Chapter 1: Best Day of My Life
New thing, I'm naming all the chapters after songs that I like and that I think relate to the chapter. Song titles and authors will be in the notes at the end of each chapter, except for this one.
Everyone knew the stories. How, after they spoke to their soulmate for the first time, their own words would appear tattooed somewhere in their body, written in their soulmate’s handwriting. Izuku knew his mother's words were on her arm, neat and looping script saying words he didn’t quite understand yet.
He dreamed of the day his own words would appear, what they would look like, what color they would be, where they would be.
Sometimes, he imagined that it would be a pro hero. Someone kind, and helpful, who would sweep into his life and save him from his bullies and his isolation. Someone other than his mother who would care.
It was 2am, nearing the end of Present Mic’s ‘Advice Hour’ that happened every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 12-2. Izuku’s hands gripped his phone tightly, listening to the droning hold music. He bit his lip, fingers crossed as anxiety thrummed through his body.
He’d been trying for the past few nights to get on the show, wanting to ask Present Mic a question. The radio played softly in the background, Mic’s voice quietly answering the listener’s question. Izuku was giving up hope, resigned to trying again next week, almost ready to hang up, when a voice spoke from the phone.
“Congrats, you’re the last questioned of the night. We’re going to put you through in a second, so make sure you know what your question is,” the voice said, almost shining with positivity. “Okay, transferring over in three, two, one.”
“-- and for our last question of the night, we have this lovely little listener! What’s your question, listener?” Mic’s voice crackled through the phone, and for a second Izuku's anxieties overwhelmed him, until he steeled himself.
“H-hi, Present M-Mic, I-I wanted to kn-know if you have any t-tips on h-how to d-deal with bullies?” he asked, voice shaking as his anxieties screamed at him. He clutched his phone like a lifeline, attempting to quell the hurricane inside his head. There was a slight pause before Mic spoke again.
“Well, first off let me say I’m sorry that you have to deal with bullies, little listener.” Mic’s voice sounded genuine, sincere in a way Izuku wasn’t expecting. He bit his lip, trying to avoid crying, because he couldn't remember the last time someone had talked to him like that.
“Secondly, you should tell a teacher or other adult about what’s going on, and try not to react violently to the situation. Fight back if you have to, but try not to hurt anyone,” Mic said easily.
“B-but, wh-what if the t-teachers don’t d-do anything?” Izuku asked, blinking away his gathering tears.
“Then they’re bad teachers. Any teacher who stands by when a student is being hurt should not teach.” Mic’s voice was assertive, leaving no room for argument in his tone. “Either way, stay strong and don’t let the bullies get you down. Whatever their problem with you may be, their words don’t mean anything. Don’t let them have any power over you, and keep shining bright, little listener.”
Izuku couldn’t help the slight sniffle, rubbing his eyes furiously with one hand. “Th-thank you.”
He wasn’t certain of his voice was loud enough to get through, speaking in little more than a whisper.
“Anytime, little listener,” Mic said, and Izuku heard the crackle as the phone was transferred off the line.
“Alright, thank you for your question, I hope it helped!” the cheery voice said, and Izuku nodded before realizing they couldn’t see him.
“I-It did. Thank you,” he said before hanging up.
He sat there, staring down at the phone in his hand, unable to stop a giddy wave of relief spreading throughout his body. With a sigh, he leaned back on his bed, clutching his phone to his chest. He’d done it, and even with all his anxieties….
It was totally worth it.
Hizashi sighed as he leaned back in his chair, running a hand through his hair, pulling it out of its half-assed bun. He could see the others working outside to play music, preparing for the night shift at the radio station.
He admired their work ethic, and the fact they always understood that he had hero work to do and couldn’t always be there. He was glad he was here tonight though, absently rubbing his chest. There were a lot of heavy questions tonight, and he hoped he helped out, even just a little.
He stood up and stretched, feeling the tension release from his back. He’d been sitting for far too long really.
Making his way towards the door, he grimaced slightly, rubbing the spot right above his heart. It was itching something crazy, and he wasn’t sure why. Someone outside gave him the thumbs up, and he let out a breath of relief. He was officially off-air, and he made his way over to the door.
“Great job as usual, Mr. Mic! Will that be all?” one of the interns, Kylie, asked, her long black hair bouncing as she jumped up. He smiled politely at her, moving to go to the bathroom.
“Yep, that’s it!” he replied with ease slipping past and shoving the bathroom door open. He closed and locked it behind him, tugging his shirt off to see what was causing his skin to be so itchy all of the sudden. As he pulled his shirt up and over his head, nothing could prepare him for what he saw.
Slowly etching it’s way across his skin were the words he spoke to his last caller of the night. The script, scrawled and messy and most definitely not his, eeked its way across in a line of golden ink.
He was moving before he even realized it, tugging the shirt back over his head and bursting out of the bathroom. Kylie jumped to her feet, looking towards him in surprise. His mind caught up with him then, and he gave an awkward half smile.
“One more thing: I don’t suppose you could give me the name of that last caller?” he asked sheepishly, Kylie looking at him in surprise before moving back to one of the monitors.
“Sure. His name was ‘Midoriya Izuku’, from the Shizuoka Prefecture. Why?” Her eyes were wide and curious, and he disregarded her question with one of his winning smiles.
“Thanks! Have a good night!” he called over his shoulder as he all but ran out the door. He heard her faintly curious, ‘You, too’ as the door slammed shut between them.
Looks like he had a soulmate to find.
Chapter 2: Glad You Came
Hey hey everyone, a quick note before you read, to answer a few of the questions I've been getting about this.
First off, in this fic Izuku is currently 13, about 2 years before he starts at U.A., and Mic is about 28.
Second, yes Mic is aware that Izuku is a kid in this (hence calling him 'little listener' in the call) and my plan for this right now is for them to remain mostly platonic until Izuku is of age (so if you're looking for smut, sorry but you'll have to look somewhere else)
Also, I'm going to be taking a two week break from posting, but after that I'll be back on schedule!
(Quick side note, my regular beta has gotten busy recently, so sorry if this is a bit less-than-stellar ^^; I'm also looking for another beta, so if you'd be interested, just hit me up on my discord)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Izuku sighed, eyeing the clock, waiting for the inevitable moment when the bell would ring. He rubbed at his chest absentmindedly, where the words now permanently inked into his skin stood out in bright yellow.
Pro Hero: Present Mic, Age: 28, Birthday: July 7th, Height: 185cm, Quirk: Voice.
Soulmate: Midoriya Izuku
The facts scrolled in his mind's eye, as if clear and crisply written out on his notebook pages. He had memorized the page, spending hours making sure he got the drawing just right, that everything was perfect.
It had been six months since the night his own words had etched their way across his skin, settling just above his heart. Since then, he’d kept up with Present Mic’s hero work almost religiously. His room had been converted from an All Might shrine, Present Mic’s merch carving out its own space piece by piece.
He had told his mother, of course, barely able to contain his own excitement enough to wait until the morning. His mother had been excited, but understandably worried as well, not that he could blame her.
After all, it wasn’t everyday that people found out their soulmates were 15 years older than them.
But it was Present Mic, and he was supposed to be a hero, so he eventually convinced his mom that it would be okay.
Still, that had been 6 months ago, and Izuku hadn’t contacted him since then. Granted it would be a bit hard to contact him anyways, being a famous pro hero and all, but Izuku hadn’t really tried.
(it totally wasn’t because he was scared Mic would reject him, no, he was just waiting for… something. Just waiting.)
The bell startled him out of his thoughts, and he shoved his stuff in his backpack, already halfway out the door when he heard Kacchan’s angry shout.
“COME BACK HERE, SHITTY DEKU!”
He hoped he wouldn’t lose his math homework in the fray.
Hizashi stood outside the middle school in his civilian clothes, peering in as if he could see what was going on inside by sheer force of will.
“Hizashi, we’ve seen the school, now let's go.” Shouta said, leaning against the fence. He was in his hero outfit, minus the scarves and utility belt, but even if he was wearing those Hizashi doubted anyone would recognize him. Such were the perks of being an underground hero, he supposed.
“Aw but Shooouutttaaa--” Hizashi started, only to be cut off.
“No buts, we should really go,” Shouta snapped, and he sighed, leaning his head against the wall.
“I know, I just want to make sure he’s okay,” he replied, dropping his usual over exuberant attitude. He could see the way Shouta softened at that, posture slumping as he looked away.
“I know Hizashi, but there are better ways to do it,” Shouta said. Hizashi sighed again.
“You’re probably right, but I just… I need to see it with my own two eyes, is all.” Hizashi knew it was stupid, but some part of him refused to trust any outside source with this. He needed to see that his soulmate was alright.
The bell rang suddenly, startling them both out of their reverie. It only took a minute before students started pouring out the doors, groups breaking apart to scatter across the yard. He searched for green hair among the students, remembering the few pictures he’d found on his soulmates blog.
Midoriya ran a hero blog online, one that was quite popular, and he took videos of any hero fights he ran across, and a few of little analysis's he did. They were actually quite good.
“Hizashi, we should really be going,” Shouta said, glancing at his phone. Hizashi knew he had to get to the radio station soon, but he didn’t want to leave before he saw his soulmate.
He looked to his best friend of 13 years, pleading expression on his face, completely missing the blur of green hair that rocketed out of the building.
“Ooof--” Someone grunted as they collided with Hizashi. He stumbled back, not expecting the sudden weight launched at him, falling on his ass a second later, the stranger landing in his lap, papers flying everywhere.
“Oh my god I am so so sorry, I was just going so fast and I didn’t see you there, please forgive me--” the someone said, voice shaking. Hizashi started, looking down at the green haired middle schooler who was trying to scramble off him. A very familiar green haired middle schooler.
“Whoa kid, slow down, it’s alright,” he said, gently placing a hand on the kid’s shoulder. Midoriya’s backpack has spilled across the pavement, but he hardly paid it mind, instead using the few seconds of stillness to study his soulmate.
Midoriya’s arms were braced, but far away from his body, as if he has an injury either on his sides or his arms which he is trying to avoid aggravating. His entire body is tensed, ready to bolt at a moments notice, and he appears to be very carefully attempting not to flinch out from under Hizashi’s grip.
Clearly the bullying issue hasn’t improved since the first time they talked.
“COME BACK HERE YOU QUIRKLESS FREAK!” a different voice shouted from the entrance to the school. A quick glance up reveals the source as the angry looking blond kid storming across the lawn.
The problem, Hizashi thinks, with being Izuku Midoriya's soulmate is that the kid is far to adorable. The first time he saw Midoriya, in those incredibly astute videos, he couldn’t help but fall a little bit in love with the kid, the same way one might fall in love with a kitten or a puppy.
Seeing him in person only amplified that feeling.
And seeing Midoriya flinch instinctively at the other kids voice, watching as his soulmate curled into himself, retreating into a shell, it made something in Hizashi rage.
‘ I cannot punch a child. I cannot punch a child.’ Hizashi repeated that phrase in his head as he watched the bully approach, his hand on Midoriya's shoulder seemingly the only thing keeping the kid from running off.
“P-please I-I n-need t-to g-go,” Midoriya's voice shook, hardly understandable through the tears that were building in his eyes. Eyes that were filled with fear.
Something in Hizashi roared.
“At least let me help you pick up your stuff, it was my fault that you ran into me after all, I wasn’t paying attention.” He tried to project calm and caring into his voice, despite the seething mass under his skin that was snarling, demanding that he protect Midoriya. He kept his hand firmly on his shoulder, seeing Shouta detaching himself from the wall, slinking into the open. Good. Shouta was responsible and logical, he could (hopefully) keep Hizashi from punching the blond kid in the face.
“DEKU!” The kid screeched, completely ignoring Shouta, eyes focused on Midoriya with an almost scary intensity. Midoriya began to struggle away from his hand, scrambling to grab all of his stuff and shoving it frantically in his bag. Hizashi lended a hand, grabbing a few papers that were trying to escape, and seeing a small notebook laying on the ground.
‘ Hero analysis for the Future, volume 12’ the cover read. It looked a bit beat up, dirt and what almost looked like burns on the cover. Although, it wasn’t to bad, clearly being well cared for despite the abuse it endured.
Glancing at his soulmate, he thought maybe the book and it’s owner had that in common. Or, he thought, seeing the way Midoriya kept his arms out, shifting like he was hurt, maybe they needed to have that in common.
“OI, look at me when I’m talking to you, you useless fuck!” The blond was close enough now to not have to yell, but his palms were crackling with explosions loud enough to make it necessary.
His mind worked in less than a second, the way Midoriya shifted in his clothes, as if the skin was sensitive in a way that bruising wouldn’t be. The way that the other kid approached, cocky and arrogant and angry, and the way the explosions crackled in his palms, giving off light and heat .
The thing inside him howled .
He was standing up before he knew it, notebook clutched tightly in one hand, the other coming up automatically, gently pushing Izuku’s fear frozen form behind him, shielding him from view. He barely noticed Shouta, eyes focused solely on the kid who had hurt his soulmate .
“What do you think you’re doing?” Shouta broke into his train of thought, stepping forward enough to grab the blond haired kid. The kid turned to his friend, snarl already in place. SHouta wasn’t even phased.
“I’m showing this quirkless wannabe what’s what,” the kid said, cocky and irritating and all the things Shouta usually expelled kids for. “What’s it to you?”
“Do you want to be a hero?” Shouta asked calmly, eyes glancing at the explosions still crackling in the kids palms. Hizashi would give it to him, it was a powerful and flash quirk, perfect for being a popular hero. That didn’t mean he should be, though.
“Yeah! I’m gonna beat All Might and become number one!” the kid exclaimed, chest puffed out and eyes filled with pride. His explosions crackled louder in his hands, and Hizashi felt Midoriya flinch back farther, hiding behind him.
Shouta’s eyes glowed red, hair lifting as he activated his quirk. He felt the way Midoriya stiffened behind him, entire body going tense all of the sudden. He glanced back, seeing his soulmates eyes widen, staring at Shouta with an open mouth. He leaned forward, pressed against Hizashi’s arm, as if to get a closer look.
“Holy crap that’s Eraserhead ,” Midoriya breathed quietly, and Hizashi had a moment of shock that someone had recognized his friend. Midoriya stared as Shouta let his quirk drop, something like fear in the blond kids eyes.
“What sort of hero attacks other people? Using you quirk on another person without their consent is considered an Act of Villainy, after all.” Shouta’s smile was predatory, deeply unnerving and slightly terrifying. Hizashi had only been on the receiving end of it a couple of times, but it was enough to make him regret it.
Hizashi didn’t care to see the blonds reaction, instead feeling Midoriya’s eyes on him. He turned enough to see his soulmate in the corner of his eye, arm still protectively in front of him.
Midoriya’s deep green eyes were narrowed slightly, like he was deep in thought. His forehead creased, and he bit his lip, clearly scanning across Hizashi’s face.
Maybe he’s trying to figure out who I am, Hizashi thought to himself. He watched as the kids eyes lingered on his eyes, before sliding down to near his mouth. Midoriya stared at his hair for a few moments, and seemed to suddenly put together who he was, if the way his eyes widened was anything to go by.
Hizashi gave him a slight grin, intending to reassure the kid, when his attention was violently snapped back towards Shouta and the other kid.
“Yeah, like this quirkless fuck even matters anyways! Tch, whatever,” the kid snarled, explosions once again lighting up his palms. “With a quirk like this, no one is going to get in my way!”
Hizashi could feel something inside him snarling at the way this kid acted, so disgustingly wrapped up in his own importance that he disregarded everything a hero stood for. A different part of him recognized that the kid was still just that. A kid, who was a product of his upbringing and the people around him, and who had years to change. Whether it would be a good change, or a bad one was yet to see, but right now, he was nothing more than a misguided kid.
Even knowing this, even knowing this was just a misguided child who needed to be shown why he was wrong, a part of him howled in rage, feeling the way Midoriya ducked behind him further, the way his soulmate flinched and hid at the first sign of anger.
Shouta wasn’t impressed by the kids antics, and Hizashi almost felt bad for the lecture he knew was about to happen. Almost.
He turned to Midoriya instead, releasing his tight grip on the notebook until it hung loosely in his grasp. He held it out like a peace offering, hoping his soulmate wouldn’t just take off after he got it back. Luckily, Midoriya didn’t seem inclined to do that, instead hesitantly taking his book back and smoothing it out.
“Sorry about crumpling the pages, I didn’t mean to hold it that hard,” Hizashi said easily, more at home in the art of conversation. Midoriya stared at him, clearly nervous, if not just downright terrified.
“Y-you’re--” he stuttered, eyes wide and unblinking. Hizashi gave him a small grin, bowing slightly to him.
“Yamada Hizashi, aka Present Mic, it’s nice to meet you.” He hoped he wasn’t being to forward with introducing himself, but he figured he had already made his bed. Might as well.
“I-I’m s-sorry--” Midoriya choked out, bowing deeply. Of all the ways to respond, Hizashi certainly hadn’t expected that.
“Why are you sorry?” he asked, leaning down to try and meet Midoriya’s eye.
“F-for causing y-you so m-much t-trouble,” Midoriya responded. He stood unsteadily from the bow, but kept his eyes firmly on the ground. Hizashi felt his heart breaking a bit for the kid.
“It's not trouble, really Midoriya-kun,” he said. He crouched down to catch his eye, hoping to figure out what the kid was thinking. Midoriya froze at his words, looking up to meet his eyes.
“Y-you know…?” he asked quietly. Hizashi gave him what he hoped was a reassuring look, hand gentle tapping on his chest, where the words were spelled across his skin in gold.
“Well, of course. It’s not everyday you meet your soulmate after all. I didn’t mean to approach you this soon, but it worked out for the better I think.” He briefly glanced over at where Shouta was still lecturing the other kid, the other students giving them a wide berth because of it.
“O-oh…” was all Midoriya said in response.
“Well, it was nice meeting you in person Midoriya-kun, but I should probably go stop Shouta from giving himself a headache from all that talking,” he said, Shouta seeming to be almost done with his lecture anyways. He stood up, brushing non existent dust off his pants. He thought of something a split second later, a sheepish expression crossing his face.
“Actually, could I borrow a pen and a piece of paper really quick?” he asked politely, Midoriya dumbly nodding and handing them over. He wrote down his phone number with a quick flourish, before handing it back over.
“If you ever need anything, even if it’s just to talk, don’t be afraid to contact me, okay?” he said easily. Midoriya grabbed the paper back, mouth opening and closing with no sound coming out. Hizashi chuckled internally, watching the display, before turning back to Shouta.
“W-wait,” Midoriya stuttered, eyes glancing around wildly. “M-my mom s-said sh-she wanted t-to m-meet you n-next t-time w-we spoke.”
“Alrighty then, let me just grab my friend and you can lead the way!” Hizashi said simply, turning back to Shouta. He supposed he should have expected this, with the clear age difference and all.
Grabbing Shouta’s arm, he hoped that Midoriya’s mom didn’t just kill him on principal.
Chapter 3: Little Talks
I LIED HERE'S THIS WEEKS CHAPTER! However, I will be taking a break from posting for the next two weeks, so sorry in advance about that!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Izuku hadn’t been planning on inviting Present Mic and Eraserhead over to his house. He hadn’t really been planning on meeting either of them at all, because for all his talk, he was just a stupid Deku, and what pro hero would want that as their soulmate?
Nonetheless, the words slipped out before he could stop them. They were, technically, true. His mother had wanted to meet Mic as soon as Izuku had told her that he was his soulmate, but she’d never said when. And, without any way to really get into contact with the pro, they were left floundering a bit.
He also knew his mother would surprised, considering he hadn’t texted her beforehand, but as he stood at his own door, he figured it was a little late now.
He also had no idea how he’d explain Eraserhead’s presence to his mother, but he’d cross that bridge when he got to it. Even if it would only buy him another minute of ‘not thinking about what he’d just done’.
“Hey m-mom, I’m home!” he called out, hastily depositing his shoes and his bag near the door. He stepped further into the hallway, the unexpected guests following suit.
“Izuku, welcome home!” his mom said, peeking in from the kitchen. He saw the instant she realized there was someone behind him, and could see the way she went defensive. Anyone else would think she was scared, but Izuku knew his mom could be one of the fiercest people when she thought he was in danger.
“Mom, th-this is P-Present Mic and Eraserhead,” he introduced them, motioning to them as he spoke. Present Mic waved when he was mentioned, and Eraserhead sighed.
“O-oh!” His mom blinked, surprise crossing her features briefly before it went into embarrassment. “Welcome, then, h-here, just come sit down.”
Izuku followed his mom as their guests were ushered into the living room. He realized it was probably lucky that it was a Wednesday, as it was the one day of the week his mom got off work early.
“Izuku, could you go check on dinner please?” his mom asked quietly, and he nodded, slipping off to the kitchen.
Hizashi wasn’t sure what he had been expecting with Midoriya’s mother, but the woman in front of him seemed to fit it exactly. She was short and a little pudgy, but had the air of a lioness ready to protect her cub. When Midoriya disappeared to the kitchen, he mentally prepared himself for whatever was going to come next.
The lioness pounced.
“You certainly took your sweet time contacting Izuku.” Her voice was steely, hard and edged with claws, ready to tear him apart at a moment’s notice.
“Well, that’s just because it took awhile to track you down,” he tried to explain, looking to Shouta for help. His friend merely raised a eyebrow, clearly more than okay with leaving him to the wolves. “The call was originally to the radio station, and because of that the phone number he used couldn’t be given to me lawfully, but his name could. We try and keep track of each caller’s name to root out people who prank call the station, and keep their names on file. It’s the only personal information we have.”
“Since your son is also underage, he wouldn’t have been in any of those databases to help people find their soulmates, and I had to do a bit of digging to even find a hint of him online, until I found his blog. After that, I had to figure out where his uniform came from. The whole thing took about five and a half months to do, and then I had to decide if I actually wanted to meet him or not yet.”
Midoriya’s mother listened calmly to his rambling, eyes sharp as she watched him.
“And what made you decide to contact him now?” she asked carefully.
“Well, originally I wasn’t going to. I just wanted to stop by and see how he was. He originally contacted me about a problem with bullying, and I was wondering if it had gotten any better,” he explained ruefully, looking towards the kitchen. “It hasn’t.”
“Yes, well, that’s what happens when the world seems to believe you’re a second class citizen.” Her eyes were sharp as she spoke, narrowed at him. Testing the waters. Challenging him.
“Because he’s quirkless?” he guessed, remembering the insults the other kid had thrown earlier. It hadn’t even crossed his mind since then, being too caught up in trying to make sure Midoriya didn’t aggravate whatever wounds he was hiding.
Midoriya’s mother didn’t say anything in response, simply staring at him. Of course, that was the moment Shouta decided to step in.
“Whether or not he’s quirkless, he’s still a human being and should be treated as such. Any respectable teacher should do something about the bullying, but clearly they haven’t.” Shouta’s voice was cold, laced with anger at the way Midoriya had been treated. Hizashi felt it too, bubbling under his skin at the thought, now that he wasn’t focused on protecting Midoriya.
“So, it doesn’t matter to you that he’s quirkless?” Midoriya’s mother asked.
“No, why should it?” Hizashi said, voice laced with confusion. He didn’t even spare a second before he blurted out his answer, baffled by the idea that he would treat Midoriya differently because he was quirkless.
He felt the tension bleed out of the air at that, and how Midoriya’s mother relaxed, shoulders slumping forward. She smiled at them, and Midoriya re-entered the room.
Izuku could barely believe what he was hearing as he prepared tea for the guests. They were… actually defending him.
His side hurt as his clothing scraped uncomfortably against the tender skin, rubbing the fresh burns. He was more used to the ones on his arms - or, at least, more used to hiding them. But Kacchan had been extra pissed that day, and Izuku had been powerless to do anything.
So he threw himself in the line of fire to stop others from getting hurt, as per usual.
He stepped back into the living room, an assortment of cups and tea bags placed on a tray. He set it down on the table, turning and intending to grab some small snacks for them, when a hand grabbed his sleeve. He froze, turning to looking at Present Mic, trying and failing to keep from flinching away from his grasp.
“You need to get those burns taken care of, kid. It’s only going to get worse if you leave them untreated,” Mic said imploringly, and Izuku swallowed hard, turning away from the concerned gaze.
“Okay.” He slipped out of Mics grip easily, turning to retreat to his room. He could feel the gazes of the adults on him as he left, weighing him down with guilt. His mother knew about the bullying, of course, but not the extent of it. She saw some of the bruises and burns, but he never let her see the small plethora of scars he had acquired over the years.
He didn’t know how Mic had so easily realized he had been hurt, but he decided it would be better to go along with his suggestion than to risk exposing it.
He closed the door to his room gently, resolutely not looking at the hero merchandise on his walls. He stripped off his shirt, wincing as the rough fabric scraped against his sides. The skin was tender and red, slightly swollen in a way that Izuku knew meant it was probably a second degree burn.
Almost like he was on autopilot, he found himself moving to the bathroom across the hall, turning on the tap for cold water. He waited for it to cool enough, getting out a washcloth and some antibiotic cream and bandages, as well as aloe vera to treat the plethora of smaller burns he had.
He dunked the washcloth, gently squeezing out the water over his burned side, repressing a wince. He repeated the action again and again, cooling down the skin as much as he could. The section of other burns, most a few days old, ached with heat, but he put the pain aside.
“Here, let me help,” Mic’s voice was calm as he stepped into the bathroom, and Izuku barely repressed a flinch. Mic gently took the aloe vera, carefully putting some on his hands. He projected every movement, approaching cautiously. Izuku eyed him warily, trying to determine if he meant any harm. Mic made no move to approach him or touch him, seemingly waiting for some form of consent.
Well, Izuku thought, he didn’t seem like he was going to hurt him….
He nodded slightly, turning back to applying the cold water to his sides. A moment later he felt hands on his shoulders and back, where the slightly burned skin was from a few days ago. The gel was cool and comforting, giving him a brief respite from the constant pain. Mic was careful, too, hands never lingering, covering each section of skin meticulously but gently.
When Izuku put down the wash cloth and took up the antibiotic cream, Mic stepped back, washing his hands off in the sink. While Izuku rubbed the cream on his burns, Mic grabbed the bandages. Once Izuku had finished applying the cream, Mic stepped forward, gently wrapping the bandages around his torso.
He sighed once it was done, feeling a lot better than before. Although, he thought, looking up at Present Mic, he was even more confused than he had been.
“Somehow, I didn’t think your words would be in the same place as mine,” Mic said, eyes tracing over the spot on Izuku’s chest. Izuku looked down to the spot over his heart, where Mic’s haphazard script wrote out his first words to the man.
“I am sorry it took so long to contact you. I wish I had been able to sooner,” Mic sighed, running a hand through his hair. Izuku tilted his head, squinting.
“After the first month with no contact, I sort of gave up,” he admitted, turning to put away the creams. His hand rested on the counter tiredly, and he briefly closed his eyes. “I assumed you were going to wait until I was an adult to contact me, or until we crossed paths in real life and it became unavoidable. Either that or you were trying to avoid some sort of scandal. I can’t imagine what the press would say if they found out.”
“It wasn’t too bad though. Just knowing that I actually had a soulmate was enough to keep me going, for a little while.”
He didn’t look at Mic again, falling silent as he put everything back in its proper place. He nearly jumped when a hand rested itself on his head, gently running through his curls.
“I’m sorry. I wish I would have contacted you sooner, but I’ll be around from now on, alright? If you ever need anything, just ask,” Mic said softly. Izuku took a moment to bask in the human contact, not used to such things except from his mom.
“Doesn’t your radio show start soon?” Izuku asked, pulling away from Mic’s hand. He watched as Mic froze, sudden realization washing over his face, quickly followed by an almost comical expression of panic.
“Shit!” he yelled in English, turning and bolting out of the bathroom. Izuku laughed, surprised by the outburst, grabbing a shirt from his room as he followed. He tugged it over his head just in time to see Mic bowing to his mom before grabbing Eraserhead and bolting to the door.
He followed them over, his mom a few steps behind. They both glanced at each other in bemusement, watching Mic struggle to get his shoes on and rush out the door.
Eraserhead stepped out first, politely thanking both of them for their hospitality, grabbing his friend’s arm and dragging him out afterward.
“Wait! One more thing,” Mic said, fishing something out of one of his pockets. He handed it to Izuku, who was surprised to see it was a small business card with multiple phone numbers and an email address on it.
“If you ever need anything, anything at all, just call me, alright?” Mic said, giving them one last grin before Eraserhead dragged him away.
Izuku stood at the doorway, holding the card awkwardly in his hand.
“Well, he’s certainly interesting,” his mother commented lightly. He pulled out the piece of paper from earlier, and realized he now had just about every way to contact Mic. Personal phone number, the number of the radio station, the number of his hero agency, his personal email, his professional one…. It was a bit overwhelming.
Shoving the papers back in his pocket, he dazedly followed his mother back to the living room.
“He certainly is…” he mumbled quietly, wondering what would happen next.
Hizashi checked his phone for the fifth time that hour, sighing as the blank screen stared up at him. It had been a week since his accidental introduction to little Midoriya, and he hadn’t heard anything from him since.
“What’s got you all sigh-y, huh? You look like you did when you got compared to a cockatoo,” Nemuri said, unceremoniously dropping herself on his desk. He glanced at her briefly before his eyes fell back to his phone.
“This doesn’t have anything to do with the thing you told Shouta about a month ago, does it? The one where he…. Oh, what did he do?” she pondered out loud, daintily crossing her legs.
“Didn’t he come back in the room, loudly proclaim that, ‘The universe is a fake ass hoe,’ and then collapse on the couch?” Snipe asked from across the room, and Nemuri snapped her fingers.
“That was it! I’m pretty sure he mumbled, ‘Death is an acceptable alternative,’ too,” she said gleefully. Hizashi wanted to bury his head in his hands. It was true: A little over a month ago, he had told Shouta about finding his soulmate. His friend had taken it about as well as expected, considering the rather large age gap, and he couldn’t blame him for his reaction. He’d also told Nezu that day, and accidentally recruited the principal in helping him track down his soulmate. Nezu quite liked the challenge it posed, or something.
(He was meaning to tell the principal about what had happened at the school, if only because he knew Nezu enjoyed tearing down establishments piece by piece. After all, there were only so many conclusions one could draw from the significant amount of burn scars little Midoriya was sporting.)
“Sooo? Does it have anything to do with that?” she asked, turning her attention back to him. He opened his mouth, about to deny it, when his phone buzzed. He completely forgot what he was going to say, lunging for the phone almost as soon as it stopped.
‘Hello. This Inko Midoriya, Izuku’s mother. I found this card in his room while he was cleaning, and thought it best that I talk to you.’
‘Mrs. Midoriya, of course, is there something wrong?’
He could feel Nemuri trying to peak over his shoulder and he hunched his shoulders more, blocking the phone from her sight.
‘Not particularly. I’m assuming Izuku hasn’t contacted you yet?’
He frowned at that, quickly typing out his response.
‘No, he hasn’t. Why?’
‘Call it mother's intuition, but I think he’s scared. He’s had so few people in his life that I think it would be a good idea for you to come have dinner with us sometime.’
His frown deepened as he stood up, retreating to the hallway to avoid Nemuri’s prying eyes.
‘Are you sure that’s alright?’
‘No. But I want to trust you with this. At the very least, Izuku deserves a soulmate who will support him, and I hope you’ll be able to do that. But know that if you step out of line, I will not hesitate to make your world hell.’
‘Of course. When should I come over?’
‘When are you available?’
‘Thursdays and Fridays I have off from hero work until 8.’
‘Then how’s next Thursday at 6?’
‘That works for me.’
He got no response after that, leaving his to stand in the hallway, awkwardly staring at his phone.
Well, guess I better prepare for Thursday then,’ he thought with no small amount of trepidation. This could either go great or completely ruin everything.
Showing up again on Thursday was a little odd, mostly because he had no idea what to expect. Would little Midoriya know he was coming, or had his mother kept it from him? Should Hizashi be focused on making a good impression, or just being himself? Was there anything he should be expecting?
He knocked before his nerves got the best of him (and really, why should he be nervous about anything? ). An incredibly uncomfortable Midoriya opened the door, glancing anywhere but at him.
“Mom told me you were coming,” he said quietly, stepping back to let Hizashi in. He smiled slightly at the kid, hoping to get a reaction, but Midoriya didn’t even look at him.
He carefully followed the kid to the dining room, where plates had already been set out. Mrs. Midoriya bustled through the kitchen, giving him a polite wave as she deposited food on the table.
The dinner itself was a nearly silent, even with Mrs. Midoriya clearly attempting to get the kid to talk a little bit. He stayed stubbornly silent though, only answering what he had to. Hizashi picked up some of the slack, chatting amicably with Mrs. Midoriya, but there was a clear tension in the air.
His eyes kept straying to little Midoriya’s side. He knew the burns were probably much better now, but the protective part of him couldn’t help but look for both signs of discomfort, or for something to be better.
Through the dinner, he saw no signs of stiffness from his young soulmate. He was withdrawn, but just vocal enough for Hizashi to knowing wasn’t due to pain. This was reassuring, but some part of Hizashi was doubtful of the act.
Once he had finished his dinner, Midoriya was quick to escape, throwing out a blatantly obvious excuse about homework. Hizashi watched his soulmate go, trying not to seem obvious about it. Right as Midoriya turned to escape their line of sight, he limped, and Hizashi felt a flash of anger. He knew it was too good to be true.
“I was hoping he’d trust you more than he does me, but I guess that was just wishful thinking,” Mrs. Midoriya sighed after Midoriya disappeared from view.
“Given what little I know of his history, I’m not surprised,” Hizashi replied quietly, turning back to the dinner table.
“He’s always wanted to be a hero, you know? Ever since he was little, it was always his dream. But when we found out he was…” she trailed off quietly, staring down at the table. “He still wants to be a hero….”
Hizashi opened his mouth, about to say something, but a thought struck him. He didn’t know much about his soulmate or his soulmate’s family, but from what he could see, Mrs. Midoriya didn’t believe in Midoriya's dream. The way she talked about it, pained and sad, was like she knew it wasn’t a possibility.
Hizashi was half-inclined to agree with her, but something stopped him. After all, hero work was a hell of a lot more than just quirks. He barely used his when doing hero work, as it was too easy to damage structures or innocent bystanders’ eardrums. So, most of his work was actually done quirkless.
Now that he thought about it, most of hero work was done quirkless. Patrolling, paperwork, public appearances, and volunteering was all usually done without using quirks. Hell, a lot of the time heroes even captured villains without the use of quirks, because a lot of them were too harmful to use when civilians were nearby. He had to be careful not deafen people, Nemuri had to make sure no civilians fell asleep in dangerous situations, and Thirteen had to be careful in general. Cementoss could destabilize a building, Mt. Lady could topple one. Really, the list went on.
Even then, some quirks were just physical enhancements: increased speed, strength, or mental capacity. Those things could all be learned, or worked for. And maybe not to the strength of, say, All Might, but Endeavour didn’t have a strength quirk and he was certainly strong enough to physically take down a villain.
He realized he had been quiet for a while, and Mrs. Midoriya was looking at him. He looked back to his plate, thinking about how to word it.
“He might be able to do it…” he started awkwardly. “Be a hero, that is. There’s no precedent, and it would be extremely difficult - not to mention how people would react - but he could.”
He fell silent, seeing Mrs. Midoriya staring at him. He couldn’t read her expression, but it was something both enlightened and extremely guilty and afraid.
“But he doesn’t have a quirk…” Mrs. Midoriya said quietly, looking confused. He couldn’t blame her; after all, the prejudices against quirklessness ran deep.
“Neither did all of humanity for most of our history,” Hizashi pointed out. “And they seemed to get along just fine without it.”
“Besides,” he continued, “there’s a lot of technology available to help heroes, and partnerships in which heroes work together. He wouldn’t be in any more danger than anyone else.”
His logic appeared to be getting through to Mrs. Midoriya, but doubt still marred her features. He knew how hard it would be to break through society’s inherent prejudice, but he hoped she would be able to. For her son’s sake, at least.
“Well, thank you very much for the dinner, but I have to get going. The radio show starts soon,” he said, standing from the table. Mrs. Midoriya stood as well, smiling slightly at him.
“O-oh, w-well, thank you very much for coming! Can you come next week as well?” she asked. He flashed her a smile and a thumbs up.
“If it’s not too much of a bother I’d love to! Also, you should check on little Midoriya-kun, since he was limping earlier.” His eyes darted over to where little Midoriya had disappeared before, seeing a shock of green hair ducking around the corner. He smiled slightly, wondering how long his mate had been eavesdropping.
After more thanks and a polite goodbye, along with a promise to drop by next week, he headed for the door. He had a feeling there were going to be a lot of interesting conversations in store for him.
Izuku laid in bed, staring up at the ceiling. He had no idea what to think about Present Mic. He had been angry that his mom had invited the man to dinner, despite the part of him that craved the validation and care his soulmate could give.
So, he’d stayed as silent as he could throughout the meeting, dipping out as soon as possible. His leg was burning where Bakugou had grabbed him earlier, a stinging handprint imprinted on his skin. Just another reminder of how useless he was.
And then…. Then his mother had decided to go and tell Mic about his dream. His heart ached as he remembered the downtrodden way she spoke about it, like it was already unattainable without him even trying . He remembered swallowing down the pain as he heard her, prepared to leave them to it and go to his room, where he couldn’t hear more of the same thing he heard every day.
You can’t be a hero, you’re quirkless!
You, a hero? Ridiculous.
Come on shitty Deku, as if you could ever be worth anything.
“He might be able to do it… Be a hero, that is.”
His breath caught in his chest, everything stuttering to a halt around him, like the world was doing a double take.
He only barely heard the rest of the conversation, plastered against the wall in the hallway, mind replaying the words over and over again.
“He might be able to do it… Be a hero, that is.”
Someone believed in him. Someone believed in him.
The thought was almost enough to make him cry, right there, but he held it in until Mic left. Then, he snuck to his room, buried his face in his pillow, and sobbed. His mind fell over itself trying to comprehend what he had heard, trying to fit it in with his own world view. No one had ever said that before. Not even his own mother. But his soulmate…. His soulmate believed in him. Present Mic believed in him.
He could feel the pricking of his words on his skin, the gentle golden color giving an almost-glow in the darkness of his room. He could feel more tears building in his eyes, but he refused to let them fall. He would become a hero, and make sure his soulmate was proud.
Sitting in class, Izuku stared down at the message typed on his phone.
‘ Hi, it’s Izuku.’
Such a simple thing, really. Only three words. But he couldn’t bring himself to hit send, to be the one to initiate contact with his soulmate. He’d had all of the information saved almost as soon as he got it, but hadn’t built up the courage to do anything with it. Then his mom found the paper, and everything went from there.
But his soulmate believed in him. Believed in his dream. Despite everything. He steeled his nerves, hoping everything went well.
His finger pressed ‘send’ before he could psych himself out, sending the message out, making his choice irreversible. The teacher was still talking, completely ignoring him as usual, despite the fact he clearly had his phone out. It was fine, though; he didn’t mind much. Being ignored was better than getting in trouble, because then at least he knew his mom wouldn’t be disappointed in him.
He set his phone on his desk, going back to absentmindedly doodling as the teacher droned on about things he already knew. They were going over quirk history currently, something he had gained an almost intimate amount of knowledge about after he was first proclaimed quirkless. He had hoped to find some sort of evidence that he would have a quirk, but unfortunately there wasn’t anything.
By the time class had ended, he’d managed to work himself into a anxious frenzy waiting for a response, and doodled Present Mic about 15 times on his notes. There was still no sign of a response from Mic, and he dug his fingernails into his hands, mind screaming that he had made a mistake.
He nearly leaped out of his seat when his phone vibrated during the next class, scrambling to grab it and find out what Mic said.
‘Hi! I hope I wasn’t intruding yesterday at dinner, I assumed your mom had talked to you about it and didn’t think that I might be overstepping or making you uncomfortable.’
Izuku stared at the response, unsure entirely what to think of it. His mom had told him Mic would be coming over, and he had been angry about it, but they were supposed to be soulmates, right? It wasn’t Mic’s fault for assuming something that was supposed to be a given.
‘It’s fine, I didn’t mind’ he started typing out, but quickly deleted it. He did mind, and it felt wrong somehow to lie about it. He settled with simply sending ‘it’s fine,’ and hoping for the best. His phone buzzed about thirty seconds later.
‘It’s not fine, especially if you’re not comfortable with it. Relationships of any kind are two way, and I should have been more considerate, sorry’
Izuku didn’t really know what to think of that. Mic had apologized to him? Present Mic, pro hero, radio host, all around good person, was apologizing to Izuku, the worthless, quirkless nobody. His head spun just thinking about it, trying to fit this strange new concept into his world view. It didn’t work.
He didn’t respond for the rest of class, still trying to comprehend what Mic has said to him. It just seemed so odd. Someone who was a hero, apologizing for doing something that wasn’t really wrong? Unable to figure it out on his own, he figured he might as well ask.
‘Why are you sorry? You didn’t do anything wrong. Besides, it’s not like it was the worst thing to ever happen to me’
A few minutes later his phone buzzed again.
‘Did I make you uncomfortable in any way?’
‘A little, but it wasn’t like it matters much’
‘Of course it matters! Your comfort is just as important as anyone else's, and since I made you uncomfortable, I was at fault and I apologize for doing such. The fault lies entirely with me for assuming things I shouldn’t have’
He frowned, befuddled that an adult was actually apologizing to him for something. The last time that had happened had been when he was four, and he really didn’t like thinking about that.
‘Apology accepted, I guess?’
‘Would you be more comfortable if I didn’t come to your house in the future unless it was you inviting me?’
‘It doesn’t make a difference to me.’
He paused after typing that, frowning to himself slightly before deciding to send another message.
‘Did you really mean what you said before? About me being able to be a hero?’
‘Of course. Quirks aren’t everything, not even in hero work. Our support items help us a lot, as does having the skills and mind to be able to act effectively. Quirks, no matter how good or well suited for hero work, mean nothing in the face of a smart opponent.’
‘Well, my quirk, for example, can’t be used in the presence of civilians unless I want to risk deafening them, which I don’t. So, a smart villain would work against me by being in a very crowded place. If I was dependent on my quirk, I would be rendered useless by this.’
‘Huh. I never thought about it that way.’
‘Besides that, even if someone can’t be a hero, there are thousands of ways to be a hero. Doctors, therapists, the everyday people who keep the world running are just as heroic as those of us who do it for a job.’
‘You think so?’
Izuku sat back, distantly realizing the final bell was going to ring soon. He was subconsciously packing his things into his bag, preparing for his usual after school flight to escape Bakugou and his lackeys.
‘By the way, when are you going to make another quirk analysis video? It’s been awhile since you made one and they’re really interesting’
He froze at that.
‘You watch those?’
‘Of course! They were really interesting. I found them when I was trying to track you down, and I really liked them. Your theories were well thought out and your grasp on quirks and their uses is unparalleled as far as I’ve seen’
His brain had been officially broken for the day. He didn’t even realized as he dashed out of the classroom, body running more on autopilot than anything, his brain left somewhere in the past when his world still made sense, and pro heroes didn’t care about him or his goals. He’d always hoped someone would care, but it hadn’t felt very realistic.
‘If you’d like, we can talk about heroes and quirks and things. I have a bit of insider knowledge I’d be willing to share.’
Izuku felt something odd in his chest, even as he ran from his bullies. It felt like hope.
‘Yeah, I’d like that’
Hizashi leaned back in his chair, letting the last of the radio music play through his ears. It was Friday, which meant that while he didn’t have to actually appear on his radio show, he would be in charge of the music selection.
His mind, for once, wasn’t on which track to play next, or even on if anyone was going to call in with song requests. No, his mind was straying to his conversation with little Midoriya earlier.
“You know, usually people avoid taking this shift because you’re obnoxiously loud and annoying, which is why I always get paid extra for taking it.” His intern, Kylie, stated flippantly. He was jolted out of his thoughts, turning to look at her with a bright smile that had nothing to do with the radio station at all.
“Whhhhaaaaatttt? I don’t know where you got that idea from at all!” He said cheekily. Kylie didn’t seem to be buying his act.
“Uh-huh. Whatever you say Mic,” she deadpanned. “Either way, something’s been off with you for awhile, and I’m not the only one who's noticed. Anything wrong?”
“Nope! Everything's fine!” he said quickly, giving her a hundred watt smile. She frowned at him, tilting her head like a confused dog.
“Nope. Not the same tone as you’ve had for the past few months. Does this have something to do with that Midoriya kid?” she asked. He froze suddenly, all too aware what a precarious balancing act he had to maintain. If it were to get out that little Midoriya was his soulmate, the press would have a field day, and it’d kill his reputation. Proheroes weren’t supposed to have quirkless soulmates, or a 15 year age gap. Not only that, it was likely to thrust Midoriya and his mother into the spotlight, which is something he didn’t want for either of them. Reputation be damned, he wouldn’t let the media get their claws into the Midoriya family if he could help it.
“The Midoriya kid?” he questioned innocently, trying not to think about the previous texting conversation they had.
“The one you asked about around 6 months ago, who called in about a bullying issue. You’ve never asked about a caller before, and then afterwards you seemed distracted like, all the time. It just seemed like incredibly weird timing is all.” She shrugged, turning back to the audio board. “It’s none of my business, and I’m the only one who knows that you asked for his name, so it’s not like the secret is going to get out or anything.”
Her posture was too relaxed, too uncaring. It put him on edge, making him wary. It was clear she already knew the truth, or had at least assumed as much, and even assumptions could be dangerous. One false move, and everything could come crumbling down, taking little Midoriya with it.
“What do you want?” he asked carefully. His eyes were cold, staring at her with a calculated analysis. He could see the way a smile twitched at the edge of her mouth, even as she kept her eyes turned towards the audio board. The next song started playing in the background, but neither of them noticed.
“Nothing much, really, just a promise,” she stated, finally turning towards him. He could see concern in every line of her body, despite the fact she kept her face carefully blank.
“I want you to watch out for him, okay? My niece goes to school with him, always comes home talking about the ‘weird quirkless kid’ and how he gets beat up everyday, throwing himself in front of other people, drawing all the attention to himself so that nobody else gets hurt.” Her eyes were glinting, something dark swirling around in them. It was almost the same as what he felt when he had first seen the product of the bullying done to little Midoriya. Almost.
“Watch out for him, and protect him from all the shit that happens on your side of the job, because God only knows what shit he would say to the press to stop them from coming after you.”
Kylie is quiet after that, and he leans back, letting out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding. He studies her, the way she holds herself, trying to find out if there's an ulterior motive to her demand, some reason behind her reason that he can’t see.
“Just promise to protect him Mic, whether it be from villains, bullies, or the media. Protect him, because God only knows that he hasn’t had enough of that in his life.”
He looks at her, deep into the concern etched on her features, something that would be invisible to others. But he spent years learning to read the room, to give people what they want, and how to see what they’re feeling, and he doesn’t think she’s faking it.
He sighed, and turned back to the sound board, selecting a few new songs to play as he thinks over what she said.
“I’ll do my best to protect him, and to help him. But even I can’t do everything,” he replied quietly. “There’s so little I can do about so many things.”
“That’s all I can ask for Mic. Just try to keep him safe,” she responded just as quietly. Her eyes are looking down, something lost and painful in her expression, searching far away for an answer to a question he can’t even begin to guess. He had no idea why she asked for what she did, not when there are so many other things she could have gotten. He never pegged her as a heroic type, but looking at her now, he can’t help but wonder if the system was failing more than just the quirkless.
“I will keep him safe, even if it costs me everything,” he promised. He knows it will be a difficult promise to keep, but thinking about the burns on little Midoriya’s body, the way he flinched at every sudden movement and started at every word, he thought it would be worth it. Even if it cost him his life, he would gladly give it up for Midoriya. He didn’t know the kid that well, but he could already tell Midoriya was going to be important to him, that the kid was going to be someone great someday.
“Thank you,” Kylie said quietly, both of them lapsing into silence as the music played in the background. He could feel something in the atmosphere, not calm, or comfortable, but not uncomfortable either.
When her shift was over, she left quietly, with barely a word of goodbye, and he watched her go, still feeling a bit tilted from their conversation. He shook it off, easily falling back into his radio show personality as the next intern walked in, and soon the conversation was all but forgotten.
Izuku sat with a sigh, stirring the tea in front of him. It had been a week since he had decided to contact Mic, and they had been having a sort of on-off conversation ever since. It was a bit awkward and stilted, but it was a conversation, which was more than what Izuku usually got from adults. Still, he couldn’t help but be wary of it, constantly wondering when it was going to fall through, when the other shoe would drop. Oh well. Wasn’t much he could do except enjoy it while it lasted.
He stared down at the tea, enjoying his window seat in the tiny cafe, looking out onto the street. It had been a necessary splurge to come here, but the tea and the atmosphere were admittedly wonderful. Someone had posted on a hero forums earlier, one run by fanatics like Izuku, that there was going to be a villain attack near this street, around the time Izuku got out from school. So, Izuku had dipped out of the last ten minutes, and booked it to the cafe.
Now though, he sat quietly, enjoying the peace and quiet while it lasted. The person who gave the tip was good for it, of that he was mostly sure. They had a few people like that come on the forums, always being the same types of people. There were three types, he’d categorized, that came on the forums and posted such things.
The first, and most rare, was someone with insider knowledge, police officers who worked hand in hand with heroes. Sometimes, albeit rarely, they got tips about when and where a villain would be striking next. Of course, few people knew the information, and even fewer were likely to give it up on the forums. A few did though, enough so Izuku got some interesting information about heroes and got to see cool fights.
The second type was the villains. Usually throwaway accounts, posted from public libraries, with easily forgotten usernames. These were the ones that were half and half, the ones he was most careful of. Villains who did that either wanted a big crowd to gain infamy, or they wanted enough civilians around to be a hindrance to the heroes. Now, whether the hinderance was due to the massive crowds, or to taking a hostage, was also difficult to figure out. So Izuku, like most experienced hero forum trawlers, avoided those as much as possible.
The third, and most likely, were the heroes themselves. It was harder to pick out an actual hero from a regular fanatic, but sometimes they came on and dropped hints. It was usually something to boost their popularity, and more often than not was a bust. It was usually just the heroes’ regular patrol routes, and if they happened to meet a bunch of fans in a certain spot? Well, it was just a coincidence. Izuku hated them with a passion, because as cool as it was to see and meet heroes, he wanted to see them in action. He wanted to see their quirks, their strengths, their weaknesses. He wanted to learn .
He didn’t know what type of tip this had been though, and considering it was close enough to his school to get to, he figured he might as well investigate. It hadn't been hard to slip out early, his teacher hardly ever noticed him anyways. After that, it was just a matter of walking like he was supposed to be doing whatever, and then running once he was off school grounds. It was amazing what you could get away with if you just acted like you weren’t doing anything wrong.
His phone buzzed, a message from one of his forum friends. They were asking if he was going to the place, and he responded, promising to get a video if there was a fight. Most of his online friendships were like that. Less of a friendship and more of a mutually beneficial acquaintanceship. They treated him with respect and talked about heroes with him, but that was about the extent of their interactions.
The bell above the door chimed suddenly, and Izuku looked up, wondering who was here. He was surprised to see Eraserhead standing in the doorway, tired eyes scanning the room. He ducked his head slightly when Eraserhead looked to him, trying to pretend he hadn’t just been staring.
Considering how unlikely it was the Eraserhead posted on the forums, coupled with the fact he was in full hero gear, it was looking more and more like an official tip to the police had happened. Normally he’d be off the wall about that, but hearing Eraserhead walking closer dampened his enthusiasm a little bit.
“What are you doing here?” Straight to the point, huh? Well, he never figured Eraserhead for being one to beat around the bush.
“Drinking some tea?” He offered up hesitantly, looking at the hero. Eraserheads tired eyes were staring down at him, calculating. He fidgeted under the gaze, taking a sip of his tea to distract himself. Finally, Eraserhead sighed, sliding into the seat across from him, glaring like the world had just told him to fuck off.
“Hizashi is going to kill me…” he muttered, a hand running through his hair. Izuku froze at his soulmates name, suddenly wondering if this had been a bad idea.
“Look, kid, you need to get out of here,” Eraserhead said, and Izuku frowned. So the tip was official, or odd enough to have caught the police's attention.
“Why?” he asked, playing dumb.
“Because something is going to go down and Hizashi would kill me if you got hurt, or caught in the crossfire.” he stated bluntly. His voice was low enough to not attract attention from the other customers, but Izuku could hear the hit of urgency in it. Izuku was debating just leaving, or trying to buy time until whatever it was happened, when he realized something.
“You call him Hizashi,” he blurted out, clamping a hand over his mouth as soon as he had spoken. The thought wouldn’t leave, however, and he found himself analysing the two’s relationship from a different perspective. The first names, with no honorifics. The way they were both there that day, when he first met them, instead of it just being Mic. The closeness, the casual way they talked about each other. His mind fell to the stories he heard online, the ones where people didn’t like their soulmates, or people who didn’t believe in soulmates, people who found their own path and married someone else.
His stomach felt like it was sinking, the ‘what if’s’ bouncing around in his head almost too much for him to bare. Luckily, it seemed like Eraserhead knew exactly what he was thinking.
“It’s not like that, we’re just friends. We tried dating in highschool, but it didn’t work out, and that's it. We’ve just known each other for so long it started being easier to call each other our first names,” Eraserhead said, halting Izuku’s thoughts.
“O-oh,” He said, biting his lip.
It was at that moment when Present Mic walked in. He was in his full hero costume and clearly looking around the room, trying to spot Eraserhead.
Izuku froze like a deer in the headlights, suddenly fearing what his soulmate would say about him being there. He could already hear the reprimands coming, the ‘it’s too dangerous for a quirkless kid’ and ‘you shouldn’t put yourself in danger if you can’t defend yourself’.
Mic looked around the cafe, either unaware or ignoring the attention he was garnering. His eyes landed on them, and he strode over quickly. Izuku could see the ways his eyes darted over to him, quickly darting away again. He knew that, in such a public place, Mic wouldn’t really be able to acknowledge him as anything more than a fan, but some part of it still stung.
Just as Mic approached their table a commotion started outside. Izuku’s head jerked up abruptly, already searching out the source. He could see people fleeing outside the cafe, and before he knew it his bag was in his hand and he was ducking under Mic’s outstretched arm. He pushed the door open, slinging his bag over his shoulder and pulling out his notebook. He was here for a reason after all.
The villain stood amongst the wreckage of what used to be a street, the air whipping around them in a tornado of debris. Their entire outfit looked like a rainbow had vomited all over them, consisting of a skin tight jumpsuit that was an overwhelming amalgamation of colors, all clashing violently. Their eyes were covered by a pair of sunglasses, and their hair was trapped underneath what looked like a helmet with a feather boa on it.
They cackled wildly as more and more was destroyed around them, waving their hands in a seemingly random pattern.
“Hi hi, the names Hyper, and my quirk is Chaos !!!” They said happily when they saw him standing there, watching with a critical eye.
Footsteps approached from behind him, and he turned to see Mic and Eraser approaching rapidly. Mic looked like he was saying something, but the wind started howling, blocking out the sound.
“You’re so cute!” the villain, Hyper, said, drawing another random shape in the air and shoving it towards him. He felt it collide with his chest, pushing back a few steps, and a second later he was surrounded by his own whirlwind. His mind tumbled ahead over itself, analyzing the motions, trying to figure out what the person’s quirk was.
The whirlwind made it hard for him to see past the debris, but he could see Eraser run past him, hair floating and eyes burning red behind his goggles. It didn’t seem like he was able to get a clear view, as anytime he tried debris got in the way. Izuku could see the vague outlines of other proheroes, mostly rescue heroes, and he wondered what exactly their tip had been.
He was surprised when the person, Hyper, had all but danced over to his tiny whirlwind, sticking their head through it and merging it with their own.
“Hi hi! You’re cute, you know that? Are you one of mine?” The voice had a feminine sound to it, and now that he wasn't seeing through a whirlwind he could see that the person was female. She tilted her head at him, grinning maniacally all the while.
“One of yours?” he asked fearfully, unable to back away. Already he could feel the wind tearing at his clothes, the debris uncomfortably close.
“One of my quirkless, silly! I was quirkless too, once,” she said with a grin. Her grin never wavered, though her voice took on a decidedly icy edge. “People always bullied me for it. They hurt me, and I wasn’t safe anywhere.”
“But, it doesn’t matter now, because sensei gave me one!” she bounced around him, making him turn to follow her movements. He didn’t know how she could feel so comfortable in the middle of so much carnage. “He’s really nice. Maybe he’ll give you one too!”
“Sensei?” He asked, more to stall for time in the hopes that one of the heroes could rescue him. He found himself surprisingly calm despite the situation, although he didn’t know why. Maybe it was because she didn’t seem inclined to hurt him, unlike most people he knew.
“Yeah! He took the quirk from some girl who got thrown out of her home. The nice lady found her, and brought her to sensei to take her quirk. She didn’t survive the procedure, but it was better that than getting locked up or ‘done away with’! Besides, I’m getting revenge for her.” At that, her smile took a sharp edge, and he swore he could see madness dancing through her eyes.
Circling him one last time, she giggled.
“Well, I gotta go, but it was nice meeting you! Bye now!” she called cheerily, before stepping into the whirlwind. It reformed again, creating one around her, and he watched from within his own, worry singing through his veins. Taking and giving quirks? It didn’t seem possible. No one had ever had such a quirk, despite how long quirks had been around. Or, if they did, it wasn’t reported. There were certain types of copy quirks, certainly, but nothing that could actually take or give someone a quirk.
His eyes tracked the fight as Eraserhead continued to try and get a good view, and then he heard a muffled shout from somewhere far away. Looking over he saw Mic was gesturing for everyone to get out of the way.
Of course! Sound waves wouldn’t be affected by the wind, and if they were strong enough they could push the girl and debris. Seeing what Mic was going to do, he ducked his head, dropping to the ground and pressing his hands to his ears. A second later he heard possibly the loudest ‘YEAH’ he heard in his life, rattling his bones and shaking him to the core.
A second later the whirlwind around him disappeared, Eraser having finally gotten a good view on Hyper. The girl looked disgruntled, but didn’t fight back as the heroes rushed forward and cuffed her. He watched as they began escorting her away.
She turned, giving him a wink, and he saw her drop something on the ground before rather forcefully stepping on it. He was a second to late calling out a warning, and smoke enveloped the area, billowing out. He could hear the heroes exclamations of surprise, but could only watch, frozen, as she dashed out of the smoke, grinning maniacally.
“See you later alligator!” She called cheerifully as she dashed past him, one hand ruffling his hair as she went. He made some sort of noise, but by the time he turned, she was already gone.
“Midoriya-kun, are you alright?” Mic called, dashing over to him once the smoke cleared. He was still staring at the spot Hyper had disappeared to.
“I’m fine,” he replied automatically. “But she got away.”
“Don’t worry about it kid, she won’t get far. The cuffs have trackers in them, they’ll find her easily. They’ll also repress her quirk,” Mic said, crouching down next to him, reaching out almost hesitantly. “You sure you’re alright?”
“I’m fine, I don’t think she really wanted to hurt me.” Izuku replied thoughtfully, leaning instinctively towards Mic. Mic helped pull him to his feet, gently escorting him over to the gathering paramedics, despite his insistence that he was fine. His mind couldn’t stop whirling over everything, wondering what she had been talking about. Who was this sensei person, and could he really take away someone’s quirk?
Somewhere far away, a man laughed quietly.
“Bring her back Kurogiri.”
A black portal swirled into existence, Hyper dropping gracefully to the floor.
“Hi sensei, I’m sorry I failed you-,” the girl started, but the man put up a hand to stop her.
“It’s quite alright my dear, you got your revenge yes?” The girl nodded enthusiastically in response to his question.
“Good, you know what must happen now?”
Her eyes dropped to the floor, and she stepped forward, kneeling before him.
When the heroes found her later, she grinned at them, her eyes wide and glassy, singing to herself.
“Kill the lights, kill the actor, kill the actress~
Or kill us all~~”
Hizashi knew he was hovering. He couldn’t help it, not after what had happened to Midoriya. Seeing the kid staring out into the whirlwind, face completely blank, had been a little bit terrifying.
So, he channeled his worry into his normal prohero facade, hovering over Midoriya and fussing just a little bit.
Midoriya himself was quiet, which wasn’t surprising, but it was concerning. His legs were scraped up rather badly, probably from when he had dropped to the ground while Mic was using his quirk. Hizashi hated using his quirk around civilians, but it had felt rather unavoidable. It was why he had been called in, after all.
The villain, Hyper, had been making quite a ruckus in other cities across the country. Nothing could get through her strange whirlwinds, and anything they threw at her simply got sucked up in it. Anything solid, anyways. When they had gotten a tip that she was going to appear there soon, he had been called in, people hoping that his voice quirk could knock her off balance.
It had worked, but he could still feel the anxiety bubbling in his stomach at the thought of having hurt Midoriya in any way.
He gently herded the kid over to the paramedics, biting his lip before turning away to go looking for other injured civilians amongst the rubble. Shouta was already moving pieces of debris, piling it out of the way. He briefly noted Cementoss fixing buildings and ushering civilians out of the way, but his gaze was drawn back to Midoriya’s small form again and again.
“Just go get changed and offer to walk him home already,” Shouta said gruffly, making Hizashi jump. He realized he’d been caught and blushed, looking at his old friend.
“I can’t just skip out on my duty though,” he argued, though his heart wasn’t in it. Midoriya was sitting on one of the sidewalks, a small blanket wrapped around his form, eyes staring sightlessly into the distance. Hizashi could see that his mouth was moving, a furrowed brow giving away his confusion.
“Yes, you can. You were only slated for takedown, not clean up. Leave that to the rest of us,” Shouta gave him a shove, and he frowned, but went without complaint. It was easy enough to slip into one of the businesses that catered towards heroes, grabbing his civilian clothes and washing his hair with a quick efficiency.
He stepped out seconds later, hair tied up in a messy bun, looking like Yamada Hizashi, normal civilian. Midoriya was still sitting where he left him, although the blanket had fallen off.
“Hey kiddo, you want me to walk you home?” he asked cheerfully, pretending not to see the way Midoriya flinched in surprise. Midoriya nodded his head, standing up and shoving his notebook in his bag.
They walked in silence for a bit, Hizashi more than okay with meandering at his soulmates pace, but something was niggling him.
“So, any reason you happened to be in the same area as a confirmed vilain attack, despite not living anywhere near it?” Hizashi asked conversationally, seeing Midoriya stiffen in his peripheral vision.
“W-Well, uhm…” Midoriya stuttered, and Hizashi sighed internally.
“Little Midoriya, I know you want to be a hero, but you really scared us back there. You can’t go charging into dangerous situations like that,” Hizashi said quietly, unwilling to admit he had been a bit more than scared. He would almost say he had been terrified when he saw Midoriya near the villain.
“Just because I’m quirkless doesn’t mean I’m defenseless,” Midoriya muttered petulantly, and Hizashi bit his lip.
“That has nothing to do with thi-” he started, only to be cut off.
“Of course it does! It has everything to do with it! Everyone thinks that just because I don’t have a quirk that means I’m completely helpless!” Izuku snarled, and Hizashi felt the lingering fear turning to irritation.
“Midoriya, heroes have been trained for years to deal with situations just like that. It has nothing to do with the fact that you’re quirkless, and everything to do with the fact that you’re still a child, who is needlessly throwing himself into danger, making our jobs more difficult,” Hizashi snapped back, seeing Midoriya flinch backwards at his tone. He rubbed a hand over his face, anger draining and leaving him tired.
“You scared the hell out of us back there kid, you could have been killed,” Hizashi said quietly. “We would have had to watch you die, and not been able to do anything about it…”
“Oh.” Midoriya’s response was quiet, and he seemed more subdued. They walked in silence for a few minutes, tension simmering, when Midoriya spoke again.
“The villain, she asked me if I was ‘one of hers’. She claimed to have been quirkless until someone gave her a quirk,” he said, frowning. Hizashi was startled by the revelation, but it made sense. The villain, Hyper, hadn’t hesitated to kill before, but she had left Midoriya without a scratch.
“I’ve never heard of someone with the ability to give others quirks, but I wouldn’t doubt its existence. Then again, she could just be delusional. I’ll ask them to look into it though,” Hizashi said, frowning in thought.
“She also said something about getting revenge for the quirk’s original owner, which didn’t make any sense to me,” Midoriya admitted. Hizashi couldn’t think of what it could mean off the top of his head, and resolved to tell the police about it later.
“... Are you even technically supposed to let me out of the crime scene without being questioned?” Midoriya asked suddenly, and Hizashi winced.
“Technically no, but the fact that you’re a kid gives you a bit more leniency in that area. Also, with the amount of civilians who are around attacks every day, it’s hard for police to question everyone who was there, so more often than not, they just ask people to come in later if they have important information. However, I know a few people in the department, and can pass on what you said without you having to go to them,” Hizashi explained. Midoriya seemed to find that agreeable, and nodded.
“That makes sense,” he said, before suddenly his eyes went wide. “Uh, you’re not going to tell my mom about this, are you?”
“About the fact you willingly sought out a villian attack, or the fact you got caught up in the villian attack?” Hizashi asked with a laugh.
“....Both?” Midoriya said sheepishly, eyes focused on him. Hizashi found himself staring into what had to be the best puppy-dog eyes he’d ever seen.
“Sorry kiddo, but I’m not keeping stuff like that from your mom, she deserves to know,” Hizashi said with a smile, affectionately ruffling Midoriya’s hair. “Maybe stick with watching the videos of villain attack, yeah?”
Midoriya frowned at that, biting his lip, and Hizashi shook his head, amused.
“Here, how about I promise to get you access to footage from U.A.’s heroics training, and you promise not to intentionally go after any other villain attacks, yeah?” Hizashi offered, hoping it would be enough to keep his little soulmate out of trouble. Midoriya looked like he had stars in his eyes at the mention of U.A., and agreed eagerly. He noticed, then, that they were standing in front of Midoriya’s apartment building, and realized he had nothing planned for the rest of the day.
“Do you, maybe want to come in?” Midoriya asked shyly, and he grinned. Midoriya wouldn't look at him, but he noticed the lack of the stutter throughout the conversation, and wondered if maybe he had finally got Midoriya to be a little more comfortable around him. He hoped so.
“Sure Little Midoriya, I’ve got nothing planned,” he replied easily, happy to follow his soulmate up to the apartment. “That doesn’t mean I’m not going to tell your mother about what happened though.”
Midoriya sighed loudly, and he laughed.
Izuku was expecting to be chewed out when Mic told his mom what happened. At the very least, he expected to get some form of punishment. Instead, his mother had hugged him fretfully, hands running over his arms, as if she was trying to assure herself that he was okay.
It was only after that that she chewed him out. He stood and took it, although about halfway through her rant that he started crying, then she started crying, and Mic ended up frantically ushering them both over to the couch and wrapping them in blankets. He would have been embarrassed at the fact that his house guest was taking care of both of them while they cried, but Mic didn’t seem to mind much.
After their rather awkward bout of crying, they both apologized to Mic for the inconvenience, his mother bustling into the kitchen and insisting on starting dinner. Mic smiled softly at him, settling at the table before turning his attention to the kitchen, conversing softly with his mom. Izuku took the opportunity to escape to his room, ignoring the way his heart was pounding. He clutched the blanket tightly around him, embarrassed to have been seen in such a state by his soulmate.
Well, it’s not like he could look more pathetic in his soulmates eyes anyways.
He realized, rather belatedly, that he was absolutely covered in dust. It had probably been blown around by Hyper’s whirlwind, and covered the majority of his clothes.
It seemed odd somehow to take a shower while his soulmate was still in the building, but the need to be clean outweighed his uneasiness.
So he grabbed some clean longe clothes and scurried across the hall to the bathroom. It ended up being one of the quickest showers he’d ever taken, clocking at 5 minutes maximum, with the disadvantage of tearing several scabs and wrecking havoc on his still healing burns. But, he was clean, and that was what mattered.
Sneaking back to his room, he grabbed his school things, debating the pros and cons of following his usual schedule of sitting at the table and doing his work while his mom cooked, or hiding away in his room until his mom dragged him out for dinner.
Deciding he’d be better off following his usual schedule, if only to give his mom a little peace of mind, he carefully eased out the door. Mic was still sitting at the table, and appeared to be chatting amicably with his mom. He was starting to second guess his plan when Mic spotted him.
“Hey little Midoriya,” Mic said with a smile. Izuku felt his stomach do a little flip at that, wondering whether it was from anxiety or something else. He stepped out of his room carefully, feeling like a deer, easily startled and more than ready to run. Mic just gave him another smile before turning back to the conversation with his mom.
His steps were careful, calculated, as he made his way over to the table. He took his usual seat, across from Mic and diagonal to the kitchen, pulling out his math homework. He was hyper aware of Mic across the table from him, and he couldn’t relax to focus on his homework.
“You’re doing that wrong,” Mic commented, leaning across the table to look at his work. He froze, everything tensing up at once. Mic reached across the table to point at one section of his equation.
“That should be a negative two,” Mic explained, and he looked over his equation, realizing Mic was right. He changed it quickly with an embarrassed ‘thanks’.
“Oh, you’re a teacher at U.A., aren’t you?” his mom asked from the kitchen, and Izuku elt out a breath of relief as Mic leaned back to answer her.
“I am, I teach English and First Aid to the Hero course, and am also Homeroom teacher for the General Education program,” Mic said happily, and Izuku found himself unwillingly drawn in. He had been curious what teachers that U.A. employed, because he’d heard they employed all pro heroes. It didn’t seem possible, but Mic was a teacher there, so he would probably know.
“Are all th-the heroes at U.A. really pro heroes?” he asked quietly, biting his lip. Mic turned back to him, and he swallowed, mouth suddenly dry.
“Well, no, although there are a large number of us there. The business course, for example, has mostly pro hero associates teaching. People who do the paperwork but aren’t actually heroes, and who market and advertise for their heroes or agencies. Similarly, about half the Support course teachers are people who worked for support companies in the past, or are graduates from U.A. who expressed interest in teaching. The hero course is the only course taught exclusively by pros like myself and Eraserhead, but since it’s what we’re most well known for, many people think that it’s all pro heroes,” Mic explained. Izuku was itching to write all that down, wondering who all taught at U.A. then. Mic gave him an amused smile, seeming to pick up on his question.
“Right now, Midnight, Eraserhead, Ectoplasm, Hound Dog, Vlad King, Cementoss, Snipe, Powerloader, and I are all teachers, and Nezu is the principal. We each have a license for teaching different subjects, but we’re hoping to have some more heroes come in and give talks or help out in the future,” Mic said with a smile, and Izuku absorbed all the information eagerly.
“Izuku actually wants to go to U.A., you know,” his mom said from the kitchen, and he blushed. It was bad enough that Mic probably thought he was an idiot for wanting to be a hero, but getting into U.A.? It was almost laughable.
“Really? You’re shooting high kid,” Mic said, sounding surprised. “Although, currently U.A. has legislation that doesn’t allow quirkless students. If Shouta and I talked with Nezu we might be able to swing something by the time you’re set to go to high school though.”
Izuku couldn’t help but stare at Mic as he smiled, acting like he hadn’t just made Izuku one of the happiest people alive.
“R-Really?” He questioned, almost unwilling to believe it. Mic ruffled his hair affectionately, and he had to restrain himself from leaning into the touch.
“Sure, little Midoriya. You still have to get in, but the least I can do is remove some of the higher hurdles,” Mic said. Izuku knew he was staring, just so genuinely surprised by the turn of events. Someone wanted to help him get into his dream school, and wasn’t just laughing at him or saying it was impossible.
“Th-thank you, Present Mic,” he said quietly. Mic shrugged it off easily.
“No problem, and please, call me Yamada.”
Izuku was pretty sure his brain short circuited, because there was no way that a pro hero wanted him to refer to him by his civilian name. There just wasn’t. Stupid, useless Deku didn’t get such privileges.
And yet, he saw no signs of joking, or mocking on Mic- Yamada’s face.
There was nothing but genuine caring aimed towards him, and Izuku had no idea how to react to that.
He felt like he was glowing.
Hizashi wasn’t sure what to do. He was happy to talk about heroes with Midoriya, but to actually become one he needed more.
“Have you thought about taking self-defense classes?” he said abruptly, cutting off Midoriya’s enthusiastic rendition of a hero fight he’d seen years ago. Midoriya paused, his face falling into a mulish sort of expression.
“Nobody teaches quirkless kids near here, and the ones I could go to are all too far away to justify the travel time,” he explained, and Hizashi scowled. Of course it was something like that. Why wasn’t he surprised.
“Okay, well, what if I could get one of my colleagues to teach you? I’m not good at teaching self defense and hand to hand combat, but Shouta is, and you need the experience if you really want to be a hero,” Hizashi offered, watching Midoriya’s expression lighten.
“You could get Eraserhead to teach me?” he asked, sounding over the moon. Hizashi chuckled at his expression, unable to resist reaching over and ruffling his hair. He was surprised when Midoriya leaned into the touch, almost chasing after it when he withdrew his hand.
“Sure kiddo, but be warned. Shouta is a hard teacher to please, and he has no qualms about shutting you down if he doesn’t think you have the potential to become a hero,” Hizashi said, thinking about all the kids his friend had expelled over the few years they’d been teaching. “You’ll just have to prove that you can do it, which you can.”
“O-oh,” Midoriya responded, biting his lip nervously.
“Up until that point, I’d suggest trying some yoga and stretching, and maybe look up some light exercise plans you can follow,” he suggested. “Here, I can even help you out.”
And so began Hizashi’s attempt to teach a subject he’d never taught before. He was lucky Midoriya was so receptive, and seemed better at following examples and not explanations. Mrs. Midoriya walked out thirty minutes later to call them to dinner, and found Hizashi holding up Midoriya’s legs as he tried to do a handstand.
“Well, look at you two,” she said with a chuckle. He flashed her a smile before turning back to his soulmate.
“Alright little Midoriya, I’m going to let go of your legs, think you can stay up?” he said, getting a wheezed ‘yes’ from Midoriya. He carefully let go, intending to step in should his soulmate fall. Midoriya wobbled a little, managing to hold the position before his legs came down in a less than graceful landing.
“What- does this- have to do- with hero work again?” Midoriya panted, leaning back against the couch. Hizashi ruffled his hair again, crouching down so he was on eye level with his soulmate.
“It’s good for balance and tightening your core up, plus you never know what weird skills you might need for hero work. Even if you can’t take self defense, or any other fighting classes, you might consider taking up gymnastics or dance. I know Shouta does both when he can,” Hizashi said with a smile, getting a small one in return. “Now come on, let’s go eat.”
The dinner went smoothly after that, and Hizashi left with a smile and a promise to get some footage of U.A.’s training regimen. Once outside, he let his shoulders drop, wondering how the hell he was going to convince Shouta to take on his soulmate as a personal student.
He’d have to make a list of things he needed to do for Midoriya, at this point.
Number one, convince Shouta to train him.
Number two, tell Nezu about the abuse Midoriya had suffered from both teachers and other students, and watch the principal tear apart the school district with a smile.
Number three, convince Nezu to allow quirkless students into U.A.
Yeah, he had his work cut out for him.
“Shhooouuuttaaaaa, hiiiii!” Hizashi greeted his friend early the next morning, mind working on the best way to convince his friend to do what he wanted.
“What do you want?” Shouta said, and Hizashi huffed.
“Can’t I just greet my oldest and best-est friend?” he asked with a pout. Shouta scowled at him.
“Not with that tone of voice, no. That voice always means you want something, so what is it?” Shouta asked. Hizashi pouted.
“Wellllll, I was wondering if you might possibly think of taking on Midoriya as a trainee until he’s old enough to apply for high school?” Hizashi asked, throwing his most pleading expression at the other man. Shouta scowl deepened, and he sighed.
“But- wait, what?” Hizashi blinked, surprised. He hadn’t expected his friend to agree that easily.
“Yes, I’ll train him. I watched his videos and he has an incredible analytical ability. It would be a shame to let that go to waste. So, I’ll train him,” Shouta explained. “But I’m not going to be going easy on him just because he’s your soulmate.”
“As long as you don’t kill him I think it’s fine,” Hizashi replied happily. “When do you think he should start?”
“As soon as possible,” Shouta replied, closing his eyes. “Just give me his mother's phone number, I’ll iron out the details with them directly.”
“Alright, thank you!” Hizashi said, wrapping his best friend in a hug. Shout grumbled but returned it easily, far to used to Hizashi’s touchy feely nature.
“Alright, I have to go talk to Nezu-san about something, but here’s Mrs. Midoriya's phone number,” Hizashi said, sending the contact to Shouta before dashing off with a wave.
Shouta sighed, shaking his head before making his way to the teachers lounge. Looks he had some lessons to plan.
“Nezu-san! Just who I wanted to see!” Hizashi said, stepping into the office with a smile. Nezu looked up from the papers with a smile, gesturing to the seat across from him.
“Yamada-san, to what to I owe the pleasure?” Nedu asked, steepling his paws. Hizashi grinned a little maniacally at the principal.
“How would you feel about tearing apart a few schools reputations for neglect and abuse?” Hizashi asked. He could already see the gleam in Nezu’s eyes, that slightly sadistic edge that he never let out to play.
“Oh?” Was all Nezu said in response. Hizashi’s grin widened, knowing he already had the other’s interest.
“Well, you know my soulmate, of course. He’s quirkless, and has quite a few burn scars on him. Far too many to have been caused by accidents. And, it’s worth noting that one of his classmates has an explosion quirk, and is often seen assaulting Midoriya-kun,” Hizashi explained, unable to stop the razor sharp edge from bleeding into his voice.
“Interesting, I will look into this, thank you for bringing it to my attention. Afterall, we can’t have future U.A. students being treated like this,” Nezu said, and Hizashi felt his confusion flash across his face.
“Future U.A. student?” he questioned carefully, wanting to make sure he fully understood what the principal was implying.
“Surely you didn’t expect to keep my nose out of this, especially after you asked for my help,” Nezu said, gesturing with one paw, a slightly off grin on his face. “I admit, I didn’t know about the other issues, but the boy’s passion and mind are simply too good to pass up, quirkless or not. He can always enter the General Education department and move up into Heroics.”
“And the rule against quirkless students at U.A.?” Hizashi asked, excited.
“Consider it done away with before next year,” Nezu said, waving his paw. “Now, I have a school to tear apart.”
It seemed he wouldn’t have to convince Nezu about repealing that rule after all.
“One more thing,” he said before he left. “Would you allow me to show Midoriya the U.A. training footage so he can study it? Also, would you be adverse to allowing Shouta to train Midoriya on campus until he’s ready to start high school?”
“That’s fine, the footage can be given easily enough, and Shouta can train him here so long as they both abide by a few rules,” Nezu said, laughing at Hizashi’s hesitant expression.
“Don’t worry, it’s nothing bad, just a few security measures and such, I’ll inform Aizawa-kun and Midoriya-kun of them before they start training here,” Nezu explained. Hizashi trusted him enough, and bid his goodbyes after that, feeling accomplished. Now he just needed to look up ways to help Midoriya a little more.
Izuku was fine with admitting he was more than a little bit nervous. He stared up at the imposing gates of U.A. and waited for Eraserhead to show up.
It had only been a week since Mic- Yamada had asked him about self-defense classes, and Izuku couldn’t help but be a bit surprised at how quickly everything came together. He had gotten a text from Yamada the day after the Hyper incident, saying that he had gotten Eraserhead to agree and that Nezu was allowing them to use U.A. as a training ground when they needed it.
In that time, Izuku and his mom had found several nearby dance studios and a couple of places that offered to teach gymnastics to anyone. He had signed up for workouts and stretching classes as well as some basics for both.
He was still nervous though. After he’d been rejected by the various martial arts and self-defense places, he had almost expected every place to think the same. But the gymnastics and dance places were more than happy to have him, since they weren’t based on fighting.
“Hey kid,” Eraserhead’s voice sounded exhausted, like usual, and he jumped, already flinching away as he turned around. Normally he was more observant than that, must have gotten lost in thought. “Nezu-san wants to talk to you beforehand.”
Eraserhead handed him a visitors pass, then promptly made his way through the gates. Izuku followed, trying to keep up with the elder’s long strides. He tried to memorize the path they took, but the school was just so huge . He had seen it from the outside, of course, but seeing it from inside made him realize how big the place really was.
Izuku quickly lost track of where they were going, the two eventually ended up in front of a large door that said ‘Principal’s Office’. Eraserhead pushed it open without knocking, and Izuku gulped, but quickly followed. Inside, Nezu sat at his desk, gesturing for them to take a seat.
“Ah, so you’re Yamada-kun’s soulmate! It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Nezu said. Izuku froze up, feeling his tongue tie itself in a knot before Eraserhead elbowed him in the side. He bowed quickly, stammering out a ‘it’s nice to meet you too’. Nezu seemed more amused by this than offended, and gestured for the two to take a seat.
“Alright, so long as you are using U.A. facilities, there are a few rules you need to follow,” Nezu said, holding up a paw. “First, whenever you use the facilities, you have to come in through the side entrances. We can’t have the press thinking we’re allowing in a middle schooler for no reason.”
“Second, don’t lose your pass. That will allow anyone who’s holding it to get onto the premise without triggering the alarms, and we can’t have that.” Nezu’s eyes were steely, and he nodded nervously. “Thirdly, you are not to tell anyone about this.”
“W-what about m-my mom?” he asked quietly, and Nezu looked at him.
“You are allowed to tell your mother, but she can’t tell anyone either. She’ll need to sign a permission slip to allow you to train more dangerously here, and to let Recovery Girl take care of you should you become injured.” Nezu said, and he nodded, relieved.
“Finally, this is optional, but I would like to look over your notes. Yamada-kun said you keep a rather extensive notebook on heroes and their quirks. I would like to see them, and see if it would be possible for myself to help you learn more in the analysis area.” With that, Nezu sat back, steepling his hands. Izuku wasn’t sure how to react. On the one hand, getting trained by Nezu would be a huge boon to him. After all, his quirk, High Specs, made him one of the smartest beings in the world, rival to that of a computer. If he could learn from Nezu, he could get better.
On the other hand, he didn’t want anyone seeing his notebooks. They were personal, secret, and anytime he’d let anyone see them before, he’d always paid the price for it. He hardly let anyone see them now, except maybe his mom. But even then she never really looked at them.
“A-alright, sir,” he said finally after mulling it over. “I-I will b-bring them w-with me n-next t-time.”
Nezu smiled, looking pleased, and then waved them off.
“Good, glad we have gotten that settled. Now, I do believe you have some training to do?” Nezu said. They both stood up, bowing and saying their thanks, and Izuku followed Eraserhead out of the room.
“Since that’s out of the way now, first and foremost, we’re doing a test,” Eraserhead said, striding down the hallway. Izuku struggled to keep up without running, fear suddenly clogging up his throat.
“A t-test, Eraserhead sir?” he asked, flinching away from the man’s glance.
“Yes. It’s just to see where you are, strength wise, and from there I can make a plan more suited to helping you,” he explained. “Also, for the duration of this training, you can call me Aizawa-sensei.”
“Okay A-Aizawa-sensei,” Izuku said, nodding quickly. Soon enough they were back outside, and making their way across the campus. They made it to a small gym, and Aizawa disappeared inside, instructing him to wait outside. He stood awkwardly, looking around and trying to get his bearings. There was a small track field nearby, where he assumed the tests would be, and a bunch of other things a little ways off. In the distance, he could see something else rising out of the ground, but he was too far away to really make it out. It looked almost like… a city?
He jerked to the side suddenly, body moving without a thought, and he felt the air whoosh as Aizawa landed next to him, having clearly gone for a sneak attack. He had moved out of the way without a thought, so used to avoiding Kacchan that he had sensed it instinctively.
Aizawa stood up, giving him a different look, one that was almost surprised.
“Good, you have dodging experience. That will make this easier.” he said gruffly, holding out several different items.
“Now,” he said, a terrifying smile etching its way across his face. “The real test begins.”
Hizashi was looking forward to seeing how Midoriya fared during his first training session with Shouta. He wasn’t disappointed.
Mrs. Midoriya answered the door, letting him in and ushering him over to the living room. Little Midoriya was laying down face first on the couch. He let out a groan, one eye peeking up at Hizashi from the mess of green hair. Hizashi laughed quietly at the sight, sitting on the ground next to the couch, one hand reaching up to ruffle his soulmate’s hair. Midoriya let out a sigh, seeming to unintentionally lean into the touch. Hizashi decided to just leave his hand there, and let little Midoriya react however he wanted to.
“So, enjoy your first training session?” he asked cheerfully. Midoriya let out another groan, closing his eyes.
“I regret everything,” he mumbled in response, startling a laugh out of Hizashi.
“Yeah, Shouta can be a hard teacher to please, but I know that you’ll improve a bunch under his tutelage. He’s a great teacher, once you get past the cold exterior,” Hizashi said quietly. Midoriya didn’t response, breathing evening out a few minutes later. Hizashi wasn’t surprised that he was exhausted; Shouta was a hard teacher, but he only wanted the best for his students. He’d work them to the bone, but he knew exactly how hard he could push before it was too much.
Midoriya would do well under his care.
Mrs. Midoriya walked in a few minutes later, quietly peeking around the corner. He saw her and smiled, mouthing ‘he’s sleeping’ and jerking his head towards little Midoriya. She nodded, looking back to the kitchen. He stood up, carefully making his way over to the dinner table. She had only set out two plates, seeming to have anticipated her son’s need for sleep.
“He’s exhausted, are you sure this is alright?” she asked fretfully. He nodded easily, taking his usual spot.
“He’ll be fine, maybe a little sore, but Shouta is good at telling what's too far in terms of training. He probably won’t even cover fighting for a month or two, let Midoriya get used to the vigorous exercise and such,” he responded quietly, eyes straying to his sleeping soulmate. He remembered feeling the same way during his school days, training always being gruelling, and always coming home exhausted.
“Although, I would recommend looking into some bath salts, those are good for relaxing and relieving tension, and possibly a diet plan of some sort. He’s gonna want to be as healthy as he can be with this training,” Hizashi recommended, eyes turning back to Mrs. Midoriya. She nodded, her own eyes still on the sleeping form of her son.
“I’m… glad he has you, you know. Even for such a short time you’ve been in his life, he’s been happier,” she admitted quietly. “I wasn’t sure at first, simply because of the age gap, and the time it took for you to contact him. I was afraid he was going to be in for another disappointment.”
He was surprised to hear that. He hadn’t noticed much of a difference in little Midoriya himself, but he supposed his mother would know best.
“I’m glad I was able to find him,” he said, a small smile playing across his features. “But more than that, I’m glad he’s happier. He deserves to be happy.”
Mrs. Midoriya smiled at him, looking genuinely happy.
“He does, doesn’t he,” she said. “I’m glad you’re supporting his dream too. It wasn’t something I could ever do.”
Her voice was quiet, subdued. He frowned, biting at his lip, trying to think of something to say to that, but it seemed she wasn’t done talking yet.
“I’m still not sure I can support it fully,” she admitted. “It’s his passion, and I will always want him to be as happy as he can be, but at the same time… he’s still my little boy. He’ll always be my precious baby boy, and I can’t help but fear for him….”
She shook her head.
“Hero work is so dangerous, and every day you see more and more news reports about heroes getting injured, or civillains, or something. It’s been better since All Might came into play, but….” she trailed off, staring forlornly into space. “It’s still dangerous, and I’m not sure how much my heart could take, watching him out there, getting hurt or even dying.”
Her eyes were shining with tears now, and she looked down at her hands, playing with the table cloth.
“I don’t want to outlive my baby boy.”
“I won’t lie to you, hero work is dangerous. It will always be dangerous, of that there is no doubt,” he said, looking down at the table. “But it’s also his passion, something he loves and will always love. Any job can be dangerous, really, but hero work will always get overblown by the media.”
“Besides,” he said, finally looking at Mrs. Midoriya. “He’s a good kid, he’ll have people supporting him on the field, and off it. I’m sure he’ll be just fine, Mrs. Midoriya.”
She gave him a slight smile, sighing quietly.
“I’m sure you’re right, but I don’t think I’ll ever stop worrying. But my worrying shouldn’t interfere with his passion. If it makes him happy, then it should make me happy,” she said. “Also, please, call me Inko.”
“Alright, Inko,” Hizashi said. “And there is nothing wrong with a little worrying. You’re his mother after all. Just remember he’ll always have people looking out for him, and we’ll all try our best to keep him as safe as possible.”
“Alright. Thank you,” she replied. “It relieves me a little to hear that. Now, what would you recommend for diet plans and bath salts? I haven’t been able to do much to support him in his passion for most of his life, but I want to try now.”
Hizashi grinned at her, more than a little proud of this tiny family. Inko Midoriya was a good mother.
Chapter 13: Miss Missing You
This is a little later than normal because I had a little bit of a rough day, but here it is! Also shoutout to Merlenyn for the long comments they leave, it always makes my day to see those! (and they help me keep on track with the story lol)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Izuku awoke slowly, blinking tiredly at his surroundings. His entire body ached, and his brain felt dull with exhaustion. He gradually became aware of a hand running through his hair repeatedly, and he turned his head to see who it was.
It took him longer than he would have liked to focus in on whoever was sitting next to him, smiling slightly.
“Hey,” Yamada said softly. “Welcome back to the world of the living, yeah?”
“Hnnng,” Izuku mumbled, blinking languidly. He liked the feel of hands running through his hair, and instinctively pressed into the touch. It felt nice, and safe, and he liked it.
Yamada chuckled quietly, ruffling his hair a little bit.
“You need to get up and eat Little Midoriya, your body needs the energy.”
“Hngph… alright,” Izuku murmured, forcing himself to sit up. His body screamed in protest, and he winced, thanking Yamada quietly when he handed him the food. He ate slowly, wincing at every movement. Yamada seemed sympathetic to his plight at the very least.
“You leaving soon…?” Izuku asked when he noticed that Yamada had his coat back on. He nodded, giving a slightly apologetic smile.
“Yeah, you slept through most of dinner, and I need to head out, but I doubt you’ll be awake for much long, yeah?” he said with a small laugh. Izuku liked that about him. He was always smiling and laughing somehow, seemed to be endlessly full of energy.
“Hehe, thanks kid, I’m glad you think so,” Yamada said, and Izuku realized he must have said everything out loud. He blushed profusely, looking down at the ground and suddenly refusing to meet Yamada’s eyes.
“Hey, Little Midoriya, it’s alright. I’m glad you like my energy, some people find it annoying,” Yamada said with and easy smile. Izuku was too tired to form a response to that, so his simply nodded, hoping that would get his message across. Once he finished, Yamada took the dishes and stood up, disappearing into the kitchen where Izuku assumed his mother was. He heard a few soft words exchanged, although he couldn’t make out exactly what they were saying.
Soon enough his eyes were drifting closed again, and Yamada returned, swooping in and picking up Izuku with little effort. Izuku made only a token protest, instead deciding his energy was better spent snuggling into Yamada’s warmth.
Yamada gently deposited him on the bed, ruffling his hair one last time.
“Night, Little Midoriya,” Yamada said, and Izuku made a small muffled noise of protest as he removed his hand. Yamada gave another small laugh, reaching out and running a hand through his hair again. He quietly started humming something, and Izuku closed his eyes contentedly.
He passed out within second, the sound of his soulmates humming following him into his dreams.
When he woke up, it was to his alarm blaring in his ear, his entire body aching like it was run over. He forced himself to sit up with a groan, reaching blindly for the off button. When he finally hit it, Izuku knew there was no chance that he would be getting back to sleep.
He forced himself to start getting ready, hopping into the shower with a sigh. The warm water felt wonderful on his sore muscles, but he knew it would only last so long. Aizawa-sensei had told him their next training time would be in a week, and Izuku couldn’t help but wonder if he would be recovered by that point.
He stumbled through the rest of his morning route, hoping that Bakugou went easy on him today so he might get a chance to rest. He doubted it, heavily so, but he could still hope.
He grabbed his phone after calling out a goodbye to his mom, and he checked it, expecting there to be notifications about hero news like usual.
Instead, a text from Yamada was at the top.
‘ Hey Little Midoriya, hope you have a good day today! (P.S. try epsom salt baths for the soreness, it’s what got me through my first year of U.A.)’
He couldn’t help the goofy smile that climbed up on his face at that. Maybe today wouldn’t be so bad.
He wasn’t sure what to think when he stepped into class to see that their usual teacher wasn’t there, and instead, a kind looking lady with green skin stood in front of them.
“Good morning class! Your usual teacher won’t be here for the next few days, so I will be your substitute for the foreseeable future,” she said with a smile. Izuku slipped into his seat uneasily, wondering what had happened to their usual homeroom teacher.
“What happened to Takumi-sensei?” one of his classmates asked, voicing what everyone was clearly thinking. The new lady's smile took on a pinched edge, but she still kept up the cheery facade.
“He’s currently being reviewed by the school board for suitability, now, let's begin shall we?” she said, ignoring all the outraged questions being thrown. Izuku ducked in his seat, feeling Bakugou’s wrathful gaze staring directly at him. How Bakugou thought this was his fault was beyond him, but he’d learned long ago nothing really made sense in the blond’s head.
He knew now that he was going to get it at the end of the day, because they only had one of their usual teachers throughout the rest of the day. With each new sub, Bakugou’s glare got more intense, and Izuku was going to text his mom if she would pick him up when he remembered she was working late. There was only one other adult he would trust to pick him up so he didn’t end up coming home black and blue.
‘What’s up little Midoriya?’
Izuku couldn’t express the relief he felt at the almost instant reply. But now was the question of how to word his request without it being weird.
‘Would it be possible for you to wait for me outside my school today?’
Probably not the best phrasing, but Izuku could feel the clock ticking down and he wanted to know as soon as possible.
‘I have a class last period today, but I have a friend who doesn’t, she could come pick you up. Why?’
‘Well, a lot of our teachers are undergoing a review today, and Bakugou seems to think it’s somehow my fault’
‘Nezu works fast huh. Alright, I’ll see if my friend would be willing to help you out, if that’s okay with you?’
‘Who is it?’
‘Nemuri, although you’d probably know her as the prohero Midnight’
Izuku felt some of the tenseness release from his shoulders. He’d trust a prohero with this, at least, especially if they were a friend of Yamada’s.
‘That’s fine with me, thank you!’
‘Of course little Midoriya, don’t ever be afraid to reach out to me for help, alright?’
‘I won’t. Thank you’
Hizashi eyed his phone with apprehension, unable to stop worrying about Midoriya. He knew Nemuri would be more than happy to help out once she knew what the situation was, but he still had to tell her, and that somehow felt like a betrayal of Midoriya’s trust. But Little Midoriya had given him the okay, so he steeled himself with a sigh.
“Hey, Nemuri, I need to talk to you,” he said, wandering towards where she sat at her desk. They were alone in the teachers room, luckily, but he didn’t know how long that would last. She looked up from her work with a curious hum, eyes focusing in on him easily. He steeled himself again, biting his lip.
“It’s about what happened with Shouta two months ago,” he said, already uncomfortable. Her face lit up like a star, and she leaned in egearly.
“Finally going to tell me the gossip, hm?” she said with a flirty smile. He relaxed despite himself, knowing that she would never judge him for this, at least.
“Yeah, so about 6 months ago, I found my soulmate…” He began. He told her the whole tale, how long it had taken him to track down his soulmate, finding out Midoriya’s age, and about the bullying and abuse he suffered at school. He told her about the weekly dinners, the run in with Hyper, the training sessions Shouta was doing.
He told her about the text he had gotten earlier, about how concerned he was for his soulmates safety, about how he knew she didn’t have a class at the end of the day and was hoping she could go pick him up.
“Oh, Hizashi, of course I’ll go help him out. The poor dear seems to have gone through too much already. Do you think he’d rather I come in my hero costume or in my civilian clothes?” she asked, looking genuinely concerned. He let out a breath, some part of him having expected her to reject it or to be disgusted by him or something. But that was Nemuri, complete acceptance no matter what.
“I think it’d be better to go in civilian clothing, I don’t want to cause any more problems for him than I have to, and I feel like personally knowing a prohero wouldn’t do good things at that school,” Hizashi admitted, hearing the bell ring.
“Thank you so much for agreeing to this,” he said, hearing all the other teachers approaching. Nemuri gave him an easy smile, nothing like her hero persona.
“Of course Hizashi, anything for a friend,” she replied.
The end of the day was approaching far to quickly for Izuku’s liking, and he could feel Bakugou’s glare continuously through the last class. About halfway through his phone buzzed, and he discreetly checked it, seeing a text from an unknown number.
‘Hi! I’m Midnight, Present Mic gave me your number so I could contact you. Where would be the best place to wait for you, inside the school or outside the gates?’
Saving the number, he glanced around discreetly, trying not to lose it in the middle of class. He had Midnight’s number. He was going to get to meet Midnight .
‘By the gates would probably be best, I don’t know if they would let you into the school.’
He watched his phone eagerly, getting another buzz soon after. He opened it to see a picture of someone, probably Midnight in her civilian clothes, leaning against the school gates with a peace sign.
‘School gates it is, I’ll be waiting right here, just come find me. ’
‘Thank you for doing this’
He waited, preemptively putting away everything he didn’t strictly need for the class. He even went as far as to zip up his backpack so as soon as the bell rang he could just grab his stuff and bolt.
His phone buzzed again, and he snuck one last peek at it.
‘Course kiddo, if there’s anything I can ever do to help, just let me know, alright?’
He didn’t respond, sucked back into the lessons for the last five minutes. He could feel Bakugou’s glare getting worse as the seconds ticked down, and Izuku shot off like a rocket as soon as the bell rang, completely disregarding what the teacher was saying.
He could hear the steady explosions from Bakugou, and his angry shout, but Izuku’s blood was pumping and his adrenaline ran high as he sprinted out of the school. He could see Midnight in the distance, and she had clearly spotted him and his pursuer, if the way she was jogging towards them was any indication. She met up with him halfway across the school yard, acting like she didn’t even see Bakugou in the background.
“Hey kiddo, ready to go?” she asked, a hand coming up and briefly pressing down on his shoulder. His heart still beat wildly, but he nodded, beyond grateful for her help.
“OI SHITTY DEKU!” Bakugou called, and he felt Midnight wrap an arm around his shoulders, effectively using her own body as a block between him and Bakugou. She continued to ignore the angry blond, all her attention seeming to be focus entirely on Izuku.
“Alright, let’s go then. I’m sure you’ve got somewhere important to be,” she said kindly, steering him away from Bakugou. Clearly Bakugou wasn’t willing to attack Izuku in front of an adult, because a few seconds later he heard the stomp of Bakugou’s feet as he walked off. As soon as he was sure he was gone, Izuku ducked out of Midnight’s grip, smiling apologetically at her. She gave him a sweet grin, letting him go and put space between them again.
“Have you thought about transferring schools kid? Because if stuff like that happens every day it might be a good thing to consider,” Midnight said, and he could hear a slight edge to her voice.
“It’s al-already so close to high school, I-I d-didn’t think it m-mattered much,” Izuku said, awkwardly looking away. Midnight sighed, but ruffled his hair with one hand.
“Alright kid, whatever you want. But I never have a class to teach last period, so if you ever, and I mean ever , need any help with stuff like this, just let me or Hizashi or Shouta know, okay? We want to help you,” she said, giving him a small reassuring smile. He felt like there was something warm glowing in the pit of his stomach, and he nodded.
“I will….” he said, looking away. “Thank you.”
The next year passed, between Hizashi, Shouta, and now Nemuri, in a similar fashion, with Izuku asking for help about 25% of the time. Hizashi still came over for dinner, and, in spite of his training with Shouta, he found Midoriya still came home with bruises and burns more often than not.
Although, it had also seemed like Nemuri and Shouta had just sort of… adopted Midoriya. Midoriya’s mother seemed delighted to have more company over.
Another surprising revelation was a ‘tip jar’, which was proposed by Shouta. He had shown up with it one day, placed it on the counter, and said it was “to help pay for all the groceries we’re eating,” and had then dropped a wad of bills in it.
Mrs. Midoriya had tried to fight it, to tell them it wasn’t necessary, and that she didn’t want handouts. Shouta, however, was a stubborn bastard when he wanted to be, and had simply stared at her until her argument had petered out, and she took the jar with a sigh. It now sat proudly by the front door, and any time one of them visited, even if it was just to drop off little Midoriya, they would drop a little money in the jar.
Little Midoriya's training had also progressed fantastically. He had improved drastically from the small boy Hizashi has first met, actually building up some muscles. More important than that, though, was that the training had helped build his self confidence. The constant encouragements from Hizashi himself, as well as Shouta’s gruff but accurate praise, and Nemuri’s constant excitement on his behalf, had done wonders.
However, he would always think that Midoriya's mom had done the most good. With her slow but sure transition to supporting her son’s dream of becoming a hero, she and little Midoriya had become steadily closer. She did everything she could to support him, and he did everything he could to make sure she was included in the process. He often spent time telling her about his training or what he had done that day or how much better he was getting at doing the splits. Hizashi got the joy of watching this slow transformation, happy to be a bystander most of the time, as the two of them found their balance once again.
And so the pattern of dinners and after-school pick ups and general ‘getting to know each other’ time had continued, sometimes with just the Midoriyas with Hizashi, and other times with Nemuri or Shouta joining them.
Today, however, was one of the rare days where he had ended up at the apartment before Midoriya. Midoriya hadn’t asked to be picked up, but as the minutes ticked by he was getting increasingly worried. Mrs. Midoriya, too, was getting worried, her movements getting increasingly frantic as she cleaned. Shouta and Nemuri were both coming over soon, and Hizashi knew they were going to flip when they arrived and little Midoriya wasn’t here.
Sure enough, a few minutes later there was a knock on the door, and in walked Shouta and Nemuri. They both looked around, probably expecting to see little Midoriya around, but Hizashi just gave them a worried look and they understood.
“Turn on the news,” was all Shouta said, and soon enough they had all gathered around the TV, flipping channels restlessly. Soon enough, they had landed on a small live broadcast of a incident with a slime villain downtown. Trapped in the slime, Hizashi recognized the blond bully that Midoriya dealt with, and he couldn’t stop an irritated scowl from crossing his face. The kid was an ass, but no one deserved to go through what he was going through.
The heroes, however, were just standing by, waiting for someone else to show up. It was an awful situation, but there wasn’t anything they could do, and Hizashi was about to change the channel when a green haired blur shot out of the crowd.
Izuku dashed forward, pulling his backpack off his back and sliding it directly into the eye of the villain. Hizashi watched with horror as Izuku moved forward, clawing at the slime around the other kid’s body, like it would somehow help.
Hizashi never thought he would thank god for All Might, but the second after he thought Izuku was smashed, he did. All Might, standing proud and tall, rescued both the kids easily, and Hizashi felt everyone slump in relief afterward. Izuku was safe, and that’s what mattered to them. He’d have to remember to thank the other hero the next time he saw him.
The broadcast finished up a few minutes later, and they were back to waiting nervously for Izuku to get home.
They didn’t have to wait to long, thankfully; only thirty minutes later, the sound of the door unlocking and opening echoed through the apartment. Izuku stepped inside, his face red, like he had been crying, and Hizashi didn’t even get a chance to move before Mrs. Midoriya descended on her son.
“Are you okay? Are you hurt? What on earth were you thinking?” she questioned, hugging her son tightly. Hizashi was only a second behind her, one hand coming up to rest on Izuku’s curly hair with relief.
“Jesus, kid, I thought we had a deal,” he joked weakly, unable to stop the strain of worry worming through his voice. Izuku peered up at him from his mom's shoulder, giving a weak smile.
“I’m sorry. The heroes weren’t doing anything, and…. I couldn’t just stand there and watch,” he said softly. Hizashi just felt his shoulders slump, unable to muster any anger at the kid.
“I know, kiddo. Just try to stay safe, alright?” he asked, giving Izuku’s curls one last ruffle. Shouta and Nemuri had their own lectures for his little soulmate, and once he had been released from that, he went to wash off. They sat around, waiting for him, and were understandably surprised when he put a now slightly charred and damp version of his most recent notebook down on the table in front of them all. If Hizashi had to guess, he would say that was the reason Izuku had been so late getting out of school, and thus also why he had ended up in the hero fight. He must have been trying to save his notebook from being completely unsalvageable.
“I have something to tell you all,” he said with a bright smile.
Izuku was a little nervous.
...Okay, that was a lie. He was a lot nervous. Like, a lot a lot.
Explaining the intricacies of All Might’s quirk, or what little he now knew about it, to his mom, soulate, and those who were slowly starting to feel like an extended family, was a little awkward.
His explanation included what had happened, and based on the looks on, well, everyone’s faces, he would getting several long lectures about the dangers or interfering with hero work.
But, come on, it was All Might ! He had one shot to ask the man the question that, despite all the assurances otherwise, had still been burning in the back of his mind.
He had also told them what All Might had said, at first, and he was pretty certain that Yamada and Aizawa were going to kill the man for it if they got the chance.
When he had finished explaining the sludge villain incident (with another long, long lecture ahead of him about the dangers of rushing into situations), he explained about what All Might had told him.
But over all? He felt fairly confident. He felt even more confident when everyone told him they’d support him wholeheartedly no matter what, even if he decided he didn’t want to accept All Might’s quirk.
But, well, there was no way he was going to refuse it. Maybe he could make it as a quirkless hero, and make history like that. But what he wanted most of all was to help people, and if he had All Might’s quirk it felt like there was no limit to what he could do.
“Are you sure about this?” Yamada asked for what was probably the 15th time that night. Izuku nodded, swallowing his food before responding.
“I’m sure. It’s a good opportunity for me, especially if I want to do a lot of hero work,” he replied. Aizawa slipped into the conversation, seemingly decided it was time to add his two cents.
“You could do a lot of good by becoming the first quirkless hero,” he pointed out. “Be an inspiration for those in situations like yours, and help fight against the stigma against quirkless people.”
Izuku knew what Aizawa was trying to say. Just by being quirkless and getting into the hero program, he could do a lot to affect the mindsets of people across the country. Everyone's eyes would be on U.A., and if he made it in, he could prove to the world that they had been wrong about him.
On the flip side, however, he could use All Might’s quirk to gain popularity, and then use his position to push for certain changes in the world at large. He could throw his support behind various causes, rally people to his side. He could end up changing the world from the spotlight in a different way, using his position of fame to change the minds of the younger generations, and of those who might idolize him.
Besides, with a quirk he’d be safer, and wasn't that what they wanted?
“We want you to be happy Midoriya,” Aizawa said gruffly, and Izuku blushed as he realized he’d been mumbling. Yamada gave him a brief sympathetic look before turning back to the conversation at hand.
“You make some good points though. If this is really what you want to do, we’ll support you,” he said, and Izuku ducked his head.
“Thanks,” he mumbled, shuffling awkwardly in his seat. He knew he was going to have to tell All Might about who he told, because although the man was the number one hero, there was not ever going to be a chance of Izuku not telling his mom about this. Their relationship was better than it had been in years, and his mom was trying to support him wholeheartedly. They were all the family they had left, and he wasn’t going to wreck that by keeping such a big secret. As for Aizawa, Yamada, and Kayama, well: He trusted them like family, and he wouldn’t dare keep this from them, either.
The rest of the dinner passed uneventfully, but at the end Aizawa pulled him aside.
“Are you certain you’re okay with this?” he asked, and Izuku felt that warm feeling that came with knowing someone cared. Aizawa was hard to get a read on, but once you knew him it was easy to see how much he cared.
“I’m sure,” he replied, smiling. Aizawa nodded, looking thoughtful.
“Tell me what plan he has for training you, so I can work around it and not over-work you,” Aizawa said, and Izuku nodded.
“Hey Aizawa-sensei?” he said as the man began to walk away. Aizawa looked back at him curiously.
“Thank you, for everything,” he replied, bowing. Aizawa reached over, ruffling his hair.
“Sure kid,” he replied before walking back over to the others.
Izuku slipped away, content to let the adults talk. They’d come get him before they said goodbye, and in the meantime he had hero news to catch up on. That, and he wanted to fan-boy about his encounter with All Might. Ever since the incident with Hyper, he hadn’t gone searching out any more villain attacks, but he felt like he had broken that rule just a little bit. After all, hadn’t he gone straight to the attack site afterwards? But still, he met
. That was probably worth it.
He pulled his hero notebook out, gently brushing off the cover and touching the crisped edges. The book was mostly salvageable, even if a few pages were still damp. He knew his mom had a blow drier, so he headed to the bathroom, grabbing it and moving back to his room. He gently began to blowdry the pages, trying to keep the ink from smearing further.
When he was finally done, Yamada poked his head in, giving him a small smile.
“We’re heading out for the night,” he said, and Izuku nodded. He hopped up from his seat, intent on seeing them to the door. He couldn’t help the slight bounce in his step, excitement still bubbling under his skin. Yamada laughed at him, gently ruffling his hair.
The goodbyes were said, everyone smiling at Izuku’s own excitement. He felt warm and happy. He knew suddenly that this was what it was liked to be loved and supported, something he had far too little of in his life before.
He’d never been so glad he got to meet his soulmate.
Hizashi was in a good mood when he went to the radio station that night. Little Midoriya was starting his training with All Might soon and hadn’t been able to stop talking about it, and he thought it was adorable how he fanboy’d over the other hero. When Izuku was happy, he was happy.
His intern, Kylie, seemed to pick up on his mood, but didn’t say anything until an hour into her shift.
“So I saw you-know-who on the news a few days ago, something about All Might and a petty Sludge thief?” Her tone was deceptively light, and he couldn’t help but feel a shudder of fear go through him at it. Kylie had never scared him before, but for some reason, right now she seemed dangerous.
“An unfortunate incident of wrong place wrong time; he’s been firmly told off for his actions,” he replied easily, listening to the song playing through his ears. He queued up the next track, one of Little Midoriya’s favorites, before turning his attention back to Kylie.
“Good. He shouldn’t be off running into dangerous situations like that, trying to be a hero.” Her voice had a undercurrent of something in it, and if he didn’t know better, he would almost have called it amusement.
“No, he promised he won’t be doing it again,” Hizashi told her easily. Her grin had an almost sharp edge to it, making him uneasy. A second later it was gone though, and he blinked, wondering if he had imagined it.
“Good, see that he doesn’t. I’d hate for something to happen to him, being so young and all,” she said, and he sighed, turning back to stare at the soundboard in front of him.
“He really is, isn't he? I almost don’t want him to go into hero work, because of how dangerous it is. But I know it’s his passion, so I’ll just do everything to support and help him, while also keeping him safe at the same time,” he said, closing his eyes briefly. Kylie let out a small ‘hm’, adjusting something on the sound board.
“It’s nice that you care so much about him. A lot of people wouldn't be like that, especially given his…. situation,” she said, sounding genuinely sad. He thought about what Midoriya had told them about All Might’s offer, and he had to wonder a little bit. Would it have changed his perception of Izuku if he’d only met him after he gained All Might’s quirk? He liked to think it wouldn’t have, but if he was honest with himself, it would. He probably would have been less inclined to approach him if he was doing fine on his own, at least until he was of legal age.
“Just because he’s quirkless doesn’t make him any less of a person,” Hizashi responded, getting a small smile out of his intern.
“No, it really doesn’t. All people should be respected and helped equally, no matter what.” Her voice had taken on a vigorous edge, something that suggested personal experience with the matter. He knew she had a quirk, a basic body modification quirk that allowed her to change her hair color if she wanted, so that meant that someone close to her must have been quirkless. It made him wonder, but he thought it wasn’t his place to ask. Instead, he turned back to his work, queuing up the next song.
He wondered how Izuku’s training with All Might would go.
Izuku was busy working on hauling the garbage when he spotted her. She looked like she had been out on an early morning jog, but she was leaning against the railing overlooking the beach, watching him.
“Hey kid, what are you doing out here so early?” she called, and he slowly hauled the garbage over to her.
“I’m-- cleaning up-- the beach,” he panted, looking around. All Might had wandered out of sight, probably looking for some new and horrifying challenge for him to undertake. For now, he just had to move the small stuff, which was nice, but he wasn’t dumb enough to think it’d stay that easy.
“Are you? Well, it’s nice to see kids like you helping out in the community,” she said, looking at him. Her hair was up in a high pony, black shining in the early morning light.
“I’d offer to help, but, well, I’m not that nice or that strong,” she said with a laugh. He grinned in response, liking the open and easy way she held herself, like she had no secrets to hide. “Are you training your quirk?”
“Oh-- uh--. Kinda. My quirk just developed recently, so I’m trying to m-make sure my body adjusts to it properly,” he lied, seeing a flash of interest go through her eyes before it was gone again.
“Neat! Well, good luck! I live near here and run by every morning, so I’ll say hello if I see you,” she said, giving him a polite wave before dashing off again. He watched her go with a mild curiosity, wondering what her quirk was.
The encounter was quickly forgotten, however, when All Might tried to get him to drag a fridge across the beach.
Over the next couple of weeks, he learned a fair bit about the stranger. She was currently an intern who was hoping someday to go into producing her own music, she just moved in nearby, and her name was Kylie. Sometimes she’d stay and watch, and other times it would be just a quick greeting before they both started off on their own respective work outs. He liked her, because she seemed to genuinely like listening to his ramble, at least until All Might called him back to whatever he was supposed to be doing that day.
She never seemed to show up when he was with All Might though, and he wondered if maybe his mentor’s appearance scared her. Even with all his hero worship, even Izuku had to admit that in his normal form All Might looked more than a little bit scary.
He never told Yamada or his mom about the encounters, something making him want to just keep them a secret. His own little early morning work out buddy, who was always cheering him on. She had given him some great tips, even encouraged him to talk to Nezu about his offer, and ask if it was still open. He barely trusted himself with his journals nowadays, but something about the way she talked about it made him want to do it.
She told him he would have to take every advantage he could get when it came to trying to become a hero, not just studying quirks but studying people as well. It was for that reason he also started studying psychology and criminology in his off time, of which there wasn’t much.
Their near daily talks quickly became his second favorite part of the day, because not only did he get to work towards his goal and be with All Might, but he also got to make a new friend who was only a few years older than him.
“So, what is your quirk exactly?” she asked one morning as he dragged an abandoned T.V. across the sand. He huffed, gritting his teeth as he continued to pull at the reluctant lump of metal.
“I call it Superpower. It-- huff-- it’s an extra sort of super strength-- but whenever I use it, it nearly kills me, so I’m training my body-- to be stronger-- so I can-- use it-- safely,” he wheezed, and she winced.
“That doesn’t sound good at all. I’m glad you figured out a way to make it safer to use, though; letting a quirk like that go to waste sounds like a travesty,” she said, and he frowned. She said stuff like that sometimes, and somehow it just sounded wrong. She always sounded like she didn’t care much for the people themselves, but that she wished people got quirks that fell in with their interests. It was a nice ideology, but something about the way she said it rubbed him the wrong way.
He let it go though, because it really wasn’t that bad, just some new pet peeve of his, and quickly went back to dragging the T.V. across the sand. He didn’t even realized it when she left.
It was a month from the entrance exam when she asked about his quirk again.
“You got it under control yet, or you still working on it?” she asked, and he frowned, confused. He was dragging another T.V. across the ground, something much easier this time than it had been last time, simply because he had bulked up so much. Between his own dance and gymnastic lessons, Aizawa-sensei, and All Might, he felt like he could bench press a car on his own.
“Have control of what?” he replied, hauling the T.V. onto the sidewalk. All Might had driven his last truck-load of to the dump, leaving him along with the piles of trash that still littered the beach.
“Your quirk, silly,” she said teasingly, and he smiled awkwardly.
“Well, not quite yet, but I’m hoping to have it on the day of the entrance exam for U.A.,” he said, and she smiled kindly at him.
“With how hard you’re working? I think you’d be able to get in even without it,” she said, and he smiled gratefully at her. He didn’t know how he had gotten so lucky to have so many supporting people in his life, but he had.
“Thanks,” he said, and she nodded, waving before she headed off again. All Might appeared a minute later with the truck, and he went back to loading it up.
The day of the exam, he stayed out all morning, forcing himself to finish cleaning up the beach. The euphoria of having it finally done bubbled in his chest, even as his lungs ached and his muscles burned, giving out on him. All Might caught him, and he smiled up at his mentor, unable to stop it.
The rest was a whirlwind, of swallowing the hair (gross) and heading back home to clean up and shower, and preparing himself for the entrance exams. He had no idea what was going to happen, but he knew it was going to be a good day.
“Target has taken quirk, preparing to follow and intercept.”
The figure watched from the shadows of the final pile as the boy and All Might stood talking. Their eyes glittered in the darkness, a sick glee on their face. They were finally going to get their revenge.
They followed Midoriya as he left, quietly loping after him, easily able to keep up with the exhausted boy.
Looks like all that running had done them some good after all.
Chapter 19: Partners In Crime
Kinda late but 'tis the season for depression naps, you know?
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Izuku was on his way to U.A. when he noticed it. Someone was tailing him, and he couldn't help the way his shoulders bunched around his ears, his entire body suddenly on high alert. Aizawa had taught him a lot about sneak attacks, and because of it he was more aware than not. He glanced behind him, watching everything around him carefully. It was possible Bakugou had taken the same route as him to U.A., and the last thing he wanted was a run in with his bully right before the test.
He didn’t see anything out of the ordinary though, although the street was more deserted than usual. He picked up the pace anyways, wanting to get to the train station as fast as possible. The feeling followed him for several blocks until it abruptly stopped, having him whirling around, looking for what was going on. No one ever stopped following someone, not really, and now he was slightly freaked out. His palms felt sweaty, and he clamped his hands into fists, eyes darting around wildly.
“Hey, kid!” a familiar voice called, and he instantly relaxed. Kylie waved at him as she jogged up, a bright grin on her face. He waited for her to catch up, both of them falling into step with each other easily.
“So, today's the big day huh? How do you feel?” she asked cheerfully, and he grinned nervously in response.
“Worried, and a bit scared, if I’m honest,” he replied, scratching the back of his head sheepishly. She patted him on the shoulder, giving him another 100 watt smile.
“I’m sure you’ll do great kiddo, after all, you’ve been preparing for the last ten months right? You got this in the bag,” she said, and he gave a half hearted chuckle.
“I’m not so sure, I don’t even know if I can control my quirk enough to know really, so I guess it’ll be a trial by fire for me with it. U.A. has recovery girl though, so even if something really, really bad does happen, I should be just fine!” he said, and he saw a strange glint in her eyes before it was gone.
“Trial by fire huh? I like your spunk kid, you’ll do great. And hey, like you said, U.A. has a healer, son you should be fine no matter what happens,” she said easily, and he felt his shoulders relaxing. Another thought crossed his mind, and he looked towards her, curious.
“What are you doing here anyways? This isn’t anywhere near your usual running route,” he asked, and she smiled sheepishly.
“I sort of asked around to find out your route to the school so I could wish you good luck,” she said. “I got kinda invested in your whole journey on accident and I wanted to make sure I was able to see it through and all. Plus, I wanted it to be a surprise. One last time before my workout buddy gets busy and disappears, you know?”
The turned the corner, heading down a different road, and he looked up at her with a small but genuine smile.
“I’ll still be around, you won’t be losing your workout buddy entirely. I might not be there as often, but I’ll still go exercise out there. Just because I’m applying for a hero course doesn’t mean I can slack out on my schedule. I am glad you came to wish me luck though, it means a lot,” he said, and she got another curious look on her face.
“Yep, today’s the big day. Your life will change forever now, for better or for worse. We’ll just have to see how it goes, won’t we?” she said, and he sighed.
“I suppose so, nothing left to do but just take the plunge,” he said, and she gave a non committal hum. The took a few steps in silence before she spoke again.
“You got lucky with that trainer of yours huh?” she said, and he stopped, startled. How did she--?
She snorted, pausing her walking to give him an incredulous look.
“I’m not blind, or dumb. You really thought I wouldn’t notice the incredible and distinctively tall skeleton man who’s always hanging out at the beach and drove the pick up you used? Come on,” she said, and he let out a tiny breath of relief. She didn’t know all Might’s secret then. That was good, so long as she just thought he had a personal trainer they’d be fine.
“It’s nice that you had someone helping you out, even if the situation you two met in probably wasn’t ideal,” she said casually, and suddenly he felt his blood run cold. He tried not to show it on his face, keeping up the light and trusting facade as his mind turned over this new situation.
“The way we met?” he questioned lightly, trying to pretend like he was just curious. His brain was working a mile a minute, trying to figure out what to do now. Something was very, very wrong, and he had to figure out how to get away. He couldn’t pull out his phone and text someone, not in the middle of the conversation. He needed to find a way to get away from her, somewhere he could go that was crowded and safe.
To late, he realized they had turned into an alleyway, far away from the open streets.
“Well, yeah, with the slime villain and all. Kinda sucked and all, you rushing in, but it made you easier to find I guess,” she said casually, but her smile was turning into something vicious, violent, twisted. He froze, everything else flying out of his head as she stared down at him, like a predator who had trapped her prey.
“You’re rather unlucky, you know. Hyper put you on sensei’s radar, but he put you on mine.” She spat the words like they were vile, twisted things, snarling at nothing. He didn’t know who this mysterious person was, but he wondered if he could use it against her. Before he could come up with a plan though, she continued.
“So, now, I get to deliver you gift wrapped for Sensei. He’s been waiting for All Might to pick a successor for so long, and I get to be the one to give you to him. It sucks that you just happened to cross my radar, I really did enjoy our talks. But, alas, nothing to be done about it now,” she said, and faster than he could blink she had stabbed something in his neck.
He felt her press a plunger, and suddenly, everything was going woozy. He stumbled to the wall, sliding down it, even as his vision blurred. Everything started falling out of focus, and he struggled to open his bag, grab his phone, anything.
Kylie stalked over to him, kneeling down and grinning at him.
“Sorry kiddo, but if it makes you feel better, I really did like hanging out with you,” she said, and he made some sort of noise, eyes suddenly drooping shut. Darkness overwhelmed him, and he flickered out like a light.
It wandered the halls of the hide out, cleaning up as It was supposed to do. It scrubbed the blood stains from the floor, the leftovers from It’s master’s tantrum the night before. It did not complain, because It was not supposed to complain. It was nothing more than a tool for It’s master’s revenge.
It had a routine that It did every day. It would wake up, It would clean up the mess from the night before. Then, It would train with whatever new quirk Its master decided it give it, or go out on a mission to gather intel about Its masters enemy. It was to stay hidden, out of sight, because It wasn’t wanted.
Then, when night fell, It would either help the Warp Gate at the bar, or It would go and take down someone for Its master. It’s master had lots of enemies, so It rarely ever got the chance to work at the bar with the Warp Gate. Which was a shame, It found Itself liking the Warp Gate, for all his cool, collected self. He was much better than It’s master’s protege, who constantly destroyed things that It had to clean up.
It finished cleaning, changing It’s clothing and heading out into the meeting place. It’s mission today was to work with one of It’s master’s associates, to help him learn the quirk analysis quirk he had been given.
The meeting place was on the edge of a beach, which tugged at something in It’s head, something familiar and painful. It gripped it’s wrist, the skin contact soothing It from It’s agitated state. It waited in the shadows for the Associate to show themselves.
It’s master called them ‘The Collector’, because they were the one who found the most useful quirks and collected the people to allow It’s master to take their quirks.
A woman slipped out of the shadows, walking towards the meeting place determinedly. She was wearing a jogging outfit, something that tugged at the faintest of It’s memories. But It had never seen her before, so It shook off the feeling, approaching with caution.
“So, you’re the little secret weapon Sensei has,” she said, her hair up in a high ponytail. It caught the light, the black hair shining brightly in the early morning light. She held herself openly and easily, like she had nothing to hide. It could see why It’s master liked her. She looked trustworthy, and innocent.
“Yes,” It responded dully, and her smile got wider.
“Alright, nice. I get to take out Sensei’s little pet for a joy ride before the opening night,” she said with a laugh.
“So kid, what quirks did you get?” she asked, casually putting her hands in her pockets. She walked away, and It followed her, walking stiffly.
“Rapid Regeneration, Light Manipulation, and Analysis,” It responded dully. She smiled, looking at It with wild light shining in her eyes.
“What do I call you? I feel like calling you kid isn’t a great name for a new supervillain,” she said, and it shrugged.
“My master calls me a tool for his revenge,” It said, and she hummed.
“Alright, then. How about calling yourself ‘Vindicta’? It’s Latin for revenge,” she said, and It shrugged. It would answer to whatever she wanted to call It.
“Vindicta it is then,” she said, strolling easily down the street. “What was your original quirk kid?”
“I believe it was called ‘Superpower’.”
Their mark that day was an easy one, a low level hero who had just entered the business. For now, she was having It just examine his quirk and decide whether or not his quirk would be a good one It’s master.
It saw the hero, and sudden scrolls of text appeared, almost looking like they had been written in the pages of a notebook. It recognized the handwritten scrawl somehow, but ignored the form it took, instead focusing on the information being presented. The hero's name, ranking, and status appeared in front of It, information It had already known. Then came what It really needed: the quirk’s stats, range, abilities, strengths, weaknesses. It was quick to internally catalogue the information, storing it away for future use.
“So?” the Collector asked, looking at It. It could see her quirk stats laid out in It’s vision as well, quickly dismissing the knowledge as unimportant.
“The quirk’s weaknesses greatly outweigh its strengths, except in certain circumstances. It is a mild levitation quirk but with much lower weight restrictions than most other quirks of its type. It would be best used for stealth and underground hero work, or not at all,” It told her, gaze blank. She grinned down at It, ruffling It’s hair.
“So what I’m hearing is that it would be good for someone who gathers information, because they could sneak in and out of places easily,” she said, and It tilted It’s head.
“Yes.” It settled on, looking up at the Collector. She nodded, satisfied. “And your analysis works on anyone you look at right? And it never turns off?” she asked, and It paused before carefully nodding. She groaned, turning to walk away again.
“Man, I’d give an arm to keep you from the big boss, but alas, I am merely a grunt who will have to borrow her superior’s pet from time to time,” she said with an over dramatic sigh. It followed her, eyes darting around as It took in information.
“Well, Vindicta, let me know if you spot any useful quirks on the way back to base,” she said, and It nodded in acceptance. It turned Its gaze to the crowd, eyes scanning over each one as information poured in.
It had a new Mission, and It would do as ordered to the best of It’s abilities.
Izuku wasn’t at the entrance exam. He wasn’t certain how, exactly, he knew, but he simply knew , without having to see the kid in person. It was like a second sense, telling where Izuku was, and he most definitely was not here.
And that was terrifying. Because he had gotten a text from Izuku not even an hour ago, a tiny little smiley face in response to him wishing him luck. An hour ago. Maybe not even that. And he knew Izuku wouldn’t miss this for the world. This was his dream school, and he had spent all that time training with All Might, and Shouta, and he should be here.
But he wasn’t.
Even looking out at the sea of faces as he sent them to their tests, he knew Izuku wasn’t there. And that was absolutely terrifying.
“Ah, Present Mic, you look nervous,” Nezu said, and Hizashi jumped, whirling around to face the principal. He knew that the principal knew about Izuku, and would probably be their best bet on tracking him down, should he actually be proven missing. For whatever reason, Nezu seemed to have a vested interest in Izuku.
“Principal Nezu, have you seen Midoriya-kun around here anywhere?” he asked quickly, eyes still darting around. He would need to be gone soon, so he could announce the start of each of the exams, but he still had a little bit of time. Maybe that bit of time could assuage his fears.
When the principal’s face scrunched up in confusion, he knew it was a lost cause.
“I haven’t, but I will keep an eye out for him,” Nezu promised, and he nodded, knowing that was the best they could do for now.
He sent a quick text off to Mrs. Midoriya, asking when Izuku had left for the exam, hoping maybe they could narrow down the time frame during which he went missing. He put his phone away, pushing his feelings down and plastering a smile on his face.
Later, there would be time to search out Izuku, find out what happened. For now, they were teachers who needed to judge an exam.
Shouta watched the fields carefully, having taken the time to memorize which one Midoriya would be a part of. However, as he scanned each of the cameras, he never saw a single flash of the boy’s green hair. Based on the way All Might was shifting in his seat, neither had he.
What scared him most was Hizashi, and Nezu. He could see Hizashi on screen every once in a while, and he could tell his friend was tense. There was something almost panicky in his posture, even as he tried to hide it.
Nezu was terrifying in another way. His mind was working a thousand miles a minute, and the deep frown etched onto his face showed it. If the principal couldn’t figure something out, then something was most definitely wrong.
Midoriya was nowhere to be seen, and Shouta couldn't help but worry about him.
Toshinori was quickly losing his mind. Midoriya wasn’t at the exam, even though he had seen him just that morning. Toshinori thought he had been careful, thought they had been discreet. But he knew he had a lot of enemies, and he knew that most of them would be more than willing to use a child in their quests for revenge.
He searched almost desperately for the fluffy green hair he had come to recognize so well in the past months, but he didn’t see even a hint of his protege amongst the crowd of students.
Ignoring the building fear in his chest, he kept searching. He refused to believe that Midoriya wasn’t there.
Nemuri couldn’t find Midoriya amongst the crowd, and she was a little worried. Mostly because of the fact that both Shouta and Hizashi looked worried, and All Might looked near frantic in searching through the groups of students, eyes wild.
That meant something was wrong, and so she began to search too. And she realized, terrified, that Midoriya wasn’t there.
Searching even more frantically, she felt terror-rage seeping in. If anyone hurt that poor, precious child, she was going to tear them apart with her bare hands.
Inko was waiting nervously at home, pacing around, when she got the text. She looked at her phone, mind barely processing the question at first, until it finally clicked. Izuku’s soulmate was asking when he had left the house. Izuku’s soulmate was asking when he had left, which meant something was wrong. Which probably meant Izuku hadn’t made it all the way to U.A.
She sunk into the couch, unable to keep the fear from spiralling in her chest.
Izuku hadn’t made it to U.A.
Kylie watched with amusement, grinning from her spot atop the building. Kurogiri had dropped her up here, a special use of one of Sensei’s quirks letting her see into the room where the teachers sat. She hadn’t really been looking to affect so many people, but even she could see the way that All Might was shifting in his seat, and how Eraserhead and Midnight were trying their best to hide their expressions, and failing miserably.
Even U.A.’s esteemed principal was frowning, and she couldn’t help the small laugh that bubbled in her chest.
But mostly she watched Present Mic. She could see the way he was tensed, the fear and pain on his face. She relished in it, watching him. She couldn’t wait until they finally realized that their precious little Izuku was gone.
Standing up, she stretched, turning away from the scene’s in front of her. She still had a job to do, afterall.
“Alright Kurogiri, bring me back,” she called, smirking. The black portal opened, and she stepped inside, letting it swallow her up.
She left a clump of bloodied green hair and a tiny note, with only a winking face, behind, right where she knew they would think Izuku had last been seen.
She really couldn’t wait.
“Do you want to know why, at least?” Kylie sat in front of him, where he was tied down to a chair. They were underground somewhere, in what looked like a bar. Ropes and chains wrapped around him, successfully stopping him from moving. He snarled at her, still reeling from the betrayal. How could he not have seen it? He was usually so wary, so scared of people wanting to hurt him.
Yamada and the others had made him soft, less distrusting. He wondered if he would have ever spoken to her if he had still thought all adults except his mom looked down on him, wouldn’t help him.
It was useless now, to wonder.
‘Why should I care?” he spat, the betrayal seething under his tongue. Kylie frowned but shrugged, grabbing another chair and twisting it around, sitting in it backwards. She draped herself lazily over the top of it, arm dangling, head leaning to the side. He hated that she could look so relaxed with what she had done, he hated that she could look at him like she hadn’t ripped apart the fragile trust in people he had been rebuilding.
“Most people are curious when I ask, but you’ve always been a strange one,” she said, grinning at him. He yanked at the rope around his hands, feeling the coarse bite against his wrist. He thought about trying to use All Might’s quirk, but he couldn’t figure out how to activate it, or how to use it once he’d gotten that far.
“Well, you know what? I’ll tell you anyways. I’ve always wanted to do a villain’s monologue about my tragic backstory to the tied up hero. Only difference here is I know you won’t be escaping anytime soon,” she said with a grin, standing up and twisting around the chair, flipping her hair dramatically.
“Well, well, well, where to start--?”
It awoke with a start, everything slipping out of It’s grasp quickly. It shook It’s head, wondering what It could possibly have dreamed of. It felt… angry. Betrayed.
It shook off It’s emotions, standing and beginning the process of waking up. It’s Master had a new mission for It today, and It needed to be ready.
Quickly, It slid on the costume: black slacks, dress shirt, vest, and tie, each made of the best material that could be bought, specially for It. It didn’t need any of that stuff, but It appreciated the thought.
Making Its way out of the room, It followed the usual hallways, until It stood in front of a room filled with TVs, all blaring static. It’s Master liked the dramatics.
“Vindicta, is it? I heard Collector picked out the name for you.”
It’s Master’s voice echoed from the TVs, briefly overpowering all the noise. It could see It’s own reflection in the TV screen, dulled green eyes and fluffy green hair transposed over the static. “Much more fitting than just calling you another Nomu.”
It nodded, aware It’s Master could see It.
“Yes. The Collector began calling me that.” It’s voice was dull, and It stared emptily at the screen in front of It. Being the most, and really only, human-looking Nomu had its perks.
It’s Master chuckled, and It turned It’s attention back to the main screen.
“Very well. You will be gathering two things for me today. First, you will be working with the Collector to bring in the Hero you scouted last time. I will be giving you their quirk, and then you will proceed immediately to the next mission,” It’s Master’s voice rumbled through the screens, and It tilted It’s head in acknowledgement. “The Collector will help you bring the Hero back here, where the transfer will happen as soon as we can manage it. Then you will be given your next mission and sent out.”
It nodded, and the screens went dark, a clear dismissal. Leaving the TV room behind, It traveled through the hallways until It had reached the main floor of the hideout, where the Collector was slumped over the bar with a groan. Her hair was bright pink this time, although It watched as the locks changed to a dark brown, close cut to her head.
“Hey Vindicta,” she grumbled, upon seeing It. It dipped It’s head briefly in acknowledgment, coming up to stand right behind her. With a groan, she pulled herself upright, wandering back towards the door.
“I hate morning missions. It’s 2 AM; why can’t I be sleeping like a normal person?” she grumbled, even as she led the way to the door. It didn’t respond, content to follow her lead. Taking the quickest route, they were soon at the low-ranked hero’s apartment in the city. Barely anyone had given them a glance on the way there, everyone going about their own business.
It wasn’t difficult to get into the apartment building either, the Collector breaking them in easily. From there, all it took was a quick jaunt up the stairs, breaking down the door, and grabbing the pro. He didn’t even have time to react before they were on him, a needle jabbed in his neck and knocking him out in seconds. It lifted him, flinging him over It’s shoulder like a ragdoll. The cameras around the building had already been taken over by one of It’s Master’s people, so they walked out of the building, slipping into the van that was waiting for them outside.
“That was the easiest job I’ve ever done. Seriously, does he think just ‘cause he’s a pro he can’t be robbed?” the Collector asked, shaking her head in exasperation. It watched with mild fascination as her hair grew back out into a more normal shoulder length black, and wondered how useful her quirk was for going unnoticed. “Well, either way, good luck on whatever your next mission is kid, I’m sure you’ll do your best.”
The car pulled up to the entrance of the bar, and she stepped out, waving tiredly at It and heading inside. It closed the door behind her, the car driving to It’s Master’s current location. Once the car stopped, It got out, easily grabbing the unconscious hero and pulling him inside. It followed the route to It’s Master, stepping inside and unceremoniously dropping the hero on the floor.
“Good job, Vindicta. I trust you already know how to use the quirk?” It’s Master asked, and It nodded.
The transfer was quick and painless, the rapid regeneration working quickly. It felt the quirk settle beneath It’s skin, and It flexed that quirk’s abilities briefly, feeling everything become weightless for a brief moment.
“Hm… Fascinating, really. Looks like my nemesis’ quirk is good for something,” It’s Master said, and It tilted It’s head, unsure what It’s Master was talking about.
“Alright, your next mission,” the man began, pulling out a school uniform. “Will go like this….”
Hizashi scowled at the press that was hounding the front gate, already bad mood turning worse. It had been a few weeks since the entrance exam had happened, and their had been no sign of Izuku. The only lead they had was an alleyway he had been seen approaching. Although they had confirmed the footage had been edited, they couldn’t trace the actual recording. It was like they were being taunted, and it only made the fear in his chest circle tighter.
The alley had contained only a clump of Izuku’s hair and a tiny note with a winky face on it, not nearly enough to find anything of worth on it. So he was left with nothing but fear curling in his chest. And now, the news had finally broken that All Might was teaching at U.A.
So now the press was bothering them, and he really felt like he had a deeper understanding of Shouta.
“Are you sure I’m not allowed to use my quirk on them?” he grumbled, watching as the students trickled in. Shouta grunted, rubbing a hand tiredly over his face.
“No, you can’t do that, but god do I wish you could,” he replied, shoving away another mic that was pushed in his face. Hizashi could feel the irritation flowing off of his friend, and probably off of him too. It was likely why they hadn’t had as many mics shoved in their faces or cameras taking pictures. No one wanted to piss off the pro heroes.
Finally, after what felt like forever, the last students made it through the flood, stepping quickly behind their makeshift barricade. It meant they could finally close the gates and Hizashi could go back to contacting people to look for Izuku, and Shouta could teach.
His heart ached, wondering if maybe Izuku could have been one of the kids in the hero course today, but he shook it off, growling at himself. There was no time for this; he still had work to do.
Shouta had already expelled one student from his class, some purple-haired kid he didn’t know, but he didn’t care all that much. Shouta had always been a harsher teacher than Hizashi was.
The gates finally closed, locking the shouting press on the other side. Hound Dog and Cemetoss would be watching the gate for any late students to let them in, but other than that their job here was done.
He strode off quickly, already pulling out his phone to check for updates. The blank screen shined brightly in his face, taunting him, and he scowled. No updates so far meant no new leads on where Izuku was. No new leads meant more time Izuku would spend in the hands of criminals.
He ground his teeth together, mind whirling at a mile a minute to figure out what more he could possibly do. There was always more he could do.
It watched the press clamour at the gates, various quirks’ info scrolling in It’s mind at the speed of light. There were too many to count, and It forced Itself to tune them all out, focusing on It’s Master’s prodigy.
The uniform was uncomfortable on It’s skin, itchy and gross, and It forced Itself not to tug at the clothes. It was all part of the plan.
It moved Its way towards the side door, which the teachers were guarding the gates. It had seen a few late students slip in and out, and It slowly approached, hiking the fake backpack higher.
“Hey, you late?” one of the heroes, Cementoss, called. It nodded It’s head, approaching the gate slowly. It could feel the focus of the two teachers atop the wall swivel to It, and It bit It’s lip.
It pressed the button on its bracelet, the signal to let It’s Master’s prodigy know that It had the teachers’ focus. It could see the white hair swimming through the crowd, making his way towards the front.
It stepped in front of the door, risking a glance upwards at the two teachers. Their quirks scrolled through It’s mind's eye, and It frowned, focusing on them. If it came to a fight, It was certain It could win. But the goal here wasn’t to fight, so instead It looked down at the ground again.
“Just scan your ID card and you’ll be let in,” Hound Dog called, and It nodded, pulling the backpack around and pretending to dig through it. Just as It thought It was taking too long, the alarm blared, and It looked over just in time to see the press flood the gates, the rest of it slowly crumbling at the edges.
The teacher's heads both snapped to the commotion, and It slipped inside while they were distracted, zipping up the backpack and taking off.
The layout of the buildings shown brightly in It’s mind, and It quickly took the turns It needed to, slipping into one of the hallways. The students, if the online schedule was to be believed, would all be at lunch, which meant the main building would be empty of everyone except for the teachers, who would be drawn outside to help with the confusion. No one was going to look twice at the tiny, random student wandering the halls now.
The teachers’ work area was easy enough to find, and it was empty, just like they had planned.
It began It’s search, swift and careful, making absolutely sure not to misplace anything. Its Master would kill It if they were caught because of one of It’s mistakes.
Soon, it had found what It was looking for: The plans for the field trips to the USJ. It scanned the paper, memorizing it quickly. All Might was scheduled to be there, and they had a week to plan the attack.
Putting the paper down, It searched through as many more documents as It could. When the alarm finally cut off, It was quick to put down the papers and go, hunching down and slipping through the hallways.
It was easy enough to slip back outside the gates once It was out on the grounds, the information It had found firmly cemented in It’s brain. It’s Master would be pleased.
Chapter 24: Give You Hell
Hi everyone! I'm sorry this has taken so long to get out, I know I'm failing on my own schedule a bit but January and February are really hard months for me, with school and my depression kicking it into high gear, it's kinda fucked me over; I hope to be getting back to a normal scheduling soon but as of right now, I'm not sure when the next chapter will be up, my apologies!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“-- Well, I suppose if I’m going to explain, might as well start from the beginning. I had a older brother; he was quirkless just like you.” Her smile was cold and cruel, and he almost missed her use of the past tense. “Sweetest damn thing, I would have given my life for his in a heartbeat. He loved heroes, idolized them so much. He didn’t want to be one, not like you, but he still liked following them.”
Izuku pulled guiltily at the bonds tying his wrists together, feeling the strain in his arms. Still, they didn’t budge, and he scowled. Kylie laughed at his struggles, leaning over him threateningly.
“Trust me, sweetie, you aren’t getting out of those any time soon. I’m too good at my job,” she said, clicking her tongue as she dramatically flopped back in her chair.
“Now, where was I--?”
It stepped through the portal, head tilted curiously. It’s hand unconsciously grasped It’s forearm, the skin-on-skin contact soothing the errant buzzing in It’s head. It’s mission was clear. It was to stay hidden and observe, and only step in if It’s master's apprentice deemed it so. It was not here to fight, It was here to observe and learn. It’s master knew this operation was unlikely to succeed, even with Itself and the Nomu here.
Up near the entrance, It could see the students gathered, information about their quirks zipping through It’s mind at a rapid pace. It filtered through everything, looking for potential weaknesses that It could pass along.
The others working the operation flooded out of the portal, effectively keeping the attention off It. It was just another lackey right now, not important.
“Frog quirk, fire zone,” It muttered, seeing the Warp Gate take interest. “Pink and black costume, Gravity quirk, flood zone. Red hair, hardening quirk, flood zone. Bird head, shadow quirk, fire zone. Yellow hair, electric quirk, downpour zone.”
It had been briefed, of course, on what the mission was. The apprentice seemed to have some sort of notion that he would be killing All Might, but that wasn’t likely to be possible. Mostly because It’s Master had ensured there were enough incidents this morning to wear out even the Symbol of Peace, if his time limit was to be believed.
Still, there was always a chance, and It was somewhat relieved to find the number one Pro absent. Instead, Eraserhead and Thirteen stood in front of the students. But they were unimportant, so It turned It’s gaze back to the students hidden behind them.
It’s job was to analyse and report back, and find the weaknesses of the students. Knowing them now could be worth much later, and It’s Master wanted future villains to be well prepared. That meant throwing them into their weaknesses, so the others could take them out. All It had to do was instruct the Warpgate where to leave them.
“Glasses, speed quirk, flood zone. Invisibility quirk, leave. Acid quirk, leave. Rock-like, animal speaking quirk, leave. Tape elbows quirk, landslide zone. Sparkly, stomach lazer quirk, leave. Tail quirk, landslide. Earphone jack quirk, downpour zone. Sugar quirk and tentacle quirk, ruins zone.” It narrowed It’s eyes, focusing on the last few.
“Explosion and half-and-half, drop in the central plaza, distract the teachers. Leave the rest,” It finally settled on, getting only a brief nod of confirmation from the Warp Gate. It was a lot of information, and It had missed most of the apprentice’s rant, but that didn’t matter. It’s job was done now, so It could stand back and let the rest take over. It was curious to see how this would play out.
The first surprise came in the form of Eraserhead throwing himself into the battle. He shot down the stairs like a bullet, launching himself into the center of the villains with little regard to himself. It was confusing, in a way. Thirteen’s quirk, from what It now knew, would likely have been better at subduing large amounts of villains, albeit likely with some casualties. Eraserhead would tire too quickly to make much of an impact, at least here.
It turned It’s attention to the entrance, watching as the Warp Gate appeared, stopping them from escaping. There was a detached sort of curiosity to see how this would turn out, watching as the warpgate made the rescue hero injure themself beyond repair. That would be one pro out of commission. Eraserhead was still going strong, but It knew soon the apprentice would lose his patience and send in the Nomu.
Still, watching the pro hero in action was fascinating.
The scrolling information on Eraserhead’s quirk seemed to shudder for a second, everything frizzing out at the edges. A sharp pain echoed from behind It’s eyes, and It squeezed It’s eyes shut. Information flashed past, things It couldn’t possibly know. Eraserhead’s favorite color, the type of fabric the costume was made of, or what he looked like when he rolled his eyes.
It’s hand found It’s wrist, gripping tightly. The images and information faded, and the pain disappeared. It let out a silent sigh, opening It’s eyes once again to see what It missed.
With a whirl of air, the warp portal disappeared from beside It, likely to go stop the other students from leaving.
It’s so distracted by the fight he barely notices when Shigaraki starts moving, approaching the fighting, stalking around it lazily. Like a cat stalking it’s prey, assured in it’s eventual meal, looking only for the right moment to strike.
It knows, because It has been counting, that Eraserhead is getting tired: The space between his quirk usage dwindles with every villain defeated, and there are plenty more to throw at him. No, It’s Master’s apprentice is childish, and dumb, but he isn’t stupid . He knows, as surely as It knows, and he simply waits for the right moment to strike.
It’s attention is drawn, briefly, to the other areas of the USJ, where the warp gates form, dropping blurs of people into the other areas. It wonders, briefly, why they didn’t simply plan on dropping the students from high up and waiting for them to hit the ground. Some of them would have survived, certainly, but not all. Shaking It’s head, It left the thought alone, knowing better than to question It’s Master’s plans.
It’s Master would know best, as always.
Shinsou was kind of regretting his choice to go to UA right now. The entrance exam had been exceptionally unfair, and he had only gotten in based on the ‘rescue points’ he had gotten from dragging a girl out of the way of the Zero Pointer. It wasn’t anything fancy at all, just him half-supporting, half-carrying her while he sprinted out of the way of the damn thing. He hadn’t even really meant to help her, he just happened to run by and hear her call for help. And how many times had he been in that position himself? Watching others leave him in the dust while he cried out, hoping for someone, anyone, to lend a helping hand?
So he hadn’t left her. They’d both nearly died for it, which was terrifying, but in the end they’d both gotten into U.A.’s heroics course.
And now he stood, completely alone, in the middle of a bunch of mountainous terrain, surrounded on all sides by villains. With a sigh, he put on his most cocky grin, praying that they were all stupid enough to answer his questions.
If they didn’t, well…
Guess he’d die.
Mezo could hear Sato fighting in the distance, the sounds echoing strangely around the ruins that surrounded them. He had been taking out villains as he found them, but it seemed like, instead of one cohesive unit, they had all spread out amongst the ruins. Which was good for him, because it meant that he wasn’t taking on several villains at once. It seemed the commotion that Sato was causing was drawing them all towards him anyways, so Mezo picked up the pace.
Turning a corner, he got there just in time to see Sato topple a half destroyed wall on a group of villains. They crumpled under the weight of it, and Mezo spared a brief second to use one of his tentacles to check their breathing. They still were, thankfully, and he moved closer to his classmate.
He wondered why they had been dropped here when the ground itself seemed to rumble, the ruins they were standing on collapsing under the damage. He leaped forward, grabbing his classmate and pulling them to safer ground as the building around them began to fall apart, destabilized by all the damage Sato had done. He watched another bunch of villains get buried under the rubble, and prayed that they too would still be breathing.
Hanta was so far not enjoying this little field trip.
“Ojiro, catch!” he yelled, using his tape to sling a villain at his classmate. Ojiro lept and slammed the man with his tail, sending him flying off into the distance, but it wouldn’t be long before he was back. For now, they were stuck doing things like that, hoping to knock the villains unconscious or hurt them enough that they wouldn’t get back up. Unfortunately that meant they were mostly helpless, unless they could somehow meet up with some other people. Based on the fact that no one else had appeared yet, despite them flinging various villains around the area, it likely meant that no one else was coming to help them.
They were on their own, and Hanta was starting to really, really hate this field trip.
Ochako had no idea how she had gotten onto the boat. Literally no clue. She thought it might have had something to do with making herself weightless, and since she was less dense than water, it had all but rocket-launched her into the sky. But that was just a theory.
Not that it mattered much, in the grand scheme of things, considering she was helping to haul an equally soaked IIda onto the boat with her while Kirishima fended off the only villain brave enough to get close to them. Apparently, biting super-hardened skin hurt like a bitch.
“Okay, okay, okay--” she muttered, reaching down with Iida and hauling Kirishima up with them. Luckily the villains had backed off for the moment, although she had no idea how they were going to do this.
“Okay how the heck are we going to do this?” she asked, an edge of panic in her voice.
“Do we have to fight them?” Iida asked, arms chopping wildly. “Perhaps we could somehow avoid them, and not have to deal with the disadvantage of fighting in water.”
“That’s not very manly,” Kirishima said, and she scowled, slapping a hand on each of of them.
“Dying isn’t very manly either, and I’d rather fight where we have a chance of winning,” she said, hoping her adrenaline could keep the nausea at bay.
“Iida, could you run and launch us all across them?” she asked, and he nodded.
“I could do that, yes,” he replied easily, and she nodded.
“Alright, so here’s what we’re going to do…”
“God I can’t hear shit in this!” Jirou complained, throwing a rock at the villain who appeared through the downpour.
Denki, for his part, wa just trying to survive, trails of electricity arcing over his skin. He couldn’t be certain if he could use his quirk whether or not many puddles of water might carry the electricity to Jirou and hurt her. So, he did the very brave thing, and ran away from anyone who came near him, usually directly into some line of Jirou’s fire.
Yeah, this was fine. Totally, perfectly, fine.
“Call me Tsu-chan,” Tsuyu said, bouncing around the walls. The fire was licking at her skin, drying her out uncomfortably and quickly, and Tokoyami didn’t seem to be faring much better. At the very least there didn’t seem to be that many villains in the area, and they were all easy enough to take out.
Didn’t make her any less uncomfortable though.
“Look out!” Tokoyami shouted, and a second later Dark Shadow slipped through the air beside her, slamming the villain into the wall. She gave him a quick smile and nod in return, already moving on to the next target.
They needed to get out of there soon.
Getting dropped directly into the central plaza with Icy-hot wasn’t what he was hoping for. It meant he got to kick some villain’s asses, though, and that was what Katsuki was really looking forward to.
Granted, they were still too far away to actually do anything yet, and he was certain the teacher would tell him to stay out of the way.
Like hell he was going to do that though.
“Well Icy-hot? What are you waiting for?!”
Something was deeply, unsettlingly wrong. Shouta didn’t know what it was, to busy taking down villain after villain, even as the floods of them kept coming.
How the hell could they have gathered this many people?
At least it assured him of the fact that the campus wasn’t getting attacked. There was no way anyone would waste this many people on a single class if it had been a campus wide attack, not even if All Might was supposed to be here.
His scarves wrapped around another villain, sending them flying. He huffed, letting his eyes drop closed for a single, brief moment. They burned like hell, but it didn’t matter much, not when his students were in danger. He had already let the warp gate escape his sight, and now everyone was scattered around the USJ. He could only hope they would be able to hold their own.
Out of the corner of his eye he noticed what seemed to be the leader slowly approaching, as if waiting for a moment to strike. He kept half an eye on him, noting that when he began his approach, the others backed off as well. A slight but welcome reprieve, even as he turned his attention to the leader.
“The last boss?” he wondered, falling into the use of video game lingo like the other had been using. They rushed at each other, and he barely even registered his own movements, to preoccuplied with taking him out.
His elbow slammed into the man stomach, and he felt surprise at the fact the other had withstood his attack. His hair fell, and he internally groaned, trapped in the same position.
“It hard to see because you keep moving around,” the villain started, his voice quiet. “But there’s an instant when your hair falls.”
The fear that bubbled up was vicreal, the knowledge that, after watching him, this villain knew exactly what his weakness was. It froze him in place, the surprise and the fear, and that was his mistake.
“That’s when you’ve finished an action,” the villain continued, the scratching sound of creaking coming from his elbow. He glanced down as the pain flared, grimacing.
“And the space between has gotten shorter and shorter.” The villain sounded almost gleeful now, and he snarled at himself, hating his own weakness. Students lives were on the line here, and he couldn’t do anything.
“Don’t push yourself, Eraser Head,” the villai finished, evan as Shouta felt his elbow disintegrating. He pushed his quirk to work, breaking the hold the villain had and leaping back, safely out of the range of the other man. His elbow burned like hell, and he could feel flakes of it falling off as he moved. His other hand went to it almost instinctively, hovering over it as if to protect it. His reprieve was short lived, and a second later he was being attacked again, villains coming from all angles. It became more of a blur of movement to him, ducking and dodging and attacking, his breaths like lead in his chest.
“That Quirk isn’t suited for fighting long fights against large groups, is it? Isn’t this too different from your usual job? What you’re good at is a short fight after a surprise attack, right?” The villain started, slowly standing up. He could barely see the man’s eye behind the disgusting hand that covered his face, filled with a terrifying sort of glee that shook him to the core.
“Even so, you jumped right in to fight us from the front. Was that to put your students at ease?” The villains voice held a dark mirth now, even as he panted, the harsh breaths scraping through his throat. He was moving more on adrenaline and instinct than anything at this point, focused only on taking out the next target and making sure he kept breathing. He forced his quirk into overdrive, taking out opponent after opponent.
“You’re so cool…. You’re so cool….!” The villain said, arms open like he was going for a hug. It was far scarier than anything else he had done so far, with the way his voice was tinged with that insane glee, arms open wide and completely vulnerable to an attack. It was like he was invulnerable, invincible. Shouta didn’t want to test getting close again, though, not after what had happened to his elbow. Especially not with some of his students so close by, waiting hidden in the shallows. They must have fought their way out of the flood zone.
It meant that he had to keep this up, and keep the attention away from where they were. He didn’t even look at them, so afraid of what might happen to them if he did, if someone tracked his line of sight. The image of another kid floated up in his mind, one who he couldn’t save, and he pushed away the green haired image, forcing himself to focus on the present. He couldn’t help Midoriya now, but he could keep these kids safe.
“By the way hero….” the villain said, red eye staring at something behind him. He turned around to look, seeing the huge villain who loomed over him. He could feel the quirk erase working, and he felt horror climbing up his throat. What the hell was that thing?
“... I’m not the last boss.”
The thing moved, so fast, and the last thing he saw was the green haired spectre right behind the thing, standing just in the shadows.
And Midoriya Izuku was smiling.
“-- Right, my brother. He was such a good kid.” Her eyes were glinting in the darkness, something cold and cruel wallowing in their depths. He forced himself to listen, to pay attention, to try and find anything that could help him escape.
“He was quirkless, suffered for it, but you could never have told it from his smile. He wanted to be.. Well, he wanted to be two things. A business student, wanted to help market pro hero’s merch and icons and whatever, but also he wanted to be a musician. He was gonna go to U.A. too, go into the business course and learn to combine the two passions, create music based off the heroes he had loved so much. It was his dream.” She sounded so wistful, so sad, and he frowned, wondering what had happened to change her so much.
“And one day, well….
“One day, he died.”
It watched impassively as the Nomu attacked the hero, thoroughly beating him. It still didn’t understand their logic in the attack, or in the reactions of heroes. Thirteen would have been more suited to taking on so many people, and even then it would have been more logical for them to stay all together with the students and retreat from the scene. They still had a bus outside, after all; falling back to the main campus would have been much better for them.
But well, that wasn’t Its problem, so instead It kept It’s eyes on the various people It could see.The other students were clustered near the edge of the water, watching with increasing horror as their teacher was brutalized.
The Warp Gate appeared next to It, and It looked towards him, eyes scanning his quirk information before dismissing it.
“One of them escaped. I believe she was one of the recommendation students. She planned on hotwiring the bus and taking that back to alert the main campus,” he said, and It shrugged to itself. This was bound to happen in one way or another. Just because they got most of the students away from the entrance didn’t mean one of them wouldn’t escape.
“And Thirteen?” the Apprentice asked. The Warp Gate almost seemed to shrug.
“Incapacitated, but not dead. I’m waiting to drop a few more students in the central plaza when reinforcements arrive,” he said.
“Hm.. Do you think All Might would show up if we killed some kids?” the Apprentice asked, and It frowned in confusion.
“That… doesn’t make any sense,” It muttered, getting a glare from the Apprentice.
“What was that?” he growled, and It shrugged.
“It doesn’t make sense. All Might won’t show up any quicker if we kill kids, since he has no way of knowing what's happening here until the girl gets back to campus. If we were going to kill children, we should have done it at first, dropping them all from high up onto the central plaza. Some of them would have survived, but not all,” It said, ignoring the Apprentice’s hand as the limb wrapped around Its throat. It could feel him squeeze, closing off Its airways, yet as fast as It’s skin disintegrated it would reappear, regrowing faster than they could track.
“You’ve got a smart mouth on you, you know that?” he whispered, as if trying to be threatening. It shrugged again.
“That is what I am here for,” It replied. The Apprentice let go with a scowl, before turning back to the kids who stood at the edge of the water.
“Well, maybe I’ll kill them anyways. I could use something to take my anger out on,” he said. It watched impassively as he lunged for the girl, the one with the gravity quirk. He paused right before he hit her, and It saw that Eraserhead had his head up, physically straining against the Nomu. His quirk was active, eyes burning brightly, and It felt something similar to recognition stir in It’s head at his expression.
“You’re really cool, Eraserhead,” the Apprentice said, turning back to look at the hero. It winced slightly as the Nomu slammed the hero’s head into the concrete once again, and even It could tell he wouldn’t be getting back up from that. Not without medical help at least.
It watched impassively as the kids seemed to recover from their shock, the red haired one activating his quirk and moving as if to slam into the Nomu.
And then the doors blasted open.
It watched, impassive, as All Might appeared above the central plaza, bellowing out his usual catch phrase. He moved almost too fast for It’s eyes to catch, blasting through the remaining villains in the plaza and grabbing the kids, pulling them out of harm's way. The Nomu moved off Eraserhead, and All Might snatched him up as well.
It stepped out of the shadows, because this: this was truly what It was here for. Not for the analysis, the plan making, the execution. It was here to fight the weakened hero, whose quirk flashes through It’s mind in a blur of words, all strengths and no weaknesses.
Lightning flashed along It’s skin, and It couldn’t help but smirk.
Time for Vindicta to shine.
Toshinori would easily say that he was not prepared for what greeted him when he burst through the doors. When Yaoyorozu had shown up in a hotwired bus, talking about villains at the USJ, he had expected the worst.
This topped even that.
Thirteen was on the ground, nearly dead by the looks of it, completely incapacitated. Students clustered around them, eyes glancing to and fro in panic, but they kept darting back to the plaza. He boomed his usual catchphrase as he stepped up, and he finally saw what they were looking at.
Someone, or something, huge and hulkling and barely human, stood in the plaza, eyes dull and glassy. It’s exposed brain pulsated strangely, and the beak opened and closed without making a sound. Beneath it’s massive fist was Aizawa, bloodied and broken.
He could see some clusters of students, making their way towards the center plaza, and away from the training areas. They all looked awful, sporting bruises and blood, some of them limping.
Three were watching from the shallow area of the pool, eyes wide as they stared at the broken form of their teacher.
One of the villains, covered in hands, looked up at him.
And he began to laugh.
“You were wrong, little weapon. Almost killing the children did make him come faster,” the handed-one cackled. “Now, show me what sensei has made you.”
He turned, wondering who this weapon could possibly, when his eyes fell on someone. And caught.
The fluffy green hair was the same as he had always known it, albeit a little bit more combed. The outfit was strange, a dapper looking collared shirt and vest, with black slacks. Shining black shoes covered his feet, and Toshinori couldn’t explain how wrong that felt, just that it did. Fingerless gloves adorned his hands, and the sleeves had been pulled up, baring his forearms.
Green eyes stared up at him, blank and glassy, freckles dancing along his young successor’s face.
And then, young Midoriya smiled.
“Of course, Apprentice.”
And then Midoriya moved .
The fight was, in It’s opinion, rather one-sided. It could afford to go all out, It could push itself to the limits without fear of getting permanently hurt. The extreme regeneration quirk was helpful, especially when It’s bones kept exploding each time It used It’s quirk.
All Might, though.
It could already tell he was lagging. His time limit was up, the limitations of his quirk flashing through It’s mind.
For every blow All Might blocked, It followed up with two more. For every punch All Might threw, It retaliated twice as hard.
But still, It held back. And, to It’s surprise, All Might seemed to be doing the same.
It’s memory flashed in It’s mind, a constant reminder that It wasn’t here to do what the Apprentice thought it was.
“Vindicta, come in,” It’s Master spoke, voice echoing through the static. It stepped inside, the door shutting quietly behind It. It didn’t know what this meeting was about, or what It’s Master wanted from It, but nonetheless It had come.
“You know of our mission, yes?” Master spoke, and It tilted It’s head. A rhetorical question was odd coming from It’s Master, all things considered. It already knew everything Master wanted It to.
“Of course, of course, nevermind me. Forgive an old man for his jokes,” Master said. “The mission, to my apprentice, is to kill All Might. That is, in fact, our end-goal, but it’s not the main goal, currently.”
It was unsurprised when the floor dropped out from under It, and It found itself standing in front of Master, in the flesh. The man’s destroyed face looked more disfigured in the static of the TVs that surrounded him, a creepy grin etched across his face.
“You are fully capable of killing All Might, of that I have no doubt. But you will not do it. Not now, not yet. My protege still has much to learn, and failure can be one of the greatest teachers.”
It’s Master looked at It now, tilting his disfigured head.
“Do my orders compute?” he asked, and It nodded It’s head.
“Of course, Master,” It replied, and It’s Master nodded.
“Good; don’t tell my protege about this either. Dismissed,” It’s Master said, and It bowed, and soon found itself back in the room with the static TVs.
It filled the information away, and turned, stepping out of the room.
So, It pulled It’s punches drastically, still able to see the damage It was doing. It barely felt the pain of It’s limbs destroying themselves and reforming so rapidly, too focused on the mission. It’s job, for now, was to seem like It was fighting All Might at full power, and wait for the other teachers to arrive. At that point, the Warp Gate would suggest they abandon the effort, and retreat to base.
The Apprentice would follow those orders, whether he wanted to or not.
For now, it was just a game of keeping All Might distracted enough that he wouldn’t go and help the other students.
It noticed, rather belatedly, the two strongest quirks of the class being dropped into the center plaza by a warp gate, right amidst the remaining villains. All Might appeared to notice too, but It kept him on his toes, away from the students who needed his help. It was faster, stronger, and quicker to recover.
It was almost tempted to go all out, to see just how much damage It could do with one full-powered punch, but It’s Master’s order bade it not, so It refrained. It allowed itself to remain open just enough for All Might to slip past, grabbing the students who were fighting in the plaza, and those who still remained on the edges, and depositing them safely out of the way. They weren’t here to kill the students, after all.
It also noticed All Might grabbed Eraserhead, gently setting him down out of harm's way. Part of It’s heart seemed to beat in relief, and It couldn’t figure out why. It knew nothing about the hero, and shouldn’t care either way. Nonetheless, It’s shoulders eased, and It allowed itself a second to take a breath and look around.
Most of the plaza was ruined by now, the violent clashes blowing the place apart. The parts of the structure that were untouched were covered in dust, debris, and several students cowering in fear.
Suddenly, there was a shout from the doors, and It saw the other heroes standing proud atop the staircase, ready to fight.
Well , It thought with a bitter grin, guess it was time to go.
Hizashi was terrified. First Izuku, and now the other students; it seemed like this year was going wrong in all the worst ways.
But he couldn’t think of that now. There were villains at the USJ, and All Might had run ahead. But, well.
They all knew of his time limit, thanks to Nezu, and he knew the man had over-exerted himself earlier in the day.
Yaoyorozu sat quietly in the back of the car, worry etched across her face, while Midnight attempted to comfort her. Hizashi wished his car could go faster, petal already to the metal, and it still didn’t feel like enough. He refused to lose his best friend, not now, not until they were both old and gross and had enough time to retire and do whatever they wanted with their lives. He had already lost Izuku, and he couldn’t lost Shouta, too.
The domed building appeared in the distance, and he pushed the car harder, hearing the wheels tearing up the road, the roar of the engine filling his mind. They were close, just a few more seconds--
He slammed on the breaks, sending them almost skidding to a stop in front of the doors, the bus stopping seconds behind them. He was already out, not even bothering to turn off the car, moving towards the doors. He could hear the others behind him, all the pros’ near-panicked breathing forming into a cohesive unit of noise, overwhelming his senses.
He didn’t know what he expected when he threw open the doors. Maybe Shouta and Thirteen’s corpses lying on the ground in front of them, mangled and broken. Maybe the kids, killed in cold blood, strewn about the room. Maybe something worse.
But he opened the door to see several terrified children's eyes on him, all clustered around the destroyed suit of Thirteen. He could hear fighting echoing in the distance, reverberating through the arena, settling against his bones in an aching vibration of violence.
The others could take care of the kids up here; he had to keep moving.
He stepped up to the platform’s edge, looking down the staircase at several slowly-ascending villains. They were basic thugs, even he could tell, nowhere near the cohesive fighting force he was fearing. Still, there were enough to pose a threat, especially without the backup Shouta and Thirteen would have needed to take them on.
He didn’t even think about it, unleashing his quirk in full-force on them, knocking them all back to the ground. It was only then that he allowed himself to look passed the immediate danger, to search out what else was happening. The other teachers stood at his back, their panic coalescing into a fury so thick he could almost see it.
Five students were attempting to hold their own in the center against wave after wave of thugs and villains, all moving with the clear signs of panic and horror. The main threat to them was an extremely large-looking thing which just kept coming, with no regard for it’s wounds or any attacks the kids threw at it.
In the center of them was Shouta, lying in a pool of blood, arm twisted and muscle showing, like someone had taken his skin and peeled it off. It made him sick to his core, and his heart wrenched at the sight, but his friend was still alive, still breathing, and that was all he could hope for, for now.
His eyes were forced away from his friend when another crash sounded, two blurs moving across the plaza at speeds too fast for him to comprehend. The entire plaza was obliterated, impact craters and flying chunks of concrete strewn about the area, the figures constantly moving. Only the area around the students remained untouched, and he wondered why for a second before it became clear.
The two figures paused for just a moment, long enough for both of them to take a breath. One of them was All Might, blood leaking from the corner of his mouth, looking as if he could barely stand on his own. Most of his shirt had been obliterated, leaving the ugly purpling bruises on display for all to see, and the grotesque scar stretched to its limits.
The other person…
His brain felt like it was swimming, taking in and disregarding scenarios as quickly as possible, everything fuzzing out as his reality tried to piece itself back together.
Izuku was standing across from All Might, hair combed back slightly, wearing a black vest, a button up, slacks, and a shiny pair of shoes. The outfit was scuffed up, torn in some places, and lightning crackled over his skin, arms breaking and forming and breaking again, almost quicker than he could see. The boy’s face was completely blank, except for a slight grimace on one side of his mouth, the only indication he was feeling anything at all. But his eyes--
His eyes were glassy, like staring into the eyes of a dead fish. There was nothing behind them anymore, nothing but a walking corpse: a zombie shambling around, wielding a quirk without a care in the world; a puppet dancing to a tune, strings pulling it every which way. But no thought, no ideas. Nothing.
His entire world felt like it was shifting, breaking apart and reforming, swirling and clashing as he tried to fill in the pieces between.
The Before: Izuku, young and hurt and scared, wanting to be a hero anyways. Rushing into fights because no one else was doing anything, hurtling into danger just so he could get a better view. An entire room covered in hero merchandise, quick dinners and watching enthusiastic conversations with his mother about all the new hero intel he had gotten.
And now the After : Glassy-eyed and fighting his idol, the number one pro hero; bones breaking and reforming faster than should have been possible. Dressed to the nines in an outfit made to withstand it, still and silent, nothing left of the nervous energy he had always exuded before.
Looking at him felt like looking at a stranger, so completely different from the Izuku Hizashi knew.
His world was crashing down around him, and he couldn’t bring himself to move.
“And do you know who killed him?”
Izuku snarled at her, still trying and failing to escape his bonds.
“Well,” Kylie said, her grin tinted with the edge of crazy he had become used to seeing on villains.
“It was Present Mic who killed him. What a funny coincidence, right?”
It knew that it was time for them to go. The other pro heroes had shown up, and despite the fact that It knew It could take them all down if It wanted, It had been ordered to retreat. Failure teaches more than success ever does, as It’s Master said.
It’s eyes scanned the teachers, landing on the one at the forefront of the group. All Might stood ignored in front of It for the moment, his loud, heaving breath echoing throughout the space.
Present Mic’s quirk scrolled in It’s minds eye, the info appearing in that strange handwriting on worn notebook pages. The information seemed more detailed than normal, but It shrugged that fact off.
Pro Hero: Present Mic, Age: 30, Birthday: July 7th, Height: 185cm, Quirk: Voice.
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Static ripped through It’s his brain, and suddenly It he dropped to his It’s knees.His It’s Their screams tore through their throat, brain turning to mush at the assault of information that It he couldn’t read. He It They was only distantly aware of the cool warp gate surrounding It They Him and dropping Ithimthem back in the bar.
Hands clutched at his head, fingers driving against skin, and suddenly the static vanished.
It blinked, throat raw, blinking up at where the other two were peering down at It.
It’s memories of the end of the attack had fuzzed out, and It wondered what had happened. The last thing It remembered were the doors being thrown open as the other pros had burst in. The rest was blank.
The Apprentice looked angry, and quickly began ranting about how the plan had failed. It guessed that meant everything had gone to plan, and It’s Master would be happy.
It couldn’t help but wonder what exactly had happened though.
Hizashi nearly collapsed as the portal swallowed the villains, teleporting them away. He wasn’t sure if it was relief that the students were safe, or fury that Izuku had been right there . He had been right there and now he was gone and--
“‘Zashi, breath, okay? We have to make sure the other students are safe,” Nemuri spoke quietly in his ear, a steadying hand on his shoulder. He forced everything to the back of his mind, forced himself to work with the others, to help gather up the students. All Might looked haunted, when he passed him, eyes staring at the spot where Izuku had collapsed before vanishing through the warp gate.
The students and villains were rounded up, the police were called, but all the while he felt like a puppet who’d had it’s strings cut. He had no sense of what was happening, acting the part of a reliable pro hero as best as he could, but he knew his colleges, at the very least, could see through him. Nemuri kept putting her hand on his shoulder or grabbing his arm or having some sort of contact with him. Nezu kept giving him looks , filled with some emotion which he didn’t have the mental awareness to discern.
His best friend was almost dead, rushed off to the hospital, and his soulmate had apparently joined the villain’s side, despite wanting nothing more in life than to be a hero.
His world felt like it had crumbled around him, becoming some destroyed wasteland he didn’t recognize.
All Might, with the haunted look in his eyes, seemed to understand. His hand, large, warm, and calloused, settled on Hizashi’s shoulder, once all was said and done.
“We’ll get him back,” the number one pro promised, voice lacking his usual assurances. He sounded as lost as Hizashi felt. “I promise you, we’ll get him back.”
Hizashi could only nod in response.
Kylie should not be finding so much mirth in watching the pro heroes suffer. And yet, she had fallen a little onto that side of crazy long ago, and she cackled watching them.
“Look at the poor baby, so lost and alone!” she howled, doubled over with laughter. Her hands clutched her sides, breaths heaving with the force of her outburst. Sensei sat beside her, the TVs in front of them showing the scene at U.A. It had been necessary for him to, well, ‘watch’ wasn’t the right word, but maybe… understand what happened while they were there.
He had allowed her to watch with him, to see the weapon she had helped to create in action.
Midoriya Izuku was a force to be reckoned with, that was for sure, especially with all the extra quirks he had been given. His ability to make decisions on his own, along with the unfailing loyalty that had been instilled in him towards them, made him the perfect choice for a Nomu.
A weapon of mass destruction, marching to their tune. It was glorious .
But she wasn’t here for that. No, she was here to see the broken look on Present Mic’s face, the way he had stared when he caught sight of his little soulmate. The empty eyes had stared back, and she had gotten to watch Present Mic shatter .
“Enjoy the show?” Sensei asked, his voice raspy and unnatural. She didn’t mind, though; she had been working with him for far too long to be bothered.
“Oh yes, Sensei, thank you for allowing me the illustrious opportunity to see Vindicta in action,” she said gleefully, watching as the warp portal teleported them away. She could hear them landing in the bar somewhere, the Izuku’s screams echoing loudly throughout the space. She wondered what had triggered it before the noise stopped abruptly, and she decided it wasn’t really her problem.
Sensei laughed, and she grinned, staring down at Present Mic’s shell-shocked face.
Her revenge was on its way to completion, and she couldn’t wait to see the final product.
She would make Present Mic suffer as she had, and she would enjoy every second of it.
Hizashi didn’t know how he ended up at the Midoriya household. He should have been at Shouta’s side, making sure his best friend got the best care possible, and yet here he was, soaking wet as the rain poured down, standing at the front of the apartment building. He liked to think Shouta would understand why he wasn’t there, even if he didn’t fully understand himself.
He raised his hand to knock, entire body shaking, although he couldn’t tell if it was from the cold or the wet or something else entirely.
He could barely register anything, eyes haunted by the image of his best friend on the ground, bleeding out, terrified students staring up at him with barely concealed hope on their faces. Of the image of Izuku, staring blankly, eyes dead, destroying himself over and over like a machine, and not seeming to understand.
He was haunted by the image of Izuku, swallowed up by the black portal, yanked out of his hands once again and pulled from his grasp before he could move to do anything about it.
The news had broken earlier, and Nezu had wanted all hands on deck. But Nezu had taken one look at him and dismissed him for the next few days, telling Mic to pull himself together before they came back from the break.
Mrs. Midoriya somehow didn’t seemed surprised to see him at her door, ushering him inside and sitting him down on the couch, wrapping him in a towel and all but pouring hot tea down his throat.
He could barely keep the cup steady as he sipped, everything coming down all at once.
“He was there,” he whispered to no one, hunched over his tea, clutching it like it could keep him grounded in reality. “He was there, and then he wasn’t, and I…”
“Who was there, Yamada-kun?” Mrs. Midoriya asked, wrapping another towel around his hair. He barely realized he was crying until the tears were flowing, a cascade of liquid anguish.
“Izuku. He was-- he was there. He was there but he wasn’t and I couldn’t do anything to save him, and I’m so sorry I’m so sorry--” His voice cracked and shattered, fragments of glass in the air all around them. Mrs. Midoriya sat in front of him, her own cup of tea clutched in her hands. She looked so much older than she had when he first met her. It was like, over the past few months, she had doubled in age.
He barely realized she had moved until she was in front of him, pulling the cup away from him and taking his hands into her own. They were so warm against his skin, and he nearly sobbed, because he didn’t deserve her kindness. He didn’t deserve the motherly affection in her gaze, or the way she gently pulled him into a hug.
It wasn’t until he felt how tightly her arms wrapped around him that he wondered if maybe she needed this just as much as he did.
“I know,” she said, and her voice was breaking too, and now they were both sobbing, clutching onto each other as if they were the only things left in the world. “There were videos leaked and I- I saw him. My baby boy, my poor baby boy. He wasn’t-- There was something wrong and I--”
He could barely understand her now, but he didn’t think he needed to. Things had been strained between them ever since Izuku had disappeared, Mrs. Midoriya rightly blaming them for the danger that had been posed to her son. She never said it outwardly, probably aware that it wasn’t entirely their fault, but still, it reeked in every interaction they'd had since the night before the entrance exam.
Now, though, now it felt like that burden had lifted, just a bit. He and Mrs. Midoriya were something like friends, although maybe more like family at this point. It felt - despite the fact that Hizashi was a full grown adult and could take care of himself - like she had adopted him, and the other strays he had dragged with him.
He and Nemuri and Shouta and Izuku were all her children now, it felt like, and when tragedy strikes, families either fall apart or fall together.
And as the two sobbed in a too empty apartment over a missing boy with a too bright smile, and his facsimile replacement, it felt like forgiveness, for everything.
“You did well, Vindicta; everything is going perfectly to plan. What quirk would you like as a reward?” It’s Master asked, sitting in the chair before It. It’s head still felt clogged with static, although It couldn’t remember why. It was frustrating, not understanding why It couldn’t remember. But, It’s job wasn’t to remember. So long as the job had been done properly, then It was satisfied.
Or at least, that’s what It told Itself, ignoring the curiosity burning under It’s skin.
It looked up at It’s Master, thousands of quirks, and the info for each, appearing before It. Filtering through all the info was difficult, and there was several minutes of silence as It tried to pick out which quirk would best augment It’s abilities. Everything with It’s Master was a test, but It knew better than to refuse a gift as precious as another quirk.
It’s current quirks were an interesting set already. Superpower: a multifaceted strength quirk that allowed for incredible amounts of force to be channeled into any part of his body, or into all of it at once, but with destructive and painful drawbacks.
Rapid Regeneration: a quick-healing quirk which allowed It to use Superpower at its full strength without experience the drawbacks for longer than a few seconds. However, the quirk made It incredibly weak once it was out of battle.
Light Manipulation: which allowed It to bend light to It’s will. This allowed It to bend light around Itself and create an invisibility cloaks of sorts. The only drawback is It had to leave It’s eyes visible or render Itself completely blind.
Mild levitation: stolen on It’s first mission. This quirk allowed It to reduce the amount of power It needed to move when using Superpower, by making It’s body and clothing more weightless. The quirk was weak enough to not have any significant drawbacks.
And analysis: which allowed It to see the weaknesses and strengths of any quirk, as well as how to use them, upon looking at a person. The drawback was that the quirk couldn’t be turned off, and It had to learn to ignore a lot of the information that was constantly flooding in, lest It’s brain be overloaded.
Finally, It found a quirk that It liked, latching onto it with ferocity.
“Master, I think I want…”
“See, he was just a quirkless kid, no one of import, and not the son of someone of import either. But he loved heroes, and he always liked to watch the fights. And one day, he got caught up in one by accident. Just a little kid, coming home from school, when a villain attacked.”
Izuku couldn’t help the curiosity bubbling under his skin, wondering what attack she meant. He had studied Present Mic’s hero career almost religiously once he found out the other was his soulmate, but he couldn’t think of any battle that had resulted in a death.
“Present Mic was one the scene in a heartbeat, and he…” He can see her breath shuddering in her chest, see the pent up rage swimming in her eyes.
“My brother had never wanted to be a hero, though he admired them.” Izuku blinked, confused by the nonsequenter. “No, he had always wanted to be a business student, and a musician.”
“When Present Mic used his quirk on that villain, he never thought about the civilians that would get caught in the crossfire.”
The U.A. Sports Festival was coming up. It knew because the Master’s Apprentice wouldn’t shut up about the event. It didn’t know why the event was so important to the other, but nonetheless It listened in on the Apprentice’s ramblings.
“Stupid U.A. and their heroes, can never stop even once. It’s all about proving they’re better than us, but they aren’t ,” the Apprentice snarled, scratching furiously at his own neck. It watched impassively, waiting for further orders. For the past week It had been assigned to the Collector, learning more about her tricks of the trade.
It was also in charge of disposing of the bodies for those who got in their way. Whether they were alive or dead bodies didn’t matter.
“We need more information on those damn kids; have to be better prepared,” the Apprentice said, staring at the advertisement for the Sports Festival with hatred.
“Vindicta, you will infiltrate the Sports Festival and watch. Get up close and personal. Students, teachers, heroes , whatever information you can gather, get it, and bring it back,” the Apprentice snapped, and It tilted It’s head in acknowledgement. Sated for now, the Apprentice turned back to the screen, muttering to himself, and It wandered off, intent on working on Its new quirk.
It was a simple quirk, to anyone else who thought about it. A quirk that allowed someone to regulate their own body temperature perfectly, and withstand the high and low temperatures within about 30 degrees celsius of the average human body temperature. But It was using the quirk for something much better.
It activated It’s new quirk, and the light refraction one, making sure to make only It’s eyes visible. Then, It began to wander.
There were thermal cameras all over the bar, along with regular ones. The regular ones could be fooled by the light bending quirk, so long as It didn’t look directly at them. But the thermal cameras were a different problem.
The quirk pulsed under Its skin, cooling It’s body to the same temperature as the air around it. It had been getting better at maintaining the state, although It still couldn’t do so for more than an hour at a time. It’s goal was to walk the entire base without ever getting spotted by the cameras, which It’s Master was constantly watching.
It pulled on the mild levitation quirk, making Itself light enough so It’s steps made no sound as It walked. It had, in a few simple days, become a veritable stealth master, lightly hopping from one foot to the other as It moved down the hallway.
They had discovered recently that It’s quirk didn’t work through screens, which was probably why the Apprentice was sending It to the actual Festival to observe.
It did find the orders strange though. Observe, and nothing else. It wondered if the Apprentice realized the damage It could do if ordered to kill. With the students sitting in seperate boxes by class, it would be easy enough to kill them off right as the audience applauded. Any screams would be interpreted as applause cheers, and any other noises would be swallowed up by the crowd.
Or It could kill students right as they left the field from their one-on-one matches. U.A. always did a one-on-one bracket for the finalists, so It would be able to easily plan around the event. It could kill them right after their first fight, where they wouldn’t be missed until their next match, by which point they would be long gone.
Even the announcers, there but out of public eye, could be taken out in a quick second during one break or another, and no one would notice until it was time for the announcements to start again.
Even if they just wanted to ruin U.A.’s reputation, all It would have to do was go into the first event, where everyone was participating, and blast them with Superpower at 100%. They wouldn’t be prepared for the attack, and It could kill quite a few of those who would get caught point blank. Mass slaughter on live television would cause U.A. to crumple like wet paper, taking all the heroes who worked there with it.
But It hadn’t been ordered to do any of that, so It would do as It was told, and simply observe: Find weaknesses and strengths, and report back.
It let out a silent sigh as It finally stopped, having crossed through the entire building without once being spotted. It let the quirks drop, leaning against the wall heavily as the exhaustion hit. The quirks were difficult to use, but that’s why It practiced.
“Very good, Vindicta. Keep this up, and you’ll be more than ready by the Sports Festival,” It’s Master’s voice rang out from the cameras, and It looked towards them.
“Of course Master, I will be ready,” It replied, reactivating the quirks. Time for another lap.
The U.A. Sports Festival was coming up. Hizashi knew because it was all anyone at U.A. would talk about. He, for once, was against it, the image of Izuku’s empty eyes haunting him relentlessly. Even Shouta and All Might were against the Sports Festival going through, but Nezu pushed aside their concerns. Hizashi followed along with it, if only because he was going to make sure he was still here the next time the villains showed up.
His soulmark had taken to burning recently, sparks of pain echoing through his body and making him both relieved and terrified at the same time. On the one hand, it mean that somehow, somewhere, Izuku was still alive and kicking. On the other, there was no telling what he was being forced to go through.
He sighed, staring down at his desk, refusing to close his eyes.
He wished his mind would just shut up.
Shouta wasn’t certain what to think. Hizashi had confirmed what he had hoped had been a pain-filled hallucination, crying all the while.
Midoriya had been at the USJ. He had been fighting on the side of the villains.
Shouta sighed through the bandages, mentally preparing himself to walk through the doors and tell his class about the Sports Festival. It was certain to be a disaster, and he wasn’t sure what about this Nezu thought was a good idea, but here they were.
He shook his head, determinedly pushing the thought of his best friend’s soulmate out of his mind.
Guilt had always been a companion to Toshinori. It was a constant weight on his shoulder, pressing him down and reminding him of all the people he couldn’t save.
Now though, it felt like that weight had tripled. It was no longer a constant companion of shadows, always there but not always obvious. Now, it was a companion of solid weight, always in his mind, always what he was thinking about.
Midoriya Izuku’s face burned in his mind, wth empty eyes and multiple quirks, staring like he was nothing but an empty shell waiting to be filled with orders.
He had caused that. He had given Young Midoriya his quirk. He had believed they would be safe, that All For One was dead.
He had been wrong, and now Young Midoriya was paying the price.
Katsuki didn’t know what the fuck was going on. For the past week after the USJ, half of their teachers looked like they were on death's door, figuratively, and, in the case of Eraserhead, literally. They looked like someone gutted their favorite fucking stuffed animal in front of them or something, and he didn’t understand.
They’re heroes, and yeah, it was terrifying as fuck to be attacked by villains (not that he would ever admit that to anyone, himself or others) but they were heroes . It was kinda their pay grade.
But no, instead Midnight and Present Mic looked like someone had murdered their soulmate in front of them, and even All Might looked at the world like it was holding a gun to his head and flaunting its power, threatening to pull the trigger.
He didn’t fucking understand . Something had happened when the villains attacked, and sure it was out of the ordinary, but this ?!
This wasn’t what he expected them to act like, even if no one else seemed to notice.
What had happened at the USJ? What had he missed?
Todoroki Shouto considered himself an observant person. Observant enough to know when something had all the teachers on edge, especially a few in particular. It was a hard-won ability, to read someone’s moods no matter what. An undercurrent of agitation flowed through the school, unsettling in it’s own way.
He couldn’t help but wonder, as he prepared for the Sports Festival, what had happened.
He wondered if it had anything to do with the kid who fought with the villains.
Chapter 34: Lunar Interlude
Hey everyone! Sorry for the long wait, but unfortunately you'll have to wait a bit longer. After this chapter, the fic will be officially going on hiatus for an indeterminate amount of time. I will finish it eventually, but until then, I apologize for the wait!
UPDATE: This chapter was edited as of 7/30/2019, please read beginning notes!
A WARNING: A brief description of a suicide occurs during this chapter, so if that will trigger you or make you uncomfortable, PLEASE DON'T READ IT. Your safety and comfort is #1 priority, and an explanation for what happens will be put in the notes at the bottom of the chapter for all of you who don't not/can't read this chapter. STAY SAFE LOVELIES
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“And so, my brother was deafened. Can you imagine? Music and heroes were the only joys he had in his life, and suddenly they were both ripped away from him. Now, instead of just being the quirkless kid, he was the quirkless disabled kid. There’s nothing wrong with being disabled, of course, but god if people don’t make it an issue.” Kylie’s face had become a sneer, filled with hatred.
“And you know what? We spent years trying to help him. Time spent learning sign language so we could communicate with him, hundreds of tissues and whiteboards and markers so he could write things down. Money spent going to specialists and doctors and everything in between to fix his hearing, all the while watching the life fade from my brother’s eyes.
“He killed himself when I was 18.”
Izuku stared at her, eyes wide. His struggling had all but ceased, his mind boggled by the new information. She seemed to sense his surprise, and she grinned at him, saccharine sweet.
“Surprised? We were too. See, you wouldn’t think to blame Mic for it, no, it was just a fact of life, and it sucked. But I blame him because he never did anything . Three other deaths were caused by falling buildings in that incident, and four other civilians were injured. It was swept under the rug by the media and by the heroes, the deaths were blamed on the villain who didn’t have nearly enough power to do any of that damage.”
“So my brother was driven to suicide, the only thing he loved in life ripped away from him by an incident that should never have happened, and we never even got so much as a fucking ‘sorry’ for it.”
Kylie sat in the chair, staring blankly into the sound board. Mic was beside her, as silent as he had been only a few months ago, when she had first taken Midoriya.
The joy of her revenge, the sweet, starburst of finally at seeing his pain every day, it had slowly but surely dwindled.
With every quiet, one word answer from Midoriya, every glance at his too empty, too dead eyes, every time she saw a mirror of it in Mics face, the truth of what she'd done dug just a little bit deeper.
The funniest part of it all, was that she hadn't even realized how much she had grown to care about those two idiots until she was smacked in the face with it. When the high of her long awaited, finally fulfilled revenge had worn off, all she could think about was how she had ruined them.
She saw it every time she glanced behind her at Midoriya, no, Vindicta, expecting a bouncy step or gushing about heroes or talking about his workout plan only to be met with dull eyes and unresponsive silence.
She felt it every time she sat in a room with Mic, listening to him put on his show voice, something that was so unbelievably wrong and fake it hurt her just to listen to it. She felt it having to sit next to him in silence every time she came in, not ever sure how to break the ice, or even if she should try.
She hadn't even realized how much she liked Mic until she didn't have those goofy nights where they were both up til 3 D.J.ing together, playing increasingly ridiculous songs and knowing they had immunity to being yelled at because it was Present Mics radio show after all, he could play whatever he wanted. Until suddenly his bright and sparkly personality had dimmed to a facsimile of what it once was. Until suddenly she had lost one of the few real friends she had ever had.
And now her conscious was creeping in, something she had kept at bay since she started this path ten long years ago, when she had stood in the doorway of her brothers room as he hung from his ceiling, holding a crumpled and tear stained note in her hand.
His last words to her, to all of them, had been 'Please don't blame him, it's not his fault'.
But what else was she going to do with her grief?
At 14 years old, she clenched her first, and made a stubborn, pain filled promise of blood and retribution, and she held onto it for ten long years.
'He would be so ashamed of me.'
"... I'm putting in my two week notice today."
She thought of every life she had ever ruined, every pain and hurt and despair she had inflicted on someone else, every excuse she had ever used to justify her own hate-filled revenge scheme.
She closed her eyes, put her head in her hands. She had done so much bad, so much awful and irredeemable shit, and she knew there was no saving her now. She had made her bed, and now she must lie in it.
But, looking to Mic, his haggard face and pain filled eyes, that didn't mean that she had to drag anyone else down with her.
It was time to go. She stood up, swinging her bag over her shoulder, pausing before she dropped a hand onto Mic's shoulder. It felt tainted, like she shouldn't be touching him, not after all the pain she had caused him. She did it anyways.
"... Me too Kylie."
She left before he could see the tears brimming in her eyes.
A lone figure stood on the street in front of the radio station, eyes filled with tears. She let her hair remain the long, soft black that it had been before letting it go, shedding it like she would shed the persona of who she ahd been for the past several years.
Eyes shining, the Collector looked up at the building one last time.
Kylie does some introspection, and comes to regret what she has done. She apologizes to Mic, and leaves.
The Sports Festival was upon them. It’s job was simple: sneak in, observe, sneak out. They had found It’s quirk didn’t work when seeing things through television, and It had the most adept abilities for the job. It couldn’t be teleported in, because they would likely be on the lookout for such things.
It’s Master had told It to observe only, not to attack, although It could have done so easily. It couldn’t help but wonder what It’s Master’s plan was, but It was not allowed to ask.
So, instead It simply did as It was told. Sneaking in was easy with It’s quirks: It simply walked in, keeping It’s eyes towards the ground and not letting anyone see It. The body temperature regulation insured no one would be able to sense It’s presence with heat signatures, and the cameras wouldn’t see It. Mild levitation to top everything off, and It floated over the wall with ease, feet settling against the ground inside with barely a whisper.
It made It’s way towards the building, slipping inside the student section and dropping It’s quirks. The U.A. gym outfit was well made, It had to admit; much comfier that the starchy uniform It had worn last time It had broken in.
To anyone else, It would simply appear to be a student wandering the area before the event started, but that was the point. It didn’t want to keep up It’s quirks the entire time It was here, and no one could possibly know every student in the first year classes.
This also meant It could get some up close and personal looks at the students It was meant to be studying, since once the first event started It could simply blend in with the masses. All the cameras focus’ would be on the front of the pack, those who got left in the dust getting less screen time.
It was perfect, and, with that plan in mind, It slipped through the hallways, studying each door. It would have liked to watch the third years, but It’s Master had specifically instructed It to watch the first years, as that was the class he wanted to put pressure on.
Besides, they’d already attacked them once, why not just find something and stick with that?
It passed the door to class A, peering in curiously. Luckily, someone had left the door ajar, and It simply had to activate a little of It’s quirk to peer in without being seen.
It appeared that the Fire-and-Ice kid was issuing a challenge to the Explosion kid. It didn’t care much for the interclass politics of such a move, so instead It focused on the other members of the class. It noted which of them looked nervous, which looked excited, and which looked both. Undoubtedly this would affect their performance, so better to have all the information It could.
It also noted that there was a new student amongst the crowd. She seemed to be quiet, out of the way, looking around but not interacting much. Dragon wings sprouted from her back, twitching expressively with her movement. Other than that, she didn’t seem all that impressive.
The speakers activated a second later, telling the class to report to the field. It slipped inside as they all turned towards their other exit, heading towards the field.
Might as well step out with the best of the best, after all.
Chapter 36: Centuries
I FUCKING FORGOT IT WAS WEDNESDAY WHOOPS
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
As It stepped out onto the field, It heard the roar of the crowd. Seemed like the people had already picked their favorites for the year, It mused. A foolish reason to cheer for someone, not to mention the awful perspective it put on the students’ lives. ‘You almost died in an extremely traumatic event, have a prize!’
Wasn’t Its place to say anything though, so It simply kept walking.
It kept It’s eyes on everyone else as they made their appearance, noting quirks and capabilities with ease. None stood out as particularly combative, excluding the hero course students and one General Studies girl, but quite a few in General Studies would be useful for rescue hero work. Not that they would ever get a chance to use them, with U.A. the way it was.
Quite a failing by the biggest hero school in the country, to let so many good quirks go untapped.
The speech by Bakugou Katsuki went about as It expected, although for the life of It, It couldn’t remember why It had expected such from him. His quirk notes fuzzed out at the edges, and It gave him a headache, so It simply didn’t look too hard. It already had enough information on him anyways.
For the first event, It stayed out of sight, watching and observing. It was simple enough to keep up with the leaders of the pack, mostly class 1-A, although there were a few class B students in there as well. Any noise It made was brushed off as someone else’s quirk, and that made It’s job so much easier.
The cavalry battle was interesting, to say the least. Despite all their fighting for it, both Bakugou Katsuki and Todoroki Shouto had failed to come in first place in the first event. Instead, a bubbly looking girl with pink dreads had come in first. Her quirk was unimpressive - a simple eye mutation - but her ability to create items was astounding. It wondered if an attempt to recruit her would be worth It’s while.
Hearing her talk, however, quickly nullified that idea. Clearly she was only interested in creating for heroes, and getting picked up by one of the big support companies. However, she was probably the smartest in the group, immediately giving up the 10 million headband to Todoroki, all while snatching his own headband. After that, it was simple for her to almost sweep the floor with everyone else, snatching headbands from afar with one of her machines.
The other student that caught It’s eye was one with a brainwashing quirk. He had been at the USJ, but It hadn’t gotten time to see how his quirk worked exactly, and it was fascinating to watch. Not all that useful, at least, not for It, but It’s Master could likely get some good use out of the quirk if they got their hands on it.
It wasn’t sure whether or not to be amused when It spotted the brainwasher’s soulmate mark, outlined in silver blue down his arm.
‘I want you to shut up you annoying fuck.’
There had to be an interesting story behind that one.
In the end, Todoroki, Bakugou, the support girl, and the brainwasher’s teams all advanced to the one-on-one battles.
It was unreasonably excited to see them in action, the foreign feeling bubbling up in It’s chest. It still had to check on the teachers, and get a report of damage done to them for It’s master, but It could do that during the lunch break. For now, It pulled up It’s quirks, slipping away from the field and towards the announcer’s box.
Eraserhead was up there, and so was Present Mic. It wanted more information, more understanding of what had happened to It at the USJ.
Finding the steps, It hurried upwards, unseen and unheard.
Hizashi sighed, leaning back in his seat. He normally loved being the announcer for these things, pumping up the crowd and hyping it all up for TV. However, right now it grated at him, being stuck here for a full day when he could be out doing something, helping .
Not that he could actually do much in the search for his young soulmate, but it still grated at him. The image of Izuku, standing with the villains, eyes empty and unseeing, hadn’t left him since the USJ. Every time he closed his eyes he saw it, no matter what he did to distract himself.
He knew the others were having similar issues, the bags under Nemuri’s eyes deep enough that even her makeup couldn’t hide it. All Might looked constantly exhausted, even when he was in his hero form. There was a tenseness to Shouta that Hizashi hadn’t seen since their school days, back when he was still trying to prove to the world that he could be a hero.
He sighed, rubbing a hand against his temples. He could almost feel Shouta’s gaze on him, boring into his skull.
“Don’t, Shouta. Just… don’t,” he sighed, closing his eyes.
He hated this.
Todoroki didn’t expect to run into anyone after his confrontation with his father. The old man could never leave him alone it seemed, and he hated it.
He was not expecting to run into anyone, but he definitely wasn’t expecting to run into the kid from the USJ.
Dull, dead green eyes stared out at him, limp hair knotted and gnarled, a badly fitting school uniform surrounding his small frame. His face was pale and haggard, and Shouto took a step back instinctively, knowing somehow that this kid could kill him with very little effort.
“You don’t use your fire.”
The kid’s statement was flat, vocals just as dead as the rest of him appeared. It seemed like every syllable out of him was dragged out and killed, before it even got the chance to fly. Todoroki took another step back, looking around wildly for some kind of help. Even his father would have been a blessing right now, as a pro hero who could take care of this villain.
“No, I don’t,” he replied, trying to stall for time. The kid took a step towards him, glassy eyes peering at him, almost like they were reading something Shouto couldn’t see.
Such a simple question, and such a complicated answer. The need to spill his story, his reasoning, seemed to bubble in his chest, pressing against his sternum, willing him to release it once more. He had already told Bakugou, and the other boy had done nothing except scoff at him and tell him he was an idiot.
There was no judgement in this strange child-villain’s eyes, no hatred or jealousy or anything. They were blank, empty, save for the smallest glimmers of curiosity.
Shouto needed to stall until he could get away, or until someone came looking for him: until a pro could show up and help. Shouto knew he was powerful, but he also knew when he was outclassed.
So he told the whole sordid story, from beginning to end, and all the while the villain stared at him, never saying anything, never even blinking. The unwavering focus was terrifying.
“... and so that’s why I don’t use my fire side,” he finished. The villain-kid blinked, finally, before leaning back slightly, giving Shouto room to breathe.
“What?” he asked, completely blindsided. From Bakugou the response had been expected, along with the flashy explosions and the sneer and the holier-than-thou attitude that the blond seemed to carry with him like a shield wherever he went.
The completely resolute, dead way the villain told him threw him off guard. Most villains always seemed to be about the tragic backstory, spouting off their sob stories and reasons like it was an absolution for their deeds. A normal villain would have taken his confession and ran with it, trying to convince him to join the bad side (he never would).
“That’s stupid,” the kid repeated, still staring unerringly at him. “You claim you want to be a hero, and yet you act like that. At this rate, you’ll become the next Endeavour without even trying.”
He felt like he had been punched in the gut.
“You don’t know anything,” he snarled, stepping back and raising his chin. He was not his father, and he never would be. Never .
“I know that you’re purposefully not using part of your quirk in order to spite someone, which is not only detrimental to yourself and your own abilities, but could cause injury or even death to a civilian if not trained and utilized properly. What if something set you off and you accidentally burn something to death? What if your ice side isn’t enough? What if you get into a situation in which your ice wouldn’t be useful enough? Would you risk using your uncontrolled fire or let someone get hurt because of your own petty and selfish reasons?”
“What--?! That would never happen!”
The sentence carried so much more weight than anything the other kid had said previously, a glint of a challenge in his eyes, a sort of gleam that reminded him far to much of Aizawa-sensei right before he pulled one of his logical ruses.
It was the short of gleam that said ‘if you won’t believe it, I’ll force your hand’.
“It won’t,” he stayed stubborn in his belief, daring the other to fight him on it. The villain tilted his head from one side to the other, an almost bird-like curiosity brimming in his eyes before he smiled.
“Of course it won’t,” he acquiesced, but Shouto somehow knew he was being mocked. “You would know, of course. After all, it is your quirk.”
He blinked, startled, and between one second and the next the kid was gone, leaving Shouto standing alone in the hallway. The announcer came on, Mic announcing that the final matchups were going to begin soon. He shook his head, turning away and hurrying towards the announcers box.
He had to let someone know.
When Todoroki showed up with the news that Izuku was in the building, it took all of the willpower he’d learned from being Present Mic not to close the building and go searching for his soulmate immediately. Todoroki couldn’t tell them much about what happened, only that Izuku had dispensed some advice to him before vanishing into thin air. It was enough to drive Hizashi mad with worry, even as he forced himself to keep announcing, trusting that Nedzu would have the situation under control.
That his soulmate was once again in the same building as him, so close but so unbelievably far away at the same time? Well.
He wasn’t doing great, if he was honest, and Shouta had all but taken over his job for the final match.
Todoroki hadn’t said specifically what advice Izuku had given him, but knowing his young soulmate, it must have been persuasive and well-founded, much like his advice always had been. People like Izuku got their advantage from watching and learning, changing the game and shaking the foundations of those ideas that had been, for so long, drilled into the heads of the general populace.
If he was honest, he was a little worried about what advice Izuku could have given Todoroki, everything considered. He was almost certain that, had Izuku wanted to, he could have convinced any one of the kids in the hero course to switch sides, and done so with a smile on his face.
His Izuku would have never done something like that, but this wasn’t his Izuku. This kid was something else right now, and he had to find out what had been done to him in the few weeks he had been missing, what had been done to so thoroughly destroy any semblance of who he used to be.
He couldn’t help but stare out at the field where Bakugou and Todoroki were preparing to fight. Bakugou was good, and would be even better if he accepted the help of his friends who were cheering him on. They were the only reason he had survived the round against Shinsou after all, all of them throwing insults loud enough for the explosive blond to hear them, and thus pull his attention away from the brainwasher who was trying to take control of him.
The fight after that had been brutally short, and he had a feeling that Bakugou would be getting a strict talk from AIzawa later, but until then there was the final round. He couldn’t stop his mind from wandering, even as he forced himself to cheer loudly for the two contestants, wondering if, had everything not gone so unbelievably wrong, perhaps Izuku would be up there, instead of one of them.
Looking down at where they stood, and how Todoroki was staring at his own hands, lost in thought, completely ignoring the angry yells from Bakugou, Hizashi stifled a bittersweet laugh. No, his Izuku wouldn’t be up there. He’d be in the stands, or even the nurse’s office, having broken himself trying to get Todoroki to see through whatever issue he was facing.
Shouta gave him a strange look, but he merely shook his head, turning his attention back to the final match.
He put his trust in Nezu, and the principal's ability to get his soulmate back when he couldn’t.
“How was the festival?” The Collector asked, leaning against the wall of the alleyway. Her hair was different now: a bright pink uppercut that stood out against her pale skin. It knew that her mission had recently ended, and she was going to be training him full-time, for the time being, until they could find either a new mission for her or let her go.
Some part of It twinged painfully at the idea of her being ‘let go’, but It pushed the feeling down, focusing on the present instead.
“I have obtained the proper amount of information to be able to go forward with our plans,” It said instead, and she nodded, turning and walking down the alleyway. It had fudged the truth a little bit with the statement, because truthfully, It had never gotten a chance to go up to the announcing booth. Its encounter with the Todoroki kid had put It off course, and so It had left a little early, before the kid had a chance to tell anyone.
But there was nothing to be done, and so It let the fact go. The information It would have gotten probably wasn’t that important anyways.
“Good; boss’ll be pleased then,” she replied. It had been remarkably easy to sneak out once the final round was over. It had simply hopped the wall while invisible, trusting It’s other senses to guide It safely to the ground. Then It just had to get to the meeting place and go with the Collector to It’s next mission, after a brief explanation of It’s findings.
And so, without any preamble, It launched into an explanation of all It had learned.
She tried so hard not to look at him now. Ever since she had said her apology to Mic, she had been struggling with what to do next.
The easiest route would be to turn herself in, with Midoriya in tow, but that wasn’t a guarantee. He could escape without her, or end up becoming a recognizable fugitive, and then there would never be a way for him to live a normal life again.
Hell, the chances of him recovering from this ordeal ever were pretty slim, anyway.
But the kid had about, oh, the entirety of U.A. on his side, not to mention his own stubborn willpower and frankly disturbing amount of determination. If anyone could come out the other side of this singing, it would be him.
So, the option of turning herself in wasn’t viable... at least, not yet. If she could get Sensei out of the picture, then it would make this a whole lot easier. But that seemed unlikely, at least for the near future. He had some plans before his inevitable ‘capture’ that needed to be played out.
But, if she could somehow get Midoriya to the authorities during that capture, the League of Villains would be caught up in such disarray that it would be unlikely that the man-child Sensei called his apprentice could get Midoriya back before the heroes saved him.
All she needed was a reason for him to get captured and not fight back, and a way to get Eraserhead to use his quirk on the kid, since she knew that his abrupt change had been due to some sort of memory-based quirk Sensei had given him.
“Oh, hey, by the way,” she said abruptly, completely cutting off the random information the kid was spouting about the Sports Festival. “Boss has a new plan - or, well, backup plan - in case you ever get ‘captured’.”
She physically indicated the air quotes, hoping the kid would believe her and think this was some new plan to further Shigaraki’s education. Luckily, he seemed to take it, staring up at her blankly before nodding his head once.
“In case you ever get captured, comply with their orders completely. Don’t reveal anything important, but don’t fight back or attempt to escape until someone from the League comes to get you. Try and get as much info as you can as well, just in case. Boss was curious as to how your quirks would react to that one hero, Eraserhead, using his quirk on you, since you have so many.”
The kid nodded, just once, before responding.
The seed was planted, now all she had to do was wait.
Memory quirks, she realized, were mainly activated by touch.
It was an interesting, if odd, observation to have, and yet, there it was. Straight from the horse's mouth, or, in this case, the Quirk Registration Admission’s online page.
Up to 70% of mental manipulation based quirks were touch-based, and up to 80% of memory related quirks required some form of contact with the other person in order to be activated properly.
It wasn’t a sure-fire chance by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a good one .
She leaned back, bemoaning the days she spent as Kylie, when she was just another normal person on the street, something like friends with Mic and her other coworkers, instead of what she had become.
In another world, maybe that could have been her life. A relatively okay job that paid well enough, a small apartment with a stray cat that only seemed to like her, and a generally alright existence.
It wasn’t anything special, but it was enough .
But she shook off the thoughts, the lingering remnants of Kylie that clung to her like cobwebs, making her brain nothing but a buzzing hive of bees filled with ‘what if’s.
It didn’t matter, not in the long run, even as a new determination stole over her, making her lean forward once again, pressing further into the internet’s wide array of knowledge.
For now, she needed gloves for Midoriya: something simple, along with a reliable excuse for why he needed them. She could try more later: try to keep him from committing any more true horrors, or causing any more destruction than he had to, because any more was just more that he would have to learn to deal with and carry.
For now though, well...
They were gaining a new member, supposedly, and she wanted to be there when the elusive Hero Killer was introduced to their little team.
He was not overly impressed with the League of Villains, so far. They were too narrow minded, too weak, and too foolish to see what his vision truly meant.
Their boss was something interesting, because even the most intimidated shadows will whisper, and the realm of darkness had been abuzz with the idea of ‘Sensei’ - both of his taking on U.A., and about his role in this new rise in crime.
What really interested him, though, was the kid.
Dead-eyed and blank-faced, he stared at Stain with a surprising amount of apathy, despite Stain’s own reputation.
He had, of course, heard of the kid as well: A new, human-looking weapon, which was really nothing more than a breathing gun, ready to be aimed and shot.
Seeing it in real life, well…
That was something else.
Stain felt his grin growing wider, teeth bared and ready to bite.
Oh yes, he was not overly impressed with the villains in front of him so far. But the kid..? Well, that just might be worth sticking around for.
Midoriya - Izuku hadn’t been found, even after they searched the building. It was like he had simply up and vanished, which: with what he had done at the USJ wouldn’t be surprising.
There one second, and gone the next. Reviewing the footage had revealed several shots of him, blinking around the campus, never straying far from the competition, but always shifting in and out of sight like a spectre.
Hizashi had spent far too long staring at the still images of his soulmate, hand pressed against his chest, where he knew his words were hidden. He had searched, frantically, single mindedly, for any indication, anything to tell him that Izuku was still in there somewhere, that he hadn’t been completely destroyed.
The closest he had was the conversation Izuku’d shared with Todoroki, something that held only the slimmest glimmers of compassion in it, but it was enough .
Because it meant that Izuku wasn’t completely gone. That his soulmate hadn’t slipped so completely out of his reach that Hizashi could never get him back.
The screen in front of him was blurred and far too bright, but he refused to take his eyes off the picture, the split second where Izuku showed concern for another, that faint glimmer in his eye.
“Hizashi,” Shouta said, and he blinked, everything coming back into focus. The room was plunged into darkness a second later as his friend reached over him, turning off the monitor.
“I’m fine ,” he said, excuses and placations already on the tip of his tongue before he even realized it, but Shouta never gave him a chance to use them.
“No, you’re not, and it’s my job to keep you alive until we get him back, because god knows that kid’s gonna need it, need you , once he’s safe again,” Shouta said, all but haualing Hizashi out of the chair. Hizashi followed him willingly, eyes far too dry to feel so close to tears, and yet he still felt them building and burning, choking him and blurring the world around him until it was unrecognizable.
“What if we don’t get him back, Shou?” he asked, voice thick and sticky, melted candle wax dripping from it’s mold without permission. “What if we can’t get him back?”
“We will .” Shouta’s voice was a snarl, filled with a fierce determination the belied an inescapable fear.
“We’ll get him back and give him so much therapy, and you and Nemuri’ll spoil him rotten and he’ll get better, and eventually this will be nothing but a dark spot in his history, important but ultimately minor in the scheme of things. You have to believe that, Hizashi, or you’ve already lost him,” Shouta said, and Hizashi barely registered his friend pushing him into bed, yanking the covers over him and closing the curtains.
He only noticed when the room was plunged into darkness, not even the dim light from street lamps illuminating his room.
“Okay,” he whispered, a promise to his friend and to Izuku and to himself, that he would fight and fight and fight and fight until he could fight no more. He would save Izuku if it killed Hizashi, if he had to destroy himself and his own soul in the process, if he had to become the bleeding and broken stepping stool on which Izuku was boosted back into the light. “Okay.”
“Get some sleep, Hizashi,” Shouta said, voice layered with too many emotions for him to bother trying to parse. The door shut quietly, and he heard his friend’s steps receding down the hallway.
With the darkness surrounding him, and no one around to hear him, Hizashi turned and pressed his face into the sheets of his bed, the cold emptiness of his pillow.
And he wept.
The next few weeks felt like little more than a half-remembered dream, everything distant and unreal. He felt both like he was floating through his life and like he was drowning in it, although he made certain to keep the students from knowing. They needed to see the pro-heroes confident and strong, like they always were, so they had someone to lean on before they became the people being leaned on.
The others, though - teachers and friends - they saw through his ruse in an instant. His connection with Izuku wasn’t public knowledge by any means, but things had a way of getting around the school, and so everywhere he went he was meant with the barely repressed sympathy of his colleagues.
He hated it, but couldn’t find any energy to do anything about it, so instead he gave them brittle half-smiles and fake responses, and hoped they learned to leave him well enough alone.
The new intern at his radio was a cheerful, if respectfully distant, girl. She asked no questions and expected no answers, even when he got up in the middle of a song to go cry in the bathroom. She made no comment on his teary expression or red eyes, or about the way his voice would sometimes crack and break like glass for no reason.
She just handed him tissues and water bottles in silence, and it was the greatest gift he could have asked for, but somehow he still managed to miss Kylie.
They had to prepare for the hero courses’ internships, as well as the other courses’ internships. The support classes were headed off for the week to tour various support companies, and to show off their skills. The Hatsume girl had gotten a number of offers for internships, from both companies and hero agencies, and he applauded her effort. Clearly, all her work had paid off.
While support students went to the manufacturing companies, and hero students to the hero agencies, business students went to the other side of the hero business: merchandising companies, and PR sections of agencies, and the like.
It was a disaster to make sure it was all organized, but while normally Hizashi would have jumped at the opportunity to help others out, he found himself barely able to teach his classes. The others seemed to understand, though, and more than half the time he’d wander into the break room to find half his papers already graded.
As he fell onto the couch in the teachers’ lounge, face pressed against the cool fabric, he couldn’t help but wonder how difficult these internships were going to be.
It watched with rapt fascination as the man killed yet again, blade sliding cleaning between the rib cage of his already beaten opponent. The killer’s quirk was a constant scroll in the air next to him, all the information displayed for It to see. It had to admit, this quirk was a good one, especially in this line of work. If the man worked a bit more like Eraserhead, with quick-drop sneak attacks and less dramatic speeches, he could double his kill count.
But It wasn’t one to judge, at least not out loud. If he did something extremly stupid, maybe, but the man had yet to show anything but a stubborn conviction and enough skill to reliably carry that conviction out.
And he had the popularity and infamy that It’s Master was looking for, to boost their ranks and eventually create a new crime ring under the Apprentice’s rule.
It thought that a closer comparison might be a Ringleader of a circus shitshow, but, again: It wasn’t one to judge.
It’s Master didn’t care about what It was thinking, anyway, so long as It did It’s duties.
And currently, that entailed following this “Hero Killer” character and deciding if he would be a bane or a boost to keep around after the initial attack. The Collector was scheduled to join them soon, too, to pick up on Its training with quirk analysis and how each quirk might interact with another. It was meant to pick out another quirk for Itself from Hosu: one that would be useful, but also from a person who could easily be captured during the attack and then put back in an unsuspicious manner.
The corpse curled once more before collapsing completely, the Hero Killer’s blade smoothly withdrawn from it’s rib cage. Stain gave it one last, long lick, before he turned, hopping up onto the dumpster and towards the fire escape.
“Well, come on, kid, we don’t have all day,” he said, and It hopped up onto the roof, keeping a careful illusion up so no one could see It. Another interesting facet of the light bending quirk: it could be used as a rudimentary illusionary quirk if one concentrated enough. It had been practicing out of sight of everyone else, turning small objects into nothing but fractured light, reflected the way It wished them to be.
It had declined to tell It’s Master about this use yet, wishing to keep the skill to Itself for reasons It couldn’t quite understand. Everytime It tried to think of a good reason to keep the new and, arguably, highly valuable skill under wraps, It’s brain filled with static that felt like screaming.
So It didn’t think about it, but didn’t fight the instinct, either.
“Hey, kiddo,” the Collector’s voice rang out clearly, and It turned to give her a quizzical eyebrow. She wasn’t supposed to join them for a little while yet; It was still supposed to watch and learn how Stain took care of bodies he didn’t want anyone finding.
She wandered over, something in her hands, which she presented to It rather gleefully.
“Gloves, for when you don’t want to leave fingerprints behind, yeah?” she said, holding out was what, in fact, a rather expensive looking pair of leather gloves. It took them carefully, inspecting them to the best of It’s abilities. After deciding that any poison they were laced with would be easily countered by It’s own super healing quirk, It slipped them on, surprised to find they fit perfectly.
“Thank you,” It replied robotically. Part of It was rather touched at the gesture the Collector had made, but the rest of It simply wondered what favor she would want in return.
The Collector was something of a mystery to It. She wasn’t really a part of the League. She knew little of their plans and ideas, and her only real abilities seemed to be: being able to blend in easily, and her quirk analysis skill, which were quickly being outstripped by It’s own quirk.
As far as It could tell, she had no motive, either. She never showed any of the violent disdain for heroes the Apprentice had, nor the general evil mindset It’s Master held.
“-kid, hey, helloooo?” she said, waving a hand in It’s face. It blinked, rapidly coming back to the present and realizing Stain had joined them on the roof.
She leaned back, giving him an amused huff.
“Really lost in thought there, huh, kiddo? Anyway, we gotta get going. Boss said there’s been a change of plans. Stain, you’ve got your target and location picked out already, right?” she said, turning to address the Hero Killer. He nodded.
“Cool. Well, Boss’s prodigy has a thing for dramatics, so we’ll be releasing a bunch of horrific monsters on the city around the time you begin your attack. Boss wants to know where you’ll be, approximately, so we can avoid violently destroying those areas or getting more heroes over there who might notice something wrong,” she said. “And you, kiddo, are gonna help us plan the attack. You won’t be involved, but Boss wants you to look over the areas and basic patrol routes of all the heroes in the area to find which areas to target. Once the attack starts, you’ll be on your own, tracking down Stain and watching him do… whatever it is he does when he’s off murdering people.”
“Orders confirmed,” It replied, falling easily into step behind her as the portal appeared. She gave a wave to Stain over her shoulder as another portal appeared in front of the Hero Killer, swallowing him in darkness.
A moment later It found Itself back in the bar, the Apprentice sitting at a bar stool and clearly in the middle of an argument with It’s Master.
“We need the Hero Killer’s backing if you are to grow your League. He holds sway in online circles, and once his ideals get out, it will attract the people you need.” The Master’s voice brooked no room for discussion, yet the Apprentice argued anyways. The scene was unfortunately familiar, as the Apprentice had not taken a liking to the Hero Killer like so many others had. The Collector snorted quietly, and It saw her rolling her eyes. Something about the motion seemed forced, but It didn’t have time to think on that before she led him towards a different room.
“Seriously, I can’t believe he’s still fighting this. We all know he’s just being prissy about it because it wasn’t actually his idea, and he thinks he should be in charge,” she grumbled, pushing open a door. Inside he recognized the records room, holding all the information one could possibly need when running and evil organization.
The lock clicked shut behind them, their one and only warning what might happen should the base be attacked while they were in there. The door only opened from the outside, which was not typically a problem with a warp gate quirk around, but if someone got inside without their permission they wouldn’t be able to get out. If they tried, the room would be lit ablaze until the life signs had died, taking the person and the information with it.
“Well, you know what to do. Good luck. When Stain gives us the info we need, I’ll drop back by with it, but until then make a general plan, yeah?” she said, already stepping through the warp portal that appeared.
It sighed, blinking It’s eyes tiredly. Time to get to work.
The rest of the week passed uneventfully. It created a plan, a backup plan, and a backup-backup plan for the attack on Hosu. It’s Master was pleased with Its work, and offered to let it pick out another quirk from Hosu while It was there. It nodded It’s acceptance, knowing better than to refuse such a gracious gift.
Even so, It felt Itself becoming repulsed by the idea of another quirk. It wasn’t a fan of having so many, worried that It would become what the other Nomu had become. A mindless servant, nothing but a weapon to be used, directed, and discarded.
But that was not for It to worry about, so It tried to push those thoughts to the back of It’s mind.
The leather gloves slide on It’s hands easily, and It couldn’t help but wonder why the Collector had given them to It. It had felt something deceptive in her gaze when she had looked at It, and that had stuck with him, sticky molasses thoughts that curled over It’s tongue and refused to settle.
It shoved the thought where It kept all It’s other confusing thoughts, pressing the thoughts down into the back of It’s mind where the static covered them, the crackling uncertainty that surrounded so many heroes for no reason.
̸͙̲̗̟͔̟̹̤̙̫͖͚̻͈̙͎̻̥͎͕̠̭̞̱̫̖̗̮́̈́͆̏̀̀̋̉͂͒̅̃̄̿̀͋̃̈́̑̉̉̊̇̀̊̒̂̊͆̿̍́̆̐̽͆̈͘͜S̵̡̨̢̢̧̘̜̤̦̠͔̦̟̲̪̤̫͎̱͓͉̖̥̰̟͙̖̟̖̅͋̂̇͂̏̌̊̈́̆̾́̓̓̍̾͑̿̑̿̒͑͑́͊̑́̇̃̋̋͂̍͌̓̕͝͝͝͝ơ̷̢̛̳̗̮͓̣̠̘̞͍̪͎͓̫̥͍͉̭͍̮̬̳̩̥̘͉̓̑̓̓̿͆̐̓̒̒̑̿͆̒̇̓̊̊͜͜͝͝ư̸̡̨̡̱̯͍̣̺͚̟̞̻͖̘̲̞̦̳̝͓̥̜̦̥͎͔̺͋͆̐̐͑̓̈́̿͐͗̚͝ͅͅļ̸̧̨̧̡͇̹͇̦͎̩͓̤͚̺̜͖̼̩̤̘̘̥͚͉̦̬̯͔̫͔̹͓̫̙̘̜̪̫͓̩̬̦̫̺̫͙̗̱̬̅̈́̌̈́̈̆̑̂̅̂͆͛̈́͛̉͊́̉̂̒̈̾̍̚͝ͅͅm̵̨̨̳̥͈̳̼͙͖̤̫̖̮͈̣̙̰̬͇̫̪̩͈͍̳̲̠̠͎̮̭̺̠̩̣̠̬̞͖̹͍̫̻͎͈̤̘̲̣͙̄̓̃̾̃̃̚̚͝ͅͅa̷̧̧͉̮̬͚͎̠̭̫͓̗͓̥͑̏͆̃͒̅̈́̓̿͑͗͆̀̕͘̕t̴̢̧͔͎̺͎̩̭̹͙̯̭̪̙̠̼̼͖͔̬̰̝̰͎̜͖̞̹̖̖̗̪̲͔̥̗̤̪̜͍̭̯͖̖͈̦̆͌̋̓̓̈͆̕͝͠ͅͅͅͅe̷̢̢̹̫͙̗̮͙̳͉̺̗̥̤̞̳͒̌̌̇̂̉̈́̊̏̈́̆̐̾̽̂͌̀͛̏̔̈͌͘:̷̛̛̻̫̗̘͉̩̯̙̆̔͑̅͌̅͐̂̌̃̊̏̑̐͛̎̃͋̾̈́̽͛͑̈̾̍̾̋̏̈́͐̒͐̊̓̏͌̈́̃̚̕͘͜͝͝ ̸̢̡̡̛̛̙̜͈͙͎͖̟̹̞̥̱̥͉̫̣͖̼͎̹̳̘̝̖̤̄̄̅̋̽̈̈͊͂̉̉̏̓́̓̃͗̊̑̃͐̂̆͑̋̔͊̃̍͆̊̓̇̍̄̓͛͋͘̕͜͜͜͝͠ͅY̵̨̨̛̥͙̗̱͇͓̹͈͇̝̖̾̽̀͐̍̔̏̾̔̈́̋̇̃͒̅̐̽̍̂̄̀̔͂͆̿̓͘̕͘͜͝͠͝͝͠ą̸̧̡̢̥̳̲͉̰͓̰̲̭͇͈̰̺̬̗̫̭̮̼͕̭̝̪̟̰̮̼̹̻̣̖͚̬̬̝̝̬̤̭̀̒̄̊ͅͅm̸̛̘͆̍͊́͗͌̀͆̒̈̒͂̈̅̂̌͆͌̎̎̍̂͋̆̐a̶̢̛̰͈̝̲̬͎̲̫̫͔̭͎̩̤͎̳͆́̿̈͊̊̿̇͌̉̊̈̈̓̔̃̊̂͐̾͊̊̄̐̓̀̈̃̄̾̆̀̊̍̔̄͛̀̕͠͠d̴̛̛̰̩͈̥̠̎̅̑͗͑͋̾̏̀́͒̍͋̏̐͐̓́̓̍͊̓̓͌̈́̈̌̉̒͋̆̔̂̊̌̈͛̈́͑͘̕͘͜ạ̴̢̧̝̩͚̤͖͕̯͙͎͙͕̱̳͙͈̻̘̩̜̥̣̮͙͎͖̟̳̞̺͇̖͙͍̰̇̆̓̔̋́͋̉́̑̅͌̂̄̓̉̊͌̊̿͒̐̏̉̓́̍̽͆͂͑̔̀̎̎͜͜͝͠͝͝ͅͅ ̸̡̛̥̤͔̣̥̹̻̯̲̩̮̱̟̞̃͑̈̿͋̌͌̆͗͋͘͜͠H̵̨̨̡̞̘̘̝̤̳̝̮̳̯͉̣̱̗̞̹͍̻̖̯͉͈̯̅̈̐͌͋̿́̉̓͆̒̆͒̓̏̋̍̈́̓͆̈̊̾͗̂̏̈́͋̓͒̿͊̔̚̚͜͝͝͝͝ȉ̸̧̢̧̨̛̹̗̹̠̳̠̹͈̩͇̩̹̹͍͎͚͖̯̳̩̦͎̳̰̻͊͂̅̅̉̓͌̍̓̂̈̈̔͘͜ͅͅz̶̡̧̥̭͍̞̗̫͎̰̙͎͋̓̒̋͂̈̿̍̔̓̅͐̑̂̿̽͛̍̆̚̕͝͝a̷̢̺̺͈̮͇̠̾̈́̅̊̄͗̚ͅs̶̨̢̡̩͓͉̩͇̜͚̗̻̫̬̱̗͖̥̘̹̮͈̳̳̦͕̦͉͕͓̻̠̫̬̩̯̖̯̮̰̃̃̕͜͝ͅͅḫ̷̡̨̧̢̨̡̛̖̮͚̪̮̩̙̘͇̗͉̗͇͈̲̯̜̳̯͖͚͓̤͙͚̱̈́͊͑̐͐̍̒̎̿͂̊̈́̈́̈́̉̒̈́̀̈́͐̏͂̽̕͝͝͝ḭ̷̧̢̧̨̛̬̖̮̮̼̻̭̞̻̰̻͖̮͔̩͓̝̖̬͋͊̾̅̾̽͐͂̊̒̿̂͑̾̈̽̄̊̓̌̈̾͒̔̑̍̆̾͗̃̆̇̆̐̚͜͜͜͠͠ ̴͕̦̞͛̋̍͑̔̓́̆a̶̢̖͔͎̳͇̖̜͚̤̩̼̗̐͜ͅk̸̨̡̛͙̫̩̥̠̜͈̱͇̟̳̝̜̥̺̱̇͛̄̔̓͛̄̂̇̆́͋̇̿̉̐̍̊̄̑̌͛͊̓͆̀̈͋͛̈́̉̉̽̈́̐̒̈͛͌͗̊̕̚͜͠͝͠ͅà̶̡͓̞̞̩̙͇̠̻̼̦͉͈̦̲͔͈̱͐̌͊͊͌̿͋̉͋̇̓̓̒͂̇̇͒̍̕̕͠͝͠ ̷̧̡̨̢̛̛̛̬̼̤̘̫̻̱̲͙̗̙̗͉͈͈̦̌̑̈́̽̄͆͂̈́̈̏̐̆̐̽̈́͋̈͋̀̔̑̅͐̓̓̇͊̓̈̎́̽̋̐̄̐̈̆̕̚̕̕͠͝͝ͅP̸̨̢̛̤̘̪̫̝̫͖̲̣͎͔͙̠͍̦̲̯̹̪̻͎͉̼̱͖̻͎̩̯̹̰̖̱̪͔͉͎̻͍̦̫̂̓͑̓̉͜͜͝ͅͅȑ̵̨̡̧̨̧̛̛̛͓͍̻͖͓̮̱̦̣͖͙̩̙͈͉̤̹̬̲͕̯͈̯̘̟̺̘͙̝̩͈̺͇͔͇̱̣̤͕̝͚̦̝̿͌̂̍̈́̃̊̒̀̾͌̑̾̓̓̂̒̆̉̿̇̂̀̓̋̽̇̃̎̉̎͋͊̍̈̿̎̈̐̚̚̚̕͜ͅẽ̸̢̧̧̗͔̣̞̣̹̖̥̘͙̲̙͇̠͎͙̤̽͋͋̽̋̀͂̋̕ͅs̸̛̹̮̖̥̰̤̘̖͙̩̯̩̝͔̣̟̬͍̤̱̝̲̘͖͚̪͌̉̌̐̀̑̓̋̈̿̔̍̇̍̃͂͆̒͑̓̏̈̇̇̀̈́̚͘̕̕͠͝͝͝e̷̹͕̗̠̳̝̣̫̪̳̜͒̏̍̐͑̿̿̾͗̊͑̒̉̈́̿̏̆̒̄͑̑͊̈̍̆͒̀̎̊͒͒̕͠n̶̢̢̛̺͕̪̱̩̯͉̖̘̠̝͚̗̬̝̯̭̺̤͙̞̩̽̏͊͂͂͛͐̿̋̍̈́̋̄̎͋̈̆͋̍̋̔͆̔̐͐̔̀̏̿̔̈̈̍̏̀͘̚͜͝͠͠͝ͅͅͅt̴̢͇͕̼̳̺̗̯̤̖͖̬͉́̑͌͒̉̏̄̏̈́͌̆͛̐̉͒̽̒̿͘͘͜͠ͅ ̷̛̟̝͕͉̰̥̞̞̝̣̫͂̓̎̄̅̔̀̆͐̎̾͒̑̉̌̋̉͌͘͘͜͝͝ͅM̶̧̨̛̛̛͍̟͓͍̩͍͔͍̼̹̳̮͔̺͇̅͗̈́̓̍̂̀̄͆̃̓̇̑̔̓̏̋̀̏̃̆̔͋͒̏̚͜͠ï̴̛̮̏͆͋̓̇̈́̈́̏̏̅͑̈́̋̆̄̌̄̑̾̉̉̿̌͌̄̍̏̍̍́̏͂͑̂̍͌̔̈́̽͠͝͠c̴̨̡̡͈̪̰͍̝͖̫͚̬̭̤̩̗̗̼̠̘͎̗͕̫͈͎̼̳̪̟̘͍͖̫͙̜̝̪̭̥͚̪̫͔̝͉̠̪̖̓̈́͒̐̏̽͆̾̆͑̑͐̉͂͆̈̉͑̊͂͋͐͂̅̇͘͜͜͠͠͠
“Hey kid, it’s almost time; you wanna go meet up with serial killer extraordinaire?” the Collector said, popping her head into It’s room. It shook off the remains of the static, pressing the unknowns back between It’s teeth, refusing the sudden urge to ask and to know .
It was not supposed to ask, It was not supposed to know.
So why did It want to so badly?
“Yes,” It replied easily enough, pressing down the thoughts that seemed to be ever growing, seeping through the cracks of It’s ever-crumbling mind.
It kept telling Itself to ignore the thoughts, pressing them down and down and down, until they were hidden and unnoticed, but for every thought It shoved down, another bobbed up.
It followed her through the base, and through the portal that opened.
The portal dropped them in a side alley, away from the already raging chaos that had consumed Hosu. Already, It could hear the sound of some sort of struggle happening in the next alley over, and with a quick nod, the Collector disappeared again.
It stepped out onto the main street, seeing the gentle glow of the raging flames across the city. Someone in the alleyway was screaming, and It shook Itself out of another reverie. It had a job to do, and It would do that job.
When It approached the entrance of the alley, It noticed a phone on the ground. Still unlocked, the screen shined out in the darkness, a beacon of false light in the night.
It figured It might as well make sure It’s Master’s plan was accomplished as well as It could, and scooped up the phone, sending out a mass location text to all of the contacts. Best for someone to find the body and know that the Hero Killer had been there while the League was as well, and let the press do the rest of the work.
It carelessly dropped the phone afterward, stepping into the dimly lit alley and staring at the scene unfolding.
There was a pro hero on the ground (Pro-hero: Native, quirk generally unimportant. Accused of multiple accounts of aggravated assault, all swept under the rug), while Stain was standing over another person, preparing to stab and kill them.
It stared at the person, trying to figure out why they looked so familiar, before the thought hit It.
Iida Tenya (Quirk: Engine, younger brother to Pro-hero Ingenium, Stain’s most recent victim barring the current additions, first encountered at USJ, part of Class 1-A, B-tier currently in terms of strength, mostly unimportant-) stared up at It with wide, terrified eyes, and It stared back, uncertain and most definitely surprised.
“What are you doing?”
Tenya wasn’t sure what was happening anymore, nothing really penetrated past the seething anger that curled under his skin.
Why did this have to happen? His brother was a good, wonderful pro-hero, and an inspiration to all. What had he done to deserve what the Hero Killer did to him?!
And now, lying on the ground, face pressed into the cold concrete, he could think of nothing passed the bitter taste of failure in his mouth, the knowledge that he was going to die here, and his brother was never going to be avenged.
“What are you doing?” A new voice echoed across the alley, causing Stain to pause in his step, the blade pressed into Tenya’s throat. Inches from death, and yet, it hadn’t appeared.
Or, perhaps, he thought, seeing the new figure approaching out the corner of his eye, familiar green features staring back at him, maybe death had appeared. It had just taken a different form than expected.
“You’re from the USJ,” he said, remembering the image of the boy... No, the weapon before him, beating back All Might, limbs exploding and reforming with incredible speed. A demon in human skin was what the boy before him was.
Death given form.
“I’m ridding the world of the scum that have the nerve to call themselves heroes,” Stain replied, with all the self righteous fury of someone who believed they were the only one in the world who knew anything. It reminded him of the boys who Uraraka liked to mess with, faking stupidity while they were so caught up in their belief that the masses were below them that they didn’t even realize she was messing with them. He had never approved of her actions, of course, but he had to admit it had always been just a bit funny to watch.
Now, the USJ kid reminded him of her, stepping forward until he was standing right beside Tenya’s head. His head tilted, eyes vacant, like he was confused and didn’t understand what Stain was saying.
“By killing… a student?”
“He thinks of only his own revenge. He didn’t even stop to think about the other person who was in danger. He is not worthy of being called a hero,” Stain replied, and Tenya felt the sword pull away slightly. He breathed a quiet sigh of relief, eyes glancing around and wondering if there was any way in this scenario where he made it out alive.
Because… he realized he didn’t want to die.
He still had so much he wanted to do, so much he wanted to learn. He hadn’t told his brother he loved him, hadn’t given his mother one last hug, and he didn’t want to leave them like that. He refused to let that happen, to let this be the last he ever saw of his friends and family.
He didn’t want to die here.
The kid, death incarnate, stared unblinking at the Hero Killer as he said that, face as impassive as it had been at the USJ. It was like he didn’t even care that Tenya might die, like he didn’t care that one sentence was possibly the biggest insult he could have managed to give.
If Tenya had been able to move, he would have shuddered in fear.
As it was, he was stuck as a bystander in the battle of Titans that he knew was about to happen.
“What do you mean?” Stain asked, and Tenya could feel the hatred and rage sliding off that statement like water, waterfalling vitriol that would drown them all if they weren’t careful.
The boy didn’t seem to care about that at all.
“I mean, who decided that you were allowed to be judge, jury, and executioner? It didn’t matter so much when it was adults, because they are fully aware of themselves and the impact of their actions, and they choose to ignore it, or instead to believe that because they are heroes they don’t have to deal with the consequences of their actions,” the kid started, stepping over Tenya. It took him a second to realize the move was protective in nature, and he could barely stop himself from laughing.
Looks like death's own reaper was on his side tonight.
He hoped it lasted.
“But this kid right here? That's a 15 year old boy who is dealing with an incredible grief for probably the first time in his life because you attacked his brother. Anger is part of the grieving process, which is a completely normal and acceptable human response, and doubly-so considering his age and the general emotional instability that teens are often stereotyped with. He could be an amazing hero one day, given the chance, and yet you want to take that away from him because he's, what, grieving?” The kid, the reaper, scoffed and shook his head.
“You try to teach your victims that their actions have consequences. Now it’s your turn to learn. Your murders are never victimless crimes. If you truly believe that he has no chance of changing, even though people are constantly changing, then you must face the consequences. By your actions, and yours alone, you have created exactly what you pledged to destroy.”
Tenya was definitely gaping at the kid, who he decided to call the Reaper, as he witnessed the most incredible verbal smackdown he had ever seen. Reaper made many good points, to the point where even Tenya was at a loss for finding fault in his logic.
But he doubted that would matter to Stain, all things considered.
He was proven right when a second later, Stain started laughing.
“Here I thought you might understand, but alas, I suppose I was wrong. Guess I’ll just have to kill you too, then, villain,” Staind said, already pulling out a blade.
Reaper cocked his head at Stain, like a curious bird trying to figure out what someone was doing. Or how one would look at someone whom they believed to be unbearably stupid, which was definitely the look Tenya was giving Stain now.
Perhaps it wasn’t fair. Maybe Stain hadn’t seen Reaper go toe to toe with All Might. Maybe he hadn’t seen how fast he moved or how powerful he was.
Either way, Tenya knew who he would have bet on winning the fight, and it definitely wasn’t Stain.
Shouto arrived just in time to see the villain kid obliterate Stain.
Iida was on the ground, along with the pro hero Native, and the kid was already moving, delivering a solid kick that nearly had Shouto falling out of the alley with the sheer wind pressure. It was over in mere seconds, and Stain was on the ground, unconscious if not dead.
The villain kid’s face was a mask indifference except for the tug of annoyance at the corner of his mouth.
“Iida?” he asked, carefully edging his way into the alley. His fire was at the ready, flickering in his hand, a steady source of warmth. The villain kid seemed preoccupied with Stain, so he took his chance, moving over to Iida and crouching down.
“Are you alright?” he said, looking for any wounds. He could see a little blood, but not nearly enough to incapacitate his friend. Iida’s eyes met his, and he saw something that seemed like pain and relief flickering through them.
“Todoroki-kun, what are you doing here?” he asked, and Todoroki glanced at the villain to make sure he was still preoccupied.
“Your phone sent out a mass location text. I thought you might be in trouble so I came as fast as I could. Seems like I was right,” he said, letting his fire die a little. He was hoping to create an ice slide that would carry both Iida and Native out of the alley without having to engage in a fight with the villain kid.
Shouto knew he was strong, but he doubted even his father stood a chance against that kid.
“You shouldn’t have come. We both would have been killed by Stain if Reaper hadn’t decided to protect me,” Iida said, looking away guiltily. Shouto knew he was no good at the comforting thing, or reassuring people. He was suited towards fighting, and likely always would be. Emotions were not his area of expertise.
But he had to try.
“What kind of hero would I be if I left a classmate alone and in trouble?” he asked, tugging one of Iida’s arms over his shoulder. He couldn’t afford to waste time, and he knew he stood no chance against the kid should he decide to attack them too, so he was making a choice. He would get Iida out of harm's way, even if it meant sacrificing Native in the process, but there wasn’t much else he could do. Anything else would risk getting them all killed.
“But--” Iida started, and he silenced the other boy with a glare.
“I’ve been where you are, trapped in my own head thinking nothing of anything except for petty revenge. Don’t fall down that hole, Iida-kun. You do a disservice to yourself and to those who support you by doing so. Become a true hero, Iida-kun, one who could make your brother proud,” he said, trying to pull from Kirishima and Uraraka, to encompass the positivity and determination they both radiated. He didn’t think he did it justice, but Iida’s eyes dropped, and he didn’t try and refute the statement.
Shouto looked up, catching the terrifying sight of the villain kid looking right at them. Their eyes met, blue and grey on glassy green, and he swore the kid quirked a small, proud smile at them both.
“Reaper,” Iida said, staring up at the villain kid. The expression Shouto thought he’d seen was gone in a flash, his strange, indifferent mask back in place within seconds.
“Reaper?” the kid questioned, almost confused. “Is that what you have decided to name me?”
“You haunt us like a spectre of death but never kill; I think it’s an appropriate title,” Iida said quietly, and the kid, ‘Reaper’ now he supposed, smirked.
“Reaper…. I like it.”
There was so much contained in that sentence, so much that Shouto had no idea how to parse, and he felt bewildered and off kilter in a way he couldn’t describe. It was like standing on the deck of a ship as though it was rolling in a storm even though the sky was clear and bright.
“Do you need help?” Shouto asked before he realized the words were out of his mouth. Time seemed to stand still, and Reaper stared at him, eyes glassy and wide.
He didn’t know why he asked it, why he had assumed the villain would need help, but it felt far, far too familiar. The way Reaper moved, acted, and spoke: it felt like a reminder of every harsh training session, every stinging burn and burning bruise, and every word his father had ever said to him. It felt like ‘you are a tool for someone else's agenda’, and he refused to stand by and let someone else experience what he had, even if they were a villain.
“You are a curious person, Todoroki-san,” Reaper said, before glancing over his shoulder. He turned and looked, and sure enough there were some of the pros that he knew worked in the city, staring down the alleyway like they couldn’t believe what they were seeing. He assumed his father must have sent them, and he had never been more grateful for backup.
“I’ll leave Stain with you as a parting gift. We have no use for him anymore,” Reaper said, before shooting into the sky. He was gone before Shouto could blink, and it made him almost wonder if Reaper had ever been there at all.
“Hey, kids, are you alright?” one of the pros called out, and he turned around with a sigh. It was simple enough for them to get Iida and Native out of the alleyway after that, whatever Stain’s quirk was releasing it’s hold on them at last.
Getting grabbed by a flying Nomu was not what he had expected to happen, but at this point he wondered if he should start a tally for the class, for all their dangerous situations.
Getting saved by Stain was a bit of a surprise, but combined with the rest of the night, Shouto thought he just really wanted to go to bed.
It was only after they had gotten them all to the hospital and the chaos had calmed down that he finally realized Reaper had never answered his question.
Hearing that Izuku had been spotted by Todoroki and Iida had been like another punch to the gut for Hizashi. They had come up with a villain moniker for him and everything.
He hated it. He hated that it had been nearly three months and he still hadn’t been able to save Izuku, that they had no new leads expected that he was still with the League of Villains.
It was hard, unbelievably so, to deal, and it wasn’t made any better by all the other teachers clear sympathies, or Shouta and Nemuri’s empty promises.
“What is it, All Might?” he asked, his voice flat. He had gone past tired a long time ago, now he was nothing more than a dead weight given form. He was nothing but a pit, a clawing, angry guilt that showed whenever he wasn’t around the world.
And then All Might had called him and Shouta and Nemuri into a meeting, and at first Hizashi had felt the briefest spark of hope. That maybe, maybe , somehow, All Might had found a lead where they could not, had found just enough to help them find his soulmate.
But one look at All Might when they walked in was enough to crush that hope into bitter shards. Foolish to hope, even now, that there might still be something that would help.
“It has to do with Young Midoriya,” All Might said, sitting on the couch. Hizashi grimaced, taking a seat across from the number one hero. It was only years of experience that kept him patient, waiting for what All Might was going to say. Shouta and Nemuri sat on either side of him, Shouta’s leg pressed against his own and Nemuri’s hand in his. He knew his friends had his back, always, and he had never been more grateful.
Just as the silence was becoming uncomfortable, All Might opened his mouth to speak again.
“I think I know who has him.”
Hizashi wished he could say he reacted well to this. He wished he could say he reacted like a rational human, like he hadn’t nearly gone feral on the number one hero. He wished he could say that it was his own power that kept him in his chair, and not Nemuri’s tightening grip on his hand, or Shouta’s leg pressing against his own to the point that it was painful.
But he can’t say that, because that isn’t what happened.
At least Shouta had the presence of mind to erase his quirk when he screamed, snarling profanities and demanding to know why he hadn’t thought to bring this up before, all the while the number one hero buckled under the guilt.
When he finally ran out of steam, desperation leaked into his voice and he stared at All Might, pleading.
“Who has him, All Might? Who has him? ”
And, after a few moments, All Might opened his mouth, and spilled the truth.
He told the true, unfiltered, unedited story of his quirk. He told them about the first two brothers, and of how the quirk had been passed on. He told them about his mentor, Nana Shimura, and of her fight and subsequent death against the villain known as All For One. He told them about his own fight, brutal and terrible and painful, and he showed his wound, the grisly, sickening scar that he carried from the fight. He told them about his body’s failing, about his reasons for passing on his quirk.
He told them about finding Izuku, and how he thought that it would be safe, would be better, to pass it on, assured that All for One was dead and that his quirk was now just that. A quirk. Not a bloody and painful legacy, not a cross to bear, not a death sentence to be handed down again and again and again in the hopes that someday someone would succeed where others had failed.
“When Midoriya showed up at the USJ, I didn’t realize it at the time, but when I started thinking about it, after the fact, I realized that there was no way he was able to use One for All properly, not without the right training. And then, we found the Nomu, and realized it had multiple quirks…”
All Might trailed off, letting them fill in the blanks. Izuku had been given multiple quirks, turned into one of those things that the League was so fond of.
Hizashi’s sob was a choked, painful little thing, and he buried his face in his hands, struggling to hold back his emotions. He didn’t even know what he was feeling anymore, the cacophony of rage and pain and a bone-deep and ever-growing horror, because Nomu were mindless, broken, unreachable. And now Izuku was—!
“‘Zashi, breathe, okay, you need to breathe,” Nemuri’s voice was loud in his ear, and he forced himself to think, to take a second and breathe. It took him a long time to calm down, even with both Shouta and Nemuri there beside him, but finally, finally, he looked up, and stared straight into the ever guilty eyes of Japan’s number one hero.
“Get out,” he spat, body shaking. All Might hunched down again, and he snarled, only Shouta and Nemuri’s arms wrapped around him keeping him from standing.
“I said: get out .”
“‘Zashi--” Nemuri started, but he ignored her, glaring for all he was worth at All Might.
“If it wasn’t for you and that stupid quirk this wouldn’t have happened. He could have been a normal kid and we could have helped him become a quirkless pro hero like we promised and he would be fine and here, but he’s not and it’s all your fault —!” Another sob wracked his frame, and he ducked his head again, letting himself cry and scream and grieve .
He didn’t register All MIght leaving, didn’t notice when Nemuri began crying too, her quiet sniffles so different from his broken anger.
His world felt like it was falling apart at the seams, and he couldn’t bring himself to care, because Izuku was gone .
Shouta looked up from his paperwork, unsurprised to find Todoroki standing in front of him. He knew that Iida and he had been there when Stain was taken down, although who was getting credit for it was still a murky area in the media. The existence of Izuku as a villain was still being kept under wraps, even with the new… information All Might had provided. Better to keep it quiet than to let it get out and risk Izuku’s future, should there be one.
And there had to be a future for him, he wouldn’t allow for anything else. The kid had managed to wiggle his way into all their hearts so easily, and he refused to let him down. If not for him, or Nemuri, or All Might, then for Hizashi and for his mother.
“What is it?” he asked, already dreading the conversation. He wouldn’t doubt it had something to do with Izuku, but after the most recent conversation with All Might, he found himself wanting to avoid thinking too hard about what the kid was going through.
“It's about Reaper,” Todoroki said, staring him down. The kid could give him a run for his money in tired, dead-eyed stares.
“What about him?” Shouta asked, sitting up just enough.
“I think he needs our help,” Todoroki stated bluntly, just shocking enough to make him pause for a second.
“When I first encountered him, at the USJ, he seemed to be nothing more than a weapon in the hands of Shigaraki. But between the encounter at the Sports Festival, and then with Stain, there was something else. I asked him, before he vanished, if he needed help, and he dodged the question,” Todoroki said, and that caught Shouta’s attention. Todoroki had never gone into depth about what happened between him and Izuku at the Sports Festival, and neither he nor Iida had been particularly eager to talk about the incident with Stain. “I think he’s doing whatever it is against his will, although I don’t know how. There was a definite change between now and then.”
Shouta couldn’t help the hope that bubbled up in his chest. All Might had described the Nomu as being mindless, empty beings incapable of thought or individual action. They had thought that Izuku had become that too, just parroting lines and thoughts pushed into his head by All for One.
“Thank you Todoroki, I’ll be sure to pass that on,” he said, and Todoroki nodded before heading out the door. He noticed Iida had waited for him, and watched with a resigned sigh as the two headed off to lunch. He had expected for Izuku to be the problem child of his class this year, all things considered. He was soulmates with Hizashi for a reason after all, and his best friend wasn’t known for being anything close to calm.
Still, this would require some thinking about. He wouldn’t share the info yet, not when there were still so many unknowns. It was bad enough watching Hizashi collapse in on himself with grief; he refused to give him the hope that Izuku could be saved, only to have it cruelly ripped away later.
He rubbed a hand over his face, resigned to what he was about to do. With Hizashi out for a few days, now would be the perfect time to do some sleuthing on his own, without anyone nosing into his business. He just had to convince Nezu to let him, first.
She wanted to be honest with herself. She owed the kid that much, at least.
It had been so little time, and yet, so so long. She had known him for ten months, watching him train and prepare for UA, and now.
Well, that was the kicker, wasn’t it?
It had been nearly five months since she had kidnapped him, and seeing him, staring into those empty, dead-fish eyes, looking at the kid and knowing she had crushed his life and him with her own selfish desires….
That could do a lot to a person.
Five months. ⅓ of the time she had known him had been spent watching him be a puppet for a merciless master, cleaning up bodies and knowing that, no matter what she did, he would never, ever come out of this unscathed.
There was blood on his hands now, lots of it, same as her and everyone else in the foolish organization.
It was hard, now. The novelty of watching Present Mic suffer had worn off, and instead she spent her days staring at the kid she had destroyed, the murder count she had helped to create.
She was trying, pushing and prodding, hoping he could escape this life that she had foolishly dragged him into. The only reason she hadn’t gone to the authorities yet was because, despite everything, she was still selfish. She didn’t want to be caught in the crossfire, and she didn't want to be dragged down with Sensei and the league. She wanted…
For the first time in a long, long time, she realized she wanted out . No more villainy, no more pain. Just a normal life and a normal apartment and her old job at the radio station back and everything being so, so simple.
She laughed out loud, Kurogiri giving her a strange look. She merely raised her glass to him, downing the rest of the drink and waving for another.
Her wish was unattainable, and she knew that, in the end, she would be in bed with the League until the day she died.
But maybe, maybe, she thought with a feral grin, if she had to go out, she would go out swinging .
And she would bring them all down with her.
The voice was nothing new, always managing to send a shiver down It’s spine. Something felt wrong about the tone, the way it scraped and dragged through the air before reaching It’s ears. This was a new development, and It clutched It’s own arm, the feel of the gloves pressing against It’s skin. It didn’t meet It’s Master’s eyes, staring instead at the floor, not wanting to analyze the why of It’s actions.
“Or should I call you Reaper?”
It shrunk down, hunching shoulders and pressing arms, making Itself a smaller target. It didn’t know why It did this because It hadn’t done anything wrong. It had seen the way Stain had acted, and It had decided the more important course of action was for Stain to be turned in. Luckily someone had caught his whole speech on camera, and the video was circulating like wildfire. It had made the best choice.
“You’ve done well, although I wish you hadn’t left those two students and that hero alive. Now, there are rumors about you circulating, and we can’t have that.”
“Of course not, Master,” It replied, pretending like It couldn’t feel the static of the screen crawling up It’s arms. It knew better than to piss off It’s Master.
“Glad we agree. Your next mission is to hunt down that hero, Native. You’re going to kill him before he starts digging too deep into things he shouldn’t.”
“And the students?” It asked, pushing passed the sudden fear clogging It’s throat. It didn’t understand why It was afraid, It was never afraid, so why now—?
“Leave them. They shall be used to further Tomura’s education. Perhaps, in that respect, you did me a favor. They will be much more challenging opponents, now.”
“Of course. It will be done,” It said, bowing deeply. It felt the warp gate before the Quirkactivated, dropping It back in Hosu to track down the hero. It heard one last thing before the portal consumed It.
“Don’t disappoint me.”
When It landed in the alleyway, It was not expecting to have to dodge an attack immediately. The man flashed by, his quirk showing in Its mind’s eye, scrolling info that was just enough to allow It to dodge the next attack.
‘Jet, huh?’ It thought, leaping out of the way of another attack. It couldn’t call Kurogiri back until It completed the assignment, but this was going to make things much more difficult.
“Damn kid, you’re fast. Not very skilled though,” the man said, pausing in his attacks. It cocked It’s head, almost offended. True, Its main ability was punching things, but It was not completely unskilled.
Immediately, It activated It’s quirks, letting the light bend around It and sheltering It from the outside. Levitate brought It’s feet off the ground, allowing It to slip away silently as the man stared at the spot It had previously been in.
“Maybe I was wrong,” he said, pulling a phone out of the pouch on his belt and pressing a few buttons in quick succession.
“Eraserhead?” he asked as soon as the call connected, and It couldn’t help the curiosity that spiked. The man had been something of an enigma ever since the USJ, where It had felt too much that It shouldn’t have been able to know.
“Yeah, I’m back at the spot the attack happened. Listen, the kid just got dropped right in front of me before vanishing again. No, he wasn’t portaled, it was too quick for that and there wasn’t any sign of that weird warp gate. What's your ETA?” the man asked, and against It’s better judgement, It decided to stick around. It wanted to know more, a desire for understanding that It didn’t think It’s Master would look kindly upon.
But, It’s Master didn’t have to know. And if It’s Master asked, It would just say It was trying to get more information. After all, if someone other than NAtive was asking too many questions about It, well.
They couldn’t have that.
The man said a few more things before hanging up, dropping the phone back into his pouch. His eyes, wizened and sharp for his age, glanced around, and It dropped It’s own gaze, cloaking Itself in complete darkness. It could still hear, and It trusted It’s ability to dodge.
There was a rush of air, and It released It’s hold on the light just enough to see Eraserhead drop into the alleyway.
The thought hadn’t occurred to It before, but It wondered what he was doing here. After all, as far as It knew, UA was still open for now, and he probably had classes to teach. Was this really important enough for him to take time off to look into this?
“Took you long enough,” the man grumbled, crossing his arms. Eraserhead sighed, letting his scarves fall and pulling out eye drops to put in his eyes.
“I was at Native’s agency. We need as much information about this as possible. What did you find?” Eraserhead asked, and It’s brain paused as It noted the brand of eyedrops. Everything went fuzzy for a second, because It looked and It swore he had been using a different brand before, but how--?
“Yeah. Kid showed up, dodged around, then vanished. Just like that Todoroki kid said he did back at the sports festival and during the attack. Think he’s still here though,” the man said, and Eraserhead glanced around. It watched his gaze run right over It, and couldn’t help the small, needy feeling that welled in It’s chest.
‘ Find me find me find me find me-- ’ something in It’s head was chanting, tugging on It and demanding attention from those It needed to avoid.
It didn’t even realize It’s light bending had dropped until It looked up, seeing both men staring at him. There was a steely determination in both their eyes as Eraserhead activated his quirk, hair raising and eyes glowing.
It barely managed to leap out of the way of the other man's attack, finding that suddenly It's quirk had abandoned It. It grimaced, pulling on Levitate, and feeling that sing in It’s veins, giving It just enough to avoid the scarves that lashed out.
As soon as It did, though, Levitate vanished from It’s hold, It’s original quirk swimming through It’s veins again.
‘ Oh, ’ It thought. Eraserhead’s quirk could only erase one quirk at a time, and the order appeared to be based around whichever of It’s own quirks was most active.
It stumbled, trying to dodge the Jet hero’s attack only to feel It’s quirks slip from It’s grasp. It couldn’t fight like this; It needed a plan, something to help It get away.
Scarves wrapped around It before It could move, and It felt It’s own hold on It’s quirks release, before suddenly--
What was he doing? He had to get back he had to get away he had to remember remember who he was and he needed out and he needed to escape and get out out out and he screamed brain breaking as memories that weren’t his but were his flooded in, a thousand things he shouldn’t know but did suddenly clicking into place a fragmented glass finally coming back together and--
Just as soon as it happened, the memories vanished again, leaving It sitting, voice hoarse from screaming and wonder what the hell had just happened. It tried to grasp onto the memory of what happened, but they slipped through It’s fingers like water, and It was left in a state of confusion and fear.
“Izuku?” Eraserhead asked, and It flinched, unsure why that name sent another burst of static crawling through It’s mind.
“Who- what- I don’t understand--” It rasped, shaking It’s head like that would clear the static clinging like a burr.
“Izuku listen to me: we’re here to help you. We want to help you, just come with us. I promise we can help you,” Eraserhead said, slowly approaching It. It shook It’s head, panic rising with every second.
“I don’t- I don’t understand I don’t understand Idon’tunderstand -” It said, volume increasing with every repetition. It yanked on It’s original quirk, ripping through the scarves and releasing It, even as Eraserhead activated his own quirk, ripping the quirk from It’s unsteady grasp.
“Izuku, I can help you understand, you just have to come with us. I promise we’ll help you,” Eraserhead said, reaching out a hand. It backed away, realizing belatedly tears were dripping down It’s cheeks at an alarming rate.
It shook It’s head again, yanking on all It’s quirks, ignoring the startled and terrified shout Eraserhead gave, launching Itself up and out of the alleyway.
It had stayed for answers, but It didn’t know if It had gotten any.
“Damnit!” Shouta said, fist lashing out and slamming against the wall. He’s pretty sure he felt something break, but he couldn’t bring himself to care. He was so close to having Izuku back, and the kid had slipped through his fingers.
“Shit. That was intense,” Gran Torino said, leaning against the wall. He was staring towards where Izuku had vanished, face pensive. “You said that was Toshinori’s successor?”
Shouta grimaced, pulling his hand back and quickly wrapping it with the shredded remains of his scarf.
“Yeah. All Might told us he was a Nomu, but he didn’t act like a Nomu to me,” Shouta said. Gran Torino hummed to himself, looking around the area pensively. There was very little damage done to the structures, luckily enough, but the place still showed signs of battle.
“No, he didn’t. Did you see how he moved? It’s like your quirk only took away one of his, and he was struggling to adapt…” Gran started, trailing off.
“And when he stopped using all the combat quirks…” Shouta continued, thinking back on what happened. Once the kid had been wrapped up in his scarves, it was like all the fight had left him. And then.
He shuddered, shaking his head and trying to ignore the animalistic screech that was still echoing in his ears. He knew that he was going to be hearing that screech in his nightmares for the rest of his life, because no human should make that noise.
The fact that it was Izuku too, his best friend’s soulmate and someone who he was starting to see as his own family, that had made that noise…. It wasn’t a pleasant thought.
“Think there’s some sort of memory quirk involved?” Gran asked, and Shouta let the thought filter through, trying not to be biased, trying not to let the tiny amount of hope flourish in his chest.
“It’s possible,” he said, ignoring the way his heart was racing, the thought, the hope , thundering through his veins.
“We have to get back: this information could be vital to Nezu in understanding what's going on,” he continued, shoving the ripped remains of his scarf in his belt. Gran was staring at him with something akin to sadness inside his eyes.
“He’s not coming out of this unscathed you know,” Gran said, and he shook his head. “I know how much he means you and your friends, and how much he means to Toshinori. The idiot wouldn’t have asked for my help if he didn’t. But after everything that’s happened? We have no idea if he’ll come back sane.”
And he did. Shouta knew, had seen enough old pros going off the rails, kids abandoned and turned to villains, everything in this horrible world going as far wrong as it possibly could.
But if there was even a chance that he could bring Izuku back to his family ? To him and Mrs. Midoriya and Hizashi and Kayama and Toshinori?
Then he was going to chase after it with everything he had.
“Keep an eye out here. I doubt he’ll come back, but better safe than sorry,” Shouta said, already moving. He pulled out his spare scarf, taking off before Gran Torino could reply.
Nezu sat in his office, paws steepled. Every sighting, every interview, every scrap of information he could possibly get his paws on about one Midoriya Izuku. He talked to all the students involved in the Stain incident, everyone who saw him at the USJ. He even went back as far as when Mic first discovered that Midoriya was his soulmate.
He was the smartest person on the planet, if you could call him a person, and even then he still couldn’t figure out where the kid had gone.
His ability to have multiple quirks complicated things to a horrifying level, because quirks were so vast and understudied; anything could be done to him or by him, and they would have no idea how it was done or how to stop it.
Aizawa’s new information, on the possibility of a memory quirk, was not new to him by any standards, but how it worked was.
One quirk erased at a time until they were all stopped, and then.
It meant a lot of things. They still didn’t know how many quirks Midoriya had, or how they worked, or where he was.
But they knew he was using a memory quirk, and it was Midoriya who was using it on himself.
So he reviewed the footage, everything he knew and everything they had gathered.
And from what he could tell, it was touch activated. From the USJ to the sports festival, every time he seemed to grab his wrist, brush his hands through his hair. Strangely human, normal gestures for someone who, otherwise, was completely and entirely still.
He didn’t twitch, didn’t move. If he didn't breath, one might think he was nothing more than a walking corpse.
Which meant that, somehow, he had been trained to seek contact with his hands, skin on skin.
So, if they couldn’t get Aizawa’s quirk to work, perhaps they simply needed to keep his hands from touching skin. Like the gloves he was wearing.
Nezu let a small smile grace his features, leaning back in his chair as plan began to form in his mind.
He knew what he was going to do.
The mission was simple after that, but It was still shaken when It reported to It’s Master.
It didn’t understand. The whole encounter with Eraserhead was a blur, one which It’s mind refused to wrap around. It both could and couldn’t remember what was going on, everything fuzzing in and out of focus.
It knew that Eraserhead had called It ‘Midoriya’, and something about that name felt odd. It struggled to name the feeling coursing through It, the sense of ‘please please please yes please it’s me it’s me it’smeit’smehelpmehelpmehelpme--’
It shook It’s head, the feeling vanishing as soon as it had appeared. It’s hand clenched in the gloves, leather creaking under the pressure. It’s Master had wanted to test It, a final that would allow It to take part in the next mission the League was undertaking. It would participate whether or not It passed the test, It knew, but passing made It’s job much simpler.
It’s final was a simple task really: Showing that It could and would take over the Collector’s job once she finally retired. He was to track down one useful quirk a day, to create more nomu before the next move of the League. It had all the rest of the month to complete It’s job, even as It grimaced at the prospect of tracking down so many people and getting them back to It’s Master.
It was to leave UA alone, however, since they wanted the security to get just lax enough for them to slip between the cracks. Not that It couldn’t already do that, as evidenced from the sports festival, but those were It’s Master’s orders.
All other hero schools were open for It, however, so It set It’s gaze upon them, brain working a mile a minute as It attempted to work through the various ways to pair up different quirks for a Nomu. It would make It’s Master proud, and cause as much strife as It could while doing that.
Something was coming. He could feel it on the horizon, like a storm brewing just out of reach. His bones creaked with it, his side aching with the throbbing pain he’d held since he went toe to toe with All for One last time.
With what had happened to Young Midoriya, he couldn’t help but stare at the future with a dragging foreboding, simultaneously wishing it would never arrive and that it would come, because then at least it’d be over.
For now, all he could do was wait and see, and hope that when they finally got through all this, he would come out on the winning side, even if he wasn’t around to see it any longer.
Hizashi watched out the window with a dead-eyed stare, aware of how Shouta was watching him. Hope was warring in his chest with the painful facts, the things that All Might had said last time that they had talked to him.
He refused to believe his soulmate was lost to him, refused to believe he had failed Izuku so spectacularly after promising him so much.
But mostly he refused to believe that Izuku was dead, because Izuku didn’t deserve that. Of all the people in the world, Izuku deserve only the best. Izuku deserved the world , and Hizashi would spend the rest of his life suffering if it meant he could give it to him.
Hell, Hizashi would give anything to switch places with his soulmate, to take all the pain and suffering and everything that had ever gone wrong in his life, and take it upon himself, because Izuku deserved the best, and life seemed determined to dangle that just out of reach.
But he was a hero who had seen the worst the world had to offer, and he knew miracles didn’t happen.
So he stared out the window, the scent from the candle on the shrine making his eyes water and his heart hurt.
He swore he could feel the gaze from Izuku’s picture boring into the back of his head.
Tomura watched the brats go about their day, shopping for the summer camp that they were going to.
Foolish of UA to keep the same schedule every year; you would think they’d at least try to change it up a bit. Every year the first years went to some sort of training camp over the summer, and every year the kids bragged about it online. Simple enough.
Even simpler for the kid to drop in and grab the location they were using, knowing that UA kept its gates open during summer break for students who wanted to use the facilities. They just had to check up periodically, make sure plans hadn’t changed.
Even if it would have been even easier to wait by the gates when they left on the bus and throw a damn solar powered tracker on the thing. Then it was just a game of follow the signal.
But sensei wanted to test the kid one last time, make sure he could get in and out of UA with ease, should there be bigger and better plans later on that needed the schedule to plan. No need for someone inside the walls when you had someone who could walk over them just fine.
The kid had even gotten information on who had passed and failed their final exams, although that info was more useful to the kid than to him. He just wanted the explosive blond, nothing more.
And to maybe take UA down a peg or two, with how high and mighty they were flying.
UA was going to go down in the flames of its own hubris, he would make sure of it.
Everything was coming to a head. She could feel it, in the way new members flocked to them, whether it was because of Stain, or because of their own wishes to be part of something bigger: they came. And so they would be used by the League, whether or not they knew it, whether or not they wanted to.
In all her years of working with the boss, she had never once regretted her choice. Her part in the plan was almost done and over with, and they had an agreement that, once it was done, she’d be free.
Or free enough. So long as she didn’t spill her secrets, she was to be left alone.
But that wasn’t likely anymore, having been snared in a spider's web of deceit and lies, where struggling meant death but so did stillness.
Foolish of her, but that was where she was nonetheless.
But even as she struggled and felt death creeping ever closer, she knew she would cut Midoriya free.
She was the one who lured him in. It was only fitting that she be the one to let him go.
She owed it to him, after all.
Chapter 50: Hurts Like Hell
So! With the holiday season coming up, as well as finishing all my finals for college, I've been busy. Therefore, this is gonna be the last chapter that I have for a little while as I wait for inspiration to strike again and let me keep working on this, but don't worry! I'm going to finish this fic, I am to stubborn not to, and goddamn if I'm not going to finish it well. But for the moment, it's unfortunately on hiatus again as life takes its turn beating the fuck outta me with a baseball bat.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
With the slow approach of the training camp, It became more and more nervous. There was something in Its Masters plans that he wasn’t telling them, something that It was afraid to see through.
It could see it in the way Its Master grinned when he thought no one was watching. And how the Apprentice stared at It, like It was a cow being prepared for the slaughter, and didn’t know yet.
The name haunted it too. ‘Midoriya.’ Its dreams had become a screaming cacophony of names and words and faces It didn’t know but did, only for everything to slip away in the first few seconds of wakefulness. It was left feeling like someone had torn it apart from the inside out, like It was forgetting something important.
But there was nothing to be done about the dreams now. The training camp was too close for It to find time to think about the way the world seemed to be shaking apart around It.
(And yet think It did.)
Inko Midoriya was a strong woman. Far, far stronger than anyone else. She refused to light a candle in her shrine for her son, because he wasn’t dead, wasn’t gone. He was merely lost, wandering. He would come back to her, she knew.
The others watched her with a careful sense of bitterness, a false sympathy to crowd out all the other emotions they felt.
After all, it wasn’t just children who could be cruel to those who were different.
And yet, she trudged on, day after day after day. Every week one of the three would come a visit, Yamada bringing solemn silence and understanding, Aizawa bringing gruff reassurance, and Nemuri bringing distractions. They tried their best, but she could tell tey were hurting too, and Inko had never been anything more than she had been a mother.
And so she took them in. They were hers, just as much as Izuku. Her family to protect and to cherish. Where once the house was empty, now it felt full, even with the heavy air hanging over it so constantly.
But Izuku would come back. He might come back a little bent, a little broken, a little hurt, but she knew she would still love him all the same. She and Yamada and Aizawa and Nemuri would be there to put him back together again.
She’d make sure of it.
“Gotta admire the womans spirit, I’ll say that,” The Collectors voice was soft, spoken only to the wind that surrounded her. The apartment buildings rooftop was cool under her feet, and she leaned back, removing the binoculars from her eyes.
She had seen what she had come here to see, after all.
“A gift for strength, may you use it well,” she said, trying to pretend the reason behind this wasn’t what it was. Like she hadn’t been haunted by the dead eyes of a 15 year old child who’s life she’d ruined in a quest for her own petty revenge.
Funny, how things could change so quickly when you were forced to stare the consequences of your actions in the eye everyday, and pretend like you couldn’t still see the ghost of what could have, should have, been.
The note was placed on the shrine inside the house, only darkness greeting the woman and ushering her out.
‘I’ll get him back to you. I promise.