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He Will Tear Your City Down

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Izuku felt a grin tugging at his lips as he chased Kacchan through the woods. The orange leaves crunched beneath his shoes, and laughter bubbled out from his chest as he ducked under branches and vaulted over rocks and logs. Kacchan was always just a step out of reach, but Izuku wasn’t letting him get away this time.

Pressing past the burn in his legs, Izuku barrelled forward and bowled Kacchan over, sending both of them rolling through the woods. Just as they came to almost a stop, the flat ground suddenly sloped downwards and the two found themselves rolling down, down, and down a hill in a mess of limbs until finally the ground leveled out and they fell into a lime green field.

The two broke out into peals of laughter and didn’t even bother with trying to pick themselves up. Izuku rolled off of Kacchan and stared up at the blue sky that was striped and dotted with white and silver clouds. The wind was chilly, but neither of them cared much about that, simply reveling in the peaceful time they had together.

Eventually, Kacchan sat up and tugged at Izuku’s arm. Izuku playfully groaned, but eventually got up when the boy’s red eyes bored down on him for too long. Kacchan lifted himself up and dusted himself off. Izuku plucked a few leaves that had gotten stuck in Kacchan’s hair and then ruffled his own to remove the foliage that was lodged in his curls.

“What do ya wanna eat tonight?” Kacchan asked as the two began to walk through the woods, down a well worn but still mossy path. Izuku mulled to himself on what his tummy rumbled for.

“Can we have burgers? I wanna have burgers!” Izuku asked, almost bouncing in his excitement. Kacchan laughed quietly, and Izuku relished the soft smile on his face.

“Sure, sure. I think we’ve got enough cash for that.” Kacchan said.

The two chattered on about various meaningless things as they exited the woods. The streets of Musutafu were crowded as ever, and Izuku nervously clutched Kacchan’s hand as they navigated their way through the crowd. Even when the people thinned out and the way became less crowded, Izuku still held fast.

The lady working at the burger place gave them an odd look—considering it wasn’t often you saw two four-year-olds paying for a meal without any adult supervision—but still accepted their money and handed off their food. The two walked quietly towards home, stuffing their faces with fries. They paid no mind to the people walking by them and paid no mind to the fact that they had found themselves in a less reputable area of the city.

Suddenly, Izuku tripped over someone’s foot, stumbling forward until a hand reached out and snagged him. He turned to thank his savior until he saw it was not Kacchan’s concerned gaze but a tall man’s angered one that met his. A tiny squeak left his mouth and he tried to pull away but the man held on.

“Why don’t you watch where you’re going, punk.” The man hissed at Izuku, before shoving him back into Kacchan’s chest. He heard a growl in his ear, and then Kacchan was stepping forward, and glaring up at the man.

“Why don’t you fuck off!” Izuku flinched at the biting tone Kacchan used and hoped that the man wouldn’t rise to Kacchan’s challenge. Booming laughter interrupted his thoughts, and then the man was lifting one of his hands, his fingers sharpening into pointed needles. He gave a yellow grin down at the two.

“I think someone ought to teach you two some respect.” Kacchan stiffened in front of Izuku as the man reared his hand back before plunging it down, down down—

And instinct kicked in as Izuku tugged Kacchan backward, and reached out to meet the man’s pointed fingers. They pierced his hand, and something tensed in Izuku’s body, and he reached out and tugged . Pulling his bloodied hand back, he watched the confusion on the man’s face as he looked down at fingers no longer pointed. Then the man looked up and paled.

It was now Izuku’s own fingers that had sharpened into deadly points, with many more poking out of his body and turning him into one particularly large porcupine. The man skittered away like a spooked squirrel at the sight, and Izuku felt himself relax, spikes pulling themselves back into his skin.

“Hey Katsurou,” Izuku started, turning back to look at his brother, “I think I just got my quirk.”

 

———

 

One night, on a quiet street deep within the city center, two babies had been left at the orphanage’s doorstep, with only a note in their shared cradle stating the pair, Izuku and Katsurou were twins. Sometimes, people found that hard to believe, considering how different they looked. Katsurou was tall and skinny and sickly pale with snowy white hair and ruby red eyes. Izuku, on the other hand, was short and pudgy, with a deep skin tone that spoke of blood from outside of Japan, hair dark as ink that often shone green under the light, and dark green eyes.

Izuku and Katsurou always scoffed at their doubts. Of course they were twins! They had the same nose and eye shape and the same smattering of freckles dusted across their faces. So what if their body shapes and colors didn’t match? Even if they weren’t actually brothers in blood, they were brothers far deeper than that. Izuku and Katsurou had been together for so long that whether or not they were twins hardly seemed to matter.

They were closer than two peas in a pod, and they had long ago promised to stay together—through thick and thin, for better or worse. They’d always be together. They’d always be on each other’s side. Izuku often lamented those days when he was older, remembered them fondly, if with a bitter taste in his mouth.

 

———

 

Izuku knew how his quirk worked. He had figured it out in seconds. He could take people’s quirks away from them. He’d tug and suddenly their quirk would be his. But that didn’t mean he was going to tell the weird man that. He told Katsurou but had asked his brother to keep it a secret. Katsurou thought he was just gonna show it off as a surprise later and agreed without a thought.

Now, Katsurou was off in the yard somewhere with the other kids while Izuku sat being poked and prodded by the weird man. Miss Hamasaki said he was here to talk about Izuku’s new quirk, and now that he was here, Izuku was somewhat regretting telling her that he had one.

When asked, Izuku had stated that his quirk let him turn parts of his body into spikes. The man flicked at them, and pulled at them, and put pressure on them, and various other things that felt uncomfortable. At some point, he also broke one off, causing a bead of blood to sprout where the spike had once been, and making Miss Hamasaki glare at the man. After he had gone over some stuff, he stood and addressed the two.

“Congratulations… Izuku. You have a fairly common quirk labeled ‘carbon spikes’. You will have to put that on any medical forms you fill out, so don’t forget it.” He then handed some official looking paper to Miss Hamasaki and left. After he was gone, Izuku wasted no time in hopping down from his seat and dashing out into the yard, where he could see Katsurou playing with some of the other boys.

“Hey, Kacchan!” Izuku called out, making most of the kids briefly turn to look at him. Katsurou’s head swiveled, and his face was split by a shining grin.

“Izuchan! How’d it go?” He asked, trotting up to meet Izuku. Izuku, glanced upwards for a moment, before deciding to be truthful.

“Awful,” he said, making a face, “He kept on poking and prodding me and even gave me a nick just to get some stuff. I’m glad it’s over.” Katsurou’s grin slid off, replaced by a look of worry.

“Well—”

“Hey, Izuku!” Ao called out, cutting through Katsurou’s voice. “What is your quirk, anyway?” A couple other kids let out murmurs of agreement, and Izuku shuffled his feet, made shy by the sudden focus on him. Katsurou puffed up, likely preparing to come to Izuku’s defense, before Izuku decided to just cut in himself.

“I-It’s called ‘carbon spikes’ and it does this,” and then Izuku reached out his arm, and let spikes jut out from all angles of it. A couple of kids yelped and jumped back, eyeing Izuku’s arm with a wide-eyed look even after he retracted the spikes and let his arm fall. Ao gave Izuku a sneer, his lip curling in disgust.

“Great. Another freak.” Izuku flinched backward, tears pricking at the corners of his eyes. Katsurou immediately leaped forward, practically roaring in his anger, and tackled Ao to the ground. Miss Hamasaki came out soon after and pulled Katsurou off Ao, before smacking Izuku’s brother. Something hot and red burned in Izuku at the sight, and the temptation to let spikes poke holes into her welled up in him.

He quickly pushed down the thought and pulled Katsurou back to their room.

“Hey, Izuku.” Izuku blinked up at Katsurou, humming a questioning note. “Why didn’t you tell them about your actual quirk?” Katsurou’s red eyes met Izuku’s green, and for a moment, neither spoke.

“Haru,” Izuku said, as though that explained everything. And—in a way—it did. Haru had discovered he had a quirk—telekinesis, powerful telekinesis—and had been shunned by his peers. One day a tall man in a suit had come to visit, and he took one look at Haru’s quirk and decided to take him away. It had been not too long after that Miss Hamasaki had sadly told them that Haru wouldn’t be coming back ever again.

Izuku didn’t want to end up like Haru. Didn’t want to be found to be too powerful, and then pulled away to be nipped at the bud before ever growing.

Katsurou nodded and turned away.

 

———

 

“It’s a lovely quirk, Aiko. I don’t know why you’re so worried about it.” Izuku squatted by the soil where Aiko drew up cyclamens and marigolds from the ground. Aiko let out a small huff.

“I know you and Katsurou-kun have some issue with being adopted, but I actually do want a home.” Aiko clenched her hand into a fist and the flowers began to shrivel and wilt. “Nobody will want me with a quirk like this.”

Izuku sighed, and leaned backward, plopping down on the grass. He looked up to the gray sky and watched his air come out in puffs of mist. In his periphery, he could see Aiko shuffle a little and look towards him. He gave her a shrug.

“I dunno what to say.” Aiko fiddled with her long ebony hair, and let it fall into her face. Then suddenly she lurched towards Izuku, grabbing him by his shoulders, and pulling him forwards to look at her.

“Katsurou told me about your quirk—h-how it can take others—other’s quirks I mean—and I just—please—” Izuku held his hands up and pushed himself onto his feet. Aiko scrambled after him, and he could see that her eyes were blown wide with terror. Izuku sighed.

“Okay.”

“Okay?” Aiko’s eyes filled with hope, and Izuku’s remaining will crumbled.

“Yes, okay, I’ll do it-” Aiko hopped forward, wrapping her arms around his torso, “BUT,” Izuku pushed her back a little, so he could level the most serious look he could muster up at her, “You can’t tell anybody .” Aiko smiled wide and mimed zipping her mouth shut. Izuku sighed, long and loudly.

“Sooooo… is there a sort of ritual or something—” Izuku placed one hand on Aiko’s shoulder, and lifted the other. Her gaze lowered to the hand he held between them. Izuku fumbled for a second, before he found where to pull, and gave a little tug. From the palm of his hand, a vibrant yellow daffodil sprouted, and Aiko let out a hoot of joy.

As Aiko performed cartwheels and handstands in joy, Izuku lowered his hand and urged the daffodil to root itself into the soil. As he pulled himself upwards again, he was suddenly tackled to the ground in a bear hug by Aiko. Other kids soon joined their tussling, drawn in by the sounds of laughter.

Later, Miss Hamasaki would curiously investigate the daffodil that had somehow grown unnoticed in late fall in the middle of the yard.

 

———

 

“You told.” Izuku gave Aiko a dark look. The girl gave a nervous laugh, letting her hand tangle in her hair.

“I, uh. I might’ve told someone,” Izuku glared harder, “Or maybe a few people,” Izuku brought his hand up to his face, “Who may have told a few other people,” Aiko gave him a sheepish grin.

 

———

 

(Later, during a study session, Izuku would let his ears shift into soft triangles, and wait patiently until Aiko looked up. She would freeze and look at him with wide eyes and he grinned at her with pointed teeth and slitted eyes.)

 

———

 

Katsurou never asked where the quirks came from. Didn’t care enough to. Izuku had a good heart, and Katsurou trusted his brother’s intentions. He didn’t bat an eye when Izuku would show off the new ability of his to make tiny rainclouds, or when he’d ramble about how he was now able to recognize any plant he saw perfectly.

Katsurou never asked, because Izuku never said who they came from. And the quirks that he’d stockpile made him so happy. He wouldn’t question Izuku about this. Not yet at least.

That was his first mistake.

 

———

 

The first time Izuku pushes, it’s in high school. A boy from the year under him had approached him and claimed that he knew Izuku’s true quirk. Izuku had met with him after school and had been dragged behind the bleachers. The boy reveals that he has a quirk that forcefully activates other quirks whenever he touches people.

Izuku agrees to take it and does what he always does. But this time, something different happens. He takes the boy’s hand—once covered by gloves, but removed to let Izuku’s quirk do its work—and then Izuku loses control of everything all at once.

He feels a cat’s tail erupt from his spine while spikes manifest up and down his arms, tearing through his uniform. Static buzzes around his head and patches of grass grow at his feet. He tugs with all his might and then feels something slip out of him. When Izuku’s collected himself and reigned back in all his quirks, he’s greeted with the sight of the boy curiously looking at the spikes sprouting from his hands.

Izuku tugs them right back and apologizes profusely. He gets a number for his troubles.

He goes home to Katsurou looking winded and tells his brother about what happened. Katsurou—the filthy traitor that he is—just laughs.

 

———

 

Izuku isn’t sure how he winds up in the hands of a yakuza clan, but somehow he does. He’s shaking in absolute terror as he’s stared down by several men. They explain that they want him to give them powers. Izuku says he can’t. They don’t believe him.

 

———

 

Katsurou doesn’t ask. Katsurou doesn’t say anything. When Izuku comes home that night with snot and tears running down his face, his clothes splattered with blood and apologies spilling from his lips, Katsurou just sits him down and presses a mug of hot chocolate into his hands.

He burns the clothes he can’t wash the bloodstains out of. He only wishes Izuku had gotten home sooner.

Katsurou’s thankful they don’t live in the orphanage anymore.

 

———

 

“Izuku, are you…” Katsurou started and stopped. Izuku looked up from his book at Katsurou. His brother sat at the table, filling out a college application.

“What?” He asked. Katsurou looks away, his ears turning red.

“N-nevermind.” He mumbled. Izuku put a bookmark into his book and set it down, turning to face his twin.

“No, no, I’m curious now, tell me.” Izuku leaned forward, holding his face up with one hand.

“No it’s—it’s dumb. Pretend I didn’t say anything.” Katsurou ran his fingers through his snowy hair.

“Teeeeeell meeeeeee.” Izuku pushed his legs out from under him so he was lying on his stomach, face in his hands, and feet kicking in the air.

“I just… A-are you… whoring yourself out or something?” Katsurou finally stuttered out his question. Izuku’s eyes widened into saucers and scrambled upwards.

“I’m sorry, what?” He asks, absolutely baffled. Katsurou hid his face in his hands, but Izuku could see that he’d gone full tomato.

“See, I told you it was dumb!” Katsurou stood suddenly, his chair screeching as it was suddenly pushed backward. “I’m gonna go start dinner.”

“No no no wait! I’m not, I just wanna know why you thought that?” Izuku scrambled to stop his brother. Katsurou whirled back around to Izuku, letting his violently red face be on full display.

“Because you take home several hundred dollars every day from your mystery business and it was the first thing I thought of!” He then stormed back off and Izuku fell into a fit of giggles as he tripped over their cat on his way to the kitchen.

 

———

 

“No, but seriously, where do you get all this money.”

“Okay, so. Don’t panic—”

“I’m panicking.”

“Shut up! Okay, so, I might’ve sort of maybe inherited a yakuza clan.”

“… What.”

 

———

 

People fear him. People fear Izuku, and he doesn’t know how to feel about it. He’s not often around the people who cower, but he can taste their fear in the air. It rolls off of them in waves and makes Izuku sick to his stomach. At least it makes it easier to boss them around, but it reminds him all too well of viscous, scarlet fluid coating his hands.

He decides that he hates this.

 

———

 

Izuku found out the hard way what his quirk does to people with mutant quirks.

Not everybody wants to just give away their ultimate weapon or shield. Many people hold onto their quirks and just never tell anyone about them. Those with mutant quirks don’t have that luxury. Their power is that their body is somehow eternally altered. They are shunned and hurt for this power they can’t control, and many have sought Izuku out.

The first time it happened, Izuku accepted readily. A woman with a quirk that made her body reptilian. Izuku wasn’t sure how taking it would affect him, but he wasn’t too worried. He took the woman’s hand and tugged, and then stood back and watched.

She fell apart. Bones shifting into positions they weren’t supposed to be in, flesh tearing and shifting, scales falling apart. She screamed. She screamed and screamed and screamed and then she was dead. Izuku was left with a quirk that acted like a transformation one, shifting from skin to scales and back.

He decides he hates it.

 

———

 

At seventeen, Akiyama Katsurou is heading off to a college overseas with an early-obtained high school degree, and more knowledge than most adults have. At seventeen, Izuku is dropping out of his second year of high school to put all of his focus into his business of taking and occasionally giving quirks.

Winter arrives, and everything takes a turn for the worst.

 

———

 

The first attack happens on a cold morning in January. An apartment building is set on fire, killing every resident within it. No one pays any notice. Nobody cares about it. It doesn’t air on the news, and it’s not in any papers. Izuku finds out through Aiko calling him a week later and telling him that her adopted brother was killed in it.

The kicker? That apartment building only had people with quirks residing in it. Izuku turns on the TV in his home and watches as politician after politician makes arguments for election. Many denounce the quirked people, and Izuku feels hatred simmer within him.

Katsurou is gone. Katsurou will be gone for four years.

Izuku takes a walk.

 

———

 

Many quirks Izuku comes across are grotesque and odd. It’s the ones that hate their powers that seek him out. Those born with super strength or the ability to fly revel in their powers, while those who breathe noxious gas or bleed tar just want them gone.

When Izuku runs into a man while walking through Musutafu, at first he thinks nothing of it. But then he took a closer look and recognized him as a man he had seen on TV. A man running for office who had stated he was “going to get rid of those damn mutants for the safety of the people.”

Izuku tails him and lets illusion cloak him in forgettable colors and features. He makes his way into the man’s home and lets himself change into something otherworldly. His fingers jut out into spikes, his six eyes glow in the dim light, his tail shimmering with the reflection of the moon.

He prowls forwards on six legs and then stands over the man’s bed at seven feet tall. He lets a hissing set of chitters out, and the man wakes to a living nightmare, dripping with viscera and saliva. He screams like a toddler.

I am All for One, ” Izuku speaks, with a thousand voices behind his own, “ And I will make you know pain. ” And then Izuku pushes .

 

———

 

Shirogane Takahiro is found in his bedroom with his body somehow turned inside-out. On his walls, the phrase ‘All for One’ is written over and over in his blood. The police have no leads or suspects. It makes headlines, and Izuku simply sips his coffee as he listens to a young girl prattle on about her day at school.

Only several months ago did she seek Izuku out. A quirk, that lets the user turn their own body inside out.

 

———

 

“Revolution?” Izuku whispers, curiosity lighting his eyes as Suzu slides him a slip of paper. On it is an address and a phone number.

“Revolution.” She replies simply, before turning and vanishing in a wisp of smoke. Izuku can feel a smile tugging at his lips.

 

———

 

Izuku stopped aging at fifteen. With how willy-nilly he takes quirks, he’s not too sure who could’ve given him that. It makes it easier to bat his eyelashes at people so they’ll trust him. It also makes it so all his friends are far taller than him. Suzu is fond of giving him noogies. Aiko likes to press kisses to his forehead.

But a lot of people seem to forget that he’s twenty.

 

———

 

“How’s middle school, squirt?” Izuku sighs as Suzu ruffles his hair.

“Suzu I haven’t been going to school for three years.” He snatches the bottle of whiskey she’s holding and begins to chug it. She laughs.

“Well, how’s the little dropout feeling? Up for a task or two?” Izuku meets Suzu’s steely gaze. He sets the bottle down on the counter, and Suzu pours herself a glass on the rocks.

“… What kind of task?” The bottle slams onto the table.

“We’re going to storm the holding facilities,” Suzu says, baring her teeth in a smile when Izuku’s eyes widen. “Just know,” she says, “There’s no going back after this.”

Izuku’s eyes roll over to the group of children, curled into a corner, and happily telling each other stories. Stories of when Izuku found them.

 

———

 

The holding facilities were instituted not long after the appearance of quirks. They’re filled with people in white coats and scrubs and facemasks. Their purpose? To contain and test quirks that are deemed ‘too dangerous’ for day-to-day life. There’s one just outside Musutafu. Izuku’s always wondered whether Haru was in there. After today, he’ll know.

“All for One, get your act together,” Daisuke mutters, cuffing him playfully over the head. Izuku huffs at the man. Daisuke and Suzu are leading the two parts of the attack. Daisuke and Izuku will cause mass chaos and panic, and in the confusion, Suzu and her team will swoop in and pull out every last quirked person they find.

“Cool those flames, Phoenix.” Daisuke sighs, and smoke escapes from his mouth. Izuku can tell he’s getting ready to burn. He lets himself shift into the same grotesque monster that he became when he killed Shirogane. Daisuke averts his gaze, and Izuku lets out a cackle, made horrific by the sound of Izuku’s mandibles shuddering together. Rain falls, and the two wait, tense and ready to spring.

“Go.” Suzu’s word is broadcasted to Daisuke’s helmet, and Izuku can hear it as clear as if it were his own. Time slows as an eldritch monster and a burning demon descend upon the dome structure. The ceiling caves in seconds and then the screams start. Izuku’s many eyes zero in on every living being in sight, and he separates them between quirkless and not easily.

Iron tastes sweet as it fills his mouth, and soon enough, the screams are all silenced.

 

———

 

Katsurou is sick. He’s sick and he’s dying, and there’s nothing he can do about it. He drops out of college and decides he wants to spend the rest of his time with his brother. They both turned twenty a few months back, and Izuku sent him several gift cards, a lot of pictures of their cat, and a bottle of fancy wine. Katsurou only keeps the pictures.

He’s almost home now. Katsurou purposefully didn’t tell Izuku he was going to be there, hoping to get in one more happy surprise before he would have to break the news. He steps out of the taxi, and the first thing he notices is the strobe lights. Katsurou blinks, unsure of what to think.

Every window in their house—Izuku bought them a house , and he’d never get over it—was illuminated with flashing neon colors. Unless Izuku had just gotten really into having disco light lull him to sleep at night, this likely meant that there was currently a party. Being held in his house.

The first thing that comes to mind is that Izuku never told Katsurou about any friends he had. Katsurou pulls out his key, but the door is unlocked already. He opens it, unsure of what to expect. Of all the things he could’ve found, he’s not expecting a bunch of obviously quirked people decked out in armor and weapons drinking like the end of the world was in an hour.

The second Katsurou closes the door, everyone turns, and Katsurou feels his face flush. Someone opens their mouth to speak, but they’re drowned out by someone else’s booming voice.

“Kacchan!” And then Katsurou suddenly finds himself with an armful of teenager and his eyes almost bug out of his head. Izuku lifts his face to look up at him and he has to crane his neck to do so. Izuku hugs him, looking the very same as when Katsurou had last seen him, four years ago.

“What are you doing back early? Is it break or something? Oh, whatever! Join the celebration!” Izuku tugs him into the mass of people, who all nod at him in—respect? Pity? Something you don’t expect from total strangers at a party.

“Celebration of what?” Katsurou asks, looking around. Now that he’s deeper in the crowd he finds a lot of people wearing what look like hospital gowns. Most shy away from him, but a few give him smiles or waves. Izuku stops at a bowl of punch.

“Victory!” Izuku says, pressing a cup of what is no doubt alcoholic punch.

“Whose victory?” Katsurou asks, pushing the cup into someone else’s hands.

Our victory! The quirked people’s victory! The revolution’s victory!” Izuku’s words slurred off as he downs an entire cup of the punch. Katsurou felt as though his veins had turned to ice. Revolution? What revolution? What had been happening in Japan while he’d been gone?

“Hey, Daisuke!” Katsurou’s attention was brought back to Izuku as he slung an arm over Katsurou’s shoulder. “Turn on the news! ‘Ko says it’s airing!” Katsurou turned to the television set that many of the armored folk were now crowding around as the screen lit up.

“—Hundreds of workers found dead at the scene.” Katsurou felt horror welling up inside him as the news anchor spoke. “Same as all of these violent attacks before, the phrase ‘All for One’ is written up and down the walls in the victim’s blood. Not a single quirked person has been found—dead or alive.”

Whoops and cheers drowned out what was said next, and a woman comes up next to Izuku, elbowing him in the side.

“Good on you, All for One! Without you, we’d’ve never gone anywhere!”

Katsurou’s world falls apart.

 

———

 

Dying. His brother is dying. Izuku’s brother is dying. Katsurou is dying.

 

———

 

Katsurou starts asking questions. He starts asking ‘where have you been’ and ‘what were you doing’ and ‘why are you covered in blood’. It suddenly feels stupid that he never asked before. Izuku takes him to the revolution’s base of operations and tries to show him all the ‘good’ they’re doing, but all Katsurou can see is blood.

He goes home and collapses on the ground in a fit of coughs, and he feels Izuku’s hand rub his back. Izuku murmurs words that sound reassuring, but Katsurou can’t hear them. Everything fades out as his lungs try to force the sickness from them. Sounds are muffled and sights blur.

And then everything snaps back into place, and for what feels like the first time in months, Katsurou can breathe. Everything comes back and the weakness in him is suddenly gone. But it’s replaced with a strange sensation sliding into his gut. Power floods his body, and Katsurou realizes what has been done.

He wrenches himself away from Izuku’s touch and turns a betrayed gaze to his brother. Izuku just smiles softly at him.

“Better?” He asks like he’s done no more than help Katsurou through a coughing fit. Katsurou forces the words that rise in him back down. He doesn’t want this. He doesn’t want to be like them . Like Izuku’s pack of murderers.

Katsurou picks himself up and shoves Izuku away from him. He storms off to his room. He doesn’t see that he’s knocked Izuku to the floor. He doesn’t see the wonder in Izuku’s eyes as he watches Katsurou go.

 

———

 

“I know the location of All for One and his army.”

 

———

 

It’s July 15, and it’s Izuku and Katsurou’s birthday. Katsurou looks down at the helmet in his hands. His uniform has the same red and white designs that all the others have, but he has a flash of gold, signifying him as the leader. Satomi elbows him in the side. Katsurou smiles at her, and the two look forward, towards hell.

Katsurou gave all the knowledge he had on the revolution free of charge, only asking he be there when they took down All for One. So they had taken him into the ‘Quirked Forces’. A group that acted as an assault force that all had the same powers of the people they were up against.

Tachibana Satomi had been one of the people in the Quirked Forces and had become fast friends with Katsurou. She helped Katsurou in controlling his newfound super strength and laughed with him whenever he fell down. The two worked together better than spaghetti and meatballs.

And now, it’s July 15, and Katsurou is about to kill his brother.

 

———

 

You’d think Izuku would be there when his revolution was toppled. You’d think he’d be at the forefront, would’ve died in the fight before the last of his people fell. You’d think he’d at least be trying to protect or hide or escape with the little ones. But no. The day Izuku’s revolution was gutted in its own home, the day his people were chained and murdered, he was sitting on his couch, eating chips, and wondering what to have for dinner.

When Katsurou comes home, Izuku feels a quirk in him ping, and he sits up. This quirk was one that told when danger was nearby. Izuku became alert and nervous, searching for who would dare try to hurt him or his brother in their own home. He doesn’t think to look over his shoulder, at the person he’s been hellbent on protecting for years.

And because of this trust, he gets a knife in his back—literally. It pierces right through him and out his chest. Katsurou wields it with a strength that Izuku gave him, and a strangled sound escapes Izuku's mouth, in between bubbles of blood that choke him.

“That's from One for All,” Katsurou spits at him, “For killing my brother.”

When Katsurou turns and leaves, it's the greatest mistake he'll ever make. Izuku rips the knife out of him, wound already resealing itself, and the hurt and betrayal mixes and mashes until all Izuku can feel is fury. It eats away at him until everything turns red.

 

———

 

Tachibana Satomi is a simple woman. She likes oranges, she doesn’t like work, and she thinks Akiyama Katsurou is one of the coolest people ever. His strength and power are awe-inspiring and he’s one of the nicest people she’s ever met. If she were straight, and he were straight, you bet your bum they would’ve gotten together.

And so when Katsurou interrupts her work with a bag of oranges, a soda can, and the words “Satomi, holy fuck ,” she thanks the stars. They settle themselves down in a break room and scatter orange peels over a table. And Satomi prepares herself for whatever Katsurou’s about to rant to her about.

“So I went to the doctor’s today, and they had this quirk specialist whos quirk let them profile people’s quirks or something and as it turns out, I can give my quirk to other people .” Satomi swallows down an orange slice and leans toward Katsurou.

“No way.” Katsurou opens the can and takes a swig from it before passing it to Satomi.

“I know right? Wanna see if I can give it to you?” Satomi almost spits out the soda in her excitement to agree.

They try so many things to pass Katsurou’s quirk to Satomi. He tries the ‘pushing’ method his brother used, then he tries just punching it into her—and thank god her quirk makes her exempt from the force of impact—they try basically everything, and then they give up and sit down. Satomi finishes off their soda—“Satomi, why, it’s like basically ninety percent backwash at this point”—and then she goes back to work.

An hour later, she slams Katsurou’s door off its hinges and shows off her new super strength.

 

———

 

Ingestion of DNA. Gross.

 

———

 

Satomi’s breath comes in quick, short, bursts. She’s trapped under what feels like a mountain of rubble, and not even One for All could lift that. She scrabbles for a hold and looks around frantically for Katsurou. When she finds him her heart about stops.

All for One stands over him, holding Katsurou’s shirt in one hand, and with the other pulled back. His fingers have turned into spikes that Satomi knows from experience are painfully sharp. There’s a crazed look in the man’s eyes and tears streaming down his face. Satomi struggles harder, squeezing her eyes shut from the weight of it all.

She smells the blood before she's seen it, and Satomi lets the rubble trap her once more. Her gaze sweeps over the ruins of the building, and land on Katsurou. All for One’s claws cut right through his neck. He pulls them back and then looks up at Satomi. His eyes are cold and heartless, but not because of a lack of morality, but simply because they look dead.

And then he leaves, and Satomi is left alone with the corpse of her best friend.

 

———

 

Saitou Makoto is a cheery little thing. His eyes are wide and bright and his heart is pure and kind. Satomi tells him he is to succeed her as One for All and defeat All for One should she fail.

“Tachibana-sensei, you never fail!” Makoto says, and it makes her smile a tired and weary thing.

 

———

 

Makoto’s eyes are wide in terror as he watches Tachibana’s head roll further and further from her body. All for One looks down at him, stone-faced and lifeless. There’s something robotic about his actions in a way that makes him so much more terrifying. Makoto could do nothing as his teacher was slaughtered before his very eyes.

He is brimming with a righteous fury.

 

———

 

Saitou does not teach Matsumoto Moriko. He gives her One for All and then throws himself at All for One. Moriko doesn’t even know if he’s still alive. She decides not to use this power for Saitou’s revenge hunt, and instead use it for good.

She’s old when she passes it down. Gives it to a nice kid named Hisakawa Mao. Lets All for One take her life.

 

———

 

Mao does not know why they fight All for One. All they know is that they must.

 

———

 

Shimura Daichi thinks he will win against All for One. Instead, he lies in a pool of his own blood with his wife crying above him as she takes his quirk. He wonders if there’s anything after death.

 

———

 

Shimura Nana does not know what to do after her husband dies. She wants to seek out All for One and bring him to an end, but she knows that in trying, she’ll only end up dead, and without a successor, her husband’s parting gift will die with her.

She gives away her son and finds a boy with yellow hair who claims to be quirkless.

 

———

 

Izuku is tired.

After Katsurou tried to kill him—after he claimed that All for One had killed him—he was angry. He was furious. He let that fury consume him, and in his rage, he sought out his brother and ended his life. And then his rage turned to the one with whom his brother had replaced him with—Tachibana Satomi.

He hunted her and hunted her until the time was perfect and then he struck. He hadn’t cared at the time whether or not her boy had watched, but in retrospect, Izuku wondered if that had truly started it all. The feud between All for One and One for All. Saitou Makoto hunted him as Izuku had once hunted his teacher.

When they finally met in battle, Izuku’s rage had already left him and all that was left was annoyance. Annoyance over being doggedly hunted by this boy. Saitou had fought and fought and fought until he couldn’t fight anymore. And once he was broken beyond repair, he ended his own life. Izuku just turned and left.

When Matsumoto Moriko found him, he expected a battle. But the old woman only requested a peaceful and painless death. Izuku obliged.

Hisakawa Mao believed that Matsumoto’s death had been anything but, and Izuku didn’t bother trying to correct them. The challenge they brought was nice, even if they didn’t see it as the game he did. Hisakawa was never killed by Izuku. The two just danced around each other for a couple of decades.

Shimura Daichi and his wife, Shimura Nana, were hell. They made his life hell. What life he had left anyways. They hunted him in every waking moment and they stirred up emotions long forgotten. It’s when they maim Aiko’s descendants that he snaps. He kills Daichi and waits for Nana to come to him.

When she does, he makes her death quick. She’s there and then she’s gone. No dirty work. And then Izuku goes home, and he sleeps.

 

———

 

Time passes, and Izuku watches the shrimpy Yagi Toshinori grow into the indomitable All Might. He knows that Yagi hunts for him like One for All always has, but he could care less. He turns his sight back to his original goal, though with a shifted perspective. He hates heroes. Well. Pro-heroes, anyways. Their lust for attention and fame and fortune sickens Izuku.

And so he goes back to school. He gets a couple of degrees. He becomes a prosecutor. He prosecutes heroes. On the job, he meets the Midoriyas, and they are a godsend. Hisashi’s the head of a support company, and Inko is a prosecutor like him. They’re the best of friends, and Izuku realizes he’s forgotten what it felt like to have those.

He tells them his secret, one day. How old he really is, what his true form looks like. They take one look at his pudgy little fifteen-year-old form and decide that they’ll be in it through thick and thin, for better or for worse, for as long as can be. Something about it is familiar and reassuring.

 

———

 

Toshinori knows All for One is in front of him. Knows that the man standing before him is the one who killed his mentor and every wielder of One for All before him. And he doesn’t know what to think.

“What,” the man says sarcastically, “Am I not good enough for you?” His eyes and hair are a deep black, both with a bit of green in them, and he wears scuffed up trousers and a sweater saying ‘world’s best disappointment’. All Might sneers.

“You’re not good enough for anything.” His response makes All for One let out a bark of laughter, and the man chuckles to himself, before meeting Toshinori’s gaze.

“Well then, One for All ,” he slides his hands out of his pockets, “Show me what ya got.”

 

———

 

Yagi is powerful. Izuku knows this. Yagi is the strongest hero. Izuku knows this. Izuku knows all there is to know about Yagi, and somehow he is still wholly unprepared for this fight. Yagi is stronger than any of the other wielders of One for All, and he fights like Saitou did, like he did—with fury and hate.

Izuku can feel All Might’s punches beginning to take their toll on him, and he knows he has to end this soon. And so he reaches out, and the ground follows, cutting through Yagi like butter. Yagi sputters and coughs, blood spraying everywhere. Then he breaks off the chunk of earth lodged in his stomach, pulls it out, and shoves it into Izuku.

It’s been a long time since Izuku felt pain like this. Pain that felt like the end. Pain that felt like death. He vaguely notes that he’s never felt the sensation of his organs being torn from him and that he’d never like to feel it again. Both of them fall to the ground. Their blood mixing and pooling together.

The difference between them is that Izuku will live. Yagi? Who knows. Izuku closes his remaining eye and lets darkness consume him.

 

———

 

And then he bolts upright, waking to a room made of white.

 

Chapter Text

Warm fingers card through Izuku’s hair and he snuggles deeper into his brother’s hold. The fire’s warmth is a bright contrast to the snow outside, and though it’s dark now, Izuku knows it was all white just a few hours earlier. A rerun of an old TV show plays quietly in the background, and Katsurou laughs at some joke. Their blood mingles together across the carpet.

Izuku bolts upright and begins to choke on his own blood. His hands are shaking and everything’s wrong and horrible and he’s in so much pain . There’s movement all of a sudden and vague shapes are rushing around the white room which is becoming redder and redder by the second. Why was it red? Where was he? Where was Katsurou?

A slight twitch of his mouth to ask these questions and then both halves of his jaw drop down, the lower half of his face torn in two. He lets out a scream that sounds blood-curdling even to his own ears and the movement and feelings and colors all mix together and get worse and worse and he feels a strange pull

And then everything stops spinning and the world rights itself before Izuku’s eyes. His jaw is pulled together and his organs start to regrow as his abdomen is healed by an unseen force. After what feels like years, there’s nasty and horrific scarring going down his chest to his navel, and Izuku grimaces at the thought of what his face must look like.

Beside his hospital bed, Dr. Tsubasa stands over a gurney with a newly dead man lying in it. Izuku feels a twist in his gut, and he turns his gaze elsewhere. He hates taking quirks from the dying. It feels like desecrating a grave, and since this was a fantastic regenerative quirk, Izuku has no doubt the patient likely would’ve survived if Izuku hadn’t ripped their last line of defense from them.

“How are you feeling, Sensei?” Tsubasa asks, and Izuku lets out a soft hum, bringing his hand up to his face. It’s missing its traditional stubble that he wears when walking in an adult’s body, so he’s probably reverted back to his teenage body once more.

“Could be better.” Izuku’s eyes drop to the nasty scar running down his stomach. Tsubasa lets out a huff and begins wheeling the gurney away.

“Be thankful. A minute later, and you’d be dead.” The doctor’s voice is cold as he leaves the room, and Izuku is left with the various other medical staff who poke and prod at him to make sure all is well with him. Izuku’s already forgotten what made him wake so violently.

 

———

 

The door to his apartment softly clicks shut, and Izuku is met with the sight of the huge silvery maine coon that belongs to the person living on the floor beneath him. He lounges by the entrance of his home and gives a trilling purr when he sees Izuku, giving a long slow blink.

Izuku steps over the cat, further into his shabby apartment. He hesitates to even call it that. It's got two rooms, the kitchen slash dining room, and his bedroom. The entire place is coated in a thin layer of dust. It's been a while since Izuku came here, but he can't bother to clean up right now.

Izuku prowls into his room and flops down on his bed. Dust floats into the air and it makes him sneeze, but a quick blow from augmented lungs puts that problem away quick and easy. His neighbor’s cat leaps up onto the bed with him and Izuku lets out a wheeze. It may just be a cat, but holy hell is it a big cat, and Izuku’s fifteen-year-old body is not well equipped for taking that much weight.

Eventually, he settles and thinks about what to do. From the info his people got him, Yagi’s tiny inner circle is now convinced he’s dead, and Yagi himself is going to be in recovery for a long time. Izuku isn’t really sure what to do about this. Plenty of his allies insist on killing Yagi while he’s down, but Izuku doesn’t really want that. He’s suddenly free from being hunted and he’s not sure where to go from here.

His thoughts are interrupted by a little pattern of chimes, and Izuku lazily grasps by his nightstand, finding the phone there and picking it up.

“Hello?” He mumbles groggily.

“How would you feel about having a little brother?” Hisashi’s voice is a balm on his soul until the words process and Izuku sits up, jostling the cat on him.

“Since when was I your kid?”

 

———

 

Apparently, Inko had gotten herself mixed up in a case with some poor boy who’d killed his family on accident with his quirk. In the end, Inko had adopted him and now wanted Izuku to meet the boy and pose as his older brother or something. Izuku knocked on the door of the Midoriya Apartment and the door swung open to reveal Hisashi’s wild orange eyes. He tugged Izuku in, wrapping him in a quick hug, before pulling him down the hall.

“Izuku,” Hisashi started, voice filled with excitement and joy, “Meet Tenko!” Izuku was presented with a tall and skinny twelve-year-old with pale blue hair and wide red eyes. Something about him struck a cord in Izuku and his face softened from apprehension into something warmer.

“Hi, there!” Izuku said brightly, and Tenko mumbled a quiet greeting in return. The boy’s eyes zeroed in on Izuku’s lower jaw and he pointed.

“Where’d you get that?” He blurted out and then immediately went bright red as he realized what he had said. Izuku laughed, waving his hands.

“I got caught in a villain attack, it was pretty bad! But that was a while ago, so don’t worry!” At Izuku’s reassurance, Tenko relaxed somewhat. They were then both pulled into the living room where they were loaded with snacks that Inko had made when she heard Izuku was coming. Izuku’s eyes caught Tenko’s care with which he handled his food, always keeping one finger on each hand as far as he could from whatever he was touching at any given moment.

When Inko and Hisashi eventually both had to head out to finish the paperwork around Tenko, Izuku shuffled closer to the boy.

“What’s your quirk?” He asked and Tenko stiffened. He clasped his hands together and his eyes dropped to the floor.

“They, uh, they didn’t tell you?” Tenko asked and when Izuku shook his head Tenko gave a little sigh. “I-it’s called ‘decay’ and, um. I can disintegrate anything that I touch so long as all five of my fingers are touching it. I-it’s how…” Tenko broke off with a sniffle, and Izuku hesitantly reached out. Tenko flinched slightly at the touch but didn’t pull away when Izuku brought him in for a hug.

“Would you rather be quirkless?” Izuku asked and Tenko gave a little nod. “I could do that for you.” Izuku murmured.

When Inko and Hisashi get back, they are welcomed by the sight of Izuku handing various things to Tenko to hold. Tenko always seems more in awe of each thing than the last, and his eyes are more than a little wet. Tenko may be quirkless now, but everyone thinks that may be for the best.

 

———

 

Izuku knows that Midoriya Tenko is the grandson of Shimura Daichi and Shimura Nana. He’s not dumb. He watched the child that Nana gave up and knew the second Tenko was born. It was Izuku that pushed Inko into taking the boy’s case, but it was the couple that decided to take the boy in. Maybe in another world, Izuku would have been bitter enough to take the boy and warp his mind into something dangerous, but in this one, his lingering anger has long since faded.

 

———

 

Shouta grumbles as he tries to coax his cat down from his neighbor’s balcony. Beetle was weirdly fond of this particular neighbor and though Shouta didn’t know nor care why he genuinely just wished that he’d do this less. The massive cat stared lazily down at Shouta with what almost looks like a smug face and Shouta glowers at him in turn.

“Do you want me to bring him down Aizawa-san?” A voice calls out and Shouta heaves a sigh.

“I’d appreciate it.” Not a minute later, Shouta’s mysterious teenage neighbor is standing before him, a dog-sized cat in his arms. Shouta takes Beetle from the boy and is given a wide smile. Shouta tries not to look as rude as he feels like being, but he’s not sure if he’s successful.

“I’m afraid that your cat won’t be able to come over as often. I’m going to be moving back in with my parents for a while.” The boy reaches out and gives Beetle a pat on the head. “Be good while I’m gone, ‘kay?” Beetle purrs and Shouta looks on as the boy runs off down the hallway, a vague feeling of curiosity curling in his gut.

Beetle leaps out of Shouta’s arms and immediately begins yowling for food. Shouta scowls at the little menace. He closes his door, forgetting the details of the boy’s face soon after.

 

———

 

“I’m really sorry about this,” Mitsuki says, running her hands through her hair, “But our babysitter had a family emergency and had to cancel. I’ll be back tonight to pick him up, ok?” Izuku watches as Tenko nods to Mitsuki’s words, glancing at the tiny Bakugou looking around his kitchen from where he sat. Izuku his feet on a nearby stool and Mitsuki rushes out the door. Once she’s gone, Tenko turns fully towards the two.

“So, Katsuki, what do you want to do?” Izuku asks. Katsuki blinks up at the hero memorabilia strewn about the house.

“Have you ever played Heroes and Villains?” Katsuki asks in return, and Izuku gives him a smile. Tenko’s face is split by a grin and he pulls Katsuki to his feet.

 

———

 

“So how was your time with Tenko and his brother?” Mom asks and Katsuki feels all his thoughts bubble up inside him.

“They were the best! Tenko’s really strong, an’ he’s great at coming up with stories, an’ he’s not like other older kids because he still likes to play games an’ stuff!” Katsuki pauses to take a deep breath, “And! And Izuku’s really cool too! We played Heroes an’ Villains and Izuku was the villain and he had the best evil voice ever! He was all, ‘You heroes stand no chance against me, mwa-hahaha!!!’ and it was so cool!” Though Katsuki’s impression of Izuku’s villain voice was nowhere near close to the actual thing, it definitely got the point across.

Dad gave a laugh and Katsuki continued to ramble on about the two brothers and how they were both way better than any big kid he’d ever met, or even any kid Katsuki’s age.

“And get this!” Katsuki said, leaning forward, “They’re both quirkless! Isn’t that weird? I always thought you needed a quirk to do anything, but if Tenko and Izuku are quirkless and are also better than any kid I’ve met, then that can’t be right!” Katsuki continued, going on and on and on about his two new friends.

“Maybe we should let them babysit more often then!” Mitsuki said, and Katsuki’s face broke into a wide grin.

 

———

 

Mitsuki doesn’t really know a lot about Inko’s other son. She’s fairly certain he’s also adopted because she would’ve noticed if Inko or Hisashi suddenly got pregnant, and she absolutely would’ve been there if they’d given birth. The boy seems small for his age—whatever age it is—and has a nasty scar splitting the lower half of his face in two.

Mitsuki herself has never spoken to him, but she’s heard him speak a couple times. He always seems skittish around her, quiet and watching. His brow furrows whenever he spots Mitsuki cuffing Katsuki by the ears or hissing at him to get his act together. Mitsuki isn’t sure how to feel about him.

 

———

 

Of course, Izuku eventually tells Tenko about who he is. What he’s done. Tenko listens to the story and is silent for a while. Then he pulls Izuku into a hug, and sniffles in his ears.

“I’m sorry you had to go through that.” Tenko murmurs and then he’s crying and then Izuku’s crying. Tenko says that he’ll be Izuku’s brother from now on, and Izuku delights in the surprise on Tenko’s face when he tells the boy exactly how old he is. Still, Tenko insists, going out of his way to call Izuku his brother at any given moment.

Something about it makes Izuku feel raw and aching but soft and warm at the same time. He thinks that maybe he likes where he’s ended up.

Izuku hasn’t called on any of his contacts in about a year now, but he’s not too bothered by this. If they dare move without his explicit orders, they know he will rend them and their families apart.

 

———

 

Mitsuki’s apparently grown fond of pawning Katsuki off on them at any time, and Izuku doesn’t mind. Katsuki is bright and cheery, and sure he’s a little rough around the edges, but he has a fire and a drive in him that reminds Izuku painfully of someone else with red eyes and pale hair. But today, Katsuki is different. He arrives with a bruise on his cheek and tears in his angry eyes. Mitsuki says very little, only that Katsuki got in a fight with some kids at school.

Izuku’s multitudes of lie detecting quirks ring in his ears and he frowns. Once she’s gone, Izuku turns to Katsuki and sets him down on the couch, eyes serious.

“Did she do that to you?” Izuku asks, and Katsuki’s anger becomes hurt as his feelings unravel before them. Tenko punches a hole in the wall in his fury, and when Inko and Hisashi are told, they don’t scold him. Katsuki goes home, and a part of Izuku wants to go back to his old ways. Part of him wants to slink into Mitsuki’s room in the dead of night and turn her inside out, paint All for One, All for One, All for One on the walls in her blood—

Inko puts her hand on his shoulder and tells him that they can do worse than that.

 

———

 

Mitsuki’s face, when she’s convicted of child abuse, is far better than the sight of her mangled corpse ever would’ve been. Izuku can’t help the smile that tugs at his lips at Katsuki’s look of hopefulness as they tell him that he’ll be joining their little family. Katsuki still tenses up sometimes when he feels he’s made a mistake, but with a lot of work, Katsuki’s reactions fade.

And then comes the day where Izuku tells his story to Katsuki. He takes it well, all things considering. Asks if Izuku still does those things. If he hates All Might. It draws a laugh out of Izuku.

“Just because we fought once doesn’t mean that I hate him,” Izuku says and Katsuki gestures vaguely to him.

“Yeah, but… he did… that .” Katsuki says with a frustrated little huff. Izuku reaches up to touch at the scar tissue around his face and lets out a hum.

“Yeah, and it hurt. But I don’t blame him. I did kill his mother figure.” Katsuki sobers at Izuku’s words and the two of them reach a standstill.

“He’s a good man,” Izuku says, and he means it. Katsuki pulls him down into a rough hug.

“So are you.” He says, quiet and muffled, but the words still reach Izuku’s ears. When Katsuki pulls back it’s because he doesn’t want to get Izuku’s snot and tears all over him. Izuku pulls him back into the hug and makes a show of pretending to wipe his face all over Katsuki. It riles the boy up and the two tussle on the floor for a while.

It’s nice, having a family. It’s been a long time since he got to feel like this—if he ever did. There were always secrets between him and Katsurou. An understanding that they wouldn’t ask each other, but instead just stick it out together, through thick and thin. Sometimes Izuku wonders what his life would’ve been like if Katsurou had asked him questions.

It’s best not to dwell on those things, Izuku thinks as he drags Katsuki into bed, ruffling his hair and telling him goodnight.

 

———

 

Tenko decides to go to UA. He tries for the hero course, and he comes home from the test with tears in his eyes proclaiming that he couldn’t get in. Izuku listens to the story and feels anger rising in his gut. This is what sent him to revolution, and it makes him sick to see UA pandering only to those with power in strength.

But Tenko is accepted, on a hidden point value that worked off of heroism and not just the ability to beat up robots. It’s not a flawless score, and Tenko still barely scrapes his way in, but it’s enough. Izuku pats him on the back and Katsuki practically screams with how proud he is. Inko and Hisashi take them out to dinner, and on their way, Izuku catches sight of someone familiar.

It’s just in his periphery, the sudden flash of yellow, but it tugs Izuku’s attention to it. A tall man, almost emaciated in how thin he was. Izuku stared as the man wandered through the crowd, carrying several bags of groceries that seemed far too heavy for someone like him to be holding all on his own. Izuku blinked and lost him, turning back to Katsuki’s story about a kid at school smuggling weed in.

He’d known Yagi had gotten hurt badly after their fight, but he didn’t realize it was this bad.

 

———

 

Tenko doesn’t talk too much about his classmates to his family, but he does wax poetic about one boy in particular that makes Izuku’s head turn when he first catches the name.

“Todoroki? As in Endeavor Todoroki?” Katsuki asks, beating Izuku to the question. Tenko slaps his forehead and groans.

That’s why the name was familiar.” The whole family laughs at Tenko’s despair, but this realization doesn’t change Tenko’s opinions on his mystery friend. Izuku feels some level of apprehension, having pulled plenty of strings to have Endeavor constantly on watch. He knows what the man is like, and it’s not good. Izuku’s tempted to take a little ‘vacation’ to do some snooping, but Tenko insists that he’s handling the situation—whatever situation that is.

Izuku’s first impression on Todoroki Touya is that he’s very reserved. He’s not shy—but he’s quiet. Withdrawn and awkward. Tenko’s bright and cheery nature was perfect at drawing the boy in, apparently, and Izuku can recognize the fond smiles he sends Tenko a mile away. He waggles his eyebrows at them and enjoys how flustered it makes them both.

Touya brings his siblings over occasionally. None of them are as bad as Touya, but there’s supposedly one more that Izuku hasn’t met, so he reserves judgment for the time being.

 

———

 

“You could totally pass off as a third-year middle schooler,” Katsuki says one day, “You should totally go to school with me next year.” Izuku snorts at this, but everyone’s heads turn and then they’re all coming up with a bullshit backstory.

“Okay, so your parents were teenagers or something who had kids out of wedlock right?” Tenko suggests, “And so they kept you hidden from the world and then died tragically in a villain attack when you were three.” Izuku has to put his hand over his mouth to stop his laughter, but Inko isn’t even bothering.

“And then ,” Hisashi continues, “You were taken in by a group of cats that lived on the streets and raised by them until you were thirteen.” Hisashi’s look of absolute severity makes Izuku crack and he starts laughing.

“And!” Tenko butts in again, “We found you one day and took you in and for the past year we’ve been teaching you about civilization and this year, we’re sending you to school for the first time!” By the time Izuku’s ‘backstory’ is finished he’s almost crying with laughter. He eventually steadies himself with some deep breaths, broken by stray giggles.

“How about instead I was adopted by Inko and Hisashi and they decided to homeschool me because I was behind in my studies.” Izuku’s suggestion makes Tenko and Hisashi pout, but in the end, it’s accepted. Izuku can forge a non-existent person easier than pie, and soon enough he is legally Midoriya Izuku, the adopted son of Midoriya Inko and Midoriya Hisashi.

It’s strange, being a person after so long. Izuku walks with Katsuki on their first day of school and fidgets with his uniform. He’d only gone to school very briefly a long long time ago, and though he knows basically anything that school might try and teach him, he still feels awkward and nervous about being there.

Katsuki punches him in the shoulder and tells him, “You’ll be fine ,” And then bolts, leaving Izuku to race after him. They’re both sweaty and panting when they arrive at the school gates. Nobody really pays Izuku much attention after the first few days. Sure, they’re curious about Midoriya’s mysterious brother, but soon enough their curiosity fades.

“It sucks that I’ve been denounced by this generation. If only I wasn’t such a total nerd.” Izuku laments to his ‘brother’ at lunch. Katsuki chortles into his rice and pokes Izuku with the butt of his chopsticks.

“It’s your fault, old man,” Katsuki says with a teasing grin.

“Hey! Respect your elders!” Izuku leans back, loudly grumbling about ‘no-good teens’ which only makes Katsuki laugh louder.

 

———

 

“Izuku,” Katsurou says, rubbing his brother’s back, “You need to stop doing this.” Izuku lifts his head, full-body shivering, and takes a deep breath. He can only get in that bit of air before he’s leaning over again, more bile forcing its way up his throat. He’s not even puking anymore, it’s all just stomach acid. Katsurou eventually pulls him off the tiled floor and lifts him off his feet.

“Kacchan, I-I’m sorry I killed you. I’m sorry I said those things, and— and—” Izuku breaks off into sobs as he clutches his brother, mumbling out broken apologies. Katsurou pats his back.

“It’s okay, Izuku. I know you’re sorry. You don’t have to apologize.” Katsurou lays Izuku down in his bed in the Midoriya house and Izuku looks up at his red eyes.

“You mean it?” Izuku says, hiccuping softly. Katsurou smiles at him and pulls away.

“Get some sleep, Izuku.”

 

Katsuki pulls away from his delirious not-brother and turns to leave. Izuku calls out for ‘Kacchan’ and Katsuki wonders if that’s the name of One for All—the first one. Katsuki feels bad for leaving Izuku like this, but Mom said that it would be better to let him sweat out his fever. Katsuki closes the door and leans against it, sliding down until he’s sitting.

Katsuki tries to ignore the frustrated tears that come to his eyes as Izuku lets out one particularly loud whimper. He’ll be better by the next day and convinced that it was all just a fever dream, and Katsuki will move on from this moment. But right now, Katsuki feels hopelessly useless.

He hates the feeling, more than anything in the world.

 

———

 

Izuku forgets things sometimes. Katsuki and Tenko like to poke fun at him when he does, saying his age must be getting to him. Izuku tells them it’s unwise to insult those wiser than him, and moves on. This time is no different. He slaps his forehead on his way home and tells Katsuki to go on without him— that he forgot his notebook at school and needs to get it.

He retrieves it and goes through the tunnel that serves as a shorter way back home. He hears the clattering of a manhole cover and turns. What looks almost like living sewage rises from the underground and Izuku stills. Two massive and bloodshot eyes turn to him, and squint with what looks like… excitement.

“Perfect… you’ll do as a hiding place for now.” Then the slime rushes towards him, wrapping around him, and trying to shove its way into his body. Izuku feels extremely violated, and just as he’s about to activate Tenko’s old quirk on this thing

I am here!!!” Oh, you have got to be fucking kidding. All Might himself bursts out from the same exit the living slime did, and reels a hand back, punching forward with enough force to rend Izuku’s insides, leaving blood and vital organs scattered across the pavement, fear in his eyes, heart beating fast

Izuku jolts awake by a hand gently patting his cheek. He frantically scrambles backward, looking up at the man that towered above him. Yagi looks concerned as he watches Izuku, leaning down and saying something that Izuku couldn’t quite catch over the ringing in his ears. What was that? Why did that happen? Why now?

“My boy! Are you alright?” Yagi’s voice makes Izuku snaps to attention, and he begins sputtering, unsure what to say to his— rival? enemy? nemesis? Izuku isn’t sure what they were, let alone what they are . Luckily, Yagi seems to think he just has fanboy jitters and laughs his loud and boisterous laugh.

“Don’t worry, my boy!” Izuku twitches. “The sludge villain has been taken care of!” Yagi pats his pocket which contains a bottle filled with— oh that is nasty . Izuku gives Yagi an awkward smile and then freezes as he feels pain. It’s not really the sensation of pain itself, but some quirk Izuku got decades ago was one that let him know when someone was in pain. And Yagi was practically pulsing with the feeling.

So Izuku reached out—what to do, he wasn’t sure. He barely came up to Yagi’s chest, so he grabbed onto the man’s pant leg, and then All Might was skyrocketing into the air with an unexpected tag-along. After a brief bout of awkward fear, Yagi set them both down on the roof of a building. Izuku took a moment to reorient himself because though he’d had worse flights through the air, it had been a while he had one so… impromptu.

Izuku felt the man’s pain flare and blinked up just in time to see All Might fading into Yagi Toshinori in a cloud of steam. Izuku didn’t have to force a look of surprise, still shocked at how much Yagi had deteriorated since their fight. Yagi slumped, giving a quiet sigh. Then he spilled the details of their fight to what he obviously assumed was just some random teenager. Izuku nodded along, feigned horror and shock on his face.

And then Yagi walked down the stairs and left Izuku to contemplate what to do now. The obvious answer was to just go home, but as a distant explosion sounded off, Izuku figured that wasn’t going to be happening. He skipped down the stairs, two at a time and ran through the streets. When he arrived at the scene, he was met with the sight of a bunch of heroes standing and gawking around a fire.

Izuku pushed to the front of the crowd, grumbling under his breath and squinted through the smoke and fire to see what poor thing— no . Izuku didn’t even hesitate, jumping into the fray without hesitation. The urge to tear this monster apart was overwhelming, but there were eyes watching. So Izuku chucked his backpack at the slime and then reached into it. Katsuki grasped back, terror in his eyes and the slime reared its hand—

And then All Might was there, and then the sludge villain wasn’t.

In the aftermath of it all, reporters tried to swarm Yagi, and heroes tried to scold Katsuki and Izuku. Izuku hissed at them to mind their own business and fussed over Katsuki, dragging him home. When he was almost there, the house in sight, Izuku felt the pain-sensing sensation and sighed.

“Hey,” Izuku said, patting Katsuki’s shoulder, “Why don’t you go on ahead, I gotta do something real quick.” Katsuki seemed apprehensive about leaving, but shrugged and continued on alone. Izuku turned to see Yagi, in his powered-down form, peeking out from behind a building, a look of surprise on his face. Izuku jogged over to meet him.

“How did you know I wanted to talk to you?” Yagi asked once Izuku slowed to a stop before the giant of a man. Izuku grin, rubbing the back of his neck.

“Ah, it’s my quirk you see. I can feel when people are in pain if they’re near me, and you’re, uh, well,” Izuku gave a nervous laugh. “It’s not that hero-like of a quirk, is it?” Yagi gives him a long look.

“A-ah,” All Might went a little pale, obviously realizing the implications. He cleared his throat, continuing, “That’s what I wanted to talk to you about, my boy. Do you want to be a hero?” Izuku blinked at the question, seriously considering it for a moment.

“I dunno,” Izuku said truthfully, gaze falling to the ground, “I did, a long time ago.” And it’s not entirely wrong. Izuku’s always wanted to be a hero, but society had always called him a villain.

“What if you had a quirk that could let you be a hero?” Izuku’s thoughts screeched to a halt. No. Yagi was not doing this. Izuku looked up at the hero, suspicion in his eyes.

“Wh-what are you saying?” Izuku asked, and All Might grinned down at him. Oh god, this was happening.

“My quirk is able to be passed down from person to person, and—if you’re willing—I would like for you to be its next wielder.” Yagi held a hand out to Izuku, and Izuku didn’t need to fake any sort of shock.

 

———

 

The door to the Midoriya household slammed open, and all four occupants stopped their chatting to see a pale Izuku standing in the doorway.

“Guys,” Izuku started, “All Might wants me to be the next One for All.”