Yesterday Upon The Stair

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Fanfiction
Title: Yesterday Upon The Stair
Author(s): PitViperOfDoom
Date(s): October 21 2016 - October 12 2019
Length: 424,070 words (60 chapters)
Genre: Gen
Fandom: Boku no Hero Academia
External Links: On Archive of Our Own

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Yesterday Upon The Stair is a Boku no Hero Academia fanfiction by PitViperOfDoom. It is an alternate universe fusion with the premise of the film The Sixth Sense. It 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 2019, it has over 980k hits, 42k kudos, 16k comments, and 8k bookmarks.[1] Between March and November 2018, it hit 19k kudos and surpassed Play It Again as the most-kudosed Gen fic on AO3.[2] It is the most popular work in the Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence tag.[3]

YUTS 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...

Summary

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 YUTS "has been in flux pretty much since the get-go."[4] 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."[5]

In response to someone asking "are there any parts of YUTS 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.[6]

About Aizawa expelling Mineta:

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.[7]

On main themes for YUTS:

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.[8]

Inspiration

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.[9]

Shipping

When asked if Izuku will be shipped with anyone, PitViperofDoom said, "The closest YUTS has to a ship is QP Tododeku."[10] Pit also said:

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.[6]

Miscelaneous Trivia

  • Mika the cat is "narratively immortal".[11]
  • 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."[5]
  • The white eyes that ghosts have is inspired by Homestuck.[12]

Fan Responses and Reviews

In her video review, origami-kitsune calls YUTS "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[13]) 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."[14]

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."[14]

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.

[Nitro]

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.[15] ... 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.[16]

[Feng Lengshun]

Personally, I am quite fine with the canon-rethread in YUTS because YUTS is better written than most other canon-rethread MHA fics I've read and the differing narrative and emotional context in them as well as giving some different and interesting perspective to canon elements/events. With that said, it does start using canon event as merely framework for the story of the fic - there are more additions and there are more differences as well where it can afford to diverge from canon. Izuku and Katsuki's relationship are the center and most particular divergence from there on. Give it until Chapter 27-28 and see if it's a divergence that you can stay for - this divergence is played even stronger in the All For One arc which was extended quite a bit due to the nature of the divergence.

Also, it's worth reading just for UA Unsolved alone, IMO.[17]

[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.[18]

[Duncan Idaho]

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.[19]

[Quadhelix]

I'm not sure that I'm understanding your point here. The story goes out of its way to make clear that Izuku is claustrophobic and is phobic of Bakugo touching him. Indeed, Izuku's claustrophobia forms the basis of a few character moments between him and Kirishima.

Do the claustrophobia and additional fear of Bakugo not count because they both originate from a specific incident, rather than the general trauma of Izuku's quick?[20]

[Duncan Idaho]

I should've clarified, part of the trauma only applies on those two situations, later on we are told that Izuku has (iirc) to be an anonymous tipper to cops in order to point them to mass graves.

As in Izuku has witnessed places where bodies upon bodies are piled, that should have carried a greater trauma and perhaps it could have been linked to his claustrophobia, but seemingly the fic never links those two things together.

Ghosts who have popped in all sort of gruesome and outright sickening ways (as they looked around when they died) that's fine, Bakugo's bulliying and claustrophobia? Somehow much more noticeable.

I guess my issue lies on how its handled, we are told and shown about how not always the stuff Izuku sees and hears is... ok, but its those two things that get the most spotlight.[21]

[Quadhelix]

...[Quadhelix attempting to find what mass graves thing Idaho Duncan is talking about and not really finding it]...

Ghosts who have popped in all sort of gruesome and outright sickening ways (as they looked around when they died) that's fine, Bakugo's bulliying and claustrophobia? Somehow much more noticeable.

Fair enough.

I mean, I could probably construct a counterargument (e.g., the inciting incident for both of those was the first and possibly only time that Izuku was trapped with a hostile ghost), but I do believe that's the author's job in the narrative, not mine as a reader.[22]

[Seras]

What he is quoting is probably the passage from one of the side stories that has Deku on his youtube channel do a few 'cold case' episodes where he cracks a few cold cases and it's mentioned they have led to police solving the cases.

I actually just read through the whole story yesterday so let me give my two cents on it! TLDR I rec it on a very limited basis.

The idea is really neat actually. I liked it, and I liked it enough to read the whole thing despite my gripes with this story. The power is great and I do like how his original quirk gets stronger and changes as the story goes. On the flip side. I HATE how the quirk is used in this story. 99% of the problems Deku faces could be solved by simply asking one of his ghosts to follow the bad guys. If he did he could literally have a perfect spy network, but the author is too afraid to leave canon, and for some reason Deku doesn't really use the ghosts in the story except for very limited amounts. Deku is handed a stupid stick regarding his quirk in this story and it does the entire work a disservice.

The characters are well done, and their voices come through great. I'm not a fan of the Todo/Deku pairing but it also doesn't impact enough that I felt the need to drop it entirely. I was a little hesitant about the Bakugo thing at first, but they actually wrote a really nice reason for why their relationship is a little different. And they foreshadowed it all through the story. It was impressively done.

Honestly if you want something to read that is long it's not BAD. But it leaves me REALLY wishing someone wrote it with a bit more care for Dekus hero desire, and his capabilities. There is a ZERO percent chance a non-quirkless Deku wouldn't be figuring out EVERY benefit his quirk would give him to be a hero and use it. And that is the reason I can't really rec the story fully. That is what I want to see. A Deku that has a weak combat quirk but utilizes it almost ruthlessly to be a hero.[23]

[aabbcc]

He's been seeing ghost since he was 4, seeing gruesome every day, so it could be argued that it would result in 'normalized' rather than trauma, which is the track the fic has taken.

Being trapped in a closet with a poltergeist, however, it's not something he simply sees, it's something that happened to him.[24]

Fandom

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.

Recursive Fanfiction

Crossover

See also

References

  1. Found via the Boku no Hero Academia works search and sorting August 2019.
  2. Found via the Wayback Machine.
  3. Found via the tag search and sorting January 2019.
  4. PitViperofDoom, response to an ask from milkygraphica. Post 07 May 2018. (Accessed 13 July 2018)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Top author's note, Chapter 2. (Accessed 13 July 2018)
  6. 6.0 6.1 PitViperofDoom, tumblr ask archived. Posted 21 December 2017.
  7. PitViperofDoom, tumblr post archived 01 January 2018.
  8. Tumblr askarchived, posted 26 August 2017.
  9. Bottom author's note, Chapter 42. (Accessed 13 July 2018)
  10. PitViperofDoom, response to an ask from azaeleatheazurewolf. Post 23 April 2018. (Accessed 13 July 2018)
  11. Response to ask, posted 10 December 2017.
  12. PitViperofDoom, tumblr ask archived, Post 07 June 2018.
  13. PitViperofDoom, tumblr FAQ. (Accessed 13 July 2018)
  14. 14.0 14.1 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)
  15. Comment by Nitro posted to Sufficient Velocity on 27 May 2018.
  16. Comment by Nitro posted to Sufficient Velocity on 28 May 2018.
  17. Comment by Feng Lengshun posted to Sufficient Velocity on 29 May 2018.
  18. Comment by Feng Lengshun posted to Sufficient Velocity on 30 June 2018.
  19. Comment by Duncan Idaho posted to Sufficient Velocity on 9 October 2018.
  20. Comment by Quadhelix posted to Sufficient Velocity on 10 October 2018.
  21. [https://forums.sufficientvelocity.com/posts/11464332/ by Duncan Idaho posted to Sufficient Velocity on 9 October 2018.
  22. Comment by Quadhelix posted to Sufficient Velocity on 10 October 2018.
  23. Comment by Seras posted to Sufficient Velocity on 11 October 2018.
  24. Comment by aabbcc posted to Sufficient Velocity on 11 October 2018.