V M Nocturne No Academia

Katsuki Bakugo

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Nitroglycerin - a volatile chemical both colorless and dangerous. It boasts many destructive applications, and even a few helpful ones when processed correctly. In medicine, for instance, it can be refined and encapsulated for human ingestion to help patients who experience chest pain from angina and other heart conditions.

More commonly, however, nitroglycerin is utilized for its explosive qualities. Dynamite is most commonly associated with the chemical, as nitroglycerin is a primary component in its assembly. Less commonly, nitroglycerin is also used as a propellant. Predominantly, though, it is prized for its contributions in pyrotechnics. Like many discoveries before it, its value as an agent of destruction has long overshadowed any other note the nitroglycerin chemical would hit in the orchestral composition of life.

In this way, nitroglycerin was not dissimilar to Katsuki Bakugo.

Bakugo, since the beginning of his journey to maturity, had boasted a unique Quirk - Quirks being the publicly accepted name for the talents manifested by unique individuals. In some societies the same concept was called 'Powers', in others 'Mutations', but when you ran the titles through a strainer the same concept came out the other end: special abilities that some people had, and some people did not.

Katsuki had them, and he had them in spades.

Coming up in school, he'd quickly caught the eye of his teachers and peers alike for his aptitude. His Quirk had manifested early, and it suited him well. Bakugo could sweat nitroglycerin from his palms, and ignite it at will. In the Crossroads and in Arcadia in particular talents that set someone apart from the layman were especially valued, and his was the golden ticket in the chocolate bar raffle of life.

Because of this, it was often overlooked that Katsuki Bakugo bore so many similarities to nitroglycerin. He was short fused and explosive, with a volatile demeanor that threatened to rage out of control. It could be directed and influenced, but scarcely more than that. In that way Bakugo seemed tailor-made to wield his Quirk.

When it had become obvious that he would excel beyond his classmates, even those choice few who grew to care for him despite his callous demeanor, Bakugo decided that he had little use for the affections and praise of others. That was a turning point for him. Though there were individuals he admired and even aspired to emulate in some facets, the young Quirk user had determined that his own esteem and self-worth would of the utmost value to him.

To this end, many of his teachers believed that he may go tread the path of villainy.

As the years went by, however, and Bakugo found himself accepted into the prestigous UA Academy for aspiring Heroes, it became obvious that the young upstart would defy expectations. His fiery temper and voluminous pool of self-worth seemed only to fuel his rise through his class, until he had become someone not only to be respected by students and faculty, but appreciated.

---

So it was that Bakugo, now fifteen years old, found himself running a strained hand through his ash blonde hair. His eyes, as red and fiery as his warrior's soul, scanned carefully over a manuscript given to him by his class, 1-A's, teacher (dubbed Eraserhead for his own Quirk, which could nullify the Quirks of anyone he set eyes on). Those same stormy eyes came to rest on one line in particular.

The document he was ingesting was a mission debrief, and the line he'd come to a full stop on was this:

"The student will work in a pair with one another student, pre-assigned, to accomplish the mission's objective. This mission's objective is to-"

Katsuki skimmed on, glossing over a blurb that detailed some yammering about a hostage situation.

His mind had changed gears...somehow he knew. He knew exactly who he'd be paired with. Just the idea of it...that infuriating pissant! That Quirkless bastard! He clenched his fist, feeling his trademark nitroglycerin bead up in his ferocious grasp. For a brief moment he entertained the idea of obliterating the offending paper and the entire desk beneath it in one satisfying BOOM of combustion. Only the notion that he'd be playing into their notions of him as the impetuous hot-head kept his impulses at bay - he would not be defined by those idiots expectations.

One day, they'd all recognize him for his strength, but also for his virtues. Virtues he fought hard to achieve - everyday he fought against his very nature, and strove to achieve a more Heroic standing in the community.

Not like that idiot. He had everything handed to him on a silver platter, and never seemed to have to work for anything. Bakugo had hoped many years ago that he'd been able to leave that bastard behind when he left school to join the UA. And yet somehow, he appeared here, suddenly boasting a Quirk more powerful than nearly any their society had seen. Like the manifestation of All-Might himself, breezing through tests and challenges with dramatic flair and injury after injury. When they were in school, Bakugo had always called him 'Deku'. It had been an insult. It meant 'useless person', which he'd always been growing up. He was Quirkless, and a crybaby; Katsuki had spared no opportunity to put the boy named Midoriya down and remind him of his place. Now here he was, again, in the very same class...

And he fucking knew that they were going to end up on this mission together. The two who never got along, and the teachers took every opportunity to toss them together to watch the sparks fly in the name of breeding comraderie. Bedgrudingly, the combustible Bakugo had to admit that Deku had come along way since their school days...at times, his actions were even respectable.

And yet, there was something about him that just rubbed the fiery young upstart the wrong way. Letting out a sigh, he looked away from the mission debriefing and stood up from his desk abruptly. He paced his floor for a few moments before opening the door to his dorm room and making his way out to the common area. It was dark, but he'd expected as much. Most of the rest of the students had gone to bed hours ago but sleep had eluded him, and Bakugo had stayed up late brainstorming clever applications for his Quirk for the upcoming missions he'd be receiving.

He flounced down on the couch and clicked on the television, and the low drone of it lulled his irritation into a slow simmer rather than a full boil. Tuning out the newscaster reading off some bullshit story about the latest contestant to die on 'Dante's Abyss', Katsuki turned his thoughts instead to his mission.

Intel had disclosed that in one of Arcadia's rougher neighborhoods, a gas station robbery had devolved into a hostage situation. Worse yet, the perpetrator was a Quirk user. The police had negotiated the situation into a de-escalation, and for the time being there had been no developments in the case. However, if the situation was not resolved by tomorrow, the UA had been asked to spare some of their more talented students to be put to task on a resolution.

Admittedly, he was an odd choice for the mission, even by his standards, but a mission was hot, hot action and ol' Baku wasn't about to turn down a mission like that. His enhanced costume had already been laid out on his bed back in his dorm room, and he anxiously awaited the go-ahead from Eraserhead.

The minutes ticked by, and lulled by the reporter's dullset tones describing the death of some 'Shogun of Sorrow', Katsuki found himself drifting away into slumber...
 

Izuku Midoriya

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He had gone over it in his head a thousand times. Maybe more.

The gas station was three streets away from the dormitory. Police had surrounded it for the greater part of the last day, essentially trapping the Quirk user inside the building. As far as Izuku could tell, there were three main entrances and exits: the front door, a back door, and then a side door that he supposed led to an office of some sort. Well, those three, and then somehow blasting her way out, so -- four. Once the thief had gotten outside, she had only a few viable avenues of escape: towards the city’s outer walls and into the villages and hamlets that made up Arcadia’s ‘suburbs,’ or deeper into the city, towards the more sophisticated boroughs where the royalty and those who bumped elbows with them wined and dined.

The Quirk user didn’t seem the type to blend in with Arcadia’s upper echelon, from what he could tell. The small glimpses he’d been able to catch betrayed her distinct lack of wealth. She’d been gifted with a powerful Quirk, so committing crimes seemed to have become second nature for her to survive even in the more middle-class sector of town where this gas station was. This time, the police had managed to intercept -- she’d gotten a tad reckless -- and then she’d taken hostages. Multiple hostages.

Izuku Midoriya clenched his fists. This wasn’t a job for the police.

Arcadia’s police force wasn’t shabby. They had been embedded in the city’s biology as far back as Izuku could tell, but when the coup against the new King’s family had occurred, public trust in them began to wane. Individuals with supernatural powers -- whether your preferred moniker for them was Quirks or something more mundane -- had always existed in the Crossroads, but Arcadia’s hesitation to accept anything outside the norm had pushed them to the sidelines in Erde Nona’s capital. In the days and weeks following Tyree’s coronation, however, they slipped out of the shadows, starting to take a more active role in protecting the city from its slimier denizens.

Izuku never harbored such prejudices against those with abilities; in fact, for most of his life, he had idolized them. He dreamed that one day he would manifest a Quirk of his own, like all the heroes (and villains) of the Crossroads, like all the wildly cool kids at his school, like his best friend, Kacchan. His dream never came to reality... until suddenly, one day, it did.

His Quirk wasn’t something he’d been born with. It was barely even something he earned, in his own opinion. It was a gift, something bestowed upon him by someone he respected greatly, something he’d lived without for so long. He held onto it tightly -- a mysterious power known only as One for All. It allowed him access to his body in a way he truly hadn’t ever even dreamed of, unlocking vaults of power he’d never considered possible inside his slight figure. But with great power came loads of problems, of course, and he had yet to exactly figure out how to quell those troubles. But he wouldn’t be useless anymore.

Right this very moment, a whole contingency of heroes and villains were duking it out on the television, throwing themselves into martial combat just to test the boundaries of their abilities. As the bluish-white light of the television set flickered in the darkness, Izuku watched through the window, doing sit-ups on the front porch. Splayed out on the ground next to him was his journal -- or, as he’d entitled it, Hero Analysis for the Future -- with notes scribbled all throughout it about the many different competitors, tabbed off in their own ‘Dante’s Abyss’ section. He’d been practically obsessed with the television show since it had started almost two days ago, taking a particular liking to the more heroic figures like Mickey Mouse and, to an extent, Gilgamesh. They seemed to be doing okay, which pleased him, while others seemed to be starting to look the worse for wear while the competition droned on. Izuku made notes about their unfortunate fortunes as events evolved. He wouldn’t admit that he had a few strategy suggestions for some of them, but… well…

A shadow passed over the television briefly before disappearing into the sofa cushions, and Izuku stopped mid-sit up to peek over and see what the brash bushel of blonde hair, Katsuki Bakugo, was up to. Kacchan didn’t seem to see him, instead his eyes trained on the news reports about the competition. In classic Midoriya style, Izuku ducked out of sight, not wanting the boy he’d shared so many experiences with to explode on him in the middle of the night and wake everyone up.

Their relationship had been long and tenuous, but mostly long. While he hadn’t met most of the other students in their class -- Class 1-A -- until he had finally manifested his still-mysterious Quirk and managed to snag a spot at UA, the most prestigious school for supernaturally-talented students in this sector of Arcadia, he and Kacchan went way back. It had been his dream to attend UA, even when he was Quirkless and weak, and a lot of that had stemmed from his admiration of Katsuki Bakugo. He’d taken to calling him Kacchan -- an affectionate nickname for Katsuki -- from the earliest days of their ‘friendship,’ before things had begun to deteriorate. The other boy had always been hot-headed, temperamental, and at the forefront of all of their adventures, but he’d also always been so strong, stronger than young Midoriya ever dreamed he himself could be, and so the hothead’s persistent insults had just gone in one ear and out another for a while.

He’d never quite understood it, though: why Kacchan seemed so intent on knocking him down a peg when he certainly felt as though he were already at the bottom of the ladder. ‘Deku’ might be his hero name now, but it hadn’t started that way; its origins were as a dig from Kacchan, and although he’d certainly reclaimed it now, it still stung a bit when the blonde boy used it.

I’ve always looked up to you, Kacchan.

Why can’t you at
least see me higher than the dirt beneath your feet?

He’d admit that he’d been feeling anxiety about being teamed with Kacchan for the gas station assignment since they’d received their pairings in Eraserhead’s class earlier today. No matter what Midoriya tried, ‘Izuku and Katsuki’ wasn’t a team that ever seemed to operate with any sense of synergy, and this situation certainly seemed too volatile to risk their already rocky relationship causing a landslide. But he trusted their teachers, and attitude be damned, he trusted Kacchan. So many people saw something dark inside the other boy, but no matter how many insults he hurled or how many times he got kicked while he was down, Izuku could only ever see Bakugo, deep down, as his friend. He wasn’t sure they’d be in agreement on that.

A loud boom echoed through the neighborhood, bolting Midoriya to his feet. Three streets over -- approximately, anyway -- smoke began to rise over the roofs of the buildings and the young hero known as Deku’s jaw gaped. “Oh no,” he said to himself before spinning on his heel and bursting through the front doors of the dormitory.

Kacchan!

The other boy seemed to already be shaken from his slumber by the noise, but grogginess still dominated his movements as he turned lazily towards Izuku.

“...what, Deku?” he groaned.

Izuku’s hand shot out and pointed at the window, and Bakugo’s eyes followed. He blinked.

It was against the rules. They had been expressly ordered to stay out of the situation until the police made the determination that they needed backup, probably sometime tomorrow morning, and made the call to UA, who’d make the call to them. No such call had come, but Izuku Midoriya knew that one call was more important than any other. The one stirring inside his heart, the one that motivated heroes like Mickey Mouse to action, that right now was loudly screaming, begging, pleading:

“Kacchan, we have to go. Now.”
 
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Katsuki Bakugo

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We have to go. NOW!

Looking back, if he could attribute his current predicament to anything, it would've been that phrase.

The metal was cold against his forehead, which lay flat against a lonely fold-out table. The only light in the room came from an obnoxiously luminous bulb dangling hazardously between Bakugo and his interrogator. The room was empty save for the two of them, the aforementioned table and bulb, and a mirror that was almost certainly a reflective window from which a panel of observers were scrutinizing him.

The deposition seemed to be in its hundredth hour, at this point. There were no clocks in the room, which the young detainee begrudgingly acknowledged was a clever touch. For most it would inspire anxiety, and discomfort. For him? It inspired a simmering annoyance ready to boil over at the wrong remark.

"Maybe you can walk me through this again," intoned the mustachio'd man on the other side of the table. "You arrived on the scene at..."

Fishing for another timeline. A vein bulged on Katsuki's temple.

Katsuki picked his head up off the desk. A volatile expression plastered on his face, he leered at his inquisitor from beneath a ruffled shock of blonde hair.

"If I have to explain this one more time..." he trailed off, letting his words hang ominously in the air.

The scent of burnt sugar filled the room - the smell was commonly associated with nitroglycerin. And it wasn't hard to pinpoint the exact moment the inquisitor had smelled it. His eyes widened considerably, and he gulped audibly, receiving the threat loud and clear.

"We're just, uh...we're just...having some trouble putting together the details of your story," the man behind the mustache seemed to remember himself, gathering his composure once more, and pressed on. "You said that it was your idea to head to the scene of the crime, and yet, your associate claims that it was his idea,". "In fact, the only thing we're certain of at this point is that both of you had arrived on the scene and that neither of you had been authorized to be there. It's not looking very good for either of you...and with the collateral damage..."

Images of himself standing atop a heap of wreckage, people on the street pointing and screaming, and the smoldering and ruins of a collapsed gas station at his back pushed themselves to the forefront of the young Hero aspirant's mind.

...he hadn't been very subtle. As Katsuki recalled, he may or may not have been cackling madly at that moment. Details weren't totally in focus, so it was hard to tell.

"The two of you are facing expulsion. If there's anything you can recall at all that might salvage this situation...believe me, I am REALLY trying to help you here," Mustache explained, with a decidedly unhelpful expression. "Anything at all."

"Nope," Bakugo replied shortly. He crossed his arms and leaned back in his chair, ready for whatever would come his way. "I'm sure he will give you all the details."

He practically spat that last sentence, envisioning Midoriya droning on in front of a similar interrogator in that mumbling way of his. How bothersome. Why did they even need both of them in a situation like this? Not like his story was going to differ from Deku's in anything but tone. The content was cut and dry, and there were dozens of witnesses likely damning the duo with their testimonies in as many rooms as they could fit them in throughout this Hellish police station.

It was only a matter of time before they received their sentence. Their actions hadn't been criminal, though the damage Bakugo had caused in the scuffle was substantial. The school would pay for that, and in turn, Bakugo felt certain that he would receive a reprimand beyond anything he'd yet experienced. Expulsion...the thought was a weight he could scarcely bear. And if he felt that way, he could only imagine what a prissy do-gooder like Deku must be feeling. And what would the two of them do, then? Tossed out on their cans, it would be a rough climb to the top.

When he'd been turned loose from the interrogation room the hot-head loitered around in front of the station. Though he was loathe to admit it, they were in this together at this point and it wouldn't make sense to move forward without Deku. It wasn't a long wait - the green haired boy emerged from the maw of the station looking sullen and defeated. When he saw Katsuki, Midoriya dashed forward with some amount of panic in his eyes.

"Are they going to throw us out, Kacchan!?"

...close to hysteria, Bakugo observed.

Bakugo turned his red eyes, alight with a simmering rage, onto Midoriya. The rage was his own, however. He wasn't pissed at Deku over this. It had been his own fault. In fact, Midoriya probably hadn't been in the station half the time that Bakugo was...they'd picked him right up after the incident, due to the mayhem he'd caused.

"...probably," Katsuki admitted, grinding his teeth in anger. "We'll find out at the tribunal."
 
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Izuku Midoriya

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Izuku had wanted to be a hero for as long as he could remember. Even when he had been a small, frail, Quirkless boy, that had been his one, highest goal. When the doctor dropped the bad news on him that he would never develop a Quirk of his own, his trajectories never changed. He didn’t know how he would achieve it, but somewhere, in the deepest reaches of his soul, he felt the hero’s calling. He knew that at his basest, all he wanted to do was save people with a smile on his face, and somehow inspire them to put a smile on theirs.

That’s why he’d rushed to save Kacchan that day. When the sludge monster had attacked him, sucked him up into its disgusting body in that lesser-populated area of the city, Izuku had leapt into action despite having no Quirk of his own, no way to match the monster’s power.

He’d always sort of been like that: overly analytical and a planner to a fault, except when his emotions got the better of him. When he could screw his head on straight, he could strategize with the best of him, but more often than not his heart overwhelmed his brain and sent him catapulting into action before his thoughts -- his many thoughts -- had a chance to catch up. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing… it had gotten him the opportunity to inherit One for All, of course. But it’d also landed he and Kacchan into the sticky situation they were in now. Kacchan, we have to go. Now!

Maybe it had been a mistake to jump into the fight, but even now, days later, Midoriya had yet to be convinced of that. Things had gotten out of hand. They needed a hero’s help, and that was exactly when a hero was supposed to fly in and save the day, right? When they were needed? He had worked too hard for this to not step in when there was something he could do to help. He’d spent his blood, sweat, and tears training for months to be ready for the UA entrance exam, and then exerted even more effort -- more even than the rest of his classmates, he’d argue -- to get better and better, to try his best to catch up with all of them and control his Quirk. He had broken too many bones in pursuit of this dream to not follow through on it, and he had put too much effort into this to get expelled and have it all fall apart because he had done what was right.

“I’m sorry, Midoriya, but we have no choice but to expel the both of you.”

Izuku Midoriya blinked, and blacked out.

***

The tribunal had been almost a full day ago. Izuku had yet to move from his bed, curled up in just his boxer shorts and a cocoon of at least three thick blankets. He and Kacchan had been allowed the weekend to collect their things, but the green-haired boy had yet to find the strength to do any of that, so his room was still in mint condition. About once an hour, he lifted his head and gazed at it longingly, as if it was a relic of a time long lost; a timeline where he would make his mentor proud, and eventually become Erde Nona’s -- no, the whole fucking Crossroads’ number one hero. Where he would exist with a perpetual smile on his face rather than as the failure that he was now.

The plan was not supposed to be easy, but it was simple, at least. He had written it down in his Hero Analysis notebook and referenced it time and time again, as he had trained to try and get better control of One For All:
  1. Get into UA High School.
This was, perhaps, the hardest part of the plan, especially given at its original inception he’d been Quirkless. But after ten long months of intensive physical training and inheriting One For All from his mentor, he’d managed it. Somehow, this scrawny, sensitive, Quirkless twerp had managed to snag a spot in Class 1-A amidst some of the most promising up-and-coming young heroes, Kacchan included.

There were more segments to the plan, but in the past day, he had not had the strength to look at them. The first one seemed like such an achievement, and now, in one single swoop, he and Kacchan had managed to negate all that hard work.

Well, no… he had. It had been his idea to go, after all. Kacchan, we have to go. Now!

Apparently, Katsuki Bakugo -- never, and yet always, his friend -- had tried to take the bullet for the plan when speaking to the investigators. Izuku simply couldn’t wrap his brain around it. Kacchan had never -- not once -- done anything for him, so why was he trying to save his ass now? Of course, it hadn’t exactly panned out. The police had not convinced either boy to give up on their version of events, so the fault had been laid on both of their backs, and that meant that both of them had gotten expelled.

“What the fuck are we supposed to do now?” Kacchan’s voice rung out from the doorway to his room. Izuku sat up, startled, on his bed. He hadn’t even heard the blonde boy open up the door; strangely subtle for someone like Kacchan.

But he didn’t have an answer, nevertheless.

“Your shit’s still up,” Kacchan continued. “Don’t have much more time to get it out of here.” The other boy had never really been the talkative one in their tumultuous relationship -- well, unless it was to taunt little Midoriya, which admittedly happened more often than not. Something about Kacchan’s demeanor seemed… off, though. Like maybe, somewhere inside that angry, loud, impulsive boy, there was just a twinge of sadness.

Izuku admired Bakugo even now. Even when he’d watched him standing atop the rubble, cackling like a madman as the villain staggered backwards -- and as he was evacuating the hostages from the scene of the crumbled gas station -- he’d admired the boy’s tenacity. Even when he’d been sitting just a few feet away from him in the teachers’ conference room, listening to their instructors berate them and wax philosophical about their wasted potential, he’d envied how the blonde boy was able to just transform into something hardened and let their words bounce off of him. Izuku had started tearing up within the first few sentences of the first teacher’s diatribe.

The emerald-haired boy slowly slid out from underneath his mountain of blankets and went to stand before the long mirror hanging on the opposite wall. Without a shirt on, he could see the muscles he’d worked so hard to attain. He could see the scars from where he’d pushed himself too far past his limit in the interest of trying to wrangle One For All into his control. Every scrape, every bruise, every cut muscle… it’d all been part of a long, long, game. A big, master plan he’d been shaping since he was a small, frail, Quirkless boy. Now, all that work had been tossed in the garbage.

Yet… if that small, frail, Quirkless boy could see him now, if he could see the young man in this mirror, he’d be proud -- expulsion or no.

“I don’t know, Kacchan,” he shrugged. “But we’ve gotta do something, right? We can’t just quit.”

Bakugo scoffed, but Izuku swore he saw a hint of a smile. “Put a shirt on and pack, Deku. We’ve got shit to do.”
 
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