The times, they are a'changing. Villains and vigilantes alike have grown bolder, and with tension mounting, U.A. is working harder than ever to prepare their students for whatever the future may bring for the aspiring Pro Heroes.
With this in mind, Principal Nedzu proposes a trial run to Aizawa for a new form of final exam. Rather than pairing off students and setting them against a Pro Hero, why not have some of their students take up the role of playing the villains? An exercise in challenge and cooperation, seeing how well they fare when given a couple months of prep time and a considerable amount of control over the parameters...
Three students are chosen to serve as the antagonists: Bakugou Katsuki, Shinsou Hitoshi, and Tokoyami Fumikage. Aside from being classmates, the most obvious thing all three have in common? All have Quirks that have been regarded as innately villainous. And none of them appreciate the implications.
The story follows the trio as they strive to make the best of the ugly hand they've been given. If U.A. wants to typecast them, then they'll be the best damned fake villains they've ever seen.
This fanfic includes examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Shinsou's mother constantly assumes the worst of him, and forces him to wear a massive muzzle with a long, choking bridle whenever he's home.
- Ambiguous Situation: It's somewhat unclear just how much Aizawa knew about the state of Shinsou's home life before Katsuki dumps the illegal bridle on his desk. Though obviously aware that he lives on the Wrong Side of the Tracks, it's difficult to judge what he knew (if anything) about his mother's methods of handling her son.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Aizawa was counting on the idea that Bakugou, Shinsou and Tokoyami wouldn't hold back while fighting the others. He heavily underestimated just how much spite would motivate them to ensure that nobody else passes their exam.
- Betrayal by Inaction: While Aizawa didn't select any of the trio to be typecast as villains, and protests to Kayama that he wasn't able to come up with any alternatives that would satisfy the requirements, none of the trio are aware that he disagreed with the plan. Either he chose them himself or he went along with it; in their eyes, both condemn him.
- Body Horror: Invoked and exploited during the trio's challenge against Aizawa, as Tokoyami and Dark Shadow make it appear that Shinsou forcibly overrode their minds and forced them into a feral state.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Katsuki drops a lot of these.
- Combat Pragmatist: Shinsou has nothing against doing whatever it takes to win a fight.
- Curb Stomp Cushion: While Todoroki and Hagakure still lose, it's offset somewhat by how they hold up remarkably well given the circumstances, with Shouto even managing to knock out one of Katsuki's molars.
- Deadpan Snarker: Shinsou, extensively. When Tokoyami tries breaking the ice by asking if he'd like some water, he replies "No thanks, I like being salty." He also spends a lot of time cheerfully riling up Bakugou, much to Tokoyami's dismay.Katsuki: Are you naturally this much of an asshole?
Hitoshi: Nah, refined skill. I don't have your natural talent.
- Drama Bomb: The revelation of how Hitoshi's mother treats him, and how Katsuki and Fumikage react to this.
- Fighter, Mage, Thief: The trio naturally falls into these roles: Katsuki is the hard-hitting brawler, Fumikage and Dark Shadow able to strike from a distance, and Hitoshi being agile and the dirtiest fighter. Part of their strategy involves learning how to fight in ways that defy what's expected from each of them, such as Fumikage picking up moves from Hitoshi.
- Flat "What":
- Katsuki's initial response upon receiving their assignment.
- Eijirou reacts this way after Hitoshi sarcastically congratulates Katsuki for making him an orphan.
- Foreign Cuss Word: Aoyama curses in French when their scenario starts going pear-shaped. The word (or words) aren't transcribed, but Momo reacts to whatever he said with both scandalized shock and awe.
- Foreshadowing: Shinsou wears an abnormally thick mouth guard while sparring; one that causes Bakugou to do a double take the first time he sees it, taken aback by its size and shape. He wears something even more restrictive at home.
- The Gadfly: Shinsou has a sharp tongue dripping with vitriol, and no qualms about saying things that others might find offensive or disturbing.
- Gone Horribly Right: As Midnight puts it, Aizawa banked upon the trio being unable to hold themselves back when designing their challenges (either due to Pride or simply fearing his threat of expulsion). But he didn't account for them being petty and spiteful enough to ensure that nobody passed their final exam, rendering the results effectively useless and forcing him to redo everything.
- Laser-Guided Karma: After forcing the trio to take on a massive workload, casually threatening them with expulsion if they don't agree to it, Aizawa finds himself in the utterly unenviable position of having to redo everyone else's final exams after Team Chaotic Energy systematically takes them all out. And unlike his students, he doesn't have two months to work out a plan.
- Locked Out of the Loop:
- None of the other members of their class have any idea what sort of assignment the trio is working on, or that they're going to be facing them for their final exam. When the finals actually begin, the only ones allowed to watch any of them (aside from the teachers) are those who have already gone through their exam, and they aren't allowed to discuss them with anyone else.
- Aizawa offered no indication to the trio that he disagreed with any part of the assignment, instead acting like he takes some sadistic pleasure in saddling them with it.
- Long Title: Most of the chapters have these, such as Chapter 1: That Awkward Moment When You Realize You Made A Bad Choice But You're Too Stubborn To Admit You Were Wrong (Thanks Aizawa)
- Meaningful Echo: During their first planning session together, Katsuki threatens to push Hitoshi out the window, to which he sarcastically replies "Oooh, defenestration. Original." Later, during the finals, Todoroki responds much the same way to being thrown through a window frame.
- Morton's Fork:
- As Aizawa blandly informs the trio when first assigning them the exercise, they can either agree to play the villains in the 'trial run' and take on the massive responsibility of brainstorming distinct scenarios for all of their classmates, with only a two-month window to get everything ready... or face immediate expulsion for 'making his life harder'.
- Midnight presents her coworker's dilemma in the finale as such:Midnight: You'll break those children, or you'll break their confidence. Pick your fight, Shouta. Knock out teeth or expel them, there's no in-between. The moment you selected them based on Quirk discrimination, you were drafting for this fight.
- My God, What Have I Done?:
- During their first sparring session paired together, Oijiro's old grudge against Shinsou reared its ugly head, making him fight more aggressively than usual. When this resulted in him breaking two of Shinsou's ribs and one of his arms, he has a moment of immediate remorse.
- Aizawa has a minor one after the trio comes to him looking for clarification and he gets his first really good look at how Bakugou and Shinsou are bouncing off each other.
- Katsuki did not intend to make his classmate an orphan when he exposed his mother's abuse, as he assumed that his father would be able to take him in, unaware that he was in no position to do so.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
- Principal Nedzu's idea — and Aizawa's willingness to go along with it — ends up having far more repercussions than either anticipated.
- After seeing firsthand how Hitoshi's mother treats him, Katsuki immediately decides to take action by dumping the bridle in front of Aizawa and everyone else present in the dorm's living room at that moment. This leads to her losing custody, and Katsuki learning too late that Hitoshi's father was in prison for giving his mother and other victims schizophrenia.
- The Nicknamer: Katsuki's natural tendency for this leads to him labeling Hitoshi 'backstreet hooker' after his fighting style. Hitoshi rolls with it:Hitoshi: Honey, you haven't seen me in thigh highs yet.
- OOC Is Serious Business:
- Tokoyami is quietly horrified when Aizawa gets out of his sleeping bag before giving them their assignment, as he only emerges from it when he deems it necessary. Such as when he's about to lay the smackdown on an errant student.
- Shinsou is oddly quiet when Bakugou and Tokoyami visit his place, because he's wearing a muzzle. Shortly afterwards, he flies into a screaming rage when Bakugou exposes his mother's abuse to Aizawa.
- The Resenter: Oijiro was less than thrilled when Shinsou transferred into their class. After he inadvertently broke a few things during their first sparring session, the feeling became mutual, and Shinsou has little interest in mending fences with the 'fuck kangaroo'.
- Sadist Teacher: Aizawa leans rather hard into his image as such when informing the trio of their assignment, using especially blunt language and getting his signature ugly grin when adding extra complications.
- Serious Business: Hitoshi treats his grudge against Aizawa for throwing a fish at him like this:Hitoshi: Cool, let's move this somewhere private so Sensei doesn't bring out the dead fish.
Katsuki: [blinks] Dead fish? What the fuck are you on-
Fumikage: Aizawa-sensei threw a dead fish at him. He floundered at the action and-
Hitoshi: [hissing] It was a mackerel you insensitive fuck.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: Variation; while none of them become actual villains, as they're preparing for their last test, Katsuki considers snarling out "Here I am, the villain you demanded of me!"
- This Is Going to Suck: Tokoyami is quietly horrified when first receieving the assignment, overwhelmed by the sheer scale and scope of what's being demanded of them, as well as the matter of who his partners are.
- Token Good Teammate: While none of them are evil, out of the trio, Fumikage is the least overtly resentful over being typecast, has the most faith in Aizawa, and no real grudges against any of his classmates. This leads to him struggling the most when it comes to embracing the role of assigned antagonist.
- Typecasting: In-Universe, Katsuki and Hitoshi suspect that they (along with Fumikage) were cast as the villains for the final exam specifically because all three of them have Quirks that are seen as 'naturally villainous'.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Kaminari looks at Bakugou with absolute disgust after hearing that he caused Shinsou's mother to lose custody of him, making him an orphan.
- Midnight calls Aizawa out for going along with Nedzu's plan and letting the trio get singled out for their 'naturally villainous' Quirks, then dumping the responsibility of figuring the whole exercise out on their shoulders with the threat of expulsion hanging over their heads.
- Wrong Side of the Tracks: Shinsou lives in such an area, as Bakugou and Tokoyami learn when they go to visit him.