Yesterday Upon The Stair
|Title:||Yesterday Upon The Stair|
|Date(s):||October 21 2016 - October 12 2019|
|Length:||424,070 words (60 chapters)|
|Fandom:||Boku no Hero Academia|
|External Links:||On Archive of Our Own|
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It is an alternate universe fusion with the premise of the film The Sixth Sense. The fic is an example of the popular genre of BNHA works in which Midoriya Izuku has a Quirk since birth - in this case, his Quirk is that he can see ghosts.
The fic is tagged with platonic relationships for Izuku with Yagi Toshinori, Todoroki Shouto, Uraraka Ochako, and Iida Tenya. Todoroki and Izuku are tagged as having a queerplatonic relationship. Izuku also has a close relationship with his mother, Midoriya Inko, and Rei, an OC who is a ghost who only Izuku can see.
On Archive of Our Own, "Yesterday Upon The Stair" is the most popular BNHA fanwork by all metrics – kudos, hit counts, comments, and bookmarks; as of 2021, it has over 1.6 million hits, 58k kudos, 19k comments, and 13k bookmarks. Between March and November 2018, it hit 19k kudos and surpassed Play It Again as the most-kudosed Gen fic on AO3. This fic is the most popular work in the Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence tag.
"Yesterday Upon The Stair" was posted as a WIP and is now a part of a series, Deku Sees Dead People, where the second fic, The Cupboard Underneath, is a collection of related stories set in the YUTS universe.
The title is a reference to William Hughes Mearns' poem Antigonish:
Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away...
Midoriya Izuku has always been written off as weird. As if it's not bad enough to be the quirkless weakling, he has to be the weird quirkless weakling on top of it.
But truthfully, the "weird" part is the only part that's accurate. He's determined not to be a weakling, and in spite of what it says on paper, he's not actually quirkless. Even before meeting All-Might and taking on the power of One For All, Izuku isn't quirkless.
Not that anyone would believe it if he told them.
Development, Narrative Choices and Inspiration
The plot of "Yesterday Upon The Stair" "has been in flux pretty much since the get-go." About the pace and sometimes "disjointed" nature of the fic, especially early chapters, PitViperofDoom has said that they want to avoid "simply retelling the events of the canon exactly as they happened. So, if I skip or skim over an event or scene without describing it in more detail, just assume that it happens more or less the same as it does in canon."
In response to someone asking "are there any parts of this story that you really liked but ultimately couldn't keep? Or any plot points that you decided to change direction on?" Pit said:
The Final Exam arc was a big change for me, actually. Originally it was going to go roughly the same as canon, except Izuku was going to do more yelling and also drag Bakugou through the exit gate by his hair. I rather like how it is now.Also, the Study Group ended up tonally different from how I intended it. My original plan was to have it be a fun, quirky, tongue-in-cheek affair that let the whole class bond and grow together, and any conflict was going to be minor enough to play for laughs. I actually didn’t make a conscious decision to change it; I set out to write it that way, but it came out darker than intended and I couldn’t fix it no matter how much I rethought it. So I gave up and went into Bakugou’s crap attitude and invasion of Izuku’s safe space, and it got all sad instead.
In regards to a certain narrative decision in YUTS
Someone pointed out the hypocrisy of keeping Bakugou around while giving Mineta the boot, so I thought I’d explain why I did it.
Confession time, this was kind of a recent development. I didn’t start YUTS with the intention of giving Mineta the boot. But after Aizawa’s one-on-one with Bakugou and how I changed his ill-fated wall climb to peek into the girl’s bath it just felt right for the story and right for the direction I was taking Aizawa.
It was one of those “the story writes itself” decisions, and it was easy to make. I made it practically on a whim, and I could afford to because it does not change the story at all. I haven’t done much with Mineta besides sideline him because he’s goddamn uncomfortable to write. Hell, I shuffled him out of half the scenes he was in at the USJ.
But as for why Bakugou gets to stay while Mineta doesn’t, my reasoning is that it comes down to their personal motivation and intent. Bakugou wants to be a hero; granted, his reasons are self-centered and arrogant (he wants to be The Strongest), but the fact that his chosen path is to become a hero rather than turn to villainy proves that there’s some part of him that wants to do good. Fighting villains is at least an actual requirement for a hero, so “I want to be a hero to fight a lot of villains” is something they can work with.
Mineta, in canon, only became a hero so he could look at hot girls in skimpy hero costumes. That’s it. He’s not in it for saving lives, he’s not in it for fighting, he’s not even that much in it for the fame and renown. He’s only here for the literal wank material.Aizawa feels he can still work with Bakugou because Bakugou wants to be a hero and he wants to do the work required of a hero, and Aizawa can shape that kind of motivation to encompass the . Mineta isn’t interested in doing what is expected of a hero. He just wants to touch a boob.
On main themes for "Yesterday Upon The Stair":
I think the main theme that keeps coming up in YUTS is about validating emotions, without absolving responsibility for them. Your emotions are valid and you don’t have to pretend you’re okay or force yourself to ignore your fears; just don’t use them as an excuse to hurt people.
As of Chapter 32, Izuku was given tapeta lucida. Chapters retroactively affected by this have been edited to comply with the new canon and the author's notes at the beginning of affected chapters have a noticed saying, "Edit 12/26/17: By popular demand and my own personal desire, I have made a minor aesthetic modification to Izuku in this story; this chapter has been edited to include it." The idea for this change came from fanart from vivi-set-this-on-fire.
Author's Comments: Shipping
Oh how I waffled on Tododeku. I went back and forth over whether or not to ship the boys in this story, and there was a very brief period of time in which I fully intended to, before changing my mind. For a while I decided that the fic itself wouldn’t have the ship, but I would leave it open-ended or write side stories in which they did get together in the future. My current and now-permanent stance is that they won’t be together romantically, either in the story proper or in its future, but I will be writing them in a queerplatonic relationship, and I will be making it as apparent as I possibly can.
- Mika the cat is "narratively immortal".
- PitViperofDoom has said that, "the character of Rei, while sort-of-kind-of an OC, is largely inspired by the character Erma in the webcomic of the same name by Brandon Santiago."
- The white eyes that ghosts have is inspired by Homestuck.
Fan Responses and Reviews
In her video review, origami-kitsune calls "Yesterday Upon The Stair" "an intelligent reworking of the series" and notes that Izuku's darker characterization is very well-done. Because of Izuku's canon association with purity, a common trope in the fandom is to write a villain AU (which PitViperofDoom has said they don't like) to make the character darker, and origami-kitsune says PitViperofDoom has done what Villain!Izuku stories often fail at:
"One of the many flaws that [villain AUs] have in common is that many times him being evil in some way isn't really justified... the reason, at least as far as fic descriptions seem to go, boils down to a simple 'what if.' They don't really consider Izuku, his personality, how he was raised, and the many factors that contribute in some way to him still growing up with a determination to be a hero despite his circumstances. However, this fanfiction is different. In the story, Izuku is a significantly darker character than what he is in the manga: he's sarcastic, has a darker sense of humor, and in some cases can seem more cold than his canon counterpart. This of course is a result of him being able to see ghosts. As you can imagine being able to see those kinds of things might make someone jaded and cynical about death and the world around them, and this is exactly who this version of Izuku is, and it makes sense. Him being, in a way, more maniacal than manga!Izuku is a logical result of the changes the author has made to the character."
origami-kitsune also mentions that the subplots are excellent and the world building detailed without leaning too hard in any one direction:
"...the author does a fantastic job in balancing, or sometimes mixing, [the two worlds Izuku is exposed to] to make the story independent from its base. That's another thing that makes this story so good: it's independant. Sure, I have a further appreciation for it because I'm an avid fan of the original, but I feel like someone with hardly any prior knowledge of the show or the manga could enjoy it equally as much."
There has also been criticism and mixed reception of the fic of the fic, particularly noting its retreading of canon but also bringing up other critiques.
Started reading the first 12 chapters of Yesterday Upon The Stair, and while the writing is excellent, it's literally just retreading canon with Izuku talking to ghosts along the way so far. I won't drop it yet, but I really do hope it starts diverging sometime soon because otherwise it's going to be a bit of a waste of time. ... Yeah, I made it to chapter 23, the halfway point of the fic before dropping it. Despite conversations playing out very differently from the show/manga and Izuku knowing more things as a consequence of talking to ghosts, it's still retreading canon-events. The entire stain fight was almost blow-for-blow exactly the same as in the manga. It's a lazy fic that changes the premise but then doesn't do anything with it but re-write the manga with some slight alterations.
[Feng Lengshun later commented]
So. The big daddy of MHA fics on AO3. In many ways reminds me of Bleach. Slow, repetitive, seeing ghosts, has some cool ideas in it. It's not really bad, but if you aren't into canon re-threads, then you can just skip this one. The events are almost all exactly the same as in canon, it's just that there are some additions thanks to Izuku's quirk and changes in context due to it as well. But the framework is very much the same, up until the Final Exam arc, and a very much different Hideout Raid arc that's actually quite interesting. I really like that arc here, with Izuku's interaction with the Villains and All For One being a total delight. His interaction with Nana and the ghosts (including Tensei here) are interesting too. On the other hand, that's like 20-something chapters into the story.
And on a third, metaphorical hand, there's the relationship. Queerplatonic Relationship. What it means is that Izuku leans on Shouto's shoulders, hugs him, and sleep together from time to time... making them very close... but no kissing. They're not into each other, but special emphasis are put into it nevertheless. I could say "It's brotherly" but the story had to see it in those light first, before just saying "yeah, we're not into each other; we just rely on each others." It's like it wants to be queer, but pulls back at the last minute. Kind of annoying, when the author could just... avoid it altogether, or write around it. Worse is that this is 40+ chapters into the story... and literally nothing come out of it. Shouto and Inasa still get into a conflict, though the circumstances is quite different here. It's like "I want it to be queer, but nah, let's take the safe road." Annoying because the changes with Hideout Raid arc was absolutely the best part of the fic.
Recommended IF you're fine with the relationship and canon re-thread as it does offer some interesting contents and it IS the biggest fic for MHA on AO3 right now.
First of all it has to do with the tags it picks, its a very loud alarm bell when the author has to fish for rather... obscure terms to start tagging their fic, queerplatonic in this case. There are a number of words that could be employed here to define the relationship between Izuku and Todoroki... the one chosen reeked for special snowflake quality and while thankfully it doesn't reads like that, its still a Big Red Alarm.
NOTE: queerplatonic according to urban dictionary:Adjective describing a relationship which is more intense and intimate than is considered common or normal for a "friendship", but doesn't fit the traditional sexual-romantic couple model. It is characterized by a strong bond, love, and emotional commitment, yet is not perceived by those involved as "romantic". The relationship may or may not have some elements or degree of sexuality/eroticism at various times, or none - it doesn't matter, because sexuality/sexual exclusivity is not what the relationship is organized around. It's defined by the intensity and significance of the emotional connection.
So this is not because the pairing of Izuku/Toodoroki.
Second of all, its a canon re tread, that alone is not good. If you have a story that so fundamentally alters Izuku's character, you should have enough strength to break away from the plot, but it doesn't, even when it tries to move beyond canon it soon enough returns to it and sticks to it like the fic had been bathed in crazy glue.
With a power of seeing dead people -sixth sense style- you can't really have the same interactions between the characters because Izuku has been molded by this new set of experiences and it rarely shows its mostly told. While Izuku is still the same compassionate young man who wishes to help people because its the right thing to do, nothing else comes of this quirk.
Trauma? Told to us and only thing shown is that he knows sing language.
Then there is the unexpected crack down on Bakugo's bullying of Izuku, it reeks too much of convenience and a way for the author to take down a peg a character they did not like. Not that Bakugo is a saint or anything, but, the circumstances are not the same.
All the above leads to my third point, the fic is a bit too much tell little show for my tastes. The whole point of playing double agent? Told to us, we aren't really shown how Izuku manages to con AFO, its a bit weird. The other large issue has to do with Izuku's quirk, here is the thing, they live in a society where Quirks do on a regular basis impossible things, like, that one girl who looks frog or toad like? Yeah that's an effect of a quirk, AFO and OFA? So the argument of "oh but people run scams all the time at seeing the dead and no one will believe me" is a bit much.
I think the premise is wasted on the fic, its a dull read and I kept feeling tempted to shut down the tab because its was so boring, but I had to power on, I had to truly see the fic for what it is and its slightly above average ff.net material at worst, at best is just another fic that couldn't break away from canon and just kinda sorta got stuck in it.
I am on fanfiction to see butterflies beaten their wings and what ensues, if I wanted to read canon, I'd go and read the manga from start.
A great deal of fanart is produced and PitViperofDoom posts links in the author's notes of new chapters; much of not all of it can be viewed in her fanart of my fanfic tag. There's also a good deal of recursive fanfiction, the post popular of which is probably U.A. Unsolved, a Buzzfeed Unsolved AU.
- U.A. Unsolved by kabukichou
- Beat Your Breaking Heart by ComposerEgg
- Death Warmed Over by kazzarole
- Rumored Hope by TheRedQueenOfDiamonds
- Never Again by ProfoundCranium
- Ghostly Shenanigans by RogueCommand and TheLadyVanora
- Talk About False Advertisement by Ψυχή (Zusanheim)
- DoS BNHA Crossover Fic by MathIsMagic, various versions of crossovers with Dreaming of Sunshine by Silver Queen, a Naruto fanfiction.
- BNHA crossover index at the Dreaming of Sunshine forums, which includes a good deal of YUTS.
- The Voice of Your Eyes by Terias, a crossover with Natsume Yuujinchou.
- Yesterday Upon The Stair TVTropes page
- PitViperofDoom's tumblr and specifically their YUTS tag
- Fanfiction Spotlight #1: Yesterday Upon The Stair, a video review by origami-kitsune
Example Art Gallery
art of chpt 44 by eneriables (2018)
- Found via the Boku no Hero Academia works search and sorting March 2021.
- Found via the Wayback Machine.
- Found via the tag search and sorting January 2019.
- PitViperofDoom, response to an ask from milkygraphica. Post 07 May 2018. (Accessed 13 July 2018)
- Top author's note, Chapter 2. (Accessed 13 July 2018)
- PitViperofDoom, tumblr ask archived. Posted 21 December 2017.
- PitViperofDoom, tumblr post archived 01 January 2018.
- Tumblr askarchived, posted 26 August 2017.
- Bottom author's note, Chapter 42. (Accessed 13 July 2018)
- PitViperofDoom, response to an ask from azaeleatheazurewolf. Post 23 April 2018. (Accessed 13 July 2018)
- Response to ask, posted 10 December 2017.
- PitViperofDoom, tumblr ask archived, Post 07 June 2018.
- PitViperofDoom, tumblr FAQ. (Accessed 13 July 2018)
- origami-kitsune, on her channel A World of Magic Lives Here, Fanfiction Spotlight #1: Yesterday Upon The Stair. Post 21 June 2018. (Accessed 13 July 2018)
- Comment by Nitro posted to Sufficient Velocity on 27 May 2018.
- Comment by Nitro posted to Sufficient Velocity on 28 May 2018.
- Comment by Feng Lengshun posted to Sufficient Velocity on 29 May 2018.
- Comment by Feng Lengshun posted to Sufficient Velocity on 30 June 2018.
- Comment by Duncan Idaho posted to Sufficient Velocity on 9 October 2018.
- Comment by Quadhelix posted to Sufficient Velocity on 10 October 2018.
- [https://forums.sufficientvelocity.com/posts/11464332/ by Duncan Idaho posted to Sufficient Velocity on 9 October 2018.
- Comment by Quadhelix posted to Sufficient Velocity on 10 October 2018.
- Comment by Seras posted to Sufficient Velocity on 11 October 2018.
- Comment by aabbcc posted to Sufficient Velocity on 11 October 2018.