"Midoriya, excuse the profanity, but who the hell taught you how to fight?"
Izuku lifted his head sharply and swiveled to meet Aizawa's glare. "U-Uh...is it-is it bad?"
Aizawa's stare didn't waver. "Answer the question first and then I'll tell you."
Izuku looked around with barely disguised uncertainty and squeaked, "A-All Might."
"How did you go about getting that done?"
"It's...It's a long story."
"Spare me it. To answer your question, it's not bad, but it isn't good either."
"You only use one tactic. Granted, it's a good one, but when you're a hero, you always want a variety of tactics. Trust me on that, I know it's true first-hand."
"What I'm trying to say is that you need to branch out. And I'm willing to help you."
"O-Oh. But, why?"
"You're a good kid and all, but you attract trouble like a magnet. I've never been legitimately concerned for the life of one of my students, but congratulations, you've reached that. Meet me in the training room every wednesday and friday after school around six."
"You, and one other kid. You already know him. Be there and...keep this quiet, please."
"Okay. Um, thank you?"
"Just be there."
"...Midoriya? Is that you?"
Izuku jumped and whirled around to see a shock of purple hair.
"S-Shinsou-kun?" Izuku stammered, belatedly remembering Shinsou's quirk.
Shinsou didn't seem to care, instead looking bemused. "What are you doing here?"
"I...uh…" Izuku opened and closed his mouth, debating whether or not to tell the truth. "Aizawa-sensei told me to meet him here."
Shinsou quirked a thin eyebrow delicately. "You? You're the other kid he's teaching now?"
"I'm the other kid he trains. Didn't he mention that?"
"He did say that there was someone else, but he wasn't specific."
"Figures. Well, nice to see you again, I guess. He'll be here in a few minutes. Be warned; it's not hard, but it definitely isn't easy." Shinsou sighed, leaning against the wall.
"I-I don't mean to pry, but is there any...any reason you're the other student he trains?" Izuku chanced, leaning next to Shinsou.
Shinsou blew out a long breath. "My fight with you was short, yeah, but it taught me something. If I want to be a proper hero, I can't just rely on my quirk. Because if someone knows what my quirk is, just like you did, I'm kind of fucked. I couldn't do anything to stop you from flipping me ass over head. I was frustrated over this and one of my friends mentioned that your homeroom teacher, Aizawa, as an underground hero who knew a lot of hand-to-hand combat. I sought him out, begged him to teach me, and here we are." Shinsou swept a hand around the area in a general motion. "Is there any reason you're here?"
"Aizawa-sensei said that while the tactic I use for fighting is a good one, I need to branch out, because if I don't, eventually people will pick it up and I'll have no other way of defending myself. Mostly he's doing this because, and I quote, he has never legitimately feared for the life of one of his students but I've reached that."
Shinsou huffed a laugh at that. "Yeah, he was telling me about that. He's right, you know."
"I...I do. That's why I'm here. How does this all work anyway?"
"On Wednesday, also known as today, we work with training dummies and strength building exercise. Friday is hand-to-hand combat with him. We practice dirty fighting on the dummies for obvious reasons, and practical fighting on him."
"Like, gouging out eyes, groin kicks, throat punches."
"Those are horrible!"
"But they keep you alive." Aizawa's sudden voice from beside Shinsou and Izuku made them both jump. "Midoriya, I need you to learn right here and now that fighting dirty is not fighting dirty at all; it's fighting smart. It's frowned upon, and I think that's stupid because it stops you from dying. If you are ever unsure about an opponent, don't even hesitate. Throat punch them. Got it?"
Izuku stared up at Aizawa for a long, long moment and blinked hard.
And, small yet heartfelt, he said, "What the fuck."
"Alright, throw the punch, Shinsou."
"Shinsou, knuckles. Not the flats of your finger. Try again."
"That felt better, but weird."
"Tighten your fingers a bit more."
"Very good. Midoriya, your turn."
"...Jesus christ, don't knock over the dummy itself, kid."
"Midoriya, that dummy weighs 350 pounds. How in the hell-"
"Okay, throat punching. Shinsou, you go first. Show him how it's done."
"Midoriya, look. When you punch somebody in the throat, speed is everything. You want to go fast as hell so they can't duck their head, because hitting the face is stupid. Never go for the face-there's a lot of bones there and punching them there hurts you a lot more than it hurts them. You don't want to break their neck; you just want to knock the wind out of them and make them choke. Unless they're actively trying to murder you, then it's okay to break their neck. You can't be penalized for maiming someone trying to murder you."
"Yeah. Like Aizawa said, don't hesitate, just do it. Watch out for the chin. Use your knuckles, not the flat of your fingers. Watch your wrist, keep it taut. And-"
"That...that looks really effective, actually. I could've used that against Overhaul; I was close enough."
"Just some villain guy I fought."
"...What the hell goes on in the hero course?"
Aizawa sighed. "A lot of bad things. Midoriya, your turn."
"Okay...fast, taut wrist, knuckles. Got it-"
"Alright, uh...Aizawa speaks wise words but if you, specifically you, were to throat-punch anyone you'd knock their head clear off so maybe let's not do that. We can find someone else for you."
"What the fuck."
"Aizawa, what the hell is he made of?"
"I have...I have no idea."
"Should we...should we really let him physically spar with us? I think he might actually kill us on accident."
"...Yeah, I'm-I'm going to get him some limiting cuffs. Like the ones All Might had to use."
"Like who had to use?!"
Izuku collapsed onto the bench next to Shinsou and Aizawa. "So, how did I do?"
"Midoriya, I'm going to ask you something and I need you to be honest. What in the everloving name of god spawned you?" Shinsou looked briefly haunted as he spoke.
"Ambition and spite, mostly." Izuku shrugged, swinging his legs cheerfully.
"You-" Shinsou blinked and shook his head. "I-Midoriya-wh-okay. Okay. That's...that's fair, I guess."
"I mean, that's what spawned me too, so…" Aizawa hummed, resting his cheeks into his scarf.
"You hero course people...you people are truly a breed apart, you know that, right?"
Aizawa looked off into the distance, looking vaguely pissed off. "Believe me, I do." Aizawa heaved a sigh and made a pained face. "I really do."
Izuku reached over and patted Aizawa's knee. "Sorry."
"It's not your fault."
"That...that kind of makes it worse."
Shinsou looked between them. "I'm not following."
"You'd understand if you were a relevant character in this manga."
"Did I say something?"
"You fifteen year old children have no business being this creepy."
Shinsou returned to his dorm first, leaving Aizawa and Izuku behind. They walked in companionable silence for awhile, until Aizawa spoke.
"Midoriya, can I tell you something?"
Izuku looked up at Aizawa. "Yeah?"
"Now, don't go running your mouth about this, okay? Your teachers, including me...we are really proud of you. You've come such a long distance in such a short time, and we're so impressed. You do know that, don't you?"
Izuku's mouth parted and he gazed up at Aizawa as if he were seeing him for the first time.
"I...I do now."
"You've had us all worried for awhile with how much you'd get hurt, and we're glad you aren't getting messed up anymore. That's partly why I want to teach you how to fight in different ways; to stop you from getting overly damaged once and for all." Aizawa reached down and ruffled Izuku's hair. "Keep working at it, kid."
Izuku went to bed that night feeling very warm.