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once forgotten, twice removed

Chapter Text

The battle raged around them.

All Might was no stranger to death and even less of a stranger to villains, but watching as the fire curled and spread around Kamino was a devastating blow. The screams of those that were trapped in the rubble echoed around the once bright and cheerful city. Now, homes were reduced to ash and the buildings collapsing as heroes worked desperately against the clock. Bakugo had been rescued and his students ushered to safety, but at a price.

Gran Torino stood by his side, watching the carnage with sad eyes. This battle had caused too much harm for too many people. Their resources were running out. They didn’t have much time left. If it continued to way that it currently was then—

The wound that had decimated his body five years ago ached. He thought he was going to die then, too, but that was before he had passed on his quirk.

That was before he lost the majority of his power.

In the center of all the chaos All Might could only make out two figures. Against the ash and the smoke and the fire, they stood bright. They chattered, as if the city wasn’t burning, as if people weren’t dying. That without a face and that with a terrifying smile.

All Might had a history with All for One. Midorishi Izuku, however, was a new player.

He had first appeared at USJ to attack Aizawa’s students. He’d left his mark when he tore the building down with enormous destructive power. His ability to carry out a plan was horrifyingly fantastic. There had been injuries, but no one died that day.

It was a very near thing.

They didn’t know much about him. They knew he had a destructive quirk—or quirks, if his close relationship to All for One was anything to go by. He had green hair, he liked to carry around as many weapons as he could fit on his person. They knew that he was charismatic and well liked  within villain groups. They knew he was smart, they knew he was fast and they knew he was young. No older than All Might’s first year students in UA.

Much too young to have that sort of smile. To have those sorts of eyes.

All Might may have saved Shimura Tenko, but even he knew it was too late to save Midorishi Izuku. All for One corrupted everything he touched. That boy was no exception.

All for One stepped forward. Midorishi stuck out his hand and said, “Let me, Sensei.”

All for One gestured for Midorishi to walk forward. He does so with no hesitation, teeth bared in what resembled a grin. His loose fitting clothing covered in flecks of dirt and blood. His eyes glowed green in the evening light. He might have been two heads shorter than All for One, but his presence was still the same. These were people who thrived on the death and destruction of the innocent.

 “It would be easier for all of us if you just die, All Might,” Midorishi said. His tone was light and joking but his words were anything but.

“If I die,” All Might said and paused. His body might be weak, but he was not done yet. Not while there are still people behind him and innocents to be saved. “If I die, then this city does as well.”

“Yeah, that’s kind of the point,” Midorishi said. There’s a playful frown—almost a pout on his lips.

THEN I WILL NOT LET THAT HAPPEN!” All Might roared and he lunged forward. They clash with such force that it sent a shockwave through Kamino. People screamed and cried and begged as they and their homes were blown away by the sheer force of their power.

All Might could only think of pain.  

It attacked his body with devastating force. Creeping up his arm and spreading throughout his limbs. Everything hurt. He couldn’t breathe. For a moment, just a moment, All Might thought that this truly might be his last battle. He closed his eyes as he listened to Midorishi laugh and tried to think of better times.

Helping thousands of people from the rubble, alive and well. Becoming the Symbol of Peace. Rescuing Tenko and watching as he bloomed into the young hero he was meant to be. Finding Mirio and passing on One for All after Nighteye recommended him. His students at UA, waiting for him to come back. His master’s smile. It was like a mantra in his head. Every person he had saved, every life he had changed, every opportunity they had to live. The peace that he had created.

“Your power, All Might? If it means that I can help more people, I would be honored. Please teach me!”

“Uncle Toshinori? What was my grandma like?”

“All Might-sensei! What are we learning today?!”

 “You saved him.”

“You saved her.”

“You saved me.”

All Might could not die.

Somewhere out there was his successor. Somewhere out there, Mirio was waiting for him to return. Tenko was waiting for his return. His students were waiting for his return. Somewhere out there, he can hear the innocents calling for him. You can do it! You can do it! Even after they all saw his true form, they still believed in him.

He may have loved his teacher, but he will not be like her.

He funneled what was left of One for All into his fist and pushed. The familiar power bubbled inside of him, waiting for him to call it forward. His eyes snapped open and he threw his fist as hard as he could until he felt Midorishi’s own power give way. He surged forward and hit his target with a satisfying crack!

Midorishi was send halfway across the city, only landing a few feet from where All for One stood. Midoriya groaned, rolling to his side and promptly spitting out blood. He was no longer smiling, looking at All Might like one would look at a particularly annoying mosquito. All for One tutted but helped up his successor to his feet.

“I hoped it wouldn’t come to this,” All for One said and sighed like it was such an inconvenience.

“There are a lot of things that I had hoped for,” All Might replied in return, his voice a little wheezy.

All Might tried to steady his breathing, clutching his shattered arm. He had very little One for All left. This battle had gone on for far too long. The only two people left were himself and Gran Torino, who stood faithfully in the rubble of the once great city.

 “I found a quirk, All Might.” All for One said and he placed a hand on Midorishi’s shoulder to steady him as the boy stumbled. “A quirk called Universe. It’s quite interesting really—a thousand universes, a billion worlds yet we seem to be connected to one in particular. A parallel dimension, you should say.”

All Might glanced at Gran Torino, sharing the expression of growing horror. He did not like where this was going.

“Imagine. Double the people, double the power.” All for One said and laughed. His hand sparked before lighting up in shades of gold and green. “Little Izuku has always been kind to a poor old soul like me. I’ve wanted to get him some help around here. Who better to help him out then himself?”

All Might felt ice creep up his back. There was no way—that…that was impossible. He rushed forward, but it was already too late. He could only watch as the light in All for One’s hand glowed brighter and brighter until it was impossible to look at. Gran Torino tried to follow, but at that very moment, All for One simply raised his hands and let the power free.

The explosion that rocked the area sent even a man like All Might stumbling back. He put his hands to cover his eyes as debris and dust were kicked up and blown around. Wind ripped at his baggy costume. He could hardly breathe, couldn’t see, and all he could hear was the ringing of his own ears.

Except…that wasn’t quite right. There was something else there too—something faint. A voice in the wind. It was familiar in a way, but he couldn’t quite place it.

Whatever you say All Might! the voice said. It’s getting louder, All Might realized. It’s getting louder and it knew his name. I’ll step up to this challenge! As long as you’re by my side, I can do anything. That’s how I feel, anyways.

Symbol of peace? A new voice said, whispering in his ear. All Might knew that voice. He listened to it every morning when Tenko greeted him. These, however, were not Tenko’s words. Hah! In the end you’re just a tool for violence, made to keep us down. And violence only breeds more violence.

The first voice came back, A smiling, dependable, cool hero…That’s what I wanna be! That’s why I’m giving it everything. For everyone!

His own voice reached his ears, whispering powerful words. You’re next.

The light and wind rushed back towards the center and exploded with a quick burst of light. The voices faded and All Might could only hear ringing the ringing in his ears as he coughed and rubbed his eyes. By the time the dust had settled, there was a large circle burned in the middle of the battlefield.

Another Midorishi Izuku sat in the center of it all.

All Might could only watch in horror as the newcomer staggered to his feet with a groan. This Midorishi did not look like the original—not only did he look older, but he was wearing a bright green track suit covering the entire length of his body. White gloves came up to his elbows and on his hips hung a red belt, each with a pouch on the side. Black support stockings came up to his knees. A silver mouthguard hung from his neck.

If All Might didn’t know any better, he would have said it looked like a hero costume.

This is your chance to take him out before he’s a threat, a voice whispered in his ear. It made sense, to attack before the enemy can attack him. All Might stepped forward out of habit, but then stopped. Something in his gut told him to wait.

This Midorishi Izuku blinked dust out of his eyes before turning to All Might. When he met this Midorishi Izuku’s eyes, he knew that something was off. Not necessarily wrong, but different. There was recognition in this one’s eyes, yet it not the kind that he was used to. There was no malice or contentment or anger. Just confusion.

Eventually, the newcomer turned around, eyes taking in the scene around him. He stopped on Gran Torino for only a second before looking at all the buildings and the fire and the smoke. If anything, he almost seemed even more confused. When his eyes landed on All for One, he seemed to stop breathing. He didn’t notice his very own counterpart at All for One’s side.

 “All for One,” the new Midorishi Izuku breathed out. There was something about his tone and the way he said it. It wasn’t friendly. It almost sounded alarmed. Like he was seeing a long-dead ghost.

If All for One still had a mouth, he would be grinning. “Welcome, Midorishi Izuku. I’m sure you have questions.”

“My name is Midoriya,” the new Midorishi Izuku—no, Midoriya— said slowly, like he couldn’t quite believe he had to say that out loud. The alarm All Might previously saw on his face was gone, replaced by a steel gaze. His voice was tight. All Might, for the life of him, could not figure out why. “And I think that might be a bit up an understatement.”

“I can explain, my child,” All Might did not miss the flinch from Midoriya Izuku when All for One spoke. “You’re from a parallel world. I brought you here with a quirk of mine, I’m sure you know. My precious Izuku here would like some help and I thought it was only fitting for a man like himself to help….himself.”

“So now you’re here and you can help me kick All Might’s fucking ass,” Midorishi—the one that All Might had fought over and over and over—said in a crude sort of way.

Midoriya glanced at his counterpart currently standing by All for One’s side as if noticing him for the first time. Midorishi bared his teeth in a grin while Midoriya edged backwards a little. All for One’s words did nothing to calm him as he glanced at the buildings all around (burning, still burning. All Might can only hope the heroes got all the civilians out in time). Midoriya caught All Might’s eyes, almost as if he were asking a silent question, before turning his attention back to All for One.

He seemed more confused than All Might himself.

“This is Kamino,” Midoriya said.

“Yes,” All for One agreed. “This will be the final resting place of All Might.”

“You,” Midoriya Izuku said and paused, thinking over the words. He sounded taken aback. “You want me to help fight All Might.”

 “Of course,” All for One nodded along. “I can offer you double of whatever my counterpart is paying you currently, along with anything your little heart could desire. Of course, you would get to help out drastically—"

“Did you happen to check what world you were pulling me out of when you did this?” Midoriya Izuku interrupted and it was said in such an incredulous tone that had the situation not been as critical as it was, All Might would have laughed.

All for One waved him off. “Name your price after this, then. We’ll speak of it more.”

Something nudged his side. All Might looked down to see Gran Torino, who gestured to the three locked in a conversation. Half of his mask was burned off and he was covered in cuts, but overall he still was able to fight. All Might was thankful for that, at least, because at the rate this was going All Might was going to have to be fighting two Midorishi or Midoriya (or whatever they’re called—) and All for One.

Attack? Gran Torino mouthed.  

Yet, All Might did not.

He didn’t know what was keeping him there, rooted to the spot. It might have been because his legs were so exhausted that if he took but a single step, he would collapse. Perhaps it was the fact that he could barely see straight, much less throw a punch in his current state. Perhaps, just perhaps, it was because something inside of him—One for All—seemed to be telling him to wait just a little longer. Just wait. Just wait. Just wait—

Heroes were starting to gather again. All Might could see them on the tops of the rubble, slowly coming forward. The jumped from rock to rock as carefully as they could. Police held their guns and barricades high as they slowly marched forward. All Might was able to spot Naomasa in the crowd, decked out in full protection gear.

All for One noticed them too and turned to Midoriya Izuku. “It’s time.”

Midoriya Izuku paused and then raised his head. There was a fire in there that All Might had never seen from Midorishi before. Power flared to life and Midoriya seemed to glow as streaks of green lighting littered his body. Fire leaked from his glowing eyes. The power that he put out was so strong that he cracked the very ground that he stood on.

All Might knew that power.

“I don’t know what I’m like in this world,” Midoriya met the gaze of his counterpart. “It seems like I’m pretty shitty, actually.”

“My child—”

“My name is Midoriya Izuku!” Midoriya shouted at the pair. His voice rang over the rubble of Kamino and all of the heroes paused to listen. All for One and Midorishi reeled back in surprise as the new Midoriya took a step forward. His expression burned in anger, the likes of which All Might had never seen. It wasn’t directed at him—no, it was directed only at the villains. “I am Deku, the successor of All Might and the current keeper of peace!”

All Might sucked in a surprised breath of air. That was not the declaration he had expected, yet he knew as he looked at this man he could be nothing else. The power that was around him—One for All—his costume, his posture. From the moment he arrived here, All Might knew he had been different.

Midoriya Izuku was a hero.

Midorishi’s expression slowly changed into horror; the very horror that All Might had felt just minutes before. The type of horror that was felt when a costly mistake had been made. One that would not be so easily fixed. Midorishi glanced up at All for One who only sat there, stock still.

All Might wished that he hadn’t destroyed All for One’s face because he would’ve loved to see the expression he was making right now.

Midoriya—no, Deku raised his fist with a snarl. “All for One, you’ve been my enemy since the day I was born.”

Deku let his punch fly.

 


 

The dust settled and the storm rolled back for now.

The battle had been short. The moment that All for One recognized the power that Deku wielded, he warped Midorishi away despite the numerous protests sent his way. All for One stepped forward, seemingly ready to take on Deku himself. His hundreds of stolen quirks pumped through his veins and his arm inflated like a terrifying balloon.

That was when All Might stepped to Deku’s aid.

All for One was not a stupid man. He knew when he was overpowered and outclassed. With the hoard of heroes and police steadily getting closer, he knew he was running on borrowed time. Perhaps in another world, All for One could take on All Might himself, but having two users of One for All was too much, even for him.

“This…not even I could foresee this outcome,” All for One rumbled. It almost sounded like a laugh. “To think that my own prodigy…”

“I am not anything of yours,” Deku told him. 

All Might lunged at All for One, putting all his remaining power into the attack. He felt as the embers of One for All burst to live in a great explosion with the last shred of the fire he had tried to desperately to keep lit. He let his fist fly, feeling as the power flew down his arm all the way to the tips of his fingers.

A great explosion rocked the city as his compressed air smashed into the rubble before him. There were shouts from behind him as the heroes worked to find their footing. Dust was kicked up into the air, covering the area in a thick smoke. It made it nearly impossible to see anything.

All Might didn’t need to see in order to know that All for One was already long gone.  

And, All Might thought as he looks down at this hands. One for All might be as well.

The green light to his left side fades and All Might turned to look at his surprising ally. Deku looked up at him, meeting his gaze. There was worry and confusion in his oh so familiar eyes, yet, All Might had never seen anything as different. As All Might stared at this man, familiar yet unfamiliar, he couldn’t help but think of those whispered words.

You’re next.

 


 

Naomasa Tsukauchi had seen a lot of things in his successful career as a detective and a close friend of All Might’s, but this situation was beyond even him.

He had seen the last of the battle. To most, the powerful blast was a simple strength enhancement quirk, but he knew better. He’d been friends with All Might a very, very long time and known about him for even longer. He’d seen that quirk before. He knew what it was.

A strength enhancement quirk would have been easier.

Police were already on the scene, guns pointed at the newcomer. The man—Midoriya—barley even blinked. He simply raised his hands in surrender.

Yagi Toshinori was surrounded by people, in his true form, obviously uncomfortable. Now that one of his biggest secrets had been revealed…Naomasa felt for his friend. This wasn’t going to be easy for any of them. He walked forward just as the emergency services finished bandaging his arm. He paused almost ten feet away, waiting.

“You’ll have to go to the hospital to get this treated, Mr. All Might,” the EMS personnel was saying.

Yagi caught Naomasa’s gaze and stood up, despite the protests of EMS. He gave her a smile. “I will, just one second please.”

It didn’t take All Might long to convince EMS to let him go (“No, I promise I won’t do anything.” and “I’m sure the detective just wants to talk—”). Naomasa watched him approach. Yagi gave him a tired smile that Naomasa didn’t hesitate to return. Thin lipped and not all there, but a smile nonetheless. His friend looked much other than he should have. 

“Yagi-san,” Naomasa sighed and looked around at the rubble that was once Kamino. He thought back to the last bit of the fight, of the green lightning. Of the sheer power that he saw displayed in the hands of someone that everyone thought was an enemy. “That was One for All, wasn’t it?”

“Yes,” Yagi Toshinori breathed. “It was.”

“This is a complicated situation indeed.”

Yagi didn’t say anything in reply, opting to slowly sit down on the bits of debris that covered the ground. Naomasa helped him settle himself as they watched the heroes and police alike bustle around the field. Police sirens wailed and in the distance Naomasa heard the distinct sound of a helicopter’s blades heading closer.

Yagi was staring at the wall of police in the middle. “He’s not our enemy.”

“He hasn’t resisted yet,” Naomasa sighed and followed his gaze. Midoriya Izuku was being shoved into a police car, his entire body bound him an array of cuffs and binds. “It’s all just a precaution. We can’t rule out that this is one of All for One’s tricks.”

“It’s not,” Yagi said. Naomasa already knew he was right.

 


 

Tenko had been through a lot of things in his life.

It didn’t start out great, according to Gran. He didn’t remember much of his life before, so he supposed it didn’t really matter. All he knew is that his family was dead and All Might found him when he was four years old.

He got a lot of pitying looks, but it was fine, really. You can’t mourn for someone you didn’t know.

He’d had a lot of ups and downs. Being raised by Gran was always interesting. All Might would sometimes come visit on the weekends or crash during the week in between his hero shifts. He knew a lot of things he probably shouldn’t, but that was alright because Tenko was always good at keeping his mouth shut. It was an interesting way to be raised, for sure, and he had his fair share of teasing, but he wouldn’t have traded it for the world. Everything was going perfect.

Until Mirio showed up.

Tenko wanted to hate him, at first. He was twelve when Mirio first started intergrading himself into their life. All Might started spending more time with Mirio, a first-year at UA at the time, than he would spend with Tenko. Mirio talked fast, liked to eat ramen and would sometimes accidentally phase himself (and loose his clothes in the process) through the table. He liked to laugh, had funny hand gestures and made friends easily. He didn’t like bullies and was always there to lend a helping hand. Mirio declared Friday nights to be movie nights, cuddled up in their home and never really left.

Mirio was a hard person to hate. Tenko knew why All Might passed One for All to him.

Tenko thought that All Might couldn’t have possibly made a better choice.

Secretly, Tenko thought it was good for All Might, too. The stress lines slowly disappeared from his face and he started eating more. He got out of the house besides during his hero sifts. In his true form, he would smile more often. He opened up to Gran when he had problems. When Tenko got accepted into U.A’s hero course, they celebrated. All Might started to bring Tenko things—a white cape, yellow gloves, a red and gold belt. For the longest time, Tenko never knew why.

Then he learned about Nana Shimura. 

His grandmother, apparently. Tenko didn’t even know his own mother, much less his grandmother. Gran and All Might never seemed to want to talk about her. They only told him that he had her smile and that she was a great hero.

Tenko, personally, thought All Might was better.

Which was why he was worried when the livestream went out. Tenko was no stranger to All for One. He clearly remembered All Might’s battle just five years earlier. That had been scary, too.

Huddled on the bench of the nearest police station, Tenko looked up at Mirio. “All Might… he’s going to be okay, isn’t he?”

Mirio gave him as big of a smile as he could and a thumbs up. “Don’t worry about him, he’s strong!”

“But still….” Tenko said as he looked at the blank computer screen. He’s tired and hungry but he needed something—anything—to know that All Might and Gran were okay. The officers bustled around the station, conveniently ignoring the two. Tenko could distantly hear Bakugo yelling in one of the locked rooms. Kirishima and Yaomomo were also somewhere around, but he couldn’t quite see them. “All for One is strong too. And the livestream—"

“Believe in him, Tenko,” Mirio interrupted then raised an eyebrow with an amused expression. Mirio had been through even more than Tenko had at this point, being a third year at UA and interning under Sir. “You’ve still got yourself to worry about! That stunt you pulled was really rash!”

Tenko bit his lip and looked down. It was really, really stupid when they followed the tracker put on the Nomu. However…

Bakugo—his classmate—had been kidnapped. Standing there and watching wasn’t an option. 

He was probably going to get in more trouble for that entire rescuing stunt but right now he couldn’t care about anything. His feet ached and his bones hurt. His favorite shirt had torn and he was fighting to keep himself awake. He doubted he could stand at this point.

He never once regretted his actions.  

“Kirishima asked for my help,” Tenko looked Mirio in the eye. “I couldn’t say no.”

Mirio burst out laughing and slapped his back so hard he went tumbling. He got up, rubbing his back and sent Mirio a sour look. Mirio either didn’t notice or didn’t care. “You’ve got the heart of a hero! I’ve always liked that about you! It was still reckless!”

“I’m sorry.”

Mirio’s laughter calmed down. Tenko felt a weight on his shoulder and looked up to see Mirio looking at him with a small smile. “Just…ask me next time, okay?”

Tenko stared at him, wide eyed. He couldn’t find his voice. Mirio was the best person in the world and nothing anyone said could ever change his mind. “Alright. Uh, thanks, Mirio.”

“No problem,” Mirio’s expression smoothed out. “Go to sleep. I’ll wake you up if either of them call.”

 


 

“Heard you got your ass kicked by your counterpart,” was the first thing Midorishi heard when he walked into their new hideout (stupid heroes their stupid raid). He sent a venomous glare at Dabi who simply smirked and crossed his arms in return. “Wasn’t he supposed to be on our side?”

“Shut up,” Midorishi snarled at him because he was sore and tired and he was not about to put up with Dabi’s bullshit. It was Dabi’s fault they lost that UA kid—Bakugo or whatever the fuck they called him.

Toga Himiko bounded up to him, a bloody knife in one hand. “What’s he like? Huh? Huh!?

Midorishi bared his teeth in a snarl and pushed her out of his space. She was more annoying than a fly but good at her job. The personal space thing needed to be worked on, though. The rest of Vanguard Action Squad wandered around their new space, still reeling from their defeat.

The bar that constituted as their new hideout was gross. The beams were cracking, there was mold on the left wall and all the barstools looked like they had been crushed with a Nomu. It was definitely worse than their last one but Kurogiri picked it out and Kurogiri had always been stingy about his bars. Midorishi didn’t understand it. Didn’t particularly care.

“He’s fucking annoying,” Midorishi snapped, ignoring Kurogiri’s warning look. He didn’t need his stupid caretaker anyways. “A hero! A fucking hero! Of all things!”

“Aww, I bet he’s cute,” Toga said like she didn’t have the fattest fucking target painted on her forehead. Midorishi glared daggers at her. “You should smile more, Midori.”

Just as Midorishi was about to lunge at her (I’ll show you a smile, you bitc—), Sensei appeared.

Midorishi skidded to a halt not two feet in front of him.

He had known Sensei all his life. Sensei was the one to save him, to pick him up off the streets and call him useful.  Midorishi, who had been called useless all his life, felt like he could finally breathe again. Being quirkless wasn’t easy, even for a villain, but Sensei changed that. Through his kindness and his wisdom, he became bigger. Better. He tore down all those that abandoned him and burned those that tried to hurt him.

Suddenly he was so much more.

So,” Dabi drawled because, really, it was always Dabi. He couldn’t ever seem to shut his mouth. “You’re the big, evil dude behind all of this.”

Sensei doesn’t even glance in his direction. “Calm down, my child. This was not a loss.”

Midorishi felt shame burn inside him. They were close, so close, but they messed up. He messed up. “He’s with the heroes.”

“Yes,” Sensei agreed. “But as much as he is different, he is you.”

He’s not, Midorishi wanted to say, but didn’t.

Instead he bit his lip, not understanding Sensei’s point. “And?”

“How much chaos do you think that will bring?” Sensei playfully tipped his head to the side, sounding amused. If he still had a face, he would be smiling. “For a hero to come to a villains’ world… I doubt this will be easy for Midoriya Izuku either.”