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Unlikely Company

Chapter Text

 

Shigaraki was deposited onto the floor of the League of Villain's hideout. Arms and legs splayed out on the cold wood. They were riddled with gunshot wounds.

He wheezed. Shigaraki let out a string of nonsensical rambling. Some words making sense others not. He’d been obliterated, his Nomu was gone.

He heard the click of Kurogiri's feet against the hardwood floor. They were muffled like they were underwater. He grabbed something from behind the bar counter. A small white and plastic box. Barely distinguishable from a normal first aid kit.

Shigaraki’s spit built up, he gargled and continued to rant, none of his words making sense. He couldn't stop talking. He was too out of it to even notice what he was saying. He gasped for air. He began wheezing more. His breath grew frantic. He couldn't move. He moaned. Shit.

Kurogiri floated back towards Shigaraki, he opened the box and looked for what he needed. Their supply was low, but this was an emergency. The man was losing an unnerving amount of blood.

Kurogiri sighed, wondering what he would do about the floors to clean the blood from it later. He didn't stay on that train of thought for long. His master's health was of the utmost importance, if he didn't do something soon he would die of blood loss.

That hero that shot him seemed way too trigger happy, the mist villain thought to himself. Kurogiri produced a syringe from the kit. And filled it with the right amount of fluid. Then with no hesitation, he inserted it with practiced ease into Shigaraki’s neck. He kept the dosage low. And Shigaraki gasped for air and fell unconscious.

***

Fuck, was all Shigaraki could think of when he first woke up. He didn’t know how long he had been unconscious.

“Shigaraki Tomura,” he heard a deep voice say. “I'm glad you're awake.

He felt like his head was stuffed with cotton balls. He began getting up, but immediately regretted it when pain shot through his entire body.

He was in his bed, Kurogiri must have warped him there from the downstairs bar. It took him a few minutes to register that the mist villain was in his bedroom.

“ Kurogiri”, Shigaraki rasped. “Get Sensei on the line now.”

***

“Sensei,” Shigaraki said when the phone call began. “All Might was not weakened. The symbol of peace was healthy. The brats were too strong and the grunts were finished too easily.” with each word his voice rose. “Sensei you were wrong!”

After a moment, “no I was not” a calm voice responded at the end of the line, “we were just not prepared enough. We underestimated them,” he mused.

Underestimated, what a load of bull, Shigaraki thought.

A few moments passed.

“Did you retrieve the Nomu?” Sensei asked, voice muffled by static.

“It was blown away” Kurogiri said.

“What!?”

“I could not trace its whereabouts, or coordinates, my quirk won't work to get it back.”

“After all the work put into making it,” Sensei sucked in a breath, “I suppose it cannot be helped. It's unfortunate” he considered.

A silence passed over them.

Then the green haired boy came to Shigaraki's mind.

“Sensei, there was something that bothered me,” Shigaraki began again, “There was one kid as fast as All Might.”

“Oh?”

Shigaraki tensed up, scrunching his hands. “He made me hesitate, If he hadn't gotten in the way, we might have been able to kill All Might.”

Shigaraki gripped tight to the sheets under him. They began to fray as his quirk activated. He thought about the boy yelling, the word SMASH piercing the air. The little brat.

“The brat!” he seethed.

“I realize that you have your regrets. However, this attempt was not in vain. Let this failure be a stepping stone. Gather the elite, we now know grunts won't work. Take all the time you need. Those of us in the shadows cannot move freely at the moment, which is why we need a symbol like you. Shigaraki Tomura, next time show the world that you are to be feared.” Sensei encouraged. Shigaraki could hear a smile in his voice.

A symbol to be feared, Shigaraki thought to himself.

 

***

That night Izuku couldn’t calm down following the attack on the USJ. He was restless. His mother came to pick him up from the school’s infirmary. He should have felt tired from Recovery Girl’s healing, but he couldn’t rest. After he talked to All Might and a man named Detective Tsukauchi, Recovery Girl gave him the all clear.

His mother was hysterical, tears brimmed her eyes, rolled down her cheeks and she enveloped Izuku in a soft hug. He melted into his mother. He didn’t even notice her babbling. It was weird seeing her at school. If it had been a normal day, Izuku knew that he would be jumping with anxiety at the sudden display of affection. Scared that certain classmates might see them. But that didn’t matter to him right now. She whisked him away. Hailed a cab home. And ushered him inside.

 

It was slightly raining.

Izuku leaned against his mother in the backseat. His eyes almost closed. Almost. He let the repetitive sounds of the city surrounding him wrap around him. He heard the beep of the crosswalk and the rhythmic sounds of the car they were in. The engine was barely audible but it supplied Izuku a comforting constant. The wet crumple sounded as the car’s tires rolled on the watery pavement. Everything felt unnaturally calm. Like everyone was oblivious of an upcoming danger. Izuku tensed in his seat. Everyone felt so far away, like they were in a different world.

Of course they were. So was his mother, no one knew what he did. No one around him knew All Might’s mortality. How close his hero had come to dying. Not even his classmates who were there.

The attack already felt like a far away dream, it kept replaying in his head like a movie. No, not a movie. A series of vague pictures. They made his heart race. The car struck a pothole, his breath hitched.

Ka-chunk , unknown forms stepping out of black mist. Ka-chunk , the same mist separating the class. Ka-chunk , Izuku jumping off the ship. Ka-chunk, gravity pulling him down. Ka-chunk, ‘One for All’ surging, him flicking air. Ka-chunk , that beaked monster almost killing Aizawa Sensei. Ka-chunk, it digging his face into the ground. Ka-chunk, Izuku punching it. Ka-chunk, that pallid hand reaching at Asui’s face. Ka-chunk, at Mineta’s. Ka-chunk, His legs breaking. Ka-chunk, the hand flooding his vision.

And then loud gunshots assaulted his ears.

And then the car stopped.

Izuku was brought out of his stupor. He noticed, that instinctively, he had buried himself into his mother’s form, much like he had when he was younger. He hadn’t even noticed. Her hand had moved to rest in his curls. He felt her warmth. And he lifted his head, he saw that her top was slightly wet, near where his eyes would have been. Had he been crying? He hadn’t made any noise throughout the ride. Normally, he was a loud crier. This was different.

That night she made katsudon. He waited on the couch. He didn’t say anything, neither did she. By then his initial anxiety had turned to something different. He could feel a pit at the bottom of his stomach. He felt weighted. He didn’t cry. He felt both calm, but not calm. Both tired and not.

And when the time came for him to go to bed, he lay there. He didn’t sleep.

He lay there the next day too, until noon.

classes had been cancelled.

***

Shigaraki’s eyes snapped open in the middle of the night, he didn’t know why he woke up. His eyes adjusted to the darkness. A bitter taste filled his mouth. The events came streaming back to him. How he tried and failed to kill All Might. How he was shot upon his escape. Somehow, as if responding to the memory his arms and legs began to ache. It wasn’t like the hot rushing pain of before. It seemed more tame. He wondered if Kurogiri had gotten someone with a healing quirk to see him after giving him the needle.

He glanced down at his body, covered by a heavy blanket. He tried moving his neck to see better. It cracked, like it hadn’t been moved in a while.

Shigaraki sighed,  lifting the blanket off of him. To his surprise he could move. Shigaraki groggily sat up, and swung his legs to the side of the bed. His whole body ached, blood rushed to his head. His brain felt muddled. He glanced down at his bandaged arms, he’d been changed out of his outfit from the attack.

In a moment of surprise, he grabbed at his face. His breath caught. The hand wasn’t there. He rubbed his face, tousling his stringy hair to get it out of his eyes. Then he spotted it out of the corner of his eye, the hand was lying on his bedside table. He looked at the white limb that was a stark contrast to the dark of the room. He remembered that it had been knocked off his face during the attack. He let out a sigh of relief.

Father.

It was there.

Next to the hand was a reading lamp, he switched it on and yellow light filled the room. It was then that Shigaraki appreciated how late it was The night was quiet. There wasn’t even the sounds of bar hoppers stumbling through the streets or the periodical  rustles or noises of cars on the rode. The only thing that could be heard was Shigaraki.

He breathed heavily, and the bed rustled beneath him. He shifted his weight and brought his elbows to his knees, hands clasped together between his thighs. A wry smile cracked on his lips, he had failed so completely. He narrowed his eyes and looked down at his hands.

They were rough, and the familiar sensation of something disintegrating came to his mind. He reached out to some paper he kept on his night table for this very reason. He pinched it between his thumb and index finger. And then, he brought the rest of his fingers around it, and felt it crumble quickly. It soothed his nerves.

He remembered the frog girl, and the purple boy and the green boy. How close they were to dying at his hand, only to be saved by their teachers. He especially thought of that green haired boy. He could almost picture his voice breaking the silence, yelling  SMASH  while attacking Shigaraki. Shigaraki scowled an itch returning when he pictured the boy’s face. Green hair and green eyes, round like saucers. The expression had made him pause… why though ? Who was he? He was so fast, he was so strong.

For some reason, seeing that boy had stopped Shigaraki where he stood.

It wasn’t out of fear though.

It was unnerving to see someone so similar to All Might. He made Shigaraki mad, if he hadn’t been their Shigaraki would have succeeded in killing the symbol of peace. But then he reconsidered. He shouldn’t have been making excuses for himself. Shigaraki had failed; so, either he could wallow in self pity and let the setback stop him or he could learn from it. Shigaraki chose the latter. It was a setback, not the end of the world.

He sat there in the silence for a little longer. Thinking about what he could have done differently in the fight. When that didn’t work, he reconsidered his tactics ‘ gather the elite’ Sensei had said. It had become apparent that having low level grunts doing work for him wouldn’t cover it. He needed to create a party to join his campaign. He scrunched his eyebrows together.

Shigaraki turned and reached into the drawer of his bedside table. There he found a notebook and some pencils along with some thin gloves that only covered his pinky and ring finger. He cracked it open to a new page. Then he began. Scrawling on the page: ‘ party members’. He wrote it all down, his handwriting sloppy from the grogginess of waking up in the middle of the night. He for the most part disregarded the lines and thoroughly filled out the page, arrows and lines were jutting out from every which way.

This is what he must do, he could tell.

When three pages were filled with senseless rambling, Shigaraki got up and started pacing the floor, unable to sit still. His hands moved through the air, hyper but with nothing to do. His mind was racing from one thought to the next. Then he sat down again, he felt antsy.

He heard a light tap on his door, Shigaraki ignored it. Leg jumping up and down while he continued to think. He needed to clear his head so he could sleep and think well in the morning. But it didn’t stop.

He realized that he hadn’t taken his writing gloves off, and at the same time he remembered the handheld gaming console in his bedside table. It should be in the same drawer that his notebook was in. He returned the notebook and pencil that he was writing with, he had found them splayed on the ground across the room. He must have cast them aside in the middle of his hyper thinking. He took a deep breath to calm down. And brought the handheld into his hands.

Shigaraki turned it on. As soon as his finger left the power button, it booted up with a familiar light and chime. There was yet another knock on his door. He had forgotten about that. A deep voice said his name.

“Shigaraki.”

It’s Kurogiri , Shigaraki thought. Without taking his hands off of his game he nuzzled into his bed under his blanket.

“What is it Kurogiri?”

“I heard some noises from up here.” The mist man propped open Shigaraki’s door.

“It’s fine.”

“I advise you to go back to sleep, you need your rest or you won’t heal properly, I’ve taken out the bullets and someone with a healing quirk came. But it will all be in vain if you don’t rest.” Kurogiri explained.

“I’m in bed now.” Shigaraki was growing impatient. His face absorbed in the light of his handheld’s screen.

He didn’t even look at Kurogiri. The mist man swirled and reached for the light.

“Don’t,” Shigaraki said without even looking at him, “I’m not going to turn this off and you don’t want me to damage my eyes.”

Kurogiri’s yellow angled cat-like eyes shifted, Shigaraki looked at him from the corner of his eye. He could tell from the narrowed slightly downward facing crescents that he was annoyed. But Kurogiri was not the boss of him.

Then, Shigaraki re-immersed himself into his game. The reflexes of his hands had stopped the character on his screen from being killed. With a woosh Shigaraki felt a presence leaving his room. He continued mashing the buttons of his handheld. His mind wandered and he let his muscle memory take control. He calmed down, the clicking buttons felt right under his fingers. His hands tensed and un-tensed. Soon, it was enough to calm him down.

Shigaraki fell asleep, much to Kurogiri’s later annoyance he hadn’t turned off the light... His handheld lay atop his chest. It rose and fell under it.

Chapter Text

Izuku tried to be prepared to return to school when classes began again. Images of the events of the USJ kept assaulting his mind. They brought along with them the familiar anxiety that had gripped him after his encounter with the sludge villain about a year ago. At least now, he was familiar with how to react to it. He was prepared, he had to be okay. If he cracked now, he would never become a hero.

The morning of the day school started back up came. Izuku woke up earlier than normal. He decided to use this extra time to extend his morning run. It was obvious that he wasn’t going back to sleep any time soon. After zipping up his water bottle and keys in his running pack Izuku headed out.

When Izuku finally stepped outside, he breathed in the chilled morning air. The sun had barely come out. Then, he started running. He went longer and harder than usual, his feet thudding against the ground. And he let his mind wander. It was nice he wasn’t thinking about anything in particular. A few times, he felt his thoughts drift towards school and the USJ. But he stifled them, and tried to distract himself with the sound of his feet on the pavement or his steady breathing. On his way back into his neighbourhood, he spotted a familiar head of spikey blond hair. Kaachan must have ran in the morning too. Perhaps he just went earlier than Izuku.

When he reached his apartment complex, Izuku decided to run up the stairs out of fear of stinking up the elevator. He had sweat a lot today. He inserted his key into the door and unlocked it. To his surprise, he found his  house to be empty. His mother had packed him his lunch. He found a note attached to a bento on the dining room table, right next to it was a water bottle. She must have had to head to work early that day. Since usually, she was sipping her morning tea when Izuku returned home, ready to ask her panting son how it was while tossing him a bottle of water. Izuku grabbed the water bottle and unscrewed it while reading the nice, handwritten note. He splashed it onto his face and chugged it too, his mother unable to scold him. It mixed with his sweat.

Sweat… I need to get to the shower.

Izuku grabbed some paper towel and wiped the water off of the floor. He then hurried to the bathroom, grabbing his uniform and hanging it on the door. After undressing he stepped into the shower. He closed his eyes, while water pelted his skin. He pointed his face upwards towards the faucet. It was like rain, he thought. It reminded him of the aftermath of All Might punching the sludge villain. It was like him causing the water of the shipwreck zone as it imploded in on itself, shot up and rained down on everyone. Izuku let out a deep breath he hadn’t known  he was holding in.

When he was done washing up, he put on his school uniform. Then he went to the fridge. His mother’s note from earlier had also said that she made him breakfast. He ate it, brushed his teeth, packed his bag and was out the door. He jiggled the key while he turned it. He fiddled with the doorknob out of habit to make sure it was locked. Then he started on his commute to school.

 

Most of the time Izuku spent his morning commute to school alone. He’d sit in the train car with earbuds in and calmly look over his hero analysis notebook. Even though Kacchan took the same train, he often ignored Izuku even if they were in the same car. But this morning, Izuku felt a pair of familiar eyes on him. He took out his earbud shutting off his music and turning to meet the two crimson eyes of his friend... wait not friend. Izuku wasn’t sure what he was. Bully, enemy, rival, childhood friend turned tormentor, something… else? It definitely wasn’t any of those, Kacchan hadn’t talked to him unless required for class, or when they were fighting... Izuku decided on classmate.

Izuku didn’t speak first, he learned his lesson not to start conversations the hard way. Not that they had talked recently.

Kacchan glanced down and scowled when Izuku returned his gaze, “Hey nerd.”

“M-morning Kacchan.” he sputtered out

They were actually not that far from each other, so they didn’t have to raise their voices. Had Kacchan purposefully sat near Izuku this morning? Or was he forced to sit here because this was the only free seat? Or wait, wouldn't he rather stand than sit next to Izuku? He wasn’t sure. More questions sprouted in Izuku’s head. Why did his mind race whenever Kacchan was involved?

“Oi Deku, Stop thinking so loud.”

Izuku hadn’t noticed it but Kacchan had moved to fill the seat next to him. His heart thumped at the proximity. He was right next to him. Nose scrunched up and eyebrows brought down low. Shoot, Kacchan wasn’t a morning person he had to tread lightly.

“S-s-sorry Kacchan.”

Holy, he was so close! They were sitting next to each other. Izuku shuttered at the thought of him aggravating Kacchan. He felt the phantom pain of becoming victim to his explosive quirk.

“Don’t make that fucking face, Deku.”

Izuku paused unsure what to say, “What face?”

“Whatever.” and with a huff, Kacchan plugged in his own earbuds into his phone and looked away.

What... was that?

What?

What?

After a moment of consideration, Izuku just decided to copy the boy beside him, continuing what he was doing before. He re-opened the notebook in his lap, and took the pencil that was keeping his spot. It was turned to the page on Present Mic Sensei. He had recently written a lot about his teachers.

Although, Izuku didn’t dare open his page on Aizawa Sensei. He was an underground hero. And the required anonymity wasn’t gained through his students writing about him in such a public place. And besides... Izuku didn’t want to be reminded about how easily the beaked mass of muscle had beaten him into the ground just a few days earlier.

Gosh, he hoped the man was healing alright.

Then Izuku circled his mind back to his notes. It seemed that going through an intense event like the attempt on All Might’s life didn’t hault Izuku’s crazy fanaticism. And after seeing Present Mic’s quirk in action so close up, nothing could stop Izuku from writing about it. He was right about the device around the neck of his costume being used to direct his quirk. However, not all of its applications displayed the other day had been shown in the videos of his fights that Izuku had watched. Nor was the nature of his quirk. He had seen a path of faint yellow erupt when he yelled. It pushed back the villains. What was it? Was that the device directing the sound? How was that even possible? How did a sound based quirk blow people away anyways? How many disciples did it have to be? Why did he splay himself out when he yelled? Would Present Mic Sensei answer these questions if Izuku asked at school? Or would he think Izuku was creepy? He hadn’t been his teacher for that long.

Before Izuku could finish his thoughts, he saw his stop come up. The button was already pressed. And Kacchan moved to stand beside him, ready to get off the train. Izuku had forgot about him. Although he had kept conscious of whether he was mumbling aloud out of caution.

Kacchan let out a tch.

They exited the train, and started the trek from the station to their school. Was this going to be a regular occurence now that they were going to U.A.? They were neighbours after all, they basically had the same commute. But Kacchan seemed a bit off today. Izuku lagged a bit behind while the two of them walked to school together. Or at least if one could call two people walking  with a five meter gap between them together. Kacchan walked fast. And Izuku couldn't muster up the courage to close the gap.

They entered the classroom together. Kacchan leading and Izuku following after him. Then, Izuku took his seat behind Kacchan. He rested his bag next on one of his table legs and let out a deep breath. Kacchan glared behind him. Perhaps, Izuku had sighed too deeply. At that moment, Ashido sauntered over. She was early today. Izuku had observed that she chatted a bit outside of the class before entering. She was really sociable.

“Midoriya-kun,” she beamed at him. “Good morning!”

“Morning Ashido-san.” He smiled up at her. He was a bit confused though, why was she talking to him?

She leaned over his desk, and lowered her voice, “I see you had company to school this morning.”

Before Izuku could muster up a response, Kacchan snapped his head back at them. He didn’t say anything. But Ashido walked back to her desk with a grin, high-fiving Jirou on her way before sitting down. Izuku blinked, trying to process what just happened. Kacchan glared at Ashido. He looked both angry and confused at the same time. Mina sniggered from her place across the classroom.  

She probably didn't mean anything, wanting to get a rise out of Kacchan.

Kacchan was being teased… U.A. was amazing.

“Morning,” said a voice from the entrance of the classroom.

Izuku turned his head towards the large door. And there was his teacher, thoroughly wrapped in bandages. Can he even see through those bandages? Izuku thought. That was when the class broke out into chaos.

Aizawa hobbled to the front of the classroom. Aizawa Sensei greeted them, muffled through the bandages. And he told the class about the upcoming sports festival

There were a few gasps. Their teacher began to explain what it was and the security measures for this year in response to the villain attack.

 

The rest of the day was filled with nervous excitement as the students distracted themselves from the USJ incident by throwing themselves wholeheartedly into preparing for the festival. Challenges, and declarations were made. A sunken eyed, tired looking purple haired boy among them. And Izuku had promised All Might that he would make sure he was noticed at the sports festival.

Izuku’s peers made it easier for him to get excited for the festival too, it seemed that the events from the other day were already moving to the back of his mind to make way for new thoughts.

***

It had only been a few minutes into their first interaction and Shigaraki already decided that he hated this healer. Who did she think she was?

“All I’m saying is that I’m not being paid enough to deal with this asshole.” said the short brown haired med school student. “I mean, who randomly decides to get up and pace their room within less than two days after getting shot like 10 times? I’m not Recovery Girl you know? My healing quirk doesn’t work that fast!”

“Obviously not,” Shigaraki bites.

“Whatever, I better be paid double the initial amount, because he put us back like two days.”

The woman jabbed her thumb in the air towards Shigaraki, and the pale man hissed at her.

Shigaraki, much to his chagrin was still bedridden, apparently walking like that had set back his recovery. He didn’t understand why though. When he woke up this morning he found himself unable to move through his pain.

“That doesn’t explain why he was able to pace the room like that.” Kurogiri said.

“Fuck,” The woman sighs, “It negates pain while healing but it didn’t mean he was healed. And he basically tore through all progress I made by pulling that stunt. I told you in the first place, ‘It’ll be a bit over a week and a half before he’s back to normal.’ Now we’ll be lucky if it takes two. If you didn’t have that master of yours I wouldn’t have even considered helping you.”

The petite brunette slumped down into a chair next to Shigaraki’s bed, running fingers through a rats nest of hair. She began muttering to herself.

“Why does that man’s pockets have to be so deep.” she grumbled.

“I assure you money is not a problem.” Kurogiri attempted to calm her down.

She aggressively rubbed her cheeks, jostling her glasses, “okay...you’re paying me tripple for my troubles. I have a life you know. Fuck, I have midterms for medical school coming up soon, and it’s final year so I gotta do well. And I’m starting to get eyebags from all the extra freelance work I’m doing.”

Shigaraki buried his head into his pillows, “Kurogiri, shut this jabbering bitch up. She talks too much.”

She responded with a scowl and the middle finger.

“Do you wish us to wire the money to your account or Giran’s” Kurogiri responded ignoring Shigaraki.

“Mine, that bastard screwed me over last time. Make sure it’s discreet though. I know you can, I don’t deal with idiots.” She sat up and grabbed her bag from the corner of the room. “Now, I’m trying something new with ingestibles, so it’s either those or my arm.”

The healer pulled on her sleeve to reveal a series of bite marks.

“Fuck, I had your arm in my mouth?” Shigaraki scrunched his nose in disgust.

“Believe me, not my first choice either. Ingestibles then?”

“Have they been tested to work?” Kurogiri butted in.

“Yes, it works. It doesn’t even slow the healing.”

“Okay”

She produced a blue lidded container from her bag. “Great, I’ll give you half of them now and the other half will be given after I get my money. Take one per day. And in case you get any ideas wait 2 days before you start walking. And a week before anything more strenuous than that.”

She put the container into Kurogiri’s hands, then she left the room and leaving the two of them alone. As soon as she exited Shigaraki glared at Kurogiri.

“Her arm was in my mouth,” he spat.

“It’s her quirk, it only activates if someone is biting her.”

“What type of kinky shit is that?”

“It is healing you, is it not?”

“If you weren’t so useful Kurogiri, I’d kill you.”

In response Kurogiri’s eyes shifted to make a downward facing crescent shape. What is he so pleased about?

Shigaraki looked as Kurogiri opened the container to find that it held cookies, of all things. Chocolate chip cookies. What? Shigaraki didn’t even want to think about how that woman had integrated her quirk into cookies. He shivered.

Kurogiri handed him one and closed the container, “might as well eat one now.”

Shigaraki had to admit, it tasted good, the chocolate melted in his mouth and it was both crunchy and soft. As soon as he finished eating the cookie, he felt a strange air pass over him and his limbs didn’t hurt as much. He felt an air of tiredness. And he passed out.

***

When Shigaraki regained consciousness he felt much like he did when he had woken up the other night. He felt the urge to leave his bed. But then he wouldn’t be able to heal fast enough. It was already slow. Fuck, two weeks! That man who had shot him was going to pay. Shigaraki started breathing heavily. Damn it, he needed to move. But he knew that he couldn’t get up.

He thought about his attack.

***

It had turned out that two days passed quickly, Shigaraki slept through it for the most part. Kurogiri, followed the healer’s instructions. He periodically re-applied Shigaraki’s bandages, gave him the cookie when it was time and fed him. Which both of them weren’t pleased about. And Shigaraki was finally walking again.

One morning, Shigaraki sat on a bar stool, with Kurogiri behind the counter polishing a glass. He was pouring over the contents of his notebook. His handheld had been discarded next to it. What he could decipher was interesting enough. There were a few things that kept repeating. Not good enough grunts, poorly executed escape, underestimation of certain people, over reliance on the Nomu. A few people kept popping up too, All Might was one, another was Eraser Head, and finally that green haired boy...who was he?

Shigaraki jolted up in his seat. He ignored Kurogiri’s protests against strenuous movements. Shigaraki stood where he was, trying to remember where he put it. How had he forgotten about the information he had retrieved from U.A. when he infiltrated  the school just last week before the attack. Where were they, he began searching the bar.

“Kurogiri, where is the flash drive from U.A.?”

In response, Kurogiri set down the glass he was polishing and expanded his hand to create a small warp. Out of it dropped the aforementioned flash drive. Without any thanks, Shigaraki snatched the small USB from the counter between the two villains.

“Get my computer too”

Kurogiri obliged, and surrounded the countertop with his mist. Once it cleared, Shigaraki’s laptop sat on the bar, unopened. Shigaraki moved to open it bringing forth his notebook. He plugged in the flash drive, got through its encryption and got to work. He sifted through the documents. And found what he was looking for. It was the information on the students of class 1A.

It wasn’t very thorough, there was no notes on the student’s performance in the course… early reports hadn’t been filed yet. But there was general information, along with pictures of the students from their school ID’s. He scrolled through them. He hadn’t met too many of them, but he recognized a few of the faces. Shigaraki stopped at a picture of a normal looking boy with an untamed green rat’s nest for hair. Looking at the curly haired boy smiling was very different than facing him in battle. If he had passed him in the street normally he would have completely disregarded him.

He looked innocent, freckles littered his cheeks, and subtle crow’s feet sprouted from his big, round and green eyes. Shigaraki read the name on the file. Midoriya Izuku. Shigaraki scoffed at this. Seriously. Of course his name was that. Green valley, how ironic.

“Midoriya Izuku.” he tested.

He quickly read through his file. It was written that he had a strength enhancement quirk. Honestly, they really hadn't take  the children's quirks into account when planning the attack. Assuming that the hired muscle would have been enough to to keep them at bay. Shigaraki read the rest of Midoriya's file and downloaded it. Then he downloaded the rest of the contents of the USB device onto his computer as well.

He looked through the rest of the students. Going through the ones that had caused trouble and starring them.

Iida Tenya: Engine. He was the one that escaped and got aid.

Hanta Sero: Tape, Uraraka Ochako: gravity nullification, Bakugou Katsuki: explosion and Kirishima Eijirou: hardening. All of those kids had isolated Kurogiri’s body, and aided in temporarily rendering him useless.

And, finally Todoroki Shoto: half hot, half cold. He was one of the boy’s trying to aid All Might near the end.

Half hot, half cold? What did that shit even mean? Part of him was encased in ice, and he used it to attack. His file said he had gotten in on recommendation.

“Wait, Todoroki,” why did that name sound familiar?

He scrolled through his document and found that under parents the name Todoroki Enji was written. Holy shit, Shigaraki had attacked the USJ too hastily. If this wasn't even on his radar, they hadn’t planned the attack well enough. He had assumed all of the students would be weak. But that boy was the flame hero Endeavor's son.

Shigaraki sifted through the rest of the files. When he approached  Yaoyorozu Momo’s file and read creation under her quirk he became confused. What the hell did that mean? He spotted that she also had gotten into the hero course on recommendation and knew that she might be trouble, he starred her folder as well.

He had only seen a few of these student’s quirks in action. He hadn’t even recognized many of the first years’ faces. He needed to do more reconnaissance if he was going to be able to take on any of these kids.

He was annoyed. He barely knew anything about these brats. And now he had to waste his time on them. Damn it. He started scratching in irritation, readily falling into his nervous tick. He slammed a fist onto the bartop. Damn it!

Kurogiri eyed him suspiciously. “Did you find anything?”

“We don’t have anything on these brats!”

Shigaraki was frustrated, he needed to talk to Sensei about his next steps.

Shigaraki craned his neck over to the small television at the corner of the bar. He walked over and switched it on. A familiar static filled the room.

A few minutes passed before there was any indication of another person being on the line.

“Sensei” Shigaraki rasped.

“Ahh, good to see you are out of bed.” he mused.

“I’ve been looking over the intel from U.A., it’s too scarce.”

“Is that so?” Sensei paused for a moment, “What are you going to do about that?”

Shigaraki thought about it, what did he need? He narrowed his eyes at the screen. Recently, Sensei had become less direct about things. Like he wanted the man to start making his own decisions in his villain work. Sensei had come up with the idea of the ‘League of Villains’, given him Nomu, planted the idea of killing All Might and left Shigaraki to his own devices.

Not that they were much of a ‘league’ at the moment The only actual members were Shigaraki and Kurogiri.

He thought back to his hazy conversation with Sensei from the other night. ‘Gather the elite’ he had said.‘Take all the time you need’. He needed more members...but first, he needed a better idea of who he was fighting. And why. If he wanted to accomplish anything he couldn’t just charge in and destroy everything he wanted all at once he needed to do it gradually. Take all the time I need… to do what though?

He thought back to how little he’d considered going into the attack.

“I,” Shigaraki started, “I need to get info on U.A. If All Might is going to continue teaching there, he’ll be at his weakest trying to protect his students, but I already know that, that’s why we attacked first years off sight.”

Sensei didn’t respond, he let the static of the television set fill the air.

“Kurogiri had someone bar communications, but the kids got help.”

“Go on Shigaraki”

“Should we attack All Might again when he’s with the same kids, because we know their quirks, or should we go for the other first year hero class because they won’t have experience fighting us?”

Sensei still didn’t answer.

“How am I going to get info on these brats?”

“My, you’ve been thinking.” Sensei laughed.

Shigaraki looked at the television, waiting for the response that master was building up to.

“Where would you be able to see the first year students in combat?” Sensei asked.

“Classes, but anyone spying would get caught unless they were in the hero course.” Then he remembered....

Every year U.A. hosted a sports festival to showcase their student’s talents. It was a heavily televised event.

“The sports festival.” Shigaraki concluded.

And with that, their conversation ended. “Clever as always, Shigaraki Tomura”

Shigaraki switched off the television. He turned to Kurogiri, a chapped-lipped grin spread across his face. They had some plans to make.

 

Chapter Text

Everything was black.

 

Katsuki tried to set off explosions.

His hands weren’t sweating.

They were bone dry.

His quirk wouldn’t work.

Shit.

Katsuki heaved through shallow breaths, crouching. He watched as large, yellow, cat-like eyes loomed over him.  And he was swallowed whole. Unnatural, jaundiced molars chomped down. And he was in darkness.

He couldn’t breathe.

He tried to yell, but no sound came out.

It felt like something was pushing its way down his throat.

He coughed into his hands.

Looking down at his fingers, he could recognize the green encasing them. Katsuki vomited; green sludge came out, engulfing him.

All of a sudden... instead of seeing black a blurry scene filled his teary vision.

It was a mess, fires erupted around him. His hands sizzled and popped. His quirk was hurting people.

Feeble hands began clawing at him.

There was a gust of wind and everything blew apart and his sweat involuntarily detonated, destroying everything in sight.

Katsuki shot up in his bed gasping for air. He could breath.

His palms were sweating. He looked down at  the burnt mess of his sheets beneath him.

“Well… shit.”

Katsuki listened to the snoring of his mother in the next room over. It was the middle of the night and he had a lot of time to kill.

***

The U.A. sports festival approached a lot faster than Izuku thought it would. As it did, he upped his training regimen outside of classes. He didn’t reduce his running time again.

He remembered the words of his mentor, I want you to tell the world ‘I am here’ . Izuku couldn’t back down now. So he attacked school and training with newfound conviction. He would get better. He would get strong. He would master his quirk.

Filled with the hope of proving himself to All Might, Izuku ran his usual morning route.

           A little ways down the block he noticed a head of ashy, blond hair. Izuku almost halted dead in his tracks. But his legs mindlessly pumped beneath him. Kacchan was getting closer, jogging at a similar tempo to Izuku’s own.

Oh no.  He questioned himself. What do I do?  Turn at the next intersection and change my route to avoid him? Try to pretend I didn’t notice him?

Izuku braced for impact.

Then, Kacchan’s tired red eyes met his. They looked at him in acknowledgement. And the two of them passed by each other without a hitch. Izuku finished his run with the image of Kacchan’s crimson eyes passing through his mind periodically. They looked angry and unfocused. They were glazed with oncoming tears. It reminded Izuku of how Kacchan looked held captive by the sludge villain. Kacchan’s eyes looked like they were asking for help.

That day Kacchan also sat next to Izuku on the train and walked with him during his commute. No words passed between the two boys.

A similar thing happened the following morning. Izuku and Kacchan were about to pass each other at the beginning of their morning runs. But as soon as Izuku came close, Kacchan furrowed his brow, scowling. Izuku’s heart beated a bit faster. In turn, Kacchan did something unexpected. He turned as soon as Izuku approached in order to go the same direction. They were now running next to each other. Kacchan matched Izuku’s pace with ease.

Kacchan said nothing.

Izuku said nothing.

Holy cow! Kacchan was running next to him. Questions assaulted Izuku’s mind. He wondered about speeding up as to gain some distance.

Though… Izuku didn’t like the idea of Kacchan chasing him from behind. He could slow down or turn away, but Izuku was done being pushed around by him. He remembered his declaration from last week: Deku was going to mean he could do it, it wasn’t going to mean useless anymore.

Kacchan wasn't going to phase him.

And with that he hurried up with his run. Kacchan didn’t take the hint. He just easily matched Izuku’s pace with his own. And much to Izuku’s surprise when he looked to the side, he found Kacchan looking at him with a challenging gaze. At least, he thought it was Kacchan challenging him. Kacchan sped up.

“Try to keep up, bitch.” he said grumpily.

Izuku almost tripped, speechless. He watched his classmate’s back as it moved further away. Izuku pursed his lips. Should he catch up to him? Yeah he should, he wasn’t going to be pushed around by Kacchan anymore.

With gritted teeth, he started running faster. Huffing, when he approached Kacchan he didn’t slow down to keep pace with his classmate, he just surpassed him.

Kacchan responded in turn with upping his own speed. Soon they were full on sprinting. They were neck and neck. Neither teen wanting to relinquish their lead . After about 10 minutes of this, both of them were panting hard. Neither of them could seem to keep their lead for long. Izuku huffed, and he looked at Kacchan beside him. He was bright red. Gosh , he was sweating a lot too.  Izuku slowed down. Kacchan followed in suit. And they ran abreast.

Kacchan didn’t gloat at Izuku being the first to give. He must have been too focused on running. Yeah that must be it, Izuku thought. They ran the rest of Izuku’s route. Izuku glanced down at his watch, he had made really good time this morning. He felt like he could go for longer. So, he ran for longer and adjusted his route accordingly. The entire time Kacchan was beside him. At a lot of moments, Izuku forgot there was a person running next to him. But then he’d see the blond hair out of the corner of his eye, its owner matching his pace perfectly. Of course Kacchan was good at running, of course his endurance was amazing. Of course he could keep up with Izuku even after Izuku had trained for a year.

Kacchan was amazing.

Kacchan’s amazing.

They approached Izuku’s apartment complex together, Izuku was a mess by the end of their run. When he looked over at Kacchan, pride spiked in his chest. It seemed that his classmate wasn’t doing much better than he was. A small smile made its way to his lips. Kacchan noticed though. And he narrowed his eyes at Izuku. Then, he huffed and ran in the direction of his house a few blocks away.

Izuku thought about how much more he had run that morning, maybe he should run with Kacchan again. He’d improve quickly with his competitive pushing. Would he even let him?

Later, when he got to the train station, he met eyes with Kacchan and following this odd new tradition of the other day they headed to school together. And the rest of the week passed, with this new routine of theirs continuing along. Although nothing was actively done about the large gap between the two when they were walking, neither of them noticed the gap gradually getting smaller.

They spent their morning commutes in silence and at school Kacchan acted no different than he usually did with their classmates. Although, Izuku had noticed that over the year he had gotten a lot less ‘physical’ or antagonistic. Maybe Kacchan was changing. Maybe the encounter sludge villain and their classmates at U.A. had affected his volatile demeanor.

Those thoughts returned to him almost two weeks into this new odd behaviour as he glanced at Kacchan from across the cafeteria during lunch. He was sitting with a red haired boy, Kirishima , Izuku remembered. It was only the two of them. Kirishima seemed to talk with his whole body. He kept flexing his arms.

“Deku-kun, you seem to be looking at Bakugou a lot lately.” Uraraka said next to him.

“Oh...I guess I am.”

“You guys went to the same middle school, right?” Iida asked.

“Yeah we did.”

Izuku's expression fell and both Uraraka and Iida bore concerned frowns, probably remembering how the mock battle simulation had went.

He didn’t say anything else and Uraraka muttered something about ‘a fated battle between men’. The trio remained seated together and continued to eat.

Izuku wondered it he would fight Kacchan during the sports festival. He imagined how it would go. Izuku wouldn’t be able to hold back, he probably would have to resort to using his quirk. But how could he, if every time he used it he broke bones? Maybe he could use the method he had used in the ball throw and break his fingers. Hit the air and make a gust of wind?

But then again, he had punched the nomu without breaking his arm… but how could he replicate that.The only difference he could think of was that he had tried to use his quirk on a person, but if he did that without having a proper grasp on his quirk, it would either seriously injure or kill his classmates…

“Deku-kun?” Uraraka interrupted his thoughts.

“I was mumbling again wasn’t I?” he asked.

“Your mouth was moving so fast and you looked possessed.” Uraraka snorted, tearing up.

She had a nice laugh, it was both quiet and distinct.

“Ha ha, y-yeah I’ve been t-told that.”

 

***

Hero class that day was a continuation of their rescue training. Midnight sensei directed them through how to administer on-sight first aid.The entire class was concentrated and had a serious air to it. No doubt because it reminded the students of their interrupted rescue training form a few weeks ago.

The class was directed through cleaning and bandaging wounds while Midnight and provided helpful anecdotes about how to treat victims in different scenarios. Part of the class was a lecture, then visual instruction. Then they were separated into pairs to do some role-playing. So they could practice dealing with civilians in shock. Izuku and a boy named Sero Hanta were paired together and they could barely act out any scenarios without Izuku stuttering and breaking character. Honestly, he was a mess. He’d probably make civilians panic more with his anxiety.

Midnight Sensei kept encouraging them to throw  themselves into their roles with ‘ youthful vigour ’, whatever that was supposed to mean. From time to time she gestured with a tastled whip that looked like it may have been to match her hero costume. Izuku eyed it suspiciously.

Thankfully roleplaying was only half of what they needed to do. They pretended to  administer first aid on each other. To their teacher’s surprise both Izuku and his partner seemed talented at it... Sero’s quirk probably made him pretty acquainted with tying things up. Izuku had observed that he often tangled his tape around his enemies and swung from it as well.

Midnight inspected and praised Izuku’s handywork and gave Sero some tips.

“You could learn a thing or two from Midoriya, Sero,” She said

“Wow Midoriya, you’re really good at this. Have you done it before?” Sero asked when the teacher moved along to help another pair.

“Yeah...I-I um got hurt a lot as a kid. So I learned how to treat myself so my mom didn’t worry too much.” Izuku said.

“Oh yeah, I’d imagine that happened a lot with a quirk like yours.”

It wasn’t my quirk though. Izuku glanced at Kacchan, who was bandaging Jirou. The two of them briefly met each other's eyes.

“Yeah, my quirk.” Izuku turned back to the bandages.

***

“Quirk: Strength enhancement.” Shigaraki said aloud.

He was standing with his hands in his pockets, taking in his handiwork.

Shigaraki had printed out a bunch of the files from U.A. and hung them on the wall above his desk. He'd made a list of people to look out for. He found that his eyes kept landing on ‘Midoriya Izuku’. He appeared abnormal in his normal-ness.

Who the hell is this kid? He thought.

It wasn’t going to be long before he’d infiltrate U.A.’s sports festival. He’d probably need to scout the area a bit before buying tickets. He’d do that once his forced rest for his injuries was over.













Chapter Text

Katsuki stumbled into his house, breaths heavy from his run. Damn it was too early! He hadn’t been an early riser until recently.

Shit.

He thought back to the last dream that he’d woken up from. Well… it was more of a nightmare. Like most days, unable to fall back asleep, Katsuki just went running. He didn’t even like running but he had to move.

Somehow, he’d stumbled upon Deku one morning. Fuck, he wanted to beat up the boy right then and there. That stupid expression on his face was asking for it.

He’d always been filled with condescending nonsense.

But then they’d started running together. It had almost been two weeks. The hell was he even thinking?

Katsuki looked at his reflection in the mirror. His face was red, approaching the colour of his eyes. The spikes of his damp hair hung limply down from the sweat.

Fuck.

Deku was really doing a number on him. He hadn’t pushed himself like this in a while. If someone had told him at the start of the school year that he'd be spending every damn morning with the green haired fucker, he would have flipped them off and called them insane. But it had grown into a habit.

He couldn’t shake the image of Deku’s face, when he closed his eyes he’d see the little shit challenging him. And Katsuki didn’t lose. Yeah, that must have been it, he needed to squash him. Katsuki needed to show that he was the best. That was probably why he kept going on those runs.

The raccoon eyed chick’s words from two weeks ago popped into his head.

‘I see you had company to school this morning.’

Why did she even point that shit out?

Katsuki had decided not to lie on the matter for too long, it wasn’t like she really knew anything about their history. All she’d seen was Katsuki blowing shit up and trying to beat Deku senseless, destroying a building in the process. The hell was wrong with her?

He’d been really mad back then. He still was. The little shit had kept a quirk a secret from him after all. And then started rambling on about some borrowed power.

 

Later that morning Katsuki stomped his way downstairs to the kitchen. His father sat at the table, phone in hand while sipping his coffee. A plate full of crumbs was discarded beside him. Katsuki just opened the fridge and reached for a carton of milk, chugging straight out of it, then he wiped it off of his face with the back of his hand.

His mother had entered the kitchen just in time to scold him for his act of ‘barbarism’.

“Katsuki! That’s new milk! What do you think you’re doing?”

“There’s another carton in the fridge Old Hag! This is the old one.”

“That doesn’t excuse that you fucking decided to put your gross mouth on something we all use.”

Katsuki emptied the contents of the carton right where he stood and threw it at the recycling bin next to the fridge, missing it. “There, it’s finished.”

“You didn’t even rinse it out.” she massaged her temple. Then turned to her husband, “Masaru, can you believe this little brat?”

Bakugou Masaru just took another sip of his coffee not answering for his own good. “Katsuki, just rinse out the milk carton.” he finally sighed.

Katsuki huffily followed his father’s request. Then he sat down on the breakfast table. He piled things onto his plate. A few minutes later his mother sat down across from him, mug of coffee now in hand. Unlike his father, she was in her pajamas still.

“Anyways, since you’ve decided on being such a pain in the ass this morning, you’re going to run some errands for me today…” she began.

He watched his mother take a grocery list off of the refrigerator and she set it on the table through narrowed eyes.

“Pick up these from the supermarket after school. I need them for tonight’s dinner. And stop by the pharmacy too, there’s a few items listed on the other side.”

Katsuki scowled. I have to train for the sports festival after school. Shit, it’s after tomorrow! Katsuki protested in his mind. He didn’t voice his opinion though. His mother was not to be tested in the mornings.

“Don’t make that face Katsuki. You should have thought of the repercussions when you decided to sass me.”

Katsuki felt his eye twitch, this is an excuse to just dump all your errands of the day on me isn’t it.

He didn't say anything and reluctantly snatched the grocery list. Then he shouldered his bag.

“Take the garbage to the front on your way out!” his mother called behind him.

Today was going to be a long day.

***

Shit! A realization hit Katsuki while heading to the train station. He’d never actually taken the train straight after school, always staying late to train or do homework. And he really wasn’t used to this part of the city’s public transit just yet.

As soon as he got to the station, he hurriedly tried to search his commute on google maps.

Fuck, no wifi.

***

To Izuku's surprise Kacchan really did keep running with him. They pushed each other similarly to their first run and they continued to ride the train together.

One afternoon Izuku was walking to the train station with Uraraka and Iida in tow. He spotted Kacchan on a bench not far from the entrance. Weird. Normally the boys didn't cross paths in the afternoon. Kacchan’s recent companionable behavior had only reared its head in the mornings.

Kacchan was hunched over his phone frantically swiping and looking like he was about to smash it against the floor.

He looked up and scowled at Izuku, stomping over to him, “Oi Deku. Which train are you catching.”

“Oh uh, the .” Izuku stammered. “ The s-same route we take to school, it comes in l-like 20 minutes.”

           Iida furrowed his brow, looking down at Kacchan.

Kacchan in turn narrowed his eyes and he glanced up at Iida, then turned to Uraraka. With a tch he put his hands into the pockets of his low riding pants, slouched and stormed off. “Fucking whatever.”

Soon, both Uraraka and Iida had to catch their trains, leaving Izuku alone. He looked for Kacchan in the busy afternoon rush. He was only a few benches away, earbuds were in his ears, and he lazily swiped at his phone screen with a thumb. His legs were splayed out. He looked comfortable. Izuku averted his gaze and fished his hero notebook from his backpack re-reading and editing his analysis. Looking over entries on his classmates, Izuku found himself getting lost in a familiar storm of mumbling.

“Oi Nerd!” Izuku jumped in his seat.

Izuku looked up from his notebook to find none other than Kacchan looming over him.

“Why are you mumbling to yourself? People will stare.”

Izuku blinked at him, his mouth was slightly agape. Kacchan, of all people was scolding him in public for drawing attention to himself .

Kacchan has been abducted and replaced by aliens.

Izuku's lip twitched, but before he could say anything their train pulled up to the station. When they stepped in the car, it was immediately made apparent how busy their train was at this stop during rush hour…it seemed that the train was much busier at the station near U.A. in the afternoons. The two boys found themselves squashed against each other while they clasped onto whatever handhold was left… which happened to be the same pole. Izuku's mind ascended to the fifth plain from the proximity.

They stood for a long time, and Izuku was clumsy. He found himself almost ramming into his classmate every time the train suddenly stopped or started. And Kacchan reverted to his old brashness, he bursted out in anger at the shorter boy  from time to time, as palms began to crackle with light. They gained a few concerned stares throughout the train ride home. Izuku tried to dismiss them and tell them there wasn’t anything wrong.

When they pulled up to their station, the boys started walking towards their neighborhood. Out of habit Izuku started slowing his pace to walk behind his companion. Izuku had become a bit more skittish after the aggravated train ride with Kacchan. He hadn’t been prepared to deal with the blond’s fiery personality so late in the afternoon. Or the increased contact of the past two weeks either, Those days there was an air of tension that remained over them. It seemed he’d grown complacent to the distance their relationship had after the sludge villain incident when Izuku began training to become a proper vessel for One for All.

Watching Kacchan get further and further away reminded Izuku of the years he spent following Kacchan’s retreating form. Only to have it turn around in the cruelest way possible. He winced remembering the progressively more serious burns and bruises.

He wouldn’t let that happen again. But why was he doing this? Why was Izuku going along with this? Why was he following him? Why was he letting Kacchan get into his space like this? But was the radio silence and occasional outbursts of before better than what had happened these past two weeks?

After a little while Kacchan noticed the growing distance between him and Izuku.

He cocked his head back, grimacing, “Deku, why the hell are you walking so slow?!”

Izuku felt something unfamiliar begin bubbling in the pit of his stomach. It wasn’t the fear or the hurt that he had regularly felt when Kacchan attacked or antagonized him. Nor was it the powerful anger and feeling of competition he had felt during classes or their runs. No, this was new. He felt simultaneously full and empty. It was everything.

What was it?

Izuku stopped in his tracks. He just stared at the other boy. His eyes narrowed. He didn’t respond, his teeth were biting his bottom lip until it drew blood. He felt his bag drop from his back.

“...”

Then Kacchan started toward him. “What the fuck?”

Izuku’s body had shrunk in itself. But as soon as the other teen got close, Izuku’s body acted on its own.

SMACK!

There was the sound of skin against skin as Izuku’s fist made contact with the side of Kacchan’s face.

“...”

Now it was Kacchan’s turn to be speechless.

He backed away a few steps cupping his cheek, as he tried to regain his balance after being taken off guard.

Izuku wanted to leave right then and there, but then again he didn’t. His feet remained planted on the ground. Kacchan just stared at him. His nostrils were slightly flared.

“Fuck. The hell was that?”

Izuku remained motionless. Then he began moving, heading the direction of his house. He needed to get out of here.

“Deku.”

“Deku!”

“Oi, DEKU!”

Izuku ignored him. He just went forward.

Something heavy dropped to the floor.

Then he felt someone tackling him from behind. His head smacked against the pavement. And suddenly they were face to face. Kacchan was towering over him, his face filled with anger. Izuku flashed back to memories of middle school. He felt himself being lifted unceremoniously by the no longer pristine collar of his uniform shirt. He flew off of the ground and onto shaking legs.

BAM!

Kacchan let go of Izuku’s uniform. Izuku almost fell, but he managed to catch himself as he stumbled back.

“Shit. Seriously Deku.”

Kacchan wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and spat out onto the floor. His hands splayed out on either side of him, starting to pop and sizzle with familiar tiny explosions.

The image of Izuku’s old notebook being burnt in Kacchan’s hands appeared in his head.

“What makes you think you can pull this shit with me?” Kacchan said with a voice of raw anger. “HUH? DEKU? You think you’re better than me?”

His voice was steadily rising, and the nature of what he had just done began to truly sink in for Izuku. What was he even doing?

“N-no, That’s not it.” Izuku had returned to his regular flustered state by then.

Kacchan let out a guttural hiss, he looked like he was about to pounce. Right then and there. In the middle of their neighbourhood, quirk activated where their neighbours could see.

“Fuck you, Deku!”

Kacchan remained crouched legs splayed out, arms spread apart. His fingers curled and uncurled. Izuku stepped back raising his hands to block his chest in a placating gesture.

“Damn it Deku, what the hell is wrong with you!”

“W-what’s wrong with m-me?” Gosh Izuku hated how his voice sounded at the moment. “Are y-y-you s-seriously asking m-me that?”

Izuku really didn’t want to continue with this conversation. He took a deep breath and started again, trying to compose himself, he tried to muster up the courage that he had fighting with the sludge monster and with the ‘League of Villains’.

“Kacchan are you kidding me?” he started.

At the moment he really didn’t care how he sounded, he just needed to get the words out.

“What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with you Kacchan?! When have I ever said I think I’m better than you?”

It was clear they really needed to talk about this. Whatever this was.

“...”

“I didn’t ask you to be here! Why are you even here? Don’t you stay late after school? And why the hell did you start following me in the mornings?”

Kacchan didn’t seem to be on board with where Izuku wanted to take the conversation. He lunged at him, and set of an explosion to catch Izuku off guard. Then, Izuku was being pushed to the ground again. Izuku grabbed for anything he could, Which happened to be Kacchan’s uniform.

“Fucking Deku!” he screamed as they toppled to the ground.

Izuku gripped Kacchan by his wrists and rocked to the side. Pinning him, and straddling his stomach. He looked down at Kacchan beneath him. What was he doing?

Izuku sprang back onto his feet and ran, swiping up his backpack. not caring which direction he was going.  

***

Katsuki crouched picking up a discarded list of groceries. Fuck. What the hell was that?

***

After more than a week of confinement he really needed to get out of the bar. When his health was given the all clear he didn’t pass up the opportunity.

“I’m going for a walk.” he said to Kurogiri one evening. “Going to scout out UA before the sports festival. I’ll text you for pickup.”

With one fluid sequence of motions he pulled on a hoodie and was out the door.

He let his mind empty.

He sunk into the familiar rhythm of his walking.

Upon approaching the school, he noticed the increased security cameras, and three arena’s almost finished in being constructed a little ways off to the side of the main building. They were most likely the main stages for each grade. He made his way around the corner by the school’s gates. He probably wouldn’t be able to break in so soon after his attempts at the USJ.

He soon got bored of loitering and tried to walk for a bit in the neighbourhood, searching for an indiscreet place to warp. He saved a few locations to his phone before deciding on one for the coming Saturday.

When he was done, he didn’t want to go back to the bar so he walked a bit more. Arriving at a train station, maybe he’d go downtown.

He sat down on a bench out of the way. It was shielded from the side by a large indoor plant. The bush was raised by a sturdy, stone pot. Making the bush reach Shigaraki's eye level. He slouched and turned to grab his handheld out of his pocket. And that’s when he spotted a notebook next to him. It was thin and severely burnt. Splotches of brown blemished the light blue. ‘Hero Analysis for the Future’ it read .

***

Dang it! Izuku walked head bowed to the ground, scanning the pavement beneath him. He really hadn’t expected that he'd have to go back to the place where he’d fought with Kacchan so soon. He unshouldered his knapsack. Maybe if he checked again he’d find it.

Upon opening the bag, one wouldn’t notice what was missing. Izuku emptied it out onto the sidewalk. Not caring about dirtying his school supplies and textbooks. After checking and rechecking all his pockets he could soundly conclude that his ‘Hero Analysis’ notebook wasn’t there. It was the old burnt one he’d been editing. And it had All Might’s signature. Izuku really needed to find it. It had so many important memories.

Izuku decided on retracing his steps. This was more important than any homework he had. He texted his mother he’d be home late and went back to the train station.

After checking at the front desk and the lost and found, he caught the next train to UA. His fingers gripped and re-gripped the hand hold that was supporting him as he stood. His chest was bubbling, he couldn’t breath.

How had he been so careless?

He really needed to find it. Izuku tried to think back to when he’d last seen it. Had he not put it back into his backpack after taking it out at the station near the school? Izuku bit his lip and furrowed his brows. He hadn’t. It had to be there. Discarded after he’d been distracted by Kacchan. Slight annoyance prickled while he recounted that afternoon. And then it turned to shame when he recalled how he'd actually punched Kacchan.

As soon as the train reached its destination Izuku shot towards the exit. Profusely apologizing after shoving into a few people. It had probably been discarded on a bench. Maybe nobody had picked it up yet. He really hoped that was the case

Izuku almost tripped as he hurriedly rushed off the train to check on and around benches near the platforms.

He searched the rest of the station.

He couldn’t find it.

Izuku crumpled in on himself on the nearest bench. It was getting late, he’d need to get home if he wanted to not fall behind on homework and his strength training.

He checked the time on his phone: 6:30. He’d already spent 3 hours searching for the notebook. A text from his mom was written on the screen.

Okay sweetie, dinner’s ready when you get home.

He’d probably need to wait for the next train home. Izuku raised his head to look at the schedules prominently displayed above him. He was lucky, he’d only have to wait 15 minutes. Izuku sighed and slumped down in his seat, rocking his feet back and forth.

A raspy laugh sounded to the right of him. He jumped in his seat. Izuku really hadn’t been paying attention to anyone else in the station. He turned his head following the noise to see a man in a hoodie, casually burrying his face in a thin composition notebook. He was holding it with only his thumbs and forefingers. He flipped to the next page and Izuku squinted spotting familiar kanji on a burnt blue cover.

He blinked dazed. Was that his notebook? Izuku inched closer, the man not noticing him, engrossed in what he was reading.

“Shit, seriously ?” He rasped

Izuku froze.

He brought the notebook closer to his face. “Who the hell wrote this?”

Izuku forced a deep shaky breath through his nose. He drew closer before trying to catch the man's attention.

“Um E-excuse m-m-me um…” Izuku waited for the man to turn his way, “Excuse me” he repeated a bit louder.

This finally caught the stranger's attention, he looked in Izuku's direction, not bothering to look up. His hoodie was shadowing his features.

“Can I help you?” His tone had changed from when he'd been laughing alone. At first the stranger's cackling almost seemed menacing. Now he just sounded annoyed.

Izuku felt his nerves calm a bit. He pushed through. He really needed that notebook. “Excuse me.” he looked down at his feet.

“Is that the only thing you can say kid?” The stranger turned around and looked down at the notebook, long strands of light, gray-blue hair falling from the hoodie.

“No...” Izuku took another deep breath, “But, I think you have something that’s mine.”

The stranger stopped reading and he looked up at Izuku , closing the notebook, It was his alright. Izuku’s breath hitched. Not only had he found his 13th analysis book, he had also inexplicably found himself face to face with none other than Shigaraki Tomura.






Chapter Text

Shigaraki really wasn’t expecting much to happen when he headed out that night to do some reconacense before the sports festival. And he definitely wasn’t expecting to find a treasure trove of information on class 1A and its author in one day. But there he sat, face to face with Midoriya Izuku who was saying that he was the one that wrote it. He looked down at the notebook. And flipped to it’s cover.

The name Midoriya Izuku was neatly printed.

It was written by the little green haired bastard

Shigaraki stared at it in disbelief and then at the boy. He really wasn’t expecting that their next meeting would be something like this. He’d imagined countless times throughout the week of disintegrating the twerp and then killing All Might not long after. But as he looked at the stuttering ball of nerves in front of him he really couldn’t make the connection between the boy and the little bastard he’d met a few weeks ago. Or the clearly analytical mind that had written the notebook.

Shigaraki quirked an eyebrow, blinking “Shit brat, are you some sort of stalker?”

Midoriya brought his brows down and glared at him. Becoming a semblance of Shigaraki’s memories of the boy. He hurriedly fished out his phone. Obviously about to dial 911. The phone was shaking under his sturdy grip.

“Stop, if you call anyone,” Shigaraki stalled. He really didn’t want to be found out this close to the festival. “You’ll have to say goodbye to this.” He held up the book in his hands. “I think I spotted All Might’s signature in there, would you part with it so easily?”

 Midoriya paused for a moment then he pressed on his phone. Shit, it was dialing. But that made an opening for Shigaraki, as he momentarily averted his gaze.  Shigaraki lunged at Midoriya. knocking the phone from his hand, and pulled him onto the bench to sit next to him. He attentively kept four of his digits on the boy.

Midoriya attempted to struggle, “Don’t move or speak unless you want to end up like Eraserhead.” Shigaraki hissed.

Shigaraki outstretched his leg reaching for the phone on the ground two feet away, He awkwardly, drew it closer. Before picking it up. The call was still on. He brought it to his ear.

“Sorry, I accidentally pocket dialed, and then it took me a bit to get to my phone.” Shigaraki explained.

After a quick exchange he hung up. Shigaraki then brought all five fingers onto the phone.

“Wh-what are you doing?”

“What does it look like I’m doing?” splotches of rust appeared on Midoriya's phone.

“Stop!” Midoriya’s voice echoed a bit. And he winced.

Shigaraki set the phone next to him, away from Midoriya. He turned and reached for Midoriya's wrists, pulling the boy closer . He brought down all five fingers of both hands onto the boys wrists. “Don’t react or make a sound otherwise it’s your neck next. And if you get any bright ideas, just know that I could probably disintegrate a few of these bystanders, hero. ” He threatened.

He looked Midoriya in the eyes, tears were filling the brat’s vision, but he didn't flinch. To anyone that was watching them now it would seem like an young adult trying to calm down a teenager. No one would notice Shigaraki’s quirk subtly eating at Izuku’s skin. He made sure to keep it mild, but it would be painful enough to scare the boy into submission nonetheless. Shigaraki brought up his pinkies, deactivating his quirk.

He fixed his cold gaze on Midoriya’s uniform. It was muddied, and burnt in several places. He scoffed. Shigaraki raised his hand to the boy’s neck. Shifting them so that they sat side by side. Shigaraki’s middle finger hovered above the kids adam’s apple.

He should really kill this kid. Even with all the bystanders in the station he’d be able to warp out briskly with one less thorn in his side. Then Shigaraki looked down at the blue notebook. If he’d remembered correctly this was the thirteenth, so there must have been 12 others. Call him intrigued.

“Take a breath and calm down, let’s chat a little kid.”

“...”

“So, you analyse heros?”

“...” the boy merely wheezed in response.

“You know when I first met you I thought you were some sort of meathead like All Might. Midoriya Izuku. But you’re not like that blond idiot. Even though you seem to fight like him.” Shigaraki casually thumped his fingers against the boy’s neck.

Shigaraki leaned forward hoping to hear a response.

“Come on. You can’t stay silent this entire time.” Shigaraki jeered. Deciding to change the subject, he lowered his voice. “Hey, don’t you think it’s funny that all these commuters aren’t noticing this? This station’s probably always as packed as this in the evenings but everyone’s too busy worrying about themselves.”

Sure enough, mirroring what Shigaraki was saying, evening commuters were coming in, waiting for their trains.

“They’re so stupid, I could probably get to like three of them before anyone noticed and twenty more before the police got here.”

Midoriya still gave no response.

Shigaraki rolled his eyes. “What’s wrong with you kid, you seemed pretty vocal at the USJ, and you’ve managed to fill 13 notebooks with rambling.”

“I-it’s n-n-not rambling.” he must have struck a nerve.

“Mind telling me what it is then?”

“Why am I not turning to ash right now?” Midoriya began shakily redirecting the conversation,”Do you mentally activate your quirk or does it have to do with how much skin is in contact?”

What?...This kid.

Shigaraki considered a bit before responding. From what he’d read, the kid was intelligent when it came to quirks. Maybe he’d only divulge a little. “I need to make contact with all five fingers before my quirk activates.”  

He twitched his raised middle finger a little, making Midoriya flinch. The boy’s brow furrowed considering what he’d just heard. He remained silent, his lips rapidly moving but making no sound. His expression reading like he’d forgotten about his imminent danger. Something buzzed from next to Shigaraki. It turned out that Midoriya’s phone still worked. Shigaraki looked down at the screen. It was the boy’s mother.

Oka-san : Izuku are you going to be home soon?

Izuku carefully cocked his head to the phone screen on the other side of Shigaraki and his eyes widened.

Shigaraki glanced at a small icon of a selfie of a round faced woman. “Oh, that your mom.” he said, “she seems nice?”

Shigaraki turned to meet the boy’s eyes with his own. They were filled with fear. He’d found his weak point, he must have been scared for her life more than his. Shigaraki brought the phone up and clamped down all five fingers, this time there was no protest. Good. The remains were in his closed fist. Shigaraki sat up. He was going to leave, before Midoriya could get to it, he snatched the hero notebook along with him. Midoriya gasped and clawed at his neck.

“Don’t tell anyone about this or maybe I’ll pay your mom a little visit.” it wouldn’t take too long to find the address if he had Giran look. “You can probably imagine how that would go.”

Shigaraki turned and left.

***

Izuku hurried home. Not long after Shigaraki left his train arrived, he almost fell where he stood. But he needed to make sure his mother was safe. Shigaraki wouldn’t throw around empty threats. Would he? Izuku felt nauseated, about to vomit out the contents of his stomach... which reminded him how hungry he was. Honestly, how could he eat at a time like this? He’d just met with the leader of the League of Villains, and was threatened with his own life, his mother’s and a bunch of civilians’ lives.

Could he risk telling someone? He didn’t have a phone. He couldn’t call All Might. He couldn’t call the police.

Oh no oh no oh no oh no oh no.

What if Shigaraki had gotten to her?

This was all his fault.

 

***

This kid's an idiot, Shigaraki thought to himself as he observed Midoriya dash into an apartment building. He hadn’t even noticed someone trailing behind him. You’d think that with all his experience stalking for 'hero analysis' would mean that he’d recognize when he was being watched. He saved his location to his phone. He looked down at the notebook. He wanted to read more of them. He’d never seen someone put quirks and hero tactics under such a meticulous lens. Not even information brokers like Giran.  

He texted his location to Kurogiri and stepped through the warpgate. He rested his hand onto the bar as soon as he sat down. He emptied his pockets onto the counter. Ash fell from his hand, along with the remains of an android phone. He fished through it, taking a SIM card in its midst. Maybe the kid had been cautious and saved his contacts to it. The phone couldn’t be tracked in this state of disrepair but Shigaraki was going to get as much information as he could out of it.

“Master Shigaraki, if I may ask, why do you have a broken phone.” Kurogiri fixed his eyes on the bartop  while polishing a glass

“Snatched it off of a UA brat.” Shigaraki muttered while in concentration.

“...”

He picked up the small chip and placed it in Kurogiri’s hands. “See if you can get anything from this.”

“Such as?”

“I don’t know like phone numbers? Whatever.”

Shigaraki redirected his attention from the phone to his real prize. He sneered at the battered notebook. He was grateful for picking it up. Apparently, Midoriya Izuku was an idiot when it came to being discreet and not letting villains know where he lived but he sure was smart when it came to analysis.

Shigaraki almost reconsidered going to the sports festival. But then again, there was a few people in class 1A that weren’t in this book. Not to mention the lack of reporting on class 1B’s quirks. He could always tape it, he supposed. But where was the fun in that?

No he was still going. He'd already bought tickets.

While reading the rest of Izuku’s notes and taking pictures of each page, Shigaraki was reminded of the conversation he’d had with Sensei when he’d first decided to infiltrate U.A.’s sports festival.

Anyone spying on classes would get caught unless they were in the hero course.

I think I’ve found a cheat code. Shigaraki smiled to himself.

He turned on the small television in the corner of the room on the bar. He had a call to make.

***

When he finally got home, Izuku sank to his knees. The events of the day bombarding his mind. He looked up to find his mother standing in the living room face etched with worry, staring down at him.

“Izuku?” at the sound of her voice he let out a shaky sigh of relief.

“Hi Oka-san,” his voice cracked, “I broke my phone.” he blurted out.

“Okay… why don’t you go take a shower while I heat up the food.” she gestured to his battered uniform.

Izuku honestly didn’t care about her seeing the damage that Kacchan had done at this point. She was safe.

She was safe.

With a sigh he followed her directions. All the while his stomach twisted, contorting in unimagined new ways. That night every time he opened his mouth it was forced shut by the image of Shigaraki suddenly arriving and killing his mother. Obviously, he wasn’t omniscient but Izuku had the feeling the man didn’t make empty threats. After witnessing what he’d had that monster do at the USJ and the injury Aizawa- sensei had received from him, Izuku didn’t want to take him lightly.

Later that night, after dodging a few questions from his mom, he sat alone in his room, home phone in his hand, the police’s phone number already dialed.

He cancelled the call and punched in All Might’s number instead.

“Hello?” it was picked up after a few rings.

“A-all Might?”

“Ahh young Midoriya, how can I help you my boy?” All Might’s tone brightened.

Izuku opened his mouth about to tell him. What would happen to his mother? Would she get taken to a safe house? Would he even believe Izuku? He thought back to how injured all three of his teachers had been by the USJ attack. He considered what would happen if Shigaraki made another attempt at All Might’s life. Would Izuku be able to do anything?

“Midoriya-shounen?”

Izuku took a shaky breath. He’d written a lot in that notebook. So much damning information, strategies, pinpointing weaknesses. Almost everyone in his class was in there, even some of his teachers. At the USJ it was made clear that they couldn’t be protected all at once. All Might wasn’t infallible, Izuku knew that better than anyone. And what if there was a more competent attack coming?

“I, um had a bad day.” Izuku gulped.

“Oh?”

“Yeah I got a bit stressed.” Izuku was...not technically lying. Maybe he’d leave somethings out.
“What’s bothering you in particular?”

I punched Kacchan and could’ve gotten killed by your would be murderer.

Izuku’s lips momentarily locked

“I had to interact with some difficult people.” tears clouded his vision as he remembered Shigaraki’s hand on his neck.

“I see, It gets easier with time, although you already seem quite patient with your peers,” All Might paused for a moment, “Maybe you need to talk it out with them and tell them what’s bothering you?”

The scenarios that played through Izuku’s head at that moment did not appear positive in the slightest. I don’t think that helps in this situation.

“Thanks for the advice, I feel a bit better now.” he managed.

“Anytime.”

After asking about All Might’s day they said their goodbyes and hung up.

That was useless, I didn’t even tell him. Perhaps, Izuku could confront him at school. But what could he tell him?

***

It turned out that it really didn’t take Giran long to find Midoriya’s home address. “What are you stalking high school kids now?” the older man asked.

“You’re a broker I don’t pay for sass.” Shigaraki deadpanned. “I’m just going to return something I borrowed earlier today.”

“Whatever floats your boat boss.” Giran snorted.

God, Shigaraki hated this guy. He hung up. Itching to activate his quirk on his phone.

He looked down at the address Giran had texted him, it matched the apartment building Shigaraki had come across when trailing behind the boy. He needed to make sure that the boy knew he wasn’t dishing out empty threats.

***

Izuku woke up, from a restless night. It was the crack of dawn. He rolled in his bed. Then shot out of it after remembering his encounter with Shigaraki from last night. He tumbled onto the floor.

“Ow!”

Scrambling awake, he righted his sheets and noticed something out of place on his desk on his way out of his room. Izuku did a double-take. It was his thirteenth analysis notebook.with a sticky note on top.

Izuku read through the hastily written note.

 

Thanks for letting me borrow this. You’re a cute sleeper brat. I hope that you didn’t mind that I’m also taking your other notebooks for some light reading. I’ll return them later. And if you get any ideas, remember what I said about popping in on your mom too.

-ST

 

A chill ran down his spine Izuku looked at the shelf where his notebooks should’ve been...they were all gone. 1-15, all gone.
Ooooh noo. This was not good. Shigaraki was in his room last night… while he slept. Izuku surveyed the room, trying to spot any differences. His window was slightly open. He rushed to it to firmly shut it and lock it.

Izuku hurriedly slid in his socks to his desk. And opened the bottom drawer to find a locked box. It was unscathed, thank goodness . His notes on All Might and One for all were safe. He remembered tearing all of them out of his notebooks whenever writing on the topics since gaining his quirk.

Izuku slumped against the wall, this wasn’t good. Shigaraki had a man with a warpgate quirk with him at the USJ, he could probably come and go to his apartment as he pleased. He needed to get him and his mother out of this apartment. How would Shigaraki retaliate to that? Though if he stayed quiet, she was safe too… right?

Okay, he needed to calm down and think about this logically...Get a handle on the situation.

What could he do? Tell the police? No that wouldn’t work Shigaraki was already a wanted criminal and had evaded them for weeks. Tell All Might? But what could he do, he’d almost been killed by the man and his comrades?

He sat himself down at his desk. And fished an extra composition notebook from a drawer.  

Shigaraki Tomura. He wrote at the top of the page.

Izuku did something he’d never done before. He started writing analysis on Villains.

Izuku skipped his run that morning.

Chapter Text

Katsuki found himself waking at  the crack of dawn, shooting out of his bed after a more recent nightmare.

Fucking shitty nightmares.

Well, it didn’t really seem like he was going to fall back asleep.

Then the events of yesterday hit him in the face like a cinder block.

Shitty Deku.

The other boy had punched him. His mother had made a scene about his swollen cheek as soon as he got home. Katsuki brushed it off saying that it  was part of practical training.

Shit.

Katsuki stomped to his bedroom door, grumbling all the way. Then he grabbed his workout clothes hung on the knob.

Fucking bruise,” he scowled while attempting to put one of his feet through his shorts in his morning grogginess. He missed it. “Fucking Deku”, he growled. He tried a few more times before sitting on his bed to properly put them on.

Stupid ass shorts.

The little shit had decided to punch him.

Shitty Deku.

On his mattress, Katsuki rolled onto his back and hiked up his shorts. He blinked through the morning haze. He really needed a good night’s sleep, but he kept waking up from nightmares in a nervous sweat. His nightmares seemed to come and go. His earliest and worst episode had started after the sludge incident and run on and off for a solid two months.

Then Mr. ‘Handkink’ had decided to to try to kill All Might and the nightmares had started back up again. It hadn’t even been that bad. Shit, he was dominating the bastards. But being sucked into that warp gates quirk brought back memories. It made him think of all the sensations he’d felt  drowning under all that slime. Katsuki wheezed. Dammit! He was clawing at his throat. Gasping for air.

Fuck he didn’t even remember last night’s dream. But familiar sensations stayed deep within his subconscious, being drowned, not having control of his body.

Katsuki smacked himself in the face to snap out of it.

With trembling hands he put on the rest of his running gear. Then he was out of the house. He slammed the door behind him, not worrying about waking ‘ ’The Hag’ up. She was a fucking heavy sleeper.

That woman snores like a chainsaw .

He left his house, heading in a familiar direction.

The sleep finally left Katsuki’s brain

Katsuki’s breathing started to become deeper as he began to speed up. He let his body sink into the familiar sensation of running.

All of a sudden he stopped, realizing where he was.  He looked up to find a familiar apartment complex. He stood there motionless.

Shit.

Katsuki turned away and stormed off to his house. Simmering over thoughts of a certain not so little green fucker along the way. He’d skip the run

Yeah… Katsuki wasn’t a morning person.

Not at all.

***

Izuku stumbled out of his house, weighed down by his backpack. He wondered if Kacchan had missed him on their run.

Of course he couldn’t avoid him forever, but when he thought about their fight last night Izuku was sure going to try. Unfortunately for him, Kacchan seemed to have a different idea. Izuku almost ran back into his apartment when he left for school. As if summoned by the devil, Kacchan was standing outside. Was... was he waiting for Izuku?

What?

Izuku really didn’t want to see his face. Like at all. He had enough to think about with Shigaraki’s sudden late night escapade to his house.

But there he was, sporting dark circles around his eyes similar to Izuku’s own. Waiting outside of Izuku’s house like everything was normal.

Seriously? What the heck's he doing here?

Izuku wished he could be as brash as his thoughts were. He wanted to scream at Kacchan, he wanted him to disappear. Izuku, just started walking on his own. He passed the boy, without a word.

Kacchan didn’t take the hint, he started silently walking beside Izuku. And they headed to school together.

Does it seriously take me fighting and punching him in the face for him to start spending time with me?

Kacchan was confusing. Either that or Izuku’s brain capacity for figuring the boy out had severely dropped from his lack of sleep.

***

By the time Katsuki got aboard the train for school he’d calmed down quite a bit. Idiotically he'd found his legs carrying him to Deku's house a second time that morning. At least he was fucking quiet about it.

Then Deku had to ruin everything. Katsuki found himself sitting next to the boy yet again.

Deku turned his eyes toward him, and Katsuki’s head immediately jerked to face away. Katsuki’s eyes wandered, Deku was fiddling with his sleeves. Katsuki lowered his gaze to briefly peek a hint of red on them. As if seeing where Katsuki was looking at, Deku straightened in his seat and rolled down the cuffs of his sleeves of his button down under his jacket. Katsuki scowled, narrowing his eyes as he watched Deku cringe at the awkward position of his shirt..

Had… had Katsuki done that last night when they were fighting?

...No they didn’t look like burns.

Katsuki’s mind supplied an image from one of his earliest nightmares. A younger, blistered and bloody face superimposed itself over Deku’s. Katsuki couldn’t tear his eyes away. This wasn’t good.

He could imagine it in such crisp detail, Katsuki was almost convinced it was real. Deku’s eyes were closed, a long trail of blood ran down his pale face. His freckles were barely visible under all of the bruises. A particularly harsh burn was on the side of his face. Katsuki had Todoroki and his own quirk to thank for his imagination being able to imagine such accurate burns. It wasn’t a scar like Todoroki’s though. It was more recent. It was more brutal. It had puss leaking out of it.

Shit it was bad.

Really bad.  

A few stops later when the seat beside Deku had been left vacant, Katsuki found himself filling it.  And there he sat. Staring blankly at the opposite side of the train with a boy sitting next to him.

Shit.  

No one said anything when they entered the class together. Deku just took his seat and waited for class to start.

Neither teen even noticed that they were walking side by side, rather than Deku following from behind.

***

During lunch, Izuku sat with Uraraka and Iida like usual. They were accompanied by Asui Tsuyu, and a few others from their class. He observed Kacchan and Kirishima from across the cafeteria. The redhead was still very animated. Kacchan listened to whatever he was saying, occasionally barking at him in annoyance.

On the train Kacchan had noticed the wounds left on Izuku’s wrists from his encounter with Shigaraki last night...Should he tell Kacchan? If Shigaraki knew where Izuku’s house was, he might know where Kacchan was too, their  houses weren’t too far away from each other. He grimaced in concentration, trying to figure out just what the older man was planning. He gnawed absentmindedly on his lip.

Striking crimson eyes had met his own earlier on the train ride, they seemed like they were dissecting him. Trying to trace every last one of his idiosyncrasies. Maybe Kacchan was onto him. They’d known each other for years, maybe he could read Izuku better than their other classmates. No one had mentioned the weird way he’d rolled down his cuffs today but he noticed that Kacchan had seen the work of Shigaraki’s quirk that morning. And he hadn’t stopped giving Izuku an annoyed stare all day.

Wait… was he just mad about their fight?

A pang of frustration rang through him.

Someone interrupted his thoughts, “Midoriya-chan, you seem upset with Bakugou-chan today.” Izuku turned his head to find that it was Asui who had spoken.

Izuku rubbed the back of his neck. “O-oh, d-did I look mad.”

“Well, I wouldn’t say mad, but you’ve been frowning at him a lot.”

“You guys walked home together last night. Did anything happen? Do you know where he got that big bruise on his cheek?” Uraraka asked.

“It’s a real shiner.” Sero said from next to her. “Bet you guys he got into a fight.”

Oh, I hadn’t really noticed that I punched him that hard.

A few at the table laughed at this.

“W-we uh…  we had a little accident on our way home.”

Ashido lifted his cuffs and peaked under them. “Is that how you got your wrists busted up like this?” Izuku jerked back in surprise at her disregard for personal space.

“N-no?”

Gosh he really needed to think of a better excuse.

“Um, I-i-it w-w-was an accident with my q-quirk, I end up with a lot of injuries.” Izuku managed to say.

Gosh, he was a really bad liar. Wait… why was he lying? Then he thought about how his classmates would react to the news of what he’d gotten himself into yesterday. Izuku resituated his teeth to the inside of his cheek, and gave his bottom lip some respite.

Ashido’s attention darted from Kacchan to Izuku.

Izuku let out an involuntary squeak. And clamped his mouth shut.

Oh no…

Ashido let out an audible gasp. “MIDORIYA-KUUUUN! Don’t tell me that that bruise was from you!?”

Izuku curled in his seat, retreating in on himself.

“What did you guys duke it out?” she began boxing the air excitedly. Already forgetting about Izuku’s wounded wrists.

Izuku just squeaked again. He bit his tongue to prevent a third time.

To Ashido, this seemed like a confirmation. “Oh my God. you’re a BEAST Midoriya-kun!” Ashido bounced up from her seat, slapping the table.

She ran over to Kacchan’s table. Wildly gesticulating to Izuku’s own. Kacchan slammed down his crackling palm, the cafeteria table just started wildly shaking underneath it.

Kacchan wasn’t having it though. He stomped out of the large hall, everyone staring at him. His eyes were fixed on Izuku with an unfamiliar expression. Kirishima followed.

The cafeteria fell into an unusual quiet.

Oh no. Izuku’s head sunk into his arms, unable to make eye contact with anyone. He wondered what new hell this was going to sprout into. Everyone was going to find out about the rest of what happened last night too. If they could glean this much from a bruise on Kacchan’s cheek, what would they be able to dig out of Izuku by the end of the day?

“Deku-kun,” Uraraka looked at him with concern, eyes trailing back and forth between Izuku’s face and something on the table.

Izuku followed her gaze, noticing patches of blood on one of his shirt cuffs. He cringed at the sight.

Oh.

He must have opened up a wound by over stretching it or something. It hadn’t felt that bad last night. Sure when Shigaraki first made contact Izuku started tearing up from the unexpected pain. But he hadn’t noticed any blood being drawn. Just his top skin slightly cracking to reveal a red underlayer. Maybe in his panic he hadn’t noticed how bad it was. He probably should have wrapped them up or something too. Izuku rotated his wrist while biting the inside of his lip. Uraraka winced at the movement.

Izuku straightened up in his seat, “I should probably go see Recovery Girl.” he announced.

“Oh, we’ll come with you.” Uraraka stood up and grimaced, Iida moving alongside her.

Panic bubbled in Izuku’s chest, He wasn’t really sure how he felt about Iida and Uraraka tagging along. He glanced around the cafeteria, looking for an excuse,“N-no, it’s alright,” he managed, finally looking at a clock on one of the walls, “Class starts soon and I don’t want to make you guys late.”

“Nonsense, I’m sure that Present Mic-sensei will understand.” Iida began

“No, it’s fine,” Izuku managed a smile, “you guys go on ahead.”

He turned around without a word.

 

***

Sometime after waiting for Recovery Girl in the nurse's office, Shitty hair had to dip out to head to class. Where is she? Katsuki thought annoyed as he sat on the bed. Honestly, he hadn’t been planning on getting his cheek healed, but he definitely wasn’t going to let people gossip about it either

It turned out that she wasn’t even in her office. A small sign on her door read ‘ be back in five. In the meantime, have a seat on the bed’ . What a waste of time. Katsuki took his phone out of his pocket and checked his clock, Class was starting in two minutes.

He saw the door open from beside him. Katsuki turned his head.

“H-hey R-r-recovery Girl…” Deku peeked his head into the office, “O-oh...Kaachan! What are you doing here?” Deku stumbled back.

Katsuki rolled his eyes, scowling, idiot, he thought.

“Excuse me.” Came an old voice.

Deku scrambled to get out of her way and Recovery Girl hobbled shortly after. She looked up at Katsuki, “Have a seat.”

Katsuki let out a tch.

The bell for class rang, might as well stay and get what he was waiting for.

“Can you heal my cheek?” he asked gruffly, while sitting down on the bed.

“Did you get into a fight?” The elderly heroine fixed a hard gaze on Katsuki, who in turn averted his eyes.

“I fell last night.”

From farther back in the room Deku inhaled sharply through gritted teeth. Katsuki glared at him. Then he noticed the blood on his sleeve cuffs that hadn’t been there in the morning. Katsuki knit his brows together, while Deku retreated under his gaze. Where was all the anger from last night? Why was he so jumpy today?

Katsuki sat up from the bed, not taking his eyes off Deku’s slightly bloody uniform sleeve, Recovery Girl followed his gaze.

“I’ll check your wounds and heal you after,” she turned back to Katsuki, “now sit back down,” she ordered.

Katsuki followed her request once again. Old hag.

“Anyways, it’s just a bruise, so it should be back to normal in a couple of days. You sure you need it healed, you’ll be tired in your next class?”

Katsuki grumbled, “yes.” He had English next, it wouldn’t be too bad.

She kissed him and Katsuki almost moved away. The kiss was gross and spit-filled, like the ones an old female relative would give you. “There, it should be gone in about a minute.”

Katsuki got up and met eyes with Deku, not long after the boys had switched places. He watched silently as Deku rolled up his sleeves. Now that he could see the wounds better he could tell that they definitely weren’t burns. But he wasn’t sure how wounds like those could suddenly appear overnight.

“Oh my, how’d this happen?”

“...” Deku looked up at Katsuki with down-turned brows. His bottom lip looked swollen like he’d been biting at it. “Quirk training.”

Shit, seriously? But why only his wrists.

Katsuki felt his stomach knot. He turned his back; without a word, he stomped out of the nurses office, bruise healed.

During the afternoon classes there was a mysterious lack of cursing and mumbling as both Katsuki and Deku were unnaturally quiet.

***

What was wrong with his wrists today.? Katsuki lazily sat on the floor doing his homework. Or at least, he was trying to. Every time he found himself getting into it, he was jerked out of his concentration with thoughts of earlier today.

‘Quirk Training’

Katsuki had only seen Deku’s quirk in action twice. With the ball toss and their fight during the mock battle trials. It looked like a huge amount of power that made him burst from the seams. Severely injuring the body part he’d used it with. Katsuki knew his quirk was self harming. But his wrists didn’t bruise over brown and purple like his past injuries.

No...someone did that to him. And it was after Katsuki and Deku split off from each other. Katsuki was going to find out who. Or at least stop it from happening again. They looked intentional, he noticed that they were wider and skinnier in certain areas. They weren’t burns, they weren’t cuts. What were they? Katsuki almost thought he’d seen a line outstretched from the  part that wrapped around the wound... almost like a finger. Could it have been a quirk of someone’s?

Quirk Training.’

Was Deku training with someone outside of class? Was that how he got so fit between now and middle school? It wasn’t just that he was good at running. He’d easily thrown Katsuki over his shoulder the other day, and Katsuki would be blind if he hadn’t seen those muscles when the top of his costume turned to shreds.

Not to mention how solid his punch had been yesterday.

Fuck.

Since when had the fucker gotten strong? He was supposed to be a pebble, a pebble on the side of the road. A worthless extra. A stepping stone for Katsuki to become a hero.

Katsuki paced in his room with his disregarded homework strewn about the floor, why was he getting so worked up about this?

Still, a question from earlier poked and prodded at his mind.

Do you know what happened to Deku-kun?’

***

“Deku-kun, what happened to your wrists?” Katsuki had heard Round Face whisper during one of the breaks between classes from behind him.

Deku had just dryly laughed it off. “Oh it’s nothing. Like I told you, I had and accident, my quirk’s a bit destructive on my body.”

Katsuki prickled in irritation. Since when did he laugh like that?

Katsuki knew that she didn’t want to stop the conversation but class was about to start.

“Yeah, right,” Katsuki heard her slowly back away to her seat, “If you need to talk about anything I’m here.”

Katsuki shifted in his seat from an unwelcome feeling at the back of his head. Katsuki briefly looked behind him, to find Round Face staring at him. The two of them briefly met eyes. She hesitantly lowered them and walked to her seat over by Glasses.

Later, after school, she’d cornered him, “Do you know what happened to Deku-kun?” she’d asked him eyeing him suspiciously.

Katsuki turned around and began walking away, he wasn’t going to put up with her questioning.

You guys went home together last night, right?” she raised her voice, “I heard you got into a fight.”

For a moment Katsuki turned around and opened his mouth as if to say something, but nothing came out. “...” He felt like tar was building up in his chest, itching to come out..

She repeated herself, “Do you know what happened to him?” she was glaring at Katsuki with large intense eyes that reminded Katsuki of Deku’s own. She wasn’t taking Deku’s excuses at face value either.

“Fucking lay off!”

***

The simple phrase periodically repeated itself in his mind. ‘ Do you know what happened to Deku-kun.” The way that she’d said it was filled with apprehension, like she thought Katsuki was the one that had harmed Deku.

He could almost re-imagine her asking the question ‘Did you hurt Deku-kun?’. That's what she was insinuating... right.

Given what she’d witnessed of their relationship she was probably right to assume so. She’d seen the way they acted around each other, how Katsuki lunged at him after he’d shown his quirk to the class. Hell, she was in the building Deku and Katsuki blew up while fighting that first week of school.   

He couldn’t deny that unasked question.

Now he still couldn’t get Round Face’s voice out of his head.

Katsuki continued to pace in his room.

A pit formed in his stomach.

‘Did you hurt Deku-kun?’

 

Katsuki recalled scenes of his and Deku’s childhoods with vivid detail:

 

Wow Kacchan’s so cool!’

Katsuki walked with purpose leading his little gang of neighbourhood kids around.

 

“Wow, Kacchan! You’ve already gotten your quirk! I hope mine’s as cool as yours.”

Little explosions flowered in his palms, he felt unstoppable.

 

“Wow, he beat those two fourth graders on his own, no problem!”

Katsuki wiped his nose, he was going to be the person that always won. Regardless of the adversity, he would climb his way to the top. He was already better than all these extras.

 

Katsuki fell in the river while leading his friends.

“Kaachan! Kaachan are you okay?!”

A little hand reaching out to him after he fell. Idiot I was fine, the hell were you looking down on me for?

 

“Stop it Kaachan, don’t hurt him! I won’t forgive you!”

A little boy had his fists raised trying to stop Katsuki. It didn’t work and Katsuki won against both of them.

He was a pebble.

He didn’t deserve to be alongside Katsuki.

 

A much older boy clawed Katsuki out of slime, with a wobbly smile.

“You looked like you were asking for help Kaachan!”

Damn it you were a pebble! I don’t fucking owe you anything! You didn’t do anything, you didn’t save me! Don’t look down on me!

 

And then he turned his back to him. A long ten months passed, Deku’s grades increased, he filled out his uniform more. He’d stopped talking to Katsuki, stopped talking to anyone. And everytime Katsuki looked at him he’d remember the boy that clawed him out of the sludge. The boy that let him breathe, because he was too weak to do it himself. Katsuki stopped bullying him.

The two boys didn’t speak to each other. They both got into UA. Deku got in. Deku had a quirk. They fought and Deku had won.

He was a pebble on the side of the road.

A pebble that now ran alongside him, was able to punch Katsuki and able to put up a fight.

‘Did you hurt Deku-kun?”

Yes, yes he had.

That evening, sleep didn’t come easily.

***

Izuku eyed the box in his hands. It was clear he needed to be more cautious with his notes.

That day he’d felt exposed both Uraraka and Kacchan were acting suspicious towards him. And with his notes lying around, he felt it more so. He’d managed to wiggle a floorboard loose and shoved his latest analysis notebook into it. He’d considered hiding his thirteenth, but that wouldn’t do anything since Shigaraki had already read it. He’d put it on the bookshelf across the room. Izuku squatted for a bit, preparing to set the small box of folded paper down into the hole.

Then he realized what a villain would do upon learning about the nature of One for All. His eyes widened, all it took was ingesting a bit of his DNA to pass on the quirk. There had to be more conditions right? Could it be tortured out of him? He slowly got up with the box in hand. He needed to get rid of these. He searched for the key and unlocked it, he snatched the carefully folded papers. And rose to exit his room. His mom wasn’t home from work yet, so he was alone.

Izuku opened all the windows of the apartment. He couldn’t shred the papers, Izuku needed them to be gone without a trace before he could breathe. He walked towards the kitchen, clutching firmly onto the loose notes. They wrinkled under his grip. He fished out a gas lighter from the cabinet. He held the items in his hands over the sink. And with one quick movement of his fingers, the paper was ablaze.

Bright orange flames grew in the stale air. Steadily traveling towards his other hand holding the paper. It passed through the sheets, completely erasing what had been written, unblemished white turned to an ugly brown as it crumpled in on itself. The paper was burning a lot slower than he’d thought it would. He dropped the pages into the sink. The flame was beginning to get bigger. Smoke rose. He switched the tap on; the water mixed with the ashes and down they went. Soon, a clump was all that was left in the drain. Izuku turned up the water pressure and it too disappeared.  

Izuku inhaled through his nose, it almost smelled sweet.

He closed his eyes and stood there for a moment.

It was then that he’d noticed that the smoke detectors had gone off. Of course they had. Beeps filled the apartment.

In his daze Izuku turned on the stove fan. He walked over each smoke detector and hushed them one by one. He put on a sweater, leaving the windows open.

***

The scent of dinner on the stove wafted through the Midoriya apartment. Izuku wasn’t as good a cook as his mother, but he’d managed to make a stir fry. He sniffed the air, faintly he still felt like he could smell the burnt paper. Maybe he should have cooked something stronger, like fish. He settled by adding more spices.

A tear made its way down his cheek. Izuku wiped his eyes and sniffed… must be the onions, he thought .

His phone buzzed.

Oka-san: Sorry Izuku, I have to stay at work a bit later today. I can pick up takeout for when I get home.

Me: That’s fine, I’ll handle dinner tonight.

Oka-san: Thank you so much sweetie.

When he was done cooking, Izuku poured out a portion of the meal he’d just made into a container. He left it in the fridge with a note on the door.

When he was done eating his own meal, he moved into his room. He needed to plan his next move before Shigaraki did.

He grabbed his notebook from underneath the floorboards. He honestly had nothing on the man. A few notes on his quirk and fighting style. Izuku thought. He seemed to have the resources to find Izuku’s house and get that Nomu. A chill ran down his spine as he was reminded of that beaked creature. What was it? It obeyed all of Shigaraki’s orders like a pet. But it had quirks. There were cases of animals getting quirks… like his principal, but what sort of mutation could do that? And what had it mutated from.

It had shock absorption and nullification a amalgamation of multiple quirks.

Izuku tapped his pencil on the book. He tried to once again recall the events of the USJ. Shigaraki had seemed impulsive… he’d issued orders to the mist villain and the beaked monster. But was someone like him truly capable of infiltrating a place as impregnable as UA? In the attack the mist villain seemed a lot more competent as well. He’d managed to take Thirteen out of  commission and separated the entire class. He was the one that had announced their plans when they’d come. And the Nomu was the one that had dealt most of the damage to All Might and Aizawa-sensei (aside from his elbow).

Izuku bit his lip and furrowed his brows. He was certainly capable at moving quickly; their encounter at the train station last night had proven as much. But, he didn’t move like a tactical genius who could plot the death of All Might. He almost acted like a child running wild, laughing and impulsively running at All Might. Aside from being able to infiltrate the school and block communications, now that Izuku thought about it, the attack was poorly executed. The mere fact that they had sent Asui to the shipwreck zone had proven as much. Which was a place where a person with a quirk like hers would thrive. There was also the fact that the plan was so inflexible. It relied so heavily on the students being unable to get help from the school, and for the weaker villains littered throughout the facility being able to keep the hero course students at bay. And on the nomu being able to kill All Might.

Nothing fit together. Shigaraki seemed to know so much, like All Might being weakened, as well as when and where to strike. But the way that he acted and his plans suggested otherwise.   

There must have been someone feeding Shigaraki his information. Maybe there was someone higher up orchestrating the entire event.

Izuku shuddered at the idea, he really didn’t want to deal with another villain. Especially not one that was some sort of evil genius.

He rested his head down on the desk. He cried.









Chapter Text

Wildly flipping through Midoriya’s notebooks, Shigaraki rewatched the sports festival from a few days ago. It appeared, that Midoriya’s analysis grew progressively more precise and considerate over the years, dedicating more pages per person. Even depicting individual fights or rescues. Kanji getting more elaborate as Midoriya’s script evolved. Shigaraki noticed the dates on the last  two notebooks. He’d filled the whole of number 14 in the span of three weeks. And only had a few entries in number 15 so far. If he’d thought the 13th was a treasure trove of information on class 1A, it was nothing compared to the last two notebooks. His classmates and teachers were the stars of entries upon entries. Any and all tactics used throughout the sports festival had been guessed or alluded to within his notes. If Shigaraki hadn’t swiped them before the festival had happened he would have suspected they were written after. It was like the kid was able to tell the future or see into the minds of others.

Shigaraki knit his eyebrows, if the dates in these notebooks were correct he’d only been at U.A. for a about a month and he’d managed to write collectively two whole journals. Filled with tactics and counters on everyone in his class.

Who the hell is this brat?

Shigaraki turned back to his computer screen pausing at certain points. Before he’d realized it, he had a pen in hand. Making plans of his own.

***

Katsuki jogged down the street, steadily growing impatient. It had already been 4 days since he’d last encountered Deku on a morning run. Over that time stretch, he left no windows for Katsuki  to confront him about all his weird shit. His strange behaviour, and randomly manifested quirk, his injuries, his sudden fitness.

He guessed he probably wasn't out on his run because of the sports festival. Maybe he was resting. He’d broken quite a few bones in his match with Half n’ Half.

“Tch.” Bastards, the lot of them.  

    Katsuki gritted his teeth. He wouldn’t stop until he fucking got an indisputable first place. He'd show everyone.

Show Todoroki that his dumbass father didn't fucking matter.

    That morning, he spotted Deku’s arm in a sling and bandaged other hand across the train station. He couldn’t tear his eyes away from them.

***

Fiddling with his new bandages Izuku waited outside of Recovery Girl's office. He'd just had another round of healing with her. He was excused from PE, since he was still healing from a profusely fractured arm.

Izuku racked his brain on what he was supposed to do to pass the time. He left for a familiar hallway, since there was no Hero studies today, All Might might be free. He figured that his mentor might still be in his office, he had to ask about One for All, if it could be forcefully transferred. Maybe ask him about his theories on Shigaraki. Tell him about their encounter last week. He shakily raised a hand to the door once he reached the office.

All Might answered with a wide smile while in his muscular form.

“Ah, Midoriya-shounen, how can I help you?” he greeted.

“Um, c-c-can we talk? I’m excused from PE for my injuries.”

His smile wavered. “Yes. come on in” he ushered Izuku into the office, sitting on the couch.

Once the door was closed he shrank and coughed up blood. Izuku’s eye’s lingered at the blood stained tissues piled within a small waste bin next to him. He winced a little at the sight before directing his attention towards All Might.

    Their conversation didn’t go the way Izuku wanted it to. When he looked at All Might’s emaciated form, his lips clamped shut while trying to tell him anything regarding his encounter with Shigaraki. Because, really, what could this man do? What could anyone do?

    His mother could die, s tolen from him at a moments notice. He thought about how easy homicide could be if someone had a warping quirk.

    Before Izuku knew it, he was directing their conversation away from his intended topic, much like he had over the phone. Since his mind always ran a mile per minute, it was easy for him to change the subject.

    “Sorry I didn’t do as well as I could in the sports festival.” he said quietly.

    “Nonsense, I believe I may have stressed you out by planting the idea of making yourself known to everyone in your head.” All Might looked at him with kind eyes and a much less daunting smile. “What matters most is that you tried. You performed admirably my boy!” he laughed softly.

    Sometimes it was a bit jarring to know how different All Might truly was from his public persona. Izuku wondered if acting all the time ever got easy.

    But at the subdued smiles, and laughs he couldn’t help but feel the calm.

    Their conversation drifted from place to place, it soothed Izuku’s nerves. It was nice having someone to talk to. Before All Might he’d been pretty isolated, no friends at school, a mom always at work to support the two of them. Izuku wanted what they had to last. But he knew it wouldn’t not after seeing his wounds.

    Izuku wanted to protect him, as presumptuous of him as it was. Izuku knew he couldn’t hold a candle to All Might. He was a child, but he was a child who the man had entrusted his quirk to.

   

Eventually, Izuku managed to finally ask about what he’d came to the office for in a roundabout way. By the end of the period, Izuku was escorted out of All Might’s office, a hand clapping at his back in reassurance, head filled with so much new information. He’d asked about his quirk, tangentially asked about the league of villains. He couldn’t help but feel dishonest as he danced around an unspoken elephant.

At least now he knew his quirk couldn’t be stolen from him.

But that wasn’t everything. There was a man that could gift and take quirks, one that left people brain dead like nomu, one who was still alive long after a normal human life span had passed. And All Might thought he was the brain behind the League of Villains. Izuku was right, Shigaraki wasn’t the one pulling the strings.

...Izuku was supposed to fight him some day, wasn’t he?

And Shigaraki was the only attachment that he had to him so far.  

 

Throughout the rest of the day, Izuku’s mind was muddled, he couldn’t focus on anything in front of him. As soon as he spotted Aizawa-sensei again, he couldn’t stop staring at the man’s face. He was finally not covered in bandages but he still had a cast on his arm. Izuku completely disregarded any notes that were on the board, mind assaulted by doomsday scenarios. What would happen if someone attacked while he was still healing? He was still injured, he wouldn’t be able to do anything.

A pit formed in Izuku’s stomach as his teacher filled the room with his lethargic voice. Izuku couldn’t help but focus on that crescent shaped scar underneath his eye. Hadn’t that fight with the Nomu carried serious repercussions on his vision? The time he could leave his eyes opened had decreased right? Which meant the time he could erase quirks had decreased. Which meant he was less proficient in a fight.

Izuku watched his stiff face around the scar. The moon moved up and down as he talked. Up and down, up and down. Izuku gripped the edge of his desk. Up and down. That scar was a sign that everyone had a weak point, a way to crush them weaken them. Just like All Might’s own graphic one on his abdomen. Up and down. Everyone had a weak point. Up and down. Even pro heros. Up and down. Izuku’s sweaty fingers slid, not managing to get a handhold.

Up and down. His chest felt like it was about to explode.

Black dots clouded his vision.

***

A loud crash sounded behind Katsuki. He immediately turned his head to find Deku on the ground, fallen out of his seat, chair toppled to the side. His desk had been pushed out of position by his flaccid form.

What the fuck?

There were a few shouts of “Midoriya-kun’s” and “Deku-kun’s” littered throughout the room.  

Sero was looking down with wide eyes. He broke through the incessant murmuring “I don’t know what happened. All of a sudden, he was breathing heavily and he passed out.” he exclaimed a little dazed and to no one in particular.

What the fuck? Deku?

The first person to act was Katsuki, he pushed Sero out of the way, crouching over Deku to check him. He turned the other teen onto his side positioning his arms and legs like they’d been taught in class. He tilted his head and checked his pulse and breathing. “His breath and pulse are normal” He said, finally looking up.

Aizawa was standing above the both of them “I’m going to take him to Recovery Girl. Don’t do anything idiotic while I’m gone. Iida, I’m putting you in charge.”

Deku’s eyes fluttered open and he scrambled upright and away from Katsuki. After an exchange to calm him down Aizawa and him exited the classroom.

Then pandemonium ensued.

Everyone started talking in hushed whispers, no doubt gossiping about what had just happened. Katsuki gritted his teeth. Honestly, with how shocked they’d been Katsuki was wondering how level their heads would be with actual danger. This shit was nothing compared to what they’d been through at the USJ or what they’d need to handle with their future careers. Although, he guessed he probably had the most experience with said 'shit', one more incident under his belt.

He scoffed. At least being taken captive by a villain and having constant nightmares were worth something.

Shitty extras.

Kirishima made his way to his desk and clapped him on the back. While glasses yelled at everyone to ‘please remain seated.’

“Tch.”

Katsuki tried to disregard all Kirishima's exclaimations about manliness.

* **    

 

Izuku rode the train alone. After some brief time in Recovery Girl’s office he was excused from the rest of school. Following a nervous phone conversation with his mother convincing her that he would be fine walking home he'd left.

He guessed being anxious and losing sleep weren’t a good combination with Recovery Girl’s quirk which ate at his stamina.

He didn’t get out of his hazy head until his stop came. He walked towards his house. And hurried to his room. He needed to think. He needed some quiet. When he got to his room,  he opened and slammed the door, not caring. His mom was at work so no one was there to hear anyways.

Izuku threw his bag onto the ground. Slinging it over one shoulder for the entire way home was almost torture. Even though it was finally out of its cast, Recovery Girl had told him not to put too much stress on his arm. Still, he couldn’t complain, at least he had his cast off.

He let out a sigh of frustration sinking into his desk chair and wheeling it along the floor, he closed his eyes and tipped his head back.

Between Kacchan always watching him, Shigaraki and this new development about All for One Izuku really wasn’t getting a break.

“Someone’s pissed.” a voice said.

What?

Izuku jerked his head away from the ceiling in surprise.

His room was in normal order, floorboards untampered with, nightstand unopened, all his All Might Memorabilia was in its proper place, his bed was made. What lay atop that bed however stuck out like a sore thumb… or rather who lay on his bed. The first thing Izuku saw was the scraggly hair barely brushed. It obscured the face of its owner.

Shigaraki Tomura!

The sight was surreal. He was lounging, dressed in a simple hoodie and jeans, feet up, one leg over the other, in his socks, a notebook of Izuku’s in hand, wearing odd gloves that had a few fingers cut off.

Red sneakers much like his own were discarded on the floor.

Izuku almost forgot how to breathe.

Shigaraki broke the silence, “It’s kind of weird you’re home before school ends. Is Mr. Goody Two-Shoes skipping class?”

“...”

Shigaraki laughed. It was a lot different from the other one he’d heard at the USJ and the train station. It wasn’t manic, it almost sounded...normal. “Got any more of these kid, I’m a fan?” he shook the notebook.

In return, Izuku looked at him with wide eyes. “W-why’re you here?” he said before catching his tongue. Gosh, why was he so loose lipped when he was flustered?

“Well, I needed some air, got bored on my walk and ended up here. Was wondering if you had any more of these.” he waved the notebook in his hands.

So you’re here… in my room? Do you come here when I’m at school often? He’d been in Izuku’s room before if his returned 13th notebook was any indication.

Shigaraki brought up one of Izuku’s home phone receivers in his other hand, “Don’t get any ideas like last time kid. My guy says you haven’t gotten a new phone.”

You’re guy? Is that how you got information on me, Izuku thought. Nevertheless, at least he was wrong. That meant Shigaraki’s ‘guy’ didn’t know about the new phone his mother got him after the festival at the bottom of his backpack.

Izuku considered his options. Rapid thoughts following each other in quick succession

Calling the police? He had a known criminal right in the middle of his room.

How could he get to a phone without being suspicious?

If he went to grab the phone in his mother’s room, Shigaraki would likely be able to follow him in pursuit. It wouldn’t be long before he caught up.

So if escaping and calling are a no go for now I need to distract him until I can get to my phone.

Izuku looked from the window, to the receiver in Shigaraki’s hands, to his backpack and finally to the door. Time seemed to slow down as he realised something.

It looked a bit dark around the cracks.

It was the afternoon though.

Is...is the warpgate villain here too?

He was trapped in here, wasn’t he?

He needed to do something quickly.

“Are you just going to gape at me?” Shigaraki sneered.

Izuku suddenly felt the situation sink in. Quick, heroes’ tactics against allusive opponents with volatile quirks. Think, think, think. The man’s hands were momentarily gloved so he had to act fast while Shigaraki didn’t have access to his quirk. The mist villain was outside of the door so he probably couldn’t see them if those glowing yellow slits were actually eyes. That would mean he was momentarily undefended by his comrade.

Izuku thought back to a recent entry in his journal: 20XX Mount Lady vs. Siren: Barred opponents movements by using her body, then stomped on the ground to create a mini earthquake and make them lose their footing.  Izuku lunged at the man’s legs hoping to stay away from his hands and trip him while herding him to a corner of the room. Shigaraki moved out of the way with ease. Hopping to one foot.

If I can just get to that phone.

“You’re not as fast as at the USJ.” he tore off his gloves.

Izuku gritted his teeth.

“Say, why aren’t you using that quirk of yours.” Shigaraki tapped his chin.

Izuku followed, Shigaraki was only dodging. Izuku punched, only to be met with air, he crashed into his night table almost knocking down his reading lamp. He managed to catch it and set it upright.

Shigaraki was grinning at him. “Holy shit, brat.”

Kurogiri hadn’t shown up. Maybe Shigaraki was by himself. But he didn’t imagine the darkness around the cracks.

He was trapped.

What the hell is going on?

The black that filled the cracks inched into the room. And Izuku’s head immediately snapped back.

Izuku scanned the room looking for something that would work. Kamui Woods 20XX: Outstretches branches then seizes opponents after they flinch and are distracted on all sides. Similar to a smoke screen or flash bomb for his attacks. He brushed his arm across his desk. Papers flying. Shigaraki laughed behind the fleeting barrier. Izuku rushed forward while he was distracted.He kept low to stay out the reach of his hands. He dove at his legs. Pulling them out from under him. Then reached for his bag.

Simultaneously, the home phone finally dropped out of Shigaraki’s hand only to be swallowed by a warp.

As he dug further into his bag, Izuku felt nothing. Izuku looked across the room to find a pair of hands poking out of a warp. Sure enough, they were his own, bandages and all.

Is the warpgate omniscient?!

In his brief shock, Shigaraki pulled him back by the tail of his blazer. And Izuku went down.  

Izuku resisted his grip. But Shigaraki yanked harder, getting rid of his jacket. Izuku yelped as he slid across the floor on his knees. For someone that looked so skinny, he was surprisingly strong.

“Nice try, but unlike that purple haired kid you flipped the other day I can actually fight.” Shigaraki got off of him and sauntered over the shocked kid. He simply got out of the way when Izuku tried to grab him in vain. He rolled his desk chair towards the front door crossing his legs.

Izuku stumbled back and bumped into his desk. Knocking down one of his posters on the wall above it.

Shigaraki scoffed  “Pretty badass how you got out of his brainwashing quirk. Is breaking your bones the only thing you can do though?”

Izuku paused, he tried to understand the situation. A terrorist was in his room, acting… pseudo-casual?

“Sit down,” he commanded, “we can have another chat while we’re both here,” he gestured to the bed he’d been in.

Izuku shakily looked up at Shigaraki from his spot on the floor. He was calmly sitting, staring at him in turn, with those piercing red eyes, not covered by a hand or obscured by a hoodie and hair.

He followed his orders. Trying not to act as terrified as he was.

When Izuku got to his bed, he almost cried at his sheets. Some of them had already turned to ash under the man’s touch. His All Might comforter was completely defaced.

Damnit, that was limited edition. He flung his comforter off of his bed and threw it in the hamper. Shigaraki didn’t move, just watched him from his seat with an air of mirth around him.

Now that Izuku thought about it, he wasn’t being overly hostile. He’d caught him with his quirk but only managed to ruin his uniform. Weird. Was he toying with him?

“Anyways you can’t exactly fight me. And if you try anything funny, you’ve met my friend that can warp me away..” Shigaraki trailed off. Jerking his thumb back to Izuku’s door. “You’re pretty arrogant, thinking you could take me on.”

Izuku sat down on his bed. He honestly had no idea what he was doing at this point.

Shigaraki spoke up, “I get that you’re a fan of All Might and all, but why do you have him plastered all over your room?“ He took a fallen poster from Izuku’s desk and touched all five fingers to it.

Oh come on!? “H-hey.” Izuku protested. Then he bit his tongue.

“It’s one poster brat. Look at your room, it’s hardly anything. Do you just spend all your money on merch? Did you rob a convention or something” He held up an All Might head pencil sharpener from Izuku’s desk turning it in his hand “I mean, what the fuck is this?” He raised an eyebrow.

Now that he was in a well lit room and Izuku could get a good look at him. He appeared a lot younger than Izuku had initially thought. Even though he had cracked skin and huge eyebags worse than Shinso’s he couldn’t be older than his early twenties.

    “Why’re you here?” Izuku asked quietly

    “Told you, was bored.” Shigaraki leaned back in his chair twisting back and forth.

    “W-w-w-why here though?” Izuku raised his voice. He hated how scared he sounded.

    Shigaraki rolled his eyes, “Shit, how deaf are you? The journals. Do I have to repeat everything twice? I wanted to see if you wrote anything new. Finished those ones.”

Shigaraki raised his chin to Izuku’s desk. There was a neat pile of notebooks that hadn’t been displaced by Izuku’s earlier sweep of the desk.

Not all of them were there though, from what Izuku could make out by their colouring his latest two were still missing

Shigaraki reached for the pile pulling one of the top ones. It was his tenth.

“Gotta say not really a fan of your early work. Do you take commissions for who you write on?”

It felt odd, having someone so interested in his writing. What was he in it for. He tried to recall what was in his thirteenth that would have made Shigaraki so interested, what was in his 14th and 15th. Izuku stayed quiet for a moment, unable to tear his eyes away from the man before him.

Okay, he wants more notebooks. He wanted Izuku’s analysis. Probably on his classmates and teachers if he’d been drawn in by the 13th and not the other ones. Were they planning another attack on UA. On All Might?

Maybe, Izuku wasn’t asking the right questions. Maybe he could figure things out from Shigaraki.

“You want information on my classmates and teachers.” he concluded under his breath.

“Bingo! That’s part of it. Especially this dumbass.” He pointed to one of Izuku’s figurines atop a bookshelf by his bed. He mockingly shivered “How do you sleep with all this shit watching you anyways?”  

Izuku tried to steady his breath. The man was insisting on talking, maybe he could make this work to his advantage and get some information from him. He breathed in and out. “Why do you want to kill him?”

Shigaraki thought for a moment. He waved a hand. “Pretty much hate everything. He really grinds my gears.” Shigaraki scowled. “And I want to see everything I dislike crumble.”

Is...is he being serious right now? It was like a washed out cliche model of a comic villain.

Izuku pressed forward “So why All Might first?”

“Why not him first? Don’t see what you see in him. The meathead is all show. I mean look at all this stuff you have. He must have made a pretty penny for it.”

“All proceeds he gets go to charity most of the time.” Izuku reflexively argued.

His mind continued to race I’m arguing...with a villain… who’s in my room.

“Of course you’d know that, stalker. Still can’t exactly solve a problem by throwing money at it.” Shigaraki muttered bitterly.

Izuku frowned. He’s calling me the stalker? He’s the one that snuck into my room!

Shigaraki’s crimson eye’s made contact with Izuku’s own. And everything halted as he made his presence clear. How could he do that with just a stare? “ Honestly, I’m really not in the mood to talk about him right now.” He ditched his nonchalant attitude in the blink of an eye.

Izuku felt the steering wheel of the conversation being heaved out of his hands and he was being jerked side to side. His back straightened. Jeez , he felt so naked under his gaze. Thoughts in the back of his head crept in. Shigaraki’s new fixation on Izuku was unwavering. It couldn’t possibly be just his quirk analysis. Izuku recalled how he’d thought about how much Shigaraki seemed to know. All Mights weakened state, where and when to attack.   Does he know I’m All Might’s successor ? It would make sense if he was working for All Might’s nemesis. Maybe he’d sent Shigaraki after him.

What’s All for One planning?

    “Hmmm, who knows,” Shigaraki narrowed his eyes. “You really need to get a hold of that mumbling habit of yours”

    Did...did he say that out loud?

    “Some people don’t like loose lipped brats.”

    Izuku involuntarily shuddered

    “Although, that shouldn’t really be your concern right now. Especially with two high ranked villains in your house.”

As if summoned, Izuku’s room filled with the presence of black mist.

The warpgate!

Izuku had forgotten about him, how had the older man disarmed him so completely that he’d disregarded what was on the other side of his door

    Izuku’s breath hitched.

A portal opened in the floor of Izuku’s bedroom. It closed whisking Shigaraki away before Izuku could get to it. He toppled into the chair that Shigaraki had been sitting in. He dropped to his knees while something struck the back of his head. And he blacked out for the second time that day.

***

Shigaraki landed in the bar, he whirled around, hands clawing at his neck. “Oi, Kurogiri” he growled, “why the fuck did you just do that?”

    Kurogiri materialized in front of him looking at him through narrowed eyes. “His mother came home. Neither of you heard her. Excuse me if I don’t want to be caught because you’re too busy enjoying yourself.”

    “I wasn’t enjoying myself” Shigaraki huffed. “he’s a valuable asset.”

“Please, you obviously were beating around the bush the entire time.” Kurogiri let out a sigh of frustration. “Nevertheless, isn’t it a bit jarring that a random UA student seems to know about Sensei?”

“That gives us more incentive to snatch him up before the heroes get to him. He's got a lot in that head.” Shigaraki continued scratching at his neck in irritation.

Kurogiri intercepted his hands with a warp. Leaving his fingers touching thin air.  

They briefly met eyes. Shigaraki gritted his teeth and set his hands down in surrender.

    "Fine, just , let me leave something behind.”

***

Izuku woke with a start. He looked beside him to survey his room, it was completely in shambles. Paper was everywhere, All the All Might Posters were on the floor or on his desk. The notebook that Shigaraki had held when he first came home was lying on the bed.  His hamper had somehow toppled over. Revealing the ruined All Might bedding. He looked down at himself. The only thing left of his blazer were parts of the sleeves. And the collar of his button down was ruined too. He spotted his tie on the floor not far away.

How’d it get there?

“Damnit.”Izuku scrambled out of his bed, scurrying towards his floorboards.

Once the loose one was open, he breathed a sigh of relief, all his notes were still there. He quickly resituated the wood before beginning to tidy up his room. If his mother saw it in a mess like this, she’d know something was up. And he didn’t want to deal with that. Not with the day he'd just had. As he got to his desk, he found something on his notebooks.

A sticky note much like the last time. There was a ten digit number written at the top. Then an address. Meet me here this friday at midnight and don’t forget how easy it is for me to get in your house if you decide to get cold feet.

Izuku blinked. He stopped cleaning at once.

Chapter Text

The train was silent, morning commuters packing in like sardines in a can. Before, Izuku would have been anxious about having so many people around him. Now he barely regarded it. He was too focused on the pressing issue of Kacchan sitting next to him and that late night conversation with Shigaraki. Izuku looked from Kacchan to his own hands nervously biting his thumb, tugging at his bandages.

Izuku leaned forward and fisted his shirt fabric. Barely able to draw in a breath. He felt like he couldn’t move.

Kacchan was staring at him. He had been for the past week. The pressure of his searing gaze would have been able to make a diamond.

Izuku continued to breathe shallowly. Trying to draw in air. He’d almost told Kacchan, almost told him about Shigaraki, five times, and that was only on the train. But just like when he’d been talking to All Might his lips locked into place. A wave of anxiety passing through him. Thoughts of what could go wrong popping up in his head.

Izuku unclutched the fabric of his shirt and sank into his backpack. Bringing his umbrella closer to him to rest on his thigh. He looked to his right to be met with Kacchan’s glare.

He leaned forward and brought out his new phone. At least he still had it, he couldn’t imagine what would happen if he lost two in two weeks.

He brought up an article he’d been reading earlier. It was on the Hero Killer’s recent activity in Hosu- gosh, poor Iida. He’d claimed his first victim in the city, and the article said Stain’s old patterns indicated that it wouldn’t be his last. Ingenium was still alive but the article said he was permanently out of commission.

What was wrong with Izuku? He hadn’t even seen if his friend was okay. Being preoccupied with a villain wasn’t an excuse. Izuku was a terrible friend.

Someone shook his shoulder. He was shoved to the side and almost tripped over himself.

“Oh hey!” the person exclaimed.“You’re Midoriya and Bakugou from the hero course right?”

“Oh wow it’s the guy that got first place this year!”

“Great job you two!”

“That was a close one, better luck next time.”

“So cool!”

“You guys were so intense!”

They crowded in on them and Kacchan was like a steaming kettle right next to Izuku.

***

When Glasses almost rammed into him, Katsuki had already been ready to burst. “The hell is your problem? Watch where you’re going.” Raindrops began to fizzle in Katsuki’s palms.

He shoved them into the pockets of his raincoat, no use using his quirk right in front of the school in the middle of a downpour, wouldn’t work very well anyways, with watered down nitroglycerin. That’s part of the reason why he’d asked for hero gear that could store sweat. Damn, he was pretty useless in the rain, wasn’t he.

Fuck.

“Oh, I-iida-kun!”

“Why are you walking so slowly we will be late for class.”

“The fuck?! There’s five minutes until the first bell rings glasses!”

Glasses didn’t look back, “UA students should arrive ten minutes early, don’t you think?” He sped off, ignoring the both of them.

Katsuki dug his hands further into his pockets. He’d watched the news that had finally broken about the glasses nerd’s brother. WIA, never to be on the job again.

Katsuki sped up to get out of the rain.

Fuck mornings. Fuck Glasses running into him. Fuck those creeps on the train who thought it was a great idea to crowd around him and Deku. Fuck Half and Half for not fighting him properly. Fuck Deku always being a little shit. Fucking mumbling all the time. Fucking looking like he was afraid of his own shadow.

He still hadn’t managed to figure out anything about what was happening with him. And Katsuki couldn’t corner him because he was always with friends or they were on a public train. He still hadn’t gone on a run

***

Katsuki neatly tucked his rain boots and coat into his small locker and put on his indoor shoes.

“You don’t have to worry about my brother, he’s fine. I’m sorry if I caused you to become overly concerned.” he heard Glasses, presumably talking to Deku around the corner.

Uraraka met eyes with him from where she was standing next to him. She frowned, which looked ridiculous on her round face.

Katsuki guessed she was part of the reason why he couldn’t get to the nerd. From whatever the hell kind of story she’d made up last week about Katsuki hurting Deku, she seemed to have secretly proclaimed herself to be his bodyguard. After Deku had fainted she was sticking even closer.  

“Tch” Katsuki turned away and left for homeroom.

***

The moment Katsuki stepped inside the classroom, he met eyes with Half and half. Shit, the elitist bastard was as bad as Deku. He thought he was better than him. Hadn’t even looked at him when he made a declaration of war at Deku.

He’d spilled his guts to Deku too…

Katsuki narrowed his eyes as he sat down in his seat.

Fucking Half and half.

Anger rose in Katsuki even more during first period. It had turned out that they were going to go on workplace studies in about a week.

And Katsuki stared at the blackboard in disgust. The fucking half n’ half bastard had more offers than him. Even though he’d lost in the finals.

But... he hadn’t won against Todoroki, he hadn’t won against Deku either. Not getting to properly fight them during the festival.

He gritted his teeth once he saw the internship offers on the board.

“It’s mostly just my father’s influence.” Todoroki deadpanned from behind him.

Elitist, nepotistic bullshit!

Katsuki cheered himself up when he looked through the large stack of papers and found a very promising name printed neatly near the top of one of the pages.

Best Jeanist Hero Agency.

Hell Yeah!

He skimmed through the rest of the pages trying to find anyone else. The rest were just a bunch of nobodies compared to a hero ranked fourth in the entire country.

 

Later that morning, Katsuki looked up from his desk, his eye twitching.

What is he playing at?

Katsuki just stared at the word ‘Deku’ neatly written at the front of the room, it was being held up proudly by the nerd for everyone to see.

“I-i a-always h-hated it... but someone helped me c-consider it in a new light, it made me happy. I-i’m going to be the ‘Deku’ who gives it his all.” He announced to the class.

What?

Before the period was up Katsuki never settled on a hero name. Whenever he thought, a punchable freckled face would pop into his head. They decided that they would go with his family name for the time being.

‘It suits your quirk’ Midnight sensei had said.

“Sure, whatever.” Katsuki didn’t pay her any attention, he was trying to see if he could kill someone with just his eyes.

Was Deku trying to mock him?

***

Evenings after school brought with them a mix of emotions. Shigaraki was expecting him to be somewhere at midnight on friday. And what choice was there but to follow his orders? Izuku knew he was acting weird at school, everyone kept asking about whether or not he was okay. That even included the classes recluses: Shouji, Todoroki and Tokoyami. Izuku guessed he’d made friends with the latter two. Izuku wasn’t really sure, he hadn’t really had friends since he was like six after everyone gave up on him getting a quirk….

With his classmates reactions that week, Izuku realized something: he seriously needed to figure out a way to not wear his heart on his sleeves. He’d managed to become more expressive and come out of his shell over the past year but that seemed to be working against him now, if he let anyone find out about Shigaraki, they’d probably be in trouble too.

Izuku attempted to school his expression in the bathroom mirror. He still looked absolutely terrified.

I need to be brave.

He was already in deep with the villain.

‘...don’t forget how easy it is for me to get in your house if you decide to get cold feet.’

He sniffed. Why are my tear ducts so overactive?

He pulled another expression  in the mirror. At that moment, Izuku reminded himself of someone else. He thought of that smile Iida had given him earlier, it didn’t reach his eyes.

Izuku felt unease bubble in his stomach. He remembered the coverage of Stain. His usual tactics indicated that he’d strike in Hosu and that was where Iida had chosen for his workplace study the coming week.

I want to be closer to my brother in the hospital.

What if Iida went after him?

Izuku broke his composure once he remembered the murderer’s signature. The blood of the victim used to write Fake. All he could imagine was Iida’s blood being used for that. His friend either ending up crippled or six feet under. The latter was probably going to happen to Izuku too if his recent company was any indication.

Dammit, he had to be able to do something. He ran through all the half baked plans of the past week. Thoughts of fighting back, thoughts of being subject to the man’s whims.

A sudden plan sprung in his mind. The most he could figure out about Shigaraki was that he wanted to get information. What if Izuku did the reverse? If he figured out what he was planning he’d be able to prevent it... right? Or at least reduce the amount of damage done.

That meant going along with him.

Maybe, he’d be able to protect everyone.

***

When friday rolled around Izuku was pretty much set in his plans. He ran a hand through his curls. He should probably disguise himself in case he was seen in the open with a villain. Green was a pretty noticeable colour. He settled on a low drawn hoodie and sick mask, anything else would be overkill. As soon as he was finished getting dressed he peaked out of his room to check if his mother was asleep. The light was off. The apartment was unnaturally quiet as he crept through it.

He locked the door behind him.

 

The place wasn’t very far off, it was a corner store in a slightly seedier part of town barely a twenty minute walk away. The usually busy streets were graced by only the occasional person. Izuku was a bit confused when he found that the store wasn’t open and had no lights on.

It felt like this was some sort of trap. The idea had crossed his mind, but he didn’t want them in his home where his sleeping mother was. So he needed to go out to meet with-

Suddenly, there was an arm flinging itself around his shoulder, Izuku flinched in surprise. Under his mask his hot breath tickled his nose.

“Hey, brat.” the gravelly voice said. He recognized it immediately, he whipped his head around to find a smiling Shigaraki , the light of the street giving his pale skin an otherworldly glow. “Didn’t think you’d show.”

Not like you gave me much choice. Izuku didn’t dare voice his thoughts though

He grabbed Izuku’s jaw and turned it to inspect with the forefinger and thumb of his free hand. Izuku could feel the blood pumping in his ears

“You know, that mask makes you look more suspicious.” Shigaraki remarked.

Behind his sick mask, Izuku’s lips drew back in apprehension.

“You’d look a lot less sketchy with that plain face of yours. Innocent even, you should use that to your advantage some time.” He grabbed at the mask and it crumbled from his touch.

Shigaraki walked forward. His arm still on Izuku which ended up pushing him along.

“W-where are w-w-we g-g-going?” Izuku managed.

“You seriously don’t think that I’d give you the address we were really going to meet at right? What would’ve happened if you’d ratted me out Midoriya?”

Izuku shuddered upon hearing his own name from the man’s lips. Shigaraki stopped at the entrance of an alley, he took out his phone one handed. It was a wonder he didn’t drop it while keeping his pinky up. He punched something in with his thumb while it was held too far away for Izuku to be able to see the screen. Not a second after he lowered it, a warp opened.

Shigaraki finally took his arm off of Izuku’s shoulder. Looking at him expectantly. “I’m going to need you to turn off your phone if you have it with you.”

Izuku complied. He brought it out and shut it off.

Shigaraki held his hand out, “Give it here.” Izuku gave his phone to him after a moment’s hesitation.

“Sorry, you’ll get it back after. Just… you know… precautions.”

Why the hell is he apologizing?

Shigaraki nudged his head towards the warp and wordlessly Izuku followed.

 

Izuku felt a chill heading into the warp. It reminded him of the weightlessness he’d experienced at the USJ. The other side of the portal was a bit jarring, it was a dimly lit bar. Izuku surveyed the room. There was a tv in the corner switched off. The room was mostly filled with a long wooden bartop lined by red stools.

Shigaraki hopped on one of them and swung around. “Let’s talk.”

***

  So far so good, Shigaraki  thought. He stared at the kid as he shakily sat on a bar stool. He was surprisingly complacent. Shigaraki was actually expecting a fight. But, Midoriya seemed to be wrapped around his finger. He’d proven as much by coming out willingly.

He put Midoriya’s phone on the bartop, Kurogiri picked it up in return. Shigaraki held out his hand expectantly and waited for Kurogiri to pour him a drink. Then he scowled at the glass of water placed in his hand with mild disgust.

“He’s underage.” was all Kurogiri said.

“Not like he’s going to drink it.”  Shigaraki played with the straw.

Midoriya kept looking between them with wide eyes. Shit, he looked even more like a kid when he did that.

Fair point.

Shigaraki sipped some of his water. “So.” he began, “You didn’t call. I went out of my way to give you a phone number you know.”

Kurogiri gave him a glare. As if to say ‘get to the point’; which Shigaraki returned.

“If you’re wondering whether it can be traced and you’ll get in trouble, don’t worry, I have a guy for that.”

“Is this guy All for One?” Midoriya whispered under his breath. Voice breaking.

Shigaraki seriously didn’t know how the hell this kid knew about Sensei but he was sure he’d get it out of him eventually. Right then wasn’t the time for it though. Shigaraki took another sip of water. He didn’t answer Midoriya’s question. “I didn’t ask you here to talk about him.”

Midoriya bit his lip, darting his eyes from him to Kurogiri like a cornered mouse. As if he were trying to figure out any viable means of escape.

“S-s-so w-why? Are- are y-you going to k-kidnap me or something?”

Shit, that stuttering is way too annoying! Shigaraki rolled his eyes, between that and his muttering he was seriously pushing some buttons. He’d need to fix that if they were going to be talking more often. “I would have kidnapped you if I wanted to already. It wouldn’t be hard, you’re pretty weak runt.”

Midoriya opened his mouth then closed it.

“Anyways, I want you to do something for me.”

“Y-y-you what?”

Shigaraki ran a hand over his face. Had this kid seriously written those journals? “Fuck, just, let me finish.” he gave Midoriya an annoyed side eye glance from his drink. “I asked if you take commissions earlier this week. I want you to be my eyes and ears at UA. But, I also want you to research a person for me.”

“What makes you think I’m going to do that?!”

“Hmmm, I don’t know...what about the fact that I can get into your house whenever the fuck I want. ” He turned his chair to face Midoriya.

He looked like he was constipated. Wide eyes and gritted teeth, brow drawn low. He could faintly hear an echo of ‘smash’ as soon as he saw that expression. He stopped for a few seconds. Why was this kid so inconsistent? One moment he was fighting him, the next he was stuttering, and then he’d fill notebooks with detailed quirk analysis. Was he putting up a front to get Shigaraki to think he was more scared than he actually was?

Shigaraki continued “There’s also always my quirk if you say no..” he wiggled his fingers. “I’m usually pretty persuasive.”

Midoriya looked down at Shigaraki’s hands, his miraculous boldness regretfully sank away. He faintly touched his wrists.

Shigaraki waited for him to answer. Midoriya’s jaw jutted out and he bit his bottom lip. He took a few deep breaths. His face hardened. Shigaraki could even make out a growing bead of sweat collecting on his forehead

“Who’s this p-p-person y-y-you w-want m-me to research?” he asked.

“The guy goes by Stain.”

Midoriya’s back straightened. And he stared at Shigaraki in confusion.

“I take it you’ve heard of him?”  

“...”

“Kurogiri, give him the folder.” Shigaraki addressed the bartender. “The one from Giran.”

As Kurogiri filled the countertop with a swirling cloud of mist, Midoriya’s brows shot up.  When it dissipated, there was a folder their information broker had compiled on Stain in preparation for Shigaraki’s meeting with him the next week. “This is what we have on Stain, I want you to figure out counters to him.”

Midoriya snapped his head in surprise.

Shigaraki smirked. His meeting with Stain would work as a double interview for the both of them. Shigaraki could see how Midoriya’s notes would work on an actually dangerous person, while testing out what Stain was like. Sensei had helped him out with the plan. If Midoriya ended up divulging this folder’s information on Stain to anyone, Shigaraki would just need to tighten the kid’s leash. Stain would just be collateral damage to get to a potential spy in UA...and tangentially a spy to get to All Might.

Besides Stain was just an NPC. Midoriya was going to be Shigaraki’s Rogue.

After a long pause, Midoriya responded “I-I…N-n-never…” he tried to smooth his expression in vain. “I never said yes.”

“You can’t tell me no either.” Shigaraki knew he had this kid backed into a corner for now.

Midoriya was quiet once again.

“If…” Shigaraki leaned in as soon as the teen started. “If I p-promise t-t-to…” Midoriya licked his lips to wet them. “If I do this. You can’t come near my house. Or my mother.”

Shigaraki raised an eyebrow. Is that all, Mama’s boy? “Deal. I can-”

“I’mnotdoneyet.” Midoriya sputtered.

“You think I’m going to follow more ultimatums?”

Midoriya continued, completely disregarding what Shigaraki had said. “You can’t go near any of my classmates or their families outside of school either.”

Wasn’t planning on it. “ Yeah sure, whatever.” Not like my word to do anything is worth that much anyways. He’d entertain the kid. Just a little.

“Y-y-you...” He gulped “You can’t kill any of them.”

“What makes you think I’m going to agree to that? They could end up being caught in my crossfire.” Shigaraki scoffed. “Besides, it’s not like you’re in a position to give me orders either.” Still he had to applaud the kid for at least trying.

Midoriya visibly retracted. “I won’t go along with this if you’ll hurt them.”

“Shit, you remember we met through me trying to kill All Might right? I could probably just kill you right here and now if I wanted to.”

“So w-why haven’t you?”

“Because I don’t want to.” Shigaraki’s patience was waning. “Anyways is that everything? I expect what your thoughts on Stain are by tuesday. Along with anything you’ve written on your classmates or teachers. Don’t think you can suddenly stop writing because you have an audience.”

“I-i-i c-can’t write on th-them.”

Shigaraki scowled at him.

Midoriya backpedaled. “I-i-i h-h-have a w-w-workplace study next week... I won’t be at school.”

“Where?” He reached up a hand to scratch at his neck.

“Y-yamanashi P-prefecture.”

“Alright.” his hand curled.

“S-s-so-”

“Can you stop fucking stuttering? I can barely understand you brat.” Shigaraki hissed.

Midoriya fell silent.

“Text me your location as soon as you get there.”

“But-”

Shigaraki slammed the bartop with the palm of his hand, almost leaving a mark with his quirk. The boy yelped.  “Text me your location or I’ll find you. Your choice. One just involves people getting caught up between us.”

Midoriya reluctantly nodded.

“You can go now, Kurogiri will show you out. And don’t lose that folder like you did with your notebook.”

Midoriya willingly stepped through Kurogiri’s warp for the second time that night.

***

Izuku raised his head to look at the mist villain… Kurogiri.

He’d remained silent throughout the night exchanging knowing glances with Shigaraki throughout the conversation. “I-i’m a-s-s-s-ssuming that y-y-you’re going to w-w-warp into my house again after today.”

“Yes.”

“C-can you just k-keep i-it to j-just my room?”

“Yes.”

He still couldn’t really figure this man out. At least Shigaraki had an entire face full of expressions....creepy expressions...with creepy hands. Meanwhile, Kurogiri just felt like a hovering server that entire time. Izuku thought he would’ve been more vocal. “D-does he n-n-normally order you around like that?”

He sighed, “Yes.”

So...Shigaraki’s his boss…

Kurogiri held out his arm and a cloud of mist expanded dropping Izuku’s phone onto his bed. Along with the folder on Stain that was given to him earlier.

“Oh, thanks.” Izuku mumbled quietly.

Wait… how does he know where he’s warping? Where’d he warp my phone from?

The yellow crescents narrowed and they seemed to trail much like the black mist surrounding him. Kurogiri silently expanded and the man disappeared from his room, leaving Izuku alone.

 ***

The next morning, Izuku fearfully regarded the folder.

Figure out counters on Stain.

Was Shigaraki crazy? Did he seriously want Izuku to figure out how to take down a dangerous serial killer. How was he supposed to do that. Did that mean Stain was an enemy to him?

What does he even want with Stain?

He was still curious though, if they were villains maybe they were able to get things that the police or online message boards wouldn’t know about. The folder felt contraband...which it obviously was.

Izuku breathed and flipped to the first page which had a compilation of barely discernible pictures of a man, a few with a tattered red scarf. All were action shots in alleyways or leaping over and between buildings.

He turned the page and his jaw dropped. It was a picture of a kid not much older than he was…. a high school profile. He recognized the distinct gray polo shirt immediately. It was a Ketsubetsu Academy uniform. The file on the student was old, from about a decade ago. The brown eyed teen was staring into the camera with a neutral expression. His long black hair was neatly pulled back into a ponytail.

Izuku read the name, Chizome Akaguro. Red pen was scrawled atop Known Aliases: Stendhal and Stain. Izuku’s breath hitched. Was… was this kid supposed to be the hero killer? How did that happen? He would have been a student at a hero school right? So how was he a murderer now?

Wait a minute, Stendhal… where have I heard that name before. He went over to the pile of notebooks. He soon found him in a journal entry from a few years ago. Silver mask, sword, vest. He was a vigilante that seemed to fight quirkless and with weapons, that’s why he’d gotten on Izuku’s radar, he thought he could possibly use tools to become a hero. A lump formed in his throat. The man had the same haircut as the boy in the picture. How the hell is any of this true?

He turned back to the information from Ketsubetsu. And continued to read.

Quirk: Blood Curdle. Paralyzes anyone once he ingests their blood. Duration of paralysis is reliant on blood type. B type is paralyzed the longest then AB, A, and finally O. Longest case of paralysis was 4 minutes.

Izuku wondered if it could have gotten longer with time. Usually people’s quirks got stronger with age. He’d have to keep that in mind.

Wait… what am I doing? Was Izuku seriously going along with Shigaraki’s orders? Before he’d realized it he’d been sucked into the information he’d been given.

But, Izuku felt like whatever was in this folder could lead to Stain’s capture. Some of this definitely wasn’t known to the authorities. If they knew about his quirk wouldn’t they warn people about it ? ...maybe Stain hadn’t been taken down yet because no one had fought him with a proper plan. If Izuku got this information to the right hero, they’d be able to do something right?

Yeah, and if he figured out how to counter this man, then he’d stop anyone else from getting hurt by his hand….Izuku could stop Iida from getting hurt, if he actually went after Stain like Izuku thought he would.

Izuku read through the rest of his folder. Scrawling notes over top of it. Figuring out possible tactics.

Now he just needed to figure out a way to discreetly get this information to a hero without getting caught. There was an anonymous tip off line. But his voice and handwriting would both be recognizable. Not to mention he’d just been on national television not long ago, so going in was out of the question. He could probably type it up then send it in...

Whatever was happening with Shigaraki might just work to Izuku’s advantage.

Chapter Text

Shigaraki growled at the phone screen.

“It appears fear isn’t a powerful enough motivator.” Sensei’s staticky voice came from the old television set.

He watched the blip on the map right outside the police station.   

***

To say that Officer Sansa didn’t particularly enjoy the graveyard shift at the station was an understatement. Musutafu was usually quiet, the nearby school of heroes both with provisional and full licenses was enough of a deterrent. Sometimes he wondered what it would be like if he worked in a place with more crime. Maybe more densely populated.

He glanced at the ball of yarn someone had jokingly put as his screensaver on his computer while he’d gone to the bathroom. He yawned. At least someone could keep up morale at 2 in the morning. If he was being honest, he’d been thoroughly done with the cat jokes for 25 years, but people kept coming up with more puns everyday. He took another swig of coffee from his mug. His hair stood on end. He purred. And rolled his computer chair back to face his computer monitor. He sat up and headed to the mailroom.

He did not expect for their to be any new mail in the station, because, honestly… who the hell even uses post anymore. What he found was a large brown envelope with a neatly printed, Hero Killer: Stain on the back.

His eyes widened.

***

Tsukauchi paced the room, trench coat periodically flapping against his shins. Where the hell had this even come from? It didn’t make any sense. Where had this anonymous tip come from?

 

Counters to Stain….

 

Flabbergasted, Tsukachi re-read through the folder of typed up information. Could all of it be true. They hadn’t managed to get an identity but the quirk of the highschool profile and connection to Stendhal made a lot of things make sense. This was too good to be true. He picked up his phone from his desk.

Isn’t Endeavour on this case?

He had some calls to make.

***

Izuku nervously held the case with his hero costume in it, he spotted Uraraka and Iida, standing next to each other. He headed over to them

Iida looked tired. He’d tried to be supportive, the past few days, he really did. But whatever words left his lips, Izuku could tell weren’t going to change anything. Iida had told him that he was going to intern with the pro hero Manual. He felt heavy with all of the things on stain running through his head. He stepped forward and looked up at his friend.

“If it ever gets to be too much we’ll be there for you… we’re your friends.”

Iida smiled that smile Izuku was getting used to. Blank.

“Same goes for you Midoriya-kun.”

As they were given their hero gear and left for their respective internships, Izuku would regret not saying more.

***

Izuku  sunk into his seat on the train. He started swiping at his phone screen through half lidded eyes. Searching for any messages from Iida or news on the Hero Killer. He didn’t find anything though. He tried to distract himself with a mobile game to take some edge off. He typed a message out for Iida and then quickly erased it. Trying to figure out what to say. As he went back to his other contacts. He stopped at the new one. No name listed. Just the number.

He was supposed to be arriving within the next twenty minutes. A lump formed in his throat. He could feel a headache coming on. He had a choice to make. He’d leave it for now.

 

As soon as he got to the rundown apartment Izuku verified the address with his phone. He knocked on the large twin doors. Finding them open, they creaked forward. “Hi, I’m Midoriya Izuku, from UA, It’s nice to—”

He stopped breathing. A chill running through him. Were those organs? Had Shigaraki killed him? He hadn’t sent the location yet. Oh no oh no nonono. Izuku gripped his hair. Was this his fault? Nononononononono. “He’s dead!”

The man lifted his head from the bloody mass on the ground “I’m alive.”

Izuku jumped back, startled.

He got up wiping off whatever red stuff was all over him. “Oops, I tripped while carrying ketchup and sausage. How clumsy of me.” He hobbled onto a cane.

Izuku rushed forward when he slipped in the… ketchup, going to help him.

“I’m Mid—”

“Who are you? Toshinori?”

“Um, that’s not my name.” Was he senile? Did All Might know? I should probably tell him. “ Um I’m going to make a phone—”

“Attack me with One for All.” a gust of wind blew Izuku’s hair into his face and suddenly the man was jumping everywhere. Izuku’s eye’s could barely keep up with him.

***

Izuku watched the elderly man sleeping soundly under his covers. He breathed out. He couldn’t put it off anymore. He went to the front door, checking to see that no one was around and walked into the alleyway next to the apartment. He tore off the gloves of his hero costume before turning on his phone.

Text me your location or I’ll find you. Your choice. One just involves people getting caught up between us. If he didn’t act now the situation would probably worsen. And then he couldn’t figure out what Stain had to do with the league or what they were planning. He grimaced at Shigaraki’s number before sending a quick text.

He tried to drown out what he’d just done by trying to master his quirk, his face repeatedly meeting with brick wall. He needed to get better quickly.

He tried to parse out Gran Torino’s advice from earlier. You’re admiration and sense of responsibility towards All Might are shackles. Izuku didn’t think Gran Torino was right about what Izuku’s shackles were. Another man’s face coming up when he thought about being chained down.

As soon as he went back inside and layed down in the bedroom he’d be sleeping in, he found a new message on his phone.

Unknown Number: Come out tomorrow at midnight. Bring your notes on Stain.

***

Once again, Izuku waited until Gran Torino was asleep. He was old so hopefully he’d be sleeping too deeply to notice Izuku leaving. He dug into his backpack in his room to find the manilla folder he’d been given on friday.

His phone buzzed.

Unknown Number: Come outside to the alleyway

He shoved it back in the pocket of his shorts. He still hadn’t changed since the afternoon. He slipped a hoodie over his t-shirt. Then he cautiously walked out the front door. He scanned his surroundings, going down the  front steps. Maybe he should activate his quirk before heading in. Then he’d be ready to fight if anything happened. He decided against it, Shigaraki would probably show him more animosity if threatened. He turned the corner to find only inky blackness and the glowing yellow eyes of Kurogiri.

“He’s waiting. Leave your phone on the ground before proceeding.”

***

This time, he found Shigaraki at a bar stool playing on a handheld. Immediately after Izuku stepped inside the bar, Kurogiri transported himself to the other side of the counter. Fixing his cuff links as soon as he materialized. An indication of a hand with practiced fingers appeared under the black mist.

Shigaraki turned around he was wearing all black and a hand over his face. He could only make out one red eye under the mask. How does he see with that thing on? The man's hands were masterfully mashing buttons. He didn’t even stop while looking at Izuku.

He continued playing for a moment ignoring Izuku, earning a confused look from the boy and what Izuku could only assume to be exacerbation from the mist villain.

He muttered something indiscernible after a moment before setting the handheld down. He waved a hand for Izuku to come closer. Not facing him.

When he was seated. Izuku set down the folder onto the countertop of the bar. In the same position he was in less than a week ago.

 

Immediately, Shigaraki shot his hand out and gripped Izuku’s right forearm, his hoodie started to fray. Then his quirk started to eat at the skin. Izuku panicked. Trying to pull out of the man’s iron grip. He didn’t budge. The pain was searing. Not as bad as Izuku’s quirk when he broke his bones but hot and intense, prickling at him. His skin cracked. Izuku seethed in pain. Out of desperation, he activated full cowl, he was finally freed. Crackling energy surrounded him as he fell to the ground with the momentum. Heart racing. Frozen in shock.

Why did he do that?

“That’s new.” Shigaraki said. “Fancy trick.” He got out of his seat. Walking over to him.

A red sneaker rammed its way into Izuku’s jaw. Hard. He spat onto the floor while full cowl disappeared. He regarded the villain through teary eyes and his fringe. Shigaraki bent down and tugged Izuku to his feet with his curls. Izuku tried to retreat as soon as he was standing, but received a solid knee to the gut in return. Izuku coughed, the air being knocked out of him. Shigaraki tugged at his hair again. A few strands dropped to the floor after accidentally being touched by his quirk.

Izuku was led to stare at Shigaraki’s hand covered face. “I told you, people don’t like loose lipped brats.”

Izuku’s eyes widened. Did he mean Izuku turning in his information on Stain? How had he been exposed? He'd been so careful.

He desperately tried to counter. “W-what d-do you m-me—”.

“Stain’s identity and quirk have been released to the public, idiot. Did you not think they wouldn’t do that as soon as they knew? Damn, the guilt’s written all over your face.” Shigaraki slapped him across the face, releasing his hair.

Izuku cradled his cheek in his hand, regaining his footing as he stumbled back.    

“I d-didn’t—”

“Cut the shit.”

Izuku bit his tongue. “...” His heart sank. No!

“That’s what I thought.”

Idiot. He couldn’t possibly know from that alone!

“I didn’t.” Izuku tried meekly.

Shigaraki took the hand off of his face and set it on the counter before starting forward. He smiled lopsidedly. “Things aren’t going to work if you’re not honest Midoriya .” His eye bags were crinkling and blending in with his crow’s feet. The scar on his lips tilted.

Izuku took another step back. His heart thumped within his chest. The air behind him suddenly became cold. Izuku turned to find the warpgate villain right behind him. He went in the opposite direction but halted as soon as he realized he was getting closer to Shigaraki. Shigaraki caught him with one arm, by his already ruined hoodie sleeve. Izuku resisted the hold And winced when the fabric chafed against his already injured arm.

“No more fuck ups.” Shigaraki’s hand tightened. “Next time, I’m not going to be forgiving. I could probably leave your mother your disembodied hand. Wonder what she’d think of that.”  

***

Fear isn’t a powerful enough motivator.

No more fuck ups, Shigaraki thought.

Shigaraki looked from the corner of his eye at Midoriya. He appeared like a lamb that was being led to the slaughter. He smiled a bit tighter. He now knew that fear and blackmail wasn’t going to work, maybe he’d been thinking too high of himself when he’d last seen Midoriya. He was overconfident in his hold on Midoriya . He guessed pain was a motivator too, but he supposed that using his quirk on the boy would leave lasting effects which would make people suspicious if he kept showing up to school with new injuries. And besides Midoriya seemed fine even after breaking like 20 bones one after another at the sports festival. He wondered how long it would take to make the boy crumple.

That would have certainly been interesting... but that wouldn’t work.

Shigaraki didn’t want someone that was scared of him.  That was too untrustworthy, he could turn against him. He wanted loyalty, actual loyalty. Anyone forced into submission could probably betray him, like Midoriya just did. He needed to tighten the leash. Sensei was letting him go through with this plan, but he needed to prove it would work.

He went back to his barstool and picked up his handheld. Loyalty. He supposed Kurogiri was loyal to him, although that was probably from a sense of obligation towards Shigaraki as his Sensei’s pupil. So Kurogiri wasn’t outright loyal to him. It was obvious how Sensei got loyalty… Shigaraki rested his hand over his chin in thought. He set down his handheld while a startled Midoriya retracted from him.  

Loyalty wasn’t something that formed overnight...but maybe if he played his cards right.

Now that the first part of the test was a miss, he guessed it was time to see what the brat had written.

He flipped through the pages. Until he landed on one about Kurogiri and counters to Stain. Neatly written in bullet points.

Would be able to warp projectiles without them hitting him, being incorporable leaves him immune to getting caught by Stain’s paralysis quirk, as long as he teleports his real body away from where he attacks like he normally does in defence. Kurogiri most likely has a keen sensory ability as part of his quirk making it easier to evade incoming attacks.

Shigaraki looked at Kurogiri then to a wobbly faced Midoriya behind him that was still in some sort of stupor.

What the fuck? His lips curved up. He’d met Kurogiri like three times but he’d already almost worked out his quirk. “Say more about Kurogiri’s sensory.”

“U-um, well, it’s the only way for Kurogiri to be able to warp to places he can’t even see at just the right time. L-like h-he… u-um w-was ab-ble to warp away my phone even though you didn’t know it existed and he was outside my room.” Midoriya took another deep breath before beginning again. “It was either that or he warped himself into my bag when he somehow saw me reaching into it. B-but I don’t think th-that’s the case. He seems to know exactly where to warp things to and from.”

Kurogiri’s eyes widened.

“You’ve almost got it.” Shigaraki pointed. “What if I told you Kurogiri’s quirk is coordinate based.”

“How does he know the coordinates of everything? Degrees and minutes aren’t exact enough and that’s not accounting for elevation.” Midoriya mumbled.

“Hmm good question.”

Kurogiri regarded Shigaraki with an unintelligible look before interrupting.”That’s aside from the point.” he spoke stiffly.

“Nah,” Shigaraki waved him off “I wanna see what he figures out,” It was becoming a bit clearer how Midoriya could have found out about Sensei. This kid was a fucking monster. “Go on kid.”

Midoriya cautiously sat back down at the bar. “Is it a byproduct of your quirk? Like a bird's ability to recollect locations...Do coordinates just...into his head.” Midoriya mouthed a string of words. Most of it was unintelligible. “... coordinate... That’s similar to that one boy from class B’s...Support equipment...but they’re villains.”

“Oi, Speak clearly.”

Midoriya brows suddenly shot up. He got this odd look in his eye and then it immediately vanished, replaced by that ever present fear. “Y-you h-have to rely on something other than coordinates.” he stared at Kurogiri.

“That’s quite enough."

***

Izuku tiptoed inside the apartment. Trying to prevent the door from creaking as much as possible.

“What the hell are you doing sneaking around kid?”

Izuku jumped at the voice.

“Bad sleeping habits aren’t good for training.” Gran Torino stood at the other end of the entranceway to the apartment with his hands on his hips and still in his pajamas.

Izuku flicked on the light and he could make out the displeased expression on Gran Torino’s face. “Sorry. I was ahh. I was trying to figure something out with my quirk.” Izuku lied.

Gosh, he probably looked really suspicious right now.

“You can do that in the morning.” Gran Torino huffed. “You’re as bad as Toshinori. Neither of you know when to stop.”

Toshinori? Isn’t that All Might’s name?

Izuku blinked. “Are you and All Might close?” He had called him by his given name.   Then he continued under his breath.“Although, he seems to be more afraid of you.”

“Oh he’d better be scared of me!” Gran Torino scoffed. “And that’s not what I asked you about, just because I’m an old man doesn’t mean I don’t notice things kid.“

Izuku winced. “I-I need to do this for All Might. There’s a lot of things counting on me right now.”

“What the hell is that idiot telling you?” Gran Torino grumbled.

“He doesn’t have that much time.”

Gran Torino sighed. “You know about his injury then?”

Izuku nodded.

“Come-on kid let’s talk.” Gran Torino waved a hand. And entered his living room. He grabbed  a pair of glasses on the way over from on top of one of his shelves. He also grabbed his phone. Once seated on the couch he pulled up a picture on his phone.

“I-is that you?” Izuku asked as soon as he saw it.

“Yeah, lost a few inches to the years.” Gran Torino laughed.

You mean feet, Izuku thought. “Who’s that woman with you?” he turned his attention to the woman with hair eerily similar to his mother’s with a bright grin.  She was wearing a white cape and yellow gloves over a black costume.

“That’s Nana Shimura. The One For All wielder before All Might.” Gran Torino suddenly had a distant expression.

Izuku’s mouth made a perfect “O” shape. So she was one of those people he saw during his match with Shinsou. Why is he showing me this? “Why—”

“She was a very close friend of mine.” Gran Torino turned to face Izuku. “One hell of a girl. She was the reason I went to teach at UA for Toshinori. But you know what she used to always say?” Gran Torino wiped his nose with the back of his hand. “‘No matter how scared you are, you should smile to show things will be okay’ Kid, things are scary but Toshinori isn’t as idiotic as I give him credit for. He has a lot left in him. You’ve got to smile in the face of adversity and push on. You can’t let something like Toshinori’s injuries make you push yourself too far. That’s what led to his current condition in the first place. You’ve just gotta smile and move on and take what life gives you. Sure you can fight for something better, but you’ve gotta fight smart.”

Izuku felt the oncoming tears.

“Get some shut eye. I’ll see you in the morning.” Gran Torino left the room with Izuku still sniffling on the couch.

He tried to think of what the woman in the picture must have been like. What would she think of the person her successor had chosen? Would she think he was good enough? Think he was crazy? A coward for going along with Shigaraki? Izuku wanted to be a hero more than anything.

***

That night Shigaraki read the rest of Midoriya’s notes on Stain, trying to make sense of them. Shigaraki lay in his bed. He wondered what his Rogue was doing. The kid was honestly astonishing.

Loyalty, he supposed would need to be the first thing he established before giving him sensitive information again. But what made a person have that? The only person Shigaraki could think who could amass devoted followers was Sensei. How was he expected to ‘gather the elite’ if the elite didn’t listen to him? He groaned. Accidentally disintegrating some of his sheets under him.

It made sense that people had followed Sensei, Sensei had saved him. Sensei was good. He was better than any of this fucked up world. It was a place in which no one cared about one another.

Shigaraki was going to make Midoriya see the way he saw things.  

Chapter Text

 

The sun beat down, Shigaraki adjusted his shades as he walked. He hadn’t gone out since meeting Midoriya on Friday and he wasn’t supposed to meet Stain until late in the evening so he had a lot of time to kill.

When imagining a villain, people didn’t really think about a person fighting with boredom. But in reality being something resembling a recluse wasn’t far off from the truth.  He’d spent enough time cooped up in that damn bar to last a lifetime. He was just thankful he had all his video games.

 

Shigaraki slouched and took in the small park he’d wound up in. It was still during school hours so it was relatively barren. But he could imagine a bunch of snot nosed brats screaming their asses off and climbing the nearby play structure.

Had he been one of those kids at some point?

Tenko…

Tenko come play.

Tenko…

No, he’d left that behind a long time ago.

 

A sturdy hand reached out to him when no one else had. And Shigaraki took it.

 

Unease began to rumble in Shigaraki’s stomach. He subdued it before fixing his gaze on the playground once again.

Tenko

Tenk

Ten

Te

T…

Hunger was the first thing that became a problem in those restless days. Hunger and the cold. His body worked against him. As he shivered in the chilly nights he wondered how this had happened. How could this happen? No matter how much he searched the little boy couldn’t find any shelter from the piercing cold as it nipped at him. Later that nipping turned to an all out assault. Wolves of winter were attacking everyone’s doors. The boy had no doors. He was left completely vulnerable. With no place to call his own, he scratched at the hunger, he wanted it to disappear. Hewanted to disappear. He wanted everything gone. He wanted...he wanted—

Tenko was cold, Tenko was hungry. Tenko wanted.

He was condemned to the constant aches and pains of an empty stomach. Whenever he attempted to eat, he’d expel it all not long after he finished. He began to scratch. He wanted everything gone. Everyone else he knew had disappeared. So why hadn’t he? Why hadn’t Tenko disappeared? He scratched. Scratched at where the pain was. From his tummy up to his chest. God, his chest. His chest. His chest. Why did it hurt so bad? He scratched. Tenko felt his hands creep up to his face. And there too, they scratched. He didn’t care about the blood that was falling into his right eye and clouding his vision. He licked his lips and for the first time in what seemed like ages something entered his mouth.

His quirk dug into his skin creating scarlet.  

Later, days blended into each other. Everything was a haze at the time. He couldn’t think, thinking would mean he had to face the cold and the hunger. The pain. God, the pain.

Father.

Father, please.  

Tenko remained motionless most of his day. Turning into a ghost before the passage of time. For once in his life Shimura Tenko sat still. Day in and day out he stared ahead of him, mouth agape. Hands caked in rust. The blood wouldn’t come off of his hands no matter how much he tried to rinse them in public fountains. He always tasted iron. Once in a while he’d get up in search for food, help… something, anything… anyone. Something wasn’t letting him die alongside his family.  

The young boy had gotten his wish to disappear in the cruelest way possible.

Please dear God anyone  .

Father, where did you go? Everyone, where did you go?

Not a single person that passed by him stopped. He’d wanted to disappear, and he’d gotten his wish.

Until one day someone came. Someone gave him a hand.

‘It must have been so painful Shimura Tenko-kun...’

Tenko took the hand and for the first time in ages, he felt warmth.

 

He was Tomura now, and he was proud of the name he’d been given.  

Tenko had died a long time ago.

He’d rather suffer through the unending fight against boredom and be cooped up in that bar than face the bitter restlessness of having no warmth to go back to.

***

“Great, you seem well rested kid. We’re heading out tonight so you can get some experience with real villains. Think you’re up to it?” Gran Torino clapped Izuku on the back of his shoulder making him wince from his injury from Shigaraki. Gran Torino narrowed his eyes at him. “Hey, what’s wrong?”

Izuku gritted his teeth trying not to think of the pain. Izuku attempted to lighten his tone. “Nothing. I think I j-just fell on my arm badly yesterday w-while I was practicing.” he rubbed the back of his neck while giving a nervous grin. “M-my arms are still kind of healing from the sports festival, I think. I won’t do it again though.”

“Geez, does Toshinori only teach you how to harm yourself?” Gran Torino frowned.

Izuku inwardly let out a sigh of relief at Gran Torino’s belief in his lie. “I d-don’t try to hurt m-myself. And he’s a p-perfectly fine t-teacher” he defended. Besides, he thought dryly, it’s not like I’m going to last long anyways.

Gran Torino quirked an eyebrow. “He might be the number one hero but I guess the little twerp is terrible at teaching.”

“L-little?” Izuku sputtered.

“Oi, I used to be taller than him!” Gran Torino smacked him with his cane.

“Owww.” Izuku complained.

“Heh, serves you right.” the old man grumbled. “You’re no better than Toshinori.”

Izuku’s lip wobbled a bit. He fixed his eyes on Gran Torino. “Um, Gran Torino.”

The man’s face softened. “Yeah.”

“W-what was All Might like when you taught him?”

Gran Torino stroked his chin for a moment before grunting. “How about you get me some taiyaki and then we’ll talk.”

Izuku left for the kitchen. That man was going to lose his teeth if he only ate sweets everyday. Regardless, Izuku pushed any protest aside, putting one of the fish inside the microwave.

Gran Torino rubbed his hands together once he was given the plate with the fish on it. “Alright.” he viciously shoved the taiyaki into his mouth. “Well for starters, to tell you the truth, he was a lot like you.” he spoke with his mouth full.

“Um.” How could All Might be anything like me?  Izuku was a coward. “That c-couldn’t be t-true.”

“He’d rush into danger with no regard for his physical or emotional well being, he was socially awkward, and a little scrawny before he got his quirk. Remind you of anyone kid?” Gran raised his eyebrow.

“So, what happened?” Izuku inquired.

Gran Torino laughed and smacked his knee. “Nothing, he’s still the exact same. Yeesh, admiration sure does a lot for your image. Why don’t you take off those rose tinted goggles kid? You’re a carbon copy of Toshinori.”

Izuku gave him a wobbly smile. “I don’t think that’s it. All Might’s amazing!” He’s nothing like me. He’s not like the spineless coward that sold you out and betrayed his friends.

“That’s just his dopey grin talking. A smile can do wonders.” Gran scoffed. “I thought you’d know him better?”

Izuku furrowed his brow. “I think he keeps a lot of things to his chest.”

Maybe All Might and I are more similar than I thought.

***

Katsuki had never thought that he would regret taking an offer from the fourth ranked hero of Japan. But the pleb had proved him wrong. He looked in the mirror after a long day of being ‘groomed’ for lack of a better word. He was really getting his patience tested. He looked at his hair. It had been non consensually gelled to the side. It looked gross and he wanted whatever shit Best Jeanist had used washed out of his hair as soon as possible.

That day, the pro hero had drawn way too many conclusions about Katsuki. He kept going on and on about how someone who was like Katsuki could never be a pro hero. Katsuki found himself being tested for the entire day. The man was pushing all of Katsuki’s buttons. He felt himself being pushed to the edge.

The guy had no physical boundaries, why the hell had no one done anything when Katsuki was being confined like some common villain with Best Jeanist’s quirk? Katsuki was rough, but he wasn’t evil.

And why the hell did he think it was okay for him to touch my hair?

The bastard was as bad as Deku, they both looked down on him.

 

...Speaking of Deku a terrified expression appeared in Katsuki's mind’s eye, complete with wide green eyes. What was wrong with Deku anyways, the freak seemed to be afraid of his own shadow.

Did you hurt Deku-kun.

Katsuki ran an exasperated hand over his face.

He grabbed his phone. There was a class group chat that Shittyhair had added him to. He scrolled through the names that were on there until he found Roundface. He let out a frustrated sigh.

The phone call was picked up with a yawn and a faint, “Hello?”

“Oi, sleeping beauty wake the fuck up.” he rolled his eyes.

There was a muffled noise on the other line followed by a choked noise that sounded like a dying cat. “B-bakugou?”

Fuck, why was he doing this shit? “Yeah, it’s me Roundface.”

“It’s Uraraka.”

“Fucking whatever.”

She breathed heavily on the other line. “It’s Uraraka.” she hung up.

Katsuki’s eye twitched. What the fuck you bitch!

He dialed the number again. Only to have it not picked up. By his third attempt to ring she picked up.

“What do you want Bakugou?” There was an impatient tone that was a complete 180 from her bubbly demeanor at school. “You don’t just wake someone up and start insulting them on the phone.”

“Look, Roundface—”

“It’s Uraraka, or I hang up.” she interrupted.

The fuck is your problem bitch. Katsuki fell silent. Are you salty that I beat you in the sports festival? “Fuck! Just listen.” The hand that Katsuki had that wasn’t holding onto his phone sizzled with his quirk. “...Uraraka.”

“Okay. Carry on.” Her voice suddenly lightened gaining a sleepy quality of it.

Katsuki bit his lip and felt his chest filling with tar. Then he started to talk “Something’s going on with Deku.”

There was a long pause.

“Is this about how you freak out at him everyday?" She asked "I get that you’re rivals or something but seriously you’re like an angry pomeranian.”

“Oi, I’m not that shitty nerd’s rival!” he scowled.

“And now you’re yelling into my ear. Bye—”

“Wait!”

“What is it? Are you like emotionally constipated?”

There was another explosion in his free hand singeing his sheets. “He’s been acting fucking weirder than he already is.” Katsuki rubbed his temple and put the phone on speaker.

“Maybe he’s acting weird around you because you bully him.” Uraraka said sourly.

“I don’t—”

“Please, he flinches whenever you’re around him. And—”

“Okay maybe I fucking did bully him.” Katsuki growled. “But I haven’t hurt him like I used to in like a month.”

“His wrists...”

“His wrists fucking weren’t me okay? Besides, he’s started flinching around everyone else now too. Or are you only a nosy bitch when it comes to when you think I hurt him?”   

Uraraka took a while to answer. Fuck, did she hang up again?

“So you’re concerned about him?”

“Fuck no!” His weird shit's just annoying me. 

“Okay Bakugou.”

“I thought you noticed it, you’ve been giving me that bitchy face everyday. I thought you were blaming me.” Katsuki rubbed the bridge of his nose.

“What else would it be?”

“Tch. I don’t know that’s why I’m calling you.” fuck, Katsuki hated this bitch’s bullshit. “You’re his friend or whatever right?”

“Okay I’m seriously getting tired, I’ve been training and patrolling with Gunhead all day. Can this wait?” Round face let out a long yawn.

“No it fucking can’t. Something’s off.”

“Okay," she said calmly, "Why don’t we meet after our internships and talk about it?”

“Oi Roundface!” 

“It’s Uraraka.” There was a yawn and suddenly he heard snoring.

Fucking bitch! Katsuki hung up his phone.

Still livid, Katsuki set aside his phone on his night table while he got into bed.

If he had checked his texts, he would have seen a message with a location.

***

Man, when Shigaraki first heard the title ‘Hero Killer: Stain’, he really didn’t expect the man that stood before him.

Shigaraki really hated all these people Sensei and Kurogiri made him interact with. First that kinky healer, then Giran and now this creep.

Shigaraki rested his leg on his knee and leaned against the bar leaning on his elbow. Trying to act nonchalant.

Where’d Sensei find this weirdo in the first place?   Honestly he looked more grimy than Shigaraki. And that was saying something. His greasy appearance, matted locks and crouching demeanor reminded Shigaraki of a rat… possibly a lizard with the beady eyes.

He thought back to the stats that Midoriya and Giran had given him on the guy. He certainly knew how to fight hero’s. Maybe he’d be useful, or at least a step up from the grunts that made up the invasion force for the USJ.. But he already had his eyes on someone else.

Yeah, Stain was definitely only an NPC.

“I want you to join us, Stain.” He cocked his head back to properly look at the man from behind the hand that rested on his face.

“Who does this us entail boy?”

“The League of Villains of course.”

Stain scoffed. “Right, the crazy people that attacked UA.” Stain’s long tongue came out to lick the side of his mouth. Slightly resembling a lizard licking its eye.  

Shigaraki inwardly laughed to himself. He never thought he’d have a serial killer calling him crazy. Shit, this guy’s a real piece of work, Shigaraki thought wryly.

The man standing in front of him similarly quirked his head,  trying to gauge Shigaraki. “What is your endgame?”

Huh, trying to figure out what’s in it for him. Thought Shigaraki.

“Well, eventually I want to kill All Might. But I also want to destroy everything I don’t like.”

“Tch,” Stain scrunched the mangled flesh where his nose should be at Shigaraki in disgust. “You know you had me interested for a second there.”

Under his mask Shigaraki narrowed his eyes.

“Senseless violence is of no use to me boy. Come ask me again when you have conviction.”

Shigaraki reached to scratch at his neck, “Oi—”

To Shigaraki’s surprise, Stain pounced, heading for Kurogiri in the blink of an eye, the mist villain shuddered and locked into place as The Hero Killer brought his tongue to his blade.

Shigaraki’s eyes widened as he was forced to the ground with inhuman speed. His breath hitched under the aura the other man was exuding. Shit shit shit shit. Kurogiri hadn’t reacted quick enough to make himself incorporeal. Dammit Kurogiri I’m going to kill you when this is over. His ace in the hole against Stain was now gone. He racked his brain on Midoriya’s notes.

Oral ingestion… Paralysis is strongest against B and weakest against O…

The man dug his sword into Shigaraki’s shoulder. And brought his boot down onto his other arm.

Shit.

Shit he’s strong.

“You’re the kind of person I hate the most: A spoiled brat with no conviction.” Stain declared.

What kind of crazy nut is he? Shigaraki questioned

Stain brought down his Katana. “Scurge like you must be purged.”

Then Shigaraki did something fucking idiotic as hell.

“Fuck you.” Shigaraki caught the blade as it dug into his hand. It began to rust under his tightening grip.

That fucking hurts bastard. Shigaraki glared at the man. Then he remembered something he read last night from Midoriya. “ Hero Killer~”

“Wha—” In a moment of hesitation, Stain momentarily stopped putting force on his katana. He snapped out of it, took one of the blades dug into his shoulder and brought it up.

With his ugly lizard like mouth open Shigaraki knew what was going to happen next. He hastily lifted the free arm in pursuit of the man’s face. Shigaraki let out a cry of pain as more blood came out of his shoulder wound while he made his last ditch effort.

“I’m going to kill you with this hand~” he said coldly. He caught Stain’s darting tongue in midair just as it was retreating from the sword he’d licked.

The lizard let out a blood curdling scream and jumped back causing Shigaraki to lose his grip on his tongue..

Disgusting. He thought.

 Your quirk blood curdle activates when you ingest blood orally~” Shigaraki rasped.

A triumphant laugh filled the room. Stain halted in his steps. Both of them simultaneously shivered, unable to move.

 So, what happens if you drink your own~”

Stain’s eyes widened.

“What’s more, you’re type B and I’m type O. Checkmate, idiot~”

Now all Shigaraki had to do was wait. Minutes passed that felt like hours as Shigaraki bled out on the floor. He waited to get out of the paralysis before Stain did. His head was already starting to feel heavy. His hand trembled while he repeatedly tried to uncurl them.

Then, the paralysis finally let up. His hand flattened against the ground, small fissures erupting in the hardwood from his quirk. Shigaraki staggered to his feet. Arms hanging low at his sides.

“You know, we don’t have a healer in our party. You’re seriously a pain, I just recovered from my last injuries .”  Shigaraki coughed. “I don’t have anything as grand as conviction. ” He took a shaky step towards the Hero Killer. “But if I had to say something it would be All Might.” Another step.”I want to destroy a society where trash like that gets worshiped. ” a grin plastered itself on his face.

Shigaraki tripped but caught himself. His vision was beginning to grow clouded. In his haze he spotted Kurogiri out of the corner of his eye, he was still frozen behind the bar counter.

“You’re just another piece of garbage like the hero's you kill.” step. “ A hypocrite.” step. “ A byproduct of this shitty society.” step.

Shigaraki finally reached Stain. He groaned. The man had grown silent. Shigaraki wondered if his tongue was still all there or whether his disintegrating quirk had ruined the entire muscle.

“You’re not talking out of your ass anymore,” Shigaraki tilted his head. “ What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?” he sneered. “ Why don’t I finish the job I started?” Shigaraki lifted his hand towards Stain.

Mirky blackness consumed it.

Shigaraki gnashed his teeth together.

 Oi, oi, oi!” Shigaraki’s hands curled and uncurled. The one that was supposed to come in contact with Stain's face was going through Kurogiri’s portal. “ What the hell are you doing Kurogiri?” he attempted to reach up to his neck to scratch but his arms wouldn’t let him.

The mist villain appeared in front of Shigaraki; relatively unharmed except for what appeared to be a nick on his shoulder. Black dots clouded in Shigaraki’s vision.

 I’m going to kill this man. Move aside.”

“Be logical Shigaraki. You’re hurt. And he could still be a potential—”

“I’m not going to work with him! Now get out of my way.”

“No.”

Fuck, he’d deal with Kurogiri later. “Step aside.” Shigaraki stumbled to the side and breathed heavily.

“You’re too hurt, let me warp him away and we’ll regroup. You’re straining your injuries.” the other man stated calmly.

“He’s paralyzed Kurogiri... let me get rid of him... and he’ll... be...out of our hair.”

Kurogiri hesitated for a moment. “Stain’s right about something, there’s no point to senseless violence.”

“So, he’s allowed to attack me... and I’m not.” Shigaraki cleared his throat and hacked into the ground. His chest felt congested, air wasn’t being let in.

Kurogiri leaned closer to Stain wouldn't hear. "Besides, with the information that Midoriya spilled to the police he won't get far before he's captured. Won't it be more amusing to watch his inevitable downfall without having to lift a finger?"

Shigaraki collapsed into Kurogiri’s arms. Everything turned black.

At least his little test for Midoriya had helped him work out a way to incapacitate Stain.

***

“You’re free to go Hero Killer. Don’t come near my charge again.” Kurogiri waved his hand and opened a portal. He was eternally grateful that Tomura had listened to him. The boy had eaten up his words relatively easily, even though he’d been spouting relative nonsense.

“Sure, sure.” Stain waved a hand.

Kurogiri’s yellow slits almost became non existent.

“So, who’s this crooked hero you wanted me to kill?”

“Midoriya Izuku, he’s a hero student that’s leaking information about UA to villains. Such as students and teachers quirks and weaknesses.”

“Is that how you were able to attack All Might?”

Kurogiri remained silent.

“I suppose you want him killed because he’s no longer of use to you and he’s a liability. Tch, nevermind, this is my reward to you for sparing my life. If he’s done what you say he has he deserves to die before his mold continues to fester.”

“I have proof.”

Kurogiri had collected it of the past few weeks. He wasn’t going to let Tomura’s inquisitive nature become his weakness. Midoriya wasn’t to be trusted, no matter how much Shigaraki was interested in him. He was a liability, a crack in the damn. Any more leaks could ruin Tomura. He already knew too much.  Knew about All for One. Sensei had let Tomura humour the boy long enough. But this was something that Kurogiri needed take care of before disaster happened. Tomura had gone far too easy on the boy for his mistakes.

Once the exchange of information between the two villains was finished, Stain turned to Kurogiri and smiled. He lodged Midoriya’s picture into the wall with one of his knives. “I’ll take care of him alright. Just drop me off in Hosu first. I have unfinished business there.”   

Chapter Text

Izuku honestly should have expected a person to be thrown into his traincar while he was heading into the city with Gran Torino. Obviously, his luck meant that he wasn’t going to catch a break. Especially in Hosu, because as soon as their train was nearing the station, he almost got a face full of some random grown muscular man with… Nomu closely following behind. Izuku looked from the wrestling hero and villain to the a huge hole in the side of the train they’d made.

    Wait… Nomu? Wasn’t the beaked monster supposed to be in police custody?

    The beast was thin and wiry, clearly the same type of creature as the one Izuku had met at the USJ...but different. It extended it’s long arms as it prepared to take out the other hero. 

“Stay here kid.” Gran Torino shouted from beside him.  

The next thing Izuku knew, the old man was tackling the monster out of the train. His quirk propelled the both of them away from civilians. 

Trying to see if the elderly hero was okay, Izuku ran to the hole in the wall. What he saw was complete chaos. The city of Hosu was on fire. With no hesitation Izuku shot out of the car, not listening to the shouts of panic behind him. He landed on the rail and bolted, trying to find the best way to get down onto the streets from the elevated tracks. He found his safest bet in the form of a telephone pole next to the overpass. He edged closer to the pole in order to hug the wood. 

One of the train attendants came out of the train to yell at him. “Kid!” she shouted. “Kid, come back here, it’s not safe.” But Izuku had already jumped. His hair flapped in the wind as the old wood scratched and cut his hero costume. He made a quick mental note to ask the support department to make the fabric more resilient next time he got an upgrade. Once Izuku reached the ground, he darted into the streets into the heart of Hosu’s conflict.

Izuku’s mind was in a panic, if that Nomu was as strong as the one that went up against All Might, everyone in the city was in trouble. Izuku could barely register where his legs were carrying him. A yell split through his thoughts.

“Tenya!”

Izuku took a sharp turn to find an intense fight with another two Nomu.

How many are there? Izuku’s heart picked up. A few meters away, a stocky black arm reached and swatted at a winged hero. The beast’s other arm grabbed another of its assailants by the throat. 

Someone yelled behind him “Iida!” 

Izuku turned his head to find the origin of the voice: Manual, Izuku’s shoulders momentarily felt like a load had been lifted off of them. Iida should be somewhere nearby if his mentor was here. 

“How could he run off in a time like this?!” 

Izuku’s breath hitched as another hero jumped in front of him to shield him from an oncoming Nomu. Why the hell was he standing so still in all this chaos? “Stay back and let us heroes handle this. Follow the police’s instructions kid!” she yelled at him.

Izuku flinched to dodge her outstretched arm “S-sorry.” he grimaced. If Iida was on his own that meant he could be in danger… Or even worse, if he’d attempted to go after Stain.

Why did Iida have to be so reckless? 

 Izuku had to think fast: 60% of Stain’s victims were found in alleyways. The notes he’d studied earlier in the week said Stain hardly strikes in the same part of the city. Izuku racked his brain on all the crimes that were reported in Hosu city.

He should be somewhere east.  

Izuku picked up his pace. He desperately hoped Iida might still be near the Normal hero Agency. That’s when he spotted it. The tattered red scarf clad figure standing over a person in white armor that was streaked with blood.  The sight was accompanied Iida’s hoarse shouts. He typed a quick message into his phone before Izuku charged straight in, forcing himself off the walls of the alley. His quirk surged through him like never before. 

Bingo.

The murderer lifted his head and smiled. His tongue stretched unnaturally far out of his mouth. Stain’s smile didn’t waver. Izuku overshot his target and stumbled once he hit the ground.

“Well .”   Stain drew one of his blades out. "Who do we have here."

Izuku blinked momentarily.

Iida coughed from behind Izuku.“Midoriya...why?”

Good, he’s still alive. Izuku inwardly sighed in relief at the sound of his friend’s voice.

Izuku stood on guard, he had to get to Iida before Stain managed to kill him. He eyed Stain’s blade wearily, hurriedly scanning the alley. There was a whimper behind him, while he was distracted, Stain threw his knife and rushed to grab it. It nicked the side of Izuku’s cheek. He ran to intercept the killer from getting the blade. 

That was when he saw the other person in the alley. A body was slumped on the ground near the place Stain’s knife had landed. Izuku panted. If there was someone else, that meant that he couldn’t just grab Iida and run away. The man blinked. He wore a vaguely familiar costume. But Izuku couldn't get a good look at him before another knife flew at him. Stain following closely behind.

He tried to calm himself down. Steadying his breath, imagining what All Might or Kacchan would be like in this situation. Neither of them would be this scared. Izuku had to find his courage for Iida. He furrowed his brow, trying to remember what tactics he could use against the Hero Killer. 

“Midoriya, don’t interfere.” Iida raised his voice, halting his sporadic planning. Izuku ignored whatever he was saying and won the race for Stain’s weapon. Another knife got him in the arm, slicing through his hero suit and he rushed to grab that one too.

"You should listen to your friend. "

 It was then that Izuku recognized the other pro hero beside him.  Native: he’d recently been climbing the ranks after moving to Hosu with his unique sound based quirk... Izuku tilted his head at the other hero. Spotting something beside where the man was lying. Garbage cans. An idea came to mind as he lifted one of the lids. 

“Iida, can you move?" Izuku asked.

“I can’t. He cut me, I think his quirk is related to drawing blood...But that’s aside from the point—” 

"What about you Native?"

"Pretty much the same story. Listen, you seem to be faster than him you can run away and get help." 

    ‘’Have you tried using your quirk or is the paralysis more than physical?’’

    ‘’My gear won’t respond to my whistles, so he blocks quirks too.’’

Iida drew in a sharp breath. “Midoriya, this has nothing to do with you! Please leave while you can!”

“What?!” Izuku quickly looked across the alley at Iida.

“He’s not leaving” Stain interjected throwing a well aimed knife at Izuku which the boy promptly used the garbage lid to shield himself. The knife embedded itself in the thick aluminum.

"Midoriya, run! Just listen to me, this is none of your business.” Iida bellowed.

“I’m not listening to that Iida.” Izuku clenched his fists.”I’ve got a lot to say to you, but I’m going to put that aside for now. A-all Might once told me that m-meddling when you’re not asked to is the essence of being a hero.”

 Stain scoffed. "Valiant, I wonder what All Might would say if he knew who you really were?"

Izuku's neck prickled in irritation. Did Stain know about what Izuku had been up to? Was he working with Shigaraki, is that why the villain had asked for information on him? Dammit!

“M-midoriya… what is he talking about?”

"Tell him. Go on," Stain motioned with one of his blades. "Stop this pathetic imitation of chivalry, boy . Then, maybe you'll die with some honour left."

“He doesn’t know what he’s saying, Iida.” Izuku responded with more venom than he knew he was capable of. By then, frustrated tears were clouding his vision. 

Stain gave him a wicked grin, "Wrong answer."

    A long serrated katana was unsheathed and swung. Izuku ducked under it, using the trash can lid to block the man. It sliced through like butter, but got caught in it. He twisted his arm to try to get the katana out of Stain’s hands. The man managed to dislodge the sword but not before Izuku landed a fully cowled punch to Stain’s face. Izuku hurriedly dislodged the knives that had been caught by the trash can lid while Stain was recovering from his blow. He then dropped the emaciated makeshift shield and retreated.  

“I’m guessing you know my quirk.” Stain sneered putting pressure on his nose. “I’ll applaud you for your ability to make sure I don’t get to your blood. Why are you wasting your potential? You could have made a good hero.” 

I’m going to be a hero. Izuku panted. And if you’re talking about wasted potential, what about you? he gritted his teeth.

“I’m getting rid of the vermin that are ruining this society.” Stain cut through the air and Izuku barely dodged him, it grazed his hero suit. Izuku jumped kicking to propel himself off the wall and overtop Stain. Another knife whizzed past Izuku’s ear and nicking the top of it. In the air, Izuku couldn’t redirect himself. Time slowed down. He watched as Stain rushed to grab the blade in slow motion. The man’s tongue came out of his mouth. And Izuku knew everything was over. He shuddered as he fell to the ground. A wave of fear passing through him. Dammit!

“You exploited my blindspot.” Stain glared at a downed Izuku. “You could have been worth something. You can even track my movements.” He brought up his katana pointing it at Izuku’s face. “Disgusting.”

Two voices screamed as Stain plunged his sword down. Izuku braced for death. But it didn’t happen; a flash of white blocked his vision and suddenly, Stain was on the ground with a very shocked Iida on top of him. 

Stain gritted his teeth. “You! You shouldn’t be moving right now.” he struggled against Iida. The killer raised his head to look directly at Izuku while he was pinned. “You’re like a mold.” he growled at Iida and smiled. “I wonder if you would be so quick to protect him if you knew what he was. You should ask his friend with the disintegration quirk—”

“No!” Izuku was yelling before he could think.

But, it couldn’t be taken back. In Iida’s confusion, Stain acted. The teen was forced off the man. Stain plunged his Katana deep into him and licked it to freeze Iida in place. Everything seemed to slow down for the next few seconds. Izuku watched. Stain’s tongue retreated into his mouth. No. But Izuku was too far away to stop anything from happening. Stain’s blade found a weak part of Iida’s armour. Scarlet ran out of the wound. Without any pause, Stain lunged at Izuku. He produced another knife out of nowhere. Even with the speed of One For All, Izuku still got a blade embedded into his shoulder. Next thing he knew, his skull was forced against the pavement. He watched as Stain’s tongue darted out to lick his blade through teary eyes. A shudder ran through his entire body.

I can’t move!  

Izuku’s lips trembled. The blade stopped right when it was pressing against his cheek. He’s trying to better society by getting rid of corrupt heroes, right? He was that corruption Stain was trying to cull, wasn't he? Besides he'd already sent their location to everyone in his class.  Hopefully he'd stalled enough for help to arrive.

Who was Izuku kidding? He couldn't be a hero, not anymore. 

Izuku stopped paying attention to his surroundings, listening to the rhythmic thumps of his heart beat.

Kacchan was right last year. I should have just taken a swan dive off the roof

I really was useless after all, huh?

I'm sorry mom, I'm sorry All Might.

If he died now, Shigaraki wouldn't be after his mom anymore right? Besides, he’d already failed to save Iida. He didn't care anymore

“Do it.” he gasped quietly.

His eyes shut, and he waited.

But nothing came.

Izuku’s eyes snapped open. 

A weight was being lifted off of his face.

Izuku’s eyes tried to follow where Stain seemed to be going.

He was struggling against a string of shark teeth that was firmly held by the pro hero: Native.  

“You don’t have to bring the kids into this. Your fight is with me.” Native used his body to separate the two highschool students from Stain.

“Whatever that creepy hand brat did must have made my quirk less effective.” Stain muttered under his breath.

Izuku narrowed his eyes. Creepy hand… Shigaraki?  

The older hero coughed a few times. His face paint made his complexion all the more jaundiced against it. Under his laxed grip Stain was able to contort his body to get free.

Stain turned to Izuku, “This is your doing, isn’t it? Did that Shigaraki have you research my quirk for him, figure out my weakness. Like how you spied on UA?” he growled making his way towards him.

Izuku felt a load of bile surge up his throat. 

“Y-y-you’re— lying!” Iida’s voice trembled from a few feet away from Izuku. Wait... was he still okay? That wound looked way too deep earlier. ”Midoriya w-w-would never do— that!’’

    Native whistled, and Stain was once again caught by the rope of shark teeth. With another, his cape lifted off of his shoulders, the pelt enveloping Stain. 

 ’Nemean Tackle!” Native’s whistle turned to a low pitched melody.

Stain was knocked off his feet and whisked into the air by the cape.  It’s fur expertly weaved itself around the man’s ankles, a knife fell from one of Stain’s hands while he tried to cut through the quickly growing hairs of the pelt.

There was a sickening crack and Stain managed to produce a knife from one of his vest pockets. Had he just dislocated his shoulder? He grunted as he the ground after he cut himself free, he smoothly landed with a roll. 

Native made his cape retreat back to him to shield from Stain’s oncoming attack. That last thing he’d expected was for the villain to maneuver over him with inhuman speed. Izuku watched in horror as one of Stain’s knives lodged itself into the back of the pro Hero. 

Izuku screwed his eyes shut, but he could still hear the cry of pain.

Useless. Pathetic. No. Please. No

Move.

Move.

Move. 

I can save them, please let me save them. Don’t let him be…

What had Izuku been thinking? He’d been so ready to give up.  

‘You can be a hero.’

‘No matter how scared you are, you should smile to show things will be okay’

‘Meddling is the essence to being a hero’

‘Deku kind of sounds like you can do it’  

I’m not going to be able to do this on my own, am I? Izuku thought

Izuku reached for his phone while Stain was occupying himself with Native’s last ditch effort of trying to contain him with his necklace of shark teeth. He didn’t look like he had much time left.  

No one from his class or any pro hero’s had come. And if Iida didn’t get help as soon as possible, he probably wouldn’t make it. Izuku could only think of one more option and his stomach curled in response. 

Me: Help

you attached a location.

As soon as Izuku had sent the message, there was a resounding thump. Izuku lifted his head just in time to see Stain walking over to him from Native’s limp body. No sound seemed to be coming from the older hero and his eyes had a vacant quality to them.  

Stain rolled back his shoulders. Licking his lips. “Now,” He drew out his words, “Where were we?”

Does he take satisfaction from this? Izuku questioned inwardly.

Izuku bared his teeth at the man as he got to his feet. “You,” Izuku held back a load of bile. How did people like this exist? How did the picture of the teen he’d seen last week turn into—into this. “You killed him.” he sniffed. Dammit. Useless. When things counted he was useless. “What happened to you? You were supposed to become a hero.” Izuku didn’t know where all the anger that rapidly replaced his fear came from. "Chizome Akaguro."

Stain's face gained a red tinge "You don't get to say that name." 

"You used to help people." Izuku continued. Not caring if he had the man's attention or not. 

How had Izuku ever used one of this man's aliases for inspiration of being a hero?

"You used to stop crime as Stendhal. You… you. What made you think that you could decide who lives and who dies?" 

"That's rich coming from you—"

That was the last straw, he didn't care that Iida was wounded and possibly conscious a few feet away, he erupted. "He stole my notes and threatened my mother! What's your excuse?" Izuku's voice broke. " I— I had no choice. He knows where I live."

"Coward." Stain growled.

"Maybe, but at least I know she's safe. I'm going to save everyone I can. That's why you're never laying another hand on Iida. Y-you'll have to get through me." 

Stain seemed to take Izuku's challenge at face value. Izuku began leading the killer away in a heated chase receiving a few cuts from his knives. The closest he came to getting paralyzed again, Izuku put all his weight behind his blow and punched Stain in the throat. He was shocked to see he was met with little resistance.

"Bastard!" Stain wheezed as he clawed at his neck. 

There was an amused laugh that came from behind Izuku. The teen didn't need to turn his head to know who it was. How long had he been there?

" Nice one brat~ I've been wanting to do that to this rat all night."

  Shigaraki casually stepped over Native's corpse and into better lighting. He looked like shit. Lips far more cracked than usual and several wounds opened around his neck. Long scratch marks reached below his loose shirt. He only had one hand with him and it was held tightly in his right hand with a four fingered grip.

Shigaraki looked over his shoulder "Thanks for the lift Kurogiri." A grin split across his face as he placed the hand like mask above his face. "I'm glad this brat ran into you. Cause I was pretty close to running after you and seeing how fast my quirk can get through the rest of that tongue of yours." Shigaraki cackled.

Tongue. Was that what Stain. Was blaming Izuku for earlier? 

"What do you say Stain, ready for a rematch?"

Rematch?

Stain crouched lower. Preparing for Shigaraki to strike. The two villains were rushing at each other before Izuku could register what was happening. After Shigaraki dodged an incoming knife, it landed precariously close to Iida.  Izuku rushed to his friend's side, trying to recall any of the basic first responder’s training they’d done at school but the situation was beyond the scope of his learning so far. Iida had armour on so he couldn’t move it to put pressure on the wound lest he exacerbate it.                         

Iida already looked ghostly pale. He squinted at Izuku “Midoriya?”

Izuku stumbled forward. Dropping to his knees. “I’m here Iida-kun.” Some of Izuku’s tears landed on Iida’s armour making trails that washed away some of the drying blood. “I’m here. Everything’s going to be okay.”

“Were you telling the truth… about your mom?”

Izuku gulped, as Iida stared up at him imploringly. “I…” Izuku scrunched his eyes shut. “It’s complicated...”

There was a tense pause. 

“It’s okay, if it were… it were Tensei…” Iida trailed off.

“Don’t say that.” Izuku sniffed. “Why don’t you hate me? You should hate me.” 

“It looks like we both made some errors.” Iida’s eyes softened. “Midoriya, can you promise me something?” He exhaled shakily.

“I don’t have to promise you anything Iida, I’m going to make sure you get out of this.” Izuku grabbed onto one of his gloved hands.

“No, no. You and I both know what’s going to happen. I’m either going to bleed out or one of those two is going to get to me.” Iida’s darting eyes led Izuku to the fight that was happening in full swing. 

Neither villain seemed to be gaining the upper hand but whenever it became a close call for Shigaraki, there was a warp that would block Stain from being able to draw blood. Izuku hadn’t noticed it earlier but there were dark patches on both of Shigaraki’s shoulders. Presumably blood.  

“Midoriya, promise me something.”

An intense sob racked its way through Izuku’s entire body. 

“Midoriya, listen.”

“Iida, please.”

“Tenya."

Izuku paused.

“It’s Tenya.”

“Please take care of everyone, and tell Tensei, I’m sorry. Tell Uraraka-kun, I’m sorry too."

“You can tell them yourself.” Izuku argued.

“You and I both know that’s not going to happen. Things catch up to you eventually” Iida laughed hoarsely. “Midoriya—”

“It’s Izuku.”

“Izuku, I’m glad I had a friend like you. I wasn’t that close to anyone except for my brother when I was younger.” Iida smiled, his eyes fluttering shut. “I know you’re going to make it out of this, I trust you and you’re going to do great things.”

“T-tenya.”

“Deku, sounds…” Iida scrunched his eyebrows together, “Sounds a lot like you can do it... doesn’t it—”

“Tenya.” Tenya, Iida, no please. 

Izuku’s entire world came crashing down around him. He didn’t care about the battle happening not too far away, he didn’t care about Native’s corpse next to them. He didn’t care. Izuku cried. He cried until he couldn’t see what was in  front of him. Retreating in on himself.

***

Four bodies were all that were left. New cracks spidered their way around the alleyway. A heterochromatic boy cautiously stepped and peered into the shadows. A flicker of light lined the right side of his body. 

He spotted a familiar gleam of white. Was that Iida? On the side of the white armour furthest from Shouto there was another body hunched over it. White gloves, green hood. That was Midoriya. He was curled up next to the other teen. Both of their costumes were caked in a layer of dried blood, Shouto wasn’t sure whose it was. He inched closer, trying to see if any of the bodies would react. 

Inwardly his panic was steadily rising, but outwardly his expression remained unchanged. The only indication of his fear was the slight hitch of his breath and the unintended flickering of his flame.  

He knew what he was looking at. He hurried over to assess the situation, he passed one grown man that he’d never seen in his life, one quick check of his pulse left Shouto sure he was dead. Not far from him, Shouto spotted a red scarf, strewn over another man. A steady line of blood spelling out the word fake starting from his abdomen.

That was supposed to be the signature of the Hero Killer. He was the whole reason Shouto and his Father were in Hosu. As Shouto drew closer he discovered there was a folded note sitting on top of the man’s chest. Not daring to pick it up, Shouto ventured further into the alleyway. Where he found he was right about who he’d thought the two furthest bodies were. His eyes widened in response. He hadn’t seen a corpse in five years. Upon verifying the bodies’s identities Shouto felt like he was 10 years old again. When one of them very visibly inhaled Shouto jumped back. 

“Midoriya?”

The other boy looked up at him in shock, his eyes were puffy from tears and he had enormous bags under them.

“Is...is Iida okay?” Shouto found himself asking.

At Shouto’s questioning Midoriya started balling.

Before Shouto knew what he was doing, he sank to his knees, as he mirrored a familiar pose his mother used to assume while comforting him. It was awkward given that they were far closer in height than Shouto and his mother used to be. Not to mention Shouto wasn’t one to give hugs. Still, he lent his shoulder to his first friend. 

That was how Shouto’s father found them. It took thirty minutes of coaxing to get Midoriya to leave Iida.  It was another thirty before he began to talk. 

He only spoke one hushed sentence. “It’s all my fault.”


Chapter Text

This man was created by heroes.

-ST

Shigaraki had Kurogiri place his note atop the man’s corpse. The advantages of having a subordinate with no fingerprints were unending. At first he’d debated whether or not he should leave a calling card. But mimicking Stain’s signature was just too alluring. The man was such a hypocrite, it would be hard to pass. He stepped away from the body, tripping over a crack he’d made when he’d taken a fall during the fight.

“Shit!” He hissed.

Taking down Stain hadn’t taken long. He was vastly weakend. Don’t get him wrong the bastard was fast, but he couldn’t lay a hand on Shigaraki thanks to Kurogiri’s warps. The man was virtually useless when it came to fighting, but at least he gave some good support, and was a quick getaway driver.  

Something was rubbing him the wrong way though, and Shigaraki couldn’t pin what it was. 

He glanced over at Stain once again. Kurogiri had tackfully lain the villain’s tattered scarf over his face while Shigaraki hadn’t been looking. That was fine by Shigaraki. He’d removed the other’s mask out of curiosity and discovered a face that only a mother could love. He snickered at the thought of someone having that come out of them. 

Honey, why doesn’t your child have a nose?

Must be your side of the family dear he’s our kid.

There was a few unsteady breaths that brought Shigaraki out of his thoughts, drawing to his attention the fact that he was fucking loitering at the scene of a murder. He glanced over to find a crying Midoriya.

 He narrowed his eyes at what he was seeing. He was crying overtop someone dressed like a robot… power ranger? Honestly Shigaraki would never understand pro heroes. He’d gotten only a brief glance at Midoriya and he looked like some sort of green bunny that was straight out of a fever dream Shigaraki once had. (Word of advice: don’t watch the teletubbies stoned) 

Shigarki stalked over to the two of them. Midoriya shakily came in front of the other boy to shield the other person from Shigaraki.

Shigaraki took off his mask. Now that he had a good look at the other kid, he could soundly say that he was dead, and that he couldn’t be that much older than the green bunny guarding him… he’d talk about that with Midoriya later. He frowned at the severe eyebrows and narrow eyes. His angular features. Then his mind supplied a name. Iida. Speed quirk. Class 1A. What the hell was he doing here? Scratch that, what the hell were two UA students doing fighting the hero killer? Honestly, he probably should have asked that question a lot earlier.

Shigaraki opened his mouth to start asking questions. Then closed it when he caught Midoriya’s expression, it resembled a cornered animal to Shigaraki. There was a deep gash across his cheek and a wound on his arm that was almost as deep as the ones on Shigaraki’s shoulders. He wasn’t really sure whose blood was all over him. His curly hair was matted to his face with sweat and grime covering his freckles. 

Midoriya was shaking. Probably thinking that Shigaraki was about to fight him. The villain kept being reminded he was a kid over and over again every time he saw him.

“He’s dead.” Shigaraki said dryly, he wasn’t sure who he was talking about. “It’s not reversible.” Trust me I’d know. “You can’t do anything about it.”

Shigaraki wasn’t sure why he was talking. 

Midoriya’s eyes glazed over.  

Suddenly the hair on Shigaraki’s neck stood on end. There was a flicker of light around the corner. Kurogiri had opened a warp behind them. No more words passed between them as Shigaraki left. If Kurogiri had opened a warp, that meant someone was nearby so he left the kid alone.

***

Tenya Iida. Hero course student at UA. Date of death: May 27th. Age:15

A week had passed and Izuku hadn’t gotten any texts from Shigaraki since his internship. By then his cheek had scarred over and the rest of his injuries had been healed. Thankfully, Stain hadn’t exacerbated his arm. It had missed major arteries. Honestly, it was sick how the man drew out his kills, he’d had enough knowledge of the body to do so. Apparently after transferring out of Ketsubatsu’s hero course, he’d attempted to pursue a medical degree after graduating. The unique quality of his paralysis quirk could have saved countless people in surgeries. After he was healed from the fight with Stain he had to face everything again. He’d managed to avoid any questions from people at school. No one would be dense enough to talk to someone about their friend being murdered.

Gran Torino got his teaching license revoked, as did Manual. Both were suspended from hero duty. Izuku hadn’t batted an eye when his face met the bottom of his mentors foot. He’d remained silent during the scolding from the chief of Hosu police (apparently civic servants were dense enough to talk about someone’s friend being murdered). 

He saw Tenya’s coffin being lowered into the ground. His family members were bombarded with well wishers after the ceremony, keeping Izuku from talking to them.

Not even a week after the funeral, Izuku found himself face to face with detective Tsukauchi, in the Musutafu police station. Until then he’d simply moved through the motions each day. Sometimes when he turned his head, he’d expect to find Iida across the classroom, next to Uraraka. But the seat was empty and was eventually removed. 

Izuku went to a few in school counselling sessions, but they weren’t much help.

Tsukauchi gave him a sympathetic gaze. And started asking about the Hosu incident.

He started off simple. “Can you give me a recount of the events of that night.”

“A Nomu blasted through the wall while I was on the train with my mentor. When he went to engage it, I snuck away…”  It took several minutes for Izuku to tearfully get through his story, carefully not mentioning anything about prior engagement with the villains and texting Shigaraki his location.

“Did Shigaraki Tomura say anything that might have explained why he was there?”

“Yes he said something about a rematch, Stain also talked about fighting him earlier.”

They continued like that until they finished getting Izuku’s statement, as the only surviving witness, he’d expected he’d get asked about what happened at some point. He just didn’t expect how hard it would be. And then they’d asked their human lie detector to interview him. Izuku just hoped he wouldn’t be backed into a corner.  

Izuku thought about where all this information was going to go, Stain was already dead, Shigaraki had made sure of it. It would probably just go into an increasingly large file on the villain. Nothing would be done for Tenya. He was already gone. 

When they’d finished taking his statement, Izuku’s entire body felt like lead. He shuffled outside of Tsukauchi’s office. Head down. And he sat in one of the chairs in the lobby. He felt so tired now. 

‘I trust you.’

You shouldn’t. I’m sorry Tenya. I’m so sorry.

This was all his fault, if he was better, he could have saved him, maybe if he’d managed to knock Tenya out and called Shigaraki. Izuku’s stomach curled. He’d had the ability to end the fight the entire time, now two people were dead because of him. Bile quickly rose up Izuku’s throat. Why was he like this? What was wrong with him? Why was he more obsessed with keeping secrets than other people’s lives. 

That’s not true and you know that. Izuku’s mind supplied. But he was already too far deep in the spiral. 

Izuku’s entire body racked with sobs. 

It should have been me. 

Tenya threw himself at Stain to save me.

It’s my fault. 

Then, there was something bumping into his chair. “Sorry,” someone mumbled, “Not really used to this thing yet.” there was a hoarse laugh. 

Izuku looked up briefly to find a young blue haired man sitting in a wheelchair. When he saw his face through his tear filled vision he almost gasped.

Tenya. 

Izuku blinked a few times to find that it wasn’t him. The guy crinkled his arrow shaped eyebrows and gave Izuku a wobbly smile. 

“I-ingenium?”

The man rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah, I can’t really use that name anymore though. Call me Iida. Or Tensei, whichever one works for you.” 

It was then that Izuku noticed how tired he looked. His eyes were puffy, and he was pale. “I-I’m sorry.”

Iida’s older brother became a bit flustered as Izuku erupted into tears. “Hey, kid, everything’s okay, what are you apologizing for.” Tensei reached his hand out and Izuku flinched at the motion. “Hey, it’s okay. Can you breathe with me? Like this… yeah that’s right. In for five...”

Izuku followed Tensei’s directions and his sobs turned into the occasional hiccuping.  

“You want me to call one of your parents or something?”

No, Izuku’s mom was at work. They’d fallen behind on their rent so she had to pick up a few extra shifts. “N-no.” Izuku protested.  

    “Okay, got it.” Tensei held up his hands in surrender. He tilted his head to the side  “What’s your name, you kind of look familiar?”

    “M-midoriya.” 

    “Oh.” Tensei’s face fell. 

    Midoriya sighed. Scrunching his eyes shut so that he didn’t have to face the person in front of him.

    “Hey, you’ll get through this. Were they getting your statement? I just did mine.”

    “Yeah.”

    “Hey, why don’t we chat for a little bit in a place that’s a bit less stuffy than here” Tensei moved his head in a ‘let’s go’ gesture. He gave Izuku another thin lipped smile.

    God, why do they look so similar. Izuku nodded. Why was he letting Tenya’s brother comfort him like this? He was the one the one that lost the family member. He had to do something.“I-i c-can um, push your chair...if you want.” Izuku said quietly.

    “Nah I need the practice.” Tensei waved him off. And began wheeling away.

    “Oh. Okay.” Izuku got up from his seat and followed closely from behind.

    They left the station together. “My parents don’t live far from here, I’m living with them for the time being while I do my physio therapy. I decided I needed some fresh air so I wheeled over instead of the car. It’s kind of weird how often I’m using vehicles now, I used to use my speed quirk to go everywhere.” he chuckled “Sometimes, I’d even run to the next town over for fun. It's a lot cheaper than driving actually,” Tensei started rambling. His expression dampened 

    It was weird to see someone that looked like Tenya talking so nonchalantly, and cracking jokes. Izuku had always imagined Tensei Iida would be like a bigger version of his brother. He guessed that heavy white mask he wore all the time would stop people from being able to gauge his personality. 

    After a few minutes of silence a wide gap started to form in between them, Izuku hurried to close it. He pursed his lips together and began to speak. “Tenya.” He began. “Tenya said he was sorry.”

    Tensei stopped pushing his chair forward and turned to look over to Izuku. He blinked a few tears out of his eyes.

    “I’m sorry.” Izuku’s voice broke. “If I wasn’t so—”

    “Hey, hey. Don’t finish that sentence.” Tensei gave him a stern look. “Stain got to plenty of pros. You were just kids. Tenya he…” Tensei wiped his eyes in frustration. He sighed deeply. “Tenya knew what he was getting into when he went after him.” Tensei inhaled. “Dammit.” He hissed. “It’s no one’s fault except for the person that killed him. “Just be thankful he didn’t kill you too.”

    “He saved me. He died because he tried to protect me from Stain.” Izuku whispered. “It should have been me.”

    “Don’t say that.”

    “It’s true though.” Izuku argued blankly.

    “If I believed that every time someone died while I was on the job, I would have bit the bullet a long time ago. You’ve gotta live for them. You’re the only one that’s going to keep their memory alive.”

    Izuku’s lips quivered. They walked with an air of uncomfortable silence between them.

    I trust you.’

    Why hadn’t Tenya been mad? Why had Tenya jumped in?

Izuku suddenly stopped again. “Iida?”

The other man stopped to look at him.

“Is there anything I can do for you and your family?” 

“We’ll be alright. I think it’s mostly a matter of going out and good company for me. The hospital offers good counselling for pro heroes, maybe you should try it.”

“Yeah okay. I’ll do that, just...” He went to scribble something in the tiny pocket notebook he kept on his person. He still wrote analysis in it that he’d transfer into his journals when he was on the go. He ripped out a piece of paper. “Here’s my number. I know that a kid like me can’t really do much but I’ll try my best.”

Tensei smiled up at him. “Thanks.” 

    They approached a busy intersection. 

    “Hey, I’m not on my diet anymore, you mind if I buy some ice cream?”  he pointed to a parlour across the street.

“No, go ahead.”

Izuku went along with him, when Tensei looked at him expectantly a small argument followed, which Izuku ended up losing. That’s how he ended up pushing Tensei out of the shop, each of them with a cone in hand.

They started an idol conversation. Tensei asked about Izuku’s friends at school and how he and Iida met. He laughed at the origins of ‘emergency exit Iida’. 

“Man, I wish I saw that.” Tensei laughed.

Tensei started talking about what it was like to run a pro hero agency. He’d decided to continue the management despite his inability to work in the field. He occasionally video conference call to Tokyo when they needed him. His sidekicks were running things until he was able to move back to Tokyo from his parent's home that they'd moved into when they retired. 

After ten minutes, they entered a nice suburb. Every house had a well kempt garden and lawn. By then icecream had been consumed and the sky was beginning to turn a comforting orange. As they approached a large white house, Tensei prompted Izuku to go inside which he declined. 

“I should get home. It’s getting late.” Izuku explained.

The time he'd spent with Tensei made Izuku feel more like himself than he had in a long time. 

Chapter Text

Katsuki stared across the cafe table at Uraraka. She looked worse for wear. Fuck. After getting their orders they sat in silence for a minute before Uraraka finally spoke up.

“I need to know that you’re serious about this. You’re not playing some sick joke on me right? Because with the week I’ve had I’m not up for it.”   

Katsuki let it sink in.

“Don’t you hate Deku-kun or something?” Uraraka asked after a minute had passed.

“It’s complicated.” Katsuki took a sip of his black coffee.

“I don’t think it is.” Uraraka said. 

What did she know? Honestly Katsuki didn’t understand himself at all either. I know I’m an asshole but that doesn’t mean I sit back and do nothing when shit matters.”

    “Okay. Prove it.” Uraraka glared at him with puffy eyes. “Prove that I can actually trust you.”

“How the hell am I supposed to do that?” Katsuki’s nostrils flared. Katsuki paused. “Look Round— Uraraka… I get it.” A memory he’d been pushing down for weeks resurfaced. He’d never talked about it with anyone. “Okay. I had a friend that went missing when I was younger.” Katsuki scowled thinking back to that chubby winged boy. “They never found his body. But there was a note.”  

Uraraka furrowed her brows and she scrunched her lips in deep concentration

Yeah, I’m not a total asshole. Katsuki clenched his fists in his pockets and took a deep breath. “Before it happened, he started acting weird like Deku is right now.”  Katsuki growled.“Believe it or not bitch, I’m actually trying to be a fucking hero. So you’re either in this with me or you’re out.”

“I,” Uraraka took a shaky breath. “Okay. I’ve already lost one friend, I’m not going to lose another. I’m not going to be on the sidelines next time.” Uraraka’s expression filled with an aura of determination. Then her eyes regained their bubbly minion-like quality. “... who else have you told about this?”

“Just you.” Katsuki said.

“Not even Kirishima?”

“Shittyhair has no idea how to keep a fucking secret. And you’re the closest person to Deku.” Katsuki explained.

Uraraka blushed. “W-what about telling Todoroki, we might need more fire power.”

“I’m not working with Icyhot. He half-asses things.” Katsuki argued. “I can’t trust him in a life or death situation.”

Uraraka blinked. “And you’d trust me?”

Yeah Katsuki’s brain said. But, that’s aside from the point. 

“Okay Bakugou." She conceded. "What were you thinking?”

***

“Chizome Akaguro, also known under the moniker of Hero Killer: Stain, has officially been pronounced dead.”

    A sick feeling scurried across Izuku’s insides as he heard the beginnings of the news cast. He flicked through channels, but every other station seemed to be running the same report. It had been this way since Hosu.

Unexpectably, Shigaraki was only a small footnote in every story.

They didn’t talk about Stain either. 

The main focus of any story was always Tenya. He was the face they were displaying. He was that big headline all over Japan. In school, people were sending him their condolences. Slowly, Izuku began to deny invitations to eat lunch or to walk to the train station with his classmates after school. 

He changed to another channel and was met with more of the same thing. Newscasters showing fake sympathy, heroes doing interviews about the Hero Killer bearing the same fake plastered on smiles. Mental health experts were doing psychoanalysis’ on the villain as well, speculating what drew him to a life of crime. 

Izuku didn’t care about any of them.

Endeavor had done a few interviews. Which made Izuku’s mouth fill with bile as he observed the man talking about the murder with such clinical detachment.

“Young Tenya Iida was in the same class as your son, correct?”

Enji Todoroki adjusted his large frame in his chair. As soon as the camera redirected itself to his face Izuku changed the channel. 

He had been in Hosu that night too, coming not long after Todoroki.

Why couldn’t he have come earlier? You’re supposed to be a hero! Izuku questioned.  You could have been there!

It brought forth in Izuku’s mind memories of the UA sports festival. He must have been one of those fake heroes Stain had preached about. What his son had told Izuku cemented itself in his consciousness.  

TV led him down a rabbit hole. 

Apathetically, he surfed through more stations and looking for the news casts that normally showcased hero fights he’d use for analysis, They only bore his deceased friend’s smiling school ID photo. Immaculate tie, glasses propped over his face, smiling a reserved smile that had a glint of excitement behind it. All Izuku could think of when he saw that photo was what his friend looked like at the end of his life. 

Tears, blood, grime, broken glasses, tousled hair. An expression that looked like he’d given up and accepted his fate.

Izuku shut his eyes once more and clicked through more channels, he didn’t receive any respite until  he flipped to another channel displaying a new headline at the bottom of the screen: Murderer still at large. 

This made Izuku shoot up from his slouched position, he grabbed a notebook and pen that had been discarded next to him. It showed a man in a straight jacket. His teeth carried an unnatural color. Almost too white, too bright. He’d been dubbed the Fukushima Shark  and Moonfish by some of the locals. Izuku leaned closer to the television, writing everything the anchor had to say about the murderer.

He didn’t know why, but every time he stopped recording information his mind would have flashbacks to Hosu. And so, when the television became not enough, he turned his attention online, setting up news alerts.

***

Midoriya: I need you to come get me.

Midoriya: sent a location.

Shigaraki’s phone dinged as soon as he got the message. What the hell was the kid texting him for? He tried picking up his phone without straining his arms. They were in a makeshift sling and still hadn’t healed from his fight with Stain. 

Shigaraki would kill him all over again if it were possible. 

He tried to reach for his neck, but was unable to raise his hands.

God dammit. 

 

Midoriya ended up being in an alleyway not far off from his apartment complex. When they’d landed in the bar and Shigaraki had turned to check whether their signal scrambler was on, they both sat down next to each other. Patiently he waited until Midoriya gave him his phone. There was less of a pause before he handed it over than previous times. As he sat down, the kid stared at Shigaraki's injuries.

“Your boss.” Midoriya finally started once they were seated.

Shigaraki raised his brows in surprise.

Sensei is my teacher not my boss. 

“Does he have a quirk that brings people back? He’s immortal right? So it can’t be outside of the realm of possibility—”

“No.” Shigaraki immediately answered. “Nothing reverses death.”

“You answered that quickly.” Midoriya whispered and looked up at him in surprise. He cleared his throat. “H-have you ever lost someone? ”

“...”

“Oh.” Midoriya looked down and swung his feet. 

Kurogiri fixed Shigaraki with a soft expression which Shigaraki returned with a scowl. Midoriya sank into himself. His eyes seemed empty, wide and glazed over.

“You can’t do anything now. So there’s no use moping about it.” He fixed the kid with a cold stare. “You get used to it.” Shigaraki shrugged it off. Especially if it follows you everywhere you go. 

Midoriya quickly changed the subject. “H-how’d you weaken Stain’s q-quirk? He said something about it in Hosu.” 

“I grabbed his tongue.” Shigaraki explained.

“Oh.” Midoriya rushed through a string of mumbling under his breath, the only word Shigaraki could make out was tastebuds.

“It was cause of your notes I knew what to do, actually.”

Then Midoriya became silent again. 

Kurogiri used the moment of silence to stare at the boy.

“I’ve been thinking about when you asked me why I wanted to kill All Might.” Shigaraki huffed in annoyance. “I think in a way everything always comes back to him. He’s the whole reason why this shitty system of heroes isn’t imploding in on itself. People think, ‘if someone out there is as strong as he is, there’s nothing to fear.” Shigaraki ran a hand through his hair, it was actually starting to get long. “Cause he’s there. They ignore what’s staring at them in the face.”

“Well of course heroes can’t do everything.” Midoriya protested.

“But people think they can. You know, that Rat has been all over the news,” Shigaraki growled, “why do you suppose he’s so popular? He may have some things wrong, but a lot of stuff he got on the nose. People understand what shitty excuses we have for public defenders. They’re in a completely different world from the rest of us.”  

 Midoriya clenched his fists on the countertop. That moment was the first time Shigaraki noticed his scars. They were similar to the ones the villain had on his own face, the crisscrossing white cracks remained lighter than the rest of his skin. He had another scar on his left cheekbone, it was fighting for property on his face with his smattering of freckles. But it was different than the other ones, much fainter… A knife wound? 

Midoriya’s hands slid to the edge of the bar countertop. He could hear the creaking of wood that would soon give way to faint cracks. 

Midoriya closed his eyes and a familiar crinkle between his brows appeared.with another deep breath. 

“So, is there any other reason you’re here?”

Midoriya’s back straightened. 

***

‘It’s okay… if it were Tensei…”

Tenya. Tenya, why'd you do it?

'I trust you.’

‘I trust you.’

I trust you.’

“Is there any other reason you’re here?” Midoriya was jerked out of his thoughts.

Shigaraki had a look of sheer boredom.

“I’m not really into cutscenes. So, speak up.”

Would you have killed Tenya if Stain hadn’t gotten to him? What’s so important about me? Izuku inwardly questioned. Was I supposed to meet Stain this entire time? Is that why Shigaraki made me compile notes on him? Why was he fighting with other villains anyways?

“Why were you looking into Stain in the first place?” he managed to say.

“I want more people to join my party, Sensei thought he’d help me grow—”

“Sensei?”

“You called him All for One.”

He called All Might’s nemesis ‘Sensei’. Did that mean his relationship with the centuries old villain was similar to Izuku’s relationship to All Might… a student… a successor?

“But seriously, why are you here. You’re starting to test my patience.”

Why was he here? Hoping All for One had a miracle quirk that could return people from the grave; that was only half of it. 

‘It was because of your notes I knew what to do.’ Shigaraki had been able to best Stain because of Izuku.

Something started to sink in for Izuku, he’d helped orchestrate someone else’s demise; maybe not directly, but indirectly. A lump formed in his throat. Someone died because of me.’

    His mind wandered to earlier that day when he’d been researching Moonfish.

He could do a lot. With All Might’s nemesis's reach across the underworld, he could do a lot. He could prevent anymore Tenya’s from happening. He could use them as a tool, just as Shigaraki was trying to use him. He just needed a way to get the information to not leak the way it had with Stain. 

Accidentally, he let his schooled expression slip in front of the villain. Shigaraki leaned forward, intrigued. “What were you thinking about just now?” A twinkle of mirth revealed itself in his eyes, before quickly going away.

“I want to meet All for One.” Izuku said. 

“That can be arranged.” Shigaraki responded. A small smile began to spread across his cracked lips. 

 

By the time Izuku had left the bar the date and time for his meeting with the mysterious villain overlord had been set. Over a voice call. A deep baritone voice filled with static and other interference was on the other end. When he’d answered, an overt shiver ran down Izuku’s back. He didn’t let his fear show though. 

By then he’d sunk into the mask he’d had in his middle school days. The one he’d show his mother after coming home from school with scrapes and bruises from bullies.

    When Kurogiri came to escort him he didn’t bat an eye at the warp, he’d gone through his portals under his own volition recently. 

The warp did something unexpected when they got into Izuku’s room. He waved a misty hand and closed his portal. He turned to face Izuku. The metal encasing what appeared to be his head glinted under the light of Izuku's window.

He spoke with an air of authority much like the one he’d used at the USJ. Izuku stood his ground against the other man. 

“I honestly don’t know what you’re planning, boy.” He spat. “But keep my charge out of it.” 

“He was the one that brought me into this.” Izuku said calmly, trying to mask his fear.

“Insolent brat. Don’t think you have anyone fooled. Your going to betray him the first chance you can get.” Kurogiri took a step forward, an air of menace surrounding him that hadn’t been there previously. “This isn’t some sort of game, be prepared to put your life on the line as much as he is doing for you.” As Izuku took a step back, a floorboard creaked under his weight.” Kurogiri’s form expanded. His yellow eyes gained wisps at the ends that drifted up towards the ceiling. Izuku leaned back. “I don’t know why he has such an interest in you, but I won’t let you walk all over him. I’m not going to watch you let him die when the time comes. I gave you an easy out with Stain, but it seems you’re as persistent as a cockroach.” Kurogiri’s voice reverberated across the tiny room. 

Izuku paused. “You gave me an easy out with Stain?” he repeated. “Were you the one that told him… about me?” Izuku’s voice tapered off, becoming a whisper. Slowly, it sank in. The most seemed to verify what he'd said with a slight nod. “You… you...” for the first time in weeks, his tears came freely. “Get out.”. He looked up at the mist that was slowly contracting. “Get out!” he commanded. His vision filled with green. He heard a crackle. “GET OUT!” he screamed, more green filled the room. By then he realized it was his quirk. His hair and clothes were floating from the use of full cowl. He hadn’t even registered that he’d activated One for All. 

The villain’s eyes widened in response. But not in surprise as Izuku had thought. Judging by the glowing yellow slits it was anger. His hand was held up and holding onto Izuku’s wrist with a punishing grip. Izuku attempted to punch at the mist villain’s face. But a warp opened up to swallow it before Izuku could get a chance to hit his real body. “Don’t throw tantrums like a toddler. Consider who you are yelling at, boy. If master wasn’t holding me back, you’d be out of the picture by now. But another error from you and I won’t hesitate. No matter what my charge says. No matter what All for One says. Consider this your first, and final warning. ” With a flourish of his occupied hand, he let go of Izuku and the teen stumbled forward, falling into a portal. Instead of another location outside of his apartment it led to his bed, he crashed into his mattress.

When he turned around the man was gone. Izuku’s arms hung limply beside him as he sank to the floor, clutching onto his curly hair. Face wet with tears. He let all of the frustration out. He was alone, and simultaneously the rest of his mask broke. 

Dammit! His voice cracked under the stress of his cries. Damn him! Another crack of a different kind sounded as he punched the ground next to him, he’d neglected to turn off full cowl. He turned to find an emaciated pencil case. A look inside revealed almost every pen and pencil to be broken.

Dammit.    

 

***

I hate you!

    I hate everyone. 

    Another smack to his face caused the young boy to fall. 

    Why are you selfish?

    Shigaraki saw four adults and a child with pigtails.

 … who were they?

No one helped him and soon Shigaraki was alone in the familiar room.

Then,  he was outside.

A large hand reared itself back for another hit, it transitioned to one that was reaching out to him on the street.

With an unforeseen shift in his surroundings he was looking in the mirror, except it wasn’t him. Or at least, he didn’t think it was him. He touched at the thick black locks that framed his face, since when was his hair black? Why was his skin so smooth. A darker figure stepped closer to him from behind, even in the mirror, his face was seemingly obscured by a darkness. Shigaraki could still make out the sharp features. When he saw the pointed features and mole like his own, he tensed. The older man clapped a hand on his shoulder and Shigaraki attempted to shrug him off.

‘Don’t be a hero, they’re selfish.’

Shigaraki couldn’t help but feel a shiver run down his back.

They don’t care about their families.’

Suddenly, the man disintegrated from behind him. His eyes darted back to the mirror and Shigaraki’s hair gradually turned to grey. Just as it did, he felt a tear run down the side of his cheek, he wasn’t sure why though, he hadn’t known that man. He’d just been hitting him a moment ago. Then he was greeted with a small voice, that was crying as he turned around to find its owner, he assumed he was looking back into the mirror, the one that had warped his face. But the other boy was smaller, his hair was curlier and green, not to mention he had freckles. 

“Who are you?” he asked, his small voice seemingly echoing. 

“I’m Izuku.” He beamed. “Wanna come play Tenko?”

“I’m not Tenko. I’m Tomura.”

“To-mu-ra?” He enunciated each syllable as he tilted his head to the side. “But wasn’t your name Tenko.”

There was a flash of the older sharp featured man's face.

“No, no, no, no.” Shigaraki clutched onto his gray locks as they rapidly came out, his face quickly being shrouded in black hairs. “No, I’m Tomura! ” he backed up from the little boy.

“Tenko?”

“NO!” he screamed, he rushed at the other boy in the dream, but he went through him like he wasn’t actually there. “No, no, no, no, no.” 

“Are you okay Tenko?” the other child’s voice sounded beside his ear. 

Shigaraki swiped the air around him. “Stop calling me that! I don’t like it. Sensei, get him to leave me alone!” he tried pulling at his faux black hair but it wouldn’t come out. “Sensei! I don’t wanna be Tenko.” he banged his head against the ground. “I don’t wanna be Tenko.”

Stop crying.” A voice came from above him.

Shigaraki opened his eyes, not noticing he’d screwed them shut during his screaming. Somehow the floor around him had become an endless mirror. He stared at the reflection of the little boy...Izuku...no it was his reflection. His face, his hair. His moles. Where were his scars?

There was a heavy footstep.

A bloodcurdling crack of glass. 

Shigaraki fearfully turned around to look up at the sharp featured man from before. 

His black hair was gelled back.

With another step the mirror gave way to another crack.

The pieces of shattered glass fell behind him into a steadily growing abyss.

“No, I don’t wanna be Tenko, Sensei.” Shigaraki crawled backwards.

Black phantasms followed the man from behind, emerging from the deep chasm he was creating with his steps.

A young girl with pigtails.

“No, go away.”

A young woman roughly the same age as the man.

“No, I’m Tomura!”

An elderly woman.

Followed by an elderly man.

When the man finally got to him in his snails pace the ground gave way beneath him.The last thing Shigaraki saw was the man’s countenance morph into one of complete fear as he fell through the cracks he’d formed. 

Tomura sank to his knees hands sliding across the smooth surface of the mirrored floor, then he was surrounded by cracking ground and uprooted grass. 

With an ear splitting scream, he too fell into the darkness below.

 

Shigaraki woke up with a start. His hair was plastered to his face. With shallow breaths he raised his wavy hair between his fingers. Gray. He breathed out a sigh of relief. As he closed his eyes something moist ran down his cheek. 

A tear?

Why would he be crying?

Who was that man?

Who were those people?

As his eyes adjusted to the dark he hastily searched his night table for his gloves. Careful to make sure that all five fingers didn’t touch the fabric he pulled them on. Usually he didn’t accidentally disintegrate things anymore, but after that dream, he wasn’t going to take any chances. As his breaths began to slow down he adjusted himself in his sheets.

Tenko.

Why had Midoriya called him Tenko? He wasn’t Tenko anymore. He refused to be. His breaths started quickening as images from his nightmare started flashing. That man. Face contorted into a mask of anger. His outside image was one of an uptight salary man, but Shigaraki couldn’t help but feel like there was some sort of monster beneath. Much like the one that he hosted in his own chest. 

One thing was for sure, whoever that man was, he would kill him if he ever saw him in real life.  

***

Kurogiri. Izuku wrote. 

    He’d taken his secret notebook from the floorboards.

    Drawing a small representation of the villain in both his solid and mist form. 

    Kurogiri had grabbed him. The shock of it had made something clear to him, even though he’d already seen the villain polishing glasses in the bar he hadn’t registered what that meant. He wasn’t constantly incorporeal. That meant that he had more solid body parts than what was being protected by his armour. He hadn’t been solid mist like Izuku had once assumed. Did that mean that he warped the rest of his body away to a secure location during the USJ? Could his warps only be present with his body?

 Izuku thought back to what the man had told him earlier. He was the reason Stain had been after Izuku. He was part of the reason Tenya was dead. If Tenya hadn’t been protecting Izuku, then he wouldn’t have died. They could have gotten away.

Something ugly began to simmer in the pit of his stomach.

He didn’t know why he was following this train of thought, but his mind drew up all the ways he could feasibly incapacitate him In the event that he carried through his threats.

Another thing came to mind from the villains’ attack on the USJ a month ago. 

If he stops the connection between portals, it cuts whatever is there in half. If Kurogiri managed to sever the connection when he was in his mist form. It would be just as deadly to himself as others if he accidentally separated the portal that was warping his real body.

This was too glaring a weakness to ignore.

Chapter Text

Although he hated putting anything to do with the League of Villains on the back burner, school soon became Izuku’s primary focus. 

There were a lot of pretenses he had to keep up. 

Not to mention if he jumped into anything, he’d end up getting himself killed. Especially with his plan that was currently seeming pretty half baked. Obviously, planning to use the resources of an immortal super villain for what was probably going to be extreme vigilantism took time. 

 As the exams of his first term drew closer, Uraraka seemed to be more present than ever. At the beginning of the year, Izuku probably wouldn’t have been able to spend so much time alone around a girl; now, she was the last ounce of normalcy he could hold onto.

That Saturday morning, they were studying together.

“Deku-kun?”

Izuku looked up from the page of the textbook he’d been staring at for at least ten minutes and hummed in response.

“What did you get for question 8.d)?” Uraraka restlessly tapped her pencil on the mess of papers strewn about her coffee table. “I’m not getting the textbook’s answer.”

“Oh uhhhhh,” Izuku flipped through his papers. Finding the answer in question. “ /6 .” Izuku inched closer to look over her shoulder. He immediately found where she strayed and showed her his work.

Uraraka blew a raspberry. “Why do we have to do math anyways? We’re training to become heroes.” she hopped to her feet. “Say, I’m kind of hungry, you want any snacks?”

“Oh, I brought some food for us in my backpack, but water would be nice.”

“Okay.” Uraraka walked to her apartment's kitchen (which was in the same room as everything else, since it was a studio apartment). Izuku finally let what was happening sink in… they were studying for their exams in Uraraka’s apartment… which was… new. 

He might as well be in her room because of how small the apartment was. 

Izuku reached in to get some containers of food from his backpack.

As he looked inside he let his eyes stray to his phone. He’d turned off the volume. But it was buzzing like crazy.

He turned the screen on to find a flurry of messages. 

Unknown Number: I’m calling in a favour right now, give me your location so I can warp you over here. 

Another one had a timestamp from ten minutes later.

Unknown Number : I swear to God if you’re ignoring me I’m going to fucking tear your throat out with my bare hands.

Unknown Number: Come on brat.

Unknown Number: I kind of don’t want all my liquor to blow up.

Izuku raised an eyebrow at the last text.

Unknown Number: I got a patchy bastard really asking for it.

Unknown Number: He’s drunk as fuck and I’m not going to play bouncer.

Unknown Number: Plus I’m not really a match for a fire quirk. 

 

And he thinks I’m going to help? 

Unknown Number: If I die right here, I'm going to haunt your sorry ass for eternity.

Well crap… If the villain was being serious, his plans to meet All for One would go down the drain… and earlier in the semester Shigaraki had saved his life. 

Guilt churned in Izuku’s stomach.

 

Unknown Number is typing….

 

Unknown Number: Fucker, I see the read receipt.

Unknown Number: G et your ass over here rn.

 

Wait… how is he sending so many texts if he is in danger?

 

Izuku cringed at the idea of readily going to help a villain? what if Shigaraki was actually fighting a hero? 

He decided that he couldn’t leave it be. More trust meant Shigaraki could potentially help him get more information. He was doing this for what he wanted in the long run.

Izuku could be patient.

 

Footsteps sounded to his right. Izuku quickly shoved his phone into his pocket.

“Who are you texting?”

Izuku pursed his lips. “My mom. Actually, she needs me to go home.” Izuku started packing up his papers.

“Is everything all right?”

Izuku gave her a smile. “Yeah, there’s just something going on about my dad.” he lied … Uraraka didn’t have to know the jerk jumped ship years ago.

Uraraka’s expression sank.

“Can we reschedule?” Izuku asked. 

As soon as she nodded he took out the ungodly amount of containers from his backpack and piled them on Uraraka’s coffee table. 

“My mom kind of made you some food.” he scratched the back of his head.

“Uhhh, holy, that’s a lot of rice.” Uraraka’s eyes widened.

Izuku only gave a wobbly smile in response. “Yeah.” he continued packing his bag. “I’m really sorry I have to leave so abruptly, but good luck with the rest of your studying tonight.”

“Uh, you too. Thanks Deku-kun.”

“Bye Uraraka-san.”

She brushed her hair behind her ear. “You can call me Ochaco… that is if you want to.” they both blushed a little. 

“O-okay, Och-ch-chako-san.” Izuku felt like he was turning red.

“It was nice seeing you.”

“Y-you too.”

He exited that house so fast, Izuku was pretty sure he left an after image. 

Uraraka was cute, but Izuku didn’t know if he was into her. Maybe he had a puppy crush at the beginning of the year, but he’d managed to figure that any presumed romantic feelings he held for her were just born from her being the first person besides his mother to be nice to him in years.

Still, the blush on Izuku’s face only died down once he was out of Uraraka’s apartment. Izuku walked down the street, hoping to be indiscreet. He really didn’t want to appear like he was rushing.

Izuku found a gas station with a public restroom a few blocks away where he bought a sick mask.

He paced the graffiti covered room while texting his coordinates and gagged a bit at the smell. 

He opened up his conversation with his mother, telling her that he’d get home late.

Then he typed in another phone number he knew by heart now. He once again considered the pros and cons of heading in to help. He needed Shigaraki to trust him, if he was ever going to meet All for One. Besides, if he got close enough, he’d be safe from that mist villain too.

Then he waited for the portal to open.

And waited.

And waited. 

By the time the familiar chill of the warp had gotten to the stall, Izuku had already gone through 12 scenarios of what could be happening in his head. 

***

The results of a lie detector test sat in a new file at the Musutafu police station. 

Izuku Midoriya. Was neatly written on the outside of the manila folder. It was a classified case so it was kept only in analogue. 

Truth, something omitted

Truth, something omitted

Truth, something omitted

Truth, something omitted

Truth.

Truth.

Truth, something omitted

Truth, something omitted.

Preferred not to answer.

As a reader went down the list there was only a few fully correct statements.

One wouldn’t have been suspicious if they were to look at the evidence under the assumption that as an UA student, the boy could do nothing wrong: A lamb. But if one looked hard enough, he was a wolf in Sheep's clothing, a ticking time bomb for everyone.  

Officer Sansa had gotten a tip on the League of Villain’s case he’d been working on with Detective Naomasa Tsukauchi. The file on them was incredibly thin so, at the station, they latched onto anything they could find. 

One such lead was that one of the Nomu that was from Hosu had been identified earlier that week.

Hayato Tsubasa: Disappeared age 10. Was reported by his mother to be missing. Last known location, Tatooine Park, Musutafu, friends Katsuki Bakugou and Izuku Midoriya reported him to have gone home. 

Katsuki Bakugou...

That was the winner of the UA sports festival, along with Midoriya... What would they have had to do with the League of Villains?

Perhaps that was how Shigaraki Tomura wound up in the same alleyway as Midoriya and Stain.

Wait...were the other two boys in trouble of becoming victims as well for having a connection to him.

He supposed there was only one way to find out.

***  

None of the scenarios Izuku had imagined had a scarred man with an unbelievable amount of piercings completely trashing the villain’s bar. 

“Giran, you fucking bastard if that’s you, you get this lunatic out of here.” Shigaraki shouted. 

As soon as the villain had made a sound, a jet of blue flames shot in his direction. 

Immediately after, a flaming fist flew towards Izuku, almost singeing his eyebrows clean off. As he caught his breath, he readjusted his sick mask to ensure his face wasn’t being shown. 

Izuku’s stomach filled with butterflies. He gritted his teeth as he dodged another strike. He noticed the intruder also had piercings and scars up his hands. There was steam billowing off of his arms, The patchy man cleared his throat and sniffed, wobbling forward like a scarecrow, boots causing the old hardwood of the bar to squeak.

Izuku heard his heartbeat thumping.

Geez, he was going to die wasn’t he?

This guy’s quirk control was better than Todoroki’s… but he seemed fairly drunk.

Izuku ducked under a small couple’s table. Sliding across the cold floor. He sucked in a sharp breath, preparing to shield himself from the next oncoming attacks. 

One ferocious leg sweeping the table overtop him ensured his impromptu shelter became ashes. Another forearm doused in flame saw the chairs around him coming apart as well. 

Shit.

Izuku rolled away. Misjudging the size of the room led to his head hitting against the bar. He tried to change his momentum to get out of the man’s way. This bar was definitely nothing like the places he was used to fighting.      

Izuku who knew how stupid it was to have fire next to so much booze ran forward fully cowled. It gave him an idea. 

But, could he just...No, he had to. 

Shit. 

Tears filled Izuku’s eyes. He blinked them away. The green electricity surrounding him seemed to cause his tears and hair to defy gravity. He launched himself to the ceiling and prepared the right angle for his strike.

The patchy man hadn’t known what hit him. Izuku grabbed a liquor bottle off the bar as he landed and put the older man into one of the pins Aizawa had taught him in class. The lankier man beneath him struggled to get up, but Izuku was able to hold him down with his enhanced strength. 

He uncorked the bottle and doused the flame user in the drink. 

“Oi Brat, that was older than Kurogiri.” Shigaraki whined. 

“You know what happens to alcohol when it burns right?” was his only answer.

Izuku shifted his weight. He rose up and down involuntarily with the man’s panting.

“Setting a lacky after me, what a coward.” He slurred. “This is the man who defeated Stain?” a smile stretched his staples as he tried to buck Izuku off.

Green met infinite blue. The man smirked and his iris’s seemed to almost glow.   

Izuku had little warning before the man set the two of them aflame. Izuku screamed and jumped off of him. He lanced himself to the other side of the bar looking the tap. Izuku doused the flames off of him before they were able to creap too much up his leg.

 The other man stumbled to his feet, skin still licking with flames.

Of course, Izuku should have known his body would be resistant to his own quirk. Not everyone’s quirks weren’t suited to their bodies like Izuku’s own. Perhaps, it would mess up his control though. He sure hoped it would.

The man advanced forward. 

As soon as they were face to face, the man tilted his head to the side. “Smart guy.” he narrowed his eyes. As he spoke his face barely moved with the staples. He patted himself off while taking off his jacket. “I got fireproof clothes though. You almost had me there. Say, you look familiar. Do I know—”

In the most anticlimactic move ever, Shigaraki came up behind the man and knocked him out with the side of his hand. Izuku breathed a sigh of relief.

“Who is that.” Izuku stared at the man on the floor in between the two of them.

“Apparently his name is Dabi. Pretentious prick.” Shigaraki mumbled and kicked the man’s side. 

Izuku wrenched off the remains of his sick mask off to catch his breath and looked at the villain in disbelief. He hadn’t even realized it had been burnt off.

“It was a recruitment gone wrong. He’s some sort of Stain fanatic with a vendetta against me is what I gathered.”

Izuku remained slack jawed.

“Can you help me with throwing him in the dumpster. I want him out of here. I don’t really have a strength enhancing quirk and I can’t really grab onto him with my entire hand…”

“Um. n-n-no.”  

Shigaraki snorted,. “I thought you got rid of that stutter.”

“...”

Shigaraki smirked. “I could just kill hi—”

“No!”

Shigaraki laughed. “Comeon. Help me tie him up, he may have some friends and I wanna get some words out of him to see if anyone else might be after me.” 

He gestured at the patchy and purple man. Izuku blinked. 

 

They waited in silence as the third man slowly came to. Izuku had no idea where Shigaraki got them, but he somehow had heavy duty villain grade quirk cancelling cuffs. As Kurogiri fastened them on he gave Izuku a knowing look. It was as if he were saying: If I had my way you’d be in these. 

Izuku hurriedly looked away. His heart was still racing from the adrenaline of the fight. He balled his fists tightly. 

After closer inspection, the villain didn’t actually have piercings. They were more like staples. Izuku couldn’t tear his eyes away from the mutilated skin. His stomach churned. 

“He’s a looker, ain’t he?” Shigaraki jabbed him in the stomach. 

Izuku bit his lip, attempting not to mumble, and refraining from looking at Shigaraki. His brows furrowed. Parts of the man’s skin appeared to be producing steam. He outstretched his hand to touch the purple skin, it was hot to the touch. As he moved further up the man’s hand to the normal skin, it started to cool. 

I got fireproof clothes though. Izuku remembered Dabi saying . You almost had me there.

Did that mean that Izuku was initially right about his skin not being fireproof? He knew Todoroki and Endeavour could overheat. Maybe this man had a lower tolerance to fire than the both of them. 

Could the purple skin be burns?

“Tch. Has anyone ever told you, you look fucking creepy?” Shigaraki asked. 

Izuku snapped out of his deep thoughts. He turned towards the villain. “No, what—”

A throaty cough directed both of their attention to the fire user. He looked at Izuku, then to Shigaraki, and back to Izuku. He narrowed his eyes, he seemed to have been wearing eyeliner that had smudged. 

Despite being tied up, Dabi’s face adopted a relaxed smirk. Izuku had never seen anyone so content in quirk restraints.

“So, what made you think it was okay to trash my bar, you son of a bitch?” Shigaraki, with his hand mask over his face leaned eerily close to the other man.   

Izuku gulped, merely imagining the proximity for himself. 

The man ignored Shigaraki “Why do you got a UA student here, fighting your battles?” he grinned at Izuku. The teen took a step back. “That was a pretty cutthroat move, pouring liquor over me. Maybe, you can answer me.” he mumbled. 

Izuku hadn’t expected the flame user to have such a deep gravelly voice. It reminded him of coals crackling in someone’s hearth. It sounded like a voice a dragon in one of his story books would have. The man’s pupil’s dilated. Izuku tried not to break eye contact as he recomposed himself. 

He observed the man curiously tilted his head to the side. Izuku could barely wrap his head around the fact that this man was moving, let alone talking. 

Dabi opened his mouth, Izuku had anticipated him to say something else, what came instead was a long belch with a pleased smirk.    

“Look, Dabi, was it? How about you answer my questions here?” Shigaraki rolled his eyes.

“Why would I listen to a guy that is eternally face palming?” he chuckled. He turned back to Izuku. “So, were you the reason why this dumbass was able to infiltrate the USJ? Weren’t you the kid whose friend was killed by Stain? Were there more of you? Is that why he was killed? Who woulda thought, traitors managing to infiltrate such a prestigious—” 

“Tenya was a hero!” Izuku interjected. His quirk accidentally went off in the height of his emotions. 

Dabi instantly quieted to give Izuku an inquisitive look. His face relaxed. “Got it.” He turned to Shigaraki. “So, you’re the guy that took down Stain.”

“Yeah.” Shigaraki lifted his head smuggly.

Dabi whistled. “You’ve got to be kidding me. I thought ‘The Infamous: Shigaraki Tomura’ would be a bit more than just a brat.”

“Brat?! You can’t be much older than I am.” Izuku could almost imagine Shigaraki’s pout under the mask. 

“I’m here to send a message, there’s not a lot of us, but you managed to piss off quite a few people with killing the hero Killer.” Dabi drawled. “I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I’m not really impressed.Plus, since Giran said you wanted recruits, I was curious” his eyes flicked towards Izuku. “This kid’s honestly more impressive than you.”

Izuku’s eyes widened in surprise.

“I’m going to kick Giran’s ass when I see him again.” Shigaraki mumbled

“Good luck, he has some friends in high places, don’t really understand how you got in touch with an information broker of his caliber, he usually chooses more reputable villains.” Dabi glared at Shigaraki.  

Shigaraki growled as he lunged towards Dabi’s neck. The man looked nonplussed at his impending doom, the room seemed to chill and there was a portal engulfing Shigaraki’s forearm. He scratched at his neck with his free hand.

“Kurogiri, I don’t like him, get him out of my bar.” Shigaraki commanded. 

“Let us see where things take us, young master. If I may suggest, let us continue speaking with mister… Dabi. In the meantime, let’s have the child go home, he is of no further use to us tonight.” Kurogiri said. 

“No, I want the kid here.” The gray haired man disagreed.

 

Dabi was underwhelming after the bar fight. He kind of reminded Izuku of a hobo… he probably was a hobo.

He kind of just made himself at home in the bar.

The elder man casually lit his cigarette, both of his boots rested themselves on one of the non-charred tables of the bar. He carefully reached over his extended legs to snatch a cup of red wine Izuku hadn’t even noticed was there. 

Shigaraki protested as soon as Dabi took a sip, but the patchy man spat it out. “What the fuck is this?”

He walked past both Izuku and Shigaraki and hopped over the bar countertop to get at the beer and liquor. 

“Aaah here we are!” He grabbed an expensive looking bottle off the shelf to uncork it and take a swig. All before Kurogiri could recompose himself to stop him from pilfering the bar.

Izuku could feel the cloud of anger growing around Shigaraki. 

Perhaps, now he’d understand why breaking and entering wasn’t right. Izuku’s mouth twitched in a rye smile. He himself couldn’t wrap his head around this either. 

Apparently, Izuku attracted a certain type of person: The one that broke and entered. He supposed Shigaraki was getting a taste of his own medicine. 

Dabi tiredly stretched out his arms and yawned. He ran a hand through his spiky black hair. “Now that I know your legit. I wanna know what the fuck you’re up to. If you catch my interest, I may consider joining you to do Giran a solid.”

“Excuse—”

“Look, Handsy, you’ve got a lot of spunk thinking you can decide to kill Stain, and not get any flack for it. What I want to know is why?”

“I didn’t like him, I destroy the things I don’t like.”

Dabi raised his eyebrows and snorted. He turned to Izuku as if to ask whether or not the man was serious.

Izuku, having spent enough time with the villain honestly didn’t know. He simply shrugged in response. At least he knew Dabi wasn’t crazy.

“Right. I’m out.” he lazily waved a hand and moved to pick up his jacket from the floor. 

“Wait.” Izuku bit his lip. If Dabi was a recruitment gone wrong maybe he could swing this to his favour. Gaining a person that didn’t like Shigaraki here could work to his advantage.

Besides, if he was a Stain fanatic, he must have had some sort of moral compass, no matter how skewed it was. Something that helped him separate the real heroes from the fakes.

Dabi directed his azure eyes to Izuku. 

“He killed Stain, because he went after me.”

Dabi smirked. “Is that so?”

Izuku nodded. “He was provoked. And Stain wasn’t always correct in his findings about false heroes. He murdered Tenya for going after him after he crippled Ingenium. The only bad thing to Ingenium’s name was one of his sidekicks using excessive force. I can tell you there are much worse pro heroes out there than the ones that can’t stop their sidekicks from messing up from time to time.” Izuku explained

“Oh?” Dabi quirked an eyebrow. “Name one.”

Izuku gulped. “Endeavor.”

The moment was brief, but Izuku managed to notice Dabi’s expression harden. “The Number Two Hero?” he said cooly.

Izuku nodded.

Dabi retained eye contact with Izuku for longer than was needed. “Alright. How about I meet with you for real. To talk about this ‘League’.”

***

Katsuki stared at the leathery wings. 

Shit. Shit. Shit. They were far too familiar. If he closed his eyes he could imagine the beige colour becoming red. He looked at a photo of Tsubasa from one of the old primary school picture days and compared it to the picture of the winged nomu. 

He felt bile creep up his throat. 

“Is... is he still still alive?” Katsuki barely managed, he was bordering on a croak.

The plain looking man in the trenchcoat pursed his lips. “It’s not looking good. He sustained some serious injuries in Hosu. But he seems more responsive than the other nomu from the USJ attack. He’s in intensive care—”

“I want to see him.” Katsuki interrupted. “Fuck.” Katsuki tugged at his hair. Tsubasa.

Officer Tsukauchi’s eyes softened. Katsuki prickled in irritation at the look of pity, but fuck now wasn’t the time for his pride to make an appearance. 

“Shit. Please. He might be able to remember me.” Katsuki gnashed his teeth together.

 

Katsuki crept into the hospital room. The first thing he saw was the glazed over eyes. He stood there next to the door before puffing up his chest and heading inside. The creature… Tsubasa’s wings were strapped to the bed; while the claws on his feet hung off the edge. Katsuki felt breathless. The jaundiced skin and exposed brain made a chill run down his spine… Holy shit, that thing at the USJ had been human. Was human. Tsubasa wasn’t a monster.

 Katsuki refused to believe it. 

Katsuki walked further into the room. The Nomu jostled it’s restraints… His restraints. He was a he. Not an it. It was a he. He was Tsubasa. 

Katsuki sat down on the only chair in the room. “Hayato.” Although barely audible, Tsubasa seemed to react to his given name. He stared straight into Katsuki’s eyes with his emotionless ones. 

Katsuki imagined higher pitched voices to fill the silence. 

Kacchan! Wanna race. I bet you I can beat you with my wings.’

‘Ha! No one’s faster than me!’

“Haya-kun, it’s me... It’s me, Kacchan.” he rasped. Letting a few mini explosions crackle in his hand.

An ear splitting screech was the only response. Katsuki covered his ears. Shit, what the fuck?

Katsuki knocked his chair to the floor as he hurried to his feet, dashing out of the room. 

He couldn’t tell Deku about this. 

Fuck. 

Katsuki’s knees buckled under him as soon as he got out of the room. 

Fuck.