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UnFAMILIARity

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Out in a playground of a humble elementary school were the clear signs of a stand-off, three kids snickering at their two victims.

A mantis looking child with light green skin tone already cowering in fear behind the newest challenger to the vicious explosive quirk user, a young boy with curly green hair shaking in his boots as he tried protecting a kid he barely even knew. He was scrapped and bruised but still stood in front of his aggressors, adamant on not letting them harm another boy with a quirk he believed was cool. A heroic act to some, but not to the enraged living explosive as he launched himself towards the green haired wannabe hero, grinning savagely as he saw the fear in his eyes by how fast he had cut the distance between them in a blink of an eye.

"You are just a quirkless nobody! SO STOP TRYING TO ACT AS A HERO, DEKU!" The explosive fist to his gut accentuated an ashen blonde's rising anger as he was prohibited the right to prove how he was better than an literal insect. "YOU." Another punch to the gut forcing him to his knees while the other kid tried to crawl away from the scene. "ARE. JUST." The warm sensation running down his nose and the subsequent taste of iron made it clear his nose was now a running faucet of blood. "A FUCKING." The explosions died down as Kacchan's hands reach for the school uniform collar and pulled his face close to his victim "WORTHLESS NOBODY..." He let a bloody mess of a kid go, barely hanging to consciousness as he fell flat on the ground. "And don't you forget it."

Staring blankly at the clear sky as muffled sounds of people passing him, ignoring the fact that a child had been so openly beaten and threatened by children of his same age. Acts that would force people to call the authorities by how villainous they were, but no one would bat an eye at the waste of space that was a quirkless good for nothing Deku, after all, it's easy to say "boys will be boys" and just ignore such an assault. So he laid there, his breaths sharp and painful as he let tears flow down his emerald green eyes. Even if he had grown accustomed to Kacchan's outburst, he would be lying if he said it didn't hurt.

"Why...?" A whimpering voice came to him, bringing him out of his thoughts and back to the world. He saw the kid he had decided to help out when faced with his tormentor, he was smaller than him, covered in a thin light green exoskeleton and small antennas protruding from the top of his head, his round lime eyes looking straight into his savior's deep green ones. "Why did y-you help me?"

He began laughing at the boy's question, not as an insult, but as reassurance that everything was alright. He was quirkless, a nobody, someone with no other future than to live under the shadow of heroes as another victim in need or witness of their prowess for the rest of his life. Still! He couldn't let Kacchan and his cronies to hurt another person just because they thought their quirk was weak and weird. Heroes aren’t supposed to do things like that, so he had no other option than to step in and at least try and protect someone else. A mistake that cost him dearly as the normal ire that stemmed from his very presence intensified in those moments while his once best friend beat him senseless but he still kept trying to protect someone from harm.

To him that was well worth it.

"W-well..." He was finding the difficulty to speak through his ragged breath, if breathing was difficult enough, then speaking was overkill but he still kept going, a determined and bright smile shredding any doubt or fear the kid could have felt at that moment, a smile he had practiced to look almost like his Idol. "You seemed like someone who needed saving."

Without hesitation, the insect looking child pulled his savior up, passing an arm around his neck to help support him as they headed to the school's infirmary.

"Hey Deku..."

"W-what?!"

"Isn't that your name? That kid with the explosions called you that, right?"

"O-oh... not really, that's his way of calling me useless..." The previous light that shone in his eyes slowly darkening at the mention of what just happened. On instinct, all the mantis kid could think of was how to make it up to his hero.

"Kobayashi Doi!" The kid exclaimed catching the green boy of guard before smiling another sincere smile to his new friend.

"Midoriya Izuku, nice to meet you!"

Both began laughing and talking as they both headed towards the infirmary, later being scolded and smothered once their parents had been called in. Even if nothing could have been done against their aggressors, they were genuinely happy, a sight that made Inko look at her son with teary eyes at his new friend. Somehow, both started to feel that this would not be the last they would hear from the other.

So as their parents exchanged contact information, both Izuku and Doi talked about heroes and quirks, and how their future could be that of standing right next to their inspirations in the field, saving people. That conversation alone was enough to make Inko's blood ran cold, she was about to interrupt them when...

"I can't believe that even without a quirk you would stand up to him!" Doi exclaimed mimicking a valiant battle stance, antennas rising in excitement which send Izuku into a stammering mess of how that was really nothing. Smiling at him Doi said the very thing that would change his life.

"I can tell; you are going to be a great hero!" His smile soon becoming a thin line as confusion struck him. "Midoriya?"

To say the insectoid family were surprised when Izuku began crying waterfalls as his mother kneeled down holding him in a tight embrace would be nothing short of an understatement, they were in shock at the sight before them. Those words, to Doi's ignorance, were the very things he wanted to hear when the doctor explained to him the reason why he lacked a quirk with an X-ray showing off his foot's little toe and how it was a rare occurence, so to hear those words coming from the first person he had managed to save meant the world to him.

"D-did *hic* you hear that mom!?" Inko's embrace tightened affectionately as she nodded happily.

"Yes! I did Izuku, I did..." Her hug soon broke, it's warmth still lingering between them, quickly wiping away her and Izuku's tears at such an emotional moment. Their shaky smiles proving how happy they were, even if the tears could have said otherwise.

Forcing himself from speaking through literal waterfalls out of his eyes Izuku turned to his new friend, all nervousness and signs of crying now erased with a smile so big he could have sworn the nurse was yelling something about straining the face muscles. If it wasn't for the window directly behind Izuku, everyone in that room would have sworn that he was radiating a comfortable warmth and glow to everyone inside. Breathing deeply, his confidence was ensured and he stretched his fist forward "Then let's try and become the greatest heroes we can be, together!"

Excitment evident in Doi's round eyes, he closed his hand and meet Izuku's in a fistbump, sealing their promise to rise to the top and become heroes that could inspire everyone onwards to their dreams.


Meanwhile, in another part of Japan.

"Please, lay down while I make you some tea," The calm and measured voice was enough to reassure the older man laid down in the living room sofa. The tall dark figure moving with caution towards the kitchen where a kettle whistle its announcement of the water being ready.

"I didn't believe this to happen so soon you know..." The man greyish green hair soon found himself chocking on his words to a violent coughing fit, issuing the dark man to rush back with hastily made green tea, tending best as he could his age old friend and master before handing him the tea and making sure his comfort was the first priority. "Honestly, your teas are always wonderful to drink. If only I could drink them under better circumstances."

"Please, don't strain yourself master..." Green orbs of light glowed dimly at that sentence, the tall being knew his master was very well in his dead bed. "If only nature were to allow me to alter it to save you. We wouldn't be worrying about this!"

A jovial chuckle came from the old man, one which showed maturity and empathy to his friend. One tasked to witness the same tragedies for the rest of his eternity. "It is because of that that I will not allow you do so. I couldn't have asked for a better life. My only regret however, would be that I am to abandon my daughter." A small tear fell to the side of his cheek, reminiscing of how much he cared and loved her. To be so abruptly pulled out of her life would be unbearable, specially after what she had gone through.

"Chimon?" The question came more as a plea as he allowed himself to speak his master's first name. The silence was deafening to the tall man, each passing moment slowing down with each drawn breath from his master before him. Sighing he continued. "I have taken the time to study your old books and journals, along with your personal collection of research and investigations... perhaps I can fulfill your last will." Taking the cup and placing it at the table behind him he took hold of Chimon's hand, ensuring their eyes met. "Your will is as much as mine after all, so I wish for you to grant me permission to do so."

"You know that you have always had freedom of choice, I never saw you as anything less friend." A spark flickered in his eyes; a reminder of the vast knowledge he had collected over the years, a maturity the dark man had never witnessed before in any other person. "How long?"

"If I take in consideration the wellbeing of your daughter and her family, then I suspect five, maybe six years before I can make presence."

"Good... I can rest easy knowing they will be in good hands," Closing his eyes, he allowed his body to accept its fate and finally rest before the very man that would rekindle the torch Chino and his predecessors have carried over the years. The last holder of his will, and keeper of how he was in this world. "Please take good care of Inko for me, Jack."

"Don't worry, I would give up my immortality before harm befell my little tornado." Tears streamed down the glowing green orbs that could only be defined amongst the swirling black mass that was his body. "Your wish is my command..."

"Then as my last wish... I-I want you... t-o, to live free..." Whatever light those ambitious and caring eyes once had held were now extinguished, a peaceful expression on his face as he closed his eyes, breath slowing down to the point it almost made it seem he no longer did. Jack stood from where he had knelt, looking at the most wonderful human he had the pleasure of calling a friend while under his service, his figure slowly dissolving into smoke as he started to vanish from reality.

'Free?'  

Chapter Text

Having finally arrived at their home, the green haired family finally relaxed after earlier that day's built tension.

Izuku thought that, once home, he would be scolded for what he did at school, so when her soft hand began combing and tracing circles in his scalp he was confused. Even if she never tended to get mad or angry he had expected at least an earful of how worried he had gotten her when they arrived home, the young hero fan boy looked downwards, allowing his nerves to be calmed by the scalp massage before facing some unspoken judgement.

"You aren't you mad at me?" The question came without hesitation or any stuttering common to Izuku when he was nervous or scared.

It had made Inko to flinch, stopping herself from doing the same mistake she did that day she pulled her hand away to easily kneel to her son's level. "I was worried..." she started, looking straight into his green eyes and contemplated how similar they were, thankful that they held that hidden glow to them that could burst into flames at any moment. "But I'm not mad, I'm very proud of you, Izuku." She let those words sink in her son's heart, she had known that even after even without a quirk he would have still tried to be a hero, so she knew it would be best if she was there for him in every step of the way than against him.

"I know you dream of becoming a great hero someday, but all I did was break that when you asked me if you could be one... I want you to be happy Izuku, so after hearing that you had become someone's hero I was happy!" Tears threatened to fall down those emerald eyes he shared with his mother, he really thought he might be a little too much of a cry baby but it felt nice to let it all out. The green bundle of hair rushed to his mother's arms and hugged her with all his might, she smiled before finishing their reconciliation. "That's why I'm going to be there for you, I want you to become a hero..."

They remained in silence for some time, it wasn't an uncomfortable silence, but a kind one that allowed for peace as the invisible barrier built up between them had now broken down in that loving hug.

After some time, they both pulled away and while Izuku headed to the bathroom to wash himself, Inko turned to the kitchen to make dinner; Miso soup accompanied with some left over teriyaki salmon from yesterday's meal. She had started to plan a way to make it up to her son tomorrow by making his favorite plate, Katsudon, since it would be the weekend, but whatever train of thought was now interrupted by her ringing phone.

Looking at the contact, she was surprised. It had been years since she had talked to her uncle ever since she moved out when she married Hisashi, so to listen from him after so long had been a pleasant surprise. Picking up the phone she battled with herself at how to greet him and what to say, all her thoughts however, were extinguished by the voice on the other side.

Everything seemed wrong, even if it had been years since they had last talked, she knew that her uncle always had that smug tone and confident attitude whenever he talked. To hear him carrying such a sorry and pitiful tone made all the more surreal what she heard next.

"Inko, your dad is really sick?"

 


 

It had been a week since his mom received that phone call.

It had been a week since he had seen his mother sleep, eat or concentrate properly.

The young green haired boy had been just trying to understand what had happened but no one seemed to tell him anything. For the past days, every time he goes back home he would see most of his mother's side of the family in their small apartment, sometimes rotating who would take care of the youngest family member while Inko spent most of her time at the hospital with her brother, uncles and aunts to look over a fragile and ill man that had done so much for them. Inko's father and Izuku's grandfather. Chimon.

Though he wished to see his grandfather, Izuku knew that he had to give it some time, he may not know much about what was going on but he sure knew when to give people time and space for themselves, an observation skill he picked up on when he had to deal with Kacchan whenever he was really angry. So he simply accepted being smothered with the affection of a few aunts and older cousins he had barely any memory of; not like a four-year-old would remember much, but still, he kind of found it to be mentally taxing having so many "strangers" coming in and out of his house. But it surely wasn't as taxing as that...

The small greenette shuddered at the thought of that dream.

He wouldn't go as far as to call it a nightmare, but with the way it had been appearing almost too conveniently as the news of his grandfather were known to the rest of the family left him feeling unnerved. There was no explaining it, and even if he could, he couldn't understand why it started to happen at that moment.

For seven days straight he experienced the same things over and over again.

Always waking up in a dark void, barely capable of looking even to were his nose was as he floated aimlessly in the vast darkness before flashes of light blinded him, the sensation of gravity returning to him as he fell flat on the ground; a thing he had managed to change by dream five once he accustomed himself to the no gravity feel of the void, managing to at least land gracefully on his feet. When his eyes finally got rid of the hot sensation his eyes left and adapted to the bright light the strangest and surreal part of the dream began.

Unlike the seemingly infinite void, what followed was more simple and normal had it not been by the lingering sensation of wrong that surrounded the place. When Izuku finally regained his senses he was met with a personal library, the room large and tall, containing almost endless rows of shelves holding various peculiarities and objects while the walls held various pictures, maps and sketches of twisted figures and monstrous faces drawn in careful detail with granite and pencil, almost similar to the way he drew villains and heroes in his many notebooks. Even if those portraits were worn and old, he still sensed something more out of them, almost as if those drawings contained an ancient presence of power and dark implications. Dreading the possibility of those portraits coming to life, Izuku dashed through the narrow corridors to the adjacent room.

Had he lingered a little longer in those corridors, he would have noticed how the eyes of those nameless horrors followed his every move.

As soon as he rushed to the next room his eyes would gaze upon a larger room similar to the last, where the last room was filled to the brim with draw pictures of beast and its shelves were filled with strange trinkets and objects, this new room could only be described as a library forced into the smaller confines of that still excessively large room. Even by the impossible amount of books and journals filling each bookshelf, there still remained a distant semblance of order and tidiness to the insane collection.

Even in that vivid dream, Izuku could not understand how it was possible for him to even recall the many titles he found inside that library. Various titles and editions even seemed to be from an era before the dawn of quirks, all carefully, if not miraculously, preserved from deterioration, but in this amazing sight of collected relics of information a hidden unnatural presence lingered within those leather bound covers, a forsaken truth erased from history and memory alike, for in those sealed books remained endless tomes and manuscripts of horrors and monsters unseen, names and creatures from old myths both known and unknown, entities unnatural to time or space that roam endlessly the world. In his never ending curiosity, many of the books and journals were disturbed from their imprisonment, revealing intricate and detailed notes of interest of the things men once feared in the dark. All perfectly described in notes that eerily resembled the young hero otaku's descriptions of quirks and heroes, but the question still hanged in his head, 'Who do these notes belonged to and why?'

Whoever had written more than half of the journals in that room had been clearly dedicated to their work and well taught in more than a lifetime's research of the subject, regardless of the disturbing nature of those texts, his mind was fascinated with the mystery of the great author and their goal the extensive collection granted them, thus reading and interpreting each work with a careful eye. Among the seemingly endless books he often found a current line of reference within a few titles he had marked as important and well described, books which often mentioned demons, shades and yōkai of ancient lore coming in contact with men and women under contracts known as the "blood ties" or even mentioned the possibility of achieving the abilities to cast magic spells by drawing from those powers.

The amount of knowledge held in those books was beyond anyone's imagination, and every time the small mob of green hair had uncovered a secret he would often find more clues to the next. Even if the otherworldly vibes those dreams had on him were still present throughout the whole experience, he couldn't stop himself from going deeper into the rabbit's hole. His interests had been influenced greatly by such knowledge that as soon as his eyes shot open by morning light he would immediately record his findings in notebooks that littered his floor along with his hero notes in a matter that resembled that dreamed library as he sorted through the recollected information for each one, unraveling a dark fantasy in form of reality.

His excitement becoming short lived once the seventh dream came.

All wonder and innocent mystery had now left him as a dark truth came to him in the last dream, though no physical harm was done to him, the sheer presence of that thing was more than he could endure. Never did he noticed that as he traversed the seas of texts that there was another presence isolated from the young boy's wanderings across the room but as his curiosity grew he soon left the small island of books he had made in one of the many tables there, hoping to find something more to the mystery of the owner and author of them. So while he wandered on from shelf to shelf he drew near to the opposite side of the entire room his bright green eyes soon met black. A black that couldn't be described by words, a black that opposed all reason and logic, what he saw was a shade without source cast before him, its face focused to the shelf he curiously inspected and checked with a clawed finger travelling over the titles.

The young hero enthusiast began to feel himself choke under his own breath when he laid eyes on the tall, dark figure in front of him. His whole world froze at the sight, he tried to run away from it but his legs wouldn't move, every passing second was agonizing by being so close to a powerful aura that oozed with absolute and repulsive power, yet in its presence he could still feel a vague sense of familiarity and peace as he looked at the shade carefully.

Where he could have seen it, Izuku had no idea. It had been the first time he ever met something like that but the fact that under close inspection the tall being seemed too familiar to him just to ignore. He couldn't just forget about someone like that before, even if he was still young he could easily have at least a faint call back to him, which lead him to his next line of question. 'Why was he there?' The question alone was more unnerving than the answer, Izuku knew that it could all be just a coincidence but it didn't quite fit with what had been happening lately, how was it that those dreams were connected to everything that was happening around him? And if they were dreams, then why did that shadow seemed so sentient and real? Was that too a part of the dreams or was it something else? Could be someone else sharing the same dream as him, and if that was the case, how long was the other person been there? However, that alone couldn't explain how they managed to be in a connected state of dreaming, and that being the case, there had to be some sort of outside force creating the whole scenario before him. A quirk maybe? But that would mean someone had used it on him and that alone couldn't explain the reason as to why or what they would gain by using it on him. How many quirks like that were there in the world? How far is their range? What sort of limits and requirements does it need to-

“M I D O R I Y A... I Z U K U. ..

Silence followed after the entity spoke. He had been muttering! Out of all the times to mutter he had to do it then, Izuku thought, he really did get carried away when he focused his mind into something. Regardless of his thoughts, all he could do was to look dumbly back at the tall figure, its neck craned to the side to observe the small greenette now trembling under the terrifying gaze of bright orbs of white burning into his soul.

The towering figure turned to face the young child, head tilted to the side like a curious animal; a big, powerful and possibly demonic in nature animal. Before long, the tall shadow had lurched towards him in a matter of seconds with its clawed hand extended towards his face, the nauseous aura finally making him physically sick as he fell to the floor and everything turned black only to wake up covered in sweat in his All Might themed bed.

"Maybe some fresh air would do me some good..." The terrified otaku panted out, having a hard time getting his breath back after what he just saw. Thankfully it was all just in his head and would never happen again.

Right?

 


 

"Gods fucking dammit, Jack!" ranted the shade, clearly frustrated with how his introduction with his master's grandson had gone. His now white eyes staring at the spot Izuku had dissolved from reality. “You just had to use the demon voice didn't you! Not to mention how you almost pounced on the poor kid!"

Facepalming himself as opposed to pinching the bridge of his non-existent nose, Jack sighed. He clearly hadn't planned for the two of them to meet so early on and even if he did it had been quite some time since he was accustomed to be in his physical body, but what had certainly caught him off guard was how he was capable of performing a full astral projection at the early age of four. That alone made him more powerful than any of his previous masters, that would be something he would have to work with in due time, but for now he had other matters to attend to.

Jack walked around the library arranging the books back in their place before taking a sit, somewhat drained from the whole 'exchange'. "I really got myself dragged to another mess didn't I? Not like it could get worse right?"

Right?

 

...

 

Fuck it!

He wasn't about to start taking chances now. Besides if what he just saw was anything to go by, then Izuku would really need a proper guide to help him out, and he was just the perfect shoe-in for the job...

 


 

 

Even after visiting for seven days straight she still hadn't become capable of tolerating the strong air filled with disinfectant and sterile equipment, the combination of the air and her stress making it somewhat impossible to steel her resolve while looking after her father. Inko had known he was sick for quite some time now but it was still hard to come to terms how sick he really was all this time. The only thing she could do was face it, it was as much as she could do for him right now.

But then the guilt of not being there for him was eating her alive while trying to be as composed as she could. Ever since she moved out after her marriage she couldn't afford to continuously visit and look after him, or even go to their family gatherings. The idea of Izuku's only memory of his grandfather being that of his death was haunting and mocking. Jack was somewhat right when suggesting that fate was a cruel director on the whole act of life, she had several years of experience to prove that claim.

Just thinking about him made her be grateful for everything he had done for her father and herself ever since he appeared.

In all her life both men had always been there for along the way, it was both men that had always gone out of their way to look after her and teach her all that they could. Her father always acting as the voice of reason and being level-headed while Jack acted more as a friend and was a tad bit more sentimental. The thought of how he managed puppy eyes with those orbs for eyes to convince her father to buy her a puppy was enough for the corners of her mouth start curving upwards to a small smile.

"While I'm glad to see you every day, Inko," Were the words to start todays conversation. "You have a life of your own, I really can't bear watching you torture yourself like this..."

"I, i-it's just that I feel like all of this is my fault by not being there for you," Inko sobbed, she mused over how many times she had cried over that reason alone for the past seven days.

"Trust me, you have cried quite enough already sweetie... I kind of fear more for you by how much you do that." It didn't come as a surprise for him to answer her own thoughts, he always had a knack for those sorts of things, quite an impressive skill he picked up early on in life. The addition of a joke had worked wonders for easing the tension Inko believed the room had. "Besides, why would I even be mad at you anyway? Do I have to be mad because you had to grow up? Because you wanted to live your own life and have a family of your own? Because you fell in love and got married? Or because you got a son that is as wonderful as her mother? I just can't get it through my head why I should be angry at you for wanting to be happy. So please, stop blaming yourself."

The words had an edge to them but weren't meant to be hurtful. It was almost an art form to him the way he both reasoned and taught his way through the grand majority of the family. To think that even on a hospital bed, connected to monitors and an IV, he could still act as the head of the family without missing a beat, it was almost an achievement on its own. Though, whether that was his or Jack's will influence would be left as a mystery.

"I'm just scar-"

"I'm not," Chimon jumped in. "I'm really not bothered by it. Got to live my life to the fullest, have a beautiful and caring daughter, and got to see her start her own family. What more can I ask for?" He let those words sink in before sighing, face darkening as he thought.

"Death is a part of life, it's just how it is and how it should be if order is to be kept. I know things haven't been great ever since Hisash-... well, you know." The bedridden man paused before sighing again, he found it impossible to believe what he had done to her daughter out of all people but wasn't about to go down that line of thought. Not when he could clear see she needed closure. "My point is that I'm not worried about it, and I'm no longer worried for you... Jack made that clear to me."

"Wait!" Inko barely contained her surprise at the news. "Is Jack really going to pact?!"

"Can't say for sure, but he did say that he would go out of his way for this one." Chimon smiled, clearly at ease even in dire times. "Said he would want me to be resting rather than mourning."

His smile grew wider as bright green eyes met his dull green ones before looking out the window and shifting back to a more comfortable sitting position. "Go eat out with the family, sweetie, and don't think too much about the future, even if we plan for every single outcome it will always remain impossible to predict since nothing is set in stone. Only fools would believe in absolutes."

Inko looked outside the room's window and saw how late it had gotten, purple and orange hues indicating it was already past noon. She nodded in understanding and went for the door, not before hugging her old man and telling him to rest well, once she got out the room she breathed out a sigh of relief. The whole experience had always been too emotionally taxing but this time it was different, somehow, she felt closure and more at ease than any other day.

'For someone that always believed in chance, you were very persistent in making sure to never let things up to it.' She pondered at how things would turn out once Izuku learned the truth of their family and their long shared heirloom.

 

This is going to be really something, isn't it?

Chapter Text

Two years is more than enough time for someone to change. Izuku could very much be prove of that statement. Whether for better or for worse he really doesn't know.

Little over two years ago did his grandfather's funeral took place, and though it was a time of hardship and sorrow, it had also served to bring distanced families together. And their terrifying secrets along with them.

There wasn't really much of a difference to note at first. If anything the most notable, yet easily dismissed, difference in character came for his own mother. It was strange to see her so composed and calm throughout the whole ordeal, not a single sign of sadness or distress in her expression. The lack of her characteristic waterworks could have been a strange detail to take notice of but he wouldn't out his mother about it, not when he saw a light in her eyes he had not seen in quite some time. Hope.

Whatever transpired the following days after the service could be perfectly summarized in a large group of strangers crammed into a barely accommodating apartment. Though terrifying to the socially awkward green child, it wasn't seen as an unwelcomed change in his life to finally be able to meet some of his relatives while Inko caught up with most of her siblings and cousins during that time. Now that his mother was there to properly introduce their surprisingly big family he could hide his excitement to meet them all and, to his ever growing fascination, their quirks. Sure, they might have been weirded out by his fast mutterings about every single detail he manages to record from every person but to his surprise it actually resulted in a common trait shared across all his family. Him being the stronger example to what extends it can reach. So he was happy to fill out two notebooks with every shared bit of information given to him, even giving some advice to his quirked cousins.

Izuku could have easily gone for the rest of his life believing he didn't have that much of a family. So when he was finally given a break to spend time with kids his age unbiased by him having a quirk or not was just fantastic for him. Nothing could have spoiled the truly wholesome and warming atmosphere they had created, even if it was based after a rather obscure episode for them. That was however changed after Inko had left for Chimon's estate in Tokyo.

He had thought little after his mother had left two days before the start of the weekend, it seemed somewhat logical to head over to Chimon's house if there were to discuss their respective share in whatever will that was made before his unfortunate passing. During this time, he had gone and continued scribbling down various weaknesses and strengths his cousins' quirks had, helping them exploit the to their best. It had gone so far as to him writing personalized "manuals" in loose sheets of paper so they could try some of the other ideas he had in mind but couldn't apply at home; because god knows just how bad things would go if he let his older cousin, a girl with dark grey hair and bright red eyes by the name of Arashi Miho, try a fire tornado with her blaze control inside their house, there is a time and a place for everything Izuku explained much to everyone's relieve. For him to have people around him who shared as much as a fascination for the world and its mysteries made him secure of his notes and was happy to receive much praise for his detailed works on his six 'Hero Analysis for the Future' books. That however, was the last normal and sane things he would remember.

While Inko had left on her four-day trip to Tokyo Izuku was happily being looked after by his great aunt. During that time, he was simply helping and getting more notes on quirks, drawing a few sketches for possible hero costumes as a gift to his cousins were nice things to kept his mind occupied until he noticed the shift in tone among the adults. This strange aura was rooted as a constant mention in every conversation.

From the very few bit and pieces the young greenette managed to understand he had found the strange mention of something dark. Something related to an ancient heirloom, a dark legacy and a strange relative who even in his absence there was an undeniable terrifying power by their name alone.

Jack.

This hidden relative was an enigma beyond what the green child could understand. Not only was the name of a foreign origin and seemed to never be followed by any household names attached to it. Even if there was so much he could get away with a name alone, even just speaking of it under the context of him almost seemed wrong and out of his tongue almost painfully, as if he wasn't even meant to speak it.

What the young hero otaku could hear and uncover from every conversation he managed to eavesdrop was that Jack is a pretty mellow kind of guy. Most of his focus was drawn to his personal studies and investigations modern society have long since shunned into obscurity and fear by its prejudice towards the occult and arcane. He was described in much of a similar fashion to how their family often was regarding certain careers or degrees sought out by most, these mainly being associated curiously within the ramifications of history; most ranging from historians, antiquarians, archeologists or simple enthusiast for the past, its myths and legends. But to his credit, it seemed he was far more dedicated to them than any other. There were also a few tendencies he eerily shared with Jack, the tendency of muttering ideas out loud when too focused on them and a habit of word-vomiting when getting carried away on every little thing, the only difference keeping them apart being his fascination of speaking formally, or even being somewhat regal in a sense, and being a little excessive when explaining ideas almost to the point of flaunting them.

It had helped to build somewhat of a character for him, even if there was no prove or pictures of him to know of. He would have ended his interest on that note had his mother not returned from the estate with various books. Books that were impossibly familiar to him.

Izuku was reeling from the very things before him. It terrified him how an insignificant thing could almost break one's sanity. One. He only had to read one passage from in a well-known charred black book he fancied every dream. He could have just shrug it off as a coincidence when he held that volume in his shaking hands, but there it was, an unimportant scribbled note on the blank pages at the end of the book left for anyone to use. An insignificant thing that would conceive into reality everything he had witnessed the nights prior. "The concept of magic: An illusion or a forgotten truth" written on the worn page in his unmistakable handwriting.

Every volume, every tome, every manuscript, and notebooks he had written in now stood down the hallway past his and his mother's room. All those impossibilities neatly arranged in what once was supposed to be a guest room now bearing a lurking shadow of something forgotten.

The impossible collection he never believed to be real were now mere footsteps away from his room in their spare guest room turned library. Curiously enough, the books brought back were all those he had taken an interest during his lucid dreams. In the few pages the greenette had written in his eager stuppor for discovery he found annexed notes regarding a few similarities to legends and myths, all authored by the same man. Jack. He even went as far as to explain the union between reality and the surreal dreamscape along with several notes in how to prevent further astral projections from occurring.

His initial fear had now turned into newfound amazement for the ancient. Of course his curiosity for them man would essentially grow, even if he had started piecing together the image of Jack being a solid figure controlling whatever truth their family kept hidden it only cemented how deep his influence over the family went. However, when asking about him everyone simply avoided the subject or simply ignored the four-year-old's questioning completely. Inko and Miho being the only exceptions who explained part of who Jack actually is, but mostly was left in half-truths until he could understand everything that was to come. Not a solid answer he sought but enough to at least prepare for the things that exceed reason and common sense shackled to them. Shackled to him.

That was two years ago, and that amount of time has proven to be ample enough for changing a person.

The very few people that knew Izuku well, or even bothered enough to even look in his general direction, could see how much he had matured. His already sharp mind was beyond what it once was, the fact that he had been studying under the guidance of his own mother and Jack's notes on every "forbidden" book strengthened his observational and analytical skills threefold making him a madman when writing his own personal notes, whether based around heroes or the world’s dark secrets, and excelling even further in his school environment. It was no secret to them that their family had such an impeccable picture perfect memory.

Yes, you could argue that the entire ordeal wasn't without its bumps and falls but it had been worth it. To understand what truly occurs under the veil of normality and its lurking creatures was anything short of fascinating. Every myth, legend and fairy tale had a solid base in actual events that prepared people for encounters with hostile entities but also explain their cultures when coexisting with peaceful ones, it was just a mountain of knowledge the world had long forgotten and forsaken. The mystery of his family also seemed to be solved partially with those studies, being only referred as a union head of otherworldly intervention and protection on both sides of the board only known as the Crescent Moon.

Izuku's life had only seemed to go up from that point on, though there were no new friends to speak of Kobayashi had only seemed to grow closer to the greenette as a true friend and good influence. No one bothered in trying to speak to them simply because of one's quirklessness and the other's social status becoming inexistent when befriending the latter, they knew it was mostly under Katsuki's influence as king of the school but couldn't care less. They stayed out of his sight more for their mental health than to please his ego and everything just played out fine in the end. It had been a mostly pleasant couple of years if it hadn't been for the last couple of months.

It had been easy to ignore at first. A few sensations of being watched or just a basic level of being uncomfortable that randomly popped up whenever he was out. Izuku could have just explained it as a side effect of his studies going down the rabbit hole, things being more intricate and detailed regarding every shade walking the earth, but then it grew worse. Not only would he be startled when going out but every time he did an aura of oppression surrounded him, all eyes seemed to be set on him even if people never looked his way, shadows would even seem to move on their own whenever he wasn't looking and it was driving him insane. No place was save other than his house yet it only stayed that way as long as he was there before heading out and being overwhelmed by the terrible sensation.  There really wasn't much he could do against it, simply condemning himself to carry the weight of such a mortifying penance in silence, keeping his mother and Doi from knowing his growing anguish.

Thankfully videogames work wonders against stress.

 


 

"You know he is stressed, right?"

"Well that simply shows how great his perception of the world is..." The response was meek, the voice desperate to sway the wrath of the woman he was speaking through the phone. "Look, I know you haven't told him the whole truth, and as I remember it you took it well because you were half raised by me."

She huffed, he was right. She understood everything they taught her because she was raised by a shadow older than time, and even if she caught onto how her bundle of joy had started acting she knew it was because of his doing and that was always on the best of intentions. "I know you will be there to tell him everything when the time comes. I have been trying my best to teach him as best as I can about the things he no doubt would face, but please, this is my son who we are talking about."

"I know little tornado; he is m-"

"I wasn't finished yet, Jack~" The call had suddenly gone unnaturally quiet after she finished that statement. Her voice didn't hold any hatred to it, it mostly just sounded sweet and somewhat disappointed but he knew better than to misjudge Inko. There were few occasions when she had truly became a monster in her own respect. The memory of a shade who had tried to steal her newborn son, unaware they had entered the lion's den, screaming for him to save them as they were dragged down the corridor towards a livid mother was scarring for various reasons. He did not what to be at the other side of that hatred. "I know you do things your way behind the scenes because you are thorough with how you deal with every situation, and while I appreciate the concern you have shown for my Zuku I'm afraid we can't turn a blind eye on how that's affecting him now can we?"

"O-of course not! We, uhm, I! I will deal with it r-right away; it will be almost as if it never been the case from the s-start"

"Oh that's wonderful to hear, Jack, you don't know how much that means to me," she responded with such a sweet tone which perfectly hid any previous aggression held. Jack would pay mind of telling her things before doing them from now on. "It was nice having this time to catch up with you. I'm really eager to see you again soon, be seeing you~"

And just like that the call was ended leaving a very terrified shadow of lying to Inko again. In all his centuries there has never been a god, demon or monster capable of commanding fear over him like she did. He hoped to whatever remaining god listening to him not to never issue that ire ever again.

 


 

"Hey, Midor- wow! Hey you alright you don't look so well?" Doi bluntly stated, never the one for subtleties or sugar coating; a trait the greenette could admire from his friend. It was clear he was taken aback with how his friend's normally enthusiastic and bright look was now turned into a tired expression that almost scream of being so done with whatever thing made him look like that. It was strangely reminiscent of a certain underground hero they had casually mentioned a few weeks back but couldn't quite name them.

At this Izuku could barely respond to his friend by raising his head from the oddly comfortable hard wood of his desk, giving a quick smile before falling face flat back to "sleep". Nothing he did seemed to ease his growing worries and stress over the paranoia in the last weeks, and what worse it’s that he had inexplicably grown tired day by day, no clear reason to were all that energy went away, only getting as much as a rise from short naps that were becoming more common to his daily routine and eating a lot more than his body needed him to. It almost felt as if his body was collapsing in on itself, eating away at everything before leaving an empty husk. But they couldn't know. It was best if he didn't worry them about something that maybe was nothing. Maybe he was fine and all he needed to do was get things back in order and everything would be back to normal!

"... Just thinking about stuff, that's all," was the muffled response his mind came up with in the spot. It wasn't the best lie he could make as he could see how the mantis quirked kid's antennas twitched at his response. Doi was smart enough to know there was more behind just "stuff" but decided to ask any further. If his friend thought he didn't have to worry much about it then it was fine but didn't lessen his worry for him, if he wanted to talk about it with him when it seemed appropriate then he would gladly listen. It made him grateful to have a friend like him, but also made him feel guilty for not managing to trust him. 

"Well I have done some thinking myself to you know," all of Izuku's thoughts were suddenly drowned by the unexpected announcement from his friend. It terrified him to an extent of what it could imply for him but before he could ask the limenette continued. "I think it's time for you to fall from your high throne 'Mr. High Score'. That is unless you aren't afraid of what I can do!"

Immediately perking up from his desk, and startling Doi in the process, his determined gaze met the mantis child's sharp toothy smile. It was a battle of wills that hoped to see neither would back down after the challenge had been issued. If any one where to walk in on the scene they would have believed a fight would have broken out at any second, and though a fight would ensue, it wouldn't be one any expected.

The arcade was already waiting for them. A tradition that came to be a few years back and followed it without fail.

Every start of the weekend, right after school, they would head out to a small plaza near their school and spend the first hours of the afternoon playing at the arcade which was relatively unknown to anyone that visited the plaza, so being bothered wasn't really a concern to them. Much of this, as they put it, tradition stemmed from a simple chance encounter at the plaza. Both Midoriya's had decided to visit the plaza after their relatives had left to spend some quality time with one another, though mostly it was done so Inko could compensate her lack of honesty with Izuku regarding their family kept secret. It was actually then when he discovered the many hidden treasures that the far back of the Musufatu Springs plaza held that almost no one knew about, these being a few antique stores, a thrift shop and a small library. All which were seldom visited or even given a second thought when passing by, and it was that detail that ensured that area a perfect escape from anyone at school. Specially Bakugou and his "friends".

Besides, it had been Inko's idea to visit this area to get some peace of mind buying school supplies and take some advantage out of the discount clothing section, so most of the time the pair of greenettes were happily going from store to store, with Izuku being drawn to much of the hero merchandise that not even official stores had in stocks anymore. It was leading up to be a win-win for the both of them, and it was only after they had exited the books store with an impossibly large book referring to myths and legends of old Japan, which would soon find itself surrounded by other dated and peculiar collections in their little library, that they coincidentally bumped into the Kobayashi's.

With poor Izuku being a little too literal in that sense.

After a round of lighthearted chuckles from the adults at the scene of their children rubbing overdramatically their heads from where they had painfully bumped into, continuously mumbling apologies to one another. Things seemed to be going pretty well for both families. So after passing their initial surprise it was obvious there would be quite some catching up between the adults. Who, to their credit, had decided to let their kids have some freedom while they chatted away, and while it had taken a little bit of convincing from both Kobayashi's to have Inko at least be tolerable towards the idea of Izuku being out of her sight for more than she was comfortable with until she finally relented to the idea, letting both children to play at an arcade in direct view of the bench their parents had sat on. Neither of Doi's parents could really blame her over how she looked after her own son.

On one side, Ayaka, Doi’s mother and reason for most of the mantis-like traits inherited by him, understood this to a certain level. The nature of her quirk making her extremely overprotective of her family. Along with a few, rather indecent, situations caused by her quirk. While her husband Kono, who is the more human looking family member safe from the small plates trailing down from the neck to his back forming a strange wheel-like crest perfectly in the middle and a pair of curiously small antennas popping out the top of his head, knew the hardships of tutoring a child by themselves witnessing firsthand the many sacrifices his father had done in order of raising him into the family man he is today. So the best they could offer her was to, at the very least, alleviate some of the stress with just a talk between parents and by offering as much help as they could to the small family.  While that would have been the end of that for the adults, to their kids it was an entirely different story.

A very simple thing about children is their over-exaggeration of the truth. Such was the case with Doi as he happily beamed at the rows of the bulky machines colored stylistically, proclaiming his skills and talents being on par to those of serious players. Should said players even know most of the archaic titles spread out in the store.  However, not being one for questioning his friend and being extremely oblivious to sarcasm, Izuku just went with it. The fact that Doi had a lot of “skill” in all those games really impressed the young green mob of hair yet the more his mantis friend kept adding much prowess in his abilities, the more he became extremely nervous when he challenged him to a friendly match at one of the arcade machines. So not wanting to upset his friend, he simply smiled at this friend and accepted the challenge.

That day many revelations came to be made.

While the parents ended the day happily at making much difference with how stressed Inko had looked and offering her with as much help as they could offer, one person left with fear etched into their soul. How could a simple and bright smile hide such a terrifying beast Doi had no idea. The brutality in which Izuku stole his crown as king of all games while still acting as a nervous mess couldn’t have been anything other than an act, and yet he knew better than relate a cinnamon roll with violence. Thus it had been that fateful day in which Doi promised to defeat the very demon who stole his honor.

A promise he has yet to fulfill from the two years since he started it as Izuku happily reminds him, and by the looks of things it would seem that they would add days to that count.

It almost seemed like yesterday since that happened, and it really helped cement how much their friendship goes. So as soon as the last bell rang both kids were already done packing and heading straight for the school exit. Mentally preparing to face the onslaught ahead of them.

 


 

The way towards the plaza was mostly without incident.

Mostly.

Both kids were taking the longer route towards. Their reason being a certain living explosive and his lackeys had made it their mission to just go out of their way to bother or torment the duo. Which really isn’t much to worry about since one could easily plan ways to evade contact with the group while the other used much of their abilities to escape any situation presented in front of them. So they worked as a solid team. Until they would face off at the arcade, in which the mantis child would suffer from an endless streak of defeats while ever so slightly draining a bit of Izuku’s health bar. Though the problem came after they were already on the streets.

For some unknown reason the hero otaku became unexpectedly nervous. They were halfway there when Doi had noticed the constant act of looking over his shoulder every minute as the kept on walking down the street. He wouldn’t mind the act had it not been by how pale he suddenly became after the tenth time he had looked over his shoulder, agitating him and forcing him to walk faster towards the plaza.

Maybe it was the shared idea of them possibly being followed which made Doi far too aware of his surroundings. Maybe it was just Izuku’s paranoia rubbing off on him, making him believe they were actually being followed by someone. That just had to be it! Nothing more. Nothing less. And yet, the thought of having a pair of eyes burning the back of his head was slowly becoming very possible. So driven by a primal instinct of fear, his head turned just so slightly to catch a quick glance behind them to see the supposed stalker. It was ridiculous to think that was the case, but it seemed that doing so would be the only way for him to appease his own treacherous imagination.

One single peak. That is all he needs and then he would be fine. So after a deep breath and steeling himself he turned just a second to look behind him and then keep walking down the street. His pace quickening as the plaza grew closer. There wasn’t anything to be seen, that’s what it was supposed to have been, but with the way his stomach dropped it made Doi aware that there was more to it.

The mantis child could have sworn that there was a misty shadow rounding the corner as soon as he turned.

He just hoped it really was a trick of his mind. 

 


 

“… Understood.” As soon as the response went through the by a young man immediately hanged up. His face was mostly hidden by a black hood that partially showed his wrinkled face and chapped lips as he turned to his companion. Even with his withered and tired expression, it was clear he was barely in his early teens.

“So what now?” The teen remained silent for a moment. Red eyes staring deep into gray ones. It was clear his companion was comfortable with her disguise with the way she constantly shifted from side to side and played with the loose strands of her white hair to the side of her face. The disguise would barely suffice to hide her identity completely if someone were to pay close attention to her specifically, but it easily managed for her to get lost with the crowd if need be. Soon a distant semblance of a smile crept on the teen’s face.

“That’s easy,” he said, hand pulling out of his hoodie’s front pocket revealing a plastic bag containing various coins inside. Dangling the back and forth while making sure his pinky never came into contact with the rest of the bag he shook his head towards a peculiarly empty arcade. “Now we establish contact with the kid.”