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The Beast and Her Boy

Chapter Text

Subject-Two gave a yawn as she stretched all her limbs. Last night had been a pleasant night, not too cold nor hot. Finishing her yawn, she opened her eye and looked around her cave. It was bare of any possessions, with multiple places carefully carved to let her sleep in a myriad of positions. It wasn't the biggest she'd slept in, but she carved this one out herself in a hard-to-find place. She'd been living in this cave close to 20 years and hadn't been found once. A very reassuring fact.

However, Subject-Two was also eager to get up. It was the morning of a new day. This meant new experiences, and meeting new people. Even if she was basically living day-to-day without any significant direction in mind, she did not resent her life. If anything, this lifestyle meant she could spend every day just going around meeting new humans. Speaking of humans, though, she had to think of a face for today.

What did she feel like wearing? Well, she had to settle on a size, first. She was short yesterday, so maybe a bit on the tall side? Not too much, though. Japanese people were generally short and she didn't wanna draw attention to herself. She also felt like staying a girl today, since she was a boy last week. With a few more minutes of thought, she also settled on having medium-length blond hair, straight with a few stray strands. Oh, speaking of yellow, maybe gold eyes too. Her bust? She settled on a fairly-generous one. Okay, now that her physicality was out of the way, she had to think of an outfit. She wanted something comfy, but not out of season. It felt like summer outside, so she settled on a red miniskirt to show off her always-bare legs and a short-sleeved t-shirt. Her socks matched her skirt, and her loafers were a dark brown. Overall, it was a casual comfy look, but it felt like it was missing something. After a minute, she remembered this one polite boy she had met the previous day and shook hands with. With a giggle, she opened her mouth and felt her canines elongate a bit. There, much better. Looking over her ensemble, she gave another giggle at how cute she looked before looking at her hands. On one hand was something that augmented her psionic quirks. On her other wrist was a brand of indelible sin. With a sigh, she closed her eyes and willed one thing to sink into her right hand while a decorative leather bracer morphed out of her left wrist to cover the other. She couldn't risk showing either one. It might have been almost a hundred years since she and the others escaped that dreaded place, but she didn't wanna be lax and get caught by whatever people might have tried continuing the project after all this time. 

Especially after what One and Three did to get them out.

Shaking her head, Subject-Two cleared her thoughts and stepped out of the cave. She was gonna enjoy today, just she had every day for the past almost-century.

***

Subject-Two was sitting calmly on a park bench, munching on a hot dog she had bought earlier. Today had been a good day. She met new people, found a new hot dog stand, and watched a hero/villain fight. Those were always fun. A few decades back she had entertained the idea of becoming a pro hero, but decided against it. Would have been too hard to explain any of her quirks. Let the humans be the heroes. 

She was shaken from her thoughts when she heard an explosion close by. Was there another attack? Turning to the noise, she saw it wasn't a villain, but a group of kids. A group of kids standing over another kid, who was curled up on the ground. That didn't look good. 

Chomping down the rest of her hot dog, Subject-Two hopped from the bench and dashed to the kids. As she got closer, she saw one of the kids was making small explosions with his palms. Interesting quirk, but unimportant right now. She could hear the kids yelling and jeering at the one on the ground as the explodey one leaned down, presumably to unleash another attack. Before he could, Subject-Two caught his wrist and pulled him up straight. His goons froze in shock, but the blond boy just glared and tried to break free.

"Let go, bitch!"

"What were you doing?" Subject-Two hissed with narrowed eyes. 

"None of your business!" the kid yelled.

"Too bad, I'm making it my business." Subject-Two looked down at the kid on the ground, seeing he was covered in burns and actually bleeding in some places. "You were hurting him."

"He deserves it!" the blond kid struggled more. "He's a useless deku!" The boy shouted in surprise as Subject-Two hoisted him into the air with one hand, bringing him eye-level.

"He is a child," she growled, showing her long fangs. "I can think of nothing he could have done to deserve injuries like that. Now, I will let you go, and if you are not out of sight in ten seconds..." she morphed her tongue to be several inches longer, slowly licking his cheek with it before pulling it back. "...then I'll make you bleed." Finished with her threat, she dropped the boy, who ran off with his goons. She gave a huff as they ran before turning her attention back to the boy on the ground. He was still curled up, covering his green-haired head with his arms. She knelt down and gently pat his head, urging him to open up. He did it slowly, looking up at her with pained green eyes and tear-stained cheeks covered in freckles. He was a rather adorable human.

"They're gone now," she gently whispered. "Can you stand?" The boy nodded and slowly got to his feet. He pulled a small towel from his pocket and started wiping the blood off his head and arms. The fact he had that already meant this was not an isolated incident.

"Th-thank you," the boy said, his voice meek and quiet. 

"It was no problem," Subject-Two said as she gently rubbed his cheek. To him, she was just rubbing it, but she was also using this physical contact to look over his current condition. Bleeding, burned, cut, and multiple older wounds already healing. This boy had been through too much. "Do they hurt you often?"

"K-kinda?" the boy responded. "H-he didn't use to be like this. H-he only started when he learned I was..."

"...You were...?" she pressed. Did this boy have a so-called 'villainous' quirk? She had met some people like that in the past, and had managed to keep them from turning. However, the boy shook his head.

"...Quirkless..."

Oh. That was unexpected. True, back when Subject-Two was younger there were more quirkless people, but she had noted that number was dwindling over the years. She estimated that, if the diminishing didn't stabilize, it would be another three or four generations before quirkless individuals were gone altogether. She had heard that people were discriminant against quirkless individuals, but to see it first hand, and from those at such a young age, made her blood boil. She would have growled in anger, but she didn't want to scare the boy in front of her any more than he already was.

"That doesn't matter," Subject-Two proclaimed. The boy looked up at her as she continued, "It doesn't matter if you're quirkless or not. You're still a human, still a person. They were wrong for hurting you like this over something you have no control over. If they can't see your worth, that's their shortcoming. You are important, you are a person, and you are not useless. Got it?" The boy wiped his eyes and nodded.

"Thank you...umm..." he nervously fidgeted before asking, "W-what's your name?"

...

Crap, humans actually have those!

Subject-Two was in a bind now. Normally if someone asked her name it was a clerk or shopkeep, in which she could skim by with saying she was just passing through or something. She couldn't use that here, though, not on him. She couldn't introduce herself as Subject-Two either. That wasn't a name at all. She had to think fast. Smiling down at him, she quickly morphed a handful of small eyes on the sides and back of her head. Peering between her strands of hair, these eyes took syllables and words from nearby storefronts and advertisements, working her brain to think of a convincing amalgamation to pass as a name. She needed a few more seconds, though, and she knew just how to get it.

"Why don't you tell me your name first?" she asked. "I'm sure it's a cute one." This made the sad boy a bit flustered, and it took a few moments for him to find his voice.

"M-Midoriya Izuku," he stuttered. That cute stuttering gave Subject-Two the final few seconds she needed to think of a name. She smiled and gently shook his hand.

"Nice meeting you, Midoriya-chan! I'm Toga Himiko!"

Chapter Text

"M-Miss, I can walk on my own..."

"Nope! I am carrying you home, kiddo!"

It had been around a half-hour since Subject-2, currently known as Toga Himiko, had first met the young Midoriya Izuku. Despite not suffering injuries to his legs, Toga had elected to carry him piggyback so that he could rest after his latest attack. During the walk, anytime Midoriya was distracted, Subject-2 glared and grimaced at the event. To think children were capable of such savagery, it was unforgivable. Midoriya had unintentionally made things worse by explaining that "Kacchan" wanted to be a hero. A hero! Toga might not have been a hero, but she knew heroes didn't beat up innocents. If she ever saw those kids again, she would put the fear of Humanity's god in them.

Thanks to Izuku giving directions (such a smart child), the two made it to his apartment fairly quickly. Despite his wishes, Toga continued to carry him up the stairs. As she did, she morphed a small tendril from her wrist that softly poked into Izuku's leg, injecting a small amount of a safe tranquilizer. It would set in after a few minutes, and she needed to talk to his mother. Midoriya had told her he didn't want "Kacchan" to get in trouble, but Toga had other ideas.

When she knocked on the door, it was answered by a short, somewhat stout woman with deep green hair and matching eyes. Yeah, Subject-2 could see the resemblance. When the woman saw Izuku on Toga's back, she immediately started worrying and pulled Izuku down. When she did, the mother wrapped Izuku in a warm, tight hug. Toga smiled at the sheer display of affection. She waited for Izuku to yawn a bit before stepping forward.

"May I come in, Midoriya-san?" she asked calmly, hiding the utter rage she had felt earlier.

"Of course, dearie," Izuku's mom nodded. "I'll make some tea after putting Izukkun in his room. And please, call me Inko." Toga followed Inko inside, looking around the apartment as she walked to the table. She saw a few photos of the Midoriyas, but noticed there wasn't a father figure in any of them. A Widow? Divorce? Perhaps born out of wedlock? Toga had to admit she was curious, but she had to give her statement. Sitting down, she saw Inko emerge from the hallway and head for the stove.

"Where did you find my son?" she asked as she put the kettle on. 

"The park outside the mall," Toga replied as she leaned forward in her chair. "He was being assaulted by several other kids, including one he referred to as 'Kacchan.' Is that name familiar to you?" Inko froze.

"Th-that would be Bakugou Katsuki," Inko replied. Oh. Katsuki-chan. Kacchan. Cute, but undeserved.

"Your son told me they used to be friends," she continued, "until he was found to be quirkless. When I found them today, this 'Bakugou' was using his own explosive quirk on Midoriya-chan." Toga gave an angry growl. "Little brat actually drew blood." Inko had sat down by this point, and Toga was certain she would have stumbled if she wasn't.

"H-he did that?" Inko asked, tears in her eyes. "Th-that..."

"Is unforgivable," Subject-2 finished. "If you know any way to get some sense into that brat, there might still be time to fix things." They sat in silence, Inko crying while Toga gave her hand a reassuring rub, until the water boiled. Inko poured tea for the both of them, which Toga accepted. One sip, and Toga was pretty much addicted. She had never tasted tea this good.

"Thank you, Miss...I'm sorry what was your name?" Inko asked, making Toga pause before giving a nervous chuckle.

"S-sorry," Toga bowed her head, "my name's Toga Himiko." She couldn't believe she forgot her own fake-name so easily. True, she never really used one, but still.

"Toga-san," Inko smiled. "Thank you for rescuing my son. If there's anything I could do to-"

"I would like to be his friend," Toga found herself saying before she could stop herself. There was a brief pause when she finished. Inko stared at her in wonder, Toga looked at her tea in confusion. Why did she say that? She didn't make friendships with humans she had known for years, why did she say this about a child she knew for less than a half hour? She would contemplate it later. For now, she looked back up at Inko, trying to act like the teenager she currently looked like.

"I wanna be his friend. He's a good kid, and doesn't seem like he has many friends at all." She looked back down in her tea. "And to be honest, I don't really have friends, either. Stuff about my...quirk...makes it hard to have friends." This was met with more silence. Feeling more nervous than she had in decades, Toga raised her cup to take a sip as Inko spoke.

"You're not a shotacon, are you?"

This question caught Subject-2 so far off-guard she legitimately spat her tea. Thankfully the spray fell short of hitting Inko, who lifted her cup in defense. Toga coughed a few moments before looking back at the concerned mother.

"Midoriya-san, please!" Subject-2 almost laughed. "I assure you, I'm not like that. I just wanna be friends with your son. I can even help protect him from his bullies." Inko's eyes narrowed. Toga might not have ever had a mother, but she had observed enough families to know she was giving the "Mom wants to know" glare. Fortunately, Inko simply closed her eyes and sighed without asking any further questions. 

"You saved my little boy," she stated. "You seem genuinely concerned, and eager to be a friend of his. I'll permit it." Toga was about to thank her before her eyes snapped open. "However, if you try anything unwholesome with him, your ass will be in prison before you can blink." Toga smiled and gave a solemn nod. After almost a century, she finally had a human friend.

Subject-4 would be proud.

---

"Toga-san, that was my cookie!" Izuku laughed.

"I got to it first," the shapeshifter giggled.

"But it was in my bag!" This elicited a laugh from both individuals as they sat on a park bench on a calm Saturday afternoon eating small cookies.

It had been a week since that fateful first meeting. Subject-2 had seen Izuku for a few of those days, enough to learn more about him. She knew his favorite meal was Katsudon. She knew he felt peace during heavy rainfall. She knew he was allergic to pineapple (which wasn't a major loss, she herself detested the fruit no matter whose tongue she wore). Her biggest discovery, though, was that young Midoriya was very observant for his age. He was skilled at picking up even minor details and extrapolating how those could affect larger factors of an individual. Honestly, if she hadn't scanned his physiology the first day she met him she would have assumed he had extra eyes somewhere. To her further amazement, he most often utilized this skill by writing down detailed notes about a person's quirk. True his notes were kinda sloppy, but he was six so that was to be expected.

Speaking of which...

"Toga-san," Izuku looked up at her, "what's your quirk, anyways? I haven't seen it yet." She had to admit, she was hoping he wouldn't ask, but knew he would eventually.

"Can ya keep a secret?" she whispered. Izuku nodded. Toga quickly looked around the park, seeing no one was around. She smiled and held out her hand. Izuku stared at it confused until her hand sprouted fur. An instant later, the fur flattened into glossy black scales. Then it turned into a man's hand, complete with a ring. Then a tentacle, but that one spooked him a bit. After a few more changes, she changed it back into her Toga hand and Izuku stared up at her wide-eyed.

"Sh-shapeshifting?" he whispered. God, this boy was too adorable. Subject-2 gave a wide, fanged smile and nodded.

"I can turn into almost any living thing," she explained. "There's an upper and lower limit to my sizes, but I can make myself look exactly like someone if I get some of their DNA. The best way is through drinking blood, but I can also absorb their DNA by making contact with any dead skin flakes on their body. I can also use the DNA from multiple people to make an amalgamation for myself."

"Amal..." Izuku attempted to say the word. "Amalgation?"

"Amalgamation," she giggled. "Means I can take different parts and throw them together to make a body that's completely original." This made Izuku's eyes widen even further. She knew she'd probably fry his brain if she continued (even if she was giving the bare basics of what she could do), so she instead opted to steal another cookie form him. This snapped him out of his amazed stupor and he retaliated by trying to steal some of her cookies. She simply laughed as the two messed around until close to sunset.

As she was escorting him home, Subject-2 noticed Izuku was unusually silent. Looking down at him she noticed he was...nervous? She didn't smell that Bakugou brat anywhere nearby, and she made sure he didn't bother Izuku all week.

"Are you okay?" she leaned down and asked. "Did you eat too many cookies?"

"N-no," he stuttered. "Um...i-it's my birthday in a few days. I was wondering if...you wanted to come? You don't have to bring any presents or anything." Oh, that was it. She had seen enough Human media to know what a birthday was. She gave it some thought before giving her now-signature fanged smile.

"You bet."

Izuku's eyes widened so much Toga could have sworn she saw stars in them. This was followed by an even wider smile before he jumped and hugged her tight. The sudden impact almost knocked her off balance, but brought a laugh out of her as she hugged back. She had no idea why she was becoming so attached to this kid, but she swore this birthday would be his best one yet.

---

The following years proceeded like a dream for Subject-2. Before, she would choose a different face every day, with different interests and different expressions. These days she was more than happy to be Toga Himiko, the chipper girl with fangs and friends with the Midoriyas. Admittedly she chose some days to wear a different face, but those were steadily becoming few and far and between.

It helped the Midoriyas were so accepting of her. She knew her shapeshifting quirk could be seen as unsettling, so every time Izuku geeked out over some new facet of it she couldn't help but smile. Inko had treated her as nothing less than family any time she visited. It had gotten to the point that Subject-2 would occasionally visit while Izuku was still at school just to bask in Inko's kindness. Honestly, Inko reminded her of Subject-4, only taller and human. While she couldn't help but wonder about the father, multiple factors deterred her from asking. Maybe later, when she was on solid good terms with them. Until then, she would simply be the best friend for the quirkless boy and his mother.

She also helped Izuku with his analysis notebooks. He had started around the time they first met, thinking he could still become a hero if he mastered this. Toga, honestly impressed by such a mindset, agreed to help him out when she could. She preferred to keep Izuku away from villain fights, but in the few they approached she made sure he was kept safe. Even if that meant standing behind Izuku and shapeshifting tentacles out of her back to slap away anyone who got too close.

Unfortunately, with how much Subject-2, aka Toga Himiko, had been enjoying life, there was something just around the corner, brought about by one thing she had forgotten to take into account.

---

It was the night of Izuku's tenth birthday. It had been four years since they first met, and Toga enjoyed every day of it. Izuku had grown, and his smile was still as bright and innocent as ever. It was especially bright tonight, when Toga surprised him with an incredibly rare All Might figure. 

She was really glad he didn't ask how she got it.

The night was getting late, and the small party was wrapping up. Toga had helped Inko with the dishes and leftovers, smiling with Inko the entire time. When she finished, she looked into the apartment's living room and saw Izuku had fallen asleep clutching the new figure. She gave a girly coo at the sight and took a mental photograph (courtesy of one of her quirks) before gently picking him up and carrying him to bed. Setting him in, Toga gave his forehead a soft kiss before pulling the blankets over him. Stepping back out, she saw Inko was heating up a kettle for some late-night tea.

"As always," she smiled, "thank you for letting me come tonight. Midoriya-chan is an amazing kid."

"That he is," Inko smiled. "Before you leave, I have a question, Toga-san."

"Hmm?" she asked innocently as she approached Izuku's mother. "What is it, Inko-san?"

"What do you really look like?"

Toga jerked to a stop. Did she...Did Inko really just ask that? Why did she ask that? How did she know to ask that? At that point, Toga was thankful she had a serious poker face, and cocked her head to one side.

"What do you mean, Inko-san?"

"Toga-san," Inko turned to her with a look of severity, "you're a smart person. You've been keeping up with current fashions, acting like everything's normal. But..." Inko poured some tea for her and Toga.

"You've been Izuku-kun's friend for four years, and you haven't aged a day."

...

Toga's poker face crumbled at that revelation. How could she have been so stupid? Humans age! Izuku was proof of that! And here she was, still in a body that looked sixteen at most! No wonder Inko was suspicious!

"Izuku-kun's figured it out, too," Inko said as she sat at the table, gesturing Toga to do the same. As she did, Inko continued, "He's got you in one of his analysis notebooks. Has ever since you first told him and I about your shapeshifting. To be a shapeshifter and not age a day for years...that can only mean your face isn't your real one. I am grateful for what you've done for him, and for what you've done for me, but please. If you trust us, Toga, tell me what you really look like, and why you've hidden it all this time."

Toga froze in place. She...she wasn't mad? No, Toga would have smelled the change in pheromones, felt the change in brain waves. Inko wasn't mad, but...worried? She didn't want Toga to leave? That was...that was new. Subject-2 actually had to take a few breaths to process everything before looking back at Inko. Gone was the chipper, happy-go-lucky teenager. In her place was a mature expression, a serious expression. 

"What I am about to tell you is the absolute truth," Subject-2 started, "and understand that I never meant you or your son any harm. If anything, you two have become so important to me I would risk everything to keep you safe and happy." There was a brief silence before Inko nodded, willing her to continue. She took another breath. "The reason I've never shown you what I really look like...is because it wouldn't fit in this room."

"...Pardon?" Inko asked after a few seconds.

"I mean, it could," Subject-2 admitted, "but I would knock over quite a few things."

She took a few more breaths. Subject-2 couldn't remember the last time she felt this nervous. She knew she would have to be careful if she wanted to stay friends with the Midoriyas. 

"That's because I'm not human, Midorya-san. I mean, I might have been once, but I can't remember for sure. Far as I know, I was grown in an acrylic tank along with four other...Subjects." She paused again, letting Inko take everything in, bit by bit. Feeling simultaneously nervous and relieved to finally tell someone her past, she rubbed her left wrist as she continued, "As of tonight, my earliest memory is from one-hundred-and-two years ten-months and seven days ago, and of a facility located deep within a forest. There were five of us, all different and yet the same. I am designated Subject-2." 

"Five of you?" Inko asked, refinding her voice. "A-are you all shapeshifters?"

"No," Toga replied. "Subject-1 was the most human of us, but capable of great feats of strength. Subject-3 looked like a rock with crystalline growths that could generate electricity. Subject-4 looked small and furry, a cute face to hide a brilliant intellect. Subject-5 was always covered in an opaque vapor of sorts. All of us had multiple quirks, many of which were psionic, but we also had our own unique abilities. Mine were more focused on shapeshifting, as you know.

"We were told by our Creator," Subject-2 continued after giving Inko a few seconds to process things, "that we were made to be heroes. That our actions would help save and guide the world to a new paradise. At first we went along with it, but as time passed most of us got suspicious. If we were going to be saviors, why was Subject-1 being taught how to destroy structures? Why was I taking lessons in how to replace people? Subject-5 tried to assuage us, saying we shouldn't worry, but we did. After a few years, Subject-4 got on good enough terms with our Creator that he was left unsupervised in the server room. It took some time, but he learned the truth. We weren't going to save society. We were created to destroy it." 

She paused again, taking in Inko's expression. The motherly figure was processing what she heard, but so far showed no signs of anger or fear. Subject-2 couldn't stop now. She had to finish her tale, and let the Midoriya judge her at the end.

"Our Creator wanted to use us to bring down society so that he and his people could take over. Most of us were appalled and wanted nothing to do with it, but once again Subject-5 spoke in support of it. At that point, the first four of us decided to...well, we poked around in Subject-5's mind and learned something horrifying. He was made to be absolutely loyal to the Creator, and to stop us if we tried anything. In the end, we had to break his Lens and-"

"I'm sorry," Inko interjected, "his what?" Subject-2 stopped a moment, then raised her eyebrows in realization before holding out her right hand. Inko watched as a...something slowly morphed out from it, settling on the back of her hand. It was a small metal plate, on which sat a glass lens. The metal looked plain, but the lens itself was a deep blue, but otherwise indescribable in beauty. Inko found herself almost lost in it before Toga pulled it back.

"Something else our Creator gave us," she explained. "It amplifies our psionic quirks and allows for telepathic communication. Don't really know how it works. Anyway, the four of us broke Subject-5's Lens, knocking him out and making sure he couldn't track us as we made our plans to flee. In the end, only me and 4 made it out. Subjects 1 and 3 stayed behind to destroy the facility. Didn't want to risk the Creator making any more of us." Subject-2 teared up as she recalled the memory. "They died making sure 4 and I could live freely." Inko reached across the table and took Subject-2's hand, offering what support she could. She cried a bit longer, remembering that moment with absolute clarity, before wiping her eyes.

"The rest is history, Inko-san. Ever since that day I've lived day-by-day, wearing a different face and enjoying life to the fullest. When I met Izuku, and then you, I felt things I never felt before. Good things. I'm sorry for deceiving you like I did, but please understand I never meant you or Midoriya-chan any harm. Please, I want to keep seeing you."

"I never said you had to stop," Inko smiled, tears in her own eyes. "You've been alone this whole time, haven't you? You don't have to be alone anymore, Toga-chan. I know Izuku-kun wants to keep seeing you, too." Subject-2 teared up again at this, and used her quirk to stretch across the table to hug Inko. The sweet mother smiled and gently hugged back. The two remained hugging for several minutes before Subject-2 let go.

"Thank you," she smiled.

"You live alone, right?" Inko asked. "May I ask where that is?"

"Um...in a cave." Inko's eyes widened.

"Well, we can't have that. Why don't you live here, with us?" Subject-2's eyes widened at this proposition, and was about to inquire further before Inko held up two fingers. "Two conditions, though. First, you have to show Izuku and I what you really look like someday."

"Tomorrow's Saturday," the shapeshifter pointed out. "I can show you then. The other condition?" Inko gave a smile after she asked.

"You were called Subject-2 back at that place, right? I bet you still refer to yourself as that, right?" With a nod from her, Inko continued, "I want you to forget that name. You are not Subject-2, destroyer of society. You are Toga Himiko, now and forever. Can you do that for me?" She was stunned for a moment at that one, but Subject-2, no, Toga Himiko, nodded.

"Yes. Yes I can." 

"Then," Inko smiled, "welcome home, Toga-chan."

Chapter Text

Subject-2, now Toga Himiko, was a brave entity. For almost a century she had lived on her own, changing her face every day. Throughout the decades, there had been times where she was forced to defend herself from villains (and sometimes heroes) and she did so without batting an eye. 

But at this immediate moment she was a nervous wreck.

It was the morning after Izuku's birthday. Toga had spent the night with the Midoriyas (sleeping in her human form for the first time), and was now leading Inko and Izuku down the narrow forest path towards the cave she had resided in for the past twenty-something years. Not only were they gonna see it, they were gonna see her. She turned to look back at the mother and child, their gazes on the woods around them. She had promised that she would show them what she really looked like, but would they still be so accepting once they learned just how not-human she really was?

"Is that it?" the ten-year-old boy asked as he pointed ahead. Toga snapped back to attention and looked ahead.

"That's it," she replied. "My home." 

She led the two humans inside the cave, and they looked around curiously. Izuku pulled a flashlight out of his back and turned it on, moving it around the cave. The cave wasn't too big, barely more than ten meters across. The floor was mostly smooth, save for some dips and raised parts. The walls were smooth as well, and the ceiling was pretty tall. There weren't any additional chambers, and nothing on the floor.

"You've been living here?" Inko asked.

"Carved out out myself," Toga replied. "Before this, I'd live in abandoned buildings, but people would always almost find me, so eventually i just made this place. No one's ever found it, either. Maybe not quite the most comfy, but it fit my needs."

"Where's your bed?" Izuku asked. 

"Don't have one," Toga laughed. "I sleep in my real form, and it...can't really fit in a bed." 

"Ah yes, your real form," Inko smiled. "May we see it now?" 

Toga was suddenly nervous again. What if they got scared? What if they decided to take back what they said? What if they...no. She would have to do this, and deal with the consequences.

"I only ask that you do not scream," Toga requested. "I am keenly aware of how...monstrous I look." Both Midoriya's nodded, and Toga took a breath before changing back to her real form.

At first nothing happened. After a few seconds, her body began to shimmer, like a heat mirage. Soon after, her human features began to fade and distort. She leaned forward, getting longer and bigger as her body turned into a black mass. Before she could fall forward, two more legs morphed from the front of her waist. Her eyes and mouth slowly disappeared, the skin turning pale. The transformation lasted close to fifteen seconds, slowed down to keep from startling the two humans before her.When it finished, the shimmering around her vanished, letting Inko and Izuku see her true form.

Her physiology was similar to a fairy-tale centaur, only with feline features rather than equine. Her lower half was covered in soft black fur with cat-like feet and a long, silky tail. Her more humanoid part was covered in dark blue chitinous plates. Her hands ended in sharp claws, and her Lens was openly displayed. Her face was bare of features and white as ceramic. On her forehead was a single large eye that shone like a polished red-blue tourmaline. Instead of hair, long red feathers flowed down from the back of her head. From the top of her brow were a pair of long moth antennae. Her entire form stood a little more than three meters tall, towering over the wide-eyed humans before her.

"...Oh..." was all Inko vocalized. Toga was now even more worried. Now that they were seeing what she really looked like, what if-

"AWESOME!" Izuku yelled, startling both ladies. The young boy pulled away from his mother and rushed over to Toga, going over every detail at record speed.

"This part here is like a big kitty! You're really soft Toga-san! Aww, you got little toe beans too! Your tail is bigger than me! Your tummy is soft too! Oh, you have two tummies! This top one is hard, but still warm! And what's that on your hand? It looks cool!" Toga was mentally laughing with relief as the small boy was practically crawling all over her in excitement. He wasn't scared. He wasn't afraid of her at all.

"Hey," Izuku asked as he looked at her left hand, "what's this mean?" Toga flinched a bit when she realized he was looking at her left wrist. On said appendage, close to her palm, was a small mark that shone with different colors as the light hit it.

S-II

Toga softly pulled her hand away, covering the mark with her right hand. She didn't want to tell Izuku that it was a brand left by her Creator. The one piece of her past she could never hide nor remove. She recalled how she had actually torn off her arm one time and spent a few days regenerating it, only to see the brand return with it.

"It's nothing," she telepathically-projected to both Midoriyas. "You shouldn't worry about it." Inko gave a small gasp while Izuku almost fell off Toga out of surprise. Inko could tell who spoke instantly, but Izuku looked around, trying to find the source of the voice. After a moment, he looked back up at Toga's face.

"W-was that you?" he asked. When Toga nodded, she was surprised to see Izuku start blushing. "You sound pretty." Now it was Toga's turn to be surprised. She didn't expect that sort of response, and it...felt nice? Yeah, it felt nice. She was shaken from her thoughts when she felt Inko take her other hand. Toga looked down at the Midoriya matriarch, who was smiling back up at her.

"Thank you for trusting us, Toga-san," Inko beamed. She gently pulled Izuku back before continuing, "You kept your word. You can change into a human again if you'd like." Never before had Toga felt so relieved to turn human. She was about to change, but stopped just as quickly. She needed to change things up a bit. Izuku was older, so she couldn't play the part of a 16-year-old now. She spent a few seconds deliberating how her new human form should look, then began the transformation. This time she changed faster, and soon stood before the Midoriyas as a human. She had kept the overall appearance she had adopted, with the gold hair and fangs, but now had a more mature appearance. Her hair was longer, touching her shoulder blades straight and evenly. Her clothes consisted of a long flowing skirt and a formal long-sleeved shirt that accentuated her larger bust. Overall, she looked like an attractive woman in their 20's. She looked over herself carefully, lifting her skirt a bit to make sure her maroon boots had morphed in properly before hearing a giggle from Inko.

"My my," the older Midoriya smiled, "you're a bit bigger than a few minutes ago." Toga was confused for a moment, then gave a quiet squeak in surprise. In her effort to make sure everything morphed in properly, she forgot to take height into account. Her 'younger' human form was a little over 150 centimeters, and her current form was a little more than 2 meters even. The tall woman gave a self-conscious giggle.

"Sorry," she said with her actual voice, "I'll make myself smaller, and-"

"Oh, no need," Inko laughed back. "I think it looks fine, and I'm pretty sure Izuku-kun doesn't mind either." Toga cocked her head in confusion before looking down at Izuku. The ten-year-old boy was looking up at her, his face a strawberry pink. He had not said a thing since she changed, and had not looked away either. Toga's laughter shook him from his stupor as he hid is face in Inko's skirt, muttering a shy apology.

"It's alright," Toga said as she knelt down and rubbed his head. "Means you like how I look, after all." Izuku just responded by burying his face deeper into his mom's skirt, eliciting another laugh from the shapeshifter as she got to her feet.

"Ready to go home?" Inko asked with a smile. Home. That was a word Toga really never thought she'd ever hear in context. Sure, she lived in this cave, but it wasn't a home. Not like what Inko Midoriya was offering her. But...

"Not quite," Toga replied. Seeing the confusion on both Midoriyas, Toga smiled and explained, "That apartment is a bit small for three people, especially someone like me. So..."

---

It had been three weeks since Izuku's tenth birthday. Over the course of those three weeks, Toga had become more open about what she was and what she could do. Izuku was amazed to learn she had multiple quirks, and practically begged to see all of them. He hadn't seen them all, because some of the quirks at her disposal were ones you just didn't use around a child. He had also been filled in on what she was, her time in the lab, and how she got out. By the end of that tale, Izuku was openly crying and hugging her tight. Not long after that talk came the next big step in their lives.

The two humans and the shapeshifter were standing in front of a large, two-story house. The walls were a pristine white, the roof a cozy brown. It had a large yard that looped around the house, and a two-car garage. The second floor was a bit smaller than the ground floor, but only because it had a door that led to an outdoor garden on the roof of the first floor. It was a literal mansion compared to the tiny apartment they had lived in.

And the house was theirs, now. 

They had spent the last few days emptying the apartment, with Himiko spearheading the effort. She had also worked with a moving company to get everything over, letting Inko relax and adjust to moving out of the tiny apartment she had lived in since before Izuku was born. It was weird for everyone involved, but Himiko was adamant in helping the Midoriyas any way she could. The only thing she couldn't help with was getting Izuku into a new school. His current elementary school was the only one within a fair distance, and Bakugou was there too. He was still bullying Izuku for some insipid reason, and Toga often spent her afternoons defending her small charge and using her quirks to heal his injuries. Maybe she could scare the bully into being nice? Or maybe-

"T-Toga," Inko stuttered, getting the two-meter girl's attention, "a-a-are you sure this is ok? I mean, it's nice, but-"

"IT'S SO BIG!" Izuku hollered in awe. "How did you afford it, Toga-san?"

"I stole it," Himiko deadpanned. There were several seconds of silence with the Midoriyas staring at her in shock before Toga started laughing. After a bit, she pulled a black card from her pocket. Emblazoned on the card was a clover that, like the brand on her wrist, shone multiple colors when the light hit it. "I used this. It's a money-card like what your mom uses, but due to one of the quirks I was infused with I can alter how much money is actually on it. The majority of the world's wealth is in the digital format, so it's pretty easy to mess with a few things."

"I-Isn't that bad, though?" Izuku nervously asked. 

"Maybe," Toga shrugged, "but the realtor and previous owners did get their money, and honestly before I met you guys I only ever used this to buy hot dogs. Come on, let's start unpacking." She walked to the door and opened it, gesturing Inko and Izuku to step in first. They were still nervous from both the size of the house and Himiko's means of purchasing it, but after a moment they overcame said nervousness and stepped inside. 

The ground floor was mostly comprised of a few large hallways lined with rooms, and the kitchen was practically a straight shot from the door. One room had been set aside  to hold the paperwork from Inko's job (who knew such a lovely lady was such a scary lawyer?), and another one was set aside to be Izuku's game/toy room. A few other rooms were converted into guest bedrooms, but there were still a couple rooms left empty for possible future projects. The second floor had the three bedrooms for everyone. Straight ahead from the stairs was Izuku's bedroom, with his mom on one side and Toga's room on the other. Along with the stairs, Izuku's bedroom faced the large glass doors that led to the outdoor veranda. 

After the family stepped in, Inko's nervousness was replaced with the motherly desire to get things organized and cleaned. It was a day-long endeavor, with the shuffling of boxes and wiping of floors. Izuku had taken to the task with alacrity, his childhood energy going into overdrive as he raced down the halls with mops and brooms to clean every room. Himiko also enjoyed the whole thing, it being a new experience compared to how she had lived before. She giggled as she wiped an upstairs window that afternoon, thinking about everything. She may have been content with her life before, but now? She was loving it.

Suddenly the door to Izuku's room opened. Toga turned to see Izuku walking out carrying a small black box. She got worried when she noticed Izuku's eyes looked puffy, like he had just finished crying.

"Zuzu?" she asked, referring to him by his new nickname. "Is something wrong?"

"O-oh, no," the small boy shook his head. "I just yawned, is all." Himiko's eyes narrowed, not believing a word, before she gestured to the box. "Oh, th-this is mom's. It got in my room by accident, I'm just gonna put it in her room." Before she could inquire further, Izuku shuffled to Inko's room and stepped inside, closing the door behind him. Now she was really worried. She set her wipe down to follow Izuku, but stopped when she heard Inko calling for her from the kitchen downstairs. Interrogating izuku would have to wait, Inko needed help moving a fridge.

---

It was nighttime. Everyone's first night in the new house. Toga was resting in her room, preparing to sleep. Instead of a bed, her room had a pit in the middle she had filled with cushions so she could lay in it in her real form and rest against the edge with her upper part. True, this pit had originally been made to sit in, but she didn't care. It was comfy.

A quiet knocking on her door shook her from her thoughts. Turning her head, she pulled the door open with one of her antennae. From how quiet the knocking had been she knew it had to be Izuku, but she still felt some measure of worry when she saw Izuku standing in the open doorway clutching his All Might plushie.

"Are you alright, Zuzu?" she asked. 

"...Bad dream," the child replied.

"Anything to do with that box from earlier?" Izuku was quiet for several seconds before nodding.

"Mom's working late tonight, a-and I was wondering if..." His words dropped off, like he was nervous. Toga could guess what he was asking for and beckoned him closer. As he stepped towards her, she picked him up when he got in reach and gently set him in front of her. Once he got comfortable, she draped one of her front legs across his chest, just to give him a bit of added security. Izuku, in an act that surprised Toga immensely, let go of his All Might pushie and hugged her leg instead. If she had a mouth she might have squeed at this.

"Toga-san," Izuku quietly asked, "if you learned something bad about me...would you get mad?"

"Did you wet your bed?" Himiko asked. She remembered hearing that was an issue with young humans.

"No..." Izuku hugged her leg tighter. "I'm scared...I'm scared if I tell you that you'd get mad and hate me and..." She felt a dampness form on her leg. He was crying.

Toga would have none of that. Pulling her leg closer, and thus pulling Izuku closer, Toga gently took him in her arms and morphed her face into her human face. She knew her telepathy would be faster, but this might be something better heard with his ears. She made sure he was looking at her before speaking.

"Zuzu," she whispered, "I could never hate you. You're kind and compassionate. The only reason I'm here, in this house with you and your mom, is because of you. If I hadn't met you years ago I'd still be living in that cave. You're a good kid, and I'd never hate a good kid." She gently kissed his forehead. "Now, what was in that box that's making you feel like this?" Izuku was quiet for almost a minute, clearly trying to think of the right words. When he finally did speak...it was not something Toga could have ever expected. 

Chapter Text

---

Four years later...

---

Izuku was, as usual, running for his life through a small forest-y area on the edge of town. It was about a week before his last year of Middle School, and Bakugou was eager to make him hurt. His two "lackeys" had been there before, but had also been left in their dust. Izuku was running wicked fast, and Bakugou was only able to keep up by using his quirk to augment his speed.

Practically since their second day in the new house, Toga had been putting Izuku through physical training. She didn't really know any fighting styles to teach him, but she knew some ways to bulk him up. While he wasn't a meathouse like some kids his age, Izuku's small frame resulted in a dense yet lithe musculature that made him fast and agile. Izuku was able to keep ahead of Bakugou by easily weaving between the trees while Bakugou's jerky explosions barely got him through.

"I'MMA KILL YOU, YOU FUCKING NERD!" Bakugou screamed.

"Tell me something new!" Izuku yelled back. 

"I MEAN IT THIS TIME!" Bakugou soared over a stump as he continued, "YOUR BLOND BITCH ISN'T HERE TO SAVE YOU AND YOUR QUIRKLESS DICK!"

"Still heard that one before!" Izuku slid under a fallen tree. "You sure you wanna chase me right now!? You've heard those rumors about a monster in these woods, right?"

"ONLY AN IDIOT WOULD BELIEVE THOSE STUPID-ASS LIES!" Bakugou blasted through the same fallen tree. "WE'RE INSIDE THE CITY, THERE'S NO WAY-" 

Bakgou's words cut short when Izuku gave a shout of surprise as a massive something swooped in from out of nowhere and grabbed him. The explosive teen legit fell to the ground in shock as the large beast carried the screaming Izuku away. Bakugou didn't move a centimeter as Izuku's screams faded into the distance, leaving him alone in the woods. 

"...That...That did not just happen..." Bakugou was scared now. Apparently there WAS a monster living in the woods on the edge of town. Was it an actual monster or a guy with a freaky mutation quirk? Whatever it was had just taken Izuku. Crap, what if it came for him next? Bakugou shot to his feet and began running back out the way he came, hoping that monster didn't come back for seconds.

...

...Meanwhile, a half-kilometer away, Izuku and Toga were laughing their heads off.

"Oh my god," Izuku chortled, "he faceplanted the ground when you grabbed me?"

"Totally!" Toga rumbled as she changed from her pseudo-monster form to her human form. "Oh man, that memory is gonna be one of my all-time favorites!" The two laughed a bit longer before making the hike to their house. 

While their house had more than enough space for Himiko to be in her true form, it still felt cramped at times. As a result, she decided to start taking runs in the wooded area behind the house. The rumors about a "monster" in the woods had grabbed the attention of some heroes in the past, but nowadays she was only sought after by cryptid hunters and easily-spooked teens on Halloween nights. She was still slightly nervous about being found by her Creator's possible successors, but with how long it had been (and how bad photos the few who'd seen her had taken), she figured she'd be safe either way.

"Too bad this didn't happen during the school year," Izuku chuckled. "If it did, and if we convinced mom to let me skip a day or two, it would've scared Bakugou so much more."

"Still can," Toga smirked. "Just stay inside for a while, and away from the windows. If he comes by..." the two shared another laugh as they exited the woods and stepped into their back yard. "So, excited for the coming school year?"

"Not sure 'excited' is the right word," Izuku shook his head. "I know the minute anyone hears what I wanna do they'll come down on me like a barrel of bricks."

"Buncha' jerks." Himiko opened the back door and let Izuku inside as she continued, "I, for one, think you'll do fine. I mean, unless they do something super biased and unfair like make you fight giant robots."

"I highly doubt a prestigious school like UA would do something like that," Izuku chuckled. "I mean, the fact they let quirkless kids attempt the entrance exam must mean it's something we could handle."

"Especially you, you little beefcake," Toga poked his cheek, reveling in the blush that covered his face. Oh, how she enjoyed teasing him. Even after knowing her for almost ten years, Izuku was still so easily flustered around her. She didn't quite know how to describe what she felt when she saw Izuku like this, but she liked it so much.

As they walked through the house, they could hear enraged yelling from Inko's office. Izuku stayed back while Toga peered in, seeing the slender green-haired woman yelling at someone on her phone. Toga remembered how she used to stress-eat due to Izuku's quirklessness before they met, but ever since they moved into this house Inko had watched her diet and exercised immensely. Toga had no doubts that Mamadoriya could snap a man's spine at this point.

"Looks like she's eating her client for lunch again," Toga joked as she leaned away. "Anyway, little man, what do you want for lunch?"

---

True to his predictions, the first day of the school year was far from pleasant. When the time came for his class to fill out the occupation forms, his teacher just threw them out declaring he knew everyone was gonna try out for heroics. This action was kind of stupid in Izuku's opinion, since he knew there had to be someone in his class who wasn't gonna try for that. Then someone pointed out how Izuku wanted to go to UA, and that flipped Bakugou's Bitch Switch. The blond's threats didn't really faze Izuku these days, even if he was more angry at being tricked in the forest. Then, to top things off, Bakugou had ambushed Izuku at the end of the day, fried his notebook and told him to commit suicide. 

Yeah...great start to the school year.

"Stupid Bakugou," Izuku groaned as he walked home. "You'd think after all these years he'd figure out that nothing he says affects me now. Not when I have people like Toga-san and my mom supporting me." He continued walking home, grumbling to himself loud enough that he almost didn't hear a sewer grate open.

Almost.

The instant he heard it, Izuku's instincts kicked in and he jumped away in time to avoid a wave of slime. He watched in shock as a pair of eyes appeared in the slime.

"Villain," he whispered.

"Good reflexes," the slime guy admitted. "Might be fun to play with those myself! Just hold still." The villain rushed at him again, and again Izuku dodged, analyzing the situation.

'I'm currently being attacked by a slimy villain. Still has humanoid eyes, possible weak point. I am unarmed and alone. I can dodge his attacks, but am uncertain how long I can do so. Possible solution: Dodge until I find an opening to strike the eyes...somehow.'

Izuku silently thanked Toga for all the physical work she had him do, as he found himself dodging the villain time and again with ease. The villain grew more impatient and started attacking erratically, hoping to catch Izuku with a wild grab. After one such attempt, Izuku noticed a loose rock on the ground. Now he had something. While dodging another attack, Izuku leaped over and rolled, losing his backpack in the process of grabbing the rock. As he got up, he turned and threw the rock square at the villain's eye. Izuku might not have been the strongest, but eyes were soft organs and the slime howled in pain as the rock went right through one of his.

"DETROIT SMAAAASH!"

Suddenly, to the surprise of both villain and child, a blond meteor fell from the sky and punched the slime into the nearby wall. Izuku's eyes widened from the sudden loud noise, followed by silence as the tall blond man in cargo pants straightened up. This was followed by a deep gasp as he finally registered who he was looking at.

"A-A-A-ALL MIGHT!!"

"YES, INDEED!" All Might laughed before grabbing a bottle from the nearby trash pile and scooping the villain into it. Turning back to Izuku, he gave his trademark smile. "ARE YOU ALRIGHT YOUNG MAN? I'M SORRY I DID NOT GET HERE SOONER."

"I-I'm fine!" Izuku stuttered, his adrenaline wearing off. 

"GLAD TO HEAR IT!" All Might smiled. "I SAW YOU DODGING THIS VILLAIN QUITE SKILLFULLY! YOU AIMING TO BE A HERO, YOUNG MAN?" Izuku nodded, and All Might laughed. "I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOUR EXPLOITS!" He turned to leave, not noticing Izuku looking at his leg and gasping.

"A-All Might, wait-"

"AFRAID I CAN'T!" the hero interrupted. "DUTY CALLS!" With that parting phrase, All Might leaped into the air. As he soared, he noticed his leg seemed a bit heavy. Looking down, his eyes widened when he saw Izuku clinging to it for dear life. He was about to tell him to let go, but realized that would be dangerous at their current altitude. Thankfully, he was aiming for a particular tower when he jumped, so he quickly landed. Taking a breath, he looked back down at Izuku to berate him, but stopped when he saw the boy pulling at his backpack...which was looped around his leg.

"T-tried to tell you my bag was hooked around your foot..." Izuku nervously stated. "I didn't wanna lose it..." All Might stared for a few moments longer before nervously laughing.

"I-I SEE. SORRY ABOUT-" Suddenly the hero coughed blood and smoke poured from under his clothes. Of all the times to lose it! He wiped his mouth and looked back at the boy, ready to ask him not to freak out. To his surprise, however, the boy simply looked contemplative as he slowly removed his bag from around All Might's leg.

"...Shapeshifting?" he asked. 

"Y-you're not freaking out?" All Might couldn't help but ask. Izuku shook his head.

"My closest friend has a shapeshifting quirk, too. I'm kinda worried about the blood, but you getting skinny isn't the weirdest thing I've seen." The two stood in an awkward silence for a few moments before All Might coughed again.

"A-Anyway, I should get going," the hero stated. "I still need to-" he stopped as he patted his waist. The bottle that was there before...the one containing the villain...was gone.

---

Toga was in the kitchen, helping chop vegetables for dinner that night. She had morphed a few extra arms to get the task done faster, while Inko finished some last-minute work in her office. Toga kept glancing worriedly at the clock. 

"Zuzu's late," she muttered. He promised he'd be home soon after school. It's not like him to break a promise. After chopping the last vegetable, she closed her eyes and focused with a few of her psychic quirks. Anyone else who might have had a psychic quirk would have felt something like a vibrant orange web stretch from her house toward the school. She looked for Izuku's mind, but didn't find it before hitting the school. That was worrisome. She spread her web further, looking for her little-there! He was pretty close to the business district. How on earth did he get there? He was too far away for her to Link-Eyes, but she could feel that, physically, he seemed fine. His mind, however, was a chaos of worry and distress. 

Something was wrong.

Setting her knives down, she turned down the hall and shouted "I'm gonna go meet up with Izuku! He's running late!" She was out the door before Inko could reply. With Izuku in the business district, that meant she couldn't do any weird shifts that could get attention. Fortunately, she had also spent the past four years preparing for similar situations. 

"Thank goodness I chose jeans this morning," Toga muttered to herself as she hopped onto a shiny bicycle and pedaled down the street. No license needed, and her strength let her go fast. Time to get her boy.

---

"I am so sorry!" Izuku yelled as he and the randomly-skinny All Might ran down the road, looking through alleys for the dropped bottle. "If I knew this would happen, I'd have sacrificed my backpack and-"

"All heroes make mistakes," All Might coughed as he kept running. "He has to be around-" his sentence was interrupted when they both heard a series of explosions, followed by loud laughter. "...Crap." Both of them ran towards the noise, and were stopped by a line of heroes along with other civilians.

"Stay back!" Death Arms roared. "The villain has a civilian hostage!"

Both of them froze. They saw it was the slime villain from earlier. He was laughing as explosions went off around him. Explosions that originated from his hostage...

"BAKUGOU!" Izuku paled. He looked up and coarsely whispered to All Might, "My classmate is in there. Can't you, like, go behind a building and bulk up and-"

"I can't," All Might shook his head in dismay. "I can only use my quirk a few hours a day. That's why I was in such a rush to leave earlier." Izuku groaned and lowered his head. He may not really like Bakugou anymore, but he'd never wish this on anyone. Before he could lift his head, he noticed a few decent-sized pointy rocks on the ground. He took a breath.

"Then I'll handle it."

Before All Might could ask what he meant, Izuku ducked down, picked up the handful of rocks, and dashed for the villain. All Might reached his hand out to grab him, but started coughing blood again. Death Arms and Kamui Woods called out as he slid under their arms and spun around Mt. Lady's hand before continuing his charge. He was about to shout something to grab the villain's attention, but the villain saw him first with his one good eye.

"YOU AGAIN!?" the villain roared.

"DEKU!?" Bakugou yelled when he had the breath.

"VIBE CHECK!" Izuku screamed as he threw one of the rocks, hitting the villain in his good eye.

"OW OW!" the slime villain screamed as he pulled back a bit. "AGAIN WITH THE FUCKING EYE!?" his eye wasn't destroyed, but it still hurt enough to stun him for a few moments. As Izuku got closer, he threw another rock at the villain's eye, eliciting another scream, before grabbing Bakugou's hand and pulling with all his might. With the villain undulating in agony, he didn't keep a grip on Bakugou, letting the smaller boy yank him free. As Bakugou was coughing, Izuku turned back to the heroes.

"I GOT HIM! SOMEONE STOP THEM!" Izuku roared as he and Bakugou staggered back towards the heroes. Salvation came in the form of Mt. Lady's massive foot stomping on the villain. His groans of agony ceased, and the titanic heroine gave a groan of disgust as she lifted her foot back up. Everyone could hear the villain rasping for breath, but he was definitely incapacitated. The surrounding civilians cheered as the other heroes came and carried the two boys to paramedics, while All Might just stared in shock. Here he was, bemoaning the limits of his power, and a small boy took charge and did his job for him. Didn't even seem to use a quirk at all! What sort of hero was he becoming? With a sigh, he walked towards the paramedics, intent on apologizing to the young man.

"That was brave, but beyond reckless, young man!" All Might heard Death Arms berate Izuku. "Even if your quirk seemed suitable for the job, you should let us heroes handle it next time!"

"T-two problems there," Izuku spoke up. "First, you weren't handling it at all." The present heroes froze. "Y-you were just standing there and letting my classmate drown in that ooze. Any of you could have done what I did, but you didn't just because your quirks 'weren't right for the job.' As my best friend once asked me, 'since when did heroics depend more on quirks and less on the desire to help?'" The heroes stood in silence, shocked at what Izuku had just said, until the paramedics cleared him to leave. Izuku got to his feet and took a few steps before Kamui Woods spoke up.

"Wait, what was the second problem?" Izuku stopped, and slowly turned to look at the hero.

"What makes you think I used a quirk at all there?" Without even waiting for an answer, Izuku started walking away again. He didn't notice passing the equally-shocked All Might, being just that eager to head home. After going around a block from the site, Izuku fell to his knees and panted. 

"I just yelled at heroes!" the small greenette whined. His previous coolness was gone, replaced with his usual nervousness. "I berated them and stormed away oh man why did I do that?"

"Because you were right."

Izuku squeaked and shot to his feet, turning towards the voice. All Might was walking towards him with a small smile. Izuku tried to greet him, but was stuttering too much from nervousness and leftover adrenaline. The hero simply laughed and patted his head.

"You were right, young man," All Might repeated. "Out of all those heroes, you were the only one who rushed forward to help your friend. Why is that?"

"M-my feet just kinda moved on their own," Izuku admitted. "A-and Bakugou isn't my friend, he's just a classmate." 

"...Anyway," All Might continued, "what you just said right there, about moving without thinking, that's something the best heroes have all done. You have the makings of a great hero...I'm sorry, what is your name? And may I ask what your quirk is, exactly?"

"M-Midoriya Izuku, sir!" Izuku straightened up. "A-and I'm technically quirkless, but that's okay because-"

"ZUZU!"

Both men, startled by the loud voice but for different reasons, turned and saw Toga biking down the street right at them. Izuku was relieved it was her, All Might was wondering just how was she going that fast on a bicycle. Before she technically reached the group, she leaped off her back and kind of glided the last few meters, landing and pulling Izuku into a tight hug.

"I was so worried when you didn't come home on time!" the tall lady cried. "Are you alright? Are you hurt anywhere? Do you need me to-"

"I-I'm fine, Toga-san!" Izuku shouted, his voice muffled due to his face being square in her ample bosom. "I-I'll tell you what happened when you let me breathe!" Toga let go of Izuku, who started taking deep breaths, as All Might started laughing.

"I assume this is the shapeshifter friend you told me about?" All Might asked with a smile. Toga stared at him for a minute before smirking down at Izuku.

"Zuzu, are you telling people about me?"

"I-I only mentioned your quirk!" Izuku flailed his hands. "A-anyway, yessir. This is my best friend, Toga Himiko. Toga-san, this is..."

"Yagi," All Might introduced as he held out his hand. "Yagi Toshinori." Toga smiled and shook his hand. She shook it a few seconds longer than necessary, glancing down at his hand in the process. After letting him go, she gave a knowing smirk.

"Long time no see, All Might."

Chapter Text

All Might coughed blood at Toga's sudden statement. How did she know? He had been so careful to keep is identity secret from everyone! Young Midoriya was literally the only person (outside of UA staff and a few confidants) to have learned. Maybe he called her during those brief few minutes he was out of sight? All Might looked down at the boy, and saw Izuku's eyes had widened like saucers. 

"H-how did you know?" Izuku asked. Toga responded with a smile as her head began to shimmer. Oh, this must be her quirk. Both men watched as her changed from a blonde lady into a tanned-skin man with spiky blue hair and a wild smile. Toshinori's eyes widened.

"You're the crazy fanboy," the hero said in awe.

"Right-o, hero-man!" Toga replied with a male voice before turning her head back to normal. "I'm surprised you remembered me."

"That man, or I guess you, were quite insistent on getting a handshake," All Might replied. "But...that was over fifteen years ago..."

"About 17 years, two months and ten days," Toga smiled back.

"DEKUUU!"

The entire group turned in surprise at the voice. They saw Bakugou come storming around the corner, stopping when he saw there was more than Izuku there. He paled a bit when Toga smiled at him, showing off her fangs. Not willing to come any closer, he just pointed angrily at Izuku.

"I didn't need your fuckin' help back there! A quirkless deku like you still can't be a hero so stay out of the fucking way!" Then he stormed off without waiting for a response.

"...He's rather volatile, isn't he?" All Might asked.

"He's been a douche long as I've known him," Toga glared.

"Oh man," Izuku shook his head, "wait til you hear what he told me to do earlier."

"...Anyway," All Might tried to get things back on track, "I was wondering if we could continue our conversation in private, young Midoriya? There's something I-"

"Nope!" Toga set her hand on Izuku's shoulder. "Anything you wanna tell him, I'm there too. If it's some bigger secret than how you look right now, you can trust us both to keep it. God knows we're already doing that for each other." There was several moments of silence before All Might sighed in defeat.

"All right. The truth is..."

---

Inko was doing the finishing touches to dinner. Toga and Izuku were both really late. Part of her was worried because her son hadn't contacted her at all, but she was still mostly calm because Toga would undoubtedly keep him safe. 

"We're home!" Toga yelled as she opened the door, followed closely by Izuku. "Oooh, that smells good, Mamadoriya!" Inko gave a sigh of relief that she hid with a quick laugh as she stepped into the hallway to greet the two. When her eyes fell on the disheveled Izuku, her smile faded.

"Did something happen?" Inko asked. "Are you alright, Izuku-kun?"

"You wanna tell her, or should I?" Himiko asked the shorter boy, worrying Inko further.

"I will," Izuku sighed. "But...we'll want to sit down for this." Inko nodded and went to serve dinner while Himiko and Izuku sat at the table. Izuku looked a bit nervous as his mom set food in front of everyone. They all had their tea cups, though Toga had to drink out of iron cups after "what happened last time" izuku came home with bad news. They sat in silence for a bit, eating before the food got cold, before Izuku took a breath.

"Mom, what I'm about to tell you cannot leave this room. It's a big big deal, alright? The only reason I can tell you this is because you'd immediately know I was lying if I didn't tell you." Inko was confused but nodded, and Izuku continued, "I'll start with when things really started turning sour," he announced. "This afternoon, I was walking home thinking about how Bakugou told me to kill myself-"

CRUNCH!

Both Midoriyas froze as they heard the sound of Toga reenacting "what happened last time" and crunching her cup with her hand. She looked at them confused before looking down at her hand, muttering a quiet apology and tossing the crunched cup into the trash. Inko handed Toga a towel to clean up the spilled tea as Izuku continued his tale. He told Inko and Toga about how he was attacked by a villain, and how he fended off the villain until All Might's arrival. Both ladies' eyes widened with shock when they learned that Izuku got to the business district quickly by clinging to All Might's leg. The discussion stopped for a few moments so Inko and Toga could both berate Izuku for being so reckless, but thankfully continued quickly after. He then explained the first part that required secrecy, with All Might's withered form. Inko was a bit surprised, but like Izuku her time with Toga had desensitized her to random shapeshifts. 

Izuku took a breath as he continued his tale, talking about how the slime villain had been dropped mid-flight. Both ladies tensed up as Izuku explained how he and All Might relocated the villain after they took Bakugou hostage, and how he rushed in while the heroes did nothing. It made Izuku feel better to see his mom and Toga get angry at how the heroes berated him for stepping in, yet praised Bakugou for exploding. After that, Toga was able to speak up and corroborate what happened next.

"Long story short," Toga explained, "All Might's quirk is weakening so he needs to give it to someone else before it's completely gone, and he's chosen Zuzu to be the next bearer. He and I will both be training Zuzu to get into UA now."

"...That..." Inko replied, "...that's quite a bit to take in. Do you know what sort of training he has in mind?"

"Something to do with physical aptitude," Izuku sheepishly replied. "I need to be more physically fit to handle his quirk. All Might's sure he can get me into shape before the entrance exams. This is my biggest chance to be a hero, mom. I want to try."

"Honey," Inko smiled, "I never said you couldn't. Just give me updates as things develop, and bring All Might over from time to time, ok?" With a nod from Izuku, the three finally started eating their dinner. The future was looking bright.

---

It was late night. Bakugou was sitting in his room, sacrificing sleep and studying for the finals. At least he was trying to. His mind kept wandering back to earlier, when he was caught in that slime. How deku actually tried to save him. Useless quirkless deku, why'd he think he could do anything? He should have just stayed away.

Kacchan...

Katsuki looked up from his desk. He distinctly heard that. Where'd it-

Kacchan...

There it was again, louder this time. It sounded like it came from outside. His desk was next to the window, and it was cracked open. Was the useless deku stalking him? Just when he thought the freak couldn't get worse. He turned to open the window further, but stopped when he saw...something just outside. It was dark so he couldn't see exact details, but there was definitely something just outside his window.

"Kacchan..." the shape said as it's fingers snaked through the opening. "I did it..."

"Deku," Bakugou growled as he got to his feet, "if you don't-"

"I did what you said," Izuku moaned. "I took a swan dive..." Bakugou froze. He...he did what? No, he couldn't have. He was still here, and was too much of a wimp to actually do that. As he processed this, Izuku pushed the window open to slowly crawl in, and Bakugou gasped at what he saw.

Izuku was just covered in blood. His hair was so saturated with the stuff it stuck to his head. The arm he used to open the window was mostly intact, but his other arm was twisted and hanging limp. Oh god, he could see some bone poking out. Izuku's chest was dripping with blood, and Bakugou was glad his shirt was intact enough to hide whatever was underneath. As Izuku crawled into the window, Katsuki could see his legs were bent backwards, and one of his feet was outright gone. Did he really...

"It didn't work..." Izuku said as he crawled towards Bakugou, crying tears of blood and reaching out with a broken hand. "I didn't die, Kacchan. It hurts...please...help..." That was too much for Bakugou and he just screamed. 

Suddenly Katsuki was on the ground by his desk. Looking around, it was obvious he had fallen from his chair. His gaze shot to the window, which was closed. There was no bloody classmate crawling through it. Taking a few deep breaths, he slowly got to his feet. He must have fallen asleep at his desk. It was just a nightmare. A very unpleasant nightmare...but what if it wasn't? What if deku really did that? That...Bakugou would never openly admit it, but that would haunt him. 

Katsuki was so deep in thought over what he saw, he didn't notice the blond woman sneaking past his window towards the street.

---

It was Saturday morning. The sky was clear, the ocean was calm, and the air was filled with the grunts of exertion as Izuku dragged a rusted fridge across the garbage-filled beach. All Might and Toga were sitting on a nearby junk pile supervising him.

"COME ON, YOUNG MAN!" All Might laughed. "YOU'RE GONNA NEED TO GO FASTER THAN THAT!"

"Yeah, be happy he's not sitting on it!" Toga laughed, spurring Izuku to go faster. The two continued watching as Izuku worked, giving him verbal 'support' any time he started slowing down (though Toga tracked his brain waves to make sure they didn't go overboard). So far Izuku hadn't complained about the heavy work, but things could change.

It had been decided that, in order to bolster his strength the fastest, he'd be clearing Dagobah Beach by hand. Some of the bigger stuff (such as that random car) would be handled by either Toga or All Might, but everything else would only be moved by Izuku. Such a deed would not only make Izuku more fit, it would also clean a stain on the city that had persisted for years.

"It'll be interesting seeing this beach cleared up," Toga said as she leaned back. "Place has been dirty for close to 40 years."

"You know?" All Might asked. "How old are you?"

"I'm pretty sure it's rude to ask a lady their age," Toga giggled. Her giggling was cut short when they heard the sound of snapping metal followed by Izuku screaming. Both adults shot to their feet and looked towards Izuku, who was kneeling and holding his bleeding hand. "Zuzu, what happened!?"

"Hand slipped," Izuku groaned as the adults rushed over. "Cut my hand open on the edge."

"Dammit, this is why he needed gloves, old man!" Toga yelled at All Might. "Zuzu, lemme see, lemme see." Izuku groaned and held up his hand. There was a deep gash going right across the palm. All Might paled at the sight.

"We need to get him to Recovery Girl!" All Might shouted. He reached down to grab Izuku, but was stopped by Toga. The tall woman gave All Might a glance before kneeling in front of Izuku. She held out her hand, gesturing for Izuku to do the same with his injured hand. The boy winced as he set his hand in her palm. Yagi watched curiously, and almost coughed blood when Toga's hand seemed to "open up" into four long black tentacles. They were a bit glossy with suction cups and-oh god, were those eyes? Why did she change her hand into something so creepy? 

He continued to watch as the tentacles wrapped around Izuku's hand, the cups adhering to his injury. Izuku twitched a bit as the tentacles engulfed his hand, his crying slowly diminishing. Toga's eyes were shut as her tentacles pulsed and twitched. After a couple minutes, she slowly slid her tentacles off Izuku and morphed them back into a human hand. Izuku's wound was completely gone. Not even a scar remained. It was like he was never injured to begin with.

"Ooh," Izuku whined as he rubbed his hand. "That always feels so squishy."

"...What..." All Might voiced in wonder. "Toga-san, you can heal injuries?"

"Yup," the blonde woman replied as she got to her feet. She then morphed a pair of gloves around her hands, then handed them to Izuku so he could continue working. "You would not believe how much healing I've had to give Izuku. Even excluding the wounds he got from bullies, poor kid is almost an injury-magnet. A few years ago I had to regrow his hand after a villain attack. That took forever." All Might's eyes widened.

"You can regrow body parts?" he almost coughed blood as he asked. With a nod from Toga, he went silent for a few seconds before asking, "...How much could you heal?"

---

Izuku was sitting at his school desk on Monday morning. He was busy writing in his notebook as the other students came trickling in. He ignored any jeers that they gave, didn't mind the usual derisive looks. He didn't even react until a familiar hand slammed on his desk. Even then Izuku only stopped writing for a few seconds before continuing.

"What is it, Bakugou?" he asked, not even looking up.

"...Nerd..." Bakugou stated. Weird, he sounded nervous. Izuku still didn't look up, though, unwilling to meet what would undoubtedly be an angry gaze. "...Listen, Deku, you'll never be a hero...but don't kill yourself, alright?" Izuku stopped writing again. Confused, he turned his head up to look at Bakugou but the fiery blond had already moved back to his own desk. He did not look back at Izuku at all. The quirkless kid was really confused. What was that about? He almost wanted to ask, but didn't want to lose another notebook so he just stayed quiet and kept writing.