Actions

Work Header

Fire-Breathing Villain: Dragon! (Or: Izuku is a Hero, but his father isn’t)

Chapter Text

8:43 AM, Shizuoka prefecture,

It was a warm and bright Saturday morning and Bakugou Masaru was enjoying brunch with his long-time friend, Midoriya Inko.

It had been some time since he had seen the woman - he was stuck in a seemingly endless torrent of paperwork, so the reprieve was much appreciated. Not to mention Inko's own busy life - being a single mother and all.

Masaru had met Inko during their first year of high school: they had been in the same homeroom class and had been paired together for a group project. They instantly hit it off - Inko was just about as nervous and kind-hearted as she is today, Masaru, however, was far more reserved in his teenage years. While their relationship remained mutually platonic, that didn't stop Mistuki, who became Masaru's girlfriend in their third year of high school, from being jealous of how much time they spent with one another. This was quickly cleared up when Inko revealed to her that she had been dating Hisashi for a few weeks. Mitsuki was baffled but quickly reconciled with Inko, and the pair soon became friends.  

They, of course, attended each other's weddings, as best man and bridesmaid respectively. Inko called him the minute she found out she was pregnant, and vice versa, when Masaru learned of Mitsuki's pregnancy. They brought their children over to each other's houses regularly, and the boys quickly became friends. They would chase each other around the house with their figurines, sometimes the parents would play a villain and the kids would be the heroes. He didn’t get to spend as much time with the boys as he would have liked – his job as a detective left him little free time. The instances where he would spend time with them were some of the greatest moments of his life.

He should have seen the signs - he should have seen how horrible a person Hisashi really was. He should have warned Inko about the shady people he often saw the man talking to when he left for work. The trust and respect he held for the man blinded him to his true nature. Because of this, Inko and Izuku had been hurt, gravely so… 

Masaru shook his head; best not to dwell on the unchangeable, both of them were alive and well now, that's what matters…

 


 

Twelve years ago – Izuku: age four. Two weeks after Izuku's visit to the quirk doctor. Izuku was sleeping soundly upstairs, oblivious to the argument unfolding beneath him. Hisashi had been on a business trip overseas and had just arrived home.

"You mean to tell me my son doesn't have a quirk?" Hisashi’s voice was cool and calm, but the rage and disbelief in his tone was clear.

"I-I'm sure he has a quirk, perhaps the scans were wrong-"

"They're specialists, Inko, they'd never be wrong!" Hisashi pinched the bridge of his nose, features contorting in rage.

"But there was that case a few years back where a child who was thought to be quirkless - he even had the pinky bone - suddenly displayed a healing quirk! He could only heal mortal wounds, so he'd never been able to discover he had a quirk until then! Perhaps Izuku is like that boy..." 

"That's wishful thinking, Inko, a one-in-a-million chance."

"Regardless if he has a quirk or not, Izuku doesn't deserve anything less than our complete and total love and support!"

"Inko, don't you understand? This society has no use for people without quirks! What in the hell can he do that'll contribute?!"

Inko was crying now, glaring at her husband with malice.

"There are plenty of roles Izuku could play in this world of ours - you don't need a quirk to do anything!"

The arguing continued until Inko’d had enough – she stormed upstairs and crawled into bed with Izuku, wrapping her arms tightly around the boy, sobbing into his hair. 

"I'm sorry, Izuku..."

 


 

Two years later – Izuku: age six.

Satou Asahi, a rookie police officer on his last patrol of the day. It was late afternoon, around 5 PM, when he started hearing shouting over the radio show he was listening to. He turned the volume all the way down as he neared the house, placing his car into neutral on the other side of the street, two houses down. 

A tall, dark-haired man stood in the doorway of the home, he had jet black hair and wore a crisp black business suit - he looked somewhat familiar to the man, but was too far away to make out any details. He was arguing loudly with a shorter woman with elbow length – green hair (it shouldn't surprise him; his girlfriend had a serpentine tail instead of legs, but still, not exactly a commonplace hair colour). He assumed the two to be married, as they stood in the doorway of the house. 

"Don't do this!" Another man called - blonde-haired with thin, black glasses. Bakugou Masaru: a well-respected detective, his quirk allowed him to forcibly get a truthful answer out of someone once he asked them a question. His quirk began to lose effectiveness after a few questions but could regain it with a certain wait time. The wait time depended both on the length and amount of questions he asked, but was generally around an hour or so after five questions, though he rarely needed to ask more than five questions. He had quickly gained the favour of his colleagues, and they would often go to him when a case started to go stale or was becoming too large to handle without calling in federal agents. Asahi himself had met the man on numerous occasions but had never worked with him. 

"Hisashi, he’s your son goddamit!" He shouted.

What angered and shocked Asahi was the state of the child – he was maybe five or six, with a similar hair colour to his mother, unconscious and bleeding from the head. The boy was tucked beneath his father’s arm, his clothes ragged from an obvious struggle. 

Asahi reached for the walkie-talkie in his car, reported the situation and location, and hastily exited the car, drawing his stun gun. 

Several of the neighbours had exited their homes to investigate; one woman reached for her phone – presumably to call for the police, while her husband called an ambulance. 

“GET OUT OF MY WAY.” The man roared, his rage emphasised by the small tendrils of smoke escaping his lips. 

A fire-breathing quirk?! This could get much worse much faster than he thought. 

“Sir! Just put the boy down and we can- “

Suddenly, Hisashi dashed out of the doorway and past his wife. Bakugou tried to intercept him but was shoved to the ground, Midoriya using his own son as a makeshift battering ram. 

Asahi couldn’t take a shot – the man would likely shield himself with the boy, so he instead opted to shoulder barge the man, staggering him, and whipping him right in the temple with his stungun.

Hisashi grunted, fixing his deep green eyes onto Asahi. He opened his mouth and Asahi rolled out of the way just in time before the hedge behind him caught alight. The man's quirk wasn't as strong as Asahi had feared, but it was still a fire quirk, one of the most dangerous and unpredictable of all quirks, he couldn't afford to underestimate the man. 

Bakugou came up behind him and grabbed the child from Hisashi's grasp, and Asahi was finally able to tackle the man. He forced him onto his stomach with his face in the grass and quickly handcuffed his hands behind his back. 

Mrs Midoriya was sobbing, clutching her child for dear life. Shit, he completely forgot about the kid! 

"Ma'am, is your son alright?! Is he breathing?" He shouted. The woman checked the boy over and nodded, before burying her face into the boy's neck. Bakugou had an arm slung protectively around the woman's shoulders, and shot Asahi a grateful look. 

Asahi had never been more thankful in his life to hear the wail of police sirens - he wasn't sure how much longer he could hold the raging demon of a man beneath him. 

The car screeched to a halt behind him, and he heard footsteps rapidly approaching. 

"Shit! There's a fire, get the fire department!" A female officer called to a neighbour. The elderly man obliged, retrieving a phone from his pocket and dialling 119. She then proceeded towards the three people huddled on the lawn. 

"Give 'im here, Satou-Kun." Another officer called, Kurokawa-San, he recalled. 

"Careful, he's got a fire-breathing quirk." Asahi advised.

"I heard, which is why I brought these," the man held two things in his hand; a small scrap of fabric, and a roll of duct tape, "the fabric is a mix of Kevlar and Nomex - the stuff firefighters wear."

Before Kurosawa could cover Hsiashi's mouth with the fabric, however, he noticed the man's wife - Mrs Midoriya, had approached. 

"Why...? Why would you do this, Hisashi?" She asked confusion and anger as clear as the tears on her cheeks. 

The bastard had the gall to laugh. "Why? I was doing us a favour, a useless son would do a great dishonour to his family - I was simply saving us the trouble."

It took all of Asahi's willpower not to punch the bastard then and there. 

Kurosawa stuck the fabric in Hisashi's mouth and secured it to his head with a layer of duct tape. 

"Try and set us alight now, ya crazy bastard," Kurokawa said. 

Together, Asahi and Kurokawa-San hoisted the man off of the ground and made their way to the car. They loaded the man into the car and told Kurokawa and the other detective to take him back to the station, while Asahi took everyone's statements. He made his way back over to the woman and placed a hand on her shoulder.

She turned to him then, tears in her eyes, and simply said: "Thank you." 

Bakugou-San was upstanding, holding the boy bridal style. "It's Satou, right? Thank you, so much, for what you did back there."

Asahi smiled, "just doing my job, cleaning the scum outta the streets." 

The ambulance and the fire department arrived a few moments afterwards, the paramedics rushing for the young boy, and the firemen for the hedge. The fire had almost completely died down, but it was nearing the Midoriya's house and the neighbour's car, so they set to work immediately. Asahi explained the situation to the paramedics, while Bakugou and Mrs Midoriya entered the ambulance with the child. Asahi made his way over to the pair. 

"Here's my number," he handed the woman a sticky-note, "call me when he gets out of the hospital, if you ever need anything, or if you hear from Hisashi again. I'll be in touch" 

"Th-Thank you... I'm Midoriya Inko, by the way." The woman extended her hand. "And thank you again for what you did." 

Asahi took her hand, "I'm Satou Asahi, and there's no need to thank me."

"Do you have another sticky note? I'll give you my number" 

After that exchange, Asahi returned to his car. It had been a long day, so Asahi was going to return to the station, give his statement, text Inko to check up on her, and then get drunk off his ass. 

Chapter Text

Shizuoka prefecture, Bakugou residence, two hours after the Hisashi incident.

“Oi, mum, where’s dad?” A six-year-old Katsuki calls, sitting impatiently at the dining table. It was a bit later than their usual dinner time, nearly 7 PM, and his dad always texted or called when he was going to miss dinner.  

As if on cue, he hears the home phone begin to ring, and his mother stops stirring the rice to answer the call.

“Oh, Masaru! Where the hell are ya? Katsuki’s - woah, hang on – what?” Katsuki looks on in wonder as his mother’s usual stern expression morphs into one of utter horror.

“He what?!” His mother covered her mouth with a hand, taking a quick glance at her son before retreating to the bathroom, closing the door behind her. Katsuki didn’t know what to make of the situation; he rarely saw his mother flustered, let alone looking as horrified as she had a moment before…

Just what the fuck had happened?

He could hear the muffled conversation, with the occasional exclamation. Katsuki sat at the table in utter confusion, when suddenly, his mother exited the bathroom, rage and horror palpable.

"Katsuki, we'll get takeout tonight, we need to get to the hospital right now." 

Katsuki froze. "The hospital? Did dad get hurt?" 

Mitsuki turned off the stove, removed the pan from the hotplate and stored its contents in a plastic container. "No, dear. It's Izuku - he's... He got hurt, really badly."

"Izu-chan got hurt? Did he break his arm or somethin'?" It was no surprise that Izuku would get hurt, the boy was always climbing trees and running around like a headless chicken. 

Mitsuki looks at her son sympathetically, "Oh, honey... I wish he had..." 

 


 

One week later, Shizuoka Prefectural Children’s Hospital, Izuku, age six. 8:34 PM.

Inko was… overwhelmed. That was as best as she could describe it; he vocabulary simply didn’t have the words to place how she was feeling. A mixture of rage, regret, betrayal, fear, sadness and relief.

Inko sat beside Izuku’s hospital bed, the boy had been in a comatose state for the past six days, though the doctors assured her that there was no permanent brain damage, and he would make a full recovery within a few months. Though she nearly had another panic attack when the nurse told her that Izuku needed stitches to his left eyebrow area, and he also needed a section of his upper right skull glued back together.

The doctors assured her that his comatose state was the body’s way of conserving energy to focus on healing. He had responded to verbal cues, which meant he wasn’t in a life-threatening situation, but they would still continue to monitor him until a few days after he woke up.

The head doctor – whose name currently escaped her - had asked if she would be returning home, and Inko gave the man a firm “no” in response. He was completely understanding and provided two comfortable fold-out chairs and a temporary bed on the other side of the room. She had only left the boy to go to the bathroom, get some fresh air and coffee, and when Masaru visited with an extra serving of whatever the Bakugou’s were having for dinner that night.

A nurse had just completed her daily check-up on Izuku; Inko was delighted to see the boy was now providing small but noticeable reactions to auditory and sensory stimuli. The nurse left Inko to her thoughts, the woman holding her son’s hand in a firm but comforting grasp.

‘Why hadn’t I noticed? I  knew Hisashi harboured distaste for the quirkless, but I thought he grew out of that… How could he hold so much hatred for someone based on a silly little thing like being without a quirk? And to have almost murdered his own child?! I guess you really don’t know anyone… No, don’t you dare cry, Inko! I’ll wallow in my regrets later, right now my son needs me to be strong for him…’

“Midoriya-San? May I come in?”

Inko turned her head, and saw a man with a suit, holding a bouquet of flowers. The man sported close-cropped chocolate-coloured hair and bright hazel eyes. He was holding another bag – it looked like a takeout bag.

“Ah, um, Asahi-San, was it? It’s good to see you.” She smiled warmly, rising from her seat and shaking the man’s hand firmly.

The man glances at Izuku, before calmly approaching. Whether or not Izuku could actually hear him at the moment was unclear, but he wanted to make himself known just in case; the boy would be frantic if he woke up to see an unknown man in his hospital room.

He placed the flowers – an arrangement of violet and yellow Chrysanthemums as well as some white Hydrangeas – into the glass vase by his bedside. He turned, facing the boy.

“Good afternoon, uh...” How embarrassing, he didn’t even know the kid’s name!

“Oh, his name is Izuku.” Inko supplied.

“Right; Good afternoon, Izuku, I’m officer Satou Asahi, I was first on the scene when your father… Ah, anyway, I’m just going to wit with you and your mum, if that’s alright.”

The man did just that, pulling up another fold-out chair from across the room, and placed it next to Inko. It was then that he opened the take-out bag, producing two muffins.

“I bought a muffin for you if you’re hungry. It’s probably cold by now though.” He said sheepishly.

“Oh, you didn’t need to do that! Thank you.”

“It’s no trouble, really. You’ve had one hell of a week, Midoriya-San, I’m just trying to make it a little bit easier for you.”

“Inko, call me Inko.”

The pair sat in a comfortable atmosphere, chatting about the events that had just unfolded, Izuku’s condition, as well as a bit about their own lives, such as their quirks and their jobs.

Asahi revealed that he had a vision-enhancement quirk; he explained that it was primarily helpful in night operations, but his overall vision, including his peripheral vision, was far superior to the average person’s. He mentioned that it was a quirk he inherited from his mother’s side, her maiden name was Takao - “Taka” meaning Hawk.

Inko gave the details of her own quirk – how she could pull small objects to herself. She admitted it wasn’t nearly as powerful as her grandfather’s quirk, but it was helpful in domestic situations, like picking up items she’d dropped when she was pregnant with Izuku and found bending over to be quite difficult. That last statement made Asahi give a hearty laugh.

Soon, almost an hour had passed, and Asahi took his leave, stating that he needed to return to the station, as they were a bit understaffed today. He said goodbye to the pair, promising to return soon.

Inko glanced over at the flowers the man had brought, her minimal knowledge of flowers providing the basic meanings of the bouquet:

Violet chrysanthemums: Get well; Yellow chrysanthemums: neglected sorrow or love, and white hydrangeas meaning purity. Inko smiled, resting her head on her arms. 

Inko sat in a comfortable silence with the boy before suddenly her phone rang. She jolted upwards, her head raising from its perch atop Izuku’s bed; she must have dozed off! She checked the contact – Masaru, and the time – 6:00PM; almost two hours after Asahi had left.

She rubbed the sleep from her eyes and quickly answered the call.

“Hey, Inko, you holding up?”

“Yeah, I’m okay; well, about as okay as one can be in this situation…”

“Izuku hasn’t woken up yet, I take it?”

“No, he hasn’t. The doctors say he should in a day or so, since the trauma wasn’t that severe.” Inko allowed herself a moment of hope; she needed all the optimism she could get.

“You mind if we bring Katsuki over? Mitsuki and I don’t want to crowd Izuku’s space more than we already have but Katsuki really wants to see you guys…”

“Ah, I’m sure Izuku would love to have Katsuki over here with him, shall I pick him up?”

“No need, we were out anyway so we’re nearby.”

“Alright, then, see you.”

She hung up the phone, turning to Izuku. “Did you hear that, Izuku? Katsuki will be here soon, maybe he’ll bring one of his action figures for you?” Izuku breathed forcefully for a moment, but gave no other indication of consciousness.

Inko waited patiently for Katsuki to arrive, seeing the boy turn up with Mistuki and a plastic bag full of various items.

“Good evening, Mitsuki.”

“You’re so formal, Inko. I brought the brat, sorry to cause you any trouble.”

“You? Never. Izuku will be overjoyed.” Mitsuki matched Inko’s smile; she just barely caught the look on Katsuki’s face. Pain? Regret?

Mitsuki knelt down and gave the boy a quick warning, before ruffling his hair and exiting through the door. She would wait outside until Katsuki left.

“Hey, Auntie.” Katsuki mumbled, not impolitely. He shuffled forward, climbing onto the foldout chair. He turned to Izuku, gave a short greeting, and then turned back to Inko.

“Is he still asleep? Mum said that Izuku has been asleep for a week – shouldn’t he be awake by now?”  Katsuki innocently asked. Inko resisted the urge to flinch.

“The doctor says he should be awake sometime tomorrow,” Inko paused, and decided to change the subject.

“How has school been, Katsuki? I heard you aced the pop quiz you had this morning.”

“Yeah, of course I did!” He puffed out his chest in pride, before slouching back down.

“Everyone keeps asking me about Izuku, but they don’t really seem to care about him… It’s more like they’re just asking so they look like a nice person.”

“People do that quite often, dear, it gets pretty annoying after a while, huh?”

“Yeah, they really piss – ah, make me really mad.” Inko giggled at the boy’s momentary slip-up, probably the first time she’s laughed all week.

“Oh, I thought Izuku would get bored, sitting in here all day, so I brought some of my action figures for him to play with…” Katsuki admitted, sounding almost embarrassed. “But he’s asleep, so…”

“Thank you, Katsuki. I’m so glad Izuku has friends like you.”

Katsuki flinched, and then he did something Inko never thought he’d do again: he teared up. “I-I’ not a very good friend… I bullied De-Izuku – we all bullied him because he doesn’t have a quirk! I called him a useless Deku, and now he’s in the hospital because his dad was angry he doesn’t have a quirk! I'm just like he was!" Katsuki shouted, looking at Izuku with sadness in his eyes, “I’m sorry, Izuku…”

Inko was shocked: Katsuki had bullied Izuku? There was no mistaking how aggressive the boy was, and she did catch Katsuki curse at the boy a few times, but for him to have been outright bullying him? Not to mention that the prideful child had not only confessed to the act but to have apologised? A wave of rage flowed through the woman when she heard him mention “Deku”; a name her ex-husband used quite frequently when addressing his son. But she couldn’t stay mad at the boy – not when he was so clearly remorseful.

“I’m sorry, Auntie! I know you’re probably so mad at me but I just wanted to apologise… I’m so sorry, Izuku, I won’t ever call you “Deku” again…”

“Katsuki, I am angry,” the boy flinched. “But I won’t stay mad at you: if you really do want to be friends with Izuku, than I think you should. He's never had any friends aside from you and it’s clear that he admires you, even if you did bully him.” Inko placed a reassuring hand on Katsuki’s shoulder, and he looked up at the woman.

“Just promise me you’ll look out for him, will you?”

The boy nodded. He reached into the plastic bag and handed Inko Izuku’s DS, along with his various Pokémon games along with “Sonic Rush” and “Mario Kart”. He gently placed Izuku’s All-Might and Eraserhead figurines next to him, and then brought out a brand new notebook, with a set of gel-pens.

“S-since I ruined Izuku’s other notebook I wanted to give him a new one, he can do his drawings and make his notes about heroes in here…”

“You really are a kind soul, Katsuki.”

“Yeah, well, don’t go makin’ a fuss about it, I just did it because my mum made me.”

A white lie, and they both knew it. Inko went along with it anyway, to spare the boy’s pride.

Inko squeezed Izuku’s hand, smiling at Katsuki.

Izuku squeezed back. 

Chapter Text

Shizuoka prefecture, Aldera Junior High, Izuku, age six.

“Ah, Midoriya-Kun, welcome back – and Bakugou, too. I was just about to start class, take your seats, please.” Izuku’s teacher second-grade teacher called as the two boys entered the doorway, Izuku flinched as twenty-two heads swivelled around, their eyes searing holes into the boy’s skull.

Katsuki prodded him with a finger, and mumbled: “Don’t sweat it, Dek- Izu; if anybody gives you shit I’ll blow ‘em up.”

Izuku muttered a quick “Thanks, Kacchan” before scurrying to his seat behind the blonde.

It had been about a month since Izuku had been discharged from the hospital. The doctor told him that he would make a recovery within the better part of six months, but to tell his mother immediately is he started vomiting, experiencing recurring nausea, if his headaches weren’t being helped by painkillers or if he found it difficult to think or speak for an extended period of time. He hoped none of those things happened to him; as nice as the doctors and the nurses were, it was nice to be back at home and at school.

Izuku doubted he’d need to hide behind Katsuki nearly as much as he did previously; they were nothing compared to the monster he’d been living with. The monster that raised him. The monster that tried to-

“Midoriya.”

His head snapped up, broken from his trance, “Sorry?” Gosh, he hoped he hadn’t been muttering.

 “I’m going through roll call, you’re not in trouble, pal.”

“Oh.” His face burned in embarrassment, and he heard a giggle pas through the classroom.

Katsuki gave him a look, but said nothing, instead opting to glare daggers at anyone and everyone who he made eye contact with. Izuku found comfort in that, as ironic as it was. 

At least some things never change.

“Is it true you were in the hospital?” One of his classmates asks after the lunch bell rings. Izuku had been crowded by most of the class almost instantaneously, the children forming a tight ring around his desk. The teacher had stepped out when a senior had asked for him, leaving his students to do as they pleased.

“Why were you in the hospital, did you hit your head?”

“What was hospital like? I heard it smells like old people.”

“That scar looks so cool! Did you get in a fight?”

“If it was a fight, it was clearly against someone way stronger” One boy joked, causing another ripple of giggles.

“You missed so much school, I hope your grades aren’t affected.” One girl says – he recognises her as Akagi, the resident stuck-up teacher’s pet. Her tone could be mistaken for genuinely caring, but kindness requires a conscience and a sense of human decency – Akagi lacked both. She was, as Katsuki would put it, “a total bitch”.

“Uh...” Izuku started before a familiar face parted the crowd.

“Oi, you lot’re crowding my desk, piss off!” The students parted like the red sea.

“Bakugou said a bad word! I’m telling teacher!” Akagi joked in a mocking voice. She was quickly silenced by Katsuki’s quirk – a series of miniature explosions, little more than a few crackles and pops, but enough to nearly light the girl’s hair aflame.

“Kacchan!”

“C’mon, Izu. Grab your shit.” The blonde took the boy’s arm

“Kacchan!”

“What!”

“You really shouldn’t swear so much, it’s not good.”

“I’ll swear as much as I want to Dek– Izu!” That was the second time Katsuki has slipped up. He was doing better than Izuku expected.

 


  

“For God’s sake, Katsuki, it’s Izuku’s first day back at school and you’re already in the principal’s office…” Mitsuki growled, glaring at her son.

“I-It’s okay, Auntie, Kacchan was just sticking up for me! They were being really rude–”

“Izuku, sweetie, it’s because you keep defending him that crap like this keeps happening – he keeps thinking he can get away with it!”

The door to the office opens, and there stands the principal, clad in a suit and tie, with modified sleeves for six thin, insectoid arms. His bug-like wings flitter as he crosses his arms, and one of his antennae twitch.

“Ah, Mrs Bakugou, I’ve been expecting you. Please, come in. Three of his arms gestured for the pair to enter. “Young Midoriya, you can leave now; I’m sure your mother is waiting for you.”

“A-alright. Um, see you later, Kacchan.” Izuku waves awkwardly and spins on his heels, scurrying down the corridor.

The trio shuffled into the office – it was darker than in the hallway, though still bright enough to see clearly, as the principal’s quirk made him more sensitive to light. They sat down on opposite ends of the man’s desk, and the principal folded the top four of his arms, leaving the lower pair resting on the table. The independence of the appendages will never cease to creep Katsuki out.

Katsuki, even at his age, knew when he was in deep shit, and opted to keep his mouth shut. He also, to his credit, recognised the difference in authority between his mother and the school faculty – getting suspended or expelled from school would become a serious issue when he is old enough to apply to U.A.

“You have made a very nice friend, young man; I’m glad you’re getting along with someone here. I had been made aware of your anger management issues when you first arrived at this school, and I recognise that your mind is still young and developing. However, I cannot condone violence. Although Mrs Akagi didn’t suffer much physical damage – aside from some burnt hair – it would be most troublesome if incidents such as these were to continue.” It was then that he pulled open a draw to his left and placed a manila folder onto the desk, closing the drawer and facing Mitsuki.

“Mrs Bakugou, your son is an excellent student – his grades are almost always perfect. As a teacher, I couldn’t be prouder.” Katsuki allows himself a brief moment of pride, before remembering why he was here.

“In saying that,” the man turns to Katsuki “something needs to be done about that temper of yours.” Katsuki scrunches his nose but stays silent.

That’s when Mitsuki speaks up, “we’ve – his father and I – have actually considered speaking to someone about it. I myself have a bit of an… issue with anger management and I saw a professional about it from when I was six until I was eleven. Friends and family say I’ve mellowed out quite a lot.” Katsuki gulped.

“I’m glad you’ve been considering professional help – most parents don’t consider stuff like that until it’s far too late – but I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that.”

“Now, young Bakugou, I’ve already asked Miss Akagi about what happened when I met with her parents earlier, but I’d like to hear it from you.” He turns to Mitsuki, sheepishly, “the girl has a reputation for being a – what do the kids call it? A snitch? Teacher’s pet? Whatever the case, she tends to over-exaggerate to make herself look better, which I have spoken to her about.”

Mitsuki blinks and then nudges her son with her elbow.

“My side? Izu had been in the classroom for all of ten seconds and people were already talking shit– “

“Katsuki.” His mother hissed.  

“–Talking bad about him. Giggling and gossiping like it was a freaking mother’s group. It got to lunch and everyone had crowded around his desk and was bugging him about his scar. I got really mad, okay? People were joking about the damn thing, crowding his space and he looked about ready to cry, so I pushed ‘em outta the way and grabbed him to take him outside.”

“His scar?” The principal asks, flabbergasted, “why would people make fun of him for a scar? Plenty of kids have them. One of the teachers has an eyepatch!”

“Katsuki has told me that Izuku has been getting bullied relentlessly – for nearly two years! As bad as it sounds, maybe his classmates were just used to picking on him?”

“It’s mostly my fault,” Katsuki interjects, startling his mother and his principal alike. “I bullied Izu too. But I’m not gonna do that anymore – I don’t wanna be like him.” The two adults shared a look, knowing exactly who he was.

“So, anyway,” Katsuki continues, “that bi- that TP got right in his face, and I got really mad. I don’t know what she’s told you but I didn’t set her hair on fire – my quirk didn’t even burn the ends.”

“Hm, yes, I noticed her hair was mysteriously intact. She was ranting and raving about how she’d need to cut it, so I didn’t even bother to examine it properly.” The principal admits.

Mitsuki scrunches her nose, “this girl sounds like a real hassle.” The principal nodded his head.

“You’ve come a long way, young man. I cannot reiterate how proud of you I am. If you ever do need to speak to someone about your anger, or if this bullying continues, my door is always open. Now, about your punishment..." 

Katsuki flinches, awaiting a detention.

"There will be no punishment, but I advise you to work on that temper – at the very least, try not to vocalise it. Toning down the cursing would certainly help, too.” The man stands, prompting the Bakugou’s to do the same. He extended his hand. “Thank you for your time, have a nice night.”

“Thank you, you too.” Mitsuki shook the man’s uppermost right hand. The par left shortly afterwards, only to find Izuku and Inko sitting outside.

“Izu? Auntie? Why’re you out here?”

“Hey, Kacchan…” Izuku stood, a worried look on his face.

“I’m not getting suspended or getting detention if that’s what you’re gonna ask.”

“Really?”

“Well duh, I didn’t do anything wrong, I was sticking up for your sorry ass.”

“Katsuki, the principal literally just asked you to cut down on the swearing!”

She couldn’t stay mad at the boy for long, as Izuku pulled the blonde into a hug. Inko gives Mitsuki a look.

“Oi, what’s this for?” The boy says, clearly flustered.

“Thanks, Kacchan.”

“Anytime, Izu.”

 


 

Shizuoka prefecture, Aldera Junior High, three weeks later, Izuku, age six.

Izuku sat at his desk, Katsuki had turned his chair around to eat his lunch with him, the usual routine. Akagi had, in fact, been called into the principal’s office once again to discuss her “superior attitude”, and had since been avoiding the boys at all costs. She glared daggers at them from across the room.

The rest of the class had quickly caught on that Katsuki had gone from Izuku’s tormentor to his “knight in shining armour” as one girl put it, and wisely backed off. That didn’t mean they stopped bullying him, though, they just got smarter about it – subtler. He doubted it would ever stop; he was quirkless – different, and people just love to hate what’s different to them. His mother, Mitsuki and Masaru alike ingrained that into his head.

Still, though, he was grateful he had Katsuki. He had told him about how his father treated him, and how he clearly displayed his dislike for him even before the attack two months ago. Katsuki vowed that if he caught anyone treating him, or any other quirkless person, for that matter, the way Katsuki himself had previously treated Izuku, he would “beat the fuckers senseless” or “make them rue the day they crossed him.” His response varied depending on his mood.

“Kacchan, I’ve nearly filled that new notebook you gave me.” Izuku says as he uses his chopsticks to place a ball of rice into his mouth.

“What, already? How much do you write in those things?”

“I don’t just write in them; I draw in them to! Also, my handwriting isn’t that neat so it takes up a lot of space…” He admits.

Katsuki scoffs, “I know, how can you even read the shit you write?”

“Kacchan.”

“What.”

“You swore.”

“Wow, sorry mum.” Katsuki scowls, but not in such a way that Izuku feels threatened.

“I’m just saying if your mum catches you swearing– “

“Yeah, I know. Just shut up and eat your food.” The boy places a baby corn cob into his mouth.

Izuku smiled. He had a family who loved him. He had a friend. What more could he ever want?

Chapter Text

U.A High school, Classroom 1-A, Izuku, age fifteen.

It was the end of their first week at U.A, but Izuku couldn’t seem to shake the “new school” sensation – that, and being taught by quite a few of his childhood heroes, has kept him in a constant “fanboy” mode.   

Uraraka – the brunette with the anti-gravity quirk who he’d saved during the entrance exams, and Iida – the energetic, glasses-wearing boy with engines protruding from his calves had quickly befriended Izuku and they sat together every day. 

It was surreal – Izuku was living the dream, and while they were taught the basic subjects: English, World History, Mathematics, Geography and Japanese literature, there were so many more unique and interesting classes. While other High Schools would be doing normal gym, U.A. students would train their bodies and their quirks against dummies, robots and each other. The Hero course would undertake a mandatory First-Aid examination, where they would receive certificates that labelled them as competent first aiders (that would need to be renewed every twelve months). 

Izuku was fascinated by the independence their teachers allowed them during their fitness classes – they could practice gymnastics (to improve flexibility and overall agility), play sports like tennis and volleyball with other students and sometimes the teachers (to improve hand-eye coordination and critical-thinking), or they could use weights or the treadmill to train their muscles and endurance. This was all without using their quirks; unless, of course, the quirk was physical (four arms, a tail, etc.), then the person was asked to limit the usage of such appendages as much as possible.

The class was surprised when Katsuki made an offhand comment about how “quirks are physical abilities too; you could have the greatest quirk in the world, but if you don’t have a healthy body you’re practically useless.”

The class stared at the boy like he’d just dropped from space.  

“Kacchan is actually really smart,” Izuku had explained to the class, “despite his violent nature he’s an honour student at heart – top scores all around.”

Katsuki had lightly slapped Izuku on the back of the head for that comment but had continued on with his exercise.

Katsuki, to his credit, was far more subdued than he was ten years previous. He was still a ball of rage, but now he had the common sense to know when and where it was appropriate to, as he would put it, “fuck shit up”.

His swearing had actually worsened after he started seeing a therapist at the tender age of seven; his mother said it was a by-product of managing all of the innate anger the boy had. “Whatever works” Mitsuki had once said.

The boy had progressed from weekly appointments to bi-weekly appointments by the time he was eight, and his attendance had dropped to once a month sometime when he was nine. Now he saw the man every other month, though the man assured it was hardly necessary. The therapist – a kindly old man with a quirk that allowed him to see emotions as a colour – was one of the few people Katsuki didn’t want to strangle. He even admitted to respecting the man one afternoon.

He’d come a long way from the violent, highly aggressive elementary-schooler with a hair trigger he once was.

He still had his occasional outbursts, of course, but he hadn’t had any fits since he was eight. They never spoke of that day, Katsuki was utterly ashamed and horrified of it.

Izuku still had the scar on his arm.

Izuku had heard people describe Katsuki as “rude” and “brutish”, but he never truly grasped how he must have come across to others until one woman who lived on Katsuki’s street compare him to a vicious dog that roamed the neighbourhood. Mitsuki had backhanded the woman across the cheek and swiftly left with the two boys.  

He could ascertain a similar image was being built up by their fellow U.A. students, particularly those in class 1-B just next door. He would hear things whispered about the boy when they travelled from class to class – how he was rude, arrogant, boastful, and various other things Izuku would not like to repeat.

Class 1-A, for the most part, could see past his violent nature and have made genuine connections with him – most notably Kirishima, Kaminari, Sero and Ashido. Izuku had said as much to his mother and Katsuki’s parents, who were beyond proud – Katsuki himself blatantly refused the notion of having a friend other than Izuku, but they all knew otherwise.

The class was currently in the dorm’s common room for dinner on a Saturday evening and had somehow arrived at the topic of childhood stories. Todoroki made it clear he wouldn’t participate – and though the class was disappointed, they didn’t press him. Izuku wondered what had happened to the boy that made him so unwilling to talk about himself, but decided that was a question for another time.

Currently, Ashido was telling them of a story that had happened quite recently – a young girl had chased her around a local park because she thought she was made of cotton candy. The class laughed, and Ashido says the girl only stopped chasing her when her father handed her some actual cotton candy – the apologised profusely to Ashido, before swiftly leaving with his daughter.

Uraraka shared a story of how when she’d first gotten her quirk, she had made close to everything she touched float – one morning she’d somehow ended up outside her parent’s house and had made the neighbour’s car float. The car had suddenly dropped – almost completely totalling the thing – worse yet, Uraraka’s parents ended up needing to pay the neighbours for the damage. 

A red-faced Sero admitted that his favourite fictional superhero was (and still is) Spiderman, but not just because of their similar abilities. He recounted how one afternoon when he was ten, he’d wanted to “be like Spiderman” and had tried to swing from a one tree to another at a local park – he ended up breaking his right arm and his left ankle, and because he couldn’t use crutches (due to the broken arm) he’d been placed in a wheelchair for nearly two months.

Dark Shadow volunteered a story – much to the annoyance of an embarrassed Tokoyami. A younger Tokoyami had tried to climb a tree to “hang out” with a sparrow and her babies, but the second branch he climbed had snapped, and he fell face-first into the mud beneath him. His mother had been furious with him but patched him up anyway.  

Izuku volunteered to go next, and Katsuki gave him a warning look. Izuku told the class of how when he and Katsuki were younger, he was at Katsuki’s house for a sleepover, and Izuku had woken up in the middle of the night to see a spider dangling on its web just a few centimetres above his face. Katsuki snorted.

“Mitsuki – Kacchan’s mum, then had to explain to the police that, no, I was not being murdered horribly, but that I’d just been scared by a spider.”

“Who is even scared of spiders? The ones in Japan are harmless.” Katsuki spoke, arching an eyebrow at Izuku.

“Nah, man, spiders freak me the hell out.” Kaminari spoke up. Koda gave a firm nod of agreement. Mineta just shuddered.

“There are worse places to encounter spiders, and while the ones here don’t bug me too much – ah, pardon the pun – I sure as heck wouldn’t like to meet one from the Amazon” Yayorozu chimed in.

Katsuki snorted. “I was probably afraid of ‘em when I was like, two.”

“What are you trying to say, Bakugou?” Mineta asked, clearly offended. 

“I’m not scared of spiders anymore, are you fucking deaf or what?” Katsuki growled. 

Izuku’s response came naturally, after years of playful teasing.

“Oh, like how you aren’t ticklish anymore?”

He immediately regretted his decision. The entire class collectively broke out into laughter, Ashido cackling madly beside a fuming Katsuki.

“IZUKU!” The boy sprung up.

“I’m sorry!” Izuku had never gotten out of a chair faster in his life.

The next five minutes were overtaken by Katsuki chasing Izuku around the common room. Uraraka and Kirishima had literal tears in their eyes, while Ashido and Kaminari were outright crying from laughter. Jiro was holding her stomach as if she’d vomit, and Izuku thought she might be, if not for the quiet giggles escaping her.

“Fuck you, Izuku!”

“Kacchan I’m sorry!”

Izuku launched himself over a couch and behind a surprised Todoroki, using him a human shield.

“Save me, Todoroki-Kun!”

“Oh my God oh my God I think I’m gonna pee! Outta the way!” Ashido barrelled out of the common room and towards the toilets, laughing and gasping all the way.

The chase only stopped once a frustrated Aizawa-sensei stormed into the room, captured Izuku and Katsuki with his tape, and told them to shut up – he could hear them from outside the dorm.

Once Katsuki had stopped trying to flay Izuku alive, the group resumed their story-telling.

 


 

U.A Academy, U.A Cafeteria, Izuku, age fifteen.

 

The following day, when Katsuki walked through the door with Izuku, class 1-A erupted into giggles.

Kirishima made an odd gesture – reminding Izuku of what little kids did to imitate a monkey – bending his arms so his elbows were far out from his torso and his hands were just under his armpits. He wiggled his fingers, and it was clear he was having a playful jab at Katsuki. 

Izuku stifled a laugh; he didn’t plan on being murdered today.

Katsuki walked up to the table holding the majority of his classmates and clearly (and rather loudly) stated: “I hate every single one of you. Go die.”

Ashido was the first to crack. She had just taken a mouthful of water and seemed to be seriously regretting her decision – water dribbled down her front as she giggled and she tried to swallow the liquid, lest she spit it right into Sero’s lunch, who was sitting across from her.

It backfired, and she ended up choking on the drink, coughing and giggling madly.

This, of course, caused the entirety of the class to break out into laughter, while Katsuki just rolled his eyes and stalks off to grab his food. Ochako reached over the table and handed Ashido a pink handkerchief – where the girl keeps them is one of the many mysteries of the universe.

Tokoyami was silently dying of laughter beside Sero, hands covering his face and shoulders bouncing. He almost looked like he was crying, if not for Dark Shadow’s poor attempts at containing his (?????) laughter.

(‘Wait, is Dark Shadow even a male? I mean, I assume so, considering the voice and the way everyone addresses it, but for all I know it could be female or non-binary or God knows what else. I’ll have to ask Tokoyami-Kun about it later.’)

Izuku turned to go get his food and sit down when he noticed all of the students within earshot were staring confusedly at the commotion. Izuku flushes in embarrassment and promptly retrieves his lunch from the Hero Lunch Rush and sits down at a table with Todoroki, Katsuki, Yayorozu, Jirou and Tsuyu. 

Katsuki flips Ashido off – with both hand, no less – which only makes the girl giggle more.

“Oh my God, Kacchan I’m sorry.” He apologises for what was probably the hundredth time. 

“Fuck you, Izuku.”

“Hey, at least I didn’t mention that time with the duck–"

“Don’t you fucking dare.”

Izuku giggles – he would definitely need to tell class about that one.

Chapter Text

Midoriya Inko was furious.

No, furious didn’t begin to describe how she was feeling.

She’d only felt such a feeling once before; when her late husband had tried to kill his own son. Inko didn’t have the vocabulary to describe the bubbling, all-encompassing rage she was experiencing. 

Revolted, perhaps? Sickened? 

Well, it’s a start.

Inko had decided to surprise Izuku and make her way to the U.A sports festival after the cavalry battle – Masaru and Mitsuki both had to work, but had helped her pay for the ticket. Inko would cheer on Katsuki in their stead; he was practically a son to her anyway. 

She had arrived, handed her ticket to the one of the three Ticketmaster’s – an elderly gentleman, purchased a bottle of water from the canteen (she’d brought sandwiches), and proceeded into the Stadium. She had asked a member of the staff if she would be allowed into the section where the students sat, and the woman said she was, but only for a few minutes, though. 

Inko wormed her way out of the large group of people entering the stadium and to a less densely populated area. She made her way up a stairwell and down a hallway; Inko didn't know what to expect when she arrived at the stands but continued on nonetheless.  

She didn’t expect this.

 


  

Twenty minutes earlier – U.A  Sports Festival Stadium, 

 

While Inko was walking the halls, looking for Izuku, she saw her son walking alongside a boy with dual coloured hair – red and white, and what looked like an old scar covering a good portion of the left side of his face. 

Inko would wait until Izuku had finished his conversation – the boy didn’t seem particularly hostile, so perhaps he was simply a classmate offering advice?

The boys stopped outside the stadium, in a secluded area. Inko was beginning to get curious, and though she hated eavesdropping, she couldn’t help but listen in on what the boy had to say.

“Be honest: are you All Might’s secret child or what?”

Inko gaped.

Izuku was in a similar state of confusion.

“E-excuse me?” Izuku asks, perplexed.

“You and he have similar quirks, and he is obviously very fond of you, so, spill, are you and he related somehow?”

“Are you serious?" 

Inko almost felt offended at the accusation. Doesn't this boy know anything about quirks?! There's a small, but not impossible chance that a child will develop a quirk totally unrelated to their parents' quirks, and, in Izuku's case, this was precisely what had happened. 

"Are you implying my mother was unfaithful to her husband?" Izuku's tone grew sharp, defensive, but never lost the confusion. 

The boy sheepishly nodded, suddenly very interested in the pavement below. 

"No, he’s not my dad.” He states flatly. “But I sure wish he was if that answers your question. Did you bring me out here to inquire about my parentage? You could’ve asked in the change rooms.” 

“No, I didn’t, I was merely curious.” The dual-haired boy pauses for a moment before continuing. “Have you ever heard of a quirk marriage?”

Inko’s stomach dropped – a quirk marriage was a horrid, traditionalist abomination that should have been outlawed the instant quirks first appeared. They were arranged marriages formed based on two people's quirks, and often both parties had little to no say in the matter. They weren't even real marriages, as there was no love involved, merely a combination of power. 

It only worsened from there, when the boy began to explain how he and his three siblings were products of such a marriage. His father (whom Inko later learned was actually the Hero Endeavour) had essentially raped and physically as well as psychologically abused his mother and forced her to take care of each of the children – until the boy (Todoroki, she guessed, unless he used a different family name from his father), was born. He was exactly what Endeavour wanted, so he trained, abused, and moulded him into a teenage soldier; he’d never been allowed to make friends, socialise with his siblings, or leave the house until he arrived at U.A. 

Inko wanted to cry. 

"Did he - did he do that to you?' Izuku asked, gesturing to Todoroki's scar. 

The seems surprised by the question, raising his hand to his face, gently touching the damaged skin. 

"No, this was my mother's doing, she had been broken over and over again by that man, and one day she finally snapped..."

Izuku looked at the boy in sympathy, for he too had been scarred by a parent - physically and psychologically. 

Todoroki continued on, explaining the purpose for all of this torment. It was so superficial it made Inko want to scream. So petty – a childish endeavour.

“He wants me to become the number one Hero; to surpass All Might, which he can’t do. So by extension, I need to surpass you, Midoriya, because you pose a threat to my ambition. I am more powerful than you, but I get the feeling you will not be surpassed so easily. And I will do that without using my left side – the quirk I inherited from him. I will become the Number One Hero without using his power.”

‘Left side? His power? Does Todorok-Kun have two quirks?’ 

Izuku’s response almost sounded rude, but Inko supposed that’s what he was going for.

“Just to make sure I heard that right, you think that you’re just going to rock up to this tournament, stroll through it and win using only half of your power? I’m going to tell you here and now, that’s not going to happen.”

Todoroki froze, stoic expression beginning to morph to anger. 

“I don’t mean to be insensitive; believe me, my father was just as horrible, but even by doing what you want to do – to become a hero using only your ice quirk – you’d still be playing right into his hands. Don’t you have any ambitions of your own?”

“What do you mean? My ambition is to become a hero without using his quirk–” 

“That’s exactly my point!” Izuku interrupted. “You said Endeavour wanted you to become the Number One Hero, right? You’d still be doing precisely what he wants you to!” The boy shouted. 

Inko had to cover her mouth to stop her from gasping – never in her life had she seen Izuku this angry! 

Izuku stepped closer to Todoroki, his previously passive expression replaced with one of coldness – eyes narrowed, lips pursed, eyebrows furrowed, green eyes glistening with determination. 

God, he looked so much like Hisashi it made Inko want to cry. 

“If you think that you can beat all of these students by using only one part of your quirk, you’ve got another thing coming.” Todoroki looked ready to reply, but Izuku continued before the boy could get a single word in. 

“I’ll admit, you are stronger than me – much stronger – but unlike you, everyone in this tournament is going to give it 110%, and no matter how strong you think you are, using only 50% of your power will only get you 50% of the way.”

“You don’t understand what I’ve been through!” Todoroki snapped – Inko could feel the drop in temperature even from where she was standing. “You’ve been blessed with a powerful quirk and a happy life, what right do you have to criticise me?” 

It took all of Inko's willpower not to walk right up to the boy and slap him - as horrid as his childhood may have been, the boy either has no regard for what others are going through or simply hasn't reached the level of mental maturity to realise he isn't the only one with issues. 

“What right? I have every right – you’re going to completely half-ass this tournament out of spite. No matter how mad you are at your father, you are disrespecting each and every person at U.A Academy with an ambition that isn’t even yours.” He was right in Todoroki’s space now, unwavering.

Izuku took a deep breath to calm himself, clenched his fists, and exhaled. He took a step back.

“You want to know what right I have? Fine, I’ll tell you. Let’s just say we share a common hatred of our fathers.”

Todoroki looked puzzled but stayed silent. 

“My quirk didn’t appear until recently – in my last year of middle school, actually.” He started.

Todoroki blinked as if he’d been struck.

“How is that even possible?” The boy asks, perplexed.

“It’s kind of a long story, but you know how some people don’t realise they have a quirk until they’re in a life-threatening situation? Well, unfortunately, it didn’t make an appearance when I was six; it appeared when Kacchan – Katsuki – was attacked by a villain with a gelatinous, slime-like body. I don’t entirely know how, but my quirk appeared just then, if only a small fraction, and I managed to stave off the villain until All Might arrived…”

Todoroki blinked again but nodded.

“My… Father…” He spoke the word with venom, something Izuku only did when speaking of Hisashi. “Was one of those anti-quirkless assholes - hell, he was even a part of one of those anti-quirkless groups... So imagine his outrage when he discovered his son didn’t have a quirk. I had the pinkie toe joint and everything!”

Izuku’s face reddened, and Inko recognised the expression as his “about to cry but don’t want to in front of people” face. It broke her heart.

“My mum tried to convince him that maybe I did have a quirk, that perhaps I was like that Killer-Catcher duo that only discovered their powers when they witnessed their parents being murdered – and that the circumstances for my quirk to appear simply hadn’t come about…” Izuku paused, and lowered his voice, seemingly realising he was speaking very loudly. 

“By the time I was six, it was clear – or at least to him – that I was quirkless… He didn’t like that at all. He came from a very traditionalist – and frankly, quite sexist - family, they were all about “bringing honour the family” and “raising a son that would be useful to society”. So one afternoon when I was six years old, and my mother had left the house with a friend to get groceries, he tried to kill me.” 

The horror on Todoroki’s face was evident, and Inko felt the temperature drop yet again; she noticed frost forming on the boy’s right arm. 

“That man had a fire quirk too – he could breathe fire. He didn’t get the chance to roast me alive, though, because my mother had returned earlier than expected. Kacchan’s dad had helped her with the shopping.”

Izuku paused, gathering himself. 

“I don’t actually remember what happened afterwards – I'd been knocked out... He’d knocked my head repeatedly against the kitchen bench.” 

Izuku pointed to the long, white scar running down from his scalp and cutting into the end of his right eyebrow – splitting it in two. Izuku had likened it to an upside-down corn fork when he saw it in the mirror one morning. 

“The doctors easily stitched my eyebrow up but had to glue various other parts of my skull back together. I was in the hospital for a few weeks afterwards.” He explained to an increasingly horrified Todoroki. 

“I’m not telling you this out of sympathy – I’m telling you this so you can put yourself into perspective. You aren’t the only one with problems – and I know you’ve experienced horrors most people couldn’t dream of, but you need to understand that different people confront and deal with their problems in different ways.”

Izuku stepped forward and placed a tentative hand on Todoroki’s shoulder – the brief moment of panic and the tensing of the boy’s shoulders made Inko wonder if he’d ever been touched in a way that wasn’t intended to cause harm. 

“Please, Todoroki-Kun, don’t live your life trying to do things he’ll hate – that’s just obsessing over him, and it will ruin you psychologically. Don’t set out on a quest for revenge, either – if everyone lived by “an eye for an eye” there’d be no more people left on Earth." 

Todoroki stared at Izuku in awe. 

“You need to stop looking at others as merely an opponent, but as people who’ve loved something, are afraid of something, and have lost something – as people.”

Inko felt a wetness on her cheeks – she was crying. Her son – who had gone through his life thinking he was weak and worthless and useless was now using his own trauma to help someone else in need. Saying she was proud would have been an understatement.

Izuku squeezed Todoroki’s shoulder and stepped away, now smiling.

“I’m here for you Todoroki-Kun; make no mistake, when we walk onto that field, we will be opponents, but an opponent doesn’t always have to be an enemy.”

The dual-haired boy gave a bitter chuckle – it held no humour. He looked Midoriya right in the eyes.

“Seems like we’ve both got some serious daddy issues, huh, Midoriya?” 

 


  

Present time, U.A Sports Festival Stadium, Izuku, age fifteen. 

 

After hearing what Todoroki had to say, it took all of Inko’s effort not to run up, hug the boy, and assure him it would all be okay.

Inko’s motherly instincts kicked in to high gear, combining with her hatred for cruelty and senseless violence, and she set out on finding that flaming bastard and giving him a piece of her mind.

Was this a good idea? No, in all honesty, this was probably the worst decision Inko could make, but if she could help that boy in any way, then she would. 

She had failed Izuku, she would not fail Todoroki. 

Inko supposed that the only reason Endeavour hadn’t been imprisoned already was because of his job – as horrible as a person as he may be, Inko couldn’t find it in herself to fully hate the man. He had saved countless lives and had upheld the peace for many years; children and adults alike looked up to him in a similar manner they might regard All Might.

Inko made her way into the stadium, stalking the halls for the flame hero. Fate smiled upon Inko’s noble task, for when Inko was about to climb a flight of stairs, she saw him. The woman straightened her clothing, took a deep breath, and stormed right up to the man.

Though the man was about half a metre taller than her, Inko would not waver. She approached the man, and called out, using her most innocent tone. 

“Excuse me, Endeavour?”    

The man spun around, looked the woman up and down, and scowled. 

“I don’t have time for an interview, move along–” 

A harsh slap to the face silenced the man immediately. The sound echoed in the empty hallway.

“You, sir,” Inko began, employing her meanest and angriest tone, “are a despicable, disgusting person, and if you didn’t spend your days saving lives I’d have you imprisoned until the day they put you in the ground.”

The fire "hero" chaged his shocked expression into a withering glare. He opened his mouth to speak, face reddening in rage, before being interrupted. 

“...But, mark my words, Endeavour," The woman gave a glare of her own, speaking with a venom she never knew she possessed, "the day you retire from your Hero work, you should expect a visit from the authorities. With such a petty ambition, it’s a wonder you’ve survived this long.”  

The woman swiftly turned and stormed away before the man could get a single word in.

Inko climbed two flights of stairs and turned three corners before she decided that the man had not followed her. She decided to look for a directory – Inko would personally wish her son good luck if it was the last thing she ever did.

 


 

What the actual fuck just happened.

Shouto had been stopped by Bakugou after he’d tried to make his way back to the stands with the rest of his class – the aggressive blonde had heard their entire fucking conversation.

Bakugou – to his credit, promised he wouldn’t share Shouto’s story, so long as Shouto kept quiet about Midoriya’s until he decided to tell the rest of the class. Shouto had agreed, of course, and continued on his way towards the stands, when he froze.  

His father was walking down the hallway in his direction.

He hadn’t noticed him – the man was studying the various posters on the wall as he passed them, and Shouto had gotten good at hiding from him.

He ducked behind a corner, but when he heard a feminine voice address his father, he peeked around the corner.

That was when he saw the woman – short, wearing a teal t-shirt and black skirt with deep green hair backhand his father across the cheek. She insulted him, called him out for his bullshit parenting, warned him to expect the Police to come knocking when he retires from Hero work and swiftly leaves. The green-haired woman scurries up the closest stairwell and is quickly out of sight.

It would seem the woman – who looked oddly similar to Midoriya – had overheard his story, and was clearly appalled.

Todoroki smiled, silently thanked the woman, and slinked off towards the stands.

Chapter Text

Hosu General Hospital.

Tenya would be lying if he said that he wasn’t in pain. 

He lay in his hospital bed, both of his arms in casts and slings – not to mention the various other bandages and Band-Aids – with a headache only slightly less painful than being hit by a truck. That wasn’t where the real pain was coming from, though. 

Never in his life had Iida Tenya felt so ashamed. 

He had recklessly pursued the Hero Killer: Stain all by his lonesome, putting himself in a ridiculous, life-threatening amount of danger. The Hero Native was due for a full recovery, at the very least.

But he had put two of his classmates in the hospital in the process.

Tenya glanced over to Todoroki, who was reading a newspaper provided by one of the nurses and then at Midoriya, who was typing something onto his phone.  

When they weren’t being treated by the doctors and nurses, the three boys were criticised and lectured by every pro Hero in the know, not to mention their own parents (sans Todoroki’s; for whatever reason his mother was unavailable, but one of his siblings did drop by one afternoon. Tenya would be lying if he said he wasn’t interested in knowing more about his dual-haired classmate). But mixed into their berating was congratulations – for minimising injuries and casualties, for capturing the man who’d hurt so many people, for creating a decent strategy on the fly, and for, y’know, not dying.

Tenya made it clear to each and every person that it was Midoriya and Todoroki who had not only come to his aid but had been the ones to formulate and execute a plan and put particular emphasis on the fact that it was Midoriya who figured out The Hero Killer’s quirk.

Midoriya would get embarrassed every time, and would always add in an excuse like “It was life or death and I was terrified”, or “It was still stupid to go rushing in there like that!”, and good Lord can this boy just learn to take a darn compliment?!

Tenya closed his eyes and gave a long exhale – not quite a sigh. They had been in a comfortable silence for quite some time, only interrupted by the nurse - whose name currently escaped Tenya – asking his routine questions; aside from that, he didn’t force any small talk. The whole ordeal had shaken them all up psychologically, so a reprieve from socialisation, however brief, was much welcomed.

“You shouldn’t sigh, Iida, you’ll let all the happiness escape.”

The sudden childish remark from Todoroki startled Tenya into laughter.

Todoroki pursed his lips, “I’m being serious.” He began, “the more you sigh the more happiness escapes from you.”

“That’s just superstition, Todoroki-Kun.” Midoriya stated, unable to keep the amusement from his voice. “We sigh to “re-set” our breathing patterns – they loosen our lungs and keep our breathing flexible. If we keep breathing the same way, our lungs deteriorate and become ineffective in gas exchange. That’s also why we yawn – or partly, at least – it’s all to make sure our breathing patterns don’t stagnate…”

Todoroki blinked as if he’d been struck, and his expression changed to what could pass as a smirk.

The nurse regarded Midoriya in what looked like pride – probably surprised that a teenager held any sort of interest in the inner workings of the human body.

“Oh! Sorry, I’m rambling again, aren’t I?” Midoriya rubbed the back of his neck and smiled sheepishly.

“It’s quite alright, Midoriya! I find your mutterings to be quite insightful, actually! I, for one, have learned something today.” Tenya assured, then wincing in pain when he tried to move his arms.

“And we’re not even at school,” Todoroki added with a smile.

The trio erupted into giggles, and then that comfortable silence returned once again. The nurse took that as his opportunity to speak.

“Well, it seems like you boys’ll be leaving Hosu general any day now, judging by how well you’re recovering,” the man began, clipping his pen back onto his clipboard. “I’ll leave you be, for now, one of the other nurses will come check up on you at around 6 pm; you’ll also be having dinner at that time. Are there any books or magazines I can get you in the meantime?”

“I still have today’s newspaper, so I’m all set,” Todoroki replied politely.

“I’ll take a Hero magazine – any issue will be fine, thanks.” Midoriya piped up.

“I can’t really do much reading…” Iida lifted his casted arms. The nurse understood.

“Very well, then.” The man gave a quick bow before leaving the trio to their own devices.

Iida sat back, spine flush against the wall, contemplating. The world as they know it would be forever changed – The League of Villains and their Nomu, The Hero Killer: Stain… Nothing would ever be the same again.

The average person would feel disheartened by that fact – but not Tenya. Not the students at U.A Academy; they viewed this sudden change as an obstacle to overcome – a hurdle in a race – rather than an impregnable wall.

The world was full of monsters and murderers, psychopaths and madmen – but amongst all that calamity are Heroes: Pro Heroes, law enforcement, medical staff, teachers…

This wasn’t the end, but the beginning. No matter how bleak the situation, they would continue to uphold the values of society until their last dying breath.

‘Jeez, I’m really starting to sound like Midoriya-Kun…’

 


 

 

U.A Academy, U.A Cafeteria

It took all of Katsuki’s effort not to stand up and fucking strangle that Class 1-B bastard. Katsuki tried to recall the guy’s name – mostly so he could put him on his “people to blow up” list. He was blonde, and a total asshole with a serious inferiority complex.

‘Am I describing the guy with the copy quirk or myself?’ Katsuki pushed the thought down in favour of sending a withering glare at the other student.

“Huh? What are you staring at, spiky hair?” The boy sneered at Katsuki, and if it weren’t for Kirishima’s subtle side glance he would have stood up and socked the boy on the spot.

“You 1-A students think you’re so much better than the rest of us,” he continued. “Just ‘cause you’re in the top class doesn’t mean you’ll become top heroes. Do everybody a favour and knock yourselves down a couple notches – or are us lowly class-B kids to ordinary for you?”

“Well, that’s obvious.”

‘Black hair, big bust, Yayorozu? Fuck, maybe I should pay more attention to names’.

“Though it is certainly more likely, I can guarantee you that not everyone in 1-A will become top heroes. I don’t see why you have such a need to put us down – it’s not very hero-like at all.” She elaborated, now upstanding, her tone was serious and straight-to-the-point, Katsuki had to at least respect her “no bullshit” attitude.

The blonde bastard laughed, gesturing to Katsuki. “You say I’m not acting heroically? You’ve got this fucker in your class! Hypocritical much?”

Much of the cafeteria was now intently listening in on their conversation. Katsuki had no doubt many of the other students shared similar views to this idiot.

He knows because looking into that blondie’s eyes transports him back to his five-year-old self – angry at the world because it didn’t stand up to his warped expectations. Angry because his best friend didn’t have a quirk, he was weak, he held him back-

No, he did not. He raised you on a pedestal so high he completely disregarded himself. He endured your torture, your hatred because you were so angry and you didn’t even know why-

Katsuki’s fist clenched around his trousers – he was shaking in rage. When did he stand up?

“What, got something to say?” The guy turned his face upwards so he was literally looking down his nose at Katsuki.

“Back off, jerk.” The earphone-jack-for-earlobes girl with a surprisingly stylish bob spat.

“You realise you’re only making it worse for yourself, right? Walk away, Monoma-Kun.” Round-face – Uraraka - spoke.

“Yeah, what the heck is your problem, man?” The human-embodiment-of-Pikachu asked.

“You heard him,” another guy (presumably from 1-B or even the General department) spoke up – his skin was a faded yellow with a leathery texture, and his eyes were orange – ‘fuck that’s creepy’, “you all think you’re so great because of your damn exam scores. Well, you know what? Screw you guys!”

“You in particular are extremely up yourself,” one girl chimed in, ‘when the fuck did she get there?’

“And what about that grape-haired pervert in your class? How the holy hell did he make it into 1-A? The exams were clearly rigged.” She continued, sending said pervert a withering glare.

Katsuki agreed with her, but that was beside the point.

“By the way - Bakugou, was it? – do you get some kind of satisfaction by beating people up? Or are you just the type to step on everybody else’s throats to climb the ladder? Even in the sports festival – the girl with the anti-grav quirk, whatever her name is – you were totally relentless. How could you be so cruel to someone so fragile?”

‘Fragile?’ Katsuki recalled his fight with Uraraka – brutal, for both parties. Katsuki was still shocked by how strong she was. Maybe her body wasn’t unbreakable, but her resolve? It’d take a nuke to take that girl down.

“Yeah, you can’t do that to a girl!” Yellow-eye spoke.

Katsuki barked a laugh, startling the surrounding students.

“I’m sorry, whose fight were you watching? You mean to tell me that you look at that- “

Katsuki gestured to Uraraka, startled by the attention, “-and you see weakness? You lot’re even more fucked in the head than I thought. I gave 100% because that’s exactly what she was doing. Giving any less than my all would have been the cruellest thing I could have done, simple as that.”

“Wow, Baku-bro! So manly!” Shitty-hair – Kirishima – punched his shoulder, ‘is that mean to be a friendly thing?’

Katsuki ignored him, turned around, and walked out of the cafeteria – he wasn’t particularly hungry anyway, and he feared that if he didn’t leave ASAP he’d get too out of control and he’d have another fit-

‘No. No, never again. Not after what I did to Izuku.’

As Katsuki exited the cafeteria, he didn’t see the look of awe, gratitude and strengthened resolve plastered on the girl’s face.

 


 

 

Location classified, League of Villains’ tavern base.

Silence fell in the already quiet villain’s bar, as a tall, dark-haired man entered the establishment. He pulled up a stool next to a shorter, stockier man, and asked for a drink – shochu on the rocks

Kurogiri stopped polishing the glass he was holding and began to pour the drink. Kurogiri was surprised, to say the least; no one expected the man to return to Japan so soon. Or at all, really; they were under the impression he’d died until about a month ago. All for One had filled them in on what the man and his little band of “purifiers” had been doing.

The man was a long-time business partner with the League and had connections all over Japan and China, as well as some minor holdings in South Korea. “A natural-born businessman,” All for One had called him when he introduced the man to the higher-ups of the League over fifteen years ago. He had been an invaluable source of intel across Japan, and his Yakuza connections helped keep the authorities off their asses when one of their members slipped up. The man’s quirk wasn’t as powerful as some of their other members, (not to say his quirk wasn’t powerful, even the most basic fire quirk is very unpredictable and dangerous), but the man knew his way around a gun, at least.

It was a surprise to everyone when the man was imprisoned eight years ago – All for One was most displeased, but his interest in the man held strong. It would seem his Yakuza associates still valued him greatly, for a few months after he was admitted, he was broken out of prison, had his death faked and received some minor facial reconstruction before receiving a whole new identity and being shipped off to China.

The Fire-Breathing Villain: Dragon debuted just a short two years after he appeared in China, with some pretty high-tech gear and a few sidekicks to help him along. He only killed the quirkless or those whose quirks could be considered “useless”. One such example was his third victim, Bai An Bao, an eleven-year-old girl from Beijing, whose quirk allowed her hair to change colours; her hair was white from birth, and depending on her mood it would change colours. The Dragon had slaughtered her in her own home, taken a few valuables and swiftly made his escape – all while the girl’s father was trapped in the backyard, helpless.

As Kurogiri passed him his shochu, he couldn’t help but wonder.

The man was clearly very intelligent – he had the sense to make each of his earlier crimes appear as “robberies gone wrong” by roughing up the location, disabling other witnesses, and stealing any valuables. This only worked for a few months, however, as the police soon caught on to the pattern. He still stole from wherever he killed but made that the last priority – though what he did with the valuables was most curious; he would give them to his associates to cover the costs of whatever “job” they were undertaking at the time, which was most unusual for a Yakuza.

Midoriya Hisashi was no ordinary Yakuza, though.

The man nodded in appreciation and began to sip the liquid with delicacy. His gaze flicked around the bar, eventually settling on Kurogiri himself. Kurogiri was a hard man to scare, but the Dragon’s gaze was most unsettling.

A low buzz was heard, and the Dragon broke eye contact to pull his phone from his black blazer. He clicked his tongue, typed a quick reply to whoever had messaged him, and put his phone away, taking another slow sip of his drink.

“It’s quite the place you have here, Kurogiri.”

The ambient noise of the bar had ceased once more at the man’s deep, metallic voice. Rumour had it he’d permanently altered his vocal chords so his voice could be untraceable

“Yes, it is, when that child isn’t throwing a tantrum.” They both knew who he was referring to. Shigaraki Tomura, who was currently out doing whatever the man did in his free time. Probably killing someone, Kurogiri supposed.

“Kurogiri, how would you feel about helping me out a little? I have information for you in return, of course.” The man asked, downing the last of his shochu.

The shadow villain looked up, startled. “It’s odd for you to request assistance from anyone other than Eclipse or Gunmetal.” He considered the request for a moment, before answering, “I would need to ask my superiors, but I’m not opposed to it.”

The grin on the man’s face would surely terrify a lesser man.

“I’ll return with the details, should your superiors approve it. Good to have you aboard, Kurogiri.”

With that, the Dragon stood, bowed, and made his way out of the bar, closing the door behind him.

Chapter Text

Nakajimaen Noen Café, Shizuoka prefecture.

Midoriya Inko was having a great morning; the weather forecast predicted sunny skies for nearly the whole week, there was a sale on various foods at the grocery store, and most importantly, she had finally been able to catch up with her long-time friend, Bakugou Masaru.

The man had been busy with work at the detective agency, and Inko didn’t want to intrude (though Masaru always insisted that Inko never had or would intrude), so she waited until he had a day off to ask him out to brunch. Her new neighbour thought she was going on a date when the man showed up at her door; Masaru and Inko laughed about it the whole way to the café they were heading to – a highly-rated café not too far from Inko’s residence.

She spent the morning rambling about silly little stuff: the neighbour’s dog who kept digging in her side of the garden, the stupidity of one of the characters in the weekly drama she watched on TV, how one time she confused the salt for the sugar and put two teaspoons of the stuff into her tea… Masaru spoke of his experiences at work – avoiding gruesome cases, for Inko was very much a squeamish woman - and instead opted to rant about the new recruits, how one woman who - he named A, for security - reasons was so straight-laced and by-the-book you’d think she’s living by an instruction manual. He spoke of another one of his subordinates – K, he nicknamed her - being her polar opposite, and had nearly been fired for being so reckless, but had ultimately teamed up with the aforementioned detective and had solved the case. 

The young waiter approached, handing Inko her breakfast muffin and Masaru his eggs on toast. They heard the elderly man behind Masaru crack a joke to his middle-aged daughter, causing the pair to giggle.

And then all hell broke loose.

The glass door to the café swung open so hard the doorknob made a dent in the wall and the glass of the door shattered. There, a man stood at the entrance to the café; the material of his bodysuit suit seemed to be a mixture of latex and Kevlar, dyed a deep vermilion. The design of the fabric looked almost like armour – scales. The man’s abdomen was a reddish-orange hue with horizontal plating. His head was covered in some kind of a metal helmet; it was shaped almost like that of a lizard, with slits covered by tinted glass where his eyes would have been. The helmet matched the colour of his suit perfectly.

Three small vertical lines were evenly spaced across where his mouth would be, and there was a curved line underneath the cheekbones that ran across the upper cheek and under his nose, stopping at a circular joint just in front of each of his ears. Could, perhaps, the helmet open at the jaw?

There were several small, cylindrical canisters – no larger than an iPhone – strapped to his belt. They looked like air horns, with a narrow, funnel-like object protruding from each of them.

And then she saw the guns. 

Inko knew nothing about guns – she never bothered to learn - such a small device was capable of dealing out so much death. She despised them. There was a scoped, black handgun that was strapped to the man’s left thigh, a similar weapon in his outstretched right hand, this one without a scope.

He turned to Inko, and she felt her heart stop.

The man stared at her intently, and Inko likened it to someone confirming the identity of someone they've only seen online...

'Wait, what if he's somehow hacked some server and he's found out about Izuku's family and he knows I'm his mother?!' Her thoughts came in fast and jumbled.

“Shizuoka prefectural police, drop your weapon!” Masaru had stood up, flashing his detective’s badge at the man, reaching for his stun-gun. 

The man swiftly aimed his gun-

-and fired.

Inko screamed.

 


 

Satou Asahi was sitting calmly in his car, waiting for the light to turn green; a new recruit – Tsunemori Akane, was sitting in the passenger seat. The woman was clearly anxious, it was her first shift on the streets, after all. The girl’s quirk, “Calm”, was pretty straightforward: it allowed her to release hormones that could calm anyone within a 200-meter radius – so long as she herself could keep a level head. She was often called into hospitals and even a few prisons to deal with difficult patients.

They were on their first patrol together – they had worked together previously, but that was all within the confines of the station.

The man offered her a doughnut – the woman looked about ready to laugh at just how stereotypical the man was being when chatter erupted on the car’s police radio receiver.

“This is dispatch, all available officers to 11-21 Hatori Honcho Aoi-Ku, we have a 417 at Nakajimaen Noen Café! Repeat: all available officers to 11-21 Hatori Honcho Aoi-Ku, we have a 417 at Nakajimaen Noen Café!”

“Son of a –” Asahi dropped the doughnut.

“Oh my God.” Tsunemori gasps. “A gunman? In Japan?”

The receiver crackled to life once more, the news even more disturbing. “Shots fired! Repeat, shots fired at the location! All available units to Nakajimaen Noen Café, we have a 417! Code three!” 

Asahi picked up the receiver, “Wilco, dispatch; Satou and Tsunemori en route.” 

Tsunemori flicked on the sirens, as per instructions, and Satou sped down the intersection and past a roundabout.   

“Sorry kid, I’m afraid we don’t have time for the rookie treatment.” The car veered sharply to the right, speeding down a laneway.

“It’s okay, jut drive, Mr Satou.” The woman’s grip tightened on her seatbelt.

Cars moved left and right to let the officers pass, and Asahi spotted another police car come onto the road from the left.

Asahi felt dread in the pit of his stomach – this was too similar to the Midoriya case nine years ago… He shook his head, physically clearing his mind. God help him if he starts dwelling on that psycho son-of-a-bitch right now.

“Shit, I hope we get there in time…” He mutters, pressing the accelerator a tad closer to the floor.

 


 

“Please, don’t hurt us!” The woman who had been sitting behind Masaru wept, clutching her elderly father close.

Masaru was down; he had been shot in the shoulder. Inko supposed the man hadn’t wanted to kill him, as a lethal shot would have been easier to make at his distance.

The man strode up to Inko, and knocked her to the ground with a harsh strike to her temple.

“Inko!” Masaru grunted but cried out in pain when he tried to move.

The man never spoke, simply waved his gun at anyone who moved. He shot a woman in one of her feathered wings, and smashed another man’s head against a table; he seemed to have a hardening quirk because it was the table that broke, not the man’s skull. Still, though, the man was unconscious, due to the sheer force and the angle of the impact. The attacker turned and shot a woman in the leg – she had a reptilian appearance, with claws and a blade at the end of her tail. Inko realised with a start that the man was disabling people whose quirks could cause him trouble. 

One of the two cashiers spoke up, a man with four arms, “look, man, if it’s money you want, just take it! Leave us alone!” The attacker turned and seemed to consider the offer. He pointed his gun at the register, and then to a large handbag clutched in the arms of an elderly woman. The woman threw the bag to the cashier and he emptied the contents, opening the register and stuffing it with notes and coins. 

Laying on the ground, Inko could get a closer look at the attacker – he wore black boots with three toe-like protrusions, they were likely metal, and the toes were sharpened into claws. Inko gulped.

The man picked up one of the customers – a well-built gentleman with blue skin and a single, curved horn on his forehead, and pointed to one of the tables with his gun. He then motioned to the door.

“You want me to – to barricade us in here? Are you fucking–” The man received a sharp blow to the head with the butt of the gun, causing several screams. “Okay, okay man. I’m doin’ it”.

The assailant grabbed a woman by her ponytail – which was actually a bundle of snakes, and shoved her towards another table, prompting her to help the man barricade the entrance.

How brutish. Inko would have voiced her opinion, but quickly remembered her situation. She looked over to Masaru – the man was startlingly pale, the hand that clutched his shoulder was now dyed red with his own blood. She looked up at the attacker, with pleading eyes.

“Please… Just let me stop the bleeding. He’s no use to you dead.” The attacker seemed to consider this for a moment, before nodding. He turned, heading towards the door, grabbing another man on his way.

Inko rushed to her friend, removing her cardigan and carefully wrapping it around the man’s shoulder, cradling his head in her hands.

Inko nearly wept with relief when she heard the familiar sirens of a police vehicle come near. Someone must have called the authorities when they heard the gunshots.

She heard the man click his tongue in annoyance – he acted as if he wasn’t in any danger at all, like the authorities were little more than a minor inconvenience, like a stubbed toe. 

Whispering erupted from the other end of the café, and the man made his way over, kicking one of the customers – a teenage boy with tentacles for arms, right in the sternum. A horrible crack erupted from the scene – one or more of the boy’s ribs had certainly been broken.

He cried out in pain, and fell face-first onto the floor, curling into the foetal position. The teenage girl next to him – a sister, judging by the tentacle legs, was at his side immediately. 

The screeching of tires and shouting broke Inko’s trance. Help had arrived – and plenty of it, judging by the amount of commotion. Just what was the man’s purpose, attacking such a public place as this?

It was then that the man drew his second gun, only for Inko to realise it wasn’t a gun at all – but some kind of a scanner; what she thought was a scope was, in fact, a small screen. He pointed it at a blonde woman by his feet, said woman screamed and curled in on herself, shielding her head.

There was a five-second wait before a high-pitched ‘beep’ erupted from the device. He moved onto the next customer, and the next, and the next, until he arrived at a young girl in the hold of her mother, perhaps seven or eight - the pair were cowering just a meter away from Inko.

The scanner didn’t beep. 

The man chuckled menacingly – the sound sent shivers down Inko’s spine. It was metallic and filled her with a crippling sense of dread. It was inhuman – but Inko thought of herself as a rational person; perhaps it was some kind of voice scrambler, the type the villains used in those Western television shows.

The man grabbed the young girl by the collar of her baby blue dress, the girl’s mother reached out, her quirk elongating her arms, but she was quickly knocked aside by a sharp kick to the shoulder.

He towered over the girl, and he raised his left hand. The girl flinched, shielding her face, expecting to be beaten – but instead, the man pressed a button on the left side of his jaw, just in front of his ear. The part of the helmet covering his mouth retracted, disappearing behind the metal covering the edges of his jaw. Like the mouth of a python, the remaining jaw of his helmet unhinged, revealing his sneering mouth.

“Die, qurikless scum”. 

Inko nearly had a heart attack on the spot - those words reminded her of that day ten years ago...

No one could have been prepared for what happened next.

A plume of smoke escaped the man’s lips, and he roared, sending a torrent of fire towards the child.

Her scream will haunt Inko until the day they put her in the ground.

A horrid smell erupted – melting and charred flesh. Everyone was screaming. Those who weren’t were sobbing or vomiting. Or a mixture of the three.

The girl’s short black hair was incinerated instantaneously, as was the collar of her dress. The flesh bubbled and melted from her face like butter faced with a blowtorch. Inko vomited after seeing the girl’s eyes melt – the mucus dribbling down her melting skin.

She dropped to the ground, clawing at her face, which only further spread the fire. Her hands were now charred and blackened. 

The man let loose another torrent of fire, igniting the girl’s hunched back.

Another horrible, throat-tearing scream.

It was then that the table in front of the door splintered and was kicked aside, revealing a short police officer resembling a rhinoceros, flanked by two others. Relief struck Inko like a slap in the face when she saw Satou Asahi, Taser and baton in hand, standing in the doorway.

“Police! Drop your weapon!”

They all rushed in, and the assailant grabbed one of the cylinders strapped to his belt and aimed it at the officer. A burst of flame erupted from the device – it was a miniature flamethrower!

Inko quickly used her quirk to pull the device from the man’s hand before anyone else was burnt. The flame only heated the man’s uniform, the ivory of his horn taking the brunt of the attack, but he stumbled backwards, knocking into the two officers behind him. 

The villain turned to her, but instead of shooting her dead like she expected, he raised his left wrist to his mouth and spoke into it.

“Kurogiri! Get me out of here!”

Before the officers could gather themselves, darkness erupted within the building. A black hole forming right before Inko’s eyes. 

The man turned to the cashier, “The bag!” He roared. The cashier threw the bag of money, and a dark, shadowy arm reached out and grasped the attacker’s upper arm, drawing him into the darkness. The shadows collapsed in on themselves and suddenly, they disappeared. 

Chapter Text

U.A Academy, U.A Dormitories, present day.

 

Ochako was ecstatic: Aizawa-sensei had given the class a day off. The class was suspicious, questioning if this was some kind of a test – to see if what they did in their free time was productive. He played it off as him getting some time to mark and get some actual sleep, but the class saw through the façade – he genuinely wanted his class to have a break, especially with the holiday training camp rapidly approaching. He even gave them permission to watch some movies on the dorms’ TV, so long as they could agree on a movie and not start a fight. The man’s gaze lingered on Bakugou, with that statement.

So now Class 1-A was piled in the dorm’s common room, everyone in casual, comfortable clothing, currently picking out a movie. They had waited until 9 AM to have breakfast, instead of the usual 6:30 AM, and had breakfast as a class. Iida had flicked onto the local news station for background noise as they decided on the film.

Most of the picks were American films: Present-Mic had recommended they check out some American titles, both to get a grasp of Western culture and to strengthen their understanding its dominant language. It had been narrowed down to three movies, all of which were regarded as classics in American culture: “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” (after completing the previous movies, of course), “Jurassic Park” and “Jaws”. 

Ochako herself was leaning more towards Jaws – to the surprise of much of the class. She wasn’t too keen on a lot of horror movies, but she’d heard great things about Jaws and wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

As her classmates continued their debate, the urgent tone of the distraught newscaster caught his attention.

“Hey, guys, quiet down a sec, something’s going on,” Midoriya called, turning up the television’s volume. When his classmates finally quieted, they were horrified.

The newscaster stood in front of a café – she didn’t recognise the place. She glanced at the corner of the screen showing the location – Shizuoka prefecture. 

“Earlier this morning, about half an hour ago, twenty-five people were held captive by a Villain in the Nakajimaen Noen Café; eye-witness descriptions of the assailant place the Villain as none other than the Fire-Breathing Villain: Dragon, or “Lóng”, as he’s known by the Chinese public. He, and his two accomplices Eclipse and Gunmetal –”  

At the mention of the two accomplices, two images overtake the screen. On the left, captioned “Eclipse” is a grainy image – clearly a zoomed in shot from security footage of some kind – of a woman in her mid-twenties. Her upper face is covered in... 'Bandages?' Her barely visible eyes were a deep, royal purple - with long, jet black hair tied into a high ponytail. Her shoulders and neck were covered in intricate, swirling markings, 'tattoos, perhaps?'

The picture on the right showed Gunmetal; a stocky man with sharp features and deep, metallic skin, its colour likely being the reason for his nickname. He looked to be in his early-to-mid thirties, but looks can be deceiving. He was completely bald, with thick, black eyebrows. His eyes were deep set and cobalt blue.

 “– have evaded the Chinese government for close to a decade; they leave little to no physical evidence at each scene, making it difficult for detectives to form a case. It has become clear to the authorities that local triads and villain groups are assisting the trio.”

The two pictures disappear, and the young anchorwoman returns – she has a quirk that turned her fingers into microphones, so she spoke into her index finger instead of an actual microphone.

“The man’s criminal history is extremely disturbing: in China, he was known to hunt down quirkless people or those whose quirks he deems as “useless” or “unnecessary to society”, and kill them by means of burning them to death. So far, the man has taken the lives of over seventy people.”

A collective gasp ran through the group. The temperature in the room dropped, Ochako turned to see Todoroki half covered with frost, wearing a similar expression of horror. Bakugou blinked as if he’d been struck, while Midoriya, who was sitting next to him, was slack-jawed.

'Seventy people? Not even Stain had killed that many people! And now this monster is in Japan!'

“The Villain Eclipse’s motives are not entirely dissimilar to the Hero Killer: Stain’s: she hunts down “false Heroes” – men and women who use their influence to gain more income or get special privileges – and kill them. Whereas Gunmetal seeks out military officers, as well as ex-military officers, and kill them. It is unclear why he has chosen to target the military, but, regardless, each individual is to be considered extremely dangerous. We will bring you more information regarding the Villains as the situation develops.” 

Ochako stiffened – her horror morphing into rage and disgust. The Hero Killer: Stain… That monster had affected their world so drastically… 

“It would seem Dragon’s macabre motives have not changed, as just this morning, this Villain has taken the life of eight-year-old Akiyama Nina. One eye-witness has bravely volunteered to describe the tragedy.”

The camera shifts to a dark-haired man with red-rimmed eyes and four arms, he wore a tattered uniform, presumably one of the cashiers.

“…The man approached me and pointed what I thought was gun to my head, but it was, in fact, some kind of a scanner. It beeped whenever he pointed it at someone… Everyone except that poor little girl…”

He pauses and takes a shaky breath. “The guy picks her up, knocks her mother to the ground, and then he– “ Another pause. “He breathed fire. He burnt that poor little girl to death and… He… He called her “quirkless scum” … I’m sorry, I can’t– ” He turned from the camera.

“Dear God…” Tokoyama whispers. 

Ochako covers her mouth with her hands, speechless.

“And as if this tragedy couldn’t get any worse, the Villain managed to escape before the authorities could make an arrest. Witnesses report that Dragon had called for “Kurogiri”, a known member of the League of Villains, to retrieve him, via a portal that materialised out of thin air, according to witness reports.”

“The League of Villains?!” Iida exclaims from next to Ochako.

“What could they possibly gain from this?” Momo ponders, horrified.  

“Quiet down guys! The reports still going on!” Mina shouts, quieting the class once again.

“…There were several injured; among them are Akaashi Kei, Kageyama Yukio, Ryuuzaki Yui, and Midoriya Inko, who, thankfully, sustained minor injuries.” 

Ochako instinctively grabbed Midoriya’s hand, giving it a comforting squeeze.

“Fate was not so kind to these three: Kusanagi Rei, who sustained a gunshot wound to her left wing; Moriyama Yuu, a cashier of the café, sustaining a gunshot wound to one of his arms, as well as local detective Bakugou Masaru sustaining a gunshot to the shoulder.”

Bakugou lets out a choked noise, his body snapping upright in shock. 

“Oh my God… Masaru…” Izuku whimpers.

"Detective Bakugou, Mr Moriyama and Mrs Kusanagi have been rushed to the Intensive Care Unit at Shizuoka Prefectural Hospital."

“Baku-bro, we need to get you to the hospital now!” Kirishima rose from his seat, followed by the rest of the class. 

“But how?!” Kaminari asks.

“I’ll use my ice.” Todoroki offers, now upstanding.

“I-I’ll call my bird friends to help!” Koda – whom Ochako had previously thought was mute – spoke up. 

“You… Don’t need to do this…” Bakugou started but was quickly cut off. 

“Bakugou, you are our classmate, and as much of an ass as you may be, your father is in the hospital and I’ll be damned if you aren’t there immediately.” Ochako stood firm, and soon the whole class was backing her up.

Together, they raced out of the common room. Iida sped ahead to inform Aizawa-sensei, not giving the man enough time to reply as he dashed forward, ensuring the halls were clear, not wanting anyone to be caught in the stampede.

They reached the U.A. gates in record time.

Todoroki formed a concave, shield-like object with his ice, and two small, plane-like wings on each side. The object was big enough to fit the whole class. Koda, as promised, summoned what may have very well been all the birds in the prefecture, and asked them to grasp the sides of the structure and fly them to the hospital. Once everyone was aboard, Ochako used her quirk to make the structure weightless. Momo apologised for not being able to produce anything on such short notice, but Midoriya assured her that her moral support was more than enough. Bakugou held Izuku’s upper arm for dear life but stayed silent.

Their ascent was shaky, but they made it into the air and out of the school with little difficulty. More birds arrived, but when there was no more room for them to grasp, Todoroki created two vertical beams and connected them with a horizontal one. The birds grasped on to the ice, and Iida fired up his leg engines. 

Soon, they arrived at the hospital; the students rushed in, and they hurriedly asked the blue-haired receptionist where Bakugou Masaru was being treated. Startled by the volume and desperation of the children, she instructed them to head to the ICU, and wait outside, where they would find the man’s wife and Katsuki’s mother, Mitsuki. 

The class sped down the halls, dodging nurses and patients until they reached the ICU; they slowed, noticing a clearly distressed woman pacing back and forth with a phone to her ear. She had short, spiky blonde hair – and with a start, the students realised this was Bakugou’s mother. There were two other figures – a dark-haired police officer, and a green-haired woman – Midoriya’s mum? Both were sitting down, in a similar state of distress. 

The blonde woman turned and gasped. “Katsuki! Izuku! Answer your phones! Fucking hell!” She wrapped both boys in a fierce hug.

Well, it’s obvious where Bakugou got his foul mouth from. It was then that the woman noticed the crowd in front of her, awkwardly standing in the middle of the hallway. She approached the group, a weak smile on her face. 

“You guys must be this idiot’s classmates, eh? I’m Bakugou Mitsuki, Katsuki’s mum – sorry he’s such an asshole, he gets it from my side of the family.” She admitted sheepishly. 

The class exchanged greetings with the woman, and then the timid green-haired woman approached, looking around at the students; she looked rather intimidated.

“A-ah, hello, I’m Midoriya Inko, Izuku’s mum, it’s nice to finally meet you all, Izuku speaks very highly of you.” She smiled warmly, and Ochako relaxed instantly - she could tell by the posture of her classmates that her gentleness had a similar effect. 

The woman then wrapped her son in a warm hug. The woman was visibly shaking, and she had a minor wound on her head. This did not go unnoticed by Midoriya.

“How long have you been here, mum?” The boy asked, pulling away.

“I came as soon as I heard, about twenty minutes ago.”

“He’ll be alright, Inko, he’s a toughie.” The man assures her, placing a hand on her shoulder. ‘is this Midoriya’s dad?’ Ochako wonders. He held little resemblance to Midoriya, but perhaps he just took after his mum a lot? 

“Asahi! It's been a while.” Midoriya approaches the man and shakes his hand. Asahi turns the handshake into a hug.  

“Hey, kiddo, long-time no see; still as formal as ever. I wish our meeting were under better circumstances. And Katsuki, you’ve grown some, you holding up, pal?” The man places a firm hand on his shoulder.

The boy grunted, “Yeah, I guess.” 

The man didn't seem to take any offence from the gruff reply. 

The man turned to the class and offered a greeting as well, “where are my manners, I’m Sergeant Satou Asahi, a family friend.”

‘So, not his father… But the two families seem very close, so where was Mr Midoriya?’ Ochako brushed it off; she could wonder about that later. 

It was then that a doctor exited the room, startled to see a crowd around the entrance.  

“Mrs Bakugou?” The man asked, clearly intimidated.

“Yes, that’s me.” The woman made her way over to the man, nervous.

“Your husband will be fine, ma’am. If not for the efforts of Mrs Midoriya here, he would surely be in a much worse state. He’s lost a lot of blood, but he’ll pull through.”

A sigh escaped them all; the man would live! Mrs Bakugou thanked the doctor, and he returned to the room.

“Well thank God for that.” Asahi sighed, sitting back down on the chair. 

“How did you all get here, anyway? Surely you couldn’t have walked.” Mrs Midoriya asked.

The class exchanged glances. Iida was about to reply but was interrupted by another voice.

“Bloody hell, you kids, you can’t just run off like that!”

“Yes! That was very reckless of you all!”

The entire class froze. 

They turned to see their homeroom teacher, Aizawa and their Principal, Nezu, marching up to them. Nezu sitting on Aizawa’s left shoulder in the folds of his bandages.

“Um! Aizawa-sensei, we can explain– ” Momo started. 

“It’s alright, students, we heard what happened.” The principal interjected, being placed gently on the ground by Aizawa. 

“No part of this is alright but sure,” Aizawa-sensei replied.

The class parted like the Red Sea, and Aizawa-sensei made his way over to the trio, Nezu still sitting calmly atop his left shoulder. 

“Good morning; I’m Nezu, principal of U.A Academy, and this is– “

“Aizawa Shouta, A.K.A Eraserhead, your children’s homeroom teacher.”

“Bakugou Mitsuki, sorry for my asshole son.”

“Midoriya Inko, it’s a pleasure.” 

Both women bowed, and their teachers bowed in return.

“Officer Satou Asahi, a family friend.” 

“Weren’t you one of the cops at the scene?” Aizawa asks the man. 

“Yes, indeed I was. But I’ve known the Midoriya’s and the Bakugou’s for nearly a decade, and they are very dear friends.”

“Must’ve been a hell of a thing to witness, are you holding up?”

Mr Satou shrugged, “Part of the job I s’pose…”

Aizawa-sensei pursed his lips but decided not to press the matter. He turned to his students, then, “If you guys needed a ride, the school could’ve provided a bus or something, there was no need to go running about like that. But, no harm done, I guess. You let me know you were leaving campus, at least, which was smart of you. I have a duty-of-care for each of you, so I need to go with you the next time you decide to do something like this.”

The teachers continued to chastise the students, the parents included, before eventually the students were called to leave and return to school. Midoriya and Bakugou were granted permission to stay until it got dark, where they would need to return to the dorms as well. They could return when Masaru awoke, and Bakugou would be allowed to stay at his mother’s house that night if he wished.

Each student said their goodbyes and they left to return to campus. Ochako boarded the bus; its occupants had settled into a respectful silence, which only subsided when they neared the school gates. 

‘Midoriya… Bakugou… Please get through this okay…’

 


  

Location classified, League of Villains’ tavern base, 7:43 pm.

 

"I appreciate your assistance, Kurogiri." Dragon sipped his shochu, typing something on his phone, "you'll be delighted to know that your services will no longer be required."

The shadow Villain perked up at that, "Oh?".

Dragon smiled, "my dear associates will be arriving in two week's time; the Japanese military has increased the border security, so their arrival has been delayed." The man emptied his glass, placing it gently back on the coaster. 

Kurogiri took the glass and refilled it. "Gunmetal and Eclipse aren't exactly ones who blend in easily, so their delay was inevitable." 

"Indeed - however, I think I'm going to let things cool down for a while, so their absence actually works out in my favour."

That was most peculiar; for as calculating and precise as the man was, Dragon preferred to complete his missions in quick succession, giving the authorities little time to react, and even less time to form a case against him, before he'd move on to another area - wash, rinse, repeat - until he decided to move to a different country entirely. He had actually been conducting covert operations in Mongolia for about two weeks prior to arriving in Japan - Dragon had brought him up to speed while they prepared for their attack on the Nakajimaen Noen Café. His associates have not been as active, given they only joined his "cause" three years prior, but they had already gained reputations as crazed murderers. 

"When I first became The Fire-Breathing Villain: Dragon, I created my pattern of killing in such a way that after I've hit a few towns it will become clear to the authorities where I would be heading next, as well as who would be my next targets." 

Kurogiri looked at the man quizzically. "Wait, so all that was intentional?"

"Why of course - even before I became a Villain to the public, I have spent my entire life as a Yakuza - as did my father, and his mother and father before him. I was trained by the best." 

"Family business, then? Interesting..." 

"Yes, my family has been in the crime business for generations. My great-grandmother and my great-great uncle actually founded the Yakuza I am a part of; she was a ruthless woman, which was the only reason her male subordinates never spoke out against her gender..." The man sipped his shochu, sending another message on his phone. 

"But, I digress. After my second string of murders, I changed up the times, locations, and expanded my list of targets. I began to kill people with quirks - though, I assure you, those people would not have made a difference in society in the slightest." 

"That must have thrown a major monkey wrench into the authorities' predictions." Kurogiri mused, polishing an expensive bottle of foreign wine. 

"Indeed it did..." He chuckled. "the poor bastards didn't know what to do with themselves when they learned I'd "expanded my horizons". That was my goal from the very start, actually, but I never came across anyone particularly useless during my first two killings, so I had no reason to venture outside of killing the quirkless." 

"Every move you've made has been calculated and pre-meditated - a remarkable effort, on your part..."

"You seem to be leading on to something, Kurogiri." 

"Yes... There were several other potential victims left in China and Mongolia, yet you chose to return to Japan; why is that? Some part of a larger plan?" 

The Dragon emptied his glass, and chuckled. "Put simply, I've heard some remarkable things about my son. I got curious." He added with a shrug. 

Kurogiri was taken aback at first but quickly remembered that the man had married Midoriya Inko and had fathered Midoriya Izuku fifteen years previous. 

"Yes; Tomura and I have had a few run-ins with the boy - he shares your intelligence and strategical strength, not to mention his incredible quirk..." 

"Precisely - he has a quirk. I only tried to kill him nine years ago because I thought he would never manifest one - let alone one so powerful." Kurogiri tapped Dragon's glass, a silent inquiry into whether he would like a refill. The Dragon shook his head. 

"I saw his fights at the sports festival - such destructive potential... He would make an excellent Villain..." Dragon mused, mulling over an email.

"Don't get too ahead of yourself, there; you still have to fulfil your mission, after all." Kurogiri was unsure how to behave around the Fire-Breathing Villain; he was a dangerous sociopath, that was certain, but he supposed the same could be said about himself. He was speaking about his son with what sounded like pride - as if he hadn't tried to smash the kid's skull in less than a decade previous. 

"I think I might like to test his power for myself..." 

"You intend to fight him yourself?" Kurogiri inquired, incredulous. 

"Hm... I haven't quite made up my mind... I will use this time to mull it over - perhaps I'll send some of my insubordinate Yakuza associates his way- "

His sentence was cut off by the ring of a mobile phone - The Dragon reached into his blazer pocket to check the caller ID. A smile formed on his face - Kurogiri had heard his subordinates refer to it as his "baby-eating smile". 

"Ah, Oshiro, good timing, I was in need of information." 

Chapter Text

Satou household, Shizuoka prefecture, 10:28 p.m. 

 

It had been approximately three days since The Fire-Breathing Villain: Dragon had launched his attack on Japan – but unlike all of his previous killings, there has been silence ever since.

Well, not entirely.

There has been a considerable spike in violent crime recently – originally, authorities and journalists had chalked it up to The league of Villains gaining more momentum and members, but Asahi was beginning to have his doubts. These crimes weren’t being committed by your run-of-the-mill social deviants; minor criminals don’t coordinate serial murders or elaborate kidnappings, nor did they have the resources to attack police precincts head-on.

The Japanese government has been growing increasingly concerned about the rise in illegal gun possession, manufacture and distribution. Asahi vaguely recalled a police raid a few months previous, where a person’s rural estate had been raided, on suspicion of importing and selling illegal drugs – it would later become clear that the illicit substances were the least of the police’s worries. A search of the basement revealed a stockpile of guns; they were mostly pistols of a low calibre, but authorities also counted three shotguns and two assault rifles.

Asahi never did find out what happened to the guy and his three accomplices, but for possession and distribution for arms for a profit, not to mention the several kilograms of drugs, Asahi suspected that they might even serve life sentences.

Gun crimes have seen a steady decrease since the law placed in 1958, and the several amendments limiting gun usage in Japan. Somehow, though, the criminal underworld has either imported or manufactured hundreds of guns with dozens of varieties. The U.N had remained confident that, with the arrival of quirks, gun usage would plummet globally…

Asahi sighed deeply, pinching his nose.

He’d always seen guns as simply tools; not good nor bad, just a thing to be used by different people. Often, though, a gun was wielded with malicious intent rather than for enforcement of the law or self-defence.

His thoughts drifted to Masaru – not for the first time that evening. The man was still recovering from his shoulder wound – most people would call that a lucky break, but the joints are some of the most complex parts of the body and can easily cripple a person for life if they’re not taken care of properly…

Why didn’t he kill him?

Judging from Inko’s story and what he could gather from the other witnesses, Dragon was only two meters away from Masaru, so a headshot would have been simple. But he instead opted to merely disable him – albeit very painfully and with a strong likelihood of permanent damage.  Did he spare Masaru because he fit the bill of what he considered “useful” to society?

Asahi had heard some troubling things – that people actually agreed with Dragon; that people who don’t have quirks don’t have a place in society. Anti-quirkless sentiments had been building up for as long as quirks have existed, almost completely replacing other forms of persecution, like racism. Asahi was disgusted with them all. Dragon kills people for a living – sparing no one on his list, not even the children.

Even more disturbing, the bastard had a fire-breathing quirk! Asahi couldn’t imagine what kind of thoughts were running through Inko’s head when she had to watch that monster burn a nine-year-old girl to death. Asahi himself found his thoughts drifting to Izuku, and how if Asahi had arrived even a few seconds later, Inko would be without a husband and a son… If Inko and Masaru hadn't have been yelling at the exact moment he had his radio tuned to a lower volume, he would have passed the house by without a second thought. 

The two men’s quirks were almost identical, and though Dragon’s quirk was far more concentrated, it had a shorter range than Hisashi's…

'But what if the two were one in the same? What if Midoriya Hisashi had somehow faked his death? No, what was this, a spy movie? C’mon, Asahi, there are billions of people in the world, it makes sense that there would be similarities between quirks…'

Asahi noticed his left leg shaking – a nervous tick he’d never been able to shake, pardon the pun – and made a conscious effort to still it.

'Either way, I can't entirely rule it out... There are several quirks that could allow Hisashi to appear dead - not to mention the all the crazy drugs out there.'

A quiet knock at the door nearly gave Asahi a heart attack, and the door to his office opened to reveal his six-year-old daughter, Kaori.

"Daddy, I had a nightmare..." Her shoulder-length black hair obscured most of her face, but Asahi suspected she'd been crying.

"Was it the monster with the big horns again?" Asahi asked gently, referring to Kaori's recurring nightmares featuring a creature she'd seen on TV by mistake. Poor thing had been so frightened by it she'd burst into tears on the spot.

"Mhm... Mommy won't wake up. I'm scared..."

He chuckled, knowing his wife could sleep through a nuclear bomb, and stood. "C'mere, I'll tuck you in."

"Can you stay with me until I fall asleep?"

Asahi had to work the morning shift, but how could he resist those beautiful brown puppy-dog eyes?

"Sure, sweetie," he picked her up, and she latched onto him like a koala, "and if I see that monster with the horns, I'll knock him into next week."

A soft giggle was his reply. Asahi switched off the table lamp, and gently closed the door to his office.

 


 

U.A Academy, U.A cafeteria, 11:30 a.m. 

 

Izuku was mildly concerned.

Well, actually, he was completely horrified, disgusted and enraged; there was a new Villain in Japan, he’d injured his mother, shot and hospitalised the man who was basically his uncle and killed a nine-year-old girl in cold blood. The fact that he had a fire-breathing quirk almost identical to his late father didn’t make the news any easier to hear…

That wasn’t his current issue, though.

Izuku had noticed Class 1-B glaring at Katsuki when he entered the cafeteria, but when he neared their tables they quickly turned away, suddenly very interested in their food.

“Kacchan, what did you do?” Izuku finally asked.

“What’re you talkin’ about?” Katsuki turns his head, a riceball held between two chopsticks.

“Why is Class B glaring at you like that?” he elaborated, and then glanced over at his tablemates – Uraraka, Tsuyu, Todoroki, Iida and Kirishima. “Should I apologise, or…”

“Oh, that’s right; you, Todorki and Iida were all in the hospital when it happened.” Uraraka started, and Izuku sent a worried glance over to Katsuki.

“Oh gosh, did you start a fight?”

“Why is that always the first conclusion you come to?”

“Because I remember you winding up in the principal’s office more than a few times.” Chuckles erupted on their table.

“Hey, I was defending you, dumbass.”

Iida spoke up, then, “Regardless of your motive, you need to work on conflict resolution techniques that don’t involve blowing people up!”

“I never actually blew anyone up, you know,” Katsuki stated as he popped a baby carrot into his mouth.

“Bakugou-Kun wasn’t in the wrong the other day, Midoriya-chan, I assure you.” Tsuyu said, getting back on topic.

“Yeah! What that Monoma guy said was totally uncalled for!” Kirishima continued. 

Katsuki’s eyes narrowed in rage, but otherwise, his expression was calm as he chewed on his rice.

“Oh, he's the one with the copying quirk, right?” Todoroki asked.

“Yep, he’s a total douchebag too," Kirishima answered. "The guy started having a go at us for no reason! Saying things like “you 1-A kids are so full of yourselves”, and then some of his classmates joined in and started straight up harassing Bakugou.”

“What were they saying?” Izuku asks, now understanding Katsuki’s rage. 

“This one girl basically told him he was a cruel person for not going easy on me in the sports festival,” Uraraka starts tentatively, “and how his personality isn’t heroic in the slightest...”

“I don’t need some blonde dickhead to remind me I’m an asshole,” Katsuki interjects, startling everyone, “I know I am, but it’s not like I can help it.”

Everyone shot Izuku a quizzical look, but no one pressed for information.

“We all know you’re not as bad of a guy as you seem, you totally shut him down when he trash-talked Uraraka; heartless people don’t stick up for others, after all.” Kirishima slapped Katsuki on the shoulder, and that seemed to be enough to lift Katsuki’s spirit. 

Iida adjusted his glasses, “it sounds to me like Monoma-Kun has a serious inferiority complex.”

“Damn straight,” Katsuki said.

Izuku just giggled, nudging Katsuki with his elbow, "you really do have a heart of gold, eh, Kacchan?"

"Fuck off." 

Chapter Text

U.A Academy, U.A Dormitories.

 

Izuku flopped back onto his dorm room’s bed and sighed deeply. 

The whole country was on the fritz – the Fire-Breathing Villain: Dragon had really thrown a monkey wrench into the works. Just when the dust had settled – just when people were beginning to pick up the pieces of their lives in the aftermath of The Hero Killer: Stan’s rampage, yet another murderer has arrived to wreak havoc on the Japanese public.  

In response, U.A Academy had postponed the Hero Course’s much anticipated holiday training camp – the staff couldn’t risk endangering their students by sending a group of students (who had already been targeted by Villains) into a secluded forest with a few pro heroes, while the nation was being overrun with Villains. Simply increasing manpower would do no good; the attackers would hold the element of surprise, or they could take hostages. Though it was devastating to miss such an opportunity, the staff assured the students that the training camp would take place during the following school break 

But of course, that wasn’t the only reason for the rise in security nationwide.

Yakuza.

Gangs of criminals that ranged from your run-of-the-mill social deviant to complete psychopaths who murdered and kidnapped for money. Or for fun. They bribed government officials and prominent businessmen, they tricked store owners into paying them for “protection”, forced citizens to vote for whoever the Yakuza were fond of during election seasons, they smuggled and distributed illicit drugs, handled black market organ trafficking, weapons trafficking…

And human trafficking.

Yakuza had been on a steady decline since the ‘80’s, but it would seem that The League of Villains making their move, combined with Stain and Dragon’s appearances, started a chain reaction of crimes the likes Japan hadn’t seen since in decades.

It was bad enough that Yakuza still existed, but for groups to so blatantly make their existence known must mean that this rise has been happening for some time. Izuku recalled an analogy a newscaster used a few nights previous: ‘Yakuza are like cockroaches; if you see one, it means your home is already infested.’

That and the fact that everyone hates cockroaches.

Class 1-A had been asked to stay on campus for an additional few days before they could return home; something about police questioning.

It made sense – 1-A had come face-to-face with the League on several occasions – not to mention Todoroki, Iida and Izuku’s unexpected encounter with Stain himself, along with Shigaraki and Izuku’s confrontation in the mall just a week prior…

Izuku seemed to attract monsters like a magnet. He expected to come face-to-face with Villains when he was a Pro-Hero, not a fifteen-year-old student!

His life so far was something straight out of an anime – tragic childhood (complete with a dead parent), the classic “underdog” story; constant, grueling battles (physical as well as emotional); enemies and adversaries becoming close friends; his various inspirational speeches (now that he thought about it, he probably did sound like several of the characters from ‘Fairy Tail’)… You could put this crap in ‘Shounen Jump’!

Izuku supposed he was lucky his life didn’t mirror something darker, like ‘Hellsing’; he didn’t think he was ready to take on an army of Nazi vampires…

Izuku had been in contact with Asahi frequently; checking up on him, his wife Misaki, and their daughter, Kaori. He’d face-timed them just a few hours ago – Kaori was home with the flu, so Izuku cheered her up by telling her some stories of his time at U.A (leaving out cursing and mentions of blood, of course). Asahi was tight-lipped when it came to the Dragon case – but that was more so because of the government’s reluctance to reveal information. Corrupt police officers had been discovered in the police force all throughout Japan; some were Yakuza, some hailed from minor Villain organisations, while others were just average people who let their authority get to their heads.

He hadn’t had the chance to visit Masaru since the time he and Katsuki visited him two days after he had been admitted – the man was barely conscious, thanks to the morphine, but it was good to see him nonetheless. Recovery Girl had made a surprise visit later in the afternoon, and after exchanging greetings and gifting Mitsuki some sunflowers, she used her quirk to heal as much of Masaru’s shoulder as possible. The healing Hero had used her quirk to mend the skin of his shoulder – leaving no stitch marks or any kind of wound that could possibly reopen, had almost entirely mended the fractured bone just beside the bullet’s entry point, and had healed the external and internal bruising. Masaru would still need to remain in hospital to allow the doctors to perform some final checks and to set up a rehabilitation course, but the young nurse assured them all that he would be discharged within a week.

Izuku nearly cried on the spot, and if not for Katsuki’s stubbornness, Izuku suspected he might have too. They thanked Recovery Girl profusely before she promptly left – likely to return to her home and get some rest.

Now Izuku didn’t know what to do – he’d just cleaned his dorm room and had finished the homework some of his teachers had set. Izuku wouldn’t describe himself as a hyperactive person, but he was starting to get restless.

He could tell the rest of the class were in a similar state – the group chat that Ashido had created earlier in the year was going wild with messages. Some of his classmates’ messages were requests for sparring partners (mostly Yayorozu, Iida, Todoroki and Uraraka), while other people (namely Kaminari, Ashido and Sero) were just sharing memes. 

Izuku chuckled at a particularly hilarious image Kaminari (who had renamed himself to “Calamari Danki”) had sent, before sending a quick reply to Sato; he’d asked for volunteers to test out his cupcakes and give constructive criticism. Not that it was needed – the guy cooked like a God, but Izuku would keep that to himself, he liked free cupcakes.  

 


 

 

Akita, Takenaka Household,

 

“Mister Takenaka?” Gwen called to the healing Hero, who was furiously typing on his phone, “the car has arrived. It’s an hour-and-a-half drive to Akita Airport, for a one-hour flight to Tokyo, sir.”

He looked up, “Ah, thank you, Miss Karanamori, I’m not very good with technology...” The man admitted sheepishly. He turned to the entrance of the secluded Takenaka household. “Big sis? Time to go.”

A muffled, feminine yell was his reply. The man then began packing his luggage into the trunk of the car. 

“Will you be accompanying us, Miss Karanamori?” The brunette asked, turning to her.

“Yes, sir; Reiji and I have constructed a detailed case file on a separate matter of utmost urgency – it involves one of the students at U.A Academy.”

“Ah yes, that Yakuza fellow, I almost forgot…” The man stepped away from the car, a sorrowful look displayed on his usually cheerful face. “It’s just… Horrible. 

“Indeed – I’ve met a lot of monsters in my time, but this guy takes the proverbial cake.” Gwen shakes her head, changing the topic.

“Reiji will be driving us, sir. You and your sister should get some rest -  you’ll be needing it for when we arrive at U.A Academy.”  

“Very well, then. Thank you, Miss Karanamori.” He gave a short bow, before heading up towards the doorway, likely to call for his sister once more.

Gwen turned her attention to her surroundings – it was dark and cool – as it should be at 11 pm. The house was separated from the road by a long, cobbled driveway and thick foliage, and was surrounded by a tall wooden fence. The house itself wasn’t overly grand – the two rarely had time to visit, given their busy schedules. The structure was elegant and traditional; much like the siblings themselves. Gwen could never live out in the country – the Wi-Fi was far too slow for her liking, that and all the bugs.

A shuffle was heard from the doorway and she looked up to see both siblings emerging from the house, luggage in tow. She directed them towards the car – a sleek, black Sedan with slightly tinted windows. Not much to look at from the outside, which is precisely the reason she had bought it.

Gwen made her way to the passenger side of the car, and once she was inside, she connected herself to the car through her quirk – “Interface”. her quirk allowed her to “communicate” with vehicles, and, on occasion, she could completely overtake a vehicle’s mechanics, and could steer vehicles without even needing to be inside them, given she was at minimum thirty meters from it. She often used her quirk to track where a car had been, using references from Google Maps and the cars’ internal tracking mechanisms, or for assisting in police chases b diverting cars.  

Gwen almost felt like a part of each car she interfaced with – it was a damn shame her quirk was limited to vehicles, though, and couldn’t be used on computers; that would help along their investigation quite a lot.  

Reiji flicked on the radio, and once everyone was settled, he put the car into reverse and sped out of the long driveway. 

Chapter Text

U.A Academy, dorm common room.

“Wait, what?" Kaminari cackled, barely able to get the words out between his laughter. “Bakugou, how'd you manage that?” 

“Fuck you, Izuku!”

“How adorable!” Yayorozu cooed.  

Izuku turned his phone towards Todoroki to give him a look at the image Masaru had just sent him: a four-year-old Katsuki covered in whipped cream. Katsuki had somehow made his way onto the kitchen bench and retrieved a can Mitsuki had previously used but had not yet returned to the pantry. By the time Mitsuki returned, Katsuki had emptied almost the entire can (which had been almost completely full just a few moments previous) and now held a striking resemblance to a crumbled snowman.

Masaru had not been discharged from the hospital, but Recovery Girl's surprise visit certainly helped him along. Mitsuki had found an old photo album while she and Inko were cleaning the house the previous afternoon, and had immediately brought it to Masaru. The last twenty minutes had been taken up by Izuku sharing said photos with with the class. 

“Look at this one!” Izuku called, turning his phone towards Uraraka next to him. 

It depicted a five-year-old Katsuki and Izuku climbing a tree. Or, attempting to. Izuku was clinging for dear life onto the lowest branch, while Katsuki hung upside-down by his legs off of a branch nearly three meters in the air. He looked absolutely horrified, making it clear he didn’t plan to be hanging like a bat. 

A sudden, loud series of knocks on the common room door startled them out of their laughter

Curious as to who would be knocking at their door at eight p.m., Iida stood up and made his way to the door; he opened it, revealing Aizawa and two professional-looking strangers, a bald, stocky man and a slim brunette woman. Both sported black business suits, the woman holding a clipboard and the man holding a large briefcase. The woman’s hair was cut in a neat bob, and the man wore thin-rimmed glasses, and they each appeared to be in their early thirties. Aizawa stepped into the room, eyes sweeping the area with urgency, before finally landing on Izuku.

“Midoriya, come with me.”

“Um, okay?”

Katsuki gave him a look. ‘What the hell is all this about?’

‘I don’t know! I’ll text you later." he mouthed back. Izuku stood, confused, and padded over to Aizawa, where he was lead out of the common room by the two strangers. As they entered the hallway, he noticed the familiar figure of his mother leaning against a wall, fidgeting nervously. 

“Mum? What are you doing here?” He called, incredulous.

“Ah, Izuku!” She scurried over to the boy, grasping the strap of her cross-body handbag for dear life. “These people just turned up at the house earlier this morning, saying there was something urgent they needed to discuss, but would only do so when you were present.” 

“That’s right, this is highly classified and rather shocking information, but it directly involves the both of you, and it puts you in serious, immediate danger.” The man adjusted his glasses as the woman lead them into the staff meeting room. 

Izuku’s mother looked about ready to have a heart attack on the spot.

Izuku was in a similar state of disbelief – not because of All Might or the Principal, but because of the two Heroes just behind them.

“Good afternoon, Young Midoriya,” All Might greeted warmly - he too looked nervous. “You must be Mrs Midoriya; it’s a pleasure. My name is Toshinori Yagi, though I ask you to keep my identity a secret.”

His mother looked flustered but answered politely. “Please, call me Inko. Izuku speaks very highly of you, Toshinori-San.”

The female agent cleared her throat, “Let us introduce ourselves; my name is Karanamori Gwen, Deputy Director of the Japan branch of Taskforce K. My quirk, "Interface", allows me to connect with vehicles and control them, as well as track their location and any inbound/outgoing communications." She bowed her head in greeting, before continuing. "Unfortunately, the director couldn't meet with you today, so I'm, here in his stead."

'A quirk allowing someone to connect with vehicles? Fascinating!' Izuku made a mental note to ask her about the details later.

"Masaoma Reiji,” the man begins, shaking Aizawa's hand, before moving on to Izuku and his mother, "Senior member of Taskforce K. My quirk, “Hear no Evil”, allows me to determine whether someone is being truthful – when someone lies, their speech becomes... Blurry. Imagine being underwater and hearing someone shouting at you from above it. I can still understand them, but it becomes very clear when someone is lying to me.” The man adjusts his glasses.  

“Our organisation was created to track, capture and sentence murderous criminals - we are a worldwide organisation working in tandem with local authorities as a subsidiary of the United Nations," Karanamori explains. 

Aizawa blinked at the woman; clearly, this was news to him.

"Taskforce K? Never heard of it. Must be pretty underground."

The principal spoke up, then. "Indeed, Aizawa; these people have been sworn to secrecy of the highest degree. Their organisation deals with matters of international security, after all."

Just when he thought his life couldn't get any stranger! What was this, Men in Black?! Are there aliens Izuku doesn't know about? Well, probably not the ones are shown in sci-fi movies, that's for sure. There's got to be some kind of bacterium or some other lifeform out there...

Izuku didn't notice he was muttering until his mother gently placed a hand on his shoulder. He jolted, and his face flushed. The agents looked completely perplexed, so his mother clarified: "it's a nervous habit, he can't really help it."

The male Hero made his way over to the pair, then; he shook both of their hands, and then approached Aizawa, giving a similar greeting. “My name is Takenaka Daiki, and this is my elder sister, Mayu.” Mayu gave no verbal greeting, instead, she bowed deeply to the trio.

“I’m sure you’ve heard of us,” Daiki started, “we’re the pair the public refers to as the ‘Killer-Catcher Duo’. It’s a shame we couldn’t have arrived here earlier, maybe we could’ve finally taken down Stain…” The regret was clear in the man’s voice. 

"You may not have caught Stain, but you saved a whole hell of a lot of people in Russia, Takenaka," Masaoma assured him.

Takenaka Daiki was dressed in a crisp white dress shirt and black trousers, his black belt held surgical scissors, a combat knife and a flashlight – all things to aid him in the field. If not for the bright red armbands displaying a white cross – the universal symbol for a medic – he would look like your everyday office worker.

Izuku knew better – Takenaka Daiki was a renowned and revered healer. His quirk, “Back from the Brink” allowed him to heal what would usually be a fatal wound. The catch? He can only heal mortal wounds. The man had tested his ability on several patients with terminal illnesses, like cancer, but to no avail. He has also tested his quirk on patients with afflictions that could become fatal, but left the person in no immediate danger, like asthma, receiving similar results. Set aside all of that, the man had saved hundreds of lives across the world. He spent his free time visiting hospitals and disaster zones; he’s a naturally kind and charismatic man who was infectiously positive. 

His sister, however… 

Takenaka Mayu was dressed in a similarly simple outfit – a black tank top, beige sweatpants and a pair of basic brown sandals. She wore a black belt of her own, but instead, it held two swords – a sixty-centimetre katana and a thirty-centimetre wakizashi (a shorter “companion sword”); their scabbards were a deep royal blue and were intricately decorated with raised, swirling designs. She was visibly muscular and could probably break Izuku’s neck in her sleep. Izuku couldn't help but notice her prominent scars - one scar ran horizontally across her left bicep, another ran from the underside of her chin up to her left cheek, just shy of her right eye. Most startling of all, was a scar that looked fairly recent, which wrapped almost entirely around her throat. 

Izuku didn't want to dwell on how she'd gotten that one. 

Mayu’s demeanour was almost opposite to her younger brother’s; she had a distinct air of despair and rage about her, was, admittedly, pretty awkward. Mayu’s quirk, “Sixth Sense” allowed her to not only detect murderous intent but also to sense when a person has recently murdered someone. This made her extremely valuable in the field, aiding local authorities in hunting dangerous criminals. Understandably, she never really got the chance to develop proper social skills, as she'd spent most of her teenage and adult life surrounded by some of the most horrible people alive. When Mayu wasn’t hunting murderers, she was assisting the police in lesser matters until they were ordered to their next location.

Izuku recalled the first and only TV interview the siblings ever did, which aired only a few months previous, in which Daiki advocated for the importance of mental health and how important it is to correctly diagnose someone. “Not all healing is physical, you see, there’s a psychological element to it as well. The human brain is much more complicated than most people realise; physical health is important, but we need to take just as much care of our psychological health.”  

All Might was still Izuku’s favourite Hero, but the Takenaka siblings were pretty high on the list.  

Karanamori looked over at All Might, and she cleared her throat once more.

“Ah… Right.” The man stood, looking over to Izuku’s mother. This… may surprise you…” he said before steam erupted from the man and he began to shrink down until he had morphed into a gaunt, sickly-looking version of himself.

Inko gasped, a hand on her chest.

Izuku glanced over at Karanamori and then Masaoma, seated beside him. ‘I thought only the teachers at U.A, Gran Torino, Recovery Girl and Detective Tsukauchi knew of All Might’s condition! Well, they are from the government, so it kind of makes sense…’ Izuku thought. 

And then the man coughed blood.

“Oh, goodness!” His mother covered her mouth, skin losing all the colour it previously had. Izuku worried she might faint. 

“I assure you, Mrs Midoriya, this is completely normal for him.” The principal said, sipping his tea. 

Izuku passed the man a handkerchief.

All Might wiped away the blood from his lips and explained everything about his condition, (though he didn’t mention how he had given Izuku his quirk, Aizawa, the Takenaka siblings and the two agents were present, after all) the man made a point of needing to speak to Inko privately afterwards. His mother, as expected, was very understanding.

The principal had placed nine cups of tea around the table, and they all took their seats; the principal at the head of the table, the agents directly adjacent, Izuku and his mother sat opposite one another, while All Might sat beside Izuku, Aizawa scooted in beside Izuku’s mum and the Takenaka siblings sat beside Aizawa and All Might – Mayu sitting next to All Might and Daiki sitting beside Aizawa.

“Right, now that that’s out of the way…” Masaoma began, placing a large briefcase on the desk, beside Izuku. Izuku’s teacup wobbled, but didn’t spill – ‘jeez, how heavy is that thing?’ 

The large man opened the briefcase, revealing several manila folders, stapled sheets, photographs, newspaper clippings, videotapes, and various other materials.

Karanamori stood, retrieving what seemed to be a USB stick from the breast pocket of her black blazer, and threw it across the room. The device stopped mid-air at the end of the table, three thin legs similar to a camera tripod extended and landed at the end of the table. A holographic image was projected out from the device – about as large as a standard television screen and in high definition. It was a screenshot of a newspaper article published ten years ago of the arrest of Izuku’s father, Midoriya Hisashi. 

Aizawa and All Might sat bolt upright; clearly, this was news to them.

“Just to make sure we’re on the same page, we’re going to go over the basics of what happened ten years ago. Is that alright?” 

“Fine.” Izuku managed – his tone was probably rude, but he couldn’t find it in him to care at the moment.  

Thankfully, the woman took no offence and pressed a button on a clicker used by University lecturers, and the screen switched to a video clip – a news report. 

Izuku recognised the woman as the local newscaster, and she was clearly distressed. Karanamori sat down, and clicked another button, playing the video.

The video began with the local newscaster, a woman in her mid-thirties with feline features – including small, black ears, a tail, and bright, slitted, yellow eyes – and then switched to a younger Asahi, who gave a rundown of what happened. Once he finished the story, the video switched to the newscaster once more, before she assured the audience that the man would be put to trial as soon as possible. She wished the viewers a safe afternoon and signed off. The video ended there. 

You could hear a pin drop. He glanced at Aizawa, wearing an expression of shock and horror. All Might sported a similar expression. Rage burned in both men’s eyes. The Takenaka siblings looked similarly enraged, but lacked the surprise evident on his teacher’s faces – they must have seen all of this already. 

Izuku felt a burning sensation in his right hand, and when he looked, he was startled. Somewhere during the video, Izuku had managed to crush the ceramic teacup, spilling the tea all over his hand, and leaving several cuts. 

“Uh, sorry about the cup, Principal.”

“I-it’s quite alright, young Midoriya.” He replied, offering a napkin. Aizawa passed along some bandages, while All Might delicately plucked out the pieces of ceramic.

His mother looked close to tears, cradling her teacup in both hands. “No offence, but just what was the purpose of showing me that? What is this about, anyway?” 

Karanamori answered her by clicking her clicker once more, shifting the screen to another newspaper article, published just one year after the previous.  

The headline read: “Riot in Gifu prison leaves 12 dead.”

Izuku tensed. Clenching his bandaged hand.

The woman clicks again and another video clip is played.

There stood a man in his early forties with striking blue hair, standing outside of Gifu Prison, a crowd of curious civilians gathered behind him. 

“I stand here before Gifu prison in Nagoya, where a sudden riot among the prisoners has claimed twelve lives – among them were three guards; Nagai Kuro, Hashimoto Akio, and Ikeda Taro, and nine prisoners. Most notably, Midoriya Hisashi, who was admitted just 8 months ago on the charge of attempted murder–” 

The video skipped a few seconds – the clip only displaying the relevant information, it seemed, before it resumed. 

“It would seem that tensions were high among the prisoners, as two prominent Yakuza groups had recently been abolished, with authorities making over forty arrests in just three weeks. These same prisoners were at the centre of the riots; with Midoriya being a prominent member of Shinrin, he was among the first to perish…” The clip skipped forward again. 

“...Six men were brutally bashed to death before guards could break up the riot. Mr Hashimoto, the first responder, was killed at the scene, sustaining a gunshot wound to his head, while Mr Nagai and Mr Himuro, along with the other three prisoners, later died of their injuries. It is unknown how the prisoners acquired these weapons, but–”

The clip ended mid-sentence, and Izuku felt All Might sit back in his chair, clearly disturbed.

Karanamori shakily stood, smoothing the fabric of her skirt.

“I’m sorry about this, Mrs Midoriya, young Midoriya, but I’m afraid we’re just going to get straight to the point. It would seem that Midoriya Hisashi did not, in fact, die in that prison riot. He faked his death and escaped to China.”

Izuku stood abruptly. 

“What?”

His mother sobbed.

Chapter Text

Previously:

 

“I’m sorry about this, Mrs Midoriya, young Midoriya, but I’m afraid we’re just going to get straight to the point. Midoriya Hisashi didn’t die in that riot, he faked his death and escaped to China.”  

Izuku stood abruptly.

“What?”  

His mother sobbed.

 


 

 

U.A academy, staff conference room. 

 

“We know this because our spies within the Yakuza he was a part of, as well as our informants in China, have told us so.”

Izuku sat down, hard.

“Hisashi was – Yakuza?” The horror in his mother’s voice was evident. 

All Might placed a hand on Izuku’s shoulder, giving a comforting squeeze.

“Yes; Yakuza are among the worst of all criminals. Some of them commit smaller crimes – but still things that can cripple someone for life – extortion, robbery, fraud, assault, etc. Those are the ones that can be easily caught and dealt with. The kind of group Hisashi was a part of, though…” Masaoma trailed off, unsure of how to proceed.

“It's called Shinrin – “forest” - the Yakuza ran in Hisashi's family. Many of his lower-ranked associates have been imprisoned – almost all of them serving a life sentence or multiple.” Karanamori explained, and Masaoma handed her a sheet of paper. The woman began to read from the paper, “Distribution, possession and manufacture of illicit substances, robbery, assault, illegal possession, manufacture and distribution of arms…” 

Izuku’s stomach dropped. He never considered how extensive the criminal world was outside of Japan – Shigaraki Tomura and The League of Villains, The Hero Killer: Stain… They were horrible people, but the Yakuza was something else entirely...

“…murder, attempted murder, organ trafficking… And human trafficking…” Karanamori lowered the sheet – clearly a document she’d been exposed to before, but the disgust and horror in her eyes was unmissable. 

Human trafficking? Oh, God…”  

“These are the major crimes committed by Hisashi’s associates – some have warranted execution, many of them happening here in Japan, while others have been shipped back to China to face judgement for their crimes committed over there. Most of them, however, have been sent to South Korea for trial.”

‘Oh, that’s right – China carries out capital punishment too.’ Izuku recalled a world history class from a few weeks prior when they focused on crime and punishment across the globe for the week. 

“Wait, back?” Aizawa-sensei questioned.

“Yes; many of this Shinrin’s members were of Chinese and/or Korean origin – they were mostly illegal immigrants – so they were transported back there for due punishment,” Karanamori explained.

Masaoma nods, “I hate to say it, but many people of Chinese or Korean origin or ancestry who have moved to Japan end up becoming yakuza. They’re not treated as genuine members of society, they spend their lives as outcasts, exactly the kind of people Yakuza groups are looking for.”

“I… Never realised how bad it was…” Izuku felt like a fool – of course the main components of the Yakuza wouldn’t be full-blooded Japanese! People just love to be racist, after all…

“I don’t know a whole lot about politics, but… Isn’t execution kind of… Rare?”

“It is, only people who have murdered someone are executed, and even then it’s generally restricted to those with multiple victims, or If their crimes were especially… Gruesome.” Karanamori trails off.

“Unfortunately, Hisashi meets that criteria.” Masaoma pursed his lips, unsure of how to continue. “When the authorities catch him, he’ll surely be executed.” 

The man removed two manila folders from his large briefcase and placed them on the table

“I need not remind you that this information is not to be disclosed except for at our discretion. There are agents that perform vital work for the government listed in these documents, and their lives would be in serious danger if word got out.” Masaoma warned. He turned to Karanamori and seemed to reconsider, and then added, "there can be a maximum of four people in the loop - people you trust." 

'Kacchan, Mitsuki, Masaru and... Asahi? No, he's probably already been made aware of the situation, given his prior history... So, Detective Tsukauchi, then? Sounds about right; there are no four people I trust more.' 

Each occupant gave a firm nod.

Masaoma passed the folders to Principal Nezu and Izuku’s mother.

“Those documents are identical; we thought it best for both the family and the school to have a copy of the information. It’s a simplified rundown of the organisation’s reign of terror. The group is comprised of mostly Japanese, Korean and Chinese criminals, and have what could be considered a headquarters in all three countries.” 

“Now, I’m going to show you some security footage taken from Gifu prison of the riot that supposedly killed Hisashi. If you’ll please pay close attention.”

The woman clicked her clicker, and a slightly grainy security feed appeared on the screen – it was security footage of the prison cafeteria. Karanamori clicked again, and the footage played.

The feed started out relatively normal, the prisoners arriving and retrieving their meals from the prison chef and shuffling off themselves into their little factions. Izuku noticed two of the tables had significantly more people than the others – the two conflicting Yakuza groups, he guessed.

One of the men sitting at a table by the window stood, as did several others sitting at various points around the cafeteria. Something flew across the cafeteria and hit one of the Yakuza members in the back of the head – food, probably. The man stood up and stormed over to the other table, picking up one of the members who happened to be laughing and pulled him out of his seat by the collar of his prison jumpsuit. From there, things escalated pretty quickly, and an all-out brawl had begun. Izuku heard a ‘click’ and the video paused. 

“Notice the men who stood up before the riot? We believe that the action was some kind of signal to another prisoner to throw the food. It’s a rather smart tactic, actually: use the aggression of others to your advantage, to carry out your will.” Karanamori said. 

She clicked her clicker and the video un-paused. A man Izuku knew all too well was seen sprawled over a table, blood pooled beneath his head. He saw another man get tackled by a blue-skinned prisoner and was promptly stabbed in the throat, while another prisoner was flung against a wall. One brave prison guard stepped in to try to contain the violence. He had a Taser and a what looked like a dart gun, but he was quickly overpowered. Eight more guards entered the scene, each carrying a dart gun – one guard had a tentacle-like tail that held a gun of its own. They began shooting the prisoners. 

The darts must have held some kind of sedative because the rioters quickly began to fall unconscious. By the end of the video, the few rioters and left standing and those not involved in the riot had their hands raised in surrender.

The clip ended there. 

“Now, the man you saw, sprawled over one of the tables? That wasn’t actually your father; one of his associates, a Yakuza member who has only recently come into police custody, had a very powerful quirk – he could take on the appearance of any person, so long as he absorbed enough of their DNA, usually by ingesting their blood.”

Izuku shivered, he’d encountered someone before who could do horrible things after ingesting blood – Hero Killer Stain – the memory wasn’t a pleasant one.

“Another one of his Yakuza associates – who, again, had not yet been caught by the authorities, had the ability to manipulate the visible light spectrum and create a refraction field, rendering him almost invisible. However, some of the cameras of the prison were in poor condition and in need of maintenance, so he was easily missed in the footage. They helped Hisashi escape the prison via a series of tunnels that had been dug by previous prisoners in attempts to escape. Six guards were arrested after the fact, as they had been helping the prisoners make their escape, and had a hand in starting the riot.”

“You said “had”, what happened to those men?” Nezu questioned. 

“The ones who helped Hisashi? They were executed a few months after the breakout, on charges completely separate. The guards and a few other Yakuza received anywhere from forty years to a life sentence for their crimes.”

Masaoma passed several files around the table – containing the identities of all the arrested Yakuza members, as well as their quirks – while Karanamori continued speaking.

“Our intelligence suggests that Hisashi and his associates had escaped Japan via a cargo ship headed for China, and, judging by the news reports, it would seem he’s had some help from local Triads in repositioning himself in a seat of power in the criminal world.”

Izuku felt his stomach drop.

“How do your… informants, know that this information is reliable?” All Might questioned, speaking up for the first time since the meeting began.

“DNA testing has confirmed that he’d been hiding out in at least twelve supposedly empty warehouses, as well as three high-rise buildings, each time on the penthouse floor.  

Izuku was confused at first, but then it sunk in.

“The local triads had been helping him,” Izuku said, voice strained.

Karanamori nodded. “But it seems he caught the attention of one the larger groups, which explains the penthouses.”

“Please remember that this is just stuff we could gather from a few crime scenes – a couple areas the local police had raided. God only knows how intricately this ran…” Masaoma said.

Izuku wanted to cry.

His father had survived, and had spent the past nine years as a Yakuza! Izuku didn’t want to imagine the atrocities he’d probably committed in that time…

“We understand this is a lot to digest, so we’ll talk more tomorrow when you’re ready. Just know that the Takenaka siblings, myself and Masaoma are here to help the authorities catch your father. Principal Nezu has decided it would be best for you and your mother to remain on campus; U.A Academy is locked down tighter than half the prisons in Japan, so you’ll be safe from conventional break-ins.”

“I’ve already alerted Cementoss, he should be nearly done creating your temporary home.” 

Izuku’s mother smiled gratefully, tears in her eyes.

“We’ll have some officers drop by your house to pick up some essentials, and we’ll have a guard posted nearby in case Hisashi decides to make a move.” Masaoma stood, closing the briefcase.

“We’ll be cooperating with police forces in both Tokyo and Shizuoka to get a better idea of if, when and where Hisashi will appear. I’ve already taken the liberty of speaking to Detective Satou Asahi, and I’ll inform every officer to keep him in the loop.”

Izuku, now upstanding, made his way over to his trembling mother. He grasped her hand, and she squeezed tightly. Izuku suspected the only reason she hadn't broken down in tears was the sheer shock of the situation. That's what was keeping him from being a sobbing mess, at the very least. 

"I'll make sure the public doesn't find out about your relocation, Mrs Midoriya; the last thing we need is every villain in Japan knowing you're here at U.A." Nezu assured her from his perch on Aizawa's shoulder - 'when did he get there?'

A large, comforting hand was placed on Izuku's shoulder. Izuku turned to see a determined All Might standing beside him. 

"I swear to you, Young Midoriya, Mrs Midoriya, I will not let that man hurt you ever again."

 


 

U.A Dormitories, U.A. Academy.

 

Izuku hadn’t returned to the dorm common room. Which was weird enough if he’d let them know he wouldn’t be coming back and just went straight to bed, but Katsuki hadn’t heard anything from Izuku in nearly two hours.   

Though he would sooner impale himself than admit it, he did care for the green-haired idiot; though he certainly wasn’t as helpless as he once was. 

‘Did you seriously just figure that out?’ 

Katsuki sat at the desk in his dorm room, his right leg shaking, a nervous habit Katsuki didn’t even know he’d had until his dad had been put in the hospital. He’d begun his homework – because, despite popular opinion, he did give a shit about school – but soon realised he couldn’t concentrate at all.

He had texted Auntie Inko but had received no reply. He had sent another text to his dad, but his confused reply told him that he too had no idea what going on. His mum texted him a few moments later, and told him not to worry, and that she’d call them.

Not even two minutes later, Katsuki receives another text from his mother, explaining how Inko wasn’t answering her phone, nor was Izuku.

‘Well shit. What the fuck had happened? I’m probably just overreacting. Izuku forgets shit all the time, maybe he got questioned by the police and went straight to bed? No, that doesn’t sound like him at all…’

Katsuki sat up with a start – was he seriously muttering?! He spends way too much time around Izuku.  

Izuku’s text tone startled Katsuki, and he immediately grabbed his phone, unlocked it and began reading the message.

 

        <Izuku>

            Kacchan please come to the staff meeting room I just found out something horrible and I need to tell you. Please hurry

Katsuki stared at the message on his phone, complexion paling. 

What?

Chapter Text

U.A. Academy, U.A staff conference room, 10:53 p.m.

 

Izuku sat, silently hunched over on his chair, tears streaming down his cheeks. 

His mother sat close by, in a similar state of horror, disgust, and dread. Everyone, sans All Might, had left them in peace. Lunch Rush had dropped by with some food just as everyone was leaving, which had since remained untouched.

A deflated All Might sat between the two Midoriyas, arms wrapped around the pair, unsure of how to respond.

Hisashi is alive. He’s alive and he is a Yakuza who has done horrible things to people. He wanted to know more, wanted to know what he’d done so he could find him and–

‘Do what? Beat him up? Kill him? No. No, I will not. Because going outside of the law only encourages other criminals and vigilantes to do the same. As much as I want to pay him back for all the pain he’s caused, I won’t do it. I can’t do it.

Because doing so would make me just like him.’  

He couldn’t let himself succumb; he would stay strong – for all the people he cares about, and for all those who care for him.

If he did, he’d be a hypocrite.  

He’d seen it happen to Todoroki during the sports festival – how angry he was. At his father. At himself. How weak he felt. His pain. His sorrow. He connected to him – with his sense of seemingly endless isolation; with his trauma. Izuku had also seen his resolve – how determined he was to surpass All Might, and by extension, Izuku, and rebel against his father by any means necessary. Even if it meant being alone his whole life.

It was only by slowly chipping away at the wall he’d built between himself and the world, and by forcing Todoroki to look at himself from another person’s perspective that Izuku finally got through to him. Convinced him that there were other ways to live his life. He dragged him out of his father’s shadow – or, at least, enough for Todoroki to continue the journey himself.  

He’d seen it happen to Iida after his brother was paralysed after his fight with The Hero Killer: Stain. He’d seen the guilt and the sorrow and the anger bubbling to the surface and Izuku did nothing to help him. Iida had dug himself into a pit of darkness and rage and it was only when he was teetering on the edge of death that Izuku was able to bring him back into the light. Only then could Izuku convince him that revenge wasn’t the answer – that justice would prevail.  Thet if the law was to have any meaning people need to follow it. 

He’d even seen it in Katsuki.

He’d seen how his unbridled rage and unkempt pride had turned him into a bitter, narcissistic child with a hair-trigger temper. He knew the anger wasn’t his fault – an entirely neurological issue, but Katsuki recognised how he let his pride ruin the only real friendship he’d ever had. Katsuki had become a ticking-time-bomb of negativity. His negativity festered, building up until the dam broke and he lashed out – at Izuku. 

Katsuki had sworn never to do anything remotely harmful towards Izuku, lest he leave him with another scar. Another stay in the hospital. He shut himself off from Izuku, and when they were about ten, they had stopped talking to one another entirely. It was only when Izuku convinced Katsuki that he didn’t hate him, that it was okay, that he wanted to continue being friends, that Izuku forgave him, did Katsuki finally open back up.

He hadn’t left his side since.

Izuku closed his eyes and took a deep, shuddering breath. He felt his mother reach over All Might’s lap to grasp Izuku’s limp hand in an effort to keep him stable – or perhaps it was a gesture to comfort them both. 

All Might adjusted his posture to allow both Midoriya’s to lay more comfortably. It was unclear how long they would stay like this.

For now, all Izuku could do was cry – and mourn the victims of his father’s cruelty.

Izuku blinked.

‘No, he’s not my father. Well, biologically speaking, he is my parent, but a father doesn’t degrade, belittle and eventually try to murder their child, stage their own death to escape prison, and then illegally immigrate to China to become a freaking crime boss.  

No, a father is understanding and kind, a father teaches their kid to walk and talk, a father loves, respects and values his child, along with his partner.’

Midoriya Hisashi was no father to Izuku.

The closest thing he’s got to a father would be Masaru or even Asahi.

No, that wasn’t right either. They were like the cool uncles who took him to the park and got him ice-cream, the kind of guys that could come over uninvited and never impose. 

“All Might…?” He muttered, greatly startling the man, along with his mum.

“Yes, my boy?”

Izuku smiled, “Hisashi was a horrible person. An even worse parent… Is it okay if I think of you as my dad instead? Or, a father-ish figure, at least? I mean you do a better job than he ever did…”

He heard a sharp intake of breath beside him.

His mother chuckled lightly. “I don’t plan on marrying you anytime soon, Mr Toshinori, but I’d be okay with that.”

The man was silent, and for a moment Izuku thought he’d pressed too far, but then he felt the man’s arm tighten around his shoulders.

“I… I think I’d be okay with that too, Izuku.”

 


 

Location classified, League of Villains’ tavern, 8:43 p.m.

 

“The fucking Takenaka siblings are back in Japan,” Dragon growled, hand clenched around an empty glass of shochu. His phone was on speaker, and one of his many informants within the police department, Oshiro a seemingly harmless receptionist, was on the other end of the line.

Kurogiri looked up from the bench he was polishing, “Is that so? Damn, that pushes our plans back significantly.”

“Not if we kill the eldest, Mayu, sir. She’s the one with that insanely powerful quirk; if we can take her out, the brother isn’t much of a threat.”

“Hm, I agree, Oshiro, but that in itself is no easy feat. Her quirk will be difficult to overcome...”

“I know, boss, just throwing ideas around. Oh, there’s one more thing…” There was some shuffling on the other end, probably Oshiro handing over the phone to someone. 

"Ah, good evening, Midoriya-San," a new voice began - Superintendent Yamaguchi, the Chief of the Fuji Police Station, and commander of the riot unit. "As Oshiro said, we have some interesting news for you."

"I'm listening." 

"Do you remember that officer who arrested you ten years ago? Satou Asahi? Well, not only is he a sergeant now, but it turns out he's been recruited into the "Anti-Dragon Squad". We've got a few of our guys recruited as well, but they'll need to lie low for a while, Satou's starting to suspect a rat." 

The deep, metallic chuckle that erupted from Dragon's throat could send demons running. 

"Oh, how I wouldn't love to see that son of a bitch dead at my feet." 

"There's more, sir. Bakugou Masaru has been discharged from the hospital and has started taking on some of the Yakuza, namely our group. He and some of his co-workers arrested Kagari, and Jeong, Zhu and Makoto..."

"Tch, I knew he'd be a thorn in my side... I should have killed him in that café."

"Why didn't you, then?" Kurogiri asked, intrigued. 

The man paused and then sighed. "Sentimentality. Emotions are a real pain. We used to be good friends... I won't make that mistake again... Yamaguchi."

"Yes, sir?"

"Keep me up to date - any and all information, no matter how trivial, gets sent to me. Understood? I want to know where they go, what they do, who they speak to, relatives, friends... Anything."

"Yes, sir!"

Chapter Text

U.A. Academy, U.A staff lunchroom, two days after Izuku and Inko learned of Hisashi’s role in the Yakuza.

 

Yagi sighed, dejectedly leaning back into the sofa.

His cheek still stung from where Inko had slapped him.

He figured they wouldn’t take it well, but it was still pretty disheartening…

Yagi held his face in his hands – now they knew the truth, and they were all one step closer to reaching their goal.

So why did Yagi feel so horrible?

 


  

Half an hour previous, U.A. Academy, U.A. Staff conference room.

 

Yagi had contacted Izuku, and together they agreed they needed to come clean to Inko and Bakugou. It was poor timing, but they both realised that they couldn’t keep the cat in the bag for long, especially from those closest to them.

Inko was going to strangle him.

Could he blame her? No. He’d do the same if it was his kid.

Bakugou would probably feel angry and betrayed – his best friend had kept such a huge secret from him for so long…

But, alas, it’s clear Izuku needs as much support as he can get right now, and the two people closest to him don’t have the slightest clue how to help.

So, about half an hour ago, Izuku had messaged Katsuki and Inko, requesting their presence immediately.

Bakugou had arrived at the staff meeting room not even five minutes after Izuku’s request, Inko following soon behind. The poor woman looked exhausted – ‘damn U.A and its ridiculous amount of stairs!’

They had all shuffled into the room, and that’s when Yagi shifted into his smaller form, which confused and startled the hell out of Bakugou. He explained his condition to the boy, leaving him borderline horrified. Inko looked confused as well, but for an entirely different reason – she already knew of Yagi’s injury, so why was she summoned here?

Izuku and All Might sat down next to each other, while Inko and Bakugou sat opposite them.

Izuku took a shaky breath, and then he spoke, “So, you’re probably wondering why we called you both here.”

“Is… Is it something else to do with your dad?” Bakugou asked with a surprising amount of gentleness.

“No, but, um…” He glanced at Yagi, “I haven’t been entirely honest with the both of you.”

“Izuku, you’re scaring me, please, just tell us what’s wrong.” Inko wrung her hands together nervously.

Izuku glanced at Yagi once more and sighed.

He told them everything.

Izuku recounted every significant event all the way back to when he was first attacked by the slime Villain. Yagi pitched in a few times to reword what Izuku had said or to add in any information he had forgotten (which was very rarely). He described the origin of Izuku and Yagi’s quirk, and that Yagi himself was once quirkless.

Yagi pitched in, explaining how League of Villains was likely being headed by All for One; he also mentioned that the only people who knew the whole truth about One for All aside from its current users were Nezu, Gran Torino, Recovery Girl and Detective Tsukauchi.

Izuku moved on to speaking about Gran Torino, and how he used to be the previous holder of One for All’s sworn friend, explaining that his control over his quirk (and lack of broken bones) could be attributed to his training.

Then he moved on to his troubling encounter with Shigaraki and told them the truth about why he’d been targeted I such a public area.

By the time he’d recounted everything, Inko and Bakugou sat in a stunned silence.

Bakugou is the first to speak.

“Izuku, what the actual fuck.”

Izuku flinches but stays silent.

Inko covers her face with her hand, slouching in her chair.

Yagi opened his mouth to speak, “I, um, I understand this is a lot to take in- “

“Don’t you fucking start.”

The hostility in Bakugou’s voice caught Yagi off guard – he’d heard him speak when he was angry before, of course, but nothing like this.

“So, you’ve basically been lying to us about your quirk for what, a year now? What else aren’t you telling us?” Bakugou snapped.

Yagi almost scolded the boy, before noticing Inko had left her chair. Confused, Yagi turned to his right and promptly received a harsh slap to his cheek.

He supposed he deserved that.

“Mum!”

“How dare you.”

“Mum, please –”

“You do understand how much danger you just put my son in, right?” Yagi’s blood went cold. The shock and anger were prevalent in Inko’s tone, but she wasn’t shouting. Perhaps that’s what made it so much worse.

“Yes, I know.” He clenched his fist; he did know.

“So all the times he’d come home with bruises and gashes, that was your idea of “training” him?”

“I… My apologies, we should have told you sooner.”

“Damn right you should’ve!” Bakugou shouted, now upstanding. He turned to Izuku, “what, do you not trust us enough?”

It was hard to miss the way Izuku’s eyes teared up.

“That’s – that’s not it at all! There was just so much going on, I guess I just got caught up in all of it.”

“Caught up? Are you kidding me? That’s kind of an important thing to gloss over, Izuku!”

“How could I have possibly explained it?” Izuku rose from his seat, face reddening.

“You could have told us the truth, you idiot! You basically lied to us about your quirk! We could have helped you!”

“I have to agree with Katsuki on this one, Izuku; it was foolish to hide the truth behind your quirk from us. Even more so for you to receive a quirk at all!” Inko spoke, voice raised but not quite shouting.

“That’s easy for you to say!” Izuku yelled back, “You two have always had a quirk! I never did, I shouldn’t even have one!”

The regret on Inko’s face was clear.

“I was offered a chance to help people, to become a Hero – someone who inspires others, so of course I’d do it! I couldn’t be who I am today without this quirk!”

Bakugou opened his mouth to speak, but Izuku cut him off.

“I do trust you, with my life, in fact. But I put off telling you because this is precisely the type of backlash I was expecting. Neither of you would understand, how could you?” He finished bitterly. “He was right… Quirks really are everything.”

“That’s not true, Izuku! You can be whatever you want to be, you don’t need a quirk.” Inko tried to reason with him but was quickly shut down.

“I reiterate, neither of you can possibly understand the fullest extent of my reasoning. Despite desperately wanting to be a Hero, I was not meant to have a quirk. An opportunity presented itself, and I took it. Whether you agree or not is irrelevant, it was my decision.”

Yagi felt a swell of pride in his chest, but it was quickly beaten down by guilt.

Because no matter what Izuku said, this was all on him.

“Izuku…” Yagi started, unsure of what to say.

“You know what? Fine, whatever.” Bakugou turned to the door and walked right out.

Izuku sat down, hard, shame plastered over his face.

“I… I respect your choice, Izuku. I’m glad you’re sticking to your decisions. This just – I think I need some time to process all of this.” The woman bowed lightly, before she too made her way out of the room, leaving Izuku and Yagi in silence.

 


 

Shizuoka prefecture, Fuji Police station, 8:43 p.m.

 

“Hey, Yamaguchi-San!” Asahi called, jogging across the pavement of the carpark to his colleague.

"Oh, hey, Satou, what's up?" The man looks up from his phone, probably about to make a call.

"I've got some files I'd like you to look over, if that's alright, sir." He waves his arm holding a manilla folder. "Oh, were you about to call someone? Sorry to interrupt."

"It can wait," the man says politely, depositing his phone into his trouser pocket. "Ah, that reminds me, I've got some material I need you to relay to the task force investigating Midoriya Hisashi, actually, it's all in the car." He gestures for Asahi to follow, so he does.

Asahi crosses the break in the carpark and reaches Yamaguchi's car, a black Toyota Camry. The man unlocks his car and opens the back seat door. It was empty.

Asahi looks quizzically at the man. He simply smiled, "sorry about this, Satou, nothing personal."

He didn't hear the footsteps approach until it was too late.

A sharp pain entered Asahi's consciousness, and everything went dark.

Chapter Text

Keio Marina, Shizuoka prefecture, 11:25 PM

 

Dragon studied Satou with a curious gaze. Just one encounter – just one arrest had changed this man’s life forever.

How foolish he was.

He should have just done what was required and then left the Midoriya’s alone for the rest of their lives, never to speak to them again.

Like everyone else had.

Well, that was a lie – the Bakugou’s had stuck around – surprisingly enough. He was under the impression that Katsuki was more interested in getting Izuku to take his own life than forming a friendship with him. 

Times change, he supposes.

Satou had been unconscious for about three hours now – Yamaguchi had drugged the man after Shayu had knocked him out. Both men were now guarding the small structure – previously a tiny public bathroom for the convenience of people visiting the marina, which has since been renovated into one of Shinrin’s many holding cells.

The man was tied to a chair in the middle of the room – a few dim, fluorescent lights illuminating the area.

Satou’s head was hung, chin touching his chest as he slumbered. His hands were firmly tied behind him, but not so they would lose circulation.

Instilling a false sense of security – that perhaps the Yakuza weren’t as skilled as to properly tie his hands, would actually make the kidnapped victim more cooperative.

It was unlikely, however, this would do any good; Satou was a lawman, and an incredibly righteous one at that.

This would be troublesome. He’d ordered Yamaguchi to stay with him for a few hours – the man was confused but complied, taking a seat in the corner nearest to the door. Yamaguchi had always done his own thing, which was completely fine because Dragon was no dictator, but the man has forgotten his place. That and he had unintentionally uprooted a few of his fellow informants with his police work. Informants that could have stayed hidden easily. Only a few weeks ago, he had busted a deal between Shinrin and a prominent pharmaceuticals company which would have greatly benefited both parties if Yamaguchi hadn’t accidentally spilled the beans to his superiors.

He had no real use for Satou – Dragon knew the man would sooner skin himself alive than give so much as a hint of his work. He could play the family card, but that was too troublesome.

No, this was merely a ploy to rid his organisation of Yamaguchi, something his second-in-command and cousin, Fujiwara Chokichi, had suggested. The woman had a straightforward, but fabulous quirk – “phantom pain”. She gladly disciplined her insubordinate underlings by subjecting them to pain without physically harming them.

Dragon would kill Yamaguchi himself, but he had better things to do.

Like cleansing this country of those who do it harm. The homeless (provided that they wouldn't contribute even if they had a job, in which case, Dragon has employed several of them), the drug addicts (again, provided they would be productive if they stopped using. Oshiro, in fact, was a former heroin addict.), people whose quirks would not benefit society - people who would not benefit society. 

The quirkless, in particular. 

Yamaguchi paled at Dragon’s smile, even further at his deep, resonating chuckle.

What a productive week this would be.

 


Satou household, Shizuoka prefecture, 7:45 AM.

 

Misaki hung up the phone. This was the fifth time this morning she’d tried to call her husband but to no avail. Not being at home in the morning wasn’t new for Asahi, but he always called or texted to let her know if he’d be working late or going out early.

She has heard nothing from him in nearly twenty hours.

Panic was beginning to set in – her mind racing to horrible conclusions. If Misaki had legs and not a tail, she suspected she’d be pacing around the kitchen by now. She had called the front desk at the station a few minutes previous, but the young receptionist seemed as confused as she was. The young woman told Misaki to try calling again while she called Tsunemori, Asahi’s partner, and would try to get in contact with Superintendent Yamaguchi.

Misaki was trying not to let Kaori catch on to her worry – quickly making her a lunch and packing her school bag. Her daughter, however, was more perceptive than Misaki had hoped; she was her father’s daughter, after all.

“Mummy? Why are you sad?”

“Hm? I’m fine, Kaori. Your dad isn’t answering his phone, that’s all.” Asahi had quite the record of missing calls, so it was a believable excuse.

“Daddy is bad at answering phones.” Kaori giggled, happily munching on her cereal.

“Indeed, he is…”

 


U.A Principal’s office, U.A. Academy, 4:32 pm.

 

“You mean-?!”

“I’m afraid so, Toshinori… It would seem that Satou Asahi has gone missing.”

Yagi clenched his jaw, fists curling.

“Shit.”

“That about sums it up. I’ve contacted the Takenaka siblings – they had spoken with the detective beforehand – and have already deployed. I’ve alerted his co-workers, his wife, his partner, and the Chief Inspector. I couldn’t reach the superintendent, however…”

That caught Yagi’s attention.

“That’s odd,” Yagi starts, “What’s his name? Yamaguchi?”

“Yes, and, more troubling, the last sighting of Satou was by a receptionist, directing him to said Superintendent. He apparently had some files he needed to be checked before submitting them to the Assistant Commissioner.”

Yagi’s stomach – or what’s left of it – dropped.

“Where is Yamaguchi now?”

“Dropped off the map, it would seem.” The man stared into his empty teacup before he looked up. Black eyes met blue, a silent conversation passing between them.

“So he could be Yakuza too? Shit, why now?”

“It seems the aim of the game for Villains is to kick us while we’re on the ground. It doesn’t matter to them if we’re frothing at the mouth or bleeding out – they’ll do just about anything to get what they want.”

Yagi sat back in his chair, contemplating.

The League of Villains, Stain, and now Shinrin… Why Izuku?

There was so much hatred, so much pain, so much darkness in this world, so why did it suddenly grow a mind of its own and target Izuku?

No, he knows exactly why.

You can’t have darkness without a light – and Izuku’s light was blinding. He was filled with so much light, so much hope, so much love. He’d lived in Hell for a good portion of his childhood, and had been thrust back down into the depths when Shigaraki Tomura had begun his personal crusade against him. Dragged deeper again when Stain of all people had attacked, and nearly killed him and two of his friends.

But he remained so bright. He was so kind, so willing to help. He was far from perfect, but saying he was proud of Izuku would have been a serious understatement.

Yagi closed his eyes, just barely containing his rage. 

It was only when he’d opened them that he realised he’d shifted into his larger form.

“We will find Satou, Toshinori. We will find him and bring Sinrin to its knees once and for all.”

Yagi nods, renewed strength coursing through him.

 


 

Keio Marina, Shizuoka prefecture. 4:32 pm

 

Asahi gasped as the man before him landed another firm hit on his cheekbone.

He had woken suddenly a few minutes ago – he couldn’t tell for sure when, the thin, high-up windows offered little information to his surroundings, but he guessed it to be mid-afternoon, judging from the light outside.

The tall, gruff man had sauntered over and demanded answers. To what? Asahi had no idea. He had simply growled and punched him in the cheek, nearly sending him careening backwards.

He hated to be that person, but the man looked Korean, immediately setting off red flags. His sudden awakening in an unknown area, him being knocked out at Yamaguchi's car…

This was Shinrin’s doing.

Then the man had a bright idea – to specify what the fuck he was asking of Asahi.

“Your files on the Dragon case, give them to me.”

Wait, what.

Asahi gave the man a genuinely bewildered look – so this wasn’t Shinrin? A look of horror struck the man’s face, realisation dawning on him like a new day.

A growl of annoyance sounded somewhere in the room, and another person came up from behind Asahi and struck the large man in the face. The man was standing directly behind Asahi’s chair, so his face was unseeable, but he expected the presence to be the man’s superior, as he immediately backed down.

“You cretin! You were supposed to be discrete about it!”

A woman.

Asahi wasn’t sexist, he knew full well that women could be just as monstrous as men, but the loud, feminine voice caught him off guard.

She placed her hands on his shoulders, and squeezed, hard. Her nails dug into Asahi’s shoulders, he wouldn’t be surprised if she drew blood. She felt her lean down, her head just behind his own.

“Good afternoon, Sergeant.” She spat the last word – a clear disdain for authority. “I’d love to chat, but I need to deal with my imbecile of a subordinate.” She released him from her grasp, and quickly covered his eyes with what seemed to be his tie.

Smart.

He heard two pairs of feet exit the small area. Asahi strained to listen – he was familiar with the Yakuza’s… Cruel treatment of the insubordinate.
It was custom, for an insubordinate Yakuza to cut off the end of their own pinkie finger; usually of their non-dominant hand. The act was supposed to instil discipline and submission to their superiors. They would then need to have a faux finger moulded and attached, as a partially missing pinkie finger was a clear indication of involvement with Yakuza.

He wasn’t prepared for the bloodcurdling scream that erupted from the man outside.

Chapter Text

Principal's office, U.A. Academy, 1:15 p.m.

 

What the fuck.

His dad had just gotten out of the hospital and now Asahi was missing? Fucking kidnapped? And not by some amateurs either, the word is that the fucking Yakuza could be responsible. A horrible feeling of dread had settled in Katsuki's stomach, he hoped to God that it wasn't Shinrin. 

What was that saying they've got in America? "Out of the frying pan, into the fire"? 

He and Izuku had been sitting in Nezu's office for about twenty minutes divulging any information they had on Asahi to the detective from the nearest station. They suspected involvement of one or more members of the Fuji Police, perhaps even outside that area, in the kidnapping.

His partner - he always forgot her name - was in hysterics, not to mention Misaki.

"Did Mr Satou have any enemies?" The detective asked, his four, unblinking insectoid eyes never moving from Katsuki's face.

"He's a policeman, he'd be doing a shit job if he didn't make enemies."

"Kacchan..." Izuku groans, covering his face with his hands. Inko simply frowned. 

"In the force, I mean. Any personal vendettas? Someone wanting to do him harm?" The man seemed completely unperturbed by Katsuki's sarcasm. 

"I've only been in the place a couple times, so I can't say. One of the receptionists seemed to dislike him." The way Katsuki words the sentence made it sound like a question.

"Oh? Care to elaborate?" 

"Fuck, I dunno... He'd always give him dirty looks and was super aggressive around him. Asahi's actually a decent guy so I dunno what the fuck his problem was."

"Hm... Could be a simple misunderstanding or jealousy, but we'll look into it. What does he look like?"

"Uh... Short, black hair, brown eyes, tanned skin, he's got this... Half-crooked nose; looks like he took a sledgehammer to the face and it didn't heal right..."

"Oh, you mean Oshiro?" Izuku perked up.

"That's the fucker's name!"

"Yeah, I see where you're coming from, Kacchan. Remember that time when all those files on a missing persons case Asahi compiled just disappeared a while back?"

"Yeah, what of it?" 

"Well, I think it was Oshiro who handled the transfer... There isn't anything concrete that connects him to Asahi's kidnapping, but he might be tampering with evidence." 

"That's quite the accusation, but I'll do a follow-up investigation. I think I've got all I can get, thank you, boys. You know the guy's full name, by chance?" 

"Uh, what was it... Kazako?"

"Nah, I think it was Kazuto. Remember, the name always reminded you of Kirito from Sword Art Online?"

Izuku smirked, "and who said watching anime was a waste of time?" 

The detective chuckled at the exchange, rising from his seat. "Thank you again, boys. Here are my contact details, let me know if you can think of anything - or anyone else. I'll relay all of this to the folks at the Fuji station."

"Thank you for coming out here, detective. We've got the school on lockdown, so we weren't able to let our students leave campus." 

"Don't think anything of it, Mr Nezu; Dragon isn't a minor threat by any means, you should take every precaution you can." he bows to the principal, and then towards Katsuki, Izuku and Inko.

"I'll be off, then." The man calls, making his way out of the office. 

Inko retakes her seat, squeezing the handle of her handbag for dear life.

"Well, it's a step in the right direction," Nezu says. "we'll find Asahi and the people behind his capture. If we're lucky, they might lead us to some of the big fish. But, for now, you three should all go get some rest, I've never met Satou, but he must be a good person to have your respect."

"One of the best," Izuku confirms.

 


 

Kanagawa prefecture, 8 p.m.

Mayu sheathed her katana, keeping her wakizashi out. She sprinted down the alleyway, leaping over bags of garbage and overturned garbage bins. She avoided a puddle by pushing off a wall, and leapt out onto the street, startling a young couple. She veered left, her target only a few meters ahead. The streetlights were either dim or out, she'd have to alert the authorities and get them fixed immediately.

Not that she needed the light, she simply followed the man's aura; it was fresher than most - scarlet - meaning he'd recently killed, but it was intermingled with other auras - mostly dried blood, deep rose and light rose - meaning he was likely part of a gang or group of criminals. Another part of his aura angered her, the lack of remorse. Remorse was something she'd learned to pick out at an early age - sometimes a murder was entirely accidental, and the victim's aura became clouded with remorse. This man had killed in cold blood, perhaps he'd even enjoyed it, with the hint of sunflower she'd noticed.

When Mayu was first enlisted into Task Force K, she developed a code - like a priority list - for each aura she encountered. It was confusing, trying to pick out specific colours from a killer's aura because they would change over time. There were different colours and configurations for each feeling, but generally, it went something like this:

- Scarlet: bright red, usually fresher skills (within 48 hours). Usually a single kill. 

- Burgundy: Kill is at least 76 hours old; exact hue will fluctuate.

- Blood red: very old kills; months or even years old. 

- Deep rose: No body count but shows a desire to kill. The darker red shade indicates a strong, innate hatred/aggression/violent tendencies.

- Lavender: No body count, but shows a desire to kill - the inclusion of blue (lavender = light purple = blue + red) indicates a predisposition to remorse and/or mental instability, likely to confess. 

- Midnight blue: the blue would usually indicate a likelihood of remorse or mental instability, but the black reveals a lack of empathy, remorse and shows signs of narcissism. These targets are the most dangerous, as they are manipulative, and hold no value for human life.

- Sunflower: contrary to its usual connotations, sunflower in a killer's aura indicates a joy born from killing or maiming. The less saturated the yellow, the more likely the target is mentally unstable.

- Yellow-Green: a low-saturation lime colour, indicates cowardice/fear. Commonly accompanies lavender and deep rose but may appear alongside other colours. A double-edged sword: fear may turn into compliance - but fear also causes recklessness and enables stronger risk-taking.

Sometimes the colours would mix - for example, this unsavoury gentleman Mayu was currently chasing had an aura that was primarily scarlet, but with flecks of sunflower, and a few droplets of midnight blue. A killer's aura was like a canvas covered in water, and the negative emotions were like the watercolour paints - the paints would easily marble together and shift, but rarely blended fully. Similarly, if a new colour was introduced, it would quickly overtake the canvas and most other colours.

When Mayu finally caught the guy, they were a few streets away from where she'd encountered the man. She had him cornered, like a fox would a hen, and then his aura changed to Yellow-Green. Cautious, Mayu held out her quirk-dampening handcuffs towards the man.

"Come quietly." She ordered.

She didn't raise her voice, but the man's aura changed to an even paler Yellow-Green; any trace of Midnight Blue leaving his aura. The compliant type, those were in short supply. She cuffed him, sheathed her wakizashi, and then pinged her location using her Task Force K issued smartphone. She then sat the man down on a park bench and placed herself right next to him. She presumed that his co-operation wasn't because of an innate cowardice, but because of his knowledge of her quirk - It wasn't as if it was a secret, after all. The authorities would rejoice when she arrived - crime rates took a nosedive, almost completely disappearing.

She recalled a news article published around a year ago examining her contribution to society: "…Nowadays when Miss Takenaka arrives at a location, crime rates - especially murders - drop so low they might as well be nonexistent. This is because her quirk not only allows her to detect killers but also those with the intention to kill. She is persistent, determined and has personally confirmed that she recognises auras she has encountered before much quicker than newer auras. Heed this warning, criminals: fear the Killer Catcher, because when the U.N's glorified hunting dog catches your scent, she'll follow it to the gates of Hell and back."

Mayu opened her phone and clicked the maps app. She was in South-West Kanagawa prefecture. She had originally been patrolling the area to see if she could get any leads on Satou Asahi, who had been kidnapped just yesterday. She had only met the man twice, but he seemed to be an honest, hardworking man. A man with a family waiting for him to come home. With friends who cherish him. People who look up to him.

Mayu would not fail them.

 


 

Shinjuku prefecture, 8:03 p.m.

Dragon hummed behind his metal helmet.

He stepped over the fresh, charcoaled corpse at his feet to swipe a small, golden cat statue from a cabinet near the television; he was a little low on funds at the moment. He glanced momentarily at the woman’s corpse – she had put up a serious fight, and her demise was messier than usual; perhaps that was an indication that he was getting rusty.

He made his way through the home, dodging the other corpse – the boyfriend – to get to the wine rack. He grabbed a nice-looking bottle, a discarded watch from the shelf above it and made his way to the back door. 

The man was quirkless, but had been trained in martial arts from a young age – he met his girlfriend at his dojo three years previous, and had been living together for nearly two. The woman’s quirk was common – a flexibility augmentation, allowing her to become a professional gymnast. He hadn’t intended to kill the woman, but she was in his way.

He exited the house, taking in the silence of the night. He vaulted over the fence and landed in a small alleyway between the two rows of houses, and headed towards where he'd stashed his motorbike. His helmet and bodysuit could be easily passed off as a flashy design choice, but his metal gauntlets and steel-toed boots would not be concealed so easily. Thankfully, he had a mechanic for that. he pressed a button on the back of each shoe, just above his Achilles heel, and the toes shifted outward and then underneath the sole of the boots. he simply removed his metal gauntlets and placed them inside the large duffel bag he had with him, along with the items he stole. He started up his bike, which had been modified to be quieter, and made his way towards the road. 

Not for the first time that evening, his thoughts drifted to Inko.

He was taken by complete surprise when he saw her in the Nakajimaen Noen Café, his surprise souring as he laid eyes on Masaru. His quirk was most troublesome, so he took him out first.

Sentimentality was what kept Bakugou Masaru from being shot in the face that day, but the next time they met, Dragon wouldn’t hesitate.

As mad as it may sound to some, he still cared for Inko; she had character, and despite her anxiety, would go to the ends of the Earth for the people she cares about. 

Well, Eclipse and Gunmetal should be arriving any day now, perhaps he should pay Inko a visit while he waited for them.

Chapter Text

U.A Academy, entrance courtyard, 9 p.m.

 

They were woefully unprepared.

Flames consumed the dorm rooms, forcing all of its occupants to flee in a panic. Izuku had moved out of the makeshift home Cementoss had constructed and back into the student dorms just two nights previous. Now he regretted that decision as he sprinted towards the structure, past the masses of people running the opposite way.

Izuku couldn’t see. Couldn’t breathe. There was so much smoke. He couldn’t see Katsuki, he couldn’t see his mum. All Might was nowhere in sight.

He was so afraid. 

Like a rhinoceros, the flames bulldozed everything in their path – wood and rock, concrete and metal, plastic and paper – nothing escaped the path of destruction the fire had created.

He wanted to scream.

He couldn’t.

There was so much smoke - like a volcano had erupted and painted the clouds with a layer of ash, filling the air with a dense smog.

People were screaming, running.

Heroes and firefighters were attempting to quell the flames, but their efforts were in vain.  

He saw Todoroki raise a wall of ice in front of a group of struggling firemen, which was quickly beginning to crack and melt.

Uraraka was using her quirk to float a pile of debris into the air to clear the school’s main entrance, allowing the parents and students that had arrived for a press conference to escape. The debris was quickly crumbling, turning to ash right above her head.

He saw Sato pulling an unconscious Kaminari away from a mass of shrubbery that had caught alight; bandages covered Sato’s arms, probably Sero’s tape. 

Yayorozu was wearing a gas mask and was quickly distributing them to whoever she passed. 

He passed Midnight supporting the weight of an officer Izuku didn’t recognise. Jirou used her quirk to destroy a tree that had fallen across a path, encompassing her, three other students and an officer in flames.

Izuku was choking on the smog, his eyes burned from the ash. 

But he couldn’t stop. He wouldn’t until he found his mother and- 

He skidded to a halt, tears falling.

His mother’s eyes were open, staring lifelessly at the ground, bleeding from the head, propped up against a tree just outside of her makeshift cabin. Blood covered the trunk of the tree, and clear indentations could be seen in the bark.

Izuku screamed. 

“No!”

He activated One For All’s Full Cowl and launched himself towards her, only to be flung backwards with an incredible force.  

His back hit the ground, all the air escaping his lungs in an instant. Now he really couldn’t breathe – gasping desperately for air as he tried to stand up.

A shadow loomed overhead and when Izuku turned, all of his strength left him. Any adrenaline in his system being sucked forcefully out from him.

A single cry of disbelief escaped Izuku’s lips before the man’s hand was around his throat, lifting his body upwards.

Izuku desperately clawed at the hands around his neck, kicking his legs violently.

“Hisashi! Let go of me!”  

Hisashi grinned wickedly at Izuku – he hadn’t changed at all, even after nine years; Izuku still recognised those dark, green eyes that held no light in them.  

Tears escaped Izuku’s eyes, and Hisashi’s hand closed further around his throat

“I think it’s about damn time I finished what I started all those years ago.”

Hisashi opened his mouth wide, wrenching a horrific scream from Izuku’s throat before everything went white.

 


 

Location unknown, time unknown.

 

They had shoved Asahi in the car about twenty minutes ago.

He managed to take a quick glance at the window of the room he’d been kept in before they shoved a black, drawstring bag over his head; it was dark, so he guessed it to be late evening.

They had been driving for quite some time – Asahi had begun counting the second he heard the car start – and he had nearly reached 3,800 seconds, which rounded to about an hour and four minutes. Asahi wondered why they hadn’t knocked him out – surely they knew he would count the time he spent in the car? Or, would they, perhaps, find a way to make the journey longer than it truly was?

The car stopped once more, and Asahi stopped counting – a trick he’d devised to measure the distance he’d travelled, not the whole time spent in the car. The engine shut off, and the doors swung open. They must have reached their destination.

Wherever that may be.

Two large hands gripped him by the shoulders and aggressively guided him out of the car. His hands were tied in front of him, so risking an escape would be dumb. Not to mention the bruising forming in his ribs from the ropes that had secured him to the chair, or the puncture wounds on his neck and shoulders from that Yakuza woman’s nails.

He focused on his sense of hearing first – the sound of waves had disappeared, so they must be somewhere more inland. He heard the distant noise of cars driving past, the low chatter of civilians.

Weird, why would they take him to such a populated area?

Then he took a strategically long, quiet breath through his nostrils; he could smell the exhaust fumes of cars, the humidity in the air.

Again, those two, firm hands guided him across a long stretch of quiet road. They stopped just below a street light – where the noise was beginning to resurface.

“Walk forty paces forward, turn right, and walk twenty paces; don’t stop until you have reached the building.” A gruff voice ordered. He recognised it as the voice of the burly man who’d been… Tortured?

He could definitely feel ten fingers gripping his scarred shoulders – perhaps he had already found a prosthetic? If that was the case, it would explain the bloodcurdling scream he’d heard the man let out after that female Yakuza had decided to “discipline” him.

All of his fingers felt real enough, though. Did she cut him with something, then?

A firm shove snapped him out of his thoughts, and he stumbled forward, almost losing his balance.

“Walk. Do not stop. Do not hesitate." 

Asahi gulped and took a few tentative steps, mind racing.

'They must be transferring me to another safe-house, somewhere in plain sight that no one would suspect.'

He took another few steps, and he must have reached the edge of the alleyway because he could feel the path dip in front of him. He paused, listening for cars, praying there would be none, and when he was sure the coast was clear, he jogged lightly across the road. He made his way forward, and, as instructed, he turned to his right after reaching forty steps. He then began his walk to God-knows-where, and that was when he walked smack bang into a wall.

No, it was a glass door, he felt the handles dig into his stomach and the glass reverberating from the impact. He heard a shout from inside and rapid footsteps.

He braced himself for impact – a punch, a set of hands grasping his shoulders – but nothing came.

He heard the door fly open and–  

“Asahi!”

He let out a gasp of surprise and relief. 

“Akane?” Never in his life had he been so grateful to hear the voice of his partner.

“Oh my God!”

He felt a strong force push him backwards, a pair of arms wrapping themselves around his body. He winced in pain, the small scabs on his shoulders splitting open. His bruised ribs roaring in protest. His lacerated neck howling in pain.

He heard more footsteps – a large group - some of them stopped around Asahi and Akane, while others fanned out all around him. 

“Oh my God, okay, hang on, let me get this thing off.”

The hood was loosened and thrown away. He blinked his eyes, recoiling from the sudden brightness.

“Satou! You’re okay?” Suzuhara, the receptionist on shift asked, incredulous. “How the hell did you –”

“Yamaguchi,” Asahi gasped out, almost overwhelmed by the situation, “he’s – he’s Yakuza. There was someone else –” 

“We know, we the found security footage of the incident just this afternoon. They didn’t cover their tracks nearly as well as you’d think they would.” Watanabe, a long-time co-worker explained. 

“The other guy was Oshiro.” Yamazaki, a fresh recruit, piped up.

“Son of a bitch,” Asahi spat. 

That made so much sense he was surprised he hadn’t made the connection. Oshiro had been out to get him for years – his wife, Misaki, actually dated the guy when he was studying at the academy, but she left him for Asahi, because Oshiro had as much respect for her privacy, values and wellbeing as he would a garbage can. There were a few other incidents contributing to Oshiro’s hatred of him, but they were all really petty things, like finishing an assigned report quicker or generally doing a better job at something. 

“What did he hit me with, a fucking brick?” Asahi asked.

“His bare hands, actually,” Yamazaki continued. “He certainly doesn’t look it, but he can really pack a punch.”

“Yeah, I noticed.” Asahi absently rubbed the back of his head.

“Okay, I’m gonna call an ambulance, those marks on your neck look bad.” Watanabe produced his smartphone from his trouser pocket and dialled. 

“What – what are they?” Akane asked, tentatively inspecting Asahi’s neck.

“Nail marks,” Asahi answered. “There’s more on my shoulders.” 

Higuchi, a middle-aged detective approached him, notepad and pen in hand. “Satou, good to see you’re not dead. Describe your captors as best you can, I’ll put out an emergency notice.” 

“There were… four – no, five different people I encountered: Superintendent Yamaguchi; Oshiro; a large, stocky guy; a lanky, black-haired fellow and a woman who’s probably their superior. I… I didn’t see the woman – they had me blindfolded whenever she was around.”

“They didn’t have you blindfolded the whole time?”

“I know, it’s really odd. But I can say with certainty that everyone I encountered was Yakuza. I can’t think of why they let me see them if they were going to let me go…”

“All right, I’ve got an ambulance on its way,” Watanabe called, placing a hand on Asahi’s shoulder. “Come inside, Satou, I’ll get you cleaned up, maybe some tea if we’ve got any left.”

“I’ll call the chief!” Yamazaki called, phone in hand.

“I’ll see if I can get a hold of Task Force K,” Suzuhara added, dialling the number. 

Akane handed him her phone, “you’d better call Misaki, she’s been in hysterics.”

“Will do.”

 


 

U.A Dormitories, U.A. Academy, 9 p.m.

 

Izuku was screaming.

Katsuki bolted out of bed, the blood-curdling scream of his best friend filling him with dread and adrenaline.

He ran down the hall, past his other classmates who had opened their doors in panic and confusion. 

He sprinted, not bothering to be quiet.

More doors opened – he paid them no mind, he needed to get to Izuku now 

He skidded to a halt outside of Izuku’s door – another horrific shriek escaping him.

He tried the handle – locked.

Shit.

He rammed his shoulder into the door – the damn thing refused to budge.

“What in the ever-loving fuck is happening here?!”

He turned to see Kaminari rush towards the scene, face full of terror.

“Why is Midoriya screaming!?” Katsuki turns again – he never thought he’d be so glad to hear Todoroki’s voice.

“Todoroki! Freeze the lock! Melt it! Do something!”  

Thankfully, Todoroki was good in a crisis and immediately set to work freezing the hinges of the door. With one, powerful kick, the door broke from its hinges. He rushed in and was by Izuku’s side in an instant.

A sizeable crowd began to pile into Izuku’s room – the entirety of Class 1-A had made their way over to Izuku’s dorm; hell, even Mineta was standing in the doorway looking worried.

“Bakugou, what’s happening!?”

“Is Midoriya alright?!” 

He desperately tried to recall what Inko had told him to do when he got like this – he grabbed Izuku by his shoulders and squeezed firmly. He shook him gently once, then twice, before yelling:  

“Izuku! It’s okay, wake up!”

“No!” Izuku screamed, attempting to curl into a ball.

Izuku flailed around, desperate to escape Katsuki’s grip. His legs kicked violently, and he saw the familiar green glow of what he now knows is One For All’s Full Cowl beginning to emanate from his body. 

Izuku was sobbing now, hands clawing at his neck. 

He needed to wake him up before his quirk overloaded his body and he broke something. Before he destroyed his throat from screaming.

“Hisashi! Let go of me!”

Katsuki's blood went cold.

Shit. A nightmare about his dad.  

He grasped Izuku tighter, holding his head with one hand to avoid him biting his tongue in the midst of his thrashing while using his other hand to keep his upper body still.

“Izuku, hey, it’s okay, he can’t hurt you! It’s not real!” he shook Izuku once more.

Izuku violently wrenched his way out of Katsuki’s grip, gasping for air.

Izuku was awake, completely and utterly horrified. He sat with his back against the wall, fresh tears falling down his cheeks. He was shaking like a leaf, paler than paint. 

“Ka… chan?”

“Yeah, it’s Katsuki. It’s okay, he’s not here anymore.” He reaches forward and wraps Izuku in a hug, which instantly relaxes him. 

Izuku’s gaze shifts to their horrified classmates and his expression falls.

“Guys… Did I – I woke you all up, didn’t I?” 

“Midoriya…” Uraraka started, taking a cautious step forward. “You did, but it’s okay. Are… Are you alright?”

There was a moment of silence.

“No…” The shake in Izuku’s voice was unmistakable.

Katsuki released Izuku from the hug and stood. 

“Okay, back to bed, right fucking now.” He ordered.

“What? But Midoriya –”

“Kirishima, he’s been like this for years, trust me, I know what the fuck I’m doing.”

Kirishima seemed taken aback by Katsuki forgoing his nickname, but nodded.

“We’ll see you in the morning, then?” Iida asked. “I mean, if you’re not up to scratch, it’s completely understandable,” he added after a moment’s thought.

“Yeah, I’ll be at breakfast. I’m sorry for waking you...” Izuku lowers his gaze to his lap.

“We told you, it’s fine, Midoriya-Chan. You’re always there for us when we have bad dreams, why wouldn’t we be here for you?”

“You’re going to make me cry again, Tsuyu…”

“All right, then, we’ll let you get some rest,” Yayorozu began softly. “You heard Bakugou-San, let’s get back to bed, I’m sure Aizawa-sensei will be having us train in the morning anyway.

Slowly, hesitantly, the class began to trickle out of the room, until only Izuku and Katsuki remained.

Izuku let out a shaky breath – verging on a whimper, clutching a pillow tightly in his arms.

“I’m not going to ask what it was about; you can tell me later if you want to. Just… Go back to sleep.” Katsuki stood, and then turned to the door. That was when he remembered he had broken Izuku’s door in his panic to wake him up.

“Well fuck. Um, sorry about the door, Izuku”.

Izuku chuckled softly, “it’s okay… And, thank you, Kacchan.”

“Anytime, Izuku.”

Chapter Text

U.A dorm common room, U.A. Academy, 7:35 a.m.

 

“…Yes, you heard correctly, ladies and gentlemen, The Fire-Breathing Villain: Dragon has struck again, this time claiming the lives of twenty-one-year-old Hamada Yuki and twenty-two-year-old Asano Akira. The victims were found dead in their new home just last night by a concerned neighbour; forensics show that the time of death was around eleven p.m. three days ago.”

The screen cut to an elderly woman with deep purple eyes and even deeper set wrinkles.

“I had noticed their car hadn’t left their house the whole day, but I thought nothing of it, those two tended to have days off together where they’d simply stay indoors and watch movies. It wasn’t until… I was walking my dog back home late last evening when the foulest smell wafted out of their house. The boyfriend – Asano, had a habit of burning their food, so I initially brushed it off, until I noticed all the lights in the house were off and the house was completely silent. I called the police as soon as I got home…”

The screen cut back to the distraught reporter on the scene.

“I urge you, viewers, if there is anything suspicious happening in your neighbourhood, please report it to the authorities as soon as possible.” The reporter looked somewhere off-screen before a shocked expression crossed his pale face. He turned back to the camera and continued. “Here we have Takenaka Mayu – the Killer Catcher – to give a quick address to the people of Japan.

The class sat upright and leant towards the T.V, eager to hear what the famous Heroine had to say.

Ochaco had heard stories about the woman on television and read newspaper articles about she and her brother for years, and she had only accepted one TV interview – and even then, it was Daiki who did most of the talking. It was also Daiki who would give formal addresses to the public if necessary, so this was certainly a rarity. 

“I would usually start with “good morning, Japan”, but the situation is far from it.” She began awkwardly. The woman seemed highly uncomfortable, but Ochako saw a fire of rage and determination burning in her hazel eyes.

“Dragon has resurfaced, and his crime has gone unnoticed for half a week – I do not wish to alarm anyone, but there is no telling how many other victims there may be. I urge you all to look after your families, friends and neighbours – keep a look out for strange odours; burnt meat, gunpowder, copper, etc. The people who are quirkless or who have weak quirks, I urge you to find sanctuary with family or friends, leave the prefecture if you can. The authorities, my brother and I as well as our colleagues are doing everything in our power to find this murderer, but Japan is a big place, and, tragic as it is, we will not always get there in time.”

“Miss Takenaka, is there anything else you wish to say to the public?” the reporter asks with a surprising amount of respect.

“There are dark times ahead – not only regarding Dragon, but organised crime, like the Yakuza and the League of Villains are steadily on the rise. I know it will be difficult, and it may seem like the chaos will never end, but I want everyone to remember these words: ‘The darkest hour is just before the dawn’; for no matter how dark the day becomes, remember that there are much, much brighter times ahead.”

Ochaco was filled with determination – the heroine’s words lifting her spirits. 

“That was probably the cheesiest thing I’ve ever seen on live television, and I’ve watched every single episode of 'Fairy Tail'.”

Ochaco resisted the urge to squeak – head swivelling around to meet Bakugou’s tired gaze.

“Oh, I didn’t know you watched Shounen anime, Bakugou.” Ochaco began, hoping to lighten the mood.

“Most of it’s pretty repetitive, but Fairy Tail’s alright.”

‘It’s probably his favourite anime, but he’s just too proud to admit it.’

“Have you watched Naruto?” Kaminari asked with sudden urgency – Jirou, Tokoyami and Koda looked on with a similar level of interest.

“Nah, way too many episodes.” 

“As if you haven’t watched Naruto! What did you do as a kid?!” He exclaims. Jirou and Tokoyami looked mildly horrified, while Koda seemed indifferent – understanding  

“Blow shit up, yell at people; basically what I do now.”

He tried to act nonchalant, but Ochaco sensed a deep regret in his tone. 

“I wouldn’t pin you for the type to spend your time watching anime, Bakugou,” Todoroki said flatly. "I thought you'de be the type who considered it a waste of time." 

Bakugou laughed sharply, “there’s more to life than being the definition of emo, candy cane.”  

Mina snorted. Ochaco held back a giggle of her own.

“I’m not emo – I’m punk rock.” He replied flatly.

“Punk rock? No, Tokoyami’s punk rock – you’re not edgy enough.”

 “What kind of criteria do you need to fill in order to be ‘edgy’, anyway?” Hagakure asks – if she were visible, Ochaco would guess that her confusion was as evident in her expression as it was in her tone.  

 “Well for starters, people need to take him seriously; which is kind of difficult considering he literally looks like the fucking Canadian flag.”

Ochaco couldn’t hold back her giggle this time, and all but snorted. Mina, who had been standing the closest to Bakugou, seized up, covering her mouth with her hand, holding in a bout of laughter of her own.

Todoroki didn’t look the slightest bit offended, in fact, he looked amused.

“So what did you watch as a kid?” Kirishima asked, changing the subject.

“Izuku forced me to watch Pokémon with him whenever it was airing and I was over at his house; we also binged Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood in middle school. Other than that, mostly Bleach.”

“Rating out of ten?” Tokoyami asks. 

“For what? FMA? Eleven.”

“Aha! I knew you reminded me of an anime character! You’re basically a carbon copy of Ichigo!”

“Oh fuck off, Calamari,” Bakugou said with a hint of a smirk.

“Why is everyone getting nicknames, now?! I want one!” Mina complained, faking exasperation.

“Loudmouth.”

“Not original at all, Bakugou!” She pouted.

“Hyperactive strawberry it is, then.”

“NO!”

“Ooh, what about me?” Sero asked with genuine interest.

“Discount Spider Man.” He answered.

Sero didn’t seem offended at all, instead, he started cackling madly.

“Think of one for me, too!” Kirishima begged.

“Hair Gel™” 

Hagakure snorted in laughter.

“Hey, Baku! Gimme a cool-sounding Villain name!” Mina asked, practically bouncing with excitement.

“What? No, make one up yourself.”

Ochaco was surprised – he either didn’t notice Mina using a nickname or he simply didn’t care – both options are equally as baffling.

“I have one in mind for myself,” Todoroki pitches in. “The Hand Crusher.” 

“You’re still going on about that! You’re not cursed, Todoroki-Kun!” Iida says through his laughter.

Ochaco was confused – must be an inside joke.

Momo cleared her throat, grabbing everyone’s attention. “Sorry to interrupt, but is Midoriya alright this morning?”

A shadow passed over Bakugou’s face, silencing all conversation. “He’s alright, he actually woke up early to have breakfast and go for a run. He won’t be joining us this morning.”

Ockaco internally sighed with relief – back to his usual self, it would seem.

But Bakugou’s calm, respectful demeanour unsettled her; she knew that Bakugou was smart – far more so than she herself was – but she knew he must be as concerned as the rest of them, to forgo putting up his aggressive front.

“Are nightmares common for him?” Iida asks gently. 

“Not of that calibre, but yeah, they tend to happen a lot.”

“May I ask why that is?” Momo asks.

“He’s got this… Dream disorder – a Nightmare Disorder, actually; I’m not gonna get into the nitty-gritty details, I’ll let Izuku do that, but basically something pretty traumatic happened to him a few years back and he’s been having nightmares ever since.”

Ochaco was shocked. What on Earth could possibly have happened for Midoriya – who was so determined, so cheerful, so strong – to plague him with such frequent nightmares?

“So, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? I thought that needed some kind of recent trigger for such old trauma to have such an impact, though?” Momo asked.

Bakugou stayed silent.

“And… Who’s Hisashi, anyway?” Kirishima asked cautiously. 

Bakugou pursed his lips. “I can’t tell you." 

“Can’t or won’t?” Ochaco snapped.

“Can’t,” he repeated. “Can’t as in there are legitimate, legal reasons preventing me from telling you.”

A gag order? How serious is this?!

“Is Midoriya in trouble?” Ochaco asked, now even more worried.

“His mum was moved to the campus for protection and his house is under police watch, so yeah, it’s quite a bit of trouble.” 

“Does it… Have anything to do with his nightmares?”

Bakugou went silent but nodded.

He clearly knew exactly what was going on, but if there really was a gag order put in place, there was little Ochaco could do.

She would definitely have to confront him about this – perhaps she could get him to open up and she could understand how to help him through this…

 


 

U.A. Dorms, U.A. Academy, 5:25 p.m.

 

Izuku leisurely made his way back to his dorm, soaking up the unusual tranquillity of the school.

After his sudden nightmare last night, his mother had booked an immediate appointment with Katsuki and Izuku’s old therapist – Fusunagi Shinji, whose quirk allowed him to perceive a person’s emotions as a colour or a mixture of colours. The man was very understanding of Izuku’s hesitance and allowed Izuku to explain his dream at his own pace. Afterwards, he recommended Izuku some stress-relief methods to lessen the likelihood of another nightmare, while his mother caught the man up on what’s been happening in their lives.

Katsuki had stopped his monthly therapy sessions a few weeks after arriving at U.A. Academy, but Mitsuki and Masaru still kept in close contact with the man.

Izuku himself had ended up receiving therapy for a few months after Hisashi’s attack until he was stable enough to cope without it. He had even been prescribed anti-depressants for a time, but stopped after a few months as he didn’t actually have chronic depression, but was experiencing a depressive episode. He did, however, have anxiety, like his mother – social anxiety, specifically.

He was also diagnosed with Nightmare Disorder just a week after beginning therapy, and while they are no longer a daily occurrence, he does still have nightmares. Not all of them involve Hisashi – some of them included family and friends, classmates, or abstract, macabre scenarios that had Izuku sobbing and screaming in the middle of the night.

He wasn’t ashamed of going to therapy – the notion that one should be embarrassed by seeking mental help is just plain stupid. He doesn’t feel ashamed about having been prescribed anti-depressants, albeit temporarily, either; it was the medication that supplied his body with chemicals his brain was struggling to make enough of. Medication that stopped him from waking up every morning wanting to cry, to run away, to end his own life.

He shook his head, physically clearing his mind.

He had made it to the corridor and was approaching his dorm room when two voices called out to him.

“Hey, Midoriya! Wait up!”

Izuku turned, surprised, to see Jirou and Tokoyami jogging over to him.

“Midoriya, I – um.” Jirou began awkwardly.

“Don’t be alarmed, but Bakugou told us that you have a… Nightmare Disorder? And we came to offer our help.”

Izuku was mildly horrified: ‘Kacchan told them all?’

“Help? Help how?” he inquired nervously.

“You see, I used to have night terrors when I was younger; I know they’re not the same thing as nightmares – people remember their nightmares in vivid detail, but people don’t remember night terrors.”

Izuku was surprised – not many people recognised that there was a significant difference between nightmares and night terrors – but also because Jirou certainly didn’t come across as someone who’s once been plagued by either. Night terrors usually consisted of a child suddenly waking up screaming at odd hours and then falling asleep straight afterwards, only to not remember a thing when they wake up. Nightmares, however, were remembered in vivid, horrifying detail, and really interfered with a person’s life. 

“However,” she continued, “I did have to go see a sleep specialist because it was seriously messing with my sleep schedule, as I’d wake up at ungodly hours of the night. I stopped getting them regularly a few years back, but I’m still susceptible to them, and I do have trouble with stay asleep on occasion.” 

Tokoyami nodded, “I actually have insomnia – I’ve been diagnosed and everything. I take medication if it’s really bad, but usually, I just avoid doing stuff like having caffeine or eating big meals right before bed. I developed my quirk, Dark Shadow, around this time; I was very lucky to have a companion during those times."  

Dark Shadow appears from behind Tokoyami’s back and nods, “Insomnia’s a bitch, really affected his waking life, so his mum took him to a doctor and he got prescribed medication for it.”

“But it won’t ever go away, will it? Insomnia stays with you forever.” Izuku finished, now feeling a lot closer to his classmates.

“That’s why we wanted to talk to you – I actually emailed you a playlist that we put together at the start of the year; it’s filled with calming music and sounds you can play if you ever find yourself unable to get to sleep."  

“It’s good to listen to when you’re stressed, as well,” Dark Shadow piped up, “totally saved his ass during exam week,” he said, gesturing to Tokoyami.

Izuku’s eyes widened.

“Th-thank you, Jirou-San! Tokoyami-Kun! Dark Shadow-Kun!” he bowed.

“Hey, it’s all good, Midoriya. You’re always here for us when we have trouble sleeping, so the least we can do is help you out in return.”

“Let’s kick insomnia’s ass together, eh?” Dark Shadow proclaimed, to the embarrassment of Tokoyami.

Izuku smiled, grateful for the kindness of his friends.

“Yeah, let’s do it!”

Chapter Text

U.A. first years’ gymnasium, U.A. Academy, 11:15 a.m.

 

Mayu sidestepped to avoid the blow, but Midoiya’s punch still clipped her shoulder. 

‘He’s fast,’ she thought, her own punch being deflected, ‘and strong.’

She raised her katana to block Midoriya’s kick, but, again, she underestimated his strength, and the sword was knocked right out of her hand, clattering the floor nearly a metre behind her.

She winced in pain, clutching her right wrist – it had been bent at an awkward angle after Midoriya kicked her sword out of her and, and it now throbbed dully.

The shift in expression on Midoriya’s face – from focused and calculating to downright panicked.

“A-a-ah! I’m so sorry, Takenaka-San!”

“Don’t be sorry – I underestimated your strength, a mistake I won’t make again.” She said with a hint of a smile. “Are you sure you weren’t using your quirk? You’re way too strong for your age.”

The kid flushed in embarrassment, “n-no, ma’am, I just did a lot of muscle training before I enrolled at U.A…”

“You don’t say… Did you do any kind of martial arts training during that time?” She asked, reaching down with her uninjured left hand to grab her katana.

“Not really; I mean, Masaru and Asahi taught Kacchan and I some basic self-defence, but I mostly focused on getting fit, building stamina, and eating well enough for my body to handle all the muscle-building stuff I did.”

“So all of those techniques were recently taught, eh? You’re one heck of a fast learner, young man.”

“I kinda had to be – my quirk did develop really late, after all, so I had to make use of every opportunity thrown at me…” He trailed off.

“It’s alright, Midoriya, I know that you share a quirk with All Might.” She stated flatly.

Midoriya froze, shock plastered on his face.

“I’m not really sure how – it obviously wasn’t passed on through genetics, but there’s no mistaking it. You two share the same “killing potential” aura, though yours is certainly fresher – much rawer. All Might’s quirk seems… Weaker. Deteriorating, even…”

Midoriya blinked as if he’d been slapped. His expression morphed from shock to horror. He gulped.

“I won’t let anyone in on this, of course – people across the world have been trying to figure out the secrets behind All Might’s quirk for years, the last thing I want to do is put you under the microscope as well.”

Midoriya visibly relaxed, at that, the horror leaving his features.

“I, um… I think it’d be best if we explained our quirk to you together. Probably after you get that hand looked at. Sorry, again, about that…” He said sheepishly, hand raising to rub the back of his neck. “Maybe tomorrow, at lunch? Staff room?” 

Mayu nodded. “Sure, kid.”

 


 

Southern Tokyo, 10:23 p.m.

 

The wall light above the man exploded, glass spraying in all directions. The one beside it shattered as well, and the one next to that – spewing glass onto the concrete. Soon the only light was that of the half-moon, and the eerie, unnatural glow emanating from the shadow before him.

“I’ll give you whatever you want, just leave me alone!” The man wailed, desperate to escape the approaching shadow.

The figure didn’t reply, instead, it wrapped itself around the man, encasing him in a darkness unlike anything he’d ever seen. 

“P-please, I have a family!” He flailed his arms and legs, but to no avail; the shadow lifted him into the air and harshly flung him towards the cement.

A crack, followed by a ragged scream.

The air turned cold, despite the Sumer humidity, and in a deep, mangled voice, the shadow spoke to him. “False Heroes must perish like the worms they are.”

The shadow lifted him once more, higher this time, and then he felt his body hit the ground. Another crack. Another pained scream.

“Stop! Plea– " 

The concrete beneath the Hero shattered, along with his skull.

A final, feeble plea for help escaped the man’s lips before his body went limp and his eyes turned dark.

The shadow unravelled itself, slithering across the bloodied pavement, and rising to reform its body.

Her body.

Eclipse took a moment to admire her handiwork, taking in the man’s permanent, helpless expression.

She reached into the bandages covering her well-endowed chest and produced a small, thin notebook and a small red pen. She opened it, flicking through the dozens of pages of names before she found an empty page. Uncapping her pen, she wrote down the characters of the man’s name – a record of the "Heroes" she'd killed.

Such a shame she never got to work with The Hero Killer: Stain; their ideals did align, after all. Perhaps she should have visited Japan earlier, as Dragon had once suggested. 

She smiled, closing the book and depositing it back beneath the bandages. She retrieved a small mobile phone from a pocket in her black sweatpants, dialled the number Dragon had given her and waited.

The call connected, and that familiar deep, metallic, distorted voice came onto the line.

“Ah, Eclipse, finished already?”

“Yes, Dragon-San. He didn’t put up much of a fight at all – it makes me wonder how someone like him didn’t remain a sidekick.”

“Well, you know as well as I do about how powerful someone can become if they have enough wealth. It was probably a simple task for someone like him to buy his way up into the ranks – at least partially.”

“Scum like that need to be put down.” She seethed.

“All in good time, my dear. Has Gunmetal checked in yet?”

“No, but I suspect he will be finished shortly. Would you like me to check up on him?”

“Hm? Oh, no, I just wanted to let him know that our safe-house at the Keio Marina has been compromised by the Police.”

“Where Detective Satou was being held?” She inquired. 

“Yes; I suspect Yamaguchi will be in police custody soon enough.” 

“One less insubordinate fool to deal with, then.” 

He chuckled, the permanent voice modification quirk he received from All For One distorting the sound into something deep and sinister.

“I know how excited you were to begin cleansing this country, Eclipse, but I’m afraid you’ll need to postpone completing your list for a little while; there’s a more... personal mission I’d like you to complete.” 

Eclipse perked up, “yes, of course, Dragon-San.”

She could practically hear his grin.

“You will be collaborating with Kurogiri, for this one, is that alright?”

“Of course, Dragon-San; what is the mission?”

“It will need to be done quickly and discreetly… I need you to kidnap Midoriya Inko.”

Chapter Text

U.A teacher’s lounge, U.A Academy,

 

“Alright, Yagi, enough is enough. Spill the beans.” Toshinori turned, confused, to look at Aizawa.  

 “Are you planning on adopting Midoriya or what?”

“Aizawa!” Toshinori gasped, red-faced and slack-jawed.

Midnight and Present Mic were openly cackling from their chairs. Cementoss looked completely stoic, but his shoulders were shaking from the effort it took to keep silent.

“I mean, he’s not wrong!” Mic agreed.

He looked to Vylad imploringly, who simply shrugged in amusement. 

“No! I’m not adopting Midoriya! Where the hell did you even get that idea from!?” He asked, completely mortified.

“Did I mention you’re also an emergency contact?” Aizawa added.

Toshinori inhaled through his nose, regaining his composure, “so, what? Am I not allowed to be concerned for a student?”

Snipe snorted.

“No, not at all. In fact, taking into account the recent events, your actions are completely understandable…” 

“I’m sensing a “but” here, Aizawa.”

“But, you also have yourself listed as one of Mrs Midoriya’s emergency contacts. Hell, you’re on a first-name-basis with the woman!”

Midnight gasped, “so first you take Midoriya under your wing, and now you’re seducing his mother? How scandalous of you, Yagi!” She teased.

Toshinori spluttered, face reddening even further. 

Midnight! I- no! That’s not –”

“Yagi, you have literally yourself listed as one of Midoriya legal guardians,” Aizawa continued. 

Toshinori flushed, hand rising to cover his face. He couldn’t tell them the reasoning behind all of this, because in doing so he’d have to reveal the truth behind he and Izuku’s quirk.

“Oh God,” Midnight says suddenly, “don’t tell me you’ve slept with Mrs Midoriya!”

Toshinori thought he might pass out from embarrassment.

“I AM NOT SLEEPING WITH INKO!” He spluttered between bloodied coughs. “Where the hell did you get that idea from?!”

His face flushed even further after remembering the moment he, Inko and Izuku had after they learned of Hisashi’s survival, and how Izuku thought of Toshinori as a father-figure.

He recalled all the times he’d ruffled Izuku’s hair – not to mention the fact he was calling him “Izuku” not “Midoriya” like everyone else. There were times he’d even refer to him as “my boy”… He held his burning face in his hands – he couldn’t imagine how their situation must look from an outsider’s point of view.

“Good luck with that, Yagi,” Midnight cackled.

 


 

Location classified, League of Villain’s tavern base, 11 p.m. 

 

“Tomura,” Kurogiri called as the boy opened the door to the tavern, “Eclipse and Gunmetal arrived late last night, you should go say hello.”

Tomura’s eyes narrowed.

“I don’t think Eclipse likes me…” Toga whined from her barstool with a pout, chin resting on her folded arms.

“I can’t imagine why...” Tomura mumbled as he flopped down on the couch. Kurogiri was shocked – he didn’t know Tomura even understood what sarcasm was.  

“I know for a fact that Gunmetal is annoyed by you – I suggest you don’t piss him off,” Kurogiri advised.

“Ha! I could take him~” She shouted, raising her fists as if she were about to attack someone, “I’d fight him right now!”

“I would deeply advise against that, Himiko.” Kurogiri nearly dropped the glass he was polishing.

Dragon was standing directly in front of him – when the hell did he get here?!

Toga just about fell out of her chair.

“Hisashi! Hisashi!” She squealed cheerfully, bouncing over to the man.

“Good morning, Himiko. Gone on any spree murders lately?” He replied with genuine interest, petting the girl’s hair as if she were a relative. Kurogiri was greatly taken aback – he has seen Himiko remove people’s entire arms for even attempting to do such a thing.

“No, the League is planning something big – or, was, until U.A cancelled their training camp…” She pouted again, “That was gonna be so much fun!”

The man sat down on a stool – the same stool he always does – and pulled out his phone, presumably to scroll through his many notifications.

“Good morning, Dragon. I didn’t hear you come in, nor did you set off any alarms….” Kurogiri finally said. 

Dragon quirked an eyebrow, a hint of a smirk appearing on his face. “Did you think voice modulation was the only Quirk bestowed upon me by All for One?”

Kurogiri blinked – he himself didn’t realise that Dragon’s unnaturally deep, metallic voice was a quirk at all! He had simply assumed he had undertaken some kind of surgery to make his voice unrecognisable. So did his quirk permanently affect his voice, or could it be “switched” on and off?

“Ooh! So you have three quirks then?!” Himiko asked gleefully.  

“Yes, but I’m sure the police will notice soon enough.” He mused, making a silent gesture for Kurogiri to prepare him a drink.

“Huh? How come you get to have three quirks?” Tomura asked with a dangerous amount of frustration and contempt. “What makes you so damn special?”

The sudden change in atmosphere caught Kurogiri off guard, his proverbial hackles rising.

Gone was the sophisticated, almost elegant man that had entered the bar – Tomura was now locked in a staring match with a hardened, cold-blooded manipulator with a kill streak even Kurogiri didn’t know the extent of.

“I have been collaborating with the League for longer than you have been alive, boy, I’d watch my tone if I were you.” The grating, metallic growl that escaped the man made Kurogiri wonder if instilling raw fear in those around him was Dragon’s actual quirk.  

Dragon had risen from his stool and was now literally looking down his nose at Tomura with a deep scowl. The pair locked eyes for another solid minute before Tomura relented, casting his gaze aside, suddenly very interested in the weathered floorboards.

Dragon exhaled through his nose sharply, the sound almost a scoff. He retook his seat by the bar, and just like that, he had reverted back to the smooth, unassuming gentleman who had entered the tavern. A buzzing erupted from inside his blazer’s breast pocket. He retrieved the phone and glanced at the caller ID. The man made a noise verging on a growl and answered the call.

“What is it, Chokichi?”

If Kurogiri recalled correctly, this Chokichi woman was Dragon’s cousin and co-leader of Shinrin. She had a marvellous quirk: Phantom pain, which allowed her to inflict pain of varying levels onto a person without even physically harming them. The drawback was that it made her completely numb for at least 6 hours after each use. 

“Christ, how’d you manage that?”

A pause.

“Yes, the usual routine.”

Another pause, longer this time.

 “It’s no bother, I’ll send Shimotsuki, Kanzaki and Yun – Shimotsuki will be the distraction.”

Kurogiri and Himiko shared a look – Dragon was certainly efficient in getting rid of his insubordinate colleagues.  

“No, you should probably kill them: they know too much already. If the heroes show up, kill and dump Shimotsuki - Kanzaki will help. Good luck.” He ended the call and replaced his phone, chuckling.

"I'm turning in for the night," Dragon said, rising from his seat. "I suggest you check the news tomorrow morning; you'll be in for quite a show." 

Chapter Text

 

Tokyo Police station, Task Force K temporary headquarters, 8 p.m.

There were eleven people sitting at the dark-wood table, in the centre of the meeting room. Asahi sat in the middle of the rectangular table, facing Takenaka Daiki and Mayu. Agents Karanamori Gwen and Masaoma Reiji sat either side of the siblings. The detectives leading the Task Forces investigating Dragon and Midoriya Hisashi sat on Asahi's side of the table to his left. The Commissioners of the Tokyo and Shizuoka police forces sat on the very ends of the table, facing each other. Finally, detective Tsukauchi Naomasa and All Might sat beside one another, to Asahi's right.

“I’m sure you are aware of Eraserhead’s ability to nullify quirks, yes?” All occupants of the table nodded and stared at him in confusion. “Well, luckily for us, he isn’t the only one with such an ability. One of my colleagues, fresh out of training, has the ability to nullify quirks as well; though hers works through physical contact. I got in touch with that officer and the guys down at forensics and fashioned something quite extraordinary.” He reached down under his chair where he had stashed his duffel bag and placed it onto the table.

He zipped the bag open and removed–

“Handcuffs?” Tsukauchi asked, perplexed.

“Not just any handcuffs: each pair contains several strands of the officer’s hair or parts of her nails. It turns out that any kind of physical contact – even if it’s a small part of her – is enough to nullify someone’s quirk. Which was damn lucky, because I wasn’t too keen on cutting skin off the poor girl.”

“This…” Karanamori leans forward, awed. “This changes everything!”

“Now, before we get too ahead of ourselves, please remember that these things are far from perfect. First of all, you have to get within range of the Villain to even cuff them, which is no easy feat. Even then, unless I cut off one of the officer’s fingers and meld them with the cuffs, these things don’t nullify the quirk completely.”

“How so? Is there some kind of time-limit?” Karanamori asked, scribbling things down on a sheet of paper.

“No, there’s no time limit, but there is a limit to their effectiveness. I think it’s a matter of how powerful the quirk is. For example, my vision enhancement is completely disabled, but if I were to cuff someone like All Might with these babies, well, most of his quirk would be dulled, but he could probably still throw me across the room if he wanted to.” He finished with a sheepish chuckle. "It’s kind of hard to explain…” Asahi trails off awkwardly.

“Regardless of their effectiveness, this is an innovation that could save hundreds of thousands of lives, Satou!” The Tokyo Commissioner reassures.

“I have faith this plan will work, Satou,” All Might says, “but, while we’re here, are there any other measures that should be taken?”

“Perhaps we could leak some fake information? Nothing too major; snippets of things like false reports and communication with the press.” Tsukauchi suggested.

“Hm, that could work; I’ll get my guys on that ASAP,” the Tokyo Commissioner nodded, immediately taking out his phone. The Shizuoka Commissioner followed suit, retrieving her phone and typing madly.

“Now, unless anyone has anything else to add, I think we should conclude– “

The doors to the meeting room burst open, revealing a dishevelled, panicked officer.

“Sorry to interrupt,” he calls between laboured breaths, “but you need to come look at this!”

 


  

Minato, Tokyo, 8 p.m. 

 

“What part of accelerate escapes your understanding?!” Chokichi roared at the driver, Yun. The slim, young man tensed, obviously out of fear, and Chokichi felt the limousine pick up more speed. The young man’s quirk – Navigate - allowed him to determine the ideal route one should take in a vehicle, provided he had a destination in mind. It was because of his quirk that he had managed to keep his job as a Taxi driver, despite having a poor attendance rate due to his Yakuza duties. 

The back windshield of the sleek, black limousine was completely shattered thanks to Kanzaki’s bullets. She, Yun, Kanzaki and Shimotsuki were now engaged in a high-speed chase in uptown Minato, Tokyo Prefecture

After one of her allies in the crowd informed her that their “suppliers” were actually deep cover police officers, she snuck into the bathroom and called Hisashi. The man had told her to kill her escorts and as many people in the crowd as she could (to limit witnesses), and to allow the informant to escape. Then he’d sent Yun, Shimotsuki and Kanzaki, and advised her to kill Shimotsuki if things got hairy. Kanzaki, apparently, was one of Hisashi’s most trusted subordinates, despite having no familial relation. He has been known to execute anyone showing signs of insubordination, without hesitation. She had only worked with the man a few times, but she was deeply unsettled by him.

She deposited her phone back into her black cross-body handbag. She wished she had picked something with pockets for the deal, and not the long, figure-hugging white dress she currently wore

“Hisashi said to ditch the car and rendezvous at the usual spot. If it’s anything like how it was last time, we should ditch the car on an empty road, and walk about two blocks before we see the postman’s van .” 

“Understood, Fujiwara-San!” Yun called, accelerating more and narrowly missing an elderly pedestrian and her dog. Not that the limo could accelerate very well anyway.

“Had to be a fuckin’ limousine, didn’t it?” Shimotsuki growled, turning to the Yun. “Well congratulations, you had to go and pick the slowest fucking car–”

“Shut your trap, Shimotsuki,” Kanzaki spat.

She grabbed the edges of her seat as Yun turned sharply to the left, the tires making a horrible screeching noise against the asphalt of the road. 

“Shit! I can’t lose them!” Yun called. “Wait, there should be a road leading to a highway up ahead; I’ll take the long route and lose them through the garbage.”

“Hurry, it, up, then, Yun!” Shimotsuki barked. 

The car swerved and clipped the edge of a building as Yun turned down a side street to avoid their pursuers.

She locked eyes with Kanzaki, “it seems we need to… Distract them.”

Kanzaki snuck a glance at Shimotsuki, who was firing his handgun blindly at the two police cars behind them.

“Windshield or door?” he asked, gripping the seat to steady himself as Yun drove over several bags of garbage.

“Sunroof.” She answered simply.

“Understood,” he nodded, and she flicked the safety of her gun off. 

Shimotsuki turned to them, confused, and received a 10mm round right between the eyeballs. Yun yelped in response the sound but continued driving nonetheless. Chokichi looked down at her dress, which was now covered in smatterings of blood. Once more, she cursed herself for not wearing something else - at the very least she should have work a black dress. Bloodstains aren’t exactly inconspicuous and would make her escape troublesome.

Kanzaki slid open the glass of the sunroof and launched him out of the limo, towards the two police cars speeding towards them. She heard glass breaking as the man’s corpse collided with a windshield, followed by the car screeching to an abrupt halt. Then she heard the sound of another car hittings its brakes, but not well enough. She didn’t need to look behind her to know that the cars had collided, leaving both cars in a sorry state.

As Yun turned another corner, the familiar red and blue lights of a police vehicle came into view from the rear of the limo once more.‘Christ, how many of them are there?!’ 

“Goddammit,” Kanzaki seethed. He glanced at Chokichi, his face an unreadable mask.

“How’s it looking back there? How many of them are tailing us?” Yun called.

“One more,” Chokichi called. "Any longer and they'll call in the helicopters."

“Alright, we should be able to lose them easily enough if we head towards this Junior High School. We should be able to ditch the car and make a run for it fairly easily if we make our way to the back of the school. We'll have to let our interceptor and Midoriya-San know about the change of plans, but we should be good." 

"Right, I'll call him." Chokichi reached to grab her phone and immediately noticed that her handbag was much lighter now than it was when she put it on. She whipped her head up to face Kanzaki-

Only to be faced with the barrel of her own 10mm handgun.

The gun Hisashi had hidden in her handbag. She felt something else press against her neck – her knife. The secret pocket knife she had stashed between her breasts, hidden by her bra. She felt the blade press into her neck. Not enough pressure to draw blood, but enough to hurt. Kanzaki must have used his quirk – pickpocket – to steal them from her. Despite its effectiveness, Chokichi was still in shock about how he managed to get his hands on either of the weapons. After all, he’d been sitting on the opposite side of the limousine the entire drive.

Faced with her own weapons, Chokichi came to a grim realisation.

“So, you plant to kill me, then? Aren’t you the one who deals with the insubordinate?” She asked. A hint of a smile crossed Kanzaki’s face before his usual mask of calm wiped it away.

Chokichi had been faced with death on multiple occasions, and never once had she been genuinely afraid for her life. For each time she had someone to back her up - her aunt and uncle, her parents, or Hisashi. 

She had to get her phone back. She had to call Hisashi. 

Chokichi looked down at the knife in Kanzaki's hand and began inching the hand on her lap closer to him. All she needed was one touch and she could use her quirk on him. She inched her hand closer to him, and closer still, until she reacher her knee. 

As Yun, oblivious to the scene playing out behind him, drove up the gutter and onto the grounds of the Junior High, She punched Kanzaki firmly in the stomach. In the brief moment between her fist meeting Kanzaki's abdomen and his body recoiling, Chokichi activated her quirk. She used her other hand to cover his mouth to mask the scream. Kanzaki dropped both weapons and fell to the floor, just as Yun parked the car, hidden from the road behind a small brick wall. She then grabbed Kanzaki's head, lifted it off of the floor using his hair, and slammed it downwards, knocking the man unconscious. She swiped her phone back from Kanzaki and immediately dialled Hisashi's number. 

"Yun!" She called, "find the nearest entrance and unlock it; make sure you scan the road for any pursuers as you're leaving the car. I'll be with you shortly."

"U-um, sure, Fujiwara-San," he answers, stepping out of the car. 

Chokichi always preferred Yun over most of her other subordinates; he was obedient and a hard worker - nothing like the condescending Kanzaki or the brash Shimotsuki, who were equally as terrible in group settings. 

Chokichi heard the line connect as Hisashi finally answered his phone, "Chokichi?" The surprise was evident in his voice, "what is it?" 

"Oh, nothing much, set aside the fact that Kanzaki just stole my phone and weapons, and just tried to kill me with them." 

There was silence on the other end of the line. 

"Hisashi?"  

"Tch, so, he failed, then? I knew I should have sent someone else." 

Chokichi stilled, lungs ceasing their movements. 

'Hisashi wants me dead? After everything  we've been through?!' 

The deep, grating, metallic chuckle that erupted on the other end of the line, "oh, that's right... I did." 

Chokichi hears Yun flick the safety of his gun off, and she feels the barrel of the 10mm fit snug against the back of her head. 

"Remember what I said? "Shimotsuki will be the distraction"? Well, it wasn't your pursuers I was trying to distract, Chokichi. I would have preferred Kanzaki to have killed you just after Shimotsuki, but, either way, you'll be meeting your end tonight." 

"Why?" 

"Why what?" 

"Why do you want to kill me?" 

"For the very same reasons I wanted to kill Shimotsuki, and later, Kanzaki," Hisashi began, a hint of a chuckle making its way across the line. "You were all getting far too out of hand - conducting your own secret missions, jeopardizing simple operations, and hindering the efforts of fellow members of Shinrin."  

"So you'd murder your own cousin - someone who helped you become the crime boss and infamous Villain you are today? The Fire-Breathing Villain: Dragon wouldn't have even come about if I hadn't persuaded our previous colleagues in Shinrin to break you out of jail! If not for me, you would still be rotting away in your cell in Gifu!" 

"You're speaking to the man who wanted to murder his son for being one of those quirkless worms," Hisashi reminded her, "blood means nothing to me: it's the bonds we make ourselves, not the ones we're born with, that matter the most. And believe me, Chokichi, you've been expendable since the very moment I met you." 

Her hand trembles, her core twisting and turning in complete, utter terror. 

She was going to die. 

And her executioner would be some lowly subordinate following the orders of her cousin. 

"Goodbye, Chokichi." 

"I'll see you in hell you son of a - "

 


 

Location classified, League of Villains' Tavern base, 7 a.m. 

 

The local "early-bird" news report describes how a group of deep-cover police officers were planning to arrest several members of a powerful and elusive Yakuza group - Shinrin.  

"The suspects were alerted to police presence, and as a result, three officers are dead, and six are in critical condition." the news anchor began, tone and expression grim.

"Additionally, four civilians were murdered and nine were left in a critical state. Oddly, only one of the Yakuza members made it out alive - as the suspect killed her four escorts and fled via limousine.  

"Fujiwara Chokichi, a member of unknown ranking within the group fled with the assistance of Shimotsuki Garou, Kanzaki Tooru, and a currently unidentified driver.  Authorities engaged the suspects in an extensive car chase, and to slow their pursuers, one of the members - Kanzaki - threw the corpse of Shimotsuki out of the car via the sunroof and at the closest approaching police vehicle, causing a non-fatal collision. 

"Their escape car was found stashed behind a brick wall on the grounds of Roppongi Junior High School, in Minato, Tokyo Prefecture at around 8:25 p.m last night.The bodies of Kanzaki and Fujiwara were recovered from the car shortly afterwards and had suffered extensive damage. Authorities say that the unnamed driver had covered the car in gasoline - presumably stolen from the school gardener's shed - and had set it alight. Along with the bodies, authorities uncovered a stash of weapons - a pocket knife, several handguns and a sub-machine gun. Their origin is being investigated." 

"It is unknown why the two other members were murdered, but the unnamed driver has evaded capture and is thought to have escaped the prefecture entirely." 

The anchor fixes the camera with a desperate gaze, "please, I implore you, viewers, if you notice anything suspicious or unusual, do not hesitate to report it to the authorities..." 

Kurogiri zones out after hearing that final sentence.

Dragon: a man who would murder his own kin at the drop of a hat. A man possessing exceeding social skills and is not averse to manipulating those around him for his benefit. A man with remarkable influence and power over the criminal underbelly. A man with striking intelligence and cunning. 

Not for the first time, Kurogiri can't help but be thankful that Midoriya Hisashi is an ally and not an enemy.  

Chapter Text

Tokyo police station, Task Force K temporary headquarters, 8:05 p.m. the night of the car chase

 

“… the assailants are continuing to evade authorities. It is unclear whether they are driving with a destination in mind, or if this is simply a mad dash to escape their pursuers, but they are heading towards the outskirts of Tokyo,” one of the two anchor-men of the late news program explained, brow creased in worry.

“It has also been confirmed by authorities and eyewitnesses that all of the assailants are, in fact Yakuza.”

Toshinori sucked in a breath – shit.

The station erupted into chatter – not that it hadn’t been loud in the large room already.

“By the way, Yumi, do we know how the victims are doing?” The first anchor-man asks, to which the second replies with a nod, expression grim.

“We do, Ken; of the nine officers that were shot in their attempt to apprehend the gang, three are confirmed to be dead. The other six are in critical condition, with paramedics transporting them to the nearest hospital as we speak.” 

The Tokyo commissioner sucks in a breath – those were his subordinates, after all.

 “On top of that, there are a staggering number of civilian injuries; at least ten are in a critical condition, while two are confirmed to have died at the scene. The assailants have fled in a black SsangYong Chairman W, and were reported to be heading Eastbound.”

“Shit,” Toshinori breathed before he could stop himself, raising a hand to cover his sneer.

“I’m seriously considering calling in the choppers,” the middle-aged Tokyo commissioner barks, “but with those suckers driving between all those high-rise buildings, the chopper would be forced to fly above them, and that opens up a whole other bag of problems – dodging antennas and all.” He seems to consider the decision for a moment before he jogs off to a group of his colleagues, no doubt to discuss whether the risk was worth it. 

 “I should be out there,” he mutters, fists clenching.

“Yag- All Might, they’re on the other side of the city, already. God only knows if you’d even be able to catch up to them!” Aizawa protests, gripping Toshinori’s arm, but he can see the same rage in the man’s eyes that Toshinori feels coursing through him.

“And besides,” Asahi pipes up, voice lowered to a whisper, catching Toshinori off guard. The man was now standing beside Aizawa, and looking Toshinori right in the eyes. “Who knows how long this chase might go on for? You’ve already used up a fair bit of time in that form.” For a moment, Toshinori panics, but quickly remembers that he and Izuku not only revealed the nature of his shifting forms, but also the truth behind his quirk – their quirk to Asahi. Aside from himself, Tsukauchi, and Agents Masaoma and Karanamori, Asahi was the only person in this room who the truth behind both things. Even Aizawa, a friends and fellow teacher only knew of his shifting forms.

He knew Asahi was right – he could very well expose himself in front of everyone if he went out there. Tsukauchi turned to All Might and nodded in agreement, before turning back to the screen.

He exhaled, cursing himself for his own weakness.

“This just in!” The first anchor – the dark-haired Ken – all but shouts, drawing everyone’s attention back to the screen. “They’re – oh God – the assailants just threw one of their own people out of the car and into the windshield of one of the pursuing cars, causing a collision!”

“They used one of their own as a projectile? An obstacle?” Tsukauchi asks.

“It doesn’t surprise me: generally speaking, the Yakuza are a close-knit team; they have a strict hierarchy they abide by – traditions they follow – and almost always keep their efforts under wraps. They may be criminals, but they respect and value each other in their own way. I don’t think this is just any Yakuza group, though…” He trailed off, wearing an expression equal parts thoughtful and grim.

A chill shoots through Toshinori’s large frame, lead settles in his stomach.

“You think these guys are part of Shinrin, Satou?” The Shizuoka commissioner asks, wringing her hands.

“It’s definitely on the table,” The man answered. “We know that this group is excessively violent – as shown by their willingness to kill civilians and each other - and we know they are looking for more places to invest their money. It sounds suspiciously similar to Shinrin’s latest actions.”

“It seems very likely, but doing business in such a high-end place? Where they haven’t bought off the security or the owners? It seems reckless – especially for such an underground group like Shinrin…” Aizawa counters.

“We’ve weeded out a further four informants for Shinrin in both the police force and the local governments. And from what we could gather, the MO does match up,” Masaoma supports, hand stroking his jaw thoughtfully. Karanamori, standing just behind the man was on the phone, frantically communicating with one of her colleagues. She ends the call and pockets the phone in her smart black blazer.  

“I just got confirmation from our superiors to head out; if I can get within a decent range, I can use my quirk and hijack the car,” she says, straightening her ballerina bun and fixing Toshinori with a stern look.

“Task Force K can handle this, but I’ll make sure to let you know if things get too out of hand.” The woman sprints out of the room before Toshinori can so much as breathe.

His attention is drawn to the mounted screen once more as the second anchor-man – the salt-and-pepper-haired Yumi – continues to relay the story. “It seems that the authorities have lost the car! The crash resulting from their – uh – unorthodox and morbid projectile has slowed police efforts and the car is out of sight!”

“No, wait,” Ken raises a hand, staring somewhere off-screen, “another car has just caught sight of the criminals, as they exited an alleyway full of garbage.

“We apologise, viewers, that our reporting is so all over the place – our news helicopter has been forced to fly too far above the city to make out any clear details of the chase because of all the antennae and satellites on the top of the buildings, not to mention all the balconies and power-lines.”

“Perhaps this was the Villains’ intention? To use such a place of their deal – to use the buildings as cover to prevent helicopters from pursuing them? There isn’t any sign of Pro Heroes, either…”

“Hm, that may very well be the case, Yumi, but I think we should leave that kind of speculation to the professionals, eh?”

“Right – just thinking aloud.”

The two anchor-men continue their speculation, despite their previous comments. The men make some very good points, and Toshinori notices a few officers jotting down what they’re suggesting.

“Oh! It seems civilians on the scene are live-streaming the chase! We will be streaming these clips momentarily once our crew gets connected. Thank you, viewers!”

“Never thought I’d say it, but thank God for social media,” Masaoma mumbles, just loud enough for Toshinori to hear.

As promised, a shaky video pops up on the screen of the expensive car taking a sharp turn at an intersection. Another replaces it, one of the car shooting past the camera and down a garbage-filled alleyway. Various other clips come across the screen; some were taken earlier than others, and some were considerably shakier and of varying quality. Some were images of street signs and building names – it takes a moment for Toshinori to realise that the public are uploading and updating last-know-sightings of the vehicle. The civilians were essentially re-creating the path the car has taken, providing support where the helicopters and police cannot.

Toshinori turns away from the screen and opens his phone. He opens his contacts, intending to click on Izuku’s and call him, but then he pauses.

Would calling him now really be a good idea? We don’t know for sure if it really is Shinrin, after all. But if it is Shinrin, for me to disrupt the peace that he and Inko have finally found…’

He pockets his phone, ignoring the curious gaze of Aizawa. He would let the Midoriyas have one more night of peace. They’d hear about it on the morning news anyway, right?

 


 

 

U.A. library, U.A. Academy, 8 a.m. the following morning

 

Izuku’s day had started off pretty horribly, waking up in tears from yet another nightmare. He had only had two nightmares since the night his screams managed to wake up his entire class, and they were considerably less, well, screamy. Katsuki had been given (after a good portion of the class bugged the dorm’s supervisor about it) a spare key to Izuku’s room, in case he ever has a nightmare like that again and he needs to be woken up, ASAP.  

In the common room, Uraraka, Tsuyu, Hagakure and Iida were arguing over which X-Men movie was the best, so Izuku went straight to the cafeteria, not wanting to get involved.

He did make a point to go sit with Tokoyami and Jirou at breakfast – the three had made a sort of pact to let each other know when they had a nightmare or a sleepless night, and they would often meet up to discuss them, or simply to hang out. Izuku found it borderline therapeutic, and he knows the feeling is mutual. Jirou had insisted he began calling her Kyouka; Tokoyami mirrored her insistence. Izuku – obviously – was still trying to get the hang of it.

Now it was about 8:30 am, half an hour after usual classes would start, (they had today off, but they did have a class yesterday from 8:30 to 12), and Izuku sat alone at a table in the school’s expansive library, working on various things his teachers had set for him. There was the presentation on essay and poetic techniques that Present Mic-sensei had set for the class that was due at the end of the week, an analysis on current Heroes and how effective they are on deterring crime (courtesy of Aizawa-sensei).

There was also the assignment given to classes 1-A and 1-B (who, now that Izuku had the chance to meet some of them, he knew to be decent people, save for Monoma and his possie) by Recovery Girl, which was both a log-book of their quirk’s development over the year, and the ways they can improve it to be more efficient and less harmful to their surroundings and themselves.

“I’m looking at you, young Midoriya! I swear to whatever God is out there if you come in here one more time with both of your arms broken or you have to be carried in here on a stretcher because your spine has been compromised I’m going to have an aneurysm!”

That statement had earned a few chuckles from his classmates, a knowing scowl from Aizawa, and more than a few worried looks from class 1-B.

Izuku decided he would head to the library to start on his assignments, knowing full-well that he would be plunged into an endless loop of anxiety if he left them for too long.

The library was bustling with people, to Izuku’s dismay. The whole reason he came to the library was for some quiet to finish his homework – unfortunately, half of the school had a similar idea. The loud chatter did little to help his building headache.

He had gotten a few text messages while he was beginning his work, and he promptly shut his phone off, knowing that he would lose focus the second he looked at his screen.

There were a group of girls gathered around a giant, blank sheet of paper just behind him. They had gathered several of the smaller desks together (considering most of the larger desks were occupied by the third years) and had joined them together to create their own long, rectangular desk. If their argument – which has been steadily developing into an all-out shouting match – was anything to go by, then they were second-years from the business department working on a group project.  

In fact, much of the business department was crowded around tables in large and small groups – there must be some kind of group exam the whole department was undertaking. Izuku didn’t know much about the business department, but he supposed the name should be pretty self-explanatory.

Izuku sighed and turned back to his own work – a half-started presentation analysing the effectiveness of various speech and essay techniques, all still in dot-point form. He had only written about two more points before a familiar voice just about gives him a heart attack.

“Hey, Midoriya! Over here!” Mina calls, waving her arms excitedly. Several heads turn in annoyance. The librarian glances his way in annoyance, and he gives her a helpless shrug in return.

Mina is flanked by Katsuki, Kirishima, Sero and Kaminari. The five – despite Katsuki’s blatant denials – were stuck together like glue. He once heard the phrase “Bakusquad” arise in one conversation, and the term had quickly become the official descriptive for the quartet. Though, who suggested the term in the first place was unclear.

Izuku hid his face in his hands. The last thing he wanted was to be kicked out of the library for being disruptive, but he wasn’t about to avoid his friends. That’d be a total… What term did Katsuki use? “Dick move”?

So, ignoring his headache, he looks up at Mina and smiles, gesturing the group over.

Mina slides into the seat to his left, while Katsuki takes the one on the right – Kaminari, Sero and Kirishima take their seats across from him. To Izuku’s surprise, everyone had brought an exercise book each and a few pens. 

“These assholes wanted me to study with them, and basically dragged my ass all the way here.” Katsuki mumbled.

Izuku cocked an eyebrow – it was more likely that Katsuki was the one who dragged them all here, but he was too proud to say it.

“What’re ya working on there, Midoriya?” Mina leans over to peer at his books, and scrunches her nose when her eyes land on the essay for Present Mic’s class. “Wait, isn’t that the thing we got yesterday? Why would you bother doing it now? It’s due in like a week,” she mused, scanning his work.

“It majorly stresses me out if I don’t do my work right away…”

“Really? I mean I can kind of understand that” Kaminari piped up, “I wish I could say the same. I’m more the type to start stuff two nights before it’s due, ya know? I’m only able to focus when I’m either under no stress or a lot of stress.” 

“Same,” Mina sighs dejectedly, crossing her elbows on the table and resting her head on them, “I’m a total procrastinator.”

“That, and I also have approximately zero idea what Present Mic even wants us to do. He can be so… What’s the word? Vague? Unclear? About his instructions,” Kaminari groaned. 

“How do they expect us to learn anything if they don’t take the time to even explain their nonsense?” Sero asks, with a mix of frustration and anxiety.

“Amen to that,” Kaminari answers, slumping in his chair.

“Is it bad I don’t even understand half of the words on that page, or…”

Katsuki leaned onto the table and looked over Izuku to glare at Mina, “you’re fucking kidding.”

“Nope,” she answers, “Mido’s vocab is waaaaaay too advanced for me.”

“Everyone’s vocab is too advanced for me, to be honest,” Sero sighs.

Izuku quickly interjected, “a-ah, that’s just how I write – using big words masks my indecisiveness. I’m still yet to even start compiling my notes into something comprehensive…”

Katsuki snorts.

Amongst their conversation, Kaminari and Kirishima had leaned over the table to read Izuku’s work, so he turns the paper around for them.

Katsuki sighs and stands up, “I’ll go get a dictionary, I don’t want you fuckers pestering me about words you should already know,” he stalks off, heading to the librarian’s desk to ask for some dictionaries – and, knowing Katsuki, some thesauruses as well.

“Thanks, man!” Kirishima shouts after him, causing one of the second year girls behind Izuku to shush him angrily.

“Y-you guys said you don’t understand the instructions, right?”

“Yep, as well as half the techniques I was assigned,” Kirishima admits.

“How about I help you guys with it? Mic-sensei said it was an individual project, but he never specifically prevented us from helping each other. We’ve all been assigned different things anyway, so it’s not like we’ll be able to copy.”

“For real?!” Mina shoots up, tackling Izuku in a crippling hug. “You’re the best, Mido!”

His head throbs in momentary pain – ‘crap, have I even had any water today? I’m probably dehydrated as all hell, which is probably why I have a headache in the first place. All this noise certainly isn’t helping…’

“You sure that’s alright, Midoriya?” Kaminari asks, breaking his train of thought.

“Y-yeah, I mean what’s the alternative? Letting you all fail, even when I have the opportunity to help you guys? None of the teachers are gonna give you any slack, so the least I can do is help you understand what the hell it is you’re supposed to be doing.” 

Mina releases him from her death grip, and Izuku can feel the oxygen slowly returning to his lungs. 

“How about you grab a highlighter and show me the words you don’t understand and we can go from there.”

“We’re saved!” Sero shouts to no one in particular.

“That’s so manly, Midoriya! You’re a total lifesaver!” Kirishima grins at him.

 He flushes, rubbing the back of his neck in embarrassment.

“I-it’s fine, really! I’m just helping out my friends, that’s all.” 

“You’re too pure for this world, Mido,” Mina giggles.  

Izuku flushes even further, now almost certain that he resembles a Christmas ornament.

“Please don’t tell me it’s always gonna be in the library, these study sessions of ours; this place seriously stresses me out,” Kaminari says suddenly.

“Hm? Oh, God no – we can use one of your dorms if you want, I wouldn’t force you guys to sit in here with me all the time. I know it makes you uncomfortable. Oh! That reminds me, I’m actually scheduled to spar with Todoroki and Yayorozu just before lunch, so I’ll have to duck out at maybe 11:30?”

“Hey, no worries, man! I’m just happy we’ve got you helping us out,” Kaminari shrugs.

“You are the manliest man I know, Midoriya,” Kirishima says with sincerity, “this is really cool of you to do this for us.”

“Hey, I can’t take all the credit, Kacchan’s helping me out.”

As if on cue, Katsuki returns to the desk with a stack of dictionaries and thesauruses, as well as a few books about poetry.

“Bless your feisty soul, Baku,” Mina says, a hand clutching her heart, “you are both angels.”

Katsuki quirks an eyebrow and glances at Izuku – to which Izuku only shrugs and smiles – as he sets the books down.

“All right you fucks; I borrowed all these books for ya, and had to put up with the librarian’s gross-ass perfume, so let’s get down to business.”

“Are we going to be defeating the Huns, Kacchan?”

“Izuku I swear to fucking God.”

Izuku laughs, ignoring the fuming Katsuki and opens a dictionary.

 


 

 

U.A. Entry courtyard, 11:15 a.m., the same day

 

Asahi parks his police-issued car on the road outside of the school, eyeing the growing number of reporters gathering around the gate. They were chattering amongst one another, a few of them even had cameras. 

‘Thank God I don’t have to deal with those guys… I don’t think I’ve got the patience.’

He spots Aizawa at the gate, just behind the boundary line – as if he was taunting the reporters. Asahi had heard of the infamous “U.A Barrier” that keeps the students on campus and the public outside – he had also heard about how one particularly feisty reporter attempted to enter the campus to pursue a story, only to be yanked back outside by a colleague to avoid being made into a human pancake by the barrier. 

Asahi looks down at his phone – he’s been trying to call Izuku all morning, and has had no luck. Asahi was unsure if Izuku was aware of the car chase that had taken place last night, or the fact that it has been confirmed that it was Shinrin who was responsible.

‘He’s probably turned it on silent. He’s the hardworking type, after all.’

He double-checks that the “guest” card is still attached to the lanyard around his neck, and opens the door. As he exits the car, several eyes turn to him, as if contemplating whether or not to interrogate him. He closes the door, and locks the car, striding towards Aizawa–

–only to be stopped by his daughter.

Asahi gaped, blinking as if he would never again get the chance. 

He had left Kaori with their usual babysitter earlier this morning, as Misaki would be working at the local corner store until the mid-afternoon. He remembered putting on a movie for Kaori and giving her some blankets and pillows to cuddle up in on the couch. What amazed Asahi was the fact that it was nearly a three-hour drive from their home in Shizuoka prefecture to U.A. Academy in Musutafa, so she must have hidden behind the driver’s seat, staying silent for all that time!

“Kaori? What the – what are you doing here?” 

“I followed you in the car, daddy!” She chirped, unaware or uncaring of the situation.

“Kaori! You can’t keep doing this!” He retorted, crouching down to be at eye level with her.

“But I don’t wanna be around Mrs Keigo all day! She smells like a grandma! And I wanna see Katsu-Chan and Izu-Chan, too!”

“Sweetie, you can’t do that. You need an adult with you, and a guest pass.” 

“But you’re going, daddy! So I can just follow you!” 

Asahi rubbed his face, “honey, I’m here because I’m going to a meeting; you can’t go in there with me… How did you get in my car, anyway?” 

“When you put that movie on for me and you left the room, I wrapped all of the pillows you gave me in the blanket, and I snuck in your car while you were on the phone!”

Asahi blanched – intelligent, cunning, quick-thinking… This was his kid, alright.

“Where did you learn to do that, Kaori?” He asked, almost amused.

“Katsu-Chan and Izu-Chan always play a game on the PlayStation about a guy breaking out of prison, and one of the items you can use is called a “bed-dummy”; it’s this thing you make with a blanket and pillows to make people think you’re asleep! Katsu-Chan taught me how to make one!”

Asahi’s eyes narrowed, “is that right?”

“Mhm! Oh, is that the guy you’re supposed to meet? Mr Eraser?” She asks suddenly, pointing at Aizawa.

“Yeah, it is. I’m supposed to be in a meeting with him and some of the other teachers right now, actually. Um. I guess I’ll have to call Mrs Keigo and explain the situation…” He removes his phone from his pocket and dials the woman’s number. 

“So can I go see Katsu-Chan and Izu-Chan?” Kaori asks, voice growing impatient.

Asahi sighs, making eye-contact with Aizawa. The man seems to understand and begins to approach the pair. Vetoing the press with a sideways glare, the man reaches the two just as the call connects.

Asahi spends the next five minutes apologising to and reassuring an outrageously confused Mrs Keigo, while Kaori introduces herself to Aizawa, who is surprisingly calm. The trio make their way to the edge of the gate, Kaori babbling to Aizawa all the way.

“Yes, thank you for understanding. Are you sure you’re okay to babysit tomorrow? I can take a day off to–”

“I will have none of that, Asahi,” the middle-aged woman replied, “Kaori may be adventurous, but she’s not a bad girl. I’d be happy to babysit tomorrow.”

“Thank you again, see you tomorrow,” he says before ending the call. He turns to Aizawa, ready to launch into an apology before he is stopped.

“I’m guessing you’ll need a guest pass for this little one?” He gestures to Kaori, and Asahi nods in response. “Okay, I’ll get Midoriya to swing by the office and get one for her,” he says, grabbing his phone.

“Why are all those nosy reporters hanging around here, Mr Eraser?” Kaori asks, scrunching her nose.

“They’re always buzzing about, those reporters. Trying to get stories out of the teachers and students at every given opportunity… Okay, I just messaged Midoriya, he should be here any minute now.”

“Sorry about this, Aizawa; Kaori snuck inside my car and the babysitter has left and her mother is at work – “

 “Oi, it’s alright, Satou. You apologise almost as much as Midoriya does… Besides, what else are we going to do? Get your wife to do a three-hour drive out here and then a three-hour drive back? Send her on a bus? It’s fine, really.” He sighed, glancing at the group of reporters that were now staring at them with intent.

Kaori moves to stand in front of Aizawa, “Mr Eraser, can you really get rid of a person’s quirk just by looking at them?” she asks.

Aizawa blinks in surprise but confirms that he can, but only while he keeps them in his line of vision.

Kaori launches into a spiel about how awesome and handy a quirk like his is – ‘wow, she really spends a lot of time with Izuku.’

Aizawa humours her curiosity, even kneeling down to face her at eye-level.

“I’ve heard Izu-Chan and Katsu-Chan talking about you when we facetime them,” Kaori says, before quickly adding, “only good things, though! Like how you’re always getting your students to push their limits – Plus Ultra!”

Aizawa quirks an eyebrow in genuine confusion. “Bakugou? Saying nice things?”

Kaori giggles, “Katsu-Chan may be… um, what’s the word, daddy? Not angry, um... Aggra…”

“Aggressive,” Asahi supplies. 

“Right! He might be… Aggressive… But he’s actually a nice person! Deep down… Really deep down…”

That earns a snort from Aizawa. 

“He really does say good things about you, though. He says that even though you’re lazy and smelly and you look like a hobo –”

“Kaori!”

“– that you’re actually a decent guy with a decent head on his shoulders and you aren’t a total... Um, he said a bad word here, but you get it, right?”

Aizawa looked genuinely touched.

“Wow. That is one of the nicest things I’ve ever heard him say,” Asahi admits. 

It is then that Asahi’s extended peripheral vision caught a shape quickly approaching them from the entrance courtyard. 

“Izu-Chaaaaaaan!” Kaori called, running past Asahi and right up to the gate, stopping just short of the barrier.

Izuku came to a stop just in front of Kaori, who was bouncing up and down like a basketball. Asahi explained the situation to him, and Izuku – bless him – immediately understood. He placed the card and lanyard around Kaori’s neck, lifted her up on his shoulders, and nodded in farewell to the pair before taking off back towards the school.  

Asahi sighed, raking a hand through his hair.

“Right, now that’s out of the way…”

The pair headed through the gate, ignoring the press as they made their way through the courtyard.

There was much to be discussed, and there was so little time.

Chapter Text

U.A. Dorm common room, U.A. Academy, 11:45 a.m.

Ochaco and Iida had remained in the common room and were joined by Jiro and Kaminari to binge watch the entire X-Men franchise. Iida, of course, had seen this as a wonderful opportunity to learn the euphemisms and slang of American English and to better immerse themselves in Western culture. Ochaco wasn’t too keen on overly violent movies, but after reading up on the series, she agreed. She was interested to see the tension between the Mutants and the ordinary humans, which Iida had confirmed to be a large theme throughout all of the movies.

She likened it to the tensions between the quirkless and those with quirks - the hatred was completely absurd, in her eyes. Scientifically speaking, the quirkless are the evolutionary safeguards meant to counteract the quirks humans have been developing: in the event that a mutation (in this case, quirks) does more harm than good, there's still a portion of the species that go unaffected. That and, well, it was simply cruel and inhumane to oppress a bunch of people because they didn't have a freaking superpower.

Kaminari complained that the Japanese subtitles went by too fast, and Iida had accidentally spilled the popcorn Ochaco had made for them while trying to adjust the pillow behind his back, but overall it was a great morning for the quartet.

From then, the day only gotten more interesting.

The four were joined by Shouji, Ojiro and Kagakure at the end of the first movie, and the seven had just finished watching ‘X-Men 2’.

Ojiro opted to sit on a pillow on the ground, back against the couch, as he didn’t want to take up too much room with his tail. Hagakure sat behind him, legs resting on his shoulders, (she could tell by the angle of her shorts), but because of her invisibility, and the fact she was barefoot, they weren’t blocking his view of the TV. Ochaco was shocked by how casual the pair’s odd position was for them, but elected to ignore it.

Shouji took the right end of the couch, next to Hagakure (he was careful not to let his six arms encroach on her space), while Ochaco and Iida took the left side, and Jirou and Kaminari sat in the middle.

Ochaco pretended not to notice how closely Jiro and Kaminari were sitting, but sent a knowing smirk to Iida beside her.

They were about to start ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ when the door to the common room burst open.

Startled, everyone in the group whipped their heads around to the door, and they were greeted with a flustered Midoriya carrying a young, unknown girl on his shoulders.

She looked to be about six or seven years old, dressed in yellow leggings, bright pink sneakers and a lavender tee-shirt. Ochaco’s eyes were immediately drawn to the patches of yellow scales all across her body – most notably, a small, hexagonal pattern on her right cheek just under her eye, and a small line of scales trailing up her neck and stopping just under the left side of her mouth. Various other hexagonal patterns littered her arms and her legs. Short, black hair was held in two pigtails on the side of her head with a pair of colourful butterfly clips. Large, cocoa-brown eyes stared back at Ochaco with wonder.

“You okay there, Midoriya?” Kaminari asked.

“A-ah, is Kacchan here, by any chance?” Midoriya asks after catching his breath.

“Hm? Oh, yeah, he said he’d be in Mina’s room with Kirishima and Sero; I think they were playing all of 'The Legend of Spyro' trilogy?” Kaminari replied.

“Yeah, um, I have a sparring match with Yaoyorozu, like, right now, and I need to find Kacchan so he can take care of Kaori –”

“I presume that’s the girl on your shoulders?” Iida asks, to which Midoriya nods firmly.

“Yeah; this little troublemaker snuck into Asahi’s – her dad’s – car, and her house is three hours away and she can’t exactly go back home because her mum’s at work and the babysitter went home, so Aizawa-sensei got me to get her a guest pass and she’s spending the day here until Asahi finishes his meeting with the teachers.” Ochaco barely managed to string the jumble of words together in her mind – Midoriya talks way too fast. “Asahi’s – he’s, um, he’s the officer you guys met at the hospital when we all delivered Kacchan to where his dad was.”

A chorus of “ah”s echo through the room.

“I can look after myself, Izu-Chan!” The girl – Kaori – proclaims, crossing her arms and puffing her cheeks.

“Kaori, please, I just need to leave you with Kacchan and then I can come get you after-”

“She can stay here with us, if she wants to.” The words had left Ochaco’s mouth before she could even think about them.

“O-only if that’s okay with you, Midoriya!” Iida quickly interjects.

“I’m cool with it, as long as she’s cool with watching movies and eating snacks for a while,” Jiro shrugs.

“I love kids! I’d be happy to watch her for you, Midoriya,” Hagakure says; Ochaco guessed that she was smiling, judging from her tone.

“Oh. My. Gosh! You’re invisible?! Izu-Chan! Why didn’t you tell me you had such cool classmates!?”

“I tell you all the time, Kaori! B-but that’s irrelevant!” Ochaco didn’t need to see Midoriya’s face flush to sense his embarrassment. “Are you guys sure it’s okay? I’ll be sparring with Yaoyorozu and Todoroki, and maybe Sato if he’s gotten over his fever, but I don’t know how long I’ll be…”

“Dude, just go, we got this,” Jiro waved her hand her hand, ushering him out from her seat on the couch.

Midoriya stood in the doorway for a moment, contemplating, before he nods. “Thanks, guys. I’ll be back soon, okay, Kaori? Don’t cause any trouble.” Midoriya waited for Kaori’s nod before he slipped her off of his shoulders and sprinted out of the common room and down the hallway towards the gym.

“So, Kaori,” Ochaco started, turning to Kaori, “I’m guessing you’re not thirteen…”

“Nope, I’m six!” She replied with a grin. “Why do you ask?”

“Well, there’s a thirteen and up rating for this movie, and the ratings only rise from there…” Hagakure trails off.

“Oh, crap, I forgot about that,” Kaminari says, “looks like we’ll have to change the movie, then.”

“It’s cool – I think we have Howl’s Moving Castle tucked away here somewhere,” Ojiro answers.

“I’ve watched it before – God bless Studio Ghibli,” Ochaco sends her prayers and thanks to the staff of the company.

Ojiro removes Hagakure’s legs from his shoulders and makes his way over to the cabinet under the TV. Ochaco takes this opportunity to get comfortable – adjusting the pillows between her, Iida and Hagakure. She tosses a blanket over to Shoji, who nods in gratitude.

Kaori had made herself comfortable with a pillow on the ground in front of Ochaco and Iida – Iida offered her his blanket, but she declined.

“All right, got it!” Ojiro calls, removing the DVD from the player and inserting the new one.

“I’ve heard Izu-Chan and Katsu-Chan talking about this movie – it sounds really cool!”

Kaminari snorted, “no offence, but it’s hard to imagine Bakugou experiencing any emotion remotely positive.”

“Why do people keep saying that?! Katsu-Chan’s a big teddy-bear!”

Ochaco held back a fit of giggles – “Bakugou Katsuki” and “teddy bear” were two things she never thought she’d hear in the same sentence, let alone in a comparison!

Shouji jokingly asks her if he gives “teddy bear hugs” and Kaori nods furiously, describing them as “second only to mommy’s and auntie Inko’s!”

The group broke out into laughter after that revelation.

While they waited for the dodgy DVD player to recognise the disk – after Ojiro had taken it out and cleaned it twice – Kaori went around the couch and inquired about each of their quirks, relishing in the awed look in her eyes as they revealed them to her. Exclamations like “your tail is thicker than my head!”, “With all your arms, you look like Stitch! But you’re not blue…”, “So you’re totally, completely invisible? Like, forever? That’s so cool!” filled the common room, along with their own banter and laughter. Kaminari tried explaining the origin of their classmates’ nicknames – his own, especially - but much of the humour went over the poor girl’s head.

“You know, Kaori-Chan, you remind me a lot of Midoriya-Kun; I know you’re not siblings or anything, but if I didn’t know he was an only child, you’d fool me,” Hagakure says.

“Mhm, Izu-Chan and Katsu-Chan, auntie Inko, auntie Mitsuki and uncle Masaru are old friends of my daddy’s, so they’re like my family anyways! It’s like having two really cool big brothers!!”

Ochaco noticed she had omitted Mr Midoriya from that family, and sent a sideways glance to an equally concerned Iida.

“Do you get to spend a lot of time with them? With them being stuck on school grounds and all,” Kaminari asks.

“We face-time a lot, but I haven’t seen them face-to-face in a while… Sometimes when I’m bored, auntie Inko lets me read through Izu-Chan’s notebooks, so it’s like having him there anyway!”

Iida blinked, “notebooks? Like those journals he keeps about Heroes?”

“Yup! They’re called ‘hero analysis for the future’, or somethin’ like that; they’re filled with tonnes of stuff about Pro Heroes – like their strengths and weaknesses. He’s got a couple pages on his friends at school, too!”

“So he has a page for all of us?” Shoji cocks his head.

“More like a bunch of pages. I can’t read his writing very well - he writes really messy – but there’s a lot of info about you guys; what you do a lot when you fight, and how you could use your quirks in different situations and all that. He’s very detailed.”

“That sounds like Midoriya,” Iida chuckles.

“He’s also got all this maths stuff everywhere in them – it hurts my head trying to read all those numbers… But the drawings are cool! They’re all really colourful. Though the ones in his older notebooks – some of them he made when he was younger than me – are pretty… Sloppy? But the info’s all there! One of them got ruined though… Burned, I think…”

Ochaco regarded the girl curiously, brows furrowed in thought.

“Oh, freaking finally!” Ojiro called, turning everyone’s attention to the TV, now lit up with the main menu screen.

“That disk is dodgy – we should probably replace it!” Iida’s hands move wildly along with his words.

The group settled into the couch as Ojiro messed with the volume and the subtitles. Kaminari made a subtle movement of his arm – which he’d had laying against the back of the couch – allowing it to rest over a flushed Jiro’s shoulders.

Shoji sends Ochaco a sideways glance, a humorous twinkle in his eyes.

Ojiro presses the play button, and the eight are taken on an adventure like no other.

 


 

 

U.A. dorm common room, U.A. Academy, 1 p.m.

 

Katsuki sauntered into the common room, phone in hand, scrolling through his notifications absentmindedly. 

He had received a text from Izuku about an hour previous asking him to come collect Kaori once he’d finished playing the Legend of Spyro trilogy with his “squad”. Katsuki audibly groaned when he’d read that. 

He glances up from his phone and holds back a laugh.

The TV had been switched on to a movie, but no one was paying attention.

Ponytail had made her way into the common room after her sparring match with Izuku, and was now sitting patiently on the floor in front of Kaori as she painted her nails a baby blue, while Round Cheeks braided her hair into two separate braids. Kaori’s own hair had been done up into two buns either side of her head.

Calamari was not-so-subtly checking out Emo Headphones as Invisible-Girl painted her nails a deep purple, while Multi-Arm sported a surprisingly fashionable fishtail braid that ran from the left side of his head to the other and fell across his right cheek.  

Tail-Guy and Glasses were attempting to make some kind of pillow fort using four evenly spaced chairs, a large blanket, and various pillows to hold the blanket down and to form a pseudo-gate to the “fort”.

Katsuki wouldn’t admit it, but he was impressed.  

He stuffed his phone and his hands in his trouser pockets and strolled into the room. 

“Ah, Bakugou!” Glasses called, arms moving in odd, robotic motions, “would you care to help us with the fort?” 

“Katsu-Chan!” Kaori called with a wide, toothy grin.

“Hey, brat,” he nodded, flopping down on an empty space on the couch. 

“I’m not a brat!” 

“Only brats sneak out of the house and stow away in their dad’s car without telling anyone,” he countered good-naturedly, folding his arms behind his head.

“Aw, c’mon, Baku, if she hadn’t of stowed away we wouldn’t have gotten to meet her!” Calamari reasoned.

“Yes! Though I must advise against doing something so dangerous, I agree that meeting young Kaori has been a wonderful experience!” Glasses supported, karate-chopping the air as usual.

“But you never answered Iida’s question; do you wanna make a pillow fort, or not?” Round Cheeks asked. 

“Tch, make your lame-ass fort by yourselves.” 

Suddenly, pain erupted in his nose. Someone had thrown a pillow at him.  

The room filled with laughter as Katsuki ripped the pillow from his face and scanned the room for the culprit.

“Our fort isn’t lame!! Iida-San and Ojiro-San worked very hard on it!” Kaori had risen from her position on the ground, and was pointing an accusatory finger at him, “you’re the lame one for insulting our beautiful castle!”

Katsuki quirked an eyebrow, shifting his eyes from Kaori and to the “fort”, which Glasses and Tail-Guy were trying desperately to stop from collapsing. “Our definitions of ‘beautiful’ are very different, brat.” 

“Pot, meet kettle,” Round-Cheeks muttered, causing Calamari and Emo-Girl to snicker.

“Shut your trap, Pink-Cheeks.”

“The girl speaks the truth, Baku!”

“You too, Pikachu. You and that Hot Topic reject can go and die.” Katsuki gestures to Kaori, “C’mon, K, we gotta go. Go and thank Glasses and Monkey for helping you build that monstrosity and let’s leave. I’m meant to take you to your dad, now.”

A chorus of disappointed “aw”s filled the room, and Katsuki rolled his eyes.

Despite her frown, Kaori obediently thanked the group for entertaining her, giving Invisible-Girl a big hug before scampering off into the hallway.

Katsuki ducked his head back in just as he was about to leave, “you didn’t have to do that y’know. ‘Could’a just left her with me. So, ya know. Whatever.”

‘Great fucking job there, Katsuki. Can’t even manage a simple fucking “thank you”. That was probably the closest you’ve gotten to thanking those idiots, too…’

The room was stunned to silence, and Katsuki took that as his cue to grab Kaori by the hand and all but drag her out of there.

They had only gotten a few paces away from the door when Kaori opened her mouth again. 

“Katsu-Chan…”

“Yeah, brat?”

“I never thought to ask before… But… Why do you give everyone such mean nicknames?” 

Katsuki halted, “Hah?”

“I said, why do you give everyone such mean nicknames? Well, everyone except Izu-Chan… You use his name just fine.”

Katsuki swallowed. Memories of his crueller, younger self flooding his memory.

‘You’re Deku! It means useless, just like you! Look, if you read the characters in your name like this, it works!’ A younger Katsuki had proudly proclaimed, ignoring the momentary look of hurt on Izuku’s face, before he plastered on that fake smile he’s gotten so good at making.

Katsuki’s jaw clenched.

‘Deku!’

The sounds of his explosions echoed in his mind. 

‘Shit, not now, not now. Don’t do this to me, brain.’

‘So fucking useless. Get outta my way.’

Izuku cried. He cried and he cried and Katsuki laughed.

‘Quirkless!’

‘That doesn’t matter!’

“You wanna be a hero? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard! How could someone like you become a Hero?! That’s like someone who doesn’t know anything about medicine trying to become a doctor! You need a quirk to be a Hero, stupid Deku.”

‘No! No, he can be a Hero! He can be whatever he damn wants to be! You don’t need a quirk to be a good person! Who gives a shit if you don’t have one?!’

‘You did’, his brain remind him, ‘you still do.’

‘No I don’t no I don’t no I-’

“Katsu-Chan?” A worried tug on his arm startled him out of his thoughts, and he let out a breath he didn’t realise he’d been holding.

“I… He did have a bad nickname from me. But…”

“He had a bad nickname? From – from you?” Kaori seemed genuinely shocked by the fact. “What was it?”

Katsuki swallowed again, silencing his mind. He had hoped he would never have to relive those horrible things he’d said. The disgusting things he’d done. But she had a right to know. She was practically family.

“Deku.”

He internally winced. He hadn’t spoken that word in nearly ten years.

“Deku?” Kaori repeated, puzzled. “Why would you give him a nickname like that?” Big brown eyes stared up at him, and Katsuki kneeled down to look at her at eye-level.

“Because, when I was a kid… I was way meaner than I am now.”

“Is it because of that anger… Thing… You and auntie Mitsuki have?”

Katsuki nodded, expression going solemn. “Only partly. See, the kanji in Izuku’s name can be read as ‘Deku’; the word means “useless”, and we – that’s what we called him. Because we thought he was useless for not having his quirk yet.”

Kaori’s expression darkened. 

“I know, it’s horrible. I was horrible. He was my only friend and I treated him like less than dirt… And after a while, I learned that someone else had already been calling him ‘Deku’ and… I never want to become someone who views quirkless people as sub-human – as, um, something less than human,” he clarified, remembering he was speaking to a six-year-old, “I never wanna become like him.” 

“Him? You mean… Hisashi?” 

“Yeah…” Katsuki bit his lip, unsure of how to continue. “So, um, anyway, eventually I got my shi – I started getting my anger under control with the help of a special kind of doctor. He, um… He helped me a lot, and I don’t call him Deku anymore. Well, not with that meaning behind it.”

Kaori tilted her head, puzzled.

“He’s chosen to take ‘Deku’ as his Hero name; but not with the negative connotation previously attached – er, the bad meaning it had before. Now, it’s started to mean something more like ‘Dekiru’ as in ‘can’, y’know, ‘you can do it’. Crazy bast- that dummy Izu’s always encouraging others, so it makes sense.”

Kaori’s eyes were wide – with shock, but also with joy and something akin to pride.

“So… Choosing ‘Deku’ as his Hero name is like him getting over all the bad stuff that happened to him? But he’s also encouraging others to do the same? That’s so cool! That’s so… Izu-Chan.” 

A rare smile made its way onto Katsuki’s face. 

“Yeah, it is. You’re a smart girl.”

Kaori beamed.

“Alright, K, let’s go find your dad.” He waited for her nod before he rose to full height, taking Kaori’s hand.

And for once, his mind didn’t fight back. Didn’t remind him of how cruel he is. How undeserving he is of Izuku’s friendship. Of anyone’s.

For once, it let him enjoy the moment.

 


 

Little did the pair know, Ochaco – who had left the room to return Kaori’s butterfly clips, which she had taken out to let Momo do her hair - had born witness to the whole scene. She stood just outside the doorway, frozen in awe, confusion and shock at Bakugou’s confession, but also with a fresh sense of determination.

‘Midoriya… Bakugou. You can do it.’

 


 

 

Location classified, League of Villains’ warehouse/safe-house, late evening

 

“Forgive me for asking, Dragon-San, but may I ask why you… Socialize with these… Wú zhèngfǔ zhǔyì zhě? (anarchists). These lowly murderers who desire little more than to watch the world crumble?” Gunmetal’s deep, thickly-accented voice cut through the silence. Hisashi’s hand froze on the doorknob to the warehouse they were told to rendezvous at.

“Though they’re a step-up from those thuggish Yakuza fellows you surround yourself with, I am inclined to agree with Gunmetal, Dragon-San,” Eclipse began, “why would you, whose great mission to purge those who would not benefit society will surely benefit society for decades to come, ally himself with these purposeless killers?”

Hisashi was taken aback by his partners’ sudden questions, blinking owlishly at the two of them. A sharp laugh escaped him before he could stop it.

“Come now, Qiáng (Chyangh), Fan (Fahn),” his partners perked up – startled by his sudden use of their given names, “I understand your wariness and distrust of my allies, but the League has helped me grow in power and influence; they’ve been my allies long before I began my quest as Dragon. The least I can do for them is lend a helping hand in their time of need. Besides, they’re not all the bloodthirsty anarchists you so despise – they’re not all like Himiko and Shigaraki. Take Spinner, for example, who closely follows the ideals of Stain; much like you do, Eclipse.”

“Ah, I have heard of him; he is the… Xīyì rén – the lizard man, yes?”

Dragon chuckled, “you need to brush up on your Japanese, friend. No one in that room speaks a lick of Chinese, so please, leave the talking to Eclipse and I.”

Gunmetal mutters something under his breath: Zhè jǐnjǐn yìwèizhe wǒ kěyǐ zài tāmen bùzhī qíng de qíngkuàng xià wǔrǔ tāmen (This simply means that I can insult them without their knowledge), but nods. Eclipse twists the rusted brass handle of the door to the obscure, disused warehouse. The building had fallen into disrepair but was still sound enough for their purposes.

 

They had arrived in their villain attire – Gunmetal sporting a simple black t-shirt and cargo pants, Eclipse’s usual black sweatpants and custom-made white bandages covering her chest and upper face, and Hisashi wearing his deep vermillion Latex/Kevlar suit (sans the helmet and gauntlets – the three metal “toes” on each shoe had retracted, so they looked like regular boots).

Gunmetal never wore a mask, partly thanks to the facial reconstruction Hisashi had suggested he get when they first partnered up, but mostly because Gunmetal didn’t care if people knew who he was. He had no family or friends for the authorities to question – well, none that were still alive. He’d murdered most of them himself. 

All For One had requested that he properly introduce Gunmetal and Eclipse to their comrades in the League – from what he gathered from their last communication, they were planning something big. Bigger than their USJ operation.

They had gathered the Vanguard Action squad – the team who were supposed to disrupt Class 1-A and B’s training camp. The camp was where they would be training to be given the right to use their quirks in times of need, which was something usually reserved for the seniors… But, given their history of being attacked by Villains at any given occasion, it was no wonder U.A. shifted their schedule.

It was all going smoothly until, at the last second, until the U.A. faculty decided to postpone the damn thing, pushing back the League’s plans significantly. Hisashi supposed he himself was partially to blame – sending two classes of students (one of which has already been targeted) into a forest with minimal supervision with a known serial killer on the loose would be ludicrously stupid, even for the prideful U.A.

Their informants within U.A. gave no forewarning of the sudden cancellation, leading Hisashi to believe they had either been compromised or they weren’t in the loop to begin with.  

The door creaked open, and the trio stepped inside.

The dimly lit warehouse was littered with old storage containers ranging from small, wooden crates to gargantuan, painted metal shipping containers. Rays of moonlight filtered in through the large, broken windows, a single light bulb illuminating an assortment of boxes where the Villains sat.

Ten Villains were huddled under the only working lightbulb in the warehouse, only three of whom he had met in person: Toga Himiko and Spinner, who were regulars at the bar, and Dabi, who was less frequent but still showed up on occasion. The other seven he only knew mutually and consisted of the fugitive Muscular, a former Death Row Inmate Moonfish, Magne (who he had to remind Gunmetal was actually a woman), Mustard Twice, and Mr Compress.

‘Wait, but that’s only nine? Have I miscounted? Or was it All For One who miscounted?’

Eclipse nudges Hisashi, and he turns to her, curious. “Dragon-San? What is that giant… Thing in the corner there?” she asks, gesturing to– 

– a hulking, mint green figure loomed just outside of the illuminated area, standing stock still and hunched over. Each of its limbs was thicker than Hisashi’s torso, a mass of muscle wrapping around each bone. A strange, maroon helmet covered most of its exposed brain, but it otherwise held a strong resemblance to the wingless Noumu from the Hosu attack. ‘Perhaps that model was its base appearance, and certain quirks held by each Nomu only altered that base appearance?’

“Ah, that would be the latest Nomu model,” came another voice. A tall figure emerges from the shadows, wearing a tall top hat and an unusual mask. “Dragon, Eclipse, Gunmetal; it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintances – I’m Mr Compress.”

Hisashi bowed in greeting, about to vocalise it before another voice interrupted him.

“Hisashi-San~!” Himiko called, waving her arms enthusiastically. She was perched on a tall, metal crate, legs dangling off of the edge, “and your friends! Nice to meet you~” 

“Xiǎo biǎo zi (little bitch),” Gunmetal muttered. Eclipse elbowed him in the side. 

“Bǎochí ānjìng, shǎguā! (keep quiet, fool!)” she hissed.  “Hello, Himiko,” Hisashi greeted, as warmly as his grating, metallic voice would allow.

Himiko had jumped down from the crate to welcome the three with a large grin. “You must be Gunmetal and Eclipse! Hisashi-San has told me so much about you~”

“For God’s sake, Toga, keep your voice down, you’re giving me a migraine,” Dabi hissed, rubbing his temples.

The rest of the group make their introductions, and Hisashi catches Gunmetal and Eclipse approaching Spinner in his peripheral vision.

“You. You are the lizard man. Xīyì rén,” Gunmetal addresses Spinner, who had been silently sitting on a crate just next to him.

“Lizard-man?” He repeats, taken aback.

“Forgive Gunmetal’s broken Japanese – Dragon-San tried to teach him, but he never bothers to learn. I’m afraid little can be done about his bluntness, too.”

“Also, newsflash, Spinner, but you look like a fucking gecko,” Twice chipped in, voice an octave lower than his previous sentence. Then, true to his alleged dual personality, Twice’s entire demeanour changes, “Sorry! That was rude of me!”

“No shit!” Spinner shot back. 

Himiko was cackling like a stereotypical witch, while Dabi massaged his temples. 

Magne sighs, apparently used to this kind of scenario.

“Qiáng, bié nàme yòuzhì, (Qiáng, don’t be so childish.)” Eclipse reprimanded, quietly enough so the rest of the group wouldn’t hear.  “You say that to me, and not the actual children?” He replies, just as quietly.  “You’ve done it again, Gunmetal; you used the plural for child, not the singular.”  “Yes. Because there are two children here. Xiǎo biǎo zi – Toga, and Mustard. The one with the gas mask.” Hisashi was taken aback – he’d heard a rumour that Mustard was, in fact, a middle schooler, but he’d simply assumed that he was just a short man.  “I’m in middle school; I’m not a kid.” “You are a boy until you are a man. You are not a man; therefore, you are a child.”

“That’s enough of that,” Compress interrupts, silencing the room, “let’s cut to the chase.” He gestures for everyone to form a loose circle.

This time, it’s the patchwork-skinned Dabi who speaks up. “We – as in all of us - are going to be targeting Classes 1-A and 1-B of U.A., and perhaps the Takenaka siblings, if our plans work out. Our goal is to draw the students out of the school – we don’t yet have the resources to take on U.A. High in its entirety - and cause enough commotion to secure our main target, Bakugou Katsuki.” 

“And If we gotta kill a few people to do it, all the better,” the cloaked Muscular says, amusement clear in his tone. 

Gunmetal nodded in agreement, “I like this one.”

Bakugou Katsuki – that was a face he remembered clearly… He had his mother’s spiky blonde hair and her aggressive temperament, but he also had his father’s intelligence and determination. In the few short years Hisashi had known him, Katsuki had shown nothing but cruelty to Izuku – though if the tabloids were anything to go by, the two were now practically attached at the hip. HeIzuku still called him by that ridiculous nickname - Kacchan. 

Had young Katsuki actually… Matured? Admitted his faults? 

Hisashi brought a hand to his chin thoughtfully, “you plan to kidnap him? And, what, attempt to turn him to your side?”

Dabi seemed startled by Hisashi’s conclusion, “yes, that’s right.”

“I can assure you, that will be no easy feat. Katsuki may be the most aggressive, prideful, brutish and disrespectful person I’ve ever met, but to assume that alone will coerce him into being a Villain, you are sorely mistaken. There are few people who want to be a Hero more than him. To be frank, you’d have more luck trying to convince me to turn myself into the authorities.”

Dabi’s eyebrows rose into his hairline – Hisashi suspected Mr Compress wore a similar expression beneath his mask.

“However,” Hisashi continued, there may be a way to get him to join your ranks – his quirk is exceedingly powerful, not to mention his skills in hand-to-hand combat and analysis make him a force to be reckoned with.” 

Eclipse turned to him – “you mean our… Friends from Southeast China?”

Gunmetal nodded, making a wordless noise of approval.

The Villains regarded the trio with confusion and intrigue. 

“Kim Mei – dive. Jin Jiang – show and tell. Wong Huan – manipulate. About two years ago, these three established and ran a prominent mental healthcare facility in South-East China – the KJW memory Den, I believe it was called. Their quirks also allowed them to collaborate on several criminal investigations – including the Dragon case. We captured them a year and a half ago, and they are now our subordinates.

“Kim Mei’s quirk allows her to “dive” deep into a person’s memories, and in some cases, she has had to force her way through a person’s mind to reach memories the patient has subconsciously suppressed. Her quirk was mostly used in court trials to corroborate a victim’s or accused criminal’s story, but she has also used it to help a patient separate a legitimate memory and a hallucination.

"Jin Jiang’s quirk allows her to showcase her own memories as easily as a projector would a movie – hence, show and tell. A seemingly useless quirk, I know, but by initiating physical contact with Kim, she can project other people’s memories. Because of this ability, she was highly valued by courts, prisons and hospitals alike.

"And last, but certainly not least, Wong Huan, whose quirk allows him to manipulate a person’s memories. He generally only used it to help particularly traumatised patients affected with severe PTSD and anxiety. Given enough time, he can coerce the subconscious mind to completely suppress a memory, or – better yet, change it. Once again, he mostly used this ability to help with trauma – he mostly worked with assault or abuse victims, but in the time I’ve had him under my control, he has been able to do some amazing things. On one occasion, he was able to convince a man that the reason for his own disappearance was the result of a rabid animal attacking him and leaving him for dead, while in truth, we were harvesting his organs for a Triad member in need of a fresh supply. The doctors and the police were none the wiser. 

With their efforts combined, the League would be able to attain an expansive library of knowledge on their enemies.”

The warehouse was silent, all nine Villains stared at Hisashi in awe. 

“Now this… Changes everything,” Mr Compress finally said. 

“But, how are all these people… Under your control?” Muscular asked, scepticism clear as day. 

“Perhaps another quirk?” Magne asked, mostly to herself.

“Not with a quirk, but with the assistance of Gunmetal, Eclipse and various chemicals, they submitted soon enough,” Hisashi answered with a smirk, purposefully vague.

Himiko gazed at him in awe. 

“That aside,” he continued, “I am more than willing to collaborate with the League – I owe your organisation that much for all the aid you’ve given me – but I must ask a favour.”

“Shoot,” Dabi answeres.

“In addition to young Bakugou, would capturing Midoriya Inko be possible as well? It’s my understanding that she has been privy to some information I would very much like to know. I’m sure we can wean some info our of young Bakugou as well.”

“Midoriya… Like that kid, Midoriya Izuku? The one Shigaraki wanted us to kill?” Magne cocks her head.

‘So that brat wants Izuku dead, huh? Typical. They are also still unaware of my full name and true identity – thankfully. I may trust these people with a lot, but I cannot trust them with my name. Not yet.’

“I would much prefer to leave the young Midoriya alive…” Spinner mumbled. 

‘As would I; there is much I have planned for him. 

“Is this Inko woman his mum or something?” Mustard asked.  

“Yes, she is.” 

“Hm, that can be arranged – I’m sure it won’t be difficult.” Dabi shrugged.

“Very good; her quirk is weak but annoying; she can telekinetically pull small objects to herself – small objects like knives and guns, so be weary.” Hisashi glances at Himiko, “now, Himiko, I know how much you adore making people bleed, but please try not to harm either of our captives. We need them as healthy as possible for the quirks of my team to take full effect.”

Himiko pouted but gave a reluctant nod.

“Is there a specific date in mind for the attack?” Eclipse asked.  

“Not yet – All for One is still devising the best possible strategy to lure those U.A. kids away from school.”

“Maybe we do not need to lead them away,” Gunmetal says suddenly, “maybe we just need to get rid of the teachers. Create a… Distraction? Lead the teachers away, and then fight the students.” 

“I’ll bring it up with our superiors,” Mr Compress replied.

 Hisashi turned to his partners, sending a quick glance to the Villains, “Xiǎoxīn zhèxiē ègùn. Bùyào ràng tāmen xuéxí nǐ de míngzì. (Be careful of these villains. Do not let them learn your names).” The pair nodded in response, and then, in Japansese, he addresses the whole group, “I will return soon with the Memory Den trio; I bid you all farewell.”