Chapter 1: Words Cannot Hurt Me
There was a panic, a few shouts but largely just irritation. A scowl plastered to the face of many of the onlookers, like the near constant robberies on this street were just another part of life… and for a lot of the people walking down this street in the afternoon, it was. The sludge villain was just one of many that had chosen the rundown area as a prime target, void of competent heroes because of a lack of coverage in the area - it really was perfect. So the villain took a few moments to just grin and laugh because he had really done it, and he was going to get away with it, too. It wasn’t much, just a few thousand yen, but it was enough to get him through another week, which most villains on the run couldn’t say they had.
His smile only widened, eyes brightening as he saw an explosion from an alleyway - some powerful quirk, certainly - and he made a sharp turn, his amorphous form bearing down on the kid who had been in the middle of harassing some other teens. He grabbed him and pulled back hard, letting his sludge cover them completely, tugging his limbs this way and that as he laughed. That is, until his vision went black, the feeling of something slamming into his eye and the resulting pain made him scream and let loose. Some damn brat!
Before he knew what was happening, he felt an explosion rip through his grip on the boy. These fucking damn brats! They weren’t supposed to be this cocky! He pulled hard and fast, his control only slipping for a moment as he renewed his blind effort to hold his hostage - ah! He could start to see again, this would be okay. It was going to be okay, he still had the money, he just had to get down into the sewers! He could see the heroes arriving on the scene, but they wouldn’t do anything. He knew they wouldn’t-
Everything stopped, his grin fading completely as he saw something in the crowd. It might have even been funny if he didn’t know what those long tufts of hair meant, like a bunny, but… well, a bunny wasn’t a fair comparison in any sense. The sharp blue eyes, glowing as he stepped through the easily parted crowd, one giant fist raised up and oh fucking shit he was going to die, wasn’t he. This was going to be it. He should have just run, he shouldn’t have tried this shit with the kid, it had all gone wrong - and he could feel the slight breeze pick up before he felt anything, the wind raising and ripping him apart before he actually felt the impact, like a truck hitting him at full force -
“Your petty actions have dishonored what it means to be a villain, now die.”
God damn, but if All Might wasn’t the coolest villain… at least he was getting offed by him, instead of some nobody hero. But fuck if it wasn’t shameful, knowing he had failed the one man he looked up to enough that the man himself would put him down.
He blacked out.
The resulting chaos around the massive figure of All Might, one Toshinori Yagi, was distracting in a way that he didn’t really care to unpack, rather he just took a deep breath to let the tension from One for All roll out of him - not enough to return back to his emaciated form, but enough to calm his nerves. Maybe he was just getting too old for this.
The thing that really surprised him, the thing that he very much so wanted to take some time with to unpack was the kid who had run in before him with a scream and quite possibly the stupidest attack he could think of. The kid frankly looked like a twig, his hair vaguely resembling some kind of tree… But his emerald eyes were what really got to him. After it was all done and over with, his eyes as they stared at him, fearless.
It made him do a double take, he had done some truly horrible things in his time as a Villain, but the hesitation seemed to be enough for the green haired wonder - when was the last time All Might had thought of someone like a wonder? - to approach him, a slight tremble in his frame belaying something that his eyes seemed incapable of.
“Um… All Might, sir.” He smiled, something hidden in the expression that Toshinori just couldn’t for the life of him put to words, it sent his skin crawling. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, and t-thank you for saving Kacchan.” There was sincerity in the light lilt of is voice, the way that every word was juxtapositioned against his movements, the slight bow and a gaze that seemed to be asking something. He would need to keep an eye on this kid.
“Of course, young man!” His own trademark smile came easily to his face, even as he heard the sirens screaming from a few blocks away. He didn’t have much time - not in this form, not here. He needed to leave, but first - “May I have your name, it is a great pleasure to see someone as young as you already pursuing heroics! I can only hope you can rival me one day!”
And there it was, the slight tick in his jaw at the words, the way his frame went still for just a moment. “Midoriya, Midoriya Izuku, sir.” A moment of hesitation, the sirens grew louder and the crowds started to part, the click and flash of a photo pulling All Might back to his senses. He would take the moment to escape -
“Young Midoriya! Well, I really must be leaving now. Take care!” After a flash of his brightest smile, he crouched down, and with a burst of power strong enough to crack the cement under his feet from the sheer pressure of it, he launched himself into the air. He could already feel his time wearing thin. Vaguely, he could feel something on his leg, and a quick glance down gave the cause: The kid was stuck to him. Quickly, he changed course and landed on the nearest rooftop, picking up the kid and dropping him on his feet in front of him, a stern warning rising in his throat -
“Sir- I-I have a… a question.” The kid - Midorya - looked up, panting and clearly disoriented. His own words died in his throat as he watched him gather his breath, patient, his clock ticking too fast. “...can someone like me, do you think... someone quirkless like me, could ever be as great a villain as you? I want… I think what you’re doing, it’s what I want.”
The intensity in his eyes was blinding, the absolute stillness in the air as All Might felt his jaw go slack at the words. A villain? He… was he really having that much of an impact on the youth now that their aspirations were so grim? He had turned to villainy in order to set the heroes strait! He had become a villain in order to inspire greatness, to challenge the world to take him down! But… but even so. He had done this, hadn’t he? So, he should take responsibility then. And the expectant look in the kid’s eyes as he waited for an answer, it was just too young. Too naive. He took a deep breath, and felt himself losing his grip on One for All.
“...I’m sorry, young Midorya. I just don’t think it would be right of me to tell you that you should become a villain.”
The moment he said the words, he let his form change, the smoke rising from his body as he looked at the expression the kid had made. The expression he had given them. Broken and listless. His eyes narrowed and and he coughed, lifting his hand to catch the blood and wiped it away on his mouth. He had done this. Slowly, he moved and lifted up his shirt, the twisted visage of his wound visible for the kid to see. He needed to know.
“I guess I owe you an explanation, though. It’s because even with my power, I failed. Five years ago, All for One gave me this. I’m guessing someone like you would have noticed my absence in the news? I can’t hold my quirk for as long as I used to and… and I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can condone someone without a quirk risking it for some stupid ideal. Not when they could kill you.”
Slowly, he lowered his shirt and walked past the kid. “Get home safe, alright? Wouldn’t want anybody to put kidnapping on my charges.”
“...it isn’t stupid, All Might.” The kid’s voice sounded ragged, broken.
Villainy was never something to be taken lightly. Even more so than heroics, a profession he held up so high to the light, polished it until all that was left were the inherent flaws. All Might was a villain above villains. He was someone who admired them so much that he couldn’t bear to see them so broken and corrupt, but even if he could justify his work, even if he could look out amongst a crowd and see people carrying tokens of support for him… even if he knew everything he sacrificed for this life, well. He was still a villain at the end of the day. He was still the bad guy, and that knowledge was crippling.
He took the door handle in his hand, and turned it, giving one last glance back at the kid. He was trembling, fists clenched at his sides. Certainly the kid, Midoriya, was someone he would have to look out for, but he desperately hoped it wouldn’t be as a villain. He stepped into the dark of the building’s stairwell, and started making his way down.
It had taken Midoriya a few hours to get home that night, a lot longer than normal anyway. The news had reported seeing All Might fly off with a green haired boy, but nobody had paid him mind as he wandered the city streets towards the station, eventually making his way back to his house. The conversation had left him feeling empty and lost, like he had cut something important out of his chest that had been keeping him from toppling over until then.
Midoriya Izuku was a quirkless nobody. He may as well have nothing going for him, despite his numerous awards and a flawless grade book. The only thing keeping the entire class from turning on him, really, was that the class bully had already sunk his claws in. He had marked the smaller boy as his prey, and nobody was going to mess with that. Not that Kacchan ever actually touched him. He could be grateful for that at least. He didn’t really know for sure why the other boy had never hit him, after that first time… It might have been pity, but nothing really seemed to fit him well enough to be a proper explanation. It would only have been pity because Kacchan had seen him cry enough times at night as he prayed to his mother’s shrine.
That was the other thing. The two boys lived with each other. They shared the same room and everything, and that had been the living arrangement for three years, ever since his mom had been reported dead. He didn’t believe it, when they had told him. He hadn’t believed it when they held the service, a month later. Soon after that, the Bakugou’s had taken him in as family friends and not another word was said about it.
Really, it was the words that went unsaid behind it all that made him worry.
When he did get home though, he wasn’t quite sure what made him pause. He didn’t know what he expected, or how he was supposed to act, but he climbed the stairs anyway and opened the door, calling a quick hello before slipping out of his shoes and padding out into the kitchen when he heard a few pots clattering to the floor, his vision enveloped by a distraught Mrs. Bakugou, flinging herself at him into a tack hug that had him pinned to the wall. He just stood there, unsure as she took a deep breath and pulled away, looking him over before sighing.
“...just, try to be more careful, okay? You know your mother would kill me if I let anything happen to you, and I was this close to calling the cops on your ass!” She reached over to tousle his hair and he let it happen, giving a blank stair in return.
“...yeah.” He nodded, slowly, before closing his eyes for a second and taking a deep breath. He could do this. “M’sorry…” It was strange, to him. Even after the few years of living together, he was never quite sure what to call her. “I’ll make sure to call you, next time I’m out late, okay?” She nodded, and scowled before turning and moving back to the kitchen, muttering something about teenagers.
He took another deep breath, before padding back to the front of the house to take the stairs up. He would have to see Kacchan anyway, right? He would be mad. He was always mad. He could do this. He stopped in front of the door, looking at the sign marking it as Bakugou’s room, the little addendum taped onto it that read ‘Midoriya’s too!’, with a little doodle of All for One next to it, giving a thumbs up. Kacchan had drawn it when he found out that he would be moving in, thinking it would cheer him up. Midoriya had responded by bringing every piece of his collection that he thought Kacchan would like to share with him.
He took a bigger breath, placing his hand on the doorknob and slowly turning it.
The room itself wasn’t anything special. A large circular rug sat in the middle of the room, All for One’s signature black and red over a pattern of circuits spreading out. There was only one bed in the room, but there was a futon rolled up in the corner that Midoriya used, The bed itself was meticulously kept, an All for One comforter draped across it, several posters lined up on the wall for various movies that had come out over the years. Across the room was a bookshelf, his bookshelf, where he kept most of his merch of various heroes lined up above his DVD collection and his notebooks. On either side of it were two desks, one kept tidy to a T and the other one which looked like a hurricane had decided to study there, with notebooks spread out and opened across the space, lines and ink stains spread across in a way that it would almost look like a messy mind map.
Kacchan was laying on the bed, head almost off the edge of it with one leg propped up on the wall as he read a book held above him. He glanced over as Midoriya walked in, scoffing.
Scoffing was better than what he had expected, he would take it.
“Hey, Kacchan… I’m home.” He reached up to scratch the back of his head,before closing the door behind him and dropping his bag next to his desk as he entered the room proper, pulling out his chair and sitting in it, swiveling to face the other boy in the room.
“I can see that, shitnerd.” He closed his book and set it aside as he moved to sit up properly. “The old hag was pretty fucking upset, you know.”
“I know, but… I just had to talk with him, I had to know.” He brought his hands to his lap, touching the ends of his fingers together, staring at them as he thought.
“Your dream of getting to UA?” He didn’t react much other than that. “I figured it’d be something stupid like that, the way you reached for him like he was a damn lifeline.”
Closing his eyes, Midoriya just took a deep breath. This wasn’t usually how these talks happened… something must have happened to keep his anger down. Maybe he was actually listening to his anger management classes? Possibly, but not likely. Maybe it had something to do with what had happened today… almost getting killed might do that to you, thin you out a bit.
“Just fucking spit it out, I can hear your mumbling from over here… sheesh.”
“Oh! Ah… well, he said I shouldn’t do it.” He moved his hands, reaching up to hug himself. Kacchan wouldn’t yell at him for his habits. He was one of the few who didn’t, which was surprising, given their history. It made him think the whole thing at school really was just an act, and the anger at home was just frustration… “He said it wouldn’t be worth it… but-”
“But what, Deku. Think you’re just gonna roll into one of the most prestigious schools in Japan without a quirk and get in?” There was an edge in his voice, something indiscernible that pierced right through him, sent a tremble down his spine as he hugged himself tighter.
“I-I know I can do this, Kacchan…” He had to do this. He closed his eyes, and pictured All Might. Pictured All for One beside him, the crippled hero. They were both symbols of hope in a way. One couldn’t exist in the way they did without the other, but… But if All Might was fading. “...I have to be able to do this.” He couldn’t rely on All Might, now. He couldn’t let that stop him. The society he could see so clearly in his head, the one where his mom was still here. The one where kids like him didn’t want to be a villain. “I can follow him, I know I can.”
He heard a sigh from across the room, the sound of footsteps and he felt the pressure on his shoulders as he snapped his eyes open to see the smoldering coals that were Kacchan’s eyes. The anger and frustration, the confusion under all of that.
“I have to do this, Kacchan. I have to do this or-! Or it’ll just be me losing my mom all over again! Heroes aren’t what they used to be, Kacchan! I look up to All for One because he’s what so many more need to be, but I just can’t see myself as a hero, Kacchan! I can’t! Not knowing that they were the ones who-!” He knew he was shouting. He knew he had tears in his eyes and he could see them reflected in the other boy’s eyes as he tried to understand. “Please, just… just don’t tell me I can’t, Kacchan, not you too.” He looked away, unable to meet him head on.
He closed his eyes again, and felt strong arms wrap around him, felt himself shaking. He felt like he was eleven again, sitting out on the front steps of his house as he waited for his mom to come home. As he waved to Kacchan, a look in the other boy’s eye that he didn’t really understand. Not even then. He felt like he did then when Kacchan had hugged him, Kacchan’s mom walking up behind them and telling him he would be staying over at their house.
“You can do this.”
Chapter 2: Suppressed Feelings
Okay, so first off I want to thank everyone who read my first chapter! Thank you so much for your amazing response, and I sincerely hope that you continue to enjoy reading my story as it goes on into the future.
I would like to make a few notes here, at the beginning of the second chapter of Confrontation. Firstly that this is the first fic that I have ever written, though not the first story I have ever told. I am a Game Master 4 years in the making and in my composition work I try my best to fill each note with meaning, to reach for a greater whole in each piece. While not conventional forms of story telling, I have been told that I tell them well and I hope to continue that here in my 'formal' writings.
Second, I would like to lay out the framework for when I will be releasing each chapter. I hope that I can maintain a consistant upload schedule of one update per two weeks, my deadline being the second following Sunday after each upload. I hope that you all will be understanding with my slow update speed, I lead a rather busy life and things like this tend to take time.
And finally, I would like to mention my amazing Betas who helped me work on these first two chapters - I'm not sure how to mention you all directly here, but you know who I'm talking about. Thank you so so much, I honestly second guess myself way too much to ever write something this ambitious without you all!
And again, thank you to everyone who reads this and takes the time to leave comments or kudos. You all are angels and I love each and every one of you! Now, without further ado, please enjoy chapter two of Confrontation.
“-and we have two down for UA, correct? Bakugou Katsuki and Midoriya Izuku, I wish you both the best of luck… MIdoriya? ”
As soon as the words hit him, MIdoriya had leapt up out of his chair and stared at Kacchan, an incredulous look on his face. He didn’t understand, couldn’t understand that Kacchan - his Kacchan - had written down UA for his future plans, the boy wanted nothing to do with villains and most people who applied to the school were either oblivious and there because it was a really good school anyway or they were there because of their half buried ‘Hero Studies’ course, which, as anybody who followed the major villains (like All MIght) would most likely know was a front for training villains in a state of the art facility paid for by the government. It was the reason he had been planning on attending but Kacchan who wanted nothing to do with villains and had to know about UA because of him-
“DEKU! Stop your goddamn muttering and-”
“-but you can’t go to UA!” He toppled over his chair in his rush as he closed the distance between the two of them, slamming a hand down on Kacchan’s desk as the blonde stood up to meet him, slamming a hand into Midoriya’s chest and grabbing him by the collar.
“Hah!? Are you looking down on me, shitnerd? You think I’m the one who can’t get in, you fuckin’ green twig?” The smaller boy brought his hands up to try and pry the blonde’s hand away, eyes widening as he watched his right hand pull back, ready to throw a punch, followed by a chorus of Fight! Fight! Fight! In the background.
“N-no! Kacchan, I just-” He struggled, tears pooling in his eyes as Kacchan just pulled him closer, opening his fist to reveal a palm of crackling and smoke. “-You always thought UA was beneath you! Why are you p-planning to go now?” His tone was high pitched, even for him and he squeaked as the taller boy pinned him back to a desk (as a very frightened boy jumped out of his seat to give them room), snarling.
“I do what I fuckin’ want, shitty Deku.” He lowered his tone, leaning in too close. “I’m going because your shitty ass can’t handle yourself, and if I didn’t follow you, I think the old hag would have a conniption. So you should think real damn carefully about your next words or I’ll take care to make your death real slow.” His palm crackled threateningly, the rest of the class falling utterly silent as they watched the two of them.
Midoriya gulped, the terror he had felt moments before slowly melting away from him as he met Kacchan’s smouldering eyes head on, determination rising in his gut.
The blonde sighed and threw him to the ground, stepping back with a sneer and taking his seat back, muttering curses under his breath. He just picked himself back up, gently rubbing the spot that had impacted the floor as he returned to his own seat, shaking his head. Why did Kacchan have to be this way? Sometimes it felt like the two of them were never going to get along, but then, he had said he was following Midoriya. He smiled, hiding it under a hand as he propped up his head on his arm, staring out the window. He really did care, didn’t he?
“...alright, class! Quit gawking, we have plenty we still need to get done, okay?”
It had been a few days since the incident with the sludge villain now, and Midoriya was starting to feel his nerves snapping against the tension that had seemed to build up between Kacchan and him since then. He wasn’t sure if it was because of his breakdown that night, or something else. So it was frustrating when he looked beside him to the blonde, walking home with him while in a state of fury, kicking poles every once and a while and shooting him frustrated looks. It wasn’t necessarily strange for the other boy to get into funks like this, but it was strange for them to last so long…
Regardless, he had hoped that he could use some of that anger to get away from the boy, but he seemed determined to stick by his side -
“Deku, we’re going to the fuckin’ bakery first.”
He paused, looking back to the blonde as he quirked an eyebrow, frowning. This was a surprisingly golden opportunity.
“You heard me, shitnerd.”
Blinking slowly, he sighed. “Okay, Kacchan.” He slid his hands into his pockets and waited for him to proceed, letting a small smile roll onto his face as the other brushed past him to take point. It wasn’t at all strange for Kacchan to take small detours on their way home, whether to do a couple of errands for his mom or go to the arcade to vent off some frustration, but normally he used the opportunities to try and be alone for awhile. Away from Midoriya.
Taking the initiative with the conversation, the greenette walked up beside him and smiled. “Do you mind if I head home, though? I had some ideas I wanted to get onto paper and the sooner I do-”
“Fucking whatever, Deku!” Kacchan growled, and shot him a glare as he hunched over a bit. Disappointment, maybe? “Your damn muttering would have driven me insane anyway.” Definitely disappointment. He didn’t want to be alone, but… no, the trip had to be to get something for him, Kacchan probably wanted to treat him to something? He just shook his head. No. Kacchan wouldn’t.
“See you in a bit then, don’t get lost!” He gave a short wave and pulled off to start down another street, their house in the opposite direction to the bakery.
“Fuck you, I never get lost!” The blonde shouted in the background, indignant, the telltale popping sounds of his quirk firing off. Not violent, just frustrated.
Midoriya took a breath, and closed his eyes for a moment as he walked.
Kacchan had just handed him this opportunity on a silver platter.
He thought back to the small letter that Mrs. Bakugou had handed him that morning with a confused expression. It hadn’t had a return address, and was simply marked “For Midoriya Izuku”. Hand delivered, probably. It had been short, and to the point - basically just telling him to be at the Dagobah Municipal Beach Park around now. The park itself was… well, it used to be a prime spot for picnics and the like, but over the years had been converted into something of a landfill.
There were certainly worse places for a strange meeting, though.
Taking another turn, he saw the entrance to the park and smiled, jogging there.
A meeting place aside, there was always the question of who he was meeting - and the signature on the letter had answered that rather handily. He had assumed it was a test, or maybe just a show of faith that he would be that much of a fanboy, but there was a symbol that had shown up in a lot of All Might’s old crime scenes back in his silver age days of villainy - a small circle with a V crossing through the top. For true followers, the mark had become synonymous with the man himself, though it had fallen mostly into obscurity now. Regardless, the mark had been on the letter as a signature, and it could really only mean one thing.
He was grinning by the time he turned into the beach, and saw the shock of bright - near yellow - hair, and the piercing electric blue of his eyes as they turned to meet the boy.
He waved as he ran up to his role model, the gesture returned somewhat hesitantly.
Catching his breath as he slowed to a stop in front of the man, he looked around before bringing his gaze back up to the figure in front of him. He hadn’t bothered to change to his muscle form, so he must be going at least incognito. “...All Might, sir. It’s… thank you for meeting with me- ah, even though you called me out I still feel like I should thank you I mean it’s such a big honor and I hope this is what I think it is and-” He was cut off by a raised hand and a sigh.
“Young Midoriya… I believe I owe you an apology, first. But before that, please, call me Yagi while in public. I wouldn’t want someone to overhear our conversation and get tipped off.” He seemed… half amused, but more so resigned to the antics of a fanboy. It certainly wasn’t what he had hoped for, judging by the expression on his face.
“Of course! Sorry, um… so…”
All Mi- Yagi-san , sighed. “I would like to apologize for the callous nature to which I spoke with you last time. I didn’t think about the implications my words might have on someone like you, who looks up to me so… I sincerely hope you can forgive me.” He gave a slight bow, seeming to wince a little at the motion.
“...no, no you were right. But, I still think I’m going to try because well… I don’t think there’s anything else for someone like me. So, thank you for seeing me, really All- Yagi-san.” He gave a sheepish smile. “Really, I’m glad I got to see you again-” He was cut off again, Yagi-san cutting into him with a glare that rooted him in place with fear. The sudden change seeming to make the air around them cold.
“Young Midoriya. I hope you will come to realize why I told you off from this road the last time we spoke. But for now, that isn’t the purpose of my meeting you here today - and I assume we’re both on borrowed time to be here, so let me cut to the point. I want to ask you something, and I need you to answer me honestly.”
He gulped, and nodded slowly.
“So, let me explain to you something I witnessed a few days ago which prompted me to come back and meet with you today. Imagine this: A young woman is being mugged in an alleyway, and nobody but a small group of pro heroes and a nervous bystander notice the two of them. The pro heroes stop and consider their options, but in the end choose not to act. The bystander sees this, and moves in to stop the criminal with his quirk, a battle unfolds and the pros call the police. When the police show up, both the criminal and the man are arrested for public displays of their quirks and disrupting the public. The pros don’t stop to help the woman, who seemed to have blended into the crowd despite still standing there, trembling.”
Midoriya nods, the steel returning to his eyes as he listens to what may as well have been the perfect example of the system failing its people. It sounded ridiculous on paper, but… Didn’t I see a similar situation, not too long ago with the sludge villain? There were pros on the scene but...
Yagi-san continues, asking a question that would root him in place again because of the sheer absurdity of it, and the seriousness with which he lays it out. “What did the villain do wrong?”
It takes a few moments for him to process the question, but when the geers start turning again he can’t help but smile. All Might is testing me.
All Might wants to see if It’s worth taking me in, then.
“There was no villain in that scenario, only a criminal, like you said. If he had been a villain, the motivation would not have been to take the young woman’s money but rather to create unrest - even if he still chose to do so by mugging the woman. The criminal decided to perform quietly, out of sight and it kept the pros from acting because there wasn’t a scene, there wouldn’t have been any publicity. I think everyone in that scenario acted incorrectly, but your question seems to be a logical test, to see if I understand. I do, All Might. I don’t think I could call myself a fanboy if I didn’t.”
The man seemed taken aback for a moment, but he listened to his explanation and nodded, a trace of a smile forming on his gaunt face as he nodded, pleased.
“You are smart, young Midoriya… I would like you to consider your future for a moment. I am going to make you an offer today, and I need to know that you understand what you are getting yourself into. Villainy is incredibly dangerous and your life could end at any moment if you walk this road.” He scratches his head, and lets out a sigh. “I’ve already shown you the scar I received five years ago. It was intended to be a killing blow, young Midoriya. There was no way I would have survived that night if it hadn’t been for a few friends that thought I was too important to lose that night.”
Midoriya tilts his head slightly, wringing his hands in front of him as he listens.
“Are you willing to risk everything to be a villain among villains?”
He nods. “Yes, sir.”
“Then I will tell you about my quirk, One for All.”
The door to the boy’s room was slammed shut in Midoriya’s excitement. He had ran upstairs the moment he got home, ignoring the adults as they asked him where he had been. Kacchan was waiting, reading a book in his bed like he always was - and like always, he looked up and scowled, raking his eyes over the other’s disheveled appearance and sitting up, placing the book aside and standing to face him.
“Kacchan I-” He was cut off - something that was becoming routine at this point - as the other boy stepped in close and shoved him back against the door.
“Shut up, Deku.” His glare was filled with… well, something Izuku couldn’t quite place. He stood stalk still, pinned between the other’s arms. “If you thought that I would take your shitty fucking lies, just because- Fuck Deku, I don’t even know. I’m not going to UA to be your lap dog and I’m not going to let you put me down. You are going to be honest with me, alright?”
He nods, slowly, reaching one hand up to hold the blonde’s wrist and gently push his arm away - without success. “...I met with All Might, okay? I assumed he didn’t want anybody to know so… I’m sorry, Kacchan.” He leaned forward, trying to touch their foreheads together like they used to do when they had talks like this.
The other boy scoffed, and pulled away, padding back to his bed.
He didn’t miss the blush painted across the blonde’s cheeks.
Chapter 3: Action in Examination
I am so sorry for the lateness of this chapter, life got in my way as well as an unhelpful muse, but it's here now and I hope that I'll be able to get another chapter out this week! That's a big hope, so don't expect much, but I at least have freetime to write now.
I probably won't stick to a schedule in the grand scheme of things just because things like the last few weeks happen a lot, but I hope I can get a chapter out every two to three weeks, hopefully on the shorter end of that.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It had taken six long months to clear the horizon like All Might had asked him to. Six months of dodging questions from Kacchan’s parents, dissuading the other boy from coming himself and slowly dying on the inside over how sore he was at any given moment. And on top of it all, he maintained his place as number one in his class. He made a point to gloat about this as much as possible to Kacchan, and for what it was worth, he’s pretty sure that the only reason he got out of those six months alive was because he had promised his angry roommate the chance to meet All Might at the end of it. Something he was only able to do because he knew that All Might would be teaching in UA this year anyway.
Though, at large, the Bakugou family didn’t seem to mind his repeated absences at dinner, or when he would leave in the dead of night - the times that they knew about, anyway.
At first, Mitsuki had put up a lot more of a fight until her son stepped up for him, surprising everyone in the room as he stared them in the eyes to defend the boy he supposedly hated. That was the night he had pulled out a cake for Izuku, sharing the dessert in their room and staying up later than either was normally comfortable with, just talking. The two had woken up exhausted the next day, but the brief look that Kacchan had shared with him the morning after, when they found themselves tangled up in each others arms was worth it - at least before the blonde had shoved him back and started letting off explosions, his face bright red.
With around a month to spare, All Might had stopped Izuku during one of their sparring sessions, with a slight softness around his eyes as he declared he was ready to pass on his quirk.
The moment hadn’t been anything special, but Izuku could feel it nonetheless - like fire in his veins, a low simmer that ran through him just under the surface as if daring him to pull at it. With one month to spare and a competent healer nearby (His mentor had promised, anyway) he had used All for One, let it rise to the surface in his fist and let out a scream as he let it rip out of him towards the ocean - whether from the pain, or the sheer anime filled hyperbole of the moment, he hadn’t really been sure which at the time.
All Might brought him to the school, after wincing and delivering his apology for not warning him beforehand - but Izuku didn’t hold it against him. He had just smiled, a bit dazed through the healing process, and over the course of the month received something like a novel’s worth of lectures about how much of an idiot they both were, all of which were promptly swept aside with a hasty apology as he pulled out a notebook, frantically recording everything he had learned from breaking his arm that time. Recovery Girl knew at that point that she wasn’t going to enjoy her job for the foreseeable future, though she was sure to tell him that if he didn’t figure something out, she wasn’t going to be willing to heal any self inflicted injuries after school started proper.
Full Cowling hadn’t been hard to figure out, after the pressure of potentially living with a wound like his mentors, speaking with Kacchan about his own quirk at length - what it felt like to use a quirk you had been born with. The boy had been receptive enough, if disgruntled, during the conversations, his brow furrowed most of the time when he spoke - as if the answer was obvious: Quirks were just like an extra limb, just an extension of yourself used on reflex.
It ended up being just a few days before the exam rolled around, when Izuku finally figured out how to properly use his Full Cowling, and at the smile on All MIght’s face, he couldn’t help but grin back.
“Aizawa… did I do the right thing?” Toshinori sits with his elbows on his knees, head leaning on his hands as he stares at the screens in front of him, the interviews for the incoming student body playing out on each of the screens. The real test would come once the school weeded out the people who either didn’t know what the course was really for, or wanting to expose it for what it is. The interview was like a pretest… and his successor was sitting in a chair on the screen in front of him, relaxed and speaking with the interviewer - who seems rather nervous himself.
“With Midoriya? I had a look into his records, when you spoke with me about him. How much do you know about him, really?” The other man, Aizawa, sits a little more relaxed, but no less serious. Eyes focussed on the same screen, probably trying to lip-read the conversation.
“...I know that he lives with an adoptive family. I know that if he wanted, he could easily be the hero I became a villain to create… but there’s something there that I’m missing, isn’t there? When I spoke with him… it’s like he knew what I was trying to ask him, without me having to come out and say it.” He takes a deep breath, and tears his eyes away from the boy to look at the ragged man beside him. “HIs answer… I know he has his reasons, but he knows my reasons better than I do, I think. He could be an amazing hero… but something happened to him that drove him to this point, to become… well, I hope-”
“Toshinori, you’re rambling again. But…” Aizawa blinks slowly, like a cat, before glancing over to him. “Well, his mother was taken a few years ago at a hero convention. Her body was never recovered, but they declared her dead anyway. He’s been living with the Bakugous since then, and from my brief research beyond the records… He refuses to let them take care of him financially. He pays for all of his own things through the child support sent in by his father, and as fascinating as that is, I think it tells you something, beyond that.”
He slumps over even more, wincing as he feels the wound tense up from the motion.
“You can’t always judge a book by its cover, and anyway… his interview is over.” Aizawa rises from his seat. “I think I know who’s getting into the course, at this point. You can stay here and watch the exams, if you want… but.” He looks Yagi right in the eyes and gives a small smile. “I think you chose well, out of everyone that was vying for the spot… I can’t say it would have sat right with me, if you’d gone with your first choice those months ago.” He gives a small wave and yawns, turning to leave the room.
“Wait, I…” Toshinori looked back up at Aizawa as he opened the door. “Aizawa, you know the kid is smart, but…” The dark haired man turned, a slightly exasperated look on his face.
“Toshinori, you made a choice that you cannot go back on. Regardless of what I have to say about it, no matter what that boy has done in the past, you gave him your legacy with open arms. At least give the kid some level of respect, and accept what will be. It’s fine to worry about him, I understand, but he’s strong. I can see that much.”
Aizawa leveled his gaze, blinked once, slowly.
Toshinori couldn’t help but avert his own gaze, letting the man leave.
It had taken a few minutes, but a few of the other teachers started filing into the room with Toshinori, only a couple odd looks spared for him as they took their seats - all smiles and bets, like this was a party of some kind. In some ways it was, but for him, he couldn’t for the life of him feel anything but nervous.
“Hey, Hizashi, five hundred on the green kid, anyone relaxed enough to joke around like that before an exam like this seems like a winner to me.” A woman with black hair, and sharp red glasses spoke up - he thought her codename might have been Midnight, though he wasn’t particularly familiar with anybody here except for Aizawa.
A man with a bright shock of yellow hair, styled and overdone above his black leather jacket (stylized with a mic surrounded by skulls, the symbol of the gang Radio Silence) smiled and gave a too bright thumbs up. “Sure thing, Nemuri!” After a beat, he twirled the pen he had been holding in his hand and scribbled something - presumably the bet - down on his clipboard.
He couldn’t help but feel proud, if the other teachers who had to be so much better than he was at reading potential, were already betting on his student. Though he couldn’t help the nerves that built up amidst the animated conversation leading up to the buzzer that would announce the beginning of the exam.
Izuku looked around at the crowd gathered around Field Gamma, a massive block of land surrounded on all four sides by tall walls and filled with an even taller urban landscape. The crowd itself wasn’t massive, maybe seventy individuals - enough to be annoying, but not enough to overwhelm the test itself. He let his gaze fall onto Kacchan, and gave a small smile, motioning to the other to follow when he got the blonde’s attention and started pushing through the crowd to get to the front.
“You have a plan, shitty Deku?” He spoke in a low tone, quiet enough that only he and the greenette would be able to hear. Izuku simply closed his eyes and ignored the shiver that spread down his back at the subtle intimacy between them; he didn’t have time for hormones, now.
“Yes, but you’re a moron, alright Wrath? We use codenames. Not all of these people will be our classmates, I’d wager about forty of them at most, though only to fill space. Probably less than twenty actually have what the school wants at this point.” He opened his eyes again and leveled his gaze at the massive gates in front of them, the timer on front reading five minutes. Five minutes to finalize his plans, five minutes to scout out the rest of the group, five minutes before his life would change forever - not that it hadn’t already changed when All Might had come into his life but still-
Kacchan had grabbed his arm, shaking him gently to pull him out of his musings. “Deku may as well be a codename, anyway… and besides, most of these losers are extras anyway. We’re the only ones that matter.”
“I matter?” The words left his mouth the moment he registered what Kacchan had said, and he looked the other boy in the eyes, tilting his own head - all other thoughts on pause.
“Yeah, so fucking start acting like it. Now, let me ask you again: What’s the plan?”
“Okay…” Izuku closed his eyes again, and let his stream of consciousness flow out into what everyone else called his bad habit. “The interviewer gave us the basics of the exam, but I had asked him if there was a rulebook anywhere which there was, so I borrowed it and read through it in the time I had before I got kicked out, but basically this test is a trap for people who just want to be thugs. Organized crime is one of the major teaching points at this school, how to be on both sides of it - regardless, this test is trying to gauge both our potential to follow instructions efficiently in destroying the robots, and also in our leadership in how well we can work together as units. There’s a clause that allows everyone who participates in the test as a group to receive the same amount of points, as well as doubling the point value of any robot taken down as a group. So we hit them hard and fast together - you leading the charge, gathering as many as you can to one place and then I’ll use my speed to take them out quickly.”
He stopped, taking a long, deep breath and opening his eyes to look over at the blonde. “...Alright, but when do I get to blow something up?”
The laugh that followed was enough to make the other pause, and scowl.
“What, was that never part of the plan, Deku? Hah?” His palms started crackling, his domineering facade slipping on in full force as Izuku just smiled brightly at him.
“Tell you what, you can take down the zero pointer.” He took a beat to wipe the amused tears that had formed in the corners of his eyes, wrapping an arm around Kacchan’s shoulders and moving to whisper by his ear. “Because I found out something else in the rulebook that I think you’ll like… the zero pointer was meant to throw off all hope of group work, it’s that strong. But there are actually-”
The buzzer rang with a ferocity that sent Izuku up, clinging to the boy he had wrapped himself around almost comically, which got no more regard from Kacchan than a scowl and an insult.
When the zero pointer did arrive, it was with the fanfare of a final boss - rubble flying everywhere as it literally smashed through the ground beneath a building, hulking mass simply rolling through the surroundings like it was butter.
Kacchan took one look at it, and the smile that spread across his face had made the whole ordeal until that point worth it - like he had just received the world’s best present, handed to him on a silver platter.
“Hell, fucking, yes!” He shot off like a bullet, the colossus crashing to the ground in a show of pyrotechnics that would put the professionals to shame. Nobody had seen the small boy that had shot up to it at the same time, rescuing a girl who had almost been caught in the crossfire.
Toshinori had been nervous. Incredibly so, to the point that he almost dislocated a joint when Aizawa reentered the room, easily sneaking up on the man and calmly placing a hand on his shoulder. The resulting jump had left the rest of the room in tears. So he had been nervous for his student. Sue him. So he had been proud when the entire room seemed to focus singularly on his performance alongside the explosive Bakugou, when almost every bet in the room had been placed on him. So what if he had put a bet on his own student, as soon as he figured out the almost ludicrous betting system Hizashi had made.
He just about cried when he saw Midoriya rush to catch someone as they were launched by the zero pointer - the entire point of the test had been to test how the prospective students dealt with violence in the vicinity of each other. As far as he was concerned, Midoriya had checked all three boxes - teamwork, capability and situational awareness. He had formed a plan with his friend before the exam had started, relying on each others strengths, displayed his own spectacularly and prevented what would have been a casualty of the exam all in one fell swoop.
So when Toshinori closed his eyes, took a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding and opened them to a quiet room, all eyes on him as he signed the final scorecard with a smile, he could say he couldn’t have made a better choice in who to leave the future of villainy to than in Midoriya Izuku.
And thus ends the prologue.
Chapter 4: Author's Notes
Hello, this is Hollow -
I wish that I hadn't just been on a... *squints*, seven month hiatus...? I apologize for that, but a lot of things happened and my mental health took the hit. In the last month or so, I've been getting back up properly and finishing out a semester at college. I know it's a pain in the ass, but I'm completely unsatisfied with the work I've done here and all of my planning - so this work will remain unfinished. I invite you to use the concept of it if you wish, but that's where it stands for me, looking back on it.
That being said, I do love this AU and plan to work further with it in a work I'll be posting at some point again on AO3. I hope that you stick around for that, and that everyone is in good health.
Thank you very much for reading, and I hope you read the stories I make in the future (which will most likely be ah, finished, in the future, lol.)