Ochako Uraraka was ecstatic, just like everyone else at the Tokyo International Airport. After all, today was the day that, after three long years, All Might was returning to Japan. She, her friends, and basically every other person in the country that could fit inside the airport were all crammed into every conceivable nook and cranny of the airport as they waited with bated breath for his private jet to land.
All Might had taken a temporary teaching position at a prestigious, but very secretive, private hero academy in the United States, apparently returning the favor to a long time friend of his, the renowned inventor, David Shield. But that’s not all that happened while he was out of the country.
Over two years ago, All Might had engaged a terrible villain in a battle that left him emaciated and forced his retirement, much to the shock and horror of the rest of the world, especially Japan. The American government had to declare a state of emergency from the devastation of their battle alone. The destruction was terrible, but it would have been so much worse if All Might hadn’t given his all to bring down that mysterious villain.
Nobody knew what happened to that villain, but rumors swirled around that he had been extradited to Japan of all places, and was being held under maximum security in Tartarus, but nobody knew for sure. Ochako had barely signed on as a sidekick, she didn’t have any insider information just yet.
Cheers went up around the airport as the PA system announced that All Might’s plane had begun its approach. Ochako giggled as her friends Mina and Tooru were literally bouncing with excitement, which she found infectious enough to join them. The plane hit the tarmac smoothly, slowing down and eventually coming to a steady taxi as it approached its destination.
The plane came to a stop as a great staircase was wheeled out to the door. After a few breathless seconds, the door opened and the tall, blonde form of All Might stepped out into the Tokyo sunshine, waving widely to all the people gathered around.
Ochako had to cover her ears as the cheers crescendoed even further. People were laughing, crying and screaming as perhaps the biggest celebrity in the world descended down the staircase with several men and women in suits, none of which Ochako recognized. The Prime Minister of Japan herself was there to welcome him, shaking his massive, emaciated hand with both of hers as both of them turned around to smile and pose for the swarm of media that had gathered outside.
In the commotion, nobody noticed the freckled man in the beanie and sunglasses exit the plane quietly with the flight crew.
Three years later…
Ochako woke up an hour before her alarm that day, but she wasn’t upset. She was so excited that she couldn’t have slept more if she wanted to. Today was the first day that she was a bonafide, independant pro hero. She had spent a good three years with Gunhead, but she had finally gained enough experience and clout that she could set out on her own. She had finally gotten the keys to her agency yesterday, and was so over the moon about it that she was surprised she had gotten any sleep that night.
She jumped out of her bed and nearly skipped to the kitchen of her small apartment on her way to make herself breakfast, flipping on the television on her way there to watch the morning news.
The top story, of course, was the same as it had been for nearly three years. The exploits of the number one hero, Redacted.
Redacted technically wasn’t his hero name, but that’s what everyone called him. He went by Nimbus, but after nearly three years of people calling him Redacted, he seemed to have given up.
He was called that because, for some reason, nobody knew anything about him, beyond that he was apparently American, judging by his accent in the rare interviews he gave. He wore a heavy green helmet with two antennae on the front that were more than a little reminiscent of All Might; the helmet was identity-concealing, functional, and so durable that he had taken direct hits from major villains with barely a scratch on it. Support companies all across Japan- hell, the world- wanted to get their hands on it to see what exactly it was, but the hero never gave them the chance.
He apparently had some sort of deal with the government that kept his identity secret, and every official document about him listed his name and any other identifiers simply with a large black box that read [REDACTED] in red ink.
Thus, the name was born. The number one hero, with talents and abilities that even surpassed All Might but the secret identity of an underground hero.
The man had come out of nowhere, streaking to the number one spot nearly without contest in only a matter of months. She still giggled slightly as she remembered how absolutely furious Bakugou had been about the man. Bakugou's own rise through the ranks was nearly unprecedented, as the man had claimed the number two spot in less than a year, but then Redacted had streaked past him into an untouchable first place. He was still pissed, and bringing up Redacted was a sure-fire way to start a fight with the ornery number two hero; being firmly in second place hadn't dulled his drive to be the best, but it had dulled his rage a little.
She found herself staring at the news report, watching Redacted smash through a group of five villains in just over a second. She paused and rewound the broadcast, watching it in slow motion. The way the hero used his body and the way his muscles bulged with every motion and the way he had so much power that he could generate typhoon-level winds with just flicks of his fingers…
Ochako was just watching for tips and tricks, of course. To be the best hero she could be, she had to learn everything she could, and who better to learn it from than the top hero himself?
That’s what she told herself, at least.
She shook her head and returned to making her breakfast. Or rather, she did, until she made a depressing realization. “Oh, shoot,” she said aloud, “I forgot to go shoppin’ yesterday.”
However, Ochako was a bright and bubbly person, and something as simple as having no food in her apartment wasn’t about to get her down. Instead, she was struck with a brilliant idea. ‘I need to get to know the neighborhood around my agency anyways, I’m sure there’s a place I can pick up some breakfast on the way!’
She cheerfully slipped on her shoes and coat and headed out into the brisk autumn morning.
The early morning wind sent a slight chill up Ochako’s spine, despite the bright sunrise behind her. She passed several restaurants, but none of them felt right to her. She still had plenty of time before she needed to be at her agency, so she wasn’t in any rush.
After twenty minutes of walking, she came across a quaint, simple shop set just off the main road. ‘Serendipity, huh? This place seems nice…’
The store was built into a row of buildings lining the street. With what she assumed was a small apartment above for the owners to either live in or rent out. There was a small patio out front, the two tables covered for the cold season, while the large glass front proudly declared the shop’s name.
She entered the door, a small bell announcing her arrival to the quiet bakery. Once inside, she couldn’t contain the happy smile that broke across her face. The small, cozy shop was colored with calming, earthy tones and lined with intimate tables and even some comfortable recliners. Just by stepping inside, she felt like she was a bit at home.
“Good morning, miss! Come in, come in, let me warm you up!” A short, portly woman with a motherly smile and green hair appeared behind the counter and ushered her inside. She passed by the counter and took Ochako by the hand, leading her gently to one of the comfy chairs next to the window, giving her a peaceful view of the softly blowing trees outside.
“Can I get you a coffee, dear? How do you take it?” The way she smiled at Ochako disarmed the pro entirely. She could feel the caring energy coming from this woman, whom she could only assume to be the proprietor.
“Oh, uh, just a bit of milk please, thank you.” Ochako was nearly overwhelmed with how hospitable this woman was acting. The chair was so comfy that she felt like she was nearly melting.
The woman hurried off back to the counter and began to brew hurriedly, humming a happy tune to herself. Ochako took a moment to relax as the morning light shone through the glass in front of her. If she wasn’t already so wired, she might have been at risk at falling asleep.
“Izuku, we have a customer!” She heard the woman call into the back.
‘Izuku?’ Ochako thought, turning around as the woman came hurrying back with her coffee.
“Here you are, dear. Can I get you anything else? Have you eaten yet?”
Ochako took the cup graciously. “Thank you, uh-”
The woman blushed slightly. “Oh, how silly of me. Please, just call me Inko. Everyone does.” Her bright smile filled Ochako with warmth more than the warm coffee in front of her.
“Thank you, Inko,” Ochako said with a giggle. “And no, I haven’t eaten. I’ll take whatever you recommend. Nothing too heavy, though.”
Inko nodded and headed back to the counter. Ochako sipped her coffee, appreciating the taste. ‘Much better than the stuff I make in the mornin’, maybe I’ll come back here more often…’
Over the next few minutes, several other customers entered the store, each of them greeted happily by Inko. She smelled the delicious scent of a pastry cooking as she took another sip of her coffee, her eyes closing as she appreciated the smells, sounds, and atmosphere of the small shop.
She opened her eyes as she heard footsteps approaching, her eyes catching on the plate of food moving towards her. She tore her eyes away from the meal to look at the person carrying the plate.
A young man, just around her age, with messy green hair and a freckled face carried the food along with a wide smile that made her mouth turn up as well. His big, green eyes looked at her kindly as he set the food down in front of her. He was pretty cute, all things considered. “Here you go, miss. I hope you enjoy.”
Ochako beamed back at the man. “You must be Izuku- oh, uh, sorry if that’s too personal!” An embarrassed blush filled her cheeks.
The man blushed as well, seemingly growing a little hot as he pulled at his shirt collar. “No, that’s fine. If you’re uncomfortable, you can call me Midoriya, but otherwise, I-Izuku is just fine.”
She nodded her thanks as he stepped away to attend other customers. Ochako’s first bite of eggs caused a fond warmth to spread through her body and the pastry that Izuku had brought nearly caused her to squeal. ‘Yeah, yeah, I’ll definitely be comin’ back. Wow, who knew this was right under my nose?’
Before she could finish her coffee, a great crash shook the whole shop. Her years of training kicked in as she shot up out of her chair and looked out the window. She spotted a cloud of smoke rising several blocks over. Before she could realize what she was doing, she was out the door and stripping her coat away. She clapped her hands together and jumped up over the buildings between her and whatever was causing trouble.
The culprit became very clear very quickly, as a huge villain came into view as she soared over the rooftops. She restored her gravity and landed on top of a nearby building, putting her within 50 feet of the muscle-bound goliath.
He was standing in the middle of the street, at least 20 feet tall, posturing and roaring as a crowd gathered a distance away. He was bulging with muscle under his pink skin, with a strange hood-like growth of muscle over his head. She gasped as she saw a group of three people gripped tightly in one of his arms.
Ochako scanned around but saw no other heroes on site. She rolled up her sleeves.
Combat may not be her specialty, but she could kick ass if she needed to.
And it looked like she needed to.
She removed her gravity again, long years of training allowing her to suppress her nausea with relative ease as she jumped toward the villain at high speed. Ochako clapped her hands together again, her suddenly reappearing weight causing her to land in the middle of the street in front of the villain.
The huge thug’s eyes filled with rage. “Who’re you supposed to be? One step closer and I’ll kill this whole family! You don’t want the blood of these damn yuppies on your hands, now do you, hero?
“Bastard,” Ochako spat under her breath as she dropped into a ready stance.
The villain sneered and picked up a nearby parked car with a single hand, rearing back and hurling it toward the crowd behind her.
“No!” Ochako yelled, quickly removing her weight and kicking off toward the flying vehicle as fast as she could manage. She streaked towards the metal mass as it tumbled towards the scattering onlookers, her hand stretched out in front of her.
With a grunt of effort, she slapped her hand onto the steel right before it hit the ground, quickly negating the weight and sending it gently floating up into the air.
Unfortunately, Ochako couldn’t stop her own momentum quite as easily. She continued in her trajectory at high speed, heading straight for a building on the other side of the street. ‘Oh man, what I wouldn’t give for my boots right now,’ she thought as she braced for impact.
Suddenly, a green blur filled her vision as she felt herself being pulled through the air at incredible speeds. Ochako found herself standing on the other side of the villain, blinking in confusion.
The villain seemed to be equally confused as he stared down at her. “How did…?”
“Never fear, citizens.”
Ochako froze. She knew that voice.
She turned to her left and gasped as the familiar helmet and green suit of Redacted came into view, just a dozen or so feet from her.
The villain didn’t even have time to react before another blur of green knocked him stumbling backward and then, before Ochako knew what was happening, the three civilians were sitting, confused, on the ground at her feet.
“ I am here.”
The villain blinked a few times as he stared at his suddenly empty arms. He looked up at the masked man and roared in fury. “Redacted!”
“That’s not my name!” Redacted yelled in exasperation as, in another blur, he appeared above and behind the villain, his foot raised above his own head.
“ St. Louis Smash! ”
Redacted brought his red and black armored shoe down in an arching roundhouse kick to the back of the villain’s head, flattening him against the pavement before the villain had a chance to react.
Just like that, the fight was over.
The crowd began to cheer as the dust settled. Ochako herself felt weak in the knees, especially when Redacted hopped over the unconscious villain and jogged over to her.
“Uravity!” he yelled with his American accent. “I’m a big fan of yours! You do great work!”
Ochako felt like the world had turned on its head as she fumbled for words. “Y-you think-”
“Yes! You’re opening your agency today, right? That’s great news, I look forward to working with you more in the future!” He seemed more like a fanboy than the number one hero.
“Y-yes, I am, how did you know that?”
He chuckled awkwardly. “Like I said, I’m a big fan. Thank you for getting here so quickly and saving those people.” He pointed at the car that was still floating above them. “You’re a real hero, Uravity. Don’t forget that.”
Ochako felt a small blush creep into cheeks as she smiled dumbly. “Th-thanks.”
The next few minutes passed in a blur as Ochako tried to come to terms with what she had just experienced. Not only was Redacted a super down-to-earth guy, he was kinda awkward, in a cute way, and apparently, he was also a big fan of hers? ‘Maybe I’m still dreamin’?’
After the villain was handed off to the authorities, Redacted gave the crowd a big wave before turning back to Ochako. “Until next time; keep up the good work, Uravity.”
Before she could respond, the man was gone in a green blur. Ochako stared for a few seconds before shaking her head. ‘Oh crap, my food!’
Ochako panted as she jogged back into Serendipity, Inko was standing behind the counter, cleaning something as Ochako caught her breath.
“Oh, there you are. Have you seen Izuku?”
Ochako raised an eyebrow. “Izu- where did he go?”
Inko smiled fondly. “That boy loves heroes. He never misses a chance to meet one of them or watch them fight. He ran out right after you, but I haven’t seen him come back yet.” She sighed as she shook her head. “He probably got caught up fishing for another autograph or something.”
“I don’t think so, Inko,” Ochako responded. “The only pros there were myself and R-Redacted.” She still couldn’t quite believe she had met the man. “He left pretty quick and I made my way back here as fast as I could.”
“Oh, I see,” Inko said quietly. “Well, then I’m sure Izuku will be back soon.”
As if on cue, the man came stumbling back into the store from the back room, panting from running, Ochako assumed. “Sorry Mom, I’m back.”
“There you are, Izuku,” Inko said quickly as she gave her son a quick hug. “Did you have fun?”
“Oh man, it was so cool!” he said excitedly. “You should have seen Uravity go! She saved a bunch of people like it was nothing.”
Ochako blushed under the praise. “W-well, Redacted was the one who-”
“Hey,” Izuku cut her off. “Don’t let anyone else take away from what you’ve done, alright? You did something incredible out there.”
Ochako’s eyes went wide at his firm, reassuring words. “T-thank you, Izuku.” She felt her face growing warmer still.
She stared into his big, green eyes for a few moments, then a few moments longer. She saw him staring back into her eyes, but she couldn’t bring herself to react.
After a few seconds longer than was proper, she broke her stare as she remembered something important. “Oh my gosh, I forgot to pay. I’m so sorry for running out like that, please-”
“No need,” Izuku said firmly. “It’s on the house.”
Ochako couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “Oh, I couldn’t. Please, you’ve already been so kind to me.”
Izuku shook his head. “We do just fine. We do this more for the joy of seeing people’s smile than the money. Besides, don’t you have an agency to open up? You wouldn’t want to be late for your first day! You're going to be watching over us, so take it as preemptive thanks.”
Ochako blushed harder as Inko merely looked on happily. Izuku was right, she was cutting it close. “T-thank you again, Izuku. Inko. The food, coffee- everything was wonderful!” She bowed politely as she jogged out the door. ‘Wait, how did he know that? Is he a fan, too?’
Izuku smiled fondly as he turned around and walked into the back room to change his shoes. He was fortunate that the counter kept Uravity from seeing his bright red shoes before he had time to trade them for the black pair he wore while he was working in the shop.
He put the shoes in the trunk with the rest of his hero gear, continuing to smile as he closed the lid. ‘I really am looking forward to working with her more in the future.’