NOT TOO LOOSE!!!) make fabric more breathable and durable
“I think that’s everything,” Genya thought as they looked over their shared sketch.
“Looks fucking sick! Let’s take this up to Power Loader. He’s in charge of the support division, so we need to run this idea by him. It’s a lot of changes, so we’d probably need a full overhaul.”
“Let’s get going, then.”
Genya let Katsuki take over and lead them to the support course main office. They could hear maddening giggles from the other side of the door.
“Looks like Gadget Girl is hard at work there.”
“Gadget Girl? You mean the one Denki kept flirting with?”
“Yeah. Inventor genius, but also batshit insane.” Katsuki grumbled and knocked on the door. “Let’s get this over with.”
Power Loader unlocked the door. “Ah, Bakugo, Shinazugawa. I’ve been expecting you for a while now.”
Katsuki nodded, following after the teacher. As soon as he crossed into the classroom, he heard an excited screech.
“I’ve been waiting for you!” Mei exclaimed, getting far closer than Katsuki was comfortable with. Even though Genya was not in control, Katsuki could feel his cheeks redden. “Oh, you’re definitely the subject I’ve been most looking forward to! Oh, the double body mechanic- oh just think of how many babies I can put to work with you!”
“Hatsume, don’t bother him!” Power Loader yelled at his student. Mei pouted in disappointment. “Now then, hand over your sketches and notes.” Katsuki handed him his notepad. Power Loader scanned through it, humming and clicking his claws.
“Hmm… Yes, this is quite an expensive list. We’ll need to forward it to the company that made Bakugo’s costume. It’s too much for me to be authorized to alter it here.”
“Is that all?” Katsuki asked.
Power Loader made a noise of affirmation. “This will probably take a week. I’ll let Aizawa know when it’s ready. It could take longer depending on delays, but it should be ready before the provisional exam.”
“Well, if that’s all, I’ll be on my way.”
“Nooo, please!” Mei screamed. “You’ve got to try my Baby #67! It’s perfect for you!”
Katsuki marched out of the development studio and slammed the door behind him.
Katsuki started walking back down the hall, getting ready to head back to the dorms.
“Now you just need to come up with a Hero name and run it by Midnight tomorrow before training.”
“I’ve still got no ideas. What about you?”
“I still want Explosion Murder. So, I guess I’ve got nothing, either.”
Neito was waiting for them around the corner. Katsuki glared at him. Neito looked unbothered by this reaction.
“Let me talk to Shinazugawa.”
“After yesterday? No way am I letting this damn Copycat get the chance to hurt you. I just know he’ll use whatever weakness someone has against them. So I’m not gonna let him get to you.”
“Are you… trying to protect me?”
“So what if I am?!” Katsuki’s internal dialogue took on a more embarrassed tone. “We’re empaths, so I feel everything you feel to an extent! I don’t want you breaking down on me!”
“Katsuki… Let me talk to him. I’ll be fine. If he tries anything, I can just walk away.”
“... Fine. But be careful.”
Genya found himself in control. Neito’s eyebrows rose slightly, probably taking note of the change in eye color.
“Alright, what do you want?” Genya asked, his voice low and defensive.
“I wanted to apologize for yesterday.”
Neito sighed. “All of Class B, actually. Kamakiri feels pretty bad about causing you to have a panic attack. We pretty much agreed that whichever one of us saw you first would apologize on behalf of everyone.”
“I, well-” Genya paused. “I accept your apology. Thank you. But, why? Katsuki always talked about you like you’re…” he trailed off.
Neito laughed a bit. “I’m not surprised. Bakugo’s always been the most self centered of the spotlight hogging Class 1-A.”
“You know he can hear this conversation, right?”
“You think I care?”
Neito sighed. “Look, I don’t like Class 1-A, and I don’t think anything short of some kind of miracle will change that. But, that doesn’t mean I want you guys to get hurt. Don’t tell anyone else I said that, though. On behalf of the entirety of Class 1-B, I apologize we inadvertently triggered a panic attack.”
Genya smiled a little. Even if Neito would never admit it, it seemed that he and Katsuki shared something in common. The hidden care for others.
“Thanks. Don’t worry, Monoma. Actually- is it okay if I call you Neito? I tend to be on a first name basis with my friends-”
“My, aren’t you presumptuous,” Neito said with a smirk.
Oh, right. They never really agreed to become friends.
Neito laughed. He had a nice, airy laugh. “Relax. Sure, we can be friends. I suppose you’re the one Class 1-A member I will tolerate. You didn’t get here after everything that went down during the Sports Festival, so I suppose you’re not a full member of this rivalry. Yet.”
The compliment was sort of roundabout, hidden behind an insult. Still, Genya appreciated it.
“So, why are you here?” Genya asked after a moment passed.
“Oh, just wanted to see how my costume upgrades are coming along.”
“Oh, what are they?”
“I’m not telling my secrets to the competition.”
Genya frowned. “That’s another thing I don’t get. Why do the Heroes have to compete with each other? Don’t we all have the same goal?”
Neito seemed to give it a thought. “It’s just the way the world is structured now.” He avoided the question and its implications.
“By the way, what kind of Quirk do you have?” Genya asked. “Katsuki kinda implied it was-”
Neito reached up to the top of his head and yanked out a few hairs. “Why don’t you see for yourself?” He extended them out to Genya, who hesitantly took them. “Go on.”
Genya set the hairs on his tongue and swallowed them. He felt… something. But, there was no instinctive sense of how to activate the Quirk. What-
“That’s right. My Quirk is just plain old Copy. Make physical contact, and I can use another’s Quirk for five minutes. Same as yours, but with less hoops to jump through, and minus the regeneration.”
“Oh… so that’s why Katsuki said they were the same.”
“We’re pretty similar, you and I,” Neito said. “Only as strong as the people around us. Unless you use that gun of yours. So, that’s why we have to rely on our allies. Friendship is vital to the survival of people like us.”
So, he was wrong. Neito was a lot more open about friendship than he initially thought.
“The weakest person has the most potential in them,” Genya said. “A friend told me that once.”
“Sounds like a wise friend,” Neito said. “I may find an ally in you indeed, Class A or not. What’s your Hero name? I’d like to remember it.”
Genya turned his gaze down. “I… don’t have one yet. I was going to brainstorm ideas right now.”
Neito cocked his head. “Something to do with your old life?”
“Well, Izuku suggested I call myself the Pillar Hero. Pillars were essentially the equivalent of the top Heroes back then. But… I haven’t earned that title.”
“And how do you intend to earn it?”
“How are you supposed to earn it if everything from that time period is gone?”
“Well…” Genya had never thought about that. How was he supposed to know when he became worthy of the title? Before, you became a Pillar after killing one of the Demon Moons. And… he did technically help defeat both Upper Moon Four and Upper Moon One, even if he didn’t deal the final blow. But, it wasn’t as if Oyakata-sama or any of the other Pillars were around to give him the blessing.
“That title shouldn’t determine your worth. You’ve tried before, didn’t you? Someone as self driven and determined as you was definitely someone who left an impact. So, being a Pillar or not does not dictate your status. That meaning of the term died out centuries ago. Reclaim it, give it new meaning, keep it alive. Because we Heroes are the Pillars that hold up society.”
Genya listened to Neito’s speech in awe. The other boy smiled lightly, walking past him to the support studio. “Best of luck, Genya.”
Genya remained rooted to the spot, eyes wavering and heart thumping.
“You know, between this guy and Deku, I think I’d prefer if you had a crush on Deku. Only by a slight margin, though.”
Genya sputtered and tried to refute Katsuki’s claims as his face shone red.
Monday morning, Genya arrived to the 1-A classroom to find a whiteboard on his and Katsuki’s desk.
“It’s for writing down your Hero name. Looks like Midnight wants you to present it to the class.”
“Do I have to?”
“Everyone else did.”
The rest of the class filtered in slowly. After a few minutes, Aizawa and Midnight also entered.
“Before we get started-” Aizawa started.
“Shinazugawa! Have you decided on a Hero name?”
Genya nodded, taking off the whiteboard pen and scribbled something out. He brought it to the front of the classroom and held it out for the other students to see.
They let out a collective gasp.
“Shinazugawa, but I thought-”
“Oh, that’s a wonderful name!” Midnight exclaimed. “Care to explain it?”
Genya smiled to himself, cradling the board.