Actions

Work Header

Peek-A-Boo!

Chapter Text

The day started out wonderfully, with the sun shining brightly on the city of Musutafu, where the Verity, the Wave-Guiding Hero, lived and patrolled. It was a normal, peaceful day, and that fact should have warned the lupine-like woman that something would happen, by that, she meant something bad.

Like say... a villain attack in another city that needed the attention of the very best. Apparently, according to the news reports, and her best friend. When she heard of the villain attack, she rushed to the city along with a few other heroes that lived in Musutafu.

--------

Verity gave out a sound of pure relief as the press finally dispersed, her hand moving to push up her mask, before realising that no, she forgot to get her usual loose mask in her hurry to get to the battlefield. She should really start to sort out the different hero costumes her best friend made her better...

The heroine looked at the other heroes, from those like Death Arms to All Might himself. It seemed like the villain who had an Earthquake quirk really worried everyone. She even spied her partner in the battle, although he left before anyone could see him and during the battle, he made sure he was hidden. Kurama never liked being caught.

Before she left though... she had someone to thank sincerely, despite her dislike of the man's personality and motivation to be a hero.

"Endeavor." Verity called out as she approached the Flame Hero, he stood away from the other heroes, his gaze disdainful as his eyes looked around.

"What is it, Verity?" The man asked, his tone deliberately neutral as he looked at the caped heroine that was the Number 3 Hero.

"I want to thank you for watching my back during the confrontation." Verity stated simply, a nod of reluctant respect accompanied her statement. They never got along too well during their school years, and that likely will never change. There was too much history between the two heroes to have their sort-of rivalry go away peacefully.

"Hmph." All Endeavor did was nod back. He left immediately after, stalking away with his flame crackling menacingly around his shoulders.

Verity only stared at the Flame Hero's retreating back, before she turned around to help the other heroes with the clean-up. Maybe she could go and heal some of the injured. It would keep her mind off the deterioration of the Ranking Class's bonds.

As she headed towards the scene of destruction, she saw All Might. Verity ignored the voice in her head, the one that sounded too much like Kurama's, that told her to talk to the Symbol of Peace for old time's sake. It wouldn’t do for her to approach him after the last time...

Verity gripped her cloak tightly. She shouldn't lose herself to the memories now of all times. She was a hero right now. Verity would just contact Toshinori later on, when they both weren't so busy.

-------

A year later, she was in the same city. It was a dark and rainy day instead of the sunny day the last time she was here. The hero was also here as a civilian visiting an old school friend, not that he let her in though.

Sato Tomomi, otherwise known as the Wave-Guiding Hero Verity, shivered as she drew her jacket closer to her body. She really should have expected Enji to leave her out in the rain honestly. Although one would think that he'd mature enough to let bygones be bygones.

It's still hard to believe that the screaming she did up at the roof was something he held a grudge over. She was drunk off her mind that day! It wasn't her fault that she screamed out obscenities about his habits in the dorms...

Tomomi sighed sadly. The attempted visit was worse than expected. Maybe she should try to track down Toshinori instead, despite the large amount of effort that would take because seriously, the blond traveled everywhere, and lords above does the aura-user mean everywhere.

The woman ducked into an alleyway, taking off her glasses to wipe the rain drops off the lenses.

A crackle of thunder boomed, she almost jumped at the sound. Tomomi hated thunderstorms.

Just as she was about to walk back to the street, she heard a sob despite the thunderstorm; and even if she wasn't on duty, she was still a hero at heart, and heroes have a habit of butting into others business

Tomomi went deeper into the alleyway, her fake right eye glowing brightly as she used both her aura and her quirk to search for whoever was crying.

When she found the source, she was incensed. Who would abandon a child, who didn't look older than five years old mind you, in a thunderstorm like this?!

The child seemed to sense Verity, because they tried to scramble away from her, failing only because they were right at the wall.

"Hey, I promise that I don't bite." Verity said in her heroic persona's voice, calm and reassuring. It was very different from how Tomomi's voice normally sounded, which was quick and fiery according to her roommate.

Seeing the child still worryingly at her voice, Verity crept closer. She placed an ungloved hand near the child's back, hovering it softly just like her homeroom teacher at Yuuei did for her all those years ago. She sort of missed Gran Torino...

"Hey... whatever happened to you, it'll be okay soon. I promise." Verity said, filling her tone with sincerity. She felt the child relax at her words. Tomomi didn't ask for the child to look at her, nor did Verity roll the child over to take a look, but that’s what the child did.

"V-Verity...?" The child let out, his voice filled with awe. His light, blue-green eyes that looked so familiar stared in her direction between curtains of snowy hair. The boy reminded Tomomi of both Enji and Miyuki.

It was a little weird. "Mmhh. Yes, I am Verity. Will you tell me your name?" Verity asked, her hand automatically moving to the boy's hair, shifting his bangs to the side.

"...roki Yuuki..." He mumbled, closing his eyes as a particularly bright flash of lightning crashed through the sky. When Tomomi heard the name, she was... she didn't know what she felt, but what the woman knew was that Enji had a lot to answer for. It wasn't like him to abandon a child, right? He is a hero, and this boy's father. Then again... it’s been years since they had a normal, non-heroics related conversation...

"Okay, Yuuki-kun." Verity, unlike Tomomi who was shocked, was calm. She focused on the soaking wet child.

"I'll call a friend of mine, and he'll get here quickly. It isn’t very nice to stay in the rain after all. My friend will be able to bring the both of us somewhere warm."

"'Kay..." Yuuki was quiet. He didn't move, in fact, if Verity's quirk read the boy right, the only reason why he was shivering was because of the cold. Tomomi had a bad feeling about that fact.

Verity slowly took out a simple smartphone. She was going to contact Enji, but Tomomi instead texted her best friend, Kurama.

|need port back to base. found a kid, probably abandoned? hope not though|

|kay, send coordinates|

|already did|

"I'll bring you to my home for a bit, okay Yuuki-kun? Then maybe you can tell me why you were out here in the rain alone." Tomomi said quietly, her left hand still stroking the boy's snow white hair as she waited for Kurama.

Chapter Text

When I was young, I learned that the strong ruled the world, and the weak had no choice but to follow, or become strong as well.

I was four years old when I learned that people had their flaws, and that everyone could hurt you.

Even the people who loved you the most.

"Enji, please don’t--" Todoroki Miyuki begged her husband, keeping Yuuki behind her as the aforementioned man glowered at the two, especially at the four year old that was his second youngest son.

"Then why, Miyuki, should the Todoroki name suffer a damaged child like that?" Endeavor asked his wife coldly, in contrast to the wild and snapping flames on his shoulders.

"I-- I..." Miyuki hesitated, wracking her mind for something to say. Suddenly her grey eyes widened in realisation. Miyuki did have a reason that her husband would accept.

"Well? No reason to give, my love?" Enji said, his tone mocking as he reached to grab Yuuki harshly.

Miyuki stopped him, her hand as cold and hard as ice, literally. Her hand was covered in ice due to her instinctive activation her quirk.

"What if Yuuki does have the quirk you want Enji?" Miyuki asked quietly, her tone filled with steel. She looked into her husband's unique blue-green eyes and continued to speak despite the fear she felt. She had to protect her children, even if she is afraid of her husband...

"And even with Yuuki's... disadvantage..." Miyuki hated using that word to describe her little boy but... she didn't want to lose a child that didn't look like him. "You will still be able to train him. Why wouldn't you be able to Enji?"

"Hmph. You make a good point, wife." Endeavor allowed, his flames calming down a little. The flames stopped radiating as much heat as before. "I will leave you and your spawn be."

Endeavor left the room with a flourish, his flames like a cloak as he stomped out of the room.

Miyuki sighed in relief. She turned to Yuuki, only to see the unshed tears in his eyes and the devastated look on her child's face.

"I-is that what Okaa-san really thinks of me?" Yuuki asked, staring in her direction, a faint outline of orange surrounded his eyes. "Th-that I'm d-damaged...?"

"N-no, Yuukun, Okaa-san doesn't think that!" Miyuki said, hugging her son tightly. She was crying as she held her child close to her, long white hair the same shade as her son's own locks covering them both.

That was the day I promised myself that I would become strong, so that no one else would be forced to become strong.

-----

Yuuki skidded into Orudera Middle School, his brown satchel slung across his shoulder.

"C'mon Ku! It's the test thing today!" He called out behind him, his long and shaggy hair whipping behind him as he rushed into the school.

Yuuki waited impatiently at the lockers, his left hand rapping at the sling he was forced to wear for his fractured right arm.

"Yuuchan, calm down! We're not going to be late even if we took a detour earlier..." Izuku panted as he caught up to his friend, dark green and curly hair slick with sweat.

"For school, but we usually meet up with Katsu at around this time, and y'know how he gets." Yuuki grinned at the shorter teen, before he shuddered in exaggerated fear. "Especially around this time of the month."

Izuku's viridian eyes widened in surprise.

"Shit! I can't believe I forgot about that!" Izuku said, grabbing his yellow backpack and looking through it for something. He couldn't have been so caught up in training with his Dad to forget that it was his best friend's hell week this week.

"Don't worry, I've got some peace offerings in my bag, Teacher had her's last week." Yuuki winced, although the small grin he wore was still in place. He still ached after their mother-son bonding times aka training.

"Oi, what are you two fuckers doing just standing there?" Katsuki shouted as he got close, mini-explosions popping every few seconds.

"Hi Kacchan!" Izuku waved cheerfully, not the least bit intimidated by the bad mood Katsuki was in.

"Yo Katsu!" Yuuki waved at his other friend, his smile a little forced; but that was because he was shaking slightly.

"Anyways, let's get to class or something!" Yuuki said quickly, before using his long legs to get ahead of his two friends.

"Every single time Chicken-Scratch. Every single damn month it's the same thing." Katsuki grumbled as he stomped into the school proper.

"Well, Kacchan... you know how Yuuchan's mom is when she has hers..." Izuku said, patting his childhood friend on the back. "Sato-san still trains him even during that week."

------

"...that was rude of them." Yuuki commented as the two students left the classroom laughing. He glanced at Izuku. "Don't you think so?"

Izuku, in contrast to his excitement earlier, was curled up on his desk, shivering.

"Y-Yuuchan...? Do you think that they’re right about me?" Izuku asked quietly, his eyes spilling with tears. "T-that I can't be a h-hero because I'm Quirkless?"

Yuuki looked at Izuku, his eyes shadowed. Before Izuku could do more than leak a little more tears, Yuuki spoke.

"I don't know where those thoughts came from Yagi Izuku because Uncle Toshinori would be pissed or something along those lines if he heard those words out of your mouth." Yuuki started, the clear lenses of his glasses flashing orange as he activated his quirk. It was an unconcious action that mirrored Yuuki's feelings towards Izuku's sudden pessimism.

Yuuki placed a hand on Izuku's shoulders, looking right into his eyes. Yuuki's grin of amusement, a constant on his face was gone, instead replaced by a thin line.

"I know that you can become a Pro-Hero Ku. You already are a hero after all." Yuuki said, grabbing his satchel with his good arm a second after he said his piece.

"Anyways, I gotta go. Mom-- um, Teacher wants me to go through some more training." Yuuki gave a two-fingered salute to Izuku as he left the classroom.

But when I was five, I learned that there were different kinds of strength.

---

"...if you knew my father, then why haven't you brought me back to him?" Yuuki asked Tomomi, his tone deliberately blank as he looked to where he thought the hero was, to his right.

"Yuuki-kun, I'm over here." Tomomi said, gently guiding the boy's head in her direction. "And... I suppose I have my reasons for not letting your... father... learn that I have you."

If Yuuki could see Tomomi now, he'd see her face twisted into a snarl, her features shifting between human and not-human. It was a testament to her control that she hasn't fully shifted and kicked something in her anger.

"But... I belong to father. Things that are lost should be returned, even if it is damaged like I am." Yuuki said, he seemed confused, his body language and tone felt... lost.

It hurt Tomomi to see a child like this. It reminded her far too much of her situation before she managed to get caught in that portal to her real home.

The shifted Lucario impulsively hugged the child. She knew she shouldn't have done it, her quirk, Diagnosis, said so but...

"Yuuki-kun. Listen." Tomomi said, using the calm she had as Verity. It was harder than usual, harnessing that calm, but that was because not even the unflappable Wave-Guiding Hero could stay calm in the face of something like this.

"You are not damaged. You are not broken. Maybe you were born with disadvantages, but that should never be the sole reason why you are damaged, or damaged at all." Tomomi told the young child, using a trickle of Aura to activate his quirk. Yuuki had to see her, he had to know how serious she herself was about her words, and the best way for that is to see the conviction in a person's eyes. Even if one of her eyes was fake...

Granted, Tomomi only knew so much about Yuuki's quirk, but what she knew about it would serve her purposes. It was a mental quirk after all, she knew how they worked. Diagnosis was a mental quirk too.

This was the first time Yuuki ever saw, and no matter how often it happened nowadays, the excitement and the awe he would feel at being able to see like others would never fade away.

"Wh-wh--" Before Yuuki could feel anything but shock, Tomomi put both her hands on his shoulders, staring straight into the orange-washed eyes that he possessed.

"Todoroki Yuuki, you know what I see when I look at you?" Tomomi said, her one remaining eye, the only eye that could shed tears, filling up with unshed tears from her bottled-up emotions about the young boy's situation.

Yuuki shook his head. A few thoughts of what she saw in him flew through his head. None of them were good.

"I see... someone who could surpass the current generation." Tomomi intoned, shocking Yuuki to his very core. "I see a child who has the will and the drive to save people from harm, of any kind actually. You... really remind me of four of the most important people in my life... of Enji, before all... this... of Toshinori... of Miyuki... and of Kurama. You have the same drive, the same Aura of the people who want to save people. You have the drive to become a true hero Todoroki Yuuki."

Yuuki was paralysed by Tomomi's words. Much more than that, he was paralysed by the belief that he could see in Tomomi's (Verity's) crimson eye that he had the drive to become a hero.

He didn't know what to do. It was too much. So Yuuki did something he promised never to do so long ago... the day when when his world shattered.

He cried.

-----

"N-no, Yuukun, Okaa-san doesn't think that!" Miyuki cried, yet even as she poured her heart out, her son just hugged her back. "Okaa-san doesn't believe that you're damaged. She thinks you're fine as you are."

'...she... okaa-san doesn't believe in me...' Yuuki thought, his eyes wide as he stared into darkness, just like every day since he was born. He just couldn't believe his mother's words. 'I shouldn’t cry... Shoto might see...'

My world was shattered by callous words that were meant to protect me. But... a year later when that exact same situation came...

The words that I disregarded a long time ago... I listened to, when it was too late to apologise to the first person who believed in me...

-----

But that doesn't mean you can't make up for it anyway you can.

"Oh come back here you little brat!" Kurama chased Yuuki across the mall, his sky blue eyes filled with mirth as he play-chased his adopted child. He wondered what his old man was talking about, he liked having a kid!

"Never Mr. Foxy-Woxy~!" Yuuki shouted back, using a petname he heard his Teacher, Tomomi, use for the disguised Zoroark. His light blue-green eyes flashed orange as he used his quirk.

Yuuki saw a map of the whole mall, empty. He quickly deactivated his quirk before he saw something... traumatic, like the last few times. His vision quickly returned to his own brand of aura vision.

Kurama almost tripped and ruined his disguise when he heard the petname. His black-and-pink pony tail flopped in front of his face as he stood up.

'Nevermind. I think I figured it out.' Kurama thought loudly, before a glint of mischief passed through his eyes.

Kurama looked around. No one payed much attention to him. The fox sighed, rolling his eyes. No wonder villains, even the petty ones, could get away with what they do. The civilians had no sense of potential danger. Teleport

With a blink, he caught up to his adopted child. Kurama wondered what Yuuki got caught up in this time.

Yuuki hardly looked in front of him as he ran away, looking over his shoulder for Kurama. It was no wonder that he bumbed into someone.

"Oh, sorry about that I--" "Ototo?"

Yuuki's eyes widened. He activated his quirk for a second, focusing right in front of him.

He saw his older sister, with her white hair and red highlights, holding a shopping bag. Fuyumi looked shocked, but Yuuki supposed that it was because she saw him.

"Aneki!" Yuuki said, a grin growing on his face. He couldn't believe his luck, he didn't have to wait for Endeavor to die to see even just one of his siblings!

"Yuukun..." Fuyumi said, before she suddenly hugged the eight year old tightly. Unlike the last two times, there were no tears; it wasn't a sad sort of hug either, it was a hug that meant happiness and relief. "I'm glad that you're okay, where have you been?"

At this point, Fuyumi let go of Yuuki and was apparently tapping her foot if the taps the boy was hearing was proper indication.

"Fuyumi-nee... I sort of got adopted?" Yuuki said, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly as she continued to mock glare at him.

In the time it took to blink, Kurama appeared right behind Yuuki. As a bipedal black fox with a pink mane, aka a differently colored Zoroark.

"Come on Yuuki, we gotta get home soon." Kurama said cheerfully, which was in complete contrast with the dark atmosphere around him. He was still pissed about Yuuki using a certain petname earlier.

Yuuki turned, grinning shakily. He really should have thought of something better to use as a distraction...

"H-hi Kura-pops..." He said, waving at the fox, who showed up to his senses completely pissed off. "No hard feelings right? You did try to chase me earlier and stuff and Teacher did said that "All's Fair In Love And War"...?"

"You know that Tomomi didn't mean it that way brat!" Kurama said, crouching down on his knees to glare at Yuuki more effectively.

"And how do you know that Kura-pops?" Yuuki shot back, getting into his face.

Fuyumi could only watch in shock at the argument in front of her continued on.

-----

"Father said that he'll get me recommended into the Hero Course at Yuuei. How about you Yuuki, will you be going there too?" Yuuki read the latest letter aloud.

The shifter just shook his head and grinned, throwing the letter to the pile he's accumulated for the past six years.

Taking out a feather quill, because the pens always went missing in the Sato Household, Yuuki started to craft a reply, reciting the words as he wrote them carefully.

"Of course I'm planning to get into the Hero Course at Yuuei Shoto! It's been a dream of mine, becoming a hero. You know that. Anyways, I look forward to seeing you in a month. Stay safe!"

As Yuuki waited for the letter to dry, he stared of into space, his mind lost in his thoughts.

"I wonder what Shoto looks like now... I bet we look completely different now." Yuuki said aloud. He shook his head. "Eh, let's see what the future holds."

The young man stood up and stretched. His break was over, his Teacher would be disappointed if Yuuki missed the get-together she and Uncle Toshinori scheduled.

Sparring with Izuku would be fun way to celebrate the other teen finally getting his quirk.

Chapter Text

left, down, up
Verity followed her Detect, dodging blows from the villain that she knew was just there to distract her from... something important. The Lucario hated it when there were enemies who worked like that.

Verity's right eye throbbed. She grit her teeth in pain. A glowing leaf headed into her--

'Focus. You can't get distracted.' Verity thought to herself, closing her eyes. She pirouetted, her leg snapping up behind her, blocking an overhead hit that could have knocked her out.

"How the fuck are you dodging you bitch?!" The villain screeched out, his his body littered in bruises from her blows. His illusion quirk was useless against someone who didn't need to see to fight a person.

"Nothing that you can Detect, Distraction." Verity said, inwardly snorting at the villain's chosen alias. Although she wouldn't lie to herself, she thought it was a clever name.
above, left

Verity followed the wave of motion her Detect manifested as to dodge the blow with ease and ensure that Distraction stayed down.

An Aura Sphere, purposely weaker than her normal attack power, to the face usually got most humans to stay down. Detect. Nothing happened.

She opened her eyes and looked around. The hero and the villain fought in the same place they encountered one another. The empty building was surprisingly intact. Verity thought that Distraction would have some sort of contingency plan in case his Distraction quirk didn't work.

As she bound the villain in some Aura-infused ropes, the high quality kind that doesn't scrape skin because she is classy and polite thank you very much, Tomomi thought of what Verity should say to the police.

She had to be quick to make sure one of her old friends didn't get hurt too badly, but Tomomi/Verity was also a hero. Heroes, especially those who specialised in criminal apprehension, had to make sure that the criminal in question was captured but...

"Dammit all to hell..." Tomomi growled quietly as she aggressively typed in the MPD, Musutafu Police Department, number by memory. "I'll just..."

"Ah Verity! Where's the latest catch of yours?" Came the chirpy voice of Verity's main contact with the MPD, a raven woman who insisted that Verity call her Kara. "I bet it's in *another* private environment huh?"

"Yes, of course Tokoyami-san." Verity said, rolling her eyes as she walked to the balcony, rolling her shoulders out of habit as she unconciously made the motion to push up her glasses, before pausing. She forgot that she wasn't wearing glasses again... the differences between her hero and civilian personas weren't much, but Tomomi hated the fact that her glasses had to be sacrificed.

"Well, what's the address? I know you don’t like the press so..." Kara probably shrugged at this point. "We'll just get the heroics report at the station, as per usual?"

"I'm afraid that I will not be able to give a report in person." Verity told her friend, walking to the balcony of the luxurious apartment Distraction owned, she had places to go and one of her usual tricks should get her to...

"...well, there is something that's exploding in the distance currently." Verity deadpanned as she stared at where said disturbance came from. Her eyes widened in shock.

"Shit." Tomomi cursed as she quickly jumped on the railing. It held her weight well. "I have to go, it's a little too close to civilisation Tokoyami-san."

"Wait, don't you think you should--"

Tomomi hung up on Tokoyami Karasu, her mind stuck on a dream her bo-- apprentice had.

-----

Tomomi eyes snapped open. She woke up to the sound of dry heaving in the otherwise silent night.

It started out like a normal night too, with Kurama moonlighting as a vigilante every so often. As was the case tonight.

Getting out of bed carefully, she was in the form that was more familiar to her, a Lucario. Tomomi crept to Yuuki's bathroom, a more powerful version of a standard Heal Pulse glowing in her hand.

Tomomi didn't want to bring the nine year old to the doctors after the last time the family of three went to the hospital. She felt guilty for having to bribe Shinso-san to keep things quiet... Tomomi should have tried to Diagnose the reason...

"Yuuki-kun, are you alright?" Tomomi asked as she padded towards the bathroom door. The canid barely opened the door, before a sobbing child ran into her.

The Heal Pulse in her hands became an Force Palm of equal power before she dispersed it to hug the distraught child hugging her. It's been a while since someone had a breakdown in front of her. In the back of her mind, Tomomi wondered if it was because people felt safe around her or if it was they felt that they wouldn't get any working comfort from Verity...

Tomomi shook her head slightly, she had to focus on her child right now. Not any of her regrets. She shouldn't leave a child, leave anyone drowning in their regrets.

'Not like Uncle did...' Tomomi thought as she soothed Yuuki with both her actions and aura, humming a soft tune her mother always sang to her. "Remember Me" might not have been something her mother, Honoria, wrote, but it was a song the mother and daughter held close to their hearts.

"Shush... it'll be okay..." Tomomi told Yuuki, ending their hug. She brushed the boys hair from his face and noticed that he wasn't wearing his glasses. His quirk was active, giving his eyes an orange glow. "...can you tell me what you saw? Talking will help, believe me."

Yuuki didn’t seem to really believe her. Tomomi wanted to let the boy have his secrets... but she felt in her heart that not hearing him talk would be a mistake.

"Have I ever told you of the time that Toshinori, Enji and I broke some walls at Yuuei child?" Tomomi asked ruffled the boy's hair, her eyes closed. She was lost in memories of happier times. A bitter smile quirked her lips.

"N-no... you haven't..." Yuuki mumbled as he dried his tears, trying in vain to stifle his sniffling. Tomomi wouldn't tell the boy, but she thought that it was adorable.

"Well, it was our first year in Yuuei and we sort of just met..." Tomomi started, her smile softening until it became just like one of her happier smiles. It was really a better look on her.

-----

Verity suppressed Tomomi's urge to puke. Now wasn't the time to show anything that could be seen as weakness. She had to be there for her ally-- her friend.

"C'mon I just need to be a little faster..." Verity told herself, reinforcing and enhancing her speed with liberal amounts of aura. It was dangerous, and she didn't want to bust her bones like when she was a Riolu, but for the survival and health of a friend? Anything.

Verity was just a few kilometres from the site of the explosion. With her vision, enhanced by both aura and her goggles, she could see Toshinori fighting against something she could only describe as foul.

In fact, if Tomomi had to put a name to it, she would call it wrongness in human form; not unlike Dark Matter's wave, except at least it had a reason for its energies being the anti-thesis to aura.

Whatever Toshinori was fighting against used to be human; and Verity would bet that he thought he was fighting against a human. Tomomi had to warn him.

Her aura saw the man use his quirk to do something to his left arm. It started to feel like someone else's arm. Tomomi once again felt like puking.

Verity had to do something. She couldn't let one of the few people she'd call a friend die...

"Sunsteel Strike." Verity intoned, her tone as hard as the steel that she was made of; the lines in her hair that glowed auric blue shifted into white gold. Tomomi was still for just two moments, before she suddenly dashed forward, a staff made of golden white aura grasped in her paws.

The sapphire that served as Tomomi's fake eye disintegrated as her aura built up, her form shifting to a Lucario's.

Within a few seconds, the thing's arm was deflected, the Sunsteel Strike crumbling into dust. The Lucario snarled at the thing, before taking a second to glance at behind her; to the hero behind her. Seeing the look on All Might's face, what else could she do but laugh? He looked like a dead Magikarp right now!

"Hah! If you could see your face right now Toshinori..." Tomomi grinned, her form shifting to her birth form. Her remaining eye softened. She missed the banter... she missed everything about their relationship really.

All Might was shocked, true, but not shocked enough that he didn't see All For One attempt the very same attack as earlier on Verity. He opened his mouth to warn her--

Verity spun around, her arm covered in a sheath of defensive aura. She didn't know if it'll work, but she had no time to put up a Protect, so a form of Counter-Shield should do her well.

The thing hit her hard. Verity winced at the blow, but besides that, she wasn't affected by whatever the quirk was supposed to do. It must have a Dark typing though, she felt her Ability activating.

"Was that supposed to do anything?" Tomomi asked, her left eye glowing brightly with excitement. There was just something so thrilling about a battle like this, where the stakes was high and she was working with someone. "I mean, if that was supposed to turn me into a metal statue..."

Tomomi loved her quirk at times like this, it gave her so much information to work with. Too much information at times...

"I'm afraid that you're a little too late for that. I'm a Steel-type." Tomomi grinned, before snarling at him. The thing flinched, its next move interrupted by the Snarl.

Tomomi jumped back, her longcoat not impeding her movement in the slightest. Taking a glance at the shocked hero once again, Tomomi just let out a bark of laughter, grabbing All Might by his shoulder and dragging him closer.

"Hey, Toshinori, are you alright?" Tomomi asked as she set up the Counter-Shield, made of lightning this time. If they were lucky, the thing would get shocked.

"I'm alright Verity." All Might replied without his usual persona. He seemed distracted, his gaze stuck on the Counter-Shield that surrounded the two. "What is...?"

"It's called a Counter-Shield," Tomomi shrugged, looking over All Might carefully for injuries. There was a Heal Pulse growing in her hands. "If we're lucky, getting through this particular one will shock whatever the hell that thing is; and Toshinori? It's Tomomi when we're not in front of the cameras okay?"

"Ah, of course Ver-- er, Tomomi! Although I must ask," All Might looked at where he last All For One, his body tense as he seemed to prepare for the centuries old man to appear at any moment, "How exactly have you known where All For One and I were fighting?"

Tomomi just shook her head in disbelief as she discreetly used the Heal Pulse on Toshinori. There was an explosion, the man was at ground zero. Did he not notice it? Apparently so...

"...I can't believe you Toshinori." She said, staring at him deadpan. At his look, she rolled her eyes. "There was a giant explosion coming from here. I decided to investigate."

Foresight. Detect.

Shit. Shit. Tomomi looked around. There had to be a way to prevent that... From the corner of her vision, both visions, she saw All Might tense. He must have seen her worry.

"Okay, this is going to sound very, very bad Toshinori, but I need you to punch me; a Smash would be best, but I'll take what I can get." Tomomi told the hero worriedly, ignoring the look her friend shot her; she held the energy for a Counter in her hands, the white glow spreading across her palms every few seconds.

"W-What? No! Tomomi, I might not have any idea what you are planning, but I cannot in good concience attack an ally in tbe midst of battle!" All Might said shocked. He was standing now, looking at the woman in sheer disbelief.

"Look, I know it sounds stupid but I have a plan--" Tomomi was interrupted by the thing, called All For One apparently, breaking through the Counter-Shield with minimal damage.

The two heroes looked at each other in the eyes and nodded. In a split second, both heroes moved.

-----

Naoto resisted the urge to grab their hat. The cameras were on and they really didn't want to blow the interview. Their blue eyes looked over the audience for a second as they composed themselves.

The stands weren't very packed, something Naoto secretly feared, despite the fact that the Number Three was in the building. Although the fans that were in the seats were a bit... intense.

"Dude, how do you not know Verity? She's like... the only Pro-Hero that isn't Underground that does the street level jobs on purpose..."

"I can't believe the Number Three is doing an interview, doesn't she hate interviews?"

"I heard that the Wave-Guiding Hero only chose this studio because of the integrity the company has shown despite it being one of the most famous..."

"I was so worried when Verity didn't stop by her office... her hus-- er, secratary seemed so worried during the week she was missing... I wonder what happened to her?"

Naoto focused on the cameras. It was show time, and they had a good feeling that Verity would answer their questions. The thirty four year old did research the heroine's previous interviews, as rare as they were.

"Hello Japan! Today, we'll be interviewing the mysterious Wave-Guiding Hero: Verity! Our Number Three by just one factor, national popularity! " Naoto started out as sanguine as possible to get the already excited crowd, as small as it was, absolutely roaring with applause.

The crowd grew even wilder at Verity's entrance, dramatic as it was with her flaring dark blue and yellow cape.

"A pleasure to be here Naoto-san." Verity said as she spun around on her foot, carefully walking to the plush armchair set up. "I hope that I will be able to answer your questions..."

Naoto gulped. Verity never said something like that in her interviews before... there was always a word or two that the hero wouldn't answer certain questions. It was both amazing and nerve-wracking.

They continued on anyways, they had a job to do after all.

"Well, I guess asking about your quirk is again out of the question?" Naoto joked, and recieved a small girn and a nod of assent.

"And like before, I won't really elaborate on it besides the fact that I know things." Verity said. The glint of mischief was obvious in her left eye.

"It was a bit of a long shot..." Naoto said, just as disappointed as the audience was. At least it wasn't any of the five questions they wanted to ask Verity. "But... can you tell us about your decision to teach at Yuuei full-time this year? Most of us in the audience knows that you do a lot of part-time teaching there since you were twenty, but what made you decide to work there as a teacher?"

Verity let out a huff as she seemed to rub the sling her left arm was in. The hero seemed lost in thought for a second before she spoke.

"I suppose you could say that I'm my father's daughter really..." Verity started, her red eye staring at something only she could see. She seemed oblivious to the hush that went over the audience. "My father wasn't a hero, but he was like one. In fact, you could say that he taught me all my combat skills. His reason for teaching is similar to my own: because... I won't be here forever, so I'll teach my knowledge to the next generation in hopes of making sure that the next generation has true heroes."

Verity's eye flickered with an emotion that Naoto couldn't identify as she stressed a word. They could have asked but the look on Verity's face scared them, so they didn't.

The crowd's reaction to Verity's statement was drowned out by the claps that came from the heroine's ardent supporters, hollering and cheering due to the answer she gave. Naoto saw Verity blush at the enthusiastic reply, a silly grin growing below the grey scarf she wore.

"O-oh, wow... that was... honestly not what I, and we, expected Verity." Naoto admitted, pulling their hat into their lap as they nodded at the crimson eyed woman. "Your conviction to be a hero is amazing; no wonder you're the Number Three. Speaking of that, how does it feel to be the Number Three Hero?"

"There's not really much of a difference from my previous rank of 12 Naoto-san." Verity said, shaking her head slightly. "Yes, there are a lot of people who ask for autographs if I use the streets instead of the rooftops but... besides that? I'm still doing my job, and I'm still doing my best to bring people hope in my own way."

Naoto could believe that. It was common knowledge if you asked people about Verity, the way that she inspires hope with fulfilled promises and the silent knowledge that she seemed to posses.

Verity really reminded Naoto of their older sister, Tomomi, at times... especially when the colour of their eyes were the same. Well, in Verity's case, her left eye. Naoto really missed their sister a lot...

"Naoto-san, I have a feeling that I know the question you've been metamorphically dying to ask..." Verity said mischievously, her thin lips quirked into a grin as she leaned forwards, gloved hands clasped under her chin. "It's going to be about why I'm doing an interview, am I correct?"

There was silence for a few moments, before the crowd in the studio went wild. There were words, cheering, and even other sorts of sounds that Naoto wasn't sure they could identify.

"Yes, is the press really that obvious Verity?" Naoto asked, recovering quickly. The look that Verity gave her ealier-- a mix of pride and regret-- there it was again.

"No, not really Naoto-san. It's just that... I am going to answer that question, once you ask me it that is." Verity said carefully, sitting straight once again.

"Alright then... so what is your reason for setting up this interview Verity? It's not anything to do with your decision to teach at Yuuei on a permanent basis, that much we all know." Naoto said for the benefit of the people didn't know much about Verity.

This time, Verity's grin disappeared. Her face was blank and the hero seemed... disappointed in herself. Naoto could see shame rolling off the hero like waves with their quirk. It made Naoto want to hold the hero's hand; but they couldn't.

"I suppose that after the fight that earned me this," Here, Verity tapped the pure white sling she wore, "I had some thoughts, I talked to an old friend who was at the same hospital actually. I... never really had the time to think about it but..."

The audience broke into sounds of whispers and guesses, although there were many that leaned forward in an attempt to hear Verity's words clearly.

"I sort of realised that even though I do a lot to help, a lot to save people... what I'm doing is getting rid of criminals with force." Verity continued, the waves of shame mixing with disgust, "That... even as I do my best to apprehend people, the way I work doesn't let me save people’s hearts like what I really want to do."

A wry smile grew on Verity's face as she said those words. She stood up, her right fist clenched as she placed it on the left of her chest.

"And the thing is... I suppose that I want to save people's hearts; I want to keep people from despair." Verity said, both her eyes shining with a glimmer of emotion, "Maybe I won't be the Number One even with what I've planned... but that was never one of my goals; All Might can keep his title as the Symbol of Peace, but that doesn't mean that I should be content with how people don't seem to see me as someone who can comfort or help beyond the physical wounds."

"And as for my plan? Well... I want people to know that they can rely on me; and as much as I hate ego-boosting, I find that it is maybe doing some... ugh... publicity things wouldn't be so bad... after all, with some publicity, I can bring people hope even if I'm not physically there..."

-----

Once the interview ended, Naoto escaped the congratulations from their peers. They didn't want it. There was something they had to do alone.

Naoto retreaed to their cubicle, a safe spot to gather their thoughts and to calm down from all the attention, attention is bad--

Naoto took deep breaths in order to calm down. That was the past, dwelling on the past was bad. They missed their older sister so much...

There was a small box with a note on their desk right in front of them. Naoto took the note carefully and quietly read it aloud.

"Hey Naokun... it's Tomomi. I hope you got this package. I saw your interview with Verity earlier. You were amazing and I loved the fact that you didn't ask the usual Verity questions, besides the quirk thing but that’s a thing that everyone wants to know. I love you Naokun, I'm sorry for not being there for you." Naoto read, before hearing someone crying.

They looked around, only to realise that they were the one who was crying.