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Scared To Be Lonely

Chapter Text

 


In which words turn the world on its hinges and where sometimes, all you need is one person to reach out to you.

Even if it may be the wrong one. 


Izuku is never alone, and yet, always alone.

Such a state of contradiction moulds his constitution to be both fragile and strong. Ever since his once best friend, Bakugou Katsuki, gained his Quirk and he remained without one, Izuku is constantly surrounded by people he had called friends at one point for all the wrong reasons. Constant jeers, taunts, and insults are flung into his despairing, desperate face and swirling inside his head, tearing down his determination slowly.

A year into the change in their relationship, tears well up in his eyes, one bruised, blue and purple, and his nose dripping with a slow trickle of bright red blood. Bakugou keeps yelling cruel words and throwing blows accentuated with small explosions from his palms.

“Fucking useless Deku!  Maybe you had some shitty hope of being a stupid ass late bloomer, but one whole fucking year is really too fucking long, don't you think?”

“Bakugou, absolutely right! As usual!” One of his lackeys shouts, cheering on the boy with a powerful Quirk on. The accompanying child with the extendable fingers makes a sound of agreement.

“And as if it wasn't enough you’re a weak-ass Quirkless bitch, but you still have the fucking guts to say you're still going to be a hero? What the fuck can you do without a fucking Quirk? Give up your stupid dream of becoming a hero already.” The blonde male picks up Izuku’s fallen notebook that was designated Hero Analysis for the Future No. 13 with a certain amount of disgust and aversion.

“I-I…” Izuku stutters, his gaze meeting anywhere but his former childhood friend's. “I can still try, right?”

“What? Are you fucking kidding me? You want to ‘try?’ That’s a fucking laugh.” Bakugou snarls, another miniature explosion erupting from one of his palms, making the notebook he is holding to burst into flames. Izuku's eyes trail the ashen remains of his precious notes scattering in the breeze, still bright with dying embers.

“N-not my hero n-notes…” Izuku mumbles, salty rivers flowing down his face at the sight. His hands reach out in an attempt to catch the charred paper scraps. Bakugou gives him another condescending look and slams what was left of the notebook that he hadn’t already destroyed on the ground, causing the surrounding papers to flutter.

“Tch, fucking pathetic.  What the fuck did you think you were going to use them for anyway? There's no fucking way you'd ever be a hero without a Quirk, you stupid Deku!” Bakugou’s eyes widen as a thought crosses his mind. “I know… why don't you just fucking throw yourself off a shitty roof and pray to some fucking god that you'll be reborn with a Quirk in the next fucking life?”

A wave of shock courses through the green-haired boy’s frame, his eyes enlarging and pupils contracting so small, they are mere specks in his irises.   Kill himself… and reborn with a Quirk..?

Izuku trembles, previously clenched fists slackening in despair. The other boy’s malicious taunts echo within him. By the time he finishes processing his former best friend's words, the other boy is long gone, tired of looking at the freckled boy’s despondent face.

Kacchan’s words, although harsh as they were, aren’t wrong.  What hope is there to dream of developing a Quirk now?  How can he be a hero when everyone keeps telling him he can't without a decent Quirk?

The doctor had said no.  His mom too.  And Kacchan.  Too many people to count had told him no.  Tears continue streaming down his cheeks, and he closes his eyes, feeling whatever resolve dissipate.

“Was that your friend?” An unfamiliar voice speaks up from in front of him, startling him out of his train of thought.  Izuku belatedly realizes that there is a pair of sneakers in his gaze and that he is kneeling on the ground, arms hanging by his side as useless as he felt emotionally.  Glancing up, he sees a man, a teenager really, with a black hoodie covering his ashen hair and severely chapped lips.  The older male’s eyes condescendingly stare down at him, but they are somewhat kind and understanding as well.

“A-ah, I g-guess?  I mean… w-we used t-to be really c-close, b-but ever since he got h-his Quirk--” Izuku starts muttering.

The one with chapped lips gives a light snort at the long-winded explanation for a yes or no question and interrupts the kid’s speech, “Shitty friend.  Where do people get off treating others like that..?”

Izuku doesn't reply.  The teenager is about to walk away, but his eyes catch sight of the remains of Izuku's Hero Analysis notes and picks up one of the pages that had mostly been spared the same fate as the rest.  He quickly eyes them, grasping them with only four fingers before speaking again, “Hm, you have a pretty good eye for detail.”

The green-haired boy's head snaps up at this statement and his eyes wander around the other’s face, looking for signs of sarcasm or cruelty, but finding none.

His heart burst with hope with the next words.

“I think I can find you useful.  What do you say to paving your own path as a 'hero?’”


Shouto is never alone, and yet, always alone.

His “loving” father, the No. 2 Hero, Endeavor, is constantly dragging him in multiple directions.  From Quirk training (more like intense rage relieving sessions and beatings, really) to additional academic studies outside of regular school, Shouto is hounded by responsibilities and insane expectations.  He can't help but feel like he is slowly losing pieces of himself, crumbling underneath the pressure and stress.  His only escape had been the calming presence of his mother, but that no longer is an option after the incident.  Absently, his hand traces the rough, dead skin of his scar on his left side of his face.

His father is the reason his mother had acted up that day--she too had felt the overwhelming strain and had lashed out.  She is right, his left side is atrocious, especially because Shouto inherited it from his father… no, that man, because that man isn't anything close to being a father to him.

He is the reason why this so-called family is cold and distant and scared.   He is the reason his mother was forced into a loveless marriage and forced to give up her livelihood as an independent woman and hero.   He is the reason Shouto can't see any bright prospects in his future.  And he is the reason that Shouto will never use the fire half of his Quirk.

After a particular gruelling training session, Shouto is given reprieve from that awful man, who had run off to the scene of a villain attack.  He can't stand being in this house for any longer than necessary and takes to wandering outside.  Shouto isn't looking where he is going; he just wants to get away from all the negative feelings that house pushes on him.  He never notices a pair of yellow glowing eyes tracking his movement.

The red and white-haired boy grows angry and he punches a nearby wall, ice coats his fist in an attempt to soften the blow slightly, but his knuckles still come off bloody and red.

“Oh dear, boy.  You shouldn't have hit that wall so hard… what did it ever do to you?” An amused tone can be heard from behind him, and Shouto whips around, ready to fight just in case. “I'm sorry for startling you, but please let me at least tend to that hand of yours.”

Shouto warily eyes the man made of black mist and well-tailored clothes, still tense despite the placating words. “Who are you?”

“My name is Kurogiri.  I am a doctor who runs a small clinic in the area.” He shows the boy his medical license and business card briefly, to which the boy gradually lowers his guard.  The man doesn't seem to want to cause him any harm. “I was just passing by and couldn't help but notice your aggression towards to wall.”

Suddenly feeling a bit sheepish, Shouto rubs the back of his hand distractedly.  A smoky arm reaches out, asking to see the boy's injured limb.

“It doesn't seem like you fractured anything, but come with me so I can bandage this up and prevent infections, alright?” The man is compassionate and understands his initial apprehension, slowly coaxing him to trust him.

And so Shouto follows the man to the clinic, feeling oddly comfortable to talk vaguely about his situation at home with the neighbourhood doctor, once they arrive at an examination room.

“I see… Your father seems to have a great deal of expectations for you.  I can see why you'd feel distressed.  You said he is a Pro Hero?”

Shouto nods.

“Well, isn't that utterly ironic?  A Pro Hero that inflicts grievances upon his own blood.  Disgusting.” Shouto can’t see the man’s expression, but he imagines the other’s features are twisted into a nasty sneer. “If you ever need someone to complain to or to tend to your injuries, feel free to stop by anytime, Shouto.”

And Shouto seeks solace every time that man gets too rough or too difficult for him to bear.

Chapter Text


In which discussions about this wretched society ensue and important introductions are made.


Tomura and Izuku bump into each other quite a number of times following their initial meeting.  Tomura even takes to observing the younger male during his daily life and the interactions of the ones in closest proximity to him.  A week later, the teen with ash-coloured hair calls out to the young boy when he is trailing behind Bakugou.  Izuku waits until Bakugou turns the corner before he acknowledges the older male, who gestures that he wants to talk to Izuku about something.  The two enter the playground and sit on the swings side-by-side.

“Don’t you think the way this society works is messed up, Izuku?  People decide who is worthy of being a hero or a villain based on one’s Quirk.  That kid’s Quirk is considered powerful, is it not?  But his behaviour is the complete opposite of what a hero’s should be.  Yet, he is constantly praised and forgiven at every turn.  It makes you think of how warped this society is.  Everyone turns a blind eye to your abuse, the insults, and the bruises.  No one has even asked how you are or how you got injured.  The reason?  They already know the answer.”

Izuku starts crying as he realizes that his newfound friend speaks nothing but the cold, harsh truth.

But Tomura isn’t finished, “And where are the heroes in all of this?  They’re nowhere to be found, of course.  There is no glory or money from cases like yours or mine.  This society is disgusting, revolting!  They do absolutely nothing to help those who are truly in need of someone to simply reach out.  Izuku, don’t you wish to change the way the world works?  Don’t you wish that there will never be victims like us in the future?”

The freckled boy sobs and makes a grab for Tomura’s arm; he can feel the pain the older male had endured up to this point and it only magnifies what he is feeling tenfold.


“Shouto-kun, are you sure you should continue living in such a toxic environment?  It mustn’t be good for a developing young boy.  Considering everything that you have confided in me up until this point… and the severity and amount of wounds I have to treat every time you visit…” Kurogiri gently broaches the topic of concern, all while placing yet another gauze on a burnt patch of skin.

Shouto is silent for a couple moments, contemplating and choosing his next words carefully.

“I don’t really have any other place to go.  Most people recognize my name and face, so they would just send me right back to where I am and that man would be even more displeased and enraged that he would take it out during a lesson.” The young child finally replies, wearily rubbing the bridge of his nose.  The foggy form of the man in front of him lets out a soft puff of air, finding the boy’s argument sound.

“You are admired by many people for your Quirk and lineage, but no one knows--cares? --what happens behind closed doors, do they?  Even though the masses agree that Endeavor is an unpleasant man, no one bothers to look past and see that such behaviour may extend to his family!  What he did to your mother and what he is doing to you… It is this kind of bias and hypocrisy that must be stopped.”

Shouto can’t find it in him to argue against Kurogiri, not that he would have wanted to.  Kurogiri offers a smoky hand as an offering, “What do you say to that?  Become a key player to said change?”

And the half-cold, half-hot Quirk user takes the proffered hand without hesitation or any semblance of regrets.

He never looks back.


“Izuku, this is Kurogiri.  He's basically our transportation to anywhere.” Tomura introduces the green-haired boy standing next to him.  The freckled child scrambles to bow and stutters out a “nice to meet you, Kurogiri-san.”

The older man is enamoured with the boy's mild and sweet mannerisms, telling the child so.  Tomura gives a hefty look to the black mist Quirk user and says, “I want him to meet Sensei.”

If Kurogiri had visible eyebrows, they would surely be raised in surprise.  This definitely comes as a side to the man made of black mist.  Considering that this is the first that he has heard of the boy and that Tomura has taken such a liking to the boy is odd indeed.  Kurogiri doesn't address the matter immediately, but observes the short boy in front of him.  It's not that he doesn't trust Tomura’s judgement (although it is questionable), but meeting with Sensei is a whole different level from introducing him to Kurogiri, not to mention within a single day.  Still, he doesn’t refute Tomura’s request and powers up the laptop that sits behind the bar counter.

It is an eventful day, to say the least.

“It is certainly curious that you would contact me out of the blue, Kurogiri.” A raspy voice can be heard through the speakers of the portable computer.  The video portion finally connects and Izuku is greeted by the sight of what appears to be an extremely disfigured man.  His upper face does not consist of any eyes and there is barely a nose present, only two slits that must be where his nostrils had been at one point.  The man doesn’t have an upper lip either, his teeth bare to the world.  There are various tubes connecting to his neck and face, the largest of which seems to be a breathing mechanism for the older man.

Izuku jolts in shock and he can’t help but stare.

The man, Sensei, doesn’t have eyes but somehow he can sense that there is another, unfamiliar presence in the bar. “I see you have brought someone of interest, Tomura.”

“Yes, Sensei.  I believe he can be good for our cause.” The teen with chapped lips is all business when he speaks to his caretaker and mentor.  He knows he is usually hard to deal with, especially with his gaming analogies and childish behaviour (even for his age).

“Well, this is an interesting development.  And pray tell me, what can you do, boy?” The heavily scarred man’s voice rumbles, leaving Izuku trembling slightly.  He can tell this man is very dangerous.

“U-uh, um,” The green-haired boy glances at Tomura for guidance, but his focus is solely on the laptop screen. “I-I guess I enjoy Hero watching..?”

Sensei is silent and Izuku takes this as a cue to continue stumbling through his words.

“I'm a really big fan of watching fights and I also like taking notes on each person's Quirks, like limitations or Quirks that would work well against theirs in a battle.  The other day I witnessed Endeavor of all people--the number 2 Hero--fending off a couple of bank robbers whose Quirks were Mild Persuasion and Hawk Eyes.  I really thought he was at a disadvantage because--” He's rambling excessively again.   It's a nervous habit of his, Izuku knows this well; Bakugou often got pissed off due to this and he had the scars to prove it.  Tomura clears his throat as politely as possible, a gentle reminder for the boy to stop digging a bigger hole.  Although interesting as Izuku's observations may be, this is neither the time nor the place for it.

A wide smile slowly spreads over Sensei's lips.  The other members of the League can tell that their leader wants to invest time and resources in this young boy, wants to draw out his potential even more.

“And how exactly did you end up here?” He inquires subsequently.  To prevent further long-winded answers, Tomura takes over at this point.

“Izuku is Quirkless and has been relentlessly bullied and abused by his peers for his Quirk status.” The grey-haired male explains briefly.  If it is possible, he thinks he sees Sensei's grin grow in size.

“This is honestly quite perfect.  What a lovely coincidence.  Some would say it is fate at work here.  Welcome to the League of Villains, Izuku.”

 

Chapter Text


In which new bonds are forged and powers are granted.


A couple of weeks down the road, Kurogiri finally deems it time to call a meeting.

“Izukun,” Tomura addresses the freckled boy by his newly christened nickname, “Welcome to your first official meeting.”

The group gathered isn’t really all that much to be in awe of.  There’s only Tomura, Kurogiri, Izuku, and a taller boy than Izuku of similar age.  Izuku eyes the white and red-haired boy, hair colour split perfectly down the middle, and he can’t put his finger on it, but the other looks oddly familiar.  It isn’t until Kurogiri speaks up to introduce the child that he realizes who he is.

“This is Todoroki Shouto.” Kurogiri briefly says.

“Todoroki?” Izuku echoes, looking baffled at the revelation, “Like the same Todoroki as Endeavor?”

Shouto can’t help the sneer that crosses his face at the mere mention of his father’s Hero name.  The timid boy cowers slightly and retreats on himself.  Observant mismatched eyes notice his reaction and his expression softens. “My apologies.  I do not have… the best relationship with that man.”

The tenseness in Izuku’s shoulders fades slightly and he releases an audible, but soft exhale of relief. “I guess that’s why you’re here, isn’t it?  My name is Midoriya Izuku, by the way.”

The child shoots his fellow kindred spirit a small smile of amusement and Izuku returns it slowly.

“It's a pleasure to meet you, Midoriya.”

“Um, please call me Izuku… if that's alright with you.” Shouto already feels captivated at the sight of the other's shy blush tickling his speckled cheeks, but nods regardless of his thoughts and asks Izuku to do the same.  Shouto can't stand his family name.

Kurogiri admires the sense of camaraderie that has already been established.  It is hard to believe that these two boys are only the tender age of 6, and have been made to suffer so much.  The man allows the two to soak in the mutual feelings of solidarity for a second before moving on to the next topic of discussion. “Our main focus at this point is to recruit more members.”

Shouto raises his hand up slightly to politely interrupt the older man, “Kurogiri-san, I must ask though… You told me that the League wants to change the way this society works, but how do you plan on doing so?”

Tomura takes this chance to cut in, “The foremost cause for the way the world works is because All Might paved the way for such revolting ‘heroes’ to rise in popularity.  As such, it is our priority to take him down.”

Izuku looks startled at the revelation; after all, he has spent the majority of his short life admiring the No. 1 Hero.  Shouto seems to be sitting in shock as well.  He does not know the Hero well, but he knows that the man is beloved by the people of Japan.

“You do not know the horrors that All Might has caused many people during his career as a Hero.” The grey-haired teenager mumbles, but sees the need to expand since neither of the newest recruits look convinced, “Let me tell you what happened to my grandmother and my parents.”

Tomura gives a detailed explanation and insight into why he has turned out the way he has.  He also describes how the mastermind behind the League of Villains, a man called Sensei, took him in as a little child and raised him as his own.  He is the man who saved him.  The teen mentions that All Might is the cause for Sensei’s disfigurement as well.

A look of dawning spreads across both of the 6-year-old boys’ faces, before settling down to disgust, although slightly muted on Shouto’s face; he has not met Sensei before, but the description of the old injury of an ally is gruesome.  The two do not have any words of comfort nor anything else to say.

“Moving forward,” Kurogiri starts again, “We will need to recruit more members as I stated before, that will be my focus from now on.  As for what to do with the two of you, I believe we should keep you as our secret members.  There is much potential for what you would be able to do, given your age.  For now, keep a low profile and don’t give any indication that your allegiances have changed.”

It needs not be stated that the children had originally aspired to become Heroes before they had stumbled across the League.  After a few more ideas are thrown around, the meeting concludes.


 

Several days later, Kurogiri catches wind of some interesting and promising information.  All Might is planning on teaching at U.A. High at some point in the future.  He relays this tidbit of information to the League’s leader, who cackles in delight.

“This is perfect, Kurogiri.  It seems Lady Luck is on our side these days.  This is an excellent opportunity for our newest recruits to go undercover at U.A, what do you say?”

“Most fortuitous indeed.  Izuku does not have a Quirk though, how do you intend on helping him pass the Entrance Exam?”

“I’m surprised you have to ask.” The man made of mist laughs and shakes his head at himself; he momentarily forgot about Sensei’s ability to give Quirks. “Inform the boys I wish to meet with them.”

Kurogiri nods in consent and takes his leave.


 

Izuku shifts his weight from side to side, out of anxiety.  Shouto is a warm presence beside him and provides him with a sense of familiarity, although they have not known each other for long.  This is the first time the two children are to meet with the League’s leader in person and not over video chat.

Nothing prepares Shouto for the sight of the man’s lack of facial features, but he does not show any visible signs of shock.

“Shouto, Izuku, it is a pleasure to finally meet the two of you face to face… or rather, my lack of face.  I apologize for any discomfort, Shouto.” Sensei addresses the boys.   Shouto quirks an eyebrow in questioning, it wasn’t possible for the man to know, but he does. “Neither of you have been informed, I suppose, but my Quirk is rather unusual.  I am able to transfer others’ Quirks to myself and pass them onto others as I see fit; it is called All For One.  So, yes, your thoughts are broadcasted quite clearly to me.”

Oh.  A telepathic Quirk.  A Quirk that allows you to hold multiple Quirks.  Izuku is fascinated at the presentation of a new Quirk and itches to take notes or ask more detailed questions, but he refrains.

“Why have you called us here today, Sensei?” Shouto asks, straight to the point.  He is trembling slightly in awe at the power of the disfigured man before him.

“I have some very important news for the two of you.  Today marks the first day that you begin a mission for the League.” Sensei is slowly provoking their interest, baiting them and they are on the edge of their proverbial seats. “All Might will be teaching at U.A. High in the future.  We believe he is looking for a successor for his mantle as the Symbol of Peace.  This is a favourable chance for the both of you to go undercover as U.A. students and get inside information.”

Izuku vibrates with excitement at the prospect of going to his once dream school, even if he doesn’t plan (or rather he can’t) on becoming a Hero after the occurrences of the past weeks.  Shouto isn’t any better, but he knows that Endeavor will send him to U.A. on recommendation.  The half-cold, half-hot Quirk user is glad he won’t have to worry about the Entrance Exam.

“However, I believe it is of utmost importance to mention your Quirkless status, Izuku.” Sensei blatantly states, reminding Izuku, who is frozen in place.  The scarred man pauses to let the words settle in, before continuing, “And that you will be granted an appropriate Quirk.  Pray tell me, what types of Quirks do your parents possess?”

An audible sigh of relief exits the green-haired boy’s mouth, afraid to be placed back in a position where he is useless and lacking hope, “My mom can pull small objects towards her and my dad was able to breathe fire.”

Shouto and Sensei both carefully note the use of past tense when the smallest of them mentions his father, but do not outwardly acknowledge it.

“Hm… Yes, I do believe I have the right Quirk for you without it seeming too far from traditional inheritance.  Come closer, Izuku.” The boy does as told, shaking.  Truth be told, Izuku isn’t sure whether he’s nervous or exhilarated.  Sensei places a warm palm over his forehead and he feels a spark, a tingle, and then the aching as if a hammer is pounding directly on his skull.  Izuku’s hands come to clutch his head in pain, he whimpers and grits his teeth hard, but Sensei doesn’t remove his hand.  After a few moments, the pain has passed, fading away to a tolerable throb; he doesn’t feel any different, but it’s hard to tell. “Do give it some time to settle in.  Your brain is adaptable since you have remained Quirkless your entire life.  Any other person with a Quirk would not be as flexible as you, since their brains have developed and molded to a specific Quirk, did you know that?”

Green eyes glimmer and shine, being Quirkless has a perk for once.  The white and red-haired child is standing off to the side, silently watching.  He is undoubtedly curious as to what Quirk was just given to the previously Quirkless male.  A grin stretches over barren and warped lips, and he knows that he knows what he is thinking.

“It’s quite a simple Quirk, albeit fairly powerful.  It’s a form of pyrokinesis, fitting for a child of a firebreather and an object-attracting pair, don’t you think, Shouto?  Trust me, Izuku, there is much I will teach and train you in using this power.  Of course, the same goes for you, my boy.” He is staring, undeterred by his lack of eyes, directly in Shouto’s direction.  Both of their fists clench in anticipation.

They are dismissed and told to return in two days’ time, which gives Izuku time to adjust to and experiment with his newly granted Quirk.  As they walk out the door of the bar that doubles as the League’s hideout, Izuku turns deep emerald eyes to the taller boy accompanying him. “U-um, Shouto-k-kun, I was w-wondering, if you’d like to hang out for a bit?  J-just to get to know each other a bit more, since we’ll be working together from now on.  Oh and I guess we’ll be training as well--”

Shouto interrupts the other as smoothly as he can, “I’d like that, Izuku.” His heart tightens at the bright smile directed at him.

They decide to grab a drink and a light snack, talking for quite some time.  It is nice for the two of them to experience tranquility and solidarity.  People their age hold nothing but scorn for them and it is exhausting to deal with constantly.  Here, there is no judgment, no hate, no jealousy, nothing but the faint threads of a bond being woven together.

Chapter Text


In which plans are put into action and certain encounters occur...


 

The League of Villains spends the next several years scoping out fellow Villains and pulling them to their cause.  Some have been wronged by society, but most just want to create mayhem; that’s alright because the League doesn’t discriminate between the two motivations.  The majority will remain low-ranked pawns and used as cannon fodder later (not that they informed them of this).  The few that are of interest for larger roles in the organization are often still on the fence about joining, so they are placed on the backburner for the meantime.

Meanwhile, Izuku and Shouto maintain a strict training regime under Sensei, who teaches them many unconventional methods of thinking.  He has too many years of experience under his belt and is very willing to indulge their curiosity.  Shouto’s main problem is his adamant refusal to use his left side because it reminds him too much of the man that has brought nothing but pain and suffering to his entire family.  On the other hand, Izuku barely has any stamina and often overexerts himself, vomiting up gastric juices from his empty stomach, and yet, he still doesn’t lose spirit.  Izuku has gained a boost in confidence, but his habit of rambling doesn't show any signs of resolution.  The green-haired boy knows he needs to improve drastically in order to have a chance of competing at U.A.’s Entrance Exam.

On an overcast afternoon, clouds dark and heavy with preeminent rain, the two 8-year-olds are put up against each other in a spar as directed by Sensei.  They are gathered in an abandoned warehouse, rust crawling up the sides of the metal walls and metal scraps littering the floor.  Izuku wears a simple white T-shirt, sleeves almost too long for his still spindly arms, a pair of navy shorts, and his trademark red sneakers.  The freckled child is sweating profusely, not only from the physical strain, but also from the heat of his flames.  Shouto is garbed in a fitted grey shirt with long sleeves that have been rolled up for comfort and convenience, khaki-coloured pants, and white laced-up runners.  The heterochromatic boy shows signs of exhaustion in his breathing, but nowhere near the level that Izuku is at.

Izuku’s control over his Quirk is slow-coming, while his partner’s is beautifully refined with his ice half.  The emerald-eyed boy grows more frustrated with each blow exchanged between the two.  He knows the red and white-haired individual isn’t holding back on purpose and he understands the reasoning behind why Shouto won’t use the other half of his Quirk, but here he is spitting up stomach acid, sweating, and giving more than one-hundred percent.  Sensei puts up a hand to halt the spar midway, after he notices the growing furrow in Midoriya’s brow and how the boy’s parries become fiercer.  The two teens put distance between each other and stand patiently waiting for their teacher to speak.

“Izuku, you appear vexed over something.  What seems to be the problem?” The inquiry is soft-spoken, but his voice carries throughout the vast room.  The green-haired child shakes his head, but despite the lack of physical eyes, Sensei’s stare is penetrating and insistent.

“Shouto has two halves to his Quirk, right? But all I ever see is his ice powers!” Izuku exclaims, a little louder than intended.

Shouto looks slightly affronted at Izuku's sudden declaration, but he won't back down from this discussion without a fight.  His voice is soft, but strong when he speaks, “You know why I don't like using the fire half.”

Midoriya whips around to glare at Todoroki directly in the eye, his fists are clenched so tight that they are white, “Of course I know why!  I didn't just forget suddenly that you hate your father and that part of your Quirk comes from that ass!  I just don’t understand how you think you would be able to defeat a strong opponent without using the full extent of your Quirk--both sides!”

The boy with red and white hair feels accosted by his friend’s hostility over the matter. “I will surpass my father’s power without ever using fire.  I swear.”

“But it’s your Quirk and your power; it doesn’t belong to him and it never has.” The green-eyed male is adamant and Shouto can feel cracks forming along the wall around his heart.  Izuku’s belief isn’t enough to change anything immediately, but his resolve weakens partially at the sight of the other’s eyes glimmering with tears.  Todoroki quietens down and Sensei views this as an appropriate time to resume their training session.  The rest of the day passes in solemn silence and contemplation on both sides.

 


 

The awkwardness has passed a long time ago, Izuku nor Shouto breach the topic of using Shouto’s flames openly again, but the heterochromatic boy does attempt to minimally incorporate his fire powers into spars.  The boys still spend time together outside of practice and become closer as the days go by.  Izuku finally manages to get the hang of having a Quirk after a year of practice and gains a fair amount of lean muscle in the process.  Midoriya tells his mother that he spends his days exercising when he is done school; Inko is thrilled to see her son invested in something other than trailing Bakugou around like a lost puppy or attending Hero fights and readily encourages his past time activities.  Todoroki had a particularly bad falling out with Endeavor (not that their relationship was good at any point) and the dual-toned hair teen is left to his own devices, after a nasty snarl from the man who said, ‘You'll see, boy, you'll be back soon enough.  Come back when you want to become the Number 1 Hero.’  Too bad for Endeavor because Shouto has no ambitions to become a Hero at all anymore.  The bi-colour haired teen frequently retreats to his room to study, which technically isn’t a lie, but he doesn’t actually stay in his house.  Kurogiri had given him a burner phone so he would be able to send a message when the coast is clear to have a warp gate opened up for him.  Sometimes he disappears from training in order to give the appearance that he is still within the premises of the Todoroki estate, like grabbing sustenance or going to the bathroom.  As far as Shouto can tell, everyone is none the wiser to his extracurricular activities.

A couple of years down the road, Midoriya is walking home from training after having parted ways with Shouto.  As he enters the shade of the underpass, he hears the sound of metal clanking and rumbling from below and as he looks down he gets startled by the sudden appearance of what appears to be green slime emerging from the manhole underneath him.

“Hmmm, what an opportune moment, a medium-sized meat suit…” A low, raspy voice echoes off the concrete walls of the bridge.  Izuku isn’t able to react in time, before the slime is encompassing his entire body and attempting to shove down his throat.  As a reflex, the green-haired boy grasps at the slime invading his oral cavity without luck; his fingers slip through the material. “Stop struggling, boy, I only need to borrow your body for a little while, yeah?  It’ll only hurt for a bit, then the pain will disappear.”

The man with the slime Quirk continues rambling on, but Izuku isn’t paying attention any longer, he has more important things to consider.  Izuku thinks he might end up asphyxiating if this keeps up, but before his train of thoughts run any further, a huge gust of wind pressure sweeps his attacker off and out of him.

“Do not fear, for I am here!  Texas Smash!!”

The small teen falls to his knees, exhausted and greedily sucks in much needed oxygen.  He wipes his sweaty palms on the front of his forest green track pants, glancing around for whatever or whomever is responsible for getting that disgusting speaking slime off him.  To his utter surprise, there stands the No. 1 Hero in all his glory, All Might.  Izuku must have missed what happened after he collapsed because the next thing he knows is the slimey offender is encapsulated within a soda bottle and the Hero with distinctive yellow hair is smiling down upon him.

“Hello, kid!  You seem to be doing alright and this is of utmost importance!  My apologies, I seem to have gotten you involved in my capture of this Villain.  It has been a long time since I have made such a rookie mistake, but perhaps I have let myself go in this strange land!” All Might sticks out his muscular arm and proudly presents the soda bottle with the Villain’s form contained inside, both eyes visibly straining against the material of the container in an attempt to get free.  He laughs solidly and Izuku suddenly misses the days where he once admired the man.  The young boy puts up a front that he is starstruck by the presence of such a well-known Hero and fumbles for one of his notebooks in his backpack.

“O-oh wow!  All Might in the flesh!  T-this is such an honour, sir!  Um, would you m-mind signing--” The green-haired teen’s words stumble out with unperceivable ease and before he can even finish his sentence, the much taller and bigger male is fishing out a permanent marker and grabbing the notebook from his hands.

“It is always a pleasure to meet an eager fan!  I shall gladly sign this!” If it is possible, the blonde's smile reaches even further across his face as he does so.

Izuku no longer has aspirations to pursue Heroics as a career, but he can't help but ask, “All Might, can I ask you a question?”

“Of course, my boy, but please make it quick.  I need to turn this Villain into the police for processing.”

The newly minted Villain twiddles his thumbs and shyly peeks up, “You always say that anyone can be a Hero, does that apply to people with bad personalities or those without Quirks?”

The first few words that come out of All Might’s mouth don’t give Izuku much optimism for the rest of his answer, “Well, you see, my boy… Unfortunately, the world of Heroes and Villains is quite complicated and dangerous.  A Quirkless person wouldn’t stand much of a chance out there against all the odds.  As for temperaments and the like, that’s hard to say.  I have not come across a Pro Hero that has a terrible disposition!”

Izuku thinks that the Hero standing in front of him must be a terrible judge of character because quite frankly, no one appreciates Endeavor’s surliness and even the media has covered it many times.

“I see…”

“It is high time I turn this Villain in!  Please do try to stay out of shady areas like this, since many Villains enjoy lurking in the shadows, even during the day!” Without further ado, the blonde muscular man shoots off into the sky and is gone with the blink of an eye.

The freckled male evens out his face, “That cleared up a lot.  For all he says, he’s just like the rest of these fake Heroes.”

As Izuku’s mind wanders, his feet take him towards an ongoing battle out of habit with several Pro Heroes lined up, cautioning civilians away from the affected area.  From what he can see, none of them are doing anything of use.  They shout about waiting for another Hero with a more appropriate Quirk to arrive, causing Midoriya to scoff out of disdain.

“Typical.  They can’t even be bothered to buy time for someone else to come.” Out of the corner of his green eyes, he catches a glimpse of ash blonde hair entrapped within the slime Villain that he had been captured by just an hour earlier.  He idly remembers the feeling of being suffocated and recognizes the person being held hostage--it’s Bakugou.

He walks away.


 

Izuku hears about the Villain incident later on the news channel while eating dinner with his mother.  Apparently, All Might had shown up (didn’t he already capture the Villain when he left the scene with Izuku?) and blown the enemy away, saving Bakugou.  The Pro Heroes that had been interviewed claimed how brave the boy was.  The footage of the event only shows Bakugou struggling in vain against the slime and exploding the area around him, flames shooting up in every direction.  Of course he would be praised for creating more danger for nearby people.  The former Quirkless child acknowledges something his mom says, before turning the television off and continuing with his life.