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heroes all grow

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Shōto woke up to the alarming sounds of clanging metal! It wasn’t a sharp awakening or anything, not anything too pleasant, but he didn’t feel upset about it. The next thing he could see in the air as he stepped into the kitchen, dressed in just a simple tee and leggings, was the smoke. Well, it wasn’t smoke. It was water vapor from the stove.

Izuku turned around and grinned when he saw him, eyes closing as he waved, “Good morning!”

Izuku was making tea. Probably some eggs too, if his smell was as attuned as it had grown to be.

He dragged his feet across the floor and dropped himself into a seat at the table. “Good morning, Izuku.” Glancing around the room he locked eyes with the small calendar that hung on their wall. It had one date circled many times in red, marked and underlined. The only words that accompanied it were “UA!!!!” with plenty of exclamation marks making its point. That day was today.

“That why you’re cooking this morning?” He asked, pointing very haphazardly to the date. He had been a little foggy on the details but now that it was earlier he was having a better time remembering. They had been working on their speech for quite a while. Proud of his, he thought. He was, in fact, it had been a little hard to write about how he had changed over the years. Especially since that meant looking for things that might have been wrong in the first place he didn’t ever see.

Izuku made sure he didn’t think too much about it though. After all, everyone makes mistakes, don’t they? So he believed him and finished it up. Izuku nodded, grabbing some mugs out of a little cabinet and pouring tea in both. He was still smiling as he walked over and sat down with him. “No, I’m cooking this morning because I don’t trust you to do it.” Shōto raised his eyebrow and feigned a sad expression, “What? You don’t trust me? After all this time-?” Izuku just laughed and shook his head. “Not after you almost burnt the house down.” Shōto smiled at that, not being able to hold his mouth in the fine line it was stuck in with such a nice start to his morning.

He was glad for their short hero break. It meant he didn’t wake up so early and end up so tired. Izuku had already finished up his food, quickly. Shōto thought he must just be excited. With all the bouncing around, of course, it seemed pretty obvious. But, he enjoyed it. When Izuku wasn’t always tired. Most of the time all he did was sleep. As the number one hero, he was always tired. Shōto didn’t blame him, but he did miss him sometimes. “Shōto!! We’re going to be late! Grab your phone and let’s hurry!” Izuku was already out the door, quickly. Yeah, quickly.

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Shōto watched Aizawa from the door, as he let Izuku stand on the pedestal. He listened to his speech, long and winding. The children were reading books that Aizawa had given them to quote in their speech. He thought they were a little odd, but he didn’t say anything. “-and Shōto, third-ranked pro-hero, is here with me to help talk to you all about identity!” Well, that was his cue. Shōto walked into the classroom, standing next to Izuku. He looked over to him, his eyes which gleamed with admiration as Shōto smiled to him. Turning back to the children he started his part of the speech.

“Hello, I’m Shōto. I’ve heard about the stories your class is having to read. This is what I think about my identity and how it has changed.” Clearing his throat, feeling a little nervous under the students’ gaze, he continued. “When I was young I was made to be the best hero. To outshine my father’s rival. I trained hard every day even when I didn’t want to. After all, it was my father’s quirk, right? He had gifted me with power. So I should nurture it.” He scoffed under his breath, “That was who I was. My father’s tool. Made to defeat All Might. But that changed.”

Shōto looked down at his hand, where he had written parts of the quotes for memory. He took a deep breath in and out, then looked back at the students. “My silk-sponge was won from the jaws of a shark and my shell from the conger eel... I ask no favors of the reef. This quote comes from “The Reef.” -- Izuku,” He looked over at him, who was still smiling. “Izuku helped me in more ways than one. He helped me realize that this quirk, this power I have, isn’t just my father’s. It doesn’t belong to my parents. It is mine. All of my strength- I have worked for. Tooth and nail.” He let his fingers ghost over his scar. “-and now. I’m always trying to look forward. I don’t look back, I live in the present. This quote; from Three Century Women. Becoming a good hero. Someone people can look up to. Someone who is not my father’s tool.” 

 

Then, Shōto smiled. “I think identity changes with the things you’ve gone through. How you develop as a person. I think identity is always changing -- with every action.” Every action. Everything he’s ever done. “Thank you.”

There was strong, short applause-- (for a high school classroom) as Shōto stepped down from the pedestal. When he stepped down Izuku was grinning ear to ear. He guessed he did a good job. As Izuku went to stand and take his turn, he was sure he heard a whispered, “Good job!”‌ You do a good job too, Izuku. He thought, watching Izuku take his stance.

“My speech is a little shorter because I don’t want to take up too much of Aizawa’s class time… but I hope you all get the same out of it as you did from Shōtos.” Shōto can see him smile almost awkwardly before he goes on, his words a lot quicker. “When I was little, no one believed that I could become a hero...  they all liked to bully me. Back then my identity was pretty much just- well, a loser. I even got a nickname for being so useless; Deku.” Shōto glanced over at Aizawa, their former homeroom teacher, who was looking at the ground. “Like Paulsen, I quote, had developed a policy of flee or die.” Most of all though, I didn’t do anything.” Izuku’s voice seemed to carry a heavyweight, dragging the classroom down with it.

“B-but! I changed! I was able to rise up and become a hero. I worked really hard. Even when in the past people told me I should give up, that I had no place. Like Rosa was told, quote, At the first mass meeting after the boycott, the men in charge refused to let Rosa Parks speak. They said she had already done enough.” Shōto thought he heard a breath of relief, after all, what a long quote. His voice wasn’t as heavy anymore. “Now, I’m a hero. I’m happy. I’m not just Deku, some useless loser… I’m Deku. Pro-Hero Deku.”

The kids applauded once more after Izuku gave a swift bow, then Aizawa took the “stage.” He instructed his children to find their own answer to the question, just like he and Shōto had done together. Some of them asked if they could ask questions but Aizawa promptly declined, before Izuku could agree. (Though, Izuku did manage to slip a few autographs.) The two thanked their teacher for letting them speak, then left after a few minutes. The air was already colder when they left the building.

“So, Shōto. How do you think our identity changes?” Izuku asked as they walked side by side. Shōto scoffed, lips upturned slightly, “Didn’t I already answer that?” Izuku laughed, using his hand to cover his mouth. Too bad, because his laugh was one of Shōto’s favorite things. “Why don’t you tell me instead, Izuku?”

The other took a second to think. “Well, over time. Really. Everything we do shapes us. All the things we’ve been through and will go through;” Izuku’s features softened, as he looked at Shōto. “Even the people around us, they’re a part of our identity too.” Shōto hummed, as they kept walking. “Yeah.”

“Yeah. I think you’re right.”