Something is off with Deku.
Katsuki can’t quite put his finger on it.
The damn nerd is still mumbling to himself as he scribbles away in that stupid notebook of his just like he always is.
Something is different.
Ever since that day when Katsuki had crossed the line and said something he could never take back, Deku has been just a little... off.
The teacher mentions that Deku has decided not to try for UA after all and the class starts shouting in shared triumph (as if it really matters to them what Deku decides to do with his life.)
“Finally he gets it!”
“Midoriya has accepted his place in life!”
“He can never be a hero!”
He doesn’t hunch into himself.
The green eyes don’t water.
His hands don’t start to shake.
Deku just keeps working on his notebook (and it’s a new one, Katsuki can’t help but notice. No burn marks or water damage anywhere on it and that feels important somehow.)
Deku doesn’t look up.
His lips pull into a sad little smile but... that’s it.
The bell rings and he closes his notebook and Katsuki can see the cover briefly as Deku turns to put it away.
‘Crime Analysis for the Future #1’
And looks away.
It’s not like he cares or anything.
The building is on fire.
Scratch that- the apartment complex chock full of civilians is on fire.
The villain, a woman with some kind of tech quirk, is loaded with gear, the most prominent being a flamethrower cannon which she has just used to set aforementioned apartment building aflame.
Has Hanta mentioned that he was only twenty minutes away from being off duty for the day?
“I was twenty minutes away from being off duty for the day!!!” Kaminari wails.
Hanta quickly takes charge.
“Chargebolt! Call in for backup and then try and keep that villain distracted till help arrives! I’m gonna focus on evacuating the building!”
He doesn’t wait for a reply, already using his tape to swing up high towards people he can see calling for help at the windows. He taps his helmet to seal it off. There should be enough oxygen stored to last him and he can’t risk smoke inhalation. Not with these stakes.
Time seems to blur as he snags people from the open windows, swinging them to a neighboring building where people had already appeared to stare.
(He’d usually be more bothered by the spectators but these ones had taken his orders immediately, catching whoever he rescued and helping them get to the ambulances already arriving on the streets below. Decent human beings. Some of them even put their phones down first.)
Hanta swings from window to window, hyperfocused on his task.
And then, just when he’s sure he’s gotten everyone, he hears a loud shriek.
There’s a woman on the burning roof, visibly surrounded by flames, with an odd blanket clutched to her chest. She runs for the edge and leaps off, screaming for help all the while.
He doesn’t think. He just moves, whipping out as much tape as he can to catch the woman before she can hit the ground. In the back of his mind he can’t help but be awed by her trust in him to leap before making sure he’d even been prepared. Being a hero really is an enormous responsibili-
His tape catches her, pulling taut hard enough that he knows he’s probably bruised her ribs. But that’s not what stopped his train of thought cold.
She’d been… holding something… a small child in a blanket had been clutched to her chest. But when her fall had been suddenly halted… the child… nooo!!!
Cellophane is frozen in horror. One elbow is already holding him suspended and the other is holding the woman. He can’t- he can’t-
A blur of blue and green jumps high, red shoes briefly making contact with the wall of the building before leaping sideways to wrap around the child in a minor collision.
The momentum is by no means dispersed but the rapid switch from downwards to sideways allows the blur to curl and take the hit and by the time Hanta and the now unconscious civilian are safely on the ground, he can make out a young fresh faced police officer getting slowly back to his feet.
The five year old boy in his arms is sniffling and the cop shushes him gently even as blood runs down the side of his freckled face from where it skidded across the ground.
Green eyes snap up at his approach and the cop smiles ruefully.
“Let me, Cellophane.” he says, already shifting the child to one hip and reaching for the unconscious woman with his free hand.
Hanta is so stunned he’s actually speechless but the cop goes on to mumble something about, “Chargebolt needing you” and “I can take her.” and even a “You should drink something first since the high temperatures mess with the effectiveness of your tape” which, what the fuck?
But the cop is right.
He doesn’t have the time to carry this civilian to the ambulance and be stuck answering questions about her condition.
He’s gotta get back in there.
He’s a hero and he’s needed.
So he allows the officer to take his charge and is surprised when the man adjusts to their weight easily, carrying the woman and child to the waiting ambulances like it’s nothing.
Hanta shakes his head and turns away.
He’s got a battle to focus on.
But he hopes he can meet that cop again.
He was almost like a hero.
“I was twenty minutes away from being off duty for the day!!!” Denki laments even as he’s already making the mental switch to Chargebolt mode.
“Chargebolt!” Sero- Cellophane- calls in his no nonsense tone. “Call in for backup and then try and keep that villain distracted till help arrives! I’m gonna focus on evacuating the building!”
Cellophane leaps away immediately after and Denki can’t hold back a smile at how much his friend obviously trusts him to get the job done.
He taps at his earpiece receiver even as he sneaks his way towards the villain. “Chargebolt and Cellophane requesting backup. Situation escalated from single villain battle to civilian endangerment. Cellophane evacuating civilians. Chargebolt moving in for distraction.”
“Roger Chargebolt. Forwarding request to nearby on duty heroes.”
The villain cackles and Chargebolt makes a finger gun with his right hand and holds it ready. “Set to auto accept Rinko. I’ll be too busy to respond.”
“Ten four good buddy.”
Denki grins. It had been a hard battle but getting Rinko to sign off with cliched movie references was a battle worth fighting. Now if he could only get her to respond in memes…
He takes a moment to scrutinize the villain. Large backpack with a pulsing blue light on the side- some kind of battery maybe? It's connected somehow to the flamethrower… cannon… Hey where did it go?!
“DEATH RAY MODE!!!” The villain shrieks.
Her hands glow blue as the various pieces of tech take on a similar hue and begin to float around her, before whizzing to assemble themselves into what is obviously, well, a death ray. Fuck.
Nothing for it. He can no longer hold back.
He lifts his left hand, shooter syncing with his visor to aim and lock on target. Three discs fly in rapid succession, “Triangle Formation!” he yells as the discs fan to cut off escape routes. “Fire!” He points with his ready finger gun and lets loose.
The villain… cackles triumphantly?
That small blue light on her backpack begins to flare brighter.
“Thanks for the charge! Bolt!” she laughs madly at her own joke even as her weapon fires.
Denki manages to hold back an uncool yelp (barely) and quickly vaults and flips madly to avoid the beam of light.
He notices something then and stops. “A laser??? Really??? What about that screams death, huh???”
“You won’t be so calm when it hits you, Hero!”
Denki crosses his arms and lets the red beam run across his cheek.
The villain crows in triumph before realizing what Denki had already noticed. “NO!!!” she screams. “It’s supposed to be a laser! Not a freaking Laser pointer!!!”
Denki seizes his chance while she’s distracted switching blueprints. He pulls out the long coiled whip on his belt and sends it flying at the villain’s wrist. He might not be able to zap her weapons without giving them a boost. But he knows how to fry a wrist computer with a single hit.
She shrieks in outrage and Denki starts to relax.
He sees Cellophane swinging in to back him up and he smiles.
She’s lost. There’s nothing she can do with a useless-
Her hands glow and the pieces shift back into the flamethrower cannon.
“You gave it your best Chargebolt but this is the end!”
She spins on one heel, and takes aim at the approaching tape hero.
Denki flinches at the sudden unexpected sound.
Was that… a gunshot?
The villain lets out a wail of despair as her weapon falls to pieces in her hands. “Nooooooooo!!!!”
Cellophane snags her with his tape and Denki can finally see what’s happened to her battery backpack. The blue light is out, cracked into tiny shards from the bullet that had shattered it, and subsequently shut the villain’s attack down.
Cellophane looks at someone over Denki’s shoulder and nods his head once in respect.
The electric hero turns in time to see a green haired police officer lower his smoking weapon- is that blood all over his face???
“Sorry.” the cop calls. “I just. Figured she’d be powerless without her battery so… Hope I didn’t overstep…”
Denki stares at him incredulously. “Are you kidding? That was freaking badass!”
“So manly.” Cellophane deadpans and Denki laughs.
The Invisible Girl steps up with a bright smile on her face.
Not that anyone can see it of course but Tooru has found that the civilians can always tell if she is smiling from the way she talks and waves her gloves.
“What have we got boys?” She cheerily greets the ranking officers on the scene.
The three men glance at each other before the one with an airhorn in his hand steps forward. “Bank robbery turned hostage situation.”
Tooru’s sharp inhale is silent and hopefully indiscernible to the officers.
She shakes out her shoulders to stand straighter, rippling the light pink cape hanging from them.
The civilians crowded behind the police line go wild.
Tooru gives them a grin and a wave even as her eyes remain focused on the officers.
“Two perps. No hits yet on villain costumes or description and they haven’t given us names. They’re here for the vault but the manager with the keys happened to take a half day and well...”
“They panicked.” Tooru finishes, one glove coming up to tap at her chin thoughtfully.
“Correct.” The man snaps his fingers and a techie appears with an open laptop, the security feeds already pulled up. “By our best estimates there are five employees clustered here…” His finger gestures at the windows before moving across to point at the waiting area. “Three adults civilians here and…” he pauses before zooming in on the two villainesses. “One teenage hostage here.”
Tooru presses her lips together to hide her gasp at the way one of the women has her hand on the short boy’s chin, sharp nails digging hard enough to leave welts.
Tooru startles at the sound and turns to see a baby faced policeman standing behind them.
The ranking officer quickly snaps the laptop shut. “Back to the barrier Rookie!”
The green haired man doesn’t move, instead fixing Tooru with bright green eyes.
“You can’t go in there!”
There’s spluttering from the higher up along with some yelling about insubordination but the Rookie ignores it all.
“I recognize them from a news clip! The Vendetta sister: Vixen and Viper! And their quirks are-”
“That’s preposterous!” The man’s so angry his mustache is quivering. “The Vendetta Sisters were arrested years ago! They’ve been incarcerated for the last ten years!”
The green eyed Rookie stands his ground. “They must have escaped then.”
“THEY MUST HAVE ESCAPED??? ESCAPED??? DO YOU EVEN HEAR YOURSELF ROOKIE? I’LL HAVE YOUR BADGE FOR THIS, DO YOU HEAR? YOU’LL NEVER EVEN MAKE IT AS A-”
Rookie ignores his superior, facing Tooru fully. “There’s no time! Just- their quirks give them the characteristics of a snake and fox respectively and among the effects is an enhanced sense of smell!”
Tooru’s blood freezes even as the other officers remain confused and enraged.
Her eyes move to study the slightly panicked green ones.
Her weakness… she’d never told anyone but... invisibility had never worked against classmates like Jirou and Shouji who could hear her coming and… Tokoyami and Ojirou who had been able to… smell her…
How does he-
She snags his collar and walks away. “You! With me!”
There’s more spluttering and Tooru is sure to call over her shoulder. “Oh and be sure to call in that prison break would you?”
She laughs and turns back to the stunned Rookie in her grip.
“Now. Tell me everything!”
“...and then he says- get this! He says, we can defeat them easily if we use their quirks against them by tossing in a couple stink bombs!” So I get into position while he runs into the nearest store and throws em together!! Everyone was gaping in shock and he was just. Obliviously making stinkbombs from scratch!” Hagakure laughs and starts scrolling through her phone as she finishes the story. “So he tossed em in and they were both so distracted by the sensory overload that I could sneak up and apprehend them no problem! I tried to chat with the Rookie before the press arrived but I barely had a chance to get his number and a selfie before he was running back to the store to make sure he had paid for everything. Such a gem.”
She holds out her phone to show off the picture. “He’s just got that face, you know? Trust and goodness. I hope I get to work with him again.”
“Oh I know that guy!” Sero bursts out. “He’s that one I told you all about. The one that caught that kid and saved my life.”
“Oh yeah it is!” Kaminari grins. “Almost didn’t recognize him without all that blood!”
The phone is waved past Bakugou and he glances at it with an odd twist to his mouth “That’s Deku.”
“What??” Kaminari bursts out. “Like ‘Useless’??? What kind of parents would name their kid Deku???”
Bakugou’s tone is off and softer than they’ve ever heard from him before.
He runs a hand down his face and murmurs something so quietly Kirishima almost doesn’t hear it.
The conversation moves on and if anyone notices Bakugou ask Hagakure for Deku’s number, they don’t comment on it.
Hitoshi hates this part of the job.
Patrolling the streets at odd hours is nothing, (he won’t disrespect it by calling it easy.)
Stumbling on minor criminals in alleys or deserted storefronts is nothing to sneeze at sure, but he’d take a million muggers over situations like these.
“What have we got?” he asks in his usual monotone, making the nearest officer jump. (and seriously what’s with that? Just because they aren’t heroes doesn’t mean they should just let their situational awareness fade to shit- focus Hitoshi!)
One officer blinks at him in confusion but the other sneers in disgust. “And you are?”
Hitoshi fights back a sigh and flashes his hero license; both relishing while simultaneously feeling revulsion over the abrupt shift in respect.
God he hates cops.
“Domestic situation escalated. Neighbors have been calling about screaming and crashing sounds a couple times over the past few months but the wife always denied everything. Tonight seems to have finally pushed the husband over the edge into villainy but that’s all we know. Possible child in the vicinity but again, we’ve only just set up a perimeter.”
Hitoshi stifles an eyeroll. Useless. The lot of them.
He shifts into his hero persona, Persuasion, and stretches lightly on the balls of his feet. “Quirk?” he asks.
“Uh… I’ve got an avian mutation that lets me see-”
Hitoshi cuts him off with a look. “Not you! The villain!”
Stupid One blinks slowly while Stupid Two cocks his head to the side. “...you want to know… the family’s quirks?”
Hitoshi fixes them with his signature glare, the one that has set villains everywhere on edge.
He opens his mouth to launch into what promises to be an Iida-worthy lecture when Stupid Two actually makes himself useful.
“Hey Rookie! Hero wants to know the quirks!”
Hitoshi bristles at the fact that the man couldn’t be bothered with his actual hero name when he literally just checked his license two seconds ago.
A policeman around his age, green eyes sparkling with something like awe, comes rushing up. He grabs Hitoshi’s wrist in a surprisingly powerful hold and shakes it excitedly. “Persuasion! Wow! I can’t believe it! I’m such a huge fan!”
Hitshi blinks and wonders how this cop knew not to take his hand but before he can do anything else the officer slaps himself lightly across the face.
“Focus Izuku.” he mumbles.
Hitoshi stares. “Um…”
“Right!” the… Rookie? Izuku? whips out his phone, (a rather large one Hitoshi notices) and taps at it with a stylus. “So I always keep track of quirks in these situations since statistically speaking domestic cases that are routinely brushed aside by the police tend to escalate to villainy or murder within a short amount of time. I’ve been doing a study on it but the higher ups haven’t been taking it as seriously as-”
He slaps himself again. “Sorry I ramble when I get excited.”
He rubs the back of his neck sheepishly while putting his phone away. “Um anyway, Father’s got a nail elongating quirk, Mom’s got a touch based empathy quirk and the kid-” he coughs lightly. “Kid’s quirkless.”
Stupid One laughs. “Keeping tabs on your fellows Midoriya?”
The rookie’s face twitches before settling into a blank mask.
Stupid One is immediately renamed Asshole.
Midoriya turns his back on Asshole, facing Hitoshi squarely. “If the kid’s in the apartment he’s probably hiding. If it’s ok with you, I already know the layout from a previous visit. I could accompany you and take care of the search so you’re free to focus on apprehending the villain.”
Hitoshi knows what he’s expected to say. Knows that Stupid two and Asshole are already laughing about Midoriya’s upcoming rejection.
And that’s why he bares his teeth in a feral grin.
“Sounds like a plan.”
True to Midoriya’s word he slips away silently and locates the six year old girl in a closet. Hitoshi snags the Father with a simple question and has him turn himself in to the cops downstairs while he focuses on the wife.
She’s hurt, badly, wounds clearly stabs from her husband’s quirk.
Hitoshi doesn’t bother with triage, simply picks the woman up and jumps out the window, capture scarf lowering them to the already waiting ambulance.
He watches the paramedics work in a flurry of movement before finally the doors shut and they drive away, sirens wailing. Only then does Hitoshi turn.
“Hey you.” He snags an unfamiliar cop this time, beyond done with the likes of Stupid and Asshole. “What’s gonna happen to the kid while his mother recovers?”
The officer blinks at him before shrugging, long pink hair swinging with the movement. “I mean, if a relative steps forward then they usually come by some time after statements to pick up from the station. If not, Midoriya’s usually on it.”
Hitoshi frowns. “You mean he’s in charge of finding accommodations? Sounds like a weirdly specific job to have.”
The cop laughs. “He’s in the wrong business man. Hearts too big for his own good.” She gestures with a thumb over her shoulder. “I mean that if no one steps forward he takes them himself. Had himself registered as a legit foster parent just for that bleeding heart of his. So stupid.”
Hitoshi’s eyes follow where she’d pointed to see the green haired officer practically on his knees to look up at the crying girl with a bright smile on his face. He says something and she laughs even as tears continue to fall from her eyes. He pats her head gently before pulling out a notebook.
She talks to him then, gesturing wildly with her hands while he writes down every word with hands that only shake a little.
“Kid just can’t say no.” The woman continues unbidden. “He only just got rid of the last one after that big fire and he’s already taking in another one. Like I said. Stupid.”
Hitoshi doesn’t say anything and she finally takes the hint and walks off.
He watches Midoriya interact with the little girl and thinks about how what looked stupid to others looks downright heroic to him.
“So how’ve you been?”
Naomasa groans and cradles his mug of maybe spiked tea. “Awful. Ryo is finally retiring so there’s an opening on my squad.” He takes a long sip and sighs. “It was all well and good to choose his replacement myself till I picked Midoriya. That’s when everything went to shit.”
His mouth twists. “Doesn’t matter all the good he’s done, top brass is simply opposed to a quirkless kid making detective. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and add that it maybe has something to with how young he is. Maybe. Point is, everyone’s got shit to say and my ears are starting to bleed.”
He takes another long drink. “You know, it’s a different world Toshi, then the one we grew up in. Time was you didn’t have to have a quirk to be treated like you were worth something.” He laughs then and it’s sharp and bitter. “Did you know the young ones don’t even know I’m quirkless? It’s right there in my file but most everyone calls me True Man because they think that’s my quirk. As if I haven’t spent years studying to get this good at telling truth from the lies.”
Toshinori clears his throat and sips from his own definitely-not-spiked mug. “Why choose him then?”
Naomasa laughs. “Only someone who hasn’t met him could ask that. Heroes all want him on scene whenever police are involved. Civilians love him to pieces. It’s only the ones that write him off simply because of a label that have a problem.”
He eyes the ceiling and sighs. “I think you’d have liked him Toshi. He’s the kind of cop most heroes do. He doesn’t just hang back and wait for his job to get done for him. I’ve had so many requests not to promote him simply so he can be made a hero liaison instead, isn’t that crazy? And the higher ups want to stick him with traffic. Disgusting.”
“Heroes actually like him? He’s not a… a liability on the field?”
Naomasa snorts. “Don’t be stupid Toshi. And yeah, heroes like him. It… it makes them feel human you know? Less weighed down by the expectations of the masses when he’s around. Just knowing that there’s someone there who’s watching their every move- not to point out everything they did wrong, but to simply catch them if they fall.
They can rely on him. And so they do.”
There’s a pause and it’s so heavy Toshinori almost chokes on it.
“I just don’t get why this kid didn’t try to become a hero. Almost seems like he was made for it.”