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Children of Fate

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“I hate the word "fate". Birth, encounters, partings, success and failure, fortune and misfortune in life. If everything is already set in stone by fate, then why are we even born? There are those born wealthy, those born of beautiful mothers, and those born into war or poverty. If everything is caused by fate, then God must be incredibly unfair and cruel.”

 

Midoriya Inko hadn’t truly taken those words her husband had declared to heart. Of course, she hadn’t spoken against him either. She understood that the quirk he possessed gave him a different perspective of internal clockwork mechanisms that made up the workings of the universe, not to mention what he knew from that other thing he possessed.

 

But the first time that he had first said those words to her, Inko was still rejoicing the second chance he had allowed her.

 

Through just the offering of half her lifespan and an impending case of future misfortune as “punishment for changing fate”, Midoriya Hisashi was able to use his quirk to revive Inko’s childhood friend Mitsuki from the tragic car accident that had claimed her life at the young age of twenty. Despite the fact he was simply an unrelated bystander at the time, Hisashi had offered the abilities of himself and his little book of miracles to Inko in the face of her despair.

 

It was a miracle that could only be gifted through love and sacrifice, and the punishment for enacting it wasn’t light, as it was proven when just a week later Mitsuki was involved in another accident which rendered her right leg permanently unusable, but it was unmistakably a miracle none the less.

 

Even if fate and God are cruel, as long as people can change their lives in some way, surely there will be more fortune in life than misfortune. That is what she had thought.

 

And she continued thinking this through her fortune of cultivating a friendship and relationship with Hisashi, through the joy of their wedding day, and especially the pinnacle of happiness that was the birth of her beautiful son Izuku.

 

In the back of her mind she was always aware, though, of the overhanging guillotine that could be sent down from the heavens at any moment. Both her and her husband had a punishment pending for them, her for changing the fate of Bakugou Mitsuki, and him simply for being born with a quirk that could change fate, being a Child of Fate, as he described it.

 

She had prayed that the heavens would grant them even a little bit of mercy. Even if they were struck by an accident like Mitsuki’s and became bound by wheelchairs or crutches, she would accept that sort of fate because they could still work around that. They could still have the ultimate happiness of their life that was their family.

 

But her prayers had fallen on deaf ears.

 

If everything is caused by fate, then God must be incredibly unfair and cruel.

 

Looking at the pristine white hospital bed holding up the pale and still body of her child, only 14 years of age,  Midoriya Inko now agreed with the words of her husband with all her heart.

 

After the doctor exited through the door, leaving them alone for their mourning, a steady hand settled itself on her shoulder. She turned to look at her husband’s face through her tears and sobs, his curly brown hair was ragged and unkempt, and his dark eyes glistened with tear-streaks down his face.

 

“I checked before coming here,” his voice wavered only slightly as he explained, “This is definitely my punishment, my punishment for being born with this quirk.”

 

The Number One hero, the Symbol of Peace himself, All Might had been minutes away from successfully rescuing their child from a slime villain, the doctors had told them, but he was still too late. Even after he personally rushed Izuku to the hospital for treatment, there was little they could do, and in the end…

 

In the end…

 

The overhanging guillotine had fallen down upon her little boy’s neck.

 

A punishment by fate that was the definition of unfair and cruel, for what else did it mean to punish a child of the sins of his parents.

 

But still there was a single ray of hope, though whether it shone from heaven or hell she didn’t know, for Midoriya Hisashi was a man that could create miracles.

 

“Can you save him?” she asked in a quiet and hoarse voice, barely a whisper, “Can you bring him back to us, Hisashi?”

 

Hisashi paused before answering, as though considering the way he wanted to phase his thoughts, “Your punishment has also appeared, Inko. When I inquired further, I learned that when a death occurs as a punishment of fate, half of a lifespan isn’t enough to revive the person, you need to give everything,” he paused again looking her straight into her eyes, “You only have half Inko, that’s why it can’t be you.”

 

Inko looked away from her husband and shut her eyes tight, trying to keep renewed tears at bay.

 

It was just like Hisashi to get straight to the crux of the matter, and to know even without her having said it that she was offering up herself for their boy. Even in a normal case, Hisashi had once said that at least a half was the minimum that needed to be given to revive a person. Between the two of them it would make no sense for her to be the one offering anyway.

 

But in this case, since Izuku needed to be given everything… There’s no way this can go that doesn’t end with someone missing from their perfect family of three.

 

“Inko…” Hisashi’s voice wavered even more than it did before, but the conviction it shown was firmer still, “Let me bring our boy back to you. No matter how you look at it, its only natural that a parent should choose their child’s life over their own life. That’s what it means to love, after all…”

 

He couldn’t help his mouth quirking up at one end in a half smile, “Since he’ll be getting everything, then that means he’ll be getting my quirk too. Our little Izuku can have a real shot at being a hero now, just like he’s always dreamt of.”

 

She won’t bother trying to talk him out of it. She knows that he’s already made up his mind, and as cold as it may seem, Inko would also choose to save their son over saving Hisashi. Just like Hisashi would choose Izuku over Inko as well.

 

But even as she starts mourning for her husband’s impending end, she can’t restrain herself from fearing what fate may still have in store for them.

 

“If Izuku is getting your quirk, that means he’ll be punished too, you know, even if he goes his whole life without using it once. What will happen to him then? Will it be better than this? What if it’s even worse?” She can’t even imagine what fate could be worse than this, let alone think of it happening to her son.

 

Hisashi’s eyes strayed from her face to Izuku, still lying on the bed in front of them.

 

“I don’t know, Inko. There’s no way to know that. But at this point… the only way to go is to let things come as they may. Maybe even with what awaits him, his future can still be one filled with fortune, maybe not. But either way, he has to have a future in the first place in order to get there.”

 

His hand, which was still upon her shoulder, tightened its grip as he continued, “We’ll just have to place our bet that it will be a good one. It’s a bet we already made once, when we brought him into this world the day he was born. That’s all we can do.”

 

Inko looked at her husband with her watery green eyes, then lifted his hand from her shoulder and held it between both hands. She leaned up from her short stature to kiss him gently.

 

“I love you, Hisashi,” she whispered into his ear, “Bring our child back to me, please. I’ll take care of him in your place.”

 

Hisashi gave her a firm but gentle second kiss in return, and hugged her tightly with one hand, the other still within her grip. “I know you will, Inko. I love you and Izuku, always. Remember that even after I’m gone, please.”

 

Inko rested her head on her husband’s chest, listening to his heart beat. “Of course, always,” she breathed as a simple reply.

 

The couple stayed like that for some time, before turning as one to face their child, and the destination of their fate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Midoriya Izuku slowly opened his eyes, it was to the sight of what appeared to be a white ceiling.

 

“Where…” he started to mumble, turning his eyes to examine his surroundings.

 

His first thought was that he was at a hospital, though he was slow to remember how he would have gotten there. Upon looking around though and seeing red benches and hanging metal rails, he realized that actually he was inside what appeared to be a regular metro train.

 

Then he looked outside the window, only to see pitch black darkness, as though just outside the train was a never-ending expanse of nothingness. That’s when he realized that this was no regular train.

 

“Izuku… Oh, Izuku, my baby…”

 

As he heard the sound of his mother crying, Izuku slowly regained feeling throughout his body. His mother was holding his upper body in her arms with his head lying on her chest, and the rest of his body was lying upon was seemed to be a plush, light pink blanket covering of a bed right at the center of the train. Izuku gently started pushing himself up to look around the cabin.

 

“Mom? What…”

 

“Izuku, I’m glad you were able to wake up so easily.”

 

The voice of his father startled Izuku. It was only then that he looked forward to see his father standing at the end of the bed.

 

He was wearing a strange black and white outfit that looked like some mix between what a prince might wear and a train conductor uniform, with a black tailcoat featuring long trailing tails in the back, simmering gold shoulder pads and double-breasted buttons, and white pants ending in black calf length boots.

 

It was complete with a distinct conductor’s hat that featured two black slanted dots with an orange triangular orange patch on the rim of the hat between them. It looked vaguely like the face of a penguin.

 

Izuku knows that is the outfit that his father wears when he uses what he describes as his “quirk enhancing book”, a mysterious item that one day had literally fallen from the sky into his father’s hands, the Penguindrum.

 

“Dad! Why are we– Is this that train you and mom talked about?!”

 

While Izuku has seen his father using the Penguindrum before, he has never seen this train. It was explained to him, when he was young and curious, that one cannot enter the Train of Fate unless they plan on using it.

 

He later learned that there was only one thing that the Train of Fate is used for.

 

“Yes, Izuku, it is. Your mother and I came to pick you up.”

 

Midoriya Hisashi moved from the end of the bed to stand next to his son’s side as he spoke, opposite of wear Inko was leaning on the bed. He leaned down to press a soft kiss against Izuku’s forehead and carded his fingers through Izuku’s green curls.

 

“The outcome of your run in with that villain is all my fault, Izuku, because your father was born with this quirk... So let your old man take responsibility for this, okay? I’m sorry for the pain that I’ve caused you.”

 

It was at that point that Izuku remembered the events leading up to this strange awakening; Kacchan’s cruel taunts, his ruined notebook, walking underneath the bridge on his way home. It ended with a slime villain trying to suffocate him, while Izuku lost consciousness.

 

“That means I was– Wait! Dad, where are you going?!” His father had stepped back from his bedside and started walking towards the door at the end of the cabin. It opened to reveal the outside of a second carriage attached to the unit they were inside.

 

“Because of my punishment, I couldn’t do this like how I did with your mother and Auntie Mitsuki. Please don’t feel guilty that I’ve traded myself for you, Izuku. It was all my fault in the first place anyway. I love you so much… I couldn’t stand to not do this for you.”

 

His father smiled to him from the doorway, it reminded Izuku of the kind of smile All Might wore whenever he saved people. But instead of the overwhelming awe and hope that he felt when seeing All Might’s smile, Izuku just felt a creeping sense of alarm and dread.

 

“Dad, wait! What are you talking about?! Why are you leaving?!” Izuku leaned forward with his hand stretched towards his father, as though trying to follow him, but the firm hand of mother holding onto his shoulder stopped him, “Mom?!”

 

When he looked at his mother’s face, he realized that tears were streaming from her eyes. “Your father and I decided this together, Izuku, he had to give you everything just to bring you back to me. I’m so sorry, but please accept this.”

 

“What?! No, Dad stop!” His head whipped back towards his father, he was in the middle of walking across the connection to the other train car. Izuku quickly jumped out of the bed and ran towards the door, but his mother caught him by the shoulder again once he reached the doorway.

 

“Izuku, you need to stay here. It’s already been done,” his mother’s hand gripped his shoulder tight and her voice was quiet but firm. He’s never seen her look at him so intensely, ”At this point if you go out there all you’ll be doing is leaving two of our family dead instead of one. Please respect your father’s sacrifice…”

 

Midoriya Inko’s words rang through him like the tolling of a funeral bell, and soon he was crying too.

 

His dad had already reached the second car. He had thought that there could be nothing more disheartening than hearing the doctor say that he was quirkless, or than hearing everyone say that he could never be a hero.

 

He knew he was wrong as a sob burst through his throat, “Dad– !”

 

“Izuku,” his father called from across the connection, “my quirk is yours now. Whether you use it to become a hero, or go down some other path in life, I’m sure you’ll use it well. You were always such a smart boy.”

 

He was still smiling.

 

“Please try to be like me, though, and don’t use it on yourself lightly. Think of the rest of your life as a precious gift from me if you need to. You’re such a kind child, I feel like if I don’t tell you this, you’ll go around giving pieces of yourself to every person in need you come across until you die an early age. Please don’t do that, it would make your mother and I so sad…”

 

From the train car Hisashi was on, tiny pieces of glass began breaking off from the car and floated up through the air, before disappearing all together. It seemed as though it was slowly falling into pieces.

 

His father turned his head to look at the phenomena, before turning back to Izuku, “Ah– It seems like we’re taking too long, I’m sorry Izuku.” The smile he was giving wasn’t like All Might’s anymore. It was a very sad smile, paired with the tears slipping from his eyes.

 

“Goodbye, Izuku, Inko. I love you both so much, please remember me…” Hisashi couldn’t keep his voice from wavering a bit.

 

“ –Oh, and Izuku, I gave you the Penguindrum too, okay. Please keep it safe, but don’t be afraid to use it as you please.”

 

With his last parting words spoken, the mechanism linking the two train cars together released, and the car that was still attached to the train with Izuku and his mother on board gave a jerk as it slowly began to move forward, leaving the second car with is father behind.

 

Glass pieces started to rapidly part from the car, soon leaving whole chunks missing.

 

Midoriya Hisashi then started breaking into glass as well, his pieces dissolving into nothingness along with the glass from the train car.

 

Izuku screamed through his sobbing, “I love you, Dad! I promise I’ll remember you, and I promise I won’t waste what you gave me! I promise– !”

 

He could feel his mother’s hand shaking from her quiet sobbing as she watched her husband’s fading form beside him.

 

The Train gained more speed, rolling away from the lonely and forgotten train car.

 

By time that Izuku could hardly see it in the distance, engulfed by encroaching blackness, the train and Midoriya Hisashi had already completely dissolved into glass, and disappeared into nothing. All that was left were rail tracks that led to nowhere.

 

At this point, Izuku’s legs gave out and he fell to his knees on the floor of the white train car. Inko followed his movement and hugged her son tightly with his head turned into her chest. His tears wet her shirt as they sobbed on the cold floor together, a family of three reduced to two. The pain in his chest refused to dissipate.

 

Thus, came the end of Midoriya Hisashi’s existence, having reached the destination of his fate…

 

And thus, came the beginning of Midoriya Izuku’s new fate, and the beginning of the Peguindrum’s new successor…

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a miracle the likes of which Musutafu General Hospital had never been seen before.

 

A young boy, only 14 years of age, had been brought in by the Number One hero, All Might, in an attempt to save his life. But by the time he had reached the doctors, all attempts to resuscitate him had failed. The doctors, though saddened by the end of such a young life, accepted it as a reality that was often seen in a hospital, and had called in the boy’s mother to explain the situation and give a short moment to grieve with the body of her child.

 

However, sometime later the mother had called the nurse, saying that the boy had woken up. And sure enough, when the medical staff arrived at the room, the previously deceased child was instead looking at them through teary green eyes.

 

He had held a small, light pink book to his chest, but they took no notice of it, believing it not to be of importance.

 

This is unmistakably a miracle. They had thought. If this is the work of fate, then God must be incredibly kind and merciful, to make an exception for this boy.

 

“Well, Midoriya-san, it seems like Izuku here is in perfect health now, though I’ve never seen anything like this in my entire career as a doctor before,” stated the primary doctor on the case, “But due to these unusual circumstances, the hospital would like to keep him for one more day just to make sure there are no unforeseen complications.”

 

Midoriya Inko, also with tears in her eyes, which looked very much like her son’s, sniffed before replying in a steady voice, “Yes, that is understandable.”

 

“Thank you for your cooperation.” The doctor smiled at her softly, but as a thought crossed his mind, his eyebrows scrunched in slight confusion. “For some reason I had thought for a moment that I need to inform the father as well, but that’s a mistake on my part. After all, it states that you are the single parent of Izuku in your records. In any case, I’ll leave you two be for now. Just focus on resting, Izuku-kun.”

 

As the doctor left the room, he never noticed how the patient and his mother forcibly stiffened, as though if they didn’t hold themselves together they would fall to pieces because his words.

Chapter Text

All men are not created equal. This was the reality of society that Izuku learned at the young age of four. Because it seemed as though ever since that day, he no longer had a future, and the only certain thing was that he wouldn't amount to anything.

 

When Izuku was four, he had heavily anticipated the arrival of his quirk. As a hero fanatic, he had known that the kind of hero a person could become depended on the kind of quirk they had, and that some quirks were more suited to hero work than others. He had hoped that his quirk was of a similar kind to the quirks of the people he looked up to, so that he might be a great hero in the future that could save many people.

 

His friend Kacchan, with his quirk Explosion, had such an incredible quirk for being a hero. The day his quirk appeared was the day that confirmed his future as a great hero. His mother had a quirk that allowed her to pull small objects towards her, and while it would’ve taken some work, Izuku was sure that he would find some way to be a hero if he happened to get it.

 

And of course, everyone knew that All Might’s super strength and speed was an amazing hero’s quirk that helped him to reach the number one spot in the hero rankings. The combination of All Might’s super quirk and his dedication to helping people, with a bright smile on his face and his proud reassurance of “I am here!”, had helped to make him Izuku’s favorite hero.

 

However, even in the face of all these possibilities, as well as the many other kinds of quirks he had seen, what Izuku had wanted most of all was to have his father’s quirk, Conductor.

 

Midoriya Hisashi had told Izuku the story of how he met his mother, of how with the help of a small book that seemed to be made of magic, the Penguindrum, his quirk was able to help her save Auntie Mitsuki’s life.

 

While his father had said that Conductor would be a hard quirk to apply to heroics, though using it together with the Penguindrum would simplify things a lot, Izuku had still hoped to inherit a quirk like Conductor over all else. After all, what other quirk could let a hero grant people the chance to give their loved ones a second chance at life? What other quirk could let a hero literally change a person’s fate?

 

It was unmistakably a quirk that created miracles, and in Izuku’s eyes, that was the perfect kind of quirk for a hero to have.

 

However, fate was not so kind to the young 4-year-old child. The day that he had gone to the doctor to check on his quirk development had left a mark on Izuku’s dream, as well as all his interactions with society.

 

Ever since that day, he no longer had a future, and the only certain thing was that he wouldn't amount to anything.

 

Upon hearing that he was quirkless, the stark difference in the way people would treat him was staggering.

 

Kacchan had gone from being his best friend to being his worst bully, a constant reminder of how much of a useless “Deku” he was for not being born with a quirk. His teachers had gone from being attentive to being down right neglectful, because what did they care for some quirkless child that would be incapable of pulling their own weight in society. Even random strangers who happened to hear about his “condition” in passing sent him pitying looks.

 

Even his parents, who had once completely supported his dream to be a hero, now no longer believed that it was possible for him. Though at the very least they didn’t think he was completely incapable like most people.

 

In this age of quirks, people that were fated to be quirkless were fated to have no future, they were fated to never amount to anything worthwhile in their life. For how can they achieve success in a society that looks down upon them for simply being born missing something that everyone normal has?

 

Quirkless people have no future because society doesn’t believe they can have one. Even with a sizeable 20% of the population being quirkless, the 80% majority still rules.

 

There are those born wealthy, those born of beautiful mothers, and those born into war or poverty. If everything is caused by fate, then God must be incredibly unfair and cruel.

 

He had once overheard his father say those words to his mother in private, sometime after his quirk appointment, and they describe the reality that the young 4-year-old Izuku had realized.

All men are not created equal. People are “fated” to be born into specific circumstances, and these circumstances were not equal in prosperity. That was why Kacchan could be born with an incredible hero’s quirk, while Izuku was born to be a Deku with no quirk at all. Spinning the wheel of fortune can give one person a jackpot, and another person debt. It was a simple fact of life.

 

Even so, he still wanted to be a hero.

 

Even if his parents didn’t believe he could be a hero. Even if everyone told him he couldn’t be anything, let alone a hero. He still decided that that was the only path he wanted to take, that if it was his fate to never amount to anything, he would find some way to change his fate so that he could amount to something.

 

All he wanted to do was help people, trying to do this was his purpose in life, his reason for existing. And with or without a quirk, he would find some way to do this. However, even though he had faith in himself, living in a society that told him every day that he was worthless and would never amount to anything took its toll.

 

That’s why on particularly hard days, when Kacchan’s words and explosions hurt a little too much to handle or when one too many teachers had ignored his pain or achievements, even though he knew it was impossible, Izuku would sometimes wish to whatever God or gods that exist in this universe, whether they be unfair and cruel or kind and merciful, that he would one day wake up and find that he has his father’s quirk, the quirk that he had desired above all else as a young child.

 

Then came the day where that actually happened.

 

Now all he wishes was that he could go back and erase all those times that he’s made that stupid, petty, worthless wish. Though he certainly doesn’t make that wish to God now.

 

This isn’t a miracle. He wants to tell those doctors, even after they have already long left Musutafu General Hospital behind. This is a tragedy. An ironic twist of fate, that happened because Dad spun the quirk wheel of fortune and somehow managed to land a jackpot and debt simultaneously, because Izuku couldn’t even save himself let alone other people, because he was such a useless Deku that Dad needed to sacrifice his life and existence to save him.

 

A person’s life and a person’s existence were two very different things, in the context of his father’s quirk and the Penguindrum. His father had only mentioned it once before in reply to Izuku’s never-ending questions about his impossible quirk, that if a person loses their life, they simply die, but if a person loses their existence, it’s as if they were never alive in the first place.

 

That’s why the hospital staff didn’t remember that Izuku’s father was also at his bedside along with his mother. Checking in on Hizashi’s friends showed that none of them remember him, though they still know Inko and Izuku. Even Auntie Mitsuki, who was once saved by Hisashi, remembered neither him nor how she was saved in the first place, other than the fact that Inko was involved somehow. The only people who remember him are Izuku and his mother.

 

All that’s left in other people is a vague sense that something might be missing, that there might be something that was supposed to be remembered, but if it was forgotten so easily, it probably wasn’t important in the first place.

 

Birth records, the Midoriya’s marriage certificate, even the framed pictures that are placed throughout their family’s apartment, they are all missing Midoriya Hisashi’s name, information, and image.

 

Sometime after she had worked through their important documents and pictures, to see what had changed and what had stayed the same, Mom idly stated, “I suppose it’s a good thing he ended up taking on my name instead of the other way around, this transition might have been harder if that wasn’t the case…” Did he know that this might happen some day? was left unsaid.

 

Izuku has both the quirk Conductor and the Penguindrum now, but whereas before he would have explored these new abilities in an endless investigation, at this point he hasn’t even used them once.

 

Why would he want to use them? He doesn’t want them anymore. He would trade them in a heartbeat just for the chance to put his father’s body in a proper grave, that way at least his mother might have a chance at getting closure.

 

If everything is caused by fate, then God must be incredibly unfair and cruel.

 

That was the outlook that Izuku had on this entire situation, and it might have stayed that way, if it hadn’t been for a certain encounter that occurred around two weeks after the day that he was supposed to die.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I-Izuku! Come quickly, A-All Might is here to see you!”

 

Midoriya Izuku, who was previously lying on his bed wondering aimlessly through his through, promptly fell off his bed in surprise at his mother’s declaration. He landed on the floor with a thud.

 

“Wha–  All Might?! As in All Might, All Might?!”

 

He jerked himself off his bedroom floor’s All Might themed rug and threw open the door in a rush, running down the hallway and towards the door.

 

Sure enough, standing in the doorway next to his mother was the hulking figure of the Symbol of Peace himself, All Might. He stood tall in his blue and red hero costume, but the way he barely seemed to fit between the door frame and how his two bits of stuck up hair brushed the top of the Midoriya household’s doorway almost looked comical.

 

And of course, All Might’s every present smile was gleaming on his face, Izuku just never thought it would be directed at him.

 

“I am here, young Midoriya! It’s good to see you looking well boy!”

 

While the presence of such a famous hero at her doorstep surely had her anxious, his mother’s hospitable nature still shone through. “P-Please, come in, All Might. You can rest on the couch while I make us some tea, unless you would prefer anything else?”

 

As he stepped through the entryway All Might replied, “Oh, there’s no need for that. I’m sorry to say that I won’t be able to stay long. I just wanted to have the opportunity to properly meet young Midoriya and apologize.”

 

Izuku had felt a rising sense of awe at the fact that All Might actually wanted to meet him! but it was soon replaced by confusion as he internalized the rest of his statement.

 

“A-Apologize? What would need to apologize for, All Might?” Izuku managed to stutter out, eyebrows scrunched in response to the questioning declaration.

 

At his words, All Might seemed to shrink in on himself in sadness, his iconic smile wavered a bit. “I’m not sure if you two remember due everything else that was keeping you occupied, but I was the hero that arrived on scene for Midoriya’s assault by that villain. Despite being the Number One hero, I still wasn’t able to find that villain fast enough to rescue him. It’s only because of a miracle that the boy made it through alive.”

 

It wasn’t a miracle, it was a tragedy.

 

All Might bent in a low bow towards both Inko and Izuku as his somber deep voice continued, “I’m sure that if I was able to live up to my duties as a hero and had properly rescued him, it would have saved you two a lot of suffering. I am sorry I failed you.”

 

Izuku gave a startled reply, “A-Ah! You don’t have to apologize, All Might. It’s not your fault, really…” After all, fate was clearly sabotaging you. In a normal situation, the Number One hero would have definitely made it in time, he refrained from speaking the rest of his thoughts though.

 

“That’s right, All Might. There’s no need to apologize, you did what you could for that situation and brought my child to the hospital as fast as possible. After all, even for the Number One hero, it’s impossible to save everyone right…? The important thing is that Izuku made it out okay,” his mother’s voice was soft but clear. She gazed at the man with kind, understanding eyes. “Thank you for doing what you could to help him and for coming to see him today.”

 

He’s only okay because his father isn’t.

 

“Y-Yeah, thank you for trying to save me, All Might! You even came to see me when you didn’t have to!” Izuku hoped that his words conveyed the amount of gratitude he felt for the hero he had looked up to since he was a young child.

 

“I do not feel as though I deserve your thanks, but I will accept them gladly.” All Might then raised himself from his bow

 

“Oh, if you still feel guilty about this whole thing, there is one thing you can do if you feel like you need to make up for it…” A grin began to form on his mother’s face. “I know for a fact that my little Izuku here would just love to have your autograph, you are his favorite hero after all.”

 

“ –Ah, Mom!” he could feel his face heat up as he exclaimed in embarrassment.

 

“Is that so? Haha!” All Might laughed, “Well an autograph is the least I could do for you, boy!”

 

After rushing to get one of his notebooks for All Might, the hero signed his name in large black print and handed it back to Izuku and oh god he can’t believe he actually has All Might’s autograph

 

“Well, I have to get going now. The schedule of a hero is very jam packed you know, haha!” All Might stuck his hand out towards Izuku. “I hope to meet you under less dire circumstances next time, young Midoriya!”

 

“R-right. Thanks again, All Might!” Izuku offered his hand for a firm handshake from his favorite.

 

During this, the latent abilities of his father’s quirk arose, and it seemed as though a golden apple had appeared within All Might’s chest…

 

“Ack– !”

 

“Hmm? Is something wrong young Midoriya?”

 

“A-A-All Might! Your Fruit– what on Earth happened to it?!”

 

“ …My fruit? I’m sorry, boy, but I have no idea what you are talking about,” All Might’s confusion was evident in is tone.

 

“Oh dear… Izuku what’s the matter with his fruit?” While the hero was still in the dark, his mother knew exactly what he was referring to.

 

All Might’s Fruit of Fate was a sight for Izuku’s eyes alone, and it wasn’t a pretty one, but despite its abysmal state there was one notable feature that gave him the most concern.

 

No that means… But if this has something to do with a punishment that could explain what happened to his Fruit…

 

Izuku had to make to a decision. The knowledge his father gained from the Penguindrum is not to be given out lightly. The whole system was something that existed beyond the wildest imaginings of humankind and was almost entirely unbelievable without proof. Furthermore, telling the wrong person could result in someone targeting the Penguindrum to use for unethical purposes.

 

Not only that, but he will have to use Conductor and the Penguindrum, something that up until this point he had been avoiding. Just the thought of using what was once his father’s quirk and possession made him sick to his stomach.

 

However, in the end the decision was an easy one to make. After all, this was the Symbol of Peace, a hero and person of unmatched caliber, and Izuku’s favorite hero who had even taken time out of his day to personally apologize to him.

 

He deserves to be fully informed about the state of his fate, and he deserves a chance to change it.

 

Izuku straightened up, held on tighter to All Might’s hand, and looked him straight in his shaded eyes.

 

“All Might… I know you said that you needed to leave, but what I need to tell you is important, your life could be a stake here,” he stated firmly. When he saw the hero’s confusion increase he continued, “I’ll answer most of your questions with my explanations. First, let me start off with this though… have you ever seen a golden apple that looked like it was inside a person, either in yourself or other people?”

 

He heard his mother let out a quiet gasp as she realized the implications of his question. All Might on the other hand, was starting to emerge from his confusion, but answered in a questioning tone, “ …Yes. Only once, though. I saw it in myself and in… a mentor of mine.”

 

“That apple, All Might… is what is known the Fruit of Fate. Each person has one, and it is the culmination of their entire being, life, and fate all rolled together. You have a specific feature on your Fruit that indicates that your quirk can interact with these Fruit and can therefore “change fate”, which makes you a Child of Fate.”

 

Izuku ignored the hero’s questioning looks and made sure his grip remained tight. “My dad was a Child of Fate, and when he passed on his quirk to me, I also became a Child of Fate. I will show you what that means, so please remain calm…”

 

All Might started to open is mouth, likely to voice his concern, but Izuku cut him off.

 

“Survival Strategy”

 

With those words uttered, the room that was previously filled with three people was now down to only one.

Chapter Text

All Might let out a gasp as he realized that his surroundings had changed.

 

Where he had once stood in the living room of a homely apartment, he was now in some sort of library or large study.

 

Large windows let in abundant sunlight from what seemed to be a deep blue sky, shining upon the dark pink walls, vaulted ceiling, dark wood flooring, and cool black sofas and inclining chairs. There were also tables of various sizes throughout the room made of dark brown wood, and various lamps with light pink lamp shades, though there didn’t seem to be a need for them with all the light from the windows.

 

The second most notable feature, however, was without a doubt the large dark brown bookshelves, which extended against all the major portions of the room’s walls, almost reaching the ceiling with how tall they stretched. On their shelves were countless books of various dull colors, all of them looked old but well kept, and not a bit of dust was in sight.

 

There was only one wall which was clear of bookshelves, and upon that pink wall hung three portraits; Starting from the left was a picture that was unmistakably of young Midoriya in a strange outfit, with curly dark green hair, and matching green eyes that seemed to bore right into the soul. Next to his portrait was a picture of a man with similarly curly dark brown hair and steady brown eyes, wearing an outfit that was similar to but not as strange as Midoriya’s.

 

Young Midoriya’s father most likely…

 

The last portrait was of a small young girl who was even younger than Midoriya. She was also wearing an outlandish black and white outfit, that seemed to be some mix between an idol and a princess dress? The corset top and trailing puffed skirt with frilled edges were black, with the front portion of the skirt removed to reveal a white leotard and long black boots underneath. The inside of the skirt that could be seen from the long train was a deep red, and she was wearing some sort of hat that was stylized to look like the face of a Rockhopper Penguin with pink eyes.

 

The girl had distinctive deep pink straight hair that stopped just above her shoulders and expressionless matching pink eyes, they looked as if they were actually watching him.

 

The girl’s picture was set over the first most notable feature of the room, which was a tall, wide silver mirror with two cloth penguin hats hanging from the top corners. They had appeared in the room in such a way that they were directly in front of it. All Might choked on his breath looking into the mirror.

 

Because even though he was still in his full-blown “All Might” form, the person that was reflected in front of him was the frail, skinny, limp haired, and sunken eyed form of Yagi Toshinori, still in his ill-fitting All Might-sized hero costume.

 

“Well,” he could see the eyes of Midoriya’s reflection looking at him as it spoke these words, following along with the boy’s voice, “you’ve brought quite the visitor, little Izuku. He certainly has some secrets underneath that muscled heroic exterior. You may be the best hero, but you certainly aren’t the fairest.”

 

“Please don’t tease him, Momoka-san,” the Midoriya standing next to him spoke, he wasn’t looking at All Might through the mirror, but at his own reflection, “his Fruit of Fate is in a fairly unhealthy state, so it would make sense that he’s not as healthy as he seems.”

 

It was at this point that All Might realized that Midoriya and Midoriya’s reflection were speaking completely independently of each other.

 

“ –Gah!”

 

He couldn’t help his high-pitched exclamation and involuntary step backwards.

 

Midoriya’s reflection laughed at him. Instead of green eyes, he was examined by deep pink irises and pupils. “Haha, but it seems like a rather easy thing to do. I’ll probably just end up teasing him on accident.”

 

Midoriya sighed in response before turning towards All Might to speak, “I’m sorry if this seems… presumptuous, but as you can see, there really isn’t a point in keeping up appearances when faced with Momoka’s Mirror. I’m not sure how you’re keeping that form, but if the other one feels more comfortable please feel free to relax yourself.”

 

After a moment’s hesitation, All Might started letting off a mass of steam. When the steam dissipated, what was left was Toshinori’s true form.

 

The questions started spewing from his mouth, along with coughs of blood, “What– where on Earth are we?! What is this place?!” He glanced over the boy’s outfit and couldn’t keep himself from adding, “And what are you wearing?”

 

The boy was wearing something that seemed to be a derivative of the outfit worn by the girl in the portrait.

 

His black top had a tall, stiff collar and featured three sets of golden buttons on either side of his chest connected with horizontal golden trim. The top ended at a pair of tight white shorts that stopped before the mid-thigh and piece of frilled fabric that puffed out around his sides and ended behind him in coat tails, its shape looked similar to a short skirt lacking a front. It was black on the outside and red on the inside.

 

The outfit was complete with a pair of high black boots that reached just past his knees, black gloves that reached just past the elbows, and a high collared deep red cloak pinned shut at the top of his left side with a small golden apple ornament.

 

On his head was a crown featuring tall spikes, with an orange middle spike and two adjacent white spikes with a slanted black dot at the base. The rest of the crown was black. Some people might describe it as looking vaguely penguin-like.

 

Izuku looked worried at the sight of blood coming out of his mouth, but in response to his question the boy examined himself more thoroughly using the mirror, and promptly choked on air.

 

“Wha– ?!”

 

He took off the cloak to further examine himself, with Midoriya’s reflection, who was apparently named Momoka, following his movements either for amusement or so he could continue using the mirror. Its absence revealed that the boy’s shirt was sleeveless, showing off his shoulders.

 

“Momoka-san, what’s with this design?! Actually, I always thought Dad made his own uniform… ?”

 

“Oh, no. I made it, like how I made yours. I decided to give you a look that made you look more boyish,” Momoka-san spoke with amusement clear in their tone, “You know, I just threw in a bit of pop idol fashion here, a bit of dashing prince charming there, added a marching-band uniform theme, stylized it with feminine tones throughout, and topped the whole thing with a superhero cape, since I know you like heroes.”

 

They said this as if any of those clothing styles naturally go together, when most people would know they most certainly do not.

 

“This is a cloak not a cape,” Midoriya automatically corrected. After blinking at his apparel for an extended moment he continued saying, “And I’m 90% sure that you just took your own outfit design and adjusted it as little as possible to make it unisex.”

 

“ …Looks like I’ve been found out.”

 

“How would you have not been found out?! The only real difference is the cloak and crown!” the boy uttered incredulously.

 

Toshinori decided at that point it was time to intervene. “Um… I apologize, young Midoriya, but I have no idea what is going on with any of this current situation, including everything you spoke of concerning that… Fruit of Fate, was it? So, if you could please…”

 

At that request Midoriya blushed and stuttered, “R-right, sorry…”

 

He turned to fully face Toshinori. “This will be a lot easier for you to understand if I show you what I’m talking about so, look at this.”

 

Midoriya’s right hand seemed to go through his chest, right at the area where the heart would be located, and when he retracted it…

 

“That– that’s exactly the fruit I saw before!” Toshinori couldn’t help but exclaim in response to seeing a luminous golden apple in the palm of the boy’s hand.

 

“Yes, this is my Fruit of Fate. It’s a representation of my being and future. An average Fruit of Fate looks exactly like this, with the exception of the stem.”

 

He pointed at the matching golden stem with his free hand.

 

“A normal person, whether they’re quirked or quirkless, will have a brown stem on their Fruit. The stem is connected to the core of the Fruit, which is where the representation of a person’s quirk is if they have one. If a person is a Child of Fate, however, they will have a golden stem like this. The fact that you were able to see this Fruit before means that your quirk was interacting with it in some way at that moment.”

 

He moved his right hand to the side and let go of the Fruit, which was somehow able to stay suspended in the air, and placed his left hand on Toshinori’s chin, guiding him to lean down to bring their faces closer together.

 

“S-sorry, but I need somewhat, uh–  intimate for this to work with another person. This is going to feel a little weird…”

 

That was all the warning he got before Midoriya put his other hand through Toshinori’s chest, where he could feel it grab… something, before pulling it out, and oh, he could see why the boy had become so worried now.

 

The golden apple was covered with sickly purple guck, corrupting the integrity of its gold sheen. But even more apparent was the fact that a whole two-thirds of the Fruit was missing. It also had a golden stem.

 

Midoriya removed his grip on Toshinori’s face before continuing to speak.

 

“The proportion of Fruit present in a person’s Fruit of Fate is correlated with the proportion they have of their full potential lifespan. My whole Fruit indicates that I can fulfill my whole lifespan, though how long that lasts is decided by fate. Your Fruit indicates that something happened to you or your fruit which caused you to lose about two-thirds of your lifespan. Additionally, the purple means that your Fruit is poisoned.”

 

“What does it mean if a Fruit is… poisoned?”

 

“Basically, it means that the integrity of your thought process or heart if you will has become… unhealthy, in some way. I can’t tell exactly how it’s unhealthy, though since I’m in contact with it, I’d be able to tell if I tried looking for it, but from what I’ve been told by my Dad, it should mean you’re having unhealthy thoughts about yourself or your future.

 

“Those things aren’t what I’m most concerned about though,” as though Toshinori didn’t have enough to worry over with just that, “The thing that I really need to check has to deal with the fact that you’re also a Child of Fate, as seen by the golden stem. Do you know what aspect of your quirk would let you interact with or affect some part of your Fruit or other people’s Fruit?”

 

Toshinori hesitated for a moment before deciding that being transparent would be much more useful for him in this situation than trying to keep his quirk’s secrets.

 

“My quirk, One for All, is a power stock-piling quirk that has been passed down through generations. During the process of my mentor passing it on to me, I was able to see both my Fruit and hers, and I saw that my stem went from brown to gold. She said that was a normal part of the process, though none of the previous users knew what it meant. Would that count?”

 

Midoriya frowned in response. “Yes. Quirks are an important aspect of people’s beings and futures. They’re part of the Fruit of Fate’s make up, so something that directly affects a person’s quirk like that also affects their Fruit.”

 

Again, the boy held his face while moving to return his Fruit, and he shivered lightly at the unusual sensation of what was apparently the culmination of his being going back to its rightful place. Midoriya then plucked his own Fruit from the air and moved it back into his chest.

 

“The biggest problem with being a Child of Fate is that you receive a “punishment” of some sort, supposedly due to the fact that our quirks can affect fate, which is something humanity isn’t supposed to be capable of.”

 

Toshinori blinked at that. “A punishment? Is there really something that actively punishes people for… going against the order of the universe, I guess you could say? How is a person’s fate decided in the first place anyway?”

 

Midoriya snorted at his question, “If I knew that, I wouldn’t be nearly as frustrated with this whole system. In any case, we should check to see if you’ve already gotten your punishment. My guess, though, is that it occurred and led to the loss of most of your Fruit.”

 

With a simple hand gesture, a light pink book appeared suspended in the air in front of the two. The cover featured a distinctive design in darker pink with what seemed like a small simple image of a temple in the center surrounded two intertwining long-bodied fish on either side of it. He just barely got a glimpse of the backside, which featured a small, dark pink turtle.

 

“This,” Midoriya spoke with tension laced in his words, “is what is known as the Penguindrum. It’s an item that was previously owned by my dad and was created by Momoka-san years ago.”

 

His hand flicked out towards the Penguindrum, and the book suddenly opened and flipped through pages on its own. “It’s the physical embodiment of the pocket dimension we’re in right now, a place which Momoka-san named the Crystal World, and when inside it, the Penguindrum has the ability to divine people’s punishments.”

 

The Penguindrum finally stopped to show a blank page.

 

“Uh… I need the name that you think of yourself as for this…”

 

“Ah, that’s right. I never properly introduced myself. How rude of me,” Toshinori replied sheepishly, “My name is Yagi Toshinori.”

 

After speaking his name, words seemed to bleed onto the page in front of their eyes.

 

Yagi Toshinori:

Child of Fate

Punishment – Stricken with ill health, diminished quirk ability, and loss of lung and stomach

 

“I’m fairly sure that this is the physical condition that lead to the loss of your Fruit of Fate.” Midoriya winced a bit at the information. “At least you’re not guaranteed to have any major unpleasant surprises in the future.”

 

“Would this… Penguindrum be able to show what would happen to me in the future in that case?” he couldn’t help but wonder.

 

“No, it just shows this instead.”

 

The book flipped through pages once more before stopping on a page already containing words.

 

Midoriya Izuku:

Child of Fate

Punishment – Pending

Transfer Punishment, whole Fruit of Fate – N/A

 

“How ominous… What is that “Transfer Punishment” referring to though?”

 

When Toshinori looked back to the boy, he then noticed the how intensely Midoriya stared at the page.

 

“That has to do with the quirk I received from my dad, Conductor.”

 

He hesitated for a moment, as though trying to avoid speaking about the subject. He stared at Toshinori with heavy consideration, his intense green eyes probing him, before looking away and nodding to himself as though he had come to a decision.

 

“With physical contact, Conductor can transfer pieces of one person’s Fruit of Fate to another person. This comes at the price of both people receiving a punishment for “changing their fate”. The punishment is relatively in proportion to the amount of Fruit transferred. From what Dad said the worst punishments are associated with transfers that are used to bring people back to life– ”

 

Toshinori choked, coughing up a new stream of blood.

 

“but those still aren’t as bad as the punishments given for being a Child of Fate I think– Toshinori-san, are you alright?! ”

 

“Bring– bring people back to life?! Your quirk can do such a thing?!”

 

“Only if the user also uses the Penguindrum, and it can only be used with those that have recently died from what I remember,” Midoriya’s voice carried a somber tone. He clenched his eyes shut, face tensing, before he reopened them while flicking his hand to cause the pages to change again.

 

“My dad used that ability to revive me…” the boy couldn’t keep his voice from breaking a bit at the mention of his father.

 

Toshinori’s stomach felt like it dropped right to his feet at those words. Dread welled up in his chest. The pages stopped before he could respond.

 

Midoriya Hisashi:

Child of Fate

Status –  Deceased

Punishment – Son, Midoriya Izuku, dies early at the age of 14

Transfer Punishment, whole Fruit of Fate – Erased from existence

 

The silence in the room was deafening.

 

After what seemed like an eternity Midoriya continued to speak, “When a person gives up their Fruit of Fate in its entirety, with their quirk and all, their punishment is that they are… Erased. It’s as though they never existed in the first place. The only people who will remember them are those who were present in the Crystal World at the time, and those who are Children of Fate… Dad did it anyway though, because bringing back someone who died from a punishment needs one whole Fruit to work. It’s also the only case where the Fruit transfer punishment only applies to the donor.”

 

He sighed with a wavering voice, as though he was on the verge of crying, “We have a large family portrait that used to be Mom’s favorite. She hung it in the place of honor in our home, on the big wall across from the door leading out… When we arrived from the hospital to see only the two of us in the frame, she broke down sobbing…

 

“Now it’s not her favorite anymore. We had to take it down and move it so it’s resting on the floor leaning against that wall, with the picture hidden from view.”

 

Midoriya turned away from the Penguindrum to fully face Toshinori. He looked directly into Toshinori’s sunken eyes with frightening intensity. When he spoke again his voice was no longer wavering.

 

“I wanted to offer you Conductor’s abilities, Toshinori-san, to transfer part of someone’s Fruit of Fate to your own to improve your health and lifespan.”

 

He felt his body jolt in shock, but the boy carried on regardless.

 

“It has to be someone who loves you deeply, though any type of love will do. All that matters is that they want to keep you in this world no matter the cost. I know you probably dislike that idea, but if they love you enough to do such a thing for you, you should at least respect them enough to discuss the option with them.

 

“Now that I know your quirk can be passed on though… I also want to give you a warning.”

 

The emerald green of Midoriya’s eyes seemed to look right into his soul, resembling the portrait of him that hung on the wall beside them. Perhaps he actually was looking at his soul, using his quirk to see into his Fruit of Fate.

 

“The punishment for being a Child of Fate is not to be taken lightly. I have no idea why the One for All users have been passing down the quirk, but if you’re intending to do the same, you should reconsider. They may end up regretting that they received it very much, with what it might cost them…”

 

Though he was no longer looking at the page, Toshinori felt like the words stating Midoriya Hisashi’s punishment were burnt into his eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day, the words of Midoriya Hisashi’s punishment still haunted him, but at least he decided to take his first step to addressing the issue.

 

However, the contact name on Toshinori’s phone mocked his weakness.

 

Why do you hesitate, when you know he needs to know? Why are you avoiding him, when you know he is already involved? Because of your fear to face the strain between you two? What a petty thing to let guide you, so called Number One hero…

 

Swallowing his apprehension, Toshinori reminded himself that he not only needed this man’s counsel, but he also needed to inform him on the matters which affected him personally. Biting the bullet, he pressed the call button. The other end picked up the line almost immediately.

 

“Nighteye… I know it’s been awhile, but I need to talk to you about some things of great importance…”

Chapter Text

Sir Nighteye is a man who fully believes in the idea of fate, and he hates its inevitability.

 

How can he not believe such a thing, considering the quirk he was born with? Foresight, and the visions of the future it granted him, was proof in and of itself that people’s paths in this world are pre-determined to some extent. At this point in his life, there has never been an instance of his quirk being wrong. No matter what kind of future he sees, whether it promises success or tragedy, the events have always occurred as he foresaw.

 

There is nothing in this world that brings him greater despair than the fact that the future he sees is unchangeable, that’s why he avoids using Foresight as much as possible.

 

Of all the visions he has seen though, there is one impending tragedy that haunts him the most, and that is the future death of his former partner and most valued hero, All Might. His quirk couldn’t give enough details as to when or how it would happen, just that All Might would one day face a villain that would bring about his end.

 

The issue forced them apart and lead to the end of Nighteye’s term as All Might’s sidekick. After All Might’s horrible injury at the hands of All for One, he had begged his hero to step down from his mantle to at least try to avoid the future that he saw. However, despite his concern, despite the fact that the man was missing an entire lung and stomach, All Might refused to retire. Thus, Nighteye refused to watch the Number One hero get himself killed, and struck out on his own.

 

It may have been weak of him, but he had already seen All Might’s death once, to watch it a second time would break him.

 

Even with their falling out, he still tries to support his hero from the sidelines. He scouted out and started mentoring a second year UA High School student who he saw as having a high amount of potential as a future hero. He had hoped that if he could present All Might with a student who would become a hero of high quality in terms of both attitude and skill, the man would accept them as his successor, pass on One for All, and officially retire.

 

Sometimes he questions why he even bothers trying in the first place, considering the end that he already foresaw, but despite the fact that he truly believes it’s inevitable, he will continue to work in vain to save his former partner.

 

That is what it means to love, after all…

 

However, All Might has been hesitant to get back into contact with him, so he hadn’t made any attempts on following up Nighteye’s request to meet Togata Mirio. That’s why when the Number One hero suddenly called him one morning saying they needed to discuss something of upmost importance, Nighteye immediately cleared his schedule for the afternoon and arranged a meeting for that very same day.

 

When the hour of anticipation arrived, the two of them were seated in Nighteye’s All Might-merchandise filled office, with the hero himself in his true form awkwardly clearing his throat.

 

“Sorry for the lack of warning, but I recently found out some important information that I thought you should be aware of,” All Might started with a hesitant but polite tone.

 

“It’s no issue, I’m just glad to have the opportunity to see you. It’s been quite a while.” Nighteye paused to readjust his glasses in an attempt to disturb some of the tension in the air, before continuing with a steady voice, “Perhaps we can try to reconcile our friendship at a later point now that we’ve reestablished communication, but at this time whatever you have to say is obviously the priority, so let’s cut to the chase.”

 

All Might nodded in response. “Quite right…” he trailed off awkwardly.

 

Hesitating a moment, He gave Nighteye a considering look, before explaining, “What I have learned is somewhat… hard to believe, so I hope you will keep an open mind. Let me start first by clarifying something though. I remember that you had once stated that when you initiate use of your quirk, you do so by looking into a golden apple inside of the person you are in contact with, that is correct yes?”

 

 Nighteye was surprised at the introduction of this topic, but hid the feeling easily replying, “Yes. You also mentioned that you had seen a similar sight when Shimura Nana gave you One for All. Were you able to figure something out regarding this phenomenon?”

 

It would be quite a feat if he did. Nighteye had investigated the matter himself once and had even renewed his efforts after All Might told him of his similar experiences, but he never found any information about the subject outside of ill-fitting mythological legends that involved golden apples.

 

“You could say that yes, it was explained to me by someone who had knowledge of it. He called it the Fruit of Fate, and apparently the fact that our quirks can interact with these Fruit is bad news for us…”

 

All Might went on to tell his story of how he had met a boy who knew of the workings of fate. A boy he had failed to save at the cost of the child’s father, and that boy in turn had forgiven his failings and granted him knowledge of the Fruit, Children of Fate, and the punishments they face. It ended with the boy’s foreboding warning.

 

The story sounded like something taken straight from a fairytale, but Sir Nighteye was already a man who believed in fate, and he certainly felt cursed, with his inability to change the future, so he accepted most of it without dissent.

 

There was one concern, though, that he voiced, “If being a “Child of Fate”, as this Midoriya referred to it, entails punishment because of their “ability to change fate”, then why is it I’ve never been able to alter the future I see, despite seeming to qualify as one?”

 

All Might seemed to look surprised at his question, he likely hadn’t considered it himself. “I… have no idea. Maybe young Midoriya could shed some light on the matter? It’d be beneficial for you to meet him anyway so that we can check to see for sure if you are a Child of Fate and what your punishment is.”

 

“However,” All Might changed the topic with a serious tone, leaning forward with his palms on the desk between them, “the thing I need to consider most at this point is the warning he gave.”

 

“That’s right. In a worst-case scenario, your successor may end up losing their child like Midoriya’s father…” He narrowed his eyes with a frown, there was a heaviness in the air at the subject of their talk.

 

“Your quirk is a power that has been the foundation of this society’s peace for years, so passing down that strength to help the next generation seemed like the obvious course of action. It’s a legacy that has been built upon for eight generations now. But to ask someone to take that kind of risk with the excuse of the betterment of society… no matter how you look at it, that’s quite a burden to put on them...”

 

The thought that Mirio, a bright and shining boy filled to the brim with optimism for his future, might some day be forced to face that kind of consequence as a result of Nighteye’s attempts to guide him into the role as the next Symbol of Peace, that if he becomes the successor, the child that has brought Nighteye such joy could have his own joy broken by the sight of his dead child, gone before their time…

 

He never wants to see such a future.

 

“Exactly! It’s an unthinkably selfish request. The life of a hero may be fraught with burdens and pain, but there is such a thing as asking too much of someone…”

 

All Might leaned back in his chair, arms crossed over his chest while glazing aimlessly at the ceiling. He looked as though an insurmountable villain had defeated him in battle.

 

“Without the need to combat All for One… I just don’t think there’s enough of a reason to pass it on if that’s the cost. But at the same time, I feel that not continuing its legacy is disrespectful to the sacrifices the previous holders made to advance the quirk to this point…”

 

Nighteye folded his hands in front of him in consideration, and chose his words carefully, “That is logical to a certain extent, you would be giving up multiple generations worth of stock-piled power. At the same time though, the main goal of the One for All users was taking down All for One, so I don’t believe your predecessor would be disappointed if you decide to end the legacy, especially when considering the new potential consequences for continuing it.” 

 

Because ultimately, that’s what it came down to. The thing All Might has always been most concerned about, other than helping people, is the execution of Shimura Nana’s will. Everything he does is ultimately an attempt to prove that she was right to chose him as her successor.

 

And his hero has suffered greatly from those attempts, so he will do his best to prevent All Might from choosing something he knows the man will come to regret.

 

A sigh reverberated, and All Might changed his view to stare down at Nighteye’s desk in resignation.

 

“I suppose you’re right… I still think I should consult Gran Torino as well before making any final decisions though.”

 

He ended the talk on that point. To counter the silence that filled the room, Nighteye tried to change the subject, “Was there anything else Midoriya said that needs to be discussed?”

 

Tension racked through All Might’s body at his question, and after an extended moment of silence, he answered without looking at Nighteye, “Nothing you need to be concerned about.” It was statement meant to end that line of questioning.

 

Well, the only thing that told him, is that there is most defiantly something he needs to be concerned about.

 

“Don’t lie to me. What else did he say?” he continued the questioning mercilessly. His firm words dared the man to sidestep it once more.  

 

“I’m not lying,” All Might futilely maintained his defense, finally looking at Nighteye and raising his hands up in surrender, “Young Midoriya did say more, but it’s not something you need to worry about.”

 

Like a shark scenting blood, he followed the trail with relentless focus. “Is that so? Then please, share with me what he said, so that I may rest easy with the certainty that I don’t need to worry about it.”

 

All Might cleared his throat, as though he was trying to put off the conversation for even a brief instance of reprieve. His words crawled out as slow as possible.

 

“Well–  as I explained previously, young Midoriya’s quirk allows him to transfer pieces of one person’s Fruit of Fate to another’s…”

 

Not being able to handle eye contact any longer, the hero shifted his focus to the All Might-merchandise at the side. “So, the boy had offered to… transfer part of someone else’s Fruit to me…”

 

Nighteye let the man stew in the heavy tension between them before pulling himself together enough to reply.

 

“Ah, yes. I can see why such a thing would be something I don’t need to worry about, since there’s no way you’d consider a course of action as logical as taking up an opportunity to increase your life expectancy!

 

Trembling from uncontrollable emotion, Nighteye vehemently gestured to himself. At this point he let his frustration reign and exclaimed, “Did it even cross your mind to ask me if I’d be willing to help you with this?! I’d think that it should’ve come up at least once, considering the entire reason for our argument was that I was trying to get you to live longer!”

 

All Might jolted back in shock, eyes wide as he looked back to Nighteye.

 

“ …You would offer yourself, your potential life and future, just to waste it on adding maybe a couple of years to a man who’s already doomed to die?”

 

It wouldn’t be a waste.” There was no arguing with those words, he wouldn’t allow it. “Even if it is only a couple of years, even if it’s only an extra day… It wouldn’t be a waste, Toshinori. At the very least, I wouldn’t consider it one.”

 

He didn’t mean to use that name, it’s clear he’s lost control of himself. Nighteye leaned back in his chair in emotional exhaustion.

 

“But the child said it himself, didn’t he? That his quirk’s ability, that this transfer of lifespan and fate, can change a person’s fate… The one thing that I can never achieve, but want most to achieve... If what he says is true, then that thing is for the taking right in front of me! The chance to save the person I want to save the most is right in front of me…”

 

His body gently stilled itself as Nighteye’s desolate eyes focused on the face of the desk, and he couldn’t keep his voice from breaking as he whispered, “It’s your life and your decision in the end, All Might… but can’t you at least consider giving me the chance to hope that you can have a bright future in place of the one that I foresaw?”

 

He truly believes that All Might’s end is inevitable, that fate is inevitable, but he wants so much to believe that it’s not.

 

Nighteye continued to stare at his desk, refusing to face the reject he knew would come from the hero that seemed to be determined to die in the line of duty.

 

“ …He said that it needs to be someone who loves me deeply, and that wants to keep me in this world no matter the cost.”

 

Hope sprouted in his chest, guiding Nighteye to glance up at his hero. “I meet both those requirements,” he reconsidered the statement and added, “as long as it’s not required to be romantic love.”

 

“Oh, my boy, platonic will work fine,” warmth filled All Might’s voice as he replied, and it had been years since he last referred to him in such a way

 

All Might reached out to him so he could gently hold both of Nighteye’s hands in his own. Their eyes no longer strayed from each other.

 

“Admittedly, I hadn’t truly considered using that offer he gave me… but if it really means this much to you, I suppose refusing your help would hurt you much more than losing years of your life. If it will give you such hope, I guess it’d be okay to try and change my fate in this way.”

 

That answer brought tears to his eyes, blurring his vision of both the present and the future. It felt like relief.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Toshinori made plans to meet up with Nighteye, he had absolutely no intention of introducing young Midoriya’s offer to him, but much in the same way that the man had persisted his way into becoming his sidekick, he had persisted his way into getting Toshinori to accept the offer.

 

Though this time there was much more crying involved…

 

But how could Toshinori have refused him when it involved something his former partner felt so strongly about? He had already known that the ability to change the future was a delicate subject for Nighteye, but he had no idea it caused him so much grief.

 

The decision wasn’t like the one he had to make 5 years ago, where trying to chase after the chance to live longer would result in people suffering. If anything, it should improve his ability to help people and lessen their suffering. The only person who would suffer for it would be Nighteye, and he had made his opinion on that matter quite clear.

 

Despite knowing what it would cost his former partner, he couldn’t help the warmth that filled him at the thought of the depths of Nighteye’s love for him. He had always known of it, somewhere in the back of his mind, he had even rejected it on that fateful day 5 years ago.

 

But to hear a friend he also loved in turn admit to it so openly, that was another thing entirely…

 

With that in mind, Toshinori arranged to meet with Midoriya at his earliest convenience, explaining Nighteye’s quirk and how he was also probably a Child of Fate, as well as their wish to take up his offer. It was on the sunny morning of a Saturday that Toshinori and Nighteye arrived at the Midoriya family home, and after asking whether they wished to view the process or not, the boy whisked them away with the words “Survival Strategy”, holding both of their hands, to his mysterious pocket dimension.

 

“C-Conductor can do that type of transfer just fine outside of the Crystal World, but you wouldn’t be able to see it,” he explained after they finished changing settings.

 

Glancing around, he noticed that they were in a completely different area than where they had appeared last time.

 

It was an open area, with the only discernable border being a large dome of some shining opaque material, and by large he meant large. The edges where the dome met the white tiled floor seemed to be far off on the horizon. He could also spot some sort of looming tower in the distance.

 

The thing that took up most of both his and Nighteye’s attention, though, was the huge castle structure right in front of them. Its beautiful opaque walls seemed to be made of crystal, refracting the light to showcase small but numerous rainbows that filled the walls with color. The only part of the castle that wasn’t made from that material were the many windows and single large double door, which used clear glass instead.

 

After examining his surroundings, Nighteye looked over Midoriya and questioned, “ …what are you wearing?”

 

He should’ve guessed that would come up again…

 

“It’s a uniform that signifies I’m the owner of the Penguindrum. Please don’t ask any more about it,” the boy shut down further questioning on the matter immediately. Noticing Toshinori’s confused look, Midoriya instead answered his unasked question, “The room we were in last time, Toshinori-san, was the Crystal Palace’s library.” He pointed towards one of the larger set of windows on the castle.

 

“Really? From what I recall the view outside the windows showed a normal looking sky, not only that but the walls definitely weren’t made of crystal…”

 

“Momoka-san made the view from the library windows to seem like it looks over a normal forest, along with some of the other windows. She also made the inside walls to look normal.”

 

“I see…” Did Momoka-san create this entire world?

 

Nighteye then surprised him by asking another question, this time one that he wasn’t expecting at all.

 

“Why are there penguins here? They have such strange features, too…”

 

 

“ …Penguins?” he echoed in disbelief.

 

He followed Nighteye’s gaze, and sure enough, there were three small, chubby, black and white penguins waddling towards them from one side of the Crystal Palace.

 

They did indeed have very strange features. The penguin leading the pack had freckles on its face as well as a spiked crown atop its head. The two other penguins followed behind in an arrow formation, with one penguin wearing smart-looking rectangular glasses paired with a serious expression… can penguins even make facial expressions?

 

The last penguin looked frighteningly familiar, featuring sunken eyes and cheeks along with two distinct locks of blond hair falling down around its head.

 

By the time the penguin group had finished slowly making their way to the human group, Toshinori reoriented himself enough to let out a stream of blood and exclamations from his mouth, “Penguins?! And is that one there supposed to be me?!”

 

“Toshinori-san are you alright?! But, uh–  in a sense, yes. Each Child of Fate I encounter will get a matching penguin to go with them. I named my penguin Izu-pingu.” He pointed to the crowned penguin, who waved a black flipper at him in response. “I think they’re generated in the Penguin Exhibit…”

 

Penguin Exhibit?!” Toshinori could no longer handle the weirdness of the situation and voiced one major confusion he had felt since he first met Midoriya, “I’m sorry, my boy, but I must know, what is with all the penguins?!”

 

He held both hands up in a questioning gesture. “All of the outfits worn by the owners of the Penguindrum feature penguins, the Penguindrum has the word in its name, and now there are actual penguins complete with a penguin exhibit! Why?! Penguins?!

 

He couldn’t even bring himself to feel ashamed for losing it over some fat, flightless birds.

 

“I believe, All Might…” Nighteye interjected a response before Midoriya could answer, pushing his glasses back into place, “that it is a pun.”

 

There was a single beat before he responded, “ …A pun?

 

“Yes, I realized it just now, when Midoriya stated Izu-pingu’s name. You see, “pingu” is a rather unconventional Japanese pronunciation for the word “penguin”, but it is also the way that one would say the kanji for “apple” using Chinese pronunciation. Therefore, the penguin imagery is actually a visual pun for apples, which in this case should be referring to the Fruit of Fate.”

 

“Wow, Sir Nighteye! You figured that out fast!” was the boy’s impressed confirmation.

 

“Jokes and humor are my specialty.”

 

“ …This item of fate altering power, which can literally bring people back from the dead or erase their existence from the universe, was named after a pun,” Toshinori didn’t even bother to state the sentence as a question. He’d already resigned himself to never understanding eccentricities of the Penguindrum.

 

Clearly seeing that they were getting nowhere, Midoriya changed the topic of conversation, “Uh– We can judge Momoka-san’s life decisions another day, Toshinori-san. For now, let’s just get back what we came here for.”

 

It seemed the boy had already retrieved the Penguindrum itself, because he was already flicking through its pages with a simple hand gesture. The page it landed on was already marked with black ink.

 

“Oh! I guess Nighteye usually just considers himself to be “Sir Nighteye”, huh. Hero work must take up the majority of his life…”

 

Midoriya’s brow furrowed as he frowned down at what was written. “I didn’t even know a person could have a punishment like this…”

 

Sir Nighteye:

Child of Fate

Punishment – Physically incapable of personally changing the fate he views using Foresight

 

Despair filled Toshinori as he saw the answer to the question the two of them had previously discussed.

 

A bitter laugh echoed Toshinori’s emotions, “I suppose I shouldn’t have expected anything less from something as ironic as fate. To be the one Child of Fate that can’t change fate, I should have realized it myself when I’d first heard of it anyway.”

 

Nighteye glared at the page as though his future-seeing eyes also had heat-vision.

 

“Well… technically, it doesn’t say you’re completely incapable of changing fate, just that you can’t do it personally. Maybe if you tried something like– giving a vague description of the future you saw but fully leaving the matter in the hands of other people, then they could change the future in your place…”

Midoriya’s nervous tone gave the words an awkward carefulness to them, but his analysis appeared valid nonetheless.

 

“…Leaving the matter in the hands of others,” Nighteye repeated the phrase in consideration. “I guess that’s what I’m doing now, actually, by passing the responsibility to change All Might’s future on to you and the abilities of your quirk…”

 

The man nodded to himself, before stating firmly, “It seems like this truly is the best chance we have to change All Might’s fate, so I’d like to move on to transferring the Fruit now, if that’s alright with you. The two of us have already agreed that giving a third of my fruit would be the most optimal, since it should theoretically double his lifespan but take less than half of my own.”

 

“Sounds like a good plan, I don’t think you’ll be punished too harshly for just a third…”

 

Midoriya clapped his gloved hands as though to announce the beginning of a ceremony. “In that case, let’s share the Fruit of Fate!”

 

After exclaiming that phrase with emphasis, the boy gently took Sir Nighteye’s chin and guided him to lean down and look into his eyes. His right hand moved into Nighteye’s chest right where his heart would be, and pulled out a distinctive bright, golden apple, which was complete with a golden stem.

 

Toshinori noticed that it had some sort of clear sheen around the top of it extending from the stem, but couldn’t tell what it was.

 

The Fruit of Fate floated up above his hand, spinning around its axis. When Midoriya spread his fingers outwards, exactly one third of the Fruit split off with a resounding crack. Nighteye let out a small gasp simultaneously.

 

“Are you alright, Nighteye?!” Toshinori asked in worry.

 

“Yes, the sensation wasn’t painful. I just… felt as though I had lost something.” Nighteye placed his right hand on his chest over his heart, grasping it aimlessly. His gaze never strayed from the boy in front of him.

 

Still close to Nighteye and holding the future-seeing hero’s face, Midoriya plucked the larger portion of the Fruit from the air and returned it to its rightful place, moving through both Nighteye’s hand and chest. Releasing his lithe fingers from Nighteye’s jaw, he glided over to stand in front of Toshinori, the remaining Fruit following his movements.

 

Much like the last time they were in this world, Midoriya cradled Toshinori’s face and pulled it closer. His hand reached into Toshinori’s chest and pulled out the poisoned, incomplete apple. The boy held it for an extended moment, eyes closed and grasp tight around both Toshinori’s Face and Fruit. He finally opened his green eyes,  and for some reason they projected incredible sadness.  

 

The hand holding the Fruit opened with a flourish, and the Toshinori’s Fruit of Fate started to float up.

 

As the purple-covered Fruit rose into the air above Midoriya’s palm, Nighteye’s pristine Fruit of Fate moved to join it. They danced together, circling each other, but never touching.

 

“This might not be as grandiose of a gift as bringing someone back to life, Toshinori-san, but it’s still a gift that is made of love and sacrifice. This man is sharing his life with you,” Midoriya’s words were barely a whisper.

 

Even as he conducted the circling apples above his outstretched hand, Midoriya never looked away from Toshinori’s sunken eyes. His emerald green gaze was penetrating.

 

“So please, accept this gift with all your heart. For when one shies away from love given by another, it leads to both people hurting. And when one shies away from love given by one’s own self, it leads to a miserable life and an early death.

 

“Don’t forget this as you go forward to the destination of your fate, wherever it may be, All Might…”

 

All at once, the two Fruit of Fate spun together. A bright light erupted from the scene, and once it had dissipated, the two Fruit had become one.

 

It was two-thirds in size, with one third still missing. It also still held the purple guck of poison, but it seemed as though there was less of it. Instead of the entire Fruit of Fate being covered, the a little less than the bottom half had receded to fully showcase the apple’s shining gold sheen.

 

The Fruit gently lowered itself into Midoriya’s hand, and the boy gifted it back to Toshinori. After it settled back into his chest, Toshinori felt a course of energy flow through his body. He mindlessly grasped at his heart with his right hand at the feeling.

 

It feels as though he had gained something he once lost, but never noticed was missing…

 

Letting go of his face, Midoriya finished with, “And so it is done…”

 

He snapped his fingers, and the Penguindrum glowed a soft light pink in response.

 

“Nighteye, how are you feeling?” The boy finally moved his gaze from Toshinori to rest on Nighteye.

 

“I… do not feel like I’m in pain, but I am short of breath. I’m also somewhat lethargic.” Nighteye looked down over his body as though trying to find the source of this difference.

 

When the Penguindrum’s light subsided, Midoriya looked over the page once more.

 

“Well– that would make sense, considering you’re missing a third of one lung and a third of your stomach, now…”

 

Once Toshinori had processed that statement, a gush of blood spurted from his mouth.

 

“Eh– ?!”

Chapter Text

If someone had told Izuku previously that the Number One hero was scared of a small elderly woman, he would’ve never believed them, but going by Toshinori-san’s follow up phone call a few days after he had rushed Nighteye to the UA infirmary, he was very scared indeed.

 

Apparently Recovery Girl had given both Toshinori and Nighteye the lecture of a life time after confirming that the future-seeing hero was missing parts of his organs. He also happened to feature the same scar seen on Toshinori’s side. While he has to deal with the long-term health affects from the loss though, it seems there was no actual injury caused by their removal. The scar was purely cosmetic and the organs themselves were intact, they just weren’t as big as they should be.

 

On the other hand, Toshinori reaped great benefits from their shared Fruit of Fate. He actually gained one third of a lung and one third of his stomach. His health has improved enough that the amount of time he can spend in his All Might form has increased from 3 hours to 4 hours. Additionally, now that he has a stomach, though its only a third of the size it should be, he can eat foods he wasn’t capable of eating before.

 

That led to a very interesting way to find out about his punishment, actually.

 

Toshinori had tried eating what was previously his favorite food from before his injury, which he was unable to eat due to how hard it would be on his lack of a stomach, only to bite into a medium-rare American style steak that tasted like ashes. When he called back after checking the Penguindrum to confirm that, yes, his punishment is that “his favorite food forever tastes of ash”, the hero just let out a long sigh.

 

It was news to both of them that fate could not only decide the paths in people’s lives, but also apparently change their physical attributes and biology on the spot. Nighteye’s physical condition was the first example of this, and Toshinori’s follow up merely confirmed it.

 

That didn’t stop Toshinori from having an existential crisis over the matter though. In Izuku’s opinion, it sounded like Sir Nighteye was taking this whole situation much better than he was, and that man was the one who lost part of his organs over it.

 

He was worried, though, about what he saw of Nighteye’s Fruit. He could tell it was partially frozen, and after consulting Momoka-san about what he’d seen right after the heroes left, it seemed that its location indicated that the core of the Fruit was likely completely frozen. However, Izuku had no idea whether the condition somehow came about from Nighteye’s punishment for being a Child of Fate, or some aspect of Nighteye’s thought process.

 

Overall, Izuku thought the two heroes had come out of the situation relatively okay. Their punishments didn’t seem to majorly hinder their lives or hero work, Nighteye just had to deal with his average physical condition being lower than it was previously. The biggest drawback was definitely the loss of Nighteye’s lifespan. There was no way of telling the total amount of time lost, since it depended on how long his life was supposed to last in the first place, but either way a third is a sizable portion to give up.

 

But it felt good to know that Toshinori-san has a loved one that’s so dedicated to looking out for him. 

 

Toshinori had asked if it was okay to tell those he was close to, who knew about his condition, about Izuku’s part in it. He especially wanted to be able to tell Recovery Girl, who was endlessly trying to  interrogate him about what had occurred that cause him to regrow organs. It was obvious why she wouldn’t let the matter go.

 

Even so, Izuku had still asked to be given some time to think about it. Luckily Toshinori was understanding about it.

 

Now that Izuku had completed his role in helping his hero, he had expected that they would part ways, but as it turns out, despite being busy with his work as the Number One hero, Toshinori still wanted to visit him occasionally. He was still curious over everything concerning the Crystal World, so Izuku had offered to give him a tour of its main features.

 

Now, almost an entire month after the death Izuku was supposed to die, he sits in his living room waiting for the man of the hour to arrive.

 

He glanced at the clock hung high up on the wall. “Toshinori-san should be here any moment now…”

 

His mother emerged from the kitchen wringing a hand towel at his statement, after looking over him in consideration she voices her thoughts, “I noticed that you’ve referred to him as “Toshinori-san” a couple of times now, but have you really become so close to Yagi-san? You haven’t known him for long, after all.”

 

Izuku’s face heated up in a blush.

 

“I– It isn’t like we b-became close per say but… once I literally held his fate in the palm of my hand, it just felt natural…? It just seemed like formalities didn’t matter anymore. I know it’s rude to just skip to using his first name but– he hasn’t said anything about it, so I guess it’s okay?”

 

Mom giggled at his muttering, “It’s alright honey, now that I think about it Hisashi was like that too. I was so surprised when he just started saying “Inko-san, Inko-san” to me right out of the blue the first day we met, but I was so grateful to him it didn’t bother me…”

 

She gazed at the spot on the wall that would have held their family portrait.

 

The air in the room started feeling heavy at the reminder of their loss, Izuku looked away from his mother to stare blankly at the coffee table in front of him as a familiar sadness welled in his chest.

 

“…You haven’t said anything about trying to get into UA since that day, Izuku.”

 

He felt his teeth clench. “I know, Mom. I mean– I still want to be a hero but… Even after using it to help Toshinori-san, it still doesn’t feel right using Conductor or the Penguindrum.”

 

His right hand aimlessly grasped at his chest over his heart.

 

“I know I should use it, Dad said I should use it, but… thinking about it is painful. It feels awful, but I don’t know why…”

 

Izuku was still looking at the coffee table but out of the corner of his eye, he could see his mother begin walking forward towards the wall.

 

“I think I know why that is… it’s because I’ve failed you, Izuku.”

 

His head reflectively turned towards her at that. “What?! No! What are you talking about?”

 

“Using Conductor and the Penguindrum… in a way it’s like accepting that Hisashi is really gone, isn’t it? You have them because he gave up his life, so to fully accept them as your own, and use them as your own, is the same as accepting that they’re no longer his and that he’s gone for good.”

 

He... hadn’t thought of it that way, before. But at the same time, he had.

 

When his mother reached the wall, she bent down to pick up the picture that was still sitting at its base.

 

“You can’t bare to think of using your quirk, even if It’s to become a hero, because accepting that Hisashi is gone is too painful. Because I haven’t supported you in making it less painful…”

 

She hung the picture up at the center of the wall, exactly where it was before. The portrait showed the happy smiles of him and Mom, it was like they didn’t notice the space in between them where someone should be.

 

“I’m going to work on accepting that there is only the two of us now, Izuku. So please, do your best to work on accepting it too,” his mother’s voice was wavering, but its tone stayed strong.

 

“Mom…”

 

As he jumped up from the sofa to run to Mom and hug her tightly, he felt the pricks of a few tears in his eyes. She hugged him back with the ferocity of a mother bear. He could feel himself trembling in her arms, but she held steady enough for the both of them.

 

He’s heard her answer to this question a million times, the I’m sorry, I’m sorry’s had plagued his thoughts at night many times, but he needed to ask it one more time–

 

“Mom… do you think I can be a hero?”

 

She moved to hold his face in her hands, forcing him to look into her eyes.

 

“I know you can,” was her simple statement.

 

The powerful feeling that coursed through him at her words, words he had never heard before once in his life, was indescribable.

 

Ever since that day, he no longer had a future, and the only certain thing was that he wouldn't amount to anything. But it’s different now, his impossible dream to be a hero that can change people’s fate has become possible–

 

It was only after he started crying in earnest, just enjoying the warmth of his mother’s hug and love, that the doorbell ringed to signal Toshinori’s arrival.

 

Rubbing his back as she released him, his mom wiped her tears away and told him, “Go clean yourself up a bit, sweetie. I’ll invite Yagi-san.”

 

Izuku smiled brightly at her, it felt as though it had been an eternity since he had smiled like this, “Thank you, Mom.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

While Toshinori-san noticed both the portrait on the wall and the red eyes leftover from Izuku’s tears, but he tactfully avoided commenting on them.

 

Instead Izuku brought the both of them to the Crystal World and started showing him around. It felt a bit mean, but he absolute had to choose this area as their first stop. It was at the right side of the Crystal Palace, right next to its base.

 

“This is the Penguin Exhibit!” amusement was clearly heard in his declaration.

 

The look Toshinori gave him concisely communicated that he knew exactly why he had brought them here first but couldn’t be bothered to expend the energy to confront him on it.

 

The Penguin Exhibit looked like… well– a penguin exhibit. There weren’t walls surround the enclosure, but it had everything else one would expect from a zoo. There was a deep pool for the little penguins to swim, two igloo shaped white structures that had viewing windows to show little nests inside, one with an open door and the other a closed door, and real ice and snow covering the ground.

 

The three resident penguins went up to greet them. Izu-pingu hugged at his knees and looked up at him cutely, Izuku patted his head carefully avoiding the pointy crown.

 

After carefully observing the area, he felt a spring of quiet sadness flow into his chest.

 

So Pingu-sashi is gone too then, huh…

 

Putting the thought aside, he interrupted Toshinori’s examination of both the exhibit and the penguins, “Have you or Nighteye decided what you wanted to name your penguins yet?”

 

Toshinori blinked at him in surprise.

 

“I didn’t know we were naming them in the first place?” he ended the statement as though he was asking a question.

 

Izuku just shrugged in response. “Well you don’t have to name them, but I thought I’d give you the opportunity.”

 

“I see, I’ll be sure to let Nighteye know that…”

 

He sighed in the direction of his penguin, as though if he avoided naming it, he might be able to ignore its existence. The penguin just tilted his head in response, as though asking “What’re you gonna do about it, huh, Number One hero?”

 

Toshinori sighed a second time, “ …I suppose I’ll just copy your idea and go with Toshi-pingu.”

 

Toshi-pingu nodded his head at the name, blond hair flowing with the movement. His beak seemed to form a grin that said “Yeah, that’s what I thought, you coward!”

 

One of human Toshi’s sunken eyes involuntarily twitched.

 

As Nighteye’s penguin brought his flipper up to his beak as though trying to contain laughter, Izuku deadpanned, “I have no idea why your penguin ended up being such a punk, Toshinori-san, but I think it’d be better if we left before this escalates to violence.”

 

“I wouldn’t start a fight with a defenseless penguin!” he yelled insistently.

 

“Considering that penguin was made in your image, it’s anything but defenseless, but whatever you say, Toshinori-san. Whatever you say…”

 

“I wouldn’t!”

 

The hero easily accepted leaving the Penguin Exhibit, probably attempting to put it off his mind entirely. Izuku continued his tour, taking advantage of the ability to manipulate the Crystal World as its owner that he had once seen his father use. He displaced their surroundings, scenery passing by in a blur, to quickly move them the base of the Dueling Arena’s tower that was placed far from the castle, which stretched high into the heavens.

 

Since Toshinori had reacted by spurting blood and shouting the English curse “Shit!”, Izuku made sure to warn him before he did it a second time to show him the actual arena. This method allowed them to avoid more curses and blood.

 

He continued this way, bringing Toshinori to the Workshop at the left side of the palace where the two Teddydrums are repaired –“Robots? And why are the robots shaped like teddy bears?”– and the Teddy Bombs are built –“Why are the bombs shaped like teddy bears?! Actually, why does it even make bombs in the first place?!”– Unfortunately for both of them, Izuku didn’t have answers to any of the questions Toshinori had concerning that place.

 

The man was almost as eager to leave the Workshop as he had been to leave the Penguin Exhibit.

 

They then circled around to behind the Crystal Palace to appreciate the beauty of the sprawling Garden of Eden that was contained in a large greenhouse. It served no purpose outside of aesthetics other than acting as a place to hold the Tree of Knowledge. Toshinori enjoyed the garden much more than he had the other areas.

 

However, when Toshinori was admiring the Tree of Knowledge, Izuku had warned him that taking a bite from one of its apples would grant a single piece of unknown divine information at the price of facing punishment, which caused him to become weary of the place.

 

Finally, Izuku guided Toshinori through various rooms in the Crystal Palace including the throne room, the ballroom, and the treasury, before ending back at the room that started it all, the library.

 

Momoka-san greeted them from her mirror, “Hello again, Snow White, it’s good to see you.” Izuku found her teasing smile to be ill-fitting on his face.

 

“Snow White…?” Toshinori voiced his confusion.

 

“Don’t worry about it, Momoka-san likes giving titles like that to everyone. She enjoys finding connections between reality and fairytales.”

 

“Fairytales are made to reflect real-life issues and situations, you know, it’s only natural to try to learn about life through finding those connections. That’s why stories are made in the first place.”

 

“I guess you have a point…” Izuku half-heartedly replied.

 

Passing by the Momoka’s Mirror and the wall holding the portraits of all the Penguindrum users, he pointed out the one above the mirror featuring the little pink-haired girl, “That’s Momoka-san’s portrait from when she was still the owner of her Penguindrum, Toshinori-san.”

 

Toshinori looked it over with vague surprise. “Is that so… Why is it that she’s in the mirror now? She looks so young in that picture, too.”

 

“It’s rude to talk about someone right in front of them you know,” Momoka interrupted, but the besides the Izuku in the mirror showing a single raised eyebrow, there was no sign she felt offended. “All you need to know is that I created the Penguindrum with my quirk when I was young, making me the first owner, and that I set it up to be passed down to continue its legacy. That’s all.”

 

Izuku sighed at that, “As you can see, Momoka-san refuses to give anymore information concerning how all this came about other than that.”

 

Toshinori glanced at Momoka in suspicion. “A quirk was able to make all this… that’s quite incredible. Set it up to be passed down… How is it that your father came into ownership of the Penguindrum in the first place, young Midoriya? And how did he pass it on to you?”

 

Izuku moved to stand in front of his father’s portrait.

 

“He said that when he was around 10, the Penguindrum fell from the sky and into his hands. That’s all that was needed for him to become its owner.”

 

“Fell from the sky? I suppose that’s not significantly weirder than everything else in this place, but it's still strange. I’m guessing Momoka-san won’t mention how that came to occur,” at his last sentence, Toshinori redirected his focus to the mirror.

 

“Exactly, Snow White!” was the cheerful reply given with Izuku’s voice.

 

Izuku decided to continue the conversation to avoid Toshinori becoming annoyed with Momoka’s lack of information, “In my case, Dad just gave it to me directly– or, well, my corpse technically. Then when I came back to life and exited the Crystal World, being in physical contact with it automatically made me its owner.”

 

Toshinori raised his eyebrows at that, and spouted in alarm, “All that’s needed for ownership is simple contact?! Does that mean anyone could happen upon it and become the new owner?”

 

“Only if they’re a Child of Fate,” Izuku clarified, “If they aren’t, I would just stay the owner. But obviously, it wouldn’t be good to lose it like that anyway. It could end up in the hands of a Child eventually. The only ability the Penguindrum gives its owner outside of the Crystal World is the ability to transport people and things into it, so I’d have to find it myself.”

 

He still hadn’t stopped staring at his father’s picture. He was trying to memorize the image that was missing in the photos throughout their apartment.

 

After some apprehension, Toshinori moved to stand next to him. He was also focused on the portrait.

 

Respectful silence filled the room, before Izuku broke it.

 

“I– I have a confession to make… When I took your Fruit of Fate for the transfer, before, I also… looked into it, I guess you could say. Looking into the Fruit lets me learn what things make up a person’s being, in your case I was looking for what made your Fruit of Fate poisoned.”

 

“Is that so… I had wondered why you told me the things you did, at the end of it. You knew that I was distancing myself from the people around me…”

 

“That’s right. I’m sorry for invading your privacy like that, but I wanted to see if I could help with the poison too…”

 

“I forgive you, young Midoriya. In any case, I believe that meddling when you don’t need to is the essence of being a hero, so I also butt my head into other people’s personal matters occasionally. It’d be hypocritical for me to chastise you about something like that.”

 

Toshinori turned to look at Izuku and his voice took on a questioning tone, “But on that note, I was wondering… what were you referring to when you mentioned shying away from love from one’s own self? I don’t think I’m doing such a thing.”

 

Izuku blinked in surprise and felt a frown settle on his face, brows furrowing. “Ah– I guess you haven’t realized it yourself, then…”

 

He was quiet for a moment, pausing his viewing of his father to look over Toshinori with a judging eye.

 

He’s not going to want to hear this…

 

Looking back to the portrait, he gave a firm response, “This isn’t a conversation you can go into without being prepared, Toshinori-san. I think it might be better if you had more time to think about the answer to that yourself. So, consider this question, and how it relates to your love for yourself first; Why do you do things which involve ignoring your self-interests or hurting yourself for the sake of hero-work?”

 

When the man began to open his mouth to reply, Izuku cut him off, “Don’t answer now. Really think about it first. If you still can’t figure out what I mean, the next time I take you here we’ll talk about it, okay?”

 

Toshinori awkwardly closed his mouth without having said anything, before opening it a second time to confirm, “Alright… If that’s what you think would be best, my boy.”

 

“Speaking of hero-work,” Momoka interrupted, despite the subject having barely been touched in their previous conversation, “Don’t you have something you want to ask, Izuku?”

 

Izuku decided to accept her help changing the topic, but was still nervous about hearing this answer from the hero he looked up to the most.

 

His eyes glanced down towards his feet, before refocusing on the Number One hero. In contrast to his previous attitude, he hesitantly asked, “Toshinori-san… do you think I could be a hero?”

 

Toshinori blinked at the question, before his mouth formed a gentle smile.

 

“Based on the little I know of your capabilities with the Penguindrum, as well as your will to help people, I think you certainly can become a hero, my boy.”

 

He walked forward to meet Izuku at the wall and placed a thin but large hand on his shoulder. “As for being a hero who can change fate… You’ve already taken the first step towards that by changing my fate, haven’t you?”

 

Izuku’s eyes widened. After a moment, he gave a large, open-mouthed smile.

 

“Y-you– You really mean that…?!” he asked in wonder.

 

“Of course! You’ve really done quite a lot for me, my boy!”

 

Toshinori then took on a serious tone, “You see, Nighteye had once looked into my future, and had seen me dying at the hands of a villain. It’s part of what made him so anger about me returning to hero-work after the… incident which caused the injuries for my punishment. I knew that continuing work with such a poor physical condition would just be inviting this fate, but I couldn’t step down as it would disrupt the peace of society, so I accepted this eventual death.”

 

Izuku lost his smile and felt dread well up after processing this prophecy.

 

For Toshinori-san, All Might, to be defeated and killed, that’s– !

 

Toshinori’s other hand grasped at his chest, “But now, with this bit of improvement to my health and increase in my lifespan, I feel like there may be a real chance to avoid this fate. Nighteye thinks so as well. You’re the one who gave us that hope, my boy! And even now, you’re still trying to help me by looking into the poisoning of my Fruit of Fate. That’s just further proof to me that you’ll be a great hero.”

 

The dread only subsided halfway, after all there was no way to know for sure if that fate had been changed, but a small smile grew back on his face.

 

There’s nothing to be done but wait to see where fate takes Toshinori-san, at this point. He’ll just have to try and be there so he could create a miracle if need be.

 

An elating sensation of power gathered inside him, like it had after his mom had answered that question. For the first time since his father had been Erased, he really felt okay about using Dad’s quirk and the Penguindrum.

 

Riding the high, he straightened his spine and marched to stand directly in front of Momoka’s Mirror.

 

“Momoka-san,” Izuku’s green eyes firmly held Momoka’s pink in place, “please, accept me as the successor to your Penguindrum! I want to use it to become a hero!”

 

In place of her usually more sardonic grins, Momoka formed a fond smile, it very much suited Izuku’s face. That warmth was reflected in her words, which also suited Izuku’s voice, “You’re already my successor, little Izuku. I was just waiting for you to catch up.”

 

Momoka pointed at him with Izuku’s hand, demanding his attention. “Imagine! The spells and unbridled power of this book that you’ll come to learn! Imagine! The feats you’ll come to achieve with your little book of fate!”

 

Izuku’s left hand in the mirror reached forward, open palm held up like it was offering something intangible. “May those who accept their fate be granted happiness.”

 

Izuku’s right hand in the mirror moved to match the left. “May those who defy their fate be granted glory.”

 

“I think, in different ways, you can achieve both this happiness and this glory, my dear Prince of the Crystal…”

 

Izuku’s hands in the mirror clapped together once, then spread out wide with a flourishing gesture encompassing Izuku himself, as though he were being presented to an audience.

 

“Rejoice!” Momoka declared, “For the new Prince of this land has been born!”

Chapter Text

After committing to his role as the successor of the Penguindrum and resolving to use Conductor to change people’s fate, Izuku fully set his sights on becoming a hero. The high school that he wanted to attend to help him achieve this goal was, of course, the school that only took the best of the best, UA High School.

 

It’d also be more convenient for him to go there, since apparently the principal was one of the people Toshinori wanted to inform about his quirk, along with UA’s nurse Recovery Girl.

 

In the official quirk registry, he’d actually written the Peguindrum’s transportation power for his quirk description instead of Conductor’s actual abilities, just like his father had. So there’d be no way for his future teachers to know about his real quirk unless he tells them himself. Knowing that it’d be helpful to have people in authority aware of the power his quirk had to offer, and trusting Toshinori’s assessment of their character, he allowed the hero to finally inform both them and two other trusted people about what happened.

 

UA was a school which had produced some of the greatest heroes society had to offer, including the Number One hero, All Might. Whether the course one took was in heroics, support, business, or even general education, UA provided a high-quality experience, and as such, only accepted high-quality students. When it came to the heroics course, the practical portion of the entrance exam was said to be quite brutal, only passing the very top scoring examinees out of the thousands that apply.

 

It was definitely a case where those who were naturally born with physically enabling and flashy quirks were at an extreme advantage over their competition. Spinning a jackpot on the quirk wheel of fortune was nothing to scoff at in this society. When he had been quirkless, it would’ve been impossible to get in.

 

Now that his fate has been changed, though, the impossible has become possible.

 

Even with a quirk he was still at a disadvantage in this case. While his father’s quirk was unmistakably a quirk that created miracles, it couldn’t help him in a fight.

 

The Penguindrum could make up for this disadvantage.

 

In the Crystal World, the owner’s quirk was actually enhanced, that’s what let him physically remove the Fruit of Fate from Toshinori’s and Nighteye’s chest, and would let him bring someone back to life when the time for it came. But the real advantage he’d have would be all the other abilities and objects that could be accessed by the owner. If he was able to transport his opponent to the Crystal World, as the Prince of the Crystal he could smite them with all that the crazy world had to offer.

 

It was an instant win condition for him. The problem was getting to that point, since he would have to do it of his own human power.

 

Luckily for him, Momoka-san was dedicated to setting up the Crystal World as a roleplay fairytale kingdom, though it’d definitely be the weirdest fairytale he’d ever heard, and as such, created features to enhance this roleplay.

 

One of these features regularly kicked his ass in the name of training.

 

“Come on, Izuku! The mannequin is already on easy mode and you still can’t land a hit on it!” he could hear Momoka jeering with his voice from the portable Momoka’s Hand Mirror that Izu-pingu was holding between his little flippers.

 

“Didn’t you say that you made it in the image of a first-class duelist–“ he paused his complained to drop himself to the floor and just barely dodge the lithe sword blade that passed right over his head. He rolled to the side to try and swipe at its legs with his own sword, but the mannequin simply jumped over it. “ –You even named it “the Champion of the Rose Bride”! You wouldn’t give that kind of title to something unless it lived up to it! Obviously, its easy mode is still just too hard!” 

 

At that point he wasn’t allowed room to breath anymore, let alone talk, too busy trying to desperately block and dodge. It ended once he had exhausted himself and the Champion of the Rose Bride had pinned him in place with its foot on his shoulder and its sword impaling one side of the puffy-looking coat tails on his Prince of the Crystal uniform.

 

He complained about it a lot when he’d first seen it, but by now he doesn’t think it looks too bad on him…

 

The Champion of the Rose Bride was a tall, slim mannequin wearing long pink hair. It wore a princely-looking black long-sleeved shirt with red should pads that ended at form-fitting red shorts. The sword it had used looked like the one he had still in his hand, featuring a slim blade and curved handle that held a beautiful silver gleam.

 

Momoka had said that she made the Champion to match the image of a strong and beautiful princess. The princess had once met an inspiring prince who promised they would meet again one day, but instead had decided to become a prince herself.

 

Its face, smooth and blank, looked to him as it removed its sword and it held out its hand to him. He accepted the offer, grabbing its hand, and it helped him to his feet.  “Thanks,” some might have thought it was unnecessary to thank a mannequin, but from what he knew of the Penguindrum this thing might actually have sentience. It couldn’t hurt to be polite.

 

As though proving his thought right, the Champion of the Rose Bride nodded at him. It then bowed at him respectfully with its hand over its heart.

 

Izuku nodded awkwardly at the formal bow. “I think that’ll be all for right now, you can go do as you please.”

 

The Champion nodded once more, before turning and leaving the training room they were in. It was likely headed through the rest of the Crystal Palace to go back to guarding the treasury.

 

He doesn’t know why the treasury would ever need a guard though, since the only way people can come to the Crystal World is if he brings them himself.

 

“You made the Champion, but did you even learn sword fighting from it yourself? That should’ve been something you wanted to do, right? Since “All princes should know sword fighting”, as you said.”

 

“One, I was a princess not a prince. But I wanted to be a princess who didn’t need a prince, so technically your point still stands.” She counted off fingers as she spoke. “Two, I really enjoyed just watching the Champion of the Rose Bride wreck everything that I threw at it, so I never really wanted to fight it myself since I would be too distracted to watch.”

 

He rolled his eyes at her, before his mood turned and he just sighed at his efforts, “Being able to use a sword will help with after I get clearance to use it as a support item, but for the entrance exam they probably wouldn’t even let me take one in, right? Maybe I should focus on something else for the time being and return to this after I get in…”

 

This time Momoka rolled her eyes at him. “You think they’ll just let you stand in place and throw stones everyone? You have to increase your physical condition if you want to do anything in that exam, whatever it is.”

 

He blinked in confusion at her words.

 

“Stones…?”

 

“That’s right,” she confirmed, amusement started gathering in her voice, “Part of the Survival Strategy spell allows you to transport things by summoning a small crystal stone and willing its shards to break. Whatever the shards hit is what you bring along with you. It makes mass transport much more convenient.”

 

He took a beat to process this before sputtering, “W-What?! I never heard of Dad using something like that! Why didn’t you tell me about this before?!”

 

“He never needed to use it before,” Momoka easily replied, “And I figured you would need it for your exam, so I decided to tell you about it earlier than I planned.”

 

“You were going to wait even longer to tell me?!”

 

After that revelation, Izuku split his time between school, at which he was still pretending to be quirkless since he didn’t want to deal with the drama of suddenly gaining a quirk out of nowhere, practicing sword fighting and improving his physical condition in the Crystal World, and practicing manifesting crystals for the Survival Strategy spell in his home.

 

Momoka referred to it as a spell, but it was more like technique that was granted to the owner of the Penguindrum. She had created them in such a way that they required verbal incantations similar to the way magic spells would be done, but in the end it was an ability created by a quirk, not magic.

 

It took a while to figure out the proper way to visualize the crystal into existence, he spent who knows how long just glaring at the palm of his hand, but eventually he was able to force his will upon reality and summon a marble sized stone in his hand. Its opaque form glittered in the light, rainbows coloring its insides.

 

Momoka had assured him that as he gained more practice with it, he would be able to make larger stones to increase the range effected by the spell.

 

He kept himself busy, trying to progress as much as he could before it was time for the UA entrance exam. It seemed that Toshinori was also busy with something, only being able to meet up with Izuku at short café outings along with staying in touch by text. They hadn’t had the chance to follow up on the conversation they’d had previously in the library.

 

That was for the best, though, since his schedule was jam packed. By the end of it all, he had even been able to start learning more “spells” he could use in the Crystal World. Those were actually much easier to learn despite being more extensive than the relatively simple Survival Strategy. His mind had already accepted the Crystal World as a strange, weird place where the laws of physics only existed because Momoka wanted it to mimic reality to some extent. Having “magic spells” there was really par for the course.

 

Months after the day he was supposed to die, the day that would decide his fate had finally arrived.

 

After being harassed by Kacchan, who was sure to get accepted with his jackpot of a quirk, and being saved from an embarrassing fall by a cute girl, fate had proven its love for irony by having him sit right next to the aforementioned explosive boy. He even got called out for his mumbling in front of everyone by a stranger.

 

Ultimately, though, it seemed that God was merciful to him regarding the practical exam itself. He wouldn’t know for sure until he’d seen them for himself, but Izuku thought that the Teddydrums were both bigger and stronger than the villain bots UA was using for the exam. He would be limited in the number be could transport at once, but taking too many might overwhelm the Teddydrums anyway.

 

After being confronted by the stranger who had called him out for trying to wish the nice girl good luck, the pro hero teacher proctoring the exam, Present Mic, suddenly announced the start of the test.

 

“Well, what are you waiting for?! There’s no countdowns in real-life!” Present Mic loudly explained, his voice was as colorful as his personality it seemed.

 

The was a single beat before everyone started rushing through the gates of the fake city before them.

 

Izuku frantically ran alongside the crowd, splitting off once he had hit the maze-like city streets, until he came across his first robot.

 

A 3-pointer, he noted absentmindedly, as he summoned a marble-sized crystal in his right hand. He threw it towards the robot with all his might.

 

“Survival Strategy!”

 

At his incantation, the stone burst into a multitude of tiny crystal shards. They scattered around a small portion of the area, several of them striking the gray robot as little pin-pricks which did nothing to stop its move to attack Izuku.

 

But that didn’t matter, since an instance latter they were already in the Crystal World. The circular dirt ground and two sides of stands, one side black and one side white, featured by the Dueling Arena surrounded them.

 

The moment they appeared, a giant teddy bear-shaped black robot rocketed into the other robot, with actual rockets spouting flames from its feet. It raced towards one of the sides lacking stands and suddenly stopped once it reached the edge. There were no safety features to prevent people from falling out of the arena, so the villain bot went flying off the tower the Dueling Arena was on top of, falling down in an arc.

 

Izuku looked over the edge to see that it kept falling.

 

And falling.

 

And falling…

 

He couldn’t see the body anymore by the time it landed, but a small crashing sound echoed up to the arena.

 

After hearing the sound, clapping started. It came from the Champion of the Rose Bride, Toshi-pingu, Nighteye’s penguin –come to think of it he still hasn’t gotten his name from Nighteye yet– and Momoka’s Hand Mirror, who all had their own seats next to each other in the white VIP box. Instead of clapping, Izu-pingu raised a large point card showcasing the number 3.

 

He looked up at his robot. It stood at least 4 people tall and had the kind of rounded limbs and head that one would see on a stuffed animal, a rather slim torso, and dark pink accents. Its glowing red eyes watched him intently.

 

“Uh… good job, Teddydrum Black. But– do you think next time you could just… beat up the robot regularly? It sort of took a while for it to land…”

 

Teddydrum Black hung its head in shame. The second Teddydrum in the arena, which had white coloring and black accents, hit the black robot on the back of its head with a metal clang as if to scold it.

 

“N-No! Don’t do that, Teddydrum White! And Teddydrum Black– it’s okay, you were just excited that’s all! A-And I didn’t give specific enough instructions anyway, so really it’s my fault– ”

 

Both of the robots cut him off by vigorously shaking their heads in denial and crossing their arms together to form X’s.

 

“Umm– Why don’t I just leave and bring back more robots, okay? Make sure you’re prepared.”

 

When he arrived back in the fake city, he was standing within the range of where the crystal shards had spread out. A pile of decimated bulky, gray robot parts appeared in the same spot the 3-pointer had been.

 

That definitely looks like it fell off a cliff…

 

He continued running around and transporting robots with crystal stones. Teddydrum Black followed his advice and, with the help of Teddydrum White, smashed, laserbeamed, and tore apart the robots he brought instead of throwing them off the edge of the Dueling Arena.

 

The biggest problem was that the robots tended to stay rather far apart from each other. The only times he had been able to take more than one at once was when a pair of them had happened to be close to each other.

 

After watching one of these pairs, a 1-pointer and 2-pointer, get demolished by the Teddydrums, he ignored the clapping to read the score Izu-pingu held up for him.

 

35 points… He has no idea if that’s enough to qualify, but he has to get as many as he can if he wants to be sure that he beat out the jackpot winners.

 

His thoughts were interrupted when, upon returning to the exam site, giant steps caused the city to shake around him.

 

Looking up into the heavens, what he saw was that a villain bot taller than the buildings around him was way too close for comfort. It approached slowly, causing total devastation to the streets it walked through.

 

“What the hell– Is that supposed to be the 0-point robot?! UA is crazy!” a voice he didn’t know screamed.

 

Not as crazy as Momoka-san, but they’re certainly trying! He couldn’t help but think as panic burst inside him.

 

The yell from the random examinee kick started the exodus out of the area. He began to flee with them, but stopped when he heard a cry of pain.

 

Examining the grounds, he found the girl who had helped him earlier was crushed under some debris and unable to run away from the giant robot that seemed close to treading on her.

 

Izuku didn’t even think about what he was doing, his body just moved on its own.

 

Running towards the 0-pointer, he summoned a crystal, and threw it up at the robot hard enough that he felt like his arm might fly off his shoulder.

 

Survival Strategy!” he desperately screamed.

 

A cluster of shards hit the villain bot, and the next thing he knew, Izuku was standing in front of the giant robot in the Dueling Arena. It stood much higher than the stands around it.

 

“Teddydrums, distract the 0-pointer for me! I need it to stay standing it one place!”

 

His robots were quick to follow his command, flying up around the face of the opponent robot and swarming its head. They were dwarfed by the villain bot, which tried to swat at them like they were annoying bugs.

 

“Little Izuku, my beloved Prince of the Crystal,” he could barely hear Momoka’s sardonic words in Izuku’s voice coming from the hand mirror seated in the VIP box, “what the hell is this literally gigantic waste of time?”

 

“It was about to kill someone, okay! I had to do something!” Izuku shot back firmly, “And it’s not like it’ll be hard to take care of it now that it’s here!”

 

As Izuku steadied himself, his deep red cloak bellowed around him, reacting to the Penguindrum’s power as it surged through his body. His right arm stuck out straight towards the stationary robot as he called forth what Momoka had referred to as “the signature spell of the Crystal World”.

 

Will of the Crystal Princess!

 

All around the 0-pointer’s feet, opaque crystal stone broke out of the arena’s ground, causing dirt to fly into the air. It grew up the robot’s bulky legs, casting rainbows on its body and encompassing the entirety of the surface it passed.

 

If this was a person, it would have covered them instantly, but on something this big it’s just not fast enough

 

The robot finally realized something was wrong once the crystal had reached its pelvis, but by that time it was incapable of using its legs. Izuku willed the crystal to detach from the ground with a flick of his hand.

 

Then, he locked away his fear and ran to stand as close has he could to one giant, crystal-covered foot. The Teddydrums were still distracting the 0-pointer even as it tried to free its legs.

 

Izuku felt his teeth bare themselves, forming a mean grin.

 

“You know what they say, the bigger they are– ” He mentally thanked Teddydrum Black for this brilliant idea, as he displaced the surroundings around him and the villain bot the same way he had when moving Toshinori around for his tour. After the blur passed, he was just at the edge of the arena, while the robot was in the air beside it, “ –the harder they fall!

 

The giant robot plummeted to the ground. Its arms flailed about in vain as it fell.

 

And fell.

 

And fell…

 

Once it reached the base of the high tower, it collapsed under its own weight and momentum with a roaring crash. Izuku could vaguely hear the sound of the crystal encasing it cracking apart as well.

 

The small audience applauded furiously, even the Teddydrums and Izu-pingu had joined in.

 

“Prince of the Crystal indeed!” Momoka declared with excitement, “If this school of yours doesn’t accept you after this, everyone running it must be lowlifes who will never amount to anything!” That statement was extremely unsuited for Izuku’s voice.

 

Izuku rolled his eyes at her insult, “The robot isn’t even worth any points, so who knows if they’ll take it into consideration.”

 

“Like I said– if they don’t, they’re lowlifes who will never amount to anything!” 

 

He just sighed in response, “Survival Strategy Complete”

 

With those words, he left the Crystal World, only to find himself up in the air.

 

Oh, that’s right… –Gravity took hold and he began falling– He’s been appearing wherever the stone shards go, and he threw it quite high this time. The shards probably hadn’t reached the ground before he transported them… Shit!

 

His fear grew as he began to vaguely hope that he’d get out of this with just a few broken bones, he hadn’t been able to throw it too high after all, only to be cut off by a sudden slap to his arm.

 

Gravity stopped working, and he floated in place a little above the ground.

 

“What– ?”

 

When he looked around to see the gravity quirk girl floating on a piece of debris above him, hand stretched out, he finally understood what occurred.

 

“Release…” her voice sounded strained as she brought the tips of her fingers together. They plopped down to the ground in unison.

 

Izuku glanced over the pile of robot pieces that came along with him, and noticed that giant chucks of crystal had come along with it for the ride.

 

Wait… Could he actually take things out of the Crystal World too?! Momoka-san, please, explain more of the basics!

 

He was distracted when the girl who had saved him promptly threw up.

 

“Ah! A-Are you okay– ”

 

“TIME’S UP!” Present Mic’s loud voice resounded through the speakers, “THE EXAM IS OFFICALLY OVER!”

 

After a moment of surprise, Izuku gulped at the proclamation. He just has to hope 35 will be enough  then…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The attitude in the observation room for the heroics practical exam is what Toshinori will now officially name “Post-Penguindrum Astonishment.

 

Unfortunately for the rest of these teachers, they’ve barely glimpsed the tip of the iceberg that is the Penguindrum. The giant robot disappearing only to return as a giant heap of scrap metal still surprised him though.

 

It had all started after they had noted that both young Midoriya and the 3-pointer robot he had been facing suddenly vanished.

 

“Huh, what happened there? Where did the examinee and villain bot go?” Snipe pointed to one of the monitor screens.

 

Midnight flipped through the school’s information on the exam candidates. “Let’s see… Looks like the quirk that boy, Midoriya Izuku, has is called Conductor. It allows him to transport himself and other things to some kind of pocket dimension! That’s probably where they went then.”

 

“A pocket dimension quirk? How interesting, I wonder if he put anything in there that would help him with the villain bot?” Cementoss wondering, raising his hand to his chin as he thought to himself.

 

Principal Nedzu let out a laugh from his seat, “Haha! Oh, I’m sure he probably has something up is sleeve in there.” Toshinori hoped that the others failed to notice the bear-dog-rat’s knowing tone.

 

Seeing Eraserhead subtlety move his eyes to examine the principal with suspicion, he knew at least one teacher had caught it though.

 

It was then that Midoriya finally popped back into existence, his placement slightly off from where he had been previously standing. Instead of a robot, he was joined by a pile of destroyed robot parts.

 

This time Power Loader commented, “He really managed to do a number on that thing! What does he have in that pocket dimension exactly?”

 

Nedzu just let out another laugh, which Eraserhead again observed with suspicion.

 

Watching the green-haired boy, Toshinori couldn’t help but think of the question that had plagued him for months.

 

“Why do you do things which involve ignoring your self-interests or hurting yourself for the sake of hero-work?”– Isn’t that just something that’s necessary for being a hero? But the boy wants to be a hero as well so there must be something more to it…

 

But it wasn’t the time to think of such things, so he put it off his mind.

 

Throughout the exam, everyone continued observing Midoriya along with the other examinees.

 

The boy kept on disappearing with robots and reappearing with broken robots, though none of them looked as bad off as the first one had. It became clear that he was throwing something towards the robots before he transported them, but it was too small to see on the screens. Sometimes he was even able to bring two robots in one go.

 

“So he can bring more then one thing with him at a time… It seems like he has a limited range, but its still a range nonetheless, that would be useful if he faced multiple opponents at once,” Ectoplasm observed.

 

“Only if he could handle multiple opponents at once,” Eraserhead’s monotone voice cut in with a characteristic critique, “and if they were too spread out, he’d be forced to leave some behind that he wouldn’t be able to keep track of.”

 

“Oh! The 0-pointers’ are all coming out now!” Midnight pointed at the screens showing the giant robots.

 

As expected, most of the examinees fled at the sight of the seemingly insurmountable and pointless obstacle. Midoriya, however, ran towards it.

 

“Looks like he’s about to get some rescue points, what’s he going to do though…” Blood King noted, eyeing the girl stuck in the rubble by the giant villain bot.

 

In the screen showing Midoriya, the boy made a powerful throw, and he could almost make out his lips forming the expected words “Survival Strategy”–

 

Only air filled the huge space the robot had stood in, the 0-pointer disappeared just like the rest of Midoriya’s opponents.

 

“Woah! Does he not have a limit in the size of the stuff he brings with him?! That’s incredible!” Snipe exclaimed in shock.

 

“Haha! Let’s see how it looks coming back out…” Nedzu watched the screen intently, waiting for the moment of truth.

 

It took more time than it had for the regular villain bots, but eventually he reappeared in the air and started falling to the ground.

 

The teachers noted his rescue by the girl, but their focus was taken by the pile of scrap that had been the 0-pointer.

 

Toshinori noted that there appeared to be large opaque pieces of crystal stone within the rubble that had once been a robot.

 

Prince of the Crystal indeed…

 

“What on Earth did he do to that thing?! It’s completely busted!” Power Loader exclaimed, “This just makes me want to know what’s in that pocket dimension even more!”

 

“Damn, I really wish I could’ve seen what he was doing during his disappearing act too, this is ridiculous!” Snipe echoed Power Loader’s thoughts.

 

“Such energetic youth and mystery!” Midnight admired, “He’ll be a great student to work with for sure!”

 

Cementoss added, “I think it’s safe to say he can probably handle multiple opponents at once wherever he’s bringing them…”

 

Eraserhead failed to give a comment on the situation, but stared intensely at the screen in frustration as though if he looked hard enough, he might be able to figure out what happened.

 

Out of the corner of his eye, Toshinori could see Nedzu give a creepy grin that showed too many teeth as he laughed with glee once more.

 

Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to tell Nedzu about Midoriya’s quirk after all, the amount of entertainment he got from this observation is concerning…

Chapter Text

“ …With the combination of your 35 villain points and your 60 rescue points, you have achieved 95 points total for the practical exam, the highest score out of all the examinees!” the All Might in the projection cheered, “As such, you have earned your spot in the heroics course! Welcome to your hero academia!”

 

The trembling and crying, Izuku was caught in a torrent of emotion; the fact Toshinori-san will be one of his teachers, the girl who had tried to give some of her points to him, his acceptance into the heroics course, placing first in the exam– It was all so overwhelming, he had to share it with the person he loved most immediately–

 

“M-Mom!” Izuku cried, running from his bedroom into the living room of their home, “Mom! I-I got in! And I got first place in the practical exam!”

 

His mother ran into him with a big hug, and started crying with him, “Oh, Izuku! I’m so proud of you, my baby!”

 

As they shook in excitement together, his mother lowered her voice and bit adding, “Your father would’ve been so proud…

 

Izuku started to cry even harder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“What the hell, Deku! What kind of tricks did you use to pull an acceptance into UA out of your quirkless ass!”

 

After meeting with their homeroom teacher about their acceptance into UA, Izuku had been immediately confronted by a murderous-looking Kacchan just outside their school building.

 

“I-I didn’t use any tricks!” The Penguindrum was much more powerful than a simple trick.

 

The explosive boy just pushed his body into the school wall harder, holding him by the collar of his shirt.

 

“You ruined my plan to be the only one to get accepted into UA from this shitty school! There wasn’t supposed to be anyone else besides me! Why the fuck did a useless, quirkless loser like you even bother trying, you should know you’ll never amount to anything– ”

 

–There are those born wealthy, those born of beautiful mothers, and those born into war or poverty. If everything is caused by fate, then God must be incredibly unfair and cruel. Because ever since that day, he no longer had a future, and the only certain thing was that he wouldn't amount to anything–

 

“I’m not quirkless anymore,” Izuku interrupted, his tone was frigidly cold, “I’m not someone who’ll never amount to anything anymore. You don’t even know what I lost to get to this point– to earn my place at UA!

 

His words caught Kacchan by surprise, causing his grip to loosen. Izuku took advantage of it to pull himself out and step away sideways so he was no longer boxed in.

 

He could feel himself tremble in anger. For the first time ever, Izuku’s reaction to Kacchan’s words was rage.

 

“I ruined your plan? There wasn’t supposed to be anyone else? Well guess what, Kacchan, that’s just how life works!”

 

He held out his hand in a gesture towards the suddenly quiet Kacchan, as though presenting this new world order to him.

 

“Why are you even complaining, when you’ve just succeeded in getting into the top high school in the country?! You’ve literally got your life lined up to become a successful hero, just like it had been since you were four! Unlike me, you’ve been so blessed by fate and whatever God or gods exist in this universe, and all you can do is whine about how it’s not absolutely perfect– Well tough shit! Deal with it!

 

Taking satisfaction in the bully’s gobsmacked expression, Izuku turned his back to him and stormed away. He felt pricks of tears in his eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standing in front of classroom 1-A, Izuku prepped himself to enter the first stop on his path down the line to becoming a hero.

 

–Please put Kacchan in 1-B, Please put Kacchan in 1-B, Please put Kacchan in 1-B–

 

Slowly, he reached his hand out and turned the door knob. He opened the door to see Kacchan arguing with the examinee who had confronted him before the exam.

 

He doesn’t know why he even bothers asking for anything from fate anymore…

 

“As a student of a high school as prestigious as UA, you should be ashamed for treating the school’s property with such disrespect!”

 

“Shut the fuck up you stuck up elitist, does it look like I care?!”

 

“Such vulgar language– !” The tall, glasses wearing boy cut himself off when he saw Izuku standing in the doorway.

 

As the boy power-walked over to him, Izuku nervously stood his ground, preparing for an onslaught.

 

Instead, the boy caught him completely off guard. “Hello, my name is Iida Tenya. I apologize for by behavior before the exam. After I saw you go back to rescue a fellow examinee, I realized that you had perceived the true nature of the test, while I had been completely unaware! I misjudged you, you were clearly the superior between us!”

 

Eh… a good surprise? What a nice change of pace!

 

“A-Ah–  I’m Midoriya Izuku! I-I really hadn’t known anything… I just wanted to make sure she got out okay, you know– ” 

 

“Hey! You’re that boy who saved me and took out the 0-pointer!” a familiar feminine voice called to him. Turning his head, he saw the gravity quirk girl from the exam. “You made it in! I’m so glad!”

“T-Thanks! I’ glad you made it too– ”

 

“If you’re hear to socialize, then leave.”

 

Ah– There it is, he knew things were going too well…

 

The students by the doorway, along with the students seated close to the doorway that could crane their heads enough to get a good look, turned their gazes down to the floor of the hallway to see a grown man in a bright yellow sleeping bag lying on the floor. He was sucking on some sort of jelly packet, though not using his hands to hold onto it. With his limbs firmly tucked within the sleeping bag, he looked very much like a caterpillar.

 

It definitely wasn’t a sight one would expect on their first day of high school, but Izuku wasn’t put off by it.

 

It isn’t that strange, really, he thought to himself, Not exactly normal, but things could definitely be weirder.

 

As the caterpillar got off the floor and started to move into the classroom, Izuku glanced around at his fellow classmates, and saw that they all looked vaguely weirded out. Or maybe it is strange and he’s just too desensitized to notice…

 

Rising out of the sleeping bag, the caterpillar who turned into a man started speaking in a monotone voice, “It took 8 seconds for you to quiet down. Time is a precious resource, don’t waste it uselessly like that.”

 

Now that the yellow eyesore was gone, it was easier to look over the man’s features. He had a generally unkempt appearance, with his long black hair and light dusting of facial hair, and the bags under his eyes suggested many sleepless nights. The only notable aspect of his plain black clothes was the white scarf-like cloth he wore around his neck. He doesn’t look like one would expect a hero who doubles as a teacher to look, but if he’s here he must be–

 

“I’m your homeroom teacher, Aizawa Shouta. Pleased to meet you,” was his uninspired introduction.

 

His fellow classmates again seemed surprised, despite Aizawa’s role as their homeroom teacher being the most logical explanation for his presence.

 

Then again, he supposes most people wouldn’t find a man like Aizawa being a hero or a teacher to be logical in the first place.

 

“Now, quickly change into your gym uniforms, and follow me down to the field.”

 

The rest of the students awkwardly shuffled about, caught off guard by the lack of average school procedures such as something as basic as going to the school orientation on the first day. But Izuku just felt happiness at hearing the orders.

 

A teacher who doesn’t ignore my existence as someone who’ll never amount to anything and gives clear and concise instructions! UA is just as great as everyone has said it is– or is it that his standards are just too low…?

 

Even during this sense of hope though, Izuku could feel Kacchan’s glare burning into his back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the usual complaints about missing orientation and guidance sessions, followed by an explanation on UA’s “freestyle” education system with its teachers, Shouta began describing the quirk apprehension tests. At this point, though, he had to deviate somewhat from his usual proceedings. He’s always used the student who scored the highest in the practical exam to demonstrate the purpose of the tests, but this year, he doesn’t actually know what the fuck that student can do besides disappearing into thin air–  

 

So, he has to investigate first to make sure he can actually apply his quirk for a demonstration.

 

“Midoriya, you were first in this year’s practical exam– ” The freckled mystery boy jumped at being addressed, while a blond, red eyed student let out an enraged choking sound, he’ll have to watch that one for anger issues, “However, due to the nature of your quirk, the faculty still doesn’t have a clear idea as to the full extent of your capabilities. We know you must have some destructive or physical abilities, but since it all seemed to occur in your quirk’s pocket dimension, their nature and parameters are unknown.”

 

“A pocket dimension quirk!”

 

“That sounds so cool– ” 

 

Silence,” Shouta didn’t raise his voice, but his tone offered no room for disobedience. The teens ceased their gossip immediately.

 

He gave the nervous student a considering once-over, before asking, “Do you have a way to apply these aspects of your quirk outside of your pocket dimension for the apprehension tests?”

 

Midoriya glanced his eyes to the side, as though trying to think his answer to the question through carefully. After a beat, he hesitantly replied, “U-Uh… That sort of depends– for the tests that involve movement I’d probably be able to use it on its own, but to get the most optimal results– um, i-it would be best if I could bring something out of the dimension to help me…”

 

He answered the boy’s unspoken question, “As long as it’s something you would’ve had access to with your quirk regularly, you could bring out whatever you like.”

 

Shouta swiftly threw the softball in his hands at Midoriya, eager to get some answers to the mysteries concerning his quirk that had risen from the practical exam. Although the boy was still nervous, he caught the ball easy enough, showcasing good reflects.

 

“Get whatever you need to boost your score out and throw the ball into the field without leaving the circle over there.” He pointed at the designated area for the softball throw test.

 

Midoriya straightened up at those words. “Y-Yes, Aizawa-sensei!”

 

After running to stand in the circle, he muttered an interesting phrase, “Survival Strategy” –And promptly disappeared from his spot, leaving only empty air.

 

“Woah! He’s gone– ” the pink skinned girl with horns and black sclera, Ashido Mina cut off herself at his glare, “Ack! Sorry, Aizawa-sensei…”

 

Less than a minute passed before the boy returned to the same spot he had been standing in before, but now he was resting his hand on–

 

 

“Midoriya…” Shouta could almost feel his soul leaving his body, already utterly done for the day, at the sight of the giant teddy bear-shaped robot his student had brought out. “What, exactly, is that…

 

At the entirely unexpected sight, the students’ intrigue over the robot trumped their fear of their homeroom teacher.

 

“Oh my God, what is that– ”

 

“Is it allowed under UA regulations to bring giant robots to school?”

 

“Is that robot shaped like a teddy bear– ”

 

“It’s so cute! It looks like it gives good hugs– ”

 

“Its head is fairly large for its body, I wonder how it manages to stay stable?”   

 

“An intriguing mystery for the ages! Its body may be cute and white, but its red eyes exude a sense of madness…”

 

“Kero, isn’t anyone going to ask why he has a teddy bear robot in his pocket dimension– ”

 

While he agreed with the sensible frog girl Asui Tsuyu’s assessment, he needed to cut them off now if they wanted to get anything done, “If everyone doesn’t stop talking right now, I will expel all of you. I am completely serious.”

 

Silence reigned through the field.

 

“But you, Midoriya, start talking!”

 

The boy next to the teddy bear-shaped robot jumped at his command. “Y-Yes! Aizawa-sensei! Um…” He pointed up at the aforementioned robot. “T-This is a robot that is referred to as a Teddydrum, m-my pocket dimension sort of just… came with two of them on its own? They follow my orders absolutely, since I’m the owner of the– pocket dimension. Its name is Teddydrum White.”

 

Midoriya then turned to the robot, and politely stated, “Teddydrum White, this is my homeroom teacher, Aizawa-sensei, and the rest of my classmates. Please be on your best behavior for them.”

 

Teddydrum White nodded its large head at Midoriya, before facing Aizawa and the rest of the class to lower itself in a small bow.

 

He didn’t even know how to respond to that information, let alone the robot itself. The pocket dimension apparently “came with two of them on its own”? Shouta is starting to really regret trying to look more into this kid’s quirk. Why couldn’t he get stuck in 1-B instead…

 

He had a responsibility as a teacher though, and thus gallantly continued his questioning, “So these “Teddydrums” as you referred to them are the ones who took out the robots once you had transported the bots with your quirk during the practical exam?”

 

“For all the regular ones, yes! But– uh, the 0-pointer was too big for them, so I had to take care of it myself…”

 

“Take care of it himself”  –exactly what kind of kid did he get saddled with, that when his giant robots couldn’t get the job done he just takes care of it himself?!

 

Suddenly wanting to avoid learning more about Midoriya’s abilities, Shouta gave a long sigh. He decided to give on the situation entirely. “Just… do the softball throw, please.”

 

The boy nodded at him seriously. He then pointed out into the field and addressed his giant robot, “Teddydrum White, please go out about 30 meters into the field. When I throw the ball at you, catch it and throw it farther in the same direction for me.”

 

It followed his instructions to a T, turning on the rocket boosters on its feet to fly down the field and hover in the air. It waited for Midoriya’s throw with the same air as an obedient pet dog that was eager to play fetch.

 

At least he knows how to give it detailed and concise instructions…?  Shouta thought to himself, attempting to enforce some effort into maintaining his role as the abnormal boy’s teacher.

 

Midoriya then threw the ball at Teddydrum White, who caught it with its perfectly rounded nub of a hand, drew back its arm, and launched it into the horizon.

 

After a moment, Shouta showed the class the distance measuring device, which read “705.3 meters”, before trying to get the class’s focus back, “It’s important for us to know our limits. That’s the first rational step to figuring out what type of heroes you’ll be.”

 

“705.3 meters! Well, I guess that makes sense since a giant robot threw it, even if it is shaped like a teddy bear– ”

 

Deku…” the angry blond-haired boy, Bakugou Katsuki, finally emerged from his shock to rage at Midoriya, “What the fuck is this pocket dimension-quirk-robot shit! And you fucking beat me in the practical exam?! What the fuck!”

 

Bakugou launched himself at Midoriya with his explosions raging, only to be wrapped up by Shouta’s capture gear and have his quirk suppressed by Erasure. “Calm down! Threatening fellow students with violence and quirk use is not accepted here!”

 

“T-Teddydrum White, calm down! Just leave it to Aiza– Oh! Aizawa-sensei is the underground pro hero Eraserhead? Look, Teddydrum– he already stopped Kacchan from using his quirk, see!”

 

After seeing that Bakugou had stopped trying to use his quirk, Shouta turned his head to look back at Midoriya.

 

The Teddydrum had responded to the threat on its master by hovering up in the air between the two. It had what looked like energy cannons charged with glowing red light on its shoulders and ready to fire at the raging boy. Shouta felt a renewed appreciation for his fast response time.

 

“I’m serious, disengage now!” this time Midoriya managed to be firmer with his order.

 

The cannons lost their glow, then moved back into the shoulders of the robot. However, it still precisely landed itself between his master and the offender, standing as a physical barrier in case Bakugou had anymore bright ideas.

 

Looking back to Bakugou, Shouta saw the boy was shying back with hesitation while eyeing the Teddydrum with a sneer on his face. Good, he had enough sense not to challenge the obviously protective and dangerous robot to a school-yard brawl at least.

 

Shouta released Bakugou from his bonds and sighed, “Let’s just move onto the tests now…”

 

The spikey red-haired boy Kirishima Eijirou, who from what Shouta remembered from the student profiles used to have black-hair, watched the scene with apprehension and attempted to lighten the mood among the students, “W-Well, trying to attack a classmate like that wasn’t manly at all! But– Let’s focus on the good things, yeah? Having the chance to use our quirks in tests is awesome! The heroics course is great!”

 

Shouta narrowed his eyes at those words, sensing the perfect opportunity to put his plan into action, “ …“Awesome”, huh. Do you think the heroics course will be all fun and games? In that case, the person who scores the lowest will be deemed hopeless and expelled.”

 

Shock moved through the students at his words. He let himself show a crazed grin. Things were finally slotting back into order.

 

“Your fate is in our hands. Welcome to the heroics course of UA…

 

From behind the robot, he heard a quiet but bitter mutter from the student who he knows will be his problem child, “I’d certainly trust their hands with my fate more than God’s…”

 

He stowed the statement away for later; problem child indeed.

 

A girl with short brown hair, Uraraka Ochako was the one with enough guts to voice the opinion that was surely shared by most of the other students, “The lowest scorer will be expelled?! It’s only the first day, that’s totally unfair!”

 

Shouta replied with a cold tone, “Natural disasters, highway pileups, rampaging villains… Calamity is always right around the corner. I’d say Japan is full of unfair things…”

 

Strengthening his voice, he emphasized the main point of his words, “Heroes are the ones who correct that unfairness. For the next three years, UA is going to run you through the wringer in order to train you for this.”

 

He motioned his index finger towards himself in a “bring it on” gesture and gave a small smirk. “Go beyond. That’s Plus Ultra! Use your strength to overcome these obstacles!

 

The students in front of him visibly steeled themselves with determination for their upcoming trials. Midoriya, fists clenched and eyes sharp in what seemed like an attempt to probe Shouta’s soul, looked as though he was prepared to face all of the unfairness this world had to offer.

 

Just when he had successfully changed to atmosphere to an appropriate level of seriousness, the giant teddy bear robot apparently decided that the danger had fully passed and relaxed its guard. It hunched up and its red mechanical eyes looked expectantly at the problem child, waiting to be scolded.

 

Midoriya, shifting out of the serious and tense attitude he had previously at the sight, smiled gently at his robot. His tone matched his smile, “It’s okay, Teddydrum White. I know you were just scared for me. Next time I tell you to disengage please do so immediately though.” Midoriya held out his hand, palm forward. “Great job with the throw. High-five?”

 

Teddydrum White wiped its hand over its brow as though it were wiping off sweat from the metal, obviously relieved that its master was still pleased with it. It leaned down, and carefully pushed on Midoriya’s small hand with its overwhelmingly larger nub to return his “high-five”.

 

Midoriya then seemed to blink in surprise at its hand. “Wait, that’s right… you don’t have fingers– How do you even hold things like the softball, anyway?”

 

The Teddydrum shrugged its shoulders in response.

 

Shouta pinched the bridge of his nose with his fingers and took a long breath in, followed by a long breath out.

 

There’s no way he’ll be last, and he has so much potential, but Shouta can’t help but wish that Midoriya got himself expelled somehow so that Shouta can hold on to what little sanity he has left…

 

As expected, Midoriya was not last place.

 

Overall, this year’s batch of hero-hopefuls had a lot of potential. They were certainly more suited for the rigger and discipline of the course than last year’s class had been and showcased various impressive quirks as well as creative quirk uses for the tests.

 

Of course, the problem child still attracted the most attention, with his literally impossible to miss giant robot aiding him throughout the tests.

 

For the 50-meter dash and endurance running, Teddydrum White carried Midoriya in its metal arms and flew over the track, inciting a couple of students to ask for the chance to ride the robot themselves someday. Midoriya just vaguely answered that if a good time for it comes up, they could try then. 

 

Note to self: Keep an eye on Kirishima, Kaminari, Uraraka, and Ashido to make sure they don’t get themselves killed riding Midoriya’s giant robot.

 

For the long jump, Midoriya jumped and had the Teddydrum pluck him from the air to throw the boy further, but it was careful to throw him gently so that he could land safely. It still seemed to fret over him in worry after the landing though, nervously hunched over and arms half-way stretched towards its master as though it wanted to move him around to look for injuries. Midoriya kindly assured Teddydrum White that he was unharmed while patting its oversized leg.

 

And for the side-step test, the boy just let the robot manhandle him, moving Midoriya side to side with its hands. In this case the Teddydrum just didn’t have the kind of motion precision necessary to quickly move him without jostling, causing Midoriya to suffer from nausea by the time the test was over. The robot looked absolutely beside itself, cradling its master as if it had killed him. Midoriya just gave reassuring strokes to its arm, and softly ensured Teddydrum White that he was alright and that it didn’t do anything wrong.

 

At these two instances there were some returning squeals about how “cute” the robot was, and some new ones on how “adorable” the problem child’s interactions with it were. Hagakure Toru was a particularly frequent offender for these comments.

 

Lord have mercy on Shouta’s soul, cause clearly these kids won’t.

 

The grip test, seated toe-touch, and sit ups were all performed by Midoriya without the use of Teddydrum White, but his other scores made up for it. After the last test, Midoriya transported the robot back to his pocket dimension with the same phrase he had used before. More than one student looked sad to see it go.

 

Despite the robot shenanigans, Shouta had come to the decision throughout the process of the tests that all of the group had potential, and thus informed them before displaying the results that his threat of expulsion was a logical ruse. The last placing student, the abnormally short and grape-haired Mineta Minoru, looked so relieved he might pass out on spot.

 

After dismissing his students to go back into the school building, Shouta walked over to the hero who had been stalking them for most of that time, “All Might, what do you want? Do you really have so much time to waste?”

 

The bulky hero cleared his throat nervously at being caught. “Ah– Well, I wanted to see how young Midoriya would handle these tests, and after seeing that he brought out… Teddydrum White, I wanted to observe the robot’s capabilities for myself.”

 

Shouta thoroughly examined the hero’s face, he was nowhere near surprised enough by the sight of a giant teddy bear robot.

 

“You knew,” he couldn’t keep the agitation from his voice, “You knew about Midoriya’s so called Teddydrum. How did you know?

 

The Number One hero started sweating. “Well you see… I’ve actually had the chance to go to the boy’s pocket dimension. He showed me around and introduced me to it then, along with the other one.

 

“Is that so…” Shouta narrowed his eyes at All Might. “Does this have something to do with whatever Principal Nedzu knows about the kid’s quirk?”

 

“ …Yes?”

 

He just gave a long sigh at that, then complained with exasperation, “As the kid’s teacher, I should really ask to go see the place for myself, but after he brought out… that thing of all things–  I just want to put it off as long as possible now…”

 

“It would be good to see everything for yourself to accurately gauge his abilities, but… feel free to allow yourself a little time to adjust to all this first. You’ll need it.”

 

When All Might looked at him with pity clear in his shaded eyes, Shouta knew once and for all that he was truly fucked.

Chapter Text

“ –It’s understandable that the school would fail to comment on the subject of bringing giant robots to school in the regulations stated in their student handbook, besides the support department’s regulations of course. However, as a responsible student of an academy as prestigious as UA High School, I believe you should take the initiative to address this issue soon with the principal if you plan on using your robots in the future– ”  

 

“Come on Iida, lighten up a bit! Robots are supposed to be fun, aren’t they? Teddydrum White was so cute too!– ”

 

Iida had been going on about trying to get some “official regulations” made about the Teddydrums for a while now. Izuku had interacted with him and infinity girl –whose name he still doesn’t know how embarrassing– throughout the school day after the quirk apprehension tests. Once they had resolved Iida’s previous behavior with him, Izuku just found himself clicking with them. They were just leaving school now, walking towards the entrance gate together.

 

It was so different from how his life was like when he was quirkless. No one wanted to be friends with a person who would never amount to anything.

 

“ –And don’t think I’ll forget about your promise to let me ride a Teddydrum one day, Midoriya-kun! Come to think of it, I don’t think I ever introduced myself to you! How rude of me!”

 

“You’re right, that is quite rude!”

 

“Eh!” Izuku frantically waved his hands back and forth in denial. “I-Iida-kun, don’t say something like that! It was just a mistake, don’t worry about it, uh– ”

 

“Uraraka Ochako!” Uraraka gave a cheerful smile, her hands grasped her backpack straps. “And you two are Iida Tenya and Midoriya Deku, right?” 

 

Izuku’s body involuntarily jolted and stopped walking towards UA’s gate. He turned a wide-eyed look to infinity girl that matched his bewildered tone, “D-Deku?!”

 

She just blinked at him in surprise. “Oh, is that not your name? I heard Bakugou-kun call you Deku before, so I assumed it was…”

 

How was he supposed to explain something like this? “No! U-Uh, that’s just K-Kacchan’s mean nickname for me…”

 

“So, it’s a derogatory insult,” Iida expanded, pushing his glasses up his face and his eyes narrowing at his thoughts. “How crass. Bakugou’s behavior throughout the whole day has been completely unacceptable!”

 

“I’m so sorry, I’ve been thinking that was your name the entire day!” Uraraka placed her hands on her cheeks in embarrassment, Izuku noted that she was careful to keep her pinkies lifted. “But, I was just thinking it sounded like “dekiru”, you know?”

 

She removed her hands to pump one arm up in a cheer. “To me, it was like a “You can do it!” Deku!”

 

Izuku felt his mouth open and close a bit without any words passing through his lips. He stared at Uraraka with wide eyes. His world turned upside down–

 

–To be “Deku” is to be “useless”, because it seemed as though ever since he was 4, he no longer had a future, and the only certain thing was that he wouldn't amount to anything, he was such a useless Deku that Dad needed to sacrifice his life and existence to save him–

 

But what if it doesn’t have to be that way? What if him being “Deku” doesn’t mean him being “useless”, doesn’t mean him being worthless and without a future? After all, his fate has already been changed hasn’t it? Now that he has a quirk, he has a future–

 

–All men are not created equal; Even so, he still wanted to be a hero–

 

“I’m not quirkless anymore, I’m not someone who’ll never amount to anything anymore”

 

But that wasn’t quite right either. Hadn’t Izuku decided he was going to be a hero even when he was quirkless? That he would find a way to amount to something? Wasn’t the only reason he believed that the quirkless him would never amount to anything just because that’s what society planned to confine him to–

 

“I’m not someone who’ll never amount to anything anymore

 

No, that’s wrong.

 

This whole time, he had truly believed he wouldn’t amount to anything, that he had no future, that he was worthless, and useless, because he was born a “Deku” that was fated to have no quirk.

 

That would make sense, wouldn’t it? That’s what people have told him since he was 4. He had heard it so many times, had it said right to his face so many times, of course he would come to believe it himself…

 

But what he had believed was wrong, right? The quirkless him was still him; he still had the same dreams, the same emotions, the same sense of love… Society might tell him that he’s only worth something now, after getting a quirk, but the Izuku without a quirk wasn’t worthless. He still had everything that made Izuku a good child, who had big dreams and a big heart, he had everything that made up who Izuku was as a person.

 

A person’s quirk makes up the core of their Fruit of Fate. It’s an important part. Everything else, their experiences, their beliefs, their emotions, is built around it, but in the end it’s much smaller than the rest of the Fruit. To dismiss the rest of the Fruit as worthless just doesn’t make sense– that’s the part that actually makes up the person’s life.

 

“May those who accept their fate be granted happiness”

 

He hadn’t understood what Momoka-san had said at all. How could rolling over and accepting fate, especially if that fate is incredibly unfair and cruel, ever lead to happiness?

 

But, isn’t accepting fate just what people do? If a child is born to wealthy parents, born to a beautiful mother, or born during a war or to a family facing poverty, it’s not like the child is physically able to change that. Perhaps for somethings, like being poor, later on they can change those situations themselves, but many things are just physically impossible to change.

 

For example, what if a person wishes that they had been born with blue eyes? They can wear colored contacts if it makes them happy, they might even find a way to permanently color them, but in the end they weren’t born blue. If they were unable to accept that their eyes weren’t naturally blue, it would only make them miserable. They would never be happy about their eyes, even if they wore contacts. They would be much happier if they said, “It’s okay that I wear contacts to have blue eyes”.

 

Izuku had never accepted that he had been born quirkless, he had never said, “It’s okay that I am quirkless”, and so he had never been happy about himself.

 

Isn’t that what it means… to not love himself?

 

If Izuku could accept that he was born to that fate, that he had been born quirkless, wouldn’t that make him happier? Wouldn’t that mean that he could love the quirkless Deku Izuku that he had used to be?

 

If “Deku” doesn’t have to mean “useless”–

 

“Midoriya-kun, do you need assistance? You haven’t responded in quite some time,” Iida inquired with a worried tone.

 

“M-Midoriya-kun… Are you okay?” Uraraka’s brows were furrowed and her brown eyes shined with concern.

 

Izuku blinked to waken himself, emerging from his thoughts.

 

“Uraraka-kun, do you think “Deku” can even mean… “You can do it, no matter what!”? That I can be a Deku that “can do it, even if it’s impossible”? A Deku that can do it, even if it means defying fate…

 

“Yeah! Exactly!” She pointed at him in emphasis. “That’s exactly the kind of Deku I was going for!”

 

“Oh…”

 

A complicated mixture of emotions welled inside his heart. Izuku felt tears come to his eyes, they blurred the world around him.

 

His voice broke as he decided, “Then Deku… is okay. You can call me Deku…”

 

“Midoriya-kun, why are you crying! What’s wrong?!”

 

“M-Midoriya-kun, I’m so sorry! You really don’t need to let me call you Deku, especially if it makes you so upset– “

 

“No, I’m serious,” tears started to fall down his face, but he managed to make his tone firm. He wiped them away with his hand. A small smile formed on his face. “Deku is okay. “Deku” can mean “You can do it, even if it’s impossible!”, so… you can call me Deku, Uraraka-kun…”

 

“Deku” can mean “dekiru”–

 

Izuku can be a Deku that can do it, even if it means defying fate–

 

Izuku can be a Deku that changes fate.

 

If Izuku can be that sort of Deku, instead of “useless” Deku– Then he can try to accept and love the quirkless Deku Izuku that he used to be, and that he still is, by every other metric besides whether he has a quirk or not.

 

Deku is useful

 

Deku is worth something

 

Deku has a future

 

Deku can amount to anything

 

It’s okay to be Deku

 

It’s okay… to be Izuku

 

Izuku’s tears failed to stop, and his two new friends fretted over him without pause. But Izuku thought that, for some reason… he couldn’t help but feel happy in that moment. It was a very melancholy happiness. But even so, for the first time since he was four, Izuku is happy to be Deku.

 

Izuku is happy to be Izuku.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day at school, Izuku noticed that Uraraka and Iida were carefully watching him, looking for signs that he was still upset from yesterday. Uraraka had also started referring to him as “Deku-kun”. It made his heart feel a little lighter to finally have friends that cared for him like this.

 

During the beginning of the day, things at UA ran as though it was a regular high school, with the only exception being that the teachers were pro heroes. The 1-A students sat through various classes on normal curriculum.

 

Present Mic gave an energetic but normal English lesson, though it seemed like most of the other students hadn’t found it as engaging as Izuku had. In his opinion, Present Mic’s presentation of the material and feedback on their answers may have been showy, but his praise and interest in their learning all felt genuine. What does it matter if it was a little over the top?

 

In a way, it sort of reminded him of Momoka-san’s personality. Except Mic-sensei was kinder and actually answered his questions. No matter how he looked at it, it was an improvement. Similar to how Aizawa-sensei was an improvement, though that “logical ruse” thing very much felt like something Momoka-san would do as well...

 

But in the afternoon after a delicious lunch made by Lunch Rush, Basic Hero Training helped to remind them all that this was the UA’s heroics course. Toshinori, in his All Might form and hero costume, exclaimed that they would kick off Basic Hero Training with a Battle Trial in the fake city that the practical exam had been in, in an area referred to as Ground Beta.

 

Leaving the changing room, Izuku couldn’t help but feel self-conscious about his hero costume.

 

“Wow, Deku-kun! Your hero costume looks good on you, it makes you look like a prince!”

 

“Y-You think so, Uraraka-kun? I think your costume looks good too, very spacey!” His hand rubbed at the back of his head as he looked down at himself.

 

He styled his hero costume to look similar to his father’s Penguindrum outfit.

 

It had a princely looking long-sleeved black shirt, with double breasted gold buttons connected in horizonal lines with gold trim, a high stiff collar, and golden shoulder pads. The shirt ended in long coat tails, leading into stark white pants that were topped with a gold colored utility belt that he planned to have filled with various items that could be used to help Izuku immobilize his opponents to whisk them away to the Crystal World, such as smokescreens and tear gas. He also plans to add a place to hold a sword on the belt later. The shirt and pants have elbow pads and knee pads for safety.

 

The outfit also featured pristine white gloves, knee length black steel-toed boots, and a dull orange visor shades that fit over his forehead, eyes, and the top of his nose ending in an angular shallow V shape. His curly green bangs fell over the top of the visor. Additionally, the visor was connected to a pair of black and white over-ear headphones by his ears, which showcased the stylized images of a penguin’s face on the ends and was secured with a normal headphone band that fit snuggly around the top of his head. They should be able to connect to radio and communicator frequencies. He also had a watch with a penguin face that doubled as a timer. He finished it off with a deep red cape that was attached to his shoulders but could easily be removed if necessary.

 

In the end, he couldn’t resist making his hero costume prince/penguin themed as well. It’d also be better since it wouldn’t be such a drastic change for people to see him in his Prince of the Crystal uniform after transporting them with his hero costume on, since they were styled fairly similarly.

 

“C'est magnifique!”

 

The sudden French catching him off guard, Izuku looked up to see a sparkling blond boy with a hero costume that was similar to shining knight’s armor. It had a long glittering blue cape and a sweeping-winged red visor over his eyes.

 

“I underestimated you, Midoriya! Not only do you possess a mystérieuse quirk, you also have a fabuleux sense of style like moi~☆!” The boy gracefully placed a hand on his chest to gesture to himself, and at the same time used his other arm to bellow his cape out dramatically. “I shall formally introduce myself to you, monsieur pingouin, so rejoice! Je m'appelle Aoyama Yuga~☆!”

 

Oh God. Are people going to think this is what Izuku’s like, when they see his prince-themed costume or when he accidently starts giving soliloquies on fate? Izuku thought as he stared at literally everything about the other boy, from his outfit to his speech. Also, he can never, ever let Momoka-san meet this guy… And did he just call Izuku mister penguin?

 

“A-Ah! Nice to meet you, Aoyama-kun! My name is Midoriya Izuku.” He stuck hand out to Aoyama, who stopped dramatically posing to return his handshake.


“I was aware, yes. I remembered it from the quirk apprehension test yesterday, monsieur pingouin~☆!”

 

He’s still calling him mister penguin!

 

“Monsieur pingouin?” Uraraka said to herself, finger tapping at her chin. She then brightened with a smile and pointed at Izuku, cheerfully declaring, “That’s right, with your color scheme and visor you do look like a penguin, Deku-kun! You’ve even got those cute penguins on it! Monsieur pingouin is a cute nickname for you!”

 

“Oui!”

 

Not you too, Uraraka-kun! Please stick to Deku!

 

Izuku then heard creepy giggling somewhere below him and to the side. He glanced down to see an abnormally short boy whose costume looked like grapes in a bowl that he remembered to be Mineta Minoru, the last placing student from yesterday’s tests.

 

While Uraraka’s attention was focused on his penguin headphones, Mineta leered at her costume’s curves unpleasantly, “The heroics course really is best, hehe…”

 

Izuku glared at him in displeasure, immediately judging that he needed to thoroughly investigate this classmate’s character, and subtly activated Conductor. He can’t interact with other people’s Fruit of Fate without physical contact, and he can’t look into it without having physical contact with either the person or their Fruit in the Crystal World, but he could still see the Fruit when the quirk was on.

 

Mineta’s Fruit of Fate, while mostly normal, had an obvious and concerning imperfection; A small portion of the very bottom of the Fruit was covered in black rot.

 

He’s only in high school, how on Earth has this guy managed to corrupt his being and future to the point where it rotted his Fruit of Fate?! Izuku needs to watch this guy carefully when he’s around the girls…

 

“What an interesting choice for a costume design, Midoriya-kun, very regal! Though I do wonder why you chose to add penguins to it…” Iida’s arrival took Izuku out of his thoughts. His costume made him look similar to a Gundam robot. “But now’s not the time to dillydally, let us meet up with All Might-sensei once more!”

 

Right on que All Might’s booming voice interrupted them, “Gather around students, it’s time for me to explain the In-door Anti-personnel Battle Training!”

 

Izuku glanced over Uraraka and Iida, and took relief at the sight of their whole and golden Fruits, complete with normal brown stems. He was about to turn off Conductor, but noticed some light in the corner of his eye, causing him to reflectively turn towards it– Oh…

 

His eyes are on Kacchan, who is glaring at him the same way he has been all of yesterday and today, but instead of making eye contact, Izuku just stared at his literally on fire Fruit of Fate.

 

Kacchan’s Fruit… is burning. It makes sense in hindsight, his desire to be Number One was certainly toxic, but if it’s like this then–

 

Iida’s armor-plated hand rested on his shoulder and his voice was gentle but firm, “Midoriya, I understand how Bakugou’s attitude towards you must be upsetting, but I believe the best way to put it off your mind for right now would be to ignore him and place all your focus on the classwork for today. Let’s go to All Might-sensei now.”

 

Uraraka solemnly nodded beside him, brows furrowed in determination. “That’s right, Deku-kun. Don’t worry, we’ll help you figure out something for Bakugou.”

 

“A-Ah, thanks. Iida-kun, Uraraka-kun.”

 

If it’s like this then Izuku needs to do something to help him. It’s one thing if its partial, that would be bad for his mindset still but at least it wouldn’t be outright dangerous in the long run, but the entire Fruit

 

Izuku will put the information off his mind for now, but it definitely wasn’t forgotten.

 

Izuku turned off Conductor while following his friends to the large group of students ahead of them. Noticing that Aoyama was walking at the edge of their group, near them but not quite with them, he realized that Aoyama had still been with them during their discussion about Bakugou. He must have tactfully decided to stay silent through it.

 

After everyone had collected around All Might, he explained the basics of the exercise. It was simple enough, they would be divvied up into pairs and then assigned to be villains or heroes. The villains would protect a paper mâché bomb, while the heroes would have 15 minutes to apprehend either both villains or the bomb in order to win. If they fail to do this, or both heroes are apprehended themselves, the villain team wins.

 

“What about basic training?” the girl with the frog themed costume, who Midoriya vaguely remembered to be named Asui, asked with her head tilted to the side and finger on her chin in a questioning manner.

 

“Practical experience will teach you the basics!” All Might explained proudly with a thumbs up.

 

Izuku blinked at that.

 

Red flag! Red flag! Toshinori-san, that’s exactly the kind of logic Momoka-san uses! Please think your lesson plan through more and teach more of the basics! Isn’t this class literally called Basic Hero Training?! Why are you skipping basic training?!

 

The students were randomly paired into teams, but somehow Uraraka and Izuku ended up together, while Iida had the misfortune of ending up with Bakugou.

 

“Woah, it’s like fate!” Uraraka had exclaimed happily when paired with him.

 

Definitely. A very kind fate too– 

 

Then Izuku’s team was randomly set to fight against Kacchan’s.

 

Never mind. It was all for the sake of dramatic irony. He should’ve known better… However…

 

Izuku could feel Kacchan’s glare on his side but didn’t return his stare.

 

This was way too good of a chance to miss, maybe fate did have a reason for this besides dramatic irony?

 

“Uraraka-kun,” Izuku quietly spoke to his partner, “Kacchan is definitely going to come after me as soon as he can, so during that time look for the bomb, okay? I’ll meet back up with you after capturing him.”

 

She glanced nervously in Bakugou’s direction through her pink face shield. “Are you sure you’ll be alright fighting him? I don’t think a Teddydrum can fit in there…”

 

“Yeah”, he responded with confidence in his voice, something which was usually abnormal for him concerning anything involving Kacchan. Izuku has the feeling it’s going to be his new normal someday. He fiddled with his watch to prepare the timer. “As long as he acts the way that I predict he will, then I’ll have finished with him in 5 minutes.”

Chapter Text

Katsuki has always been the biggest fish in his pond, the top of the top among the merciless hierarchy of the youth. He was born with a quirk that was guaranteed to give him a career as a pro hero but wasn’t so cocky that he didn’t realize that he still needed to work on his abilities if he really wanted to make it to the top. His battle prowess was born of both natural talent and hard-earned skill, that’s why he knew he would follow All Might’s steps and reach the top of the ultimate social ladder to become the Number One hero. In the end, everyone else would be extras compared to him.

 

But if that was the case–

 

“Wow, Kacchan, your quirk is so amazing! I hope I get my quirk soon!”

 

Then why the fuck–

 

“I ruined your plan? There wasn’t supposed to be anyone else? Well guess what, Kacchan, that’s just how life works!”

 

Was that shitty Deku–

 

“Why are you even complaining, when you’ve just succeeded in getting into the top high school in the country?! You’ve literally got your life lined up to become a successful hero, just like it had been since you were four!”

 

In his fucking head–

 

“Unlike me, you’ve been so blessed by fate and whatever God or gods exist in this universe, and all you can do is whine about how it’s not absolutely perfect– Well tough shit! Deal with it!

 

Repeating bullshit to him constantly–

 

“Are you alright, Kacchan? Can you stand okay?”

 

Why is he looking down on him, as if he’d every need a useless Deku’s help!

 

“I’m not quirkless anymore, I’m not someone who’ll never amount to anything anymore. You don’t even know what I lost to get to this point– to earn my place at UA!

 

What was even up with him?! Katsuki’s never seen him so anger in his entire life! But all of a sudden he grows a backbone and starts spewing words about fate and God and how Katsuki was apparently blessed and even fucking cursed at him!

 

Of course Katsuki’s path through life and Katsuki himself have to be absolutely perfect, how else was he supposed to be the best?!

 

And just now before the Trial, he had been looking at Katsuki weirdly, what was Deku thinking–

 

The thoughts exploded from Katsuki’s head and turned into action.

 

“Four-eyes, I’m going on ahead to deal with the nerd!”

 

“Bakugou wait– !”

 

He didn’t bother listening to the rest of his partner’s complaining and was already running through the hallways headed towards the ground floor.

 

He’ll show that useless Deku, he’ll prove to him that he’s better than him! That he’s the best! That he was meant to be the best, he has to be the best–

 

Once on the ground floor, he rounded a corner to deliver a surprise attack to Deku and his extra of a partner. The nerd predictably pushed the girl to the ground and avoided the attack. He wasn’t able to keep Katsuki from glancing his face with the blow though. His stupid orange visor was cracked on one side but still whole.

 

“Don’t dodge, Deku!”

 

Deku looked at him in a cool manner, the nerve of him– “Kacchan, I knew you would come for me.” He pressed a button on his watch, which upon closer inspection, Katsuki realized had a fucking penguin on it, and took out his capture tape to hold in his left hand.

 

Katsuki ran at him full speed, swinging his right hand back and punching it forward. It would give a devastating blow when combined with an explosion. 

 

Katsuki’s teeth gave a wide grin, “I’ll mess you up just enough to not get disquali– ”

 

Deku moved within his guard and grabbed his arm– “Survival Strategy!”

 

Suddenly the colors of their surroundings were all wrong. The moment of speech had given him just long enough of an instance to rip his arm out of Deku’s grasp. Wary of the abrupt changes, he backed away, hearing the sound of gravel under his feet–

 

Katsuki wasn’t in the gray walled building within Ground Beta. Around him was a huge circle of dirt-covered ground, and black and white stands facing each other on either side of the area. The two sides with no stands didn’t look as though they continued past the them. It was off-centered in a giant dome of crystal high above their heads, and the place they were at was high up enough that he could see a gleaming building on the ground in the distance.

 

Fucking shit! That’s right– Deku was touching his fucked up, cutesy, murder robot when he came back with it! Katsuki shouldn’t have gotten so close–

 

Just a few feet away, Deku seemed to look down at him despite them being eyelevel. For some reason, he seemed to be looking into Katsuki with sadness of all things. He’s still looking down on him–

 

Also, his costume had changed and gotten even more stupid somehow.

 

The sight of the shining penguin-like crown enraged him.

 

Katsuki sneered, “This is that pocket dimension shit Sensei was spouting about, isn’t it… But what’s up with those almost fucking booty shorts and almost fucking skirt, at least make up your goddamned mind! And you gave yourself a damn crown?! How high up do you think you are compared to me, Deku?!”

 

Even though his words were full of fury, Deku just looked exasperated. “Kacchan, please just ignore my outfit and start trying to beat me up…”

 

Trying?! I will beat you up dammit! Useless Deku, Stop looking down on me!

 

His righthanded punch had been predicted, in hindsight it’s not surprising with how much time the nerd wasted on random analysis of shit, but it burns Katsuki nonetheless.

 

He’ll just feint the asshole then! Katsuki burst forward pretending to prepare his right arm for a punch. “How the fuck did you even manage to get a quirk– ” As he approached, Deku stood his ground. Once in range, he switched to using his left hand. “like this?!”

 

Abruptly, the scenery around him inexplicably blurred, making him disoriented. When his sight fixed itself, he was moving forward into a drop that could easily be the height of Mount Fuji. He felt the sensation of falling and instinctual fear rise.

 

He forced his body to turn back and barely got a glimpse of Deku standing on the edge Katsuki was falling off, still looking down on him and moving a hand to his chest. As Deku got farther and farther away, Katsuki could hardly hear over the sound of wind rushing past his ears, “Don’t worry, I’ve got Teddydrum Black ready to get you just in case ” before he lost sight of him.

 

–got Teddydrum Black ready to get you–

 

Looking around, he saw a black shape a few ways away keeping pace with him.

 

The fear of the fall was easily masked over with his anger; If he was mad before, now he was a human container of unbridled fury.

 

Forcing his arms back behind him through the extreme wind resistance, Katsuki slowly revved up his explosive propulsion using multiple explosions to start breaking his fall while insuring he wouldn’t fall into his own ball of fire forming behind him.

 

“If you’re going to throw me off a damn cliff, Deku,” he growled into the wind despite knowing the boy had no way to hear him. His explosions building, the fall slowed to a stop. “ at least have the fucking decency to let me catch myself or die trying!

 

He rocketed up with a blast. He had fallen a good amount, but slowing his fall had kept the distance from becoming overwhelming. Once he flew past the edge of the cliff, he adjusted his angle to push himself forward towards the ground.

 

Deku was standing at ready farther away from the edge with an entirely matte black sword in his grip. The only spot of color on it was an eerily glowing green crystal embedded in the metal curve surrounding the main portion of the handle. Floating in the air around him were four stark white swords, all pointed at Katsuki. Deku’s matching eerie green eyes stared at Katsuki intensely.

 

Fuck that shit! Trying close range combat was already shot to hell–   

 

At the same moment Katsuki released a roaring inferno with his right grenade bracer, Deku regally pointed the black sword towards him, causing the floating white swords to launch at him. They were caught up in his blast, which formed a mass of fire and force so great it completely blocked Deku’s form and everything around him from Katsuki’s sight. He didn’t trust those freaky swords for a minute, so he swerved sideways to ground to dodge them. He was proven right when they emerged from the dispersing fire glowing red with heat, streaking through the area around where his body would’ve been.

 

Was that bitch not even fucking aiming for him– A swoosh through the air and the cracking of his right grenade bracer interrupted his thoughts.

 

Katsuki turned his head towards his right hand, pressed against the ground to brace himself. A fifth white sword had punctured straight through the bracer just to the side of where his arm would be in it, pinning it to ground. “Shit!” He tried to get up, pulling on the sword, but like the sword of legend Excalibur, it refused to budge now that it was in position.

 

“Will of the Crystal Princess!”

 

Glittering opaque crystal burst from the ground like one of his explosions, completely encasing him within seconds. The hand he was using to pull at the sword, which was covered with him, was stuck grabbing the handle and the other was still stuck lying on the ground, leaving him in an awkward position. He couldn’t move his body at all, let alone trigger his remaining bracer explosion, only his face and ears were left open to the air. Glancing at what he could from his position, Katsuki saw that the crystal had basically formed a solid jagged rock around him, the areas around his arms and hands seemed especially thick.

 

With this kind of encasement, his normal explosions will almost certainly cause backlash and whether or not it can successfully crack through depends on how hard the crystal is. Trying to struggle in it doesn’t seem to work at all, so there’s a good chance it won’t be enough. Maybe he should risk burning off his hands anyway though if it gets him free and lets him win

 

Out of nowhere, Deku’s stupidly almost thigh high black boots filled his vision where he was still half-crouched half-pinned on the ground. Useless capture tape was wrapped around the cocoon of crystal.

 

“I win,” Deku’s statement was void of any emotion.

 

Katsuki’s eyes widened in shock and he felt his teeth grit as he choked on his breath, the crystal was so tight around his head that he couldn’t even force his jaw open to scream at the sentence.

 

Katsuki didn’t feel like he thought he would, though, when he had imagined the day he might hear those words said to him instead of the other way around. All the anger that had built in him throughout his match had been sucked into a void in his chest, and all that was left was a crushing sense of defeat and despair.

 

Even though Katsuki could feel his chest move slightly from his inhales and exhales, just a bit inhibited by the crystal casing, even though he was breathing so hard he could hear it echo in his skull, Katsuki felt like he couldn’t breathe.

 

The human container of rage had emptied to leave a hollow shell.

 

Why? How? How could this of happened? He was supposed to be the best, he had to be the best, if he wasn’t the best what was he?

 

Katsuki strained his eyes to try and look at Deku’s face without the ability to move his head, but the effort became unnecessary when Deku came down to his level on one knee. The red cloak spread out behind him like he was some fucking fairytale prince kneeling gracefully in his throne room instead of in the fucking dirt. The green eyes were still intensely staring at him.

 

“This might take away some of our time in the Battle Trial, but it might also be the only chance I ever get to imbed this message into your think skull. So, I’m going to ramble on forever like I always do, okay?”

 

Why would he even bother asking, it’s not like Katsuki can complain about it right now. He’s just the conquered loser–

 

“There were many ways I could’ve fought you, Katsuki,” –and that caught his attention, because throughout all these years; despite the cruel words he had said, the tears he forced from those eyes, and the bruises he put on that body, Izuku had never called Katsuki anything but Kacchan– “That spell with the swords I just used was an inconvenient choice; it takes time to set up, which is why I had to make you fall off the tower, and I haven’t practiced it enough to summon a lot of swords or use them in complicated ways. It was a risk to fight you purely one on one, you proved that with the enhanced explosion I had no idea you could use just now.”

 

The black gloved fingers of Izuku’s left hand ghosted against the skin at the edge of his face. He wouldn’t be able to look away from those green eyes even if he wanted to. Izuku’s voice was steady and not raised at all, but it resounded in Katsuki’s ears like a speaker with surround sound, “I could’ve had the Teddydrums fight you, I could’ve had the Champion of this arena we’re in fight you, I could’ve first had one of them fight you and then come in with this crystal when you were distracted and stuck in place, hell, I could’ve had penguins fight you. But I didn’t do any of that.”

 

Izuku brought his face closer to Katsuki’s to the point where he could almost feel the other boy’s breath.

 

“And that’s because,” Izuku’s eyes beseeched Katsuki to listen, “I wanted to prove to you that I could beat you. Even more than that, I wanted to prove to myself that I could beat you. No third parties, no tricks outside of the abilities I have as the Prince of this Crystal World, just me.”

 

“Are you alright, Kacchan? Can you stand okay?”

 

The green eyes finally glanced away, giving Katsuki a reprieve. The tension in his body had nothing to do with his forced confinement.

 

“I’ve realized, Katsuki, that I don’t need to believe in your meaning of the name “Deku”. Deku can mean “dekiru”. Deku “can do it”, no matter if it’s impossible, even if it defies fate. I can be the Deku who changes fate and not Deku the useless child with no future. That’s what I want Deku to mean, from now on. And that’s all I wanted to show you originally, after I had attained this power, but– ”

 

Izuku jerked his eyes back to Katsuki, his fingers still ghosted Katsuki’s face. “I saw it, when I looked at you before the Battle Trial, and when I was still grabbing you right after I transported you here, I looked into it to know how it came to be; the state of your being and future– ”

 

Incomprehensively, Izuku’s right hand slipped through the crystal and Katsuki’s chest. He felt it grabbing something, and when it pulled out, there was fire in his palm surrounding an oddly colored apple in a thin layer.

 

“This is your Fruit of Fate, Katsuki, the culmination of their entire being, life, and fate all rolled together. And it is burning.” Izuku removed his hand from Katsuki, using it to gently cradle the apple and small flames with both hands. “Conductor, the quirk that was passed to me from my dad, who I know you don’t remember, lets me see and interact with these Fruit. The power of this pocket dimension is related to it but ultimately comes from another source.”

 

Izuku backed up using his knees, ending with both knees on the ground a couple steps away. He released the Fruit to let it hover in the air between them. Katsuki stared into the fire instead of his eyes. It crackled and glowed just like the real thing, he even felt heat coming off of it.

 

“Normally, the Fruit of Fate don’t have fire on them. This is a sign that you are burning Katsuki. It represents the burning of your desire, the desire to be the best, to never lose, to be Number One. And normally, ambition is nothing so dangerous that it would affect the Fruit, but it your case, it’s just too much. When a person burns with desire, it burns both them and the people around them. It inflicts pain on both yourself and others, that is what it means when your Fruit of Fate burns. It’s desire that has reached obsession, and it’s unhealthy.”

 

–he’s better than him, he’s the best, he was meant to be the best, he has to be the best–

 

Katsuki’s stomach felt sick. He forced his eyes to stare down to the ground, so he couldn’t see the eerie burning apple or Izuku’s eerie green eyes. He wanted to discard everything that was said as garage, utter nonsense that wasn’t even fit to be put in a fucking fairytale. Honestly, fucking “Fruit of Fate” what is this shit even?!

 

But if that was the case–

 

“Let me catch myself or die trying!”

 

Then why was his empty feeling of despair at losing to a person who had always just been a pebble in his way –No he was a threat, he was always a threat, even if he didn’t have a quirk he just wouldn’t bend to Katsuki’s will like everyone else, Katsuki was better than him wasn’t he so why wasn’t Katsuki able to just bend him toobecoming a feeling of encompassing dread?

 

“I saw how your ambition had become so unhealthy, when I looked into your Fruit of Fate.” Izuku was still talking, but Katsuki refused to look up from the ground, his red eyes felt like they were burning up along with the Fruit. “It started innocent enough. You just wanted to be a hero like All Might, a hero who always wins, so you turned yourself into a person who is never supposed to lose. But perfect people don’t exist on this Earth, Katsuki, and at some point while growing up you realized this.”

 

Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Izuku take his Fruit of Fate into his right hand.

 

“You took joy in the ways you were superior to everyone, all of your “extras”, including me. You took joy in my pain and failure to manifest a quirk, because the lower people are compared to you the better you must be. You truly believed every single instance where people would tell you that your quirk was amazing, and therefore you were amazing, with all your 4-year-old heart, and you loved that feeling of being “amazing”.”

 

–I’m awesome, I’m better than everyone else!–

 

“You truly thought that since you were “better than everyone” that you should never need their help, after all, All Might doesn’t need anyone else’s help. And that’s where you faced your first real challenge to your mindset, me– I had no idea what you were thinking, that day you refused my help in the stream, but you saw my concern and desire to help as a threat, since if you ever needed the help of the useless quirkless Deku then how could you ever hope to be like All Might?”

 

Katsuki felt his teeth grind together.

 

“But it didn’t stop there, it just got worse and worse. You refused the possibility of losing. And how could you lose? You were born with the perfect quirk, you worked hard with that quirk, everyone says this is what you were meant to be and where the destination of your fate would lie. For you to lose after all that, for you to ever need help, for you to fall short, even if it’s just by ending up in second place as the Number Two hero instead, it could only mean that you’re a complete failure, right?”

 

Katsuki felt his body tremble within the confines of the crystal that he couldn’t win against.

 

“It was all or nothing; either you always win, or you’re a complete failure. Even if it was only one battle you lost, less than a perfect record wasn’t acceptable. Losing would be the end of everything you desired and worked for. But you know what, Katsuki, you were wrong– ”

 

There was a moment where his mind just went blank, as though he had heard the words but couldn’t comprehend what was said. Katsuki was still trembling, but finally he looked straight into Izuku’s eyes. They easily met his own.

 

“You were wrong about me, Katsuki, and you were wrong about you. Do you think just because you lost this fight, that All Might is going to think you’re a complete failure? Because if you do, I can tell you right now that he won’t. None of the teachers or students will think you’re a failure, your parents won’t think you’re a failure, I don’t think you’re a failure.

 

“The only person who thinks you’ll be a failure is you, Katsuki. Because you aren’t a failure.”

 

Izuku’s left hand, instead of ghosting Katsuki’s face like before, held it firmly by the side of his forehead, bringing his face closer.

 

Izuku’s next words were a soft whisper, “You lost, Kacchan, and that’s okay– ”

 

Katsuki harshly breathed in air through his teeth. He gawked at Izuku, eyes widening.

 

Still speaking softly, Izuku continued, “It’s okay to lose. It’s okay to need help. Neither of those things mean you’re a failure. Neither of those things mean you’re useless, or worthless, or have no future, or will never amount to anything. You lost just now, but you’re still at UA, you’re still on your way to becoming a hero, and you can still become the Number One hero, because you’re still here. It wasn’t the end of the world or your life.”

 

Katsuki felt trail Izuku’s fingers down the side of his face in a steady stream. Right now, Katsuki could stop breathing and die but he wouldn’t even notice, the only thing he could see was the emerald green of Izuku’s eyes. They looked like they were trying to give him strength.

 

“Throughout all these thoughts that you had, you only liked yourself when you were “amazing” and when you always won. You only wanted to be you if you were “amazing”. But you can’t always win, you can’t always be amazing, and you can’t always stand on your own…

 

“So, if you only love yourself when you’re amazing and when you win, is that really loving yourself?”

 

Katsuki couldn’t think right now. There was no way for him to even begin asking himself such a heavy question. Izuku’s hand stopped moving once it reached the bottom where his chin was stuck inside the crystal. He readjusted it so his hand was back in the middle.

 

“You don’t have to have an answer to that now, but there’s a reason why I’m telling you all this, besides the fact that I do want you to have a healthier mind set in general. Like all things that burn, if the fire is given the opportunity, all that’s left of its fuel will be ashes. A fate that is left to burn will eventually become ashes– well, the actual Fruit won’t literally turn to ash, but metaphorically the person’s future and desires will,” –Panic burst in his chest–  “But that won’t happen to you! Your fate can change, look.”

 

Izuku leaned back from his close proximity to Katsuki and held up his right hand to bring his attention to his Fruit of Fate. Examining it thoroughly, he found that the flames around the Fruit had become thinner after Izuku’s one-sided conversation.

 

Izuku smiled at Katsuki in that way he always hated. “You can stop the burning, Kacchan. It will take a long time, maybe even years, but it will go out eventually. You probably could’ve done it on your own, once you realized the things I told you for yourself, but– All Might actually told me once that meddling when you don’t need to is the essence of being a hero, so– ”

 

After an entire speech of fucking perfect eloquency, Deku just left off his words with a shrug.

 

“I wanted to help you, so I did…” Deku said this as if it were a simple fact of life.

 

The right hand disappeared back into his chest holding his Fruit of Fate, Katsuki could feel it going back into place –fucking creepy– before Deku pulled his hand back out. Then he finally let go of his face with his other hand.

 

“Just think about what I’ve told you, okay?”

 

“You lost, Kacchan, and that’s okay

 

“It’s okay to lose. It’s okay to need help. Neither of those things mean you’re a failure. Neither of those things mean you’re useless, or worthless, or have no future, or will never amount to anything”

 

“You aren’t a failure

 

Katsuki knows for a fact that he will be thinking about what Izuku told him, whether he wants to or not.

 

“I’ll just adjust the crystal a bit, so you can at least talk and move your head around, then we can go…”

 

He didn’t even need to touch the crystal, it just seemed to recede from Katsuki’s head of its own accord. It stopped at the middle of his neck.

 

Even though he could move his jaw fine now, Katsuki didn’t speak a single word. While his mouth might be free, his brain was incapable of speech.

 

His silence seemed to catch Deku off guard, causing him to glance away from Katsuki after a moment of awkward quiet.

 

“Survival Strategy Complete”

 

The two abruptly switched locations, the gray walls telling Katsuki that they were back in Ground Beta.

 

“Bakugou Katsuki from the villain team has been captured!” All Might’s declaration echoed throughout the building.

 

–he was meant to be the best, he has to be the best–

 

“You lost, Kacchan, and that’s okay

 

Deku checked his stupid penguin watch “Wow– the timer could actually keep going wherever it gets transported to when I switch outfits. That took 6 minutes instead of 5 but considering I really did ramble a lot there, it was pretty close…”

 

Katsuki choked on his breath at that, and suddenly found himself capable of words, “Just– fucking go, Izuku!”

 

Deku turned to him in shock, but his glare was enough to convince him to heed Katsuki’s words and go after his partner. “Uraraka-kun, I’m back. Where’s your current location– “ Deku’s voice trailed off as he ran down the hallway away from Katsuki.

 

Katsuki sulked in his stupid-ass crystal for maybe 4 minutes tops before his surroundings instantly changed back to the arena he had been in previously. Deku was there with his team’s fake-ass bomb a few feet away from him, again in the outfit he had on previously with the crown. He looked at Katsuki in surprise, then held up his hands with a shrugging gesture. He sheepishly explained, “Uh– Oops? I didn’t know you’d come back with me…”

 

Katsuki growled at that, “Do you not even fucking know how to use your fucking not-quirk power?! Learn the damn basics!

 

Deku motioned his hands towards Katsuki as though trying to calm him down. “I know, I know! It’s just that I have to do a bunch of trial and error with it cause Mo– uh, the person who knows everything about it hardly tells me anything, including how any of the abilities function. It’s been going slow cause of that…”

 

“Then “trial and error” faster, dumbass!”

 

Rubbing the back of his head in embarrassment, Deku shuffled around awkwardly –Was this really the same guy who just psychoanalyzed the shit out of him with the grace and brilliance of fucking royalty?– before placing his hand on the bomb to officially “capture” it –as though literally capturing it by bringing it to his fucking Crystal World or whatever he called it wouldn’t count– and repeated the phrase “Survival Strategy Complete!”

 

Then All Might’s voice reappeared to declare, “As a repeat for those who have just returned to us; Since the nuclear bomb was captured, the hero team wins!”

 

At those words, Katsuki still felt emptiness and despair and dread and all the other emotions that had welled inside of him after his defeat and through Izuku’s words, but he didn’t feel worse. So, guess that’s something…

Chapter Text

He has no idea if he made things better or worse for Katsuki, but considering he called him Izuku and not useless Deku, he guesses things got better? At least a little? For both of them? He basically just gave Katsuki his first real loss and then told him everything he needed to hear to accept it. So Izuku’s hoping that by building off this experience, Katsuki will eventually come to not mentally freak out at the thought of losing.

 

Finishing his Battle Trial was fairly simple once Kacchan was out of the picture, no offense to Iida. Two on one was a great advantage to have, and by the time he got there, Uraraka was already distracting Iida by swinging a huge broken off concrete pillar at him that she had used her quirk on and batting rubble towards him –He hasn’t known her for long but Uraraka-kun can actually be pretty scary huh, a good match to team up with him in Izuku’s opinion– All it took was waiting until Iida had distanced himself enough from Izuku’s path towards the nuclear bomb and throwing his crystal stone at it to transport it to the Crystal World with him. When he came back, All Might decreed that the hero team had won.

 

He heard from Uraraka that the moment he had vanished with the bomb, All Might had declared the bomb to be captured and confirmed the hero team’s win.

 

During this, Izuku found that the crystal he had encased Kacchan with took him back to the Crystal World when Izuku took the bomb despite being a whole 5 floors away. But then again, throughout the entirety of the practical exam the robots had always automatically come back with him when he left the Crystal World without the need for physical contact or crystal shards, so it makes sense for the opposite to be the same way.

 

It was rather embarrassing to be chewed out by Kacchan for not knowing the details behind how his abilities work, but he certainly had a point. Izuku needs to set aside some time to investigate his spells in depth along with practicing his new ones.

 

After seeing Mineta’s and Kacchan’s Fruit of Fate, Izuku realized it would be prudent of him to examine the rest of his class as well to make sure there were no more people with partial corrupt morals, unhealthy desires, Children of Fate, or unhealthy mindsets that inflict self-pain.

 

On that note, he really needs to have that talk with Toshinori-san, the man has put it off long enough.

 

Thus, when they moved back to the observation room to hear critique on their battle, Izuku activated Conductor and scanned all of his classmates. The rest of them all had normal golden Fruits with normal brown stems, except for one.

 

That’s… Todoroki, right? Isn’t he Endeavor’s son? Izuku carefully inspected the scarred boy’s Fruit of Fate, it was completely covered in a shining layer of ice. His Fruit is totally frozen! Not as potentially dangerous for him as poison or burning, but– he won’t be able to move on with his life if it stays like that…

 

“Alright! Well, this is probably plain to see for most of you, but I pick young Midoriya to be the VIP of this battle! Would someone like to have a go at explaining why?”

 

All Might’s words caused Izuku’s face to heat up in embarrassment. He deactivated Conductor and looked at the Number One hero in surprise. “E-Eh? But, you couldn’t even see what I was doing for most of it, right?”

 

All Might pointed a large finger at him. “That’s right. However, even without being able to see your face-off with young Bakugou, the actions that we could see were sufficient to decide this!”

 

“All Might-sensei is right, Midoriya-san, ” a refined feminine voice cut in, Izuku turned to see that it came from the girl with a high ponytail and somewhat revealing hero costume.

 

“Yaoyorozu,” All Might swung his pointed hand around towards Yaoyorozu, “it seems you have a clear idea of what I was thinking of! Would you like to give your answer to the class?”

 

She nodded her head slightly.

 

“Yes, All Might-sensei. Firstly, Bakugou-san ran off from his partner to take on Midoriya by himself without proper communication with his partner, and his emotional and reckless choice to use close-to-mid range combat led to him easily being transported by Midoriya to his pocket dimension, which most likely led to him being at a disadvantage for their fight, resulting in him being captured.

 

“Iida-san, on the other hand, gave a much better performance. He adapted to his partner’s whims and formed a counter-strategy to put Uraraka at a disadvantage by clearing their battlefield of objects for her to use her quirk on. He was just late to react to Midoriya’s sudden move to secure the bomb.

 

“Uraraka-san did her best to work on her own while Midoriya was preoccupied and get around the constraints Iida placed on her, however, her way of doing so would never be permissible in a real-life scenario. It was too haphazard to be safe to use if the nuclear bomb had been real.

 

“Finally, Midoriya-san clearly took advantage of Bakugou’s near-sighted focus on him to take him to his pocket dimension and give himself an environmental advantage. Additionally, this had the positive side effect of limiting the damage that could have potentially been done to the building during a fight with an opponent that had explosive abilities. After securing Bakugou, he properly coordinated with his partner to set up an ambush to take the bomb and waited for the right opportunity to do so. These factors all make his performance the best of the group.

 

“The only concern that I have is whether transporting the bomb with his quirk might have set it off if it was real, and the fact that Bakugou had been transported with both him and the bomb. Technically he seemed secure enough to not be a problem, and he had the capture tape on which officially removed him from the match, but there was the possibility of reintroducing him as a problem with that.”

 

 

“I-I’d also add that Iida was somewhat stiff, but, w-what an excellent analysis by Yaoyorozu!” Even though All Might was giving her a thumbs up, he looked a bit intimidated by her.

 

Midoriya was also intimidated by Yaoyorozu’s extensive analytical abilities, probably more than All Might was too, but thought it would be good to address her concerns, “A-Ah, unless the bomb was sensitive enough that it could be triggered by being hit with a few pieces of very small shards of rock, I don’t see a way for it go off during transporting it. Transporting things merely changes their location, it doesn’t have any other effect on them.”

 

He carefully didn’t look at Kacchan, who was abnormally quiet through the critique of his actions, when Izuku continued with, “A-And it would be hard for someone to escape that crystal, but– if they had some way to remove themselves that didn’t require moving their body, they might be able to escape once they had left my pocket dimension. The only way Kacchan would be able to do that is if he’d been willing to severely hurt himself with his own explosions, and it would’ve been for nothing since he was out of the match anyway, like you said.”

 

Yaoyozoru accepted his reasoning with a firm nod. “I see, it seems you thought of those factors as well. You put the prior knowledge you gained through your familiarity with Bakugou to good use for this exercise.”

 

“Quite right, Yaoyorozu! Take note students; knowledge is power, especially on the battlefield! Next up is team B and team I!”

 

After watching Todoroki single-handedly earn team B’s victory with his overwhelming ice abilities, Izuku couldn’t help but feel thankful that he had talked to Kacchan about his Fruit and forced his first loss already. Kacchan was glaring at the screen during Todoroki’s battle, likely feeling threatened by his power and comparing himself to him. There was no way Kacchan would’ve been able to feel secure in his position as “the best” here at the heroics course. All of the student here are also “the best”, it’s how they made it into the course in the first place.

 

What Izuku noted during that fight, though, was that although Todoroki’s other side seemed to produce heat, he hadn’t used it for anything but melting his ice.

 

Is that because that’s all it can do, or because that’s all he wants to do with it… His entire Fruit of Fate is frozen, so how he feels about his quirk must contribute to some aspect of its condition.

 

The Battle Trials continued in that manner, with Kacchan glaring at the screen whenever someone showed powerful potential, and Izuku trying to keep track of everyone’s quirks. Well, and also keep track of Mineta’s behavior when it was his turn.

 

He’s in the middle of preparing for a fight and all he can do is stare at Yaoyorozu’s body, is All Might really not noticing this? Midoriya needs to make sure the hero gets some training on how to look for these things…

 

Eventually, the Battle Trials came to an end, and everyone changed out of their costumes and prepared to go home. Kacchan left without a single glance at him, probably trying to work through everything he had been told by Izuku.

 

All Might caught Izuku before he could leave the classroom himself. “Young Midoriya! Can I trouble you for a moment before letting you go home, it shouldn’t take long…” his tone was uncharacteristically nervous for his All Might form.

 

“Of course, All Might-sensei,” Izuku responded. He then turned to Iida and Uraraka, who were standing by his side, “You guys can go on ahead okay?”

 

Uraraka looked at him with worry, maybe she was still thinking of his behavior yesterday. “Are you sure? I’m fine with waiting for you…”

 

“Yeah, I’m sure. Don’t worry, I’ll be just fine!”

 

Iida nodded his head and moved to leave. “Well, if you insist, then we’ll take our leave.”

 

Uraraka still looked a bit uncertain, but after a reassuring smile from Izuku, she left along with Iida.

 

Izuku followed All Might out of the classroom and down the hall until they reached what looked like a conference room. Once they were securely inside, All Might deflated back into his Toshinori form. They hadn’t spoken a word to each other the entire way there.

 

“Is there something wrong, Toshinori-san?” Izuku was the first to break the silence between them, quite curious why Toshinori was feeling so tense.

 

Sunken eyes glanced over at Izuku momentarily, then directed their gaze off to the side. Toshinori seemed unsure of himself. “Well… technically speaking, I’m not sure if there is something wrong. It’s just–  young Bakugou’s demeaner after your fight was very… Post-Penguindrum Astonished, sort of. Did something happen when you took him to the Crystal World?”

 

Mind blank from confusion, Izuku can only ask, “ …Post-Penguindrum Astonished?”

 

Toshinori clears his throat in embarrassment, explaining, “A-Ah, that’s– just a term I came up with for myself. You know, to describe the… astonishment a person feels after… anything to do with the Penguindrum. It’s a very specific kind of astonishment, so I felt like it needed to be specified.”

 

Toshinori held in chin in thought. “Though, in young Bakugou’s case it was much different, actually. From my view it’s usually a feeling like, “Wow, this is so out of this world and strange, what has become of my life? What do I even do with myself anymore?” whereas with him, he’s attitude seemed more… I can’t really describe it…” Toshinori looked down at the table in the room while racking his brain.

 

“Uh,” Izuku started awkwardly, “you mean, like… his entire world had been taken apart piece by piece, and then put together in a strange new way that he could barely comprehend? To the point where he might’ve been going through an existential crisis throughout the whole class period, and might continue this crisis for days later?”

 

Toshinori blinked and looked up from the table to give him a hard stare. “Yes… that is exactly what I was going for…” He raised a single eyebrow, and expanded with suspicion clear in his voice, “But that was an extremely specific way to describe it…”

 

“Yes, well,” this time it was Izuku who glanced away, he sounded like a kid who had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, if that cookie jar was a metaphor for a person’s psychology and soul, “in a way that’s sort of… exactly what happened? He needed it, trust me! His Fruit of Fate is not doing the best…”

 

Alarm moved through Toshinori’s body. “There’s something wrong with his Fruit of Fate?! Is it also poisoned?”

 

“No, it was… the whole thing was on fire, actually. The term for it is burning. I won’t get into why since it’s, you know– private, though he might need professional help with it. But, basically it means that some sort of desire is causing the person to perform actions that inflicts pain on both themselves and others, and if the whole Fruit of Fate is burning, then the person will eventually self-destruct in some way causing their life and everything they’ve worked for to turn to metaphorical ash…”

 

Paling, Toshinori replied, “That is… very not okay. It’s especially distressing that it’s occurring to a student. But that seems like a very specific condition to have.”

 

Izuku nodded, frowning seriously, “That’s what I thought, but from what my Dad told me, desire is a very basic part of human existence and it’s very easy to lose control over, so the condition ends up being more common than one would think. On the topic of students and conditions with their Fruit of Fate, though, Toshinori-san…”

 

“Oh no,” his distress both visibly and vocally increased, “There’s more in the class like that? You guys are only in high school! How do you have these kinds of issues?!”

 

“Not exactly like Kacchan, no, but there’s two more with conditions.” He lifted his first finger as he counted them off. “First of all, you need to watch Mineta carefully. A small part of his Fruit is rotten; rot signifies that the person has become lacking in empathy, or morally corrupt or distorted to the point where they will inflict pain on others. Once the entire Fruit has rotted, it’s most definitely the hardest condition to reverse. Technically, in its most extreme state, I’m not even sure if it would be possible. I couldn’t look into his Fruit, and I don’t think I’d want to really, but from context clues I’m pretty sure it’s because he’s perverted and objectifies women, and doesn’t mind using them as he pleases.”

 

Izuku looked Toshinori hard in the eye, trying to emphasize the seriousness of his words, “If that’s true then the worst-case scenario would be his Fruit completely rotting and him ending up a rapist.”

 

Toshinori was both disturbed and dumfounded, wide eyes looking back at Izuku. “Someone with that sort of potential actually ended up in the heroics course?!” his voice rose at the end of his bewilderment.

 

“He probably doesn’t have any major marks concerning sexual harassment officially,” Izuku accentuated that last word, because he knew for a fact that the lack of something on the official record doesn’t truly reflect whether it happened or not, there was a reason Kacchan could to get into UA despite his previous quirk use and bullying with Izuku after all. The school didn’t want to throw away their best shot at getting one of their alumni into the prestigious heroics industry, especially not for a quirkless kid with no future, so not a single teacher reported Katsuki’s behavior. “But he doesn’t bother trying to hide that he’s looking, so, I’m guessing he feels no shame in escalating his behavior.”

 

Toshinori plopped down into on of the chairs at the table and covered his face with his hands.

 

He sounded out of his depth, “Technically speaking, I know the procedure for reporting such actions, but how do we even go about fixing his behavior? We can’t just let him go, if what you said is true, he might just end up corrupting his morals more and end up a sex offender! We have a duty to fix this before people get hurt because of it, but, is it really ok to keep the female students exposed to him? I’ve never been a teacher before in my life, I didn’t think it would be a problem since I’m teaching hero training– but this is way out of my league! What was I thinking when I accepted this job?!”

 

Toshinori-san is totally freaking out… Sounds like he’s been feeling insecure with his teaching abilities for a while too, he unloaded a lot just now. I probably should wait to tell him he has teaching skills comparable to Momoka-san’s. He might just quit on spot if he heard that…

 

Sitting in the chair next to Toshinori, Izuku patted his boney shoulder. “It’s okay, Toshinori-san, I’m sure the other teachers will know how to handle this. So, just tell the principal about it since you’ll be able to tell him about what I saw with Conductor, and he can start planning what to do with Mineta.”

 

It sort of feels like in this kind of situation, usually the teacher would need to reassure the student…

 

“You should probably learn how to spot this kind of behavior though cause, well– Did you notice Mineta was looking at Yaoyorozu’s butt and breasts for most of their prep period?”

 

Toshinori gave a choking sound and a spurt of blood spouted from his mouth straight into the hands that were covering his face.

 

“So you totally didn’t notice. Well, make sure you start looking out for that kind of stuff now, okay? And also, never pair Mineta with any of the girls ever.”

 

Toshinori sighed and removed his head from his hands. Getting out a handkerchief with practiced movements, he wiped the blood from his hands and face. “It’s only two days into the school year and I’m already a failure as a teacher… I couldn’t even tell when a student was preying on another inappropriately…” he desolately decreed.

 

“You’re not a failure, Toshinori-san,” Izuku suddenly felt like he was talking to Katsuki again, “Now that you know the kinds of things you’re lacking in, you can work on improving them.” And maybe work on improving your actual teaching as well. Honestly– Basic Hero Training with no basic training…

 

Toshinori just gave another sigh, then shelved the subject, “And who is the second case?”

 

“Todoroki-kun, his entire Fruit of Fate is frozen.”

 

Toshinori blinked at that. “Do these conditions correlate with people’s quirks? First Bakugou’s Fruit is burning, and now young Todoroki’s is frozen…”

 

Izuku sighed, “It’s not supposed to, but fate likes to be consistent I think. So, that just happens sometimes.”

 

Getting back to business, Izuku explained, “A frozen Fruit basically means the person is majorly stuck on something and can’t move on in some way. I have no leads besides it possibly being connected to his lack of using his heat side.”

 

“I see…” Toshinori’s response seemed exhausted, “All we can do is watch him for now, and maybe see if the principal has any ideas of how we could look into it without breaching his privacy…”

 

He looked back to Izuku. “You seem to have previous history with young Bakugou, so that’s one thing. But I don’t think it would be appropriate for you to “take apart Todoroki’s world piece by piece, and then it put together in a strange new way that he could barely comprehend” when he hasn’t even spoken to you, let alone approached you about the subject.”

 

Face heating up, Izuku exclaimed, “I know, I know! I wasn’t going to…” he was kind of thinking about it actually, but Toshinori’s thoughts sound more reasonable…

 

Toshinori just eyed him at that.

 

Izuku quickly diverted the conversation, “Speaking of taking apart people’s worlds…”

 

He firmly clasped Toshinori’s shoulder and tried to show a reassuring, gentle smile. “You’re next in line, Toshinori-san!”

 

“ –Ack!”

 

Blood appeared for the second time during their conversation. Izuku didn’t think it was possible for a person to blanch so much…

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the morning next day, Izuku was accosted by the media, who had recently learned of All Might’s  appointment as a teacher of UA and was loitering outside the UA entrance gate for a scoop. While nervous upon a reporter questioning him on what it was like learning from All Might, Izuku was able to put them off with his bland but true response of, “Oh, it sure is something…”

 

Class 1-A voted to decide their president and vice-president. While Izuku had initially been voted to be class president, he turned the position down immediately. He already foresaw the need to keep his time open to focus on learning about the Penguindrum, the classmates and people he knew that had problems with their Fruit of Fate, as well as the future people he knew he would come across with problems that he needed to plan for.

 

Therefore, the position passed to the next highest voted student, Yaoyorozu, and upon Izuku’s suggestion, she appointed Iida to be her vice-president.

 

Izuku learned during lunch that Iida was actually part of the Iida family, who had a been in the hero industry for a couple of generations. He was the brother of the hero in charge of the hero agency Team Idaten, Ingenium.

 

Iida then proved himself to be a worthy choice for their class leadership by calming the crowd of students panicking at the intruder alarm being set off. He was able to see that it was simply the press who had forced their way through the destroyed entrance gate, and thus earned the nickname exit-sign through his and Uraraka’s joint effort to communicate this to the crowd.

 

Admiring Iida’s quick planning and action, Yaoyorozu offered Iida the chance to switch positions. After she insisted she was alright with it, Iida accepted and became class 1-A’s official class president.

 

Izuku knew that it was only the press that got in, but he also knew that UA’s entrance gate was nothing to scoff at. For them to make it past it would be quite a feat…

 

He tried to put it off his mind, but still… the Prince of the Crystal knew fate very well, and on that day, it stirred in the air like a brewing storm.

Chapter Text

Toshinori spent the rest of the week and the beginning of the next fearing for his life.

 

Well, technically that would be an over exaggeration. Toshinori was actually fearing for his current perception of his life.

 

He managed to convince young Midoriya to put off tearing his world to pieces until that coming Tuesday, the day before the USJ field trip, citing the need to start his discussion with Nedzu concerning Todoroki and especially Mineta as well as time to work on putting any plans concerning them into motion. And it’s honestly not as though Toshinori didn’t consider that to be top priority. He had every attention of putting that time to good use. He needed it for covering all the options the school had for dealing with Mineta as well as recording his behavior throughout the days to act as proof that his behavior was reoccurring and a record for what needed to be addressed.

 

Aizawa had been told of the matter to some extent, and that he should chastise and punish the boy for every occurrence of misbehavior during this watch period, but even with that Mineta didn’t seem to take any of his punishments to heart and continued his leering. No matter how Nedzu decides to move forward with the boy, Toshinori was certain that Aizawa would insist on dropping him from the class. “If he refuses to learn and refuses to examine his behavior seriously, his potential drops to zero” is what he said on the matter other than his general disgust for Mineta’s actions. The man has expelled students for less, after all.

 

It was a time-consuming ordeal. But in the end, Toshinori was also certainly using the situation as an excuse to avoid his future mental undoing.

 

Observing Bakugou’s behavior, he felt like this was reasonable. The boy had gone from spending his free time cursing everything and everyone under the sun, to only occasionally cursing. Instead he would sometimes just stare blankly out the window, seemingly contemplating his life choices and mental perception of life itself.

 

Clearly, Toshinori has every right to fear young Midoriya’s promise to “talk”.

 

Aizawa, proving himself to be the superior teacher between the two of them, immediately realized something was going on with Bakugou and somehow connected the dots to All Might’s Battle Trials. Confronted with the man’s glare and demanding inquiry of “What happened?”, all Toshinori had to do was give him the honest, simple, one-word answer of “Midoriya”, and the issue was dropped like a hot rock.

 

He knew the class 1-A homeroom teacher was still watching Bakugou closely, and Midoriya even more so, but he had every intention of shelving any investigation into anything involving the giant teddy bear robot owner for as long as possible.

 

God he wishes that were him…

 

He could feel Midoriya’s probing eyes on the back of his true form at the end of the school day on the heavily dreaded day of anticipation.

 

He was hiding in the teachers’ lounge! How did the boy even know to look here for him?!

 

Slowly turning his head towards Midoriya, his eyes were automatically drawn to the sunken eyed, blond haired penguin in his arms. Toshi-pingu had a haughty look on his face, as though he was saying, “Thought you could run from me, huh? Know your place human!”

 

He knew that penguin would be no good, isn’t he supposed to be Toshinori’s technically?! That good for nothing traitor!”

 

“Ready to go Toshinori-san?” young Midoriya asked, as though he had not caught the Number One hero hiding from a boy less than half his age.

 

Toshinori gave a long sigh and lied, “I suppose so…”

 

One “Survival Strategy” later, the Prince of the Crystal was back in his uniform and they were back in the library with Momoka’s Mirror. Her pink eyes shone from Izuku’s face in the gleaming silver mirror, watching Toshinori like a predator watches its prey.

 

“Excuse me, Momoka-san, but– do you think you could go into your Hand Mirror that I left at the arena? I want to give Toshinori-san some privacy…”

 

Momoka continued looking at Toshinori for a moment longer, then addressed Midoriya, “If that is what you wish, my Prince.” And with that, the mirror became empty of Izuku’s image, leaving only Toshinori’s lank form in the frame.

 

Toshinori blinked at it stupidly. “Oh–  I never considered what would happen if she wasn’t there… It’s like you’re a vampire, my boy.”

 

Midoriya rolled his eyes at that and promptly ignored his attempt to stall their conversation.

 

“So, Toshinori-san, you’ve had months to think on my question now; what’s you answer?”

 

“Why do you do things which involve ignoring your self-interests or hurting yourself for the sake of hero-work?”

 

Toshinori tried to stand up straighter, instilling confidence in himself, but he still felt like he came up short.

 

“Well, frankly speaking, it’s necessary for being a hero,” was the strong reply, “It’s not possible to save people unless they’re your first priority. I’m already limited in my capacity because of my health, so I need to do everything else I can to fulfill my duty as a hero. However, I also understand that there’s the risk of a hero being too reckless with their own life, and that I’ve been guilty of this in the past… Still, even when I’m being reckless– it is all for the people. I can’t avoid my duty, even for my own self-interests.”

 

Izuku looked him right in his sunken eyes and shot back immediately with a merciless question, “But are you really doing it for the people, or are you doing it to satisfy yourself?”

 

Shock racked through Toshinori’s senses.

 

His eyes widened, but he felt like he could hardly see anything in the room. His vision tunneled, and the only thing left was the boy wearing a crown sharp enough to impale a person through the heart.

 

“What…?”

 

He couldn’t even bring himself to ask a real question, to form real thoughts.

 

“I’ve looked into your “heart”, Toshinori-san, so I can tell you that the second option takes up more of your consideration than you think it does.” The Prince of the Crystal’s green eyes gleamed.

 

“Even though you’re the Number One hero, you believe that you don’t do enough. That when you just happen arrive too late and someone dies, that you failed as a hero because you could’ve done something to get there in time. But sometimes that’s just not true.

 

“I was meant to die. That wasn’t your failure, that was fate,” the last part was said with a finality that refused to invite rejection.

 

He already knew that– He already knew that it’s impossible to save everyone, it’s a truth he lives with every day. But even so… even so, he still couldn’t accept it…

 

He can’t use it as an excuse, he can’t! He’s the Number One hero, the Symbol of Peace, he’s supposed to always make it on time, he’s supposed to always win the battle against evil, he’s supposed to do it all with a smile on his face, he’s supposed to be better than fate

 

Midoriya finally looked away from the shaken hero to walk towards the empty portion of the wall next to his father’s image and leaned against it. “I’m sure there were many more people like that, where there was absolutely nothing that you could do to save them, but still you burdened yourself with the sin of their death, as though you had personally stuck a sword through their heart.”

 

Midoriya glanced at the silver mirror that had held Momoka’s form and was still empty of the boy’s image, a reminiscing look on his face.

 

“The final destination of all people’s fate is death. There’s nothing a person can do about that. But throughout your entire career as a hero, you’ve been going to unnecessary lengths to help everyone at the cost of yourself, despite the fact that you’re physically incapable of helping everyone.”

 

He gestured his hand towards Toshinori in emphasis. “I mean, you literally made yourself the Symbol of Peace, the sole pillar holding up the entirety of society’s order, even though there are plenty of other pro heroes who could help support your burden. But you chose to not seek their help… Do you know why that is, Toshinori-san? And I’m not just talking about after you solidified yourself as the sole pillar and didn’t want to chance the pandemonium that would come from changing the system by you retiring, I’m also referring to the decision to even become the sole pillar in the first place.”

 

He thinks he knows why, but he’s starting to think that the boy will prove him wrong…

 

It took a while for Toshinori to answer, he had been struck speechless by everything Midoriya had rambled on about, but in the end he pulled himself together enough to let out an unsure response, “Because… One for All makes me strong enough to do it on my own? Because, with One for All, I am the only one strong enough to do it. It’s just a quirk, but it’s a quirk with an immense legacy and immense power, and that allowed me to become the Symbol of Peace society needed. That’s why.”

 

“No,” the Prince insisted, “It’s because you think One for All should make you strong enough to do it on your own. Because you think One for All should make you the only one strong enough to do it. That if you can’t do it on your own, you’re wasting what your mentor had given you.”

 

Toshinori’s newly gained stomach dropped into his feet, he felt like he had lost it all over again, like one of his lungs was missing and he couldn’t breathe

 

Midoriya slammed his right palm against his own chest, holding it in place, and dug his piercing green eyes into Toshinori’s.

 

“So you put it all on yourself; their lives, their expectations, their deaths, their disappointments, without even thinking of delegating some of it to others. And you get yourself hurt carrying the weight of it all, and you go back to working as a hero despite being in pain and literally only being able to handle it for three hours of the day. When you do all of those things, it’s not just because you want to save people, it’s also because you want to know that you’re the one saving them. Because if you’re not the one saving them, if you’re not saving them with a smile on your face, you’re failing them, and you’re failing your mentor. You don’t let yourself have a reprieve because you feel like your comfort is a sign of you failing.”

 

“No matter how scary things get, give them a smile, as if to say, “I’m okay!”. The people in this world who can smile are always the strongest!”

 

“It’s okay for you to rest. Let’s find someone who’s cheerful, strong, and amiable like you, and entrust it to them... Just look, you can’t even smile properly!”

 

“It’s okay to put others before yourself, but if you’re always putting yourself last… that’s not selflessness, that’s what it means to not love yourself.”

 

The air was so thick with tension that someone could impale a sword into it.

 

Toshinori stared wide-eyed and slack-jawed at the Prince, his body pale and frozen in place.

 

This must be what it feels like to have an existential crisis… he couldn’t help but think to himself.

 

Physically incapable of forming words, Toshinori let the minutes pass in total silence.

 

Midoriya eventually relented, “Okay, that was probably a bit too much… but most of the poison that’s left is coming from your lack of love for yourself, Toshinori-san, and you didn’t even know it was an issue! So, clearly an intervention was needed. A poisoned Fruit of Fate means that you’re hurting yourself deeply, and that can very easily translate into physically hurting yourself, whether it’s with a knife in your hand or with the risk that you take with your work…”

 

Is it… was he really hurting himself so much? Was he really failing to love himself so much? He didn’t want to believe it, he didn’t want to believe everything he inflicted on himself was actually for himself, but if it wasn’t… then why did he have to do it on his own?

 

All for One was a villain only he could take on, but would things really have been worse if he let some other heroes into the fight, not as main combatants, but out of his way in supporting roles– and after the villain that only he could defeat was gone, why didn’t he trust in the next generation to hold things up on their own? Or to be able to grow strong enough to take on the next impossibly powerful villain on its own? Or at least enough to help support his pillar holding up society?

 

“When you do all of those things, it’s not just because you want to save people, it’s also because you want to know that you’re the one saving them

 

More silence reigned.

 

“That was without a doubt,” the words didn’t come from the boy in front of him, but from the silver mirror just a bit further down the wall, “the most hypocritical thing I’ve heard said by someone other than me in my entire existence. I literally told you most of that when you first said you wanted to be a hero, because you were failing to do it yourself. The only difference is that you were only a middle-school student and not a pro hero, so the consequences weren’t nearly as great.”

 

Both their heads sharply swung to the mirror, the Prince’s image had returned to the frame. Midoriya gapped at it. “Momoka-san! What are you doing here?!”

 

“You told me to go in the Hand Mirror,” Momoka replied with the same voice, “not to stay there.”

 

“Momoka-san what the hell!”

 

He saw a grin stretch across Momoka’s face in Midoriya’s image. “I’m impressed, with both the cursing me thing and the hypocrite speech thing! I didn’t know you had the guts.”

 

Midoriya just huffed at that.

 

Toshinori took the chance to focus on something other than his own unhealthy thoughts, turning his concern to Midoriya instead.

 

“My boy…” his voice was cracking from the shock of it all, but still filled with worry, “You… also think about yourself in such a way?” It was heart breaking to think of that type of pain residing within the young, kind boy.

 

Midoriya moved his gaze to the floor. “No exactly that, but… I realized recently that I– haven’t really been loving myself, that I hadn’t really loved myself for a long time, because I couldn’t accept that I was quirkless…”

 

Strong green eyes looked up at Toshinori once more. “But I’m working on that now, so, I want you to work on properly loving yourself as well. Okay, Toshinori-san?”

 

Toshinori let out a long breath, before walking over to where Midoriya was still leaning by his father’s picture. His hand gently ruffled the boy’s green curls. “Alright, I still need to think more on this, but I’ll try…”

 

He gazed into the green eyes fondly and softly added, “You’re so strong, do you know that?”

 

Midoriya’s face turned red, though he couldn’t tell if it was from Toshinori’s actions or his words. “Do you… really think so?”

 

To that, Toshinori was able to give an All Might smile. “I know so, my boy.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Izuku returned Toshinori to the teacher’s lounge, the hero trudging deep through his mind, he made his way home. Once he had greeted his mother and went to his room though, he transported himself back to the Crystal Palace’s library. Momoka was waiting for him, fingering through an old golden colored book with no title on the cover.

 

Glancing up from the page, she probed Izuku with her pink eyes. “So, you’ve learned your true thoughts regarding yourself. Have you figured it out, then?”

 

Using his father’s quirk, Izuku reached his right hand into himself and pulled out his Fruit of Fate. It was still a shining, pure gold color.

 

“I think I have…”

 

The Fruit floated up from his hands, spinning around on its axis. He spread his fingers outward to crack it into two. He felt an echo of the crack reverberate through his body.

 

The two halves floated in circles around each other, he plucked out from the air and examined its core. Involuntarily, he sucked a sharp breath through his teeth.

 

Momoka looked at the inside of his Fruit of Fate, as well as the solid block of ice that surrounded the core in the center and the streaks of poison that emerged from the core as veins twining throughout. The frozen parts and the poisoned parts of the core mixed together to form a shimmering, delicate, purple and golden colored work of art right in the center of his being.

 

It was deceptively beautiful. Like a delicate icicle that hangs on the tree branches, refracting shimmering light around it to make a beautiful winter scene for any viewer, only to snap off the branch and pierce through the viewer’s eye with its sharpened point.

 

“Two at once, huh? You must be quite talented with overthinking.” A beat later Momoka revised her sarcastic tone to say, “Don’t feel too discouraged about it, little Izuku; I’m sure that if you had checked before your revelation there would’ve been even more poison, and if you had checked before deciding to use Conductor and the Penguindrum, there would’ve been more ice. You’ve already been improving your state of mind. I’m sure you’ll come to find the rest of it gone one day.”

 

Sighing, Izuku let the half float back up into the air, then allowed the two pieces to rejoin into one Fruit. “I hope so… Maybe I should just look into my Fruit, but– I think I’m already on my way to working things out on my own, I don’t think looking will help at this point.”

 

Momoka just hummed in agreement. “You might want to consider making a plan of action for dealing with the Oracle’s Fruit. Since it was probably frozen around his core, meaning the problem he has is with his quirk, then the fact that it was able to grow out of the inside of the Fruit means that his specific issue must be horrible at this point. At the same time, though, I highly doubt he’d appreciate the method you took with these two, he doesn’t seem the type to like relative strangers in his business.”

 

“That’s right…” Izuku frowned to himself in thought and murmured, “It seemed like he had a major problem with his punishment but getting the opportunity to try to use Conductor to change Toshinori’s fate improved his condition at least temporarily. During the actual transfer process, the ice on his core wasn’t big enough for me to notice when I wasn’t actively looking for it. So it could be that while his freezing used to be really bad, that its improved itself…”

 

Izuku let a deep breath out. “Well, that’s just guess work… his mind set could have just as easily gone back to what it was previously. I’ll have to check on him somehow. Maybe Toshinori would be willing to have an outing with the three of us together sometime?”

 

“Sounds like a good plan, yeah,” Momoka replied. She gained her usually grin and continued with, “You did a good job talking some sense into Goldilocks, by the way. While his entire Fruit of Fate is burning, they seemed weak enough that a lot of good old-fashioned self-reflection should be enough to improve his condition.”

 

There was a single beat where Izuku just thought that he had somehow misunderstood her, then he realized that he had and exclaimed, “You’re naming Kacchan Goldilocks?!

 

Smile curling with amusement, Momoka responded, “Why, of course! He’s blond, he has a perfection-complex where everything needs to be just right, and he’s rude enough to break into someone’s home and carelessly use all their stuff while their gone. He’s Goldilocks.”

 

Izuku stared in shock before crying out, “Oh my God! Kacchan is Goldilocks!”

 

Momoka just nodded her head in satisfaction.

 

“Good job with Snow White too, his case of poisoning really was quite extensive so it’s going to be quite a process– he really needed a strong kick-off for it. Though, maybe you should have put it off a bit more…”

 

She glanced down at the golden book she was still holding with Izuku’s gloved hands in the mirror. She wasn’t smiling anymore. “It seems that the Witch’s Huntsman will be appearing soon to hunt down Snow White and begin the story… You should beware Cursed Beings.”

 

Izuku blinked at his reflection while placing his golden Fruit of Fate back in his chest. “Who is the Huntsman and the Witch? Cursed Beings? And what story are you talking about, is this another one of your metaphors?”

 

“The story is life,” was Momoka’s first answer, which was no help at all. “As for who the Huntsman is and what Cursed Beings are, I have no idea,” was Momoka’s second answer, it only gave Izuku more questions.

 

Momoka gained a certain look in her eye, Izuku couldn’t tell what it was, but as she stared at him with it though half-lidded eyes, he knew he didn’t like it one bit.

 

He noticed that Momoka failed to give an answer concerning the Witch.

Chapter Text

Once upon a time, there lived a fair knight who had become the fairest knight of them all, Snow White.

 

Snow White descended from a long line of courageous and fair knights, who allowed for greater power to appear with each succession by passing down the source of their power, the golden core that had resided within the first knight’s golden Fruit of Fate. The power held by this core was called One for All, and it allowed each future generation of knights to become fairer and fairer than the last. However, these knights were unaware that this golden core they were passing down was something that was considered forbidden by fate, and thus, the power of One for All was poisonous– causing each successor of the golden core to be cursed.

 

Snow White had been punished by fate because of this curse. During his battle against the Witch, who was the fated enemy of all One for All knights, he was stricken with ill health and weakening of his power. He was still the fairest knight in all the land, but he was no long as fair as he had been– a fate which caused him great despair.

 

Even so, this fated battle did end with good triumphing over evil once more. Snow White even believed that he had defeated the Witch once and for all, and so he was content in his success of defeating the evil all his predecessors had fought and in his vengeance for the death of his immediate predecessor who he had loved very much, the fair Stepmother.

 

But Snow White was mistaken– For the Witch, while also of ill health, had survived. He bided his time hiding in the woods, building Cursed Beings of power, some of which could even be victorious against the injured Snow White. The Witch planned for his reign and life to last for eternity, but he was interested in using a successor that could help him achieve what he believed to be his fate as the defier of good.

 

Thus, now that the time has come to initiate war with Snow White once more, the Witch will send his Huntsman to lead the charge.

 

Will the fairest Snow White be prepared for the Huntsman’s first battle, and the renewed conflict with the still hidden Witch? And what will be the fate of the other knights Snow White had come to join in allegiance with, who might be caught up in the battle between these two forces of ultimate good and ultimate evil?

 

Only fate will decide, perhaps.

 

A golden book closed shut once the reader had reached the end of the black inked words and could see only blank pages followed.

 

“I wonder how you will insert yourself into this tale, my dear Prince of the Crystal…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next morning, Toshinori was still reeling from his talk with young Midoriya.

 

He was also preoccupied with the information the boy had gained from Momoka; vague words about how a “Witch’s Huntsman” will appear to hunt down “Snow White” and to watch out for “Cursed Beings” that could apparent be victorious against “Snow White”. The boy tried to get more out of the girl within the silver mirror, but she claimed she had no idea on when this metaphorical happening would occur or even who the Huntsman was, and had refused to comment on the “Witch” at all. Toshinori assured the boy that he would bring it up with the principal despite the lack of specifics and plan some upgrades for the school’s security.

 

If Toshinori had to guess, it could be about a new major villain that would come into play, targeting the Number One hero.

 

Even with this vague prophecy to consider, he was mostly focused on the words that had been spoken in the library. He had hardly been able to sleep that night, too deep in the thoughts running through his mind–

 

“It’s okay to put others before yourself, but if you’re always putting yourself last… that’s not selflessness, that’s what it means to not love yourself

 

He can understand what young Midoriya was trying to say; that when he discards his own well-being with the excuse that it’s “for the people”, it’s rooted in his own lack of regard for himself and guilt. That to be solely driven by those things discards his ability to love himself. Perhaps he even dislikes himself, because he’s always felt that he was coming up short in Shimura-sensei’s expectations for him as her successor. But even so… even so–

 

“I was meant to die. That wasn’t your failure, that was fate

 

How could he accept that?

 

How could he accept that a boy 14 years of age was just meant to die? That even as the Number One hero, he could never hope to go against fate? Young Midoriya is trying to become a hero who changes people’s fate– so as another Child of Fate, can’t Toshinori strive to do the same? Or is his own fate and the fate of any successor he chooses the only “fate” he is capable of changing?

 

How can he call himself the true “Number One” hero if he couldn’t even change the world to be a place where children don’t have to die young?

 

“ –Stay back heroes or this family gets it!”

 

The villain’s declaration brought All Might out of his thoughts.

 

“Fear not, good family! Missouri Smash!

 

After putting down these people, he can start heading back to work again–

 

“Kyah! A hit-and-run!”

 

“There are plenty of other pro heroes who could help support your burden. But you chose to not seek their help… Do you know why that is, Toshinori-san?”

 

He should really leave it to the other heroes in the area, he’ll end up being late. But– he was already here, so…

 

All Might leapt through the air and found the offender’s car. He stopped it in its tracks.

 

“I heard there’s a hostage crisis in the next town over!”

 

“It’s not just because you want to save people, it’s also because you want to know that you’re the one saving them. Because if you’re not the one saving them, if you’re not saving them with a smile on your face, you’re failing them, and you’re failing your mentor”

 

He knows he shouldn’t be late, that he should leave it to the other heroes, that Aizawa will probably kill him for wasting his time and prioritizing this over the class planned later today. But– even with young Midoriya’s words, he still feels like he has to do everything he can to save people, even if its just on his way to work. It will also be a good way to take his mind out of the loop it’s been stuck in.

 

And in any case, this shouldn’t take much longer. Right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the day’s Basic Hero Training, class 1-A was moved to the off-campus site of the USJ, or the Unforeseen Simulation Joint, for Rescue Training. All the students were decked out in their hero costumes, with Izuku missing his visor glasses due to the damage Kacchan had done to them, and met with the rescue hero Thirteen. They looked very much like an astronaut.

 

During the teachers’ private talk, Izuku caught Thirteen holding up three fingers in response to Aizawa looking around for where All Might was. Aizawa then turned to the class to tell them, “It seems like All Might will only be available for one hour of class today, so he will be joining us here at the USJ at a later time.”

 

Toshinori-san must have used up three of his four hours today… At least he should be able to talk to Principal Nedzu about Momoka-san’s warning during his time absent.

 

“My quirk is called Black Hole. I’ve used it to save people from all sorts of disasters– but it could also easily kill,” Thirteen’s alien-like voice delivered their strong introduction to the purpose of the USJ, “I’ve no doubt there are some of you with similar abilities. In our superpowered society, the use of quirks is heavily restricted and monitored.” –Except for cases involving people favored by society and fate, and people forgotten by society and fate, Izuku couldn’t help the bitter thought that immerged in his mind, remembering Kacchan’s frequent use of his quirk with Izuku as his victim– “But we mustn’t forget that it only takes one wrong move with an uncontrollable quirk for people to die.”

 

Thirteen swept their gaze over all the students, the eyes of their helmet seemed abnormally large but suited them well. “During Aizawa’s tests, you learned of your hidden potential. During All Might’s Battle Trials, you learned of the danger your quirks can pose to others. Hopefully, this class will teach you how you can use your quirks to save others!”

 

Izuku felt fire light in his veins at Thirteen’s words, a smile blooming on his face and his eyes shining.

 

This is it! This is what he came here for– The chance to save people’s lives, the chance to change their fate!

 

“That is all, thank you for listening!” Thirteen gave a grand bow to end their speech. Izuku and his fellow classmates, especially Uraraka who favored Thirteen very much, rewarded them with roaring applause.

 

Only a moment later, Izuku felt his bones become heavy from anticipation lingering in the air. It didn’t have anything to do with their festive Rescue Training.

 

Fate has plans today… the Prince of the Crystal could feel it.

 

He reflexively started glancing everywhere around him, as though he could find fate’s schedule of events written in the air for his convenience. Apparently Aizawa-sensei had Izuku on some kind of watch list, because he immediately noticed Izuku’s behavior and joined him in looking around. When Aizawa’s eyes landed on the fountain below them, he let out a low curse.

 

“Huddle up and don’t move! Thirteen, protect the students!” Aizawa placed his yellow goggles over his eyes and started towards the staircase leading down.

 

Izuku saw the small piece of black abyss that Aizawa had caught sight of by the fountain, as well as what seemed like human forms emerging from it.

 

Fear swelled in his already heavy body. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Kacchan took note of his reaction and raised his guard accordingly.

 

None of other students had caught on yet. Kirishima let out a confused, “What the heck is that? More battle robots?”

 

“Don’t move!” Aizawa’s intense demand didn’t allow for refusal. “Those are villains!

 

Countless villains emerged from the dark.

 

A man with disturbing disembodied hands grasping hold all over his body, with the most noticeable one covering his face, creeped out of the darkness. His gray hair was dry and limp and was matched by the look of his ratty but simple long sleeve shirt and pants. His lanky form suggested he wasn’t very much of a brawler.

 

The darkness itself even became a person, forming eyes with glowing light.

 

The villains’ words echoed up to them from the central plaza. The darkness spoke first with a human voice, “According to the schedule I received the other day, All Might is supposed to be here…”

 

That day with the gate was them, then… That’s why fate was in the air then too!

 

The villain with many hands rasped with a dry voice next, “We’ve come all this way to kill All Might, but he isn’t even here… Maybe some dead kids will lure him in?”

 

The words tolled like a funeral bell through the children. Izuku felt his fear rise even further, eyes dilating in shock.

 

“It seems that the Witch’s Huntsman will be appearing soon to hunt down Snow White and begin the story…”

 

A form that didn’t even seem human joined the villains from the dark gate, its brain was exposed like a mad scientist’s creation.

 

“You should beware Cursed Beings”

 

After directing Thirteen to evacuate the students and Kaminari’s failed attempt to contact the school, Aizawa leapt into the fray despite how unsuited his fighting style was for head on fights with multiple opponents–

 

“No good hero is a one-trick pony. Thirteen, take care of them!”

 

With that, he was gone and fighting through the messy crowd of enemies.

 

He’s doing well fighting them all off for now, but will he really be able to handle it, or is he just saying that to calm the students? To let them feel secure enough to leave while he spends his blood and dies buying them time to run?

 

Izuku wants to retrieve the Teddydrums to help his teacher, but every moment he spends in the Crystal World is a moment where he won’t know if his classmates are dying while he’s gone. He’ll just have to wait until he gets a good opportunity for it and send the robots back to help.

 

However, they were intercepted by the warp gate villain.

 

“Greetings, we are the League of Villains. Forgive our audacity, but we’ve come here to UA High School, this bastion of heroism…” The misty figure slightly narrowed the lights of its eyes. His voice was like that of a refined gentlemen’s rather than a villain’s, creating a sense of dissonance at its contrast with the words he spoke, “to end the life of All Might, the Symbol of Peace.”

 

The horrid bell of fear and dread rang through Izuku once more, he felt his eyes dilating and his breath caught in his throat. The villain’s declaration was enough of a distraction that Izuku was caught off guard by his portal, and was thus swept away with some of his classmates.

 

He likes his own transportation method much more than this, Izuku thought as he entered the pitch black abyss. It had done nothing to help fend off his fear.

 

He landed with a plop into a body of water. Surrounded by the sensation of wetness and liquid pressure, unable to breath, Izuku forcefully recollected himself at the sight of a shark-like villain approaching him. However, the villain was quickly taken out by the frog-like Asui. She swiftly used her long tongue to relocate Izuku to a nearby large boat, before roughly throwing Mineta into it and hopping on herself.

 

After discussing his thoughts on the villains knowing their schedule and being involved with the gate crashing, Asui –who asked to be called Tsu-chan– informs the too-laxed Mineta on the likelihood that the villains have a way to kill All Might and that even still, they had to stay alive until he arrived.

 

Mineta freaked out at the sight of villains crowding around their boat in the water, “M-Midoriya! Can’t you just take us to your pocket dimension-thingy to wait it out until the fighting is over?!”

 

Izuku stares at him with a serious firmness that’s matched by his tone, “I could yes, but we wouldn’t be able to help any of the others. The Teddydrums are strong fighters and can act as shields for anyone in a dire situation. I don’t want to ignore the chance to keep you two safe, but– I just don’t think it’d be right to abandon the others and Aizawa-sensei like that when I have a good way to help them. I can’t keep you in the pocket dimension without staying there, and I can’t keep the Teddydrums out here without staying here. It can’t go both ways.”

 

Izuku looked down at his clenched fist. “Not only that, but if they really do have a way to kill All Might… waiting for him to come might not save us…” –the Cursed Being is here– “We have to fight to win!”

 

“E-Eh–! No way! We’re only high school students! Please take me to safety, Midoriya!”

 

Asui and Izuku ignored Mineta’s pleas while putting together a plan. The villains were too spread out to transport in one go, and since anything Izuku brings out to help with the fighting will go back to his pocket dimension with him should he transport himself back, they tried to develop a plan that minimizes its use.

 

After explaining his numerous fighters as well as his potential ace in the hole for this kind of situation–that they really, really wanted more of an explanation about which he refused to give, hoping that they would just somehow forget about it so he could be spared his damning– they agree on Izuku temporarily transporting them into his world to collect everything and bring it back.

 

The villains want a fight in the water? Izuku will give them a fight in the water…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The shipwreck zone was in total chaos, and the three UA heroics course students that they were supposed to be murdering had a safe and perfect view of the entire thing.

 

“Take cover!”

 

A random finned villain called out as one of the two giant teddy bear-shaped robots of all things flew overhead, its laserbeam cannons shooting at the water. It didn’t even matter that the aim was poor in these conditions, the confusing sight and panic in the villains was enough of a disadvantage to them. Many tried to hide under the waves, but the shots were strong enough to continue into the water, so that was no guarantee for safety.

 

“ –Arg!”

 

That other villain who just got hit after ducking under proved Mizuru’s point fairly well. He wasn’t close enough to feel it, but he was sure that the water around the hit villain was now hot from the heat of the lasers. The villain was trying to grab at the steaming burn on their back.

 

Things weren’t supposed to be like this! This was supposed to be a simple job! Sure, Mizuru knew that infiltrating UA and killing All Might was an extremely lofty plan to say the least, but they had a warp gate and the killing All Might part wasn’t their responsibility. They were just supposed to kill some kids, it should’ve been easy!

 

“ –Gah!”

 

He heard another villain, thankfully a good distance away from Mizuru, cry out in pain at being impaled by a sword in the shoulder. Blood swirled in the water around them as they tried to keep afloat. If they hadn’t possessed a quirk that was so well-suited for the water, they probably would’ve started drowning.

 

The pink haired, prince-like mannequin wielding the sword was light enough and fast enough to just run on top of the water like it was Jesus performing a miracle. It zipped through the water spearing everyone in sight similar to a fisherman catching their meal and was so fast sometimes that it couldn’t be seen by the human eye. But at least going deep into the water was a safe haven from it.

 

“Goddammit! Look what you did!”

 

“You were the one who wasn’t watching where they were– Aah!”

 

“ –Ack!”

 

Two more, stuck together by those annoying purple ball things that were floating around everywhere, bit the dust to the mannequin. It was swift to hunt down the weak of the bunch. The balls on their own weren’t much of a problem, but with all the confusion and dodging going on they were practically unavoidable. Mizuru had a few stuck to him as well, but luckily hadn’t run into anyone.

 

Things weren’t supposed to be like this! What is this anyway?! Fucking teddy bear robots with rockets and lasers! A fucking swordsman puppet that can run on water! The fucking frog girl was even tossing teddy bear-shaped metal bombs into the water with her tongue for crying out loud! Who makes robots in the shape of teddy bears?! Who makes bombs in the shape of teddy bears?! What the fuck?!

 

An explosion rocked the water as one of the aforementioned teddy bear bombs went off around the edge of the group, likely trying to prevent them from running and keep them contained to face their doomed fate.

 

But Mizuru was fucking running alright. He was fucking out of this shitstorm.

 

All of those things could at least be avoided to some degree by diving underwater deep enough. But there was a reason why Mizuru was sticking it out at the surface. Underneath swam sharks so deadly that Mizuru could only hope that the fools who had stayed under could buy him time while he swam away.

 

“Aah! It’s a penguin! …It’s a penguin?”

 

“No! It’s All Might! But also… a penguin?”

 

“It’s penguin All Might you bitches! Who gives a shit why or how just swim away alre– Gah!”

 

Those useless body bags couldn’t even buy Mizuru 5 damn minutes– 

 

Another round of robot lasers rained down from the heavens, and Mizuru had to duck under. If the extremely weird penguin that looked like All Might had appeared at the surface then there was no point in sticking up top.

 

Why the fuck was there a penguin All Might?! It even had creepy budging muscles in its flippers and fucking teeth in its beaked smile and everything! And could punch like All Might! That was just physically impossible! Why were there even penguins in the first place?! Why?!

 

Underwater, though, Mizuru saw that the penguin wearing glasses was keeping anyone from advancing. It swam through the water with the grace of the water-based predator that it was to kick the shit out of one of the others who had ducked under before him.

 

Why is it wearing glasses?! What the fuck has become of his life?!

 

Behind him, Mizuru could hear the of sound a torpedo missile launching into the water. Only a second later, he got speared through his back onto the short, orange beak of penguin All Might.

 

Harsh pain shot through his lower back and abdomen as his breath escaped him in an array of bubbles.

 

Then more pain was inflicted as he was thrown out of the water and into the air by an unnaturally strong muscled flipper, and landed in a shallow area of the water. The side of his head and body hit the floor hard with a splash. He groaned as he wondered if it gave him a concussion.

 

He flopped his body into a better position to see around him, and gasped at the multitude of bleeding, bruised, and unconscious bodies in the shallows being guarded by a freckled penguin wearing a crown. It stood in the part of the water which sloped to drop down deeper, so that the water line came half way up its tiny body, while the unconscious villains were in the part of the water closer to the shore that was shallow enough for them to lie down in it and still breath.

 

The penguin also had a sharp, silver sword in its flipper. The blade was stained red with fresh blood.

 

Mizuru gazed into its beady black eyes, which seemed fierce with fury and the promise of death, for just a moment.

 

“I’m done,” he promptly gave in, “I’m done! I’d rather go to jail at this point, honestly! Just don’t kill me! Please!”

 

The crowned penguin nodded regally, as if it was granting him a great mercy.

 

Mizuru sighed and he laid in the water, his blood swirling around him even as he held his hands over his wound in an attempt to stop the bleeding.

 

…But why teddy bears? …Why penguins? …Why does an All Might penguin even exist? …Why?

 

Those were his last thoughts before falling unconscious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Izuku watched what could only be described as carnage from his spot on the boat next to Asui and Mineta.

 

After throwing a couple more of his purple balls into the water, Mineta turned to look at Izuku with a stoic expression and said, “You know, Midoriya, I’m glad I don’t have to actually fight them, but your quirk… is really, really weird. There’s just no other way to say it.”

 

“Kero,” Asui paused to throw another Teddybomb into the waves. It rocketed water into the air when it went off next to one of the poor, helpless attempted-murderers. “It is really weird, but it’s also really useful. You’ll be a great hero, Midoriya-chan. I had no idea penguins could be so deadly. Or teddy bears.”

 

Her tongue flung out another Teddybomb to accentuate her point. It went off very close to one of the villains this time, causing Toshi-pingu to rescue them from drowning by throwing them towards Izu-pingu’s location closer to the shore, which Izuku made sure to place far from the central plaza.

 

“A-Ah, well, the teddy bear thing was just sort of a design choice by– yeah. But penguins are very efficient hunters in the ocean, you know– “

 

Toshi-pingu, who Izuku guesses is technically All-pingu or Might-pingu right now, speared another villain on his beak while at the same time flailing his right flipper to form a cyclone that forced three more into the air. The Teddydrums caught them, knocked them unconscious with their metal hands, then flew them over to the unofficial jail.

 

The tiny penguin was absolutely decimating the competition despite literally only being a third of their size at most.

 

“ …One of them just happened to be exactly like All Might?”

 

Asui and Mineta stared at him knowingly, but mercifully accepted his not-answer.

 

After the villains were fully decimated, Izuku ordered Teddydrum White to stay inconspicuous and in hiding until he called for it –as if there was actually a chance no one saw them flying around the shipwreck zone, but Izuku could dream, right?– and sent the Champion of the Rose Bride to run around the USJ and try to find some students it could help out. He sent Teddydrum Black back to the entrance to see if anyone had been able to leave to get help, and if not, then to fly out and get help itself. Nighteye’s penguin –which still needed a name– was sent to help Izu-pingu guard their prisoners.

 

Meanwhile, Izuku, Asui, and Mineta began to head over to the central plaza using the water as cover to check on their teacher. Toshi-pingu stayed under to be completely hidden but present. When Mineta tried to use Asui helping him through the water as an excuse to cop a feel, she promptly pushed his head under to drown him for a bit, like he rightfully deserved. Honestly– they’re in the middle of a goddamn war zone! If the teachers don’t kick out Mineta from class 1-A after this, Izuku is just going to feed him to his penguins.

 

Izuku communicated this threat to Mineta, along with the fact that dangerous villains were still lurking around, after Asui had finished with him. He paled at the thought and promptly dropped his attempts to encroach on her personal space. She smiled at Izuku in thanks.

 

They swam in silence from that point on–  still ignorant of what awaited them…

 

After what seemed like an intense journey due to their tense silence while wading through the water as quietly as they could, they popped their heads up over the land just enough to see the central plaza.

 

There was no way to prepare them for the sight they saw.

 

Perhaps, if things had been different– if their little group had found a way to deal with the villains that didn’t take so much time, if Izuku had been in possession of different abilities, if they risked life and limb to get passed the villains without having to fully defeat them, then things could have gone differently.

 

Fate could have had other plans

 

But as it was, it took them a considerable amount of time to fight the villains and get to the plaza.

 

Thus– when Shigaraki, the leader of the League of Villains, had been told by his warp gate partner in crime Kurogiri that one of the students escaped, his first thought had not been to kill one of the students to make a statement –since there were no students present– but to kill the hero that was conveniently already in the Nomu’s grasp.

 

When Izuku and his classmates arrived at the water’s edge of the central plaza– they were presented with the sight of the villains preparing to leave, and Aizawa-sensei’s crushed head.

 

They couldn’t see his face since it was facing the ground, but that was probably for the best. Aizawa’s head had been flattened against the concrete. A halo of fresh blood was splattered around it, like macabre red paint that had been carelessly splashed onto his head and floor. His skull had been shattered, white bits of bone peered out of random spots throughout the curtain of his limp, black hair.

 

Their homeroom teacher could be nothing but stone-cold dead.

 

They completely forgot about staying hidden. Mineta threw up into the water, but Izuku couldn’t even spare the emotion necessary to feel disgusted by the vomit– he was too busy trying not to drown in his dread and tears. He could only vaguely hear Asui start quietly crying even though she was right beside him. Her hands pressed tightly against her mouth as though they could physically keep her sobs from leaving her throat.

 

Izuku activated Conductor, hoping against hope that maybe somehow, somehow, they still had some time but–

 

Aizawa’s Fruit of Fate was gone, left behind at the final destination of his fate.

 

Izuku was shaking violently as sobs moved through his body and tears streamed down his face. But he could barely feel it through his shock– it felt like a bell that rang so loud inside of him that he couldn’t hear anything other than its toll that deafened him, or feel anything other than its painful reverberations that wrecked his body.

 

How could this happen–

 

How could this happen?!

 

Why did this happen?!

 

The leader noticed them in the water. When Izuku swerved his eyes to him, he saw that the Fruit of Fate within his chest was almost fully rotten, there were only small bits of clear gold scattered throughout the black decay.

 

“Oh,” the villain with the decayed hand covering his face stopped in his tracks, “would you look at that, some of the kiddos showed up right on time to send one last taunt to the Symbol of Peace. Is this your guys’ first time seeing a dead body? Those of you that I leave alive should get used to the sight, if you really aim to be so called heroes– ”

 

Fear not,” a booming voice echoed from the entrance of the USJ, high up from the stairs, “I… am here.”

 

All Might had arrived, and he wasn’t smiling. If he already had that kind of attitude when coming in, Izuku wondered how he would feel when he saw his co-worker’s corpse.

 

“Even though you’re the Number One hero, you believe that you don’t do enough. That when you just happen arrive too late and someone dies, that you failed as a hero because you could’ve done something to get there in time. But sometimes that’s just not true”

 

This time… it was true.

 

This time, if Izuku had made a different plan, maybe he wouldn’t have been too late.

 

This time, if All Might didn’t get caught up doing hero work and didn’t use most of his time, maybe he would’ve been here to fight from the start, maybe he wouldn’t have been too late.

 

Fate had decreed that the heroes, both official and in training, were too late. That the fair, shining knights had failed to make it in time to save the day.

 

–If everything is caused by fate, then God must be incredibly unfair and cruel–

 

Izuku felt All Might take him into his firm arms with Asui and Mineta. All of them were trembling and crying, and he thought he heard the hero give gentle reassurances, “It’s alright now. I’m here, I’m here. You’re safe now.” –But Aizawa-sensei’s not, Izuku didn’t say.

 

They got placed on their feet next to the entrance where a bunch of their other classmates, blissfully ignorant of the fate that had befallen Aizawa-sensei, came running up to them– asking them what was wrong. Teddydrum Black was distracted from its vigilant guarding of the students by the sight of its master’s tears and flew over to him to stand tall by his side, trying to give remorseful but calming strength through its presence.  

 

“D-Deku-kun… What happened? Is someone hurt?” Uraraka’s wavering voice broke into Izuku’s mind that was empty of everything but the turbulent, heart-crushing emotions he felt.

 

Mineta wailed louder in response to her question. Asui tried in vain to collect herself enough through her sobs to give a real answer but couldn’t quite manage it. Izuku was also crying too hard to speak, but then started quieting down.

 

Deku-kun…

 

Deku as in “dekiru”, Deku as in “You can do it, even if it defies fate”

 

That’s right…

 

Izuku glanced at the fallen form of Thirteen through his tears. Their space-suit was torn to shreds at the back, but he could see slight movement in their chest from their breathing. They were still alive– the pristine golden apple in their chest confirmed it. Ashido watched him with worry from her position crouched by Thirteen’s body, her apple also gold and bright.

 

“Hopefully, this class will teach you how you can use your quirks to save others!”

 

This isn’t what Thirteen-sensei had in mind for this class, no doubt. But Izuku’s quirk isn’t the Penguindrum. Izuku’s quirk is his father’s quirk, Conductor, and his father’s quirk was unmistakably a quirk that created miracles.

 

To save a person with Izuku’s quirk was to change their fate–

 

“Don’t tell them,” Izuku murmured the hoarse command to Asui and Mineta, but it was firm enough to catch their attention, “Don’t tell them. It’s going to be confidential information, since I’m going to fix it. I will fix it.

 

Izuku stopped crying. He rubbed at his eyes to clear his sight.

 

“ …Don’t tell us what?” the sensitive-hearing Shouji questioned with suspicion.

 

Mineta looked at Izuku as though he had just said that he was going become a villain and instill a new world order through world domination. Asui’s black eyes widened and she asked with a wavering and incredulous tone, voice still rough from crying, “ …How can you possibly fix that?!

 

“Fix what?!” Sero added with worried annoyance at being left out of the loop.

 

“Deku-kun…”

 

I can fix it. You guys said it yourselves earlier, didn’t you? That my quirk was weird? Well, it’s even weirder than you think– I’ll fix it, and I’ll tell you how later, so please… trust me for now, okay? Please, Tsu-chan?” Izuku lost the strength in his voice by the end of his speech. The plea he gave them was as fragile as a newborn’s heart, and he threaded his fingers together as though he was giving a prayer.

 

Fix what?!” Satou repeated with insistence, scared at the heaviness of their conversation.

 

Izuku didn’t look to his other classmates, he was only focused on Asui. She stared back with her teary big black eyes, they judged him with careful consideration.

 

She made her decision after only a single, short moment of silence, “Mineta, don’t say anything. It’ll only cause problems for the teachers if they want to keep the information private. And it’ll be a problem for Midoriya-chan too, I think.” Tsuyu wiped her tears away with her big frog-like hands, she had finally stopped crying.

 

“But– ” Tsuyu’s intense eyes shut Mineta up. He didn’t bother trying a second time, he was still crying.

 

“What’s going on guys, seriously?! You’re really freaking us out…” Ashido tried to reason. She didn’t approach them though, choosing to stay vigilant by Thirteen’s side.

 

“Something bad happened… but you don’t need to worry about it. Midoriya-chan will take care of it.” Tsuyu stated this simply, like it was a fact– as though she wasn’t completely in the dark as to how Izuku planned to do what he said he would.

 

Her faith stood as strong as her usual calm and practical demeanor.

 

Uraraka stood up straighter at her spot by Izuku’s and Teddydrum Black’s side. “If Deku-kun says he’s going to fix something, he’ll definitely fix it. I’m sure of it! We shouldn’t question them if it will cause trouble.”

 

The relief and joy he felt with his two friends’ unconditionally belief and support helped to clear his mind of its dread a little, making his body just a bit lighter.

 

“Thank you so much, Tsu-chan, Uraraka-kun…”

 

“Since you’re calling Tsu-chan, Tsu-chan, you can call me Ochako-chan, Deku-kun!”

 

Izuku felt a small smile form on his face. “Alright, Ochako-chan… And Tsu-chan, you can call me Izu-chan, if you want.” He had no problem with using such intimate forms of address with people who trusted him to such an extent.

 

“Kero. I’d be happy to get to call you Izu-chan, Izu-chan.”

 

“Teddydrum Black, stay here and continue protecting the others.”

 

His Teddydrum nodded in acceptance.

 

With that, Izuku ignored the alarmed cries of the others and ran down the stairs back to the central plaza.

 

He doesn’t know if he can do anything now, he doesn’t know if anyone at the school will be physically capable of sharing their Fruit of Fate with Aizawa-sensei, he doesn’t know if they could call in someone who can, he doesn’t even know if he’d be able to use his own as a last resort after only having him as a teacher for all of one week– but by God and all the gods in this universe, Izuku is going to something

 

Izuku is going to be Deku, the hero who changes fate.

Chapter Text

He was late

 

That phrase reverberated through All Might’s mind, as he scooped up three students, including young Midoriya, from the clutches of deadly villains. They shook in his arms like baby dear, and even the sight of the Number One hero himself couldn’t end their sobs. His gentle reassurances failed to calm them.

 

He was late

 

That phrase punched through All Might’s soul, as he went to scoop up Aizawa and realized that the man was already dead. He gently but quickly moved his corpse to a spot away from where the action was sure to take place. He had already failed Aizawa enough, he wouldn’t let his body be desecrated as collateral damage from the fight.

 

How could he do this? How could he be late?

 

Young Midoriya told him just yesterday–

 

Why didn’t he listen?

 

He was late

 

That phrase continued to ring like a funeral bell in All Might’s body, as he plucked the approaching Bakugou, Kirishima, and Todoroki from their paths headed toward the plaza and dropped them off by the entrance with the others. He ignored their alarmed confusion.

 

Why was he such a failure that he couldn’t even accept his own flaws when they had practically been presented to him as a simple bullet-point list?

 

Aizawa paid for Toshinori’s, All Might’s, stupidity with his life

 

How could he be late?!

 

“Ah, the awaited Number One hero arrives. You’re late to the PvP you kn– ” A superpowered punch being absorbed by the fat, meaty flesh of the monster, the Cursed Being, the villains had brought cut off the leader’s taunts.

 

All Might didn’t bother with talking at this point. He was completely consumed with getting vengeance for Aizawa, with taking down the villains who murdered him.

 

“What’s this? Are you mad that we killed Eraserhead? Haha! It’s too bad that Nomu here has shock absorption, you won’t be able to rampage like usual! We specifically engineered him to be the Anti-Symbol of Peace– he can take 100% of your power!”

 

Like the heavens themselves had ignited in fury at his words, two short beams of red light rained down on the Nomu’s shoulder for an instance. It cried out, the smell of burnt flesh wafted off its shoulder for a moment before it knitted back to normal.

 

Hovering in the air above them, Teddydrum White’s cannons were glowing red and at ready.

 

“ …Eh?”

 

“ …What is that? I mean, I thought I saw some flying robots over the lake earlier but– ”

 

The Nomu’s flesh violently shuddered from another punch. This time, it had come from Toshi-pingu, who had blurred into existence out of nowhere. He now sported muscled flippers and a teeth-filled beak that wasn’t smiling, and his two pieces of blond hair were sticking up, mimicking All Might’s distinctive V.

 

What is that?!” the hand covered villain turned to the warp gate, “Kurogiri, why the fuck is there a penguin that looks like– ”

 

How am I supposed to know– ”

 

The Nomu cried out in pain. Toshi-pingu pecked at its muscled neck with his short but sharp beak, unnatural looking blood flowed out of the small holes it left before they closed up with regeneration. All Might was quick to take advantage of the opportunity to wham a punch into the Nomu’s face.

 

“No seriously, what the fuck is all of this– ”

 

The Nomu’s strong arm was easily able to tear off the bird, who while strong was still just a small penguin, to pitch him to the other side of the building. All Might carefully caught Toshi-pingu before he could leave the area. Teddydrum White distracted the monster with more laserbeams.

 

All Might quietly communicated the plan to the penguin in his hands to avoid being overheard, “We are going to take advantage of the villain’s confusion to pulverize that thing before they can reorient their world view. I’m going more than 100%, you support by using blows to from the other side.”

 

The Nomu jumped into the air and pulled the robot to the ground. It tore off Teddydrum White’s right arm with a metal screech, bolts and wires flying everywhere, but the Teddydrum was still firing off its cannons at it in rapid succession. A black bulging arm smashed a hole into the robot’s torso, which seemed almost hollow inside, but even still, Teddydrum White continued its fire. The damage from the burns was heavy from such close-range shots.

 

“When I start really going at it, turn your attention to the villains while they still think you’re solely focused on the Nomu. The warp gate doesn’t look corporal and we don’t have time to figure out how to get around that, so aim for the leader. Got it, Little Might?” the name for Toshi-pingu’s previously unknown hero form had jumped unexpectedly out of All Might’s thoughts, but it suited him well.

 

Little Might nodded in agreement, this was no time to argue.

 

Teddydrum White’s cannons were destroyed as the Nomu smashed in its shoulders, causing them to explode in an array of sparks and electricity. Then, a claw-like hand tore off the Teddydrum’s head, leaving sharp and jagged metal where its neck had been. It banged on the ground and rolled away, the red of its eyes going dark. The body powered down and fell limp as though it was an actual corpse.

 

Toshinori didn’t care that Teddydrum White can be rebuilt, he’s getting vengeance for Midoriya’s brave robot who was loyal to the very end –who came to help Toshinori without even being ordered to and died for it– as well.

 

The first part of the plan went off without a hitch. All Might released a multitude of punches, each one strong enough on their own to wipe a person’s head clean off their shoulders, at the front of the Nomu and took on its return fire. Once All Might had the Nomu’s full efforts focused on it, Little Might jumped up and came in from behind to fire off his own rapid punches. They sandwiched the thing between the two of them, its flesh bending more and more as it reached the limit of its shock absorption.

 

Then, All Might increased his power to pass 100%, and Little Might took his que to leave his post.

 

“Shigaraki!” Kurogiri yelled out as he formed a portal in front of the still non-comprehending Shigaraki. Little Might flew through and ended up landing somewhere far away in the USJ. All Might could only tell he was still within the building because of the echo from his loud crash landing. “Pay attention! Forget the robot and penguin!”

 

Shit!

 

Kurogiri started preparing their warp gate to leave, having given up on the job.

 

In response, All Might ramps up his speed even faster, trying to hurry. He’s so close

 

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a tiny sparkle fly through the air towards the villains, but they vanish into the darkness closing in on itself, causing it to sail through empty air. The two ring-leaders are gone, having abandoned the rest of their group

 

All Might’s punches launched the Nomu into the air like a cannon, it broke through the ceiling of the USJ. The glass rained down around them.

 

Turning towards what he had seen, the form of the still red-eyed Midoriya stood listlessly, staring at where the villains had been. All Might stopped in his tracks, shivering with his still burning despair and rage.

 

Little Might blurred in by his side, body singed with burns and glowing embers. Seeing that the villains were missing, it kicked its feet at the spot they had been. It left a small crater cracked into the concrete.

 

It was only then that the penguin noticed the Prince. Steam bellowed from Little Might as he turned back into Toshi-pingu; flippers going back to a more natural shape, hair falling down around his face. When the transformation was complete, he waddled quickly to Midoriya and jumped into his arms to comfort him. Midoriya caught him and squeezed Toshi-pingu to his chest like a stuffed animal, the boy trembled in his spot.

 

Upon glimpsing at the utterly destroyed body of Teddydrum White, and he trembled even more and his green eyes widened in shock. All Might saw his mouth move, but Midoriya’s voice was so soundless that he couldn’t even hear the robot’s name as it passed through his lips. Teardrops returned to his eyes, but the boy kept them from falling.

 

“President of class 1-A, Iida Tenya, reporting for duty!” Iida’s strong voice echoed all over the USJ, signaling the arrival of the other hero teachers.

 

They’re too late

 

But their presence revitalized Midoriya, who jolted at the sight of the large group. Suddenly, the boy was able to completely collect himself and his composure, to Toshinori it seemed almost as if he had changed into the Prince of the Crystal right before his eyes.

 

“Yes… Yes! This is perfect!” Steady green eyes swung around to look at All Might and the Prince asked, “Toshinori-san, is Aizawa-sensei really good friends with anyone on the UA staff?”

 

There was a moment where All Might’s mind blanked. A second later, he understood what Midoriya was talking about, and sucked in a sharp breath. His body went from calming down to being hyped up on more adrenaline in an instant, blood spurted out of his mouth in wheezes.

 

“I don’t– I don’t know! He didn’t like me, he’s never told me anything about his personal life. Nedzu will know for sure tho– Shit!” Steam whooshed out of his body slowly, the extra use of power likely shortening his time. But he didn’t care, because while All Might was too late to save Aizawa, young Midoriya isn’t

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the teachers head to the USJ after being round up by Iida, Hizashi was hoping for the best, but anticipating the worst.

 

Most people who compared Hizashi to Shouta would think that he was the optimism to Shouta’s pessimism– and while that was to the extent that he does hope for the best, he’s practical enough to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. That’s why he agreed with Shouta’s idea to keep their own last names as to not draw lurking villains’ attention to their marriage, despite the fact that both of them would really prefer to share the same family name.

 

That’s the basics of what made their relationship work, in the end. They were different enough to complement each other but at the same time shared enough characteristics that they didn’t drive each other mad. Hizashi can only imagine how long Shouta would’ve been able to last in a relationship with a 100% optimistic Hizashi. It probably would have lasted a week, tops. Certainly not the 10 years that it had, 3 years of which married.

 

So, yeah. Going into the USJ Hizashi was hoping that all the kids are safe, the villains are all caught, and his husband is alive –he doesn’t bother hoping he’s uninjured, that’s just impossible, he was holding the line for so long with only Thirteen to help– While at the same time preparing for the worst-case scenario of all the kids being dead, the villains already gone, and his husband dead before even any of the kids were –cause he’d literally die before he let anything happen to them, doesn’t matter that he’s only had them for a week that’s just what he’s like, that’s why Hizashi fell in love with him in the first place

 

He tried to ignore the feeling of dread that immerged at the thought of the worst, but his emotions simply refused to be ignored. They were too loud, much like Hizashi was.

 

When he got there to see a good bunch of the kids alive and healthy, at least Hizashi knew point one of the worst-case scenario didn’t occur. Hopefully all the other students are still alive as well.

 

A giant teddy bear robot was vigilantly watching over the students by the entrance, it looked at them in suspicion before sighting Iida in their group. Upon the confirmation that they were affiliated with the students, it dropped its guard.

 

Shouta told him about these Teddydrum things ahead of time, that Midoriya kid broke his brain enough that Shouta felt the need to vent about him a lot, but wow. Hizashi still wasn’t prepared to actually see one in person.

 

The other teachers, who Shouta hadn’t even graced with any information at all, were even less prepared. But luckily the Principal, who was also informed by Shouta, got them to settle down with the knowledge that it belonged to the kid. Hound Dog and Midnight rounded up the students next to the entrance to calm them and get some info, while Snipe did reconnaissance.

 

Snipe’s first report was, “ ‘Tch, all that are left are minions. Can’t spot anyone that looks important or strong, and I think most of ‘em have been dealt with to some extent.” –second point of bad things that could happen confirmed– “There’s an unknown over in the mountain zone with some of the kiddos, but they aren’t interacting with ‘em in a way that suggests they’re a threat.” Even though he says that, his gun is still at ready, prepared to shoot at a moment’s notice.

 

“Kero,” the frog girl Asui perked up at that from her spot amongst her classmates. She walked over to stand nearby Snipe. “Does the person have pink hair?”

 

“Yes. Do you know who it is?” Snipe continued to watch the mountain zone without turning to Asui to ask his question.

 

“That’s Izu-chan’s puppet. He sent it out to find students that needed help.”

 

“We should move forward considering it to be safe for the students, then. Proceed with scoping out the area if you will Snipe,” Principal Nedzu’s command was polite and concise, even in these types of situations, the bear-dog-rat knew how to keep his cool.

 

Snipe nodded before turning his attention elsewhere. His next report was quieter, trying to avoid the notice of Asui and the students around them, “All Might’s lettin’ off a lot of steam. You might want to send someone over to cover him. He’s got a student with him, the pocket dimension kid– who also apparently owns teddy bear robots and puppets now.”

 

Snipe knew very well that the kid’s name is Midoriya, but he still called him that anyway. First impressions are hard to ignore, and with the robots and puppets added, Hizashi was pretty sure Snipe will never drop it now.

 

Nedzu quickly set out Cementoss. Snipe was quiet for a single confused beat before he asked, “ …You don’t happen to know if the penguin is his too, do you froggy?”

 

…Penguin?

 

“Yes,” she simply stated, “all three of them.”

 

What?

 

“Shit, there’s three of ‘em? I only spotted one of those little fellers and that’s already one too many,” Snipe responded incredulously.

 

“Don’t say that about them!” Asui raised her voice at that, clutching her hand to her chest, it was a stark difference from the calm demeanor she normally carries, “They all worked really hard to keep Izu-chan, Mineta, and me safe! Hearing you say things like that about them just cause they’re unusual is upsetting…”

 

The aforementioned Mineta sniffed, he’d just stopped crying, but added, “Those penguins are cool! They’re really weird… but still cool!”

 

“Alright. Sorry, my bad. I wasn’t thinkin’ about how you guys would feel at all, that’s on me,” Snipe rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment, “And you’re right, too. I guess the penguins did a better job of keeping some of you students safe than us at least…” He paused before giving a whistle of admiration. “Hot damn! Just spotted the other little fellers, those guys sure have a great haul there! Was that all from them?”

 

Asui nodded her head in acceptance of Snipe apology and answered, “No, kero. It was a combination of the two Teddydrums, the swordswoman puppet, and the penguins. Mineta and I helped a little, but only by throwing stuff into the water.”

 

“Right, right, of course. And there’s another robot too, and the puppet fights with swords, huh?” even with his words, Snipe did not sound like he thought that was an obvious situation to be in at all. He had a moment of silence that was broken with, “That other robot doesn’t look like it came out of its last fight too well off…”

 

“W-What happened to Teddydrum White?” Uraraka questioned with worry from her spot within the rest of the group.

 

Snipe didn’t answer. It put the students more on edge, but Hizashi had a feeling if he answered it would just make it worse.

 

Shouta did say his kids had already gotten attached to them, the white one in particular, Hizashi thought with a frown, They drove Shouta crazy, but I hope the kid can fix them. The little listeners don’t deserve to lose them over our failures– Midoriya doesn’t deserve it.

 

And Teddydrum White doesn’t deserve to be gone for good when it was just trying to do our job and protect the kids when we weren’t here to do it ourselves…

 

They really owed Midoriya’s weird-ass things…

 

Asui seemed to steel herself up for something, slightly straightening her frog-like posture, and marched right up to the small fuzzy principal.

 

“I have information you need to know that you probably don’t want to get out.”

 

That got Hizashi’s attention right off the bat.

 

It caught the Principal’s attention as well. He pulled the girl over a couple ways away to have a quiet conversation. When he returned to the main body of the staff, his face was still collected, but definitely grimmer than previously.

 

Oh no… No– where’s Shouta? Where is he?! Snipe hasn’t mentioned him at all, could he not see him from that angle? Asui had bad news, Shouta’s not accounted for, No

 

Nedzu’s orders were rapidly delivered with precision and power, “Power Loader, help the students here to the police outside. Present Mic, you’re coming to the central plaza with me. Snipe, stay here to help spot more students and direct them outside. Everyone else; half of you search for the remaining students while the other half detain the remaining villains– but try to avoid the section of the central plaza that will be closed off. Absolutely no one let the police enter until I give the okay.”

 

Shit. He was singled out. Nedzu’s telling them to avoid taking the students to a certain place, a place that he’s taking Hizashi to.

 

That could only mean–

 

But what’s the point of keeping the police out in that case–

 

Hizashi solemnly walked down the stairs with Nedzu. Their seemed to echo loudly through the building, like the lonely sound of grief.

 

He didn’t need to be told the news Asui had given, his damned intelligence could figure it out on its own, but he didn’t want it, it couldn’t be–   

 

Hizashi’s world blurred as tears filled his eyes. He was a loud guy, it practically defined his character, but all he could give right now were soft, reserved sobs.

 

He forced himself to keep going down the stairs one step at a time and tried to uselessly wipe the tears from his eyes as they came. His sunglasses were pushed off his face in his carelessness and landed on the stairs, but he couldn’t be bothered to pick them up. His free arm wrapped itself tightly around his body, trying to hold him up.

 

It didn’t matter that the sobs weren’t loud, they still shook him to his core.

 

“Hizashi,” Nedzu addressed him with intimacy now that they were alone –just more confirmation that Hizashi didn’t want– “You’re a smart man, and it’s clear that you’ve already figured out a portion of the news Asui had to share with me. As the principal of this school, I deeply apologize for your loss– ”

 

Hizashi’s crying hitched to be a little louder at that, he started trembling. It was hard to keep himself from right out falling down the stairs with his shaking limbs and loss of sight.

 

“ –This occurred due to UA’s too-laxed security. I had been informed by All Might just a moment ago, before we got word of the USJ break in, about the need to heighten security even more than we planned. I should have anticipated the need for this earlier. You and Shouta paid the price for my failings,” Nedzu words never wavered despite the heavy topic, “Thus, I will offer myself to Midoriya to take proper responsibility and make things right for your family.”

 

That statement caught Hizashi off guard, he couldn’t even tell what Nedzu was referring to. “W-What?” he was barely able to interrupt his quiet crying to ask. It came out more like a croak than a question.

 

“The other part of what Asui told me,” Nedzu looked Hizashi straight in his tear-filled eyes to convey his seriousness. “ …is that Midoriya went back to the plaza because he wanted to fix this…”

 

That’s when Nedzu told Hizashi about the kid’s crazy quirk, about the people with quirks who could “change fate”, and about the mystical Fruit of Fate that contained every person’s being and future. He told Hizashi about the price for changing fate, and the punishments that befell people for it. Hizashi could barely comprehend everything that the principal was saying, but by the end he had come to a decision on it anyway.

 

At some point during Nedzu’s monologue he wasn’t conscious of, the two of them had stopped in their tracks, just standing on a step together halfway down the long staircase. He began stepping down the stairs again. Nedzu followed his lead.

 

Hizashi was still crying, it had kept going throughout the entirety of when Nedzu was talking, but at least the hitching in his throat had died down enough that he could speak in sentences.

 

“O-Okay, admittedly I– only processed l-like half of what you said, a-at most…” he had to pause to sniff and his throat hurt as though he had been using his quirk, but he pushed on with his wavering anyway, “But– if a-anyone is… giving up like half their lifespan and– getting punished by fate or s-some shit– ” his voice broke a bit as his sobbing started hitching in his throat more, the last words he was trying to force out were a broken mess of syllables, “ –in an a-attempt to… use a quirk like a cult ritual and– revive my h-husband from the dead… then– it’s going to be me, dammit!”

 

“There’s no need, Hizashi. My love for Shouta as one of my trusted teachers as well as a beloved former student of UA should be suffi– ”

 

“No! N-No, I don’t care!” his voice became unintentionally louder as he made his point, it helped him push down hitches of his crying, “I already promised to share m-my life with him when… we said our vows– I didn’t know you could mean it this way, but now that I do, I-I do mean it this way! And I don’t want you to do this cause– I don’t blame you, and I know Shouta won’t blame you! I– We’d rather you save your Fruit or… whatever for one of the teachers that– might not have someone like me in their life l-like Shouta does…”

 

His words dissolved into hiccups and he couldn’t speak anymore. He rubbed at his eyes, maybe the hope of getting Shouta back would stop the tears.

 

But they just kept falling.

 

It’s not like he’s not happy that this isn’t the end for Shouta, he’s relieved that he’ll be okay and Hizashi won’t have to go his whole life void of the man he loves, but– It’s just so hard to fully believe in that kind of promise, to believe in that kind of power. It’s something that should never be able to exist in this world, like it’s too good to be true.

 

And although he gets a second chance, it doesn’t change that Shouta died in the first place

 

Nedzu stares at him for a long while, before nodding his head in silent agreement to his wishes.

 

It wasn’t the time to keep crying, he needed to pull himself together. Not only will he be in the company of other people, but one of them is a student– seeing his teacher sobbing uncontrollably will probably freak him out. Hizashi covered his eyes with his hand, forcing himself to breath in, and out, in strong bursts to calm himself down.

 

Arriving at the central plaza, they’re met with the sight of an area that’s been sectioned off with a cement wall, and a depressed looking Cementoss and Midoriya standing by it. Cementoss has the air of a man that’s waiting to get his job for the day done so that he can go home and allow himself the chance to cry out his emotional build up. And Midoriya, with his red-eyes, had clearly been crying at some point. The kid eyed him like he’s never seen evidence of a teacher crying in his entire life, which, well– is actually a possibility.

 

From a shaded area of the cement wall, Hizashi could see the powered down All Might stick his head out of the shadows for a bit, and then move to join them.

 

Cementoss places a blocky hand on Hizashi’s shoulder, he spoke with a tender, quiet tone, “It seems you already know. Yamada… I’m so sorry… You– I know you won’t want to hear this, but maybe you should avoid seeing the body. It was… quite damaged.”

 

That caused his voice to hitch with the sharp intake of air he breathed in at hearing those words –Oh, Shouta…

 

“I– Thanks, Cementoss. But I want to see him anyway– I need to see him…”

 

Cementoss just nodded his head with empathy, and after a single squeeze of Hizashi’s shoulder, let his hand fall back down to his side.

 

“Thank you for your quick thinking, Cementoss. I doubt this is a sight we want to expose the children to…” Nedzu glanced at Midoriya and amended his statement, “At least, anymore then they already have been, at this point.”

 

“However… there are some abnormal circumstances that we will be dealing with for Aizawa’s death. Frankly speaking, he is not going to stay dead... I will explain everything to you about how this can occur later. For now, I need you to keep what you’ve seen to yourself, as only select teachers and members of the police force will be aware of what is going on, and I need you to keep people from venturing past the wall.”

 

Even though Nedzu’s small stature made it necessary for people to look down at him to maintain eye contact, the air he gave off when he said these impossible to believe words to Cementoss suggested things were the other way around. He was trying to enforce that he should not be doubted about this despite its impossibility.

 

Predictably, Cementoss stared at Nedzu with incomprehension, jaw hanging a bit ajar– but his trust in the Principal allowed him to put aside the fact Nedzu was implying that they were going to bring the dead back to life and focus on his orders instead.

 

“A-Alright,” he nodded his head hesitantly, “Do you… need me to give you some privacy?”

 

“That would probably be for the best, yes.”

 

Once Cementoss had been sent to a position close by the wall but not in sight of the group, Nedzu asked Midoriya if he needed to be close to the body for… whatever he was going to do, and after he responded by saying he needed to be in the same vicinity but didn’t need to transport it with him and didn’t need to be next to it – something about how it was the soul that mattered and not the physical body, Hizashi doesn’t know he barely understood a word of what the little listener said at this point– the Principal decided to avoid putting the boy through more trauma and ordered for him to transport them while away from Shouta’s body, on the side of the wall they were now.

 

Before getting to that, though, he allowed Hizashi to see Shouta alone.

 

He had to let out more painfully quiet sobs. The sight was simply too painful, too horrible, for him to not.

 

Hizashi threw off the support gear he wore around his neck to help direct his quirk, so that he could hang his head over Shouta as he held him and looked over him. Hizashi knew this would be the image he saw in his nightmares for the rest of his life, the sight of Shouta’s perfect head crushed and broken, Shouta’s beautiful black hair stained in red with bits of white skull piercing out. His nose and forehead had been crushed flat, deforming his features, and the blood covering his pale skin and dark hair had begun to dry, turning brown and to crust on Shouta’s skin and tangle his soft hair.

 

Shouta’s beautiful eyes were closed. Would they really be able to open again?

 

But he had to see it. He refused to ignore that this tradgey had happened to his husband. It was Hizashi’s duty to carry this memory for the rest of his life in respect to Shouta’s dedication and pain.

 

With how awful he felt, he couldn’t even imagine having to see this and accept it as proof that Shouta was gone forever. Though when cradling the limp Shouta in his arms as he knelt on the hard, concrete ground, it was also hard to believe that he wasn’t gone forever.

 

He forced himself to stop his crying again. He refused to waste time.

 

When Hizashi was gone, Nedzu had taken the opportunity to explain Hizashi’s relationship with Shouta and his offering, but Hizashi had to state it to the kid himself. He needed his own words to help ground the fact that Hizashi was going to help fix this

 

“I don’t care what you need, little listener. I don’t care what you need me to give, I’ll give you everything if that’s what it takes! I don’t care that the universe itself is apparently going to punish me for this! I love Shouta, and I’ll do anything to keep him in this world…” Hizashi’s eye, no longer hidden behind colored lenses, looked his student for all of one week straight in his eyes as he declared his conviction.

 

Midoriya’s green eyes were haunting as they started into Hizashi. He nodded his head once.

 

Throughout the short time that Hizashi had known the kid, he always seemed a bit skittish, eager to please, and reserved rather than outgoing– It’s part of what made Shouta’s explanation of how the kid casually brought out a giant teddy bear robot in class seem especially unrealistic and strange.

 

The student that he was looking at now, though, was nothing like that. Instead, Midoriya carried himself with confident posture, unrelenting eye contact, and a voice that was steady and heavy with conviction.

 

It was like he possessed a sense of authority that refused to be ignored.

 

“There’s no need to give everything, I’ll only take half. You seem like the kind of person that loves very strongly, Mic-sensei, so I have no doubt about your stance. It’s clear that you know what it means to love, that you know what it means to literally share your life with someone… So, since that’s the case– ”

 

A crystal marble appeared in the boy’s palm. He flicked it up into the air in the center of their group with his thumb.

 

Let Us Share the Fruit of Fate!

 

The crystal burst into shards and rained down on top of them.

 

When Hizashi glanced around just a second later, the scenery had changed. There was a castle made of crystal, a white tile floor, and what seemed to be a dome made of crystal with a ceiling above their heads that reached the heavens.

 

But the most notable thing was the modern looking white train in front of them.

 

They were standing on a white platform, as though they were in downtown Tokyo waiting to board their normal commute line. The train only had one passenger car, which was attached to the car holding the engine. In the driver’s area, a penguin wearing a crown was at the controls preparing for boarding. The front car was at the end of the track, and the rails trailed off into the distance backwards, maybe reaching the edge of the crystal dome.

 

“This,” Midoriya spoke with an air befitting of the majestic red cloak around his shoulders and the shining crown he wore on top of his curly head, “is the Train of Fate. It will take us to the final destination of Aizawa Shouta’s fate, where the remains of his Fruit of Fate reside.”

 

He individually looked over All Might, Nedzu, and Hizashi for a moment. “Once you get on this train, you must not get off until we have returned to the Crystal World. If you get off before then, your Fruit of Fate will be lost, and you will die. Do all of you understand this?”

 

They all nodded firmly, taking the warning to heart.

 

“Good. Then it’s time to board.”

 

Midoriya’s cloak bellowed behind him as he led the way into the train. As soon as they were all on, the car jolted and began to move backwards. It gained speed until it was at its full throttle, the world outside blurred as they approached the wall of the dome surrounding them.

 

They passed through the wall as if there was nothing there, and all that was left surrounding them was pitch black darkness. Hizashi felt like if he took even one step into it, he might fall into oblivion and be lost forever.

 

As Nedzu looked out the window, he said, “I assume this is the area where we will die if we walk out into.”

 

Midoriya nodded. “That’s correct.”

 

That was all that was said for some time. Hizashi doesn’t know how long the trip took. He’s not even sure if time works in this place. But eventually the train began to slow down.

 

Midoriya pointed out the window in the door that would have connected the train car to an adjacent one. “Aizawa Shouta is in that train car down the line.”

 

Hizashi ran over and gazed out. Immerging from the dark, a small, abandoned train car that looked exactly like their own came into view. He leaned against the door and stared at it, hope building in his chest. He refused to lose sight of the place his husband was waiting for him.

 

Soon, they were right next to it. Hizashi could hear a click from the cars attaching below, but somehow they were able to continue moving closer– all the way until Shouta’s car was directly connected to the theirs. Only once that occurred, did Midoriya open the door and gracefully gesture that the rest could enter.

 

The lighting in the car was darkened, like a bedroom at night, with only a single dim spotlight to lightly illuminate the area. It shined down on the center of the car, where a pink bed lay. Within the soft cushions and plush pillows was the form of his husband; Not as the battered body he had only just seen, but as a normal, healthy Shouta. There wasn’t a mark on his head, his curtain of black hair draped around his head without a single drop of blood to be seen.

 

“Shouta!”

 

He ran to Shouta’s side and held his hand between both of his own. Hizashi stared at him, trying to ingrain the image of him whole and healthy, though still without his eyes open, into his brain.

 

“It’s time, Mic-sensei.”

 

A black gloved hand took hold of Hizashi’s chin. His head was forced to turn away from Shouta to lean forward and look into the haunting green eyes of Midoriya. His right hand disappeared into Hizashi’s chest. It grabbed something, and when Midoriya pulled it out, it held an apple that glittered such a perfect, extraordinary gold color, that it could only be a thing of legend– the Fruit of Fate

 

“Yamada Hizashi, you are a hero who sings joy into people’s lives, and yet, fate has abandoned the person that you love. Thus, it has abandoned you. There is no appealing to fate, no begging will grant you mercy.” Hizashi’s Fruit floated up into the air from Midoriya’s palm. It spun around its axis in the air of its own accord. “In the eyes of death and the gods, every person is equal, no one is safe or to be spared; whether it is a child who has yet to even learn what it means to live, or a hero who has saved many lives like your husband– it will take who it wants, as early as it wants, by the decree of fate’s whims. There is no way to change that… but as the Prince of the Crystal, I can change this.”

 

The Prince spread the fingers of his right hand apart, and the Fruit of Fate split in half with a crack. Hizashi gasped when he felt it echoed through his torso. Midoriya didn’t even look at the pieces as he plucked one from the air with his right hand, and with his left hand still holding Hizashi’s face, placed it back within Hizashi’s chest.

 

The Prince then gently guided Hizashi to release Shouta’s hands and stand back. “Please give me some space for this next part. Don’t worry, your husband will return to you soon.”

 

Hizashi relented, moving to stand by All Might and Nedzu who were next to the red cushioned seats on the other side of the bed, granting them a perfect view of both Shouta and Midoriya standing by his bedside. He had completely forgotten they were still here. Their eyes intently watched the boy next to the bed as though they were observing the birth of a legend.

 

The Prince plucked Hizashi’s Fruit of Fate from the air, grasping it tight with his fingers.

 

“Aizawa Shouta,” the Prince wove his word together like a royal decree as he focused his green eyes on the still unmoving Shouta, “You are a hero who strives to efficiently protect those within your reach in every way possible; whether it be by teaching children the cruel realities of life, or by using your body to shield them from the blows of murderers. You are a hero and a teacher who sacrificed his life for his students, a true hero in every sense of the word. A knight in shining armor.”

 

The Prince leaned down over the bed to cradle the side of Shouta’s face. With the spotlight just over the two of them and the boy’s princely outfit, Hizashi could help but liken the sight to a play– where the charming prince of the story prepares to waken the cursed beautiful princess.

 

His face was directly over the other’s and he stared intensely at Shouta’s eyelids, as though he could somehow make eye contact even with them closed.

 

“Fate has decided for that to be your final act, for you to become a tragic hero. To never come to learn what kind of people the children you died for were, or to watch as they grow into the people and heroes that they are meant to be. To never age alongside your love, or build a full and fulfilled life together.”

 

The Prince’s red cloak started blowing up around him as though wind was running through the train. Gently at first, but it grew more vigorous over time.

 

The Fruit of Fate in his hand gave off a glowing light that was eventually so bright, it was like the Prince was holding a small sun in his hand. It out shined even the spotlight, illuminating the entirety of the previously dim train car. Hizashi couldn’t look at it without his eyes hurting from the brightness. It cut its way through the darkness of the void around them.

 

The emerald green of the Prince’s eyes seemed to glow, and he laid the Fruit of Fate tight against Shouta’s chest. But the Fruit failed to pass through.

 

Instead, it shined over the both of them like a holy light from heaven.

 

“Fate has decided that now is the time to take you to your final destination,” The Prince’s decree muted into a whisper. Despite its quiet volume, his voice still resounded throughout the train, “But I will not let it keep you, fair knight. Accept the love and sacrifice of this person who loves you, accept the life that he is sharing with you, and let him anchor you to the land of the living.”

 

The Prince of the Crystal closed his eyes and softly kissed the top of Shouta’s forehead, and finally, his right hand and the Fruit of Fate within its grasp slipped into Shouta’s chest.

 

Its light failed to go out, though. Somehow it could even be seen from the inside of Shouta’s body– like a star had taken the place of his soul. The red cloak fluttered and fanned around the Prince and the knight, acting as the back curtain to the performance playing out in front of their eyes.

 

A contrasting spot of black appeared in Shouta’s chest as well, dark as the void around them had been. The golden light brushed against it, and the two swirled together– Yin and Yang circling in an endless cycle of dark and light, of death and life.

 

Hizashi was almost afraid the black might darken the light of the Fruit, but it didn’t.

 

The light spread into the black spot, igniting life where there was once death, and once all the black vanished. The light stopped spinning. Throughout the entire magic spell, the Prince continued to cradle the knight’s face and kiss his brow.

 

The full star settled itself in the place where Shouta’s heart resided.

 

All at once, the light dimmed until there was nothing left. The room had once again become dim with only Shouta’s body being clearly lit. At the same time, the bellowing of the red cloak slowly died, and it floated down to rest once more at the Prince’s back and on his shoulders.

 

Only then did the Prince remove his hand from Shouta’s chest. He lifted his lips and hand from Shouta’s face, raising his head to straighten his body and stand back from the bed. In a movement filled with great purpose, the Prince raised his arms up and clapped his hands together once.

 

The train started moving again. This time heading forward.

 

Shouta groaned, and his eyes fluttered open.

 

“Where…”

 

“Shouta!”

 

His voice, groggy with sleep, was cut off by Hizashi’s loud wail. Hizashi stumbled to his husband’s side and brought him into a tight hug.

 

He knelt on the bed covers, legs giving out, and pressed his face hard against Shouta’s chest, where Hizashi’s miracle had just occurred. His next cries were a mess of quiet and broken words, “Shouta– Shouta, oh God, you came back to me, you’re aliveI was so scared– Please don’t leave me again, please– ”

 

As Hizashi’s tears wet the front of Shouta’s shirt, Shouta carefully wrapped his arms around Hizashi and gently rubbed his back. His husband whispered back, “It’s alright. I’m okay. I’m here now, it’s alright…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hizashi was barely lucid throughout their trip back. Shouta wasn’t even graced with the explanation that one of his students, that his “problem child”, had revived him from the dead. He had been too busy holding Hizashi, and none of the others dared to intrude.

 

They were back in the Prince’s Crystal World and were all directed off the Train of Fate onto the platform. The once the group, with the addition of Shouta, were guided out, Midoriya brought them back to reality with the words, “And so it is Done”

 

When they reappeared in the USJ, they were all around where Shouta’s body once lay on the other side of the cement wall. While Shouta was still flat on the ground with his eyes shut, he was in perfect condition. His eyes opened again.

 

Hizashi dropped to kneel beside him, taking one of his hands to hold within both of his own.

 

SHOU– !Why is his quirk on?!

 

Hizashi’s Voice blasted all over the USJ without his support gear to funnel it. Shouta reflexively winced at the loudness for a single second before relaxing his face again, and he was sure the other three must have done the same. He felt the vibrations of his quirk rumble the ground beneath them.

 

A portion of the glass ceiling above their heads, near where the Nomu had been punted through, shattered from the harsh vibrations and rained down on them in glinting shards.

 

A single glass shard, thin but long, fell alongside the rest. Its pointed end was as sharp as a fine knife.

 

And it shot straight down from the heavens to pierce precisely into Shouta’s open left eye

 

The pained, visceral scream that tore out of his husband’s throat will appear in Hizashi’s nightmares, together with the image of his corpse.

Chapter Text

When Shouta woke up again, he was laying down in UA’s infirmary. His eye blinked open to the sight of the light fixture above his patient bed and his husband’s teary face leaning over above, with his sad eyes clear to gaze into without his sunglasses blocking them and his long blond hair left down to drape over Shouta.

 

Upon noticing his awakening, Hizashi opened his mouth to speak, but immediately snapped it shut with a clench of his jaw. His lips pressed together tightly, and instead of talking he rested his head against Shouta’s chest and wove his arms around him– like Hizashi had when Shouta first woke up on that train. It prompted Shouta’s memory of the words Hizashi had spoken then–

 

“Shouta– Shouta, oh God, you came back to me, you’re alive– I was so scared– Please don’t leave me again, please– ”

 

Shouta felt his own teeth clench as he cradled the back of his husband’s head and upper body, holding Hizashi even closer to himself.

 

Hizashi continued to repress any sounds he made. Even though Shouta knew he was crying and could feel his chest becoming wet with his tears, could feel Hizashi’s body jerking with his sobs, and could hear the whimpers stuck in his throat– Hizashi never let them leave his lips.

 

It was only then that he realized that he was missing half of his field of vision. The distinctive feel of bandages and padding pressed against his left eye.

 

“Hizashi…” Shouta spoke softly, trying to comfort him, “What’s wrong, why are you forcing yourself to stay quiet?”

 

The fact that Shouta could clearly remember his head being crushed in by the hands of that monster Nomu but had still somehow woken up again, and in what was clearly a train in the pocket dimension of his problem child, could wait. His memory of the agonizing pain from his head as he felt his skull collapse in on itself from the intense pressure of its hands before everything cut to black could wait.

 

Whenever there wasn’t serious hero work to be done, Hizashi’s pain came first. Always.

 

One of the arms surrounding his body released itself to move Hizashi’s hand to where Shouta could see it. He did his best to sign with only one hand, It’s not safe. My quirk is always on now.

 

“Wha– How?” –Oh, Hizashi… Shouta knows they can get by on signing fine, but to not be able to speak without worrying he’d hurt someone with his quirk– It’s just like when he was conscientious about accidently giving his parents partial deafness as an infant, but even worse–

 

“I think I can explain for him dearie,” the aged voice of Recovery Girl inserted itself into their conversation. She appeared from her work desk, which was hidden on the side of the room cut off by Shouta’s reduced vision. “There’s a lot you need to be told about, but I’ll start off by assuring you that the school is updating Yamada’s support gear so that it could contain his quirk and let him speak without problems. He’ll also be getting some non-heavy-duty gear that will be more convenient to use when off work.”

 

That helped Shouta to relieve some of the tension in his body, but he was still tightly wound up. He knew Hizashi would still be bothered by his quirk even with those safety measures. At the very least, it shouldn’t totally hinder Hizashi’s life and career now though.

 

He let out a sigh, saying, “Thanks for the support…”

 

“Oh, dearie, this is nothing to thank us for. Nedzu wouldn’t have settled for anything less, and he still feels that he’s not done enough to help you. From his point of view, he believes that the deficiency in security which lead to this situation was his responsibility…”

 

With that, Recovery Girl got into her explanation for the events that had occurred–

 

How the students all made it out fine, but Shouta hadn’t.

 

How All Might arrived and took down the Nomu with the help of Teddydrum White, who was completely destroyed in the process, and… Midoriya’s penguin who was “made in the image of” All Might –Shouta really doesn’t want to know, but it’s his job as the boy’s teacher to follow up and learn what the hell that was about, goddammit why…

 

How Midoriya can also apparently revive dead people because his quirk wasn’t the fucking pocket dimension, that’s just something else he can do because of a book, God knows why– his quirk was actually being able to manipulate “the culmination of people’s entire being, life, and fate” which just happens to take the form of a fruit cause God knows why, again– and the book helped enhance his quirk to the point where he could take half of a one person’s lifespan, stick it in a dead person, and all of a sudden that person was now alive again. How Midoriya was what he called a “Child of Fate”…

 

–He knew that Midoriya would be the problem child, but now Shouta can officially award him the title of being the Number One problem child. No other student will ever be able to top this bullshit, ever. And it’s only been the boy’s first week

 

How Hizashi was the one to give up half his life –and he wants to scream at him for that, why, why would he give up his life, and so much of it, why, but also can’t because he knows the pain Hizashi was in and the remnants of his husband’s tears have yet to dry.

 

And finally, how both him and Hizashi were punished by fate for this second chance…

 

Aizawa-Yamada Hizashi:

 

Transfer Punishment, one half Fruit of Fate – Quirk constitutively active, this leads to Aizawa-Yamada Shouta’s punishment

 

 

Aizawa-Yamada Shouta:

 

Transfer Punishment, one half Fruit of Fate – Accident with Aizawa-Yamada Hizashi’s quirk leads to blindness of left eye

 

That’s apparently what was written in the problem child’s “Penguindrum”.

 

“I’m sorry to say that there was no way to save your eye, dearie. The glass shard that hit it was just the right size to completely cut through the entire width of the eye, and having to clear the tissue that got pushed into your brain cavity complicated the matter further. Even with my quirk, there was just no way to fix it… ”

 

Shouta didn’t really know how to feel about his permanent half blindness. Logically, it’s concerning for his work in that his quirk will only be half as effective with half his range of vision removed. His depth perception will also be affected.

 

But in terms of emotional distress outside of the phantom sensation of pain he still feels from that moment when his eye was impaled, he’s mostly just worried about Hizashi’s outlook on this…

 

Hizashi, who had stopped crying by that point but was still red-eyed, hitched his breath at those words, sniffling. There was agony in his eyes as he straightened himself off Shouta’s body to sign with both hands, I’m so sorry, Shouta. It’s my fault your–

 

“No. It’s not,” Shouta immediately cut him off with unyielding words. He sat himself up and took both of his husband’s hands within his own. Out of the corner of his good eye he noticed Recovery Girl left to give them some privacy.

 

“I’m not one to blame anything on something like “fate”, usually, but if we are to believe that Midoriya’s powers are literally connected to fate, then fate is what’s clearly at fault. And even if there is no such thing as fate– ” which is what Shouta was personally inclined to believe, but it seemed like that kind of thinking wouldn’t last long around his “I-Bring-People-Back-To-Life” problem child “ –then it was still a freak accident. There’s no way you could’ve known that your quirk would be active.”

 

Shouta guided Hizashi’s hands up to his face to gently kiss the knuckles on both his hands, he saw that Hizashi was finally able to give a small smile at that.

 

His next words were as gentle as his kisses, he wasn’t usually good at comforting or sweet talk, but he tried his best for this, “Please don’t blame yourself for this… Not only is it illogical but knowing that you’re in pain about it is– it hurts. I don’t blame you for this, so try not to carry the blame on your shoulders, okay?”

 

Shouta leaned towards Hizashi to kiss one of his cheeks, right where they were still wet from the previous tears. “How about you just do what everyone else does, and complain about how fate is a bitch?”

 

Hizashi snorted in response, smile curling up just a bit more, and signed, I thought you hated when people did that?

 

“Oh, I do. But I’ll make an exception. This time it’s the truth– fate was obviously being a bitch.”

 

At that, Hizashi had to put his hand over his mouth to keep his snickers as quiet as possible. Shouta would like hearing his laugh more if Hizashi didn’t have to worry about wrecking the infirmary, but at this point, even just being able to force a laugh from Hizashi with everything that had occurred was a win in his book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

UA gave all the students a few days off as it worked to upgrade its security and manage the different changes they were planning to implement.

 

The first thing Izuku did once he got the chance to was confront Momoka. He refused to settle for the vagueness she had given him last time– a hero, his teacher, had died for him and his death might have been avoided if Momoka had given more information. The Prince of the Crystal refused to accept her silence.

 

Momoka had respected that enough to tell him of her storybook.

 

“It’s a book I wasn’t able to use when I had been the owner of the Penguindrum,” she explained using Izuku’s voice, in her hands was the dull, golden colored book that he had seen her reading before, “I tried to make a book that would write out important events that would happen in the future, but the only thing I got was this blank book. The physical copy is actually still stored on the shelves here in the library. The day before the villain’s attack, I saw that my version of the book that’s stored here in the mirror with me had glowed for a moment, and the book had written a fairytale style set up for the event– but the outcome for it hadn’t been written. The physical book is still blank though, I asked Izu-pingu to check it.”

 

It seemed that she really had no idea about the details as to what would happen, or even who Shigaraki was or what the Nomu was.

 

Izuku hadn’t forgotten her silence about the Witch though. Momoka-san hardly ever lies, so lies by omission are her forte.

 

During that same trip to his world, Izuku had visited Teddydrum White. His parts had returned to the Workshop automatically upon Izuku transporting himself for sharing Hizashi’s Fruit of Fate. The clockwork mechanisms of the tools and machines within the Workshop had already begun putting the Teddydrum back together. But the repair process was lengthy due to how wrecked the robot had been.

 

Izuku had stood next to Teddydrum Black, who was sitting in mourning outside the window looking into the major repair bay. He pushed down his tears and consoled his healthy and whole Teddydrum with a hug that was miniscule compared to the size of the robot.

 

He also confessed his guilt, “I-I’m sorry… Teddydrum White got so h-hurt because he was trying to help us… he must hate that he died for it.”

 

Teddydrum Black slowly shook its head at that statement and held him closer with his large arms.

 

Izuku knew why it felt that way, Momoka had once said that the Teddydrums were made in the image of the stuffed animal companions their designs imitated; they were the protectors and comforters of their master, the Child they had been made for and gifted to– the owner of the Penguindrum. They happily lived and died for their owner, it was the purpose of their existence.

 

Izuku can’t help but wonder if it was wrong of Momoka to design beings for an existence such as that. They were like slaves in a way, but didn’t even think of it as that because it made them happy.

 

But if they were built to gain happiness from their servitude for the convenience of their owner, were they really “happy”?

 

Izuku didn’t know the answer to that. All he can do is be a good owner to them, to love them and hug them close for both their comfort and his own, like a good child that treats his teddy bears with care and sleeps with them in his arms at night.

 

He passed by the treasury and thanked the Champion of the Rose Bride for its hard work at the USJ– Izuku had heard that it saved Yaoyorozu, Jirou, and Kaminari from a lingering villain, his electric attacks absolutely useless against the unliving mannequin. He had also asked it to station itself at the Dueling Area in case an emergency like the USJ occurs again and he takes a villain to the arena to battle, but that it could leave to guard the treasury if there was a need for it. It acquiesced easily with a solid nod.

 

Izuku had once thought that the Champion was built similarly to the Teddydrums, but apparently it actually had the ability to choose whether it wanted to obey the Penguindrum’s owner. Momoka said that the storybook character she had made it in the image of wasn’t the type of person who would follow someone who was unworthy of leading her, and thus the Champion of the Rose Bride was the same.

 

Izuku didn’t know how the Champion had come to decide he was worthy, but he felt proud that he had managed to earn its respect and loyalty.

 

Izuku’s last stop was the Penguin Exhibit, and it was there that he discovered something concerning. Inside the penguins’ second igloo, which was always closed shut and seemed inaccessible to them, there was a new penguin sleeping…

 

If it could even be called a penguin– really it was more like an abomination of nature; a mixture of a black and white penguin-shaped body and flippers, a mammalian snout, ears that looked like they belonged on a bear, a long and thin white tail, white paws instead of webbed feet.

 

“Summon: Momoka’s Hand Mirror!”

 

When the mirror appeared in the palm of his hand, Izuku banged on the glass to catch her attention. Once Izuku’s image with pink eyes appeared in the frame he yelled, “Momoka-san! Why is there a bear-dog-rat-penguin in the empty igloo?!”

 

He pressed the mirror directly into the viewing window to show her the aforementioned bear-dog-rat-penguin.

 

“Ah, I see… I didn’t think this would be likely to happen, but you are a Prince that is full of surprises. Isn’t your principal a bear-dog-rat thing? I suppose it’s off putting to see all those traits added to a penguin…”

 

“He shouldn’t have a penguin in the first place!” Izuku insisted sharply, he brought the mirror back from the window to look at Momoka’s cool expression, “He’s not a Child of Fate– the stem on his Fruit is as brown as they come, I saw it myself! Why does he have a penguin?!”

 

Momoka eyed Izuku with scrutiny, but her voice was monotone when she replied, “This igloo is where the penguins of Potential Children of Fate sleep.”

 

Shock ran through his system as he blinked at his image, “ …Potential Children of Fate?”

 

Momoka nodded. “That’s right. I never told you about them, because they’re actually rarer to come across than normal Children of Fate. Your father had never met one himself.”

 

Her eyes glanced in the direction of the igloo.

 

“They are people who have quirks that cannot affect the Fruit of Fate but have the potential to, through some sort of specific circumstance, get a normal Child of Fate to use their quirk– Thus allowing them to change fate with their quirk through the use of the other Child’s quirk. Once that happens, they become an actual Child of Fate and face punishment for it. Their penguin also wakes up at that time.”

 

Izuku narrowed his eyes at Principal Nedzu’s penguin as he filed through his memory of hero quirks.

 

“The principal’s quirk, High Spec, gives him intelligence that surpasses human intelligence…” he muttered with a heavy tone, “So– if you consider everything that he thinks or plans as a product of his quirk, then you could claim that if he devised a strategy that manipulated a Child of Fate into using their quirk– then that might count as his quirk manipulating them…”

 

Izuku sighed at that, “Really, that’s only a technicality though!”

 

“As if fate cares about whether something is a “technicality”. It meets the requirements, so it makes him a Potential Child of Fate.”

 

Izuku just sighed once again, trying to ignore the encroaching nervousness he felt at the sight of the Principal’s sleeping penguin.

 

Once he left the Crystal World, Izuku went to his mother, who had been patiently waiting for him to finish what he needed to do and prepare himself for their talk. With her, he vented out some of the emotions that had welled up through all of the pandemonium.

 

He had told his mother about Momoka’s warning, about the villains, about how his homeroom teacher had died, about how he had used another teacher’s life to bring him back, and how they were punished for it. She had held him tight in her arms through his whole story without interrupting once, and when he was done she had told him how sorry she was that Izuku had to go through such horrors, how proud she was of him for keeping himself and his classmates safe, how she was sure his teachers were enjoying the miracle that he granted them right that very moment–

 

“You did good, Izuku,” Mom had whispered in broken words while she hugged him tight into her chest, “You did so good. He’s still here because of that. Please try to remember that– when you remember what you saw…”

 

Shouta-sensei face down on the ground, blood everywhere around him, Fruit of Fate gone, how could this have happened–  

 

Izuku held his mother even tighter as that image repeated itself in his mind. It mixed with his memory of that fateful day he was supposed to die; his memory of the pain in his chest at being unable to breath, his choked drowning as his sight faded to darkness.

 

Izuku may be alive, but death’s touch lurked in his mind. The guillotine of fate that had come down upon his neck was not forgotten. And the missing presence of Midoriya Hizashi would most certainly never be forgotten by this household as well.

 

On the last day before Izuku was to head back to classes, Toshinori visited him at his home.

 

“How are you doing, my boy?” Toshinori gazed at him with fond but sad eyes. His posture was crouched even more in on himself than usual as he sat on the sofa next to Izuku.

 

“I-I’m still feeling sort of out of it, I guess…” Izuku frowned down at his knees, brows furrowed in grief. “Teddydrum White’s still in the middle of being fixed… And I can’t stop remembering– ” he cut himself off abruptly, swallowing the words along with the image.

 

“I see, I had thought it would be something like that,” Toshinori sighed as he placed his warm hand on Izuku’s shoulder, “That’s actually part of the reason why I came over… You see, the school wants you and your classmates Asui and Mineta to have at least one counseling session concerning what you saw.”

 

That was logical, but Izuku still blinked in surprise. “But… I thought they didn’t want us talking about how Shouta-sensei– died?” he managed to force the word out this time.

 

Only select people from the police force were told the full story of the USJ, including the detective Tsukauchi Naomasa who had already been in the know about Izuku’s quirk as Toshinori’s close friend. The rest of Izuku’s classmates, and even most of the teachers, were kept in the dark.

 

Toshinori looked caught off guard by the way Izuku addressed his homeroom teacher but didn’t comment on the matter, instead heading right into the information he wanted to impart on Izuku.

 

“Yes, but it would be negligent of us to just force you to never discuss your thoughts on the matter with professionals to help you work through the trauma it caused. Principal Nedzu has carefully vetted professional counselors for the students for this exact purpose, seeing that the heroic course students become exposed to these sorts of things once they get involved with fieldwork.”

 

Toshinori’s hand squeezed his shoulder firmly and he slightly bowed his head towards Izuku in a plea, “Will you consent to openly discussing your troubles with one of these counselors, young Midoriya? I feel like that will help you immensely…”

 

Izuku stayed silent. Conductor had turned itself on at Toshinori’s physical contact, and he let his eyes stray towards the man’s chest– his Fruit was still the same as he saw it throughout the trip on the Train of Fate.

 

“I will…” he answered, but followed up with, “But Toshinori-san… do you think that you could– find someone to talk to also? It doesn’t have to be a counselor, or me– but…”

 

Toshinori stared at him questioningly for a moment, before realization dulled his sunken eyes.

 

“My Fruit of Fate… it’s gotten worse, hasn’t it?” his voice sounded so weary.

 

Izuku deactivated Conductor and nodded sadly. “Not only is it down to one half now, but… the poisoning grew. Only the bottom fourth of the Fruit is uncovered.”

 

Toshinori breathed out deeply, then explained, “During the fight with the Nomu I had to push my quirk passed its limits to get around the being’s shock absorption. It reduced my time down to 3 hours, where I was at before the transfer…”

 

The man had to look away from Izuku as he continued, “And… there was really no getting around the poison increasing– frankly speaking, right now… I hate myself quite a lot.”

 

Pain shot through Izuku at hearing those words come from his favorite hero and the person he was growing close to. In a jerky movement, he grabbed Toshinori’s arm to direct his attention back to him. “You– You shouldn’t think of yourself like that, Toshinori-san! That’s–”

 

“I know it’s not healthy, my boy…” Toshinori’s eyes were pained as he looked down at him. “But I just can’t help feeling like that now. You and I both know that Aizawa didn’t have to go through such a horrible fate, and he and Present Mic –who I didn’t even know was his husband– wouldn’t be facing consequences for changing it, if I had just listened to you–”

 

He swiftly gestured his hand towards Izuku. “You literally told me just the day before that one of the problems I had was that I didn’t leave enough things to others, that I didn’t delegate hero work and put it all on myself because I wanted to be the who did it. And that’s exactly what I did the day of the USJ!” his voiced was raised by the last sentence, his anger at himself breaking through.

 

Toshinori rubbed one hand down his face, frustration mounting, and gazed a blank but broken stare down at the floor.

 

“I was so focused on saving other people, even when other heroes could’ve handled it themselves, because I wanted to, that I couldn’t even be there to save the people –my students, my colleagues– who needed me…”

 

Izuku grimaced and replied, “That’s… technically true, but– there’s a lot of things that could have gone differently. Maybe I could have done something if I wasn’t so caught up with wiping out the villains that were after us. Hell, even just the school deciding to have you attend only the first hour of the USJ instead of showing up later would have changed everything. So many options, so many paths– But none of them happened. They were all just meaningless regrets and wishes for what “could have been”, in the end. Everything turned out like this instead. And that…”

 

His left hand tipped Toshinori’s chin over so the man was facing him and leaning down towards him, like a parody of that day he changed Toshinori’s Fruit of Fate. Toshinori’s sunken eyes still seemed just as lost as they were on that day. Izuku’s eyes were the same piercing green that they had been on that day.

 

“That’s precisely what fate is. That’s precisely what fate meansDon’t forget this as you go forward to the destination of your fate, wherever it may be, All Might…”

Chapter Text

The first day of school after the USJ villain attack, two notable things got every student from class 1-A’s immediate attention; Shouta-sensei showed up with a medical eyepatch covering where is left eye used to be. And Mineta was missing.

 

Izuku was surprised by neither of these things.

 

“My eye was a casualty of the villain attack. There will be no questioning about it. Also, there was a new development with Present Mic’s quirk that now requires him to use his support gear to better regulate his quirk. There will be no questioning about that either,” was Shouta’s quick dismissal of the first of these things. It was met with tense silence, everyone looking over him in worry but not willing to disrespect their teacher’s wishes. Izuku glazed at Shouta sadly, but the man wouldn’t make eye contact with him.

 

The second required more explanation, “Mineta dropped out of the hero course of his own volition and is now in general education. However, all of you should note that his behavior was unacceptable, and I would have dropped him from the class regardless. He has agreed to the school’s requirement that he take anti-sexual harassment training and counseling, that he is required to fully pass, in exchange for continuing his UA education.”

 

The exasperation and anger his single eye conveyed said that although Mineta may still be at UA, the man would never, ever permit him the opportunity to join the hero course again.

 

Izuku almost wished he was there to see the look on Shouta-sensei’s face after he had been told about Mineta groping a student during a villain attack. Izuku made sure to report it with Tsu-chan’s approval, so the man must’ve been told about it at some point.

 

“Huh?!” Kaminari exclaimed in shock, “I mean– not about the other stuff but, why did he want to drop out?!”

 

Shouta carefully did not look at Izuku or Tsuyu.

 

“He, along with a couple other of your fellow classmates, saw a disturbing level of violence produced by the most dangerous of the villains, and upon self-reflection decided that he wouldn’t be able to handle dealing with that type of experience for his everyday job.”

 

Their teacher paused for a moment to slowly look every student in the eye before he continued, “Frankly speaking, that was a very smart and practical decision for him to make. While the job may seem glamorous, being a pro hero requires an extremely high amount of mental fortitude for those kinds of horrible sights and actions– It’s most definitely not a job everyone is capable of, even disregarding the potential of a person’s quirk. It doesn’t matter if your quirk is well-suited for heroics if you can’t stomach the possibility of death and maiming being inflicted on either yourself or other people.”

 

Shouta gently tapped his eye patch with his index finger.

 

“This occurrence was a mistake on the school’s part, but since it happened take this lesson to heart. A lot worse may happen to you during the course of your pro hero career than losing an eye, and you will see a lot worse happen to other people, whether they be civilians, other pros, or villains. If you don’t think you can handle that– drop out of the course now and find a different career path.”

 

Izuku glanced at Tsuyu, who glanced back at him as well. They were obviously thinking of the same thing, had the same images and words haunting their minds.

 

Izuku knew that worse might happen to him, he’s already died once without even being a hero. But he has no plans on wasting the Fruit his father gave him– he’s going to survive and become a hero who changes that sort of fate for others.  

 

He has already changed that fate for his teacher…

 

“But in any case, there’s another piece of important news you guys need to be reminded of.” Shouta narrowed his eye at them. “The UA Sports Festival is approaching…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the initial confusion as to why the school was continuing with the Sports Festival despite the recent villain attack had passed, everyone was hyped about it.

 

Ochako-chan especially –the others all seemed shocked at her fervor, but Izuku had always known that there was a frightening girl hidden underneath her bubbly exterior. Really, every else should have paid more attention to the kind of logical reasoning that would be required to come up with swinging a foundational support pillar around as a sound battle tactic for a class mock fight.

 

Izuku was walking with Ochako, Iida, and Tsuyu to lunch and had just finished learning about Ochako’s desire to become a hero so she could financially support her parents, when Shouta unenthusiastically requested for him to eat lunch together to discuss something.

 

Thus, Izuku parted ways with his friends to head to a private conference room with Shouta. Hizashi was already in the room with some steaming plates of Lunch Rush’s food and green tea. His support gear had been altered to include a transparent orange-tinted plastic covering that enclosed most of his face, starting from his matching sunglasses and curving over his nose, then reaching back towards his iconic headphones and over his chin. It was connected to his regular support gear with various large tubes.

 

The man himself seemed to have improved his mood quite a bit since the last time Izuku saw him –which wasn’t that hard to beat, seeing as his husband had literally died, been revived, and then maimed the last time Izuku saw him– because he stood up to greet Izuku with a bright and genuine smile. He was holding cups in both of his hands.

 

“Hey, there’s my favorite listener!” the sound came from the speakers on his gear instead of directly from his mouth, it must have been filtering his quirk Voice to make it quieter, “I never got the chance to thank you for what you did for Shouta and me, so…” Hizashi’s smile lessened in intensity, but showcased soft fondness instead. “Thank you, Midoriya… I really don’t know what I would’ve done without– without your miracle…”

 

Hizashi passed off one of the cups of tea to Shouta, who was discreetly observing the emotional moment, to plant his fingerless-gloved hand on Izuku’s head to ruffle his curls. Shouta sipped at his tea without comment.

 

The physical contact triggered the selective activation of Conductor, and Izuku was shocked to see that the half Fruit of Fate inside his teacher’s chest was darkened at the core by the thick purple of poison.

 

That definitely wasn’t there before, Izuku made sure to check this time. Is it just because his punishment affected his quirk or… is it something more? He’ll have to see what he can do about this later.  

 

While still feeling residual concern, Izuku also felt himself become lighter with happiness at both Hizashi’s words and actions. He accepted the affection with a bashful smile.

 

“T-There’s really no need to thank me, Hizashi-sensei. There was no way I would’ve let things end like that for Shouta-sensei– ”

 

A spit-take from his homeroom teacher cut him off, the man choked on his green tea. Izuku swerved his head towards him in worry.

 

“A-Are you alright, Shouta-sensei?!”

 

The man audibly choked on air this time, he was looking at Izuku like he had no idea what to do with him.

 

Instead of showing concern for his husband, Hizashi blinked at Izuku in surprise for a moment. The surprise transformed into a slightly mischievous grin. While the lower half of his face was stuck behind plastic, it didn’t seem to hinder his exaggerated facial expressions at all.

 

“Oh– so we’re Hizashi-sensei and Shouta-sensei now, huh little listener? Are you always this forward with the people you use that quirk of yours on?” His hair was ruffled more after those words.

 

Izuku stared dumbly for a second. Then his entire freckled face promptly heated to a bright red.

 

“Ah! I-I’m so sorry! That was so rude of me, I just– After handling a person’s Fruit of Fate I just really feel personally connected with them, you know? I’m sorry, I’ll try not to– ”

 

Shouta held out his hand to stop his aimless rambling, exasperation clear in his expression. “Stick to last names in public and you can use whatever you want when referring to us in private. Got it?”

 

“G-Got it! Shouta-sensei!”

 

Izuku tried to straighten up to instill confidence in his ability to avoid using their personal names in class, but Shouta’s single black eye looking over him in doubt made it clear that he wasn’t succeeding.

 

Hizashi patted his head once and removed his hand to gesture at him. “Yeah! It’s no problem as long as you keep it quiet kid. You’re our favorite student now you know! Call me Hizashi-sensei to your heart’s content!”

 

Shouta side-eyed his husband at that.

 

“What?! Don’t give me that look Shouta, I don’t care if he’s your “problem child”– he raised you from the grave! It’s practically illegal for him not to be your favorite now!”

 

“Teachers aren’t supposed to have favorites,” was the monotone reply.

 

Hizashi rolled his eyes. “That’s why we’ll only be showing favoritism in private. I know you like to stick to your guns but come on! Under these extraordinary circumstances, you have to admit that now is the time to make an exception.”

 

Shouta, predictably, admitted nothing. Instead he dismissed the conversation by stating, “We’re moving on to the other reasons why Midoriya is here now…”

 

He plopped himself down in a chair and indicated that Izuku should do the same. Izuku and Hizashi both followed his lead and started to casually munch on their food.

 

“First of all, Midoriya, I need you to write me a comprehensive list of everything you can do. And I mean everything,” Shouta stared at Izuku intensely to emphasize that last word.

 

Izuku glanced away in thought, then asked with hesitation, “Does… that include stuff that I don’t know how to do?”

 

His teacher gave a long sigh and responded with, “…What exactly do you mean by stuff you don’t know how to do?”

 

“I mean– ” Izuku awkwardly tried to find the right words to explain his, but then figured that starting from the beginning was the best way to do it, “Everything about the Penguindrum was created by the quirk of the first Penguindrum owner, Momoka, who is still inside the Crystal World to this day in her mirror. Momoka-san made several abilities that she refers to as “spells” and other things for the owner to use, but I don’t know how to use all of them yet because I need to figure out how they all work.”

 

Izuku stared at the table and leaned on his hand with his elbow supporting him as he vented, “The information about the spells are scattered throughout different books in the library, so I have to comb through tons of books to look for scraps of info. Also, the only information there is are the descriptions on what they’re supposed to do, there’s absolutely nothing on how I actually do it or what I need to say to activate the spell. Asking Momoka is worse than useless, so I just have to figure those things out on my own. It’s the same for using any of the items she made and stored in the treasury.”

 

Izuku sighed and exclaimed, “Not only that, but there’s a bunch of stuff that’s not useful! For example, there’s a spell that lets you play ballroom music in any area that isn’t the ballroom –which has its own orchestra and doesn’t need it– There’s also stuff that’s probably down right illegal to use– Honestly, what was Momoka-san thinking when she made a love potion that’s essentially a date rape drug– ”  

 

“I think I get the point.” Shouta’s dry words interrupted Izuku’s frustrated muttering, “Write a list on everything you can currently do or use. Then write a separate one on the things you are actively trying to learn.”

 

Rubbing the back of his bead in embarrassment, Izuku ducked his chin in slightly. “O-Oh, okay. Sorry about going on like that…”

 

Hizashi waved his hand at him. “Don’t worry about it. Sounds like you’re having a crazy time with that thing, huh?”

 

Izuku simply sighed and nodded his head at that.

 

“Secondly,” Shouta continued, “You need to prepare your speech for the Sports Festival.”

 

…What?

 

“It doesn’t have to be long. Actually, I would personally prefer if you were concise about it, as opposed to what you did just now. I can give you some past speeches as references if you need them.”

 

Izuku blinked at his teacher a bit.

 

“I… I have a speech?!” Then his hero nerd knowledge slapped him in the face and he yelled, “Oh God! I was first in the practical entrance exam! I have a speech!

 

Hizashi bodily laughed at his panic. “A-Are you– Ha! Are you seriously afraid to give a speech?! What happened to that dashing prince who performed an enchanting soliloquy about fate and death before bringing his fair knight of a teacher back to life by kissing his forehead?!

 

With a dramatic arm gesture the man emphasized from his slightly tinny-sounding speakers, “How can you be so eloquent and bold but still be nervous about this kind of stuff?!”

 

Shouta narrowed his eye at his husband. “I’m sorry– he brought me back to life by what?

 

“Ah…” Hizashi’s chuckles stopped as he cleared his throat, his arm retracted to bring his fist up to the part of the face-covering over his mouth. “Don’t worry about it darling…”

 

He took one look at the awkward and blushing Izuku and decided to abandon that line of questioning. “Anyway– write whatever shit you want about fate for your speech, but try to keep it positive and motivating and don’t turn into Hamlet on stage, and you’ll be fine Midoriya.”

 

He says that like doing all those things at once is easy for Izuku; A positive and motivating speech involving fate? By him? Without acting like a Shakespearean actor? Is that even possible?!

 

“R-Right…” Izuku suddenly remembered something. “Speaking of fate… do you think you can help me set up an appointment to talk to the Principal, Shouta-sensei? I need to tell him something important that involves both him and my quirk.”

 

“That doesn’t sound ominous at all,” Shouta’s words were filled with sarcasm. The he sighed –he’s probably going to be doing that a lot when dealing with everything concerning Izuku– and affirmed, “I can set one up, yeah. I’ll try to schedule it sometime tomorrow.”

 

“Thanks, Shouta-sensei!” Izuku felt relived to be able to get that out of the way soon.

 

“I’m just doing my job. Now, last but not least…”

 

Shouta gently grasped Izuku’s shoulder. While there was only one half of a Fruit in his chest, it was pure gold all around.

 

“Thanks for the save back there, hero-in-training…” he didn’t smile at Izuku, but his expression softened along with his words.

 

Izuku stared at his teacher with wide green eyes, before a huge smile lit up his face.

 

He still felt sadness when thinking of the fate his teacher had gone through, and the punishments the two of them face– but now, he also felt warm when thinking about how he had helped them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Wha– What’s going on?!” Ochako cried at the sight of the random crowd of students milling about in front of classroom 1-A’s doorway.

 

“There’s no way out with all of them in the way like that. What are they all here for?” Kirishima tilted his head to the side in thought as he looked towards Kacchan.

 

Previously Izuku would’ve been worried for the boy about his attempts to strike up a friendship with “Out-Of-My-Way-Extras!” Bakugou, but throughout the day Kacchan had been fairly tolerant towards the sharp-toothed boy. They had been stuck together during the USJ, so maybe Kacchan had come to some sort of agreement with him during that time.

 

Kacchan only glanced at Kirishima for a second before refocusing his sight on the crowd and walking towards the door. “They’re here to check out the competition, shitty hair. We’re the kids who survived a villain attack, so they want to get a look before the Sports Festival,” he growled, “Doesn’t matter though. Out of my way, extras!

 

Guess somethings never change, at least he doesn’t call his classmates extras anymore…

 

Iida snapped a knife hand gesture towards Kacchan. “Please refrain from referring to strangers as extras!”

 

“It’s true, we came to get a look, but you’re being a little full of yourself aren’t you?,” a deep voice rang out from the crowd, “Are all the kids in the hero course like you?”

 

A tall boy with striking purple hair moved to the front of the group. The eyebags under his eyes looked even worse than Shouta-sensei’s. He blatantly ignored Iida and Izuku’s shaking heads at their denial of his question, and continued with, “If that’s all you guys have to offer, I’m a little disappointed. There’s quite a lot of kids that didn’t make it into the heroics course that are in gen ed and other courses. Depending on the outcome of the festival, we might have the chance to transfer into heroics– ”

 

He boldly gazed around at all of Izuku’s classmates, especially focusing his attention on the riled-up form of Kacchan. “This class already has a spot open, doesn’t it? Word travels fast for that kind of thing. And the reverse is also possible for you guys… Scoping out the competition? For a general education student like me– this is the perfect opportunity to knock you off your pedestals.”

 

With narrowed piercing eyes, the challenger finished with, “Consider this a declaration of war.”

 

…What?  

 

“Hey, I’m from class 1-B next door!” a loud voice yelled. The student that popped out of the crowd had unique looking eyes, gray hair, and sharpened teeth similar to Kirishima’s. “I heard you guys fought some villains, so I wanted to find out more– but all I’m seeing is this arrogant bastard here!”

 

What…

 

“You better not make fools of the heroics course at the Festival!”

 

What is this bullshit

 

Shouta-sensei didn’t die for this bullshit

 

“I’m sorry, did I just hear you guys right?” Izuku made his way to stand beside Kacchan, who took one glance at his face and promptly sidestepped to give him the floor. Izuku wasn’t sure what he saw, his facial expression felt blank right now, but whatever it was it made him back off.

 

“You want to “knock us off our pedestals”? You want to find out more about us, about the villain attack, but decided that one student out of nineteen was enough to tell you about the kind of people we are?” his words had no inflections to showcase the anger that built inside of him. Izuku eyed not only the two outspoken students, but all of the group impeding his classmates’ way around the door.

 

“Well… if you really wanted to learn more about the villain attack, then none of you guys have seen our homeroom teacher, Eraserhead, yet– have you?”

 

The tired looking general education student stiffened at the mention of Shouta’s hero name and took the bait, “What happened to Eraserhead? I heard he came out okay…”

 

So he’s paying attention to Shouta-sensei for some reason. The hero name seemed notable to him, so maybe he’s a fan. If he is, he has to be quite dedicated seeing that Shouta-sensei’s an underground hero. It’s hard finding info on them.

 

Maybe Izuku shouldn’t say this then, but if the guy really wants to join heroics…

 

“He’s okay, yeah, but he’s also missing his left eye.” Izuku pointed at his own eye to increase the weight of his words. “They couldn’t fix it. He’s half blind now.”

 

The student’s tired-eyes widened in shock as he involuntarily stumbled back a step. The class 1-B student looked at him with wide eyes and a slacked jaw.

 

Not a single word was spoken by the crowd behind them.

 

Definitely a fan then, Izuku thought dismissively. He then turned on Conductor and got a look at the two; the class 1-B kid was doing fine, but the general education kid had what could almost be considered a halo of fire around the top of his Fruit of Fate. He figured there would be something like that, another person to add to his list to watch over…

 

Turning off his father’s quirk, Izuku still didn’t change his expression– but his eyes bore into them all intensely.

 

“Our “pedestals” was a traumatic event that ended with our teacher being permanently maimed.” –and dead– “Don’t make fools of the heroics course? You’re the ones who are acting like fools– ” He slowly swept his arm out with a dramatic flair to gesture to the entirety of the group. “–treating a villain attack like it was a play where we were the main stars acting as flashy heroes!”

 

Izuku made eye contact with the general education student for this next part. Even though the other was much taller than him, he wouldn’t let himself be looked down upon. The still wide-eyes didn’t look away from Izuku’s attention, but could only gaze back in shock.

 

“There was a moment, when it looked like our teacher was dead” –when he was dead– “Do you want to know what the leader of the villains said to me, and my friend, and the guy who transferred to general education, when we saw him?” Izuku’s words were quiet, but easily heard over the silence, “He said Is this your guys’ first time seeing a dead body? Those of you that I leave alive should get used to the sight, if you really aim to be so called heroes.

 

Those words tolled through the boy in front of him, as well as the rest of the crowd, just like it had through Izuku and the others on that day Shouta-sensei was supposed to die.

 

“Maybe all of you should think about that, if you also aim to become heroes.”

 

Tension thickened the air. Izuku wasn’t even sure if the boy in front of him was breathing anymore, he looked like he was in shock. No one from the crowd or the 1-A students dared to break the silence.

 

Until someone did.

 

“Alright first years, let’s break it up! I think that’s enough excitement for one day, yeah?”

 

A smiling blond haired, beady blue eyed boy cut his way through the crowd to stand in front of the doorway. His broad frame easily pushed its way in. He must be an older student, probably a third-year if Izuku had to guess.

 

He turned his back on Izuku to wave away the crowd. “Everyone that’s not from 1-A stop loitering around now. Go on– shoo, shoo!”

 

The majority of the group practically ran at his dismissal, scattering like fleeing rats. The boy from 1-B ducked his head in shame and took his leave without another word, and the gen ed student finally blinked the shock out of his system to divert his eyes from Izuku and slink away in quiet contemplation.

 

The smiling older boy turned around to face Izuku, towering over him unintentionally, saying, “So, you must be Midoriya Izuku! Sir said you had a way with words, but wow! That was pretty brutal– you should find a way to make money off of that! Haha!”

 

Izuku’s anger was extinguished by a wave of confusion. “Uh… Thanks? You know Nighteye, then?”

 

“Oh yeah, I’ve been interning with Sir since last year. I’m Togata Mirio! He told me about you so I wanted to get the chance to talk, but it doesn’t seem like now would be a good time so– ” He rummaged through his backpack to find a spare piece of paper and a pen, and quickly wrote a string of numbers out. He thrust the paper towards Izuku. “ –Call me at your convenience, okay?”

 

After some hesitation, Izuku delicately plucked the paper from his outstretched hand. “O-Okay?”

 

“Great!” Togata gave him an All Might-esque thumbs up and large grin combo, then swerved around to swiftly walk away. As he left he called out, “I look forward to hearing from you, Midoriya-kun!”

 

Class 1-A continued its silence until Ashido seemed unable to contain herself any longer, “Was that third-year trying to score a date with Midoriya?!”

 

Izuku gave off a choking sound at that. He frantically waved his hands in denial. “N-No! We have a mutual acquaintance, that’s all!”

 

“That acquaintance is Sir Nighteye, correct? All Might’s former sidekick…” Iida cupped his chin in thought. “Come to think of it, you also said All Might personally visited you to tell you about your counseling too. What sort of relationship do you have with All Might-sensei, Midoriya-kun?”

 

He froze like a deer caught in headlights. “O-Oh, uh…” Izuku glanced around looking for an excuse to form in the air, before he mental slapped himself out of his nervous stupidity to say the obvious lie-based-on-truth answer, “Last year All Might saved me from a villain, and we just kept in touch.” Or he tried to save him at least…

 

“Really?!” Sero inserted himself into the conversation, “Everything about you seems so wild, Midoriya! Like– you act completely normal most of the time, then suddenly you bring out your teddy bear robots or penguins –which I totally want to see for myself one day! Or you verbally eviscerate an entire crowd of other students! We can never guess what’s gonna come out of you next…”

 

He gave a wide and unique-looking grin. “All that just now was really heavy, but– it sort of makes me excited to hear what you do for your speech, you know? I think you’ll really blow it out of the water!”

 

“Kero. I think so too, Izu-chan.” Tsuyu gently held onto Izuku’s arm in a calming gesture. Her Fruit was gold as it had been before the USJ. “You’ll blow it out of the water just like your Teddybombs.”

 

“Midoriya has Teddybombs too?!” Jirou asked incredulously.

 

His classmates’ relaxed chatter flowed over Izuku as they all prepared to leave now that no one was blocking their way. Izuku let himself relax with it. Maybe the Sports Festival and his speech won’t be so bad after all?

 

Then he headed back to the Crystal World, to see that a penguin with large, dark eyebags was sleeping next to Principal Nedzu’s, and remembered that fate can never let things stay simple.

Chapter Text

Toshinori heard through the grapevine about the… confrontation that occurred between the first-years around class 1-A and was not surprised one bit to hear that said confrontation featured young Midoriya. Toshinori of all people knew that the Prince’s words were just as good of a weapon as his robots or spells, he simply chose to use them to help people work through their problems instead of punishing them for their failings.

 

Though in this case, perhaps he was doing both– Aizawa did say that he was right to disillusion the other students about the fame the villain attack had given 1-A, and that it would save them time by weeding out those who couldn’t handle hero work while helping to mentally prepare those who could handle it. Did the boy do that on purpose or is he just naturally prone to this sort of work?

 

Toshinori also got to be a fly on the wall for Midoriya and the Principal’s conversation the day after, where he learned about Nedzu being a Potential Child of Fate, and that one of the general education students was one as well. Midoriya insisted that they had to put some sort of safety net in place to prevent both that student and any other possible Potential Children of Fate that may be among the first-years from accidentally triggering their own downfall. Nedzu assured him that he would comb through the first-year students and their quirks, and see if he could send them specific instructions on what they should avoid doing. He also said that he himself would avoid planning actions that may cause his own transformation into a full Child of Fate.

 

After Midoriya left, Toshinori got to have his own conversation.

 

“Nedzu… were you actively planning on me taking a student from UA to be my successor and pass down my quirk, because if that’s the case then… I don’t know.” Toshinori held one hand to the side of his face in frustration. “I have no idea whether or not that would be enough to qualify as “getting me to use my quirk” …It’s all very vague.”

 

The Principal hummed in agreement and responded, “I would imagine that there is a certain amount of leeway. Technically speaking, my plan every year for the practical entrance exam and all the coursework is to have the students use their quirks to their fullest potential, but Midoriya Izuku’s participation in these things was not enough to damn me. Though, it probably would have been different if I planned for his revival of Aizawa…”

 

Nedzu swiveled in his chair to gaze out his wall of windows, looking over the school grounds. He steepled his paws underneath his chin.

 

“I’m thankful Midoriya granted me permission to see him use that aspect of his quirk… but also quite intrigued by what I saw. It’s almost as if his powers and the Fruit of Fate are metaphors come to life; A prince who awakens people from the sleep of death with a kiss, an apple that is forbidden to touch at the cost of punishment by the gods– like the original sin of the Christian faith. Quirks have always been seen as purely biological abilities, but with Children of Fate… it’s like they transcend that bodily limit and reach the metaphysical realm of the universe.”

 

The bear-dog-rat glanced his head back towards Toshinori. “What do you think of the word "fate"? Does the concept of fate exist in reality? To put it simply, are people's futures set in stone when they are born, never to be challenged? Do you believe in such a rule? Even beyond that, do you believe in souls? In God? Humans have always glossed over these questions by dismissing them with either blind faith in concepts that the truth could not be ascertained for, or blunt refusal of the existence of things that could not be proved.”

 

“But now…” Nedzu’s tone was filled with wonder, like a scientist who had discovered a previously unknown entity in the world, “Now, there is something concrete to those questions! One might say that it’s still speculation to conclude that fate exists, that Midoriya’s quirk and the Fruit of Fate are actually acting on some biological or physical level to cause these events– Even with that dissent, this is still strong proof that the concepts of fate, souls, and God all actually exist. So where do you stand on these questions, Yagi?”

 

“I… have no idea,” Toshinori sighed, “When I was young, I never believed in fate even after meeting Shimura-sensei. To me, our meeting wasn’t fate, it was an opportunity. Then, when I went after All of One and after I heard the future Nighteye foresaw for me… I guess I believed in it to some extent. Not that everything that happens is a product of it, but that the end of my life, that my battling All for One, were things decided by destiny.”

 

He averted his eyes from the Principle to look down at his chest, where he knew his poisoned Fruit lie though he was unable to see it. “Now… It seems like the impossible is happening every day, and it’s taking all my energy to just keep myself from drowning in it all, let alone try to further examine the truth behind souls and fate. I’d rather just take everything as it comes.” He looked back up to Nedzu to suggest, “Young Midoriya would surely be a good person to discuss this with though.”

 

“Oh, most definitely!” Nedzu set his gaze back out the window. “But while I don’t know the entirety of his answers to those questions, I do know this; That boy believes in fate, in souls, and maybe even in God. How can he not, when he can simply reach inside his own chest with his palm to feel their existence for himself?”

 

Nedzu’s right paw grasped at his chest and he looked down at it, just as Toshinori had. His next words were quiet, but still loud enough that he knew that he was meant to hear them, “…I wonder what he would have seen in me, if I didn’t have a quirk that increased my intelligence– He’s never mentioned the Fruit of Fate being in animals, right?”

 

Toshinori blinked at that. “T-That’s right, I hadn’t thought of that… He didn’t seem surprised that you had one though, so perhaps they do?”

 

“Perhaps… or perhaps he’s not surprised that I was able to get one with the quirk that I have. The original sin of humanity described by Christianity was taking an apple from the Tree of Knowledge, you know. That awareness of “what is good” and “what is evil” might have damned Adam and Eve more than their disobedience of God. Of course, different monotheistic religions interpret the Tree of Knowledge differently, so I suppose that’s no basis for proof…”

 

Nedzu looked back up at Toshinori, finishing the talk with, “Don’t worry about whether taking a successor from UA will lead to my damnation or not, Toshinori. That’s something that could be considered later. The first thing you need to decide is whether you plan to pass it on at all.”

 

Because he still hasn’t even decided on that, has he?

 

This led to Toshinori staring at his phone in apprehension. He’d been putting off this meeting for way too long now –he’s starting to sense a theme with how he handles issues in his personal life– but now the thought of talking about One for All is even more off putting, after having witnessed fate’s control over life firsthand.

 

Eventually, he was able to bring himself to press the button for Gran Torino’s contact.

 

“We need to talk more about… those Fruit I previously discussed with you, as well as the future of my  quirk, can we meet sometime before the Sports Festival?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two weeks leading up to the Sports Festival were filled to the brim for Izuku with stuff to get done.

 

After talking it over with Momoka, the queen of dramatic speeches who had taught everything Izuku and Izuku’s father knew about monologuing and soliloquies, he was actually capable of making a shortish speech that wasn’t too heavy on fate –but it still had fate in it cause that’s just how Izuku works– and was somewhat positive and motivating. He gave up on not turning into Hamlet though.

 

The day after the confrontation, the rowdy boy from 1-B came back over to their class at the end of school to introduce himself as Tetsutetsu Tetsutetsu and give an equally rowdy, but sincere, apology to the class. Kirishima immediately forgave him on behalf of the rest of them, and the two bonded over “manliness”. A concept that, despite being male himself, Izuku has never really gotten behind.

 

Shortly after that, a presumably informed Cementoss thanked him for helping Shouta. Then Midnight, surprisingly, did the same. She filled him in on the fact that she’d been classmates with both Hizashi and Shouta, and was thus friends with them throughout their adult lives as well, which was why they had been allowed to tell her what happened. It was nice to know the two had co-workers looking out for them.

 

He followed up on his promise to Tsuyu to explain how he brought their teacher back to life, and she somehow managed to take all the impossible information about the Fruit of Fate and Children of Fate without freaking out or losing her composure at all. Izuku was thoroughly impressed, but when he told her as such, she just said that she’s learned to accept that nothing is impossible when it comes to Izuku.

 

“To be honest… when you first told me you would fix the situation with Sensei, I couldn’t believe it at all. Kero,” Tsuyu explained with the frankness she was known for, “But– when you looked at me so intensely and pleaded with me so genuinely to accept it… it really conveyed that your intentions were true and serious. So I trusted you and your words despite not having a single idea as to how you would make them the truth.”

 

Tsuyu gave him a small smile and said, “Thank you for keeping your promise to me, Izu-chan, and thank you for keeping your promise to help Aizawa-sensei. I’m glad that I put my trust in you…”

 

Izuku cried a bit after that, but Tsu-chan accepted his tears with good grace.

 

He also intended on explaining things to Mineta –while also explaining that the boy really had to fix himself as a person– but Mineta declined, saying that he would rather not know the details behind how Izuku seemed to go against fundamental laws of the universe. He did promise that he would take his anti-sexual harassment training seriously–  so that Izuku would never again feel the need to feed him to the penguins.

 

Guess seeing Little Might spear people through the gut really left a lasting impression on him…

 

He attended a counseling session with a soft spoken and kind woman, who had already been filled in on the details as to what happened at the USJ and even the role his father’s quirk played in it. She explained that the school wanted him to be able to fully confess any problems he had about it. To that, he conceded that he sometimes still had nightmares about his own death as well, and they planned to have a follow up session where he could talk more about that subject.

 

After rehashing all the thoughts he had about Shouta-sensei’s death, Izuku wasn’t sure if he was feeling better per say, but his mind did feel clearer.

 

Izuku made good on his promise to call Togata, and they texted throughout the two weeks. They were only able to meet up once due to their busy schedules with the impending Sports Festival, but Izuku made sure to put that time to good use and subtly investigated Nighteye’s state of mind. Based on Togata’s testimony, it seemed that his attitude had improved since transferring a third of his Fruit to Toshinori, but he was still reluctant to use his quirk. His Fruit must still be frozen around the core then…

 

Togata’s Fruit of Fate was a pure gold –though Izuku has come to learn that doesn’t always mean there’s nothing hidden inside– and he claimed that his belief that a hero should save both people’s hearts as well as their lives was inherited from Sir Nighteye. Izuku hadn’t looked into Nighteye’s Fruit to see that for himself, but it would make sense that any trusted sidekick of All Might’s would have that kind of perspective towards hero work.

 

He also stated that his hero name, Lemillion, comes from his desire to save a million people as a hero– since it’s impossible to save everyone. Izuku appreciated that sort of practical optimism, but couldn’t help but wonder what Togata’s actual reaction to failing to save a person would be.

 

The boy seemed very much like Toshinori –which was probably why Nighteye took him on in the first place– and from Izuku’s experience with the man… being like Toshinori was both a good thing and a really bad thing depending on which of his traits were being examined. It made him wonder if Togata was fated to have a Fruit that was poisoned by his own good intentions to match Toshinori’s…

 

And also…

 

He was like Toshinori, and his quirk sounded so incredible– was Nighteye intending for him to succeed All Might? If he was, would the hero still consider passing down his quirk? Being a Child of Fate is not something to take lightly, they might end up damning the boy…

 

Izuku checked the Penguindrum after that meeting with Togata, his own punishment was still Pending.

 

Izuku checked in on his classmates; Everyone was still golden, except for the two problem Fruit of Fate…

 

Kacchan’s was still burning, but maybe died down a little due to his increased socialization with Kirishima –bless that boy’s pure soul and patience, Izuku was so glad he didn’t have to be the one actively helping Kacchan through his complex…

 

Todoroki’s was still as frozen solid as the icy tundra, and Izuku had to remind himself that it was rude to look into a person’s being and psychoanalyze their issues out of them when they were barely casual acquaintances. He’ll have to start interacting with the boy so that they could progress their relationship to the point where it would be okay.

 

He doesn’t think that’s exactly what Toshinori-san had in mind when he told Izuku to back off, but if there’s one thing he’s learned from Momoka-san besides monologuing– it’s how to find loop holes in people’s expectations to mercilessly exploit them.

 

Principal Nedzu updated Izuku on the Potential Children of Fate situation, saying that along with that gen ed student, he picked out another first-year in class 1-B whose quirk was extremely likely to make him a Potential Child of Fate. He sent explicit instructions to both of them on what they should avoid doing when it came to Izuku on the vague basis of a safety issue with Izuku’s quirk.

 

Teddydrum White’s repairs finished just the day before the Sports Festival, the Workshop having just barely finished on time. Everyone from the Crystal World, even Momoka in her Hand Mirror, gave a roaring welcome back to the robot. Izuku and Teddydrum Black especially made sure to freely give their affection, and Teddydrum White seemed absolutely ecstatic to hug Izuku gently within its giant metal arms and accept Teddydrum Black’s mock kisses to its cheeks.

 

He had been worried that Teddydrum White’s memory would be wiped after being rebuilt, but he still remembered the times it had played with Izuku as a child with Dad watching over in fondness. Izuku was beyond relieved by that– the Teddydrums have been his companions for far longer than his tenure as the Prince of the Crystal, losing that time with them would’ve been devastating…

 

Izuku managed to progress a little with his already known spells, but after the USJ he shifted his priorities. Bringing everyone out for the villains had been a little overkill for the shipwreck zone minions, but Teddydrum White on his own was only able to buy time for All Might and Little Might when it came to the big hitters. He needed to better coordinate them, like a king coordinating his chess pieces for maximum strategic affect. Making protocols and formations for when everyone based on whether they were outside or inside the Crystal World was his main concern during the time leading up to the festival.

 

Finally the day of anticipation arrived, and Izuku thought he had all his priorities lined up and accounted for– but a delayed issue reintroduced itself.

 

“Midoriya, objectively speaking… I have more raw power than you, but the range of abilities from your quirk is so vast, I can’t even tell how much is left that I don’t know about. It’s almost like you’re a completely unknown variable; there’s no way to tell how a fight with you would go,” Todoroki stated with his normal stoic manner in 1-A’s prep room.

 

Izuku blinked at Todoroki’s sudden conversation starter. He knew most of the other students werde doing the same, this was the first time they’ve spoken to each other. “U-Uh… That’s a fair assessment, yes.”

 

“All Might’s got his eye on you, right? You said it’s just because he saved you from a villain, but I think there might be more to it than that…” Izuku involuntarily jolted, and Todoroki certainly noticed, but didn’t mention it. “I’m not going to pry into it, I just wanted to say…”

 

His mis-matched eyes bore into Izuku, it made Izuku wonder if this was what it was like to be on the receiving end of his own stare.

 

I will beat you,” those words were heavy with conviction.

 

When put together with Todoroki’s soft hair and delicate facial features– he almost seemed like a prince, even with the scar marring half his face.

 

“A declaration of war from one of the strongest in the class!” Kaminari called with excitement.

 

“Hey, man, don’t pick a fight now! We’re about to go on…” Kirishima came up to Todoroki, but the prince-like boy rebuffed him.

 

“I don’t care, I’m not here to make friends…” Todoroki narrowed his eyes at Kirishima and shied away from the attempt to grab his shoulder.

 

Todoroki has an interest in him. He sensed an opportunity here but if Todoroki is reluctant to get close to others, some evasive maneuvering will be needed to help his Fruit– 

 

Izuku mentally shifted his priorities and set his bait, “Later you can pry into it, and into my quirk, if you’re curious. As for your declaration to beat me, well…” Izuku curled his lips into a half-grin. “My speech should answer what I think about that, so make sure to listen.”

 

Then, the Prince turned his back and walked towards the door, just a moment before a runner came to direct them to leave for the arena.And when Izuku felt Todokori’s lasting stare stay firmly on his back, he knew that the boy had been lured in.

 

He loved it when things worked out like that. He’ll have to do some last-minute changes to his speech to further catch Todoroki’s attention, but he’ll pull through.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The UA Sports Festival Stadium was enormous and Shouta could only watch from above as his problem child walked out onto the grassy field looking like he was one step away from dying of nerves.

 

He was seated in the commenter’s booth with Hizashi. This was a decision by the school that was not made without heavy consideration –after all the League of Villains were under the impression that he was dead– but the Principal ultimately decided that they needed to give a strong front by showing everyone that class 1-A’s homeroom teacher was fine and dandy for the most part. Also, the League might try to spread rumors that they had killed him –which they had– so showing him off now would put those to rest.

 

His husband speaking through his gear would cause too much feedback from the microphone, so instead the booth had a system for him to directly hook up his gear to the stadium’s speakers. He pulled the plug for it on his end to be able to speak privately to Shouta through the speakers on his gear, “You think Izuku’s gonna be alright on stage?”

 

Shouta side-eyed him with his one good eye. He was glad they had the foresight to place Hizashi on his right, the side with his working eye.

 

“What?! Don’t give me that, the kid’s calling me Hizashi so I can call him Izuku– that’s how it works!” Hizashi folded his arms to demonstrate his stubbornness.

 

Shouta sighed and discarded the idea of trying to sway his husband on the matter. “You’re the one who said that the soliloquy he gave while reviving me was theater-worthy, and the confrontation from before suggests that it wasn’t something he only does when he’s bringing people back to life, so…” Shouta shrugged his shoulders. “It’s up to how strong his immunity to stage fright is. And even if he bombs it, it won’t be the end of the world. He’ll be fine.”

 

Hizashi just hummed at that. He continued to look over Midoriya’s tiny form on the field with his brows creased in worry.

 

Hizashi was really starting to become a mother hen, maybe Shouta should ask him if he wants to adopt a kid? When they talked about it before he said he was okay with them being too focused on their hero work for one, but maybe now…

 

“To start us off, this year’s student representative Midoriya Izuku from class 1-A will be giving a few words of encouragement to his fellow first-years!” Nemuri pointed at Midoriya with her whip, and the boy shakily made his way to the stage.

 

Hizashi pulled at his arm in excitement. “It’s starting, Shouta, it’s starting! Do your best Izuku!” he cheered, ignoring the fact there was no way for the boy to hear him.

 

Shouta told Hizashi that Midoriya would be fine, but truthfully he also felt a bit worried when looking at the boy’s shaky legs.

 

Once he reached the center of the stage though, everything changed. Midoriya took a deep breath in, and when he breathed out, it seemed to release the tension from his body. He placed a hand over his chest, like he was grounding himself with his Fruit and soul, and stood strong in front of the microphone.

 

“Today, everyone here is aiming for the top,” Midoriya’s words were steady and composed as they passed through the speakers, “But despite all of us being on the same playing field, we are not all beginning from the same starting line. As a person whose quirk developed late in life, I can tell you from firsthand experience that there are people in our society that are told every day that, because of what quirk they have or their lack of a quirk, they have no future, and that they will never amount to anything…”

 

Did someone really tell him that? Shouta couldn’t help the anger that coursed through him. Objectively he knew favoritism based on people’s quirks was prominent, UA’s own practical entrance exam was a testament to that, but to outright discard a child’s potential to have any future at all like that…

 

“The people who told me that were wrong, though, the fact that I stand here now is proof of that.” He spread out his arms to emphasize his presence. “And I’m certain that they will be wrong about many others as well.”

 

“People don’t get to choose the quirk they are born with, or even if they have one at all. That’s something that is decided by fate. Some of you were born with quirks that people have told you are “good”, and that they will make you a good hero. Some of you were born with quirks that people have told you are “bad”, and that you wouldn’t be able to become a hero with them. But I think that neither of those things are true– I think that what leads to a person becoming a hero is how they use what they were given, quirk and everything else, and their conviction to go beyond the limits of what fate has granted them. Even if a person is born with a “good” quirk, in the end that doesn’t matter if they fail to follow through on their potential.”

 

Although Midoriya’s wording phrased these things as his opinions, the weight behind his voice made them sound like undeniable facts. He sounded nothing like the nervous mess the kid was usually.

 

“There is only one Number One hero, and there is only one first-place spot on the podium.” His arm gave a graceful gesture outwards as though the actual podium had already been placed on the field in front of them. “With all the competition at play, it may seem like an impossible thing to reach that first-place spot. And maybe the odds are already stacked against you, having been given a quirk that’s simply not as “powerful” as others on this field, but there’s something someone said to me once that I think fits here…”

 

Midoriya had a wide grin on his face as he clenched his right fist in front of him. His voice rang through the stadium, “May those who defy their fate be granted glory– Everyone here will have to fight for their glory today! Whether it’s for the glory of being recognized by our society, or for the glory of standing on that first-place podium. Show all the people of Japan your conviction and earn your glory, that’s what Plus Ultra means! So do your best, everyone!”

 

Right on que, the crowd of spectators and students gave a roaring round of applause. Next to him, Hizashi echoed them with his own applause and whistles. Midoriya gave a grand bow as though he was an actor who had finished his performance and gracefully walked off the stage. Many of the 1-A students patted him on the back as he made his way back to his spot.

 

Shouta hummed at the scene, “So that’s what the Prince of the Crystal is like, huh?”

 

Hizashi enthusiastically nodded beside him. “You got it!”

 

If there is one thing that Shouta knew for sure in that moment, it was that those people who told Midoriya that he “had no future” and “would never amount to anything” have probably never been more wrong in their entire lives.

Chapter Text

Izuku hoped that the preface he included in his speech about how his quirk mysteriously developed late would increase Todoroki’s interest in it enough to outright ask him about it, giving him an excuse to tell him about the Fruit of Fate –that would count as the boy approaching him about the subject technically, right?– But that was something to consider at a later time.

 

After his successful speech, Izuku felt ready to put his money where his mouth was and fight to earn his own glory. At first, an obstacle course seemed like the perfect starter to that.

 

As soon as Hizashi signaled the race had begun, Izuku popped back into the Crystal World to quickly hop on Teddydrum White’s back and pop back into the race. As they flew away, he could hear some of his classmates cry out in excitement at the sight of the robot, obviously glad to see that it was alright –It was Izuku’s intention to show off Teddydrum White to put his classmates at ease, so he was thankful that it seemed to work.

 

He could also hear the sounds of extreme confusion from the non-1-A students, but Izuku ignored that. It was only to be expected.

 

Even Hizashi seemed glad to see it. “Wow! Look at Midoriya go on top of Teddydrum White! That robot took a real beating during the villain attack, it’s good to see that it’s back in action! For those not in the know– Midoriya Izuku has a pocket dimension quirk that’s got a bunch of cool stuff in it! He got clearance to use all those things from there, right?”

 

“That’s correct. Everything that is naturally there is at his disposal,” was Shouta’s monotone response.

 

“AWESOME! It’s going to be a real crazy ride today then, folks, let me tell ya!”

 

Izuku directed the Teddydrum to fly high in the air, not so high that he would have problems breathing but just enough that they would be safe from any competitors or obstacles. Izuku just got Teddydrum White back, he planned to avoid putting it in excessive danger anytime soon. He ignored both the chilly bite of the air rushing passed him and the sting of wind in his eyes.

 

However, upon easily passing over the 0-pointers Izuku was starting to lose his excitement.

 

“Shitty Izuku!” Izuku could only barely hear Kacchan’s scream over the wind as he passed the boy from high above and wow he’s still using Izuku huh? That’s nice…

 

Todoroki was much quieter when Izuku passed him, but he could barely see from the distance that the boy’s eyes narrowed at the sight of him and Teddydrum White flying over him.

 

They put up a great effort to retake their lead over him, but the Teddydrum’s rockets let Izuku keep a sustained flight speed, while both of their methods of movement required bursts of propulsion. They were at a clear disadvantage here.

 

As Izuku easily passed over the canyon gorge, he started to feel a bit put off.

 

“Midoriya conveniently flies over all the competition and obstacles in his path! I don’t think he even has to try that hard to win this one, folks. What a systematic advantage he has with his flying robot!”

 

That’s true but please don’t say it out loud, Hizashi-sensei… Damn, he’s going to undermine his own speech…

 

By the time Izuku reached the minefield, he was shivering like crazy. Flying through the air like this at the speed he was going maximized the cold temperature– Izuku thought that if he spent too long doing this he might actually freeze himself to his robot. He directed Teddydrum White to lower itself while passing over the minefield so Izuku wouldn’t get frostbite and so they would be able to go through the tunnel once they got to the end.

 

Note to self: Get warm coat for hero costume, very warm. Actually, his visor would be really good to have right now too, and his headphones– the wind in his eyes and ears was very impeding. He should also remake his headphones to double as full-grade ear protectors. His visor and headphone set up was sort of similar to Hawks’ wasn’t it? That must be why his costume has them–

 

“Shitty Izuku!” Kacchan’s reprise was audible once more. Izuku got a glimpse behind him to see the boy furiously blasting his way over the minefield with Todoroki pushing himself with ice right behind him.

 

Adrenaline started pumping through Izuku at the sight of his competition catching up. The opening for the stadium was closing in fast.

 

“Don’t slow down until you pass the finish line, Teddydrum White! Once you get there just start flying sharply up so we don’t hit the wall before you can stop!” Izuku yelled over the roar of the wind and his robot’s rockets. The Teddydrum nodded in confirmation.

 

Izuku pushed himself further into the metal back of Teddydrum White, arms secure around its neck, as they entered the stadium’s wide hallway. Just a bit more–

 

All of a sudden, the darkness of the hallway opened up to the bright open arena.

 

Then, Teddydrum White somehow managed to execute an almost 90 degree turn upwards that was so sharp Izuku’s arms were forcibly torn from the neck of his robot half-way into its journey towards the air. There was a distinct sense of Déjà vu as Izuku simultaneously plummeted to the ground due to gravity and flew forward due to momentum.

 

“The first-place winner is– OH SHIT!”

 

–And also get a harness–

 

Teddydrum White completed a full 180 and blasted full speed towards Izuku. It won the race against gravity to grab onto Izuku’s body, twist around their positioning, and suffer a total crash landing that rumbled through Izuku’s body and left a deep streak through the ground of the arena’s dirt flooring.

 

Once they stopped moving, the body of the Teddydrum was mostly buried under a mixture of loose soil, gravel, and grass, but its metal nub-like hands stuck out into the air with Izuku at their ends. He was lifted out of the way without a scratch on him.

 

Izuku took a moment to process everything that had happened within the span of maybe ten seconds, neither him nor Teddydrum White moved a centimeter from their positions. Loud, confused murmurs traveled throughout the spectators.

 

After a single beat, panic instantly filled Izuku as he tried to unsuccessfully squirm around in the robot’s grip to look at it. “T-Teddydrum White! Are you alright?!”

 

“I- Midoriya is OKAY! YO, Teddydrum White, give us a sign! You still with us, robotic listener?!” Hizashi echoed his concern through the speakers of the stadium.

 

Vibrations traveled up the robot’s arm into Izuku’s body, then the dirt tumbled apart to reveal Teddydrum White. Izuku’s robot sat up still holding Izuku out with his hands like a champion baseball player holding out a saved ball. Debris was stuck deep into the crevasses of its body, and from the protruding wires and metal Izuku can see, the back of its head and torso probably looked like a disaster, but the Teddydrum still seemed to be in good spirits.

 

The crowd burst into applause at the victorious stance of the robot.

 

“And it’s okay folks! What a wonderful save by Teddydrum White! Midoriya Izuku from 1-A places first in the obstacle course! Todoroki Shouto and Bakugou Katsuki, also from 1-A, place second and third!”

 

“Midoriya, no more riding robots until you get a harness from the support department,” Shouta cut in with dry exasperation.

 

Izuku sighed, “Sorry Teddydrum White, we just got you fixed too…”

 

The robot released its lower body from the confines of the ground to stand up and gently place Izuku down. It nonchalantly waved off his apology, it probably thought it was the one at fault. When it shook its body like a dog, dirt flew off the Teddydrum to splatter over Izuku, and the robot immediately ceased once it saw the consequences of its actions to fret over Izuku. Izuku waved it off but Teddydrum White still hung its head in shame.

 

“Shitty Izuku!” Kacchan echoed for the third time that day. Izuku turned around to see that he and Todoroki had paused in the middle of moving into positions to catch him. The red-eyed blond looked furious as he demanded, “Why the hell didn’t you just pop yourself out of reality when you started falling?!”

 

Izuku blinked dumbly at that. “I… couldn’t really comprehend what was going on fast enough to– ”

 

“Then think faster dumbass! I thought you were supposed to be fucking good at that!” Kacchan clenched his fists in a way that disturbingly mimicked strangulation.

 

Rubbing the back of his head in embarrassment, Izuku conceded, “Sorry for worrying you like that Ka– ”

 

“I wasn’t worried dammit!” The angry boy stormed away with that as his last word.

 

Todoroki just blinked his pretty eyes a bit before awkwardly turning away himself, as though he didn’t really know what to do in this situation.

 

So he’s a socially awkward prince, huh? That’s actually charming in its own way– wait, no. Stop thinking of Todoroki as a prince, Izuku, you’re not Momoka-san get it together…

 

“Shiozaki Ibara from 1-B finishes in fourth, and it looks like Yaoyorozu Momo took a page out of Midoriya’s book to finish in fifth!”

 

Izuku swerved his head back towards the finish line at that. Yaoyorozu approached him, hovering with cool rocket-propulsion boots that featured stabilizing elongated handles for her to steady her upper body with.

 

She touched down a couple feet from him with her body shivering slightly to say, “I hope you don’t mind I took some inspiration from your Teddydrums, Midoriya-san. Though I wasn’t quite prepared for how cold I would get from flying like that…”

 

Izuku snorted, “I wasn’t prepared for it either, or prepared for falling off. I don’t mind at all about you taking ideas from me though, Yaoyorozu-san. My pocket dimension is practically a sandbox of creative ideas– someone else might as well benefit from that too.”

 

Yaoyorozu gave a kind smile in response. “I see, I’ll be sure to take advantage of that then. Thank you for your generosity.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before the next round, Izuku transported himself back to the Crystal World to deliver Teddydrum White to the minor repair bay. If Izuku learned one thing from the first-round of the Sports Festival, it was that his own hubris was his greatest enemy, apparently. This lesson was further solidified after Midnight explained the cavalry battle and that as the first-place winner, Izuku would be cursed with a ten million point bounty– making him the number one target for the second-round.

 

The pressure surrounded him with crushing tension as everyone turned their eyes to him, gazing at their prey. Even under these circumstances, though, Izuku instantly had a perfect strategy in mind. Though he’ll be undermining his speech again, but frankly it’d be stupid to overlook this…

 

“Deku-kun, do you want to team up?”

 

“Oh, thank goodness– you’re a life saver Ochako-chan!” Izuku breathed out in relief that he had at least one willing teammate.

 

Ochako just laughed sweetly. “It’s no problem Deku-kun, I’m sure you’ll think up some way to win– like a magician pulling stuff from his pocket dimension hat! As long as we can hold onto your headband, we have an absolute pass to first place, you know!”

 

Iida, on the other hand, shook his head to decline saying, “Sorry, Midoriya-kun, but– ever since the entrance exam, I’ve been losing to you. I can’t follow you now, since I also wish to challenge you! So for this battle, I cannot join your team,” then made his way towards Todoroki.

 

Disappointment rose in Izuku’s chest, and was amplified when Tsuyu glanced away in guilt. “Kero… Sorry, Izu-chan. I’m sure you can make it even with your disadvantage. But that’s sort of why I want to try my own thing, I have an idea I think would work well for me and Shouji…”

 

Her large black eyes refocused on Izuku to convey her sincerity. “For what happened at the USJ, I could only support you as you took care of everything for us” –even our teacher, she didn’t say– “so for something like this, I want to try growing on my own. That way next time I might be more able to help you.”

 

With that reasoning, Izuku couldn’t bring himself to feel disappointed anymore. Tsuyu was just trying to do her best to become a hero in her own right as well. Izuku gave her a slightly sad smile and gently replied, “That’s alright, Tsu-chan, I understand.”

 

As she hopped away, a human missile launched towards Izuku.

 

“Ten Million! I’m Hatsume Mei, from the support department.” The girl with pink curls and metal goggles forced her way into their conversation to take his hand for a handshake. “Let me join your team to bring attention to my babies! And you also own such a wonderful baby, did you make it yourself?”

 

“U-Um, thanks for joining?” despite what he said, Izuku didn’t feel too thankful, just somewhat confused by the new comer. Then he processed the rest of her rambling and decided he liked the girl; the Teddydrums were sort of like his children –or maybe he was their child?– in a way, and he could appreciate someone who felt similarly about their own creations. “I didn’t make Teddydrum White, no. There’s a Workshop in my pocket dimension that made two Teddydrums when it, uh– first came about. It also repairs them for me.”

 

“Really?! How mysterious! Sometime after the Sports Festival let me take a look at your Workshop, Ten Million!”

 

“Ah– my name is Midoriya Izuku…”

 

“You got it, Ten Million!” Hatsume exclaimed with a grin, not a single trace of irony to be found in her voice.

 

Guess it’s better than mister penguin at least…

 

At the thought of those flightless birds, Izuku caught sight of a very different kind of bird out of the corner of his eye. He thought to himself, Well– for the plan he wants to go with, teammates who have good defense will be the best bet. Also, they’re both bird themed, kind of, so might as well see if he’ll join…

 

“Tokoyami-kun!” Izuku called out. When the bird-headed boy turned towards him, he waved at him to come over.

 

Tokoyami meandered to their group with an expression of contemplation on his face –which was impressive considering it was made up of feathers and a beak, but if the penguins could manage it he supposed Tokoyami would be able to manage as well.

 

“So the Creator of Madness has set his sights on me… what antics will you materialize for this round?” Tokoyami asked with a completely serious tone, to match his completely serious face.

 

On second thought, maybe mister penguin wasn’t so bad after all…

 

Izuku accepted Tokoyami’s edgy atmosphere with good grace, not even bothering to get him to let go of that “Creator of Madness” thing. He simply accepted his fate to constantly be misnamed by people. “I do have a plan, and if we can use it, our first-place victory will be almost totally secured, but…” He looked around at the group sheepishly. “Admittedly, none of us will get to show off a lot with it.”

 

Ochako tilted her head, brows furrowing questioningly. “What kind of plan would give us first-place but not let us show off?”

 

Hatsume cupped her chin in thought. “Hmm, that is a major downside. How can I bring attention to my babies that way?”

 

“If you do have a strategy for total victory, Midoriya– ” Oh what a relief, so he’s not going to always call Izuku Creator of Madness “ –then we shouldn’t worry about showing off in this round. Not only will we already be notable in the eyes of the masses for our placing, but we’ll have secured our spots in the third-round tournament. That is the arena in which we will truly be able to demonstrate our prowess,” Tokoyami gave his opinion with a stoic tone, crossing his arms in a purposefully cool manner.

 

Hatsume pointed enthusiastically at the dramatic bird boy, grin returning to her face. “Oh, that’s a good point! If I get in the tournament, I’ll get a chance to monopolize the scouting support companies’ attention! If I only have the second-round to show off, my babies might be overshadowed by the other competitors.”

 

“That’s right! Victory is the thing that matters most now!” Ochako pumped her fist into the air, a mean expression showing that she was ready to ruthlessly secure her win. “But what is this plan of yours, Deku-kun?”

 

After explaining his plan, Izuku’s teammates were still on board.

 

“Hmm… well you were certainly right about us not having a chance to show off but it’s also a certain victory. Will they even allow that sort of thing? It almost seems like cheating… An unexpected strategy worthy of the sort of eccentricities that you craft, but not as strange as usual.”

 

“What a brutal plan like that leaves absolutely no hope for the other competitors. I love the way you think, Ten Million!”

 

“Let’s do it, Deku-kun! That first-place spot is ours!”

 

“Great! I’ll go ask Midnight about it now– oh, but does anyone have a watch or something on them?”

 

“I’ve prepared a baby for every need, Ten Million, even something as average as telling the time!”

 

“Good, cause we’ll need it…”

 

After Midnight laughed at their plan, she gave an okay with the condition that they wear something that the school can monitor them with. Team Midoriya set up their horse and put on Hatsume’s support equipment. He tightened their ten million plus headband around his forehead, as Hatsume, Ochako, and Tokoyami held him up securely.

 

“Here we go! The countdown to this brutal battle royal!” Hizashi began the dramatic countdown, “Three…! Two…! One…!”

 

Izuku could see that the majority of the teams were preparing to rush at them, their glares firmly resting on their prize, but that wouldn’t matter soon–

 

“START!”

 

All at once, numerous teams flocked towards them–

 

Survival Strategy!

 

–But they were already gone by the time any of them got close.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fucking Shit! Shitty Izuku!” Bakugou raged from his seat atop his team, explosions at full force as he redirected their course from where Midoriya’s team used to stand to charge towards Shouto instead.

 

Shouto narrowed his eyes at him, but couldn’t resist calling out, “You know that you gave him that idea, right?”

 

“Shut the hell up, half ‘n’ half bastard!”

 

“Midoriya has transported his team to his pocket dimension! Could it be that he plans on staying there the whole time? Is that even allowed?!” Present Mic’s question echoed throughout the arena. Shouto did his best to ignore it while he blocked off Bakugou’s aerial pursuit with ice and his team back away.

 

“It’s a good thing we considered this possibility,” he murmured to his team, “Let’s just go after everyone else then…”

 

“He already talked it over with me,” Midnight answered with a wink using her own microphone, “It’s clearly something that’s part of his normal quirk functioning, there’s no point in denying him its use just for the comfort of his competitors! As long as they show up for the end and don’t dismantle their formation while out of sight, it’s legal! Life’s just unfair like that sometimes, you know~”

 

“What a heartless strategy! One might even call it, a heartless Survival Strategy– Aha!” Present Mic obnoxiously laughed at his own joke. Shouto wasn’t even sure if the crowd was able to hear Midoriya’s incantation, and therefore had no idea what Mic was joking about.

 

“Please never make that joke again…” Aizawa intoned, not a single laugh to be heard from him.

 

“Oh– What’s this?! Team Bakugou’s down to zero points, they lost their headband!”

 

Bakugou got distracted by a team made of class 1-B students taking his headband, so Shouto’s team took advantage of the reprieve to steal some headbands from other teams. Concealed beneath Bakugou’s angry screaming, he could barely make out, “But seriously, what an unmanly strategy!”

 

“Shut up shitty hair!” was Bakugou’s loud response, “If Izuku didn’t try using such an obvious plan, I would’ve killed him myself!” 

 

What was going on with those two’s relationship though? Are they friendly or not? Bakugou’s attitude changed quite a bit after their Battle Trial, did something happen?

 

Everything about Midoriya just seemed like a mixed bag of craziness and mystery…

 

“Later you can pry into it, and into my quirk, if you’re curious”

 

Why did he say that? Why does he want Shouto to pry?

 

Shouto’s not here to make friends, but at this point the unknowns surrounding Midoriya Izuku were bothering him. The only answers Shouto could think up for the boy were crazy in their own right. He’ll just have to see for himself whether either of them were true…

 

“Is first place really out of reach for us now?” Iida asked with disappointment clear in his words.

 

“No,” was Yaoyorozu’s quick reply, “Midnight-sensei said that they had to be back in time for the end so…”

 

“We’ve got one shot,” Shouto finished, “The second that they reappear right before the countdown finishes, that’s our only chance.”

 

“Do we even know where they’ll pop up, though?!” Kaminari questioned with doubt in his voice.

 

Present Mic’s commentary continued, “With the ten million headband gone, it’s a free for all now! Teams are losing and regaining headbands like crazy!”

 

“Please pay more attention to others during class, Kaminari-kun!” Iida exclaimed, “Think back to the Quirk Apprehension Tests and the Battle Trials, Midoriya-kun always reappears where he was originally standing unless he uses a crystal!”

 

“That’s right. We’ll just have to make sure we’re in position in time and collect as many headbands as we can before then as a back-up,” Yaoyorozu explained.

 

Shouto nodded in agreement and added, “I’m sure Bakugou has thought of the same thing, so we need to be prepared to fight over it too.”

 

Team Shouto continued dodging attempts at their headband while taking others’, utilizing Shouto’s immense ice power, Kaminari’s immobilizing electricity, Yaoyorozu’s defensive creations and insulating blanket, and Iida’s mobility. Soon, the end of the 15-minute battle was upon them.

 

“Twenty seconds left! Will team Midoriya make it back in time to earn their glory!”

 

“Don’t think I didn’t notice you purposely referenced his speech.”

 

“What?! It was a good speech, come on! Fifteen seconds left!”

 

As team Shouto got into position, team Bakugou charged towards where Midoriya would reappear, having regained their headband.

 

“Ten seconds!”

 

“You better be ready for me, Izuku!”

 

Bakugou threw himself off his horse, flying through the air, but Shouto was already in the process of forming a circular wall of ice around the spot. When Bakugou exploded his way through, Shouto countered with a spear of ice to push him back.

 

“Five…!”

 

Dammit, half ‘n’ half!

 

“Four…!”

 

Midoriya finally materialized into existence along with his team. Teddydrum Black flanked them in the back acting as defensive wall of metal while Tokoyami’s Dark Shadow held the front guard. The jet pack on Midoriya’s back and rocket boots on Uraraka’s feet began lifting them out of the ice enclosure, with the two robots helping to stabilize their lift off.

 

“Three…!”

 

Recipro Burst!” Iida dragged them forward as fast as a bullet. They maneuvered to try and avoid Dark Shadow to give Shouto a clear reach for the headband before the Teddydrum had time to react.

 

“Two…!”

 

As Shouto shot his right hand out, Bakugou fell in from high above screaming like a raging banshee to also shoot his arm towards the headband. Shouto could tell he was too far to beat the time limit though.

 

“One…!”

 

Shouto’s movement was forcibly aborted by a sword. Its gleaming silver blade had already been raised to guard their competitor’s head.

 

He reflexive made a shield of ice to protect his forearm that audibly scraped against the sword as Midoriya used it to push away his grab. Shouto’s team finished passing by Midoriya’s with nothing to show for their efforts.

 

“TIME’S UP!”

 

Bakugou tumbled through the air and fell flat on his face.

 

Shit!” Bakugou yelled from the ground.

 

Despite how loud the boy was, Midoriya paid him no attention. Instead, his green eyes pierced Shouto in place like how his silver sword had pierced through Shouto’s desperate attempt for first-place, and all he could do was gaze at the boy with his mind blanked of everything else. He could only vaguely hear the roaring of the spectators surrounding them.

 

Midoriya lowered his sword with a graceful movement, and as he sat firmly above his teammates with his head held high, his sword carefully held out to the side to avoid his horse and glittering in the sun, his eyes boring into Shouto as though they could see his soul– Shouto thought that this was what a prince must look like.

 

Occasionally people have told him that he looked like a prince with the features that he had, as though being born the son of the Number Two hero made him hero royalty, but Shouto never thought of himself like that.

 

Was this really what people saw when they looked at him though? Shouto doesn’t understand how that could be possible, he doesn’t think he’s ever had the kind of regal air that Midoriya exuded now.

 

“Some of you were born with quirks that people have told you are “good”, and that they will make you a good hero… Even if a person is born with a “good” quirk, in the end that doesn’t matter if they fail to follow through on their potential”

 

Shouto felt his left hand clench itself into a fist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“He comes with two color-complementary teddy bear robots! You can’t even pay for this kind of advertising!”

 

“Isn’t it a little weird he has something like that though?”

 

“Who cares! That’s an instant set of merchandise right there, I can already see it; stuffed bears, collectables, cute keychains– they’re absolutely perfect for flooding the market with!”

 

“And did you see that sword at the end! Do you think whoever markets for him will be able to convince him to get a prince or knight themed costume or something? That’d make his image really marketable.”

 

“I guess, but it wouldn’t really fit well when put together with his robots… ”

 

Toshinori has been listening in on the first-year business course students for awhile now, and while for the beginning of their conversations they had evenly focused on other note worth competitors like Bakugou and Todoroki, at this point Midoriya was monopolizing their attention. Apparently, the promise of a stand-out franchise of products was too appealing for them to move on from.

 

“They said he’s got more stuff in his pocket dimension too, right? I wonder what other things he has that he’ll be able to design merchandise off of?”

 

Oh God– marketers are going to want to make merchandise for the boy’s penguins, aren’t they? At least Midoriya planned on avoiding using Toshi-pingu, they wouldn’t even wait for the boy to graduate before someone started selling penguin All Might stuffed animals…

 

“After checking the monitoring device placed on team Midoriya before the cavalry battle, we can now say that team Midoriya never dismantled their formation!” Midnight declared from the stage, snapping her whip in the air.

 

“Then it’s official! Team Midoriya gets first-place in the second-round! Team Todoroki comes in second, and team Bakugou is third! The last team to make the cut in fourth place is– huh? Team Shinsou? When did that happen?!” Present Mic’s voice echoed through the stadium as loud and energetic as always, but Toshinori couldn’t keep his mood from dropping whenever he heard it.

 

It reminded him of the punishment the man faced due to his mistakes, in a similar way to how gazing upon Aizawa’s missing eye did.

 

The thought of punishments by fate reminded Toshinori about his other dilemma concerning fate, as well as the advice that had been given to him by Gran Torino.

 

Their conversation wasn’t a particularly long one after Toshinori finished explaining the details behind Children of Fate, as well as their punishments, that he had glossed over when he told his mentor about how Midoriya had improved his health. Gran Torino agreed that the possibility of a horrible fate awaiting any successor he chose shouldn’t be dismissed, but he also thought that Toshinori was stuck on the problem because he wouldn’t look at it from other perspectives.

 

“You don’t need to worry about what Nana would have wanted you to do, Toshinori. One for All is your power now, you already know that. How about you approach things from a different angle? You’re basically going into this trying to decide what’s best for your hypothetical successor, but how can you decide such a thing without knowing the kind of person they are? Different things will be best for different people.

 

“Nighteye’s kid is the only one you’re considering currently, right? How about you guys send him over to me for this year’s internships, and I can make an unbiased opinion on whether he’d be prepared to handle that sort of fate? And really, it’d be his decision whether or not to take your quirk after hearing about the risks– Instead of asking whether passing down One for All is the right thing to do, ask whether your successor would be alright with it.”

 

He wondered what his former teacher thought of Midoriya right now, he said he’d be watching the first-years’ Sports Festival to see him in action, along with watching the third-years’ to see Togata once it’s their turn…

 

Just as Present Mic was announcing the lunch break, Toshinori’s cellphone rang. As though he had spoken of the devil, Gran Torino’s contact showed itself to be the caller.

 

After a moment of apprehension, he answered the call and put the phone up to his ear, “Hel– ”

 

“Toshinori! What the hell were those giant teddy bear robots?! You never mentioned the fate kid having anything like that!”

 

 

“Oh. I suppose I forgot to mention them, along with the penguins…”

 

“How do you forget something like that?! And he’s got penguins too?!

 

Toshinori sighed and started moving into the hallways of the stadium. Post-Penguindrum Astonishment always took a while to work through.

Chapter Text

“What is it that you want to talk about?” Izuku asked, while at the same time hoping that Todoroki was here to ask about his quirk. Come on, give Izuku a good excuse to look into his Fruit and talk his problems over with him…

 

Todoroki stared back at him intensely from across the secluded hallway. Izuku couldn’t help but gulp, nerves standing on end under the unfiltered attention.

 

“I’ve been wondering a couple of things about you for a while now… Firstly, All Might always seems to talk with you in private, pays extra attention to you, and he even talked to you over the weekend about something. Not only that, but you said that you’ve known him since last year…”

 

Izuku suddenly had no idea where this was going. “U-Uh, yes?” Was Toshinori-san’s favoritism really so noticeable, he should talk with the man about that– 

 

“And I’m pretty sure I overheard you muttering what sounded like his personal name once– ”

 

Okay that one was on Izuku…

 

“So are you All Might’s stepchild or something?”

 

…What?

 

His mind blanked in confusion for a single moment. Then he was finally able to bring himself to speak, “N-No! Wha– How did you even come up with that?! Actually, you told me how just now– but don’t you think you’re jumping to conclusions?! Are you a conspiracy theorist or something?!”

 

“I wouldn’t really consider that to be at the level of a conspiracy theory,” Todoroki’s expression and voice failed to waver even after asking such a ridiculous question, “but I guess the other question that I want to ask you might count as one…”

 

Oh great… Izuku’s brows furrowed as he sighed, “Well, lay it on me then. What else do you want to know?”

 

“During the USJ, I heard from the students that were at the entrance that you went back down to the central plaza where the villains were because you wanted to “fix” something,” Todoroki’s monotonic voice was even as he explained his thoughts, “After hearing Asui’s report, who was aware of what you wanted to fix, the Principal went down there himself while restricting access to most of the other teachers, all of the police, and ordered them to avoid bringing villains or students through that area. There had been no mentions of where Aizawa-sensei had been during this time. Therefore, it seems like what you were trying to “fix” was Aizawa-sensei.”

 

Tension racked through Izuku’s body at Todoroki’s examination of the events at the USJ and his eyes involuntarily widened. There’s no way–

 

“The most obvious answer would be that you were trying to fix his eye, but based on Asui’s attitude it doesn’t seem like you failed to fix what you promised her you would. So if you keep the assumption that Aizawa-sensei was what you wanted to fix, then something worse than even missing an eye must’ve happened to him. And it wasn’t something Recovery Girl could fix– if that was the case you would’ve been focused on getting him to the infirmary instead. Also, it wasn’t something the school could tell people about. Then you got really defensive about what happened at the USJ with those other students too, so whatever it was must’ve been really awful – ”

 

There’s no way, how could anyone come up with something like that even being possible on their own–  

 

“This kind of possibility should be considered impossible really, but it seems like your quirk is really weird, Midoriya. It didn’t even develop during the biologically normal timeframe– ”

 

There’s no! Way! No way

 

“So could it be that Aizawa-sensei actually died and you “fixed” him by bringing him back to life?”

 

 

What the fuck?!

 

Izuku’s mouth was agape as he stared at Todoroki in shock. He failed to comprehend how someone could come up with the completely ridiculous theory that Izuku was secretly All Might’s stepchild, and then come up with…

 

Actually, they’re both ridiculous theories. Not only that, but the one that was most ridiculous was somehow the one that was correct…

 

He had been trying to get Todoroki to pry about his quirk, he just never imagined he would be able to figure that part of it out on his own…

 

Izuku forced his mouth closed to swallow anxiously before whispering, “ …Did you talk to anyone else about this?”

 

Todoroki’s eyes widened in surprise. “No, but– wait, does that mean that I was actually right about that? Seriously?”

 

Even the conspiracy theorist prince is shocked that he was right, Izuku doesn’t believe this…   

 

Izuku decided to just ignore how this came about and accept the opportunity to introduce Todoroki to the Fruit of Fate. He turned his head left and right, checking for people, and kept his volume at a whisper, “That’s right. The quirk I have, Conductor, isn’t actually a pocket dimension quirk, but– I don’t want to get into details here. Would you be okay with being transported to my dimension? We can talk about it there…”

 

Todoroki still seemed surprised about Izuku’s confirmation but narrowed his eyes a bit at the offer. “That’s another thing– you clearly wanted to tell me about your quirk for some reason.”

 

Izuku opened his mouth even though he didn’t have an excuse prepared but Todoroki cut him off, “The reason why I wanted to know about your quirk –despite the general concern I had about the possibility that Aizawa-sensei had died– is because I wanted to see if your quirk was also one people would consider “good”, like mine.”

 

“I mean…” Todoroki glanced away a moment before refocusing his sight on Izuku. “Not that a pocket dimension wouldn’t have also been a “good” quirk, but reviving people is on a completely different level…”

 

“Yeah, I know what you mean…” –That’s why Izuku had wanted his father’s quirk as a child in the first place– “But, why do you care about whether I had a “good” quirk or not?”

 

“In a way, it’s connected to the reason why I wanted to know if you were related to All Might. I guess even if you’re not his stepchild, your connection with him is probably still significant, right?”

 

At Izuku’s nod he continued with his eyes drifting to the side of the tunnel, “Since you’re connected to him, I want to beat you even more. And since you have such an extraordinary quirk, that feeling is even stronger…”

 

Todoroki’s mis-matched but cold eyes returned to his face to look Izuku straight in the eye. “Have you heard of quirk marriages?”

 

Thus, Todoroki wove his story about how his father, the Number Two hero Endeavor, was consumed by his desire for the Number One spot and surpassing All Might so much that he attempted to breed himself a creation with the perfect quirk for power. He explained about the man’s abusive training, and how his mother had mentally crumbled from her husband’s behavior and violence to end up lashing at Todoroki by pouring boiling water on his face, because his left side looked too much like Endeavor. He explained about his conviction to become a hero without using the side of himself that had his father’s quirk.

 

Izuku doesn’t need to look into Todoroki’s Fruit of Fate to figure out what was wrong with him anymore. Somehow, without Izuku even intending for it to happen, Todoroki decided to directly approach him with his problems. 

 

“He purposely tried to engineer a child to have a “good” quirk, that was even more extraordinary than his own, so that he could use it to become Number One.” Todoroki finally glanced away, looking towards his feet. “So, by beating you –who has an even more extraordinary quirk– with only my right side, I’ll have denied his quirk, and I’ll have solidified to myself that I will no longer be a servant that he can use as he pleases.”

 

Izuku’s throat felt tense, and his eyes felt wet though they lacked tears. For all the beautiful prose he usually spouted, he was somewhat at a loss as to how to speak about circumstances this horrid. He felt so much dread weighing him down after hearing that story, he couldn’t imagine how much dread Todoroki felt from living it.

 

“Todoroki-kun…”

 

Todoroki glanced back up at him and begun to turn towards the tunnel’s exit. “You don’t need to comment on any of what I’ve said. You don’t even need to tell me how your quirk works, or how you’re connected to All Might– I just wanted to confirm the ideas I had about you, and confirm my convictions for this tournament.”

 

He was only able to take a single step away before Izuku physically cut him off with his body, stepping in his way.

 

This might’ve been all that Todoroki wanted to get out of this conversation, but for Izuku there was much more that needed to be said. He wasn’t about to let this chance to help his classmate pass by him just because he can’t find the right words to say– He’ll just find another way to say them.

 

“You were right when you said that I wanted to tell you about my quirk, Todoroki-kun. There’s something important that I need to tell you about that involves it, and now I know that it also involves your conviction to become a hero without using your left side, so– ”

 

Izuku held out his right hand to Todoroki. “Will you come with me to my world so I can tell you more? I understand our time is limited, but it’s really important.”

 

Mis-matched eyes gazed at his hand in confusion, looked back up to Izuku’s eyes, then looked back to the hand.

 

“What do you mean by… important?”

 

“It’s something that is guaranteed to have a major effect on your life.”

 

Todoroki studied his hand for a moment longer, then hesitantly accepted the hand.

 

Izuku tried to project a reassuring smile to his classmate, but he still felt the ball of dread that had formed from Todoroki’s story, so he wasn’t sure how successful he was. Todoroki’s grip on his hand was light, almost barely there– Izuku tightened his own grip around it. 

 

“Survival Strategy!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standing hidden by the opening of the tunnel where Izuku and Todoroki once stood, Katsuki let his back fall to into the wall behind him to slide down to the floor. His wide eyes stared blankly at the wall across from him. The only sound that echoed through the hallway was his own breathing.

 

“He purposely tried to engineer a child to have a “good” quirk, that was even more extraordinary than his own, so that he could use it to become Number One

 

“Shit…”

 

“So could it be that Aizawa-sensei actually died and you “fixed” him by bringing him back to life?”

 

Shit…

 

Katsuki’s hands covered his face. He didn’t know what to think, there was too much to think about. He had already known that Izuku’s quirk was extraordinary– But to think it had this kind of power

 

But even more than that, even more than the knowledge that his homeroom teacher had actually lost more than his eye during that fucking villain attack, Katsuki thought of one thing above all else–

 

Izuku… if he looked at the “Number Two hero’s” fate, he would see it burning just like Katsuki’s… wouldn’t he?

 

“Even if a person is born with a “good” quirk, in the end that doesn’t matter if they fail to follow through on their potential”

 

 

 

 

 

 

One second, Shouto was in the hallway of UA’s stadium. The next, he was in the most gorgeous ballroom he had ever seen in his life. And unlike most kids, he had actually seen other ballrooms before. Endeavor may not like the social fraternization aspect of hero life, but as the Number Two hero, those types of events were just impossible to avoid.

 

The ballroom wasn’t even lit, either. There was just a dim stream of light coming through a set of large windows on one wall. The room was huge, easily capable of fitting a party for hundreds of people, with a large stage featuring closed velvety red curtains that began high up the wall by the ceiling and draped over the majority of the stage. Despite the intimidating size, the soft creamy beige of the walls helped the room to feel cozier and more intimate, but the artistic murals of red roses on green vines that sprawled all across them kept them from looking plain. The intricated pattern contrasted heavily with the solid coloring of the deep gold flooring that managed to sparkle even in the dimness of the room –Shouto couldn’t help but wonder if it might be made of real gold– The ceiling featured an equally sparkling large, golden chandelier that wasn’t on and following the walls around the room were rows of countless unlit white candles.

 

His mouth was agape as he examined the room in awe. However, as he turned to his mysterious classmate, the awe quickly transformed into confusion.

 

“What… are you wearing?”

 

Midoriya sighed at him as he adjusted the crown he now wore atop his head. “This is just an outfit that signifies that I am the Prince of the Crystal– the owner of this world, which is called the Crystal World. I switch into it automatically when I transport myself here.”

 

“Prince of the Crystal? That…” –suited him quite well, actually

 

Midoriya sighed again saying, “You don’t have to worry about that right now, Todoroki-kun. I can explain all that stuff later if you want. Let me just show you what my quirk is for now…”

 

With that introduction, Midoriya reached his hand into his chest to bring out a gleaming golden apple that perfectly matched the golden floor of the ballroom. He left it to float in the air.

 

“This is my Fruit of Fate– ”

 

And off his classmate went, weaving together a legend of fate, the people who could change it, and how his father’s quirk, Conductor, could change it. And of how disturbing the sanctity of one’s mind and soul was reflected in their being and fate.

 

When he described that last part, Shouto suddenly knew what this was all about.

 

“Then– there’s something wrong with mine, right? That’s what you needed to tell me about…” Shouto bored his eyes into his own chest, as though if he tried hard enough he could see it for himself. But of course all he could see was the rise and fall of his chest as he breathed.

 

“Yes… I will show it to you,” Midoriya said this casually, despite the fact he was talking about showing Shouto the culmination of his being and fate, something that could be equated with his own heart and soul.

 

Midoriya moved close, and his left black-gloved hand cradled Shouto’s face while his right one slid into Shouto’s chest just as easily as it had Midoriya’s. It grabbed something inside of him and when it was pulled out, Shouto breathed in sharply.

 

The entire apple was covered in a thick layer of clear, cold ice.

 

“Your Fruit of Fate is frozen, that means that you’re stuck on something– like a person frozen in time, like a person who can’t move forward…” Midoriya cupped Shouto’s Fruit with both hands, holding it close to his chest like it was a precious gift from the gods. His eyes were closed as the fingers of his right hand ghosted around the surface of the ice.

 

Green eyes flashed open to bore into Shouto. “I could already figure out why you were frozen based on what you told me, but I was able to confirm it just now by looking into your Fruit. And– I think I know how I can start helping you, Shouto-kun.”

 

Shouto-kun?

 

And “looking into” his Fruit– isn’t something like that the equivalent of looking into a person’s soul?

 

How much does Midoriya know about him now? What did he see? Does Shouto even need his help?

 

“Can you follow me for a second?” Midoriya asked him. He waited until Shouto consented with a nod before letting Shouto’s Fruit float in the air like Midoriya’s was still doing, and walking towards one of the candles by the window. Shouto walked behind him to see that their Fruit was following them smoothly from their places in the air. Their footsteps echoed loudly through the spacious room.

 

Once they were close to the candle, it was much bigger than it had seemed from far away, probably around the length of his forearm. Midoriya gently took the candle out of its holder to place it between them.

 

“I’m sorry, Shouto-kun, but do you think you can light this for me? Once you do all the other candles will be lit too.”

 

Shouto couldn’t help but stare at the boy and his audacity. “You want me… to use my left side? Right after I finished telling you why I wouldn’t use my left side?” his tone was dumbfounded. He couldn’t even bring himself to feel mad– he was just confused.

 

Midoriya pointed at him as he explained, “You said you wouldn’t use it to become a hero. I’ve already seen you use it outside of fighting purposes– mainly when you melt your ice.” He held up the candle closer to Shouto. “This isn’t doing anything that Endeavor would want you to be doing with your quirk. It’ll be just like using it as a lighter.”

 

Well, he’s got a point. Endeavor would probably think Shouto was wasting his quirk by just using it like a simple store-bought lighter…

 

However, Shouto was still reluctant to use it. “Can’t you light it yourself, though? You must have something to light it with since they’re here. Why do you want me to do it?”

 

“Uh…” Midoriya sheepishly smiled and rubbed the back of his head. “Actually, there’s nothing like that here. It’s weird but– all the abilities and items I have in this world are closely tied to symbolic purposes as well. Like– I have a spell that lets me rain swords down on my opponents like how justice rains down to punish evil, and I have a spell that lets me cover them in crystal like sealing an evil to stop it from causing harm, and there’s another one that lets me heal wounds using plants like life giving rise to more life. Hell, even my quirk on its own is heavily based on the symbolism of the original sin of humanity. Does that make sense?”

 

No. Not at all, was what Shouto thought. But instead he said, “…What does that have to do with this?”

 

Midoriya stopped smiling, gaining a serious look on his face. “In the Crystal World… fire is the symbol of purification, and not purification as in simply removing ailments or anything, but the type of purification that works by reducing everything to ash to cleanse it’s presence from the world so that the world may be reborn from the ashes.”

 

Even though Shouto couldn’t follow his logic about the symbolism concerning his abilities, he was still able to understand the weight of his words. “That… does not sound like something that can be used lightly…”

 

“That’s right.” Midoriya’s green eyes stared into Shouto’s mis-matched ones. “Momoka-san, the creator of the Crystal World, didn’t know that when she was first starting out. She made this ballroom to feature candles, but later found that she couldn’t light them. I don’t think they’ve been used at all, so– ” He gestured to the candle. “…can you please try, Shouto-kun?”

 

“ …I guess it wouldn’t hurt,” he replied. With great apprehension, Shouto carefully produced a single flicker of flame on the tip of his index finger and brought it to the perfectly preserved candle wick. After a few seconds, it caught the flame, and suddenly the entire room lit up as the fire was copied onto the other candles simultaneously.

 

Shouto turned around to look at the rest of the room– it was even more beautiful with the light that wasn’t too dim, but still not very bright. The floors and chandelier sparkled even more than they had just a moment ago. Their Fruit of Fate also sparkled in the light, though with Shouto’s it was more of a glimmer due to the ice.

 

That… was easier to do than Shouto thought it would be.

 

Midoriya placed the candle back on its holder and clapped his hands together in delight. The clap also seemed to cease the light from the windows, as though it had suddenly gone from a blue midday to a black midnight. The candles grew even brighter in at the contrast. “Thanks so much Shouto-kun! I’ve never been able to see this room with the candles lit, it looks so beautiful!”

 

As Midoriya gazed at the room, Shouto looked back to him to see that the warm light of the candle was causing Midoriya’s crown and the gold buttons and trim on his shirt to sparkle just like the room was. He had to force himself to avert his eyes from the beauty of it.

 

Prince of the Crystal indeed…

 

Midoriya clapped his hands twice, and right on que the red curtains on the stage opened up to reveal a grand orchestra made of mannequin performers along with a mannequin conductor. As soon as the curtains had tied themselves to the sides of the stage, they began to play a slow waltz.

 

The high notes of the violins mixed together with the lower notes of the cellos and basses, the violas bridged them together with their midrange, and the accompanying wind instruments swirled their notes around the melody. The sounds resounded proudly through the space around them, their beauty matching the beautiful sight of the ballroom.

 

“Shouto-kun,” Midoriya’s kind voice caught his attention. He glanced at the Prince to see him smiling gently with his right hand held out towards Shouto, like he had when he invited him to this place, “Will you dance with me?”

 

He blinked dumbly at the outstretched hand. “…What?”

 

Midoriya’s smile never wavered. “The thing I want to convey to you is something I think would be best done through action. And you’re the kind of person who pays more attention to action than words, aren’t you?”

 

“That– that’s true, but… what can you show me with dancing? I don’t even know how to dance!” Shouto lost his even tone by the end as he became more flustered. He could feel his face start to heat up a bit.

 

“That’s okay. I know how so all you need to do is follow my lead.” The Prince’s hand inched even further towards Shouto. “And I will be able to show you something, you’ll see.”

 

Shouto stared at the black-gloved hand for a long moment. Then ultimately decided that he had already brought himself deep into the rabbit hole that was the Crystal World and the Prince of the Crystal– he might as well commit to it.

 

Slowly, he placed his hand in Midoriya’s, who clutched it carefully as though Shouto was a small animal that might startle away. The comparison was too accurate for Shouto to feel offended by, though.

 

Midoriya continued to hold his hand at arm’s length as guided Shouto to the center of the room, right under the still unlit chandelier. Their Fruits still followed behind them.

 

Once in the center, he gently brought Shouto in closer. Midoriya moved Shouto’s left hand to rest it on his cloaked shoulder, then held up Shouto’s right hand with his left hand. Finally, Midoriya placed his right hand at Shouto’s waist. He looked down at Midoriya from his taller height to see the prince-like boy smile up at him, and felt his face heat up even more.

 

“We’re just going to step around in small circles, alright? Just follow my movements.” Midoriya’s voice was soft, but he still managed to be loud enough that Shouto could clearly hear him over the symphony playing.

 

As the Prince coxed him along, Shouto stumbled through the steps while allowing the Prince to push and pull his body to que Shouto’s movements. But despite the fumbling, Midoriya didn’t seem put off by Shouto even after he tread on his feet a couple of times. His dance partner moved closer to him to lean his mouth towards Shouto’s ear.

 

“Relax, Shouto-kun. Don’t think about being perfect. Just focus on what you’re feeling, on the feeling of us moving together like this,” was his whispered message. Shouto shivered slightly as Midoriya’s breath brushed against his ear.

 

He took the advice and forced his body to dissipate its tension. As he became less stiff, he became more malleable to Midoriya’s movements, and soon Shouto found it easier to relax his mind when he noticed that giving Midoriya more control over their dance helped to even out their steps. Their dance was now in synch with the slow 1-2-3 beats of the waltz.

 

Now that Shouto wasn’t totally consumed with not messing up, he finally had enough awareness to see that their Fruit of Fate seemed to dance around with them. They circled around slower than even the beat of the song– like moons circling a single planetary body. Their movement caused them to sparkle like stars in the light of the candles.

 

“Good job Shouto-kun!” Midoriya’s words brought his focus back to the shorter boy who was leading him. His smile had gotten larger and his eyes were shining and crinkled from joy. The feeling of Midoriya’s touch on his waist and in his hand intensified, along with the feeling of Shouto’s hand on his partner’s shoulder. “You’re picking this up so fast, I’m impressed!”

 

As Shouto’s eyes involuntarily glanced over the Prince’s form, he immediately felt out of place. In this grand ballroom with this grand music, Midoriya’s princely outfit –with its long gloves and long boots, its regal shirt and puffed out coat tails, its red cloak that flowed around them as they spun, and its shining crown– fitted in perfectly. The smooth motions he performed to lead Shouto through their dance only served to further emphasize that he was meant to be here. That he was meant to be the prince of this ballroom.

 

When Shouto first saw Midoriya’s outfit, he had thought it was strange– but now he realized that it fitted perfectly in this place, that it fitted Midoriya perfectly. Shouto in his plain and average PE uniform was the one who stuck out like a sore thumb.

 

He forced himself to speak through his tightening throat, “Why are we doing this?”

 

Instead of answering, the Prince brought their bodies closer together until their chest were practical flush against one another as they danced in circles. Heat simmered in Shouto’s chest and face.

 

Midoriya looked up at him with his shining green eyes to ask, “What do you feel right now, physically? That will help you to figure it out.”

 

Shouto had to avert his thoughts from lingering on how Midoriya looked when he gazed up at Shouto to focus on his other senses. “I feel…”

 

Midoriya’s hands, Midoriya’s chest, the fire all around them even though it should be too far away to feel– 

 

“I feel warm,” he finally admitted, “from the… two of us together like this, and from the candles everywhere.”

 

The Prince nodded his head in encouragement. “And what do you see right now?”

 

Midoriya’s face, Midoriya’s eyes, Midoriya’s shining crown, the two shining apples swirling in the air, the shining floors and chandelier, the glow set upon everything in the room– 

 

“I see you, and the ballroom, and the light that shines on it all,” he gave this statement in a neutral tone, but he felt too consumed by the sight to truly feel neutral about it.

 

“That’s right.” Midoriya rested his cheek on Shouto’s collarbone like he was trying to make him even warmer. If he was, then he was succeeding. “And all that warmth and all that light– Does it make you feel good, Shouto-kun?”

 

“ …Yes. It does.” They were simple things, but Shouto was enjoying their presence nonetheless.

 

“I’m glad it does. Because this warmth and this light– they’re being made by your fire, Shouto. The fire that you lit on these candles is bringing warmth to us, and beautiful light to this room and everything in it. Your fire makes me feel good, too,” Midoriya’s voice was soft, but still struck into Shouto’s core.  

 

He felt like he accidently lit his insides on fire upon hearing that statement, losing the capacity to form words with both his voice and his mind.

 

“Shouto… Endeavor’s fire wouldn’t be able to make you feel good like this, right?”

 

The fire inside promptly died. “Of course not.” –That man’s fire only brings pain.

 

“Do you know why your fire can feel good, but Endeavor’s fire can’t?” Midoriya lifted his head to look back into Shouto’s eyes.

 

“It’s because Endeavor doesn’t want to make fire that feels good, so he can’t. But you can, Shouto, because this fire is yours and not your father’s. Your “good” quirk, your power, and your fire– they’re all yours. And you can do whatever you wish with them.”

 

Shouto stopped breathing. All he could do was gaze into the green eyes before him.

 

“This idea may be hard for you to internalize. But just from feeling it for yourself, just from unconsciously realizing that your fire can feel good– Look!”

 

They stopped their spinning as Midoriya slid his hand to support Shouto’s back and suddenly dropped him into a dip. Shouto’s world turned on its axis and his breathing started again with his involuntary, quiet gasp.

 

Fire once again burned in Shouto’s insides.

 

His gaze was now looking up to the Prince from where he leaned over his lowered form, it was only now that he realized Midoriya was blushing as well. He nodded his head towards something behind Shouto saying, “Your Fruit of Fate has already started unfreezing.”

 

Shouto had to blink himself out of his stupor to tilt his head back and see what Midoriya was talking about. Above his head, the Fruit of Fate behind him had stopped its spinning now that they were stationary.

 

The ice around Shouto’s Fruit was starting to melt, drops of water came off it slowly, one by one, to disappear as they fell through the air.

 

“It’s going to take a while.” Midoriya gently lifted Shouto back up with a firm movement. They had stopped dancing and the music in the air stopped along with them. There was only silence and the sound of Midoriya’s voice. “But eventually, I’m sure it will be completely unfrozen.”

 

Shouto didn’t know what to think of all this, he didn’t even know what he felt about all this.

 

A hand on Shouto’s shoulder brought his attention back to Midoriya. “When you face me, Shouto-kun –and I know we will battle, to me it feels like it’s fated– consider using that fire of yours.”

 

As Shouto’s eyes widened, Midoriya explained, “This doesn’t have to break your conviction– you don’t have to use your fire before that point, or even in any battle you have following it, both in this tournament and real battle as a full-fledged hero. I just want you to try it once, just for our fight. Instead of how your father’s fire feels and the memories he cursed you with, I want you to think of how you felt when we were dancing, of how good this warmth and this light felt. Our fight can just be an extension of our dance.”

 

Midoriya looked up at him so earnestly with his still flushed face and his grip on Shouto’s shoulder was so warm, he couldn’t even give an automatic denial. Instead, he croaked out, “ …Why?

 

“ …There’s actually a second part of that saying I used in my speech.” Midoriya continued to look into Shouto’s eyes, and Shouto never looked away from his. “The full version is, May those who accept their fate be granted happiness. May those who defy their fate be granted glory.

 

Midoriya brought his left hand up to Shouto’s face once again, tipping his face towards Midoriya’s, and plucked the dripping Fruit out of the air with his right hand to slide back into his chest. Shouto shivered at the sensation.

 

“Recently, I realized that before I got my father’s quirk, I hadn’t accepted my fate of being quirkless. That led to me being very unhappy with myself. You haven’t accepted your fate of being born as the child of the horrid man who hurt you and your mother, and that you inherited part of your quirk from him. But you don’t have to accept that man’s ambitions to use you in order to accept your quirk– he has no say in what you do with your life and quirk. And you don’t have to accept that man as your father– his blood may run through your veins, but a true familial connection is more than just blood. He lacks everything else needed to be a real father to you.”

 

Midoriya’s hand retreated from his chest, but the warm hand on his face kept itself in place. “Perhaps you will be able to defy that fate by becoming a hero with only your ice to support you. I’m sure that would be quite a glorious achievement –being a top hero while only using half of your power. But… would that really make you happy, Shouto?”

 

He’s never thought about his goals in terms of whether they would make him happy. He only cared about whether they made his father unhappy

 

Shouto swallowed a bit in apprehension. “I… I don’t know.”

 

“It’s okay that you don’t know now. Just think on that and everything else I’ve said– okay?”

 

As if he would even be capable of ignoring anything Midoriya’s told him today.

 

He nodded absentmindedly as his thoughts reviewed their conversation.

 

Shouto still needed more time to process what was said –and what he felt– about his quirk, but there was one question that his mind had enough clarity to ask.

 

“Why do you call your quirk your father’s quirk as well?”

 

Midoriya blinked at his change of topic. “Oh, in my case it actually is my father’s quirk. I didn’t inherent it genetically, he– ” Midoriya stumbled over his words, looking away from Shouto for the first time in what felt like forever. His eyes were filled with grief.

 

“I died a year ago, Shouto. All Might wasn’t there fast enough to save me from that villain I mentioned because I was meant to die as my Dad’s punishment for being born with a quirk that could change fate.”

 

Shouto felt his breath leave him and his eyes widen. His stomach dropped in dread.

 

He couldn’t imagine the horror of that kind of experience, that Midoriya could have so easily been gone from this world without Shouto even knowing it–

 

Midoriya’s words were a broken whisper, “ …My dad gave me all of his Fruit of Fate so I could live, at the cost of his own existence. That transferred his quirk to me.” He was still staring at the ground instead of at Shouto.

 

“I… I’m sorry, for both what you went through and for your loss,” Shouto tried to keep his voice as neutral as always, but it still came out somewhat hoarse. After a moment of consideration, he brought his right hand up to cover the hand that was cradling the side of his face. That quickly got Midoriya’s attention and caused him to return his eyes back to Shouto.

 

“Even with those circumstances though… you’re still the one that owns Conductor now, not your dad. Doesn’t that make it yours now, too?”

 

Midoriya’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped open slightly. He took an elongated moment to think on Shouto’s words, then suddenly dropped his hand off Shouto to pivot around and look behind himself.

 

Shouto followed his gaze to see that even though Midoriya’s Fruit hadn’t had any ice around it, water slowly dripped off the golden apple from the center of its bottom.

 

He stared at it without comprehension. “What…”

 

Midoriya gave a sharp laugh and turned to show off a blooming smile to Shouto. It renewed the blush that he was sure was still on his face. “The core of my Fruit is frozen and poisoned… I wanted to help you, but it looks like you’ve helped me quite a bit too, Shouto-kun.”

 

Midoriya leaned his face upwards to place a small kiss on Shouto’s left cheek– right at the border of where his scar met his unmarred skin. “Thank you for that.”

 

Shouto’s cheek practically burned from the warmth left by Midoriya’s kiss. His body was completely frozen in place and his mind stopped working as his head, his entire body, overheated.

 

He could’ve literally set himself on fire right now, and he wouldn’t have noticed it at all.

 

The look on his face must’ve been really stupid, because Midoriya immediately burst into embarrassed stutters at the sight of it, “I-I…! I’m so sorry! W-Was that too much?! That was too much wasn’t it? Oh God, why did I do that?! I shouldn’t have done that– ”

 

“No. Don’t say that,” was Shouto’s automatic denial of Midoriya’s last sentence, “I liked it, so it’s fine…”

 

God why did he say that? He can’t just admit that kind of thing to Midoriya, he only just talked to the boy for the first time this morning! How the hell did he end up feeling like this when he’s emotionally repressed himself for years now, Shouto’s absolutely losing it–

 

Shouto swerved to avoid seeing Midoriya’s face, looking out the still darkened windows. “We– let’s just talk about this later.”

 

“R-Right! Good idea!” Midoriya swiftly accepted the chance to ignore the situation.

 

Luckily, the two were interrupted by the echoing sound of small feet waddling across the hard floor. They both turned their heads towards the large entrance of the ballroom to see a freckled penguin with a crown on its head holding a flipper behind its back. It looked suspiciously like Midoriya.

 

After blinking at it a bit, Shouto muttered, “I’m guessing that this is one of the rumored penguins Asui mentioned…”

 

“I-Izu-pingu! Great timing, what did you come here for?”

 

Izu-pingu finished waddling up to Midoriya to bashfully kick his orange feet around before holding up a single rose to his human. It featured a breath-taking mixture of red and white on its petals.

 

“I didn’t even know we had roses this color!” Midoriya carefully took the rose, being mindful of its uncut thorns, and admired its beauty. Then he made a sound of realization. “Did you look for one like this to give it as a present to Shouto-kun?”

 

The penguin… got him a present?

 

Izu-pingu shyly nodded. And Midoriya gave a small, fond smile to the penguin.

 

“Thank you so much, Izu-pingu, I’m sure it must’ve been hard work to find the right one. That was very nice of you, I’m sure he’ll love it!”

 

Well… now that rose could be covered in a deadly poison and Shouto would still have to love it. How can anyone deny Midoriya when he tells a cute penguin something like that

 

Midoriya presented the rose to Shouto with a smile, and Shouto obligingly accepted it. His fingers held it delicately around its thorned stem, and its sweet fragrance wafted into his breath. The white and red on the petals matched the shades of his hair perfectly.

 

Seeing the care that went into choosing this rose for him made a sprinkle of happiness spring up in his chest.

 

He gave a shallow bow the penguin. “Thank you for the present, Izu-pingu.”

 

Izu-pingu pressed his flippers to his feathered cheeks in happy embarrassment and Midoriya’s eyes and smile grew even brighter. Shouto flushed at the fact that his plain thank you was able to bring the two of them such joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Izuku brought Shouto back to the stadium hallway, he was all smiles. And though Shouto wasn’t also smiling, Izuku got the impression that the boy was happy. Now that he had looked into his Fruit of Fate, it was easier to interpret Shouto’s stoic expressions.

 

Izuku noticed that he kept glancing between his rose and Izuku, and felt his insides flutter in response to the attention.

 

A lot of things can change once a person really gets to know someone else– though Izuku took a major short cut for that…

 

They had used up a good chunk of the lunch hour and needed to eat before the third-round began, so both of them had been hoping to quickly rush to the lunchroom together.

 

But fate was not so kind –The clock had to strike twelve at some point.

 

“Shouto! What are you doing loitering around here, you should be preparing!” a deep and angry voice yelled at them from further down the main hallway they were traveling through.

 

Shouto jolted into a tense and straighter posture, dropping the rose in his shock. He didn’t seem to notice it as he clenched his jaw and swerved his head to direct a glare to the large man behind them. Just from that, Izuku would’ve been able to tell exactly who it was even without having recognized him. The image of the Number Two hero was a very well-known one.

 

Shouto’s eyes held fury in them, but Izuku could also see that they held fear.

 

Izuku’s own fury erupted in response. He shouldn’t need to deal with this man, especially while he’s still thinking through things on his own–

 

His body slid itself between Shouto and Endeavor. He caught Shouto’s attention and nodded his head towards the exit of the tunnel they had been walking towards. For a second, Shouto’s eyes slightly widened in surprise before he narrowed them in refusal.

 

Izuku tried to placate him by saying, “It’s okay, I wanted to tell him something.”

 

Shouto gave him a questioning look at that but decided to leave it for later, respecting Izuku’s wishes.

 

While the boy had initially denied the request to leave, the way he almost ran to the exit suggested that he was glad to take advantage of the opportunity. Izuku also hadn’t missed the fact that Shouto hadn’t been able to say a single word while in his father’s presence despite that not usually being a problem for him– He was absolutely not in the right emotional state to handle his abuser.

 

“Shou– !” Endeavor moved to chase after Shouto, but Izuku moved into his path.

 

The Number Two hero scowled down at him with his clenched teeth bared. “You… You’re the student representative. You may be doing well so far in these games, and you may have placed first in the entrance exam, but based on your speech you obviously don’t have the right outlook on heroics. All that nonsense about the nature of quirks and imaginary fate– It’s clear that your previous years of being quirkless messed up your head.” He growled out the word quirkless in the same manner that all people who looked down upon the condition had, though with more anger than most.

 

Endeavor gave him a mean smirk and haughtily stated, “My son will put you in your place, I’m sure of it. But at the very least you should be enough of a challenge to be a good stepping stone.”

 

Izuku leaned down to pick up the white and red rose that Shouto had dropped. He gently held it in his hands.

 

Conductor was activated to reveal a sight that didn’t surprise Izuku in the least; Endeavor’s Fruit of Fate was up in red-orange flames. Katsuki’s flames had nothing on this– Endeavor’s Fruit was a raging inferno that flickered violently all over, and the only reason Izuku could even see there was an apple in that ball of fire was because the black color of the lower half distinguished itself from the red. It was corrupted with rot.

 

Izuku’s neutral tone was completely at odds with the anger and disgust that flowed through him, “Yeah, listen– I don’t really care in the slightest about anything you just said. Truthfully, I was hardly paying attention to you and I’ve already forgotten it all.”

 

Endeavor’s smirk morphed into enraged offense– Good.  

 

“You may not believe in fate, Number Two hero, but I do– because I can see it for myself.” Izuku willed his eyes to pierce through the man like swords as he judged his soul, Endeavor stiffened a bit in response. “And all I wanted to tell you is this…”

 

Izuku held up one finger, as though he was explaining things to a child. “One; Shouto isn’t you. So even if he beats All Might and becomes Number One, that still means that you never beat him, and you never became Number One. Dumbass.”

 

He ignored the incredulous stare that was accompanied by Endeavor audibly choking on his rage to hold up a second finger and continue with, “And Two; I can see just by looking at you that your fate is going to go downhill fast. I promise you that one day, you’re going to look around yourself to find that everything important –everything you value and hold dear in your life– has been burned and reduced to irrecoverable ashes. And the only two things I hope for are that you don’t drag your family down with you, and that I get to see the look on your face when it happens.

 

With that said, he turned his back towards Endeavor and calmly walked away. He didn’t hear any footsteps following behind him.

 

Izuku was sure that the last part of what he said was literally the cruelest thing he’s ever stated in his life. It was definitely something that he would normally feel guilty over, but in this case– it was totally worth it just to get the chance to see the Number Two hero’s spine shiver at the words as he retreated a step backwards.

 

Endeavor may not believe in fate, but he could still hear that Izuku fully believed that that would be his fate, and that Izuku fully believed that he would enjoy the moment when it came about.

 

At that time, Izuku hadn’t realize how out of place that thought was.

 

How usually, even when it came to horrible, despicable people, he still wouldn’t feel joy at the thought of their suffering– simply because Izuku was not the type of person who took joy in anyone suffering at all. To him, villains deserved to be punished, but using excessive cruelty just turned heroes into villains themselves.

 

He only realized this when he had gone back to the Crystal World during the final five minutes of the lunch hour to safely store away Shouto’s rose. From within her mirror, Momoka had narrowed her eyes in a serious look and told him to check his punishment status.

 

It had changed from Pending to In Progress.

Chapter Text

Izuku forced his changed punishment status out of his mind. What else was he supposed to do? The final round of the Sports Festival was starting, there was no time to be able to think about it– No time to think about how his impending doom was catching up with him, or about how based on context clues it seemed like his doom involved the corruption of his morals of all things.

 

There was no time for Izuku to have an existential crisis– so he pretended like the suffocating dread inside him didn’t exist to focus on his top two priorities for the moment–  

 

Helping Shouto, and winning. In that order.

 

All the remaining contestants gathered at the stadium’s field. Izuku caught the eyes of his friends who had made it –Iida and Ochako, unfortunately Tsuyu had been eliminated– to give them supporting smiles, they both smiled back at him to return the gesture. He also caught the eyes of Shouto, who simply nodded in thanks –maybe for both Izuku’s support or Izuku’s intervention with Endeavor–  and bashfully looked away.

 

Izuku hoped that after his time alone, he had a clearer idea of whether he wanted to accept Izuku’s suggestion or not.

 

Midnight had explained the basics of the third-round’s one on one tournament rules and was preparing to draw lots to determine the brackets when Ojiro raised his hand to drop out. Amidst the confusion of the other participates, Izuku’s tailed classmate explained that he couldn’t remember anything from the second-round and felt he hadn’t truly earned his place there like the others did.

 

“It may be a stupid decision,” Ojiro admitted with a heavy tone, “But it’s like Midoriya said– everyone here has to fight to earn their glory. I don’t deserve to continue on when I failed to do so. It’s a matter of pride.”

 

“I want to drop out too!” a short boy with big eyes from class 1-B called out, “I can’t remember anything either, and it defeats the purpose of the festival to let someone who didn’t earn their spot advance!”

 

Midnight looked down at the two from the stage. “What youthful naivety…” she began with a foreboding tone, then she cracked her whip in the air and professed with excitement, “I like it! Shoda and Ojiro have officially withdrawn!”

 

Aoyama, who was also part of team Shinsou, just clapped a hand on the down Ojiro’s shoulder and winked. “I’ll win for you~☆!”

 

Izuku snorted at that. Aoyama certainly wasn’t showcasing the type of chivalry one would expect from someone trying to emulate a knight, but despite being “princely” himself– Izuku agreed with his decision to stay in the running.

 

Fate doesn’t often grant people favors, so they might as well take advantage of what they can. 

 

Apparently that type of practical thinking wasn’t the norm for heroics students, because team Kendo immediately passed on their opportunity to have a place in the tournament onto team Tetsutetsu with the claim that the other team had done more to earn a second chance. Tetsutetsu cried manly tears and Shiozaki bowed in gracious thanks as they accepted their spots in the tournament.

 

Once the match ups were drawn, Izuku saw that Tetsutetsu and Kirishima had been paired up for their first match and had the vague thought that all of that had simply been part of fate’s plan in the end. However, he was quickly distracted by his own bracket set up.

 

Kacchan’s at the opposite end, so he’ll only get to fight him if he makes it to the finals –how fitting. His match up with Shouto-kun is much earlier, their each other’s second match. And for Izuku’s first match…

 

Izuku subtly glanced around to find the Potential Child of Fate who had challenged his class two weeks ago, who had obviously done something to his teammates that caused their memory loss, only to jolt as he caught Shinsou standing right behind him.

 

The tall boy looked down at him, his eyebags just as prominent as they were last time. “You’re Midoriya Izuku, right? Can you explain to me why your quirk apparently has “safety concerns” that involve mine?”

 

Does that count as an invitation to tell the gen ed student about how he’s on the precipice of damnation? Izuku thinks it does...

 

But as Izuku opened his mouth to try and convince Shinsou to let him spirit the boy away to the Crystal World, a thick tail slapped itself over his jaw.

 

“Don’t answer him Midoriya!” Ojiro ordered firmly, he sent a suspicious glare at Shinsou.

 

Shinsou just scoffed with an air of annoyance and strolled away. As Midnight announced the beginning of the other activities that the non-competing students would take part in before the tournament, Ojiro said, “Let’s talk in a prep room, Midoriya. I’ll tell you about what I know of that guy.”

 

After his classmate explained how Shinsou most likely had a mind control quirk that could be activated upon a person verbally responding to him, Izuku knew he had to more work to do with the Potential Child of Fate than he had anticipated.

 

That’s the kind of quirk people would define as a “villain quirk” for sure. He’d bet good money that Shinsou’s core has some sort of condition. He had been more concerned with telling the boy about his Potential Child of Fate status than his Fruit of Fate condition –while burning is a dangerous condition his was still at a fairly manageable level, it was barely even there really– but if the inside of the Fruit is compromised that’s an entirely different story.

 

But he can’t really do anything about this now. Their match is first to go on, and a stranger coming in to try and give advice about a personal issue would be seen as overly nosy at best. Izuku’s just going to have to build a relationship with him first.

 

“I’ve got to say, Midoriya, while his quirk isn’t completely almighty, I’m glad that you were the one to go up against him rather than any of our other classmates.”

 

Izuku looked at Ojiro in surprise at that. “Huh? Why is that?”

 

“Well,” Ojiro rubbed the back of head with his tail as he answered with a sheepish tone, “I’m sure that plenty of the others wouldn’t have trouble with him exactly –especially if they’re good at keeping their mouths shut– but out of everyone you’re… like a gold standard I guess you could say? It’s like you’re from a completely different world than me.”

 

Ojiro gave a small smile.

 

“I mean, we haven’t really talked before this and you’ve already made a notable impact on my life. I certainly would’ve never imagined seeing something like teddy bear robots, and I haven’t even seen those penguins and the swordswomen mannequin I heard about. With the things you can do, and the quirk you’ve got, you just give off the feeling that anything is possible; that there exists many more things in this world that I couldn’t even imagine. I have a rather normal quirk, so in comparison I’m not as good of a representation of what a hero should be, but you? You stick out like crazy and do crazy things, and that’s how people usually imagine heroes!”

 

He stuck his fist out towards Izuku. “So… this might be out of line, but I want you to win this for me, and show that guy and everyone else watching what a hero-in-training looks like!”

 

Izuku grinned in response and returned the offered fist bump, but also added, “I understand what you’re getting at Ojiro-kun, but I think you’re not giving yourself enough credit. After all, isn’t every hero just a normal person once they’re off duty and out of their flashy costumes? I may seem out of this world, but I’m just a normal person in the end too.”

 

Ojiro blinked at that, then gave a laugh. “You’ve got a point there!”

 

The two of them parted in good spirits, but as Izuku’s first match approached and he was wished good luck by a proud Toshinori, he couldn’t help but think that this fight with Shinsou must also have been a part of fate’s plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shinsou Hitoshi is a child who understands what it means to be forgotten and unwanted, who understands that there were many forgotten and unwanted children in this world.

 

That there were many children who had never been told the words “I love you”. Or, if they had, couldn’t even remember it due to how long ago they had been gifted those words.

 

In his case, he had been abandoned when his single mother had learned what his quirk was. He knew it was just an excuse –she hadn’t even wanted him in the first place and his quirk was just the final nail in the coffin– but it still hurt like nothing else. He carried that harsh, eternal pain in his heart to this day.

 

Nothing hurt more than being thrown away like worthless garbage

 

Nothing hurt more than being unchosen, than being unloved

 

He had been told that there used to be a worse fate for children like them. That during the beginning of the age of quirks, for a few years there had been a place where children abandoned by society –many of them the newly quirked children born to parents that wished for a “normal” child– would get thrown away to be made “invisible”, and be remade into a type of child that would be wanted by society.

 

There were only whispers and rumors of this place left– hearsay that originated from those who had escaped that fate. But the threat of such a place even existing was enough to keep the tale alive amongst those that would’ve been at risk.

 

But the knowledge that things could’ve been worse, that some people do have it worse, didn’t help Hitoshi in the least.

 

It doesn’t help him now in his lonely home life with a foster family that only takes care of him as an obligation and was uneasy about his quirk. It hadn’t help him throughout his school life where he had to navigate around his untrusting peers and accept the non-malicious comments and jokes about how “he would be a great villain with that quirk”.

 

And it hadn’t helped him that fateful day when his mother had dropped him off somewhere only to never come back. It hadn’t helped him when he had waited his mother for hours at some agency, only to be told by a stranger that they were going to help him find a new place to live.

 

He can’t ever remember being told that someone loved him, but he can easily remember the times when, as a young child, he had wished to whatever God or gods that exist in this universe that he would one day wake up and find that he had a different quirk, a “good” quirk that would let him one day find a person that loved him.

 

Of course, the day where that actually happened never came.

 

That kind of miracle simply doesn’t exist. Or at least, that’s what he had thought.

 

Midoriya Izuku’s story made it sound like that kind of miracle can occur. Hitoshi knows he’s not bullshitting about being a late bloomer– a person right out born with a “good” quirk would never dedicate time in their important nation-wide speech to talk about the people who were forgotten and unwanted, to talk about how they had been told that they had no future and would never amount to anything.

 

For Hitoshi it was slightly different –with his quirk Brainwashing, instead he was told that his only future was for him to fall into evil, that the only thing he’d be able to amount to would be becoming a villain.

 

Even so, he still wanted to be a hero.

 

Even if his foster parents didn’t believe he could be a hero. Even if everyone told him he could only be a villain, and certainly not a hero. He still decided that that was the only path he wanted to take, that if fate exists and his was to only amount to evil, he would find some way to change his fate so that he could amount to good.

 

And if he was fated to be unchosen because of his quirk, he would find some way to change that too.

 

“Despite all of us being on the same playing field, we are not all beginning from the same starting line”

 

“Some of you were born with quirks that people have told you are “bad”, and that you wouldn’t be able to become a hero with them. But I think that neither of those things are true– I think that what leads to a person becoming a hero is how they use what they were given, quirk and everything else, and their conviction to go beyond the limits of what fate has granted them”

 

Yes, Hitoshi understood the sentiments of Midoriya’s speech very well. It was still hard to believe that a person who had amounted to so much truly believed in an ideal that Hitoshi tried to strive for every day– that having a “bad” quirk doesn’t make you a “bad” person. That it was possible to be more than everyone and society told him he could be.

 

The way the boy had spoken on that stage, it also reminded him of the way he had spoken during the infamous confrontation at the doorway to class 1-A.

 

“None of you guys have seen our homeroom teacher, Eraserhead, yet– have you?... He’s also missing his left eye. They couldn’t fix it. He’s half blind now.”

 

“Our “pedestals” was a traumatic event that ended with our teacher being permanently maimed. Don’t make fools of the heroics course? You’re the ones who are acting like fools– treating a villain attack like it was a play where we were the main stars acting as flashy heroes!”

 

“Do you want to know what the leader of the villains said to me, and my friend, and the guy who transferred to general education, when we saw him? He said, Is this your guys’ first time seeing a dead body? Those of you that I leave alive should get used to the sight, if you really aim to be so called heroes.”

 

“Maybe all of you should think about that, if you also aim to become heroes.”

 

His words had hit Hitoshi hard. To hear the gravity of the situation 1-A had been through –and why hadn’t Hitoshi been able to figure that out on his own, it was a fucking villain attack, what did he expect?– and to hear that his favorite hero, Eraserhead, who got by without a flashy quirk and was able to transfer to heroics from general education during his time at UA, was now half blind because of a villain attack Hitoshi stupidly made light of

 

Hitoshi was immensely grateful that the man hadn’t been there during the time, he might’ve just died on spot from mortification if he had…

 

But in any case, Midoriya had his mind straight on the reality behind being a hero, and about the reality behind being a child who was looked down upon by society. If Hitoshi wasn’t so damn jealous of his miracle, he might’ve gotten along with the kid.

 

He had caught Hitoshi’s attention with his words, then he had maintained it with that note he received –signed by the Principal of UA himself– that Hitoshi shouldn’t use Brainwashing to “order him to use his quirk” due to “safety concerns with Midoriya’s quirk”. Mysterious and suspicious were the most fitting descriptors for that situation.

 

Then it turned out that the guy was also the top scorer of the practical exam? And he proceeded to almost effortless win first-place every round in the Sports Festival so far? With robots that looked like teddy bears?

 

He couldn’t have stood out to Hitoshi more than he already had even if he tried…

 

He really wished that he hadn’t been paired with the guy right off the bat. Honestly… the no-combat-skills-gen-ed-student set to fight mister eternally-in-first-place, who also happens to use giant flying robots? If fate is a thing that actually exists, then it’s being a fucking bitch. He even missed out on the chance to take him by surprise, that noble tailed heroics student was sure to rat out his quirk in the name of “friendship” or something.

 

But whatever. He’s had to deal with shit like this his whole life. This is his first real chance to become a hero, to become someone who is wanted, who is chosen– he’s not going to accept defeat without even trying.

 

As he stared down Midoriya from across the cement ring, Hitoshi tried to keep himself nonchalant about the match up. But he could still feel bitter hopelessness well up inside him.

 

“For the first match– ” Present Mic announced enthusiastically, “We have the delightful student who’s on one hell of a winning streak, Midoriya Izuku! Versus! The gen ed student that hasn’t done anything to stand out much but still managed to somehow creep his way into the final round, Shinsou Hitoshi!”

 

“Delightful student”, “Hasn’t done anything to stand out”? Hitoshi honestly can’t tell if the man’s bias for the heroics student is because he’s biased against Shinsou due to his gen ed status or because he’s biased for Midoriya in particular…

 

“The rules are simple; win by either knocking your opponent out of the ring, immobilizing them, or getting them to say, “I give up”! Fight dirty if you must– “ethics” have no meaning here!”

 

Well that’s good, since there’s literally no other way for Hitoshi to win other than playing dirty–

 

 I give up, huh? Get it, Midoriya Izuku, this battle is a test of wills.”

 

Midoriya jolted as Hitoshi started to speak, clenching his teeth and furrowing his brows. He knew exactly the kind was dilemma he was in.

 

Hitoshi had made sure to pay close attention to the heroics kids, and especially Midoriya, so it was easy to notice his only real advantage for this fight– the fact that his opponent needed to use a verbal que to transport himself.

 

Midoriya probably thought that if he just spoke quickly enough, he would be able to beat out Hitoshi laying his trap. But there’s nothing he can do about it now that Hitoshi’s spoken before the match even started.

 

Hitoshi continued to play the bad guy with, “If you’ve got any kind of vision for your future, there’s no sense in worrying about how you’ll get there– ”

 

“READY– !”

 

“Like that monkey babbling about his stupid pride– ”

 

“START– !”

 

“What kind of dumbass throws away a chance like this?”

 

Midoriya just blinked once, before raising a single eyebrow to non-verbally communicate, Is that all you’ve got? Then rushed at him.

 

Dammit, he thought the heroics student would agree with that noble shit. Now Hitoshi’s got to talk like even more of a dick if he wants to get anywhere…

 

As Midoriya encroached on his personal space, Hitoshi did his best to split his focus between evading his opponent and coming up with shit to agitate the boy with. He could tell right away that his opponent had at least a little experience in non-quirk combat to oppose Hitoshi’s complete lack of it– The most assured way for him to win this was by brainwashing him.

 

“You gave a real good speech, you know? I’m sure you know by now that I’ve got a “bad” quirk, so I could get behind what you were saying. Though I don’t really know what to think about the whole fate shtick– ” He had to cut himself off to jerk himself away from an attempted punch to the abdomen.

 

“But it’s hypocritical for you to be going for that angle now, after getting a quirk like yours– ” Midoriya’s eyebrow twitched and his leg sweep successfully knocked one of Hitoshi’s feet off the ground, causing him to hit the hard cement. He ignored the pain to roll away, and after gaining some distance picked himself off the floor.

 

Hitoshi found Midoriya’s sore spot– He let the bitterness he had been holding inside himself rise up to form words, “Cause in the end, you were saved from being worthless, weren’t you? Most us don’t have that kind of luck. This world is divided into the chosen and the unchosen, to be unchosen is to die. But you don’t have to worry about that because you’re one of the chosen now– ” Midoriya’s movements quickened to the point where Hitoshi couldn’t dodge fast enough and he was forced backwards. He wants Hitoshi to stop talking.

 

You’ve been so blessed!” Hitoshi barked out with a strained, breathless voice, “To have been granted a miracle like that –to have been saved from being unchosen– without even having to work or sacrifice for it!”

 

The whites of Midoriya’s eyes widen dramatically, and all other markers of expression were wiped from his face. It would’ve been the exact same passively-aggressive neutral that it had been two weeks ago if it wasn’t for the eyes that seemed to be trying to murder Hitoshi through their sight alone.

 

Midoriya took a deep breath and ran at him like a possessed man, tackling Hitoshi to the floor. Hitoshi grunted as pain shot through his back.

 

Don’t talk about things you know nothing about– ” Hitoshi’s quirk clicked into place, and Midoriya went from a murderous glare to blank nothingness. He was stock still pinning Hitoshi to the ground.

 

“What’s this, Midoriya’s stopped attacking all of a sudden?!” Present Mic proclaimed, “We were barely even aware this guy existed, but he’s now one to keep an eye on!”

 

“Like I’ve said, the format of the practical entrance exam is irrational,” Eraserhead cut in, Hitoshi felt his excitement rise upon hearing his hero’s voice, “Shinsou Hitoshi’s quirk is incredible powerful, but due to the format of the exam, it wasn’t able to help him pass into the heroics course.”

 

That’s right– he’s doing this to get around his disadvantages and enter the heroics course, to become a hero.

 

Hitoshi pushed away the guilt of provoking Midoriya with something that was obviously extremely upsetting for him and kept his voice even as he commanded, “Get up and walk out of the ring.”

 

Midoriya picked himself up, then started walking away.

 

“WOAH! Midoriya’s leaving the ring?! Get it together little listener!”

 

He’s totally biased…

 

“Wait, isn’t that– ?!”

 

Something flashed out of the corner of Hitoshi’s eye, and he turned his head to see some kind of marble was thrown towards him. By a penguin.

 

The Fuck?

 

It squawked loudly two times, and suddenly the marble broke into dozens of shards, some of which hit Hitoshi.

 

He blinked, then saw that his location had completely changed from the airy, loud stadium to a quiet place surrounded by glimmering, opaque stone and black and white stands.

 

Shit!

 

Hitoshi could feel the grating of dirt against his skin as he pushed his torso off the floor to see the blankly staring Midoriya who had stopped walking to now just stand in place– and whose outfit had changed for some reason. What the hell is he wearing?

 

He felt something pointed and sharp steady itself on the back of his neck. Frozen in place, Hitoshi didn’t dare try to turn his head to see what it was or who was there– a vision of the silver sword Midoriya had pulled out for the end of the cavalry battle flashed through his mind.

 

Hitoshi audibly gulped before stuttering out, “I-I’m not going to try anything, promise, so– could you not kill me?” He waits for a response to activate his quirk, but there’s nothing but silence behind him.

 

The sound of steps moving through gravel got his attention. He unconsciously rotated his eyes to see the penguin with a crown had procured a hand mirror and was waddling towards him from the side. As it closed the distance between them, he could see that Midoriya’s reflection was in the mirror without the boy even there to face it.

 

Clearly, Hitoshi was absolutely wrong when he thought that Midoriya couldn’t stand out more than he already did…

 

Midoriya’s reflection started talking and his voice intoned from the mirror, “Well look at that– seems like we’ve got an Alice who fell down into our Wonderland. Or maybe it would be more accurate to call you an Alice who’s on the precipice of falling into Wonderland? Were you waiting for a response from our Champion? It’s only a mannequin, so it can’t speak.”

 

…The mirror talks? And what is it even talking about, with all that Alice in Wonderland stuff? Considering the talking mirror Wonderland was certainly a fitting term for this place though.

 

“T-That’s good to know,” he couldn’t keep his nerves out of his tone, but he marched on regardless, “Are… talking mirrors a common thing in this guy’s dimension?”

 

“Oh, no. It’s just me!” Midoriya’s reflection giggled.

 

Hitoshi tried to activate his quirk, but it failed –That was a long shot anyway.

 

The image in the mirror curled its lips at Hitoshi. “Ah! You just tried to use your quirk on me didn’t you, Shinsou Hitoshi? Little Izuku said it was some kind of mind control ability.”

 

Fuck– “…I didn’t mean any offense. Just doing my best to win a friendly competition.”

 

He was extremely aware of the sharp sensation still on his neck.

 

“It’s fine, a bit silly really. I’m not a human anymore, just a reflection– something that is neither alive nor dead.”

 

The reflection tilted its head as it examined Hitoshi, he only just noticed that its eyes were a glassy pink instead of Midoriya’s green.

 

It nodded its head at the presence behind him, leading to the sharp point being removed from his nape.

 

He was only allowed to feel relieved for a second before the reflection frowned at him and said with a heavy tone, “You are a forgotten and unwanted child, aren’t you? Someone who has been abandoned by society…”

 

Shock rang through Hitoshi at hearing those words, plainly stated for the first time ever. They solidified the misery in his chest.

 

“I can tell because my Mirror reflects the truth, and I used to be like that too. Before I became chosen, before someone chose me.” The reflection focused its sight on Midoriya, then gave a small but fond smile to the unaware boy. “My Prince here has faced much hardship, and is fated to face more, but he’s never known what it means to be abandoned by the entire world like that. I’m quite glad he doesn’t know that sadness…”

 

Hitoshi ignored the crushing feeling centered at his heart to look back to Midoriya. Suddenly the outfit made more sense– with his crown, cloak, and regal shirt, he does look similar to what a prince would look like.

 

“However,” Midoriya’s voice from the mirror recaptured his focus, “he does know the significance of being unchosen by society and fate, as well as the significance of being chosen. And he is a kind child. So Alice, I am certain that there will be a day when you are chosen –where you are loved– because if you accept his hand of friendship, he will choose you. And perhaps there will even come to be other people who choose you as well.”

 

A sharp inhale tore through Hitoshi’s breath at those words.

 

Does that kind of miracle truly exist?

 

“There’s much that you need to be told still, so make sure you seek out little Izuku at some point to return here. But for now… ” Midoriya’s reflection mischievously grinned at him and continued in a playful tone, “Champion of the Rose Bride, can you help your Prince out of his mental imprisonment?”

 

The presence behind him stepped around to reveal a prince-like mannequin with long pinky hair and a silver sword in hand. It strutted to Midoriya’s side, then pushed him over to the ground. He tumbled onto the dirt.

 

“ –Gah!” Midoriya pushed himself off the floor to look at Hitoshi, only to quickly avert his eyes to the mirror –Damn. He totally heard all of that, how embarrassing– “Thanks for the help, Momoka-san, but maybe next time encourage a gentler reawaking?”

 

“Maybe next time don’t get brainwashed?” was Momoka’s immediate retort.

 

Midoriya winced. “Okay, fair point.” He glanced back to Hitoshi and upon realizing that Hitoshi had no intention to continue their fight –he had already been held at sword-point once, he was sure it’d be easy for them to accomplish that again, and it’s not like he would even be able to get himself out of this crazy town without Midoriya letting him leave– Midoriya awkwardly muttered, “Uh– I’m just going to…”

 

He held out a gloved hand. “Will of the Crystal Princess.”

 

Glimmering, opaque crystal burst out of the ground to encase all of his body except for his head. Hitoshi grimaced at how restraining it was. “Cozy…”

 

Midoriya rubbed the back of his head while giving an apologetic look. “Sorry about that– ” Hitoshi’s quirk clicked into place and Midoriya cut himself off to stare into space.

 

Hitoshi snorted and released his quirk’s hold. Midoriya snapped out of it to blink stupidly at him. “Don’t you think you’re a bit too trusting?”

 

“Wow… right after I just told you not to get brainwashed too…” Momoka chimed in.

 

Midoriya sputtered defensively, “I-It’s not like I can just ignore everything Shinsou says!”

 

Yes he could. There had been a couple of his classmates before UA who just never talked to him if they could help it for fear of his quirk.

 

Hitoshi didn’t say that though. He couldn’t help but feel glad that Midoriya wouldn’t consider acting like that towards him.

 

“So, what the hell is up with the penguin?”

 

Midoriya chuckled sheepishly, “Ah– This is Izu-pingu! He was sort of made in my image by this place, I guess you could say? So he can do some of what I can, including transporting himself in and out of the Crystal World. In the tunnel before coming out onto the field, I came here and told Izu-pingu to transport himself out after a couple of minutes had passed –after the match would’ve started– to hide there. And if it looked like I had been brainwashed, to come out to provide support. The teachers consider him to be part of my quirk for the most part, so I figured that would be allowed…”

 

Hitoshi stared at him for a moment before hanging his head, “I can’t believe a goody two-shoes heroics course student beat me at playing dirty…”

 

“But of course, he learned from the best!” Momoka placed a hand on her chest to clarify who, exactly, had taught Midoriya how to play dirty.

 

Hitoshi and Midoriya rolled their eyes in synch with each other.

 

“Survival Strategy Complete!”

 

In an instant, they were surrounding by the roaring cheers of the spectators and the sight of UA’s Sports Festival Stadium.

 

“Can you move, Shinsou?” Midnight called out.

 

Hitoshi gave her a look and stated a flat, “No.”

 

“Midoriya Izuku has immobilized Shinsou! Midoriya wins the match to move onto the second-round of the tournament!” Midnight announced.

 

The cheering got louder at that. And within the congratulations for Midoriya, Hitoshi could hear–

 

“You were awesome out there, Shinsou!”

 

“You’re the shining star of the general education course!”

 

“That quirk would be great against villains, I wish I had it…”

 

“What the hell is UA thinking, putting him in general education?”

 

From his place inside the crystal, Hitoshi could only look up at his classmates from 1-C and the impressed pro heroes in disbelief.

 

“May those who defy their fate be granted glory”

 

“It seems like that day Momoka-san told you about is fast approaching, Shinsou-kun, as well as the day you become a hero!”

 

Hitoshi looked back at Midoriya, who smiled brightly at him and unconsciously stretched his hand out to Hitoshi. “Maybe this is out of place to say now, but… do you want to be friends, Shinsou-kun?”

 

“I am certain that there will be a day where you are chosen –where you are loved– because if you accept his hand of friendship, he will choose you

 

Hitoshi stared at him. As he began to fully process all the praise and the boy in front of him, he felt lighter than he had his entire life.

 

“…Sure.”

 

Midoriya beamed at him.

 

“Great! Now I’ve got to, uh– take you back so I can get rid of the crystal…”

 

Hitoshi snorted at his maybe friend, but a smile crept onto his face anyway.

Chapter Text

After exchanging his contact info with Shinsou and promising to meet up with him later –and he would definitely keep that promise, Izuku was determined to stick himself into Shinsou’s life for good now– Izuku went to the stands to watch the rest of the first-round matches.

 

Shouto didn’t use his fire against Sero. Frankly, it wasn’t even necessary seeing that he froze him with an iceberg that filled a good half of the stadium. It just barely avoided the spectators, including Izuku and the students of class 1-A. The crowd yelled, “Don’t mind!” to Izuku’s completely outclassed classmate and Shouto stood with an air of loneliness even with the frozen Sero right beside him as he melted his ice with a heated palm. Izuku got an incredible sense of sadness from him, and the sadness echoed through his own chest.

 

He couldn’t bare it. He placed his hand on the wall of ice that protruded right in front of his face, ignoring its biting cold.

 

“Survival Strategy”

 

Due to the iceberg’s positioning, Izuku was high in the air when he appeared in the Crystal World right next to the Penguin Exhibit, but he just displaced his surroundings in time with gravity, stopping his fall. Then, he blurred to Shouto’s side using the same technique.

 

Shouto stared at him dumbfounded for a second, then turned to stare at the size of his enormous ice creation, then turned back to stare at Izuku again.

 

“W-What the h-hell, Midoriya! H-How were you able t-to move something t-this huge! And what are  you w-wearing?!” Sero stuttered out from his frozen prison.

 

Izuku sighed at the frequently asked question, he was really getting sick of it, “It’s just an outfit that signifies I’m the owner of this dimension.”

 

Izuku gave a sad smile to Shouto. “I just thought that this would be easier, Shouto-kun– ”

 

S-Shouto-kun?!

 

“You only have to melt out Sero-kun, and you can just leave the rest of it here,” Izuku continued without paying Sero any mind, “This is the Penguin Exhibit, so the ice will stay frozen and the penguins could play on it.”

 

P-Penguin E-Exhibit?!

 

Shouto looked around at all the snow and ice surrounding them. “ …It does seem like it would fit. If you’re sure it’s okay, then that’s fine.”

 

Shouto glanced away from Izuku and placed his left hand back on Sero to continue melting the ice encasing him. Sero’s eyes whipped back and forth between them.

 

“ …Thanks for your help.”

 

A grin bloomed on Izuku’s face that matched his delighted tone, “It’s no problem at all, Shouto-kun! The way you make your ice is almost beautiful, really, it’d be a shame to have to melt one this spectacular!”

 

Shouto didn’t move his eyes from his hand on Sero, but Izuku still caught the faint red that rose on his cheeks. Sero choked on freezing-cold air.

 

“O-Okay, I could’ve s-sworn that you two o-only first talked this morning. W-What on Earth h-happened to your guys’ r-relationship within the span of a c-couple of hours?!

 

Izuku’s answer involved the secrets of the Fruit of Fate, so he stayed silent. Surprisingly though, Shouto answered.

 

“Midoriya is a natural-born Prince Charming– that’s what happened,” Shouto stated with a sardonic tone laced into his normal monotone voice.

 

Izuku turned red and sputtered, “What?! What I did wasn’t too…”

 

He stopped to mentally review their romantic candle-lit ballroom dance and kiss to the cheek.

 

“Oh… actually, you have a point…”

 

Shouto glanced his eyes towards Izuku to give him a look, before averting them again.

 

“O-Oh, come on! Don’t leave it at that! W-What did Midoriya do, seriously?!”

 

Izuku and Shouto ignored Sero’s pleading. As Shouto finished up his work, Izuku wandered over to the igloo containing the penguins for Potential Children of Fate and from the window, he could see that a new third penguin had appeared.

 

It was most likely the penguin for the class 1-B student the Principal had told him about –Izuku must have caught sight of him sometime during the festival– but just by looking him there was no way to tell who it belonged to. The only discernible feature the penguin had was that he somehow managed to maintain a smug expression even in his sleep.

 

When Izuku returned with both Shouto and Sero, Hizashi was in the middle of a positive-sounding tirade.

 

“YEAH! What an incredible feat by Midoriya Izuku! Could it be that there’s no limit on the size of things he can use his quirk on?! What a glorious display of power– ”

 

Shouta tried to cut in, “Can you please stop? This didn’t even happen during a fight– ”

 

“Does it look like I CARE?!”

 

Izuku was slightly embarrassed by Hizashi-sensei’s rampant praise, but he was much too happy at hearing his words to complain about it.

 

The next battle was also over in an instant. Kaminari lost against Shiozaki’s insulating vines. The one after was purposely stretched out by Hatsume so she could advertise all of her “babies”, some of which she had even given to Iida to show off. After finishing her ads, she stepped out of the ring to give Iida the frustrating win.

 

Ashido and Aoyama were a more evenly matched pair, but her stronger physical prowess upper-cutted Aoyama for the win. Yaoyorozu wasn’t given enough time to make complicated creations and couldn’t utilize the simple ones she was able to get out well enough to defend against Dark Shadow’s strength, so Tokoyami won their match.

 

During Kirishima and Tetsutetsu’s heated battle, Izuku spent his time with Iida reassuring Ochako in the prep room. Izuku offered some tips on Kacchan’s battle style but Ochako turned them down, stating that she wanted to win without relying on Izuku as she had last round. He did make sure to emphasis that Kacchan would give it his all in their fight, though, so Ochako needed to go all in as well.

 

And go all in she did, their fight was a grueling one– to many it seemed like Kacchan was overpowering her at every turn. Some in the crowd even started booing at him for “toying” with her.

 

“Ah, to be honest, I sort of agree– Ack! Elbow!”

 

“The pros who are booing, you might as well leave right now and find a different career. Bakugou understands that since his opponent has made it this far, he needs to keep his guard up and not underestimate her. He can’t afford to go easy on her.”

 

Izuku grinned towards the commenter’s booth and muttered to himself, “That’s right! Ochako-chan isn’t in the heroics course to become some damsel in distress– she’s here to become a knight!”

 

Because the booing pros had completely missed the meteor field Ochako had been preparing. The multitude of debris caused by Kacchan’s explosions floated high in the air, and she released them all to fall down from the heavens onto the Earth in a powerful move.

 

But it wasn’t enough. Kacchan’s overwhelming power was able to blast through her strategy and she lost the match.

 

When Izuku went to the prep room to comfort her before his match with Shouto only to find her showing all smiles, he furrowed his brows and said, “It’s okay to be sad, Ochako-chan. It’s okay to cry too, whether you cry on your own or with others. That’s part of what it means to be human, you know?”

 

Ochako let her smile fall. She looked to the side to respond, “ …Thanks, Deku-kun. Do might leaving me here to call my dad for a bit? I’m sure you need to prepare for your match too.”

 

“Alright, if that’s what you want…” Hopefully letting out her sadness with her dad will help…

 

But as he walked down the hallway, he was intercepted by a surprising visitor.

 

“Shouto-kun?! Is something wrong, why did you need to see me before our fight? Did Endeavor bother you?!”

 

Izuku tried to fret over the boy, but Shouto anchored him by grasping both his shoulders to physically calm him. Conductor selectively activated to show his frozen but slowly melting Fruit of Fate.

 

“I’m fine, Midoriya, I just wanted to know…” He kept his hands on Izuku but glanced his eyes away. “I… I think if it’s only this once, I can try out my fire side. But are you sure about me using fire in our match? You’re going to use everything you can, your Teddydrums, and penguin, and mannequin– but they’re all precious to you, or at least that’s the feeling I got from you…”

 

Shouto cast his gaze on his own left hand and asked with a hesitant voice, “ …What if the fire hurts them too badly, or maybe even you? I don’t want you to end up hating me because of something like that.”

 

…There was only one answer Izuku could give to this.

 

In a move that Izuku was aware was very forward, he carefully lifted Shouto’s left hand and rested his cheek against its palm, like a parody of when he handled Shouto’s Fruit.

 

Shouto blushed at his affections, and Izuku made steady eye contact with him while explaining, “I’ll be okay, Shouto-kun, I’m strong. You were right to think that all of the inhabitants of my world are precious to me, but you don’t have to hold back against them. My Teddydrums can be repaired, my Champion of the Rose Bride will reappear back inside the Crystal World completely intact if its body is destroyed, and my penguin is connected to my life– Izu-pingu can be hurt, but as long as I am alive, he won’t die.”

 

He placed his own left hand on top of Shouto’s. “Don’t worry about trying to hold back. Just let all of yourself feel free, for this one time. There are some things I won’t be able to use for our match for security reasons since we have watchers, along with my broken Teddydrum, but I won’t be holding back at all. I fully plan on winning this fight– I want to earn my glory too!”

 

Shouto gave him a long look before nodding.

 

“We… probably have to get ready now…”

 

“Oh, right.” Izuku blushed and removed Shouto’s hand form his face. “Sorry about that– ”

 

“You don’t have to apologize,” Shouto cut him off, then turned away to head towards his own entrance, “Don’t regret this later, Midoriya.”

 

“I could never regret supporting you to the best of my ability!” Izuku countered with honesty flowing in every word.

 

For some reason, that made Shouto blush again. The two parted with Izuku reassured that Shouto will be able to move forward with their fated match.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“They’ve both done great in this festival so far, but there’s only room for one of these greats to move on! It’s Todoroki! Versus! Midoriya!” Present Mic’s declaration was met with the roaring cheers of the crowd.

 

“Get up! You won’t be able to defeat third-rate villains, let alone All Might, if you get knocked down by a hit like that.”

 

“I can’t do it anymore. The children, they’re… like him more and more every day. And Shouto, his left side… sometimes I look at him and think it’s unsightly.”

 

Across the ring from Shouto, Midoriya gave him a beaming smile.

 

“This warmth and this light– they’re being made by your fire, Shouto. The fire that you lit on these candles is bringing warmth to us, and beautiful light to this room and everything in it. Your fire makes me feel good, too”

 

“I just want you to try it once, just for our fight. Instead of how your father’s fire feels and the memories he cursed you with, I want you to think of how you felt when we were dancing, of how good this warmth and this light felt. Our fight can just be an extension of our dance”

 

“But you want to be a hero, right? That’s fine… you’re not bound by his blood”

 

Shouto clenched his left hand into a fist and closed his eyes for just a moment.

 

Try to ignore everything else; ignore Mother’s words, ignore that man who’s probably watching from the audience–

 

This fight won’t be about his conviction, it won’t be about what kind of hero he wants to become, all of that can come later–

 

Shouto unclenched his fist and opened his eyes to face the Prince.

 

“Just let all of yourself feel free, for this one time”

 

This fight –this one time– will just be about Shouto searching within himself for the warmth and light he felt in that ballroom, that he felt with Midoriya.

 

–But even though he wants it to be like that, he can still feel it burning inside of him; his hatred for his father’s fire, for his own fire– 

 

“START!”

 

Immobilization is useless against him, Shouto thought as he reflexively formed spires of ice to rush at Midoriya. If he’s lucky they’ll be fast enough to push him out of the ring, but most likely…

 

“Survival Strategy!”

 

The ice passed through the open space Midoriya once stood. Shouto repositioned himself so that he had a clear path to Midoriya’s spot that wasn’t blocked by his own ice.

 

“Midoriya avoided Todoroki’s ice by transporting himself to his dimension! What crazy stuff will he reappear with to use for this fight?!”

 

Present Mic’s question was answered only a few seconds later, and the instant Shouto glimpsed the sudden appearance of multiple forms– he let loose a fast plume of fire towards them. Teddydrum Black rose above the flames with Midoriya and Izu-pingu in his arms before they could hit.

 

Shouto!” He forced himself to not look at the man who considered himself his father. “So you’ve finally accepted it, excellent! With my blood running through your veins you will– Hey! What are you doing– Mhmm?!”

 

That caused Shouto to turn his head towards where Endeavor’s voice was coming from. The still mostly-broken Teddydrum White had an arm around the torso of the Number Two hero and its other hand pressed against his face –probably trying to just keep his mouth shut– It was positioning Endeavor back into an empty seat like a security guard dealing with an unruly audience member.

 

Even though the people around the spectacle were clearly confused as to what was happening, they were also frantically snapping photos with their phones and cameras. Social media was going to go crazy over this for sure.

 

“Eh? Why does it look like Teddydrum White is trying to put Endeavor on time-out? Is this allowed?!” Present Mic asked incredulously.

 

“Just ignore it, the robot is trustworthy and I’m sure Midoriya’s reasons are valid. It won’t do any harm as long as Endeavor makes sure to control himself and not start brawling in the audience,” Aizawa dismissed the unusual sight without a second thought.

 

Shouto stiffened his face to keep chuckle from escaping. Your favoritism is showing, Aizawa-sensei–

 

A flash of pink caught the corner of his right eye, and Shouto just barely managed to put up a wall of ice to defend against Midoriya’s mannequin, the Champion of the Rose Bride. Its silver sword crashed into the ice with a clang, but he quickly realized the wall was too thin when its next move successfully impaled the sword through the wall, forcing him to back up closer to the iceberg made from his starting move.

 

Izu-pingu was using the ice to travel straight to Shouto, sliding on his belly like the penguin he was. Teddydrum Black, still carrying Midoriya, tried creeping its way around the edge of the ring unnoticed, also moving towards Shouto

 

Don’t get distracted, there are multiple opponents on this field– He threw a column of fire at his ice, hoping to both interrupt Izu-pingu and remove an object that could potentially be used against him. The top half of it turned into a burst of steam and suddenly Izu-pingu exploded out of the ring. Shouto blinked at the flying penguin in shock.

 

“What was that explosion from?!” Present Mic yelled incredulously.

 

“The cooled air was heated in an instant, making it expand,” Aizawa answered in with a simple explanation.

 

Shouto shot himself to the other side of the ring with his ice, avoiding both the Champion that had moved around his wall and the crystal that was thrown at the spot he had once been.

 

There’s too many to deal with to go on the offense, Shouto needs to take some of them out.

 

Teddydrum Black and Midoriya lift into the air once more, but were slow in their approach, with the robot’s cannons at ready. The Champion on the other hand blurred towards him with frightening speed. He’s lost sight of the small, easily missed penguin.

 

The robot is confined to the ring as long as it’s holding Midoriya; they don’t want to risk Shouto shooting them out of the air into an out of bounds space, but Midoriya needs the extra mobility to avoid getting hit. The mannequin is their vanguard. The penguin is their sneak attack.

 

Get rid of the vanguard first– The Champion approached from his right side for a reason…

 

He noticed the red laserbeam headed his way in synch with the incoming Champion’s attack just in time to use his right arm to grow a thick wall to take the blow. He then sent thick spears of ice racing at the mannequin, who easily dodged it. It blurred out of sight for a moment, and Shouto turned his head to the right to see it on that side once more. As its sword tried to graze his side, Shouto had already finished moving his left arm across his chest to release a point-blank burst of fire.

 

The blade made a shallow cut on the side of his abdomen, but the mannequin was up in flames. Shouto pulled himself out of contact with the sword as the Champion turned to gray ashes.

 

“His left side… sometimes I look at him and think it’s unsightly

 

Pain shot through his jaw as Shouto grit his teeth at the sight.

 

He heard something rustle behind him and forced his tense arm to move behind him and grow a wall. Beating out the two squawks from Izu-pingu, his ice wall disappeared a moment later along with his opponents.

 

“Midoriya’s disappeared again but he failed to bring Todoroki with him!”

 

Pressing his left hand to his side, he could tell it wasn’t bleeding very much but it won’t close up anytime soon. The way this fight seemed like it could drag on spelled bad news for him. He was already breathing heavily and tiring.

 

If it’s a test of endurance, he won’t win since its just him versus multiple fighters. He needs to figure out a way to take down Midoriya before they outlast him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Shit. He blocked in time.”

 

Izuku was back in his Crystal World at the Dueling Arena in the arms of Teddydrum Black. Teddydrum White was a little ways away looking irritated after having to deal with Endeavor. The Champion in its new body had already been present as well as Nighteye’s penguin with Momoka’s Hand Mirror on stand by, and Izu-pingu was hanging his head in shame next to the ice wall that had been brought with them.

 

Izuku looked down at the cute penguin and sighed before petting his head, “It’s okay Izu-pingu. You tried your best to be stealthy. I’m the one that needs to improve on my stealth, you can only do what I can after all…”

 

It sounded simple in theory, but in reality it had taken awhile to figure out the particular capabilities of the penguins. They can use their respective human’s quirk and had the same basic physical skills and strength, but their lack of size and weight made them lack momentum and inertia compared to the humans. It made it much easier to throw Little Might out of the way than it would be to throw All Might.

 

For Izu-pingu it was even more complicated due to the Penguindrum. Izuku is the sole owner of the Penguindrum, so Izu-pingu can’t do most of the spells, but he could use Survival Strategy and Survival Strategy Complete.

 

The Survival Strategy spell became quite complicated when both of them wanted to use it; Izu-pingu can transport out of the Crystal World to where ever Izuku last used the spell, but if both of them were outside of the Crystal World when either of them used it, both of them would be transported back.

 

This fight would be easier for Izuku if he could use Toshi-pingu and Nighteye’s penguin –when will that penguin be named?– but Toshi-pingu acting as Little Might just looked way too much like All Might to use unless it was an emergency. Nighteye’s penguin isn’t as recognizable so he’d be safer for regular use, but with the Festival being broadcasted nationally there’d bound to be someone that noticed. Izuku just can’t risk people trying to answer the question of where he’s getting these penguins…

 

It’d be nice to use Teddydrum White too, but with a major injury like that it’d be best to only call it over if he absolutely needed to. At least it’s well enough to work on Endeavor control though.

 

“Okay, new plan everyone. Shouto-kun’s bad at close-range, so Teddydrum Black and me will go in close along with the Champion. Izu-pingu, try to linger around the outskirts to see if you can get a clear shot. Teddydrum White, you’re still on Endeavor control for now.”

 

Teddydrum White motioned his hands in a similar way to a how person would move to crack their knuckles.

 

Izuku furiously hoped that the brute of a man would have the sense to not start a fight with a giant robot in a crowd of people, because Teddydrum White was waiting in anticipation for the opportunity to throw hands. As protectors of children, the Teddydrums could sense the threat he posed and hated him for it.

 

It would’ve been more convenient if Teddydrum Black was the one Izuku could assign to “Endeavor control”– Teddydrum Black was the more energetic of the two, but it was also more soft-hearted. Teddydrum White was the type of aggressor that wouldn’t hesitate to kill a man like the Number Two hero if Izuku gave the word for it.

 

Izuku very much disliked Endeavor and enjoyed the prospect of him having a karmatic fate –he probably even hated him– but he still doesn’t actively want him dead. Not only that, but what would he say to Shouto if his Teddydrum killed his father in what would basically be a school-yard brawl? And would the Teddydrum even be able to win? The man was the Number Two hero for a reason and Izuku doesn’t know if he can make fire hot enough to melt metal– he really needs to stop thinking about this hypothetical death match and focus…

 

“The Prince best bring a proper sword and shield to this close-range fight if he wants to properly impress his Cinderella,” Momoka teased, giving him a sly look.

 

Izuku flushed. “Momoka-san, please don’t embarrass me by calling Shouto-kun “my Cinderella” when he meets you…” He did accept the silver colored sword and long shield that was offered by the Champion of the Rose Bride though. If they got too unwieldy he could always toss them.

 

“Alright, time for Act 2!”

 

The crystal shards released next to Shouto, but Izuku doubted the boy would still be in the same spot when he returned. Which is why he was caught off guard by Shouto’s close range fire attack. Luckily his shield was already in front of him and all he had to do was crouch down. The metal got almost unbearably hot.

 

“Midoriya reappeared with a sword and shield befitting of knights and royalty!” Hizashi echoed throughout the stadium.

 

He ignored the heat to charge into Shouto, who had to form ice armor around his right side to crash against the heated shield, causing the ice to sizzle and partially melt. Teddydrum Black rushed towards Shouto from above while the Champion came at him from his left side, he hoped that was enough of a distraction… “Survival– !”

 

Shouto bodily threw himself into the Champion with his entire right side blazing on fire, both avoiding Teddydrum Black’s crushing body and his contact with Izuku’s shield. The Champion seemed like it never actually made contact with Shouto, though. It was too susceptible to fire so any body part too close to Shouto was instantly turned to ash. This time the mannequin rolled to put out the flames and rescue the left half of its body for use. It retreated for the time being.

 

Maybe it’d be better to focus on pushing him out of the ring instead of transporting him? But he could just make ice behind himself to keep himself in the ring–

 

He made strikes at Shouto with his sword in his right hand not to impale him, but to distract him enough to make it easier for his Teddydrum to grab him. In response, Shouto made some more armor-like ice to cover his right forearm that he used to deflect Izuku’s blows. When the Teddydrum moved in from behind its clanking metal body was too loud, giving it away. Shouto quickly turned his right side back around to freeze it in place with a large iceberg, but took a hit from Izuku in the process.

 

He moved back too quickly for Izuku to take advantage of their contact though. They began moving around each other in a dance, circling each other. When Izuku thrust his blade forward, Shouto would counter with his ice armor or dodge. When Shouto would try to get Izuku to back off by shooting flames at him, Izuku would protect his body with his shield. It wasn’t sustainable for either of them– but all Izuku had to do was wait for either his Teddydrum to melt itself out with the heat from its cannons and rockets or for Izu-pingu to get a clear shot.

 

“What do you feel right now, Shouto-kun?! What do you see?!” Izuku yelled as he struck at Shouto once more.

 

The sword clanged as it was deflected with ice armor. “I feel your sword, and I feel cold, but also warm. I see you, and I see my light shining and reflecting everywhere around you!” In time with the end of his remark, Shouto’s hand burst forth flames. The left side of his shirt was starting to burn off rapidly.

 

Vaguely, Izuku noted that Teddydrum Black was almost free, but had paused his melting of the ice. The Teddydrum could tell that this was an important moment for Shouto to get through– that these were important emotions that needed to be released, and that Shouto was a child in pain. Thus, it waited patiently for Izuku and Shouto to finish despite it risking Izuku’s health and not being ordered to do so, because it wanted Izuku to help Shouto.

 

Izuku was so proud of his robots that transcended their mechanical parts, code, and servitude

 

Izuku ducked his body and head behind his shield. The left side of his body and his left hand that supported the shield felt like they were burning, his palm felt like it was on a hot stove and was screaming at him– but he stood strong through the pain. It was like he was a puny knight fighting against a dragon that breathed both fire and ice.

 

“My fire doesn’t make you feel good anymore, right Midoriya?! It hurtsjust like his does! My convictions are about more than just defying him!”

 

Shouto was a boiling mixture of anger and despair. The pain in his gray and blue eyes when he looked towards Izuku was as unbearable as the pain Shouto bottled up inside himself. From his expression, it almost seemed like he was about to burst into tears.

 

Shouto screamed in anguish, “Why do I have to hurt people the same way he does?!

 

Izuku clenched his jaw and his vision started to blur from tears that he kept from falling.

 

It wasn’t right that Shouto had to feel so tortured and pained about a part of himself because of the sins of his father. That he had to be in so much pain. That he had been hurt by the people who were supposed to protect him.

 

If everything is caused by fate, then God must be incredibly unfair and cruel

 

Izuku threw the now too-hot shield at Shouto, forcing him to cut off his fire as he was hit by hot metal. Air hissed through Shouto’s teeth from the pain as he tossed the shield to the side. As Izuku gave chase with his sword, he vaguely noted that his own left hand was inflamed, pained, and red. It was spotted with blood from small patches of his flesh where his outer layer of skin had burnt onto the metal and torn off.

 

Izuku answered Shouto’s call, Shouto’s pain, “You don’t! You don’t have to be like him!”

 

Shouto sloppily deflected Izuku’s blade, the boy’s movements were becoming slow.

 

“You can be your own kind of hero, Shouto! It’s okay that your fire hurts! Most things in life have that duality…”

 

Another strike, another deflection.

 

“Fire feels both good and painful, it brings both life and destruction– it’s exactly the same as love!

 

Izuku stood still for a moment, pointing his sword straight at Shouto’s heart. Even with his tears still unsplit, a small smile arose on his face.

 

He proudly confessed, “And I will accept both that good and that pain, because that’s what it means to love!

 

Shouto’s eyes widened at his words. Izuku’s smile just grew as he thrust his next strike. Shouto stumbled back with his next deflection.

 

Teddydrum Black’s rockets audibly ignited as it finally finished melting the ice, and Shouto had to position his right hand around to his left side where Teddydrum Black was trying to tackle him from to freeze the robot in place with a small iceberg. He grunted at the solid puncture to the shoulder he took from Izuku as a result.

 

Izuku opened his mouth to shout his incantation, but had to stop when Shouto force him back with ice as well. He was pushed from the middle of the ring to almost the edge before the one-legged and one-armed Champion dashed him away.

 

Izuku recollected himself in time to glance from a distance as Izu-pingu’s second sneak attack went up in literal flames. The penguin had tried to use the frozen Teddydrum Black, who had been in the middle of melting the ice, as a hiding spot to launch his crystal from, but Shouto noticed his stand out black and white coloring and shot a burst of fire at the two. The air around them seemed to explode with steam, causing them to fly back through the air.

 

“I really made things harder for myself by encouraging him to use his fire, didn’t I?”

 

The Champion somehow managed to give him a look while only using a half-charred, faceless mannequin head.

 

Despite his difficulties, Izuku couldn’t keep a grin from growing on his face. “It was totally worth it though! Act 3 has already begun!”

 

Shouto looked exhausted from all his defensive maneuvering, it was time for Izuku to reach for his victory.

 

Izuku allowed the Champion to carry him back to push his offense. As they approached Izuku saw Teddydrum Black carry Izu-pingu towards Shouto as well from the opposite side.

 

Shouto whipped his head between the two ends of the pincer attack, and suddenly he straightened up through his hard breathing and gracefully extended his right arm.

 

He swiftly spun in place like an unskilled ice skater while ice spires spiraled around him out of his right side and hand, causing the ice to form all around him. The Champion jumped above the icy wave and Teddydrum Black flew above his end of the ice. From the air, Izuku could see the entire ground of the ring was covered by a thick, large block of jagged ice in an instant, with the only hole being where Shouto stood.

 

Then, he extended his left arm and fire ignited on his left side, and he began to twirl a second time. For the first time ever since Izuku had met the boy, he could see a grin on Shouto’s face.

 

“Our fight can just be an extension of our dance”

 

Izuku grinned back even as the spiraling hurricane of fire caused the ice to burst up into steam, instantly heated and expanded the air above the entire ring, and resulted in a giant-scaled explosion that forced Izuku and the Champion to fly back through the air.

 

“Survival Strategy!” he called out before he hit the stands. But when he stuck himself in Teddydrum Black’s arms and popped himself back to the Stadium, he was in the air outside of the ring.

 

“Midoriya has been forced out of the ring! Todoroki wins!” Midnight called out from behind a blockade of cement next to Cementoss.

 

Cheers roared through the spectators, but all Izuku could see was the form of Shouto lying on the ground in the middle of some ice debris. Teddydrum Black flew Izuku over, and once he was close he could see that Shouto was breathing even harder and was fully exhausted. He was also red all over like a boiled lobster and his right side was covered in ice as he cooled his body.

 

Through his huffing, Shouto was able to force out, “Wow…”

 

Shouto’s mis-matched eyes looked at Izuku in wonder.

 

“At the end– I was only thinking of the way we spun together for our dance– and that good warmth and light… But now I’m too warm.”

 

Izuku let out an involuntary laugh that rang with the happiness of a wedding bell.

 

Later, after Shouto had won against Iida and lost against Kacchan, Izuku wasn’t concerned about Shouto not using his fire for them. While it was a shame he had lost due to constraining himself, Izuku was sure that the excitement and joy of their encounter would be enough to help Shouto truly accept the part of himself that he had hated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the festival was over, Shouto pulled Midoriya over for a private conversation once more.

 

“How are your burns?” was the first thing out of his mouth. The image of Midoriya’s red left side had stayed with him even after the boy had professed his… acceptance.

 

Midoriya gave him a sad smile. “I’m okay, Shouto-kun. Recovery Girl was able to fix them just fine for the most part.”

 

Shouto’s eyes narrowed and his tone was grim when he pressed, “For the most part?”

 

Midoriya glanced down at his bandaged left hand. He hesitantly explained, “My palm was… pretty bad, from holding onto the shield for so long. She wasn’t able to completely fix it right away– but after a second round it should be fine. There will just be some faint scarring.”

 

Shouto’s gaze burned into Midoriya’s hand. He felt like he wanted to throw up.

 

Both of Midoriya’s hand took his face to tilt it forward into the Prince’s. Midoriya continued to smile at him. “I’m sorry… I know it must hurt you to know I’ve been hurt like this. But injuries are only to be expected from a place as intense as UA, since they’re preparing us for an intense line of work. You don’t have to feel guilty for doing your best, Shouto. I was the one who chose to defend against your fire the way I did.”

 

A bandaged thumb gently ghosted over his cheek. It was only then that Shouto realized he was softly crying. Only a couple of tears fell from his eyes, but Midoriya wiped at them all the same.

 

He put his right hand over Midoriya’s injured one. “You… That was a confession you gave before, wasn’t it? Like– ” like a love confession, he couldn’t say, “How did you– Why?

 

Midoriya’s face turned red, but his green eyes didn’t stray from Shouto’s. He moved his uninjured right hand down the side of Shouto’s face and neck, all the way until it rested on Shouto’s chest right above his heart. Shout’s own face turned slightly red in response.

 

“Looking into your Fruit of Fate means that I looked into you, Shouto. I learned everything about you; your heavy pain, your faint joy, your unkind life and fate, and how despite all of that– you carry a kindness that is so deeply ingrained into your person and soul that neither your father’s nor your mother’s painful actions and words could extinguish it.”

 

Shout’s throat thickened at Midoriya’s words, but the Prince had even more to say, “I saw all of this, Shouto, and what can I say? I liked what I saw, I loved it–  your kindness, your bravery, and all the flaws that fitted between them.”

 

Midoriya’s eyes crinkled as his smile grew. He whispered his next declaration, but it rang as loud in Shouto’s head as the confession the boy had yelled out on the field before, “I fell in love with you at first sight of your Fruit of Fate.”

 

He brought his hand off Shouto’s chest to bring it in front of Izu-pingu –when did he get there?– The penguin rested a familiar looking white and red rose in Midoriya’s palm. The rose was once more presented to Shouto.

 

With incomprehension, Shouto basked in Midoriya’s smile and offered gift.

 

How is that possible? How was he able to see everything there was to Shouto and instead of judging him as deserving of pity or punishment, fall in love with him? How can he so simply decide that everything –even the things Shouto had inherited from his father or things like his hatred and angerwas something that was deserving of love?

 

Does that kind of miracle truly exist?

 

“You…” Shouto could only question in dumbfounded wonder, “You really liked it? You really like me? All of me?

 

Midoriya nodded firmly, but then his smile dropped a bit. “I understand that you don’t feel the same way, though. I mean– you’ve only just started to get to know me after all.”

 

Shouto paused for a moment, trying to fully process this information and find a way to explain his thought process.

 

He decided to just give up on careful wording and be as blunt as possible, “Well… You’re right that I’m not in love with you yet, but you really don’t have to worry about me lacking interest in this– You’ve already thoroughly seduced me.”

 

Midoriya sputtered with bewilderment that was matched by his expression, “Wha– Seduced you?! What are you talking about?!”  

 

He nodded seriously. “That’s right. Your dancing under candle light lit by my fire, your gentle smiling and touches, your entirely exhausting fight, your words, your rose, both of your confessions; You’ve wooed me. Are you trying to say that wasn’t your intention?”

 

“No!” The Prince instantly denied, “I– I was just doing what felt right and what I thought would help! Along with indulging myself a bit admittedly…”

 

Midoriya looked up at him shyly. “So… How do you feel then, about me?”

 

“I... don’t know exactly, I need more time to sort through my feelings– for you, myself, and my family. But…”

 

“May those who accept their fate be granted happiness”

 

The hand he held over Midoriya’s tightened, while his other hand –his left hand– gently accepted the offered rose. He made sure to be mindful of its thorns.  

 

Shouto tried to keep his voice even, “I do know that I… probably like you. At the very least, I want what we have to grow. So– do you think after I have a while to work through my feelings that we can try… hanging out? Sometime?”

 

Midoriya practically recited a poem of his love for Shouto and that was the best he could do? Try hanging out? Honestly, he needs to step it up– that was just sad.

 

Despite the sad attempt at asking for a date, Midoriya beamed at him brighter than even fire itself. “Y-Yes! Definitely, yes! Then– do you want to call me Izuku?”

 

Shouto blinked at him. “Do you want me to call you Izuku?”

 

The boy in front of him nodded in embarrassment.

 

“Then… I’ll call you Izuku, yes. And you can keep calling me Shouto.”

 

While gracing him with a smile as beautiful as the rose in his hand, Izuku leaned up to press a chaste kiss to his scarred cheek once more. And again, Shouto went red all over– but this time, it also made him feel inexplicably happy.

Chapter Text

Tomura had just finished watching the UA Sports Festival with Kurogiri, and he had already known right from the very beginning that it would be utter bullshit this year.

 

He had known this because Eraserhead –the hero they literally murdered two weeks ago– was one of the announcers for the first years’ festival.

 

“What the fuck?! He’s dead! How the hell is he a commenter for this shit?!”

 

His nails were scraping his neck like crazy in agitation, causing blood to well up on his fingertips. Kurogiri gently took his hands by their wrists when he saw Tomura’s bad habit had worsened, but Tomura tore them away from his grip immediately.

 

“If you keep going like that you could seriously hurt yourself, Shigaraki Tomura,” Kurogiri sighed before looking back to the TV in front of them. “I had also thought Eraserhead was killed, but no matter how you look at it, it seems that his wounds weren’t as immediately fatal as we thought. Recovery Girl must have still been able to heal him in time.”

 

Tomura gestured at Kurogiri with useless anger. “Bone was showing from his head! How could crushing his skull not be immediately fatal?!”

 

Kurogiri shrugged helplessly. “There are many particularities behind human biology and health that could have led to the injury looking more serious than it actual was. The only thing we know for certain is that he is alive, and therefore the only conclusion possible is that it wasn’t fatal. Getting angry about it won’t do anything…”

 

Scoffing in response, Tomura settled in to deal with the bullshit Sports Festival.

 

And so the two of them watched in relative silence as the hero-wannabes went at it with their pointless games. The damn teddy bear robot that distracted them at the end of their operation made an appearance, along with a bunch of other new and weird shit. The penguin that looked like All Might never showed its face, but at this point it was clear who all of the weird bullshit belonged to.

 

“Midoriya Izuku, huh? I wonder how such a strange power could have developed…” Kurogiri aimlessly questioned.

 

“Fuck if I know how someone can get a penguin All Might from their quirk. It’s like he used a mod or something…”

 

In the end, an enraged looking Bakugou Katsuki was tied to the first-place stand of the podium and Tomura made a mental note to try to recruit the non-heroic kid when an opportunity arose, but there were more important things that needed to be dealt with first…

 

A different TV screen lit up once the festival had concluded. “Did the anomalies appear again, Tomura?”

 

“Yes, Sensei. Though there was a different penguin this time, a second robot in black, and a sword wielding mannequin. Apparently they come from the pocket dimension of a kid called Midoriya Izuku. I saw him at the USJ just before All Might arrived. Also, somehow Eraserhead is still alive…”

 

“I see. It’s disappointing that there were no actual fatalities to leave our mark, but you collected valuable experience and information nonetheless. What did the penguin look like this time?”

 

Tomura scratched at his neck with one hand. “It wore a crown and had freckles on its face, God knows how…”

 

“A crown? How… unexpected,” Sensei seemed to pause a moment before continuing with, “Does this Midoriya Izuku also happen to have freckles?”

 

His fingers twitched as they stopped their movements. “ …He does.”

 

“Excuse my impudence, Sir,” Kurogiri cut in, “but could it be that you have prior knowledge concerning this boy’s pocket dimension quirk? When we mentioned the robot and strange penguin in our report of the USJ attack you seemed to accept their existence fairly quickly as well.”

 

“I guess you could say that.” The image in the TV turned his back to them and Sensei seemed to gaze into the air aimlessly even though he lacked the eyes to do so. “But this quirk… it appeared long ago and should have already been lost to time. I was quite disappointed that I failed to collect it– It was truly an extraordinary quirk. That it would appear once more in a different child, with three of the exact same beings that it had once created… I wonder how this could have come about…”

 

All for One turned his head back to them with a grin covering his scarred face. “But I suppose the most important thing is that fate has granted me a second chance. Make sure not to waste it, Shigaraki Tomura.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the end, Izuku and Shouto agree to place Shouto’s rose in a vase inside of their ballroom. As a creation from the Garden of Eden, the rose would never die, but it would also reappear back in the Crystal World the next time Izuku transported himself over. Izuku was told by Momoka –for the sake of his Cinderella, she specified, not wanting to give him hope for free info in the future– that there was an item that could be used to prevent things born of the Crystal World from automatically returning, but Shouto didn’t want to risk leaving the rose at his house where Endeavor might find it.

 

So for now, he was content with just visiting the rose with Izuku when opportunities for it came about in the future.

 

Izuku also asked Shouto to consider telling Shouta-sensei about his father’s abuse to see what the teachers could do about it. Not just because he shouldn’t have to live with the man anymore, but also because Endeavor’s Fruit of Fate was a flashing warning sign that the man’s life was going to sink to the bottom of the ocean like the Titanic at some point. It would really be for the best if Shouto started to prepare for separating himself from that coming storm as soon as possible.

 

After Izuku had told him that, Shouto was silent for a moment before speaking in a hushed voice, “Aizawa-sensei died for us, didn’t he? Have you also looked into his Fruit of Fate?”

 

Izuku answered the unasked question, “Yes to both, and you don’t need to worry about how he’ll react. He’ll believe you for sure, and he’ll do anything he can to help you. Shouta-sensei is trustworthy, I promise!”

 

Shouto blinked at him in surprise. “Shouta-sensei?

 

Izuku blinked back before he waved his arms around in embarrassment. “S-Sorry, that must seem weird! I just– feel close to the people whose Fruit I’ve held– ”

 

“Oh. So that’s why you started calling me Shouto. Along with, you know…” Shouto blushed slightly as he awkwardly referenced Izuku’s feelings, but then he recollected himself with, “Since you’re that certain about him, I’ll consider your suggestion.”

 

Relief flooded his body at that, thankful that he was able to make real progress with helping one of his loved ones.

 

He hadn’t realized that a new problem would present itself in the near future.

 

The first years had two days off as the school went through the Sports Festivals for the other years. When he went home after the Sports Festival, his mother greeted him with home-made katsudon for dinner to celebrate, as well as some worried fretting from getting a call about his burnt hand.

 

Izuku hadn’t had the nerve to tell Mom about his “In Progress” status, he doesn’t even know anything concrete about it yet so there was no point in worrying her about it. Or at least that was what he told himself.

 

Togata called Izuku to sing praises at him for his “extremely memorable performance, and could I have a chance to ride one of those robots once you get a harness please?” and Izuku thanked him and informed him that he would be added to the line of people waiting for a shot at riding the Teddydrums.

 

Izuku also watched the third years’ festival and called to return the favor but “what was with you losing your clothes like that Togata-senpai?! You might have placed higher if you didn’t have to worry about that!”

 

After the short break and a train ride full of people calling out; “Hey, you’re that boy who won the first and second rounds and almost won against the second-place winner!” “The guy with the robots is here!” “You’re Midoriya Izuku right?!” “What does the inside of your pocket dimension look like?” “Hey there penguin kid, good job!” “Where did you learn how to sword fight?” Izuku barely escaped with his life to arrive at school during a rainy morning and see a normal acting Iida, who apologized for worrying Izuku about him and his brother after having left the festival saying Ingenium was attacked by a villain. Izuku accepted Iida’s reassurance, but his worry failed to leave him.

 

However, he was then intercepted by an abnormally contemplative Kacchan before he could head to class with Iida. He was pulled over to an empty conference room.

 

“I overheard your conversation with half n’ half in the stadium.”

 

His stomach dropped at those words, but ultimately… “I-If anyone of our class had to learn about… what happened to Aizawa-sensei, I guess it’s best if it was you since you already know about my quirk. But– can you keep quiet about Shouto-kun’s situation? I’m currently working on it with him…”

 

Red eyes narrowed themselves at Izuku’s stuttering. “Of course you’re “working on it–  it’s like you’re physical incapable of leaving people in need to fend for themselves. But I guess I shouldn’t complain about it…”

 

Kacchan uncharacteristically glanced away, then spoke with an apprehensive tone, “ …The Number Two hero was there. Did you get a look at his Fruit too?”

 

Immediately, Izuku knew what this was about. He gently grasped at Kacchan’s arm and a view of his burning Fruit of Fate emerged. The flames still covered the entire apple, but they had died down even more compared to how they were earlier.

 

“His Fruit is also burning, Kacchan, but it’s so much worse– Not only is it partially rotted, but at this point even if I wanted to help him recover his fate, I don’t think there’s anything that could be done to avert it. You’re not like him– ”  

 

But I could’ve been!” Kacchan yelled, “If you didn’t pull my head out of my ass I could’ve ended up just like that fucker! A piss-poor excuse of a human being who hides behind being a “good” hero that wouldn’t be able to accept second-place even if my life depended on it!”

 

A hand scraped down Kacchan’s scowl. “Fuck! Who am I kidding?! I’m still like that, dammit! I couldn’t even accept a half-baked first-place!

 

Izuku jostled the raging boy to take him out of his rant. “Don’t worry about how long it takes to change yourself, Katsuki. You’ve already made a lot of progress– your fruit is already looking better. Just keep doing your best to grow, alright? And if you think it would help, maybe some counseling or anger-management classes would help you further your progress?”

 

As Kacchan gave a harsh breath out, most of his self-inflicted anger seemed to escape into the air with it. After a few seconds, Kacchan dropped the matter and set his glare back on Izuku. “So how did you get half n’ half to use the fire side of his quirk against you, shitty Izuku?”

 

A small smile unconsciously formed on his face. “Oh, I just talked with him about his Fruit of Fate and ballroom danced with him.”

 

A single beat passed before Kacchan sighed, “ …Sorry I fucking asked. Fucking ballroom danced with him– I can’t believe an actual real-life Prince Charming like you even exists!”

 

Izuku had to swallow down a giggle at that, but there was something else that had been on his mind, “Hey, I was wondering… Why do you call me Izuku now, Kacchan?”

 

Kacchan averted his eyes again. “You said that you wouldn’t accept “Deku” meaning “useless” anymore, but right now if I called you that– that meaning is too ingrained into how I view that name. So I won’t call you Deku again until I can mean it the way you accept the meaning as, since even I can tell you’re not useless anymore…”

 

“Deku can mean “dekiru”. Deku “can do it”, no matter if it’s impossible, even if it defies fate. I can be the Deku who changes fate and not Deku the useless child with no future. That’s what I want Deku to mean, from now on”

 

Kacchan sputtered incredulously and his body stiffened when Izuku closed his arms around him in a hug.

 

“Thank you, Katsuki…” –he really has changed a lot, hasn’t he?

 

“Don’t thank me for something like that, dammit!”

 

Kacchan pulled himself out of the hug, but Izuku knew he wasn’t too angry about it because he continued the conversation instead of storming away. “One more thing, that weird-ass mannequin is supposed to be the “Champion” for your arena but it’s body was weak as fuck! Why would you call it that?!”

 

“The Champion of the Rose Bride isn’t the champion of the Dueling Arena and treasury because it’s invincible, Kacchan, it’s the champion because its opposition can never truly defeat it. When its body is destroyed, it just forms a new one at either of those places, and it can do this endlessly. No matter how many times it’s put down, no matter how many battles its opponent wins– as long as the fight is in its battlefield of choice, it will always win the war.”

 

He noticed that Kacchan was listening to him in a serious manner, so he emphasized his words with, “Not even I would be able to outlast it if the fight had to stay in its territory, and when I’m in the Crystal World, I’m unbelievably powerful.”

 

Kacchan examined him for another second, then said, “I want a chance to fight with this thing sometime.”

 

“Uh… but I just said– ”

 

“I know, shitty Izuku, but the point of fighting it wouldn’t be to win– it would be to get stronger.”

 

Izuku couldn’t help the proud smile he gave Kacchan in response.

 

For Hero informatics class, Shouta revealed that Midnight would be helping them choose their hero names along with the hero agency draft picks; Shouto had the most offers at 4,123, then Kacchan at 3,456, while Izuku himself had a hefty 1,995 offers. After that, the majority of the third-round participants received offers from around a couple hundred until it petered out.

 

“Usually it’s a bit more spread out, but this year three particulars stole most of the attention,” Shouta explained.

 

Izuku muttered to himself as his classmates discussed the results among themselves, “I’m sort of surprised I was in the same league as Shouto-kun and Kacchan considering I didn’t get past the final 8…”

 

“What are you saying, Midoriya? You won first-place in both other rounds! Not only that, but some agencies probably would’ve given you an offer anyway just to get a look at your Teddydrums,” Sero sighed from his desk next to Izuku’s, “In comparison, my 14 offers are clearly due to pity– I couldn’t do anything in my fight against Todoroki! Especially compared to how you did...”

 

Sero then gave him a shifty eyed look. “And will I ever be able to hear about what happened between you two? You’re still calling him Shouto-kun…”

 

“Hmm, maybe someday,” Izuku vaguely answered before trying to reassure the boy with, “And I’m sure at least a couple of your offers were based on more than just pity, Sero-kun. Don’t Mind!”

 

Sero just groaned and flopped onto his desk in exasperation.

 

After the commotion was over, Shouta explained that the names they chose would “bring them closer to cementing a certain image for the future that they saw for themselves”. Midnight explained that they should choose them carefully since they might get saddled with them for the rest of their career –No pressure, right?– and the name reveals began.

 

“Shining Hero: I Cannot Stop Twinkling~☆!”

 

“ …It will be easier to say if you take out the “I” and contract it to Can’t Stop Twinkling.”

 

Midnight-sensei please just turn down the name!

 

As a person who took his princely image seriously, Izuku was unable to accept one of his classmates giving themselves a “knight” theme only to have a name like that. He waved Aoyama to come over as he left the front, and the boy obligingly lowered his ear to Izuku so he could whisper, “Aoyama-kun, uh– since your trying to project a grand knightly image, maybe you should use something like… the Twinkling Hero: Shining Knight?” That seemed like a good compromise at least…

 

Aoyama looked at him with a blank smile before giving him a thumbs up, rewriting his board, and running back to the front of the class.

 

“Twinkling Hero: Shining Knight~☆!”

 

“Oh, that’s much better kid! Good Job!”

 

Wow, Aoyama-kun actually just accepted it out right. That went better than he expected…

 

Being right next to him, Sero had heard the whole exchange. He also gave Izuku a thumbs up as he whispered, “Nice save.”

 

While his classmates continued to present their names, Izuku thought of his own for a minute before writing it down.

 

Before he met Toshinori-san, Izuku had come up with a ton of “All Might” based names, but now his image of who he wants to be as a hero is completely different. “Prince of the Crystal” would be too wordy and calling himself a prince in his hero name would probably make him seem pretentious –This should be the name to go with.

 

Tsuyu’s name “Rainy Season Hero: Froppy” was both cute and appropriately frog-like. Shouto going with his own name was a good fit for the cute and simple boy who was trying to define himself as his own person. And eventually, it was Kacchan’s turn. While his chosen name “Bakusatsuo” was a great pun, it was also…

 

“King Explosion Murder!”

 

“No good. Try again…”

 

Ochako’s punny name was much better in comparison –“Uravity” matched her bubbly personality– but when Iida went up with just “Tenya” Izuku felt his worry for the boy surface. It was very unlike him…

 

Then, it was Izuku’s turn.

 

“Crystal Hero: Deku!”

 

Izuku is going to be Deku, the hero who changes fate

 

“Eh? Are you sure about that, Midoriya?” Kirishima asked in confusion. Most others in the class shared his confusion.

 

“Yeah,” Izuku gave a smile to go with his light-hearted but serious response, “I used to hate this name, but now it doesn’t mean “useless” to me anymore.” –The old Izuku had never been useless, he was starting to accept that in his heart– “A friend helped me see it as “you can do it, even if it’s impossible” and that’s the kind of hero I want to be!”

 

Izuku glanced at Ochako-chan, and she gave him a blooming smile in return.

 

“Hmm– when you say it like that, it really is fitting.” Midnight winked at him. “Deku it is then!”

 

As Izuku turned to go back to his seat, he caught Shouta-sensei examining him with his single eye before the man closed it in fatigue once more. Izuku grinned even more at that.

 

Then, Kacchan gave his shocking revision.

 

With furrowed brows and a mean grin, Kacchan stuck out his board and announced, “Champion!”

 

Izuku’s eyes widened as he choked on air. He had to slap a hand over his mouth to keep himself quiet.

 

“That’s a pretty lofty name to live up to. When you lose battles people will criticize you even more harshly because of it~” Midnight stated this with a teasing tone, but Izuku got the impression that her message was a serious one.

 

Kacchan growled out with a grin still on his face, “I’ll just tell them to shut the fuck up because I won’t be the Champion because I never lose measly battles– I’ll be the Champion that wins the whole damn war!

A giddy giggle erupted into Izuku’s palm, unable to contain itself, and Kacchan turned red as he shouted, “Shut up shitty Izuku!”

 

From her desk, Tsuyu made a sound of realization, “Ah, kero– Isn’t that the name of Izu-chan’s mannequin?”

 

I said shut the fuck up!

 

After that, the rest of the day went by normally. Izuku took notes for his classes, he managed to flag down both Shouto and Shinsou to join his usual group of friends for lunch, and he ended the day optimistic for the future.

 

But fate doesn’t like to leave things like that, does it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day, Izuku woke up feeling the heavy chill of fate down his spine. Then he learned what was wrong with Iida.

 

It was plastered all over the news– Ingenium’s fate. Iida’s brother had been left paralyzed with his career as a hero cut short due to the Hero Killer Stain.

 

And yet, Iida still tried to act like not a single thing was wrong.

 

The first thing that morning, Izuku examined Iida with Conductor. His Fruit of Fate was burning all over with fire that flickered violently, and so at the start of lunch, he pulled Iida over to an empty conference room.

 

“Iida-kun, stop lying and pretending that you’re fine. I can see just from looking at you that you aren’t.”

 

Iida stared at him from behind the cold glare of his glasses before his friend turned his face away.

 

“Even if that’s the case, I don’t see how it’s any of your business, Midoriya-kun.”

 

At that, he sputtered out, “Wha– What are you talking about? You’re my friend and I’m worried for you! You don’t need to keep it all to yourself, Iida-kun, that’s not healthy. There are certain things about my quirk that you don’t know about –that let me see that you’re not okay– that maybe I can use to help– ”

 

“You’re missing the point, Midoriya-kun,” Iida cut him off harshly, “I may not know anything about this part of your quirk you’re referring to, but you’ve used it to help Bakugou and Todoroki, haven’t you?”

 

Shock rang through Izuku.

 

“How… How did you…”

 

“Both of their behavior changed drastically after interaction with you. Bakugou is one thing –it could have just been that losing a fight matured him a bit– but Todoroki was using fire since right at the start of your fight, even though he told me just the round before that he would never use it in such a way. And Todoroki is now friends with us, when he had previously stated he wasn’t interested in making friends. They both started out with notable behavioral or ideological issues, and both of these issues were reduced with your help, is that right? Perhaps you even helped Shinsou-kun in a similar way seeing that he is now friends with us as well?”

 

“Y-Yes,” Izuku swallowed thickly as he forced out the words, “That’s a fair description of what happened. And that’s why I want to– ”

 

Iida gestured for him to stop with an outstretched palm. “But both of Bakugou and Todoroki certainly seem like the type of people who would usually never ask for help, so I’m assuming you just butted yourself into their problems after “seeing that they weren’t okay” as you described it.”

 

Izuku thought for a moment in consideration. “Technically, Shouto-kun did approach me first about it, but… I suppose the spirit of that is true.”

 

“I’m not sure what happened between you and Bakugou, or what happened between you and Todoroki, but I do know this– It isn’t right to insert yourself into other people’s affairs when they don’t want you to. That’s an incredibly invasive act. And in my case…” Iida’s face was as much of a stone wall as his words, “I don’t want you to.”

 

A gasp escaped Izuku’s lips. Dread and pain filled his chest as his world seemed to turn on its axis. It was like Iida’s words had formed into a sword that impaled his heart.

 

He could only let out a broken whisper, “I… But even if you don’t want my help, Iida, you should still get help from someone. You might hurt yourself, you’re probably even hurting yourself now! And you might even end up hurting other people!”

 

“I’m not hurting myself, and I don’t need anyone’s help! That’s your outsider-based opinion! I’m the one most able to decide for myself what I need– not you. Do you think that just because your quirk allows you to see such things that you have the right to invade people’s privacy and ignore their free-will? Because it doesn’t.”

 

Iida walked past where Izuku was standing frozen in place to grasp the doorknob to leave, and he quieted stated his finally words for their conversation.

 

“You’re a good person, Midoriya, and I know that these instincts to automatically come to other people’s aid are what will make you a great hero. But if you’re honestly not wanted, trying to force yourself into things is wrong, and it just makes you a nuisance. For the sake of our friendship, please respect my boundaries.”

 

The door was opened to let Iida pass through, and the click that sounded as it closed resounded in Izuku’s ears like a funeral bell. And in that moment, even with his hurricane of thoughts about himself and his actions, he knew that something was truly, truly wrong.

 

Iida hadn’t mentioned anything concerning the possibility of him hurting other people.

Chapter Text

During the week leading up to the heroics course’s workplace training, Iida continued to pretend like nothing had changed, and Izuku didn’t try to speak with him about his Fruit of Fate a second time.

 

Instead, his thoughts circled  around Iida’s words over and over.

 

Do you think that just because your quirk allows you to see such things that you have the right to invade people’s privacy and ignore their free-will? Because it doesn’t… If you’re honestly not wanted, trying to force yourself into things is wrong, and it just makes you a nuisance”

 

“It isn’t right to insert yourself into other people’s affairs when they don’t want you to. That’s an incredibly invasive act. And in my case… I don’t want you to

 

Has the way Izuku’s been going about this actually wrong?

 

He had thought it was okay since he had to help people, since the Fruit of Fate were things that people didn’t even realized existed and if there was a problem with them, it was Izuku’s job as the Prince of the Crystal and owner of Conductor to fix them. These were problems that could have dire consequences if left to fester for too long.

 

But Toshinori-san had once told him something similar, hadn’t he?

 

“I don’t think it would be appropriate for you to “take apart Todoroki’s world piece by piece, and then it put together in a strange new way that he could barely comprehend” when he hasn’t even spoken to you, let alone approached you about the subject”

 

Shouto-kun did approach him in the end, but that fact felt like an excuse when Izuku considered how hard he had tried to purposely work around Toshinori-san’s words by enticing Shouto-kun to approach him about Izuku’s quirk.

 

Spinning around in mental circles wouldn’t help him; he needed input from the people who were actually the subjects of this issue.

 

Shouto just responded in his usual stoic tone, “I didn’t want your help, but I was sort of too curious about what you were doing to stop you. I was somewhat concerned at first about how much you learned about me after looking into my Fruit, but I forgot about that by the end of our dance. And I feel like I’m really moving forward towards where I want to go now. You… fell in love with me when you saw all of me, so it ended up being a good thing– I’m glad that you did it.”

 

That sort of helps but it also sort of doesn’t…?

 

Kacchan just scoffed at him, “Of course I didn’t want your help, shitty Izuku! I was ready to fucking die before accepting help from the likes of you! But you were right to stick your nose into my shit– I didn’t know what was fucking good for me. This is about four-eyes, right? Just ignore his prissy whining and fix his shit if you want to so badly. Who gives a fuck about privacy anyway?!”

 

That really doesn’t help…

 

It was only after Izuku’s second meet up with Togata that he got the idea to ask Toshinori about all of this. For a boy that seemed like the type to be optimistically oblivious, he was surprisingly perceptive. He immediately noticed Izuku’s depressed mood and gently coxed answers out of him.

 

“I… have this part of my quirk that lets me, uh– visualize if there’s something majorly wrong with them emotionally or mentally, but only in a general sense. I can also use it to look into them more thoroughly to know exactly what’s wrong by meeting certain conditions.”

 

Izuku stared at the iced tea he was holding instead of the attentively watching third year in front of him. “I’ve been using it to help my friends with their issues whenever I saw that there was something wrong with them, but I’ve never really asked if they needed the help because I know just based on how, uh– my quirk works that when problems grow to the extent I can see them, it’s usually somewhat dangerous to the person to leave things as they are.”

 

His hand clenched around his drink. “But now… one of my friends recently showed signs that his mind set changed into one that has the potential to both lead him to hurting himself and hurting others, but he refused my help, or even getting help from anyone else. I don’t want to ruin our friendship by intruding on his privacy when he explicitly told me not to, but I can’t leave him as he is if it might risk him or other people. I just don’t know what to do anymore…”

 

A large hand reached from across the small café table to firmly hold onto Izuku’s wrist in comfort. He looked up to see Togata with a serious expression and his bright, golden Fruit of Fate.

 

“Could this be about your classmate Iida Tenya, Ingenium’s younger brother?”

 

Izuku jolted in his seat. “H-How…”

 

“That seemed like the most logical choice for the person you could be talking about, because of what recently happened to his brother,” Togata easily answered his unasked question before continuing, “Listen Midoriya-kun, this a very mature situation for you to be dealing with, so it’s expected that you wouldn’t know what to do about it. Don’t feel like you’re lacking just because you don’t have that sort of experience.”

 

Togata’s usually cheerful voice held a somber tone to it, “In a situation where you know a friend could be a danger to themselves or others, the best thing to do is report it to a trusted authority figure or teacher that can properly watch over the situation and intervene if necessary. He may say that he doesn’t want help, but in this kind of circumstance, the safety of himself and others takes priority over his privacy and wishes.”

 

Izuku let go of his drink and allowed Togata to take hold of his hand.

 

“He might see this as you going behind his back, so I can’t promise that your friendship won’t take a hit. But sometimes– that’s just the kind of decision friends have to make to be the best friend they can be. Hero work is sometimes like that too… Always know that you can talk to me about this stuff.”

 

Izuku gave a wobbly smile, which Togata returned with his own small grin.

 

“Thank you, Togata-senpai…” I hope your fate stays as sparkling gold as it is in this moment, he didn’t voice the rest of his thoughts.

 

With that advice, he met up with Toshinori-san, both to talk about Iida’s Fruit of Fate and ask about his opinion on how Izuku handled addressing other people’s problems with their Fruit.

 

“My boy…” he sighed while placing a large, bony hand on his shoulder. Izuku was greeted with the sight of Toshinori’s mostly poisoned Fruit. “I’m very glad that you took the chance to trust me with the information concerning your quirk and I’m glad that you’re doing your best to help me overcome my inner demons, so I personally don’t mind that you looked into my Fruit. But I was told recently that different things are best for different people– If young Iida doesn’t want you to intrude into his life in such a way, then you shouldn’t.”

 

His voice was firm as he elaborated, “However, when it comes to cases that risk the health and safety of other people, I’ve been told that those types of behaviors must be reported. So while it might seem like you are infringing on Iida’s privacy by viewing the state of his Fruit of Fate and telling a teacher he may hurt himself or others, reporting this is the right thing to do. Please let us perform our duty to watch over young Iida in your place.”

 

Izuku glanced away from Toshinori’s earnest eyes to nervously swallow and ask a question that had been bothering him, “Toshinori-san… If– If I ever become less good, like– I do more things like this wrong, or I start hurting people, would I still be the type of person that can become a hero?”

 

My boy,” Toshinori sounded pained, stretching one arm around Izuku to give him a half hug, “Just because you make mistakes doesn’t mean you’re not a good person. You don’t have to worry about the possibility of you becoming a person that actively hurts people– that’s just not the type of person you are.”

 

That blind faith closed Izuku’s throat shut. He doesn’t tell Toshinori about his In Progress status, or his suspicions on what it may entail.

 

Talking to both Togata-senpai and Toshinori-san was helpful, but it also made him question whether it was wrong of him to wait for Shouto-kun to make his own decision about reporting Endeavor. Why isn’t the difference between right and wrong more obvious? Wasn’t humanity’s knowledge of that supposed to be their original sin?

 

If no one actually has true knowledge about right and wrong, then that just means that the original sin and humanity’s collective punishment were empty, worthless things.

 

At the very least, Izuku knew his current moral issues were unrelated to his punishment, since it concerned actions he’s been doing since before his status changed.

 

In the end, he decided to trust Shouta-sensei, Hizashi-sensei, Toshinori-san, and the Principal to handle the situation. But this brought him back to another issue; what to do about Hizashi-sensei’s poisoned core…

 

At the very least, there was nothing wrong with telling him about his condition and seeing if he would like assistance.

 

But of course, he didn’t want Izuku’s help.

 

Instead, after having been told about the broad explanation that a poisoned core indicates unhealthy thoughts of some kind concerning his quirk, Hizashi just smiled sadly at him from behind his orange face-covering and ruffled his hair. Izuku was greeted with the sight of the purple and gold half Fruit of Fate.

 

“Thanks for telling me, Izuku, but you don’t need to worry yourself about me. I already know why there’s poison and I have Shouta to help me through that issue. Your awesome teacher will be just fine! Don’t ware yourself down by trying to take on everyone’s problems– all you need to do is focus on yourself and support the people closest to you.”

 

You are close to me, but Izuku didn’t say that. He knew that Hizashi-sensei did accept their more intimate relationship, but as his teacher the man felt it was inappropriate to allow Izuku to burden himself with Hizashi’s problems.

 

There was one thing that Izuku could be considered the sole authority of, though, and that was in deciding who to grant knowledge concerning the Children of Fate and the Fruit of Fate. In this avenue, he was finally able to do some good upon being confronted by a blond student with a familiar smug expression on his face.

 

“Midoriya Izuku, the golden boy of class 1-A. I’m Monoma Neito from 1-B. It’s a pleasure to finally get the chance to properly introduce myself,” the Monoma drawled at him to divert his attention from his friends in the middle of the lunch room.

 

Izuku took one look at the guy’s condescending smirk and instantly knew what this was about. He told all of his friends except Shinsou to go on ahead. “Nice to meet you. Is it okay if Shinsou-kun comes along to talk too? You both need to be told about the same thing.”

 

Shinsou, who had joined up with them upon entering the lunch room, raised an eyebrow at him. “Oh? This is about that thing that I was cryptically told I need to know about, isn’t it? Glad I finally get to be let in on the secret, but what does this guy have to do with it?”

 

“He also got a note from the Principal on how he should use his quirk when it came to me. Right, Monoma-kun?”

 

Shinsou blinked at that while Monoma carefully observed their proceedings and nodded. “That’s correct. I was told I shouldn’t use my quirk on you at all. My quirk Copy lets me copy other people’s quirks to use them for myself.”

 

Izuku winced at that. “Oh, God. Yeah that’s– don’t ever use that on my quirk…” –Even if he doesn’t actually use the copied Conductor, just being in possession of it would be enough to tip him over the edge into become a full Child of Fate probably.

 

“So I’ve been told,” Monoma spoke with a cutting edge to his voice as he narrowed his eyes at Izuku, “But considering how much of a disadvantage this would give me if I were to go against you in future training sessions or Sports Festivals, I would at least like to hear the reason why it would apparently be a safety issue to copy your pocket dimension quirk.”

 

“Right. Let’s go somewhere we can talk in private.”

 

After pulling the two Potential Children of Fate into a secluded nearby hallway, Izuku transported all of them to the Crystal World. “This will be easier to explain here.”

 

Monoma glanced over his Prince of the Crystal outfit and immediately smirked while speaking in an annoying drawl, “Well– I knew class 1-A thought highly of themselves, but I had no idea any of you would be so pretentious as to image yourself as royalty.”

 

Talking with this guy is going to be a struggle, isn’t it…

 

“If this is about our supposed fame from the villain attack…” Izuku spoke in an even and neutral tone. Shinsou recognized it immediately and took a large side-step away. “Then you should talk with Tetsutetsu about what I told him when he came to our class spewing bullshit. I’m not having that conversation a second time.”

 

Monoma’s smirk faltered. “It– It’s not just about the villain attack! You guys must have big heads after doing so well in the Sports Festival, beating out most of 1-B while none of us even made it to the semifinals– I’m just trying to make sure you know you can’t look down on us!”

 

Monoma-kun was so touchy about this, did he have an inferiority complex or something?

 

“There is probably only one person in our class that would look down on you guys, and he recently had to be tied to the first-place podium because he didn’t win the way he wanted to. Please don’t confuse yourself by thinking that his behavior is reflective of our class as a whole. And I can at least say for myself that I don’t look down on you or any of your classmates.”

 

Monoma’s only response was a doubtful hum before he pushed the matter away with, “Can we please get to what we are actually here for now? I would rather not waste all of my lunch in this…” Monoma’s gaze momentarily wandered over the crystal dome and Crystal Palace that was looming over them. “…strange knock-off of a fairytale land.”

 

Excuse me– but did I just hear you call my beautifully crafted world a knock-off?!” Izuku’s voice sounded off far away from where he was standing.

 

Right on que, Izu-pingu came waddling in with Momoka’s Hand Mirror.

 

Oh great, those two together are never going to shut up…

 

Izu-pingu joined their group and presented the image of Izuku’s reflection crossing its arms in offense. “Just for that, I’m not going to give you a real name. You just get to be Alice’s Sister– an unnamed, unimportant, lowlife side-character who never amounts to anything in the story!” –It’s almost incredible how Momoka-san always knows just what to say to mercilessly attack a person’s most fragile insecurities and despairing thoughts…

 

Monoma looked extremely confused and of course had no idea why there was a talking mirror or what Momoka was talking about, but he knew an attack on his person when he heard one– especially one that so specifically targeted his vulnerabilities. Apparently, that was enough to get him to ignore the impossibility of a talking mirror.

 

Oh! I’m sorry, but aren’t you supposed to be the unimportant lowlife side-character who never amounts to anything?! You don’t even have your own character! You’re stuck using the reflection and image of an actual human being because you’re not a real person! What right do you have to tell me anything– I’m inherently better than you just by the virtue of actual existing!” –Apparently that was a talent Monoma-kun also possessed…

 

What did you just say to me bitch– ”

 

“Don’t talk to Momoka like that– ”

 

Okay! Okay, everyone just calm down!” Izuku threw his hand up to physically place himself between the two, he knew he needed to stop their train wreck of an argument when even Shinsou was getting involved. “Momoka-san, apologize for calling Monoma a lowlife who will never amount to anything. Monoma-kun, apologize for saying that Momoka isn’t a real person and doesn’t exist.”

 

Glaring from the mirror, Momoka barked out an insincere, “Sorry.”

 

Sorry,” Monoma’s drawled apology was equal in its insincerity.

 

Note to self: never ever bring Monoma-kun back here again

 

Turning to Shinsou, he continued, “Shinsou-kun, thank you for coming to Momoka’s defense. I appreciate it and I’m sure Momoka-san does too.”

 

“That’s right,” Momoka’s tone did a complete 180 and turned into that of a gentle mother’s that matched the kind smile she put on the face of Izuku’s reflection, “Thank you very much for being offended on my behalf, Hitoshi.”

 

Shinsou’s pale cheeks lit up with faint red as he averted his eyes and nodded in acceptance of their gratitude. Izuku was too busy staring at Momoka. “…You’re actually referring to him by his real name? I thought you called him Alice?”

 

“Hitoshi is still Alice, but because he’s Hitoshi I want to call him Hitoshi as well.”

 

Giving up on trying to make sense of Momoka’s behavior, Izuku decided to drastically and permanently change the subject of their conversation by taking his golden apple out of his chest. “Anyway– this is the Fruit of Fate, and it’s the reason why neither of you are allowed to mess with my quirk…”

 

He explained the system of fate through the incredulous looks his two listeners gave him, and how they really, really didn’t want to get involved in all of that by graduating into actual Children of Fate. When Monoma tried to start an argument about that –probably just for the sake of arguing rather than any genuine interest in damning himself– Izuku just cited the fact that one Child of fate he knew lost all of his stomach and one lung as part of his punishment, and Monoma dropped the matter with a pale face.

 

After solidifying that both of them would attempt to avoid their damnation, Izuku brought them back for lunch. However, Shinsou met up with him a second time at the end of the day, saying that he wanted to ask something about everything Izuku had told him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next time they went to the Crystal World, they appeared in the library. It seemed like Shinsou enjoyed Momoka’s presence, so Izuku thought it would be nice for the boy to get a view of Momoka’s portrait. 

 

“That portrait is of Momoka-san when she was still the owner of the Penguindrum.” Izuku pointed at the picture that rested above Momoka’s Mirror. “She won’t say anything about how she ended up in a mirror, so don’t bother asking.”

 

Shinsou’s tired eyes gazed intensely at the picture. “…She looks young. And her outfit is even more outrageous than yours.”

 

“Haha! I used to be a cute child, right Alice?” Momoka boasted, sticking out the chest of Izuku’s image in the mirror.

 

Shinsou’s eye twitched at the “Alice” comment but didn’t say anything otherwise. It seemed like he didn’t know how he wanted to word what he wanted to ask.

 

“Shinsou-kun… since you’re here, there was something else that I wanted to tell you about,” Izuku tried to keep the nerves out of his voice, “You know how I said that the Fruit of Fate can have certain… negative conditions?”

 

“…You saw one of those things on my Fruit, didn’t you?” Shinsou sighed with exasperation.

 

“Y-Yes. You have a ring of fire burning around the outside. But also– this might be out of line for me to say, but sometimes conditions only affect the inside of the Fruit, especially the core which represents the person’s quirk. So… I was thinking that you might have had negative experiences concerning your quirk which could’ve led to you having an internal issue as well…”

 

Silence reigned for a while, then Shinsou examined him carefully and responded with a steady tone, “I’m guessing that the fire is from my desire to be a hero. As for the inside– is there a way for you to check for that without being too invasive?”

 

“Well…” Izuku glanced away. “Both methods I could use involve me removing your Fruit, but I can only really learn information about you from it by “looking into it”, which would let me know what your condition is as well as the reasonings for why it’s there. The other option is just opening it up manually and viewing the inside.”

 

“In that case, I want you to use the second option. If I do have a condition, I already have a good idea about where it came from– so I don’t need your help with that part of it.”

 

“If you’re honestly not wanted, trying to force yourself into things is wrong, and it just makes you a nuisance”

 

Izuku’s throat tightened as he nodded.

 

Gently, he placed his left hand on the side of Shinsou’s face to lean the tall boy forward towards him, with Shinsou stiffening at the intimate contact. His purple eyes widened as Izuku looked into them, and his right hand slipped itself into Shinsou’s chest. When It came out, it was holding a golden apple with a halo of red-orange fire around the top of it.

 

Hitoshi stared at his Fruit as though Izuku was holding the answers to the universe in his palm. Izuku allowed the Fruit to float out of his palm and into the air, where it slowly spun on its axis, and a sharp flick of his fingers split it into two halves with a resounding crack. A sharp exhale from Hitoshi echoed it.

 

Izuku plucked one half from the air to reveal the inside of the Fruit of Fate to the both of them. Thick purple dyed the core and branched out in veins into the meat of the insides.

 

“It’s poisoned…” Izuku softly explained.

 

“…If I remember correctly, you said that poisoning means an unhealthy, self-harming mind set?” Hitoshi asked with apprehension.

 

When Izuku nodded in confirmation, Hitoshi glanced away to let out a bitter laugh, “Ha! Yeah, I know exactly what that’s about…”

 

When Hitoshi looked back at Izuku, the look in his eyes had changed, though. They were still pained, but there was hope in them as well. “You’ve already been helping me out with it without even knowing about it…”

 

The dread that Izuku had carried inside of him since hearing Iida’s word lightened at hearing Hitoshi’s.

 

He gave his friend a small smile. “I’m so glad I’ve been of help to you, Hitoshi-kun…”

 

Hitoshi blushed faintly at Izuku’s happiness towards aiding him, but as he gazed at Izuku in thought, his skin became pale once more and his brows furrowed.

 

“What I said to you during our fight… I was wrong, wasn’t I? About you not sacrificing anything. What was your punishment for being a Child of Fate?” he asked with a low, heavy voice.

 

The smile was wiped off of Izuku’s face.

 

Hitoshi averted his eyes to look down at his feet. “I’m sorry– both for aggravating you about it during the fight and for asking about it now. You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.”

 

“It’s okay, it’s…” Izuku stared at his father’s portrait as he tried to speak through his closing throat, “My punishment just says it’s “In Progress” right now, but I think it’s leading me up to a moral downfall or something? There’s no real way to tell the specifics until it happens.” Hitoshi stiffened at that, but Izuku continued regardless, “The real sacrifice had to do with my father’s punishment…”

 

He released the portion of Hitoshi’s Fruit into the air and clenched his fingers to cause the two halves of the Fruit of Fate to snap back together again. Izuku cradled Hitoshi’s face to place it back into his chest.

 

Izuku whispered his next words, “ …His punishment was my death. He revived me using Conductor, but had to use all of his Fruit of Fate for the process. That’s how I got my quirk. It wasn’t a miracle, it was a tragedy.”

 

Hitoshi gasped as his eyes widened, and Izuku could feel his face tremble slightly from where he was still holding it. His friend clenched eyes and jaw hard enough that it looked like it hurt.

 

Hitoshi’s voice also trembled, “Fuck. I’m such a fucking idiot, I’m so sorry. I hurt you about something so horrible for a stupid competition. Everyone always said I would never amount to anything good, I should have expected this–”

 

You’re not an idiot. You had no idea about any of this– there was no way for you to know in the first place,” Izuku cut him off with strong words. He placed his second hand on the other side of Hitoshi’s face and tighten his grip, getting Hitoshi’s attention and eyes to go back to him. “Everyone was wrong, Hitoshi, about both you and me. I am going to amount to something, and you are going to amount to good. I promise you that making a mistake like this doesn’t make them right.”

 

This is probably at least part of what’s poisoning Hitoshi’s Fruit of Fate…

 

Izuku gave a small smile to his friend. “But thank you for apologizing, what you said was… really hard to hear, so I appreciate it. I accept your apology– so try not to feel guilty about it anymore, alright?”

 

“ …O-Okay,” was Hitoshi’s hoarse response.

 

Izuku let go of the tall boy’s face to allow him to straighten himself and a frown returned to Izuku’s face as he confessed, “At this point, though, I am a little worried if I will still be able to amount to good by the time my punishment sets in…”

 

Purple eyes blinked at him in confusion. “Are you talking about that “moral downfall” you mentioned? Maybe I’m making light of your situation too much, but honestly? I don’t see you turning into some crazed murderer or something even if it’s by the decree of some ultimate punishment from fate. Your personality is so different from that, that if I was fate– I’d just think it’d be too much work to bother with.”

 

It was Izuku’s turn to blink at Hitoshi, and when his mind fully processed that thought, a laugh rang out of him. “Ha! I never thought about fate like that before! That’s certainly an interesting perspective to have on the mystical force that guides the entirety of the universe!

 

“Pfft– Little Izuku’s right, Alice. How did you come up with something like that?” Momoka giggled from the mirror.

 

A shrug and smirk answered them. “Hey– someone’s got to be the one to consider this kind of bullshit, and it’s clear that you’re much too fatalistic about fate to do it yourself. So it’s up to me to pick up the slack.”

 

Hitoshi’s smirk dropped as he gained a serous expression for his next words though, “Even if you don’t have the same amount of moral rigger as you do now, that won’t be the end of the world. Not everyone can be a moral paragon like All Might– just doing the best that you can will be enough for you to still amount to good, Midoriya.”

 

The ball of tension that had locked itself inside of Izuku since he read his punishment status half-way untangled itself from the relief given to him by Hitoshi, and he suddenly felt like he could breathe more easily. A smile lit his face once more.

 

“…Thank you, Hitoshi.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I’ve decided to tell Aizawa-sensei about… you know, but can’t we do it after workplace training is over?”

 

Izuku smiled at him gently –not even questioning Shouto’s assumption that Izuku would be present to support him during this– but he did inquire, “That’s great, Shouto-kun! Is there a particular reason why you want to wait until then though?”

 

Shouto averted his eyes from Izuku’s genuine gaze of affection –he knew Izuku wouldn’t like this one bit, but he had already decided on it…

 

“I think it would be too hard to deal with that and still manage to go to Endeavor’s agency for the training, so that’s why I want to wait.”

 

The moment of silence was brutally loud.

 

“I-I’m sorry? You want to go to Endeavor’s agency?! Why?! You don’t need to force yourself like that, it’s okay for you to be attentive to your feelings!” Izuku yelled in a worried manner.

 

Shouto felt a fire inside of him softly warming his chest at Izuku’s concern. “He’s a horrible father and person, but he’s still the Number Two hero– there must be something he’s doing right with his work. I want to use him to advance my own career as much as possible.”

 

He unconsciously glanced down at his left hand. “Also… I visited my mother recently. That helped me realize that I don’t need to hold on to my conviction to not use my fire. He’s the best person to teach me how to use that part of my quirk, and there’s a lot of work I need to do to catch up on it…”

 

There was more silence, before warm arms wrapped around him. Izuku spoke with a soft and kind voice, “I’m happy for you, Shouto.”

 

He felt himself stiffen, but then released the tension in his body to return Izuku’s hug.

 

Izuku sighed, “Well, if you’re so set on it, there’s nothing I can do to stop you– but will you at least agree to a backup plan to remove you if he’s endangering your safety? Actually, it’d be good for you to have that just for being at home regularly too…” Izuku backed himself out of their embrace to look at Shouto, but still kept his hands placed on Shouto’s arms.

 

“He’s not going to do anything when other people are there to watch him.”

 

“Maybe if it was all third-parties yeah, but there are times when the only people around will be the people from his agency, right?” Izuku firmly explained, “In that case, he might be able to get away with something since he can threaten to fire them if they try to report his behavior.”

 

Shouto blinked at that. “Oh… I guess you have a point. That sounds like something he would do. What did you have in mind, though?”

 

After being spirited away to the Crystal World, Shouto was standing in front of a mirror featuring his image alongside an image of Izuku with pink irises –This must be that “Momoka-san” Izuku told him about.

 

“Momoka-san, Shouto-kun wants to go to his father’s agency for the workplace training I told you about. Do you have anything that could bring him back here if he needs to leave?”

 

Momoka narrowed her eyes at them. “Cinderella wants to voluntarily be involved with the Evil Queen who forced him into pain, isolation, and servitude?”

 

Evil Queen? Cinderella?

 

“Evil Queen?” Izuku echoed his thoughts, “Not that I don’t think it’s fitting but…”

 

“You know, like the Evil Queen from Snow White who was jealous of her beauty? In this case he’s also doubling as Cinderella’s evil stepmother.”

 

“Do you really have to mix stories like that? This is getting confusing…”

 

Shouto turned that idea over in his mind before asking, “Wait… Does that mean All Might is Snow White?”

 

Momoka giggled with a smirk, “Haha! That’s right, my Prince’s dear Cinderella!”

 

Izuku flushed and covered his cheeks with his hands at her words. “M-Momoka-san! I told you to not call him that!”

 

“Does that mean I get to be Izuku’s princess?”

 

The two stopped to stare at him.

 

Shouto promptly turned red when he realized he lost his brain-to-mouth filter. “That… That was a stupid question– ”

 

Momoka cut off his attempt to salvage the situation by chiming, “You will be his prince, Shouto, my dear future in-law and child that needs to be protected from the evil of adults. Unless, of course, you want to be his princess instead.”

 

A sly smile was sent Izuku’s way. “Keep this one, little Izuku. I sense great things from him. Also, in the treasury there’s a ball of red string that you can make bracelets out of. If you kiss a bracelet and say “You Will be Our Red String of Fate”, then when Cinderella wears it he can use it to complete the Survival Strategy spell exactly one time. Though he’ll only be able to transport himself to the library.”

 

A red looking Izuku sighed at Momoka’s antics but thanked her for the help. From what Shouto has heard, she’s not usually so forth coming with information, but it seemed like she likes him at least.

 

As Izuku guided him to the treasury, Shouto realized he forgot something.

 

“Where will you be going for your workplace training, Izuku?”

 

Izuku beamed in excitement.

 

“I got an offer from the Winged Hero: Hawks’s agency! Not only is Hawks the Number Three hero, but he can fly too– so I’m hoping to learn more about how to utilize my Teddydrums’ flight! Also, we’re both bird-themed, kind of, so why not?”

Chapter Text

After hearing that Iida was headed to a hero agency in Hosu City, Izuku freaked out. But Shouta-sensei assured him that the teachers in the know for the condition of Iida’s Fruit had already ascertained that Iida could be planning on pursuing the Hero Killer, so they had contacted the head of the agency –a hero named Manual– to inform him of the risk. Manual promised that he wouldn’t let Iida out of his sight.

 

“Since he hasn’t actually done anything, and there’s no proof that this is what he’s planning, we can’t prevent him from going,” Shouta explained, “I will be speaking to him before he leaves to reinforce that the teachers are aware of this risk, though, to dissuade him from trying something.”

 

Izuku tried to tell himself that things would be okay. He even tried venting about the situation to Togata to release some of his tension –what was the likelihood that Iida would even be able to find the Hero Killer, that the Hero Killer was even still there, even if he did manage to lose Manual?

 

But unfortunately, Izuku knew fate. And he knew that if something unlikely was meant to be, fate would find a way to make it happen.

 

All he could do was hope that it wasn’t meant to be.

 

During that same conversation, Shouta also asked him his opinion on whether Hitoshi would be a good candidate to join their class and whether he could become a successful hero in the future.

 

Shouta also had to wrestle him down into a chair to physically stop his endless babbling about how “Hitoshi will be a great hero and I didn’t even look into his Fruit but I know that he is such a good person but I don’t think he knows how good he is but I want him to know so badlyPlease give him a chance, Shouta-sensei, I don’t know how but in someway fate’s been so cruel to him, he needs this chance, please– ”

 

After Izuku had calmed down and felt thoroughly embarrassed of his behavior, Shouta assured him he would take Izuku’s testimony into consideration.

 

Sometime later in the week, he also found out that Tokoyami was going to Hawks’s agency as well– making him consider that perhaps Hawks was purposefully choosing bird-themed students. He doesn’t really know what it would say about the man if he was, but he can’t hold it against him when that consideration had also crossed Izuku’s own mind for both this training and the second-round of the Sports Festival.

 

After hearing Izuku was going to the same place as him, Tokoyami had this strange look on his face– almost like he was both excited for and despairing the situation simultaneously. Izuku had no idea why that would be, though, so maybe he was just looking into it too much.

 

Before heading off to workplace training, there was one more thing Izuku absolutely had to know as soon as possible. At this point, not knowing was keeping him up at night. Learning this piece of information was essential if he wanted to have a productive week.

 

“Toshinori-san!” Izuku launched right into it as soon as he had cornered the man in a private conference room, “What did Sir Nighteye decide for his penguin’s name?”

 

Toshinori blinked at him. Then shied back while hesitantly asking, “Is… that’s not something that needs to be discussed now, is it? I’m sure you have much better– ”

 

“So you have been purposely avoiding giving me the answer to this.” Toshinori stiffened at being caught red-handed. “What’s so bad about naming Nighteye’s penguin that you wanted to avoid it?”

 

Sighing, Toshinori glared at the ground.

 

“ …It’s Yagi.”

 

“ …Excuse me?”

 

“Nighteye’s name for his penguin– ” Toshinori started again, with a stronger but more exasperated tone, “is Yagi!

 

Exactly three seconds passed while Izuku stared blankly at Toshinori.

 

On the fourth second, he began howling with laughter, “Ha! Oh my God! Yagi! He named it after you?! Because they annoy you so much?!

 

“It’s not funny! It’s bad enough that Toshi-pingu mocks me without even being capable of speech! I don’t need a fat, flightless bird named after me!

 

This is the best! I wish I could tell Togata-senpai everything now just so I could tell him about the penguin Nighteye named Yagi! Ha!

 

“I said it’s not funny! Stop laughing at me!

 

And so, it was with a clearer but still worried mind that Izuku and Ochako sent off Iida at the train station the morning of the beginning of their workplace training week with the promise to listen to him if he needed to talk.

 

However, he already knew that talk would never come…

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was during the long ride to Kyushu on the bullet train that Tokoyami dramatically began a very unexpected conversation.

 

“Midoriya…” The dark bird boy eyed him carefully from his seat across from Izuku’s. “You… can see and reach into the hearts of others, can you not?”

 

Izuku choked on air.

 

“How– How did you– !”

 

“It was plain to see, after you touched both Bakugou and Todoroki’s hearts.” Tokoyami closed his eyes, sitting back in his seat while nodding to himself. “That is two of the most troubled in our class that have been healed by your presence. Your capability for understanding human thoughts and emotions with only behavioral ques to go off of must be quite extraordinary indeed. You are a Creator of Madness that works to bring order to those who madness dwells within…”

 

Wait… so he’s referring to “hearts” figuratively then? What a relief…

 

Significantly calmed down, Izuku questioned Tokoyami in a more collected manner, “You’re the second person that’s noticed I’m connected to Kacchan’s and Shouto-kun’s change in behavior… is it really so obvious?”

 

“Perhaps our more unobservant classmates wouldn’t have noticed, but even one with an average sense of observation would notice that both you and Todoroki have suddenly started referring to each other by your personal names and started spending time together.”

 

“Ah… I see.” He has a good point, that’s a pretty obvious que something happened…

 

“The reason why I bring this up,” Tokoyami continued, placing a hand on his chest in a flourish, “is because due to this– you must have already realized the troubles that dwell within me, correct?”

 

Conductor turned on to show Tokoyami’s perfectly golden Fruit of Fate.

 

People need to stop putting their conditions inside of their Fruit where he can’t see them…

 

Izuku decided to cold read this.

 

“Not to the same extent as with Kacchan or Shouto-kun, but…” If it’s inside the Fruit, it’s probably– “your quirk...”

 

Tokoyami’s eyes widened slightly for a second.

 

“You’re having some sort of issue with your quirk, I think?”

 

Crossing his arms over his chest, Tokoyami gained a satisfied look on his face that matched his knowing tone, “It is as you say. As I thought… you had already seen through me from the very beginning…”

 

No, it’s just that you told me just now… Izuku didn’t say.

 

“That is why I knew from the moment that you said we were going to the same place for the workplace training,” Tokoyami continued his long-winded introduction to whatever issue he wanted to talk about, “that it must be my turn to receive your guidance. The alignment of our persons could only be the work of fate. It was simply meant to be.”

 

Well now it is! Talk about self-fulfilling prophecy… Wait a second, is this how Izuku sounds like to other people when he talks? That certainly sounded like the kind of thing he would say… But more importantly–

 

“It isn’t right to insert yourself into other people’s affairs when they don’t want you to. That’s an incredibly invasive act. And in my case… I don’t want you to

 

“Do you… want my guidance, Tokoyami-kun?” Izuku asked with wary apprehension.

 

Tokoyami nodded. “It would be most helpful.”

 

A giddy sense of relief filled Izuku’s core and Tokoyami instantly became Izuku’s new favorite person.

 

Finally! A person that wants help!

 

He forced himself to keep a smile off his face as he asked, “So what problem are you having with Dark Shadow? Does this have to do with what you said during the Sports Festival about him being harder to control at night?”

 

Tokoyami hummed in confirmation, “Yes. Truthfully, I was somewhat understating the matter. He becomes so unruly and aggressive at night that I am hesitant to sleep without a light present to assist in keeping him down.”

 

The bird boy then averted his gaze to look down at his hands, which were nervously fiddling with each other. “Perhaps this is too outside of your expertise to fully address, but do you have any idea on how I might learn to control him more?”

 

Izuku turned the matter over in his thoughts and realized something, “Dark Shadow is sentient, right? And can make decisions apart from your own.” –even though he doesn’t have his own Fruit.

 

“That is correct.”

 

“But he’s connected to your life and being; as in, he can only die when you die?”

 

“That is also correct.”

 

Izuku let his smile bloom on his face. “In that case– he’s just like Izu-pingu!”

 

Tokoyami stared at him in confusion.

 

“Your tiny, adorable penguin…” disbelief was clear in his tone, “is like my monstrous, raging Being of Darkness?”

 

“Yes,” Izuku easily dismissed the boy’s doubts, “Firstly; they’re both birds.”

 

One of Tokoyami’s eyes twitched.

 

Izuku ignored it. “Secondly; Izu-pingu is also connected to my life and being, and is also sentient just like Dark Shadow.”

 

Tokoyami steepled his hands in thought. “Is that so… have you ever had any problems with getting Izu-pingu to listen to you?”

 

“Not exactly, but I do have another penguin that’s connected to someone else that’s known to… not get along with his human, to say the least. So the penguins are capable of rebelling, but all listen to me anyways.”

 

Tokoyami tilted his feathered head as his curiosity increased. “How intriguing. Still, I imagine penguins would be easier to control than Dark Shadow since they’re more docile.”

 

He doesn’t know if he would describe them, or at least Toshi-pingu, as docile

 

“There’s something I don’t get though…” Izuku stared into Tokoyami’s golden Fruit of Fate despite knowing he couldn’t see the answers there. “Why is Dark Shadow acting out in the first place?”

 

His classmate blinked at him. “What do you mean?”

 

“I mean– if you’re comparing the situation to trying to tame an animal, the animal in question isn’t acting out for no reason. They only become violent because of something; hunger, feeling threatened, trying to defend its territory– When it comes to aggression and violence, they mostly work the same as people, except people can also consider enjoyment of violence as part of their reasoning…” Izuku explained his thoughts in a serious manner.

 

He bored his eyes into Tokoyami’s. “So, what’s Dark Shadow’s reason?”

 

Looking down at his seemingly normal shadow, Tokoyami heavily intoned, “…I don’t know. I had never considered that before.”

 

Izuku looked away from Tokoyami’s Fruit of Fate to also looked down at Tokoyami’s shadow, and thought of how crushed Izu-pingu would be if he ever heard Izuku call him a monstrous, raging Being of Darkness.

 

“You know… one thing that’s sometimes annoying is that the penguins can’t speak, so it can be hard to understand the depths of their thoughts and feelings.”

 

Izuku turned off Conductor. He recognized that in this situation, what Tokoyami needed wasn’t him being the one to tell him what was wrong.

 

“But Dark Shadow can speak. He can tell you everything about what his reasonings and feelings are like if he lets you listen, and if you let yourself listen to what he is saying.”

 

He waited until Tokoyami looked back up at him so they could properly make eye contact, before emphasizing his point, “So, my advice is to start trying to talk to him more. Just start small, with little things like what he likes, and his thoughts throughout the day, and then maybe he will tell you himself what you guys can do together to come to an agreement.”

 

“That was so beautiful… It makes me want to cry a little! Your friend is so much nicer than you Fumikage!” a distorted voice cried out.

 

Both Izuku and Tokoyami whipped their heads around to see Dark Shadow lurking to the side away from the train windows. He was rubbing at one of his lit-up eyes with a large claw. “D-Dark Shadow!” Tokoyami exclaimed in shock.

 

Dark Shadow sniffed quietly before crossing his arms over his imitation of a chest. “What, are you going to tell me I’m not allowed to be out on the train? You guys are the ones that were talking about me when I can hear you!” he defensively accused.

 

“I don’t have a problem with you being out, Dark Shadow! I think this would be a nice chance to get to know you better.” Izuku glanced at Tokoyami, hoping he would pick up the message.

 

Tokoyami looked into Izuku’s eyes, then looked back at Dark Shadow. “To conserve energy for the workplace training, I don’t believe it would be wise for you to stay out the whole ride– But… there is nothing wrong with you getting the chance to be out for a while.”

 

Gesturing to the seat next to him, Tokoyami crouched in on himself while nervously offering, “Do you… want to sit with us, Dark Shadow?”

 

Warily eyeing his human, Dark Shadow accused, “Do you even want me to sit with you, Fumikage?”

 

I do!” Tokoyami leaned forward and shouted, before pulling back to recollect himself. His next words were a quiet murmur, “I’m sorry, Dark Shadow, it seems that I haven’t paid enough attention to what you want. So… if you want to sit with me and Midoriya, I also want to sit with you.”

 

Dark Shadow gazed at Tokoyami for a moment. Then, his beak formed a sad smile.

 

“You were always the type of child that kept your deepest, most honest feelings to yourself because you were scared of what would happen when you let them free. While I was the type of child that simply couldn’t understand why you would bother hiding those things in the first place,” Dark Shadow sighed fondly and floated into the seat next to Tokoyami, “When it comes to that kind of thing, meeting in the middle is always the best way to make children play nice, isn’t it?”

 

A large, black claw reached up to ruffle Tokoyami’s feathers. “I may get wild sometimes –and I’m sorry about that– but the thing that I always want most of all is to protect you, Fumikage! So you don’t need to be scared of me– I promise…”

 

Tokoyami’s red eyes widened and he crouched into himself a little more, as though he was trying to hide his blush. Though it couldn’t really be seen through the feathers and beak anyway.

 

Thank you, Dark Shadow…”

 

Activating Conductor, Izuku could see water dripping out of the center of the bottom of Tokoyami’s Fruit of Fate.

 

If he had to guess, Izuku would say that there’s probably also some poison in his core but… It seems like that will go away on its own just fine as well.

 

Izuku watched over the two with a small smile on his face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After hours of transit, Izuku and Tokoyami were finally in Kyushu at the agency owned by the Number Three hero. Their introduction to said top hero was an… interesting experience to say the least.

 

The first sight of Hawks was of him landing gracefully onto the roof of the building after flying back from a patrol, and it made a cutting impression.

 

He was young for a pro hero, especially one of his rank, but in the air he looked every bit of the reliable, seasoned hero that he was. Izuku had already seen the hero from pictures and videos on TV and the internet of course, but none of those images could properly give life to the man’s bright red wings. It was a color that would be more associated with some tropical bird than any kind of hawk, but their large size and encompassing wingspan certainly conveyed the type of power that is associated with those birds of prey.

 

Hawks’s Might Wings fluttered slightly as he touched down on the cushioned landing pad, and Izuku looked forward to getting to see the hero fully stretch them out while in the midst of a flight. Even just catching the tail end of his flying was a memorable sight. Descending from the heavens, he almost looked like an angel.

 

Then when Hawks sauntered over with a lazy grin and half-lidded eyes to casually talk to them, he lost most of the impressive image he projected earlier.

 

“Hey– the hatchlings have arrived! I hope your guys’ trip wasn’t too tiring, because I pride myself on going full speed 100% of the time. The only free time heroes’ have is when they sleep, you know, but man I wish I could just laze around!” Hawks joked while sticking out his hand for handshakes.

 

Tokoyami received him with his usual reserved manner while Izuku felt a nervous smile on his face. When he returned the handshake, Hawks’s loose grip and low-energy movement seemed to signal that he saw it as a completely obligatory social interaction.

 

“The Jet-Black Hero: Tsukuyomi, Tokoyami Fumikage, and the Crystal Hero: Deku, Midoriya Izuku, right? One of my sidekicks will lead you to the rooms you’ll be staying in and where you can change into your hero costumes. After a lunch break you’ll both get to come on patrol with me and my sidekicks,” Hawks raced through their introductions, pointing at each of them respectively, while ambling to the stairs leading down into the building before either of them could get a word out. He waved at them without looking back as he descended the stairs out of their sight.

 

“Sorry about the rudeness. When it comes to the public, he tries harder to slow down so they know he’s paying attention to them, but otherwise when it comes to work he’s always speeding through things as fast as possible…” the sidekick that brought them up to the roof, who had introduced himself as Horus, awkwardly explained, rubbing at the back of his head.

 

Izuku kindly responded with, “Ah… That’s understandable. As the Number Three hero, he must be very busy.”

 

Tokoyami crossed his arms over his chest. “There is such a thing as going too fast, though…”

 

Questioningly, Izuku glanced at the elevator that they themselves had taken to get up to the roof. The sidekick noticed his gaze.

 

“We had the elevator of this building modified to reach the roof in case of medical emergencies, but Hawks never takes it himself if he can help it. He doesn’t like waiting for the elevator to come up.” Horus shrugged as he pressed the elevator button to head back down.

 

“Is that so…” Hawks seemed very laid-back in his interviews, but he actually takes his work quite seriously. It’s like all three of the top three heroes are consumed by their work in different ways.

 

Considering the Fruit of Fate for the other two of the top three heroes, that doesn’t really bode well for Hawks…

 

Then the two of them got to see yet another side of the Number Three hero, one that was more similar to the kind of image he projected to the media.

 

Izuku hadn’t expected the support department to be able to finish making the desired adjustments to his costume with only a week to work on it, so he had been surprised to hear that his costume now had his requested long, warm black coat featuring coat tails and golden shoulder pads that was designed to be easily removed and left open to show the signature regal golden buttons and trim of his shirt. The red cape had been redesigned to be attached to the coat now instead of his shirt and his penguin headphones had been transitioned to double as ear protectors. He now also had a holder on his belt for his sword and its sheath, and of course, two harnesses were delivered for him to attach to each of his Teddydrums.

 

When he opened his case to change into his costume, though, his confusion dissipated upon seeing a note written by his previous teammate from the support department.

 

Ten Million!

I personally rushed your order out in time for your workplace training, so don’t you dare forget to bring me to your babies’ Workshop! Consider this my entrance fee!

-Hatsume Mei

 

Damn, he was hoping that Hatsume-san would forget. How naïve of him…

 

Tokoyami read the note from over his shoulder. “I believe “Creator of Madness” is a title that is more appropriate for that girl, now…”

 

“The shoe definitely fits…”

 

Just as they had both finished changing into their costumes –Izuku vaguely noted that the long length of the coat, with its coat tails stopping around his knees, made him look even more penguin-like than previously – Hawks dropped by out of nowhere. “Hey, Midoriya-kun! Did you get a harness like they talked about during the Sports Festival, cause if you have one…” he trailed off upon seeing Izuku in his costume. Hawks’s staring made his hawk-like black eye-markings and brown irises pop out.

 

Izuku glanced around himself nervously, trying to find something else that the hero could be looking at, but it was clear that his stare was focused on none other than Izuku. “Uh… is there something wrong? Hawks-san?”

 

Hawks blinked once, then a sprawling grin stretched across his face and he pointed at Izuku. “You’re penguin-themed!” he exclaimed in excitement.

 

Izuku blinked back at him. “…Yes?”

 

“This is great!” Hawks pumped his fist in the air. “Now all three of us are birds!”

 

Off to the side, Tokoyami choked on air, but Hawks ignored it. Instead, his half-lidded eyes widened and he slapped a hand to his face as though he had divined an outstanding realization. His grin grew even wider.

 

Hawks laughed, “Ha! You’re a penguin! That can fly! Oh my God, this is– this is incredible! I’m so glad I sent you an offer!”

 

“Thanks, I guess?”

 

With narrowed eyes, Tokoyami could no longer contain his exasperation, “Why– what are you even talking about with all three of us being birds?! And why does something like that matter?!”

 

Hawks presented one of his small red feathers to them, pinching it between his thumb and forefinger. “Well you see, Tokoyami-kun, part of the reason why I chose you is because we’re both birds! And I decided to make Midoriya-kun an honorary bird because of his penguin mascot, but now I see that he’s an actual bird just like us!”

 

Tokoyami stared at the bird hero with his mouth agape. “Are you joking…?!”

 

“No, I’m 20% serious.”

 

Izuku nodded to himself. “That makes sense…”

 

It doesn’t!” Tokoyami yelled at him, “It doesn’t make sense at all! Why does it matter if we’re all bird-themed?!

 

Aesthetic!” both Izuku and Hawks answered at the same time.

 

Tokoyami suddenly lost all will to fight. He sighed in defeat and just turned his back on them to silently mope away. “My normal common sense is no match for the chaos brought by the Number Three hero and the Prince of Hearts and Madness…” –His epithet for Izuku was even more outrageous now.

 

Seeing that Izuku was on the same page as him, Hawks stuck his palm out towards him for a high-five with a smirk on his face. Izuku hesitantly returned the high-five. As their hands slapped together, Izuku saw that the top half of the Fruit of Fate in Hawks’s chest was frozen.

 

Why does fate always have to make everything complicated…

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Hello? Gran Torino sir, are you in here– Oh dear…”

 

Gran Torino, a hero that Mirio had known to be All Might’s old teacher due to Sir mentioning him previously, sent Mirio an offer to go to his agency for his workplace training this year. Sir had suggested for Mirio to try this new opportunity –stating that getting some mentoring from a new perspective would help him broaden his horizons– but for some reason had looked put off about the idea despite advocating for it.

 

Could it be because of Sir’s and All Might’s separation? But it seemed like they had begun talking again after getting acquainted with Midoriya-kun…

 

Nevertheless, Mirio accepted Sir’s suggestion and was now at the rundown building of Gran Torino’s agency to carefully examine the scene before him. There was a short, old man –presumably Gran Torino– face down on the ground on top of some sausage-links, with red liquid surrounding him that looked to viscous and bright to be blood –ketchup maybe?– Still, the man had clearly fallen and might be unconscious.

 

He rushed to the Gran Torino’s side to take his pulse, only for the old man to suddenly pop back up on his own with a smile on his face. “I’m alive!”

 

Mirio responded with a jovial but professional tone, “Haha! Well that’s good to hear! Still, you may still require medical assistance, so may I take your pulse and call an ambulance for you sir?”

 

Gran Torino stared at him with his dumb smile for a second before his face pinched into a grouchy pout. “Hmf! You’re too well trained for that prank to be fun– as expected of a protégé from Nighteye. What’s your name, boy?”

 

Mirio straightened up to give an energetic grin and stuck his thumb towards his chest. “Lemillion! But you can refer to me using my civilian name, Togata Mirio!” He wasn’t put off by the strange prank– there were lots of different types of humor in the world.

 

Gran Torino nodded at him approvingly and a mean grin formed on his wrinkled face. “Let’s see what your made of kid!” he exclaimed as he rushed at Mirio.

 

Not having enough time to dodge, Mirio used his quirk Permeable to turn his torso intangible and Gran Torino passed through his body to land on the wall behind him just as his shirt fell through and onto the floor.

 

Mirio spun around preparing for a second hit, but Gran Torino just scowled at him. “Losing your shirt is a penalty! When you lose all of your clothing, you lose! And we start over again and again until I say you’ve improved your precision enough to stop.”

 

Well, this just got a lot harder…

 

Even so, Mirio grinned at the challenge.

 

Yes, sir!

Chapter Text

“Shinsou, after school today report to classroom 1-A. Eraserhead wants to speak with you.”

 

Those words from Cementoss-sensei pushed a nervous anticipation into Hitoshi that he carried with him throughout the entire day. He forced himself to not wonder why he was being called upon, not wanting to get his hopes up. That nervous anticipation grew as he walked towards 1-A and peaked when he stood directly in front of the closed door. He stared at it stupidly instead of opening it.

 

Come on, Hitoshi, get a grip. Calm down and just lift your hand to open the door– you can do this…

 

 The door opened with a loud click, followed by his loud footsteps as he entered the mostly empty room.

 

Eraserhead was behind the podium leafing through some papers with the eye covered by his medical eyepatch facing Hitoshi. At the sound of the door, he immediately turned his head to look at him with his other eye.

 

“None of you guys have seen our homeroom teacher, Eraserhead, yet– have you?... He’s also missing his left eye. They couldn’t fix it. He’s half blind now.”

 

Hitoshi felt his throat thicken at the reminder of his hero’s injury and forced himself to not gulp.

 

Eraserhead spoke with a cool, stoic tone, “Shinsou Hitoshi, are you still interested in joining the heroics course?”

 

Hope involuntarily sprang up in his chest– he pushed it back down so that he could answer without sounding embarrassingly desperate, “Yes.”

 

His hero nodded absentmindedly, as though he had already figured that but was simply confirming it, and got straight to the heart of the matter, “As you know probably know, there is currently an available spot in my class, and I believe you have enough potential to fill it.”

 

Is this happening? Is this really happening? Is something like this even possible, for someone like Hitoshi?

 

“May those who defy their fate be granted glory”

 

“However, I would like to raise your physical abilities first before officially admitting you. With my class gone for the week, this is the perfect opportunity to begin your training. When you can be admitted depends on you and how fast you progress. Compared to the other heroics students, you’re already lagging far behind, so if I see that you aren’t giving this your all I will pass you over to look for another candidate. Do you understand this?” Eraserhead stared down at him with his single, intimidating black eye.

 

“Yes!” Hitoshi shouted out frantically before he pulled himself together, “I understand perfectly, Eraserhead-sensei. This is my only chance, I don’t plan on wasting it.”

 

Eraserhead looked over his emotional outburst. “Good, and call me Aizawa. We start now. First thing once school ends every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday meet me at the training grounds I will be showing you today for a two-hour session. Every Saturday we will have an extended four-hour session starting at 8 am, and I will provide lunch after the session is over. For this week, we will be meeting every day though to take advantage of the extra time I have. Do you have any objections, or do you believe your foster parents will have any?”

 

“No, Aizawa-sensei. And my foster parents won’t care.” And Hitoshi should really just leave it at that, should really just accept his good fortune without question, but he couldn’t help but ask, “May I… know the reason why you chose me for this opportunity?”

 

“Your quirk is perfect for non-combative villain take downs and deescalating conflicts,” Aizawa answered with a professional sense of critical examination, “Of course, the potential of one’s quirk isn’t the only thing that gets taken into account– a person’s character is also an essential aspect when looking for an ideal future hero. I understand that quirks like the kind you have are often looked at with mistrust, but I don’t prescribe to that type of irrational thinking and assumptions– ”

 

Hitoshi breathed in sharply despite feeling like he was physically incapable of breathing.

 

“ –Admittedly, I would usually wait for a longer time before presenting an offer like this so that I and other members of the faculty could observe you for a time to more fully understand your personality and character. But as far as I’m concerned, that legwork has already been done in this case.”

 

Hitoshi’s confusion allowed him to emerge from his giddy sense of wonder and breathlessness to furrow his brows and ask, “What do you mean by that, exactly?”

 

“Midoriya vouched for you, extensively,” Aizawa emphasized that word with a frustrated echo to his voice, as though Midoriya had been exhaustingly excessive with his vouching, but his next words rang with sincerity, “He’s skilled in judging people’s character and I trust his word implicitly, there’s no point in wasting time verifying it for myself when that’s good enough for me.”

 

Light happiness filled his chest, to think that he would have a friend now that was willing to vouch for him, and to the point where it annoyed his teacher even. He would’ve thanked Midoriya if he wasn’t so embarrassed by the “to the point where it annoyed his teacher, who happened to be Hitoshi’s favorite hero” part.

 

“You must really trust him a lot, then…” From what he knew, Eraserhead wasn’t the type of person that just took people’s word for it.

 

Aizawa gave a casual shrug in response, but Hitoshi knew that this kind of thing was anything but casual. The man left the podium to walk towards the door.

 

“You can call your foster parents to inform them your new training schedule, then we’ll head down to the lockers so you can change into your PE outfit.”

 

Hitoshi obligingly took out his phone despite knowing that the family he lived with wouldn’t give a shit about him staying out later or his training other than in expressing their disbelief at him even being considered for the heroics course. But right now, their disbelief wouldn’t bother him one bit– Aizawa-sensei’s belief in him was the only thing that mattered in this moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a full two days since Izuku started his workplace training and for the life of him, he could not figure out what was “stuck” about Hawks.

 

In fact, Hawks was probably the least-stuck person Izuku had ever seen in his life. It was probably physically impossible for him to go through his hero work faster than he already was. His feathers could separate from his wings for him to control, giving him the immense power of efficient multi-tasking, and his speedy flying gave him an equally speedy response time to crime.

 

Hawks was so fast, that it was actually more efficient for him to leave his sidekicks to run after him. By the time he had resolved an incident, his sidekicks would have finally caught up to perform clean up duty with the area and police, and he would leave to continue the patrol looking for problems from the air.

 

Endeavor may have the highest record for number of cases resolved, but he also had at least 20 years of a head start compared to Hawks. At the rate Hawks was going, he was sure to surpass his record in the near future.

 

Izuku had brought out both Teddydrums to ride on Teddydrum Black with a white harness while Teddydrum White was free to remotely assist, and while they could easily keep up with Hawks’s more leisurely paced crime-scanning speed, they had to push it to full throttle to follow him once he really got going. Most of the first day was spent on getting the Teddydrums to learn how to push their rockets to go faster and catch up without breaking their engines. And despite Izuku telling Teddydrum White to actively aid Hawks depending on the situation they encountered, Hawks was so good at doing everything by himself that he only ever asked for the robot to do heavy-lifting work for him, which would require the combined use of many feathers for him to accomplish himself.

 

Even though Izu-pingu was hiding in the empty holding space inside Teddydrum Black’s chest to be taken out when needed, he was never put to use, and Izuku himself hadn’t even gotten the chance to personally help either.

 

Izuku just wasn’t acting fast enough. By the time he gets an idea of what to do, Hawks-san was already in the middle of doing his own thing and him acting would just get in the way. That had been his problem during his fight with Shouto-kun as well. He needs to be faster if he wants the opportunity to bring a fight to his world.

 

Izuku could tell that Teddydrum Black had been proud and satisfied to get what it saw as the most important job –guarding Izuku– even if he didn’t actually get to do much other than fly Izuku around, but Teddydrum White had been frustrated to only help out in such a minor way when Izuku had ordered it to listen to Hawks and help the hero to the best of his ability. At the end of their first patrol, he made sure to assure Teddydrum White that it had done an excellent job and to tell both of them how proud he was of them for learning how to keep up with the speedy Number Three hero. At the very least, Izuku himself got some major practice on riding and directing his Teddydrums during flight just by trying to keep up with Hawks.

 

Tokoyami, unfortunately, had been left to trail behind along with the sidekicks. Izuku offered him a chance to ride Teddydrum White to keep up after seeing this, but his classmate turned him down stating that he had to rely on himself to properly make use of this training period. Even with this, though, he still seemed frustrated at Hawks rushing ahead and his inability to keep pace.

 

“Why did you specifically choose me to send an offer to, Hawks-san?” Tokoyami questioned Hawks at the end of their first patrol. Izuku stopped what he was doing to watch the two and listen in. “Besides the bird thing…”

 

Hawks got up from the couch that he had been laying on –dammit, it seems like he hardly ever rests, Izuku wants to tell him to sit back down. Just watching the hero is making him tired– “Well, another 50% of the reason I chose both of you is cause I wanted to hear a first-hand account on what happened with UA’s villain attack, and I wanted to pick out kids that might be able to keep up with me and showed promise.”

 

Shouta-sensei face down on the ground, blood everywhere around him, Fruit of Fate gone, how could this have happened– 

 

Izuku felt his body still unnaturally.

 

Tokoyami narrowed his eyes at Hawks and immediately stated, “I will tell you about it. Don’t bother Midoriya.”

 

Flinching back, Izuku exclaimed, “I’m fine with telling Hawks-san about what I know too, Tokoyami-kun. I’m the one that got a look at the leaders so– ”

 

“It is because of your increased exposure that you came out of the attack worse, Midoriya,” Tokoyami’s voice was as firm as his will, “Number Three hero or not, I will not stand by and let Hawks trouble you with an issue that clearly bothers you deeply. I remember very well the words that you said that day to that crowd of annoyances.”

 

“There was a moment, when it looked like our teacher was dead. Do you want to know what the leader of the villains said to me, and my friend, and the guy who transferred to general education, when we saw him? He said, Is this your guys’ first time seeing a dead body? Those of you that I leave alive should get used to the sight, if you really aim to be so called heroes

 

Izuku felt a remainder of the nervous dread and horror he felt on that day when Shouta-sensei was supposed to die turn his insides. He wondered what Tokoyami would say if he also knew their teacher had died for them during that incident.

 

Hawks interrupted before Izuku could force himself to try and argue back, “That’s fine, I don’t mind only getting the story from one of you.”

 

He waved at the two of them dismissively with a lazy smile still on his face, but Izuku could feel that Hawks’s stares when looking at him had become more focused.

 

On the third day of Izuku’s workplace training, he had finally gotten the opportunity to act as a real hero.

 

They had started patrol early in the morning and for that day he had switched out his robots so that he was riding Teddydrum White with a black harness while Teddydrum Black was free to assist. There had been a villain with three long, metal tentacles protruding from his body with sharp ends that almost seemed to be capable of extending indefinitely attempting to take three adult bystanders –two men and one woman– hostage while a crowd of civilians stayed back out of fear, crying for a hero to come. Hawks easily countered before he even finished descending from the air, using a couple of feathers to pull each hostage away from the man’s grip and another couple to pull the villain into the air where he’d be helpless.

 

Then, a little girl ran out of the part of the crowd that was beside the villain heading towards the freed female hostage, and a forth tentacle burst from the villain’s side towards the child. Panic erupted in Izuku’s chest and flying next to him, Hawks let out a curse and rapidly dive bombed the rest of his descent to get between the villain and the girl.

 

But Teddydrums can sense threats to children like a bloodhound can scent out a fox– Teddydrum Black had started its dive bomb before Hawks and had gotten there first, causing Hawks to skillfully stop himself in time to keep from ramming into the robot. Just after Hawks would have been in place, Teddydrum Black took the hit, holding the girl back with one arm while getting speared through the torso then grabbing onto it with its other to stop the metal limb from going further. Hawks used more feathers to hold two of the villain’s tentacles in place and grabbed onto the third on himself as well as with some feathers. A fifth limb then popped out of the villain’s back, and Hawks caught it with more feathers yet again.

 

They needed to remove the villain from the crowd to stop him from attempting to take more hostages– “Survival Strategy!”

 

The villain whipped his head around in confusion at the change of scenery, but Izuku didn’t pay it any attention– the villain had already been immobilized enough for him. He held his hand out towards the villain while still on the back of Teddydrum White.

 

Will of the Crystal Princess!

 

Thick, glittering crystal burst out of the ground of the Dueling Arena to encase the villain and the entirety of his limbs, except for the areas where Hawks and Teddydrum Black were still holding on. The villain’s head stuck out uncomfortably from the crystal to slightly turn and glance at Izuku, and even more confusion clouded his face.

 

“What– What just happened?! And what are you wearing?!” the villain’s deep voice exclaimed.

 

Okay, Izuku is officially done with this shit–

 

Why does everyone think my Prince of the Crystal uniform looks weird?! Yeah, it’s the combination of prince and idol fashion and it’s kind of feminine for a boy, but have you seen some of the hero and villain costumes people wear?! It’s basically the same thing! You’re a villain that just got captured by a high schoolerget your priorities in order!” Izuku ranted while jumping out of the harness and off Teddydrum White’s back.

 

The villain shied away as much as he could while stuck inside of a rock and Hawks walked in front of his line of vision while heading towards the little girl that Teddydrum Black was now carrying in its arms –did he do that on purpose to redirect Izuku’s attention?

 

“How are you doing kid, what’s your name?” Hawks asked in a soft voice. He didn’t have to lean down to make eye contact with her, the position of the Teddydrum’s arms were on the same level as his head. Now that Izuku could examine her more carefully, he judged the girl to be around 5-years-old. She was absolutely tiny compared to the gulfing arms of the robot.

 

“My name’s Himemi, I’m okay. Thank you for saving Mama, mister Hawks!” the girl gave a genuine thanks in her high-pitched voice, but then quickly looked away from the Number Three hero to do a once over of Izuku’s princely outfit and gaze at him with sparkling eyes of adoration as he walked towards her, “Thank you for saving me, mister teddy bear and mister Prince!” Her hands cupped her reddening cheeks and a grin lit up her face. “I can’t believe I got saved by a real prince, all of my friends are going to be so jealous!”

 

Izuku’s own face turned red. Oh no, he can already see where this is headed…

 

“Uh, you’re welcome. I’m, uh– not actually a real prince, you know, I just look like a prince. My hero name is the Crystal Hero: Deku, and this is Teddydrum Black! And Hawks did most of the work, so you should thank him properly too…”

 

“Thank you mister Hawks!” the child obliging chimed and turned her head towards Hawks for a single second before whipping it right back towards Izuku with a look of incomprehension. “Are you sure you’re not a real prince though… do you not have a castle or kingdom?”

 

Before Izuku could answer, Teddydrum Black turned on its rockets to bring the girl to the edge of the tower and point towards the Crystal Palace and sweep its arm all around to encompass the whole Crystal World.

 

“Woah! You have a real fairytale castle and kingdom! See, I was right– you are a real prince!”

 

Oh no…

 

“Um, I don’t think this place legally qualifies as a sovereign nation so I’m still not actually a prince– “

 

Hawks flew up to hover next to Teddydrum Black and Himemi, and whistled at the sight of the Crystal Palace. He drawled, “With a castle like that, I’m pretty sure you can call yourself a prince all you want…”

 

“Right! He’s totally a real prince!” Hawks suddenly became relevant to Himemi’s world and she turned towards him to gush over Izuku.

 

Hawks smiled at her kindly, but there was mischief in his eyes. He replied with a teasing tone, “You’re absolutely right, Himemi-chan!”

 

He is not helping!

 

“Can– Can I see the castle too?” Izuku just glared at the villain. “Right… sorry for asking…”

 

Izuku sighed and gave up the hopeless cause. “Do you know if the police have a way to crack him out of the crystal, Hawks? I can only remove it when he’s here, but it might be better to just deliver him as he is. Nothing can break it from the inside, but you should still be able to break it from the outside if you try hard enough…”

 

Hawks waved at him dismissively. “Ah– I’m sure they’ll figure something out.” –That’s not a very reassuring answer.

 

Hawks flew back down to stand beside Izuku, gave him an obvious and deliberate once over, then carefully did not mention anything at all about Izuku’s outfit change. “Anyways, can you take us back now?”

 

Izuku popped them back into the streets, and Teddydrum Black delivered Himemi to the woman she had been running towards.

 

“Mama, Prince Deku saved me! He has a castle and crown and everything!”

 

No! That’s wrong!

 

“My name is– ”

 

That’s right! My trainee here –the Crystal Hero: Prince Deku– rescued your daughter while riding atop this white robot and aided by his animal-like companion –Teddydrum Black– in a true princely fashion!” Hawks grinned at Himemi’s mother while projecting the air of an honest and innocent man.

 

The woman smiled at them with gratitude and relief clear in her eyes, “I saw! Thank you very much for rescuing me and my dear Himemi; Prince Deku, Hawks, Teddydrum Black…”

 

The crowd started cheering; “Way to go Prince Deku!” “What an impressive student you are, Prince Deku!” “I wish I could be rescued by a prince-hero one day, how dreamy!”

 

Izuku stared at Hawks in wide-eyed horror even as he waved Himemi and the crowd goodbye, and whispered, “…Why?

 

Hawks just gave him a smile and patted his shoulder. “In the future, your marketing team will thank me for this– trust me!”

 

Hawks lifted up into the air, and Izuku had to quickly deliver Teddydrum Black to the Workshop for repairs then get back on Teddydrum White to follow after him. He was only able to catch up when the hero stopped for his next incident, a store robbery, which he ended within the span of maybe 10 seconds.

 

“But– do you know how stuck up it sounds to call myself a prince in my hero name?! That’s why I didn’t include it in the first place!”

 

Hawks side-eyed him with a neutral expression and half-lidded eyes. “But in there you’re called the Prince of the Crystal, right?”

 

Izuku blinked at him. “Well, yes. But the hero Deku and the Prince of the Crystal are like two different images of me– ”

 

Are they really?” Hawks’s eyes looked over his hero costume then returned to Izuku’s eyes. “You may not have a crown right now, but you still look very much like a prince. And princes are supposed to be heroic– combining the two isn’t a bad idea.”

 

Once again, Hawks flapped his wings to enter the air, and Izuku followed behind. He didn’t look back at Izuku as he spoke over the wind.

 

“In my opinion, you shouldn’t be worried about whether calling yourself a prince to the public will make them think you’re undeserving of the title. You can definitely show them that it suits you, so don’t be afraid to be to elevate yourself and your image higher! There’s no need to limit yourself like that– aren’t you the one who’s been able to keep up with me this whole time even when there are pro heroes that fail to? I don’t know what you look for in your heroes, but I think that the best heroes are the ones that reach for high ambitions.”

 

Izuku didn’t respond, instead choosing to look over the view of the city down below him.

 

He had always considered his goals to be “high ambitions”. First in aiming to be a hero with no quirk, and now in aiming to be a hero that changes fate. To him– changing fate was the highest ambition a person could reach for.

 

But he had also never really considered his goals in relation to other people outside of “trying his best to save them”, he had never thought about actively projecting the image of being “a great hero” outside of being able to show up to a scene and reassure the hearts of people by saying “I am here!

 

He wasn’t in it for the fame or glory– he just wanted to help people

 

But how can glory not be part of that image? Isn’t he the one that declared “May those who defy their fate be granted glory” to the entire nation just a little over a week ago?–

 

For that moment, though, he wasn’t thinking of speaking as Izuku the future Hero, he was speaking as the Prince of the Crystal. And the Prince of the Crystal almost felt like a completely different person than Izuku.

 

The Prince was confident, he was eloquent, he projected a princely air without even trying, he was the pinnacle, he could be so accidently romantic that he wooed a previously emotionally-repressed boy in less than 24 hours, and he was glorious

 

But Izuku was the one that was doing all of that, wasn’t he? But he was also the one who was almost too nervous to answer questions in class, and the one who became a bumbling mess when trying to convince his homeroom teacher to give his friend a chance to be a hero, and the one who hadn’t even fully resolved his crisis of morality yet–

 

It almost seemed impossible for Izuku the hero-in-training and the Prince of the Crystal to be the same person. But they already were, weren’t they? That’s why Deku could be a hero who changes fate, because the Prince of the Crystal changes fate.

 

–This whole time, he had truly believed he wouldn’t amount to anything, that he had no future, that he was worthless, and useless, because he was born a “Deku” that was fated to have no quirk. That would make sense, wouldn’t it? That’s what people have told him since he was 4. He had heard it so many times, had it said right to his face so many times, of course he would come to believe it himself–

 

He closed his eyes and leaned back in his makeshift seat, feeling the rush of the wind. It streamed around his face, visor, and headphones to ruffle his curls.

 

Perhaps Izuku’s past view on who “Deku” and “Izuku” were was still holding him back even now…

 

Izuku opened his eyes to gaze at the wide, stretched-out wings of the hero flying ahead of him. Hawks looked magnificent like this– in the midst of his sky that so few people could reach on their own. Izuku once again thought of an angel flying above the Earth and God’s creations.

 

He thought back to an interview he had previously seen, where Hawks had said that he didn’t give much thought to actively maintaining a high ranking. Everyone had laughed at his words.

 

How could they not think it was a joke? At the age of 18, Hawks had already opened his own hero agency and reached a placing in the top 10 of the hero billboard chart for Japan, and just last year he had risen to Number Three hero at the age of 21. There was a reason why everyone called him precocious; he was the rising star speeding ahead of his generation. And just now, he said that he valued ambition in heroes…

 

But if that was the case…

 

Why isn’t the problem with his Fruit of Fate burning, the condition that is associated with desire and ambition, then? Why is it frozen instead? How can he be frozen in place –unable to move forward in his life someway– when he’s putting in so much effort to move forward ahead of everyone else?

 

Hawks has risen higher and faster than anyone had thought possible, and he values ambition, but does he even hold any ambitions for himself? Everyone else assumes that he does…

 

But Izuku –the Prince of the Crystal– is anything but like everyone else

 

The patrol drags on longer than expected, and by the time Izuku brought the repaired Teddydrum Black out and both Hawks and Izuku were landing on the roof of the hero agency, it was way past lunch. They were both thoroughly chilled even with their heavy coats due to the excessive flying.

 

Seeing its master shivering, Teddydrum Black brought out its cannons solely to rev them up to heat its body and hold up Izuku close to its chest. Teddydrum White let its counterpart have this honor, knowing that Teddydrum Black heavily enjoyed engaging in physical affection.

 

Izuku let out a hum as he cuddled into the warm arms and chest. Metal really shouldn’t feel so cozy, but the Teddydrums were made to provide comfort as well as protection, and could therefore surpass their physical limitations to bestow a sense of comfort to the children that need it.

 

Hawks snorted in a joking manner, “Man, I wish I had my own personal teddy bear heater. That looks nice…”

 

He then tried to walk to the stairs –because he was an unintentionally ignorant man who was completely unaware that Teddydrum Black would rather personally tear its limbs off its body than actively deny a person comfort. But as Izuku foresaw the moment those words left Hawks’s mouth, Teddydrum Black swiftly adjusted Izuku free one arm, then used said arm to intercept Hawks, pulling him off the ground into its chest.

 

Ack!” Hawks’s face was squished into the metal, but the Teddydrum was mindful of his wings. He tried to push himself off the chest with his hands only to fail miserably. “Call off your robot, Midoriya-kun!”

 

Izuku snorted at him, “Teddydrum Black isn’t following any orders right now. It’s doing what it wants.”

 

Hawks’s wings fidgeted like he was preparing to use his quirk to pull himself out of the robot’s grip, but then Teddydrum Black began to gently stroke the bright red wings, and they stopped.

 

“Oh, this is– this is actually really niceHow does a metal robot feel better than my expensive, top-hero salary purchased bed…?” Hawks’s eyes fluttered closed as he unconsciously snuggled his face further into Teddydrum Black’s chest. “Mhmm, gotta go… do shit though…” he groggily complained, but his hands clutched the robot instead of attempting to pry himself away.

 

Teddydrum Black looked at Teddydrum White, who somehow understood its request and started up its own cannons. Izuku was then gently handed off to Teddydrum White so Teddydrum Black could close its second arm around Hawks. The added support allowed the robot to further lift Hawk’s body to curl up in its arms and to elongate its strokes for Hawks’s wings.

 

The man’s breathing evened out as he fell asleep.

 

And that… that told Izuku that something was really wrong here, because the sense of comfort the Teddydrums can provide is proportional to the amount of comfort that is needed, and Hawks apparently needed so much of it that Teddydrum Black needed to wayside Izuku to focus more on Hawks, and he fell asleep almost immediately after the cuddling was initiated.

 

Why does he have such a significant need for emotional and physical affection? Does he not have anyone in his life that can provide it? And exactly how exhausted was he?

 

Teddydrum Black’s glowing, red eyes looked into Izuku’s as he cuddled Hawks like he was an injured baby bird. The message was clear– Can we keep him?

 

Izuku tried his best to explain human ethics to the robot, “Hawks is his own person and has his own life, Teddydrum Black. Once his nap is finished you need to let him go.” Even as he said this, though, he was eyeing Hawks in concern that bordered on dread.

 

Teddydrum Black hung its head in disappointment, and Teddydrum White patted it on the back in consolation. Meanwhile, Izuku used the comm-frequency that Hawks and him had been using to keep in touch with the lagging sidekicks.

 

“Um, Horus-san? Hawks-san fell asleep.”

 

“What– What do you mean by he fell asleep? Are you sure he isn’t just resting his eyes or something?”

 

“One of my Teddydrums started acting like his personal heater, and he fell asleep. He looks completely dead to the world right now.”

 

“ …Really? Wow, that’s– I knew that the guy slept –in theory– but I’ve never seen him actually sleeping. Hawks is always the first to arrive and the last to call it a day.” 

 

Izuku’s concern grew even more.

 

“Can I just… take him to my pocket dimension so he can wake up on his own? That way we wouldn’t need to separate him from Teddydrum Black and accidently wake him up.”

 

“If you have a good place for it, go right ahead kid! The boss needs all the extra rest he can get– us sidekicks can handle things for him in the meantime.”

 

“Sounds good. I’ll let you know when he’s awake.”

 

Izuku ended the call and looked back to the sleeping Hawks with furrowed brows, thinking of his half-frozen Fruit of Fate. His face was relaxed in a way that made Izuku realize that for all Hawks acted like he was relaxed and laid-back in his daily life, he really wasn’t.

 

Maybe it’s not so much that he’s “stuck in place” as it is that he’s stuck going too fast?

 

At the same time Izuku still felt like he was missing something…

 

If you’re honestly not wanted, trying to force yourself into things is wrong, and it just makes you a nuisance”

 

Even if that’s the case, there’s a limit to how much Izuku can force himself to ignore for the good of personal privacy

 

Izuku checked his penguin-faced watch.

 

He muttered to himself, “It’s 3:00pm now. I leave Hawks’s agency at 5:00pm on Friday, so I have approximately 50 hours to permanently insert myself into the Number Three hero’s life to the point that he’d be willing to stay in contact with me after the workplace training is over…”

 

Teddydrum Black nodded vigorously in approval of his plan.

 

 Well, Hawks did say that he likes heroes who reach for high ambitions…

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Alright! Now that you can make it through most of a fight without losing your pants, let’s see how you translate that increased precision into your actual fighting.”

 

With that declaration, Mirio put on his Lemillion costume and boarded a train headed to Shibuya with Gran Torino for some patrolling at around 5:00pm. But they never made it to Shibuya.

 

Instead, the train was halted when passing through Hosu City by a monster that had brains peeking out of its head. Gran Torino jet kicked it out of the train and Mirio followed.

 

When the monster crashed into a random road in Hosu and they saw the chaos that had enveloped the city, Gran Torino yelled out, “This looks like a Nomu, the creature that the League of Villains used to attack the USJ at UA! I hope Nighteye wasn’t exaggerating about how good you were, Lemillion, cause in this situation we’re going to need all hands on deck– including provisional license holders!”

 

Mirio grinned as he prepared to phase into the ground to launch his own attack on the Nomu. He hoped to finish this quickly to check on something. “From what I know, Sir isn’t the type of person who exaggerates!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once upon a time, there lived a pawn who served an evil Witch with the belief that the Witch had chosen him, the Huntsman.

 

But the truth was, he had not been chosen. The Huntsman descended from one of the fair knights that had been fated to battle the Witch, and so when tragedy struck him as an innocent child, the Witch took advantage of the tragedy to mold him into the corrupted image of the Huntsman as a form of revenge. In this way, the child was punished by fate for the curse of his ascendant. But the Huntsman did not know this.

 

The Witch distorted the Huntsman’s view of the world with a mixture of truth and lies, with the biggest lie being that the Witch wanted and loved the Huntsman, and that this was why he had been chosen to become the Witch’s successor. When in reality, he was simply being conditioned to become an independent extension of the Witch’s own power. The ignorant Huntsman was so happy to have been chosen, that he could not see that he was actually unchosen.

 

And so, now that the Witch has once again begun his war against Snow White, the Huntsman will continue to lead the charge. But the Witch’s war was not one to be fought against only Snow White– his war was one against the entirety of good and the entirety of society, for he wished to bring about a revolution to mold the world into the image of himself. Thus, he passed on this wish to the Huntsman.

 

However, the Witch and his order are not the only forces of evil moving to bring revolution to society. One Black Knight has begun to rise above the rest to revolutionize the order of the knights. His revolution is not one that is aimed to act against the entirety of good, but one that wished to strengthen it. He excuses his ill means with his intention to bring about a better end.

 

The Black Knight’s revolution is incompatible with the Witch’s and Huntsman’s revolution. Thus, the Huntsman’s next move aims to combat both the society that he wishes to revolutionize and the revolution of the Black Knight.

 

The beginning of this next move has already begun.

 

Which side will achieve victory in the next battle of this war; that of good, that of evil, or that of something in between? Which side will fall into defeat?

 

Ultimately, the answers to these questions are not so important for the story of this war. The real question that should be asked is– which of these sides will succeed in initiating their revolution?

 

Only fate will decide, perhaps.

 

A golden book closed shut once the reader had reached the end of the black inked words and could see only blank pages followed.

 

The beginning of this next move has already begun? Can you really call this a prophecy if it’s only delivered after its begun? Well, I suppose that isn’t important. What is important is how you will insert yourself into this tale, my dear Prince of the Crystal…”

Chapter Text

Hawks is a hero that is chosen by society, but Takahiro is a child that is forgotten and unwanted.

 

It had been years since Hawks had heard that name; “Takahiro”. No one he knew in his current life called him by that name– most of those people probably didn’t even know that was his name. He didn’t think it really mattered now, though, because Hawks almost felt like a completely different person than Takahiro.

 

Takahiro had always had an incredible quirk, a quirk that people had always told him would make him a great hero. But none of that mattered, because his quirk could never give him what he wanted most.

 

His beautiful and wonderous Mighty Wings had never been enough to get his dead-beat parents’ attention. They lived a run-down place because neither of them could manage to hold down a job and keep a lid on their addictions of choice for long, and they constantly argued over it. Takahiro had often questioned why they had even gotten married and had him in the first place, since it seemed that they had never cared for each other, and had never really cared for him.

 

It wasn’t like they were out right negligent; He was fed –most of the time, he was clothed, he had a bed to sleep in, and they had even once let him keep the spare change he had found in the couch to buy himself an extremely discounted Endeavor plushie. But they acted as though whether he existed or not was irrelevant, and all the times they had absent-mindedly responded to him with “love you too” felt hollowed of meaning.

 

Takahiro hadn’t bothered wishing to whatever God or gods that exist in this universe that he would one day wake up and find that his parents actually meant those words when they said them, or find that his parents were actually happy to see him and each other, or find that they no longer lived in the gutter– if being born with an incredible quirk couldn’t get him these things, then he didn’t know any other way to bring about that kind of miracle.

 

Then came the day when his incredible quirk did change things, but not in the way he had hoped it would.

 

Sometime while he was still in elementary school, he had saved a family from a high-speed car accident using his quirk and earned the attention of some government officials from the Hero Public Safety Commission.

 

“This boy is blessed with incredible talent. He simply must become a hero. From now on, I will provide support for him and his entire family”

 

Neither his parents nor the Hero Public Safety Commission actually asked him if he wanted to be a hero, but that was okay. He would just have to accept the fate that society had thrust upon him, since it was clear that it wasn’t interested in him amounting to anything else or having any other future.

 

His parents’ attitude towards him did a total 180. Now that the government was financially supporting their family –because of Takahiro’s hard work and training– they became happy to see him, they became grateful he was born, and they seemed happier.

 

But their “love you too”s still felt hollow

 

And that had hurt– to know that even with all of that he still couldn’t get what he really wanted, that he still wasn’t truly chosen by his parents, wasn’t truly loved

 

At some point, he had picked out his hero name, and it seemed like everyone promptly forgot that he used to be Takahiro.

 

The government agents that watched over him only called him Hawks, his teachers and classmates at Shiketsu High School had eventually transitioned into just using Hawks –“since it suited him and his quirk so well”, they had said– and when he made his debut, his parents had an interview to gush about how proud they were of Hawks.

 

When his career started, his government beneficiaries told him that they were going to stop financially supporting his parents, but he could send part of his paycheck to them to support them himself. He declined, and they hadn’t spoken to him since.

 

Everyone said that money can’t buy love –which Takahiro had proven to be true– but apparently love can buy money just fine. It was too bad for his parents’ wallet that his residual love for them had run out a long time ago.

 

In any case, the message had been clear–

 

Hawks was wanted, not Takahiro. Hawks would be remembered, not Takahiro.

 

Hawks was chosen. Not Takahiro.

 

So now, Hawks was just Hawks. And Hawks was a hero that was too fast for his own good.

 

His quirk let him speed through hero work and the hero rankings like nothing anyone had ever seen, and he didn’t see a point in slowing down when it could cost the lives and safety of other people. He liked that he could help people, and that he could help the public feel more secure by presenting the image of a successful, reliable hero and by fulfilling his potential to be the best hero he could be.

 

But he didn’t ask himself whether he actually liked being a hero– there was no point when he was so suited for it. When there was nothing else he could be, and nothing else he aspired to be.

 

When the government had invested so much time and money into Hawks that they would throw a fit if he tried to quit

 

It was simply meant to be.

 

Surely, it was for the best that he was thrust into this career; society would be worse off for it if he hadn’t been

 

He enjoyed his gilded cage like the privilege it was

 

Or at least that’s what he told himself

 

And what a nice cage it is; he has a nice suite in his agency building and a luxury condo a few minutes away that he hardly ever uses because he’s always working, he has more money than he knows what to do with, he gets to fly around using his wings whenever he goes patrolling, most of the other pro heroes respect him, most of the public adore him. Some of the people who he had saved had even told him a genuine “I love you

 

But only to him as Hawks, not him as Takahiro

 

But the thing that really made it worth it was that he could emulate the hero he had watched his entire life. Not in personality –God no his personality was awful even Hawks could admit that– but in striving for a goal as a hero that could be considered impossible.

 

Hawks worked as fast as he could to bring about the day that heroes would have more free time than they knew what to do with, and Endeavor was the only hero serious about trying to surpass All Might to become Number One.

 

People would say that both of these goals could never happen; that the world could never be that peaceful, that All Might was unbeatable– but Hawks thinks that there is value in reaching for these goals with all they had anyway.

 

Because if he didn’t have a larger purpose to strive for with all the work that he did, then the only thing keeping him in his cage would just be the fact that he can’t leave it, and that would be a horrible thing indeed– 

 

So Hawks spent his life in the heart of his city rising early to begin work, working into the late hours of the day, and working during the majority of his weekend –because apparently evil doesn’t respect the sanctity of keeping normal work hours and holidays– rushing full speed ahead to reach an unattainable, shining sun.

 

Which why he was especially confused to slowly awaken in a nest made of cushions, blankets, and pillows surrounded by what seemed to be a meadow in the dark of night.

 

Hawks was laying on his side, and there was a huge, warm, metal arm wrapped over his body and the soft blanket that was on top of it that was carefully not resting its weight on him. His wings and back also felt extremely warm, and he turned his body over to see one of his trainee’s oversized teddy bear robots lying next to him in the nest. The red lights of its eyes acted like a nightlight, helping to dimly illuminate the area around them.

 

He stared at Teddydrum Black. Teddydrum Black just stared back.

 

At a complete loss, Hawks turned to humor, “You know, people have told me a couple of different awkward “morning after” stories, but whenever I thought about how mine might be like– this was not how I imagined it.”

 

Teddydrum Black tilted its head in what seemed like a sign of confusion, and suddenly Hawks felt extremely dirty for making a sex-related joke to what could be considered a symbol of childhood innocence. The awkwardness of the situation increased ten-fold.

 

Desperate to distract himself from the awkward tension and make at least some headway into figuring out where the fuck he was, he attempted to sit up, and the arm was lifted to allow his movement. Hawks fluttered his wings a bit, fluffing them to air his feathers out.

 

It was hard to see any particular features of the meadow, but Hawks could see that it was perfectly circular and stretched for a while until it reached the tree line of a forest. On one side, he could hear a babbling brook that was hidden by the darkness as well as the sounds of crickets, cicadas, and other signs that night-active fauna were about. The glowing light of various fireflies dancing about helped finish off the serene atmosphere of this little piece of nature.

 

Then Hawks glanced upwards, and couldn’t look away.

 

Above him the crescent moon was a brilliant white glow, but rather than being the main focus, it was just an accompaniment to the countless shining stars that filled the entirety of the sky. It seemed like entire galaxies were on display– dying the black sky in a radiant mix of purple, blue, and green. Hawks felt like he could spend eternity just gazing up in awe at the dazzling sight, trying to count every single star that it held.

 

This was the type of night sky that one could only find out in the isolation of total wilderness, a sight that was unattainable for a boy that had lived his whole life in the city.

 

How wonderful would it be to fly through a sky like this

 

“Hawks-san, you’re awake! Did you have a good rest? I tried to make sure you were as comfortable as possible, but you were still sleeping outside –sort of– so I’m not sure if I succeeded or not…”

 

It was only now that he noticed his hero costume’s visor and ear protectors, as well as his boots, had been removed. Though the kid had left on his coat –probably for the warmth. He looked down from the sky to turn his head to where he could hear incoming footsteps crunching through the grass.

 

Making his way towards Hawks was the owner of the robot still lying next to him. Midoriya’s cloak fluttered behind him from his brisk pace and even in the dark his spiked crown glittered in the starlight, casting glimmers of light onto his dark green curls.

 

“Prince” is a spot-on description for this boy

 

Then he remembered Midoriya had asked him a question. “Don’t worry about it Midoriya-kun, that was probably the coziest sleep I’ve ever had! Though, I’m confused as to how I ended up asleep in the first place. Where are we anyway?”

 

Midoriya smiled at him, but for some reason it felt hollow –why didn’t he like that answer?

 

“You fell asleep when Teddydrum Black started warming you up after patrol. I told Horus-san, and he said I could bring you to the Crystal World for a nap. You’ve been sleeping for about two hours now.”

 

Two hours?! You really shouldn’t have bothered, kid, I would’ve been fine with you just waking me up…” he trailed off as he re-examined his surroundings and asked in confusion, “Is the Crystal World what you call your pocket dimension? I didn’t see anything like this when we were here early today…”

 

Midoriya plopped himself down next to Hawks in the pile of blankets, then pulled out a retro-looking remote with many different dials and knobs. His smile became genuine and he explained with a grandiose tone, “Yes! This is an enclosed section of the Crystal World called the Garden of Eden that was made to look like an entirely separate land. You can control its time of day, what weather it has, and even what season it’s in.”

 

As an example, Midoriya slowly turned the topmost dial on the remote, and the sky changed in response.

 

Sunlight broke on the horizon in the east to reveal a short sunrise, and the black sky and bright stars and moon gave way to its orange glow and a blue sky. The sun rose much faster than it did in real-life to peak at the center of the sky before lowering itself to the horizon in the west, casting the sky in a pink and orange sunset as the light blue disappeared. Once the sunlight had fully vanished, the stars and moon revealed themselves once more. Hawks could only stare as the cycle of an entire day passed in only a few moments.

 

Midoriya turned the dial backwards so the sun rose in the west and settled it back in the center of the sky. With the area brightened, Hawks was treated to the sight of a light green meadow spotted with the various colors of wild flowers that grew throughout the tall grass at random. The trees enclosing the meadow were all bursting with dark green leaves, and Hawks could now spot a small opening in the forest for a stone and dirt pathway that followed the small brook he had heard. The stream flowed out of another area of the forest to circle around one side of the meadow, leading into the path.

 

The sounds of insects gave way to the sounds of chirps, and Hawks caught sight of a nest of tiny bluebird chicks up in one of the branches with an adult bluebird resting next to it. Another bluebird flew high into the air above the meadow to pass into a different section of the forest. The fireflies had been replaced by delicate and colorful butterflies, as well as a couple of buzzing dragonflies, and a honey bee landed on a nearby bright red poppy.

 

Hawks blinked at the scene. “Okay…  under my authority as the Number Three hero, I officially declare that you have the coolest shit Midoriya. Like seriously.”

 

Midoriya smiled and glanced away bashfully. “It is pretty cool, huh? There are even more parts of the garden you can’t see from here.”

 

“How did you even make something like this?” Hawks leaned back on his palms to gaze around at the life in the meadow and the sky.

 

“I didn’t make it, someone else did– along with everything else in the Crystal World. Maybe you’ll get to meet them sometime before I leave.”

 

Hawks turned over the slightly ominous statement in his head and added it to the long list of weird things concerning Midoriya Izuku that he was mentally compiling.

 

It’s not like he extended an offer to the kid because he wanted to puzzle him out– Both the bird thing and the League of Villain thing that he told both his trainees about were honest parts of his reasoning, and for Midoriya the rest of the 30% of his reason was because he figured that out of all the students, he was the only one that would definitely be able to keep up due to the advantage his flying robots gave him, and because Hawks had been impressed with the confidence and composure that the boy had held throughout most of the festival– especially during his speech. If the Todoroki boy hadn’t had the foresight to use his fire and go all-in right off the bat, Midoriya probably would’ve won that fight, and maybe won the whole thing.

 

All of that combined with his mysterious but fantastical power told Hawks that this boy had the potential to reach the highest peaks of the hero industry. He wanted to see for himself what one of the best of the upcoming future generation had to offer.

 

Which was why Hawks had been totally confused when the Midoriya who appeared at his agency had been an anxious and soft-spoken boy, though he hadn’t shown it. The kid was as sharp as a whip and wasn’t shy exactly, but he felt completely different from the image he had projected on national TV.

 

Hawks did note, though, that his classmate Tokoyami seemed to have a rather impressive view of him if that “Prince of Hearts and Madness” thing was anything to go by, and that Midoriya had apparently had a more involved role in the villain attack. So after Hawks had gotten the details of the USJ incident out of Tokoyami once they were away from Midoriya, he asked what the boy had been referring to when he mentioned these two things.

 

Tokoyami narrowed his eyes in distaste at Hawks but answered nonetheless, “There was a point during the attack when he and a couple of our other classmates saw both the leader of the villains and our injured teacher up close, and the extent of his injuries had been a ghastly sight. Midoriya said that Aizawa-sensei looked like he was dead, and the villains mocked them for it. It made such an impression that one of them actually dropped out of the heroics course into general education. So, don’t ask him about it.”

 

Hawks held up his hands in surrender. “I already said I wouldn’t, don’t worry. I’ll even turn him down if he tries to tell me anything himself!” Even if he says that, he has the feeling that last part will turn into a lie if Midoriya actually does come forward with something…

 

Tokoyami nodded in approval, then continued with, “As for the title I bestowed upon him– I simply did so because it suits him. Not only is his hero costume prince-themed, but the outfit that he wears in his pocket dimension is even more so, and the pocket dimension itself was clearly made to emulate a fairytale wonderland. Both Midoriya and his world are seeped in madness and absurdity, and he thrives in it.”

 

Hawks reviewed the image of the somewhat timid boy in his mind. “He really doesn’t give off that sort of feeling outside of, you know, the random robots and penguin…”

 

Tokoyami nodded sagely. “Midoriya is a normal human being, and at the same time he is not– that is the impression that I got from him as both his classmate and teammate.”

 

“This is further supported by his mastery of human emotions. It is like he can see the state of one’s heart, and his kind nature leads to him attempting to fix the wounds that he sees upon them. Even just earlier today, Midoriya helped me through a wound that I had carried for a long time in my own heart.” The bird boy glanced down at his shadow on the floor.

 

“He is truly the personification of a prince who saves the hearts of those he comes across as he invites them to take part in his magical tale.”

 

Hawks scratched at the side of his head as he tried to combine the image of the normal Midoriya with the Midoriya that Tokoyami had just described. He honestly couldn’t tell how much of it was an accurate reflection of Tokoyami’s thoughts on the boy and how much of it was simply exaggeration born of the unique way Tokoyami spoke.

 

“Huh… sounds like a fun guy to hang out with!”

 

“Quite,” Tokoyami smirked at him and ended the conversation on that note.

 

After seeing Midoriya in his “Prince of the Crystal” uniform –as the boy had referred to it– and the confident way he spirited the villain away to his world and captured him with what looked like a magic spell, Hawks started thinking that perhaps most of that description hadn’t been exaggeration.

 

He pushed the boy’s hero image into something that more accurately reflected his prince image even when Midoriya had tried to be humble about it because come on having a castle made of crystal totally qualifies you for being an actual prince just be proud of it kid. And when Midoriya had tried to contest it he pushed the boy into trying to aim for a higher image of himself. He had so much potential that it would be an absolute waste if the boy didn’t follow through on it.

 

Just like it would’ve been an absolute waste if Hawks hadn’t been pushed into being a hero

 

And wasn’t Midoriya the one that said, “Even if a person is born with a “good” quirk, in the end that doesn’t matter if they fail to follow through on their potential”? He should practice what he preached.

 

“May those who defy their fate be granted glory” –What did that even mean? Hawks hadn’t defied his so called “fate” and he has more glory than he’s ever wanted. He wondered if Midoriya would just tell him straight up if he asked or if the kid could only speak in riddles when it came to “fate”.

 

And now, after waking up to find that he had been spirited away to a place that was literally referred to as the Garden of Eden and fully lived up to the name, Hawks started to think that perhaps none of that description had been exaggeration.

 

He really should get back to reality, but he couldn’t help but continue gazing into the deep blue of the sky. Another bird flew by, this time what looked to be a dove.

 

“How high does this sky go? It looks like the real thing, but if was artificially created surely it can’t go on forever like the actual sky,” Hawks found himself asking.

 

Midoriya looked up at the sky as well. “I don’t know… I don’t think it goes on forever either, but I’ve never tried to reach the end of it.”

 

Still next to Hawks, Teddydrum Black raised his arm like a kid volunteering for a class assignment.

 

Midoriya’s eyes scrunched as he laughed, “Haha! There’s no need for that, Teddydrum Black. Maybe I’ll try to reach the end of it one day, but for now, I think just admiring it is fine.”

 

At that, Hawks side-eyed him with a frown. “Really? But if you can do something now, isn’t it better to just do it as soon as possible?”

 

Midoriya hummed a bit in thought, cupping his chin with his hand, before he made a sound of realization when he found the words he was looking for.

 

“In some cases, yeah. But in this case, wouldn’t reaching the end of the sky kind of ruin the beauty of it? Part of the reason people like to look at the sky is because it looks like it goes on forever– so knowing for certain that it does have an end would destroy that illusion, and therefore you would lose a part of the beauty you highly treasured forever…”

 

…That was a metaphor for something, right? That definitely sounded like a metaphor. And here Hawks thought his high school literature classes would never be applicable to his real life. He should’ve paid more attention in class.

 

He felt stupid admitting his mental defeat to a teenager, but he had to know, “ …Was that a metaphor?

 

“Technically, I think it was an allegory. This entire conversation has been an allegory, but thanks for noticing.” Midoriya smiled at him teasingly, and made no mention as to what his so called allegory was supposed to mean.

 

Hawks glared at him half-heartedly and let himself fall back into the blanket nest with a grunt, partially spreading his wings out under him. “Dammit. No one fucking told me I would need to be able to interpret literary concepts just to have conservations with children!

 

Midoriya let himself fall into the blankets and out right laughed at him, “Haha! I’m only like seven years younger than you, you know? And I’m pretty sure that kind of knowledge is only needed to have a conversation with me, specifically.”

 

Hawks raised an eyebrow at him. “But it is needed?”

 

Midoriya nodded at him seriously. “That’s right.”

 

Honestly, what the hell is this kid?!

 

Huffing, Hawks looked back at the sky. A yellow butterfly passed his field of vision this time.

 

“I can already see your future as a hero now–“ He spread out his hands above him as though he was presenting the image in front of him.

 

“Interviewers are going to ask you regular questions, and you’re going to answer them solely using riddles and metaphors, and they’re going to have open an entirely new field of hero analytics just to try and figure out what you’re talking about! But by the time they’ve cracked one interview, you’ve already had another one, and the entire field of study will absolutely hate you!”

 

Midoriya blinked at him in surprise, then looked up in thought. “That’s not the kind of thing that I would do on purpose usually… but there’s a good chance I’d end up doing it anyway.”

 

Pfft– ”

 

Laughter burst out of Hawks uncontrollably. One hand pounded at the grassy ground in a fist while the other hand grasped at his heaving chest as he had trouble breathing. He squished his eyes closed and felt a couple of tears gather at their edges from the force of his laugh. He was pretty sure he was so loud that he was scaring the wildlife away.

 

“It– It’s not that funny, is it?!”

 

That statement renewed his laughter for a few more moments.

 

Eventually, he calmed down and his laughs died off. It was conveniently just in time for a penguin wearing glasses to waddle through the grass over to them. It was holding a mirror in its flipper.

 

Hawks blinked at it. “You’ve got more than one penguin…? Where do these things come from?”

 

“From the Penguin Exhibit,” Midoriya responded plainly, as though every teenager these days had their own personal penguin exhibit.

 

Hawks should’ve taken Tokoyami-kun’s warning that Midoriya thrived in madness and absurdity more seriously…

 

“Sorry to interrupt your time with Icarus, little Izuku, but a situation with the storybook has occurred,” Midoriya’s reflection in the hand mirror the penguin was holding spoke independently of the actual Midoriya.

 

You know what? From now on, Hawks is just going to assume that Tokoyami-kun meant for his whole description of Midoriya to be taken completely seriously. He wonders when he’ll get to see the kid literally look into someone’s heart. That should be fun…

 

Midoriya looked at his reflection with furrowed brows and a frown. “ …Icarus? Is that– Is that really all you could come up with? That’s so obvious, I’m sort of disappointed in you. I thought your standard of creativity was higher than that…”

 

I know! I know,” the Midoriya in the mirror looked pained as they defended themselves, “But fate is obviously setting him up to be an Icarus allegory, so there’s no point in trying to call him something else, okay!”

 

Hawks was so lost now that he’d have a better idea of where he was if someone just dropped him into the middle of the ocean, any ocean, than he would have for what was going on in this entire situation.

 

There was one thing that he could understand though, “Am I supposed to be Icarus? Why?!

 

“Yes. And this is Momoka-san, Hawks-san,” Midoriya answered, as though that answered anything at all. He ignored Hawks’s facial ques indicating that he required more information on what the hell they were even talking about to continue speaking to his reflection, “In general terms, what did you read?”

 

“Shigaraki is in the middle of making some kind of move that involves him working against “society” and a “Black Knight”,” Momoka responded incomprehensively.

 

Hawks shot up at that to narrow his eyes at the reflection. “Shigaraki is the leader of the League of Villains. What are they doing specifically and how did you get this information?”

 

Momoka just stared at him with a neutral expression. “It didn’t say what they were doing specifically, just that his ultimate goal is to bring about a “revolution”, and I got this information from my storybook.”

 

God, can these people get any vaguer?

 

Midoriya sat himself up and patted him on the shoulder. “Listen Hawks-san, Momoka has a book that basically tells her vague prophecies. Just go with it okay? Do you have anymore information on the Black Knight at least, Momoka-san?”

 

“It said that the Black Knight is also trying to bring about “revolution”, but one that aims to improve society and heroes.”

 

That brought to mind one specific piece of information Hawks had collected. He cursed and searched through the makeshift bed to find his removed hero gear to start putting them on.

 

“Ingenium reported that during the Hero Killer Stain’s assault on him, the guy was preaching about how he was attacking him for the sake of purging corrupt heroes out of society. Is that who you’re talking about?”

 

Midoriya stopped breathing and scrambled up onto his feet.

 

“The storybook doesn’t say who it’s talking about but if it is him then– we have to leave. Now. We have to find out what’s going on,” the boy muttered under his breath with panic tensing his voice.

 

Having finished putting on his visor and ear protectors, Hawks roughly stuck his feet into his boots. “I hear you loud and clear, kid. Ready to go when you are.”

 

Survival Strategy Complete

 

They reappeared on the roof of Hawks’s agency and rushed down the stairs. Hawks led Midoriya to the floor involved with keeping track of hero news and information, and was met with the sight of a worried Horus.

 

“We were just about to send this little guy back to get you, boss.” He pointed to the penguin wearing a crown –Izu-pingu, he remembered the name from the Sports Festival– that waddled up to Midoriya when he saw the boy come in. Midoriya crouched down to let the penguin hop into his arms and hugged him to his chest like a child searching for comfort with their stuffed animal.

 

On a medium-sized TV, the majority of Hawks’s sidekicks who weren’t slated for patrol were watching an overview shot of a city spotted with explosions and fire.

 

“The news just broke that something major is going down in Hosu City right now, but no reporters have been able to get any info on what’s actually happening. It looks like the heroes are all still too busy with controlling the situation.”

 

“He’s not– He’s not picking up. Why isn’t he picking up?

 

Hawks turned back to see a shaky Midoriya staring at his phone in wide-eyed dread. His right hand grasped the kid’s shoulder to usher him to the side as he swallowed down the heavy tension that settled in his chest.

 

Hawks kept his arm wrapped around the kid and leaned his head down towards him. Keeping his wits and professionalism about him, he quietly questioned Midoriya with a steady but serious tone, “Who are you trying to contact, and when have you gotten prophecies like this before? Are they always true?”

 

Midoriya didn’t look up at Hawks, instead he continued staring at the phone clenched in his hand. His voice trembled, “My– my friend I-Iida, Ingenium’s brother, he– he’s supposed to be in Hosu right now, the H-Hero Killer attacked his brother there so– I think he went there to look for him.”

 

Then Midoriya bore into Hawks with intense green eyes. “We’ve only gotten one other prophecy before, the day before the USJ incident. It described that the League of Villains was after All Might.”

 

Shit

 

Hawks stuck his head out towards his sidekicks. “Someone get into contact with the heroes stationed in Hosu and tell them they need to be on the lookout for the League of Villains and the Hero Killer! And to be on the lookout for a stray UA student!”

 

“Understood!” They didn’t question where Hawks got the info, they were good like that.

 

Tightening his grip on Midoriya’s shoulder, Hawks leaned his head into his space again to whisper, “If he’s stuck dealing with the situation in Hosu, he wouldn’t be able to answer anyway, so he might just be busy. We’ll just have to pass on the information that we have– that’s all we can do from here.”

 

Midoriya nodded his head, but he crushed Izu-pingu to his chest like the physical sensation was the only thing holding him together. His green eyes fluttered back and forth between staring blankly into the air and examining Hawks.

 

“If there’s anything else you need to get off your chest kid, now’s the time to do it.” Please don’t let it be something even worse than what he’s already told Hawks…

 

Midoriya visibly swallowed before croaking out, “It’s not really… any new information about what’s going on– it’s just a worry that I have…”

 

Hawks tried to casually shrug. “Well, it’s not like I’m doing anything else right now– lay it on me.”

 

There was a long moment were Midoriya just stared at Hawks to the point where he felt like his soul was being evaluated. But eventually, Midoriya turned his sight back onto the empty air as he nodded.

 

“Tokoyami doesn’t know this, most of my class doesn’t know this but– ” Midoriya confessed in a hoarse whisper, “During the USJ, the villains actually killed Aizawa-sensei. He’s only alive because I brought him back with my quirk. But I’m not there if something happens this time… ”

 

Oh– this is much worse.

 

Hawks didn’t question this impossible piece of information, despite the total shock and confusion that was wrecking through his mind –he feels like he had just been told that a basic, inherent law of the universe actually has a convenient on-and-off switch– but he’s finally realized that the best way to handle Midoriya is to just accept everything the boy throws out as it comes without questioning whether any of it should actually be possible.

 

So instead, he pushed Midoriya’s body into his own to help support his weight, moving one of his wings to wrap around the boy.

 

Hawks didn’t know the first thing about comforting people –how could he when Takahiro had never received any– but this kid was under his care for the time being, and just a few moments ago he had let Hawks feel so at peace, and made Hawks laugh harder than he had in a very long time; He has to try his best for this.

 

“Sometimes when you’re a hero, you just have to trust that other heroes will be able to take care of things. I’m not really good at doing that when it comes to delegating within my own agency, but for cases like this, that’s all you can do. So let’s trust the heroes on the scene together, okay?”

 

“But is it really up to them?” Midoriya interjected, his words heavy with pessimism, “Or is it up to fate? Because I may trust heroes, but I don’t trust fate.”

 

Hawks didn’t know how to respond to that. He doesn’t believe in fate, but if it did exist– then he wouldn’t trust it either.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll kill you for what you did!

 

“Save him first. Forget about yourself for a second and try saving others. Don’t wield your power for your own sake.”

 

This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be.

 

Tenya knew the gravity of situation he was getting himself into. He knew when he hurt his kind friend Midoriya with cutting words on what was right and what was wrong that Tenya was the one who was doing the most wrong. There was a world of difference between breaking a friends’ boundaries out of concern and breaking the law for revenge.

 

That’s why he hadn’t felt upset with Midoriya even when it became clear that Midoriya had told the teachers of his suspicions when Aizawa-sensei pulled him over to say Manual would watch Tenya for this kind of behavior while in Hosu. His friend had just been doing the right thing.

 

But he ignored it all anyway to sate the burning anger and despair he felt reside in his chest.

 

He acted like a hypocrite anyway because he had already decided on this path, and he hadn’t trusted himself to be strong enough to continue committing to it in the face of Midoriya’s words. If both Bakugou and Todoroki faltered in their own convictions due to those words, Tenya didn’t think he would fare any better– so he refused to listen to them in the first place.

 

“But even if you don’t want my help, Iida, you should still get help from someone. You might hurt yourself, you’re probably even hurting yourself now! And you might even end up hurting other people!”

 

“I’m not hurting myself, and I don’t need anyone’s help!”

 

The dull throb from the Hero Killer pushing his head down into the concrete was nothing compared to the burning pain from the sword impaled in his arm, pinning him to the ground.

 

“Because getting trapped by your own hate and acting out of pure self-interest makes you the furthest thing from a hero. That’s why… you have to die.”

 

The Hero Killer painfully tore his sword out of Tenya’s arm to lick the blood off the blade, and suddenly Tenya’s body felt paralyzed. He couldn’t move at all. Angry tears started to well in his eyes.

 

“Consider yourself a humble offering to the betterment of society– !”

 

The Hero Killer was hit by a blur coming from out of Tenya’s view of sight. The pro hero that had been in the alleyway was deposited behind Tenya and a figure in a fighting stance stood strong in front of him, acting as a barrier between Tenya and the killer.

 

He spoke into his communicator, “Gran Torino sir! I’ve successfully located the Hero Killer and Midoriya’s friend, please track my location and send back up!”

 

“You’re Iida right? It’s a good thing I researched the Hero Killer’s MO when Midoriya-kun told me about his troubles with you– I may not have known to look through this area if I hadn’t.”

 

Tenya barely recognized him in his hero costume, he’d only seen the boy once. “You’re Midoriya’s third year friend, Togata! What are you doing here?!”

 

Togata only slightly turned his face towards Tenya to give him a reassuring grin, he had to keep the majority of his focus on his opponent. “What kind of upperclassman would I be if I didn’t look after my dear underclassman’s troubles when he isn’t able to do so himself? Midoriya said that you were probably headed towards the Hero Killer, so when I came across a pro hero looking for you and saw that you were missing, I searched for you!”

 

Togata tapped his communicator. “And you might not have heard it, but there was recently an alert from the Number Three hero Hawks to look for the Hero Killer and “a stray UA student”. Since Midoriya’s at his agency, that must’ve been from him, right?”

 

Tenya clenched his teeth together as he felt his tears release themselves to run down his face.

 

Even now, even at this very moment when he’s not here himself– Midoriya was still trying to save him

 

But even so, Tenya still yelled out, “This… This doesn’t have anything to do with you!”

 

“Doesn’t matter!” Togata instantly shot down his dissent, “As a hero, it’s my duty to save you even if you try to say that you don’t want to be saved!”

 

“You… You seem familiar. What’s your name? Do you not realize that this boy has been corrupted by the evil of vengeance, why do you wish to save him?” the Hero Killer interrupted, eyeing Togata cautiously.

 

“Lemillion!” Togata proudly declared, “Outside of the obvious that killing is wrong– people deserve the chance to grow and learn from their mistakes. Just killing them off ends that possibility forever, so I will save him from you, and I will help save his heart from himself! I believe that is how people can build a better society!”

 

The Hero Killer hummed in appreciation, “I remember you now. You’re a regular intern of Sir Nighteye – All Might’s former sidekick– are you not? Because he is a hero who was chosen by All Might himself, I make sure to keep an eye on the heroes Sir Nighteye chooses for his own agency.”

 

He gave a mean grin and brandished his sword towards Togata. “It seems that you have the potential to become a true hero– but I will not allow you to stand in my way!”

 

Togata disappeared for a moment, only to blur out of nowhere to engage the Hero Killer in combat. The fight moved almost too fast for Tenya to see, let alone keep track of. Their speed was on a level that Tenya had never witnessed before.

 

There were multiple times when it looked like one of the Hero Killer’s multiple blades should have sliced through Togata’s body, but instead they seemed to pass right through him harmlessly. But while Togata was obviously skilled in hand to hand combat, the Hero Killer could skillfully dodge his blows and grabs. The killer had easily adjusted to his opponent’s strange quirk.

 

The killer then tried to turn the tide of the battle by throwing one of his swords up into the air. He glanced at it, and Togata let his eyes follow the que. Then, the Hero Killer stuck his knife into Togata’s face.

 

It passed through as harmlessly as the rest had.

 

“Don’t take me to be some greenhorn! I can already tell you’re much too skilled to give away a real attack like that!” Togata’s grin was audible in his voice.

 

The Hero Killer returned it with a distorted grin. “Is that so…”

 

The hero disappeared once again, and the Hero Killer whirled around with his sword cutting through the air to look behind him just a moment before Lemillion appeared there for his attack. The sword passed through the hero at the same time that Lemillion’s fingers shot towards the Hero Killer’s eyes, only to phase through them.

 

“Blinding Touch: Eye Poke!”

 

The Hero Killer drew his head back, but preemptively stuck his knife into Lemillion’s fist that was headed towards his stomach. This time, the knife sliced true, glancing in a line down Lemillion’s forearm as the fist delivered a strong blow to the Hero Killer.

 

The Hero Killer’s breath was forced out of him, but he responded with a desperate attack from one of his swords. It passed through once more. Lemillion gritted through the pain of his wound to disappear again. This time, he was able to catch the killer off guard by shooting out of the wall of the alleyway to slam the side of the Hero Killer’s head into the wall at the exact same moment that the killer licked the blood off of his knife.

 

Phantom Menace– !”

 

Both Togata and the Hero Killer hit the ground hard. It seemed that Togata was unable to move, but the Hero Killer wasn’t moving either.

 

“Togata-senpai!” Iida cried out in concern.

 

Togata groaned a bit, but his voice still managed to sound reassuring, “I’m okay, Iida-kun! My arm’s not bleeding too badly…”

 

“Iida!” Todoroki’s voice echoed down the alleyway. Tenya could just barely turn his head to see his classmate arrive along with an elderly hero he wasn’t familiar with and some sidekicks from Endeavor’s agency.

 

“T-Todoroki-kun!” Todoroki moved to his side to crouch down beside him.

 

“Lemillion, what’s wrong?!” the old man jetted to Togata’s side.

 

“Gran Torino sir, looks like the Hero Killer’s quirk is able to paralyze people after ingesting their blood. Other than the cut on my arm I’m fine.”

 

One of Endeavor’s sidekicks cautiously checked the Hero Killer. “Seems like he’s out cold for now. Someone bring the capture gear!”

 

“Iida…” Todoroki’s voice was quiet, trying not to be overheard, “did you go after him?”

 

Tenya clenched his fist, and suddenly found he could move again. He gently sat himself up and looked at Todoroki. It probably wasn’t his intention, but his intense boring stare seemed accusing to Tenya. “Yes… and in the end– I couldn’t do anything at all!” he clenched his jaw around those last words. His tears were renewed from his frustration.

 

“Well… this might be harsh to say, but that’s only to be expected.” Todoroki focused his eyes an image that wasn’t there. “Only following your anger without listening to reason… that kind of thing doesn’t lead to anything good. That’s how you forget the kind of person you want to become.”

 

“You might hurt yourself, you’re probably even hurting yourself now! And you might even end up hurting other people!”

 

Tenya glared at the sight of one of the sidekicks bandaging the paralyzed Togata’s arm. Shame and guilt broiled in his gut.

 

His mistakes tore out of his throat, “I should have listened to him… I should have listened to Midoriya. He wanted to help me, but I just pushed him away– and it was all for nothing! He was right! I did hurt myself! I did get others hurt! He was about to confide a secret concerning his quirk to me, and I shot him down calling him a nuisance!”

 

Todoroki seemed like he didn’t know what to do with himself, but he continued to sit beside Tenya in comfort.

 

Frowning at Tenya, Todoroki explained in a monotone voice that was edged with displeasure, “From what I know, part of what you told him was something that he did need to hear, but you also hurt him. He was constantly bothered by what you said all the way up to the start of workplace training, and he was constantly worried about you, but he had to pretend like he wasn’t because you were trying so hard to pretend like nothing was wrong.”

 

Tenya sniffed, it was becoming harder to see passed the tears in his eyes. “I’m sorry… I shouldn’t have done that, I shouldn’t have done thisI’m not worthy to succeed my brother’s name!” he sobbed out. He couldn’t move his injured left arm, so only his right hand was able to come up and hold his face.

 

A hand gently placed itself on Tenya’s shoulder. “It’s not too late to be a hero that is, though. You just have to make sure you live up to that image. Save your apologizes for the person that you need to say them to.”

 

In just a few minutes, everyone was ready to go and headed down the road. The Hero Killer had been secured and disarmed. Both the pro hero who had first been targeted by Stain, Native, and Tenya could move, but Togata was still under the effect of the quirk. They were hoping it would pass soon, since it had only lasted a few minutes on Native and Tenya.

 

Then out of nowhere, a winged monster similar to the creatures that had attacked the USJ and had been attacking Hosu swooped down to pluck Togata out of the grip of the sidekick that had been carrying him.

 

Once he had realized what happened, Togata was already fairly high in the air, but he phased himself out of the creature’s claws anyway to fall uncontrollable through the sky. Just a second later, the creature faltered as its limbs froze, and it started losing altitude. The Hero Killer Stain blurred forward to catch Togata before he hit the ground head first, then put down the monster with a vicious knife to its brain.

 

Tenya had been so focused on Togata being taken, he hadn’t seen the Hero Killer free himself and lick the blood of the creature off a sidekick’s face.

 

“Both this sham-filled society and the criminals who wield their power for petty mischief are the targets of my purge.”

 

Stain placed the still unmoving Togata on the ground, and Iida could see Togata look up at the man in confusion. The hero could only get out half of his question, “Why would you…”

 

The Hero Killer stood tall in front of the group of heroes that was facing him.

 

“To become a true hero, there are two things required; the integrity of character to be a hero for the sake of saving people and nothing else, and the power to back up your promise to save people! That is why All Might is the true hero! With your character which was chosen by All Might’s only sidekick and proven just now, and your power which beats even that of many pro heroes– it seems to me that you have the potential to truly succeed him!

 

Togata gaped at the Hero Killer, as did Iida, but he could hear the pro heroes around him prepare themselves for a fight.

 

“There should have been one headed your way– ! Is that the Hero Killer?!”

 

Iida turned to follow the voice, and found Endeavor preparing to make an attack on the Hero Killer, not noticing the form of Togata right next to him.

 

“Todoroki, wait!” Gran Torino yelled.

 

You fake…”

 

The Hero Killer’s words were filled with intense malice, killing intent filled the air around them– stopping everyone –even the Number Two hero– in their tracks. Tenya thought the pressure alone might be enough to kill him.

 

The bandana around his face had fallen to reveal the killer’s mutilated nose. Only the bone of it was left to stretch his skin– it made his face resemble that of a skull’s.

 

“I must make things right… Someone must be stained in blood…”

 

The Hero Killer took a single step forward, Tenya jolted as a shiver shot down his spine from the increase in pressure.

 

“The world is corrupt– Society is corrupt! Heroes are corrupt! It’s all about winning and losing, who is ranked above and below you, the profitable and unprofitable, the accepted and unaccepted, the chosen and unchosen. They never try to give, all they care about is taking!

 

The Hero Killer took another step, Tenya could feel Todoroki lightly tremble next to him.

 

I must take back what it means to be a hero!”

 

The Hero Killer took another step, Tenya could hear some of the pro heroes next to him choking on air. Stain’s terrifying form seemed to be dyed in a glow of bright red, as though at that very moment he was covered in blood, that match the red glare of his eyes. He was a predator waiting in the dark.

 

Come! Try and get me, you fakes! The only one allowed to kill meis the true hero All Might!

 

Because of Stain’s intense presence, which didn’t allow for anyone’s attention to stray from his form, none of them noticed the black spot that had formed behind the killer. They only realized it was there when two hands shot out of it to pull the Hero Killer into the darkness. Stain made a sound of surprise as he was pulled through.

 

Tenya stuttered out a shout, “That’s– the League of Villains’ warp gate!

 

But it was already too late. The warp gate shut, and the street was empty except for Togata, who was still lying on the ground watching the place where Stain had once stood in shock.

 

The Hero Killer had escaped.

Chapter Text

Tomura scratched at his neck furiously. “Unbelievable! All the sheep are convinced that we’re working with the Hero Killer, but the Hero Killer is still the one getting the spotlight! It’s like the League of Villains and the Nomu are just an afterthought!”

 

“Well,” Sensei intoned from the video feed, “It seems like you were beaten in this battle, Shigaraki Tomura, but perhaps you will fair better in the next one. Our move has yet to be completed– that is why you are here, Akaguro Chizome.”

 

Tomura let himself enjoy the sight of the battered –but not too battered, they needed him in fighting condition at least– Hero Killer on the floor next to his teacher, scowling up at him. The high-voltage shock collar looked uncomfortably tight on his neck.

 

He may have been all high-and-mighty when he got the upper hand on Tomura and Kurogiri last time, but Sensei was easily able to put that trash in his place.

 

Stain growled out, “What do you want with me, All for One…”

 

“You see, Akaguro, my aim for the time being is to let Tomura here handle matters on his own, but I’ve decided to give him some extra help for the rest of this move due to my personal interest in it.”

 

Sensei took a page out of a file and presented it to the Hero Killer.

 

“We are interested in collecting this UA student. I’ve been using my various contacts and followers to keep track of the boy ever since UA outsourced their heroics students for the week. Now would be an appropriate time to try and take him while he is away from the protective custody of UA, but unfortunately it seems that he is sticking close to the Number Three hero. Combined with that, his quirk seems like it will make kidnapping him particularly challenging.”

 

All for One grinned at the Hero Killer. “Therefore… we must approach this creatively. We have more lower-level Nomu similar to the ones used in Hosu, but I would prefer not to use all of them. So the method we’ve decided on would work best with utilizing an extra set of hands that are also disposable in the case that the plan fails. You are simply a more advantageous choice for this, because your infamy will become associated with Tomura’s league with this.”

 

Stain scowled at him even more. “You expect me to agree to kidnapping a child? I don’t commit evils which fail to contribute to improving society!”

 

“Oh, I don’t expect you to agreeI expect you to submit.

 

Tomura enjoyed the sight of the Hero Killer gritting his teeth as a painful electric stock tore through his neck and body. When Stain untensed his body at the end of his punishment, Sensei spread his arms out in a grandiose manner.

“If the egg's shell does not break, the chick will die without being born. We are the chick; the egg is the world. If the world's shell does not break, we will die without being born. Therefore, we will break the world's shell for the sake of revolutionizing the world! Is that not a cause you can understand? Your “revolution” may be different, but are you not also trying to break this world’s shell?”

 

“But your “revolution” is one that ends with not a better world, but a world that only you wish to see, is that not correct?” Stain continued to defy All for One, and was punished with a shock once again.

 

“That is not the point– ” Sensei dismissed the matter, “the point is that either way, some things must be broken to achieve the miracle of granting one’s wishes. And I could not care less if you become one of those broken things or not.”

 

All for One ghosted his fingers against the side of Stains face, and the killer backed away from the touch in disgust.

 

“You need not worried about being forced into indefinite servitude –I prefer to only use willing minions for such things to avoid betrayal in the long run– all you need to do is earn your freedom by completing this one task.”

 

Tomura ignored the suggestion that he was one of the “willing minions” complacent with “indefinite servitude”. Obviously, Sensei considered him an exception to that, because Tomura was special to him–

 

“And in this case,  do you not think this boy is likely to become one of the fake heroes you despise? I’ve heard that people have referred to him as a “Prince”, and equating one’s image as a hero with royalty surely suggests that said hero will be egotistical, does it not?”

 

The Hero Killer continued to glare at All for One, but All for One’s mean grin never faltered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After hours of worrying, getting a text from Shouto saying that Iida was okay –Shouto-kun was there too? Oh God if Izuku had known that previously he really would have devolved into a panic attack– and getting forced into bed through the combined efforts of Hawks, Tokoyami, and Dark Shadow, Izuku woke up only to see the news that “a hero-in-training from UA holding a provisional license, Lemillion, had rescued another UA student” and that the Hero Killer escaped. And then was told this bullshit by Momoka.

 

“So you’re telling me,” Izuku repeated with a carefully monotone voice, “that the Red String of Fate is a two-way thing and that this entire time, I could have used Shouto’s to leave the Crystal World and reappear where Shouto was– As in, be there to help in Hosu!

 

“Hey– I didn’t know Cinderella was where Hermes was, alright! And it sounded like Cinderella only showed up at the scene after the fight was over anyway,” Momoka defended herself with her hands raised in surrender.

 

Hawks patted Izuku on the shoulder. “Just let it go kid. Everything turned out alright –mostly– and in a way, this could be considered a learning experience in leaving things to other heroes when you can’t do shit yourself.”

 

Izuku just groaned, then looked up at Hawks with his best, watery puppy-dog eyes. “Can I at least go visit them in the hospital, Hawks-san?”

 

With narrowed eyes, Hawks responded, “Don’t think I can’t tell you’re doing that on purpose! You’re lucky that I want to use your weird version of teleportation to head over there to question the authorities about the situation –and that you’re still adorable even when it’s obviously on purpose!”

 

“You think I’m adorable, Hawks-san?” Izuku felt his cheeks redden, but this time was glad for it. It probably helped increase his image of adorable innocence.

 

You’re such a little shit– your default anxious and soft-spoken boy personality must be a scam, I swear.”

 

“It’s not a scam, Icarus, little Izuku is just like that.” Momoka gracefully placed a hand on the chest of Izuku’s reflection and gave a mischievous grin. “I’m proud to say that all of his personality outside of anxious and soft-spoken boy was influenced by my tender love and care!”

 

Hawks side-eyed her. “I can tell…”

 

And so, Hawks allowed Izuku to drag a confused Horus into the Crystal World to stick a Red String of Fate bracelet on the man so that they could return to Kyushu with ease, and then came along with Izuku to visit Hosu City. Izuku had asked Tokoyami if he wanted to come, but he had declined saying that he didn’t want to intrude on Izuku “working his mastery of hearts” with Iida.

 

The sensation of using Survival Strategy Complete with the bracelet felt like Izuku internally searching for and following the string that was tying Shouto to his world. Izuku had warned Shouto through text that they were coming, so the inhabitants of the room hadn’t been surprised to see him.

 

From his place standing next to Iida’s bed, Togata smiled at them and bowed. “Nice to meet you Hawks sir! I know Midoriya-kun must’ve been really worried about his friends, so thanks for letting him come!”

 

Shouto, who was standing beside Togata, bowed awkwardly towards Hawks. “Thank you for allowing Izuku to come…”

 

“Yes, thank you for your kindness, Hawks-san,” Iida tensely echoed Shouto and mirrored his bow. He was the only one wearing patient clothing and was sitting in a plain-looking hospital bed.

 

Hawks waved them off with an uncaring expression on his face. “No need for that. I’m here for business too.”

 

“If you want to speak with the police about this whole situation, the Hosu Chief of Police just left,” an elderly hero explained pointing at the door of the room. Then, he promptly turned to glare at Togata and yell, “Why didn’t you mention the Number Three hero and Midoriya were coming over?!”

 

Togata laughed nervously while rubbing the back of his head, “Ha! Sorry about that, but I figured that Midoriya was the one who asked Hawks to make that alert he gave, so I thought it would be for the best if they came over anyway…”

 

“Right you are, kid– I’ll come back after I talk to the police, Midoriya-kun, so don’t leave until I’m here.” Hawks casually wave goodbye without looking at Izuku as he walked out the door.

 

Gran Torino followed him out. “Hey! I want to hear what you have to say about that alert you gave too, so I’m coming!”

 

“Todoroki-kun! Let’s get something from the vending machine!” Togata ushered Shouto out of the room in what must’ve been the most obvious attempt to leave two people alone ever, but it suited Izuku’s needs just fine. Iida clearly wanted to talk to him.

 

The door clicked closed loudly, but Iida stared at his bedsheets instead of Izuku. Izuku just sat himself down on the bed beside Iida and waited.

 

Iida breathed out, “I got my diagnosis before you came, Midoriya-kun. They said my left hand could have permanent damage– the Hero Killer pinned my arm to the ground with his sword at one point, and that severed an important nerve apparently.”

 

Izuku’s eyes widened and his stomach dropped. He couldn’t keep himself from holding on to Iida by his unbandaged arm, his Fruit of Fate was back to being perfectly gold. He gasped, “Iida-kun… I’m so– ”

 

“Don’t say “you’re sorry” Midoriya!” Iida suddenly shouted to interrupt him.

 

“You did everything right– You tried to talk to me, but I wouldn’t listen. You told the teachers, but I wouldn’t listen to them either. You somehow divined that the heroes in Hosu needed to be watchful for the League of Villains, the Hero Killer, and me, and so you had a respected hero pass on the message. Togata-senpai wouldn’t even have known to look for me in the first place if you hadn’t confided your worries about me to him, and he was the one who saved me! So don’t apologize when you haven’t done anything wrong, Midoriya. I’m the one who was in the wrong…”

 

Izuku’s words caught in his throat. “Iida…”

 

Iida removed his glasses to hold his uninjured hand over his eyes. His voice wobbled as he spoke, “I’m sorry, Midoriya… I’m sorry I went after the Hero Killer, I’m sorry I turned you away– ” his voice hitched, and he started crying, “I’m sorry I spoke so cruelly to you, told you were in the wrong when I knew what I was planning was worse– ”

 

Izuku wrapped his arms around Iida’s shaking form to hug him gently. “It’s okay… I forgive you, Iida. And you were right that I wasn’t taking people’s will into consideration enough…”

 

Carding his hand through Iida’s hair, Izuku softly asked, “Can I call you Tenya? You can call me Izuku.”

 

Tenya sniffed as his tears started to subside, then nodded slightly.

 

“Tenya… recently, Hitoshi told me that just doing the best that you can will be enough for you to still amount to good… It’s okay for you to make mistakes and be wrong, just do the best you can– alright? That’s all you can do. That’s part of what it means to be human.”

 

Removing his hand from his eyes, Tenya returned his hug with a one-armed squeeze.

 

Thank you, Izuku…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Red String of Fate bracelet disappears once it’s been used, so after Izuku made another one for Shouto and made one for Tenya out of paranoia, he dropped Hawks back off in Kyushu using up Horus’s bracelet. It seemed that the hero could tell Izuku was still working through something internally, so he told Izuku to rest for a while and that they would head out for a night patrol later.

 

In the library of the Crystal Palace, Izuku draped himself over one of the comfortable black sofas.

 

“What’s on your mind, my dear Prince?” Izuku’s voice intoned from Momoka’s Mirror.

 

Resting his arm over his eyes, Izuku admitted, “ …I don’t understand. Everyone said that this was the right way to do things, but in the end, I couldn’t save Tenya using the “right” way. If I had ignored his feelings and wishes, if I had forced him to face the reality of his thoughts right from the start, then maybe he wouldn’t have had to go through that physical pain as well as emotional pain– Maybe he wouldn’t be stuck with permanent nerve damage now, if I had forced him down a different path…”

 

Izuku turned to glance at the mirror as much as he could from his position on the couch. “Does that mean… that this was actually the wrong way? How could it be the right way if it led to a worse end? What if… I try using the right way to reach Hawks, and I fail him too, because of that?”

 

“There’s no way to know whether you would have actually been able to force your friend down a different path. When it comes to things like this, people can’t truly be forced to change their hearts and minds. All you can do is guide them, and hope that they make that change themselves.”

 

Momoka procured a burgundy flower –Izuku recognized it as a dahlia– from somewhere on her side of the mirror, which she brought to her nose, closing her eyes as she breathed in its scent. “As for the core of your question… that is something that people contest quite heavily over. Some say the ends justify the means. Some say they do not. If you want my opinion– I say that it’s something that can only be decided on a case by case basis, and that the line between what is right and what is wrong is often unclear in the first place…”

 

Momoka opened her pink eyes and held out the dahlia, as though she was presenting it to Izuku.

 

“Believe in miracles, and they will know your feelings. Believe in the miracle of your strong bond with your friends, believe in the miracle of your budding bond with Takahiro, and they will know your feelings. But you must remember…”

 

The dahlia was discarded from Momoka’s hand to fall onto the wood floor shown in the mirror.

 

“All miracles in this world –whether it is the miracle of love, or the miracle of granting one’s wishes, or any other kind of miracle– are built atop someone’s sacrifice. That’s why the people who receive miracles are those who either give sacrifice themselves, force the burden of sacrifice on others, or are ignorant to the fact that others are sacrificing for them. Don’t forget this as you go forward to the destination of your fate, wherever it may be, Prince of the Crystal…”

 

Izuku’s sight involuntarily sought out his father’s portrait. In that case, what happened was both a miracle and a tragedy…

 

Takahiro, huh… It’s unusual for you to show preference to adults. You seem to focus on children that need protection, and on children who are forgotten and unwanted. That’s why you favor Hitoshi-kun and Shouto-kun, right?”

 

“Sometimes children grow to be people who are still in need of the type of love one gives to a child, or rather– everyone is in need of that type of love, but not everyone receives it. So, Takahiro is still Icarus, but because he’s Takahiro I want to call him Takahiro as well.”

 

“I see…” Izuku closed his eyes.

 

“Momoka… you were a child that used to be in need of that type of love and protection, were you not? Did you ever grow to be older than the age you are in your portrait?”

 

Silence rang through the room. It had the same feeling to it that one would get from hearing a funeral bell ringing to lay a child to rest.

 

Momoka never responded to him, but Izuku could hear the answer in her silence

 

 

 

 

 

 

They were in the middle of patrol with Hawks and Izuku having sped off to take care of the first case they came across –a bank robbery, villains need to start getting more original– and the sky was beginning to darken, bathing the outside of the bank in the dim glow of twilight. The was just like all the other times Izuku had went on patrol with the hero.

 

Then Izuku felt the heavy chill of fate on the back of his neck. A deformed creature in black crashed itself into a nearby skyscraper.

 

What the hell is the League of Villains doing here? Prince Deku– be on the look-out for others and direct people away from the site! There’s also people in the building we need to watch out for,” Hawks groaned in frustration as he sent out countless of his red feathers to collect bystanders standing on the ground under where the debris was falling down as well as those in the portion of the building that had collapsed in.

 

The Nomu then crashed onto the ground, and Hawks flew on his significantly decreased wings to engage it, brandishing a long, sharp feather like a sword, and Izuku lost sight of him as the Nomu swiftly crawled away into the bottom floor of the building it crashed into. Using the communicator, Hawks ordered, “We have one of those freaky Nomu on the loose, I want everyone mobilized!”

 

Izuku directed Teddydrum Black to pick up people from inside the building and examined their surroundings from his perch on Teddydrum White while knocking on its metal chest to alert Izu-pingu he’d be needed soon. Seeing that there were no other figures in black, he explained to Hawks through the communicator frequency using his headphones, “I don’t see anymore Nomu around. They might send more later, but if this is the only one we can just take it to the Crystal World to avoid excess damage and casualties.”

 

A flurry of feathers carrying people passed by Izuku in the air, and Teddydrum Black passed by in a similar manner, carrying a family of four away in its arms.

 

“Its speed quirk is only moderate –nothing that can get it away from me– but it looks like one of its quirks is to toughen its skin and while another opens up holes in its body to avoid attacks, so my feathers aren’t piercing it well. And most of my feathers are still evacuating the people in the building…” Hawks took a single second to think before deciding, “I don’t want to put you too close to it– so send Izu-pingu over here and start setting up a line to keep the people trying to watch out of the way.”

 

“Understood,” Izuku confirmed. He directed Teddydrum White lowered him to the ground just outside a darkened alleyway by the building so he could quickly disembark, then sent it off into the building with Izu-pingu still in its chest. “Teddydrum Black is still handling people, so I’ll have to wait before I can go get the Champion– ”

 

Suddenly, Teddydrum White stopped in its tracks a few meters into the building, then started to turn back towards him in a rush.

 

From behind him, a hand slapped over his mouth and fear poured into his chest as he felt the point of a knife stick through his clothing on his abdomen as he was roughly pulled into someone who started to slowly back away with Izuku.

 

“Back off or I’m disemboweling your master!” Teddydrum White halted instantly.

 

The voice was a recognizable and easy to remember. Izuku had heard it quite clearly on the viral Hero Killer info video that had been going around.

 

Upon realizing this, the fear in his chest turned into anticipation. And the reason for that was–

 

Two strange squawking sounds reverberated through Teddydrum White’s body just as Izuku caught sight of Tokoyami and Dark Shadow approaching the scene. “Mido– !” his classmate’s voice was cut off when Izuku, along with the Hero Killer and Teddydrum White were transported to the Dueling Arena.

 

But as the Champion of the Rose Bride rushed at Stain, he plunged his knife into Izuku’s stomach. Izuku’s breath forcefully rushed out of his lungs in a scream.

 

Stain painfully tore the knife backout and released Izuku to block the Champion’s sword with his own and lick the blade of the knife. Izuku gasped as he fell to the ground, he couldn’t even move his hand to press into his heavily bleeding stomach. The pain was so intense, he wondered if the knife hit an organ.

 

Why?” Izuku groaned through his clenched jaw. Izu-pingu scrambled over and pressed his entire body against the wound in an attempt to slow the bleeding –Teddydrum White must have released him.

 

The sword fight between the Hero Killer and the Champion was brutally fast, but apparently the man had the decency to inform Izuku why he decided to try to murder him, “The operation’s done for now that we’re here –and I didn’t even want to do it in the first place– ” The killer cut himself off to dodge one of the Teddydrum’s laserbeams. “But I’m betting I can at least get out of here if you die. You were going to become a fake hero anyway, Prince Deku.”

 

He knew the prince thing would lead to something like this, but it was too late for that now.

 

Izuku decided it was time to stop letting himself bleed out onto the dirt floor of his arena and giggled deliriously as a smile twisted his face, “You think something like this is enough to kill me in my world?

 

He forced eyes to look away from the Hero Killer and down to his wound, and Izu-pingu removed himself from Izuku’s body to reveal a bloody, dark red mess.

 

Behold the Gift from God” Izuku intoned. From within the blood, a multitude of white flowers bloomed out of the inside of his body in a painful bursting sensation. But once they settled, a light green glow indicating they were working their magic.

 

Izuku looked back at Stain with Conductor active to see that his Fruit of Fate featured a violent storm of fire covering his thoroughly rotted Fruit. It was only slightly less rotten than Shigaraki’s, with holes of gold peeking through the black. Izuku turned off Conductor after getting a glimpse.

 

The Hero Killer didn’t even have time to look at what Izuku was doing, he was being bombarded by both Teddydrums and the Champion, and Izuku figured the Teddydrums could handle distracting him on their own for a minute.

 

He could probably leave it to them entirely, apparently the man had a quirk that worked based on ingesting his opponent’s blood so he was at a major disadvantage against those three, even getting Penguin Yagi and Toshi-pingu to fight him was a valid alternative. But–

 

“They said my left hand could have permanent damage– the Hero Killer pinned my arm to the ground with his sword”

 

–He would rather do it this way


“Come to me, my Champion of the Rose Bride!”

 

The Champion flitted over to him. Already knowing what he wanted, it lifted his body up into the air and supported the entirety of his body weight so he was on his feet.

 

“Rose of the noble castle…”

 

A sphere of white light burst into existence from his chest.

 

“Power of Dios that sleeps within me– heed your master and come forth!”

 

Izuku closed his eyes as the Champion of the Rose Bride gently bent his upper body over its right arm, and even with the healing flowers still in place, his abdomen screamed in agony at it. His cloak bellowed out along with his short curls and the long, flowing hair of the Champion. He could feel the Sword of Dios emerge from his chest out of the light, and the Champion grabbed onto it with its left hand.

 

He gritted his teeth through the pain to announce, “Grant me the power to bring the world revolution!”

 

The sword was pulled out of his chest. Unlike the pain of Stain’s knife being pulled out of his gut, the sword caused no pain– only the sensation of its power welling itself into his body.

 

Izuku opened his eyes to see the Champion of the Rose Bride hold the black blade up into the air like a general leading a charge as the light from his chest dissipated. Then, the handle of the Sword of Dios was presented to him. Its single green gem shined out from the matte black.

 

“I can’t move at all right now…” Understanding his order, the Champion took Izuku’s black gloved right hand and placed the handle of the sword into it, wrapping his fingers around it loosely, and Izuku felt the power bestowed upon him spike.

 

With the ritual over, the Champion carefully pulled his torso up out of its bend and leaned him against its body. It made sure that the Sword of Dios stayed in his hand. Izuku looked down at Izu-pingu, who was staring up at Izuku in worry. “Take Teddydrum Black and check up on Hawks.”

 

Izu-pingu hesitated for a moment, but Teddydrum Black had heard his order and flew over. It allowed Izu-pingu to jump into its arms and with three squawks they were gone.

 

“What are you up to… What is this power to bring the world revolution?” Stain glared at him with suspicion as he kept track of Teddydrum White hovering between them from where he had been cornered against the edge of the arena. He didn’t move towards Izuku, knowing the robot would impede him.

 

“It’s the power that I will use to defeat you,” Izuku voice was carefully monotone, not reflecting the rage he felt towards the villain before him who had harmed his friend. He felt an unsettling smile crawl onto his face. “When I heard you were trying to bring about revolution, I should have known that this was meant to be. Just like how Tenya finding you was meant to be… Sword of Dios: grant me 40 swords of justice.

 

All at once, 40 individual white swords of the same make as the one in his hand were willed into the air around the Hero Killer in a circle. All of them were pointed towards him. The Hero Killer grimaced and braced himself, holding one sword in each hand.

 

It would be wrong to kill him, but pinning him in place is necessary, so this should be fine–

 

Movement wasn’t needed to control the summoned swords, all Izuku had to do was will them forward. A dozen separated from the pack to shoot towards the killer, and when his attempt to flee the circle was met with Teddydrum White’s cannon and another set of swords coming down like guillotines to gate him in. He had to deflect them with his two swords, impressively managing to knock all ten away. But the Hero Killer grunted in pain as another one shot forward during this to spear into meat of his left leg.

 

Surprisingly, he was able to continue standing through the pain– but that ended when a second sword impaled the same leg to pin it to the ground. The Hero Killer buckled forward onto his knee

 

Then, his right arm was weakened by a sword to the upper portion of the arm, and another sword speared the forearm into the ground –Izuku had to be careful to avoid bone with that one– and one of Stain’s swords was forced out of hands. Blood was beginning to puddle around him.

 

This was all Izuku meant to do, but as he progressed with systematically pinning The Hero Killer’s limbs to the ground like he was a bug Izuku was setting up for display– Tenya’s words rang through his head, Tenya’s pain and tears rang through his head, the fate of Tenya’s brother rang through his head…

 

What was once a seed that had sprouted with time– his malice budded into a still closed flower that awaits its bloom

 

A sword impaled the Hero Killer’s right leg to the ground, but then Stain screamed as another impaled his lower back. The white blade sticking out of the front of his abdomen was dyed in the dark red burgundy of his blood and sin.

 

Shit– ” He hadn’t meant to do that.

 

–Yes he had, deep on the inside. He doesn’t want to kill him, but he does want to hurt him. That’s why it happened; the sword simply responded to his will–

 

Izuku immediately dispelled the sword with a flurry of light and focused his sight on the wound. “Behold the Gift from God”

 

White flowers bloomed out of the wound from both the front and back side of the Hero Killer’s middle at the same time that one last sword speared into his left forearm. Stain released his second sword from his hand.

 

The Hero Killer hissed through his pain, “I suppose that between the two of us, I am the weaker one who is meant to be culled…”

 

Izuku’s face was a cold neutral to match his voice as replied, “You don’t have to worry about dying, I’ll be able to fix you up fine. Will of the Crystal Princess!”

 

Crystal enclosed the Hero Killer’s body that was leaning over the ground, but avoided the spots on all four of his limbs where swords stuck out. A voice from behind him muttered, “Well I sure hope you can fix him kid…”

 

Izuku still couldn’t move his body, but the Champion turned so that he could see Hawks glide up to him with an expression that didn’t betray the hero’s thoughts. Teddydrum Black and Izu-pingu also moved to be next to Izuku. Izuku glanced his eyes back towards the sight of the Hero Killer impaled in place like a mouse set up for dissection with his blood coating his body and the ground around him. And his stomach dropped as he realized the gravity of what he’d done.

 

This is not fine. This looks so bad– how had Izuku not realized that earlier?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dark of night had settled in from the twilight and Hawks was finishing up evacuating the people who were inside of the building that he was fighting the Nomu in –though it was less like fighting, and more like stalling until either he got more of his feathers back or Midoriya’s penguin showed up– when Horus screamed into the comm-line, “Prince Deku was taken hostage by the Hero Killer, then disappeared with him and his robots, and now Tsukuyomi’s Dark Shadow is starting to go berserk!

 

Hawks clenched his jaw and ignored the hitch of dread inside of him, mentally directing his feathers to drop off all the civilians they were still holding and return to him. He barked into his communicator, “Tsukuyomi said that if this happened to expose Dark Shadow to light so guide him into the building, the lights are still on here! What was the Hero Killer trying to do with taking Prince Deku hostage?!”

 

“It looked like there was a warp gate in the alleyway behind him that he was dragging him into.”

 

Midoriya was the goal

 

Why does the League want him?

 

Hawks didn’t have time to think about that question. Midoriya was alone with a serial killer and he needs to finish this now, he’s wasted too much time, got himself too distracted handling everything at once–

 

Countless red feathers swarmed in a hurricane surrounding the Nomu.

 

If the thing can make holes where ever Hawks tries to cut him, Hawks will just have to cut through it more times that the thing can make holes for

 

All the feathers, big and small, speared into the flesh of the Nomu, much too many for its two quirks to effectively counter. The creature was skewered a hundred times over with everything from its limbs to its torso to its brain turning into a pincushion filled with the red of both feathers and blood. It shrieked as it fell in a boneless heap to the floor.

 

Right on time, Hawks saw Horus herding Tokoyami to the center of the building. It looked the bright fluorescent lights helped the kid get his quirk under control, but as Hawks flew over and began the process of retrieving his feathers, he could hear neither of them were calm.

 

Fumikage, Midoriya– we need to get Midoriya– ”

 

“I know Dark Shadow, I know, but we can’t do anything– ” 

 

He was right there Fumikage– they were taking him away, they had a knife on him–

 

I know! I saw, but that doesn’t change anything–

 

It was times like this when Hawks wondered if the hero industry had any business in slating high school kids for this job

 

–It was times like this when Takahiro wondered if society had any business in slating an elementary school child for this job–

 

He rested a heavy hand on Tokoyami’s shoulder. “Everything will be alright, Tokoyami– ”

 

How can you know that?!” Tokoyami turned on him with a trembling body and trembling words, Hawks had never heard him raise his voice this loud, “There’s no way to know that, because we don’t have a way to follow him! For all we know he could be bleeding out right this very second!

 

Hawks knew that, but what else was he supposed to say in a situation like this to a panicking kid?

 

Their saving grace came in the form of a teddy bear robot carrying a penguin into the building. Hawks had a full half-second to feel relief before he saw that the black-and-white penguin was completely coated in the dark red of fresh blood. It looked like it had just crawled out of a horror movie.

 

Tokoyami didn’t miss that eyesore either. “Izu-pingu, what happened to Midoriya?!

 

Is Midoriya okay?!

 

Izu-pingu actually had to take a moment to think about it before he horizontally raised a blood-covered flipper to wobble it in a so-so manner.

 

Oh fuck this shit–

 

“Horus, watch Tsukuyomi and watch that thing!” –he jerked his finger back to point at the bleeding Nomu that may or may not be dead Hawks couldn’t care less at this point– “Izu-pingu, take me to Midoriya!”

 

Izu-pingu’s beady black eyes blinked at him, then awkwardly looked away.

 

Hawks crouched down in front of the flightless bird to grasp its feathered face with both hands and furrow his brows at it, he only vaguely noted that blood was getting onto his gloves. “I don’t know why you’re reluctant to let me see Midoriya, but I have to help him– I have to make sure he’s okay! Can’t you understand that?” Hawks insisted feeling like he was at his wit’s end. If the penguin didn’t take him there’d be no way for him to reach Midoriya

 

A pair of flippers rested themselves over Hawks’s hands, spreading more blood over his gloves, and Izu-pingu squawked twice.

 

Hawks, Izu-pingu, and Teddydrum Black were all instantly transported to the same arena tower Hawks had visited previously just as the Hero Killer’s scream sounded through the air.

 

Hawks blinked at the sight of a skewered-looking serial killer literally pinned to the ground with one arm and one leg impaled with two swords each, while his second leg had one sword impaled into it. He just caught sight of a long white sword stained with red lancing through the Hero Killer’s abdomen before Midoriya cursed and presumably caused it to disappear. He then said some nonsense that caused white flowers to bloom all over the injury while at the same time spearing the Hero Killer’s final limb to the ground. Hawks was forcibly reminded of the way he just pincushioned the Nomu.

 

He wasn’t sure what he had been expecting to see when he got here– but it sure wasn’t this. Definitely a better sight than he had been anticipating, the kid clearly had it handled, but it was still unexpected…

 

Even while he was acting as a living human pincushion, Stain apparently still had to speak solely through dramatic speeches –talking about being culled or something, if Midoriya hadn’t already done the deed Hawks would warn the guy about accidently cutting himself with that edge– And Midoriya answered with, “You don’t have to worry about dying, I’ll be able to fix you up fine.” Then secured the prisoner with that crystal spell thing he does.

 

Hawks couldn’t help but unthoughtfully retort, “Well I sure hope you can fix him kid…”

 

Then as the mannequin thing started turning the kid back towards him, Hawks saw that his middle was drenched in dark red blood and flowers containing petals swirling with red and white surrounded by a light green glow.

 

Shit. Don’t get distracted, Midoriya’s not okay.

 

Hawks flapped his wings to carry him over to Midoriya, who looked at him, then looked back to Stain, and then paled by an impressive amount for someone that had already been pale due to blood loss. Hawks ignored it and gently took Midoriya from the mannequin to lean the boy onto his body.

 

Hawks hid his worry with steady words, “How much pain are you in right now? I see you got some weird magic shit going on but is that really enough? We should get you to the hospital…”

 

Midoriya blinked at him with slightly unfocused eyes –damn how much blood has he lost?– then replied with apprehension, “Uh… taking me right now might end up being worse for me, actually. The flowers from Behold the Gift from God should be able to heal it entirely, though it’ll leave a scar…” Midoriya glanced down at the flowers emerging from his body before looking back up at Hawks. “Once they’re completely red that means they’re done. The pain is getting better as they get further along.”

 

Midoriya turned his head to look at the Hero Killer, who was still bleeding onto the ground. “Oh! I can move now.” He then tried to take his weight off of Hawks, so Hawks clamped his right arm around the kid to force him to stay. Midoriya looked back to him in confusion.

 

Hawks stared at Midoriya with exasperation that was reflected in his voice, “Just because you can move doesn’t mean you should. Stay still until the hole in your stomach is gone at least!” Honestly this kid was terrible for Hawks’s heart, a man his age should not be having heart problems…

 

“Ah… right…” Midoriya awkwardly accepted Hawks’s logic, then turned his head back towards Stain. The rest of the swords disintegrated into sparks of white light.

 

Behold the Gift from God.” White flowers bloomed out of all the bloody stab wounds on the Hero Killer. Checking the flowers that already covered Stain’s middle, Hawks saw they were already tinged with red.

 

“The flowers stop the bleeding too, so you should be fine…” Midoriya explained to Stain.

 

Stain glared at the kid. “Save your platitudes. I recognize that your intent was to bring pain– you do not wish to truly heal me.”

 

Hawks winced at that, but the kid took it surprisingly well, narrowing his eyes at the killer instead of faltering from the truth of his words. “That’s true… I wanted to hurt you because of what you did to my friend yesterday, and what you did to his brother before that, but as a hero I can’t let you stay hurt –I shouldn’t have gone that far in the first place– so I will fix you even if I feel like you don’t deserve to be fixed.”

 

“If you don’t wish to save me you shouldn’t bother in the first place!” Stain yelled in anger, “Only true heroes empty of the sins that plague today’s heroes such as fame, corruption, and greed should be heroes! Only heroes like All Might should exist in this world! A hero like you who has power that is easily swayed by corruption isn’t needed!”

 

Is this guy trying to convince a high schooler to let him bleed to death? Hawks can never understand the thought process of these extremist thinkers…

 

“You don’t happen to have anything that can shut this guy up do you, Prince Deku? There has to be something.”

 

Midoriya continued to stare at the Hero Killer as he called out to the still-bloody penguin, “Izu-pingu, go collect a basket of poppies so we can put him to sleep.”

 

The penguin saluted before blurring away –Hawks hadn’t seen that trick yet…

 

“You see? Even your hero name –Prince Deku– begets your impurity as a hero. That is why I attempted to purge you– ”

 

Hawks’s throat tightened like he was being choked. He wanted to explain the situation –that he was the one at fault for that– but the uncomfortable feeling in his throat caused him to hesitate.

 

“ –and your choice to associate with the Number Three hero, the hero that has the tightest leash connecting him to the government which acts as the core of society’s and heroes’ corruption, is also telling. He is nothing but a pet songbird that sings at the whim of those in power, but you still somehow found him worthy to follow.”

 

Upon hearing that, Hawks became physically incapable of speaking. The nail of that point hammered painfully into his chest.

 

Suddenly, Midoriya went unnaturally still. Hawks was concerned that the boy might have finally passed out due to blood loss, but looking down at his face pressed against Hawks’s jacket showed him to be aware. His expression was only made up of minuscule details –a twitching eyebrow, a creased forehead, a pinched mouth– but his green eyes were intense with fury.

 

“Hawks, can you please bring me closer to him,” Midoriya’s words were polite, but they were not a request.

 

Oh shit is he actually going to kill the serial killer now? Why did he get so angry– “Uh… I don’t think that’s– ”

 

“I’m not going to do anything to him. I just want to talk.”

 

Are you sure about that? Hawks wanted to ask, but instead he decided to trust that the kid wouldn’t turn into a crazed murderer and brought him forward, stopping a couple of meters in front of the grounded Hero Killer.

 

The Prince looked down at the Hero Killer.

 

“Let me just clarify; changing these issues –as in ceasing monetary reward for heroes, getting rid of heroes who are not moral paragons like All Might, reducing government involvement with hero affairs to reduce using them for political agendas, and etc– is the revolution that you want to bring to this world, is it not?”

 

Stain narrowed his eyes at Midoriya in suspicion, he was smart enough to see that this was leading to something bad thing for him. “That is correct…”

 

“I see… Truthfully, the way I’m feeling now about you and your platform after hearing it straight from the source is the exact same way I had felt when I first heard it…” Midoriya tilted his head to the side in an unsettling gesture. His eyes never left Stain, and Stain’s eyes never left him.

 

“Even though you try to reveal the “reality” of heroes and this world, I just can’t help but feel that you are actually incredibly naïve.”

 

Hawks felt his jaw drop and his eyes widen involuntarily.

 

Did he just– did this teenager just call the Hero Killer, the guy that was named after his goal to purge “fake heroes” out of society to bring attention to the corruption that inhabits the hero industry, naïve? Straight to his face?

 

Said Hero Killer was staring at Midoriya with a similar level of incomprehension, Hawks wondered if anyone else had ever called him naïve

 

The Prince gave Stain a hollow smile. “Let me explain to you in detail the exact reasons why your entire ideology is misguided and false.” –Was this really happening?

 

“First of all; hypocrite much? I know you’re of the belief that “someone must be stained in blood” to bring about your revolution, but the culmination of your entire being, life, and fate is in worse shape than Endeavor’s –who I am assuming is around the top of your “fake hero” list because you’d be the fake if he wasn’t– How can you go around preaching this when your soul is more corrupt than the people you are accusing of corruption? It completely undermines your position.”

 

–Hawks didn’t know if he should feel more concerned over the fact that Tokoyami was absolutely correct about the “seeing hearts” thing or that his childhood hero’s soul was apparently significantly corrupted–

 

“Secondly; your insistence that heroes need to go without pay will only lead to more so-called fake heroes. I shouldn’t need to explain this to you, but in order to live in society people have to have money, which they earn through using up their time at jobs. If pro heroes didn’t get paid, many of the honestly altruistic heroes would be unable to do hero work outside of their free time because they would need to commit the majority of their life to having a separate job to survive. Additionally, they would be lacking the resources that they can use freely now because of the lack of financial support– so they would be less capable in actually saving people.

 

“Therefore, the only fulltime heroes would be the people who are already extremely wealthy and can thus devote more time and money into their hero work, and the people who are fully scouted and sponsored by the government to do so –as in they would be getting paid for this work anyway– I am assuming that you would see both these types of people as being corrupt. That means that your push to demonetize hero work would directly lead to fake heroes monopolizing the industry.”

 

–How does this kid even come up with this shit? Hawks thought he only needed to be able to interpret literary concepts to have a conversation with Midoriya, but apparently he also needs a fucking degree in socio-economics or some other shit like that too–

 

“Thirdly; for all that you seem to idolize All Might, you’re actually taking him and his quality of character for granted. Exactly how many people in this world do you think are even capable of matching up to that standard of moral integrity? Compare that amount to the number of people who are capable of committing crimes and becoming villains. No matter how you look at it, the first group of people will be extremely outnumbered by the second, there’s simply be no practical way for them to handle all the hero work on their own– which would lead to countless people dying because of something as stupid as understaffing.

 

“Frankly speaking, it either sounds like you’re putting too much faith in the idea that humanity naturally leans more towards having moral people, or that you just haven’t thought this through enough. The second point I mentioned seems to suggest the latter.”

 

How many times can a person be murdered through words alone? Hawks literally feels like he needs to report this as an actual murder to the police, that’s how brutal this is

 

“And lastly– ” Oh God he’s not even finished yet, there’s more? “ –everything you mentioned in that clip of you; about winning and losing, about the profitable and unprofitable, about the chosen and unchosen, I think that in a way, all of that is true. But it’s true not just for society– it’s also true for you. The only thing you care about is choosing which people deserve to be in this world, how is that any different from what everyone else is doing? You’ve convinced yourself that you can bring about a miracle to revolutionize this world, that the suffering you build your miracle atop of –suffering from both you sacrificing your morality and you sacrificing other people’s lives– is justified because you will create a better end, but do you truly have the power to bring the world revolution?

 

“You’re underestimating the cost that it takes to change this sort of fate, to create that kind of miracle. You could probably butcher people for your entire life and not change a single thing about this world– because it just wouldn’t be enough. And if that were to come to fruition, all you would have is a giant collection of sin and sacrifice that you enacted for no justifiable reason whatsoever, because all of your efforts will become completely worthless when you fail to achieve your miracle. All you would have on your hands is a tragedy.”

 

When Midoriya stopped talking, there was only silence left.

 

Hawks was in shock. The Hero Killer was in shock. Hawks wasn’t even sure if the Hero Killer was breathing. Stain just stared at the Prince as though he had taken apart Stain’s world piece by piece, and then it put together in a strange new way that he could barely comprehend.

 

Hawks opened and closed his mouth a couple of times, trying to find something to say but failing to come up with any follow up to what the hell that was.

 

The stillness was broken by Izu-pingu, who seemed to have washed the blood off, blurring back with a basket of red poppies held with both flippers. He presented it to Hawks, and Hawks obligingly accepted the offering.

 

“Just have him smell them, the concentrated scent of the poppies should knock him out since they were made to induce sleeping.”

 

The mannequin held out its hand towards the basket offering its services. Hawks gave the basket away to watch as it was stuffed in front of the still-in-shock Hero Killer’s face. When the villain fell unconscious, Hawks couldn’t help but think of it as a mercy at this point…

 

His attention was forced back to Midoriya upon him grasping at Hawks’s body. The boy’s attitude had done a total 180, he looked down right nervous now.

 

“I– I’m sorry about this… Am I– ” Midoriya stuttered through his words, unconsciously glancing away from Hawk’s eyes, “Am I going to get in trouble…?”

 

Hawks looked at the significantly redder flowers on the Hero Killer’s body and the blood covering him, then looked back to the timid, injured, young boy he was still holding to his chest and his mostly red flowers and bloodied stomach. If Hawks had to guess, he was probably thinking of some worst-case scenario like him ending up in jail or something for unauthorized quirk use or extreme use of force.

 

Really, it wouldn’t be that bad. Hawks hadn’t specifically authorized him to fight the Hero Killer and he doesn’t have a provisional license, but Hawks had been directing him to assist with the emergency situation as a whole, and that emergency situation included Midoriya’s attempted kidnapping. Purely based on the context of the situation, this was self-defense while he was on-duty for hero work.

 

But there are limits to how far people are allowed to go for self-defense. Against someone like the Hero Killer, the authorities wouldn’t question the need for a trainee to go all out just to take him on. What Hawks was really worried about was if they asked Midoriya if there had been a less extreme way he could’ve handled the serial killer, and Midoriya said yes.

 

The kid wouldn’t end up in jail for it– but it would be very not good, and he would certainly get in trouble.

 

Hawks remembered how the boy brought him to his garden to sleep, and how he helped Hawks feel lighter for that moment, and how just now he got angry when Stain had criticized Hawks for his servitude towards the head of their society. And personally, Hawks just didn’t care that the kid had skewered the serial killer. He much preferred it to the alternative of the serial killer skewering the kid –which he actually did do if Midoriya’s the wound to the gut is anything to go by.

 

So Hawks brought his right wing around to enclose the boy, shielding him from the world.

 

“No. All of this happened because I wasn’t watching you properly, so I’ll take care of it. Don’t worry…”

Chapter Text

“What– What the hell happened?! I thought the kid needed to say some shit to use his quirk?! How did he get away with Stain’s hand over his mouth?!”

 

“If I had to guess, I would say that the penguin who also uses his quirk was probably around somewhere to use it for him.”

 

“The watchers said they never saw that fucking penguin the whole week! Where the fuck was it hiding?! It’s a penguin! How could they miss it?!

 

A hand grabbed Tomura by the wrist.

 

“Stop scratching so hard, you’ll hurt yourself. There’s no point in worrying about those things now. We have to go before the Number Three hero catches sight of us– ”

 

“How could I not be worried when Sensei wants that quirk? This operation wasn’t for me like the others– it was for him. You can’t tell me you’re looking forward to telling him we failed.”

 

Kurogiri sighed in response, “I know… but All for One understands that failure is something that occurs sometimes, that’s why we used the Hero Killer for this in the first place. He’ll be… upset, but he won’t cast you out for it.”

 

Tomura scoffed, “I wasn’t worried that he’d do something like casting me out– I’m his chosen successor. I know he wouldn’t do something like that…”

 

–But is that truly the reality of this situation?–

 

Kurogiri brought them both back to their base instead of voicing his thoughts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“ …During the attack by the League of Villains in Kyushu last night, the Hero Killer attempted to kidnap UA High School student Midoriya Izuku, who had been present at the scene working under the Number Three hero Hawks. Fortunately, said student was able to defend himself from the kidnapping attempt until Hawks finished apprehending the villain attacking the building, at which point Hawks apprehended the Hero Killer– ”

 

Toshinori was busy staring at the news channel wondering what kind of rotten luck and fate UA must have for two of their students to end up involved with the Hero Killer two days in a rownot to mention the League of Villains using Nomus in two separate attacks in two separate cities two days in a row– when Gran Tornio called.

 

Toshinori knew why he was calling. He answered and got right to the point, “Were you able to successfully use the same method young Midoriya and Hawks had used to transport themselves to Hosu?”

 

“Yes. Luckily Endeavor’s kid was okay with using the bracelet Midoriya had given him to take me with him– I helped him out by convincing Endeavor to let him go for hero work purposes.”

 

“Were you actually able to get information about the situation there?”

 

“Yes, in exchange for keeping Hawks updated on the League of Villains case. It was easy to get him official access to that because of the previous report he made when he visited Hosu concerning Midoriya’s “prophecy”. It seems like he has a vested interest in keeping track of the League of Villains’ development, though I can’t tell why.”

 

Toshinori settled back in his seat. “So was there anything notable that you learned? Maybe Midoriya having another prophecy about this or new information on the League?”

 

“Unfortunately, there wasn’t much they could learn about the League itself– but based on how things happened they’re pretty sure that kidnapping the kid was the main goal of this attack. The Nomu and location was specifically chosen to distract Hawks for a longer time than the ten seconds he usually needs to put down villains so that the Hero Killer would have enough time to drag Midoriya into a warp gate. This was confirmed by the Hero Killer’s testimony. It’s a good thing they hadn’t realized the kid’s penguin was out and at ready.”

 

Fear coursed through Toshinori’s nerves.

 

Clasping a hand on his head in frustration, he hissed, “Why would they try to attain young Midoriya? There were plenty of better choices if they just wanted a UA student to make a statement– they wanted him to the point where they were willing to work around the Number Three hero. That’s not normal!”

 

“There’s no way to say for certain, but…” Gran Torino’s words carried a heavy weight to them, “if I had to guess, I’d say the most likely answer is that –assuming All for One is alive as we discussed previously– he wants to take Midoriya’s quirk. Though hopefully he only knows about the “pocket dimension quirk” Midoriya’s demonstrated and not the kid’s actual quirk.”

 

Shit…” Toshinori could help but curse at the situation. “The school needs to discuss what we can do to mitigate another kidnapping attempt on Midoriya, they’ll most likely try again once they’ve gathered more resources.”

 

Closing his eyes in an attempt to relieve some of his stress, Toshinori sighed, “Anything else I should know?”

 

“Oh, you haven’t even heard the half of it Toshinori. Firstly, the kid looked at the Nomu using his quirk and saw that it had “multiple cores from different Fruit of Fate, but no whole Fruit of Fate” in it– so they’re definitely being made by putting multiple quirks together. It’s almost certain that All for One is alive knowing that.”

 

Toshinori revisited his dread upon thinking the man he had worked so hard to end was alive, but then finished turning the information over in his mind. “ …If All for One works by manipulating the core of peoples Fruit of Fate, that would make him a Child of Fate as well, wouldn’t it?”

 

“I didn’t give him the details on All for One, but the kid is confident that whoever created the Nomu is a Child of Fate, yes. I think you should inform him about all of this– maybe having an expert on this Children of Fate thing would help the investigation. At the very least, he already knows something’s not right.”

 

“ …I will inform him when he comes back.”

 

“Next thing you need to know, the only prophecy the kid had was the one I told you before about the League of Villains and Hero Killer having opposing revolutions or whatever. Notably, it only said that Shigaraki had started his move while the Hosu incident was going on, so presumably that move only ended after he failed to take Midoriya the next day. The League and Hero Killer apposing each other matches with the Hero Killer’s testimony that he was taken by the League against his will, which is supported by the shock collar they found on him.”

 

A hand slapped itself over Toshinori’s eyes and he groaned, “It’s always in the details with stuff like this…”

 

Gran Torino ignored his complaining to continue, “And finally, Hawks taking down the Hero Killer is a cover. Midoriya didn’t just “defend himself”, he essentially completed the capture on his own before Hawks was able to use his penguin to get into his pocket dimension. Usually in that sort of circumstance that would be fine, but apparently the kid used “excessive force”, so Hawks convinced them to avoid legal action being taken against Midoriya and to use the cover story. Without it, the public might try to look harder into the details and find exactly how the kid took him down.”

 

Toshinori blinked at that. “Come to think of it… they did say that the Hero Killer had been “heavily injured during the course of the capture”. What kind of excessive force did Midoriya use?”

 

“Basically, he stabbed the guy seven times to physically pin him to the ground using swords. A little over the top, but the Hero Killer did stab him first. It might have passed if the kid hadn’t also stabbed him in the gut…”

 

Blood hacked out of Toshinori’s lungs. He coughed out his words with his hand covering his mouth, “S-Seven times?! Stabbed him in the gut, with swords?! And Midoriya was stabbed?! Is he alright?!

 

“Yeah, Midoriya had another spell or whatever that can heal extremely well that he also used on the Hero Killer. Only thing is that it leaves scars in the shape of flowers– honestly the stuff this kid can do is so weird Toshinori. Also, you should really read this transcript Hawks wrote up for what Midoriya said the Hero Killer after the fight! I wouldn’t be surprised if the guy was in the middle of having an existential crisis right this very moment…”

 

Toshinori wiped away the blood running down his chin using a tissue while sighing to himself, “That last part was the least surprising thing you’ve told me this entire conversation. Looks like we have a lot to talk about when he gets back…”

 

“ –Just yesterday Midoriya Izuku had helped Hawks resolve an incident involving a villain attempting to take two men, one mother, and her 5-year-old child hostage. The young girl that was rescued answered reporters at the scene, talking about her abundant admiration for “Prince Deku”, and she and her mother state that they anticipate the day Prince Deku officially enters the hero industry– ”

 

“ …A lot to talk about.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katsuki had chosen the Number Four hero Best Jeanist for his workplace training, and throughout the first half of it, he had thought he had picked horribly, horribly wrong.

 

Admittedly, he had been interested in what Best Jeanist had to show him at first. “Heroes and villains are two sides of the same coin. I’ll show those glaring eyes of yours what makes someone a hero” –that had sounded like something Deku would say, and he had shown Katsuki plenty. But after the hero had forcibly put him in jeans and styled his hair, Katsuki had written off his “correction” of Katsuki’s behavior as the narrowminded, unhelpful garbage that it was.

 

It was sometime on the third day of Katsuki’s workplace training, after Best Jeanist had sighed at the sight of Katsuki absolutely failing to present an approachable image to a couple of kids and scared them off during a casual patrol, that Katsuki broke and told this to Best Jeanist’s face.

 

Katsuki snarled at him, “Oh, don’t give me that shit! You talked all big when I first got here about how you were going to show me “what makes a hero”, but so far I think I’d learn about that more just by following my 15-year-old classmate around for a week!

 

Instead of getting offended like Katsuki had assumed the man would, Best Jeanist slightly tilted his head to the side in interest. “Oh? You sound like you’re referring to a specific person. Which classmate of yours is this?” his usually stoic tone had a tint of curiosity to it.

 

Katsuki narrowed his eyes at Best Jeanist in suspicion. “ …Midoriya Izuku, the guy that gave the speech at the Sports Festival. But why do you care about something like that?”

 

“I care because I had thought you were the type of person to only consider doing things your way, but if there’s a classmate that you admire as being someone that can show you “what makes someone a hero”, then it seems like I was mistaken.”

 

Katsuki’s first instinct is denial, “I don’t admire him or any crap like that! Shitty Izuku’s just– smart about that kind of shit! At the very least, I know he’d do a better job at that then you are right now!”

 

Best Jeanist continued to stay composed while faced with Katsuki’s barbs, calmly inquiring, “And what do you think that he would do differently than me?”

 

He had to actually pause and think about that for a moment. How is he supposed to know what a guy that acts like fucking Prince Charming half the time would do? But Katsuki himself was curious about the answer to that question, so he let himself think it over. Best Jeanist patiently waited for his response.

 

“Don’t worry about how long it takes to change yourself, Katsuki. You’ve already made a lot of progress– your Fruit is already looking better. Just keep doing your best to grow, alright?”

 

“If you only love yourself when you’re amazing and when you win, is that really loving yourself?”

 

“ …I think that he’d say that forcefully trying to change who I am to fit the mold of a “good hero” isn’t really loving myselfand that’s not from me, that’s literally how he’d say it, alright?– And that I should just do the best I can whatever way I can.”

 

“Is that so… Midoriya Izuku did seem like quite an interesting child.” Best Jeanist’s eyes gleamed from behind his combed hair. His index finger tapped on the jean collar covering his cheek and looked away in thought.

 

“To improve your image as a hero without losing what you love about yourself… That is the ideal for how to craft yourself as a hero, but perhaps I focused so much on how you were lacking in terms of “what makes a hero” that I forgot to take into account what you already have that makes you a hero.” Best Jeanist looked back at Katsuki.

 

“Why do you want to be a hero, Champion?”

 

Katsuki straightened up a bit at the sound of his new hero name. “I want to be a hero that will win in the end no matter how many times I’m defeated, because I want to be a hero like All Might!”

 

“Not exactly the thing that people first think of when they look at the image of All Might,” Best Jeanist hummed, “but I suppose that an inherent part of All Might’s reliability is that he “wins in the end” …That type of heroic image –a hero that will continuously fight against adversity to succeed– is one that will give peace of mind to those in need of saving, so how can you reflect that into your appearance and behavior? Are you sure you do not wish to try being an “elegant” hero to achieve this?”

 

Katsuki raised his eyebrow and questioned incredulously, “When you think of an elegant hero, is “a hero that will continuously fight against adversity to succeed” really the first thing that comes to mind?!”

 

“ …I suppose not. In that case, let us try finding you a different sort of image that will convey this.”

 

From that point on, Best Jeanist adjusted his strategy for Katsuki, focusing on teaching Katsuki how to reign in his cursing and contempt to at least be somewhat sociable– saying Katsuki should try to project the image of a hero who is confident but in control. It was much easier than trying to rewrite his personality with fake ass smiles and platitudes, but was still surprisingly difficult. Katsuki hadn’t realized how much of his attitude was based in instinctual behavior that he had indulged himself with while growing up –along with what he got from his mom.

 

He had known theoretically that he would have to adjust his behavior once he entered UA. He had been self-aware enough of what he was doing to know that a lot of the shit that his pansy middle school and elementary school teachers allowed him due to quirk bias wouldn’t pass at a school like UA. But he had only bothered toning it down enough that he wouldn’t end up expelled like some reject failure, actively trying to control it was a different matter entirely.

 

But if he didn’t want his fucking fate to burn to a crisp like the Number Two hero’s, he better work his ass off trying to do this. If he couldn’t even restrain himself from cursing at 5-year-olds then that was probably a bad fucking sign.

 

The process led to Katsuki reflecting more on his past behavior, which reached its pinnacle on the last day of his workplace training.

 

Best Jeanist had noticed that he hadn’t been disturbed by the involvement of his classmates in the Hosu incident with Stain, so he probably assumed Katsuki would react the same way to the news that broke the very next day. But that wasn’t the case at all.

 

“ …The UA student targeted, Midoriya Izuku, was able to defend himself until Hawks arrived at the scene, but suffered a knife wound. Authorities report that throughout the process of taking the boy hostage, the Hero Killer had changed his goal to killing the boy instead. It was fortunate that– ”

 

Katsuki stopped listening to the TV and stopped drinking from the water bottle in his hand at that point. He couldn’t even process that idea, the idea that a boy he had spent almost his whole life with could one day be gone, just like that. That just yesterday he could’ve died without Katsuki even knowing what had happened.

 

“Are you alright, Kacchan? Can you stand okay?”

 

Katsuki couldn’t imagine a reality where Izuku wasn’t there. The boy was like the scenery of a familiar childhood park, a constant that had forever been present at the edges of his vision in the background. Katsuki couldn’t imagine living a life where Izuku was gone

 

“If you want to be a hero so badly, there’s a quick way to do it. Believe that you’ll be born with a quirk in your next life and take a swan dive off the roof!”

 

The water bottle fell from Katsuki’s hand to land on the floor, spilling water into a puddle around his feet. He could feel his body trembling.

 

Because how did it take him this long to realize the meaning of those words he had cruelly spat at the boy who used to be his friend? How did it take him this long to actually think about what he said, and what would’ve happened if Izuku had taken them to heart? How did it take him this long to realize just how wrong he had been?–

 

“Eh– Bakugou-kun?! Best Jeanist sir, there’s something wrong with Bakugou-kun!”

 

“Bakugou, what… Someone turn off the TV! What happened to his classmate has obviously upset him.” A pair of hands on his shoulders directed him away from the main room and into one of the smaller break rooms that were in the agency. Katsuki was gently guided to sit down in a chair.

 

“I should have realized you would take what happened to your friend badly. Why don’t you sit down for a moment…”

 

That brought Katsuki out of his stupor. He was finally able to take in his surroundings to see Best Jeanist sitting in a chair next to him.

 

“We aren’t…” Katsuki’s words failed him as he tried to work around the mental revelation of his fucked up behavior. He had to look away from Best Jeanist’s eyes, they felt too judging. “We– used to be friends… but then I fucked everything up.”

 

There was a moment of silence before Best Jeanist replied, “I see… Well, I won’t pry into your private affairs and I don’t know the extent of your mistakes, but perhaps you should consider trying to make up for them?”

 

When Katsuki looked back to Best Jeanist, the hero was staring into empty air. “The hero business is one that is fraught with danger– leaving regrets to lie for too long can end with them becoming permanent.”

 

Katsuki thought about those words, as well as the words he had said to Deku, throughout the rest of the day. And when shitty hair texted him later asking him how he was doing –he didn’t mention anything about what happened to Deku, but that was definitely why he was asking– instead of wondering why Kirishima kept trying to bother Katsuki, Katsuki wondered why Kirishima bothered trying to be friends with him at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was so scared Midoriya-chan! And Fumikage won’t admit it but he was really scared too! I can’t believe that you were stabbed, I’m so angry! But I’m so glad you’re okay!

 

Midoriya gently pet the crying Dark Shadow, who was crushing his head against Izuku’s chest with his arms wrapped around Izuku’s torso, while Tokoyami stood to the side looking awkwardly embarrassed.

 

Endeavor’s kid –who Hawks is 75% convinced is Midoriya’s boyfriend even though he hadn’t been introduced as such– had just left with Gran Torino after the elderly hero had used him for a ride to Midoriya’s Crystal World. While Tokoyami and Dark Shadow had already had their chance to fret over Midoriya yesterday at the hospital and throughout the night, Dark Shadow apparently still had some emotions to work though.

 

However, Midoriya caught sight of his lurking, and knew he had to unfortunately stop the cuddle session. “Thank you for worrying about me Dark Shadow, Tokoyami-kun, but you don’t need to worry anymore– I’m just fine now! I have to go do something for Hawks now because of… what happened, though…”

 

Dark Shadow released his hold on Izuku, sniffling a bit as his crying began to end –how did Hawks end up with two trainees with sentient birds as part of their quirk? Guess this is what he gets for taking bird-aesthetics into account as part of his deliberation process…

 

Midoriya excused himself to walk up to Hawks, and he wordlessly guided the boy to his office. It was a standard looking office, with nice modern furniture, walls lined with windows and framed picture, and a well-used sofa that saw more use as Hawks’s makeshift bed than it got as a place for visitors to sit. The door was shut with a click to give them privacy.

 

“So…” Hawks casually began, “I probably should’ve asked about this earlier, but can I just make sure I heard you right when you suggested that you can bring the dead back to life? And that you can see people’s souls or hearts or whatever you want to call it?

 

A small, amused grin lit Midoriya’s face. “Oh, you asked Tokoyami-kun about me didn’t you? Well– you should know that he hadn’t actually meant that literally, but he sort of made a hole-in-one with that choice of figurative speech.”

 

Hawks raised an eyebrow at him and drawled, “Stop taking enjoyment in my confusion and explain some shit to me. My life was never this complicated before you showed up, so it’s the least you could do…”

 

Midoriya chuckled softly for a bit before his smile devolved into a small frown. A serious expression overcame his face as he took Hawks’s hand. “There are some things you should be made aware of anyway… Survival Strategy

 

And so Hawks was pulled back into the Garden of Eden, in the same meadow he had been in before, so Midoriya could explain the crazy shit behind his powers. Less than halfway through the conversation Hawks had already become completely lost– the Prince tried to explain a reality that was made up by fate, the chosen few that could change it, the manifestation of this fate that took the form of a fucking fruit, and how Midoriya’s quirk and the power of the Crystal World that he advertised to be his quirk were completely different things. How Midoriya could look into the depths of a person’s fate and being, into their heart and soul.

 

To Hawks, this reality sounded more like a fairytale than anything else, but the half-frozen golden apple Midoriya held up to him seemed to suggest that this was a case where the truth was stranger than fiction.

 

“Do you have any idea why your Fruit would be frozen, Takahiro-san?

 

That snapped Hawks out of his fast-moving thoughts quicker than anything else could. It had been so long since anyone had called him that, he almost thought he had misheard the kid.

 

“ …How do you know that name?”

 

The fingers of Midoriya’s left hand ghosted over the ice on Hawks’s Fruit of Fate as his right hand held it firmly up for them to view. “When I hold a person’s Fruit, I feel… more connected to them. It gives me the tendency to refer to them with the name that they personally refer to themselves as, but in your case… I can tell you think of yourself as Hawks, but you want someone to think of you as Takahiro. So I referred to you as Takahiro.”

 

Midoriya looked up at him with intense green eyes. “Do you not want me to?”

 

He doesn’t know the answer to that question. He’s never asked himself whether he wanted someone to think of him as Takahiro once more, because he felt it would be pointless since no one wanted Takahiro over Hawks.

 

Or at least, there used to be no one who wanted Takahiro over Hawks

 

Hawks decided to avoid the question, “You can refer to me however you like, just don’t call me that on the field or anything like that. And as for your other question…” –He knows the answer to that, but he doesn’t want to admit it. Doesn’t want to admit that his cage is so encompassing that it’s taken hold of his very fate and soul.

 

Midoriya’s eyes never strayed from his. “ …Can I look into your Fruit, Takahiro-san? I want to see how I can help you.”

 

There’s nothing you could do to help with something like this, Hawks wanted to say, but for some reason– that seemed like a cruel thing to do. He doesn’t think the kid looking into his Fruit will accomplish anything, and he doesn’t want to let some random teenager he’s known for less than a week look into his metaphysical soul of all things, but…

 

Would he still call Hawks “Takahiro”, after seeing everything there was to him? Is it possible that this person could look into his soul, his fate, his being, look into everything that made Hawks “Hawks” and Takahiro “Takahiro” and decide that Takahiro was worth something?

 

He’s referring to Hawks as “Takahiro” now– but that’s meaningless. There’d only be meaning in Hawks being called Takahiro if both “Hawks” and “Takahiro” are judged, and someone decides that Takahiro –even without Hawks, even without his quirkis wanted and worth something.

 

Would someone choose Takahiro? Does that kind of miracle truly exist?

 

This seemed like the perfect time to find out the answer to that question–

 

“Knock yourself out kid,” Hawks’s flippant response didn’t reflect the gravity that he felt for this situation. His half-lidded eyes glanced away from the Prince in front of him.

 

Midoriya looked at him questioningly –obviously smart enough to tell that his casual attitude was bullshit– but seemed to take his answer at face-value as he closed his eyes to focus on Hawks’s Fruit of Fate.

 

As Hawks continued to look away from Midoriya, sweat started to form on the back of his neck behind his high-collared jacket –was this comparable to getting his soul judged by God when he dies to decide whether he’s going to heaven or hell? It sure feels like it at least

 

A sniffle caught his attention, and Hawks looked back at the kid to see that he was crying. He gazed at Hawks’s Fruit with watery green eyes and tears dripping down his face.

 

Hawks immediately panicked. His hands moved around trying to accomplish something without knowing what he wanted them to do. Why was the kid crying how do you turn it off–

 

Oh God it was that bad?! I must be more of a shit person than I thought

 

It’s not you that’s wrong Takahiro! It’s everyone else!” Midoriya yelled out with anguish in his voice, his left black-gloved hand came up to wipe at his tears, “You’re worth more than just your quirk! Takahiro… Takahiro shouldn’t need to be Hawks just to be lovedJust being Takahiro is okay…”

 

His mind blanked as shock rang through him. This… This was the answer he wanted, but he didn’t think that he’d actually receive it. Midoriya was still crying, but all Hawks could do was stare at him with wide eyes– he didn’t know what to do with himself. He couldn’t even process what was just said.

 

The Fruit of Fate in Midoriya’s right hand floated up, and as he flicked his fingers it split in half with a crack. The top half of the insides and core was frozen– but purple guck was spread out through the entirety of it. Hawks vaguely remembered that Midoriya had described that condition as poisoning.

 

Midoriya trailed his fingers along the purple inside of the Fruit as he whispered, “How could they have done this to you… You work so hard for them –live your life for them– and society has convinced you that it’s not even okay for you to be Takahiro…”

 

The Prince’s whisper gained a bitter tone, “If everything is caused by fate, then God must be incredibly unfair and cruel…” 

 

Hawks didn’t know what to say to that. “I think you’re taking this a bit too hard, kid, I’m fine– ”

 

You’re not fine!” Midoriya insisted, pulling him down by the collar of his jacket so that he was forced to lean forward and look at him. “This is the opposite of fine! And I can’t give you what you need the most!” his voice hitched at the end as his sobbing strained his voice. He let go of Hawks’s collar to go back to wiping at his eyes.

 

Hawks blinked at him. “What do you think I need the most?”

 

Freedom!

 

“Oh…” –that makes sense…

 

As Midoriya continued to wipe at his tears, Hawks felt guilt rise up in him at the sight.

 

“Are you– are you crying because you can’t do anything about that? Izuku, I already knew that. Hell– I can’t even do anything about that unless I want to let countless people down, and literally let some people die. You’re not doing anything wrong just by being unable to change where I am in my life– that’s not your job.”

 

Doing his best to mimic what his borrowed teddy bear heater would do, he pulled Izuku into him to let the kid cry on his shoulder and wrapped his arms and wings around him. As one hand softly carded through green curls, Hawks vaguely noted that he was just barely taller than the teenager.

 

He smiled at Izuku sadly while murmuring, “It’s like I said before– sometimes there’s nothing you can do, and that’s okay. It’s not your fault that I’m just too good at my job.”

 

Izuku started calming down with the physical contact. He sniffled, “I think it would be better for you if you just found a way to quit… but I know you won’t consider that.”

 

Hawks hummed, “That’s right. I may not like that I didn’t get a choice, but I’m not going to drop it or do less than my best when I know I’m doing good, and when I can work towards something better like my hero. It’s okay that I’m Hawks.”

 

But is that really true?

 

–Hawks didn’t know the answer to that question–

 

As Izuku’s crying subsided, Hawks turned through his mind to think of how he could make the kid feel better. The memory of a whim he had while gazing at a starry sky popped into his head.

 

“Listen, just by calling me Takahiro and what you’ve said… Well– it doesn’t physically change anything about my circumstances, but it helps. So don’t feel like you haven’t done anything for me. And there’s one favor you could do for me if you want…”

 

Izuku lifted his head off Hawks’s shoulder to glance at him and asked with a hoarse voice, “What is it?”

 

Hawks point up at the sky above them, letting an excited smile fill his face. “Why don’t you let me try flying in this garden of yours, and I’ll teach you a thing or two about flying!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hawks let his Might Wings gently glide him through the cloudless, blue sky as he watched Izuku ride on the back of Teddydrum Black. For being an artificial sky, flying through it sure felt like the real thing. The sensation of the wind catching his wings and the air moving around him was exactly the same, though it wasn’t as cold as it should be and if anything, that was an improvement. This was the first time he could have an extended flight lacking his coat without freezing. His sleeveless, high-collar undershirt that left his back open for his wings looked good on him, it was a shame he didn’t get to show it off more.

 

“Lean into your turns more, it will help your Teddydrums adjust your combined weight when they’re moving! Yeah just like that! Try directing how you want it to move solely using body movements for a bit!”

 

As Izuku and Teddydrum Black tried some maneuvers, Hawks let himself be distracted by the gorgeous scenery. The Garden of Eden featured countless green trees and a long, winding stream that led to a large pond with lily pads and water-based flowers. By the pond were rows upon rows of different types of flowers next to a couple of greenhouses that ended at a large hedge maze with a white gazebo between the two of them. About half of the place was dedicated to the wild forest area that was spotted with different meadows, fields, and waterfalls throughout, while the other half was for the more organized flower gardens. Hawks couldn’t actually tell where the edges of the Garden of Eden ended, it seemed like it went on forever.

 

The most noticeable thing about the whole area was the huge tree that sat in the middle between the flower gardens and the forest, which bore normal sized bright red apples. It towered over the trees surrounding it. Izuku had told him that was the Tree of Knowledge, and that much like its namesake he should not eat the fruit. Apparently the rest of the food from this place was edible, though. Hawks wondered what it’d be like to forage through the forest like an actual bird.

 

But hawks were supposed to be carnivores, right? He doesn’t know how Izuku would feel about him trying to hunt the wildlife just for bird aesthetic

 

Hawks let his eyes fall closed as he focused on the sensation of his wings cutting through the air.

 

He absolutely loved flying, and he loved that his quirk let him fly. He didn’t get to just fly around for leisure often, though. Not only due to time constraint, but also due to annoying red tape for regulations about “shared air space” and “private air space” and such. What, did they think he was going to crash into a helicopter while flying drunk or something? Him? The Number Three hero who was also the Winged Hero: Hawks? Come on…

 

The humming sound of Teddydrum Black’s rocket engine alerted him that Izuku was coming up close, and he opened his eyes to watch as they settled beside him.

 

Izuku smiled at him –thank God he wasn’t crying anymore– and held the remote for the Garden of Eden out. “Do you want me to change the sky for you? If you’re going to fly in the Garden of Eden, you might as well get the full experience!” he called out over the wind.

 

“I’d rather not try flying through the rain or anything like that, I already have to do enough of that in the real world,” Hawks joked. But as he performed a lazy barrel roll just for the fun of it, he already knew what kind of sky he wanted to fly through– “Can you make it nighttime like how it was when I first woke up here? The night sky in the city is completely different from how it is here.”

 

“Of course!” Izuku beamed at him, cheerfully affirming his request, “Do you want me to lower the stars for you too?”

 

Hawks stared at him in confusion. “What do you mean by lower the stars?

 

“Momoka-san said that she used to like flying in here on the Teddydrums, and that her favorite setting to use was this– ” Izuku fiddled with the dial that changed the time of day, causing the sun to set and the world around them to darken. The same shining white moon and stars appeared in the sky above them.

 

Then Izuku flipped a switch and suddenly, lights of various sizes blinked into existence around them. Hawks flew through a yellow light the size of his torso before he stopped himself to hover in place and gaze at them. All around him were mini-suns of yellow, orange, red, blue, and white that shined their color onto his pale skin and red wings. In the space between them was inhabited by shimmering sparkles of stardust– it was like he was right in the middle of a galaxy.

 

A bright grin lit up on his face as his eyes shined at the sight. “Like I said before Izuku-kun; Coolest. Shit. Ever!

 

He flapped his Mighty Wings to twirl through the stars; twisting around them, diving straight through them, reaching out his fingers to touch them and let the fingertips glide through the illusion. He flew lower to see that the stars reached all the way to the ground, bathing the forest and fields in gentle colored light. Then, he flew up.

 

He flew high into the sky, and when he passed by Izuku he told him, “I’m going to try reaching the end!”

 

He didn’t wait to hear the kid’s response. Instead, his wings took him higher through the shining stars. Unlike how the actual sky worked, it seemed that no matter how high he went, the air pressure stayed the same and he could breath just fine. And he took full advantage of the lack of limits usually enforced by nature to bring himself even higher.

 

Higher, higher, and even higher he flew up– going so fast that the light of the stars blurred into streaks around him, but even then he couldn’t see the end of the sky. He wondered if maybe it did go on forever. His exhilaration was so strong, he hardly noticed how labored his breathing was becoming from the exertion of it.

 

Finally he saw a change; what used to look like a boundless void of stars gained depth and flattened. He slowed his flight and the stars emerged from their streaks. As he got closer and closer, the lights of the stars at the very top which had seemed unreachable came closer as well.

 

He arrived at the very top of the Garden of Eden to find a black ceiling dotted with lights. He stopped just below it to raise his right hand and glide it across– the sensation of crystal stone chilled his palm and fingers. He let himself hover there to rest his burning wings and lungs.

 

“Wouldn’t reaching the end of the sky kind of ruin the beauty of it? Part of the reason people like to look at the sky is because it looks like it goes on forever– so knowing for certain that it does have an end would destroy that illusion, and therefore you would lose a part of the beauty you highly treasured forever…”

 

Hawks looked up at the ceiling of the fake sky, then looked down for the first time since he had begun his upward rise– only to lose his breath at the sight.

 

He knew that he hadn’t flown far enough to reach space, but below him was the view of a blue planet that looked suspiciously like Earth surrounded by the lights of countless stars.

 

“If people weren’t meant to reach the top, then why would the creator of this place make a view like this here?” Hawks chuckled to himself.

 

But the kid did have a point– both the sight of the ceiling above and the sight of the planet below made it clear that this sky was only an illusion, not to mention how Hawks was able to fly into the stars themselves. There was no real sky here, and there were no real stars here; only an illusion made of colors and lights.

 

But isn’t it because it was an illusion that it could be so spectacular? Hawks wouldn’t have been able to reach the top of the real sky or fly through the real stars like he could here. It was because they were an illusion, it was because this wasn’t reality, that Hawks could enjoy their beauty in a way that was impossible for the real sky.

 

Isn’t it okay that it’s an illusion? A lie can be just as valuable as the truth, can’t it?

 

–Hawks didn’t know the answer to that question–

 

Hawks retracted his hand from the ceiling, and released the tension and strain laced throughout his body and wings with a large exhale. He let himself fall back to Earth.

 

He fell head first, wings tight against his body, and watched the stars blur back into streaks. The imitation of gravity pulled him down faster and faster, and unlike the trip up he didn’t have to put in any effort. He was free to just let himself enjoy the lights passing by him and the breathtaking sensation of his drop and the air streaming around him.

 

It was like an incompatible mix between the adrenaline rush of a sky dive, and the relaxation of just letting himself be without needing to worry about anything else in the world. It was just him, the sky, the stars, and his fall.

 

This must be what freedom feels like…

 

Wouldn’t it be nice if he could just stay in this garden and sky forever?

 

He fell closer and closer to the Earth, and the Earth turned into a land, which turned into a view of the Garden of Eden.

 

His wings unfolded to stretch out wide behind him. They caught the air to pull him out of his head dive, and gradually, his fall slowed. He gracefully descended through the stars into the imitation of the gift from God, and into the meadow he had slept in.

 

Izuku and Teddydrum Black joined his descent. “Takahiro-san, why were you falling like that?! You really scared me for a moment there! I thought something might have happened to you…” Izuku fretted with worry reflected on his face.

 

Hawk’s boots touched the grass at the same time that Izuku disembarked from his robot, and as the boy moved up to him, his arm wrapped around Izuku’s shoulder while his hand ruffled the messy green curls –his own blond hair must look like a bird’s nest right now.

 

“Don’t worry kid, I was just enjoying myself! You’re sure lucky you get to come here whenever you want, you know…” Hawks sighed. He gazed at the chirping bluebirds in the trees next to the meadow.

 

You Will be Our Red String of Fate

 

The unexpected words caught his attention. Hawks turned his sight back to the Prince he had his arm around to see him kiss a familiar bracelet made of red string –same as the ones they had used for their little short cuts to and from Hosu. He held it between the fingers of his right hand while the bracelet glowed a bright gold for a single instant before the light dissipated.

 

Izuku held out the red bracelet to him.

 

“Doing “less than your best” isn’t the same as overworking yourself. So whenever you need to take a break– you can come back here whenever you want to, Takahiro…”

 

Hawks stared at the bracelet for a moment, then took it from Izuku. It fit perfectly when he put it on the wrist of his right hand.

Chapter Text

Oh Izuku my baby I was so worried– ”

 

His mother ambushed him at the train station with hugs and wet kisses before Izuku had even separated from Tokoyami. It was embarrassing to have this kind of overwhelming affection thrust on him in front of his classmate, but he understood that Mom must’ve been beside herself when she heard of his attempted kidnapping and stabbing. So he let her get it out of her system.

 

After they had arrived home together, Izuku stared at the family portrait that now held only the two of them.

 

He admitted a worry that he had been keeping from her, “Mom… my punishment says it’s In Progress now. And I– I think it has something to do with my morality but– I did something bad yesterday, and it’s not even finished. It checked it again and it still says it’s In Progress. When is it going to happen?

 

Izuku felt the warm arms of his mother surround him. “Izuku sweetie… I’m so sorry. You’ll make it out okay, do you hear me? Even if you do something you think is wrong again –even if things change, even if you change– I will always love you.”

 

His mom’s right hand cradled his face, gently turning it away from the portrait and towards her face. She gave him a watery smile.

 

“I don’t care if you hurt the person that hurt you, I only care that you got away from him and are back here in my arms. I won’t care if you have to hurt people in the future as a hero, as long as it helps bring you back to me. That may be a self-centered perspective– but that is also part of what it means to love, I think. If it’s not unconditional, there’s no meaning to it.”

 

Izuku pushed his face into his mother’s shoulder as tears welled behind his closed eyes. The two remaining members of the Midoriya family held onto each other with all their strength.

 

I love you, Mom.

 

I love you too, Izuku.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the UA students had left, Hawks got an entirely unexpected call.

 

“Why, if it isn’t the Flame Hero: Endeavor! What have I done to deserve the honor of receiving your call?” he said the words sarcastically, but he was actually only half-sarcastic about it. Even after reaching a top 10 ranking and reaching the Number Three rank just below the man, his hero had never tried to initiate contact with him or even a casual conversation.

 

Hawks had been quite disappointed about that actually, but he told himself that it didn’t matter. People have been letting him down his whole life, he shouldn’t have expected anything different

 

Endeavor’s gruff voice responded through the land-line phone of his office, “I’m calling to investigate how you obtained the information that both the League of Villains and the Hero Killer were present during the Hosu incident despite literally being five hours away from what was going on.”

 

Hawks fiddled with a small stray feather to give his free hand something to do. “Did the Chief of Police not let you in on that? I would have thought that you’d have the clearance for it but if you don’t– ”

 

“No. The Chief of Police told me what you told him, it’s just that what you told him makes no sense!

 

“Ah, I see… I was caught off-guard by the prophecy stuff too, but you sort of just have to take it as it is. It’s not like future-telling quirks haven’t shown up before.”

 

“But combined with a pocket dimension quirk? What are the chances of that kind of thing happening?!”

 

Hawks sighed as he released his feather into the air to lean his head onto the palm of his hand, “I don’t know what else to tell you, Endeavor. There’s no secret conspiracy to how I got the info– the kid literally just told me a vague, totally unhelpful prophecy. There’s nothing else to it.” –If you discount the Fruit of Fate and Penguindrum stuff…

 

Endeavor was silent for a long moment before he asked, “ …Do you truly believe that child can see fate? That something as nonsensical as fate even exists?

 

Hawks lifted his head off of his hand at that. Okay, the kid definitely told him something–

 

Frowning at his phone with narrowed eyes, concern grew inside of him. “I don’t know what Izuku told you Endeavor-san, but whatever it was– you should take it seriously. His words aren’t the kind you should take lightly.”

 

“ …I don’t have time to talk anymore,” with that said, the man hung up.

 

Hawks didn’t take the rudeness personally. Whatever the kid had told Endeavor was surely nothing good…

 

“The culmination of your entire being, life, and fate is in worse shape than Endeavor’s –who I am assuming is around the top of your “fake hero” list because you’d be the fake if he wasn’t– How can you go around preaching this when your soul is more corrupt than the people you are accusing of corruption?”

 

Once it was the dead of night and Hawks was off-duty, he walked out of his office and up the stairs of his building to the apartment he stayed in during his work hours. Sequestered on the dresser next to his bed was the old, ratty Endeavor plushie he had bought all those years ago.

 

He picked it up to stare at it intently, trying to push down his worry.

 

“You’ll make it out of whatever happens alright, won’t you Endeavor-san? You still haven’t even made it to Number One yet…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“You didn’t tell Takahiro anything about the Evil Queen.”

 

Izuku glared at his reflection in Momoka’s Mirror from his spot a bit farther away from the Mirror than usual. He was against the wall sitting in a chair facing the mirror with a dark wooden desk in front of him. Momoka was in the same spot in her mirror but was in the middle of setting up a chain of white dominos on the desk.

 

“Would you tell him about Endeavor?” he retorted indignantly.

 

“Oh God no! That man’s image is the foundation behind how he’s somewhat accepted his place in life now– if that Sun was destroyed, Icarus would fall into great despair indeed. But you may not have a choice in that. Truth is a lonesome little thing; If you move away from it, it will give chase. And the Evil Queen has already been set up to fall, that alone might be enough to cause Icarus’s fall.”

 

The clack of the third domino being placed down from Momoka’s Mirror rang throughout the room. “Sometimes, things must get worse before they get better.”

 

Izuku sighed down at the empty desk in front of him, “I know! But– there must be someway things can go that doesn’t end with the complete breakdown of Takahiro-san’s emotional stability, it’s already bad enough as it is…”

 

“Well, if the revelation could be made bittersweet instead of just bitter, that might help. For example– if the Evil Queen were to realize the nature of his evil, and then resolve himself to become a good ruler, then that may help Icarus retain some of his hope.”

 

“Is it even possible for Endeavor to actually change at this point? He seems hopeless to me.”

 

“It’s possible. But it will require him to notice that he is wrong, and for him to become fully dedicated to revolutionizing himself. It is not something that you can force upon him.”

 

His crown clinked on the desk as he let his head fall against it, it magically stayed on his head. Izuku groaned, “I do not want to put my hopes on the unlikely chance that Endeavor of all people will change himself, but…”

 

He lifted his eyes from the surface of the desk to look at the mirror. “You’ve realized it as well, haven’t you? The workings of fate at play here…”

 

“But of course.” The clack of the last domino rang from the mirror, and Momoka spread her hands to present a set of ten white dominos set up in a row.

 

She pointed to the first on the left– “The Number One hero, who is the Symbol of peace, is the current main pillar holding up society’s order. But he is on his last legs with his belief in himself running out.”

 

She pointed to the second on the left– “The Number Two hero, a fake hero who is burning his own fate to ashes, will be the one to take up that rank if the first falls. But he is already on his way to falling himself due to his own fire.”

 

She pointed to the third on the left– “And the Number Three hero, a child who doesn’t even know if he wants the fate that was forced upon him, will be the one to take up that rank if the second falls. But that very same fall and the truth behind that man may lead to his own fall.”

 

“If it were to just so happen that all three of these knights fell one after the other…”

 

Momoka pushed on the first domino, causing it to fall into the second, which fell into the third, which fell into the fourth, until all ten dominos had fallen onto the top of the desk with a clatter.

 

“ –The rest behind them may be unable to support that weight. Fate does not set up events like this for no reason. When the old order has fallen, a new one will have to replace it– that is what revolution means.” 

 

“But whose revolution will it be? What kind of ending will it bring about?” Izuku asked these questions that could not be answered while running a hand down the side of his face, “A rapid destabilization like that will lead to panic and increased crime– How can we stop this?

 

Momoka eyed him with Izuku’s irises turned pink.

 

“Is preventing revolution truly what you want? The state of these three heroes suggests to you that society must be changed. You are not content with the toll it has taken upon the first and third, and you are not content that the second was allowed to flourish under its rule. For this kind of miracle to occur– sacrifice is required.”

 

The chair fell to the floor with a clatter as Izuku shot out of his seat. He yelled at his reflection in rage, “We cannot treat the sacrifice of the innocent who will get caught up in this lightly! We cannot treat the sacrifice of Toshinori and Takahiro lightly! If they are sacrificed for this revolution, then it holds no meaning to me! I cannot accept it!

 

“Then don’t accept it, defy it!” Momoka proclaimed with Izuku’s voice, “One person alone changing the fate of society in its entirety is a fool’s errand, but surely the Prince of the Crystal can change the fate of two people. Perhaps you have already set things in motion to change their fate.”

 

Leaning on the desk, his hands clenched into fists.

 

You know it’s not that easy…”

 

“But of course.” Momoka plucked the fallen forms of the first and third dominos to cradle them in the hands of Izuku’s image.

 

“That’s why I wonder how you will insert yourself into this tale, my dear Prince of the Crystal…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming back to school after the mess that was the workplace training week was an eventful affair. Apparently, UA students making the news two times in succession bolstered the greed of the journalists, because when Izuku went back to school they were once again crowding around the gate.

 

Things weren’t exactly the same as last time though– for one thing, Izuku was being discretely watched by heroes on the look out for another kidnapping attempt on him. There were also some heroes watching over his mother and the house. UA refused to let the League get another shot at Izuku now that they knew he was a target.

 

His mother had a String of Fate bracelet that she could use for a quick escape just in case as well. And the physical version of the Penguindrum was inside of the most secure safe that the school could provide, which was hidden under the floorboards– Apparently the Principal had the foresight to prevent someone from trying to steal it now that Izuku’s house was a possible target of villain interest. The League probably has no idea of the value behind it and might just over look it as a regular book, but there was no guarantee that was the case.

 

But the most notable difference was that he was now the main target of the journalists. As soon as he was within sight of the prowlers, the majority of them gave up trying to harass answers out of the other students to power-walk towards Izuku like a crowd of extremely focused zombies.

 

A figure came rushing out of the UA gate to intercept them. When it placed itself in front of Izuku, he was able to see it was Hizashi-sensei. He had one palm out towards the journalists, signaling them to stop.

 

“Mass media, cease and desist! UA will remove you from the property!” his voice sounded from the speakers of his gear.

 

Like a beggar in the cold of winter, one of the closer reporters cried out, “Please Present Mic-san, Midoriya-san, just one statement! Answer one question, that’s all we ask!”

 

“What part of cease and desist do you not understand?!”

 

Izuku doesn’t even know how he would answer any questions concerning what’s happened–

 

Suddenly, an image of the Winged Hero laying on a pile of blankets in Takahiro’s meadow popped up in Izuku’s head.

 

–Actually, he knows exactly how he would answer them.

 

“Mic-sensei,” Izuku got Hizashi’s attention, “I would be okay with answering one question, as long as it’s only one.”

 

Hizashi’s eyebrows formed a crease on his forehead. “Are you sure about that little listener? You’re not obligated in anyway to respond to them.”

 

“Yeah, I’m sure. Don’t worry.” Izuku flashed him a smile and tried to feel the confidence that came so easily when he was acting as the Prince of the Crystal. Hizashi accepted his decision, moving to stand beside him instead of in front of him.

 

The reporters were ecstatic, Izuku could see greed at the prospect of a scoop shine in their eyes. The journalist who had spoken out before became the unofficial spokesperson of the group. They asked their question, sticking out a microphone towards him –One of the ones with a news channel camera then, excellent– but all of them were listening in, “After coming into contact with Hero Killer Stain, how do you feel about the man’s proposed ideology concerning heroes and the buzz that it’s causing with the public?”

 

A completely insensitive question to ask someone who Stain tried to kidnap and murder that cashes in on the most profitable controversy of the time. It’s also exactly the question that Izuku wanted them to ask –he can always count on the uncaring nature of hero mass media.

 

Izuku carefully directed his polite smile towards the reporter and not at any of the cameras surrounding him.

 

He answered in a neutral tone, “Well, I can understand how people have been swept up by his attempt at revolution, when he spouted such pretty words. But they were only words. When one thinks carefully on the meaning behind them, one will find that there is no meaning. They were crafted purely based on emotion. There was no thought given to the practicality of society enacting that sort of revolution. That is why even if people believe in his words, they will not be capable of achieving the better end that the Black Knight foresaw– because even the best of intentions can pave the way to Hell. That is what I think.”

 

The reporter stared at him stupidly, so his words must have been as vague as he had hoped. Then, the reporter stuttered out, “Uh… can you– explain what you mean by that?”

 

“Sorry,” Izuku lied. “I only consented to one question.”  

 

Right on que, Hizashi guided him away from the crowd of journalists. “You heard him! You had your question– Now scram!” 

 

As they passed through the metal gate, Izuku could hear his teacher snickering. The mean grin on Izuku’s face matched it.

 

Just a bit later in classroom 1-A during his classmate’s casual chatter about their training experiences –and Izuku’s friends fretting over his run in with a serial killer– the topic of conversation shifted to the Hero Killer.

 

“Hold on. Sure, he’s scary– but did you see that video, Ojiro? You can really see his tenacity, his one-track mind. It’s kind of cool, don’t you think?”

 

No,” Izuku interrupted Kaminari’s conversation with a deadpan voice.

 

Kaminari glanced at Izuku, then Tenya, then paled as he looked back to Izuku. “Oh– uh, sorry you guys…”

 

“No, it’s fine,” Tenya responded in a collected manner, “He’s certainly a man of conviction, so I can understand why people would think that of him. But his convictions lead him to believe that society requires a purge, and no matter what one’s motives are, that’s just wrong.”

 

Tenya knifed his hand through the air and strongly announced, “So that no others like myself emerge and suffer my fate, I will correct my course and walk the path of a true hero!”

 

Izuku wondered how Tenya would feel if he knew what a huge hypocrite Izuku had ended up being on that matter. He had heard from Tenya that Shouta-sensei had visited him in the hospital to tell him that the next time he did something like that against the teachers’ orders, Tenya would be expelled. Izuku wondered if Shouta-sensei would tell him that too if he knew what had happened–  

 

Hoping to kill any sense of admiration Kaminari held for the man, Izuku stated, “Regardless of his “conviction”, the Hero Killer was misguided about how to get the change that he wanted out of society in the first place. Personally, I just find him to be naïve, so I don’t really understand how people can find him cool to be honest…”

 

Naïve?! You really think the Hero Killer is naïve?!” Kaminari exclaimed with eyes wide in shock. Many of Izuku’s other classmates stared at him with incomprehension as well.

 

Izuku gave a light smile to Kaminari. “Yes. I told him that myself after he was captured.”

 

You told a serial killer who tried to kill you he was naïve?! Straight to his face?!

 

“I think it’s time to get in our seats now– ”

 

You can’t just leave the conversation at that Midoriya!

 

Unfortunately for Kaminari, the conversation was left at that.

 

Izuku went through his day as normally as he could. Shouta-sensei eyed him with his single eye when he came in and wordlessly placed a form on Izuku’s desk. Reading it over showed it to be a form to officially change his hero name– After having “Prince Deku” spread around so much Izuku guessed it would be simpler to just keep it. He was bothered by it at first, but as Takahiro said before– it’s a change that suits him. And he also likes that it’s a name Takahiro helped him make, so Prince Deku it is.

 

His lunch group increased by 50% when Tokoyami joined them and brought his usual group consisting of Shouji and Kouda. Izuku embarrassed Hitoshi-kun with his overreaction to the news that he was training under Shouta-sensei, as well as the news that he would also be taking the practical exam with them. He shared discreet looks with Shouto-kun suggesting they would speak with their teacher about Endeavor at the end of the day. And in the middle of lunch Takahiro sent him a text solely consisting of a laughing emoticon and a link to a news website featuring Izuku’s impromptu interview. The media sure works fast

 

But while changing into his hero costume for Basic Hero Training, Izuku was forcibly reminded of the events with the Hero Killer once more.

 

“Woah, Midoriya! Is that a tattoo or something? It looks cool!”

 

Izuku followed Kirishima’s line of sight to the large image of a flesh colored rose that was placed right in the middle of his stomach, it was about the size of his closed fist.

 

“Oh, uh– this is actually a scar…”

 

Their conversation got the attention of the other boys in the locker room and Satou asked incredulously, “How on Earth do you get a scar that looks like that?!

 

“Not that it doesn’t suit you!” Sero cut in, as though trying to prevent Izuku from feeling self-conscious, “It’s very… elegant looking– more like a piece of art than a scar, you know?”

 

“Oui! It only adds to your beauty~☆!”

 

Midoriya’s scars are none of your business.”

 

Everyone turned to see Tokoyami glaring at the people questioning Izuku from where he was standing next to Shouji, who placed one of his many hands on Tokoyami’s shoulder in a calming gesture. Tokoyami also knew exactly how Izuku had gotten that scar.

 

“I-It’s okay Tokoyami-kun! This might be a good thing to explain in advance anyway…” Izuku looked at his observers. “I have an ability I can do in my pocket dimension that heals while leaving a flower shaped scar like this one. I had to use it on myself after the Hero Killer hurt me.”

 

“Oh… sorry for bringing it up man,” Kirishima apologized with a worried look while scratching at his cheek. Satou echoed him, “Yeah, we shouldn’t have pried like that…”

 

“You don’t need to apologize, it’s fine.”

 

While in the middle of putting on his gloves, Izuku caught Shouto staring at his bare left hand– where his palm had a jagged scar of faint pink from their fight during the Sports Festival.

 

Izuku used that same hand to brush the red side of Shouto’s bangs out of his face, ghosting against the boy’s own scar. He gave Shouto a gentle smile that matched his words, “You don’t need to apologize either, Shouto-kun. I actually like looking at this scar more than the one, because it’s a reminder of our bond. In my mind– it’s even more beautiful than a rose.”

 

Shouto’s face flushed as he glanced away from Izuku’s face. “ …Why are you so good at saying that kind of stuff?”

 

Sero stuck his head back into Izuku’s conversation. “Did you just call a burn scar that you got in a fight with Todoroki “more beautiful than a rose”?! Who says something like that?! What is going on with you two?!

 

Having finished changing, Izuku took Shouto’s hand to guide him out of the locker room towards Ground Gamma, not even looking at Sero as he shot back, “Come on, Sero-kun. At this point if you can’t figure it out, then really that’s on you…” Both he and Shouto ignored the other boy sputtering in response.

 

Shouto blinked at him as they walked. “Are we… dating now?”

 

“Not necessarily. We can start dating whenever you want to Shouto-kun.”

 

“ …Why don’t we just say we’re dating but wait until we finish getting certain things settled to start actually going on dates, I think that might be less confusing.”

 

Izuku beamed at him and asked excitedly, “Does that mean I can call you my boyfriend now?”

 

Yes, absolutely.”

 

“What’s this about boyfriends?” Ochako inserted herself into the conversation, apparently they had gotten close enough to their group of friends to be overheard.

 

“Shouto-kun and I are boyfriends now!” Izuku happily proclaimed, holding up Shouto’s hand as though to prove his point. Shouto just looked at him with amusement.

 

Both Ochako and Tsuyu gained relieved expressions on their faces. “Oh finally! Ever since the Sports Festival it’s been like you were dating, even though you officially weren’t, and I’ve been just dying watching you two!”

 

“Same, kero…”

 

“What are you two talking about?! I never noticed anything romantic between Izuku-kun and Todoroki-kun! And congratulations by the way…”

 

Ochako and Tsuyu stared at Tenya as Tsuyu questioned, “You really didn’t notice? They were being very obvious about it.”

 

Tenya moved his hand as though to push up his glasses, but failed to complete his movement because of his hero costume. It was left to awkwardly hang in the air. “ …Admittedly, I was rather self-absorbed during that time.”

 

Ochako smiled at Tenya gently. “Well, I’m just glad you’re okay again, Iida-kun.”

 

“I think we’re all glad about that,” Izuku echoed her thought.

 

Tenya looked away from them, making Izuku think he might be blushing under his helmet.

 

The exercise All Might had them do today turned out to be perfectly suited for the Teddydrums. Tenya, Ojiro, Ashido, and Sero were all agile in their own way –with Sero having a particular advantage in the cluttered structures of the fake city– but Izuku was easily able to beat out his competition flying on Teddydrum Black. When the race was finished, Ashido hugged the Teddydrum’s leg, who eagerly returned the affection. “Don’t think I’ve forgotten about getting a chance on flying on your robots, Midoriya!”

 

Of course, Izuku would never think he’d be so lucky…

 

Then, during his congratulations, All Might whispered that they needed to talk after class about One for All.

 

Izuku was frustrated at the timing of that, but when he quietly explained to Shouto he wouldn’t be able to join him in talking to Shouta-sensei today, Shouto had simply waved it off saying they could do it tomorrow instead. He still had his bracelet so Izuku could feel secure in knowing he’d be safe at least, and it was probably going to take a while to remove Shouto from Endeavor’s custody anyway, but he was still left feeling uneasy.

 

The sun was beginning to set as they situated themselves in the chairs of their chosen conference room, basking Toshinori’s now frail form in a soft glow. The man examined Izuku with a serious look in his sunken eyes that made Izuku feel even more uneasy.

 

“Before I get into why I called you here… can I ask you about what happened with the Hero Killer? I already heard from Gran Torino how you were the one to defeat him, but you couldn’t take credit because it was… “excessive”,” Toshinori’s tone wasn’t judging, it sounded like he was simply concerned.

 

But Izuku still gulped before answering, “Well… basically I was so angry at him for what happened with Tenya-kun that I wanted to hurt him in the same way Tenya had been hurt when I was given the chance. But there’s also a bit more to it…”

 

Staring at the clenched hands in his lap instead of the hero in front of him, Izuku confessed, “I’ve been… changing since the Sports Festival. I care less about hurting people who hurt others, the level of violence I used against Stain was something that I would’ve previously found somewhat disturbing –even if it was against a villain– but in that moment, it didn’t bother me in the slightest. I think it has to do with my punishment, since around the same time I first noticed this, it had changed from Pending to In Progress…”

 

Izuku heard Toshinori take a sharp breath in.

 

“That– That’s what you were referring to then,” Toshinori realized, “when you asked me if you could still become a hero even if you were less good.”

 

Izuku nodded in confirmation, he still couldn’t bring himself to look up. A large hand on his shoulder unconsciously brought his eyes back to his hero though.

 

Toshinori continued to look at him with serious eyes. “Then let me tell you now, my boy– yes. You can still become a hero. Even if you change, I believe you can continue to be a good person and a good hero. I may not know anything of “fate”, or how your punishment will come to be, but I have faith in you that this will be the case.”

 

Toshinori’s lips quirked into a tiny smile. “So you should have faith in yourself as well.”

 

The dread he had been feeling at the thought of his impending punishment seemed to lighten ten-fold at the words of his hero. Izuku gave a watery smile back.

 

“Thank you, Toshinori-san. I– I needed to hear that… ”

 

“I’m glad I could help you with your burden, my boy.” Toshinori then cleared his throat to get back to what he originally wanted to talk about, “Gran Torino also mentioned that you got a look at the Nomu that attacked in Hawks’s area, and saw it had multiple Fruit of Fate cores.”

 

His expression set into a serious stare at that. “Yes. Frankly speaking, Toshinori-san, there’s no way for that to occur unless a Child of Fate caused it. Do you know anything more about this?”

 

Yes…” Now it was Toshinori’s turn to stare into his hands. “Our current theory is that the villain who injured me so heavily in the past is actually alive…”

 

As so, Toshinori told a story about two brothers, and how the elder one had the power to take and give quirks– All for One. While the younger one had an unnoticeable quirk that could pass down quirks. That quirk combined with a stock-piling quirk that was forced upon him by his brother to form One for All. Toshinori ended the story on his fated battle from years ago, where he had thought he killed All for One.

 

“With the Nomus, it’s almost certain that that man is alive, but even so– I would like to confirm it…”

 

Izuku instantly caught on. “You want to check his status in the Penguindrum since he’s probably a Child of Fate.”

 

“Exactly.” Toshinori nodded.

 

With that, Izuku transported them to the library in the Crystal Palace. As Izuku willed out the Crystal World’s copy of the Penguindrum and flipped through the pages, Izuku stated, “All for One is the Witch from your storybook right, Momoka-san…”

 

“That is correct,” Momoka confirmed. She observed them with a neutral expression and half-lidded eyes.

 

Toshinori jolted at that and exclaimed, “You– You know of All for One?! And you knew All for One was the Witch?! Why didn’t you mention anything before?!”

 

“If you told Izuku about it earlier, I would have mentioned it earlier,” was Momoka’s listless response, “I’m not like the two of you, you know. I’m not dead, but I’m not alive either, and things that are not living are not meant to interfere or add anything new to stories. For that kind of miracle to occur, sacrifice is required.”

 

She gave a sardonic grin as she gestured to herself in Izuku’s reflection. “Think of me as your Magic Mirror, I can only reflect what’s already here. I can’t tell you any answers you wouldn’t be able to see for yourself.”

 

“Is that so…”

 

Izuku interrupted, “Well, it looks like All for One really does think of himself as All for One…” And Toshinori read the page in front of them at his prompting.

 

All for One:

 

Child of Fate

 

Punishment – Incapable of breathing without life support and loss of eyes

 

Next to him, Toshinori sighed, “I know blindness isn’t technically something to take lightly but– it honestly feels like he got off lightly in terms of punishment if you consider everything he’s done with that quirk…”

 

Izuku snorted, “It’d be nice if fate took that kind of thing into consideration.”

 

Toshinori sighed a second time, but then seemed to think to himself for a moment.

 

He turned towards Izuku to ask, “This is mostly for curiosity’s sake but… can you look up Shimura Nana? She was my predecessor.”

 

“Of course.” His fingers flicked in the air to reset the Penguindrum’s pages without much thought.

 

However, when the pages stopped to reveal the black-inked words of Shimura Nana’s fate, Izuku lost his breath. Beside him, Toshinori paled dramatically. The Number One hero brought a trembling hand up to his mouth in wordless shock.

 

Shimura Nana:

 

Child of Fate

 

Status –  Deceased

 

Punishment – Grandson, Shimura Tenko, becomes Shigaraki Tomura at the hands of All for One

Chapter Text

The next day, Toshinori took the day off to visit a site he never went to often. The graveyard was tinged in the colors of regret and mourning, and Toshinori knew that his teacher would’ve preferred that he celebrate the joys of her life rather than despair the tragedy of her death, so he avoided visiting her grave.

 

But how could he not despair the tragedy of her death –at the fate of her family– after learning what he had?

 

So here he was, laying a bouquet of orange-yellow marigolds in front of Shimura Nana’s tombstone. He plopped himself down on the ground to sit cross-legged, not having the energy necessary to stand the entire time he planned on being there.

 

He stared at the name on the tombstone for a long while.

 

When he finally found the words he wanted to say, Toshinori sighed out, “ …Shimura-sensei, I wonder– are you watching everything that’s been happening from wherever you are? Have you seen… what’s happened to me, and what’s happened to Shimura Tenko? What would you say if you had know this would be your grandson’s fate…”

 

Toshinori averted his eyes from Shimura Nana’s name to gaze listlessly at the marigolds.

 

“I… I hope that you haven’t seen all of this. I hope that you’re up in Heaven, believing that I completed my duty just as I should’ve years ago, that the son you gave up for your duty is living happily with his own son. If you knew what happened to Shimura Tenko, I’m sure you would blame yourself for him being punished for your so-called “sin”. That you would think you had unknowingly passed a curse down upon your family.”

 

“Young Midoriya, ” the sight of the flowers started to blur from tears in his eyes as he whispered in a hoarse voice, “he said that there was nothing I could’ve done again, that what happened to Shimura Tenko –to Shigaraki Tomura– was fate, but even still… I feel like I have failed him. That I have failed you.”

 

His hand pressed hard against his strained eyes. He could feel himself shaking like he had when he first read those words.

 

He whimpered through gritted teeth, “It’s too unfair! How can I call myself the true “Number One” hero if I couldn’t even change the world to be a place where children aren’t punished for the sins of their elders?! How can I call myself your successor when I couldn’t even save your family?! The further down this path I tread, the more I feel like I am failing instead of progressing…”

 

I’m sorry that I’m not enough, Shimura-sensei…”

 

The words that Midoriya had told him after the USJ incident rang through his mind…

 

“So many options, so many paths– But none of them happened. They were all just meaningless regrets and wishes for what “could have been”, in the end. Everything turned out like this instead. And that… That’s precisely what fate is. That’s precisely what fate means Don’t forget this as you go forward to the destination of your fate, wherever it may be, All Might…

 

As the breeze cooled the skin of his face where his tears had left their mark, Toshinori thought he could feel the poison of his self-hatred turning in his chest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Shouta dismissed the students of 1-A early because of All Might’s absence, he was hoping to take advantage of the opportunity to also go home early seeing that it wasn’t one of the days he had a training session with Shinsou. That hope was quickly crushed as soon as he noticed that Midoriya and Todoroki were purposely lingering in the classroom, waiting for everyone else to leave.

 

Then, after Todoroki started talking about why they stayed, Shouta suddenly had a lot more worries than just being unable to go home early

 

“ –He’s stopped training me like that, but I don’t like being home when he’s there. He doesn’t like that I’ve made friends and he doesn’t let me do anything “unproductive”, so I feel uneasy about visiting mom or going out with friends in case he comes back and sees I’m not there…” Todoroki was staring at Midoriya’s hands holding his in support instead of at Shouta as he explained, “and… I’m scared to be near him when he’s mad, I’m afraid that he’ll take it out on me even though he’s only hit me for training or when I’m not doing what he wants…”

 

It took all of Shouta’s will to keep his rage contained –he can’t let it out now, his student will think he’s angry at him, and the last thing he needs is to deal with another angry authority figure.

 

“You shouldn’t have to feel afraid about him hitting you at all… It doesn’t matter if the abuse isn’t consistent at this point– it’s abuse. And past abuse would be enough grounds for UA to get you removed from his custody anyway,” Shouta stated in a carefully steady tone.

 

This was huge– the Number Two hero engaged in domestic violence against at least one of his children and his spouse. Because of the Endeavor’s image and power, this had the potential to backfire badly on Todoroki had he gone to the wrong person for help. And yet here he was, confessing the sins of his father to Shouta.

 

But he knew exactly why Todoroki had taken that chance on him– Out of the corner of his working eye, Shouta could see Midoriya staring at him.

 

He has to make sure he doesn’t betray the trust that was placed in him…

 

Shouta reoriented himself so that he was crouched by the chair where Todoroki sat instead of standing tall in front of him, hoping to make himself seem less intimidating. He didn’t try to physically comfort the boy though. Not only was Midoriya doing a good job with that, but physical contact with an adult male might just increase Todoroki’s discomfort.

 

“First of all, thank you for coming to me with this. There will be a bit of a process to collect the testimony needed to present a case against your father, which has to be air tight to make sure he can’t do anything about it. Do you know if your older siblings or mother would be willing to submit their own testimony?”

 

Todoroki finally focused his mis-matched eyes on Shouta. “ …I don’t know if Mother would be able to, that man is the one paying for her care at the mental hospital. He might stop if she gets involved. Fuyumi… she’s staying at the house with me because she doesn’t want me to be alone with him, but she’s very non-confrontational. I don’t know how she would react to this… I don’t really know that much about my siblings in the first place.”

 

Todoroki’s hands fidgeted with Midoriya’s as he continued, “But from what I remember of Natsuo’s attitude towards our father, he would definitely agree to testify against him. My last sibling, Touya, is… missing.”

 

Alarm shot through his chest upon hearing that, though he made sure it didn’t show on his face or his voice when he asked, “What do you mean by missing?

 

Todoroki stiffened slightly, but a gentle squeeze by Midoriya’s hands seemed to comfort him enough to answer, “I– don’t really know the details of what happened, to be honest. Touya was always the one that got on the worst with our father, and he had a powerful fire quirk that he couldn’t use because he inherited the constitution of his skin from Mother so if he used it, it would hurt him.” He looked away from Shouta to gaze into the air in remembrance.

 

“Around five years ago, Endeavor accidently injured me in training to the point that I had to go to the hospital. When I got back, I heard that Touya had gotten so mad at our father that he tried to fight him. Of course, he couldn’t do much against the Number Two hero even if the man wasn’t using his quirk, and at some point Touya… used his quirk.”

 

Todoroki clenched his hands together as his brows furrowed in grief. “By the time I was back home, Touya was already at a different hospital getting treatment for his burns. I heard the wounds were extensive, so it was slated to be a long process. But around the end of it, Touya just– vanished. He left a note saying that he wasn’t coming back…”

 

“Did Endeavor try to look for him?”

 

“I think so, but he was trying very hard to keep it from going public too, so…” Todoroki’s voice was edged with anger that burned in his eyes, “There was probably more he could’ve done if he hadn’t been concerned about that.”

 

“I see…” Shouta closed his eye for a moment as he pinched the bridge of his nose –what a mess this was. He reopened his eye to focus on his student again. “Would either of your siblings be able to take custody of you?”

 

Todoroki blinked at that, like he hadn’t considered that possibility before. “Natsuo is staying in a dorm at college now, so probably not for him. Fuyumi… she could probably get her own place, but she works as a teacher and I know they don’t get paid much.” His student reverted his gaze to his hands again.

 

“I… don’t want to be a burden to either of them. It’s not like they ever really got to know me anyway…”

 

“We’ll let your sister decide for herself if she can financially support you. And if not, UA has given aid to students with financial difficulties in the past,” Shouta tried to reassure him.

 

For the first time since prompting Todoroki to speak, Midoriya cut in, “My mom is willing to take custody of Shouto-kun if he can’t stay with his siblings.”

 

Both Shouta and Todoroki turned to look at the freckled boy in surprise.

 

Midoriya blushed a faint pink before explaining, “I– I asked her about it previously, just in case. She works in accounting, so she wouldn’t have a problem financially supporting two children.”

 

Todoroki stared at Midoriya, then one end of his mouth quirked up in an almost smile. “Don’t you think we should date for a bit longer before you invite me to move in with you?”

 

Midoriya’s pink face turned bright red as he waved his hands frantically through the air in denial. “That– That wasn’t my intention! It wouldn’t mean something like that! I just– wanted to make sure you had a place to go and that you would be okay– ”

 

“I know. I’m just teasing you,” Todoroki stated in his usual monotone voice.

 

Please don’t flirt in front of me…” Shouta pleaded in exasperation, moving his hand to cover the eye that wasn’t already covered by his eyepatch. He had seen these two’s out-of-nowhere romantic development –it was like both of them were actual princes from straight out of a fairytale– but that didn’t mean he had to see this much of it.

 

However, he was glad that Todoroki still had enough good humor in him to be able to flirt at a time like this– it was much better than the emotionally dead boy he had received at the beginning of the year.

 

And really, Todoroki’s earlier demeaner should’ve been a giveaway that something was wrong. Shouta had known that his mother was in a mental hospital, so he had just assumed it had to do with that. He shouldn’t have made that kind of assumption

 

Midoriya’s bow was so intense that it slammed his head on the desk by Todoroki with a bang. “I’m sorry Shouta-sensei!

 

Todoroki’s apology was much more subdued, “Sorry Aizawa-sensei.” He then gently pushed Midoriya’s forehead back up and told him, “Don’t apologize when I was the one instigating things.”

 

Shouta really lucked out when Midoriya decided to romance Todoroki specifically, that boy is a much-needed emotional equalizer for him.

 

Their explosive fight during the Sports Festival flashed through his mind.

 

At least most of the time…

 

“Let’s just get back on topic,” Shouta sighed as he steepled his hands by his mouth. He then gained a serious expression as he looked at Todoroki. “I’m not sure what you want out of this other than being separated from your father, but there are some things we need to take into consideration…”

 

“My number one priority is you and your well-being. Because of his actions, Endeavor should really be facing criminal charges for this– but that might not be the best for you. If he’s charged for it, this will become a public matter, which means both he and you would be under scrutiny and criticism. It would follow you for the rest of your life, and some people may even try to harass you or claim that you’re lying. Not only that, but he will probably try much harder to defend against a public criminal case than a private civil case, so it may make it harder to remove you from him.”

 

At this point, he started alternating the focus of his vision between both Todoroki and Midoriya. “Because of this, I believe we should direct our lawyers to barter with him, dropping the criminal charges against him in exchange for him acquiescing to our civil case to remove you from his custody. He has a lot to lose if those charges are pressed, so hopefully that will be enough to pressure him into backing off.”

 

Todoroki glanced down in thought for a few seconds before he looked at Midoriya. “I think that would be fine… but what do you think, Izuku?”

 

Midoriya’s mouth formed a tight line of displeasure. “I think that he deserves to rot in jail, and to have a sword run through him.”  –Run a sword through him? There’s no way Shouta misheard that but what?– “But Shouta-sensei is right that this way would be a lot easier. And also…” Midoriya glanced away from both of them as he considered something Shouta wasn’t privy to.

 

“ …I don’t want you to worry about this, but it may be better if we get as much time as possible out of Endeavor standing as the Number Two hero.”

 

That… sounded like nothing goodExplain Midoriya.”

 

Midoriya fidgeted with his fingers as he looked at Shouta in nervousness. “I can’t tell you everything, and it’s not like I got a prophecy or anything, but– Endeavor’s fate is already set up for him to fall from grace at some point. And also– I know fate very well, so based on some things I’ve learned, I can tell that it’s setting up for something…”

 

“And that something is…?”

 

“ …Probably the fall of the top three heroes, which could lead to the fall of the current social order concerning the hero industry.”

 

Shouta gave up on containing his composure, holding his face with both of his hands. He groaned loudly in frustration.

 

He swears that his life was never this complicated before he got involved with this Number One problem child

 

 

 

 

 

 

The days flew by for Izuku as the time for final exams approached. Shouto had been right that his brother Natsuo would be eager to give his own testimony against Endeavor, and his sister had also agreed to it– stating that although she had been hoping their family could be repaired, she wanted to support Shouto’s efforts. She also agreed to accept custody over him.

 

The Principal was aiding them with the legal process, and had also been informed about Izuku’s prediction for the hero industry. Toshinori, on the other hand, hadn’t been told. They were waiting until he had fully worked through his feelings on the fate that had befallen his mentor’s grandson. Placing heavier pressure on retaining his Number One rank through his ill heath could wait until after he had a stronger mental foundation to handle it.

 

In the meantime, Izuku studied for his finals, spent time conversing with his friends, and went to his second counseling session that he had set up before the Sports Festival. He had been offered an additional session, but at this point the majority of his worries were based on other people’s worries. He felt too uneasy about disclosing other people’s problems, so he declined having another session. He also took Hatsume to the Workshop in the Crystal World and had a very hard time getting her to leave at the end. He could only pray that she didn’t start making teddy bear robots and bombs as well

 

He also kept in contact with Takahiro, though it seemed like the man hadn’t gone back to the Garden of Eden for a break yet. He also kept in contact with Togata, who meet up with him once just to fret over him about his run-in with a serial killer. People seemed to be doing that a lot now.

 

Izuku had been so focused on the development of Shouto’s case and everything else that it had taken him a while to notice that Kacchan was acting… strange. It almost seemed like he was outright avoiding Izuku, and Kacchan never avoids anything. If you looked up the word “confrontation” in a dictionary, his picture would probably be featured.

 

A week before the exams, the back of Izuku’s head was hit by a stray elbow, and he turned around to be reminded of another confrontational person.

 

“Sorry! My tray just couldn’t get around that big head of yours, Prince Deku,” Monoma drawled at him with a fake smile.

 

Izuku was actually rather impressed that Monoma had the boldness to start something in front of his extensive lunch group, which included Hagakure today as well. That made a total of 10 versus Monoma’s 1. Izuku knew that a physical fight wouldn’t be taking place, but…

 

“How rude! As a student of UA, you should be more conscientious of your surroundings!”

 

“Do you think we are unable to see through your deceit? What a black-hearted person you are for a heroics student…”

 

“Kero, how unpleasant…”

 

Hitoshi stared at his fellow Potential Child of Fate with half-lidded, baggy eyes and sighed, “Monoma, did you want anything, or…?”

 

Monoma never dropped his fake smile. “I heard that some of 1-A ran into the Hero Killer, the golden boy here in particular– ”

 

Izuku’s eyes changed from staring at Monoma with vague amusement, to staring at him with piercing intensity.

 

“I’m just going to stop you right there,” Izuku interrupted in a neutral tone, “to let you know that the Hero Killer stabbed me in the gut, and that didn’t stop me from completely destroying the foundation of his ideology with words alone. I advise you to choose your next words wisely.”

 

“ …Did you really?”

 

Yes.”

 

“I see…” Monoma began his retreat, averting his eyes to look across the lunch room. Izuku guessed that he wasn’t pretending that he was smart at least. “Oh, what’s this? I think Tokage is calling for me. Sorry I can’t stick around any longer to enforce the greatness of class 1-B!”

 

As Monoma started power-walking away, his classmate Kendou took his place. “Huh? Tokage isn’t calling for him, what is he on about now…” She watched him leave in confusion before turning back to Izuku’s group to say, “Seems like he was about to trouble you guys, sorry about that. That guy’s heart is just kind of, you know…”

 

No. Izuku doesn’t know, because nothing is wrong with his Fruit of Fate on the outside. Maybe the inside of it is burning or something…

 

“Anyway, if you’re wondering about the practical portion of the final exam, I heard from some upperclassmen that we’ll be fighting robots again!”

 

Izuku blinked and muttered to himself, “Why… did I not think to ask Togata-senpai? That’s such an obvious thing to do– ”

 

“Thanks for the tip, Kendou-kun!” Ochako cut off his mumbling.

 

“Yeah! It’s super helpful!” Hagakure added on cheerfully.

 

At the end of the day, they spread word of this to the rest of their class. Ashido and Kaminari were relieved by the news, confidence spiking with the knowledge that at least the practical exam they would be able to pass. But while the rest of Izuku’s classmates became lively, Kacchan just scoffed, “Humans or robots, I’ll just blast them all. What’s the big deal, morons?!”

 

Kaminari cried out in offense, but Kacchan ignored it to pass through the door of the classroom. His eyes never looked over at Izuku.

 

He made the snap decision to go after him. “Ah– Wait Kacchan! I want to talk about something!”

 

Rushing out the door, Izuku ran up to Kacchan. He must have heard him because he stopped in the middle of the hallway, but he didn’t turn his head to watch Izuku approach.

 

Izuku called out to the back of Kacchan’s head, “Kacchan… is something wrong? Why are you avoiding me?”

 

“ …I guess I need to stop being a damn coward. But we can’t talk about this in the open.”

 

With that, a rough hand grabbed on to Izuku’s forearm to pull him down a side hallway and into a deserted dead end. It seemed like he was trying to find an empty room but he still won’t look at Izuku

 

His arm pulled itself out of Kacchan’s grip so that his hand could hold the side of Kacchan’s face, it forced him to face Izuku. Red eyes examined Izuku carefully, as though Kacchan was trying to find something in him. The Fruit of Fate in his chest had changed– only half of it was burning now.

 

“What is this about, Katsuki?” Izuku intoned with an unyielding voice.

 

Katsuki’s stare intensified as his mouth screwed itself into a tight frown. Then, the last thing Izuku would’ve ever expected rang out to fill the empty silence between them.

 

When I told you to kill yourself, did you actually consider it?

 

Izuku’s mind blanked. His hand involuntarily released Katsuki.

 

“ …What?”

 

Katsuki repeated himself in a low voice, “When I told you to jump off the roof and hope that you were reborn with a quirk in middle school. Did you think about actually killing yourself?

 

“ …No.”

 

“Why did you hesitate before responding?! Are you lying?!

 

Katsuki made a move with his hand as though he was going to slam Izuku into a wall as he often used to do. Izuku unconsciously flinched at the sight of it, and Katsuki instantly froze. He dropped his hand into a clenched fist.

 

“I…” Izuku didn’t know how to answer this question in a way that didn’t sound bad. “I never really considered doing it– but I thought it would be nice if something like that happened, you know? If I could actually just close my eyes and then open them to find that I had the life and fate that I wanted. I didn’t really care about what it would take to get there. But I knew that wouldn’t give me that, so I didn’t consider it…”

 

Katsuki went unnaturally still at his answer, and Izuku barked out a bitter laugh as a thought came to him. “Now that I think about it, though– it did give me what I wanted. And I hated it.” 

 

“What– What are you talking about?” Katsuki’s voice wavered, staring at Izuku with wide eyes.

 

I really did die that day, though it wasn’t intentional on my part– a villain killed me on my way home. And then when I opened my eyes again, I had my father’s quirk.” His right hand came up to grasp at his chest. “You don’t remember me having a dad, right Katsuki? That’s because he gave up his existence to bring me back– that’s how I got my quirk and my power.”

 

The boy in front of him staggered into the wall behind him.

 

“What the fuck. Why is everything so fucked up? What the hell is this shit–

 

“Katsuki,” Izuku interrupted, “Why are you asking about this?”

 

“Because I was fucked up!” Katsuki’s voice finally raised itself into a familiar scream, “And I didn’t even think about how fucked up I was until I heard that you almost died! And now I know that you already died!

 

Katsuki clawed at his face in anger as he once again averted his eyes from Izuku’s form.

 

He growled, “How did you describe it– “You took joy in my pain and failure to manifest a quirk, because the lower people are compared to you the better you must be”? What a fucking understatement! I made your life hell! You can’t tell me you wouldn’t have “thought it would be nice if something like that happened” if I hadn’t made living quirkless awful for you!”

 

“ …You played a major part in that, yes. But it’s not like you were the only one looking down on me for being quirkless, Katsuki. All of society was looking down on me– had thrown away the possibility of me amounting to anything. You were the one who demonstrated it with violence, but none of our teachers or classmates bothered to do anything about it. My troubles were a group effort. Everyone failed me.”

 

Don’t make excuses for me! I wasn’t fucking five anymore; I knew what I was doing was wrong –that using my quirk on you to hurt you was illegal– I just didn’t give a crap until now!”

 

Katsuki’s eyes seemed like they were trying to bore holes into the palms of his hands –the hands that Izuku had used to anticipate pain from.

 

The other boy’s voice quieted down into a whisper, “I just– I don’t understand. Why would you bother having anything to do with me, after that? Why would you want to help me? Why didn’t you report what I did to UA? It doesn’t make sense– you should hate me.”

 

Izuku finally moved over to Katsuki’s side of the hallway to take his face into his hand once more. His green eyes forced their stare into Katsuki’s red.

 

“But I don’t hate you. And I do want to help you. Maybe it was unhealthy of me to think this way, but… I had always kept the hope that we could be friends again, Katsuki. And I still want to be friends. Even as you got worse and worse, even as the pain got worse and worse. I… still admired you, and your strength. I wanted to prove myself to you. I thought– How wonderful would it be if I was blessed by the wheel of fortune and fate like Kacchan is, that was…”

 

Izuku had a realization as his mind flashed to Takahiro and Takahiro’s hero.

 

That was the Sun I was striving for. It was blinding and painful and it burnt, but I reached for it anyway…”

 

“If something is blinding and painful and burns…” Katsuki closed his eyes, his voice seemed almost pained now, “then obviously you shouldn’t reach for it, Izuku!

 

“Maybe, but I’m the only one that can make that decision.”

 

He finally let go of Kacchan to start walking away.

 

“I hope this talk helps you become the kind of person you want to be, Katsuki…”

 

“Sometimes, things must get worse before they get better”

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Midoriya headed down the hallway, there was a scramble as three people hidden around the bend rushed to find hiding places.

 

How did this happen? Hitoshi certainly didn’t know.

 

All he knew is that he had happened to catch sight of Midoriya being pulled away by that aggressive classmate of his, and had followed the two out of worry that Bakugou was going to start something. He hadn’t even realized that his hero and Midoriya’s boyfriend were also tailing him until they all awkwardly stared at one another lined up against the wall out of view, and by that time they had quickly been distracted by the question that had come out of Bakugou Katsuki’s mouth.

 

“When I told you to kill yourself, did you actually consider it?”

 

“I never really considered doing it– but I thought it would be nice if something like that happened

 

A shiver crawled down Hitoshi’s spine along with his dread.

 

Hitoshi certainly hadn’t known what he was getting himself involved in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Hizashi saw that the first thing his husband had done upon coming home was get drunk, he knew that something must be very wrong.

 

He wished he had waited longer before taking off his hero gear to make the conversation easier for Shouta –and he was about to get out the light-duty version of his gear just for that– but then Shouta sighed from his seat at the countertop bar of their kitchen, “It’s okay, Hizashi. Just come sit by me.”

 

Following Shouta’s wishes, Hizashi sat in the empty chair to the right of his husband –the side that Shouta would be able to see him from. Then he signed, Did something happen with Todoroki’s case?

 

“No…” Shouta anxiously rubbed at the eye covered by his eyepatch. “Everything concerning that project has been progressing well, we’re just trying to make a financial aid plan for Todoroki and his mother in the case that we aren’t able to get Endeavor to concede with continuing his payments for her medical exp