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License to Kill

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When Izuku is six, he stands up to his best friend and says, “I will never forgive you.” When Izuku is six, he realizes something: the winner of a fight doesn’t determine who’s the hero and who’s the villain. That day his best friend punches and kicks him and singes his clothes, and Izuku sobs his defeat, a babbling mess of apologies. But the truth is, that day, Izuku is the hero. He’s the one who saves the weak and defends justice. And his best friend—who is already a shoo-in for UA and a pro-hero career, who has never, ever lost a fight—is the villain.

              When he gets home, Izuku tells his mom that he tripped, and throws mud on his shirt to hide the burn marks. He doesn’t know what to do. In every video of All Might that he owns, the “villain” has been a tsunami, a fire, a grotesque giant or a dark shadow; faceless monsters to be defeated and never seen again. So how can his best friend, this amazing person, this essential part of his life, be both a hero and a villain?

              When Izuku is six, his best friend disappears: kidnapped by villains who are interested in his flashy quirk. The police never manage to find him. A splinter of pain buries deep into Izuku’s heart, and it stays there, festering. The splinter stings when the bullies at school taunt him for being useless; it throbs when he sees a stranger caught by the Sludge Villain and rushes to save her; it burns when All Might says, “You can be a hero.” And it waits for the day when Izuku will meet the villain Bakugou Katsuki, when it will be pulled, bleeding, back into the open.