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Culture Exchange

Chapter Text

“Alex? Hey, you good? You look kind of sick.”

Alex slowly looked up at Aaron’s, face, noting the concern in his eyes, which were visible only because he’d decided to take off his falcon-themed mask for the flight. He shook his head.

“I’m fine. Just a little nervous...I mean my Japanese is still terrible.”

Aaron rubbed the scruff of his beard as he nodded. “Oh yeah. It’s real bad. “ Alex glared at him “But I told you, most of those kids have been learning English for years, so you’ll be able to get your point across.”

“But It’s so...I dunno, lame? To go somewhere and force them to speak English you know?” Alex could just start to make out the shape of the mainland in the distance. Thirteen and a half hours down, one half to go.

“But you’ve obviously been trying, that counts for a lot. I’m here for diplomatic stuff, you’re here to have fun and meet some other young heroes, build some bridges, you know. Don’t stress yourself out. Okay?”

Despite being ‘The Solar Hero: Ra’ a top rated American pro hero, Aaron had always maintained a calm demeanor in the face of...well everything. Villain attack? Aaron was chill. Speaking to huge crowds of detractors? Not a problem. Earthquake at his wedding? Okay he was a little stressed out then, but he was still only human. The man was mostly unflappable, and Alex usually found it comforting, but at that moment it only reminded him of how much different he was. He was pretty damn flappable really. Not to the point of being less useful as a sidekick, which was his main concern. But god did it make it hard for him to relax.

Which was a part of the reason Aaron had pushed him to miss a few days of school to accompany him on a short work trip to Japan. He’d hoped getting to see a different part of the world would give his little bro some perspective, maybe even actually have some fun.

As they were finalizing the plan, Aaron received an email from U.A’s principal Nezu inviting him to visit the school and speak to some students. Alex was invited as well, and he hadn’t been able to calm down since. His school, Ascension Academy, was easily one of the best hero high schools in the U.S, but U.A had an equally impressive reputation. He desperately wanted to make a good impression, especially on the kids he’d seen during the sports festival. They were his age, and he wasn’t embarrassed to admit that he was hoping he’d be able to make friends with some of them one day, team-up even.

He sighed and forced some of the stress out of his expression.



“...we are honored to welcome American Pro Hero Ra and his Sidekick, Horus. The international hero community is important. Welcome. Don’t get into trouble.” With that, Endeavor shook their hands before unceremoniously turning and walking off the stage, leaving Aaron and Alex just...sort of standing there. A flat speech sure, but It didn’t really matter anyway. Alex was too starstruck to pay attention to whatever was just said. It was surreal, standing on the same stage as Endeavor. The Endeavor. Alex had met a number of pros back home, but Endeavor was a legend, and soooo much cooler than Captain Celebrity. Seemed like less of a jerk too. Aaron smiled and waved to the crowd, stopping to sign some autographs before the organizers ushered them to a waiting limo.


Aaron picked at his beard during the drive to U.A.

“You really didn’t notice how he was glaring at us?”

Alex furrowed his brow. “No? I mean, he kinda glares at everything. It’s sort of badass.”

“Hey, watch the language while in costume.” Aaron scolded using his puffed up hero voice.

“Okay mom.”

“I’m telling you kid, he gave me a weird vibe.”

“ I dunno, I think you’re just nervous for once.”

Or my years of experience has made me better at reading people than you.”

Or my years of experience-- ow !” Alex’s mocking was cut short by a pluck on the temple.

Aaron chuckled.


Nezu was so odd in person. What even was--a giant vole maybe? Did he even know? Alex tried not to stare as they were given the tour of the grounds. It reminded him of Ascension, if a bit more compact. He awkwardly waved to what Nezu explained were general studies students as they passed, earning a couple excited gasps. Being the sidekick--and brother-- of one of America’s rising stars had forced him to get acquainted with having fans pretty quickly, but it was still a bit uncomfortable. He decided to tune back into the conversation Aaron and Nezu were having.

“...we’ve actually been considering opening up a larger exchange program since we now have dormitories. Perhaps even creating a few slots for international students.” The pleasant explained.

“That could be amazing. I’m always telling my teammates that it would be nice to have a more global united front. Especially with the recent resurgence of organized villainy.”

Nezu nodded. “I agree, although not everyone is sold yet, which is part of why I invited you two here. The timing of the summit was pure good fortune!” His wide smile revealed alarmingly human teeth.

...What is he?!

Nezu looked over at Alex, just catching his look of utter confusion. His wide grin became a pleasant knowing smirk. “Horus, classes should end in a few minutes. Would you like me to introduce you to the hero course students, and let you mingle while Ra and I discuss tomorrow’s assembly?”

Alex smiled and nodded politely, trying his best not to look too eager. “Yes, Sir. That would be amazing. Can I meet class 1-A first? I’m kind of...a fan of a few of their students.”

“I don’t see why not! You’re here for a week yes? We should have enough time for you to meet everyone.”

Alex beamed.


Izuku rubbed some exhaustion from his eyes as he struggled to keep up with Present Mic’s lesson. It’s not that he was bad at English, to the contrary, he was actually pretty fluent. He was just tired . And worried. Things had been relatively quiet the past few weeks. Not that he was complaining of course, but he had the sinking feeling that the league was planning something. But what could it be? All for One was locked up tight, Kurogiri was too, so they probably scattered. But what if it was all some ploy to--

“Yo, Midoriya!” Present mic was standing over him, looking concerned “Are you alright? You were mumbling and making these scary faces man.”

Izuku straightened like Kaminari had shocked him. “Oh! I’m sorry Sir, I guess I was a little distracted--”

“Could you fucking be distracted while also shutting up?!” Bakugou hissed.

Mic winced a little at his tone. “Hey hey hey! No harm done! I’m ending class a little early anyway. We’ve got some visitors today!”

“Really?” Uraraka looked mystified “That’s so cool!”

Mic nodded. “It is! Nezu said he’d be bringing them here in a moment. They’re pretty popular American heroes."

Izuku’s eyes widened. He was going to get to meet foreign heroes?! This was great. He’d kicked himself when he realized that Captain Celebrity was in town and he missed it. He practically started vibrating in his seat.

“Is it Minuteman? Soda Poppy? Lady Destroya? Councilman Obsidian--”

At that moment, the door opened, and Principal Nezu puttered in.

“Hello! It is I, your lovable and fluffy principal with an introduction to make! Today we have an american pro and his sidekick! They’re very good at their jobs, and I think there is much to learn from them, so I expect you to be on your best behavior!” He leveled a smile a Bakugou, who just huffed and rolled his eyes. “I present to you--”

“PRESENTING! THE SOLAR HERO: RA, AND HIS SIDEKICK, HORUS!” Present Mic announced, simply unable to stop himself. Nezu sighed.

Right on queue, In stepped the man Izuku recognized as Ra. Oh wow, he’s taller in person! He was pretty tall, standing there in his golden armor, eyes blazing with orange-yellow energy from the holes in his Falcon-themed helmet, with open space around his mouth revealing dark skin and a neat goatee. His belt even had the Egyptian eye which served as his symbol on it, and it was glowing this time! New costume? The black parts of his suit were probably there to help him absorb sunlight, which was apparently needed to power his quirk.

Izuku was admittedly less familiar with Horus, not knowing exactly what his quirk was, but he did recognize his mostly black costume, featuring a stylized Falcon head on the chest, with the armored sections represented by bronze colored plates. I wonder what metal that is? Unlike Ra, he wasn’t wearing a full helmet, rather an eye-mask that extended down to protect his nose, and connected to a chinstrap. His curly hair was brown at the roots, but then slowly gradated into a yellowish blonde.

“Thanks Mic, good to see you again. Hey kids! It’s nice to see so many excited young heroes! I’m Ra, and this is my sidekick and brother, Horus. We’re honored to…”


Alex was so thankful that his eyes weren’t visible through his mask’s lenses. Gave him the chance to very awkwardly stare at all the new faces without them noticing. Let’s see. The kid with the spikey blonde hair was Bakugou, the one who actually won the sports festival and had to literally be muzzled later. He looked...annoyed? Not a big shock given what Alex had read about him. Green hair was Midoriya, the really strong one who Alex felt really should have won the whole thing. It was almost like he threw, or maybe the Todoroki kid--there he was in the back--was really that strong. His eyes scanned around the room, noting the others that he recognized before pausing at the girl in the back with the high ponytail. She was so pretty . Alex didn’t usually give girls that much attention honestly, but she had to be one of the most beautiful people he’d ever seen. Who even was sh--oh that’s right, he remembered; Yaoyarozo, the girl who made stuff. Wow. What a quirk! He wondered what her limits were. Maybe she could make theoretical materials or even organisms! Maybe--wait why was everyone staring at him, why did Aaron stop talking what--

“Wow?” Alex could hear Aaron’s raised eyebrow.

“Oh um, no It’s just really cool to see you all! I’m ex-excited!” he fumbled in terrible broken Japanese, inwardly cringed at how unnatural that sounded. The voice crack at the end didn’t help.

Aaron graciously bails him out, rolling with it and even managing to mention all the work he’d been doing to get better at the language. The class seemed to roll with it too, not obviously thinking much of it.

Still, Alex was kicking himself. He wasn’t coming back from this, there was no way. They’d already lost all respect in him. Damnit!


Momo watched Horus out of the corner of her eye with great interest. Was he--yep there it was, he was staring at her. By this point in her life she’d gotten pretty used to being stared at, and pretty good at noticing people who were pretending not to. It was his body language really. He’d been scanning the room as one would do when meeting a bunch of new people, but his entire body had slowly angled in her direction. Maybe he had a crush. She was pretty sure the “Wow” had been about her. Hopefully he didn’t turn out like--she shot Mineta a piercing glare, just catching him looking away from her-- certain people. She didn’t necessarily mind attention if it wasn’t creepy.

“Alright kids!” Present Mic jumped in as soon as Ra finished speaking...maybe even a little before. “We’re out of class time for today! I know you guys probably have lots of questions for our friends here, and you’ll have plenty of time to ask them tomorrow during our special assembly!”

Principal Nezu nodded. “If I may Mic, I have a special request for the students! Horus will be staying with you for the week in heights alliance!”

“I am?” Horus croaked, the concern in his voice drowned out by the excited gasps from the class. Momo’s eyes narrowed slightly.

He is?

“You are! Ra wanted it to be a surprise. Anyway students, making Horus feel at home during his stay here is your heroic duty, and I expect you to make him feel like family! He will stay in the spare room on the first floor--”

Momo blinked. Wait, since when did we get a spare room--

“--That we built today while you were all in class!”

Oh. As expected of U.A I suppose.

Kirishima and Iida both stood up so quickly that they nearly knocked their desks over.

“We are honored to share the dignity that marks U.A with the world!” Momo smiled at his intense air-chops. She had grown to appreciate his confidence and devotion to heroics, even if he was a bit zealous at times.

“AHHH this is so manly! DUDE! WE’RE GOING TO HAVE SUCH A GOOD TIME--” Momo noticed Horus flinch ever-so-slightly.

Apparently Nezu did too, as he quickly cut Kirishima off by warning the class to not get too excited. Bakugou muttered something that was probably disparaging, considering how Midoriya shushed him.

She really hoped they didn’t end up causing some sort of international incident.

Chapter Text

To his profound delight, Izuku was asked to help Horus unpack and settle into the dorms. They’d shaken hands and traded pleasantries after class and were walking together towards the dorms, with Mina and Kaminari chatting (gossiping probably) a few paces behind them. Izuku had been trying to start a friendly conversation with Horus, but even after he’d convinced him that speaking English was no problem, the results were mixed.

“It’s so cool that you’ve gotten to fight villains! We have too, but it’s never been a regular thing really…”

“Yeah it’s...It can be cool sometimes. Lot of work though.” Horus said, quietly enough that that Izuku had to put effort in to hear him. He wished he could see what expression he was making. Maybe he was shy?

“For sure! Do you have a favorite case?”

Horus paused. “Um...Well there was this one older woman whose Quirk was that she could shoot angry cats out of her hands. So we had to fight through an army of frankly terrifying feral cats before we could apprehend her.”

Izuku snorted out a laugh before bringing up his hands to cover his mouth. “I’m sorry Horus, that’s just, really funny.”

Horus smiled a little. “Yeah, It was. I still have some scars on my back. After that I opted for thicker body armor.”

Mina said something that made Kaminari squeak with surprise and shush her, which in turn caused Izuku to shoot them a suspicious glare before turning back to the conversation.

“Yeah, I’ve changed a few things about my costume after getting into the field. Maybe we could compare designs later! I mean, if you are interested in that kind of thing, I wouldn’t want to impose…”

“No no!” Horus sputtered out, this time a little louder than one would have expected “I’d love to! I kind of nerd-out about stuff like that.” His smile was more outgoing now, and Izuku matched it.

“Awesome! Oh! Speaking of ‘nerd’ stuff, can I ask you a question about your quirk?”

They were about a minute away now.

Horus nodded. “Shoot.”

“Um...What is it exactly? I assume it’s similar to your brother’s quirk; ‘Solar Power’?”

Horus bobbed his head from side-to-side. “Kind of. My quirk is called ‘Hard Light’. Basically I can absorb and store solar rays. I can use that to make solid objects of light.” He generated a small glowing orange cube in the palm of his head as he explained. “They’re very light, but incredibly strong. I can make armor, shields, weapons, and stuff like that. Ra absorbs light too, but his charge makes him stronger and lets him fire searing beams from his eyes. We both took after our mother really.”

Izuku was dutifully writing all of this down, looking up for a moment to see Horus staring at him.

“Oh! Sorry if this is weird, I just like to keep a journal of all the different quirks I come across and I felt bad that I hadn’t added yours yet so--”

“Nah dude it’s not weird, you remind me of a friend back home. Her name’s Sarah and she’s training to be a quirk scientist. She keeps notes on me and all of our friends.”

Izuku’s eyes widened. He’d never really considered that he’d meet anyone his age as into quirk mechanics as he was. Maybe they could meet one day and share notes! That would be so cool!

“Ooh! Is she your girlfriend!?” Mina crashed through Izuku’s excitement like the blunt wrecking-ball that she was. She seemed to have materialized next to them and into their conversation.

Horus made a noise that sounded more like a rooster than a falcon.

“Mina! Don’t make him uncomfortable with questions like that!”

“Oh c’mon Midoriya, American boys are much looser about that kind of stuff.”


Alex opened his mouth to argue, but quickly closed it again. Well she’s not wrong…

“Haha, It’s okay! She’s just a friend though. A very good friend but we’re just you know, friends. Friends.” he nodded. Oh no I overdid it!   Midoriya looked mortified, which Alex thought was kind of cute, because it really wasn’t that serious. Ashido was ignoring him, instead giving Alex fully loaded ‘I don’t believe you’ eyes before apologizing and falling back into step with the blond boy. Kaminari?  He spent the rest of the walk promising Midoriya that he wasn't offended in the slightest. He  really wasn’t interested in Sarah like that. He considered name dropping the person he actually liked, but decided against it. He wasn’t really sure where the Japanese kids would stand on that sort of thing, and didn’t want to spoil what seemed like acceptance after his terrible first impression.


Midoriya showed him his room, and it was nice. Bigger than he’d expected honestly. He sat his suitcase on the bed and remembered with a bit of a glare how Aaron had tossed it into his arms not even 45 minutes ago. Sure, this was kind of nice to be able to hang with the U.A guys, but he was still going to kill him later. When the time was right. Midoriya was lingering by the door, looking a little awkward.

“Um...Horus, please stop me if I step out of line but…”

Alex looked over at him. “What’s up?”

“Well...Are you going to wear the mask the entire time? It’s okay if you do! I just know a lot of American heroes have secret identities, so I was curious…”

Alex smiled and reached behind his mask, undoing the straps. “Yeah sorry, I wanted to wait until we were inside. It’s really just so I can walk around without getting swarmed by fans, but I’m okay with you guys--ow--seeing my face.” Alex winced a little as a clip pulled on his hair. He finished pulling his mask off and smiled down at the shorter boy. “Ta-dah!” God that was lame. “You can call me Alex by the way.”

Midoriya’s eyes widened. He looked almost shocked, which didn’t surprise Alex, he’d assumed there wasn’t a large black population in Musutafu, he was probably the first the little guy had met. So when he just whispered the Japanese word for ‘Handsome’ it threw Alex for a loop.


Did I just say that?!

Horus--Alex blinked. “ mean me?”

Izuku cringed, looking ready to collapse into himself. “Sorry! I just, it was the first thing that came to mind, I didn’t mean anything by it, don’t--”

Alex raised his hands. “Hey, calm down. It’s okay! I like it when people don’t think I’m ugly! You’re not bad yourself.” It was his turn to cringe. “I--yeah don’t worry about it, okay?”

Izuku nodded. “Right, okay. Um...I’m going to...check to see what’s for dinner so you’ll know! So just...unpack okay? I’ll be back!”


“So you called him handsome and then ran away?” Momo’s eyebrows were attempting to visit the moon. She was desperately struggling to keep the grin off of her face.

“I don’t know what came over me! He just took off his mask and...I just…”

“Thought he was handsome.” The smirk was irrepressible.

Izuku groaned and hid his face in his hands. “He probably thinks I’m creepy now.”

Ochako seemed a little more distant than usual--Momo could guess why-- but she still offered her trademarked supportive cheer. “Don’t think like that Izuku! It’s not weird to compliment people! It’s not like you’re in love with him, right?” there was a sudden, barely perceptible intensity in her question. Momo shook her head.

“What?! No of-of course not!” Izuku looked like he was about to cry.

Momo sighed and reached out a hand, placing it gently on Izuku’s shoulder.

“Relax. I can check in with him if it will make you feel better? Why don’t you actually go check the dinner menu.”

Izuku looked up at her, sniffling a little as he rubbed the tears out of his eyes.

“O-okay! Thanks Yaomomo, you’re a great class rep.”

She chuckled at that. “No problem.”

“I’ll be back in a few minutes!” And he was almost instantly gone. Probably used his quirk to really hurry out of there.

Now that he was gone, Ochako deflated a little. “You don’t think he’s into Alex, do you?”

Momo shook her head like she’d felt a chill. “ What? No of course not. He’s just prone drama, you know. And hey, even if he was, he’ll only be here a week. What could really happen? Don’t you panic on me too.”

She took a deep breath and nodded. “Right. Okay. Um. Totally unrelated, but maybe you should check on--”

Momo rubbed the bridge of her nose in exasperation. Disasters. “Yes, that’s probably a good idea. I’ll talk to you later okay?” Ochako waved at her as she made her way to the new dorm room.


Alex was sitting on his bed, trying to decide if he should be concerned about whatever that was. Was he imagining that? It seemed like flirting. But maybe Japanese boys were more free with compliments than American boys? Wait no that didn’t sound right. He didn’t want to assume things just because Midoriya was nice to him, that would be insane. Still, just, out of the blue, handsome? Should he go check on him or would that be weird? He really wished Sarah was awake so he could text her, but she’d skin him alive for waking her up at four in the morning. A gentle knock shook him out of his thoughts.

“C-come in!”

“Hope I’m not disturbing you, just wanted to check in.”Yaoyorozu said, peeking past the open door.

Alex stood up suddenly, brushing off the spot on the bed where he'd been sitting as if he’d tarnished it somehow.

“Oh! Hi! Good to see you again. I’m doing okay! Just um...getting to know the room.”

The girl nodded, pausing for a second to think. “Okay good. We want to make sure you’re comfortable. Did Izuku set you up okay?”

Alex was momentarily confused before he realized she was using Midoriya’s given name.

“Ah yeah. He did a really good job. Real nice guy. We chatted for a bit and then he went to see what was for dinner.” She raised an eyebrow at that, and Alex was worried that he sounded too eager.

“I...see. Good, okay! Well some of us are starting to gather in the common room to play some video games before dinner. We’d all love if you joined us.”

It was clearly a genuine invitation, and Alex nodded some of his earlier worry forgotten.

“Sure, sounds fun. You guys got Smash?”

Yaoyorozu smiled. Gosh what a pretty smile.


“We sure do.”


Chapter Text

"Your boss wants me to go all the way to Japan to kill someone who isn't Snipe?" The woman's smooth, careful voice fell into a growl as she mentioned the ballistic hero. "You must either have a great deal of nerve, or an incredible offer."


The voice on the other end of the line cleared it's throat. "If we're to be honest, It's a little of both." That earned them a chuckle. Good. "You will find that money is no object."


"Well then, you have my undivided attention. Go."


"All Might is gone, and the so-called-heroes are scrambling to convince people that the whole establishment isn't actually on the brink of collapse. We'd assumed that Destro's acolyte's would kick the cane out from under them, bu unfortunately they're busy reminding us why they failed the first time. Fortunately we have the opportunity now to throw doubt on the entire global community at once, forcing them to either over-correct and alienate the people's trust, or appear weak and face the same consequence. They sent an American to talk about global 'unity'. The irony of that seems to have been lost on them. All we'd need you to do is take out one bird with however many stones you require."


"Ooh,  I do enjoy a good adapted metaphor. I like this number even more. Deadline?"


"Anytime within the next six days."


"Oh wonderful, I might have to do some...sightseeing. Still, for this price I wouldn't mind knocking someone else off."


"Your marks are your own. Ra is the only target we care about."


"Consider it done."


Chapter Text

Izuku sat in the lunchroom, desperately pretending to read the menu he’d grabbed for Alex. Surely it would be helpful to be able to tell him all of the items! He took a deep breath, realizing how lame that sounded. He was embarrassed, and stalling, he knew he was stalling. Why was he stalling? He didn’t really know Alex, but he seemed pleasant, heck he’d probably already forgotten. Yaomomo and Uraraka were right, there was nothing weird going on. So why was he so afraid?

Izuku turned around to see Lunch-Rush leaning against the counter, just staring at him.

“Ah! Lunch-Rush Sir! Sorry, I’m sure you want me to leave so you can finish getting ready for dinner, i’ll leave right away--”

“You know, you apologize a lot. Usually for no reason.” Izuku’s mouthed gaped a little bit. He couldn’t remember ever hearing Lunch-Rush speak before. It made sense, with how his voice was muffled behind his...mask? Trunk? Izuku’d never thought to ask.

“Oh! Uh...I guess I do, sorry--I mean! Uh…”

The Culinary hero’s laughter was deep and wheezy.

“Relax kid. I don’t care if you if you want to hide here, you’re not in my way.”

“Oh, okay thanks. W-wait why do you think I’m hiding?”

“I’m not as old as I look you know. I too was twelve not long ago.”

“’m sixteen sir--”

“No one looks at a menu for that long hours before dinner. Plus I know you’re going to order the Katsudon. You’ve got that child-in-need-of-rescue face, and I am technically still a hero. You need to talk about something?”

Izuku was about to politely decline...but...maybe he did. All Might had suggested that dealing with some of his emotional baggage might help him control One-for-all a bit better, especially with all the new stuff that was going on. He took a deep breath and explained the situation.

Lunch-Rush thought for a moment.

“I don’t think this is about him.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well...were you bullied as a child?”

Izuku nearly choked.

“W-what makes you ask?”

“Well in my experience, kids who have dealt with social trauma can be a little sensitive to rejection. You’re fairly popular, but never seem to take that for granted...or even notice really. You don’t even know this guy but you’re afraid you’ve made him hate you? Tie the apologizing in and well...It’s all a little unbalanced.”

Izuku opened his mouth as if to say something, but the words didn’t take.


“Hey, I know I just said a lot, you don’t gotta say anything. Why don’t you help me set up? Cooking helps me unwind.”

“I’m not a very good cook--”

“At no point did I say you were allowed to touch the food.”

Izuku smiled. “Right. How can I help?”


Alex learned two things playing Smash with the U.A kids: 1, none of them knew how to beat Captain Falcon, and 2, if hand-grenade lost while holding a controller, said controller would need to be replaced. Overall it was a great time, and he found himself really taking a liking to those guys. And they really did seem happy to have him around, even Bakugou had given him the classic ‘bro-nod’ of approval, and he’d been sure that they were going to have some kind of conflict.

Dinner was amazing, though he was a little bummed out when he didn’t see Midoriya at all. He’d really wanted to make sure everything was okay. Kaminari pointed out that he sometimes eats a little later after some extra training, which was insane right? How much did one guy need to train?

He did however end up bumping into Midoriya later that night. Chronic insomnia plus jet-lag meant that instead of enjoying the restful sleep he so badly needed, Alex was on the common room couch at midnight struggling to follow Japanese game shows.

“A-alex? You’re still awake?” Midoriya rubbed some sleep out of his eyes as he walked over to the couch.”

Alex flashed him sheepish smile. “Yeah, couldn’t sleep. Sorry, did I wake you up?”

Midoriya shook his head. “No, I was just going going to get some water.”

“Right, okay.”

Midoriya paused. “I...would you like some company? We only have heroics class and the assembly because it’s saturday, so I can hang around a little.”

Alex felt his face warm. “Um, I mean I don’t want you to be exhausted on my behalf…”

The shorter boy plopped down on the couch, leaving enough room for one and a half people between them. “It’s fine! What’re you watching?”

“To be honest I...have no idea.”

Midoriya watched for a few moments for context and made a face. “Oh yeah you’re probably better off.” He flipped a few channels, wincing visibly at each worsening option. Alex suggested that they just turn it off and he agreed, leaving them sitting on the couch in the dark, with the cars and sirens of late-night Musutafu standing in for crickets.

“I’m...sorry I ran off earlier. I”

“No it’s cool, you got me set up, I didn’t expect you to babysit me or anything. I didn’t feel abandoned or anything.”

“...You’re sure?”

“Yeah! Don’t worry man, really.”

Midoriya let out the breath he hadn’t noticed he’d been holding.

“Okay. Cool.”

“Yeah. Hey, can I...ask you a question?”


“In America we usually go by our given names, but I’ve noticed you use family names here. do I know which to use?”

“Well it’s usually safe to go with the family name, especially if you don’t know the person very well. Most of the time, given names are used when you are very close to someone. But everyone's a little different. I...don’t mind you calling me Izuku if you want?”

There was that warmth in Alex’s cheeks again. “For real?”

“Sure! I mean I already call you Alex, It’s only fair.”

Alex smiled. “Cool.”


They chatted about this or that, before the conversation took a bit of a dip, and they sat in silence for a time. Izuku stifled a yawn. He figured he should head back to bed soon. But first there was something else on his mind.

“Can I ask you a bit of a...personal question?” He piped up.

“Sup?” Alex sat up a little straighter.

Izuku paused.

“Why do you want to be a hero?”

Alex seemed to relax a bit. What did he think I was going to ask?

“Well, I’ve seen first hand what good can be done when people are willing to risk themselves for the greater good. My brother is a hero, so was my mom, my dad’s father, and so on, going back to the early days. It’s the best way I know to help people and my quirk is suited to it. I want to be the shield for those who need it, and the sword against those who misuse their power.” He chuckled a little. “Sorry, that was corny.”

Izuku shook his head. ”I didn’t think so.”

“You’re very generous.”

“I try.” Another yawn. “I should probably--”

“Yeah, me too. It was really nice talking to you, man.”

“You too! I feel lucky to have met you.” Izuku beamed. He noticed Alex turn away a little, seemingly embarrassed.

“Oh...I... thanks.”

Izuku awkwardly nodded as he realized that he may have made it weird again. “Yep! W-well, um...goodnight!”

Alex stretched and hopped off of the couch. “Night, Izuku.”