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Emerald enigma

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Jubokko Bonsai (as Izuku decided to name the freaky tree) has been throwing a tantrum recently. It may have to do with the fact that it obviously didn’t appreciate being tuned into a bonsai tree… But regardless, whenever it smells (senses, or whatever it is the tree does to recognize blood nearby) anyone, it starts writhing, and attacks when that person comes into its reach.

 

Yami claims that it’s probably hoping to regain some energy, and it’d probably calm down once it finishes. So, Izuku has had to feed it more often recently, just to sate its bloodthirst. Because of that, he always has at least one unhealed injury on his arms, and the tree trying to attack him when he’s feeding it certainly doesn’t help. But at least he’s more or less used to the pain by now, so it hardly fazes him.

 

Though the look that the cashier gives him when he keeps buying outrageous amounts of bandages (Jubokko Bonsai’s fault) are certainly not good for his heart. More or less, it went from surprised, to suspicious, to slightly terrified. Not that he blames the guy, he also would be concerned if someone kept buying that many bandages.

 

To be honest, he’s contemplating buying several packages of bandages at once, just so he wouldn’t have to go there again so soon.

~🌸~

Naomasa is finishing his fourth cup of coffee that day. Aside from the Phantom case - which he can’t do anything about since he’s waiting for the forensic scientists to finish analyzing the evidence – he doesn’t have any official cases open right now. No, the thing frying his nerves and making him into a coffee addict (as if he wasn’t before) is not an official case.

 

But it’s certainly a frustrating one.

 

He feels like he’s trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle with several pieces missing. He’s interviewed some of the people involved with the boy finding the dead bodies, and they almost always consistently say the same thing. It’s what they claim that’s the problem though. Almost all of them said that they had been having weird problems around their houses, so they called the ‘local occult child’ to help them.

 

So, apparently, Izuku Midoriya is not only interested in the occult, he actually offers exorcisms, and is well known enough that people call for him if weird things happen.

 

But the most disturbing thing is that he actually found those dead bodies, and the people Naomasa interrogated all claimed that their problems disappeared after that. Now, he himself doesn’t believe in ghosts and such, but it’s certainly… a weird thing. He prefers not to dwell on it for too long.

 

Anyways, he’s also managed to ask around the boy’s old neighbourhood (the Midoriya family apparently moved after the boy began being homeschooled), and found some… weird, and slightly concerning things. First, is that everyone seems to be under the impression that Midoriya is quirkless. Second is that several people have seen the boy come back home injured in the past. Some of them also gossiped about how no one ever visited the Midoirya family, and how the house had some kind of ‘creepy aura’ when Midoriyas were still living there.

 

He doesn’t really put much faith in the last two things, seeing as people are often impressionable, and gossip isn’t really a reliable source. Still… the boy wasn’t even in middle school yet back then. It’s weird for someone that age to not bring a single friend home, ever.

 

Aside from that, people claimed that Midoriya was always polite, but also seemed to always be on edge… To be honest, Naomasa can see that happening, considering the nervous wreck the teen was when he was interrogated. Still, what could have made him that way? The earlier nervousness could be dismissed as stress bound to All Might’s secret, and the interrogation itself, but if he was like that all the time… something is wrong here.

 

He’ll have to try questioning Midoriya’s current neighbours sometime. They may be a bit more insightful.

~🌸~

A few days later, Izuku visits Shouto again. This time, he brings a few loose sheets of paper and coloured pencils with him. Drawing is often a relaxing activity, and it’d be good if Shouto tried his hand at it. Who knows, maybe it’ll become his new (probably his only) hobby?

 

“Hiya~!” He greets with enthusiasm, sliding in the moment the window is open, narrowly avoiding bumping into Shouto’s shoulder.

 

“You seem… weirdly cheery today” The boy says, blinking.

 

“Yep, that’s cause’ I am really happy” He grins, even though he internally feels that he sounds like an idiot. Oh well “Anyways, come on, I have something to show you”

 

“…Okay?” The boy eyes him uncertainly as he stands next to the desk and gets the art supplies out.

 

“Ta-dah! We’ll be drawing today” He says with a smile, while internally banging his head against a wall when Shouto blinks at him blankly.

 

“…Drawing? That… seems rather random” The boy frowns, carefully examining the paper and coloured pencils.

 

“Oh, come on, it’ll be fun” He reassures, trying to salvage it “Drawing is fun even when you’re not good at it! I just thought you should try it”

 

“Izuku… you do know that practically all schools have art classes, right? I already tried drawing… We had assignments and everything” Shouto says matter-of-factly, still looking entirely dumbfounded.

 

“Irrelevant!” He says loudly, pointing a coloured pencil straight at Shouto’s face “School doesn’t count! It’s not any fun there. We’re going to draw for fun

 

“Whatever you say” The boy sounds somehow… resigned? Dammit, that could’ve gone better… but at least he agreed…?

~🌸~

Shouto is actually enjoying himself more than he thought he would have. Though it’s mostly due to Izuku’s continued attempts to draw weird animal combinations, which often end up looking silly. And the boy’s  mock-offended face whenever Shouto snorts at his pictures. He himself just draws flowers, though they also end up looking a bit ridiculous since Izuku pushes him to use absolutely gaudy colour combinations.

 

Not that he’s complaining. Some of them actually look quite good. He thinks he’ll keep the neon green-pink lily drawing he’s made. It looks a bit goofy, but he feels like it might be just what he needs to make his room at least somewhat lively. Though… he’s a bit afraid his father will have him take it down if he pins the atrocity to the wall.

 

…He probably shouldn’t think about that.

 

“Hey, Shouto, look” Izuku beams, pointing to the newest disfigured creature he drew. It’s a… a snake with lion’s head?

 

“Pft. Oh my god” He can’t help it, it just looks so silly and disproportionate “What is that monstrosity?”

 

“Oh, come on, at least don’t call it a monstrosity!”The boy whines, turning the paper over, to sketch another thing. He suddenly stops, looks to the side (something he does quite often), and turns back towards him “…Do you want to try drawing one of them?”

 

“…Sure. What do you propose?” He asks, tilting his head slightly.

 

“A cat, but with rabbit ears” The boy says without any hesitation whatsoever.

 

“Alright” He grabs a couple of crayons, and starts drawing.

 

“You know, for someone who’s only ever done it for school, you’re surprisingly good at drawing” Izuku says, leaning towards him slightly.

 

“…” Could he get away with making a joke? Well, he’s about to find out. He really hopes he won’t offend his (only) friend “I’m not good, you’re just so bad that even a five year old could draw better”

 

“T-the betrayal!” Izuku screams in faux-shock. Though, there is something strained in his gaze, something that makes Shouto feel a little guilty.

 

“I was just joking…” He says just to make sure he didn’t hurt the boy’s feelings “You’re actually not that bad at it either… Oh, I finished the cat”

 

“Aww, it looks so cutesy” Izuku coos over the drawing “Why is it green though?”

 

“…” He doesn’t say anything, instead looking pointedly at the boy’s hair.

 

“What the- are you implying… I can’t believe the audacity of that” The boy says, shocked “I do not look like a cat, nor like a rabbit! Why do people keep comparing me to them…?”

 

Oh, that’s some new info. And also, there is some resemblance there, but it’s not like he can say it to the teen’s face. Izuku looks crestfallen enough as it is, so he just continues drawing, adding some flowers around that cat-rabbit.

~🌸~

“But drawing, seriously?” Yami asks once they leave Shouto’s house.

 

“It was a good idea! It actually worked! Stop saying it like it didn’t work!” He sputters, sulking slightly.

 

“He was right though, I can see your resemblance to a rabbit”

 

“Yami!!”

~🌸~

He spends the next few weeks studying glyphs, and trying to learn some baking from Yukizome-sensei. He also studies with Mr. Kamakura a bit (just to make sure he doesn’t forget any material for the entrance exam) but it only takes like two days, so… Anyways, he’s about to put the madeleines he’s made into the oven, when Yukizome-sensei suggests something unexpected.

 

“Hey, Izuku… have you ever thought about buying some more plants? Like, for your room, mostly?” She asks, a thoughtful look on her face.

 

“Uhm… I don’t know how to break it to you…but it’s a bad idea” He puts the pastries into the oven and sets the timer “I’m terrible with plants. I once managed to kill a cactus, somehow. Jubokko Bonsai is only alive because Yami reminds me to feed it”

 

“Uh…? But I think it’ll be good for you. And there are plenty of plants that are easy to take care of, I’m sure we’ll figure something out” Yukizome sensei says.

 

“There are no plants that are ‘easy’ to take care of” He states blankly “They’ll wither if I even look at them wrong”

 

“You really don’t have a green thumb, do you?”

 

“Nope”

In the end, he ends up buying a mint bush. Mostly because Yukizome-sensei thought it’d be lovely. He just hopes he doesn’t kill it.

~🌸~

A few days later, he decides to meet with Shouto again. This time though, instead of climbing through the window, he waits in front of the boy’s school. He knows that it’s probably still a bit creepy for him to know where Shouto studies, but hey, at least they can hang out longer like that. And he’s already checked to make sure that Endeavor will be busy at least until the evening.

 

Shouto’s school is one of those private, prestigious ones where only rich kids go. Seems exactly like the type of thing Endeavor would go for, and he knows that Shouto probably had no say in choosing his own school. Still, it’s super weird to stand in front of it. Especially when people passing him by give him strange looks.

 

Probably because he doesn’t have their uniform.

 

“Izuku…?” A surprised voice calls out.

 

“Hi Shouto!” He says, easily slipping into his more cheerful persona “Want to hang out?”

 

“I’d love to but… I should probably go home before my father starts wondering what takes me so long” Ah, so he doesn’t know that Endeavor isn’t home, huh.

 

“Oh, can’t you just call your sister? She could just relay your message” He says, simply smiling when the boy shots him a baffled look “Just trust me, and text her”

 

“…………She says he won’t be home until later tonight” Shouto shoots him a suspicious look “Do I want to know why you seem to have known that?”

 

“Oh, look, a weird cloud!” He points out with faux cheerfulness.

 

“…I take it you want me to stop asking questions” The boy sighs, while Maruko snickers at his side, thoroughly amused.

 

“Yep” He grins mischievously, trying to squash the weird anxiety that comes to him every time he’s questioned like that “So, uhm, do you want to go somewhere in particular, or can I choose where we go?”

“Go ahead, and lead the way” Shouto sighs again “After all, you’re the one who asked me to hang out”

 

“Hmm, that’s true”

In the end, they go to Dagobah Beach. Mostly because it’s not crowded (and Izuku really hates places with lots of people), but also because it’s a really beautiful and relaxing place. The moment they enter the beach, Izuku takes off his shoes, wanting to feel the sand-grains under his feet. Shouto follows his example.

 

“Let’s find some good spot… oh, this one looks nice!” He gestures to the patch of sand hidden away from the view one would get at the entrance to the beach, before sitting down there.

 

“…You’re going to get sand everywhere if you just sit on it” Shouto warns, but also sits down.

 

“Meh, not enough of a deterrent” He says, and it’s true, considering he’s been working at this beach for months. Sand doesn’t bother him anymore “So…”

 

“So?” Shouto raises an eyebrow at his unfinished sentence.

 

“Do you want to try making snow? There isn’t anyone here to stop us” He grins, giddy with excitement. It’s weird, but he’s almost as comfortable with the boy, as he’s with ghosts and non-humans.

 

“Alright” Shouto chuckles at his antics “You may want to back away a bit”

 

“Okay~” They both stand up, and Izuku takes several steps back.

 

“Alright… here goes nothing” Shotuo murmurs, and the temperature around them plummets.

 

At first nothing happens. Then, Shouto’s right hand gets encased in ice. The boy startles, looking at it blankly. It seems that he wasn’t anticipating that. Izuku has to stop himself from giggling. It’s just that… Shouto’s expression right now is so gobsmacked.

 

“Well, uhm, that didn’t work” The boy says in complete deadpan. Steam starts rising from his arm suddenly “Give me a second, I’ll unfreeze myself and try again”

 

“Oki~. Just remember not to go overboard, okay? If you feel tired, we’ll just stop” He says, just to make sure Shouto knows he’s not pressuring him to keep at it till he’s about to drop.

 

“I know” The boy rolls his eyes.

 

Izuku spends the next few minutes watching in fascination as Shouto tries to make snow. There are no real results there, but it’s still really fascinating to watch. He really wishes he had his notebook on him, so he could take notes. Shouto’s quirk is just so cool!

 

“I give up” Shouto seems resigned as he comes up to Izuku and sits down in front of him.

 

“Well, it was still cool to see your quirk” He says, joining his friend on the sand “I’m sure that one day you’ll be able to make snow”

 

“…Maybe” Shouto smiles slightly.

 

They spend the time till evening on watching the sea and talking about different quirks (though Izuku is doing most of the talking).

~🌸~

A few weeks later, his mother manages to get a day off work, so they decide to spend it together. In the morning, he wakes up earlier than mom, and makes breakfast for the both of them. It’s a rather simple omelette, nothing extravagant, but when his mom finally wakes up and joins him at the table, she heavily compliments his cooking skills.

 

“You’ve gotten really good at cooking” She says, after finishing “I remember your first attempts, when you forgot you tried to boil an egg, and it exploded”

 

“Mom!” He whines “Please don’t bring that up again. It was embarrassing”

 

“I’m just teasing you” She smiles sadly “Still, I wish you did that as a hobby, and not because you have to cook dinner every day”

 

“It’s fine mom” He smiles reassuringly “You know I want to help you in any way I can, right?”

 

“I know, Izuku, I know… It’s just, I feel like I don’t have enough time lately” She sighs “Specifically not enough time I can spend with you. I somehow feel like a failure of a mother…” The last part is murmured, but he hears it anyways.

 

“Please don’t say that!” He abruptly stands up “You’re the best mom I could ever ask for! It’s not your fault you have to work so much”

 

“But it’s true that I didn’t really spend much time with you lately” She smiles nervously, but tears are visible in her eyes “Didn’t you feel lonely?”

 

“I… A bit” He admits “I missed you, but… I have ghosts, and Yami, and… and I made a friend recently. Please don’t feel guilty, because it’s not so bad”

 

“Oh Izuku” His mom hugs him tightly “What did I ever do to deserve you?”

 

“Ah, come on mom. If you tear up, then I-I’ll also” In the end, they both end up crying “I… I’m glad you’re at home today, mom. Now come on, we shouldn’t spend the entire time crying. Let’s watch some movies!”

 

They end up doing All Might movie marathon. He feels a bit bad about the fact that it obviously caters to his tastes rather than mom’s, but she insists they watch it instead of searching for other movies. Their day is rather pleasant.

~🌸~

Before he knows it, there are only four months left until the entrance exams. He begins studying in earnest, making sure to prepare for any and all questions that may be thrown at him in the written part of the exam. He feels confident in most science-related, and quirk questions, but history still poses a bit of a problem for him. He’s good enough at it, it’s just… there are so many things that could be asked on the test, he’s not sure he can remember them all.

 

Aside from that, he makes sure to keep up with his physical training, for the practical exam. After all, he can’t completely rely on his ‘quirk’, since it’s still rather weak. He could probably take out some shabby robots, but with U.A.’s technology… he’s not sure his electricity will be enough to fry them.

 

Also, he has to actually register his ‘quirk’ soon. It’d be too fishy if he claimed it surfaced during the entrance exam, seeing as he has to actually write glyphs to get results, so he’ll have to bring a marker pen or something.

~🌸~

Two months before the entrance exam, the exam for recommendation students is to be held. That is to say… it’s held today. Shouto is taking it, obviously. During those last months, they’ve been meeting up quite regularly. Mostly just hanging out, and trying to make snow – with poor results. But the important thing is, he managed to get Shouto’s phone number.

 

Two disasters of different magnitudes

Izuku: Good luck on your exam!

Shouto: Thanks

Izuku: And remember to be nice to others!

Shouto: Izuku, we’re literally fighting for a spot in the school.
It’s not exactly a place to make friends.

Izuku: Shouto, I assure you that you’re the only one thinking like that.

Just be kind, and patient, and you’ll see that they’ll want to be your friends.

Shouto: I really doubt that.

Izuku: Just do it for me, please?

Shouto:…
Alright, I’ll try.

Izuku: Ah, just a heads up. People may try to talk about your father.

Try to be patient with them, okay?

Shouto: Why’d they talk about him?

Izuku: Most people make friends by shared interests.

In a hero school, it’d obviously be heroics.

And since Endeavor is a respected hero (even tho he’s trash) they’ll try to talk about him with you

Shouto:…It’ll try not to make anyone into a popsicle.

No promises though.

Izuku: SHOUTO

Shouto:…

Izuku: Shouto! You can’t just ice people you don’t like.

Shouto: Oh, I can.

Izuku:…Please don’t.

Shouto: I already said I’d try

Izuku: Please actually try to be nice to them…?

Shouto: Alright, I’ll try.

Gtg, the written part is about to start.

 

He has a slightly bad feeling about this. Of course, he knows Shouto will pass with no problems. The problem is that the boy’s social skills are even worse than his own, and that’s saying something. He’s just have to hope that his heads-up will be enough to prevent Shouto offending anyone if he gets agitated.

 

…To be honest, it may be better if he’s there to do damage control in case things go south.

 

“Yami, come on, we’re going to U.A.” He says, walking out of his room “Could you try to get Maruko or Uzomi to come to me? I’ll need their help with something”

 

“…Alright” Yami seems a bit surprised, but doesn’t protest, at least.

He ends up waiting in front of U.A. He has his phone on him in case Shouto texts anything, but he’s mostly relying on Uzomi now. The rabbit spirit promised to help him keep an eye on Shouto. And in case anything happens, they’ll return and report to Izuku, so that he could try to do some damage control.

~🌸~

The written exam went well. At least he’s written all the answers, without leaving anything blank, so… it should go alright. Right now, Shouto is waiting for the practical test to start. He observes other test-takers, making sure to nod in acknowledgement if their eyes meet. Though he’s mostly doing that because Izuku asked him to be nice.

 

He himself sees no reason in trying to act buddy-buddy towards people he’ll be competing against.

 

Finally, the time for the exam comes. It’s a race kind of thing. He waits at the start, together with everyone else. When it starts, he sprints forward, skating on his ice. He comes in right behind some guy with wind quirk. He feels a bit bitter about coming in second, but there’s nothing to do aobut this since he was beaten fair and square.

 

“Awesome, I won! Wooo!!” Alright, this guy is obnoxious “But who knows who’ll win the next one?! Cuz you’re amazing!”

 

“…” He glances at the guy, but… Even when the teen is this cheerful, he can tell it’s fake. There’s some deep disdain in those eyes, specifically meant for Shouto.

 

“You’re Endeavor’s son or some such, right?! That’s something else” He somehow manages to keep himself from lashing out and telling the guy to shut up. Alright, breathe in and out, he’s doing it because Izuku asked him to.

 

“I’d be grateful if you didn’t mention my father” He says that a bit more harshly than he intended… The guy’s expression clouds over for a moment, and his smile slips. He may have fucked up.

 

“I see” The guy says stiffly, assessing him once more, before walking away.

~🌸~

Endeavor’s son may not be exact copy of his father. He’s a bit more… awkward. But he has the same hateful look in his eyes, and Inasa hates it.

~🌸~

“Oh my god” Izuku groans, listening to what the spirit tells him.

 

The wind dude sounds like an asshole, but… there’s no way he wouldn’t get into U.A. For Shouto’s sake, he’ll have to do the damage control. Still, he hates talking to people, especially strangers, and above all, he hates talking to pricks. And that guy happens to be all of the above. Alright, he just has to remember that he’s doing it for Shouto…

“Izuku…?” A voice pulls him out of his depressing thoughts.

 

“Ah, Shouto!” He plasters a smile on his face, and rushes over to the boy. He doesn’t have much time, so he’ll have to be a bit blunt “Uhm, did something happen? You look… concerned…?”

 

“It’s nothing…… Just… Someone mentioned my father. I… I tried to be civil, but it came out a bit harshly, I think” The boy looks away, scowling slightly “For the rest of the exercises, the guy has been glaring at me”

 

“Oh, that must’ve been awful, are you alright?” He asks sympathetically, because fuck assholes.

 

“Yeah, I’m fine… Just a bit uncomfortable” Shouto turns back towards him. In the corner of his eye, he can see other students begin to leave “I’m pretty sure this guy will get in… he’s just rubbing me the wrong way”

 

“Well, you can’t win over everyone, but… I’m sure it’s just the wrong first impression” He says as cheerfully as he can “Let’s try apologising to him, and see if he’s actually decent, okay?”

 

“Uhm, sure” Shouto blinks owlishly at him “Oh, I think that’s him there”

 

The boy points towards a rather tall student, who has a certain energetic air about him. His spirit seems to be a giant dragonfly with ruby eyes. Izuku takes Shouto’s hand and leads them towards the boy. Well, better now than never.

 

“Uhm, excuse me?” He gets the boy’s attention.

 

“Yes?” The guy whirls around, smiling at Izuku, though his expression falls when he notices Shouto.

 

“Uhm, my friend is a bit bad at expressing himself but… He told me that you seemed a bit offended at something he said, and that he’d like to apologise”

 

“Huh?” The guy seems really surprised, as Izuku gently pushes Shouto forward.

 

“…” Shouto seems to internally roll his eyes, but outwardly he mostly just seems awkward. The boy clears his throat and says a simple “I’m sorry”

 

“See? We just got off on the wrong foot back there” He smiles, daring either of them to disagree, even as he’s dying inside at having to be the one to actually lead the social interaction like that. He did not sign up for this “Let’s just start over, ‘kay?”

 

“Ah! I’m also really sorry!!” The guy bows deeply, his forehead actually hitting the pavement “It seems I’ve misjudged you. No… I simply let my preconceptions cloud my judgement! I’m really sorry!!”

 

“Ah, no, it’s fine” Shouto’s face is still a bit deadpan, but there is now an aura of ‘please, kill me’ coming off of him. Or maybe Izuku is just projecting at this point.

 

“I don’t think he’s entirely convinced, Izuku” Yami says, eyeing the boy with uncertainty “Maybe a few more pushes are in order. But not right now. For now, figure out a way to stay in contact and sway his perception” Wow, useful advice, at last.

 

“Uhm, why don’t we exchange phone numbers?” He offers, pretending not to notice the ‘are you serious’ look Shouto sends him “After all, we might end up as classmates, it’d be nice to get to know each other!”

 

“Ha! I like your spirit!!” The boy says in a booming voice. Well, at least someone appreciates his effort.

 

They do exchange numbers, even when Shouto seems like he’s regretting every decision he’s ever made. Oh well, at least it’s subtle enough that the other boy –Yoarashi, apparently- doesn’t seem to notice.

~🌸~

Okay, it’s been some time now, and seeing how freaking quickly Jubokko Bonsai grows, he’ll have to trim it again. He… really doesn’t want to do this. Taught by experience, he decides to use thick, gardening gloves. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll be able to take a few hits. He really hopes so. Sighing, he takes his scissors, and starts trimming the tree.

 

It attacks him immediately, slashing everything in its reach. And the worst part? The thick gardening gloves he has on don’t last for even a second. The deadly branches slice through them in moments, trying to drink as much of Izuku’s blood as possible. When he’s finally done trimming the freaky tree, he’s cut up, and lightheaded from the blood loss.

 

He really doesn’t like taking care of the tree.

~🌸~

The remaining days till the entrance exam are rather uneventful. He mostly focuses on studying and training, but he still visits Shouto, and the two of them make a group chat together with Yoarashi. He’s also managed to register his quirk as ‘Glyphs’. It’s… a fitting name, even if it’s not creative.

 

Jubokko Bonsai goes through a tantrum again, before calming down. Though that ‘calmness’ is only relative to when it’s agitated. In reality, it’s still an asshole tree that tries to suck his blood at every chance it gets. Still, it’s not as aggressive as before, so at least he’s not that cut up anymore.

 

His mom unfortunately saw his cuts once, and he’s had to explain how and why they were made. That was… an awkward conversation. And now his mom glares at the tree whenever she sees it. But at least she didn’t manage to make any… unfortunate assumptions on her own, so he counts that as a win.

 

Well, all that aside, he’s feeling ready for the entrance exam. He knows he’ll ace the written part, and the ghosts will be there to help him with the practical, in case he needs it (Yami managed to persuade him to use the ghosts--with-weapons option, though he’ll not admit to that if anyone asks why he changed his mind). And with everything in place, he heads for U.A.