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Chaos Theory

Chapter Text

 

“Something as small as the flapping of a butterfly's wings

Can cause a typhoon on the other side of  the world."

Chaos Theory

 

There are some events in life that can trigger unexpected results and change you forever.

Izuku Midoriya knew that well. He understood that since an extra bone put a stone in the way of his great dream, excluded him from his pairs and made his life more difficult. Or how by reaching out to someone, it made him lose whom he once considered a friend.

 You don’t always understand the impact of those events until one of them hits you in the face.

So Izuku didn’t know that coming home that November at the age of ten and meeting an unknown man having tea with his mother would be one of those events.

"Tadaima. Mom?"

His mother looked at him with a nervous smile on her face, but she did not seem to be in imminent danger (and that told a lot about his life in recent times when he could recognize a harmful presence from afar). Still, he didn’t relax.

"Okaeri, Izu-kun. Come and greet your father."

The now-not-so-unknown man stared at him, set the cup on the coffee table and headed toward him. The smile on his face made him look youthful, even with the red eyes that reminded him of Kacchan. Eyes he'd learned to associate with danger.

"Izuku!"

The freckles were the same as his and their hair were the same mess, just in a different color. It was like seeing himself in another pallet. Now he understood why his mom had trouble staring at him a few times. His youthful smile made him relax even more, though he was still tense with surprise when the man hugged him without warning.

"You're so big!"

The now-not-so-unknown man, Hisashi Midoriya, stepped away from him and then looked at him with an analyzing stare.

Izuku was an intelligent boy. A very smart one. So, he realized that behind the bright smile and soft eyes, there was something else.

He noticed there, still in the doorway, his mother standing on the couch staring at them uncertainly, three vital things about the father he didn’t remember:

First, Hisashi Midoriya was a dangerous man.

Second, he was completely devoted to his family.

Third, he was more like his father than he had ever imagined.

…………………………………………………………..

It seemed the visit was not permanent. It was just that: a visit.

Izuku sought within himself some feeling about that but could not find anything. After all, at that point, Hisashi Midoriya was just a stranger who had come to dinner with them. Who had spent the night asking about school, dreams, staring at his son as he tried to make half-truths about his non-existent social life.

No one needed to know that instead of going to the park to play with friends he would spend most of his time outside watching heroes' fights or running away from the funny games of other neighborhood kids. Deku Hunting, for example, was a game to which he was vital, but he didn’t like to get involved, if possible.

It was not something that you tell a father that you just met when even his mom knew nothing about.

And yet, somehow, he felt it was not as easy to fool this man as it was to appease his beloved and innocent mom.

"So, what does father work on?"

His mom, who was laughing at something his father had said, stopped and looked up a little alarmed. He tried not to be more nervous about it, looking at the man's reaction to the question, ready to retreat and apologize if necessary. Although the question seemed quite innocent.

Children usually knew what their parents worked on, right? Especially a job that allowed him to send enough money into his mother's account every month for her not need to work for the last ten years.

His father didn’t look upset or alarmed at the question. Instead, he could feel some amusement in his red eyes.

"Oh, Izuku, I work with garbage."

Okay, he didn't expect that.

"Garbage?"

His voice sounded skeptical, and the man smiled more.

"Yes. Your dad is responsible for removing the garbage from Japan that goes unnoticed."

"Then why are you not in Japan?"

The man gave a small laugh, the two staring at each other without blinking.

"Because now and then the garbage from Japan ends up going to other countries, and then dad must go and take care of that garbage there. It looks bad for Japan to pollute other countries, right?"

"Right"  He agreed uncertainly. "I didn't know that garbage could lead to such a good income."

For some reason his mom choked on the tea with it, his father tapping her on the back and laughing.

Weird.

"Where people are, there is garbage, Izuku."

He could usually tell when someone was lying, he was observant like that. His father didn’t seem to be lying.

And yet it made no sense.

He shrugged it off and resumed to eat.

At the end of the night, his mother went to bed and they were both left with the dishes. He knew it was an excuse for both to have a father-son moment. For some reason, he had caught her staring at them both with an odd expression between disbelieving and amusement at various times of the night.

"Your mother told me that you want to be a hero."

The low voice interrupted their silence as he dried the plates that his father gave to him.

It was what he expected and feared the most. Throughout the night the subject quirk had not been touched. Even though he was biting his curiosity to investigate his dad's quirk, none of the three raised the matter. Talking about being a hero always made his mom sad, and the look of remorse and pity on her always made him uncomfortable.

Another motive was something that had happened years ago, as soon as he'd received the damn diagnosis, as if it were a disease, about his lack of quirk. Some children at school, who knew about his father's absence began to comment that he had left his mother because his son was a quirkless loser. For months this became the most frequent insult, though strangely Kacchan had never used it.

He never commented this to his mother, she could never know. He ignored this, as he tried to ignore any discouraging words he received, and yet ... there had always been that doubt. Was it true?

"Izuku?"

"Hun? Oh, yes!" He gathered his courage, even though his eyes were still on the plate, already very dry, in his hand.  "I want to be a hero."

He expected several answers to that. The I'm sorry of his mom or, you can't be a hero, it's useless that he heard practically every day, or even the stop dreaming, Deku! that he was already accustomed.

So, what came was unexpected.

"Why?"

He nearly dropped the plate again, and this time his father caught it with quick reflexes.

"Why what?"

"Why do you want to be a hero?"

His tone was neutral, he could not identify skepticism, scorn or pity in the question.

"'Cause I want to help people!"

"Well, you don't have to be a hero for that." His father closed the tap and wiped his hands, beginning to make tea for them.  "Doctors help people. Nurses, police, firemen. People who take care of the garbage. Why a hero?"

He seemed interested. Really interested. No one had ever been interested.

Izuku followed him into the kitchen, his eyes wide and slightly moist, his voice shaking.

"I want to save people." He answered, trying to put his thoughts in order, still shocked by this turnaround. "Even ... even when I'm not there, you know? Like, the thought that I'm coming will make them calm. I want to save people with a smile."

He may have a pose at the end by accident if his father's laughter meant anything.

"Ah, an All Might fan, your mother told me about this. Save people with a smile, huh? Be a symbol."

He nodded because his father really seemed interested. He has a calculating look in his red eyes.

And suddenly he felt insecure with that look. Deflating. The phrases he heard daily repeating in his mind, and he turned his eyes to his hands, playing with the hem of his shirt.

"Izuku?"'

"I know it sounds silly." His eyes burned, and he thought it was a miracle he had not cried that night yet. It should be a record. " 'Cause I don't have a quirk, but-"

"Izuku."

The stern voice made him look up. His father had an even more analytical expression on his face, his eyes, he noted, staring at the burn marks on his arm that he had not had time to deal with yet. He swallowed, feeling an insect being evaluated so intensely.

"Izuku, do you know what the advent of quirks means?"

"Hn?"

"It means they didn't exist before. And yet, mankind survived. We had heroes before, you know?"

"Oh."

His father smiled at something in his expression.

"You're smart, but you're pretty silly, too."

He stared at his father wiped his face with the dishcloth. Apparently crying was inevitable.

"They seem to have forgotten what the heroes are made of." His voice sounded more absent. "Besides power and fame. There are a lot of people saving millions out there who will never be recognized ... And then they are judging who doesn't have a quirk or if a quirk can make a hero or a villain. They create villains. They make their own garbage."

"Dad?"

"Oh, sorry Izuku! Your old man was just thinking. So, kid, you want to be a hero. You want to help people. Be a symbol. What's the plan?"

"Plan?"

"Yeah, kid. We can’t just say that you want to be a hero and then it happens." His father ruffled his hair and turned to the tea.  "You have a head, a very good head. You must use it. I'm not going to lie to you, Izuku, you're at a big disadvantage in this society. Don't look at me like that, you don't have to cry!"

He nodded, wiping his face.

"What I mean is, you can be a hero, Izuku. It will not be easy, but you can make it happen. Now, let's have our tea, then take a look at those wounds you've been hiding all night, and have a talk about it. Oh, are you crying again?"

" I'm not-" He hiccuped.

You can be a hero, Izuku.

It was the first time anyone had told him that.

"Of course, he is not crying." His father joked. "A tap opened in his face. Are you sure this is not your quirk, kiddo?"

He laughed through sobs, his dad still rubbing his face with the dish towel awkwardly.

"Can you show me-"  More sobbing.  "-Your quirk later?"

...........................

His father left early the other day before he even got up. He did not know if it was a dream or not when he noticed him at the foot of his bed, a hand in his hair.

"Don't let anyone say what you can or cannot do. Not me, not your mom. No one. I want to see what you will become, Izuku."

Izuku would never see his father again.

........................

Some events can transform someone's path and have a profound impact on who they are and who they could be.

In some universe, one in which Hisashi Midoriya would not have the opportunity to see his wife and son for one last time, Izuku Midoriya would continue his dream of being a hero, even against everything, with no one to believe in him. He would eventually become one receiving a quirk from his hero. For there could not be a hero without a quirk, right?

In this universe, at the age of ten, the small world of Izuku changed completely from its orbit, simply because someone believed in him.

Then, that day, when he got to school he ignored the insults-

Do not let anyone say what you can or cannot do.

-And he started to think about the ancient heroes. They made their own power and defied all the odds to become who they were.

You have a head, a very good head. You have to use it.

He could manufacture his own power, too, right? He just needed stuff for that. And he had already seen a source of material in the dump when passing at Dagobah Municipal Beach Park in this morning.

Oh, Izuku, I work with garbage.

He had always been good at building things. It was time to test this. Self-defense lessons also, and his analysis.

You are at a great disadvantage in this society.

Turn the disadvantages to your advantage.

"You can't be a hero without a quirk, Deku!"

A confident smile appeared in his face, apparently learned with mastery in just one night of coexistence.

You can be a hero, Izuku.

"Do you wanna bet, Kacchan?"

 

Chapter Text

"Several factors can define the formation of a cloud in the sky: the heat, the pressure, the

evaporation of the water, the winds, the climate, the conditions of the sun and even the events that

occur on the surface. If you know the exact conditions of these factors, you can accurately predict

the shape of the cloud to form. However, these conditions cannot be predicted. Therefore you

cannot predict the shape of the cloud. "


The Chaos Theory

Katsuki Bakugou and Izuku Midoriya weren't friends.

In the last year of their primary school, this was a general knowledge of both students and teachers.

Katsuki Bakugou and Izuku Midoriya weren't enemies neither.

Usually, enemies didn't bother to spend so much time with each other. They arrived early together and usually left together as well. There were rumors that even out of school they spent a lot of time together, with Mrs. Midoriya having to work and leave her child with the neighbors almost all nights of the week.

Katsuki Bakugou and Izuku Midoriya might be rivals, but it was a difficult concept to swallow. Bakugou was at the top of the food chain, with a perfect quirk, the best grades and a bright future ahead. It was the general consensus that if someone would go somewhere in Musutafu it would be Katsuki Bakugou.

And Midoriya? If there was a rung down the food chain it would be his place. At least it was true before because in the last year things have begun to change. A lot.

On the one hand, Izuku Midoriya was still a failure. No quirk, no friends. Good grades? Yes, but nothing so impressive as Bakugou's. He was among the top five, and some professors commented if he didn't spend so much time with his head in the clouds, maybe he would reach the top three, but what's the use of the head without power, right?

Midoriya was a useless person who would have no future. Lately, people without a quirk could only get low jobs, the ones no one else wanted. Some high schools didn't even accept them. The majority consensus was that he should just give up and go die somewhere out of sight of everyone. So no one expected him to fight back.

No one knew when he stopped stuttering, shrinking and crying over everything and started to snark at Bakugou or ignore the insults from everyone.

No one predicted that the weirdo would begin to counter-attack with trinkets that seemed to contain exactly what was needed to defeat their quirks. Rumor had it he had a notebook with information on how to beat every quirk in school.

Each one of them.

It was as if the known universe had exploded around everyone.

And suddenly no one knew what to do about "useless Deku" anymore.

The only person who should put him in his place, besides the insults, suddenly didn't seems to want to crush him. Aside from the occasional jabs, the two seemed to ignore each much of the time, and yet everyone could see the king and the weirdo going home together every day, side by side.

In the last year of primary school, then, there was a consensus around:

First, don't provoke Bakugou if you want to stay alive. He will go places.

Second, stay away from Deku, he is dangerous and strange with his maniacal look and no sense of self-preservation.

Third, never ask them if they were friends, especially to Bakugou. Better, for the sanity of them all, don't try to understand what the hell is happening.

"Kacchan! Come on, Aunt Mitsuki promised Katsudon for me."

"Fuck you, worm!"

"You're very tense, Kacchan."

Noise and white smoke dominated the room. Everyone held their breath in silence because Deku had used a fire extinguisher to extinguish Bakugou's blasts.

"I'll KILL YOU."

Katsuki Bakugou and Izuku Midoriya, the Deku, weren't friends.

And nobody knew what they were.

...........................

"Inko, I swear to god, if you don't go home right now I'll tie you up and ship you out."

"But the patient in room 403-"

"Another nurse can take care of him. You finished your shift. Go home. Now."

From her face, it was obvious that a protest was on the way. Keiko sighed and ran his hand over his tired face. In those hours his son's quirk would do him so well. He needed a strategy to deal with Midoriya, it was always the same.

Damm stubborn woman

"Your son is unsupervised for so long-"

The woman's eyes widened and he almost smiled. If he had not been so tired.

"He's with Mitsuki-"

"You think she can handle them both?"

And it did the magic. Her shoulders sagged in resignation.

"Go home. Go to sleep. God knows I wanted it too."

"All right then. See you tomorrow, Dr. Shinsou."

...................................................

"Hello, Inko?"

"Mitsuki! I'm on my away home. Thank you for looking him for me, thank you so much!"

"No problem. I left the little shit at home with Masaru earlier, or they would blow it up. You can come straight home."

Inko tried not to sigh with relief. Katsuki and Izuku together were never a good combination.

She didn't even understand at that point what the two were to each other. It was the most dysfunctional relationship she ever had seen.

"Once again-"

"Thank you, I know."

"I know Izuku is not easy."

"Have you seen my brat yet?"

"..."

"Seen you soon, Inko!"

The drive home after a shift was always strange, since she started working at the hospital in Musutafu months ago.

Inko never thought she would return to work after all this time just taking care of the house and her son, but despite the fatigue, she was satisfied. 

And most of all it was a necessity. She had lost contact with Hisashi months ago, and even though the money still fell religiously into her account every month, she had no way of knowing how long it would last. Because she knew what Hisashi was up to, and he never spent so much time without getting in touch in some way. Her husband would probably never come home again, and she had not even had the heart to tell her son about it. Not after seeing how his eyes sparkled whenever he spoke of his father lately.

So working was a necessity. She needed to have a safety net for her and her son, should money stop coming. She needed to keep Izuku safe.

With everything that had happened lately, that was a task that was getting harder and harder.

Things had changed drastically to Inko Midoriya last year.

Hisashi's last visit had made an impact beyond what she could have imagined in her son's life, and consequently in her life too. There was a fire in Izuku's eyes that she had not seen in years when he asked if they could find a dojo.

At first, she had been somewhat uncertain about that change, because it remembers her too much of someone else, but his eyes made her accept it.

And she would never regret it.

If only because of the fact that after the first few months her son didn't get hurt at school anymore. Because even though he had never opened his mouth to tell her anything, Inko recognized signs of bullying and knew what life was like for someone who didn't have a quirk in today's society. They were seen as nothing. The teachers' disregard her worries and almost made her change his school, but Izuku apparently had taken matters into his own hands.

At first, she had been called to the school about fights almost every week. It had surprised her because Izuku had always been peaceful, he was such a good boy. She had seen him for the first time sitting waiting in the hallway, face bruised, eyes hard and with a fierce smile on.

It had frozen her right there because it was like seeing Hisashi in their son. Even though his eyes had filled with tears as he saw her and he apologized profusely, there was no way to undo that image from her head.

The third time they called her Inko had lost her temper, but not with her son. Izuku had spent years coming back from school bruised, and no one had ever lifted a finger to help him. 'It's boy stuff.' And now this?

Izuki's ferocity lately was not inherited only from his father and the school principal learned this well that day.

She was never called again after that.

Izuku never returned home hurt again too. After all, when it is some student with a quirk who gets hurt, the teachers learn to do their work, it seems.

And then one day he had arrived home smelly and dirty, asking if he could get a truck to take garbage from somewhere.

In months Dagobah Beach had been cleaner than in years. Much of the trash had been taken for disposal and recycling in her little truck, but there was still a great deal of it in their basement.

"It's not trash, mom! It's material."

Complaining now was more of an act of seeing him make a cute pout than anything. Because even though the first few months have been a disaster - blasts in the garden, trips to the hospital, the basement almost caught fire once - she would the first to say her son was so cool!

The things that he created with so little material gave her a knot in her head, and some of his inventions were used at the house. Even Dr. Shinsou had fallen in the charms of her Izuku, and not just him, but many hospital nurses tested what her son was creating.

And that was another reason to get money. Among the materials he needed, the dojo, and trips to the championships in other districts that he began to compete, the family needed resources beyond what they received for home and school. Despite her being against it, soon her son was doing services for the neighbors as well. They both had to make things work out. 

"Tadaima!"

"Okaeri! Mom! Come to see what I did!"

A small sound of explosion paralyzed her at the door.

"Forget it, don't come and see what I did!"

"Izuku!"

....................................................

"How was school today?"

"I erased Kacchan's explosions with a fire extinguisher, again."

Inko stopped with the hashi on the way to her mouth and stared at her child. Dark circles around his eyes were a common occurrence now, though she would always worry about that. His hair was a mess, a few strands burned after in his last bursting, and he had already stopped eating and was fiddling with some strange object in his hands, his cute brow furrowed in concentration.

"You did what?"

"Hmm?"

"Izuku-"

"He needed to chill, mom."

She tried not to laugh at it. It would not be good for authority. When did he start to look so much like Hisashi? Was he like this before and she didn't realize it? Did he just need the confidence to become that little ball of sarcasm?

When had he stopped stuttering and crying over everything?

He still cried whenever something worked (or not), so that did not change that much, but still.

She shook her head and he smiled angelically, looking very pleased with himself.

"So this was why Mitsuki have to separate you two?"

"He ran after me all the way home, but I don't think Kacchan wanted to catch me at all, or he would have used the explosions to propel himself and reach me."

"Illegal use of quirk?"

"Kacchan?"

Yeah, he had a good point.

"Is he still causing problems?"

"Not different from the usual. He is afraid of touching me and trigger some trap like last time. And I usually don't listen to his insults anymore."

She frowned. Mitsuki was her best friend, and she really saved her whenever she kept her eye on Izuku when she had to get an extra hour on the shift, but if she had to, she would talk to her.

"Seriously, mom. It's all right. Kacchan barks, but he doesn't bite much these days. I even think he has fun when I snark at some 'extra'."

"Is he still calling people 'extras'?"

"Kacchan."

And again, good point.

"Want to test it? It's to increase the strength of your quirk, mom."

"Is it going to explode?"

The offended gaze reminded her seriously of a cat with a bristly fur, and she tried to apologize without laughing.

"Of course, Izu-kun."

Her baby's smile was the most beautiful thing in the world.

.....................

Katsuki was a methodical and perfectionist person, and despite his delinquent appearance, he was a natural genius too.

So he had a plan for his life for a long time already.

And he would put it into practice at the end of primary school when he would enter middle school in Orudera. Orudera was a hell hole, one of the worst schools he ever heard of and would be perfect for his story of ascension and glory as the number one hero.

That was the plan.

But then there was Deku.

Just thinking about the little shit made a small explosion forme in his palm and he had to throw the exploded pencil away. Another one.

He bared his teeth and tried to get back into the book, but he could not concentrate anymore.

Deku was causing this.

He was the stone in his shoe since...ever. There was not a moment in his life when he had looked back and he was not there, With giant, green, doe eyes staring at him with admiration and the pathetic voice saying 'Kacchan is so cool'.

It had always been this way.

Deku was pathetic. No quirk, he was useless, and yet the little shit didn't have a trace of self-preservation. It drove him crazy. Even though he was a failure, he was still always getting in his way.

 'I will not let you hit him, Kacchan!'

He was always looking at him in a superior way.

'Are you okay, Kacchan?'

It used to piss him off because it was so absurd.

Nowadays he made him angry for many other reasons. Some of them he would never tell anyone, not even to himself.

Deku, the bastard, had changed. Maybe the extras didn't notice how much beyond the oddities, but he did. Years of living with someone, even forcefully, made him notice these things. He had been the first to notice when the little shit began to change,

Talking back, fighting back. The arms of twig began to create more mass as the dark circles appeared. The scent of burn he recognized in himself too, and the lunatic expression in a few days that made him grunt and get away from him. For a few days, he even suspected that some quirk had finally appeared, especially when the damn nerd started to be picked up less and beating more. And that made him even more pissed because who did that nerd think he was to hide a quirk from him?

He just followed him to see that it was not the case.

The nerd was doing martial arts. And according to some conversations he had heard from the hag and Aunt Inko, he was good at it.

That was not enough, he saw him dragging garbage on the beach to a truck and making his tricks shits. When trying to destroy one of them he learned two things:

First, the nerd was a lunatic when someone touches his shit, and the lack of sleep seemed to have left him with even less sense of self-preservation.

Second, the tiny Deku had enough strength to push him off from a mountain of garbage when enraged.

Their first confrontation ended with a stench of trash and Deku's eyebrows burned when he exploded something that caused an even bigger explosion in the two.

The second ended with the nerd in the hospital, and even though they had never told how it happened, and who it was to blame - his old woman would kill him if she found out or worse, Aunt Inko - the image of Deku that day never left his head, and so he had gone on to avoid the nerd as much as possible.

Because if he was near Deku, the chances that he would want to stick his face into the wall were big. Especially with the bastard suddenly developing a sharp tongue.

The world hated him, though, because Aunt Inko started working and suddenly the nerd was at his house every day. At first, he had been angered, but then he overheard a conversation between the hag and aunt Inko about how the nerd's father disappeared, and both needing money. Even the nerd had started working in the neighborhood.

Katsuki was not such an asshole, especially with Aunt Inko.

So he had to live with the nerd without killing him.

It was a very, very difficult task, but he could handle it. Even when the hag forced him to keep an eye on the little shit.

"I bet you can't stop him from getting hurt"

It was a dam difficult task because he would turn his back and that disgrace would cause a problem: A experiment going wrong - or worse, right - someone taking advantage of the nerd when he volunteered to help in the neighborhood, some pile of trash almost crushing him while he cleaned the beach.

Katsuki was a perfectionist. If his mother challenged him to keep the damned thing alive, he would do the fucking job.

As you can see, it was a complicated situation for Katsuki Bakugou.

He had to keep an eye on the person he wanted to crush because although he had grown an iron spine lately, the nerd was still useless and graceful as a baby deer learning to walk in a room full of crystals. Deku was a disaster.

And yet, there were certain advantages.

'Have you considered using your explosions to boost yourself, Kacchan?'

Damn him

'And if you accumulate your sweat, you create an even bigger explosion. Look, I drew this. '

'Damn nerd. You'll never be a hero, Deku! Let me see this.'

No one understood their relationship.

Neither did they.

........................................

Izuku Midoriya was a chaotic person.

Considered a failure and with lunatic fame achieved in recent years, he didn't have many friends. In fact, if he disregarded Kacchan - he didn't really know what they were - he had no friends.

His grades were good, and he did his best to keep them that way despite his other concerns, like helping his mom put food on the table lately.

Really, he did his best even with more interesting things to do during the day too.

Even so, the teachers, when they noticed it, said that he didn't try hard enough and when he started to defend himself, he was labeled as the delinquent and troublemaker because, somehow, it was always his fault. Likewise, no one thought he would go anywhere in life, except for his mom and her co-workers.

Well, except to a sanatorium when he reached its maximum mark without sleep.

Yet, he had a plan.

For the past two years things had changed dramatically.

 He had accumulated championship prizes - some in cash, which was better - enemies at school and scars on his hands. His basement and attic were full of inventions, he was addicted to coffee and slept a few hours a day, because sleep was for the weak, right?

His days were now to wake up early and go to the dojo, go to school and return straight home or to Aunt Mitsuki's house, now that he had finally cleaned the beach. He would do services in the neighborhood - or outside it sometimes, which his mother never knew - until dinnertime, and then go to the basement to do his projects.

The next day, the same thing. In the weekends he would go to town, look for pieces around, or spend with his mother when she didn't have to work.

The plan was U.A, the best school for heroes. Izuku had studied exhaustively about the rules, and there was nothing that would prevent a person without a quirk from entering there. Probably because none would dare since the admission rate was so low for people with quirks, but that wasn't the case.

Izuku, after all, had a plan. He had to make some changes in it, of course, because he wasn't allowed to use equipment to pass the practical part of the test, and he knew that the chances of getting through that part with only his head were few, if rumors about the nature of the test were true.

"Where did you hear these rumors, Izu-kun?"

" ...Here and there."

"Were you hacking again?"

"No!"

"..."

"..."

"Did you ask someone to hack for you?"

"Maybe."

So the chances of getting on the practical side were small, and that gave him his second chance. His only one, actually.

Support Department

Because the students there and in the General Department had a chance to be moved to the hero class if they did a good performance at the Sports Festival.

"How do you know that, Izu-kun?"

"I heard about it."

"Is it public information?"

"Define 'public'"

And at the sports festival, students in the Support Department could take their inventions.

It would be his moment.

Izuku Midoriya had a plan, he would be a hero, he would enter U.A. He would be the first hero without a quirk, and he would change everything.

He would save people.

' 'Cause that's what the heroes do, right?...'

In his last week of primary school, at the age of twelve, something happened.

'... They save people, right?...'

Something that would change everything.

'They will come.'

And once again the butterfly flaps its wings ...

'The heroes will come, mommy.'

... and causes a typhoon.

 

 

Chapter Text

"A small variation in conditions at a given point in a dynamic system can have consequences of unimaginable proportions."

The Chaos Theory

 

Izuku was the first one to notice it, although he was sure that Kacchan had already realized what was happening, he just didn't want to admit it.

The reason Kacchan ignored people wasn't always because he was rude. The way he spoke too loudly, wasn't always meant to draw attention to himself. His frequent irritation with Izuku 'talking too quietly on purpose' was a strange thing to say as he was sure that his tone was normal.

At first, he thought that he had stopped complaining about his muttering because he was resigned, but Katsuki Bakugou would never be a resigned person.

He wasn't listening to it anymore, and that was the real reason.

Izuku told him that and in consequence, he tried to tear out his head. The normal channel failed, he told his mother, who told Aunt Mitsuki, that then dragged her son to the hospital.

—The explosions caused this. –  Aunt Mitsuki explained later. – His hearing is deteriorating. He will use the hearing aids and learn signals. The doctor said that in a few years he will totally lose it, so he must start adjusting now.

It was easier said than done, of course.

Kacchan didn't want to take on 'the weakness', and so he didn't try to learn signals or use the hearing aids. Izuku was surprised that he hadn't exploded it, but even Kacchan understood the concept of money and how much his parents spent on it.

Still, Aunt Mitsuki's patience was not infinite – it was quite small – especially when she was worried about the 'brat'. The threats failing, she and his mom joined arms and made the best plan in the situation.

They enrolled Izuku to learn signs and commented on how much talent he had in learning it.

On the same day, Kacchan began attending classes and taking the best grades, because of course, he would be good at it too. Being better than Izuku at something always did the trick.

And Izuku was happy to help and learn something new.

The hearing aids began to be used over time, the need for it speaking louder than pride. And being Kacchan, after the initial whispers, nobody dared to speak about it.

Izuku only hoped he would not blow up the device he was creating for him. Maybe if he didn't tell him that he was the one who made it, or if Uncle Masaru gave it to him, he would accept it without much fuss.

Izuku was pleased if he uses it, he didn't need the recognition.

............................................................

Taking into account that Izuku had been the only one in their class who had bothered to learn signs to talk to him, maybe he would accept the gift anyway.

...............................................

It happened the day before Christmas. The streets were full of people buying gifts at the last minute, children pointing at shop windows, people dressed in Santa Claus. It was funny how the Western custom had been incorporated there.

Izuku didn't like crowds in general. He had been nervous since he had lost his mother at the age of seven in the middle of a parade and was almost crushed, so he was always clinging to her like a nervous Koala.

Kacchan seemed to be finding this hilarious. The anger of having to leave with the two at the command of his mother to fetch an order being forgotten momentarily. He thought he had seen him take a picture of the scene, but he ignored it. If his mom didn't care, Kacchan could explode with his opinion.

'Kacchan always explodes anyway'

— What are you laughing at, De ... – a glance at his mom, who was ignoring them at the moment. – Nerd?

— An internal joke, Kacchan.

—Ham ?!

—Boys. – His mother stopped them gently, looking at the catalog of one of the shops. — Have you got everything that you need, Katsuki dear?"

— Yes, Aunt Inko.

It seems that the only person with whom Kacchan was respectful at was his mom,

— Now there's only one thing missing. You two should wait for me at that cafe and ask for something while I go to get it.

— So you can get my present without me finding out what it is, even if I always do anyway.

— You're a terrible child sometimes, Izu-kun.

Izuku smiled angelically.

—Katsuki, please?

It was the only warning he had before the other grabbed his arm in a grip with a satisfied expression.

— Katsuki is in charge.

—What? Mom!

— Go with him. – She smiled ignoring his protests – Ask for something and don't leave until I return, do you understand me?

—What if a hero fight ...

— Principally in this case. Katsuki, my dear?

—I will control the nerd.

Kacchan seemed very, very pleased with the power he had received to control him.

His mother knew how to be cruel.

— Not cool, mom.

— Take care of each other, please.

And with that, she disappeared into one of the shops, and Kacchan dragged him – literally – into the crowd.

In another universe, they would have gone to the cafe and bickered with each other like two old women until his mom arrived. That night the two families would have celebrated Christmas together, and Izuku would receive the mechanics kit he had dreamed for months, bought at the expense of his mother's night shifts and the Bakugos contribution.

In another universe, an attack of villains would have been easily controlled with the aid of Endeavor, and one of the gang members with a powerful but uncontrolled quirk would have been secured before he could lose control in his desperation to escape, preventing one of the greatest disasters of the last thirty years involving a uncontrolled quirk in an adult.

In this universe, Endeavor decided that he would return home early to train his son.

...................................................

The screams in the crowd began suddenly, as they were crossing the street for the cafe.

The two boys stopped abruptly, feeling confused.

A body seemed to fly and hit one of the buildings.

Explosions could be heard and people started to run around in desperation.

—Villains!

Someone screamed and the chaos settled in.

Izuku felt the hand on his arm squeeze harder as Kacchan began to drag him faster.

—Come on, nerd! Breathe.

He wanted to retort that it was easier said than done and that creating an explosion in someone's face was not the most orthodox way of trying to stop a panic attack.

Even if it worked.

Kacchan dragged him among the people, blasting their way out. Izuku looked back for a second, to the building where his mother had entered.

His eyes quickly cataloged the situation.

—Came on, Deku! Fuck! I will not drag you if you fall!

A man was in the middle of the street, shouting. Things flew around him, an invisible and overwhelming force pushing cars around the buildings, destroying everything in the way.

The next building on his line was the shop where his mother had disappeared into, and he had not seen her leaving it yet. With such an impact it would collapse. People were entering the building looking for shelter, rather than going out and running, blocking the entrance of those who had noticed and were trying to escape the disaster.

— What the hell are they doing !? – By his frustrated cry, Kacchan had noticed the problem too. People ran without order, pushing each other. Children were crying and more villains and heroes appeared in the terrible chaos that was forming.

A stronger tug in the crowd and their hands loosened. He heard explosions and Kacchan's furious cry but didn't return to him.

Going the other way, his feet guided him almost automatically toward the building where he had seen his mother enter.

He tried to control his panic, his small body passing through the crowd until he saw her green hair while he passed beneath the legs of people trying to get into the building.

—You have to leave! – He shouted around. – Get out of the building! Mom! This way!

Their eyes met as she ran to him. He felt her arms around him the moment he felt the trembling in the whole building.

And then everything fell on them.

...............................................

Inko Midoriya knew that her quirk was not very impressive. Pulling small objects toward themselves was not everyone's dream, despite how much Hisashi and her baby praised it. Izuku would even often explain all the things she could do with her small power.

They were the men of her life, so she didn't take it so seriously. That's until Izuku showed her the bracelet that morning.

— Is that what you made me try last time?

She had to admit that his latest project was impressive, despite some initial disasters that it caused.

He nodded enthusiastically, placing a small metal bracelet on her wrist.

— Mom's quirk works like an electromagnetic field, right? But with different polarity, so mom can only attract things. So I thought, how do I increase the size of the current field? So mom can attract things from farther, and heavier. And that is it. ..

Her baby was impressive.

— Do you want to test it?

— Of course, Izu-kun. Always.

To see him smile, always.

To watch him continue to smile, she held him tightly in her arms as the tremor and crash began around them. And she knew that as much as she wanted to have that power, she could never hold a building off their heads.

Then she would do what she could to protect him, hugging her son and pulling with all her might.

The closest wall turned toward the two at her command, protecting them like a shelter while the concrete fell upon them seconds later.

 

Izuku woke up in a concrete tomb. There were dust and darkness, and he couldn't breathe.

— Shh, it's all right.

—Mom?

Her voice was strange, absent. He felt her arms around him tighten a little in response and he tried to control his breathing.

Slowly he remembered what had happened. The attack, the collapse.

He tried to move, but as he stretched his leg he hit something hard.

His mother released him slowly and he reached for the cell phone on his wrist, which obviously had no signal there, and turned on the flashlight.

His heart clenched at the sight of his mother. There was blood on her face, and her pupils were strange, one of them blow wide. Her leg was also at an angle that would normally be impossible.

The place was only big enough for the two of them to sit without banging their heads.

—Mom...

He tried to hold back a sob, but he couldn't do it.

— It's okay, Izu-kun. It will be all right.

Her voice didn't look exactly confident, but he nodded anyway.

— Yes, you're right. Wounds in the head bleed a lot. – He spoke trying to sound confident himself. – And soon the heroes will come here.

— You're right, love.

Her voice was so strange. Dizzy. He stepped closer, helping her lean back into the concrete. He knew he had to keep her awake until help arrived.

—Katsuki?

—He wasn't in the building. – He assured her. – He is fine. It's Kacchan.

— Yes... yes.

—Soon they'll find us and get us right off here. And I'm going to give my gift to Kacchan. And he'll pretend he didn't like it.

His mom smiled.

....................................

The villains were apprehended only when Eraserhead arrived at the scene and managed to stop the quirk in disarray.

When that happened, the street looked like a battlefield. Of the twenty heroes on the scene, only two had had the idea of helping people to leave the scene, the others looking more worried about who would defeat the villain or wait for someone who had the right quirk to act.

Aizawa was very angry, to say the least.

Twenty heroes, and yet the count of the dead was over 50 people, other than those still trapped in the rubble. When night came, they continued the search, even if the chances of finding someone alive was falling fast.

To make matters worse, it began to snow hard.

—Wonderful.

— If only All Might was in Japan.

He opened his mouth to retort when he heard it.

—Did you hear that?

The sounds were intermittent, and they grew louder as he approached a mountain of debris.

Small explosions.

He didn't wait to see if anyone was coming with him.

The sounds came from a car stuck at the entrance of one of the shops. Concrete had fallen on it and crushed its structure but apparently, someone had used it as a shelter.

—We're here.

He assured whoever it was, more heroes finally coming out of the torpor and doing something useful.

Mic had appeared at his side, helping him push the concrete away.

The explosions increased even more in response, and when one of the walls was lifted from the car, a small hand appeared between the twisted metal, explosions erupting in his palm. From this distance, he could hear heavy breathing and muffled words.

—Hey, hey. – Mic assured him. – Let's get you out of here.

Aizawa saw red eyes on a childish face. He noticed the twists in the metal like a cage, clearly purposely created. A little shelter.

Smart kid.

..................................................

— The heroes are coming soon.

Izuku repeated as he tried to create some pathway without causing a larger collapse around them. He had taken care of his mom's wounds with what he had in his hands, but there was not much he could do. He couldn't panic, not when the air there was limited. Mom was quiet, her fingers running soothingly through his hair as he worked.

— 'Cause that's what the heroes do, right? They save people, right? Mom?

— Right.

Her voice sounded so absent. He managed to change another pillar, holding his breath and closing his eyes when he felt the small tremor around him. He had brought nothing useful for that. He always had something in his backpack, and right that day the only thing he had was Kacchan's gift ...

— They will come.

He just needed to find a way for them to hear him.

— The heroes will come, mommy.

............................................

By daybreak, the chances of finding someone alive had dropped even more. Everyone who had been found that night was dead except for the child in the car who had been taken to the hospital with a concussion and a dislocated shoulder.

People were dying suffocated or crushed, and they couldn't do anything. Nezu had sent one of his first-year students, Mirio Togata at his request, and under his supervision, the boy was crossing the concrete and looking for survivors.

And that was when he heard the sound. This time, rhythmic beats in metal. Mic was at his side in an instant, also having heard it.

Before they could find the right source, a hand came out of a pile of concrete.

A small hand.

—Shit.

Aizawa ran, already shouting for the others. He grabbed the small hand into his with a desperate grip.

—Got you, kid.

..................................

The boy didn't leave Aizawa's side, he didn't have the heart to force it too. The others could handle the searches for a moment, and he trusted Hizashi with Togata.

Kids usually didn't have that reaction when they saw him. He was too intimidating for that, and yet the boy had clung to him, both sitting on a concrete pillar as the heroes searched for his mother.

He should force him into the ambulance, but something in the boy's eyes had made him retreat. The green eyes were intent on the movements. His hands were sore where he had dug himself out of the concrete tomb searching for help.

The boy had saved himself to get help for his mother, and Aizawa hardly asked for things, but it would be his Christmas present to find this child's mother alive.

— You have a problem with dry eyes, right?

His voice was tiny, and Aizawa was taken back by the question. The boy was still staring at where Togata had disappeared into the concrete.

— Yes.

— I have an idea for your googles to help with that.

Aizawa stared at the boy, his hair streaked with concrete dust, lips trembling and curled up in a blanket on one of the coldest nights of the year, waiting to see if his mother was alive or dead.

And trying not to think about it.

—I'm all ears, kid.

..................................

They found Inko Midoriya protected by the concrete wall, surrounding pillars holding the structure, and a small tunnel created through the rubble to the surface.

.........................................

Katsuki woke with the silence around him. He tried to open his eyes, his breathing quickening as he felt a hand on his shoulder.

He blinked groggily and found familiar green eyes close to his face. He felt relief, then anger. The last thing he had seen of the idiot was he running away from him into the crowd.

—Deku!

He blinked dazedly when he didn't hear his own voice. It had never happened before.

The idiot's hands touched his face and he focused on his lips as he pronounced the words slowly.

'Don't panic.'

— Damn you! How can you ask me that after what happened?! Why can't I...I can't hear you.

He wasn't going to cry. No way.

Deku pinched his cheek and he slapped his hand away.

Then Katsuki noticed his red eyes. Deku's hands were bandaged, as was his head, but he was not wearing hospital clothes like him.

And his expression ...

—Aunt Inko?

He watched him turn his face away and could feel his own heart racing.

Katsuki closed his eyes trying to calm down or he'd blow something up. He felt something in his head and grabbed the nerd's hand, looking at him in a warning. Deku ignored it, as always.

He was going to rip the thing off his head, but then he heard the sounds of the world.

—Better?

Deku's voice was as broken as he looked.

—It is my Christmas's gift for you. It won't work when you lose all your hearing, the concussion made it worse, but for now, it will work. It looks like a headphone, and it has explosion drawings. This control here is for you to control the volume and ...

—Deku!

He shut up and his shoulders dropped heavily.

—Deku, where's Aunt Inko?

— She ... she's alive. But... they don't know when she'll wake up. It can be in months or years or ...

Shit.

— She's going to wake up. – His voice broke and Katsuki looked away. – She'll wake up soon, Kacchan.

He didn't know what to say.

"Take care of each other, please."

—The hospital called Aunt Mitsuki. She'll be here soon, with the hospitals so crowded they didn't know where they could find you ...

—Deku.

His voice was softer than it had been in years. He raised his hand to touch the other's arm but stopped midway.

He hated Deku. He was a little shit that only got them in trouble and wanted to be better than him.

He hated Deku.

He thought that he hated Deku.

—It was the quirk of a villain that got out of control.

The other's voice sounded more empty and so, so wrong.

— The news ... they said they could have more than 100 casualties. It was... There were twenty heroes at the scene, and I know they can't save everyone, but some of them ... some of them didn't even try.

The knot in his throat tightened as the other started to cry.

— They wanted to beat the villain and have the glory of it. And they beat the villain, but 100 people died, and mom ... You want to be a hero who wins, right Kacchan? But who is going to save the people?

The green eyes stared at him, filled with tears. Someone knocked on the door and he saw a man with a briefcase. Deku stared at him, then stood up.

Katsuki looked stunned, even more, when he realized he had grabbed the other's arm without realizing it.

—Who...?

—Social worker. – The man said. – Come on, Midoriya.

— Wait.

— It's okay, Kacchan. They are trying to contact dad.

He released his hand hesitantly.

— Just ... think about the hero you wanna be, okay?

He nodded, still not sure what to say.

Deku disappeared down the corridor holding that stranger's hand.

They wouldn't see each other for years.

 

 

The hag wasn't happy.

They had taken him home, and she wasn't happy at all.

Katsuki was sitting on the couch and he knew they thought he couldn't hear them without using the hearing aids, but he could read their lips.

— They didn't get in touch with Hisashi, did they?

—Hisashi was reported missing in the United States more than a year ago, Masaru! They didn't even check it out before sending him off with the first one that appeared!

— It's his uncle, Mitsuki.

—An uncle he never saw in his life! Takashi hasn't spoken to Inko for more than ten years! I was the first on the list if something happened to her, Shinsou was the second. Shit, Takashi was not even in the fifth place and they despatched Zuko with him without looking at THE FUCKING LIST.

—Mitsuki, calm down.

— And then they don't even know where he lives, they didn't even check it out. He could be anywhere in Japan at this point! And you know what's fucked up? They did it because the kid doesn't have a quirk. You saw it too, didn't you?

His father's face was sad as he nodded.

— They acted as if they had done me a favor. They go around dispatching children with no quirk to the first one who appears, without checking anything. They don't even wonder if it's not strange for someone to get there asking for a quirkless child! I'm going to put the cops in the ass of these bastards!

He tried not to look away as she began to cry. He counted on the fingers of one hand how many times he had seen her cry, and in those two days, it had already been twice.

— He will not even be able to visit Inko. When she wakes up and ask me, I will not know where her son is, because those motherfuckers despatched him into the hands of a stranger that his sister was afraid of. At this point, I don't even know if we'll see him ever again. And Inko ...

—We will.

His parents stared at him, their faces startled. He almost rolled his eyes at that.

— We'll see Deku in two years.

— Katsuki ... –  his dad's voice was soft, like when he was a child and he wanted to tell something serious without hurting him.

He gritted his teeth, trying not to blow up anything and make things worse.

—Deku said he was going to the U.A. And that little shit doesn't give up, he'll go to the U.A, and I'm going to kick his ass there. In two years.

He didn't wait for an answer and went upstairs.

The headphones were on the coffee table. It was ridiculous, with badly made drawings of explosions, and the son of a bitch had put cat-shaped ears as a joke.

He put them on and turned down the volume, not wanting to hear anything from his parents, but finding comfort in having it in his head.

They didn't know the nerd like him. Deku was like a cockroach, who survives and adapts at everything. A flying cockroach, bothersome and difficult to knock over.

He would visit Aunt Inko for the nerd, and train, pass the U. A in first place and in two years they would see each other again.

"Take care of each other, please."

And when the time comes, he was going to beat the fucker up for making his old woman cry.

.................................................. ...

When he entered Inko's room and saw the stranger, Keito was surprised.

That week she had received frequent visits, but all of them were Mitsuki's, or the people at the hospital. Everyone had been heartbroken over what had happened, and angry when they learned that Izuku had fallen between the fingers of the system and no one knew of his whereabouts.

They wouldn't give up on finding him, he owed Inko it. Until then, he would take care of his mother while she didn't wake up. Her injuries were many, but they were almost all healed. To his surprise, someone had sent Recovery Girl to help, and that had saved her life.

Still, she didn't wake up.

—Dr. Shinsou.

—Who are you?

The stranger turned and he saw what he never expected to see in his life: someone with eyes more tired than his or Hitoshi's. In another situation, he would have laughed at this.

—Aizawa. – The man introduced himself. – I was involved in her rescue.

Ah, one of the heroes. That explained the unexpected visit of Recovery Girl as well. And also why they let him in.

—How is she?

— We usually give this information to family members only, but you saved her life. Twice. It was you who sent Recovery Girl, right? – He let out an exhausted sigh. – Stable. No signs of waking up.

The man nodded as if he expected this.

— How about her child?

Keito surveyed the man carefully. He looked casual, his face stoic, but he recognized the signs well.

He was worried.

— Do you know Izuku?

The man nodded, then squeezed something in his hands. Oddly, a pair of googles.

And Keito recognized the hero for it, also noticing the scarf under his clothes. It was the same hero who his son was so obsessed with. Eraserhead.

— He made an impression. – The man stated. – It's not every day that a twelve-year-old does what he did.

—He's a good kid. – Keito nodded. – Eccentric, smart. Determined and stubborn too.

The man's lips quirked a little.

— Problem child.

He had to agree, and despite the situation, he managed to smile about it.

— They didn't find his father. – He answered the question now that he knew who it was. – His uncle took him in. They don't know to where.

The man looked surprised.

—The records?

—They lost it. Maybe they didn't even have it in the first place. – He managed to control his anger. — He is quirkless, they thought they were doing us a favor.

The man's expression darkened. Good.

— Can you give me an address for this place?

Keito smiled.

—With pleasure.

— And as for Mrs. Midoriya's expenses, I'll leave my contact.

Before the man left, he got an autograph.

Hitoshi would be happy, at least.

Chapter Text

"If there is a distance between two different starting points, after a while those points are completely separate and unrecognizable."

Chaos theory

 

Hitoshi learned early that life was not fair. More specifically at the age of four, when his quirk appeared. At first, he had been ecstatic that it was so much like his mother. He had always been fascinated with his mom's quirk. Akari Shinsou could control people with a touch of her hand, and so she was always wearing gloves since he could remember. She used her quirk occasionally when her son asked to see it, always with her husband, almost always to force him to sleep.

Keito Shinsou also had a fascinating quirk: he could calm anyone with his voice. It only worked after a verbal response, yet it was impressive, and he always made good use of it with his patients.

Hitoshi was impressed by his father's quirk, but he was fascinated by his mother's, so he was glad to have received a combination of the two: mind control through speech.

Until he realized that she had not been very happy about it. The look of pity on her, the look of guilty was there. It was not as if he had inherited a quirk or a variation of it, but a terrible hereditary disease.

Of course, the confusion didn't last long. Only until the first day of class, when he excitedly told about his new gift, and immediately came the distrustful and fearful looks. In a week no one else wanted to sit next to him. Soon the whispers began about 'Shinsou being the next villain,' and 'Does he want to be a hero with that?'

It was the first time he came back from school crying. His mother, of course, understood immediately. When his father arrived home from the hospital that day he found the two of them lying on the couch watching something cheesy, eating ice cream and crying.

―Bad day?

He had begun to cry, and his mother accompanied him guiltily.

―They're stupid, don't listen to them.

 He had repeated what his mother had already said, but without the tears, it seemed more effective. Or maybe he was using his quirk, he would never know. 

―Don't listen to these people, they don't know you.

It was easier said than done. Of course, over the years he hardened his heart and learned to not hear the insults, or at least pretend they did not affect him. 

Things had improved when he was 8, and he saw for the first time about a new hero coming up. He did not like the media, so he patrolled the night and nobody knew much about his life, yet he had fascinated little Hitoshi. His quirk was not flashy, like All Might or Endeavor. His mother, sitting with him on the couch, had commented on how hard he must have worked to become a hero. And he did not want attention, just wanted to help.

Hitoshi had sat there, his eyes sparkling and then asked his parents to help him research more about him and they agreed at once.

Hitoshi decided, at age 8, that no matter what they said he would become a hero, even with a quirk who was a handicap. He would be a hero like Eraserhead and would prove to everyone that his and his mother's quirk was not villainous.

And his parents believed him. 

That was more than enough.

...........................................

When Hitoshi was 12, it was the first Christmas when his father didn't come home. Despite the crazy shifts, he always made a point of being with both of them on that date, but not that year. His mother was on the phone with him when he saw the news and understood the reason. 

He saw the helicopter's view of destroyed streets and wounded civilians until his mother turned off the television.

―Is dad all right?

His mother smiled, but it was clearly a forced smile.

―With his hands full at the hospital.

They ate in silence, neither hungry. The image didn't leave his head, and he couldn't sleep that night. 

His father didn't come home the other day, and early morning his mother and he opened the presents together. He cheered when he received the kitten, even with all the talk about responsibilities. His mother tried to distract him by choosing the name - Erasercat - but it was in her face that she was worried.

In the evening his father had not returned, but Hitoshi heard a call in the phone between his parents when he descended into the kitchen at midnight:

― Is she going to be okay? Oh, my God, Keito ... Yes. And Izuku? The son of the Bakugos too? They didn't have the right! And Inko ... I know, but ... right.

Izuku. He recognized that name. His father always talked about the son of one of his co-workers and they even had a strange device in their kitchen that had been 'one of the inventions' of that Izuku. 

― Hitoshi? What are you doing out of bed?

He shrugged and his mother sighed.

―What happened?

His mother seemed to consider her words for a few seconds, but she had always been too honest to hide anything from him.

― A friend of your father is hurt, and they took her son to a shelter in the middle of the night. Your father is worried about them.

Hitoshi didn't know what to say to that, so he didn't say anything.

In the next few days, the subject would be well touched, especially when his father returned home for a few hours before going to the hospital again. They didn't talk to him directly more about it, but he was good at picking things up. His father's colleague was in a coma, his son was gone, and his father was very annoyed by it.

He had looked more hopeful when he returned home at the end of the week, with an Eraserhead autograph for him.

"First a kitten, now that, it seems like a dream."

 However, hope had diminished with the passing days when he had heard another conversation between them.

―Was the shelter closed? 

His mother whispered in the kitchen. His father was at the table with a coffee looking even more tired than usual. 

―They didn't have any quirkless children there. 

― Weird.

―Exactly. The children who are most abandoned are quirkless, but there were none there, and their records are a mess, most of them don't even know where they went. The rate of disappearance of people without quirk is generally higher than that of the rest of the population, but in recent months, these numbers have gone insane.

― I didn't hear anything about it.

― No one did.

His father's voice sounded bitter. 

― No one cares. If Aizawa had not gone into the search for Izuku, no one would even have discovered it.

― What would they want with quirkless children?

― I don't know. And I'm afraid to find out.

Hitoshi had not met Izuku, and yet the conversation had haunted him for a long time.

Izuku Midoriya remained missing, as did the other children. The media made some initial fuss, but soon a more interesting subject emerged and the struggle for the rights of people without quirk was swept under the carpet, where it would remain for a few more years. 

The disappearances continued for a while until they stopped abruptly as the investigations became intense. They continued through the efforts of only a few interested people in the coming years, but eventually, the case cooled and life went on for the majority as if nothing had happened.

Until Izuku Midoriya come on the scene again and bring the answers to this mystery with him, as well as a great social chaos.

Hitoshi would be right in the eye of the hurricane when that happened, but, at that moment, he had no idea of it.

........................

It all happened because of an umbrella.

Or more specifically, the lack of the umbrella. A relapse when hurrying out of the house, and not having returned when his mother called him to pick it up.

Just an umbrella, which in another universe would have made all the difference.

At age 14, Hitoshi knew enough about life to not trust his colleagues. Years being rejected had caused this, and although most of there were too afraid of him to act violently, they were good in hurting him with words. 

So at age 14, Hitoshi was a bit too bitter for his age, suffered from terrible insomnia and liked cats more than people. 

More than anything,  his desire to be a hero had never gone away. Also, there was still some faith in humanity in his heart, so when the project was drawn and his colleague gave him the address so they would meet, he decided to give it a chance. Even if it was in the most dangerous neighborhood that he knew: Hosu.

As he got on the train that afternoon it began to rain and he noted that he had forgotten the umbrella at home. Hitoshi had no idea what to expect, but he should have been suspicious when he arrived at the address location and there was nothing there but a dead end and a message on his cell phone calling him an idiot.

And he felt like one. Especially when he got lost in the streets and it started to get dark. He entered one of the alleys, ready to call his parents in spite of the humiliation when he heard the meows.

He already had the ear well trained for it, that was what his father always said. After all, although he might have only three cats at home, Erasercat, Allcat, and Micat, he was always ready to feed others on the street and take them to the shelter when they followed him home.

He found them easily behind a trash can in a box, drenched after the rain. There were three of them, and they seemed to have little more than one month of life. One was black, the other was stained white and red, and the third was golden.

― Poor little things. Do you wanna go home with me?

 He was distracted talking with the kittens when he felt the presence behind him.

He raised his face in time to see the punch in his direction.

In another universe, an umbrella would have blocked the blow, in time for him to make the guy talk and get rid of a beating.  He would have run and bumped into Ingenium that would take him to the station safely, after scolding him for walking on those streets alone.

In this universe, he had forgotten the umbrella.

The punch threw him against the wall of the alley and he hit his head hard. A kick in his ribs made him scream and he felt the other try to pull out his backpack.

Hitoshi saw dark spots in his vision. He felt sick and he was sure he had a concussion. He heard an angry grunt when the other realized that the pack was trapped.

He got another kick and tried to talk, ask anything. A verbal response, only one would be enough, but he was sure he had a fractured rib to be out of breath like that.

Not even when he saw the blade emerging from the man's fingers he managed to react.

"I'm going to die."

And then a shadow descended from somewhere over his attacker. In the dark and with the concussion he did not see much. He heard the grunts, and the sound of blows and some strange flashes, and then sudden silence.

He must have fainted for a few moments because he woke when he felt a terrible pain as he moved, hands touching his ribs.

Hitoshi opened his eyes and saw a strange silhouette ... with cat ears?

―Kitten?

He heard a muffled laugh and blinked groggily, finding big green eyes staring at him. He was definitely a person, not a cat. A strange person with a green hood and headphones that looked like cat ears.

Even with a black surgical mask on his face, Hitoshi saw green eyes,  freckles, and a strange scar in one of the eyes, which seemed to be much larger beneath the mask.

―Are you alright, Eyebags?

'Eyebags?!'

―I called an ambulance.

Hitoshi suddenly felt wide awake. He tried to move, but the pain in his ribs was terrible. He realized that the stranger had him sitting against the wall of the alley.

―You ... you're not a hero.

―Hum, no.

Hitoshi narrowed his eyes, trying to focus despite the concussion.

―A vigilante?

―No?

 ― Are you asking me?

-No? I mean. Hn...

The stranger scratched his head and he could see green hair beneath the hood. He almost rolled his eyes at that. If that guy was a vigilante he was horrible at hiding his identity.

― If you are, you are a bad one.

 He commented.

The other's expression was offended.

― How ungrateful.

 He heard him mutter and almost smiled at that.

―Thank you. What's your name?

― I'm Iz ...

 He widened his eyes and Hitoshi smirked, proving his point clearly. 

― Damn it.

And he had not even used his quirk yet.

― You know that it is ... ugh ... Illegal what are you doing?

― I read the law. 

He saw the other shrugging, looking at something on his wrist.

― The ambulance is almost here.

― How ...–The siren sounds interrupted him. – What?

―Don't walk on those streets anymore, little man, it's dangerous here. 

The stranger commented while rising on his feet, ready to run.

―Little man? How old are you? Eleven? And you call me a little man?

― I'm 14 ... argh. I shouldn't have said that. Bye.

―Wait! – The other boy grabbed the box of cats in one of his arms, ignoring him.– What's your name?

―Nope. You will not get me again, Eyebags.

― I mean, your name as a vigilante, dumbass.

― I'm not a vigilante. – Hitoshi stared at him unimpressed and he mumbled something. – Maybe I am. Um ...  – He looked around, then stared at the box with the cats. – I'm ... Nora ... Neko?

―Are you asking me?

―No?

My God, that guy was insane. And Noraneko? Street cat?

― You invented that now. My luck to be saved by a vigilante on his first day at work. Wonderful.

The only response he got was a chuckle as he saw him climb into the next building quickly, despite having a box full of kittens on his arm.

Was it his quirk?

He didn't have time to think about it when paramedics went into the alley.

And only then did he notice the unconscious criminal.

.............................................

His mother came to pick him up at the hospital and there was a lot commotion. 

For months he couldn't go out alone, and he never trusted any of his colleagues anymore. The only advantage is that he went into self-defense classes after that. He learned that he couldn't rely just on his quirk. 

For weeks, he thought that the strange encounter had been a hallucination on his part, until one afternoon while he was browsing the internet and found the news in the forums about the new vigilante in Hosu. 

Opinions were divided, even more so as he always worked in the most dangerous neighborhoods, some of which there were no heroes agencies. And also, unlike other vigilantes, he had no problem with the police. 

Noraneko helped people and fled before any authority could arrive. The police were still tracking him down and some heroes didn't seem at all happy about the visibility a vigilante was receiving.

He helped people. Comments were proving this, civilians were thanking him. 

Hitoshi found a blurred image of him. He could see that he had at least changed his clothes for something less obvious. There was body armor, a mask that best covered the face this time, and orange-tinted glasses shielding those ridiculously large eyes. And a hood that seemed safe enough not to fall all the time, though he could still see tufts of hair.

"God, he really sucks at it."

 The ear-shaped headphones were still there, and it seemed to have become his trademark. Just like the bo staff he had not seen before and the fact that no one was sure of his quirk. Some had seen him use fire, other electricity. Strength, agility like a cat. There was speculation, but no one was sure.

― Noraneko.

Hitoshi smiled, thinking of the ridiculous way in which the name came up, which had now spread.

At least now he was sure that the strangest meeting of his life had not been a hallucination.

.................................................. 

Katsuki was the first to notice when the flowers began to appear, as one of the most frequent visitors of Inko.

It was his last year of middle school, and even as he prepared for admission exams for U.A approaching in a few months, he still had time to visit his aunt Inko every day before going to school. He had never failed, as he had promised himself.

Sometimes Dr. Shinsou commented to Mitsuki that her son went to the hospital more often than anyone who worked there, but he didn't care. He would visit Inko until Deku came back and resume his role, the idiot was certainly taking his time to appear.

Many things had changed in Katsuki's life in the last two years, others not so much. Almost total deafness had not stopped him. He was still the best student in the class, and the most feared. He still had the most powerful quirk. He was the biggest fish in the pool of water in Orudera, and perhaps the consciousness about it was what had changed him. 

There were bigger fish out there. Despite of it, he would become the number one hero.

"You want to be a hero who wins, right Kacchan? And who's going to save people?"

A complete hero.

So that's right, Katsuki had his game in mind, and meanwhile, he trained, studied, ignored everything else – especially people, especially those who felt sorry for his deafness – and visited his aunt Inko every day, waiting for her to wake up or the nerd appears, whichever comes first.

And so he noticed the flowers that appeared on the head of her bed, next to the frames that his mother had brought. As he visited every day, and sometimes even late in the afternoon, he knew it could only appear at night. There was no night visitation schedule, so he thought at first that some nurse or Dr. Shinsou were bringing the flowers, but asking around he discovered that it wasn't the case.

The flowers would not have puzzled him, were it not for those specific flowers.

Alstroemeria, given to someone with the strongest possible bond, symbolizes friendship. Something he'd learned from Aunt Inko herself years ago, he and Deku helping her in the garden when they were only four, before all the mess with their quirks –  or the absence of one – started.

Against all logic, Katsuki knew who was leaving those flowers. It couldn’t be Deku's father, who was missing for years at that point, so there was only one person he could think of. Someone who appeared in the dead of night, without anyone noticing, and that even the cameras in the hallway didn't catch.

He would never admit it, that there was only a person smart enough to do that, he just didn't understand the reason for the damn hiding, if it were really him. Still, Katsuki has not commented about it with anyone.

"You'd better have a good reason, damn nerdy."

Yet, he left a sneaky note once.

The next day the note was gone, and in its place, he found another flower.

A hyacinth.

An apology.

Katsuki blew up the flower.

Chapter Text

"An intelligence knowing all the universal variables at a specific given time, could compose in a single mathematical formula the unification of all the movements of the Universe. "

Pierre-Simon Laplace

 

Toshinori Yagi was a man running out of time. He had set a time to save people and a time of life too, and he needed to do something about it soon. 

That was why he had returned to Japan, to find a successor to One for all, accept Nezu's request to teach and try to find his successor, if he didn't decide to reach out and accept Sir Nighteye's request and meet young Togata. Nezu himself had encouraged this; the least he could do was make an appointment.

 

He had no time to waste.

 

And yet in the months since his arrival in Japan, he had successfully avoided Sir Nighteye, and the only productive thing he had done — other than saving people — had been a friendship on the train.

 

⸺Yagi-san!

 

And speaking of friendship.

 

He smiled when he saw the enthusiastic hand raised.

 

⸺ Young Midoriya.

 

The boy grinned, as usual. The green eyes gleaming excited and rather childish, even with the striking scar on his right side and the very dark circles under his eyes. Who was he to talk about it anyway, the skeleton that walked around scaring people?

 

He tapped the sit to indicate that he had saved the place and Yagi smiled happily at that.

 

Since they had first met on the train a month ago, they had discovered that they were on the same route between the prefectures, one going down at Yamanashi and the other down at Hosu.

 

And what an eccentric young boy Midoriya was.

 

The first time they had met he had approached Yagi and without much explanation had shoved a cat into his coat pocket and looked at him with some desperation to keep quiet.

 

 One of the guards approached and, looking quite familiar with the boy, searched him, remembering that he could not bring animals - again - inside the train. Finding nothing, he stared at the boy who was looking innocently at him and left, taking one last look in their direction.

 

The strange boy took the cat back, thanked him and they would have gone their separate ways if Yagi had not come out of shock at the strange situation and coughed up blood.

 

The next situation involved a few tears, he assuring the child that everything was fine, being forced to accept help to get home, promises that he was not dying - not immediately at least - to make him stop crying. He had ended the day with a cat as a gift and a friend in the form of an eccentric boy who liked to take care of his health and force him to test some strange device occasionally.

 

Of course, Yagi had clung fast.

 

He had tried to find out about Midoriya's life at home when he saw the strange scar. From the right side of his face, rising from his neck dangerously close to the carotid where the tissue looked most damaged and rising up his cheek to just above one eye, and with a strange shape that sometimes reminded him of the fingers of one hand. And the fact that he was always alone, going into one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods, made an alarm ring in his head.

 

There were other weird signs, sometimes he would slip and speak in other languages when he got excited, and when he first introduced himself, he seemed surprised to say his last name as if that was not what he was going to say initially.

 

By that point Toshinori had discovered that he lived with his widowed uncle, who was not very present at home lately - 'Uncle Taka travels a lot!' - but that the boy seemed to get along with him. His uncle's surname was different from his, and perhaps that would explain why he fumbled with his own surname if it was a custom to perform with the other.

 

He seemed to like the neighbourhood too - 'People say a lot that they don't know about Hosu, Yagi-san!' -, and do well in studies. He had taken online courses and finished middle school early, which was impressive in Yagi's eyes.

 

And he wanted to be a hero.

 

He had blushed slightly when he said his favourite hero was All Might, even though Eraserhead was close. And he knew a lot about heroes, and especially about quirks. For a long time, he had thought that he had some analysis or intelligence quirk, because the things that seemed to come from his head were amazing, so it was with surprise that he found he didn't have one.

 

Young Midoriya had spoken casually that he would be a hero without a quirk, but he noticed how he stared at him waiting for his answer, measuring what he would say.

 

Someone who didn't have a quirk and wanted to be a hero. He had been like that one day but had been given a quirk and yet look where he had gone. With a huge scar, without stomach and half of his respiratory system gone.

 

Still, having seen what this boy could do, what came out of his head, the things he could build, he somehow didn't doubt him. And most of all, he had no heart to discourage him, as he must have been surely discouraged many times in his life. What to do?

 

In one universe, Yagi Toshinori had told Izuku Midoriya that he could not be a hero without a quirk. In some universes, he had seen him do something heroic, and then changed his mind that he might be a hero, but not without a quirk, and so give him one. In other universes, Izuku never received these words and migrated to other paths, some obscure.

 

In this universe, Yagi smiled at his young friend and said:

 

⸺A hero without a quirk, hum?  You need to work hard, all right?

 

The boy's smile that day assured him that he had said the right thing.

 

⸺The exams are approaching. - He said as he sat in the guarded place, accepting the weekly bag of cat treats, though he insisted he didn't have to. - U.A?

 

⸺U.A. - The boy nodded enthusiastically. - Support department.

 

⸺I thought you wanted the hero class? -  He asked, confused.

 

⸺I won't be able to enter without a quirk and without equipment. - He shrugged. - But I'll be transferred after the festival.

 

He said it with such conviction that he believed it.

 

⸺Two months then. Are you working hard? Good. I know you'll get in, young Midoriya.

 

He had to blink with the boy's smile, that smiled could end up blinding him with all that glow.

 

⸺I hope you're taking care of yourself. - His expression reminded both Nana and Chiyo at that moment that he felt like a child being scolded. -You look less skinny but more exhausted than usual.

 

⸺Ah, my job... You see...hn.

 

He was justifying himself to a child.

 

⸺Well, killing yourself won't help anyone. If you die no one will do your job.

 

He paused at that, slightly stunned.

 

⸺Uncle Taka told me that from time to time we have to entrust our work to other people too, Yagi-san, doing everything alone limits us. I'm sure you can get someone to help.

 

Ridiculously large doe eyes stared at him and he just nodded, still stunned.

 

When he got home that day, he fed the cat - with its golden fur, which to his dismay, young Midoriya had named SmolMight - and sat on the armchair in the living room.

 

Thinking.

 

"Killing yourself won't help anyone. If you die no one will do your job."

 

It was as if her answer to a question he didn't remember asking had hit him.

 

"Every once in a while, we have to entrust our work to other people too, Yagi-san, doing everything alone limits us."

 

He sighed in resignation and called Sir Nighteye.

 

It was time to meet young Togata.

 

...............................................

 

Naomasa Tsukauchi was having a complicated night.

 

Or months, actually.

 

⸺Eraserhead has arrived, it seems your little friend was right again.

 

⸺He is not my friend. - He sighed, knowing it was useless, in that department no one respected him. - Let him in.

 

His only consolation was that Aizawa looked as exhausted as he was.

 

⸺How was it?

 

The man sat unceremoniously throwing a folder on his desk and going to the coffee machine.

 

⸺As he said. Three people have been seized. They are waiting for the interrogation.

 

He grunted an answer. Not that he wasn't happy to have these people arrested, but it was a little dismaying that a vigilante was doing the job of the police and the heroes. And doing well.

 

In the last two months that Noraneko had become active, he had not only succeeded in evading the police and heroes but constantly left clues to unresolved cases for them. The little shit was always right too.

 

He often wondered if the clue about the disappearance of children without quirks years ago had been him as well. The approach was similar enough to make him think, and perhaps that was why he had given it a chance. It was the hesitation at that time that probably prevented them from solving the mystery about the disappearances which led to the case to get cold.

 

That had been the case in which Aizawa had worked harder, too, for reasons that he wasn't sure about, but knew they were personal.

 

⸺The bastard always seems to be right. - He heard the grumble and had to agree. -And he was there, the little shit.

 

He raised his head curious and surprised.

 

⸺Did you saw him?

 

⸺Little shit managed to ran away from me.

 

Did Aizawa look impressed?

 

⸺He's a criminal.

 

⸺I know. –  The hero looked at him like he was an idiot. — Though he does the job better than some heroes that I know.

 

There was no way to disagree with that.

 

⸺You fought Nora. – He repeated still curious. It had never happened before. The little bastard always escaped before someone saw him.

 

⸺He ran away, there was no fight. Your friend is very slippery. And 'Nora'?

 

⸺He is not my friend. – He corrected automatically, ignoring the last part. –

Did you find out his quirk? Something?

 

⸺ Whatever it is, he does well without it, I made no difference in that. – He tossed the disposable cup in the trash, and as usual, that was his blunt farewell. Before leaving, he paused at the door, his face thoughtful. – He's very small.

 

He nodded, that's what they always said.

 

⸺If I didn't know better, I'd say Noraneko is a child.

 

⸺Impossible.

 

Aizawa shrugged and said goodbye with a flourish.

 

Nora, a child? Naomasa shook his head. As if it were possible.

 

.................................................. ......................

 

Aizawa was having a rough night.

 

Or months, actually.

 

Maybe it all started when he learned that another stupid blonde would start teaching at U.A. And not any stupid blond, but one that would draw unnecessary attention to school, and danger to his students. And on top of that, now he knew the secret about the near end of the 'Symbol of Peace', a fact that if discovered by the public would shake the pillars of today's society.

 

And that would be discovered eventually, no secrets lasted long, especially with the idiot being so irresponsible about it.

 

Of course, his mood also involved the little shit that had taken his life, the vigilante who was never caught. And to make matters worse, he had to his horror, strangely accepted that he was good at what he did.

 

Someone who didn't know him might even think that he had become attached. But thankfully he wasn't Tensei or Hizashi, to cling to sarcastic criminals who didn't hurt people and still help the police, and did the work in dangerous, abandoned neighbourhoods that most heroes ignored for not paying enough.

 

Shouta Aizawa wasn't one of those, thank goodness.

 

His mood was also involved with a certain cold case. Just as the disappearances abruptly stopped, police received a hot clue about the case but lost a lot of time pondering the truth and when Aizawa was called they found an abandoned hiding place and evidence destroyed. The place gave the impression that experiments had been performed there. Some children's DNA was found, and over the weeks that followed several bodies emerged in such a state that only DNA examination had helped in recognition. These details never hit the media to avoid panic and some of the missing children were never found.

 

Izuku Midoriya was one of those. No sign of DNA or body, and he was relieved, but it would be a mystery he always carried with him, like a weight. From time to time he would visit his mother in the hospital, but with the face of his pursuing son, the sense of failure in his conscience. Two years, almost three and nothing.

 

A day before the U.A exams he received the answer to this mystery, and ironically at the hands of the annoying blonde who was primarily the cause of his bad mood in recent months.

 

⸺Shouta. Hey! Shouta – Hizashi, the idiot, had woken him up during the teachers' meeting about the test that would come with a worried look. –  You're more tired than usual.

 

He grunted an answer. Why wouldn't people let him sleep?

 

⸺ Is this about that case? – the other looked worried. –  Still about Midoriya?

 

⸺What about young Midoriya?

 

Shouta opened his eyes quickly. Because of course Hizashi couldn't speak quietly, whether in uniform or not, he would always be Present Mic, but the other stupid blonde talking that name had shocked him.

 

Hizashi had also blinked, stunned.

 

⸺ What? –All Might looked at them defensively as they just stared at him in silence. – Are you talking about another Midoriya?

 

⸺What Midoriya are you talking about?

 Aizawa grabbed the man's arm as if to prevent him from running away. At this point, other teachers looked at them confused.

 

⸺Um, Izuku Midoriya?

 

⸺Holy shit!

 

He had to agree with Hizashi. Holy shit indeed.

 

...............................................

 

⸺Was he in Hosu all this time?

 

All Might looked a little intimidated, if possible. Hizashi couldn't blame him, not with Shouta like that. They had practically dragged the other hero with them into one of the rooms to interrogate him.

 

Hizashi over the years had heard a lot about Izuku Midoriya. The little one had made a big impact on Shouta, especially after he had disappeared from the map. Hizashi had he watched over the years how much he searched for the boy, and to know that he was right under their noses? It was a bit hilarious.

 

⸺I don't know if all the time, but at least since a few months.

 The hero number one answered almost shyly.

⸺I searched for him for almost three years, if he was in Japan, I would have found him.

 

⸺He lives with his uncle, maybe he uses his last name officially in the records? It's not uncommon, and young Midoriya seems to be confused by the name sometimes as if he didn't know how to present himself.

 

⸺Do you think I'm an idiot?

 

⸺Calm down, Shouta. He didn't say that. All Might ...

 

⸺Toshinori.

 

⸺Toshinori-san, Shouta has researched the boy for all these years, schools, hospitals, with his surname, and with his uncle's, Hayashi. Even if he had returned only a few months ago, he would have seen something as soon as he entered the country.

 

⸺Hum ... – the hero pondered for a few seconds, and Hizashi was sure that Shouta would burst a vein in the forehead at that point. –  I may be wrong, but young Midoriya told me that his uncle's last surname was Shimizu. Takashi Shimizu, not Hayashi.

 

⸺This makes no sense.

 

⸺He commented about his uncle being a widower. Maybe he uses the deceased wife's last name?

 

⸺This ... is not a common custom in Japan. –  He said hesitantly. Shouta had stopped walking and was standing staring at the hero who seemed uncomfortable with the scrutiny. – Shouta?

 

⸺He had no marriage record.

 

⸺Not in Japan, maybe?

 

That was it. Shouta was going to burst a vein.

 

⸺There was no way to know, Shouta.

 

One detail, one small detail. They had had a hard job digging anything about Takashi Hayashi, but they had found more about him than about Hisashi Midoriya.

Hayashi had left Japan at 18, returned on an undetermined date. His job abroad was unknown. When he returned, he worked on various things but had come and gone over the years. His quirk was the opposite of his twin sister, he repelled objects. He had visited his nephew only once in his life, when he was born.

 

⸺If it's any consolation, Young Midoriya seems to have a good relationship with his Uncle.

⸺ There's no way of knowing that.

 

⸺ It is a guess, then.

 

⸺ There is no way...

 

⸺Shouta!

 

He saw him grit his teeth, and then he sighed.

 

⸺How is he?

 

The other hero smiled affectionately.

 

⸺ He is a good boy. Smart, a bit eccentric. He gave me a cat and is a true mother hen. It seems that he has a habit of adopting strays, cats and people.

 

Shouta listened attentively, as he saw him do in few things in his life.

 

⸺He wants to be a hero. He will enrol in U.A at the Support department and transfer later. He is sure he will make it. – The man paused and smiled. – And me too.

 

Shouta sighed, calmer. Probably knowing that he would see the boysoon and check for himself.

 

—His mother has been in a coma for years. He created a tunnel in the rubble to save her, I'm sure he would have willingly visited her. If this uncle is so good why not let him come when they returned? Why is he hiding him like that?

 

All Might seemed surprised by this information.

 

⸺I didn't know about that. But he always has flowers when I see him on the train, he said it was for his mother, but I thought she was dead so I didn't ask.

 

⸺With flowers? Shouta, do you think he was visiting his mother? But how?

 

His answer was the other banging his forehead on the door in a frustrated way.

 

⸺ Problem child.

 

Hizashi would laugh at the situation, but he had a lot of love for his life at the moment.

................................................

Katsuki made one last review of the notes that night. He pulled off his uniform, did his anger management exercises - which didn't work much- and went to sleep earlier than usual after practising conversation with his father. It was necessary, he needed someone to help him control the volume when he wasn't with his hearing aids.

 

That afternoon he had visited Aunt Inko and told her about the exam, that he would soon see the nerd. The flowers were there again, this time without the damn Hyacinth. He didn't know why he was hiding, but he would soon find out.

 

He stared at the hearing aid that Deku had given to him on the nightstand. Despite the years, it was still relatively conserved and he had found the adjustment lock for when he grew up. Even being ridiculous with those ears, people didn't comment on it in front of him.

 

He had been thinking about him a lot lately when overnight people started wearing very similar headphones. All because of a certain vigilante who had emerged from nowhere.

 

"It's not like this model is exclusive to the nerd." He pondered.

 

Even though in all these years he has never, ever seen anything like it, until this guy comes from hell were. Even the neon lights - he almost blew the thing up when he found it - that could be turned on in the dark was the same.

"I must be imagining this crap."

 

The little shit had come up just as the flowers began to appear ... he wanted to be wrong and that everything was just a damn coincidence. Deku would not be so stupid.

 

"Who am I kidding?"

 

At least no one looked at his aids anymore. Not that he cared about that. He would use the damn thing anyway.

 

⸺Tomorrow.  – He whispered into the darkness, even without hearing his own voice. –  You better be there, nerd.

 

.................................................. ........

 

Tomorrow.

 

Hitoshi checked his notes, separated his uniform and laid with his cats. Erasercat nestled in his belly, feeling his anxiety, for sure.

 

He ran his fingers through the soft fur and wondered if there was anything, he could have done differently but couldn't imagine what. The theory? He was confident about it. The practice? It would depend on what the test would be.

 

His future would depend on this test.

 

"What if I fail?"

 

That treacherous thought.

 

If so, the sports festival would be his last chance.

 

⸺Let's try not come to this, Erasercat.

 

A meow was his answer.

 

Tomorrow. It would be tomorrow.

 

.................................................. .....

 

Tomorrow.

 

Izuku checked his project one last time, pleased. The Support department exam consisted of the theory test, and then a separate test. They would first have to take a paper project that caught the bank's attention, and then they had to build something on time with whatever material they had available.

 

Izuku, fortunately, had learned to work with garbage very well before he could get his hands on anything better. So, he should be confident, but it was Izuku, so of course, he was a nervous wreck.

 

Fight with criminals? Near-death experiences? Runaway from Eraserhead? Okay.

 

A test?

 

⸺I am gonna puke.

 

Feeling his anxiety, the cats huddled around him in bed, some on the floor. He was sure there were more cats there than when he left, some of them brought friends, and he had no heart to send them away.

 

When Uncle Taka arrived, he would not be happy to see that the numbers had tripled.

 

"If he comes back."

 

⸺He will come back. – He whispered, looking in the phone the last message they had exchanged a month ago.

 

Just a few weeks after they returned to Japan, he was gone, asking him to not to do anything stupid and just raise his head to light when he gave the signal that all was well. Most worrying was that he had made sure to emancipate him before he left. Even if it was just a precaution.

 

He never went so long without news. Even though he had taught him to look at himself, Takashi had inherited his mother's excessive worry, but with an extra dose of paranoia that had left them alive for all these years despite all the complications that had arisen.

 

He had absorbed this paranoia a little.

 

⸺He will come back.

 

He assured himself.

 

He had not followed the instructions very well, he admitted. Izuku was never exemplary in this, and the years had not made him much better. Takashi must have known that it would be impossible for him to be in Japan and not go to see his mom, even if he had been extra careful.

 

Except for the part of Kacchan, he didn't need to know that.

 

He was not too excited to explain to Takashi how he had become a vigilante in the neighbourhood. Although he was not the best example of this either, he had at least that justification at hand.

 

⸺He will kill me.

 

He got ready for bed, trying not to step on any of the cats on his legs. It was rare to sleep early like this, but he had cut the patrol in half. He wouldn't risk being late at all.

 

It was tomorrow.

 

Tomorrow he would take the test for U.A.

 

Tomorrow would probably see Kacchan.

 

There was still some fear, he knew why they had been hiding, but his uncle had said he could have that, at least that. It was their agreement.

 

Soon he would be in U.A, surrounded by heroes.

 

Trying to hide that he was a vigilante.

 

⸺I'm regretting so many life choices.

 

In the darkness, he pressed the button on his cell phone, looking at his last message.

 

Taka: If I don't arrive on time, good luck with your exam.

 

It was his permission.

 

His permission to finally resume the life he had left behind at twelve.

Tomorrow.

Chapter Text

"According to the rules of Isaac Newton's classical deterministic mechanics, it is possible to determine the spatial position of two gravitational bodies. The behaviour of three gravitational bodies can also be predicted, but more data is entered to perform the calculations necessary to determine this position. The more bodies are added, the more unpredictable deviations begin to occur. "

The Chaos Theory

 

Katsuki knew that the chances of wanting to blow someone up that day would be high, given that he would see Deku. What he didn't know was that Deku would have so much competition in being blown up.

 

He had arrived earlier than most because he was responsible, contrary to what many believed, thank you very much. And he had been waiting for the damn nerd to appear, getting more and more pissed that he couldn't turn down the volume on his device since the bunch of idiots who came into the room didn't know how to shut up, but if he turned it down he could lose some of the instructions. And to make matters worse after all these years just now the damn device seemed to want to make trouble.

 

It didn't help that more than one moron came to ask him if 'he was a fan of Nora too'. At least one glance from him would make them run. He could almost smile about it if he hadn't been so pissed that the nerd wouldn't show up already.

 

His mother had looked at him with that look of disbelief when he had commented on seeing Deku today, he knew no one believed him.

"If that little shit causes me anxiety he'll regret so much."

 

Sitting in front of him was a round-faced girl and a guy with pointy teeth and an annoyingly optimistic smile, which would not have caught his attention if he hadn't accidentally caught a piece of their conversation while trying to adjust the volume of his hearing aids.  

 

Is this a cube? I had never seen one like this!

 

The smiling idiot asked staring at a strange magic cube in the hand of round face. He glanced at their lips, trying to get past the muffled words. At least that would be something to focus on and not blow anyone up.

Me neither! 

Round face replied with a laugh. 

I helped a boy who almost fell flat on his face earlier with my quirk. See, I can take the gravity off anything that I touch with five fingers.

Wow, that's a cool quirk. Mine, by comparison, is pretty boring.  I can harden any part of my body.

Katsuki had a joke on his tongue for that, but he was going to refrain. Because he wouldn't admit it out loud, but it was an interesting quirk, he didn't know what the idiot was complaining about.

Oh, thanks! But your quirk is amazing too.

 Did those idiots think they were there for an exam or to make friends? They were competition, for God's sake.

They reminded him of the nerd. And where the hell was the nerd, anyway?

So this guy gave you the cube?

—Yes! And he made it. Isn't it amazing?

Katsuki stopped what he was doing and looked more closely.

It sure is. He will take the exam too, right?

For the support department. We didn't talk much, but he had a lot of things in his hands and I helped him take it to the room where their exams take place.

I didn't know that we were separated for the writing test.

They have some extra questions.

Smiley shivered at that as if it were something terrifying. Katsuki again would have rolled his eyes if he had not been paying more and more attention. It was like a radar. 

He was a very eccentric fellow, but he seemed quite intelligent. Kinda cute too. 

Smiley raised his eyebrow suggestively and round face flushed and began to stutter. Ridiculous. 

I mean, he has this messy green hair and looked tried. Kind of a plain face, if it wasn't for the big scar and...

A radar for Deku.

Hey! Round face!

They both looked at him, startled. Katsuki had practically thrown his face over them in the auditorium chair.

Round face !?

The girl spat in surprise.

Katsuki ignored her and began to speak, moving his hands as a reflex even with the device on. The other two looked surprised at this.

That guy you saw, did he say his name?

What-

Just answer the damn question!

Hey hey dude, no need to scream.

I didn't talk to you, Smiley.

For some reason, the other boy blushed. Round face finally came out of the daze and answered.

He did say to call him Izuku, I mean ...

That's very intimate. 

Smilie commented and the girl blushed even more.

Katsuki ignored them, sitting back down, trying not to blow anything up again.

"Deku ..." he growled, feeling a vein rise in his forehead from the stress.

At least he knew the little Gremlin was there. And that he would take the test in another ward. So he had decided to go through the back doors of the heroes course.

He just had to finish his test and find - hunt - the bastard. He knew the heroes class took the physical test first then the others, so he would have time to find the idiot.

Hey, you, with cat ears.

The smiling idiot caught his eye, both of them staring at him curiously. Katsuki grunted in response, trying to ignore them.

It didn't work.

What did you do with your hands, and your voice is kinda off ... you ... um … He pointed at her ear. You know?

 

Deaf. He snapped sharply. Got a problem with that?

 

And you want to be a hero-

 

That was it, he was going to blow someone up. 

 

-This is so manly!

 

Huh?!

 

He must have spoken too loudly, the device was still unadjusted. Round face covered her ears and some people looked in their direction.

 

You kind of have that vibe of being cool and all, and then you can't hear and wear cat ears without caring about anyone! This is manly too! You can do it, dude!

 

Katsuki blinked a little stunned. Or maybe it was the excessive gleam in the other's smile. Round face also smiled waving her hand excitedly.

 

 He couldn't stand a Deku, and now he had two more.

 

His day just got harder from there. 

 

He was relieved when they called them to start the test, because for some reason the two Dekus thought he wanted to be their friend, and seemed too determined for his liking.

 

Inside the room, he wanted to blow one more person. A guy with glasses in his nose looking like a weird robot who got a problem with his hearing aids thinking they were headphones and that he was trying to get around the system and some shit like that.

 

A teacher had to be called in to make sure that, yes, he had passed the inspection, and that this was not a headphone.

 

The guy apologized and bowed, dismayed with himself. Katsuki thought he was going to start poking his head into the wall to punish himself. 

And not exploding someone became harder and harder.

 

After the test, he had to share space with a Pikachu and a girl with skunk eyes, and he really didn't know what the hell was wrong with those people wanting to be friendly with the damn competition.

 

It was with much relief that he found that the test was at least to explode robots.

 

He had to blow something up.

 

Hey Hey!

 

Round face and pointy teeth were waving good luck among the students, drawing attention not only to them. Glasses was still trying to apologize and Katsuki was so done with these people. 

 

In another universe, Izuku Midoriya's presence had taken Katsuki to another zone to separate students from the same school, and a different redistribution of candidates had occurred for it. Katsuki had destroyed robots, passing first, and in that zone a boy had jumped on a giant robot to save someone, securing his place, and being saved in return by the one who had saved first, also securing her place in the class of heroes.

In this universe, Izuku Midoriya at this moment was presenting his project to an attentive Power Loader.

In this universe, someone else would need to be the hero.

 

.................................................. .................

 

Izuku was having a stressful day.

 

And that said a lot about his day, as he often jumped from buildings running away from villains, cops, and heroes apart. And also that he was worried about his missing uncle who had gone out to do something possibly dangerous and illegal. 

Anyway, he figured it would be little intense to be surrounded by some of those heroes from whom he would escape in the dead of night, trying not to let anyone know about his living situation at the moment. 

But no more intense than this girl. He had just met her, but he was sure that if he went looking for the word intense in the dictionary it would have a picture of Hatsume.

I'm Mei Hatsume! Oh ho? What we have here. 

Intense zoom eyes scanned his project unceremoniously, invading his personal space as soon as he entered the room indicated for the first test.

It was a smaller room than the others because it had fewer candidates. He counted in twenty of them, and most looked tired or anxious, except for Hatsume. He catalogued their different quirks casually, already a very common habit. There was a girl whose hair and eyes seemed to change colour, and a four-armed guy - quite useful for working on a lot of things, for sure - in the front chairs. 

 

They looked pretty traumatized with Hatsume

 

Oh ho, interesting, very interesting.

 

He would have blushed at the compliment if I had not been in a state of compensatory euphoria for lack of sleep. He wasn't used to dealing with people his age being friendly, and it had happened twice in one day, and with girls, it was kind of weird.

 

And yours? 

He asked interestedly. 

Um, propulsion boots. And carbon fibre. To make it lighter-

 

-and tougher!

 

Hatsume was a genius. A genius of  geniuses. And insane.

 

Do you know what material you will use in yours? I have a suggestion.

 

Izuku thought he had found his soul sister.

 

For some reason, the other candidates, who had only met them for a few minutes, seemed scared of it.

 

So when they had submitted their projects, and the third part began he was especially pleased to share the workbench with her. The two had stared at the pieces in the middle of the room with their eyes gleaming, and when the hero Power Loader set the time, they smiled excitedly at each other, sealing a legendary friendship in the society of heroes.

 

.................................................. ...

 

For some reason, several people felt a shiver down their spine at that time.

 

.................................................. ....

 

Shouta, Maijima confirmed! 

Hizashi announced entering the assessment room of the practice test with a bang. 

Izuku Shimizu is auditioning for the support department.

Aizawa felt a weight coming off his back at that moment. And that confirmed the complication with the last names as well.

The other stupid blonde looked at him with an 'I said it' face that he immediately ignored.

The tests there end half an hour after this, so after here you can go talk to the guy. I warned Maijima to hold him there. He also said that he is doing very well.

He could almost feel pride vibrate in the hero number one. It was kind of ridiculous as if they had praised his son or something.

With that resolved, he could focus on what he had to do. Seeing students smashing robots in a quiz that would exclude several people with great potential and leave those who mostly had a qualified quirk for something physical. No wonder he had kicked out a whole class the previous semester.

He had failed to enter the hero class through this test and was transferred in the first year after the sports festival. At least that still existed, but it didn't make this system any less unfair, and it would make him bitter until they finally changed it.

This year he had seen a familiar face on one of the participants. It was hard to remember all the people he saved, but that was a case apart, he had seen him still many times, whenever he visited Inko Midoriya the boy was in the hospital, even if they never saw each other directly.

He was curious, he admitted. Like Midoriya, he had also left an impression, with a powerful quirk already at that age, and enough intelligence to save himself during an extreme situation.

He would watch Katsuki Bakugou closely. 

.............................

 

Once he discovered the nature of the practice test, Hitoshi knew he had no way of passing it. His quirk was useless with robots.

 

In one universe, he had gone to the field and stood frozen right in the doorway, unable to set foot in the zone knowing it would be pointless, his mind embittered by the unfairness of the situation, to have come so far for nothing.

 

In this universe, he forgot an umbrella and met a certain vigilante who made an impression on what he wanted to be. He went to the field and tried not to be crushed in the process by pieces of metal, and began removing candidates from the line of fire or rubble in the meantime.

 

The dojo training he'd been required to attend in the last few months after being beaten in that alley had given him enough stamina not to see anyone became a pancake in front of him, and when needed he would use quirk to get some idiot out of the way.  It was as impressive how a flashy quirk and the desire to destroy pieces of metal could make people forget what was around them.

 

At least he was doing something.

 

He was saved once by a guy his age, an idiot who goes out at night risking his life for the people. He wasn't an asshole not to do the same if he had the chance, even if it was a competition. 

 

'That's not fair,' he thought bitterly, dragging out of the rubble a blond fellow who had used an electric quirk to destroy an insane number of robots, and now looked like a brain-fried idiot.

 

'It's not fair, but when life was fair to you, huh Hitoshi?' He pondered. 'Never was. And whining never helped. '

 

Expectations only resulted in disappointment.

 

.................................................

 

We have a rescue specialist in block B. 

 

Nemuri commented, pointing to a candidate who was helping a boy out of the rubble. 

He has helped virtually every candidate in his zone.

 

Aizawa focused on him as he noticed that no villain points had been made, searching for his information he saw the reason: Brainwashing quirk. Not very effective with robots.

 

"I hate this system."

 

Comput his rescue points then.

 Nezu encouraged, his eyes twinkling as he stared at the monitors.

 

In zone A, you need to send more robots. This candidate destroyed more than half, it will not be fair to others.

 

Aizawa saw who he was pointing at. 

 

Such a powerful quirk. - Hizashi marvelled. Hey, this boy, I know him, is he ... that one? The guy who took shelter in a car?

 

He nodded in response, seeing the flow of robots in the zone increase for the candidates. He could see some very good ones in that zone, maybe this is why Nezu had agreed to drop more robots in it.

 

In a few minutes, we will launch the zero-pointers.

 

.................................................. ....

 

Katsuki had lost count of how many robots he had exploded but was no less stressed. The result of some explosions had generated an electrical current in some of the scraps and he had discovered that electricity and its previously defective hearing aid were not friendly.

 

He couldn't turn it off in the middle of the battle, not without the risk of losing a robot coming towards him from behind, but the noises seemed increasingly intense and uncomfortable. He would end that day with a terrible headache.

 

For a moment he regretted a little not having listened to the old hag and coming with the other device, one that had been maintained in recent years.

 

It was almost with relief that he saw the giant robot coming in announcing the near end of the test. He had no doubt he'd passed, he had destroyed more robots than any idiot there.

 

When he saw the others begin to run like ants, he prepared to make his way back to the entrance, perhaps catching some leftover robot.

 

One look, just a brief look back, and he saw her.

 

Round face was trapped in the rubble, right in the way of the giant robot, one hand raised in a plea for help. Images of a collapsing building came to his mind. Screams, despair. One hand slipping from his. Concrete falling on top of his head.

 

His heart raced and he could feel the onset of a panic attack.

 

"Not now, not now!"

 

Round face eyes met his own, an obvious call for help even though he couldn't hear her from that distance.

 

"You want to be a hero who wins, right Kacchan? And who will save people?"

 

Damn it! Damn it! Deku!

 

He propelled himself with the explosions and flew.

 

.................................................. ...............................

 

Ochaco was having a hard time. She didn't know if she had scored enough points, had used her quirk too much, and now she was paying the price for it.

 

For a moment, trapped in the rubble and watching the others run, she thought no one would come to her rescue, and it was one of the worst sensations of her life.

 

Even when she met the familiar red eyes, she thought for a few seconds that he wouldn't come. His face seemed out of breath for a moment, his wide eyes seemed distant.

 

But he came.

 

And that was an insane quirk. She had seen him destroy robots earlier, but now he looked like a missile toward her. In seconds he was there.

 

Shit. If this thing explodes, it'll fall on us. Don't move. 

She heard him growl and closed her eyes at the sound of explosions in the rubble on her leg.

 

He tugged her not so gently, and as she staggered to her feet with her useless leg. At the same moment, the shadow covered them and they looked up, finding a giant hand coming towards them.

 

There was no time. She raised a  hand to try to use her quirk on the robot, even with little hope that it would work on something so large. The boy also seemed to be preparing to take the momentum to do something.

 

It was not necessary.

 

She had not seen him approach, but he was there. The body like a stone, holding the giant hand from above them both. It was the nice boy from before, Kirishima.

 

Ochaco saw her chance and tapped on the other boy's shoulder taking away his gravity. With her other hand, she grasped Kirishima, removing his gravity just in time to free him from the robot that was coming at them again.

 

Go!

 

She didn't need to explain further, and the boy had used the explosions and propelled them off the line of attack. Without gravity, the three of them had practically flown across the arena, falling close to the other candidates in a strange pile on the floor.

 

At that moment the siren announced the end of the test.

 

.................................................. ...........

 

-That was clumsiest rescue I've ever seen in my life.

 Nemuri blinked, staring at the monitors.

 

The others also didn't seem to know what to say.

 

The number one hero was smiling at the screen, and a state of ecstasy that made Aizawa irritated with all the brilliance.

 

You sure look happy.

 

They saved each other. If this is a reflection of the coming generation, can you imagine how amazing they could be? It is inspiring.

 

He never thought there would ever be a day that would agree with All Might, but there it was.

 

Although better planning could have been done. Did they really think they would let robots crush candidates? In a test?

 

Problem children.

 

.....................................

 

Ochaco stood for a few seconds in a daze. Her leg hurt, and she had scratches from their landing. She released her quirk and felt the sickness taking over, throwing up on the two boys.

 

Oh my God, I'm sorry!

 

They grunted something, Kirishima was moaning holding the arm that had stopped the robot, and the other boy looked like he was going to yell at her, but his expression suddenly changed.

 

Hey, are you alright man? 

Kirishima asked, still with an expression of pain.

 

The boy put his hands to his ears, seeming to try to remove the strange headphones he wore, a loud, throaty moan coming from him.

 

And then he screamed. 

 

Kirishima was faster than her, ripping off the other's headphones. They heard a sharp sound coming from the device that made some candidates also cover their ears. Kirishima threw the object far away, hissing as he was shocked by it.

 

The boy collapsed.

 

.................................................. .....

 

Maijima, also known as the hero Power Loader was impressed, pleased, and a little fearful.

 

Occasionally they would get their hands on the support department in some genius. After all, some of the best mechanics in the heroism industry had come from U.A.

 

This year he was sure they had gotten their hands on two of those. Some candidate projects were amazing, others needed a little more work on the feasibility, but those two ...

 

Mei Hatsume and Izuku Shimizu. The most impressive projects of that year. Hatsume's would earn a few more points for the right choice of material, but Shimizu's got more attention. It was not every day that the 15-year-old designed a device to protect against emission quirks. If he could put this forward, it could be revolutionary in the right hands as well as dangerous in the wrong ones.

 

And in the bench project, the two had also exceeded themselves. What about the timing they worked with as if they'd known each other for years and not just a few hours? It was awesome.

 

Two geniuses, who depending on the outcome of their theory exam - though there was no doubt that they had passed - would be in his class next year.

 

The funny part was that they were 'that kind of genius'. The other candidates looked scared or stunned at their intensity, especially Hatsume's. It was what Aizawa defined as problem children.

 

He smiled at their projects.

 

"My problem children now."

 

Wait for the results in two weeks, you can go now. Not you Shimizu.

 

The boy stared at him in surprise from where he was being dragged by Hatsume.

 

Me?

 

Yes. Hatsume, you can go.

 

He felt a little pity for his nervous expression. The boy must surely be confused. He was curious about what Aizawa wanted with him but he would have to wait to find out. 

 

Hatsume looked upset to have to go but promised that she would show 'her babies' to him later.

 

Did I do something wrong?

 

Shimizu's big green eyes stared at him beggingly. The ruffled hair, the freckles, the scar on his face, every detail created a setting that he was sure if Nemuri had been there she would have put the boy in her arms and comforted him against the bad world.

 

Was it his quirk? He looked like a defenceless animal.

 

He shook his head blinking in a daze, folding his arms so as not to hug the candidate he barely knew.

No. But one of the teachers is curious about you and asked you to wait here.

 

For some reason the boy blanched dangerously, leaning back in his chair.

 

Are you alright?

 

I need some water. I think my pressure ...

 

Did you eat today? You need to take care of yourself. Sit for a while, I'll get the water.

 

Shimizu obeyed. Maijima hurried, worried that he would have to call Recovery girl there.

 

When he returned Shimizu was gone from the room and the window was open.

 

Hmm?

 

..............................

 

That was it, he had been discovered. Not one day, he was not even a student yet, and they had discovered him. They knew he was Noraneko and he would be arrested and Takashi would be very disappointed when he had to break into jail to save him and-

 He whimpered trying to find the exit.

Of course, he had to get lost in U.A. He walked in the most dangerous neighbourhoods and knew all the ways. A school and he got lost in there.

A few minutes running, terror and anxiety abating, a voice very much like Kacchan's rose in his head.

'Deku, do you think they would have sent you to wait in the room if they knew you were a vigilante? They would have locked you up, idiot. '

 

Hmm. Fair. Maybe he reacted a little too dramatically. If he didn't want to be a hero so bad he would never stop feet there again. Would he have an attack whenever any hero wanted to talk to him? That could be a problem.

 

The cube boy!

 

A cheerful voice snapped him out of his thoughts and he stared straight ahead as he walked down a corridor. 

 

He waved like an idiot. It was the nice girl who had prevented him from falling on his face earlier and helped him get his things to the exam wing. 

Beside her was a boy with black hair and pointy teeth, one of his arms was on a splint.

 

What are you doing here? 

She asked as she got close enough, a bright smile on her flushed face.

 

I got lost. And you? Are you guys all right?

 

Hey, I'm Eijirou Kirishima. 

 The boy smiled waving his free hand. 

And the arm? It is no big deal.

 

He broke into three parts stopping a giant robot. 

 The girl countered with the same smile as before, looking strangely excited about it.

 

Hmm?!

 

What kind of fuck up test U.A have for heroes class?

 

It's almost all healed. I just need a check-up later.

 

Kirishima saved me! the girl said. Actually, we saved each other? It's complicated. And is there another boy who also sort of saved us? I overused my quirk and got stuck in the rubble.

 

Are you alright?

 

Brand new. But this giant robot came and was going to step on me, but this boy came flying and got me out of there. He has this cool quirk, and he exploded his feet and came flying -

 

"He exploded his feet " It looked familiar.

 

— - But then he had a problem with his hearing aids, and we're waiting here for him to be released to say thanks.

 

Very, very familiar.

 

Kacchan?

 

Kacchan? 

The pretty girl asked confused.

  Is that his name? Do you know each other?

 

Oh, look at the time! I have to go. Nice to see you guys, and watch out for that arm huh. Good luck and Plus Ultra!

 

Before he could step away from the other two who stared at him in confusion, the ward door opened. He could hear someone fighting inside, and when he looked up, he ran into his rival friend-something-undefined-from-childhood.

 

They stared at each other in silence for seconds, Kacchan still holding the door open, red eyes surprised. There were a lot of feelings going on there, some that he would rather not try to unpack for their sanity.

 

And then Kacchan narrowed his eyes, an almost throaty sound coming out of his mouth.

 

Deku!?



Chapter Text

“An attractor is a point to which any object passing close enough to its orbit converges”

 

Chaos theory

 

 

 

—Deku ?!

 

—K.kacchan!

 

Ochaco had possibly had one of the strangest days of her life. Exciting, revealing, scary, but most of all, weird.

 

Weird was a word that defined this moment as well. Which shouldn't have been a surprise, since she was talking about the two most peculiar guys she'd ever met. And apparently, they knew each other. And they knew each other well.

 

—What are they doing?

 

Kirishima whispered beside her, looking fascinated.

 

For a second she thought the explosive boy was going to try to explode the cute guy who seemed to have drunk too much coffee. He had growled — she didn't know people could do that — and cornered the other into the hallway wall in two long strides, with a leg kabedon and all.

 

It was like watching a dorama scene taking place in real life.

 

Kirishima seemed ready to intervene - the nice guy he was - when the two strangers began to move their hands at a speed they didn't think possible, in a conversation that involved signs and more growls of "Deku!" and explosions and stressed outs "Kacchan!"

 

—I have no idea. — she admitted.— I want a subtitle quirk now. That had to exist, right?

They both heard a scandalized gasp as the blonde began to repeat the same gesture on the smaller boy's face with explicit emphasis.

 

—Oh! I got this one! — Kirishima said happily. — He told him to go ...

Ochaco covered his mouth quickly, flushed to the roots of her hair.

— Yeah, I got it too.

 

The cute guy pouted and replied with another gesture that ... yeah, she got that one too. The explosive boy paused, looking flustered and outraged by it, as if receiving a curse word in response was absurd.

 

Then he shouted, grabbed the other by the back of the neck, and they walked down the hall, still exchanging indignant gestures and shouts of "Kacchans!" and "Dekus."

 

They stood there, paralyzed in the hallway until Recovery girl poked her head in the door to scold them for the noise and send them home.

 

—What a day.

 

She had to agree with Kirishima about it. What a day, indeed.

—Hey, Uraraka?

 

Kirishima commented as they headed for the gates, hoping to make it in time to catch the next train. They didn't live in the same prefecture, but close enough, they found out, to catch the train together. Ochaco was glad she had apparently found such an interesting friend, and hoped the two would pass the exams. The other two weird boys too. The more the merrier.

 

—Hum?

 

 —I've never used my quirk like that until today.

 

—Yeah, same here!

 —I mean, I didn't realize that much at the time, but it looked so ... stronger? Argh, I can't explain it well.

 

He whimpered frustrated, but Ochaco got it. She really did.

 

She had never used her quirk on so many people at the same time, even more, exhausted as she was. Sure, she had blacked out as soon as she got to the infirmary, and she still felt a little sick, but it was nevertheless impressive.

 

—And ... at the time I didn't even think about it! It just...felt right, you know what I mean?

She nodded, she understood that too.

—You just moved on instinct. —She scratched her head. — It's very different, right? It was like overstepping by necessity.

 

Her friend nodded enthusiastically, eyes wide. Kirishima was like sunshine, really. He was a person who she was happy to have met today. They had bumped into each other when she came back from the support department building and found him lost on campus.

 

Ochaco had met so many interesting people today, and she hadn't even joined U.A! At least, not yet, she hoped.

 

—Thank you for saving my life, Kirishima.

She stopped and bowed.

Kirishima widened his eyes, then waved his arms awkwardly, and bowed as well.

—Thanks for saving me too! It was the manliest thing I ever saw!

 

—Manly?!

 

She spat and the boy laughed.

 

Already at the station, that's when she thought about it, remembering the other two.

 

—You know, Kirishima, do you wanna learn sign language together? The other's smile shone brighter than the sun in response.

.......................................

 

Aizawa was angry. He didn't expect to be held in the control room so much, but he had to admit that things hadn't gone as expected this year.

 

Most of the students usually passed for villain points, one or other earning something for saving someone almost accidentally. In the past years, there was some more selfless candidates who stood out or someone who was using their quirk with unmatched creativity. The last person who had earned a memorable rescue score had been Mirio Togata, and today the boy was one of the top three U.A students, and was more likely to become the number one hero than many heroes who were already on the field.

 

Which might explain the sudden interest of the blond idiot hero number one in him.

 

"Hum."

 

Anyway.

 

This year things happened a little differently. He didn't know the result of the theory, but they never had so many rescue points to deliver. They never had a student earning more rescue points than villain points. They never had the chance for a student to pass only with rescue points before.

 

And they certainly never had, since All Might, a student passing the test with a score higher than 100, almost breaking through the school record.

 

So yeah, his delay was justified, but no less annoying. He had waited almost three years for this, and knowing that the child who he had been tracking for years was so close, and being held, was frustrating. How many times had he not imagined that one day he would be called to see Midoriya's body in those years? Shredded and destroyed like the other children they had encountered.

 

And not only was the brat alive, but if he was going to trust the stupid blonde, he was fine, and under his nose for months.

 

Then no one would blame him for being anxious, for finally having the end of that mystery within reach. However, when Aizawa entered Maijima's room, the other hero was sitting down correcting tests, and there was no sign of a problem child in the room.

 

—Where is he?

 

Maijima scratched his chin and laughed awkwardly.

 

—He ran. Jumped out of the window.

 

—He what?!

 

—In my defense, he's fast. Don't look at me like that Aizawa. - The other raised his arms in defense. —I had no way of knowing that the fear of talking to a teacher would make him run away.

Aizawa paused. Fear?

—And also, I wouldn't worry too much about it. —The other pointed to the papers. — I don't know about the theory, but I'm sure the boy will pass. There are some good students this year. If not a bit...eccentric.

 

Aizawa almost sighed, because he knew that. More than he wanted to know.

 

"Fear, huh?"

 

He would take a look at Midoriya's file.

 

It was time to find out more about this story.

 

.................................................. ...............

 

Katsuki had been waiting for years for this. He had deliberated his reaction and always expected the anger, but he was too tired at the moment for that.

 

There was anger, for sure, but not as much as he expected. And as the frustrating person that Deku was, he didn't seem too fazed about it. In fact, he had somehow dragged Katsuki into a Cat Cafe as if they were good friends who were meeting by chance.

 

"This little shit."

 

Still, he took the moment to watch him as the idiot talked to the clerk. He had grown, of course, but he was still smaller than any boy his age he knew, as he always was. His eyes were still too big, and he still had that absent expression from time to time that pissed him off. And the enthusiasm. The damn enthusiasm of a hyperactive rabbit who mixed coffee with Redbull.

 

However, Katsuki wasn't an idiot, and although apparently the nerd's personality was the same, he had noticed the differences too.

 

The tension in the shoulders that wouldn't go away, how he looked at the shop door often, his eyes cataloguing the exits, the way he had gotten free of him so easily when he cornered him, something that wasn't easy to do. He had also noticed the muscle mass of someone who was used to training like him.

 

And the scar.

 

Katsuki recognized that kind of scar. He knew the nerd had a, not equal, but similar enough one on his back. It happened when they were ten and Katsuki had fired his quirk by accident while they were fighting in the trash dump on the beach.

 

He remembered the smell of burning flesh, and the blisters and ulcers rising. Weeks later he had seen the scar, hand-drawn on Deku’s freckled back, made of damaged tissue. It had been the last time he'd seriously fought the nerd and he'd spent months without even touching him.

 

That scar on the nerd's face reminded him of that. Someone had been holding his face and neck and triggered some destructive quirk. He could see the damaged tissue in his right ear, and he guessed that under the long hair there must have been more, but the greatest damage was to the neck. Near the carotid artery. Too close to the carotid.

 

When he felt the two light taps on his hand, he looked up and met ridiculously large eyes. Apparently, he had gotten lost in his mind.

 

—Tch.

 

He pulled his hand away from the other.

 

Deku didn't look offended, he continued to stare at him across the table, cats in his lap and a stupid smile on his face.

 

His hands moved: 'You okay?'

 

And it shouldn't be so strange what it made him feel. The only people who had spoken to him since he graduated from the course were his own interpreter at school and his parents. At school, no one had made the effort to learn sign language, and so he had become good at lip-reading. He didn't like wearing the hearing aid at all times, knowing that in a few years it would no longer work. If he was going to be a hero, he had to adjust to the situation soon.

 

But here was the nerd, after all those years, talking to him like this, as if he'd never left.

 

—Where the hell have you been?!

 

Some people looked at the table, he must have spoken very loudly. It was hard to control the tone when he was angry like that. Deku paused, his eyes drifting to the cat on his lap.

 

He was ready to jump the other's neck when he raised his hands again. ‘First two months here. Then other places. Came back here.’

Never had an answer seemed so frustrating. He took a deep breath and stared at the nerd, who was staring at him with the same intensity. There were dark circles under his eyes.

 

—When?

 

The nerd paused, looked at the cat, and then looked at him with a small smile. 'You know'

 

The flowers, of course he knew. Which led to another question.

—How?

 

The nerd scratched his head and made the climbing gesture with his hands. He looked incredulous, could he be serious? Aunt Inko's room was on the third floor!

 

—What the fuck-

‘Language.’

—Fuck you!

 

The little shit laughed. And it was getting harder and harder not to blow him up. But if he did that, he would not have answers.

—Okay.

 

He took a deep breath, trying to control his voice.

 —You said that you were here in the first two months, but you didn’t visit Aunt Inko at that time.

 

The other looked away.

 —And now this. What the fuck, Deku? Everyone thought you were dead, and my old hag ... shit.

‘Why?’

He switched back to signals, knowing that if he spoke more, he would end up screaming.

‘I ...’ He paused with his hand in the air, looking uncertain. 'I can not say'

—Deku-

He growled and the other waved his arms in front of his face repeating the same gesture. ‘Not now!’ Paused. 'Dangerous.'

'Dangerous? For whom?'

 

‘Mom’ Pause ‘You. Everyone. Dangerous.'

 

That conversation was making him increasingly frustrated.

 

—You will tell me.

 

'I'm will. Not now. I always tell.’

 

The bastard smiled softly and Katsuki looked away.

 

—Tch. Damn nerd. Are you going to keep visiting aunt, at least? He nodded seriously.

—Climbing?

 

He nodded again scratching his head. Katsuki wanted to scream or choke him again.

 —And the hag,

 

He paused.

 

—Oh, but you will. You'll visit my old hag. ‘When it's safe.’

—When?!

 

Some people looked and tried to lower the tone.

 —When will this be?

 

‘Soon.’ Pause ‘Hope.’

 

"Breath, Katsuki."

 

Where are you living?

 

‘Hosu’.

 

—Alone?

 

He denied: 'Uncle' He added quickly. 'He is good. I like him'

 

At least this. From what his old lady had said about this Takashi, Katsuki thought that the guy had tortured the nerd.

 

He wasn't getting many answers and threatening the other's integrity wouldn't do any good, apparently.

 —You're a frustrating bastard,

 

The little shit smiled. He escaped death for the attendant arriving with his tea and a strange coffee for the nerd. And again he noticed his paranoia as the nerd smelled the coffee. Katsuki was sure he saw him throwing something in it before drinking.

 

The green eyes noticed him, and he didn't know the face he was making, but he looked defensive, his lips moving with a ridiculous pout.

 

'What.'

 

—Tch.

 

If possible, the nerd was more frustrating than years ago. His anger management therapy had at least done something, he hadn't tried to kill him yet.

 

He felt the two taps on his hand again, and the nerd swerved quickly as he tried to hit him for it.

 

He looked at him curiously and patted his ear. It said a lot about both that he understood it immediately.

 —Moderate on the right, severe on the

 

He gestured at the aids. He rolled his eyes and pulled what was left of the thing. He remembered the feeling of earlier still, the sharp and unbearable sound, the absurd pain.

 

—It almost killed me electrocuted on the exam.

 

The nerd stared at him wide eyed and took the now useless device with a worried expression. His lips began to move quickly and Katsuki ignored him, knowing that he must be in one of his mumbling sprees.

 

In those hours he was almost happy to not have to hear it.

 

.......................................

 

Izuku knew that Kacchan must’ve been ignoring much of what he was saying about the improvements to his hearing aids. They walked together to the station, though they took different trains.

 

It was easy to go back to the old habit of speaking and using signs at the same time, as a child it was almost automatic to do so. And he didn't care that he was ignoring him, he was talking more to himself, and it was better than the questions that he couldn't answer.

 

He had been surprised that Kacchan had not tried to blow him up. He looked... different. Not serene, that was impossible, but more controlled. His eyes were less angry and more focused. He looked less arrogant and more mature.

 

The two had sat and had coffee together with cats around, and he had not tried to blow his face, despite showing frustration with his half-answers.

 

And he had saved someone today. In an exam. He didn't know all the details yet, but he had saved someone in a competition.

 

—Argh, stop it, you bastard!

 

He looked at the other confused. His voice was different too. Significantly paused, which made it obvious that he could not hear himself.

 

'What?' He asked confused, again using signs.

 

—Your face is pissing me off. That. That face

. 'It's my face.'

 

—Then don't be. Argh.

 

He couldn't help but laugh at this. He didn't know what expression he was making, but Kacchan rolled his eyes.

 

He noticed him staring at the device a few times with a thoughtful look as if he wanted to ask something.

 

Kacchan was reflecting. Analyzing. As the genius that he was, he probably had realized already about the headphones but didn't want to say it. He didn’t want to believe it.

 

"I knew he would. It was my choice."

 

It scared him a little how perceptive Kacchan was. There were many things that weren't safe for him to know.

 

His train was about to leave. 'Have to go.'

The other shrugged as if he didn't care. He looked pretty confident that they would see each other at U.A, he knew that if he didn't pass, he would kill him at that point.

 

Izuku ran, the device in hand and a smile on his face. It had all been a good day, despite everything leading to it.

 

At the last moment, he turned before the doors closed, using sighs and the loudest possible voice.

 —I missed you, Kacchan!

 

The doors closed with the other's mortified gaze and angry scream. Izuku sat on the bench laughing.

It had been a good day, definitely.

 

..........................................

 

Shinsou didn't know what to say to his parents when he arrived.

 

And they didn't insist, seeing something on his face that showed he wanted to be left alone at the moment. He went into the bedroom, showered and curled up with his cats.

 

At some point his mother came in and left something for him to eat at his table, his father stared at him for a while before leaving. He heard them both saying something quietly.

 

Shinsou ignored them, as he wanted to ignore the world around him. At some point, he would have to get up, as he always did.

At that moment he just wrapped himself with his cats, and closed his eyes. He didn't want to think about anything.

 

.........................................

 

Mei had arrived at the empty house almost running.

 

Knowing that her father wasn't home at that time and her sister had not yet returned from wherever she was, she did not bother pausing and went straight to her workshop.

 

That had been a great day. Never in her life had she ever met anyone who she could talk to about her babies on the same level. Even her father couldn't keep up with her.

 

It was like speaking a language no one knew, it was frustrating. Even her sister couldn't reach her most of the time. Her workshop was her safe place. There she didn't feel on a plane above all, unsure of how to get out. And today she had met someone inside of that plane.

 

—Best day ever!

 

She danced around, separating the babies that she wanted to show.

 — A rival, finally!

 

.......................................

 

— So, he ran away.

 

— It’s not funny.

 

Aizawa sighed. That story was making him more and more stressed. And Hizashi still dared to laugh at him.

 

He was preparing for the night's patrol after a few hours of frustration while he tried to find out information about the problem child.

 

—You could always see his address on the exam submission form. If it wasn't a break in privacy, I mean.

 

Aizawa looked at the folded paper with the address and tried not to blush. No one needed to know that.

 

—Relax, Shouta. Maijima seemed pretty sure the little guy will be with us soon. Then you can smother him with your fatherly love.

 

—Hizashi-

 

He warned menacingly. The other ignored him, as usual.

 

—You'll have a lot of competition with hero number one.

 

Aizawa hang up in his face.

 

..........................................

 

When the train arrived in Hosu, it was already night. Instead of going home, he descended into one of his hiding places. Takashi's, actually. He had at least one in each prefecture, but he didn't risk visiting the others, for fear of finding someone there.

 

He changed quickly. The armour was black and he had put Kevlar in the vital parts, as it didn't have enough for the whole body armour. The glasses were also sturdy with night vision, and his headphones had a connection to the police channel and the nearest agencies.

 

In Hosu there were two, one of Ingenium, who was the only hero who really seemed to care about the populace of Hosu and the other of Endeavor, who he was sure it was there only to gain attention and increase his number of missions.

 

At least he was doing something good, even if it wasn't for the best reasons.

 

That said, he didn't like hero number two at all. He had met him twice, and neither meeting was pleasant. In one of them, he had to rebuild his armour afterwards, his only luck was that he knew how to escape. He knew those streets like none of them could.

 

He climbed the nearest building. His gloves had retractable claws for a good grip, his red boots had retractable knives on the soles. The sound filled his ears along with the night air, and he stared down at the city, feeling his shoulders finally relax.

 

It felt like home.

 

The whole story of vigilantism had been an accident, but now... he didn't know how to stop. He did not want to stop.

— Manual for Ingenium. There is a situation at 37th Street.

 

—Understood. I am sending someone.

 

Izuku hummed, picking up his bat and jumping to the next building in the darkness. He knew he shouldn't pass near 37th Street, then.

 

Near the harbour, there was a suspicious movement for weeks, time to visit the docks. Maybe he would find something for Naomasa.

 

—The night is busy, be safe, ladies and gentlemen.

 

Ingenium spoke over the radio and he could hear the characteristic sound of his movement.

 

—All of you.

 

The other's voice became strangely amused as he paused, still humming.

 

—And if the cat broke in this frequency again, know that if you come to the agency to surrender, there's a wool ball waiting for you.

 

Izuku almost fell off the building.

 

 

.................................................

 

He returned home at almost two in the morning, yet it was earlier than usual. He had had another meeting with Ingenium, which was always fun. At this point, the man seemed not to take the task of capturing him seriously.

 

He was careful to avoid any encounter with Endeavor and especially Eraserhead. He was a fan of the hero, but that didn't make him any less dangerous as he was the one most likely to end up taking him into custody.

 

There were Hawks too. But he never even tried to capture him. The hero seemed to find it more fun to throw sardines at him when he saw him. The two had met several times that month, and at not once did the other make the effort to stop him, even though he knew he could do it easily.

 

He was grateful that All Might hadn't been around since his return, too. He feared the hero would stare at him disapprovingly and he would end up surrendering on his own.

 

He went straight home, jumping into the building easily. It was in one of the most isolated neighbourhoods, and looked decrepit on the outside, even if the inside was another story. He didn't know how Takashi had done it, but the whole building was his, even though most of the apartments were abandoned. They used only the upper and lower floor, and below it was the underground area, which was where he kept anything that involved his activities and Takashi's.

 

He jumped out the window, heading straight for his upstairs workshop. Still humming, he began to remove his armour, wondering what he would eat. He was ready to spend a few hours trying to find some clue to Takashi's activities on the Internet.

 

—Oh ho, interesting. Kevlar?

 

Izuku gave a girly screech that he never thought could come out of him and turned around, bat in hand.

 

She was there, staring at him with zoomed eyes, sitting at his kitchen table with various inventions on display.

 

At two o'clock in the morning.

 

—Hatsume!

 

.................................................. ..........................

 

Yagi stared down at the city.

 

He remembered Nana, the two of them jumping between buildings in the middle of the night. The wind on his face, hearing her laughter as they raced between the buildings.

 

—Did you make your decision then, Toshinori?

 

He touched the window glass, seeing his own skeletal reflection staring back at him. He also saw Sir Nighteye's reflection, watching him from behind.

 

—I saw something amazing today.

 

He turned, sitting in one of the office armchairs. Sir made a sound of interest and he smiled.

 

— Three candidates, kids, risking everything to save each other in a competition.

 

Analytical eyes stared at him from behind glasses.

 

He looked less tense than they when they had last met.

 

When he had met young Togata much had been said, secrets exchanged, but no further decision had been made on either side.

 

Until now.

 

—That made me think about this new generation of heroes.

 

Yagi looked at the window again. His mind came to young Midoriya, his expression firm as he said he would be a hero without a quirk. That the society needed one, and he would be the one.

 

—Leaving the future in their hands doesn't look too bad.

 

In one universe, Yagi had found a boy under a bridge who had proved himself the way he needed at the moment. An encounter that had changed his own destiny.

 

—I'll wait for Young Togata's decision.

 

In this universe, this meeting under the bridge never happened.

Chapter Text

"Chaos: When the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future."

Chaos theory

 

—Hatsume!

Izuku threw the bat away, trying not to shiver at the sound of something breaking in the direction it went.

"Okay, Izuku. You can still salvage this situation. "

His headphones were down with the hood around his neck, the glasses in his pocket. 

"Just act like it is no big deal."

 He quickly lowered his mask, crossed his arms across his chest, trying to cover as much of the uniform as he could and conceal the gloves that were evident in his hands.

—Hatsume. 

His voice came out high pitched and he cleared his throat, trying not to shake at the strange smile on the girl's face. 

—How the hell ... how? My house ... I mean. This is a cosplay!

"Not suspicious at all."  

The Kacchan-like voice snorted in his head.

—Oh ho. Interesting. 

She muttered and he looked up quickly seeing that somehow she already had his bat. In two strides he took it from her, only for Hatsume to grab his hand and tear off his glove. 

— Very interesting.

— I bought it at the 1.99 store.

 He chuckled nervously, trying to pull the glove from her hand in vain. To his horror, she was taller than he was too. 

— How did you get my address?!

— It is in your registration. 

She said casually, now examining his headphones. 

— What do we have here, huh?

—The registration is not confidential?

—Is it? Um, that explains a lot.

—Did you hack into U.A? 

He asked horrified.

"Hypocrite."

"Shut up Kacchan from my conscience!"

—I said I was going to show my babies. I don't like to wait. 

She said it as if it was perfectly justified to have hacked into one of the safest schools in the country, broken into his house at two in the morning, and now molesting him.

— Why do you only have kevlar in some parts?

—I didn't have money for full armour and-

 He covered his mouth quickly.

" I'm so fucked up."

—I always wanted to see Nora's technology up close.

 Hatsume murmured to herself, still feeling his body. She had taken a tape measure off somewhere.  

—It's kind of disappointing, to be honest. I expected more.

—Hey! No need to offend, I had to work very hard with too little .... did you say, Nora? What are you talking about, this is a cosplay. Hatsume! Let me go!

—It's decided. 

 The girl nooded her head and then smiled enthusiastically, her eyes shining. 

— From now on, you will use my babies.

— WHAT?!

.................................................. ...............

 

Izuku would repeat to himself, as long as necessary, that he had no choice. That this had nothing to do with his inability to say no to Hatsume's intensity-

—Call me Mei! After all, I'm your the girl in the chair now!

-or how much he was easily bought with the technology she showed to him and the possible improvements in his equipment. Most of the things he used to build his uniform were reused from what he found in Takashi's stuff. Mei's father had one of the largest hero support companies today. Suddenly his nanotechnology project didn't seem impossible without having to sell his body.

"It was just the fear of her handing me over, I wasn't bought. I swear."

He would repeat this to himself as many times as he needed to believe it.

 It helped that Mei was a genius.

It had been so long since he had been able to talk to anyone without having to explain details, that he felt like crying.

—Oh, Shimizu, the babies we can make together.

"And that didn't sound weird at all."

—I need more coffee.

.................................................. .....................

 

In the days that followed, Aizawa tried to convince himself that he could not spy on a student, who was not even a student yet. The boy was fine, everyone said that he was fine, so he must be.

 He had taken the case to Naomasa, who with a shamefully brief investigation had found that the boy and his uncle had returned from Europe months ago and moved to Hosu.

All the trouble for a damn surname. 

The whole scenario seemed innocent enough. He had taken his nephew out of the country, returning recently, probably because the boy wanted to go to U.A. The uncle was a consultant, which explained what the other stupid blonde had said about the man travelling a lot. It seemed that Izuku Midoriya had never been one of the missing quirkless children and the whole case was just a misunderstanding.

And yet, Aizawa knew something was wrong. Everything was too perfect. Even more, there were a few points that left him suspicious: First, the boy was emancipated recently. The process had taken place in Japan. Second, despite the uncle having a good income, they lived in Hosu. And third, there was nothing about the uncle until he came to fetch Midoriya years ago. Absolutely nothing, as if it had risen from the air, and gone just the same after that.

There was something wrong, but he had no proof, and Aizawa hated it.

So yeah, no one could tell him that he was acting wrong when he started patrolling more in Hosu lately. For one thing, he had more encounters with the annoying cat and - worse - Endeavor. On the other hand, he could visit Tensei, and he still had an excuse for casually stopping by the apartment that he knew the problem child lived.

Obviously, once he was passing at the end of the patrol, he never saw him, even though the light of one of the apartments was always on.

Just midway through the second week, he had any luck.

It had been a strange night.

 Noraneko had appeared only in the early evening. He had heard Tensei commenting on Hawks telling him that Nora had had another clash with Endeavor. This time the cat had dropped a bucket of ice water from a building to put out the flames of hero number two as he gave an interview.

Which was probably some retaliation about their last meeting.

He could talk all about the annoying vigilante, but he never purposely went out of his way to provoke any hero, so with Endeavor, it must be personal.

He didn't blame him for it.

And seeing Tensei's lack of professionalism while telling this, and how Hawks pretended he had not seen where the cat had fled when Endeavor went after him, it was clear that many had appreciated the situation more than they should.

So yeah, the cat hiding for the rest of the night was understandable when he got a rabid fireball oh his tail.

And without the cat, the patrol was strangely quiet.

‘Boring.’ Some of the heroes had commented.

The second part of the weird night was how quiet Hosu had been lately. And he knew it was the cat's fault too. Not that a sleazy, good-looking vigilante was enough to end the crime in one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods, but he had noticed that the neighbourhoods where he patrolled had more and more heroes in recent days.

The heroes' need to capture the renowned vigilante had put them in the right place to act, and with that, the crime was being controlled. Endeavor, in particular, had participated in many catches in recent times, and even his collateral destruction had diminished. 

Hawks had always been to these less structured neighbourhoods, but he noted that he was increasingly coming to Hosu, even though from what he had already seen about the hero, he didn't seem very interested in capturing the vigilante. No one knew exactly what his interest was  in the situation.

And he has no doubt that Noraneko had  planned it.

The final weirdness of the night had been when he had gone to the apartment at the end of his patrol. As usual, only a few lights were on in the building.

He had seen the mass of green hair and had almost fallen from where he hung on one of the poles with his scarf. The boy was carrying the trash out while fighting with something near his feet.

He squinted into the dim light of the failing lamppost and saw that they were cats. Some were at the open door of the apartment, others at the boy's feet, nearly knocking him over. His lips curved slightly as he noticed another climbing the kid and clinging to his shoulder.

— Seriously guys, come back inside. — His voice was deeper than he remembered, but it had the same anxious tone. — You'll make me fall!

He had grown, but not that much. He was less skinny, for sure. Beneath a worn All Might shirt he could see that there were muscles there. This made him more relieved about neglect in some ways, at least.

He looked ... happy too. Laughing, fighting with the cats.

Healthy.

Alive.

The years-old weight came off his chest. It was different to hear something, and see with your own eyes.

Maybe the others were right, and he was worrying for nothing.

"Even so-"

He froze, seeing the mark that covered the right side of the kid's face as he turned to pick up one of the cats. With his hair up in a bun, he could see it clearly. The scar was huge. The damage had to be serious and the location was too damn close to a vital part.

 All the relief was swept away.

Perhaps he made some noise because in seconds eyes were on his location. He felt surprised to see how quickly the boy straightened and pinpointed exactly where he was, despite the darkness and the distance.

Those green eyes were too watchful, too aware of their surroundings. The stance he was taking at that moment screamed 'ready to fight.' And his eyes-

Aizawa narrowed his own eyes. No child should be like this.

—I know you're there. 

The voice was firm, unafraid. Aizawa watched curiously as the kid put his hand in his pocket to grab something as some of the cats on the floor hissed menacingly toward him, their eyes gleaming in the dim light.

It should look threatening, really. The child was dangerous, he got it. But there was a cat on his shoulder and another one on the top of his head and Aizawa just...smiled, almost fondly. 

—It's not healthy to stay up until this time, problem child.

Aizawa grunted, unable to control himself. The green eyes widened in surprise. 

—Eraserhead?

He would wonder later why he had reacted as he did.

Perhaps it had been the vulnerable tone of the boy's voice that moments ago had seemed so firm and unafraid.

Perhaps it was the surprise of his lack of control when he had promised himself that he would just watch.

The fact is that instead of finally stopping and talking as he should, he jumped from the pole to the nearest building and did something he had never done since entering U.A: He ran away.

.................................................. ....

When the initial panic passed, Izuku reason that if Eraserhead were there for Noraneko he would already be in prison, not huddled on a couch covered from head to toe with his All Might blanket and cats.

Still, his chest felt compressed and his throat tight, because it left the other option open: he was there because of him. Izuku Midoriya. 

After all, what are the chances of him being there by chance? What is the chance that it has no involvement with how much he had been watched over the past few days, to the point that Mei offered to help him set up a base elsewhere?

And that, that possibility, brought so many memories that he would rather keep it locked. He recoiled more, touching the bracelet on his wrist, the last gift he had given his mother, trying not to review those memories of rubble and fear and the terrible abandonment.

He took the blanket from his head, breathing hard, muttering an apology as one of the cats fell with the abrupt movement.

He looked at the empty apartment and considered calling Mei, but she had left there an hour ago and he didn't have the heart to do so when she'd spent so much time with him in the last few days. He knew that at first, it was because he was her pet project, but she had noticed the loneliness in the apartment, even though she hadn't asked him about it.

“The heroes will come, mom.”

He whined, covering his ears, controlling a sob. This was not the time to remember that night, not the time to remember the months that followed it. All the death that followed.

 This was not the time to remember how the heroes didn't come at the two times when he needed it most.

Except… He could remember Eraserhead's hand holding his in the rubble, how he got into the ambulance with him, even when he wasn't obliged to. How he had spent time with him in the hospital.

And how he expected him to appear the next time for that.

"No one will come, Izuku. The heroes will not come, the sooner you realize it, the better. They never come, they didn't come for me either. '

It was getting harder and harder to breathe. He pulled out the phone and dialled Takashi's number, even though he knew it was in vain, it immediately falling into the message box.

"I waited too, and no one came. No one came for them too. They're all dead, aren't they?"

His fingers were shaking as he typed one more message, which would not be answered.

He moved to the photo gallery, the cats, one of which Mei had taken days ago while working on a motorcycle. He stopped at one of his and Takashi's. He had found the photo hilarious, having taken Izuku by surprise with the magnifying glass still in his face. 

Takashi's face reminds him of the only picture his mom had shown of his grandfather. Takashi's hair was black on it, but Izuku knew it was not the natural colour. 

"Black hair is easier to bland in a crown than white hair, Izuku."

 His eyes were green like his sister's, and he was tall, very tall compared to them. Tall as his grandfather had been.

"You're tiny, Izuku. Just like your mom."

Takashi had bullied him so much about it. 

"I will take care of you, Izuku."

Meow.

The cats had gathered around the couch, supporting him.

— Everything will be fine.

He ignored the tears on his face, leaving the gallery and going to the browser.

For the next two hours, he would watch videos of cats, surrounded by cats, huddled in his All might blanket, cuddled with his Eraserhead pillow.

Everything would be fine.

 .................................................. .....

— Did you run away?

Aizawa admired Hizashi's effort to try not to laugh, but he was not succeeding.

He grunted, poking his head into the couch, regretting not going straight to his apartment. Right now he needed his sleeping bag and his cats, not the stupid blonde tormenting him.

— Oh my God, are you sure he's not your son?

He regretted it bitterly.

.................................................. ...............

Shoto woke up earlier than usual with insistent knocking on his door.

He looked at the bedside clock and saw that it was 5:30 in the morning. For a moment he thought it was Endeavor who was coming from the patrol and decided that he had not beaten enough people for a day and Shoto needed a morning training.

— Shoto?

Fuyumi's voice was anxious on the other side of the door. Which was never good. He rose quickly and opened it.

Her expression was concerned.

—He hasn't arrived yet. 

It was the first thing she warned. His shoulders got less tense from it.

—But he will arrive soon, and he will not be in a good mood.

— What happened? 

He asked curiously. Because Endeavor was never in a good mood, but for Fuyumi to say that, something extra had happened. Something that had irritated him.

And if it had pissed off that asshole, he wanted to know, it was a good way to start the day.

—Look on the internet. 

She said anxiously, pushing him into the bedroom. 

—Not now, now you're going to get dressed and go running and take a few extra turns. Because if he arrives and you're here ...

— ... He'll discount on me.

Fuyumi shoved the running clothes into his arms without commenting further.

By the time he passed the kitchen, she already had a bento and everything else he needed. When they both heard the sounds of the front door opening, she pushed him out and made the signal that she would distract Endeavor.

And really, Shoto loved Fuyumi, but at those times he loved her even more.

Only when he was near the park he received a message that she was fine and he could relax.

Even knowing that Endeavor did not have the same treatment with the other children - apart from him, he pretended they did not exist - he still had too many memories about his mother not to be wary when Fuyumi did these things.

Only when he had reached the park he stopped to eat on a bench and look at what had happened that had annoyed the asshole more than usual.

He didn't need to look hard; the internet was overflowing with the video of Endeavor giving the interview in Hosu after the arrest of a gang. One second his face was serious and arrogant, the next a bucket of water fell on his head.

The water, and soon after the bucket too.

People screamed, and the camera quickly focused on a building and someone waving before fleeing from the complete chaos when hero number two emerged from the shock. Someone - some were saying it was Hawks - gave an incredulous laugh. 

 A channel had turned the whole moment into a creative remix.

Really, a great way to start the day.

In one universe there was no vigilante, no bucket of water, and on that day Shoto had usually gone on with his training day, never stepping into that park.

In this universe, there was a bucket of water.

Meow.

He looked down at the noise and found heterochromatic eyes like his own staring at him. Shoto blinked, and the cat blinked back, turning its face slightly in curiosity.

He felt his lip tremble in a small smile. It was rare, but it was a good day. It was still a kitten, its white and orange-spotted fur looked very familiar.

—Hi. 

He murmured, lowering his hand for the kitten to sniff, knowing he should not touch without permission. Soon the kitten was rubbing his palm, purring in his hand. He looked for a collar, but there were none, though it looked well-cared for a stray cat.

—She looks like you.

He immediately tensed, raising his face quickly, his fists clenched and moving away from the animal at once.

A few feet from him was a boy with a cardboard box in his hand with three other cats sticking their heads out. His dark, greenish hair was tousled in a messy bun, his hair falling over his freckled face and showing a very intimidating and obvious scar on his right side. The green eyes, however, were soft, a broad smile on his face as he stared at him.

Shoto immediately closed his face, his expression turning cold and calculating. Defensive.

The boy didn't seem to mind, approaching slowly, almost deliberately. Shoto wasn't sure if it was purposeful or not.

The boy was acting like someone approaching a scared animal. Shoto wondered if the animal that the boy was trying to approach was the cat rubbing at Shoto's legs, meowing indignantly at him for stopping the petting, or Shoto himself.

—Do you want her? She needs a home.

The question surprised him even though his face didn't show it.

The other boy knelt at a distance, and the cat looked at him, as if hesitant to go or stay with Shoto.

He ignored the warmth in his chest at that.

—Is she yours? 

He asked cautiously.

The boy smiled when he finally had a verbal response from him. He had never seen anyone smile like that.

—I met her and her brothers a month ago, the mother disappeared.

And that didn't seem familiar?

—They're vaccinated already, but I can't stay with them. I have ... um, a problem with too many cats right now. 

 The boy chattered amicably.

—I was going to offer them at Cat cafe, and if no one wanted to take them ... well, I can get them more space at home, I can always sleep outside.

Shoto didn't know what face he had made at that, but the boy laughed.

— But anyway. She likes you. Don't you wanna be with her? Her name is Two-Face. Don't look at me like that, have you never read Batman?

—Batman? 

He repeated slowly, feeling more and more stunned by the other boy.

—Hum ... It's an old comic book. It does not surprise me that people don’t remember it. — He seemed to mutter more to himself as he reached for one of the cats trying to escape from the box. — Do you wanna take her home with you?

—I can't.

A cat in the presence of Endeavor? No way.

There must be some regret, even small, in his face because the boy looked at him strangely.

—Well, if the owner of Cat Cafe is not full and they can stay, you can always visit.

Shoto looked at the cat still staring at him, pushing its head on his leg.

— Yeah?

The strange boy nodded, pleased. And then he rose, with incredible agility for someone who had a box of cats in his hands.

—Come on.

— Where?

He looked at him like he was the idiot for not understanding the call of a complete stranger.

—To the cat cafe?  Bring Two-Face.

And with that he turned and began to march, talking to the cats.

Shoto blinked at the cat on his legs, and then looked at the boy walking on the sidewalk, looking certain he would follow him.

Against all his common sense, he did.

.................................................. .........................

The owner accepted the cats, Shoto got a VIP card and spent almost an hour surrounded by fur balls.

No training, no screaming, no stress.

It was as if he had entered another dimension.

Even if by the time he got home, Endeavor would probably be waiting for him for 'training', he wouldn't forget that moment. He would not forget that little refuge he had found.

Only when he left the cafe did he realize that they had not exchanged names.

.................................................. ..........................

Yagi had not met young Midoriya on the train since the test for U.A.

And that was making him worried, especially when he realized at that moment that he didn't know where he lived.

On the one hand, he didn't know if he could hold back and not surrender on the test results, on the other, after all, he had found out about Aizawa, he didn't feel comfortable not knowing if the boy was all right.

So it was with relief that he saw him knock on his door in the late afternoon.

He noticed at once that he looked more tired, his shoulders slumped.

—I brought SmolMight's treats.

He said almost shyly.

Yagi smiled and opened the door for him to enter. 

The smile of relief was obvious on the boy's face.

He understood. There were days when he didn't like being alone either.

—I'll put some water for tea. Any news?

—I met a boy who looks like a candy cane today.

 

Chapter Text

 

“Sensitivity to initial conditions means that each point in a chaotic system is arbitrarily closely approximated by other points with significantly different future paths, or trajectories. Thus, an arbitrarily small change, or perturbation, of the current trajectory may lead to significantly different future behavior.”

Chaos theory

 

Two years, 8 months and 3 days ago

 

Izuku felt disconnected. As if he saw everything from outside his own body. It was hard to feel the seat or the backpack he was hugging. He didn't know how much time had passed and he couldn't remember getting out of the car or the trip there. He looked around in confusion, trying to get back to earth.

Izuku had read about dissociation at one sleepless night, so he recognized the symptoms in himself. It was all ... too much. He didn't want to think, he didn't know what to think about everything that had happened. What was happening?

— We couldn't get in touch with his father. 

 He heard the social worker talk to someone, not as quietly as he should have. 

— Probably one of those cases.

—Abandon? 

He vaguely felt them staring at him from the doorway.

—He has no quirk.

The woman made a sound of understanding as if that explained everything.

Izuku heard nothing more, trying to focus on the other children sitting on the bench. Three of them, also victims of the night, waiting for the guardians to appear. One of them snapped his fingers, a light flashing like lanterns on them. Izuku focused on the light to try not to get lost again.

More time passed, he didn't know how much. At some point, someone spoke to him. Now he was in was another room with more unknown people.

—Someone will come for him? Who would come for a quirkless-

 The voice cut off, looking at him. The expression a little embarrassed. He didn't need to finish, Izuku had understood. 

— Who?

—Someone in a hurry, it seems.

— Shouldn't you check deeper?

—And risk them giving up?

Izuku hugged his bag tighter, his eyes focused on the light on the boy's fingers. He wondered if he could light only one finger, or it would always have to be all. If he could control the intensity of the light, and if he could create heat with it, if-

—Midoriya, your new guardian has come for you.

He blinked. He had lost track of time again.

He looked up, still sitting. The man was so tall he could barely see his face.

—Izuku.

The voice was soft, and he blinked again, still disconnected as the man crouched in front of him. Green eyes like his, dark hair, pale face.

And it was like a Deja vu from years ago. To find a stranger in his house with his mom, who then turned out being his estranged father.

The sensation was familiar, like a shiver running down his skin, a sign of danger behind the smile that tried to assure him. Suddenly he felt more alert, coming back to earth as if abruptly pulled into his own body.

His ears beeped, his heart quickened, and he pressed his backpack tighter to his own chest.

—You mustn't remember me, but I'm your uncle. Takashi.

Izuku knew it was wrong to stare, but in his situation, it would be forgivable.

He agreed slowly because he really didn't remember an uncle, he had never even been mentioned by his mom.

—I didn't know Grandma Hisa had another child.

His voice came out soft and controlled despite the situation. Other people chatted around, but he focused on that moment.

The man smiled, his eyes sparkling in a way he didn't fully understand.

—If I remember it right, my mom was called Itsumi, Izuku.  

 He felt his face flush.

—You're a very clever one, aren't you? Trying to check the facts.

—Someone has to. 

He whispered, and the man's eyes darkened. He rose and sat beside him on the bench, both of them staring at the white wall in the now almost empty corridor. The flashlight boy was still on the other bench, waiting for someone. 

—What was the hero's name that mom wanted as a child?

The man looked down, his smile seemed smaller.

—Orbit. Because she attracts things to her. 

His legs were so long that they buckled, and he wore a flawless suit with too-glossy shoes. And he was a complete stranger until then. He still was. 

— Did I pass your test?

— Does it make a difference? They'll send me with you anyway.

—It does for me

His voice grew serious without the amusement he had heard so far. 

— I want to know what you want.

What did he want?

He wished this day had never happened. He wished none of them had left home to buy presents. He wished he had asked his mom to be with them, that she didn't try to get anything for him.

He wished his mom hadn't tried to protect him and got injured in the process.

He wanted to have a quirk strong enough to have taken both of them from the rubble when all he could do was scoop his way out and leave his mom behind.

He wanted his dad to be there.

He wanted so many things.

—I want my mom.

 He whispered in a childlike voice. He could feel his eyes sting again. He didn't mind looking like a crybaby. He had never cared.

—And I'll bring you back to her one day.

He felt a hand on his head and looked up. The man's face looked softer.

Izuku was a smart boy.  He was good at reading people, a matter of survival in a world too dangerous for someone like him.

—I will protect you, until then.

Izuku knew that Takashi was dangerous. He had a good appearance, a soft voice and was charismatic.

Izuku knew he had no choice there, whether to go or not. At the end of that conversation, he would get into the car of a complete stranger, who he wasn't even sure if he was really related to him because no one gives a damn about what happens to a quirkless child. And he would have to survive this because he had to go back to his mom, he would make sure of it.

—Are you a good person?

The question made the man laugh. He rose from his seat and stretched. Izuku saw him smile at the social worker, who just nodded.

It was like watching a stray cat be left in the hand of the first to appear.

—No, but you already realized it, didn't you? Inko told me you were smart. 

 There was no trace of lying visible, and Izuku didn't know what to do about it. 

—But I will try to be, for you.

The man touched his shoulder, his big green eyes sincere and dangerous.

—I'll take care of you, Izuku.

...........................................

—Cat for Mechanic, any sign of the burning trash can?

"All clean for Endeahoe. But Ingenium is going towards you, there is a blind spot on the right. How are my babies?"

—I think I'm in love.

Izuku easily climbed the building with his new propulsion boots, just in time to escape the hero's sight.

It had been a good night.

No big crimes, no unexpected encounters. Mei's equipment had made everything easier, including running away.

"Got what you needed from the case?"

—Yep!

 He jumped into one of the alleys, it was time to end the night. He had had too many unwanted encounters in the last few days, the last thing he needed was met Eraserhead as well. 

— I'm going home. You know, you don't have to wait, it's almost 4 am.

"Nope. We have a baby to finish."

‘One day she'll still get me in trouble with this.’

He was surprised no one missed Mei at home but he didn't know how to approach the subject. Like she didn't ask him about the absence of a guardian.

They're such a good pair.

"So, the car in the garage, does it have an owner?"

Izuku paused. That question sounded suspicious.

— It’s in my garage. Of course, it has an owner.

"Oh-"

—I'm afraid to ask.

A commotion in one of the alleys made him pause in the darkness and he looked down warily. 

At first, it seemed like a robbery, like so many that had stopped that night. Unfortunately, with the law against the public use of quirks, many civilians found themselves in the position of needing to defend themselves but fear the repercussions of it.

A fear that didn't apply to criminals, it seems.

He quickly catalogued the scene. There were four men, none of them had anything quite extraordinary. The one on the left throwing a guy at the wall seemed to have a simple fire quirk, one of those who laughed loudly had some sort of leg mutation, probably for jumping. The other two had nothing visible. These two were the ones who he needed to be cautious about.

The civilian pinned to the wall had a mutation too, the bluish-coloured skin was all he could define in the dim light.

He prepared to jump on the scene when something struck him as odd.

An instinct when something wasn't what it seemed, something Takashi had helped him work through the years.

'If I didn't know better, I'd say it's your quirk, Izuku.'

"What happened?"

Mei's voice on the communicator was curious, probably seeing nothing too much for the viewfinder camera they had installed.

He almost denied it until he realized what had called his attention.

Everything seemed very well-staged.

They looked nervous, more than usual. One of them looked from time to time to the alley entrance, or upwards. Not with the look of someone who doesn't want to get caught.

With expectation.

 For a moment he thought they might sense him there, but the direction was wrong.

They were expecting someone.

—Maybe he won't come?

The guy against the wall asked. The alleged victim.

They were trying to attract someone.

Izuku crouched down and moved closer, using the headphones to try to amplify the sound and catch something in the conversation below, which had become whispers.

—...  trying. They want the cat.

"Manual is coming this way, it's time to go."

 Mei's voice interrupted him. He bit his lip, staring at the alley exit.

—... gue of villains.

"Cat now is a good time to get out of there."

Izuku felt like cursing but ran away.

..............................................

—What are the chances that they were talking about another cat?

He asked hopefully handing Mei a screwdriver. He wondered how she had managed to bring so much equipment into his apartment, he was sure half of it wasn't there before leaving tonight.

They had cleaned the bottom of the workshop and installed the computers downstairs. Mei had hacked into the police security cameras with ease that made him a little disturbed and brought a comfortable green armchair from home that had been a horror to walk through the door.

An old Takashi car was her new project, and he really hoped his uncle wouldn't want this car anymore, or he'd be in serious trouble when he came back because he couldn't say no to Mei.

—You tell me.

 Her voice was muffled under the car. It must have been six in the morning and neither of them had slept.

—Small. What are you laughing about?

—The more people going after you, the more likely you are to test my babies.

—Is that all I am for you? A simple test tool? 

He asked offended. She got out from under the car, her face greasy. Dirty hands grasped his own fervently and he nearly fell off the stool he was sitting on.

—Of course not, what an absurd question!

—Ow, Mei-

—... You're the best test tool, not just a simple one! Don't cry, it's a joke! Come back here!

.................................................. .........

Hizashi looked a little fascinated as the events unfolded.

They had spent the day recording the letters of acceptance. The rejections were usually written on paper, leaving 2 classes of heroes, 3 general education, 1 support department, and 3 from the management department.

It was no surprise that by the end of the day everyone was exhausted and unwilling to see a camera for weeks.

So, having two teachers trying to scramble to record one of the acceptance letters was no precedent at this time of night. Much less one of them being Shouta, who always did his best to get away from that part every year.

—Usually is the support professor who sends these letters, they know that right? 

 Maijima commented, being ignored by the two.

The producer looked desperate, looking around for help. As long as they didn't finish this, no one could go home.

—... But I insist on doing young Midoriya's letter.

— I'm sure you must be tired with the amount you did today, it should not be easy at this age, I insist too.

—Aizawa, you look a lot more tired, you should go to your sleeping bag, so if you allow me-

Hizashi had never seen this level of passive-aggressive exchange before.

—Why don't you take it off in the jokenpo?

Vlad commented sarcastically.

The two took it seriously.

.................................................. .........

The next day around Japan, several young people received news through a letter. Some good, some not so good.

And some of them have changed the course of entire lives.

..............................................

Hitoshi watched the image of Eraserhead fade away in a daze. He was ready for everything except that.

He stared at the disc on the table, his eyes wide, his cats meowing at the feet of the computer chair.

—Toshi? Dear?

He woke up from the daze as he felt the soft hand on his shoulder. His mom was there. His parents had left him alone when the letter arrived, his obvious plea on his face that he didn't want to be around anyone when he received another rejection.

He turned his face up, his head touching her belly. He saw his father at the door, his expression worried.

— Oh, Toshi. 

Her voice shook, her hand on his face. He could feel damp there, but he didn't care. 

— It'll be all right, honey. They are losers, and you said you have the festival. We can train your quirk. Everything will be ...

—I passed. 

 He cut her off, his voice coming out in an incredulous whisper. 

— In the class of heroes, I... I passed. Rescue points, many points ... I ... passed?

His mother threw herself on him so quickly that they both fell off the chair.

He heard his father's laugh, and the cats took the opportunity to climb them too.

Hitoshi didn't care.

Rescue points, 59 of them. Points he had no idea they existed and that placed him among the top 15. In the heroes’ class. Eraserhead said it.

'You did well, kid.’

That was how the rest of his life would begin.

.......................................

Katsuki knew he would pass, and he knew he would pass in the first place.

He had no idea about the rescue points, but no one needed to know that detail.

He was 36 points away from the exam entry record, which had been from All Might himself.

Now he just needed to find a way to find Deku and rub it in his face.

...............................................

And he needed to know if he passed too, Katsuki would kill the nerd if he didn't.

...........................................

Ochaco jumped and literally floated to the ceiling, her parents trying to get her down in her state of pure bliss.

................................................

Kirishima cried manly tears of happiness, and when he received the message from Uraraka that she had passed too, he cried again.

When his mom began to cry, he cried once more.

..............................................

Izuku didn't know what made him more dazed at the moment.

 Perhaps it was the holographic image not with one but with two of his greatest idols. He didn't even notice the two heroes trying to discreetly push themselves a few times while recording, or as they interrupted each other.

And there was also the fact that there was something strangely familiar about All Might's way of speaking that he would rather not think about at the moment.

Izuku had entered U.A. Second place in the support department, just 3 points behind Mei.

Izuku had entered U.A.

—I got in. —He glanced around, his cats hopping in his lap. —  I got in. Guys, I'm going to U.A.

There was someone who needed to know this before anyone else.

.................................................. ....

Keito had an all-night at the hospital.  He had tried to trade with someone to celebrate Toshi's entry into U.A, but there was no way. The three had agreed to celebrate another day.

By that time the hospital's medical staff and the patients he had visited all knew the news.

—Goodnight, we need to change these dressings, did you know my boy got into U.A? Class of heroes.

—Good evening, your surgery is scheduled. Want to see a picture of my Hitoshi? He passed to U.A today, he will be a hero.

—Goodnight, did you know that ...

—... Your son got into the heroes class at U.A, you had already been here doctor.

—... Do you wanna see a picture of him in his cat pyjamas?

So it was a good, quiet night, and as usual, his last quarter of the round was Inko's.

Over the years she had been taken to a larger room, and gradually the equipment was becoming unnecessary. She no longer needed a respirator, and only the vital signs monitor remained.

The nurses visited three times a day to change it, do hygiene and move muscles so that they would not atrophy. Those who knew Inko from earlier came more often, just to talk.

Keito did this often. And especially now he was eager to tell the news.

—... I did it. I got in, I'm going to U.A.

The unfamiliar voice made him stop at the door. He didn't know that one of the nurses would be there, but he didn't recognize that voice. And certainly, it was not a visitor, visiting hours were over hours ago.

—I miss you, momma.

His eyes widened at that and he opened the door eagerly.

—Izuku?

The room was empty.

He sighed, thinking that he should be really tired. It was not the first time that he had imagined hearing his voice in Inko's room. Where would he be? Would he still be alive?

For the first time in the night, he remembered that Inko's boy also dreamed of going to U.A. It should be both today, celebrating. Inko telling everyone about him too.

The window was open, the curtains flying. He closed is, now much more downcast. He looked at the lying woman, who seemed to be sleeping so calmly. He pulled out a chair and sat down, assessing the signs.

—Goodnight Inko. Hitoshi passed U.A, in the class of heroes. 

There was no change, nothing. 

— Rescue points, he didn't even know they existed. He saved a bunch of competitors. That boy.

The beep was the only answer he would get.

If only he had looked up, he would have seen Noraneko hanging from the corner of the ceiling in the bedroom.

If only they had both looked down, they would have seen one of Inko's fingers move.

Keito didn't look up, and Nora fled out the window sometime after he left the room.

If they did look down, they'd have seen Inko giving her first sign of awareness in years.

..............................................

Mei didn't look surprised to know that they both got in, as it was obvious and expected.

He dreaded the day he introduced Mei to Kacchan.

And speaking of Kacchan, Izuku hoped he wouldn't blow the hyacinth again, and if he exploded it, he'd at least read the note first.

The patrol that night was shorter, and only in Saitama. After last night he didn't think caution was too much. Whoever was after him was bad news.

Nor did he return as Nora to Hosu, after passing Musutafu he changed clothes, put his uniform in his backpack, and took the last train. A part of him expected to find Mr Yagi, even though he knew it was too late. He would have to visit the man tomorrow and tell him the news.

He sat on one of the many empty benches, looking around at the people on the train, cataloguing who was getting in, their quirks, and the danger.

It was something he had learned well from Takashi, to evaluate the environment.

Takashi.

He picked up his cell phone and felt a pain in his chest. Even though it was in vain he sent a message:

Uncle Taka

Izuku: I did it. I got in U.A.

He paused, waiting for an answer.

Izuku: I miss you.

Izuku: Worried, give me a signal

Izuku: Please.

Izuku: Anything.

He sighed, playing with his cell phone between his fingers. Mei had texted that she had already gone home. For her to have passed might not be big, but for her family, it should be.

Takashi would have celebrated too. While not having the best insight into heroes, he had always supported his dream. He was not surprised to find that his uncle and father had been friends, and it was through their friendship that his father had met his mother. Even the brief moment he met his dad, he had realized how much they looked alike.

They had the same ideals, and Izuku had always had a theory about it. He remembered very well when he got in the car with Takashi that day. A backpack in his arms, his hand on his shoulder, heading into the unknown.

He was afraid of Takashi at the time. He could feel the danger he posed.

"—What do you work on? "

He had asked as they walked out the shelter gates, the sun rising in the mountains. He was intimidated by the expensive car, the impersonal environment. By the way Takashi squeezed the steering when a car passed them on the almost deserted road at that time.

"—Me? Huh."

He had laughed awkwardly, adjusting the rearview mirror, and then the sideways glance, his eyes amused.

"— I work with garbage, Izuku."

He smiled looking at his cell phone. The mechanical voice announced his platform and he stood. Two more people got ready to leave too, a gentleman who looked tired, and a woman talking to someone on the phone. Other people were on the platform to get in.

"— Collection and disposal. You can't imagine how much garbage Japan produces. "

It was an unsuccessful attempt, but he clicked on the contact and raised it to his ear, hoping to drop into the mailbox, maybe he could leave another message.

He almost dropped the phone when it didn't happen.

His breath caught, his eyes were wide.

He heard the sound of a cell phone ringing nearby, and turned as the doors began to close, noting that it was from someone entering. The call dropped, the ringing stopped. He called again. The train was preparing to depart.

It was Takashi's, he was sure it was. He knew that song, he had put it himself.

The train began to move but could he could see inside the car someone pull the phone and look at the device. Slim body, a little bent. Pale arms, a dark hood covering his head and face. It was not his uncle.

Still with the phone in his ear, standing on the platform, he saw the person bring the phone to his face.

He saw the dark-gloved hand.

He saw two fingers severed.

"A low scream, a body pinning him to the ground, a hand holding his head. And pain, pain in his face, as he had never felt before, as blood trickled through his hair, over his eyes. Skin and muscles decaying.

—I didn't want to have to do that, Izuku.

One free hand and Izuku gripped the scalpel between his fingers in desperation and attacked. "

The phone has been answered.

He hung up and ran before the person turned around.

.................................................. ............

The nerd was late.

And to make matters worse, on a date of his own making. And when he arrived Katsuki was going to resign to the desire to blow him up.

It was not enough to have marked on that damn place again too. He refused to enter, so he sat on the bench outside. If I didn't need the damn hearing aids he'd be gone.

‘You're worried.’

The voice in his head sounded terribly like Deku's. And now that, his conscience was questioning his own motives.

He felt a light touch on his shoulder and turned and there was the gremlin. He opened his mouth to scream until he realized something was wrong. Dark circles were normal, but they looked worse and were accompanied by reddish and slightly glazed eyes.

He has dressed awkwardly as if he had put on the first outfit he saw ahead, and the shirt was clearly too big to be his.

Katsuki didn't know how to react to that. 

‘As I said, you're worried, Kacchan.’

— Did you get in?  Into U.A?

The nerd nodded, which made him more confused. And he hated feeling confused.

Which was common to happen around Deku, it seemed.

Like the whole vigilante story that he wanted to ask about, and at the same time he didn't want to know.

Deku sat beside him on the bench and didn't even insist on getting inside the cafe. Katsuki saw him take something out of his backpack, a white box that he carefully opened and there were the headphones. He would never admit that he was a little disappointed that he changed the design, although he admitted that it looked more professional. 

The ears were smaller and looked less like cat ears than before. The colour was black, but there were red bands at some points, and he could see a small retractable antenna on the left side. He also took out a necklace that looked more like a choker of black material. There were buttons on it.

“-Control.”

He showed the choker, using sign language to explain the new parts.

“Wireless signal. The green button is volume, the red one is wave pickup. Activates the antenna. Good for infiltration and during fights. It helps in the perception of the environment.”

Okay, maybe he was a little impressed.

The nerd looked at him with a silent request and he rolled his eyes letting him place the object around his neck. It was a little uncomfortable, and he felt a little offended. It looked like a collar.

He put the headphones with some relief, but also with suspicion, remembering the shock last time.

He felt the nerd's breath very close as he leaned over adjusting something.

His eyes still looked glassy, and so close it was clear that the reason must have been crying.  His nose was red.

The body was tense, and he now noticed him looking around a little paranoid a few times.

He pulled away, moving his hands again.

“Yellow is a display. Press it.”

With suspicion, he did so, and his vision turned orange. It wasn't a real display, but it looked like a hologram screen popping in front of it.

How could he do something like that? 

“It shows vital signs. Yours, or someone else's. Good for rescue.”

The nerd smiled slightly.

“Your new speciality now.”

He growled, feeling his face heat up at that.

“A friend helped me with the raw material. It has heat vision too.”

Deku had not just made hearing aids. This was much more than that, but it should not be surprising. He pushed the green button and could hear again. The signal was cleaner too.

—What do you think?

Only then did he realize that he hadn't heard Deku's voice yet until then. His tone seemed deeper, but it should be expected.

 They were no longer children.

—It is acceptable.

'You loved it. Why is it so hard to say thank you?

Deku smiled at that. A smile that seemed wrong. He swallowed, not wanting to do that, but he couldn't control himself.

—What the hell happened to you?

The question seemed to take the other by surprise.

He opened his mouth, closed it. Opened again.

—Nothing.

— You never knew how to lie, Deku.

His expression was offended.

— I do.

— You don't. 

— I am fine! I'm-

And with that, the tap turned on. And Katsuki should have known this would happen. The nerd began to sob, and he looked around uncomfortably.

— What happened to him?

An unfamiliar voice interrupted them. He looked back and saw a strange boy at the door of the cat cafe, with two-coloured hair, a cat on his shoulder and an almost blank expression on his face, but still at same time looking worried at the nerd and nasty at him.  

Which was weird.

Especially since the cat was staring at him the same way, even the split face was the same.

He felt judged by a cat, and that was offensive.

— It's none of your business half-and-half. 

The nerd kept crying, mumbling incoherently between sobs and snot and clinging to his arm. He tried to shake him away and the half-and-half looked irritated by it.

And that was Katsuki's life when he tried to be a good person.




Chapter Text

 

“The only simple truth is that there is nothing simple in this complex universe. Everything is related. Everything connects. ”

Johnny Rich, The Human Script

 

 Two years, eight months and 2 days ago.

 

His awakening was abrupt. His eyes widening in the dim light, breath catching in his throat and heart racing.

-Mom? 

Izuku called confused, looking around at the unfamiliar place. He was lying on a couch with a blanket over his body. He couldn't see much beyond a glass window in front of him that showed a torrential rain outside. He never slept well when it was raining.

-Mom? Where-

And that's when he remembered. The sleep fading completely, in his mind the memories of the building, the hospital, the shelter. The car ride there with an unknown man. He had no idea what part of the city he was in at the moment. He didn't even remember getting out of the car. He wasn't sure if he had dissociated again, or just slept.

-Takashi-san?

There was no answer and he sat on the couch, considering exploring his surroundings at the risk of doing something wrong. He didn't know how much he could pull Takashi, he was an unknown at the moment.

In the end, the urge to know the surroundings spoke louder and he let his feet touch the cold wooden floor, walking around in sneaky steps. With his eyes getting used to the dim light, he noticed that the room was not exactly a room, but a whole space, like a shed. In the dim light he could see dark wood walls, and looking at the ceiling, he saw that the light source was a solitary lamp hanging there.

He looked out the window and noticed that he was on the second floor. Izuku was relieved to see Hosu's tower in the distance. He could see the river too. 

"I'm still in town."

  It was night, no doubt. He had missed a whole day, which confused him. He wouldn't sleep so much, even exhausted. Even more in the company of a stranger.

He shook his head and looked around. There was not much furniture, just a nearly empty fridge except for energetic drinks, some fruit and water.

"What kind of person would live like this?"  There was no apparent place to sleep but the couch. He saw a coffee table and one only chair. "He lives alone."

The place looked temporary, but at the same time, he noticed the dishes in the sink, rotting fruits, and things in the small cabinet below the counter that showed that he had been living there for a while.

"Mom never talked about him, but he was in town. He was near us. How long was he here?"

He searched for more clues around him, mounting a mental image of the person who lived there. In the small bathroom there were cleaning products in travel bottles, he could see that many were samples of hotels. Several hotels. He found a first aid kit and was surprised by how many things were there. Not even his mother, who was a nurse and insisted on having everything at home, had all that. Suture threads, anaesthetics, bandages, gauze, iodoform and chlorhexidine and anything else he could think of.

"He must get hurt a lot. Or he is very paranoid. "

He put everything carefully in place and saw a suitcase in the corner. Closed with a lock.

"No suspicious at all."

He noted that there was only one door in the room, where there should be the entrance to the lower floor. He rose from where he was crouched looking at the suitcase and that's when he felt it. One of the woods below his feet didn't look steady. He stepped back and stepped again to confirm.

He crouched again, touching the floor and tapping lightly where he had felt it.

"Is it hollow?"

He touched around the wood and frowned at the protrusion.

A knock on the floor almost made his heart drop out of his mouth as he fell to the floor on his ass.

He heard voices below, muffled, and approached the door trying to hear them. He could recognize Takashi's voice and an unknown voice. A female one.

-... is Izuku.

They were talking about him. On impulse, before he gave up, he slowly opened the door and found himself in a small entrance with a narrow staircase to the side. He could see a dim light at the bottom of the stairs and tiptoed on the first floors. The voices were still muffled, and now he realized it was purposeful.

-... are you throwing it all away?

-The plan changed.

-No, the plans hasn't changed, they haven't changed it.

-They didn't, but I did.

-Do you want to die? You knew when you accepted their offer, there's no way out of this, Takashi. They will not let you go. 

-What do you want me to do!?  - His voice rose at the last word and Izuku held his breath to make no sound. He tried to see the person he was talking to but didn't have a good view of them. - If I stay here, if he stays here ... He's Inko's son.

-Oh, Takashi. - The unfamiliar voice softened. - They know? About...

- That he is quirkless? I hid his records, but Tsubasa is involved. Inko and Hisashi were from the fourth generation of quirks, he should have a quirk.

- If they were both from the fourth generation, yes.

- I don't know what you're talking about.

- Yes, you know.

The silence was sudden and he feared they could hear his heart beating fast.

-Did they believe it? That he has a quirk? 

-They believed that I didn't know. Now with Inko out of commission ... I have no more excuses. He has to get out of here tonight. Akira ... please.

-I don't know-

-Akira, I already gave up everything for them, I will not give up anything else. - His voice was low and dangerous, but in the end, it became almost begging. - Akira.

-Do you understand that you're putting a boy's life above something much bigger? We are so close. Just a few more weeks ... they trust you.

-They trust me until I don't give Izuku to them! Hisashi gave up everything for them, and when he wanted to leave ... I lost Kohei, I gave up my son ... Do you know what I think of this damn mission? Fuck them.  They are to blame for the damn situation, they create chaos and then we have to clean their trash? While a bunch of idiots with capes get the fame?

-Takashi ...- The voice came out in warning. - Your speech sounds familiar, be careful not to-

-They must be careful! You said you know, right? Then you should know that I should be the last person to be in this ...

A knock on the door made them shut up abruptly.

.................................................. .............

Now

Sometimes, no matter what happens, no matter the interference, some events always repeat themselves. Constants. Necessary for the unceasing pursuit of the universe for balance.

Some events cannot be changed, and some people have to meet, sooner or later.

Sometimes the date of this meeting does not change the result generated by this constant.

In others, it can change everything.

In some universe, Izuku and Shoto met on the first day of school in U.A and became friends after a brutal battle that changed their lives.

In some universe, Shoto and Katsuki met on the first day of class at U.A and went a long way - very long - to establish a tolerance relationship.

In this universe, Izuku offered a cat to Shoto and a place where he felt safe for the first time in his life.

-What happened?

And that has changed much more than could be expected.

..................................................

 

Shoto was not the most socially fit person. He blamed years of isolation and abuse under his own roof, not as if he had time to interact with others between one workout - spanking - and another. He couldn't even have contact with any of his brothers until Fuyumi had to take on a much larger role when their mother was taken.

Then there was a possibility that he was reading the situation wrong, but the reflex of intervening strangely had been stronger.

Perhaps the reason was that since the cat boy introduced him to the Cat Cafe, they haven't seen each other anymore, although the owner mentioned - he totally didn't ask - that he was a regular customer, and always brought cats to the place.

Maybe it was the scar on his face, opposite his own and clearly inflicted by someone, that made him think there was an understanding between them.

Maybe it was that they left without exchanging names - although he didn't feel like giving his last name to anyone - which left him wondering. After all, he had a curious nature. That would explain his fixation on a stranger.

For some reason when he told Fuyumi his theory she looked at him funny.

So, yeah, Shoto could justify making an intervention when he saw the weird cat boy apparently being in trouble in front of the Cat Cafe.

-None of your business, half and half.

And that was a very nasty person.

-He is crying.

-Do not tell me? How you made that conclusion? Was it the tears? The snot?

Shoto didn't know what he had gotten himself into. The strange cat boy was sobbing heartily and babbling what he was sure must be another language as he didn't understand a word. He saw him cling to the rude guy, which made Shoto more confused.

They seemed to know each other. It wasn't just a case of a stranger messing with someone. That was ...

"Oh. I understand."

This realization made him even more worried, especially when the other boy began to shake the cat boy by his shoulders.

 -Swallow your tears!

Two-faced now slung over his shoulder, made an indignant meow that represented well what he was feeling.

He acted before thinking.

Controlling himself not to use his quirk, he grabbed the cat boy by the arm and pulled him away from the other, placing himself between them as the blonde rose with the movement. He had too much experience with this kind of situation, but unlike when he was a child he could now intervene.

-You shouldn't treat him like that. 

He said coldly, his foot positioned if he needed to use his quirk as he saw the other raise his hands, the sound of explosions coming from his palms. Some of the people walking on the sidewalk had stopped to watch, waiting for something to happen. Without taking his eyes off the menace he addressed the other boy behind him. 

- Are you alright? Do you want me to ... um?

The boy was gone.

-Deku!

He looked around confused and the rude guy was already running and crossing the street.

-What was this?

The owner of Cat Cafe was at the door, his expression confused.

Shoto understood him well.

He reluctantly handed Two-Face to him, who didn't seem too happy to part, which earned a few scratches with her claws digging into his arm, and ran after the other.

When he turned the corner he had lost sight of them.

........................................

And that day Shoto gave himself a mission.

.......................................

"Don't lose control of the situation."

That's what Takashi always said.

"And if you lose, don't let them realize you've lost control of the situation."

It was easier said than done.

"Why can't I stop crying?"

He could almost feel Kacchan sniffing after him. When they were kids their mothers used to say that they both had a radar for each other and that Kacchan's was a lot more powerful when Deku was crying. Izuku thought it was like a wolf smelling easy prey. Right now it was quite inconvenient.

He couldn't be near Kacchan right now. It had been a mistake to have gone on this meeting after last night. He had always been pretty bad at hiding his stuff to Kacchan.

And now, more than ever, he needed to keep anyone out of it.

 He came into an alley and tightened the bracelets on his wrists, but this was as good a time as any other.

At the moment it was just the gloves, but despite the situation, he smiled as he saw them forming in his hands, sharp claws sticking out of his fingers.

-Deku!

He quickly grabbed the wall and climbed up, reaching one of the fire stairs and jumping onto the next building. He crouched down and heard the sounds of an explosion. He felt a certain nostalgia, it brought back memories.

When Kacchan ran after him after school to kick his ass before he could fight back, of course.

-Sorry, Kacchan.

He sighed, turning while still lying and looking at the sky. Soon it would be dark, he would have to take the train back to Hosu.

He was alone, with no one to turn to. Takashi was definitely missing, and he just hoped that he wasn't dead. They were coming after Nora, and if Takashi had been captured by them, someone would come after Izuku too.

U.A was the safest place for him to be right now, despite being where he should be most careful about Nora. Part of him wanted to tell some hero what was going on. Another part, stronger from the years with Takashi, required caution.

"Not all heroes are reliable, Izuku. Some of them are worse than villains. They think they are right, even when they are wrong, and everyone will believe them. "

- I don't know what to do.

He knew what he wanted to do, and it was very, very stupid. More stupid than becoming a vigilante, more stupid than getting anyone into it.

He raised his hand and saw the bracelets retract.

Nanotechnology was a dream.

At least Mei would be glad to hear it worked.

..........................................

Katsuki was pissed.

And worried.

And even pissed, for being worried.

He grunted, staring at the empty streets and having to return. It was unhealthy to ignore more than seven calls from the old woman.

She had a knack for rising from hell when that happened and dragging him home.

He turned toward his station, hands in his pockets. The device in his ears seemed to weigh much more than it should at the moment.

He couldn't get the nerd's face out of his head. He had seen him crying so many times that he had lost count for various reasons, and for no reason at all.

He remembered when he was a child to think that this was his quirk: excessive crying.

It was natural. Birds flew, fish swam, Katsuki was amazing, and Deku cried for anything.

"But it's different this time, isn't it?"

He tried to ignore that thought by getting on the train. At least Katsuki knew that he would be in U. A in two weeks, and there he had no way of getting a trick out of his ass to get away from him. 

He would find out what the hell was going on.

"He looked ... terrified."

..............................................

-Shoto! You took too long.

-Sorry Fuyumi, there was a setback. Is he-

-Father is not here yet. Are you alright?

-Hum ... Remember the cat boy? Why are you laughing?

-Nothing, nothing. The boy you keep talking about, I remember.

-I saw him again.

-And?

-Why are you looking at me like this?

-Oh, Shoto ... nothing. So, did you talk to him?

-He is in an abusive relationship.

-...what?

- I will save him from it. What do we have for dinner? I’ll help you.

.................................................. .........

-Any news about the cat?

Tensei almost laughed at Aizawa's tone as he tried to pretend he didn't care.

He looked up from the last report of the night and saw him hanging at the agency window because God saved Aizawa from entering the door like a normal human being.

-None in Hosu. He was spotted in Saitama last week, and in Kanagawa a few days later. People are commenting. - He folded the papers and looked up when the other didn't respond right away. - Are you worried?

- Just a sensation. Why avoid Hosu?

-Endeavor.

-He threw a bucket of water at him, he's not afraid of Endeavor.

-What do you think it is then?

-I don't know.-  His voice came uninterested, but he knew him better. - Yet.

-Um. Anyway, things are pretty boring without him.

- A vigilante shouldn't be viewed as entertainment, Ingenium.

Tensei grinned but didn't correct himself.

-And how are things in U.A? Tenya received his letter. - He said proud - He was among the top ten this year.

-I know. You know who distributes these letters, right?

He would be offended by his tone if he didn't know it was his normal tone.

-Hizashi told me you're having problems with your future class. He and Nemuri are betting on how many you will expel on the first day.

- Sure they are. 

 He growled, finally jumping through the window and going over to the coffee machine muttering something. Tensei stifled a laugh, finishing the paperwork. 

-I'm sure your brother told you about what happened on his test.- Tensei looked at him confused and the other sighed. - With the zero pointer.

-Oh yeah. Three participants saved each other right? Tenya talked a lot about them, looks like he found himself overly rude to one of them and plans a big apology on the first day of school ... Why are you making this face?

Aizawa seemed so fed up with life at the moment.

-The three who nearly get themselves killed trying to stop a robot without even thinking if a school like U.A would let participants die crushed are in my class. And your brother too. If you'll excuse me.

And with that, he left through the window.

Tensei waited a few seconds to laugh, after all, he loved his life.

That would be an interesting year in U.A, for sure.

.............................................

Mei Hatsume was one of the most stubborn people Izuku knew, and he knew Katsuki Bakugou.

 He had tried to get away from Mei in the early days after the train incident, the last thing he needed was for her to get involved with these people because of him. 

Mei didn't leave, she didn't even blink when he said he wouldn't openly patrol Hosu for a while and asked nothing when he decided to transfer their base to another part of town. In fact, she seemed quite enthusiastic about creating a base on Hosu's clock tower.

The place was in the centre of town, in a place so obvious no one would look. He remembered being incredulous when Takashi talked about the place, and never imagined that he would use it, but he was no longer feeling safe where he was.

While the two were organizing the move - Mei had made a point of taking this part - he planned. The initial dread subsiding he could think more clearly about the situation.

First, the possibilities. Takashi had returned with him to Japan, said he would ensure he would be safe in U.A, and then left. Izuku's biggest source of insecurity in Japan was the attack before leaving Japan and  he was an idiot for not thinking about it before.

Possibility one: Takashi successfully infiltrated the organization again. After all, they didn't know he had betrayed them. To all intents and purposes Takashi had delivered him to their hands years ago, and he had fled alone.

Possibility two: They knew of the betrayal, and Takashi was dead or worse. If they hadn't come after Izuku it was because they didn't know his whereabouts. Izuku should not have survived that night. In fact, without Akira's quirk, he would be dead. So he was safe for now.

He didn't like any of the possibilities, and he didn't like the ideas for dealing with any of them that formed in his mind. Mostly possibility two.

-The car, the bike and the whole workshop will be a problem to move. I don't feel good having to come back here often. 

 He pondered looking around, taking the cats he found on the way in the house and counting them.

In two days they would be going to U.A, and things could get more complicated. He needed a safe place, not just for Nora.

-There is a  save house close enough.  - Mei pointed at the map. - Some reinforcement in it, a thing here and there ... It can work just fine.

-Hum, but it's not mine.

- Yeah, I know, It's mine.

-Wait, when?

-Minutes ago.

-Hmm. I forget that you're one of the rich kids.

- Oh, my dear Izuku, do not worry about anything, nothing at all! Leave it to Aunt Mei and you will reach space!

- You're worrying me.

Mei didn't look offended. In fact, she looked pretty happy.

Which made him even more worried.

-I'll transfer the rest of things today at dawn.

Izuku had counted 17 cats, three more than he remembered days ago. He sighed, transferring the rest of the cats to their cages and receiving meows outraged by it.

-Sorry, buddies, just for a little while.

A very selfish part of him was glad Mei was stubborn.

He felt less alone.

-Hey?

She made a sound of listening without turning to him, writing something on a clipboard. He didn't know where she'd gotten the truck, but he'd given up trying to figure out the things she could do.

-I think you should know, but maybe I'll do something pretty stupid soon.

The zooming eyes stared at him at that, a curious expression. And then she smiled.

-Use my babies.

He was really happy to have Mei.

-Let's take two trips. First things from the truck and then let's make this little beauty work.

He didn't like that laugh.

.................................................. ..

It was a quiet night for Ingenium.

Despite Nora's disappearance in recent times, apparently, the vigilante had not failed to send clues to the police and even his agency. He seemed to try to compensate for Hosu's lack of activity with investigative work.

Nora would be a good hero. That didn't get out of his head, because it was the truth. He knew as many did, that the vigilante had his heart in the right place. It was the same case with Koichi Haimawari, he couldn't see any difference between the young vigilante he'd met years ago and Nora.

Too bad that by law this was not the case, but still he knew that as long as he saw Nora with his heart in the right place he would never apprehend him.

"Manual to Ingenium, we have a ... hum, situation. "

For some reason the other hero was laughing, which made him very curious.

-Ingenium listening.

"Oh, maybe you should come here. See it with your own eyes and everything."

He frowned at that curiously.

-Pass your location.

..........................................

At two in the morning, Aizawa received the call from Naomasa. Which was never good news when the detective contacted him directly.

-We have a situation.

-What is it now?

-It's nothing serious. - The man's voice had a tone he didn't comprehend. - But it is about Midoriya, so I thought you should know.

He straightened up, feeling more alert.

-What happened?

-He is fine! - The man corrected quickly. - He is here at the police station right now, waiting for Yagi.

-The other stupid blonde? Naomasa, what happened?

He was already jumping with his capture tool toward the police station.

-Oh yes, he is emancipated, but he would only be released with an adult, and for some reason, he named Yagi then-

-Naomasa.

-Well ... Ingenium seized him earlier, along with another girl, Mei Hatsume. They were driving a modified car in Hosu, without a driver's license, with 17 cats inside, and some following the vehicle.

-Hmm?

Aizawa slipped from the building.

..........................................

He turned the phone on the counter, waiting for some message to arrive.  That pissed him off. It annoyed him a lot.

He reached up to scratch his neck and paused at the sight of his mutilated fingers.

It definitely pissed him off. It was cheating. A player returning like this was cheating. 

-Why isn't he texting, Kurogiri?

-Perhaps because he realized that it wasn't Takashi-san who was receiving them, Shigakari Tomura.

No, he didn't like it at all. If he had known he was alive before, he would have found out where he was from the traitor. 

-He lied. He lied Kurogiri. He lied to sensei. How? No one lies to sensei.

He looked at the last messages: I did it. I got in U.A.

The plan had not changed, he had only one more reason to do it. If the rumours were true, All Might would be in U.A, and player 2 always wanted to be a hero. He was going to be there.

They would both be.

With that in mind, he raised his unmutilated hand and gripped the device, completely destroying it.

Next time he found player 2, he would not hesitate.

Chapter Text

 

“The amazing thing is that chaotic systems don't always stay chaotic. Sometimes they spontaneously reorganize themselves into an orderly structure."

Connie Willis, Bellwether 

 

Aizawa had already accepted that his next meeting with the problem child would be in U.A.

He was prepared for that, to finally have a conversation and some answers, because the more he thought about Midoriya's story the more he felt that there was something wrong with it. In no way, he expected that this meeting would happen like this. As soon as he stopped in front of the police station, he had the unpleasant sight of the stupid blonde getting out of a car. They stared at each other, one with surprise, the other with distaste. 

-Aizawa? 

-Yagi-san. 

Never has an honorific been more difficult to speak. 

-Why are you here? 

-The same as you. 

The other blinked, stunned by it. They looked at each other, then stared at the police station door, and began to walk quietly up the stairs. Like the mature adults who they were, near the door they quickened their pace to see who entered first. 

........................................... 

Naomasa had heard a lot about Izuku Midoriya over the years, and lately even more since Toshinori had been involved with the child. He had mental images of the smiling boy in the superimposed photos of the bodies found years ago. 

He imagined different scenarios of when he would finally find him. 

Never like this. 

Ingenium had brought them both, with a few more officers behind. Some of them had cats hanging in their arms, Midoriya had one on top of his head that looked at everyone with what must have been a deadly look, and before the police station door closed the other animals stormed in behind them. 

-Why didn't you leave them in the car? 

He asked incredulously, trying not to trip over the animals. 

- We tried but they know how to open the cages. 

- I said it.  

Midoriya spoke up embarrassed and Naomosa had a good view of the boy for the first time. He looked short for his age but healthy.  

Except when he turned, and he finally saw the infamous scar that left Toshinori so worried. With his hair out of the way in a bun, Naomasa had a good view of it. Too large, too close to the carotid. Too similar to something that should have been fatal. 

Perhaps Aizawa's concern was not unfounded. 

-That's a lot of cats.  

Someone commented, trying to prevent one of the cats from climbing on a table, in vain. 

-Oh, not all are mine. I'm fostering some while I try to find a home for them. 

-Oh, in this case, is this one up for adoption? 

Midoriya's eyes brightened, a smile lighting his face as he looked at the hero. 

-Yes! This is Turbo. 

How convenient. 

-Turbo? In this case... 

-Not now, Ingenium. 

The hero holding a white feline in his hands gave a bashful laugh. 

The girl – Hatsume, and that surname was a problem – just smiled as if the whole situation was the most natural thing in the world. 

And Naomasa knew that this night would be exhausting. 

- Someone get the cats, please. 

He didn't have to ask twice, and soon his officers were walking around the room like chickens catching felines that were climbing things. Some climbed Midoriya while running away from them, and now he had a giant cat in his arms, the malevolent on his head, two slung over his shoulders and some climbing his legs. 

- Sorry about that. I'm very, very sorry. Let me help you. 

He heard a surprised gasp and the boy went still, his eyes glazed over something. He was ready to call him out, a little worried, when the boy pointed, his voice shaking.  

- He has a cat head. 

Tamakawa looked up from where he was trying to catch one of the animals under the table and looked alarmed. 

-Awn. - Ingenium commented from his side. - He is adorable. 

When he tried to approach the child, the cats in Midoriya gave threatening meows at him, the evil-looking on his head scratched the hero's hand.  

He got out of his trance and began to dissolve into apologies again. 

-Catchan! Bad cat! I'm sorry, Ingenium!

 It would be a long, long night. 

.............................

Half an hour later they had an exorbitant number of cats and two teenagers in Naomasa's office. Ingenium was sitting in the armchair, some of the cats around the hero, but the most 'protective' ones were still on Midoriya and Hatsume, looking at Naomasa with clear suspicion. 

-So can you explain to me what happened? Ingenium? 

-Some of the interns found the two of them riding in an unidentified car, driving unlicensed and in a dangerous area. They stopped them first because Midoriya ... Or is it Shimizu? Anyway, he was on the roof of the car. 

Midoriya raised his hand, his face looking embarrassed. 

-The cats came out of the cage, one of them was coming out the window and I tried to hold her and ended up the roof and we couldn't stop because Mei didn't know how to do it and... 

Hatsume put her hand over his mouth and shut him up, patting his back to help him breathe.                  Supposedly. 

-For what I understood, you tried to save the cats and ended up on the roof of the car. All right.  

Naomasa looked at Ingenium, because the situation was everything but 'all right'.

-You were driving a car illegally.  

He accused, looking to the hero with a warning to shut up. 

-Technically we weren't driving a car. – Hatsume raised her hand. – Christine is remote. I built it myself.  

She finished proudly. 

-And who was in control of ... Christine? 

Naomasa chose to ignore Ingenium, who at this point was almost bursting trying not to laugh.  

-No one who you can prove? - The boy's voice was hesitant, the two looked at each other and he continued, more confident. - And Mei built the vehicle, technically it's not a car, it is different. If there is no equal, there is no law about it yet, so we weren't breaking a law.  

-It looks like a car to me.  

- Officer Tamakawa looks like a cat, but he isn't one, is he? 

The daring of this brat. And he didn't know if he felt better or worse that they hadn't lied one bit. 

The two adults looked at each other, and Naomasa wanted to throw something at Iida at this moment. The man was finding it all hilarious. 

-You know what? I don't get paid enough for this. I'll call your guardians. 

-Actually ... - The boy raised his arm. - I am an emancipated minor. 

He already knew that, but he didn't need to know that he already knew. 

-Still, you're only leaving with an adult. And our conversation is not over. 

He noticed the paler boy's face and stopped with his hand on the phone. 

-The number of your guardians. -He noticed their brief exchange of glances. -Hatsume, I assume you want me to call your father. 

-My sister. -She pulled something out of her pocket, a card. - I'm sure she can take us both home. 

-I prefer his guardian to come. 

-My uncle is not at home. He is travelling. 

He could not detect a lie there. 

-And when does he come back? 

-I'm not sure.

Again, no lies. 

-Are you alone? - Ingenium bust int the conversation, a cat on his arm. - Is it common? 

-I'm an emancipated minor. 

-Still, how old are you? Fourteen? 

-Fifteen.  -He seemed embarrassed by it. - It's not his fault. 

-Do you know where your uncle is, Midoriya? - Naomasa interrupted the discussion. - How can we contact him? 

-I don't. 

A half-truth. Naomasa narrowed his eyes suspiciously. 

He wanted to interrogate the boy but couldn't do it without a guardian present. Even if he was emancipated, it didn't seem right. 

-Well, you need someone here. Midoriya bit his lip, staring at the cats in his lap. Some of them rubbed against him, seeming to notice his mood. 

When green eyes stared at him he looked hesitant. 

-Can you call Yagi Toshinori?

 ................................................. 

Naomasa went out to get a coffee and took the opportunity to call Aizawa too. The night was getting even stranger, but this was their chance to finally have some answers. With Toshinori around maybe, the boy would open up. He would not question him, but there was much he could learn from a friendly conversation.

When he returned to the room, Hatsume was fiddling with something he was sure was a piece of Ingenium's uniform, while the hero had the white cat in his arms protectively, talking to Midoriya who was sitting on the floor with other felines around him. 

One of them rushed out when he opened the door, but Naomasa managed to block it. He turned when he felt another jump out of the evidence closet on his hat. He took the animal and sighed. 

- Tsukauchi-san! - Ingenium seemed too excited for the time. And the situation in general. - Midoriya was telling me which cats are up for adoption. He rescued them from the streets. Isn't it a heroic act? 

The boy turned very red, sticking his head at the bigger cat in his lap and mumbling something. 

-That ... – Ingenium pointed at the cat in his arms. - It's mine now. I can't let it pass with such a name. 

Of course, he wouldn't let it. 

-Maybe Tsukauchi-san should ... 

-I don't want a cat. 

Midoriya stared at him almost offended as if it was a capital offence that he didn't want a cat. For some reason, Ingenium was smiling at him. Then he noticed that he was still holding the cat that jumped on him. Tabby with one blue eye, the other missing leaving only a mass of scarred tissue. 

-His name is Catnori. 

He felt his lip curl at it, trying not to smile. 

The boy looked at him sheepishly. He looked pretty embarrassed when he wasn’t trying to get away from trouble, or maybe he was a fake. Like the cat that looked at him innocently now. 

-He's a survivor, showed up at my home last month. I wasn't going to put him in for adoption because they only want the younger kittens and he's a lot older, but ... he likes you. 

He sighed, placing the cat on the floor. 

-I don't want a cat. We can continue with ... 

The animal climbed on him again. 

...................................... 

Looks like you don't have a say in such a situation. 

..................................... 

Half of his department went to his office to see the cats for adoption. 

Somehow Midoriya knew exactly what cat to offer, and the names were always very appropriate. 

As he suspected. That false air of innocence, but within seconds he seemed to analyze people and know exactly what animal to offer, and what name to choose to make a rejection impossible.

The one-eyed cat looked at him from where he had taken space of his desk. 

Catnori 

Toshinori 

How did the boy realize he was friends with Yagi? 

............................................... 

They both tried to get through the door at the same time, almost breaking the glass. And that brought the attention of several officers to them, some looked alarmed. In the end, Aizawa managed to get past the stupid blonde, dropping profanities quietly in the process. 

-Oh, Eraserhead sir. And you are ...? 

-Yagi Toshinori! Naosama called me about young Midoriya. 

- He is Tsukauchi's friend. – Tamakawa intervened from the table. – Hello Yagi-san. They are waiting in Tsukauchi's office. Just be careful when you open the door, we don't want to have to chase any more cats today. And as you can see. -He pointed around, and they noticed that several officers had felines on their laps. - We already have enough cats here. 

Looking at the cat's head of the officer who spoke it seemed a great irony, but anyway Aizawa didn't know what he expected to see when they opened the door, at that point he believed in anything. He looked through the glass wall before and saw that Naomasa was at his desk looking exhausted – he understood him on a high level – Tensei was in one of the armchairs with a cat on his lap, talking to the two teenagers excitedly. He had always been the best with kids when they were in U.A. 

The girl fiddled with something in her hand and he saw that it was a piece of Tensei's uniform. 

And then Midoriya. 

There he was, a cat on his head as before, others around him. He could see the mass of curly hair cluttered in disarray, his head bowed as he and the girl bent over what they were doing. He froze for a few seconds because he was smiling. Although he had seen him laughing with the cats last time, it was still so strange. 

-Aizawa-san? - he looked at All Might who had stopped at the door. - Aren't you going in? 

-Tsc. 

This time Aizawa let him go ahead. 

Aizawa knew the exact moment Midoriya noticed him behind the stupid blonde. His head snapped up when he saw the other, looking embarrassed by the situation. He stood up, some cats leaping from him with the abrupt movement, and bowed respectfully. 

-Yagi-san, sorry about all this ... Eraserhead? 

The green eyes widened and he straightened quickly. They didn't seem to know what to do without an escape route there. His image overlapped with that of years ago, and he felt a strange urgency as if he wanted to reach him with his hands, so he put them in his pocket as he closed the door, leaning back against the wall casually. Midoriya was still looking at him, in the same position, as paralyzed in place. 

-... Midoriya? 

The sounds returned to both of them, and the boy finally cut eye contact and stared at the other man. 

-Sorry, Yagi-san. They said they needed an adult. - The boy looked at Naomasa. - Even if I am an emancipated minor. 

There was an accusation there, blasé, but there was. 

Technically, Naomasa couldn't hold him there with that excuse. 

-What happened? - The blonde idiot interrupted sitting, Midoriya also returned to sit on the bench with the girl, who now he noticed that watched with insightful eyes behind a somewhat manic smile. 

-We were discussing this. Apparently, the two were driving a car ... 

- Christine. - The girl interrupted, still messing with whatever she was messing with. – And it's not a car.

Naomasa blinked and Aizawa noticed the slight tightening in his jaw. It was a test of how much they must have tested his patience. 

-Christine. Which apparently is not a car, and so the laws do not apply. 

The two teenagers nodded seriously. 

-There were a lot of cats. 

-17. - Midoriya nodded seriously in confirmation. - Catchan, CatNight, CatGum, CatMight, and CatHead. There is also Mandalay, Pixie-bob, Ragdoll and Tiger. The other eight were up for adoption and found a home today. Like Turbo here. Oh my god, I don't believe that I said their names and... 

The girl covered his mouth without taking her eyes off the piece she was working in. 

-You may continue. 

- As I was saying. - Naomasa's tone sounded so exhausted that he hid a smile in his scarf. It was so obvious that these two were trying to beat him in exhaustion. -17cats, Midoriya was on the roof, trying to keep the cats from escaping. 

The boy nodded still with his mouth covered. -And they haven't told us yet what they were doing at this time of night together in Hosu. 

The adults all looked at both teenagers. The girl smiled, looking calm with the scrutiny. 

-Making babies, of course. 

If he was someone else, he would have lost his composure. 

The blond idiot coughed up blood, Naomasa looked even more exhausted, and Tensei seemed about to give them both a talk. Midoriya turned so red he thought that he would faint, swinging his arms in front of him quickly. 

-With whom? 

-Izuku, of course. - She spoke as if Naomasa was an idiot. - He's the only one worthy of making babies with me. 

Another spit of blood, Tensei looked at him in horror from the chair. 

-You're fifteen, don't you think you're too young?  

Naomasa seemed to feel pain as he said this, wanting to be anywhere but there. He could understand him, he had the same feeling. 

-How absurd. If you have the mental capacity, there is no right age for ... 

- MEI!  - Izuku ripped her hand from his mouth. - That's not it! 

- She didn't lie. - Naomasa accused. 

- Babies are what she calls our gear! 

It must have been true from the way Naomasa relaxed. 

Aizawa was starting to get a headache. 

-You were working on inventions, went for a ride on one of them, and were arrested. Resolved, now go home. If I catch you again, I will not have the same mercy. 

He was sure that Naomasa had some plan for an interrogation but he did not blame him for giving up at this point. 

-Hatsume, wait for your sister. Midoriya, you can go with Toshinori. His uncle is not there, can you take him home? 

-Excuse me - Tensei raised his hand, more composed. – I don't think it's right for him to be home alone for so long. 

-I'm emancipated. 

Everyone ignored him and the boy lowered his shoulders in a defeat. He noticed the two teenagers looking at each other when Naomasa talked about Midoriya being taken home. 

- Young Midoriya can stay with me, of course. 

-He can come home with me. 

Everyone, of course, looked at him. Midoriya blinked at the offer. Aizawa understood him too, he didn't know the reason he offered it either. 

-No need Eraserhead, I can stay with him. 

But he was going to keep the offer because the stupid blonde said that. 

............................................ 

Tensei was having the night of his life. 

He was sure he would keep this situation to count for a long time at the meetings, along with the day Aizawa got drunk in their senior year at U.A, that had been a memorable one. 

He looked at the boy's puzzled face with pity as the two men argued passive-aggressively who would take him home. 

They didn't even ask the boy if he wanted to go. 

And seeing Aizawa's paternal possessiveness was new. Even more so noticing the boy's hair in a bun so similar to what he wore in his spare time, was too hilarious to pass up. 

They almost missed the knock on the door until one of the officers stuck his head in the door. 

-Excuse me, sir? Hatsume is here for her sister. 

Naomasa sighed, rubbing his head, the cat on his shoulders watching everything bored. 

-She may come in. 

The woman who came into the room, looking curiously at the situation, was young. She must have been their age, if a little older, yet immediately he noticed her walking stick. Certainly the result of some leg damage they couldn't see. Her hair was a darker colour than her sister's, her eyes the same colour as her hair, and she wore a formal outfit.

Everyone in the hero industry knew about Hatsume, the father. He had the largest hero support factory today. He knew about Hatsume the son. Also known to the builder, he was a little-known hero, but well-loved by those who knew him. 

This Hatsume didn't look like them. Of this Hatsume he had never heard of, though her features were too similar to her sister's to be unrelated. 

What caught his attention, however, was not that. He was fortunate enough to be staring at Midoriya when she came in, so he noticed his reaction the moment he saw her. 

It was only seconds, until he composed himself. 

Seconds as they stared at each other until they looked away. 

Seconds when he paled dramatically, his green eyes wide. 

Seconds when Tensei was sure Midoriya would cry. 

-Good night, gentlemen.  

Her voice was soft. He felt his body tense from the reaction he had seen. Aizawa looked at him out of the corner of his eye, confused by his behaviour.  

- I'm Akira Hatsume. -She looked at her sister and sighed. - What did you do this time, Mei? 

................................................... 

In the end, none of them took Midoriya home. 

Hatsume took them both when the two teenagers stated that the initial plan before they were caught was to go home together. Naomasa didn't feel it was a lie, but it didn't seem all true either. 

Like everything these kids had said that night, they seemed to know exactly how to distort the truth to the point of misleading his quirk.

 The others seemed to want to protest, to his surprise Ingenium, in particular, seemed hesitant, but the boy left no room for it. He was right, he couldn't stop him from leaving after releasing him. And so they watched Midoriya disappear through the police station door. And they still had no answers about him.

-I have a feeling I was manipulated. - He confessed. – This boy... he is going to U.A, right? Keep an eye on him, Toshinori. 

-Tsukauchi-san. – Ingenium spoke hesitantly, where he stood with his cat in his hand. -What do you know about Akira Hatsume? 

He frowned. 

-Why the question?

He seemed to want to say something but then shook his head. 

-It must be nothing. 

Ingenium left, carrying his cat, and strangely silent. 

.................................................. ......................... 

Aizawa was coming down the stairs when someone called his name. He turned alert and, to his surprise, saw Midoriya exiting one of the parked cars. 

That boy always seemed to do the unexpected. 

The cat was still in his head as he walked over to him, suspicious yellow eyes staring at him from behind an angry fur ball. 

He saw the uncertain expression, his eyes stared into his face and then turned away when he stopped a few steps away. He waited patiently as he stared at the ground, his foot burying there in such a childish gesture that it was hard to believe that this was the boy who had shamelessly manipulated Naomasa. 

-I just ... 

He seemed to take a deep breath and then looked up, his expression determined. Aizawa noted with alarm that his eyes were dangerously bright. The last thing he wanted was a crying boy, he couldn't handle it. 

-I just wanted to say thank you for what you did years ago. 

Aizawa approached and saw his intent. He didn't know why the boy seemed so conflicted when talking to him. Maybe it was the memories of what happened, he couldn't tell for sure. 

His eyes darted to the floor again and he found himself crouching to stare at him, his hand touching his shoulder and ignoring the warning sound the cat made of it, like a shrewd guard. He also didn't know why he had these feelings about that boy. He had saved several children before, in worse situations, but Midoriya had stayed in his head. He remembered his hand coming out of the rubble, how he had squeezed his own with desperation. He remembered him leaving and the boy sitting on the hospital bench alone. He remembered every second of that night. And he figured he must remember too. 

-You're welcome. 

The boy stared at him through his lashes, the same uncertain expression. He wanted to tell him that he had sought him out, to ask what had happened, where he had gone. Because he had no one at home waiting for him. He wanted to offer him again to go to his house. He did none of that. 

- See you at U.A. 

With that, the boy smiled and he stood up. 

Taking his hand off his shoulder weighed more than he could understand. He watched him run to the car, and with a last-second decision stopped him. 

-And Midoriya? 

The boy turned curiously. 

-If you need me, don't hesitate to ask for help. 

He didn't see the boy's expression, he turned very fast. 

Still, he hoped he understood the offer. 

.................................................. ........................ 

Aizawa had no idea the weight of what he had offered that night. 

And how much that would change what was coming. 

.................................................. ........................ 

Christine was seized, but Akira promised she would free their invention. Mei knew she could do it, Akira was good at getting these things. It would not be a good idea for Akira to leave Izuku at home since his house was currently the clock tower in Hosu, so they would have a sleepover and the next day he would take the   train. 

In those moments, she just thanked for her sister being indifferent to what she was doing, and not asking questions. No one in her family did. The rule was just don't get caught. They took the cages for the remaining nine cats and Midoriya got into the back seat with them while they waited, putting them safely. 

-What a busy night. 

She commented and he looked at her incredulously. 

Mei counted it as a gain. They had made the move to the base and tested Christine, and it had ended perfectly well. 

-At least the eight found a home. - Midoriya murmured. - I will miss them. Catchan! How did you get out of the cage? 

She heard him fighting and looked in the rearview mirror at the yellow cat above his head, as usual. 

-He appears out of nowhere, releases others whenever he wants. I swear sometimes I think he has a quirk. Speaking of quirk. - His tone sounded casual, but she knew him well to know it wasn't. - What is your sister's quirk, Mei? 

-She can transfer damage from one object to another. Very useful in recycling. 

Before he could answer his sister entered the car. 

Christine would be released the next day. 

She thought Izuku would ask Akira a thousand questions about her quirk. 

He was silent the entire trip. 

Akira left them at their father's house and left with a request that she no longer get in trouble, or at least not get caught. 

When she left Izuku seemed to want to say something to her but hesitated. And she had a slight feeling that her sister left too fast as if she were running away. 

Mei shrugged and pulled him into the workshop. 

Sleep was for the weak, after all. 

.................................................. ......... 

The big day had come. 

U.A. 

Hitoshi put on his uniform, still not believing what was happening. Saying goodbye to each cat, he accepted his mother's hug that filled her eyes with tears whenever she looked at him. Despite insisting that he could take the train, his father made sure to take him on the first day. 

-Toshi, I think I already said how proud I am. 

- Yes, several times. 

- Brat. – He looked at him sideways and tried not to smile. – Not for having passed the heroes class, but for not giving up. 

-Dad... 

-I can't say I know what you've been through, your mother knows better than me, but I know how hard it must be to insist when everyone around says you can't. It requires strength. - He paused and smiled, and Hitoshi totally did not want to cry at that moment. - And stubbornness. 

He gave a soft laugh. 

- And I know if you hadn't come in now, you still wouldn't give up. 

-How can you be sure? 

He shrugged. 

-I know you. 

U.A's building was giant, he knew it, but it never failed to impress him. His father stopped right in front of the gates and Hitoshi got his things, feeling excited and nervous at the same time. 

As he was closing the door, he paused, looking at his father's expression. Dark circles and a smile on his face. His expression was nostalgic and he didn't understand the reason. 

-Not everyone around said I couldn't make it. You never said it. 

He closed the door before he could answer, quickening his pace and escaping the emotional moment. 

His father honked several times and felt his ears heat up. 

-I love you, Toshi! 

He was doing it on purpose, he was sure.

-Don't you love me too? 

Almost at the gate, just a little longer. 

-My son doesn't love me. 

More honking, everyone had stopped to look. 

-I love you! Get out of here! 

This treacherous old man. 

..................................................

Keito saw his son enter the gate with red ears and gave a low laugh, running the car. 

'If only Inko's son were here with him. It was supposed to have been both. ' 

They would have been good friends, he was sure.

 ................................................. 

Entering the corridors of the support department with Mei by his side Izuku sneezed. 

They entered the room designated in their letter to class 1-H together. 

He looked in wonder when he saw that the place looked more like a lab than a class. They had circular benches and the frame in the centre was cubic with projections protruding from all four sides. 

The only ones in the room so far were the two students he had noticed most on the day of the test, the guy with the various arms and the girl whose hair changed colour. For some reason when they saw him and Mei entering together they looked resigned. Or frightened. He couldn't say for sure. 

The girl recovered faster. 

-Hello! My name is Aya Kenranzaki. – She bowed. – And this is Tako Tsutsutaka. I hope we can be friends. 

-Mei Hatsume. 

Izuku thought carefully about this. He had his reservations about his U.A. name. On the one hand, he had taken the test as Shimizu, on the other he knew that there was a chance some teachers would call him                Midoriya, as Aizawa already did, and Yagi-san had warned that he would attend U.A as an assistant teacher for the heroes. 

And Shimizu, after Takashi's disappearance, had become a dangerous name. The less he uses it the better. 

The more discrepancy in his name the more unwanted attention he would get. That was the part he hated most about having to change his last name so many times. 

It was a last-minute decision, really. It wasn't as if he was hiding his name, but the more people called him for something that didn't confuse him the better. 

-You can call me Deku. 

The girl looked uncertain, frowning. 

-Are you sure? 

- Deku is good. 

'I hope you are happy, Kacchan. Look what you did.' 

................................................ 

Katsuki took the train after escaping the old woman trying to take pictures of him, and his father having an emotional fit, as usual. 

On the train, at least seven people asked him if he was a fan of Nora. 

It wasn't even eight in the morning and he already wanted to blow people up.

When he arrived in U.A, the first thing he did was decorate the way to the support building and their schedules, it was important. 

Still, he was one of the first to arrive in the room. He almost turned around when he saw the robot inside, that was his luck. 

When the other saw him, he rose quickly and began to make a scandalous speech with an apology and many courtesies. And it was getting harder and harder not to blow someone up. 

Amidst the confusion, Round face and Smiley appeared as well, and for some reason, they thought that he was their friend now. 

-The guy with the cat ears! -The girl practically jumped from the door in front of her, huge brown eyes flashing curiously. - Are you two friends? 

-My name is Tenya Iida! - Spectacles spoke and Katsuki turned his head away in time to escape one hand to hit him. - And I'm here to apologize for my terrible behaviour with my dear colleague. 

-I don't care. Get out of the way. 

- That's rude! But I understand your anger and ... 

-Hey hey, we can all be friends. 

He opened his mouth to shout with Smiley, Katsuki was already at his limit, when he noticed that Smiley and Round face were trying to talk to him in sign language. He also noticed that the robot himself was saying his apologies in signals all this time, which he had not noticed by his exaggerated movements. 

Smiley and Round face were doing almost everything wrong, they were terrible at it, yet it made him pause. It was the first time any colleague besides Deku had tried to talk to him in signals. He knew the teachers knew signs, so for the first time he would not need an interpreter in class, his parents had already spoken to the school, but he never imagined that anyone in the room would know either. 

-Hmm. 

-Excuse me. - A girl with a ponytail spoke shyly. She stared at Katsuki, looking at his device with some realization. He folded his arms defensively. - Um ... some words are wrong. 

-Oh. 

They both looked so sad, lowering their hands in shame. 

He had a strange urge to say to the ponytail girl to fuck it, but he buried that urge. 

-I can help you if you want? 

Well, what a turnaround. 

A strange stone-faced boy raised his hand as well. 

-Koda knows signs too. - A guy with big lips spoke. - He can help as well. 

What the hell was this about everyone trying to be friends there? 

-If you're here to make friends, get out of here. 

For a moment he thought his thoughts had materialized, but the voice came from a yellow cocoon on the floor that came to life, and from there came a tired-looking fellow. 

It resembled a certain someone. 

Katsuki hated everyone there already. 

He felt something at the back of his neck, like dark energy or something. He turned and found heterochromatic eyes staring at him from the back of the room, staring at him without blinking. 

He definitely hated everyone there. 

............................................. 

Eraserhead was his teacher and Hitoshi was trying not to die for it. 

He was amazing, and that was the best day of his life.

 ............................................. 

Shoto was sure it was fate that had prepared this. 

He could keep an eye on that abuser. 

He could figure out if the weird cat guy was fine. 

Shoto would save him. 

.............................................. 

He had no idea that the reverse would happen. 

................................................. 

Eraserhead was terrible and Hitoshi was trying not to get kicked out. 

That was the worst day of his life. 

He was absolutely the worst in all the results, he was sure. And that was unfair, that test didn't benefit a quirk like his at all.  

By the last test, he was already tired, angry and hopeless, and seriously considering switching his favourite hero at that point. 

-Be creative. - The man commented handing him the ball, looking at him with an expression that he didn't understand. 

And that's when he had a sudden idea. 

-I can use my quirk any way I want, right? 

- As long as you don't leave the circle. 

Hitoshi at that point didn't have much hope that he would stay, but still, he would not fall without a fight. He looked around and saw the smiling girl who had scored infinite. 

-Hey, you there? 

-Me? 

He saw her eyes get distant. He felt guilty for what he would do, but it was a matter of survival. 

-Throw this ball for me with your quirk. Please. 

His teacher's smile was manic. 

.............................................. 

No one was expelled, and he was sure his colleagues would hate him. 

At least it would stay there. 

.................................................. ..

No one hated him. They praised him for his creativity. 

The infinity girl accepted his apologies with a smile and questions about his quirk. 

What kind of parallel universe was that? 

.................................................. ......... 

Katsuki didn't wait long to leave the room when they were released. 

He wanted to catch Deku in the jump, after all. 

-Hey, Kacchan! Wait!

The name made him stop.

He turned around quickly and found Round face and Smiley coming down the hall, dragging the voice control quirk guy who seemed to want to be there as badly   as he did. Which was none at all. 

If he could feel pity, he would. Glasses were coming after them with a determined face. 

Joy.

-What the hell did you call me?! 

She paused in surprise but didn't look scared. He saw her turn her head in confusion. 

-Kacchan? Is that what the coffee-drinking guy called you.

Damn Deku. 

.................................................. ............ 

-How many did you expell? 

Nemuri asked thirstily as she spotted him at the door. He tried to ignore her. He still wanted to pass casually through the support class. Maijima wasn't in the staff room yet.

-None. 

It made her pause, dropping some papers on the table. 

-They must be awesome. 

Half the room was too friendly, one of them had a problem with anger management and he was sure some suffered from some psychological disorders that Aizawa didn't even want to start naming. 

He was beginning to feel the headache taking him just thinking about the problems he was going to have with this class. 

-They don't have zero potential. 

.................................................. ...................... 

Maijima had a good reason to be late. It wasn't every day that a lab almost exploded on the first day of school. He had only 10 students in class 1-H that year. 

And yet he had doubts that the building would survive until the end of that semester. 

-Hatsume! I said that I couldn't reverse it! 

He already loved them. 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“―They believed that prediction was just a function of keeping track of things. If you knew enough, you could predict anything. That's been cherished scientific belief since Newton.

―And?

―Chaos theory throws it right out the window.”

 

― Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park

 

One year, nine months and 15 days ago

 

Izuku was thinking about energy again. 

It was a pretty common thought lately since he wiped out the entire light of the block by accident.

Not that anyone could prove it was him. No way. Nope nope.

—I think I'm going easy on you if you have time to mumble, boyo.

He was kicked in the back and rolled across the floor of the mat. Izuku barely had time to roll when he saw another foot coming toward him. He jerked away and winced at the force of the attack that nearly hit him.

Taka didn't know how to take it easy and Izuku had suffered a lot at first before he learned how to defend himself.

—The villains won't take it easy on you. You have five seconds to get up and come at me.

He grunted, trying to obey. Quiet, that was how he had learned. He needed to control his breath. Easier said than done.

His jab was easily blocked. He landed a kick with the momentum, but in the second time, he wasn't so lucky. His uncle grabbed his foot and tried to toss him across the mat again.  

Izuku attacked his ribs and escaped. Or tried to, as he felt a sharp pain in the scalp when his hair was grabbed and pulled tight. He crouched down and elbowed Taka's unprotected stomach, who released him, giving him room to breathe and try to brush his hair out of his eyes.

—Yes! Use your legs, you have legs for a reason!

— T.to walk?

The answer earned him another kick behind the knees. He collapsed with a scream and wanted to stay right there, but he knew Taka wouldn't stop until he had what he wanted. He waited for him to come closer and spun on the floor closing her legs between his. 

Left-arm, injury from years ago, poor movement and weaker joint.

Lower back, an accident during service, an easier way to make him surrender quickly. A blow hard enough can immobilize him for weeks.

Izuku laid on his back and swung his arm toward Taka, his knee on his uncle's lower back, threatening. 

He felt the body tense beneath his own, he knew that the surprise would soon pass and he would retaliate. Unless Izuku hit the left leg. He could almost see the scarred tissue beneath his black clothes. The white and pink mass writhing tissue and muscle, irreparably rupturing ligaments that usually brings a chronic pain that makes Taka wriggle his face every morning before taking the medicine and it was his fault, because he had been stupid and thought he could save Shigakari, and his uncle and Akira paid the price and ...

—IZUKU.

He woke from his trance with a thud and fell back hard on the mat, the air coming out of his lungs with the blow. He looked up and saw the worried expression on his uncle's face. His eyes softened slightly and he sat down beside him, breathing heavily, both sweaty and panting from the exercise.

—Are you back to earth, Boyo?

He nodded, looking away and expecting a reprimand for losing his concentration again. It was something that happened often, unfortunately.

— It went well.  

He blinked in a daze and looked at his uncle, who was flexing his aching arm. 

—Don't look at me with that face, I told you to immobilize me and you managed to do that. I can compliment a well-done job, your pest.

— I played dirty ...

—No villain will play fair with you, boyo, but you won't know everyone who fights you so well.  And use your legs, your hip is wider than mine, which makes it easier to kick than to punch. What is with your obsession with punches?

Izuku blushed at that, he would never admit that whenever he punched he was yelling SMASH mentally.

—... I deconcentrated.

—That will have to improve. If someone realizes that you're a cat paying attention to every ball of wool that appears and forgetting about life-

—Hey!

— -you won't survive long in a fight, but I'll get that bad habit out of you.

Uncle snapped his fingers on his face with a manic look and Izuku winced.

—This is abuse, Uncle Taka.

—I never said I was a good person.

He closed his eyes as his uncle pinched his nose. Izuku slapped his hands away. His mom had that same annoying habit, except that it hurt when a brute did it.

By the roll of Taka's eyes, he had spoken it aloud.

—And another thing, when are you going to cut this hair? 

He stopped the movement of trying to put his hair from his eyes and watched Taka laugh at his expression. 

— You look like a Shih Tzu.

He crossed his aching arms and his uncle laughed more at his expression.

—Actually ... I think I'll let it grow.

Taka looked at him curiously, fun forgotten.

—It's weakness during a fight, you know that, don't you?

He tightened his arms defensively. 

—Well, a lot of heroes have big hair, Eraserhead, for instance-

He let the phrase die, thinking of this particular hero made him open a box he liked to keep tightly closed. Not to mention that it was going to make it too clear why he was letting his hair grow.

—Eraserhead-

His uncle spoke carefully and Izuku felt his hand on his forehead, making him focus back. 

— Can have big hair. He has the ability to not allow anyone to get close enough to grab his hair during a fight. You don't.

—So ... I just need to become capable of it, too.

—Don't tell me that. Show me.

Izuku would never stop feeling his chest warm when he realized how much Taka believed in him. It wasn't like his mom, who sometimes seemed indulgent, or Kacchan who looked incredulous. Taka really seemed to believe that if he really tried, he was going to make it, but knowing that he would have to work harder than anyone else for it. Putting strength in the words was of no use to him. Izuku had to prove himself.

Like his dad. Izuku understood why the two were friends.

— As you wish but you're going to tie it. 

Hours later when Izuku came out of the shower with his hair tied up, he saw his uncle paralyze at the counter where he was drinking his coffee. Izuku looked confused for a few seconds, especially when Taka's eyes showed so many different emotions.

—Uncle Taka?

—You look ... like your mother.

Izuku grinned at that.

.................................................. .............

Now

Hitoshi was experiencing one of the strangest days of his life.

He wasn't sure if it was an aspiring hero thing, or had been lucky and had fallen into the room with the weird ones, but he wasn't sure he had even met a normal person at all that day.

The scale ranged from the scandalous psychotic to the scary silent, but it was all there.

And the worst: the lively ones.

—Let's go Shinsou-kun!

Too lively.

The infinity girl, Uraraka, had grabbed his arm - with four fingers, little mercies - and no longer let go. And somehow he'd been dragged into some kind of drama when all he wanted to do was take the train back home.

—My name is not-

The room psychotic seemed to be having an aneurysm to speak the word. 

—- Kacchan.

—Oh? But he called you-

—Uraraka-san. 

 Iida interrupted. 

—Our colleague seems uncomfortable with that name, the least we can do is accept Bakugou-san's wish and-

—Nobody asked you four-eyes! My conversation is with the round face!

Iida made a scandalized sound and Shinsou ducked in time to escape a hand of the bespectacled boy in his face.

—Hey hey, no fight, this is not manly.

Too much drama. He was tempted to use his quirk and escape, but he felt he was on thin ice. So far everyone seemed understanding.

Speaking of thin ice, he felt a shiver down his spine and turned in time to meet the cold gaze of one of his colleagues - the Elsa in the class - at the end of the hallway, staring intently at them.

—... but it's such a lovely name!

Staring at who?  He wasn't sure and he didn't even want to find out. As long as it wasn't him.

He was relieved when the girl let go of his arm. Everyone was now involved in the discussion, and he was alarmed that the other weirdos in his class had joined the circus. The pink girl was repeating 'How Kacchan was a cute name' with a blond-haired boy with a strangely familiar black streak on it.  To his horror, he looked toward Hitoshi with a look of happiness and waved excitedly as is they knew each other.

Great, more lively people.

He didn't wave back, fearing that he would come to talk to him and Hitoshi would have to pretend to remember from where they knew each other before. 

—YOUR EXTRAS, STOP CALLING ME THAT! 

—Calling people "extras" is not good behaviour for a student at such a prestigious school as-

—FUCK YOU!

—Kacchan doesn't exactly behave like a hero, does he?

—What did you say, Pikachu??

—Hey, Bakubro is pretty heroic, he saved Uraraka.

— Well, that's amazing, kero.

It wasn't going to take long for some teacher to interfere, and years of getting the blame of everything made him callous enough to want to be far away when it happened.

So he tried to sneak out of the sea of students down the corridor, trying to figure out what the hell was going on there. 

Hitoshi breathed a sigh of relief when he pulled back far enough. The heterochromatic eyes were still in the dim hallway, the same intense air as before, but there was something in his eyes that he was sure he had in his as well. An air that expressed 'What the hell, what kind of class did I get into?'

Hitoshi felt a certain camaraderie and nodded to the other boy who, to his surprise, nodded back. He didn't know why Elsa was there - he was almost certain now that the intense, suspicious look was toward the psychotic - but he didn't care either.

—LOOK OUT!

He didn't have much time to react as he saw Elsa's eyes widen slightly in surprise, his foot reflexively positioning to use his quirk. He turned at the sound of the voice and faced green. 

Something collided and drove him to the floor taking the air out him. Hitoshi felt a sudden weight set in his chest.

—Damn it, Mei!

Or someone set in his chest.

—I told you not to call until three, Mei! I'm sorry. Are you alright, Eyebags?

—I called at three! 

He heard a distant shout. Hitoshi blinked and looked up, disoriented. Green eyes stared back at him from behind a face soiled with black soot and tousled hair. First he noticed the eyes, then he noticed the scar, and third, he noticed what the other had said.

—What did you call me?

The other stared at him in confusion for a few seconds, and then with surprise.

Hitoshi was no fool, there was recognition there.

The same recognition that he felt at the moment. That voice and that nickname ... only one person had called him that.

—I asked if you were okay.

 He felt the boy hands on his chest and really, he should have been aware of someone sitting on his legs like that, but Hitoshi had found a bone to gnaw on and wasn't going to let go.

 He held the other's waist in place and stared at him intently.

— You called me Eyebags.

Green eyes blinked in - false - innocence.

— Did I? I'm sure I didn't. My class made a snowboard, but there is no snow, so I thought 'ah, let's make it fly, them', so we made it fly, but I told Mei to call at three, and she didn't do that, she said one and three, when it was to say three, two and one. 

His eyes shifted uncomfortably from him to his right. 

—Oh, it's the boy with the candy cane hair! Hi! Thanks for holding the board for me, can you defrost it now?

Hitoshi put a hand os his mouth, frightened by the flood of words that such a tiny person could vomit. Green eyes looked at him in surprise. And now with his mouth covered, he looked even more familiar.

—Holy shit. 

He murmured, his eyes wide.

That expression of his, he couldn't even hide his look of panic. Before he could say anything, the shocked silence around him was broken and everyone started talking at once. The boy was ripped off him by the psychotic in the blink of an eye, who dragged the other through the back of the strange uniform he wore like a newborn cat.

—DEKU!

—Kacchan!

—Mina Ashido!

—Denki Kaminari!

—Here Hanta.

And so everyone started exchanging names and Hitoshi was sure he was in a parallel reality.

.................................................. .....

Tenya had waited years to come to U.A. The most prestigious hero school, and the same one that had formed his brother.

He did not expect to find himself in such a situation on the first day.

He didn't even know how it had gotten so out of hand. He had only intended to apologize to Bakugou for judging the other wrongly during the exam.  Now he was trying to calm down half the class in the hallway and prevent Bakugou from continuing to shake the other boy who must have been an AU student as well, despite not wearing a uniform, but a weird, sooty jumpsuit.

—Bakugou-san! 

To his surprise, they both looked at him with that. He probably had put more force into his voice than he thought, and some around him fell silent too. Well. He coughed and straightened up more. 

—. This not appropriate behaviour, if you can put down the colleague ...?

The boy who, he had to admit, didn't seem as bothered as he should be hanging by his shirt like that, waved and smiled at him.

— I'm Deku!

For some reason, Bakugou seemed offended by this.

—Deku? What the fuck is this Deku's story, Deku?

... And Tenya didn't know how to handle that, and for the confused look of the others, they didn't either.

—I like it! — Uraraka smiled beside and everyone looked at her. — Looks like Dekiru, there's a vibe of 'you can do it!'.

The boy smiled even more, and Tenya blinked, dazzled by all the brightness emitted, especially when Kirishima joined in praising the name as well.

—Did you hear Kacchan? I'm Deku who can do it.

 The voice came out in a sweet tone, but for some reason, Tenya felt that was not the intention.

—Deku, you little shit!

—Well, now that everyone knows each other, let's all go home, so Bakugou, if you can leave ...

Before he finished, the boy was out of Bakugou's arms, but not because he let him go. He was surprised to see Todoroki pull him out of Bakugous' arms and put him behind himself.

— This was unexpected. — Uraraka murmured beside him. — Are you right there, Deku-Kun?

He saw the other wave behind Todoroki, his expression confused.

—Looks like those old romances of the knight saving the beautiful maiden from the villain.

—You called me a villain, Raccoon-eyes ?? And you half-and-half? Drop  Deku! What the hell do you think you're doing ?!

— Don't touch him.

And that was way out of control, it was time to call a teacher right away, for the face of the other two they would fight like two delinquents, Kirishima was the only one who seemed to try to interfere.

—Do I know you?

Tenya looked down and ran into the boy who seconds before was behind Todoroki. The other two seemed too busy arguing to notice. 

He straightened his glasses, ready to make short conversation and go after help before the fight escalated.

—I think you're wrong, Deku-Kun.

The name sounded strange in his tongue. The offensive meaning made it look like an insult.

—Excuse me, this situation already ... what are you doing?

The other stared at him sharply in response, and to his surprise his face was suddenly too close to his, analyzing him.

—Are you related to Ingenium, perhaps?

The question took him by surprise, but as he always felt pride inflate in his chest.

—He is my brother!

He saw the other's eyes sparkle and smiled in response uncertainty.

—Ingenium is one of my favourite heroes, you know? Did you inherit the engines, too?

—In the legs.

—So you can run a lot. What is your record? How is your kick? Is there a limit until you exhaust the engines? Is it hard to turn around when using it?

—Well, I-

—Did you know that you can store energy that you make as you run? Kinetic energy, the energy of motion. You must have already made your uniform, but if you allow us later... I mean Mei and could... Mei! Come here!

Tenya didn't know what to do: on the one hand, he was very flattered and interested in what he could understand, on the other the boy was closer than etiquette allowed. 

He tried to run as he felt another girl, who did not know where she came from, to start probing and talking numbers around. When a tape measure came from somewhere he was done.

— This is not really the moment.

—Oh, I'm sorry Iida-Kun. 

The boy had the decorum of looking embarrassed and to take a step away.

The girl did not.

—Deku! What are you doing, you little Gremlin?

And it seems the others had finally realized that the reason for the fight was no longer there.

—Okay, that's enough. 

He stood in front of the strange boy who stared at him in surprise. Tenya was surprised too. 

— You guys are behaving like delinquents, this is not the profile you hold for U.A students.

—Wow, he talks like Ingenium too.

He tried not to blush at that, but from the laughs, he heard he didn't manage it.

—Well, time to go home, everyone.

There was silence for exactly five seconds until Bakugou opened his mouth.

—Fuck you, four-eyes.

—Kacchan! Rude!

—Fuck you too, Deku!

— Don't talk to him like that.

—And you also, half-and-half.

And again chaos.

—Enough.

Everyone fell silent with the voice coming from the hallway.

—Aizawa-Sensei!

The man came down the hall beside a tall, skeletal blond man, who was looking at the situation curiously.

—You are loud and annoying. And problem child, I should have known you're in the middle of it. 

The man's hair floated, his eyes were red. The white bands went toward the three of them and Tenya tensed for seconds when he saw it curl around the strange boy, who made a surprised sound as he was dragged like a burrito by the teacher.

—Eraserhead! Yagi-san!

The skeletal man grinned and patted the boy's head.

—Young Midoriya, I was looking for you.

Aizawa-sensei grunted something low and pulled the burrito away from the other who stared at him in an offended manner.

The red eyes turned to the students.

—You, go home. Now. before I kick everyone out.  If you're still on campus in the next few minutes, you won't have to come back.

Tenya wanted to have this authority one day, the whole group left so fast and apologizing. Even Bakugou moved, even though he shot an annoyed look at the teacher. 

The green-haired boy waved to everyone in the same awkward position he was in. Soon there was only Todoroki who was unfreezing the board on the floor and delivering the strange girl. 

—Aizawa-sensei, I'd like to apologize on behalf of the whole class for the situation.

He bowed repeatedly to emphasize his shame and failure as a human being. 

— It was my fault, I could not keep control and we ended up creating this uneasiness.

The man looked at him, then rolled his eyes.

—Just don't do it anymore. And now, home you too.

— And congratulations on trying to help, Iida-kun. It is the spirit of a leader to do this. 

The skeletal man said and thanked him, Iida face flushed with the unexpected praise.

—See you around, Iida-kun!  — The boy tried to wriggle and wave. — Can we talk about the uniform later?

The large eyes staring at him like that seemed like a terrible trap.

—Of course, ah, hum-

—You can call me Deku!

—I ... I prefer not.

The boy pouted but didn't insist. He had the impression of seeing the blond man holding his laughter at that, but he wasn't sure.

—Izuku, then. —Tenya frowned in revulsion, that was so inappropriate. — We'll find you! Right, Mei?

The girl who had approached with board smiled in a way that made him uncomfortable. It seemed a little ... manic.

Tenya nodded and tried to get out of there as quickly as possible, turning just in time to see the teachers taking the corridor looking like be discussing something with the burrito still in the air going resignedly.

The girl waved in the same spot, smiling.

—We will be great friends!

Why did Tenya feel he had just signed a terrible sentence to himself?

.................................................. ....

The universe has a curious way of trying to keep its balance.

Some meetings are predestined to happen sooner or later.

Some people will always be part of each other's lives no matter which way they go.

For in a universe Tenya Iida needed Izuku Midoriya more than anyone else to become the hero he would become.

In this universe, despite the high price Izuku would pay in the process, it would be no different.

.............................................

—Iida-Kun? —Uraraka-san was waiting for him on the stairs, Kirishima next to her, and to his surprise, Bakugou was there with the same annoyed expression as always. — Are you alright?  You're not in trouble because of everyone, are you?

He denied and adjusted his glasses.

—As we all take the same train, let's go home together!

—I didn't agree with that, round face!

It had been a strange day, for sure.

................................................

Midoriya.

The skinny man had called him Midoriya.

Hitoshi sat on the train, his mind racing.

Midoriya was the name of his comatose father's friend, the name of her missing son. Maybe it was a coincidence, but ...

"Are you alright, Eyebags?"

Green eyes, green strands of hair escaping through a hood. A scar, as little as he could see. A peculiar, unique voice. Which later had changed with a voice modulator for good reason.

To hide how young Nora was.

"Are you alright, Eyebags?"

No, no. Hitoshi did not believe in coincidence.

.................................................. ...............

When Mei got into her sister's car, leaving Izuku on his own with the teachers, she was still laughing like a lunatic.

Akira eyed her suspiciously, and a little alarmed by her face smeared by the explosion in the lab when they fired the board. She had just changed her clothes, preferring not to risk if Maijima-Sensei tried to get someone to clarify what had happened.

To be fair, he didn't even try, seemed content to let them go. Explore their creativity.

She was really going to like this place.

—What did you do?

—Oh, nothing, nothing.

It was obvious she didn't believe it.

—Doesn't your friend want a ride?

The question was asked innocently, but Mei knew Akira. She did nothing without a reason. So her interest in Izuku had not been just an impression.

—He's with the teachers.  —Mei smiled as she remembered his face being dragged into the room with Eraserhead. — Drinking tea.

—Hmm. With heroes. —Akira stared at the building but was soon starting the car. — And how was the day?

A sudden change of subject.

Akira had never been interested in her day. She didn't even usually want to grab her from school, it hadn't happened since she'd first left Japan.

—It was interesting.

 She couldn't help thinking how Midoriya had befriended half a class of heroes at once. She held back the laugh and her sister looked at her curiously. 

—Have you ever wondered if anyone has lost control of the situation, or is manipulating everything to their advantage and playing innocent?

His sister frowned but smiled slightly and surprisingly answered.

—I have met someone like that, yes.

.................................................. ........................

Aizawa knew from the start that Midoriya was going to give him a headache. It was inevitable.

He just didn't realize it would be that soon. Worst of all, problem child # 1 seemed to be quite comfortable with the bunch of monsters he'd won as a class this year.

"Why do I get the feeling that I saw the beginning of a major disaster?"

Seeing him chatter with All Might, who thrived for his attention like an idiot, being a fanboy with some of the teachers still in the room, he might even seem innocent.

The soot-soiled face had the goggle marks on it, the hand-mark was visible even with all the dirt.

— -and Maijima-san said we'll take some students as projects for the year, to make the uniforms!

He looked small next to the stupid blonde. All Might, even in skeletal form, had to bend over to talk to him on the couch, an expression of affection on his face as the other chattered, jumping from one subject to another. Distracting and shifting focus abruptly. It was like-

—A cat with a wool ball.

Of course, he had said that out loud. The focus of the green eyes went to him, blinking a little dazed. To his surprise his expression was distant. He set the cup down slowly.

—Young Midoriya?

—Is nothing. — He smiled. —It's just time to go, or I'll miss the next train. Thank you so much for your time! And sorry for the trouble earlier.

He bowed respectfully to the others in the room and left quickly before anyone could react. Aizawa saw his face before he closed the door as he prepared to get up. 

To his surprise Nemuri, who was sitting behind him pretending to look at papers when she was actually listening, held him.

—I don't understand too well what happened jus now. — She spoke carefully. —But he seems to need a little space.

Aizawa had not understood either, but he had seen Midoriya's expression.

He sat back down and saw the blonde doing the same thing.

Midoriya had looked so ... sad.

............................................

— Cat for the Mechanic, report on uniform 103.

"— Mechanic listening, how did it handle the situation?"

Izuku jumped into one of the alleys, examining the signs of the last fight. A small gang was causing confusion in Musutafu. He didn't often patrol his old neighbourhood, knowing that the temptation to visit the Bakugous would be too great. And he was unprepared to see his house abandoned or with other residents.

The hospital was the only place he ever went to. Nothing would prevent him from visiting his mom. He had noticed that she looked more healthier as well, but he wasn't sure if it was just his desire.

It was the first time he had seen any situation that had to interfere while leaving the hospital. Musutafu was a quiet place, and with All Might's recent visits it had become even more deserted from criminal activity.

— It worked.

"—Very eloquent. "

—My butt looks great in it.

"—Very important."

Izuku broke into a laugh. Well done to her, for leaving him in that situation with the teachers, the coward.

—It still feels a little heavy.

"—Oh, in that case ... yeah, it might work."

He rolled his eyes as her line disconnected. He hopped onto the freight train station column and saw the city lights. His muscles were sore from the exercise, and he had been hit hard in the ribs earlier. For being distracted.

"Like a cat with a wool ball."

He closed his eyes. He couldn't afford to be distracted now. He had entered U.A, and thought he would feel safe there, but he had a feeling that was far from the case.

And remembering the boy - Eyebags - felt like grunting. It was just his luck to run into the person who could recognize him and say the wrong thing. The first person he had saved too. He would have to find out all he could about this boy. As much as he wanted to ignore him and get away, he knew it would be impossible. It wouldn't be a good idea to let an unfamiliar piece loose, someone who could say the wrong thing to the wrong person.

Better to find out something about him that might keep him silent if he turned out to be a threat.

"Hope you're happy, Uncle Taka. I became you."

He couldn't get away from the heroes class, even for that. His performance at the festival depended on it. If he moved to the heroes class and earned the provisional license, Nora could be left behind.

For him to save Taka, Nora will have to die.

He shook his head.

"Like a cat behind a wool ball, focused until another ball appears, forgetting everything around, jumping from one spot to another."

The noise of the arriving train alerted him and he leapt stealthily to the roof.

.................................................. .................

When Keito arrived home, it was no surprise to see Hitoshi awake. It was another expected fact, his son never slept well.

The surprise was knocking on his door and seeing the tornado of papers on the floor and him watching videos in a glassy way, his eyes as focused as when he drank too much coffee.

—Toshi? Hitoshi? Hitoshi Shinsou!

Violet eyes stared at him, dazed and confused.

—You have school tomorrow.  What are you doing?

In response, he received the same confused look.

He entered the room picking up papers and tidying up, prints of Internet forums, Wikipedia pages, all about the new vigilante he was talking about so much. 

Keito looked curiously at what he saw so intensely. It was a video of that same night, filmed by a cell phone camera. He immediately recognized the place.

— Was that in Musutafu?

—Close to the hospital. 

His son muttered, his gaze intense on the screen.

—Ah, that explains the bad traffic. Seriously Hitoshi, go to sleep.

He sighed and set the papers on the table, stopping to see something unexpected in them. It wasn't about Nora.

It was about the case of Midoriya. A printed page of news at the time. Inko smiling with Izuku beside her, the same nervous air of how he always came out in the pictures, as if the camera were a gun in his face. Inko would always laugh about that.

—Dad?

He looked away from the paper and watched the paused video and his son staring at him seriously, the chair facing him. His eyes were avid.

—Can you tell me about Izuku?

.................................................. ..................

" —Ladies and gentlemen, in tonight's news, we heard that Hosu is full of stray cats."

Izuku smiled when he heard Ingenium's voice, the joking tone had some relief. He was about to close his patrol, it was time to go home. He still didn't feel safe patrolling open Hosu until he knew what was going on.

Rumours were circulating among the criminals, and his name was being widely quoted. Someone was trying to get his attention at all costs, and whoever it was, it was not for tea.

"—The sardines in the buildings are working."

Hawks' voice startled him, He paused, landing in one of the buildings near the church's tower street. It was rare to see the hero working together with other agencies. Even in his own agency, it was rare not to see him solo, trying to work it out on his own. He had certainly never heard his voice on the Ingenium agency communicators.

He felt bold enough and opened the line for himself.

—If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were worried about this old cat.

The shocked silence lasted for exactly three seconds until the yells of several heroes and interns began at the same time.

"—Who is it?"

"—Is it the cat?"

"—But how presumptuous! The little shit!"

"—Can anyone trace the signal? "

—Awn, I guy can't feel very welcome with that.

"—'A guy' He is a guy."

"—I called it!  You people own me some money now."

" — To be fair, he's tiny like a girl."

— I feel offended by that. I'm not tiny.

"— The cat came to play."

Ingenium's voice was humorous. 

"— We have some kittens at the agency wanting a home."

— Your offers are improving, but I think I'll pass.

“— I may have a better offer.” 

Hawks' voice was humorous, but something in the tone made him pause.

— I'm feeling important. — He said carefully. — But I saw the video of the hawk strangling the cat on the fence this week, so I don't think it's a good idea.

The other laughed on the other end of the line.

"— It depends on the hawk. And the cat. And the right ball of wool to offer. "

Izuku cut the line abruptly.

Despite te teasing, there was something in Hawks' tone that was extremely unsettling right now

Which made him think that the hero wasn't joking.

 

 

Chapter Text

"If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

― Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

 

The streets of Hosu were becoming forbidden territory for many villains. With Nora and Stain walking through these alleys and consequently bringing more heroes with them, Hosu was not the ideal place to try to commit a crime.

So it was understandable that Xin was nervous walking around Hosu in the middle of the night. 

Especially for the reason why he was there. 

Even in group of six, he was intimidated. He had never seen Nora in person, but he had heard all the rumours. It was even more worrying that nobody knew for sure what Nora's quirk was. 

It could be worse, it could be Stain. At least Nora didn't have the habit of leaving bodies along the way. For all he knew.

— Are you sure he's here?

Mao muttered irritably in front of him.

—If you are so afraid you should go home.

They both knew this was not possible. He felt that he had signed a contract with the devil. The money was good, and he was not against creating a bit of chaos for the heroes, but there was no turning back.

He just wasn't comfortable taking the mission that everyone had failed so far. Especially when such a mission was to look for someone whose he first instinct was to escape from.

Demonic orange eyes, they said. Fast and running through the walls as a man possessed. 

—Christ, stop babbling or I'll kill you myself. We just need to find this bastard and give him a message.

—That no one has succeeded so far.

—Too bad. Does the lunatic want the cat? I'll drag the thing by the tail.

—And that's why I don't have a tail.

The sudden voice made them paralyze. Xin looked back only to notice that the other men were lying on the floor or tied to the fire escape. Mao shouted irritably, his arms reaching out ready to strike, but before he could do anything, they heard a buzz and saw a sudden flash of an electric current.

Xin saw Mao's body falling to the ground heavily and panicked. 

In the dim light, he saw only the orange eyes and the dark silhouette, but the ears left no doubt of who he was. Xin held out his palm and released his thorns. The shadow moved and for a moment he thought he had hit it. For minutes he kept attacking haphazardly, his breathing the only thing that could be heard along with the thundering whistles, his eyes searching around.

He breathed a sigh of relief, only for something to fall on his back taking him to the ground. His hands were twisted, his palms toward his chest. Leaving no chance to attack with his quirk without getting hurt.

—30 seconds with each release, double when exhausted. 

The mechanical voice murmured in his ear and his terror increased.

—It's just a message! We just came to give a message to you. I swear!

The pressure in his wrist increased.

—Whose message would that be from?

—The League of Villains!

—What a creative name. What do they want from me?

Xin felt minimally relaxed, at least he was still alive.

—Make an invitation. They are recruiting people. 

The silence made him panic again. 

— The money is good! And they will clear the streets of the heroes, they will kill All Might and make social chaos. The heroes won't chase you anymore, see?

—Who is the leader? Who sent you?

—I don't know. — The pressure increased, his hand twisted toward his chest and Xin sobbed.— It's a shadow guy. And a psycho full of hands.

The body came to a sudden halt and Xin also stopped breathing. He counted the seconds until he heard the voice in his ear again.

—Tell him if he wants to invite me, he should come in person.

The weight was completely gone and when he turned he was alone.

.........................

14 years and 9 months ago

 

Izuku was born on a Tuesday, almost three months ahead of schedule. He was so small that he could almost fit completely into the doctor's palm. Since his first second on earth, he had to fight for something that should be his right: to breath.

Hisashi, who had been so organized to see the birth of his son, had been taken completely by surprise, but still, when Inko had awakened he was there by her bed. 

There was blood on his shirt and burns at the angle of his mouth. He always caused them when he overused his quirk, for some reason Inko could never understand. Shouldn't his skin be immune to fire? 

His eyes had that agitated expression that he could usually mask so well.

He was afraid.

Inko ignored the blood - she always ignored it - the smell of soot and the air of caution and danger that he always carried as they embraced after six long months. Six months when she wondered more than once if she was making the right choice to be with a man she knew so little about. Six months she had noticed, more than once, people watching her in her own home, baby presents appearing on her doorstep and strangers coming out of nowhere to help her whenever she went out on the street, and she knew - she just knew - that was Hisashi's doing.

She pondered for six months, and yet, seeing Hisashi scared for the first time, who seemed to have gone through hell to reach them, she had no doubt about her choice.

A month later Izuku left the hospital. He had gained weight and strength to live, but he was still the smallest baby they had ever seen. He disappeared into his father's arms, who looked at him as if he were the centre of his universe.

—My mom used to say that every Midoriya has their orbit. 

 Inko joked while looking at the silly face of her husband focused on the eyes of his son, who also looked at his daddy intently. 

— It comes with the power to pull things, you know?

—That makes sense. 

He commented absently.

—If he has my orbit and your fire, do you know what that means?

Red eyes stared at her, a mischievous smile on his freckled face she'd learned to love so much.

—That he is our sun, Inko-chan.

 

Two weeks later Hisashi left. Inko would only see him three years later, but still, she could not regret her choice.

One night, when Izuku was eight months old, Inko had put him to sleep in his crib and dozed off exhausted on the couch, only to wake up to the sound of a childish giggle.

Even before opening her eyes she felt the presence in the room. A man was standing next to Izuku's crib, who was giggling, waving his arms at the stranger. 

Heart pounding, she drew with her quirk the weapon Hisashi had placed on the top of the bedroom closet. Within seconds Inko had jumped off the couch and had the barrel of the gun on the back of the stranger who was too close to her baby. 

The man raised his hands but did not move away.

— Get away from him.

—Your hand is shaking, Inko.

—Takashi? — The man turned his face and all doubt faded at the sight of his eyes. — What did you do to your hair?

—I tell you if you take the gun off me.

—How do I know for sure that is you?

—It's me, Orbit.

Inko never dropped a gun so fast. Takashi looked horrible. There was blood on his face and hands, and the black clothes he wore had tears that were sure to be made by some sharp object. His hair, which had once been snow-white, was dyed black and longer. He looked ten years older than her, even though they were the same age.

For seconds she stared at her brother, torn between two desires upon seeing him after nearly three years. The last time she saw him they were both 19, and her brother made the stupidest choice of his life. 

He was gone. She never received even a card, to make sure he was still alive. Then he just to show up at her house in the middle of the night and almost scares her to death.

A punch to the idiot's stomach was deserved.

—Stop moaning on the floor and go take a shower if you want to hold your nephew.

An hour later he was clean and wearing Hisashi's clothes, sitting on the couch in her living room. Izuku babbled in his arms, his chubby hands clutching Taka's hair, smiling toothily. Izuku had always been an easy-going child, but he didn't open up to everyone. Anyone but his mom or Mitsuki's, green eyes would tear up immediately. His son was a cry-baby like his mother.

And there he was, playing with his uncle as if he had known him all his life. Takashi stared at him with an almost desperate expression, and Inko knew something serious must have happened. She had resigned herself that she would only hear from her brother for a death certificate, but there he was, and that made the anger go away.

—What happened, Takashi?

She asked softly, but all the answer she had for the next few minutes was silence. His fingers brushed his nephew's forehead.

When he finally spoke, his voice was slightly shaky.

—He looks like you. That's good.

—He has Hisashi's freckles. 

 Izuku babbled more, his hand coming out of his mouth and hitting his uncle's face. 

—Takashi?

—I got married.

That was not what Inko expected, and she didn't know what to say.

—We had a baby boy too.

—Oh, Takashi. When?

—In last May. 

 Her brother didn't look happy, and Inko felt more confused. 

— I thought about sending photos, but-

Inko really didn't know what to say. Her brother looked up at her and he looked the most vulnerable she had seen since they were children.

—She died, Inko.

She felt her heart break. Inko raised her hand and Takashi squeezed it tightly. Still, he didn't cry. Takashi never cried, she always cried for both of them. Maybe that's why she cried so much.

—Your son...?

—I gave him up for adoption. 

Izuku had stopped babbling and was caressing his uncle's face with a concentrated expression. 

—I talked so much about our mother when she left us in that place, and I did the same thing she did. And I finally got it, Inko. After 15 years, I got it.

—Takashi-

—Loving someone so much and having to stay away to let them have a chance? I get it now. And I don't even know why I thought it could be any different-

—Takashi!

 Her brother stopped babbling when she touched his face. Izuku was moving uncomfortably, his tear-filled green eyes staring at his uncle. Inko took her son and saw his brother look at his empty hands in silence. 

— Every Midoriya has their orbit.

Takashi laughed, a sound too sad and pathetic: — You are the Midoriya who attract things, Inko. Repelling is not just my quirk, driving away everything is the only thing I can do right.

—Lunar and Orbit were our heroes' name at the Orphanage.

—What do you want to say, Inko?

—You have always been the moon, Takashi. You always protected me. I ... I don't know what I'd do in your place, because I've never been there, but let me take care of you at least once?

Takashi didn't cry, but Inko didn't expect him to cry. Izuku kicked into his uncle's arms again, where he stayed for the next few hours, staring at him quietly..

For one night Inko thought that she could finally have her brother back, that together they could solve everything.

The next morning Takashi was gone.

.................................................. ............................

Now

She could feel the wind caressing her skin and the texture of the sheets in her hands. Doors opened and closed, someone, whistled in the distance. Steps. There was an emergency signal somewhere.

 Her eyelids quivered with the effort but never opened. 

The ticking of the clock and she knew he was late. Had something happened? Her heart raced and she felt she could scream. Seconds, minutes. One hour?

Her finger moved and she felt the exhaustion taking over her, but she stayed awake.

Wind, the sound of the window opening. Sneaky steps. Always the child who tiptoed at home.

‘Izukun’

—Momma, sorry, I'm late. —His voice sounded tired. It was late. He had class in the morning, didn't he? —Let me tell you how my first day was-

And he babbled about his classmates and quirks, about his friend and a boy with purple hair and about Christmas candy-canes and how amazing Kacchan was, but that he couldn't say that to him so as not to boost his ego. And Inko absorbed everything, about U.A and how Ingenium and Hawks were good heroes, and the next experiment he would do.

—I have to go, momma.

'That soon?'

She felt the calloused hand on hers, remembering when it was so soft. His voice was close to her face and she felt a soft kiss on her forehead.

—Mom? — Vulnerable, trembling voice. So quiet and sad. — Can you hold my hand?

Inko wanted to do it so much.

'Focus. You can do it.'

She had done it several times, she could do it now. She could give a signal to her baby. That he was not alone.

Her body failed her once again.

When the window closed Inko wanted to scream but all it was heard around was the whistle of someone in the hallway.

.................................................. ......

“Focus.”

He could feel it. The cold metal in his back, every nerve in his body on fire. He could hear too. Screams far and near. Everywhere.

He knew what to do to stop it all. The pain. The truth was enough, and everything would stop. But that would never be his role. His role would always be to stay between his family and what would come. 

Takashi's role has always been to ward off what came against them.

“Tell him.”

That voice in his head, the survival instinct that never went away. It was still a strong part in himself, even as he was losing what he was. 

“Tell him who you are. ”

He would never do that.

But he could scream.

And all around, that was all that would be heard.

.............................

The sun was already rising when Izuku entered the clock tower. A shower and strong coffee were all he could have, his mind racing, still trembling from the meeting in the night.

On the one hand, he knew now that they were after Nora, not Izuku. On the other, it wasn't an ideal situation either. Still, it was his chance.

Maybe Nora should stop running away.

It was his only clue to finding Takashi and still stopping whatever madness Shigakari was up to.

“He still has the same goal. In the end, nothing I did worked.”

For a moment, years ago, he thought he had reached Shigakari. That he had made a difference. Looks like he was wrong.

And he knew Takashi wouldn't want that. That he was risking everything that Taka had done to make him safe, but Izuku couldn't just do nothing.

For now, however, all he could do was have another coffee and feed the cats as he prepared to go to school. 

Separating Izuku from Nora was getting harder and harder, but after all that Takashi had done for him to be there, he wouldn't fail that either.

Mei had left hours ago and left the machine on for him, which gave him time for one more thing. He had someone to research. He was sure of a confrontation ahead and had to prepare if he wanted to get out of this mess.

—Nothing as information for blackmail, as Takashi would say.

A half-hour later he had school and medical records, a quirk record, and, most importantly, his last name.

Shinsou

—This has to be a joke.

If that boy heard his last name, it wasn't just about Nora's secret that he was screwed.

.................................................. ..........

Izuku Midoriya was at his school. 

The boy his father had talked so much about had been so close to them all this time.

He had given this information to his dad, who had babbled about mysterious flowers and how things made sense, but that was not what Hitoshi was attentive to.

Izuku Midoriya was most likely a vigilante wanted by the police. A vigilante who had saved his life and thrown a bucket of ice water on Endeavor. This little information he would not disclose because it seemed too absurd. He must be wrong.

"Are you alright, Eyebags?"

Who did he want to fool? It was him, he didn't even know how to hide it.

"The worst vigilante I've ever seen."

 He thought amused as he walked around campus, trying to find the flashy green hair before the class time came.

There was so much he had to know. What had happened in recent years? How did he get to this point? And, most importantly, what was driving his dad crazy this morning, where the hell had he been all this time?

Hitoshi had done his part and told his dad. He should stay away from this mess. Izuku Midoriya was trouble, and Hitoshi didn't need more trouble in his life. 

But he was too curious.

—Curiosity killed the cat. 

A shiver ran down his spine.

Maybe it was better to stay away.

.................................................. ..........

He wouldn’t stay away.

.................................................. ............

—Hey! Good morning guys. Sensei has not arrived? What a relief, I thought I was going to be late. My cat followed me to the station, I had to go back with him and I missed the train, but I took another and ran a lot, but I arrived just in time ... Why are you guys looking at me like this?

—Deku?

—Yes, Kenranzaki-san?

— There's a cat on your head.

.................................................. .................

Katsuki found that it was possible to get bored at a school like U.A during normal curriculum subjects. Would they teach anything that day that he didn't already know?

Around him, people were taking notes, looking at the board in confusion, or raising their hands at any time. Four eyes especially. He would get along with the nerd. Katsuki had the same urgency to blow him up sometimes.

And speaking of a nerd, he'd waited for the bastard at the school gates until it was time to go to class and the gremlin hadn't shown up. It was like middle school again, where the damn thing was always late even though they left home together.

He felt a strange force in the air and looked back, meeting the stare of Hald-and-half.

—He's kind of scary, isn't he?

 Pikachu commented beside him, drawing when he should have been paying attention to the teacher. He was either very smart or very stupid. Katsuki was betting on the second. 

—Todoroki, I mean. He looks like he wants to kill someone.

Katsuki snorted, glancing over and meeting the eyes of the other boy who frowned at him. 

—The bastard is bored as hell.

—How do you know? 

 Raccoon eyes asked curiously. Later they would complain about not understanding the subject, the idiots. 

—His face never changes. I mean, you Bakugou looks pretty scary. —She ignored the pencil that he broke in his hand at this. — But he just looks ... I don't even know what he looks like. He is very handsome, for sure, but he is also cold as ...

—Jesus Christ, can you shut up?

—How rude, man. - Smiley buck in and Katsuki had to take a deep breath. 

—Tch. He's bored, and now curious about you bunch of idiots looking at him. And now theorizing some stupidity. Now shut up.

—Owa. —Pikachu muttered. — Does Bakugou really speak Todoroki's Language? Todorokian? 

Bakugou exploded the second pencil.

The day was going to be long.

.....................................

Izuku was enjoying his second day, even though trying to hide Catchan from the teachers was a difficult task. 

His classmates were willing to help and in the first-class - math with the hero Ectoplasm - the experience had been several students dragging their chairs or dropping a book to cover any meow. Catchan had shown his protests about being hidden inside his coat by scratching his neck whenever he had a chance, yellow eyes looking at him indignant whenever he tried to silence him.

Despite the requirement of the normal curriculum, the support class had more credits for some subjects, which was a differential. 

Their lunch-time was with the management class, before the others. In the afternoon they would have gym class along with the general education class. They didn't know the details, just that the teacher would be Midnight and that it would be a kind of physical ability survey. It seemed that classes outside the department of heroes did not escape this kind of training.

During lunch, they all sat at a table outside and Izuku could see the difference between management class and theirs. There wasn't exactly animosity, but the difference between the tables was obvious. The other students kept their distance, looking at each other almost calculative, evaluatively. No wonder they were in the business class.

His table, however, was a mess. Papers with projects in the middle of the meal, Mei was experimenting when she should be eating, and everyone seemed to be talking at the same time. Catchan, now in his head, had calmed down after being fed and released from his coat. He still had no idea how the little monster had followed him without his notice.

—What are you writing about, Deku?

Kenranzaki pointed to the notebook, which had miraculously escaped the chaos. He invited her to sit beside him to see and she smiled.

—Is it about quirks? Do you analyze them?

He nodded shyly.

—Can you analyze mine?

Usually, people didn't ask him that. Izuku beamed.

— If you want. Tell me about it.

—It's called Colormorfo. In my defence, I was four when I chose the name. I can change the colour of my eyes and hair.

—What about the skin?

—I can change my fingertips, but that's it. It's pretty boring.

—Actually, it's very interesting. When you change your fingertips, what are you trying to do? What are you focusing on?

—On the arm. What are you thinking?

—It's just a theory, but have you considered focusing on a smaller part of your skin? Hair and eyes are a smaller, isolated part, and you change easily, don't you? Maybe if you focus on the hand, start smaller, you can do it.

—Actually ... it's not a bad idea.

—That's a great quirk for camouflage.

—Wow, you're good at this, Deku. How about mine?

Deku tried not to look too excited, but for Mei's smile and Kenranzaki's face - which looked at him as if he were a particularly cute animal - he had failed it.

All the quirks were so interesting.

Tako had extra arms, which made the lab work a lot easier for him. He had good control of them but had difficulty using them all at the same time when he was inattentive.

Harumi was a shy girl who was always glued to her twin sister, Koto-chan. The two have extremely similar looks: blue hair and eyes, dark skin and a tall build. The only difference being facial expressions. Harumi always seemed nervous, while Koto had a bored and distracted look. Harumi had a quirk called "scanner" where she could copy any object she touched. The copies only lasted a few hours, and the more complex the object, the faster the copy disappeared. Koto had "share", where she could split an object in half and create two objects equal but smaller than the original. The copy was permanent, but the more it divided, the smaller the objects became until they vanished altogether. The two quirks only worked with objects.

—What happens if Koto uses Share on an object that Harumi copied? Would it disappear or become permanent?

Satou was an easy-going guy with glasses, who had quickly befriended everyone in the room. He also had a very interesting quirk: Amplifier. He could amplify anyone's quirk that he kept in touch with. It only worked while he touched the person, but in the meantime, the levels reached could be absurd. It was very useful for figuring out the limits of one's quirk as far as it could evolve, but the effort could cause permanent damage if the recipient's body was unprepared.

And this is how they would find out that Kenranzaki could totally change colour.

And that was how they would install chaos within U.A.

........................................

In the teachers' room, Shota woke up from a nap with a shiver running down his spine. 

"A bad omen."

Ectoplasm entered the room with a confused and amused expression and Shota really didn't want to know.

—This year's support department is insane.

It seems that he would have no choice. 

Nemuri preparing the materials for the second-period class looked interested, as it would be her next class.

—What do you mean?

—Someone brought a cat into class. They thought they were hiding it.

The other stupid blonde spat blood as he choked on his coffee. Shota sank his head into the sleeping bag.

They knew exactly who this student was.

—In the class of heroes, there is a student who blew up all the pencils. And then those of his colleagues. 

Cementoss commented, and Shota wanted to grunt again.

Because he also knew exactly who this student was.

.........................................

— How about you, Hiro-kun?

—I can bring objects to life.

—Wait, really? 

—If I touch it, yes. But only for a few minutes. And it's easier with smaller objects.

To demonstrate he made the fork in his hand begin to dance across the table. They followed it with amazed stare.

—That's a little disturbing. 

 Aya admitted.

—It's like Beauty and the Beast. 

 Hiro ignored Deku's comment gracefully.

The lunch had been dropped completely and Aya couldn't even complain. She felt she had received more valid tips on her own quirk than she had on any trip to counsellors.

She knew Deku was smart, he had come in second in their year, which had been difficult enough with only 10 openings being filled, but this particular talent was unexpected. 

She watched him, almost affectionately, as he looked excited bouncing on the table writing like crazy, vibrating in place with each information. Hatsume didn't seem so interested in the conversation, but she still passed more sheets to him whenever he needed it. She didn't even raise her head, taking things out the way whenever he threatened to bump his hands when he got too excited.

Aya smiled at that. She had gotten a slightly wrong impression of both of them on the day of the exam. They seemed too chaotic, rowdy, and, in Hatsume's case, somewhat arrogant, but in just two days she was changing her mind.

They had a good class this year. A little too excited, but a good class. And the roles, even in two days, seemed to have settled. Including - she stared at Deku surrounded by them all, Satou escaping a cat's paw whenever he tried to grab and swing the other boy when he said something particularly impressive - a certain very obvious gravitational centre.

Tako looked to her where he was standing behind Deku and shook his head in exasperation, seeming to read her thoughts.

It seems that both were the parents of the class.

"Wonderful..."

—And you, Nara-kun?

—I can fix something broken if I sing.

—Like Rapunzel? 

 The boy looked Deku with unimpressed expression and he scratched his head. 

—Oh, sorry. But how does it work? Does it work on people injuries too? Do you use your stamina? Does it depends on the music?

—Hmm. — The boy looked confused but tried to answer. — Only with objects, I use my stamina. And I never thought of that? It's interesting. Why are you looking at me like that? Deku, you're scaring me. And your cat too.

—Okay, that’s enough.

 Aya interrupted before the boy ran away in fear. Which was odd, because Deku looked harmless with a cat on his head hanging on the table swinging his legs like a little child. She understood the fear of the cat, though. 

—Jimin?

Jimin, who was still watching the fork dance, almost jumped off the bench. She was small, smaller than Deku even. Her eyes were a dull blue colour.

— I, hum. — She coughed. —I can reverse the effect of emitter type quirks. Temporarily. May I demonstrate?

Aya held out her hand when she asked, and watched fascinated her eyes change colour to a dark blue.

When Aya tried to change her hair colour, the table she touched turned pink. Luckily it was temporary, or it would be hard to explain.

—Your eyes? — Deku asked curiously.

—They get back to normal in a few minutes.

—And the effect is over.

She nodded, smiling.

It was an amazing quirk. All were.

—What about yours, Deku? How does your analysis work?

The pencil stopped moving and Aya watched with concern that his eyes became distant.

The others looked at each other.

—Deku?

Aya saw his hands shake slightly.

—Izuku.

Mei's hand on his shoulder made him flinch. He blinked slightly and shook his head. His smile was a little shaky.

—Sorry. No, my quirk is not analysis. Actually, I don't even have one.

This ... was unexpected.

—I didn't even know they allowed anyone without a quirk in the U.A.

—Hiro!

—Oh, Satou! I didn't speak it badly, it's just a curiosity.

Aya looked Deku worriedly, but he looked calm again. The legs dangling, the cat now in his arms.

—It is not forbidden but it never had happen before, because no one ever tried.

—Because they thought they couldn't do it, because it never had happen before.

 Hatsume added, seeming to be  enjoying the situation.

— Not to mention that someone without quirk reaching the age of 15 is no longer common. — Some looked horrified at it, but the boy continued as if establishing only facts. — And those who do, rarely finish high school, and even then, the prospects are not good.

—This is horrible. 

Harumi mentioned and she had to agree. She had never stopped to think about it.

—Yeah, but you're here now. —Satou cut through the heavy atmosphere by running a hand over the other's shoulder, ignoring the cat biting him. — Our own evil genius.

—Oh, but things get better. —Hatsume, who finally seemed to want to interact, smiled, a slightly unnerving smile. — He won't stop here. He will become a hero.

Hatsume said it so sure that even though a piece of Aya said how absurd it was, a larger part couldn't not believe it. Deku smiled at the other girl, his face sinking into his cat's fur, embarrassed by the attention.

—Oh yes? —Satou asked, still trying to rid the other of the discomfort. —And how do you plan to do that? 

Aya looked at him in a warning and he shook his head 

—I'm not doubting, just curious.

—The festival, of course. 

—How?

Deku lifted his hidden head and looked at Satou more seriously than she had seen him so far. 

—Defeating all the participants and taking first place.

They'd known him for two days and seconds ago she was just indulging about it, but looking at his expression at the moment, Aya couldn't doubt him.

—Okay. — Koto commented breaking the shocked silence around. Her expression on the same boring face as usual. —I'll help you. It will be fun.

.................................................. .......

One could never know that the decision of an eternally bored student could create such a chaos that would change the hero industry itself.

.................................................. .........

Shota didn't know why he was shivering so much that day.

Nedzu had better look if the room heater was working.

—Eraseeeer! How about you help your best friend?

Nemuri tried to stick a clipboard in his face and he moved out the way.

—No.

—Not even for your son?

—I don't have a son.

—Are you sure? He brought a cat into class, it reminds me of a certain student who one day brought a cat and-

He took her clipboard, at least to shut her up.

—He got into my bag without me seeing it. And it was not my idea.

—Sure he did and sure it wasn’t. 

The memory of the event made him think about Shirakumo. For the melancholy in Nemuri’s eyes, it had the same effect on her.

He tried not to think about it. As always. 

—So what do you tell me?

As if he had a choice on it.

.................................................. ...........

—I'M HERE! ENTERING THE DOOR LIKE A NORMAL PERSON!

.................................................. ................

—Foundational Hero Studies! In this class, we will build your basic heroic foundation through many challenges! And let's start with it! Battle trial!

"Oh, finally something interesting in this damn day!"

.................................................. .....................

30 years ago

 

Itsumi didn't know what she could have done differently. Maybe over time, she might have thought of something else, but time was something she didn't have.

One day she used the name of a star to do what she thought should be done. Now she felt like a supernova, ready to explode and take whatever was around her. And so she had to let them go.

In the rearview mirror, she saw them sleeping in the back. Takashi, always the protector, was hugging Inko to his chest. A part of her hoped they wouldn't wake up until it was over, and she hated herself for it.

"Every Midoriya has their orbit." 

That's what she said, Inko's green eyes twinkled as she pulled things to herself, Takashi hovering around his sister, repelling anything that might come too fast. And she loved them even more because they had a part of her in them, and they made it so good.

"Every Midoriya becomes someone's gravitational centre-"

 She wondered as she watched the big building come up, where she would leave them and could never even look back. Because then they would have a chance, at least.

She could not predict for sure what would come in the future. How much they looked more like their mother, more than she thought.

How much they would bleed for it.

"-even of monsters."

 

Chapter Text

"Chaos theory simply suggests that what appears to most people as chaos is not really chaotic, but a series of different types of orders with which the human mind has not yet become familiar."

-Frederick Lenz

 

16 years, 8 months and 2 days ago

 

—Hisashi Hayashi.

Inko tried to keep her expression serious, she really did, but the grimace Hisashi made was the last straw.

—This is serious, Inko-chan! Why are you laughing at me?

—Right, right. — She took a deep breath and questioned innocently. — Can you say it again?

Hisashi threw a pillow at her face that nearly knocked her over the kitchen counter. His ridiculous pout didn't disguise the laugh he was trying to hide.

—Can I call you Hisayashi?

—Inko!

—You call Taka Takayashi, it's cute.

—You are a cruel woman, Inko.

She broke into more laughter, jumping off the counter to escape another pillow.

Hisashi always made her laugh and feel free as she had not felt since her teens. They were unpacking their boxes in the rented apartment. Their apartment.

Home.

Inko felt he could float.

—You know you don't have to get my last name. That goes totally against the customs.

—And who cares about that? Fuck the customs. 

 She heard him growl as he took the larger box to the kitchen. 

—And my last name is boring, there's no one with it but me.

Her chest tightened at that, the smile fading from her face. She lifted her head from where she was taking the rolled-up glasses from the newspaper and saw him sitting on the floor carefully removing things from the box, his expression focused.

—Don't look at me like that, Inko. — His voice was soft, his eyes still glued to the box. —I don't like it when you're sad for me.

—Sorry. I know.

She sat beside him on the floor to help. Hisashi was no good with delicate things.

—Is there really no one?

She asked carefully. In those moments she realized how little she knew about him, and yet there they were, going to live together. There had been something that had drawn her to him from the first day. Since he had brought an injured Taka to the apartment she shared with her brother, both of them smearing the carpet with blood.

Hisashi had saved Taka when she couldn't. She had been trying to convince her stubborn brother to stop the idiocy he was doing, they were no longer the idealistic teenagers of years ago. Inko had learned her lesson, but Takashi was still going out in the middle of the night and getting into trouble, risking his life as if he had nothing to lose. Because as much as Takashi was the first to say that he hated their mother, he had never stopped running after her shadow, the stories she told them as a child about heroes fighting crimes in the shadows, doing their own justice. 

One day Inko had wanted to be like her, like the woman who she remembered on the stories. 

Until reality knocks on her door. 

And Inko was selfish enough not to want to lose her brother, and no matter how much it hurt, because of the possibility of losing now not just one but two people, she could never be grateful enough to Hisashi for keeping him safe. For some reason, from the first minute, she saw him she had known that Hisashi was capable of it. If anyone could protect Takashi, it would be him.

—There was a big fire when I was 10, I was the only one who escaped from there.  —He unrolled a glass with extra care and handed it over. —There is no one else registered with the surname.

 

 

Inko didn't know what to say, so she said nothing.

—Inko-chan and Takayashi are my family now.  —The red eyes stared at her, a sincere smile on his face that never failed to make her melt —Then I don't want my last name if I can have yours, Inko-chan. I am yours now.

Her face warmed up as she nodded, holding the hand of that mysterious being who had infiltrated her life so deeply in such a short time.

—I don't share everything with Taka, you know?  

She commented jovially, trying to lighten the mood. Hisashi made a scandalized expression.

—I don't know what you mean with it, woman!

—That I know you've kissed my brother before.

He opened his mouth to deny it, then wrinkled his nose, his face turning red. Inko paused with that.

—I thought that he was lying.

—It was an extreme situation, where I freed your brother from jail and ... I'll shut up, I shouldn't have said that last part. Just know that you kiss better than Takayashi.

—Good to know. —  She really didn't want to know the details, — As long as you're sure you have the correct twin-

—Inko! You're laughing at me again.

It was hard to resist, she admitted.

The two continued to tidy up the small apartment, now in a better mood. It was after midnight when the two of them fell to the couch, exhausted.

—You know, we don't need to use Hayashi either. 

She murmured with her head on his shoulder, feeling his hand in her hair. He made a sound for her to continue. 

— We can use my name before the adoption. Taka wanted to get rid of it as soon as possible because he resents our mother, but ...

—You don't?

His voice was soft, and with a certain tone that Inko could not understand.

—I don't know. I think not. It's ... complicated to explain, you know? But if you accept we could use it.

He was silent for so long that she thought he had slept, but she felt his body tense. She tried to see his expression, puzzled, but his hand was still in her hair.

—Inko, you know I'll always protect you, don't you? And Takashi as well, because you are my family now. And I love you both so much .

—And we love you too.

 She didn't know where he was going with it, her voice expressing the confusion she felt with the sudden change of subject.

—I know you do. Someone said they loved me before, but with you both, I learned the difference. 

His tone was more absent as if he were talking to himself. His hand kept stroking her hair.

—Difference?

—Between being loved and being used by someone. I promise I'll never use you guys. I promise, Inko.

—Hisashi? I don't understand.

—I know you don't. 

He sighed and kissed her head. 

She was finally able to lift her face and red eyes looked at her with such affection that she felt she could float. At that moment she could not doubt his love in any way.

—So which surname are we going to use?

Inko smiled with acceptance, feeling her chest expand with happiness.

—Midoriya. Let's use Midoriya.

.................................................. ......................

Now

 

Everyone loved All Might, but Hitoshi knew there was a very solid reason to prefer Eraserhead, he was just proving it now.

All Might was kind of ... incompetent as a teacher, unfortunately. 

He would say that this was a bad idea, if anyone asked for his opinion on the subject, to set a bunch of untrained children against each other, with somewhat ambiguous instructions and with only one teacher with them, even though it was All Might.

Considering that much of his class seemed to have serious psychological problems, it was also a factor against this exercise. Especially Bakugou, who seemed too enthusiastic about hitting anyone. Not very heroic, one could comment.

Or maybe it was his fear of going against a bunch of physically and extraordinarily quirky idiots with only 140 pounds of bitterness and sarcasm, relying only on his chance for any of them to slip even knowing how his their quirk worked.

Yeah, it wasn't going to happen.

— Team A too? We are together, Shinsou-kun!

Great, he was still on par with the happiest and most enthusiastic being on earth. It's not like he had anything against Kirishima - he totally did, no one could be excited like that every day, it wasn't natural - but if he was going to participate in this madness he would rather be on the team of the only person who seemed trained there, and that the humour at least it was compatible with his own.

Hitoshi looked at Todoroki longly, at the beloved silence around him with everyone cautiously removed from that fortress of coldness - aha! - that was Todoroki.

Kirishima was waving his arms in his face, talking about motivation and manly things, and he was just sure he had done something very wrong in another life. Maybe he was a villain in a past life? Or in another reality? Could he pay for the sins of another reality of his? Did this count as penance?

—I loved your uniform, Shinsou-kun. It looks quite elegant and ... black.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. He looked at the raven-headed boy. He didn't know what was wrong with the colour black.

— That scarf reminds me of someone ... Was it any inspiration?

Hitoshi coughed to cover his discomfort.

He would rather not answer, or comment on how Kirishima's looked ... minimalist.

There was no way this situation could get any worse.

—Time A as heroes, and Time D as villains. You are the first. The rest come with me to the observation room. Team D will come first t to hide the payload.

Bakugou, team D, looked around when he realized who his opponents would be. His eyes met Hitoshi's and with a rather psychotic smile, slowly and deliberately he turned off his hearing aid.

It could always get worse.

.................................................. ........

Izuku tried not to run as he left the already empty locker room after spending a long time trying to convince Catchan that no, he couldn't go with him to the gym. A long and complicated task that involved outraged meows as he locked the door with him inside with his heart tight and wanting to cry, feeling the worst human being on earth.

He stopped at the door and saw that the gym was already crowded. The three classes lined up in the centre, but the class hadn't started yet. Discreetly he placed himself in his row, standing behind Kenranzaki who seemed to look around in exasperation, searching for someone.

— Have someone explained what will happen?

For some reason when he spoke everyone except Mei jumped with fright. Tako lost control of one arm and knocked Satou out of line, who in the process took Harumi down with him, who tried to hold on to his face, tearing off his glasses by accident. His quirk amplified hers and activated it, and suddenly hundreds of glasses were scattered around their row.

With all eyes toward the group, Deku had the impression of hearing Power Loader laugh nervously.

—Deku! — Kenranzaki turned with her hand on her chest, her hair a yellow colour and turning red— Where have you been? Go scare your grandmother.

—She died, there's no way to do that. And mom said that she had ripped a man's eye off with a chopstick, so I think even if she was alive it wouldn't be easy to scare granny ...

He stopped realizing that for some reason she was looking at him in horror.

—...What?  —He looked at Mei who seemed the only one not to look at him strangely. —Shouldn't I have said that?

—Deku-kun. —Satou pointed rising with a stack of glasses in his arms. — You need therapy. And a bell in the neck. That was not cool, man. You-

He stopped and looked at him strangely. Koto helped Harumi to her feet, who apologized profusely trying to find Satou's right glasses. Kenranzaki also stopped what she was going to say and looked at him funny. Mei was laughing too. Izuku folded his arms defensively.

—I didn't try to scare anyone, I was late 'cause I had to leave ... — He looked around and turned the volume down. — You know who in the locker room. I had to talk to him, to not be hated for the rest of my life.

—Deku-

—And I'm not even that late, the class hasn't started yet. I didn't wanna scare anyone, tell them, Mei. I'm very, very sorry-

—Deku.

—And Harumi-chan, your quirk is really amazing. I need to take note of this if it is correct to use the-

—DEKU!

—What!?

— Pets are not allowed inside the institution, problem child.

Izuku turned and met Eraserhead's bored gaze. Midnight was behind his shoulder with an amused expression. The students around him stared at the scene, some with amusement, some with dismay, and Izuku felt his face heat up.

—Hmm?

The man looked at him still apathetically and pointed to his head.

—Catchan?!

...............................................

Nemuri knew this class would be fun, but her expectations were already being exceeded and she hadn't even started yet.

The extra glasses that had taken half of the gym had been removed. She watched the students warm-up, correcting postures and deciding some last-minute changes in the pairs. Maijima's class drew attention among the others, mainly because some of them were not showing much interest in the exercise. Maijima had taken something from one of their hands more than once to force them to concentrate and at least do the jumping jacks.

She saw Aizawa's boy take a notebook from somewhere - Maijima had confiscated the previous one - and with unnerving mastery do the exercises, observe the surrounding quirks and write at the same time.

The hair that looked very fluffy in the bun moved with each flex. A few students had moved away — the mumbling was a little unnerving — but his classmates remained faithfully around him. Eyebags, the maniac look, the hair, the cat that had been confiscated ... it was like seeing a mini, happier, Aizawa.

 —Awn, look at your son. He is so adorable!

Aizawa ignored her, just as he ignored the gaze of the students staring at him. The cat seemed to regard everything with a judgmental expression, its hostile yellow eyes in contrast to rubbing its face against Eraser's, who despite his apathetic expression at the terrified pupils, was stroking its head.

All in all, it was a very strange situation and therefore hilarious.

She didn't get why  Maijima's class seemed so alarmed when he said he was going to stay with the cat until the end of class as if Eraser was offering to hold a bomb or something.  The cat looked pretty comfortable from the hero's shoulder as if he were his personal servant.

 Even if she had an uncomfortable feeling when the feline was looking at her. 

It wasn't as if a cat was about to kill everyone inside except Aizawa and his boy and make everything look like an accident.

Right?

Ok, showtime. She caught the attention of the gym with a whistle. 

 —Attention, you losers! Let's explain. I prepared something very special today for this class. 

The students in her class paled and she smiled. Aizawa rolled his eyes at her side.  He wasn't the only one who could be terrifying. 

 — If any of you thought that by entering the General or Support department you would have it easy in my class, I will immediately warn that you are in the wrong place, my friends.

She heard some grunts and smiled even more.

 — Some of you are going to attend the festival too, so take this class as preparation. 

 With the mention of the festival, some students became more attentive. Maijima's class, surprisingly, seemed focused for the first time.

The others still didn't seem so interested.

"Interesting. Let's put some more motivation."

 — Listen well, you weaklings. I know some of you still want to get into the hero program and have some complaints about the entrance exam.

 Aizawa mumbled something like 'I do' and she tried not to laugh at it.

 —It's not everyone's knowledge, but it's no secret either, that there are three ways to join the hero class.  — She held up three fingers in the air and saw that while most seemed confused, some students seemed to know what she was talking about. — First, by recommendation. If you have a prestigious hero on your back you can get your seat. Second, pass the physical entrance exam, which who of you who did not apply directly to General and Support class obviously failed. And the third is the festival. If you manage to do well at the festival to the point of catching the director's attention, you are quoted to take place in the hero class.

She heard excited and surprised whispers, expression of hope appeared on some faces. She whistled again to lessen the noise.

 —Now silence, you little shits!

 — Kayama-san! 

Maijima gasped and she ignored him, still smiling.

 —As I said, I did something special for you today. Eraser here convinced me to make some last-minute changes. Initially, I was just going to get you guys to hit each other, but he decided to test your physical abilities first. Nothing different from what you did during middle school. 

She raised her hand when he saw that some were going to interrupt.  

—Except you can use your quirks here to amplify your results. After that, you'll be paired to fight, supervised. The winner has to immobilize the other three times. The goal is to see the technique, or lack of technique, in you, and what you can improve. No destructive force, no quirks during fights except mutant ones, nothing can be done about that, right? Since you are so many, you will be called in groups of six, so when you hear your name it is good not to waste time or I will be very annoyed. Maijima, get a group. Eraser?

Aizawa was staring, which made her curious. She noticed that he was looking at Maijima's group, specifically his boy. The green eyes were focused, but it was different from the comic air of minutes ago. His expression seemed older and calculating as he looked around casually.

 —What is he doing?

 — Analyzing.

She turned her face curiously. Maijima had started calling groups. 

 — What?

Aizawa smiled, the manic way she was used to.

 —The competition.

Nemuri smiled too. That would be even more fun than she had imagined.

.................................................. .............................

That could be a lot of fun.

Katsuki walked quickly, round face running a little to keep up with his steps as he carried the bomb. Some part of him still wished he was alone, but if one thing he had learned in recent years-

"Take care of each other."

-was that this was not always a good thing.

And he didn't mind being with her as much as he would with anyone else, curiously. He had to admit that she hadn't done so badly on the entrance exam. Except for the 'puking on him' part.

 —Now, listen here, round face. First of all, you won't puke on me again. And second, let's follow my plan.

"What a great teamwork."

"Go to hell, Deku's stupid voice."

He felt her tug at his shirt sleeve and stopped at the stairs. Round face had a funny expression on her face, like a squirrel with nuts in its mouth or something. He saw her move her hands quickly and frowned in distaste trying to translate it.

 —What? What flying cow?

She pointed at his ear and rolled his eyes, turning on his aids again.

 — I asked about the plan and where we will put the bomb.

 —Right.

"You have to talk about the plan for her to follow the plan."

"I know, damn it."

 —You could keep the bomb for us and I would go after the shitheads

 —But?

 —Insomniac is going to be a problem.

She frowned.

 —His quirk won't work if we don't answer.  It's kind of unfair to Shinsou-kun that. Everyone knows his quirk's weakness.

 —I'm his quirk weakness. —He pointed to the device.  — If I put this thing off, there is nothing his shit quirk can do with me. However, I don't know how resistant is Smiley skin, eventually, my blast could pass through him, but time is something very precise here.

 —You mean then that-

.................................................. ........

 —Bakugou is my weakness, you are his weakness.  — Shinsou was not liking that, not at all. But he wasn't going to lose easily. He had something to prove, damn it.  — And Uraraka, in a way, is yours.

Kirishima blinked curiously at that. At least he was attentive.

 — How so?

.................................................. ............

 —One-touch and you can send smiley flying. His resistance is of no use if you put him in the air.

 —Then we are at the advantage.

 —Yes.

 —But?

 —If insomniac catches you, it's going to be three against one. It's going to be a pleasure kicking you three, not complaining. 

 —I know how his quirk works if I don't answer-

 —Round face, I know a manipulator from afar. I lived for years with such a motherfucker on my back. The little shit enters your skin like a thorn, if he catches you alone, you'll speak.

............................................

 —She'll talk.

 —How are you so sure? Uraraka is strong! And very smart ... and-

 —And very decent. It will take work, but she will talk.

 —So, Bakugou is your weakness, I am his, Uraraka is mine, and you are hers?

 —Basically.

.............................................

 —In that case, I have a plan too, Bakugou.

...............................................

Toshinori glanced around at the focused and curious expressions on the screen, they're all focused between the pair now running up the stairs and the other about to enter the test zone. 

He was also curious. 

Even at random, it had been a choice of pairs with a rather unpredictable result.

Yaoyorozu opened her mouth as if about to say something, but shyly fell silent again looking at the screen.

Well, Toshinori was all ears, after all that test at the moment was not just for those in the combat zone.

 —Any comments?

 —I still think Uraraka wouldn't fall for Shinsou's quirk.  — Sero Hanta scratched his head. — She knows how it works, there's no way.

 —Shinsou-kun, like all of us, must have spent his life training his quirk.  — Yaoyorozu commented — I agree with Bakugou's remark on this. If he has had to rely on his power of persuasion all his life, he must have some advantage in it.

 —Even so-

 —He was the one who passed only with rescue points, wasn't he?  —Ashido raised her hand. — He may have a disadvantage in direct combat, but to save so many people, the guy must be a bit of a ninja too.

 —Yeah, but Bakugou took first place in the exam, the guy is a monster.  —Kaminari got in — And Uraraka came in third, didn't she? And they seem to have good teamwork, which is surprising because Bakugou has a vibe of a guy who doesn't play with a team very well.

 —Kirishima was second, however.  — Iida commented seriously after raising his hand, eyes on the screen.  — And his score was perfectly balanced, he has both firepowers in combat and evasion, his quirk has an advantage over Bakugou's and Uraraka's only work if she touches him.

 —Makes sense. 

 Yaoyorozu agreed.

 —But they're friends. That doesn't become a disadvantage, ribbit? They know each other well, Ochaco-chan and Kirishima.

Several eyes stared at him in silent question, and Toshinori blinked in astonishment.

 —Oh, yes, you all have good arguments. Both teams are balanced, each with a combat member and an evasion member.

 —So ... who will win?

 —Who, my heroic students, use the most powerful weapon of every hero.

.................................................. ..

 —You have to use your head.

 —My quirk is to make objects come alive, Deku. I don't know how using my head will help me in a race.

 —Hiro-kun.   —Shota saw the problem child give the other boy a look that should resemble his own at the moment.  — Your shoe is an object.

The other blinked, and then his mind seemed to finally work.

 —Oh ... So I ... oh!

He ran to the running group and a blue-haired girl shook her head.

 —How can someone be so smart and so silly? — She looked at Midoriya, and it was clear she wasn't just talking about the other boy.  — How is it going?

 —Not as bad as I thought, it depends on who's in the group.

 —Yeah, changing the colour doesn't help me that much either. Say, Deku. You look pretty fit, everyone is dying at this point.

 —Resistance.  — He shrugged, his cheeks flushing slightly.  — I run every day. I like to climb too. It is a hobby.

For some reason he saw him smile sideways at that, the Hatsume girl seeming suspicious to hide a laugh as she passed. An inside joke.

Green eyes peered around between the groups, seeming to absorb everything. In between the group changes he talked to his classmates, always with any tips about the next task.

Shota watched, intrigued, because he had not forbidden this kind of help, so he would let it pass. Students from other classrooms who had heard some things were slowly approaching too, asking for some advice, ignoring the initial oddness of earlier.

 —He's getting popular. — Nemuri said suddenly from his side.  — His results are not so bad, despite the disadvantage.

He was not surprised, most of the quirks there were not fit for such tests. He was pleased that at least some of those idiots were putting their heads to work.

 These results would serve to ensure that the quirks were worked out over the three years to the best of their ability. Also, it frustrates Shota seeing some talents wasted because the entrance exam was so poorly done. He had only entered the heroes' class after the festival, Nemuri the same. Years later and the examination was still as unfair as it was in their day.

She whistled beside him, and the cat who was dozing in his scarf meowed with the sudden noise.

 —Ok, losers! The results will be shown in the board over there, you can see within five minutes how bad you are. Then let's start the fights. Yo! Hydrate while you can. I don't want nobody falling on me.

.................................................. ......

Bakugou had expected Smiley to be sent after him. 

He had to congratulate the persistence.

Internally, because externally he was only a little annoyed. He pushed the other with an explosion, trying to pass the capture tape on him, but the son of a bitch was surprisingly fast.

Round face had scattered grenades around the building to try to confuse their location, but finding insomniac had been more problematic than he had thought. The bastard was a slippery snake.

Smiley had him trapped inside the building as well, and any bigger blast would compromise the surrounding structure. And past experiences trapped within the rubble made him hesitate to do so.

The whole situation made his stomach knot. Whenever an explosion burst out of control and hit a wall he saw the white soot, the falling rocks, the screams all around.

Bakugou gritted his teeth, blinking angrily.

And attacked again.

.................................................. ...............

 —There's something weird with Bakugou, don't you think, ribbit?

Toshinori looked worriedly, remembering what he had read in Bakugou's file. He could understand what the situation might cause and ponder stopping the fight, but within seconds he seemed to have regained control and began to corner the other boy.

And that's when Shinsou finally found Uraraka.

.................................................. .........................

 — Well, he really is your son.

 —He's not my son.

Shota corrected automatically, too busy trying not to show what that was making him feel at the moment.

That being Midoriya having advanced surprisingly fast between fights. Some of them lasted almost nothing, in part because some had no willpower, and some no fighting technique, but mostly because the boy knew how to fight.

And he fought dirty. Kick behind the knees, change arms last second,  fingers in the eye. Whatever drove the opponent down faster.

 —He's just too brutal.  — Nemuri pondered. — It looks more like a street fight.

She wasn't wrong, but there was something else, something that was bothering him. When the other fights have subsided and he no longer have to walk around overseeing it, he saw it better.

 This particular fight was taking longer, the multi-armed boy in the support department seemed to have some fighting technique, and along with the size and advantage of the mutant quirk, he had lasted longer with Midoriya.

As an advantage, Shota could see better what bothered him so much. It was a detail that he would not have picked up had he not had so much experience.

 — He's not using his dominant side.

 —Really?  — Nemuri took her eyes off the clipboard. - How so?

He was also using a fighting style that he seemed not to dominate well, but not as if he had no fighting experience, just experimenting with a different style than he was used to. It was all there, in the longest stride at the last minute, in the sudden change of direction. He was purposely incapacitating himself for some reason.

And Shota wasn't enjoying this at all. The first thing that came to mind was arrogance, thinking he didn't have to do his best in the fight, but he's determined expression made him think that maybe it wasn't it. An asset? But why hadn't he revealed himself in the fight that was giving him the most trouble?

 —What are you trying to hide, problem child?

When the other fighter went to the ground for the third time and another braced himself in the place Shota decided he would find that out.

He took the cat off his shoulder and handed it to Nemuri. Neither seemed happy about it, an indignant meow and a scratch being the proof.

 —Change of plans.  —Green eyes stared at him in confusion and Shota smiled, which didn't help much with Midoriya's apparent nervousness. The other students walked away too.  —Show me what you can do, problem child.

 —I really did not expect this.  — Nemuri murmured.

.................................................. ......................

 Shinsou did not expect this.

To someone so small and seemingly delicate, Uraraka was brutal.

Even with months in the dojo he was having trouble following her and had some shots taken very close. If she touched him or managed to tape him, it would be over. Kirishima could not last forever with Bakugou, advantage or not.

So he could only do one thing, which was his best asset: talk.

 —It must be nice to have a quirk like yours, pretty heroic and al.

He escaped from a kick and turned around, escaping the tape she was trying to put in his arm.

 —Unlike mine. I've spent my whole life being called a villain for it.

Her brow furrowed but she didn't stop the attack.

 —What a joke. Maybe I should not be here, after all.

His heart warmed to see her worried expression. Really Uraraka was a decent person.

Which made it worse, but he was getting a little desperate. The explosions were dwindling.

Uraraka knocked him down with her knee on his belly. It was a somewhat uncoordinated fight. He gripped her wrist, trying to keep her from touching him.

 —I should give up at once.  — He said almost in despair.  — I'll never be a hero.

 —Don't say it!

“Oh, Uraraka.”

.........................................

 — That was ... anticlimactic.  — Yaoyorozu was really rooting for Uraraka, she was doing so well.

 —Uraraka really is a good person, ribbit.

 —Yeah, it was kind of dirty for Shinsou to do that.  —Mineta folded his arms. — Nothing heroic at all.

 — Now, don't say that. Well, he did nothing more than he should do.  —Toshinori interrupted. — Use the weapons he has.

.....................................

Shota didn't believe in taking it easy even though he was a student. Within seconds Midoriya was already on the floor, falling on his back with a thud, an arm around his neck and a knee to his stomach.

When he let him up, he sighed at the same pose as before. He circled a little, easily holding a blow from him.

 —If you don't take it seriously, you'll lose.

 —I'm taking it seriously. 

His voice was breathy as he tried to hit him in vain.

Shota glared at him, knocking him down easily, but letting him rise before dominating him.

 —This is not your dominant arm, Midoriya. Are you underestimating your colleagues? I am not a student.

The green eyes widened in alarm, his head quickly shaking.

 —If you think you're too good to fight them seriously, maybe you shouldn't even be here.

The kick in the stomach was stronger than he expected and Aizawa's face twisted a little regretfully as the boy fell to his knees coughing. For seconds he saw his expression change, but it was gone before he could analyze it. He stood and struck again. The kick he held came harder than before, but it was still wrong.

 —If you are not serious, I will do it for you. If you can't take me down once, I'll write your expulsion from here myself.

 —Hey! 

He ignored Maijima's voice, eyes on the boy in front of him. His expression was startled, and he saw him look at the girl from before, Hatsume, who was staring at him from outside the mat. They exchanged a look until the greens refocused on Shota.

Midoriya closed his eyes for a few seconds, looking resigned to something.

When he opened them again he was already on him. This time when he deflected the movement was fluid. Shota felt the small hand on his shoulder for a few seconds as he leapt over him easily, falling behind him and striking again.

His movements were completely different.

.................................................. .......................................

An explosion hit a wall as they both tried to end the fight more and more brutally.

In a moment of distraction, a heavy arm hit him and he rolled to the floor. His ear seemed to beep as he felt the concrete floor in his hands. Screams around, soot. The walls seemed to come closer. The sirens were distant.

And the car around was his only refuge from being crushed to death by the debris.

Bakugou widened his eyes wildly.

When something came up on his periphery he gave an animalistic scream and pulled the pin from his hand grenade.

.................................................. ......................................

Shinsou hoped it would work, while at the same time thinking that with his luck in life it wouldn't.

 —Show me where the bomb is.

Uraraka stepped forward with blank eyes and he knew that at this point he had to apologize on his knees with her.

After winning.

Luckily she didn't take him too far down a flight of stairs and they entered a room. Uraraka stopped in the centre, still under his command.

Shinsou looked around, expecting to find the bomb.

There was nothing there.

He had a few seconds of confusion before he realized what had happened.

 —Shit.

And that's when a big explosion shook the building.

.................................................. .........

 —Kirishima has been captured.

All Might look alarmed, ready to stop the fight until he saw that the other boy had risen despite the blast that had thrown him away.

He was ready to scold Bakugou but stopped when he saw the boy's face.

Even as he passed the tape on the other, he looked shocked.

He looked scared.

.................................................. .........

If before Midoriya was fighting like a street fighter, now he looked like a gymnast.

Nemuri blinked in bewilderment at the sudden change, seeing the boy leap over Shota again. Years and years of fighting alongside him made her sure he wasn't giving 100%, yet it was more than she'd ever seen him training with any student.

And the boy was following.

And he was fast. Very fast.

Some students moved away from the mat when Shota almost threw the child out when he climbed his back. Their responses were quick, the fight somewhat similar in technique to having the perfect counterattack.

Undercover she took out her cell phone and started filming.

Hizashi couldn't miss it.

.................................................. ................

When Uraraka woke up she had the capture tape around her.

 —Oh man.

Shinsou sent her an apologetic look before running from the room. 

She sighed, still bitter that Bakugou was right.

At least the part of the plan she had thought of had worked, Bakugou had moved the bomb and they had not lost yet.

She heard the sound of explosions in the hallway and then silence.

 —The battle is over! The victory of the villain's team!

.................................................. ......................

Shinsou landed on his back, the tape strapped to his arm and the maniac on him. The bastard turned on the aids slowly, seeming to have all the time in the world.

He had come so close but searching every room he had not found the bomb anywhere.

 —Where was the bomb?

Bakugou pointed upwards.

Floating with Uraraka's quirk, tied with the capture strip in the middle of the ceiling aisle, was the bomb.

In the sight of all from the beginning.

.................................................. .................................

 — Very well! This first battle was very exciting, the teamwork really surprised me positively. Although all were excellent, Uraraka was the MPV of this match. Can anyone explain to me the reason? Yes, Yaoyorozu?

 — The level was well balanced between players, but some mistakes could have been avoided. For example, Kirishima and Shinsou would have been luckier if they had combined forces against Uraraka before going after Bakugou. Bakugou had a good plan for how to hide the bomb and balance the quirks, but he damaged the building structure when he lost control during the battle. Shinsou could have been the MVP if he had used Uraraka's control against Bakugou while searching for the bomb. Uraraka's plan to swap the bomb in anticipation of the other team's moves was quite ingenious, and even though she fell for Shinsou's quirk, she was the only one who kept cool during the battle.

—Excellent, Yaoyorozu. Any other comments? No? Let's continue then.

.................................................. ....................................

Modified by small deeds, new ways had been created, by new people they had become.

In another universe, Bakugou had tasted defeat for the first time and had become resolute in his aim to be the best in the process. A friendship grown in imbalance had changed.

In this universe, Bakugou's victory took place in frustration, concerned eyes around him, but in the same resolve to improve that had taken the minds of the four participants in a battle of less brutal power and more strategy.

Bakugou, in some universe, had decided that he would not lose to Deku or anyone else.

In this universe, Bakugou decided that he could not lose to his own demons anymore.

And that was a decision that would put him on a path as similar as before, yet completely different.

...................................................

Todoroki froze the entire building in a signal of power.

Some things, no matter the universe, will still be the same.

.................................................. .................................

Shota held a kick in his direction, and soon a punch followed, also being blocked. In response, the boy writhed and brought the other foot to his face causing him to let go.

He fell to his feet, baring his teeth at him like an angry animal.

Like a cat.

The thought made him pause for a few seconds, and it was enough for the midget to attack him, fiercely and relentlessly. He noted with alarm that he was only attacking his left side, near an injury of years ago.

He was reading him during the fight and adapting.

He smiled maniacally.

It was time to end this.

When he came again, he used his capture tool and pulled him by the ankle in the air, twisting him up quickly.

 —You failed, Midoriya.

 —You said no quirk!

 — This is not a quirk.

 —But but-

 —Even if it was, I lied.

His green eyes filled with tears and Aizawa felt uncomfortable.

And a little dirty too.

 — And about the expulsion too. I just wanted to motivate you.

He dropped him on the floor and saw the students around him staring at him in shock. Maijima's gang, in particular, seemed to want to throw something at him. Especially when the boy sniffed, looking nothing like the psychotic machine that was just striking him minutes ago, sitting like this on the mat, with trembling lips and wet eyes.

The cat leapt from Nemuri and slipped into the boy's arms, being hugged at once. The look the cat gave him at that moment was not happy at all, and he would never admit to anyone he felt a certain fear.

 —Aizawa.  — Maijima whispered with a warning tone.  —That was a bit much, don't you think?

 —Well, the class is over. All to the locker room!  — Nemuri commented very happily despite the situation.  — Tomorrow the results will be discussed in class. Cho chop, everyone!

The gymnasium began to empty and Maijima's students entered the mat and began talking cheerfully to Midoriya, some of them shooting Aizawa dirty looks in the process.

Shota sighed. Maijima was still staring at him.

 —I exaggerated.  —Midoriya looked at him, big eyes still shining from holding back tears and betrayed expression.  — Perhaps. A little.

 —It's okay.

And now Shota felt even worse, that voice was so vulnerable.

What the hell.

He ignored the audience and knelt in front of the other sitting still clutching the cat.

 —Really, just accept the apologies.  — The boy nodded. He twisted his lips.  — I'll pay you a coffee.

Midoriya looked at him interestedly and his lip trembled not to smile at that.

 — In the cat cafe, whenever you want.

Everyone's shoulder seemed to relax when Midoriya smiled.

Still, when he tried to pat Midoriya's head he got a scratch.

You couldn't win all.

.................................................. ...........................

Bakugou had not had such a bad day. 

Except for the part where he'd done shit during the battle for having a damn flashback. Victory had a taste of defeat in his mouth, and he had left the medic ward and not returned to class after a talk about therapy with Recovery Girl and All Might.

It wasn't like he hasn't gone years ago, thanks for the old hag. He just never imagined he still needed it. He didn't want to think that he still needed it.

 

"What if it was a real battle and you were paralyzed? Or if you lose control and blow up something like today?"

 

He didn't need to hear that. Not even from his own conscience.

The plan was to go home and sleep but he ended up waiting outside the nerd's class. If he was going to lose class, at least do something productive. Like cornering that bastard finally.

He had been waiting for some time and should be close to finishing his own class when he saw him. He was coming from the gym, freshly showered, surrounded by a bunch of extras and-

—Is that a cat in your head, Deku?

—Kacchan?!

Deku spoke alarmed, and then something in his expression changed when he looked at him. His brow furrowed, analyzing him, and Bakugou looked away irritably, gripping the strap of his bag tighter.

—Deku?

A feminine voice called from somewhere. The nickname spoken by someone else made him smoke and, although he had waited for the other for so long, he turned away and walked down the hallway. 

That worried look of the nerd, he hated it.

—Kacchan! Wait!

He turned away from the voice and not even when the other began to walk beside him he stopped.

And wasn't it weird? The two were walking home together. 

Katsuki slowed his pace, putting a hand in his pocket. They walked through the gate still in silence.

 He made a pathetic image with the cat on his head. How had he got in with this cat there anyway? He noticed, even unwillingly, that he looked tired, too. The eyes were particularly red, Katsuki snorted.

—What was the reason for crying now?

The other looked surprised, then pouted ridiculously.

—Your sensei dragged my ass on the mat today and threatened me with expulsion.

Katsuki paused with that.

—What?

—He said it was just to motivate me, but it was kind of scary.

And it was Aizawa-sensei, no doubt.

—He apologized.

Now that was new.

—Why did you leave class early?

—Why did you?

Neither of them answered the other's question as they continued walking. The station was almost empty at this time. And the familiarity was making his skin itch.

Katsuki wanted to ask the nerd a lot of questions. Why was he crying that day? Where he was? With whom? Where the hell has he been all this time?

—Want to go see the old woman?

The other boy looked at him and Katsuki saw right away that he would decline it. There was conflict in his expression, his hands clasping tightly. They had both had a bad day, it seemed. Was he seeing the same thing in his eyes? Could the nerd sometimes hear the screams of that day too, the soot falling and the people dying around?

Did he also wonder what would have happened if they had never left home that day? 

If they never took them from that rubble?

(Did he hear Aunt Inko's voice telling him to take care of each other, too?)

A train stopped at the station, and they kept staring at each other in silence.

"I wish things were as before"

"Me too, but they aren't anymore."

Deku sighed, his shoulders relaxing in resignation.

—What are you going to have for dinner?

Katsuki felt his lip tremble to smile, but looked away at the sign when the train to Musutafu would come.

—Katsudon.

.................................................

—He left early.

Shinsou spoke frustrated getting into the car. His father, who was looking at him anxiously at the entrance to the school, deflated.

—Are you sure it's him?

—Absolutely.

He didn't doubt the punk had left early to avoid him either. He knew that cornering him would not be so easy, but they were in the same school, there was no way he could escape forever.

—Tomorrow we'll try again. 

His father started the car and he relaxed in his seat. He saw Uraraka waving from the gate with Iida, a smile on her face. Kirishima turned and he and a blond student, who had not yet learned the name, waved goodbye with an enthusiasm he could not find in his life.

It was hard to understand these people.

—Hum ... a friend?

His father raised his eyebrows.

—Argh. Stop.

.................................................

—What with the cat anyway?

The wagon was almost empty at this time, except for a group of students in the corner.

—He always runs away and follows me. — The nerd smiled hugging the evil cat.  —Looks like he knows when I'll need him.

Katsuki snorted. He stared at the cat, who stared back at him. Strangely he felt like he was in a competition and the menacing yellow eyes seemed to read his soul.

He raised his hand to touch the animal, ignoring the nerd's alarmed protests.

The cat was looking at him.

He was looking at the cat.

The punch was so fast that he had no time to move, its nails digging into his hand efficiently.

—Fuck you! And fuck your hells cat, too!

—Hey! He is not a hellcat! Catchan just doesn't like being touched by strangers.

Katsuki paused where he was looking at the wound. The nerd froze in place as he slowly raised his head.

—What did you call this demon?

—He's not a demon!

—What did you call it?

—Cat..chan?

Katsuki advanced with a blast, only to have a face full of a feline in seconds.

—Take this shit from my face!

—Don't hurt him! If you blow him up I swear to god I will-

Before he raised his hand the animal was gone. Katsuki looked around in confusion, his face burning where it had been scratched. The nerd had risen and was also searching with a tearful expression.

A sucking sound was heard and out of nowhere the beast popped into the nerd's head with an expression too smug for a cat.

—What the fuck ?!

Deku looked up, eyes alarmed.

—Does this fucking cat has a quirk? What the fuck, Deku ?!

—I didn't know! —His voice rose an octave and he hugged the cat, still looking alarmed. — Hmm. That explains a lot.

—What the fuck ?!

 

.................................................. ...............................

 

One year and eight months ago

 

Izuku found the photo in one of the boxes. 

He had never seen a picture of his blood grandmother before, his mom had none. And he knew it was her there, it couldn't be anyone else. It was like seeing a picture of his mom, but if she were taller and more muscular. Her green hair was darker, too, and short at the nape of her neck. The eyes seemed distant even with the children clinging to her waist and smiling.

It was the first time he'd seen Uncle Taka with white hair too, so far he didn't know what his original hair colour was, but there was no doubt that the smiling boy in the picture was him.

—Her name was Itsume Midoriya.

He tried not to be scared to hear the voice suddenly. He turned his face and his uncle was behind him with an expression he could not understand.

—Oh ... sorry. I was just packing and ... Midoriya? — He paused curiously. — I thought Midoriya was dad's name?

—No, your father took your mother's last name. We changed it when we were in the orphanage, it was one of our mother's demands when she left us there. Later we changed it again when we left.—He frowned, his eyes focused on the picture in his hand. —Inko took it back.

Izuku felt uncomfortable. As if he shouldn't ask anything, even if it's was his story too. 

— I don't know how much Inko told you about her. —Takashi sat on the floor beside him, taking the photos from the box. — But she was ... wild. A little paranoid sometimes. She always seemed to be watching her own back. She was a lot older than she looked too, something about her quirk, I think.

It was rare for Takashi to be so open about family.

—How old?

—She talked about the blitz as if she'd been there, as a vigilante. — He smiled slightly.  — Your mother and I wanted to be like her. This did not end well, as you know.

And Izuku really wanted to comment on that right now, because he knew about Takashi being a vigilante, that's what put him in all this mess in the first place. Which put his dad in this mess too, but they never talked much about it, other than what he had told him the first night after they left Japan.

—That ... it's a long time.

Takashi nodded.

—When she died, she seemed to have every year she had. Inko never wanted to see the body. She was right.

He didn't know what to say, he just had a thousand questions in his head. The one that came out was the least difficult, in his view. The easiest to have an answer.

—What was dad's last name? Before marrying mom?

—An old surname, which he hated for saying that everyone in the family was dead, so he preferred not to use it. He didn't even tell Inko until well after they were together.

—What was it?

Takashi looked at him in silence for so long that he thought that he wouldn't tell.

His uncle sighed as he closed the box and put it back on the shelf. From there he took the picture of the three of them, his dad, mom and Takashi together. They look so happy, carefree. Izuku has never seen him smile like the boy in the picture.

It was before it all happened. Before all the pain and loss, for sure.

—Shimura. 

He murmured softly. 

—His last name was Shimura.

 

.................................................. ...............



Chapter Text

"Look into yourself, Darrow, and you’ll realize that you are a good man who will have to do bad things."

"See. That’s what I don’t get. If I am a good man, then why do I want to do bad things?”

― Pierce Brown, Red Rising

 

Two years, seven months and 20 days ago

 

Min Han Su did not consider herself as an ambitious person for financial assets: She was born into a family with comfortable conditions, money had never been a problem in her life. 

No, her ambition stepped down to knowledge.

From an early age, she wanted to know how things worked, especially in the human body, particularly the nature of quirks. 

Where did they come from? How? Why did she have a quirk but her twin sister didn't?

That was her focus. A lifetime of study and she eventually graduated and became a geneticist. She went the same way, trying to figure out which exact part of the human genome created those mutations.

At some point, these studies became all she held and she made some sacrifices along the way for it. Nothing she didn't think was necessary if it took her where she was right now; if it led her to Dr Tsubasa. 

For years she had been trying to capture his interest, not only because the man was brilliant in the area and not guided by the ethical precepts of others like her, but also by the rumour of his involvement with someone who was considered an urban legend at that point, but that she had seen enough signs to know that he was very real: Someone with the power to remove and give quirks.

 That was what she had been trying to achieve for years. That's why she put her sister apart on a table years ago trying to figure out what made her different, trying to make her better. Others came later, countless. Sacrifices in the name of something greater.

And now she reaped the fruits of that sacrifice.

In the dim light of the room, she could see only his glasses shining on the monitors. He was a private person, and Min didn't care about the secrets of his appearance. Not if she could see his work.

Since they started that society their results have leveraged. Thanks to her quirk of persuasion, she had never had a hard time getting the specimens she needed. Children without quirk were not exactly well watched. Some were sold by their parents, many came from the shelter, others came on their own from the street, if not for the possibility of a place to stay, also for the dream of finally getting a quirk. These were the easiest to work with.

Still, she would lose them quickly. At the first dose she had lost almost everyone, a drastic platelet reduction and organ failure, the samples had bled overnight. Some dosage adjustments and the loss has been reduced to more than half. The weakest were always lost in the first wave, which in the end was positive. The stronger the specimen, the greater the likelihood of a satisfactory result.

The partnership with Dr Tsubasa had given him more than she wanted. With his patients' old records she could now go straight to the targets instead of randomly searching the samples. The other was that she could finally see the result of quirks transferred to the samples in addition to the mutations she had managed to perform in the lab. After all, working with changes in a child's or adult's DNA was difficult, and samples were eventually lost even on successful days. Even with kids without a quirk, who had the 'cleanest' material to work with.

― How many samples do you currently have?

― Thirteen. In the last few weeks, strangely enough, the heroes have noticed the disappearances.

― This is not good.

It was an inconvenience. She had to change the lab twice and lost more samples in the process. Some of the staff also commented on the behaviour of some of the samples. They seemed less docile, likely to rebel.

 ―These thirteen are promising. One of them has had no adverse reaction so far, it's quite curious. His DNA is something different, he has a few more chromosomes than expected. Like-

―Like in the old days. The reduction began to emerge after quirks became commonplace. 

His voice was interested. Min clung to it.

―Yes, if I didn't know well, I'd say he's a second or third generation, which wouldn't be possible. I believe it is a mutation. He was even a patient of yours.

― Ah? 

―Izuku Midoriya. His uncle is one of ours.

Takashi seemed convinced that his nephew had a quirk, and Min also had her doubts. There was something different about this sample. Something she couldn't understand. In the end, Takashi had made his sacrifice, as Min had made hers, and as she knew Tsubasa had made his if rumours about his grandson's disappearance were correct.

Some of the men had raised rumours about Takashi, but in the end, it had been unfounded. 

She had requested the sample when it became viable, and he delivered it without resistance. He was there with her, and if he went on he would reap the rewards as well. She knew no one wanted to know All for One more than Takashi. He had never been wrong except that he believed his nephew had a quirk, and she couldn't blame him. The case of this sample seemed special enough to be confusing.

― Interesting. 

The man muttered and then turned his chair fully in dismissal.

Min tried not to be insulted. It was all for a greater good, after all. And that base seemed safe, if not with the labs a little too old. She could work with that. 

The big problem was the company, particularly one of them. 

The first time she had seen the teenager walking between the cell rooms, her reaction was not the best, especially when she found the remains of some of her men who had tried to stop him on the floor. Ashes were what was left of her co-workes.

The quirk was interesting, and she would make good use of it in her research, if she had not been warned that, though unstable and temperamental, the boy was someone important and untouchable. 

It was a pity because for some reason he was always threatening to destroy her work out of boredom.

That day had been no different.

But at the same time it did, because he had decided to go straight to the sample cells, as one of the frantic men warned her.  Min couldn't miss any more samples, not with the difficulty of getting more at the moment.

She hoped to find a scene of destruction.

What she found was different: Her most interesting sample seemed to have caught the attention of her problem. While the others seemed well aware of the danger, sitting in the far corner of where the cell had been disintegrated, Midoriya was seated in front of the other, an intrigued expression on his face. The strange reaction had paralyzed the boy, who only scratched his neck, maiming himself with his quirk in the process.

― Why does your quirk hurt you?

Min Han Su would never know. Not when just weeks after that she would eventually be killed by Takashi and her work used for Tsubasa's improvement of the nomus. She would never know the encounter she had accidentally provoked earlier than expected, and how that had changed so much more than imagined.

That was the day Izuku saw his father's eyes on someone else's face, and perhaps in another universe that would have made no difference, after all, he had never seen his father's eyes there for it to truly get his attention.

In this universe did.

That was the day Izuku Midoriya met Tomura Shigakari.

That was the day Tenko, unbeknownst to any of them, met the last living Shimura beyond himself.

.................................................. .........................

Izuku had met many scary people in his life. Monsters indeed, which had made him paralyzed with fear and haunted his worst nightmares to this day.

However, there was something particularly scary about seeing Mitsuki Bakugou in that state. She used to be considered frightening, her son had inherited it from her, but Izuku had never felt scared around his aunt Mit.

Until he saw her crying. Because Mitsuki Bakugou doesn't cry.  It was impossible.

Or so he had thought.

He had hope for one of her famous yells and a lot of questions, and maybe it would come yet, but not right now. 

At that moment Izuku was at the gate of the house where he had spent so much time in his childhood, under the shocked and thrilled eyes of his uncle Masaru, wrapped in his aunt Mit's hug. Where his mother's hugs were soft, Mitsuki's were strong and suffocating. The perfume was different too. Even the way they cried seemed nothing at all: his mom full of tears and loud sobs in contrast with Mitsuki muffled ones. 

And yet it was like she was there. How long had been since someone has hugged him like that?

―  Hi, Aunt Mit.

She pushed him lightly, taking his face in her hands. Her red eyes, so much like her son's eyes, focusing on the scar on his face. At that moment Izuku wanted to look away and run. He wanted Catchan, strangely behaved on the ground at the moment, to take him away. Far from the questions, which reminded him of much of what he wanted to forget about the last few years.

Still, she didn't ask anything. She just ruffled his hair affectionately.

― You look like you've been through a lot, huh?

She had no idea. Izuku didn't want to have either. Forget was the gift that he wished someone had given to him.

―  But now you're home. Welcome back, Izuku.

He sometimes forgot how Mitsuki Bakugou knew him so well. As all the mothers seemed to know her children.

In this, as in many things, she was identical to her son.

.................................................

Since Katsuki remembered Deku was there. It was one of those constant presences in his house. In his life. Until the day he disappeared. And now he was back, and suddenly everything seemed back in place.

Except it shouldn't be that way, because that person wasn't the same Deku that had left years ago. Deku had feelings stamped on his face where this one was cautious. Deku would not have flinched before a hug, or keep an eye on the exits as he entered a place where it was like his second home. Deku was a happy idiot, stoned on too much coffee and sleeplessness, who got excited while talking about stupid devices, who wanted to help everyone.

This Deku wore a mask of an innocent smile. A mask of the other Deku.

―  Cut the crap. You're not fooling anyone.

― As expected from you. You're still amazing.

He braced himself to yell at the other but noticed that his face seemed more real this time. He reached out in a silent request and Katsuki rolled his eyes, removing the earphones and handing it over. The nerd pulled tools out of his bag and began adjusting something, sitting on the floor of his room, the damn cat climbing to his shoulder disinterestedly.

Katsuki sat on the computer chair and crossed his arms with a scowl. It was so familiar that it bothered him. As if the years had not passed.

But they had passed.

― Deku.

The nerd raised his face where he worked, his expression focused. As a routine never missed they passed to the signs fluidly.

'What?'

‘Questions.’

The nerd sighed but didn't look surprised. Katsuki frowned, eyes going to the device on his lap. The design so obvious while trying to convince himself that it was not possible.

Deku was looking at that too, his expression intent. His smile was soft as it had not been before, but his eyes looked at him expectantly. As if he knew exactly what he wanted to ask.

And that was an answer, at least for them.

‘You don't do anything by accident.’

He gritted his teeth as the other's smile widened a little. The bastard was having fun.

‘That wasn't a question.’

He let out a little explosion and the idiot didn't even move. The little monster on his shoulder gave him a warning look.

‘If I asked, you would answer me.’

‘That wasn't a question either.’

― Deku-

The other raised his hands in a gesture of peace.

‘You know I would.’

In the end, he would always tell. Because just as Deku was there from the beginning in Katsuki's life, Katsuki was there from the beginning in Deku's life. And something told him that in the end, it would be the same thing.

And so he knew, looking at the damn device, he knew. Just as he knew it had been purposeful. Deku knew he would realize that.

‘But I don't think you want to know.’

―  Why?

‘Because you can't go back after you know it.’

He snorted. As if that would stop him. Deku also seemed to think the same thing, if raising his eyebrow was anything.

‘Because you already know.’ He shrugged. 'You are a genius.'

―  Are you mocking me, Deku ?!

The other frowned. And then the gremlin smiled. Broad, the scarred tissue stretching uncomfortably causing his lip to drop slightly to one side.

‘You need therapy, Kacchan. This is not normal.'

Katsuki took the first thing by hand and threw it at the other. He moved easily, and by the show of agility, he saw that the little shit was mocking him. He wasn't even disguising the well-known movements now.

And just for that, he would punch Deku. Because he was an idiot. A complete idiot.

Within seconds he had jumped over the bed toward the damn of his existence.

.................................................. ....................

Mitsuki pondered some time on the phone before sending the message at the end. He deserved to know that as much as she did. He deserved to see Izuku too. She didn't know what the boy would think of that, but honestly, she didn't care. Izuku deserved an ear tug for not coming to visit before. She was being nice not to put him against the wall for answers.

As soon as she saw the confirmation message, she heard the sound of explosions and bangs and took a deep breath. She knew that sooner or later it would happen. Masaru at the stove looked pained.

Mitsuki was not the same as years ago. She was a calm woman now and would act accordingly.

― If I go up then I'll skin you two alive, you sons of a bitch!

― Calm down, sweetheart.

― I'm calm, Masaru!

She prepared to go up, and God protect these kids when she got there, but suddenly in a strange sound in the air Izuku was standing on the table. Dishevelled, some scorched strands, a cat in his arms, and a stunned look on his face.

― Hmm?

Mitsuki blinked incredulously.

― Since when do you have a quirk, kid?

― I don't.  

He said, still looking dazed. 

― Catchan has one.

He pointed to the cat in his arms.

― DEKU!

And he was gone again. She heard a war cry upstairs and a menacing cat meow.

― The cat has a quirk. 

 Masaru spoke slowly, looking at her with a terrified expression.

Mitsuki felt a hysterical laugh rise in her chest, rage forgotten.

―  The cat's name is Catchan, Masaru.

It was good to have Izuku back.

.................................................. .....

Izuku must have known this would happen, yet he had to hold back to not to flee when he came down for dinner and the Shinsou family were there. Dessert in hand and excess of purple hair and sleepless hours in all three.

He almost ran off when Dr Shinsou pulled him from the bottom step in a suffocating hug. He smelled like hospital and coffee, and the scent that was always in his mother's room when he went to see her.

The man released him, only to hold him in place by his shoulders, staring at him clinically, even though his eyes looked suspiciously moist at the moment. He stopped at the scar too, his expression turning sad.

― You grew up.

'You changed. So much. Where is the boy that I knew? Who broke him like that? ’

―  He looks the same size to me.

Kacchan snorted behind him, cutting the tension in the air. And Izuku could hug him right now so if he didn't have a love for his life.

Keito laughed softly, patting his shoulder. Behind him, Akari Shinsou smiled shyly. He vaguely remembered her from some hospital visits, especially about her quirk.

Behind his mother, the third Shinsou stared at him, a look of anticipation on his seemingly indifferent face.

And Izuku knew that the night was just beginning.

'Shit.'

.................................................. ..........

The food was served, the breaded chops almost made his mouth water. No one could make a Katsudon like his mother, but Mitsuki always came very close.

― So Izuku is studying at U.A too. 

Keito mentioned curiously while serving him another portion of rice.

― Support Department.

― Izuku here has always been good with these things. He was the one who made my brat's hearing aids.

He felt his face flush where he was between Shinsou the Son and Kacchan. He didn't know who thought this would be a good idea, they didn't seem particularly friendly to each other, and that was also the last place he wanted to be right now.

―  It's an interesting design. Familiar. 

 Eyebags voice had a false surprise and Izuku froze with the chopstick in his mouth. 

‘What a bastard.’

Izuku used all his willpower not to look at Kacchan, who ate as if nothing was happening. Maybe he had even turned the aids off, he'd always been annoyed at table conversation.

―  He always liked cats. 

 Mitsuki joked and Izuku held his breath when he felt the look of the other, the false voice in interest.

― Oh? Do not tell me. Cats, huh?

‘This can only be a joke.’

―  Toshi loves cats too. Since he was a little one.

Akari spoke softly, smiling at his son. 

―  Cats are interesting. They always seem to be hiding something. Don't you think, Midoriya?

― I don't know.

He met his eyes in challenge.

‘So he wants to play.’

― But I do know that they are predators. - He commented innocently. - Their demeanour looks funny and cuddly, but when you see a cat staring at you like he wants to kill you, he's probably thinking about it.

He saw him swallow hard and smiled slightly.

― What is cute on a cat, can kill someone on a slightly larger one. At least-

He returned to the rice contentedly. 

― That's what I heard.

The body tensed beside him, the expression of false indifference slightly altered.

― You understand cats.

‘This guy doesn't give up.’

―  So you've probably heard of No ... ah!

― Toshi?

― I just hit my knee on the table, mom.

Akari smiled, innocent about the events taking place under the table.

Izuku flexed the glove that had formed in his hand through the strap, the claws threatening Shinsou's leg, piercing the fabric of his pants. He eyed the other in a warning.

Eyebags said nothing more.

He felt Kacchan's gaze on him, an expression of interest.

‘I'm tired of tonight. Catchan could get me out of here already. '

.................................................. ......................

They said goodbye before seven. Izuku refused to have Mitsuki take him home, but Keito forced him to take a ride to the nearest station.

She felt wrong seeing him go. She wanted to hold him close, in her sights. That he stayed there until Inko woke up. She felt the same urgency in Shinsou. And yet, the two could do nothing. They no longer had that power.

She felt that if they tried to force him he would be gone for good.

― He's so different.

Masaru commented on her early thoughts.

― His eyes ... it's someone else. - Masaru, ever observant, continued quietly. - The scar-

― I know.

She was feeling so frustrated.

' Inko, I'll take care of him this time. I promise.'

That was one more promise she didn't know if she could keep. But she would do her best.

.................................................. ..

Hitoshi woke up sometime in the middle of the night with his cats meowing incessantly and the feeling of someone watching over him. He saw orange eyes on his bedroom counter, and for a moment thought he was still dreaming.

Nora was motionless, the viewfinder lenses reflecting the light from the headphones, staring at him.

A shiver ran down his spine, signalling the imminent danger. His eyes focused on sharp claws in his hands as he approached quietly until he stopped at the foot of his bed.

Hitoshi did not move. The sensation was paralyzing, his breath caught in his throat.

― You shouldn't sleep with the window open, Toshi.

 Her mother's nickname sounded in false innocence in the modulator's contorted voice. 

― Someone can come in and kill you in your sleep.

He finally felt his body come out of shock and surprise, but before he could open his mouth he was pinned, one hand covering his face, claws very close to his eyes.

―  You look scared. I thought you loved cats.

Nora was very different from the last time he saw him, for sure. That frightening aura was quite new.

Maybe Hitoshi had misunderstood that. He thought the risk had been well calculated.

‘I've always been bad at math.’

―  What's it? Did the cat eat your tongue?

A miscalculation.

And then as fast as it started he dropped it, the hand leaving his face. He blinked in astonishment, especially as he noticed that his three traitor cats were affectionately climbing on the intruder.

―  What the hell.

― What do you want to not to tell, Eyebags? I'm not fond of making you vanish, I like your father.

Worst of all, he didn't know if this was a joke or not.

Hitoshi sat slowly on the bed, his heart still racing. Nora was sitting on the edge of the mattress still, three cats in his lap and he had the feeling that he was smiling behind the mask.

― I won't tell anyone.

― Huum.

 The other muttered, his face turning slightly to one side. 

― I don't know if I believe you, Toshi. Everyone wants something in exchange for something.

He took a deep breath. He could have commanded Nora at any moment of the conversation. No need to be afraid.

― I want to part of it.

― Part of what?

― In fighting crime.

The other looked incredulous. He was too. He didn't know where that had come from.

― You are studying to be a hero. Are you not?

― Yeah, but I'm still weak.  

Saying that gave her a bitter taste in his mouth. He had lost so ridiculously, he seemed miles and miles apart from everyone in the class. He was too far behind.

 ―  I need to learn. I need to learn how to help.

― School is for that.

―  I would learn more by helping on the streets.

― Let me get this straight. Do you want an internship with a wanted vigilante in exchange for silence?

Talking like that seemed a little ridiculous.

― Yes.

To his surprise, the other shrugged.

― Okay.

―  Easy like that?

― I let you take part in something if you find out where my base is.

―  What?

― If you find out where Nora's base is in a week, you're in. If you don't, you stay out of my way.

Why did he feel you were being threatened?

‘This is very stupid, Toshi.’ His conscience commented. ‘Very much so.’

―  Deal. I just have to find the place, right?

― That's right.

He saw him paralyze, the sense of control made him smile.

― So tell me where it is.

That had been too easy.

At least he thought until he saw him squirm and nearly fall out of bed, looking in pain.

― Damn, not so strong!

 He heard him mutter under his breath, massaging his wrist. Hitoshi looked at him incredulously and he smiled. 

―  It won't work, Toshi! But good try. Seven days!

And with that Nora disappeared from his room, leaving three sadly meowing cats and a slightly paralyzed and somewhat incredulous teenager.

―  I feel like I just made the wrong decision.

.................................................. .........

― Mechanics, this shock was a little stronger than I said.

Izuku heard Mei laugh on the other side and pouted, still massaging his wrist. Of course, eyebags had thought it would be that easy. As if Izuku didn't know how his quirk worked.

'Still, I was curious about how it would feel. I'd rather not repeat it anytime soon. '

The sensation was a bit too similar to Min Han Su's for his taste.

― Are you going to put someone else on the team?

― He won't find it.

He totally would.

― But in the meantime, let's give Toshi love. - Izuku smiled - Let's show what he will have to go through if he wants to be part of the club.

Mei laughed more from the other side.

In his house, checking his window again, Hitoshi felt a chill go through his body.

And that was the beginning of Mei, Izuku and Hitoshi.

.................................................. ..........................

Unfortunately for Izuku, his night didn't improve much, and that wasn't the last emotional meeting of the night.

It seems that Shigakari didn’t get the idea that he would have to come in person, if the wave of villains on his back was one thing. By three in the morning, Izuku was exhausted, his equipment damaged, Mei had to go home and he was trying hard to do the same at the moment.

Of course, that was when he had to bump into Stain.

He had managed to spend that time in Hosu without crossing paths with the other vigilante, only to run into him in an alley, with the body of one of the Endeavor agency heroes on the ground. He was one of the younger trainees, fresh out of school. Izuku knew this because he always kept track of the enemy.

For a few seconds, he thought the hero was dead but heard his voice trying to bargain for his own life.

And with that, all his plans to avoid Stain went down the drain.

Quietly he descended the wall in the darkness. His options were limited. Going into combat with the other vigilante was suicide, he had not seen his quirk in combat and he knew that the other's power was not just his quirk.

―  ... False heroes, in a false society ...

It seems that Stain liked monologues.

Izuku fidgeted with his belt and quietly descended to the end of the alley. At least Mei would be happy if her toy worked. If not, there was a possibility that Izuku would die.

Well, he hoped she was right.

................................................

Mei was right. Her toy had worked perfectly. One perfect shot at the fallen hero and he had been dragged from the alley like a missile before Stain could do anything.

If he did he break some bones when he hit the wall? Maybe they could work on curves. But at least he was alive. Which Izuku might not have been for long if he couldn't get rid of Stain, who now seemed very focused on him.

So far the kevlar had protected him from the blades he threw, but not from a direct hit. And Stain seemed to be the type who loved to stick his katana on someone.

‘That sounded so wrong.’

― You can't run away all night, Noraneko!

He underestimated his desire to live, it seemed.

Izuku dodged another blade, only to feel a sharp pain in his face as a second passed too close.

He felt the other slow down and climbed a wall quickly, climbing to the roof of one of the buildings.

Just to feel his body suddenly stiff and fall from a considerable height on top of the garbage bags.

He panicked as he tried to move and realized he had no control over his body. A kick knocked him from the sacks on the floor of the alley and he came face to face with the other vigilante very close to his head.

― I like you, Noraneko, it would be a pity if I had to kill you.

― I like myself too, it would be a pity if I had to die.

At least his tongue was still working.

'That may not be an advantage.'  His 'Kacchan' voice interject.

Stain picked up the katana and leaned against the floor near his head, looking up at him appraisingly.

 ― You protect those who the heroes forget. There are rumours, people comment. It is strange for a criminal to have more honour than the false heroes.

―  Thanks ... hey hey! What are you doing?

The man approached his face and lowered his glasses and mask, looking at his face. 

―Does anyone respects the right of a secret identity ?!

― That's a pretty ugly scar, boy.

― Spoke the man without a nose.

Izuku felt something suffocating. The man's eyes focused on his and he seemed to read his soul, one hand clenching his chin tightly, the other with the blade very close to his neck.

When he pulled away, he let out a breath, seeing in awe that he was covering his face back.

―Next time you get into my business, I'll kill you.

And with that, he disappeared from his peripheral vision.

For one thing, Izuku was more alive than he thought he would be.

On the other hand, he was paralyzed among the garbage bags and defenceless.

With luck it was temporary and no one would find him there until the effect was over.

Within two seconds he thought it, he felt something in his leg, and then a sharp pain in his nerves that made him scream in surprise. A shock ran through his body and it seemed like a joke when he thought about what had happened earlier. The shock Mei had given him had been nothing compared to that.

His nerves seemed to fry and he felt the functions of some equipment stop. Didn't the people trying to kill him not see that he was already paralyzed?

He heard the footsteps as they approached his prone form.

―That was ... easier than I thought.

'It wasn't your credit, you bastard.'

He felt someone poke him with his foot lightly. From his peripheral vision, he could only see their legs.

― His ass looks neat in that uniform.

A female voice commented.

―Thanks.

‘And it looks like his modulator was something that stopped working. Damn it.'

― Nora is a girl"

Okay, now he was offended. His voice was not so high.

―Let's get him to the boss before he does anymore tricks.

―I won't touch him ... or her, not after what happened to the others.

― Someone will have to do.

―You go then.

Izuku was too tired for that. He tried to flex his fingers, but nothing,

―Hey, if you don't want to, I can steal this cat from you.

The unfamiliar voice made the others paralyze where they were poking him. And then screams.

Izuku felt the heat before seeing the flames.

They were blue.

Izuku did not see what happened, but the smell of burning flesh and the sudden silence painted an unpleasant scene.

One foot shoved him and turned his back to face a very peculiar face. Piercings, hideous scars that stretched with a smile.

―I think I saw a kitten.

.................................................. ...................

Izuku thought he would become a barbecue, but Hades project took him in his arms like a princess and easily pulled him off the scene.

― You're very small. Maybe you're a girl.

He had to keep his mouth shut this time. The other didn't seem to care, carrying him through the dark alleys as he chattered. Izuku at least was beginning to feel his movements return. A little more and he would get out of this situation.

 ―So, kitten. You hate Endeavor and Stain likes you.

He liked him so much that he had tried to stick a katana in his chest and slice him like a mortadella.

―... so I will save your fur today. Just promise me to throw another bucket in Endeavor. Maybe with cement this time.

Maybe Izuku already liked this guy.

―But you're very quiet, the legend is that you can't shut up.

But not so much.

―Will you tell me where you live to take you to your den?

His expression was saying enough. The other had lowered the underside of his mask to help him breathe, but left the rest because "courtesy of a vigilante who hates Endeavor for another."

― No? In that case, let's make a nest.

Hades was strangely kind as he set him down between two dumpsters. Izuku could already move his legs, but a kick at someone who apparently could help him seemed counterproductive. He watched him pull some crates into the alley entrance and then look critically before returning and put a switchblade in his hand.

Very helpful.

―It looks pretty comfy. You owe me a favour, kitty!  

Hades walked away to the entrance. 

―See if you don't die.

As he jumped over the barrier he turned and smiled, his blue eyes like flames staring at him maniacally.

― By the way, the name is Dabi. See you around.

And with that, he disappeared.

And Izuku questioned all his choices in life.

..........................................

And that's how Izuku met Dabi.

...........................................

Izuku didn't know how long it had been before he could move from where he was. He just knew he was stinking, exhausted and pissed. His body was limp and he was far from home. He walked slowly through the alleys, only betting on his luck finding no one else.

He climbed a fire escape and crossed two buildings when he finally saw the tower. He was so exhausted and he didn't know if he could get down on his own, and just pondered jumping and trying not to break his neck.

― Hey, you look stuck, Nora!

Izuku has never been lucky in life.

He didn't have to turn to where he was stuck on the fire stairs to know who it was. The flapping of wings was proof enough. Hawks was flying beside him, staring at him with a stupid smile on his face.

And Izuku was just too tired to handle it.

Maybe he wouldn't break any bones by jumping out of there.

Or maybe he would die and his problems would end.

― Want some help down?

He sighed and rested his forehead against the metal. That was the sound of him giving up. Arrest him, he didn't care anymore.

―Yes. - He spoke completely miserably. - Please.

..............................................

When he started the night, Izuku didn't realize it would end like this.

With him and Hawks sitting together on top of a building, legs dangling at the edge as they ate tuna sandwiches.

Izuku officially decided that he didn't understand anything else about his life, but the man didn't seem too inclined to arrest him, too busy talking about which fast food in town serving the best chicken wings.

― That sounds like cannibalism.

Hawks looked at him in mock offence.

He was a surprisingly nice person to be with when he wasn't chasing him.

―So are you going to arrest me or not?

― Too much paperwork.

That sounded like a false excuse if he knew one.

 The hero smiled and looked at him curiously. There was a sense of familiarity in Hawks. Not as if he already knew him, but he reminded him of someone.

―You remind me of someone.

The other's comment took him by surprise because that was exactly what he was thinking 

― Your cat?

Hawks ignored his joke, making a low sound as he stared at the buildings.

―He was a smart guy who made pretty dumb choices.

Now he didn't know if he'd been offended.

― The heart in the right place, but a terrible detachment to follow any rule. He did a lot for a lot of people. - Hawks said thoughtfully. - Died without being recognized by any of it. He wanted no recognition from anyone if he knew he was doing what he should.

―Sounds like a good hero.

― I didn't say he was a hero. - Hawks winked and then stood up. - Want a lift, Noraneko?

His life was so strange. Had he received a heart talk from Hawks?

―You can drop me at the corner down there.

The hero lowered him, patted his shoulder, and turned to fly.

Before climbing he turned, his wings spread, reflecting the light of day that was already beginning.

―See if you don't die of stupidity, Midoriya.

Izuku felt his heart stop, the blood drain from his face and almost fell right there in the street.

Hawks' flying laughter would stay in his head for a long time.

...............................................

Izuku limped home, sat on the couch in a state of pity and surrounded himself with his cats. Through the window, he saw the rising sun and heard his alarm ring to get ready for another day of school.

He needed some really strong coffee right now.

And a better way to protect his identity, it seems.

................................................

Shoto had created a habit of spending at Cat Café every morning before going to class. He could see Two-Face, eat the best cupcake in town, and hopefully bump into whoever he wanted to see.

That had been a lucky day.

He turned the corner when he saw him leaving. His shuffling steps and slouching shoulders miserably as he sipped a disposable cup of coffee, a yellow-haired cat walking beside him.

Shoto stared at the coffee shop door before deciding that accompanying him was more important. On his return, he would try to visit Two-Face.

The other didn't even seem to notice him, unlike the cat who eyed him suspiciously as he stood beside him. With his hands on his pack strap, he tried not to take too long strides to keep up with the other boy. Up close he looked even more miserable. Pronounced dark circles, and loose stray hair. Even his uniform tie was undone and looking down he suspected he was wearing shoes of different pairs. There was something odd about the way he walked too, favouring one leg over the other, and he could see a bandage on his cheek.

After years of going through things like this, he could recognize in others signs of being in pain.

Shoto was not very good at social interaction, but he had a mission there, so he would try to be kind.

― You look awful.

It had gone better in his head.

Maybe he had noticed him before, after all, because he just made a strange sound in the throat of agreement.

They kept walking in silence. The cat between them seemed to have accepted his presence at least.

After a few minutes, Shoto gave up and opened his mouth to ask about the injury but was stopped before he could.

―How much coffee do you think I can drink before I die?

The other's voice was serious, his eyes staring at the drink in his hand. It was not the same as before.

Where he had taken another coffee Shoto didn't know.

He didn't know much about him.

―I'm not sure.

The boy shrugged and turned the coffee in his hand without even grimacing.

― You're hurt.

He heard him sigh. And even that sound had a wretched tone.

― I had a rough night. Or a few days. Or a month. - He paused and shrugged. - Or a lifetime.

Shoto didn't know what to say to that. So he said nothing.

He just accepted the coffee he offered - Where was he getting it from? - and walked with the strange boy beside him to the school.

.................................................. ...................

Later sitting in the back of the room, Shoto would look hard at Aizawa as he announced about the leader's vote, noting very obvious similarities between his earlier company and his sensei.

Seconds later he would look away as Shinsou passed him the voting paper and would see certain similarities there as well.

―Todoroki-kun, are you ok?

― Two kids?

―Hmm?

―Nothing, Yaoyorozu.

.................................................. .............................

Two years, seven months and 14 days ago

 

Izuku saw them all die. One by one, some quickly, others slowly and agonizingly. Others he saw disappear, only to notice the similarities in the monsters that appeared in the next cell.

He considered this a worse death.

One by one, they died. Those who got there sold, betrayed or deceived. Those who came in search for the promise of a quirk, those who didn't even know why they were there. Those who waited for a hero to come, those who always knew no one would come.

They were 37 of them when he arrived.

One by one, they died. There, or maybe before getting there. Abandoned by society. The sick pack wolf left behind to be devoured.

One by one, they died.

Izuku waited for them to come. He waited for some hero to appear. 

Nobody came.

In a way, he died there too. Even before Takashi found him inside the tunnels, nearly dead after saving himself, Izuku knew he had died long ago.

He died when the last of them died before Takashi could get them out of that hell.

He died when he trusted Shigakari, only to try to kill him when Izuku refused to be recruited by a monster.

Izuku died when he realized that no hero would come, and when Akira used her quirk and he was sure she and Takashi would die right there. Because Izuku waited too long. He waited for help when he should have known that help was for only a part of society, and people like him, the 37 and Shigakari would be left to rot.

Izuku died when he realized that there was no place for people like them in the world, that they would always have to save themselves.

That was when the reason for him becoming a hero changed.

That's when his path has changed completely.