“You’re starting at that high school tomorrow.” Doll’s voice is flat and chilled.
Yomi hums, glancing over the edge of the rooftop to estimate the drop just in case they need a quick getaway. “Yeah, I guess so.”
“You guess ?” Crackles Tempest’s voice over the comm, teasing.
“I mean, I don’t see how it’s any different than junior high.” Yomi crosses the roof and squints at the figures in the window. “Besides it being the best school in the country.”
“I think you’re just a tiny bit biased, Yomi.”
“Doll, Yomi: do you have eyes on the targets?”
Yomi sighs. Leave it to Nightshade to keep them on task. “Yeah, we have eyes on them. Is the ground unit ready?”
“Ground unit standing by,” replies Oni.
“Undercover units, how does it look on the inside?”
“Fine,” Kistune says.
"No one is trying to leave on the west side," Crimson reports.
“Everyone there is drunk off their asses,” Oni mutters.
Tempest snorts. “How would you know? You’re not here.”
“Please, I can smell the alcohol.”
Nightshade is decidedly not amused. “Can we focus?”
“God, you’re pissy tonight,” Tempest huffs.
“Just tell us what it looks like in there,” Nightshade growls.
“Well, let’s say nobody’s expecting us,” Tempest says. He pauses. “Hey, Okinawa-kun, too much to drink?”
Somewhere in the background, Yomi can hear the other person’s answer. “Too much is never enough," the man's voice jokes."But drop the honorifics, Junchi! We’re all friends here!”
“Right, right. Sorry.” Tempest laughs as the drunken man’s voice fades before he becomes serious again. “ Go .”
“Roger that. Ground team entering building.” The ground team sweeps in. Inebriated mobsters scream in terror, too drunk to properly react to the deadly threat cutting them down.
“Yomi, Doll, Targets One and Two are coming out the front door. You have approximately thirty seconds before they get away.”
Doll and Yomi move around the roof, readying the sniper rifles.
“Do you see him yet?” She asks, adjusting the end of the gun on her shoulder.
Yomi looks over the empty streets before shakes his head. “No.”
Oni’s voice comes over the comm, “Here they come.”
Sure enough, two gang leaders stumble out of the building, running like their lives depend on it.
“Yomi, Doll, take the shot!” Nightshade shouts.
Center it….. The heads of the pair comes into view in Yomi and Doll’s scopes.
They both pull the trigger.
Yomi sighs and leans back. “Got’em.”
“Good work everybody. Ground Team, Undercover Units, wrap it up,” Pane orders.
“Roger that, Pane.”
Midoriya Izuku wakes up more tired than when he goes to sleep the night prior. Okay, well, maybe he doesn’t sleep, but, can you blame him? It’s UA! He, useless, motherless, “quirkless” Deku is going to UA!
If that isn’t a miracle, he doesn’t know what is.
When he exits his room, he sees a note on the table for him.
‘I really wanted to be here when you woke up, Izu, but there was an emergency at work. I’m really proud of you, son! You’re gonna be the greatest hero the world has ever seen! I believe in you!
P.S. Wanna go out for dinner to celebrate your first day at UA? :)’
Izuku’s caught between a smile and a sigh, before deciding on the former. He has a great dad who’s doing his best. That’s all he needs right now.
Making a quick breakfast, Izuku forces himself to be still, but he’s practically vibrating from excitement. As he eats, his legs bounce up and down.
He washes his bowl in the sink, showers, attempts to drag a comb through his curly hair before it snaps, puts on his UA uniform and races out the door.
The train squeals into the station and people flood through its open doors. Izuku finds a spot and hangs onto one of the overhead handles. He spends the first few minutes of the ride scrolling through the news as he listens to music.
Izuku glances up and takes one of his earbuds out. “Y-yeah?”
He’s talking to a middle aged woman with orange curly hair and bug wings.
I wonder if she can fly with those-
“You’re a UA student?”
Izuku snaps out of it. “Oh. Yeah. Hero course.”
She smiles, nods, and then looks pointedly at his black armband. “And you’re in The Imperial Scholars Program?”
Izuku bobs his head ‘yes’ and the woman cocks an eyebrow. “Well, damn kid. You’re comin’ up. I’ll be rootin’ for ya!” With a wave, she exits the car as the train squeals to a stop.
With a tiny smile, Izuku waves after the woman and takes a deep breath.
He can do this.
At the next stop, Izuku gets off and walks proudly towards UA with his head high.
I can definitely do this.
I definitely can’t do this.
Izuku’s faced some pretty bad things in his life-hell, he deserves a medal for getting through Ourdera without snapping-but expulsion from his dream school on the first day?
That’s on another level.
Not the worst thing to happen to him, but it’d be up there.
Take a deep breath, Izuku. Maybe it’s a joke. And even if it’s not, a lot of kids here don’t have physical quirks, like the invisible girl, the earlobe girl and the mute boy.
Right. He can do this.
It’s all mental.
Eraserhead scans over the class with a cruel smile that sends shivers down Izuku’s spine. “Let’s begin.”
When the physical exam begins, Izuku expects some tortuous test fitted to UA’s standards. In reality, UA’s physical exam is just like any other physical exam for PE. Situps, sprints, long distance runs; they’re all things he’s done before. In fact, he pulls off some pretty decent scores, keeping him in the middle of the pack, coming out near the top every once in awhile when it’s a matter of pure physical ability.
And then comes the softball throw.
Yeah, he’s screwed.
Kacchan literally blows the ball away, screaming ‘DIE’ at the top of his lungs. Izuku suppresses a sigh as the blonde stalks by, shooting him a death glare.
“Midoriya. Get up here. You’re wasting time.” Eraserhead’s voice snaps Izuku from Kacchan’s gaze.
He steps into the circle and his mind begins racing.
I’ve been doing pretty well, but I need a good score for this to be safe. I can’t get it very far on my own and I can’t hope that someone does a lot worse than me. Think! What can I do?
An idea pops into his head.
“Sensei, we can do anything as long as we don’t leave the circle, right?”
Aizawa just nods. “Hurry up.”
Izuku takes a deep breath and turns to face his class. “Hey, Bakugou!”
The blonde twitches. “What did you call me-”
“Catch!” Izuku pegs the ball at Kacchan. He reacts quickly, setting off an impressive explosion. The ball sails into the air and disappears into the distance.
Kacchan blows a gasket when he figures out what he just did. Charging forward like an angry bull he shouts, “You motherfuckin’ bastard-” He’s restrained by Aizawa’s scarves before he can do any real damage.
“Sorry, Kacchan.” Izuku turns to his teacher. “How far?”
“703 meters. Next.”
“Hey, wait, he didn’t use his quirk!” Grape Boy protests.
Izuku pauses mid-step and after a moment turns to Grape Boy. “Actually,” he says quietly. “I did. My quirk is Analysis. I can look at any situation and use my quirk to determine the best outcome. Logically, I knew that I couldn’t score high by myself, so I used my environment to my advantage.” Izuku spins around and continues walking, leaving Grape Boy with his jaw open.
“B-but, that’s not fair-” Grape Boy begins.
“Mineta. You’re next. Stop wasting time.”
“Now.” The pro-hero’s tone leaves no room for argument. Aizawa still has Kacchan wrapped in his capture weapon, which is good, because he’s probably the only thing standing between Izuku and certain death.
Izuku rejoins the crowd and watches with everyone as Mineta gulps, does as he’s told and steps into the circle. To very few people’s surprise, Mineta gets the lowest score in the softball throw. Izuku would be lying if he said that it doesn’t give him some satisfaction to watch his classmate fail. Aizawa releases Kacchan when he’s calmed down somewhat and puts their final scores up. Hagakure and Mineta have tied for nineteenth, and the pair subsequently burst into tears upon seeing their placement. Ignoring their predicament, Izuku scans the list for his name.
Hmm. Not bad.
“Calm down,” the teacher drones, “no one’s getting expelled. It was a logical ruse. Now get back inside.” Aizawa leaves before anyone can stop him, despite the loud protests and expressions of relief from his students.
He's lying, Izuku thinks, watching his teacher retreat. He fully intended to expel someone.
Just be glad you passed and didn't completely fail another Day 1.
Sighing, Izuku heads straight to the locker room to change, avoiding contact with his peers. (And Kacchan.) Time to move on to the next class.
Most of his classes just consist of teachers introducing themselves, giving an overview of what they’ll teach this year and getting to know the students. Izuku only partially engages himself during the day. Lunch comes, and he finds himself an empty table in the back, takes out his phone and pops his earbuds in, drowning out the noise of the cafeteria with music.
Then a purple haired boy sits at his table, as far away from him as possible. Izuku pauses and removes one of his earbuds. “Hi.”
He gets no response. The boy continues to scowl at his lunch without a word. Izuku decides to respect the boy’s obvious wish to be left alone and continues listening to music, drifting into its lull.
I pray for the wicked on the weekend
Mama can I get another amen?
Oh, it’s Saturday night.
A hand being waved in front of his face snaps him out of the music’s trance. “Hey!” Infinity-Girl says.
“Oh. Hi.” Izuku pulls the earbuds out. It seems like he’s doomed to have his music interrupted today. That’s fine. The people interrupting his peace today have been considerably nicer than the usual offenders.
“This seat taken?” She points to the empty space opposite him.
Izuku glances over at the purple haired boy who looks right back at him with a raised eyebrow. “No,” Izuku answers slowly, carefully gauging the boy’s reaction. “It’s not.”
The other male at the table snorts and twists away. Oblivious, Uraraka says, “Great!” And drops her bento box at the spot. “You were really great in the physical exam! It was so scary, but you acted so calm! And then you used Bakugou to get a higher score-”
“-which he was not thrilled about,” Izuku points out.
“Well, yeah, but he’s been pissed off since we got here, so….” She pops a rice ball in her mouth and shrugs. “Anyway, it was cool.”
“Thank you. You’re Uraraka Ochako, right?”
She blinks. “Oh, yeah. I’m surprised you know my name. I didn’t introduce myself.”
“We met during the entrance exams,” he reminds her. Am I that forgettable? “And I heard it after your infinity throw and saw you on the scoreboard. You were pretty creative during the test.”
“Well-” She blushes and rubs the back of her neck. “It was be creative or get expelled. But, thanks, Deku.”
Izuku raises an eyebrow at Kacchan’s favourite label for him. “My name is Midoriya Izuku.”
She tilts her head to one side. “But, Bakugou called you Deku during the test…..”
The boy sighs and leans back in his seat. “That’s what Kacchan calls me to bully me.”
Uraraka gasps and shakes her head in disapproval. “That’s so mean!” She huffs before doing a complete 180. “But I think it sounds like Dekiru! Y’know, ‘you can do it!’ vibes. It’s cute!”
“Deku it is.” Yes, Izuku is weak. Shut up.
She beams at him. “Anyway, you said your quirk is Analysis, right?”
“I remember you taking down the giant zero-pointer that was going to crush me,” she says with a frown. “How did you do that?”
This sparks a discussion on the entrance exam that spans the rest of lunch. Izuku lets Uraraka do most of the talking. She talks all through lunch and into English. Present Mic gives them permission to choose their seats and Uraraka moves in right next to Izuku. He casts her a questioning look, but she grins and gives him a thumbs-up in return. She swaps seats in just about every class she can so that she sits by him. Izuku doesn’t mind. Uraraka is pleasant and sweet; kind of bubbly with a brand of friendliness that he can’t deny.
The school day ends and Izuku begins packing up. “Deku! Let’s walk to the train station together!” She says, smiling brightly.
“Oh. Alright.” He shoulders his bright yellow backpack. “Let’s go.”
They navigate the packed UA halls while Uraraka talks about her family’s construction business and how she used to help out. She asks Izuku about things he does with his parents, but he plays it off with a shrug and a corny joke. She giggles and continues on her story. They’ve reached the front gates when Izuku catches sight of two people he knows.
“Midorrrrriya, ve have a zing to today,” Lana tells, the familiar lilt of her accent causing him to smile a bit. “Vith ze prrrogrrram.”
Uraraka pauses and examines the pair. “Wait-you guys are in the Imperial Scholars’ Program?!”
Hiromi nods. “Yep. Midori here is too.” He reaches over and rustles the boy’s hair, much to Izuku’s irritation. He bats the older boy’s hand away.
In less than a second, Uraraka whirls around to face Izuku. “You didn’t tell me.”
“I took my armband off earlier for the exam and I forgot to put it back on,” he replies, rubbing his sleeve. “Sorry.”
She sighs. “It’s fine. Walk with me tomorrow?”
Izuku glances over at the pair. Hiromi nods. “Sure. We can walk together.”
Uraraka smiles again. “Great. See you later!” She walks away, waving behind her.
The older boy turns to Izuku and smirks. “You’ve got a cute friend, Midoriya,” Kensei says with a sly look.
Lana flicks him with her tail. “Behave.”
“Hey, I’m your senior officer and senpai,” he teases lightly as they begin walking to the black limo waiting for them.
“You don’t act like it,” she mutters.
“Ah, young kohai, I will get you to respect me some day.” Hiromi opens the door and steps into the car.
“If you’re are quiet done, we should be going,” Jae-Seong says coldly.
Kensei Hiromi pauses and shoots him a cold glare. “Sorry there, Parker .”
Jae-Seong tenses and grits his teeth together. “It is Park.”
“Yeah, whatever Spiderman.” Hiromi tosses his bag onto the seat and sits down at the back of the car.
“I fail to see what spiders have to do with me.”
Izuku climbs in after Hiromi and sits beside Saito. “You are both childish,” she says dully before turning to Izuku. “Mochi?” She holds a green tea one in her chopsticks.
He shakes his head. “No thanks.”
Lana closes the door behind her with her tail and leans back in the seat. On the ride to the facility, Kensei and Jae-Seong side-eye each other and make passive-aggressive comments. Izuku sighs and puts his earbuds in until they get there.
Been traveling in packs that I can’t carry anymore
Been waiting for somebody else to carry me
There's nothing else there for me at my door
All the people I know aren't who they used to be
And if I try to change my life one more day
There would be nobody else to save
And I can't change into a person I don't wanna be, so
Oh, it's Saturday night, yeah
He nods to the music while he stares at the buildings passing by. People are blurs through the window of the limo. Individual lives flash by and are gone in an instant as the limo leaves them in its dust.
I pray for the wicked on the weekend
Mama, can I get another amen?
Oh oh oh oh oh
Oh, it's Saturday night, yeah
Swear to God, I ain't ever gonna repent
Mama, can I get another amen?
Oh oh oh oh oh
Oh, it's Saturday night, yeah
The car stops at the facility, a large grey building surrounded by trees. It’s a nice sight, but Izuku knows about the secret security system that will incinerate anyone without identification on site. The chauffeur shows her ID at the gate and the bar lifts. The limo drives up the road to the facility’s front door. They file out of the car and pass through security. “Agent Gonzalez is in Conference Room 145. He is waiting to brief you on the latest situation,” the head of security informs them. “Change into your uniforms and report there by four thirty.”
Izuku checks his watch and notes they have ten minutes exactly to be in that conference room. He goes to the locker room and puts on the program’s uniform. The outfit consists of a white dress shirt underneath a black blazer with white buttons. He ties a western black tie around his collar and puts on his slacks of the same colour. Before he goes, he pauses by the mirror and looks over his appearance. Reaching into his backpack, he pulls out the red scarf he’d taken off and loops it around his neck before heading to room 145.
Once everyone is seated, the door opens, but Agent Gonzalez isn’t the one who walks in.
“Director?” Pearson, the head of their unit, says, raising an eyebrow. “We were told Mateo was going to brief us.”
Director Mamoru smiles a bit. “Yes, that was the plan, but the situation has become a bit more dire , you might say.” The tablets in front of them switch on. Mamoru turns on the projector and the room goes dark. “You have all heard about All For One at least one, I trust?”
“Those are trainees stories,” Akagi, the vice commander of their unit, states.
“Well, I can see how you might think that, seeing as he has been relatively inactive for the last decade, but I can assure you that All For One is very much real and poses a serious threat to the whole of Japan, if not the world.”
“If he’s so big, then why are we the only ones being briefed on this?” Kensei Hiromi inquires.
“That has a lot to do with how confidential this matter is. If need be, we will involve other units, but unit 15 was chosen to take the lead on this case in part because of their highest amount of successful missions and because of Agent Midoriya.”
All eyes turn to Izuku. “Me?”
The director nods once. “All For One has always had a mortal enemy; whoever the carrier of One For All is. Previously, it was Shimura Nana, someone who worked closely with the Emperor, but she passed it on.”
“Quirks that can be passed on?” Pearson repeats incredulously. He skims the information on the tablet. “Is that really what we’re dealing with?”
“If the ‘stories’ are true then I would be more concerned with All For One’s ability to take quirks,” Park snaps. “Apparently it will leave you comatose and quirkless.”
“Yes, that is correct. All For One is also capable of giving quirks, which can also inflict brain damage, though this is not always the case,” Mamoru says dismissively. “Moving on. The current holder of One For All is Yagi Toshinori, better known as All Might, the Symbol of Peace.”
Everyone in the room pauses. “Wait, so All Might has to fight this guy? Why are we getting involved then?” Nishida Kenji jumps in. “I mean, no offense, sir, but it’s All Might.”
“What exactly is One For All?” Izuku asks, reaching for his notebook.
“Good question, Midoriya. One For All is a stockpiling quirk with enhancement qualities. It grows stronger as it is passed down and enhances the holder’s quirk and natural abilities,” he explains.
“Are the quirks of the previous holders passed down with it?”
“Yes, but it does not always manifest in the current holder.”
Nishida raises his hand. “Sir, what is All Might’s quirk? Like, besides One For All.”
“All Might is quirkless, Nishida. Without One For All, he would be counted as part of the quirkless population.”
Silene sweeps the agents. “Quirkless,” Kensei repeats in disbelief. “The greatest hero of all time is quirkless.” He leans back in his seat. “There you have it, ladies and gentlemen: We’re screwed.”
“Careful how you speak,” Park bites. “He is still the Symbol of Peace.” Kensei glares at him.
"What does all zis have to do vith Midorrriya?” Lana, sitting at the far end of the table, says and all of Unit 15 returns their attention to the greenette.
“All Might starts teaching at UA this year. Specifically, he will be teaching the Hero Course students.” Director Mamoru looks directly into Izuku’s eyes like he’s staring into his soul. “That puts you and your class right in the line of fire for All For One’s assault on All Might.”
“Why are we concerned?” Nishida continues. “It’s still All Might. He never lost a fight even after he got hurt.”
“No, but the last time All Might and All For One faced off, Hokkaido was destroyed and both sustained life threatening injuries. It was originally believed that All For One was killed, but a year after the fight, we received knowledge from one of our underground operatives that he was active. As a result of the fight, All Might lost a lung and his stomach. Midoriya.”
Izuku perks up, managing to tear his attention away from his quirk analysis book. “Yes sir?”
“You tend to keep up with this sort of thing. How does All Might’s hero activity these last seven years compare to his activity, say, ten year ago?”
The boy pauses, tapping his pencil against his chin. “There’s been a steep decline in daily hero work for him. He used to do a full day, but now he only works for three or four hours before stopping. And he doesn’t do as many interviews as before. If he’s set to be interviewed, his hero activity goes down for the day. I just thought it was age catching up with him.”
“Midoriya is correct,” Mamoru says. “All Might has a set amount of time he can maintain his hero form before he becomes Yagi Toshinori.” Pictures of the skeleton man appear on their tablets.The man’s is wild and All Might’s famous ‘v’ bangs hang beside the man’s gaunt face. “The current time limit is three and a half hours. While All For One’s injuries have also limited him, they do not hinder his quirk. It is believed that some of the quirks All For One has stolen over the years were lost when he was gravely injured as a result of damage to his brain, but he has seemingly bounced back from it. Our informant will be joining this League of Villains, but it is our job to take care of them as best we can and keep the public, and UA safe.” Mamoru claps and the projectors turn off. “You are expected to review the case file and be up-to date tomorrow. Dismissed.”
The room quickly empties, but Director Mamoru stops Izuku on his way out and hands him a pair of silver studs. “They’re trackers that double as communicators. Since you’re likely to come into contact with the League, you are to report in immediately if anything should occur. You wear these as earrings.” With a pat on the shoulder, Mamoru leaves and Izuku exits the conference room, shutting the door behind him.
He changes his earrings out for the communicators that the director had given him. “You guys want to grab a bite at the mess hall?” Hiromi asks.
Most of the group agrees. “I’ll ask the girls if they want to join us,” Pearson says.
“I can’t. My dad and I are going out to eat tonight.”
“Why not just move into the dorms?” Jae-Seong asks as he puts his boots in his locker. “It is easier and more efficient.”
Izuku pauses, having shouldered his bag and made it to the door. “I like being close to family,” he replies softly before leaving.
All present exchange a glance, unsure of what just happened.
Izuku unlocks his door and toes off his shoes. “I’m home.”
The familiar sound of Hisashi ambling through the apartment grows nearer and nearer until he can see his father in all his exhausted, disheveled glory.
Hisashi smiles at his son, smoothing a hand over his wild black hair. For a moment, his smile wavers at the sight. God, when did Izuku look so much like Inko? He forces the smile back to its original brightness. “Hey there, Izuku. Where do you want to go tonight?”
Izuku shrugs. “Oh, well, we can go anywhere, really.”
Hisashi shakes his head. “No, no, no, today is special. You’re going to UA.” He rustles the younger Midoriya’s hair. “And I gotta show you I’m proud of you somehow.”
Izuku chuckles under his father’s touch. “I know you’re proud. You say it a lot.”
“Sorry? What? Can’t hear you over my pride for my son,” he teases before pulling back. “Well, let me know where you want to go. I’ve got a few things to wrap up, so we’ll leave in half an hour.” Hisashi disappears back into his office.
Dropping his bag on the ground, Izuku changes into more comfortable clothes and switches on the TV in the living room. He drops onto the couch and waits for his dad.
Half an hour passes.
Then a full hour.
Then another hour.
And then another.
Around nine thirty, Izuku decides to peek into his dad’s office. Making his way down the hall, he notices a light underneath the door. Maybe he lost track of time?
Izuku knocks, but there’s no answer, so he opens the door. Hisashi’s snoring quietly, slumped over his desk with papers scattered around him. The lamp above the desk is on and Hisashi’s computer screen is dark. He must’ve been like this for awhile.
WIth a sigh, Izuku leaves the office and returns with a blanket. Carefully draping it over his father’s shoulders, he hugs him and then goes to make himself something to eat. He’ll let his father sleep. God knows Hisashi could use some rest after what he’s been through.
A while later, Hisashi stumbles out of his office, bleary eyed and groggy. “Wh-what time is it?”
“Ten forty-five,” Izuku answers. “I made miso, rice, vegetables and fish. There wasn’t much in the fridge.”
Hisashi yawns. “Sorry, Izuku. I fell asleep.”
“It’s okay,” Izuku replies, picking up rice with his chopsticks.
“No, but tonight was supposed to be about you,” Hisashi says seriously as he sits down.
“It’s fine, Dad. Really.” Izuku puts his food aside to look his father in the eyes. “We can always do it some other time.”
“I’ll make it up to you; Junko’s tomorrow night? I’ll even take the day off.” Hisashi almost sounds like he’s pleading.
“You don’t have to do that.”
“Yes I do. You’re my only child, Izuku.” You’re the only one I have left goes unsaid, but they’re both thinking it.
There’s been an emptiness in the house since Inko died. When Izuku had been rescued, he remembers coming home and the apartment felt so big. It’s supposed to house three living people, but now it holds has two. The gaping hole Inko’s death left has yet to be filled, and likely never will be. Izuku has learned to deal with the loss through various classes with the Program, but he knows his dad is still grieving her. Every time Hisashi looks at him, he can see the split second of pain in his eyes that his father tries so hard to hide. He’s aware that he’s the spitting image of his mother, from his green hair and eyes to his smile. Sometimes it’s too much and Hisashi can’t look at him.
He knows how it feels. For months after her death, he avoids mirrors and stains his green curls black to look less like his late mother.
It isn’t enough to take away her likeness from him. Nothing he could do would make him any less of his mother’s son.
For now, the best Izuku can do is be patient with his dad and be the son he needs, even if Hisashi isn’t always the father he needs.
After all, heroes are selfless.
“Okay. Junko’s tomorrow.” Izuku points his chopsticks at his father. “I’m holding you to that.” His tone has a teasing lilt to it causing his dad to smile.
“Yeah, yeah. I know.” Hisashi bows his head and presses his hands together. “Itadakimasu.” Then he begins to eat. For awhile, the only sound in the apartment is chopsticks tapping against the bowl. Hisashi heads to bed once they’re finished and Izuku does the dishes. He watches a bit of TV when he’s done before going to his room to review the case file. All For One, One For All, All Might-well, Yagi Toshinori, really, Shimura Nana and Shigaraki Tomura; it’s a lot to go through. By the time he’s a third of the way through it, the tablet’s on low power. He glances at the clock.
How long has he been at this?
Exhaustion rests heavy in his bones and his eyelids feel like lead. He yawns and rubs his eyes. Really, he should be getting to bed. So, Izuku switches the lamp off, powers the tablet down and climbs into bed. He’s out as soon as his head hits the pillow, but he’s unlucky enough to dream.
Well, maybe ‘dream’ isn’t the right word. Dreaming implies a fantasy; something made up.
No, Izuku doesn’t dream. He remembers.
God, does he remember. Sometimes he wishes he didn’t.
“So, you’re the new subject? I have high hopes for you.”
The scientist slips a hand under Izuku’s chin and brings it up, forcing the dazed boy to look them in the eye. Cold. Their eyes are cold. “ Very high hopes.”
Izuku tries to pull away. “Oh no, don’t worry, my little pet.” Their lips part into a freezing smile and they run their hand through his hair. “I won’t let you disappoint me. You are going to be very, very useful.”