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When Izuku had told All Might of whom he had seen during the Sport Festival as he was under Shinsou’s quirk, he hadn’t really believed him. He hadn’t thought Izuku was lying, of course, but he had chosen to interpret his vision. When Izuku had used Black Whip for the first time, All Might… Well, Izuku wouldn’t say he had panicked, because the Symbol of Peace simply couldn’t, but he had been slightly worried. But when All Might had realized that Izuku could manifest the quirk of his predecessor, he had been positively giddy.

All Might and him met in the woods, in a zone far away from the dorms, their favorite training spot, and Izuku arrived with his notebook in hand, ready to know everything about Shimura Nana’s quirk.

And All Might obliged, an incredible smile on his face, his whole being radiating quiet joy, like every time he was talking about the seventh One for All holder.

“As you know, my master’s quirk was Float. Not unlike Young Uraraka’s quirk, it allowed her to move through the air but also offered her a measure of protection. One for All changed it so she could fly even more freely… Just like Superman,” All Might laughed.

At that, Izuku’s mind did something it wasn’t supposed to do: it failed to recognize a pro hero.

That simply… didn’t happen. Of course, this hero might not be in Japan but the name still rang a bell, so Izuku must have heard about him. But for him not to have memorized who he was… Especially as All Might was looking at him expectantly, as if Izuku was supposed to recognize who he was talking about…

Focus, Midoriya Izuku. Don’t disappoint All Might.

“The superhero from the DC comic books,” All Might supplied. “Last son of Krypton. There were also cartoons about him.”

“Oh, the man in green with a ring!” Izuku realized, some very vague memories of Sunday mornings spend watching TV with his father echoing in his mind. “He could fly and go to space!”

The silence that ensued was deafening.

“No,” All Might shuddered. “Just no. You’re talking about Green Lantern.”

Izuku immediately deflated.

“Oh, sorry. I really thought he had a ring…”

“He had both,” All Might said even though that didn’t make much sense in the hero student’s opinion. “Let’s stop this conversation before I turn into a fossil in front of your very eyes, please.”

Izuku promised himself to look it up as soon as he would be out of All Might’s sight.

“I might not know a lot about our predecessors, but I actually know how Nana got her quirk,” the former number 1 hero continued.

Izuku assumed it was her original quirk and not the quirk she had received by eating a hair, so he opened his notebook at the five pages reserved to Shimura Nana’s quirk.

“It was a normal day when she was four,” All Might explained, a warm smile on his face as he was obviously reminiscing something his beloved master had told him. “She was simply playing in her garden when she was hit by the realization of how happy she was. She had friends who were always happy to see her, she had parents who loved her, and this feeling washed over her in one perfect moment. She simply welcomed it, and suddenly, her feet weren’t touching the ground anymore.”

Izuku could perfectly picture that because he had been there when a lot of his classmates had found their quirks. He could remember the confusion on their face, then the pure happiness spreading on their features.

He had hoped to have that.

And he had obtained it, because All Might had believed in him.

“So the activation is to be happy?”

“More or less, yes,” All Might smiled.

Well, if it’s just that, it shouldn’t be too difficult.

 


 

“So…” Kacchan later started, a smug smile on his face as they were sitting in the little room where All Might, Izuku and his childhood friend met to talk about One for All. “You failed at flying. Not that it’s surprising but I thought understanding quirks was your thing, you nerd?”

Izuku didn’t answer to that because his soul was too busy leaving his body to escape the sense of failure and shame deeply rooted in him now that he had failed to make All Might smile by showing him the seventh’s quirk.

“It’s not a failure,” All Might assured. “Whatever One for All quirks are, it was naïve of me to think they could be unlocked in a day.”

No, it wasn’t. Izuku had all the keys to unlock this specific quirk. Now, he just had to find a way.

“If thinking of something happy and visualization aren’t enough, I should try something else like meditation or maybe delving deeper in the feeling or in the sensation of floating. Even quirks made stronger by emotions aren’t usually dependent on the emotion in itself for the activation, it’s just the final push. And it’s even more complicated for One for All because that means that the quirk factor must manifest. I would love to know if one of the previous users had a mutation quirk. Maybe knowing what it is would help me manifest it…”

“ENOUGH!” Kacchan screamed in his ear.

Izuku immediately shut up, finally remembering that these days, Kacchan reacted more harshly than normal when he started mumbling. He usually remembered it but after the abject failure of this morning, it had slipped his mind.

Be more careful.

“Talking doesn’t matter right now,” Kacchan barked, sitting so far away from Izuku that it was a miracle he was still on the couch. His head and upper torso weren’t, at least. “If you can’t fly, let’s try to see how you resist to shock!”

And he raised his hand, palm turned upwards, not yet using his quirk but Izuku was intimately familiar with the gesture.

“I don’t think that will be necessary,” All Might intervened.

“I don’t think either,” Izuku said in a little voice.

Not because he was scared of Bakugou’s quirk – not now that he had Full Cowl and could avoid it – but simply because it wouldn’t work. If Shimura Nana’s quirk could be unlocked with emotional peace, none of its aspects would work until Izuku was there.

Bakugou simply smiled.

It wasn’t a nice smile.

 


 

Kacchan was relentless when he fought. He didn’t let his opponent the time to breathe, forcing them into a corner with a relentless charge and pure ferocity. But Izuku had spent his life watching him, and that gave him the instinct to know what to avoid.

His ears ringed as an explosion passed too close, the shockwave spreading through the air, but Izuku whipped one tendril of Black Whip, sending Kacchan away while propelling himself farther in the gym. Of course, it only gave him a couple of seconds and pissed off his childhood friend even more, but at this point, he just needed to last five more minutes.

“Stop trying to avoid it, Deku!”

As if that will happen.

Their homeroom teacher might call him reckless but even Izuku avoided getting hit directly by explosions.

The fight continued, a blur of blows, explosions, air blasts, and the occasional tendrils of pure darkness when Izuku needed some urgent distance. As it did, All Might watched them in the corner of the gym, making sure they wouldn’t go too far. He hadn’t been especially enthusiastic when Izuku had relented to Kacchan’s idea.

“Fight me!”

Not because Izuku believed it would work but because… well, he didn’t have any proof that it wouldn’t work. And Kacchan… He was extremely invested into the One for All secret. Being told this secret and involved in the exploration of the quirk was a supreme honor for him, the proof that his idol didn’t blame him for what had happened at Kamino and a way to redeem himself because no word could convince him that he wasn’t responsible of the end of the era of All Might.

“Die!”

It didn’t cost Izuku anything to let him try to help.

So they kept fighting, and Izuku kept running away, until All Might stopped the fight, and Kacchan listened to him.

“Do you even want this quirk?” Kacchan groaned as they left.

Izuku did.

He wanted it more than anything, not even for him, but because he knew it would make All Might happy.

 


 

It was late – or early- when Izuku closed his laptop and abandoned his research on quirk activation. Not only wasn’t he finding anything new but it was horribly reminiscent of when he was little, searching for his quirk, desperately clinging to the idea that the doctor they had seen had made a mistake.

As for the advices, they hadn’t changed in ten years. Either to wait naturally for the quirk to appear, or to ask your parents because some powers could only be activated under certain condition.

Izuku switched off the light and let himself fall on his bed, making it creak for a worryingly long time but it fortunately hold on.

Happiness, isn’t it… Izuku thought as he looked at the ceiling.

It didn’t make any sense. Izuku had never been happier than when he had arrived to UA. Logically, he should have started floating on the day he had learned he had passed the entrance exam.

He had fantastic friends who loved him and who were here for him when he had been previously isolated and ostracized. He had a mother who now believed in him and in his dream. He had teachers who were attentive and gave him what he needed to be better instead of ignoring him and treating him like a nuisance.

He had All Might. His hero, who believed in him and who even liked him.

If happiness was the key to the activation, logically, he should have flown into space on the day All Might had told him he could be a hero.

 


 

Two days later, despite Izuku’s best efforts, he still hadn’t unlocked his Supermight potential. At least, he thought that was the name. He wasn’t sure because All Might’s eye had twitched when he had said that but he hadn’t rectified him and Izuku didn’t want to draw his attention too much on the fact he hadn’t searched for the reference.

They were in the classroom, alone because the hour of their meeting had been arranged by Izuku as he had consciously sought out All Might late. And yes, it was indeed because Kacchan went to bed at 8:45.

Izuku would never admit it but a part of him regretted the time where he was alone with All Might as far as the secret of One for All was concerned. It was petty and he wasn’t proud of it, but he couldn’t help it.

“At first, I asked Uraraka if she could make me float to focus on how it felt,” he explained, “but I have been unable to do it on my own.”

Of course, it had been a shot in the dark but he didn’t regret the experience. Uraraka had immediately lightened up when he had asked for this favor and being gravity-free was always a fun experience. Iida had also joined in an “impromptu training session” which had actually been the funniest game of tag he had ever played.

“Then, I tried meditation with Tokoyami but it didn’t work out.”

And by that, Izuku meant that he simply couldn’t relax. Thinking of nothing, emptying his mind, was impossible for him. He had tried with Tokoyami and had quickly realized that he couldn’t help but to be focused on his classmate and his room. When he had tried meditating on his own, in the comfort of his own bedroom, he had noticed that he was listening to every sound and absentmindedly tracking the movements of people walking in the hallways or speaking downstairs.

Izuku didn’t know how to relax in silence. He decompressed by listening to music, watching hero fights, and analyzing quirks. Even when he fell asleep, his mind was creating stories to stay distracted.

“Of course, I also trained on my own, by thinking of specific happy memories and of happiness in general, but until now, it didn’t get me any results. You wouldn’t know anything else about Float?”

All Might, still holding the notebook where Izuku had written a very synthetic summary all his experimentation and theories –only eighteen pages – gave him a strange look, his eyes wide.

“Alas, I don’t,” he finally said. “I know my master’s trigger was emotional but I didn’t ask her questions about her quirk. Not when I was training for what was going to be an enhancer quirk.”

The good old days when One for All was not distributing quirks like candies at Halloween.

All Might kept going through the pages. Sighed. Passed a hand on his face.

Oh, that’s not good.

“I’m aware it might be a little late to say that,” his hero admitted, “but, please, don’t worry about it too much. It am realizing that it was simply wrong of me to ask you to unlock a quirk when I obviously don’t know what I’m talking about. Just keep training with what you already have. I have no doubt the rest will come to you naturally.”

Oh.

 


 

The next day, in the morning, after Kacchan finished brushing his teeth so violently that it was a miracle he still had enamel, he turned to Izuku and raised his eyebrow, enquiring about his progress.

Izuku was relieved he could take advantage of his toothbrush in order not to admit his failure out loud. He shook his head, and in response, Kacchan rolled his eyes.

“How long are you going to lag behind, Deku?”

Izuku finished brushing his teeth and checked that no one was about to enter the bathroom.

“All Might said that it was okay for me to focus on Full Cowl and Black Whip for now,” he mumbled.

“Isn’t that the kind of thing you say to someone who didn’t manage to do their job so they don’t feel bad?” Kacchan teased.

It was harsh.

But Izuku agreed.

 


 

On the following days…

Kacchan did his best to encourage him…

 


 

“You still didn’t get the hang of it?”

 


 

Just like that,” Kacchan mouthed as he launched himself using explosions.

 


 

“Even if you did manage to fly, I bet the quirk would actually be lame.”

 


 

Deku took some momentum and jumped as if gravity didn’t have any hold on him… until it did. Slowly, then with more and more speed, his ascension inversed itself and he started to fall.

A sense of urgency passed through Ochako as she didn’t see him trying to shift his center of gravity or to put himself in any position to lessen the impact. Instead, he kept looking up, a sense of longing being emitted from his whole being.

Ochako tensed. She couldn’t help it. And from the corner of her eye, she saw Aizawa-Sensei keeping an eye on Deku, analyzing the situation.

But before he touched the ground, he twisted his body mid-air, cancelling some of his momentum, before executing a perfect landing, his weight on his toes so the kinetic impact would go up his muscles and not through his bones.

Of course, Ochako had known he would. Deku had jumped from higher and Ground Epsilon was covered in thick mats that would have absorbed most of the impact anyway. But still, that hadn’t prevented Ochako to feel the mighty need to run to her friend and to slap the gravity out of him.

Since it had started their friendship, this couldn’t be such a bad urge.

She walked to him, not because she had been afraid but just as a friend would just approach another, just friendly interactions. But Bakugou got there first in an explosion, passing through but not without talking to Deku. Ochako only got the last part.

“… If you’re going to jump to push your limits, stop half-hassing it and try the roof or something if you want real progress.”

When she heard the words, Ochako didn’t react to them because it was typical Bakugou. He dished out death threats without thinking and everyone was used to it. But what drew her attention was Deku, who had never reacted with anything more than awkwardness to that kind of words.

For a moment, less than half a second, his gaze became steel-like, something cold passing through him. It slapped Ochako in the face because it was the first time she had seen her friend so irritated with someone, lest of all towards Bakugou.

Deku’s childhood friend didn’t see it but Ochako witnessed. No matter how fast it disappeared, she knew what she had seen.

“Is there… What were you trying to do?” she asked as Deku was back to his usual demeanor.

No, not usual. This week, he had been weird. Quieter, more in his thoughts, and looking for something without talking to them. She had noticed it, like everyone else –that was why Momo had made him several cups of tea, why Todoroki and Iida kept offering half of their lunch meal, and why she had showed him on her phone a couple of All Might videos she thought he hadn’t seen and had discovered he loved to watch AGAIN- but she hadn’t realized it.

“Training myself to fall, apparently,” was his answer.

 


 

Toshinori was making himself some tea and almost got burned to the second degree after startling, not because he hadn’t seen Aizawa-kun arriving but because he hadn’t been prepared for the glare his colleague was giving him when he looked up.

“What’s the deal with Midoriya?” Aizawa-kun asked.

On principle, Toshinori was responsible of everything Young Midoriya did. And he was completely fine with that, but he was going to need more details.

“What do you mean?”

Did he hurt himself? Did he manifest a new quirk that broke something? Has he accidentally smacked himself against a wall again because he was looking at a quirk? What is it???

“He has been distracted all week and he is starting to distance himself from his classmates. There is also something almost desperate in how he is training.”

Toshinori understood in the second that despite what he had told the boy, Young Midoriya was still trying to find Float.

Guilt stabbed him where what remained of his guts were.

This request was not worthy of a teacher and a mentor in the first place.

“Did he hurt himself?” Toshinori asked again, but out loud this time.

He would have a hard time forgiving himself if Young Midoriya had pushed himself too far because Toshinori had stressed him out about finding more of the quirks inside One for All.

“Not yet. That’s why I want you to talk to him before that happens. He is more willing to share with you what’s bothering than with me.”

 


 

Izuku didn’t go back with the others to the dorms after the school day was over. Instead, he went directly to the woods, abandoning his bag near a tree, and he started training, only using Full Cowl.

Not even Black Whip. At this point, he was simply looking for the peace that came with wholeheartedly pouring oneself into training. No time to think or to be weighed down by anything. Just the present.

 


 

Young Midoriya wasn’t answering his phone, which meant it was still on silent mode. He usually picked it up and checked it as soon as the classes were over, like every teenager, so it meant something had distracted him.

If I was a talented but anxious young man who feels pressured to progress as fast as possible, where would I go?

Toshinori smiled and started to walk towards their spot in the woods.

 


 

Izuku, making jumps, kicks and punches, hadn’t felt so good in a week and he realized that All Might had been right to tell him to stop obsessing about Float. It had been counter-productive and affecting his spirit.

However, he wasn’t absorbed enough not to notice when someone approached. With a smile, he landed and turned to greet All Might…

Only to see Kacchan.

His smile dropped as fast as it had appeared.

Not that Kacchan couldn’t be here, of course. It was just that Izuku hadn’t just expecting it because that had been their training spot, to All Might and him.

“Hi, Kacchan,” he greeted him because he had no idea of what to say.

“We already saw each other,” he reminded him just as Izuku knew he would, his hands in his pocket and not looking at him directly.

Instead, he observed the clear space made by the trees, the traces of Izuku’s air blasts, and as he did… it wasn’t his fault, of course… but Izuku was now right back on edge.

It was okay, though. He just needed to train again and those feelings would pass. Then, he could go to bed and exhaustion would make him fall asleep immediately.

“You’re training?” Kacchan asked.

Izuku nodded.

His childhood friend took that as an invitation and started to roll up his sleeves as he was walking towards Izuku.

And he stopped abruptly when Izuku talked, not as cautiously as he should have.

“That won’t be necessary.” Kacchan seemed angrier by the second, so Izuku needed to add something. “I am almost done anyway. So, if you don’t mind, of course, could you… leave me alone?”

Kacchan rolled his eyes and started to leave, not without a “Whatever.” and Izuku felt relieved that it wouldn’t go beyond that. At least, until Kacchan added something.

Something innocuous.

Something that crashed through Izuku, even if there was no reason to.

“Seriously, I don’t see why you can’t just lighten up and do it.”

It was said without thinking, of course. Kacchan tended to do that. He just spoke and didn’t realize what kind of impact his words would have.

Or didn’t care.

But Izuku really thought about it. And the answer was simple, something he had always known, but never said out loud.

“Do you remember the first time you advised me to jump from a building? Not this afternoon. I am talking about earlier.”

Kacchan turned towards him, with something that wasn’t totally anger on his face.

“You told me to jump from a roof and to hope I would receive a quirk in my next life,” Izuku reminded him.

His eyes widened almost comically.

“I can’t lighten up, Kacchan,” Izuku said without accusing him, because at this point, it was just what it was. Nothing more, nothing less. “I don’t know how. I learned to be always on my guards and you don’t get to forget why.”

Izuku should have stopped. He could see how uncomfortable Kacchan was. He was actually attuned to it. Since Kamino, Kacchan had been scared, scarred by what had happened and by what he had seen. And to hide what he thought was weakess, he was succumbing more easily to anger and bravado.

But it was like a dam had broken.

“You told me I was worthless since we were children. I might have made Deku mine so it would stop hurting me but you were the one who created this name to make me feel bad about who I am.”

Because why should Izuku give so much effort protecting Kacchan’s feelings when there had never been any kind of reciprocity?

“And one day, you stopped being my friend,” Izuku continued, his voice so calm, but an anger he hadn’t suspected showing itself behind every word. “You started to hate me and I still don’t know why. I loved you. I still look up to you, I care about you, and you decided to despise my very existence. And you made sure that everyone knew that if they were nice to me, they would have to face you.”

And no one was stupid enough to piss off Bakugou Katsuki. The one who would go far. The one who would become a hero.

Even the teachers had ignored what he was doing to Izuku and laughed with him when Izuku was mocked.

“You bullied me.”

The word echoed between them. Kacchan was looking at him, all colors drained from his face, as if he was seeing him for the first time. As if he was scared.

And with this word, Izuku realized the enormity of what had happened.

He had been there. He had known what was happening to him. But he hadn’t realized what it meant until he acknowledged it at this moment.

“You bullied me for ten years,” he realized, feeling suddenly so lost. “You made fun of me. You made me fall. You used your quirk on me. Explosions on my skin. You destroyed my notebook. You made sure everyone would always laugh at me when I said I wanted to be a hero… You told me to jump from a roof.”

And at the time, Izuku’s only reply had been for Kacchan to be careful because if he followed that advice, that could ruin his childhood friend’s future.

“We were friends. What did I ever do to you to deserve that?”

But no answer came. Kacchan just stared at him, frozen, as if he was seeing something else where Izuku was.

One part of Izuku recognized it was the same look of fear that Kacchan had when Izuku was mumbling or when they were talking about One for All’s many quirks. This deep look of unsettlement that Kacchan showed when Izuku wasn’t corresponding to the image built in his mind anymore. Something that he had since All Might had retired.

This was a look Izuku had learned to recognize. That was the trauma and stress accumulated through the Summer Camp, the Kamino raid, and All Might’s retirement. That made Kacchan feel awful and that meant it was time to be nice and attentive to him.

Another part of Izuku didn’t care.

“It’s not a rhetorical question. I am asking you.”

After all, Kacchan had never minded speaking his mind before. He had done it when he had commented on the previous holders’ quirks, calling them lame right after learning they had been murdered fighting All for One. He had also done it when he had yelled at Todoroki’s sister for talking about family business with her brother where he could hear them.

He did that because he was anxious about All for One after they encounter so he tried to soothe his nerves by pretending he won't meet the same fate because he has a strong quirk, even though All Might was right here, Izuku would have defended him a hour ago. As for the Todorokis, he didn’t know how to react because of how he was raised.

But everyone had a sad story. It didn’t make any sense for Kacchan to be the only one to have a preferential treatment.

So he waited for Kacchan’s answer.

And it was lackluster, to say the least.

“I…” Kacchan started, so uncharacteristically quiet and still. “I didn’t mean to…”

And then, he stopped, at loss for words.

But Izuku wasn’t looking for an excuse. He wanted an explanation.

“That’s not what I was asking. Maybe you forgot.” That wouldn’t be out of character for him. “But don’t expect me to forget you bullied me. You made my life into a living hell for ten years.”

And Izuku wasn’t blaming Kacchan for how he didn’t manage to activate Float now, but he could prevent him from making feel bad about a drawback that might not have been entirely his fault.

“I know it’s in the past,” Izuku said, his mind a maelstrom of chaotic emotions. “But I can’t forget it. It’s just here and holding me down. So no, Kacchan, to answer your question, I can’t lighten up.”

And now, he wanted him gone.

“So now… Can you leave me alone?” Izuku asked for the second time, and this time, he didn’t care if Kacchan was offended.

 


 

Izuku cried when Kacchan left. He cried because he had said all those things even though Kacchan and him had never gotten along so well and he had compromised that. He cried because frustration and exhaustion were getting the better of him.

But mostly, he cried because he was angry.

He couldn’t repress anything anymore and now anger was here, flooding him with so much pain, pain that he hadn’t known to possess. He cried because of how painful his years of isolation had been, when he had lost all his friends and be ignored in the best cases scenario.

He cried because villains had attacked him and his friends this year. He cried because the adults in his life hadn’t protected him, not from Kacchan and not from the League.

He cried because he was angry at Bakugou and it was the first time he allowed himself to truly acknowledge it, to resent how he had always care for him and made sure he was alright, rewarding someone who had willfully inflicted so much pain upon him.

If he had used Black Whip, the woods would have been flattened by a sea of uncontrollable darkness. But since he couldn’t, he just let all of this anger out, acknowledging it, making his peace with it.

He cried because he was doing his best, always, and it was unfair that it wasn’t enough.

A better person would have tried harder.

Izuku knew he wasn’t a better person. He was just himself.

He didn’t know how long he spend in those woods, crying, but when it was over, the night was starting to fall and he had never felt so calm in his life. Wiped out, exhausted, hurting at various place, but he had never been in such a state of peace.

His legs were trembling when he started to walk back to the dorms. He was thinking about how he should go to the school bathroom first to splash some cold water on his face when he stumbled. The kind of stumbling that could easily be counter balanced, especially since Izuku had started training at UA, so he immediately started to shift his center of gravity.

Except something didn’t work and his upper body kept leaning forwards, until he tenses his legs to stop his fall, somehow, arms outstretched to regain a balance that wasn’t corresponding to what he had known the last sixteen years of his life.

Izuku realized that it was because his feet weren’t touching the ground anymore.

 


 

Sorahiko had learned to view Toshinori’s phone calls with suspicion because when his ungrateful student finally decided to pick up the phone, it usually meant something alarming had happened.

So, when Toshinori mentioned Float, Sorahiko naturally assumed the kid had accidentally floated himself into the stratosphere.

And he winced when he asked about Nana’s quirk and what he had thought of how to activate it.

Children…

But of course, it wasn’t his fault. There had been so little time and so much to do.

And some things that were kept away from Toshinori because he was a child and Nana had very adult worries.

“Nana’s quirk…” Sorahiko explained, suddenly fighting a wave of memories. “She couldn’t be weighed down by anything. She could regret things, she could be angry about things, but she had to acknowledge them to be free of them. She had to do her best to be completely honest with herself so they wouldn’t hold her down.”

And of course, the kid mentioned that memory that Nana liked to share.

Not a kid, he reminded himself. An adult, with a kid just as clueless on his own.

“Usually, when parents do a good job, a four-years-old doesn’t have the kind of worry that would weight down on older people. But life gets more complicated as it goes on. When Nana lost her husband then gave away Kotaro… She had to use One for All to use her quirk because Float wasn't responding correctly. She was propelling herself through the air and she didn’t have her usual grace or finesse. It’s not until she acknowledged that she had done the best she could to protect her son that she managed to fully use Float again.”

A long silence followed.

What was funny with those was that they could be extremely eloquent.

“Is everything alright with the kid?” he asked.

 


 

Toshinori hanged up and passed his free hand on his face, feeling so incredibly stupid and not because he had misunderstood something fundamental about his master’s quirk.

He had been surprised to find Young Bakugou with Young Midoriya and he had been frozen in shock when Young Midoriya had verbally eviscerated the other hero student.

Toshinori had never witnessed this level of anger in his successor, and never on his own behalf. At the Sport Festival, it was against Young Todoroki. During his internship with Nighteye, it was desperation as he feared that he wasn’t the right choice.

Whatever had happened this week, whatever Toshinori had provoked with a thoughtless request, it had made Young Midoriya snap and now, Toshinori knew he had been bullied. On a horrific level. His successor wasn’t prone to exaggeration and Young Bakugou’s silence was worth a thousand of confirmations.

And since Young Midoriya had integrated UA, at every step of the way, he had been held responsible of his bad relationship with Young Bakugou.

Worse, Toshinori had wanted for Young Midoriya to have a confident, someone he could lean on, unlike Toshinori who had assumed the duty of One for All on his own during decades. But he hadn’t asked Young Midoriya what he wanted. He had simply assumed that since he had already almost revealed his secret once, Young Bakugou was a good choice. A peculiar but trusted friend.

So he had made sure that Young Midoriya would have to do what he had done for two thirds of his life: bear it and share the blame for something he wasn’t responsible of.

Everyone did. The teachers simply didn’t react to the one-sided screaming and threats, as if the word childhood friend automatically made the boy who never raised his voice or who was never in the confrontation as guilty as the other.

All Might took a deep, shaky breath, and thought about it.

He had left when Young Midoriya had asked to be alone for the second time, and even if neither boy has seen him, Toshinori had known the boy needed space.

And he couldn’t just walk to him after that. He needed a plan of action.

He needed to show Young Midoriya that he could rely on him and talk to him.