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And Again

Chapter Text

Death stands crouched on the chain-link fence that separates the streets from the train tracks. Its ink-black skin isn't glossy enough to reflect the light of the sun, instead it seems to absorb all the light around it. There is something majestic about the gold lines running from its bare feet up over the wrap around cloth pinned to the waist reminisce of Ancient Egyptians. The golden lines that seems to be a part of Death's body swirled in intricate shapes, continuing up its toned torso and wrapping around its neck in what looks like gold jewellery that pharaohs would wear. Its neck arched from humanoid into something similar to a pharaoh hound with the headwear that made Death resemble Anubis.

Its huge black wings droops down on the fence, rustling from time to time as it stares at the boy on the train tracks. Glossy black eyes bore into emerald green ones as Death tilts its head.

"Take me this time, please," the boy says to the lurking entity as the ground rumbles beneath him, warning him of the incoming train. The boy closes his eyes. Death stands up as the train ran over the boy, his body smashed to bits. It lifts off the fence as the train leaves and the bloody remains are visible on tracks, gliding down on its wings, almost mocking an angel come to take someone to heaven. It throws its hand in an arc in front of it, a black scythe trailing smoke materialising under its fingers. When it tries to reap the soul of the boy, the scythe passes through empty air, gaining a frustrated growl from Death.

"You failed," a disappointed voice says from the remains as it stitches itself back together. "Again. Well, I guess it's worth a try every now and again in case any existing god decides to have mercy on me."

Death stomps its feet angrily on the ground like a spoiled child who didn't get their way and walks away, fuming. The green-haired boy, Midoriya Izuku, seems to be mocking it for its inability to reap the child. He should've died ten years ago at the age of four when his mother was killed in an accident along with him. Yet he survived. He has a quirk that allows his cells to stitch itself back together, but Death knows that that shouldn't be able to prevent death, only injuries—but what allows the boy to keep living despite his wishes is the fact that when Death swoops in like a vulture to take his soul, it comes up empty.

Death jumps back up to crouch on the fence, watching the near-naked boy walk drowsily over to the bag he placed on the side of the tracks leaning against the fence that he keeps his spare clothing in. When he finishes changing, he vaults the chain-link fence and walks aimlessly in the direction that would lead him further away from his apartment building with Death following not too far behind. Izuku digs around in the old red jacket he's wearing until he finds a forgotten lollipop in the colour scheme of All Might. He smiles and throws the wrapper behind with no regards for the environment, popping it into his mouth.

"Why do you die so unnecessarily?" A voice comes from an alleyway, stopping Izuku in his tracks.

Izuku squints at the darkness cloaking the man hidden in the space between the tall brick buildings. He hums, "Why do most people kill themselves?"

"Various reasons," the voice drawls. "All leading to an unhappiness of some kind."

"Well, I don't really have anything to live for." Izuku twirls the lollipop around with his tongue.

"I assume your quirk doesn't allow you to die?"

"Kinda." Izuku moves over to lean on the mouth of the alley, Death restlessly flapping its wings behind him. "Stitches my atoms back together or sometimes even creates new cells if the first option's not possible. It's usually a slower process if I don't consciously try, but I guess death makes it faster or something. Also some other thing that prevents me from getting diseased—don't know what."

"Do you not see a quirk specialist that can help you with this little predicament?" The owner of the voice walks closer to the light, revealing his weird mask.

"Can't afford it." A wet pop can be heard as Izuku pulls the lollipop out. "Dad only pays for school and the apartment."

"What if there were someone who could take away your quirk?"

Izuku pauses, then shrugs. "The only person I now who could do that is Eraserhead and..." Izuku lets out a noise of nonchalant realisation, pointing his lollipop in front of him. "Do you think if I can somehow find Eraserhead that he'd be interested in assisting me with suicide?"

"I think he'd send you to a psychiatric ward," the stranger says. "Now I don't believe I caught your name, my boy."

Izuku tilts his head in the direction of the alleyway. "Didn't throw it. Besides, don't expect my name if you haven't told me yours."

The man hums, a curious tint to his voice as he says, "People call me Sensei."

Izuku stares. "That's it?"

"I've discarded my birth name long ago."

"That's good enough, I guess," Izuku says, popping the lollipop back in his mouth. "Midoriya Izuku. You're a villain aren't cha?"

"What makes you think that, young Midoriya?"

"You're not denying it." Izuku doesn't drop his gaze from where he assumes Sensei's eyes are supposed to be.

Sensei hums in contemplation of something.

"Your hands are always ready, not in a fighting stance, so I assume your quirk is touch activated?"

It might've just been Izuku, but Sensei looks taken aback for a second, before he laughs, "Very good, my boy. I'm here because I'd like to offer you a job."

"For someone who can't fucking die?"

"For someone who wants to die."

Izuku freezes. "Go on."

"Follow me, young Midoriya."

With no regards for his safety, Izuku follows the man that could be planning to murder him. They don't get far until a black mist appears in front of them. Sensei gestures for Izuku to step through before him, following after into the dark room illuminated by the light of a screen. Sensei gestures again for Izuku to sit, in which he did willingly.

"I want you," Sensei started, "to infiltrate UA. Give us information."

Somewhere in the back of his mind, Izuku tells himself that this is a bad idea. If he accepts, he will infiltrate UA, pass along information to this villain who might even probably bring down a lot of students and heroes.

"What's in it for me?" Izuku asks.

"This." Sensei asks for Izuku's arm, gripping his wrist tightly and running a knife's edge along the skin just deep enough to draw blood. "Heal."

Izuku focuses his mind the way he does when he wants to accelerate his healing. After years and years of being able to heal, it is a strange event to almost burn a hole in your arm by just staring at the wound that won't close. Izuku wrenches his wrist from Sensei's grasp, jumping back a few metres. He reaches down to pull a combat knife from his laced boots, holding it in front of him in a defensive stance.

"You... erased my quirk."

"I took it."

Letting out a bark of laughter, Izuku turns the knife on himself and embeds the blade into his pale freckled neck. He topples, pulling the knife out so he can die faster, his body hitting the floor with an audible thud as he bleeds out. Death jumps in excitement, scythe materialising as it grips it like a child that just got a new toy. Through his hazy vision and pain, Izuku sees Sensei walking over to him and give him a gentle tap on the shoulder. Death gives a frustrated cry as the gaping wound on his neck seals itself up.

So close. He was so close, he wants to cry out his frustration like the dark entity behind him did.

"That's what's in it for you, my boy," Sensei says, his smile malicious.

"I trust I'm not the first one when I say this," Izuku rasps through his dry throat. "Giving me a taste and then taking it away. You are a cruel man, Sensei."

Sensei laughs, a deep and shaking sound. "So, young Midoriya. What is your answer?" He asks as if he doesn't already know the obvious answer.

"Yes," Izuku says, smiling up at the villain. "I'll take the job."

Chapter Text

"Since you're all third years now, it's time for you to think seriously about your future."

Izuku taps his pen on the desk, staring at the almost clean surface. Just yesterday, the wood was covered in letters clearly drawn with a thick black marker pen judging by the blocky strokes. The Kanji and English spelled out many different words including 'whore', 'freak', 'hobo'. Well, he can't really complain, they were mostly true, it just hurts quite a bit to be told directly to your face—or as direct as they'll ever be.

"I'll pass out handouts for your future plans now, but..."

Future plans? Does Izuku even need any when he's planning on dying anyways? Maybe he'll just write exactly what he is going to do on the sheets. Wait, if he does, they might send him to see the counsellor, or worse—a much needed therapist. He looks over to Death, who is perched on a student's desk.

"You're all pretty much planning to go into the hero course, right?"

The whole class exploded in a show of quirks, gaining a wince from Izuku as the previously quiet classroom with only the teacher speaking filled with the excited chattering of aspiring heroes. Izuku tilts his head so he is facing in Kacchan's direction, because he just knows that the blond will snap about how the others probably can't be heroes even if they tried.

"Sensei!"

Ah, there it is.

"Don't lump us all in the same group." The class has already quieted down when Kacchan first spoke up, leaving his voice to clearly reach everyone. "I'm not gonna be stuck at the bottom with the rest of these rejects!"

The others shout out at Kacchan, though they were too afraid to say something actually insulting towards a bully with such a powerful quirk. Izuku sighs as Kacchan calls everyone an extra. This whole world revolves around quirks, doesn't it?

"Oh, if I remember correctly, you want to go to UA High, right, Bakugou?" At the teacher's words, everyone mutters among themselves, impressed at the boy's ambition. To be honest, Izuku wanted to go somewhere as far away from Kacchan as possible, but he's already accepted his sorry fate. It's the price for dying properly. He folds in on himself, covering his head with his arms as the blond jumps on the table and boasts about his mock exam results and runs his mouth about how he's going to surpass All Might. Such conviction.

"Oh yeah," the teacher starts.

Please don't say that aloud.

"Midoriya wanted to go to UA, too, right?"

Kacchan freezes and everyone turns to look at Izuku. Ah, fuck. In some other world where he is quirkless, everyone might've laughed. But when everyone has an idea of his shady activities outside of school and the nature of his quirk, they only stare.

Yeah, like they'd let a delinquent into UA.

Wait, I thought Deku was a villain.

Really? Isn't Midoriya, like, a criminal?

"Hah?" Kacchan throws his hand on Izuku's desk, a string of explosions unleashing from his hands and almost knocking the table over. Izuku places his palm under the desk to keep it from toppling, resulting in it being pushed back a few inches. "You think a criminal could become a hero? And with such a freaky quirk?"

"I have no criminal records, ya know?" Izuku says in way of response, trying to keep his eye from twitching.

"Bakugou!" In another world where he is quirkless, the teacher would not have stopped Kacchan from going off on him, but even if the school thinks he's a delinquent, he still has a quirk, which means the teacher at least has some inkling of respect for him. "You're disrupting the class."

"I'll talk to you later, Deku." Kacchan eyes him.

At the end of the class that Izuku is dreading, he immediately throws all his things into his bag and rushes out, but a hand pulls on the end of his collar and throws him against a wall. Every other student quickly leaves the classroom, including Kacchan's ring of bullies—they are too scared of him to bully him directly the way Kacchan does.

His jaws are clenched—

He's angry—

There's smoke clinging to him—

His fists are raw—

Pupils contracting—

Shut up!

"We're not done talking yet, Deku," he says, looking down his nose at Izuku. Fitting.

"Kacchan, I'm busy—"

"Don't fucking call me that, you useless piece of shit!" Izuku flinches. "Most top-string heroes have stories about them from their school days. I want the shine of being able to be called the only student here to make it to UA. So," Kacchan smiles as he puts a hand on Izuku's shoulder, the fabric burning under his explosive touch. "Don't apply to UA, whore."

"Or what, you'll give me a boo boo?"

At that, Kacchan swings a right hook so fast Izuku doesn't have time to dodge, taking a blast-enhanced fist to the face. He gets knocked off his feet, falling to the ground. He rubs his burned face, the horrible wound that would normally be reported to the teachers healing up in the middle of all his swirling emotions. It is always creepy when other people see it—skin stitching itself back together, the wet snap of bones going back in place.

"Look," Kacchan grits his teeth. "If you wanna be a hero that badly, maybe believe that you'd be right in the head in your next life and take a swan-dive off the roof!"

Then, Izuku snapped so hard he wonders why Kacchan can't here the noise echoing in the hollow under his skin. They don't know that when they tell him to kill himself that he can't. They don't realise that when they do tell him that, they're just rubbing in more salt in the wound, reminding him that he's so useless that he can't even fucking die properly.

"You don't think I've tried?" His voice is so quiet, he wonders if the blond can even hear him.

"Hah?"

"Nothing." Izuku looks away, averting his gaze from his childhood friend's piercing red stare. Kacchan stomps away.

Izuku is afraid to leave for a second before he shakes himself. He can't die; why is he afraid of Bakugou Katsuki? Despite the fact repeatedly playing around in his head as he stumbles out of the room and down the stairs to his locker, there will always still be a part of him that flinches when Kacchan raises a hand.

He shoots a glare at Death as it follows him downstairs. "Thanks for your help, by the way," he snaps. Its glossy black eyes stare back.

Getting to his locker, he opens it and sighs like he always does. His shoes are overflowing with razors, the message clear. He's annoyed—not at the bullying but at the useless tool. He's learned long ago that razors aren't really useful when your body heals as fast as it's ripped apart. Knives and anything with an open blade like that are much more convenient; he can keep the edge embedded in his skin for as long as it takes the pain to become a phantom memory. Still, he keeps a few razor blades in his pocket in case the stares and whispers become overbearing and fill up his head with things that can only be distracted by pain, even if it's just a small and temporary cut.

He grabs a few and walks in a direction that leads him further away from the entrance. His feet takes him to his favourite spot, the school rooftop. He thinks he'll maybe just admire the view, not even jump this time. Instead, he finds his private spot taken by a student he recognises as a second year.

"Hey," he calls out the moment he sees her on the wrong side of the fencing. A surge of panic runs through him, but he pushes the nerves down, bringing up the facade of the person everyone thinks he is. "What the fuck are you doing?"

The girl snaps her head around, eyes widening as she realises who it is. Death squawks, spreading its wings and gliding over to perch next to her.

"You're the delinquent," she says, maybe a little fear in her eyes. Delinquent is maybe a bit far-fetched. He's more like the person who breaks rules and does inappropriate things for extra coins in his pockets during school time. It includes sucking off quiet a lot of people. Though, to be fair, he does look quite a bit like a delinquent—side shave and ear piercings.

"I asked you what you're doing," he repeats.

"I, um..." she averts her eyes. "I'm going to jump."

Puffy eyes—

Keeps pulling down her sleeves—

Hiding something—

Hiding scars—

Skirt not ironed—

Not many  friends—

Not socially awkward—

Shy—

Shut up!

"Why?" He cocks his head in interest as the voice in his head quiets. To her, it will seem like he doesn't care, but is curious as to her reasons. 

"Life's pretty bad for me nowadays." She forces out laughter.

"Do they bully you, too?"

"My dad... I don't think he loves my mom anymore. I know he's cheating, but he always acts the same. My mom doesn't know."

"But that's their business, isn't it?" Izuku feigns boredom. "Besides, is that really it? I don't even have any parents to go home to."

"Uh, well." She bites her lips. "I just... my friend... I think he really hates me. I said some really nasty stuff I didn't mean and he said some things back. He was the only one that kept from loneliness and... he made me not hate myself and I just feel..."

She looks like she's going to break down in tears so Izuku speaks up.

"Look," he says quickly. "You'll make up, and it's not something to die over."

"He hates me!" She shouts.

She's disappointed—

In him—

In her—

In you—

Shut up.

"Look, everyone in this school hates me," he states. He knows that using the 'other people have bigger problems than you' is not a good thing, but he is desperate to get the girl as far way from the edge as possible. "You don't see me jumping off of buildings now, do you?" That is a lie, he does jump off buildings or lie down on train tracks whenever his problems get unbearable.

The girl looks down and seems to snap out of whatever stupor she's in that has convinced her to end her life. She gives a surprised cry as she sees the drop looming beneath her, then throws herself over the railings and onto the concrete rooftop. Death rustles its wings in frustration.

Izuku lets go of a relieved breath he didn't know he was holding. He turns, walking away.

The girl calls to him, "Midoriya-kun! My names is Jissoji Yuri!"

He holds up a hand, not looking back to meet Jissoji's eyes which are probably filled with gratitude. "Death is Permanent, Jissoji."

Another lie.

Chapter Text

Izuku walks through the tunnel, his nose scrunching up in disgust at the weird smell coming from the sewers that wasn't there when he took the route this morning. He dismisses it as unimportant, having no regards for his own safety. Just as the sun is about to hit his face upon leaving the tunnel, his head whips around to the slime coming out from the sewers.

Izuku drops his bag, a butterfly knife immediately slipping from the sleeves of his gakuran, the two handles spinning between his fingers in a practiced motion. The blade flips in the air before the two handles fall into his hand to make one easy grip for Izuku. He readies the balisong along with his feet sliding apart to take on a fighting stance. His eyes scan the formless mass of the slime—or is it mud?—monster. The eyes—that's the only things that doesn't seem to pass right over all the solid objects blocking its way.

"A medium sized invisibility cloak..."

He puts up the facade of not being ready, surprising the slime by jumping forward the moment it attacks, plunging the knife into its eyeball and gaining an ear-splitting scream. He uselessly struggles as the slime encompasses him, pushing its way down his throat.

"You're gonna regret that, you brat!"

He wrenches the knife out of the eye, slashing furiously around him. Izuku has been hurt before many times—his arm cut off, his eyeballs gouged out, three bullet holes in his stomach—but none of them were as horrible as this sensation of being drowned. He tries to pull the fluid out, only to be assured by the villain that his attempts are futile. The slime monster keeps on muttering, but Izuku blocks out any noise, letting his hand fall limp. After all, the quicker he dies, the less he will have to be in pain.

"It's all right now, young man." The new voice snaps him out of his stupor. The words immediately remind him of Sensei, but his head is telling him that it is something else—something awfully familiar. The next words sent a nostalgic pang through his heart. "For I am here!"

"It's all right now," Izuku shouted, purposefully standing in front of the fan so that his makeshift cape blew in the wind. "For I am here!"

"Oh, save me, All Might!" Inko shouted in feigned distress. His mom immediately covered herself with a blanket, turning into the villain. "You won't ruin my plans again, All Might!"

The child chased his mom around the small apartment, the latter giggling as he shouts, "Texas Smash!"

Izuku falls to the ground with a loud thump, his butterfly knife also falling with a clang not too far away from him. He turns himself over to the side, slime spilling up his throat and onto the concrete, anything damaged immediately being sealed up or replaced.

"I'm sorry about that, young man." The man that Izuku realises now is All Might crouches in front of him, setting his school bag down next to him. "I don't usually make big mistakes like that, but I was in high spirits on my day off in a new place. But you were a big help, thanks!"

Izuku stands up, surprising All Might as he doesn't sway on his feet like expected. He rifles through his school bag and pulls out the first piece of paper he finds—only to put it back once he sees the long list of names written there. He finally finds a paper and pen holding it out to the hero, pushing his nervousness down and completely refusing to acknowledge its existence.

"Can I get an autograph?"

What's he doing in Musutafa—

He's in a hurry—

Injury—

Leg—

Shoulder—

Torso—

Left torso—

Why's he in Musutafa—

Shut—

"Of course!" All Might eagerly signs the paper and hands it back.

After saying thanks, the hero nods in welcome and prepares to take off only to be stopped as Izuku says, "Wait!"

"Pros are constantly fighting enemies and time. I have to be on—"

"I have a quick question!"

All Might pauses, nodding slowly, gesturing for him to go on.

Izuku opens his mouth, but nothing comes out. Afraid to waste any more of the hero's time, he closes it and laughs. "Never mind, it was pretty stupid anyways."

Izuku turns around and walks away, leaving a confused All Might.

Turns out meeting your childhood idol is pretty underwhelming.


 Izuku walks into the warehouse, already changed from his school uniform into a Hawks themed hoodie. His feet takes him past all the couches in the warehouse where shady looking men sit and talk. The moment they see him, their faces brighten up.

"Hey, Midoriya!" The one with a hundred piercings shouts from his spot on the couch. There are three people standing around him, probably pissed at him for taking up the whole three seats on the piece of furniture. When they hear his name, the three turns and waves to him.

"Hi, Kyoya-san, Kyoya-kun, Tachibana-kun, Urushido-chan." He waves back to them.

"Hey," the boy standing over Kyoya Masamune says. His appearance is what Masamune would've looked like if he wasn't full of piercings. "Am I Kyoya-kun or Kyoya-san!"

"Masafumi is Kyoya-kun," Izuku says.

"Hah!" Masafumi shouts, pointing to Masamune. "I'm closer to him than you!"

"You idiot," Masamune says, flipping onto his stomach and resting his chin in the palm of his hand, pushing away Urushido who is trying to squeeze onto the worn couch. "It just means he respects me more."

"Yeah, right."

Izuku continues walking, waving left and right, not bothering to greet the people who seems to be high up in the cloud at the moment. Finally, he reaches a table with a golf bag set on top. Sitting on a chair with his feet up on the table is a man sporting glasses that seem almost menacing if you aren't used to his presence.

"Eight-ball-san," Izuku says in acknowledgment as he slings the golf bag over his shoulders.

Eight-ball snaps out of the daze he was in, nodding to his young dealer. "Tachibana give you the list the other night?"

"Yah." Izuku digs around in the pocket of his hoodie, pulling out a bunched up wad of paper, smoothing it out and showing it to his boss. With that small interaction done, he turns and heads for the exit while he continues to dig through pockets. "Hey, Fuku-san!"

A man covered almost entirely in tattoos turns around at the mention of Izuku's shortened names for Fukutsuchi.

"You got any candy?"

"What you gonna give me for it?" He holds up three lollipops, all Fatgum themed.

That's the thing about the underground. Everyone here are friendly with each other, they all know your mom's name, what quirk you have, your role there, but the supposed friendships are all facades. They give nothing for free. People you consider your friends will not hesitate to stab you in the back if they are given a chance of survival.

Izuku's eyes dart around the room, letting the veil that keeps his thoughts from going into overdrive slip a bit. He zeroes in on one person.

New haircut—

Glancing since you came in the room—

Not at you—

At Fukutsuchi—

Whenever he starts texting—

Pursed lips—

Contemplation—

Newly shined shoes—

Can't keep his eyes off the big clock—

"Your ex is going on a date with Horie-san tonight."

Fukutsuchi's face turns to rage as he spins on the man sitting on the opposite couch, typing away at his computer. "Nikko, you traitor!"

Horie looks up, his eye widening as he sees the hulking mass of six-foot-two come charging at him. He abandons his computer in favour of vaulting over the backseat of his couch and running away as fast as he can. Cracks appear on the floor as Horie's foot meets the ground, his weight increasing unconsciously as a result of his quirk. Izuku finds he does that whenever his emotions derail.

The light was fixed this morning—

Hinata is sick—

Masamune taking over her shift—

The girl over there owns a small dog—

She works—

She worked at a restau—

Eight-ball's mother just visited yesterday—

The veil snaps back up.

Izuku pockets the three lollipops left alone on the couch previously occupied by Fukutsuchi and walks to the exit. He unwraps one as he stands outside the warehouse, sticking it in his gob. His fingers search for the paper in his pockets—the very same paper filled with names that he almost showed to All Might. Green eyes scan the names, glad that Tachibana orders his lists from who is closest to the warehouse, so he doesn't have to do it himself.

He sighs, tightening his grip on the bag slung over his shoulders. Heading for the place belonging to the first name on the list, he hums a rock tune he heard on the radio that blares in the warehouse. It isn't too far away; only a five minutes walk. It's a dingy apartment, cheap enough for people who make money off dishonest professions. He knocks.

The door opens after the third knock.

"Yo, Dabi," Izuku says.

Can't wait to get high—

Friends over—

"Got the good stuff?" Dabi's eyes trail to the golf bag.

Izuku swings the bag around to his front, unzipping it to reveal the countless packs of white powder. He steps into the space that Dabi makes for him in the shelter of the doorway, so it is safe for him take out the packs to hand to the villain. Dabi grabs a stack of cash, pushing it into the younger boy's hands and turning away.

"Close the door on your way out."

Izuku grins at the cash bound together by an elastic band as he counts it. He appreciates that Dabi actually assembles it neatly, unlike some people who just shove a fistful of notes in his face or a ziplock bag full of thousand yen notes. It's hard to count.

The other things that made him grin is the sight of the money. He might not receive all of it but there's a nice feeling you get when you handle a lot of money. Most people would be nervous, but not Izuku—he's not afraid that someone will steal it, after all, he has no qualms risking his infinite lives to get it back (though it's a hassle still).

He starts humming again as he carefully places the money in the bag, the rest of his trips filled with a giddy bounce to his steps, the thoughts of what privileges he can get with his salary filling his mind and overtaking any worries he has about UA.

Chapter Text

Izuku slides to a halt in front of a merch store. His jaw hangs open as he spots the limited edition Hawks figurine and an Eraserhead keychain in the display window. The Hawks figure, he's been trying to find for an insanely long time, so he's more than giddy to get it, but when he sees the Eraserhead keychain, a whole lot of surprise takes him. The underground hero is not well-known due to his aversion to being a public figure, so it is insanely rare for him to have any merchandise.

Izuku glances in the direction of the school, then continues searching the display. He was planning on doing the exam first and then coming back to get it, but there is a very likely chance of someone getting it before him, so he heads inside the store.

He immediately beelines for his objective, hurrying in case any of the two boys and a woman inside the store will try to get the figure. A sense of accomplishment wells up inside him, pushing him to sport a small smile as he looks at the two. These are the kinds of things that he spends his salary on—not food, not better household appliances, not better bedding, not even weapons. It's the little pleasures like this that's worth spending money on.

Of course, he avoids thinking about what would happen to them once he's dead. Maybe he'll donate them first.

He pays for the merch, having the figure wrapped in paper and stuffed into his bag while clipping on the keychain to add to the countless he already has on his bag. He scrolls through the tabs in his brain to find out where he was going before he was distracted. He jumps, giving a cry as he realises he could be late to the entrance exam.

Death is oddly absent.

Thankfully, he gets there at the very last minute. He finds a seat, squeezing into the back. Keeping one ear on the information provided by Present Mic, Izuku's eyes dart around the atrium crossing off every blond he spots until he zeroes in on the very familiar back of a spiky haired head. He sighs, looking back up at the loud pro-hero.

He should be fine today. He's got a good grip on his veil and he can physically exert himself beyond what's mortally possible—

Did he say robots?


He kept his score at an average for what he supposes will get him to pass into 1A. He could just get into the general education course with no effort whatsoever but Sensei insists that the hero course provides much more information and will get him to the end of their deal faster. 

Now, in front of the giant gate while waiting to take the physical bit of the exam after he's changed into some flexible clothing, he has his eyes closed so he wouldn't try to find out everything he can about the other participants. After all, he's not competing—there's nothing to compete for.

"Are you a delinquent?" A stiff voice comes from behind him. "You shouldn't dress like that while trying to become a hero!"

"Ne~" Izuku drawls at the boy—a dark haired one—elite most probably. "Do I really look that much like a delinquent?"

"It's not appropriate to dress like that to school!" His hands make a chopping motion.

Izuku maintains eye contact for ten seconds before sighing at the conviction in his face. Are piercings really that bad? Or is it just his side-shave that accentuates it? "I apologise." His voice drips with sarcasm. "I won't dress like this anymore, mom."

Liar.

"Thank you for your cooperation." He doesn't seem to have noticed what Izuku added at the end as he walks away. Izuku gets back to thinking.

It can't just be destroying—

Heroic qualities—

Least damage to surroundings—

No—

Saving people—

A secret—

"Start!"

The veil comes down and Izuku starts running.

The countdown—

Damn—

I missed it—

Now the others are more prepared than—

"What's wrong?" Present Mic's voice echoes across the battleground. "There are no countdowns in real fights! That kid's got the right idea!"

Wait, there wasn't—

Robot—

The moment the robots comes into view, the world slows down. Right now, it's just him and his thoughts.

Nineteen possible routes for escape—

Too dangerous—

Twelve possible—

Ten—

The pipe's too unstable—

Seven—

Convenience store with the roof jutted out—

High ground—

Route narrowed down—

One—

Time continues to run normally in Izuku's mind as he jumps to the side to avoid the one-pointer. He vaults onto the trash can, grabbing the bit of loose brick and hauling himself up onto the balcony above what looks be an imitation of a convenience store. He hops onto the railings, running along the building. Time slows again as he spots two one-pointers and a two pointer surrounding a guys with what looks to be a sword-like arm.

Three different types of cats—

An older sibling—

Tea-drinker—

Tracksuit not ironed—

No mother—

Weed?

The robot! Not the person!

Izuku mentally slaps himself as he loses precious split seconds.

Openings—

Arm socket—

Neck—

Fake bullets—

Though can interfere with—

The wheels—

He propels himself off the building, landing on one of the robots. He winces as he hears his left foot shatter, but almost sighs in relief as he hits the dial of his quirk up to the max, the bones stitching itself back together. Nails rips off and bones crunch as Izuku squeezes his fingers into the space between the barrels of the robot's arm, the pain bringing tears to his eyes. The robot starts shooting, its other arm craning to try and get him off its back, but as one arm shoots, the other does as well. Fortunately, Izuku's hold on the other arm has directed its line of fire towards the other robot's wheels. Said robot spins a moment before slipping and crashing into the other one.

Izuku smiles in triumphant, ignoring the bruises and broken bones that heal before the pain can be registered in his mind. He rips his hand away from where he had it squeezed between the barrels. He then reaches into the little space between the metal plate of its torso and its neck, feeling around as the robot ignore the other person entirely and focuses on trying to shake him off. Ignoring a few burns and some cuts, Izuku's hand close around a set of wires—then he rips them out entirely. 

Sparks fly and before the robot falls, he rips off a metal plate.

Four points plus however saving people are scored

When he is flung off, he lands in someone's arms. He looks up to find someone masked—and with multiple limbs.

Strong—

Chivalrous—

He can create any extra exterior body parts—

Or can he also do  interior—

Can he create hearts—

Donate organs—

"If it wouldn't trouble you," Izuku says. "Can you please throw me onto the roof?"

The stranger's eyes widen before nodding when Izuku assures him it is part of his quirk. He holds on to Izuku's legs, making him dangle upside downwards a moment before spinning around, his grip on the metal plate tightening. When gained enough momentum, he lets go, flinging him up high.

Streamline—

Spread eagle now—

You're going too fast—

Izuku sails over the rooftops, eyes landing on the group of three pointers. He calculates where he should land, almost smiling when his path would be crossed with a robot chasing someone. He holds the metal plate in front of him.

The three pointer falls as he crashes into it.

Concussion—

Cracked skull—

Three ribs—

Dislocated arm—

All healed.

Though his clothes are a bit torn, he stands up abruptly and swings the dented plate—now with a considerably more jagged edge—into the other looming robot. When that one falls, he picks up a sharp piece of metal to go with his shield.

Two more go down as he jams the stick into sockets and blocks blows—though not to say he didn't get extremely injured on the way.

Sixteen points and some for saving people.

Izuku barks out a laugh as he looks at his get up, all the while his brain going into overdrive.

Gravity quirk—

Speed quirk—

Ingenium's brother—

That rumbling—

Zero-pointer coming—

"What now?" He lets out a shaky breath. "Am I gonna fight a dragon and save a princess?"

Izuku turns his head to where he supposes the zero-pointer will—

Holy what in the name of actual fuck are they thinking?

The zero-pointer stands tall—too tall above the buildings, its head the size of a convenience store. Izuku starts to turn around.

"Nope," he says, laughter shaking his voice. "Fuck this. I'm not going to. No way."

People starts running, ignoring everyone trapped under rubble. When Izuku picks up these, he realises. The zero-pointer, an overwhelming threat, will bring out the fear in everyone and finally reveal their true colours—whether they have the aspects of a hero or they're just too fixated on self preservation (or the principal is just a sadistic little shit that cackles maniacally while watching people suffer, but of course, that is highly unlikely but not entirely implausible nonetheless).

Unless, of course, one person just happens to have no sense of survival whatsoever. 

Izuku grabs a boy's elbow, steadying him before he trips on his face. He turns around, scanning the scene.

Girl with low stamina—

Boy with sprained ankle—

Girl slow—

Why is she slow—

Effect of her quirk—

Only two minutes left—

Sixteen points—

Save them for more points—

Closest to the robot—

Trapped under rubble—

Gravity quirk—

Pink finger pads—

Touch activated—

Izuku runs.

"What are you doing?" A girl leaning against a lamp post asks. She's low on stamina.

"The alleyway up ahead!" Izuku shouts to her. "Get to the other street through there, it's safer."

"Let—" she takes a deep breath— "—me help.

"You're gonna kill yourself."

"Then what are you doing?"

Izuku gives a smile, saying, "I'm off to slay a dragon."


Shouta stares at the screen, internally cursing himself for being so fixated on this one student because his eyes are going to be very dry from staring at computer screens for so long.

Midoriya Izuku. All that's written on his quirk is Heals self. No name for it. Yet, despite his quirk being offensively lacking, he still manages to make use of it by pushing his body to the extremes and seemingly breaking down time and time again just to heal in the end. From what Shouta can see, the kid has no sense of self-preservation.

And now, he's running towards the zero-pointer with a sharp metal stick and a thin shield.

Despite the situation, he can't help but let out a breath of laughter at the amused expression on the boy's face.

"What's he doing?" Midnight says, staring at Midoriya quizzically.

"Yagi-san," Shouta hears Nedzu say as he tries to get the attention of All Might. "Look at that one."

Midoriya crouches next to the girl—who is crying—and lifts the block of cement. He strains under the weight, but she manages to crawl out. He lets the block drop and slings the girl's arm around his shoulders.

While the screens show events happening around the battlegrounds, Nedzu pulls up one screen and focuses the camera on the boy. All Might—and Shouta, unbeknownst to him—is paying that screen special attention.

The robot swings its huge arms around in a wide arc, crumbling a building as it hits the concrete. Debris flies making the green-haired boy's head snap in the direction where the zero-pointer's arms had crashed into. His face seems to blank for a moment before he snaps to reality and throws the girl to the side. A huge piece of concrete hits him.

The girl's mouth opens in what is probably a scream. And somehow, as she folds in on herself and covers her head with her arms, she seems to have landed in a spot that will go entirely untouched by any straying debris.

"Time up!"

The zero-pointer's red eyes shutters as the light goes out.


"Bad dragon," Izuku mumbles as he pushes the huge slab of concrete off of him. The pain subsides as his face heals over itself, not even a single scar left. This exam is the most painful thing he's ever experienced, from crushing his fingers, breaking his ribs more than four times, to getting his head smashed in twice, messy up his knee countless times, and dying twice. He didn't hear the signal that ends the exam but he's been mentally keeping count in his head so he knows.

 The veil had already been put back the moment the debris turned his head to ketchup.

The veil; that is one thing that has always been present in his head—the one thing he has always been aware of. The veil is thin. It dilutes the information, blurs it so the voice in his head—a voice identical to his—doesn't drown out his thoughts and opinions, overloading it with facts. He sees the owner of the voice sometimes—Deku, he calls him. He appears in reflections, even now in the windows of the fake buildings surrounding him, glaring at him with dragon-like eyes; a sea of fire encompassing the sclera, complete with a thin slit for pupils, reminding him of his f—

"Oh dear." A distressed elderly voice snaps Izuku out of his daze after death. When he turns to look at the owner, he almost jumps back when he sees a small lady with eerily familiar wings. He realises a moment later that Death is standing behind her. She rushes over. "That's an awful lot of blood, let me heal you."

"That's fine, ma'am," he says, holding a hand up. "I healed myself."

"Oh, such a useful quirk." Her voice is impressed for a moment before she hits him over the head with her cane. "Don't ever do something reckless like that again! Your doctor should've told you, self-healing quirks can never bring back the dead, dear."

Izuku gives a tight-lipped smile. "Yeah. I know."

A voice whispers at the back of his mind, past the veil.

Liar.

Chapter Text

Izuku jerks awake at the first of the three knocks. He makes no noise save for a short gasp, head snapping in the direction of the door as he readies the gun he keeps beside his pillow. After years of working with such dangerous connections, he's learned to always be on alert even when you're not conscious.

Wet window—

Rained approximately one hour ago—

Sun's halfway shining on the fridge—

Asleep for five hours—

The knock comes again and Izuku slips off the bed, his footsteps silent as his bare feet glides across the small and cramped apartment to the door.

Knocks from bottom end of fist—

Not the landlady

He pushes the barrel end of the gun to the peeling plaster of the wall, out of sight of whoever will be on the other end of the door, but still close and ready enough so that he can defend himself from whoever's on the other side. He might not be able to die but they would most likely interrogate him right in his apartment and he sure as hell doesn't want to stain the carpet. Oh, and torture's no fun either.

The door cracks open, the chain still connected. Still, what good will than thin imitation of safety do to a well planned kick?

"Hey, dude." Orange eyes meet his. Izuku visibly relaxes as he sees the familiar face and hears the familiar voice of Tachibana.

Dressed to go out—

Coffee stain—

Bulge in his pocket—

A mask there—

Big bag—

Smells of gasoline—

He's going to burn down—

"Why are you making Molotov cocktails?"

"Jeez, don't be snappy." Tachibana holds up his hands. "Me, Urushido, the twins, and Hinata are gonna have some fun tonight!"

Izuku resists the urge to correct his grammar. "With arson?"

Micro expression of surprise—

"Dude, you never complained before."

"Well, you enticed me with the offer of burning off some frustration. Not fun."

"Ugh, fine." Tachibana drags a hand down his face. "And you look like a hermit hiding behind that door."

"Whatever," Izuku huffs. As Tachibana turns away, he notices something. "Hey, Tachibana-kun."

The older boy turns around, "You changed your mind?"

"How's your brother?"

Involuntary face of disgust and—

Slight anger—

Neutralised expression now—

"He's in the hospital." With that he turns and strides away.

Izuku closes the door. He's known that Tachibana hates his brother with a burning passion and the longer Izuku studies him, the clearer the events of his day becomes. He might go back to the hospital where his brother is and finish off what he started. Izuku won't stop him.

Letter

His attention zones in on the letter lying below him that was probably slid from under the door. Izuku crouches and picks it up, recognising the UA emblem immediately. There is a slight anti-climax to getting a letter from the most prestigious school in Japan. Before he knows it, a sigh leaves his lips and he flips out a butterfly knife, spinning the blade between his fingers before sliding it under the wax and neatly opening the letter. In it is a small round device Izuku registers as a hologram projector.

It turns on and Izuku drops it, jumping back as the huge projection of All Might comes on.

"I am here as a projection!" His loud voice thunders through the room.

All might coming to town—

When a school year ends—

All might on screen—

A staff at UA—

"I will become a teacher at UA, and I look froward to teaching you!"

"I bet that's a default that you have to say," Izuku talks to himself.

"You passed the written exam with a stunning 79 percent!"

"I wasn't even trying."

"On the practical exam, you earned 16 points! While normally, that shouldn't be enough to pass..."

"Here comes the catch."

"If that was all to it. I am also an entertainer. Look at this video!"

All Might points to the screen beside him where a recording of the girl he saved appears. Izuku thought he was going to explain about the points you get for saving people, but this takes him by surprise.

She asks Present Mic to give some of her points to the 'delinquent looking boy with the freckles' because she suspects he wasted a lot of time saving her. Izuku grumbles something about pink-cheeks not having any faith in his skills, walking over to start the kettle. He listens to All Might talk about the catch, the hero-points.

"Ah," Izuku says as he drops a teabag into his favourite Ganga Orca mug. "I should've figured thats what they were called if the others are called villain-points." It isn't rare for him to talk to himself when he's alone, but its unusual when he's not talking to that thing behind the veil.

Once the leaderboard shows up on the hologram, Izuku gives a non-committal grunt. His score was high enough to pass, but low enough that it doesn't appear on the top-ten. As expected, Kacchan reigns from the top of the first-years with zero hero-points and a massive amount of villain-points. Izuku sighs, throwing the device used to project the hologram into the bin. Yay.

Pathetic.

Izuku snaps his attention to his reflection on the small mirror he has on the door. Staring at him is not the usual emerald-green eyes but fiery sclera complete with slit pupils.

"Deku." That's the name he gives this invisible apparition—this hallucination.

Such irony, isn't it?

"Shut the fuck up." He pours the boiling hot water into the mug rather forcefully, spilling some over the side.

Deku is supposed to mean useless, and yet... Deku climbs out of the mirror, body fluid like an asp ready to strike. His hands come to rest on Izuku's neck and although he couldn't feel it, he freezes as though an enemy is holding a knife to his throat. You can't do anything without me.

"Why don't you give yourself a name then?" Izuku spits out, stalking out of the hallucination's grip and to sit on the old worn couch, taking his mug with him. They've repeated this cycle of exchanges many, many times before that now every time they do it again, Izuku repeats the last encounter word-perfect.

Oh, but you know I  can't. I am you and as long as you keep—

"—thinking of you as Deku, you would always be Deku. Yeah. Trust me, I heard." Sarcasm drips from Izuku's every word.

Deku sidles onto the coffee table, legs crossing in a matter not too different from... him.

Do you really think that Sensei is going to save your soul? Don't you see all the signs of manipulation in his body language?

Izuku's lips tighten along with his grip on the mug he was resting on the couch's armrest. "How could I not with you warning me about it at all times, oh wise-old-one?"

Deku's mouth pulls back in a sneer. Don't get smart with me. You're just a hero wannabe—as if you can save anyone. I'm starting to doubt your reasons for going to UA. Do you really want to end your miserable excuse for a life or are you just jumping at any chance to be a hero without straying from your so called beliefs?

"Oh, shut it, you obnoxious brat."

In the end, you'll never truly be a hero. The only reason you even saved pink-cheeks is because it'll earn you more points. Face it, no matter how much you try and pretend, you'll never truly be able to save anyone.

"Stop." Izuku throws his head back, gritting his teeth.

They'll become your friends and ignore all the bad things about you, your insanity, your mumbling, your creepy eyes—they'll make friends with you because the only good thing you did was get in the heroics course. You didn't even do that on your own—you needed my help.

"Please, stop." Izuku says louder, verging on shouting.

You know what's most pathetic, though? He doesn't stop. They'll believe it.

"Stop!"

They'll believe every word that comes out of your mouth because someone from the hero course must be a saint, right? Kacchan will tell them about you, about how crazy you are, making suicide jokes, talking to yourself—to me. And they won't believe him because he's rude, because he comes in and believes that he will fly right to the top because he doesn't realise yet that he's just a big fish in an even bigger ocean now that he's moved out of the pond of smaller fish. They won't believe him but they'll believe you.

"Please..." Izuku's voice breaks as he covers his eyes with his trembling hands.

Because you're going to be nice to them and smile a big fake, plastic smile to get them to do what you want—and deep down, you know that don't you? You know that no matter how you dress, all you have to do is smile and they'll kneel down at your throne, unaware it is built on lies. You know and you use them how you like—

A sob escapes Izuku's lips and Deku grows silent. It's always like this. It's always that damned voice—the same voice he hears when he opens his mouth—telling him what he already knows but doesn't acknowledge. They always break him, and when they do, that damned dragon apparition disappears like Death does every now and then.

Izuku takes a deep breath, trying to calm the trembling and short, laboured breaths. He knows what to do, to silence the voice and the pain in his mind, yet he didn't do it this time. His eyes settle on the row of knives in the holder sitting on the counter but refrains from jumping for it.

He then stands up, leaving the mug on the coffee table. He goes over to the bedroom space and grabs two things before coming back and sinking back into the couch. He dials a number on the phone and lays it in the space on the couch next to him. As it's calling, Izuku holds up the other object and empties the chambers of the pistol, saving one bullet and placing it back in as the rest clatter to the floor.

He spins the chambers.

"This is the police, how may we help you?" Comes the voice on the other side of the line. 

Click. He pulls the pistol away from his temple.

Before answering, Izuku spins the chambers once. "Hello, um," he feigns a worried voice.

All you have to do is smile and they'll kneel down at your throne, unaware it is built on lies.

"I saw some people and I overheard them talking about burning down a building."

Click.

"What's your name, please?" 

Izuku spins the chambers again. "Um, it's Saaki Rin, ma'am."

"Did they specify where they're going to?"

Click.

"Uh, um. I think it's Oikawa Inc's Warehouse 02. Ma'am." The chambers are spun. "They have Molotov cocktails."

"Thank—" Izuku throws the phone on the ground and crushes it. He pulls the trigger one last time.

BANG.

Chapter Text

Izuku cried.

After mom died, he just couldn't stop seeing things. Not just some things—everything. He saw the little left shoulder-shrug that indicated the speaker wasn't sure of what they were saying when the policeman told him his mom was alright. He saw the age of a discarded pipe on the streets just by looking. He knew a woman smoked and had three husbands from her appearance, her voice. He couldn't think.

His head hurt so damn much. It was overloaded with information, with little details he didn't need. Maybe it was his head's way of punishing him for not being able to save mom (He still thinks that even to today).

Because he screamed and cried when he went into his densely furnished room, his dad put him in a plain room with only a bed as furnishing. It almost made him look like a prisoner, a parallel to the state of his mind right now.

And right now, Izuku cried.

Door opening—

Hisashi's footsteps—

Sun set an hour—

Izuku whimpered and squeezed his eyes shut so he didn't see the subtle lump in Dad's coat pocket where he kept his business cards, or the wet cuffs of his trousers that told him it had rained, or that he just came back a minute ago, or the way he held himself like he was in the military, the callouses that shouldn't be there, faded scars on his hands that told Izuku his dad had practiced with knives before.

"Izuku." Dad had knelt down by his bedside and placed a gentle hand on Izuku's trembling form. "Will you tell me more about this, now?" His voice was so soft.

Izuku shook his head. "I-i-i can't make-construct-build-create-form—" Izuku took a deep, shuddering breath as he tried to speak— "term-phrase-sentence..."

I can't form sentences. Dad understood.

"Does your head hurt, Izuku?" So soft.

Izuku only nodded in answer.

"Do you know what a filter is?"

Izuku shook his head. For a four-year-old, he had a pretty extensive grammar, but he never heard of the word.

Dad gave a low hum (Izuku doesn't know when he himself picked up that gesture) . "Imagine a sieve—it's a bowl with tiny holes in it."

Izuku did. It was hard not to with a mind like that.

"Imagine you put sand in it—you learned about how they were tiny rocks, right?—only the smaller rocks go through and it leaves all the bigger ones inside the bowl."

The picture played in his mind in perfect clarity—constructed like he'd actually seen it before.

"Now imagine a filter—a sieve—inside your head."

Izuku did.

"Then imagine a person. Another you, perhaps. Imagine they are the one who sees everything."

"W-what?" The word came out as a meek squeak.

"Another you. Your friend who sees everything and tells you things."

"Why?"

"Trust me." Izuku could hear the sad smile in his voice. "Now, another you."

Izuku opened his eyes slowly as he did what his dad instructed. The first things he saw were Hisashi's narrow and fiery dragon eyes—flame-like sclera and slit pupils. Izuku himself didn't inherit those traits, but rather, he got his mother's round green eyes.

Those eyes were doubled. Izuku himself stood next to his dad, but unlike the real Izuku, he had eyes just like Hisashi. When he grinned it was genuine (oh, how the world has changed).

The information kept coming though, not leaving any room for Izuku to process this double—hallucination, his mind supplied—or for his opinions and thoughts about this to register (thinking back now, he suspected Hisashi knew this little detail).

"Now place the filter in front of your friend."

Izuku imagined him, inside of his mind and sitting across from the other him, the latter smiling at the very uncomfortable former. He stood up in the figurative space, the crowded physical appearance of it not registering in his mind. He held up a veil and hung it from a screen that surrounded the apparition sitting down.

The world went quiet.


This time, Izuku does not wake with a jerk, but rather, a slow opening of his eyes as the morning sun kisses his face. He turns—and promptly falls off the bed. After a few swears and a fair bit of struggling, he stands up—then tips over onto the ground again. This time, he stays with the side of his face pressed against the rough flooring, glaring at the clock crammed into the small space on the wall and decides he can afford to stay there for another five minutes.

Well, that's what he thought until he looks to the rest of the room—or whatever he can see through the little gap in the the sliding doors. He doesn't need Deku to be able to notice an object placed on his kitchen counter.

Silent, he stands up, the clumsy steps he took before seem drunk compared to the careful and soft steps he takes as he glides across the tatami matts on the floor of his bedroom. As he comes closer to the object, he realises it's a knife and hisses—he knows exactly who left this. He picks up the note held under the sheathed blade, a five yen coin sliding off the paper.

He reads the familiar strokes written in English instead of Japanese:

You should smile more. It makes people do what you want.

Izuku's lips pull into a snarl as his fist closes over the piece of paper. He walks over to a shelf over his bed—it's not a long walk considering the cramped space of his apartment—and places the note in a box filled with similar-sized paper, and the five yen coin in a box of similar content. It is not a sentiment, he tells himself, but rather a routine.

He holds the knife up now, pulling the blade out with a satisfying whine. He recognises the type immediately, a breath catching in his throat. British Commando Knife, black carbon steel most likely, and a whole 6 inch that should be illegal in Japan—yet here it is in his hands. The whole blade should be beautiful save for the carvings on the steel. It's neatly carved, and someone who sees this without context would've found it pretty nonetheless, but not him.

Beautifully carved on it is the kanji for 'smile'.

All you have to do is smile and they'll kneel down at your throne, unaware it is built on lies.

"Tch." Izuku shakes away the memory of the voice that doesn't yet does at the same time belong to him.

It's a beautiful knife, truly, but the sentiment it carries is not. Izuku considers throwing it away to spite him, but decides against it and places it into the collection he has on the wardrobe door.

Now, after making coffee and putting on his school uniform, he struggles to tie a tie. In the years by, he's never had a present dad that would teach how to tie one, or how to shave, or take him to baseball games. All he's learnt from the bastard is the positions of every artery, main or not, and twenty-five different ways to kills someone bare-handed, plus another ten with a knife. The rest, he learnt from Deku's observation.

That's right. The parasite slithers out from behind the veil.

"Oh, leave me alone, it's too early," Izuku snarls. 

Give me control.

"I think the fuck not," Izuku sing-songs. "And go away. I can't see what I'm doing if you take up my reflection."

Deku, in fact, did not go away.

You need me. Without me, you useless piece of shit can't even tie a tie. Let me tell you—use me because you can't do it yourself.

Izuku sighs, mentally pulling the veil over the demon spawn. In a better state of mind, it's much easier to control the apparition.

Taking one last look at the hopeless mess that is his tie, Izuku yanks it off his neck and throws it onto his bed.

He then sits down in front of his floor mirror to work on his piercings. He pulls a box off the top of a pile of boxes (it's a small apartment, he's not gonna lay things out neatly) and sets it down in front of him. As he turns the dial down of his quirk, threading a needle into and through the top layer of his skin, he bites his lips at the pain, drawing blood. He thinks of the glasses boy from the entrance exam for a second before continuing to re-pierce his skin like he does every morning. He might be a lazy ass at times, but he's willing to suffer for the aesthetics.

After he finishes—a pair through his helix, a pair on above his cheekbones, and another above his eyebrows—he surveys himself in the mirror. He imagines Deku in front of him and stuck his tongue and middle finger out at the reflection before grabbing his Present Mic-themed travel mug and heading out the door. His lips quirk up in a mockery of a grin as he feels the butterfly knives up his sleeves and the 'smile' Commando knife tucked into the combat boots he wears over his long trousers.

Over all the self-deprecating thoughts, he thinks, when people look at me, they'll think I'm the coolest in the room.

Laughter bounces around in his mind when the harmless thought finishes—oh, how disappointed they'll be.

Oh, fuck off.


Izuku stands unimpressed at UA's modesty as he stares at the huge door. He supposes some people might have large quirks but this... it's just obnoxious. He sighs and quietly opens the door.

"Don't put your feet on the desk!"

"Hah?"

He almost shouts in frustration, but he supposes it's to be expected. Someone from an elite school—

Shoes... shined?

Short-sighted—

A brother—

Ingenium's brother—

Quirk: Engine—

Izuku knocks his had silently against the door to silent the voice in his head. Careful not to get the attention of everyone who's focused on the two arguing students, he glides over to an empty seat—right behind Kacchan. He supposes he can take the other one, but he prefers a spot where Kacchan would be too lazy to turn and confront him.

"Don't you think that's rude to the UA upperclassmen and the people who made the desk?"

And he's gonna call Ingenium's brother an extra.

"Nope. What Junior High did you go to, you side character?"

Ehh, close enough.

The elite decides mistakenly that this is a friendly gesture from the blond and takes it as a cue to introduce himself.

"I'm from Somei Private Academy. My name is Iida Tenya."

"Somei? So you're a damn—"

"Elite," Izuku says at the same time as Kacchan. Said boy turns over, teeth bared. 

"What the fuck are you even doing here, useless Deku?"

"Watch your profanity—" Iida cuts off when he see Izuku, the whole class barely holding laughter at his unintentional reference. "You..."

Eyes bore into Izuku, making his skin crawl as he reflexively curls in on himself.

Stoplookingatmestoplookingatmestop—

"Good morning!"
.
H̢̧̢̠̬̯͙̱̺̎̀̓̓͆̉͟͡ȩ̸̲̭̠̝̹̐̂͒̾͌̈́͟͞ͅ'̧̡̖̳̙͚̥̯͈̀͒̓̉̀͊͟͞s̶̛̫͍͎̘̝̯̖̬̳̼̽̏͂͌̀̑͡j̷̪̥͈̦͛̄̋̀̾̚͢ǔ̸͇̺̰̬̰̬͍̫̽̇̔͋͜s̵̛̱̺̲͎͍͔̬͎͆͗͒͒͋̈̚͜͟t͓̳͔̦̝̓̀͂̏̂̾͒b̸̤̯̜̭̙̿͌̑̇̕͟͡ͅḛ̘͉͖̫̯̒̀͂̈̆i̴̖̹͚̦̜̩̘̼̓͗͗͐͑̋̎̈͞n̵̡̛͖̪̹̗̥̬̼͒̔̉͒̈͗̚͜͜͠͞g̶̨̰̹̲̟͔̫͉̿̀̃̈́̄̚p̨̛̟̯̝̦̰͂͋̇͘͟ǫ̸̨͖͔͖͇̼̲̿̀̍͛̍͢͝l̷̖̺͇̺̹̞̞͇̀̏̍̏̽̊̾̅͝i̢͇̠̗̳̯̜̣̍͛͌̍͌t̶̢͉̗͎̟͆̓̂̇͑̒̍ͅẹ̷̡̨̜͇̯̓̎́̊̾,̴̨̧̭̳̗̞̘̓̓̏̔̎̈́̐͜m̸̡̼̞̦̫̜̪͇̓̔̃̆̽́̃̈́́à̧͓͍͙͚͎̭̘͈̏̀̈̇̐͗̽̄͟͞ý̵̩̺̻̰̻̝̬̱̼̍̿̽͋͜͠b̵̧̻̝̜̩̮͕̯̄̈̋͋̀̕͟ͅe̸̡̹̘̠̘̺̽̍̋̿̂̀ͅt̷͔͓̹͉͈̺͈͎̮͌͐̎́̊̒͢h̴̪̣͕̱̠̩͉̻̥̍̓̀͐̀͛̀̔͜e̦̹̯̳̣̗͍̓̒͐̂̍́̑̈͞y̡͖̠̦͈͂̒̀̎͂̿͠'̷̳̭͓̼͒̑̅͌͟͡r̶̲̰̰̩͈̹̠̠̄͛̄̒͆̓͟͟e̴̼̠̦͔̙̮̓͐͗͊̒͋̐̕̚͜͜ä̧̻̰̞͖͓̩̾̀̎̓͞͞l̶͖̪̹̜͉̻̮̗̰̮̀̽̃̓͆͊̽̓͡l̨̨̧͈̥̯̻̹̂̊̽̋̋̆͂̚j̡̧͍̭͙̗̬͂͗̇̏͋͛͢͟ǔ̴̢̫̹͚͚̯̅̊̓̔̈̀d̸̡̢̳͎͉̎͌̅̓̇͋̔̈́̚̚g̵̛͖͇̝̺̖̝͕͎͍̞̀̏̂͘į̝̠̤̆͋͌̕͟͠ň̵̢͇̪͇͔͕͂̓̂̋͘̚͝͡͡g̫̮̼̘̯̝͖͑̏̀͊̄͟y̵̡̳̠̮̻̬͓͌́͒̇̃̈̈͑̕͝ợ̢̰̘̠͖̳̳̤́̃̉̓̚͠u̸͕̦͍͇͚͓͛͋͊̏̾͜͡͝b̸̙͓̩̠̫̹̍̐̅̾͒́͜͟͞ͅę̮̳̝̪̘͍͙̭̰̋̿̀͆̓͗̅̐͡ç̛̥͇̖̪̲̓̇͐̐͠͡ư̸͓̳̟̙̩͚̹̇̐͆̈́̒̐̕a̵̗̭͇̰̠̞͖̲̹̽́̃̎͋̒̀̚͢é̘̯̱͎̟̗͈̼̋͆̒̄̍́̈͆̚͜š̵͈̬̲̪̥̄́́̐̂͟͜ỳ̵̬̩͖͖͈̑̅̈́̽̂̊o̵̧̲̟͕̠̲̒͊̎͌̌͒͂͒̒̕ǔ̵̡̻̖̫̩̣̯̖͙̀̑̽͆̀́̃͒͜͝l̷̡̯̟̤̭̟͋̀̌̆̓͑͌͢͟͞͞o̠̦̱̞̜̮̯̱̞͗̅͛̽̊̐͊̏͢o̧͖͓̝͎̒̆̀͌̉̈̕̚̚k͉͍̲̬̮̜͐̌̓̄̄́͘͘͜l̵̨̨̤̹͇̲͍̫̾́̾̀̕̕̕i̝̮͔̹̪̔̾͆͗̆̋͗̚k̶̨̧̭͈͓̘̠̩̜̉͐͑̒͑̂̂͢ḛ͎̠͕͍̪̂̃͗̔̓͋̔͟͠à̸̧̧̗̩̰̝̖̹̈́̅̊́̅̍d̵̼̳̤͈̜̣̱̟̙̙͛͒̐́͑e̸͍̙̤͚͈͑̂̀͗̌̚̕͜͡l̵̢̼̪̺̼̓͗̋̓̓̐̚͢͢͡ȋ͉͎̹̦̯͙̟̰͛͆̽̾̑̑̉̕̕͜ṋ̷̛̰̮̗̘͐̽̋͐͑̀̄̌q̨̡̠̗̪͛͐͗͋̆̊̂͘ų̴̤̘̗̮̖̲̠̬̄̽̋͌͋͟ę̱͈̪̗̱͔͉̈̽̊̚̕ͅn̢̢̖̳̣̩̗͉̅̏̃̎̉̒̏̿ť̴̡̝̯͇̭͂̌͂͢͝ͅͅb̶̧̡̯̝̪̫̃̃͐͆̔̚͟͞ĕ̶̡̢̛̛̼̤̖͇̙̙͌̃͗̒̃͟͠c̡̣̤̦̹̖̠̫̈́̂̌̓̚ä̴̘̠͎͇̯́̿͑̎̚͟ư̥͉͈̫̱̫̬̼̓̃͐̓̄̃̑͘͟͜s̺͇̪̹̼͚͑͑͛̉̊̽̋ͅe̡̧̨͕͖̾̿͐̈́̉̊͌̆̎̈́͢͢y̯͇̥̻͖̿͐̇͛̚͢o̘̪͔̰̙̻̩͎͛̽̀̑̒͌̀̅u̵̢̢̡͉̟̙̳͈̥̐̋̽̌̄̂͐l̶̛̲̜͓̱͖̣͙͋̈́͂͑̓̎̉̃ȍ̷̡͔̯̯̻̰͖̳̣̋̎̍̀̽ǫ̷͚̣̰̝̪͋͂͊̅̾͡k̢̧̜̭̱̣͈͖̻̍̍̀̎͆̆̀s̷̡̢̬͇̪̘̮͈͆̂͒͐͘͜o̧̗̻͕͈̼̦͛̍̿̀̆̀̒̈́̔̕͜ų̖͓̪̲̩͍͉̔̋̔̈̾̄͘͜͡͡s̸͈̱̭̱̳̗̀͗̓̑̃͌̓̕͢͜e̱͎͇̼̬͙͋̄̾̓͗̏͆͠͞l̸͕̣͈̘̉͑́̑̈̕̕͝ͅȩ̸͙̻̳̪͇̪̝̀̔̓̑̽̏̿͠s̛̭̯̙̣̑̉͌̑́̊̚͢͢͝͠s̢̡̬̹̤͉̼̐͂͆̿̈͘̚͘͞ä̷̢͚͙͖̘̣͎̹̲́͆̎͐̊̓̓̆̍d̴̢̗̱̹̯̞̞̗̯̄̇̉͋̈́͟͞ȩ̲̹̭̠͔͉̯̈̏̓̒̔͒̎͂͂̕͜ķ̥̲̞̖̩͈̯̭̊̿̅̅͗͛̉͠ü̲̦̟̦̬͂͊̈̋͘n̜̫̣̲͐̊̌̊̌̑ͅo̜̫̘̺̪͍̝̳̙͗́̍̇͡ͅţ̣̤͖͚̞̙͈̻̅̈̋̈̈̓͑ͅm̶̡̛͈̹͎̦̖͙̮̣̅̉͑̇̽̉̔͘͢͠e̷̡̞̣̗̘͇̔̀̌̚̕͟͟y̫͓̤̠̜̝̗̣̦̺̍͌̒̅̏͊͆̋o͚̯̖̻̣̣̟̗͐͆̀͒̒̔ư̗̟̟̭̮̬͂͐̇͊͞͠
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."I am from Somei Private—".
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h̷̥͕̰̦͖͑͆̊̒̈́̋̓e̛͓̠͍̩̔̀͑̈͂͜͟͜͝'̵̨̪͇̜̪͕̬̓̊̾̇̚͜ͅs̲̝̙̣͔̬̓̔̓͂̑̋͛͑͠ l̺̜̩̹̟̰͔̗̑̓̄̽̑͑̒́ǫ̥̜̦̺̖̝̳̀̀͂̄͑͗̓̓̊ő̴̪̗̼̤͖̝͕̀̽̄̉̒̔͝k̴̛̘̹̩̩͖̺͈̓͊̽͗͘ͅi̴͓̤̫̳̼̭̱̱͊͑͑͊̓̀̔́͜͡͝n̞̦̩̲͇̤̥̏̆̓̇̌͌̑͆͗̕g͓͇̥̩̘̊̀̋̽̒͗̉͞ͅ ď̛͕̭̮̲̯͍͖̦̘̥̑̆̔̈̓́o̪͇̜̳̳͋̑͑̊͛̚ẁ̧̞͙̳̫̞͎̾͗̓͛͋̔́́͢͡n̛̫̱̟͚͙͉̟̬̻͗̑̈͂͌̒͟ ō̺͚̜͓̼̩̽̐̑̃͛̈͜͡n̫͙̗̩̮̔́͒̒͌͢͜ y͚̜̩̹̎̇̃̂̋̏͜͜ô̡̯͙͈̼̼̜̬̄̎̀̉͠ų̴̛̜͕̻͇͚̖̣̱͚̏̒̾̇̑̎́̎,̛̲̠͙͍̞̳̝͇̺̉̽̐͐̋̽̔̿̚ͅ ỳ̨̢̢̢̱̮̥̑́̒̾͋̓̏̚ò̷̢̦͎̣̣̑̀͋̈̕ͅu̷͎̥͙͎̮̝̤͈͂̏̽̆͗̄̉̔̋̎͜'̡͇̥̳̓͊́̆͒͌͢͡r̸̨̠̼̭̤͓͌̄̌̐͂̚͡ȩ̶̟͈͈̫͋͂̆͆̽̆̒̈ h̸̡͇̯̮̲͚̮̩̎̽͗̐̇͑̐̾̚͟į̨̟̮̲̞̭̀̓̓̓̒͒͌̉̒̕͟s̩͍̤͉̮̹̗̹̾̄̓̕͞ r͎̥̹̻̲͇̰͖̹̍̎̅̽̈̍͡ͅį̵̼͍̩͙̭̘̥͙́͐̋̈͐̇̉͟v̶̧͉͎͔̩̂̔̓̈̆̕͡ä̴̛͍̦̰̥́̔̌̍̏̿̃͘͜ļ̡͓͓̮͓̙̩̠͓̆̊̃̂̀̈́͂̃,̴̢̛̺͙̰͓̼̺͐́̔͜͝͝ͅ ḇ̵̛͈̲̹͙͚̹̄͑̿̌̽͂͞u̴̢̥͚͍̠̺͙̳͙̓͂̽͐̒̈͝͝ṯ̨̡̻̉̈́͗̓̈́̈́͜͜͝ͅ w̸̛̭͕̭̰̭̒̿̈́̎̓̃̉̇͠h͉̩̬͍̼́͋̆̇̏̔̈́̐̒ą̷̢͙̼͎̱̲̑͆̀̃̒̚͝ṱ̨̧̛͉̟̯̜̣͎̋̆͂͋̓͢͠ a̸̝̥̬̰͉̠͔̍͑͑̐̀͘͢ ŗ̸̜̮͈̄͋̔̃̅̇̑͡͝͝ͅį̘̬͇̼̞͈̍̂̿̈̎v̤͔̩̤̜̠̩̘͔̏̋̐̀̅̇̈͟a̯̯̪̖̠̝͈̻̐͑̀̔͐͝ͅl͔͍̗̣̙̰̞̗̿̂̿̃͝ t̷͔̣̫͔̻̪͙̬͗͌͗͊͘̕͜͝ḧ̷̢̨̞͇̯̲̭̠̏͌͛̄͂̚͜a̤͔͍̹̩͐̏̓̏͌̕͜͝t̶͔̗̪̪̣͐̉͒͂̊̿͘̚͜ ç̷̨̭̣̰̖̟͗̓̎̉̋͒̀̕͜͟͢͞a̸̧̬̩̰̞͕͓̳͕̦̓͛̌̔̏̾̃͘͘͡n̨̯̞͇̟͛̎̋̾̾̿̈́͌͡'̖̣̻̠͎͚͙̦̭̈̑͗̌̈͋̀̚͝͞t̡̝̗͇̩̺̣̊̋́͒̏̃͘͟͠ d̫̠͎̪̳͕͈̞̻̂̈͊̚͢͠ǫ̷͚̝͇͖̈̾̍̂̓ a͚̹͙̮̘̯͇͋̏̐̀̾́̂́̚͢͞n̷̼̭̭̘͚̻̑̿̏̊̚͢͠ỷ̛͙̹͇̬̻̥̈́̑͐͜͠͝ț̠̟̗̟̤́͌̋͋̊̚͢͟h̛̳̣̤͓̪͚͖̩̻͖́̅͒̋̈́͊͞į̶̛̛͖͖͈̦̟̣͎̆̀͆̒́̃̍n̶̨͔͇̟͖̲͋̀̈̒͛̀̉̒g̱͈̗̰̺̘̠̯̭̋̉͋̉̒̑̋̉ r̢͎͕͉̘͍̉̽̊̓͘͡ǐ̧͓̬͔̮̱͇͂̂͗͑͗̈͒͑g̷̨̢̬͙̮̳̹̰̎͊̅́̆̀͘͘h̷̳̲̘͖̯̬͙̣̝̀̽̔̽̕t̴̻̜͎̤̍͊͊̓̄̓̕͟͞͡
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S̷̱̺̦̰̗̆̄̈́̐͒̀̋̃́̑t̥̲̞̣̫͗̀̾̍̽̏̓̋o̧͖͙̺͔̣̞̔͌̀͆̽͟͝͠p̷̢͎̥̭͔̑̓͆͗̊̊͂͑̄͞l̼̝̪̩͈͖͇͊̾̋̀͞͡o̡̮̰̱̖̿̎̾̈́̑̄̐͊̉ö̳̝̫͖̟̭͛͛̿́̽̕͜k̻̜̬̥̈̑͛̎͆̊͂̂̓͠ͅį̴̡̹͉͓̭̘̺̗̿̃̒̇̾͜͞ņ̶̝̮̼̠͒̇̍̚͜͠g̤̣̘̻͇̈̓̂͛̆͂a̢̛̬̝̼̦̺̻̘͛̿̏̇́́͑͜ţ͖͍̟͕̜̂̈́͌͑̿͛̒̅͘͞m̡̘̤͔̥̿̑̽̏̅̃e͎̼̘͇̭͛́̽̑͝s̵̜̘͙̜͍̮̠͙͊̎̽͌̾̐͋̚͟͝͞t͚̦̥̞͚͊̇̐̄̽́͆͊ȏ̲̟͓͚͉̣̅̆̽̚͘p̷͙̲̻͈̮̠͚͖̏̾͌̾̿̚͡͞l̘̤̮̩̥͚̳͓͒̃̑͛͂͑̕͞͠͡ơ̰̭̗̥̪̝̼̯̣̦̊́͌͛͞͞o̧̯͔̼̗̹̗̦͎̾͒̏̾̀͘͞k̸̢̼̦̯̟͓̭̬̇͐͌͊͆͛͘͠i̮̺̦͚̞͊̄́̀͌̒̂̚͢n̷̨̝͚͙͇̎̑̀͐̒̅͡g̷̡̨̹̭̣̪͐̉͐̄̔̇̿̐͝a̧̢̩̗̤͔̋̾͐͒͊̔t̶͔̠̮̪̙̬͛̂̌͐́́̂̈̆ͅm̜̯̰͍͙̮̹̻̻̎͐̉̊̈̆͒̆ë̷̡̯̤̺̖̒̇̂͌̚̕͞ͅͅs̨̠͚͉͖̾͒͛͌̓͞ͅţ̴͖̘̻̗͚̯͒́̉̑̽͋͟͞o̶̦͓̠͉̞͇͐́͌͊͆̋̒̓̕͝p̡̛̱̲̤̤̳̗̂̑̄̎̔͆͛́͡s̥̣̹̯̰̲͉̩̎̋͆͌̌̂͑͂͘͡ẗ͚̠͙̙͍̗͎́̑͆͋̐̑̿̚͜͡o̤͎̳̞̖̯͙͊̊̀͌͋͊̉̋̚p̷̼̳͓̭̻̰͇͒̀͐̊̔̾̕ś̟͓͓̯͓̭̈́͂́́̈́͟͟t̢̲̫̻̰͖̎̓̒̂̾͂͘o̶̪̪̮͙͓̣̫̯͋́̐̎̄̔͡͡͝p̛͇̹̺̥̮̩̖̙̅̄͂͛́͢͞s̶̢͔̳͎̭̮̼̘̈̾̓̅͗t̛̛͍̩̦̩͈̬̪̓̂̏̈̑ǫ̮̲̗̮̱̟̅́̆̐͑̊͘͡p̴̢͍͖͉̦̦̙̽͆͂̉͋̀̃̍̚͟ͅS̙͖̘͍̜̲͕̳͛̈̍̋̅̎̃͊͡T̟͚̼̺̟͇̮͙̈̾͌́̈̌̌͗͐̏͢O͉̺̝͕͎͚̻̙̿̊͒̃̕͟͠͠͞͠P̧̜̱͕̝͙̯͇̈́̀̽͌̊͠ͅS̲̟̯̫̼̩̘̪̱̀͐̐̉̚T̢͍̲̯͈̪̍͒͊̉̓̐̓͘̕͠ͅͅO̴̬̞͓͇̟͓͓̜̜͋̓̑̏̌̆̕P̴̢̟̠̝̗̳̫͈̒̀́̾̽͑́̇͌͘͢

STOP!

"I heard." 

A beat of silence.

"I'm Midoriya. Izuku."

"Midoriya, you realised there was something more to the practical exam, right?"

"Of course. Anyone with half a brain—I mean, uh, it's not that hard really, when you think about what makes a hero."

And taking the advice of two vile creatures, he smiles.

The atmosphere relaxes immediately.

Why are you so condescending when you wouldn't have figure it out if it weren't for me?

"Shut up," Izuku mutter under his breath, his fingers finding it's way to the hair hanging in front of him, twirling the strands in a nervous gesture.

"I'm sorry?"

"Oh, uh, nothing."

"I apologise and beg for your forgiveness. I've misjudged you!" Iida bends forward in a stiff bow.

Then beg.

"Ah, it's alright really, people tend to judge by appearance!" He takes on a bashful look, charming (most) of his classmates even with the look of a delinquent.

Kacchan looks just about ready to explode at Izuku's out of character personality, before a familiar bubbly girl enters the classroom.

"Ah, that curly-hair! You're the Yakuza-looking one?"

Yakuza? Is delinquent not enough?

"Your quirk is really amazing—though it's pretty scary—but it's so amazing! You can heal yourself at anytime!"

Ew! 

Your quirk is gross, deku!

You  can't get into UA with a non-combative quirk, you weirdo!

Are you talking to yourself?

Deku is crazy, Deku is crazy, Deku is—

"Oh, um, uh..."

The girl keeps rambling from the doorway, ignoring the weak words of Izuku telling her to sit down before the teacher comes in.

"Go somewhere else if you want to play at being friends."

The girl freezes, looking back at the yellow lump on the floor. 

"This is the hero course." The man inside the yellow lump—sleeping bag—unzips the bag a bit and takes a sip from his juice box

Everyone startles, but Izuku recovers first as he realises just who this is. He stuffs his fist into is mouth to keep himself from squealing out loud. Eraserhead keeps talking as Izuku fanboys over the fact that the pro-hero Eraserhead, is most likely his homeroom teacher. Talk about a staggering amount of luck.

And Aizawa Shouta, Eraserhead's civilian name is now known to him!

Izuku almost misses the part about skipping the entrance ceremony and changing to meet him as the pro-hero walks to the front of the room.

Eraserhead!

Somewhere in his mind is a squealing fanboy Deku that mirrors Izuku right now.

Everyone got up to change and as Izuku hauls his bag up on his shoulders again, Eraserhead jerks. He picks up on that action and thinks at first that he coughed, or hiccuped. But when he follows the hero's eyes to the keychain hanging on his backpack and his mug, his face heats up.

Oh god, he's LAUGHING!

Izuku's hands find his face as he tries to cover up the tomato-red under his freckles, hoping no one would notice his embarrassment.

Chapter Text

A quirk assessment test. Izuku realises one of his favourite heroes is way cooler in person. He's gotten over the initial embarrassment earlier and has settled back into a still face. Before he stepped into the classroom, though, he thought he'd be fine and not almost have a panic attack in front of the people he would have to spend the rest of his three school years with.

"Bakugou, you finished at the top of the practical exam, right?" Aizawa turns to Kacchan. "In junior-high, what was your best result for the softball throw?"

"67 metres," Kacchan replies.

Aizawa hands the ball he's holding to the blond. "Then, try doing it with your quirk."

As Kacchan gets into the circle, Aizawa explains the rules, and a smug smile creeps into Kacchan's face. He stretches, then takes a step ahead. A deafening crack and blast can be heard throughout the field as he throws the ball with all his might, shouting not uncharacteristically, "DIE!"

Aizawa shows the shock-still students the results recorded on a device. As the class sees the 705.2 metres, they snap out of their daze and freak out. They start talking over each other and Izuku sinks in on himself as he hears a girl mention that this is going to be fun. Big mistake to take it easy in a place like this.

"It looks fun, heh?" The soft voice of their homeroom teacher immediately quiets them, surprisingly. "You have three years to become a hero. Will you have that attitude the whole time? To be a hero for 'fun'?

He smiles and Izuku is sure the whole class just shivered at the same time.

"Whoever comes in last place in all eight tests will be judged to have no potential and be punished with expulsion."

Everyone gasp in disbelief, but Izuku holds down a smile. Goodness, Eraserhead is a sadist!

"We're free to do what we want about the circumstances of our students." A competitive air settles over the class and Izuku can see some of them unconsciously lower their bodies in a defensive stance. "Welcome to UA's hero course!"


7.02 seconds does not place him last, Izuku thinks with a grin. Before the entrance exam, Izuku trained endlessly—well, he didn't train as much as someone would. After all, when you train, your muscles break down and you have to wait for it to heal and grow stronger, but for him his quirk immediately heals his muscles, so he got real strong real quick. He had breaks though, where he rests the aching his quirk brings along with it. The more he heals in a spot, the more it aches, proven when he lay in bed the whole day after the entrance exam where he broke his knees innumerable times.

Grip strength also does not place him last with 56kg.

Standing long jump... that one is a bit more difficult. But since he can do anything as long as he jumps from one point and it's measured by the furthest point back, he can get creative with this. Instead of jumping, he dives low and fast, rolling on his shoulders. He probably went a few feet further than he should have for a normal long jump. Aizawa makes a non-committal grunt as he records his score.

The side jumps he placed pretty high with his endless stamina—literally endless.

Ball throw's nothing special.

Once again, a fairly high score among the non-agile quirks for the long distance because of his stamina.

Fourth highest score for sit-ups just below the Muti-armed dude, the sugar one, and the red-haired one. Thanks to his always-replenished stamina.

He actually got first place for the seated toe touch with his body basically folded in half—this one manages to piss Kacchan off and make the blond go off on a tirade of insults.

After the tests are over, everyone gathers around their teacher as he says, "We'll be here all day if I show you what you individually got for each one so I'll just show you guys the overall scoreboard."

Without even looking at the scoreboard, Izuku knows he won't be lower than fifteenth in place. Already, after the hologram came up, he can feel the pitying looks all his classmates give to the grape-baby, said boy looking disappointed.

"By the way, I was lying about the expulsion," their teacher says.

Everyone's head snaps to their teacher—Izuku is the most surprised.

"It was a logical ruse to draw out the upper-limits of your quirk."

Most of the class freaks out, feeling betrayed by someone they'd have to trust for the rest of the year. But not Izuku.

"Of course that was a lie," the girl with the dark pony-tail says.

No, it wasn't.

"It should've been obvious if you'd just thought it through."

He wasn't lying.

Aizawa dismisses the class and gives a brief word about the curriculum. Chatter starts up again, but Izuku's eyes follow the retreating form of their teacher, and just before he rounds the corner, he turns back and his eyes meet Izuku's. Whether he notices the gaze that said 'I don't believe you' or not, his expression doesn't betray anything.


After school, Iida and the girl—Uraraka is her name, he finds out—somehow manages to smoothly lodge themselves beside him and walk with him to the station.

"You're Midoriya Deku-kun, right?"

Izuku winces visibly. "Deku-kun?"

Someone called?

"Eh? But during the fitness test, the boy named Bakugou said, "Deku, you bastard!", right?"

A bastard you are, a useless bastard, a waste of space who doesn't deserve to be here where people worked so hard. What did you do to ever deserve this?

Izuku averts his gaze. "It's what Kacchan calls me. My name is Izuku."

Because you're just use~less, use~less D͚̭̻͎̤̿̂̿̾̊e̴̥̞͑k̘͖͙̟̊͗ͧ͢u̧ͭ̊͛ͥ who can't save anyone.

"Ah, really?" Uraraka smiles. "But 'Deku' sounds like the Japanese word for 'You can do it!' so I kinda like it."

"It means useless," Izuku says softly.

Uraraka seems to falter at that. The girl doesn't give up on the conversation, though. All the way to the station, she talks endlessly with Iida, sometimes drawing Izuku into it. It's amazing, really, how some people can just come up with any topic of conversation without making it seem awkward or desperate and at the same time flowing from one topic to another with great ease. Izuku can do that when he has the plastic smile on his face, but when not when he's like this.


Izuku stays on the train the longest. He's had to change cars once, but by the time an hour passes by, he steps out into Yokohama. After he changes out of his school uniform into a jumper and pants, it doesn't take a long time as he's wandering the street to find the place he is looking for.

He steps into the bar, pulling the hood of his jumper higher over his head to cover more of his face. He beelines for the a seat in front of the bartender made out of black mist, and in the back of his mind, he makes a connection to the portal that Sensei used when he first approached Izuku.

"Drink?" The bartender takes his attention away from the man sitting next to Izuku with a hand attached to his face. 

Izuku repeats the words Sensei had given him, “Hope not ever to see Heaven. I have come to lead you to the other shore; into eternal darkness; into fire and into ice."

The hand-man's head tilts so that his eyes are studying Izuku's face, but Izuku ignores him as best he can. After a pause, the bartender opens up a portal of mist next to Izuku's chair. Nodding his head in thanks, he steps through the mist and into the dark room on the other side. The only lights come from the screens, but Sensei sits away from his usual spot at the lights. Izuku moves over to sit across from him.

"How was your first day, young man?" Sensei starts the conversation.

"I met my favourite hero," Izuku replies.

Sensei makes a curious noise in his throat. "Who, pray tell, are they?"

"Eraserhead."

Ah," Sensei picks up the cup of tea in front of him. "Someone who can end your pain, yes."

Izuku hums in response.

The villain gestures to the other cup of tea sitting in front of Izuku. "From our previous visits, I gathered you only drink tea in the evening, yes?"

Izuku hums once again, holding the Japanese cup up below his nose so that he can savour the aroma of Sensei's Houjicha.

"And coffee in the morning, I presume," Sensei continues.

Izuku's throat and tongue burns.

"Tomura—the man you just met at the bar—he's doing a good job so far, you know."

Izuku looks down at the swirling liquid of his tea.

"He might not seem so, but his intellect is a force to be reckoned with. He's already found a way to get information without using my spy in UA."

The long-absent Death crouches in the corner of the dark room, its beady eyes surveying the faceless villain.

"But I'll keep some anyways. I have two—" Sensei's tone seems to dip dangerously for a moment— "just in case one of them is found out or one of them fails to do their job."

Izuku keeps himself from visibly gulping. He might not be scared of death, but this villain seems to send chills down his spine.

"Here."

A stack of paper lands on the table.

"You can fill in the information whenever you like, but I'd prefer if you finish it this week."

That roughly translates to 'finish it this week'. Izuku hums in acknowledgment to what Sensei just said, taking the paper and standing up, but not before finishing his tea. He leaves via the portal and hightails it out of the bar.

Fuck.

Determination and regret battle in his mind as he cries himself to sleep that night.

Chapter Text

When All Might walks into the room like a normal person, his eyes hold a glimmer of recognition when his gaze stops at Izuku. It doesn't last long though, and he continues to talk about the first combat training they'll have to do. They all go to get changed and gather at ground beta.

Izuku studies his classmates' costumes, noticing how some of them made it so it would help with their quirk. His can be said to fit with his own quirk, but there really isn't much he can do.  The shirt is a dark green and sleeveless one with a high neck, the material running down the side mimicking scales. Though, he didn't design it to be much protection, he specifically asked for the most durable materials. His tight pants are also green, but a much darker colour that is almost black. And because Izuku is a sucker for those badass-goth-like-asthetics, he wears black fingerless gloves and black combat boots. His black utility belt holds knives and pockets, but he also has two more pairs of blades in his boots and strapped to his thigh.

He considered getting a mask that follows a dragon theme so people won't recognise him on the streets. After that thought though, Deku whispered mockingly in his head:

Are you really planning that far ahead? Do you think you'll have to be a spy for that long? Or are you really looking forward to being a hero? Pathetic, that you plan on dying yet you plan on living at the same time.

Izuku had completely scrapped the idea.

When they are all gathered, All Might explains to them the rules of their villain vs hero practice and takes questions. As everyone are drawing lots, Izuku catches sight of a dark form on on of the buildings. He unconsciously sneers as he sees the wings and glossy black eyes of Death.

"Wow, it must be fate! I'm counting on you," Uraraka says excitedly, bubbly as always. 

All Might announces that Team A will be the heroes and Team D will be the villains. Izuku wants to jump off the nearest cliff and get impaled by rocks that will hopefully be underneath, then remembers that he can't die.

"I don't believe in fate," Izuku relies bluntly. "It's all on the roll of the dice."

When he sees Uraraka falter at his indifferent response, Izuku feels a little bad for making her feel awkward and uncomfortable. Trying to salvage the atmosphere, he says, "Well, if that's so, we're quite lucky we already know each other. Besides, you can count on me to deal with Kacchan, since I know most of his moves."

He almost regrets saying that immediately. He 100% does not want to fight Kacchan, and secretly hopes that Uraraka will have to fight him—selfish, selfish, worthless, useless—but the light in the girl's face makes it a teensy bit better. Maybe a lot better.

In front of the building, All Might tells the villain team, "Young Bakugou, Young Iida, try to think from the perspective of villains."

"Shouldn't be too hard," Izuku mutters under his breath, but Kacchan hears him.

"What the fuck did you say, you shitty deku?" Kacchan takes a step forward but Iida cuts in.

"Bakugou-san, we should not use up our five minutes of setting up carelessly!" His hands cuts through the air in a robotic motion.

"Tch." Kacchan turns, fuming. "Don't think I won't shut you up, fucking useless deku."

"Sticks and stones can only break my bones, Kacchan." The tensing of the blond's shoulders with his back turned is the only indication that he heard him.

Once they're out of sight, Izuku turns to Uraraka, intent on speaking first because he knows that if she starts, she won't be stopped.

"Kacchan will definitely come for me, s-so you'll have an easy time passing him," Izuku's mouth spits fire as Deku steps out from behind the veil. "He'll be roaming the first floor, so we can't split up because then if he finds you in what will probably be a maze, then you're doomed. I'm not looking down on you, but I have a better chance against him because his f-fighting style is familiar to me. I-If we stick together, he can warn Iida that you are heading his way when he finds us—yes he will find us. We can—no that d-doesn't work. They probably—no, they most likely won't work together. S-so, this will be the plan—"

Uraraka listens intently, mouth gaping at the words streaming smoothly from the boy's mouth, his eyes distant as if he is reenacting the plan in his mind. Once All Might gives the go over the earpieces, Izuku steps into the building alone, Deku pushed back behind the veil like a stubborn jack-in-the-box. It doesn't take long for the first explosion to appear around the corner and launching him back onto his ass and causing blood to appear as he scrapes his arms roughly. It heals over completely in seconds.

Back in the observation room, people shout in surprise and some even call out Bakugou's "unfairness" in vain. Death has its arms slung over the shoulders of the frog-girl, ignoring the uncomfortable shuffles as she tries to figure out the unsettling weight and anxiety she is feeling. Beady eyes roam the class, taking in the varying numbers over the occupants of the room's heads.

In the battle, Kacchan charges, saying with a grin on his face, "With that quirk of yours, I guess I can hurt you as much as I want, eh?"

Izuku puts weight on one foot and swings to avoid the fist. The moment Kacchan's arm passes him, Izuku grabs it in a hold. There is a silence as Kacchan freezes in shock—after all, after years of taking a beating, it is a surprise that he starts to fight now, no matter how much it is to be expected in this situation. Izuku throws the blond over his shoulder and onto the ground, Kacchan choking at the force.

"Y-you know..." Izuku starts as Kacchan starts to get up. "I have a list of heroes in my head that I think are amazing. I've planned out every single move in a f-fight with them."

Wide red eyes move to meet narrowed green ones that does not look like Izuku.

"You might not be a hero, but you are amazing. You don't know how long I've w-waited for this."

Izuku doesn't want to fight Kacchan, no. Deku—who hates the blond with a burning passion—wants to annihilate him.


Izuku use to appreciate Deku. He stopped when he was ten.

Despite the whispers of useless, worthless, Deku did not want him to die. Izuku first muffled the voice of common sense at that young age when he first thought of death.

Because he didn't want to look twice when crossing the street. He didn't want to see a diagram for every main artery, every pressure point, every opening whenever he looked at a person. He didn't want the constant noise of—

Did you lock the door, did you turn off the water, did you cleanly brush your teeth, did you forget your books, will the bully be on this route to school, will the yakuza be patrolling at this time of day, will the police break into your apartment now, did you put on safety for the gun, did someone see you at the 'den' today, was your act convincing enough to not get a counsellor, were your jokes too dark, what does that girl think of you, why is that boy staring at you, will your piercings be infected—

He didn't want that caution. He didn't want that fear, that anxiety, that danger-alarm. No, he loved the danger. He loved the thrill of almost losing all his money when he gambled at the 'den', of people almost figuring out he can't die when he played Russian roulette. The pain, the death—Deku hated it.

Deku feared it.


A thought crosses Katsuki's mind, only to be pushed to the back of his mind as his childhood-friend attacks him.

My Deku never stutters.


Lowered defence on the left—

Barely noticable—

Split second advantage—

He's too smart—

Kacchan hasn't gotten up yet, leaving an opening where he's holding his weight up with his left arm. Izuku's body spins around in a kick, sending Kacchan flying into the wall. Now thoroughly angered, the blond screams something akin to a battlecry and swings with his right hook, but Deku sees that coming about a mile away, no matter how fast. It isn't the fist he sees, but the twisting of his torso that Deku has memorised after years of Kacchan tormenting them

Surprise flitted across Kacchan's face as Izuku dodged with a terrifying reflex. When his gauntlets are cocked behind him in a readying movement, Izuku knows he should run, but Deku isn't letting this go to waste, capture tape completely forgotten. Unfortunately for him, Izuku has grabbed back the controls and darts off speedily.

A few minutes pass as Izuku hides from Kacchan on the fourth floor and he calls in to his partner.

"Uraraka-chan?"

"The bomb is in the middle of the 5th floor—almost as you predicted."

Izuku had sent the girl to the building directly adjacent to the side where Izuku thought the bomb might be located and had her move while looking through the windows from there.

"Open your window and wait for my signal."

"Okay, Deku-kun."

Somehow, the name doesn't sound as bad.

"Deku!"

Now, that one doesn't sound as nice.

Izuku turns to see his childhood friend with his gauntlet pointed in his direction. It doesn't take a semi-sentient hallucination in your brain to piece together the uses for that gadget. Even with Deku pointing out dangers in his head, drowning out the shouts of All Might, Izuku can't dodge the oncoming barrage.

In the observation room, the class shouts in outrage at Bakugou's actions. All Might shouts for Izuku, unaware the earpiece has fallen out. The students gasp as the smoke clears and they see the burnt and ruined form of Midoriya Izuku. Horror fills their expressions—and a slight hatred for the blond blooming in their hearts.

There is another gasp of surprise as none of them—save for All Might—knows the green-haired boy's quirk. Soon enough, the only thing on Izuku's smoothed-out skin is soot and blood as Deku pulls the reigns.

With a warning from All Might, Kacchan strikes again. 

He is smarter than he seems.

The right hook comes with Deku's condescending thoughts.

But not smart enough.

Instead of striking, Kacchan fires off a small explosion. Deku spins and kicks upwards, shouting, "Uraraka, now!"

His foot connects with the bottom of Kacchan's gauntlets and his arm flies up and the explosion designated for Izuku's back now destroys the ceiling above them. From the hole, Iida looks down in surprise, completely missing the shattering of glass next to the bomb and the form of a girl floating towards the objective.

"Safe!" Uraraka calls out as she hugs the bomb.

 

Chapter Text

He doesn't need to, but All Might insisted he go to the infirmary anyways. Recovery Girl sees to him shortly, and after checking him over for any wounds, raises a surprised brow at the extents of his healing abilities. When he quickly excuses himself, he does not head back to the classroom, but into the nearest bathroom.

The door slams as he puts a little too much force into closing than necessary. He looks into the mirror; into the dragon-like eyes staring back at him. For the entire duration after the fight to now, Deku had been uncomfortably silent—the silent that comes in the calm before the storm, while everything else around him is like a ringing sound at the eye of said storm. Izuku becomes aware of his heavy pants when that post-bomb-like silence fades away to the irregular breathing echoing in the empty bathroom.

You would've just given up.

"No," he manages to choke out.

Because you can't do anything alone. Because you need me.

"Shut up."

Your Deku means useless.

Because you're weak and you won't fight back. You won't try. What's the point, huh? When you can't die?

His knuckles are white from gripping the sink too hard

My Deku means you can do it.

can do it.

His hands are shaking.

I was so close.

I could've done it.

Why did you stop me?

"I..." Why did he stop Deku?

He hurt you. He hurt us. He hurt me. That FUCKING BLOND BITCH WANTS TO—

Izuku bites down on his lips to keep him from screaming. He draws a blade with lightning fast speed and plunges it into his arm. The voice is replaced with a silence, then an excruciating pain. Blood wells on his lips, tears in his eyes. It takes all his energy to not scream out loud as his fingers twitch, the blood flowing into the palm of his hand. Ohgodithurtsithurtsitsfreeithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsitsfree—

Through the pain, Izuku manages to hear the creaking as the handle to the door gets pushed down. With the same speed, he sheaths the dirty blade and holds his bloodied hand up to the face. As the wound heals over, he smears the thick of the blood under his nose.

He turns to see a boy that seems to be the same age as him looking so done. He sighs and runs a hand through his mess of purple hair.

"You're a hero course student aren't you?" he asks. "That's either a punch or a nosebleed, and I'm guessing that's not a normal nosebleed."

All you have to do is smile and they'll kneel down at your throne, unaware it is built on lies.

Izuku grins, laughing nervously. "It's nothing, really. Just usual hero classes."

As Izuku washes the blood from his arms and face, the tired boy says, "You should go to the infirmary."

"Ah, no, my quirk will fix it right up!" Izuku holds out an unbloodied hand. "I'm Midoriya Izuku and I can heal myself. Nice to meet you."

The boy stares at the extended hand and raises an eyebrow skeptically. He doesn't take it. "Shinsou Hitoshi. If you look like that, I'm guessing you already know what my quirk is."

Izuku thinks of feigning confusion, then realises he doesn't need to because he actually is confused. He cocks his head, eyebrows furrowing, but smile not faltering in hopes that Shinsou will take it easy on him. "I'm sorry?"

Shinsou explains. "When people learn about my quirk, they get scared. They think it's a villain quirk and always give me a fake and plastic smile, or sometimes just look at me with outright disgust and fear."

"Why do you think I know?" Izuku asks innocently, smiling what he hopes is sympathetically.

Shinsou scrunches up his nose after a moment of staring at Izuku's face. "Because you're smile is the fakest I've ever seen."

Silence—and the corners of Izuku's mouth drops. Shinsou probably expected a bashful and embarrassed face, because he doesn't look like he was expecting a spiteful expression.

"We're all fakes in this school," Izuku spits. "Pretending we're happy."

He walks forward towards the door, such intent making Shinsou do a double-take and step aside for him to walk by.

"I already went to the infirmary." Izuku gives one last look to the purple-haired boy and says, "And for the record, this is the first time I've heard your name."


It's been a long time since he's made Deku taken control willingly, but he really can't muster up the energy to really do anything right now. It feels like he's running on autopilot, but not entirely dissociating—after all, Deku is just his imagination and is still a part of his consciousness. He is sitting at the back of the observation room, the apparition's muttering and stuttering droning endlessly on as his hand speeds across the page.

Emo bird is actually really pow—

Frog girl has three—

No , two siblings—

The Todoroki kid is Endeavour's—

HOLY FU—

Overkill—

Dual quirks?—

Boiling water scar—

The Yao-something girl is smart—

She's not that assertive—

Kirishima will likely see Bakugou as a manly figure—

For a moment, his pen-hand spasms and he frowns down at it. He realises he's been writing so furiously that his hand aches so bad.

Oh, deities above that have forsaken me, Izuku thinks as he looks up and leans his head back against the wall. It is interesting hearing Yao-something (someone called her Yaomomo or something close) fill in his observations with some solid backing. Usually, when he sees something, he just knows something about them, but Yaomomo really explains her theories. At least one of his classmates has brains (not to insult Kacchan, but yes, he is insulting him).

Why is he so tired? He's fifteen, for goodness' sake!

So fucking grow up. 

"Shut up."

The frog girl—Asui—turns around to the noise, moving Death with her. "Excuse me, kero?"

A smile and a lie is all it takes for her to relax and turn back.

At least it works on somebody.

Chapter Text

Izuku squints at the mess that is his chest cavity. He's manages to ignore the pain for now as he tries to push past the mass of flesh trying to heal itself. Not too long ago, he had learned a trick that keeps Deku from escaping from the veil he puts up—after all, the veil is as effective as the strength of his mind at the time. A small blade—one he straps to his ribs so his body doesn't push it out in attempts to heal. Now, he's managed to clip it on and sighs as he turns the dial for his quirk to the top. Bones snap back into place, eliciting a wince from him and veins reconnect, skin sealing itself over.

Relief overcomes him as he can feel the unnatural silence in his head, unlike the usual restless buzz. 

But even without the genius apparition, he isn't an idiot. The other day when there was the break-in, he just cant help but be suspicious. Everyone wrote it off as the crazy press, but the one thing that kept Izuku's mind on it was that no matter what, reporters shouldn't have been able to break in. Izuku scoffs as he once more tries to tie his tie. It seems like there are still tidbits of anxiety even without Deku.

Giving up again, he throws the tie and heads out, rubbing circles into the throbbing pain in his ribs.

After lunch, Aizawa-sensei tells them about a joint class with him, All Might, and another teacher. Izuku's gaze takes on an intrigued look as his mind connects a few dots in the thousands. With Deku, he might have probably figured out half the story, but he doesn't really care right now. When they've all finished changing, they gather at the buses. Izuku hums absentmindedly as he looks at Iida shouting out for the students to form lines and enter the bus.

When they were voting for who to be class representative, the only person who got more than one vote is Yaomomo—her name is Yaoyorozu Momo, but he decides to stick with the name Ashido gave her. There was no vice-president, but then during the panic that broke out during lunch, he figured out the situation and calmed the students down effectively. To be honest, Izuku respects that heroic quality of staying calm under pressure and figuring out a problem. The next day, Yaomomo had suggested that Iida would make a good class president.

But, well, the bus isn't laid out like Iida thought it would anyways.

Suddenly, Asui says, "I say whatever comes to mind." Exhibit A, he supposes. "Midoriya-chan."

Izuku jumps as the girl promptly addresses him. "Yeah, Asui-san?"

"Call me Tsu."

Izuku blinks. "Right."

"Your don't seem to be bothered when in pain. Does your quirk also suppress it?"

Izuku opens his mouth and closes it, wondering how to phrase it best without sounding suicidal. "Ah, no it doesn't."

"Oh, so you just take it face on? So manly!" Kirishima says. "But us people with not so flashy quirk don't really get noticed, eh? I can only harden my body."

Izuku resists the temptation to make an innuendo. "Yeah, I just take it face on, but my quirk makes me quite careless." He rolls the words around in his head to see if it sounds right. "I get hurt easily because I know I won't di—get a permanent injury or scar."

"Woah, no scars?" Kirishima asks, his smile blinding.

"I know, disappointing. Scars are cool." Feeling challenged by Kirishima, Izuku smiles and he sees people visibly sink into their seats.

"They're flashy! And manly!"

Aoyama pipes in, "My quirk, in my opinion, is the sparkliest."

"Doesn't it give you stomach pain though?" Ashido asks. Aoyama doesn't respond but his face drops.

"Well, if you're talking flashy and strong, it's gotta be Todoroki and Bakugou, right?"

Ugh, Izuku thinks. Of course people'd admire him.

Bakugou's eyes snap to the conversation as they mention his name and he does the anime 'tch'.

"Bakugou's always mad, so he doesn't seem like he'll be that popular though," Asui speaks her mind.

"What the hell? You wanna fight!" Bakugou jumps up and Izuku flinches instinctively. He doesn't think anyone notices, but Asui pauses for a second. Thankfully, she doesn't point it out.

"See?"

Then, the most amazing thing he has ever seen happens. Bakugou gets picked on. His Bakugou—his Kacchan gets picked on. The realisation finally sinks in that Bakugou is no longer the strongest, no longer the smartest, the most popular. He's surrounded by people like Todoroki and Yaoyorozu that won't bow down like everyone else ever did. Back when they were children, he was a big fish in a small pond. Here, he's just a fish in the ocean that will get devoured if he gets too cocky.

He won't though. Izuku knows that Kacchan probably is more aware than anyone that he is no longer getting to the top effortlessly. 

"We're here. Stop messing around," Aizawa says as the bus slows.

When they get out, they are greeted by the sight of Thirteen: Space Hero. They welcome the class into the USJ, the place coincidentally (or not) having the same initials as Universal Studios Japan. They explain the Unforeseen Joint Simulator and each of its parts. Everyone starts chattering among themselves about the place and Aizawa heads to the hero. Izuku subtly slides up so he can hear the conversation.

"Where's All Might? He is supposed to be here with us."

"About that," Thirteen lowers their voice so much that Izuku strains to hear.  "It looks like he did too much hero work on his way here and ragout of time, so he's resting in the lounge."

Interesting, Izuku thinks upon seeing the three fingers the hero held up. Really quite interesting. Knowing his gears are clogged for the time being, he files the info away just so he can have Deku look back on it later.

Thirteen turns to the students and explain to them the dangers of a quirk. Izuku's always been curious on various heroes and he makes a note of seeing the hero and asking them if their whole body is a blackhole. He also thinks—can he really hurt someone with his quirk? Psychological damage maybe, but not physically. He squints as an idea pops into his head and he also files that way later.

When Aizawa moves forward to start them off, the lights go out. At the fountain middle, a familiar mist appears in whorls. The moment it explodes into a big gate, Aizawa and Thirteen are already on the defensive, the students pushed behind them. The teachers shout instructions to stay together and everyone notices the mist, jumping backwards.

First out of the gate is a pale-haired man Izuku sees more than once at a very familiar bar.

He pales as he realises what is going on.

Chapter Text

"The trespassing the other day was the work of these scumbags, huh." Aizawa's words reaches Izuku's ear but all he can hear is a pounding as the weight of his choices set in. Distantly, he can hear some people saying that they can fight or that the villains don't know their quirks. But, oh they do. They know at least vaguely the clear weaknesses, and it is all Izuku's fault.

The man with the hands over his body seems to be speaking to the mist as the army of villains advance. Everyone is taking action, checking the trespasser censors, futilely bring to send a message to the school. Izuku is frozen in an unfamiliar fear, and only Todoroki's deduction seems to snap him out of it as the boy explains the surprise attack. A distant thought sounds in his head that maybe he's a tiny bit too condescending and not everyone is an idiot like he likes to think.

Another distant thought comes to him, not so distant anymore as he realises the implications. He doesn't have Deku—the throbbing pain in his chest is a proof of that. He starts to plan out how to discreetly get Deku back without looking like he needs help mentally when Eraserhead jumps into action, startling him. He stares at the badass moves his homeroom teacher makes, Iida dragging him back to the entrance as he is stuck in his analytical stupor—which would've been over sooner had he had Deku.

On the path, a dark mist appears, making Thirteen and the students jump back in surprise.

"Nice to meet you," a deep, disembodied voice says. "We are the League of Villains."

No, no, no, NO, NO, NONONONO!

"It may have been presumptuous of us, but we have invited ourselves into the home of heroes, UA, in order for All Might, the Symbol of Peace, to take his last breath!"

Is that their goal? It seems so small compared to the weight of Sensei's voice that reverberates through his bones whenever the impossibly old man speaks.

After his speech, before Thirteen can use their quirk, Kirishima and Kacchan jump onto the mist—or they attempt to. Smoke covers the area just as Izuku is thinking, youidiiotyouidiotwhatthefuckareyouthiningrestrictingourvisionlikethat?

"Oh dear. That's dangerous. Even if you are students, you are the golden eggs."

"Move away!" Thirteen shouts frantically.

"It is my job to exterminate the best batch of the next generation's heroes."

The mist envelops them, swallowing them whole.


Izuku is falling. Why is he falling? It takes a moment for it to register then he starts screaming, like anyone that is free falling would. It lasts for barely a few seconds before his back hit water with a sickening slap. He starts sinking, but then he rises again as his arms pull against the water. Movement comes from his peripheral vision and his eyes widen as a shark-headed villain comes straight for him. A knife is in hand in no time, but he could do nothing as the jaw snaps around him, wrenching a gurgling scream from his throat.

Someone bangs into the villain, hitting him with as much force as possible. The shark villain's maw opens to shout in pain and a hand drags Izuku out. He opens his eyes to see the black eyes of Ashido. Then, he remembers what he wrote.

In water-based environment, using her acid will be tricky as it  would most likely be diluted.

She kicks up, desperately trying to help Izuku up as well. He decides to take pity on her as his body heals and also push up to grab the side of the ship in the shipwreck zone.

"Midoriya-kun, are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine."

Kaminari swims frantically to them.

If he or his comrades were in liquid he wouldn't use his quirk due to chance of endangering a comrade.

"You guys," Izuku says, "climb up first. I need a moment to catch my breath."

"Are you sure?" Ashido looks at him with eyes that say she is slightly traumatised by what she saw and how quickly he recovered.

"Go ahead." Kaminari is already climbing.

When the two aren't looking at him anymore, he formulates a plan. A bad one, considering he's panicked out of his mind right now. If a villain were to take him, maybe by the ribs...

He doesn't need to say more as he feels hands dragging him under the water.


Izuku was eight when he truly hated the feeling of drowning. He hadn't turned Deku on since he kept him away, so his was simply unavoidable. How long has he been trapped down here, in the watery grave, the hellhole that makes him so desperately want to die. He used to think his quirk was cool, where he could take any villain attack and maybe even be a human shield to the people that need help. But he doesn't want to live like this.

How long will he be here for before someone finds him? An hour? A day? A week? A year? Centuries? The last idea isn't quiet far fetched. After all, his dad told him he is immortal. Hisashi said he'd stop ageing when his cells are in prime condition, where it's not too weak in immunity like now, or when it's old and decaying. Izuku always wanted that—to not die.

This may be the first time he's truly wanted to die.

He couldn't breath. There was no water in his lungs as it kept getting pushed out, the pressure burning him from the inside out. He felt like he would explode and the sand around him would swallow him during the bouts of darkness as he died and died and died and died and drowned. It was hell. Death seemed to be laughing at him as it sat on his chest, the asshole.

He had been counting the seconds that he could, an estimate as he couldn't count during the times he blacked out. Light was once again shining in his eyes the time they were open. It's the third day, he guessed from his muddy memories.

Oh god, it was painful. In the future, Izuku would find that this sensation is not unlike starving where he dies and is brought back on the brink of death, then he will continue to die. Starving is almost as bad as drowning, since you have to adjust to eating again after that and try not to vomit. But he didn't know that then and drowning was at the time the worst of his problems.

He knew he should slow down his regeneration by a whole lot so that the water would fill his lungs. That way wouldn’t hurt as much, but he will succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning. He learnt that from Hisashi. Carbon monoxide poisoning doesn’t hurt, but once his mind floats off, he might be stuck there for all of eternity with no way to get back up. And that was what scared him most

He saw a figure enter the water above him, sunlight being blocked out by the silhouette.

Ah. He was being saved.


A shock runs through him. He doesn't care, though. He wants to sleep. He wants to sleep forever. How long has it been since the shock? There is still water in his lungs. Someone's pounding on his chest, someone's giving him air. He doesn't want air. He wants to die. Maybe he'll keep his regeneration slow for now.


Mina chokes back tears as she sits over Midoriya. She does what she best remembers as CPR, but she suspects she's doing it wrong.

"Kaminari!" She should be using an honorific, or just polite speech. Ah, fuck that, Midoriya is going to die. "Shock him."

The other student doesn't seem to understand her, his face a mask of idiocy, smiling obliviously. He had used his quirk to shock the water as much as he could, since the electricity will disperse. They didn't need to worry about shocking Midoriya since he seemed like he was going to die if they didn't help. Well, he's going to die now.

"Ashido-san!" Mina turns her head to the voice belonging to Uraraka. She attempts to say something, only for her own voice to cut off in a strangled choke. Oh god, oh god, he is going to die—hell, he's already dead.

"We just came from the downpour zone—is that Midoriya-kun?" Now that Mina looks, she can see the class pretty-boy Todoroki following behind her. When the two catch sight of Midoriya lying down, they rush over.

"I-I was trying t-to do C—" Mina takes a deep breath to steady her voice— "CPR. But he's not wak—"

Todoroki pushes her out of the way, saying sternly, "You're not doing it hard enough."

Mina watches as Todoroki places the heel of his palm on the green-haired boy chest. He seems to understand as Mina did that Midoriya's clothing is made by the support department and it is especially sturdy, so tearing it would be useless. With straight arms, Todoroki starts pumping after he says, "Count for me."

Uraraka does, but her voice always falters when they hear a crack that is undoubtedly the breaking of Midoriya's bones. Mina realises it's not as romantic as the movies make it look. Once Uraraka gets to thirty, Todoroki stops and holds Midoriya's chin, squeezing his nose shut as he breaths into the other boy's mouth. One of Mina's fujoshi friends might be squealing, but Mina can't really think about that now seeing as Midoriya is dead.

Well, he isn't now. His body jerks and Todoroki moves away fast enough for Midoriya to shoot up and water to trickle out his nose and mouth.

"Shit," he says. His eyes dart around, zoning on Todoroki. He squints at him before standing up as if he wasn't just dead a second ago. He almost falls, but Uraraka catches him.

"You bones, Midoriya-kun—"

"It's healing," he hisses as he clutches his ribs.

"We need to head to the central plaza to help Aizawa-sensei," Todoroki says as he stands.

Mina takes a deep breath, trying to steady the trembling in her chest and stands. She follows the three, dragging Kaminari along.


The blade is out of his ribs, so that's one good thing. Though he really doesn't appreciate Deku forcing a fuck load of information into his head at once.

Uraraka's costume is wet—

Downpour zone—

She's not the richest—

Mina's hiding tears with water—

Kaminari short circuited so he's a bit stu—

Todoroki  also downpo—

Ah, his hair is pretty—

What? Izuku shakes his head for a moment, then stands—before another fuck load of info rushes into his mind, making him fall at the dizziness. Ah, his bones.

Todoroki did CPR—

Bruises around his wrist—

Not fresh—

Ice over his left side—

Abuse?—

Uraraka says something that doesn't register in his head, so he only replies with, "It's healing." Todoroki also says something else, but it became a ringing static in his ears. He can't put the veil up. Uraraka leads him by the arm as they follow Todoroki's lead, heading to the central plaza. He sucks in a sharp breath as he sees the humongous beast standing next to the villains.

"Noumu," the hands villain says. He is standing in front of Eraserhead, both seeming to be facing off with each other. "Kill him."

"No!" Izuku shouts, wrenching himself from Uraraka's grip and rushing forward. He is pulled back when Todoroki grabs his arm.

"Stop. We need to plan," he says in a low voice. "Rushing head-first will be dangerous."

"Yeah, well," Izuku hisses impulsively. "It's not like I'm gonna die."

Todoroki blinks, the thought not registering in his head yet, and judging by Uraraka's lack of reaction, she hadn't heard that.

"Watch out!" Mina screams from afar, making the two boys snap their heads to the plaza.

The hands villain—

Time slows down as Izuku thinks.

He's reaching out with his hands—

Touch activated—

All five fingers to activate—

His eyes dart to Aizawa-sensei.

Disintegration?

His eyes move back to the villain, who is unfairly fast and getting closer at the millisecond.

Judging by the twist of the torso—

He's aiming for—

As time speeds up, Izuku does something that can be considered stupid or smart, depending on how you look at it. Using his foot as a pivot—because just jumping there would've waisted a precious few seconds—he swings so that he's facing Todoroki's widening eyes and the hand comes to rest at the back of his head. No matter how much he tells himself he's ready, Deku is curling in on himself to futilely save him from the pain.

Nothing happens. He should've breathed out a sigh of relief.

"Ah, Eraserhead..."

Izuku pushes Todoroki back, so that he can also get away from the villain.

"Saving your students even when you're dying..."

Izuku scrambles up so he's facing the villain too.

"You're so cool..." The villain turns so that his back is to them. Eraserhead is on the ground, Noumu above him pushing him into the concrete. "Noumu, finish him off."

”Todoroki, stop him!” As soon as Izuku blurts that out, a huge iceberg is sent the way of the villains. It engulfs the handyman, Noumu and their half dead teacher. Izuku is about to relax when Deku laughs and points out that, no the ice would not keep someone who can destroy something using five of his fingers on a hand and what looks to be a superhuman monster with strength that could rival All Might from breaking out. At least Aizawa-Sensei should be ignored like that.

Izuku runs forward, drawing a knife just as Noumu breaks out. The shards of ice that scattered as it roars pierces Izuku, some embedding into his skin and being pushed out as fast as it came. He ignores the sharp stinging pain gone in a second and jumps, clinging on to the monster. At the moment, it’s not doing anything to him as what is probably the villain’s orders. He needs to incapacitate Noumu before the villain breaks free. He wraps his legs around it’s thick neck and embeds his blade in its brain.

Its screams are deafening as it grabs onto Izuku’s legs, crushing it and making him shout from the pain. It flings the hero-in-training off and slams him into the ground. He would’ve calculated his injuries if he doesn’t feel like the wet crunch he heard was every bone in his body breaking—that and Deku is gone as to hide from the pain.

He heals immediately, though albeit a bit slower than usual from all the awkward angles his bones are in. He swears he hears someone calling his name.

”Noumu,” the villain’s grating voice reaches Izuku’s ears. The next words are filled with so much hatred he felt chills. “Kill them all.”

He’s sure Todoroki freezes the villain again and will keep doing so as long as he tries to break out. Though he doesn’t really know since Noumu picks him up and starts to pull him apart. Slowly. A scream tears out of his throat, hoarse from being healed previously. 

“Midoriya!”

He is dropped to the ground. He feels like laughing. Why does he feel like laughing? Ah. His cheeks are damp. Why are they damp? Why did Noumu drop him? He turns his head to see the beast impaled with sharp ice. Fire, Deku supplies, it’s probably weak to fire. 

Noumu breaks from the ice and steps towards the group of students. He doesn’t want to feel the pain anymore, so maybe Izuku should just... rest. Take a break... forever.

No. He wants to save people.

Do you?

That’s why he wants to be a hero.

Wasn’t it because you want to die?

He won’t leave them.

It’s ok to be selfish. You always were like that.

No, he wasn’t.

Killing yourself is selfish.

He’s trying not to be. Mom died because he... no, he doesn’t deserve to live.

And Hisashi?

What about him?

He’s the only person in this world left who loves you. Will you destroy him?

No. No, Hisashi doesn’t love Izuku.

That’s your own desires clouding your judgement.

It doesn’t matter. He won’t be selfish again. He won’t think of his pain. It doesn’t matter if he’s in pain. He’ll save them.

Izuku staggered to his feet, reaching out to Noumu. As his hand brushes its back, it spins around and punches him into the ground, creating fissures around him. He was sure he died as his head was smashed in, but he’s fine now. He reaches out again, only to get beaten down.

Again.

And again.

And again.

If dying like this will mean that he can save someone—that he’s not a ȕ̵̡̻̑̈́̓́̒̋s̷̗͍͔̬̬̬͉͍̮̘̋̎́͋́̓͜͠ͅë̵̛͖̻͔̠̭̠̀͂̏̓͌͐̑̃͝͝l̶̗̺̙̰̮̐̊̂͒̐̊͒é̶̢̢̤͙̭͈͍͇̩̣̣ś̷̡̗͙̖͎͈͓̙̌̅̎̎͆̈́̍́̈́̈́͘͘͝ṡ̴̨͉̙̝͔͍̖̖̣̮͉̳̻̄͑̂̈̽̓̌́̀̎̓͘͝ ̴̡̧̨͍͕͍̘̮̻͎̠̬̮͔̂̈́̇͗̐̀̏͌͜͝ḑ̸̝̙̻̝̞͓̙̬̪̘̰͙̋́̎͆̈̐͗̓̈́͂̋́̎͆͝e̷̙͕̪͊̉͊̔̾́́́̌͘͝͝k̷̭̳̥͉̙͌͆̌̄̎̿̽̌̿̋͘͠ų̴̨̯̰̹̘̘̙̲̎—he’ll die again.

And again.

And again.

Chapter Text

Izuku sits on a piece of rubble. What's going on? His clothes are torn and dirty, but his skin is completely untouched save for the layer of soot on his face and everywhere else. He stands up, looking  around. There are fires in various places, the smoke rising up and the light giving the starless night sky a red tint. He starts crying, calling for his mom.

"I...zuku..."

His head spins around to the origin of the sound, running in that direction. He trips over something, his arms coming up in front of him to protect his face. He cries out in pain as his skin scrapes on sharp pieces of rock and metal.

"My...son..." the voice of his mother strains. Izuku, tears leaving tracks on his face, stands and slowly moves to where green hair poked out of the rubble.

"Oka...san..."

"Izuku, listen—" Inko coughs, soot mixed with blood splattering in front of her. "I know I should be—hic—a good mother and say—"

"You're a good m—om," Izuku's voice stuttered as he tries to choke back tears. Inko is also crying, lines  signalling the tear's path clear on her face, a contrast to the dark ash and dirt around.

"No, Izuku, lis—hic—ten. I should be telling you to go. Run and be—hic—safe. The heroes should've set up a post near the road for the injured. Can you do that for me?"

"I wanna stay here with y—"

"No, no, Izuku," Inko says frantically. "Go to the heroes and tell—hic—them I'm here, yes?"

"O-okay."

Little did Izuku know as he walks away, Midoriya Inko burst down in tears. She knows she should help her baby boy escape first, but she doesn't want to die. There is a burning pain on her side where warmth is escaping her. It's already painful enough, but if she doesn't want to die.

Oh god, she doesn't want to die.

Someone help.

Please, someone.


Izuku does not recall anything more after he was beaten senseless than when All Might came. He was not smiling, and Izuku was sure that was the first time. Sitting here in a bright white hospital room despite receiving no injuries, he wonders if All Might was like him. He wonders if the hero has to fake a smile every time he rescues someone to make them feel better—it is quite similar to what Izuku does, though he needs his smile for his own gain.

His mom liked it when he smiles.

Izuku slowly turns his head towards the hospital room door opening, his expression slightly dazed. A man headed over to him and Izuku used what was left of his tired mind to figure out he is a detective.

"My name is detective Tsukauchi Naomasa. You are Midoriya Izuku?"

Instead of responding, he hums out a response akin to a grunt.

"I would like to ask you questions about the USJ incident if you aren't..." the detective trails off.

"Go ahead," Izuku manages to say through his dry throat.

"I'd like to say my quirk can detect lies, so there's no point in lying," at Midoriya's pale look, he adds, "Not that you'd have any reason to. What is your quirk?"

"Regeneration." It isn't a lie—Izuku would feel bad to have to lie to a detective anyways.

"We already had multiple eye witness reports as to what the villains look like. Do you think you'd have anything to add?"

Half lies and half truths—that's what Hisashi had taught him. Liars are bad people and honest ones are naive—neither will survive long in the real world. It's better to be both, or neither, or nothing at all. Yeah, he does have something to add, but it's not like he can. He can't tell the truth and he can't lie—what a paradox.

"Um... before All Might came, they were going to leave. I think the one with the hands is called Shigaraki Tomura. The one with a warp quirk called himself Kurogiri. And that monster thing was called Noumu." He doesn't think—he knows. And he'll never forget as long as Deku remembers every single thing that could be a threat to him.

Tsukauchi writes something into his notepad, and after studying the strokes of his pen, he concludes that the detective was writing the handyman's name. Izuku caught it at the last second before he let himself drift into a rest of mental exhaustion.

"Why did you keep attacking the Noumu?"

"It was going to kill Sensei and my classmates."

"Wasn't it going to kill you too?"

Izuku averts his gaze, his shoulders tensing up. He forced his lips to tremble, forced his breathing to be shallow so that his voice will be uneven. He raises his head and says, "My quirk will keep me from dying long enough for help to get here. You see, if I keep healing, I won't actually die."

Izuku doesn't know how the detective's quirk work, but he is sure that if he even mildly words the sentence differently, the lie detector won't pick it up. Thankfully, as he studies Tsukauchi's face, there is no sudden twitch that would indicate whatever it is that told the detective who is and isn't lying. He holds in a breath of relief, instead bowing his head so that the detective wouldn't spot his triumphant smile. Of course, he couldn't actually die. He dies, yes, but not actually. There is no true death.

"I see," he closes his notepad and stands. "I'm sure your teachers will reprimand you for being so reckless with your life, but I will go ahead and say it anyways. You must value your life as dying is not a joke."

A joke? Of course he knows it's not a joke. He'd spent a majority of his life trying to die, but whatever deity up there, whatever god has already abandoned this timeline decided that his life—and only him—is an absolutely huge joke with a never-ending punchline. Because that's what it really is—a whole messed up, demented joke that would probably keep him alive even when everyone he knows is already dead, keeping his body in the most prime condition it was ever in forever and ever—an eternity alone just because his fucking life is a fucking joke.

And eternity is a long time indeed.

"Don't take your quirk for granted."

Izuku winced.

That is exactly what you did, right?

The veil that had come down so slowly and gently is snapped back up into place.

"Um, Tsukauchi-san," Midoriya says, smiling for good measure. "Is there anyone badly injured? Other than Aizawa-sensei?"

Tsukauchi, who was already at the door, turned back to the student. "All Might strained himself too much during the battle, as well as Thirteen. The only students injured enough to be hospitalised is Sero Hanta, Mineta Minoru, and Todoroki Shouto."

Izuku nods. 

Tsukauchi adds, "If you're not injured, I'm sure the hospital will discharge you as soon as possible. We've called your guardian, but they didn't pick up yet."

Izuku's heart clenched, but he wiped away that feeling as soon as it came. When the detective left, Izuku falls back, his arms thrown over to  block his eyes—to block possible tears if they appear without warning.

Why did his pathetic ass decide to get caught up in this fucking mess?


Izuku had ripped the IV out before the nurses came in and what not. Before he got discharged. He knew that the IV is essentially what keeps a hospital patient alive, but hey, what's the worst that can happen to him, death?

Hah.

Instead of leaving immediately though, he went to see his friends. His room was joined with several other patients, but none of them were his classmates, so he heads for the nearest room, which the nurse pointed to him. This room had Sero and Mineta, the latter of which is asleep, his head covered with bandages.

"Hey, Midoriya," Sero says, a suppressed exhaustion in his voice. Midoriya noticed he doesn't use honourifics.

"You're alright, right, Sero-kun?"

"Of course, it's nothing to worry about!" Sero held his arm out in a flexing pose, patting his elbow with his free hand. Izuku doesn't point out that his arms are wrapped tightly with bandages, whatever wound apparently bad enough to need hospitalisation. "My quirk is pretty strong."

"They didn't teleport you from the starting point, right?"

"Huh? Oh, no," Sero replies, waving his hand in front of his face.

"That means they knew what our quirks were," Izuku says, "They would've known your quirk doesn't do well on wide open areas."

Sero goes quiet. He forces out a smile, an incredibly strained one and says, feigning anything but worry and fear, "The school will deal with it! Besides, you're already discharged, Midoriya? When they carried you over, you were covered in... you looked pretty bad."

Izuku cocks his head, impressed at how the boy in front of him is trying to shrug off serious matters.

"I wasn't injured."

Sero blinks. "Oh. Then who's b—never-mind. Well, Todoroki, Mineta, and I will get discharged later this evening—though I think Todoroki might be going earlier."

Izuku nods. He looks over to the snoring blob of white-covered purple and decides not to wake him up. "Get better soon, Sero-kun."

Sero grinned, grunting in response. "You be sure not to get into any trouble too, eh?"

Izuku manages to find Todoroki's room, with the boy wide awake. He walks over to the heterochromatic boy's bedside, looking out to the nice view of the trees lining the sidewalk outside from the window. There's not many people in this room, only a man with his leg hoisted in a cast up above him. Izuku looks to Todoroki, the latter's cold eyes boring into Izuku's. He inwardly shudders.

"What do you want?" Todoroki says, monotone. There is no trace of how he sounded with his cracked and panicking voice as Izuku got himself beaten to a pulp.

"Just wanted to see how you were doing before I'm off," Izuku says. "How are you doing, Todoroki-kun?"

"How am I doing?" He sounds... angry. Despite that, his next words comes out flatter than it should. "I just saw my f—my classmate get caved in a dozen times. How do you think I'm doing?"

"Um..." Izuku tries to think of a response. "You're the one without the regeneration quirk."

Todoroki's face betrays nothing as he says, "I just want to get one thing clear. I'm not playing at being friends. I have a goal and you are just my rival."

"Ah..." Izuku turns around, headed for the door. He keeps everything out of his posture—the fists he wants to clench, the teeth he wants to gnash, and eyes that should be filled with more than a little bit of scorn. He might regret this in the future, after all, words hurt more than the mere bones he break and the mere blood he sheds.

And those words opened up invisible scars along his mind, tears on the veil separating his anxiety from himself. After all, who wants to be friends with a creep, a weirdo, a whore like himself? 

Certainly not me.

No. Certainly not Deku.

So, Izuku wants to hurt him back, maybe just a little. He pauses at the door.

"I'm sure the Noumu would've been defeated easily by us with fire. Cauterise his wounds and don't let him heal—like a hydra." Izuku turns his head to the side, just so he could see Todoroki just at the corner of his eyes. "If only we had someone with a fire quirk."

Then he left.


He can't do it, not as he's crying behind a slab of the burning building. A fire's spreading towards him, but he's scared that if he moves, the other fires will hurt him. He knows he needs to be a hero, to brave the fires and save mom. But he is scared—scared for his life.

He doesn't want to die.

Suddenly, a fire in front of him seems to be sucked away. He looked up, only to come face to face with an admirable hero, Endeavour. He's too shocked to fanboy, though, a shame.

"Where's your family, boy?" Endeavour asks, voice more gentle that what was on TV as he picks Izuku up into his arms. In the TV, he's always shown to be scary, not giving out any autographs to his fans, but this—this is more gentle than he's supposed to be—yet still carrying a harsh, urgent tone. His eyes look weary. "Is there anyone trapped there?"

Izuku has to say it—he has to tell the Flame Hero that his mom is there. But the hero is already headed in the other direction, and Izuku doesn't want to...

He doesn't want to see the scary flames.


Years later, a green haired boy stands in front of a huge bonfire. He's never consciously experienced the sensation of getting burned alive yet—unlike drowning and starving. His emerald eyes reflect the dancing lights, making the glassy gaze reflect something akin to greek fire.

Without warning, the boy steps into the fire.

Oh it burns.

It hurts.

It hurts so—fucking—much.

But he deserves it. He deserves nothing else but pain.

Chapter Text

There was blood and organs spilt across the crater made by the tenth punch. The monster slowly lifted its fist from the depression it made in the ground, its knuckles stained with a red that would be burned into Shouto's eyes forever. The monster turned just as skin and sinew stitched together, shattered bones sealing into smooth porcelain. The shape it formed was that of a boy, bare in all senses as he reached over to tug at the monster's skin.

Shouto could do nothing but watch as the monster spun and slammed the boy into the ground, leaving a mess of black and red in the crater, but once again, he was put back together again as if he were just a broken toy, an object of sentiment. The process repeated again. 

And again.

And again.

Frost bit his right side and his left side ached. He couldn't feel his fingers as he willed his body to send another wave of ice. But all he could do was watch as the boy was torn apart and put back together. His eyes filled with a frozen terror, a horror so vivid it was as if his quirk froze him to the spot.

Again he was broken.

And again he was not.

And again.

And again.


"The sports festival!"

Shouto flinches, dragged out of his mind by the sudden uproar of the students around him.

"It's necessary to demonstrate that UA's crisis management protocols are sound..." Aizawa-sensei says. "That's the thinking, apparently."

After their homeroom teacher shuts down their protests by telling them it will be the biggest opportunity they will get, the students start murmuring to each other, feeling the need to project their thoughts somewhere. Shouto's gaze finds itself settled on a green head behind Bakugou. He is talking to Mineta sitting behind him, eyes the same unreadable look as always, nothing bothering him in the slightest. Uraraka and Ashido are considerably more quiet than before, but Shouto knew that the two looked away back when... Midoriya was...

"The nation's top heroes will all be watching, right?" Yaoyorozu perks up next to him.

Shouto's mind darkens at the thought of the number two hero being there at the sports festival. At his first opportunity to cut off his father, he doesn't want it ruined by Endeavour intimidating all the other heroes. Or humiliating Shouto by using whatever it was about his left side—

If only we had someone with a fire quirk.

It is his own fault that his dreams are filled with a sickening shade of red and cold, green eyes. Midoriya asked him if he was alright. He asked Shouto. When he was the one who—who—who practically died to stop a monster that none of them could match. And then he had the gall to ask Shouto if he was alright.

Is the anger directed at Midoriya or himself? He doesn't want to know.

"Naturally, you'd gain valuable experience and popularity if you're picked up by a big-named hero."

Shouto hides the scowl at his teacher's words. He is sure to be requested by Endeavour. He'd refuse of course, since he swore he would become a hero with no help whatsoever from the other half of his lineage.

The rest of the day went by with nothing of notice. Modern Literature with Cementoss is over and the lunch bell rang—Shouto keeps throwing glances at Ashido and Uraraka. The former seems to have settled into a comfortable familiarity, but Uraraka...

"Midoriya-kun, Iida-kun..." she says suddenly, cutting through their conversation. Her voice is grave, and Shouto slows his pace so to listen to what she is about to say. "At this sports festival... Let's do our best."

"What happened to your face, Uraraka!"

Shouto sighs. Is he the only one making a big deal out of the whole... Midoriya thing? They should at least be bothered, or feel like vomiting every time they look at Midoriya and remember all the blood and guts and bones sticking out. Shouto shudders and leaves the classroom as fast as he can.

The school has offered counselling, and, as far as he knows, Ashido is the only one that goes. Though that's only because he walked past the school counsellor's room once and she was walking out. They wouldn't tell others if someone is in counselling, as that would violate privacy. Uraraka just... doesn't seem as bothered. Which annoys Shouto more than a little.

He snaps out of his thoughts at the lunch line when he hears the conversation of the two behind him.

"...wonder what he wants with Midoriya-kun."

"Maybe he's worried and has offered an ear—"

"Or All Might has taken a liking to him."

Shouto freezes.

Midoriya does not, by any means, have a powerful quirk. If it's a one on one battles, then there's no doubt that Shouto will win. In a ring like the sports festival's final one-off, Midoriya does not stand a chance alone or otherwise. His quirk is not suited to offence and it is not pure power, unlike Shouto's. When going up against a quirk like Midoriya's, just firing off his full power at the start would've incapacitated him, no matter what.

So why has All Might of all people, who's quirk is so vastly different from Midoriya's, take an interest in a boy with a quirk like his. Why?

Of course, All Might might've just been worried, but... Shouto cannot help the unsettling feeling in his gut.

He cannot—will not lose to Midoriya. A favourite of the number one hero—he will take the boy down with only half his power, just to show the difference of level between them. He has to. He shouldn't care about this person, who is just going to be a stepping stone for him to number one, but his instincts are desperately telling him to look—look at the boy. Not just look—see him.

He suspects the USJ incident gained Midoriya a great deal of respect from him.


Shouto sneaks glances at Midoriya all through the rest of the day. There is no difference to his behaviour before he met up with All Might and after. Perhaps All Might just wanted to check on the boy after all. But if he is being honest, Midoriya seems more spaced out, as if he is constantly deep in thought. The bell for the last class rings and Shouto sighs silently. Nothing. No one was behaving any differently to Midoriya at all. Everyone seems fine. Too fine after a villain attack like that. And if they knew what happened to Midoriya, they wouldn't be leaving him alone like nothing happened.

"What's going on!" Uraraka exclaims as she slides open the classroom door. Somehow, between the space of the teacher finishing off the lesson and them finishing packing up their things, a crowd has gathered in front of the 1A classroom.

"What are they here for?" Mineta asks, nervous and intimidated by the sea of giants.

"Scouting out the competition, duh, small fry," Bakugou snaps, though not with as much venom as usual. "Cuz we're kids who survived the villain attack. Makes sense they'd want to take a look before the sports festival."

Shouto stops himself from looking to Midoriya, who joins up with Uraraka at the front. Shouto, who is still packing up, slows his movements so that the crowd will hopefully clear out by the time everyone else leaves.

"No point, though." Then, Bakugou's voice sharpened into a yell, "Move aside, cannon fodder."

"Kacchan, if you're going down, please refrain from taking us with you," Midoriya says, smiling that wide smile of his. The students in the crowd look at Midoriya curiously, though immediately taking a liking to him, they also took him for a delinquent at his lack of a tie, his piercings, and his hair shaved slightly at the sides. Shouto takes note that the hair seems shorter, as if he had given it a cut. Speaking of, at the hospital and the USJ after he was attacked, Midoriya lost his piercings and his hair grew out where he was... hurt.

"It's true," a voice comes from the back. "We came to have a look at you guys, but you sure are modest. Are all the hero-course kids like this one?"

"Huh?" Bakugou raised his chin and Iida profusely waved his hands in a don't do it gesture.

"To be honest, I'm a bit disappointed." The owner of the voice pushed pass the crowd to stand directly in front of Bakugou. "Just because you got a head start of the villain attack does not mean you get to look down on us like that."

A swell of burning hot anger rushes through Shouto—at this boy for saying such words. He doesn't twitch a single muscle in his face, though.

"Shinsou-san," Midoriya smiles, a sickly sweet thing that makes him calm down. "You know, it's not really a 'head start' per se."

The boy, Shinsou, scoffs. "Did you know, that the general course students will get a chance at becoming heroes too?"

"Ehh, really?" Midoriya steps forward, not breaking his smile.

"The entrance exam is... unfavourable towards those without a physical quirk or destructive quirk." Shinsou's lips pull into a sneer.

"But my quirk isn't really that destructive, you know," Midoriya laughs bashfully, rubbing the back of his head. "A lot of my points come from rescue, too, you know."

Shinsou furrows his eyebrows.

"The entrance exam also favours the selfless ones too, you know," Midoriya continues, "and its not like we asked to be put in danger so early on even before we started our hero career. You know?"

"Your friend over there seems to think the attack is to his benefit."

"Ehh, really?" Midoriya turns to Bakugou and Shouto shivers at that sustained tone of his that seems to be constantly sweet. "Did you know that, Kacchan?"

"Don't call me that, fucking Deku."

Midoriya's eye twitches.

"See, that's just the way he is," Midoriya turns back to the purple-haired boy, still smiling. "And he doesn't want you to lump him in with the rest of us, right Kacchan?" Not waiting for a reply, Midoriya continues, "You know some of us could've died, you know, you know? There were actual villains who have had quite a few years longer than us to hone their quirks, you know? We were fighting to subdue them while they were fighting to kill us, you know?

"So you should think about what we've been through before you accuse us of anything, Shin~sou~san."

The hallway and classroom are silent.

"Ah!" Midoriya softly slams a fist into his open palm, faced up, as if he just remembers something. "I've got to go. See you at the festival, Shinsou-san!"

And with that, the boy squeezes through a crowd and disappears.

Chapter Text

"If you could have another quirk, would you?"

It was not the question Izuku had expected when he followed All Might to have lunch with him. Nevertheless, Izuku decides to answer honestly—well, a bit honest.

"Of course," he says, giving a bashful smile. He looks down at his hands for effect. "This quirk of mine... it really isn't all that useful when you think about it."

"No, young Midoriya," All Might cuts in, "I think your quirk is wonderful! But..." he scratches his chin in thought, "sometimes that kind of quirk makes you think you are invincible—and no one is truly invincible, my boy. It really makes you go too far."

Izuku bows his head to hide the look of distaste upon his face. Oh how he wishes he isn't truly invincible. Death snickers as it floats down next to All Might, leaning against his left side.

All Might sets the cup of coffee he held in his hand down. "I have a secret I would like to share with you, my boy. And a request."

Before Izuku can say anything, smoke fills the room and he is already on his feet, the knife up his sleeve now in his hands. What appears out of the smoke however, is not what he expects—a skeletal man stares back at him. Shock is like a drug and it pulls him under, a pair of hands pushing him into suffocating liquid, a pair of familiar dragon-like eyes...

Deku takes hold.

"This is my true form," All Might says. "You know how people hold their gut in at the pool? It's like that. Five—"

"F-f-five years ago. I know," Deku blurts out. "You favour your right side more—is it an injury? On your left abdomen or your heart perhaps... n-n-no, it's your abdomen."

All Might blinks.

"It's not Toxic Chainsaw, he wo-wouldn't be capable of putting a scratch on y-yo-y-you." Deku looks up, pupils blown in concentration and unbeknownst to him, shivers run down the number one hero's spine as a pair of green eyes stare. Dull, yet shining with a curiosity, those eyes seem to pick apart his very soul.

Deku continues, "Your time is decreasing, isn't it? Five—no three hours m-max. That's why you weren't at the USJ. All the teachers know too, otherwise y-y-y-you wouldn't be able to keep up the secret. Those were th-th-the numbers that Aizawa-sensei and Thirteen were signalling to each other, huh."

All Might opened his mouth, but Deku wouldn't let him start.

"I heard about the f-f-fight from the others—you pushed yourself too much. You're getting worse." Deku narrows his eyes, then widen them again. Rusty gears start go faster than they've ever before, grinding and sending sparks out. Cobwebs fall away as the old machinery gets going. "But the question is, why would you tell me?"

All Might is starting to look flattened.

"Do you n-need someone trustworthy among the children to d-d-distract—to distract them if you ever run out of time? Or is it b-b-b-because—is it, uh—"

"Young Midoriya," All Might cuts in loudly, albeit not quite shouting.

The train stumbles and steam rushes through the gears, that short lost of concentration allowing Izuku to wrap his hands around Deku's throat and pull him down, away from the steering wheel. It is a strange sensation indeed, to not be in control. Izuku looks out of his eyes, he speaks out of his mouth, he feels every bit of muscle moving from the slight tick of his foot to the vowels sounded through his jaw and tongue. But despite all that, he says things he doesn't want to, yet it is obviously him saying it. It is not something he can put into words, something he can explain to those that has never experienced it first hand, because, no matter how detached Deku is, they are still, undeniably, the same person.

"I'd have to say," All Might continues as Izuku falls back into the cushions. "That was quite impressive. Are you sure you don't want to be a detective? But, ah, if you have the resolve to become a hero, if you were resourceful enough to get into Class 1A without a flashy or utilising quirk, then you are meant to be a hero."

Something squeezes Izuku's throat, a lump lodging into place.

"So, I'd like to help you." All Might holds out an arm. "I believe that you, with your heroic spirit, throwing yourself in harm's way to save people, I believe you are worthy of inheriting my quirk."

Eh?

No, no, no—

Super Strength—

Body Enhancement—

You can't inherit—

Transfer a quirk?—

That's not pos—

Unless—

Like Sensei?

The look on his face must've said it all as All Might continues, "My quirk has been passed down, generation to generation. Like an Olympic torch."

"You..."

"I can transfer my quirk—its name being One For All."

"One For... All. It's English..."

All Might spreads his fingers out and Izuku can almost imagine a kindle of flame, not held on tightly, but rather, welcoming him to take it—giving it to him.

All Might explains, "The first person cultivates the power, then passes it to another. The next refines it, passes it on. In this way, those crying out to be saved, and those with brave true hearts link to form, a crystalline network of power!"

"Then that means... I would have to pass it on too, if... I had it?" Izuku sounds out the words, afraid he forgot how to speak through the lump in his throat.

"Correct! I chose you because I saw the spirit of a hero within you. You sacrificed yourself to save others, and that behaviour is commendable, but... I must say, I don't encourage it." All Might stares down at the coffee he picked up again. "You need to also think about yourself, my boy. It's not healthy to jump into danger just because you know you would be fine."

Izuku's lip tightens.

"Especially at such a young age. I always resented the old ways where heroes are always the young ones, rising up because the adults couldn't do anything, and... I know that soon, I would not be able to protect you children, and you would think that too. That is the mindset of the vigilantes as well."

Izuku doesn't want his hero to think like this.

"But I assure you, us adults are capable, so you don't have to do it all by yourself." All Might smiles. "I regret asking you so soon to inherit my power, as you would probably shoulder the responsibility of the number one hero's power, but I am running out of time."

"All Might..." Izuku furrows his brows.

If he had this power, he would have to pass it down to someone.

If he had this power, he would have to use it as a hero.

If he died with this power, it would be gone from this world.

"I can't accept it," he says.

A look of surprise crosses All Might's expression, but he conceals it well. "I see," he replies, smiling warmly. "I understand then."

Izuku stands up abruptly, the lunch he swiped from the cafeteria—Melon Bread and Yakisoba Bread—forgotten on the table. His stomach would refuse anything, he knew. He apologises and excuses himself.


No one uses this bathroom, he knows from observations on the first day. He leans his arms straight on the sink, breathing not heavy but not steady either. Even though there are no voices in his head, even when Deku is completely and uncharacteristically silent from shock of his favourite hero's secret, even when he gets time to himself—he cannot escape this feeling.

He wants to tear his skin off, wants to scratch and maim and maul. He wants to pull his hair out and scream and claw until his nails are chipped and bloodied. But he doesn't. The white space between the small tiles on the bathroom counter are red when he pulls away. His fingers are devoid of any wounds, the bones that are his nails perfectly manicured. But blood drips down his thumb.

He snaps when he next meets Shinsou. 

Chapter Text

The sports festival is in a few days, but that doesn't concern Izuku much. Right now, he's more concerned about earning extra cash. Which is one of the few instances he regrets utilising Deku to his whims, because sometimes, he can be a little... compulsive when gambling.

"I put forward 95,000 yen," he says, an uproar of noise bursting out around him, filling the warehouse that had been emptied out save for the people gathered in the middle. Sometimes, a few girls would idle just outside the doors blown wide open, observing the game within.

"Hah," Horie laughs, "Then I'd have to put forward 100,000 yen." An even larger uproar exploded after the moment of silence the people gathered gave Horie to speak.

"Oi, oi, oi," Masafumi says with a nervous laugh attached on as an afterthought, "You guys can't be serious, right? That's your whole fortune."

"I'm confident," Izuku smiles.

"All right, all right," Hinata, who had been absent for too long now, quiets down the noise around them. She smiles, pulling up two notebooks, both slightly ruined, both in a different colour, and gestured to the buckets lying on the ground. "Place your bets!"

The noise continued, drowning out the warning buzz at the back of Izuku's head. Torn pieces of paper were passed around, wads of cash being thrown into respective buckets.

"Alright, deciding who goes first..." neither of them want to go first, as the person who goes last has their performance embedded deeper in the people's mind, therefore, more chance the judges will choose them as winner. "Who played Russian roulette last! Midoriya-kun?"

"...Monday, around midnight. I lost," he replies truthfully.

"Rikkun?" Hinata turns with her bright smile.

"... Last night."

"Horie goes first!" Hinata proclaims, much to Horie's displeasure.

He stands up on his BMX, staring Izuku right in the eye. In a flash, he jumps and lands, but with his legs crossed and standing on the wrong pedals. Izuku purses his lips as the people spread out to make room and Horie completes a set of tricks he has to make up on the spot. He's good, Izuku admits, fitting for the man who earned almost a million yen in one night, plus a free pack of the good stuff won from Eight-Ball himself.

When it comes to Izuku's turn, he immediately spins on the front hub, the tail end of the BMX—not his, mind you, he'd never afford it—executing multiple tail whips. He spins around the handlebars and grabs onto the bike's seat. He jumps from the front hub to... well, the other front hub. At the end of his routine, he somehow ends with the BMX almost upside down, him standing on the back hub and holding on to the front hub like it is the handlebars, a reverse hitchhiker.

Then he trips.

Everyone sees it—the cracks from when Horie went first, when he slammed down a little too hard with his quirk active. The wheels bounce once, and Izuku tries to steady himself. Instincts make him push the bike away to avoid a bad crash and he feels his heart sink when the impact of his back hitting the floor comes full force. Not a second later does the roar fill up the warehouse, the loitering girls poking their heads in with a smile. Izuku knows how to move with the BMX as if it's a limb, but he also knows how to detach an organ just as fast.

He vaguely hears Hinata announce Horie as winner by default, but he doesn't focus on that. He slams his fist into the concrete, covering his eyes with his other arm. If only he won a few more...

The heckles start. Mostly from the people who bet on him.

"Hey, Midoriya, if you're ever in need for quick cash, I've got a few people I wanna introduce..."

"You know we can always go out and have a little fun if you're broke~"

"I can get a debt off your back if you want, for a cutie like you—"

He grits his teeth and ignores them as someone else comes up to challenge Horie for barely a quarter of the fortune he made today. Izuku turns his head to the side when Masafumi takes his bike back—and spots a girl who wasn't loitering before slip out one of the entrances.

Shit.

"Gotta run," he informs anyone who would listen and grabs his backpack. He started the morning off with 2000 yen so he doesn't intend to cry about it. But there is another issue.

Izuku glares at the setting sun, as if it is its fault for crossing the sky so damn fast. He swallows, forgetting the culprit currently painting the sky as it wishes, and crouches down when he nears an area with graffitied walls. This area swarms with heroes all day, but it still is the best place for shady things to happen—which is exactly what happens when someone pulls Izuku by the collar and throws him down the grassy slope. He cries out as his bare arms skid against the concrete at the bottom.

"You lost all your money, huh, Mi-do-ri-ya-kun."

Ah, fuck.

"You know," a man, dressed in a suit that looks too expensive for probably anyone he's ever met to afford, looms over him. This man owns an establishment in the underworld, a gambling den—where Izuku owes a sum of money so large he doesn't even want to be reminded of how many digits it contains. "If you're ever running low on cash, there are quite a bit of lonely people who are looking for someone tonight..."

"Fuck no," Izuku hisses as his skins smooths over, but thousands of tiny pin drops of blood still cover his forearms.

"Of course not," the man smiles. "We know about your little... act up in UA. You wouldn't want the lowlifes knowing your face now that you'd be on national television."

The place they're doing this is under a bridge, next to a dried up canal running through the city completely covered over with graffiti. The people around use it as a bowl instead of a skateboard park, and Izuku admits he has been here when they're not doing flatland gambling and instead are just having some fun with the ramps. Izuku is on all fours, head bowed to keep the disgusted look away from the man.

"Look, I just need a little more time. You know how fast I can be." Which is exactly what got him into this in the first place. The debt collectors, the gambling sharks, they know just how fast Izuku can make money, so they hound after him just as fast. With the reputation he's built up, newer debt collectors like these get greedy.

"What'd you want?" Izuku asks finally.

A cooler box is thrown in front of him, along with a bottle of anaesthetic. That little shit got advice from his senpais, huh.

"A liver."

"Whoah, whoah, whoah," Izuku snaps his head up, standing. "You're over charging me here, bud. A kidney."

"Che," the man leans on one leg. "Fine. I'll send someone to your place tomorrow morning to pick it up."

After checking his too-expensive watch, he sets off at a casual pace. He pauses. The man looks back and smiles, "My senpais say always to bring a cooler and numbing agent when asking you to pay back."

"Fuck you," Izuku spits, snarling. 

The man walks off.

Izuku falls back into the grass lining the hills. After a moment of contemplation, he stands up, slinging the backpack that lay halfway up the slope across his shoulders, and after stuffing the anaesthetic in his bag, he climbs the hill with the cooler box balanced on his hip like a basketball.

"Midoriya."

"Oh, shiiii—" Izuku almost slips down the slope again at the sudden call, but he manages to grab on the the little ledge of the concrete path and hauls himself out. There is only one person that speaks in that tone of voice yet stubbornly refuses to use honourifics.

Mismatched eyes stare down at him, devoid of anything save for an ice that seems to cool the surroundings as well.

"You didn't come to school today," Todoroki says, not a questions, but a simple statement. No worry taints his voice, only a thinly veiled curiosity.

"I was, uh, doing personal training," Izuku replies, hiking up the cooler box higher on his hip. Todoroki's eyes find it with a questioning look. Izuku replies, "It's none of your business."

Todoroki nods and walks on.

Izuku turns as his classmate walks past him. He isn't wearing the school uniform, meaning he already went home, but Izuku is sure Todoroki isn't the kind of person who'd go for a walk. Though—

Cloth—

Bandages under—

Long sleeves—

Limp—

He decides to leave it alone.


Midoriya Izuku has only ever had four scars in his life, not including his belly button.

He looks at himself in the mirror, his shirt thrown somewhere in the corner of his apartment.

His hand rises up to his neck, his fingers fluttering over his pulse. It isn't noticeable with the school uniform, but there is one pink line, outlined in white—when he plunged the knife into his main artery and slashed a long line on its way out. The fourth and latest scar from when Sensei took his quirk.

His hand runs down pass his collarbone, thumb tracing the much more noticeable line cutting through the middle of his chest—neat for an underground work. His palm covers another scar that trails out of the previous one, larger and uglier, a mess—it splits right above his belly button and each stops before the curve of his body. The fourth scar is lower, off to the right and breaking the pattern of symmetry the previous two makes. It angles, reaching from behind his trousers and crossing over the previous scar to end at the ribs.

A heart, a liver, and a kidney—taken from him for the price of the three scars. It serves as a guideline for where to cut himself open whenever next he needs money. That was the last time he remembered before meeting Sensei about his quirk being taken from him for a short period of time, the time when he woke up with his chest opened and a beating heart not fully formed, a kidney missing, and a partially made liver. 

He couldn't feel any of it. Thankfully he was completely healed—save for the scars—when his sense of pain returned. He suspected it was a small mercy Death granted upon him, the only one—when he thought that Izuku was finally going to die. But he didn't. The quirk suppressors weren't strong enough to completely get rid of the soul-preserving factor of his quirk.

You know, Deku speaks from where he leans on the wall, curled up to his knees, you should ask Hisashi for help. He'd do anything if only you asked.

"That's cause he's stubborn. And prideful," Izuku says as he sits down, numbness spreading around the area of the third scar, the asymmetrical one. He lies back down, pushing under the small table where he has lights and a mirror attached to the underside. Hands feeling for the cooler box and then wrapping around a scalpel, he turns to Deku with a weak smile, "Help?"

When the scalpel sinks into his skin, slit pupils stare down at him from the mirror.


"Again."

Izuku lands a hit, but is flipped onto his back. The wind is knocked from his lungs, spittle flying as a pair of strong arms completely hold him down. The pressure lifts and Izuku takes the hand offered to him, attached to muscled arms, bare of any sleeves save for the swirling dragon tattoo that fills up most skin space.

"And again."

Izuku does a triple feint, catching his opponent off—not off guard, per se, but... off. He picks up his opponent's leg like he was taught and pushes them onto the ground. Just as he almost achieves victory, he feels it wrenched from his grip, a pair of legs wrapping around his neck and tightening. He calls out, tapping the leg lightly and feeling the pressure lifted, once again.

"And again."

"Stop!" Izuku shouts, breaths coming in heavy pants despite his desperately regenerating cells, oxygen trying to fill them up in time. "Why do I—huff—why do I need to fight—huh—for my life—hufh—when I can't even—" Izuku takes a gulp of air in, "—when I can't even die?"

Fiery dragon eyes stare down at him, the regal expression of Midoriya Hisashi disapproving, but not disappointed, as if he was expecting this. His throat glows, silhouetted cracks lining the skin whenever light emanates from deep in his lungs. Izuku remembers, sometimes, when his dad sneezes or coughs, when embers and ash would fall around him. He never wears white.

"There are worse things than death in this world," Hisashi speaks, his voice always so fucking soft. "I don't want you to suffer."

Izuku glares up at him.

"If you don't want to, we quit," he continues. "We never have to do this again."

"Fuck no," Izuku speaks through breaths. He grins, a sharp and genuine thing, up at Hisashi. His dad raises a brow at the language, learnt from Kacchan, but does not comment. "I'm going to wipe the floor with you one day, old man."

A huff of a laugh escapes Hisashi and he lowers himself into a stance, embers floating down to be extinguished on the dojo's floor.

"Again."