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Izuku Eats His Problems

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Not all humans are created equal. Izuku learned that at the age of four, when his mother finally told him what they were. See, he wasn’t human. Not entirely, at least. A Flerken, she whispered, as if fearing someone would hear. The terrible beasts of legend that could devour entire cities and escape under an animal disguise. Izuku thought they sounded cool. His mother and father thought otherwise. 

His mother had a good reason for wanting to stay hidden. Izuku’s father died when he was three. The sole casualty of a villain attack. All because he was believed to be a villain too when he tried to use his powers to defend himself. The hero didn’t bother saving him from the real attacker. Only focused on the bigger villain and arresting them.

So from ages four to twelve he never used his other powers. He never tried to, knowing it would make his mother panic. He wanted to. So, so badly he wanted to see what he was capable of. His mother never used her powers to do anything but transform. With his father dead, and knowing of no other creatures like him, he had no one to show him what they could do. 

Logically, he knew he could eat big things from what all the stories said, but not how. Not how much or how big or just how . Was his mouth like a shrink ray? Was it like a blackhole? Why didn’t it work when he ate normal food? Could he spit things back out if he used his powers? Every question and more swirled around his head, even as a small child. The number just grew as he got older. 

He learned how to transform into a cat when he was four and a half. A cute, little, green kitten with curly fur. His mom was excited that he figured out how to transform. Izuku’s new favorite thing was making cat noises and purring. 

Kacchan wasn’t as excited. He called Izuku useless, a Deku. A weak little kitty can’t become a hero, he sneered. His lackeys copied him, and the rest of the class soon followed. 

But they forgot that all cats have claws, even if it takes a while for them to learn how to use them.

~~~~~

See, in their world, nearly everyone has a type of magic or power, usually called a Quirk. There were different variants, all of which were interesting to Izuku. First were the normal people that had magic. They had a designated type and couldn’t perform it outside of that, but everyone was amazing and exceedingly cool. Second were the people who had mutations because of their magic, mostly to use it properly. Third, and final, were the creatures. Beings that held a resemblance to humans and were either full or part creature of some sort. Some of them had magic too, but that was rarer. 

Izuku was the third type.

~~~~~

Izuku was twelve now. Going into middle school, and registered as a simple cat morph like his mother. Kacchan had gone from a friend to a bully. Everyone followed his example, as they always had. Things hadn’t changed over the years. 

The two of them still wanted to be heroes. Izuku knew he could never be a normal one though. Not without using his other powers, which he still didn’t know what they were. Research hadn’t yielded many results other than the fact he apparently had pockets of universes in his mouth. He couldn’t find any when he looked in the mirror, maybe he was a defective Flerken. He was better suited for being an underground hero anyway. Like Eraserhead, one of his favorite heroes. Or Murkrow, another underground hero that could transform into a raven. They were cool.

Izuku still wanted to go to UA though. No matter what anyone else said, he knew he could do it if he tried. If people could handle it before Quirks, then he could while being a cat. Cats were stealthy and sneaky, and he was going to be a good hero whether he was flashy or not. It didn’t matter what Kacchan and Mom said. He would prove them wrong. He would prove them all wrong. 

So he worked towards his dreams. Improving his analysis and physical fitness so he could compete with everyone else. He was on analysis notebook number nine right now, and was almost done with it. He could run really far now without getting too winded. Izuku used the forest he had played in when he was small to work out. There were still scorch marks from a tiny Kacchan. 

The place wasn’t too far from his house, but he had to be careful going back when it got dark. They lived in a decently populated area, but everywhere was more dangerous once the sun went down. It was hardly sunset when he decided to go back that day. 

It was this that lead to what Izuku considered a catalyst in his life. Though at the time it definitely did not seem like that. 

Izuku stopped at a store on his way home. His mom and him just needed a few things for dinner that she had forgotten. A quick and easy stop, maybe ten minutes max. 

That flew out the window when a knife was held to his throat. One second he was walking to the checkout line, humming a song he had heard on Present Mic’s radio, and the next a robber was behind him with a knife on his neck. Izuku flat out froze where he was, his breathing shallow. 

“Don’t try anything funny, kid,” someone growled in his ear. 

Izuku felt his Quirk writhe under his skin, attempting to half-shift. For him, he could either full-shift or half-shift. Full was a cat, albeit a green curly one, with everything a cat could do. Half was claw-like nails, cat ears (improved hearing), paw pads, extra hair, and fangs. It depended on how much stress he was under for how obvious some of it was. That had been a surprise to his mother, since most Flerkens couldn’t do half-shifts apparently, minor as the changes were. He had only discovered he could do it a couple months ago. On top of everything else, he had naturally slitted cat-like eyes and vocal cords like one too.

Izuku’s brain was both blank and running in overdrive. Like static that was still speaking. He was pure panic and instincts at this point. Not really a stellar thing, seeing as the part of him that was a cat wanted to either bolt or claw the guy’s arm to shreds. 

“Now be a good little hostage and walk.”

Izuku numbly complied. What else was he supposed to do? He was a middle schooler being held at knifepoint in a store. And all he could do was turn into a cat . Actually…that might help for once. 

They were approaching the front of the store. Izuku noticed two others at the registers, holding the cashiers there at gunpoint. The other patrons (there were only two, he noted) saw Izuku, and promptly stopped any moves to resist. He wanted to yell, to scream at them to stop the villains even if he was being held with a knife. Nothing would come out. He was too paralyzed with fear to do much other than shuffle forward and try not to go home with another scar. 

Izuku took that moment to change into a cat. He could run out of the store and get a hero. Cats were too small to be hostages. Yeah, they would all be ok. No one would get hurt. It’d be ok, it’ll be ok. 

But nothing happened. No familiar changing. Not even claws or a bit of fur. Absolutely nothing. And that, that terrified him. 

“So you are a transformation type,” the villain sneered. Izuku felt a chill run down his spine. “Now you’re going to hold still until the police get here, and when we get what we want, I'll let my Null go. Got it?

He was panicking, not shifting an inch or making a sound. Nothing was working. His mind was just running in circles and repeating the same thing. The villain moved closer. The knife got closer. Sharp. Pointy. Bad, bad, bad

Izuku’s instincts were screeching in his mind for something, but he didn’t know what. It was deafening. The villain was getting closer. The nearer he and the knife were, the louder Izuku’s head was. 

He was scared. So, so scared. Everything tunneled and faded into the background. His heartbeat was too loud. The metal against his neck was too cold. Everything was too dull it was missing something what was missing? 

Izuku suddenly snapped away from himself, no longer in full control. Nothing transformed, but…something shifted in him. They were close to the other two criminals now. Izuku didn’t know what that meant, but he knew it was important right now. 

He didn’t really think, only moved. His slitted eyes zeroed in on the threats. Before he knew what he was doing, Izuku opened his mouth wide. 

And tentacles shot out, along with more mouths. All lined with jagged teeth. Quick as a viper, they lashed out. Growing in size and obscuring Izuku’s vision. He didn’t know what happened. 

Izuku was panicking for a whole new reason now. He couldn’t stop…whatever those things were. He took a step to the side, and the things reacted. A whole row of shelves were sent crashing down. He yelped at the noise, but that only made him bite whatever was coming out of his mouth. 

He swung himself around, trying to stop whatever he was doing. More shelves were knocked to the ground, some dented and bend. Izuku didn’t know what was happening. Where had the villains gone? What were those things? Why was no one doing anything?

A chunk of the wall was gone when he turned back around. And he tasted it . Plaster was disgusting, he decided. 

People were screaming. They were running out of the store now. Where had the villains gone? 

Izuku felt exhaustion start to pull at him. Like using a muscle he hadn’t before. He felt heavy. There was a tingling at the back of his head. He was still scared. 

A sound finally broke through the din. A voice. Izuku didn’t recognize it, but it calmed him. Enough to hear the words at least. 

“Kid! Kid, can you hear me!”

Izuku stopped moving around, listening. He couldn’t talk, so he nodded. The things followed his movement. 

“Ok. Ok, so you can hear me now. Kid, you need to stop these.”

Izuku let out a high-pitched whine. He wanted to listen. He wanted to stop and go home , but he didn’t know how .

“It’s ok, kid. Just…try breathing. Calm down a bit. Count with me, ok? 1, 2, 3…”

Izuku closed his eyes and counted along with the voice. His breathing evened out after a few minutes. The things coming out of his mouth didn’t lash out or destroy anything else. The pull of gravity seemed to increase and drag on his bones. 

“Ok kid, can you try…uh, sucking them back in?”

Izuku kept his eyes closed, but hummed to let the person know he heard. All he had to do was get the things to go away. Maybe…maybe it was like another tongue or something? Yeah, he’d just have to go with that for now. 

The jaws and tentacles retracted back into his mouth without much trouble. Izuku opened his eyes, though his eyelids felt heavy. The…the store was a wreck. Half the shelves were knocked over with their contents on the ground. There was a massive chunk taken out of a side wall, though it didn’t go all the way through. Plaster dust sprinkled the ground around it like snow. 

And the villains, the villains were gone. All three of them. One of their guns was one the ground. There was no blood, no scraps of clothing. Nothing left to even suggest they had been there. Everyone else had already evacuated the store. 

Had he done this? 

Something made a noise off to his left, where the store entrance was. He whipped around, a snarl already on his face with sharpened fangs. The Null, whatever that was, had worn off now. He felt his power, cat morph one this time, come out without him trying. Nails hardened into claws, green fur grew around his hands, and cat ears were flattened against his head. Sounds were louder now, but it let him hear whoever it was approach. 

The expression melted like wax when when he saw who it was. He recognized them, the pro hero Eraserhead. Capture weapon on his neck and goggles over his eyes. If he wasn’t so panicked and out of it he would be fanboying. As it was, he was more cat than human right now. Or…Flerken? Was that what that had been? 

“Hey kid, you alright now?” Eraserhead asked softly, edging closer. 

“Hurt. Tried to hurt me,” Izuku growled, eyeing the approaching man. It wasn’t him speaking, not really. 

“I saw what happened, was that your Quirk?”

“Don’t know. Never tried. Only turn into cat, not more. Mom said not more. Listen to Mom.”

“Ok then, questions for later. You sound out of it, kid. Do you need to calm down for a minute?”

Izuku closed his mouth and nodded. Eraserhead came closer, and his ear flicked to listen to the hero. But Izuku trusted him, Eraserhead was his second favorite hero for a reason. He was a good person. 

It took a few minutes, but Izuku eventually regained his bearings. The instincts screeching in his head stopped, and he turned back to full human. Eraserhead finally came within arms reach of him. Up close, Izuku could see just how cool his capture weapon was. Though it was funny the man wore it during the day. He was an underground hero, they worked at night, so why was he here?

“You good now kid?”

“I-I’m ok now.”

“Good. Now, can you tell me what that was?”

“I, I don’t know, Sir,” Izuku whispered, shrinking in on himself. “I didn’t mean to, to destroy the s-store.”

“I know you didn’t, kid. No one expects you to keep your head when a weapon’s pointed at you. Come on now, let’s get out of the rubble.”

Izuku nodded and followed Eraserhead out of the ruined store. Once out on the street he saw that there were police cars parked nearby. Oh nononono, they were going to arrest him. He too young to go to jail!

He stayed close behind Eraserhead as they neared the cluster of police. There were a few other heroes there too, Izuku noticed. If he didn’t think he was in danger of getting arrested he would ask for their autograph. 

Eraserhead seemed to relax when one of the cops came over. He was dressed in a tan trench-coat and a fedora, which Izuku found funny for someone in the police force. The man walked over, obviously familiar with Eraserhead. 

“Eraserhead, nice to see you,” the man greeted. “Do you know what happened here?”

“Three villains, two with guns, one with a knife. Took a hostage in a robbery. Come here, kid.” Izuku cautiously edged closer, coming to stand besides Eraserhead. “A new part of his Quirk emerged, causing the damage. He didn’t know it existed.”

“Ok then, and the villains?”

“That’s…where it gets complicated. His new powers…ate them.”

Tsukauchi blinked at the two of them. “He…ate them.”

“I didn’t mean to!” Izuku blurted. “He, he was h-holding a knife to, to my neck and, and I th-thought I was going to, going to die and I didn’t want to die . I don’t know what happened but then things came out of my mouth and the villains were gone and the store was a mess and I’m so sorry .”

“Hey, hey kid, it’s ok. We know you didn’t mean to,” Eraserhead said quietly, putting a hand on Izuku’s shoulder. 

“What’s your name?” Tsukauchi asked.

“I-Izuku Midoriya.”

“Ah, that explains it.” Izuku looked up, and saw the detective looking at him in understanding. “You’re a Flerken, aren’t you?”

Izuku reeled backwards and away from the detective. Hardly anyone knew what Flerkens were anymore. If they did they either knew one personally or they thought they were monsters. He had no way of telling which one this man was.  

“A what? Kid, it’s ok. Calm down.” Eraserhead sounded worried. Why was he worried? 

The detective put his hands up in surrender. Izuku was tense, ready to run. He couldn’t outrace police cars, but a man with no visible Quirk was feasible. Maybe not Eraserhead though. 

“It’s ok, Midoriya. I…I was familiar your father.” 

Izuku froze, staring at the man who had his hat in his hands. His…his dad. This man knew his dad. His dad who died before Izuku could even transform. His Flerken dad. 

“You, you knew him?”

“I knew him from where he worked, and the villain attack when he died. I was the one who dealt with the hero’s punishment.”

“Oh,” was all Izuku said. 

“Mind filling me in,” Eraserhead asked, looking a bit confused. 

“Sorry, Eraserhead. Midoriya’s father was a man I knew who died in a villain attack due to creature discrimination.” The man looked to Izuku for a moment, asking a silent question. Izuku nodded, staring at the floor. “They’re Flerkens.”

 

Chapter Text

“They’re Flerkens.”

Izuku flinched, but stayed where he was. Tensely waiting for what Eraserhead thought of him. There was a reason his mother insisted he acted as a cat morph and nothing more. 

“That…explains a lot.”

Izuku’s head shot up at the complete lack of malice in Eraserhead’s voice. Just understanding. 

“Don’t look so shocked kid, I deal with blackmarkets. I’m also a hero, it’s our duty to know about these things.” Eraserhead shrugged, like he hadn’t just splintered Izuku’s worldview. 

For most of his life, Izuku believed that telling anyone he was a Flerken was essentially a death sentence. That anyone who heard would chase him away, or at the very least pretend he didn’t exist. It had happened a few times when he was little, before he knew any better, and the memories weren’t pleasant. One woman had literally whacked him with a broom to make him leave her store. He had been seven, and that was the last time he told anyone what he was. 

Now Eraserhead, one of his favorite heroes, was telling him it was ok. That he wasn’t going to hurt him for being a Flerken. He had even seen others apparently. 

“Midoriya,” Detective Tsukauchi’s voice brought Izuku back to the present. “Eraserhead said you ate the criminals, correct?” Izuku nodded. “Do you think you can spit them back out?”

Izuku stared at the man blankly. Spit them out? How was he even supposed to do that? Didn’t he just say he ate them ?

“Ah, ok. You don’t know much about your powers, do you?”

“No. Mom…Mom said to never use th-them. I didn’t even know I could, I could do that.

“Alright then,” Tsukauchi sighed. “Do you have, I don’t know, a metaphor or something that could help you visualize it?”

Izuku blinked, his mind kicking back on. He dissolved into muttering, missing the curious looks the two adults sent him. Eventually, he looked back up at them with an idea, and a smile to match.

“It’s like a hairball!”

Izuku watched as Eraserhead choked on air and Detective Tsukauchi covered his mouth with a hand. He tilted his head curiously. 

“Sorry, sorry Midoriya. You were saying?” Tsukauchi said.

“Um, y-yeah. It’s sort of like a hairball. I can, can almost…feel what I ate, I guess. It’s there, but I don’t know where or how to get to it. So I kinda just have to, to cough it up?”

“Odd metaphor, but it’s worth a shot,” Eraserhead commented, shrugging. “Go ahead kid.”

Izuku nodded and took a few steps back. He had seen what the aftermath of the store looked like, and he really didn’t want to unleash that near people again. Ever. 

The less said about Izuku’s hairball memories the better. They weren’t pleasant when he was a kitten and they certainly weren’t pleasant now. 

After some coughing and hacking, Izuku was surprised when the things came out of his mouth again. Not explosively like last time either. They spat out the three soggy criminals out on the floor, and then disappeared just as fast. Izuku stood there coughing for another few minutes before he could properly breath again. When he looked up the three villains were in handcuffs and Eraserhead was standing nearby. 

“You good, kid?”

“I’m, I’m fine now,” he answered, eyes trailing back to the villains. The very much alive and in one piece villains. “They’re ok?”

“Right, you don’t know about your own powers,” Eraserhead sighed. “Flerkens can either eat things like normal, or hold them in pocket spaces. As long as you don’t bite things in half then they’ll be fine. Might come out covered in spit, but otherwise unharmed. Goes for humans too apparently.”

Izuku nodded along. He was learning more about his Flerken powers in these few minutes than he had in eight years. From one of his favorite heroes of all things. 

It was then that one of the villains, being locked in a police car, spotted Izuku. His two buddies were already in the vehicle. The police officer didn’t see what he was looking at.

“HEY!” He screamed, catching the attention of every person on the street. “Why isn’t he being arrested! He’s the one that destroyed the store!”

In an instant Izuku’s hope sunk to the crust of the earth. Dozens, if not hundreds, of eyes turned to him. Some more hostile than others. He felt so small. So exposed in the open street. He had to get away. Had to get to safety. 

Without really realizing it, Izuku had stumbled away from Eraserhead, who was trying to talk to him again. It didn’t reach his ears. There were so many people. So many glares.

Izuku shifted into a cat, and sprinted away. Weaving between the legs of people before they could even react. Shouts followed him, but he didn’t hear the words. He didn’t stop running until he was safely tucked in an alleyway where no one could see him. The noisy streets were muffled there. Izuku didn’t know how far he had run, but he was tired now. Maybe, maybe a small nap wouldn’t hurt. Then he could return home and pretend this never happened.

 

Except he couldn’t. Even after he got home and reassured his mom he was alright (he told her about the villains, of course he did, it just...might not of been the full truth), he couldn’t stop thinking about it. He hadn’t even been meaning to, but he had caused a lot of destruction. What if it happened again? He had no idea how to control his newfound powers. At least now he knew what they were.

Another part of him whispered about how good it could be for hero work. A hero who could transport criminals without anyone being even remotely in danger. A hero that could get rid of rubble easily, if only temporarily. A hero that could do both stealth and power. A hero that could save people with a smile and make them feel safe

It wouldn’t leave him alone, and he knew he couldn’t go and practice. Even Quirk based gyms wouldn’t allow him in. Not if he was trying to wrangle power that had destroyed a store and eaten people. Not if he was a Flerken

So all he could do was theorize or try to ignore it. The latter wasn’t working whatsoever , so the former it was. He filled half a notebook on theory and questions alone. That notebook was one he kept hidden from Mom. 

Maybe if he got into UA they could help him. It was still years away, but better late than never. His new powers could still be used to be a hero. All he had to do was pass the exam and…tell a teacher he was a Flerken. Oh. Problem. Big problem. Problem so big it could squish him. Just because two people, one of which was the Eraserhead , knew he was a Flerken didn’t mean everyone would be ok with it. 

The constant questions, theories, and trying to work around his problem battered his mind for a week. 

A week that ended with a knock on their door.



Chapter Text

Izuku paused what he was doing when he heard the knock on their door. He knew Mom wasn’t planning on having anyone over this weekend, and solicitors hardly ever went into apartment buildings. For a moment he panicked, thinking it was a police officer or someone finally coming to arrest him for what he did to the store. They never charged him for it or anything.

Then he heard the person speak, and immediately panicked for a whole new reason. Izuku tripped over his chair trying to get out of his room. He burst into the hall and stared out their open door. 

Because standing in the hall was Eraserhead . The Eraserhead . He didn’t have his yellow goggles on, but Izuku saw them tucked in his capture weapon. The hero looked past his mom to him. Izuku would later deny that he squeaked. 

“Izuku, do you know who this man is?” Mom asked politely. Izuku saw the underlying nervousness in her words.

“Y-yeah, it’s ok Mom. He’s, he’s Eraserhead.”

“Oh! Th-then come in. You said you had something to, to speak to us about?” 

Mom held open the door for their guest. Izuku lead the way to the living room, trying not to show how scared he was. That seemed to be happening a lot lately. Eraserhead followed him almost silently. 

The three of them sat around the coffee table. Two way more nervous than the other one. 

“First, I would like to tell you that the store is not pressing charges for the destruction caused,” Eraserhead started. Izuku felt himself relax a bit, but then tensed again when he realized Mom had no idea what he had done. “The damage was covered under their insurance for newly discovered Quirk, but that’s not why I’m here.”

“Izuku, what’s he talking about?”

Crap crap crap crap. Mission abort. Mission abort. Oh no oh no oh no. Why did he think this was going to turn out ok?! Oh maybe because he didn’t think Eraserhead would track down his house

“Um, I might not of, might not have told you… all of what happened last week. When I got caught in that robbery. You see, I um, when the villain h-had me hostage, I u-used my, my…IusedmyFlerkenpowersandmighthavedestroyedthestore.”

Mom sat there for a minute, not saying anything, just processing. Izuku locked his gaze on the ground and didn’t look up.

“Ma’am, your son had no control over his powers. No one got hurt, but that might not be true in the future if he doesn’t learn how to control it,” Eraserhead stated. Izuku still didn’t look up. “Which is why I came with an offer.”

Izuku’s head shot up at that. He saw his mother do the same. Eraserhead was carefully blank at their incredulous stares.

“Let me explain. Having someone with a powerful Quirk out of control is extremely dangerous, especially considering what his powers are. I mentioned it to my boss, and he,” Eraserhead sighed, looking at the ceiling for a moment, “He offered to train Izuku.”

Izuku glanced over at his mom. She was…blank. Just staring at her hands that rested in her lap. Suddenly, Izuku wanted to go and hide under something. 

“Izuku, we’ve talked about this.”

“I didn’t mean to use it, Mom. But…but I still want to be a hero, and that means I need to use my Quirk. All of my Quirk.”

Izuku was determined. He had worked towards his goal for years. Now that he actually knew what the other half of his Quirk did he wasn’t about to let this opportunity slip through the cracks. It didn’t matter who Eraserhead’s boss was, if they could train him then he wanted to do it. He needed to do it. So he set his jaw and prepared to tell his mom why.

“You know how dangerous it is,” Mom said quietly. “You know what happened to your father.”

“Exactly! Dad died from a hero that didn’t like Flerkens! If I become a hero I can change that !”

“And what happens when that doesn’t work? People aren’t kind, Izuku. They’ll never see you as a hero.”

“I don’t care!” He cried, flying out of his chair. “I don’t care what people say about us! I want to save people and doing this can help! I, I know people don’t like Flerkens. I know they see us as villains, but Mom I just want to save people . I don’t care if I’m underground or not. If I can save more people by using my full Quirk then I’ll do it.”

The room was quiet, Mom not saying a thing. Izuku knew he shouldn’t’ve yelled. What he said was the truth though. He didn’t care if he was in the hero rankings or not, he just wanted to save people. 

“You want to be an underground hero, kid?” Eraserhead asked, finally breaking the silence.

“If, if it’s what lets me be a hero. I don’t really care about the rankings as long as I can do something good.”

“Huh, that's the first time I’ve heard that from a kid your age.”

“It is?” Mom questioned, sounding a bit skeptical. 

“Yes, most children his age only care about being a popular hero. You’re in what, middle school?”

Izuku nodded, pointedly avoiding Mom’s stare. 

“With thinking like that, you have the potential to be a great hero, kid.”

Izuku beamed at the hero. It took him a second, but he realized this was the first time he had heard that. His hero believed in him. He actually believed he could be a good hero . That just left one person to convince. 

“Please Mom, at least listen to what he has to say?”

Mom held his gaze for a second, then sighed. “Fine.”

Izuku sat back down again, watching Eraserhead intently. The man shifted in his seat, but took the as his queue to talk again.

“As I said, my boss offered to train your son, Mrs. Midoriya. His Quirk is dangerous if left untouched, even if he didn’t intend to be a hero. If another situation like the one last week happened, then it’s very likely people would get injured.”

“And just who is your boss?”

“Nedzu.”

Izuku almost fell out of his chair. Nedzu. The Nedzu! The smartest creature on the planet! And he wanted to teach him! 

Wait, Nedzu was the principal of UA. He was Eraserhead’s boss. Did that mean…

“You teach at UA?!” Izuku exclaimed.

“Yes, I do,” Eraserhead sighed again. “While I would offer to teach you myself, my Quirk doesn’t work against mutations. When I tried to erase your tentacles nothing happened, so I can only assume they’re not transformation type magic.”

“And why does this Nedzu want to teach Izuku?” Mom asked. 

“I’m going to be honest Mrs. Midoriya, your son is a danger right now, both to himself and others. Flerkens powers have the potential for a lot of destruction if it can’t be controlled, but he also has a lot of potential to be a hero. Both Nedzu and I saw that, and we made the logical conclusion. Even if he gets into a hero school your son would have maybe two years compared to their ten. If Nedzu trains him then he would have a better chance.”

Izuku was too busy freaking out to see how his mom reacted. Nedzu wanted to teach him how to use his powers. Nedzu wanted to teach him . Not many people knew who Nedzu was, at least not specifically. Most people knew him as UA’s principal and maybe the hero that helped plan some raids. Izuku, however, knew a bit more. Nedzu was possibly the smartest being on Earth, was contacted for help whenever there was a major attack (villain or hero raid), acted as an international consultant for heroes, and had ties to at least a third of all heroes in Japan. He was powerful, and smart. And he wanted to teach Izuku.

He didn’t really know what to make of that. 

“Izuku,” Mom started, breaking him from his reverie. “You know I only want to keep you safe. Ever since you were a kit you wanted to be a hero, even after what happened to your father. You’ve kept that dream all these years, despite what everyone has said to you, me included.”

“Mom…”

“No, Izuku, I need to say this. When you were little and I made you hide your other powers, I said I was sorry. I felt like I was the reason you were in danger for being a Flerken.” She took a shaky breath, Izuku hardly breathed. “But I was wrong to say that. You shouldn't have to hide who you are. So…so if you think you can change how the world thinks by being a hero, then…then I’ll support you.”

Izuku didn’t really register he was crying until he tried to talk, and all that came out was a sob. That had been what he wanted Mom to say, all those years ago. Just that she would support him in what he did. It didn’t matter if she approved of him being a hero. He dove forward to give her a hug through the tears. 

The tears eventually stopped. Izuku backed up again. Only then did he remember Eraserhead was still there. The man looked extremely unsure of what to do. 

“S-sorry, Mr. Eraserhead sir,” Izuku stuttered. “You were, you were saying?”

“I was saying the decision to accept is up to you, but either way you need training, kid. Uncontrollable Quirks as powerful as yours are dangerous.”

“If I agree, then what exactly would he be doing?” Mom questioned. Izuku was mentally buzzing at the implication she would say yes.

“Nedzu will probably work on him getting control for both sides of his Quirk, among lessons on other subjects. To be honest I don’t know what he wants to do, but he’s a good teacher.”

“Was he your teacher?” Izuku asked excitedly. 

“No, he was already principal. He liked to pop in on classes and give advice, still does. Terrifies the teachers that aren’t used to it yet.”

Izuku stifled his giggling, though not very well. He saw Eraserhead crack a small smile too. Mom looked a bit confused, but smiled nonetheless. Honestly, Izuku was just happy no one was crying or yelling anymore.

“Thank you for your time.” Eraserhead stood up, bowing to his mother. “The principal’s number is on the UA website, so contact him with a decision. Try not to eat anyone else, kid.”

Izuku squawked, while Eraserhead chuckled. 

Izuku went to sleep that night with a few more questions added to his ever-growing list. Despite that, he slept well. Maybe his dream was finally coming true.

Chapter Text

Izuku might have only gotten four total hours of sleep last night, but that wasn’t about to stop him from being on time. Mom had agreed to at least let him go meet with Nedzu, which involved him going to UA. The school he had dreamed of going to since he was a kit. It was surreal in all honesty.

The train ride was easy. He had gotten to the station on time and snagged a good seat without anything going wrong. The whole situation still didn’t feel quite real yet. The journey passed in a flash. 

He stopped at the gates, just staring up at UA in awe. His dream school. The place he had only fantasized about going to, and now he was standing at the gates. The very, very big gates that he knew could chop him in half if he didn’t have permission to enter. 

Izuku took a deep breath, and rang the buzzer. He waited a few seconds before another buzz rang out. Taking it as a cue to enter, Izuku stepped onto the campus of UA. The gates didn’t try and eat him thankfully. 

The path was clearly marked, not that it was a massive problem seeing as the main building was at least ten stories tall. There were a ton of paths that splintered off the main one though. All of those had signs, which Izuku figured made it easier for students to not get lost. There were also a lot of trees. The school was even better than he had imagined it would be. 

There was a hero standing at the entrance to the building. More specifically, Eraserhead. Eraserhead was standing there and waiting for him. The whole situation suddenly became a bit more real for Izuku. 

“There you are, kid. Come on, Nedzu’s waiting.”

Izuku stiffly walked to Eraserhead’s side as they entered. He took in anything and everything he could see. The inside of the building was so cool! High ceilings, probably for things that were taller than a normal person, and there were so many windows. It was the weekend, so there weren’t any students in the halls. It was eerily quiet for a school. 

“You can stop stressing, kid, all Nedzu’s going to do is talk.”

Izuku squeaked, but kept walking. “I- I know. It’s just, what if he can’t do anything? What if no one else will help train me? I can’t be a hero if I don’t have at least a bit of control over my Quirk. Especially since it eats people.”

“Kid, you’re fine. Nedzu wouldn’t have called you here if he didn’t think he could do anything. So take a deep breath and get through it, you’ll be fine.”

“Th-thank Mr. Eraserhead sir. You’re- you’re good at this.”

“I’m a teacher, I have to be.”

“No, you don’t,” Izuku whispered, mostly to himself. He didn’t look up from the floor to see if Eraserhead had heard. 

The rest of the walk to the principal's office was quiet. Izuku would say silent, if not for the screaming and banging they heard around the fifth floor. Eraserhead just sighed and rubbed his temples. Izuku was confused, but went with it. Probably better to not ask if that had indeed been Present Mic he had heard screeching “That’s my bagel, you overcooked piece of tofu.”

Eraserhead knocked on Nedzu’s door, and waited. A cheery voice told them to come in. The door was pushed open to reveal a relatively normal looking office. Izuku more or less hid behind the hero as they entered. 

Nedzu was sitting on one of the couches in his office, pouring a cup of tea. He looked up with a smile, one Izuku didn’t know if he should believe or not. 

“Hello! What am I? A mouse, a dog, a bear? Who knows! I’m the principal of UA! You must be Izuku Midoriya. Take a seat,” the principal said, beckoning them over. “I heard a bit about you, Mr. Midoriya. You are a Flerken, correct?”

Izuku gingerly sat on the couch opposite Nedzu. He nodded in response, accepting the offered tea. Eraserhead sat besides him. 

“Hm, and you have no control over your Quirk?”

“I can- I can shift easily. It’s the…tentacles, that I can’t control. When I, I used them it felt like, like I wasn’t the one controlling them.”

“Ah, I see. You did not know about the second part before then, yes?”

“Y-yes, sir.”

Nedzu hummed, and sipped his tea. Izuku followed his example, having nothing else to do. It was good tea. 

“I have been granted access to your school transcript and have looked it over, Mr. Midoriya. You have high grades in all classes, though you are registered as a cat morph. Care to explain that?”

“Um, m-my dad died when I was, I was really little, because he was a Flerken. My, my mom wanted to pro-protect me, so we were registered as cat morphs in-instead.”

“Ah, I see. That is also the reason she did not tell you about the second part of your Quirk, yes?”

“Ye-yeah.”

“And you have no family members to teach you?” Eraserhead asked.

“O-one, but she lives far away, and- and is really busy. I think her powers are- are weaker too. I never heard of, of her being able to wreck any-anything.”

Nedzu took another sip of his tea. Eraserhead nodded, looking like he was thinking about something. Izuku more-or-less just wanted to sink into the floor right now. 

“Midoriya, would you mind if I gave you a test?” Nedzu asked cheerfully. 

Izuku blinked. “Um, sure. On- on what subject?”

“All of them.”

Izuku blanched. A test on all subjects? Did Nedzu mean the ones in school or ones for adults too? Did it include physical fitness tests? He was so confused, and his stress spiked.

“Don’t terrify the child, Nedzu. He means school subjects with a bit more added in, kid, not every subject he knows.”

Izuku let out a sigh of relief, nodding. He could handle school subjects. Studying and notes were what he was good at. With no friends and bullies living nearby he didn’t exactly have many options. Hero forums only had so many posts and napping only worked if he was tired. The result was high grades and going on searching tangents when he had nothing else to do. On a related note, he now knows Tasmanian Devils scream when they find food and that bats fly through the power of jazz hands. 

Nedzu left to get something, probably the test. Izuku took the time to finish his tea and mentally go over what they had learned that year in class. He also recalled some of what he had learned in his own time, just in case. Honestly, he was a bit confused on why he was taking a test. It was written by Nedzu though, so it would undoubtedly have high standards. 

A thick stack of paper was dropped onto the table. Izuku managed to swallow his tea before he spit it out. Nedzu gleefully handed him a pencil.

“You have as long as you need to answer as many as you believe yourself capable. Eraser and myself will leave you to the test.”

With that the two heroes left. Izuku glanced between the packet and the door for a second. He steeled himself, and got to work.

Surprisingly, most of the questions were up for interpretation. A lot of them had him explain his answer or thought process. A good portion of them were actual multiple choice questions on subjects he knew though. Even if most of those were things Izuku only knew because he was curious and not from learning them in class. 

He finished the test, or at least most of it, in a little under two hours. Another ten minutes for skimming over his answers too. When he was done, Izuku cautiously stuck his head out the door. There was no one there. 

Oh well, at least he knew where the teachers’ lounge was. They had passed it on the way up. Izuku made his way down the hall and to the elevators, going down to the fifth floor. Once there he just followed the sounds of people. In an empty school, it wasn’t exactly hard. 

The door was propped open, so Izuku pushed it in. There were only a few people inside, none of which noticed him enter. He stood there for a second, just taking all the people. Eraserhead and Nedzu were there, he expected that. What he had not been expecting were Present Mic, Midnight, Cementoss, Snipe, and Vlad King to be somewhere around the room either sitting calmly or yelling. 

“If you think pancakes are better than waffles, you can fight me, Nemuri!” Present Mic screeched.

“Bring it on you oversized cockatoo!” Midnight fired back. 

“Can I please get a waffle?” Cementoss said, surprisingly calm despite the chaos surrounding him. Izuku was mildly impressed. 

No, you cannot- oh! Kitty boy!” Present Mic exclaimed.

Izuku jumped. All of the attention was suddenly on him. The heroes (teachers?) looked curious.

“Ah, Midoriya, did you have a question on your test?”

“No sir, I finished.”

Izuku walked over and handed the thick packet to Nedzu. The principal didn’t say anything, but eagerly took it and began reading it over. Izuku suddenly became aware the room was silent.

“Kid, how long did that test take you?” Eraserhead asked from one of the couches.

“Uh, around an hour and a half, maybe closer to two hours? Why?”

“Holy sh- crap!” Present Mic yelled, staring at Izuku. “You finished Nedzu’s Hell Test in nearly two hours?!”

“Um, yes?”

“Wait, as in the Hell Test we had to take?” Midnight asked. 

“Altered for a middle schooler, but in essence, yes,” Nedzu answered, not looking up from the papers.

Various astonished curses were echoed around the room. Present Mic apparently the only one not shocked enough to sensor his expletives. Izuku still had no idea what was going on. 

“Holy crap kid, what Quirk do you have?! Some sort of super-intelligence?” Present Mic asked, more like yelled but all the same. 

Aizawa and Nedzu had matching smiles. The rest of UA’s teachers felt a sudden wave of suffocating fear. Nedzu’s teeth were too sharp to be human, and Aizawa just reminded them of Totoro. 

“I, um, I don’t have s-super-intelligence,” Izuku stuttered out. “I have, have transformation magic and, and a mutation type.”

“So you’re sayin’ you’re just that smart by ya’self?” Snipe questioned. Izuku did his best to tamp down on his fanboying. 

“Y-yeah. I l-like to study?”

“Holy shit, he’s adorable too,” he heard Midnight whisper. Izuku’s face started to heat up.

“Wait,” Cementoss spoke up. “Isn’t this the kid you decided to teach how to use his Quirk?”

“Why yes, yes he is,” Nedzu answered.

“So then why did he have to take the Hell Test?”

“Oh, that’s simple. I needed a benchmark for his knowledge, and also to see if he was worth taking on as my personal student.”

Izuku blanched. Personal student?! Of Nedzu?! Was he, was he really worth that? All he wanted was to learn how to control his Quirk so he didn’t hurt anyone. Now Nedzu, the smartest being he knew of, was proposing Izuku be his student? There was no way. That was for people like Kacchan, not him.

When he spoke up, his voice was small, yet everyone in the room stopped to listen. “Why?”

“Why what, Midoriya?”

“Why, why would you choose me? I’m just someone with an, an out of control Quirk. There are, are plenty of people with, with intelligence Quirks out there, so why choose the, the one kid who can only turn into a cat . Just because I’m a, a Flerken doesn’t, doesn’t mean I’m the one you should, you should choose as a student.”

“And why do you believe that?’ Nedzu asked, tilting his head slightly. 

“Because, because there’s so many people with amazing Quirks. People that could, could do amazing things if you taught th-them. I, I’m just, just-“

“Kid, all of us had to take that test. You finished in less than two hours, right?”

“Y-yes?”

“You know how smart Mic is?” Izuku nodded, not knowing where Eraserhead was going with this. “He finished that test in two hours and fifteen minutes.”

Izuku stood there silently, processing what he had just heard. His first reaction was to deny it. The test had been altered anyway. But…Eraserhead had no reason to lie to him. Izuku turned to Present Mic. The hero nodded in confirmation, smiling brightly at him. 

“The decision is ultimately up to you, Midoriya,” Nedzu said, drawing his attention. “What I’ve seen is more than enough for me to agree to help you master your Quirk, in the very least. I will contact your mother with details. You may leave now, if you wish. Aizawa can guide you out.”

Eraserhead groaned, but got to his feet anyway. The rest of the teachers said goodbye or waved while Izuku backed out of the room. His mind was still reeling from…everything. 

The two walked back down the hall towards the entrance. Izuku zoned out most of the way. Eraserhead had his hands in his pockets as they went. 

Then Izuku heard a thunk. He stopped in the middle of the hall, paying attention to his surroundings again. The sound went off again. Izuku whipped around, scanning the area for what could be making the sound. 

He zeroed in on the vent grate to his left. Whatever it was made the sound again, louder this time. Izuku felt himself subconsciously half-shift. His new cat ears pricked and pointed towards the movement he could see past the grate. 

Eraserhead had stopped too, he noticed vaguely. The man was watching him, but not doing much. Izuku didn’t look away to glance at the man, too worried about losing his prey. 

Izuku carefully stepped closer on silent feet. He stopped a bit away from the grate, pressed up against the wall. The metal creaked. Izuku crouched down, narrowed eyes never leaving the vent. 

Something purple poked out of the now open grate. A face followed it, then the body. The person didn’t notice Izuku. He shifted his stance as the human wiggled their way completely out of the vent. 

“Hey Dad,” they said. “Thought you were showing the new kid to the exit?”

“I am.”

“Then where is he?”

Eraserhead glanced at Izuku. The person, a teen like him, followed his gaze. That was when Izuku pounced on cat-powered legs. 

“FU-“

Izuku collided with the person, sending both tumbling to the ground. He rolled and came up crouched on the person’s back, claws pricking his prey’s shoulders. The person was surprisingly still with his face pressed into the hard floor. It was quiet for a minute. 

“Dad, what the fuck.”

“Hitoshi, meet Izuku Midoriya. Midoriya, that’s my kid you were hunting.”

Hunting?!

Eraserhead’s eyes flashed red, and Izuku came back to himself. The ears, claws, and everything else cat disappeared, along with his instincts. He almost immediately turned bright red and scrambled off of the person beneath him. 

“I am so sorry ! You were banging around in the vents and my cat instincts were telling me you were prey and I listened without thinking and that happens sometimes when I’m overwhelmed and I am right now and I’m so sorry !”

“Cat…instincts?” 

“Er,” Izuku turned to Eraserhead. 

“Your choice to tell him, kid. Both of you get off the floor first.”

Izuku leapt to his feet, offering a hand to Hitoshi, though he guessed that was his given name so he wasn’t about to call him that. The teen took it, rubbing at his shoulders for a second.

“Um, so, I’m a Flerken, and-“

“Holy crap, you’re a Flerken?!” Hitoshi exclaimed. Izuku flinched, expecting the usual reaction. Why did he think this was a good idea? “That’s so cool!”

Wait what? “C-cool?”

“Yeah! I went through a phase of liking any and everything cat, so figuring out there was something besides a cat morph was extremely cool to little kid me.”

“What phase?” Eraserhead deadpanned, getting a shove from his son. Izuku admitted that they did look like each other.

“Can it, you know what I mean,” Hitoshi grumbled good-naturedly. “Is that what he meant by hunting?”

“Y-yeah. I, I have these sorta instincts that, that make me act like a, a cat. They t-take over sometimes if I’m not paying, paying attention or when I’m, I’m overwhelmed. I thought you were, were a mouse or something in the vents.”

“Huh.” Was all Hitoshi said. 

“A-anyway, sorry about jumping at you.”

“Eh, it’s fine. Hey Dad, what were Aunt Nemuri and Pop shrieking about?”

“Midoriya finished Nedzu’s Hell test in under two hours.”

Hitoshi silently turned a wide-eyed look to Izuku. He shrunk back a bit under the gaze. Hitoshi very quietly said a few more curse words. 

“Now if you’ll excuse us Hitoshi, Midoriya has to get home,” Eraserhead said, guiding Izuku out of the building again. 

It was only when they were outside again that Izuku spoke. Eraserhead stopped at the entrance to UA. 

“Th-thank you, Mr. Eraserhead. Your son seems nice.”

He snorted, but smiled. “He’s a troublemaker, but he means well. Nedzu should get back to your mother about the test soon. And kid?”

“Yes sir?”

“You can call me Aizawa instead of Eraserhead when I’m out of uniform. Hope to see you back here, kid. Don’t eat any more people.”

Izuku squeaked, but nodded anyway. He turned away and went home. This time, he was smiling.

Chapter Text

Izuku’s lessons start today, right after normal school. He was practically buzzing in his seat the whole time. He was also pretty sure it was annoying Kacchan, but he wasn’t about to focus on that right now. Nothing was going to ruin this day for him. Not Kacchan nor another bully was going to dampen his spirits for this. 

He escaped the classroom as fast as his legs could take him. Kacchan couldn’t have time to threaten him if he was out the door right as the bell rang. Izuku didn’t care if he ran most of the way to the train station, there was absolutely no way he was going to be late for this. 

Izuku was almost sure he was bothering the whole train car with his fidgeting. He couldn’t help it.

No matter what anyone said, he did not sprint to the gates of UA. He also definitely did not nearly fling his entrance pass across the street trying to get it out of his backpack. Nope, absolutely not. 

There was no hero waiting at the doors of UA this time, but that was ok. Izuku was told to wait outside the doors for Nedzu, and maybe Aizawa, so they could go to one of the gyms. It was nerve wracking though, since there were still UA students hanging around. Most of them gave him an odd look, but none of them did anything. 

He was lead to a gym made of concrete once his teachers showed up. It was absolutely massive, and Cementoss was there too! Izuku didn’t care if he had already seen the hero before, he was still really cool. 

“Now Midoriya, I was told you successfully spit out the criminals you ate, but do you know how to summon the tentacles in the first place?” Nedzu questioned once they were at the gym. 

“No, sir. It was, it was easier spitting them out. I sort of…felt them, I guess. There’s nothing there n-now.” Izuku paused, thinking for a moment. “Actually, there is something, but I don’t, don’t know what it is. It’s like…I know one of my muscles is there, but I don’t, don’t know how to use it.”

“Good analysis, Midoriya,” Nedzu hummed. “Could you possibly think of anything that could help you use this ‘muscle?’”

Izuku started muttering, looking at the floor. Nedzu watched with interest. Aizawa, having heard Izuku on a muttering spree before, flopped against the gym wall in his sleeping bag. 

It took a few minutes, but Izuku eventually stopped muttering. He smiled brightly at his two teachers, before going to explain.

“If spitting things out of like a hairball, then maybe the tentacles by themselves is just like another tongue? Not my normal one, obviously, but sort of like a frog tongue?”

“And can you use that to harness your Quirk?”

“Um, c-can I test it?”

Nedzu nodded, retreating to the other end of the room. Aizawa relocated his napping spot, ready to intervene if he needed too. Cementoss joined him in diligently watching. Once everyone was a safe distance away, Izuku closed his eyes. He hoped his analogy could help him at least summon the tentacle things. 

It did. Except he didn’t account for the fact that he wouldn’t be able to control them. 

The tentacles and teeth came into existence like they had last time: explosively and out of control. Izuku’s eyes snapped open. Instinctively, he tried to move. That did not go well. 

Izuku recoiled as his…mouths(?) slammed full force into a wall of cement. Not a pleasant feeling. He flinched, retracting the things in the process. 

The wall now had a sizable hole in it.

“Ooooooow.”

“You ok, kid?” Aizawa said, coming closer now. 

“‘M fine.” Izuku rubbed at his jaw, wondering how his Quirk even worked. He could feel that the things hurt, but it felt like it was in his cheeks instead of his throat or something. 

“Do you want to try again, Midoriya?” Nedzu asked.

“Yeah. Yeah, I wanna try again.” 

Nedzu smiled at him. Aizawa moved back, and Izuku tried again. He wasn’t going to give up. He still had something to prove. 

 

Training went…well. It didn’t go bad, necessarily, Izuku was just hoping for more progress to be made. He could reliably summon the things, but not control them. His mouth was sore and probably bruised now. Cement hurt

He came back a few days later for lesson number two. It yielded the same results. He was getting better at making the tentacles go away, at the very least. 

As he got used to using the things, he realized something. It sort of acted like another limb, which was weird since it came from his mouth. But the more he used it the more familiar he becomes with how it worked. Maybe he could use that. 

 

It was two weeks later that he finally did it. When he summoned the things, they didn’t lash out. They stayed in place for a moment. Izuku…didn’t really know what to do. He wanted to jump around and celebrate and yell about his success, which was sort of impossible with his current predicament. 

Cementoss created a small, thin pillar a few yards in front of him. Izuku made a mental note to thank the hero, again, after this lesson. 

Izuku focused, and moved the tentacles and extra mouths towards the cement pillar. It felt like he was physically fighting for control. They moved slowly, but listened to him nonetheless.

The pillar was promptly pulled from the ground and eaten. Izuku coughed as the things disappeared again. Cement did not taste good, he decided. Like play-dough mixed with rocks. 

“Midoriya, are you alright?” Nedzu asked, coming up besides him.

Izuku looked at his teacher, and grinned. “Other than eating concrete, I’m ok. I finally did it, Nedzu-sensei.”

“That you did, Midoriya. Do you want to try spitting the cement out?”

Izuku nodded hastily. The cement felt weird wherever it was being held. Another thing to add to his ‘how does my Quirk even work’ list. 

It came back up relatively easily. Covered in spit, but otherwise unharmed. The things went away again, hurting more than ever this time. Looks like control won’t be painless, Izuku thought. 

The training and lessons continued. Slowly, Izuku gained more and more control over his Quirk. It was still tenuous at best, but it was progress. 

  His classmates seemed to notice too. Izuku never showed off anything in class. Ever. That was a rule of his that wasn’t going to change anytime soon. Especially in seventh grade, where gossip ran wild either way. It was better they believe he was just a cat morph. But his class seemed to notice that he was gaining more confidence. Not just because of getting better, but because he finally had people that believed in him. 

Kacchan wasn’t happy about that. Izuku felt his glare on the back of his head for nearly the whole day. It was a lesson day. All he had to do was get through middle school classes and then he could go to UA. He could keep improving without Kacchan breathing down his neck.

It didn’t go like that. Of course it didn’t. The school day ended, Izuku packed up quickly, just like he always did. 

He didn’t make it far. A sparking hand slammed itself onto his desk, making Izuku jump. He looked up and saw Kacchan standing there with a sneer on his face. He had Izuku’s analysis journal in his hand.

“Ka-Kacchan.”

Deku, ” he growled, reminding Izuku of a feral dog. “Want to explain where you’ve been disappearing to? Hope it’s not to fill your stupid fucking ‘analysis' books.”

Maybe Izuku had gained more confidence, or maybe knowing what he could possibly do was delaying his fear. Either way, what he did next was extremely stupid

“Give it back, Kacchan. It’s none of your business.”

Kacchan raised an eyebrow. Izuku realized that while he had stood up to Kacchan for other people, he had never done it for himself. Until now, that is. 

“Or what , Deku?”

A single spark lit Kacchan’s hand, and Izuku hesitated. Kacchan’s smirk returned. “Not so brave now, huh. You better not still be trying to be a hero with your weak ass Quirk, Cat .”

Izuku…Izuku felt something break. Not snap or shatter, no. More like something held together by tape finally giving way. All at once it was just…gone. 

“I’m not weak.”

“What was that, Cat ?”

“I’m. Not. Weak ,” Izuku hissed, standing to his full height, even if it wasn’t much. “And you can’t stop me.”

Kacchan did not like that. His smirk twisted into a snarl. Izuku took that as his cue to grab his notebook and leave. 

If only he was so lucky.

Izuku dove for his notebook, managing to grab it before Kacchan exploded it. His arm wasn’t so lucky. 

Izuku reeled backwards, one hand holding the notebook and the other covering his new burn. Another scar to the tapestry. Kacchan was smiling. 

“How could you ever think you’re strong when one little burn makes you cower!”

Izuku backed up a step, going over his options. Those were either fight Kacchan (nope nope nope nopeity nope) or try and run. Considering he already had a hurt arm, fighting was definitely not an option. Not unless Izuku wanted to risk eating Kacchan, which he wasn’t.

Escape then. He had to escape. The door was open, but Kacchan was blocking it. It looked like no one else was in the halls now, so no one to intervene. His backpack was still open too. If he could put his journal in there then he’d have a few less problems. 

There was no way Kacchan would let him get to the door though. Not without more burns. Izuku was already going to have to explain the one he had to Nedzu and Aizawa-sensei, he didn’t need more. 

Then he saw the open window, and his adrenaline addled mind gave him an idea. An idea that could very well fail extremely badly, but an idea nonetheless. All he had to do was put his notebook in the bag and dodge to the side before Kacchan could get him. Simple. Probably. Hopefully. 

God, this was going to go so bad. 

Izuku slowly edged backwards, towards his bag. His notebook was held behind him. Kacchan didn’t move, but watched him sharply, waiting for quick movement. Sort of like an animal. Ironic, considering he was the one with normal magic and Izuku was part cat. 

His notebook slipped into his bag with hardly a sound. Kacchan’s eyes didn’t leave Izuku’s. He hoped Kacchan didn’t noticed what he did. Now, the hard part. Izuku grabbed one strap of his bag, and tensed to run. 

In one motion he half-zipped his bag and darted to his left. Kacchan screamed something incomprehensible. Izuku didn’t dare look to see if Kacchan was aiming an explosion for him. He needed his eyes, thank you very much. 

Izuku half-shifted, focusing on his claws. Nedzu and him had been working on his shifting abilities a bit. It hadn’t been too long since he discovered he could half-shift, after all. His fingertips lengthened and hardened into sharp points. Heat hit Izuku’s back. 

Izuku dove over Kacchan’s outstretched hand, and out the window. 

His claws caught the wall once he twisted around, slowing his fall. His shoes helped slow it even more. It nearly pulled his arms out of their sockets, but it worked. Kacchan wasn’t following him. His bag was safe too. 

Izuku would have turned into a cat, since they almost always land on their feet. If not for the fact that his backpack would have either been left to fall with him or get left behind. Neither were an option. Kacchan would have destroyed anything in his bag if he left it, and falling with a bag in his teeth would have unbalanced him. Not to mention the koi pond was almost directly under the window. Sliding down the wall like the vigilante Crawler was by far the best option. 

It took all of a minute for Izuku to fully zip his bag and sprint off. Kacchan would be storming down the halls right now, and Izuku didn’t want to be there when the tempest exploded. 

He also didn’t want to be late.

Chapter Text

Nedzu was surprised, but very happy, with how his student was doing. He hadn’t originally intended to take Midoriya as a student, simply teach him to use his Quirk. It was dangerous if left untouched. And if Nedzu wanted to help out a fellow creature that was discriminated against, then no one was going to say anything anyway. 

Then Aizawa had told him about the boy’s conviction. Unusually strong and selfless for a middle schooler. The boy appeared smart too. Nedzu just had to test him, so he took the approval test for UA teachers and altered it slightly. Nothing big, just taking out some of the more mature questions and ones only a licensed pro would know. Overall, it was still an extremely hard test.

After Midoriya finished the test faster than Present Mic, Nedzu made a decision. He would offer to take on Midoriya as a personal student alongside helping him with his Quirk. Two to three times a week the boy would come to UA to practice and be taught lessons on various subjects. Nedzu knew the boy’s middle school would teach him the basic subjects, but Midoriya needed something more. Perhaps it would help him become a better hero too.

Midoriya’s analysis abilities were something Nedzu hadn’t seen in a while. This middle schooler with no formal training was already on par with a few professionals. It would need to be cultivated, Nedzu decided, otherwise it would be an opportunity wasted for the boy. 

His student kept surprising him too. He showed Nedzu he could half-shift, something he hadn’t know Flerkens could do. The boy had cat ears, claws, and paw pads while still looking mainly human. Possibly teeth and other things were there as well. His eyes were already that of a normal cat, minus being colorblind. Nedzu was curious, very curious. It had been a long time since he had seen such an interesting child. 

Nedzu admitted he was growing fond of the boy. Seeing him leap around in excitement after finally exhibiting a bit of control over his powers made him smile. Not like he didn’t see Aizawa and Yamada watching the boy fondly too. 

Then Midoriya came in with an injury. Not exactly something out of the ordinary, so Nedzu brushed it off. That was a mistake. 

They began as usual. Midoriya on one end of the gym and Nedzu at the other. Sometimes another hero joined them, but today it was just Nedzu and Cementoss. The others were still grading and answering students’ questions. Cementoss already finished his, and was there as a precaution. 

He set up the pillars they used in Midoriya’s practice. The boy in question standing in one spot. 

“Are you ready, Midoriya?”

“Y-yes, sir. Same thing as, as last time?”

Odd, Midoriya’s stutter had mostly gone away after the near three weeks of training at UA. Nedzu shrugged, maybe something had come up at his school. “Yes, same as last time.”

Midoriya nodded, getting into the stance Nedzu recognized as him bracing himself to use his Quirk. The telltale tentacles started to appear. 

Things went wrong almost immediately. The tentacles burst out into the open, waving wildly and hitting the cement posts. Nedzu could see Midoriya flinch. 

Then the tentacles turned around. They wrapped themselves around Midoriya, making him disappeared. Nedzu jolted forward, Cementoss already moving the ground to try and extract his student. 

Nedzu’s steps stuttered to a stop when Midoriya just…disappeared. Not a trace of his student nor his Quirk left. Nothing. The cement receded back into the floor, leaving two stunned pro heroes and a missing student. 

A thousand scenarios ran through Nedzu’s head. He cautiously walked closer, keeping his senses alert for any danger. There was nothing there . Where had his student gone

“Uh, Nedzu-sensei?”

Nedzu’s head whipped around. His ears swiveling to pinpoint where the sound had come from. 

There, another noise. But…it was above him?

Nedzu looked up to the ceiling. Lo and behold, there was his student. Midoriya was sitting in the rafters, clinging to one of the beams. He looked just as confused as Nedzu felt. 

“Nedzu-sensei, are you and Cementoss ok?” Midoriya called down.

“We’re fine, Midoriya. How did you get up there?”

“I have no idea! I was just trying to control my Quirk and then it tried to eat me ! I was thinking I just wanted to be away from it, and the next thing I knew I was up here!”

“Can you get down?” Cementoss yelled up.

“Yeah, just- just give me a minute.”

Nedzu hummed, and relaxed. His student was smart, and he was ok. Midoriya would probably get over to the wall and use his claws to slide down. They hadn’t practiced that yet, but Midoriya had been able to shift stronger claws already. 

Nedzu proceeded to nearly choke on air as his student shifted into a green cat, and leapt off the rafters into the open air. Cementoss was a bit too shocked to move and catch Midoriya. Not that it would have been extremely useful, since cement is in no way a soft landing. 

He was mildly surprised when Midoriya flipped midair, righting himself, and landed with hardly a sound. He shook out his fur before turning back into a human. There wasn’t a sign of trauma from a hard landing. 

“Midoriya, was that necessary?” Cementoss signed in exasperation, one hand over his heart. 

“What? I got down, and I really didn’t want to, to dislocate my shoulders sliding down the wall. It’s also metal, so I didn’t, didn’t want to hurt your ears.”

“Thoughtful,” Nedzu hummed, “but please give more warning the next time you jump from two stories up, Midoriya. Even if cats do land on their feet.”

“S-sorry, Sensei.”

“It’s alright, you didn’t get hurt. Now, do you have any idea as to why you did…whatever that was?”

“I, I think I teleported? I guess my Quirk activated since…”

Midoriya trailed off, not meeting either hero’s eyes. Well, that wasn’t good. 

“Since you’re what, Midoriya?”

“M-my arm. I, I hurt my, my arm earlier.”

“Ah, that explain it then. Your Quirk must have acted on the assumption that there was a danger that hurt you, thus getting you away from it.”

“P-probably.”

“However, you should not have attended training if you were injured, Midoriya. We’re going to visit Recovery Girl before we resume.”

“Th-that’s really not necessary!” 

Nedzu stopped, tilting his head. That was the voice of someone with something to hide. Children were not usually adept at lying, Midoriya seemed to be no exception. He wondered what he had to lie about though. An injury was an injury that needed to be healed, simple as that. 

“I don’t, I don’t want to bother her,” Midoriya said, quieter this time. “I’m not even a, a real student here. I can keep going, Nedzu-sensei, it’s ok.”

“I insist Midoriya, Recovery Girl has been wanting to meet you anyway. I wouldn’t be a very good teacher if I made you continue while injured, now would I.”

Midoriya hesitated, but nodded. He shuffled towards the doors alongside Nedzu without further protesting. The principal found it odd that he tried to cover himself with the lie, but brushed it off. His student hadn’t showed he was in any danger before. It would be fine. 

~~~~~

Izuku was resigned to the inevitable. Recovery Girl would see the burn and tell Nedzu. The principal would probably…actually, Izuku had no idea what the principal would do. He wouldn’t exactly bully him too, since he himself was a creature people discriminated against. Didn’t stop Izuku’s mind from spitting out reason after reason why he would refuse to keep teaching Izuku. 

The walk to Recovery Girl’s office was a relatively short one. It was on the first floor, since it was mostly hero students that got hurt and had to be carted to her. There were always the occasional support student that blew themselves up or business student that got into another fistfight over marketing, but hero students were the most common. For obvious reasons. 

They knocked before coming in. Izuku had to try really hard not to squeal and fanboy the instant he saw the heroine. She was just so cool . Healing Quirks were incredibly rare, though less so than warp Quirks. 

“Hello there, deary, you must be Midoriya.”

Izuku nodded feverishly. Recovery Girl chuckled, getting up from her desk to come closer to them. 

“And what’s the problem with this one, Nedzu?”

“He has an injured arm, ma’am. His Quirk acted out because of it.”

“Ah, yes, that would definitely be a problem. Let me see it, sonny.”

Izuku hesitated, but let Recovery Girl grab his arm. He bit back a yelp when her hand grazed the angry red burn. She mumbled something to herself, then kissed his wrist. The pain instantly faded, and his skin returned to normal. The imprint of a hand gone from his arm when he looked down at it. Of all the burns he had gotten, this one had been minor in comparison to begin with. 

The adults, however, didn’t see it that way. Recovery Girl looked worried as she shooed them out of her office. Nedzu hadn’t said anything, but Izuku knew he saw the burn. It wasn’t hard to miss when his arm was on display. Now it was just a matter of what the principal was going to do. 

Nedzu wordlessly lead Izuku back outside. He sat himself on the stairs, staring out at the UA grounds. Izuku followed his lead, pulling his knees to his chest. Why did it feel like his blood had turned to molasses? 

“Does the human bullying you know you’re a Flerken?”

Izuku jolted. Of everything, that hadn’t been the question he was expecting. 

“N-no, sir. He, he doesn’t.”

“Then I assume it is because of you being an alleged cat morph? They are not renowned for being the strongest.”

Izuku nodded silently. Kacchan had his reasons. Izuku was as good as a cat morph anyway. He wasn’t strong, couldn’t do more than walk quietly. It wasn’t even before a few months ago he learned he could half-shift. Kacchan was still insistent he couldn’t be a hero. Not while being a worthless, useless cat .

He was crying, Izuku realized belatedly. He scrubbed at his face, knowing it was too late to hide it from Nedzu. Maybe he really wasn’t meant to be a hero if he still cried so easily. 

“Which student was it.” 

Izuku looked up sharply. In the time he had known Nedzu, he had never had that much steel in his voice. His teacher had always been calm and collected. This was the first time Izuku was hearing him angry. 

“M-more than, than one,” Izuku said softly. After all this time, he still wasn’t willing to take any revenge on Kacchan and his other bullies. “They, they didn’t, they don’t deserve to, to-“

“Midoriya, they hurt you for being presumed weaker. If they wish to be heroes, then they must learn first.”

“That’s why, why they should be, be allowed to go, go where they want. Schools are for, for learning, right?”

“…Yes, they are, but that does not make it right. You are aware I could just look at the school security tapes, correct?”

“I know, but then you’d have to explain why you did it. I don’t think you’d want to go through the effort of doing that.”

He knew he guessed right when Nedzu started chuckling. It was nice, knowing he was actually good at something. Even if that thing was convincing his teacher not to “accidentally” get his bullies blacklisted from all hero schools. 

“Well then, would you like to continue practicing, Midoriya? I’m curious about that teleportation.”

Izuku got to his feet, grinning once again. He raced off back to the gym, his teacher following at a walking pace. He was still a kid, after all. He was excited to discover something new. And since that thing was being able to teleport ? Heck yeah!

~~~~~

Bzz Bzz

Inko picked up her phone with one hand, pulling a bag of flour closer with the other. Izuku was in his room doing homework, so the apartment was quiet. 

“Hello?”

Ah, good evening Mrs. Midoriya ,” Nedzu’s voice chirped through the phone. Inko set aside her cooking for a moment. 

“Good evening, Mr. Nedzu. May I ask why you’re calling?”

I will get straight to the point, Mrs. Midoriya. I wish to take young Izuku as my personal student.

Inko nearly dropped the phone. “You want to, what?”

Teach young Izuku. It’s come to my attention that he isn’t getting sufficient tutelage in his current school. If you would allow it, I would like to take over his studies instead.

“May I…may I ask why this is coming up now?”

He came to lessons with a burn, Mrs. Midoriya. One in the shape of a handprint. ” Inko felt like all the air had disappeared from her lungs. Only one person she knew could do that. But…but why? Why would little Katsuki do such a thing to Izuku? They had been such good friends, once upon a time. Inko herself was still friends with Mitsuki. “ Your son is exceedingly smart, Mrs. Midoriya. I want to assure that he has that encouraged.

“I, I know he’s intelligent. He never, he never told me anything past that he was having minor problems at school.”

“I t’s not my place to tell you everything, Mrs. Midoriya, but please consider what I have said.

“Y-yes, I will. Thank you, Nedzu.”

Have a good evening, Mrs. Midoriya.”

Inko set her phone on the counter. 

Izuku was bullied. By little Katsuki nonetheless. There were so many questions she had. Why hadn’t her son told her anything? Why was he bullied? He didn’t tell people he was a Flerken, she knew that. So why?

Either way, she had an offer to consider. But if it would help keep her son safe, then the decision was already made.

Chapter Text

Izuku learned he was being taught solely by Nedzu the morning after the principal called his mom. It was…a lot to take in. He wasn’t going to normal school anymore? No more bullies? No more Kacchan ?

It was a lot. Especially since that meant he was technically going to UA now. Nedzu would undoubtedly be an amazing teacher, he already was. That didn’t mean Izuku wasn’t nervous walking into UA on Monday. He looked really out of place, not having a uniform and all.

The halls weren’t especially crowded, not since Izuku got there after normal classes started. He was suddenly thankful Nedzu had insisted he start an hour later than the high schoolers. Of the three people he saw, none stopped him, just looked at him weird. That in itself still made him want to curl into a ball and hide. He didn’t, but he was close. On a related note, UA had some nice sunbeams that came through the windows. 

Nedzu’s office was on the top floor. It was a pretty big room, having its own sitting area and stove to make tea. Nedzu’s desk, and chairs opposite it, sitting towards the back of the room. The entire back wall was made of windows too. Knowing Nedzu, there were probably parachutes hidden somewhere. Being on the top floor made a good vantage point as well as an escape route. Along with another reason, but Izuku didn’t want to dive down that rabbit hole. 

The principal himself was sitting at his desk. Papers scattered with no obvious rhyme or reason. Izuku figured the principal would be the only one to know if there was a pattern or not. 

“Ah, there you are, Midoriya. Right on time. Are you ready for our first lesson?”

“Yes, Nedzu-sensei!”

 

“Have you read this book before, Midoriya?”

“No sir.”

“Alright then, reading it will be your homework for this week. We will discuss what you read next Monday.”

“I assume you’ve learned a bit of chemistry?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good. Now, we’re going to learn how to make chlorine gas with cleaning products.”

 

“Is it really ok to set this on fire?”

“Of course. Just keep the gloves on.”

 

“And what happened in 2019?”

“The Area 51 rebellion in the US.”

“Correct. And remember, they did not in fact find aliens, but nuclear weaponry.”

 

“Is this how I solve it?”

“Yes, very well done, Midoriya. That math problem was giving even the second years trouble.”

~~~~~

Tsume liked UA. It was the best hero school in the country, how could they not? The teachers were all pros, they learned how to control their Quirks even better than before, and injuries were never a problem since Recovery Girl worked there. It helped that most of the people in their class, 1-B, were friendly. 

Heroics class was their favorite though, for obvious reasons. The teacher was an old hero who was going to retire soon. His hero name was Gengar, and he could become a shadow. Not like darkness, but he could literally become someone’s shadow to follow them. He was underground, so not a lot of people had heard of him. Tsume thought he was cool though. Good at teaching them to fight too. 

Gengar-sensei also liked to send kids on errands. Nothing big, usually just messages to Nedzu or something. Tsume was chosen for one such adventure today. All they had to do was deliver a note to Nedzu in his office. Meh, at least they weren’t getting tossed across the training yard again. 

The walk to Nedzu’s office was quiet. Everyone was in class, so of course it was. Tsume thanked whoever had designed UA that they there were elevators. Climbing ten flights of stairs did not sound pleasant. 

Tsume knocked on the door once they reached it. The talking from inside stopped, replaced with Nedzu saying they could come in. Tsume very carefully opened the door.

Inside was Nedzu and a little green-haired kid standing over a table. There were beakers of various colors in a neat line, and a Bunsen Burner. There was also a stack of empty cleaning supplies bottles? The two were wearing gloves and safety goggles at least.

“Uh, I have a note, Nedzu-sensei.”

“Ah, from Gengar I presume,” Nedzu hummed, stepping around the table. “I’ll go ahead and take that.”

Tsume nodded, handing over the note. One of the liquids started to spark. The green kid blinked down at it curiously. 

“Nedzu-sensei, is it supposed to do that?” The green kid asked. 

“Hm? Oh, that means it’s going to explode. Put the blast shield over it please.”

Nedzu said everything very calmly. Tsume stood there staring as the kid that was probably a middle schooler, put a thick glass dome over the sparking liquid. A moment later it exploded, but silently from inside the dome. 

“Huh, didn’t know that would happen. Can we try it again?”

“Of course, Midoriya. You may go back to class, Ms. Yubi.”

Tsume nodded numbly, and retreated from the room as fast as socially acceptable. Once down the hall they sprinted . The faster they got away from the kid and principal blowing things up the better. 

What was going on in this school?!

~~~~~

So far, Izuku liked being taught by Nedzu. He was learning a lot more than he had in his former middle school. Quite a bit of it was more useful for being a hero, and adult in general, than the other stuff he had been learning. Nedzu had even showed him how to hot-wire a car!

It was the end of Friday, right after he finished his last lesson of the week. Honestly, it had been one of the best weeks of his life. He got to learn from one of the smartest beings on Earth, and no one bullied him. Izuku also left late enough to avoid Kacchan. 

None of the UA students had confronted him either. Some gave him weird looks, but that was the extent of it. Maybe Nedzu had warned the classes or something, but either way Izuku was grateful. 

The hallways of the school were once again silent. The normal students had left already, and the teachers were doing whatever they needed to finish before going home. Izuku had seen Aizawa around the halls a few times, but hadn’t gotten to speak with him much. 

Izuku was actually smiling after the school-week for once. He never realized how often he went home with new bruises until they weren’t from bullies. Any bruises he had now were from trying to control his Quirk. There had been progress, but not much.

He stopped when he heard a noise. A weird scraping sound. In a very silent hall, it stuck out like teal on a gray background. Izuku looked up and down the hall, but didn’t see anything. 

Izuku shrugged, and kept walking. It was probably just something from the support department that echoed. At any rate, Izuku needed to get to the train station before it got too late. He pulled out his phone to make sure his mom didn’t text before he left.

“Hey Midoriya!”

Izuku looked up from his phone. There…wasn’t anyone in the hall.

He yelped as a heavy weight crashed onto him from above. Izuku was standing one second, and the next he was tasting the floor. He thrashed under whatever was sitting on him.

Something alive, apparently, since it laughed and rolled off of him. Izuku grumbled, but rolled over so he could see.

Hitoshi was sitting on the ground a few feet from Izuku. Aizawa’s son, Izuku remembered. Who had just jumped at him from…somewhere. 

“Ha! Finally got you.” Hitoshi smirked, getting back to his feet. He offered Izuku a hand. “You’re not hurt, right?”

Izuku took the hand and stood too. “I’m ok. Where did you even come from?”

“The ceiling.”

Izuku stopped, glancing up at Hitoshi. He was pointing above their heads with his smirk still in place. Sure enough, there was an open vent grate above their heads. Huh.

“And why did you jump me from the ceiling?”

“Payback.” Hitoshi shrugged, like it was the simplest thing in the world. “I haven’t been able to catch you before now anyway.”

“I said I was sorry,” Izuku whined, hiding his face in his hands. 

“Yeah, yeah, I know. You have to get to the station, right? Mind if I walk with you?”

Izuku’s brain more-or-less short-circuited. He had never had people offer that. Well, he did once upon a time, but that had ended with him getting blown up on multiple occasions. Hitoshi didn’t seem to have an ulterior motive, but that didn’t mean a thing. Not when he’d been hurt so much before. 

Hitoshi must have noticed, because he spoke up again. “Hey, I’m just offering. If you don’t want me to I’ll stay here.”

“N-no, it’s ok. I just, just don’t h-have very good experiences with, with being offered th-that.”

“Oh.” Hitoshi’s face twisted for a second, but smoothed out the next. “Well then you don’t have good friends.”

“Try none,” Izuku muttered. 

“Guess we have more in common than I thought. So, want to walk to the station?”

“S-sure, but won’t your dad w-worry?”

“Nah, he knows what I’m doing.”

Izuku nodded, leading the way out of UA. Hitoshi followed quietly, just looking around at everything. They reached the gates and began walking down the sidewalk.

“What did, did you mean, when you said we had more in common than, than you thought?” Izuku asked, not liking the silence between them. 

“I don’t have friends either. They’re too scared of what I might do to them.”

Izuku glanced at Hitoshi curiously. He sort of just looked like a tired purple panda, why would anyone be scared of him?

He became aware he said that out loud when Hitoshi barked a laugh. Whoops. Izuku buried his red face in his hands. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s ok.” Hitoshi fell quiet for a moment, looking like he was thinking over something. “I’m a Siren.”

Izuku lit up. Hitoshi almost stumbled when he turned to look at him. 

“Really?! That’s so cool! What type of Siren? Is that why your eyes are purple? What can you do? Do you want to be a hero too? You’d make a cool one. Are you related to Present Mic? Can you sing really good? Can-”

Hitoshi covered Izuku’s mouth with his hand, effectively stopping his rambling. Izuku glanced over, and his face was red. Good, they were even now. He uncovered Izuku’s mouth after a second. 

“You think…you think I could be a hero?”

“Yeah, why wouldn’t you be? Definitely a better one than me, anyway.”

“I will cover your mouth again, don’t tempt me. You’ll be an amazing hero and if you bad mouth yourself again I will drag my Pop over here to lecture you about self-worth.”

They held eye contact for a moment, before bursting into laughter on the sidewalk. Izuku was smiling so much more lately. It was nice. 

“Seriously though, what can you do? Siren’s have a big range of Quirks.”

“I can…I can control people if they respond to a question.”

Izuku clapped a hand over his mouth before he went on another muttering spree. There were so many questions he wanted to ask, but not enough time. He could already see the station up ahead. 

Hitoshi’s expression dropped. Izuku very quickly realized his mistake, and might have gone a bit overboard trying to fix it.

“I’m not scared of your Quirk, don’t worry! I just have so many questions and I don’t want to annoy you and there isn’t enough time and you’re Quirk just sounds so cool and oh no I’m rambling again.” Izuku took a deep breath, not missing the shocked expression on Hitoshi’s face. “Sorry. Y-you already know I’m a, a Flerken, so if anyone’s going to, to be scared of your Quirk it’s not me.”

“O-oh…ok.”

“Anyway, I have to go. Do you want to exchange numbers so we can talk?”

Hitoshi handed over his phone without saying anything. Izuku put in his number, before cheerfully waving goodbye. He watched his new friend (?) wave back, then turn back to UA. 

It wasn’t until halfway home that Izuku realized he just made a friend. And that he still didn’t know Hitoshi’s actual name.

Chapter Text

The end of the school year was approaching quickly, and Izuku had improved so much in that time. He still didn’t have as much control over his Quirk like normal kids his age, but it was a far cry from where he had started. 

They had…a few mishaps, in that time. Mostly when people had decided scaring Izuku was a good idea. That either ended in them having to hit the deck to avoid claws, or they got eaten. Izuku always spit them out quickly and apologized. 

The most memorable was when Midnight snuck up on him. She had apparently wanted to give him a hug, but Izuku hadn’t known that. The instant she touched him he spun around, and accidentally ate the hero. When he spit her back out a cloud of her Quirk came with her. It tasted weird. Not that he had very long to think that, since he was knocked out a second later. 

Hitoshi and him were good friends now too. He did in fact learn his name. It was Shinsou, and was Aizawa and Present Mic (Hizashi Yamada, he learned, and proceeded to freak out over knowing the hero’s real name) adopted son. 

Shinsou taught him how to hide in the vents. There were blankets and food stashes if you went far enough. It was no wonder he hid in there a lot. As long as he didn’t accidentally fall to the next floor, he was good. Izuku didn’t have that problem. He could turn into a cat and fall safely. It also meant space wasn’t a problem. Shinsou complained about it not being fair, since he had to crawl on his stomach to get around the vents. 

Nedzu had also been an amazing teacher. Izuku already knew everything he was required to, on top of skills he could use in the real world. Like how to make good tea and how to create acid from common cleaning supplies. The standardized tests were a breeze, especially compared to Nedzu’s Hell Test.

Izuku was excited for whatever the next year would bring. Mostly because Aizawa promised to start teaching him to fight. Izuku wasn’t scrawny, but he wasn’t exactly muscular either. Hopefully that could change soon. Shinsou was still going to a different school, but he would join them to spar sometimes. It sounded exciting in Izuku’s opinion. 

For now, he was still trying to get full control of his Quirk. It didn’t usually lash out anymore, which was really good. Sometimes it listened and other times Izuku’s Quirk seemed to have a mind of its own. Nedzu proposed that it was because of the circumstances it appeared and how long he repressed it. Both entirely plausible. Unfortunately, they couldn’t exactly ask the Quirk. 

His shifting has gotten even better too. Izuku could focus on certain aspects and improve them even further. He could hear even better than Nedzu if he enhanced his ears. That had resulted in him accidentally hunting Shinsou again, but they both laughed it off this time. Aizawa-sensei got yet another video of it. Izuku would be embarrassed if he didn’t know his mom had a dozen videos just like that. At least they hadn’t used a laser pointer like Mom did when he was a kit. 

Either way, in another week, he would be done with his first year of middle school. Over the break he would dedicate time to controlling his Quirk more. His goal was complete control, or at least close, by the time of UA’s entrance exam. Izuku was curious how that was even going to work. He knew it was robots, so would he just eat them? Would the points count if he just spat them out again once the exam was done? It sounded ridiculously easy for physical Quirks in his opinion. If he hadn’t learned the other half of his Quirk then he would’ve been going in there with only shifting. As good as his claws were, they couldn’t destroy metal robots. 

Nedzu had given him homework for the weekend. It wasn’t especially hard stuff, but Mom probably wouldn’t appreciate him hijacking their dish soap for an experiment. A stop to the store before going home then, he decided. Not the same one he had gotten held at knifepoint. It was in the opposite direction and one he’d been to a lot in elementary school. 

Izuku popped in his headphones along the way, turning on Present Mic’s radio. It was a bit weird knowing the man, and being friends with his son, but the station was still his favorite. He hummed along as he walked down the sidewalk. 

Call it honed senses, instincts, whatever you want, but Izuku knew something was coming. Something dangerous. It was like something was crawling up his back and setting all his hair on end. Izuku didn’t even know what was setting him off, but everything looked normal. All he was doing was walking towards the store that was hardly fifty feet away. There weren't even many other people on the street. 

He did his best to shake the feeling off. It might mean something, but he needed supplies. That was it. Nothing much could go wrong in the five minutes it would take in that store.

Izuku pushed through it and got what he needed. Nothing out of the ordinary happened inside. There was an old lady shopping and another teenager working the register. No villains, no knives, and certainly no destruction. It was…normal. 

So why did he feel like bolting home?

Izuku took his bags and headed towards home once he finished. There still weren’t many people on the streets, but that wasn’t unusual. Especially since it had been maybe ten minutes since he was last out. 

Bag in hand, he speed-walked down the street. Even if it really was nothing, that didn’t stop his adrenaline from thinking it was a threat. Izuku found himself unconsciously readying his Quirk. 

“Hey, Deku .”

Izuku froze, his slitted eyes widening in fear. The bag in his hand crinkled with how tight he was suddenly gripping it.  He hardly dared to breathe as footsteps echoed from the alley at his back, coming closer. 

“Thought you could hide from me, huh ?”

Izuku remembered the last time they had talked. He had thrown himself out a window, then never came back to school. Kacchan hadn’t been able to find him until now. Izuku had foolishly hoped he never would.

He finally figured out to make his mouth move again. “I, I wasn’t h-hiding.”

“Then where’ve you been, Cat ?” Kacchan spat.

“Th-that’s none of, of your b-business K-Kacchan.”

Izuku flinched as Kacchan’s palms crackled. He finally turned around, facing his…his bully. That’s what he was. He wasn’t a hero, not really. Not yet. 

“Do we need to have a talk , Deku?”

“Th-there’s other, other people here, K-Kacchan. They’ll call the, the police.”

Izuku met Kacchan’s eyes, seeing how they burned with hatred. It was so much like his Quirk, crackling and fiery. He didn’t flinch away though. Izuku stood his ground, hoping he wouldn’t get another burn scar today. 

“And what’ll they do? I’m just a concerned hero-to-be making sure a civilian stays safe,” Kacchan said, but it sounded more like a threat to Izuku. He didn’t believe it for a moment.

“L-leave me alone, Kacchan.”

“Then tell me where the fuck you’ve been, Cat, or I won’t hesitate to remind you where your place is.”

Izuku didn’t like this. He wanted to go home and talk with Shinsou and eat dinner with his mom. Not try and defuse the bomb that was Katsuki Bakugou. He just wanted to do his homework and wonder what Nedzu and Aizawa-sensei had planned for him next year. Why did he have to be stuck here?

He remembered that last day at his old school. It almost felt like something in him crumbled. Not shattered, not suddenly broken, just crumbled away. Something a longtime coming finally disappearing. Only now did he realize it was his respect for Kacchan. Well, no, he still respected him, to an extent. It was more his idolization of his former friend that was gone. 

Kacchan was a bully. Plain and simple. Izuku didn’t like bullies, but he had following Kacchan for so long. Too long. 

“Why do you want to be a hero?”

Izuku’s voice was barely there. Small and quiet, but enough to be heard on the silent street. 

“What kinda stupid question is that.”

Izuku sighed, loosening his grip on the bag in his hand. “Why do you want to be a hero, if all you’ve ever done is act like a villain?”

Izuku saw Kacchan’s eyes blow wide, sparks dancing in his palms. He took a single step backwards. Sparks meant fire and fire meant pain, so Izuku got farther away from it. 

“I’M NO VILLAIN! THE FUCK ARE YOU BLABBERING ABOUT!”

“Heroes don’t beat others down. Heroes save people.” Izuku paused, mulling over the words bouncing around his head. “You’re no hero, Kacchan.”

“I AM A HERO! I’M GOING TO BE THE BEST DAMN HERO THE WORLD HAS SEEN! I’LL BEAT ALL MIGHT AND BE NUMBER ONE. YOU’RE JUST A STUPID CAT THAT DOESN’T KNOW ANYTHING!”

“Then why are you trying to hard to justify yourself?”

“I’M NOT! I SHOULD-“

“Should what, Kacchan? Blow me up? Make me bloody and bruised like you’ve done for years? Bully me like you have since we were five ?”

“I, I’m-“

“Before you’re a hero, try being a better person, Kacchan. What I do is none of your business, it never was.”

“Deku-“

Izuku turned away. He still had to get home, after all. 

Izuku paused. He was going to say ‘goodbye, Kacchan,’ but this wasn’t really his Kacchan anymore, not really. His Kacchan had been the little kid that played in the park with him before they got their Quirks. He was the hero that Izuku had idolized most of his life. 

This was the person that had bullied Izuku for almost ten years. The person who had given him starburst scars on his skin and more bruises than he could count. This wasn’t his friend.

When he spoke again, it was with a note of finality. 

“Goodbye, Katsuki.”

Izuku walked away, and didn’t look back.

Chapter Text

Izuku didn’t see Katsuki again after that day. Neither wanted to see the other anyway. Not even they knew what would happen if they crossed paths again. Probably a lot of explosions and possibly someone getting eaten. 

He dedicated himself to his training. Not that he hadn’t before, but now he wasn’t worried about what Kacchan Katsuki would do at school. Izuku was finally realizing how strong he was, and not just physically. 

True to his word, Aizawa-sensei began teaching him to fight in his second year of middle school. Shinsou joined them sometimes, and those sparring matches could go either way. Aizawa was a good teacher though. He told them what they did wrong and helped them do it correctly without sounding nit-picky or degrading. Izuku loved having him as a teacher.

Izuku was already pretty strong, but learning to fight improved his strength even farther. He watched as his friend bulked up too, though both of them could still fit in the vents. Shinsou and him found it fun to scare some of the normal students if they were both there during a school day. More than once, Izuku had been in the middle of a lesson with Nedzu when a student ran in to ask if the school was haunted. He thought he did a good job of hiding his giggling. 

Luckily, Nedzu found it funny too. He even gave them advice on what to do. Izuku and Shinsou just shrugged and went with it. Almost no one could tell why the principal did what he did anyway. 

It was during that year that he finally gained control over his Quirk. It had gotten easier and easier for him to make it not lash out, and he could move it where he wanted to now. There was still so much to work on, but he wasn’t a danger anymore. Izuku wasn’t going to hurt anyone now. Although tentacles still tried to escape when someone scared him. That usually just resulted in it looking like he ate an octopus though. 

Nedzu-sensei said he was proud of him. Izuku thought he might combust on the spot. 

Instead he ended up teleporting to the gym roof.

Over the rest of the day, every hero that worked there popped into Nedzu’s office to congratulate him. Izuku swore his face was never going to be it’s normal color again. Especially when Aizawa came in, patted him on the head, and told him he did a good job. He teleported to UA’s roof on accident, again , when he did that. 

Teleporting had to be worked on, evidently. Izuku still wanted to test his storing limits too. Could he carry a certain weight in his pocket dimension thing before he had to stop? Theoretically, could he eat an entire building if it was skinny enough? 

Also, what happened to people he ate? They were obviously still conscious, but was there air? Midnight said she had been a bit too freaked out to check last time, and Izuku wasn’t too keen on eating any more people on purpose.

They still had so much to work on, but Izuku was happy. He focused on honing his skills and adding new ones, hand to hand combat being one of those. Aizawa-sensei and Shinsou were more than happy to help him with it. 

Although Shinsou probably just liked tackling him onto the mats. 

“Last round of today,” Aizawa-sensei’s voice rang out over the gym. “3, 2, 1, begin!”

Izuku darted forward, using his small height as an advantage. Shinsou braced where he was, guard up. They mostly knew how the other worked by now.

Izuku feinted to the side, scoring a punch. Shinsou hissed, but swung his own arm out. Izuku ducked, trying for a kick at his friend’s legs. 

Shinsou didn’t bother to dodge. He jumped and dove for Izuku, who yelped in surprise as the two went tumbling. Neither saw much as they rolled over each other on the floor. It was more playful wrestling instead of sparring now. 

“Alright, that’s enough.”

Izuku and Shinsou flopped onto the floor at Aizawa’s words. Both had smiles on their faces. So far, it had been a good day. What’s more therapeutic than getting to wrestle with your friend inside a hero school?

“We’re done for today,” Aizawa said, leaning over them. 

“Hey Dad, can Midoriya and I go get ice cream?” Shinsou asked from the floor. 

Aizawa nodded, fishing for something in his many pockets. He pulled out string, buttons, and keys, with increasing annoyance, before he finally found his wallet. The two boys watched and tried not to laugh. 

“Here,” said Aizawa, handing money to Shinsou. “Just be back before the time we usually leave.”

“Cool. Thanks Dad.”

Shinsou hauled Izuku off the floor. Not exactly hard, considering how small he was. Something he was going to be bitter about until he got taller. 

They chattered away on their route into the city, UA growing smaller in the distance as they went. Izuku knew a good place for ice cream somewhere nearby, so he led the way. The topic turned to their favorite flavors as the door chimed their entrance. 

“I can’t believe you actually like that stuff.”

“Well excuse me for being cultured,” Shinsou scoffed, playfully shoving Izuku’s shoulder. 

“It’s not cultured if it’s disgusting.”

“Australians have something so disgusting that people eat it as a challenge. I think a little pistachio ice cream is fine.”

“But it’s green !”

“So is your hair, you dork. All Might themed ice cream isn’t much better.”

“I was right, you are uncultured.”

Shinsou squawked in fake indignation. Izuku just laughed, moving to the counter to grab their ice cream. His friend joined in on their way outside. There were tables, and it was nice out anyway. 

“I’m just saying, Present Mic would be a very effective dog whistle if he could change his frequency.”

“Oh believe me, Pop tried. He broke every window on the street. Pretty sure Dad was answering annoyed dog owners for a week after that.”

Izuku’s head hit the table as he cackled. The mental image of Present Mic, one of his favorite heroes, and a hero he knew personally now, acting as a very loud and high pitched car alarm was utterly hilarious to him.  

“I can’t- I can’t believe-

“Princess also scratched Pop when he tried it.”

Their ice cream was forgotten in favor of laughing at funny stories they knew. Izuku told one of when he had accidentally turned into a kitten in the middle of class. He had been in second grade, and the little girls had claimed him as the class pet. The boys were jealous, despite all of them being seven. 

Shinsou told Izuku about the time Aizawa strung Yamada up from the gym rafters when they were still students. Also how that was because his parents weren’t especially good at the whole feelings thing. 

It was fun. Izuku loved having a friend he could laugh and joke around with. He loved having an actual friend instead of a false idol he followed after. 

“Well, well, well, what do we have here?”

Izuku went rigid. No no no no no. He knew that voice. He knew it. He didn’t want to know it. 

“A villain, sitting amongst the sheep,” they drawled. 

Izuku heard them stepping closer, but he couldn’t see them. They were at his back. Bad, his mind screamed. Never turn your back. Never let them out of sight. Never never never. 

He glanced up, seeing Shinsou flinch. Anyone else might not have noticed it, but Izuku did. That was the moment he realized the bully wasn’t here for him, but Shinsou. They had never called Izuku a villain. Plenty of other insults, but never villain.

“You know, when my cousin told me he had a villain in his class, I wasn’t expecting to see them around town. Wonder if I should call a hero. Save us all the trouble.”

Shinsou didn’t move. He didn’t look up from the table either. Izuku saw him tense as the footsteps came closer. 

“So, ya gonna say something, villain ?”

Suddenly, Izuku’s fear disappeared. Because he could be bullied all day, but the minute his friend was threatened, he’d fight back. No one deserved what he had gone through. Especially Shinsou. 

“Leave him alone, Hidoi,” Izuku said quietly. 

“Wait wait wait, Deku ? Are you serious?!” Hidoi burst out laughing where he stood. 

Izuku got to his feet, and turned to face the bully. 

“Oh ya know what? You two are perfect for each other! One a villain and one useless and weak! A match made in heaven .”

“He’s n-“

“Ah ah ah. One word villain and I can call a hero here.” Hidoi smirked. Shinsou growled, but didn’t say anything more. “Seriously can’t believe my luck. After all this, I finally found our favorite punching bag.”

“Leave, Hidoi, before I make you.”

“And whatcha gonna do, cat boy? Meow me to death?”

Izuku wanted to show him. He wanted to let everything loose and show his bullies once and for all that he wasn’t weak. Even if it was technically illegal to use his Quirk on the street, he wanted to show that he wasn’t a punching bag or something to toy with. He was strong now. He had power and control. 

Mostly, he just wanted to protect his friend. Shinsou didn’t deserve any of this. He was strong and kind and liked to watch cat videos at midnight. Hidoi was annoying and knew how to play with words. His Quirk wasn’t especially powerful, and neither was he. All it would take is one punch. One swung and he’d run with his tail between his legs. 

“Midoriya, it’s not worth it,” Shinsou whispered sharply. Izuku didn’t look back at him.

“Yeah, run away, Cat . Just a scared little kitty.”

Izuku growled at Hidoi, the noise akin to a car engine. The boy obviously hadn’t been expecting it, judging by the way he took a step back. It wasn’t worth getting in trouble, Shinsou was right, but he couldn’t walk away unpunished. 

Izuku let himself half-shift. His ears immediately went back, his hands turned to claws, and he grew fangs. He made sure to show them when he smiled at Hidoi. 

“Maybe I am a cat, but you know what, Hidoi?” Izuku cooed, edging closer. He knew his green eyes were narrowed to slits. “Lions and tigers are cats too.”

Izuku hissed, and the bully yelped. Hidoi turned tail and ran right then and there. Izuku didn’t stop glaring until he was out of sight. As soon as he was, he let himself go back to normal and breathe a sigh of relief. 

“Midoriya, you ok?”

“I’m fine. I- he- I knew h-him. From my, my old school.”

“He called you Deku.”

“Nickname from my, my childhood…friend. It’s another way of, of reading my name.”

“It also means useless though, doesn’t it? What friend would call you that.”

“He’s not, he’s not my friend anymore. We’ve been avoiding each other for, for almost a, a year now. And Nedzu teaches me, so I, I don’t have to, to worry about bullies.”

“But you used to.”

“You do too.” Izuku stared unflinching at Shinsou. “Do they hurt you?”

Shinsou sighed, knowing Izuku wouldn’t drop it. “No. Everyone mostly just ignores me. They don’t know how my Quirk works, so better safe than sorry, I guess.”

Izuku paused for a moment, before walking around the table to the other side. He sat down and leaned against his friend without a word. A silent comfort. 

They left that place knowing not everything was better yet, but it would be one day. They had each other as friends, so they weren’t alone anymore. One day, they’d be heroes. They’d show people they were strong and trustworthy. 

And Izuku couldn’t wait for that day. 

Chapter Text

The second year of middle school went just as fast as the first. Before he knew it Izuku was turning in his final test and going home for the small break between years. He still hadn’t crossed paths with Katsuki, which was…good. Honestly, he didn’t know what he would do if they ever did have to interact again. 

Shinsou and him had only grown closer. It wasn’t uncommon for Aizawa to crawl into the vents and find them asleep with a movie still playing on one of their phones. A blanket was usually wrapped around them too.

(Aizawa had always been confused on why Nedzu insisted on such big vents, and vent junctions that looked like a mini room inside the ceiling. Still didn't,  if anything, but at least the boys were having fun) 

The teachers at UA had more or less adopted Izuku. Midnight gave him snacks between classes, Cementoss helped him with readings Nedzu assigned, and Present Mic gave him tips on English. If he ever looked sad he had at least half a dozen adopted aunts and uncles asking what was wrong. Izuku never would’ve thought this would be his life. Even now it was hard for him to believe. 

UA exams would be taking place this year. Izuku knew he’d do ok in it, but he was still worried. What if he got scared and hurt someone on accident? What if he teleported into a wall? There were so many variables that could make everything go wrong really quickly. Especially considering what he could do. 

The recommended and support exams would be held earlier though. Izuku was interested to see who would be taking them. One was supposed to be Endeavor’s son apparently. That would be cool to watch. 

He didn’t quite know what he was going to do himself, so he brought it up to Nedzu on his first lesson back. 

“Hm, I’m recommending you, of course.”

Izuku choked on his tea. Of all the responses, that was not one he was expecting. “You’re what ?”

“Recommending you. You are my student, Midoriya, and have been for almost three years. Not many can keep up with me, so that is a feat in and of itself.”

“Y-yeah, but me ? Go up against the other recommendation students? Sir, I don’t think I can do that.”

“Oh, but I never said you would take the recommendation exam . You are my personal student, Midoriya. That comes with certain advantages, such as taking a different exam to get into the school.”

“And, and you’re wasting it on me?”

“Wasting? No, I am giving my personal student a way into the school while still letting others in.” Nedzu’s black eyes gleamed for a second. “After all, none of the other examinees would stand a chance against you.”

“S-sir, I don’t-“

“Midoriya.” Nedzu set down his teacup. “You could very well win both categories of the exams. Academically, you are well above the average student. In the physical you could eat all the robots before another person can touch them, thus rendering the test useless. The normal recommendation exam would be easily won by eating the other competitors. Another test is the only way to truly test the skills you have.”

Izuku, thoroughly scolded and blushing at the praise, nodded. The principal had a point. It wasn’t like the thoughts had never crossed Izuku’s mind either. He knew how powerful he was, how dangerous he could be, and testing him with the normal exam would be too easy. Eating all the competition wasn’t a viable option, seeing as he still wanted other people to get into UA. His physical skills were nothing to scoff at either. 

“What exam will I have then?”

Nedzu smiled, and Izuku suddenly felt like he shouldn’t have asked. 

“Every teacher is allowed to choose a student they wish to give a different exam. Though only one per person, and they must have taught at UA for a certain amount of time. Just so happens I qualify for that. The test will be created by the UA teachers, so even I don’t know what it will look like. Perhaps something to do with rescue, as that is where you lack some skills.”

Izuku nodded again. It made sense, actually. Fighting, even Quirkless, was natural to him. Nedzu had called it part of his instincts as a Flerken, which was cool. 

“Ok. Thank you, Nedzu-sensei.”

“It’s no trouble, Midoriya. Now, back to our lesson. This month we will be focusing on crafting bombs from kitchen appliances.”

Izuku brought it up to Shinsou the next day. He was Aizawa and Yamada’s son, so he would probably be given the same offer since both of them were teachers. Or something similar at least. 

“Nah, I’m not taking a different exam.”

Izuku raised an eyebrow, looking away from the movie they were watching. The two of them were in the vents again, of course. “Why? Aizawa and Yamada are both teachers here, and heroes.”

“Only one person can take those special exams. Neither of my parents qualify for it anyway. And me against the other recommendation students? I don’t stand a chance.”

“Yeah you would,” Izuku insisted, nudging Shinsou’s shoulder with his own. 

“I want other people to pass, Mido.”

“So what’re you going to do then? Your voice doesn’t quite work on robots, and you might not get enough rescue points.”

“Students who do good in the Sports Festival can get transferred from General Education to the Hero Course. Dad said he and Pop can’t be the ones deciding if I did good enough or not, but that doesn’t matter. I’m going to make my own path, and prove to everyone that I can be a hero.”

Izuku smiled, bumping his head into Shinsou’s shoulder affectionately. “You’re gonna do awesome, Shin. The Gen Ed student who’s Quirk doesn’t work on robots, and was too nice to take the recommendation exam, fights his way to the top and into the Hero Course. Everyone loves an underdog story.”

“Hah, yeah. Makes it sound like a comic book origin story when you say it like that.”

“Well how do you know we aren’t characters and this is our origin story?”

Izuku and Shinsou held eye contact for a moment, before bursting into laughter. What a ridiculous notion. 

They finished watching their movie, the moment forgotten. Izuku felt a twinge of guilt for Shinsou not being able to take the exam with him, but there wasn’t really anything he could do. Not if Aizawa and Yamada didn’t qualify for it in the first place. All he could do was try his best and be in the Hero Course when Shinsou got there. Because he would get there. Not even the author of their story could stop that.

Chapter Text

Izuku didn’t like shopping trips. They never ever ever ended well. Well, finding out what the other half of his powers were was alright. The event itself sucked though. Then Katsuki happened, and now this

It went like this. 

Mom needed ingredients she had forgotten to buy for dinner. Izuku picked a different store, once again, from the two that he had been attacked at. Honestly, what were the chances that it would happen again? Probably close to nothing. Most people were hardly ever caught in more than two villain attacks in their lifetime, so he went about his day happily. 

Everything went smoothly, though Izuku only relaxed when he was a block from the store. The cashier had been kind, and Katsuki wasn’t around here. Even if he was they wouldn’t confront each other again. 

He pushed his senses to the max anyway. 

He was just passing beneath an empty bridge when he heard something odd. It sounded almost like sloshing water, but thicker. It also sounded like it was in the sewers below his feet. Izuku decided to go with what his anxiety was saying and book it out from under the bridge. 

Izuku wasn’t fast enough. Even when he pushed himself faster, he didn’t make it. 

A slimy substance snagged his foot, making him trip. Izuku lashed out with a clawed hand, but it didn’t do anything. The claws went right through it like it was water. His panic climbed up his throat as the thing wrapped itself around his body. 

“Well look at what we have here. A medium-sized bodysuit. Not especially powerful, but you’ll do,” the voice rasped. Izuku thrashed as it covered his face. “Hold still kid, this will only hurt for another minute!”

No. No no no no no no . He couldn’t die. He couldn’t die! He couldn’t leave Mom and Nedzu-sensei and Shinsou and Aizawa and Yamada. Maybe a few years ago he’d go limp, but not now. Not when he finally had something to live for. Not when he finally had people that believed in him. 

Izuku thrashed and struggled for all he was worth. It bought him a split second of air before the slime was back over his face. Turning into a cat here wouldn’t help. A small animal had smaller lungs. Besides, getting sludge in fur wasn’t fun to get out. If he lived, that is. Using his tentacles wouldn’t work on liquid. There was absolutely no way he was willingly putting that in his mouth either. 

The slime grumbled something about someone chasing him. Izuku didn’t listen. Too busy trying to claw the slime off of his face. 

Someone said something, though Izuku couldn’t hear it. The sludge covering his ears muffled everything that wasn’t his own heartbeat and lack of breathing. 

Wind tore down the tunnel. Blowing the sentient slime to smithereens, and leaving Izuku to cough up the rest of it. He managed to stay conscious, but it was a close thing. 

When he finally looked up from the ground, his eyes widened almost comically large. Because standing there was All Might, his favorite hero, gathering the slime into soda bottles.

Izuku thought he was going to faint. 

“Are you alright my boy?” All Might asked, suddenly standing over Izuku. 

And oh god he was even bigger than he looked on TV. 

Izuku only realized he said that out loud when All Might laughed. It was a sound that shook his chest like a bass drum. 

“I have been told I appear shorter on the television!” All Might boomed. Izuku had to crane his head back to see his face. “Now if you excuse me, I must me off!”

Wait, what? He was leaving? Just like that? 

“Wait! I need to ask you something!”

“All questions can be directed to my website! Good day, citizen!”

No, he couldn’t go. Izuku- Izuku had to know. He had to ask All Might something. He had to know. If anyone could know if he’d be a good hero, it was the Number One. 

So Izuku did something that, looking back, was extremely stupid. Like back-sassing Katsuki level bad idea. 

He leapt forward, and clung into All Might’s leg. Small claws dug into his suit, though they didn’t hit any skin. His suit was too strong for that. 

They rocketed off the ground at speeds that probably broke the sound barrier. It felt like it, at least. Izuku squeezed his eyes shut and clung on for all he was worth. 

They landed on a building halfway across town. Izuku detached himself and shifted back to normal, clutching his chest and trying to breathe normally again. All Might stood near the railing on the edge of the building. 

“That was very reckless young man. I must be off, but that door is likely unlocked.”

“Wait! I need to ask you something!”

“I really must-“

“CAN SOMEONE WITH A VOLATILE POWER BECOME A HERO?”

The roof was eerily silent. Izuku stared at his shoes, not willing to see the look on his hero’s face. 

At least, until he smelled steam. Izuku glanced up, and promptly stumbled back. That wasn’t his hero. 

“Where’d All Might go?!” He demanded, automatically moving into the defensive stance Aizawa-sensei had taught him. 

“I am All Might, kid,” the skeletal man said, sitting heavily on the roof. “You know how guys suck in their gut to impress people at the beach? My Quirk is like that.”

“But that would mean you have strength enhancing and also transformation type magic. It’s true that people had theorizes on your Quirk for years, and it’s never been confirmed, but this would mean that-“

“Geez kid, you’re a talker.” The man, All Might apparently, lifted his shirt. It revealed the most gruesome scar Izuku had ever seen. “I got this nearly five years ago. Even at my full power I could just barely defeat the villain.”

“But…but Toxic Chainsaw couldn’t have done that.”

“True,” the man chuckled. It held no mirth. “This was a fight kept away from the public. Now, I can’t have you go telling the media about this, understand?”

“Y-yes, All Might.”

All Might got up, moving to the door that was unlocked. He opened it, but didn’t walk down the stairs yet. 

“And as for your question. I’m one of the strongest heroes out there, kid. I need precision to make sure civilians don’t get hurt. So no, with a volatile Quirk you shouldn’t be a hero. There’s just too much danger in not having full control. Maybe look into being a doctor or police officer, they don’t need to use Quirks as much, but save people all the same.”

With that, All Might left, closing more than one door behind him. Izuku sunk to his knees. His dreams were crushed and laying on the floor in shards that cut his hands when he tried to pick them up. If All Might believed he couldn’t be a hero, then it must be true. 

He was dangerous, after all. He could hurt someone instead of save them. Flerkens weren’t meant to be heroes. Everyone already said that, whether they knew he was one or not. His powers could do more harm than good. 

Maybe he really was worthless, just like Kacchan always said. He would be better off just fading into the background, unseen and unheard. No one should have to waste time on him.  Not Nedzu, not Aizawa, nor Shinsou. He didn’t deserve them. They were all amazing, while he was just someone trying to not kill people. 

The roof suddenly felt like the perfect place for him to be. 

An explosion went off somewhere in the distance. Izuku’s mind was dragged forcibly from the fog it was in. He…he recognized that noise. It was like knowing the footsteps of a family member walking up the stairs, or knowing a friend’s mood by how they spoke. Not something specific he could pinpoint, but more an ingrained instinct.

Those explosions were Katsuki’s. Katsuki was in trouble. 

The door slammed behind Izuku as he raced back down to the ground on his own two feet. 

 

The street was chaos. People pushing and shoving to see or get farther away. Mt Lady was blocking one end of the alley, opposite Izuku thankfully. There were heroes here. They were here and they weren’t doing anything. Why weren’t they doing anything?

Katsuki was here. The sentient slime thing was too. It was trying to drown Katsuki like like he’d done to Izuku not an hour before. He was blowing things up left and right. He’d been in there for longer than Izuku had been. 

Why weren’t the heroes moving?

Izuku searched frantically for someone that could help. Someone, anyone, that could get his childhood friend to safety. Even if they hadn’t spoken in forever that didn’t mean Izuku wanted him to die

No one. No one was helping. Nothing was being done to help the drowning child because they “ weren’t a good matchup. ” Izuku growled out loud, pacing the border set by the heroes. No no no, he couldn’t just stand here! Not when Katsuki was dying !

Izuku caught a glimpse of Katsuki’s eyes. Red as they had always been, but filled with an emotion Izuku hadn’t seen on his face in years. Fear. Katsuki was scared . Katsuki was never scared

No one deserved this. Not even a bully.

Izuku’s feet were moving before he knew what was happening. 

The eyes, he realized. They were the only part that wasn’t a liquid in the blob. They were also hovering near Katsuki’s face. He didn’t have anything to throw, but he had something to stab with. 

Izuku half-shifted, focusing on his hands. He leapt over the flames, aiming for the villain’s eyes. 

His claws sunk into whatever the thing was made of. Eyeballs felt weird, he decided. They were disgusting and Izuku was pretty sure the only reason he wasn’t puking was his overpowering urge to save Katsuki. This was not an experience he wished to ever repeat. Never in his life or any ones that came next. 

The villain screeched, recoiling as far from Izuku as it could get. It allowed him to hook his claws into the fabric of Katsuki’s shirt. The boy hauled his former friend out of the slime, which was still shrieking. He didn’t bother to look at the damage he had done. He knew it was bad. 

Katsuki was dumped at the heroes feet, hacking up what slime had managed to get into his airways. Izuku was breathing heavy, was otherwise unharmed. The villain was still on the loose though. 

One punch from All Might was all it took to take him down. The villain was splattered against the walls and knocked out cold. He was quickly detained by the heroes (that did nothing , Izuku’s mind hissed) and taken away to the police station. 

Izuku was scolded for being reckless. It doubled when Katsuki yelled about not wanting help from a cat morph. His dream were already in ruins, why not stomp on the shreds?

Izuku just wanted to go home and sleep. 

He was dismissed (escaped) a while later. Katsuki had been carted off by his parents after the medics deemed him alright. If he caught any diseases from whatever that thing had been made of, then they were told to immediately go to the hospital. Izuku almost snorted out loud. Katsuki would rather die than admit he needed help with something like a cold. Literally. 

Izuku only remembered the groceries when he turned onto his street. The slime villain had been on the news, so Mom would already know. What she didn't know is that it targeted him first, and then he decided to be an idiot and cling to All Might’s leg for a free flight across the city. Rats had probably gotten to the bags by now anyway. 

He was in so much trouble. Good thing he was decent at lying. 

All thoughts screeched to a halt when a massive figure appeared in front of Izuku. He was staring at the sidewalk in front of his feet, so all he saw was a giant shadow suddenly materialize. A villain, his mind immediately told him. Despite how wrong said mind had been all day, Izuku listened to it. 

In an instant, the figure was gone in a flash of pink and red. Izuku got a split second to see who it was he was eating. 

Oh no. 

He just ate All Might. Not a problem Izuku thought he’d be having in the middle of Existential Crisis Day, as he had mentally dubbed it. But what’s one more cherry to the fruit salad of horribleness that is today. 

Oh God he was so dead. Or at least arrested. Very much arrested for eating the Number One Hero. 

Izuku realized he had been standing there for a solid thirty second, just staring into space with eyes the size of saucers. Right, he needed to split out All Might. The thought alone made him sick to his stomach anyway. 

All Might appeared again, thankfully not covered in spit. He was in his deflated form this time. Izuku shrunk in on himself, tensing to run. Not that it would do anything, but it was instinct at this point. The hero could easily catch him anyway. One move and he was dead dead deadity dead. 

“Ah, that was…interesting”

And just like that, the floodgates were opened. “All Might I’m so sorry you scared me and I thought you were a villain and I didn’t want to get hurt again so I acted without thinking and I’m sorry I didn’t meant to do that are you ok?”

“That was- a lot, my boy. I am alright though. What…was that?”

“M-my Quirk, s-sir. Or at, at least p-part of, of it.”

“Hm, quite powerful.”

Dangerous, Izuku’s mind once again supplied. How did he shut this thing off? 

“My boy, I have something to tell you.” Izuku looked up again, meeting his hero’s eyes. “On that roof I told you you couldn’t be a hero with a volatile Quirk, since it might hurt someone. I have come to change my answer.”

Izuku felt his eyes start to water, dripping over into tears. Was, was this a dream? 

“You can be a hero.”

Izuku was sobbing now, too many emotions running rampant in his mind. All Might was haloed by the sun. A true hero. One that admitted his mistakes.

“And I deem you worthy of inheriting my power!”

“…what.”

“I believe you are worthy of being the next inheritor of my Quirk!”

“All Might, do you even know my name?” 

Izuku was one part mentally screeching at saying that to his favorite hero and then one part exasperated. He saw this from students in UA on a weekly basis. Except with them it was romance and idiotic actions (For example, some support course student decided to test a flamethrower in UA’s front yard without telling his teacher. Midnight had knocked him out ‘cause she thought he was a villain). Izuku didn’t think he’d ever witness the Number One hero using the same four brain cells as a high-schooler. 

“Yes I do! Your name is Midoriya!”

“And my first name? All Might, you’re my favorite hero, but- but please think about this for more than, than five seconds.”

All Might blinked down at Izuku. For a second his mind supplied the image of him still being arrested. Could All Might charge someone for doubting him? Probably, in all honesty. 

“Ah, that is true, young Midoriya. Perhaps I have been hasty. However, the sentiment remains.”

“You still, still want me to…what? Inherent your power? How is, how is that even possible?”

Izuku devolved into muttering. All Might stood there staring, wondering how one kid could speak so many words in such a small period of time. And with so little air. 

“Kid, can I explain, please?”

“S-sorry All M-Might.”

“I have a power that can be passed down from person to person. It’s a stockpiler, so it retains the strength from each user. I am the eight holder.”

“So you have the strength of eight people because of your Quirk?”

“In essence, yes. My power is called One for All.” 

Izuku could almost hear the thunder and cymbals. A shiver went down his spine.

“And you- and you want to, to give it to me? Wh-why me? I didn’t- I didn’t do anything. I can’t do anything.”

“Young man, a lot of good heroes are heroic from a young age. One thing a lot of them say, is that their body moved on its own. That’s what happened to you, isn’t it?”

“Y-yes.” Izuku stifled another sob. Was he dreaming?

“I believe you can be a hero, young Midoriya, with or without One for All. You do not have to accept my power, it is ultimately your decision.”

“I, I need to, to think about this for a, a bit, All Might.”

“That’s understandable. Here kid.” All Might took a card out of his pocket. It had a number on it. “This is my phone number. Tell me your answer when you’re ready, alright?”

“I will. Th-thank you, All Might.”

“No kid, thank you . You reminded me what it meant to be a real hero.”

Izuku watched All Might blast off again. The tears were still streaming down his face, despite his attempts to wipe them away. Everything felt like it was a dream right now. So he walked home feeling like his mind was floating behind him.

Until he remembered the groceries. And his teachers. And Mom. 

He was in for a lot of scolding. 

Chapter Text

Izuku was asked to meet All Might at Dagobah beach. At six in the morning, to be specific. It sucked, but he did it anyway. Not because of the time, but because he had to go straight from there to UA. Trash wasn’t an easy smell to get out, and that meant Nedzu was going to ask questions. But that was a problem for future Izuku. 

The beach was less of a beach and more of a dump. Literal mountains of trash were piled as far as the sand stretched. At least Izuku assumed there was sand under there. He could see the smallest amount at the base of the stairs, where the trash had been moved, but that was it.

All Might was already standing on the beach. He was in his deflated form and sitting on a fridge. Izuku ran up, thinking better of yelling “All Might!” in a decently populated area. Even if it was way too early for normal humans to be out. 

Izuku, being part cat, was wide awake and acting like he’d just eaten a bag of sugar (At least he wasn’t dead on his feet, All Might thought bemusedly). 

“Have you made your decision, my boy?”

“Yes,” Izuku said confidently. He looked up into All Might’s eyes. “I accept. On one condition.”

“And that is?”

Izuku hesitated for a moment, but steeled himself again quickly. “I want to tell my mother and teachers.”

All Might poofed into his hero form out of surprise. He quickly reverted back, coughing harshly. Izuku quickly backtracked. 

“I don’t have normal teachers! They’re heroes and have been teaching me for years and I don’t want to leave them in the dark because they know what I am and I think one of them would figure it out anyway. It just doesn’t feel right to not tell them after all they’ve done for me, and Aizawa-sensei is training me to fight so him knowing about One for All would help me with it so please?”

All Might blinked, taking in the mess of words that had spilled from Izuku’s mouth. He deflated again (and boy was that weird to think, a person deflating like a balloon), looking contemplative. 

“Just who are your teachers, my boy? I believe I recognize that name.”

“Um, Aizawa-sensei is Eraserhead, he was there when I used my full Quirk for the first time. My main teacher is Nedzu though. I don’t go to normal school, so he teaches me everything. Sometimes other teachers come in to show me stuff.”

Izuku glanced up again, seeing All Might staring out at nothing. He looked vaguely terrified and like he regretted every choice in life. So, sort of like a college student. 

All Might cleared his throat, shaking off his daze. “Ah, yes, my boy. If Nedzu is your teacher I’m afraid he would figure it out anyway. You said you wanted to tell your mother too?”

“Yeah. I mean, I live with her, s-so I sort of need to tell her? She’s the same thing as me, and never got super-anything.”

“Yes, I suppose that’s correct. But, just what are you talking about, my boy? Are you a creature type?”

“Y-yes, I a-am. I guess you, you deserve to, to know.” Izuku took a deep breath, staring at the floor. “I’m a, a Flerken.”

“Well, that explains a lot.”

Izuku glanced up for a moment. All Might didn’t look disgusted or scared, but…curious. That wasn’t something Izuku thought he’d see. 

“I-it does?”

“Certainly makes more sense on how you ‘ate’ me. And why you’re so scared of your own power, my boy. And you still wish to take on One for All on top of this?”

“Absolutely.” It was the most sure answer Izuku had given today. 

“Alright then, my boy, all you have to do,” All Might poofed back into his hero form again, waving one arm grandly at the not-so-grand beach, “is clean this beach!”

“…I’m sorry, I have to what now?”

“Clean the beach! Or most of it, at least. You see, you need to build muscle mass in order to handle my power.”

“Oh. I…I guess that makes sense. How much muscle mass do I need, exactly?”

“Enough to not explode a limb!”

What.

 

After All Might explained things better, Izuku rushed off to UA. He was given permission to tell Mom, Nedzu, and Aizawa, but that was it. It was nerve wracking, but also exciting. If he could master One for All along with his other powers, then he just might be able to make a difference in the world. 

Underground heroes were great, amazing even, but daylight heroes were the ones that had media attention. Media attention meant they could get word out to civilians. For example, bullying for weak Quirk or having none at all. Practically nonexistent in children nowadays, but still something that needed to be addressed. 

Izuku wanted to save people. That was all he ever wanted. If One for All helped him do that better, then he’d take on its weight. He already had the whole ‘being a Flerken’ thing hovering over his shoulder, what’s one more thing?

He would tell them tonight, he decided. Maybe he could invite his teachers over for dinner. It was easier, and a lot less suspicious, than asking Mom to come to UA. For now, he just had to go about his day as normal.

Acting normal turned out to be harder than he thought. Aizawa called him out for it twice. Nedzu didn’t comment, but Izuku knew he noticed. Shinsou asked if it was something he wanted to tell him, and accepted the answer Izuku give him. Even if it was a stuttered mess of Izuku trying to say it was just something he couldn’t tell Shinsou and not something his friend had done. 

Mom ok’ed his teachers coming over for dinner, and asking them was the easy part. It wasn’t the first time they’d been invited over, and it probably wouldn’t be the last. By now Izuku wasn’t embarrassed by it. 

Aizawa probably figured out that Izuku wanted to tell his teachers something at dinner, because Yamada and Shinsou stayed behind this time. Izuku was thankful, even if his nerves were on edge. He went home while his teachers did whatever they needed to after school. It left just enough time for Izuku to convince himself not to panic. 

A single knock on the door sent that thought defenestrating itself. 

Dinner was good. Izuku was spaced out for most of it, but he knew it was delicious. Mom’s cooking always was. Well, besides that time she tried to make banana pudding, but the less said about that situation the better. 

It was only once they were done that he managed to work up the courage to speak. 

“I, I have some-something to tell you, you guys.”

All of the adults’ attention was immediately on him. Izuku grimaced, but kept going. 

“S-so you remember when I was, I was caught in that villain a-attack?” Three nods, all confused. A feat, considering Nedzu was one of them. “I g-got attacked by the, the villain…before…that. All Might saved me, don’t worry! But I, uh, I might’ve, I might’ve…grabbedontohislegandheflewmeacrossthecity.”

The adults blinked, taking in the tangle of words Izuku had spat out. They understood it, but didn’t quite know what it meant. Izuku took a deep breath to try and slow his jackrabbiting heartbeat. 

“I, uh, I grabbed onto his leg. He let me off on a, on a roof. I asked him…I asked him if someone could be a hero with a volatile Quirk.”

“What did he say,” Aizawa-sensei demanded, voice suddenly a growl. When Izuku didn’t say anything, he repeated it. “What did he say , Midoriya.”

“At first he said, he said no. I know- I know why he said it.”

“I’m going to kill the-“

“No!” Izuku yelped. “He didn’t know me or who I was or what I meant! He was well meaning in his answer, Aizawa-sensei. He didn’t, he didn’t mean harm by it.”

“You said ‘at first,’ Midoriya,” Nedzu interjected, before Aizawa could declare he wanted to murder the Symbol of Peace. Izuku recognized the barely restrained anger in his teacher’s voice. “Did you meet him again?”

“I did. After I- after I rescued Kacchan. He…he found me again, and, and he…he offered me his power.”

Nedzu blinked slowly, one ear flicking to the side. “I’m sorry, he what now, Midoriya?”

“He offered me his power, Nedzu-sensei. I told him I needed time to think about it, and that he should probably know someone a bit better before offering something like that.”

Aizawa snorted. He tried to cover it up with his hand, but it didn’t work. Izuku knew his teacher’s dislike for the man. Having his student scold the Number One hero would no doubt be priceless to him. 

“And then what?” Mom asked. 

“I met him at Dagobah beach this morning. I, I accepted.” He paused, but quickly added, “But only on the condition I got to tell you guys! I don’t think I’d be able to keep it a secret from you anyway. You deserve to know, too.”

The room was quiet. Izuku glanced at each person in turn, hoping they didn’t react too badly.

Aizawa-sensei looked like he wanted to march up to the Symbol of Peace and punch him. He had the glare that usually meant a lesson. A painful one. His hands were already gripping his capture weapon tightly. Izuku really hoped his teacher wouldn’t actually try to fight All Might. 

Nedzu-sensei looked contemplative. To a normal person, that is. Izuku saw the way his eyes moved over an equation only the principal could see. That either meant All Might was going to have some ‘bad luck’ sometime soon, or Nedzu was planning around the new obstacle. Knowing his teacher, it was probably both. 

Mom looked…Mom’s expression hadn’t really changed. She was the one who Izuku felt he needed approval from. If she said no, then he wouldn’t go through with it. She was his mom, his only family. Of all people, she would be the one to understand what having the weight of a legacy was like. They were both Flerkens, after all. 

But then-

“Alright,” she said. “When would you be getting this power, and how?”

“Uh…All Might said I’d be, be ready in a few months probably. He didn’t say, didn’t say how though.”

“Then you’ll have time before the entrance exam. That’s good.” She smiled warmly, and Izuku felt his eyes mist over. 

“So, it’s ok?”

Izuku walked forward, leaning down to hug his mother. When had be gotten that tall? He felt the first tears fall.

“Oh sweetie, I don’t think I could stop you if I tried,” she laughed, heavy with emotion. “You’ve always been that way. If you want to take on All Might’s power to be a better hero, then you can do it. No one will be able to stop you, Izuku. They never have.”

He was weeping on his mother’s shoulder now. So much had changed. Izuku wasn’t the same person he was before, and neither was Mom. Izuku couldn’t help but be so, so grateful that it was for the better. 

~~~~~

Izuku raced down the sidewalk at probably-too-early o’clock. If he wanted to get there before Aizawa-sensei, then he had to be fast. His teacher had decided to join them on Dagobah Beach. All Izuku got was a text telling him that his teacher was on his way. Cue scrambling to get dressed and sprinting down the street while most people were still asleep since they were meeting at six again. 

He briefly wondered if Shinsou would be there, but the thought was gone pretty quickly. His friend already got too little sleep as it was. That wasn’t including the fact Shinsou didn’t, and couldn’t, know about All Might’s smaller form. Not yet, at least. Izuku wouldn’t put it past him to figure it out before the school year started. 

Izuku got there before either adult. He stood with his hands on his knees, trying to breathe normally again. At least Aizawa wasn’t already here trying to murder Izuku’s new mentor. 

“Midoriya! What are you doing here already, my boy?”

Izuku looked up, seeing All Might in skinny form walking towards him. He waved at his new teacher, lungs finally listening. 

“Just- wanted to be here- early.”

“That is admirable, my boy, though make sure you get enough rest, understood?”

“Yes All Might.”

“Ah, call me Toshinori Yagi when I look like this. No need to raise suspicions.”

Izuku nodded determinedly. Yagi-sensei it was then. (he was still All Might to him and always would be though)

“You’re both here. Good.”

Izuku felt his stomach sink, just a little. Yagi-sensei obviously didn’t feel the waves of dread from his student, as he turned towards Aizawa with a beaming smile. The man physically squinted. Izuku had a feeling he was trying not to hiss like a cat, or like Izuku when something startled him.

“You must be Aizawa! It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“Yeah, same. This the beach Midoriya has to clean?”

“Ah, yes, it is. He doesn’t need to clean the whole thing, since that would take far longer than we need or have time for.”

As soon as Izuku got the idea ‘hey, maybe I can go above and beyond by cleaning the entire beach,’ Aizawa-sensei turned towards him with a look

“If you overwork yourself then no more vent movies, Problem Child.”

And just like that, the idea was thrown away. Like all the trash he had to clean. Oh boy. 

“So do I just…start? Where do I put it?”

“I have a truck coming, my boy. We will start by putting some of the trash in bags, then you can bring those up here. We can start on the bigger things tomorrow after I gauge how strong you are currently.”

Izuku shrugged, grabbing the bags from All Might and descending the stairs. The trash piles were a bit smaller here, but they were still taller than him. Most of it was stuff like bottles and normal trash. There was what looked like a bike too? It was rusty and bent, but still a bike. 

He was reaching for it, just to see if it was too buried to be pulled out, when he instinctively recoiled. 

A white cloth flew past his arm. Izuku turned to look at the top of the stairs, seeing Aizawa-sensei staring at him with an annoyed expression. 

Gloves , Problem Child.”

“Pardon me, but why would he need those? It’s just a bike.”

“He needs gloves to not get cut by a rusty nail or something. The bike itself looks rusty from here. Did you not bring gloves?” Aizawa growled, glaring at the skinny man that still towered over him.

“Ah, no. It slipped my mind.”

“Of course it did. Midoriya, catch.”

Izuku automatically caught the thing being thrown at him. Well, two things. They were thick gloves, probably meant for gardening with roses at one point, judging by the thorn still stick in the wrist. He wondered if they were Mr. Yamada’s. 

“Now get to work, kid. There’s a lot of beach to clean.”

Izuku smiled up at his teachers, and began his months of strength training. 

~~~~~

It had been a week, and Izuku had made a path from the stairs all the way to the water. It wasn’t a very big path, but it worked. He could use it to branch off farther down the beach too. There was even an entire car he could see from the right angle. 

However, it did mean that things had been disturbed. Alive things. 

“RAT!”

Izuku stopped when he was doing when he heard All Might practically shriek. There was scuffling in the trash somewhere near him. His senses zeroed in on where it was, everything else becoming irrelevant. Distantly, he heard All Might asking what he was doing. Aizawa-sensei didn’t say anything, but was probably already recording. Izuku was too focused on whatever was in the trash to really notice. 

He tilted his head as he edged closer, partially aware he had green ears and claws. His thoughts were mostly, “ Thing thing thing! Rodent? Rodent rodent rodent. Small? Big? Big. Rat rat rat rat rat. Get it kill it good present, present for carers.

Izuku fully shifted into a cat. He crawled closer, finally spotting the rodent rifling around in the garbage. It was a decent sized rat, but an easy kill for him. (Izuku did not want to remember the times he had tried hunting birds from the balcony)

A yowl and loud squeak later, Izuku had a dead rat in his jaws. He turned, showing it off proudly. All Might was standing stock-still at the base of the stairs now. Aizawa was at the top, phone camera aimed at Izuku. The green cat strutted forward with his kill. 

“Wh-what do you have there, m-my boy?” All Might stuttered. 

Izuku trotted up and plopped the dead rat at All Might’s feet. He was very proud of his present. 

“A-ah, a, a rat. Th-that’s nice.”

“What, is the brave Number One hero afraid of a little dead rat?” Aizawa asked from the top of the stairs, still recording. “Midoriya giving you a dead thing is either a present or a threat. Given that he worships you, it’s a present.”

“Th-thats n-nice. What do, do I d-do with it?”

“Wait until he turns back into a human. He’ll understand if you throw it away then.”

“O-Ok.”

All Might squeaked as Izuku nudged the dead rat closer. Very, very hesitantly, he used a gloved hand to pick it up. 

“Th-thank you, my boy. Could y-you turn back n-now?”

Izuku complied happily. He was beaming, seemingly unaware of All Might’s hesitance in the face of his gift. 

“I’m gonna go keep cleaning!” He declared with a smile, racing off again.

That left Aizawa and All Might at the stairs. The latter chucking the dead rat up into their pile of trash in the parking lot faster than the eye could follow. Aizawa was chuckling, his phone finally off. 

“Something funny, Aizawa?”

“Oh no, it’s just hilarious to see a seven foot man terrified in the face of a dead rat his student gave him.”

“When he said he was part cat, I did not think he meant it literally,” All Might admitted, watching Izuku lift another broken bicycle he’d found. 

“That’s the fifth video I have of him doing that. Second one of him killing an actual animal, and the third of him shifting into an actual cat. They’re amusing to watch, to say the least. My son is usually the target too.”

“You have a son?”

“And that’s enough of that.”

Aizawa walked down the stairs to join Izuku in cleaning, leaving All Might to trail behind him. Hitoshi was going to get a kick out of this video, he thought. 

All Might just hoped there were no more rats today. 

Chapter Text

Five months passed extremely quickly in Izuku’s eyes. It felt like just last week he’d started cleaning the beach, and now he was strong enough to handle One for All. The beach was by no means clean yet, but it was getting there. Though Izuku wasn’t about to stop cleaning it just because he had enough muscle for All Might’s Quirk. This beach would be clean by the time school started or he would eat his left shoe. Maybe he could convince Shinsou to help out too.

But either way, he was ready now. He could hold One for All without his limbs exploding. All without overworking himself, due to Aizawa-sensei threatening a multitude of things if he did. That list included things such as watching movies in the vents, access to the vents, no katsudon, no Lunch Rush, no access to the chemistry lab, no access to the support department, and no seeing Shinsou.

In all honesty, it was only that last one that stopped him. Izuku could live without katsudon or the vents, but not seeing his friend was where he drew the line. Knowing the two of them though, they’d probably just sneak out and sit in trees or something. 

Izuku and his mentors were meeting at the beach again. This time, he would be receiving One for All. He would be taking on All Might’s legacy as his own. It was a lot, but Izuku was ready. 

He stood at the top of the stairs looking out at the sunrise. Neither of his teachers were here yet, he had come too early for that. 

Maybe he could find a high vantage point while he waited. It could be his cat instincts talking, but he liked being high up. Seeing everything from a tall place was amazing. It wasn’t just that things looked smaller, but you could see so far . Izuku wondered if that’s what it was like to fly. 

There was a stack of flattened cars off to the side. They would be perfect. 

Eyes narrowed in concentration, Izuku scaled the slightly rusty metal. It was tall, but decently easy to climb. He had thick shoes and claws to protect him.

Before he knew it Izuku was crouched at the top. He was right, the view was worth it. A rising orange sun greeted him. There was no trash until further down the coast, so the sun looked like it was rising out of the water. It was beautiful. 

“Midoriya my boy, what are you doing up there?” 

Izuku turned towards the noise quickly. Too quickly. It unbalanced him on his already unsteady footing. He had a single second to think “oh no,” before he was sent back to earth.  

He was caught before he hit the ground. All Might gently set him back on his feet, before deflating out of his hero mode. He had to save every minute, after all. 

Aizawa showed up not a minute later, perpetually dressed in his black jumpsuit. It was honestly better than some of his other choices. Izuku didn’t want to think of the time he showed up to one of his weekend fighting lessons in neon pink sweatpants and a cat-pun shirt. He thought he might internally melt at trying to comprehend his teacher having such an awful sense of fashion. Shinsou, on the other hand, found Izuku’s existential crisis hilarious. 

“Sooooo, how do we do this?” Izuku asked, standing in front of the two adults. “Do you just…give it to me or something?”

All Might poofed back up into his hero form. The rising sun haloed the hero in golden light, making All Might looked angelic. Truly a great man, a hero and pillar of their society in all his glory. Aizawa looked like an angel in an emo phase that had been dragged along. 

All Might plucked a hair from his head, and held it out with a flourish.

“Eat this!”

Izuku.exe had crashed, restart? Loading…loading…loading…

“What.” Oh would you look at that, Aizawa-sensei beat him to it. 

“He must ingest some of my DNA to inherit the Quirk.”

“Wouldn’t a drop of blood be better than hair ?”

“Well, I figured some of my hair would be better. It’s not exactly easy to draw my blood, Aizawa.”

“Then get a needle or something. I know for a fact you’ve been to a doctor because Shuzenji complains about you whenever I’m stuck in there for more than ten minutes. Speaking of, please go see the woman, she’s extremely close to hunting you down herself.”

“Ah, I will do that. Anyway, Midoriya, it’s your choice.”

Izuku blinked slowly, still processing this situation. He reached out and grabbed the hair, ignoring Aizawa-sensei’s grumbling. Much to All Might’s horror, he broke the hair into two pieces, one significantly smaller than the other.

“DNA is held in the root of the hair. If don’t have to eat a whole hair then I’m not going to. I’ve had enough hairballs, thank you very much.”

Aizawa snorted, while All Might relaxed slightly. Izuku stared at the piece in his hand, and put it in his mouth.

It tasted like…hair. Shampoo and conditioner, maybe with some hairspray, but still definitely hair. Izuku had tasted fur enough time to be knowledgeable on the subject. Somehow, he managed to not choke on it. 

“That…was not pleasant,” he declared. “When will it take effect?”

“In a few hours. You may do what you want until then, my boy.”

“Yeah, no. We’re going to UA to train, kid. Hitoshi’s been wanting to spar.”

Izuku brightened, racing to grab the things he’d left by the stairs. All Might looked baffled, and Aizawa-sensei seemed to be relishing in it. Even training Izuku alongside the man for months hadn’t fully mellowed his dislike for the hero. 

“Let’s go! I want to show Shinsou a new move I learned!”

A couple hours, and at least a dozen sparring rounds later, All Might came in. Not in hero form, since it wasn’t needed. Shinsou had already left to do something else. Aizawa said he needed to work on something with Izuku specifically, so he took that as his cue to go scare people from the vents or study. Maybe both. Terrifying people by whispering the quadratic equation from above their heads was hilarious. Izuku would know, since he did it first. 

Izuku hadn’t felt the power come in yet. Not consciously at least. His fights with Shinsou had been enough to distract him. He hadn’t accidentally punched his friend across the room, so it either wasn’t in yet, or he had to actually think about using it. Sort of like the second half of his Quirk. Shifting was ingrained by now, and he hoped the other two parts would be like that too someday. 

All Might, Aizawa-sensei, and Nedzu-sensei stood at one end of the room while Izuku was at the other. Sort of like it’d been when he trained his Quirk before. Now they were here to see if his new one had settled in. 

“Uh, how do I do this?” He called down the gym. 

“Clench your butt-cheeks and yell ‘Smash!’ as loud a you can!”

He was supposed to…what?

Izuku blinked at the significantly smaller figures of his mentors. Even from here he could see Aizawa looking at All Might like he was stupid. Nedzu’s gaze never left Izuku, but he just knew his teacher was wondering what he would make of that. 

“Guess I’ll have to do it my own way then,” he muttered under his breath. 

Izuku got into a fighting stance. Cementoss had set up pillars earlier, so he had some targets to aim at. Well, here goes nothing, he thought. Izuku closed his eyes for a moment, sifting through his mind to try and find the new power.

What he found was like a massive lake. Power stretching as far as he could…feel, since he couldn’t technically see it. All the same, it was a bit overwhelming. There was just so much of it.

Izuku opened his eyes, calling on the power he now knew was there. Red, glittering lines spread over his skin. He twisted the arm they were on to get a better look at it. Were they like literal veins of power? 

Only one way to find out. 

Izuku felt like his blood had turned to pure adrenaline. Like he could run and jump for miles but never break a sweat. It was amazing .

Maybe that’s why his next decision was a bit…stupid. 

Izuku reeled his fist back, and struck at the cement pillar. 

He realized his mistake a moment too late. His arm felt like it was on fire now, and the red lines were gone. 

The first pillar was also gone. As well as the other four Cementoss had set up. The pieces left were embedded in the wall as shrapnel. Even then, that might’ve only been the farthest two. The first was nothing but concrete dust. 

That…was a lot of power. 

“Midoriya!” Izuku turned at Aizawa-sensei’s call and footsteps. He was running over. “Are you ok, kid? What was that?”

“I think…that was One for All.”

“No sh- kidding, kid.”

“Young Midoriya!” All Might boomed, stopping next to Izuku. “Is your arm ok, my boy?”

“Oh.” Izuku glanced down at it, but quickly looked away. It was purple. Arms aren’t supposed to be purple nor bend that way. “I’m pretty sure it’s broken.”

“Kid, are you fu- kidding me.”

 

One trip to Recovery Girl later, and Izuku no longer had a broken arm. He did, however, have a bruise on his shin from her cane. All Might had a matching one. Multiple matching ones. Izuku never thought he’d see the Number One hero cowering in the face of a tiny doctor. Then again, Recovery Girl could be terrifying when she wanted to be. 

All Might was sulking in the corner while Aizawa and Nedzu went over how to, you know, make him not break his bones. Izuku sat there quietly, thinking a mile a minute to try and figure out his problem. It might’ve come out as muttering. It also might have mildly scared All Might (not as much as Recovery Girl though).

Then a thought struck him. Not how to fix his situation, but another question he had. 

“All Might,” he said, grabbing his attention. “You said One for All enhances a person’s abilities as well as Quirk, right?”

“Well, yes, that’s what my master told me.”

“So, theoretically, does that mean my shifting and the tentacles things are more powerful now?”

“I…suppose so. Please do not test it indoors, my boy.”

Izuku nodded, before racing outside. All Might’s squawk followed him, as well as Aizawa’s sigh. Nedzu was probably following him out at the very least.

Standing on the grassy lawn on UA, Izuku waited for his teachers before trying anything. Reckless as he was, he really didn’t want to get in trouble again. He was practically buzzing as Aizawa finally got there. 

“Ok, so I’m just going to try half-shifting for now.”

Izuku didn’t really have to concentrate for this. All he had to do was think of half-shifting, and he did it. This time was…a little different though. 

His senses were not usually this sharp. His eyesight wasn’t good enough to pick up the rustle of a leaf on the other side of the field. He couldn’t normally smell exactly what a person smelled like and whatever else was around him. Some of it smelled really far away, so how? Either way it burned like he’d put something directly under his nose.

And his hearing. It hurt . He could hear every breath his teachers were breathing and the sound of that mouse over there and a dog barking down the street and it hurt .

Izuku didn’t even realize he had fully changed into a cat. His brain was too muddled. It didn’t hurt anymore, but thinking was like moving through a pool of honey. He distantly registered that Aizawa was talking to him, and he heard it, but the words didn’t make sense.

“You ok, kid? What happened?”

Izuku, as a green cat, looked at his teacher. The kind man dressed in black. He smelled like other cats and coffee. Izuku meowed, sniffing at the man from where he was. 

“Kid, can you change back?”

Izuku tilted his head curiously. What did that mean?

“Midoriya?”

Another person. This one looked like a massive rat. No hunting that one. He wore human clothes. Izuku knew him, he was a friend, they all were, but why couldn’t he remember why?

“He…he can’t change back, can he?”

“I don’t think so,” the Rat-man said quietly. 

Dark Man extended a hand, letting Izuku sniff it. He meowed again, rubbing his head against the hand. It was gentle and kind. A good human. 

“What, what happened?” The tall man said. He sounded scared. “One for All has never done that before. Previous users has transformation magic, but nothing like this ever happened to them.”

“Perhaps it had something to do with Midoriya being a Flerken,” Rat-man proposed. Izuku trotted up and wound himself around his ankles. “Before he transformed, he appeared to be distressed.”

“He covered his ears,” Tall-man noted. “Do you think his senses were enhanced even further?”

Tall-man knelt down, extending a hand for Izuku. Izuku liked the man. He didn’t know why, but he did. He showed as much by purring and rubbing his cheek on the man’s hand. This human was warm and nice. 

“Sensory overload, then. Should we take the kid to Shuzenji?”

“No,” rat-man said, “He’ll be fine in a little while. For now I will call his mother. All Might, why don’t you take him to the teacher’s lounge.”

Tall-man nodded, picking Izuku up gently. He wiggled until he was comfortable, then settled. Maybe he could take a nap.

“Still doesn’t explain why he’s acting like an actual cat. Even full-shift he keep his wits,” Dark-man said, petting Izuku again. “I’m going to get Hitoshi. Maybe having his friend nearby will help.”

Izuku drifted off to sleep with the tall man taking him inside a building. 

~~~~~

“I’m sorry, he what now?”

Hitoshi liked to think he was prepared for a lot of things. His dad telling him his friend (his only friend) was stuck as a cat due to sensory overload was not on that list. He knew Midoriya could turn into a cat, he’d seen him as one multiple times, but being stuck as one? That was new. Also a bit scary given the circumstances of no one knowing quite why it happened. 

Hitoshi calmly walked to the teachers’ lounge alongside his dad. No matter how much he wanted to sprint, he didn’t. He had to control himself. Not like Midoriya was in any danger. Nope, he was just stuck as a cat. And acting like one.

He walked a bit faster. 

They got there within a few minutes. Upon opening the door Hitoshi saw All Might sitting on one of the couches, holding a green cat. He looked nervous, which was weird to see on the Number One hero.

“Ah, Shinsou, nice to see you, my boy. Aizawa believed it would be good for Midoriya to have a friend nearby.”

Hitoshi nodded numbly, making a B-line for Midoriya. He was asleep on All Might’s lap. It would’ve been adorable and great blackmail if his friend wasn’t stuck as a cat

“Can I, can I take him?”

“Of course, young Shinsou.” 

All Might handed Midoriya to him, who he could hold in one hand. Hitoshi took him gently. His fur was really soft. He’d pet Midoriya before, since he turned into a cat whenever he wanted to. More than once Hitoshi had found him asleep, as a cat, in a sunbeam that was shining through a window. 

Midoriya woke up as Hitoshi retreated to a corner of the room. Dad had a bunch of pillows back here for napping, so it was nice and comfy. He set his friend on his lap, who was looking up at him. 

The cat blinked at him slowly. A sign of trust. Hitoshi felt honored, and copied the blinking. 

That was how Pop walked into the teachers’ lounge to see his son having a slow blinking contest with a green cat. He walked right back out. 

Midoriya eventually started purring and curled into a ball on Hitoshi’s lap. He hesitated, but lost his mental battle. Gently, he ran his fingers through Midoriya’s fur. It was so soft

The cat started purring. It was soothing, and Hitoshi found himself struggling to stay awake. Maybe, maybe just a minute wouldn’t hurt.

~~~~~

Shouta walked into the teachers’ lounge, probably half an hour after leaving Hitoshi there with Midoriya. Honestly, today had been one unexpected thing after another. Problem Child lived up to his nickname. 

His son had looked even more distressed than Shouta felt. Of course he did, the kids’ only friends were each other. 

Anyway, he walked in and found them in his napping corner. More specifically, Hitoshi leaning against the wall with an asleep Midoriya in his lap. A very much human Midoriya who was using his son’s legs as a pillow. Hitoshi had one hand on Midoriya’s fluffy hair, like he’d been running a hand through it. Seeing as he’d been a cat not too long ago, he probably had been. 

It was sickeningly sweet. No matter what other people say, he did love his students. His son even more so. Midoriya alone had showed more promise than most of class 1-A this year.

So seeing his son and favorite student (And he wasn’t about to tell anyone but Hizashi that) peacefully asleep together was one of the cutest things he’d seen this week. Second only to his husband lying on the floor, hair down and reading a book, with Princess curled in a ball on his back. 

Shouta very quietly got out his phone and took a picture. He would probably tease Hitoshi about this at home. Hizashi would too. 

With his job done, Shouta retreated from the room to find said husband. And Nedzu, since the principal would undoubtedly want to know that Midoriya was human again. They had all been worried. 

He maybe also wanted to show Nemuri the picture. She’d find it cute, and he owed her for getting him coffee last week. 

He made a silent promise that he was going to show the picture at his kids’ wedding. 

Chapter Text

Izuku woke up feeling warm and content. His pillow was really soft, and his bed was comfy. A purr escaped his throat unbidden. 

Then his pillow moved. 

Izuku immediately froze stiff. Memories came back to him, memories that weren’t entirely his. Oh crap. 

His pillow was Shinsou. He had fallen asleep on his best friend. All Might had carried him. Izuku had essentially turned into a real cat for a while. 

Slowly, Izuku tried to get up. Shinsou’s hand was resting on his hair. He remembered he’d been petting him before he fell asleep again. Well, at least his friend was still asleep. Izuku couldn’t get teased for looking like a strawberry if no one could see him.

Izuku let out the breath he’d been holding when he finally stood up. Shinsou stayed asleep thankfully. Now all he had to do was find one of the teachers, maybe Nedzu had an explanation on why everything hurt when he half-shifted.

He didn’t even have to go looking, since All Might opened the door just as Izuku was moving towards it. He was in his small form.

“Young Midoriya!” He whispered, knowing Shinsou was still asleep. Even then it was still loud. “I’m glad to see you’re alright.”

“Yeah, sorry about…whatever that was, All Might.”

“No worries, my boy. We were just concerned over your wellbeing. May we sit?”

“Yeah, sure. Do you want me to explain what happened from my view?”

All Might sat on one of the couches while Izuku sat on the one opposite it. He could see Shinsou, still fast asleep, from where he was. 

“So I guess you saw me half-shift, but it was different this time. It…it hurt. I think there was too much information that my senses were trying to take in. One for All definitely made them stronger. Maybe it overloaded my brain into turning into a cat for a while?”

“It’s certainly possible, my boy. Did you notice anything else?”

“Um…I don’t know. I could see, hear, and smell a lot better, but everything hurt too much for me to notice much else.”

“Hm, I figured as much. Perhaps that was another instance of your Quirk trying to prevent damage to you.”

“By turning me into a cat?” Izuku raised an eyebrow. Then he thought about it some more. “Well, I guess it would work. Cats are built for filtering those sort of senses. Maybe One for All just gave me normal cat senses but in a human body? It was too much, obviously, so maybe it was trying to protect me?”

Izuku stopped his muttering, looking back up at All Might again.

“That’s certainly possible, my boy. One for All is a mysterious Quirk. It manifests in different ways for each user. My master had normal enhancement magic, and One for All made that more powerful instead of the strength both of us have.”

“Huh. I wonder why I have the super-strength too. Maybe the Quirk got so powerful it spilled into other facets?” 

Izuku started muttering again, too quiet for All Might to hear more than the general sound. The man stayed quiet though. Even in snippets, he could hear his student’s train of thought laying itself out. 

“My boy, as interesting as that is, we still have the problem of your sensory overload.”

“Oh, right, sorry All Might. Um, I guess I could just try and get used to it? I could try wearing earmuffs or something, since that would be the easiest to block out. Maybe sunglasses?”

“Whatever you believe would work, my boy. Now, I must be off. A hero’s job is never done, after all.”

Izuku nodded, watching as his mentor bulked up again. 

Which was also when he heard the strangled noise from behind All Might. In an instant his wide eyes were turned to his friend, who was now very much awake. 

“Mido,” he whispered loudly, “what the fuck .”

~~~~~

Hitoshi took it surprisingly well. For his brain wanting to implode, that is.

All Might was injured. Like, really badly should-not-be-working-as-much-as-he-is injured. His time was down to three hours. He was missing his stomach and a lung. His Quirk had given him two forms somehow. 

And his power could be passed down. It already has been. To his best friend. They suspected it was why he’d been stuck as a cat from sensory overload. Hitoshi wanted to ask so, so many questions. Although all his brain wanted to make into a coherent sentence was a mantra of “what the fuck what the fuck what the fuck .”

He didn’t say that though. Instead he listened as his only friend explained how all of this had happened. All Might had had to leave already, since he needed to go out and be a hero. Hitoshi swore he heard the man mutter something about paperwork before he left. 

He also couldn’t tell anyone besides the UA staff, who already knew. If the secret of One for All or All Might got out then there would be chaos. The Number One hero getting weaker? A power that could be passed down? It all would’ve sounded ridiculous if Hitoshi hadn’t seen it for himself. 

So yeah, that’s how he found himself asking Pop to borrow his soundproof headphones. Midoriya wanted to try half-shifting again, but didn’t want to get stuck as a cat. His mom was still at work, and couldn’t get off early, so she wasn’t there yet. Hitoshi personally thought this was a horrible idea, but at least Dad would be there. 

They were in one of UA’s indoor gyms. Less stimuli apparently. Thanks to it being UA, it didn’t smell like dirty feet and sweat. Hitoshi stood off to the side as Midoriya put the headphones on top of his head and tied a bandana around his nose. 

Midoriya couldn’t exactly wear the headphones on his normal ears, since those disappeared when the cat ones came out. They were really just guessing how this would go. The bandana was easier, at least. 

“Remember Midoriya, change back if you get overwhelmed. Don’t hurt yourself, kid.”

“I won’t!” 

Hitoshi very highly doubted that statement. If Midoriya felt he had a justifiable reason he very damn well would hurt himself. He literally stood up to a former bully because he threatened Hitoshi. 

He didn’t say any of that though. Instead he stood by his Dad and watched. Midoriya closed his eyes, and began to change. 

The ears looked bigger than before, but that could just be Hitoshi’s mind playing tricks on him. Midoriya reached up and tried to adjust the headphones before the ears were fully formed. His eyes were still closed as he stopped changing.

Hitoshi noticed a few key differences. First was that Midoriya’s claws, usually more like slightly longer and sharper fingernails, now looked like talons. The whole top first segment of his fingers turned into pointed claws. 

Second was harder to see, but Hitoshi almost squealed. Because his friend had finger beans. Soft little pads on his his fingers under the claws. He wondered if he had them on his feet too. Actually, did he have claws on his feet?

Lastly, he had a tail now. Like, a legitimate cat tail. It was green, fluffy, and looked really soft. He didn’t have a tail before. Was this new Quirk literally making him bones for that ?

He stayed still for a few seconds, not freaking out thankfully. So the headphones and bandana were probably working. The enhanced seeing problem was mostly fixed by Mido keeping his eyes closed. 

Hitoshi watched carefully as Midoriya cracked open his eyes. He didn’t immediately close them or turn into a cat, so he figured that was a good sign. 

After another few minutes, Midoriya was taking off the bandana, and then the headphones. Hitoshi and Dad waited patiently. The last thing they needed was for Midoriya to get startled. 

“Are you ok, kid?” Dad said very softy once Midoriya finished getting used to everything.

“Y-yeah, I think so. Do I, do I look different?”

Hitoshi eyes the new tail and claws. “Yeah, just a bit.”

“Oh. How do…”

Midoriya lifted one hand, marveling at the new claws he had. He squeaked when he noticed his finger pads. Hitoshi noticed Mido’s bigger-than-before fangs when he smiled. 

“These are so cool! I’m just more like a cat, I guess.”

Then his own tail brushed his leg, and Mido jumped almost comically high. Hitoshi stifled a laugh, but it came out as a snort. Midoriya was spinning in circles now, trying to see his own tail. Sort of like an over excited puppy, which described Mido perfectly despite him being a cat. 

Midoriya finally stopped, staring at Hitoshi and his dad with eyes blown wide. 

“I have a tail. Aizawa-sensei, Aizawa-sensei I have a tail. Why do I have a tail. I have a tail, Aizawa-sensei. Shin stop laughing I have a tail why do I have a tail!?

Hitoshi was on the floor cackling at this point. Even Dad was burying his face in his capture weapon, which meant he was trying not to laugh. Midoriya was still trying to look between them and his new appendage. 

“You really are a pff a cat now, huh?” Hitoshi giggled, trying to get control of his own lungs again. 

Midoriya froze, spine going rigid and tail stopping where it was. When he spoke, it was hardly above a whisper. At least, it was at first. “I’m not a Cat.”

“Um, Mido, you ok?” He asked. He didn’t like this. His friend didn’t usually act like this. It didn’t even sound like him, like he was sleep-talking. 

“I’m not a Cat,” he mumbled, tail lashing now. 

“But…you’re a Flerken? Aren’t they like, part cat?”

“I’m not. A Cat,” Midoriya growled. 

Hitoshi wracked his brain for why his friend could be reacting like this. He was literally a cat, that was all Hitoshi meant by it. The only other time he’d acted like this had been…had been with that bully. 

The bully that had called him Cat, with a capital C, as in a nickname. A nickname that obviously didn’t have a good meaning behind it. 

Hitoshi edged closer, hands out to show he meant no harm. “I mean a literal cat, Mido, not anything the bullied called you. You’re like a, um, a…kitty?”

The anger and fear on his friend’s face melted away as snapped back to himself. He changed back into a full human too. Only now did Hitoshi realize his pupils had been thin slits. That hadn’t been his friend, not fully at least. 

“Did you just call me…kitty?”

“Uh, maybe? I panicked, ok? I didn’t want to use kitten and cat set you off, so…”

“Yeah…sorry. The, the bullies. They used to, to call me Cat before they, they hurt me. I guess I fell back on- back on instinct.”

“Well I think it’s a good nickname. Also, you’re a literal cat, and kitty sounds too lovey-dovey.”

They both made faces like they’d smelled something bad. It didn’t matter how much Midnight “shipped them,” neither wanted to date. Not until they were both in the hero course anyway. (Hitoshi couldn’t deny the thought crossed his mind before, but hell would freeze before he told his Aunt Nemuri that)

“Wait, why didn’t you use kitten? Wouldn’t that have made more sense?”

Hitoshi felt his face turn bright red. He also heard Dad walk closer from the other end of the room. Well, if Hitoshi was going down then so was he

“Pop calls Dad Kitten,” he said louder than necessary. 

He didn’t even wait to see what Mido’s face was before sprinting out of the building as fast as his feet would carry him. Annoyed yelling followed him. It was worth it, he thought. (he had to do dishes by himself for a week, but still worth it)

~~~~~

Izuku walked into UA a week later to see someone new. Someone that was most definitely not a student. He had heard stories of this man from Nedzu. 

Gran Torino stood proudly in the middle of the gym. All Might was next to him, but looked like he was trying to inch away. Izuku had also heard stories of the old hero from his teacher. They were not pleasant. 

This is the kid you chose, Toshi? He doesn’t look like much.”

“Ah, he is q-quite strong, Gran Torino.”

“Eh, we’ll see. What’s yer name kid?”

“I-Izuku Midoriya, sir.”

Gran Torino scoffed, waiting for Izuku to get closer. His senses were on high alert. Of course they, since he knew what this man’s Quirk did. 

“How well can ya use One for All?”

“Uh, not well. My bones break.”

“Of course it does,” the man sighed. “What has this oaf been teaching you?”

“How to scream and lift things.”

“Wonderful. Kid, you know who I am, right?”

“Gran Torino. Part wind spirit, your Quirk allows you to channel air through your feet to propel yourself. You taught All Might and was a teacher at UA for a while,” Izuku listed off, glancing at his mentor. “And I’m guessing you’re here to try and teach me how to use One for All?”

“Got it in one, kid. Your Aizawa-sensei convinced the oaf to call me in. Now.” Gran Torino disappeared, reappearing behind Izuku. “Think you can keep up?”

Chapter Text

Spars against Gran Torino were utter hell. Izuku lost count of how many times he tasted the floor, but he eventually got the hang of it. That didn’t mean it was fun though. At least they figured out how to make him not break his bones. 

Well, a microwave did that, but same difference. Izuku was pretty sure he terrified Midnight and Cementoss when he screamed “ I’m the takoyaki! ” at the top of his lungs before sprinting out of the teachers lounge. And All Might when he burst into the room yelling the same thing. Aizawa-sensei dropped his coffee too. 

He wasn’t wrong though. Spreading out One for All actually stopped him from breaking bones. It was hard to maintain right now, but it worked. Fighting Gran Torino helped him with that too. 

Izuku might’ve gone into cat mode a few too many times during their spars. Gran Torino was a loud thing that moved fast, and his mind kept telling him to catch the fast thing . It helped his dodging, at least. Gran wasn’t very enthused when a half-shifted Izuku pounced on him after they’d stopped fighting. 

Aizawa and All Might, however, found it hilarious. There were pictures of it, Izuku knew that for a fact. 

The weeks were flying by, and Izuku experimented with both powers over that time. Shinsou seemed to find it funny that he now had pads on his fingers and toes when he half-shifted. There were also had claws on his feet now, which his socks didn’t like. Having to explain to Mom why he needed new ones was an interesting conversation. 

Izuku found he had even better night vision now, which was really cool. He also found out his eye-shine had gotten brighter when Shin had slept over, found him getting a midnight snack, and shrieked because he thought Izuku was either Mothman or a demon. 

Apparently his eyes literally glowed now too, which was cool and definitely not something normal cats could do. All Might told him they lit up brighter when he used One for All, but just passively glowed all the time. Probably from normal light, Aizawa-sensei said, just enhanced. It was interesting, to say the least. He was like a living flashlight. 

Izuku had fun using it to scare UA students from the vents. He heard whispers of the Vent Demon pop up again. Shin and him found it hilarious, especially since they’d been terrifying students from the vents for a while now. The glowing eyes are just what finally convinced a few people. Added to the fact that they came out bright red in photographs, it was suffice to say they two of them were becoming the second UA cryptid. 

The time for exams was getting closer though. Izuku knew the teachers were putting together something for him, but didn’t know what. None of them would spill a single word. Shinsou, however, was happy to tell him that Yamada was helping plan something that involved rescue. That was all he knew though. 

Izuku prepared in any way he could. He might’ve slightly worried Mom by muttering chemical formulas during dinner. Shinsou definitely looked concerned when he insisted on practicing for hours on end in the UA gyms. His friend dragged him out after a while and wouldn’t let him back in. The end result was a whining Izuku that fell asleep the instant his head touched a pillow.  

He was finally told the date and place he would be taking the test. A written one, not unlike the Hell Test he’d taken almost two years ago, and then a physical. That one was going to take place at the USJ. 

Izuku was ecstatic. He had heard about the USJ, which was ran by the rescue hero, Thirteen. They had an amazing Quirk, which turned them into a partial blackhole, so they had to wear special clothes to keep it contained. It would no doubt be a hard exam if they were going off campus for it though. 

Now all he had to do was wait, and prepare. 

 

The day came all too soon. Izuku could only hope he was ready for it. 

The written test was first. It wasn’t easy, but he managed to finish it. Judging by Nedzu’s impressed expression, he had done good. Time wise at the very least. 

From there they went to the USJ . The real life Unforeseen Simulation Joint! Izuku was buzzing in his seat the whole time, both from nerves and excitement. If any of the teachers noticed, none mentioned it. 

Izuku only realized how absolutely massive the place was once he was standing at the base of it. The dome towered over everything else in the area, which was mostly just trees. He could only imagine what the inside looked like. Hopefully he wouldn’t have to wait long to find out. 

And Thirteen was standing out front. Izuku caught the look Aizawa sent him, but promptly ignored it to ask the hero for an autograph. The notebook was stored safely back in the car before everyone else arrived. 

Izuku stood before most of the UA teachers. They had on serious faces, but waved happily to Izuku the moment Nedzu and Aizawa turned their backs. He grinned, paying close attention to what Nedzu was saying. 

“We are gathered here today to-“

“I thought this was an exam, not a wedding!”

Kayama ,” Aizawa-sensei hissed.  

Izuku put a hand over his mouth to hide his smile. Leave it to Midnight to take away some of his stress by saying something funny. 

Nedzu just picked up where he left off. “-test Izuku Midoriya. If he passes, he has a spot in UA, if he does not pass then he will still have the opportunity to take the hero exam or general education one. Any questions?”

There were none. Izuku knew better than to ask what he was doing for the exam, since Nedzu would be explaining it in a second. 

“Good. Now, the exam will consist of two portions. One, Midoriya will be tasked with various rescue situations. Shall he pass, he will move onto the second part, which is combat. That will take place tomorrow. Last long enough in a fight against Aizawa, Midoriya, and you will officially have a place in the hero course.”

Izuku swallowed his fears, and nodded. He could do this. He would do this. For all the people like him that needed a hero to look up to. To show those with “villainous” Quirk that they could be heroes too. 

The doors to the USJ were opened, and Izuku stepped through them. 

Izuku was told a few more ruled while he marveled at the inside of the USJ. No eating people, it scares them. No putting others in danger. And no leaving an area until all three “civilians” were rescued. All of them were understandable. 

The inside of the USJ was amazing. There were so many different zones, all packed under the same roof. A massive lake was even inside! Mountains, a city on fire, heavy rain, the lake and a sinking boat, a mudslide, and a crumbling city were all there. 

Izuku had to handle a rescue situation in each zone, by himself, before he could move on. There were three people in each zone that he needed to find. 

Nedzu told him that sometimes heroes have to handle a situation by themselves before backup arrives. It was what would make or break them. If he could handle that, then he’d do just fine in UA. Given that was still a kid, he was allowed a few mistakes. No one was in any real danger anyway, since the people he needed to rescue were all trained actors. 

The Shipwreck Zone was Izuku’s starting point. Once that was done, he had to make his own way to where he chose. But for now, all he focused on was the giant lake in front of him. 

Nedzu gave him permission to begin, watching from the observation booth. Izuku didn’t hesitate to run closer, getting stock of the situation. He stopped at the water’s edge, scanning for people. They weren’t real civilians, he reminded himself, just hired actors. 

All three were on the ship, thank goodness. Izuku wasn’t a strong swimmer. At all.

He had been practicing with his abilities though. While his teleporting was dubious at best, he could still get within the general area he wanted. The ship was a big target. Hard to miss really. 

In a flurry of red and pink, Izuku found himself on one of the lower floors of the ship. He quickly found the stairs. They proved to be a challenge to climb, since the ship was built listing to the side. 

He burst onto the deck, startling the actors. None looked injured though. 

“I’m here to help. Is anyone injured?”

“No,” one of them answered. “But the ship is sinking fast.”

“Alright.” Izuku wracked his brain for a solution. This was one of the hardest zones for him. He didn’t like water, and eating people to teleport them was generally frowned upon. Maybe…maybe he could use One for All? How far could he jump with that?

Well, he knew he could hold up a person with his tentacles. As much as he hated using them on people, maybe if he jumped while holding them he could make it. To the shallows at least. 

“Ok, can you all swim?”

“Yes,” all three answered. 

“Ok, ok good. I’m going to need you three to hold still, and stay calm, alright? Everything will be alright.”

None of them made a comment. They did, however, squeak loudly when the tentacles slithered out of his mouth and around their waists. Izuku really hated doing this, but at least it wasn’t worse. 

With the three people feeling like feathers, he half shifted. The tail helped him balance on the railing, and sharper eyesight would make aiming easier. 

Izuku activated One for All, the green light sparking off his skin. He knew his slitted eyes were glowing brightly now. With a moment taken to aim, Izuku pushed himself off the railing. 

It was barely enough power to get them to the shallows, but it worked. Izuku paddled the four of them, the three civilians held above the water, to the shore. All three saved, shipwreck passed. He directed them to the “medical station” since none were injured.

Now he had to make his own way to the next zone. Part of the test, Nedzu had said, is finding your way to the victims. 

So Izuku made his way to the rain dome. 

Once inside the dome, Izuku realized rain wasn’t an accurate term. It was more like he’d stepped into a hurricane. There was a lot of wind, only a few lights from buildings, rain pelting him from every direction, and he couldn’t see more than five feet in front of him. He kept One for All up, just to be safe. The rain near his face looked an almost radioactive green from his glowing eyes. 

He half-shifted, knowing it would hurt his ears, but also knowing it would help find more people. The wind was too strong for him to go full-shift here. 

The first civilian was easy to locate. Just a person huddled under an awning that needed to be escorted to the door. Izuku did just that, and asked if they’d seen any other people. When they told him yes, he immediately took off in the direction they pointed. 

People numbers two and three were near each other, thankfully. One was a kid stranded in a mini-lake too deep for them to walk through. The other was stuck in a building with broken down automatic doors. One for All took care of the second problem easily, and Izuku just waded to the kid. 

Soon enough, he’d conquered the second zone. This was going faster than he had expected, in all honesty. Then again, it was only two zones with three people each. Maybe he was just lucky so far. 

Either way, there were four more to go, and then he’d be done with the first half of his exam. 

 

Turns out, Izuku’s very good at finding people buried in rubble. It was extremely useful in the earthquake zone, where all three civilians were buried or stuck in something. Not anywhere near each other, but he still found them. 

He was also good at moving chunks of rock. All he had to do was eat it, or move it with One for All, and help the person out. They were all injured in some capacity, so he helped them to the designated safe zone. One made a comment on him saying things similar to All Might. Izuku just shrugged, saying he liked the hero a lot, and that it was a good line. 

 

Running to the mudslide zone wasn’t fun. Then again, what test was? Izuku had to first make it out of the destroyed city, and then climb a slippery mountain. At least Aizawa-sensei’s training came in handy. 

Izuku hadn’t shifted back since entering the earthquake zone. A good thing too, since his enhanced hearing immediately picked up on at least two of the people. The closest he could already see, and they were stuck in a tree hanging over a ledge. Izuku briefly wondered if they did that on purpose or not. The irony of him rescuing a human from a tree wasn’t lost on him. 

The second one was under a rock, which he ate. The person looked extremely confused when the thing keeping them there suddenly disappeared. Izuku asked if they were hurt before lifting them out. 

With one person left, Izuku pushed his senses to the limit. He had two more zones after this, and then he’d have to fight Aizawa-sensei tomorrow. So far, he was doing alright. 

He finally heard the person yelling. It wasn’t too far from him, so he sprinted over, making sure to watch his footing. The person was laying on the ground, thankfully not buried under anything. 

Izuku knelt by them quickly. “Are you injured?”

“Y-yes. My leg, I think it’s broken.”

Izuku nodded, carefully lifting the person. “It’ll be ok. I’m going to take you to the medical center now, ok?”

He got down the mountain without slipped. All three actors were safe now, so he moved on to the next zone. A literal mountain this time. 

The mountain zone wasn’t as bad as he thought it was going to be. He had to rescue one person from under more rocks, and another who had gotten lost apparently.

Izuku took a second to scan the USJ below him when he reached the top. He could see everything from up here, even the observation booth where Nedzu was. 

He turned when he caught moment from the corner of his eye. Just a flash of black and what he thought was light blue. Maybe the third person was “lost” too. 

There wasn’t anyone there though. Probably just a falling rock then. Izuku shrugged, moving on swiftly. He had to find the last person and then complete the fire zone, then he was done. 

They turned out to be stuck on a ledge. Izuku used One for All to get up there, then carried them down. With that, he picked his way down the mountain. He was ready to throw himself into the fire. Literally. 

 

Izuku noted the sprinklers running along the ceiling of the dome, as well as the teacher posted outside the door. He nodded to them, then dove in. Three people and limited time because of the fire. He had seen the actors only go inside once they saw him running down the mountain. They weren’t in as much danger, but fire was nothing to mess with. For all he knew, this could become real very, very quickly. 

The first things he saw were the ash covered streets and soot soaked buildings. Second were the actual flames, consuming everything they could reach. Nearly every building was on fire. The streets weren’t, but that could change. Especially if this simulation had realistic oil spills or something. 

Izuku pushed his sight as far as it would go. Smell would overload him with all the smoke, and all he could hear were the roaring flames. Sight would be better for this. It was times like these where Izuku wished he could figure out how to increase a sense without half-shifting. As it was, he couldn’t yet, so he had cat ears and a tail while sprinting through flames. 

He took off down the streets, stamping out what small fires he could. The streets had to stay open. He had to get back to the doors to get the civilians to safety. 

Izuku finally spotted someone. They were crouched behind a car, standing outside a building and looking panicked. 

Izuku ran up, careful not to scare the person. Quirks tended to go off in high stress situations, even if a person didn’t mean to. He knew that better than anyone. 

“Sir, are you ok?”

“My wife! She’s still inside! The doors got stuck and- and please save her !”

Suddenly, Izuku wasn’t so sure this was a simulation. Someone stuck in a building, trained to deal with disasters or otherwise, wasn’t safe. Especially if it was on fire. He grit his teeth and nodded. 

“I’ll get her out. Stay here, I’ll be out in a minute.”

Izuku took a deep breath, steadying himself, and ran up to the building the man had pointed at. The doors were covered in rubble, but luckily the building seemed relatively stable. Enough that he could remove the debris at least. 

Izuku didn’t eat the rocks this time, mostly because he didn’t want to inhale ash and soot. They were placed off to the side using One for All instead. The light sparking off his clothes looked eerily like jade fire. 

The door was clear soon enough, leaving Izuku to enter. 

It was smoky inside. He fell to his belly, army crawling on the floor. He shuffled to the next room over, hearing the person in there. 

“Ma’am, are you ok?” He called, careful to not let any of the pulsing fear into his voice. 

“Y-you’re h-here. Th-thank goodn-ness. The door was, was bl-blocked.”

“I know. Come on, we have to get out of here. Are you injured?”

“N-no.”

Izuku guided the woman to the door and out of the building. The man was waiting there anxiously. 

“Thank you, hero.”

“It’s no problem sir, do you happen to know if there’s anyone else near here?”

“R-right. I saw someone a bit f-farther, they were l-limping.”

“Thank you, can you make it to the medical center?”

“Yes, we’ll b-be alright now.”

Izuku nodded to them, taking off at a One for All powered sprint again. One more person. One more and then he’d be done and everyone would be safe. One more, and he had probably passed. 

It didn’t take long to find the person. Izuku skidded to a stop beside them, kneeling down. It was a kid, well, an actor that looked like a kid, that had an injury.

“Hey there, it’s ok now. Is your leg hurt?”

“Y-yeah,” they sniffled. 

“Ok then. I’m going to pick you up, alright? We’re going to go to the med center.”

The kid nodded, letting Izuku pick him up. Once secure, Izuku fired up One for All and ran. The fires hadn't spread to the streets thankfully. He had to be careful where he put his feet, but other than that he was as good as home free.

They reached the exit without problem. Izuku noticed the couple from before resting not too far away. He set the kid down when his teacher walked over. It was Cementoss.

“Are you alright, Midoriya?” His teacher asked, concerned.

“I’m alright, Cementoss-sensei. That was everyone, right?”

“Yes. I was almost surprised with how well you handled that.”

“Almost?”

“You’re Nedzu’s student.” Cementoss smiled. “If I were surprised at every advanced level thing you did, I think that would become my default emotion.”

Izuku laughed, brushing off a bit of dust that had landed on his shoulder. “Thank you, Cementoss-sensei.”

“No problem, kiddo. Nedzu should be down here in a second. No injuries, right?”

“I’m all good!” Izuku chirped. 

And for once, Izuku truly meant it. 

Chapter Text

Izuku slept for twelve hours. Sleeping for a long time wasn’t unusual for him, but it wasn’t usually all at the same time. Literal cat naps. 

He woke up feeling sore, but not especially tired, from his exam yesterday. Later today he would have to go and fight Aizawa-sensei. That will be…interesting. Izuku had been explicitly told he couldn’t eat his teacher, but he would be allowed to use One for All. Though only in small amounts. Not that he could go any higher, since he didn’t want to break his bones. 

Mom made him a delicious breakfast, telling him good luck before he was racing out the door. Izuku made sure to not waste energy sprinting to the station, so he walked. Well, skipped, since he physically couldn’t handle moving slow right now. 

The train ride to UA was a lot like it first was. Which meant he was fidgeting and probably annoying anyone else that was in the car with him. Izuku was happy though. He had completed the first half of the exam, something only a few people could say about an exam given by Nedzu. 

Turns out, there had only been a few other instances of the special exam being given by UA. Of those, only ten had passed the first half, and three had gotten into the school. Izuku felt proud of being in that small number. If he could just last long enough against Aizawa-sensei, then he’d be the first person in almost forty years to get in by the test. 

It was nerve-wracking, but also exciting. Izuku’s status as a recommendation student would come out with the other ones, but not how he’d gotten in. Not unless he wanted to reveal it himself, which he did not. 

The UA gates looked the same as they always did. Shiny nameplate, metal shutters, Shinsou leaning against the wall, massive size-

Wait, what?

“Shinsou?” He said out loud, wandering closer. Yep, that was his friend.

“Hey Mido.” Shinsou waved, waiting for Izuku to run closer. “You ready to fight Dad?”

“Uh, I think so? Shin, isn’t it a school day? You know, school, where you should be?”

“Took the tests early. Wouldn’t want to miss you and Dad fighting for anything.”

Izuku snorted, dodging a hand trying to ruffle his already messy hair. “I’ll try not to disappoint.”

“Like you’d ever,” Shin laughed, pulling his hands back to his sides. “Come on, they’re waiting in Gym Gamma.” 

“Oh so you’re my welcoming committee.”

Izuku laughed as he dodged another swipe, taking off towards the gym. Shinsou cursed, giving chase. The two played keep away the whole run there. It was mainly Izuku trying to keep Shinsou from tackling him into the dirt. 

The game ended when Izuku calmly stepped in through the gym doors, closing them behind him. The teachers were there already, quietly talking. A makeshift fighting ring had been set up in the center. 

Shinsou threw open the doors, looking around wildly. The teachers stared at him like he was a bit crazy, while Izuku shot him a victorious smirk. Izuku heard Aizawa-sensei mutter something like “not again.” Which…would be accurate. This isn’t the first time the two of them have done this. 

“Hitoshi, if you want to watch, please behave,” Aizawa-sensei grumbled. “Midoriya, are you ready?”

“Yes.”

“Then come on, into the ring. Nedzu will tell you the rules.”

Izuku nodded, hastily climbing into the ring that had been set up in the gym’s center. He stood in one corner, Aizawa-sensei in the other. Shinsou and the other teachers took seats in bleachers Cementoss set up. Nedzu stood just outside the ropes on a small platform. 

“The rules of this match are the following,” he said with an excited grin. “No weapons, no leaving the ring, no hiding or hanging in the rafters, no claws, and finally, no eating people.”

Izuku blushed a bit, knowing half of those were specifically for him. Even without his capture weapon, Aizawa-sensei was a force to be reckoned with. He would need every trick just to have a chance at not losing immediately.

“Last long enough in this fight, Midoriya, and you will have passed the exam. Are you both ready?”

Izuku nodded, sliding into a defensive stance. Aizawa-sensei did too. They locked eyes, not willing to look away. Both knew how fast the other could move. 

“Begin!”

Neither budged an inch for a moment, Izuku’s keen eyes scanning for even the slightest movement. Aizawa’s foot shifted. Just the tiniest movement, but it sent Izuku diving to his left.

Not a second after he rolled back to his feet did he see Aizawa standing where he’d been. They both stopped moving once again. 

Izuku took a deep breath. He had to put extra care into not telegraphing his moves for this fight. Not exactly easy, but he had to try nonetheless. 

Izuku leapt forward, lashing out with a One for All powered fist. Aizawa-sensei dodged, doing a flip to get out of range quicker. It also put more distance between them. Aizawa had taught Izuku, and Izuku had learned almost everything from him. They knew how powerful the other could be.

Their spectators could almost see when the two decided to really start. Almost, because from that moment on they were blurs. It was a dance Izuku knew well, though maybe not this fast, or with so much riding on it. 

He knew he would lose, that was just a fact. It was only a matter of how long it took. And right now, Izuku knew he didn’t have room to make mistakes. A single slip up could lose him everything he’d been working towards. 

Izuku dove under Aizawa-sensei’s swinging arms, leaving the man unbalanced. He spun around and kicked at the back of his teacher’s knee. The leg gave out, and Izuku leapt away. Anyone on Izuku’s skill level wouldn’t been down in an instant, but he knew Aizawa. The teacher was already twisting to land on his back when he started going down. Izuku had fallen victim to that move more than once when they sparred.

The two were at opposite ends of the ring again. Izuku was catching his breath, fists still held up in a guard. Aizawa was hardly sweating. 

Kick his ass, Mido! ” 

Izuku laughed, smiling to himself. He was sure Shinsou saw it, even from the stands. It really helped, knowing he had someone cheering for him.

“Who’s side are you on?!” Aizawa yelled back in mock annoyance. Though Izuku could see him smiling too.  

“Betrayed! Betrayed by our own son!” Yamada cried. Izuku saw him dramatically flop himself over Midnight, who shoved him off. They were laughing. 

Even if this was an exam, Izuku couldn’t help but feel more at ease. His friend was cheering for him. Mr. Yamada and Ms. Midnight were being their dramatic selves. This was just like a normal sparring match with Aizawa-sensei, only with a bigger audience. 

He could do this. 

Izuku lunged for his teacher, no warning given. The man’s eyes widened slightly before he leapt out of the way. 

Izuku let out his tentacles, lashing out at his teacher. He knew better than to eat Aizawa-sensei, it would mean he forfeited the whole recommendation test. Nedzu hadn’t said anything about using that side of his powers though. 

Aizawa dodged the tentacles, leaping and flipping with the grace expected of an underground hero. Izuku knew it was a risk to block some of his vision, but he was willing to take the chance. He could still see his teacher jumping around, so it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been.

They dissolved into more dodging and punching, Izuku occasionally trying to trip Aizawa with his tentacles. Had he had time to think, he would have compared it to his teacher’s capture weapon, but with teeth. And, you know, able to eat people. 

It could’ve gone on for hours, but Izuku wouldn’t have known. Time became irrelevant. Staying in the ring was the only thing that mattered. The cheers of his friend were there, along with the teachers, but he didn’t hear what they said. Only the noise and what vaguely sounded like swears from some of them. 

Then he made a mistake. One single misstep. 

Izuku was pinned down on the mats before he knew it. Aizawa-sensei’s knee was on his back, making sure he couldn’t get up. He lost, and could only hope it was enough. 

He was let up when Nedzu called his loss. Izuku shook out his arm, avoiding the gazes of his teachers. 

“You lasted exactly five minutes and twenty eight seconds, Midoriya,” Nedzu said, walking closer to the two. “That’s longer than most can stay in a fight with Aizawa.”

Izuku wanted to argue that was because AIzawa-sensei didn’t have his capture weapon, or any weapons really. He had used his Quirk the few times Izuku had tried to shift, but that didn’t happen often. More out of instinct to try dodge if anything. But he didn’t say anything. 

“And I believe the mark for passing was at three minutes,” Nedzu hummed, seemingly oblivious to the shock his student was going through.

He…passed? By two whole minutes ? Was he dreaming? Ow, no, not a dream. 

Izuku was pulled from his thoughts by his best friend crashing into him. His feet left the ground as Shinsou spun him around happily.

“You did it, Mido! Wooooooo!”

“Shin! Put me down!”

Shinsou stopped spinning, instead holding Izuku off the ground like a misbehaving cat. His feet weren’t touching the floor. “Nope.”

Izuku resigned himself to his fate. The teachers were either openly giggling or trying to hide it. Even Nedzu cracked a smile. 

“So…I’m in the hero course?”

“Yes, Midoriya. You will be in class 1-A.”

Izuku heard more than saw Aizawa choke on air. Oh yeah, that was his class, wasn’t it. This next school year was definitely going to be fun. He pushed a smile away at the thought of trying to see how many times they could sneak Shinsou into class without his dad noticing. The vent system was a wonderful thing. 

“Welcome to your Hero Academia, Midoriya.”

~~~~~

Midoriya was allowed to come and watch the normal hero exams. Shouta would have wondered why if he didn’t know his favorite the student could pick apart Quirks in less than a minute. It was interesting to hear him mutter about different ones he saw. His habit of speaking too quietly had long since been broken, as well as the proper place to actually say it out loud. 

His words stuttered when he saw a particular examinee. Shouta didn’t get to see who it was, since the camera switched shortly after, but now he was curious. It could either be an old classmate, or someone Midoriya met once. One glance and Shouta could tell Midoriya wasn’t going to answer any questions about who it was. 

Shouta shrugged. As long as they weren’t dangerous then the boy didn’t have to tell them. They would trust Midoriya’s judgement on this one. 

It was, however, extremely amusing to watch Hitoshi pay close attention to the ramblings of said green-haired boy. He almost had stars in his eyes. Shouta shook his head fondly, trying very hard not to remember that that’s how he looked at Hizashi. Still does, if anything. 

“Time to release the zero pointer!” Nedzu said gleefully. It was terrifying. 

The massive robots rumbled out of the ground and onto the different fields. Shouta had watched this for years now. There weren’t many examinees that surprised him during this part anymore. 

In one area, a girl was stuck under rubble. Shouta saw Midoriya jolt from the corner of his vision. Right, he hadn’t been told about the safeguards on the zero pointer. 

“She, she’s trapped!” Midoriya exclaimed, flailing his hands. “Isn’t someone going to save her?!”

“Don’t worry kid, the zero pointer can’t actually hurt her.”

“Well, I figure that, but the students don’t, they don’t know she’s not in- in danger. Shouldn’t they try and save her?”

“Not all people are as reckless as you, Mido,” Hitoshi pointed out, earning a squawk from his friend. “Besides, they don’t know about the rescue points. It helps weed out some of the selfish ones, even if the exam is rigged.”

“Yeah…I guess so.”

“Midoriya,” Shouta called in a warning tone, knowing that look on his student’s face. 

“I’ll just be a minute, Aizawa-sensei!”

And with that, the Problem Child was gone. Blipped out of existence in the room. Shouta sighed. Loudly. The kid couldn’t teleport somewhere unless he knew the place, which he very much did in this case. 

Back on the screens, Shouta wanted to bang his head on the desk when Midoriya appeared beside the trapped girl. He shoved the rubble off of her, telltale green light flickering over his limbs. He got the girl out and away from the zero pointer in almost record time. Hitoshi looked like he wanted to smack his friend over the head.  

At least none of them could say Midoriya wasn’t heroic. 

Time was called, and Recovery Girl was sent in. As soon as the girl was in safe hands, Midoriya disappeared from the screens. He reappeared in a flurry and red standing next to Nemuri. They were still working on his accuracy. 

“Midoriya, care to explain what that was?”

“I, uh…wanted to help?”

“Problem Child, I swear.”

~~~~~

“Hey Mom!”

“What honey!”

“Do you think I’ll need the flash-bombs?”

“Izuku, why on earth would you need those at school?”

“Because Nedzu’s there and All Might’s teaching us? Anyway, can I leave the tie at home?”

“Sweetie, just let me tie it. How you managed this is beyond me.”

“Mom, even I don’t know.”

Inko smiled sadly. Maybe if Hisashi was still alive…

No, she shook her head. Thinking things like that never go to good places. Her son was here, and safe, and going to hero school. She never would’ve thought the day would come where she allowed something like this. Yet here they were.

“Mom, you ok?”

“Yes, I’m fine. You’re just getting so big, my kit.” Inko wiped away a tear, reaching up to try and tame her son’s wild hair. 

“Mom, I’ll be alright,” he said softly. “I’ve been going to UA for years now, so it’s not like I’ll get lost.”

Inko laughed, wiping another tear. “Go on then. Show the world you are here, my kit.”

“I will Mom, I promise.”

And just like that, he was out the door. Inko’s one and only child off to become a hero. She knew he’d be ok though. If any person could save people and make change for the better, it was her son. 

He was going to be amazing. 

Chapter Text

Izuku walked down the halls of UA, humming happily to himself. He was sure as ever of the way to his new classroom. He could probably walk it with his eyes closed if anything. 

This whole thing was terrifying, but at least Izuku knew he wouldn’t get lost. Worst case scenario was that he took the vents instead. Who knows, maybe he’d find Shin hiding in there too.

It was exciting being an actual student here now though, especially in 1-A. He had watched the classed plenty of times from the vents and security cameras, but Izuku had never actually been taught in one of the classrooms. It was a bit nerve wracking, but he knew it would be fine. Aizawa-sensei was his teacher after all. 

Sooner than he felt was possible, Izuku found himself standing in front of the 1-A door, which was much bigger than he was. Meant for creatures bigger than average humans, he knew. There had been quite a few students in the past that had needed the big doors.

Well, here goes nothing, he thought. Izuku took a deep breath, and slid open the door. 

Only to be greeted by two people yelling at each other. The door was promptly slammed shut. Nope. Too early to deal with explosions, screaming, and seeing Katsuki again. 

He recognized the other one too. Tenya Iida, younger brother to Ingenium, who had super-speed. Izuku had seen him during the exam. He was the type of kid that was a stickler for rules and was overly loud without knowing it. 

Izuku knew he’d have to go in at some point. But…maybe he could delay it a bit. Perhaps Shinsou was in the vents and they could hide from people together. 

“Hello!” A voice chirped from down the hall. Izuku turned, and saw the girl he’d saved during the exam. “I never got to say thank you for before, so thank you! Did you get into 1-A too?”

Izuku brightened and smiled. At least he knew one person in the class. Maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as he thought “Yeah! My name’s Izuku Midoriya, what’s yours?”

“Ochako Uraraka, it’s nice to meet you! So…why didn’t you go in?”

“Uh…Th-there are people arguing. I didn’t, didn’t want to try and get past them.”

“Oh, ok! I can make them stop if you want? You saved me in the exam, so it’s the least I can do!”

“You…can try, I guess?”

Uraraka nodded determinedly, sliding the door open again. Izuku trailed in after her, if only to make sure Katsuki didn’t blow her up. She looked nice, and he was usually right about that type of thing. He really didn’t want to see her get hurt. 

“Hey! Knock it off! You’re scaring my friend!”

Izuku’s thoughts stuttered a bit at being called her friend, but ultimately moved past it.

He entered just in time for Katsuki to see him. The blonde froze, explosions falling silent. Iida was still talking loudly, but neither heard him. 

“Deku.”

“Hello again, Katsuki.” The blonde winced minutely, like he expected Izuku to still call him Kacchan. Yeah, not happening. 

The two didn’t move from where they were having a staring contest. Uraraka looked concerned, and Iida still hadn’t noticed. Izuku heard someone open the door again. 

“If you’re here to socialize, you can leave,” Aizawa-sensei droned, appearing in his sleeping bag, which Izuku (and the rest of the staff) had been calling the caterpillar cocoon for years now. Even All Might had started calling it that, nervous around Aizawa as he was. 

Most of the class squeaked or yelped in some way. All of them were taken aback at the man on the floor. Izuku blinked impassively, having seen this sight countless times. It was almost funny how he was the only one that wasn’t phased by caterpillar-man. 

Aizawa-sensei rolled to the front of the classroom and stepped out of his sleeping bag. Izuku took his seat, wondering if anyone was going to get expelled this year. The answer was most likely yes. It was a little selfish, but Izuku was sorta hoping Shinsou could get moved up sooner rather than later. 

The first thing their teacher did was pull a box out from behind his desk, and set it where they could all see. “I am your teacher. You lot can call me Aizawa-sensei. Put these on, we’re having a test.”

With that elaborate explanation, Aizawa walked back out of the room. 

No one moved for a couple seconds. Izuku eventually sighed, walking up to grab his new PE uniform since no one else was moving. The rest of the class scrambled to follow as he left the room. None of them knew the school, so if they didn’t hurry then they’d get lost. Izuku just hoped they got the memo. 

His new classmates trailed after him like ducklings as he lead the way to the lockers. Thankfully no one got lost, so Izuku considered it a victory. 

He slipped in and changed as fast as he could, ignoring the loud chatter around him. Katsuki being around was putting him on edge. Honestly, he wouldn’t be surprised if his hair was puffed up more than normal. 

Once outside, they all lined up near Aizawa-sensei. He looked mildly impressed, but Izuku was probably the only one to see that. The others were all shifting nervously. 

Aizawa-sensei explained that they were doing fitness tests, but with Quirks. Izuku was confident he’d do alright. He watched the tests last year, so he already knew that they were doing. It was essentially just stretching, running, and throwing. 

Then someone had the bright idea to say it sounded fun. Izuku knew the look that crossed their teacher’s face. Oh boy. Of all the ways for him to say this, it was after someone said that

“Well since it sounds so fun, the person in last place gets expelled.”

Well…at least Izuku knew how to not break his limbs anymore. He might get a good place. 

Then he watched Katsuki launch the ball over 700 meters, and he suddenly really wanted to go home. 

They started with the 50 meter dash. Izuku just teleported to the other side, the machine chirping a happy one second. All his classmates saw was a flurry of red and pink, since he had been practicing to teleport faster. Katsuki looked ready to explode after that stunt though, so Izuku avoided him like the plague. 

Grip strength was decently easy. One for All helped him get a good score, but it was by no means the highest. That went to Shoji, a literal giant with multiple arms. Izuku was tempted to go on a ramble about his Quirk, but stopped himself. He had enough memories of Kacchan telling him it was creepy and weird. No matter what Nedzu and Aizawa-sensei said about his rambling, that didn’t change what Katsuki thought. 

The standing long jump was also easy. It wouldn’t have been if he still broke limbs with One for All, but since he didn’t, he cleared the sand entirely. He also almost landed in a tree, but that was irrelevant. 

Side steps weren’t fun. Izuku saw Mineta (a kid with purple ball things on his head) get first in that one. Something about him seemed…off, though. But with no evidence, Izuku couldn’t do anything. 

Next was the ball throw which…didn’t go as planned. Izuku knew he wouldn’t break bones using One for All as long as he stuck to his limit. Nedzu and Aizawa had been adamant about him staying in one piece, especially at school. No, it wasn’t that that went wrong. 

Izuku wound up the ball, firing up his Quirk. The green sparks danced in the air, drawing surprised exclamations from the classmates who hadn’t seen it yet. 

With as much force as he could use, Izuku threw the ball. It landed a minute later, showing a score below Katsuki’s. With the low percentage he could use, it wasn’t a big surprise. Izuku was happy with it anyway.

Katsuki, however, was not. 

“HOW THE FUCK DID YOUR USELESS ASS DO THAT, HUH DEKU?” Katsuki screeched, launching himself into the air on his explosions. 

So he hadn’t changed much after all. 

Gray scarves wrapped around Katsuki, just like Izuku knew they would. His explosions fizzled into nothing as gray eyes turned red. Aizawa-sensei had a very strong opinion about bullying. Hopefully Katsuki wouldn’t be expelled, Izuku didn’t want to ruin his career because his old friend and bully didn’t know how to let go of a grudge. 

“Stand down, Bakugou,” Aizawa-sensei said, just a tad bit of anger showing through. “I will not have you attacking your classmates.”

“BUT HE CHEATED! HE’S A USELESS FUCKING CAT MORPH THAT-“

Stand down , Bakugou. I assure you, Midoriya did not cheat. If he did, then he would already be expelled. Now stop using your Quirk, it’s giving me dry-eye.”

Aizawa-sensei sent a glanced at Izuku, who nodded to say he was ok. Katsuki screamed  something incoherently, but was cautiously set on the ground once he stopped. He didn’t make a move towards Izuku, so Aizawa let him walk away. 

Izuku couldn’t help but think that Shinsou was going to get a kick out today’s story.

They continued on with the tests. The seated toe-touch, sit-ups, and a distance run were all that was left. Izuku had always found stretching easy, being part cat and all. Although he might have scared a few people when he decided to show off and do and backbend that touched his heels instead of the normal stretch. Aizawa-sensei had already marked him down for passing it anyway. 

Sit-Ups and the distance run would be alright for him, thanks to his training. He didn’t have anything Quirk-wise that could help with that anyway. Nothing he wanted to show off, at least. 

That is, until he noticed someone. Specifically, a short, purple someone sneaking closer to the group of girls. Uraraka, who had talked to Izuku between some of the tests, was excitedly saying something to the girl that was bright pink. Probably part daemon, if Izuku was guessing right. 

Izuku recognized the boy after a moment. It was Mineta, who was suddenly very high on Izuku’s “people to keep a very close eye on” list. He watched with increasing malice as the short rat person edged closer to the girls. He hadn’t noticed Izuku was there yet.

Having enough of that, Izuku walked on silent feet to stand directly behind his classmate. “What are you doing, Mineta?”

The boy jumped, spinning around to face Izuku. He relaxed when he saw who it was, but Izuku just added another tally to his mental checklist. The fact that he was nervous at all meant he knew he was doing something wrong. 

“Oh, it’s just you, Midoriya,” Mineta sighed, then got a creepy look Izuku didn’t like one bit. “Hey, you wanna help me?”

Izuku did not like the sound of that. At all . “With what?”

“Getting a look at the girls.”

Izuku scowled down at his classmate (who hopefully wouldn’t be that for long). The look on Mineta’s face was absolutely revolting. And he was smiling, as if Izuku was would actually agree with the disgusting rat. 

“So, you want to distract them?”

Izuku growled, and opened his mouth. 

Mineta disappeared in a flash of tentacles and teeth. Izuku didn’t like eating people, but he hated people like Mineta a lot more. He grumbled, shaking his head but keeping his mouth shut. Mineta tasted like overripe grapes and rat fur. 

The noise attracted attention though. From the girls and Aizawa-sensei at least. Their teacher came over while Izuku was pretending to act normal. Quite easy, considering Nedzu’s lessons. Helped by the fact that Izuku didn’t feel guilty by what he did. 

One look at his firmly shut mouth and Aizawa sighed heavily, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Midoriya, spit him out.”

“Buf he ‘as ‘eing g’oss!” Izuku cried, his mouth staying mostly shut. 

“Nedzu didn’t teach you to do that so you could eat your classmates. Now spit him out .”

Izuku huffed, but spat Mineta out on the ground. The boy was covered in spit and small cuts from his teeth. He came out crying about how gross and disgusting it was. Izuku still didn’t regret it. 

Aizawa-sensei lifted the small boy up by the back of his uniform. Everyone was watching by now, curious as to what just happened. None of them had seen more than Mineta appearing in a flash of red. 

“Mineta, what were you doing that made Midoriya do that?”

“I don’t know!” He wailed. “I was just trying to get a look at the girls! And then he did- did that !”

Unlike normal people, Aizawa-sensei’s gaze didn’t darken. No, it lit up red. His black hair floating like a twisted halo around his head. And that was when Izuku knew Mineta was, for lack of a better term, absolutely screwed. 

“Mineta, principal's office. Midoriya, no more eating people. We will finish the tests with no more interruptions, understood ?”

They all nodded hastily. No one wanted to mess with an angry teacher, especially one that had threatened to expel them. Mineta was sent to Nedzu and the rest of the tests were completed. 

The scores were displayed not long after they finished. Izuku was in the top ten, which he was really happy with. Mineta, however, was at the very bottom, his score showing N/A. Aizawa stood in front of the board, watching as most of them breathed sighs of relief. 

“Mineta has been expelled.” There were a few cries of surprise, none coming from the girls. “Take this as a lesson, I will not tolerate inappropriate behavior or assault to another student in any form. Go back to the classroom to grab a syllabus. Dismissed.”

Izuku hummed as he walked back, the rest of his class trailing behind him again. They weren’t wandering off to get lost in the halls, so he was fine with it. 

They were whispering though. Nothing he wasn’t used to, but the topic had changed since middle school. Before it was how weak he was or how it was only a matter of time before Katsuki beat him up again. At UA, it was how a “simple cat morph” could teleport and make people disappear. It was a welcome change. 

Back in the classroom was when everyone really started chattering away. Izuku stayed far away from Katsuki. Instead, he talked with Uraraka and Iida. They were nice, and both liked heroes. The topic of Quirks came up somehow.

“Oh yeah, how did you do that this morning, Midoriya? I thought Bakugou said you were a cat morph?” Uraraka asked, not unkindly. 

“Yes! I too would like to know how you did that!” Iida said a bit too loudly. Oh yay, the whole class was listening now. Izuku wanted to disappear, but knew that would just create more questions. 

“Uh, my powers are, are a bit…complicated.”

“COMPLICATED MY ASS!” Katsuki yelled, stalking closer. Izuku stared at him, unblinking, until he stopped walking a few feet away. “YOU’RE A CAT MORHPH, DEKU, SO HOW THE FUCK DID YOU MANAGE THAT BULLSHIT!”

“B-because I’m not, I’m not just a-“

The door opened, drawing everyone’s attention away again. Izuku turned, visibly slumping in relief when he saw it was Shinsou. His friend was glancing around the classroom with an almost bored expression. Izuku recognized it as him surveying the competition.  

“Hey Mido, Pop made us bentos.” 

Now that got Izuku’s attention. He shot to his feet, buzzing with excitement. Yamada’s food was the best . Next to Mom, of course. 

Then Shinsou’s eyes landed on Katsuki, and Izuku got the distinct feeling of impending doom for his friend. “Ah, the Angry Pomeranian is here.”

Aaaaand, Izuku was ready to flee from the following explosion. “Race you to the cafeteria!”

Izuku sprinted out of the classroom, Shinsou following with a cry of “No teleporting!” He laughed, looking over his shoulder for a moment.

The two left behind a classroom of very, very confused teenagers. It was quiet for a few seconds, before someone said something. A single phrase they were all thinking.

“What the heck just happened?”

Chapter Text

Izuku was very proud of his hero costume. Shinsou helped design it, and so did Yamada. His input was highly valued since Izuku liked his costume a lot.  Though Aizawa had been barred from helping by his husband. He claimed it was for Izuku’s benefit, since Eraserhead’s uniform was literally a jumpsuit with a souped up, half-metal scarf. 

His costume ended up being based on a green suit that Mom gave him. It was slightly altered by the support company, but that was only because normal fabric was far too easy to destroy for a hero. There were also arm braces, with gloves, in case he needed to use more power than usual. All of the fabric was also self-healing, gloves included, which would let him half-shift without destroying his clothes every time. 

The hood originally had green tufts like All Might’s hair, but that had quickly been replaced. Izuku mourned the loss of it, but he did like the new support gear that replaced it. Now it was a headband like thing with cat ears that acted as sense enhancers. They wouldn’t interfere with his actual ears thankfully, cat or otherwise. Once he half-shifted they would act more like headphones that could amplify or decrease sound too. In short, they were really cool. Especially since they actually worked with his cat ears. 

Izuku kept his normal red shoes too, albeit with reinforcement in the toes so they wouldn’t get ripped up every time he half-shifted. If he needed his claws he’d just take them off. That would eventually need to change, but for now it worked. Adjustments were always made to costumes after they were first used. 

He loved his costume, and very proudly wore it while All Might explained their exercise. Everyone else’s were so cool too! Although whoever was designing the girls’ apparently needed to be reminded they were fifteen. Yaoyorozu and Uraraka had already mentioned changing theirs. 

Izuku did find Hagakure’s funny though. Despite what everyone else seemed to think, she was not in fact naked. He only knew because Nedzu had had to deal with the company complaining about making the DNA infused material for a first year. His teacher really needed to choose a new supplier already if they were going to complain about something that protected the student. 

Their first ever exercise with All Might was a heroes vs villains fight, and Izuku was really excited for it. He got to use One for All and show All Might what he could do! So maybe he was a tad bit nervous of what his new classmates would think, but he wasn’t going to dwell on that. Nope, not thinking about it. 

Izuku drew a number, and got paired with Uraraka. He was really relieved he was with a friend. Heaven knows what would have happened if him and Katsuki had gotten paired together. 

“And the first round will be team I as the heroes!” Oh that was them. Izuku paid attention, wanting to see who he’d be up against. “With team B as the villains.”

That was Katsuki’s team. 

Welp, time to go hide in the vents then. 

Uraraka grabbed the back of his costume before he could walk away. She looked concerned, but mostly amused. Izuku grumbled mentally, but followed her to the building. They had a few minutes to plan now.

“Ok, s-so Katsuki is going to come after me.”

“Are…you sure?”

“Positive.” Izuku decidedly ignored the shaking in his voice. “He thinks- he thinks I tricked him or, or something. He’ll go after me, so- so if you can find the bomb then we might win. I don’t think you should- should float yourself from here, since you don’t have a way to get down. I’ll- I’ll distract Katsuki.”

“I don’t like this plan.”

“Not my f-favorite either, but it’s one that might work. When he comes after me, run and get the bomb as quickly as- as possible. I don’t know how far he’s, he’s willing to go.”

“Alright, but if he starts to get too aggressive I’m coming back for you.”

Izuku smiled at the ground. That morning all of the girls had thanked him for getting rid of Mineta. Uraraka and Ashido had declared that they would be his bodyguards, despite his protests. He had no idea how that was going to go, especially once Shinsou found out, but it was nice to know he’d already done something good. 

Izuku took off his shoes and socks. Silent walking would be essential here. Uraraka looked on in confusion, until he half-shifted, growing ears, a tail, claws, and most importantly, paw pads. She still looked slightly confused though, so Izuku showed her his foot.

You have toe beans! ” She squealed excitedly. “And cat ears!”

“Y-yeah, it’s part of how my- my Quirk works. This is my half-shift. Full-shift is when- is when I turn into an actual cat.”

“Do you have finger pads now?!”

“Y-yes.” Izuku took off his glove, showing her his now clawed hand and finger pads. 

“We match now! Here, look!” 

Uraraka gave her hand to Izuku, who looked at it. Sure enough, she had finger pads. They were probably how she activated her Quirk, actually. 

Cool ,” he whispered in awe. He had never met someone that had pads like him, even if he himself had only had them for a little while.  

The buzzer went off, reminding them of the exercise they were doing. Izuku gave Uraraka a reassuring smile, and led the way in. 

His ears swiveled around, listening. Izuku heard the sound of Iida’s loud “villainous” speech, and Katsuki’s heavy footsteps. Both were above them. 

“Iida’s in a room on the other side of the building, maybe two floors up. Katsuki is coming after us already, but he’s on the same floor as Iida for now. If we go up one then you’ll be closer to the bomb.”

Uraraka hummed in affirmation. Izuku walked on his tiptoes silently, happy with how everything was going so far. Katsuki was still above them, though he would probably get to the stairs soon. 

The two of them found their own stairs relatively quickly. The climb wasn’t too hard, not after Aizawa-sensei and All Might’s training at least. 

“Hey, Bakugou said you were a cat morph. But you’re not, are you?”

Izuku was honestly expecting the question, so he just sighed quietly. “Yeah. But…”

“It’s ok! You don’t have to tell me.”

“…Thank you,” he whispered. 

They reached the second floor, finding it was more twisting hallways and rooms. Not the most realistic building, but it worked for their exercise. 

Izuku’s ears suddenly focused in on one point. Katsuki. He was on their floor now, and moving fast. Uraraka didn’t react, so he was still being quiet enough that human ears couldn’t hear him.

“He’s on our floor,” Izuku whispered lowly. “Follow my lead, then run and find the bomb.”

Uraraka nodded, determination lighting up her gaze. Izuku sent her another hopefully reassuring smile. With both of them listening now, they kept moving. Izuku could already smell the sickly sweet scent of nitroglycerin. 

Katsuki was here. 

“He’s around the corner,” Izuku whispered. “Go past us and get to the stairs. I’ll hold him off for as long as I can.”

Uraraka hesitated, but nodded with a set jaw and fire in her eyes. She readied herself behind Izuku, who stalked forward on padded feet. If Katsuki didn’t know they were there, then he couldn’t surprise them. 

Izuku crouched, before leaping in a straight line down the hallway. He flew past the opening to another hall, and Katsuki’s glowing hand missed him by a few inches. Izuku skidded to a stop, getting back to his feet. His old bully screamed, blasting himself forward. Uraraka darted down the way he’d came.

Now the real fight could begin. 

“YOU CAN’T RUN, DEKU!”

Yes, yes he could, Izuku found himself thinking. He was much faster than Katsuki on foot. Using Quirks, it was terrain that mattered, and they were on an even playing field in these sharp halls. His tail and claws helped with turning, but explosions did too, surprisingly. 

So he took off down the hallways, steps still close to silent. Katsuki’s screeching followed him, as well as the sound of explosions. Good, he was acting just as Izuku predicted he would.

Uraraka was relaying where she was through the coms they’d been given. She’d found Iida, but there was no ammo for her to use. Smart. Izuku could hear Iida monologuing about it through his earpiece. 

Izuku was distracted with that. Iida was loud, and it threw him off. Having enhanced hearing definitely had drawbacks. At least Uraraka had been kind enough to whisper, but Iida and Katsuki had no such qualms. 

Which was why he didn’t notice Katsuki was beside him until he was being body-slammed into a wall. 

Izuku slumped onto the floor, trying to regain his bearings. He was decently certain that would leave a nasty bruise. Katsuki was aiming another explosion for him, so he scrambled to his feet. Worrying over injuries was for later. 

Izuku dove out of the way as fire consumed where he’d been a second before. 

“Stand still you damned cat!” Katsuki snarled. 

Izuku’s answer was skittering to the side of another flash. 

“I’ll show you what you get for looking down on me! Who’s weak now you bastard!”

Izuku’s steps stuttered. Looking down on him? Where on earth had Katsuki gotten that idea? He was the one that had hurt Izuku. The one to encourage everyone else to bully him for being weak . Katsuki was strong, he knew that, but…but Izuku was now too.

He was done running away. 

Katsuki reached a hand out, light popping in his palm. Izuku stayed where he was. He reached out, almost like everything was in slow motion, and flipped his old friend over his shoulder. 

Izuku stumbled back a step, surprised in himself. Did he really just judo flip Katsuki? Did that really just happen?

Katsuki wheezed for breath as he rolled to his feet. He wasn’t saying anything, so Izuku did.

“I’m, I’m not weak anymore. I’m not a punching bag or the weak little cat you can pick on, Katsuki. I won’t let you do that to me anymore.”

Deku-

I’m not useless! ” Izuku screamed, stunning Katsuki into staying silent once more. He had waited so long to finally say that. “I’m not weak and I’m not a Deku! You know how long it took for me to learn that? Years , Katsuki. Years to undo what you did to me.”

“What I did? The fuck are you on about?!”

“Who started bullying me,” Izuku said lowly, his green eyes flashing as he activated One for All. “Who started the trend of calling me Cat. Of calling me Deku .”

Izuku stalked forward, fists at his sides and eyes never leaving a paralyzed Katsuki. Green lightning crackled over him.

“Who left burns on my arms? Who turned every single person in school against me for years ? Who made my life a living hell? Who, Katsuki.”

“I didn’t- that’s not-“

“Then who did, Katsuki?” Izuku whispered, hardly more than a few feet away now. “Tell me, who do you believe did it? Because you know what I think? I think that you know you’re in the wrong, but you don’t want to admit that. No one ever told you just how flawed you are.”

Izuku was so close he could reach out and touch Katsuki. His old bully was obviously shaken by his words. He could only hope the meaning was getting through his thick skull.

“I’m not- I’m not weak ,” Katsuki said. “I’m not you. I’m the strongest. I’LL BE NUMBER ONE AND NO ONE CAN STOP ME, ESPECIALLY A CAT!”

Time seemed to slow as Katsuki, in a panic, reached for the pin in his grenade. Izuku knew how they worked. Nitroglycerin was filled in tanks and then detonated in a massive explosion. And with Izuku at point-blank? 

He didn’t want to find out what would happen. 

But Katsuki was still pulling the pin. Izuku could hear All Might yelling for him to stop, but he wasn’t listening. Uraraka was asking what was wrong. If Izuku didn’t move then he’d be fried, but he wasn’t fast enough. He knew he wasn’t fast enough, teleporting or otherwise. Not for an explosion of that size. 

So he did the thing his instincts were screaming at him to do. Izuku opened his mouth, and consumed

It burned. The fire burned his mouth and tentacles, but they just went farther, expanding to cover the explosion and Katsuki himself. Izuku felt the weight, felt the heat. 

What felt like an hour was really about two seconds. Izuku squeezed his eyes shut tight against the light and heat and pain. Katsuki’s yelling cut off abruptly. 

The tentacles retracted, leaving Izuku in an empty hallway. His com was silent, though he couldn't tell if it was broken or not. Izuku stood stock still. He had acted on instinct. He hadn’t meant to that. Especially when the class was watching. He hadn’t meant to do that

Izuku…something inside of him burned . Like he’d eaten a ghost pepper whole. He wasn’t meant to hold fire. No one knew how he worked. Even he didn’t know how he worked. For all he knew Katsuki was burning up in his own explosion right now. 

That thought alone made Izuku’s fear double. He stumbled backwards on shaking legs, his mind a mantra of I have to save him I can’t let him burn I can’tIcan’tIcan’tIcan’t. Save him

No matter how much Katsuki had done to him, he would never let him get hurt. Not if Izuku could stop it. 

Izuku doubled over, gagging as the burning got more intense. It felt like he was coughing a lung out. But…no, that wasn’t right. It was like the first time he’d tried to spit something out again, except this time it was a burning coal lodged in his throat. 

In an explosion (the irony wasn’t quite lost on his hazy mind) of tentacles, Katsuki was spat out onto the floor. The fire followed. Izuku hissed and reeled back from the flames that burst to life from his own mouth. He fell to his knees, looking towards the ceiling. All he could see was yellow and orange.

The explosion took place just as it should have, but this time, it was aimed at the ceiling above Izuku’s head.

It hurt, a lot, but Izuku eventually coughed out the rest of it. With nothing to burn, the flames fizzled out quickly. He was left with a burnt mouth, a shell shocked Katsuki, and more questions than answers. Oh yeah, and a hole in the ceiling. 

An announcement sounded a second later. The heroes won. They won . Katsuki still hadn’t spoken a word. Izuku was just happy in the knowledge he was alive, even if he was staring at Izuku like he’d grown a second head. 

All Might’s voice crackled over his earpiece, but Izuku hardly heard it. Was the ringing always so loud? Where was it coming from? When had every noise turned to static?

Izuku got one last glance at Katsuki’s wide crimson eyes, before everything faded away. 

Chapter Text

Ochako considered herself resilient. Growing up poor, and on construction sites, tended to do that to a person. She wanted to be a hero, so it was a valuable skill. 

At first, she hadn’t known what to make of Midoriya. He had appeared in a flash at the entrance exam, saved her from a Godzilla robot, and then disappeared just as fast. They met again on the first day of school, where he protected all the girls from a creep. Said creep was expelled now. Ochako had dubbed herself his bodyguard if he needed it, and just like that she’d found her first friend in UA. 

She had been excited to be paired with him for their hero exercise. She got to work with a friend! He was nervous and stuttery at first, but that was ok. Ochako had dealt with people like that before. Her only worry was going against Bakugou, who seemed to hold a grudge against Midoriya for whatever reason.

Then she heard his plan, and didn’t like it one bit. He was essentially throwing himself at Bakugou to keep him away from her. Ochako was partly in awe at his heroic instinct, but mostly she just didn’t want to see him get hurt. 

Although it didn’t sound like he was going to budge, so she figured getting to the bomb as quickly as possible was the next best thing. 

She had been near the target room when the yelling started. Ochako couldn’t hear what Bakugou was yelling, but what Midoriya was saying was extremely concerning. Something about bullying and calling Midoriya weak? Yeah, not good. 

Ochako hurried even faster towards the bomb. The sooner she finished this, the quicker Midoriya could get away from Bakugou. The only problem was that Iida had moved any projectiles she could’ve used. 

Bakugou was screaming again, loud enough for Ochako to make out a few words. 

“Midoriya, I’m at the bomb, are you ok? Do you need me to come take care of Bakugou?”

Utter silence. Not good. Definitely not good . Especially when the next thing she heard sounded suspiciously like a roaring explosion. 

“Midoriya? Midoriya?!”

Ochako didn’t care if she was giving herself away to Iida. Midoriya might be in actual danger! She couldn’t just stay here if he was!

She felt it, a few seconds before everything went to hell. Almost literally. The room suddenly got really hot, and the next second fire tore through the flooring. Iida was thankfully out of the blast zone. Ochako was too. Honestly a miracle, all things considered.

The fire disappeared a moment later, leaving a gaping hole in the floor. Ochako wondered what had happened to cause a delay in the sound and Bakugou setting it off, but she didn’t have time to focus on that right now. All that mattered was ending this. 

She launched herself, gravity-free, to the bomb. One tap and they’d won. All Might called their victory, and to return immediately. 

Ochako smiled. They’d won, Midoriya could get away from Bakugou now. Everything would be alright.

Then she walked out of the building and saw him lying on a stretcher, unconscious and being wheeled to Recovery Girl. A hand came up to cover her mouth in shock. His own mouth looked…well, burnt felt too small of a word in all honesty. It looked like the skin had peeled itself from him, and turned an angry shade of red and purple. If she didn’t already have a strong stomach, she would’ve lost her breakfast. 

She didn’t know what had happened, not fully. Ochako had suspicions, but they didn’t take into account what Midoriya could do or what he was. She also had guesses about that, but she wasn't about to pry. That was his secret to tell. 

Honestly, Ochako didn’t care . As long as her friend ok then it would be alright. Besides, she already knew who to blame for this. 

Only her and Iida were there to see. All Might zipped by, coming to a stop in front of them. Bakugou trudged out of the building a second later. 

Ochako marched up to him, grabbing his collar and making the bastard float off the floor. He yelped, flailing midair. She twisted, sending him to the ground once again. A foot on his chest stopped him from getting up. 

“What the hell did you do?!” She snarled, tempted to just send him into the stratosphere right now. 

“The fuck do you mean! Deku just-“

“From the sound of it you’ve been bullying Midoriya since you were kids!”

“He’s weak! Always saying how he can be a hero, like he’s on the same level as me! Then he pulled some shit saying I couldn’t be a hero! Fucker deserved what he got!”

Give me one good reason not to send you to the moon ,” Ochako growled. Oh dear, she had already adopted Midoriya into her pack, hadn’t she. 

“LET ME UP AND I’LL SHOW YOU WHY!”

“Fine. As you wish , fucker.”

Ochako took a step back, allowing Bakugou to get up. However, her Quirk was still active. He took a single step and floated up and off the ground. Oh no, there he goes. Up and up. How sad that she couldn’t reach him. Oh no

All Might grabbed the floating boy before he got too far off the ground. “Young Uraraka, we do not abuse our Quirks like that.”

Well now she felt bad. Mostly. Sort of. Not especially much. 

“Please release your Quirk, young Uraraka. I assure you, he will be dealt with accordingly.”

Ochako grumbled, but released Bakugou. He hung from All Might’s hand like a naughty puppy from their scruff. The image helped her to relax just a small bit. Enough to finally hear Iida’s indignant sputtering at least.

“Return to the viewing room, you two. I must run back inside for a moment!”

And off All Might ran, Bakugou held under his arm not unlike toddlers Ochako had seen throwing fits in grocery stores. She dragged her feet going back to the viewing room. Maybe if she waited long enough All Might would come back and say Midoriya was alright. 

Ochako begrudgingly took a seat near the door and waited. She would wait until she knew her friend was ok.  

 

All Might returned, coming with no news on Midoriya. Ochako still waited. 

Bakugou came in a while later. She glared at him until he sat on the other side of the room. He was, for once, quiet. They hadn’t even been in school a week and Ochako already knew that was a rarity. 

They went on with the exercises. Ochako paid attention, mentally marking mistakes and how to not make them. She was still here to be a hero, after all. Watching other people had already given her some ideas on what to do herself too. 

Then Midoriya poked his head in through the door. Ochako was almost instantly on her feet, asking if he was ok and what in the actual hell had happened??

“I-I’m ok, Uraraka. Recovery Girl healed me. Look, hardly even a scar since I got there quick enough. Did, did you get hurt at all?”

“No, I’m fine!” She chirped, happy now that she knew her friend was ok. “Come on, they’re just starting the last round.”

Midoriya nodded, letting her pull him over to a free seat. It was right before he sat down that someone else noticed he was back. 

“Midoriya! Dude, you’re back!”

Ochako looked up, and saw their redheaded classmate bounce up. Kirishima, that was his name. He had already gone. His Quirk was a cool one too: being able to harden his skin to stone. 

“Y-yeah. I’m ok n-now.”

“Man, that was so manly! You took that explosion and literally ate it!

“He what,” Ochako said blankly. She had not been told this. 

“He ate the explosion! Then he spit it out again! Still don’t know how you did that, dude, but it was awesome.”

Deku! ” 

Oh well, guess Ochako was floating someone off the planet today after all.

Bakugou was flying across the room on his explosions. Ochako tensed, ready to slap him back to the ceiling. Turns out, she didn’t have to. 

Midoriya calmly stepped in front of her and Kirishima. He opened his mouth…

And Bakugou disappeared in a flurry of red and pink. Just, gone. Ochako blinked, and he was back. Standing shockingly still where he was. 

Most of the class was watching now. Midoriya stared down Bakugou, braver than Ochako had seen him all day. She didn’t know whether to be extremely impressed or mildly terrified. The former, most likely. 

“Ah, young Midoriya!” All Might boomed from the front of the room. Bakugou still didn’t move, but Midoriya looked up to their teacher. “Are you feeling better?”

“Y-yes, sir.”

“That is good! Your team won, young Midoriya! We already went over your battle, and young Iida won MVP for masterfully playing the part of the villain. However, your distraction was what allowed our teammate to assure your victory. A good plan, though try to not hurt yourself next time, alright?”

Ochako glanced over at Midoriya, only to see him hiding his very red face in his hands. Incoherent sounds were all that he seemed to make. All Might’s smile never budged, but Ochako felt it was more amused now. 

“You did wonderful, young Midoriya, as expected of Nedzu’s student! Now come! We must pay attention to the final match!”

Ochako found it funny how Midoriya reacted to All Might’s praise. She smiled, nudging his shoulder with hers. 

“Is All Might your favorite hero?”

“Y-yeah.”

“So you just got told by your favorite hero that you did amazing,” she smiled sharply. Teasing him was a bit fun, as long as it didn’t hurt anyone. 

He squeaked again. And suddenly, he was gone. Ochako blinked in shock, spinning in a slow circle. Nope, he wasn’t in the room. Oh no. 

“All Might! Midoriya disappeared!”

“Oh my, he must have been truly flustered,” All Might laughed. The sound echoed like a drum in the small room. “Do not fear, young Uraraka. He is likely on the UA roof, and will return once he can teleport again. In the meantime, onto the next match!”

That solved only one of Ochako’s many questions. She shrugged, paying attention like All Might had asked. Maybe those questions were supposed to be answered another day. In the meantime, she would wait for her friend. Again. 

~~~~~

Katsuki’s steps echoed down the empty hallway. His mind was filled with the mantra of what he’d heard. Static filled his ears, making his thoughts hazy. 

Step. Step. Step.

He wasn’t expelled. Katsuki had almost done something he would regret for every day of his life, and he wasn’t expelled. For all of his bravado screams of “DIE!”, he never wanted to kill anyone. And he almost did. 

Step. Step. Step.

Deku was the reason he was still here. The nerd was somehow awake after being healed, and the first thing he’d done was demand Nedzu not expel Katsuki. He could still learn, is what Midoriya had said. That UA was the best place for him to do that. 

 

“Schools are for learning, aren’t they Nedzu-sensei?”

 

There were conditions, but they were nothing compared to being expelled from UA. Hardly a slap on the wrist as far as Katsuki was concerned. 

 

“You will be watched closely, Bakugou. You understand this, yes?”

 

He had to take anger management along with normal therapy. Mom and Dad had to too. Deku wasn’t an idiot, no matter how many times Katsuki repeated it (trying to convince himself he was better than the weak cat morph that couldn’t possibly be better than him).

He was going to be under supervision in all school activities. Quirk training was mandatory anyway, but he had to actually show effort now. Anything less and he’d be expelled on the spot. 

Katsuki didn’t doubt that Aizawa-sensei meant it this time. 

 

“If Katsuki can still be a hero, who am I to take that from him?”

Step. Step. Step.

 

How had his life lead to this? To being beaten by a cat morph that probably wasn’t a cat morph? To owing Deku?

How had someone as strong as him fallen down the ladder so far?

Katsuki was…angry. He always was, in some way. Deku had beaten him, and he couldn’t deny that. No one could. It wasn’t fair . Since when had he gotten so strong? Since when had Deku the Cat turned into someone that scared could stand up to people? To Katsuki?

 

“Why do you want to be a hero, if all you’ve ever done is act like a villain?”

 

When had Deku’s words, the ones he’d said more than a year ago, done anything but anger him? When had Katsuki stopped stewing on them and instead listened to what they meant?

 

“Before you’re a hero, try being a better person, Kacchan.”

 

When had Deku become confident? When had he stopped being the coward that didn’t stand up for himself?

 

“You’re no hero, Kacchan.”

 

When had he stopped being Deku and Cat and turned into someone Katsuki didn’t know?


 

“Goodbye, Katsuki.”

Chapter Text

Izuku was really excited for today. Anyone else might’ve figured it was more hero training or English with Present Mic, but they would be wrong. Well, sort of. Hero training was still had a big part in it, but he was also excited for an entirely different reason. 

They were finally having lunch on campus. One that lined up with Shinsou’s. Not that they hadn’t seen each other in the past two days, but that had only been after school (and before the whole eating fire thing). Izuku hadn’t gotten to introduce his new friends to him yet either!

Aizawa-sensei sent him a knowing look right before he dismissed them. Izuku rolled his eyes playfully, then shot out the door. Uraraka and Iida were trailing behind him, looking a bit confused but otherwise amused. Izuku was too excited to explain properly right now. It would just come out as words too fast for a normal person to understand. 

Izuku burst into the lunchroom, drawing a few stares but really not caring. His two friends walked in like normal people to stand beside him. Izuku scanned the room with his sharp eyes, looking for a familiar head of lilac.

There! There he is!

“Shin!”

Izuku jumped up and down while waving his arms, effectively drawing the attention of literally everyone. At least Shinsou was included in that number. He cracked a grin, shaking his head fondly as he finished getting his food. Izuku darted across the room towards him, Uraraka and Iida followed with matching confused squawks. 

Izuku nearly tackled him, but instead stopped himself and settled for affectionately head-butting his friend. 

“It’s like you didn’t see me yesterday morning. What, is hero class really that boring?” Shinsou drawled, eyeing the other two trailing after Izuku. 

“Nope! Hero class was…well, it was good. I missed you anyway.”

Izuku plonked himself in the nearest free seat that had three others. Shinsou set his tray down beside him, obviously not wanting to sit next to two people he didn’t know. Uraraka glanced between the two with a bright smile. She and Iida took the two chairs across from Izuku and Shin. 

“Shin, this is Uraraka and that’s Iida, they’re in the hero course with me. Guys, this is Shinsou.”

“Aww, you made friends all on your own, Mido,” Shinsou cooed, earning himself a smack on the arm from said person. 

“Just eat your rice, Shin.”

“If I may ask,” Iida piped up, drawing their attention. “How long have you two been dating?”

Both of them immediately choked on the food they’d just started to eat. Uraraka was giggling. Izuku recovered first, staring at Iida incredulously. 

We’re not dating!

“You’re not? But you called him ‘Shin,’ which means heart. I have heard classmates call their significant other that before as a pet-name.”

“No, nope, not dating!” Shinsou sputtered, finally breathing again. “My name is Shinsou . It’s a nickname. I call him Mido, he calls me Shin.”

“Ah, I see.”

“You two would make a cute couple though!” Uraraka giggled.

Izuku was pretty sure his face was red as a tomato now. He buried his head in his arms, food forgotten. At least Uraraka didn’t sound malicious in her teasing. He could only hope that was correct. 

“Uraraka, please refrain from teasing Midoriya!” Iida said, probably waving his arms around, though Izuku refused to look up. “He was injured yesterday! We do not want to make it worse!”

“I’m sorry, he what now?”

Could Izuku teleport out of here? Maybe he could leave before Shinsou notices… 

“Yeah, he was fighting Bakugou and apparently ate his explosion? I wasn’t there to see it, but Recovery Girl healed him.”

Bakugou? ” Shinsou growled, and oh boy , now Izuku had to prevent a murder. 

“I’m ok! I’m ok now! You don’t need to do anything!”

Why shouldn’t I? That- that motherfucker shouldn’t be anywhere near you! Dad knows that!”

“All Might’s teaching the heroics class.”

“Right. Right . Forgot it’s not an underground hero this year. I swear I’ll-“

“Shinsou, sit down or I’ll tell Princess to lay on your face at three am again.”

Shinsou froze from where he was already starting to stand up. His eyes were wide. “You wouldn’t.”

“We both know I would, now sit down . Katsuki was dealt with.”

“Yeah. Yeah, Nedzu probably expelled him, right?”

Izuku was silent. He looked everywhere but his best friend. 

Right , Mido?”

“I, uh, might’ve asked Nedzu to… not …expel him.”

“Izuku Midoriya, are you kidding me.”

“If I may interrupt again,” Iida said. “Why do you not want Bakugou expelled, Midoriya? Did he not intend to harm you?”

“I mean, probably? But he- he needs to- to learn. Ex-expelling him wouldn’t help any-anything. School is for, for learning, right?”

“Yes I…suppose. You have shown much more mercy than most would, Midoriya.”

“I’ve known Katsuki since we- since we were kids.” Izuku shrugged. “I know he can be an amazing hero, if he just tried to- to be nice. Besides, what do you think he’d do if he got expelled? Peacefully go back to being a civilian?”

“I…suppose you do have a point, Midoriya.”

“Ok, yes, how heartwarming and slightly destructive of you, but can we go back to the part about you eating an explosion?” Shinsou said.

“Uh, it comes as said on the tin?” Izuku said, eating his food to prevent more words from coming out. 

“Dad is going to scold you so much.”

“Heck.”

“Wait wait wait, who’s your dad, Shinsou?” Uraraka asked curiously.

“Hm, not someone who would want me to share that information.”

“Awwww, come on! I want to know now! How about if I give you my pudding.”

“Nope.”

Izuku smiled at his friends. He was just happy they were all getting along. Even if it was over him getting injured. Uraraka was still trying to bribe Shin with pudding and mochi, while he refused. Izuku knew that smirk well. It meant he wasn’t going to say anything, or at least nothing true. 

“Oh yeah! Midoriya, when you turned into a half-cat, do you always have cat ears?” Uraraka said, grabbing his attention once again. 

“Uh, yeah. With half-shifting I always have the same features. Some can be more pronounced if I focus on them though.”

“Oh, did you see his finger beans?” Shinsou asked, ignoring the halfhearted glare Izuku sent his way. 

“I did! I have them too, see!”

Uraraka showed them her hands, which had pads on them for her Quirk. Izuku was still curious about them, but resisted the urge to snatch her hand and look at them closer. 

Izuku half-shifted, putting his hand next to hers. She squealed, looking at his claws like they were the most interesting thing in the world. Iida was watching curiously, since he hadn’t seen Izuku half-shift last time. 

“Your Quirk is very curious, Midoriya. I thought Bakugou very loudly said you were a cat morph?”

“I can, um, I can turn into a cat, but that not, not all I can do.”

“Ooooh, can I touch your ears?”

Izuku froze, feeling his ears fall flat. “I, uh, I’d prefer if you- if you didn’t.”

“Oh, ok.”

“S-sorry. It’s just- it’s a sign of trust for my- my kind to let someone touch their- their ears or tail. And I’ve only known you for- for three days now, so…B-but you can touch my hair if you want. My mom says it’s soft.”

Izuku turned back to normal, the ears and claws going away once more. He leaned down, letting Uraraka reach out to touch his curly hair. He was fine with his normal hair being touched, but his ears, tail, and underbelly were entirely different stories. They were vulnerable places, and a Flerken letting a person pet them there was a major show of trust. 

It wasn’t painful or anything, just uncomfortable. Izuku got the feeling of danger if someone he didn’t fully trust touched his ears. He learned it also affected him when he half-shifted, as he found out when one of Aizawa-sensei’s previous students went to try and touch him and he nearly clawed their hand. 

“Holy shit.”

“Language, Uraraka!”

“But it’s so fluffy and soft! It’s like an actual kitten!”

“…well now I am curious.”

Izuku couldn’t help purring as Uraraka ran her hand through his hair. It felt really nice. 

“Woah! You can purr!”

“Oh, yeah I guess you haven’t heard me do that,” Izuku said, the purring stopping so he could speak. “I can most sounds a cat can make actually.”

Uraraka back away, sitting down in her seat again. Izuku did the same. He kept eating his food, not wanting it to get too cold. 

“That’s so cool! Thanks for letting me touch your hair, Midoriya. It’s like a curly little sheep cat thing.”

“You’re welcome, Uraraka. Thank you for not trying to touch my cat ears.”

“You said it was a sign of trust, so it isn’t like I’m going to immediately do the thing that you said made you uncomfortable. I’ll just have to be the best friend in the world so you can trust me!”

“Wait wait,” Shinsou said, drawing everyone’s attention. “Mido, you let me touch your cat ears, like, a month after we met.”

Izuku blinked. “Yeah, and?”

Izuku went back to eating his food, oblivious to his purple-haired friend turning bright pink. Uraraka, however, was not, and very much saw it happen. She wasn’t going to say anything though. No, it would be better for teasing later. 

Izuku was about to say something else, but it was drowned out by an ear piercing screeching. An alarm. The UA alarm. A level three. Izuku knew what it meant. 

Someone had broken into UA. 

In an instant people were scrambling for the door, his table included. It was so loud. There were too many people in too little space and everything was too loud . Izuku’s ears hurt and his heart was beating too fast and it was all too much, too much, too much. 

A second later Izuku found himself on UA’s roof. Again. He really needed to stop doing that, but at least he was away from the noise and chaos now. 

Even out here he could hear the shrill alarm blaring throughout the building. Izuku wasn’t going back in there until it turned off, so the roof it was. He moved to the fenced off edge to look over the UA grounds. Maybe he could see who, or what, broke in. 

Izuku looked down, and saw that the gates were gone. Not retracted, just gone. Not there anymore. The press had taken the opportunity to swarm UA’s front lawn. Aizawa and Yamada-sensei were down there trying to make them go away. Izuku was pretty sure they were a few seconds away from bodily flinging them back outside the walls. 

He idly wondered what kind of Quirk could destroy the gate meant to resist brunt damage. 

Izuku shrugged, listening to see if the alarm had stopped yet. It was probably just some overzealous newscaster that didn’t know limits. Anyone with any Quirk could work anywhere if they wanted to. One of Mom’s coworkers could make shockwaves if she jumped, but instead of a hero or something she was a nurse. Izuku liked her too, she was nice.

The alarm had stopped shrieking now, so Izuku walked back into the building. All the halls had been deserted by now, though they smelled a bit odd. Like a bunch of dust had been shaken off a cloth. Probably kicked up by the stampede that undoubtedly took place in the hall he was walking through. They might be at UA, but that didn’t mean people were exempt from panicking. 

Walking down the hall, Izuku listened for the sound of any other people. Everyone should be leaving the security bunkers soon, since it was just the press that broke in. It was probably a good idea to let the teachers know he was ok though. No need to set off a manhunt for someone not lost. 

Izuku didn’t notice the trail of dust he stepped in along the way. 

 

Chapter Text

Izuku already knew where they were going, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t excited! If anything, he was even more hyped than he’d be if he didn’t know. The USJ was amazing! How could he not be excited for it?

His classmates asked why he was essentially buzzing in his chair, and he just smiled and made an excuse. He wasn’t about to spoil the surprise for them. Even if Aizawa-sensei was not-so-subtly glaring at him as a warning not to. 

It was still a bus full of energetic teenagers though. Izuku stuck to his seat, watching as Iida tried to corral everyone. He was a good class president, way better than Izuku would’ve been. 

Uraraka and Shinsou had told him about what Iida did while everyone was panicking during the press break-in. It was noble, and Iida had the qualities of a leader. Not to say Yaoyorozu didn’t, Izuku just knew Iida better. It was working out so far. 

He flung himself off the bus as soon as they parked. Everyone else followed him, staring up in awe at the building that housed the USJ. Izuku had been here before, but he was still amazed by the sheer size of it. 

“That’s the Space Hero: Thirteen!” Uraraka quietly squealed beside him. 

“Are they your favorite hero?” He whispered back, smiling at her enthusiasm. 

“Yeah! They’re an amazing rescue hero, and their Quirk is so cool!”

“I know, right?”

Izuku and Uraraka quieted down when Thirteen stepped forward. The rest of the class stopped their chatter too, paying close attention to the new hero.

“Welcome, to the USJ!” Izuku heard Kaminari mutter something about Universal Studios Japan, but decided to ignore it. Iida was already quietly reprimanding him anyway. “Before we begin, I have a few things to go over. As you may know, my Quirk’s name is Blackhole. I use it to disintegrate rubble and help rescue civilians.”

Izuku really wanted to shout out some more things he had analyzed about Thirteen’s Quirk, but now was not the time. Uraraka was listening intently next to him. Aizawa-sensei was quiet as well. 

“But it can also kill.” Izuku almost felt the shiver go down everyone’s spines. Some of them froze, some just looked accepting, like they already knew this too. “I could just as easily injure as I do save. A lot of Quirks are that way.”

Izuku didn’t need to be told this. He already knew it, and had since he was a kit. His Quirk could hurt so, so many people. Without even trying. If anyone in this class were to kill someone, it was him, and he knew it. That’s why he was here, after all. It’s the reason Nedzu and Aizawa-sensei had even noticed him in the first place. 

“But that’s why you’re here! In the USJ you will begin to learn how to use your powers to rescue people. Now, in we go!”

Izuku smiled, and moved with everyone else in through the doors. 

The USJ hadn’t changed much since he was here last time. Every zone was there, looking just as massive as they had before. The only difference is that Izuku knew just how big they were now. 

His classmates were gaping at just how gigantic everything was. From the top of the stairs they could see everything, and it was beautiful. Izuku smiled at their awe, knowing he had looking like that a few months ago. He still did, in all honesty. 

He wondered where Aizawa-sensei and Thirteen would assign him first. Izuku had been in every one of them before, so maybe the fire zone? It was the hardest one, and he could help coordinate the rescues. Or perhaps the earthquake zone, since he was good at lifting rubble.

Then Izuku felt all his hair stand on end. It felt like ice was dropped down his back, but there was nothing there. Todoroki wasn’t standing near him either. Something was wrong. There was something there that wasn’t there and they were in danger

“Aizawa-sensei.” His voice was small, and shook with the fear he felt. “Something’s wrong.”

Danger , his mind hissed. Something is here. They weren’t alone. 

A spot of black appeared in front of the fountain, which was near the base of the stairs. Izuku’s eyes locked onto it, pupils blown wide with fear. It grew, and grew, big enough for people to get through.

A pale hand emerged from the black, and Izuku spun on his heel. 

“Out out out, everybody outside right now,” he commanded, pushing whoever was close to him towards the doors.

“Is the training starting already?”

Izuku whipped around to face Kirishima. “Those are real villains, ” he hissed. “We need to leave now .”

The class finally started moving. Izuku caught a glimpse of more villains pouring out of the portal, and Aizawa-sensei standing at the top of the stairs. He felt another trill of fear seeing that. His teacher was a hero, a great one, but even he couldn’t deal with that many villains. Not by himself. 

“Aizawa-sensei!”

He looked back, catching Izuku’s gaze. “Go, Midoriya. I can handle this.”

Izuku hesitated, about to protest, but he closed his mouth. He couldn’t change Aizawa-sensei’s mind. Nothing could, not when he was set on something. It was often the topic of Midnight’s grumbling. 

So Izuku turned back to his class, and ran. 

They didn’t get very far. The blackness Izuku had seen suddenly appeared in front of everyone. He jumped in surprise, but stood his ground. Izuku pushed himself to the front of the group, and put himself between the threat and his class. His friends

“Hello there, children,” the blob of darkness said, bright yellow eyes staring directly at Izuku. If this man had been anything other than a villain, then Izuku would want to question him about his Quirk and how he was essentially a shadow because of it. But seeing as he was three steps from death, now was not the time. “We are the League of Villains, and we are here to kill All Might. Though it seems he is not here.”

Izuku jolted at that news. They were after his mentor. He wasn’t there today, having ran out of time this morning. Izuku had seen Aizawa tell Thirteen, but he already knew. Teachers were supposed to be with them on the bus, and the only reason All Might wouldn’t be there is if he ran out of time. 

That didn’t change the fact that they were facing villains. Real life villains whose goal was to kill. Izuku could only hope he was enough to protect his class. 

He nearly threw caution to the wind when Katsuki and Kirishima leapt at the villain. The two went through the villain, and didn’t come out the other side. Just, gone. Probably teleported. Izuku really hoped they were still inside the USJ.

“That was close,” he heard the villain mutter. Izuku narrowed his eyes, and saw a glint of metal. Louder, the dark villains said, “No matter, my job, is to scatter you to the wind!”

The darkness expanded before Izuku could react. It was cold. A biting, freezing cold that ate its way into his bones. 

He found himself falling. Izuku yelped, righting himself midair. Another perk of being a Flerken, he got the cat's ability to land on his feet. Most of the time, at least. 

Izuku looked down, and saw nothing but water beneath him. His stomach sank with him as he fell. He did know how to swim, but he wasn’t good at it. He despised the water with a burning passion like an actual cat morph. 

He hit the water hard. Bubbles created a white veil around him, masking both Izuku and whatever was outside of it. Izuku thrashed and paddled towards the surface. He did not like the water, especially when he could see a shark villain swimming right at him

Something wrapped itself around his torso, and Izuku suddenly found himself airborne. He flew over the water, landing gentle on the boat. Not a villain, then. 

Izuku turned, seeing Asu- Tsuyu on the deck next to him. Knowing it was safe safer now, he took the time to vigorously shake off each limb, ridding it of any water. His hair would dry eventually, but he shook it out anyway. 

“Are you ok, Midoriya?” 

“Y-yeah, I’m ok A- Tsuyu. How ab-about you?”

“I’m alright, ribbit.” Tsuyu moved to the railing to look at the water below. “But there’s no way off this ship.”

Izuku stopped, then moved beside her. In the water were dozens of villains. Most of them broke into yelling when they saw the two. Howls and cries for blood . Like they were deer for hunting instead of children. 

It made his stomach churn. These were real villains, ones that were putting his classmates in danger. Ones that wouldn’t hesitate to kill. 

They needed to get off this boat. Panicking could wait. 

“How far- how far can you jump?” 

“Not far enough,” Tsuyu said solemnly. 

Izuku’s mind was running in overdrive. Maybe if he used One for All to boost Tsuyu? He really didn’t want to use any part of his Flerken powers. He had gone so long without using them, and heard so much about how inherently evil they were, that it made him hesitate. 

That hesitation cost them. 

A blade of water rose up from the lake, slicing the boat clean in half. It really was a sinking ship now. No more make-believe. Izuku’s mind quieted down, resolute in what he was going to do. What he had to do. 

“How good are you at dealing with gross things?” He asked, voice surprisingly level. 

Tsuyu tilted her head curiously, the only indication that she was scared being her wider than usual eyes. “Alright, I think, ribbit. Why?”

“Because I can get us off this ship, but I have to, er…I essentially have to, to…eat…you.”

“Like you did with Mineta?”

“S-sort of. I can- I’m going to try and- and teleport us to land.”

“Ok.”

“Ok?”

“If it can get us away from the villains, then do it.”

“Ok. Ok, just- just don’t freak out.”

Izuku took a deep breath, focusing for all he was worth. He had never teleported with a person before, but they had little choice. Not unless they wanted to be fish food. They say the best way to learn is under stress, right?

Tsuyu disappeared in a flurry of red, and Izuku followed a second later. 

He landed on the concrete near the center of the USJ. The flood zone was behind him now, and the stairs just past the courtyard. 

Tsuyu was spit out again once Izuku knew it was safe. She appeared and stood there for a few seconds, probably trying to process what had just happened. Thankfully she wasn’t covered in spit, at the very least. Izuku was almost worried she had gone into shock though, with how silent she was being. 

“You…you weren’t kidding.”

“Um, n-no. S-sorry about that, are you- you ok?”

“I’m alright, ribbit. Are-“

Tsuyu cut herself off, hearing something. Izuku heard it too. Voices, ones belonging to villains. 

The two of them ducked behind a nearby bush, peeking out over it. It was the best cover they had right now. 

Aizawa-sensei was still fighting the villains. They were falling left and right, but Izuku could tell he was getting slower. Their teacher was meant for quick fights, not drawn out ones against dozens of opponents. 

The villain with blue hair lunged forward. His hand touched Aizawa-sensei’s elbow, and it fell apart

Izuku heard Tsuyu’s breathing hitch the same time his did. Aizawa-sensei stumbled away from the man, clutching his arm. 

“You’re getting slower, Eraserhead,” the villain said, almost gleeful. “It took a while, but you have a tell .”

“So? It doesn’t matter,” Aizawa-sensei growled. “Defeat the boss and the small fry flee.”

“Oh, but I’m not the boss. Nomu here, he’s the real boss of this level.”

Izuku finally saw the thing that stood near the villain. He stiffened at the sight of it. That thing was wrong . It was human but not and creature and magic stitched together in one monstrosity that would make Frankenstein proud. 

“Nomu, immobilize Eraserhead.”

The thing rushed forward in a blur. One moment it was standing like a guard dog, the next it was over Aizawa-sensei. Their teacher’s arm snapped like a twig under the Nomu’s hand.

Aizawa screamed. Izuku had never heard his teacher scream. He had never heard him sound so scared

Izuku didn’t know when he had half-shifted. 

The mist villain suddenly teleported over. Izuku crouched down lower, but could hear everything now. 

“Kurogiri, is Thirteen taken care of?”

“They have been incapacitated, Tomura Shigaraki. Though a student managed to escape.”

The villain, Shigaraki, growled. He scratched at his neck, muttering to himself. Just as suddenly, he stopped. His real hands lowered to his sides once more. 

“The boss isn’t even here. This level is corrupted, let’s go.”

Izuku hardly dared to breathe. They were…leaving? Just like that? He hoped and prayed they were and that his class could stop being terrified for their lives. 

“But before we go, let’s leave All Might a little message. Nomu, kill Eraserhead.”

Izuku…he didn’t really know what happened. Aizawa-sensei’s head was smashed into the concrete once, and Izuku moved. He felt wind, and power. He felt his hands stretch out to catch something in his claws. He felt his fangs sharpen and sink into blue skin that tasted extremely weird. 

Izuku latched onto the Nomu, claws and teeth digging into the creature to stop it. Anything to protect his teacher. Anything to protect his friends. His family. His clan

The Nomu shrieked, the sound piercing his ears and echoing around the dome, before throwing him off. Izuku rolled to a stop on the concrete, and leapt to his feet. He threw himself at the thing already rushing towards him. Thank goodness he was sturdier than an average human. 

Izuku got backhanded into a tree. He slid to the ground, groaning as he pushed himself to his feet again. Last he remembered, trees weren’t nearby. They were off to the side of the dome, a good thirty feet away. 

He didn’t have time to contemplate that. The Nomu was already on him. 

Something in his head was screaming to be let out. Shrieking in his mind so loud he couldn’t ignore it. 

So he didn’t, and let it out. Call it instinct or panic or adrenaline. Anything you will, but now out of sight, he let himself loose. 

Things came out of his mouth. Jagged teeth and tentacles that logically should not fit where they did. Jaws that expanded and multiplied and grew. All of it descended on the Nomu.

And swallow it whole. 

Izuku stumbled forward as the tentacles retracted once more. He could hear Shigaraki screeching for the Nomu to come back and kill Eraserhead. Seeing as it had just been eaten, the thing decidedly could not do that. 

He shook himself, walking out of the trees, still in a weird trance. Izuku’s slitted eyes zeroed in on Shigaraki, who was staring at him. Kurogiri was off to the side, watching. 

“You! Where’s my Nomu!”

Izuku cocked his head, eyes too wide for something human. “You hurt mine’s father. You hurt carer. It hurt carer.”

“Where’s Nomu, you brat! Nomu, get over here right now!

“Won’t come back. Hurt clan, so I defend clan. One danger is gone now.”

“Shigaraki, the Nomu does not appear to be returning. Perhaps it is in our best interest to retreat.”

“Yes, listen to own carer. Leave, before it is too late.”

It was at that moment that Izuku heard All Might outside. He smiled with teeth too sharp and canines too long, right before the door blew in. 

The villains, realizing the Nomu wasn’t going to come back anytime soon, left not a minute later. All Might zipped around the USJ, retrieving students and knocking out villains. Izuku found himself stumbling outside, mind foggy and limbs feeling heavy. 

There were pros inside the USJ, arresting the villains that had been brought. Squads of police and paramedics were all outside, some questioning students and others tending to them. Izuku was decently sure something of his was broken. Adrenaline made sure he didn’t know where though.  

A paramedic ended up snagging him before he could find who he was looking for. He did indeed have fractures in both legs, though he didn’t feel it. They were set and wrapped before Recovery Girl could arrive. He unshifted when a paramedic mentioned he still had cat ears. 

Izuku was also given a shock blanket. Definitely needed, since he was still having trouble thinking straight and maybe not staring into space. 

He snapped out of it when he saw an officer walking towards him. They stood in front of where he was sitting, waiting for him to look up at them. 

“Are you here to ask me some questions?” Izuku asked quietly.

“If you’re up for that,” the officer said kindly. Izuku nodded, mind definitely less fuzzy then it had been before. “Alright then, first: do you know anything about the two villains that escaped?”

“Um, I- I heard their names. One was Shigaraki, he had, um, blue hair and red eyes. He, he had a b-bunch of hands as a costume too. I…I don’t think they were- were fake. There was- the other one was called Kurogiri. He was tall and made of black mist that could t-teleport things.”

“Ok. Second, what happened after this Kurogiri separated your class?”

“I was dropped into- into the shipwreck z-zone with Tsuyu Asui. I used m-my...powers to teleport us o-out. Then we…we saw Aizawa-sensei get hurt by the- by the Nomu.”

“We’ve heard about the Nomu, but no one knows where it went. Did you see what happened to it?”

“I think I, um, I think- I think I ate it.”

The officer blinked, looking up at his from their notes. “You… ate it.”

“Y-yes?”

“Give me one second, kid. Stay right here.”

Izuku waited while they ran off, probably to get another officer if he was being honest. In the meantime, he tried to pick apart his splintered memories. 

He looked up again, spotting the officer and a certain trench-coat clad man walking towards him. Izuku gave them a small grin as they got closer. 

Detective Tsukauchi stopped, and sighed heavily. “You ate it, didn’t you.”

“It attacked Aizawa-sensei,” he said as an explanation. “I can- I can spit it out if you want it back?”

“If you can, then please do, Midoriya.”

Izuku nodded, moving to where there was more room. More officers were called over to surround the area, just incase. 

The Nomu was spat back onto the ground. It didn’t move an inch. Izuku stepped back, letting the police do their job. Tsukauchi was beside him a moment later. 

“Go back to your friends, Midoriya, we have it from here.”

Izuku yawned, tired and drained from today, and nodded again. “Thanks, Detective.”

“It’s our job, Midoriya.” Detective Tsukauchi chuckled, ruffling Izuku’s hair. “Go on, your class is probably going back to UA, and you need to see Recovery Girl.”

Izuku hummed, waving goodbye. He tottered onto the bus with his splints, still not feeling the pain. They drove back to UA, the atmosphere somber. 

Mom picked him up, and they went home. Izuku promptly crashed, dead to the world after being healed. He was finally home, and the villains were gone. Everything was going to be ok. All of his friends were safe now, and that’s the only thing that mattered. 

Chapter Text

When Izuku woke up again, he was instantly assaulted by the buzzing of his phone. Not a call type of buzzing, but an I’m-getting-so-many-messages-my-phone-is-vibrating-off-the-table type of buzzing. 

Groggily, he slapped his nightstand until he found the offending object. It really was someone calling this time, so Izuku, not quite able functionally think yet, answered it. 

“”Ello?”

“IZUKU MIDORIYA YOU GET YOUR ASS TO UA OR SO HELP ME I WILL SPRINT TO YOUR HOUSE MYSELF !”

“Good morning to you too, Shin. I’m doing well, Shin, thanks for asking. How are you?”

“I’d be better if you cut the snark and came to UA so I can see for myself that you didn’t lose a leg or something.”

“I didn’t lose it, only broke it a little bit.”

“Mido, I swear on the name of every holy thing if you flung yourself into danger again I will strap you to Dad’s hospital bed and make Pop give you a lecture on self preservation.

Izuku almost instantly snapped more awake. “Is Aizawa-sensei ok? I- I tried- I-“

He felt the tears start to prick at his eyes again. His lungs suddenly felt too big and his room too small. 

“Hey. Hey Mido, it’s ok. I don’t- I don’t know what happened with Dad, but he’s ok, alright?”

“I’m, I’m s-sorry.”

“It’s…it’s ok now. Just…just come down to UA, please.” Shinsou’s voice sounded so small. It made Izuku’s chest hurt

“Y-yeah, I’ll…I’ll be there in a bit, ok?”

“Ok. See you then, Mido.”

Izuku broke his record for how quick he could get ready that morning. He was out the door, yelling a goodbye to his mom on the way, within five minutes. His friend needed him, and he would sooner listen to Katsuki’s bullying than not be there for him.

 

Izuku skidded into the infirmary of UA, wheezing for air, but there. He had almost lost his shoes, phone, and house key on the way over, but he made it. The train ride had been an utter nightmare. He knew, logically, that the train was faster than he was, but Izuku couldn’t help thinking he might have ran faster. Even if he could use five percent of One for All right now, it probably wouldn’t have been faster. Maybe. Teleporting was too inaccurate still.

But seeing as public Quirk use was illegal anyway, he settled for sprinting from the station to school. He only use enough of One for All that it didn’t show in the green energy it usually did. 

“Midoriya?”

Izuku’s head whipped upwards, seeing Yamada sitting in one of the chairs. His long hair was up in a messy bun, and he had on sweatpants and a jacket. Shinsou wasn’t there, but Aizawa-sensei was. He was laying on the bed, thankfully asleep. 

His teacher looked like a mummy with how many bandages were wrapped around him. 

Izuku stumbled forward, his hands gripping the bed’s bar to steady himself. “Is he- is he ok?”

“He’ll be fine, little listener,” Mr. Yamada said softly. “His arm got the worst of it, though his face came a close second. If…if you hadn’t intervened…he would- he would be dead.”

“Will his- will his eyes be ok? For his Quirk?”

“They should be alright, as long as he doesn’t strain them for a while.”

“I’m…I’m so sorry , Mr. Yamada. If I-”

“None of that now, little listener. You saved him. Don’t dwell on what you could have done, but on what you did do. He’s not dead, and his injuries could be worse. I won’t have you wallowing in guilt; not while Shouta isn’t awake to scold you properly.”

Izuku croaked a laugh, knowing that Aizawa-sensei was going to reprimand him anyway once he woke up. He wasn’t about to get away with what he did, whatever it was. The memories were still fractured like stained glass.

“Mido?”

Izuku turned, seeing Shinsou in the doorway. He had a can of coffee in each hand, which were gently set on the table besides Mr. Yamada. 

“I’ll give you two a minute. Call me if you need anything,” Yamada said, before retreating from the room. 

Shinsou stepped forward, looking Izuku over critically. 

“See, I still have my legs,” Izuku joked, smiling weakly. 

Shinsou sighed, closing the distance between the two of them. He wrapped his arms around Izuku, burying his face in Izuku’s hair. Izuku let his friend cling to him. They both needed it right now. 

“I thought I was going to lose my dad and my only friend,” he croaked. “When our teacher ran out, I thought I’d never see either of you again.”

“Hey, it’ll take more than a super-powered monstrosity to get rid of me.”

“I heard what you did, you absolute walnut. Why did- why did you do that ?”

“Um, can we sit? So I can explain?”

Shinsou reluctantly detached himself from Izuku to sit in one of the chairs. Izuku took the one next to him, dragging it around so they could face each other. It was quiet for a few seconds. The beeping of medical equipment and their breathing the only sounds in the infirmary. It would be almost eerie, if the noise didn’t mean they were all alive. 

“The villains showed up when we first got into the USJ,” Izuku said, voice quiet and heavy. “We tried to get out, but we weren’t fast enough. One teleported everyone around the USJ. I ended up in the flood zone with Tsuyu. A…a villain tried- he tried to…he tried to kill me. Tsuyu got me out of the- the water, just in time.”

“So they put the frog and the cat in the water zone?” Shinsou raised an eyebrow, making Izuku smile, even if it was a tiny one. 

“Yeah. We were on the ship, out of the water. I had to teleport us off before a villain sank the ship.” Izuku heard Hitoshi breath in sharply, but he kept talking. “We ended up in the plaza. The main villains were there and…and your dad. They had this- this thing, they called it a- a Nomu. It was…it was terrible, Shin.”

Izuku pulled his feet up onto the chair, legs like a shield between the bad memories and him. “It was like someone had taken magic and creatures and stuffed them all into something not alive but not entirely dead. It was…it was meant to kill All Might. One word and it- and it a-attacked Aizawa-s-sensei. He didn’t have a chance to- to fight b-back.”

“What…happened to it?” Shin asked carefully. 

“They told it to kill Eraserhead,” Izuku said, no emotion in his voice. “And I lost control.”

It was quiet in Recovery Girl’s office for a minute. Izuku refused to look up at his best friend, head buried in his arms. Maybe if he had moved faster, or before the Nomu had smashed Aizawa-sensei’s head into the floor, then maybe they wouldn’t be here. His teacher wouldn’t be unconscious in a hospital bed with Izuku’s best friend not saying anything. Why wasn’t he saying anything?

Izuku jolted when he felt a hand touch his arm. He looked up, seeing Shinsou leaning as far off his chair as he dared to. 

“You saved him, Mido, and no one else got hurt. You said Tsuyu was with you, right? And you didn’t hurt her, so don’t blame yourself like I know you are. It was life or death. No one is going to blame you for losing control like that, especially me.”

Izuku nodded smally. Right. Of course Shin wouldn’t blame him. They were friends, and fellow bullied creatures, if anyone was going to understand then it was Shinsou. He could trust him, no matter what. 

A tear broke Izuku from his mental fog. Not his own tears, but his friend’s. His eyes locked onto Shinsou’s face, hidden by a curtain of hair. He was staring at the floor, one hand still on Izuku’s arm. 

Izuku didn’t say a word. He silently shifted into a cat, leaping from his chair over to Shinsou’s. The boy startled for a moment, but let Izuku crawl onto his legs. More tears dropped onto his fur, but Izuku couldn’t care less. 

He meowed, head-butting Shinsou’s chest. His friend croaked a laugh, running a hand through Izuku’s green fur. 

“I’m fine, Mido,” Shinsou said softly. 

Izuku, if he had human vocal cords, would have said “No, you’re not.” He settled for meowing indignantly instead and curling into a ball on Shinsou’s lap. He also knew Shinsou would never move a cat if they were sitting on him, so he won this time. 

“You’re a little gremlin, you know that?”

Izuku meowed again, loudly. 

“Yeah yeah, you’re still growing, I know.” 

Shinsou’s crying had almost stopped now. Izuku was purring, leaning into the hand stroking his head. They were both calmer now, and he was thankful for that. 

“Thank you,” Shin whispered. 

Izuku knew what he meant, and just purred louder. 

~~~~~

Hizashi was…alright. Not good, but not a depressed mess, so, decent. Shouta would be ok, and that’s what mattered. 

He really wanted to scold Midoriya for being reckless, but…it had saved his husband’s life. How could he do that when the kid had only wanted to keep Shouta safe? 

Besides, the kid had only acted when someone’s life was in danger. Hizashi wasn’t about to tell him off for acting like a hero. Not when he himself would’ve done the same thing, albeit louder and with less broken bones. Probably.  

Hizashi left the room to give Hitoshi and Midoriya some space. He knew his son, and what he needed right now was his best friend. Especially since that best friend could turn into a fluffy cat, and was completely willing to if it made Hitoshi feel better. Purring was scientifically shown to heal and improve people’s moods too. 

So Hizashi took his can of coffee and walked to the teacher’s lounge. No one else was inside UA right now, barring maybe Nedzu up in his office strengthening security, so it was a quiet trip. Shouta’s sleeping bag was still in the lounge, he would want it when he woke up. 

He returned to the room with the bright yellow cocoon slung over his shoulder. Hizashi nearly yelled his entrance, but stopped himself. That turned out to be a good idea, because both his son and Midoriya were sleeping. Hitoshi was leaning back against the wall, a dozing green cat in his lap. 

Hizashi smiled softly, pulling out his phone to take a picture. Maybe a couple pictures. They had a bet of how many they could get before the two admitted they had feelings for each other. And they did, Hizashi knew. He’d listened to Hitoshi rant about it to Princess one night when both of them were supposed to be asleep but weren’t. 

Well, there was no reason to wake them up. Hizashi took the chair on the other side of Shouta’s bed, pulling it up as close as it could go. He ran a hand through his husband’s perpetually messy hair, which was so much like their son’s that they looked related by blood. It was ironic, how they weren’t Hitoshi’s biological parents and yet he looked so much like them.

Hizashi took his phone out again. He sent a quick message to Mrs. Midoriya, asking if Izuku could stay over for a sleepover tonight. One of the boys was bound to ask, and Hitoshi looked like he needed it. Having a friend close would help him. Until Shouta woke up, it would be one of the best things Hizashi could do for their son. 

An answer came back almost immediately. He smiled, reassuring Mrs. Midoriya it was no trouble and that Izuku already had a place in their home. Hitoshi had a place in theirs too, he knew. 

Mrs. Midoriya wasn’t a part of the betting pool, mainly because she’d probably monopolize it the instant she was. For such a sweet lady, Hizashi was surprised with how gleeful she was with showing off embarrassing pictures of her son. It had taken all of twenty minutes the first time he’d been over for her to pull out an album of tiny Izuku. 

It was one of the cutest things Hizashi’s ever seen, especially since the kid dressed up in a homemade Eraserhead costume for a few years straight. Call him bias, but seeing a teeny fluffy green kid dressed as his husband, while smiling like it was Christmas day, made his heart melt from how adorable it was. 

Hizashi put his phone down once again, intent on getting at least a bit of sleep before Shuzenji kicked them out. He took Shouta’s limp hand in his own, squeezing it three times. It was how they said “I love you” without actually saying it out loud, since Shouta was a quiet man by nature. Hizashi was willing to scream how much he loved his husband from the rooftops (and had. Multiple times on multiple buildings), and Shouta showed it in tapping three times when he didn’t want to speak. 

Hizashi hoped he woke up soon. Until then, he’d have to settle for naps in a chair with his son and possible son-in-law passed out across from him. 

It would be ok. It would be ok. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but eventually. 

Yeah, eventually.

 

Chapter Text

Izuku woke up and glanced around, not remembering when he had fallen asleep. He saw Mr. Yamada in a chair across from them. The man looked up, smiling kindly when he saw Izuku was awake.

“Hey there, little listener. I know you just woke up, but would you like to have a sleepover at our apartment tonight?”

Izuku said yes, then realized he was still a cat. Seeing as Mr. Yamada couldn’t understand meowing, Izuku had to turn back into a person. Shinsou stirred a bit when Izuku leapt onto the floor, but stayed asleep. 

He changed back into a human, saying yes in actual words this time. 

“Alright then. Your mom already approved it.” Mr. Yamada’s smile slipped some, and he looked down at the hospital bed he was stationed in front of. “I think Hitoshi will need a friend tonight, after everything that’s happened.”

Izuku nodded, curling back up in a chair. As a person this time. Mr. Yamada went back to doing whatever he had before. 

Shin woke up a while later. Izuku was playing on his phone when he felt a weight land on his shoulder. He jumped a bit, but turned and saw it was just his half-asleep friend, who was staring at the screen now too. Izuku went back to his game, Shinsou watching this time. 

(More for the collection, Yamada thought as he snapped a few pictures of the two)

“Hey Pop,” Shinsou called across the room, head still on Izuku’s shoulder. “Can Mido sleep over?”

Izuku stifled his laughter. Mr. Yamada had no doubt guessed his son was going to ask this. The man was smarter than he wanted people to think. 

“Sure, Hitoshi. Do you want to grab some clothes before we leave, Midoriya?”

“Left some at our house if you wanna use those,” Shinsou mumbled. Izuku saw through the thinly veiling motive to keep him from leaving. 

“Oh yeah, I was wondering where those went. I’ll just use the ones I left there, Mr. Yamada, thank you.”

“No problem, little listener. Recovery Girl will probably kick us out in a few minutes, so don’t forget anything you brought here.”

Izuku nodded, humming. Hopefully they could avoid getting bruised shins this time. 

 

The three of them were asked to leave by Recovery Girl soon after (read: chased out by an elderly hero wielding a cane). Izuku and Shinsou trailed behind Mr. Yamada, Izuku rambling about a new hero that had just debuted. He picked apart their powers and described how it could possibly be used. It did its job of distracting Shinsou as they walked.  

The Aizawa-Yamada-Shinsou apartment wasn’t too far from UA. A ten minute walk into the city, actually. They lived on the top floor of their building too. Aizawa claimed it was so no one freaked out when he came in and out of the windows. Izuku had a hunch that it was also because Yamada liked the view and Aizawa couldn’t say no to him. 

Contrary to what anyone in that lobby would say, he walked calmly to elevator. He certainly didn’t sprint inside while Shinsou was racing him. Of course not. 

Izuku waited for Mr. Yamada to unlock the door before he ran in. He hurriedly took off his shoes, Shinsou setting his own down with an amused smile. 

“Princess!” He crowed, seeing the black cat dart around the corner. 

The cat meowed loudly in what Izuku guessed was her shouting “Cat-boy!” which was her nickname for him. Izuku knelt on the floor, scooping up the fluffy mass of fur. She purred as he cradled her and stood back up. 

“Heeeeeello my Princess. How are you doing today?”

Princess yowled, probably saying something about watching birds or getting a new toy. The whole family spoiled her. Izuku did too, to be fair. 

“I swear you like the cat more than me sometimes,” Shinsou joked. 

“Well how can I not love Princess? She like a fluffy little void that blinks back at you.”

“The void screams at 3 am because she wants chicken.”

Izuku laughed, moving farther into the apartment. He had been here enough times to know his way around. Shinsou trailed in after him, Mr. Yamada going to the kitchen. He was probably going to get started on dinner. 

“So are going to play Battleship first or does Princess demand her royal therapist become a cat?”

Izuku snorted at the phrasing. “Games first. I can gossip with Princess while you and your Pop clean up, since you both still insist I can’t help with that.”

“Damn right you aren’t, you’re our guest.”

“A guest that’s over here constantly.”

“Mido, you aren’t going to win this argument.”

“Yeah, but I can still try.”

“Ha. Ha . Come on, I still have to beat you at Battleship.”

“And that’s something you aren’t going to win, Shin.”

“Shut it.”

“And then the dumb kit tried to get coffee. Coffee , Cat-Boy. I’ve seen what it does to him at night. I stopped him, of course, since my kit doesn’t understand yet. He will one day.”

Izuku loved spending time at Shinsou’s house, but getting to talk with Princess was honestly a highlight of his week. She adored having someone to talk to that could understand her. It was also hilarious, since most of their time talking consisted of gossiping about the three that lived in the apartment. 

“And then Dark-Human found him, but you know what he did? He put me on the floor!”

“He didn’t!” Izuku gasped scandalously. 

“He did! I swear my humans would die without me, Cat-Boy. Loud-Human didn’t go to sleep until I took away his fake-ears and hid them. I gave them back in the morning, but he needs sleep. None of them sleep enough.”

“Oh, don’t I know it. Shinsou fell asleep on the floor last week. I was so close to just taking him home and sitting on him until he fell asleep.”

Princess tilted her head, which was adorable. Izuku was also very grateful that she understood which person was which when he used actual names. “Do you want me to do that? I can sit on my humans until they fall asleep. They don’t dare move me.”

“You know what, sure. If they don’t go to sleep on time, sit on them. Especially Shinsou.”

“Alright. Will you be sitting on him until he falls asleep tonight?”

“Uh…no?”

“That sounds like you’re asking permission, Cat-Boy.”

“Um, n-no, Princess. I will not be doing that.”

“Hm, shame. My kit is comfy and warm. And unobservant. Are all humans unobservant?”

“No, not all of them, but-“

“Oh, who am I kidding. Most humans are, but my kit needs to work on it.” Princess started pacing across the room. She was ranting, so Izuku listened and let her. “He doesn’t even realize! Neither do, and if they don’t soon I’m going to scratch them. How can humans be so tall and not notice it! Especially my kit. He’s almost as tall as Dark-Human now. I swear he’ll be as tall as a tree one day.”

Izuku listened patiently as Princess ranted for another few minutes. He honestly had no idea what she was going on about, but she sounded frustrated. Maybe he could help. 

“Princess, is there something I can do?”

She stopped her pacing, watching Izuku carefully. Princess sighed, “No, there’s not much you can do with this problem, Cat-Boy. Sleep-Human and Loud-Human are helping already.”

Oh dear. Mr. Yamada and Ms. Kayama working on a problem together? That either meant it was a villain case or something related to school gossip. Most likely the latter, considering what little of the tirade Izuku had understood. That didn’t usually mean good things for whatever poor students had their attention. 

“Loud-Human is sad, Cat-Boy,” Princess meowed quietly, drawing his attention back to her. “And Dark-Human hasn’t come home yet. Will he be away for a while again?”

Izuku felt his ears flatten. He didn’t liked this part. “Aizawa got hurt, Princess. He’ll be back soon, but not tonight.”

“Oh. Then perhaps I will sleep with Loud-Human tonight. I do not like when my humans are sad.”

“I know, Princess,” Izuku said softly. “I don’t either.”

 

Izuku changed into pajamas before helping set up his bed. It was always in the same place, so it was easy to find. Princess was trotted after him, knowing what he was doing. Shinsou was already in his room, and Mr. Yamada was cleaning some of the apartment. More out of habit if anything, since the three of them didn’t generate a lot of mess. 

It was quiet, usually was, but it felt different without Aizawa-sensei there. Even if the man didn’t talk a lot, they all knew something was missing. 

The lights were off, even if the two didn’t go to sleep yet. They played on their phones and shoved them in each others faces to make the other look at memes. Shinsou’s were mostly vines or cats. Every single time he asked “are you related?” and every time Izuku laughed and showed a picture of a raccoon or opossum in retaliation. 

They did eventually go to sleep though. Izuku was mentally exhausted, and so was Shinsou, so it wasn’t a huge surprise they weren’t being entirely nocturnal tonight. 



“You’re too late”

“Too slow!”

Hands and burning and dust so much dust what had made it?

There was a scream somewhere. Loud and familiar why was it familiar?

Faces and images and places flash in no order with no color or focus yet he knew what they were. A massive beast of shadows and stitches that he can’t stop he can’t stop it why can’t he move faster?

“Game over, hero.”



Izuku sprang out of bed. Images of hands and Nomus and Aizawa still burned into his eyelids. He was breathing fast and his heart was too loud too loud too loud

He had had another nightmare. One of him being too slow and Aizawa getting killed. Of the Nomu slipping away from him and hurting All Might. Once he had even had a dream where he wasn’t a Flerken, and All Might’s time was shortened. 

“Mido? You ‘k?” 

Shinsou’s slurred words dragged him from inside his head. Izuku looked up, seeing his friend sit up groggily. Sometimes he was really thankful for his night vision, which had only gotten better with One for All. 

“You look like Mothman, with glowing eyes.”

Izuku snorted, not able to laugh fully yet. He allowed himself to relax, just a little bit. 

“Or a flashlight. Flashlight eyes, or s’mthin’.”

Shinsou, still very much not awake, rolled out of his bed. Izuku watched with a raised eyebrow as he shuffled over, and then flopped himself over Izuku’s legs. He literally crawled onto the bed and used Izuku as a pillow. 

“Shin, what’re you doing?”

“You had a nightmare,” he stated with confidence only a tired person can have. “Not leavin’ you like that. Nightmares suck.”

“They do, but you can sleep in your own bed, Shin.”

“Don’t wanna. Go to sleep, Mido. Protect ya from monsters. Can’t out monster a Siren.”

“You’re not a monster, Shin.”

“I know, ‘nd you ain’t either. We can be the non-monster club.”

“Sure Shin. You sleep too.”

Izuku was pretty sure it had fallen on deaf ears. Shinsou was already fast asleep on his legs. He wasn’t exactly easy to move either. Izuku resigned himself to sleeping with his best friend as a blanket. 

~~~~~

Hizashi added more pictures to his list of “things to show Shouta when he wakes up.” Midoriya had turned into a cat at some point during the night, and curled into a green ball on top of Hitoshi’s back. Hitoshi had also somehow fallen asleep on Midoriya’s bed, but sideways.

Hizashi was a tad bit confused about the whole situation, but he wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth. His son was sleeping and being affectionate to someone that wasn’t Hizashi or Shouta. It was a victory.

 

Chapter Text

Aizawa woke up the next day. Izuku was already back home when he did. He only knew because Shinsou texted him, and then didn’t respond to anything for another hour. 

Izuku was happy to patiently wait and get a bit more sleep. It was currently Saturday, and they would have school again on Monday, so that would be interesting. Knowing Aizawa-sensei, he would try and teach again by then.

Since Izuku also knew Mr. Yamada and Shinsou, he figured they would do something to stop him. Whether that meant keeping him in the infirmary or making sure he didn’t aggravate his injuries remained to be seen. 

Izuku would probably be roped into whatever it was. He’s been told his puppy eyes (kitten eyes?) could be weaponized against his teacher, but Izuku didn’t quite believe that. His calm and collected teacher falling for a trick he used as a little kid? Not likely. 

Izuku shrugged, and went back to his catnap. 

 

Monday came quicker than Izuku thought it would. He left with hugs and assurances to Mom that he’d be ok, and took off for UA once again. It felt a bit weird this time. Had it really been less than a week since the USJ? Less than a week since they had been forced to be brave in the face of real villains?

Izuku felt older now. Being attacked by a villain strong enough to kill All Might was probably why. 

He walked into his classroom, and instantly knew his classmates felt the same. 

Izuku set his things down, looking up when Uraraka’s shadow fell across his desk. She was smiling, but Izuku could tell it wasn’t entirely real. He tried to smile back anyway. 

“Hey, are you doing ok?” She asked quietly. 

“Yeah, I’m alright. You weren’t hurt, were you?”

“No, no I’m good too. Tsuyu told me about the…about the Nomu. And Aizawa-sensei. Do you know if he’s ok?”

“Yeah, Shin-“

“Get to your seats.”

Izuku sighed, knowing who was in the doorway. He turned around, and jolted at the sheer amount of bandages still covering Aizawa-sensei. Their teacher looked more mummy than alive human. Judging from the surrounding gasps, everyone else was just as surprised. 

“Aizawa-sensei? Are you ok to be…well, standing?” Someone in the class asked. Izuku guessed it was Ashido. 

“Recovery Girl said I was fine to teach. Now get to your seats, we have important matters to discuss.”

Everyone quickly scurried to their seats and waited silently. A new record for them, Izuku thought. 

“The sports festival is coming up.” Aizawa-sensei sounded like he very much wished it wasn’t. 

There were cheers, and Izuku managed another small smile. The sports festival was something everyone looked forward to. A place to show their skills and prove they belonged here. Or, for others to show they deserved to be moved up. Shinsou would be fighting his hardest against everyone. All to try and win a place in the hero course. 

“Sensei, is that really a good idea?” Yaoyorozu piped up from the back of the room. 

“The security will be double what it has been in previous years. Villains would have to be stupid to try and attack then.” Aizawa-sensei sighed, rubbing at his bandages. “You will have time to train during hero class. But right now we will be learning about ways to tell if someone has a touch-based Quirk. To start with-“

Izuku was listening, he really was, but that got increasingly hard as he heard something moving in the ceiling. It wasn’t a rodent, since it didn’t sound like scampering, but it did sound like something big. Something that was definitely not a rat. 

He didn’t move as the thing got closer. It was pretty easy to figure out what it was. For him, at least. Izuku didn’t react as Jirou and Shoji both looked around in confusion. 

He did a very good job of not looking up as the vent grate quietly popped off the ceiling. Nor when a purple head of hair peeked down into the classroom. No one else had noticed Shinsou quite yet, the two people with hearing Quirks not thinking to look up. 

Shinsou dropped from the vent down to the floor in a well-practiced move, landing quietly in the space between Izuku and the desk behind him. Said desk was empty, since it was where Mineta had sat. 

Half the class looked over at Shinsou, his landing still making a small bit of noise. The other half hadn’t noticed. Shinsou stayed crouched, not drawing any more attention to himself.  

Izuku grinned as he looked behind him. Shinsou shot him a smirk, sitting at the empty desk before everyone else could notice the out-of-place student. Izuku turned around to face the front again. He knew why Shinsou was here, of course he did, and the entrance had honestly been expected. 

In the end, it took fifteen minutes for Aizawa-sensei to notice the new addition to the class. It would’ve taken longer if Iida hadn’t (very loudly) asked why Shinsou was there. Izuku maintained his innocent face as their teacher whipped around to face them. 

“Mind explaining yourself?” 

“Present Mic-sensei sent me. He said something about making sure Eraserhead didn’t push himself too much?”

“Well you can go back and tell Present Mic I’m just fine.”

“Aizawa-sensei! Who is that?” 

Their teacher turned a dead-eyed stare on Kaminari, who was the one to ask. The rest of the class instantly turned to the new person. All of them looked very confused as to how he got there. 

“This is Shinsou, a Gen Ed student who Present Mic apparently sent to babysit me. You can leave now.”

“But Present Mic said to stay here for the rest of class,” Shinsou said, putting up the I’m-innocent-and-don’t-know-any-better act. Izuku had to tamp down a smile. “And I like learning about heroics anyway.”

“Awww, is Mic your best friend Sensei?” 

Izuku subtly put a hand to his mouth to hide his smile. He heard Shinsou snort behind him, likely doing the same thing. “Best Friends” was one way to put it. 

“Unfortunately.” Izuku wanted to point out that Aizawa and Yamada said ‘I love you’ in front of him and Shinsou multiple times a day. That would probably get him detention for the rest of the school year though. “Fine. Shinsou, you can stay, but if you cause any trouble I’m sending you back to Mic with a note for him.”

Izuku turned slightly, catching his friend’s wild grin. He returned it for a second, making sure no one could see or suspect anything, and then paid attention once again. Today was going to be interesting

 

They ended that class with Aizawa only having to shoot the two of them three Dad Glares™ and being involved in two things no one could prove Izuku or Shinsou had anything to do with. Suffice to say Aizawa-sensei was done with them by the time lunch rolled around. 

Shinsou stuck by Izuku’s side as they left to go get food. Uraraka, Iida, and Tsuyu joked and laughed with the two of them like Shinsou had always been a part of their group. 

Shinsou joked that Izuku and Tsuyu were long-lost cousins. His reasoning being that they were both green and an animal type creature. Izuku was pretty sure his friends were confused about that part, but he wasn’t about to tell them quite yet. Maybe after the sports festival. 

They all sat at the same table that they usually did. Shinsou went to go get food with Iida, since the other three had packed something. It left Izuku with the two girls. 

“So, Midoriya,” Uraraka started, and Izuku instantly knew he would regret staying behind. “Tsuyu told me something…interesting.”

“In the USJ you said something about ‘mine’s father,’ I was curious who you were talking about,” Tsuyu croaked.  

Izuku froze, both mentally and physically. He…at the USJ he hadn’t entirely been there. Not mentally. And he had…he had said ‘mine’s father?’ Oh no. No no no no no NO.

“Yeah!” Uraraka chirped, oblivious to his inner turmoil. “It’s mostly creatures that call people theirs, so I was wondering what it meant to you? Like for my kind it means they’re close friends or family.”

Izuku stayed silent, the words running on a loop in his head. 

“…Midoriya?”

“It uh, it- it means a lot…to my kind.”

“I knew it! So who were you talking about? Have you met those villains before? Did they hurt your family or something? Do you need Ashido and I to be your bodyguards again?”

“N-no, I haven’t- I haven’t met them before.”

“Then who were you talking about, ribbit?”

“Um…n-no one.”

“Nope, no lying, Midoriya. Is Aizawa-sensei-”

“What do want me to say?” Izuku snapped, and something in him shattered into fractals. “That my kind only call things theirs when they love them? That I was calling my best friend ‘mine’ and my cat side has apparently realized feelings before my human side could? That I’m now freaking out because even I don’t know what I’m feeling ?”

The table was silent. Izuku slowly realized he was breaking heavy, on the verge of crying and panicking. He was just thankful his voice hadn’t risen, or else the whole school might hear his new realization. 

“Midoriya, are you ok?” Tsuyu asked quietly. 

“No. I’ll be b-back, don’t wait for m-me.”

With that, Izuku turned and fled at a speed-walk. He escaped the lunchroom in a few seconds and was in the quiet halls. People hardly glanced at him as he retreated to the emptier halls. He just needed somewhere where no one could see him break. 

Once he reached a deserted hall, Izuku crawled into the nearest vent. He shifted into a cat and ran deeper into the walls on silent feet. His emotions were running wild in his mind, a mantra of “mine mine mine I called him mine ” on repeat in his head. 

Flerkens call people they love as family theirs, like normal cats. Problem is, he doesn’t see Shinsou as a brother. Only now is he realizing that his feelings probably go beyond friendship. Only now that he’s hearing what he said in the USJ. 

He didn’t blame the two girls though. There was no way they could have known what it meant to him. Everyone was stressed and Uraraka probably thought it would be something to make them all smile and laugh. So Izuku couldn’t blame her or Tsuyu for what happened.

But he couldn’t face it. Not when calling a significant other “mine” is like giving someone a ring to Flerkens. Not when it’s the equivalent of saying “I am yours, and you are mine.” 

He had asked if it was bad when he was little, since it sounded like calling someone property. Mom had assured him with the long version, saying they were just shortening it. Izuku hadn’t thought twice about it until today. 

What was he going to do? He couldn’t avoid Shinsou forever. It would hurt too much to be away from his best friend, even if his mind was currently screeching at him. Could he act normal? Make the feelings go away somehow? 

Why did feelings have to be so confusing anyway?

Izuku curled into a ball in the vents. He guessed he was probably around Aizawa’s classroom by now. He could jump down just before class started, that way no one worried about him. Acting was easy. Izuku had been acting most of his life. 

“Mido?”

Oh, Shin was looking for him. He sounded a ways away yet. Izuku didn’t move. 

“Mido? You here?”

He was closer now. The static in Izuku’s mind began to calm slightly. 

“Mido? Mi - oh, there you are.”

Izuku felt the vents rattle a bit with Shinsou’s weight, slowly crawling closer to him. He finally lifted his head, green eyes connecting with purple. Shinsou scooted forward enough to be within arms reach of Izuku, on his belly with how small the vents were. 

“Hey, Floaty Girl and Froggy said you ran off after they mentioned last week,” Shinsou said softly. Izuku realized he was purposefully not mentioning the USJ or touching him without permission. 

Izuku threw his panicked thoughts out the window and got up. He walked over to Shinsou, and curled into a ball between his arms. Screw his confusing feelings. This was where he wanted to be, with his best friend. He could ignore it for a while. There was no way he was going to risk what he had right now. Not when it was already so much better than before. 

He didn’t realize he’d been purring until Shinsou hummed along. His friend pulled his arms around Izuku like a protective wall. Right here, right now, Izuku swore he’d never felt safer. 

“You ok now?”

Izuku went to answer, and all that came out was a gravelly meow. He mentally grumbled, before shifting back into a person. Shinsou retracted his arms so they wouldn’t get squished on the metal above them. That didn’t prevent Izuku’s head from now being snuggled into Shinsou’s shoulder.

He felt Shinsou tense, but he didn’t move. Izuku didn’t stop purring and stayed where he was. His friend relaxed after a second. 

“Thank you,” Izuku whispered in the silence. 

“So you’re ok now?”

“Yeah, sorry I ran off. They asked me something I didn’t know how to answer, so I left.”

“Guessing it wasn’t about math then, maybe a question on how not to break bones.”

Shiiiiiiin that was months ago!”

“And yet you still break limbs every time you go over your limit. Come on, class’ll start soon.”

“Class is below us, just need our bags. Think your dad’ll notice if we don’t have them?”

“Not if I keep distracting him by imitating other students.”

“I still can’t believe Yamada taught you that Siren trick.”

“He enjoys chaos. Why else would he have three jobs?”

“True.”

Izuku backed up, shimmying backwards to get to the vent. It was the same one Shinsou had used that morning to invade class. Honestly, Izuku was a bit surprised Shinsou didn’t keep track of where he’d been going. Meh, he’d probably just lost track or something.

The grate popped off, and Izuku poked his head in. No one else was there yet. Well, student wise. Aizawa-sensei was asleep in his cocoon under his desk. Iida would probably be here in a few minutes though. 

The two of them dropped into the classroom quietly. With nothing to do for a few minutes, and not enough time to go get their backpacks, they sat and talked. Nothing too important. Mostly it was just Izuku rambling about some new hero while Shinsou listened. It was nice though. It was normal. 

It let Izuku almost forget what had happened earlier. 

 

Bonus:

There was something skittering- no, buzzing. It was annoying, whatever it was. Hitoshi was trying to focus on how to make his voice sound like Ashido’s, and some random animal or whatever that was, was making that hard. 

It looked like it was bothering Jirou too. Shoji was better off, since he could essentially turn off his super-hearing. Jirou couldn’t though.

Good thing he was currently sitting behind a bug-hunter then. 

Hitoshi leaned forward and tapped Mido’s shoulder. He didn’t jump, instead tilting his head to let him know he was listening.

“Bug or something. It’s bothering Jirou and I can’t focus, think you can hear where it is so I can get rid of it?”

Midoriya nodded, only slightly, and shifted his cat ears. Almost instantly they were swiveling around, taking in all the noises around them. A few classmates took notice, but mostly just shrugged and went about their business. 

Hitoshi could tell Mido found the bug when his ears stopped moving. His friend glanced around, and upon seeing no one watching, shifted into a full cat. Oh dear. 

The now green cat gracefully leaped off the chair and onto the floor. He stalked towards the back corner of the room, but stopped almost next to Hitoshi. Well, that explained why he could hear it. 

Mido did the recalibrating butt-wiggle thing cats do, and pounced on some bug Hitoshi didn’t notice. It was tucked in the corner of the wall. Cat-doriya turned back to Hitoshi with what looked like a beetle in his mouth. He knew what his friend was going to do a second before he actually did it. 

Midoriya leapt onto his desk, drawing the attention of a few curious people. He proudly dropped the dead bug on the desk before going back to his own. 

Hitoshi mentally sighed. At least Mido hadn’t tried to give it to Pop. That was an absolute disaster the first time it happened. Pop had broken every window on their floor and wouldn’t get down from on top of the fridge until Dad dragged him down. That bug had been put outside near the rosebush they had on the balcony, since it was still alive. 

This bug, however, was decidedly dead. Midoriya turned back into a person at his desk, paying attention to whatever Dad was saying once again. Hitoshi very quietly took a tissue from his bag and hid away the beetle. 

He’d throw it away after school, where he couldn’t hurt Izuku’s feelings about his present. Cats took that thing very seriously, apparently. Midoriya got all pouty if he immediately threw away whatever dead thing he’d brought. At least he’d started bringing things like cool leaves and rocks instead of dead rodents. That made his parents jump a lot less. 

They went about their day, most of the class none the wiser to Hitoshi having a dead beetle in his backpack. Jirou gave him a nod after classes were over, so Hitoshi counted that as a win. 

Tomorrow it’d be back to normal, with him in 1-C. Just until the sports festival, he reminded himself. Just until then, and then he’d be a hero. 

He was going to prove all the bullies wrong. He was going to be a hero, and he’d do it with his best friend by his side.

Chapter Text

The sports festival was one week away, and everyone was getting hyped for it. Izuku knew most of his class was excited, at least. Uraraka somehow gave off an aura that was the embodiment of “I’m going to win, and I will crush anyone that tries to stop me.” It was just a tad bit intimidating. 

Then there was Shinsou. Who refused to leave the UA gym some days until it was dark out. Izuku very kindly dragged him from doing more push-ups and forced his friend to take a nap more than once. He may have also asked Princess to make sure he actually slept at home. If Shin suspected anything, then he didn’t bring it up. 

Izuku did try and call him out for it, but Shin just called him a hypocrite. He huffed, since he didn’t think he had been that bad when he was preparing for his entrance exam. Shinsou begged to differ apparently. 

One of the best parts about this week though, was that they were finally getting more sparring lessons. Izuku was already quite good at hand-to-hand, but there was still a lot he could improve on. His classmates would prove a new, but probably fun, challenge. Especially today. 

Aizawa-sensei and All Might waited for everyone to quiet down before giving instructions. It didn’t take too long, which was a miracle in itself since they were teenagers. 

“Today, we will be fighting with Quirks!” All Might announced with a flourish. Anything else he said was drowned out by the cheering. 

Aizawa used his own Quirk, eyes flashing red, which made them all quiet again. “This will still be a sparring lesson, but you will be using your Quirks to try and win. No intentionally injuring, maiming, or otherwise purposefully hurting someone so bad they have to go see Recovery Girl. Am I understood?”

Nineteen heads nodded, and they got split into pairs. One v one in specific fields, with the odd student taking turns with some of the others. All Might and Aizawa-sensei would be supervising all of it and stepping in if they needed to. 

Izuku waited patiently to learn who he’d be paired with. Fighting with Quirks was something he was a bit behind in, considering how late he got everything. Even his half-shifting had only been discovered in middle school. 

“Midoriya, you’re fighting Ojiro.”

Izuku smiled brightly, and quickly found his fighting partner. Ojiro was a good person, and he had a tail! Albeit one much more powerful than Izuku’s, but it was still really cool! 

“Choose one of the fields to spar in and begin. You know the rules.”

Everyone nodded, and went to find their own space to fight. After taking off his shoes, Izuku went ahead and half-shifted. He would make sure to not use his claws though, since Aizawa said no sending people to Recovery Girl. It just made it easier to not have shoes on when he shifted.

The two of them were momentarily distracted by Ashido’s loud and dramatic gasp. Both Izuku and Ojiro turned to look at her, sharing confused looks. She was bouncing up to them, Kirishima trailing behind her. They were probably partners for sparring, Izuku guessed. 

“You two are tail buddies!” She squealed. “Kiri and I are the horn buddies, and you guys are the tail buddies!”

The four of them broke out into laughter before Aizawa-sensei called for them to get a move on. Izuku was beaming as he and Ojiro took opposite sides of a field. 

Without much warning, the two shot towards each other. Izuku was light on his toes, the claws on his feet functioning more like a cheetah’s than a house cat’s right now. Ojiro used his powerful tail to propel himself forward. If they weren’t currently fighting, Izuku would’ve asked how he learned to do that. 

They didn’t collide so much as feint around each other. Izuku skidded to the side, tail giving him more balance than he had ever had before getting One for All, and swung a punch at Ojiro’s shoulder.

Ojiro dodged by falling back on his tail and using it as another limb. It reminded Izuku of a kangaroo. He flung himself backwards, and away from Izuku. Which was awesome . How could he do that? Was his tail stronger than his other limbs? Could he use it to climb too?

Izuku train of thought was cut off by a kick flying at his stomach. He stifled a yelp, and caught it. Ojiro’s movement stuttered, like he was surprised, but it was gone a moment later. His other leg came up to try and kick Izuku’s jaw. 

See, he could’ve just dropped Ojiro. He could’ve even flung him away using One for All. But what did he do instead? The smart thing? No, of course not. He listened to what his instincts were telling him to do. (He honestly doesn’t know why he listened to it anymore. They don’t help a whole lot)

(He may also still be bitter and freaking out over the whole romantic feelings thing)

Izuku, knowing they were technically fighting using Quirks, opened his mouth wide. He had time to see Ojiro’s eyes widen almost comically large before he was gone. 

Izuku stood there for a moment, wondering what he was supposed to do next. He …technically won? Why had he even done that? 

Well, at least he was getting over his fear of using his Flerken powers. 

“Midoriya!” Aizawa-sensei called, grabbing his attention. The man looked and sounded exasperated. 

“You said we could use our Quirks!” Izuku defended, feeling his tail bristle. Huh, that was a new and very weird feeling. In all honesty, he was more afraid of disappointing his teachers than whatever Ojiro thought of being eaten. 

“Ok, yes, we did say that,” Aizawa sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. “In that case, Midoriya, no eating people during Quirk exercises unless told otherwise or you think it’s absolutely necessary. Understand?”

“Yes Aizawa-sensei.”

“Good. Spit Ojiro out and continue.”

Aizawa-sensei walked off to deal with another group, leaving Izuku to do as he was told. He pretended not to hear all the confused, and worried, conversations around him. 

Izuku set Ojiro back on the ground. The boy looked a bit shell shocked, but otherwise unharmed. He blinked, shaking himself off even though he was dry. 

“That…was weird.”

“S-sorry. I di-didn’t mean to- to do that. Are you ok?”

“Yeah, I’m alright. That’s not something a normal cat morph can do though, is it?”

“Probably ‘cause I’m not a da- I’m not a cat morph. Ready to go again?”

“Uh, yeah, I’m ready.”

Izuku, done with talking about being a Flerken, spun and whacked Ojiro with his tail. It didn’t hurt him much, but it did an amazing job of distracting him from Izuku’s haymaker. 

~~~~~

Lunch was buzzing with conversations. A lot of them, in 1-A at least, centered around Izuku being able to eat people and have them come out alive. Everyone was confused about him. 

And he was reveling in it. There was a reason most of the teachers (other than Aizawa-sensei) called him Chaos Child, after all. 

Logically, Izuku knew he’d have to tell them he was a Flerken one day. They would be classmates for three years, so it was bound to happen eventually. Not to mention they would probably all stay friends even after graduation. Someday he’d have to deal with them finding out. 

That day was not today though. For now, he was content to eat lunch and roam the halls. Shin was napping in the teachers lounge after Yamada forced him to eat. Izuku only left once his friend was out cold on the couch they had in there. 

It was quiet in the abandoned halls of UA. Izuku trotted along as a green cat. There were no students to try and pick him up or throw him outside. Just the quiet pitter-patter of his own heart and near-silent footsteps. 

There weren’t any critters in the building. He checked. All the teachers were in the lounge or doing paperwork in their classrooms. It was peaceful, something that wouldn’t last long. Not once the sports festival arrived. 

Then his ears caught something. Quiet, stuttering breathing. Crying. Izuku immediately veered towards the noise. 

It took a minute, but he eventually found a person in the halls. It was Kouda, hunched in a ball on the floor with his back pressed against the wall. Yeah, he was definitely the one crying, albeit quietly. Izuku very cautiously made his way over to his sobbing classmate. 

Kouda didn’t look up until Izuku nudged the boy’s arm with his small nose. His head shot up then, though he calmed down when he saw it was a cat instead of a person. 

“H-hello, little cat,” Kouda whispered. He put out a hand for Izuku to sniff, like he was a real cat. Izuku went with it anyway. “What are you doing in the halls of UA? You can answer, I can understand animals.”

Ooh that was a cool power, Izuku thought silently. The last thing he needed was Kouda asking how a cat knew so much about heroics. But there were so many things that could be done with something like that! Especially for an underground hero. 

Instead of answering, Izuku rubbed his head against Kouda’s hand. The boy laughed, rubbing his head just like Izuku wanted him to. He had been told it was calming to do that. 

“Do you live here on campus? I know one of my classmates is a cat morph, maybe you could be friends.”

Izuku wanted to laugh, but he didn’t. Instead he flopped on the floor to let Kouda pet him more. 

“We were doing battle training today, you know. The sports festival is next week. I don’t…I’m not good at it. I can’t fight. I need to know how to- to be a hero, but I- I don’t want to hurt people that- that didn’t do anything wrong.”

Kouda sighed heavily, wiping away the tears still dripping down his face. Izuku got back up and put his front paws on Kouda’s leg. 

No cry ,” Izuku meowed, head-butting Kouda’s leg. “ Person no cry. Fighting hard, take time.”

Kouda froze, going stiff while staring at Izuku with wide eyes. Izuku tilted his head curiously. 

“You’re not…you don’t- you’re not a cat.”

Izuku did his best smile in cat form. “Not cat, he agreed. 

“What are…what are you?”

No tell. Find out eventually. Feel better?”

“Yeah, yeah I’m feeling better now. Thank you, Not-Cat.”

Izuku laughed, which came out more like a halting meow. He backed up, all four paws on the ground again. 

“Goodbye, Friend of Creatures.”

With that, Izuku turned and walked back down the hallway. He shifted back to human when he got closer to the cafeteria, a smile on his face and a warm feeling in his chest. 

~~~~~

Today’s classes were a tad bit boring. Izuku understood why, of course, but that didn’t mean he was any less jittery. The sports festival was tomorrow, so they weren’t doing any physically taxing activities today. Just classes and schoolwork, like a normal high school. What an odd concept. 

All Might and Aizawa-sensei’s two class periods were being combined for today. They were covering the topic of vigilantism. It was a major subject, one that needed to be understood well, so Izuku understood why they needed an extra long class on it. Aizawa-sensei would probably give them more lessons on it later too, just to make sure they got it.

Vigilantism was a serious topic. Izuku had seen the statistics for people who failed hero exams and new vigilantes appearing, after all. Hopefully everyone else in the class understood it well by the end of this too. 

Right now, Aizawa-sensei and All Might were giving a presentation on it. The lights were off, Aizawa-sensei standing in front of the board with All Might standing in the back. It was calm compared to what the classroom was usually like. 

“The current Quirk Laws state that using one’s Quirk outside of a manner of defense is considered vigilantism. Quirk use is only authorized under a licensed pro’s permission or for someone with a provisional license. It may be excused under a life threatening situation, however-“

Izuku was paying attention, he really was. But then something zoomed across the board. It disappeared a second later, and he dismissed it as him seeing things. Maybe he was just nervous for the festival tomorrow. 

Then it reappeared, seemingly moving under the words on the screen as Aizawa-sensei talked about them. It was a bright dot. A fast moving, bright red, dot. Izuku’s eyes zeroed in on it.

He hardly noticed when he half-shifted, ears pricked forward and tail waving behind him.

The red dot moved again, and Izuku tracked it with his eyes. His thoughts were chatters of broken sentences, a telltale sign that his instincts were taking over. 

Fastfastfast thing. Catch fast thing. Bright. Red. Bugbugbugbug. Gift? Must catch, must catch, must catch. Pounce thing catch thing eat it? Eat bug, bug taste good. 

Izuku got his feet under him (and on top of the chair) while his tail steadied him as he leaned forward. His clawed hands were braced against the desk. Ears were angled forward to act as a radar while the dot kept moving. 

He vaguely saw people looking over at him from the corner of his vision, but Izuku ignored them. He has to try and catch the dot

It stopped moving, hovering under a word on the glowing board. This was his chance. Izuku slowly crawled onto his desk, watching the red thing with laser focus. He shifted his feet slightly, and pounced .

Izuku launched himself from his desk to the front of the room. He might’ve been using One for All; just enough to clear the heads of his classmates. Closer he flew, poised to land on the dot. 

The dot disappeared. Izuku hit the board and rebounded onto the floor. He landed in a crouch, scanning the room with slitted eyes. The confused gazes of the humans meant nothing to him. 

“Midoriya,” came Aizawa-sensei’s long suffering sigh, “What are you doing?” 

“Bug. Catch bug, but bug gone.”

The man blinked slowly, and took his phone out. Izuku, not entirely sure what was going on without being full human, cocked his head to the side. 

“All Might, turn the laser pointer back on.”

“Are…you sure?”

“Turn it on, but shine it on the floor. Everyone else stay at their desks.”

Izuku still didn’t know what was going on, but then the dot reappeared! It blinked into existence near his feet, and he immediately dropped into it. 

He lifted one hand, but it wasn’t there. Izuku looked around for a second, and found it on the floor near a desk. He leapt at it. 

Yet again, the red dot-bug-thing evaded his capture. Even when he dug his claws in! (Aizawa would have to explain to Nedzu why there were now scratch marks on the floor of 1-A’s classroom)

Then he looked up, and saw a thing in All Might’s hand. It looked weird, like a short metal stick. And it was glowing red. 

“Uh, young Midoriya? Why are you looking at me like that?”

Izuku didn’t hear him, too focused on the red thing. He crouched down again, wiggling to readjust his aim again. 

“Young Midoriya?”

Izuku moved so fast everyone had trouble keeping track of him. He turned into a green blur as he darted across the entire room. Aizawa moved his phone to track his student. 

“My boy whAT IN GODS NAME!”

The class looked to the back of the room to see…something. They weren’t entirely sure what was happening. Izuku was hanging upside-down off of All Might’s arm, fluffy green tail wrapped around the hero’s shoulder and arm like a monkey. He was hanging on with one arm, claws latched onto All Might’s suit. 

Izuku was also reaching for the laser pointer in All Might’s hand like a little kid with cookies. All Might was moving his hand, and Izuku with it, in an attempt to keep it out of his reach. It wasn’t working very well. 

“My boy! Get down from there!”

“Catch it! Catch red bug!”

Young Midoriya!

The class erupted into giggles, and unseen to them, Aizawa smiled behind his phone. This was a new one. 

Izuku did eventually detach from All Might’s arm. Albeit with the laser pointer in his mouth. When he finally came to his senses Aizawa had a new video to show his family and his class had more questions than answers. 

Inko now had more embarrassing material of her kit too.

Chapter Text

Izuku just wanted lunch. He wanted to eat his food, talk to his friends, and maybe take a nap. Definitely take a nap. 

But noooooo. Half the school had to be blocking their door! Izuku felt a growl rumble in his throat as he stared at all the students blocking the doorway. There was 1-B, the gen ed courses, even some people from the support and business courses. Why. Of all the days, why were they here on the one that Izuku was more tired than usual?

And Katsuki was yelling at them. Lovely. Absolutely wonderful. Can you hear the sarcasm in his thoughts?

Then he heard a familiar voice. 

“Well I came to officially meet the rest of 1-A, but all I’m seeing are a bunch of arrogant asses. Guess it won’t be hard to beat you.”

Oh no. Why was Shinsou here? And why was he provoking Katsuki? 

“THE FUCK DID YOU JUST SAY?!”

“Oh, could you not hear me over the sound of your ego ? I said I’m going to win, no matter what it takes. Maybe it’ll be easier than I thought if everyone in the hero course is like…you.”

“Shin?”

Shinsou jolted, the aggressive sneer melting off his face like candle wax. “Oh, Mido. Uh…hi?”

“Shin,” Izuku sighed, “Why are you trying to make Katsuki explode? You’ve met some of us.”

He shrugged nonchalantly, like he wasn’t slowly shifting away from Izuku. “It’s fun, and I really only know you. You’re one of the only challenges in the hero course.”

“Hey!” Yelled a slightly metallic looking kid. “Don’t discount us in 1-B!”

“Sorry, but I’m pretty sure Mido can kick your ass.”

“W-well, maybe, but we’re still strong!”

“Can we please just go to lunch?” Izuku groaned, glaring at the people surrounding their doorway. 

“Hmph, yeah, I’ve seen enough. I meant what I said, heroes. I’m going to win, and none of you can stop me. See you later.”

With that, Shinsou walked away. His words echoed like a promise inside their ears. Izuku sighed again as the crowd finally started to dissipate. 

The sports festival was going to be interesting this year. There was no doubt about that. 

~~~~~

Everything was loud . Even Izuku’s normal ears hurt. Well, not so much now, since they were inside one of the waiting rooms. All the screaming and chatter of thousands of people was muffled by the walls, thank goodness. Hopefully the crowds wouldn’t make half-shifting impossible.

Iida was trying to organize them all. He was a good class rep, but right now Izuku was just trying not to panic. He was sitting in one of the chairs and tapping a rhythm onto the table. Everyone was milling about until they were called. Izuku wished Shin was here. 

And then Todoroki decided to talk to him. More specifically, challenge him.

“Midoriya, you are arguably one of the strongest in the class. But you lack control. I’m going to beat you.”

There was an instant uproar from his classmates, mostly telling Todoroki to chill. Izuku got to his feet silently, and the room fell quiet once again. He looked Todoroki in the eyes, something he’d been told was intimidating since his, you know, glowed

“Fine. I accept your challenge, Todoroki. But know that I won’t give it my all unless you do too.”

“Guys,” Kirishima said, putting himself between the two, “Aren’t we all just give it our all in the festival? Why do we need to challenge each other?”

“Because he’s not giving it his all,” Izuku growled quietly. “But I guess I’d be a hypocrite if I lectured you on that, huh Todoroki. Well, good luck today. We’re all going to need it.”

Izuku was the first one out the door when the warning bell rang, leaving the rest of the class behind with gaping mouths. He did wait in the hall for them though. Iida would probably go on a rant that likely would involve Izuku getting hit over the head on accident if he didn’t. Well, hopefully it would be an accident. 

They walked out into the stadium when Present Mic, who had Aizawa-sensei as his co-host, called them up. Izuku wondered if Mic would slip up and call Aizawa either his “first listener” or “kitten.” It was what Mic called him on his radio show to keep Aizawa’s identity secret. Not that anyone besides their class could really connect the dots, since Aizawa was both hidden in the booth and wrapped up like a mummy still. That wouldn’t stop people from theorizing though. 

The stadium became deafeningly loud once more as they all stepped into the sun. Izuku squinted and covered his ears. It was way too loud. All the noise was disorienting.

The other classes came in after them. There was a bit less cheering for them, which Izuku found unfair. He had seen what the support students could do (could blow up) and just how good some of the business students were this year. That wasn’t even mentioning gen ed, but Izuku was a tad bit bias for them. 

He still hadn’t figured out the whole “I love my best friend and I’m starting to realize how much I want to hold his hand and maybe kiss him” thing. For the time being, he was ignoring it. Maybe it would go away. 

(It would not)

He listened as Midnight called up the highest exam scorer to give their speech. It was Katsuki, because of course it was. He was strong and blowing up robots was like heaven for him. Izuku wondered if it would have been him walking up there if he had taken the normal exam. Suddenly he was very grateful Nedzu had recommended him. 

Katsuki stood on the stage, and scanned the crowd. His eyes fell on Izuku, and didn’t move. 

“I’m going to win, and prove that I'm the best hero. So bring it on.”

Students and the crowds alike roared in outrage at Katsuki’s “speech.” He calmly walked back down the stairs and into the mass of students. Izuku watched, processing the words he’d said. 

He hadn’t said “I’m better” or “Quit because you have no chance against me.” No, Katsuki had said he was going to win, and prove he was a good hero. It was a promise. An arrogant sounding one, but a promise nonetheless. 

And Izuku still remembered what he’d said on that street more than a year ago. Evidently, so did Katsuki. 

“With that, er, speech, we move on to the first event!” Midnight’s words sent cheers through the stadium again. “And this year it will be…”

Izuku already knew what it was. No one had told him, but there was a certain pattern to the sports festival events. He hadn’t taken lessons with Nedzu for nothing.

“An obstacle course!”

Yep, just as he’d predicted. They’d probably use the robots from the exam somewhere, and something explosive if the receipts he’d seen on Nedzu’s desk last week were any indicator. The other one would be a mystery for now. 

That mostly just left how Izuku was going to deal with it. He was fast and strong, but so were his classmates. Todoroki would likely try to get ahead right out of the gate too. Oh yeah, gate. How were they supposed to get out? There was a tunnel, but it was far too narrow. Maybe-

“Midoriya? You ok?”

Izuku’s head snapped up, seeing Uraraka and Iida looking at him worriedly. Huh, he’d been mumbling again. He hadn’t done that out loud on accident for a while now. 

“Oh, I’m fine. Just trying to predict the events.”

“Really? That is truly impressive, Midoriya!” Iida said a bit too loudly. 

Anything the two were about to say got cut off by Midnight counting down. Izuku tensed, ready to go. He needed enough room first, but if it worked then he’d be ahead of whatever Todoroki was planning. 

“Go!”

Izuku stayed planted where he was. People rushed around him, in a hurry to get out of the stadium. Most of them didn’t realize the bottleneck the tunnel had. Just a while more. Then he could act. 

A few seconds later and almost everyone was crammed inside the tunnel. Izuku took a deep breath. Here goes nothing, he thought to himself. 

Izuku folded in on himself, and the familiar feeling of teleporting washing over him. He took a second to revel in the quiet of nowhere. There were no screaming crowds, no cold classmates, and no people to watch him. It was peaceful.

But it couldn’t last. Izuku snapped back into reality a second later as he came out of teleporting. The sun hit his face, and there was solid ground beneath his feet again. 

Then he heard the distinct shrieking of metal. Izuku’s eyes shot open just in time for him to dive to his left. A robot claw slammed into the dirt where he had been a second before. 

Izuku narrowed his eyes at the two pointer. It’s red laser was locked onto him, but Izuku hardly blinked at that. The question was whether it was worth it to just run. 

A blast of cold hit Izuku’s back. He didn’t dare turn around, not with a two pointer in front of him, but he did glance over. 

The tunnel was frozen. Frost coated the walls and an actual sheet of ice rooted people to the ground. It would take a while to get out of. 

Unless, of course, you were in 1-A. In which case Izuku could already see some of his classmates sprinting out of the tunnel. Todoroki was leading them. 

Huh, he’d teleported farther than he’d originally thought. 

Izuku heard more screeching metal, and broke out into a sprint. If he wanted to make his mark, if he wanted to show the world he was here like All Might said, then he had to stay ahead. 

Then he saw the zero pointers. They towered over everything like titans. He’d rescued Uraraka from one of these back in the entrance exam, but even then he’d just pulled her from the rubble. Izuku didn’t know if he could destroy them without breaking something. Specifically his bones. Seeing as there were still two events after this, it wasn’t really worth it to try. 

So Izuku ran through them. Todoroki was catching up, but that was only because Izuku took his time running through the robots. If he hid and dodged then he wouldn’t be noticed by any bots. The bigger ones at least. Taking his time hopefully meant not getting stepped on. 

If he’d known where the end of the course was he could’ve just teleported, but he didn’t actually knew where it was. That and Aizawa-sensei would give him a disappointed look. Izuku shivered just thinking about it. 

So he dodged around the zero pointers. Looking away for even a second could mean getting stepped on, so he decidedly did not do that. 

Then Todoroki froze two of them. They were unstable, ready to crash down in a few seconds. Izuku stuttered to a stop, hissing as Todoroki sprinted past him. Those robots were going to crash onto people. People that would get hurt by the metal behemoths. 

Izuku spun on his heel and ran back. The ice was creaking. 

Some of the students were realizing what Todoroki did. The smart ones stopped and stayed back for now. Most were still running forward though. 

Izuku couldn’t just let them get hurt. 

So he ran in front of the robots before anyone reached them. They had started to fall now. Izuku took a deep breath, and planted his feet. 

He opened his mouth wide, and let his tentacles out. He didn’t like showing off his power, but people were going to get hurt if he didn’t. Their safety meant more than his comfort zone. 

Izuku couldn’t catch both robots, he knew that. They were too heavy. He also couldn’t eat it since it was so big. Tearing off chunks of metal wasn’t fun. It was the Flerken equivalent of biting down on a jawbreaker. Feasible, but it would definitely hurt, and maybe break his jaw.

So instead, Izuku diverted its course. There weren’t any students off to the side, so he threw one of the robots there. It crashed to the ground with shrieks of twisting metal and the thud of steel. Izuku caught his breath, retracting his tentacles. The other robot landed safely on clear ground. 

He turned back, and saw no one had moved much. Izuku sent them all a smile and mock salute, then took off again. There was still ground to cover after all. Besides, he had to catch up to Todoroki. 

Izuku ran faster when he heard people gaining. 

He slowed down, and stopped altogether, when he reached the edge of a pit. A literal hole in the ground that most likely had a net at the bottom. Ropes stretched between pillars of rock, all leading to a solid path on the other side. 

Todoroki was already sliding along one of them, ice crystalizing the rope as he went. A few other people were running ahead of Izuku to attempt it. Even out here he could hear Present Mic yelling about it. 

It…was an exaggerated game of tightrope. Izuku almost wanted to laugh at how easy this would be for him. Who gives a cat a test of balance ?

Izuku full-shifted, drawing a few stares. He ignored them, instead sizing up the ropes. Almost all of them would work. Just as long as no one intentionally shook the rope, that is. 

With no time to lose, Izuku jumped onto the tightrope. It swayed slightly, but nothing more. They were taunt, and easy for him to walk on since he was so small. Izuku smiled to himself. 

He happily walked across the chasm beneath him. Other people were crawling upside-down. Some, like Tsu, were crossing the ropes like he was, albeit bigger. Then there was Iida, who was propelling himself across with his engines. He looked…sort of ridiculous in all honesty. 

Izuku reached the end just ahead of the pack. He shifted back, drawing more stares. He still ignored them, and sprinted forward. 

Todoroki and Katsuki were already at the last obstacle. It was a minefield. Not big enough explosions to maim, but enough to hurt and send someone flying. He needed a plan. Izuku couldn’t just race through it and not get blown up. 

Actually…

~~~~~

Shouto hadn’t seen Midoriya since the beginning of the race. The boy had stupidly ran back. Shouto still didn’t know why he did. The robots had been frozen and were going to fall, so why didn’t he take the chance to get even farther ahead?

Either way, Shouto was winning. Bakugou was the only one nearby, everyone else being still stuck on other obstacles. The two of them were fighting over the landmines. Shouto was trying to freeze them and not step on them at the same time. Bakugou was trying to blow him up while not blowing himself up. 

They were shoving each other like toddlers, but Shouto wasn’t about to stop. There was some twisted satisfaction he got by acting like a child instead of freezing Bakugou. Maybe the old man would get mad over it. That’d be something. 

The two of them were so close to the home stretch. Somehow neither had gotten blown back yet. So close. Almost there. 

Something small and green flashed between their feet. Both Shouto and Bakugou froze where they were. The small green thing was a cat. A green, curly furred cat that Shouto guessed was probably his cat morph classmate. 

A cat that also wasn’t setting off any of the mines as it ran. 

Shouto and Bakugou glanced at each other, then at the cat, then back to each other.

The two promptly broke into a dead sprint after the cat. 

Shouto put less care into what Bakugou was doing, only focused on getting farther even faster. He iced over the mines as he ran. Only a few went off, but by then he had already moved past them. Bakugou was blasting himself forward like a human-rocket-thing. 

They reached the end of the minefield. Shouto stopped using his ice, just outright sprinting after the green cat. Bakugou was flying a good two feet off the ground. 

The cat turned back into Midoriya right before the tunnel. His footsteps hardly even paused as he shifted back, the boy still running as fast as he could. It wasn’t as fast as his cat form, but he was still quick on his feet. Beside Shouto, Bakugou let out unintelligible screams. 

Midoriya crossed the finish line. He crossed it first. He won. There was no margin for Shouto to say it was close, because it wasn’t. By the time he was back inside the stadium Midoriya was already off to the side catching his breath. 

Shouto was second though, with Bakugou third. He didn’t look happy about it. At all. 

In fact, Bakugou was storming up to Midoriya with a look that promised hurt. Shouto isn’t react outwardly, but inside he was already planning how to get away. Because that was a look his father had right before Shouto had a particularly hard “training session.”

Bakugou grabbed Midoriya’s shirt collar while he was distracted. The blonde lifted Midoriya clear off the ground. 

“HOW THE FUCK DID YOU DO THAT, CAT! DID YOU CHEAT SO THE BOMBS DIDN’T SO OFF, HUH?!”

“I didn’t- I didn’t cheat! I was too light to set them off!” Midoriya yelped, struggling against the grip on his shirt. “I figure the- the support department didn’t want- didn’t want wild animals to set- set them off!”

“BULLSHIT!”

Shouto watched from a distance. He idly wondered why Midoriya didn’t fight back like Shouto knew he could. The green-haired boy was powerful, so why didn’t he use it to defend himself?

Shouto tuned back in to what was happening when Bakugou’s screeching suddenly got cut off. He looked over, and saw him walking away from Midoriya, whose purple-haired (and apparently antagonistic) friend was standing beside him. The two of them were talking, but Shouto couldn’t hear what they were saying. 

He didn’t really care, in all honesty. 

Shouto waited for the next event silently. He didn’t need to care. He didn’t need to get invested in his classmate’s quarrels. He just needed to win.

He just needed to prove that he could win without using his father’s damn power. And if that meant beating every one of his classmates, including the supposedly weak cat morph? 

Then so be it.

 

Chapter Text

The next event was a cavalry battle. And first place had ten million points.

Izuku had ten million points. 

“Well,” he said to himself. “Guess I’ll die.”

“You’re not going to die, Mido, stop being so dramatic.”

“Says the person that called out every hero course student the day before the festival.”

“Uh, Midoriya?” 

Izuku turned, seeing Uraraka standing behind them. She looked a bit confused, but was smiling anyway. 

“Can I be on your team?”

Izuku wasn’t ashamed to admit he almost started crying. Shinsou hardly batted an eye, even as Uraraka tried to calm down his frantic “thank you”s. He finally stopped blubbering after a minute, a thought striking him. 

“Shin…do you…”

“Who else would I team up with?”

“…anyone?”

“Who else would I reasonably want to team up with, you idiot. You know I don’t like most people.”

“You could still have any team you want though.”

“Nope. Teaming up with you. Can’t convince me otherwise.”

“…ok. We just need one more person then.”

“What about Iida?” Uraraka suggested. 

“Perfect, now where is- there he is! Iida! Hey Iida!”

His friend turned towards Izuku at his yelling. It wasn’t too hard to spot him, since he was taller than a majority of their year. Izuku went to run over, but stopped. He…maybe had a plan. One that required him to be in two places at one. 

“You guys go get Iida, and if he doesn’t want to be on our team then please find someone else, I trust you guys. I’ll be back in a minute.”

With his friends’ confused stares following him, Izuku sprinted into the stadium hallways. He just had to find someone. If anything, Midnight might delay it if she saw him gone. Not that she was supposed to, but since when had that ever stopped his psuedo-aunt?

Izuku nearly barreled into someone when he was darting around a corner. He was stuttering apologies before he could even look up. 

His anxious mumbling was cut off by a smile when he saw who it was he’d almost ran into. It was just the person he’d been looking for. 

“Aizawa-sensei!”

“Problem Child, why are you running through the halls when you should be preparing for the second event?”

“I needed to ask you something! Can I-“

“No.”

“But you didn’t even know what I was going to ask!”

“You were going to ask if you were allowed to temporarily eat the other teams. No, Midoriya, you cannot eat the other teams.”

“But-“

“No buts, kid. You don’t have to win, you know.”

“I know that, but I want my friends to get a chance at it.”

“Then fight hard, but don’t do something you’ll regret. I know you kid, and if you use your Quirk like that then you’d beat yourself up over it. Hitoshi knows that too. Don’t let the competitiveness blind you into doing something you don’t want to.”

“I- I won’t, Aizawa-sensei. See you after the event!”

Izuku took off for the field again. He ran back over to his team, a new plan already forming in his mind. Hopefully it was enough. 

He understood why Aizawa had said no. As much as he wanted to give his friends the best chance of winning that he could, eating the other teams probably wasn’t a good idea. If he looked back at it tomorrow he might regret it. The event was televised too, so everyone would see it. 

It didn’t stop him from thinking it would’ve been a good plan. That his friends deserved to win. And maybe…maybe him too. 

Izuku was so tired of hiding that he was a Flerken. Especially from his classmates. Even if he knew it was for the best until he was older and stronger. 

He shook his head, and ran back to his friends inside the arena. He found Shin and Uraraka standing not with Iida, but with a person that had crosshair eyes and pink dreadlocks. Izuku approached cautiously. She smelled like metal and soot. 

“Ten million!” was the first thing she yelled. 

Izuku jumped, stumbling back a step as the girl very quickly invited herself into his person space. She was rambling just as fast as he could. Something about robots and children? Izuku didn’t understand half of it. 

“Hatsume, give him some space.”

The girl, Hatsume apparently, backed off. She was still rattling on about someone’s baby? Shinsou looked tired, and Uraraka was staring at the girl with obvious confusion and amusement, but both were excited nonetheless. 

“Mido, Hatsume. Hatsume, you already know Mido. Iida teamed up with Todoroki, and she volunteered herself. She has…gadgets, apparently.”

“She calls them her babies,” Uraraka said bluntly. Izuku stifled a snort. “And we can use them since she’s a support student and made them herself.”

“Huh, cool.”

“And they only have a thirty percent chance of blowing up!”

“Yeah, anyway,” Shin interrupted quickly. “What's the plan cat-man?”

“Ok, so I’ll be the rider. Shin, you can be the front person. Uraraka, Hatsume, can you two be the sides?”

“Yep!”

“Sure thing, Ten Million!”

“Cool. Uraraka, how long can hold your Quirk on four people while moving around?”

“Longer than this event.”

“Perfect. Hatsume, do you have any gadgets that help with moving in zero gravity?”

“Of course I do,” she scoffed. “What type of inventor would I be if I didn’t?”

Shinsou’s mutter of “a normal one” was ignored.

Izuku’s smile was sharp and focused, the smile of a predator. He had a plan, a great team, and the determination to back it up. 

They were going to win, and nothing could stop them. 

~~~~~

Shouto was going to get the ten million points, and nothing was going to stop him. He had a powerful team at his disposal, after all. Iida had speed, Yaoyorozu could defend, and Kaminari would repel the other teams just by virtue of them knowing he was a human taser. Shouto himself was good for both defense and offense. They would be unstoppable. 

The beginning was called, and everyone immediately surged towards Midoriya’s team. Shouto told his team to hang back and wait. They needed to see who they were playing against before casting their dice. 

Good thing they did, because in the single blink of an eye, something red flashed out across the stadium. It was like one second they didn’t exist, and the next they were everywhere. The things snaked through the air like blurry floating ribbons.

Shouto had no idea what they were, but he knew one thing. Whatever it was, it was dangerous. They had a distinct feeling of wrong . Like those things shouldn’t even exist.

Just as fast as they had come, the red things receded. One blink they were there, and in another they were gone again. Everyone was looking around in confusion, a few teams started yelling in outrage. Their headbands were missing. 

Midoriya happened to be securing more bands around his neck. 

With whatever those things had been now gone, Shouto could finally see Midoriya and his team. He was the rider, with his purple-haired friend in front. Uraraka and some pink-haired girl were at his sides. They looked like they were wearing support gear, which was allowed for support students, so the pink girl must be one. It looked decent for a first year. 

Some of the other teams had backed off of Midoriya now. No one had seen where the things had come from, Shouto included. All that anyone knew was that one second there was a reddish-pink thing flashing across the arena, and the next second it was gone, and Midoriya had a few extra headbands than he had had a moment before.

The field was still being consumed by chaos, though in a less literal sense this time. Shouto was tired of it, so he froze the ground around them. 

A few headbands richer, and Shouto’s team moved on. There were other people scattered around, all trying to snatch points from one another. Bakugou was screeching at some team sprinting away from him. Midoriya’s team was…flying. They were gliding high above the ground, and just beginning to come back down. 

Time was slowly ticking down. Midnight yelled the two minutes mark. It was now or never. 

Shouto ordered his team closer. Midoriya’s team hadn’t noticed their approach, too focused on securing a new headband around Midoriya’s neck. 

Shouto froze them into their own mini-arena. Only then did Midoriya’s team turn to face Shouto. He couldn’t hear them very well from the distance they were at, but he could see them whispering. The sounds of the stadium faded in the face of his enemy. 

“Hand over the ten million, Midoriya.”

Shinsou and Uraraka glanced at each other, then started laughing. The support girl smiled crazily, but did nothing. Midoriya sat on their shoulders, grinning serenely. Like nothing was wrong. Like this is exactly where they wanted to be. 

Shouto suddenly had the bone-deep feeling that he’d made a mistake

“So kind of you to finally join us, Shouto Todoroki,” Midoriya purred. “But I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

“Then I will take it.”

Midoriya- Midoriya smiled . He smiled with teeth too sharp and eyes wide but pupils only slits. The glowing, radioactive green was a stark contrast to the tiny sliver of black. He looked eager. Hungry

It was the look of a predator.

And Shouto had never felt more like prey. 

“Oh I’d like to see you try. Come on now, why don’t you see what happens when you do.”

Midoriya had never seemed like the type to be scary. He was the quiet kid that seemed to very easily anger Bakugou and was too close with their teacher for it to be normal. He was friends with a gen ed student and had cat ears and a tail sometimes. 

He was also the student that had eaten an explosion and spit it out like it was bad tasting food. The student that always seemed to disappear if you looked away for a few seconds. That had claws and sharp teeth that looked razor sharp. Somehow, Shouto had forgotten that part. He regretted it now. 

But he had to try anyway. He needed to show the old man that he could win this thing using only his mother’s ice. 

“We need to get that headband. Get closer and-“

“Todoroki, Yaoyorozu, Kaminari, can you all hold on tight?” 

Shouto glanced down at Iida. He probably had some sort of plan. 

“Of course.”

“Then please do so. Tightly.”

Shouto listened, but it didn’t do much to prepare him for the sheer speed they were suddenly going. 

In a blink, Shouto was grabbing the ten million points. Midoriya’s wide eyes followed him as they sped away again. 

Shouto reoriented himself when they finally stopped. Iida’s engines are stalled, but they had the points. Midoriya’s team had a few extra bands, but it wasn’t quite enough to pass, short by a few hundred. Shouto’s team had been in second place, but only by a small margin above Bakugou’s team. As it was, they were in first place now.

They’d done it. 

So why did Shouto feel like he’d just swam out into the open ocean, nothing to protect him and the deep hiding what was hunting him?

“Oooooh,” echoed Shinsou’s voice from across their frozen mini-arena. “You shouldn’t have done that.”

Midoriya’s team spun to face them again. They all looked determined, but Shouto didn’t pay it much mind. There was little chance of them getting the headband back. Even so, they were whispering to one another, planning. 

Shouto watched them closely. Midoriya’s gaze was zeroed in on them, his mouth barely moving as he presumably talked to his team. They appeared to either be trying to talk him out of something or planning how to best get the points back. 

Shouto ordered his team to walk away. Midoriya’s team wasn’t fast enough to catch them, but they’d be safer away from the desperate team anyway. 

It was only Shouto’s mind screeching to not turn his back on an enemy that made him turn around again. His eyes instantly widened, because Midoriya’s team was closing in fast. Almost as fast as Iida had. 

They were floating, and a gale of wind had kicked up dust behind them. Was Midoriya powerful enough to create wind with his strength?

“Brace yourself!” He yelled. It was all he could do. 

Midoriya was on them in an instant. His hand reached out, lighting up with the green sparks he had. The presence he had was…it was familiar. Powerful

“Don’t you know it’s rude to take what isn’t yours?” Midoriya hissed, eyes glowing like toxic beacons. Shouto felt like if he looked too long, he would be sucked into a blackhole. 

On instinct, Shouto raised an arm to deflect Midoriya’s hand. It was his left one. 

The flames had already coated his skin. Midoriya hardly batted an eye. He swept his own arm in an arch, the wind from it putting out the fire that had hardly existed for a few seconds. Shouto felt a trill of panic jolt down his spine. He was powerless in the face of this hunter

Shouto felt the headband rip from his neck, but it wasn’t the ten million one. He still flinched as the fabric tore free. 

He found himself hoping it wasn’t enough for Midoriya to move on. A selfish and ridiculous thought. Why wouldn’t he want to face Midoriya? He was small, and probably didn’t have much combat training. Given, Shouto had never actually seen him fight, but his classmate was so tiny that it had to be true. 

But…that power, the presence Shouto felt. It was something that made the primal part of him want to run. To hide and avoid the predator at all costs. Because in this game of cat and mouse, Shouto was not the cat. 

Midoriya’s team retreated with their band. From a distance, Shouto could tell they’d just found out it wasn’t the ten million. 

Then the support course girl pulled out what looked like a grabber hand. Clutched in it was another band.

Shouto reached up, and found the band on his head was gone. She had taken it when he was busy with Midoriya. Not one of them had noticed. 

Time was called. Midoriya’s team was moving on, and so was Shouto’s. They had time before the one on ones started. 

Shouto had used his fire, something he had sworn never to do again, all because a cat morph had scared him. Father had told him tales of how weak they were, so why? Why did Midoriya scare him so badly? How did he have so much power? 

He had to find out, or at least ask. Midoriya’s power had reminded him of someone. Well, his strength, but his mannerisms also reminded Shouto of someone else. It would explain a lot if he was right. 

They had a break for lunch now, so it was the perfect time to ask. Maybe explain why he refused to use his fire, since Midoriya was so adamant about him using it. 

“Midoriya,” he said, catching the boy’s attention. He jumped at Shouto’s voice, back to the anxious person he had grown used to seeing. “I need to speak with you.”

Midoriya was surrounded by three of his friends. Uraraka, Iida, and the gen ed student, Shinsou. Shinsou looked about ready to say something, but Midoriya stopped him with a look. They had a silent conversation, confusing Shouto. How they could do that was beyond him, but he stayed silent as it happened anyway. 

“Alright,” Midoriya finally said. “I’ll be back in a few minutes guys, don’t wait for me.”

“See you at lunch Midoriya!” Uraraka chirped, already dragging Iida down the hallway by his arm. 

Shinsou lingered for a moment, having another silent conversation with Midoriya. Shouto raised an eyebrow, but still said nothing. Midoriya eventually waved his friend off. 

“You wanted to talk to me?”

“Not here. Follow me.”

Shouto brought Midoriya to one of the abandoned hallways. It was out of the way, someplace hardly anyone would be in. Neither spoke for a minute.

“So…you wanted to tell me something?”

“In the cavalry battle, you made me break a promise I made to myself.”

“A…promise?”

“I vowed never to use my father’s fire. And yet the instant you got too close, I used it. I felt the power you have, and there’s only one person I can think of that has a similar Quirk.”

Midoriya started fidgeting, a telltale sign of nervousness. Good, Shouto was probably right then. 

“The only person I’ve felt that kind of power from is All Might. So tell me Midoriya-“ Shouto looked Midoriya in the eyes, which was a bit unnerving. The glowing was very obvious in the dark tunnel “-are you All Might’s secret lovechild?”

Chapter Text

“Are you All Might’s secret lovechild?”

Izuku was pretty sure his brain was short-circuiting like Kaminari. That or running on overdrive so fast none of his thoughts registered. How had Todoroki even come to that conclusion? Of all the things, why that ?!

“N-no! I’m not- I’m not that . Why would you even think that?! We’re not- I’m not- I’m not his kid!”

“But you are connected to him.”

“I’m not All Might’s son, Todoroki!”

“Ok then, are you Aizawa-sensei’s son?”

“Am I…what?” Izuku was pretty sure every brain function had been thrown out the window now. How did he even come up with these things! Was- was Todoroki a conspiracy theorist?

“Aizawa-sensei’s son. It would make sense, really. You’re closer to him than anyone else in the class, and it’s more than just a friendly student and teacher. Your hair is even wavy like his.”

Todoroki finally paused. Izuku was busy rebooting his mind. Him? Aizawa’s son? And by extension, Present Mic’s son? Yeah, no. Nope nope nopitey nope. 

Wait, Todoroki doesn’t know the two of them are married. Or that Shinsou is their kid. The day he found out about that would be one to remember. Although there would probably be quite a bit of damage control to deal with.

Oh yeah, Todoroki was still waiting for an answer. 

In the most deadpan and serious voice Izuku could currently muster, he said, “No, I’m not Aizawa-sensei’s son, Todoroki. Is that all you wanted to ask me?”

“No, it’s not. You haven’t denied a connection to All Might, so I can only assume there’s something you don’t want to be found out. I won’t ask, but that just means I have all the more reason to beat you in the upcoming event.”

“More reason to- Todoroki, what are you talking about?”

“My father has been trying to surpass All Might for years, and he never could, so he made another plan.” Todoroki looked up at Izuku, and there was something forcefully steeled about his expression. Izuku didn’t like it. “Have you heard of Quirk marriages?”

No. No, this- he had to be wrong. Izuku had to be wrong. 

“My father couldn’t beat All Might, so he wanted to create someone who could. I was the end result. In almost every memory I have of my mother, she’s crying.”

Izuku had guessed something was wrong years ago, but it was one thing he thought he’d been wrong on. It had all been based on news stories, hero galas, and interviews when he was a kid. He never thought he had guessed correctly. He didn’t want to be correct. It was the one thing he hoped he hadn’t gotten right

There were never any stories -never in all the years he followed the news and forums- saying something was wrong. He left it alone, thinking it was something his kitten mind had made up. That he had seen something that wasn’t there. 

He shouldn’t have left it alone.

“She poured boiling water over my face, all because my left side is my father’s.”

Unbidden, his mouth moved on its own accord. “Todoroki…”

“So I will beat you Midoriya, using only my mother’s ice. I will show my old man that I reject his power. That I-“

“Todoroki.” Izuku snapped his mouth shut for a moment, taking a deep breath to calm himself down. “Out of everyone in the world, I can relate to not using half of your Quirk.”

“It’s not-“

“I’d be a hypocrite to tell you to just use it. That it’s easy and you’re holding yourself back. I don’t use all of my power either, so I really don’t have room to talk. But Todoroki, you’re hurting yourself.”

“And how would you-“

“Did you know that I didn’t use all of my Quirk until middle school? Do you know what happened when I did finally use all of my power? I nearly killed people, Todoroki. I destroyed a building and could have killed everyone inside of it.”

“Bakugou said you’re a cat morph…”

“I’m not a damn cat morph, Todoroki,” Izuku hissed, a tinge of fury seeping into his voice. He was just so tired of living by that lie. “I can’t let you do the same thing that I did. I know you’re doing it to spite your father, but for once in your life, think about what you want and stop hurting yourself! You can’t be a hero if you do it out of spite!”

“And what are you doing it for?”

Without missing a beat, Izuku answered. “To let kids know their Quirks don’t make who they are. I’m doing it to be the person I needed when I was a kit. Like Shinsou needed, and apparently who you needed.”

Todoroki was quiet now, simply staring at Izuku. He looked…confused. Izuku sighed. 

“It’s not his fire, Todoroki. It’s yours. Your Quirk, not his. Your ice too, don’t think I didn’t notice you calling it your mother’s.”

Izuku said it softly, like they were comforting words instead of ones meant to knock some sense into Todoroki’s thick skull. Maybe he’d finally understand now. Maybe he wouldn’t make the same mistakes Izuku had. 

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“Did you ever see that one show All Might did? We were both little, so I don’t blame you if your don’t remember it. He said that while people inherent aspects of their parents Quirks, it’s ultimately their own. It’s your fire, Todoroki .”

“But my father…”

“Can I eat him?”

Todoroki looked as close to the human version of a blue-screen as someone could. “Can you…what?”

“Eat him. Send him to a pocket dimension. I can even try and punch him through a wall, though I don’t know how well that might work.”

“I…honestly, don’t really know what you’re talking about. I only wanted to tell you why I must beat you, and why I’m going to win with only my mother’s ice. Enjoy your lunch.”

Todoroki turned to leave. Izuku, not about to leave things where they were, jumped forward and grabbed his arm. Todoroki turned around, one eyebrow raised. 

“You’re eating lunch with us. I won’t take no for an answer and neither will Uraraka. Come on.”

Izuku half dragged and half lead the other boy back towards the rooms. Todoroki didn’t really try and resist, so he figured it was ok. He would give him one of his mom’s onigiri to make up for it anyway. 

Then he had an idea. 

“Hey Todoroki, can I play a prank on your dad?”

“I…guess? The security to his agency closely monitors human activity, so I don’t think it would be easy to trash his office or something similar.”

“Hmmm, human you say?”

Izuku smirked, a plan already coming together in his mind. Maybe he could get Shin to help. They had a week before internships after the festival, he could do it then. 

Next week was going to be fun

“If you’re not related to Aizawa-sensei, then why do you smile like him sometimes?”

“I…do?”

“Just then, you smiled like him. Are you sure you’re not related?”

“Yes, Todoroki, I am one hundred percent positive I am not our teacher’s son.”

“Ok then, what about Shinsou? Their hair is the same, and they both act similar.”

Izuku had to try extremely hard not to smile or laugh. He wanted to see Todoroki’s reaction when he found out for himself, but not today. 

“Hm, I don’t know. They do act like each other, don’t they.”

Todoroki then went on a ramble, showing more emotion than Izuku had seen on him today, on various familial relationships throughout the school and hero world. Izuku burst out laughing when he said Tokoyami could be Hawks’ nephew. It was nice to see him relax, even just a little bit. 

Lunch went well, all things considered. Todoroki didn’t talk much, but that was ok. 

The one on ones matches were soon, and Izuku couldn’t wait to see who he was up against. 

 

Bonus

Katsuki~

Shiiiiiiiiiitt.

Why did he think he’d get away with hiding from a fucking cat. Why the fuck had he thought that was a good idea? In the moment it had seemed fine. A good idea even. 

Then he heard…everything. Katsuki now very much felt regret when he sensed the presence of an enraged…whatever the hell Deku was, behind him. 

“I know you were there,” Deku said, chipper voice not matching the impending doom Katsuki was feeling. 

Slowly, Katsuki turned around to face Deku. His annoyed expression was stuck on tight, but under it he was contemplating how well he could avoid his old friend his old victim Deku Izuku. Right, he was supposed to stop calling him Deku. 

“And if I was, nerd?”

“Then I would sure hope you wouldn’t say anything about what you heard, yes?”

Katsuki would never ever admit it out loud, but…Izuku scared him now. Just a bit. Hardly anything, but it was still there. Ever since he had- ever since he hadn’t gotten expelled, there was something different. 

He owed Izuku now. That was probably it. Katsuki didn’t like being in debt to the cat. 

It certainly wasn’t that he swore Deku’s teeth were sharper now, or that his senses were better, or that he had actual claws now. Honestly, where the fuck had he even gotten a tail from? Last Katsuki checked, all the idiot could do was turn into a normal cat. None of this half cat and half person bullshit. 

No, it wasn’t any of that. Katsuki just didn’t like how Izuku had changed, and that he didn’t know how it affected him. He hated not knowing his opponents powers. Especially when they seemed to change suddenly. 

So if he nodded and walked away from Izuku without a word, it didn’t mean he was scared. It didn’t mean he was running away. 

He was only retreating for now. Yeah, that was it. A tactical retreat so he could beat Deku later. 

He wasn’t scared.

 

Chapter Text

Izuku was fighting Shinsou.

He was fighting Shin.  

Izuku was so close to just dropping out. He would have too, if Shinsou hadn’t immediately turned to him and told him not to. Izuku couldn’t just drop out if Shin didn’t want him to, so he didn’t. 

He wanted Shinsou to win. Izuku knew his friend needed to do good in the sports festival to be moved up to the hero course, but no one knew just how far they had to get. He really wished that he knew.

Izuku had to fight Todoroki though. He had meant what he said, but apparently that wasn’t good enough. Just by the way Todoroki had looked at Izuku, he didn’t believe it. He wasn’t going to use his fire. So Izuku had to try something else. Anything else to stop him from doing what Izuku had. 

But he couldn’t beat Shin, he just couldn’t. Not on purpose. Even if both of them were using Quirks it would be a hard fight, one that Shinsou would probably win. All it would take is one word and Izuku would lose, but too slow and Izuku could win in a heartbeat. 

Of all the possible people for him to go against, why did it have to be his best friend?

The worst part was that he knew Shinsou could tell something was wrong. Every time he’d stop glancing at Todoroki, Shin was watching him. He didn’t know what Todoroki had said.  Katsuki was the only one nearby and Todoroki hadn’t given Izuku and chance to make him go away before he started talking. 

That didn’t mean a thing when Izuku was very not subtly glancing at Todoroki in worry every few seconds. Most of it was accompanied with the urge to eat Endeavor and possibly spit him off the side of a bridge. Honestly it was more a surprise that Uraraka didn’t voice her concerns, since Izuku knew she caught his looks too. 

So now he was standing in the hallway, waiting for Present Mic to call their match. Shinsou had already forbidden him from throwing the match, and it wasn’t like Izuku could refuse him. Izuku would just- he would just…he didn’t know. 

Using his Quirk in the previous round had been a thought out move to make sure his team won. Izuku could do it if it was for other people, but using it for his own gain? Nope. It was something Aizawa-sensei (and Shinsou, and Yamada, and Mom) had said he needed to work on. Self-preservation had never been a skill he excelled at. 

Present Mic yelled about Shinsou, downplaying him in a tactic Izuku knew well. It would make the audience root for him, since he was the underdog. If Shinsou won then he’d get even more attention too. 

Izuku heard his name be called, and nervously walked out into the arena. The sun was bright, making his eyes become narrow slits because of it. Shinsou stood at the other end of the field. Present Mic was still yelling, but Izuku didn’t hear it. 

Midnight asked if they were ready, and Izuku nodded numbly. Only when she called go did he snap back into full awareness. 

“So…how do you want to do this?”

Izuku paused, thinking. “We could-

Oh. It was a trap. Too late to realize that now, huh. 

“I’m sorry, Mido,” he heard Shin say. Just loud enough for him to hear as his friend walked closer. “But I have to move up to the hero course, and you would’ve won in a heartbeat. Now walk out of bounds.

Izuku’s body followed the orders, while his mind did not. He was stuck inside his own head. But honestly? He didn’t really try and resist it. If he wanted to, Izuku could give his friend the option of a migraine or letting him go. 

But he didn’t. If he lost here then so be it. 

Then…then he remembered Todoroki, and the story he’d been told. Izuku remembered how sad he had looked. 

But was it worth it? Could he just give it up at the expense of his best friend? Could he beat Shinsou just to try and scream some sense into Todoroki?

Something flickered. Izuku felt his gaze shift up a bit, and he saw eight figures. All outlined in a glow, hazy and undefined. They…looked human? Sort of. Izuku could tell one was some form of giant, and one looked like they had a pineapple on their head? Actually, that was probably just their hair. 

They were speaking. Not in words Izuku knew, but chattering in a way that Izuku got what they meant. They were here to help him, whatever he decided. 

Maybe, he thought, maybe I should try.

Light crackled over his arm. A single flick, and he was free. Izuku stumbled forward just before the boundary line. Shin had controlled him a few times for training, but it had never been like this. Nothing even similar to that had ever happened. 

“M…Mido?”

Izuku got to his feet, not answering this time. He brushed off some dust before looking up again. 

“If either of us win,” he said to no one, addressing the floor and walls, all to avoid Shin’s Quirk. “Then I don’t want to regret it. I have a goal too, but I don’t want to hurt yours to reach mine. So can we- can we try to make this fair?”

The arena, though not the stadium, was quiet. People were screaming, though their words were lost on the two of them. Izuku stared at his friend. He extended a hand, walking to the middle of the field. 

“So?”

Shinsou sighed, but he was smiling. “Fine, fine. I understand. This has something to do with Todoroki, doesn’t it.”

“Maybe.”

Shinsou sighed again, walking to join Izuku in the middle of the field. They shook hands, both still grinning at the other. “Well then, how are we going to do this.”

“Sparring?”

“Why not. Better than a screaming match or something, as much as Pop would love to see that.”

They exchanged competitive smirks, and took their starting places once more. The crowds were writhing with confusion, and Midnight was whispering something to Cementoss. In that moment though, neither cared. 

In one fluid movement, they both darted forward. Shinsou dove under Izuku’s swinging arm, kicking at the back of his knees. 

Izuku rolled back to his feet the instant his knees touched the ground, having fallen to that move more than a few times. He had learned from Aizawa-sensei. They both had. In another moment, the two of them had leapt forward again with smiles only the other could see. 

Izuku jumped over Shinsou’s leg, swinging a fist out. He missed, and used the momentum to tuck and roll away from another attack. 

They continued their dance for what felt like hours. Attacking and dodging while keeping an eye on the boundary line. They slowly crept closer to it.

The two of them paused, catching their breath even if they weren’t really tired. Both were still smiling. To the audience, it might look slightly crazed. 

“So, you ready to start the real fight now?”

“On three?”

“One.”

“Two.”

Both moved instead of saying three. 

Whereas before they had looked graceful and coordinated, now they were green and purple blurs. Punches and kicks exchanged within seconds and repeated in that same time twice over. They ducked and wove under and over attacks. 

Izuku knew he'd have bruises in the morning, but he kept moving. This was the most fun he’d had fighting in weeks. His classmates were good sparring partners, don’t get him wrong, but none of them had the same level and speed Shinsou did. None of them knew his moves and counters to them as well as Shin did. Seeing as his friend had been trained to fight for years, both without and beside him, it wasn’t much of a surprise. Class 1-A would catch up eventually. 

The two of them were just smudges of movement. Punch. Kick. Dodge. Repeat and repeat and repeat in a different order each time. 

Izuku knew one of them would mess up eventually. Mistakes were inevitable, especially with how fast they were moving. It was only a matter of time. 

It came sooner than he thought. 

Izuku tripped. Well, Shinsou tripped him. He fell flat on his back on the concrete. The air was knocked from his lungs for a moment. 

When Izuku looked up, Shinsou was leaping for him. He was probably aiming to tackle Izuku and throw him out of bounds. It was a decently solid plan. 

Too bad Izuku’s instinctual response to incoming attacks was to fling them away. 

Izuku brought his feet up, and kicked Shinsou in the chest. He wheezed, and went flying away. Izuku really hoped he hadn’t accidentally used One for All. 

Shinsou rolled a few times before coming to a stop. Just on the boundary line. 

“Shinsou is out of bounds! Midoriya wins!”

The stadium broke into cheers and yelling. Izuku blinked, getting to his feet and spinning in a slow circle. They were all cheering…for him? For winning the fight? 

He didn’t deserve it. 

Izuku turned again, offering a hand to Shinsou to help him up. He took it, rubbing at the back of his neck. 

“Damn, and I almost had you too. Never thought showing you the Lion King would backfire on me.”

Izuku barked a laugh, shaking his head, but he was still grinning at his friend. Then he fell quiet. 

“I’m sorry I took your shot at the hero course.”

“Hey, no,” Shinsou snapped, making Izuku look up. Shin never snapped. “You won fair and square. Maybe it was good enough to get in and maybe it wasn’t, but you can’t do anything about it now. So go and kick some sense into that arrogant bastard’s thick skull for me, will you?”

Izuku’s smile returned, relieved his friend wasn’t mad. “I’ll do my best, Shin.”

“Good. Now let’s go, you have some explaining to do before your next round.”

Izuku really should have expected it. Shinsou knew him too well. 

“…Fine, but I can’t tell you everything. It’s not my place to.”

“Fair enough.”

The two disappeared into the stadium hallways. The vents were too small for them to fit in here, so Izuku settled for an empty room. 

He told Shinsou the short version of what he heard. Endeavor was bad, but he didn’t tell the full reason of why, just that he didn’t treat Todoroki right. Izuku told Shin about Todoroki having a reason to not use his fire, and that his mom wasn’t at home anymore. Just enough to give Shinsou the reasoning, but not the details. He was smart enough to figure out the implied meaning.

(And so was Nedzu. Izuku knew for a fact there were cameras in this room)

Izuku finished by saying why he couldn’t immediately tell Aizawa. Todoroki had told him in confidence that he wouldn’t tell. Even if he did, there wasn’t much they could do right now. Endeavor was powerful and influential. Whether they liked it or not, they couldn’t take him on without enough evidence that even he couldn’t cover it up. 

That didn’t mean Shinsou wasn’t angry though. 

“Shin, we can’t reliably frame him for murder, we’re fifteen.”

“Yeah well, Dad probably could.” Shinsou was pacing, his hands moving sharply like they always did when he was angry or passionate about something. It was sort of like Iida, but slightly toned down. “Wouldn’t be hard. He has the highest villain casualty rate. Just bring that up in court.”

“It’s pushed off since it’s villains, he’s a well known ‘hero,’ and he has money.”

“Well- well- we can- I don’t....I don’t know.”

“We can’t take legal action, Shin. Believe me, I really want to, but we can’t. Todoroki said it was better now that he was in UA. We can’t risk him or his siblings getting caught in the crossfire.”

“I know. Damnit, I know. It’s just- how could someone even think of doing that?!”

“I don’t know, and I still really want to eat him, but I can’t. I can, however, prank him.”

Shin looked up, eyes locking onto Izuku’s grin that never held anything good for its victims.

“Oh no. What plan have you cooked up in that supercomputer we call your mind?”

“Nothing too bad.”

“Bullshit. Tell me.”

“His office is nearby, right?”

“Yeah, why?”

“And there’s a park or forest nearby?”

“…yes.”

“Perfect. He’ll be getting some threatening gifts then.”

Realization dawned on Shinsou’s face. “You’re not.”

“I can and will. Wanna help?”

“If you try and make me carry a bag of dead rats I’m leaving you in an alley.”

“Deal.”

“Yeah, yeah. Come on, our classes are going to wonder where we went. See you after your match, Mido.”

“See you later, Shin!”

Izuku walked back down the hall, a grin on his face that others would describe as ‘sinister’ or ‘shit-eating.’ He skipped happily back to his friends, a plan running in his mind. Maybe they couldn’t do anything against Endeavor yet, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t mess with the man. So long as it couldn’t be traced back to Todoroki then it would be entertaining. 

Izuku couldn’t wait for next week. 

~~~~~

Hitoshi returned to the gen ed stands with a bored expression and hands shoved in his pockets. It was all a mask. Inside he was fuming against the supposed ‘hero’ that was hurting one of Mido’s classmates. He hadn’t been given all the details, but it wasn’t especially hard to piece together. 

Some of the anger must’ve shown through though. A few of his classmates shied away from him, but most were smiling. They congratulated him for getting so far. For representing gen ed and doing a good job of it. 

Then came the inevitable comment on his fight. 

“Ok but why did the green-haired kid not use his Quirk? Is he looking down on us? Yeah his fighting skills were nothing to scoff at, but-“

Hitoshi was having exactly none of that. “Urusai, I know what his Quirk is. If he used it I would’ve lost in less than a second. Our fight was a fair one.”

“Ok, but still-“

“Buddy, I’d be dead if he used his full Quirk. His is even more powerful than mine.”

The stand full of general education students were silent. They all knew Hitoshi’s Quirk. They all knew just how strong it was. For him to say someone had a much more powerful Quirk than him? It meant Midoriya was not someone to mess with. 

Hitoshi smirked at their silence. They were taking Mido seriously now. Good. Heaven knows his friend could kick all their asses with one hand tied behind his back. 

He wondered how the next matches were going to go. 



Bonus

She had lost. She had given it her all, and Ochako had lost. A shame, since she had been looking forward to seeing Bakugou’s face the rest of the year if he had lost. Not even halfway through the school year and she knew how much it would piss him off to lose in the first round. 

Ochako wasn’t upset at him though, nor how she lost. They had both given it their all. If anything, she was glad he hadn’t gone easy on her. Anyone that did that usually ended up floating on the ceiling with a few new bruises and maybe a black eye. 

She was still upset with it though. Ochako had given it her absolute all, and she still lost. After everything her parents had done for her and she couldn’t even get to the top three in the festival. 

Ochako retreated to one of the waiting rooms, not wanting her classmates to see her cry. It was such a stupid reason. They didn’t need to see her like this anyway. 

She was still sniffling when the door creaked open. Ochako quickly wiped her eyes and plastered on a smile. Only, she didn’t see anyone there. 

A meow made her look down. On the floor, apparently having pushed open the door, was the fluffiest green cat she had ever seen. She let out a breath, happy it wasn’t a person. 

“Hey there little guy, what’re you doing here?”

Ochako sat on the floor, putting a hand out for the cat to sniff. It nudged her hand for a moment, before walking closer. Only once she was on the ground could Ochako see just how big this cat was. If it didn’t look as well groomed as it did, she might’ve thought it was wild or something. 

The cat put a fluffy paw on her leg, looking up at her in what almost looked like worry. It meowed again, head-butting her arm. Ochako laughed, the croak evident in her voice, and pet his little head. It was really, really soft. 

“I’m ok, kitty, just sad that I lost. I-“ her voice cracked again. “I just t-tried so- so hard , and I s-still lost. I don’t- I don’t w-want to dis-disappoint anyone, especially m-my parents. Th-they work so h-hard to give me everything, and-and I lost, and-“

The cat meowed loudly again, pressing his head against her cheek and purring. Ochako giggled again, patting it’s fur. She didn’t know cats were this affectionate. 

Both of them jumped when her phone started ringing. Ochako grabbed it off the table.

“Oh, it’s m-my parents.” She sniffled, rubbing at her eyes again. The cat mrrp’ed softly. “I’ll talk to them, don’t worry. You can s-stay if you want, but you have to be quiet.”

Somehow, the cat understood. It got up, brushing against her for a moment, before leaving the way it had come. Ochako pressed the answer button.

“H-hey Mom, hey Dad.”

~~~~~

Izuku padded down the hallway on silent feet, happy he could help his friend feel better. She had done amazing, and he made sure to tell her, as a human, when she came back. Uraraka smiled, and wished him luck against Todoroki.

 

Chapter Text

Izuku wished he could just prepare for his next match in peace. Todoroki had frozen Sero in a glacier . If he wanted a hope of winning, then he needed a plan. A good one. 

He did have one, but it was what Shin would call “reckless and mildly stupid.” That wasn’t to say he wasn’t going to do it, but he should probably keep his friend’s opinion in mind. He was usually right about this sort of thing. It would be ok though. It had to be. 

Izuku muttered plans under his breath as he walked towards the waiting area. There were around fifteen minutes left until his match, then he’d be fighting. If he used most of that for strategizing then maybe he’d come up with something that Recovery Girl wouldn’t yell at him for. 

That was all promptly thrown out the window when he ran into someone. Literally. They felt like a brick wall. A burning brick wall.

Izuku quickly backpedaled, shoving down the instinct to light up One for All. As much as he wanted to eat Endeavor, or punch him through a wall, or even just bite him, he couldn’t. Not if he wanted to have a chance at getting Todoroki away from him. Not if he wanted to get out of this without looking like a burnt marshmallow. 

“En-Endeavor sir. S-sorry for running into y-you, I’ll be- I’ll just be on my way.”

Izuku made to walk around the man. A hand bigger than his face stopped him from leaving. 

“You’re the child my son is facing in the next round. The cat morph…thing.” It wasn’t a question, but Izuku nodded anyway. “I must say, your power is impressive for something so weak.”

Izuku felt the familiar annoyance tug at him. How did even Endeavor think he was a cat morph? He had turned into a cat in the obstacle course, but he also used his tenta-teeth to knock a robot away from people. Then again, most people don’t know what Flerkens are anymore. 

Oh yeah, Endeavor was still talking. 

“Your strength is almost similar to All Might. My Shouto has a duty to surpass him, so at least try and put up a half-decent fight for him. Good day.”

Endeavor moved to leave. Izuku took a single step, blocking his path just as the hero had done a second before. He stared up at the man twice his size with no fear. 

He smiled with too many teeth and a glint in his eyes that wasn’t there before. 

“I am not All Might.”

Endeavor scoffed. “Obviously not, now-“

“And Shouto is not you.” Izuku smiled up at the man who was suddenly frozen stiff. “After all, children are not their parents. That is a lesson we learn in grade-school, Endeavor. I would sure hope you taught that lesson to your children.”

“What are-“

“And I would definitely hope those bruises I saw on my classmate were from tripping and not from ‘training.’ Abuse allegations are very serious, as you know. Especially in heroes.”

“Now listen here-“

“How many years has it been since your wife left the hospital, Endeavor?”

That made the man stop talking. Izuku blinked his eyes that were glowing too bright to be human. The flames on the hero were fizzling to embers. It gave him a sense of satisfaction to know his words had gotten sharper than ever before. 

“Remember what I have said, Endeavor. If you’ll excuse me, I have a fight to get to.”

Izuku calmly walked down the hallway until Endeavor was out of sight. He went a bit closer to the field entrance, before putting his back to a wall and sliding down to the floor. 

He had just trash-talked Endeavor. The Number Two hero. He had threatened a top hero . Nedzu and Aizawa would be proud. Probably. Izuku was just surprised he hadn’t been burnt to a crisp.

His match was in a few minutes now. He had no plan, no strategy. Nothing but energy burning in his veins and the ability to be a cat. Izuku was most likely doomed. Maybe he could get a few good hits in before he went down. As long as it was enough to convince Todoroki, then everything would be fine. Even if he lost. 

Izuku stayed there on the floor for a while. Just enough time for Present Mic to give the one minute warning for his match. He picked himself up, dusted off his clothes, and calmly speed-walked over to the tunnel he was supposed to be at two minutes ago. 

“Up next is the super genius that confuses everyone, Izuku Midoriya!”

He stepped out into the light as Yamada called out his name. He could hear the tone of encouragement. Almost anyone else wouldn’t, but Izuku knew the two were rooting for him. They were like a second set of parents to him. 

“Versus the half and half student from the recommendation exams, Shouto Todoroki!”

Todoroki lifted a hand to shield his eyes from the sun. Izuku watched him closely, hardly moving a muscle. His eyes were narrowed to slits. 

Midnight repeated the rules they had heard before. Both agreed, Izuku moving only to call out a yes. He could see Todoroki shifting. Not quite nervously, but he was definitely unsettled. 

“Start!”

Izuku didn’t move. Neither did Todoroki. Not at first, at least. 

A single shift from his opponent had Izuku sparking up green. He dove to the side, the ice just barely missing his side. 

He rolled to his feet, eyeing Todoroki for his next move. He was staring at Izuku, trying to predict him. 

Izuku grinned. He wasn’t going to get very far with that.

More ice was thrown at him. This time, Izuku leapt up into the air. 

~~~~~

Shouto swung his arm, great spikes of ice crystalizing on the ground. All of it was aimed at Midoriya. This time it was bigger than the first. Missing once was a miscalculation, but twice meant this might become an endurance fight. 

He had to win this, and fast. His right side was already feeling cooler than before. 

Something made a shadow fall over Shouto. Something other than ice. He jolted back, just incase it was an incoming attack, and looked up to the sky. 

Midoriya was in the air. He eclipsed the sun, the green lightning of his Quirk taking its place. The same jade green that haloed him now set its glow over the arena where his shadow was cast. He stayed in the air for a few seconds. He was smiling. 

And Shouto- Shouto felt fear zip through him. 

Midoriya had nowhere but ice to land. He fell towards the earth, and in the blink of an eye, he suddenly had different ears and a tail. Shouto watched as he grew closer to the pillars of ice. 

He landed, and…and stuck it. Midoriya hit the ice in a relatively flat place, stumbling slightly on the slanted surface, but stayed where he was. He was crouched down, hands steadying him even if his landing pad was quite literally freezing. 

It was only then that Shouto realized his opponent had forgone shoes. That he had claws on his feet as well as his hands. 

And that this match wasn’t going to be an easy win. Not in the slightest. 

Midoriya stared him down with those odd slitted eyes of his. It was hard to tell the green from black this far away. They were glowing a toxic color all the same. 

“You can’t beat me that easily, Todoroki,” Midoriya hissed, cat ears going back. “And I’m not going to give up because of a few icicles.”

Shouto scowled, and threw more ice at Midoriya. He couldn’t dodge it while he was on the pillar. Shouto wasn’t going to let Midoriya win, no matter how much his classmate’s words truly shook him. 

He heard it before he saw it. The sound of shattering. Like glass but different, more muffled. 

Then his ice splintered into shrapnel. Shouto’s eyes widened, and he went skidding backwards. More ice came to his calling and made a wall behind him, but it was barely enough. He was close to the boundary line now. 

When he finally looked up, the iceberg he had sent after Midoriya was gone. Reduced to diamond dust. Midoriya stood on the concrete, one finger an angry red. It was broken. He was still smiling. 

“I told you Todoroki,” the words hardly reached him, but Shouto felt like they were being spoken right next to him, “I’m not going down without a fight!”

Shouto grimaced, and threw even more ice. Once again, it was shattered, and Shouto had to stop himself from flying away again. Another finger was broken now. Eight left, if Midoriya was intent on breaking both hands.

Why was he doing this? How did he have the will to? Didn’t his power not usually break his bones? 

Those questions and more floated around Shouto’s mind as he sent more ice spikes towards his opponent, and it was once again reduced to smithereens. This one was closer than before. Another broken finger added to the tally.

He had to finish this. If he let it go on any longer Midoriya would break himself. There was no proving to his father that he could win with only ice if his opponent made themselves lose. 

This time, Shouto sent an entire glacier at his enemy. The ice built upon itself, rising to tower above the ground. It was enough. It had to be. There was no way Midoriya could break that. 

Crack.

Shouto was blown off his feet and flung through the air. Ice and wind whipped around him. A few jagged pieces caught on his clothing. 

He hit the ground, and instantly threw a dome of ice around himself. It was the only way to stay inbounds. The only way to stay in the fight. 

Chunks of ice crashed into his dome. A particularly big one broke it. Shouto crossed his arms, guarding his face and neck in a move that had been drilled into his head since he was young. 

When everything settled, he pushed the ice chunks off of him. Shouto dragged himself to his feet. He felt cold. His joints were aching. Was breathing supposed to burn?

“You’re shaking, Todoroki.”

Shouto looked up, and saw Midoriya standing there. An arm was broken now, but he hardly flinched at it. He was staring at Shouto, a predatory curiosity in his gaze. 

“And you’re slowing down. It’s because you are covered in frost, isn’t it?”

Midoriya took a single step forward, and in that instant Shouto felt panic . He shot ice towards Midoriya in a second of hysteria. Another glacier, though this one was slower. 

It shattered the same as all the others had. Shouto was breathing heavy. The air felt heavy and cold in his lungs. Midoriya stood there, another finger broken. Shouto watched him come closer with half-lidded eyes. When had he gotten so tired? 

“I’m not done yet, Todoroki,” Midoriya snarled, the sound carrying over the arena to him. 

“Why- why are you going this far?!”

“Because you won’t listen!” Was the near instant answer. “You’re hurting yourself, Todoroki! I can’t let you, not when I can help!”

Shouto send more ice at Midoriya. He dodged it, lighting up green once again. No broken limbs this time. 

“You can’t win this!” Shouto didn’t know whether he was telling it to Midoriya, or to himself.

“Look at me Todoroki!” Shouto was. He hadn’t taken his eyes off of his cat-something classmate. “You haven’t put a single scratch on me yet!”

He was right. Shouto knew he was right. The only injuries Midoriya had were self-inflicted. The ice never reached him, not once. 

Just how likely was Shouto to win this? Because currently, that chance seemed quite small. No matter what his father said, he wasn’t the strongest. It had seemed like he was. No one had ever been able to beat him. Not until UA. Not until Midoriya.

While he had been stuck in his own thoughts, Midoriya had somehow gotten extremely close. Shouto’s slightly foggy mind didn’t realize why until pain erupted in his stomach, and he was sent flying again. More ice stopped him from rolling out of bounds. 

Not yet. He couldn’t lose yet. He had to win, and show he could do it with only ice. 

He threw more ice at Midoriya. It was so much slower than before, and this one was thinner. A mere line of spikes. He dodged it without much effort. Midoriya’s narrowed eyes never left Shouto.

“Are you ready to listen now?”

Shouto’s answer was more ice. Midoriya shattered it without blinking. 

“I can go all day, Todoroki.”

“You c-can’t. You’re l-lim-mited.”

“And you’re chattering from the cold. If I run out of fingers I can just dodge. I can still talk.”

Midoriya was suddenly close again. He punched Shouto, but there was no super-strength behind it. It was a normal punch. Shouto’s feet still left the ground, but he didn’t fly the distance he had before. Just how strong was his classmate, if that was a punch without his Quirk?

As he shuddered from the cold and forced himself to his feet, Shouto wondered why Midoriya hadn’t used his Quirk right then. He could have very easily won if he had. Shouto would’ve flown out of the ring and Midoriya would’ve been victorious. So, why?

That seemed to be his trend of today. Asking why.  

“Stop screwing around, Todoroki!” Shouto looked up. He didn’t know when he had looked down. “If you want to reject your father then fine. I’d want to too, with how much of an ass he is.”

Shouto almost laughed. He would have, if it didn’t feel like his skin was freezing over. It was, technically. 

“But it’s hurting you , Todoroki. He won’t care, you know that? Endeavor won’t care if you surpass him using ice or fire. All that matters to him is that you do it, not how.”

“What d-do you know,” Shouto spat, still violently shaking. 

“A lot more than you think. I told you in the hall, Todoroki, I don’t use my full power. But I do it because I don’t want to hurt people, not for petty spite. And you know what? At least I’m not insulting everyone by not using my power.”

“It’s n-not-”

“Damnit Todoroki, it’s yours ! YOUR QUIRK, NOT HIS!

Shouto blinked, and suddenly he heard his mother’s voice. The memories came flooding back. One specific one stood out. 

It’s ok to use your power, Shouto. To become who you want to be.

Shouto felt…warm. He glanced down at his left arm, and saw flickering flames. He stared at it in amazement, twisting around to see more of it. 

“Wow.”

Shouto looked up, and saw Midoriya smiling. Not the creepy and terrifying smile he had seen for most of today, but a true one. One that made him…that made him feel safe. 

“Thank you, Midoriya. I hope you don’t regret it after this.”

“Oh no, Todoroki, I think I’ll be just fine.”

Shouto shot another glacier at Midoriya. It was even bigger than the one he had accidentally froze Sero in. This- he hadn’t felt this balanced in a long time. So this was what he’d been missing for ten years. 

Midoriya was a green blur. He was flying over the side of the ice, light sparking off his skin like his own form of fire. His eyes were glowing so bright Shouto swore they were like blazing forest fires. 

Shouto dialed up the heat. He felt the air charge with energy. Hopefully this worked. 

He saw the beginning of the explosion, and felt the brush of heat on his skin. It felt gentle, like a blanket being set over him. Nothing like Endeavor’s fire. 

No, this was his

Shouto saw Cementoss put up walls between him and Midoriya. He saw the concrete give under the force of their combined power. In a split second he put up a wall of ice behind him. 

It wasn’t enough. 

Shouto felt his back go through his barrier. He made another one, and broke through that one too. 

He stopped after making a third wall, the heat fading. Dust clouded everything. Shouto couldn’t see his own hand for a minute, but it felt like concrete below him instead of grass. He was still in bounds. 

Then he saw it. He looked up, and could see glowing eyes. Only glowing eyes, nothing else. They were zeroed in on him. A primal part of his mind screamed predator

Before he could blink, Shouto was airborne again. The air left his lungs as he flew, not knowing where he was going or when he would feel land again. 

Shouto’s back finally hit something solid. His vision blacked out as his head thunked against the wall. He felt himself slide down to the ground. Grass and chunks of ice brushed his skin. 

Then, nothing. 

~~~~~

“Izuku Midoriya wins!”

Izuku gasped for breath, just trying to get air into his lungs after the fight. The pain was finally registering now. Ok, wow, that hurt. A lot. 

But he’d- he’d won. He did it. He had shown the world that he was here. And Todoroki had used his fire. 

Izuku smiled through the pain. He looked out over the crowd through the clearing dust, and raised a fist. A rally cry of “Plus Ultra!” rang out over the stadium. 

He smiled, and let himself fall onto the stretcher at his side.

 

Chapter Text

“Izuku Midoriya, I swear to all things holy, what the fuck were you thinking?!”

Izuku shrunk under Shinsou’s glare. Todoroki was on the other hospital bed, awake and watching like this was an interesting match of tennis or something. Recovery Girl was tapping away on her computer, completely unfazed by everything going on in her small clinic. 

“I- uh, I wasn’t?”

“Damn right you weren’t. Dad and Pop are both going to ground you for weeks, let alone what Ms. Inko will probably do.” Shinsou paced around the room, hands making movements similar to Iida. “I don’t understand why you even broke your fingers! Your Quirk hasn’t done that for months now!”

“I, uh, my limit wouldn’t have broken the ice.”

“Yeah. Of course. Of course it wouldn’t.”

“At least I don’t need surgery to fix it?”

Izuku very slowly sat up. Shin whipped around, leveling a glare at him. It faded just as quickly. He sighed, trudging over to Izuku’s bed to flop over his legs. His head was hanging off the other side.  

“You don’t regret it, do you.”

“…you already know I don’t, Shin.”

“You have to face Baka-gou now.”

“I know.”

“He’s not going to go easy on you.”

“I know.”

“And you can’t go all out with your strength against him, not with your hands.”

“I know.”

“You’re going to win.”

“I kn- wait what?”

“You. Are. Going. To. Win. I don’t care what anyone else says or thinks, I know you’ll win.”

“And if I don’t?”

“Then we both know that you didn’t use your full strength. He’s a bully, Mido, bullies don’t rightfully win.”

“Katsuki seems to think otherwise.”

“And his opinion matters?

He…had a point. Even if Izuku lost- even if Katsuki managed to beat him to a pulp on national television- did it matter? Todoroki had listened to him. Izuku had showed the world he was here. There wasn’t much to lose in his final fight, Izuku was already on the winners podium. 

“What do you mean that you didn’t use your full strength?” 

Izuku looked over to Todoroki. He was about to explain, but Shinsou beat him to it.

“Because if he used all of his Quirk then Bakugou would either be dead or thrown clear out of the stadium before Midnight could call time.”

“…what?”

“I basically have three facets to my Quirk,” Izuku sighed, resigned to giving the long version of his explanation now. “I can turn into a half or full cat, super-strength, and my…tenta-teeth things. You saw them in the calvary battle I think.”

“Yeah, so if he used all of it Baku-boy would lose before he can scream another curse word.”

“I haven’t actually used all of it at the same time before.”

“Well then it’s the perfect time to test it.”

Todoroki sat on his bed, watching the two banter while trying to process what he’d just been told. Their attention was snapped back to him when he started to talk.

“Midoriya, just how strong are you?”

“Uh, I don’t actually know. I mean, I know the strength aspect can turn cement to dust and break solid ice if I use enough power, but that breaks my bones still. My tenta-teeth are strong too, and I think it’s semi-proportional to my physical strength. Then there’s the fact that I can eat things and keep them somewhere before spitting them out again. Other than that I’m sort of just a normal cat though.”

“Minus the acidity,” Shin tacked on. 

“Acidity?” Todoroki’s eyes were wide, like he had been handed a snake and didn’t know what to do with it.

“Oh yeah, if I’m not careful my claws and teeth can become acidic. I try and avoid using them in fights because it can happen on accident since I’m not an adult yet.”

“How- how did-“

“How did no one realize how strong he is?” Shin said, a wicked grin on his face. “Well he is Nedzu’s personal student, so he’s had practice in hiding.”

Todoroki was staring at the wall like he’d just been told a world-shattering tragedy. Izuku laughed nervously, waving a hand to get his friends’ attention.

“I, uh, I don’t like a lot of attention. I’ll get used to it one day, but for now I’d like if our class didn’t figure everything out.”

“The idiots aren’t going to figure it out, Mido.”

“You did.”

“I went through a cat phase.”

“You mean your whole life?”

“So what you’re saying,” Todoroki said, catching their attention again, “is that even with everything you did against me, that wasn’t your full power?”

Izuku shrunk back. “I didn’t want to hurt you.”

“But that wasn’t even the full capacity of your strength Quirk?”

“N-no.”

Izuku curled in on himself, already mentally saying goodbye to another friendship (if that’s what it had even been to begin with). He was a hypocrite to convince Todoroki to use his full power. Even knowing that, he couldn’t regret it. At least he had done something good. 

“If you even think of-“ Shin started.

“Are you sure you’re not All Might’s son?”

Izuku blinked, then started laughing hysterically. Of all the things. Out of everything he had expected to come out of Todoroki’s mouth, that was not it. 

Shin stared between the stoic faced Todoroki and Izuku, who was still giggling uncontrollably on the bed. He shook his head, smiling and chuckling at the hilarity of it all. 

“No, no I’m not- I’m not All Might’s kid!” Izuku laughed, wiping his eyes but not bothering to stop his smile. “Or Aizawa’s.”

“He thinks you’re whose what now?”

Izuku turned to Shin, his smile growing wider and more mischievous. “I have to get to my match actually, but Todoroki , why don’t you tell Shin your ideas? He likes conspiracy theories too.”

Todoroki immediately sat up straighter. It was the closest to excitement Izuku knew he was going to see from him. Shin looked a bit lost, his eyes flickering from Todoroki to Izuku, who was wearing his Cheshire grin as he moved towards the door. 

“Alright see you later bye!”

And Izuku spun around to race out the door before either of them could protest. Due to a distinct lack of broken hands, Todoroki had gotten off easier than Izuku had. He still needed to stay with Recovery Girl though, to make sure he didn’t suffer from hypothermia or hyperthermia.

Keeping Shin in the nurse's office with Todoroki might have also been an effort to keep him from yelling at Izuku from the stands in his fight against Katsuki. 

Yeah, he might’ve been lying when he said he’d take it easier. If he wanted even a small chance of beating his old friend, then he would need to give his all. He would need to push the limits of what was safe for both of them. Even if it broke him. Anything less and Katsuki would blame him for looking down on him, ridiculous as the notion was.

He didn’t want to fight Katsuki. It was the last thing he wanted to do, really. Katsuki embodied every bad thing he went through before coming to UA. He was the destructive thoughts Izuku had when no one believed in him. He was every bully he had ever had that pushed him around and called him weak. 

Izuku had to overcome it. Katsuki was a person. A person that could change, and already had. He wasn’t a monster. Izuku had faced monsters before, and Katsuki didn’t have the face of one. Not anymore. The memories will never go away, he knew that, but maybe Izuku could stop feeling the urge to hide whenever his old friend bully friend came close. 

The tunnel wasn’t empty when he got there. Izuku paused, then moved forward, a small smile on his face. 

“All Might!”

“Midoriya, my boy. How are you feeling?”

“Better now, since Recovery Girl healed me. Did I…did I do ok? I’m sorry about breaking myself again, All Might, but-“

All Might held up a hand for him to stop, a patient smile on his face. It felt more real than his hero one. “I know you had your reasons, my boy. You looked very passionate while talking with young Todoroki.”

“I did. There was a reason, All Might, but I can’t…I can’t tell you. Not yet at least.”

As much as Izuku really wanted to tell his mentor, his default for dealing with these things was to punch the problem. This wasn’t a situation where that would work. At all. Probably. 

No. Punching Endeavor wouldn’t solve the problem, Izuku had already mentally weighed the pros and cons of that. Mainly because he was tempted to do it himself. 

“Alright my boy, I trust your judgement. Are you prepared for the final match?”

“Uh, not…especially. I might have a plan, but not many plans survive contact with the enemy. Especially if it’s Katsuki.”

“Hmm, very true, my boy. I wish you luck.”

“Thanks, All Might.”

Present Mic’s voice burst to life again over the speakers. Izuku glanced up, steeling his resolve. He had one minute. One minute to prepare and hopefully come up with some sort of strategy. 

Who was he kidding. Izuku could hardly stop himself from shaking right now.

“Good luck, young Midoriya,” All Might said, patting his head. “And just know that you’ve already made me proud.”

Izuku beamed as All Might walked away. He had people that believed in him. He had people that were proud of him for what he’d already done. 

He could do this. 

 

Izuku could not do this. 

Katsuki was standing on the opposite end of the ring, a sneer already on his face and fire in his hands. Midnight was looking at Izuku with obvious worry. She was sort of like an aunt to him, so he wasn’t surprised she was concerned. He sent her a smile, one that hopefully reached his eyes and didn’t show how scared he was. 

She restated the ruled with an apprehensive voice. Cementoss was still sitting on the sidelines, looking ready to jump up at a moments notice. Izuku turned to Katsuki, locking eyes with him. For once, he didn’t look away. He refused to back down now. Not when it mattered this time. 

That didn’t make it any less nerve wracking though. 

Katsuki blasted towards him the second their match was started. Izuku danced away, not willing to let Katsuki get close right off the bat. The two of them stopped, now at opposite sides from where they’d began. 

“You’re a damned hypocrite, Cat!”

Izuku suppressed a flinch. He looked up, staring down his old frenemy. “I know.”

“You preach for half-and-half to use his full power, and you won’t even use yours! Are you looking down on everyone?! Is that it?!”

“I can’t, Katsuki.”

Katsuki shot himself forward, a snarl on his face. Izuku was forced to dive away from a burning palm. He rolled away and put his fists up. 

“STOP LOOKING DOWN ON ME AND FIGHT!”

“Do you want to die?!”

Whoops, Izuku hadn’t meant to say that out loud. He yelped, and teleported away from an explosion. That could…well, his teleportation wasn’t especially accurate yet. If he ended up outside the boundary lines then Katsuki would probably try and explode him anyway. 

Izuku’s feet hit solid ground again. He glanced around, seeing the white line a few feet behind him. Katsuki’s eyes landed on him, and Izuku immediately scurried out of the way from another explosion. 

“GET BACK HERE AND FIGHT ME!”

“No thanks!”

Katsuki screamed something incoherently, chasing Izuku around the ring. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go, was it? This was supposed to be a fight. A time when Izuku could stand up to Katsuki and show him that he was strong now. That he was on Katsuki’s level. That he wasn’t the victim anymore!

But he couldn’t. Not physically, at least. Izuku was terrified of hurting Katsuki. Of Katsuki hurting him. Izuku would rather break another bone than hurt Katsuki or let another explosion burn his skin. 

He wasn’t weak though, he knew that. Izuku had friends and family that believed in him. They all told him that he was strong. That he wasn’t Deku or Cat anymore. Fighting Katsuki with fists wouldn’t work though. 

Words though? Izuku could twist and bend words to his will. They were like pins and needles and marionette strings that could make people do what he wanted them to. And by the time they realized, it was already too late. Izuku couldn’t win with force, but he could win with words. 

“Stop playing ring-around-the-fucking-rosie and fight me damnit!”

Izuku jumped away and stopped once again. He crouched down on the ground, coiled like a spring and ready to leap if he had to. Katsuki skidded to a stop too, staring at Izuku and breathing harshly. It was more in anger than exertion.

Damnit, why won’t you fight me! Am I not worthy of your bullshit powers! Is that why you never showed them in school, huh?!”

Izuku tilted his head, eyebrows scrunching. “Katsuki, I’d never- I’ve never looked down on you.”

“THEN WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU RUNNING?!”

“I don’t want to hurt you!”

“Well you annihilated Icyhot just fine!”

“He needed help! And you’re just chasing me around while screeching! If I used my full Quirk then you’d lose in a second! I know you wouldn’t want- want that.”

Katsuki fell quiet. His hands fell to his sides and his expression was only shock. Izuku blinked, shifting his feet minutely. This was his chance. 

“Katsuki, I know you. I know you hate winning a fight that you feel wasn’t really won. If you want a fair fight, maybe you should treat me as more than a pebble on a cobblestone road.”

Katsuki winced. He had used a phrase like that before. Izuku wasn’t a pebble anymore though. He wasn’t worthless or useless, he was strong. Shinsou, Aizawa, Yamada, Nedzu, and All Might had taught him that. Hell, Uraraka and Iida had told him that too. 

“Do you remember when we were kids, Kacchan?”

Katsuki stumbled backwards like he had been hit. Izuku stood up, and took a step forward.

“When we would go exploring in the woods? There was that tree that we used to sit under.”

Katsuki stepped back more, probably not even realizing he was doing it. Izuku advanced closer. 

“We’d stay and talk for hours about things little kids do. We even made our own hero agency, remember? The Green Explosion Agency. Do you remember, Kacchan?”

Katsuki was frozen, his eyes wide and gaze staring directly at Izuku. He was a few feet from the boundary line now. If Izuku could just get close enough…

“I…I remember.”

Izuku stopped. 

“Fuck, I remember, ok? I know that…I know I shouldn’t have done what I did. I was an asshole. A major fucking asshole and you know what? You were right!”

Izuku blinked, staying where he was. Katsuki’s voice cracked and shook, like…like he was about to cry. Izuku couldn’t remember the last time he had seen Katsuki cry. 

“I acted more like a damned villain than any hero! A real hero would have, fucking, protected you or some shit, instead of pushing you down. So you were right, Izuku, but I’m going to show the world that I’m not a villain. No one can stop me from proving that. No one.”

Izuku took a second to process what Katsuki had said. It was weird, being called Izuku instead of Deku or Cat by him. It was a nice change. And maybe he hadn’t said the exact words, but from Katsuki, this was an apology. A promise to be better and not repeat his mistakes. 

Izuku smiled at his childhood friend, and shot forward. 

The two of them went tumbling. Izuku clung onto Katsuki, who was flailing around trying to dislodge him. They rolled for another few seconds before coming to a stop. Katsuki huffed, shoving Izuku off of him. 

They stood, and saw that they were both now outside the boundary lines. Midnight was staring, obviously not knowing how to call it.

“AND IT SEEMS LIKE WE HAVE A PROBLEM!! WE WILL REWIND THE TAPES AND FIND OUT WHO WON! SIT TIGHT, LISTENERS, AND WE’LL BE RIGHT BACK!”

Izuku let out the breath he had been holding. He turned to Katsuki, and stuck out his hand. 

“Good fight, Katsuki. Hope you aren’t too mad at losing.”

Katsuki eyed his hand, before taking it with a smirk. “I haven’t lost yet, Nerd.”

Izuku found himself smiling. He paused, then turned back to the 1-A stands. Uraraka was leaning over the side. 

“Woooo! You kicked his ass, Midoriya!”

“Uraraka! Cease that right this instant! You might fall!”

Izuku laughed at his friends. Iida pulled Uraraka back over the edge, waving one hand around wildly. Shinsou was back in the gen ed booth, and waved lazily when Izuku looked over. He was smiling brightly though, and it made Izuku’s heart somersault. He really should do something about this whole very-much-not-platonic feelings thing. 

“AND WE’RE BACK!”

Izuku straightened, staring up at the announcers booth in anticipation. Katsuki was doing the same beside him. Actually, the entire stadium was silent and listening. 

“AND THE WINNER IS-“

Izuku held his breath.

“KATSUKI BAKUGOU!”

Izuku breathed out, a small grin on his face. He had gotten second place. That was good, especially for his first sports festival. Next year would probably be different, especially since all of them would have a better grasp on their abilities. 

The stadium broke out into applause, the noise comparable to overhead thunder. Katsuki was spinning in a slow circle, taking it all in. He looked…in awe. Triumphant. Hopefully not mad at almost losing.

Izuku turned, going back inside the tunnels to wait until the medal ceremony. His friends were probably already storming the halls to meet him. It made him smile, knowing that they would absolutely do that. 

A hand on his shoulder stopped him. It was hesitant and light, like it wasn’t used to doing this. Izuku turned back, seeing Katsuki staring at him with…something, in his eyes. It was a mix of emotions so complicated Izuku didn’t have the energy to untangle them. 

“You did- you put up a good fight, Nerd. Even if you didn’t use your entire shitty Quirk.”

Izuku’s smile turned bright, knowing that was the biggest compliment he was going to get from Katsuki. “You fought good too, Katsuki! Your control has really improved.”

“Tch, thanks. Go on then, your friends are probably waiting to crush you in a hug or something.”

Izuku laughed, and walked into the tunnels. His back was to Katsuki. 

And for once, he didn’t feel afraid.

 

Chapter Text

“Today you will be choosing your hero names.”

The class was in an instant uproar. All of them started cheering and yelling out suggestions for one another, some joking and some less so. He was pretty sure Uraraka said something about his hero name being Kirby. 

Izuku smiled, practically buzzing in his seat. He was so excited! Mostly to see everyone’s names, but also to show off his own. It…it had taken a lot of time to decide on it. Some people (Shinsou) might not completely agree with it, but Izuku had his reasons. 

“Since I am not qualified to choose hero names-“ Izuku’s mind flashed to Shinsou telling him the story of where Eraserhead came from, and fought down a smile- “Midnight will be helping.”

Said heroine burst in through the door, startling a few of them. Izuku smiled and waved at the woman who had become an aunt to him. She waved back, jumping to the front of the room. She “gently” shoved Aizawa-sensei aside. He just sighed and curled up inside his sleeping bag, pretending to be asleep. 

Board were passed around, as well as markers. Izuku stared at his, wondering if he was really going to do this. His grip on the marker tightened.

Yes, he was doing this. He was determined, and nothing could change his mind. Izuku carefully wrote his name down. 

When he looked up Aoyama was presenting his name. Midnight helped edit it a bit, and let Ashido go. Alien Queen was a cool name, though more suited for an underground hero than a spotlight one. Seeing how… bright Ashido was, she would likely be the latter. A slightly less scary name is what Midnight suggested. 

Tsuyu renewed his faith in the class’ ability to name things. Then came a few more people. All of their names were really cool! Izuku really liked Uraraka’s. 

“King Explosion Murder!”

Izuku snorted, covering his mouth a moment too late. Most of the class turned towards him. Katsuki was glaring, though thankfully not in a way that promised imminent explosions.

“Katsuki, really? You’re still going to use that?” Izuku laughed.

“Uh, wanna fill us in man?” Kirishima asked, glancing between the two of them.

“You made that name when we were, what? Five?”

“FUCK YOU!”

“Uh, yeah, no,” Midnight intervened. “That’s not exactly a name for a hero, Bakugou. Why don’t you try and rethink it a bit.”

Katsuki trudged back to his sat, grumbling all the while. Izuku took a deep breath, raising his hand. It was now or never. 

“Midoriya! Your turn!”

Izuku walked up to the podium, looking calmer than he felt. He flipped his board around, locking eyes with Katsuki. His old friend was sitting stock-still in his seat. 

“Midoriya…are you sure?” Midnight asked. 

Izuku smiled at the podium, not meeting anyone’s eyes. “I’ve thought about it a lot. It’s close to something that used to hurt me, but not exactly this. I want to move past it. I want to grow and not have bad memories haunting me. So…I want my hero name to be this.”

“The Infinity Hero: Dekiru.”



Everyone finish sharing their names, or lack thereof. Katsuki still didn’t have one. Todoroki and Iida’s were just their first names. Ashido’s would probably need a bit of work, and maybe some of his other classmates too. 

Some of them were really good though! Kouda’s was awesome, and so was Yaoyorozu’s. 

Izuku wondered if Shinsou would get to choose a hero name when he got into the class, or if he would have to wait for next year. 

“With that done,” Aizawa-sensei droned, un-cocooning himself. “We have one more matter to get to.”

He pressed a button on the remote he pulled from who knows where, and turned on the screen behind him. It displayed numbers, and a corresponding name. 

“As you all know, UA offers internships after the sports festival. Usually the first years go with pre-contracted heroes. However, this class seems to be the exception.” Aizawa-sensei took out massive packets of paper next, setting them on his desk with a heavy thump. “The numbers behind me are how many internship offers each of you received. These papers are the printed copy of the offers, which will be turned in with your choice.”

There was an uproar of cheering throughout the class once again. Izuku caught Uraraka’s eye, both of them smiling brightly. 

“Quiet down.” Aizawa said. Within a few seconds they were all quiet, a big improvement from the beginning of the year. “As you can see, there were more offers for the top sixteen, but everyone seemed to have impressed a hero enough to get one.”

Izuku scanned for his name, finding it in the second place. It was behind Katsuki by a couple dozen, but it was a small margin. Especially when the difference between third and fourth place was a couple hundred . 

“You will need to submit your choice by Wednesday. Next week is the internship, so be prepared for it. Hagakure, Aoyama, help pass these out.”

Izuku’s desk groaned as the mass of paper was dropped onto it. He glanced over the first page, seeing it was alphabetized. Wow, that was a lot of offers. 

He flipped to G, and smiled when he spotted the person he was looking for. Izuku quickly filled in the information for it. The bell rang just as finished. A grin on his face and the stack of papers in his bag, he got up to join his friend at the door. 

“So, any idea who you want for your internship, Midoriya?”

“Oh! One of my mentors put his name down, so I’m going with hm.”

“Cool! I think I’ll go with Gunhead. I need to practice my hand to hand. What about you, Iida?”

Izuku glanced over at his friend. He was…well, worried was an understatement. He knew Iida’s brother had been attacked, and paralyzed, by the Hero Killer: Stain. Iida hadn’t been himself since then. Izuku wished he knew how to help his friend, but he didn’t. Not if Iida wouldn’t tell them how. 

“Ah, I don’t know yet. I suppose I will have to look through my offers.”

“Ok then! Come on, time for lunch!”

Izuku grinned, and let Uraraka drag him and Iida down the hallway.

~~~~~

Izuku happily trotted down the street, his ears listening for even the smallest noise. He stuck to the shadows. Dark green fur blended in surprisingly well with the shadows. Given that he was still a big and very fluffy cat, it was definitely helpful. 

He wasn’t too out of place though. Animals, like people, came in all sorts of colors and patterns now. A green cat walking near alleyways was hardly something to raise an eyebrow at. His size could be, since he was actually on the bigger side of things for a cat, but Mom said he looked well groomed enough to be a pet. People would brush him off as not being wild.

Izuku was taking advantage of that right now. With his cargo in his mouth, he practically skipped down the sidewalk. The city was a bit out of the way for him, but it was going to be so worth it. 

No one questioned cats getting on trains anyway. Mostly. 

A child pointed excitedly at Izuku. He almost laughed when he could pinpoint the exact moment their mother saw what he was holding. 

Izuku kept walking along, staying out of the way from people. He didn’t know the alley systems in this city, and he wasn’t willing to test what little knowledge on it he had. His destination was a straight shot from here anyway. 

The steps came into view a few minutes later. People were coming in and out, though it wasn’t especially often. A few sidekicks that came and went occasionally, along with some office workers and such. 

Izuku stifled his cat version of a smile, and stealthily slunk up the front steps of Endeavor’s Hero Agency. A person was sitting at the front desk with a good view of the door, and probably a security camera. 

He stopped in front of the doors, seeing the camera out of the corner of his eye. Izuku turned and stared at it as he dropped his cargo right in front of the door. A dead mouse, right where people can see it. 

Izuku happily padded away. Once he was out of sight from any people or cameras, he turned back into a person. No one questioned the plain green-haired kid that walked down the street beaming brighter than the sun. 



Izuku returned the next day. He left a bird this time. The desk person was getting up from their desk when he looked up, presumably to chase him away, but he was already gone by the time they opened the door. 

 

Day number three he left a dead rat. The desk lady almost reached the door before he disappeared this time. Izuku felt a tad bit bad for her, since his target was Endeavor and not her. She would report to him though, which is exactly what Izuku wanted. 

Day four would be fun. Endeavor was supposed to be at his agency most of that day, and Izuku was looking forward to the hero’s face when he saw the “present.”

 

Izuku crept up the stairs of Endeavor’s Hero Agency for the fourth time that week. He could already see the flaming toupee through the window. 

He was hardly in sight for two second before the light marched closer. Izuku tensed, but didn’t move. The door nearly flung itself off the hinges. An irate Endeavor stuck his on-fire head outside the building. 

“YOU!” He bellowed, stomping outside. 

Izuku dropped the dead thing, an even bigger rat this time, and sat down. Endeavor stared at the green cat, before taking a heavy step forward. 

Izuku was off like a shot. He was a green blur as Endeavor angrily shouted after him. A flash of heat hit the concrete behind him, and Izuku was suddenly second-guessing whether this was a good idea. Maybe messing with the Number Two hero was a bad decision…

Nah. He was almost to his end goal. 

 

Day five was a fish Izuku had caught in a pond. Izuku pranced up to the office once again, happy with his “present.”

He didn’t notice the person hiding near the door. Not until it was too late. 

A metal wire looped around his neck, throwing him to the ground before Izuku could retaliate. The dead thing landed a few feet away. A yowl echoed across the street as Izuku struggled and clawed at nothing. He couldn’t reach. He couldn’t get at the wire or the person and he was trapped

“This the cat?” A person asked. Izuku didn’t recognize the voice.

“Yes. It’s been leaving dead things at my door, as I explained.” Oh. Izuku recognized that one. That was Endeavor. 

“Well then, I’ll take him and see if he has a chip. Or a collar under all that fur.”

Izuku twisted and spit on the ground, desperately trying to bite at the wire holding him down. A net came into view, and his panic skyrocketed. No no no no he couldn’t go to a pound. People would question why a cat disappeared overnight and they probably had security feed. He had to escape. 

But turning human meant giving himself away. Endeavor would ask questions and probably blame Todoroki, and Izuku couldn’t have that. He wouldn’t. So he stayed as a cat, the gloved hands and net of the man inching closer.

“Mido!”

Izuku stopped struggling. He knew that voice! That was his best friend! Oh thank everything holy, he would probably be ok. 

“Is…this yours?”

“Uh, yeah. Yeah, he’s my cat. I’ve been looking for him everywhere.” Izuku wanted to praise Shinsou’s acting skills. As it was, he just wanted off the floor. “Has he been giving you trouble?”

“Damned thing keeps leaving dead animals on my doorstep,” Endeavor growled. Izuku felt the heat get closer. 

“Oh, sorry about that. Can I…have him back now?”

“Ah, of course son. You said his name was Mido?”

“Midori, but we call him Mido.”

“You named your green cat…green.”

“I was eight.”

“Alright then.”

Izuku felt the metal loop loosen. As soon as it was he wiggled out and darted to Shinsou. With one leap he was on his friend’s shoulders, purring his thanks and balancing so he wouldn’t fall. One of Shinsou’s hands rose to scratch his cheek. 

“Just keep the infernal creature away from my office,” Endeavor grumbled. 

“You said he was leaving dead things?” Shinsou asked. Izuku, guessing where this was going, flopped himself over Shinsou’s shoulders like a scarf to watch. 

“Yes.”

“Huh. Well he only does that for two reasons. The dead things are either a gift, or they’re a threat.” Shinsou paused for dramatic effect, and to scratch Izuku’s cheek. “He actually used my friend’s Endeavor poster as a scratching post the other day, so take your guess what it might be.”

“Hmph, he’s a cat, there’s no possible way such a simple creature can have feelings over a person like that.”

“I don’t know man, he is a pretty good judge of character.”

“Well then,” the animal control officer interrupted, “I’ll be on my way. Try and keep your cat indoors, son.”

“Yes sir.”

Shinsou turned away from both adults, Izuku still wrapped around his shoulders like a fluffy, green scarf. Once they were out of earshot he started talking. 

“You are so extremely lucky Pop sent me and Dad on a shopping trip out here.”

Izuku meowed, pressing his face against Shin’s cheek while purring. It made his friend grin. 

“Yeah yeah, I saved your butt. I told you I should be going with you.” Shinsou stopped walking, crouching to let Izuku down now. “My ‘best friend is doing a dumb thing’ senses started tingling, so I knew you were up to something.”

Izuku grumbled, then turned back into a person on the empty street. “Thanks, Shin. I don’t know what would’ve happened if you didn’t show up.”

“We probably would have seen you at the shelter,” Shinsou snorted. “Dad wanted to visit, despite Pops saying Princess was more than enough.”

“At least I wouldn’t be stuck there then.”

The two walked down the street, wandering back to Aizawa. They talked about random topics and school. Eventually the sidewalk got more crowded as they neared the shops.

“So…what are you doing to Endeavor tomorrow?”

Izuku grinned with sharp teeth, the plans swirling around his head. “I might be bringing something bigger than a rat.”

“Not especially descriptive, Mido.”

“It’s not supposed to be.”

Shinsou playfully rolled his eyes. Izuku laughed, bumping their arms as they turned into a shop. Aizawa-sensei was checking out. As soon as he looked up Izuku waved wildly. He could see his teacher sigh from where they were standing. 

“Come on then, you’re having dinner with us tonight,” Shinsou said, not leaving room for an argument. “Pop is making katsudon.”

Izuku beamed at his friend. After all, who was he to refuse his favorite food?

~~~~~

Hitoshi followed Midoriya from a distance the next day. His friend knew he was there, since it would be extremely hard to hide from him anyways. He was being careful this time, but Hitoshi wasn’t taking any chances. 

He had gotten there a bit before he knew Mido would. The cat trotted up a few minutes later, nothing in his mouth this time. Visibly, at least. 

Until he spit out the thing, that is. Hitoshi stood there staring with wide eyes and brain not quite processing what he was seeing.

Because how in the ever-loving hell had Midoriya found a deer? Let alone kill it.

“You know what, I’m not going to ask. How you managed to find a deer is beyond me and I probably don’t want to know anyway.”

The answering meow sounded suspiciously like an agreement. 

“I’ll stay hidden over here. Just, drop it on the porch or something and get out of there.”

Midoriya ate the deer again (Hitoshi was not about to delve into the lovecraftian weirdness that that was) and padded off. 

He returned a few minutes later, turned back into a person, and chattered away about a new hero. Hitoshi just shook his head and followed his friend down the street. 

“So, can I help with the big prank Sunday?”

Hitoshi swore Midoriya was brighter than the sun with the smile he gave him. “Sure! I have a plan, want to hear it?”

“‘Course I do.”

Hitoshi’s smile mimicked his dad’s as Mido detailed his plan. Sunday was going to be fun

~~~~~

“Sir, there seems to be another…dead thing, in front of the doors.”

Enji grumbled to himself, getting up from his desk. The damned cat was back. He had never liked the blasted creatures, and this was part of the reason why. 

His heavy footsteps echoed down the halls as he made his way to the entrance to his agency. He stormed into the room, making a B-line for the door. 

Enji flung the door open, scanning for the green demon. He didn’t see hide nor hair of it. Lucky for the damned thing, he would have fried it on sight. 

Instead, he looked down and saw…was that a deer? A dead deer. 

This had to be a joke. A prank or something. This was probably an illusion or accurate model or something. He send a jet of fire towards it, expecting it to either burn like styrofoam or vanish as illusions tended to do.

Neither of those things happened. Instead the air smelled of cooked meat. 

His sidekicks came out to see him cursing loudly and yelling about a cat. They wondered why there was a charred deer on the porch. 

~~~~~

Izuku stifled laughter as he slunk down the alley. Shinsou was at his side, walking on silent feet just as Izuku was. They were nearing the back of Endeavor’s agency now. The fun was about to begin. 

“So you’re absolutely positive you’re ok with this?”

“Which part,” Shin whispered back. “You eating me to break in or the prank on Endeavor?”

“Both I guess.”

“Yes.”

“Which one Shin.”

“Yes.”

Izuku shook his head, a smile on his face. He stopped suddenly, glancing around an alley corner. The backdoor to Endeavor’s agency was right there. Lucky for the two of them, someone was outside right now. They were lugging a few trash bags to a dumpster, leaving the locked door open. 

They had maybe two minutes. Izuku nodded to Shinsou, before he disappeared in a flurry of red. Another quick glance, and Izuku turned into a full cat. He silently darted through the door and down the hall. Good, no slip ups. 

Izuku stuck as close to the wall as he could, his fur blending in with the shadows. There were people on the floors that he could hear. None of them were near him though. 

So Izuku crept along as fast as he could. Once he reached the stairs it was easier. Hardly anyone took them, since there was an elevator readily available. A hop, skip, and jump later, Izuku was at the very top floor. The floor where Endeavor’s office was. The thing was lined with windows, and most importantly, had no security cameras. The man believed himself so powerful that no one would dare break into his person office. 

He would have teleported, but it still wasn’t accurate yet. The last thing they needed was for Izuku to land in a sidekick’s lap or on a desk. Anywhere inside that wasn’t the intended office, really. 

The hero wasn’t in the building right now, off on patrols all day. Izuku hadn’t left a “gift” yesterday, hoping to lull the man into a false sense of security. 

Perhaps a bit devious, but the “hero” deserved it. He deserved all of what he was about to receive. 

Izuku changed back into a person, spitting Shinsou out onto the floor. He shook himself, focusing back on Izuku after a moment. 

“Ok, so how are we doing this?”

Izuku smirked, and spat out a backpack. Out rolled cans of spray paint, glitter, silly string, streamers, and more. Everything a person could want to destroy an office. 

“Take your pick,” Izuku purred, waving a hand to spilled contents.

Shinsou smirked ( he shouldn’t find that hot why is he thinking his best friend is attractive right now ) and scooped up a can of spray paint. He shook it, walking up to the wall closest to him. 

Then he painted out, in massive calligraphy, the words “I am an Asshole.”

Izuku couldn’t stop his giggling, though he kept it quiet. He grabbed a bag of glitter and special glue he had in a spray bottle, and started the destruction. 

 

It took half an hour, but Izuku was extremely proud of the outcome.

All four walls had spray paint in some of Izuku’s favorite colors. Namely yellow, red, and blue. Which also happened to be All Might’s colors. They covered almost every inch of wall space now.

What wasn’t covered in paint was coated in either stickers, glitter, or slash marks. Izuku scored deep gouges in the wall with his claws, taking out his anger on the painted surface. It was cathartic. 

The furniture met a similar fate. Every cushion was shredded, the chair legs splintered, and most importantly, the desk scratched to no return. They looked more like scratching posts than seats and a desk once he was done with them. Shinsou took joy in ripping and tearing a few things too. 

Confetti and fine glitter (the type that stubbornly clings to things no matter what) were sprinkled over the floor with some stuck to the walls too. Streamers were strung and stuck to the ceiling with superglue. 

It looked like a drunken high school party gone extremely wrong, but without alcohol and only including two angry teenagers. Just add some smashed bottles instead of silly string hanging from every surface available. 

But the piece de resistance was Izuku’s favorite part. It was a caricature Shinsou had drawn of Endeavor, with the words “Congratulations on being a terrible human being!” spray painted in All Might colors above it. 

It covered most of the wall, and Izuku took a picture before he left. He felt giddy and gleeful, maybe a bit too much so. Maybe Nedzu-sensei was rubbing off on him a bit too much. 

“So, anything else you want to add to this disaster?”

Izuku’s smile was sharp as he walked over to what remained of the desk. In one movement there now sat a very dead rat on the scratched surface. He wiped his mouth, taking in the destruction the two of them had caused. His smile only got wider. 

“Ready to head home?” Izuku asked, turning to Shinsou. Their wicked grins matched. 

“How are we getting out? Can’t go back the other way.”

“I have a plan.”

“One that won’t get us caught?”

“I have a plan.”

“Yeah ok.”

Izuku walked up to the window, and opened his mouth. Very, very carefully, he ate the glass. Not in small pieces or by breaking it, but by eating the entire glass panel. 

He was almost surprised it worked. It did though. He now had a glass pane at his disposal and they had a way out. 

“That…was not what I was expecting.”

“Is anything I do expected?”

“No, not really.”

Izuku half-shifted, perching himself on the windowsill and leaning out. He looked around, taking in the skyline he could see from their vantage point. The fire escape was on a different wall, but the next building was a shortish jump. Definitely doable with One for All. 

“Hey Shin, you wanna fly?”

Izuku laughed at his friend’s confused face. He scooped him up in a princess carry, moving to perch on the window again. His tail balanced him as he charged up One for All. 

Shinsou clung to his neck, squawking at the height but not daring to flail around. Izuku gave him a smile, and jumped. 

They soared above the ground, airborne for a few seconds. Weightlessness had always been a weird feeling, but it was an addictive one. Gravity couldn’t touch them for a few short moments.

Izuku landed on padded feet all too soon. Nothing broke, building or bone, as he touched down on the rood. Shinsou was still clinging to him. 

“Wanna use the roof access, or do you want me to jump us to the ground.”

“Ground.”

Izuku laughed again, and reveled in the feeling of being weightless in more ways than one.



Chapter Text

For all the training Gran Torino gave him, Izuku had never been to his house. 

Seeing it now, he no longer wondered why. 

The house (which seemed like a generous term) was…old. Some of the windows were boarded up and a few more had cracks. The roof had some loose tiles too. Most of the paint was peeling, and any plant that once lived in the yard had been dead for so long Izuku could call them artifacts now. 

He sighed, suitcase in hand, and stepped onto the porch that he wouldn’t touch without shoes on. A knock on the door resulted in a crashing noise from inside. Along with some muttered curses. 

When nothing else made a sound, Izuku risked pushing on the door. It was unlocked, and swung in easily under his weight. Izuku peeked inside. If he didn’t have night vision then he wouldn’t have been able to see very far. But seeing as he did have night vision, he saw Gran on the floor with…something around him. 

The entire room smelled like sausage and tomatoes. Izuku blinked at the unmoving old man, and wondered if he should have gone with someone else for his internship. 

“Mr. Torino, I can smell the ketchup.”

The elderly hero looked up, smirking under his mask. “Should’a figured you wouldn’t be fooled by that one, kid.” 

Izuku very suddenly found himself tasting the floor. He wheezed, lifting his head to try and find the old hero that had what every elderly person wanted: speed. 

“So kid, wanna show me what you’ve learned since we last met?”

Izuku’s answer was to spark up green, a grin on his face. 



Half an hour later, and Izuku had become intimately aware of how the floorboards tasted like dirt and salt. His face had been smashed into it so many times they might as well have been in a relationship. It hurt. A lot. 

But hey, at least he was learning. In the small amount of time here he had already become just a bit more fluid at using One for All at a higher percentage. Gran Torino took a very… hands on approach. 

Izuku now understood why All Might was afraid of the small man. 

“Alright kid, break time. I want some food before we tackle your next problem.”

Izuku peeled himself off the floor and dragged himself into the kitchen. He flopped onto the chair and across the table, not moving until Gran poked him. 

“Eat up, zygote. More work after you’re done.”

“I’m just going to throw it up.”

“Which is why we’re being stationary, boy. Eat.”

Izuku begrudgingly ate the thing that was way too sweet to be a lunch food. He watched Gran’s disappear faster than an old person should be able to eat. Izuku chose to ignore it and finish his own food. 

As soon as they were done, Gran Torino was on his feet again. The part wind spirit wasn’t shooting off the walls immediately, so Izuku took that as a cue to leave the safety of the table.

“Alright boy, you can use One for All pretty well as a normal person. Have ya tried using it as a cat?”

“Uh, no. Can I… do that?”

“Won’t know until you try.”

Izuku shrugged, lighting up with the power of One for All. The familiar energy flooded his system, bringing a warmth with it like it always did. 

He closed his eyes, shifting into a cat. It felt…different, than usual. Not bad, just different. Maybe it was just the fact that he was using One for All as a cat. It was still activated after the shift though, which had to be a good sign. 

Izuku opened his eyes, squinting against the brightness. Wow, only five percent increased his sensitivity this much? Everything felt different too, past his senses, but he couldn’t quite pinpoint why. 

Gran Torino whistled, drawing Izuku’s attention. 

“That’s quite a power kid. Guess One for All wanted to keep the size change thing.”

Izuku tilted his head, making a questioning noise. Gran raised an eyebrow, but seemed to understand after a second. He pointed a thumb over his shoulder to the bathroom, which had a mirror on the floor currently. Why, Izuku didn’t know, but it sure was useful right now.  

Mildly confused, Izuku padded into the room. He looked in the mirror, and did a double take. 

He was a decently big cat normally. A Norwegian Forest cat, his mom once said, just like his father. One of the biggest breeds; Even if he was on the small side of them. But cats grew faster than people, which is why he was basically full grown when he fully shifted. Small as he was when he was human. 

That being said, even being one of the biggest house cat breeds, he wasn’t usually this big. Or fluffy.

Izuku scanned himself in the mirror, taking in every new detail. Green light was sparking off his fur. He was bigger now, maybe the size of a small bobcat. His fur had grown in proportion to him, making him seem even bigger thanks to his fluff. Wow, were his ears always that big?

“Wonder if the enhancement carried over too,” Gran mused, appearing behind Izuku. It was only the years of his teachers and friend popping out of nowhere that stopped Izuku was jumping. “Wanna try it?”

Izuku meowed, excitedly trotting into the living room again. He didn’t drop One for All, satisfied that it didn’t fizzle out when he moved. It was easier than when he first used full cowl as a human. 

“Alright then, try not to break my table.”

Izuku did his cat version of a laugh, then readied himself. He focused on the strength and speed of One for All. How he could run and leap from things with ease. It was simple, and he prepared to make use of his power. 

Izuku jumped, aiming for the opposite wall. Maybe rebound like Gran and land on the floor. 

That is decidedly not what happened. 

Izuku felt something snap.

His paws hit the wall, and his front right one gave out on impact. Izuku yowled, crashing to the ground. Thankfully he wasn’t too far from the floor. It still hurt though. 

Izuku laid on the ground for a moment, breathing away the pain. He took a deep breath, then got back to his feet. One leg was definitely broken. It was held close to his chest as he mentally went over their options. 

For how many times he had fallen off things, he had never actually broken a limb as a cat before. There had been a time when he was a kit that he broke an arm, but he had been human then. The doctor had given strict instructions to not shift until it was healed. Something about compressed breaks. 

Did that still apply if he broke his arm when he was a cat? He wasn’t technically shrinking by turning back into a person. Staying as a cat would be slightly less painful though, since shifting would definitely hurt with the whole bones changing thing. Then again, they couldn’t quite go to a vet. 

Just imagining the hilarity of that scenario made Izuku feel a tad bit better. 

“Geez kid, I didn’t think it would still break your bones,” Gran Torino said, the closest to scared Izuku had heard from him. “And I guess you don’t shrink once One for All is turned off, huh.”

Izuku had been curious about that. He also wondered how big he would be at one hundred percent, but that was something to test later. For now he just needed to not have a broken limb. 

Well, it’s not like Gran could take a massive cat on the train anyway. Izuku closed his eyes, shifting back into a person. 

He was prepared for the pain, and hardly flinched at it. Izuku was not, however, prepared for Gran to come within an inch of cuffing him over the head. It was an accident though, judging by how the man immediately rocketed back. 

“Hell kid, give an old man some warning. Do you…feel ok?”

Izuku glanced down at his arm that was turning purple under his costume. “Uh, not especially. Think we can visit Recovery Girl?”

“She’s at UA, kid. That’s an hour train ride.”

“And?”

“And, what?” Gran asked in genuine confusion.

“And I need to not have a broken arm?”

“Kid, a hospital can deal with that just fine.”

“Yeah, but then I’d have a cast. I need to practice.”

Gran Torino sighed, going to grab keys from the kitchen. “Come on, hospital. They might have a bones Quirk or something. No arguing.”

Izuku sighed, following his temporary teacher out the door. 

 

He didn’t end up needing a cast. The hospital did in fact have a person on staff that could heal his broken bones. Well, not really heal as much as stitch it back together. Gran Torino had dragged him out before he could fanboy about the Quirk. 



“Alright. This time, no using One for All to enhance. Only use it to see how big you can grow when you become a cat.”

Izuku nodded, sparking up green. He slowly increased the power to ten percent. He didn’t dare move a muscle, not with his body already protesting at the energy he wasn’t used to. It wasn’t too bad though. Not a major risk of snapping his arm again at least. 

Izuku shifted, immediately turning off One for All once he did. The last thing he needed was to break another bone. As much as he wanted to go back and ask that nurse about their Quirk, Gran wouldn’t be happy in the slightest.

“Damn kid, seems you grow with the output. Go look in the mirror again.”

Izuku, already feeling like his paws were bigger, made his way over to the mirror. Gran had dragged it into the living room thankfully. 

He looked himself over once again. This time, at 10%, he was maybe the size of a lynx, which was just a bit bigger than a bobcat. Izuku remembered when he was tiny and went through a phase where he was obsessed with every type of cat. For a while he had been convinced he would be a lion or something when he grew up. Being a little overachiever, he had researched a lot of wild cats. It was coming in handy currently. He wondered if he would get a mane if he used enough of One for All. 

“Alright then, let’s stop there. I don’t want to return you to Toshinori and you’re missing a leg.”

Izuku almost protested that he could keep going, but thought better of it. Gran was probably going to propose more fighting before they go to bed anyway. He didn’t know what tomorrow would hold, but Izuku hoped he would be ready for it. 

Today had been successful. Izuku learned about a new part of One for All, broke a bone, fixed the broken bone, and improved on the smoothness of his moves! The fact that he had broken his arm in the first place was irrelevant. 

  Izuku jumped when he heard his phone start buzzing violently. Gran Torino glanced at it, and sighed. 

“We’re done for today, zygote. Go talk to your friends or whoever is making your phone turn into a bee.”

Izuku nodded, shifting back into a person, and vaulted the couch to stop his phone from falling off the table. 

He flopped onto his bed a staircase climb later, finally opening the messages. Izuku smiled as he read them. 

 

Moon Goddess: Gunhead is surprisingly adorable

Moon Goddess: I also know how to properly stab a person now

 

Insomniac Pigeon: that’s concerning

 

Moon Goddess: I can also disarm someone who has a weapon

Moon Goddess: Midoriya what have you learned?

Moon Goddess: Midoriya

Moon Goddess: Hey

Moon Goddess: Hey Midoriya

 

Insomniac Pigeon: Uraraka why are you doing this

 

Moon Goddess: Because he’s not answering and neither are Iida or Todoroki

Moon Goddess: M

Moon Goddess: I

Moon Goddess: D

Moon Goddess: O

 

Insomniac Pigeon: why

 

Moon Goddess: R

Moon Goddess: I

Moon Goddess: Y

Moon Goddess: A

Moon Goddess: Midoriya answer your phone

Moon Goddess: IZUKU MIDORIYA ANSWER YOUR MESSAGES

 

Insomniac Pigeon: he’s probably just training stop

 

Nyoom: I must agree with Shinsou, please cease spamming this chat Uraraka!

 

Moon Goddess: Well I got one of you

Moon Goddess: MIDORIYA 

 

FrostytheFireman: Why does my phone sound like it’s going to blow up

 

Izuku laughed, finally reaching the bottom of the messages. He remembered when Uraraka insisted on giving them “special” names. He was just grateful Katsuki wasn’t in the chat, or else she might have named him Enraged Dandelion or something. 

He started typing, chuckling at how Uraraka’s typing bubble almost instantly disappeared. 

 

Floof: I learned how to be a bigger cat

Floof: I might have also broken another arm

 

Moon Goddess: …

 

Insomniac Pigeon: ,,,

 

Nyoom: Midoriya.

 

Floof: Yes?

 

Insomniac Pigeon: Why

 

Nyoom: I agree with his sentiments Midoriya.

 

FrostytheFireman: How did you manage to break another limb?

 

Floof: I’m fine! Only a broken arm!

Floof: If it’s any consolation, I can now turn into an even bigger cat

 

Insomniac Pigeon: what

 

Floof: Turns out I can turn into an even bigger cat

Floof: Gran Torino told me to stop around the size of a lynx, but I think I can get bigger with more practice

 

Insomniac Pigeon: Mido I swear

 

Moon Goddess: Sooooooo are you even fluffier?

 

Floof: Yeah! I’ll have to show you when we get back to school

 

Nyoom: It is getting late. I will be going to bed and I insist all of you do too!

 

Moon Goddess: Awwwwww ok Iida. Talk to y’all later!

 

FrostytheFireman: Goodnight everyone

 

Insomniac Pigeon: I’ll be awake

Insomniac Pigeon: I’m always awake

 

Floof: I should probably sleep so Gran doesn’t kick me in the face to wake me up. Goodnight!

 

Izuku smiled, shutting off his phone. It really was getting late. He hadn’t been lying either; Gran Torino might really try and wake him up with a surprise attack. 

Izuku curled up under his blankets, costume tucked safely in its case. Tomorrow he would learn even more about his Quirks. Maybe he could even up his limit, which was currently somewhere between five and eight percent. Ten was pushing it, but not entirely impossible. If he was willing to risk small fractures that is. Still plausible though. 

Tomorrow would be a good day.



(Perched on a roof in Hosu, a villain looks over the city. Tomorrow would be another strike. A good day.)

(Two people, who have yet to meet, both smile about the day to come)

 

Chapter Text

Izuku woke up to the feeling of an immediate threat. He rolled off his bed, landing on his feet with fists already up in a guard. Both hero and cat instincts were his saving grace. 

A yellow boot hit his arms, the person attached to it rebounding to the other side of the room. Izuku, eyes narrowed and breathing heavy from the momentary panic, carefully watched his teacher. The man brushed himself off, but made no move to attack again. Good. Izuku was two seconds away from shifting claws. 

“Seems you have good instincts boy. Come on then, get dressed, we’re practicing more then going out tonight.”

Izuku nodded, getting control of his emotions and breathing. Gran Torino left the room just as fast as he had appeared. The sound of him walking down the stairs echoed through the open doorway. Well, at least Izuku didn’t have to listen to his alarm this morning. 

He got dressed in normal clothes, not his hero costume, in a slight daze. Getting woken up with an adrenaline rush tended to do that. Izuku muttered nonsense as he trudged downstairs. 

Gran Torino was already making breakfast. It looked like an actual meal this time instead of whatever sweet thing he had in the freezer. Izuku sat in a chair, pulling out the phone he didn’t quite remember grabbing from its charger. He opened it anyway, smiling at the few messages he had gotten since he went to sleep. Mostly just Iida and Shin arguing over his sleeping habits and Uraraka switching sides with no rhyme or reason like the chaotic person she was. 

“Bah, you kids these days, always on your phones.”

Izuku glanced up at Gran, raising an eyebrow. “I’m talking to my friends who are scattered across the country.”

“You are staring at a glowing box.”

“A glowing box that can tell me anything I want to know and lets me talk to people no matter where they are.”

“Hmph…still ridiculous.”

Izuku grinned at his phone, knowing that was Gran Torino for “I’m not willing to say I’ve lost an argument.” 

He scrolled through some of the recent news articles. There were more on Iida’s brother, though none of them were interviews. He was still bedridden. Izuku texted Iida quickly, just to make sure his friend knew he was there for him. Just because he was texting in the group chat they had didn’t mean he was suddenly fine. 

Breakfast was set in front of Izuku, so put his phone away. It didn’t have sugar in it this time. Well, Izuku’s didn’t. Gran seemed to be dumping some on his. 

“Alright kid, after breakfast we’ll spar more, then we’re going out.”

“Uh, out where?”

“Shiozuko. Some villains come out at night there, but none’a the super strong ones. If you keep fighting one person you’ll get used to them, so you need some varied experience.”

“…I get to fight actual villains?”

Gran Torino stared at Izuku for a moment, blank faced. “Kid, why else would you be here?”

“Training?”

“Yeah, fighin’ villains. Training. Same thing. Finish your food, we’re wasting daylight.”

Izuku nodded, scarfing down the rest of his food. Training meant improving. The more he improved, the better he could protect his clan. The better he could protect his friends.

He would become a hero they could be proud of. 



Izuku peeled himself off the floor once again. This time as a cat. He was normal sized, Gran only allowing him to use One for All once he was already shifted. Said learning to fight as a cat was useful. 

Currently it just felt like his mentor was trying to turn his bones to non-literal mush. In revenge for turning one to actual mush. 

“Alright, go rest. We leave in two hours.”

Izuku put a thumb up towards his mentor, dragging himself back to his temporary room to take a nap. He was asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

Two hours later, and his alarm woke him up. Thankfully Gran didn’t take it upon himself to get Izuku up again. He was, however, making a ruckus downstairs. 

Izuku, now awake and ready to go, bounded downstairs. He had never fought villains in alleyways before! The USJ and getting half of his born Quirk, sure, but not as a hero student on an internship. Maybe he could even learn a new trick or two!

“Ready to go, ya zygote?”

Izuku nodded, already moving towards the door. 

“We’ll take the train, I have passes. Don’t cause any trouble.”

“How could I cause trouble on a train?”

“I don’t know, but knowing you, kid, you’d find a way.”

“Fair.”

They took off for the station, Izuku humming a song Shin was singing the other day. The streets weren’t the nicest where Gran lived, but they were still decent. Even if there was the occasional litter in the gutters. At least the train station wasn’t far. 

Izuku pulled out his phone once they were sitting on the train. There were texts from everyone but Iida. He hoped his friend was ok. Ever since his brother had been attacked, he had been quiet. Iida was a lot of things, but quiet usually wasn’t one of them. One of the only times Izuku had seen him talk this week was to berate him yesterday for breaking a bone.

He pulled up their group chat, seeing that Iida hadn’t left any messages there either. Uraraka had though. And Todoroki.

 

Moon Goddess: What’s everyone doing today? Gunhead is letting us rest and I’m bored

 

FrostytheFireman: I am learning more about my fire. My old man is taking me patrolling later

 

Izuku couldn’t help but smile at Todoroki calling it his fire. It was nice that he was learning how to control it too, even if it was with Endeavor. 

 

Moon Goddess: That’s so cool Todoroki! I learned how to disarm someone with a gun

 

Insomniac Pigeon: I have mild concerns

Moon Goddess: Don’t you always?

 

FrostytheFireman: It would seem appropriate, seeing as you can be intimidating when you are determined

 

Moon Goddess: I’m not that bad

 

Insomniac Pigeon: haven’t seen that and don’t wanna. Mido’s scary enough when it’s 3 am and I look in the kitchen only to see glowing eyes

 

Izuku snorted. He saw Gran eye him because of it, but really didn’t care. 

 

Floof: You thought I was Mothman

 

Insomniac Pigeon: never gonna let me live that down, huh

 

Floof: Nope!

 

Izuku went to type another message, maybe to tell Uraraka about that story. It was a good one. 

Then the train rocked. It tipped, throwing people from their seats. Adults stumbled and fell to their knees as the train once again hit the tracks it wasn’t supposed to leave. The sound of shrieking metal reached Izuku’s ears. The noise that made his ears hurt was more than that though. It was yelling, and…roaring? He looked up, and for a moment, his heart stopped beating. 

A Nomu. A Nomu was perched in the hole that had been gouged out of the side of the train. A hero was pinned under one of its hands. Izuku hesitated for half a second before sparking up green, already moving to leap forward.

Gran Torino beat him to it. The elderly hero kicked the Nomu in the face, sending it flying out of the train and into the streets below. He yelled back for Izuku to stay there. To not move. To stay with the civilians. 

Yeah, not happening. 

Izuku lit up with sparks, becoming a beacon in the night. He told the civilians to call other heroes so they could get off the train, then flung himself out of the jagged hole. His feet hit a roof, and he was off again. One for All haloed him as he flew through the air. 

The city was in chaos. Fires had sprung up everywhere, and there were a few buildings with massive holes in them. Izuku took it all in as he flew. There were more Nomu. Heroes were fighting them every few blocks. 

The city of Hosu had turned into a war zone.

Izuku dropped down from the roofs, landing in the street near another Nomu. There were a few heroes fighting this one, and they looked to be mostly succeeding. They didn’t need his help. Izuku moved to speed off again. 

“Iida! Iida, where did you go!”

Izuku whipped around, seeing Manual running down the street looking panicked. Iida had been interning with him. Here, in Hosu. 

Where the Hero Killer had attacked his brother. 

Izuku’s mind whipped into overdrive. He charged himself with energy just a bit beyond his limit, and shot himself back to the rooftops. In the blink of an eye he had half-shifted. His ears swiveled in every direction and his tail gave him balance as he flew.

The Hero Killer usually attacked in remote streets or alleys. He was always gone when other heroes got there. Heroes with strong Quirks had been taken down, so the media theorized he had some sort of retraining Quirk.

With the massive attack on Hosu, Izuku could hazard a guess that it was a distraction for Stain. Even if it was unintentional, it would still serve as good cover. Iida probably knew that too. The thought made Izuku push himself to move even faster. 

His ears zeroes in on a sound. A yell. A shout of pain. 

Almost without realizing it, Izuku shot off in that direction. Green sparked off him as he leapt from roof to roof, limit being pushed as far as it could go. The yelling got louder. He half a moment to take in the scene when he finally found the correct alleyway. 

Izuku ricocheted off the wall and down the alley. He had an instant to think maybe this wasn’t the best plan of action, before he rocketed into Stain. The villain was sent stumbling away from Iida. The sword in his hand, poised above Izuku’s friend a moment before, skittered to the floor by his feet. He picked it up quickly, eyeing Izuku behind his sash of a mask. 

Izuku took a split second to take in the situation. Iida was on the floor, and didn’t seem able to get up. There was another hero propped against the wall behind him. Thankfully both were away from Stain now. If they couldn’t move then it was definitely something to do with the killer’s Quirk.

“Midoriya!”

“Hey Iida. Guess you didn’t listen to us, huh.”

“Midoriya, leave! This is my fight!”

Izuku glanced back, not daring to fully take his eyes off the villain. “Yeah? Then why are you on the ground?”

Iida choked on his words. Maybe it was tears, Izuku couldn’t tell. “H-his Quirk.”

“Good to know.”

“Hmm, you seem to have good friends, Ingenium.” A shiver ran down Izuku’s spine at those words. They almost seemed to snap into existence in the near silent alley. “But that will not save you.”

He had to stall. Izuku had to- to stop him. Just for a while. Just so he could pull out his phone and send his location. Gosh, he hoped this worked. 

“I won’t let you hurt him,” Izuku growled, ears going back. He typed in his password without looking. 

“You have guts, little hero.”

Stain paced forward, sword swinging languidly by his side. His words were said even and calm, like Izuku hadn’t kicked him across the alley a minute ago. Like he wasn’t even the tiniest bit scared. 

Izuku sent his location to whoever he managed to click on. Hopefully they could help, or at least call someone who could. He slid his phone back into his pocket, and put up his fists. He wouldn’t let Stain hurt his friend.

“But the false heroes need to be culled. Step aside, child, and perhaps I will spare you.”

Izuku knew this spiel. The villain would probably kill him anyway, while still killing his friend and the other hero. No, he wasn’t going to do that. He wouldn’t let anyone else get hurt. Not when he was here.

“Over my dead body,” Izuku hissed, hair standing on end. 

Stain paused, tilting his head curiously at Izuku. “So that is how it will be?”

Blood had already been spilled, but Izuku wasn’t going to let his friend bleed any more. Not while he was here to protect him. Not while he was still moving. Reinforcements were on the way. All Izuku had to do was hold out a bit longer. A bit longer, he repeated in his mind.

He lit up a radioactive green, and shot forward.

 

Chapter Text

Izuku studied Stain with the millisecond he had midair. The man had a multitude of knives and swords strapped to his back. The metal flashed menacingly in the dark alley. A bandana covered the villain’s face, and the disturbingly flat spot where a nose should be. 

And then that millisecond was up. 

In the time it took to blink, Stain was gone. Izuku twisted around before throwing himself backwards. The blade passed over him, missing by hardly an inch. The wind it caused ruffled his hair. 

Izuku landed on his feet, skidding as he tried to stop. His back foot hit the alley wall. There wasn’t much room to fight in here. Stain wasn’t near Iida or the other hero though, so Izuku considered that a minor victory for now. He actually recognized the hero, now that he could get a good look at him. It was Native. 

Izuku hoped and prayed he could get them all out of here alive. 

Stain stood up straight, staring at Izuku thoughtfully. He didn’t dare look away from the villain, even though the look was unnerving. Izuku didn’t like it, but refused to give the hero killer even a small advantage.  

“Hmm, you truly do not want him to die.”

“He’s my friend,” Izuku hissed, eyes narrowing.

“And the other one?”

“Doesn’t deserve to die.”

“Interesting.”

And then Stain was leaping at Izuku again. 

He dove under the sword this time, his claws lashing out to strike the villain. Cloth was the only thing to slip through his fingers. 

Hind claws scraped loudly on the pavement as Izuku had to stop his momentum again. This time he was closer to Iida, and he was determined to not let Stain get past him. He would protect his friends. 

He would protect his clan.

A knife came flying at Izuku. He hissed as he ducked below it, knowing it wouldn’t reach Native. It was only a distraction for the sword Stain was swinging at him. He had to focus on the real threats.

Izuku leapt straight up and into the air, a direction Stain probably wouldn’t expect, and clung to the fire escape. He hung there for a moment, neither of them moving. The villain stared up at him without blinking. 

Then a knife was flying towards Izuku. It cut his arm, but nothing else. The wounds stung, but it was shallow. It was hardly even bleeding, more like a long paper cut than a slash. He had had worse before. He would be fine. 

Izuku carefully dropped himself to the ground again, wondering what the purpose of that had even been. His arms were decently easy to defend, and it wasn’t bleeding much anyway. Stain wasn’t attacking for real yet, that was the only explanation. Good. Izuku just needed a bit more time. Just a bit more. 

Izuku darted forward again, pushing his limit to not give Stain a chance to react. His fist connected with the villain’s jaw. A sword swung towards him a second later. He dove to the side, attempting to hit Stain again. He had to at least try. 

The Hero Killer moved out of the way. Of course he did. Izuku had realized the man moved faster than a normal human could. Faster than a normal person should be able to. Especially after he had hit Izuku with that first knife. Making…making him bleed.

Oh. 

The realization hit Izuku just as another knife did. It cut into his shoulder, staining his costume almost immediately. He lurched backwards, but not fast enough. Stain was on him in an instant, licking the wound he had made. 

Izuku dropped like his strings had been cut. He hit the ground like a limp marionette. Stain stepped away then, surveying what he had done. What had he done? It happened in the span of a second.

Izuku tried to move, to push himself to his feet and keep fighting. It didn’t work. He tried to use One for All. Not a single muscle moved. His other powers did nothing. It wasn’t working. Nothing was working why wasn’t he moving

Stain was a vampire. Vampires were faster and stronger than a normal person, especially if exposed to blood. Their Quirk were usually blood based too. Blood. Stain had drank his blood. His Quirk paralyzed the victim if he drank their blood.

The vampire straightened his stance, Izuku unmoving on the ground. Not for lack of trying. His mind was racing. He still couldn’t move. 

No, no he had to help. He had to protect them! He had to save Iida and Native and stall until a real hero could get here. Izuku had to he had to he had to

“Shame, you seemed to be one of the good ones,” Stain mused. “But you must understand, the fakes have to die.”

“No! No, no you can’t do this! Leave him alone!”

Izuku knew there were tears streaming down his face. He couldn’t move to wipe them away. Stain’s steps didn’t even stutter as he poised a sword over Iida. Izuku’s friend was utterly silent, resigned to his fate now. 

No. He had to stop this. He had to move . Izuku had to do something. But he couldn’t. He couldn’t move and even breathing was hard. All Izuku could do was lay on the floor and cry. 

Then a column of fire burned down the alleyway, driving Stain away from Iida and Native. Izuku let himself sob in relief as Todoroki moved into his line of sight. 

“Try to be more specific, Midoriya. I was almost late.” A sheet of ice drove the Hero Killer even farther back, allowing Todoroki to kneel at Izuku’s side for a moment. “Are you ok?”

“Don’t let him get your blood,” Izuku warned frantically, still trying and failing to move. “If he does you won’t be able to move.”

“I’m guessing that’s why you’re on the floor?”

“No, I’m taking a nap. What do you think, Todoroki?”

“Oh, sorry Midoriya.”

“Just- just keep him away from Iida and Native. Are there other heroes coming?”

“Yes.”

“Th-that’s good, just stall for-“

“Why are you doing this?! Leave!” Iida yelled, catching both of their attention. He was crying too. “This is my fight!”

Todoroki opened his mouth to respond, but was forced to duck away from a flying knife. Izuku made a strangled noise at seeing his friend dodge more sharp things. No, he had to help. He had to keep them safe

Izuku’s finger moved just the slightest bit.

“Stop!” Iida yelled again. “He’s mine! I took my brother’s name!”

“Funny,” Todoroki called back, avoiding another sword swing. “The Ingenium I knew would never say something like that.”

A knife grazed Todoroki’s cheek, just enough to draw blood. His left side flared up, stopping the blood before Stain could reach it. The villain leapt back, then threw something. 

Another knife came sailing at Todoroki, Stain following right behind it. A sword was thrown in the air above his head. It was a trap. A dangerous, dangerous trap. One that Todoroki couldn’t get out of safely. 

He had to do something

Izuku screamed, and found himself moving. Green sparked over his limbs like tiny lightning bolts as he tackled his friend out of the way. The two went rolling over the ground, coming to a stop near Iida once again. They immediately scrambled to their feet. Todoroki sent a wave of ice at Stain, hopefully stalling him for a few precious seconds. 

“Please, don’t spill any more blood for me,” Iida cried hoarsely. “This is my fight!”

“If you want us to stop, then stand up,” Todoroki said, glancing backwards. 

Then a knife came flying out of nowhere, and buried itself in Todoroki’s shoulder. 

Izuku watched like everything was in slow motion. His friend stumbled back, a hand coming up as if to cover the wound. His shoulder was already crimson. Blood dripped down his arm, dying his costume red red red. 

His eyes were wide. Izuku had never seen fear in Todoroki’s eyes. Not like this. 

Izuku…he felt something snap. Everything still felt slow, but it was sharper now. Slightly muffled too. Like he was underwater. He turned towards Stain, vaguely aware that his eyes were wide and his pupils narrowed to slits despite how dark it was. He felt himself bare his teeth in a smile no normal person would or should be capable of. 

One for All ignited beneath his skin, making him glow in an eerie green light. Like a ghost in a story you tell by firelight. His fangs and sparking claws helped the image. 

Izuku tilted his head slightly, looking up to stare Stain in the eyes. He was standing in front of them now, a sword in his hand. Izuku didn’t know when he had gotten there.

“You hurt my clan,” he whispered. Though it boomed down the alley like it had been screamed. Something inhuman and distorted laced each sound. “You made them bleed.”

“Clan?” Stain questioned, coming to a stop for a mere moment.

It was all he needed.

Izuku pushed his limit of One for All once again, and shot forward. He moved too fast for the eye to track. One moment he was next to Todoroki, the next he was in Stain’s face. Expression twisted into a snarl and eyes alight in more ways than one. His mouth opened as if he was going to breath fire, but something very different came out.

A cluster of teeth and tentacles surged towards Stain. The vampire managed to dodge, but just barely. Izuku still didn’t stop. He dove forward again, and again. Both retracting and lashing out with his tenta-teeth. 

Stain wasn’t infallible. He could make mistakes. He would. 

And he did. One simple slip. Quite literally, as he tripped on a piece of ice. All it took was a single second.

Izuku fully retracted his tenta-teeth. His clawed hand raked down in an arc, the Hero Killer in its path. It connected, though not looking like more than a glancing blow. Not a problem for such a strong villain. 

And yet, the villain reeled backwards, clutching at the side of his face that Izuku had scratched. His red bandana fell to the floor in tatters, revealing his missing nose and blood dripping down his face. Izuku didn’t care. He couldn’t, not when he was more cat than human right now. 

He was still moving, Izuku’s other fist swung a punch at Stain. It landed, sending the vampire even farther backwards. The sword in his hand dropped to the ground. 

Izuku heard Iida get to his feet before he saw him. He ducked, letting his friend shoot over his head to deliver a recipro-burst powered kick to Stain’s ribs. Izuku followed his a kick of his own to the villain’s face. 

A ramp of ice let the three of them slide back down to safety. Izuku was on his feet the instant he could stand, his eyes locked onto the threat.

The threat that didn’t move. Everyone held their breath for a count of one, then five, then ten. Stain still didn’t get up.

“Is it- is it over?” Todoroki breathed.

“I think…I think he is unconscious,” Iida answered, letting out a sigh of relief.

Native finally stood up on shaky legs, coming over to the three. “Are you kids ok? I’m- I’m so sorry I couldn’t help.”

“I believe we are alright,” Iida answered, then paused. “Midoriya?”

Izuku heard him. He heard the words, but didn’t understand them. They were muffled, just sounds not being fully comprehended. His mind was not his own. In that moment, he was not human. 

“Midoriya?” Todoroki said, taking a step towards Izuku.

“Clan safe?” He chattered, sounding more cat than human. 

“Uh, yeah. We’re ok now, Midoriya.”

“Good.” Izuku started purring, his eyes slipping closed in happiness and relief. 

When he opened his eyes, the ground was suddenly much closer than before. He didn’t feel especially worried about it. Izuku looked up, seeing three people there. Oh, he knew those scent. What were their names again? He didn’t know, but they smell nice. Safe. Well, the first two did, the other one was new. 

He was still purring. Izuku padded up to the one that smelled like orange juice and metal,  rubbing his cheek against his leg. Yes, this was one of his humans. He didn’t know how he knew that, he just did. 

The human leaned down and scooped him up, holding him securely in his arms. Izuku made no protests, settling into the warmth. A different human came over to look at him. This one smelled like snow and smoke. Oh, this was also one of his humans, though a relatively new one. Izuku kept purring as the first person pat his head. 

“He’s…he’s a cat.”

“Yes, I can see that Todoroki. He…he is a cat morph, or something similar at least.”

“Midoriya,” snow-and-smoky human said, looking Izuku in his eyes. He had interesting eyes, they were two different colors. “Can you change back?”

Izuku tilted his head, wondering what the human was saying. He didn’t understand the words. Instead, he reached out a paw and gently bopped the human on his nose. They blinked, then stepped back.

“I don’t think he can understand us, or at the very least, he can’t change back.”

“That is…concerning,” Citrus-and-metal human hummed. Izuku liked the sound. He purred in sync with it. 

Izuku’s ears swiveled around as he heard footsteps. A lot of them. He stared at the end of the alley, waiting for whatever it was to appear. If he had to defend his clan again, he would. He always would. 

More people appeared. One was familiar, and smelled like a sweet breeze, though he didn’t know why. That was happening a lot tonight, wasn’t it? Izuku wondered why, his mind still fuzzy. 

“Kid! Kid, what…happened.”

“Um, are you Gran Torino, sir?” Cold-and-smoky human asked.

“Yeah. And is there a reason Midoriya is currently a cat?”

“He doesn’t seem to be able to change back,” the other person Izuku didn’t know said. He had a feather on his head. Izuku wondered if he could reach it. “But he saved all of us. He- he took down the Hero Killer.”

Wind-human looked almost scared for a minute, before he waved the other people forward. They took the person that smelled of blood and tied his hands together, taking his sharp things. Izuku watched the former threat with sharp eyes. 

He was awake. 

The human holding him started walking out of the alley towards the loud machines that screeched. Some of the other humans followed. 

No, they couldn’t do that! They were in danger! The creature of blood was awake, why couldn’t they see he was awake?! He had to protect them.

Izuku leapt out of the human’s arms and onto the ground. He dodged the hand that came down to grab him out of the open street. Other humans were squawking. Izuku ignored them, running back to the man that was stained in blood. How did they not see he was awake? How could they not see the danger was back?

He couldn’t let someone else get hurt. 

And then he was flying. He was soaring higher and higher above the ground. Claws surrounded him and dug into his sides, blood already matting his fur. Izuku yowled for help. It hurt it hurt it hurt . Why were none of the humans moving?! He was leaving them on the ground and he didn’t want to he didn’t want to fly.  

Just as suddenly, he was falling. A steady hand held him close to a cold body. Izuku didn’t have the energy to struggle anymore. 

Whoever was holding him hit the street again, and gently set Izuku down. The monster that had snatched him was on the ground. Dead. It smelled extremely weird and very dead. 

The person that smelled like blood was standing in front of him. The other humans were on the opposite side of the street. One that smelled of wildfire and choking ash had appeared. His scent floated over on the wind, making Izuku’s nose burn. He didn’t like that human.

“You are all fakes!” Blood-human practically screamed. “You cannot defeat me!”

Izuku grit his teeth and dragged himself to his paws. He had to protect his clan. He had to.

“There are only two people who I will let beat me! All Might,” the villain pointed behind him at Izuku. He wondered why none of the other humans were moving. “And him!”

And he froze. Stain froze where he was. Izuku’s legs shook, and he too collapsed a second later. The humans finally moved again. 

Gentle hands picked up Izuku. He meowed, and it came out raspy with pain. It was the breeze smelling human. The man cradled Izuku gingerly. Somehow, he knew this man wasn’t usually gentle. He wished he knew how he knew that. 

“Don’t- don’t worry kid, you’ll be ok. Let’s- let’s get you to the hospital.”

The man carried Izuku back to Citrus-human and Snow-and-smoke human. He began purring, his eyelids drooping. They felt far too heavy. 

His eyes slipped shut as they entered the screeching machine that rumbled to life. It purred like him. Izuku fell asleep feeling safer than before.

 

Chapter Text

Izuku woke up to white walls and heavy legs. Oh, and paws. And a tail. 

He was still a cat. 

He was aware of things though. He could think, even if everything still felt a bit fuzzy. It was better than before though, and that’s what mattered. 

“Midoriya? Are you with us again?”

Oh, it was Iida. Izuku blinked slowly, then meowed. He went to get to his feet, but a gentle hand stopped him. It was warm, and he recognized who was attached to the hand, so he didn’t protest.  

“You’re still injured, Midoriya,” Todoroki said softly, making sure he didn’t try and stand again. “The doctor said you can try and shift back once she’s here to make sure nothing goes wrong.”

Izuku nodded, staying where he was. He…actually didn’t know if he could shift back right now. Last time this happened he woke up as a human again. Even if he was more clear headed right now, even if he was aware of his surroundings, he didn’t think he could shift back. 

There was always a sort of mental gate when he shifted. It was open, he just had to go through it. Half-shifting was like standing between the two sides. It was something none of his ancestors had managed to do, something special to Izuku.

But right now? Those gates were closed. Locked tight with him stuck on one side. Izuku didn’t like it. He hadn’t been aware of just how weird it felt last time, since he had apparently fallen asleep on Shin rather quickly. 

So Izuku waited. He didn’t move much, even though he was very tempted to. Not that he would have gotten far if he did try. Todoroki and Iida were watching him like hawks. The former outright refused to leave Izuku’s hospital bed for his own.

It was a normal sized bed, to be fair. Not only was it human-sized, but it was adult human-sized. Izuku was completely dwarfed by it. Todoroki barely took up half of it himself. But he still sat on the untouched seats, gently untangling some of Izuku’s fur and giving comfort to his friend. 

The doctor did eventually arrive. She shut the door quietly and scanned the room. Upon seeing Izuku awake, she smiled and walked closer. He eyed her warily, mind still not entirely free from the fight yesterday. 

“Hello, Midoriya. Is it alright if I check your injuries so you can turn back?”

Izuku watched her for another moment, then nodded. He stayed perfectly still as she removed the bandages wrapping his entire torso. They weren’t as bloodstained as he expected. They had probably been changed since he was brought in though. What…what had happened though? Why was that memory blurry? 

“You look all set to try and turn back, Midoriya. Is it alright if I stay in here?”

Izuku nodded again, pulling himself to his paws. Nothing hurt too badly. Certainly not worse than the broken arm incidents. His legs were shaky, but not about to give out. He could do this. 

Except, the gateway was still closed. He couldn’t shift, even if he wanted to. Izuku was stuck.

He swallowed down his panic, and tried to think. How could he shift back? Maybe he could do something to trigger it again? Last time it had been unconscious, literally. He had been napping with Shinsou…hm, maybe- maybe that was it? 

Izuku closed his eyes, and thought back to some of his favorite memories. 

He remembered Shinsou coming with him to get ice cream one day. It was winter, and even though they were bundled up tight, they got the cold treat. Izuku had forgotten a scarf, so Shin let him borrow his. It was still in Izuku’s closet, neatly folded for whenever it got cold again. 

Shinsou’s face had been red most of that day. Izuku figured it was just because of the cold. 

Izuku thought about the first time they’d scared someone from the vents. It hadn’t really been planned, but the end result was hilarious. The two of them had been hanging out in the vents on one of those rare days Shinsou didn’t have school. All the actual UA students were bustling below them, hardly noticing the two middle schoolers watching from the ceiling. 

Then someone had looked up, and promptly screamed that there was a ghost in the vents. Both Izuku and Shinsou had scrambled away from the grate. After a second of listening to the ensuing hysteria down below, they burst into laughter that didn’t stop. If anything, it just terrified students more thanks to the echoing sound. It was worth it though. Izuku could remember exactly what Shin’s laugh sounded like. 

Izuku remembered thinking it was one of his favorite sounds, and that he wanted to be the cause of Shinsou laughing more. 

He remembered all the training they did together, both with Aizawa and on their own. How they would just laugh at their loss and victory alike. How Izuku first thought that Shinsou’s eyes were like galaxies when he smiled after finally pinning Izuku to the mat. 

A million and one memories played in his mind. Most of them were of his best friend. His person. Yes, that sounded right to him. His person. 

Izuku blinked, and he was human again. His costume was ripped and torn like he had used it as a scratching post, matching where his wounds were. He felt stitches pull at his skin, though thankfully not breaking with the shift. It hurt, but it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. 

“Ah, that’s good, everything seems to have stayed in place. We have a hospital gown for you to change into Midoriya,” the doctor said kindly. 

Izuku nodded, cautiously getting to his feet. His legs held his weight, so he made his way to the bathroom to change. He returned to Todoroki falling asleep, in his own hospital bed this time, and Iida having been whisked off to an examination. 

In the quiet of the white room with white sheets and paper clothes, Izuku realized something. He had almost died. He had almost died, and he hadn’t told Shin goodbye. Not a word on his more-than-a-crush said to him. Izuku…he didn’t want that to happen. He realized that he didn’t want to die having never told Shinsou that he loved liked him. 

Looking back, he really should have realized his true feelings sooner. By themselves, a lot of things he thought and did were relatively normal, but added together? He was already halfway down the rabbit hole. 

Izuku felt weariness drag at his limbs. His thoughts grew muted, just intent on sleeping. He curled up on his hospital bed, and closed his eyes. 

He momentarily wondered if he would get a chance to tell Shin how he felt before Aizawa-sensei murdered him for this stunt. 



Izuku woke up to Todoroki gently shaking his shoulder. He sat up, rubbing his eyes sleepily. How long had he been asleep?

And then his eyes landed on the people in the room. 

Izuku promptly dove off the bed and crouched behind it, a move he could already see Iida wanting to scold him for. All of his hair was on end and he felt the urge to hiss. His friends couldn’t really blame him though, not when there was a dog twice his height in the room. 

Given, it wasn’t an actual dog, but that’s why Izuku didn’t like it. It was an Inugami. A dog creature, and a big one.

Who also happened to be the chief of police.

Izuku finally noticed other people were in the room when Todoroki tapped his head. He looked over, seeing both Gran Torino and Manual standing next to the door. The short man looked both relieved that he was ok and contemplating whether it was worth hitting him over the head for his stupidity. 

Todoroki and Iida got to their feet, Izuku staying crouched where he was. After yesterday he just wanted to be left alone by strangers, thank you very much. Especially strangers that could kick him out of UA. 

“Please, sit down. You pups don’t want to aggravate your injuries, woof.”

Izuku raised an eyebrow, but otherwise stayed crouched behind the hospital bed. Todoroki and Iida sat back down on their own beds. Both shot Izuku looks, but didn’t comment otherwise. 

“The Hero Killer is currently under protective custody and being healed. He sustained multiple broken bones, burns, bruises, and cuts. As students of UA, I am sure you understand the gravity of this situation, seeing as unlicensed and unapproved quirk use is illegal.”

Todoroki leapt to his feet, an indignant scowl already on his face. Izuku reached out to grab him back, but he was too slow. His new friend stomped forward towards the chief of police. For all intents and purposes, it looked like Todoroki was ready to murder the dog-man. 

“So what? You would rather we do nothing, and let people die? Would it be better if we stood by and watched?” Todoroki practically snarled. “I thought heroes were supposed to save people, regardless of if they got hurt or not!”

“What has Endeavor been teaching you,” the chief sighed. “What you three did was extremely illegal. Vigilantism. Protocol says that you three should be punished, possibly kicked out of UA, woof. Even if you did take down a villain, it is still a punishable offense.”

Todoroki bristled, and marched forward. “You mutt-“

Gran Torino stepped in his path, a hand out to stop the boy from stomping farther. Izuku watched his mentor closely. He liked the man plenty, but no one touched his friends. Especially after he had almost died saving them not a full day ago. 

“Let him finish, kid. Listen to the end.”

Todoroki grumbled, but backed off. He retreated to the bed Izuku was hiding behind, offering a hand to him. Izuku took it and let himself be pulled onto the mattress. He didn’t let go of Todoroki’s hand, knowing they could both use some comfort right now. 

“That is the official statement I am supposed to say on behalf of the police. However, you pups have two options. One: You get credit, heralded as heroes to the public. You will face retribution from the legal system and possibly expelled from your school.”

“And…the other option?” Iida asked, Todoroki and Izuku too scared to say anything.

“Two: the credit is given to Endeavor, as he arrived at the site and the burns can be attributed to him, and you receive no punishment besides an unofficial warning. We would hate to put an end to such promising pups’ hero careers, woof. What will your decision be?”

The three shared looks. None of them wanted to be expelled, but Izuku knew how much Todoroki would hate the idea of his father getting all the credit. 

In the end, Iida was the first to move. He walked up to the chief and Manual, bowing low, even with one arm in a sling. 

“I apologize for all the trouble we have caused.”

Manual lightly chopped him on the head, but he was smiling. “Don’t cause more for us then.”

Izuku finally stood in front of the bed, bowing to the hero and police chief. Todoroki begrudgingly copied him. As much as they didn’t like it, it was the safest option to let Endeavor take credit. The three of them could fly under the radar for now. As long as his friends were safe, that’s all that mattered to Izuku. 

“It is decided then, Endeavor will be credited with the takedown of the Hero Killer,” the chief said, then paused. “That is all I am supposed to say to you, but as a citizen of this city, may I just say, thank you.”

The chief of police bowed to them, something that shocked Izuku. Then the three adults retreated from the room. Todoroki immediately flopped back onto a bed, Iida more graceful in sitting on the side of his. Izuku followed their example and laid on his own bed. 

“On a scale of one to ten,” Todoroki started, staring at the ceiling, “how much do you think our classmates are going to badger us?”

Iida and Izuku both immediately answered “Nine.”

Izuku yawned, his head flopping back onto the pillow. His friends glanced over, but left him alone. 

“I’m gonna take a nap. Wake me up if Aizawa-sensei comes to kill us so I can get a head start.”

He fell asleep to the muffled laughter of his two friends, and the overwhelming feeling of being grateful that they were all alive. 

~~~~~

Hitoshi was about to say “fuck the rules.” Why you might ask? Because he was being forced to walk alongside his dad in the hospital hallway instead of sprinting like he wanted to. 

Dad and Pop had both gotten the alert about the Hosu attacks. Two hours later, Mrs. Midoriya had called Dad in a panic because her son had gotten hurt and she couldn’t get to him because all the trains were closed down. Hitoshi had been training when they got the call. 

And he had been told to stay home. 

He had yelled. He had yelled and protested because it was his best friend. His best friend had been hurt and none of them knew how bad it was. How could they just make him stay home?!

They didn’t budge, even though they looked close. Hitoshi accepted it. He retreated to his room and spent a sleepless night regretting his decision to wait. To not tell Mido his feelings until he was in the hero course. Look what good that had done him. A friend who might be on death’s doorstep who was none the wiser to just how much he mattered to Hitoshi. 

He never did fall asleep that night. 

The next morning yielded a sunrise that only reminded Hitoshi of blood. He trudged to the kitchen to get some of Pop’s Death Coffee. Maybe if he woke up a bit he could feel something other than numbness. 

Dad walked in and immediately woke him up with news. They were going to see Mido, just to make sure he was ok. Mrs. Midoriya didn’t have a car, but they did. With the rails closed it was the only way into Hosu besides walking. 

Hitoshi had never gotten dressed faster. None of them had any more news on Midoriya, so the faster they got there the faster Hitoshi could see if his best friend was ok. 

The drive felt agonizingly slow, and Hitoshi found himself tapping and jittering the entire time. Dad never made a comment on it. Pop was back home, fielding calls and getting ready for his radio show. His station served more than one purpose, after all. 

Hitoshi leapt out of the car the second it stopped moving. Dad called after him as he speed-walked through the doors. He calmly made his way to the front desk, his dad on his heels.

“We’re here to see Izuku Midoriya,” Dad said before Hitoshi could open his mouth. Probably for the best. 

“Are you family?”

“Yes,” Dad said, flawlessly lying through his teeth. Mostly. They were emergency contacts, so technically allowed in, but not family. (Yet)

“Alright then, he’s on floor three, room 307.”

“Thank you.”

Dad led Hitoshi through the halls, his expression remaining unchanged. It would be unnerving if Hitoshi didn’t know how scared he was. How his dad tapping a rhythm on his leg was a method he used to calm himself down. 

A doctor was coming out of the room when they got there, Todoroki following her. The boy raised an eyebrow at them, but didn’t say anything. 

“Are you Izuku Midoriya’s doctor?” Dad asked. Hitoshi stayed behind him, trying to get a glance inside the room. 

“Yes, I assume you’re here to see him?”

Both of them nodded. 

“Would you like an update on his condition?”

“Yes please. Is he- is he stable?”

Hitoshi listened intently, not taking his eyes off the doctor. She didn’t look especially worried, so maybe Mido was ok. Maybe he wasn’t injured too badly. 

“He came in with cuts spanning along his sides, as well as multiple other lacerations. The main concerns were the three cuts along both of his sides and the stab wound on his shoulder. He was also seemingly stuck in his cat form.” Hitoshi felt a jolt of fear. Mido had gone into sensory overload again. No no no he had to be ok, he had to be . “But he was able to change back a while ago. The stitches held and they have since been rebandaged. Our main worry was blood loss after the events of last night, but he looks to be almost out of the woods now.”

“Thank you, Doctor.” 

“You’re welcome, just don’t jostle him too much when you go in. We don’t need his stitches opening.”

“Alright.”

Hitoshi waited until the doctor, and Todoroki, were out of sight before turning to his dad. The words were already on his tongue, but Dad said something first. 

“I’m going to see if I can find the Iidas. Why don’t you go in and make sure Midoriya is ok.”

Hitoshi blinked, then nodded. He watched his dad walk back down the hallway, still tapping a pattern on his side. 

He promptly spun on his heel and threw open the door, searching for his friend. 

And there he was, sitting up on the white hospital bed with bandages showing under his hospital gown. He looked like he had just woken up. The two stared at each other as the seconds ticked by, wondering if it was too cliche to say time had stopped at that moment. 

Then Hitoshi was rushing forward, not caring about anyone or anything other than his friend. His friend was ok. He was safe. 

Hitoshi enveloped Midoriya in a hug, just short of crashing into him. He held him tight and buried his face in his green hair. He was alive. He was safe.

Mido’s arms wrapped around him too. He was purring. They stayed like that, just taking in the fact that the other was here and safe. That they weren’t going anywhere for now. They were alive, and here, and neither planned on going anywhere for a long while. 

Hitoshi held onto his best friend, and knew, without a single doubt in his soul, that he loved him.



Chapter Text

Shin was warm. Izuku curled closer to his best friend, relishing in his presence. This was a lovely way to wake up from a nap. Even if he had been half convinced it was a dream, up until Shinsou had nearly knocked him off the bed. 

Izuku’s mind wandered slightly, sitting there holding his friend. He was warm, and soft, and comforting. There wasn’t a specific reason why for any of it, it was just a fact about Shinsou. He was like sunlight shining in through a window. Shin was…he was happiness. He made Izuku happy by just being around him.

Sitting there, wrapped around Shinsou, Izuku didn’t think “best friend” covered what he felt anymore. Maybe something else did though. 

Maybe three words that had been a mantra in his mind for weeks now. 

He- he had to tell Shin. He had to. They were going to be heroes. Every day meant a new chance at dying. Even as students. He couldn’t just die having kept his feelings to himself. 

Izuku had to tell him. 

He pulled away, uncurling himself from Shinsou so he could look him in the eyes. Or at least so he wasn’t talking directly in his ear. 

Neither spoke for a moment. Izuku just stared at Shinsou, tracing every detail with his keen eyes. Shin’s hair was messier than usual. His eye bags weren’t darker than normal, but Izuku didn’t know if they physically could be more purple. Even though he looked so tired, he looked relieved. He looked happy. 

There was something there too. Something Izuku hadn’t acknowledged before in the galaxy purple eyes. It was enough to give him a speck of courage. Just enough to force the words from his mouth. 

“Shin I have to-“

“Mido I-“

They both stopped, simply staring at one another for a moment. Then they started laughing, clinging to each other to steady themselves. Izuku was so happy that he was here. That this was his reality right now. The feeling was intoxicating. 

“You go first,” Shin chuckled, stifling his laughter. 

Izuku nodded, still smiling. It turned soft when he glanced up at Shin. His Shin. Hm, maybe Iida was right. It really was a cute nickname. My heart.

“I guess this might not be the best time, but I almost died.” He saw Shin jolt at the reminder, and the grip on his arm tightened. “And I realized I couldn’t die without saying something. I don’t think of you as my best friend anymore Shin.”

“Mido-“

“Because I love you, Hitoshi Shinsou. I love you and your sarcasm and how you always make time for your family. I love you and how you care for the alley cats that live near your apartment. I love you and how warm and safe you make me feel. I love you, Shin, and I realized that I can’t leave this world without telling you that.”

Izuku stopped talking, watching his hands as he fidgeted with the sheets of his hospital bed. Shinsou said nothing, and fear shot through him. Maybe this was a bad idea. Maybe he should have kept his feelings to himself after all. He couldn’t lose Shin. He just couldn’t. 

“I-it’s ok if you don’t feel the same. I just- I wanted to t-tell you. We’re h-heroes, and it’s dangerous. I couldn’t- I didn’t- If you want to I can keep it to myself. I j-just didn’t want you to- to lose you without t-telling you. I c-can’t lose you Shin, so I can-“

“Mido,” the word was hardly a whisper, but it made Izuku’s head shoot up. That one single word held so much emotion. 

Izuku stared at Shinsou, and he stared back. 

~~~~~~~~~~

Hitoshi was…processing. Was this really happening? Was Mido really confessing first? Was he really naming reasons why he loved him?

Hitoshi was going to combust. He was pretty sure his face was already neon red anyway, might as well add some fire to it. Holy shit this was really happening.  

And then he realized he hadn’t said anything. His mouth seemed incapable of moving from where it had dropped open. Mido was stuttering now, saying something about how he just wanted Hitoshi to know, even if he didn’t feel the same. 

At that, Hitoshi’s mind was finally jumpstarted. Not feel the same? How could he not feel the same?

How could he not fall in love with Midoriya? With how he purred, even as a human, and leaned into any physical contact. Or with how casually he gave out affection and love like he was overflowing with it. How could he not fall in love with this cat of a person that gave his all at everything, even when a third of his Quirk broke his bones and he was terrified of using another third.

Or maybe when his amazing friend had overcome that fear and handicap to start on his path to becoming a great hero, and inspired Hitoshi along the way. It had motivated him to try even harder to catch up, to join him in the hero course. 

He was in awe of his friend, even as he stuttered out nonsense. How could he not be?

“Mido,” he said. It came out softer than he intended, but filled with just as much wonder and adoration as he felt. He stared at (what was more than) his best friend. 

He loved Izuku Midoriya, and hadn’t been planning on telling him until after they were in the same class. 

But, well…now seemed as good a time as any. 

Hitoshi barked out a laugh, eyes dropping to where his hand was. Mido’s was so close. If he moved just a little bit, he could hold his hand. It was something he had wanted to do forever now. He didn’t though, if only because he had things to say right now. 

“Mido,” he repeated, looking in Midoriya’s eyes. “How could I not love you too?”

“A-a lot of-“

Hitoshi put a hand over Midoriya’s mouth before he could say anything else. His eyes widened, but he didn’t try and wiggle away. “Nope, your turn to listen.” Hitoshi took away his hand, making sure his friend was listening. 

“Mido, I can’t lose you either. That’s why I never said anything. I was- I was honestly waiting until I was in the hero course with you to bring it up.”

Midoriya’s eyes widened even more, and this time he was talking before Hitoshi could ask him to stop.

“Oh gosh, I forgot about that part. Shin I am so sorry. You don’t need this on your shoulders on top of getting into a new course and I probably just made it worse I’m s-so sorry. I-”

Hitoshi laughed a bit hysterically. Mido watched him in confusion and probably a bit of wariness. He brought a hand up to cover his face in disbelief. 

“Mido,” he giggled, looking back up again. “I’m in the hero course now.”

“You’re…what?”

“I got in. I was training for the change this week. Mido, I got in.”

“You- you got in. You got in! Shin, that’s amazing!”

Hitoshi was being crushed in another hug before he could blink. He laughed, less hysteric this time, and drank in the touch. Mido was smiling when he pulled away. 

And suddenly, Hitoshi was lost. Lost staring at Mido and trying to memorize every detail of his face. There were hundreds of freckles, bright against his paler than normal skin. His smile that was so soft and proud right now, and it was all directed at Hitoshi. It was addicting. 

But what caught him, were Mido’s eyes. Call it cliche, but they were beautiful. Not sparkling emeralds like every book Hitoshi had ever read described green eyes as. No, Midoriya’s were not jewels, but stars. A burning green that was speckled with other colors. They swirled and glowed like nebulas circling a black hole. 

Hitoshi felt that if he looked for long enough, he might discover entire galaxies in Midoriya’s green eyes. That if he didn’t stop looking now then he might never be able to leave, forever stuck in the gravity of them. And maybe- maybe he didn’t want to. Maybe he wanted to spend the rest of his life getting lost in a sea of green. Maybe he wanted to map the constellations of freckles and kiss each one. 

“Sh-Shin?”

“I love you too, Izuku Midoriya. You are one of the kindest and just best people I have ever met, and I love you. There’s so many things I can say about you, but I don’t think they could ever properly describe what I think. But I’ve never been good with words anyway, so Mido, can I- can I sh-show you?”

Midoriya looked confused for a second, before it clicked. He instantly turned red. Hitoshi was about to back off, give him the room he probably needed to think over Hitoshi’s question. Crap, why had he just asked that?! Mido was still hurt and he obviously didn’t-

Then he nodded, glancing up at Hitoshi through his curtain of curly hair. He looked kind of like a strawberry.

Hitoshi grabbed Mido’s hand in his own, double checking contact was ok. Then he leaned forward, getting lost once again in the green universe before him. He felt himself grin softly. Hitoshi shut his eyes, and closed the distance between them. 

Their first kiss was chaste and quick. 

It made Hitoshi feel like he was floating. 

The two of them pulled away, still staring at each other. Hitoshi wanted to remember every detail in that moment. It was amazing for his first kiss, even if he had nothing to compare it to. He wondered if it would only get better. 

“Can…” Mido blinked up at him with an expression Hitoshi could only describe as want. “Can we do that again?”

Hitoshi’s answer was leaning forward again. He brought a hand up to cradle Mido’s face, the other still holding his hand. Gentle and hesitant fingers ran through his purple hair. Something rumbled through his chest, causing them to break apart once more. 

Mido was even more red than before, if that was even possible. Both of his hands were clamped over his mouth. 

“Mido, were you…purring?”

“M-maybe.”

Hitoshi smiled, grabbing Mido’s hands and holding them in his own. He leaned closer until he was hardly an inch from his…boyfriend? Is that what they were now?

“Then why don’t we see what other sounds you make, hm?”

Hitoshi laughed as Midoriya turned and buried his entire face in a pillow. He flopped down beside him, careful to not accidentally land on Mido. Dad would kill him if he was the reason a stitch broke. 

Hitoshi slung an arm over Midoriya protectively. He had almost lost his…whatever they were now, he wasn’t about to let him go again. As far as he was concerned, never again.

“I can tone it down if you want,” he said quietly, gently carding a hand through Mido’s curly hair. 

“N-no, it’s fine. Just, wasn’t expecting it.”

“Alright.”

Neither moved. Neither really wanted to. Both were content to lay on the hospital bed together, taking in the presence of the other. Midoriya had always been touchy-feely, but never this much. Hitoshi found himself quickly becoming addicted to it. 

It was no surprise when sleep claimed the two within minutes. 

~~~~~

Shouta was expecting a few things when he finally went to check on Midoriya. He expected his son to be clinging to his friend, or at least in contact with him in some way. Maybe he would finally work up the courage to hold Problem Child’s hand. 

What he was not expecting, was to walk in and see the two asleep. In the same bed. They were tangled in one another, Hitoshi looking protective even in his sleep. An arm was draped over Midoriya’s back with the other being used as a pillow. Midoriya was curled against Hitoshi, appearing content even with stitches and bruising. 

It was a surprise, but a welcome one. The kids had been dancing around each other for a while now. Shouta was just happy they seemed alright. Hitoshi was sleeping, and Midoriya wasn’t covered in bandages from head to toe. His student was ok. He was safe now. 

Shouta crept into the room, sitting in one of the chairs closest to Midoriya’s bed. A lot of thoughts were swirling around his head, but he ignored most of them. What’s done is done, nothing can change it. All he can do is be here for the aftermath. 

Although, it looked like Hitoshi had that part covered pretty well. 

So Shouta settled in to wait for them to wake up. His phone still had a lot of battery. A text from Inko flashed across his screen, telling him she’d be arriving at the hospital in a bit. He nodded silently, opening his most frequent contact. An update text to Hizashi later and he realized he had won a good sum of money off of Nemuri. A grin took over his face after he snapped pictures for evidence. 

Iida and Todoroki entered not long after. They sent Shouta questioning looks, but didn’t make a peep. Iida looked like he wanted to, probably about how Hitoshi shouldn’t be sleeping while being used as a blanket for Midoriya, but Todoroki stopped him. The tall boy closed his mouth and went back to whatever he had been doing before he left. 

For all that had happened, Shouta was happy this was the outcome. 

 

Chapter Text

Izuku’s consciousness gradually faded back in. He became semi-aware of things, stuck between the heavy blanket of sleep and cold wakefulness. Everything felt warm though. It felt safe. No bad memories threatening to break him, just the comfort of warmth and safety that seemed to fully encompass him. 

“Aww, he’s purring.” Oh, that was Mom’s voice. Izuku hadn’t even realized his throat was rumbling with the sound. 

“Is that…good?”

“Given the situation, it means he feels safe and happy around you, Shinsou.”

“Oh.”

Izuku’s sluggish mind slowly woke up a bit more. He registered more details as the minutes ticked by. He could sense more people in the room, one carrying the familiar scent of his mom. There was no danger, so he let his heavy eyes stay closed. 

But he was utterly surrounded by the scent of Shinsou. He could smell little else. Izuku was slightly confused, until the warmth shifted. And oh, he was curled against Shin. His face was pressed into his best friend’s chest. An arm was resting over his shoulders, and Izuku couldn’t help feeling it was protective, like a shield between him and the world. 

It was what made him feel safe. Izuku continued to purr, eyes staying closed. His Shin would protect him. He was safe in his arms. 

“How long has he been asleep?” Mom asked quietly. 

“Um, maybe an hour?” The voice hummed against Izuku’s ear. It was like a lullaby to him. “Dad can tell you when he gets back from the vending machine. I only woke up a few minutes before you came in.”

“Alright then, and Shinsou?”

“Yes Ma’am?”

“Take care of him. Goodness knows he needs a reminder to slow down sometimes.”

“I- I will, Mrs. Midoriya.”

“Good. I’m going to go make a call, why don’t you go back to sleep until Izuku wakes up.”

“Ok.”

Izuku vaguely registered steps leaving the room. His consciousness was fading away again. He was too tired to try and drag himself back to wakefulness. 

Before he fell asleep, he felt the warmth shift. The arm around him squeezed tighter and lips pressed against the top of his head. Soft words reached his ears in the quiet of the hospital room.

“I love you, Mido.”

He purred louder, before awareness slipped away from his grasp.



When Izuku woke up again, this time fully, his warmth was gone. He opened his eyes, and was greeted by the sight of the same hospital room as before, but without any hints of purple. His mom was here though. She was sitting in one of the hospital chairs, fiddling with her phone before noticing he was awake. 

“Izuku, sweetie, can you hear me?”

He blinked a few times, then nodded as he lifted his head from the pillow. Mom was quick to get up and help him. The stitches and bandages were still there, after all. 

Izuku looked around, surveying the room groggily. Todoroki was gone, but Iida was sitting on his bed. Their eyes met from across the room. Iida waved, then went back to reading whatever book was in his lap. 

“How long was I asleep?” He croaked, his throat suddenly feeling like sandpaper. 

“Three or four hours. How are you feeling, Izuku?” Mom asked, handing him a cup of water. Izuku drank it down greedily.

“Better,” he answered. “Was…Shin was here, right? I didn’t dream that?”

“He was here. The two of you fell asleep together.”

Izuku blushed, memories popping up again. Right, he had- he had actually done that. He had told Shin that he loved him. 

And his feelings were returned. Shin liked him too. They had- oh gosh, they had kissed. Izuku felt like his face was on fire now. He had really done that.  

“Izuku, are you alright?”

“I’m fiiiiiiiiine,” he whined, covering his face with his hands. “When- when can we leave?”

“Once I check you out. Are you ready to go?”

“Y-yeah. Thanks, Mom.”

“Ok then, you wait here while I go fill out the paperwork. No. Moving.”

Izuku shyed back a bit, but nodded quickly. He knew to take his mom seriously when she used that voice. She hummed in satisfaction, leaving the room to sign him out of the hospital. 

“Are you truly feeling better, Midoriya?” Iida asking, drawing Izuku’s attention. “Stitches are not…they are not painless.”

“I’m alright, Iida. They feel weird, but I think I’ve had enough painkillers to not really feel them too much.”

“That- that is good.” Iida paused, staring down at his hands for a moment. “Midoriya, I owe you an apology. Because of my recklessness and desire for revenge, you got hurt. I didn’t- Todoroki and I didn’t know what was happening when you couldn’t turn back. I thought that…”

“Hey, I’m ok now. You're not the one to blame for what happened to me. If anyone is, it’s Stain and that Nomu. They’re why I went into overload, not you.”

“…perhaps, but I still wish it could have been avoided.”

“Then don’t try and fight a villain by yourself,” Izuku laughed, wincing when it pulled at his stitches. “We all turned out ok. I got stuck as a cat for a bit, but I’m alright now. Just focus on healing, Iida, and never do that again.”

“Yes, I won’t- I won’t do that again.”

Mom appeared in the doorway with a nurse and a wheelchair. Izuku thought it was overkill for a few stitches, but he moved to the chair without protesting. 

“Good,” he said, smiling at his friend. “See you at school, Iida.”

Iida waved as he left the room. Izuku hummed happily, glad to finally be leaving the too white room and hospital beds. 



Izuku was startled awake by the buzzing of his phone. It took him a second to remember where he was. Right, he was home again. He was in his own bed with his posters and figures scattered around the room. No hospitals anymore. 

Oh, his phone was still buzzing. Izuku grabbed it groggily and brought it probably too close to his face. It wasn’t someone calling, like he’d thought, but instead a string of text messages. All from one person.

 

PurpleCat: are you awake?

PurpleCat: I’m still sending this if you’re not

PurpleCat: I tried before but Pop was trying to look over my shoulder

PurpleCat: Anyway

PurpleCat: I was wondering

 

Izuku shook his head fondly at the texts. Shinsou was typing something, but it looked like he kept deleting it. So Izuku took matters into his own hands. Sort of. 

 

GreenCat: Spit it out Shin

 

PurpleCat: Oh hey you’re awake

PurpleCat: Cool

 

GreenCat: Shin

GreenCat: Shin what were you going to ask

 

PurpleCat: Uhhhhh

PurpleCat: I maybe 

PurpleCat: Sorta

PurpleCat: Perhaps

 

GreenCat: Shinsou

 

PurpleCat: Wanted to know if you wanted to go on a date 

PurpleCat: A real one

 

Izuku stared at his phone, then pinched himself. Nope. Not dreaming. Definitely not dreaming. This was reality. A pretty good one too apparently. 

 

PurpleCat: You still there Mido?

 

GreenCat: Yep

GreenCat: Just processing

 

PurpleCat: Cool. I still need an answer?

 

GreenCat: Yes

 

PurpleCat: Yes?

 

GreenCat: Yes I’ll go on a date with you Shin. Where are we going and when?

 

PurpleCat: Surprise and uhhhh

PurpleCat: Saturday?

 

GreenCat: See you Saturday then :D

Izuku put his phone down, buried his face in his pillow, and let out a high-pitched note so loud his mom asked if he was ok. 

~~~~~

Saying Hitoshi was nervous would be the understatement of the year. 

It was Saturday. The Saturday. The Saturday Hitoshi was taking Mido on a date. He had everything planned. Hopefully. As long as today didn’t go like a cliche romance movie disaster then it would be fine. Even then, those movies Pop loved usually ended in a kiss, so at least if things went bad Hitoshi would still probably kiss Midoriya before he went home.

He refused to admit how that made his heart speed up and face turn red. Not to his dads, or his Aunt Nemuri, mostly because the teasing would be merciless.  

He had been up for a few hours now. He had his outfit, and he had the tickets they needed. Everything was ready.

But Hitoshi was still nervous. 

He didn’t need to be. He knew he had little reason to be nervous, but that didn’t change the fact that he was pacing right now. It felt ridiculous. He knew Mido. They were best friends before this. It’s not like they were different people. Yeah they were going on an actual date this time, something Hitoshi had been dreaming of for a while now, but they were still the same people as before.

So why did he feel so nervous about this?

A loud meow finally made him stop wearing a hole in his bedroom floor. He looked over, seeing Princess sitting on his bed. Her expression was as close to exasperated as a cat could get. 

“What?”

Another loud meow. Princess stared at him, then leapt off the bed. She proceeded to sit on his feet to stop him from pacing. 

“Princess, what are you doing?” 

His answer was a slightly quieter than before meow. 

“Yes I know I need to stop pacing, but you’re not helping me be less nervous.”

She head butted his leg, tail curling around his feet. Now he really couldn’t move or else he would risk stepping on her. Princess meowed again, licking her paw. 

“I’m nervous because it’s a real date I guess. I know he’s still the same Midoriya, but it feels different now that it’s actually romantic.”

Princess batted his leg with a paw. Thankfully her claws weren’t out to scratch his pants. That was the last thing he needed right now.  

“Yes I know it’s the same as when we hang out, but this is a date.”

His cat yowled then, glaring up at him. Hitoshi wished he could actually understand her instead of making his best guess. 

“I’m still going, you don’t have to yell,” he huffed. “And I won’t hurt him, don’t worry. I’d sooner get stabbed than let anything happen to Midoriya.”

That got a satisfied nya from Princess. Hitoshi shook his head, gently easing her off his feet. He did have to leave soon, after all. 

Princess yowled one more time before he rushed out the door. Pop and Dad joined it with well wishes. 

“I’ll be fine, have a fun night without me! No locking Princess out on the balcony.”

Hitoshi closed the door before he could hear their sputtering, a grin on his face as he practically skipped outside. He had a date to get to. 

~~~~~

“Izuku! Shinsou is here!”

Despite the fact that his wounds were still healing, Izuku practically sprinted out of his room. He had dressed up a bit more than he usually did for today. Hopefully it fit for wherever they were going, since Shinsou was insistent on not telling him where that was.

Izuku just hoped he didn’t mess anything up. He had never been on a date before! Then again, Shin hadn’t either, so how bad could it really go?

Izuku ran around the corner, still pulling his shoes on, only to stop and stare. Shin was in the doorway, dressed better than Izuku had seen in awhile. A white shirt and black jacket rolled up to his elbows with jeans and the sneakers he wore everywhere. It made Izuku feel underdressed with his black “tuxedo” shirt. 

“You, uh, you look awesome, Shin.”

Shinsou grinned, rubbing at the back of his neck. Izuku smiled brighter when he realized the other boy was blushing. 

“Thanks, Mido. You ready to go?”

“Yeah! Bye Mom!”

“We’ll be back before it gets dark, Mrs. Midoriya.”

“You boys have fun,” she laughed. “And try to stay away from trouble.”

“I’ll make sure he doesn’t run into a villain fight.”

“Shin!”

“Goodbye Mrs. Midoriya.”

And with that, the door shut behind them. Izuku started to chatter about something he wasn’t giving much thought to, a nervous habit of his. He paid enough attention to see Shinsou was smiling as he led the two of them out of the building. 

“So, are you going to tell me where we’re going now?” Izuku said once they were outside. 

“Hmm…no. It’s a surprise.”

“Shiiiiinnn.”

“It’s a surprise,” Shinsou laughed. Izuku had forgotten how much he loved that sound. “So what were you saying about that Quirk you saw the other day?”

Izuku beamed, and began talking once again. He was so excited, words spilling out like water through a dam, that he missed the soft look Shin sent him. 



“We’re here.”

Izuku stopped talking, looking around to see where they had ended up after ten minutes of walking. They were on a decently busy street, but not one of the super crowded ones. He recognized the street actually. As well as the place they were standing in front of. 

“A cat cafe!” Izuku practically squealed. 

“Yeah, I figured we could get bubble tea and play with some of the cats? After I thought we could go to that new movie you wanted to see? I know it’s cliche and probably-“

Izuku put a hand over Shinsou’s mouth to stop him from talking. He probably could have kept talking if he wanted to, but he didn’t. Thankfully he didn’t try and lick Izuku’s hand either. 

“Shin, this sounds perfect. Thank you.” Izuku grinned, moving his hand to hold Shinsou’s own instead of covering his mouth. “Come on then! Let’s so see the cats!”

Izuku pulled Shinsou inside, two notes of laughter ringing alongside the cheery bell. 

~~~~~

Hitoshi didn’t really realize how far gone he was for Midoriya until now. 

They were in the cat cafe, sitting with their drinks to play with said cats. Midoriya had finished his first, and full-shifted to play with the kitties after they had talked for a bit. Hitoshi sat and watched from their table. 

It was one of the most adorable things ever. The cats all flocked to Midoriya, both curious and cautious of him. After a few minutes of cat noises they had apparently adopted Mido, because he was suddenly in a purring mass of cats. After a while they all gathered in a crowd around him, listening to one another say stuff in their cat language. 

Hitoshi had no idea what any of them were saying, but it looked almost exactly like when Midoriya and Princess talked. Either way, it was adorable, so he snapped a few pictures. Before a fluffy tabby jumped on his lap, that is. 

He did wonder what they were talking about though.

~~~~~

“And he’s your person?”

“Is he nice?”

“Does he give you treats?”

“Is he really yours?”

Izuku would have laughed at all their questions if he wasn’t so flustered. The cats here were really nice! Though they were like piranhas when they heard gossip. The second he mentioned Shinsou being his person, they were immediately questioning him. 

It was still better than what Princess would probably put him through once he visited again. 

“Why is he so tall?”

“Are those things on his shoes toys?”

“Can we still get pats from him?”

Izuku batted at the air, getting the cats’ attention. He took a deep breath, wondering if this is what people heard when he muttered, and tried to answer as many questions in one go as he could. 

“Yes he is my person, he is very nice and gives treats if he has any. I don’t know why he’s so tall, and you can get pats from him as long as you don’t hurt him.”

There was an answering chorus of meows, and a few of the cats broke off to go demand attention from Shinsou. He watched with a fond look as his friend boyfriend person slid onto the floor to pet the mob of cats now that he was done with his drink.

Izuku jumped when a cat head-butted his side. He turned, seeing it was an elderly brown tabby cat. She was staring at him like she could see straight to his soul. 

“You hold on ‘ta that person ‘a yours, Kit. He is a good ‘un.”

“I- I will.”

“Good. Not often I sense a ‘mate anymore.”

“A…mate?”

“Humans call ‘em soulmates or somethin’. Only sense ‘em with those cat sorta humans though, like you. Little red string tied to ya paw. Tried to play with it when I was a kit myself. Never budged.”

A memory made itself known to Izuku. Legends of the red string of fate, that connected people meant to be together. Did that mean…did that mean he was meant to be with Shinsou? 

Izuku would be blushing bright red if he was a person right now. As it was, he ducked his head, looking at where the elder cat had been staring at one of his paws. He saw nothing, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t there. 

“And…do you have a- a soulmate?” He asked, if only to take his mind off the new revelation. 

“Nah, not me. And I’m too old for a ‘mate now anyway. These old bones are weary, Kit.”

Izuku was silent, watching Shinsou practically get buried beneath cats. He knew his expression was a soft one. He really had fallen hard, hadn’t he. 

“You keep your person close, ‘ya hear me, Kit?”

“I will, thank you.”

The elderly tabby huffed happily, then padded off. Izuku smiled, and went back to his person. 

~~~~~

“And then they actually analyzed the situation instead of rushing in head first and you don’t usually see that in movies so it was really cool to see and that action scene that was done amazingly and the actors pulled it off so well and I can’t believe-“

“Breathe, Mido.”

“Right! Anyway, I can’t believe they actually kept to the book’s plot!”

“I know, right?”

“And those special effects!”

“Amazing.”

Izuku laughed, a bright smile on his face that hadn’t budged since the two of them had left the theater. The movie had been so cool! And there weren’t any couples in there that were making obnoxious noises, so it was double fun! 

Now they were walking back to Izuku’s apartment, taking a different route than the one that afternoon. This one apparently went past Dagobah beach. Izuku only knew when he looked over and saw the ocean. 

“Isn’t this the beach you trained at?”

“Yeah, it used to be covered in trash.”

“Huh, how many people did it take to clean?”

“Oh, just me.”

Shinsou barked a laugh, like Izuku had said something funny. “Nice one, Mido.”

“Um, Shin, I’m serious.”

“You…are?” Shinsou paused, staring intently at Izuku’s face for a moment. “You are. You clean an entire beach. By yourself. Mido how the fuck.”

“Time and determination.”

“Determination my ass, you clean an entire beach by yourself? How the hell do people still underestimate you?”

Izuku shrugged, his grin turning sharp. “Their loss.”

“You can be terrifying, you know that?”

“Yep!”

Izuku hummed as they kept walking, eventually arriving at his apartment. He turned, ready to say goodbye to Shinsou. Only to see his person walk past him and into the building, then pause for Izuku to catch up.

“You coming?”

“You don’t have to walk me to my apartment door you know,” Izuku said, but still smiled at Shinsou anyway. 

“Are you kidding? You’re a villain magnet, Mido, I’m not letting you walk home by yourself. Besides, my parents taught me proper manners is walking your date to the door.”

Izuku shook his head, but kept up their conversation as they headed up the stairs. When they reached his door, Izuku turned to say goodbye. 

A hand grabbed his wrist, pulling him up short. Izuku spun around, and found Shinsou only a few inches from his face. He immediately felt his cheeks heat up.

“May I…may I kiss you goodnight?” 

Izuku was pretty sure his face was on fire at this point. That part didn’t matter though, not when Shin was so close. Not when Izuku was already leaning forward to close the gap between them. 

They were inexperienced, and Izuku knew it probably showed, but he didn’t care. He was lost in the feeling of being so close to Shinsou. Lost in the feeling of lips on his and a hand gently cradling his face. He was encompassed by the scent and feel of his person.  

They broke apart after a moment, eyes still half closed. Izuku leaned into the hand still on his cheek. 

“Goodnight, Mon Minou,” Shinsou whispered, then stepped away. 

Izuku watched his…boyfriend? His boyfriend. He watched his boyfriend walk down the hallway and back down the stairs, disappearing from sight. His touch still lingered in Izuku’s mind. 

Mom just giggled at his lovesick expression when he finally came inside. 

~~~~~

Izuku got more texts the next day, just after he had finished eating breakfast. He smiled softly when he saw who they were from.

 

PurpleCat: Soooo

PurpleCat: Was that an ok first date?

 

GreenCat: It was a perfect first date

 

PurpleCat: Cool

PurpleCat: Awesome

PurpleCat: …I have no idea what to say now

 

GreenCat: It was a nice first date for you too, right? I know I rambled a lot after the movie and spent more time with the cats than you in the cafe

 

PurpleCat: nah, it was a great first date

 

GreenCat: Perfect!

GreenCat: When can I take you on another?

 

There was no reply for a few minutes. Izuku shrugged, taking the opportunity to change out of his pajamas.

(Meanwhile, Shinsou was laying facedown on his bed, quietly shrieking with a red face that could rival a cherry)

 

PurpleCat: Next week?

 

GreenCat: Sure!!

GreenCat: See you at school, my Shin

 

Izuku couldn’t help the thousand watt smile that was stuck to his face the rest of the day.



Chapter Text

The day started with whispers trailing after Izuku like a thick fog. It began on the train, and didn’t stop once he reached UA. The halls were filled with muted words of his fight, even if they didn’t know the green cat in the background had been him. It made him nervous. 

He hurried to class with his head down, and didn’t stop until the door had slid shut behind him. Izuku let out a sigh of relief at the quiet.

It lasted all of five seconds. 

He nearly jumped onto the wall as half the class yelled his name. Almost immediately he was being tackled in a hug from Uraraka. Izuku heard Iida scolding everyone in the background, his hands chopping like they always did. He nearly hit Ashido over the head this time. 

It was nice, actually. The class almost felt like normal, despite Izuku having been in mortal peril. Again.  

Aizawa-sensei walked in earlier than he usually did. It was a surprise for everyone, and they all froze in a mix of surprise and fear. A teacher being early didn’t usually mean good things. Especially Aizawa-sensei. 

It was a surprise for everyone, except Izuku. He knew why their teacher was early. A bright grin lit up his face as he calmly sat down. Everyone else was still unmoving. 

“Everyone to their seats,” Aizawa-sensei drawled. They were all quick to listen, scrambling to their seats like their lives depended on it. “We have something important to discuss before class actually begins today.”

Izuku sat still in his chair, just barely stopping himself from buzzing in excitement. Aizawa glanced over at him, a knowing look in his eyes. He was trying not to smile too. 

“Today we have someone new joining us.” Whispers immediately followed that statement. They were quieted with a red glare. “You can come in now.”

Shinsou stepped through the door, bag slung over one shoulder and purple hair messy as ever. 

The class was in an immediate uproar. Some were cheering, others were asking if this was a prank, and others still were yelling incoherently. Izuku just smiled at Shinsou like he was made of pure sunlight.

“Quiet down. This is Hitoshi Shinsou, he will be filling the spot left by Mineta. Treat him the same as your other classmates.”

Izuku wondered if that was advice that should be followed. He certainly didn’t want to kiss any of his other classmates.

“Shinsou, you can have the desk behind Midoriya.”

The two of them shared a look as he walked past. Now that they were in the same class, their classmates would get a taste of the absolute chaos the two of them could cause. Not today, specifically, since Aizawa could still technically send him back to general education. 

That did not, however, mean next week was off limits. 

~~~~~

Hizashi was…mildly concerned. Not for his son, who had just joined 1-A, but instead for his son’s new boyfriend. 

See, he had been teaching English like normal. The kids were taking notes, also normal. 

The sudden sound of something sharp shredding wood and paper was decidedly not normal. 

Hizashi looked around, quickly spotting the culprit of making the noise. It was Midoriya, who had cat ears right now. He had apparently clawed up a piece of paper…as well as the desk underneath it. 

“Are you ok, Midoriya?”

Every other sound in the room paused. Hizashi glanced at the shredded paper, and almost started laughing. Like the well trained pro hero he was, he did not. Instead he started mentally cackling and thanking every deity that there were no mind reading students this year.

Because on the paper was what suspiciously looked like “Izuku Shinsou” and “Hitoshi Midoriya” scribbled inside a heart. Both written in the bright pen Midoriya was using to take notes. 

“Uh, y-yeah, I’m fine,” the kid said, quickly sweeping the paper scraps away to hide them. Hizashi idly wondered if this had happened before, just without the desk shredding part. 

Hizashi turned his laughter that escaped into a cough. He had the distinct feeling neither his son nor Midoriya bought it. 

“Anyway, who here can tell me what the present tense of ‘spoke’ is in English?”

~~~~~

“Hey Midoriya, dude, I have a question.”

Izuku mentally sighed. Well, at least Kaminari had waited until lunch to ask questions instead of the middle of class. Didn’t stop the words from scaring Izuku half to death. 

“Uh, ok, what is it?”

“So we know you can eat things or something, but like, how much? Is there a limit?”

Oh. Oh this was a question he could handle. Thank goodness. 

“Because Ashido and I were wondering-“ Oh no- “if you could eat like, a tree.”

“Uhh…yeah no, I can’t eat a tree. There’s a size limit on how big a thing I can eat, just like a normal person.”

That was the moment Ashido decided to practically drape herself over Uraraka. Not that the other girl minded. Instead she shifted over so that Ashido wouldn’t fall. Izuku found it both amusing and adorable. 

“So then what’s your limit? You ate the- the Nomu thing, at the USJ, right? That thing was bigger than All Might.”

“I…honestly wasn’t thinking straight at the USJ. If something is too big I risk…well, I risk messing up my jaw. If that doesn’t happen then I bite it in half. As far as I know, the Nomu is my limit.”

“So, theoretically, you can eat paper?”

“Yes?”

“And you can turn into a cat, right?”

“Yes.” Izuku paused, eyeing the two people who weren’t usually at their table. “Where exactly is this going?”

“You see,” Kaminari started.

“We might have-“

“-just a bit-“

“-only slightly-“

“-not finished our homework-“

“-and we need you to pretend to be our cat so we can say you ate our homework.”

Izuku blinked, still processing the chaotic line of questioning these two had. They stared at him expectantly. Out of the corner of his eye, Izuku could see Shinsou press his face into the table. Whether in exasperation or laughter remained to be seen. 

“Uhhh.”

“Please Midoriya! It’s just some paper.”

“Guys, I’m not going to eat your homework.”

“But it’s for a good cause!”

“Yeah, no. The teachers would know it was me.”

“Wh- how?”

“Hey,” Shinsou said, drawing the attention away from Izuku. “You do know you can just ask for an extension, right?”

“…what?”

“If you ask, the teachers might give you more time to do the work. UA has more freedom with that sorta stuff, so as long as you show you can actually finish it they’ll probably give you an extension.”

Ashido and Kaminari shared a look, then raced away from the table. Izuku shrugged, and went back to eating his food. He made a mental note to thank Shin for the distraction later. For now, he just wanted to eat his lunch with his friends. 

~~~~~

The end of the school day was…bittersweet for Kouji. He actually liked this school, but he also liked getting to go home. His animal friends were almost all at home. 

That being said, he did have animal friends on UA’s campus too. Most were birds, but today that’s not the only friend he saw. 

“Not-Cat!” 

The green cat stopped in its mission of wherever it was going to turn and look at him. Kouji thought for a second he had made a mistake, some cats didn’t like attention, but then the creature trotted in his direction. It came up and wound around his ankles for a moment. 

“Friend of Creatures,” it meowed happily. “Fighting better now?”

Kouji sat on the ground, careful of the animal’s long tail. He put out a hand, letting the not-cat sniff it before it allowed him to pet them. “Yes, my fighting has improved. The teachers here have been a big help.”

“That good. Kits learn as they grow. You are learning.”

“I’m not a kit though, Not-Cat.”

“Not a kit,” they agreed. “But not full grown. Still learning.”

“Yes, that’s true. My whole class is learning. Oh! Have you met my cat morph classmate yet? Well, I don’t really think he’s a cat morph, but I’m not going to be rude and ask him myself.”

The Not-Cat almost seemed to laugh, a smile on their feline face. It was an odd expression on a cat. “Met, yes. Not cat morph. Green like me.”

“Oh, yeah I guess. I haven’t actually seen what he looks like as a cat. Does he look like you too?”

“Yes, look like me. Not a cat morph, like me.”

“You didn’t tell me last time, friend, but what are you? You are not a cat, but not a cat morph either. Can you tell me?”

“You have never met one like me?”

“No.”

“Not surprised.” Not-cat sat down, their tail curling around their paws. “Not many of me. Hunted. Hurt. Most think all are dead. You know now?”

Oh.

Oh.

He did. Kouji knew. It was a faint memory, a story he had read in the library once as a kid. It had stuck with him because of the topic. A thing that can be mistaken for a cat morph, but was definitely not. A creature that could take the shape of a cat or a person, and could hold universes in their mouths. 

A Flerken. 

He must have said it out loud, because the cat pawed at his leg. “Yes, Flerken. Trust with secret, Friend of Creatures?”

“Yes. Yes, you can- you can trust me.”

“Thank you.”

The cat- the Flerken- purred. They rubbed their head against his hand, before turning to walk towards UA’s main building. Kouji watched, another piece of the puzzle clicking into place. 

“Will you be telling the rest of the class?” He asked quietly. 

“One day. Not now. Keep that secret too?”

“Of course.”

Kouji smiled as he watched the green cat trot away towards the UA building. Midoriya was a bit less of a mystery now. 

~~~~~

Hitoshi had just begun to wonder what was taking Midoriya so long, when the teacher's lounge door was forcefully thrown open. A green blur raced across the room, uncaring of the door slamming closed again, and rocketed into Hitoshi. He was knocked flat onto the couch cushions, and the weight that now rested on his stomach increased from fluffy cat to fluffy human. 

“Mido, can you not use yourself as a battering ram please?” Hitoshi wheezed. 

“Sorry.” He said in a tone that sounded the exact opposite. 

Hitoshi rolled his eyes, settling more comfortably against the couch and pulling his feet onto the cushions. Midoriya was laying on top of him, head resting on Hitoshi’s chest with arms wrapped around him. It was adorable. 

Hitoshi didn’t think before pressing a kiss to the curls in front of him. He felt his chest rumble with Midoriya’s purring a moment later. It was peaceful. Their own little bubble of existence. Neither had gotten much time together today, not by themselves at least. 

Midoriya lifted his head, looking at Hitoshi now instead of his shirt. “Hey Shin?”

“Yes Mido?”

“I have a question. We’re boyfriends now, right?”

“I would sure hope so,” Hitoshi chuckled, pressing another kiss to Midoriya’s forehead. He had waited so long to be able to do that.

“Oh shush, listen. Since we’re dating now, can I call you Hitoshi?”

Hitoshi stared. He didn’t blink much as he gazed into the green slitted eyes watching him. They were curious, and nervous. The stars of green sparkled and danced in their galaxies. 

Hitoshi.exe has stopped responding. Restart?

“Uh, Sh-Shin? You ok?”

“Yeah I’m- I’m fine. You just- you surprised me.”

“Oh. If you d-don’t want me to call you that then I don’t have to it’s ok I was just curious and we’ve been friends for a long time and now we’re boyfriends so-“

Hitoshi brought a hand up to cradle his boyfriend’s cheek. He smiled softly, the words between the two of them tapering off into the quiet. They were both grateful the teachers were all in their classrooms right now. 

“You can call me anything you want, Mon Minou. Hitoshi works just fine, if I can call you Izuku.”

And suddenly he had a red face being buried in his chest. It made him laugh. Midori- Izuku. Izuku whined in indignation at Hitoshi’s laughter. 

Stoooooop ,” Izuku whined, batting lightly at Hitoshi’s face. “Why do you have to be so romantic.”

“Because I haven’t been able to kiss you before, so let me be cheesy and romantic, you dork.”

“‘Dork,’ he says. Like you weren’t the one to plan our first date.”

“Shut it.”

“Make me.”

~~~~~

Shouta was only half surprised to find his two Problem Children asleep on one of the teachers lounge couches. He just draped a blanket over them and went to grade papers at his desk. They needed some sleep anyway.

 

Chapter Text

Finals were soon. 

Izuku, despite being Nedzu’s own student, still did not like exams. Yes he did well on them, but he still hated them. The stress itself was already bad enough. Now that he was officially enrolled in UA there was even more pressure. 

In summary, exams were stressful and Izuku wanted to hide with Aizawa-sensei in a cocoon. Caterpillars didn’t have to take tests. 

Hitoshi had the same idea apparently. Izuku came over Saturday afternoon to find his boyfriend facedown on the couch in a blanket burrito. Princess was curled in a ball on his back. She chirped when he quietly walked in, making use of the key he had for once. It looked like Yamada and Aizawa were both out for now. 

“Uhh, Hitoshi? You ok there?”

A muffled voice was his answer, and a loud meow from Princess. 

“My Shin, I can’t hear you.”

Hitoshi rolled onto his side, facing the back of the couch. Princess grumbled as she readjusted her sitting position. 

“I said I’m dead.” Hitoshi mumbled, barely cracking his eyes open. “But hey, looks like an angel decided to visit me in my dying moments.”

“What killed you this time?” Izuku joked, dropping his bag on the floor. “Was it math, or chemistry?”

“Fuckin’- the numbers one.”

Izuku furrowed his brows, leaning over the back cushions to look Hitoshi in the eye. He looked…well, tired felt too generous of a word. “My Shin, how much sleep did you get last night?”

“Somethin’ hours.”

“Hitoshi.”

“Probably like, two? Maybe one and a half. Wait, no, that was yesterday. Got like, 10.”

“Hours?”

“Minutes.”

“Hitoshi Shinsou.”

“Yeah, I know,” Hitoshi whined, burying his face in a pillow. Princess walked over him until he stopped moving. 

Izuku sighed, walking around to the front of the couch. He sat on the floor, wondering if he should try and help his boyfriend with homework or make him take a nap. The latter immediately won by a long shot. 

“You really need some sleep…” Izuku said idly.

Hitoshi rolled over again, facing Izuku this time. They were only a few inches apart now. Izuku found he wasn’t as nervous about that as he would have been two weeks ago. “Sleep with me?”

And just like that, Izuku was bright red again. He fell backwards, limbs flailing and almost hitting the table. Hitoshi just blinked slowly. Still processing just what he had said.

“Uhh, Hitoshi. My Shin. Love, please rethink those words.”

Another slow blink, and then Hitoshi seemed to realize what he had said. His cheeks lit up pink as he covered his head with the blanket.

“That…I meant a nap. I just want a nap, Izuku.” Hitoshi blindly swatted the air with one hand, probably trying to whack Izuku’s arm or something. “Whyyyyy would you think of that?”

“You’re the one that brought it up!”

“I want to sleep, not think about that right now.”

Izuku laughed, picking himself up again. He shook his head, going back around the couch to grab his bag so he could get some actual work done while Hitoshi rested. 

Then he was pulled backwards. A yelp escaped his throat as he fell, a thought flashing through his mind that this was how he died. His back hit something semi-soft, and arms trapped him where he was now awkwardly half-laying on top of his boyfriend. 

“Hitoshi, really?”

“I said I wanna sleep. We’re taking a nap, no homework until we wake up.”

“But we have to-”

“And I know you didn’t sleep much either.”

Izuku shut his mouth. Hitoshi…wasn’t wrong. He hadn’t slept. To be fair though, he was partially nocturnal anyway. 

But it also didn’t look like Hitoshi was going to let him up any time soon. Izuku sighed, defeated. 

“Give up?”

“Yes, fine. We can take a nap.”

Izuku full-shifted, escaping Hitoshi’s arms to curl up on his chest. Princess grumbled, but joined him anyway. Hitoshi ran a hand through his fur, finally relaxing beneath Izuku. At least now he could make sure his boyfriend slept for a bit. 

Before he knew it, his eyes were slipping closed too. 

~~~~~

Hizashi had very nearly started panicking when he discovered their door was unlocked. One shared look with his husband, and both were on high alert. Shouta grabbed his capture weapon that he insisted on wearing everywhere. Hizashi took a deep breath.

They opened the door and crept in without a sound. Their main worry was Hitoshi, who had been left by himself. He wasn’t leaving their sides for a month if a villain had broken in. 

Hizashi looked into their apartment, and let out the air he was holding. Shouta glanced around just to be safe, but sighed after a moment too. 

Because on the couch, all asleep, were their son, their cat, and their son’s boyfriend. The two cats were on top of Hitoshi, peacefully snoozing away. Midoriya was settled on Hitoshi’s chest, curled in a ball of green fluff. Princess was on his legs, making double-sure he wouldn’t move. 

Hizashi couldn’t help but smile. Hitoshi hadn’t slept last night, so it was nice to know he was actually getting some rest today. He always did seem to sleep better when Midoriya was with him. It was adorable. 

And of course, more pictures were taken and sent to Inko. 

~~~~~

“Ok, but can you?”

“I cannot condone this!”

“Do it do it do it do it!”

“Let me get this straight,” Izuku said. “If I can shove this entire onigiri in my mouth, you’ll give me your pudding?”

“Yep!”

“Deal.”

Izuku was about to eat the rice ball, when a lunch tray hit the back of his head. He yelped, dropping the food onto his plate. His friends were glaring at the one who caused it.

A haughty laugh is what told Izuku who it was. 

“Class 1-A! I didn’t mean to bump into you, your big head just got in the way.”

Izuku sighed, wanting to bang his head on the table. He knew Monoma. Not personally, but when a person regularly sits in the vents, they hear a lot of things. Specifically, he had heard that this person was an asshole. Most of it was directed towards 1-A unfortunately. 

The dude literally could not have picked a worse class to try and trash talk. 

“Hello, Monoma. Nice to meet you too,” Izuku said, rubbing the back of his head. 

“Ah, and you must be Midoriya! The one famous for…what was it? Fighting a villain all by yourself.”

Izuku scowled, not turning around to face Monoma. He poked at his food instead. 

“Hm, I do wonder though, how long will it take for you to realize the spotlight isn’t only for you?”

“What exactly are you talking about?” Hitoshi asked, drawing Monoma’s attention. 

Monoma paused, eyeing Hitoshi. Izuku felt the sudden and irrational urge to hiss at the 1-B student. His instincts were a chorus of “ my person my Shin not yours not yours he’s mine.”

“Well, looks like 1-A finally got a decent looking person in their class.”

“Excuse me?”

“I mean, have you seen some of them?” Izuku growled, letting the sound rumble in his throat. Monoma didn’t seem to notice. “But you? You’re not bad on the eyes, aren’t you.”

“Leave him alone,” Izuku grit out. 

“Oh and what? I don’t bite, Midoriya.”

Izuku stood up, turning to face Monoma. His eyes were narrowed, and a small percentage of One for All was burning in his veins to make his eyes glow even brighter. He saw the moment Monoma realized this. And yet, the idiot still opened his mouth once again. 

“You don’t bite?” Izuku hissed lowly.

“Uh, no? I’m certainly a lot nicer than some of the 1-A id-“

“Finish that sentence and you’re taking a trip to space, bitch,” Uraraka threatened. 

“Let’s get one thing straight, Monoma.” Izuku growled just loud enough for only him to hear, face inches from the boy. “I am very not. I am his, and he is mine. Touch my Shin and lose the hand.”

“Pfft, really? You’re with this loser, Shinsou?”

“Monoma, shut your mouth before he eats you.”

“HA, I’d like to see him try.”

“You asked for it,” Izuku chirped, swinging from angry to happy in half a second. it confused Monoma into staying still. 

He was gone in a flash of red. Izuku paused once he was gone, all traces of his quirk fading beneath his skin. He very calmly sat in his chair again. 

“Midoriya!” Iida admonished.

“He did technically ask for it,” Hitoshi said, eating his lunch like nothing had happened. 

“He’s not wrong, Iida,” Uraraka said, smiling while she said it. 

Their friend paused, not able to find an argument. Monoma had technically and literally asked for it. Izuku was satisfied that his Hitoshi was safe. 

“Uhh, where did Monoma go?”

Izuku turned, head tilted in curiosity. It was Kendou, 1-B’s class president. She was nice, and currently looked very confused as to where her classmate had gone. 

“Oh, I ate him.”

“You…what?”

“He was being an asshole,” Uraraka explained. “So Midoriya ate him. He should really know better than to hit on Midoriya’s friends.”

“I’m sorry, but what do you mean you ate him?”

“He’s fine, don’t worry,” Izuku said quickly. “He’s just in a pocket dimension in my mouth.”

“Midoriya, how is that better?”

“Oh, uh, I can spit him out, so he’s fine.”

“Uh, ok. Spit him out then, please.”

“No thank you.”

Kendou blinked. Uraraka snorted and ducked Iida’s flying hand. Izuku sat there, contemplating whether Nedzu would ground him from lock picking practice if he didn’t spit the annoying person out. 

“Midoriya, spit him out.”

Izuku turned away from her, mouth firmly shut. 

“Midoriya I swear, I will go get Eraserhead.”

That made him pause, but he ultimately shook his head again. “He tried to hit on my person. He is in timeout.”

“He’s in- Midoriya I swear to god.”

“What’s all the commotion?”

Izuku’s head whipped up so fast he thought he’d get whiplash. Standing behind them was Lunch Rush. He had his arms crossed, and even though none of them could see his eyes, they all got the distinct impression that he was raising an eyebrow. 

“Midoriya ate Monoma apparently, and doesn’t want to spit him out,” Kendou explained, rubbing her temples. 

“He did now, did he?”

“In my defense,” Izuku started. “He was trying to flirt with Hitoshi.”

“He was, Mr. Lunch Rush,” Uraraka confirmed. 

“I…can also attest to this, though I do not condone Midoriya’s actions.”

Lunch Rush paused, then sighed. “Midoriya, spit him out, or else I’m not giving you any more katsudon.”

“You wouldn’t.”

“I would. Spit him out.”

Izuku grumbled, but spat Monoma out onto the floor. The boy just laid there for a second, clothes wet with small rips decorating the fabric. 

And then he leapt to his feet. He stared at Izuku for a moment, not moving. Izuku tilted his head and bared his teeth in a grin. The blond weasel promptly ran from the room screaming. It was a sight to see, that’s for sure. 

“Uh, well, thanks I guess. Sorry he was being a moron again.” Kendou paused, glancing at the door that was now swinging shut behind her classmate. “Heard older students say the exam uses robots like the entrance exam. Sorry again for him, hope that’s a good enough peace offering for now.”

With that said, Kendou sprinted after Monoma. Izuku hummed, and went back to eating his lunch. 

He wondered if Nedzu had intentionally told the upperclassmen to spread false rumors about the exam. 

~~~~~

Class 1-A stood in front of UA’s main building. Their normal finals were done now, thank god. Many of them felt like their brains had been fried, and for good reason. Those exams were hard.  

This was their last test though. The practical final for the heroics course. Hitoshi would have felt it a bit unfair that he had to take it too, if he hadn’t been trained by his dads for years now. 

That being said, he felt bad for most of the class. Anyone that wasn’t Izuku or him thought they were facing robots. Hitoshi would have told them, if not for the fact he had been barred from that. He would have also not listened and told everyone if Dad hadn’t threatened to keep him away from Izuku until the summer camp. 

As crafty and sneaky as his boyfriend could be, that meant they would be limited to seeing each other for only a few hours in the early morning. Dad would be passed out from patrolling and Pop would still be at his radio station. So, he kept his mouth shut. Izuku had probably been given similar options (read: threats). 

So here they all stood, the UA teachers lined up in front of them. Hitoshi, knowing no one was looking, edged over and took Izuku’s hand. He knew his boyfriend was stressing out over this. It didn’t seem to have gotten through his stubborn head yet that he was amazing and could do anything. Hitoshi would just have to keep telling him until he started to believe it. 

Nedzu popped out from Dad’s scarf, and all chatter immediately stopped. Probably more in surprise than anything else. 

“Does anyone here know what this exam will be?” Nedzu asked.

“Robots!” Most of the class cheered.

“Wrong!” The principal happily chirped. “Due to the circumstances of this year, the exams have changed!”

Hitoshi swore he heard at least five people say “oh shit.”

“This year, you will be put into pairs, and face a hero!”

Silence reigned in the mass of students. Hitoshi squeezed Izuku’s hand, grinning and blushing slightly under his scarf and voice modifier when it was returned. 

“The pairs are the following-“

Hitoshi mostly tuned the principal out. He snapped back into awareness when his name was called though. 

“Shinsou and Sero versus Midnight.“

Oh. That…wasn’t too bad? Maybe? Depending on what ground they were shoved into that is. If it was flat ground they’d be, in the nicest way possible, fucked. Hitoshi couldn’t hide and fool his sort-of aunt and Sero wouldn’t be able to use his Quirk very well. Hitoshi was still wondering whether he was part spider or something thanks to Todoroki and his conspiracy theories. 

“-and finally, Midoriya and Bakugou versus All Might. Go to your assigned partner and the teacher will show you where to go.”

Hitoshi’s hand was suddenly caught in a vice grip. Well, this was the worst case scenario. Literally the one person Izuku didn’t get along with in this school. Besides Monoma, of course. Something had changed in Bakugou since the sports festival, but the two were still far from friends. 

“Hey, hey it’s ok, Izuku,” he said quietly, squeezing the hand currently crushing his own. “You said he’s gotten better, right? Maybe he’ll listen. He won’t hurt you. A teacher will be there. And it’s All Might, he’ll split you two if something bad happens.”

“I’m not worried about Katsuki. Not for the most part, at least,” Izuku whispered, wide eyes turning to Hitoshi. “I can’t- I can’t fight All Might, Hitoshi. I can’t win that fight.”

“You kidding? You can eat boulders, Mon Minou, I think you can handle a giant person.”

“No no no, Hitoshi, I can’t. I- I can’t fight him. What if I- what if I mess up? What if I m-make a mistake and- and he- and I-“

“Izuku,” Hitoshi said seriously, but quietly. It caught his boyfriend’s attention at least. “You are going to do fine. You haven’t messed up badly before, and you won’t now. I believe in you. I bet you a prank on the Bakusquad that you’re going to ace this exam just like all the others.”

“O-ok. Ok. Th-thank you, Hitoshi.”

“Thank me when you win. Now go on, before the angry dandelion tries to drag you to the bus.”

Izuku croaked out a laugh, and retreated to the bus where All Might was standing. Hitoshi watched him go for a second, then went to find where Sero and Midnight were. 

They were both going to win, and prove they belonged here.

 

Chapter Text

The bus was too quiet. Izuku would really rather be planning with Katsuki, but he was adamant about staying silent. All Might was sitting nearby, so he supposed it made sense. Mostly. 

He would still rather be saying something than sit in awkward silence. But he kept his mouth shut on the shortish drive to the testing grounds. 

They got there on time. All Might wished them luck, then ran off into the testing grounds, which seemed to be a model city. It left Izuku alone with Katsuki. He wasn’t scared of him, not anymore, but they did need a plan. And planning with someone who’s default boiled down to “blow it up” was not exactly an easy task. 

“Ok, we need a plan. All Might is-“

“Super strong, I know. But if we hit him hard enough even he can’t take it all. Just follow my lead and we’ll win this thing.”

That…was not the answer Izuku was looking for. He mentally sighed, steeling himself for another argument. Hopefully they could actually pass the exam.

“Katsuki, we need an actual strategy. Yes, All Might does have a limit to what he can take, but that limit is higher than our output.”

“And I can explode things, Izuku. I think we’ll be fine.”

“But Katsuki-“

“We’ll be fine. You distract him and I’ll hit him while he’s looking away. Easy as fucking pie.”

“…If you say so.”

Izuku shook his head, knowing this wasn’t a verbal fight he was going to win. Katsuki was stubborn, always had been and always would be. He wasn’t going to change his mind. Well, maybe getting thrown into a building by All Might would, but Izuku would prefer to avoid that particular scenario. 

The starting bell rang, and they were off. Izuku kept pace with Katsuki as they raced through the streets. There was no sign of All Might yet. He almost hoped it would remain that way for a bit longer.

Then Izuku’s hair stood on end. He immediately grabbed Katsuki’s arm, forcefully pulling him into a nearby alleyway. Not a moment too soon. The second they ducked behind the wall, a veritable hurricane of wind ripped its way down the open street. Debris and concrete went flying past them. 

It died down a minute later. Izuku held his arm out, not letting Katsuki go out yet. He half-shifted, listening for any sign of All Might. Of their enemy. 

“Come out come out wherever you are, little heroes!” All Might called somewhere down the street. It wasn’t close, thankfully, but Izuku was still cautious. “You can’t hide forever!”

Izuku grimaced, ears going back for a moment. He didn’t like this. He really didn’t like this. All Might was big, strong, and obviously not afraid to knock them around. Literally. Izuku was sturdier than a normal human, and Katsuki was strong in his own right, but both of them getting blown clear across the city would leave some nasty wounds. 

Izuku loved his mentor, but he was still learning how to adjust his power output to a child-friendly level. 

“Nerd, what the fuck are you doing? Let’s go get him!”

Oh, right. Katsuki didn’t have super-hearing. “He’s waiting for us. I can hear him down the street, probably within sight once we leave the alley. One glimpse of us and he shoots us out of the exam grounds.” 

“So we go around.”

Izuku nodded, happy Katsuki was thinking of a plan that wasn’t just outright exploding their opponent. The two of them started moving, tiptoeing down the alleys and around corners. Together they slowly wound their way farther into the fake city. There were air blasts that tore down the streets occasionally, but nothing more than a breeze ever reached them. 

Izuku’s ears flicked around as they grew closer to All Might. He could hear the hero yelling occasionally, and other times muttering too low for Izuku to hear anything but the sound. They were close though. At least the noise they made by walking wasn’t a problem. 

One more corner, and they could see All Might. Izuku froze on instinct, making sure All Might wasn’t looking towards them. The man was staring down the street, oblivious to them. Izuku let out a breath. 

Then had to immediately catch Katsuki, who had been about to fling himself out of the alley.

Izuku swung around, all but slamming Katsuki into the floor. The blonde leapt to his feet a second later, a snarl on his face. 

It disappeared when he looked at Izuku.

“What do you think you’re doing?” He hissed, ears pinned back and tail puffed up to twice it’s normal size. His fangs are bared with eyes flashing angrily. “Are you crazy?! We can’t just leap out and, what? Tackle All Might?”

“No, I’m not- I’m not stupid.”

“You sure? Because it certainly seems like it.” Izuku spat, then paused, and took a deep breath. He had to calm down. Now was not the time to lash out. Now was not the time to let his panic get the better of him. “Look, we have to be smart about this. I want to pass as much as you do, and we can’t do that by trying to attack All Might like any other villain. He is stronger and faster than both of us combined. We need a plan, Katsuki. Not some half-baked idea on how to blow up a cement wall with a firecracker.”

Izuku looked back at Katsuki, and almost recoiled. He looked…not scared, but…shocked? He was standing exactly where Izuku had seen him a second ago, eyes wider than before and hands halfway up like he was going to block something but stopped. 

“You’re…right. Fuck, you’re probably right. Fine, we won’t attack him head on. But we’re not running away.”

Katsuki looked like he was choking on the words as he said them. At least he was trying though. Better than attempting to blow him up for telling him he wasn’t right. 

“We aren’t going to run away,” Izuku promised. 

“Then what the fuck are we going to do? Not like we can ask him to cuff himself or some shit.”

“We can’t beat him with outright strength, but we can beat him with tactics. All Might is strong and fast, but he’s fallible.”

“How the hell do you figure we outsmart the Number One hero, dumbass.”

Izuku grinned, sharp teeth flashing menacingly in the low light. “Even All Might can’t be in two places at once.”



“For the record, your idea sucks.”

“So did yours. Go. See you after we pass.”

“Yeah yeah, fine. Good luck, Nerd.”

“You too…Pomeranian.”

Izuku started running immediately after the words were out of his mouth, laughing quietly as he ran. Well, at least the explosions would help with the distraction. 

He sprinted through the winding alleyways, sounds from explosions of both air and nitroglycerin echoing down to him. Izuku stayed light on his feet, ready for anything. Hopefully. 

The alley opened onto the street up ahead. Izuku could just barely see the exam exit peeking over the buildings. There was a stretch of wide open street before him, which led to the exit or father into the city. He would be an easy target if he just ran across it.

Good thing he didn’t plan on doing that. 

Izuku looked up and down the street. Something felt…wrong. But what was it?

Only when a shadow fell over him did Izuku realize what it was. The explosions had stopped. 

All Might stood over him, the smile that was usually so bright now turned sinister. It sent a shiver down Izuku’s spine. Katsuki was slung over his mentor’s shoulder like a sack of flour. 

“There you are, hero.”

Izuku had all of a second to take in what was happening. An open hand was coming down towards him. Too fast too strong he couldn’t counter it couldn’t block. Katsuki was struggling against All Might’s grip. His mind was screeching at him. 

But he tuned it out. Instead, Izuku lit up green, holding back his born powers and leaping as far away as he safely could. He landed on the opposite end of the street. There wasn’t much time to catch his breath, but it was enough. It had to be. 

Izuku pushed his limit. Ten percent, twenty percent, thirty percent. He stood stock still as All Might turned to face him. 

Forty percent. His mentor moved, pushing off the ground to speed towards Izuku. 

Fifty percent. His bones were creaking, about to give under the strain. He wasn’t ready to handle this much yet. As a human, at least.

Izuku full-shifted. In the blink of an eye he was a green cat on all fours. Though at fifty percent, he was more the size of a mountain lion than a house cat. It did its job though. All Might overshot. The punch sailed harmlessly past Izuku, and he caught the wide eyes of his mentor as he sped by. 

It also left the now thrashing Katsuki open. Izuku jumped, landing on All Might’s back with more weight than the man was expecting. He grabbed the back of Katsuki’s shirt in his jaws, tearing him free. 

Izuku pushed off, using just a bit of One for All to leap further away. Katsuki yelped as they flew. All Might stumbled forward, having to brace himself against the wall to not go through it. 

Izuku changed back midair. He immediately spat out Katsuki’s costume in favor of grabbing his friend to stop him from tumbling. They hit the ground, gained their bearings, and before Katsuki could say a word, Izuku was pulling him back into another alley. 

All Might didn’t immediately follow them. Izuku let Katsuki go, leaning against the wall to catch his breath. They had a third of the time left. Maybe. He hoped it would be enough.

“You- you ok, Katsuki?”

“‘M fine,” he grumbled, dusting himself off. “Now I know how potato sacks feel.”

Izuku laughed, shaking his head to clear it. “Ok, we need a new plan. He didn’t fall for it and he won’t again.”

“No shit.”

“What if we-“

“We’re not running.”

“Alright then, you have a better plan?”

Katsuki paused, thinking. Izuku tried to come up with another plan too. They needed to win this. They had to pass. 

“My gauntlets,” Katsuki suddenly said. 

“What about them?”

“They’re full, and fuckin’ powerful. All Might would have to dodge, or at least look away from the blast so he’s not blinded.”

“And we can either cuff him or run while he’s distracted.” Izuku finished, starting to smile again. “Good idea, Katsuki.”

“Tch, ‘course it is.”

“Yeah yeah, come on. One more try.”

“Here, take one. In case All Might breaks one of the shitty things.”

Izuku snorted, taking the offered gauntlet. It was heavier than he was expecting it to be, but manageable. 

“Good luck.”

“We don’t need luck,” Katsuki grunted. “See you on the other side, Izuku.”

And with that Katsuki ran off. Izuku paused for a moment, processing Katsuki calling him his given name again. He shook himself quickly, then took off in another direction. 

He emerged from the alley and onto the street. All Might was walking away from him, and towards Katsuki. The hero didn’t seem aware of their trap. 

Izuku waited silently, watching the street like a hawk. He stayed still, avoiding attention and thinking about how long they had. The handcuffs rested firmly in one of his hands, Katsuki’s gauntlet on the other arm. They could do this. 

Katsuki leapt out with a battlecry that rang down the street. All Might immediately zeroed in on him, leaping forward at superhuman speeds. His hand was out to stop the incoming explosion. 

Izuku raced out of his hiding place, keeping light on his feet. One for All sparked around him as he ran faster. He lifted the gauntlet. 

All Might took the explosion Katsuki fired nearly point blank. It obscured Izuku’s view of him for a moment, but the man didn’t seem to move out of it. Izuku edged closer, careful of the quickly dissipating fire. 

The flames fizzled out. Izuku stayed where he was, taking a single moment to process what was in front of him. 

All Might had a hold of Katsuki again. The now smashed gauntlet lay scattered over the ground, the hero it had been used on hardly affected by the explosion. That’s what it looked like at least. Izuku noticed how he wavered when he moved. He was hurt, but not enough to stop. 

“I have to say, you nearly had me there, heroes.” All Might turned towards Izuku, a glint in his blue eyes that promised pain. “But not quite.”

Izuku growled, preparing to fire the second gauntlet, but he hesitated. It might hit Katsuki. He couldn’t injure his teammate. 

All Might took that moment to practically teleport in front of Izuku. In the span of a millisecond he was there, looming over Izuku like a human tsunami. He had hardly blinked before he was flying away. Katsuki had been thrown at him, making the two of them go flying down the street. 

They broke their fall well enough. Izuku wheezed for air, but got to his feet quickly. Katsuki struggled to stand from being used as a baseball bat. 

“This isn’t- this isn’t going to work.”

“No, it has to. We’re going to-“

“We need to retreat, Katsuki. We tried fighting. We tried distraction. Neither worked so we need to cut our losses and take the other option we were given.”

Katsuki growled, staring straight ahead to where All Might was brushing rubble off his costume. Izuku kept both in his vision. 

“If we start running now-” Izuku started. 

“Still won’t be faster,” Katsuki interrupted.

“I’ll distract him while you go first, then I will follow. You might be faster with your explosions so you have a better chance of getting there before All Might does.” 

“I’m not fucking running.”

“Yes the fuck you are,” Izuku spat. “We are both crossing that gate because I will not leave you here. In the real world that would mean death and excuse me if I’ve already had enough of that. Now stop throwing a tantrum and act your age for once in your damn life.”

Katsuki was stunned silent. Izuku huffed, and reached out to grab his wrist. He pulled Katsuki along while All Might was still distracted down the street. 

He got his wits about him again a few seconds later. Katsuki stared at Izuku with a look that he couldn’t decipher right now. Izuku honestly didn’t care at the moment. He just wanted to pass their exam and go take a nap.

A wind and prickly feeling was the only warning they got. Izuku whipped around, all but shoving Katsuki forward, just in time to come face to face with his mentor once again. Izuku felt his instincts become a chorus of harsh whispers saying to eat him. To just let his Flerken out and have it be done with. 

But he refused. Izuku refused to be the reason his mentor was hurt. Both times he had eaten something that big had been adrenaline induced mistakes. If his limit was any smaller, All Might could…he could be hurt. Really hurt. Izuku would not be the cause of that.

So he tensed, and surged forward. A punch connected with All Might’s jaw, followed by a kick to the arm swinging at him. It delayed him just enough for Katsuki to run.  

Izuku went to land, and found himself suspended. He yelped as All Might lifted him higher, a hand wrapped around his ankle. 

“Is that all you got, hero?”

Izuku struggled. He hissed and spit yet All Might’s grip never loosened. Not enough for him to wiggle away at least. His claws couldn’t even reach the man with how far he was being held. 

Then he heard Katsuki yell above the cacophony in his head. “Just eat him, you idiot!”

He didn’t want to. He didn’t want to hurt someone. It was all his mother had warned him about, and part of the reason she had hidden it from him. Izuku knew the risks if something was too big, and he knew how strong he was. 

Bones were nothing against Flerken jaws. 

But he didn’t have time to think. They had maybe five minutes left. If Katsuki and him didn’t escape or put handcuffs on All Might in that time, they would fail. They would be put in extra classes (Izuku saw right through Aizawa-sensei’s logical ruse) and have it put on their record. 

He shoved his fears to the deepest corner of his mind, and did something he thought he would never do. He listened to Katsuki.  

Izuku didn’t hesitate this time. He opened his jaws wide, and let out the things of nightmares from his mouth. 

All Might disappeared in a flash, nothing left behind of him. Nothing. That- that was good. Izuku twisted and managed to hit the ground safely, then heaved a sigh of relief. His mentor was ok. Probably not happy about being eaten, but ok. 

“Hey idiot, we have like two minutes. MOVE YOUR ASS!”

Izuku laughed almost giddily, scrambling to run after Katsuki down the road. The two of them raced to the end gate. They passed through it with hardly a minute to spare. Together the two of them skidded to a stop, using the other to steady themselves.

“I can’t believe I did that,” Izuku laughed, border-lining on hysteria now. 

“‘Course you did. What did I fucking tell you! See, turned out fine.” Katsuki reached up and messed up his hair, something he hadn’t done since they were kids. 

Izuku laughed again, retaliating with trying to flatten the spikes of his friend. It led to an impromptu wrestling match. That is, until Izuku realized their teacher wasn’t back in this dimension yet. 

“Uhhh, hang on a second Katsuki.”

“What is it?”

“All Might.”

“What about him?”

“He’s not here.”

“…oh.”

“Yeah oh. Give me a minute.”

Izuku stepped away from both people and obstacles. He double checked that Katsuki was far enough away, and spit their teacher back into existence. 

All Might stumbled the moment after his feet hit the ground. He quickly righted himself though, heroic smile in place once again. 

“I suppose you have won, heroes! Good job!” 

The boys exchanged a look, then started laughing again. God, they needed some rest. Their nerves were absolutely fried. 

“You two go get checked over with Recovery Girl,” All Might told them kindly. “You both did great! Go enjoy your finals being over.”

Izuku nodded, limbs suddenly feeling like they had boulders tied to them. A bed sounded nice. Even if it was a hospital bed. Sleep in general just sounded like heaven. He thanked his mentor, then dragged himself in the direction of the infirmary. 

Katsuki walked beside him, not saying anything. Izuku relished in his presence. He was happy they were on good terms now. He was healing and getting better. They both were. 

“Ah, dang it,” he said suddenly, realizing something.

“What’s it this time, Nerd?”

“Put holes in another pair of socks. Mom ’s gonna kill me.”

Katsuki snorted, gently shoving his arm. “Then learn to sew them or some shit instead of clawing holes in the three pairs you own.”

“I have more than that,” Izuku said indignantly, the tired slur taking away any edge his words might have had. 

“Sure you do. Come on then you moron, you’re about to pass out.”

“No ‘m not.”

Their footsteps were muffled but rhythmic. Izuku hummed one of Hitoshi’s favorite songs, swaying to the music he made as they walked to where Recovery Girl was. He returned the gauntlet somewhere along the way. Izuku wasn't entirely sure of when, but he realized his wrist was lighter between one turn and the next. 

Katsuki held the door open when they got there, letting Izuku in to make a b-line for a bed. 

“Dear goodness, what happened to you two,” Recovery Girl fussed. 

Izuku flopped face-first onto the hospital bed, not caring for much other than sleep. He mumbled an answer that didn’t sound like much to his ears. 

“Did a fuck-ton of running and used his Quirk. Turned into a massive as hell cat somehow. Probably took his energy or some shit to do that.”

“Ah, yes, that lines up with the internship report Gran Torino wrote up. Are you injured, Bakugou?”

“Nothing past bruises, Ma’am,” he grumbled, probably staring at the floor. 

“Good. Come get a kiss and some gummies, then you may be on your way young man.”

Izuku heard footsteps and more words. He didn’t move though, already half asleep. 

“And you, you chaotic child,” Recovery Girl sighed. “Not injured, correct?”

“Yes Ma’am,” he answered, moving his head so he could actually look at her. He made no move to get up though. “J’st some bruises. Lots’a bruises. Think I got used as a baseball mitt, but ‘m ok.”

“Then sleep, and no leaving until I give you the go ahead. I’ll call your mother to let her know.”

Izuku nodded, closing his eyes. Not a second later he was out like a light.



It was still daytime out when Izuku woke up again. He blinked a few times, remembering where he was and what had happened. Huh. That…actually hadn’t gone as bad as he had been expecting. 

Izuku yawned, wincing when he moved, but sat up to scan the room anyway. He wasn’t surprised to see Hitoshi there. His boyfriend was sitting in one of the plastic chairs, awake and scrolling through something on his phone. As if sensing Izuku staring at him, Hitoshi looked up. A soft smile took over his face.

“Guess you’re awake now.”

“Mmhm.”

Hitoshi put his phone down to sit on the edge of Izuku’s bed. “You were conked out pretty good. Slept through my exam.”

“Tried shifting with fifty percent of my power. Think I got as big as a mountain lion or somethin’. Surprised All Might and Katsuki. We won though, so it was worth it.” Izuku paused, then remembered something else. “What about your exam? Did you pass?”

“Yeah, we passed,” Hitoshi said with a smirk. “Sero might need some of Dad’s Hell Lessons, but he’ll be fine.”

“That’s amazing, Hitoshi!”

In his excitement, Izuku reached forward and grabbed Hitoshi’s face. He pulled him forward, and kissed him. It took all of a second for him to realize he maybe should not have done that. Izuku yelped in embarrassment, scrambling back. 

Then Hitoshi snagged his shirt, and pulled him back for another kiss. Izuku blinked in surprise, before melting into his boyfriend. 

They had both passed. They were both going to the camp (even if they would have anyway) and were safe from the Hell Lessons. Izuku smiled as they broke apart, a purr breaking free from his throat. 

“Think your dads will actually let us sleep in the same room at camp?”

“Everyone else’ll be there, so they can’t exactly say no, now can they.” Hitoshi smirked, knowing he was right. To be fair, the most they would do is cuddle, but the teachers didn’t know that. It would be hilarious unless they sent the two of them to Midnight for The Talk. 

“Hm, let’s not put it past them,” Izuku laughed, smiling as the two of them settled on the bed together. Hitoshi was warm, and soft despite having a lot of muscle. 

Izuku closed his eyes, head resting on Hitoshi’s shoulder. He fell asleep to a hand carding through his hair and the feeling that he was safe here.

 

Chapter Text

“I’m not going.”

“Yes you are.”

“No.”

“Yes.”

“I will scratch you.”

“No you won’t. Come on, Izuku. It’s just a pool.”

Shouta sighed, tired of hearing his son and son’s boyfriend bickering over his head. He just wanted to take a nap on the couch, was that too much to ask?

“What are you two yelling about,” Shouta asked, sitting up to halfheartedly glare at the two boys.  

“Class 1-A is reserving the pool,” Hitoshi explained. Shouta nodded, already knowing that. He was the one the students had to ask, after all. “And Izuku doesn’t want to go.”

“I don’t like water,” Midoriya said in way of an explanation. 

Shouta sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose for a moment. Midoriya really was like a cat in regard to water. He would bear it if he had to, but would absolutely avoid it if he could. A pool was likely the last place he wanted to willingly go. Especially after the USJ. 

“Hitoshi, Midoriya doesn’t need to go if he doesn’t want to,” Shouta said calmly. “And Midoriya, you don’t have to swim even if you do go. There’s a lifeguard stand you can sit on top of if you want.”

“Oh.”

“Huh.”

“Now would you two please go be loud in the other room? My patrol stretched late last night and someone decided to poke me awake.”

“Princess, really?” Midoriya said in exasperation, looking to the culprit. “You know he needs sleep!”

There was a loud answering meow, probably meaning something along the lines of “I was hungry.” Shouta just shook his head, a small grin on his face. His son was watching his boyfriend with a look Shouta himself often wore. 

“We’ll be in my room, Dad.”

“Door open.”

“Yeah yeah, I know.” Hitoshi rolled his eyes, smiling a bit. “Come on, Mon Minou. We can watch that show you were telling me about.”

The two retreated from the room, letting Shouta lay back on the couch to get some much needed rest. 

~~~~~

Izuku didn’t know whether he was happy he decided to go or not. On one hand, water. On the other, he got to see his friends before the camp. A shirtless Hitoshi was a sight to behold too. 

They arrived earlier than almost everyone else. Considering Aizawa had to be there in case of emergency, it wasn’t much of a surprise. They weren’t the first though. A few of the girls had gotten there before them. Uraraka had even brought him a present! She said they were a show of friendship, especially in her family. Izuku really liked it! Rabbits were hard to kill, and they were delicious.

Together, they all invaded the pool area. The girls did some stretches while Hitoshi went to change. 

Izuku sat on the edge of the pool, just barely sticking his feet in. The girls were quick to jump in and start swimming around. Hitoshi was off to the side, fishing around for his goggles in the bag he brought, before getting in too. 

More people began filtering in before long. Some came in pairs, others by themselves. Izuku watched them all mill around for a bit. The pool was big, this being UA and all, so all of them had plenty of room to swim. 

Izuku closed his eyes, soaking in the sunlight that was shining on him. It was nice out. He could hear everyone moving around, some jumping in or out of the water. The constant chatter was nice. The warmth on his back and water gently swirling around his feet was calming. 

That is, until someone thought it would be a lovely idea to shove him into the pool.  

Izuku flailed as he went down, trying to get a grip on…anything really. His hand hit the cement edge, but slipped off. He went under. Memory kicked in, and he held his breath with closed eyes. 

His feet hit the bottom. Izuku didn’t waste a second, pushing off as hard as he could to fling himself out of the water. He hit the cement again, and just laid there for a second, stunned and trying to remember how to breathe properly. 

Then the sound of laughter reached his ears. Izuku cracked open an eye, seeing Kaminari and a few others cackling from where they were. He had no idea who had pushed him. It was on purpose though. Feet didn’t just accidentally hit that high. 

Someone, Izuku didn’t register who, tried to step closer. He bristled and hissed with narrowed eyes. Izuku glared at his still-laughing classmates, and sprinted over to the chain link fence that surrounded the pool. With a few deft jumps he was perched at the very top of it. 

Izuku half-shifted, using his fluffy tail to balance on top of the fence as he glowered down at the other students. They had stopped laughing to stare at him. He stared back with slitted eyes and flattened ears. 

“Uhh, should we…get him down?”

“Probably. Who wants to do it?”

“Not it!”

“Do we need a ladder?”

“Just leave the idiot up there. He’s just going to throw you into the pool if you try and drag him down.”

“But what if he’s stuck!”

Izuku stayed right where he was as more than half the class argued about how to get him down. He was still dripping wet. Shaking his limbs could only go so far. At least the sun would dry him off faster. 

“Fine! I’ll try.”

Izuku watched with suspicious eyes as Ashido skittered up a part of the fence. She was the most agile in the class, next to him of course. His tail started twitching angrily as she got closer. 

“Heeeeere kitty kitty. Come on Midoriya, time to come down!”

“No.”

“But you have to be on the ground!”

“No. No water.”

Ashido climbed a bit higher, reaching out a hand to try and grab him. Izuku promptly batted her head, hissing again. She yelped, bringing an arm up to block. He then rapidly and repeatedly whacked her arm. 

The pink girl quickly climbed back down the fence. Izuku shook his head to try and get more water off. 

“Geez, he really doesn’t want to come down.”

“You pushed a cat into a pool.” Oh, he knew that voice. That was his person. “What exactly did you think was going to happen?”

There was silence as their classmates tried to come up with excuses. Izuku huffed, settling on top of his perch. 

“Just leave him alone, he’ll come down when he wants to.”

They all dispersed, going back to what they had been doing. Izuku watched carefully. None of them approached again though, which was good. He calmed down as he watched from where he was. 

A few minutes passed. Izuku stayed perched on top of the fence like a bird, no longer glaring down at his classmates. Almost everyone was in the pool now. Katsuki was trying to convince someone else to play chicken with him and Kirishima. Hagakure was having fun diving and scaring people by grabbing them in the deep end. It was interesting to watch it all from above.

Izuku stretched himself out in the sunlight, balancing precariously on top of the fence. The warmth was nice. Having his classmates nearby let him know they were all safe too. His clan was alright today. 

Then his ears caught something. A muffled yelp and some scrambling on concrete. Izuku opened his eyes, scanning for where the noise had come from. His eyes landed on Kouda. And the barely visible beetle that was on the ground at his feet.

Izuku’s pupils narrowed to slits. He carefully full-shifted, and got his feet under himself. Without making a sound, he crept along the fence. A few fingers were pointed at him, but Izuku paid them no mind. 

Once he was close enough, Izuku aimed for his target. By now Kouda had seen what he was doing. Izuku tensed, and jumped. 

He landed directly behind the bug. A quick swipe of his paw and it was flying through the air. He jumped after it, catching it in his mouth. 

“Th-thank you, Midoriya. Good catch.”

Izuku preened at the praise, getting as close to a smile as he could. Some of his clan were cheering. He looked around, spotting just who he wanted to see. 

He turned back into a human, putting the beetle in his hand instead of his mouth. It was a pretty bug, with its exoskeleton being shiny. Izuku purred happily, and walked over to Uraraka. She was sitting on the edge of the pool while talking with Tsuyu. The two of them looked a bit red. Maybe they needed more sunscreen. 

Izuku sat down next to her, drawing their attention. He held out his hand, which she copied with a curious expression, and gave her the beetle. 

“Ooh, what’s this?” She asked.

“Present. You gave me rabbit, so I give you pretty bug.”

Uraraka looked back up at him, and beamed. “Thank you, Midoriya!”

Izuku purred, rubbing his head on her shoulder for a moment. She returned it happily, then continued her conversation with Tsuyu. Izuku got up to go find Hitoshi again. 

~~~~~

Hitoshi wondered if going out to lunch with the entire class was really the best idea. 

In theory it sounded fun, in practice it was half the class whining about the others taking too long for everything. Izuku made sure to keep one of his friends between himself and everyone else at all times. Hitoshi didn’t blame him. Being shoved into the water wasn’t fun to begin with, but he was part cat. That wasn’t even mentioning the USJ. Hitoshi was half-tempted to give them all a lecture about trauma and its effects. 

Once they were all in normal clothes, they headed into the city. Everyone fell into smaller groups to walk with. A good idea, since they all liked different foods. Izuku was practically glued to Uraraka’s side, both happily chattering away. Hitoshi pushed down his slight jealousy, and focused on not getting beaned over the head by Iida’s hands. 

Hitoshi felt bad for whatever restaurants would have to deal with twenty children ordering food. Or just the Bakusquad, really. They were good people, but had more chaotic energy than a squirrel on espresso. 

Conversations buzzed on around him, falling to background noise as they walked. He knew the street they were on. Bakugou did too evidently, since he was the one leading them all. Hitoshi knew both him and Izuku lived in the general area, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise. 

Everyone eventually splintered off once they got to the area with food. Hitoshi speed-walked directly for the cat cafe that was just around the corner. He heard footsteps following him, and glanced back. Izuku was jogging to catch up, Uraraka, Iida, Tsuyu, and strangely enough, Aoyama, on his tail. 

“Hitoshi! Wait up!”

He grinned, stopping for a moment while they all caught up. Izuku was smiling brightly. It didn’t matter if they had been together for over a month now, the sight of that thousand watt smile still made his heart become infested with butterflies. 

“You managed to rope four of them into coming?”

“I was told there are cats,” Iida answered first.

“Midoriya said their food was good,” Tsuyu said.

“I want to see the fluffy chatons!”

“Cats,” was the only thing Uraraka said.

“Fair enough.”

Hitoshi led them all inside, and paid for their entry with the money Dad had given him. They protested, but he just shrugged. The deed was already done. It wasn’t like he was going to starve either. He knew Izuku was planning to pay for his food. His boyfriend thought he was real sneaky, but he really wasn’t when it came to things like this. 

They were released into the cat room a moment later. Hitoshi immediately flopped onto the floor, letting the cats, which were familiar with him by now, crawl on top of him. Izuku turned into a cat himself. Mainly to talk with the others, but also so he could fold himself into a cat loaf on Hitoshi’s back. 

Uraraka must have found it adorable, because she started taking pictures. Tsuyu sat cross-legged on the ground, holding a hand out to one of the calico cats. Aoyama was already playing with some of them with a feather toy he found somewhere. Iida was both berating Uraraka for taking pictures without asking and trying to hold very still as one of the younger cats climbed up his side like a tree. 

Hitoshi snorted as Iida tried to remove the cat. It wouldn’t work, which was the funny part. That specific cat was half squirrel with how much it loved to climb things. Uraraka turned to take pictures of that next.  

Half of their order was called, and both girls plus Iida went to get their food. Hitoshi didn’t budge, though Izuku did turn back into a person. He got up and calmly made his way over to some of the cat trees that were hiding even more fluffy babies. 

“Don’t wake up Abby, Mon Minou. You know she likes to sleep for as long as she can.”

“Yeah yeah, I know.” Izuku laughed, going to pet one of the cats that batted at him for attention. 

Hitoshi watched, not caring if his expression was softer than his boyfriend’s hair right now. It was only Aoyama in the room with them anyway. 

“That is a perfect nickname, mon amie.” 

Hitoshi looked over, seeing Aoyama watching the two of them with a small smirk.

“What do you mean?”

“It means ‘My Kitty’ you know,” he hummed. Hitoshi was struck with the realization that Aoyama did in fact know french, and that he was an idiot for forgetting that. “Quite a good name for our little cat friend. I do hope you have good intentions.”

“I…yes? I don’t intend to ever hurt him, if that’s what you’re asking. Why?”

“Ah, rien rien. It is just that we all value our friend, and wish him no harm. I only wanted to be sure you shared that sentiment.”

“Uh, yeah. I won’t hurt him, promise.”

“Food’s ready guys!”

Hitoshi blinked, looking up to the doorway Uraraka was disappearing through. Izuku was already halfway to the door. Aoyama gently removed the cat that had made a home on his lap, dusting off his pants as he stood. Hitoshi peeled himself off the floor after another second, saying goodbye to the cats and the weird conversation he had just had. 

~~~~~

Kouji was happy they all decided to go to a park after they ate. He was always more comfortable in nature, despite his fear of bugs. Parks were nice though. The animals that lived there had interesting stories. Mice were quite the gossips, as it turned out. 

Though his class was chaotic, they had really grown on him. Especially Midoriya, who had invited him to sit with them at lunch a few times already. Kouji had politely declined though. He liked to eat outside more. It was less noisy and crowded. 

His Flerken classmate was actually running around right now. As a cat that is. There were a lot of birds in the park, and he seemed intent on trying to catch one. So far, he hadn’t been successful. Kouji had to stifle laughter at his meowed mutterings. 

It was entertaining, to say the least. Most of the class was watching him intently, like it was a game show where the winner got to eat a bird. Some were cheering Midoriya on, while others talked to their friends or finished their food. Or they were like Iida and trying to convince a cat not to hunt birds. Kouji had fun just observing it all unfold. 

Then the wind picked up for a moment. It ripped something away from one of their classmates, the bag skittering over the grass and in Midoriya’s direction. A second later and Tokoyami went racing after it. 

Their cat classmate looked up from his latest attempt at catching a bird. He bristled, seeing the comparably massive bird-boy sprinting towards him. Kouji realized what was going to happen a split second before it occurred. 

Tokoyami got close enough, and then he was gone. His bag harmlessly hit Midoriya’s short legs. With one paw he held it down, staring down at it and then back up in confusion. 

Then something…weird, happened. 

Midoriya coughed like he had a hairball. A moment later, Dark Shadow was poking out of his mouth. 

“Spit Fumi out! He’s not a real bird!” The bonded shadow squawked, although it sounded like he was trying not to laugh. 

The green cat blinked, Dark Shadow disappearing again, then spat out their bird classmate a second later. Tokoyami sat on the ground just blinking for a minute. Dark Shadow reemerged and hovered around him. 

Kouji got up to go see if Tokoyami was ok. No one else moved until he was within earshot. 

“That was…odd,” Tokoyami said slowly. “I have…I have never experienced the darkness like that before. Not even with Dark Shadow.”

Kouji waved to catch Midoriya’s attention. “Is he ok?” He asked the cat. It was always easier to talk to animals instead of people. 

Midoriya paused, then turned back into a person. He immediately started fussing over Tokoyami. 

“Are you ok? I’m really sorry I didn’t mean to do that, you startled me. Did I hurt you?”

“I am…unharmed. What…was that place? Dark Shadow he- he was not…he was not there.”

“Oh. Oh I am so sorry, Tokoyami,” Midoriya apologized. “Quirks are sorta, suspended there I guess? Time isn’t normal in the place you go. It might be because he’s technically a shadow-being and the space you went is- well, space. Darkness can move in darkness, and he popped out of my mouth, so maybe he found the way out I guess?”

“I suppose that aligns with my experience. You truly are a mystery, Midoriya. You are closer to the darkness than I first assumed.”

“Uh, ok. You didn’t get any cuts though, right?”

“No. As I said, I am unharmed.”

“That’s- that’s good. Sorry again, Tokoyami.”

“It is understandable since I frightened you. If I may have my bag back?”

“Ah! Of course!”

Kouji watched quietly. He was curious now. Quirks suspended? Darkness? He had never told anyone (never said anything much really), but he loved mystery books. It was one thing that inspired him to be a hero. 

He knew Midoriya was a Flerken. Not much was known about them. Most people didn’t know about them, and among the few that did either believed they were extinct or villains. Since his discovery though, Kouji had done research. There had been a surge in registered cat morphs a few years after Flerkens were thought to have gone extinct. 

It was a massive mystery straight out of his favorite stories. How many cat morphs were actually Flerkens? How many of them had Quirks on top of their tenta-teeth things? Kouji had been given a mystery. Though, maybe not one for him to solve, it was still a puzzle he wanted to figure out. At least a little bit. 

And his classmate seemed to be the biggest piece of it all.

 

Chapter Text

Izuku loved his classmates, he really did, but he was debating over some of their sanity. Was it really a good idea for all of them to go to the mall together? Getting food after meeting at the pool was one thing. The class that seemed to always attract more trouble than they wanted, all gathered in a crowded place, was another. 

He was going along anyway. It sounded decently fun, and he still needed some things for the camp. Besides, it wasn’t like he would be alone there. What could really go wrong? Twenty hero students versus a villain or two wouldn’t stand a chance. 

Hitoshi would be there too. Izuku would be fine. This wasn’t like the other stores where he had been attacked. He would be fine. 

So why did he feel so anxious about this?

Izuku shook his head again, trying his best to ignore his fearful thoughts. Today would be fine. All of his friends would be there. They were strong, and so was he. He had nothing to fear, especially with them nearby. 

They all met up near the mall entrance. Most of the class was already there when Izuku arrived, Hitoshi in tow. Everyone was excitedly chattering and double checking what they needed from their lists. Iida was attempting to organize them in some way, to no avail. Izuku stifled his laughter at Sero imitating his hand chopping from where Iida couldn’t see. 

It took another few minutes for the rest of his class to arrive. Once they did, everyone began moving. Izuku felt a bit bad for everyone else in the mall that had to deal with the mob of them. Not especially much though, since a lot of them were pointing and whispering about “the kids from the sports festival.”

Then a few of them suggested splitting up to get what they needed. Izuku felt a flash of fear, but smothered it. He had no reason to be afraid. He had no reason to think he would be attacked like the last two times. 

He stayed silent as everyone organized themselves into groups. Hitoshi must have noticed his hesitance though. His boyfriend stepped close, the two of them on the edge of the big group, and silently took his hand. Izuku squeezed it tightly for a moment, thankful for the grounding contact. 

“I need a new duffle bag,” Hitoshi said calmly. “We can find your stuff along the way if you want.”

Izuku nodded, letting his shoulders drop a bit. He hadn’t realized just how tense he was. Not until he felt he could relax. 

Uraraka bounced up to the two of them, an infectious smile on her face. Izuku couldn't help returning it, albeit dimmer. Hitoshi even grinned a little. 

“I heard you need a bag too, Shinsou?”

“Yep. Mido needs some different weights and shoes, so he’ll be in our group if you’re coming.”

“Perfect! I think everyone else is going to the other side of the mall, so let’s go!”

She started leading the way, letting Izuku fall behind her with Hitoshi beside him. Their class scattered pretty quickly once they began walking. Izuku still couldn’t help feeling like something bad was going to happen. If not to him, then one of his classmates. He wanted to keep an eye on them. Protect them if he had to.

It was a ridiculous thought though. They were all independent, and didn’t need their anxious classmate hovering nearby. Everyone would be fine. 

Izuku hardly registered when they reached the first store. He was walking through the doorway when it finally clicked. Uraraka was already browsing by the time Hitoshi and him entered. 

He shook his head again, and went to see if he could find some bug-spray. If not for himself then for his friends. At least one person would undoubtedly forget it, and then complain about it. For good reason too. Bugs when you’re trying to sleep were the worst.  

The store felt suffocating. Everything was too close. The longer they were in there the more constricting it became to Izuku. The more it felt like things were closing in on him. He couldn’t see around the shelves or the other aisles and he couldn’t see danger it was dangerous.

But it wasn’t. It was a stupid fear, being afraid of stores. Yeah he had been attacked the last two times he had gone by himself, and he hadn’t gone to any without his mom since then, but it was silly. Nothing was going to happen inside a stupid store in a stupid mall. 

He was still scared though. Izuku took a deep breath, and went to find Hitoshi. He was looking at duffle bags near the front of the store. 

“I’m going to go get some air,” Izuku said quietly.

“Alright.” Hitoshi shot him a worried look. “Just make sure we can find you once we’re done, ok? Wouldn’t want to have you cat-napped.”

Izuku snorted, gently shoving his boyfriend before walking back out of the store. 

He could breathe easier once he was out in the open. Here, he could see. Here he could spot a threat coming. 

Unless, the threat was behind him. 

An arm laid itself over his shoulders. Izuku immediately tensed, opening his mouth to tell the person that he really didn’t want to be touched right now.

Only for a hand to curl itself over his throat. Izuku froze, eyes looking as far to the left as they could go. What he saw was light blue hair and cracked skin.

Shigaraki. 

“If you make a move to attack,” the man-child hissed in his ear. “I will disintegrate you before you can blink.”

“The- the heroes. They’ll- they’ll stop you.”

“Hm, maybe, but not before I can get my hands on twenty, maybe thirty people.” Izuku didn’t have to see the man to know he was smiling cruelly. “So it’s in your best interest to come with me without a word, little cat.”

Izuku’s eyes flickered around for anything, anyone, to help. He looked back to the store window, turning only slightly. 

He saw Hitoshi. His boyfriend was staring out the window now, eyes wide and looking directly at Izuku. Quickly, almost frantically, he made the sign for help. 

Izuku nodded to both people. He was tugged by his neck over to the benches nearby. A flash of purple told Izuku that Hitoshi was probably going to get Uraraka. 

He stamped down the rising fear with all his might. He couldn’t panic right now. He couldn’t. Panic meant people dying. Not only him, but civilians. Everything about this was dangerous. He couldn’t panic yet.  

So he stayed still as a statue, and let Shigaraki talk. 

“Look at them all,” the man growled, all but glaring at the crowds milling in the mall. Izuku didn’t move. “They think they’re so safe. All the stupid little NPCs running around like lab rats. They don’t fear us anymore.”

Izuku didn’t make a sound. Shigaraki was still holding his neck, one finger raised. It would be so easy to just kill him. 

“And it’s all because of All Might.” The man paused to scratch at his neck. Izuku wished he could plug his ears from the sound. “That stupid hero, always smiling. Saying things like “I am here” when really he’s not.”

Shigaraki was agitated, that much was glaringly obvious. His grip was tightening slightly on Izuku’s neck. The fifth finger stayed raised, but Izuku was all too aware of how easy it would be for the man to drop it. To snuff out his life. 

“And then there’s Stain,” Shigaraki spat. “Look at all the attention he’s getting. He caused less destruction than I did in Hosu, but he’s getting all the focus from people. All I’ve heard about are his ideals and his drive. What about mine, huh? Why is he the one that people pay attention to?!”

“I think…” Izuku paused, making sure Shigaraki was paying attention. “I think, it’s because people can…can understand him.”

“Explain, brat.”

“Stain is a- is a villain. But…his ideals were shown t-to everyone. He- he explained them, in that video. People understand them. The- the hero system is f-flawed, and Stain gave them an outlet for th- for their anger. And he- he calls All Might the- the true hero, which people would l-like. His goal was one people can- people can agree with.” Izuku glanced at the man holding him hostage, making sure to keep the edge out of his voice. “All you w-want to do is destroy what you don’t l-like.”

Izuku shut his mouth and stayed quiet. That had been a risk. A massive, most likely stupid, risk. But he- he would be ok. His person would be getting help by now. His clan was safe as long as he kept eyes on this human. 

He shoved away his instincts trying to encroach on his mind. They were trying to save him from a panic attack, but now was not the time to go feral. He couldn’t. Instead Izuku focused on the fact that he wasn’t dead yet. Shigaraki hadn’t killed him. In fact he was…laughing? 

It was terrifying. 

“That’s it.” The man cackled. Izuku shied away from the shaking fingers on his throat. “I understand now. It’s all All Might’s fault, and the rest of the heroes in this saturated society.”

Izuku had no idea how the villain had come to that conclusion. His train of thought had no rails apparently. Not that he was about to say that out loud. 

“And don’t think I’ve forgotten about you, little cat. I watched the sports festival, I know it was you that Stain called worthy. The new batch of party members don’t know that though. Bunch of idiotic NPCs. They keep bringing in cats and trying to say they’re worthy and need to be kept.”

Ice might as well have been dropped down his back. The grip on his neck tightened again, cutting off air. Izuku let out a distressed noise from his throat. 

“You’re a promising hero, one even Stain claimed worthy. Would be a shame-“

“Midoriya?”

Izuku’s eyes shot upwards so fast he thought they’d go rolling. Instead they focused on the person in front of him. It was Uraraka. His friend. His clanmate. 

No. No he couldn’t let her get hurt. Not when they weren’t trained yet. She was strong but this was Shigaraki and she couldn’t take him on his own no one could. Izuku couldn’t let her get hurt he couldn’t he couldn’t he couldn’t.

“Ah, I see you have friends here. I have to leave anyway. Save my progress from home base.”

Uraraka took a step closer, looking ready to fight if she had to. She couldn’t. Izuku couldn’t let her get hurt because of him because he was weak because he was useless. He glanced around her for a moment and saw purple. No no no he had to get them away get them to safety. Shigaraki could keep him hostage but he couldn’t let him touch his clan he couldn’t let them get hurt. 

Izuku would trade his life for theirs if he had to. 

All at once, the hand on his neck was gone, and Izuku was shoved forward. He stumbled over his own feet, crashing into Uraraka. They both fell to the ground. 

By the time Izuku had his bearings again, Shigaraki was gone. 

“Midoriya? Midoriya, hey, hey you ok?”

He didn’t hear her over the screaming inside his head. There was a reason his instincts acted like they did. There was a reason he didn’t ignore them, as much as he wished he could. And now, now they were too quiet to do anything against the incoming flood. 

“…Midoriya? Buddy, I need you to answer me. Are you alright? He didn’t- Did he do anything? That was Shigaraki, wasn’t it?”

He didn’t register that she was shaking. He didn’t realize that he was staring at nothing, and was hardly blinking. His pupils were blown wide with terror. 

Nothing could stop a panic attack like this if he silenced his instincts. 

“Heroes are on the way. I think Shinsou called them a minute ago. Can you hear me?”

Izuku didn’t move. He hardly breathed. Was he breathing? Probably not. He passed out last time this happened. He had been ten, maybe twelve. He hadn’t forcibly silenced his instincts since then. 

“Mi-Midoriya? Hey, I need to know that you’re- that you’re not hurt, ok? Shit, this is bad. I need you to say something. Midori- Shinsou! Over here!”

Izuku heard something hit the ground near him. It was like listening to a pebble drop from underwater. Then he heard something. Someone.

“Izuku, Izuku I need you to listen to me.” He was. He heard him. He would always listen to his person. “I need you to say something to me, ok?”

His mouth felt like it was stuffed with cotton balls and his tongue was heavier than anything he had lifted on Dagobah. But he had to try. Hitoshi was here. Hitoshi would protect him.

“I-“

And just like that, his mind wasn’t his anymore. Izuku welcomed it with open arms. 

“Ok. Ok, I need you to take deep breaths. In for four, hold for seven, out for eight. When you aren’t panicking anymore raise your right hand.”

Izuku felt his body comply. He began to breathe again. Without a mind not his own, he counted the numbers. Slowly, he calmed down. He began to sense things again, though he was still staring at the floor. 

His right hand went up of its own accord. Izuku blinked, and he was in control again. He blinked again, and looked up at his surroundings for the first time in what felt like hours.

Hitoshi was hovering near him, a shaking hand stretched out like he wanted to touch Izuku but wasn’t sure if he should. Uraraka was kneeling on the ground, looking extremely worried. There were police officers around them. Izuku took a deep breath, relaxing slightly at his person’s scent. Coffee grounds and something he could never put into words. Over these last few months, it had become synonymous with comfort. 

“Izuku? Are- are you ok now?”

He stared at Hitoshi for a moment, caught in a split second thought of what could have happened. What could have been if he had messed up, or if Shigaraki had been any angrier. Izuku felt like he lost his mental footing. He dove forward before he could change his mind. 

Izuku buried his face in his boyfriend’s chest. Hitoshi caught him easily, wrapping his arms around Izuku securely. He just wanted to curl up and hide. Just rest. When had he become so tired?

“Is he ok?!” He heard Uraraka yelp. 

“It’s ok,” Hitoshi said softly, holding Izuku close. “I think I remember him saying something about being drained after bad panic attacks.”

“Is- is that what that was?”

Izuku nodded mutely into Hitoshi’s chest. Everything was too loud. Too much.

“I want to go home,” Izuku whispered. 

A hand carded through his hair, accompanied by a calm and deep voice. “We’ll go soon, Mon Minou. Dad’s on his way. Pop couldn’t get off but he’ll come anyway knowing him.”

“Ok.”

Izuku squeezed his eyes shut, focusing on what he could feel in an effort to block out the noise surrounding them. He noted that Uraraka didn’t ask about Shinsou having two dads. Honestly it wasn’t too uncommon in their day and age. Not when there were people who could create things from thin air.

He began purring unconsciously. A built in instinctual way of calming himself. His instincts never stayed away for long. Izuku kept his eyes closed as everything moved around him.

He could go home soon. He could hold out until then.

~~~~~

Hitoshi didn’t like this. He really didn’t like this. 

First he saw what was probably most definitely a villain dragging his boyfriend into the mall with a hand around his throat. After a quick call to both the police and his dads, he ran out to find him gone. Uraraka, apparently not giving a shit about breaking quirk use rules, suggested they split up to find him. 

She found him first, and Hitoshi had ran over in time to see Izuku slip into what was probably the worst panic attack he had seen. Hitoshi used his quirk to help him calm down. It worked, and when Izuku was finally calmed down he promptly buried his face in Hitoshi’s chest and refused to move. 

It sucked. Hitoshi felt useless, not being able to help more. All he could do was hold his terrified boyfriend and ward off anyone that wasn’t one of his dads. He saw his classmates lingering nearby. Uraraka ran off to tell them what happened. What the two of them knew, at least. 

The mall was being evacuated in the meantime, just incase the villains came back. Everyone’s parents were slowly arriving to take them home. Hitoshi hoped this wasn’t a precursor for what the camp would be like. 

Dad was the first to arrive. He took one look at the two, and told the surrounding police officers that he would be taking them home. Questioning and statements could wait until they were mentally stable. No one protested. He was Eraserhead, after all. The police knew him.

The two of them were led to his car. Izuku still hadn’t let go. Hitoshi would’ve thought he was asleep if it wasn’t for the death grip on his shirt. 

“Mrs. Midoriya is stuck at work and won’t be back until later tonight,” Dad said quietly as he drove. “But she said Izuku is welcome to stay at our place for the night. Is that ok?”

“’S fine,” Izuku mumbled, still doing his best to bury his face in Hitoshi’s shoulder. 

“Alright then. Hope it’s ok that we’re having takeout tonight.”

Hitoshi already knew that they would be getting food from the fancier takeout place. it was easier to buy food tonight anyway. He silently thanked his parents, since he wasn’t about to leave Izuku’s side for the next while. 

The two made a b-line for Hitoshi’s room once they were inside the apartment, Izuku finally detaching from him for a minute. Princess curled around Dad’s feet, letting the two go. Izuku really must have looked tired for her to leave him be.

Hitoshi paused in his doorway, a green glow greeting him. Izuku was standing stock-still. Lightning danced and flickered over his body, growing brighter with each passing second. Eventually it seemed to stop, and between one second and the next he turned into a cat. A much bigger cat than normal. 

He had shown Hitoshi his bigger forms a few times since he discovered them. This was his safe limit right now. Thirty percent, he had been told. The size and more-or-less shape of a snow leopard. It was one of the fluffiest things Hitoshi had ever laid his eyes on. 

Snow Leopard Izuku jumped onto Hitoshi’s bed, then turned to stare at him. Hitoshi sighed fondly, a small grin on his face, then sat on his bed. His lap was immediately full of extra fluffy kitty. He began running his hands through the green fur, noting how the massive cat could still purr at this size. 

Hitoshi knew things could be less disorienting as a cat sometimes. He didn’t know if that stayed the same for bigger cats, but it probably did. It didn’t really matter though. As long as Izuku felt better soon, then nothing else mattered. 

“Are you going to stay like this for the night?” He asked.

He got a quiet chirp in response, which meant yes in his experience. Hitoshi hummed and kept untangling the mess that carried over into Izuku’s shift. His hair would probably be two times its usual size when he turned back, but neither really cared at the moment. 

Hitoshi hummed a song, and focused on doing what he could to help Izuku feel better.

~~~~~

Two days later, Izuku got a text from Uraraka. He was back home, though Hitoshi had come over today, and Mom was out. The last thing he had been expecting was a text from his friend. 

Especially one saying she was at their apartment and asking if she could come in. 

Izuku leapt to his feet when a knock followed the message. Hitoshi watched him in mild confusion, but didn’t move from where he was sprawled out on Izuku’s bed. 

He all but threw the door open, and lo and behold, there was Uraraka. She looked a bit sheepish actually, standing with her hands clasped and shoulders slouching. Izuku was silent for a moment. Then he opened the door wider to invite her inside. 

“Is…there a reason you showed up at our doorstep?” Izuku asked. He trusted and loved his friend, but it was slightly suspicious. 

“I, uh, I wanted to make sure you were ok,” she said quietly. “After the- the mall.”

“Oh.”

“Y-yeah. Sorry for showing up unannounced, but I- I just wanted to make sure. You…you scared me, with what happened after I found you. So I just, wanted to see you for myself. Make sure you weren’t hurt with my own eyes.”

Izuku glanced over at her, before coming to a stop in their sitting room. His friend was hunched in on herself, staring at the floor and nowhere else. She nearly bumped into him before she stopped walking. Hitoshi would probably get up to see what was happening any minute. 

“Hey,” he said softly, making Uraraka look up. “I’m alright now. I’m not going to say I’m fine, because I’m not. Not yet at least. But I’m alright now, he didn’t physically hurt me.”

“I- I know, it just, scared me.”

Izuku could see tears gathering in her eyes. He hesitated for all of a second before stepping forward. Uraraka jumped when he wrapped his arms around her, but quickly leaned into the touch. She buried her face in his shoulder, squeezing him with slightly more strength than he was expecting. 

“Uhhh, what’s going on?”

Izuku laughed, the sound laced with tears of his own, and waved his boyfriend over. Hitoshi looked surprised, but not shocked. 

“Ah, cat hugs, a very therapeutic event.”

Uraraka eyed Hitoshi for a moment, before grumbling and backing away. Only a step, but she wasn’t hiding her face now. Izuku shrugged as Hitoshi silently asked what had just happened. 

“So, you want some food? Mrs. Midoriya has tea somewhere too.”

“Hitoshi if you mess up her tea cabinet again, Mom is going to hiss at you.”

“Yeah yeah, won’t touch it. I don’t need the kindest being in the world being annoyed with me.”

“Um, I’m good.”

“Alright then,” Hitoshi hummed, going to the kitchen anyway. “I’m raiding the pantry for crackers.”

Izuku smiled, affectionately shaking his head. When he looked back to his other friend, she was staring at him with scrutinizing eyes. 

“What?”

“If you’re not dating him by the end of the year I’m going to lose a lot of money.”

“Uraraka!”

Izuku knew he was turning bright red, and covered his face with his hands. Hitoshi and him weren’t exactly trying to keep their relationship a secret, but there were a few reasons they hadn’t outright told anyone. One, was that their class would flip out, and they likely wouldn’t have another private moment for a few weeks. Two, they didn’t want the attention right now. And three, it was funnier to see how long it took everyone to realize they were not in fact platonic anymore. 

Honestly, Izuku had thought using given names would’ve been a tip off. But nope! They had even held hands during lunch and no one said anything. Izuku wondered if kissing Hitoshi in front of them would finally cue them all in, but then again, maybe not. 

“Hey, I’m just saying.”

Izuku paused for a moment, thinking. “How many people have money on it?”

“Most of the class. I think Mina was one of the first to put money on it.”

“Of course she was.”

Izuku laughed, hoping there wasn’t too much backlash when the class realized they had been dating for over a month now. 

“You know,” he said quietly, wondering if he was really doing this. “I have secrets. Everyone does, but…but I’m tired of keeping this many. You’re my friend. I can trust you, right?”

“Of course.”

He took a deep breath, hearing Hitoshi shuffling around the kitchen and the wind outside the windows. “I’m a Flerken. I know- I know you might not know what that is, but I’m not a cat morph. I have this thing we call instincts, like an actual cat. If I- If I suppress and ignore them when I’m in danger…well, you saw what happens. After- after the mall, I figured you deserve an explanation. And I’m just, tired, of keeping it a secret from everyone.”

“So…I’m guessing the thousand mouth octopus thing is part of being a Flerken?”

“Yeah. Same with the teleportation stuff. And the cat stuff. I don’t think I actually have a quirk on top of it, unless you count the half-shifting but I don’t think it technically is one.”

“Huh, cool. Guess we really are opposite but the same.”

“…what?”

“Well you see, I’m a werewolf!”

Izuku’s mind was instantly rushing to add that bit of information to what he knew. It actually explained a lot about his friend. Namely how she got more tactile and protective around once a month. 

“That explains some things.”

“I figured,” Uraraka laughed, traces of tears gone from her voice. “Thankfully the full moon isn’t during the camp, or else I’d have to deal with being a giant dog during the night.”

“Oh yeah, it’s a new moon for the first few days, isn’t it. Is anyone in the class a wraith or demon actually? With the whole new moon giving them a power boost and everything.”

“Mina’s part daemon I think.”

“So no messing with the pink person, got it.”

That got Uraraka laughing, and Izuku couldn’t help joining in. It felt nice, telling another person his secret. Like a weight had been lifted from his chest. 

“Aww, are we having another group hug?” Hitoshi asked, voice dripping with sarcasm as he walked back in. “Because I only have one box of tissues.”

“You’re one to talk,” Izuku jabbed, smiling. 

“Why yes I am one to talk. A thing that can speak. I am a Siren.”

Izuku’s eyes widened a fraction, knowing the weight attached to that statement. He tensed for a moment, before Uraraka started to giggle.

“We’re just a trio of misfits, aren’t we.”

“A Siren, a Werewolf, and a Flerken all stand in a living room hugging. It sounds like the start of a bad joke.”

“You mean my life?”

They all broke down into laughter, reveling in the moment of being accepted and wanted for who they are. Izuku couldn’t help the smile on his face. Not when he had two of his best friends here with him. Not when they knew what he was, and still liked him. 

“Wait wait wait,” Hitoshi said suddenly. “You’re part dog-wolf-something, right?”

“Yes?”

“Your name is now Boofchako Awooraka.”

“I love it!”

Izuku blinked slowly, because of course this is something his boyfriend would come up with. “Hitoshi, that’s almost as bad as Izucat Meowdoriya.”

“I have no regrets.”

“Of course you don’t.”

“Do you have nicknames like that for the entire class?” Uraraka asked innocently.

Izuku rolled his eyes as Hitoshi began going down the list. He went to get some tea while his boyfriend rambled. It was adorable. 

He returned to see Uraraka had rolled off the chair she had been sitting on, and Hitoshi nearly falling to the same fate. Izuku felt an indescribable surge of love for his friends.

His clan.

 

Chapter Text

Izuku was up at the crack of dawn, physically buzzing with excitement. They were going to the summer camp today! It was so exciting! The class got to spend an entire week strengthening their quirks somewhere they hadn’t been told yet. Hitoshi would be there, and Aizawa, and Izuku couldn’t wait! Even if Aizawa refused to tell either of them where they would be staying for the week. 

He had finished packing his bag last night. Well, technically this morning because of his toothbrush and comb, the latter of which would probably break at some point on the trip. Wasn’t his fault they broke like toothpicks in his hair. 

Breakfast was a slight challenge. Not because of tears or because it tasted bad, but because Izuku couldn’t sit still for more than a few seconds. It was still delicious though, as it always was.  

He hugged his mom tight before leaving, promising he'd be back soon and she wouldn’t even realize he was gone. This would be the longest he had ever been away from home. Izuku was a bit nervous about it, but he would have Hitoshi. If he had his boyfriend, then he’d be fine. Aizawa would be there too, so he had nothing to worry about. 

Izuku raced out the door, bag flying behind him as he dragged it along. The train felt too slow. He considered teleporting or firing up One for All just so he could get to UA faster. Both were mildly illegal though, so he settled for full out sprinting like something was chasing him. 

By the time Izuku reached the gates, he was out of breath. Running a few blocks with a duffle bag thrown over his shoulder wasn’t the easiest thing. He could handle it though. He had handled worse and would likely be dealt worse in the camp. Plus Ultra was the school’s motto for a reason, after all.  

The bus was parked on the side of the main building, a place Izuku took his time getting to. He was early, and the quiet was nice. Goodness knows how loud it was going to be once everyone got on the bus. Twenty teenagers in an enclosed space? Being quiet? More unlikely than Aizawa turning into an actual butterfly. 

Izuku rounded a bend, finally seeing the bus they would be taking. He spotted his boyfriend’s puff of purple hair, and smiled even brighter than before. Hitoshi was leaning against the bus, looking a bit like a zombie. His bag was already stowed away and out of sight. A yellow blob accompanied him at his feet. How Aizawa-sensei could sleep on concrete was a mystery. 

“Hitoshi!”

Izuku ran up, dropping his bag on the ground and being careful to not step on their teacher. Hitoshi had just opened his eyes when he was tackled in a hug. Thankfully they didn’t fall, instead crashing into the bus before hastily steading themselves.

“Good morning! Are you ready for the camp?”

Hitoshi blinked slowly, then rested all of his weight on Izuku, who hardly budged. “It’s too early,” he whined. 

“It’s only six thirty!”

“Too early. How you can be this awake and chipper is beyond me.”

“Probably being part cat,” Izuku hummed, still being used as a crutch for his boyfriend and not minding one bit. “Think everyone’ll be here soon?”

“Probably. Dad said we’ll leave without them if they’re late.”

“Actual chances of that happening?”

“Zero.”

The two of them laughed quietly, not wanting to wake up the teacher at their feet. Izuku shifted his hold on Hitoshi so his boyfriend was standing again. He ended up laying his head on Izuku’s though, simply because he was the perfect height for a pillow. Izuku didn’t mind, but only because it was Hitoshi. 

A purr escaped his throat unbidden, and Izuku found himself having to repeatedly poke Hitoshi awake. They could sleep on the bus, but outside of it was a no. Unlike Aizawa, Hitoshi didn’t have a sleeping bag with him. The cement wasn’t as comfy as their teacher made it look. 

Maybe fifteen minutes later, Izuku heard the heavy marching steps of Iida. He gently shifted Hitoshi so he was leaning on the bus instead of him. Hitoshi grumbled and opened his eyes, but he stayed where he was. Once he knew his boyfriend wouldn’t fall, Izuku ran over to say hi to his friend. 

“Iida!” Izuku waved wildly, effectively gaining his friend’s attention. 

“Midoriya! It is nice to see someone else who appreciates being timely on such a day.”

Izuku nodded, smiling brightly. The two of them walked back over to Hitoshi, who was half-asleep again. Aizawa was still passed out on the ground. Like father like son, Izuku found himself thinking. 

The rest of the class gradually arrived. The pile of bags grew, as did the noise level. Hitoshi began using Izuku’s hair as a pillow again at some point. Izuku hardly batted an eye at it. Uraraka thought it was adorable though, and made it no secret that she was taking pictures. 

Only once they were all there did Aizawa-sensei emerge from his cocoon. Izuku poked Hitoshi awake again. A hush fell over the class as their teacher finally opened the bus doors, standing on the lowest stair inside of it to see them all. 

“Take your bags and put them in the overhead compartment and sit down. Use the bathroom now, because this drive is going to be long.”

Maybe half of them shuffled off to the bathroom before getting on the bus, leaving the other half to actually board. Izuku grabbed his bag and Hitoshi’s hand. His boyfriend was still acting like a zombie. Not too much of a surprise, seeing as his dads had probably woken him up close to four am. 

While Izuku threw his bags where it belonged, Hitoshi flopped onto a chair in the back of the bus. Uraraka stood beside Izuku, helping everyone else float up their own bags. Izuku got asked to lift a few more before he could sit down. 

He flopped into the seat beside Hitoshi, sighing with relief as everyone else found their own chairs. The chatter was relatively quiet for now. It wouldn’t last long, Izuku knew, but it would be nice while it lasted. 

The weight of Hitoshi’s head rested on Izuku’s shoulder a moment after he settled. The two were more equal in height when sitting. The bus’ engine roared to life, deafening them all for a moment. Izuku grumbled, slipping lower in his seat at the loud noise. 

“ROLL CALL,” Aizawa-sensei yelled over the sound of the bus. He went down the list, double-checking no one was getting left behind. “STAY IN YOUR SEATS UNLESS IT IS NECESSARY TO MOVE. WE LEAVE IN FIVE MINUTES.”

The chatter picked up once Aizawa sat down. Izuku hummed, Hitoshi a warm and comforting weight. The energy from before had drained thanks to running around outside. An impromptu game of Catch The Iida tended to do that. 

They began moving before long. Izuku amused himself for a minute by purring in tune with the engine. He wondered just where they were going. Obviously somewhere far from UA, but hopefully it wasn’t some underground fortress. 

Hitoshi was out before they reached the real roads. It didn’t take long for Izuku to follow.



“Alright, everyone off the bus.”

Izuku blinked awake at Aizawa-sensei’s voice, swearing he had just fallen asleep five minutes ago. Uraraka had woken him up for a minute at one point. They had still been around cities then. Now they were in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Izuku had no idea how long the drive had been, since Hitoshi and him had slept through most of it. Close to six hours if he had to guess though. 

He trudged off the bus, yawning in time with Hitoshi. They blinked against the bright light outside. The bus was parked on a dirt ledge that overlooked a forested valley. It was beautiful…and slightly familiar. Izuku paused, thinking hard on why he recognized this place. 

Then he noticed a black car parked off to the side. It smelled familiar too. He wracked his brain but didn’t know why.  

The doors to the car opened, revealing two people he definitely recognized. In the span of a single second Izuku was suddenly smiling like the sun. Aizawa-sensei spoke before he could run over.

“It’s nice to see you two. Are Ragdoll and Tiger taking care of 1-B?”

“Of course!” Mandalay said. “And these are your kittens this year?”

“This is my class, yes,” Aizawa sighed. 

“Well look at how lively they are!” Pixiebob chirped, eyeing all of them. Then her eyes fell on Izuku. “Wait a second, is that you kitten? It is! You’re Tomoko’s nephew!”

Izuku beamed, racing over to hug the heroes. Or as he knew them, Aunt Ryuko and Aunt Shino. They were technically his blood aunt’s best friends and partners, but Mom had basically adopted them into the family too.

He found himself laughing as his aunts squished him with hugs. Izuku could practically feel the confused stares on his back, but he didn’t care. It had been so long since he’d seen this part of his family. Hero work was demanding, and they lived so far away that he hardly ever saw them in person. 

“Eraser!” Aunt Ryuko suddenly yelled, rounding on his teacher. “You didn’t tell us you had the green kitten in your class!”

“I’m missing something here. Why should I have told you that?”

“Because he’s Ragdoll’s nephew!”

It was silent for a count of five, before all hell broke loose. Izuku laughed at it all. Especially how Aizawa rubbed him temples, muttering “Of course he is. Of course the aunt I’ve only heard of in passing is a hero. A hero running this camp.” He felt slightly bad for his teacher, but it wasn’t like Izuku could’ve warned him. 

He had missed them a lot though. While he hadn’t seen them in person since he was maybe eight, they all called more often than that. Between hero work and Mom’s job it still wasn’t entirely common, but enough that Izuku knew his aunts and uncle, and a bit about his adopted cousin.

Izuku couldn’t stop smiling now, even as he rejoined his classmates on the outlook. He already knew what was happening, given Pixiebob’s powers and what exactly they were standing on.

“No matter,” Aizawa said, loud enough for them all to hear. “We came here for training. That starts now.”

Izuku sighed, resigned to their fate. His classmates were just now realizing what was happening. Half of them still looked confused, while the other half were beginning to run back towards the bus.

Izuku grabbed Hitoshi and Iida before Pixiebob could use her Quirk. The ground beneath  1-A moved and writhed, but he kept a tight grip on his friends. Even if he was holding them like sacks of potatoes. Hitoshi just stayed still, also resigned to their fate, while Iida was yelling and trying to hand chop the air as they were forcibly moved. 

Izuku beat his aunt to the punch, and dove off the cliff of his own accord. Iida started shrieking. Some of the other students followed his example though. Namely Uraraka, who grabbed the two closest to her to bring to the ground. 

The rest of the class was yeeted off the cliff by Izuku’s adopted aunt. He twisted, landing on his feet like he almost always did. Iida was very quickly put back on the ground. Hitoshi, however, made no move to get off Izuku. 

“You wanna use your legs, Hitoshi?”

“Nah, you’re strong and comfy. My voice doesn’t work on dirt monsters anyway.”

“And I need two hands to punch them apart.”

“Challenge yourself.”

Hitoshi was unceremoniously dumped onto the ground. He just laid there for a moment, the rest of the class gathering themselves from the fall. No one was hurt thankfully, Pixiebob not being careless. Iida was rushing around, making sure nothing had broken. No bones at least, pride was a different matter. 

Izuku sighed, hearing the dirt gathering itself together deeper into the woods. He knew the general direction of the camp at least. Now they just had to get through this.

They had to get organized first though.

“EVERYBODY LISTEN UP!” He yelled, standing on a convenient tree stump. They all heard thankfully, and gathered around him. “Thank you. So this forest is going to be infested with some of Pixiebob’s earth beasts. They aren’t real animals, and will only stop once we destroy them. I want everyone who can cause destruction with their quirk in front and flanking the ones who can’t hurt the creatures. We’re going to get through this forest quickly and efficiently, hopefully in time for dinner. Are you ready?!”

“YEAH!”

Izuku raised his fist, hearing the first beast begin to run towards them. “PLUS ULTRA!”

The war cry was echoed as he sparked up green, and used the closest tree to springboard himself through the first dirt monster. It fell apart easily under his sneakers. The class fell into ranks around him as they stormed the forest. 

They were in this together, and they were going to succeed. 

~~~~~

Shouta sighed as the problem class disappeared over the cliff. God, he needed a nap. That bus had been too loud to sleep on. A problem his son apparently didn’t have, since he slept the entire way here. 

“Is he really Ragdoll’s nephew?” He asked, noting when a green light glowed from under the treetops. 

“Yep!” Pixiebob said happily. “We haven’t seen the kitten since he was small, but we talk to him and his mom every once in a while. Ragdoll’s sister is such a nice lady.”

“She basically adopted all of us into the family,” Mandalay laughed. “Nothing has lined up for a while now. Both because of our work and Inko’s, and then Izuku’s training. It’s nice to know the kit is safe.”

“And you…know about him?” Shouta asked.

“That he’s a Flerken? Yes,” Mandalay answered easily. “Ragdoll is one, though from what I’ve seen, her connected powers aren’t as strong. Could be that she has a Quirk along with being a Flerken. She doesn’t use her abilities in public though. Too much danger. Izuku’s a brave kid for doing what he is.”

“And she’s the only one of the four of you?”

“Yep!” Pixiebob chirped. “I’m an earth elemental myself. Tiger and Mandy have some fancy magic and stuff. Then there’s the community we have down in the valley.”

“Mandalay, you told me something about that. What is it?” He asked, genuinely curious.

The two dressed as cats exchanged looks, before Mandalay shrugged. “It’s the reason we all came together, really. Ragdoll’s technically the one that owns this valley, even though all of our names are on it. She originally intended for it to be a shelter to cat morphs and Flerkens. A place for them to live and recover, and then return to the world if they wanted to. We take a lot of the foster kids that are like that, since no one wants a ‘weak cat morph’ as a kid.”

Shouta sighed, quietly grumbling about the discrimination of it all. He had seen what it did to people. He had been through it firsthand, but seeing his son and not-yet son-in-law experience it was a whole different thing. He hated it. 

“And my kids aren't allowed to go near them, correct?”

“Yeah. We don’t want to scare them, you know? Izuku might be able to meet them though. None of them have seen a Flerken hero besides Ragdoll. It’s hard enough to find another one of them, let alone one that’s training to be a hero.”

“As long as the Problem Child doesn’t cause any trouble.”

“You kidding?” Pixiebob laughed. “That kid doesn’t have a purposefully malicious bone in his body!”

Shouta huffed, a smile tugging at the edge of his lips. They could definitely agree on that. 

~~~~~

They all trudged out of the woods a few hours later. Izuku was dead tired, his muscles screaming from their use. He might have pushed One for All farther than he technically should have towards the end. His classmates were getting weary though, he couldn’t just leave them defenseless. 

They were greeted by food and the promise of rest before hell tomorrow. While everyone else made a b-line for the food, Izuku split off for a moment. There was someone he had to talk to before dinner. 

The person was standing against the wall, trying to go unnoticed. It would have worked for anyone that wasn’t Izuku.

“Hey, Kouta,” he said softly. 

“Hmph, what do you want?”

“Just wanted to say hi. You’ve gotten big.” Izuku patted Kouta’s head, careful of the horns on his hat. “How’s living with Aunt Shino?”

“Weird.”

“Yeah, I figured,” Izuku laughed. “Do you like the forest though?”

“…I guess…”

“I’ve always thought the birds here are cool. The bugs are interesting too, but birds are pretty.”

“Don’t…don’t you eat birds?”

“Sometimes,” Izuku hummed. “They’re nice to watch though.”

“You’re weird.”

“I know.”

It was quiet for a moment, the two just watching the forest and people. Izuku knew his sort-of-cousin was a lonely little kit. His parents had died, and he was bitter against heroes. He had heard his aunt tell his mom about it before. Izuku hoped he could talk to him during this camp. Even if Kouta didn’t change his mind, knowing someone was in your corner helped a lot. 

“I’m going to go get some food before Kaminari and Kirishima eat it all,” Izuku said, pushing off the wall and stretching his sore arms. “You can come eat with us too if you want.”

“No thanks…I already ate anyway.”

“Alright then. Offer’s open for as long as we’re in your hair. See you later, Kouta.”

Izuku made his way over to a table, hoping this was a step in the right direction for his cousin. 



The food was amazing, but all of them were also exhausted so that might’ve caused a bit of bias. Izuku wondered if Kirishima even tasted the food with how fast he was shoveling it in.  Hitoshi almost fell asleep in his rice. 

The sun set not long after they ate. There were rooms for their class, separate from 1-B thankfully. Izuku really didn’t know if he could resist eating Monoma again if he made more moves on Hitoshi. At least Kendou would be here during the camp. She could stop Monoma if he crossed any lines. 

1-B had an entire different building from them actually, which was nice. They had already arrived apparently, and were getting ready for bed. Izuku felt no pity when he heard Tiger had chased them through the woods. They didn’t have to deal with dirt monsters trying to whack them above the canopy. 

Everyone was going inside when Izuku finally spotted someone. Without any warning, he raced away from the building. Aizawa-sensei very nearly wrapped him in his capture weapon. His teacher let it go when he saw who was there though, standing by the trees with a small smile. 

“AUNTIE TOMOKO!” He yelled, barreling towards his aunt.

“IZUKU!” She squealed, bracing just in time to catch him and spin him around. “I didn’t know you were going to be here! Oh kit, I haven’t seen you in forever! You’ve gotten so big! And heavy, what are they feeding you?”

Izuku laughed, feet touching the ground again. “I didn’t know you were going to be here either! Not until I saw Aunt Shino and Aunt Ryuko! Auntie Tomoko, they threw my class off a cliff!”

The two of them stood there for a minute, just laughing and hugging each other. Izuku hadn’t realized how nice it would be to see his aunt in person again. 

When they finally separated, it was because Aizawa cleared his throat. “As adorable as this is, you do have a curfew, Midoriya.”

“Right. I’ll see you in the morning, Auntie Tomoko!”

“Of course, kitten. Sleep well, you’re going to need it.” She ruffled his hair with her gloved hand, making him laugh again. 

Izuku waved before disappearing through the doorway. He couldn’t wipe the smile off his face. Nor could he shake the classmates cooing at him who had seen the whole exchange through a window.

So maybe he had almost gotten hurled off a cliff, but he got to see his aunt again. Izuku would say the camp was off to a great start. 

 

Chapter Text

The next morning was…interesting. Very interesting and different. 

They were woken up by Aizawa before the sun had risen. Well, they were supposed to be. Izuku and Hitoshi were already awake and cuddling while everyone else was still sleeping. Their teacher stared at them for a moment, probably wondering why they were awake, before remembering Izuku was part cat and Hitoshi had insomnia. 

The two went to get dressed while Aizawa woke up everyone else. Any stragglers would likely have a bucket of water dumped on them. As funny as that sight would be, they didn’t want to be the next target if there was extra water left. 

Izuku was ready first, and went outside to wait for everyone else. He knew it would be a few minutes before they were done. For the moment, he was content to sit out in the morning fog. Dew clung to the grass and leaves, shining with soft light. With the sun just barely up, the world looked almost ethereal.

The quiet of the morning remained unbroken by his silent footsteps. Bird calls rang out like notes of a song he couldn’t make heads or tails of. Izuku took a moment to smile at the peacefulness of it all. 

He full-shifted, scaling a tree to the lowest branches. It was nice up there, and the height meant less fog clinging to his fur. Maybe he could even catch a bird. They were given breakfast here, but feathers always made nice presents for the ones that were adamant about no dead things. Their loss really. 

Something in the bushes rustled, and Izuku nearly fell off his branch in fright. Instead his claws dug into it. It did its job of rooting him to the spot. The bark was shredded in the process, but at least he stayed in the tree. 

And then he caught the scent. One that he had only smelled once before, and he had been a young kit then. It took him a second to place what it actually was. 

Once he did, Izuku skittered back down the tree as fast as he could. The rustling got louder. The sound of people talking did too. 

Izuku’s fur was fluffed up to twice its normal size. He raced over, standing in front of the building so he was between it and the forest. Izuku stood there until he saw the animal push their way out of the bushes. 

It was a bear. A relatively small one, but a bear nonetheless. Izuku hissed at it in warning. It stopped, stared at him, then took another step forward. 

Izuku made a noise not unlike a car engine failing to start. The bear grumbled, but didn’t really stop. He hissed again, arching his back to appear even bigger. Still didn’t quite work though.

Well, drastic times call for drastic measures. Izuku yowled, and rushed at the bear.

At first it didn’t move. It started moving quickly when Izuku lashed out with his claws. He hissed, biting the bear’s legs when it turned to try and whack him with its own claws. Bears were nothing to mess with. He had to make sure his clan was safe. 

Realizing this wasn’t a fight it could win, the bear turned tail and ran. Izuku chased after it, yowling and scratching if it tried to turn around again. He made sure it was well into the forest before huffing, and going back to the camp. 

Izuku trotted back to the cabin, looking satisfied as a cat could get. He was met with Aizawa-sensei and Hitoshi standing just outside the doorway. If their jaws dropped any farther they would catch bugs. 

“You just chased away a bear,” Hitoshi said in a not-quite whisper. “You chased away a fucking bear. As a cat.”

Aizawa closed his mouth, turning on his heel. “It’s too early for this, Problem Child.”

Izuku shifted back to a person, stifling his laughter. He glanced over to Hitoshi, only to see his boyfriend was still gaping at him. And staring. Had he blinked in the last minute?

“Uhh, Hitoshi?”

He finally blinked, closing his mouth. “You just, chased away a bear. A whole-ass bear.”

“Yes?”

“Mon Minou, what the fuck.”

Izuku giggled, grabbing his boyfriend’s arm as he retreated back inside. He would need to tell his aunt about the bear. It was also almost breakfast time! Which mostly just meant everyone had permission to raid the cabin kitchen for anything edible. Dinner would be a group effort though! Izuku was looking forward to it. 

With Hitoshi still being dragged behind him, Izuku all but skipped into the kitchen. He finally let go to rummage through the cabinets. Hitoshi didn’t really move, only slumping into a nearby chair to lay his head on the table. 

“Kitten!”

Izuku looked up, a smile already on his face at his aunt’s voice. She was out of costume, long green hair done up in a messy bun like Mom wore sometimes. In the time between one blink and the next, she had scooped him up in a hug. 

“Auntieeeee,” he whined playfully, batting at her arms. “I want breakfast!”

“Toast and a granola bar like always?”

“Yep!”

Izuku’s feet finally touched the ground again. He laughed as his Aunt Tomoko made a dramatic show of letting him go. She finally broke into giggles after a moment, actually letting him go. 

“Corner of the counter, and I think Yawara stashed some protein bars in the top left cabinet.”

“Thanks Auntie Tomoko!”

“No problem, kit. Anything else you need?”

“Nope! Oh, there was a bear outside earlier, but I chased it away.”

“Huh, good job, Izuku.” She ruffled his hair, hand getting lost in the green bush of curls. 

Izuku was busy scaling the counter when Aizawa-sensei walked in. He still looked dead on his feet, and pointedly ignored Izuku standing on the countertop. The man made a b-line for the fridge. He emerged with a carton of coffee creamer, and then fished a mug out from a cabinet. 

He left as fast as he had come, stirring an ungodly amount of sugar and cream into his coffee. Other students finally began to filter in soon after. Izuku hopped off the counter with his prize.

“He looks a bit exhausted,” Auntie Tomoko said bluntly. “And I don’t think that coffee is going to help much.”

“Well why do you think he always looks so dead?” Hitoshi said from the table. “It’s ‘cause he’s drinking more cream and sugar than actual coffee. If you want someone that drinks black espresso, talk to Present Mic.”

Izuku snorted, the noise echoed by his aunt. Hitoshi wasn’t kidding either. Yamada inhaled espresso like it was his job. His fourth one. Honestly the man was probably only alive because of his energy levels, both with caffeine and without. 

“I’ll leave you kids to breakfast,” Tomoko said, waving as she walked out of the room. “The other’s will probably be by to give you all your orders soon! Try not to die!”

“Well that’s…concerning,” Hitoshi piped up once she left. “Certainly related to you though.”

Izuku barked a laugh, and went about finally getting his food (and some for his boyfriend, who somehow always managed to burn his toast).

Overall, it was a nice morning, in Izuku’s opinion. 

~~~~~

Training was…well, not fun, but definitely educational. Izuku spent the morning dodging his Uncle Yawara (Tiger) and getting flung into the ground. At least dodging was less of a problem since learning from Gran Torino. Didn’t mean his uncle wasn’t taking the opportunity to show him how the dirt tasted here though. 

Izuku peeled himself off the ground once again, groaning as he flopped over onto his back. The sounds of everyone else training echoed around him. If he squinted he could make out Uraraka floating in the sky, tethered to the earth by a rope. Katsuki was shrieking somewhere in the background following every explosion that shook the ground. 

They were all being put through hell. It would make them stronger though. Izuku hoped it would be enough for the licensing exam he had heard Aizawa-sensei mumbling about.

Izuku jumped as someone hit the ground beside him. He glanced over, managing to crack a grin as the person looked over at him.

“You ok, my Shin?”

“Peachy. Weather’s lovely down here, yeah?”

Izuku laughed, hoping Tiger gave them a moment to catch their breath on the ground. Hitoshi was training with them today. Both of them would be working on their quirks tomorrow, but today was hand-to-hand day for them. 

Well, it was more like “throw your nephew and nephew-in-law around like rag-dolls” day, but at least Izuku was around his boyfriend. It could be a lot worse.

“Well if it isn’t class 1-A!”

Speak of the devil and he shall appear. In the form of an annoying blonde asshole apparently. 

Izuku groaned loudly, and wondered if it would be ok to bury himself in the dirt. Just become one with it. Already halfway there from eating so much of it, might as well become a dirt creature. 

“Oh boy,” Hitoshi muttered. “Here we go again.”

Monoma started talking, the rest of his class behind him. Izuku wondered how much trouble he would be in if he teleported away.

When the annoying noise didn’t stop, Izuku very seriously considered the consequences of throwing dirt at another student. How much trouble would he really be in? It would probably be better to not risk it though. That that thought in mind, he full shifted, shaking out his fur as he finally stood back up. Yeah, that was going to be bruised tomorrow. 

Monoma’s monologue didn’t stop. Izuku narrowed his eyes, and then spun and scaled the nearby tree. He really didn’t want to listen to this. 

Izuku settled on one of the high branches, enjoying the peace for a minute. It was far enough away that Monoma’s voice was quiet and distant. He purred in contentment from his perch.

“Izuku? You can’t skip training, you ass!” His person yelled from the ground. 

Izuku opened his eyes, looking down to the tree’s base. Hitoshi was standing there, looking tiny from this height. He looked slightly annoyed. Izuku had the urge to curl up on his shoulders and take a nap. 

“Get your fluffy butt down here or I’m coming up to get you!”

Izuku huffed, and went to climb down the tree.

Only to realize he had no idea how to get down. He could teleport, but that might just put him in another tree. Accuracy still wasn’t his strong suit. Oh dear.

Izuku loudly meowed in distress, hoping it got his point across. It seemed to, since his person stilled at the bottom of the tree. 

“Hang on for a second, Izuku! I’m coming up!”

Oh, good. He would be ok then. As long as his person was here, he would be fine. 

Izuku watched as Hitoshi climbed the tree. He couldn’t go quite as high as Izuku had, since he was a person and heavier than a cat. It was close enough though. 

“Alright, come here.”

Izuku meowed, edging over to Hitoshi’s outstretched arm. He was gently lifted and set on his person’s shoulders like a fuzzy scarf. 

“Uhh, how am I…supposed to get down.”

Izuku stared at Hitoshi, unamusement radiating from him in waves. 

“Yeah yeah, didn’t think this through. Think Tiger will help us down?”

“Meow.”

“Yeah, hopefully.”

 

They got down eventually. Monoma had finally realized they were gone at one point and wandered off. The rest of 1-B went about their training alongside 1-A. Izuku and Hitoshi kept up their sparring with Tiger once they were back on the ground.

They got a break for lunch, and then switched up their training methods. Tiger went to spar with some of the 1-B students, while Izuku and Hitoshi were pitted against Ojirou and Hagakure. 

Dinner signaled the end of their training. They had to make their own food tonight. Izuku was actually happy that he got to cook, despite most of the two classes moaning about having to make their food themselves. Most of 1-A defaulted to him and Uraraka for orders, who apparently also knew how to cook. 

It turned out less of a disaster than Izuku expected it to be. Iida apparently had no idea how to use a potato peeler. That was an…experience. Katsuki was good with knives, which wasn’t too much of a surprise. Ashido had to be told to not use her acid to try and cook things. Todoroki was so clueless on how to cook that he was banned from everything except slowly stirring a pot. 

Dinner tasted decent at least! Probably better than it really was since they were so exhausted from training. Izuku might have gotten annoyed and sat on the counter. He may have also pushed things off of the table as a cat when anyone annoyed him. 

Izuku had no regrets whatsoever. 

He had scarfed down almost all of his food, when he noticed Kouta walking into the woods. For a moment he just watched his cousin go. Then he got up, grabbed a new plate with some warm food, and followed the small footprints the kit had left behind. 

The trail led up a cliffside. It ended on a flat space with a cave behind it, the view looking over almost the entire valley. Kouta was sitting on the ground, staring out over everything. Izuku made sure to walk loud enough to be heard.

“You. What are you doing here.”

“Thought you would like some food,” Izuku said. “Don’t worry, I got some of the actually good stuff.”

Kouta eyed the plate warily, but took it anyway. They sat in silence for a while, just sharing each other’s presence. Izuku knew he annoyed Kouta a bit less than his classmates. He hoped that just maybe he could use that to help. 

“I don’t understand you,” Kouta said suddenly. “Your dad died because of a hero. Why do you want to be one?”

Izuku hummed, not taking his eyes off the valley below. “To prove something, I guess. Prove that Flerkens aren’t villains. That I can do good; that I can save people. There’s a lot of reasons.”

“But heroes just throw themselves at villains and die, leaving their family behind.”

“But they save more,” he said quietly. “That’s the point, I think. We save people so they can go back to their families, even if we don’t come back to our own. A man can go back to his wife, a mom can go back to her children, a kid back to his parents. I’m going to try my very best to never leave my family, but if I had to choose between myself and a lot more people, the choice is already made in my mind.”

“But…but why.” Kouta’s voice was croaky with unshed tears. Izuku scooted closer to his cousin. “Why do…why did they leave me?”

“They didn’t want to, I know that much, Kouta. I know everyone’s saying how brave they were, how noble it was. But…I also know what it’s like to lose a parent. It feels like the world is praising them for sacrificing themselves, doesn’t it?” 

“…Yeah.”

“Yeah,” Izuku echoed, setting a hand on Kouta’s head. He leaned into it slightly. “I’m not going to lie to you, you’re far too smart for that, it’s not easy. But, you have your aunts and uncle. They’re here for you. Try talking to them, and I think you’ll be surprised.”

“What about you.”

“What about…me?”

“You said I have my aunts and uncle here for me. What about you?”

“Oh, yeah. Yeah, I’m here for you too. Whenever you need me, I’ll be there.”

Kouta nodded, and finally leaned his head against Izuku’s shoulder. He couldn’t help smiling and wrapping a comforting arm around his little cousin. The kit was lonely, and needed him. He would protect his family, now and forever. 



The two returned a while later, plate empty and both feeling all around better. Izuku went to sit back down, before someone grabbed his arm. He stifled a yelp, seeing it was his Aunt Tomoko a second before he shrieked. 

“Shh, come with me,” she said in a conspiratorial whisper.

Izuku let her pull him away from the tables. They passed by the cabins, and walked through some bushes onto a trail Izuku hadn’t seen before. His aunt gently tugged him along, looking sure as ever.

“So, where are we going?”

“A secret place! You can’t tell your friends about this, alright?”

“Uhh, ok?”

With that said, they kept walking. Izuku wondered how far they were going to go. 

He wondered, until they were suddenly standing in a clearing. There were buildings scattered all around. A big one was in the epicenter of it all, but not quite near where they were standing. Most notably, they were in a field. A field full of people and…cats?

Cats that turned into people as they ran up to greet the two of them.

Izuku’s mind was reeling, just a bit. His aunt seemed happy though, chirping loudly in greeting to all of them. 

“Oh! Everyone! This is Izuku! My nephew that I talk about! Turns out he’s in that hero course that’s visiting!”

All of the attention was instantly shifted to Izuku. He laughed nervously, waving to all of the people staring at him. There were maybe twelve people in total, but it was still a lot. And he could see more beyond the small clearing. 

And then his aunt said words he never thought she would ever say out loud. “And he’s a Flerken!”

They all froze, staring at him in shock. Izuku shrunk back. This wasn’t a good idea. He should get out of here they might be hostile might hurt him might be violent might-

And…and then they started cheering. They- they were cheering for him. The people rushed towards him, asking a hundred and one questions in overlapping voicing. 

“Hey, give him some breathing room guys!” His aunt called loudly. The crowd thankfully backed off a bit. “He can answer questions and all that after you introduce yourselves.”

There was a chorus of agreements, and a semi-circle formed around Izuku. The person on the far right started talking first. Their hair was strikingly orange, with green and blue clinging to the tips. Probably dyed. They had heterochromia like Todoroki too, even with almost the same colors! Also a fez and bowtie for some reason. Izuku chose not to question it, and listened with rapt attention as they spoke. 

“Well my name is Devine, and it is simply divine to meet you. I am a cat morph and will hopefully be moving back to the city soon.”

“Um, well, it’s n-nice to meet you, Mr. Devine!” Izuku said, glancing at his aunt and hoping for an explanation. 

He didn’t get one, but he did hear the next person begin to introduce themself. 

Izuku took in her appearance. She looked a bit like he did honestly. She was taller than him though, by a fair amount. Her black hair was a lot longer than even his mom’s. Same freckles and eye color though. 

“Hi! My name is Hallow!” She practically yelled, looking like she was restraining herself from launching herself at him. “And I’m a Flerken!”

Izuku’s brain short circuited. A- another Flerken? Here? How- how many of these people were Flerkens? How many were actual cat morphs? How long had they been here, and why hadn’t Mom or Aunt Tomoko ever told him about this place?

Next was Nekumi Kukuhou. She was just slightly shorter than him, and had bright red-gold eyes. Her hair was also orange, though hers was darker than Devine’s, and a lot poofier. She was also a Flerken, and wanted to be a support student one day.

Then there was Fiadh Chase. A Flerken too, but only visiting until she left again. Her silver hair and green eyes were cool. Apparently she worked with organizations to rescue big cats from idiot people who thought they made good pets or were content with small cages. Izuku heard someone whisper something about her not always sticking with agency protocol to get the cats safe. He stifled his laughter, and listened to the next few people introduce themselves. 

They went around the semi-circle. Izuku noticed more people milling around in the background, usually walking somewhere but glancing over with a bit of surprise. Aunt Tomoko still hadn’t explained anything.

The last one in line was another Flerken, named Lucifer. Izuku was half convinced they were lying and just had a good poker face. They were short, and had ginger hair of the same description. Their brown eyes were wide and excited though, and they were smiling brightly. Izuku found himself returning the grin. 

“It’s- it’s amazing, to meet all of you but…what are- why are you all here? I’ve never- I’ve never seen this many Flerkens or cat morphs in one place.”

Aunt Tomoko set a hand on Izuku’s shoulder, getting his attention. “This is our sanctuary. Flerkens and cat morphs are welcome here, as long as they aren’t seriously bad villains that is. It’s a place we made that’s safe for them.”

“You…you made this?”

“Yeah. The others helped, of course. There’s no way I could do this all on my own. But, this is a place your mom and I could have used. I wanted to give people what we needed as kids.”

“Oh.”

“Izuku? You ok there, kit?”

Izuku blinked, only now realizing he was crying. He hadn’t realized just how much this would affect him. It- it was truly amazing. He hadn’t thought a place like this existed.

“Yeah,” he croaked, though smiling at his aunt and the people around him. “I’m alright, Auntie Tomoko. Can…can you guys show me around?”

And suddenly there were a dozen pairs of hands trying to pull him farther into the clearing. Izuku laughed, and followed willingly. He had questions, of course he did, but they couldn’t wait. For now, he had others to focus on. 



He left two hours later, the sun having finally set. Izuku had seen and experienced something he never thought he would. The Flerkens and cat morph were all an interlaced family here. They showed him around, introducing him to other people and some of the actual normal cats on the site. 

There were three normal cats actually. Ditch, a fluffy white cat that seemed adamant about staying in the dirt trenches apparently used for war games. She was nice, and showed Izuku how to put a flower in his fur. Her stories were a bit farfetched, but it was nice to listen to her. He was warned not to try and make her leave the ditch though.

Then there was Isaac, or King Isaac the Eraser Killer as he introduced himself as. He was a fluffy black cat that apparently haunted anyone who tried to make art. There was a splatter of paint on his tail that Izuku carefully didn’t mention. One of the younger kids giggled as they passed, noticing the pencil that seemed stuck to his fur. 

Finally there was Matilda, or Tilly, a fuzzy light gray cat that had some faint tabby markings. She told him about how nice the sunlight was here. And the food, she really liked the food apparently. 

There was also Goose, who Izuku had overheard people call Chaos Cat. He tried to convince Izuku he was a normal cat, then popped into human form not three seconds later. A pigeon was also perched on his head for some reason. It didn’t move no matter how widely he gestured, the bird just stayed there. 

Izuku asked about it. The only answer he received is that Pigeon had chosen Goose, so Pigeon stayed. Goose’s curly black and white hair was the fluffiest thing Izuku had seen, and apparently Pigeon liked to roost there and watch with all seeing black eyes. 

He was told in no uncertain terms that Pigeon was off-limits for hunting. The bird cooed, agreeing with Goose. After that warning, the cat morph went on a ten minute tangent on how he loved all the chaos Izuku had caused outside the valley. It made him smile with pride. 

It was getting dark when he finally had to leave. He had had so much fun talking with everyone, and learned more than he ever thought he would. 

He was stopped on the way out. It was one of the Flerkens, Hallow. She looked calmer than before, but determined. Izuku turned to face her when she gently grabbed his arm. 

“I wanted to tell you something, before you left again,” she said. 

“What is it?”

“I wanted to thank you, for what you’re doing.”

Izuku blinked, glancing back to his aunt for a moment. She said nothing. “I don’t think I understand?”

“Being a hero. A mainstream one,” she clarified quietly. “Thank you, for proving we’re not all villains. We’re all- we’re all just so happy that you’re doing this. You’re amazing, Midoriya. I know you’ll make us proud.”

And with that, she turned on her heel and ran back to the cluster of buildings. Izuku was left staring, his Aunt Tomoko not doing anything to hide her fond smile. 

He hadn’t completely wiped the shock off of his face by the time they returned to 1-A’s cabin. The sun had fully set by now, leaving them in the dark. The two Flerkens could see fine though, both having night vision. 

“So, what did you think?” 

“It was…it was amazing, Aunt Tomoko,” Izuku answered honestly. “Why…why didn’t you tell us about them before?”

“Private stuff, kitten. Can’t have villains accidentally hearing things over the phone, yeah? That would spell disaster for these people.”

Izuku nodded in understanding. “Can I…can I come back? Maybe not tomorrow, or even on this trip, but can I come back one day?”

“Of course, Izuku. Who knows, maybe I’ll leave the valley to you and Kouta one day.” Aunt Tomoko ruffled his hair, making him smile. “And your partner. He’s quite handsome.”

“Auntie!”

“I’m not wrong,” she laughed, opening the door into the building for him. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell the others. Goodness knows how much Ryuko would tease.”

Izuku blushed at the thought, before hugging his aunt goodnight. He walked down the hall, light on his feet. The lights were on, but only inside the rooms. It left the hallways almost pitch black. He could see though. 

A door creaked open as he walked towards the sleeping area. It was the door he was headed towards actually. 

Kaminari walked out of the room, looking two seconds away from falling asleep where he stood. He ambled out of the doorway, only looking around a long second later. His eyes landed on Izuku. 

And then he shrieked, sprinted back into the sleeping area, and slammed the door. 

Izuku sighed, and went to do damage control under the vein of not in fact being Mothman.

He went to sleep that night, knowing that this is why he was doing this. This is why he was becoming a hero. And nothing was going to stop him from achieving his dream. Not when he had so many people that believed in him.

Chapter Text

Izuku was woken up by Hitoshi poking his shoulder. He grumbled groggily, flopping over and accidentally rolling onto the wooden floors. It was cold, but he didn’t move. 

“Izuku, we have to get up. Dad’s going to be in soon to wake everyone else up.”

“But I don’t wannaaaaaa.”

“Mon Minou, you can’t just lay on the floor.”

“Yes I can. Let me sleep.”

Izuku muttered incoherently as he snatched the nearest pillow and buried his face in it. He had been through hell yesterday with training, and just wanted to sleep thanks very much. Not even Aizawa-sensei could make him get up right now.

“Izuku, come on.”

Hands grabbed under his arms, attempting to hoist him up. Izuku went boneless when he realized what was happening. Hitoshi dropped him from the sudden weight, the boy flopping onto the floor again.

“Really?”

Izuku said nothing, instead closing his eyes. Maybe he could rest for just another minute.

Hitoshi nudged him with his foot. Izuku cracked his eyes open, seeing his boyfriend standing over him with a semi-amused look on his face.

“Alright then. Guess I’ll just leave you here.”

Hitoshi stepped over Izuku’s body, headed in the direction of the door. His front foot landed lightly in front of Izuku. Before he could take another step, Izuku grabbed his ankle and pulled. 

Hitoshi fell ungracefully and with his arms windmilling, ankle snagged by a tired cat-gremlin. His face smacked into the edge of Kouda’s sleeping mat. Izuku reeled him in, and used his boyfriend’s back as his new pillow.

“Love, we do have to get ready.”

“Not yet,” Izuku purred, content with the warmth. “Want my person to stay.”

Hitoshi paused, then went limp and sighed. “Fine, but only a few more minutes.”

Izuku purred, cuddling with his soft boyfriend. Hitoshi was muscular, extremely so, but he was still a wonderful pillow. Especially since he was nice and warm too. It was a lovely way to spend the morning.

He wondered if, one day, this is what he would always wake up. 

“What are you two doing?”

Izuku looked up to see their teacher standing in the doorway. He had one eyebrow raised, and a questioning look on his face. Also a cup of coffee already in one hand. 

“Midoriya, release my son please.”

“No thank you.”

“Midoriya.”

“Sir, this is my emotional support pillow.”

Izuku hid his face in Hitoshi’s shirt. Aizawa-sensei snorted, a sound Izuku wasn’t quite expecting.

“Alright then. You have ten minutes before I wake the class up and you have to explain…whatever this is.”

Izuku mumbled some nonsense, before closing his eyes for a few more minutes. Their class was mostly oblivious. An explanation of sleep-cuddling would probably suffice for most of them. 

~~~~~

“Midoriya, stop that this instant!”

“Iida, shush. Look! He’s doing the cat butt wiggle thing!”

“Ah, that means he’s adjusting his trajectory to more accurately hit his target.”

“Calibrating…calibrating…calibrating,” Uraraka said in a not-quite-whisper.

Izuku ignored the voices, focusing on his target. He adjusted his feet, not looking away. 

“Shouldn’t we…stop him?”

“Nah, this is more fun, Tsuyu! Look! Calibrating…calibrating…takeoff in 3, 2-“

Izuku launched himself forward, and hit his mark. They yelped as he tackled them to the ground. His claws were angled away since he couldn’t sheath them in half-shift. 

“GAH! WHAT THE-“

Then something hit Izuku. He hissed, springing away from where he had landed square on his target. All at once, he had snapped back to human mentality with a pout on his face and ears angled backwards. He glared at Kendou, who had just sprayed him with a water bottle.

“Kendou! What was the purpose of that!” Iida said, nearly chopping Uraraka’s head with his hand. 

“He was using Monoma as target practice,” she said, one eyebrow raised. “I think spraying him with a little water was justified.”

“I don’t like water,” Izuku whined, furiously shaking his head to get the water out of his curls. “And I wasn’t going to eat him this time!”

“Sure. Midoriya, you’re a nice dude, but please stop pouncing on Monoma. I know he’s annoying, but he does still need to practice.”

Izuku hung his head, nodding. “Sorry, Kendou. Sorry, Monoma.”

“It’s ok,” Kendou sighed. “Just go back to your own practice, excluding Monoma.”

“Ok. Good luck you two!”

“You too, Midoriya.”

Izuku turned back into a full human, bounding off to find Hitoshi again. They were technically supposed to be practicing together, but Izuku had slipped into cat mode when he’d seen a sparkly thing. Said sparkly thing happened to be Monoma practicing with Tetsutetsu’s quirk while standing in the sunlight. 

“Hey Midoriya!” Ashido called before he got back. 

He turned, seeing her waving him over. Izuku shrugged, then jogged over to them. She was standing with one of the 1-B girls. Setsuna, if he remembered correctly. 

“Midoriya, do the thing!”

Izuku tilted his head curiously. “What thing?”

“The bendy thing! I saw you do it during flexibility training and Setsuna doesn’t believe me.”

“Oh. Yeah, ok.”

Izuku proceeded to do a backbend. Then he kept going, folding himself almost in two. He grabbed his ankles while bending himself into a loop. 

A gasp made him look up. Setsuna and Ashido were both staring at him, one significantly more smug than the other. Izuku sent them a smile. Someone behind them screamed. 

It took ten minutes of assurances that he wasn’t possessed, and that they did not in fact need an exorcist, until he finally went back to training.

~~~~~

Night fell, and they all had to make their own dinner again. It was better than the day before at least. Izuku was just thankful Iida had finally figured out how a potato peeler worked. 

While they were eating, Pixie-Bob announced that they would be playing a game tonight. A test of courage, she said. The classes would take turns scaring and being scared by the other. Izuku just shrugged, knowing he would probably lose one half and win the other. 

Teams were called, of which they were told in no uncertain terms they wouldn’t be swapping. Izuku was half surprised to hear he was paired with both his boyfriend and Ojirou. Better than the alternative of being by himself though. Also gave Izuku an excuse to cling to Hitoshi, so he mouthed an emphatic thank you to his Aunt Ryuko.

They listened to the rules, Izuku wondering if he was allowed to just shift into a cat and scout ahead. Quirks were allowed, after all. 

Aunt Tomoko was stationed at a table halfway through. They had to retrieve a pass from her, and get through the last half to be successful. Their times were staggered, so it wasn’t a race and hopefully wouldn’t become one. Knowing Katsuki though, it would. Especially since he was paired with Todoroki. 

They were team six, so the three of them would be second to last. Izuku rambled to Hitoshi and Ojiro about some of 1-B’s quirks. Ojiro seemed to zone out for a bit, but Izuku knew Hitoshi was listening intently. He always did. 

Their signal to go was met with enthusiasm, tired muttered plans, and quiet contemplation. Izuku half-shifted as soon as they were over the starting line. His enhanced senses told him exactly where the first team was. 

Izuku blinked down at the head poking up from the ground. They were making noises. He wanted to whack it.

“Hey! You’re supposed to be scared!”

“Sorry man,” Hitoshi drawled, coming up behind Izuku. “Pretty hard to scare someone who can see in the dark.”

“Damn, yeah I can see how that’s a problem.”

Izuku was gently tapped on the arm, and it was enough to shake him from staring at the head. He smiled, waving as they trotted on past and farther into the forest. 

They were nearly to the halfway point, when Izuku smelled something. It was…weird. Not normal air. It smelled…sharp? And heavy. Stifling. Like- like…

Like poison.

“Stop!” Izuku yelled, grabbing his two partners. “Stop! We can’t keep going! There’s-there’s poison!”

“Midoriya, what are you talking about?” Ojiro asked. “The air’s fine?”

“N-no, there’s poison. I can smell it. It’s in the air it’s coming this way, we have to go!”

“I’m sure it’s just-“

“Izuku,” Hitoshi said, loosely grabbing his arm. “Any idea what type? I know you and Nedzu worked on stuff with poisons for a bit.”

“Paralysis probably, judging from the old-time anesthetic smell. Sleeping gas? Not quite that, maybe more damaging.”

“Ok then, we’ll go back.”

“Wh- but the test-“

“Isn’t worth our health,” Hitoshi said, voice dropping lower than it normally did. “If Izuku smells something, then there’s something. If we don’t go back we could get hurt.”

“Trust me, Ojiro,” Izuku said softly. “Please.”

“Fine. Quickly then.”

They turned back, pace fast and all of them determined to return to the cabin quickly.  

Then Izuku froze. 

“Izuku?”

“Midoriya? Is something-“

“Keep going, don’t stop,” he said, a note of urgency to his voice. “I have to make sure someone’s ok.”

“But…”

“I’ll be fine. Go!”

They hesitated, before nodding and running off. Izuku watched them go for a moment. He shifted back to human, just in-case a tail could hinder him in the next few minutes, then folded in on himself to teleport away. 

His feet hit the ground, leaving him standing on a flat surface thankfully. No need for a repeat of the rafters incident. He had reached his mark. Thank goodness he had walked this path the other day, and knew where to teleport too.

Izuku looked up from the ground, and almost wished he hadn’t.

His Auntie Tomoko was here. She…she was…

Izuku didn’t bother forcing himself to stay still. He just moved, as he always did, emotions overflowing with the urge to protect.  

“DON’T TOUCH HER!”

Izuku crashed into one of the two other people in the small clearing; the one closer to his aunt. The two of them went tumbling, the other assumed villain squawking in place. Izuku threw himself off of the person the moment he could. He didn’t know them or their powers yet. Close quarters was dangerous. At least from a distance he could get a good look at the two.

One looked…they looked like a giant green lizard, there was no other way to say that. They had ridiculously bright magenta hair, and some kind of weapon on their back. Izuku couldn’t tell what it was honestly. Sorta looked like the dude had just strapped together any sharp thing he could find. 

The other was holding a giant block of something. Izuku eyed them warily, taking in their loose clothing and sunglasses that didn’t fit in at nighttime. They were the one Izuku had rammed into, though they had somehow kept a grip on their giant metal thing. 

“Well well well,” the lizard chuckled. “Looks like we have another plaything, Magne!”

“Sure does, Spinner. Bossman wouldn’t mind a slight detour from delivering the target anyway.”

“Stay away from her,” Izuku growled, edging closer to his aunt. “Or else.”

“Or else what, little boy? Are you going to call for mommy and daddy?”

Izuku lit up with the power of One for All, the energy haloing him in familiar light. The two villains watched him for a moment, before bursting into laughter. Izuku growled, edging even closer to Ragdoll while they were distracted. 

“Nice light show kid!” Spinner cackled, nearly in stitches. 

“Pretty power you got there,” Magne laughed. “But I’m going to need you to move. One chance at mercy, kid. Leave and you don’t have to get hurt. We’re only here for the hero.”

Izuku blinked, surprised this was an offer even being made. He moved into a fighting stance. “Over my dead body.”

“Eh, worth a shot.”

Izuku felt a tug on his gut, and then he was flying. He yelped midair, not expecting the impromptu flight. The villain laughed as he rocketed towards them and away from his aunt. 

Well, no time for hesitating now. 

Izuku waited until the last second, then opened his mouth wide. 

The villains were gone in a flash, their weapons going with them. Izuku quietly hissed in pain, feeling where Spinner had cut at one of his tenta-teeth. It was manageable pain though. More like a skinned knee than a stab wound. He couldn’t bother to focus on it, not when his auntie was still unconscious and bleeding. 

Izuku ran over to her, hesitating to move her for a moment. She looked bad, but better than it could’ve been. There was a gash on her head, probably from Magne’s metal thing knocking her out. It was still bleeding. 

But she wasn’t dead. Izuku repeated that on a mantra as he gingerly lifted her. He had no other choice if he wanted them both to live. She wasn’t dead, just unconscious. She would be fine as long as he got back to the cabin quickly. 

Izuku took a deep breath, balancing the adult in his arms, and teleported back to the cabin.

He stumbled when he hit solid ground again, but he didn’t fall. Izuku looked up, seeing he was right outside of the cabin. He had been aiming for inside, but this was better than nothing. No one was outside, but the lights were on. Probably the remedial class with Aizawa and Vlad King. 

Izuku shoved the door open, making a b-line for the voices he heard. 

All conversation stopped when he stumbled in. Izuku took all of a second to try and steady his frayed nerves.

“Villains. There’s something- something poisonous. Gas, I th-think. They- they hurt her please- please help her I have to go-“

“Problem Child, stay right there.”

“Aizawa-sensei I have to go make sure-“

“You need to rest for a minute. I’ll go check on everyone and get them back here safely, ok?”

“But I-“

“Vlad can take care of Ragdoll. You stay here.”

“Y-yes, Aizawa-sensei.”

Aizawa nodded, satisfied Izuku wouldn’t run off, and left with hurried steps out the door. Izuku handed his aunt to Vlad King, who retreated from the room, then sat heavily in one of the chairs. The rest of the students were watching curiously. 

“Did you fight the villains?” Kaminari asked.

“Yes,” Izuku answered, and that was the only one they were going to get. 

He closed his eyes for a few minutes, just focusing on breathing away the panic. Auntie Tomoko would be fine. Vlad King would make sure she was ok. Pixie-Bob, Mandalay, and Tiger would all be ok too. They were pros. 

But…but why did it feel like someone was missing? 

Izuku sat there, face probably scrunched up in thought with his eyes closed. The room’s chatter was background noise. He knew he was forgetting something, but he didn’t know what. The feeling ate at his mind, urging him to remember.

When it struck him, he immediately leapt to his feet. Everyone around him jumped at the sudden movement, but he didn’t care. Izuku was gone before they could blink. Green light was the only thing he left behind. 

Outside was deceptively peaceful, only disturbed by Izuku’s frantic running. The bad smell was stronger, though not affecting him yet. There was smoke now too. The dark haze blocked out the stars in an unnatural swath.

Kouta was still out here. Izuku had seen him go to his hideout before the game. He had said he wanted some fresh air, that he’d be back down in a bit, that the forest was safe as long as he stayed on the cliff and path. 

But it wasn’t. Izuku pushed himself faster as the billowing cloud of smoke grew larger. The forest wasn’t safe it was supposed to be but it wasn’t and now they were in danger. Kouta was in danger, Aunt Tomoko was hurt, and Izuku didn’t know where anyone else was. Hitoshi hadn’t been at the cabin so he was still running there. He had to be ok. Izuku would never forgive himself if he wasn’t. 

It was maybe halfway to the cliff that Izuku realized he could just teleport. Panic made his mind hazy. He didn’t stop his stride, instead just disappeared between one step and the next. 

Izuku’s feet hit the ground a split second later. He was on the cliff’s path, near the bottom. He could see the top from where he stood.

He could see his cousin, and a looming shadow. 

Fuck it, Izuku decided, and charged up One for All. He shot himself up the path, feet hardly touching the rock. There wasn’t time to worry about his steps. There wasn’t time to hesitate. 

The giant raised an equally big fist, and swung towards Kouta, who didn’t move. He was too scared to. 

Izuku snarled to himself, pushing himself to move faster. He skipped the last few feet of path, launching himself towards his cousin. The fist came down in slow motion as Izuku collided with Kouta. 

The two went tumbling, Izuku taking the impact by curling around Kouta protectively. He wouldn’t get hurt, not while Izuku was there to protect him. 

“Iz…Izuku?”

“I’ve got you, Kouta. I’m here.”

“Well isn’t that heartwarming.”

Izuku looked up at the voice. The man that stood at the other end of the cliff was truly massive. He watched as the villain’s hood blew away, revealing the last person Izuku wanted to see.

The villain Muscular stood on the cliff, smiling in all his insanity down at the two children.



Chapter Text

“And here I thought I wouldn’t get to have fun on this trip,” the man sneered down at the two of them. 

Izuku’s mind was swirling with thoughts and half-baked plans. Kouta was clinging to his shirt, shaking in terror at the villain in front of them. 

Muscular was an S-rank villain. Not someone to mess with even for most pros. But here Izuku was, facing the monstrous villain with a lonely kit curled in his hold. He wasn’t attacking yet. Izuku took advantage of that time by surveying the situation.

Muscular was an Oni, a type of daemon. He was stronger than he usually was tonight, thanks to the new moon. Wonderful. Just what they needed, a supercharged S-rank psychopath of a villain trying to kill them.

He was also the man that killed the Water Hose duo. Kouta’s parents. 

Oni he might be, but Muscular was only half one. His horn was a stump near his hairline, and his skin was the color of a normal person. A full Oni usually had red or blue. He had a quirk too, Izuku knew. Muscle augmentation. Because the big man obviously needed something to make him bigger. He also seemed to be missing an eye, replaced by a mechanical one. 

Izuku just hoped he could escape before it came down to eating the man. Because if he made himself much larger, Izuku wouldn’t be able to ensure his safety. He was determined to not leave this place stained in someone else’s blood. 

“Izuku, I’m scared,” Kouta said softly. 

“I know, Kouta. But I’m going to make sure we both get out of this, ok?” Izuku smiled brightly, just like his mentor did. “And then we can ask Aizawa if we can have some of those cookies I know Aunt Ryuko has hidden.”

That managed to drag a small grin out of Kouta for a moment. Izuku’s smile turned just a bit more genuine. He would get them to safety. He wouldn’t let Kouta get hurt. 

“Hey, I know you! You’re on our list!” Muscular crowed. Izuku curled tighter around his cousin. “Like that Bakugou kid! I’m supposed to bring ya in, but Bossman never said anything about you being conscious.”

Izuku hardly had time to blink before a super-powered fist was bearing down on them. He lit up green, blurring as he dash out of the way. The stone beneath Muscular’s fist cracked. 

“Hah! So you’re actually going to be a challenge to hit, little bug.”

Izuku edged backwards, his back to the cliff-face. This wasn’t an enemy he could beat by himself. Not when he had Kouta to protect and no backup coming. The path down to the forest was blocked, but if he could just get Muscular to move, then he could escape. It was their only option. Even teleporting might not be quick enough, considering how fast Muscular moved. Izuku couldn’t move when he teleported, and if he did he risked their landing pad being open sky. He had been lucky on the way here. Testing Lady Luck’s patience twice wasn’t something he was keen to do right now. 

“Are you here with the League?” Izuku tried to ask, inching towards their escape. “What do you mean by bring me in?”

“You ask too many questions, kid!”

Izuku had hardly a second to dodge the incoming fist, backed by muscles the man’s arm couldn’t contain. It slammed into the stone where Izuku had been standing a split second before. Kouta’s grip on Izuku’s shirt tightened as they skidded on the loose gravel. 

His back was to the forest now, but not the path. Instead it was a steep cliff-face that dropped straight into trees. Muscular was still blocking the trail, shaking the stone shards from his arm. 

They needed to get out of here. Quickly. 

Izuku glanced behind himself and into the forest below. If he put enough power into it, he could land on the ground instead of in branches. Maybe Muscular would have trouble with the trees. Sharp turns and narrow spaces could theoretically be his weakness. Not like Izuku had time to second-guess it. 

“Hey, where’re you going, I want to see blood!”

Izuku spared the villain a glance, before leaping backwards off their stone platform. 

The wind pulled at him as they fell. Gravity tugged at his limbs, beckoning him back towards the ground. Izuku reoriented himself midair, intent on landing at least semi-safely. Kouta had buried his face in Izuku’s shirt the moment he launched them off the cliff. 

Izuku used small wind bursts to cushion their fall. His legs would be feeling that tomorrow, but at the moment he couldn’t care less. The two of them fell through the trees, small twigs snagging their clothes. The ground came up fast, but Izuku managed to break their fall without snapping any bones. 

Izuku took a second to catch his breath. They were in the middle of the woods, with villains possibly on all sides, but at least they were off the cliff and away from Muscular. 

Then something obviously heavy crashed landed through the trees behind them. Izuku froze, some instinct telling him that if he didn’t move a muscle the threat would pass by. 

“You can’t escape me that easily, kid!”

Izuku lit up green, and was off like a shot. He wove through the trees, using some as springboards, hoping it would slow down Muscular. He just had to make it to camp. Just far enough, and the pros could deal with it. Izuku knew he couldn’t fight the villain, not when his quirk, the One for All part, was basically just a weaker version of Muscular’s own. 

And the other parts? Either useless or something he wasn’t willing to risk. Not when Muscular looked more like an abomination of muscle fibers than man right now. Not when he was pretty sure the man was bigger than the Nomu at this point. 

Not when Izuku couldn’t guarantee the man would live. Villain he might be, but Izuku couldn’t kill him. He just couldn’t. 

So Izuku ran. He ran shrouded in green light and praying that they could make it. Kouta clung to him, a reminder that he had something to lose tonight. That he had to play it safe. 

His heart sank when he realized Muscular wasn’t being slowed down by the trees. The Oni just crashed through them, more muscles replacing the injured ones and multiplying it. Heavy footsteps thudded closer and closer, sounding almost like an elephant was barreling towards them. The ground between hero and villain was shrinking rapidly. 

They weren’t going to make it. Izuku realized that a split second before a super-powered fist collided with his side. He curled his body around Kouta, using himself to protect the kit. He was the priority. He had to stay safe. Izuku couldn’t lose him too. 

Muscular’s insane laughter followed them as Izuku rolled over the ground. He…he didn’t see a way out of this. Not one he wanted to go along with anyway. 

But it looked like he was out of other options. 

Izuku took off once again, just focused on getting a bit of space between them now. His ribs hurt, but he ignored it. Hopefully they weren’t broken. He couldn’t feel them anyway, not with the adrenaline. 

He whipped around to take a sharp turn, and skidded on his knees to a big bush. He pried Kouta from his shirt, and set him on the ground. The boy stared with wide and terrified eyes. 

“I need you to stay here for a second, ok Kouta?” Izuku said quietly. “Hide in here, and close your eyes. Don’t open them until I say you can, ok? This isn’t…this isn’t something for a kid to see.”

“No- wait- you can’t-“

“It’s ok, Kouta. I’m not leaving you, alright? I’m coming back. I promise you, I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

The kit was silent, staring at Izuku and searching for a lie. He wouldn’t find one. Izuku meant it. He meant every word, even if his stomach lurched at the thought of what he was about to do. What he had to if they wanted to both get out alive. 

He had something to live for, and there was no way he was dying with so much on the line.

“…Ok.”

Izuku ruffled, Kouta’s hair, hearing the villain bulldozing his way towards them once again. He gently pushed his cousin into the bush, hiding him from sight. Muscular’s yelling was within earshot now. 

Izuku took a deep breath, and raced in the opposite direction they had come from. He knew he was glowing bright green. It was a beacon, this time a willing one. He ran until he knew Muscular was almost within striking distance. 

Then he spun on his heel, coming face to face with the killer barreling towards him. He skidded to a stop, and so did Muscular. He looked more muscle than person right now, just a vaguely person-shaped blob of the stuff. Bigger than All Might even. They held eye contact for a moment.

“I’m sorry,” Izuku whispered, sorrow lacing his words.

“Hah! What for, little bug? You’ve hardly put a scratch on me!”

“For breaking a promise I made to myself. And that you won’t have the time to regret what you have done.”

Izuku took a steadying breath, and stepped forward. He closed his eyes, not wanting to see the damage he was about to inflict. 

His jaw almost unhinged. 

It wasn’t enough. He knew it wouldn’t be, but he had no choice. Not if he wanted to keep his promise to Kouta. Not if he wanted to see his boyfriend again. Not if he ever wanted to see his mom again. 

The tentacles and jaws surged forward, quick as a flash. Time almost seemed to be plunged into honey, but cold as ice. Izuku couldn’t tell if it was the wind or tears that were stinging his eyes. He screwed them shut, even as he felt his jaws close around the villain too big to store in one piece.

He felt the muscles compress, and then give way. He felt skin tear under his teeth. Bones bent and snapped. Izuku kept his eyes shut. It didn’t stop him from feeling the blood splash against his legs. 

There was no noise. No screams of pain. Just the sound of breaking bones and tearing flesh. Muscular was gone before he could fight it. Izuku knew things were suspended in his pocket dimension, but the man would be dead before he suffered. He made sure of that. Even as a killer Izuku would have mercy. It’s just who he was. 

The bottom half of the former man thudded against the ground. Izuku kept his eyelids glued shut until he walked away. His mind was shockingly silent. He was probably in shock, but he forced himself to move. Adrenaline let him do that probably. 

Izuku turned his back on the remains of the man, and walked away. The blood clung to his legs and soaked into his socks. He ignored it, focusing single-mindedly on retrieving Kouta. The crimson wasn’t too obvious in the dark anyway. 

“Kouta? You can come out now. It’s safe,” he called quietly, once he knew he was close.

The bushes rustled, and a small body shot itself out of the leaves and at Izuku. He tensed, but didn’t budge as Kouta clung to his shirt hem. Tears added themselves to the list of stains on the shirt that was already torn to shreds. 

“You came back,” Kouta eventually choked out.

“Of course I did,” Izuku said softly, wrapping his arms around the small kit. “I’m not leaving anytime soon, alright? Come on now, we have to get back to camp.”

“B-but what about the v-villain?”

“He’s…he won’t stop us. Come on, I’ll carry you on my back.”

Kouta didn’t protest, and hung on tight to the back of Izuku’s shirt. He didn’t bother using One for All this time. It was too obvious, and he didn’t have the will to right now. Adrenaline let him run plenty fast anyway. 

Izuku just hoped he didn’t run into more trouble on the way. 

~~~~~

Shouta ran. He sprinted through the forest to Mandalay, hoping to God he made it before he was too late. There were no signs of other students as he flew over the ground. No hint of the gas Midoriya had talked about either, but then again, Shouta didn’t have the sense of smell a cat did.

He saw the smoke plenty fine though. It blocked the stars in an unnatural blob. The dark cloud grew as he ran closer to where he knew the pros were. 

Shouta burst into the clearing, and…and not much was wrong. Mandalay, Pixie-Bob, and Tiger were all fine. They were staring at Shouta like he was insane, but that was something that he could ignore. 

“Villains are here,” he got out through his heavy breathing. “Send a message. The students are to return now. They have permission to defend themselves if they are forced to, but they are to avoid the villains at all costs.”

The heroes all snapped into action. Shouta steadied his breathing as they rushed about. Pixie-Bob ran back down the path Shouta had come down. Mandalay stayed still, eyes slightly unfocused as she transmitted the message. Tiger’s keen gaze swept the forest, scanning for threats in the immediate vicinity. 

“Eraserhead,” Tiger’s voice caught his attention. He sounded borderline frantic. “Ragdoll, she was in the forest-“

“Midoriya brought her to the cabin,” he said quietly. “She was injured, but I don’t know how bad. Looked like just a head injury, but she was unconscious.”

“And Kouta?” Mandalay asked, snapping out of her haze. 

Shouta froze. Kouta, the small kid that was Midoriya’s adopted cousin or something. The familial relations of the Midoriyas were confusing at best. He had a hideout, Mandalay had told him that much, and he had left at dinner again. 

He was out there.

Midoriya knew he was out there.

Oh fuck. 

“Damnit,” Shouta swore, whipping around. “Problem Child probably went after him. Find the classes, keep them safe! I’ll find the other two!”

Tiger and Mandalay yelled back their confirmation. Shouta barely heard them over the blood and wind roaring in his ears. He ran like his life depended on it it wasn’t his it depended on and prayed he wasn’t too late. Just once more, his luck had to hold. 

Just once more, he couldn’t afford to be late.

He already was

Chapter Text

They were almost there. Izuku just had to run a bit farther. Just a bit more and Kouta would be safe. 

The wind, mostly caused by how fast he was moving, had dried the blood that clung to him. It made his legs feel stiff, but he kept pushing forward. There was no time to pause tonight. He could deal with blood later, when he could think about what he had done without breaking down during a villain attack.

Izuku’s breaths came out in huffs. His vision had tunneled into getting to the cabin by any means necessary, but he didn’t care. All he knew was running and keeping Kouta safe. It was all he could focus on without memories threatening to split his mind in two. 

The trees turned into brown and green blurs. Izuku couldn’t tell if the stars were there or not. He was aware of the ground under his feet and in front of him, but for all he knew, it fell away the second it was out of his sight. 

Then an irregularity appeared. It became a problem very, very quickly. Izuku didn’t register their existence until he had almost ran them over. As it was, he just barely managed to stop himself a few feet from them.

For a moment, Izuku didn’t recognize who it was. He tightened his grip on Kouta, hissing at the person who stretched a hand out towards them. His hair fluffed up with his fangs bared in warning. 

He had to protect he wasn’t going to let this kit get hurt he couldn’t he wouldn’t not again.

“Hey, hey it’s ok, kid. It’s just me. Breath, Midoriya.”

Izuku blinked, and he could think enough to know who it was. Aizawa-sensei. His teacher was here. He was a safe person. He could be trusted.

Izuku shifted Kouta off his back, quickly handing him off to Aizawa. Kouta looked confused, but accepted it without protest. He looked at Izuku in worry.

“Protect him,” Izuku rasped. “Have to find Katsuki. Katsuki’s in danger. Have to protect Kacchan.”

“Midoriya-“

“Find my person. Protect your kit if you protect mine. Please Aizawa-sensei, I have to find them.”

Izuku stared at his teacher with wide green eyes. They flickered like firelight every time he blinked. Green electricity hadn’t stopped arcing across his skin. He looked like a ghost, a vengeful spirit hellbent on protecting what was his. 

Aizawa sighed heavily, holding Kouta closer to his chest. 

“Find them, and come right back, do you hear me? I don’t care if you have to teleport the class one by one, just come back. I’m not letting anyone else get hurt tonight.”

“Thank you.”

And with that, Izuku was gone. He was running again, faster without the challenge of holding someone on his back. Everything blurred. All he needed was one flash of color. Just one glimpse. It was all he needed to know where he had to go.

He searched, keen eyes scanning the brush for anything. The scent of smoke and poison grew stronger. 

Then he saw it. A flash of purple that blended in with the shadows. 

Izuku immediately flung himself in that direction. He didn’t care how much noise he made. He just had to get to his person. Nothing else mattered. 

“Izu-?”

Izuku tackled Hitoshi before he could finish a word. They went tumbling to the ground, Izuku clinging to his person like he was a lifeline. Everything was building up behind his eyelids, but he shoved it back down. They weren’t safe yet. There was danger, and he had to protect his clan. His person was safe though. He was safe, and a bit of the weight on his chest eased. One for All slowly fizzed out for the first time since he started running. 

“Izuku?”

“Are you hurt?” 

“No, I’m fine.”

“Ojiro?”

“Went back. I wanted to make sure we didn’t pass up anyone in danger.”

Izuku buried his face in the crook of Hitoshi’s neck, breathing in his scent. It helped calm him down. It always did. 

“You’re stupid,” he mumbled. 

“And so are you. Did you do what you needed to?”

Izuku nodded, before rolling off of Hitoshi to stand up. He helped his boyfriend to his feet too. They couldn’t just lay on the ground, as much as Izuku wanted to. There was still danger. 

“Auntie got hurt,” he said softly. “And Kouta almost did. I got them both away.”

“That’s good. Come on then, let’s go back too. Dad will be worried.”

“No.”

“…what?”

“No, I can’t. They’re after Katsuki, I have to find him, we can’t leave him. I have to protect him.”

“How do you know that they’re after Bakugou?”

Izuku went quiet, staring at nothing. His voice was hardly above a whisper. “Villain attacked us. K-Kouta and me. Said…said they were looking for Katsuki.”

“Izuku, you can’t be serious. There’s who knows how many villains out here!”

“That’s why I have to go, Hitoshi.”

The two stared each other down, and Izuku refused to budge. He had to protect his friends. If he couldn’t even do that, then how could he call himself a hero?

“Fine,” Hitoshi groaned, closing his eyes for a second. Izuku felt himself begin to grin. “But I’m coming with you. No it’s not negotiable.”

Izuku hesitated, but nodded. Hitoshi could protect himself. He would be alright, and they would find Katsuki. Everyone would be fine. Izuku had to believe that. 

“Let’s go then. I think Katsuki should be this way.” Izuku grabbed Hitoshi’s hand, before leading the way.

He had gone all of two steps before Hitoshi yanked on his arm. 

“Izuku, please tell me that’s not blood.”

“Uhh, it’s…not… my blood.”

“Is that better?!”

Izuku grabbed Hitoshi’s other hand, and looked into his purple eyes. He was scared. Izuku didn’t blame him, not one bit. This whole situation was terrifying. Hopefully he could accept a raincheck though. 

“Hitoshi, I promise you, I’ll tell you what happened, but not now. We have to find Katsuki before it’s too late.”

“…you promise?”

“Absolutely.”

“Then fine. Let’s go. You better keep that promise, or I’m kicking your ass.”

Izuku managed to choke out a strangled laugh. Even in the midst of all this horror, Hitoshi still made him feel safe. He shook his head, before turning to lead the way again. 

“Huh, looks like I found two pipsqueaks.”

Izuku spun around, a hiss already on his tongue as he faced the enemy. It was a villain, that much was obvious. One with blue flames flickering over his arms. 

“Wait a second, aren’t you-“

He didn’t get to finish his sentence. Izuku panicked. Hitoshi couldn’t know they were after him too. He would never be allowed to protect Kacchan if he knew. So he quickly tried to remember if he had anything he could throw. There was something. Two somethings. Really four, but a pane of glass wouldn’t do a lot of good against someone who could melt it, and Izuku felt his stomach roll at the thought of the other thing. 

Izuku opened his mouth, and spat out the two villains he had eaten earlier with all the force he could muster. They went flying in green and tan blurs. The fire villain didn’t move fast enough, and got body slammed by the two flying people. 

The three of them went careening off into the trees. 

Izuku and Hitoshi shared a look, before taking off in the opposite direction. Hand in hand they sprinted through the woods. Once they were far enough they slowed their pace, enough that Izuku could take a moment to half-shift. Hitoshi raised an eyebrow as he sniffed at the air, but didn’t say a word. 

It didn’t take long to tell where Katsuki was, since his nitroglycerin had a very distinct scent. Izuku nodded in the direction, and pulled Hitoshi along. His cat ears flicked around, listening for danger. His socks would be torn up now, but that didn’t matter. 

There was a rustling in the forest. Izuku stopped, letting go of Hitoshi's hand and putting himself between the bushes and his boyfriend. With ears straining to pick up more than moving leaves, Izuku heard something. He heard it just a moment too late.  

Shouji and Tokoyami came barreling past. They made eye contact with the other two.

“RUN!”  

Izuku hesitated. He really shouldn’t have. 

Another villain came crashing through the trees. This one was in a full body straightjacket, only his mouth visible. And coming out of that mouth were…his teeth? They looked metal, and sharp. Very sharp. His body was held aloft by using them as stilts. 

Izuku’s hair stood on end. This villain was one out for blood, and they were right in his path. He was approaching fast too fast too fast too fast. 

Hitoshi was farther than Izuku. He was out of range for another second. Izuku though, he wouldn’t be able to dodge in time. Blades whistled towards him, paralyzing him with the fear of a deer in the headlights. Izuku tensed, ready for the pain.

The pain that never came. 

Izuku felt something crash into him hard, sending him flying away. Something that wasn’t a weaponized tooth. As he went airborne, he saw what had run into him. 

Time froze. 

Hitoshi stood where Izuku had been a second before. He was staring at him with wide purple eyes, but they held no regret. Izuku watched as the blades inched closer to his boyfriend his best friend his person.  

Power surged through his veins before he hit the ground. He couldn’t move midair, but electricity raced over his skin all the same. 

Hitoshi dodged the first few blades that had been aimed at Izuku. He danced between them with speed and a whole lot of luck. It didn’t last. They knew it wouldn’t. 

Izuku’s back hit the ground, and he couldn’t move. Time was slow and he couldn’t move from the impact. He couldn’t do anything to stop it.  

One of the blade-teeth scored a glancing blow. Enough to throw Hitoshi off balance and falling to the ground. He went down with wide eyes and words on his tongue.

Izuku screamed as Hitoshi’s side turned red. His voice cracked and crackled in tune with One for All. The buzzing became deafening. Was that his quirk, or was it his thoughts? The static in his mind that blanketed everything in fear and the instinct to protect.

He didn’t think. Izuku was already moving without a thought in his mind but to protect what was his. He didn’t think before he changed. He didn’t think before he burned.  

Pure power ignited beneath his skin. Izuku pushed and pushed until his veins were burning and bones creaking under the stress of it. More and more far past his limit. He turned into a glowing ball of green, and for Izuku, everything faded away. Nothing mattered except Hitoshi. Nothing but his person. 

At a hundred percent of his power, Izuku full-shifted, throwing caution to the wind.

And he roared.  

~~~~~

Hitoshi wouldn’t admit it, but he was scared. In that moment, he realized just how much he wanted to live. There was so much he had left to do. So much to say. Was he going to die here, having not told anyone goodbye? Having never told his family and friends he loved them?

It was terrifyingly real. 

He went down, feeling where the blade had stuck in his side. It was pulled out the next second, making him bleed more no doubt. His shirt was unnaturally warm, turning a dark red. It hurt. He felt like he couldn’t breathe.

But…he couldn’t quite bring himself to regret it. It was him or Izuku. Given the choice, he would choose his boyfriend’s safety every single time. If that meant Hitoshi had to take a knife for him? So be it. 

He accepted his choice, as much as it hurt and how much would stay unsaid from him. 

Izuku, however, did not. 

Hitoshi watched as his boyfriend turned into a luminescent ball of pure green energy. He almost hurt to look at with how bright he became. Green eyes with black pinpricks glowed the brightest. They were locked onto the villain with something that wasn’t human behind them. 

In the blink of an eye, a human no longer stood in a self-made hurricane of power. Instead, the biggest cat Hitoshi had ever seen stood there. The arcs of light fizzled out of existence around it. If he had to hazard a guess, Hitoshi would say it was the size of a horse.

The cat roared as it emerged, a sound that shook the ground and rattled Hitoshi’s bones down to the very marrow. He gasped in a breath as it took a single step forward. The cat glanced over at him, and he knew for sure. Izuku was still there. He was in control. 

He would protect him. 

Between one blink and the next, Izuku had almost seemed to disappear with how fast he moved . The villain and him both went flying away into the trees. Hitoshi only knew where they were because of the massive cat’s green eyes. They flashed with each catch of the moon, as well as the steel blades of the villain’s teeth.

He had to get out of here, Hitoshi realized. Everything hurt, but he had to suck it up and move. If he wanted to still have a chance at living, if he wanted another chance to say “I love you,” then he had to move.  

Hands grabbed under his arms, and Hitoshi very nearly screamed. Another hand covered his mouth though, so he couldn’t. Instead he thrashed and struggled with all his strength.

“Shinsou, stop!”

Oh. Hitoshi let himself go limp, recognizing the voice. It was just Shouji. And Tokoyami if he was seeing right. 

“Sorry,” he said, voice barely there. 

“It’s fine, but you are not. Midoriya has this handled.”

“Safety is at the end of the woods,” Tokoyami said cryptically. “We must make haste before your injuries turn even more life threatening.”

Hitoshi didn’t protest. He looked back to Izuku and the villain. 

Izuku was standing over the downed villain, blood staining his muzzle and cuts along his fur, but he was victorious. He was alive. Hurt, but alive and here. 

Hitoshi almost started crying out of relief. He didn’t though. Instead he forced himself to his feet, which cracked a stick in the process.

Izuku’s eyes snapped up to meet Hitoshi’s. The massive cat immediately darted over, far faster than Hitoshi though possible. He stopped before reaching Hitoshi, almost gingerly edging closer. 

His entire head was the size of Hitoshi’s upper half. The green fur probably added to that, since he seemed to retain his fluffiness. Long ears were angled backwards as a cold nose pressed itself to his cheek.

“‘M fine, Izuku. Just…bleedin’.”

“We need to get him back to the cabin,” Shouji said. “Quickly.”

The horse-sized cat rumbled something deep in his throat, before leaning his head down to inspect the wound. It hurt like hell. Hitoshi bit back a whimper.

Izuku didn’t change back. He nudged Shouji away, who complied with only a bit of hesitance. Not like he could really resist anyway. Izuku was bigger than all of them right now. Hitoshi stood by himself, wondering why it looked like the night sky was circling his eyesight. 

He blinked, and suddenly, he wasn’t standing on the ground anymore. The pain was still there, but it was almost…faded. Ignorable. Hitoshi blinked a few times, confirming he was where he thought.

The space of Izuku’s mini dimension thing was always a bit jarring. It was beautiful though. When he said space, he meant it literally. It was like being thrown directly into the night sky. With that came no sense of time or direction unfortunately. He couldn’t move much either, just enough to look around. 

Hitoshi let out a breath, knowing he was basically suspended here for a while. In reality it would hardly be three seconds he was in here, but it did feel longer. Time was weird. At least he wasn’t in constant sharp pain. Nothing made sense with his boyfriend’s powers, but he wasn’t going to complain since it was currently saving him.

He snapped back into existence. The change was a shock, as well as the pain. Hitoshi would have doubled over if someone hadn’t caught him. A person this time, not a horse-sized cat. 

“Easy, Shinsou.” Oh, that was Vlad King. Was he back at the cabin? “I can stitch you up in a minute here. Aizawa will be back in a moment too.”

Hitoshi felt himself nod. He lifted his head, feeling like a bag of rocks were on his neck. He saw Izuku, still a massive cat, turning to walk away. 

“Izuku,” he said weakly.

The cat stopped and turned around. He pressed his massive head into Hitoshi’s arms, rumbling in something like a purr. Green eyes met purple, and Hitoshi knew he couldn’t stop Izuku from going back. 

Hitoshi nodded again, leaning more heavily on the teacher. Izuku walked a few paces away, before disappearing in a flurry of red. 

“Jesus, fine, alright, there he goes,” Vlad King muttered. Louder, he said, “Come on, let’s stitch that wound up.”

Hitoshi didn’t have energy left to resist. At least adrenaline was focusing on letting him not feel as much of the pain. 

He hoped and prayed the dread curling in his gut was just from his wound.

 

Chapter Text

Izuku folded in on himself, then forcefully flung his body back into the real world. 

He landed where he had left Shouji and Tokoyami, but they weren’t the only ones there anymore.

Tokoyami squawked as a villain swung a knife at him, ducking below the sharp thing and scrambling away. The villain giggled. High pitched and wrong sounding. Distorted almost. Izuku saw Shouji move to try and grapple her, but he was hesitant. There was a slash mark in his shirt, though thankfully no blood accompanied it. Just a rip in the fabric. 

Izuku’s eyes narrowed, and he snarled at the villain threatening them. His friends his family his clan. No one touched his clan without consequences. 

The villain turned at the sound, just in time for Izuku to leap at her. She froze for a single moment. An appropriate response, considering a giant cat flying at you with unsheathed claws was appropriately terrifying. 

She snapped out of it before he made contact. Izuku swiped in a downward arc, claws a blur, and she raised the knife in her hands to do the same.

Both made contact. Izuku’s claws scraped her side, tearing the cloth and skin beneath. Not deadly, since it wasn’t deep enough, but it would leave a nasty mark. He couldn’t find it in himself to regret it.

Her knife caught his leg. It hit a lot of fur, but scraped deep enough to bleed. He recoiled away, stumbling when he hit the ground and pain shot up the leg. An echoing hiss clawed its way through the forest. 

“Aww did I scratch the big kitty cat?” The villain giggled, bouncing on her toes. All of her focus was on Izuku now.

Izuku hissed, fur bristling. A warning to not come closer. He still had three legs and teeth. He was a danger. Though at this point, he didn’t know who it was towards more.

“Midoriya-“ Shouji called out.

“Oh, don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you!” The villain chirped, spinning towards the two boys. 

Izuku growled, limping over to put himself between the two groups. No more of his clan would be hurt tonight. Not if he could help it. 

“Awww, does the kitty still wanna play?”

All of Izuku’s hair was on end. His ears were as far back as they would go, and his tail was lashing from side to side. He couldn’t remember ever feeling this angry. He had done things he promised not to tonight, but he would protect his clan no matter what. No harm would come to them so long as he could prevent it. 

As long as he breathed, he would protect. 

The villain laughed again, then darted towards him. She was faster than he expected. Izuku caught a glimpse of fangs in her crazed smile. He tensed, ready to lash out if he had to. Ready to defend his friends. 

As it turned out, he didn’t have to. A blur of brown rocketed out of the trees, tackling the blonde villain midair. They went tumbling, Izuku’s eyes tracking them. Once back on the ground, he recognized his friend. 

Uraraka was here. And she was pissed.  

“Midoriya?” Izuku whipped around, a snarl on his face and a hiss on his tongue. He let both fall once he saw it was Tsuyu. “You ok, ribbit?”

Izuku held up his injured leg, ignoring the pain of it. It was ebbing anyway. Not deep enough to keep him down for long. He turned back to his other friend and the villain. 

“TOUCH THEM AND YOU FUCKING DIE, YOU MOSQUITO OF A MOTHERFUCK! GET THAT SHITTY ASS IRON TOOTHPICK OUT OF MY FACE AND FIGHT LIKE A WOLF.”

Izuku huffed, watching in almost amusement. Uraraka was swinging punch after punch at the villain, who couldn’t quite keep up with the jabs. Tsuyu croaked with worry as the knife came too close for comfort. It didn’t hit though. 

Uraraka tackled the villain again, holding her down to wrestle the knife out of her hands. Izuku felt a (figurative) stab of fear. She was so close to the villain. He couldn’t let his friend get hurt. 

The villain managed to throw Uraraka off. She immediately tried to get up, only to float off the ground. Huh. Izuku suddenly felt that she wasn’t as scary when she was flailing in the air like a person balloon. 

Then a knife came flying mere inches from his face. Izuku flinched, but didn’t feel any blood. The blade harmlessly sunk into a tree.

Izuku looked up, just in time to see his friend spinning the villain with herself as the pivot point. He watched in fascination as Uraraka spun faster and faster, before releasing the villain. They went flying off into the woods as no more than a blur. A moment later and all five of them heard the distinct sound of a thing slam into a tree at fastball speed. 

“Midoriya!”

Izuku finally let himself relax a bit as Uraraka ran over. Her and Tsuyu were safe, and so were Shouji and Tokoyami. No more deaths. They were safe. Clan was safe. 

“Oh wow, you sure are one big cat right now,” Uraraka said, head hardly reaching above his shoulder. “And you’re…all there?”

Izuku couldn’t purr at this size, but he did gently headbutt her. She breathed a heavy sigh of relief, sinking a hand into his very thick fur. 

“Ok. That’s good. We’re all good. Just need to get back to the cabin and-“

Izuku shook his massive head, nearly hitting Tsuyu on accident. It wasn’t safe to shift back yet. Not with so many villains. Not when if he shifted back right now, he would undoubtedly break down. He would have to get his point across without words. Spoken ones, at least. 

He made a sound between a chuff and a roar, albeit far quieter than an actual roar in this form. Izuku sat down, moving his injured paw a bit. The pain was bearable. 

He unsheathed his claws, and hoped his writing wouldn’t be too sloppy. 

“Uhhh, does that say ‘Kulzaki?’” Uraraka asked, baffled. The other three looked at Izuku’s writing, trying to decipher it.

Izuku grumbled, shaking his head no. 

“Ah, Katsuki. That is Bakugou’s given name, is it not?” Tokoyami said. 

Izuku nodded rapidly. Good, one thing across. Just had to say he was in danger then.

“Is something wrong with him, ribbit?”

Izuku nodded again, resigning himself to a game of charades. He bared his teeth, then pointed in the direction of wherever that villain had flown off to. 

“Are the villains…angry at him?” Shouji guessed.

Izuku shook his head again, and lifted both front paws off the ground. His haunches were enough to balance on for now. Claws still out, he put them together to look like bars. A cage. 

“Wait, Midoriya,” Tsuyu said, face suddenly pale. “Are…are the villains trying to capture Bakugou?”

He nodded solemnly, putting his paws back on the ground.

“Can you not change back?” Shouji questioned. Izuku nodded once again. “Well, at least that explains some things.”

“So let me get this straight,” Uraraka said, catching their attention. “You can’t change back for whatever reason, you’re only real injury is that leg despite the fact that you reek of blood right now, and we can’t go back to the cabin because we need to find Bakugou and make sure he doesn’t get captured by villains?”

Yep, sounded about right. Izuku nodded. He got back to his feet, ears flicking in every direction to pick up any sound. The cracking flames were in the distance, though closer than he would’ve liked. No people though. Not yet. 

He lifted his nose to the sky, hoping to catch a scent. Even a faint one. They had to be nearby, right? They were near the path again. More-or-less. They had to be close. They had to be.

Izuku did his cat version of a smile when he finally caught it. He turned to his friends, jerking his head in the direction of the scent. They all understood, and let him lead the way. 

A few minutes passed, and Izuku noticed something. Uraraka was slowing down. He tapped Shouji with his tail, pointing for him to keep going. The boy didn’t stop leading them, so he must have understood. 

Izuku fell to the back, keeping pace with Uraraka. She glanced over to him after a moment.

“You don’t need ta walk with me, Midoriya,” she said. “I’m fine.”

Izuku made a skeptical rumbling noise, which received an amused huff.

“I have to do this. I have to be- to be strong. Like you, yeah? I have to protect you guys. I don’t know how Fl- uh, cat morphs work with family, but you’re a part of my pack. And pack takes care of each other, so that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to protect you, just like you protected me.”

Izuku paused, then relented. He brushed his head against her side, careful to not knock her over. Uraraka laughed. Izuku took the opportunity to scoop her up by the back of her shirt and deposit her on his back.

He would explain to her later. He would tell her how she was part of his family too, his clan. And that’s why he had to protect her too. They could protect each other. 

For now though, he just chuffed in satisfaction as she settled into his soft fur, mumbling out half-hearted protests as she practically disappeared into the fluff. 

Izuku took the lead again, letting Shouji fall back to walk beside Tokoyami again. Hardly five minutes passed before his ears caught noise. Not explosions or the crackling of ice, but of yelling. Yep, that was Katsuki alright. 

Izuku picked up his pace, hoping the others could keep up. The yelling was getting closer. Finally audible to normal human ears probably, since the ones without enhanced hearing suddenly perked up. 

They broke through another line of trees, and Izuku almost cried out of relief. Katsuki and Todoroki were both there, looking relatively unharmed. The two were arguing. Loudly. About directions, of all things. 

“It’s this way, you candy cane bastard. I’m fucking telling you, that’s the wrong damned way!”

“And I think this is the correct way, Bakugou.”

“Yeah well, fuck you and your horrible sense of direction.”

“That’s not- WATCH OUT!”

Izuku blinked as Shouto whipped towards him, ice on his fingertips. Katsuki turned, and Izuku could see that he recognized him somehow. Shouto didn’t though. Frost gathered at his feet as he prepared to freeze Izuku.

“IT’S IZUKU, YOU DUMBASS!” Katsuki yelled, shoving Shouto to break his concentration. “Put away the iceberg, you moron, it’s our classmate. Probably more-“

“Did you just try to freeze Midoriya?” Was the first thing Uraraka asked, head popping out of the green fluff.

Katsuki cursed, leaping back at the sudden appearance. Shouto almost froze them again. Uraraka somehow looked both annoyed and smug. The others chose that moment to come out of the bushes too. 

“Great, an entire menagerie of morons. What do you fuckers want?”

“Midoriya says villains are after you,” Uraraka answered bluntly. “So hop on the cat express motherfucker, we’re going on a trip.”

The two boys stood there staring for a minute. Izuku sighed, before walking up and nudging Todoroki in the direction Katsuki had been pointing. He then turned and did the same with Katsuki, effectively herding them towards the cabin. When they actually started walking on their own, Katsuki semi-quietly bragging about being right, Izuku turned back and ushered the rest of them in front of him. 

Uraraka slid off his back and onto the ground again, saying she was ok to walk. Izuku grumbled, but let her go. She would watch everyone and keep them safe too. He could trust her. 

Izuku took up the rear, watching and listening for any threats. It was almost silent in the forest. Eerily so. He didn’t like it. It set his hair on end and sensed things that weren’t there. He never saw anything in the brush around them. 

They walked for what felt like hours, but it was probably only a few minutes. Not that Izuku could tell. The sky was still dark with some of the stars eclipsed by smoke. The poison smell was dissipating though. Maybe the villain creating it had been taken out. 

They were walking, but then…

Then Izuku didn’t know. 

His paws were no longer on solid ground. His fur wasn’t ruffled by a breeze and the cool night air didn’t hit his nose. He blinked, and everything was blue. So blue. There was no ground, no sky, no forest. Nothing. Just blue.

Izuku tried to spin around, and caught a glimpse of his hand. Hand, not paw. He was human again. Everything was numb though. There was a certain sluggishness surrounding him, making everything feel covered in honey. Was this real? 

He tried to think. Tried to figure out what had happened. They had been walking to the cabin, right? Izuku had been watching everyone from behind, making sure they were safe. Making sure Katsuki didn’t get taken. 

And then what? Izuku had woken up here, right? But where…where was here? It was just blue, endless blue. Time was weird and he felt numb. It was there, his feelings, the pain, but it wasn’t right. Almost like it was contained outside of wherever this was. Or like it had been paused, muted. 

Izuku floated in the blue space. Alone. Where was his clan? His person? His person must be worried. And his teacher. Where were they? Why did he feel all…floaty? Besides the fact there was no ground to stand on. 

Time passed. At least, Izuku thinks it did. There was no sun. No moon. No anything, really. 

He wondered if he was dead. Was this what death looked like? If it was, death sucked. There was so much he had wanted to do. He had never gotten to say goodbye to so many people. Never got to thank all of his mentors. Never got to propose to-

And then, the blue was broken. It shattered into a billion pieces. There was no light, no revelation, just a burst of time and the blue turning to black and green. 

Izuku blinked rapidly, trying to clear the haze from his mind and adjust his eyes. He blinked one final time, and finally saw what was around him. 

They were in a clearing. Izuku saw his friends opposite him. They looked…scared? Worried? Angry? His mind was still catching up. In the second he had to see them, they all seemed to be paralyzed.

It didn’t take long for him to learn why.

A hang wrapped around his neck, and everything came crashing down like a glass chandelier.

Memories flooded back to him. The pain and emotions and strain. His instincts began screaming again and it felt like his skull was going to split open. There was no buffer to stop it nothing nothing nothing. He was going to break.  

The hand tightened around his neck, cutting off any noise he could have made. Tears sprung to his eyes unbidden. Memories shrieked and clawed at his mind of the mall and being by himself. He couldn’t tell who it was holding him, only that they were bad and it hurt it hurt it hurt.  

Izuku felt his consciousness ripping in two. He couldn’t find the will to fight it. 

Then he heard a crack, followed by a stream of curses. He turned his head just enough to see what it was. Who it was.

Katsuki stood there. The fire villain was holding him by his neck, standing just far enough away to not get exploded. He looked half charred anyway though. 

Izuku stared at his friend. It took a moment, but Katsuki eventually looked over too. He froze, they both did. 

No.

His mind almost seemed to audibly snap back into place. He was human again, his mind no longer slipping into animalistic territory. Not for now. The fissures were being covered for the moment. To let him focus on protecting his clan.  

Izuku glanced back at his friends. They were practically buzzing with anger and fear. He sent them a small smile