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Amajiki wipes his sweaty palms on his pants, swallowing the large knot in his throat.

He was scared.

Looking out into the crowd of hundreds who watched each and every one of the graduating third years get their diploma. It was only the hero and support courses for this ceremony, but that drew press and proheroes theyve all worked alongside.

He's so nervous he doesn't even clap as Bibimi from the Support Course steps down from the podium. So nervous he doesn't hear Cementoss announce him and Nejire, blindly following the girl who holds his hand.

He had begged Nezu, begged Yamada, begged anyone who would listen to opt out of the speech when he found out he'd tied with Nejire for validictotian. His homeroom teacher was sympathetic, but could do nothing to change the principals mind.

His ears rang as Nejires speech drew laughs from the crowd. Tears filled his eyes as he stood behind her, realizing he was going to make an absolute fool of himself.

He had his speech memorized, though the full thing was still sitting on the podium for reference. He'd gone over it a hundred times, yet now not a single word would come to him.

He was going to embarrass his class, his parents and brother, his best friends in the whole world just because he couldn't pull himself together.

All the faces in the crowd blend together. He can't hear a word of his best friends speech as it draws to a close. He couldn't do this.

Tears fill his eyes. He can't do this.

As he watches the principal switch spots with Nejire, he feels someone move behind him. Someone grabs his hand.

"Breathe, baby," Hizashis comforting voice guides him, "In, 2, 3- Out, 2,3..."

His ears stop ringing as he breathes with his Papa who holds his hand behind his back. Nedzus listing his accomplishments when he continues.

"I am so proud of you, Tamaki. Just do your best, and know that no matter what happens, our pride and love will never change. Find Shota and Izuku, they're in the fifth row," he whispers softly, "You are not alone, my son."

The crowd erupts in applause as his name is announced. All he has to do is walk forward.

So with lead feet, he takes a step.

And another.

Creating more distance between him and Yamada, but closing the distance between the rest of his family.

They love him. Him fucking up some speech wouldn't change that.

But he still wants to try.

"My n-name is A-A-Ama," he takes a deep breath, the paper crinkling under his tight grip, "My name is Amajiki T-Tamaki. I am here to represent UA's hero course as c-covaledictorian."

He wishes Yamada could squeeze his hand right now, but he settles for the green eyes he finds in the fourth row. Beneath them is a warm smile and a double thumbs up.

Eri sits on Aizawas lap, who looks at him with soft eyes, nodding his head in encouragement.

"I-I was told to write a s-speech that will not, not only reflect on my own ex-experiences but my classmates as well. It- It was hard," the words come easier to him, they have to as he refuses to spare a single glance at his speech, instead choosing to stare at his family.

"B-But I realized I couldn't do th-that. UA has t-taught me that ev-everyone has a voice. A voice that h-holds meaning, a voice that's important. S-so I can only speak for myself, and hope-hope my classmates c-can relate."

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